Tag Archives: marketing

Road to Publication #21: Completing your first interview

Okay, to be honest, I am writing this up after completing many interviews.  The questions just keep flooding in.  Such wackiness, I swear!

If you were on a train in Alabama, and the lights went out and the sky turned green, what would you do?

Seriously?  You really want me to answer that question?

Okay, I made that up, but some of the questions are like this.  A lot of the questions are very much the same though, and it’s hard to keep them sounding “Fresh”

While I was filling out a set of questions last night, my son (The Monomanical Middle Grade Reviewer) Leaned over my shoulder and told me I was boring.

I read it over, and decided he was right.  I thought about some of the interviews that I’ve done here, and laughed at myself.  Boring interviews are the reason that the Little Blue Lady from Mars was created… to add a little spice and fun into it.

He pointed out the last question, and told me I didn’t even really answer it.  I looked it over.  Yep, he was right.  I danced around it.

“Okay,” I said.  “I’ll answer it.”

With a big smile on my face, I answered the question… I answered it with him in mind… Using all the magical powers of a science fiction author.

Within a few keystrokes, my son was chuckling.  I was too… and I found that this time, I really DID answer the question.  And it was funny.  More “me”.

“You are just too cool, Mom,” the MMGR said.

You know what?  I AM COOL Dernit!

Why hadn’t I done all of my interviews like that?  It made me want to go back and re-do all of the interviews I’d already done.  Unfortunately, I’d sent them all out already.

Lessons Learned.

For you guys… when you do your interviews, don’t get all “tight” and “boring”.  Remember your “voice”… remember who you are.  You only have about 250-500 words to get someone who has never heard of you to like you.

Use those words wisely.  Have fun and be yourself.

What do you like/hate about guest posts and author interviews?

The Proper (and easy!) way to Market your Novel #4 – The dreaded Public Appearance

Alright, we’ve talked about not marketing your novel… instead, marketing yourself.  How do you do that?  By being nice.

(Check out the last few Friday posts if you’re just jumping in.)

Okay, so it’s all well and good doing this over the internet… but what about those public appearances?

We can all be nice, that’s not too hard.  Getting out there in front of people… that is hard.  But when you do, just remember that you don’t need to shove your novel in people’s faces.

Just smile pretty.  Answer questions.  Be yourself.

If you are a scared, timid writer, invent a new character who is outgoing and friendly… and be that person for a little while. (It’s called acting).

In the end, the connections you make will sell your work.  The connections you make will lead to “word of mouth”.  And you never know when you will be nice to someone, and they will help you out.

Remember Ed Griffis?  After my post on his novel, dozens of my followers re-tweeted it.  It’s the Twitter snowball effect.   His Kindle rating jumped.  Pretty cool, huh?  I’m not saying that is all because of my post.  Maybe it was just a coincidence. (There is a lot that goes into your Amazon rating.  It not only has to do with your sales, but everyone else’s too.)  But if you guys did all run out and buy his book, that’s great… and you found out about it because the author was “nice” to me for a little while.

Easy self-promotion, right?
Market yourself.  Not your novel.

Smile pretty at everyone.

You never know who you might meet.

By the way… thanks for stopping by.

It’s great to meet you!  🙂

The Proper (and easy!) way to Market your Novel #3

We’re talking about Marketing your novel the easy way.  Last week established author Danielle Ackley McPhail told us…

I was lucky enough to hear her elucidate, but it really made me think about my own experiences… and I realised that she’s absolutely right.

Let’s dig a little deeper into that thought.

I have personally read several Romance novels recently.  I don’t like Romance Novels.  Why did I read them?  I’ve cyber-met the authors, and we “chat” on Twitter, email, or through my blog.  They are Cyber-Friends, and I wanted to see their work (Now I am trying to convince them to blow a few things up to make their novels more exciting.)  But did I buy their novels?  Yes!

On the flip side… if I am having trouble writing a kiss (with bombs going off in the background) I can ask them for some guidance.  They don’t like explosions, but might they become interested in my work?  Hmmmm.  Maybe.

Recently, I contacted an author, and asked her some questions.  I told her I’d read her book.  She never asked me if I liked it.  We just chatted.  Now we are cyber-friends.  Will I buy her next novel?

Yep.  I sure will.  She didn’t push her book… she just marketed HERSELF.  I am not sure she even realized what she was doing… She was just being NICE.

Ya hear that?  NICE.

It’s easy to do that on the internet.  We can think about what we write, and edit if we sound stupid.  How about in person?

We’ll chat about that next Friday.

Road to Publication #20: Setting up the Blog Tours

OMIGOSH, my head is spinning.  Seriously, it is.

I started a few weeks ago, setting up my own dates for the blog tour for the “Make Believe” Anthology.  Then, after the Arcs went out, all of the sudden requests started coming in from people who contacted J.Taylor Publishing asking for interviews.

I’m really glad that I took someone’s advice and found the calendar feature in my email program.  I started making appointments for the different days in December… but December is filling up pretty quickly.

I also have to wiggle in a blog tour for Connect the Dots, coming out from Still Moments Publishing in their “For the Love of Christmas” Anthology the day after the “Make Believe” Anthology releases.

It looks like I’m going to have to double book dates – talking about Connect the Dots on one Web Site, and Last Winter Red on another.

Now, I’m starting to pull my hair out because I have a list of people who I “Cyber know” who I wanted to ask to host the blog tour, and all these dates are filling up fast.

I know, I know, just smack me.  These are good problems.

I am starting to feel what I’ve heard other authors talk about in the past…  Marketing is a full time job, and detracts from your writing.

I had all these lofty goals for when I would finish and submit Fire in the Woods, but they are falling by the wayside.

It’s true what you hear… this really is hard work.

What do you think… Do you hear about books on blogs?  Have you / would you buy a book after hearing about it on a blog?  What would make you interested in buying an anthology?

The Proper (and easy!) way to Market your Novel #2

Last week we talked about the best way to market your novel.  I promised the secret magic recipe from established author Danielle Ackley McPhail.  Are ya ready for it?

Think that over.

Most people don’t go out looking for a particular novel.  They go looking for an author… even if they don’t even know it.  Consider this:  If you are breezing through an Amazon page full of novels, who are you going to click on first— the unknown, or the name that you recognize… even if you cannot remember why you recognize the name.

Chew on this for a little while, and next week I’m going to fill you in on what I thought when I really considered what she said.  This works, because I’ve seen it. Think about your own experiences, what you think has worked, and hasn’t worked for people.  Let’s chat it up!

In the meantime, can you think of a time when someone marketed themself, and it worked?  Can you think of a time when someone marketed their novel and it didn’t work?  (That one should be easy)

Road to Publication #16: Tchotchkes… Huh? Is that a typo? What the heck is my publisher sending me?

Okay, let’s just get this part out of the way… since it’s an obvious question:

tchotch·ke/ˈCHäCHkə/Noun: 1.A small object that is decorative rather than strictly functional; a trinket.

(Typically pronounced “CHACH-kee”)

Honestly, I had no idea what this was either.  I even had to look up the pronunciation.  I did see a mention of this odd word in my marketing plan, but I didn’t want to sound stupid and ask back then.

When the email arrived from my publisher, I stared at it.  Should I open it?  Is it Spam?  Was their email hijacked by some foreign based worm?  Honestly, I was worried.

But you know what?  Today is my Birthday, and it ended up being a big fat fun present!  Just For me!

Well, not really.  All the Make Believe authors got it, but it’s still like a present, dernit!

Inside was the artwork for a whole bunch of neat marketing pieces.

1.       Email signature tag


3.       Posters

4.       Trading cards/postcards

5.       Desktop art (for your computer)

Oh!  Oodles of good stuff.  This is the front of the bookmark.  Pretty cool, huh?

This is all so neat!  I can’t wait to figure out how to slap that signature-thingy into my email.  Good fun!

Oh, you know what?  Yesterday was my three-hundredth Post.  How wacky is that?  Who knew I’d ever have this much to say?

Road to Publication #11: Coming out of the closet

That’s what she looks like? –  Really?

Part of my marketing plan is coming out of the closet.  For me, that is almost literally.  Well, maybe it’s more like putting down the book that I’ve been hiding behind and showing off my face for the first time.

According to the marketing plan, you can connect with people more when they know what you look like.  Hmmm… I’ve been connecting pretty well hiding behind that book, too.  🙂

I love my book logo, and I don’t think it’s disappearing any time soon, but you will get to see a little more of me as I trod ahead.

So, alas, it is time to come out of the closet and show everyone what I look like.

Step one is splattering my mug on the home page of my blog.  If you’re reading this post in email, click on in.  If you’re already here, please suppress the giggle.  I can hear it now… “That’s what she looks like?  Really?”  Come on … give a girl a break.  This is hard enough!

Step two is my new “About” page.    I couldn’t decide on one particular picture, so I did a few.  The marketing plan says to pick a picture and stick with that to brand yourself with… but me just sitting there and staring right into someone’s eyes is anything but ‘me’.  I wanted to promote a little more fun.

Yes, I can be as boring as anyone else, but I also have a little spunk.  I want to promote my fun side as well as my professional side.

So click on my “about” link and let me know what you think.  If ya hate it, I can always go back to the photographer and ask for some pictures in my granny glasses.

The Road to Publication #8: The Photo Shoot

If you don’t have professional pictures, be prepared that you will be expected to make an appointment with a photographer for marketing materials.

When you do this… Learn from my mistake… don’t schedule it a few days before the pictures are actually due.

I went on a Saturday.  The pictures were due Tuesday at the latest.  No problem, right?

Okay, so I am sure you are expecting me to say that the photo shoot was a disaster.  No, it wasn’t.  On the contrary.  What it was, though, was LONG.

I have a new appreciation for models.  Believe it or not, it’s not easy to hold your body in one position and constantly tilt your head in different directions.  And leaning back and holding your head at a certain angle is PAINFUL.

Granted, I could have said, “boring head shots only,” but if you’ve been hanging out here for a while, you know that’s just not me.  Yeah, I got some boring head shots, but I got some really artistic head shots as well, along with full body poses and fun stuff.

This is where my problem came in.  Time.  I wanted to hand my portrait in on Sunday so I could work on the final proof of Last Winter Red to offer it up to slaughter submit it to the editor Monday or Tuesday.

I opened the proof disk to find 325 photographs.  Ugh!  (A good ugh, but still Ugh!)

It took me a few hours to narrow it down to 60 shots.  Then I narrowed those down to 27.  Then I took those and got vainly anal about them.

I have a lot of great shots that are fun and show more of my personality, but looking at other author shots, they are all pretty much the same.  The photographs of me that I loved were all looking away from the camera, but my husband and I decided to look right at the camera for something more engaging.

I did end up sending two shots to the publisher.  One was a full body shot with my socks off.    The other was a normal portrait shot.  (I know, socks off sounds weird… felt weird doing it, too, but I have a ton of socks-off pictures in my “love it” file.

The publisher ended up cropping the “socks off” picture into a portrait.  Not too original, but it looks nice.

What can you learn from this?  Save time and money when you get your pictures taken and only get boring stuff done.

However, if you have the time, get a whole slew of them done, and get some great pictures that you can have fun with on your web site, or treat yourself to a nice picture of you for a change rather than only having pictures of your kids on the wall.

More than anything:  ENJOY IT!  Consider it pampering.  Once in a while, everyone deserves a little “it’s all about me” time.

Road to Publication #6: The Dreaded Line Edits. Yes, it is as bad as everyone says.

When the email containing the line edits popped up from my publisher, my stomach sank.  Here it was, two weeks or so after I submitted my final MS to them.  This is the part that all writers dread.

I didn’t open the email for a while.  I calmly responded to everything else that was in my queue before I even looked at it.

Then, of course, I could procrastinate no longer.  It said in big bold print “READ THIS EMAIL BEFORE YOU OPEN THE ATTACHMENTS”.  Like a good little girl, I did.  It was probably good that I did, because it kept me from throwing things.

They explained first that one attachment shows all the edits they made, and in some cases, comments why they made them.  The second attachment was a clean copy that was not marked up, showing the MS as it would look if I accept all their suggestions/edits.

I grit my teeth, and opened the “marked up” attachment.

No, I was not happy.

To some extent, I expected this.  Every author I have spoken to has gone through it…  The slicing panic, the urge to kill, the personal affront. –My publisher warned in the email that I would feel this way, and gave leeway to vent to the poor marketing liaison if it would make me feel better. – I didn’t do that – I did the right thing.  I read it, I grit my teeth, and I went to bed.

There’s a ton to be learned here, so let me digest it all (and work on my MS, of course) and we’ll go through it next week.  Same Bat Time, same Bat Channel – eeeerrr… um… same web-site address, that is.

Awe, forget about it… Tune in next week.