Boerne Book Festival

I will be at the Boerne Book and Arts Festival on Saturday, October 14. If you’re in the area, stop on by for a celebration of the arts.

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An Author’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Advice for Twitter

Here’s some more marketing information you might find helpful.

Nicholas C. Rossis

nnlightToday I have another guest post for you, by another one of my friends, N.N. Light. She is the author of the fantasy book “Princess of the Light.”

She’s not here to speak of her book though. Instead, she has some great tips to share about book marketing, and specifically how to best use Twitter to promote your book.

Aaaand, take it, dear Ms. Light!

Marketing Advice for Twitter

“What is the secret to marketing my book?”

I see this question a lot on Twitter and various blogs I subscribe to.  In this age of self-publishing, the world is filled with authors trying to sell their books.  Everyone wants to know the secret and to increase their sales.  I also am asked this question and as I am just starting out in this great big world of book marketing, I have to rely on my experience as a professional…

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10 Essential Skills for Every Writer

Great article with some sound advice.

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Lucy Benton. Lucy is a writing coach and editor who finds her passion in expressing own thoughts as a blogger, and currently works at Assignment Helper. She is constantly looking for the ways to improve her skills and expertise. If you’re interested in working with Lucy, you can find her on FaceBookand Twitter.

10 Essential Skills for Every Writer

The way you write says a lot about your development as an author. Any person who says that anyone can write a good story does not understand the process of writing as well as its essentials. Of course, many people have great ideas for writing but they cannot produce high-quality work because they lack essential writing skills.

Okay, you may think I’m throwing you for a loop here. However, listen to this: writing is so much more than creating. Experienced authors use a…

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Book Marketing 201

I’m not a marketing expert, but am proud to say that after countless hours learning about the subject, I am now the proud recipient of an Author’s Marketing Certificate.

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I’ve gained marketing advice from some of the best in the business. Through this training, I’ve learned that marketing involves three main things. 1. Creating your brand and promotion. 2. Getting people to want your product. 3. Getting people to buy it. Of all the marketing trainings and workshops I’ve attended, several things seem to be consistent in regards to book marketing, no matter who the trainer is.

  1. People say, “never judge a book by its cover,” but this statement is a lie. People do. Your book cover is the initial selling point for your book. It needs to be professionally designed and needs to attract attention.
  2. Your sales pitch. What is the one sentence that will make people interested in your book? Find it and perfect it.
  3. Book signings and readings. You must make public appearances. Let people see that you are “real.” Set up book signings or readings at bookstores, bazaars, and public libraries. Some venues are more open to this than others, so do some research and shop around. Find the best matches for you.
  4. Attend book festivals. What better way to meet potential readers than at a book festival? Readers go to these events looking for new authors. Make an appearance and get people interested in what you write.
  5. Hand out bookmarks. I’m not talking about excessive, pointless swag here. I’m talking about a useful item that has links to your social media sites or website so potential readers can get in touch with you. There is no point in handing out bookmarks if they don’t have your contact information or social media links printed on them.
  6. Speaking of social media, you must be active on social media. If you haven’t already, create social media accounts. You don’t have to have a profile on every available site, but in this digital age, you need to have a presence online. Personally, I get the most interaction from Twitter, but choosing the right social media platform(s) is a personal preference. If you aren’t comfortable with a particular platform, get trained by someone who knows how to use it.
  7. Videos. I admit, this is one aspect of marketing I need to work on, simply because being in front of a camera gives me anxiety. But research has found that people watch videos when they are online. To get the most from social media, create videos and post them on your profile. This creates interest and will get you more profile views.
  8. Become a member of local writing organizations. Not only do they offer support to you as a writer, you can also learn from experts about the craft of writing and gain information about local events, such as book signings, conferences, and critique groups. You might even make a few friends along the way.
  9. Donations.  Donate your time, money, and books to worthy causes. Offer book giveaways and donate to local libraries, bookstores, or other literacy programs.
  10. Think outside the box. I think this is the advice I’ve heard the most. There are billions of authors out there. If you want to sell books, you have to stand out in the endless sea of authors, blogs, books, and social media sites. What are you doing that is different than what every other author is doing? Don’t be afraid to be unique. The uniqueness is what draws people to you. And once you draw them in, you may create a potential reader.

“The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.”

Author’s Marketing Continued

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This is the second year I’ve attended the Author’s Marketing Event. Last year, it was in Austin. This year, I made a weekend trip out of it and traveled to Houston. The information I received from these conferences are always insightful, and they help me realize that I’m not alone in the book marketing struggle.

By listening to marketing experts, I’ve discovered three things. One, some things regarding marketing I am very good at. Others, I desperately need to work on. Two, effective marketing requires time and effort. It isn’t something that happens idly. Three, marketing isn’t about selling your book. It’s about selling yourself, which for someone like me who is an introvert and uncomfortable with self-promotion, this is more of a challenge than people may realize.

Marketing is probably the hardest thing to do as an author. It entails much more than just selling your book. In fact, pushing your book at people isn’t marketing. It’s annoying. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I find more irritating than logging onto Twitter or Facebook and having my feed filled with authors constantly shoving their book in my face and saying “buy my book.” I will be less likely to buy if I see that all the time. Marketing is not about your book at all, it’s about you, and the key to marketing is making connections.

To market effectively, you must be able to interact with people and get them to become interested in who you are. Only then will you generate interest in your book, which might get people interested in buying it.  But it all starts with your brand, which is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Creating your brand involves many things, most of which require you to think outside the box.

  1. Your book cover(s) represent not only what your story is about, but defines you as an author. You know the old saying, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” But people do. Make the visual aspect something that will attract people’s attention. That’s where your brand begins.
  2. Your author bio should be about YOU, not about your degrees. Everything listed in your profile should be about who you are, including your profile picture. And your profile picture should be consistent across platforms. Share information and put up links so people can find you. Let people know who you are. At no time should you have to justify yourself.
  3. Book signings and readings allow potential readers to get to know you personally and make one-on-one connections with you. Reach out to people and let them know where you’re going to be. Make an appearance at events and personalize your encounters. Take a photograph with anyone who buys your book and post it on social media. This will help make connections and establish relationships.
  4. Attend book festivals and and art fairs and represent yourself well at these events. Create an eye-catching display with layers and interesting items. Make sure the covers of your books are facing outward. Add height and depth to your booth, and dress the part. Get up and talk to people. If you spend the entire event staring at your phone, people will bypass your booth. Mingle, interact. Talk to other authors. We all need to connect with likeminded people, and these events are GREAT for networking.
  5. Bookmarks and other swag you hand out can say a lot about you. Are you the one handing out candy like every other author does, or are you offering something different? I hand out syringe pens with my website on them. Pens are useful and people will use them. Postcards have little value and usually end up in the trash. Bookmarks have value, as they are useful for people, but if you hand out bookmarks make sure your contact/social media information is on printed on them so people know how and where to connect with you.
  6. Social media platforms are designed for communication and engagement, not for constant links to your Amazon author page. Share with people. Post interesting information. Comment on other’s posts and retweet things that are important to your followers (look at their pinned tweets). Relationships are important. Use social media for making friends. Contribute to conversations and give to others. Join groups and use hashtags. There are a ton of valuable hashtags for writers. I could spend an entire blog post just on this topic. The point is, let people know you are human. Get yourself out there and give back to people. It helps build your platform and gets your name out there. Marketing experts recommended that you NOT automate your social media platforms. If you do, you become too impersonal and people see you as a robot, not someone they can relate to. Be reachable. Making people verify themselves in order to follow you makes you unreachable to potential readers. Most won’t bother to go through the process. I know I don’t.
  7. Videos and photos. Practice your sales pitch until you perfect it, then record it on your phone or tablet and put it on your website or social media page(s). Create book trailers, or simply post videos of you living your life–trips to the beach, videos of events you attend, or pictures of your dog. Look for news shows or radio shows that promote authors. Make your site and social media pages visual.
  8. Get involved in writing organizations, local or otherwise. These groups are valuable in many ways. They can help you improve your writing, connect you with other writers, and members of these groups promote and support each other. Check your local Writer’s Guild, local chapter of RWA, or any other local writing groups. There are also writing groups on Facebook (although some are better than others) and Twitter that you can contribute to. This allows you to connect with other writers. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
  9. Donations. Work on public relations by donating your books and your time to worthy causes. Offer to guest blog, offer giveaways, speak during school Career Days or other events. I donate books to US troops in remote areas and give to local libraries. I also have a Pinterest page for indie authors, where I offer free promotion. I also retweet other authors on Twitter. It benefits people and exposes readers to authors they might not have otherwise heard of. Offer freebies, donate books, and do things for free, simply because you enjoy doing them.
  10. Writing books sells books.  Don’t neglect writing. The more books you have to sell, the more you will sell. Create variety so potential readers have choices. Afterall, if you don’t have books, you wouldn’t be marketing in the first place.

In short, don’t follow the same pattern everyone else does. Go against what is socially conditioned. Write YOUR book YOUR way, and be who you are are. Your brand = YOU, and that’s what people are “buying.”

Author’s Marketing

After a long drive dodging through Friday evening traffic, I made it to Houston for the Author’s Marketing Conference. I spent my day learning about various ways to market my books and myself as an author, including setting up mailing lists, gaining e-mail followers, perfecting Soundbites, and how to effectively use Twitter.

Through these seminars, I will become certified in Author Marketing.

To top off the event, this evening, all of the 2017 Award Winning authors, myself included, will be recognized during dinner.

The event continues tomorrow morning with more marketing seminars before I head home. I’ll later post what I learned from this conference, in hopes that the wealth of knowledge I gain might help some of my fellow writers.

To be continued…

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

Authors: please take note of this. There are Amazon scammers out there hurting hard-working authors like you.

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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