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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Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Good self-editing tips.

A Writer's Path

 

by Emily Nemchick

Whilst there is no substitute for hiring a professional editor, self-editing is an important skill for any writer to hone. For one thing, the more passes a manuscript gets, the fewer errors will remain in the final product. If you are using an editor, be sure to self-edit thoroughly first so they can focus on the things you have missed. If you are not using an editor, then self-editing is doubly essential. Here are a few tips to make sure you catch as many errors as possible.

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Character Archetypes – How to Create Dynamic Characters

With the current chaos going on in my life right now (new job in a new grade level in a new school, getting a new AC unit installed in my house, going solar powered, working on new WIP, etc…), I haven’t written a new post in a while.  My brain has been going 100 miles an hour lately, and I haven’t been able to put anything comprehensive down on paper in weeks. Let’s see if we can fix that today.

Although I’m not a traditional romance writer, about a year ago, I became a member of my local chapter of RWA. This fabulous group of people consists of all walks of life, and not all members are romance writers, myself included. Men and women, both published and non-published, make up this group: Indie authors, traditionally published authors, screenwriters, teachers, students, former attorneys and active military members, technology gurus, mothers, fathers, real-estate agents, and even a woman who writes for Harlequin and had one of her books turned into a movie. Needless to say, the writing expertise within this group is pretty well-rounded.

I originally joined this group for the insights they offer about the craft of writing. Regardless of genre, the information obtained from the many seminars I’ve attended through this group have helped me become a better writer.

The last seminar I attended focused on archetypes. For those of you who don’t know what that is, an archetype is a pattern of behavior that is universally present in characters in classic storytelling. It can be better summarized as the universal personality traits of a character. These personality traits are pretty standard, regardless of whether it is a character in a movie, book, or play or a person in real life.  As I review each one, you’ll probably get images in your head of people you know or literary/ movie characters you’ve seen or read about who portray these characteristics.  Let’s get started, shall we?

There are female archetypes and male archetypes, some of which are interchangeable. Every archetype has positive and negative personality traits, but the best characters do not fall under one specific archetype. They are made up of a combination of these traits.

I’ll go over the female archetypes first.  There are 8 main ones.

  1. The Boss. This girl is a real go-getter. She climbs the ladder of success. Queen Elizabeth is a good example.
  2. The Seductress. She’s an enchantress. She charms those around her to get her way. Scarlett O’Hara is a classic seductress.
  3. The Spunky Kid. This is a woman who is gutsy and true. She’s a loyal friend to the end. Pretty much every character Meg Ryan has ever played can be classified as a spunky kid.
  4. The Free Spirit. This is a person who is an eternal optimist. She dances to her own tune. Phoebe from the TV show Friends nails this archetype.
  5. The Waif. She is the damsel in distress. Sleeping Beauty, Bella from Twilight, and Audrey Hepburn to name a few.
  6. The Librarian. She is controlled and clever. She doesn’t have to be a bookwork or a scholar though. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast are librarians.
  7. The Crusader. She is a dedicated fighter. She has a cause and fights for the greater good. Katniss from the Hunger Games and Wonder Woman are crusaders. Go girls!
  8. The Nurturer. She is serene and capable. These are people who nurture the spirit of others (can be animals and plants too).  One person comes to mind with this one: Julie Andrews. She played a nurturer in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

Let’s move on to the male archetypes now.  Again, there are 8 main ones, and you’ll find that some are similar to their female counterparts.

  1. The Chief. He is a dynamic leader and wants to be in charge. He is goal oriented and has time for nothing but work.  Michael Douglas in Wall Street or Captain Picard from Star Trek exemplify this archetype.
  2. The Bad Boy. He’s dangerous to know simply because he walks on the wild side. Danny in Grease or Prince Harry would be considered bad boys.
  3. The Best Friend. He’s sweet and safe and never lets anyone down. Patrick Dempsey in Enchanted and any Tom Hanks character.
  4. The Lost Soul. This man is a tormented being.  He’s a recluse and lives in solitude. The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and Wolverine are lost souls.
  5. The Charmer. He’s a smooth talker. The fairy tale Prince Charming. George Clooney plays these characters. Jack from Titanic was also a charmer.
  6. The Professor. This guy knows all the answers. The Professor from Gilligan’s Island, Frasier, and Sherlock Holmes are considered professors.
  7. The Swashbuckler. This is Mister Excitement. He’s an adventurer and often breaks the rules. Indiana Jones and Han Solo are swashbucklers. (Hmmm, Harrison Ford seems to play these characters a lot). Maverick from Top Gun is also a swashbuckler. I would say Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean is too.
  8. The Warrior. He is a noble fighter who acts with valor. Superman and To Kill a Mockingbird‘s Atticus Finch are warriors.

You’ll notice that some of the female/ male archetypes are similar. And there are some male characters who fit into the female archetypes and vice versa, like nurturer. Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Mrs. Doubtfire, played by Robin Williams, are both nurturers although they are male characters.  The best characters are dynamic and complex. They don’t fit into one generic mold. They are a combination of one or more of these archetypes, just like each one of us is.

This is a guideline only. Not every character you write will fit perfectly into a specific archetype, but neither do we. As writers, we are observers of life. Use the people around you as inspiration.

New Bloggers, Blogging and Life

Something to consider. Are you a tally collector or do you stop to really absorb what people are saying? “[It] isn’t about touching your toes, it’s about what happens on the way down”

Find Your Middle Ground

blogging and life

I have noticed an interesting phenomenon recently with new bloggers. Perhaps, if you are reading this, then you may have noticed as well. There are flurries of Likes one after an other and then a Follow.

I doubt this new generation has superhuman ability to read so quickly… and it makes me wonder if they are actually reading what is posted, or are simply wanting reciprocation, with multiple likes and a follow. Is the goal to accumulate lots of Likes and Followers, regardless of connection with other bloggers?

It makes me think of my adolescence where there was much self doubt and a craving for validation. If I do this for you, you’ll do this for me. If I like you, you must like me. This, of course, is encouraged in all Social Media.

Perhaps this keeps many people in a state of wondering what others think, and being seen…

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