Of Writers and Prose: Promoting Yourself, Not Your Work.

[DISCLAIMER] First of all, I’m not an expert at this and I’ve never claimed to be. This is just my perspective and how I view the publishing industry.

Quill-InkI read a blog post a few months back claiming that Twitter was no longer a viable option for authors to promote their book. You can read the article here.

http://www.justpublishingadvice.com/poor-twitter-growth-is-bad-news-for-self-published-authors/

 

No shit. It never was.

What struck me about this article is that it equates statistics for Twitter with readership and author visibility, and while no new growth may be bad for Twitter, that doesn’t mean it’s bad for authors. I understand what the article is saying, but to compare Twitter with writers is LITERALLY comparing apples to oranges. As a writer, I know my books aren’t for everyone and depending on the genre, writers will have a limited audience. If you look at Book Bub’s genre listing, you’ll see that mysteries top the chart compared to YA, which agents are constantly looking for.

EXISTING accounts/readers are the ones that authors need to focus on. EXISTING readers tell other readers about your book; WORD OF MOUTH. Companies are notorious for offering sign up deals and discounts to NEW customers instead of rewarding their ESTABLISHED customer base. Imagine there were no freebies or low-priced books. What do you think would happen if an author offered a discounted price to ONLY NEW READERS? While you must look at your books as a business; this is where the business model for companies and the business model for readers MUST branch away. The approach cannot be the same.

So what’s an author to do?

Yes, we need new readers, and we find them by connecting with them via social media, but here is where I see a lot of writers going off the rail; they don’t connect with their readers, they talk AT them, instead of TO them. A while back I helped a writer from my writing group try and understand social media. He has a book coming out and his publisher is all over him about getting ‘out there’. Over the course of an hour or so, I explained how you can use social media to HELP sell your books; because that’s what it is – a TOOL (I’m pretty sure I wrote a blog post on social media tools, but I can’t find it).

Authors must keep one thing in mind when promoting themselves and using social media; it’s about being social. There’s nothing wrong with promoting your work, but like the linked article states; Twitter is no longer a viable option for authors to promote their book.

And it never was.

Of Writers and Prose: To the market with your book. It’s Easy and Cheap. Trust me.

Quill-Ink[DISCLAIMER] I’m not an expert at this and I never claim to be. This is just my perspective and how I view the publishing industry.

Last month I wrote a rather long post on, well it was supposed to be on selling your book and the whole thing kinda got away on me. I’ll try to be more on topic this month. You can read the post HERE.

Marketing your book is easy.

It is, really.

Seriously, I’m not messing with you.

If you have your book on Amazon or Smashwords or one of the other ebook or POD sites, then you have a purchase page generated for your work. Guess what. That is known as the ‘MARKET’; the place where readers go to buy your work. If you want to ‘market’ your work, then you put it where it can be purchased.

It’s. That. Easy.

As I said in my last post, MARKETING and PROMOTING have become synonymous with each other when they are clearly two separate entities, and that’s where the confusion and frustration set it. Writers who say they don’t know how to market their book are really saying they don’t know how to promote it, and that’s another post altogether, but first we need to understand the difference.

Markets include brink and mortar bookstores and online retailers; it about how you get it into the reader’s hands and where the public can access it. Some writers like to keep it simple and have it on just one outlet. Others, like myself, have their book in as many places as possible. I believe the more places my book is found, the bigger my market, and with each new market I’m increasing my ‘potential’ audience. Some people call it ‘target’ audience or ‘target’ readers. I prefer to call them ‘potential readers’. Using the word ‘target’ denotes competition and despite what it looks like, authors are not in competition with each other. I’m not a target and I don’t like to be labelled as such. I doubt anyone else does either.

The biggest mistake I see with writers is not having any book links visible on their website. More than once I’ve clicked on a writer’s blog or website and all I see are paragraph after paragraph about their books, but nothing showing me where to purchase. If you have more than one book, you NEED to have them all on one page so a potential reader can view them all. Don’t put a link to one book on your Twitter account. Not even if it’s a free one. Make it as easy as possible for them to find ALL your work. Like this:

http://darkeconteur.weebly.com/books.html

All my books. All the markets. Period.

When you’ve piqued a reader’s interest, they’ll click your link and the first thing they see should be your books. I know Instagram won’t let me post the book page link, but I can post the web page link. Go figure. Make sure all the links work too. As savvy as we all like to think we are, mistakes can and do happen. Do this with all your social media sites. If you are solely on Amazon, make sure you have the links to all Amazon sites. The four main English ones are .com, .ca, .uk, and .au. If you do good sales on the other markets, say Germany (Amazon.de) include them also, and again don’t link to just one book. You should have an author page for each Amazon site with your books neatly along the top or down the length of the page. USE THIS LINK.

Remember, you’re trying to make this as easy as possible for potential readers. If a reader has to click more than twice to find a market with your work, he may abandon the whole idea altogether.

Of Writers and Prose: How the ever-loving $#%^& do I sell my book?

Quill-InkFirst of all, I’m not an expert at this and I’ve never claimed to be. This is just my perspective and how I view the publishing industry.

A writing friend of mine wrote this blog post last month. I’ll give you all time to read it. It’s a very interesting read as it shows the frustration that every author, especially new ones, are experiencing with publishing right now.

https://loveslastrefuge.com/2017/01/06/i-am-the-poster-child-for-failed-branding/

I’ve known Nya/Diane for several years and I feel her pain. The genre she writes has taken a really big hit over the last several years with indie publishing houses closing and pirating. It’s frustrating to see all that time and effort you put into a book go down the drain, and to be honest, it’s made me leery of any publishing venture outside of doing it myself.

The biggest concern is that with all the new writers publishing books, the digital landscape has become congested. Clogged even. What’s a new author to do? Hell, what’s a mid-list author to do? I have six books out and I barely make enough to buy one of those expensive coffees you have to order in a different language, but that’s my fault. In the last year I’ve done next to no promotion of my work. I’ve been too busy with school and Job That Pays to give any attention to my writing career. It isn’t that I don’t know how to market myself, or that I feel it’s hopeless; I just haven’t put any time in to doing it.

Some marketing terms that are bantered around the industry leave a bad taste in my mouth. For instance the phrase ‘target audience’. I hear this A LOT, but to me a reader isn’t a target. They’re not to be hunted down and pummelled with links to Amazon sites. Readers deserves our respect, and we need to treat them that way. Instead of throwing book links at them, why not connect with them through hobbies or other interest. Many new writers only connect with other writers, and while that’s good for learning the ropes, it’s the connections outside of the writing bubble that we need to make.

Whatever way you plan to publish, make no mistake, it’s a business and must be treated as such but promoting yourself and your work isn’t, and it shouldn’t be viewed that way. Promotion is about you; making a connection with people. There is a difference between promoting your work, and marketing it.

Marketing: noun

  1. the act of buying or selling in a market.
  2. the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the        producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising,    shipping,storing, and selling.

Vs.

Promoting: verb (used with object), promoted, promoting.

to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further:

            to promote world peace.

2. to advance in rank, dignity, position, etc.  Education.to  put ahead to the next higher stage or grade of a course or series of classes.

4. to aid in organizing (business undertakings).

5. to encourage the sales, acceptance, etc., of (a product), especially through advertising or other publicity.

 

I put these two definitions up to show you the difference. It’s very subtle, but it’s there. Think of it this way, MARKETING is your Amazon or blog page with your books; the site where readers can PURCHASE your work. PROMOTION is the act of bringing readers to those sites. With the rise of digital publishing, these two terms have blurred. Yes, they are connected to each other and they may seem like they’re the same but MARKETING is not PROMOTING, and PROMOTING is not MARKETING.

I think this is going to require more blog posts.

Of Writers and Prose: New Year Challenge

Quill-InkHAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wow, wasn’t 2016 a real bitch? Not sorry to see that year pass.

I was quite the slacker in 2016.  My blog posts were low due to work and school; May was my best month, but I’m hoping to change that this year especially since I found that Office has a calendar template. I did not know this. Now I can schedule out my posts and what I’ll blog about. I’ve got enough topics to bring something new every other day, from Monday to Friday. Also, work will be slowing down so I’ll have more time to write and blog.

Here’s a peak at what topics I hope to blog about:

Mondays: Of Writers and Prose –writing and writing related topics.

Tuesdays: A Wiccan Journey – topics related to my Pagan and Wiccan studies

The Other Realms – topics related to supernatural, paranormal and the like.

Wednesdays: From the Garden – seasonal posts about the garden and/home-made                                            recipes.

Adventures in Restaurants – there are so many restaurants in Kingston and I                             want to visit them all

Thursdays: A Dark Kind of Beauty – give me eye shadow palettes or give me death!

50 Shades of Red Nail Polish/Nail Art – you’ve already seen some of this. I plan                         on doing more!

Fridays: Writing Update

Movie Night

 

This is the base of what I want to blog about. It works out to be around eleven or twelve posts per month. That’s not too bad. I have a pile more other topics including hobbies and the CatPack, but they can be occasional.

This is my 2017 challenge!

Of Writers and Prose: ‘Tis the Season for Holiday Books and Movies!

I love this time of year. I’m not a Christian but you don’t need to be to love the feeling that comes with the season. Working in retail, it’s easy to become disenchanted with the whole holiday buy-this-or-your-Christmas-will-be-ruined mentality of commercialism, but I don’t let it get to me. One way of doing that is watching the holiday movies that come out.

This year I’m going to try something different. I have A Christmas Carol on my tablet and I’m going to read it. Of course I’ll watch the movie as well (the 1951 version, of course), along with It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and if I’m lucky, I’ll find One Magic Christmas on television.

Oh, I have to share this with you. I heard it last year and it’s so awesome! This has gone into my holiday song rotation.

 

Of Writers and Prose: Visual Writer? Try Writing a Script!

Quill-InkSome of you may know that I write scripts. Haven’t sold any yet, but I did enter a contest in the summer for my short script BLESS YOU (there’s a reason we say it after we sneeze).

I’m a visual writer; I picture a scene in my mind before I write it down. Seeing how things unfold first takes up a lot of time but it allows me to understand what’s happening a lot better and find things that I might have missed and could use to foreshadow. This could be the reason it takes me so long to write anything, but it’s trained me to look beyond what’s happening and delve deep into the plot before I’ve written one word. It’s also why script writing is such a perfect medium for me.

There are a few ‘rules’ one must follow for script writing;

  1. As much white space as possible. You only write what the moviegoer will see and hear on the screen. No long prose describing scenes or internal monologues, literally what you see is what you get. The majority of the story must be carried with dialogue. It sounds easy, but once you realize how difficult a story can be told with just dialogue, it can become a challenge.

 

  1. There are ‘set’ pages limits for scripts. Unlike novels where a new writer can write a long manuscript and get it published, if you’re writing a pilot for a television show it has to be between forty-five to fifty pages (one page for every minute), and ninety to one-hundred and twenty pages for a feature film. The length of a short film can vary and short script contests will accept anything from one page to twenty.

 

Just like novels, you need interesting characters with their own voice and an interesting story. I like it because it teaches me to focus on the scene that I’m writing and I use that skill on my novels. What’s happening? Where is it? Who’s involved? What are they doing? How are they doing it? It sounds easy, but if only have a few sentences to describe action and character, it isn’t. Add in a realistic dialogue and it’s a real challenge. More than once I’ve found myself wandering around the house talking to myself making sure what the characters are saying sounds right.

I think all writers should try it, at least once. It’s a great learning curve. Have you ever written a script? Did you like it?

Of Writers and Prose: So I’m tanking at NaNo this year . . .

Ugh.

I knew this would happen.

This is the reason I haven’t participated in NaNo for the last eight years. I start off with the best intentions (don’t we all) but somewhere between the second and third week it all falls apart. I participated and won back in 2009 (that book – The Saints of Belvedere Road, is now for sale) but after that I got caught up in my series and didn’t want to start anything new. I wanted to get the other books in the series out so I focused on editing them during the month of November instead. Then came school and my job. Yup, no time there but this year I finished my course just before the start and I had this AWESOME magical realism story that begged to be told. I thought, yeah, I can do it this year!

As of this date (Friday, November 18) I am 10,548 words behind.

The US elections knocked the hell out of my ambition.  I just lost all enthusiasm to write for a few days. Then work called, and yada-yada-yada . . .

I’m making excuses. I know I am. I’m doing what any other person would do when they don’t feel like doing something, and to be honest there are days when I don’t feel like writing. I probably won’t make the 30k by the end of the month, and I’m okay with that. I’ll keep writing because in the end, I do really like this story and just want to get it out so I can work on something else.

Like my zombie/plague novels.

Or my vengeful ghost story.

nano2016

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