At day time, I see clouds,
they spell rain.
I do not always see them.
Rain catches me unaware.
By David Alexian
At day time, I see clouds,
they spell rain.
I do not always see them.
Rain catches me unaware.
By David Alexian
It’s always surprising to me when writers seem to think it’s a) **just** about the writing or b) even that writers SHOULDN’T market their books. Look, I’m a writer too and I’ve got to say writing my novels makes me happiest and if I could magically release them into the wild and people would buy them by the tonload and make me rich? I’d be ecstatic! But we all know that can’t happen without a little work. And the good news is, for authors it’s easier than ever before, thanks to the web. But the bad news is, it’s even easier to totally SCREW THIS UP.
With the above in mind then, I’ve written a fair amount about standing out online with reference to pitching one’s loglines and screenplays and even crowdfunding, but relatively little on how to grab potential readers’ interests in your book on social media, so here’s a few thoughts on various conversations I’ve been having with authors recently:
The obvious, first. Your book or series needs its own web presence, as well as *just* social media accounts. It doesn’t matter how you do it – Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Weebly, pages off your existing site, WHATEVER – but do it. I decided to go for Tumblr, since I already have this website, plus my target audience for The Decision Book Series is teenagers, who generally hang out on Tumblr a lot when they’re not on Facebook, Ask.FM, etc. You can find The Decision Book Series on Tumblr HERE.
As you’ll see, The Decision Tumblr is in its infancy and is mostly photographs and quotes, because based on my market research, I’ve discovered this is what teenagers like and share. The Decision is on the same same dashboard as The Bang2write Tumblr, plus both blogs are plugged into Twitter and Facebook.
So, whatever you decide to do with your book’s blog, make sure it offers something FOR your target audience – you can find out where they hang out thanks to the multiple sites online dedicated to social media trends, like @mashable. Also, make sure it is plugged into multiple social media channels, so you can ensure people can find it. MORE:10 Reasons Your Blog Sucks
Another no-brainer. A Twitter account dedicated to your book is another MUST – yes, in addition to your own. What’s more, your book’s Twitter account needs to offer “added value” … In other words, don’t just have the SAME content there as your own. Make sure there’s a REASON people can follow the book’s Twitter and get something “more” from it, as well as yours. Crossover and mutual RTing is fine, but make sure the book’s Twitter has its own identity. Mine is Lizzie, my protagonist from the first Decision book and you can follow her HERE.
Your own Facebook page. A Facebook page is important, but thanks to the recent “Reachapocalypse”, possibly NOT as vital as it once was. (Don’t know what that is?? Find out!!) Facebook pages are still great though for things like photos and links though and the new layout is great, so do make sure your book has one, just don’t obsess over it.
Other Facebook pages. Whether you find other FB pages worthwhile arguably depends on your target audience. In my case, teenagers apparently spend a lot of time on Facebook pages, so it is. I’ve “Liked” all the pages dedicated to teens in some way, as well as all the charities and organisations that help teenagers. I post on the walls if allowed from time to time if permitted and also comment on threads wherever possible (not necessarily always about The Decision Books, it helps to be as genuine as possible).
Facebook groups. There’s LOTS of indie author groups on Facebook and it’s worth joining them all to get a feel for which ones are the most useful. A lot of them have very little interaction, with authors simply linking their free or discounted books, over and over; but others have moderate to very high interaction/engagement levels. Search words like “Kindle”, “readers”, “authors” etc to find some.
Google+ is apparently the “new Facebook”.B2W has been on Google+ for years and I never really “got it” … I basically just clicked the G+ sharing button at the bottom of my blog posts and forgot about it. I didn’t realise that Google+ had the same capabilities as FB until recently and it seems no one else did either, ‘cos suddenly it’s exploded over there. I’m still getting to grips with it to be honest, but I predict it will become VERY useful to indie authors, especially considering its far superior “community search” function to Facebook’s. MORE:Making Relationships Online, plus 5 Reasons Social Media Will Always Sell More Books
DYK? As an author you can claim your own Author page – HERE’S MINE. No it’s not the same as your profile page (which btw the disappears when you’re an official “Goodreads Author”). I didn’t realise this for bloody ages, but hey ho – I make the mistakes so you don’t have to! One of the best things about GoodReads is you can add your book to lists, plus it has a blog function of its own. Plus the librarians over there are fantastic: I had a problem because I ended up with two different pages (for fiction and non fiction) because it thought I was two different people. The librarians merged the pages and all my books were on the same profile within 48 hours. So DO IT. MORE:Connecting Online, plus 5 Ways Writers Kill Their Credibility Online
It comes down to this: working on your own is for chumps. Find allies wherever you can, especially other authors, but also readers and fans. In addition, if you can partner with organisations, groups, clubs or whatever that can get behind your book? EVEN BETTER. I partnered with prochoice organisation @EdForChoice for a Twitter chat recently, for example: READ IT HERE. MORE:9 Ways To Create A Following Online
I’ve seen some authors online saying that writers “shouldn’t” pay for advertising, but fact is, all publicity is good publicity, ultimately. And you won’t find bestsellers leaving it to chance and those book posters etc you see at train stations and banners online all cost MONEY. But most writers don’t have that much money, so where should we go to get the best return on our dosh?
Facebook now offers comprehensive advertising packages to increase “Likes” on your page, or “boost” your Reach on the site, starting as little as £1. I experimented with this and predictably, the more you spend, the more eyes your post gets in front of. What I really liked about it however was the fact you can tailor make your own ads AND focus them in on your target audience. For example, I paid about £35 recently and managed an extra 180 “Likes” for The Decision Book Series, all within my target audience of females within the 14-20 years old age range, who’d liked movies like “Juno”; were interested in prochoice matters; AND liked YA literature featuring female protagonists. Not too shabby!
FYI, indie authors in particular: with a new venture like indie publishing, there are lots of places online now offering various showcase services to indie authors now. They seem to vary in quality and reach, not only in how they look themselves (always check their websites out, not to mention how many followers they have and whether they’re multi platform) but also the types of books they help advertise. Some are completely indiscriminate and will showcase anything; others insist on a certain level of quality. Like anything, due diligence is required.
When your book has been out a while, you will start getting reviews, reactions on Twitter, Good Reads etc. Good reviews are always useful to indie authors, so thank the people who took their time to write them wherever possible and use THEIR words, not *always* yours, to help advertise your book. Also, NEVER ignore anyone who engages with you in a personable manner. If someone trolls you, makes accusations etc then ignore/block them! Or, if you can’t resist like me, turn it round on them (but never for an extended period, some of these idiots can literally go on for DAYS!). MORE:Making Connections & Building Relationships Online
Don’t spam, especially on Twitter, but basically anywhere. This is what I mean by spamming:
– @ing individuals far and wide, with the same tweet, copied and pasted, ESPECIALLY when you’ve never talked to them before. Same goes for posting on individuals’ walls, emailing them, PMing them, DMing them with appeals for “Likes” for pages, etc.
– tagging photos and other content on places like Facebook randomly without prior agreement and/or no thought whether someone will like your content or not and/or doing it EVERY SINGLE TIME you post something
– Indiscriminately sharing the same thing, multiple times, in groups over and over, especially in close proximity time-wise, especially without “added value” (though not always)
DO NOTE: Cross posting is NOT spamming. Cross posting to groups at considered intervals that adhere to the groups’ rules is fine and helps spread your message. You will find some platform users who are members of many, many groups may complain they see your message “too much”, but you cannot control how many groups that individual is part of. However, to avoid this (and as my own “best practice”) I use a scheduler like Hootsuite to stagger postings so I never post in more than 2-5 groups at any one time, which works very well. MORE:How **Not** To Do Social Media
Repetition is fine, as long as you don’t repeat yourself constantly. Vary the times you send your links. What’s more, People tend not to engage with those they feel are ONLY trying to hock something. So, even though you may be sending the same link, make sure the words accompanying them are different and present “added value”, meaning more click on them. MORE:8 Rules Of Social Media You Need To Know Right Now, plus A Twit’s Guide To Twitter
I often see writers touting their books online (especially in Facebook groups) and even though I know the writer and may even have read the book, I don’t see **what** it is! Instead, the writer will say simply “Check out my books”; or say something about how hard it was writing it; or that we indie authors have to stick together; or they might offer a quote that probably refers to the book in some way, but those who haven’t read it will have no clue why.
When you are talking about your books online, you can do it however you want but make sure those unfamiliar with it KNOW:
i) what the title is
ii) what it’s about
iii) what genre /age range it is (as applicable)
iv) where we can buy it
Good online promotion is NOT about firing a gazillion tweets, posts etc into cyberspace and hoping for the best. As well as watching out for how many RTs, Shares, favourites and so on you get (as well as replies), as well as your online “reach”, you can measure the “click through” rate of how many people actually went to the pages about your books. I do this a number of ways, using Hootsuite’s dashboard, but also SumAll, Unfollowers.com AND the other various free tools available like Facebook Insights, Statcounter, Tweriod and ManageFlitter. This enables me to see where I’m going RIGHT – ie. which posts and tweets are shared or clicked on the most – which I can then build into my promotion techniques. For instance, I had already realised that my posts get shared most at 8:15am and 5:30pm weekdays, but I had NOT realised I also get a spike at 1:15pm, 2pm AND 11pm. In addition, weekends my most shared posts are again 2pm and 11pm but also 10:30am, 4pm and 9:30pm. Various tools told me all these things, but it will be different for everyone and these things will change too, dependant on your popularity and/or what you write about, so make sure you use tools to help you. Also, read about social media – it has trends and best practices, like anything else. And needless to say: if you don’t get results on one approach? STOP DOING IT and try something else!
Do you have any other online promotion tips – positive or negative? Then please share in the comments section.
Like this post? Then please check out my books, HERE and share on your social media profiles. Happy writing!
I have started working on my September novella. So far, I have just about 2, 000 words, and I am really sleepy now.
This one will be about a young professor coming back to his island in the Caribbean and becoming a bit emotional by the challenges around him. He will start falling in love with a girl, but for a time their relationship will seem a bit strange, as the two of them are introverts. So far the first few paragraphs started where it is night and stormy weather.
Oh yes and the young professor has a cat called Bella.
When writing a novel, a good pitch is worth its weight in gold. Not only is it a good document to grab the interest of agents and publishers, it can help if you are self publishing too as it helps you stay “on track”.
I had tried writing novels before, but always ran out of steam. Previously I had written only loose outlines, so when approaching LIZZIE’S STORY I decided to write a detailed pitch. I actually spent as long on the pitch as writing the manuscript (nearly four months!), but I didn’t regret it. Here’s how I did mine:
1. Working Title. My title was picked by my agent, Julian Friedmann as BUT WHAT NEXT? This came from the manuscript itself. When they bought it, the publisher Rowohlt retitled it, GUT DECISION, which I love. (FYI – The series is now called THE DECISION in the English Language).
2. Genre. THE DECISION is a Young Adult (YA) novel series, aimed at females aged 14-20 years. Yes, be this specific. Agents and Editors hate it when writers say “suitable for all”!
3. Length. YA is typically in the region of 50-75,000 words, so I put this here. The novel came in at just over 62,000 words. Make sure you know what has “gone before” in the genre you’re writing in, don’t just pick a number out of thin air!
4. Target Audience (short paragraph, 100 words max): I wrote a short paragraph here in more detail about those 14-20 year old females. I wrote about what types of book, plus TV shows and movies they would like (thus cementing *why* they would like my novel).
5. Pitch (25-50 words): Here I put a logline-style summary of the story as a whole, along with a “What if …?” question, which was: “What if you could play out everything that *could* happen next in your life?”
6. Statement of Intent (1 page max). Think of this as the reason why you’re writing – like my last post. Remember: if you don’t believe in the message behind your writing, the readers won’t either. So work out what it is and why you’re writing this book.
7. Synopsis (half a page maximum). Here is where you write the premise behind your book and iron out any potential issues with the “story world” in advance. In Lizzie’s case, Lizzie is presented with ALL the possible scenarios of how her decision (“have the baby/don’t have the baby”) could play out, one per chapter.
Pages Four – Seven:
8. Extended Pitch (2-3 pages). Here I gave a summary of each chapter: what happens; who’s in it; how it ends. There are five “main” chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue in the book. This provides the “framework” for your novel, if you like.
9. Character biographies. I gave the protagonist, Lizzie, the top of the page – then listed her “significant others”: what they were like, who they were to Lizzie and how they figured in the story. Lizzie is 17, so her Mum and Dad, sisters, best friend and boyfriend are all in there. That’s about ten “main” characters, so I took up two pages for this, but you can take less if you have fewer in your novel. Don’t go on for longer than two pages and don’t note peripheral characters, only those that are really important.
10. SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for “Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats” and is often used in business to assess various projects and ventures. Here is a free handout as a Word document. SWOT is a useful tool to look at the development of your novel as well as “selling it off the page” to agents and publishers. For example, one of the Strengths of GUT DECISION was its female bias and the fact that unlike many contemporary YA novels it does not deal with the supernatural or an abusive relationship at its heart; a Weakness could also be its female bias! The fact I have such a large following online is an Opportunity in terms of marketing and so on.
Concluding, a good pitch can not only save you a lot of heartache in writing your novel, it could help you sell your book to agents and publishers. So don’t skimp on your preparation!
The original article:http://www.bang2write.com/2013/02/writing-gut-decision-2-the-pitch.html
Pebble by pebble;
Stone by stone,
this fortress was built up
by the hands of our own.
Now destined to fall
from the distress of cracks,
yet despite its weakening,
we continue to wrack.
We destroyed this once sovereign being
and have transformed it into an idea
we will never be reaching.
Not with our minds
wrapped in the wicked ways of this world.
Not until we learn
what a life is actually for.
Shots are fired
like the beat of a drum
with each thump,
another one comes along.
Raiding and ravaging
each other for their worth
ends only when one
becomes part of the earth.
Corruption and lies
lie deep within our lives
seeping into the core
of our values and guidelines.
We are no longer ashamed
and willingly take the blame
as long as the world
will one day know our name.
This is also posted on…
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I am starting work on a novella today (I am thinking about 17 000 words or so). I have already done the plotting, but as we know, developments will happen alone the way that I never saw coming. I have no idea why my characters do such things at the very last minute.
Estimated time frame for completion, is about three weeks. I will let you know how I am doing along the way.
This novella will be about a young psychology professor, using writing as a means to solace. I write from a Caribbean background, and so, this will influence the general atmosphere of the book.
GREAT tips from Matt on how TO use blogging to your advantage as a writer … Enjoy!
Right around the time I started 6th grade, I had chosen my career. I started out like most kids wanting to be: a firefighter, an astronaut, and maybe even a chef in my spare time. But when I reached that middle-of-the-road in my education, everything sort of fell into place …
… I wanted to be a writer!
It hit me like a ton of bricks, and suddenly all of those other career paths melted away. Of course, we all know that being a successful writer is easier said than done, but today I’m here to show you some ways that you can use a blog to find success in your writing career.
First thing’s first: you need to know how to start and create your blog, but once you have that in place, a whole world of new opportunities open up for you. Suddenly your blog becomes a tool that can be used in a variety of ways:
If you’re hungry for more details, I’ve got them right here, so keep on reading!
Your Blog is a Giant Billboard with Your Face on It. Use That Potential to Market Yourself, and your Writing!
Your book, poem, and even your screenplay are all one in a sea of millions. Standing out and spreading the word would normally require you to spend a ton of money on marketing, but with a blog, you have the perfect tool to market your work.
Whether it’s posting pieces of what you’re working on, or promoting your latest book via social media, your blog is the platform where it can, and should happen. Always remember though, when working online it’s crucial that you back up your screenplay or novel, just in case. One glitch and you could lose a whole lot.
In his column on Writer’s Digest, Michael Larsen referred to a holy trinity of content as such:
Your blog empowers you to do all of those things and spread the word that you’re the new writer in town. MORE:10 Reasons Your Blog Sucks
The Only Way to Get Better at Writing is to write. Blogging is a Perfect Excuse to Practice and Sharpen Your Proverbial Pen!
Blogs live and die by what is written on them. Besides using yours as a means of promotion, you can also use it as the whetstone for your writing blade. Set up a schedule and post several times a week when you’re not working on your own stories. These posts will give you the chance to put your thoughts down on paper, and they will keep your skills sharp.
Your blog is also the perfect place to find that “writer’s voice” that everyone has. Practicing your skills via blog posts allows you to experiment with different tones and types of writing in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise have time for. Not to mention, the feedback you’ll get from comments and followers will be invaluable in finding your voice and style. MORE:5 Ways Tweeting Will Make You A Better Writer
The Internet Connects You to Countless People. Reach out to Other Writers and Bloggers to Build a Network of Influential People.
Blogging connects you to an entire world of people who are in the same pursuit as you. Bloggers are unique in that they work together and network to find mutual success. Whether it’s cross-promoting a post, or sharing some industry advice, we’re good people. Reaching out to other bloggers builds your network, which can lead to some very important introductions.
Let’s say you connect with a blogger, who then puts you in touch with an agent he knows. The agent comes and checks out your blog, they love your stuff and suddenly you have a publishing deal! It sounds too good to be true, but as they say, it’s all about who you know. A blog puts your writing on the map and gives you the chance to build your network like nothing else can. MORE: Connecting With Writers, Filmmakers & Agents Online
Before you know it, you’ll be a Master of Blogging Skills, SEO, and More! Those are Valuable Talents that are Always in Demand!
Success very rarely comes overnight. It’s a long and arduous journey down this road, and while you’re getting things up and running, you’re going to need a source of income. Well, you’ll be happy to know that this doesn’t mean working part-time at a dead end job while you pursue a writing career.
Instead, you can use the skills you gain as a blogger to your benefit. You’ll pick up knowledge as you go around things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), blog design, and of course, writing. These things can score you some great freelance jobs on websites like Upwork, or on freelance job boards. These sources of income keep you sharp while you use your blog to make your dreams a reality. MORE: How Do I Become A Freelance Writer?
Got an Idea, But You’re Not Sure it Will Stick? Pitch it to Your Followers and Check out the Feedback!
Once your blog is up and running and you have some people reading it, why not throw out your next big idea? Don’t give it all away of course, but this is a great way to test the waters and see if people would like to read that particular pitch. If not, don’t sweat it, that just means you won’t waste your time and you can really narrow down the options to something that will blow people away!
Knowing that people are interested in a pitch means that all of the time and effort you put into writing, publishing, and promoting is absolutely worth it. MORE:Can I Pitch My Unfinished Projects?
As Your Popularity Grows, so Too Will Your Fan Base. By the Time You’re Ready to Market Something, You’ll already have an Audience Eager to Buy!
There isn’t a single, one-off method by which writers become successful. There are multiple paths to this goal, and blogging is most certainly one of them. One of the goals of any blogger is to grow their audience and bring in a following of subscribers. This goal lines up perfectly with that of a writer.
Whether you have an agent, or you’ve decided to self-publish, you need a following. The fastest and most effective way to gain that crowd of dedicated fans is by growing your blog, promoting the content, and marketing your books to them. As you write more and more, your followers will see you as an expert in what you do (and you’ll feel like one). That means when you ask them to buy your book, they do so without hesitation! MORE:6 Ways To Build An Audience
Blogging is something that just about every type of career can benefit from, but for writer’s it’s an absolute necessity for success. As you’re getting everything set up, don’t forget to always read other blogs, books, and advice from other successful writers. You don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does your blog. The biggest lesson of all is to learn to see and utilize the tools you are given.
Thanks for reading and be sure to share your own methods for using a blog to find writing success in the comments below!
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