Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zero

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s zero.

Now, you may wonder what zero has to do with writing, publishing, or promoting?

Well, if you’re going to be successful at all in this industry, it shouldn’t have anything to do with those things!

But here’s the sad truth.

Zero efforts = zero results.

Do nothing and nothing is guaranteed to happen!

The resources and support are all there - now it’s up to you. How bad do you want it? Are you will to do what it takes?

Thanks to everyone who visited during the Challenge! If I can help anyone in any manner, please ask.

As for this weekend - I am enjoying my twentieth wedding anniversary! See you on the other side…

funny pictures - Some may call it stalking...
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, April 29, 2011

You Tube

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s You Tube

You Tube is the #1 video resource. It’s the best place to track down book trailers, video interviews, news, and just about anything else under the sun.

You Tube is not alone though. These sites also feature videos:

Meta Cafe
Vimeo
Daily Motion

There are dozens of sites, including several social sites.

How many of you have a video feature of some nature on You Tube or another site?

How many want one?

And yes, a book trailer for my series is posted on several of those sites...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Xtra Mile

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s the xtra mile.

(Yes, extra begins with an E - just go with me on this one!)

What is the xtra mile?

It’s doing more than what’s required.

It’s going out of your way.

It’s taking the initiative.

It’s stepping past the masses.

It’s doing what others are not willing to do to succeed!

Are you going the xtra mile to fulfill your writing dreams?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s writing.

There’s many things we can do to improve our craft. The two most effective are reading and writing!

Just like working out muscles, writing skills need to be worked and stretched every day. However, that doesn’t mean you kill yourself trying to add another 1000 words to your manuscript! Some days it just doesn’t flow. Some days we don’t have enough hours. And some days we’re just beat!

But writing something - anything - is better than nothing.

What should we write? Blog posts, articles, letter, emails, writing prompts - anything to maintain the daily habit! Elizabeth Spann-Craig posted a great list of Writing Warm-ups that will give you ideas.

We’re writers. That’s what we do - write!

Are you writing something every day?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Virtual Tours

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s virtual tours. And I’ll keep it short!

With bookstores dying, the economy struggling, and gas around $4 a gallon, traveling the country to promote a book is probably not the best investment of time and money.

A virtual tour consists of visiting a new website or blog every day. “Stops” in your virtual tour consist of interviews, articles/guest posts, reviews, giveaways, and video/audio podcasts. Length varies, but two weeks/ten stops is best.

PR agents and virtual tour services are available, or an author can set up his or her own tour. Contact potential hosts two to four months in advance. (The larger, more popular sites book dates fast and early.)

What’s it like? What are the benefits? That’s where you come in today - if you’ve hosted a tour stop or been on a tour, what was your experience? Would you do it again?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Utilizing Resources

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s utilizing resources.

There’s thousands of resources (probably millions) for writers and authors, so let me focus on one big one - the Literary Marketplace.

What is it? From the Literary Marketplace website:

Featuring listings on more than 30,000 companies, books, periodicals, awards, courses, or events (to name just a few categories), no matter what -- or who-- you are looking for in the book trade, chances are you'll find it in literarymarketplace.com. A small sampling of the listings includes:
Publishers
Literary Agents
Distributors & Sales Representatives
Wholesalers
Book Producers
Exporters & Importers
Manufacturers & Printers
Translators & Interpreters
Paper Suppliers
Remainder Dealers
Reference Books & Magazines
Literary Association, Societies & Awards
(and International listings as well.)

Three ways to access:
Your local library - be sure they have a current edition
Purchase the 2-volume set for $329.00 - new editions available every year
Subscribe to the website for $399.00 - updated on a continuous basis

Have you ever utilized this amazing resource?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Target Audience

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s target audience.

Authors need to write with a target audience in mind. (Unless we’re just writing for us.) We need to know who we’re writing for and how to find these people.

Some things to consider while writing and preparing for promotions:

Who are our book(s) geared toward and who will purchase?
- What age & gender?
- What income bracket or location?
- Where do they shop, where do they frequent, what magazines do they read, what are their
interests, etc.?
- How will we reach this audience, especially online?

Who is YOUR target audience?


And want to wish everyone a happy Easter!

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Humorous Pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Speaking and Spunky

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s speaking.

Today’s topic follows two other S subjects - Spunky being real and Spunky being interviewed! The interview is over at First Draft on Life, Literature and Lunacy. Please drop by Lisa’s wonderful site!

The average traditionally published author makes between $2000 and $3000 over the lifetime of a book.

That’s it!

So, how do average authors survive? Many never quit their day job. (Only about 300 authors in America live solely on their writing.) Some do freelance work or ghostwriting.

And many turn to paid speaking gigs.

Speaking not only pays the bills, but it fuels interest in one’s book(s) and enhances marketing efforts. More opportunities arise.

As for Spunky being real - I’ll never get wealthy from writing, but that’s okay. Writing helped me to discover something I truly enjoy - speaking!

Do you speak as well as write? Do you want to someday?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review Copies

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s review copies.

Review copies (or ARCs - Advance Reader Copies) are sent out before a book’s publication date. They are unproofed copies, often still boasting writing, typing, and/or formatting errors. The books are marked front or back as review copies, and eventually reviews will grace the exterior of the finished product.

Who sends out review copies?
Self-published authors are responsible for sending out their own copies, but for traditionally published authors, this duty falls to the publisher, a PR agent, or a PR firm. (These authors rarely if ever have review copies of their own.) Smaller publishers will often coordinate with their authors when sending copies, too. (If you are interested in reviewing a book, always contact the publisher first.)

Where do review copies go?
Their primary purpose is to garner reviews, so they are sent months in advance to book reviewers big and small. Often they will be included with the author’s media kit and sent to the media. Review copies are sent to bookstores (especially independents) and are often available at large book festivals. Others are given out during promotional tours. Some are sent to other authors for blurbs.

How many are sent?
This depends on the marketing budget. Small publishers will be unable to send out as many as the large big boys in New York, and only projected best sellers get a full marketing blitz of thousands of review copies.

And if you ever see a review copy up for sale, let the sales site or publisher know! Because review copies are not to be sold...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quotes

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s quotes.

They say it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

But if you’re quoting someone, it’s better to ask permission than to get sued!

Quotes, excerpts, facts and figures - in print or online - are copyrighted and require permission to use.

There are always exceptions, such as reviews of your book or public domain.

If in doubt, here are a couple publishing law websites to check:
Ivan Hoffman
Pub Law

And if you can’t get permission? Find another quote!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

People Skills

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s people skills.

Of all the topics, this one is my favorite! It’s one of the Five Keys to success in my Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK book. It’s vital to our success. And it’s one of the first things I tell writers at my promoting seminar they need.

Why? Because you’re going to have to deal with people if you hope to succeed! You will deal with editors, publishers, other writers, the media, fans, store employees, etc. Basically, anyplace online or in real life that you encounter other human beings will require you to use people skills. And we’ve all seen what happens when authors and writers fail to use people skills!

Developing people skills takes two things - research (reading people skill & relationship books) and practice (interacting with others.) You must understand the basic truths (i.e. - everyone’s favorite topic is themselves), learn to listen (and ask questions), making good impressions (which are made by letting the other person know he is impressing YOU), and how to properly criticize (only in private) and praise (preferably in public.)

You probably own many ‘how-to’ books on writing - do you also own several people skills books?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Organizing

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s organizing.

And thanks for the comments this weekend - our NC county was very lucky! Over 60 confirmed tornadoes left a large path of destruction and killed two dozen people, but the funnel clouds never made connection with the ground in our area.

Are you an organized person?

I’m scary organized. I have lists for my lists. If someone calls, I can lay my hand on the correct information within seconds. Of course, these means I spend time organizing, too.

Writers have to be organized, though! At least as organized as their personality type will allow.

What areas do I organize?

To do lists - I write it down or it doesn’t happen
Computer files - everything in its properly labeled folder
Physical files - ditto
Bookkeeping and Taxes - I address it monthly so it doesn’t attack me at the end of the year
Contacts - I keep a notebook with all of my contacts & their information
Ledgers - keeping track of sales and money coming in
Appearances - in real life and online
Stock and Promo material - organized so I can see at glance what is needed
My library - I have a lot of books!

Where else should a writer practice organizational skills? Are you organized? Need help? LOL

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Newsletters

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s newsletters.

Do you have a newsletter?

Newsletters are a great way to keep your fans/customers up to date on new information.

However, the purpose of a newsletter is not just to promote - it is to provide valuable information. If all you do is talk about yourself or your books/products, people will unsubscribe - or worse yet, report you as spam! (And not the Monty Python type.) It can only go out to those who’ve subscribed to receive it, too.

What items would be good for a newsletter?

Articles that solve problems or inform
News flashes on growing trends
Links to other news items or articles
Highlight on a guest (author, company, product, etc.)
Contests
Photos
And finally, any new news about you, including new dates, products, books, etc.

Can you do that? Do you already put out a newsletter?

And because it's time for the Weekend Sillies:

funny pictures - This too shall pass.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Media Pitches

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s creating media buzz.

We’ve all heard about pitching the media and how to gain their attention. But did you know you can create your own media buzz?

You do this through:

Blogging
Articles
Media releases
Videos
Newsletters
Interviews

And anything else that gets people talking about you!

What are you doing to create buzz?

I'm returning from a speaking gig in the NC mountains this morning - will catch up with everyone this afternoon!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Libraries

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s libraries.

I could give you all sorts of facts and information about libraries. They’re great for those without a means to purchase books. They’re great for research. They’re a great place to discover new authors. And while many are closing, libraries still outnumber bookstores.

So, let me provide something you might not know.

Libraries don’t return books.

And once a book has been checked out so many times, it needs to be replaced.

Isn’t that great?

Are your books in libraries?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Keywords

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s keywords.

Search engines look for keywords and description when adding pages to their search engines. Keywords are found within site names, the web copy, and the metadata.

While the over-use of keywords can have the opposite effect (the site is removed from the search engines’ lists) we need to ensure that we are using the proper keywords.

Remember the Long Tail Theory - narrowly targeted products and services. These are found by using multi-word searches. (Not just ‘writing’ but ‘writing historical fiction.’) Many people will find your site from these multi-word searches.

Now, is there enough on your website and/or blog to convict you of being the author or writer of ____? When people do a search, will they find YOU?

Think about it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Journey

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s the journey.

Every writer embarks on a journey. We each take unique paths and reach different destinations. We start the journey for different reasons. And the journey doesn’t end until we call it quits.

I never envisioned speaking as part of my adventure. (Okay, I never envisioned YA novels, either!) But speaking is now my favorite part of the journey.

Where has your journey led you?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Indie Bound

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s Indie Bound.

Indie Bound is an organization if independent bookstores across America. They have a WEBSITE and a monthly newsletter.

Why do authors and publisher need to know about Indie Bound? Because independent bookstores send in their favorite selections each month and the popular ones are featured in the newsletter. If enough stores recommend your book, a feature in the newsletter will garner even more interest - and orders!

So, don’t forget your local independent bookstore!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Helping Others

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s helping others. For this topic, I thought I’d give you an example.

My friend and author mentor is p.m. terrell. We met several years ago when I supplied an article for one of her websites. Over the years, we have helped one another with speaking engagements, book festivals, book sales, and writing. Just recently, I purchased one of her books for my step-sister and she announced I am on the committee for the first North Carolina Book ‘Em event to be held next February.

It’s the friendship and guidance where she’s helped me the most, and I hope I’ve returned the favor.

True success is based on how many people are richer for knowing us. And when all else is gone from our lives, it's friendship that will matter most.

Who are you helping today?


And because this is normally The Weekend Sillies - two LOL Cats!

funny pictures - The stripper jumped out of the cake. Slowly, seductively, her shiny tassles began to twirl. And then faster and faster until...
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

funny pictures - The internet is a series of tubes.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Google Alerts

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s Google Alerts.

Are you using Google Alerts?

Google Alerts keep you on top of topics important to you - or about you! Alerts arrive via email with links to sites mentioning the words or phrases you requested.

To set up these Alerts, go to your Google account (or create one) and click on Alerts. Enter your words or phrase and select how often (daily, weekly, etc.) you wish to receive them. Google will search the web for you and deliver all related posts to your inbox.

Suggested:

Your… name, book title(s), company, blog/website
And other items of interest.

Stay on top of the news and trends! And you want to know what people are saying about you…

What’s on your Google Alerts list?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Festivals

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s festivals.

Writers will think book festivals first. (There are also writer’s conferences.) Both are excellent places to network and learn about the industry and craft of writing.

Go prepared. Take business cards and a notebook. Attend as many of the sessions, talks, and panels as possible. Network at every opportunity. Talk to successful authors and industry experts. This is your chance to learn and make connections. (Meeting publishers and agents in person can mean the difference between a solicited and unsolicited query, too.)

Authors need to think beyond book festivals, though. If you want to sell books, where will you be in front of your target audience? Art fairs? Regional festivals? Trade shows? Celebrations? Expos? Business conventions? Farmer’s markets? (Really!) Check local listing and online for events you can attend.

Where are you going next?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Entrepreneur

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s entrepreneur.

Now, that may seem like an odd topic for a writer. Entrepreneur? Business owner?

Well, unless you receive a salary for your writing, you ARE an entrepreneur! And if you’re going to make any money as a writer or author, you need to start thinking like a business owner. I could write a really long post on the subject, but let me cover the basics:

Knowledge - There’s two things that kill new businesses in the first five years, and one is a lack of knowledge. Study the industry. Learn and understand all aspects of publishing before you embark on the journey.

Capital - This is the other thing that kills new businesses. A lack of capital. Big publishers pour tens of thousands of dollars in the creation and promotion of a book. I doubt your investment will be that large, but no matter which path you choose, you will need capital. Develop a business plan and realize you are investing, not spending.

Time - It will take time! You’ll invest time into writing, editing, researching, promoting… all without pay. Owning a business means long hours. And if your author dreams are big enough, you WILL find the time.

Taxes - As certain as death! As a business owner, you get to work WITH the tax laws now. Talk to your accountant. Understand deductions, tax breaks, sales tax, and the like.

Are you ready to open for business?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Daily Goals

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s daily goals.

All people need goals! Without set goals, we drift like leaves on a river. We hand control of our life over to circumstances and other people. “Where there is not vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18

Writers often set a big goal of ‘getting published.’ But often the journey is long and it’s easy to grow discouraged. Success is built by taking small steps. We must build upon small successes.

Have you written down your goals? Do you even know what specific dreams you want to achieve? Hitting an unknown target is next to impossible!

Try this exercise:

Take ten minutes and write down every goal, dream, and desire. Brainstorm! Remember when you were a child and nothing was impossible.

Select a couple items that are more than wants and needs - they are burning desires. Don’t worry about the HOW - just make a decision that it’s something you “gots to have” as they say in the South.

AFTER you’ve selected your big goals, start setting smaller goals (daily, weekly, monthly) that will help you reach the big goals.

The final step? TAKE ACTION! You can set goals all day long, but if you do nothing, nothing will happen. Start with those daily goals and move forward.

Have you set your daily goals?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Calls

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today it’s calls.

If you’re a writer or author, at some point, you’ll start making phone calls.

You’ll use calls to set up appearances and media interviews. You’ll talk to editors, publishers, and reporters. You’ll call bookstores and libraries.

For some people, calls are no big deal. For others, the phone weights a thousand pounds! I used to work at UPS and my job was to call people and say “Your package is lost, damaged, destroyed - we don’t know where it is!” Fun, huh? Let me say it took a lot of courage to pick up a phone again.

Here’s some tips that might help:

Make a list of names and numbers to call

Sketch out what you’re going to say. Practice. Don’t read it over the phone or it’ll sound scripted.

Set aside a block of time to do nothing but make phone calls.

Start with an easy one to get into the groove.

Don’t stop until you hit a yes.

Don’t end with a no.

Remember to smile when talking - it does come through!

Now, who’s ready to start dialing?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Bookmarks

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today - bookmarks.

Bookmarks are an author essential! Every author needs bookmarks.

Why?

Bookmarks are practical. Anyone who reads a print book uses them. Of all the promotional items you can hand out, it’s the least likely to be tossed.

They are relatively cheap.

Bookmarks can be left everywhere - near the bookstore registers, in libraries, in doctor’s offices…

They can double as our calling card. (Although authors should also carry business cards, too.)

Last but not least, they promote for us long after we are gone - because people will NOT remember you or your book five minutes later!

Bookmarks should display cover art, short synopsis, your name, ISBN, price, genre, publisher, short quotes or reviews, and your website.

Okay, authors - do you have bookmarks? Carry them with you at all times? Leave them everywhere possible?


And because this is when the Weekend Sillies usually run, I leave you with an LOL Cat:

funny pictures - People who live in paper houses shouldn't throw cats.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our

Friday, April 01, 2011

Articles

For the A to Z Challenge, I’m posting promo and other tips for writers. Today - articles.

Articles are a very cost-effective means of promotion and place you in front of new audiences.

What do you write about? If you are a writer or author, you’re an expert in SOME field! Share that wealth of knowledge with the world. Remember, the purpose of articles is to provide valuable information and/or solve problems - not to promote you or your book.

Where should these articles appear? Well, where will they be in front of your target audience? Consider:

Blog and website guest posts
Magazines and periodicals, both online and in the real world
Newsletters
Articles banks
And the list goes on…

How often? To be truly effective - 1-3 articles per week. (Especially leading up to the release of a book.)

Now it’s time to brainstorm! What topics can you discuss? How can you help others be wealthier, healthier, sexier, more informed, or save them time?