Marketing and Branding

How do you have a rocking author blog tour?

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Marketing and Branding, Writing | 0 comments

How do you have a rocking author blog tour?

You wrote a book. You’re ready to promote your book. But, how do you make your promotions rise above the rest? How do you shine in a crowd? One easy answer: a fun blog tour!   How to Plan a Rockin’ Blog Tour Think specifics. What makes your book unique? How can you showcase this? How can you pique interest into your characters or settings before we even read the book? One suggestion we used for Jamie Grey’s ULTRAVIOLET CATASTROPHE was a look into the main character’s backpack. She’s a high school student in a high-tech school – so what can we learn from looking into her gear? A lot!   Think SEO. SE-who? We’ve talked about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and why authors need SEO. But even if you don’t have time to catch up on that lesson, here’s what you can do. Include your full name (or full pen name) + the term “author” in the title of your author photos. Why? It’ll help it show up in search engines! Include the full book title + your full name (or full pen name) in the title of your book cover. “My First Book by Author Name.jpg” tells search engines a lot more than “1stBk.jpg”.   Use your assets.  In the South, we have an expression perfect for this – use what your momma gave you. Is your book about scrapbooking? Approach some of the top scrapbooking blogs, and ask them if they’d like to participate. Does your main character have a penchant for horror novels? Find blogs and online magazines focused on that. And don’t forget – you’re a writer. Talk shop on top writing blogs. Each new option that you can think of expands your reach into different niches, bringing in different kinds of perspective readers. Thank your bloggers. Gratitude moves mountains. Gratitude causes bloggers to share your tour stop more. To promote you more. To help you again in the future. You want a relationship with book bloggers, because they are the direct path to your readers. You want a relationship with book bloggers as they are the direct path to your readers. Click To Tweet   What do you like to see in blog...

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Tip Thursday: Why Authors Need To Stalk Themselves (With Google Alerts)

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Marketing and Branding, Tip Thursday | 1 comment

Tip Thursday: Why Authors Need To Stalk Themselves (With Google Alerts)

Do you know what shows up under your name on the internet? Trick question. You do. Still not sure? I’m going to tell you why you do, why this is an asset for authors, and just how to do it. Why do you want to know? To Know What Agents and Other Professionals See I hate to break it to you, but in most worlds these day, you’re going to get Googled. Just met someone at the bar (or library!)? They’re probably going to Google you. Applying for a job? You’re going to get Googled. Have an agent curious about you? Or a magazine considering interviewing you? Guess what. Google time. Hint: You don’t want them seeing those pictures from college keg parties.   To Thank People Did you miss someone doing a post on you? Maybe a magazine did an article about your writing journey. Maybe a fellow writer talks about you, or links to you. Obviously you should thank them, yes? Well, now you can!   To Thank Reviewers  If you’re the type that gets emotional about your reviews, ignore this. (Never negatively engage a reviewer.) However, it is a good procedure (and just good manners) to thank reviewers for reviewing your book – regardless of how many stars it is. Do you want to bet that I remember reviewers who have thanked me? Yes. Am I more likely to try their future books? Yes. Am I more likely to help them in the future if they asked for it? Yes. Manners. They still work online.   How do you do it? Sure, you could search the web. Which is fun when you come up first. And interesting when there’s pictures of other people.     But what if you don’t have time for that? Or don’t feel like getting to page nine and realizing that there’s something you wish you had deleted ages ago, and now you’re wondering how many MORE things are floating out there? You sign up to get regular alerts of your name (or book title!).   Google Alerts Want the quick and simple way? Try Google Alerts. It’s as simple as filling out a little form. You can have as many Google Alerts as you want. Note: It’s not super sensitive – you’re not going to get a notification about each social media update you make. It also doesn’t catch everything – but it lets you see how Google sees you (advantage), and is more convenient than searching yourself.   Mention If you’re not a Google fan, there’s also Mention. The sign up process is similar, however you can only have one alert per email address for free. Mention also has apps for your desktop and smart phone. Advantage to Mention? You can be more precise. Because I don’t care what Kristen Stewart does. (Thanks to her playing Joan Jett in the Runaways, my Google Alerts is a lot of K-Stewart at times. Not helpful.) You can also choose where they pull from. I ignore Twitter, because I don’t need another reminder of how often I tweet. Or often it’s about bacon. Mention is more techy – I’ve heard it catches more things than Google Alert, but my account is new so I can’t comment on that for now. One thing that is interesting is that you can hook up your social media to the account to respond to them straight from Mention.   Happy...

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5 Things You Need to Put Your Book Online

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014 in Marketing and Branding, Writing | 0 comments

5 Things You Need to Put Your Book Online

Recently a writer DM-ed me on Twitter. She was going to self-publish her work and wanted to know what she would need to get together in order to put her book online. Every novel, regardless of whether it’s traditionally published or self published, needs these five things to be able to put it up online. 5 Things You Need to Put Your Book Online 1. A book blurb. Whether you’ve finished your book blurb or you’re in the process of writing one, this is critical. Your book blurb should tell readers what your book is about, without giving it all away. It should be similar to something you would find on the back cover of a book. You want to tell the reader what your story is about, and incite enough emotion / interest / mystery in the reader for them to want to keep reading. 2. A cover. Whether you are skilled enough to create your own cover or you need to seek one out, a cover is critical. Your title and name should be clear on the front. You know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, people do. People do judge the book by the cover. There are a ton of companies and designers out there that offer gorgeous covers, whether you pick from a pre-designed one or pay to customize it. Trust me, don’t skimp on your cover. 3. An Author Pic and biography. You need to have a biography highlighting a little about yourself and your professional writing qualifications, if any. You also want to have a clear picture of yourself. Ideally, you want to have your pictures professionally taken. Even if you don’t want to spend a fortune, there are several photographers out there (and photography students) who are willing to take photos for free to build their portfolios. 4. A name for your book. There are a multitude of discussions out there on how to pick the perfect book title. Whether you choose something unique, memorable, or obvious, just make sure that you pick and decide on a name so that you don’t have to change it later. There’s nothing more confusing than a title that changes right before it releases. 5. A list of where you will be selling your novel. Decide on if you will be allowing pre-orders, where you will be selling it (in stores or online only), and decide if you want to pursue things like selling your book in other countries or selling an audio book version. What other things do you believe are critical to put your book online? Let me know in the comments...

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Tip Thursday: Adding Apps to your Facebook Page In 7 Easy Steps

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Marketing and Branding, Tip Thursday | 0 comments

Tip Thursday: Adding Apps to your Facebook Page In 7 Easy Steps

So, you’ve made a Facebook fan page. It’s pretty. You’ve got all your information filled in. But now you want to add tabs to let your fans go to Pinterest. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. Or Youtube. Or some other shiny and fun feature.   (Yes. I finally made a Facebook page. Look at me, keeping secrets from y’all! Feel free to join me there for random talk, writing thoughts, and general KJness) How do you do this magic? 1. Login to your Facebook account. You already are, yes? 2. Visit Woobox’s Twitter app page, and click install Twitter tab. No worries, it’ll direct you to other choices, including Pinterest. (Or you can click the option from the Twitter app page, if you prefer.) Note: There are other apps that do the same thing – I just use Woobox as it gives a lot of variety. If you have several pages, you may need to use more than one app, as there’s a limit on how many times you can use each Woobox feature. 3. Select which Facebook page to put the tab on. 4. Authorize the app to have access to Twitter/Pinterest/wherever. (You may need to also click a Go to App button, depending on what you use.) 5.  Under settings you’ll be able to insert the name of your account, and specific details. For Twitter, you can choose whether replies will be seen, or just your main tweets. For Pinterest, you can choose between  all your boards showing, or just one board. 6. Click save. 7. Pour a glass of wine!   Super easy! Feel free to leave comments directing me to your page with the new...

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Don’t Be A Kanye West of Authors

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in Marketing and Branding, Publishing, Writing | 6 comments

Don’t Be A Kanye West of Authors

If I could give one piece of advice to writers and authors, what would it be? I could tell you to stay true to your talents, to always believe in yourself, and to keep honing your writing skills. I could tell you to take a business class, because regardless of whether you’re publishing traditionally or indie, you need to treat your writing career like a business. Instead,  I’ll tell you something equally as important – and perhaps  even more so. Don’t be a Kanye West of authors.   I think everyone in the world remembers the Kanye-TSwift moment even if they weren’t watching the awards. Even if they’d never watched the VMAS or ever heard of either person. Talk travels fast. Reactions worldwide? Wrong. Unjust. Immature. But sadly, authors do it too. We do it more subtly, perhaps behind closed doors. There aren’t necessarily entire audiences watching (although sometimes there are!). That doesn’t make it any better. Our friend gets a book deal. Which is awesome. But our book is better and it should have sold more. Or our book has been out longer, so why aren’t publishers trying to buy rights? Or maybe a book sells with the same title as your WIP? Or the same series name? Or even uses your oh-so-rare character name? Yup. You Kanye. (Yes, to Kanye is now a verb.) Kanye \Con-yay\; verb To interrupt someone’s glory to steal their laurel leaves, possibly for someone else.   I’m guilty of this. I didn’t know the author, but way too recently a book was released with an almost identical title to my manuscript-currently-in-edits. I sighed, grumbled, and read the blurb which caused more freakouts as I discovered there were giant world building similarities, and even the same usually-rare character name. What do you do? Well, you could be a Kanye. You could rant and rave. If said author is a friend of yours, you could even ask them to change details. Which comes across as “Yo Author Friend, I’mma let you celebrate, but my book is one of the best books of all time. One of the best books of all time.” Or you could be an author. You could realize shit happens, and likely your story will be made better by it. Are you traditionally publishing? Then you’ve got an agent, editor, and vision team who are likely going to change your title, series name, and maybe even character names anyway. If you’re self-publishing, grab your critique partners or your marketing team. Because there’s no way in the thousands of words that make up your manuscript, there’s only one set of words that can define it as a title. Maybe a reviewer doesn’t like your book. Maybe a whole lot of reviewers don’t like your book. Maybe they love your book, but point out flaws. You get defensive. Your book is your baby. This is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, which page are you turning to? The Kanye Approach: Insult said reviewers. How do they know anything, anyway? They’re just the little reviewers, not even the A-list bloggers. Have they ever tried writing a book? Call them out on your blog, on Goodreads, on Twitter – wherever you have a platform. Maybe climb on up on the stage of their blog, and call them out in their own space. The Author Approach: Take a deep breath. Rant and rave privately. Grab your journal. Call a friend. Drink a glass of wine…or maybe two. Take another deep breath, and realize life goes on. There’s always going to be something that can go wrong. There’s always going to...

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Independent Publishing: Becoming More Than A Writer by Jay Finn

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Guest Post, Marketing and Branding, Publishing, Writing | 1 comment

Independent Publishing: Becoming More Than A Writer by Jay Finn

Independent publishing has exploded over the past few years. Yes, I said it: Exploded. This has given countless numbers of authors to get their work out into the big bad world, regardless of whether an agent or a publisher thinks it is any good. But what does ‘good’ matter? ‘Good’ is nothing but a subjective thought. The beauty of independent publishing is now the big bad world gets to decide for themselves if something is ‘good’ without it having to be judged by scrupulous agents and publishers first. The beauty of indie publishing is the world gets to decide for themselves if something is ‘good’. Click To Tweet This is the good news. Now comes the bad. Independent publishing means you now must become more than a writer. In the good (bad) old days, agents and publishers looked after all the nuts and bolts of putting a book together and getting it to market. Writers wrote and that was that. Now, writers must also become editors, proofreaders, formatters, marketing experts, advertising hounds and they must do all of this without knowing if their work is going to be a success or not. There is no upfront fee from a publisher to keep the wolf from the door for 12 months. In fact, it is going to cost you money. Granted, it doesn’t have to cost you a lot, but chances are it will cost you some. Writers must also become editors, proofreaders, formatters, marketing experts… – @JayFinn32 Click To Tweet When I completed ‘FASTIAN’ (my debut fantasy novel after two short story collections ‘Looking Back‘ and ‘Beneath the Darkness‘; shameless plug from a writer who also knows marketing now) it was the proudest day of my life. But then the hard work really began, because writing, for me, is not work. I decided that an eye-catching cover was vital. Not some free photo taken from some website, but a perfectly crafted piece of art that would help my novel stand out from the rest. This cost money. Then came the editing. Yes, we all have to re-write and edit, but we don’t have a professional editor to go over the finer details of plot, story and character development that a publisher will arrange for you. This was free (I have a friend who is an editor). Proofreading. Luckily I have lots of friends who I trust who spotted numerous spelling errors, grammatical errors and the like. I also proofread it three times myself. A HUGE MISTAKE!!! I cannot stress enough how important it is to get OTHERS to proofread (you can still do it yourself, but not solely so). Get as many people as you can to help. The more the better. Seriously, get 15 people if you can. Marketing. Grrrrrr I hate it. Despise it. Abhor it. But the more I do, the more I understand it. As an independent publisher, YOU are responsible for getting word of your book out there. There are many ways to do this and I suggest you google (yes, it’s now a verb) it to find out the various means and hows. One thing I suggest is guest posting on as many blogs as is possible for you to do. Finally, when everything is done, when everything is ready to go, EXPECT IT TO GO WRONG. Not the success element, but different online stores accept your book in different formats. This is just one example. Expect emails saying it can’t uploaded in its present form. Expect to see your book for sale online and there is a mistake in pricing, naming, titles, whatever....

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