What can YOU say in six sentences?
So I got great news today: a publisher wants to move forward with the manuscript I sent them. However, the first step involves me creating a pretty detailed promotional plan towards developing an author platform. Does anyone have any words of wisdom about how to get started? I actually maintain social media presence for small businesses as a job, but when it comes to making it about me (and my first book that won't be out any time soon) I don't know how/where to start. What does an almost-author blog about? how the heck do i get this started?
First of all, congratulations on your manuscript acceptance! That's news every writer dreams of!
now here comes the lame part of this reply, since i haven't done it for myself yet LOL
i attended a mini forum of local authors who self-publish. i listened closely to the "why" and the "how" to publish independently, but didn't soak in the 'promote yourself' part. they suggested social media, for sure. use tweets to gradually build up to the 'climax' of the publish date. email everyone (friends, family, and everyone you're certain will be okay with plugging yourself, and ask them to pass along your website, twitter ID, etc) and plug plug plug your publish date. DO NOT BE SHY!
i had a blog i used for personal ranting and occasional writing, but the vibe wasn't right. perhaps keeping a blog strictly for the writing gig is best. this way, when visitors drop by they can see it's about your work and not about your politics or other daily concerns. i used blogger and it's sooooo easy. but you have to be faithful to yourself and plug plug plug and link to your blog (etc) all the time.
what to write about on your blog? write about your writing, what you read elsewhere. favorite books, articles on reading/writing. don't forget to link other people's blogs to yours (with their permission) so you'll get more traffic.
i'm out of ideas at the moment. will try to come back this evening if i can find better/useful specifics.
Thank you so much!! That's great advice. I just did my first blog post. I tried to introduce myself and the concept without getting preachy (since i still have no idea what i'm doing.) the book isn't a done deal yet - still a step away. i had to submit a promotion plan, which will weigh in on whether or not they offer a contract. Fingers crossed. I'd love feedback on what you think about the blog: www.jadiejones.blogspot.com. (I am writing under a pen name)
And does anyone have any feedback about Crescent Moon Press or Wido Publishing?
All authors must now build an author platform. Most publishers require it. And be prepared to do most of your own marketing and promotion... only the John Grisham's in the industry get a big push by the publishers. Here is what I have learned:
1. Ask WHO is responsible for submitting the book for reviews and awards.
2. Design is everything.
3. Facebook, twitter, and your own website are very important. Update them often. Build a relationship with your readers so that you have customers for your next book.
4. Blogging is optional. If all of your creative energy is going to blogging, you won't ever write a new book.
5. ASK QUESTIONS.
6. If someone wants you to speak to their group, DO IT. It sells books.
7. Do not get so excited about publication that you get taken on a ride. So many companies out there are promising the moon and delivering pebbles at the writer's expense.
i'm thinking cita's response is a lot healthier than my anemic one. LOL but it's great advise and i'll take that when it's time to put my 'babies' out there.
amazing advice!! Thank you so much!
Casey, just popping back in to see how the publication process is going for you.
Thanks Cita! I just signed with WiDo publishing and am awaiting their first round of edits. I've started a blog and a facebook page. I'm publishing under the name Jadie Jones (long story) so if you stumble across my blog or get a friend request from Jadie, it's me. What site builder do you recommend using for an author website? By the way, if anyone has websites/blogs/fb pages/etc, let me know so we can link up :)
I simply use the yahoo small business tool to build and manage my site. www.amyhaleauker.com But I think that many authors are using services specifically designed for writers, like book baby, etc. I was familiar with yahoo so went that direction. It lets me use paypal, which I like.
Here's to much success on your journey!
Thank you for all of your support and advice. I will keep y'all updated and let you know when it gets released. I'm familiar with yahoo and with vistaprint, so i may just go with one of those. thanks again :)
I'm self-publishing my work as ebooks, but I hope the following is useful.
I started off with a blogger site on blogspot.com. I decided I didn't want to invest in a custom site, but I was concerned about brand so I secured the domain www.sehalliday.com from Google (very cheap, just a few bucks per year) and that now maps to my blog site. The point being that if this takes off, I can switch the domain name at any time to a custom-built site.
I'm working at developing a consistent author branding across Twitter, Goodreads (as a Goodreads Author), Google+, Six Sentences and my author profiles at Amazon and B&N. In addition, my Imprint - Illyria Books - is represented at Twitter (though not as yet on its own site).
After some experimentation and researching the opinions of those who have done this successfully, I now believe:
* it's ill advised to over-market on Twitter using an author account. Use your imprint or publisher identity and separate your creative tweeting from cold book marketing.
* web marketing works effectively if you have a known brand or an astonishingly unique product. For a new author (i.e. me) it's a long shot.
* Build brand by blogging, talking, writing and using traditional media.
Some math (I based this on research I did for tweets on various hashtags, plus some guestimates):
Let's say in the Amazon Kindle markets with a usefully high level of English literacy ( US, UK, India, and arguably, Germany) I know that 100,000 Twitterers will read on the hashtag #YAfantasy in the few hours after I tweet. Of these, at very best 10% own Kindles or read books on another device.
1% might actually follow my tweet to the my Amazon Kindle Store page. 1% might then consider a purchase. Net sales ? 100,000 x 0.1 x 0.01 x 0.01 = 1 ebook.
If I'm lucky.
That same evening, a hundred newbie authors will also tweet their wares (book announcement plus a web-link to a web store page) on the same hashtag. The noise level will be very high. And I will keep doing the same thing, each night for a year.
If my book is priced at 99c, I might make a grand total of (365 x 99c x 35%) or just $126.47 in that year ! (35% is the Amazon commission rate for ebooks at this price point).
But let's say I build a fan base by interesting tweets and an interesting blog (where I get readers to join), I might build a database of @addressses and email addresses that I can use for timely book-writing and publication announcements via Twitter and email, to people who already follow me.
I now tweet my thoughts from @sehalliday, and keep hard bookselling pitches from @illyriabooks. I avoid the congestion of competition in hashtagging. Meanwhile I am reaching out to find review and promotion in traditional media and events. Harder work than tweeting but, I believe, likely to have a better result.
There appears to be a huge demand for free ebooks. Under Amazon's KDP Select program, I used 5 days (split over two weekends) to offer my work for free. The results:
* All's Fair: A Comedy (romcom screenplay) - 1500+ downloads
* A Maid of Kirin (YA Fantasy) - 341 downloads
* Window - The First Part (YA Fantasy) - 123 downloads
Apart from a movie screenplay doing so well, the biggest surprise was the impact of a legitimate buyer review. Two 4-star reviews for All's Fair and Window have propelled these books up the rankings. e-marketplace visibility does seem to be driven by good reviews.
The downside to KDP Select is the 90-day exclusivity it grants to Amazon. The upside? I have nearly two thousand readers today, that were probably unaware of my work two weeks ago.
Note: the way Amazon Kindle Store works, each of those downloads is to a unique Kindle Store account, and probably the large majority are Kindle or owners of smart-phones/tablets running the Kindle app, as opposed to those who are reading ebooks on Kindle for PC or Mac.
Anyhows, just some random thoughts. Best wishes for the book!
amazing - and very informative - advice!! i'm going to use this to refocus my priorities. thank you so much for contributing!!