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Archive for the ‘2015 Author Blog Challenge’ Category

You can have results or excuses – not both!

THE. LAST. POST. Day 35 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks what I will do to keep up the momentum the Challenge has helped me create. All 35 posts for this Challenge were focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll go back and read some of the other 34 posts if you’re just happening on this one by happy accident.

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Day 35 writing prompt:

What are you going to do to keep the blogging momentum going? What plans do you have to continue your connection with other Author Blog Challenge participants and the new readers you’ve generated for your blog?

So, I’ll admit there are good things and bad things about a Challenge the forces you to write every day, like:

  • You’re writing every day.
  • Your writing improves when you write every day.
  • When you have prompts, it’s easier to write every day.

There are also frustrating things about a Challenge that forces you to write every day, like:

  • You have no excuse not to write, even if you don’t feel like it.results or excuses
  • It takes a lot of time, if you’re going to write thoughtful posts that other people will actually enjoy reading. They don’t have to be long, but they do have to be good. I’ve read some of the posts from my fellow Author Blog Challenge participants. As might be expected, they vary from outstanding to just-get-it-done in quality. But the good ones aren’t necessarily the longest ones.
  • In taking time to write thoughtful posts, I’m not spending as much time on my novel, which I am committed to finishing by the day before Thanksgiving. As the host, of course, my time commitment is greater than those who are simply participating.

But I liked being productive. I liked seeing my readership go up and getting feedback from readers. My blog’s not really about my novel, though, so I think it’s time to turn back to my primary focus: book marketing for self-publishing authors. I certainly tried to make most of my Blog Challenge posts about my own experience useful to the readers … but sometimes you have to read all the way to the end to get to the “useful part.”

To that end, I will issue myself a new personal challenge: To write 3 content posts per week, along with my regular Sunday Inspirations. And to finish my novel by November 25th. I will also post every blog post on the ABC Facebook page – and encourage all the other participants to do the same!

What are YOUR publishing goals? What are you doing to get them done? A friend of mine started a FB group 100 dayswhere a group of motivated people are getting together to cheer each other on for the last 100 days of the year. We’re posting our business goals, personal goals, and the steps we’re taking to get there. Today it’s 76 days until the end of the year. Are you speeding or coasting to the finish line?

So there it is: 35 days of blog posts in a row – with a few bonuses thrown in. Thank you for reading, whether you’re just reading this post or have been with me all the way through! Whatever else you do, keep writing!

We’ll do another Challenge, maybe six months or a year from now. Stick around. Details will arrive in your inbox if you’re a subscriber. Maybe next time you’ll join as a participant!

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

To a YOUR writing and publishing success!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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A recommitment to finishing!

The penultimate post… Day 34 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks what I liked and would do differently with the Author Blog Challenge. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 34 writing prompt:

What has been the best part of participating in the Author Blog Challenge? What are your suggestions for improving the next Author Blog Challenge?

Far and away, I have loved participating in this Challenge more than either of the previous two – even when I felt the cold sweat on my neck as one day wooshed into another without a post, so many in a row that I found myself 8 days behind! Given that I am the creator and host of this Challenge, it just wouldn’t do for me to cop out and bring in anything less than all 35 posts before the 11:59:59 p.m. PDT deadline on Saturday, October 17th. God willing, since this is my penultimate post, I will be able to do that.

Two of the biggest benefits for me were the impetus to write every day – or make up for it when I didn’t bradbury for ABC2and the ability to make the publication of my novel more real to me. Thank you, Ray Bradbury! That’s such important advice that every writer would do well to try to follow.

As you know by now – if you’ve been reading these posts with any regularity at all – I’ve been working on this novel for a Long. Damned. Time. And I suppose life really did get in the way in a couple instances. But mostly, it’s been me sabotaging my own efforts and success. I’ve got a great support team, excellent editor standing by at the ready, and marketing plans that will ROCK! So now that the Challenge is over and I will have time for my other writing, I can fulfill the promise I know “Stan” holds.

90 percent down the pathYep – it’s intimidating to walk into a bookstore and see all the bright, shiny competing titles. It’s intimidating to be in the company of such great authors as the other participants in this Challenge and the members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup. It’s intimidating to see a news report about a local historical author earning in the six figures. But I know I’m a decent writer. I’ve spent a long time on “Stan” thus far and will follow this project through the final 10 percent to completion. This Challenge helped me recommit, find an editor, and figure out how to pitch the book (part travelogue, part social commentary, part fiction).

Things I’d do differently next time? Monetize it so that I can get help to run it. Really – it’s a LOT of work and I didn’t do all I wanted to, simply because family time commitments continued to drag me away. Life, I believe they call that.

So … we’ll do another Challenge, maybe six months or a year from now. Stick around. Details will arrive in your inbox if you’re a subscriber. Maybe next time you’ll join as a participant!

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow for the final post of the Challenge, when I will tell you what I plan to do to keep the momentum going.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

To a very successful Author Blog Challenge!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

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Don’t let lack thinking kill your creativity!

Just two more posts to go… Day 33 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks about my next book project. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 33 writing prompt:

What is/will be the subject of your next book?

Ever get the feeling you have more ideas than you have time? That’s the way it is with me and story ideas. Now that I’ve just about completed my first novel, the fiction bug has bitten and I want to do more of it. There will be no sequel to “Stan” – it’s an entire story unto itself that requires no further editions. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a series girl – never liked reading them, so I cannot even conceive of writing them.

That said, I do have plenty of new ideas constantly percolating. As I sit down to tell you what they are, a little gremlin warns me about sharing my ideas because someone might steal them. Oh, yeah? Let them! Steal away! You write your version, and I’ll write mine. They’ll be so different, they won’t even be recognizable as derived from the same plotline.

lack mentality

  • Having belonged to specific clubs and networking groups and seen the flirting that goes on between members at times, I cannot help but think it must, in some cases, lead to affairs. One group that helps individuals improve their public speaking comes specifically to mind, as the nature of the organization and its meetings invites a certain level of intimacy, weekly connections, extracurricular engagement at lunch (at least our club went to lunch together regularly), and bonding time that is unique, even to most office scenarios. So … what if … a woman found out her husband was leaving her for someone he met at this group? Devastated, she is commiserating to her hairdresser and learns that two other women who patronize the same salon are in the exact same situation!
  • A love story between a woman reporter who goes undercover to live with the homeless population finding shelter in the tunnels under a city like Las Vegas or Kansas City and the man who tries to help her. She becomes so invested in the story and reporting the plight of these people that she has a psychotic break and is unable to come back to “regular” life.
  • A modern-day, feminist version of Snow White and/or Cinderella.
  • A story about a boy who has a traumatic brain injury while surfing that allows him to communicate with animals. A little Dr. Doolittle and a little Bill & Ted, with the added element of the discovery of a sordid animal experimentation scheme.

It would seem that while each of these would require a certain amount of research, none would be as involved as my initial fiction project! With “Stan,” it was most certainly baptism by fire.

And I was sooooo tempted to jump into the 3-Day Novel contest again this year – but I forced myself to stay the course. Finish Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World before I start another novel. Any other novel. Of course, I’ve never done NaNoWriMo – and that’s just around the corner… so who knows?

That’s just the fiction side, though. In the coming weeks on the nonfiction side are:

  • 138 Tips to Help You Blog Like a Pro (eBook)
  • REVIEWS: Where and How to Get Your (Self-Published) Book Reviewed (ebook)
  • WRITERS: A Little Book of Inspiration (paperback)

Drop a note to reserve your copy of any of the three above-mentioned titles!

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I will offer my thoughts about this blog challenge experience.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

What are YOU writing next?

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Thank you, to you and you and you

We’re winding down here… Day 32 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge suggests we give some shout-outs. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 32 writing prompt:

Time for some shout-outs. This may mimic your acknowledgement page, but whom would you like to publicly thank for their help in creating your book or completing it to the point where it is presently?

thank-you

I’ve not yet written the Acknowledgments page for “Stan,” but it will probably look a lot like this:

Stan probably wouldn’t have come into existence if it weren’t for my wonderful friend, Tim, on whom the character is very loosely based. We’ve lost touch over the last decade, but I know he’s still out there, and he comes to mind every now and again. As I mentioned in the prior post about having coffee with my favorite character, I would initially think of Tim when I pictured Stan – but that soon shifted, and Stan became his own person. A real person, to me, which I would venture to say is true for any novelist worth his/her salt. So, to Tim I say, “Thank you. For your kindness and amazing friendship. And for sparking a journey that would not have happened without you.”

Next up, I must thank the small group of writers in my very short-lived writers’ group. The writers themselves didn’t do anything in particular, but “Early one morning…” was one of the prompts we used, and it led to the first four paragraphs of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.

Then, there’s the gang over at the 3-Day Novel Contest. It was over Labor Day weekend 2004 that Stan came to life. Yes, still working on it, but inching closer daily. Specifically, I thank whichever judge took the time to pen a handwritten note on the form rejection letter, which read: “‘Stan’ made it pretty far into the process. Good dialogue, good flow, good job!”

Of course, the shout-outs would be incomplete without thank you’s to all the people who gave me context, ideas, and insider info from which to write: Jane, Jacie, Nick F. and everyone else from my Lehman Brothers days, Samantha, Lisa, Sunil, Joey, Jeni, Arthur, and anyone else I might have inadvertently overlooked.

Next, I have to thank my sister and my friend Carol for their early strong encouragement. Right behind them are my great friends from a now defunct ABWA group. In particular, I thank Janet, the world traveler, who continues to cheer me on. She read an early copy of Stan and said, “It read like a mystery. Kept me interested to the end!” In fact, many of my world-traveler friends (Barbara, Ellyn, Helen, etc.) have given me hope that I’ve written well about places I’ve not yet visited.

Thank you to all the members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup who keep showing up and making progress on their own books. Your successes, small and large, continue to encourage me.

Thanks to my dad, who always believed in my language skills, and Sister Laurian for being one of my very first encouragers. Thanks to my mom for all the creative genius she sent my way. And thank you to my amazing husband, John, who continues to support and encourage whatever new crazy idea I come up with next. The ride wouldn’t be worth taking without you, babe!

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I will offer be tossing out teasers on the ideas that might turn into my next novel.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Who do YOU need to thank today?

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Get out of your own way and Do. It. Now.

Day 31 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks about advice, giving and receiving. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 31 writing prompt:

What is the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received about the publishing process and/or what advice would you offer to a first-time author?

I’ve received so much advice over the years, it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one thing. I supposed Ray Bradbury’s constant mantra of “Writers write every day” is pretty important, even though I haven’t always lived up to that standard.

fail if stop writing

I think just about everything in Steven Pressfield’s amazing book, The War of Art, is impactful. Just get out of your own way. Perfectionism is the surest road to insanity and never finishing your book.

My advice to first-time authors is always the same: the physical making of the book is easy. Editing, book design, even marketing are not rocket science and are things for which you can generally hire, even on a meager budget. The Web – this blog ­– contains more marketing ideas than you could accomplish if you worked on it full-time. Sure, you’ve got to make a plan – a cohesive plan that you stick to and the steps of which you take toward your goal. The best-knit plan in the world won’t benefit you in the least if it doesn’t get used. But the one thing you cannot hire out – the one thing only YOU can bring to the table – is the story or message that you want to share with the world. No one else can give you a story or message. You, alone, have to figure out how to get it on paper.

There are many methods by which to do this:fear-has-a-job

  • Dictate your story and have the recordings transcribed.
  • Use mind-mapping to plot your story or chapters.
  • Write it on sticky notes and napkins and hand the whole bloody mess over to a ghost writer.
  • Write one looooonnnnnnggggg paragraph and hire an editor who can make it into a book.
  • Write bullet points and find someone to help you flesh them out.
  • Turn your blog posts into a book.
  • Turn the notes from your speeches and presentations into a book.
  • Record every meeting you have with clients and use the conversations as an idea-generator.

You get the idea!

Just get started. Write. Write every day. Write even if you don’t think it’s any good. Write without filtering, just to get your ideas down. Stop waiting; start writing. That’s it – best advice I could offer you. Do. It. Now.

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I will be sending out some well-deserved “thank you’s”.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to just getting started!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Id have to go back in time to cast “Stan” as a film

Day 30 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge grants me the fantasy of making my book into a film. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 29 writing prompt:

If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of a glowing Rotten Tomatoes review of your film.

OK – this feels a little like putting the cart before the horse, but since I’m all in for this Challenge (who came up with these prompts anyway?!), I’ll play along. Casting for the three main characters – Stan, Paula, and Gretchen – is easy. Again, since this is my fantasy, my rules. So I would just lift the cast of Definitely, Maybe, as they were when it was released in 2008, and insert them here for the film version of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World (sans the Rachel Weisz and the precocious child character). Ryan Reynolds would be Stan, Isla Fisher his best friend/love interest, and Elizabeth Banks would play the vain, egocentric Gretchen. Throw in Justin Long as Jack – the friend from grad school days and Frances McDormand as Stan’s mom, and we have a pretty good cast. I’m really not sure who I’d want to cast as Stan’s younger, developmentally disabled sister, Kerrie. It’s a small but important role that would have to go to someone willing to be unglamorous for a role, so maybe Emma Watson?

Cast of characters

Because this isn’t a chick flick, I’d want a tight writer who could invigorate the plot with a bit of drama. I’m not sure it’s her style, but Shonda Rhimes definitely comes to mind. And since I’ve limitless budget and a time machine, I’d also consider the ghost of John Hughes as cowriter.

The director role is a bit tougher. People I’d consider: Gus Van Sant, of Good Will Hunting and Milk fame; Stephen Frears, who directed High Fidelity and The Queen; and Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend It Like Beckham. But my number one choice would be Ben Affleck, who – say what you will about his acting and his personal life – has done a remarkable job with the two major films he’s directed thus far (Argo and The Town).

What does this exercise accomplish? I think that in order to see your book acted out as a film, it has to be succinct, action oriented, and plot driven. If nothing happens in your book, not much is going to happen in the film version, right? The good news is that I can see Stan making his way around the world. Sure, the movie version would highlight a half-dozen countries, as opposed to the 23 he visits in the book. But the more important backflashes would be there – as well as the ancillary characters who offer Stan some of the many lessons he learns as he finds himself.

Yep – it’s a book I would read and a movie I would watch!

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I will discuss the best advice I’ve ever received to advance my writing career.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to seeing YOUR book become a film!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Travel partners abound for “Stan”

Day 29 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks who the perfect partner would be to help me market my novel. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 29 writing prompt:

Who would be the perfect person/company to partner with to sell your book? It might be another author, a performer, a shop owner, a seminar facilitator, a teacher, etc. Pretty much, the answer to this question is limited only by your imagination. How will you reach out to that person/company? What’s the hook for your pitch?

Such an interesting question – and so very many ideas that come up, as a result! I think the number one partner for me would be a travel website like TripAdvisor.com – especially because I mention the site by name in the text. If movies can do product placement, why can’t a novel? Right now, the site is only mentioned once, but I think I’d be willing to have Stan stumble his fingers across the site more often in exchange for some good quid pro quo!

tripadvisor

Travel agents would also be potentially great partners, as would the aforementioned travel clubs and Meetups.

travel shop

Kitschy shops that sell maps, globes, and travel accessories would be a perfect fit. Alas, one of the coolest, the ADC Map and Travel Center in Washington, D.C., has shuttered its doors permanently. Specialty shops from each of the countries – or ones like Yucatecan Imports in Tempe, Ariz., that sell goods from all corners of the globe – might also be worth a phone call or a visit.

Yucatecan Imports

While I suppose not every traveler is a reader, travel does provide ample opportunity for reading … so a novel about travel is a great fit and certainly one of my hooks.

It’s time to hit the LinkedIn and see who in my circle knows someone who might hook me up with the perfect connections…

What about you? Who are your perfect partners? Chances are plenty of them, if you just put on your SBM* hat and let the ideas percolate awhile…

Please make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll be casting the Hollywood version of #StanTravels!

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Social media is one TOOL in an author’s marketing toolbox

Day 28 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to talk social media. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 28 writing prompt:

How are you using social media to promote your book? What aspect of social media would you like to learn more about? What are your next steps?

Social media is a tricky beast. Authors get all kinds of bogged down in mastering the perfect post to help them sell more books. In reality, however, social media is about connection. This is not to say that sales can’t and won’t come as a result of an author’s social media efforts. But increased sales, specifically, is probably the wrong goal.

SM crossword color

Better goals would be:

  • Increased visibility – so that people have heard of you before
  • New relationships which can lead to unexpected doors opening
  • Partnerships with other authors, near and far
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Ideas sparked by watching what other authors (or non-authors) are doing

tigers-book-cover-e1396893475651I’ve written before about the success of Robert Scanlan, author of Tigers Under My Bed: Life Lessons Tamed During Three Organ Transplants. Initially quite skeptical about the value of social media, Robert did his research and rightly determined that LinkedIn was the best platform for him. Through his LinkedIn connections, he was able to get his book in front of several renowned transplant surgeons shortly after its release in May 2014. Now, it is being used as an ancillary textbook in both the USC and UCLA medical schools. Sure, his sales have increased. But more importantly, this positions Robert as an expert on his subject matter, which will lead to more exposure and paid speaking gigs. These sure offer a better payday than selling a single book to one new follower on Twitter.

My novel is about a guy who travels around the world. Not quite the gravitas of organ pacific coast tourtransplantation, but I do manage to touch on some important issues along the way. For example, the story ends just after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Atlantic Coast in the fall of 2012. Social issues are always relevant and good conversation starters for social media.

Another thing to keep in mind is that social media is not a marketing strategy. It’s a tool you apply to your specific marketing efforts – like a media release or email signature.

Personal social media goals

  • Facebook author page for Laura Orsini
  • Tweetchats about travel to the countries Stan visits
  • A video book trailer, using the cartoon version of Stan I created on com
  • Get started on Instagram – the one platform I’ve been hemming and hawing about
  • Jump into Periscope with both feet
  • Connecting with English-speaking readers from other parts of the world

All of this will be in support of a Pacific Coast train tour I am planning for summer of 2016! It’s still in the early idea phase, but it will happen. And I’m looking to take 5 to 7 other authors with me. So if you can afford to take a couple weeks off and want to invest in the trip of a lifetime with some other amazing authors, please be sure to contact me!

Please also make sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll be discussing my ideal business and marketing partners … some of whom may actually exist!

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to using social media as a tool to enhance all your other marketing efforts!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________SM for authors COVER

If you’re new to social media, my book Social Media for Authors goes into much greater detail about when, how, and where to post for the greatest chances at succeeding with your specific goals. Get your copy today! It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Growing a fiction platform is radically different than nonfiction…

Day 27 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to describe the things they’re doing to grow their author platforms. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 27 writing prompt:

What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform?

Certain terms become so overused that their meaning gets diluted. There may be a danger of this when it comes to “author platform” – but it’s too important a concept to ignore. As we’ve shared in the past on this blog:

An author’s platform is his/her ability to reach their audience of book-buyers, or their plan to do so. It is a measure of your EXISTING INFLUENCE and your ABILITY TO SELL to your market. This is why celebrities find it much easier to land book deals than unknown writers they already have a built-in audience.

In learning to think like a Savvy Book Marketer (SBM), you’ve got to tap into all the ways and places you can start creating demand for your book (before it’s even printed) and expand your sphere of influence. This includes things like:

  • Public speaking
  • Radio and TV interviews
  • Articles, on- and offline
  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Video marketing

The good news in my situation is that I’ve got a pretty good social media presence, a lively speaking career, a solid blog following (thank YOU for reading!), and the wherewithal to get video marketing underway. The challenge is that I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years building my business of helping other authors make and market their books, so that’s where my attention has been focused. It remains to be seen whether the audience converts Ballet of the Unhatched Chicksto support me as a novelist.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not counting any unhatched chicks (to borrow a favorite phrase from my mom).

Marketing a novel – and building a platform as a fiction author – is a different beast than using books to support an existing business. Generally speaking, fiction readers want one thing from you if they like you: more novels. But a successful novelist also knows how to cultivate relationships with his/her readers by offering behind-the-scenes glimpses into their characters’ world.

In the case of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, as opposed to, say, a sci-fi or paranormal story, there’s lots from reality to draw on. Articles about the social issues. Talks to travel groups and arts organizations. Pinterest boards with images from the countries Stan visits. But a really creative fantasy novelist will be able to build such a realistic world for his/her readers that they can treat it similarly. Who’s to say that a gay cyclops who feels ostracized by his peers couldn’t be the perfect jumping off point for a conversation about diversity at a youth center?

Group-Travel

Stan and Isis have their own blog, which will get much more attention in the days to come. Their interests and focus will be more focused on the above-mentioned social and travel issues than Marcie’s posts, which will continue to focus on book marketing.

I’m also planning a virtual treasure hunt that will take participants along the same trail Stan follows.

The goal is to grow Stan’s platform organically, one valued, enthusiastic reader at a time.

What steps are YOU taking to continue to grow your author platform? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll go into detail about how I am using/plan to use social media to get the word out about #StanTravels.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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Meetups, nonprofits, and gift shops – I’ve got my eye on you!

Day 26 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks me to consider non-bookstore sales venues. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 26 writing prompt:

What would be the ideal NON-bookstore venue for selling your book? Why? What is your plan to reach out to such a venue to ask about having them carry your book?

Here I go again, forcing myself to do the work! Well, since Stan Finds Himself on the Other meetup_logoSide of the World is part travelogue, part social commentary, and part fiction, it likely has a home in travel and book club Meetups; with organizations that help the homeless, promote artistic ventures, and have any interest at all in dogs; and in airport, train and bus station gift shops.

The Meetups are easy – start with an email to the organizer.

nonprofit partnerThe nonprofits will take some research to determine whom to approach and how to pitch them. The great news is that these kinds of organizations usually have their own social media presence, existing mailing lists, and a publicity mechanism in place. The key is to find the sweet spot of an offer that benefits both the organization and the promotion of #StanTravels. The last thing you ever want to do when approaching a nonprofit about a partnership is to come at them with your hand out. The goal is to bring a win-win opportunity to the table, if not one where they feel they’re getting the better end of the deal.

train station gift shop

Then, there are the gift shops. For those, I will head to their website media rooms, find the names and contact info for their PR folks, and reach out accordingly. This will mean having a professional one sheet for my book ready to go, along with a media kit on my website. Oh, wait – website?!! OK, website.

I’m not there yet, but at least I know the steps I need to take. Time to break out the calendar and make a timeline – especially with the holidays almost upon us!

Where do you (plan to) sell books, other than bookstores?

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll describe the things I am doing to grow my author platform.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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I am now my own client…

Day 25 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge inquires about my views on my book as a business. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 25 writing prompt:

If your goal is to sell books, you must view your book as a business. In what ways do you treat your book as a business? Where could you improve? What resources could you leverage to improve your book business?

Doncha love it when you come up with a clever idea … or blog prompt … and then, when it’s time for you to implement or answer the call, you hem and haw and think of a dozen much more important things that need doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE?

OK – it’s not quite that bad. But I feel a bit of wriggling going on as I sit here to type out my business plan for Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. I think I struggle because it’s difficult to separate Stan from the rest of my business. And while it is a component of my business helping socially conscious authors write, publish, and market their books, it’s quite different to be in the client chair than the service provider position.

So how would I start with a new client?

I’d find out where they are in the publication process.

  • Idea
  • Draft in progress
  • Manuscript complete
  • Book in print

I would assess their goals, budget, and timeline. If they have a $200 budget and want to get their book into print in time for the 2015 holiday season, I might suggest they shift to a more realistic goal.

If they were hiring me on the marketing side, I’d do an assessment of their existing social media footprint. I’d also look at the subject of their book and brainstorm marketing ideas specific to their subject/storyline.

If their goal was hearty and their budget meek, I might suggest a crowdfunding campaign. This could succeed, however, only if they already had a crowd to tap. I would recommend they search out and read/listen to Amanda Palmer’s unbelievably amazing book, The Art of Asking. Here’s what I wrote about it for the group blog for Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion:

Amanda Palmer is an expert at asking, and she has figured out how to successfully harness the Power of the Group. So much so that she waged the highest theartofasking_imageearning Kickstarter campaign to date. So much so that she gave a TED Talk that has had 3.6 million views. So much so that she was asked to inspire a group of women programmers/engineers at Microsoft. So much so that she authored the absolutely-must-read book, The Art of Asking. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.

I’m not much of an audiobook person, but recently I’ve been doing a lot of driving. I was at the library, so I decided to explore the audiobooks and came across The Art of Asking. I’d already seen the TED Talk, so I was pretty sure the book would be good, too. Understatement of the year. Best book. Important book. Book that could change the world if everyone would just read/listen to it. I recommend the audiobook version because Amanda is an amazing storyteller. If you just read the words, you’ll miss her nuance, miss her vocal variety, miss her doing her husband’s voice in a British accent.

Did you notice how smoothly I did that, changed the subject from my book as a business to recommending someone else’s book? All well and good in the right time and place – but this is the place where I’ve committed to telling you about my book’s business plan.

First off, a status update. The writing is still in progress, but I’ve made a commitment to have the thing finished before Thanksgiving. It’s been done for a while now, with an ending and everything; however, I’m still filling in gaps in the story. I’ve connected with a very good editor who simultaneously pissed me off and made me very happy with her early suggestions. Yes – this writer’s ego is just like every other writer’s: it wants to think it’s perfect and needs no help. But then I remember that Michael Jordan credited his coaches with making him a great player, and my ego takes a breath and climbs back on the shelf for a while.

As much as I thought a January 8 launch might be possible (my mom’s birthday – and Elvis’ birthday, too!) I’m not sure how feasible that is, following on the heels of the holidays so quickly. Early 2016 is about all I know for the moment.

My budget is flexible – and I’m willing to spend some money to get where I want to go with this book. I’ve got some prompts coming up that will address a few more specifics about the marketing plans. Suffice to say it will be fun – and potentially dangerous – to apply all my own tricks and ideas to marketing my own book.

I will make the book available on Amazon (at least in the short term), as well as Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, BookBaby, and other online channels. This means it will be a printed book and an eBook. And, as mentioned in my October 2nd post, it will one day soon also be an audiobook.

Crowdfunding for a book tour? I’m all over it! I have a list of 10 potential thank-you gifts to offer backers (things like a photo scrapbook of Isis, Stan’s dog, in all the countries they visit and entries my own clientfrom Stan’s journal), but after listening to Amanda Palmer’s book, I’m rethinking some of those. Make that, thinking BIGGER about some of those. For example, for the grand thank-you, I’d now like to do writer’s workshop and a signing event on an Alaskan cruise!

As many of my co-participants in the Author Blog Challenge have mentioned, finding the time for it all is the most significant aspect. That’s where I’ve got to get disciplined about wearing my client hat when it’s time to work on MY book business. The thought of going and changing my clothes to meet myself for my appointment just occurred to me. Goofy? To be sure – but if that’s what it takes, I’m all for it!

If you’ve got any ideas about how you approach your book business, please share them with us in the Comments section below.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll describe the best non-bookstore venues for Stan.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

 

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Book lovin’ globetrotters, a stuffed Jack Russell terrier, and me

Day 24 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks the participating authors to describe their first book signings. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

______________________

Day 24 writing prompt:

Describe your first book signing – real or imagined.

Well, the plan is for this signing to become real, even though at this moment on this timeline of my life, it is still theoretical, imaginary, yet-to-be.

So Stan travels around the world via many different forms of transportation. Of course, the most common are plane, train, and ship. But there are also bikes (both the motor and pedal kinds), rickshaws, jeepneys, hitchhiking, and, of course, hoofing it. So my goal is to plan book signings in major U.S. cities with each of Stan’s primary means of travel: airports, train stations, and public piers.

modes of travel

Will this require some effort? You bet. Will it be newsworthy? Probably. Worthwhile? Absolutely.

And, ultimately, I’d like to travel to a few of the calmer areas Stan visits to do signings in those countries, too. Just by sheer luck of the timing on this book – he sets out in April 2011 – Stan misses the most significant turmoil to eventually hit the places he goes. His visit precedes the Greek financial meltdown, the Arab Spring, and the violent unrest in Turkey. He sees protests forming, political unrest fomenting, and early rallies in the streets, but none it touches him to the degree that he feels personally endangered by it.

My first signing may be smallish. I’m thinking the Deer Valley Airport with dozens of my closest friends and local authors and artists. I encountered the amazing work of a local artist named Savannah Ashely this weekend – will definitely be reaching out to her regarding her globe art for the event.

Savannah Ashley globes

OTHER DETAILS

  • The menu will likely be determined by the venue’s catering options.
  • Favors will include old maps, globe keychains, and vintage airline wings, of course.
  • My own Jack Russell terrier is no longer with us – but I’m on the lookout for the perfect stuffed version.
  • A slide show with real images from people in the places Stan visits sounds about right.
  • Oh – and I’ll read something. A passage I’ve rehearsed … a lot.

Not yet sure of the date of this first signing – but it will definitely be in early 2016. Keep watching this space, as notice will be posted well in advance. If you’re a book lovin’ globetrotter in the Phoenix area (further afield in AZ if you don’t mind driving), I hope you’ll make plans to join me. Pull up a chair. Break bread. And share your favorite travel stories.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll describe the ways I treat my writing as a business…

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

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