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Posts Tagged ‘#StanTravels’

Ideas for October Book Promotions

October days

As you may be well aware, I’ve been working on a novel for a while now. We’re closing in on the finish – I can see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, in that I’ve hired an editor who has already looked over my manuscript. He’s given me a quote, and I’ve given him a guarantee to have the final version to him by Thanksgiving. That’s progress! #StanTravels

In addition, I’ve hired a coach to help me create and conduct a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for said editing (good editing is expensive, but worth every penny!) and printing/distribution of the book. The crowdfunding campaign will launch in January. To that end, I’ve embarked on a social media blitz to grow my list, as it pertains to people interested in Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. That means posting every day across multiple platforms, as well as a coordinated video effort which will have me reading the entire story, out loud, on video. I’ll let you know when I’ve that series launches. “Say CHEESE!”

So I’ve been looking around for fun things to post and it occurred to me that there might be some cool holidays that relate to the multiple themes of Stan’s trip around the world. Brownielocks.com did not disappoint! There are many, many days celebrating topics or themes from the novel. Read the post I wrote about those specific holidays here.

If you’re needing fodder for your own blog feed or social media pages, the following are just a sampling of the various “holidays” in October.

October calendar

Just based on this small smattering of holidays, there are many things you can do, regardless of your genre. For Frugal Is Fun Day, come up with a super-cool, super-cheap marketing idea. Invite a handful or your tribe out for beer or wine at your favorite pub/wine bar and do an impromptu reading the week of the 8th. It would no doubt be unorthodox, but have a party at the cemetery on the 29th – especially if your book has a spooky theme! If you have a publicist, create a special thank-you for them on the 30th.

But perhaps none of these resonate with you. As I posted on Stan’s blog the other day, you might want to create your own holiday. First, check to make sure it doesn’t already exist – there are the craziest days you’ve ever heard of on the Brownielocks.com. If “Left-Handed Golfers Who Wear Hats Day” isn’t on the list, but that’s your book’s audience, you might just want to create such a day. Start by doing a search for “how to create your own holiday.” This will yield many a story, tip-sheet, and blog post on the subject.

So which holiday – whether it’s in October or any other time of the year – is the perfect one to acknowledge when it comes to generating buzz for YOUR book?

And, by the way…

“Knock-knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Cows go.”
“Cows go who?”

cows go moo

Laura

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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.

__________________

What are 3 biggest new author mistakes?

Learn the steps that will set you apart from 95% of all new authors.

(Hint: It’s NOT too late, even if you’ve already placed your first printing order for books!)

CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE REPORT NOW!

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Hoisting a glass of Guinness with Stan in County Cork…

Day 23 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to describe a fictional/fantasy encounter with their favorite character from their 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 23 writing prompt:

If you could meet one of your main characters or ideal reader anywhere in the world for coffee, drinks, dinner, or a caramel (tipping my hat to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting), who would it be, where would you meet them, and why?

Stan in Ireland

I love the idea of this – having coffee or dinner with my main character. Stanford Crowley is based on a real person and, admittedly, for the first little while, I would think of my personal friend when I pictured Stan. However, Stan is a FICTIONAL character, and before long, he became his own person. He may be modeled on my friend, and when I wonder what Stan might do in a particular circumstance, I sometimes think about what my friend would likely do in the same situation, but he’s developed his own thoughts and behaviors and personality quirks.

The character of Paula is less of a mystery because she is very much based on me – so she wouldn’t be at all interesting for me to meet. Gretchen is based on no one in particular, but she behaves like every horrible vixen/villainess/antiheroine that you’ve ever encountered in a TV drama or romantic comedy, and I’d have no desire to ever chat one-on-one with her. I love some of the tertiary characters – more plot devices than people – but they are deliberately unidimensional, so they probably wouldn’t be that interesting to talk with, at least as written.

So Stan it is.

Would he be interesting? Probably not so much, at first. But there would be Irish pubsomething charming about his stuck-in-his-ways way. He’d be kind and smart and a good conversationalist. He’d be a gentleman and inquire about me and my interests. He’d enjoy organic beer if we were meeting someplace like Scottsdale. But my preference would be an actual Irish pub near Blarney Castle where I’d force myself to choke down a Guinness with my fish and chips. He’d eat Irish stew and pass on the bread. We’d sit outside on a balmy summer evening because this is my fantasy, and it would not be raining. Not all that farfetched in my book, as the only time I was in Ireland, I had five days of perfect weather without a single raindrop in sight.

We’d compare notes about our time in the Tri-State Area. I’d tell him about my first visit tonotel motel Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City. I was brand new to the city and had no idea it was one of the seediest streets in the area. My boyfriend was in town for one night and we wanted to stay in a motel instead of at my sister’s apartment. When he went to check in, the clerk’s response was, “You want to stay the WHOLE night?” Years later, I wound up living two blocks east of that exact area of Tonnelle Avenue in a quaint neighborhood filled with four-family walk-ups.

He’d tell me about his fight with Paula, how Gretchen had betrayed him, and how he felt he’d let down his sister Kerrie. He’d show me a picture of his Jack Russell terrier, Isis – if she wasn’t with us snoozing quietly under the table. We’d talk into the wee hours, decide it was time to move on, make one last toast, and then each head off to our respective B&Bs. It would be one of those magical, momentary encounters that stays with you for a lifetime. And later, snuggled back in my bed in Phoenix, I’d wonder if it had been real of if I had just imagined the whole thing.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll lay out the plans for my first book signing…

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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Calling anyone who knows Anthony Bourdain…

Day 22 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to let the world in on who they’d like to have endorse their books. 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 22 writing prompt:

If you could ask anyone in the world to write a blurb for your book, who would it be? Why that person/people? How did/will you go about reaching them? Yes – really!

no as an answer

I don’t remember where I learned this nugget, but it’s the best damned piece of advice I’ve ever received – or given to every single one of my clients. Or, as my friend Connie Kadansky puts it, “Get your ask in gear.”

So the question at hand is who I would ask to write a blurb for Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World. This question, too, began as an icebreaker for a Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion networking-only event. And, like the question about which song best represents your book, this one got people talking – as intended.

Strangely, it took me longer than I’d have thought to come up with the right person to ask for an anthony_bourdainendorsement of Stan, but once I arrived there, I was sure I’d hit on the perfect person: Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, and host of CNN’s popular show, “Parts Unknown.” Will he be challenging to get to? Perhaps – but maybe someone who’s just two degrees of separation from him is reading this very post! Stranger things have most certainly happened.

One person quipped that Bourdain isn’t the most loquacious guy to go seeking a blurb from. No worries. Regardless of how tight-lipped or busy he may be, all I need for him to do is put his name behind three little words: “Read this book!”

So if anyone reading this lives next door to the college kid who babysits Bourdain’s daughter … ahem, I’d really, really, really appreciate an introduction.

Certainly there are others … and I’ll make a short list. But I’m going to put my intention behind this one and leave the rest up to the book marketing angels.

One thing I know is that I’d better get started now. Even when the person you ask does say yes, it can take a while – sometimes a long while – for them to come through with the promised blurb or endorsement. Keep asking – gently. There’s a nearly invisible line between nagging enough to get what you need and facing a stalking charge.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll fantasize about having a beer with 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 wonderful writing surprises!

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’d stay up all night chatting with my ideal reader…

Day 21 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge gives participants the opportunity to identify something every author needs to know: his/her ideal reader. 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 21 writing prompt:

Describe the market for your book – to the tiniest detail (e.g., childless divorced women past age 50 who want to remarry). Why that demographic? Describe their psychographics. How do you connect with them to market to them?

I am continually amazed, as a book marketing consultant, how many authors fail to consider – or often even have a clue – who the audience for their books is. They just decide they’re going to write a book – and figure they’ll get to the marketing stuff later. Then the book is done, they’ve got a palette of them sitting in their garages, and they wish they’d given some thought to their audiences earlier.

As I have mentioned at considerable length in many prior posts, knowing your reader is crucial to getting your books in his/her hands. This includes really fine-point details:

Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, you must know everything you can about your reader. This includes two components: demographics and psychographics. Demographics means measurable things like age, education, and marital/parenting status. Psychographics, on the other hand, are the things that make your reader unique, such as their personality traits, values, and attitudes.

When it comes to reading, here are some interesting statistics to consider:

  • In a 2013 survey of 1,005 people in the U.S. conducted in English and Spanish via landlines and cell phones, some 76 percent of adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. (I am very skeptical of this statistic.)
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/
  • Women are more likely than men to have read a book in the previous 12 months, and those with higher levels of income and education are more likely to have done so as well.
http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/
  • The average college freshman reads at a seventh-grade level.
http://campusreform.org/?ID=6174
  • The average reading level for American adults is about seventh to eighth grade.
http://www.clearlanguagegroup.com/readability/
  • The reading skills of American adults are significantly lower than those of adults in most other developed countries, according to a new international survey.
http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-american-adults-have-low-and-declining-reading-proficiency-20131008-story.html
  • There are almost half-a-million words in the English Language – the largest language on earth, incidentally – but one-third of all our writing is made up of only 22 words. (Scary!)
http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp#
  • According to the Literacy Project Foundation, 50 percent of American adults cannot read a book at the eighth-grade level.
http://literacyprojectfoundation.org/community/statistics/

Some of these stats conflict a bit, and overall the news is not good for reading and literacy in America. However, I’m not here to dwell on these issues today. My point is that my reader is not the average American reader.

Meg Cabot

If you’re thinking this image looks familiar, it’s because I used it for my Sept. 24th post, “If ‘Stan’ were nonfiction, it’d still be a travelogue… just drier.

While I don’t think I deliberately set out to do this, looking back on my novel writing process, it seems inevitable that I would write something I wanted to read. I mean, who doesn’t? Children’s authors, maybe. But don’t you think you’d HAVE to write a book that you, personally, would like? Otherwise, it would feel forced and fraudulent.

To that end, my reader is smart – more than likely college educated. He or she likes to travel, or at least enjoys learning about other cultures, and is probably better traveled than Stan, at least at the start of his trip. He or she will tend to lean politically liberal (a Bernie Sanders fan, to be sure) – or will wind up chucking the book across the room at various points in the reading of it. He/she maymillennials or may not have a religious tradition. More than likely, they are exploring and open to various spiritual teachings. I’m surmising this reader is younger – a Millennial or Gen-Xer. I’m having to keep this in mind as I write – to make an effort to be more socially current than I personally may have an interest in. This is one place where I am not exactly my reader.

My reader wants needs to make a difference. He/she is wired and connected to a handful of the most useful social media platforms – which is, in large part, where I will go to meet him or her. He or she reads the news online. Thinks Trevor Noah is doing a better job than they expected. Still likes and shops at bookstores. Loves indie coffee houses. Shops thrift stores. Recycles. Has done volunteer work and attended several Meetups in the last year. He or she is urban, as opposed to suburban or rural. He or she embraces public transportation, has a bicycle and rides unashamedly and unironically. He or she is fairly health conscious, eats organic at least sometimes, is assuredly opposed to Monsanto, and has called/emailed his or her legislator on at least one issue of importance. Is amused by PeopleOfWalmart.com but prefers DailyCurrant.com.

I think the biggest challenge with meeting my readers in person is that I’ll love them and want to hang out with them and chat into the wee hours (at which time they are most definitely up!), which would leave little time for anything else, seeing as meeting interesting new people is probably my most favorite activity in the entire world. A great problem to have, I suppose – meeting too many new people and having to cut conversations short. Ask me again in a year.

Well, that may not be every detail, but it’s a hell of a start. So tell us a bit about who your ideal reader is and how you plan to connect with him/her. Use the Comments section below…

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll reveal who I’d really, really like to have endorse my book…

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 wonderful writing surprises!

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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Self publishing “Stan” for all the right reasons

Day 20 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to discuss their publishing choices. 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 20 writing prompt:

Did you publish your book as a traditionally printed book, an eBook, an audiobook, or all three? How did you come to your decision? Which company(ies) did you use for printing, formatting, recording, editing, and distribution? How did you select them?

I think at some point, almost every beginning author fantasizes about a publishing contract with a large house, a fat advance, giant PR budget, and extensive book tour. And while some authors certainly have that fantasy come true, most of us may have one or the other of those things happen, but it’s unlikely that a fairy godmother will turn all of our ragtag dreams into a Cinderella reality.

raven author2market

Anymore, the biggest deal is not making a beautiful, professional book one can proudly display and sell and sign at author events. Even self-published authors with great skills, a solid supporting cast, and/or a decent budget can make one. The biggest deal is finding readers for said beautiful book. While there are many tools at an author’s disposal for marketing said beautiful book, they only work when:

(a) the author has a plan

(b) the author commits to the plan and executes it faithfully

(c) the author stays the course and is consistent about his/her marketing efforts

(d) the author monitors the plan so he/she knows what’s working and what isn’t

(e) the author tweaks the plan accordingly

My plan for Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World is to self-publish as a print book, an ebook, and eventually an audiobook. I’m in conversation with an editor right now – preparing to send her a draft so she can see my work and provide a sample edit. As a professional editor, I’ve mentioned that I’m pretty fussy about who touches my work. She’s an excellent writer, though, and a good person with a wonderful sense of humor – so I’m thinking she may be a perfect fit. Mind you, not every good writer is an excellent editor, but I think it almost always happens that a good editor is a pretty decent writer. We met through the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup, where a fair amount of professional services are exchanged.

The print and ebooks are easy. I work with a great local (Phoenix) printer who came highly recommended and has never disappointed. I will likely use several ebook distribution services, including Amazon, at least for the short term. As for the audiobook…

I know, I know, I know that it’s highly discouraged for authors to read their own books, but I really want to try it. I also know it’s super-duper absolutely ultimately highly discouraged not to use a professional studio, but I have access to a couple semi-professional studios, and also may attempt that. What I won’t attempt is the editing. I’ve never done much audio editing, but I’ve rewound and rewound and rewound while doing transcription, so I can only imagine the tedium that accompanies eliminating every um, er, cough, or sniffle, not to mention adding appropriate stops for commas, dashes, periods, and ends of paragraphs. Fortunately, we also have a Stan @ Mt Olympusfantastic audiobook production company in the Valley. So regardless of the level of support I need, I’m sure I can get it reliably.

Other plans include a coloring book – probably initially reserved for a crowdfunding campaign – as well as a cookbook with food and drink recipes from all the places Stan visits. These will almost surely become ancillary products. Depending on the success of my musical venture with my husband, we may put together a CD and/or digital album as another ancillary offering. There will be no sequel to Stan, but the goal is to get my next novel done in less than half the time it’s taken Stan to hit the streets.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll be describing who I see as the market 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 wonderful writing surprises!

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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