Tag Archives: business

Are You Crazy or Just An Author?

So your book is published. Great! And now you’re trying to promote it. Welcome to Fight Club! But what works?

If you search the web, you’ll be inundated with info, promises, sworn testimonies…

I found one company that claims a book trailer is the key to success, never mind the fact that they produce videos for a living.

Others promise to tweet your book to thousands for a small fee.  I decided to try one since they have 44,000 followers. I even went in with a realistic expectation: sell 2 books and get some new followers on Facebook or Twitter. Fail. Waste. Moving on…

And then there are the gurus offering free videos. I watched several but found the info commonplace and felt like I was stuck at an Amway convention. Sure enough, at the end of the freebie, they get to the point of their spiel: sign up for their not-so-free courses for the REAL secrets to success. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe I’m a fool for not buying.  I guess I’m a cynical tightwad who’s not willing to toss in $500 +/_ to find out.

Frustrated, I asked two friends, D.Alan Lewis & Teal Haviland, what their experience has been marketing books. Their candor was refreshing and if nothing else, confirms I’m not going crazy. Not yet.

Have Paid Promotions Increased Sales?

“I have paid for 2 different ads on Facebook and saw zero sales for the books being promoted during the sales drive. I’ve paid for small ads on various websites and have seen little to no sales from the effort. So far, I’ve not found anything that really works well. I know some folks have had success with various social media platforms, but most authors that I talk with are still struggling with sales.  Social media is a great and mostly free way to advertise, but it doesn’t translate into big sales.  Still, everytime I push books on Facebook, I do see a few sales, so it does help.” Alan

“I have paid for advertising on Facebook. From what I can tell, I’ve had little success from it and feel it’s been a waste of my money. I do, however, have author friends who’ve paid for advertising on Facebook and they say, if done right, that it can be very effective. I haven’t tried the things they’ve suggested, yet, because I’m waiting to pay for further advertising when I have my entire series done and released.” Teal

Do You Use Social Media?

 “I do use social media, namely Facebook,Twitter, and a personal blog. Because of the tools available through these sites, I’m able to automatically send every post on Facebook to my Twitter account.  My Amazon Author Page is set to display all my Twitter messages, so everything on Facebook is sent all over the place. I have a blog on Google which is automatically shared on my website and on my Amazon Author page, so again, the word is shared through multiple venues. Since Facebook only allows 5% of your friends to see any kind of marketing post on your page, I found that having multiple pages helps to increase the number of folks seeing an ad.  In my case, I have a personal page, an author page, and 3 other pages that are dedicated to different books/series.” Alan
“I have used social media for marketing, mainly Facebook and Twitter, but I’ve been taking a hiatus from any marketing right now.” Teal

What Has Helped Sales?

“So far, I’ve not found anything that really works well. I know some folks have had success with various social media platforms, but most authors that I talk with are still struggling with sales.  Social media is a great and mostly free way to advertise, but it doesn’t translate into big sales.  Still, everytime I push books on Facebook, I do see a few sales, so it does help.” Alan

“I think the key to the marketing conundrum so many authors find themselves in, is to realize that there are things that will work one time, that you’ll then do for the next book and it might not work at all. Even if you do everything the same. Our industry and what readers consider “hot” are constantly changing and we, as authors, have to be willing to go with the flow. We need to just write the stories we want to write and release them to the world, then do our best to let the readers out there know our book is there.” Teal

Any Sage Advice?

“Write. Rewrite. Edit. Release. Do your best to market, and let it go. Then, rinse and repeat. Your readers will find you, eventually. Make sure they have a lot to get their hands on when they do.” Teal

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How About A Discounted Book?

My publisher is running a 75% off special on e-books until March 8th. I’m posting here to get the word out.

“All your customers have to do is go to the Smashwords website, search for your book’s title, click on the title (to take them to the book’s check out page), click the “Buy” button, and use the coupon code REW75.

Thanks and happy reading!

JL

 


Books, Writing & Promo

Today’s post is my grocery list of what I’m taking on these days as an author. Maybe you’ll find it interesting or maybe you’ll be able to relate, but if nothing else, I wanted to share the misery, um, I mean the joy of working this thing called promotion. So here we go…

Book III is at my publisher. I’m excited to get his feedback! More on this later…

Working on bookmarks to use as business cards. I’m not but others with graphic design skills are.

Reaching out to bloggers/fans for interviews and reviews. If you’re interested, drop me a line. If you’re really serious, I’ll toss you a free e-book. Okay, not literally toss like a baseball since it’s digital media but I think you get what I mean.

Getting my map created by my uber talented son. The fact that he will take my chicken scratchings and turn them into something visually appealing will be a miracle in and of itself. The new map will be inserted into Tears and Moon as well as Book III.

Considering posting a short story in my blog but doing so a chapter at a time. Kind of like “tune in next week” sorta thing. Why? Well, because I’d rather write a story than blab into your conscience about this or that. I’ll let my characters do that 🙂

Well, time to go; the list is long and the day is short. Wishing you well in all your endeavors.

JL

 


“Hey-I’m Back!”

I love the last scene in “The Color of Money.”

Vincent (Tom Cruise), the up-and-coming pool shark, asks Eddie (Paul Newman) why he thinks he can beat him. Eddie looks up from his pool cue, eyes Vincent, and says: “Hey-I’m back.” And then breaks.

I’m there. I can relate. I want back in the game. Not billiards, but in moving forward as an author.

I just handed Book III of my War of Whispers series to my publisher. Yeah, good feeling! LOVE the whole writing/editing stuff.

But now I’m faced with traversing the Himalayas of marketing, and I’ll be honest–“Hate it!”

Please don’t be offended; I’m just rethinking the “Ya’ Gotta Do THIS!” mumbo-jumbo that’s being sold like snake oil all over the place. If I really hate it, should I do it? After all, won’t you pick up on the fact that I’m not into it, that I’m pitching something that’s not genuine, that’s not me?

So instead, I’m looking for ways to meet people, whether online or at a cafe, that’s more in line with “me.” Organic is a buzz word, so maybe it’s that. I prefer authentic, real & meaningful to organic, which reminds me of a compost heap 🙂 But I digress…

So I’m rolling up my sleeves, grabbing my cue stick, and racking up the balls ala Eddie. And just like that last scene, if I get knocked down, beaten, and taken, I’m going to get back up, brush myself off and try again.

Only hopefully a wee bit smarter!


Just Get Over It!

Pulltight Hill

Pulltight Hill…on a CLEAR day!

Since I’ve been cycling a lot more than writing, I thought I’d take time to share my recent ride and how it’s comparable to writing.

But first, let me give you some back story. This coming Saturday, I’ll be riding with a bunch of other crazy folks who think that grinding gears for 100 miles is “fun.” Well, it is if you adhere to the adage “misery loves company.” And the main reason I’m doing this is so I’ll be in top shape for the 100 mile fundraiser I’m doing September 21st. If you’re curious about the event and would even like to contribute, then please go to JDRF.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s refocus on last Saturday’s ride. The goal was 75, which I’ve already done, so this was simply to maintain endurance. However, at our refueling stop at mile-marker 40, my riding partner, James, announces to some local farmers that we’re doing 80. I cringe. I know 5 extra miles doesn’t sound like a big deal, but that wee bit can usher in disaster and misfortune. Fortunately the weather was overcast and cool by Tennessee’s standards, but we still had 2 big hills to climb, one of which–Pulltight Hill–we’d never ridden before.

Not being one to back down from a challenge, even one from a zealous friend, I set off with James in the mist. We joke how we have to do 80 or else those farmers will hunt us down with their 4×4’s or Tweet snide comments.

At around the 55 mile mark, we reach Pulltight and start our ascent. James, who is a much stronger rider than I am, makes some upbeat comment about taking it easy while scooting up the incline with the ease of a mountain goat. I’m more like an old mule plodding, groaning and making funny noises as I breathe.

When I reach the top, James is snapping pics and blabbing stuff like, “THAT wasn’t so bad!” I was too busy coughing up lung and sucking my water bottle to reply.

We roll on and the mist turns to rain, which makes drafting a nightmare. When we hit the 65 mile mark, we’ve ridden out of the rain and discuss route options in order to reach our goal of 80.

At this point, I’m not feeling so good. At the time, I just thought I was having an off day. But as this is Tuesday and I still have a sour tummy, I think I had a stomach bug. All of which is important to what happens next.

As we head up the last big climb of the day, I get light-headed, lose focus and wreck. James races back and is horrified at the sight. I’m sprawled in a rocky ditch near a metal drainage pipe. He told me later that he expected to see blood spurting everywhere and having to dial 911. As for me, I was just relieved he didn’t have to do mouth-to-mouth!

Thankfully, no, actually miraculously, my helmet and left hip took the blunt of the fall, and aside from some cuts, strawberries and my woozy head, I was okay. Even my bike survived; only the front wheel needing to be trued.

I steel myself, climb back on, and we finish the ride. No, we didn’t reach 80 (I ended up with 76) but it would indeed be the ride, or wreck, to talk about for some time.

All of that to say that writing books is an endurance event. It takes a ton of hard work, a boat-load of dedication, some days suck, and you will wreck. But you don’t quit and you hunger to be better, and the only way to improve IS to write (bike) with those stronger and better than you.

So you climb back into the saddle, grind over the next hill, and hope the downhill leads to a better tomorrow. And despite the misery and frustration, the setbacks and rainy days, there’s one truth that keeps you spinning along.

You really do love it.


Three Rules To Writing

If life is a river, then I’m body surfing white rapids!

Work is SO busy that I hardly have time for anything else, but has that ever slowed me down? Of course not. I simply pick up the pace, sleep less and wonder why everyone is so irritable (after all, it ain’t me!)

Crammed into the work week is my training for a 100 mile bike ride to raise $$ for juvenile diabetes (JDRF) I log 150 miles a week which takes a ton-o-time and energy. And yeah, that was a plug to see if you’d consider donating or at least cheer me on.

That would be enough, right? BUT NO! I’m also working on Book III of my War of Whispers series. When? Well, that’s a silly question! Naturally this is done before sunrise. DUH!

So it’s little wonder that blog and Twitter posts have fallen by the wayside.

Nevertheless, I’m squeezing one out this morn and wanted to share a quest post I did for Jill Edmondson’s Blog.

I shared my experience with characterization and referenced Tears of Min Brock. Yeah, it’s a shameless plug for my book, but ‘ya gotta do whatcha gotta do! I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. Kinda bummed she posted the old cover for Tears and not the new one, but those things happen.

That’s it for now. After all, it’s 4AM and I’ve gotta pack my lunch before I bike @ 6 so I can run to work and get to Saturday in order to bike which leads to Monday when it starts all over again and…and…and…


Writing, Tips, and Reality

Today’s post could be filed under ADD Blogging as I’m going to hop from topic to topic like a frog on espresso. Ready? Let’s get hopping!

I’ve befriended a fellow writer, Karen Wooward, who posts really helpful tips for authors.  If you have time, check out her posts like this one, 7 Interesting Links for Writers. She has zeroed in on creating very informative, short posts that I can skim much like a news feed. Great blog model to follow!

I received a flattering review of my book, Tears of Min Brock, from Pure Jonel (a blogging friend) that went along with an e-book giveaway. For what it’s worth, I’ve found the most effective means to gain reader awareness is by connecting with fellow bloggers that do reviews, giveaways and interviews. I’m not saying this translates into sales, but it has increased “likes” on my social media sites. I’m also using Tears as a kind of business card, if you will, and give it away as often (within reason) as I can. The hope being they’ll like it enough to buy the sequels.

Writing. I dove back in to re-writing Book III. The reason this is news worthy is that I needed to get back to basics, which is the joy of storytelling, and set aside the sadomasochistic treadmill I was on trying to sell, sell, sell, sell…. Always a good thing to remember why we do what we do. Satisfies the soul!

Next week, I’ll be with my family for a beach vacation (yeah, I know, rub it in!) Aside from logging some serious beach time and dunking my grandson a time or two, I look forward to writing with the only interruption being “time to tan.” Sorry, I couldn’t help but rub it in, much like suntan lotion! Ouch, there I go again!

Thanks for joining me today. I truly appreciate you taking time to read what I write. Honest.

But now I’ve gotta run. Need to find my beach chair 🙂


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