Thursday, July 31, 2014

I fell off the marketing horse....and it hurt.

Not to mention I'm late with posting this. I'm sorry, my life got crazy (though I don't have any broken fingers like Mia, sooo really I have no excuse). This is another post about marketing and how important it is. Are you tired of us talking about it yet? Yes? Too bad.

So here's the deal. I read a marketing book and thought, oh yeah these are great ideas, but I'm doing most of them. But then over the past month, I noticed one thing here and there dropping off. Eventually I was just left with twitter and I let that die too. A few weeks ago, I sat down and asked myself, why? Why did I let it just drop off, I was doing well, the numbers were are least moving. What on earth was I thinking?

The conclusion? Not enough hours in the day. Like I mentioned, my life is crazy, it's gotten crazier since my last post on how I work my schedule. How? Try this on for size: I start a nanny job tomorrow, I'm attending school, and I'm freelancing. Yep. That's just the addendum to my list, I'll spare you the rest of it. So what did I decide to do? I had to sit down and make a choice:

Do I let myself drowned and fade into the background? Or do I start kicking and swimming again? I'm choosing to swim. The last two weeks I've pretty much ignore all my social media, except for little updates here and there, but no true marketing. I have a notebook now, on one side is one personality's marketing plan, on the other is the other personality. I do this because each pen name caters to a different cliental. What's in the notebook?

A schedule for Twitter: Themes for each day, what will be advertised and at what times, and a meme to follow for the day. *note* I only actually advertise every 3rd post or so. Why? So it doesn't seem like I"m spamming people, because that's not fun, it annoys everyone.

A schedule for Facebook: Similar to Twitter, I have Themes for each day, what to advertise and times. I get to work a little more freely with this one because I'm not limited to characters.

Google +: A bit on what I want to do on G+ every day.

You see the three above are very similar, yes, but each theme is different everyday and do not mimic each other. Would it be easier to have the same post on every social media, yes, but as a reader that annoys me...if it annoys me, it annoys someone else. So that being said, I don't do it that way.

What else is in the notebook? Current books, current number of reviews, current number of followers or likes. Why? So I can see where I need improvement or where the numbers are actually moving. There's also a spot for what I want to do on my blog. That is an important factor. I also have goals, because without them I have no sense of achievement for all my hard work.

WOW! But you said there's not enough hours in the day! It's true, there's not, but I'll be pre-scheduling everything I can so it runs without me. You may think that's cheating, but here's the deal...until I can hire someone to do it for me, I'm doing it that way. I'll still be checking in to respond to readers/followers questions and comments, but scheduling saves me a ton of time.

So that's how I'm getting back on the marketing horse! Here's hoping I can hit those goals!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Take Overs: Worth it or Not?

So I love doing facebook author take overs, why? Does it sell a ton of books, well no, but what it does do is add to the exposure I already have. As my other self I recently took part in a huge take over, we're talking 20+ authors, almost a week worth of days, and even special graphics. I was stressing because it seemed that I couldn't keep up with the others and every time I turned around I felt like I had missed something. There were a ton of bloggers looking for the authors to interview, people who needed all my information (and since I'm a slacker, I don't have my media kit together....). It was crazy and I remember telling my husband, "gosh I hope this is going to be worth it." Out of all the take overs I've done, it's probably the one that helped most. I gave out prizes, had a great time, and met so many new people, readers and authors.

Not long after that take over, I did my release party and holy cow was I surprised. My attending number doubled from the last release party and more than half were names I didn't know. NEW people. What's better is those new people came from that last take over and this was the first true introduction to my series that they had gotten. Many of them one clicked the free book and others went a head and bought all three. It was fantastic and guess what, they spread the news too. It was great and then they followed me to an event that I only took over for an hour and hosted the two days.

So my opinion, yes they are worth it, but I think like all social media events it's something you need to keep up on. Constant exposure, also giveaways are cool, but be careful not to break the bank or give out so many ebooks that no one is going to want to actually buy the book or books. What was great, I had one person who really wanted a copy of Criminal Behavior and didn't win what did she do? She went right out and bought it! Woohoo! Make sure you keep it fun, don't make it all about your books, talk to your readers and audience. They know you're an author, that's why they are there. Tell them a bit about yourself and your books, give them a link and then let them discover things from there.

So when it comes to your tools of marketing, add take overs to that list.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What If You Can't Write?

What to do when you can't write?

I'm not talking about writers block, I'm talking about what happens when there is a physical reason that you can't write.

As of right now i am pecking away at my keyboard with my left hand because my right hand is currently out of commission. It's my dominate hand which means the world just got a ton harder. There is no "choosing or learning to be ambidextrous" you either are or you are not, I'm in the latter group.

So what do you do if here is a physical reason why you can't write. Let's face it one handed pecking is going to be a long and exhausting process for a 60k word manuscript. Hell I'm already exhausted just from writing this little amount. Pen and paper won't work, because like I said, the injury is to my dominate hand. So... Here are my options: 1) don't use my hand and allow it to heal after everything gets done to it and 2) try to invest in a speech to text software for my computer.

Dragon is what I'm going to go with, haven't gotten it yet, but I'm ordering it as soon as possible. As soon as I have it in hand (ha! See what I did there) I'll give you all a review. As I wait for the software and even after I get it I will be slowing down, there are several other factors that are involved and slowing down, lessening the amount of stress I have on my plate, and letting myself heal are all very important to getting better.

In the mean time, how would you over come an obstacle like this? Would you try to train yourself to use your other hand? Try a speech to text tool? Any other ideas? Let us know, we'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Heart and Soul of Indie

I thought I'd do a post on what being indie (well in my case a hybrid) means. This isn't a 'I can do what I want!' speech. No, this is me laying it all out for you on why I took this road....

When I was thirteen I moved in with my grandmother. Imagine this, very Catholic, very old-school, and very traditional. There was nothing wrong with that of course, because I grew up well and I have great value. (Of course she'd probably die if she realized what I was writing now.) By fifteen I'd completed my first novel and wanted to look into publishing. I remember I was so proud of myself. I'd done the research and knew what needed to be done. Then I took the idea to my grandmother. Her words were, "It'll never work, publishing is too expensive and you'll never be good enough."

It stung. It hurt and I never mentioned it to her again, but I didn't give up. I continued to write and looking into publishing. In 2006 I completed and polished a novel and started to query, I had a few full manuscript requests, but nothing came of it. Now I can admit that it really wasn't ready for publishing. Now at this point some of you are thinking "Oh, so you turned to indie publishing because you weren't good enough for traditional." Mmm no, not really. At that time e-readers were just popping up and self-publishing was still not an option for me.

I had almost given up completely when I got a short story published. I got a few inboxes at that point wondering what else I had out, but at that point I had nothing. My husband made me sit down and make a choice...

It was then I realized what indie could do for me, do for my readers. Writing is the heart and soul of Indie. Not marketing, not fame, not money. Writing, storytelling, characters, the craft. Yes there is a lot of crap out there, but there is a lot of good writing out there too. One thing I love about the indie authors is that you get to see the author grow from book to book. If they are willing to open their hearts and minds to feedback and learning. I wouldn't have come this far without feedback, honest feedback, and sometimes blunt feedback.

But when I have a conversation with a reader that's when I know that I've written something good. A store that makes someone want more, that they can't put down that they love. That is the heart of indie. Why is this important? Because if you're going to go indie you need to understand where it all starts at. It starts with heart and a good story. One that has been polished, one that's been beta read and is ready to published. I will say it again. The heart of indie is a good story.