What I’m Reading This Weekend

So, I’m reading this book by Dan Blank called “Be the Gateway.” Sounds a little scifi/fantasy, right? Actually it’s about reaching out to real readers and sharing your work. I don’t really want to say marketing because that word has such a stigma attached to it.

I have to say it is not the usual stuff you see on this topic. It’s pretty unique. And a helluva lot of work from the looks of it. I think I’m up for the challenge though.

I never thought that gaming rankings, offering endless freebies or other standard tricks of the trade were the way to go. I don’t really want to trick readers. I just want to give them a story that will do something for them, right?

Anyway – do check it out. Be The Gateway is available on Amazon in print and Kindle.

Have a great holiday and don’t eat too many hotdogs, those things will kill you.  😉

Annie

The mother of resources post

So a while ago, I read an article about a writer who devoted a page to resources that she wanted to have to hand. It turned out to be quite a list and had several categories. Long story short, I’ve decided to do the same. Following is the current list. And I am adding a page called Resources (clever right?) that will have these links and I’m guessing others as time goes on. Feel free to avail yourselves of the resources, there are some really good ones in there.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I am fooling around with design and trying to learn some basics – hence the many picture posts and this somewhat eerie image for this post. 😉

AUTHOR STRATEGIES/PROMOTION/MARKETING:

http://annerallen.com/your-author-strategy-3-mini-strategies/

https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2016/03/your-biggest-book-marketing-or-platform-building-roadblocks/

http://writerunboxed.com/2015/11/08/standing-out-on-the-crowded-shelf-how-to-help-your-fiction-find-an-audience/

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2015/09/28/a-12-month-strategic-plan-for-marketing-your-book-before-release/

http://writerunboxed.com/2015/10/01/the-6-most-common-marketing-mistakes-made-by-authors/

http://writerunboxed.com/2015/08/10/simple-promo-tip-nailing-your-email-subject-line/

http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/3-list-building-tactics-to-attract-subscribers-quickly-before-a-book-launch/

http://www.publishingspark.com/10-things-readers-want-hear/

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/book-marketing-how-to-create-an-author-brand-case-study-with-jessica-bell/

https://insights.bookbub.com/promoting-series-keep-readers-hooked/

THE WRITING PROCESS:

http://writerunboxed.com/2016/07/14/why-its-crucial-to-write-ugly/

http://writerunboxed.com/2016/06/04/in-defence-of-cliches/

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2016/03/24/using-close-ups-in-your-scenes-to-get-personal/

https://janefriedman.com/write-love-scene/

http://writerunboxed.com/2015/12/02/the-current/

http://writerunboxed.com/2015/10/14/magnanimous-2/

BOOK COVER DESIGN/DESIGN:

https://janefriedman.com/book-cover-redesign/

https://jwmanus.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/can-you-create-the-perfect-ebook-cover/

https://medium.com/marketing-and-entrepreneurship/i-spent-30-000-testing-different-blog-designs-heres-what-i-found-8952bf057b8f

AUTHOR TOOLS/RESOURCES:

https://janefriedman.com/listenup-acx-alternative/

https://kindlepreneur.com/wisestamp-email-signatures-authors/

https://janefriedman.com/using-wordpress-author-websites/

https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2016/04/isbn-logbook/

http://puns.samueltaylor.org/

https://reedsy.com/write-a-book

http://www.publishxpress.com/

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/best-tools-of-the-self-publishing-trade-running-an-author-business-jay-artale/

https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eco.copyright.gov

https://kindlepreneur.com/amazon-book-description-generator/

CRIME RESEARCH:

http://www.the-line-up.com/best-true-crime-podcasts/

SOUNDTRACKS FOR WRITING:

https://coffitivity.com/

THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY/INDUSTRY TRENDS:

https://janefriedman.com/myth-print/

 

If I give you a book, do you owe me a review?

This was a discussion that started in my Facebook feed last week and I’ve been thinking about it, ever since. Not surprisingly, I suppose, there were many varying views on this question.

The original post went something like this, “If you are given a free book, you are obligated to post a review.”

As an author, I certainly agree with the spirit of the statement. All writers hope to get reviews, positive ones, but even negative reviews are helpful. And it is a difficult task to get reviews. I don’t know if there are any statistics on it but it seems that a very small percentage of readers actually post reviews on anything they read.

However, the question for me is if I give away one of my books freely is the receiver obligated to write a review?

In my case, no. I make no assumption that giving away one of my books will result in a review. I would certainly be happy if that were the case, but it isn’t something I expect. Just as I wouldn’t expect my buddy Zelda to buy me a latte this week because I treated her to one last week.

Why do authors give away books anyway?

There are many reasons authors give away books, certainly the hope of getting reviews would be one of them. Probably because they’ve been told by a marketing ‘expert’ that giving away books results in getting reviews, will skyrocket them to the top 100 list, make them super visible to potential readers, somehow make them a best-selling author, etc. I know plenty of authors who would disagree with that ‘conventional wisdom.’

But an author may also give away a book to:

  • Entice you to sign up for their mailing list
  • Get you acquainted with their writing and become a fan
  • Increase their rankings in various bookstores within Amazon and on other online book retailers
  • Encourage you to buy and read their other books
  • Otherwise increase their sales stats
  • And probably some reasons that none of us would think of

However, regardless of the reason that an author may give you a free book, does that obligate you to give them something in return?

I don’t think it does. And if it does, perhaps it should be called a trade rather than a freebie?

What about you? Do you believe that if an author gives you a free book that you are obligated to review it? Do you typically review the books you read? If not, how come? Is the offer of a free book intriguing to you or a sign of desperation? What do you think about free books? Feel free to share your views in the comments below.

Indie Spotlight on Traci Sanders: Ten Tips I Learned About Publishing a Book

Today’s guest post is from author Traci Sanders, on the topic of publishing. Her new book, Beyond the Book” is currently available at Amazon in both print and digital. Take it away Traci.

At the time of writing this book, I have self-published eight books in various genres. (romance, parenting, children’s, and now nonfiction/tutorial) Each book that I released taught me a little more about the industry, my strengths and weaknesses as an author, and relationships with my friends and family.

Here are a few things I have learned since becoming an indie author:

1.      Writing the book, for most authors, is the easy part.

2.      Some authors edit their own work, and do a great job. But I have learned that professional editing does pay off, and IT’S NOT THE SAME as general (or even college-level) editing. These guys know more about comma splices, fused sentences, correct tense, passive and active voice, and the use of single and double quotation marks than most authors. Most of them became editors because they enjoy the technical side of writing, whereas most authors simply enjoy the creative side. This is not to say that there aren’t some excellent author-editor superheroes out there. But chances are, they either received formal training on editing, or they took the time to research the process and became better with each book they published.

3.      The cool thing about researching editing tips is, once you learn them, you tend to not forget them, which saves you time and money on future published books.

4.      Most authors are too close to their own work, and too emotionally invested in it to be able to edit thoroughly. Many times, it’s because they know their story inside and out, and tend to skip right past common errors – such as passive voice, proper tense, and omitted words.

5.      Asking for reviews from friends and family is like asking them to help you move. They love you, and want to help, and even want to be able to come visit you in your new home from time to time (i.e. – read your book); but if it conflicts with their lives or schedule, it’s probably not going to happen.

6.      Friends and family are not always going to tell you when your book needs work, again, because they love you.

7.      Marketing is an everyday endeavor that most authors dread; however, the greater level of online presence and engagement you have, the higher your sales will be. And you will receive more reviews.

8.      Success doesn’t usually happen overnight, but new connections that lead to success, can!

9.      Supporting others goes a long way in the industry. One hand washes another. Eventually, YOU will be the one with clean hands! Until then, you must keep digging in the trenches.

If writing is your dream, just keep at it. Passion tends to be an infectious thing … it eventually spreads to others. If you write what you are passionate about, eventually, you will find others who share your passion!

From Writer Chick: If you have any questions about indie publishing, please feel free to post them in the comments and Traci will respond.

 

Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies.

An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.

 

A lollapalooza of great links to start off the week

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Birth vs Battle by David Corbett suggests that conflict ain’t everything in a story.

The Cyber Exchange Principle from the Writer’s Forensic Blog explains the Locard Exchange – the basis for using forensic evidence in crime detection.

An Almost Perfect Murder by Sue Coletta. Fascinating case study of a surgeon who almost got away with murder.

11 Tips to help you build your online community by Cat Michaels provides sage advice for building your platform.

Do You Know Where Your ISBNs Are? by Joel Friedlander, is a good nuts and bolts on ISBNs plus a free download.

How to write a great love scene by  Jessi Rita Hoffaman, provides some great tips on avoiding the schmaltz and getting to the gold in a love scene.

Who really killed JonBenet Ramsey by Garry Rodgers is an in depth analysis of the case and who the likely killer was of this sweet little girl.

Just for fun – I guess the shelf life for Shades has reached critical mass

And for laughs: Jimmy Fallon does a helluva Trump impression and this made me laugh out loud.

And just to get your week starting off right a little music.

Doing Backstory Right and Other Good Reads

 

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I’ve been away much longer than I realized, in my quest to finish the third book in a new trilogy among other highly distracting activities. And I wanted to reassure my three undying fans I still live and breathe. Also have been catching up on my reading and have some nice reads for you.

The Shocking Truth About Info Dumps by Lisa Cron discusses how to do backstory right. And folks, she is spot on.

Scene Structure: Scenes as Segments and Capsules of Time by CS Lakin Good nuts and bolts on scene structure, especially good statements on time in writing.

Beware the Writing Rules Police by Anne R. Allen. Anne takes the writing rules police to task and kicks their butts.

Burnout, creativity, and the tyranny of production schedules by Elizabeth Bear. Hardworking author Elizabeth Bear makes a good case for taking pressure and time off from writing. I totally get what she is talking about here.

Really Going There by Annie Neugebauer makes a good case for the argument that our best stories come from the places we are terrified to write about.

Have a good week everybody – step away from the political arguments on FB – real life is much better for your blood pressure. 🙂

Book Marketing Trends for Authors and Other Good Reads This Week

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I’m afraid I haven’t had much time to devote to blogging lately because I’m trying to finish a first draft of my novel. More on that later. In the meantime, following are some awesome reads for the Indie’s among us. Enjoy and have a great week.

7 Book Marketing Trends Authors Can’t Afford to Ignore. Kimberley Grabas offers some solid marketing strategies, with lots of actionable tips.

Why do we write? Lisa Kron offers a very interesting perspective on the impact that writing, even entertainment writing, can have.

Self Publishing Notebook. Jonathan Kile offers an interesting a funny perspective on indie writing and publishing.

Vetting Vendors: Public Relations Professionals. Naomi Blackburn has some advice on how to hire a PR pro that won’t ruin your PR.

Scene Structure: Understanding the Truth about Character Arcs. CS Larkin gives us a great nuts and bolts post on character arcs.

And just for fun, check out this Content Idea Generator. Who knows, it might be your next brilliant idea.