Unexpected Superhero by Kitty BucholtzHi friends!

I thought you might want to know that I was able to make Unexpected Superhero, book one of the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke urban fantasy superhero series, FREE today and tomorrow, October 17 and 18, 2014. It’s only available on Kindle and in paperback right now, but I hope to have it up in all other ebook outlets by the end of next weekend.

I know some of you have read it and some of you haven’t had a chance yet. So today’s your lucky day. :) I’d be grateful if you would share this post with your friends, Tweet it to your followers, whatever works for you. Thanks so much!

And if you have a chance to read it, I’d love to hear what you think! :) CLICK HERE to check it out.

finish signHi friends! Just wanted to let you know that today is the last day to join the class I’m teaching, “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing.” You can sign up here or read more about the class.

We started this past Monday, September 15, and the class will run through Saturday, October 11, 2014. It’s $30 for the four weeks, and it’s run via Yahoo Groups. That means you never have to be online at a certain time. You can read the lectures as they come in your email, and participate in class discussions via email at any time during the month.

The class is set up so that you learn about all the decisions you have to make to self-publish your book, doing it all together as we go along, and then having your book ready to upload by the end of class. You can also go through all of the steps with a test copy of your book and just don’t hit “publish” at the end. That way you have someone helping you figure it out as you go, and you can use your notes to finish publishing your book later when it’s ready.

If you have any questions about the class, feel free to leave a comment or email me at Kitty AT KittyBucholtz DOT com.

Happy Writing! :)

Debut Book Launch Party ideasShould you or shouldn’t you host a book launch party? I have to admit, as a debut author, this was the promotion event that scared me the most. Yet, it was one of the first events I scheduled. As soon as I had a pub date, I introduced myself to my local independent bookstore and asked about setting up a launch party. Looking back, it was one of the best things I could have done for my career.

Seriously? One of the best?

For me. Yes.

My book launch party was a domino that knocked over a whole lot of other dominoes. Dominoes I had no idea about until they started moving.

1. Introverts Anonymous

Being a shy introvert is a huge hurdle. At a launch party you have to stand up and give a speech. Just you. About you and your book. Breathe. Deep. Don’t. Die. I have spent pretty much my entire life until now avoiding such a scenario. Fear of public speaking–I got it bad.

Right after talking to the book store folks, I joined Toastmasters. I have love/hate feelings towards this group. Toastmasters is effective. It plain works. However, you have to make it work. The more you throw yourself into the roles, and sign up to give speeches, the faster you progress. Yes, to get over the thing you fear, you have to do the thing you fear. Over and over and over again.

My particular Toastmasters group is amazing. They have a mix of veterans and new members. The feedback is insightful and the support is solid. What’s to fear, right?  *laughs awkwardly*

I wish I would have joined years ago. Through my weekly experience at Toastmasters, I had enough practice before my launch party that I wasn’t throwing up as I had feared. And I had enough presence of mind that I only forgot 1/3 of my speech.

And here is one of the surprising dominoes: Having a launch party forced me to practice public speaking, which has led to an increase in confidence about being a professional writer.

2. Old-fashioned Networking

Are you burned out on social media? It’s time to get out of the house and meet some people face to face. Because I introduced myself early enough to the bookstore, I got an invitation to a YA event months before my book came out. Changing Hands Bookstore introduced me as a “preview” author and I got to practice being on stage with a group of other YA authors at YAllapalooza. (see #1 above; groups are good)

At this event, I received another invitation, and this one completely caught me by surprise. The books and authors manager for Phoenix Comicon was in the audience at YAllapalooza and approached me afterward to talk about being on a panel at Phoenix Comicon the weekend of my book launch. *blink* *blink* YES! How amazing is that?

Surprising Domino #2: Making yourself visible leads to other opportunities.

3. A Time to Celebrate

If you are a debut author, don’t stress out about bringing in a crowd. No one knows you yet, except for the people who have supported you along the journey–your friends and family. They are going to be 99% of the people who show up to your event. (See #1 above–fear not. These are your people; they know you; they support you, don’t be afraid of talking to them!)

More than anything, this is a time to celebrate. You finally have your book! Add a few special touches to make the event memorable for you and fun for your friends, and you can call it a success. Here is what I did. Maybe it will give you some ideas:

  • I added a fundraising option to the night. My novel is YA and I didn’t expect all my friends to be interested in a novel aimed at teens, so this gave them another option for participation. I invited the director of Dress for Success Phoenix to come and talk about the organization and that night we collected handbags for donations. The Phoenix Art Museum was hosting a traveling dress show at the time, and they donated admission tickets for a drawing.
  • My friend and our daughters made a cupcake pull-apart dress cake to match the theme Cinderella’s Dress. It turned out even better than I had imagined.
  • I used the first book I took out of my box of books as a guest book. I signed it to myself, then had everyone at the event sign it, too.
  • My main character learns the art of tatting lace, so my uber-talented friend who taught me how to use a shuttle and thread brought a display of some of her work and demonstrated tatting while I signed books.
  • I made simple tatted bookmarks to hand out as rewards to those who asked questions during Q&A time. As for other swag? Most advice I’ve read says stick with bookmarks. They’re cheap and easy to hand out. And they’re cheap. *did I already say cheap?*

Recently, I interviewed Austin Aslan about his debut launch. He did something I’d never seen in a book launch, which I thought was a great idea for bringing the group together and I wish I’d thought of it! You can watch here:

So, the debut book launch party. Is it worth it? Yes, I think so. In addition to the above, it marks a milestone in your life. It’s a big deal. So make it one.

Thursdays with Amanda has become one of my go-to places on the web every… well, every Thursday. Amanda Luedeke is an agent with Chip MacGregor Literary and she blogs on Thursdays about book marketing. I think my favorite takeaway I’ve gotten from her so far is the Five-Thing Marketing Rule that she talks about in this guest blog. Be sure to read to the end because she is giving away a copy of her marketing book, The Extroverted Writer. *You’re going to want it.*

 

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM AN AUTHOR WILL FACE

ExtrovertedWriterCoverSmallIt happens to nearly every writer. You have a book idea. You painstakingly try to work writing into your hectic schedule by skipping yoga or unvolunteering from the PTA or waking at the crack of dawn. It’s tough, but eventually you figure it out even if it takes way longer than you’d care to admit.

And then you have a book! And yay!!! Life couldn’t get any better, because now is the part where you get to see what can come of said book. So you attend conferences and send out emails and scour publishing and agent blogs. You do all that you can to figure this author thing out and them WHAM. The word “platform” hits you in the face.

It may not always happen at that point in time…you may get your first book deal or you may receive your first royalty statement before platform becomes your nemesis. Or, it may not be until you look at your Amazon sales rankings or talk with your author friends or realize that things just aren’t going the way you planned.

But it happens…it happens to every writer at some point in his or her career. They realize that it’s not enough to write a book. They realize authors also need to be marketers.

And so you’re faced with the ultimate dilemma, because you’ve already cut out yoga and the PTA and those two precious hours of sleep. You’ve already done what you can to make writing work. And now you have to take even more time away from your family, from your hobbies, from your life, just to market this book…to spend time doing something that you may not even fully understand.

WHY I LIKE TO TALK ABOUT MARKETING

Before working in publishing, I spent some years at a marketing firm. I did social media marketing and copywriting for some major brands. So when I started working in the book industry five years ago, I quickly saw a need to address this very difficult topic. I began blogging every Thursday on the company blog, ChipMacGregor.com. I began teaching about marketing at writers’ conferences. And I wrote an author marketing book…kind of like a foundational tool for using social media to create an author platform and market your product. It’s called The Extroverted Writer.

But despite all of the tips and tricks and ideas, finding the time is still so crucial. Because if you never actually sit down and take the time to do marketing, then marketing won’t ever happen.

So what’s the secret? How can writing be doable without cutting into the other things that are so important?

WRITING-TO-MARKETING RATIO

People often want specifics…they want to know how much time to spend writing versus marketing. So to get us started, here’s what I tell authors:

If you write FICTION and are unpublished: four parts writing to one part marketing/building your brand or platform.

If you write FICTION and are published or have a book coming out: two parts writing to one part marketing/building your brand or platform.

If you write NONFICTION: one part writing to three parts marketing. (Remember, a nonfiction author’s career is entirely built on platform, not words.)

MAKING THE TIME

In practice, the ratios look like this: on the days published fiction authors can only write for 30 minutes, they need to find a mere 15 extra minutes to work on marketing. On the days they can write for three hours, then it’s 1.5 hours of marketing.

Now let’s say that they simply CANNOT find an extra 1.5 hours in their day! When this happens, they merely need to adjust their existing writing time and break it into parts. So, instead of writing for three hours, they’d write for two and market for one.

Simple as that.

BUT WHAT DO I DO?

After hearing the ratios, some writers will tell me that even if they make time for marketing, they end up staring at their computer screens at a loss for where to begin.

There are tons of books that are full of marketing ideas. Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz is one. I like to use mine, The Extroverted Writer, as another example. But for those of you who get overwhelmed by all of the options…or who just can’t figure out how to take an idea and run with it, here’s another tip:

THE FIVE-THING MARKETING RULE

Write down five things…five marketing ideas. They don’t have to be big or expensive or detailed. There just has to be five of them. Your list could look like:

1. Find three blogs that talk about a theme that shows up in my book (ex. Vikings, weight loss, love stories). Save the URLs for future marketing ideas (blog tours, guest posts, comments, etc.)
2. Tweet every day this week.
3. Set up a Goodreads account and/or author page.
4. Research to see what local reader groups are in my area.
5. Find recent Tweets that use #weightloss (or whatever hashtag would apply to your brand/book), and reply to or retweet three of them.

Give yourself a week to complete these steps. Then, write down five more.

This may seem small and inconsequential. You may be thinking:

So what if I’m commenting on two measly blogs! Who cares that I’m Tweeting! No one follows me anyway!

TRUST ME. Great things happen once you start to engage. Once you are consistent about marketing. Give it a try and you’ll realize that your five things take almost no time at all to complete. And soon, instead of doing five things a week, you’ll be doing five lists of five! And you will get more confident. You’ll see results. And more importantly, platform will start to become your friend.

***ENTER MY GIVEAWAY***

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke

The Extroverted Writer

by Amanda Luedeke

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Amanda LuedekeAmanda Luedeke is an agent with MacGregor Literary. Follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or on Facebook. Her marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.

Meet Chris Cannon, author of the YA novel Going Down in Flames (A Going Down in Flames Novel). She is one of my publishing housemates (is that what we call one another?) at Entangled Publishing. Her book came out his month and she was game to try a Google Hangout on Air with me (and our dogs!)

This is my third try at a Google Hangout on Air. I’m getting less stressed about the technical aspects, and now I need to work on my hosting skills. Where do I look? At the camera–so it looks like I’m looking at the viewer? Or, at my guest on the screen so I know what she is doing? And how do I subtly glance at my notes to see what I’m going to ask next?

If you’ve got a good hosting tip, please leave it for me in the comments!

Want to learn more about Chris Cannon?
Website: http://chriscannonauthor.com/
Twitter: @ccannonauthor

So, I took Katie Davis’s Video Idiot Bootcamp course to try to learn how to market to a YA audience who loves videos. Big learning curve on so many levels. But, we have to start somewhere, and here at Routines for Writers, we are all about finding routines that make our writing and marketing lives easier.

After taking the class, I planned to make one new video a month. At the end of the year, I would have twelve videos that would continue to work for me 24/7. That sounded doable. And I am mostly on track to achieve that goal. Sometimes I go 6 weeks between videos. Some of my videos are time-specific, like my newsletter contest that is now over.

I meant to try a variety of videos–webcam; stock photo/video; cartoon, but because of time crunches, ended up with mostly videos of me talking, and one dynamic slide-show type video. Now that my debut month is over, I hope to have more time to try these other kinds of videos.

And always, at the back of my mind, I was trying to think about a routine for content. What could I do to routinely make videos?? So, I came up with this idea: Coffee with Authors, a Google Hangout on Air event.

A Google Hangout on Air is a video conference that is broadcast live, so anyone can watch, and is then recorded to your YouTube channel. You don’t have to have extra screen-capture software as Google takes care of it for you. You can have up to ten people on air with you, although when there are more than two, I think you need to use external microphones to keep out the echoes.

Here is my first Coffee with Authors. I’m hoping the more I do, the more relaxed and natural it will become. Debut YA author Ashlee Willis was a good sport about being my first guinea pig!  I get her talking about painting fairy/gnome doors on trees and she gets me talking about a not-official announcement.

Have you tried a Google On Air? Any do’s and don’ts I should know about?