Most authors these days come to the table understanding that they now wear many hats and are expected/required to be prepared to work hard at selling the product they bring with them. For many, especially newer authors, the misconception is that your publisher will do your marketing and promotions, that it is their job to sell your book. Not true, and it is doubly not true if your first experience of publishing is with a smaller house. You’ll hear often from seasoned pros that the real work comes after the book is written, and you’d do well to heed those words if you’re new to the business.
My personal observation only, but one of the things I see happening over and over is a lack of contact between authors and readers. Many seem to be operating under the assumption that all they’re selling is books. You put yourself at a severe disadvantage if this is your approach, believe me. The greatest asset in your arsenal of tools as an author is you yourself. Your book is the by-product. It’s not the other way around anymore. Readers have access to authors all over the internet and social media–it’s the ones who choose to interact with readers on a personal level who have the most loyal followings, too. Thousands of readers who feel a friendship for the authors they read because they have the chance to talk, to ask questions, to share thoughts. NONE of that is connected to your book in real terms, it’s directly connected to how you make yourself available to potential readers. If they feel that you are interested in their thoughts, their observations, their opinions, you’ll sell every book you write to those core readers who are now fans of the author even more than the books.
Social media is as diverse as the people who use it. The second mistake I see constantly is the reliance on Facebook as the heavyweight marketing tool. Granted, Facebook is hugely popular, and it’s a platform that you can use to great advantage. It’s also saturated with authors all going after those same readers and their dollars. What I’ve observed, again, is that many readers are weary of the endless streams of buy my books posts many make. I am a writer and I’ve gotten to the point where if I see the same author promoting with the same post in 100 groups, I just hide them from my newsfeed rather than attempt to scroll along and hope I can get past all the same posts. I’ve seen as high as 168 posts of exactly the same thing in every possible group that author could find. It’s a worthless exercise and eats up time you could spend in better ways. As an experiment a few months ago, I spent a small amount of cash for a service that promised to promote my book to a minimum of 300 Facebook groups over the course of 48 hours. They sent me an assortment of screen caps showing that it had been done–and I can tell you that not a single copy of that well reviewed and popular book sold as a result of this Facebook bombardment. Answered that question in my mind.
I used to admin a group called Book Promotions–it has over 18.5 thousand members–let me tell you, a post in a group that size is visible for less than a minute, and the sad thing is, everyone wants to post in hopes of selling. BUT, think about it–most of the 18+K members are authors, who are attempting to sell their product to other authors who probably don’t want to spend money–they’re hoping to make sales of their own, right? I’ve often called Facebook the information booth of the shopping mall–you get your info, then you shop in the stores, right? Facebook allows you to “meet” your favourite authors and get to know about their new books. Then you head to Amazon, or wherever you like to shop for books. Consider that, and ask yourself if there’s a way to make it a personal interaction that will keep your readers coming back.
Websites, newsletters, blogs, etc. They still do more for author visibility than anything else. I advocate an active, and interactive blog if you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a website. Not everyone has the skill to build an attractive web presence, nor the money to pay someone else for that branding tool. So, why not consider a blog? You can do amazing things with Blogger and WordPress now. Separate pages for books, and listings, and whatever else you can dream up to get readers interested. Answer comments left on your blogs, network them so they post to other social media that allows your name and brand to reach people. The best combo I can think of is the blog/Twitter combo. If you hate Facebook, and many people do, consider LinkedIn and it’s new tools and functions. If you write a particularly outstanding blog, post links on your business profile. If you want, a week or so after the original post, reprint the post for LinkedIn–they have an article feature now that will allow you to blog on their site.
Use your time to maximum impact, tools and applications can post across many platforms are a Godsend to someone with limited time. Something like Hootsuite allows you to post to LinkedIn, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and probably others–all from one dashboard. If you like Twitter, link it back to your pages, make sure your stream is put on your blog sidebar or your website. There’s huge potential for presence with organized efforts. Next month we can talk about paid promotions, Yahoo’s continued presence and usefulness, as well as other potentially helpful marketing ideas. Cheers everyone! Happy Writing and much success!!
Now, let’s take a quick peek at my first book with Crimson Frost, one that will soon have two more parts to make the completed trilogy!
TRIAD OF POWER: First Quest
Book One of Three: During the time before the Great Forbidding was created, it was believed the defiance of the Renegades could be contained. To that end, the Council of Power called upon their Ancient Gods for assistance. In response, the Gods ordered creation of the Triad of Power–three swords, each one imbued with the essence of a gift unique to those who would wield the weapons as the Guardians of Foress. Like all magic, each crafted blade contained the driving sorcery of its creator–not all wizards are immune to the weaknesses of men, and within the Triad, conflict itself was bred without conscious intent or knowledge. So begins the legend, and the epic fantasy of the TRIAD OF POWER.
As contented peace steeped the air around them, and they were able to breathe in near silence again, Sherindal contemplated her surroundings. On her knees, with the Prince of Ember still sheathed within her, she had never known a moment of more perfect serenity and completion. Her senses hummed with awareness of everything: the texture of the bed linen, cool silk, caressing her heated skin, the subtle patterns swirling amid the tapestries that hung on the stone walls of the bedchamber, even the heavy scent of candle wax added another layer of appreciation to her happiness.
“You really are magnificent, Sher,” Rienn whispered, his arms wrapped around her, drawing her close.
She leaned to one side, looped her arm around his neck and drew his mouth to hers in a kiss that was filled with gentle passion.
“I do love you, Rienn.”
Rienn nodded. His hands on her waist moved her. She shivered as he slipped free of her. “I’ll order a bath and some food,” he told her.
She grabbed his wrist and shook her head. “Later. I want you to hold me.”
Rienn stretched out and pulled her down to him, spooning her body to his when he pressed her back to his chest.
They’d only slept for minutes when the huge doors of the Prince’s chambers were flung open and the spacious room was invaded by numerous men, all bearing swords.
The word was a warning, and Sherindal slithered from the bed when he released her. She scooped up her weapon as she rolled, oblivious to her nakedness. She whirled to face the first rush of the attack. Somewhere through the early morning hours since they’d made love, Rienn had thought to retrieve his breeches, she noted from the corner of her eye. He had managed to gain his weapon, and they fought, back to back.
Sherindal hissed in fury and pain when the second of the men who engaged her slipped past her defense and inflicted a wound near her waist. It was a surface injury and she quickly rewarded him by slicing off his sword hand. Howling in agony, he toppled back, then fled as he recovered his footing several feet away from her.
Rienn had killed two men and was about to run through the third when Sherindal’s voice filled the room, and the blade she wielded, Huntor, rose with her song. The attackers froze momentarily, those two who remained, and she smiled when the weapon cut them down, then drifted back to her outstretched hand, coming to rest in her grasp with near peaceful ease.
“Your blood-thirsty weapon has been sated nicely this morning,” Rienn observed with a tense glance at the gleaming blade.
“Who are they?” she asked, her tone cold as she met his gaze.
“Why would you assume I know?” he retorted instantly. “This is hardly what I would consider an invigorating start to the day!”
“Really?” One eyebrow rose in emphasis of her sardonic tone. “It is one of the more interesting diversions you might have provided, Rienn.” Her laughter was faintly mocking, and not a little bit ironic.
Rienn’s handsome features suffused with rage and he reached for her, gripped her bare arm with fingers that dug into her flesh like steel bands.
“You can be an evil bitch,” he whispered darkly.
Sherindal smiled, and this time it was genuine. She nodded, kissed his chin, the closest she could get to his mouth from her disadvantaged height, then she gasped as a fiery lance reminded her of the slash near her left hip.
“Enough, Rienn,” she said.
He released her, scooped her into his arms, and placed her in the center of the feathered mattress of his bed. He looked closely at the injury, yanked the bell pull, and then went to the heavy wardrobe at the far end of the chamber.
His guards were rushing along the corridor when he returned to the bed and helped Sherindal into one of his linen shirts. She bit her bottom lip against another stab of pain and laughed in macabre amusement when she spotted the duo who entered the room.
“They look rested enough, my love,” she muttered.
Rienn glared at her, then turned an even fiercer visage to the men who should have prevented the assault in his private rooms.
“Get them out of here, then report to Radisan.”
“Radisan will no doubt beat the life out of them, Rienn,” she remarked. “Your brother is overzealous when it comes to punishment. He enjoys watching other people writhe, especially when he is the orchestrator of their anguish.”
“Would you rather I reward them for their lapse?” he snapped. “We could have been killed, Sher!”
“Highly unlikely. Get me my own clothes,” she requested. “I want to dress.”
“You’re not going anywhere,” he warned from his position near the door. As the two guards dragged the last of the fallen men into the hall, he slammed the door into place and speared his lover with a look that frequently froze men in their tracks. Sherindal rose from the bed to retrieve her belongings.
She sighed and began to apply salve from the small medicine kit she carried. When the wound was smeared with the peach-colored cream, she wrapped clean linen around her hips, then continued to dress. Dark brown trousers, forest green tunic, black boots and vest, and lastly the sword, in a sheath that she wore at her back, the glittering hilt visible between her shoulders when she faced the Prince again.
“Rienn,” she said gently. “I would not leave you if it wasn’t necessary. This is something I must do. I have no choice!”
Rienn’s unusual eyes flared with anger, and he strode toward her, stopping when her head moved so that she might hold his look. He towered over her, and often used that height to keep her off balance when they were this close. She had told him that he was a drug she was addicted to, and the sensuality of their passion had grown with their aging. She would have made a perfect queen, but his father had long ago threatened Rienn with banishment if he took Sherindal as his wife. The old man had said on many occasions he would hold the throne forever from Rienn if he dared to believe a witch would be an appropriate queen for Ember. Sherindal seemed more than happy to be his consort, with none of the advantages that position could have offered.
Ironically, by his own decree, Rienn’s father had also insured he’d never have the grandchildren he desired, for Rienn would not betray his love for Sherindal by accepting another woman in his bed. The King believed that to be one more proof of Sher’s sorcery, her hold on the oldest son of Ember’s Royal House. Love was an emotion the old man mocked and disdained, and one he had never understood. Rienn’s mother had died many years earlier, and they had been closer than many sons and mothers. They had been friends and confidants. The Queen had approved completely of Rienn’s choice of mate.
“I have no choice.”
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“Live the Romance, Become the Fantasy...”
** Preditors & Editors Best Author 2012-2013 **
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