Book characters want their say!

Writers are invited to allow their protagonist to write an article on ‘current affairs’ for their book promo. Continue reading

One author, one marketing plan

 by 
Luke Murphy

My
marketing started with the writing of my book. I always had a plan, an idea of
the plot, but now I had to think about the characters and setting, and I had to
think about my target audience in this stage.

I wanted
characters who readers could relate to. Characters that were real, not
fictional to the point of unbelievable. My protagonist, Calvin Watters, is as
real as they come, with faults and weaknesses like us all. Because of my sports
background, I wanted Calvin to also have an athletic background. I was a pro
hockey player, but I decided that hockey would be fine for a Canadian fan base,
but I wanted to cater worldwide, so I chose football. I believe that more
people follow football than hockey.

For the
setting, I needed a major market in the United States that people would want to
read about, so I chose Sin City, Las Vegas. Everyone is interested in this
fast-paced, party-all-night lifestyle and city that is party-central.

In today’s
society, most people don’t realize that writing a book is more than just
putting a good story down on paper.
I learned this quickly. Agents and
publishers want someone with a “platform”, someone who already has a fan base
and is guaranteed to sell books. It’s risky for a publisher to take a chance on
a new writer, because there is no telling how many books they will sell, no
matter how good that book may be.
In 1999 I
graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Marketing, so
I felt I had a running start at promoting my work.

It took me
two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my
novel.

I’m going
to skip through the writing phase and seeking and agent/publisher, because this
post is about actually marketing my début novel.

Once my
publishing contract was signed, then the real work began, building my
“platform”.
I knew that when I signed on with a smaller publisher that the bulk
of the promotion load would fall on my shoulders, and I accepted that.

I did four
things quickly: created my own website, started a blog, and opened a Facebook
page and Twitter account.

Now, I have
been fortunate to have had many jobs in my life, jobs that have created
interest in not only myself, but what I do.

Here are
some things I did next:
      I
scribed a letter to all of my email contacts (2500) and all of my FB friends
(2500).

      I
scribed a letter for all of the media outlets (radio, TV, print) in the cities
where I played hockey, or have contacts. One of the benefits of playing
professional hockey was that I went through a lot of interviews with
personalities in all forms of media.

       I
picked out the site for my launch party and spoke with the owner about it.

       I
played hockey for teams and leagues all over North America, creating a fan base
in a variety of cities, and also worked in hockey camps, so I already had some
followers that I contacted.

      I
was a reporter on the radio for a couple of years after retiring from hockey,
and my radio reporting was a presence on the web as well as in radio.

      My
sports column (2006-2009), Overtime, which was a main feature in The Pontiac
Equity, not only had a following but helped in writing concise and exciting
prose.

     I
composed a list of local stores for potential book signings.

     I
compiled a list of local stores to sell my book.

Next I picked out my target audience and
searched the web for them:

    –   Thriller readers looking for an atypical thriller hero—an African-American who is no saint.

    –   Sports fans will be fascinated by Watters’ struggle to recover his decency and win, a kind of Blind Side story with little sentimentality and few illusions.

    –   A Las Vegas setting—the world of The Hangover movies and many youth films like Bridesmaids—will appeal to 20s-30s readers.

   –   Watters’ romance with a former prostitute will appeal to younger female readers.The marital tension between Detective Dayton and his wife will interest adults. Both men and women will enjoy the twist on the femme fatale figure of the murderer’s lover, who has her own schemes.

  –      Lovers of history, as the term,
“Dead Man’s Hand”, is a legend dating back to the Wild West of the 1800’s.

I started creating relationships on the
internet through Facebook and Twitter. I met not only authors, but fans of the
genres I write.

When my book was released in October, 2012,
I felt I had a solid foundation to stand on, but I still had a long way to go.

I contacted media for interviews, held book
signings, joined shows and blog toured. I contacted anyone who wrote a blog and
asked about being a guest. I joined Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +, as well
as sites created to support Indie authors. I did anything I could to get my
name out there, get my book in front of readers.

My publisher set up special promotions
where my book was FREE on Amazon for certain periods of time. All of this was
done to increase my following, and expand the awareness of my book on a
worldwide scale. This will hopefully lead to future sales with not only my
debut novel, but subsequent books if I’ve fortunate enough to write more.

I’ve been happy with the result thus far, but
I don’t have anything to compare it to. I feel that the more books I write, the
more success I will have. The more I get out there, the more excitement and
interest is garnered.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.


Dead Man’s Hand

Amazon.com
Amazon.UK
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted
fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las
Vegas
debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police,
finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don’t fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent
casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale
Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the
largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgement, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To
redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer,
while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a
professional assassin hired to silence them.
Luke Murphy 

Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with
his wife, three daughters and pug.
He played six years of professional hockey
before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports
columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree
(Magna Cum Laude).
Murphy`s début novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was
released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

Are you waiting too long to market your book?

guest post 
by 
Cindi Maciolek

Your fingers
tingle as they touch the very first copy of your newly published book. Your
heart races, your head spins. Excitement rushes through your body.
 


“I’ve written a
magnificent tome. It will go viral and sell itself!”

Really?

I’m amazed when
I speak with authors awaiting the arrival of a new book. Some are lucky enough
to not only have an agent, but a traditional publisher. Very often, the
excitement wanes when they realize the book will be here shortly and their
thoughts turn to marketing.

“I’m not quite
sure what will happen once the books are out.”

Yikes!

Marketing is
more than wishful thinking, tweeting or blogging. Fact is, it begins before you
even write the first word. The characters, the location, the era, the breadth
or depth of content, even the cover design play a role in attracting your
target reader.

Here are a few
thoughts to put you ahead of the game.
  •  Market far in advance of the release. Many authors, including myself, don’t like to share too much about their work until the first draft is complete. However, there must be something you can promote at least six months to two years ahead. If you don’t care to divulge too much, think of interesting teasers to keep your audience attentive.
  • Market to a broader audience. It’s possible to reach beyond your intended market simply by making a minor change to your book. Or, expand your thinking and recognize the book as-is will appeal to an additional market. When I wrote Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion, most people assumed I was writing it for other bird lovers. In fact, I want everyone who loves animals to enjoy the read, a much broader market, and I adjusted the content accordingly.
  • Expand your circle of early readers to market your book. The novel I’m currently writing is clearly aimed at a female audience. Yet, I have a male reader who has provided valuable feedback. Not only has he helped to make it a better book, he will no doubt tell everyone he knows just how much he enjoyed it.
  • Utilize the book cover to your advantage. I had the cover of my book designed over a year before I held printed copies in my hand. It attracted a lot of attention. A cockatiel wearing a tiara certainly piques interest.
  • Forage for media contacts. It can sometimes take months to reach an editor, a celebrity or a producer. If you wait until your book arrives, you’re practically old news. Put together your media list far in advance, and work it, work it, work it!

 We writers are a passionate lot, but early marketing
can lead to even greater success.


Cindi Maciolek is a writer and business consultant, whose previously published works include Java Jems: 5 Minute Inspirations for Busy People and The Basics of Buying Art. She’s also a contributing author to the books Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion and Life Choices: It’s Never Too Late. Maciolek has written numerous articles for the luxury marketplace, including the Robb Report and Luxury Las Vegas. Maciolek lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meet Cindi on the web:
www.cindimaciolek.com
Twitter: @cindimaciolek and @divatiel
Facebook:
Cindi Maciolek – Writer.
Purchase Links:

Can four ounces of feathers and
personality change a person’s life?
She can if she’s
the Divatiel!
Reflections of a bird’s companion will tug at your heart strings and bring a smile to any animal lover 
Cindi was looking
for a roommate, and finally settled on a fine-feathered friend who was a gift
from a co-worker. What she got was a loving, intelligent, fun, free-spirited,
demanding – Jaké.
ter recovering
from illness that put her near death’s door, Jaké healed and was let out of the
cage so she could spread her wings. She lived her life with gusto. Jaké took
risks, used her intelligence to her advantage and loved unconditionally. She
took charge, not only over her surroundings but over her owner as well.
Luckily, she had a cooperative Mommy in Cindi.
 Not only was she
demanding, Jaké did things some humans have never done. She flew on an airplane
several times, went on numerous road trips and ate fresh vegetables daily.
Jaké lived a very
long life and had many adventures along the way, most of which are captured in
this book.
Jaké was first a
gift to William, then a gift to Cindi, and now a gift to the world.




Marketing’s Not for Everyone

Self-Publisher’s
Diary – Marketing’s Not for Everyone

guest post
by

E S Lark





Most times, when I tell old friends that I
write for a living, they say one of three things.
  • It’s so cool that you get to write all the time.
  • When can I expect my free copy?
  • Or the dreaded “How much are you making?”
Whenever someone says one of the above, I
cringe. While self-publishing has picked up some steam over the years, it’s not
as glamorous as some might think. I’d love to just sit down and write all the
time. I’d love to unplug from the internet for more than a day at a time. But
unplugging means I’m not marketing. I’m not answering emails or responding to
questions on Facebook or Twitter.

Writing’s what authors get to do as a
reward for marketing. It doesn’t start out this way, but this is how it’s
become for me. Especially as a newer author on the market, being active in
various communities is a must. It’s important for me to interact with potential
readers, make friends and network with other authors.

The biggest hurdle I think most authors face
is time management. It’s so easy to get sucked up into the marketing side of
this business that before you know it, you have little or no time to write.

So, how does a new author market herself?
I’ll give you a few tips:
  • Have an online platform you can direct readers to. I’m not talking about Myspace or Facebook, but an actual site that you own and have paid for. This is so no matter what happens to the other websites out there, readers can still find you through a Google search.
  • Join discussion forums that
    attract readers in your genre. Be active in the community. Reply to posts, but
    don’t promote your book. Use forum signatures and avatars to attract readers to
    your website or Amazon page. Promoting yourself is an instant turn off.
    Instead, share what you know with the community. It’s amazing how much this can
    do for you and your online presence.
  • Join a few of the networking
    communities. I mainly use Twitter for every day updates and chatting with
    authors. Facebook’s used for weekly updates. I use Goodreads to connect with
    readers and other authors. The main thing to keep in mind is to limit yourself.
    Two or three communities is more than enough. You can add more later one when
    you feel comfortable.
  •  Don’t be afraid to give
    something away for free. Host a contest on your blog or have a giveaway on
    Goodreads for one of your books. Send electronic copies of your book to
    reviewers. Note, always check review policies and never pay for a review
    service. There are bloggers out there who love to read, so long as you’re
    patient. Most reviewers are booked for months at a time.
  • Be yourself. Remember to keep a
    professional face, but don’t be afraid to be yourself. You don’t always have to
    talk about writing or about your books. In fact, readers enjoy learning more
    about their favorite authors. Share posts about the family dog or the awesome
    dinner you made last night.

These are just a few ideas to get you
started. The main thing to remember about marketing is that it’s always
changing. Google Plus recently came out. I wanted an account so bad, but never
got one. And now that I think back, I didn’t need one. I have my small nest of
networking sites. If I branch out much further, I’ll burn out. Know your limits
and try to market a little every day.


E. S. Lark is the author of fantasy fiction
such as The Waking Grove and Trueblood’s Plight. You can learn more about her
and the worlds she creates by visiting her website at http://www.eslark.com







Trueblood’s Plight – coming soon! 

Thirty years have passed since the clan’s flight from Tesmar, their beloved gryphon city. Three decades spent searching for safer shores, a place to repopulate and for some, to bury the truth of an age-old prophecy.


Until now.



Ava always knew she was different, from her pale plumage to her silver eyes, but being a Trueblood—a giphen who can use all forms of magic—takes ‘special’ to a whole new level. With overprotective elders and the enemy advancing from the north, Ava struggles to balance her time on and off the battlefield.

But when numerous attempts are made on her life—an attack on the clan, a rift storm and a mage controlling the minds of her friends from afar—Ava fears there’s another just like her, weakened and magic starved,  who’ll stop at nothing to use her powers as his own. She’ll have to hone her skills and exhaust her reserves close to death if she’s to go against him, even if it means forming a dangerous alliance with her enemy.