Category Archives: Promotion

I got new swag!

Got new swag for upcoming festivals and conferences! I think they turned out well, yeah? ?

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Look what just came in the mail!! This means that there will be…

Look what just came in the mail!! This means that there will be Goodreads giveaways up soon, loves!

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The Sing Sweet Nightingale blog tour starts tomorrow!

The fabulous Jamie and Rachel at Rockstar Book Tours have organized a phenomenal two-week tour for the release of Sing Sweet Nightingale! Monday through Friday for the next two weeks, you’ll find two posts a day–one review and one interview or guest post. And, guys, some of these guest posts are pretty fun!

Below is the full schedule of events so you can follow the fun! Please help me celebrate the birth of my first book baby by visiting these phenomenal blogs and entering the giveaway for an annotated copy of Sing Sweet Nightingale!

Thank you to Jamie and Rachel at Rockstar, all of the sweet bloggers who volunteered their time and their websites, and to all the readers who jump on board! This should be a fun ride! ๐Ÿ˜€

SingSweetNightingaleTour Schedule

Week One:

3/3/2014- Bookish Things & moreReview

3/3/2014- Bibliophilia, PleaseInterview

3/4/2014- Lola’s Reviews Review

3/4/2014- A Backwards StoryGuest Post

3/5/2014- YaReadsReview

3/5/2014- Addicted ReadersInterview

3/6/2014- Once Upon A TwilightReview

3/6/2014- The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan ClubGuest Post

3/7/2014- Seeing Night ReviewsReview

3/7/2014- The Irish Banana ReviewGuest Post

 

Week Two:

3/10/2014- Chasm of Books Review

3/10/2014- Lost in Ever AfterInterview

3/11/2014- The Demon LibrarianReview

3/11/2014- Paulette’s PapersGuest Post

3/12/2014- Poisoned RationalityReview

3/12/2014- The Best Books EverInterview

3/13/2014- Spiced Latte ReadsReview

3/13/2014- Dark NovellaGuest Post

3/14/2014- A Dream Within A DreamReview

3/14/2014- Parajunkee’s ViewInterview

A semi-anonymous interview?

One of the best benefits of Twitter has been meeting meeting other authors and editors and book geek type people. One of them, @MissDahlELama, otherwise known as Dahlia Adler, has been putting together a group of anonymously answered FAQs she calls Perpetual WIPs. Her most recent edition is specifically concerning pre-pub authors, that vague middle ground in between book deal and publication. I’m not saying I participated, but I’m not saying I didn’t, either… O.o

Unfortunately that’s all I have time for today, but you should definitely check out The Daily Dahlia and her (so far) three part Perpetual WIPs series for writers: Querying Writers, Agented Writers, and Pre-Pub Writers.

See you around!

Playing with promotion ideas

Is the following brilliant or too corny to consider?

For Teens in 14

Well? It’s the possible name of a promotional blog focusing on debut YA authors whose first books are releasing some time during 2014. Whether small press or Big 6, a gathering place for YA fiction in 2014.And maybe not just debut. Maybe any YA authors who have books coming out in 2014. What’s funny is that I mentioned this on Twitter on Tuesday. As of right now, that tweet has been re-tweeted a total of 12 times. Which is insanely high for me. HOWEVER, no one has joined. It’s a strange mix. Obviously people think it’s a good idea, but no one seems to want to commit to it. I did discover that a blog like this already exists in OneFour Kid Lit. So I applied to join that. ๐Ÿ˜€

Honestly, maybe it’s a good thing no one is jumping on my bandwagon. I’m not the most organized of people and trying to corral a group effort like this is a little scary. I was hoping some super-efficient person would come along and think it was a great idea and take over some of the responsibilities. So far that hasn’t happened.

Anyway, maybe this will happen, maybe it won’t. Either way, I’m looking forward to beginning promotions for Sing, Sweet Nightingale. This book is my baby and I can’t wait to show her off! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Everything is subjective. Even progress.

Creativity (c) Margan Zajdowicz

There are very few things in this world that aren’t subjective on some level. Off the top of my head the only thing I can think of is math. 2 + 2 pretty much always equals 4.

The problem is that we try too much to standardize our world, but I think by doing that we’re only causing more problems for ourselves. Especially in creative fields like art, music, writing, etc. We try to measure ourselves against someone else’s successes and failures, but that’s impossible to do in any profession. Especially writing.

Maybe that “overnight” bestseller has been a work in progress for the last fifteen years as the author agonized over every syllable. Maybe that author who only writes a book every two years is taking care of an elderly parent and three small children and is lucky to get any time at all to write. Maybe that debut author who ended up with a major motion picture deal has a cousin who works in Hollywood. Maybe the author who releases three books a year is an agoraphobic who can’t step foot outside their own house.

The point is, you don’t know unless you know the person behind the story, so judging them based on what you see in their book or on their website or in articles is only going to hurt you. It’s hard to remember this sometimes when you read about someone’s good news and you’re stuck in the same place you’ve been for years. It’s hard to remember this when you’re struggling to find the time to write twenty words a day and someone else is putting out three books a year. Creativity and progress are highly subjective areas of our lives, but as writers that’s what we’re dealing in every day. The best way to do this is to set our own standards and benchmarks and judge ourselves based solely on whether or not we meet our own goals, not someone else’s.

On another note, you can now add Sing, Sweet Nightingale to your To Read list on Goodreads! And, personally, I call that progress. ๐Ÿ˜€

The internet is not your private diary, kay?

Tooootally meant to post earlier than this but… obviously that didn’t happen. I’m here now, though! So let’s see if i can get my thoughts together enough for an actual post.

Black Notebook With Pencil (c) Typofi

With a few things I’ve read online recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about posting and the internet and people. Not necessarily in that order. This is partially because of two articles, one, of course, from Cracked.com.

The Cracked article is actually about why you shouldn’t post embarrassing pictures of your friends online, but in my experience people don’t need their friends’ help to embarrass themselves. A lot of people do it on their own and post things in public I wouldn’t even share with my closest friends. All I can ask myself is, WHY?!

I am naturally shy, so maybe that’s one of the reasons over-sharing on the internet has never appealed to me, but I seriously question some people’s sobriety when I read or see things online. Yes, I know being an idiot or embarrassing yourself can get your internet fame, but is it really worth it? Even after you take something down, once it’s posted, it’s out there. Maybe someone saved it to their computer. Maybe Google archived it. You never know when that picture or video or story you thought was long gone suddenly comes back to bite you. And that’s a threat that won’t disappear until something like Revolution happens.

Celebrities and other public figures have to be even more careful than the general public. Just look what happened when poor Prince Harry let his guard–and his pants–down for a while. Even though it may not feel like it sometimes (like when you’ve been locked in your office drafting for six months), authors are public figures. We gather fans and people listen to what we have to say. This means you have to think about what you post online and make sure most people are going to read it the way you meant it to he heard. The internet isn’t always the best place for sarcasm, especially if you can’t remember some jokes don’t translate well without inflection. Sometimes, though, it’s not a joke. Sometimes authors can inadvertently (I’m giving the benefit of the doubt here) start a war just by talking.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a post by a blogger and book reviewer named Corey Ann. This post (which is kinda long) details an entire series of events that blew my mind. What happened here is the exact thing I’m talking about above, something everyone in the public eye has to watch out for. Basically, Corey Ann got caught in a flame war between various factions surrounding author Emily Giffin. Whether or not she meant them to be, Emily made some comments that, ON THE INTERNET (please note the emphasis), came off in a very negative way. Maybe she was joking. Maybe she didn’t think about how the lack of tone would translate. Maybe she meant exactly what she said. I don’t know. All I know is that inadvertently or on purpose she ended up siccing her fans on Corey Ann and another reviewer. Things got so out of control Corey Ann actually received threatening PHONE CALLS. Which means people tracked her down in person to yell at her. That is crossing the line so far you’re not even in the same county as the line anymore.

The point is, things like this can happen. In an age where all it takes is a couple of tweets or status updates to start a riot, you have to be EXTRA SUPER DUPER CAREFUL about everything you post online. The internet is a tool. Use it like one. And also, no matter how private your privacy settings, don’t count on privacy. The next generation of hackers is always smarter than the last and you never know when something meant for your eyes only ends up being public fodder. Basically, just try to remember the internet is not your diary, kay? That’s what bookstores sell journals for.

Bestsellers: Behind The Scenes

Before I say anything else, I have to make a statement: I can only go clothes shopping if it happens spontaneously. Otherwise I find NOTHING. Last night I went to Sports Authority for a new backpack for my trip and decided on a whim to stop by the clothing section. I end up walking out of the store with seven (yes, seven) dresses. Oh, and the backpack. Luckily, the dresses were all FIFTY PERCENT OFF! And I didn’t know this until I made it up to the register. Best surprise ever! And so I took the money I thought I was spending and went to Target where I bought four pairs of shorts and a bunch of shirts. And now I probably won’t shop again for about a year. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, moving on…

Have you ever wondered how some books take off like a rocket and others only drift along like a helium balloon? The hows and whys of this are changing, but right now it still has a lot to do with bookstores, booksellers, and book addicts. People who don’t read often are probably going to take their book buying advice from someone in one of those positions, so if a local bookstore employee loves a certain book, suddenly that book is selling like ice cream in the middle of summer. Seriously. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve done it during my time as a Borders bookslave.

Not too long after the release of the Hunger Games movie, I found a detailed article online about the behind-the-scenes efforts to make this book fly. Obviously, it worked. The article on Salon.com gives a detailed look at the life cycle of this book from proposal to publication to bestsellerdom and lets us peek behind the curtain at what can happen when you have the influence of a really excited industry behind you. Read it. It’s worth the time.

Promoting: Don’t Ignore Social Media

With a new site popping up every day (or so it seems) trying to keep up with your many social media profiles can feel like a full time job in and of itself.

Building your “platform” is becoming more and more important. It used to only be key
in nonfiction proposals (especially self-help books) where the audience usually didn’t buy a book from a name they hadn’t heard before, but now more and more agents are expecting debut authors to be working behind the scenes on building up their platform. Now, in this case, platform almost always translates to web presence. This is looking at a very narrow part of the actual meaning of the word platform, but it’ll work for today. Plus, it’s usually all agents and publishers expect from a non-published author.

From the agent’s point of view (according to a recent interview I heard), you can get away withย  having a simple, free website with your name, email adress, bio, and a little bit about what you write, but you should still have something with your name on it floating out in cyber space. You can do this very easily through free platforms like Blogger, but you have to be careful about this because people expect a blog to be active. A “dead” blog is usually seen as a bad sign. Also, consider buying the domain name for your name (or pen name) before someone else does. You can set up a Blogger or WordPress blog to redirect to a custom domain name (which is what I’ve done on my site). Even if you don’t know how to set up the website, the cost is minimal and you’ll have it down the road when you need it. But if you don’t want to mess around with websites and domain names, try to at least set yourself up on popular social media sites.

I mentioned Robert Brewer’s blog My Name Is Not Bob the other day and how much fantastic advice he had on that blog for writers. One of the topics he speaks about is self-promotion and online web presence, especially through social media. A relatively recent post called The Ultimate Guide To Social Media For Writers is a pretty detailed look at, well, social media for writers.

A caveat. While you should definitely make time to set up profiles on multiple sites and visit them all at least once a week, don’t let your entire day get eaten by the interweb. Your main job is to write, so that should still be your focus. No matter how popular you are online, you can’t get published if you don’t have anything to publish!

Domain name sites (a few of them, anyway):
Domain.com
GoDaddy.com
Melbourneit.com

Instructions on setting up your domain name

Happy promoting!

Publishing: The Traditional Defense Part Three

Continuing my posts from last week (part one and part two), today I’m looking at Steve Laube’s Defense of Traditional Publishing Part Four: Design. While cover design is a crucial element of the overall design process, it is not the only one. Decisions must also be made on the weight of the paper (did you know it comes in a wide variety of thicknesses?), the size of the pages, the font, the author photo, the color of the cover (for hardcovers), and whether or not to use deckled edges (click for picture and definition). All of these points add up to the entire design package and one reason having a team of experts one your side, especially experts who will be footing the bill, is a very good thing.

Especially since I’ve taken to browsing the Kindle store online, I have seen a lot of really beautiful covers. I’ve seen even more hideously ugly ones. Realy, really ugly ones where I’m left hoping and praying the author didn’t pay anyone to create that for them. While you may not always like the cover the design team of a traditional publisher creates for you, that doesn’t mean it will be an ineffective attractor. Despite the adage “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” we often do just that. Working in a bookstore I found beautiful covers often correlated to how invested a publisher is in the book’s success. I also learned I was more likely to enjoy reading a book the publishers were standing behind. Not always, of course, but it was true more often than not.

Like with editing, proponents of self-publishing can argue, “Well, I can hire a designer myself.” This is true. But did you know that when publishers hire freelance designers they usually pay between $3,000-5,000? Do you have that much to invest? No? Neither do I. Are there amazing designers out there who will work a lot cheaper? Yes. But Steve warns you can’t let your personal preferences get in the way.

Those who want to forego the traditional publishing route need to remember one thing, donโ€™t let your own personal taste be the final vote. What you think is gorgeous may make another person heave. (A simple walk down the mall observing fashion choices is a case in point.) This is not the place to bargain hunt or be shallow with a comment like โ€œI just donโ€™t like the color pink.โ€

The packaging (which if you’re publishing in ebook only is just the cover) can create just as much buzz as the content. Good content without a stunning cover won’t give your book it’s best shot. The reverse is obviously true as well and will probably make readers feel as though they’ve been tricked. But that’s where editing should have come into play.

Because I found this fascinating, I’m re-posting the video Steve used to illustrate his point. This time-lapsed look at the making of a cover gives you incredible insight into the kind of time and energy gets invested in good covers.