THE GREAT E-BOOK CONTROVERSY, by E. E. Smith

eesmith revised(from Not Born Yesterday on Psychology Today) 

The technology in today’s world would have seemed “Buck Roger-ish” back in the day when telephones plugged into the wall, and a “text” was a schoolbook. Think of all the new terms that have come into the language since then, too:  Internet, laptop, e-mail, upload, download, website, I-Pad, Wi-Fi, SmartPhone, and e-book, to name a few.

 

 

An article on the latter — e-books — appeared in our newspaper a while ago. It was a pro and con debate, two views on the subject, written by a couple of spunky high school kids. The Pro side called e-books “an eco-friendly approach to reading,” the Con took the position that “e-books provide readers with limited options.”

 

 

The Pro argument went like this:

 

 

(1) E-books are eco-friendly because they save on the number of trees being cut down for paper. Statistics show that the world consumption of that commodity has grown 400 percent in the last 40 years. What’s not to like about slowing down tree genocide?

 

 

(2) An e-reader, such as a Kindle from Amazon or a Nook from Barnes & Noble, weighs less than the average printed book and can hold 100 times more material. Think of carrying all that around in your backpack!

 

 

(3) The condition of the books on an e-reader remain the same no matter how many times you read them. Your dog can’t chew them up, you can’t ruin them by spilling coffee on them or leaving them out in the rain.

 

 

(4) Despite the initial cost of an e-reader, they are economical, too, because books are cheaper to purchase — a fraction of the cost of a print edition — and many websites give away books as bundle discounts or simply for free. Try asking your local bookstore for that kind of a deal!

 

 

Conclusion: E-books make more sense, ecologically and economically, in modern times.

 

 

The Con side of the debate had this to say:

 

 

(1) It’s true that e-readers are one of the must-haves in the world of “techno-gadgets,” but there are a few facts to consider before going digital.

 

 

(2) Want to share a favorite book with a friend? With a printed copy you simply hand it over and hope to get it back someday. Unless you are willing to part with your pricey Kindle or Nook for the time it takes him to read it, you can’t do it.

 

 

(3) Although there are people who buy books as investments, the average person only wants to read them a single time. This means that borrowing from the library or buying used is a better deal than paying up to $9.99 to view them once on your Kindle. Add in the initial price of the e-reader and it’s costly, especially If you read a lot.

 

 

(4) There is no limit to where, or how long, you can read a printed book. E-readers can only be used so long before their batteries need recharging. And some have screens that can’t be used in direct sunlight. For people who like to read at the pool or the beach, an e-reader just won’t cut it.

 

 

(5) And then there’s the look, and the feel  of a printed book with a hard cover, a shiny dust jacket, and real paper pages that you turn yourself. E-readers may look flashy, but they can’t compete with all that.

 

 

Conclusion:  E-books limit your options, compared to “real” books.

 

 

I agree with the “Con” position, preferring the look and feel of a “real” book to reading one off a screen, but times change.  Now all my own books, BoardinghouseStewcoverincluding those originally in hard cover, are available only in digital.  Grudgingly, I bought a Kindle “Fire” and put them all on it, including the latest, a new edition of Boardinghouse Stew It contains dozens of photographs, many in color, and that’s where I notice an advantage over the print edition. The backlighting on the Kindle seems to lift them right off the page.

 

 

Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

 

 

 

 

 

E.E. (Evelyn Eileen) Smith lives close to her native San Francisco, in the “Wine Country” of northern California. She became a professional writer after retiring from earlier careers as an architectural designer and a litigation paralegal. Known primarily as a playwright at first — her plays have been produced in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and both northern and southern California — she later became a novelist. A New Edition of the first novel, Boardinghouse Stew, along with the sequel, Times Like These, was published in 2011. In Love and War, A Memoir, followed in 2012. A series of murder mysteries will debut on November 29th of this year. The first in the series is titled Death by Misadventure. Three more will follow in 2014.  

 

She is a regular contributor to Psychology Today. To see her blog, go to

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/not-born-yesterday.

Her website is  www.eesmithwriter.com.

Also follow her on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ee.evelyn.smith?fref=ts

Is there a method to your promotional madness? by PJ Nunn

PJ Nunn

PJ Nunn

I find when many authors consult me, whether to hire my firm for representation or to just get an idea of what they should be doing, that’s the first question to ask. Most have an idea that certain things to be done, but if I ask a few more questions, I often find they don’t really know what now? What next? At what point have I done everything (is there such a point?)?

It’s a rare thing to find an author who sits down long before the book sees the light of day and makes a plan for a reasonably effective promo campaign. The good news is it’s not too late. A book is new until a reader sees it, so even if the release date is long since passed, you can still take some of these ideas and make them work for you.

Obviously, we can’t got through the whole process here, but here are a few things that seem to get overlooked a lot. Determine who your target audience is (who do you think will like to read your books?) then start planning ways to get information about yourself and your work in front of them. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Keep collecting reviews. Make it a plan to send out 2 – 3 copies of your book each month so there’ll be a steady stream of reviews coming in. Use them to keep your website fresh, in your newsletters, on your promo material. It’s important that when people take time to stop by one of your hot spots, they don’t find the same thing they saw there six months ago.

Update your photos. I’ll never forget the clutching feeling in my chest when I sent a client for a television interview and she almost didn’t get on the program because the producer took a look around and didn’t see her there. He was looking for the dark haired beauty in the photo I sent instead of the white haired woman in the waiting area. Yikes! I completely understand that when you get a nice photo you hate to give it up, but I too, have bitten the bullet and have two appointments in coming weeks. One at the hair salon, a second at the photographer. Ouch.

Get blogging. How many blogs are there out there that you haven’t read yet? Oh. Millions. True not all of them are appropriate to your book, but let’s face it, there’s no shortage of blogs that might either run a review, an interview or a guest post from you to help you let folks know your book is out there. I’ll give you a hint. If you offer a guest post, they’re a lot more receptive. Reviewers tend to have a backlog, just sayin. Plan ahead and space them out. It sounds easy to write a guest blog two months away but it’ll be here before you know it and you don’t want to do too many in too short a time. Slow and steady wins the race.

That ought to keep you busy for a week or so. I’ll talk more on this topic later. Do you have any thoughts or ideas along these lines that you can add? Or maybe a question? Love to hear from you!

An interview with Connie Knight

connie10PJ: Welcome Connie! How long have you been writing?

CK: I started writing in the eighth grade. I won’t tell you how long ago that was, but I will say that Mother Estelle-Marie encouraged me. I wrote a play which she produced, with most of my classmates as actors and the rest of the school attending. Also, I wrote a poem which she entered in a national contest run by the Catholic Daughters of America. I won second place nationally and ended up with prize money of $69.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

CK: Eighth grade, I guess, thanks to Mother Estelle-Marie. In high school, I won another poetry prize in the annual Pegasus contest sponsored by the San Antonio Public Library.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

CK: Yes and no. In the eighth grade and before, I read old books strewn around my grandmother’s house, including one by Bennett Cerf. I imagined writing life as taking place in New York, with dinner every night at the Algonquin restaurant, talking with Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley. That’s where I thought I’d end up.  I didn’t realize those days were already over.

On the other hand, I thought I’d be a novelist, and at last I am.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

CK: By this point, after I spent years at journalism and other creative pursuits, I don’t expect authors, singers, dancers, musicians, artists, etc. to make a lot of money. Just a few lucky ones who manage to reach the top rake in the dollars.

Others, who are successful to a moderate degree, may earn a moderate income. We’ll see.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

CK: I am thrilled about being published as a novelist at last, but my focus hasn’t really changed. I’ve been published for years in journalism. What’s new is finding time and a genre that work for me as a novelist. I’m writing a series of mystery novels set in rural Texas near San Antonio, in an area settled by my father’s family.

My first book, Cemetery Whites, draws upon family characters and stories to some degree. Some are totally fiction and others are fictionalized. I loved writing the story, and my focus is really to find readers. I love to hear from readers who tell me how much they enjoyed my book.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

CK: The first thing published was my prize-winning poem in the eighth grade. I wrote a newspaper article in high school, too. It focused on racism and integration, and was published by the Catholic newspaper in San Antonio.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

CK: No, I don’t think I would have much reason to do things differently. For example, I earned my bachelor’s degree in creative writing, but then I followed that with a year of journalism classes so I could find a job and make a living. My creative writing circled around poetry and short stories—no money there.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

CK: It’s not easy. I tend to separate writing time from publishing time, but I’m trying to combine them—somewhat successfully. I’m working on my third mystery right now.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

CK: There have been lots of exciting things. With my first novel Cemetery Whites, at a writer’s conference, I conferred with a literary agent who asked me to e-mail him the first three chapters. I almost swooned. When I left the meeting, I collapsed into a chair in the hallway, and my heart beat like it was ready for an attack.

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

CK: This happened early. Back in the eighth grade, I wrote a short story. I handwrote it on notebook paper, fastened it with a bobby pin, and sent it to the Saturday Evening Post.

To my surprise and heartbreak, they returned it! They didn’t give me an A or a prize, and I didn’t understand their kindness in enclosing a nice rejection slip and supplying the envelope and postage. I didn’t know about the stamped, self-addressed envelope I should have sent with the story.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

CK: So far, that would be a speech I gave to a book club here in Houston. It was well-received and many books were sold. Then a member approached me and asked if I belonged to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. I wasn’t, but we agreed I might qualify. She sponsored me, and I did the research and application, which was recently approved. I’m a member now.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

CK: I believe everybody’s work is different, reflecting their experience and views of life, their ambitions in writing, their personalities.

My mysteries reflect my interest in Texas history, sociology, culture, habits of living, and language, as I have perceived them during my life. They have interesting, unusual characters who are portrayed with some humor.

I’m delighted to hear from readers of Cemetery Whites who tell me they enjoyed reading it. That’s my goal. I want readers to enjoy my books.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

CK: That often happens, even to very good writers who ultimately achieve bestseller status. If writing is important to you, keep up with it. Keep sending it out. Find a writer’s group whose critiques are useful. Consider what you could do to improve your work, and try to find a publisher or literary agent who like your kind of book.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

CK: Two independent Houston bookstores come to mind: Murder by the Book, and Brazos Bookstore. They’re right down the street from each other. I’ve had book-signing events at both.

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order.

CK: Cemetery Whites is the name of my novel now being published as an eBook. It’s my debut novel, with the second one ready to Cemetery Whites Coverpublish and the third one in progress.

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title.

CK: In Cemetery Whites, Caroline Hargrove Hamilton and her cousin Janet Judson solve murders from 1875 and 2010. They find Professor Harrison, a black man, lying dead in a patch of white irises in the Hargrove Family Cemetery in DeWitt County, Texas. He lies close to a grave where it’s rumored a second body is secretly buried.

Caroline and Janet become amateur detectives, uncovering half-a-dozen family secrets related to both murders. Research involves trips to historical sites in San Antonio, a night at a country bar, and another one at a rooster fight. Letters, journals, and oral histories reveal more and more information.

There’s a day when Janet is stuck in an oak tree surrounded by a herd of wild javelinas. She’s rescued by Josh Gaines, related to Professor Harrison. They’d met at the professor’s funeral in San Antonio.

The two of them look for Caroline, who is missing. With the help of Constable Bob Bennett and Uncle Cotton’s hound dogs, they find Caroline—in the clutch of the man who murdered the professor.

When the murders are solved, a treasure is found. It answers a question no one—except Professor Harrison—knew to ask.

PJ: Where can we buy it?

 

CK: Starting on Friday, May 3, it’s scheduled to be available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and other online book retailers. It will be published by Maple Creek Media.

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

CK: I think everybody with any interest in the topic knows about me and my work, because I talk a lot about it. The last thing I should say is, Thank you for listening.

Thank you for stopping by, Connie! I’m looking forward to reading Cemetery Whites and hope a lot of people will buy copies and enjoy a virtual trip to the San Antonio area in another time!

Print, ebook, or both? By Judy Alter

TroublesigningBack before electronic books turned the publishing world upside down, status for an author of fiction was having a book published in hardcover (between the boards, as we used to say), followed in twelve to eighteen months by a trade paper edition. Today fiction authors, particularly genre fiction, are lucky to get a trade paper or mass market edition. Many small publishers proudly bill themselves as “e-book only” or “primarily an e-book publisher.”

My publisher for my Kelly O’Connell and Blue Plate mysteries tells me the house sells ten e-books for every print copy; consequently, print is low on the priority scale and sometimes doesn’t appear for months after the electronic version.

I may be old school, but I find this a marketing problem. With my first mystery, print followed closely on the heels of the e-book, and I had a huge signing at a local restaurant—sold seventy-five books. Today the gap is several months, and I barely sold twenty-five at the last signing at the same restaurant. Each book that goes out that restaurant door, with a bookmark, is not just a book sold—it’s a chance for effective word-of-mouth advertising if the reader enjoys it, talks about it, shows it to a friend. Today I have an e-book of the newest one, Murder at the Blue Plate Café, but no print, and friends and (ahem!) fans are asking when the print will come. I afraid by the time print appears it will be anticlimactic and they’ll have lost interest.

I’m all for e-books and indeed do most of my reading on an iPad, but there’s something about holding a book in your hands. Of course, I market my e-books as best I can, with guest blogs like this one, on Facebook, Twitter, my own blog, bookmarks scattered across the globe, whatever and wherever, and I’m grateful for the response I’ve gotten. But I’m uncertain how effective I am. I’d feel better with print that I could launch at a signing, show to friends and send to reviewers that I know. I don’t have time to write, follow all the myriad marketing leads we get on Sisters in Crime, and live my life. So I’m not on the various Kindle lists and I have yet to figure out Goodreads, though I make a valiant effort and do post there.

Maybe it’s all ego—authors are famous for that—and I should put ego in the closet and concentrate on business, sales figures and the like. But that’s not why I write. I write so readers will enjoy my stories.

What about you? Do you find print editions important for marketing?

****

With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Judy Alter launches a new cozy mystery series, Blue Plate Café Mysteries. She is also the author of MurderBPlate_JAlter_MD(2)the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, and the forthcoming Danger Comes Home. Her fiction and nonfiction about women of the American West has won numerous awards including a Lifetime Achievement Award from Western Writers of America.

Now retired, she was for years the director of a small academic press. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of seven and lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her Bordoodle, Sophie. Follow her at http://www.judyalter.com, http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com, http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Judy-Alter-Author/366948676705857?fref=ts, or on Twitter, where she is @judyalter.

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Six Years by Harlan Coben

Six yearsSix Years

By Harlan Coben

Dutton, 2013, 368 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0525953487

Reviewed by PJ Nunn

Some books are enticing because the characters seem to come alive on the page. If you close your eyes you can almost hear their voices. Other books tickle your senses, making it seem as if you can feel the hint of rain on your face, or catch the scent of the ocean on the breeze. These are all characteristics of a good book.

When I picked up this book, it wasn’t the first I’d read by Harlan Coben and I wasn’t surprised that the first line immediately captured my attention. It read:

I sat in the back pew and watched the only woman I would ever love marry another man.

There’s heartbreak waiting to happen. I kept reading. Jake Fisher might be anyone. He could easily have been a friend of mine from college. And who among us can’t relate to a lost love? That’s not to say his story is universal, it’s quite unique. But there are enough commonalities for any of us to relate to him in his quest to find the girl he’ll always love.

Like pretty much everything he writes, Harlan didn’t slack off on this one. It’s really good, but about half way through it gets better. That indefinable essence that pulls the reader in and shifts into high gear comes into play. Suddenly I was questioning everything. Did harlanthat really happen? Did Jake really see that? Or is he hallucinating? Who’s telling the truth? The circumstances had become so vivid it was hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t.

I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say too much. Suffice it to say that Six Years is unquestionably one of the best books I’ve read in a while. If you like suspense and riddles; if you like to be engaged by lifelike characters and a story that never moves in a straight line, then you’ll want to read this one. Really.

Yes! We Need Beta Readers by Kate Gallison

Kate Gallison You’ve worked through the last thrilling climax. You’ve typed, “THE END.” You’ve put your opus away for a couple of weeks and thought about something else. You’ve pulled it out again, read it through, shouted, “OMG, this really sucks,” fixed all the problems you noticed, and pronounced it cured. Perfected. Ready for prime time.

Now what?

Do you give in to your itch to fire it off to your agent? Or, having no agent, to fire off queries to a list of prospective agents, promising them a completed manuscript? Or, scorning the traditional publishing route, offer it to your eager public as an e-book, with no further tweaking?

No. Ten out of ten successful writers advise against this. You must give it to at least one friend or acquaintance, three would be better, people who normally read, and best of all who read in your genre. Otherwise you risk going out the door with literary spinach on your teeth.

What are they supposed to tell you about your book, other than that it’s great, riveting and compelling, absolutely the best thing they’ve read all year? (They are, after all, your friends. Otherwise you’d have to pay them to read it.)

First of all, your beta reader is not for doing line-editing or correcting your grammar and spelling. If you can’t spell or parse an English sentence by this time, you should probably take up the accordion. What you want to ask your beta readers to do is make note of any egregious howlers they may notice and any questions that arise in their minds about your book. Perhaps you have placed Seattle on the shores of Lake Michigan. Perhaps you have changed the heroine’s hair and eye color between Chapter Three and Chapter Four.  Perhaps some parts seem to lack energy, are in fact stupefyingly boring. Perhaps you have left gaping plot holes.

We get very close to our work, sometimes so close that it’s hard for us to see obvious things. We change things, too, as we go along, and we don’t always readjust the other things that are affected by our changes. Some of us have verbal tics that need pointing out. I once read an otherwise excellent suspense novel in which the author wrote, “He nodded,” and “She nodded,” something like five thousand and seventy-two times in the course of the book. By the hundredth instance I began to be irritated. When at last the writer said, “It was his turn to nod,” I cried, “No! No, it isn’t! Everybody stop nodding, already!” Unfortunately I wasn’t a beta reader. The EdgeofRuinCover 300x453thing was already in print.

Luckily I had beta readers for THE EDGE OF RUIN who pointed out to me that they could see no reason why the murderer committed the second murder. I was able to fix that before it went out. Plot holes are my personal weakness. If you know what yours are, you can get your beta readers to watch out for them. Then, when your book goes out the door, it will be the very best it can be.

Kate Gallison

10 Ways to Promote Your Ebook by Cheryl Bradshaw

  1. START PROMOTING BEFORE YOUR BOOK IS OUT

    Cheryl Bradshaw

    Cheryl Bradshaw

There are several things a writer can do prior to their book coming out.  A month or two before the release, I begin putting things in place that will create a steady momentum once the book is out.  One of the first things I do is to create a press release that my publicist can send to potential reviewers, newspaper agencies, press agencies, etc.  I also create some kind of giveaway on my blog to kick things off.  I give away things like Amazon gift cards and other goodies for any reader who purchases the book in the first month.

This is also the perfect time to schedule your promotions on the internet.  New sites go up daily, it seems, but my favorites right now are BookBub, Digital Book Today, and Ereader News Today.  Some sites are more expensive than others, but you should easily earn your money back on the day your book is promoted, not to mention the boost your book will get several days after the promotion.

2. SOFT RELEASE FIRST

When I put out a new book, I do a “soft release,” promoting it to my fans and followers at the beginning to get things going.  I’ll send out a newsletter to let them know the new book is out and then run some kind of promotion for anyone who buys it or buys it and leaves a review (NOTE: I never, ever ask my readers to give me a specific kind of review—all I ask for is an honest review).  Many of my fans read the book within the first few days, and if I am lucky, they will like it and leave a review.  This is what I am hoping for—to get some reviews and initial sales before I push for the hard launch.

3. ENROLL IN KDP SELECT

Writers have strong feelings and opinions about the KDP Select program on Amazon.  For me, personally, it works, and I am a big supporter of Amazon and all they have done for writers today.  I believe the best time to enroll in KDP Select is when your book first comes out.  The more visible a book is, the more it gets noticed in the program, and the more lends you will receive.

I entered the first three books in my Sloane Monroe series one year ago, and I can honestly say, the program has changed my life.  I was doing well prior to enrolling, but the program took my books to the next level.  I highly recommend using the five free days you are offered each time your enroll/renew, and here’s what I suggest doing:

  • When your book is new, enroll in the program.
  • One month after you publish your book, schedule and use your free days.  To be successful on your free run, you MUST prepare beforehand.  You can learn more about this HERE.   The more free books you move during the promotion, the better your ranking will be when your book comes off the free list.  Amazon uses algorithms (which is a topic I’ll save for another day).
  • I keep my book free for two or three days.  As long as it keeps climbing in the free store, I keep it up.  But if it slips past the top twenty, I take it off.  And after a few months, take your book out if you want and then you can sell it everywhere else.  Trust me when I say that it’s a lot harder to enroll your books in the program if you have to go around taking them off all the other sites first.

4. PARTICIPATE IN BLOG HOPS

There seems to be a lot of confusion about blog hops.  I organize two or three a year in my writers group, and I always get emails from new writers complaining about the fact that during the hop, they didn’t see an increase in sales.  Why?  Because blog hops aren’t about sales—they’re about exposure.  They’re about people seeing your name and your books.  Most people need to see a product (and your book is a product) several times before they decide to purchase it.

But now back to blog hops.  If you get the chance to be included on one that’s organized and has quite a few authors participating, do it.  It usually requires very little effort on your part.  The organizer does most of the work for you.  You create a blog post, give away a signed copy of your book, maybe donate to the grand prize, and you’re done.  For my hops, when a reader visits my page, I ask them to either follow me on facebook, twitter, or sign up for my newsletter.  This is free for them, but it benefits me as well.

5. GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen authors create Twitter accounts for their novel or their series, and not for themselves.  I always hear a noise in my head—that “X” sound from the game show “Family Feud.”  Why?  Because the author is going about it all wrong.  Your name is your brand.  Let me say it again.  Your NAME is your brand.  Not your series.  Not your book.  Not your character.  YOU.   Get your name out there in every way possible.

6. TWEET

There is a right way and a wrong way to tweet.  But first, I want to say this: if you don’t have a twitter account, now is the time to create one.  Right now.  Well, after you finish reading this post, of course.

I avoided twitter for a long time.  I didn’t want a twitter account.  I convinced myself that having an account wouldn’t benefit me.  But then a few of my fans said they were disappointed that I wasn’t on twitter.  See, your fans feel like they connect with you through twitter—like they have some special insight into your life and what you’re doing.  But that doesn’t mean you need to get personal or reveal too much.  I don’t.  I keep it light.  I ask my fans questions.  I interact with them.  And I love it.

In one year, I’ve grown to almost 30,000 followers, and in August of 2012, I was named one of twitter’s seven best authors to follow.  It was such an honor.  And to think, I almost never joined.

Now let’s move on to the wrong way to tweet.  I tweet about my books:

  • When I put a new book out
  • I run a promotion
  • My book is free on KDP Select
  • I offer some kind of giveaway/incentive

This is the ONLY TIME I tweet about my books.  My fans don’t want to get tweets from me all day, every day that shout “buy my book!”  It’s irritating, and it’ rude.  I follow the 90/10 rule.  90% of my tweets are non-book related.  I save the other 10% for my promotions.  Otherwise, you’ll lose followers.  No one will retweet you if you keep saying the same thing all the time.  And during an incentive, you need those retweets.  They sell books, and they spread the word about you and your brand.  Long story short, don’t abuse twitter, and don’t abuse your fans.  Interact with them.  It’s actually a lot of fun.

7. CREATE A FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE

I created a facebook author page soon after publishing my first novel.  Some of my friends and family liked the page, but in six to nine months, I only had a couple hundred followers.  To me, this was nothing.  I had thousands of friends on my personal page.  So I almost deleted it.  Then I published a boxed set which included the first three mysteries in my Sloane Monroe series.  And it took off.  I started getting up to ten new followers on my author page a day, none of them being friends or family.

You can now promote yourself on Facebook too.  I like their ads because they’re cheap.  If you have less than 1,000 followers, you can run an ad for three days that posts not only to the side of the pages of your fans, but to their followers sidebar as well.  All for around $15.00.

8. AUTHOR FRIENDS = POWER

What does having author friends have to do with promotion?  Everything.  When I was writing my first book, I interviewed traditionally published authors on my blog.  I asked them for their advice for new, up-and-coming authors, and many were happy to oblige.  Some of the biggest names in the business offered tips on getting started, and I learned that making author friends was pivotal to success.  It IS who you know.

I created an author group on Facebook in 2010 and have almost 1,600 authors to date.  We share our books, help one another promote, and offer tips and a helping hand to the newbies.  Many of the authors have become life-long friends.  The group also helps me stay in the loop.  Whenever there’s new news in the industry, I’m the first to hear about it.

9. CREATE AND MAINTAIN A NEWSLETTER

When you’re first starting out as an author, you might only have a newsletter that consists of friends and family, and that’s okay.  It doesn’t grow to thousands overnight.  It’s more like a slow trickle.  The main thing is to have a way for readers to contact you, and it should be on everything—your blog, website, author product pages, in your books, etc.  Keep it consistent and keep it the same.  When a fan emails you, add them to your newsletter list.  I send out an email quarterly and try to match it up with a book release, especially when it’s in the soft release phase.  Your most devoted fans will buy the book as soon as it’s released, as long as they know about it.

10. TRY NEW THINGS

I mess around with my prices several times a year.  I also mess around with different genres.  But let’s start with price.  It’s fun to find a reason to change the price.  One that I use is my birthday.  On my birthday, I lower the prices of most or all of my books, just for the day.  I also run a promotion to go along with it.  Another time I lower the price is after Christmas when all those readers have a brand new kindle in their hot, little hands.  I don’t lower the price for a long time—usually no more than three days.  The benefit of this if you do it right is that you’ll sell more books than you were and your rank will lower.  The lower the rank, the more your book is seen.  The more it’s seen, the more copies you’ll sell.

Now let’s talk about genre.  I don’t move around too much, but there are a lot of different options you can try with your book.  Most of my books are in the mystery/thriller genre.  But, they have just a touch of romance.  While not the main theme, I can still put them in romantic suspense.  I can also put them in action & adventure.  I can also put them in genre fiction.  Sometimes it’s nice to shuffle things around a bit.  After all, lettuce is best when it’s fresh and new.  So, too, are books in categories that attract an entirely new StrangerinTown400x600audience.

Well, there you have it folks – suggestions from someone who’s been there and done that and knows what she’s talking about. If your New Year resolutions include leaping up into the 5 digit range in monthly sales, this is advice that will help you get there. Thank you Cheryl, for sharing with us. I hope lots of new readers head your way as a result! Cheryl’s latest title is STRANGER IN TOWN. Get one!