Thursday, August 2, 2007
I am happy to talk about how my journey to become published by a mainstream publisher. There have been a few hiccups, a few thrills and a long slog, but every day of writing has been a blessing.
The Chronicles of Caleath have been acquired by a Canadian publisher. Expect to see the new editions /version out soon through Museitup Publishing. It's all very exciting.
Hopefully this blog will answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact me here.
Your Book is Released – Now What?
Many authors do not understand the publishing process beyond the day their book is released. They do not understand that there are thousands of competitive publishers releasing similar titles in a single year. You need an edge. The publisher can get your book out there – but you need something extra that the book stores/readers can use to see whether you are worth reading.
An estimated 90% of the book buying public do not buy titles – they buy authors. They either stick with an author they like, or was recommended by a friend, or they read a book by a famous author.
The thing is – Fame is wrapped up in PR. You can be famous. You can become famous in less than a year. It is all about Promotion. The publisher will not promote your career – not unless you sign a major contract with them. But, unless you are famous, it is hard to sell your book.
The fact is, bookstores stick with publishers they know, or authors who are famous. A bookstore may never have heard of an author, but if they Google the author’s name, and see 10 – 50 pages of results – they have a reason to try the book.
I know many authors who worked their way up from indi publishers to major publishers, and are making a full time living as authors, solely on their PR.
How to Become Famous
This is a long tutorial, and many new writers will feel bewildered at the list of resources offered here. I can assure you that this list was created by current successful authors, and did result in book sales.
The trick is to give yourself 1-5 hours a week to work on these. First step would be to join a web community like www.communati.com and/or www.blggerparty.com where you can get a ‘feel’ for this type of promotion.
Then, move through this list, one item at a time. Make sure you keep a word doc of your URLs (www.myblogname.com) and your usernames and passwords. Linking is the key. You can link from one of your lenses to another, link your blogs together, but always have one ‘final destination’ for readers …not your book buying page.
Myspace drives more traffic than the MSN or Yahoo search engines. If you want book readers to find you – you need to start with a myspace lens. However, don’t just say ‘I am an author, buy my book.’
Instead, you want to make it look like it is fun being an author. You want to blog about wonderful things that happen to you. Post book reviews.
Once you have a myspace lens, you need to build one at squidoo.com, bebo.com and facebook.com. (notice that I haven’t mentioned anything about a website – a website is a waste of time unless it is a major PR tool).
Why do you need lenses? The search engines like lenses more than they like author websites. Also, lenses bring in thousands of hits that would be lost without the lens. Why do you need more than one? Lenses take a bit of experimenting. One may not work, the next may rank in the top 1000. Their sole purpose is to help you learn how to promote your career.
Once you have made a lens, hook up to your publisher’s lens. This way, all promotion the publisher is doing will follow through to you.
Many people overlook the power of blogs. The number one blog in the world, with more than 10 000 000 hits a year, is owned by a Chinese actress. Your blog can reach people on a regular bases. Many people live for their ‘fix.’ A humorous, insightful, or unusual look into the life of a famous person.
Ask a pro blogger if you can be famous and they will laugh. Play the blog game right, with 10 blogs (even if you cross post) and you will not only be earning a solid revenue from your blog within a year, but you will receive more hits than a website with a $100 000 PayPerClick/Sponsored search/ SEO budget for a year.
Why have more than one blog? There are blog communities that will bring you hits, like at www.communati.com. There are different platforms, www.blogger.com, www.wordpress.com, www.typepad.com, are the biggest. You can host your own blog. In fact, many web companies are dumping their websites in favour of wordpress blogs.
Some of the pro bloggers who are supporting the blog tour at www.novel-writer.com/forum are making more than $2000 a month from less than 20 blogs – and less than 10 hours a week work.
There are blogs on that forum receiving more than 20 000 hits a year, with less than 100 posts.
Why? Blogs have their own networks like blog catalogue, they have their own submission (pings) that resubmits the blog every time there is new content, and they can be syndicated through feedburner.com. They can also ad a widget that will let people add your blog to their MY Yahoo, MY Google, or My AOL homepage. And you do not need to know anything about HTML code. Best – it is all free.
Don’t forget to network your blogs to your publisher’s sites and fan sites.
Want to learn how to promote blogs effectively, then visit www.divanetworking.blogspot.com. This site is maintained to support a professional blogger’s network, but all of the tools will work for you.
Publisher Forum – Most authors feel that their publisher’s forum is a waste of their time. This is farthest from the truth. All authors should promote their publisher’s forum to readers. Many people want to meet authors. You may not always have the time to cater to someone.
Don’t think that the publisher will take your readers. Many book fans will read everything released by a publisher, especially if they buy through the forum.
Writer’s Forums – avoid these. For the most part they are little more than 1000 writers trying to sell their book to 1000 other writers.
Fan Forums – These are the places to write. But, don’t make the mistake of not sounding like you are famous. Many actors are not famous one day, and famous the next. In fact, they spend 2 weeks with a coach to learn how to act famous.
You can join newsletters and fan clubs run by famous authors to learn the tricks of the trade.
Many authors fail to take advantage of the power of writing reviews. There are dozens of places that are hungry for reviews. They can be pasted on your blogs, in your forums, and in 100 places on the web like www.novel-writer.com, www.writer.com, etc.
Each review should cite you as a reviewer/author and invite people to your forum.
Many writers ‘miss the mark’ by writing articles about writing. This will help them reach other writers, who buy books, but the webmasters who manage fan-sites will not post those articles.
Free articles not only bring readers to your forum, newsletter, blogs, etc. I personally posted one article that generated more than 800 ‘inbound’ links within 12 months. This increased my website so that it ranked on page one for Google when someone searched ‘Scottish Historical Novels’ – which of course would be done by someone who wanted to buy.
The book is out of print, and the article is discontinued, so I no longer have the rank, but the links are still brining people to my website.
The articles should be no longer than 400 words. They should give an anecdote or look into your life as an author, and they should sound friendly.
You should also talk about your characters as if they are real people. Readers love this type of thing. In fact, many authors have blogs for their authors (Merryone) or let you email the characters (Benna Lyons)
Don’t be trapped by the word FREE. Many authors resent the fact that they may be asked to write for free. Their words have value, true, but, so does the PR – SEO – and cost of building a website/newsletter until it receives hundreds of thousands – millions of hits. Try it yourself and see if you can ever break the 50 000 hits a year ceiling without investing a lot of your own time into your website.
If it takes 1000 hours to build a website that reaches 50 000 a year, then why not invest 1000 into several PR sites that receive millions of hits? Balance the cost of your free article, against the cost of earning millions of hits from a book buying targeted audience, suddenly, you are not ‘really’ writing for free anymore.
There are ways to receive maximum exposure without paying a cent. Network with major PR sites. These sites will offer hundreds of dollars in free advertising in exchange for a couple articles a month. A fair deal, and in most cases, they will also pay you or let you keep the Google money.
Even if you do not participate as an author, topic editor, or guide, you can post comments (with a signature line) and participate in the blogs, comment on the articles, and even email the contact and ask if you can submit an article.
All the sites above receive millions of hits a year, and your ‘space’ here can be treated as if it is a secondary website/author promotion site.
Everyone knows about signature lines. They are the little tags at the end of articles, blog replies, and posts in forums. Inviting a viewer to read a preview of your book is a waste of time. Inviting them to your website is a waste of time.
You need to invite them somewhere that they can ‘do’ something. Ask them to comment on the article in your forum or to as a question in your blog, or to read more about this/and reply in your blog. Even if you get your forum started by asking friends to help – it doesn’t matter. It is a PR tool , not a natural evolution of a promo site.
Authors can build fan clubs. When is the right time to build a fan club? About six months before submitting a novel to a publisher. The moment you pen a word, you are an author, and there are thousands of people out there who want to ‘know an author.’
One woman ran a fan club from a yahoo website. She built a membership of 1500 and claimed to sell 500 books within 24 hours of release. She also built a mailing list through www.bravenet.com and managed several ‘lenses’ that directed people to her yahoo group.
Many people are hosing their own sites, but an author can go a long ways using the free tools. The only problem with a private site is that – sooner or later – you will need to hire a programmer to fix databases.
Most authors pay for advertising at one time. Most of it doesn’t reap any sales. Web advertising is tricky. According to Commissionjunction expectations, 10 000 views will result in 100 click throughs, and 1 sale. That means, a website needs to receive one million hits to the page your ad is on, to result in 100 sales.
Most of the sites that sell advertising fall dramatically short of this target. Once a website receives the number of hits (from unique visitors) to profit authors, the author can no longer afford the advertising.
A better choice is to embark on a PayPerPost campaign at Yahoo or MSN. Do not be coy and be specific. “Join a Romance Author’s Fan Site” – may earn you 200 000 impressions, 200 click through – and another 100 people to your mailing list – yahoo group.
Notice that I never suggested advertising your book. If there is a secret to online advertising and promotion, that is it. Do not offer anything for sale. Instead, offer the viewer some fun. “Talk to an Author” can add 100 people to your fan base, all for $20 a month. Buying books wholesale, and selling them directly from your fan club, pays the bill. For example, if you make $5 per book, and 10 people a month buy your book from your fan site, then you’ve made $50. A month.
Avoid google, but www.adbrite.com may be the place for you.
However, replying to posts on the networking sites, writing free articles, writing blogs and networking/promoting them through the blog directories, will most likely offer the same results – free.
Grace Publishing Media is a web-network for authors starting at www.inspiredauthor.com . If you would like to learn more about becoming a famous author, and getting published then visit http://www.publishedauthors.blogspot.com/