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Oct. 12th, 2006

Journal

Topics

Since I'm trying to catch up on various deadlines and whatnot, I thought I'd open the floor for discussion. If you have a topic you'd like to see discussed, either reply to this post, or email me at: miss-read@hotmail.com. I will take on all topics one-by-one.

I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Sincerely,
Miss Read

Oct. 10th, 2006

Journal

Tips for Promotion

There are many avenues for promotion open to authors. Below, I've outlined a few.

Yahoo groups
Newsletters
Chats
Contests
Interviews
Reviews

1) Yahoo groups - These are excellent tools for authors. There are groups for specific genres, groups for readers to discuss books, groups for authors to interact with readers, groups specifically for promotion, groups set up by publishers where readers and authors can chat; the list goes on. Join the groups and chat with your readers. Engage in the discussions as much as possible. One important thing to note, however: ALWAYS read the rules. Most groups have rules regarding promotion: how it's done, when it's done, how often, etc. Also, always check the group calendar (or watch a few messages). If there's a chat going on, do NOT post a promotional message. It's rude to the author (and/or publisher) who's doing the chat, as it takes attention from them and puts it on you.

2) Newsletters - A lot of authors set up Yahoo groups for the sole purpose of sending out newsletters to many readers at once. This is the perfect time to make announcements regarding reviews, interviews, contests, new releases, etc. When you set up your newsletter, try to include a little something just for your readers who are reading it. Maybe do a little contest, or include a deleted scene, or a little flash fiction.

3) Chats - Chats are perfect for connecting with your readers. There are two different forms of chats: loop chats (or e-loop/e-mail chats) and live chats. 

Loop chats are done through a Yahoo group, usually a publisher's group or a review site's group (though authors can hold their own loop chats on their groups). The advantages of a loop chat are: a) the search function allows the readers to find excerpts and contest info easily from the group's homepage; b) the chat can last for an hour, or several hours, and can be done at the readers' leisure. The disadvantages of a loop chat are: a) your inbox will fill up quickly unless you have the group mail set to digest or no mail (reading at the group's homepage instead); and b) Yahoo is notorious for delaying messages for hours, sometimes days.

Live chats are done usually at a review site or a publisher's site in a live chatroom. The advantages to a live chat are: a) they allow for immediate feedback with no worry on message delivery; b) not everyone likes the Yahoo groups. The disadvantages to a live chat are: a) they're fast-paced; b) some chatrooms have a set number of people they can support at one time; c) sometimes the chat software will not work with certain browsers.

4) Contests - Everyone loves freebies, especially when those freebies are books and/or little gifts from an author to his/her readers. Contests are fun and exciting (and highly addictive, let me tell you). Contests are many and varied, ranging from "just send an email to the author's email address" to a full-fledged scavenger hunt. Publishers, review sites, authors - anyone can do a contest. And by all means, don't think you can't do a contest just because your book isn't out yet! Contests get your name out there, which in turn makes the readers aware that you have a book coming soon. Include a snippet of the book, where it will be published, and a rough idea of when (if possible). Make the contest fun!

5) Interviews - Many review sites offer interviews. When visiting a review site, check the links out (usually in the Contact page) for information on who to contact for an interview. Interviews are great opportunities for your readers to get to know YOU. They're little slices of your life and help your readers connect to you as a person, rather than just a name on a book. Believe me, it helps.

6) Reviews - Many people wonder if reviews really work. I say they do. As with interviews, look for the information about requesting a review on a review site. Most have strict rules regarding what they will accept (whether it's format or content), what information to include in your request, and who to send it to. One thing I would like to stress: it's good form to thank the reviewer personally for their review of your book. If you can't find the reviewer's email address, send an email to the main review address and request that it be forwarded to the one who did your review. Reviewers don't get paid; it's a labor of love. So let's thank them for their time.

In closing, I can't stress enough how important it is to interact with your readers. If no one knows you, then no one will buy your book. Readers love hearing from the authors on a personal level. When I get an email from a reader, I always respond. I don't simply thank them. I talk to them, person to person. I try to establish a rapport with them because I truly appreciate the fact that they've taken time (and money) to read the stories I've written. I love nothing more than to read how much a book has touched someone. That's the greatest thing an author could ask for.

Sincerely,
Miss Read

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Oct. 9th, 2006

Journal

We're watching you.

Yes, I know that sounds rather ominous, but it's the truth. Editors and publishers read blogs and journals. We see what authors have to say about their own publishers. (Though I personally know of a few instances in which an author has bad-mouthed his/her publisher, and the publisher has known about it.)

That, my friends, can lead to blacklisting. And believe me, that's not something you want associated with your name(s). Once you've been blacklisted (and there really is no set list anywhere that I know of), you'll be hard pressed to find a publisher willing to take you on. After all, who's to say the new publisher won't find themselves bad-mouthed when the author becomes disgruntled for one reason or another?

If you're unhappy about your publisher (and/or editor), don't bitch about it in your journal, website, blog, what have you. Talk privately to a friend or two you trust to keep it quiet. Always be careful about talking to other authors you don't know very well; for all you know, they might be the alter-egos of someone within your publishing house.

This business doesn't have to be cutthroat, but it is. However, you can be assertive without being an ass. If you have a problem, take it your editor. If that doesn't work or the problem is your editor to begin with, then take it higher up the chain of command, so to speak. Don't blab about your editor (and/or publisher) being an idiot (or worse) in public. It's unprofessional and slanderous.

Personally, as an editor and publisher, if I see an author doing such things in public, that author will be on my blacklist. A submission to my company would be an automatic, emphatic NO.

Sincerely,
Miss Read
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Journal

Promotion

So your book isn't selling? You're not seeing the return you'd expected?

I can't say how many times I've heard fellow authors say this. Every time, I simply want to bang my head onto the desk. I might not chit-chat in Yahoo groups very much (save for a few), but I watch them. I read most of the messages going through, whether it's via individual emails, daily digest, or reading at the group's site. 98% of the time, those authors who say their book isn't selling are the ones who don't promote at all. I watch the groups, folks; I know who promotes and who doesn't.

Once your book is out there, sitting pretty with a publisher, all polished and ready to sell, you're all set. Right?

Wrong.

An author's work doesn't stop when the book goes live. Granted, publishers will promote and some even have a particular person(s) designated for this purpose, but bottom line is this: if the author doesn't put forth the effort to promote, then why should the publisher?

Yes, promotion and marketing take up a lot of time--precious time that could be spent writing. My suggestion? Set aside time to do each. For myself, I set aside the mornings for groups, emails, forums, LJ, etc. I do most of my writing during the day when it's quiet, or at night. Edits I generally do throughout the day and night.

Get out there and pimp your work. Look at it like this: if you don't do it, no one else will. (Because not every publisher will do it.) Furthermore, why would a publisher waste time promoting an author who doesn't sell because he/she won't promote themselves, when they could promote authors who do sell, who do participate?

So when you feel like you're not getting enough in royalties, or when you don't see your name on a best sellers list, sit back and ask yourself why. This is a business, ladies and gents. This is serious stuff. If you're not prepared to do all the legwork associated with becoming a published author, then don't expect to see a monetary return later on down the road.

Sincerely,
Miss Read
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Journal

Welcome

Good afternoon and welcome to the inaugural post of what I hope becomes an oft-read journal. General housekeeping notes to follow.

  • I plan on putting up links to publishers, which I will link on my profile page.
  • I can't guarantee a post every day, but I will do my best. (I do have other obligations, after all.)
  • Comments are very welcome, but be respectful.
  • Permission is not needed to friend me, and I will gladly return the favor.

If I think of anything else, rest assured you'll see it here.

Sincerely,
Miss Read
Journal

October 2006

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