Daily Samples

In the spirit of sharing the Indy Love, several authors have come up with an idea called “Daily Samples” (hashtag #DaSample on Twitter) where we post samples of other authors work on our blogs – and I’d like to invite you all to join in!

What do you need to do?Send me (or other authors) your excerpt, along with relevant information like buy links, your bio, or even a blurb for your book.  Excerpts should be between 500 – 1,000 words. Having a hard time choosing what to send? Edie Ramer posted a blog with some great advice on how to pick your excerpts!

Not interested in submitting, but you want to read the posts? you can find them listed here on the mysterious paper.li (I call it mysterious because as of this posting I know nothing about it, but intend to look into it further)

For more info on submitting to my blog check out this post.

Other participating authors as of this posting:

Here’s hoping everyone has a Great New Year!

 

 

 

The Writer’s Business Plan: The Marketing Plan

Some of you know that I live on a Ranch and occasionally I throw out a ranch analogy. This is going to be one of those rare occasions.I was out with my husband and kids feeding the cows on a cold and foggy morning. I now understand the mean of “thick as pea soup.” Heavy, wet, cold, and blinding. Now usually when we feed in the winter time the cows come running and occasionally fight over small piles of good hay. And from the start, we watched these three “old buggers” fight. Around and around they went, neither gaining nor losing ground, and all around them the other cows munched away on the hay. They were making quick work of those piles, while those three fought.

Cows fighting during a foggy, winter morning

I’m standing in the back of the truck, just shaking my head and wondering what they could be thinking. What benefit is it for them to fight? And it suddenly hits me. These cows remind me of marketers. You know the kind. The ones who fight and wave their product in the faces of everyone they meet. Those who throw a party every time someone gives them a good review and splatters it across the webverse as if anyone is paying attention—this does not count if this is your first review for a new book, we all understand and indulge your excitement. But there are those who state their stats and ratings every week. Those who flood our inboxes and make us cringe every time we see their names, until we eventually shy away from them as if they have the plague. There are those that give the rest of us bad name. Marketing is a fine line between sharing what you have and stalking to the people who don’t care.

The more I read about business the less I want to be involved. I’m not a pushy or competitive person, and publishing can be a competitive, cutthroat business. A writer is told not to cross-promote unless it benefits them, but I don’t agree. Creating a group of writers to help each other sale books does more good than bad. The thing about Marketing is in order for it to be successful, you need to test a few different things and see what works and what doesn’t. I’m not going into a detailed list of marketing ideas. But here are a few to get you started:

•Build your Author Platform. This is your readers and fan base, your author identity, and your message –what you are about, your tone and style of writing, what you write, etc.

•Try Social Networking at places like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, Goodreads, etc. Post reviews of book sites but keep your interaction low. Readers are used to the marketers I mentioned above hounding them. On places like Twitter and Facebook, interact and make friends. Don’t be all about your book. Show that you are a human being.

•Blogging. Either blog for others, or blog for yourself, but only blog if you like it, otherwise you’ll hate it and people will feel it in your writing. You can always join up with other writers in a joint blog and pick a day to post. It’s been suggested by professionals that you choose three subjects upon which to blog that deal with your writing (i.e. genre, writing tips, self-publishing, marketing, etc). One suggestion was to use a blog as an announcement board, but I wouldn’t suggest it. You’d do better with a newsletter.

•Newsletters should not flood the inboxes of your readers or they will groan every time they see them. Newsletters should be sent out to your mailing list when you have a giveaway, contest, coupon, sale, or new release. It should have an opt out option too.

•Forums are not a place to promote, unless the thread specifically asks for the information you can provide. If someone asks a question about your book, answer briefly. Have the one-sentence explanation of what the book is about and link to find out more.

I know there are more ideas, but this post would go on forever than. I just want to say that this is the place in your Writer’s Business Plan to explore new marketing ideas and when you plan to execute those plans. What marketing technique do you want to try? How do you want to gauge it’s helpfulness to you? Do you want to have a giveaway? A contest? A sale? Post a short story on your website? Go wild with ideas and then pick a few to try.

The Writer’s Business Plan: An Introduction

The Writer’s Business Plan: Parts of the Writer’s Business Plan

The Writer’s Business Plan: Creating a Budget

The Writer’s Business Plan: Building a Production Schedule

The Writer’s Business Plan: Setting Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals

Social Media: Friend or Foe?

Recently, someone sent me an article called Why You Should Consider turning Your Back on Social Media. The article is geared towards small businesses, but what are independent authors if not the smallest business unit there is?

The gist is that in some cases the time spent updating Twitter/Facebook, including commenting, making connections, and creating content can sometimes take more time than they’re worth in terms of sales.

When I first published Shades of Gray over a year ago, I jumped on the Facebook (and to a lesser extent Twitter) bandwagons. I spent hours setting up pages on facebook, making “friends”, commenting on their stuff and trying to come up with clever advertising techniques.  I generated a few questions, like “Wow, I want to get published too! How do I do it?” and several “congratulations” or “Your book sounds interesting”, but if it resulted in any sales I’d be surprised.

MySpace, on the other hand, did generate sales because of the blog. Though as far as I know I could count the “random” sales on my digits. Mainly, I was able to sell to people I  already interacted with on more personal levels, such as reading their blogs or because we were in poetry groups together.

Oddly, Flickr (a photography site) has generated several random sales. In fact, my newest Amazon review came from a new Flickr contact.

So, I wondered how it was with other authors. Have you found a great success with social networks? If so, were the sales generated worth the time it took to set up the pages, get the contacts, keep the contacts by being friendly (eg commenting on their statuses/photos/tweets/messages and such), etc. ?

 

Blogging How-To’s : Automated

Stephannie has posted some excellent articles chock full of blogging tips from a writing point of view, so I thought I’d take a little time to discuss the more technical aspects of blogging with some handy tips I’ve discovered.

In the spirit of short blogs, I am breaking this up.

Automation:

Most WordPress bloggers know how to write engaging posts, embed photos, videos or even polls in their posts, but did you know that you don’t have to publish the post right away? I’m not talking about the save as draft option, I mean that you can set your blog up to post a blog on a specified day, at a specified time, while you’re not even near the computer.

Yeah, I’m doing it now. As this blog is posted, I have no idea where I’ll be, or what I’ll be doing, but WordPress will be auto-posting this for me. Pretty cool, huh?

To post your blog on a future date, simply edit the post date like so:

And then, you walk away, and it posts for you. This can be especially handy if you’re doing a series but want to sit down and write it all in one day, or you’re posting a long piece – like a book chapter – in pieces.

Want even more automation? How would you like some, automatic system to post an update to your Facebook and Twitter that lets the world know you’ve posted?  Sound like an impossible dream? Well it’s not, thanks to TwitterFeed.

How does it work? Go to http://twitterfeed.com/, make an account, and set up a new feed. Name it and then enter your feed address ( the RSS feed address for my WordPress blog is: http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/wp-rss2.php – copy this and change the joleenenaylor.wordpress.com to your url  ). Twitterfeed will authenticate it, and then continue to step 2 where you can choose to use this with Twitter, facebook, Stautsnet, Ping.fm, and Hellotxt.

The extra cool thing about this is that you can have more than one feed. Facebook only allows you to sync your account with one blog. For instance, I have it linked to my personal blog, which meant I had to manually post links to my author blog, but now I could actually let twitterfeed handle them all, if I wanted to, or even add another blog.

So, how well does it work?  As of my writing this, it’s posted two posts to my facebook wall, but I imagine there will be more by the time this is posted. (If you want to see for yourself, you can go check it out – http://www.facebook.com/joleene.naylor ) It does put a little yellow icon that says “posted via twitterfeed” after it, and it doesn’t have the thumbnail image that you get when you post the link manually:

a Twitterfeed posting of a link Vs. manually posting the blog link

And here’s the result on Twitter

Lookin' good!

So far, I highly recommend it!

Have you discovered any “automated” services? If so, what are they, and would you recommend them?