Thursday, October 20, 2011
YA Indie Carnival!
Welcome to The Shootin' Gallery and the fifteenth post in the YA Indie Carnival. The carnival is designed for authors, readers and reviewers of YA Indie books. Each Friday this team of YA Indies will post on a common theme.
This week’s post theme is, the good, the bad and the ugly of social marketing for authors.
Wow! This is a fantasticly broad theme with much to consider. OK, well here it goes...
Before I can dive into this topic matter I feel the need to let you know where I am coming from. I am a public high school Dance and Theater Arts teacher with a love of reading and writing. My college degree/certification lies in the field of education. I have not the advantage/education background in Literature that I assume most writers/authors possess. Because of this, when I finished my first book - Soul Quest, I had absolutely no idea what to do with it.
I began my research online searching for 'how to' websites or articles that might point me in the right direction. I stumbled across articles and references to writing query letters and finding an agent or publisher. So, I wrote query letters and sent a dozen of them out to Literary Agencies. Some wrote back and said, thanks but no thanks while others never responded at all.
But... in the meantime I was stumbling across these really cool blogs. The blogs were designed by book bloggers. I was sneaking around on their pages trying to learn the names of the more popular or prominant agencies when I came across something entirely unexpected, indie authors. There were interviews and book tours and guest posts and contests and giveaways (Oh my!) AND all of these indies had ebooks.
Ebooks? Nah, hardly anybody reads those things! (OK, you can stop laughing at me now...)
...but seriously folks, this was an entirely new revelation to me. My hubby confirmed that this was the way to go. He had mentioned it a few times (actually, a few hundred times) but of course being the independent, self - sufficient (stubborn, pain in the ass) modern woman that I am I repeatedly ignored him until I figured it out for my self...
So, that's the 'Amy Saga' of independent publishing.
As I mentioned before, the book bloggers were helping the indie writers to promote their books (hello, FREE advertising!). When I looked more closely I realized that the indie authors were blogging too AND they had websites (holy smokes!) promoting their own books.
Finally, it hit me (like brick on brick to my thick skull). I could do everything online that traditional authors do on a regular basis from the comfort of my own home with little to no cost. I could interview, promote, tour, hold contests and giveaways, write articles... you name it. It was an awesome realization!
Once I got my blog started everything went nuts! I began chatting with bloggers and indies. I received feedback about my book, advice about blogging and writing, book promotion and social networking.
The social componant of the equation (to me) is really where the difference is. I can get (almost) immediate feedback online. If I have a concern or need advice I just simply email one of my trusty and much appreciated indie pals and before I know it I've got some great, sound advice. What's particularly awesome about this is that I know the advice is genuine. They aren't motivated by some marketing bottom line. They simply share their honest opinion (a friend and collegue helping another friend and collegue).
Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads...
If you're going indie as an author you MUST network on these social networks. If it wasn't for these wonderful virtual locales I would still be sitting in my living room staring down upon my (unread) novel, twiddling my thumbs (Jeapardy music playing in the background) waiting for an agent (who may never write) to respond to a query letter. I'm not really into thumb twiddling...
Anything worth doing takes time and social marketing is no exception. If you wish to get results you must spend a significant amount of time online. Chat with people and form relationships. Respond to posts, emails, reviews, etc... Host other authors/bloggers on your blog and guest post on other blogs. Put yourself out there. I would venture to say I spend at least 3 to 5 hours per week on social networking/marketing and believe my participation level to be conservative. If you're only going to tweet or post once a month you aren't going to see much traffic on your blog/website or allow yourself the opportunity to get to know others indies and bloggers.
Honestly, I can't really say there is anything ugly about social marketing except...
Reviews - Go ahead and prepare yourself for the fact that someone will NOT love your book. They may not even like it. They may even say horrible things about it. This is a reality and you should not let it discourage you. It's all subjective. We all have different likes and dislikes. Just remember, one person's opinion does not define the worth of your writing.
Book Covers - OK, I'm not trying to be mean but... Don't let your 6 year old design your book cover. If you're an artist or you can afford to hire one, great! If not, do not despair. There are many affordable websites with stock photos of everything imaginable. Covers hold a lot of power. You may have written the best novel in the universe but if you promote it with an unappealing cover it just won't sell.
Well, that is my take on things.
Here is a lovely article by novelist, Sara Sheridan on the subject of social media in the writer's world. I found it very informative and supportive for indie writers.
Before you head off to the next booth in the carnival please don't forget about...
Soulless; The Story of Shayan is out and available for FREE (ebook) at Smashwords and Goodreads! For now it is available for $0.99 at Amazon.com but I hope to list it FREE soon.
The Guardians of Souls, Book Two in The Soul Quest Trilogy. It is available on Amazon NOW!
Gwenn Wright's The Von Strassenberg Saga. Our very own Dani Snell just released and designed the official cover for BlueStocking Girl! Here's a link to Gwenn's awesome video:
Laura A. H. Elliott's 13 on Halloween new release! Check out her awesome book trailer and an excerpt.
Courtney Cole's novel, My Tattered Bonds, the finale of the Bloodstone Saga, has been released early. You can find it on Amazon here. Congrats to Courtney's debut on Amazon’s mythology bestseller’s list!
At the end of the month, a group of our own carnies (including yours truly) will be in Savannah, GA for a book signing. You can find the details here.
Lexus Luke is donating 30% of the proceeds from Manitou The Sky People Saga to the ASPCA. You can enjoy a great read AND support a wonderful organization!
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines will release on October 21. You can see its trailer here.
For a limited time, Kimberly Konrade is selling signed copies of her thriller, Forbidden Mind along with some other really cool stuff! Details here.
And don't miss the giveaway on Gwen Wright’s blog. When she reaches 100 followers, she will give away a signed copy of Filter and cool coffee mugs.
Carnival of fun!
The Ferris Wheel
Dani Snell: An awesome reviewer.
The Rockin' Roller Coaster
Patti Larsen: Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, and The Diamond City Trilogy.
The Kissing Booth
Courtney Cole: Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Cotton Candy Corner
Wren Emerson: Author of I Wish and a contributing author in the upcoming anthology that I am participating in (The Glassheart Chronicles).
The Fun House
Nicole Williams: An indie author of paranormal fiction. Her titles include: Eternal Eden and Fallen Eden. She is also participating in the Glassheart Chronicles. Here is the link to my review on Goodreads.
The Dunking Booth
Fisher Amelie: Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.
Laura Elliott: Author of the recently released Winnemucca!
The Haunted Castle
Rachel Coles: Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms.
T.R. Graves: Author of Warriors of the Cross.
The Face Painting Booth
Cydni Tefft: Author of Between
The Fortune Teller
P.J. Hoover: Author of Solstice
Congrats to P. J. for her recent book trailer award for Solstice!
Popcorn and Caramel Apples!
Alicia McCalla: Author of Breaking
Heather Cashman: Author of Perception
The Petting Zoo!
Cheri Schmidt: Author of Fateful and Fractured
Suzy Turner Author of December Moon and Raven
K. C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules
Gwenn Wright Author of Filter
Kimberly Kinrade Author of Bits of You, Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind
J.L. Bryan Author of Paranormals series- Jenny Pox. Tommy Nightmare & Alexander Death
Darby Karchut Author of Griffin Rising and the upcoming Griffin's Fire
Octo - lady!
Madeline Smoot Author of Missing, Summer Shorts, and The Girls
The Fire Breathing Lady!
M. Leighton Author of Blood Like Poison Series, Wiccan, Caterpillar, Madly and Wolfhardt and The Reaping
Don't forget to make a comment and join my followers! I love hearing from my old friends as much as I love making new friends!