Public speaking is my least favorite activity but when it comes to letting people know you have a book worth captivating their attention, well you put all your petty fears aside. It’s not like stage fright has killed anyone, right?
This past Thursday I spent the evening at a local bookstore where I got to raise awareness on my first book and th
e pending series I am working on in the background. Book events are exactly what you would think. A great experience to get to know your local authors, buy books and get them signed, and participate in giveaways.
This was my first event where I got to speak and though it was scary I was very happy to have the privilege of going first. I tried to think of all the right things to say about a book series and make my audience aware of where the first book took place. I can only hope I sent out the right message. Of course as I do more of these events I will get more comfortable with talking about my work.
Public speaking is something I’ve been doing quite often over the past several years in my day job, but it’s different. I am telling an audience about services my company offers and I can detach myself. This is completely different with my book. My book is very personal and self-criticism is something I am learning to distract myself to provide a better delivery. Practice in the end will make it sort-of perfect, because nothing is.
Things I recommend taking to an event if allowed:
Your books (duh)
Business Card (I made business bookmark cards)
Brochure or Author one pager (I made a brochure telling them about myself, my book, why I wrote it, and the series)
Author sign-up sheet
Giveaway with raffle
Decorations that make sense; especially table-cloth
If you are a reader I definitely suggest staying touch with your local books stores events on their websites. For authors I would recommend speaking at one of these events as often as possible. It is a great place to meet fellow authors and interested readers you would have never had the opportunity to meet on your own.
Writing a book requires a lot of attention and focus well before we start to write and continues after long after it is done. It is easy to write a book but it is much harder to sell your book if you don’t keep your target audience in mind. Before you begin to write you should consider your target audience and whether your book fits them and their culture. Then you have to consider whether your genre also fits your target audiences interest.
I have always been fascinated with science fiction and fantasy books. Outside of genre I found the books I was most interested in reading were Young Adult. I was then able to use the right language and style of writing for my ideas to make since to my audience, the young adult. Writing toward their perspective was entertaining and flowed very easily from my thoughts to the keyboard. Once you find the genre and the age group of people who will fit as your average customer/fan base then it is time to think more about their interest and how you can find ways to get your book in their hands.
If it isn’t as easy for you to think of your target audience ask yourself several questions:
Who can read/buy books? Gender, Age, Income, Education…
Who can use/read your book?
Who are your Influencers? (People who self-promote you)
Which format do they want? Paperback, Hardcover, Ebook, Audio…
What are they normally buying and where?
If number 1 to 2 is a blank thenI suggest moving your pen to another piece of paper and consider it further before you write or publish your book. All of these questions are very important for promoting and selling your book to the right audience but it’s also important to make sure the language you use and your examples within the text are relatable to the majority of people you write for.
Appeal to their interest and needs from the beginning of the publishing phase by picking a title that resonates and catches their attention. Choose a cover they can see ten feet away that makes them wonder what’s inside and tailor your book’s message. Steps 3 and 5 are important because it shows you where you and your books should be and how they can get them.
Blogging to Create Waves was the third workshop I walked into at Publish 15. Feeling enthusiastic to get my feet back in the game on social networking I learned a lot from this workshop but mostly reaffirmed I was on the right path, I just need to be consistent. Below are a few things I learned from Shari Stauch with WWW.
Rules of Engagement:
Who are you?
What are you doing?
Why you’re doing it?
What do you want to accomplish?
Be passionate about it.
Include link, photos, and videos.
Edit your posts.
Set regular schedules.
Engage with trolls (people who criticize you and/or your work who thrive to get a response from you).
Set unreasonable expectations.
Blog with addresses you don’t own.
How often should you blog? (In General) Facebook once a day. Tweet 3 times a day.
What to blog about:
Start with Attention titles: Provocative questions, #’s like 5 things you need to know about…
Path to Publishing
What’s on your nightstand.
Blog community exchange.
Scenes from the cutting room (unpublished pieces).
Attending my second class I was feeling good about my past decisions after Go Big or Go Indie, now I had to learn how I could be better than my past.
Write in Style was hosted by an energetic editor and author Bobbie Christmas. She has been editing for more than 40 years. After hearing her presentation I instantly thought about some obvious mistakes I and most authors (even the famous ones) make when writing. Interested in making myself the best possible writer for my style I purchased her book Write in Style. She just republished it this year so stay tuned when it is available for purchase on her website. Below I have outlined the important lessons I learned in her workshop leading me to needing this book!
Start with the End in mind. Why are you writing this?
Set Goals & Deadlines.
This normally is easy for me. My current career outside of writing is all about setting achievable goals and due dates. Normally I have others holding me accountable at my day job outside myself. Writing is a solo career, publishing may be different, so it is all about self-motivation. Since I have not been doing a great job by myself on setting deadlines I have decided to start keeping a daily tracker of my writing and book pursuing habits. Now the world can judge my baby steps. Each day I post a quote to describe my day and what I did or didn’t accomplish. My goal is to write/edit 1000 words of my current rough draft for Book 2 and finish it by 8/17/15.
Mind Dump – First Draft lay it all on the table, don’t go back to edit just keep writing until it is all over. Remember you are writing for your target audience.
Editing. Remove more than you put into it. Avoid:
Adverbs & Adjectives. At times theycan be short-term friends but only at times.
I.E. slowly walked traded for sauntered (stronger verb)
Weak Verbs. To be, were, be, am, being, get/got, do (weakest), make, began.
Repetition. Most common overused word As.
Find repetitive words by using the find tool (CTRL + F or Command + F) Put a space before and at the end of the word you are looking for. I.E. _as_
Wordy Phrases. Down, up, in order to, all at once, all of a sudden, at that moment, at that point, without warning, just, just then.
Undefined Pronouns. There was, there were, there are, it was, it is.
Dangling Modifiers. often, start, with, -ing.
This class was a real eye opener of the common mistakes writers make without even being aware. When you are writing your draft it shouldn’t be bogged down by what you should and shouldn’t do. As long as you know how this will all end, you have set goals to get there, and you know your target audience then you have finished a book. Next you have to kill your little darlings. These tips she showed us in the workshop were just the beginning. Some of these tips I wouldn’t have understood until she showed her examples. Once I finish writing my second book I am going to binge read her book and wear out the Finder tool on my document.
Visit Zebra Editor and join their newsletter. Hopefully she won’t find too many editing mistakes on this blog lol.
What editing and writing in style tips do you have?
This past weekend I went to the first annual Publish 15 workshop. They hosted 5 workshops a day to sharpen your skills from writing to networking and hosted classes on traditional publishing and self-publishing. During breaks we were able to visit the Exhibition Hall which hosted a variety of vendors from Authors to Publishing Companies and Printing and more. Several booths were doing giveaways, free headshot, and other items. It was a lot of fun. If you’re interested in widening your knowledgeable on writing and publishing or perhaps landing a deal by pitching to Literary Agents then stay posted for Publish 16 in the future. The below are notes I took from my experience and the learned experience of those that hosted the workshop. Below is the first Workshop I attended Saturday morning and to the side are the inspiring Panel:
Traditional Publishing has not changed much with advancement of technology. I like to call it winning the book lottery, if your work really does have the chance. This process is all about pitching your book to the right person at the right time.
Advice: Get plenty of honest friends, acquaintances and an editor to review it. An editor can really be worth the money to make sure your work shines. Find reputable editors through the Association of Free Lance Editors.
You will most likely be writing this pitch on you and your book to get a Literary agent. To view Query letters I recommend Shark Query. This team will pick Queries to review and edit then post them online. You can learn from advice they have given others and you can submit yours for possible selection. Follow them at @QueryShark.
The literary agent is your connector to the publishing house. They have relationships built with many houses and are able to use their energy and resources to give your book the change to land a deal.
Search for a Literary Agent that fits you and your books needs and interests. Don’t just apply to anyone. Research their interest and background. Engage with them on any of their social networks. If you feel they are a good fit then send your Query Letter. Some may want parts or more of your book emailed.
With traditional publishing you will get an advance and there will be a standard royalty for your work. Of course the newer you are the less likely it will be a large advance.
Often authors choose to put the money straight into marketing. @LauraMcNeillBksrecommend investing in a Publicist.
If you land a deal you will be able to focus more on writing, social networking, and marketing while the business and publishing process is primarily handled by your Literary Agent and Publisher. You will have a house backing your work up and making it a stronger platform to get your books in the stores and out to the people.
Pursuing this process is going to lead to early rejection before your work is in the public eye. Just remember, even Stephen King was rejected 30 times for Carrie. Click this link to view some of the FAMOUS books rejected.
You will have to give up your work and they often have more control on artwork, marketing, distribution and say when it will be released and if they will continue to keep your book in print.
Self-Publishing is when you choose to publish a book by using publishing services requiring you to pay up-front.
Same advice as I gave for traditional publishing.
After my last review, and those of my choosing I like to have a beta reader review my workbecausetheyaremore objective.
Find them on Goodreads. They are often people who just love to read and are possibly your target audience if you did your research on them. Most are free and some who pay more attention to detail and grammar cost a small amount in comparison to an Editor.
My favorite beta reader is @KJBetaReading. She will read your first chapter and edit it for no charge so you can make a decision to get the full book looked at for a very reasonable price.
Same advice as I gave for traditional publishing.
It is ABSOLUTELY necessary to do otherwise your books will be torn apart by your audience for small mistakes an Editor would have found. Make sure it is someone reputable and reasonable.
Don’t go cheap. This has to be amazing and match your books concept. People will often buy a book or learn more about it due to the cover.
Determine your publishing route.
I go through BookLogix. They did my editing, artwork, all the business things like copyrighting and serial numbers, distribution to all the major ebook stores. and they even invited me to Publish 15. If you search for publishing services do your research and make sure they are reputable.
You will be paying up front so it’s time to save or get a good loan if it’s worth it. If you are good at marketing and need to get some more money to reach your goals I would suggest a KickStarter campaign.
You are your only backer unless you get the word out and find promoters or higher a marketing service or Publicist.
Become good friends with social networking and start early. Don’t wait for your books release.
You are in full control. You choose who you want to work with and what is worth paying for as well as getting higher royalties for your product.
If you have a good platform and become successful or the right eye catches your work you can still land a traditional deal for your current or future work and you may have more bargaining power on your negotiations.
You are in full control so now you own the business and it is up to you to motivate yourself everyday when everything stacks against you.
You have to budget and perhaps you may find yourself waiting to take the next step.
All three of the speakers to this workshop started out or still are successful at self-publishing their books. All in all getting a book published can be done whether on your own or with the help of others. Good luck. Stay posted for future blogs reviewing my Publish 15 experience. Does anyone out there have advice on the subject of Go Big or Go Indie? Have you made this choice before? Or are you considering which road to take?
I just knew that once I published my book I would have even less time then I did when the book was just Microsoft word. I knew that there would be a lot to do when it came into the world. I thought I would be more prepared, but I didn’t expect all the things that I now find as common sense.
Hindsight bias. I learned that theory in most of my psych classes. Right along fulfilling prophecy it is one of those obvious oh yea moments. If I could turn back time I know I would be much more prepared but I can’t so you live and learn.
Things I would recommend doing before you publish the book so you can be ahead of the game (and things I will do before the second book):
File for a business license. I went to a tax seminar at BookLogix and learned that it was a way to better manager your assets so I filed for one today from LegalZoom. They manage it at a yearly fee and of course their is the whopping almost $300. I got the Tax ID with it. Oh and it will only take 35 days since I didn’t want to pay anymore for it. Once I get the paperwork I will then go open a checking account and then get a credit card and then create a new Paypal for my Paypal reader so my money from my book is completely separated including any future purchases involved with publishing.
Find your peace with twitter and drive it. It took me a while but I found the best way to get to my audience and I’ve been building up my followers a lot faster, like 1000 followers a month trending. Wish I had realized this 6 months ago because I could be much farther.
Despite what others may say around you the cover is the MOST important advertising material. Next time I want to get it done ASAP because it is much easier to market something when you have a visual.
Every night I’ve been going through 10 pages of Amazon Top Reviewers looking for book reviewers to give an ebook in exchange for an honest review. It is very tedious and time-consuming but I am hoping it is worth it. Time will tell. Email them and when you get one inform them that it’ll be sent on that release date. I will be doing this at a minimum of 2 weeks before my next launch.
Generate a list of book bloggers. Then do the same as the top reviewers. These guys, if interested, will do Author Interviews and Giveaways.
Email Youtube Bloggers. They are the best. They are exciting and enjoyable to watch. Just watching them talk about books gives you a major inside as to what these fan girls and boys are interested in and what grabs their attention. They can make you a better writer by giving you an insight into what they want from you. People actually get to see the excitement and interest in their face and voice and of course a visual. It’s wonderful not just getting a public visual review to a wider audience but you get to connect in a way that gives you the insight of what a fan is thinking.
Most importantly get through the stress and write. I wish I could have focused more on book two but I let my pondering of the future get in the way of the future.
All in all things are going better than I expected for a no name artist. I’m very busy lately staring at my computer for almost every reason but writing. Constantly web searching, reading up on people and things, emailing, and emailing and emailing. I have to stop procrastinating and get back to the second installment of Project E.D.E.N.
It has been an amazing month. Outside of the holidays I have been very busy getting used to the idea of having a published book. That means instead of writing I spend hours a day on Twitter, Amazon, Goodreads, Youtube, and Google of course. Why? Because marketing never stops, not when you are passionate about something and you know that your work is just waiting for the right person at the right moment….
Officially I have had a lot of wonderful people purchasing my book. Many of them have already been able to give me feedback and it has been some of the most wonderful and inspiring words. I have had several people respond back to me from YouTube book reviewers to book clubs. Currently I’m in the stagnant process of marketing as far as books go. Books are not like most products. They have to sit for a while because not everyone has a few days in their life to do nothing but disappear into your alternate reality. I’ve had the opportunity for several reviewers accepting my request for an honorable review.
Since my book is now available on Kindle, Nook, and iBooks I’ve been targeting a larger market. When I purchased my website, www.bmauritz.com from wix.com I received $50 in vouchers for Facebook ads. Once the ebooks all became available I found that now was the time to push some advertisement, especially since the expiration date wouldn’t make it past the new year. My first attempt was for a 7 day run where I didn’t exceed a limit of $5. As far as Facebook money goes, this is a fraction of a penny to do some real ad control. I went for the one that clicks your website. Then I spent the last few days on targeting page like ads. I got more physical proof on the second round. Plus the page views meant that people would stay informed with me longer through a like than for one click. Anybody can click a link and view a website once but it takes someone with a bit more commitment to like a Facebook page. Next time I decide to run an ad on Facebook I will do the page likes again.
With my triumphs I have found a pattern for my social media life to make it easier to commit day over day. Everyday I know spend half an hour on twitter looking for the right audience, another half hour emailing reviewers and another half hour going through emails, looking at trends, and googling the latest. What I have to remember to do is write. Book two has a few more months before I plan to deliver it to the editor which means I just have to find the time.
On the local front I’ve been handing out my bookmarks like crazy, engaging people in conversation, and walking into the local bookstores. I have one bookstore currently displaying my title and I will be visiting a few more! A friend also got my book at a cafe in SF and in the first day we already found a new Project E.D.E.N. fan!
Sitting on the shelf at Once and Again Books
Visiting Once and Again Books to get a picture of Project E.D.E.N. on the local authors shelf in Marietta, Georgia.