Tag Archives: market your book

Everyone Thinks It’s So Easy


Perhaps to a select few, authoring a good book is easy–or at least that select few make it seem effortless.

For the rest of us, it is agony. First, we anguish over getting the manuscript on paper. Then we slave over editing. Next comes marketing, which, for the first novelist, means telling everyone we know, back to the boy who pulled our braids in sixth grade, that we have a book out. Trying to appear professional,  we plan to avoid begging, but we beg anyway for someone to buy our book. Finally we sit with angst waiting on the first book sale, then the next, and next. We give ourselves ulcers.

And if the book doesn’t sell, we are crestfallen. Aunt Linda said the book should be on the best seller list. Cousin James said he would buy a copy, then didn’t. Our best friends are avoiding our calls. We line up a book signing–and no one shows up.

Somehow, this doesn’t feel  easy.

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Guest Post from Cindy McDonald of The Unbridled Series


Uber thanks to Cindy for sharing with us on a topic I know absolutely nothing about, but which is getting more and more important for authors. It’s all about exposure. (Cue face blushing.) Um, let me rephrase. It’s all about putting it out there. (Cue redder face blushing.) Big gulp. It’s about creating a video trailer to promote your book via YouTube and other video sites. Take it away, Cindy:

Have you taken a look at the book trailers on YouTube? Some are really cool, terrific graphics, very exciting. And some are well…not so cool. Book trailers are the latest tool for authors to use to put their books in front of potential audiences. Great! Another way to advertise my book—Lord knows drawing readers in is a major obstacle for authors, and a book trailer may just be the boost that my novel or series needs, right?

Whoa! Slow down cowboy, because I’ve got a tale to tell, and it ain’t pretty. My first book DEADLY.COM was getting ready to release last September, and I just couldn’t wait. I knew exactly how to get the proper attention for my new series—a book trailer! Hey, if Spielberg can do it, so can I.

The trap was set. Me—the idiot—was going to set out to film a book trailer. So, I rented a fellowship hall at a church, and then I placed this ad on Craig’s List for an actor:

Audition on June 22 for an actor: Dark-haired ruggedly good-looking between the ages of 25-30 to film a book trailer. Will provide food, and a DVD as payment. Please send resume and a head shot with response. Will provide time and location for audition, if qualified.

Wow! I got quite a few responses—who knew there were so many good-looking men out there willing to work for food and a DVD? Impressed? Don’t be.  Only three of the twelve actors that qualified for the part actually showed up, and let’s just say that pictures can be VERY deceiving!

The first actor that showed up right on time for the audition did indeed have dark hair. He was more photogenic than he was good-looking, but that wasn’t the biggest problem. He couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, and he weighed about one-ten. He was a pip-squeak, and his acting skills were….to be kind…not very good.

The second actor that walked through the door did not fit the bill at all. In fact, he had sent in a bogus head shot just to get an audition! The man must have been sixty-five, although he claimed to be forty-two. When I explained to him that he was simply too old, and too grey, and too wrinkled, he said, “I’m an actor, honey. I can act younger.” Seriously, buddy? Needless to say, he was asked to leave…quickly.

Ahhh, but the third actor that came through the door was just right. He was tall, dark, and very ruggedly handsome, and his acting was much better than the first. Good thing, because they were the only three to show up for the audition.

Okay, cut me a break, Spielberg probably gets a much better turn-out when he holds auditions, but this wasn’t a shot at fame and fortune—it was food and a DVD. Anyway, this was working! So, I rounded up a film crew, rented camera equipment, and went to a nearby stable that had white fencing for as far as the eye could see to ask permission to film. They were thrilled to let me film. I own a horse farm, but my fencing is black, and in my book series, Westwood Thoroughbred Farm has white fencing—details, have to stick with the details.

Viola! I was ready, and on a sunny, hot day last July I met my camera crew and the handsome actor at the farm to film the trailer. I had a blast! I was doing something that I had never done before. As a professional dancer and choreographer for twenty-six years, I had worked many stage productions, but this was an entirely different ball game—or should I say “project”. It took a mere two hours to film the short trailer, and within two weeks the trailer was on YouTube. God, did it stink! It was awful! At my publishing manager’s request, I removed it from cyber space.

Okay, now I’ve written two more books of The Unbridled Series, HOT COCO and Dangerous Deception, and I really, really, want one of those cool book trailers, but what’s an author to do? Those baby’s are expensive. But then out of the blue the break that I’d been waiting for happened: One of my FB friends who is also an author posted a link to a website where you can make banners and trailers. I was on it within moments, www.bannersnack.com. My daughter and I made a trailer for Dangerous Deception,HOT COCO, and then one for my first book of the series, DEADLY.COM—they turned out great! Hey, they were cool! But they didn’t have any background music—bummer. So my daughter started playing around with the Windows media file right on my lap top—she made two fabulous trailers right there on the lap top with terrific music for the background. It was easy, it was free, and I was so much happier with result. We uploaded them onto YouTube.  Who knew? Oh well, lessons learned.

Am I getting the exposure that I so desired when I filmed that disastrous trailer? Well…no, but I’ve got two book trailers that I’m very happy with, and my daughter and I had an absolute blast creating them.

You can view my trailers on the “books” tab on my website: http://www.cindymcwriter.com/

We’re not done yet. My next book from The Unbridled Series, AGAINST THE ROPES,  is set to release in June, my daughter and I will be creating a trailer for the new book very soon, and you will be able to find it on the “coming soon” tab on my website—an excerpt from the book is already there for you to read.

If you’ve been thinking about a trailer for your upcoming book or one that you’ve already published, I hope that I’ve given you the tools to create one. And if you do, have a great time!

Using Twitter to Find New Readers for Your Book


Best selling author Jonathan Gunson offers the best advice I found today on using Twitter to find readers. As Gunson says, the technique is “smack your forehead” simple.

After you have read an excerpt of Gunson’s advice below, you will want to see what else he has to offer, so go here:

http://bestsellerlabs.com/how-to-find-readers-on-twitter/

 re-blogged from Jonathan Gunson (with permission)

Readers Can Be Found By Using Twitter Search

The method is to type into Twitter’s search panel certain words and phrases that readers of your fiction genre might be using in their Tweets.  Doing a few of these searches will start to reveal readers of that fiction genre in significant numbers.

Then just go through the search results and follow those readers that you feel belong to your book genre, based on what they say in their Tweets.  Many of them will follow you back.

Here are three suggested search methods: 1:  Search using the names of successful authors in your fiction genre.

Hostile Hospital By Lemony Snickett This approach finds the readers of successful authors in the same genre as you.

For example, if you’re a YA author, you might search for author “Lemony Snicket”, who writes the hugely popular YA series ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’.

This search will reveal readers in the YA fiction genre, because many of the Tweets will clearly be from people Tweeting about their “Lemony Snicket” reading experience.

lemony snicket readers

Simply go through the search results and pick out the users who are obviously YA readers in your genre.   Click on the names you like, and their profile will pop up – then click each one to follow them.  (The idea being that many of them will follow you back.)

Note:  When searching, remember to click the “All” link at the top so you can see all the Tweets that include a particular phrase, not just the most popular.

For more on this subject, visit Jonathan Gunson’s website.

Guest Post–When Writers Have To Speak


Today’s post is courtesy of Karel Henneberger, one of the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. You may reach her at writerKMH@gmail.com.

Writers write. Right? Right.

But sometimes writers also have to speak. In public. To a group of people. A large group of people. And not people you know.

Most people get nervous when they have to speak in front of an audience, even a small group of friends. And many find public speaking a totally paralyzing experience, mostly because we are all afraid of being publicly humiliated.

Some advisors say to picture your audience naked. Hmmm. Not a pretty picture when speaking to adults, and a worrying one when speaking to children.

But there are several things you can do to help you overcome stage fright.

First, you need to decide what you will talk about. If you are asked to speak about a particular topic–explaining, informing, or showing something, then you are well on your way. Whatever you talk about, remember that old advice–Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them.

Also decide whether you want to use visual aids or just wing it. Use your aids to supplement, not be your program.

There are many websites that can help you write your speech (though don’t plan to stick to the exact words you write)

Well before THE DAY:

  • Practice your speech in front of a mirror
  • Read your speech out loud
  • Read s l o w l y
    • When you’re nervous, you tend to speak and move more quickly
    • It’s hard to understand when someone speaks too fast
    • Speaking  s l o w l ynot only gives your brain a chance to catch up with your tongue, it is calming–a good thing for a speaker
  • Time it several times to make sure you’re consistent.
  • Start by READING your notes, then begin to just glance at them
  • Then try to give the speech without notes (that probably won’t work, but it will show you where you need to brush up)
  • Make very basic notes to take with you on THE DAY

Besides the speech, decide:

  • What to wear–this will depend upon your audience
    • Is the occasion casual?
    • More formal?
    • Businesslike?
  • What your audience is expecting to hear
    • New information
    • Solutions to a problem
    • Entertainment
  • Know your strengths–and weaknesses
    • If you have a weak voice, use a microphone (practice with one first)
    • If you are very tall or very short, make sure the podium, microphone, etc is set at the correct height
    • Consider the speech as a role you will play–dress the part and you’ll be more likely to act the part
    • The right clothes will make you feel more confident
    • Consider a shopping trip (a thrift store outfit won’t cost much and can be kept for similar occasions

Before walking onto that empty scary stage try one of these ideas:

  • Do meditation exercises just before going onstage–this requires learning specific techniques
  • Simply close your eyes and think of a favorite place, a place where you have been happy–this also needs some before-hand practice
  • Carry a worry stone in your pocket. When you feel yourself losing control, just slip your hand in your pocket and rub the stone

When you are standing in the middle of the stage:

  • Take three deep breaths (more might cause you to hyperventilate)
  • SMILE
    • Nobody will know you are not smiling at them
    • It will make you feel more relaxed and confident
  • Pick three people in the audience–one in front and one on each side near the back
    • While you talk, move your head from one to the other
    • This makes it appear that you are looking at most of the people in the audience.
  • If that is too hard to do, look at an empty seat, a flower arrangement, a pillar, or a decoration on the wall, again moving your head from one to the other

The three most important things to remember when you must give a speech are:

  1. Know your topic
  2. KNOW your topic
  3. KNOW YOUR TOPIC

When you know your topic thoroughly, you will find you can improvise if necessary. Know your topic so well that you can continue even if:

  • You lose your place in your notes
    • Take a deep breath and fake it
    • Joke about being clumsy (the audience will most likely laugh–go with it)
  • The lights go out
    • Joke about someone not paying its electric bill (again, laughs relax everyone)
    • Ask the audience questions about their knowledge of the topic (ask them to raise their hands if they __________.Again, laughter helps)
    • Let them ask you questions (You really know your topic, so you will have answers and if you don’t, use a politician’s ploy–give a non-answer–talk about a somewhat related subject that you do know about)
    • And DON’T MOVE AROUND THE STAGE until the lights come back on
  • Your visual aids suddenly fall to the floor
    • Say something like, “Well, if you could see it, this chart would show…” (laughs again)
    • While someone picks up your stuff, go on to the next part of your speech.

Really KNOWING your topic will let you turn a potential disaster into a success. And success will give you confidence. Confidence will make it easier to give the next speech. So, don’t be afraid to be a writer who speaks.