Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What Are You Doing To Market Your Book?

In today's publishing climate, marketing is essential. There are so many authors out there and only so many readers. If you have ever gotten online to find a new book, you know what I am talking about here. We can sit for hours, scrolling through title after title, just to find one potential book.

Readers out there need to be guided to your books. They are not likely going to just stumble across your book.

Unfortunately, many writers are still living and trying to make it with the old model of marketing. In that older model, the publishers would create marketing plans to get their authors' titles out there to the readers. Publishers would ship out to those great brick and mortar stores piles of books as well as marketing plans for each of the titles.

But that doesn't necessarily happen any more. This is especially the case for those writers who are taking a self-publishing approach or even working with smaller publishing that have limited resources for marketing.

Authors now have an increased responsibility to add to that marketing plan. Authors have to find a way to get their titles out there to the readers. There is not a "one size fits all" approach. What works for one author may not work for another author. Finding that right approach is not going to be easy, but it is important for authors to make that attempt.

If you want to see sales improve, you have to ask what you are doing personally to get your titles out there.

So, what are YOU doing?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Motivation For Writers

I just saw this on an Instagram post. Walt Disney once said, "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." I see so many writers fail in their careers simply because of all of their talking.

I don't care how many reasons you have for why the writing is not going as planned. The real reason is that you are simply not writing.

You can create storyboards until the sun goes down. You can create character plans, outlines and so forth. You can tell me all of these reasons why the real world is getting in the way. But, when it all comes down to it, your writing is not getting done because you are not writing.

End of story.

This last weekend, I had NPR on the radio and was listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.  Romance's ultimate author, Nora Roberts was on and she was asked about if she ever has had writer's block. She said "No." Her comment was what I have said all along. Writer's block is a mental thing. She said that she will always sit down and write, even if it is a piece of garbage. She can always go back and fix it later. The reality is that was still making forward progress.

So, what about you? Put those excuses down and just write today.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Do You Have A Backup Plan?

My authors are awesome. There isn't a week that goes by when one of them give me inspiration for a blog post. Sometimes what they provide me is inspirational. In other cases, it is a word of warning, which is what today is about...

One of my authors had a situation recently where the story she was working on (and I should note was doing really well with) ran into some difficulties. It was the infamous "computer failure". She had thought everything was good, but sure enough, over 5 chapters of hard work were lost. Not good. She was not happy about that in the least bit.

But things like this happen. When we work with technology, problems will occur. So, with that said, it is always good to keep a couple of back-up plans at the ready.

I am someone who firmly believes in saving your work in multiple locations. Save it to the "cloud". Save it on flash drives. Save it on your hard drive. Email it to your agent. Email it to your friends. And yes, every now and then, print it off!

I would also encourage you to set the Auto Save Function on your computer to a shorter time. Right now, the default on MS Word is set for 10 minutes. This is when the computer kicks into life and saves the work to a temporary file. If you are someone who writes really fast, shift it to every 5 minutes or so.

To find this command, here are the steps.
  1. Right click on the top bar where all of the commands are located.
  2. Click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar
  3. On the left side click on the SAVE tab
  4. You will see the AUTO RECOVER option there. Change that and then hit OK.
I should also note that another option here is to change the DEFAULT option to something other than the computer. That way if the whole computer crashes, you can still get to it. You can change it to a flash drive or even the cloud.

Just some "techy" stuff to consider.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bigger Isn't Always Better

Along with working as an agent, I help out with Writer's Digest and their 2nd Draft Editing service. This is a chance to help out writers drafting query letters, or putting together their synopsis. I recently read a query where the author was targeting an agent at a pretty large agency. This particular agency has locations all around the world and handles everything from screenplays, to novels, to television shows and movies. This is BIG!

As I read this query, I was really trying to figure out why the author had chosen this agency. Was it the size of the agency and the fact that it looks as if there are connections all over the place for the story? Was it the reputation for making big deals? I don't know. Sure, on the surface, it would seem that if this author works with this agency, there are more resources available, but that does not mean this author's writing is going to have access to all of these services.

What authors need to consider is not necessarily the size of the agency, but what that agency can do for the author. Along the same lines, authors need to consider what their personal needs are as an author and whether or not the agency is going to meet those needs. Although all agencies offer many of the same services, the approach each agency takes will be different.

I think it is all about deciding if you want to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond. Sure the agency is large, but if you are a new author and they have nothing but the big authors in the agency, where do you think the agents will be spending their time? With the people who make the big money. Until you get tot he point that you are showing you can earn money, you will probably not get all of that attention you want.

This is also an issue of knowing where your writing belongs. Your story does not fit with every agency out there. It also does not belong with every publisher out there. Your writing has a voice and style that will limit your market. You need to know that market and send that story to the place that fits the story the best.

As far as that author who wrote that query? I really don't know if he will get the response he wants. It would be great if he did? But, from this angle, it looks as if he may be shooting for something that is too big for his story and his writing career.