Friday, August 21, 2015

Guest Blogger on Convention Note #31 RWA Conference (2016)

I wasn’t able to attend RWA in New York this year, but I fellow Christian author, Piper Huguley, Here's a little about this award-winning author:



Piper Huguley seeks to make new inroads in the publication of historical romance by featuring African American Christian characters.  The Lawyer’s Luck and The Preacher’s Promise, the first books in her “Home to Milford College” series, are Amazon best sellers.  The Mayor’s Mission,published in Winter 2014.  The next entry in the series, The Representative’s Revolt will publish in Spring 2015. She is a 2013 Golden Heart finalist for her novel, A Champion’s Heart—the fourth book in “Migrations of the Heart”. The first book in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, was the first-place winner in The Golden Rose Contest in 2013 and was a Golden Heart finalist in 2014. The first three books in the “Migrations of the Heart” series, which follows the loves and lives of African American sisters during America’s greatest internal migration in the first part of the twentieth century,  Piper writes for  Samhain Publishing.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her  husband and son. 



Piper says, “Fiction is the best way to get into someone else’s shoes, whether those shoes go to space or the bedroom, the West or the ballroom, the board room or the beach. Here’s to all the amazing writers I met last week — thanks for giving us new shoes to walk in!
Nota bene: I had to pick and choose what I went to, like at any busy conference, and there were definitely excellent sessions on craft and the business of publishing that I missed. Luckily, there were many live-tweeters in attendance! Check out the #RWA15hashtag.”
Read more here at http://bookriot.com/2015/07/28/11-best-things-heard-rwa-2015/
Visit Piper at http://piperhuguley.com/

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#30 Something I Didn't Learn From a Convention But Is Noteworthy

I read this on BookDaily.com.

How I Gained 1000+ Reviews On My Books | BookDaily #AuthorTips


Indie author books need reviews. We know well that without reviews we cannot submit our ebooks to many of the established promotional sites that move titles priced FREE or discounted. Readers browsing Amazon are more likely to choose our books over another if a book has an array of reviews.
Many of these suggestions come from Blogger, Julie Whiteley a Top 1000 Amazon and Goodreads reviewer:
When asking for a review, provide all the following inside the email: Not as an attachment.
• Introduce yourself
• Tell what kind of book you have written: Fiction or Non-fiction.
• Mention the genre or category.
• Provide a well-composed book description: Not a synopsis.
• Include a cover in the body of the email.
• Include a head shot of yourself in the body of the email.
• Do not include a copy of your book.
• Ask the reviewers preferred format for review books.
Never send a reviewer a copy of your book without first asking the reviewer to review it. That is presumptuous and no reviewer feels obligated to read or review a book just because the author sent a copy. Most Blogger/Reviewers have submission guidelines. Read and follow them. While this seems obvious to some, apparently it isn’t to others. DO offer the reviewer a free copy of your book. Yes, some indie authors often ask for reviews then expect the reviewer to buy their book. But it is extraordinarily unprofessional. Accept the review, whatever the review rank and say ,“Thank you.”
The premier and most respected indie book reviewer is Big Al’s Books and Pals. On a sister site, The Indie view you will find a drop down menu listing hundreds of active reviewers for every genre. It is a fabulous resource for indie authors.
**But the absolutely best review is an organic review from a reader who downloads your book, reads it, and posts a review. This gentle plea at the foot of your book right after THE END works like a magic charm…
Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author's best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, [author name].
Lest you think it doesn’t work, readers have posted above 1000 reviews on my titles and I am NOT a best selling author. And yes, the reviews range from one to five stars. I’m good with it.
About the Author:
Jackie Weger has been writing novels off and on for thirty years. She enjoys destination travel--going to new and strange places, meeting the natives, learning their customs, their foods, how they survive good times and bad. She lived part of one winter with trappers in the Louisiana Swamps, volunteered at a Sister ‘s of Mercy Mission in Panama--and had one of the most interesting conversations in her life with an old man and his dog as they sat on a bench waiting for a train in the Village of Versailles. Jackie loves books, coffee, tea, cats, gossip and all things Southern. Above all, Jackie enjoys hearing from readers.

*** I have actually started doing this. I don't have a 1000 reviews yet, but I figured it can't hurt.
Pat

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pat's Conventions Note #29 of 100 things I learned from attending LITERARY CONFERENCES

#29. Street Teams Part II From an Expert

I met reader and street team captain Priscilla “Book Maniac” Johnson for the first time years ago at a Romance Slam Jam conference. I was always impressed by her support of my friend, author A.C. Artist. I thought to myself, “Wow. What I wouldn’t give to have that type of support system.” At this year’s RSJ in Dallas, I sat in on a workshop conducted by Priscilla aka Cilla. Since she gave away so much valuable information, a simple recap wouldn’t do justice to anyone reading this post, so I asked Cilla to share her tips for starting a street team on my blog, so here you go.


What are Street Teams?
“I want to be on a street team”.  “Should I have street team?”
More and more readers are asking to be a part of street teams and authors are questioning how do I start a street team. Yet, no one really knows what a street team does or how do they works. 
Here’s a little history.  Street teams originated in the late 1980’s with rock and roll bands.  Band members and producers would give records and tapes to fans to take to radio stations and record stores in exchange for concert tickets.  Groups like Nirvana became overnight success.  This was a great marketing tool because the music went directly to the fans.  It also eliminated the high cost associated with advertisers, radio and television promotors.
As more authors enter the realm of self-publishing and eBooks, street teams are becoming more popular.   Authors use street teams to announce up-coming releases, introduce their books to new readers, increase written book reviews and get their work in book stores and libraries.    Street teams are extremely instrumental on social media sites, such as Face Book, Twitter, and Good Reads in letting readers know what is hot and on the verge of hitting the literary street.  It also allows the author to spend time writing instead of promoting and marketing for themselves.
Keep in mind that members of any street team are VOLUNTEERS who are passionate about the work of an author and they are willing and eager to talk about how wonderful and great the author stories are.  Members have read every book by an author and can usually recite the characters better than the author.   And what does the team get in return?  Some authors reward members with Advance Reader Copies (ARC) of new releases, in-side information on releases, swag, gift cards or other unique gifts. 
Being on a street team is a lot of work. But it is also lots of fun and very rewarding. I have had the pleasure of being on several teams and the experience has been rewarding.  You build lasting friendships with readers and authors.  Who could ask for anything more?  

Priscilla C. Johnson aka ‘Cilla

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #28 (Buy Links) of 100 things I learned from attending LITERARY CONFERENCES

#28. Buy Links on our websites.
For the past week, I have been doing what Christine from Kobo suggested to help boost sales; add Kobo buy links to my website. I’m still not finished. I already had buy links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks, and I dreaded adding yet another one.

Messy, huh? So Christine recommended some authors’ websites, so I could see how they added buy links for their books.

In each of the examples, it appeared each book had its own page. I GROANED loudly, then gave myself a pep talk, “At least I don’t have as many series as some of them.” Yeah, right. That would be a great problem to have. So I began the task of creating separate pages for each series with links to each book. Here’s an example of my cleaner look and the page it links to:


 Now when visitors want to purchase a book, they will click on BUY THE BOOKS and get the page below:


The bottom line is simple. If we want to make money on all platforms, we need to have their buy links on our website.

Get busy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #27 of 100 things I learned from attending LITERARY CONFERENCES

#27. Are You Connected? I mean really?

While attending a mixer hosted by Draft2Digital at the annual RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas this year (2015), I approached Ian with Apple and asked him why my books weren’t selling as well in iBooks as those on KDP, even though I had the Apple buy links on my website.

Ian: “Do you have a series?”
Me: Yes
“Do you have them linked?”
Me: “Of course.”

However, when Ian searched for one book in my Guilty series on his iPhone, I was shocked that they weren’t, despite me marking them as such: Guilty of Love (Book I), Not Guilty of Love (Book II), Still Guilty (Book IV) and The Acquittal (Book V).
Ian said sometimes the problem is on their end. When the “problem” wasn’t corrected a few weeks after returning from RT, I emailed Ian and within a day, my series books were linked.
This is how my Guilty series books now look in the Apple store.




This lesson got me to thinking how my books were packaged on other platforms. Recently, Amazon started packing series. When I searched for STOPPING TRAFFIC, I noticed how on the left side Amazon has all four books in my Love at the Crossroads series were lumped together.  Again, this is a visual reminder to the reader that my books are in a series. The “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” doesn’t indicate if books are in a series, especially if the covers don’t indicate it.



Below is from the KOBO website—problem.  THE ACQUITTAL isn’t listed in a series and the other books aren’t even recommended. Two books in the Guilty series are listed only as “People Who Read This Also Enjoyed.” One thing I discovered with KOBO is it gives the author an option to number the books in the series when uploading. This shouldn’t be an option. Plug in those numbers. I contacted the KOBO rep who I also met at the Draft2Digital mixer about this. See her response below the picture.





Hi Pat,

Here are some tips that I think will help get things on a better track at Kobo:
  1. Add Kobo links to your website and social media.
  2. http://kobowritinglife.com/2015/01/29/selling-more-of-your-series-books-on-kobo-11/  -- follow these tips for your series. You need to be very careful about matching metadata across every series to be sure kobo.com links all of these books correctly. For example, use "Guilty Series" for all titles instead of "The Guilty Series" for some and not others (see attached). Keep an eye on our blog for lots of KWL-specific advice.
  3. Manually adjust pricing for every title for all English-speaking countries, instead of relying on the auto-converter. That tool creates strange prices in our main markets (such as Canada — see how your prices appear to Canadian customers in the screenshot). Make sure all countries reflect the $x.99 that customers are accustomed to seeing.
I hope that's a helpful starting point. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Christine Munroe

I thanked her, now I have to apply her suggestions. After that, I’ll tackle Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  
I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this note. 
Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #26 of 100 things I learned from attending SIX LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#26. The Do’s and Don’ts on How to Lead a Successful Workshop.
This was from one of the RWA workshops with authors Maria Bradley and Rebecca Zanette.

·         Don’t start a workshop talking about the downside of writing. If you do, you’ll have to work harder to build up the attendees’ expectations about the benefits of being an author.
·         Don’t be on a panel solely to sell books. Don’t push your books down their throats with “Buy my books, buy my books.” Get to know each person.
·         Don’t hijack a panel, basically whether you’re behind the table with other authors or in the audience, don’t try to steal the show, but be respectful.
·         Don’t let everything you say, be about you. Talk about other authors’ books instead of your own. People like to hear that you read other authors’ work.
When using a PowerPoint presentation during a workshop, keep your bullet points between three and seven. Otherwise, you’ll overload the participants with too much information.
The last part, which I’m not making up, is to brush your teeth before you speak. “That will freshen your mind as well as your mouth.”

The BIG do is to encourage aspiring authors to keep writing.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #25 of 100 things I learned from attending SIX LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#25. The Business side of Books

RWA 2014 workshop with NYT bestselling author Marie Force. Checkout Marieforce.com/connect
This sounds like a fairytale story, but it’s not.  This author’s income grew from $2500 in one year to $3 million dollars a few years later. I don’t know how to count that much $$. Marie said she didn’t see that kind of wealth coming and wasn’t prepared how to manage it. She was no longer a struggling author, but a business owner. She had to scramble to make sure taxes wouldn’t eat up her profits. These are a few of the steps she took:
·         Established a separate bank account
·         Applied for an American Express business credit card and record receipts as expenses incur.
·         Hired a CPA***she couldn’t stress this enough*** because authors do get audited.
·         She officially became a corporation, making sure all her books had copyrights with the Library of Congress. Plus, she hired two part-timers and two full time people.
Here are some tips that she used to build her career:
·         Make sure your email address shows your name, such as authorpatsimmons@gmail.com not pbooks@yahoo.com or booklover@hotmail. Everyone you email should know who you are and what you do.
·         Your signature in the email should contain your social media links as well as website. It took me a couple hours to do this because I had to add each icon, so I could link them separately. Here's my masterpiece: 

·         Marie believes in the personal touch, so she sends out Christmas cards to readers who sign up. They like receiving her swag in the mail. (I’m calculating the expense of this one). She also mails out postcards to announce new releases.
·         Another tip she shared was the fact she has 30 FB pages, one for every book or series. My jaw dropped. I have three major series. She has thousands of LIKEs that took years to reach.
·         She’s big on doing online workshops vs. traveling every month.
Okay, that’s it for now. I better go get started on my other Facebook pages: The Carmen Sisters and Love at the Crossroads. Revamping my signature line and creating multiple FB pages are what's doable for me right now.

I hope this has been a blessing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #24 of 100 things I learned from attending SIX LITERARY CONFERENCES in 2014

#24 
While at RWA, author Lisa Wells headed a workshop called “Blog Bites.” After listening to the recording, I saw the errors of my ways, so here I go.
The blog headline should entice readers. The title and tags should promise something and have benefits to the reader. One interesting note to point out was her suggestion on how to name a blog: the first 3 words and the last 3 words of the title should be strong.
·         Blog posts need to be short, at least 300 words, but not longer than 1,000 words.
·         Content is king. It should inspire, educate, entertain, solve a problem, etc. Focus on your passion.
·         She uses “reader conversation tags” such as: couldn’t put it down, stayed up all night, all-nighters. These kind of phrases draws attention, whether it’s a blog or book.
·         IT takes 2-5 years for a blog to get going---yikes! I’m not feeling those odds.
·         Lisa suggests playing with words by going down the alphabet, such as “treadmill” change to “dreadmill”. Using lists and inserting pictures on blogs are a plus, so check out this list of sites for ideas:
1.      Wordle.net
2.      Clich├ęSite.com
3.      Lyrics free.com
4.      Quotationpage.com
5.      Pinterest.com for all kind of quotes.
·         Of course, blogs should be promoted on social media. Here’s another website to Tweet about it. ClicktoTweet.com
·         Always end the blog with a call for action: ask the reader to share this post or leave a comment for a drawing.
Here is my call for action, please a comment or share this post with a friend and enter a drawing for a $10 Starbucks card or free download of my first audiobook, THE KEEPSAKE. Deadline January 27, 2015.
I hope this blog has been a blessing.

Pat 

Friday, January 16, 2015

#23. 2014 Wrap-up on my 100 Convention Notes

A couple of writing deadlines had me tied up longer than expected, so I’m sorry for the gaps in my posts. Let me tell you what tips worked for me. Tip #20 is now ingrained in my writing: first line/last line emphasis. If you give this a second look, then you’ll notice a difference in your story. My first audiobook:  THE KEEPSAKE is now available on audible.com. It was narrated by Alexandria Matthews and she is a smooth storyteller.
Download free when you sign up with audible, so please check it out. I also signed up with Draft2Digital. It was definitely a smart move. Not only do they provide swift customer service, but my books are now on Page Foundry and Scribd. I’m also part of BlackChristianReads with 9 other authors. We are cross-promoting each other.  I use Pinterest more and get 30-50 repins a week. When someone follows my board, I send them a quick note and ask them to check out my books with similar things.  Don’t miss Tip #23 next week and learn all the things that I've been doing wrong to promote my blog.