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.