Saturday, November 20, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
You knew I would be.
So, the last time I posted, I indicated that I was doing research on blogs who review novels in my genre so that I could set up reviews and possibly interviews and blog tour stops. Well, I sent out 10 e-mails yesterday. I got three responses and all were positive for reviewing and hosting interviews. Yep, I've got a long way to go, but it's a start. I'll send out five e-mails every day from this point forward until I've exhausted my list. Then I'll compile some more.
How many should you sign up for? As many as you can. Remember, how blogs work. For example, Becky sets up a blog and has 50 followers. Her information appears on their blogs. Among her 50 followers are ten people who have 1000 followers. So, your information not only appears on their blogs, but also their followers blogs. This is how your book goes viral and you start to build the ever important "buzz." You can never sign up with too many. So, find as many as you can and make it a constant process.
A few pointers for crafting your letters:
- First, make sure that you at least TRY to personalize each letter to the extent that you can. Take the time to find out the name of the person who runs the blog. This will go a long way toward building goodwill. On some blogs the information isn't always apparent or easy to find, but most blogs who regularly review books have a book review policy page and provide their contact information there.
- Include your book's information: Title, name of publisher (your imprint name or your name), ISBN number, format (tradepaper, hardcover), number of pages, back cover copy, and jpeg of your cover file.
- Be careful of what you post online--anywhere. This not only applies to reaching out to bloggers but your career as an author. Like it or not, people will do research on you as bloggers, potential publishers, readers, etc. are bound to do. Be careful of what you post and what you say. Avoid negative interaction because it may affect whether people want to work with you. I say this because one blogger agreed to host my book and host me on a blog tour partly because I had a positive interaction with a reviewer who gave me a negative review. You never know how that stuff will play into the future, so just avoid the negative stuff altogether if you can.
For today's activity, I'm going to try and compile a list of book festivals and fairs that I can or will try attend next year to begin setting up my schedule. Now, of course, festivals and fairs are tricky because you have to pay to participate. That means, you need to know if you're gonna have the budget. Even though I'm with a traditional publisher, I doubt very seriously they're gonna pay because I'm not a money-maker yet. But the point of this exercise is finding what you can and listing them on a schedule so that if your budget does allow you to attend in a particular timeframe, you will already have the information compiled if your schedule and budget should allow.
How am I going to go about compiling my list? By leaning on an author's best friend--Google. I will Google "book fair", "book festival", "author pavilion", "book fest" along with my geographic area and see what I come up with. I'll list out fees, application deadlines, and website addresses so I can go back and find the information later. Some time down the road, I'll list the ones I can potentially attend on my website schedule.
Be selective and don't try to book everything because you need to leave room for bookstore signings on your schedule too. This activity shouldn't take too long--maybe an hour or so. Best thing is, you only need to do it once a year if you do a thorough job the first time. And if you retain the information from year to year, then you only need to update it with new events as they are available. This is a good time of year to compile the list because the festival schedules usually start in February and run through November.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's get to it!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Whether you're an indie author or affiliated with an indie or big six publisher, one thing all we authors will have to do is market our books in some way or another. Even though my book has been picked up by a big six publisher, I don't have intention of reducing the level of marketing I engage in with the re-release of my novel. As a matter of fact, I really need to do equal or better because now my sales really count. The sales figures can impact my ability to get my books sold to publishers in the future. So, it's time to get on the ball.
I haven't done much marketing up to this point because it's very difficult to really market without a book cover, and I didn't get my book cover until yesterday. With THE BUM MAGNET release scheduled for March 29, 2011, time's ticking away and I've got a lot to do--from scheduling book signings, to setting up blog tours, to finding reviewers among bloggers and book clubs.
So, every day starting tomorrow until the release of my book in March 2011, I'll be engaging in one or two marketing activities per day and I'll be sharing them with you to give you ideas about how to go about conducting your own marketing. Now, I'm not going to give you very specific details because the key is for you to take the general idea, conduct your own research, and then do the marketing activity yourself. But hopefully, I can give you some direction and help you get your plan rolling.
My first goal for tomorrow is to do some research to identify blogs that read and review books like mine. I'll make a list of those blogs and email them to ask if they will review my book, and/or host me on a tour, and/or allow me to post an author interview. As long as they agree to post some information (any information) about me as an author or my book, it will go a long way to getting the viral marketing started.
So where am I going to look for blogs? One of my favorite sources is Technorati.com. You go there, put in some search terms, and then find blogs that deal with subject matter similar to your book. It also allows you to see the blog rankings to identify which ones are considered more of an authority than others.
So, hop to it people! Let's find some blogs. If you're successful, please leave a comment and tell us about it.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Debbi Mack's 20 Questions Blog Tour
Question 8: Where do you get your ideas?
Thank you, Karla, for hosting me on your blog, Cheap Indie Author. It's a pleasure to be hosted by someone who's made such a success by taking the indie route.
As to your question, it's a perennial favorite. It's that question that writers so often dread answering. It's one that authors tend to poke fun at. However, I will try to field it as best I can.
The simple answer is, ideas can come from just about anywhere. Ideas seem to crawl out of the woodwork like bugs.
Wow, that was quite the icky analogy. Let's try this instead. Ideas are caused when you see a situation and inspiration jolts your brain like electricity.
So often, an idea is based on a "what if" scenario. I'll be reading the paper (or a magazine or just about anything) and I'll think "what if this happened to someone and it led to murderous impulses?"
As a crime fiction writer, I seem capable of finding the potential for murder in almost any scenario.
If it sounds a bit scary, well, it's just my imagination. It's not real. (Is it? LOL)
Another aspect of getting ideas for stories is being able to spot the potential for conflict in a situation. Because conflict is the essence of good storytelling.
Who wants to read about a perfectly happy person going about an ordinary day in which nothing untoward happens? I'll tell you who. Nobody.
So, coming up with ideas means finding the conflict in situations. Along with being able to string out a plot that will support a whole novel.
This means that simply getting an idea isn't enough. What makes the idea work is not so much the idea as the execution. You see, they say that all the ideas have been "done" at this point. Perhaps it's true. But it's not just ideas that make a good story, it's also execution of the plot. And this is where all the hard work comes in.
Coming up with ideas is no great trick. Following through and creating a great story based upon them is the hard part.
At this point, I have SO many ideas for stories. They're all sitting patiently in my brain, like planes on a runway waiting for takeoff. I don't even know if I can possibly get to them all, given the time I put toward marketing and promoting, in addition to writing books (not to mention short stories, screenplays and whatever else I choose to work on).
So, when people ask me, "Where do you get your ideas?" my impulse is to say, "Where don't I get them?"
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Thanks for reading, everyone! Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address if you'd like to enter the drawing for the 10 autographed copies of IDENTITY CRISIS I'm giving away. (One entry per person, but comment as often as you like.)
The drawing will be held on my blog My Life on the Mid-List after the tour is finished. Check my blog for the entire tour schedule.
And please join me at my next stop tomorrow: Weblog of Zoe Winters
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Debbi Mack is the author of IDENTITY CRISIS, a hardboiled mystery and the first in a series featuring lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. She's also a short story writer whose ebook anthology, FIVE UNEASY PIECES, includes the Derringer-nominated "The Right to Remain Silent," originally published in The Back Alley Webzine. Debbi's work has also appeared in two of the CHESAPEAKE CRIMES anthologies.
Be on the lookout for her next Sam McRae novel, LEAST WANTED, which will be published soon (in print and ebook versions).
Debbi practiced law for nine years before becoming a freelance writer/researcher and fiction author. She's also worked as a news wire reporter covering the legal beat in
You can find out more about Debbi on her Web site and her blog My Life on the Mid-List. Her books are available on Amazon, BN.com, Lulu.com, Smashwords and other sites around the Web, and by order at stores. You can also buy autographed copies of her novel from her Web site at http://www.debbimack.com/identitycrisis.