Tag Archives: publishing

From a Flood to a Trickle.

I have to apologize to followers new and old for the gaps in posting.

I have been writing, but the minimal time I’ve had available of late has forced me to choose between working on the new novel or talking about the old novel. I have chosen the former.

Sales of Tempt the Ocean continue at a slow pace (very slow), but do continue. I confess I was thrilled when the earnings broke the two-digit milestone. Disheartening when compared to self–published authors who claim to make a living off their novels. I don’t know how they do it. I have to remind myself that it’s a mistake to compare my own progress to that of others.

One piece of advice I have: order a small number of printed copies to keep on hand. I never ordered a set of copies of my book to distribute by hand and that has been a mistake. I have since had people ask to buy a copy of my novel outright and have not been able to provide one. A colleague mentioned a book store in our neighbourhood that highlights local independent authors by selling copies directly, but again, I have none to sell. And when I had an opportunity to product-place my novel on screen this summer I had to pass it by since I did not have any copies to loan.

I have no news about making Tempt the Ocean available on other platforms outside Amazon.

I can say, however, that I managed to write a good 1400 words on labour day last week, and I’m plowing through a borrowed copy of A Storm of Swords so I can return it to the library in time. If I don’t have time to write at least I can read and post the occasional Tweet.

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Making Lemonade

It’s been two months since my last post. Oops!

I dropped my commitment to regular blog posts to transition back home where I hosted a house guest for several weeks, during which I bought a new laptop which failed shortly thereafter and then went through the process of transferring all my files a second time just as I started a new contract from home. Frankly I’m in disbelief that it’s been two months.

All of that is not much more than the excuses that are the enemy of writing. Getting back to WordPress today has been a fight but one worth winning. To make it easier I am taking advantage of the porch I cleaned up to enjoy my outdoors, bringing my new laptop out with me, and accompanying my effort with a glass of homemade lemonade. I recommend making everything as delightful as possible to break through the non-motivation barrier when writing!

During this transitional time, I am happy to share that my search for book reviewers paid off with a great review on a summer reading blog here. Sharing the review garnered much support and interest as hoped.

In related news, my time with Amazon Kindle Unlimited has expired. I can’t say that the exclusive publishing with Amazon did anything special for Tempt the Ocean, and I’m looking forward to expanding the novel’s market to other outlets such as Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, etc. I am saving the second round of publishing for when my contract is over, but stay-tuned for updates and promos.

While bouncing around the files of my current novel, I experienced a tiny epiphany as to the restructuring it required, and now know how to get from the second half of the middle to the beginning of the third act, which is already written. I’m relishing getting into the guts of mid-18th century New York, and my pair of star-crossed lovers.

Finally, let me share this simple recipe for lemonade, in the hopes it will help inspire:

Lemonade

Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a glass jar;

Include a bit of lemon rind, but omit seeds;

Add a tbsp of raw sugar;

Add in 1 cup of hot water and stir gently until sugar dissolves.

Let cool.

Pour a bit of cooled mixture (to taste, but no more than 1/4 cup) over ice in a tall glass,

Add cold water (I like sparkling), and voila,

Lemonade.

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Visibility

Now that Tempt the Ocean is a published book, who will to read it?

For an author whose superpower is invisibility, marketing a new book that no one has heard about proves a serious challenge. I could panic, but all solid wisdom suggests that building a following takes time. There is no shortcut (short of pre-established fame). Hence, the only answer is to find a way to enjoy the building process, and embrace the adage of journey over destination.

Branding and social media are huge concepts that can’t be conquered overnight. However, I thought I would present a short whirlwind tour of where I have set foot on the information superhighway—aka the tubular express—as a map to others, and talk a little about how I am using those sites to spread the word. Some of the sites are still works in progress, so bear with me. All of the sites either come up frequently in marketing discussions or have been recommended by other authors. All of them offer some variation of cross-pollination.

WordPress

If you are reading this post you are probably familiar with WordPress. There are other great blogging sites as well, but WordPress is where I started and where I’m comfortable. I use my WordPress Blog as my official site. My biggest challenge is to post regularly and consistently, at which I am not always successful. I am now adding two dedicated author pages to my site, one for each of my writing identities. Since publishing, I have added visibility by including a direct link at the top of the sidebar to Tempt the Ocean (remember: PROMOTE YOUR BOOK wherever possible), and every new blog post shows up on both my Amazon author page (see below) and my Facebook author page (see below).

Facebook

Before publishing, I created an author page for Agnès de Savigny on Facebook.  I can post directly to the Facebook page, as with my personal Facebook page, while followers (readers!) and other guests can post to a visitor’s tab. I can pin any post to the top of the feed, which I have done with the announcement of Tempt the Ocean‘s release (remember: make your book as EASY TO FIND as possible). The site includes a bio, and a link back to my WordPress blog as my “official” site. Through Facebook I created and shared my Tempt the Ocean launch event. All of my WordPress posts and Twitter tweets (see below) show up in my feed as well. Facebook has now added a Goodreads tab for those who have a Goodreads account (see below).

Twitter

I swore the attraction of the 140 character post would fizzle out. In a sense I was right, but my own determination to not be a party to it fizzled out, too. As Agnès de Savigny, I posted my first tweet this year, and unlike my nasty blogging habits, I continue to tweet almost daily. Twitter is a perfect avenue for following and conversing with other authors on the fly, as well as publicizing little moments to readers. My Twitter page features a mini bio and a link to my home page (for now, my author page on Amazon, where my book is listed). To boost my visibility, my Twitter feed appears on both my Facebook author page and my Amazon author page (see below).

Goodreads

Goodreads, a popular site built for and fuelled by readers, has become an essential site for independent authors. The site provides a great place for authors to connect directly with readers, and to share ideas with other writers (via forums and groups). Only published authors are eligible to create an author page on Goodreads—and now that Tempt the Ocean has published, Agnès de Savigny is a Goodreads author. The Agnès de Savigny Goodreads author page includes a forum to respond to reader questions, a blog, a link to all editions of all my published book(s), and a link back to my WordPress site. My author photo remains a white silhouette for now. The unstifled howls of laughter from the boyfriend at seeing the photo I used on Amazon have inspired me to hold off until I acquire a better image of myself as Agnès. Goodreads also hosts a dedicated page for Tempt the Ocean, inviting Goodreads users to post their own ratings and reviews.

Amazon

Amazon, through which I chose to publish, offers a home page to each of its authors on each of its mothership sites (i.e. UK, US, Japan, Germany, etc). The author pages are not linked to each other, making it necessary to build a new page for each host site. I built an author page for Agnès de Savigny on both Amazon.com and Amazon UK. (The Canadian branch of Amazon does not host author pages.) Besides a bio, a link to Tempt the Ocean, and a forum for reader discussions, the American site includes the feed from my WordPress blog, plus my Twitter feed.

Whew! That encompasses a lot of internet and social media flow, with the goal of picking up traffic at each site like a lumbering stage coach. Time will tell as to its success as a strategy.

Sticking to online publicity alone is ill-advised all over. Authors, especially new ones, have to get out and meet people and do book signings and speaking engagements and book talks, etc to really build a following—a frightening prospect for those of us who suffer from stage fright and/or anxiety and/or depression. Ultimately any means of spreading the word is useful. Jane Friedman recently re-posted an interview with literary agent April Eberhardt that concludes with the above advice, noting that “authors carry copies of their books and show them to people.” What a novel idea.

Next week: An excerpt from my current work-in-progress, the sweeping 18th century melodramatic epic Servitude.

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Cover Art for “Tempt the Ocean”

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Weeks of thumbnail sketch designs and stock photo downloads and image file searches and Photoshop filtering and colleague input have led to this: a final cover design.

It’s not what I started with, but is a second stab starting from scratch and following an idea I didn’t go for the first time around. But I like it. The design is clean, simple, graphic, and edgy. There is a nod to both romance and risky adventure in the imagery. The visuals lure the reader.

I went through colour charts and photo layers and a more traditional Romance genre cover before I scrapped it all and got to this. I had thought about developing three different covers and putting out a poll to get some feedback, but this version is so far superior to the others that I’ve gone ahead and decided myself. Yes, the cover is non-traditional, but so is the romance. The solo diving figure reflects the first-person POV of the novel. The diving down to the unknown reflects the dangers the protagonist faces, often alone. I’m very excited with the bold look.

Next step is to get the cover, the manuscript, the descriptive blurb, an exciting excerpt, and the author bio all up to the Amazon site and announce a release date!

 

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Pre-Press Publicity Begins…

AuthorPageFB_ID2

Last weekend I sat down and created a Facebook page to help promote the new book. The page doesn’t represent the book itself but rather represents me as an author. This allows me to promote this first novel and then myself, and then any future publications as well. I’ve written my romance under a pseudonym, Agnès de Savigny, so I created the author page for her. I act as administrator. And act as Agnès if necessary.

This posed an interesting challenge when I realized that I had to face up to writing the bio for my pseudonym. What is pseudonym biography protocol? Can I make everything up, since Agnès doesn’t really exist as a person?

Although there is no real Agnès de Savigny, she is in effect, me. The best advice I came across was to use elements of my own life experiences that support the content of the novel—i.e. what can I say about myself that would let potential readers know I can write well about the subject matter I do?

I spent days going over what that could be until I woke up the one morning knowing exactly what to write. Facebook buries the bio halfway down the “About” tab of the Author fan page, but now I have a bio I can use for the back of the novel and for the author page that I will have to create with Amazon.

Meantime, work continues on the cover of the novel. The decision to take on the design on my own slows down the process due to lack of available free time. But I have a font I like, and I developed a pair of hand-drawn letters for the title characters (that’s “characters” in font-speak, not literary-speak). The images need more work, and until that gets resolved I can’t publish. But I am getting close!

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