Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Mailbox

Miss me? The cast comes off on Thursday.There is still pain when I use my right fingers but I figure it's from not using them. It's been a rough year of injuries for me, but I'm back to writiing. During my hiatus I've gotten some interesting e-mails and letters from readers of my novels and nonfictions. I thought I'd share one with you today...much easier to cut and paste than type.

Just checked out your book on Smashwords and you're so so talented. Do you have any suggestions for a budding writer like me?

What has worked and what hasn't? Tried FB, Twitter, even book marks. I just don't want to waste my time on things that don't work.


My answer..


Hello and thank you. I'm wondering which particular book you read. I have four on Smashwords and over twenty-seven published. I have five more titles in the works for publishing this year.
As far as writing goes...
Practice, learn and practice some more. I know you've probably heard somewhere in your life "practice makes perfect," while I'll never be perfect, writing is a craft that is inspired and learned.

Read constantly.

The more you read the more ideas spark your creative juices. With self-published books you can also see where the author may have done something wrong.

Join a critique group. Writing can be a lonely pursuit. Get interaction from readers and other writers to scratch each other's back. It is also good for encouragement when you get frustrated. I actually belong to several. But be cautious about the group you join. There can be a lot of deadweights and possible scam artists out there on the web.

Join a reading group in your area. Not just a group of writers.

Write multiple books. On average it will take ten books to become "known." The person with one title is like the 1960's one hit wonders in musical groups, a flash in the pan. If you are serious about writing then you need to do it.

As far as marketing your books...

Twitter, facebook, google+ etc are good for building relationships with your readers and future readers...not just advertising your books for sale.

The same thing goes for a blog or website. Relationships are important in getting "recognized." Name recognition is the hardest thing to do in marketing your product. Without a huge publishing company backing your book, it's all on you.

Attend writer's conferences and workshops. Build a large network. Out of every fifty people who becomes part of your network, only one will buy your book...you do the math. On average a person has to see or hear about your book twenty times before they will buy it.

Have you contacted your local newspaper? They may feature you in their life section. Local person does good type of thing.

Do you have a local library or one within fifty miles? They often have "Meet the Author" type events.

A local book store which features local authors? Most of the big brick and mortar bookstore will not allow independent authors for booksignings so concentrate on the small independents.

Do you have an area of expertise that you can use to publicize your book? For me, I've been in the State Department, been a nurse, worked for non-profit enterprises, been the entrepreneur (which includes self-publishing), been the marketing consultant, military background, etc. Do you remember the 9/11 news blitz? Which author did they call to comment...Tom Clancy because he wrote a book similar.
Depending on what you write, there are opportunities for promotion.I'm just bouncing a few ideas off the top of my head here. What it takes is tenacity. Not giving up. Think of yourself as a door to door salesman. Knock on every door and if you have to stick your foot in the door jamb to get the audience's attention. As far as marketing books for writers..."Guerrilla Marketing for Writers" is excellent for giving you some ideas which may or may not work. Remember nothing attempted is a failure. If you contact even one buyer out of fifty you've done well. Thomas Edison said after two hundred attempted failures to make a lightbulb and finally made one which worked..."I learned two hundred ways not to make a lightbulb."

Jo

So do you have any other suggestions I could offer this budding writer?

1 comment:

Zan Marie said...

Welcome back, Jo! I've missed you. ; )

My suggestion for your reader is to join a good writers' group that has a focus on craft. I love the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum for the exercises. When I finished a rough draft, I'll take advantage of the workshop, too.