Thursday, February 7, 2019

Five Ways to Build a Sustainable Author Platform

Whether you’re a seasoned author or someone just stepping into the publishing waters, you have undoubtedly heard about the importance of building an author platform. In case you haven’t heard this term, your author platform is essentially the way in which you engage with your target audience. For some authors, a certain social media channel is their main platform. For others, it’s their teaching or speaking careers. For others, it’s a blog or website. For most, it’s a combination of a few of these things.  

Authors often ask us which are the best platforms for them. The answer is this: the best platform for you is one that is A) reaching your target audience and B) sustainable for you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and that is a good thing! The more unique and organic ways you can reach your audience, the better! 

That said, there are definitely some things that all great author platforms have in common. Here’s what we have seen work for authors to build a sustainable platform which sells books!

Engage, consistently.
We cannot stress this enough. Simply having an Instagram or LinkedIn account is not a platform! You absolutely must join groups, respond to comments, and communicate directly with people on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
Build a platform where
your audience spends the most time. Facebook might be your favorite social media platform, but what’s the use being there if that’s not where your audience is? Any research you do into where to best find your readers will be well worth your time and energy.
Utilize a content calendar.
It can be really overwhelming to feel the need to post and interact with people on a consistent basis. That’s why you should keep a calendar. Can you commit to a once per month newsletter? Can you schedule posts to your social media 3x a week for the next month, so you don’t have to worry about it on a daily basis?
Collect email addresses.
One thing we can say with certainty is your email list is an important part of building your platform, regardless of genre. Use a service such as Mailchimp to store and send beautiful emails to your audience about the things you’re up to.

Have fun.
This might seem silly, but hear us out. We are naturally attracted to positive, inspirational people. When we see an author who is clearly loving what they do, it’s much easier to want to support them and give their book a try. Use your platform to show that you love this work, even when it’s hard! Your audience will grow organically because of it.




Roseanne Cheng is an author of two award-winning young adult books. She is the marketing director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing and co-author of Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing.

You can find her at  wiseink.com.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

What to do with that Terrific Book Review

So your book just got an excellent review . . . Congratulations! Good reviews are like gold. If you're fortunate enough to get one, you'll want to make sure you do everything possible to put that endorsement to work for you to help sell more books. So where do you start? Here are a few tips for ways to help spread the word about recommendations for your book . . .






Press Releases
Submit your book review as a press release to all your local media (newspapers, magazines, radio, television news, etc.) If your book appeals to a specific niche, make sure you submit your press release to any publications online, or otherwise, which cater to the demographic of your readership. Don't forget to use online free press release services to help spread the word.

Back Cover
If you've received a positive review from a reputable review agency, make sure you put it out there where potential buyers can see it. Use a quote, or an excerpt of a quote for any future print runs of your book. Don't forget to credit the source of the reviewer; if you've received a great review from the New York Times, then you want to make sure everyone knows about it!

Banners & Signage
If you're attending book-signings at festivals or other venues, you'll want to create professional looking signage. Banners and signs are a great place to promote positive reviews of your book. Take the time to do this well. Professional looking banners with sturdy banner-stands are eye-catching and can do wonders to create a professional image for you and your book. If a banner is impractical, or out of the budget, you can also print professional looking signs to place inside plexiglass frames.

Social Media
Do you have a blog? Great! Post your review there. Don't forget to share your review on your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn pages. Make sure to use #hashtags to increase your post's visibility. Go ahead, be shameless, and ask your friends and family to like and share your posts.

Amazon's Editorial Reviews
The Editorial Review Section on your Amazon Author Central profile was created to help you bring attention to your professional reviews and literary achievements. This is a great place for sharing your success as an author!

GoodReads Profile
Post your reviews in your GoodReads profile (go to your dashboard to do this). Also, don't forget to blog the review in GoodRead's blog section.

Your Barnes and Noble Profile
Post your review in the section entitled: More About This Book. Take the time to get this right the first time though, because Barnes and Noble does not make it easy to edit your posts here.

Your Website
Post all, or a portion of your all your positive reviews on your website. Don't forget to include images and logos (with permission) to help bring attention to those reviews which have been provided from reputable and well-recognized agencies. If you have a media page include a PDF of your review which can be downloaded directly from your site.

Your Sell-Sheet
Your sell-sheet is the perfect place to include reviews of your book. A sell-sheet should include pertinent information for bookstores, libraries and buyers to tell them why and how to purchase your book.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Sage Advice from a Teen Author!



- Katelynn Renteria

As a teen author, I would like to share some advice I have learned that has helped me keep the elusive calm in the constant chaos of publishing a book. I wrote my first novel at age 14, and was published at age 16. I am now a self-published author and often still think to myself, what have I learned throughout this process?

1. Fall off the bandwagon! Be yourself. Be bold, daring, and show your audience who you really are. From the pictures that you post on social media to the marketing and promotion of your book, make sure your audience sees what’s in your heart so they can read what’s on your mind.

2. Audience building is key. You could have written the best book on the shelf, but if you don’t build your audience, then you have missed your target. Use social media such as Facebook pages and Twitter to show your friends and people who follow you that you have a lot to say.

3. Make positive connections. Networking with other authors and meeting new people to add to your following is a must to have your social media thrive. By growing your presence and promote other authors as well as yourself, you are able to grow your audience and reach your target. Marketing and book promotion is easier when you connect with friends that already have a large audience halfway around the world.

4. Write your heart out. Critics exist because of the great works in this world. Do not be afraid to write what’s really on your mind instead of wondering if someone will like your story. It’s your story. Make it count.

5. Make sure you fall in love with your characters first. They are the reason people will buy your book. Talk about your characters as if they were in the room. After all, you want your audience to go home with them.


Katelynn Renteria is a teen author from South Texas. She is a 2017 Recipient of the Literary Classics Silver Book Award in the middle school division for her YA fiction novel, The Other Side of the Law. Katelynn advocates literacy in the Rio Grande Valley by visiting South Texas communities and promoting the importance of reading and writing to children and teens. The sequel to her award-winning novel is near completion.  Links: www.amazon.com/author/katelynnrenteria

Saturday, October 21, 2017

How to Make the Most of a Good Review of Your Book

So your book just got an excellent review . . . Congratulations! Good reviews are like gold. If you're fortunate enough to get one, you'll want to make sure you do everything possible to put that endorsement to work for you to help sell more books. So where do you start?  Here are a few tips for ways to help spread the word about recommendations for your book . . .




Press Releases
Submit your book review as a press release to all your local media (newspapers, magazines, radio, television news, etc.)   If your book appeals to a specific niche, make sure you submit your press release to any publications online, or otherwise, which cater to the demographic of your readership.  Don't forget to use online free press release services to help spread the word. 
Back Cover
If you've received a positive review from a reputable review agency, make sure you put it out there where potential buyers can see it. Use a quote, or an excerpt of a quote for any future print runs of your book.  Don't forget to credit the source of the reviewer; if you've received a great review from the New York Times, then you want to make sure everyone knows about it!
Banners & Signage
If you're attending book-signings at festivals or other venues, you'll want to create professional looking signage.  Banners and signs are a great place to promote positive reviews of your book.  Take the time to do this well.  Professional looking banners with sturdy banner-stands are eye-catching and can do wonders to create a professional image for you and your book.  If a banner is impractical, or out of the budget, you can also print professional looking signs to place inside plexiglass frames.  
Social Media
Do you have a blog?  Great!  Post your review there.  Don't forget to share your review on your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn pages. Make sure to use #hashtags to increase your post's visibility.  Go ahead, be shameless, and ask your friends and family to like and share your posts.  
Amazon's Editorial Reviews
The Editorial Review Section on your Amazon Author Central profile was created to help you bring attention to your professional reviews and literary achievements. This is a great place for sharing your success as an author!
GoodReads Profile
Post your reviews in your GoodReads profile (go to your dashboard to do this).  Also, don't forget to blog the review in GoodRead's blog section.
Your Barnes and Noble Profile
Post your review in the section entitled: More About This Book.  Take the time to get this right the first time though, because Barnes and Noble does not make it easy to edit your posts here.  
Your Website
Post all, or a portion of your all your positive reviews on your website.  Don't forget to include images and logos (with permission) to help bring attention to those reviews which have been provided from reputable and well-recognized agencies. If you have a media page include a PDF of your review which can be downloaded directly from your site.  
Your Sell-Sheet
Your sell-sheet is the perfect place to include reviews of your book. A sell-sheet should include pertinent information for bookstores, libraries, and buyers to tell them why and how to purchase your book.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thoughts on Bublish

by Patricia Reding
An author’s being active on social media is necessary these days. It is a way to get one’s name out and to help to build a following. But it takes precious time from the writer’s craft and we writers are often left wondering if it’s all worth it. Then, along came Bublish (at www.Bublish.com).  Without a doubt, I’ve come to love this tool.

These days, it is fairly easy to discover what readers think of works. They tell us, most notably, through their posted reviews. There are also outlets like Wattpad that give them the opportunity to comment on bits and pieces of an overall work and even to engage in discussions with the author. But Bublish is different because its focus is for an author to share with readers the back story behind her creations.

The concept of Bublish is that the author takes portions of her work and then shares them with readers, adding comments about those excerpts. The author might explain how those portions of the story came to be, or how real-life events brought the portions about or influenced them in some manner. For example, I’ve written “Book Bubbles” about such things as:

How I struggled with the idea of whether or not to include an introduction/preface to my tale: http://bit.ly/1YyN6Xb;

What words and concepts I used in the opening scene to create suspense: http://bit.ly/1HtGNzS

The significance of smell/scent (an oft-forgotten sense) in my stories: http://bit.ly/1HtJOAb;

How I research for information while writing: http://bit.ly/1HtX5sD; and

How I use “doorways” and similar devices to urge readers to continue reading: http://bit.ly/1Q5Pinn.

And take a look at the “look” of Bublish. It is quite handsome, don’t you agree?

Picture
Once a BookBubble is created and posted, the author may share it on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. Then the magic of Bublish really begins, as the author can follow her metrics to discover how many views there have been of the Bubble and on what outlets, the number of times it was shared by email or re-posted on Twitter or Facebook, the number of viewers who checked out the author’s profile on Bublish or elsewhere, and so on. What’s more, the author can see what retailers those who saw a BookBubble went to so as to check out the work. But Bublish does not stop there. It also allows readers to “follow” the author so as to receive notice every time the author posts a new BookBubble, keeping the author’s name and works in the reader’s sights.

I would love for you to follow me on Bublish. Just click the “Follow on Bublish” button at https://www.bublish.com/author/view/6479 and join me for the background to my creating the Oathtaker journey!
Multi-award-winning author Patricia Reding leads a double life. By day, she practices law. By night, she reads, reviews a wide variety of works, and writes fantasy. She lives on an island on the Mississippi with her husband and youngest daughter (her son and oldest daughter having already flown the nest), and Flynn Rider (an English Cream Golden Retriever). From there she seeks to create a world in which she can be in two places at once. She started writing The Oathtaker Series as a challenge, and re-discovered along the way, the joy of storytelling.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Power of Visualizing the Story

by K.B. Hoyle

I love to draw. I'm not terrible at drawing, but I'm also not very good. Like most of the creative arts, I have a natural knack for it, and if I had ever received good instruction, I probably could have become quite proficient, but alas and alack for time and energy and life. When I was a child and had more of all three, I used to keep sketchbooks for all my stories, and those sketchbooks were like gold to me. You see, I'm an incredibly visual person, and as such, my stories live first in my head--in full, vivid, sharp detail--and it's always been the case for me that the itch to get the images down on paper has overwhelmed, at times, my better sense that tells me I'm not a good enough artist to do the images justice. (Someday I'm convinced I WILL make movies, but there's so much that has to happen first.)

When you're writing a story, however, getting the images just right IS important, and that's one reason why my bumbling attempts to draw what is inside my head has always frustrated me. Yes, I realize it's my job to paint pictures with my words, but when creating worlds that don't exist, the longing to see those worlds is sometimes overwhelmingly powerful. And I'm not one to believe we ever create ex nihilo, so sometimes having the images to view as we create is also, in and of itself, a form of inspiration.

So allow me to let you all in on a little secret of mine... Now, instead of sketching out my characters or settings, I collect images on Pinterest. I've had an author account on Pinterest for years, but I kind of just picked at it, never really realizing its full potential until recently when I downloaded the app. And Pinterest is so vast, I can usually find just what I have in my mind, or close enough, or sometimes (even better) what I never knew I wanted but come to realize is related to my idea through the Pinterest search engines. Eureka! Now I scroll through it while cooking dinner and doing other menial tasks, and I collect images to people and inspire my worlds. Some of my boards (like my Girl in the Sea board) are public, but I keep several private boards full of images for future projects I'll someday release to be viewed by all--once the books are written. I can't tell you how helpful Pinterest has been for me as a working mother who also--oh yeah--writes books, public speaks, and manages all my own marketing and social media on the side! I no longer have time to sketch, but I do have time to Pinterest, and that means I can still visualize my stories. And if I can visualize my stories, I can better bring them to life through words, and that benefits my readers.

Check out my Pinterest boards HERE! I hope you will be encouraged to start your own writing inspiration boards, too.





K. B. Hoyle is a multiple award-winning author, a public speaker, and a creative writing instructor. She and her husband have four sons who test their sanity on a daily basis. Learn more about her and her books at kbhoyle.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

PUBLISHERS DON’T WANT GOOD BOOKS


This conversation has happened at every agency in the world (particularly in the kids and teen department).
Agent 1: I’ve got a new project.
Agent 2: Yeah? How good is it?
Agent 1: It’s good.
Agent 2: Good?
Agent 1: Yeah, good.
Agent 2: Oh…Damn.
Agent 1: Yeah.
Agent 2: *Sips martini* That’s too bad.
imgres.jpgAgents, editors, and maybe you, the author, know the curse of the “good” book. The book that’s perfectly fine, that works, that tells an interesting story, and that is, sad to say, darn near unsellable. The rejections often contain phrases like “didn’t fall in love,” or “just didn’t feel strongly enough,” leavened with genuine compliments about the writing or characterization. After years of learning the craft of story and voice, you’ve finally created a nearly flawless novelone you know is as good (heck, better!) than a lot of stuff on the shelf. And it just…doesn’t…sell.
What’s going on here? Are publishers just crass, cowardly, visionless hacks who take pleasure in crushing the dreams of talented writers, refusing to give even promising careers a chance to get started?
The answer, of course, is no. Nobody is more motivated (apart from the author) to see a book succeed with flying colors than publishers. Believe me when I say us soulless agents and our human counterparts- editors- are wishing and dreaming as hard as you for that Newbery Medal, the debut on the New York Times Best Sellers list, the book signing line that wraps around the block.
It pains me to say it- and it pains all of us in publishing, I promise you- but there typically just isn’t room for “good” books. Publishing is an increasingly competitive space. More and more people want to be published, and the standard for what constitutes a “success” gets higher every day. Publishers have limited space on their lists, and so each novel has to be more than good. It has to be something special.
Of course there are many kinds of special. Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star, Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s LibraryVictoria Aveyard’s Red Queen– four completely different novels, with pretty different audiences, and they all have something in common. These are novels that demand you sit up and take notice. They are more than just functioning stories. They refuse to be ignored.
images.jpgWhen I say publishers don’t want good books, I don’t mean they’re after bad ones either. Nobody is more passionate about compelling fiction than your friendly neighborhood editor, whether the novel in question is a beautiful, heart-breaking, cry-on-the-subway coming of age, or a heart-pounding, unforgettable, so-damn-sexy-you-need-a-time-out fantasy, romance, or action/adventure. Though you may have found writing on the shelf at Barnes & Noble that makes your skin crawl (in the bad way), fiction is a subjective business, and I guarantee that even if it isn’t your brand of beer, every novel published made someone, somewhere, feel something profound- whether it was excitement, intrigue, or love.
Awesome, thanks for that John. Of course I want to be better than good. I want to be special, too. So what do I do?
My advice to my clients, to all novelists (and to myself), is always the same: push yourself. Don’t settle for your first idea, or even your second. Don’t stick with a project simply because it’s written, when you know rewriting or moving on to the next thing will be even better. Can you tell a story? Great. Now ask yourself, why does my story need to be told? What about it is new, what about it pushes boundaries? What about it has, at least, the potential to change a person’s life?
Teens need you. Teens need writers. I know I did. Novels saved my life, and I am one of thousands in that club. So be fearless. When you tell someone what your story is about, what’s their reaction? You want “Wow,” you want, “Oh my goodness, really?” You even want, “You can’t write a book about that!”
We’re all striving to do something great, and most of us ultimately land somewhere between where we started and the stars. If you want to be a novelist, you have to want to be the best novelist, or you’ll never get off the ground. As maddening as it can be, I’m glad the publishing biz is so competitive. It pushes us to be more.
So get good, write a good novel, hone your craft until you are a master of structure.
Then start again.
Publishing-industries-pic.jpg
John M. Cusick is an agent with Folio Jr. / Folio Literary Management, representing picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels.