Happy New Year! Whew another holiday season has come and gone. I ended up taking more time off to celebrate than I had intended. It was wonderful. However, I am a bit behind in work. Oh well, I always feel like I’m behind and having time with my loved ones was enjoyable and just what the doctor ordered.
Today is the first Wednesday of the month and year, which means it’s time for the first 2015 posting for the Insecure Writers Support group. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. This month’s co-hosts are Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace. Remember, sometimes all it takes is one kind word to boost someone’s confidence.
Alex has asked that all of us introduce ourselves to the group. Here’s a quick word about me. I’m an American writer, living in England. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m traveling when time and money permit, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.
Today I would like to share my goals for 2015:
- Publish 4 books
This sounds like a lot, and it is. But I should mention that one of the novels is in the very last stage of editing and I hope to publish it soon (mid-February). I’ve almost completed a draft for the second and I’m halfway through the third novel. That means I’ll have one project that I’ll need to write, edit, and format in the calendar year, giving me hope that I’ll accomplish this goal.
- Learn more about publishing (self and traditional)
Things are always changing in publishing and in technology. I’ve made a good start on learning some things, but there’s so much more to learn. I’ve stocked up on books. Seven at the last count. And I hope to share more of what I learned.
- Write 250,000 words
Just writing this number makes me uneasy. That’s a lot of words. However, it works out to less than 700 words a day. So I will focus on that number. And if I accomplish this goal it will help me immensely in 2016. This leads to my next goal.
- Think long term, not short term
It’s important to stay focused on the big picture, not the daily sales. This business is about building up a reputation and a backlist. One of the best ways to get noticed is to continue publishing books. Over the past couple of months I have noticed readers dipping into my backlist after reading one of my books. This is helping me win over fans. Developing a core group of fans is essential.
Now to the good stuff. Today my guest is Stephanie Faris and she is helping me already with one of my goals: sharing more information about publishing. I found her guest post insightful and helpful. Please welcome Stephanie!
Promoting Your Book the Old-Fashioned Way
By Stephanie Faris
By now, we’ve all heard the benefits of marketing our books online to reach readers. Blogs, social media, and a great website are all essential to success in today’s internet-driven world. But what about the bookstores and libraries in our own communities? What about local newspapers and magazines?
Whether you’re preparing for the launch of your tenth book, or you’re simply planning ahead for a day when you’re published, here are three great tools you can use to promote your book locally. You may find some apply more to you than others, so take this as inspiration to come up with even more great ideas.
One of the best promotional tools an author has is a bookmark. They’re relatively inexpensive to produce, readers love them, and they can be handed out in bundles. But if you’re only using your bookmarks as event freebies, you may be missing a great opportunity. Many libraries and independent bookstores provide bookmarks of local authors for customers. For best results, go around to your closest libraries and bookstores and hand out bookmarks in person. This gives you a chance to introduce yourself and offer to sign copies. Once you’ve established a relationship with those locations, you can send bookmarks for subsequent releases. I also mailed bookmarks to local elementary schools, since introducing myself wasn’t an option in those cases. While it was expensive, it paid off in the form of several invitations to speak at local libraries.
Postcards are much less expensive than mailing bookmarks, allowing you to reach every bookstore and library in a wider radius. You can often create your own postcard and have a large quantity printed on a site like UPrinting or VistaPrint for less than $100. Author Saundra Mitchell has a great blog with postcard tips where she outlines a hand-written message you can write that will give your postcards a personal edge.
If you hire a publicist, she’ll likely use a news release to reach local and national media. For search engine rankings, these press releases are often submitted through a site like PRWeb, but you can do the same thing yourself for a price. You can bypass that process by creating a news release and mailing it to local media outlets. Don’t forget to post your book release announcement to your alumni magazine and the trade publication for any writers’ groups in which you hold membership. Keep in mind that traditional publications often need a great deal of lead time, so you’ll need to begin this process long before your book hits the market.
Online marketing is more relevant than ever, but old-fashioned methods still connect with librarians and bookstore owners, who might otherwise miss your book’s release. By establishing a relationship with local book buyers, you’ll gain the support of people who will be excited to recommend your book to others.
Thanks Stephanie for all the great tips! Here’s some info about her new release, 25 Roses.
Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.
Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.
Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.