Over-Exposed

woman-918981_1920

As we slide sun-burned and ice-creamed into August, I think it’s safe to assume we all just want to switch off from life for a while. But is it really possible to switch off when we carry our phones with us like some kind of external pace-maker? As though we might cease to exist if we do not maintain an online presence. But do we really need to share so much of our lives and what does it mean if external validation is all that keeps us ticking?

Every interaction has an exchange and we have to gauge the value of what we are receiving in return for the cost to us. This is where I am right now with social media and I know I’m not alone. I keep coming across more and more people wondering if social media is actually the benign distraction we once thought it was, or perhaps something a little more insidious.

Facebook never held any allure for me – I failed to see the benefits of curating my life for an audience who really couldn’t give a shit. Twitter, however, slowly became an intrinsic part of my daily life. I have learned so much on Twitter about feminism, gender bias, publishing, writing and (no surprises here) that dogs are the true comedians of the world. I’ve had some right laughs and connected with brilliant people.

BUT …

I find my mood is increasingly affected by what I see on there – whether it be political propaganda, bad news stories, argumentative and angry people who just want to pick a fight or on the other end of the scale, people being really successful and happy. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground – ordinary people having ordinary ups and downs. It’s all somebody who fears their own irrelevance says something controversial and you find yourself drawn into a pointless discussion from which you gain nothing. In fact you’re losing something really important; your time.

This is my real issue with social media. It has taken away our golden opportunities to be bored. Scrolling is the new navel gazing, except that navel gazing might lead to some kind of interesting insight into the psyche, or make you so bored that you decide to paint the bedroom. But at least you’d be connecting with yourself and your feelings. There’s nothing wrong with a little distraction, but it’s starting to feel like social media is stealing our down time and we’re complicit in the crime. I’m just not sure I’m willing to pay the cost anymore.

It’s the ‘always on’ aspect that seems to be causing this collective burn out. And why wouldn’t it? We were all hooked under the guise of connecting with people, but is it meaningful connection? We are all providing free content for a platform which uses our shared pics to attract more users. We are all essentially working for Instagram, for free!  Like, how many times have you stopped in the middle of a nice walk, meal or holiday trip to take a photo for Insta? If you think it through, you are interrupting your personal, private experience to do something for your social media accounts that will gain likes or follows. You are promoting your page. That is work and you’re not getting paid for it.

And even regardless of remuneration, you are thinking about your free time differently when viewing it through the lens of social media. You wonder, will this look good? Will people be impressed? Because I saw X and Y put up pictures of that place they went to and it looked great. And I want people to think I do interesting things too. So we are all being ensnared by each other with representations of our lives that only offer the merest of glimpses into reality. We all know this on a rational level, but we don’t often stop to think about the thought processes this sparks off and how it affects our everyday lives. I see a photo of someone on a beach on their holidays looking serene and free and I just assume their entire holiday was like that. I don’t see the mundane bits, the bits where everything went wrong or God forbid, the boring bits. The arguments. The seething resentment. So this creates an impossible fantasy of what our lives should be like, but will never be, because it’s not real.

And that’s the crux of it. It’s not real and I don’t think I can be a part of that. Maybe I should become a crusader for authenticity, like the wonderfully hilarious Celeste Barber, who gives a real-life makeover to some truly ridiculous IG posts. But fucking hell, that’s more work, more of my precious time and what do I get out of it? It’s one thing if you are actually promoting something, then social media is a fantastic marketing tool. But if not, then you are simply promoting yourself and your life becomes a commodity. Yep, sounds dystopian to me too.

celeste barber

Image result for celeste barber doing gigi
This is my fav!

So I’ve returned to the good old blog – a place where I can really take my time to talk about how I feel about things without having to upload some filtered selfie of me not being me. When I blog, I sit down to write, it’s a choice I make. But scrolling on Twitter and trying to find interesting pics for Instagram is just a mindless addiction and feels, at best, shallow and superficial. At worst, I’m handing my free time over to large corporations who profit from our need to feel seen, to matter. Well, I see you, all of you out there who are just doing your best and trying to find meaning and purpose in this unpredictable world. And my God you matter – more than a silly photo or a witty tweet. You already matter – you don’t need likes to prove that. x

 

 

A Writer’s Holiday

As most of you will not have noticed at all, because you have your own lives, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from social media.  And it has been good.

While most writers talk about taking a break from writing, I’m talking about a break from being ‘visible’, ‘out there’ and ‘switched on’.  A break from that constant gnawing feeling that you should be doing something… online.  Being online creates that weird paradox where you feel like you’re achieving something, but what it is, you can’t exactly say.

We’re always on.  And if we’re not on, there is a fear that we’re not doing enough.   Or FoMO – Fear of missing out (yes, it’s a thing!)  Are we using Twitter/Facebook/Instagram or are they using us?  Where is the down time?  Are we really interacting meaningfully, or are we just scrolling through other peoples’ thoughts, witnessing other peoples’ outrage and occasionally getting caught up in debates with people who never let the facts get in the way of a good argument.  Like Bing Crosby sang, we’re busy doing nothing.

But it’s all harmless fun, right?  Maybe, in moderation.  But the mindless compulsion to check into this social world every day in order to feel like you’re ‘engaging’, eventually becomes a bit joyless… a bit robotic.  So I switched off.  I put a sign on Twitter saying I was on a break (mainly as a deterrent to myself) and even unplugged the broadband.  For a whole day.  But then I had to plug it back in to check my email because I’m not complete lunatic.

I felt bad at first – all of the people who retweet me and whom I regularly retweet might get the hump (or think I’m dead).  But I had to ask myself, am I a writer or a social media personality??  The answer was simple and funnily enough, so was the break.  I didn’t miss it at all.  The constant need to keep up with everything, to stay connected, was gone.

That restlessness was replaced by restfulness.

Turns out, I didn’t need to know everything after all.  But Twitter and Facebook weren’t going to let me away that easy.  Notifications telling me that people I ‘know’ have all liked the same picture tried to tempt me back.  ‘What is the picture?’ I wondered to myself, but I stood fast.  Even when Facebook lamented the 228 followers who hadn’t heard from me in a while, did I want to rectify that??  No, they’d have to get through the day without me.

It’s silly really.  We’re all trying to promote stuff without looking like we’re promoting stuff.  ‘THEY’ say that you shouldn’t promote on social media, you should gain popularity by being interesting and fun to follow.  No pressure there then!  Is this high school or some kind of Machievellian double-speak?!   99% of our lives (if we’re lucky) are pretty boring, so how are we going to keep all of our followers entertained and somehow fool them that we have something interesting going on, all the time??  I don’t need my readers to know how uninspiring I can be on a daily basis.   I am a writer and I’m here to promote my books – let’s call a spade a spade!  And the really funny thing is that when I took a step back from social media, my book sales continued to rise.  So there was no correlation whatsoever between me being constantly switched on and my reach when it came to readers.  My book even did this:

#3

Yes, you are seeing correctly – that’s my book at number three, beside Alice Hoffman’s ‘Practical Magic’.  Quite the milestone!  And it happened all by itself.  Well, by the power of Amazon’s algorithms, which I still don’t get, but the point is, it had nothing to do with Twitter.

And it’s not just me.  I’ve read a lot of blogs recently where book bloggers are cutting down and in some cases, no longer taking part in blog tours.  The pressure to be available all of the time is taking its toll and I think a lot of people are trying to create more of a balance, where they can participate on their own terms.  They are continuing to promote books, but in a way that suits them.  More and more, I see people questioning the benefits of being so switched on all of the time.  There comes a saturation point where you have to step back and focus on your own path.

Have I used this break to write?  Nope!  I’ve done NOTHING and it’s been wonderful.  I’ve read other peoples’ books.  I’ve been checking out designs for my new book cover with my publisher.  I’ve baked!  I spent half an hour trying to make some DIY Nordic Christmas decorations (damn you Pinterest!) Unfortunately, my Christmas star ended up looking like a Halloween pentagram, but hey, I made something.  I’ve allowed myself to get bored.  Remember boredom?  The mother of all creation.  I watched Stranger Things and kept all of my opinions about it to myself (it’s basically ET, right?!)  I got a head cold and ‘took to the bed’ without a second thought for my abandoned accounts.  And it feels so good to just let my mind be free.  To not have that niggling feeling… ‘I’ll just check’.

So, the moral of the story is, a change really is as good as a rest.  Taking a break from social media has just made me more aware of how jaded I had become by the whole thing.  And it’s not like anyone is holding a gun to my head (well, not that I’m aware of *gulp*) so all of this pressure to be ‘on’ is self-inflicted.  I can get all of my social media stuff done in half an hour, so where do the other two and a half hours go?  I think writers especially need time away from this social machine to create some space for creativity; to breathe and grow without this constant spotlight, demanding your attention and sapping your energy.  Social media is great – in my view its benefits certainly outweigh the down sides, but it might be better in small doses.

So like those people who do dry January, I’ve become all preachy and holier than thou (even though I did break my break a few times) so we’ll see how long that lasts!  What about you?  Have you managed to avoid getting sucked into the black hole of social media? Do you detox regularly or is switching off a step too far?

If you haven’t read my books, then you really should have the FoMO!  Check out my Amazon Author Page or follow the links below.

The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris by [Gaughan, Evie]

Apple ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ GooglePlay

 

To Share Or Not To Share?

16152378754_27fa36cfc4_mIn a recent article for Women Writers, Women’s Books, I wrote about the ubiquitous ‘author profile’ and whether or not this has any bearing on your readership.  I follow lots of authors on Twitter and while a lot of successful authors have a devil-may-care attitude to what they share, others are quite guarded and even take a hiatus from all social media when writing.  (Imagine!).  So which side of the fence are you on?  Are you a J K Rowling type with lots to say and no hesitation about saying it?  Or are you a Joanna Trollope, keeping yourself to  yourself and looking down your nose at all those attention-grabbing selfies?!  Or do you just see it all as one great big distraction?

Social Media: To Share Or Not To Share?

July 4, 2017 | By | 6 Replies

evie-goodreadsIn this golden age of social media, I still find it a bit of a novelty that I can tweet my favourite author.  Even more so on the occasions when they tweet me back!

Having this kind of direct access to an author would have been unimaginable just 20 years ago.  Back in the old days, you didn’t get to know anything about the author, save for whatever the publisher deemed necessary on the back page.  Their allure was their anonymity, save for the words they put on the page. But times have changed and it is now something of an anomaly if an author doesn’t have a Twitter account.  Publishers encourage authors to ‘get out there’ and the constant advice to new authors is to build an author platform (i.e. make yourself widely available across all social media apps.)  The lines between being an author and being your own PR machine have become increasingly blurred, which can be both liberating and problematic.

Read the full article here

THE DEFINITIVE SELF-PUBLISHING CHECKLIST ~ For People Who Aren’t Very Organised and are absolute beginners.

The definitive

You just hit publish, right?  That’s what all the articles say.  Any idiot can upload a book in minutes.  And yes, I suppose any idiot can, but it takes a very informed, dedicated, professional and talented individual to upload a book that people will want to read.  A recent Facebook post from a first-time author seeking advice made me realise how long I’ve been doing this self-publishing thang and how I’ve kind of taken for granted that everyone has ‘the knowledge’.  There are so many blogs, articles and how-to books on the subject, and yet authors can still struggle with the basics.  The first author asked what she should be doing in the run up to her launch and another suggested that while there is a lot of information out there, it’s almost overwhelming.  Where do you start?  Where does it end??  So in an effort to share said knowledge, I’m writing a blog with an impossibly long title, which will (hopefully) be filled with all of the essentials, while trying not to bombard you with too much scary stuff.

  1. Make a publishing schedule.  promo-calendar      So you’ve typed those blessed words, THE END and you’re mooching around the Kindle Direct Publishing website wondering where the publish button is.  Whoa there Tex, what’s your rush?  You’ve skipped the bajillion steps between finishing your manuscript and sending it out into the world for people to read.  So roll back your wagon and follow step number one – create a publishing schedule.  In my opinion, you’re going to need at least six months to get everything done before your book goes live, so first things first, DO NOT RUSH.  This is not a race, unless you’re hoping to win a medal for the person least prepared to publish a book.

2. Polish your prose.  Has your book been edited?  Proof-read?  Again, don’t rush out there and get the first editor you find on Fiverr.  There are so many ‘professionals’ who are feeding off the self-publishing industry, so you want to find someone who has a proven track record.  A great place to find all of the professionals you’re going to need is Indie Author Alliance Services Directory.  At the very least, get some Beta readers whose opinions you trust and respect.  It nigh on impossible to view your work objectively, so you need other eyes to see the things you cannot.

3. Hire a designer.  Again, you’re going to need time to find a good cover designer and depending on their work load, you might have to wait a few months in a queue, so best to get in early.  Again, look for examples of their work.  Don’t worry if you are on a budget, there are plenty of websites that offer pre-made covers that are really good value and you simply add your name and title.  The Creative Penn is a great resource for self-publishing and offers a handy list of tried and tested book cover designers.  This is just one list however, there are lots of designers out there and a great way of finding them is finding covers you like and checking out who designed them.

4. The Blurb.  You know, there are two sides to every cover and the back can be just as important as the front.  The blurb.  This is often the last thing authors think about and run up a quick summary in a ‘that’ll do’ kind of approach.  Do not do this.  Think about it, when you’re buying a book online or in a store, the cover is the first thing to catch your eye, but the very next thing you do is turn it over to see what it’s about.  This is your moment to hook the reader.  A few carefully-worded sentences are all that stands between them popping your book in their basket or placing it back on the shelf.  Spend time studying blurbs in your genre, Google ‘blurb writing’ and keep refining what you’ve written until you’re satisfied with it.  It’s not a summary and should be written in the same style as your novel.  As author Susan Kaye Quinn explains on The Bestseller Experiement podcast, ‘a blurb is flash fiction, only you don’t end it‘.  Write a killer blurb, or you’ll only have your shelf to blame (sorry!)

5. Formatting.  Before you can upload your book to Amazon or Smashwords, you’re going to need to format it.  You could pay someone to do this for you, but if I can manage it, I’m pretty sure you can to.  Everything you need to know is in this post by Catherine Ryan Howard  on Writing.ie. It’s pretty old, but I’ve yet to find a more user-friendly, dedicated formatting article that explains things as well as this.

The big question, should you publish a paperback version, is something you need to decide for yourself.  Kindle Direct Publishing have made it easier than ever to do this, and as soon as you upload your eBook files, it asks you if you want to make a print version.  In my opinion, you have nothing to lose but the time it takes to configure your cover (or pay your designer to do this).  My print sales are relatively low, but it’s good to give your readers the option.

6. Pre-order.  You know you can put your book on Amazon for pre-order, meaning that people can see your book before you launch (yay marketing!) and also order it ahead of time.  This will give your sales a bump on launch day and it also means that you can start promoting your book earlier and creating a buzz, while you’re still doing all of the finishing touches behind the scenes.  Confession:  I did not do this.  I was in too much of a rush.  So is this a case of do as I say and not as I do?  Well, yes I suppose it is, but only because I want you to benefit from my mistakes.

7. Reviews.  Reviews (1)If you are a new author, you will most definitely need the help of book reviewers/bloggers to review your book.  Now is the time to start approaching them, as the most popular ones work to very tight schedules that can be booked months in advance.  You’re probably starting to see that six months isn’t very long at all!  But how do you find book bloggers?  Easy, just type #bookbloggers into Twitter or Facebook or any social media platform and follow the links from there. The Indie View also provide an extensive list of bloggers, so if you’re still baffled by blogs, start there.

My best advice is to treat this like your typical manuscript submission process – find bloggers that are interested in your genre and contact them according to their book review policies.  You can get more information on how to approach book bloggers here.  Advance Reader Copies (or ARC’s as they’re known in the business) are essential if you want to have some reviews on your book’s page when you launch, so as soon as you have completed your edits and finalised your cover, start sending these out.  As a self-publisher, I only sent eBooks for review and used the preview file from my Kindle publishing page, so I could send reviewers a .mobi version.

There is also the hugely popular NetGalley where readers can request your book for free.  This is quite an expensive option and it’s difficult to say if you will hit your target audience here (as opposed to approaching reviewers personally), but if you can afford it, it’s definitely a powerful promotional tool.

8. Author platform.  If you haven’t already created an online presence for yourself, now would be a good time to start.  Yes, it can be time-consuming to set up and to maintain, but not only do you need a profile that people can connect with, you also need a profile so you can interact with other people.  The best way to get people interested in you is if you show interest in them.  Blogging is a great way to let people know who you are, what you’re interested in and what you’ve got coming up.  ‘But nobody cares!’ I hear you cry.  Well, you can start driving traffic to your blog from your Twitter account and Facebook.  While there is no way of calculating how much your online activity will result in increased sales, it’s definitely the best way to connect with readers and other people in the industry, which can lead to further opportunities for you and your writing.  If you come from a marketing background, you’ll have heard of The Rule of 7, which basically means that a prospective customer needs to see  your product at least 7 times before deciding to buy, so being active online can only help!

9. Price.  I have never given my book away for free.  Ever.  It’s just not something I would endorse – you might get lots of downloads but chances are that most of those people might never even read your book.  I also subscribe to the wacky notion that people deserve to get paid for their work.  The prevailing wisdom is that £2.99 is the average price for an eBook.  It might not seem like very much, but you get to keep 70% of your royalties.  It’s really up to you to decide what price you want to retail your novel at and the beauty of being a self-publisher means that you can change your pricing and experiment with what works best.

10. Promotion – As with your ARC’s, you need to start booking promo spots as far in advance as possible.  Book bloggers host author interviews and guest posts and there are lots of online eZines where you can submit articles (with links to your new release).  It’s also worth trying traditional media, like local newspapers or radio stations that might be interested in  your story.  As for advertising online – most ad sites require that your book has a minimum number of reviews, so you might have to wait a while for that, but you can run a Facebook ad or a Goodreads giveaway to create some hype around your launch.  (Caveat:  Goodreads giveaways are for print books only.  They are going to introduce an eBook version, but it will not be free, unlike the paperback giveaway).

And now that you have your own platform, why not run a giveaway on your own blog?  Use Rafflecopter, the gold standard for managing giveaways and I promise, it’s easy to set up and use.  If your book is part of Kindle select (which is absolutely worth doing) meaning that your book is sold exclusively on Amazon, you can start preparing your kindle countdown deal which you will be able to run 3 months after you first publish.  At that point, you can make your book available for 99p (while retaining your 70% royalty rate) and give  your sales another boost.

So there you have it, 10 practical ways you can prepare for your book launch.  HOWEVER, if you’re reading this and you’ve scheduled your launch for tomorrow and haven’t done any or all of these steps – fear not!  You have two choices here:  go ahead with your launch and try to do all of these steps in hindsight or just postpone it.  Trust me, unless you’ve done a fantastic job of promoting the launch of  your book online, no-one will even notice.  I remember when I published my debut novel, I sat at home all day, staring at the screen and wondering when the sales figures would start increasing.  Seriously!  That’s what I did.  And  you know what?  Nothing happened!  I had a handful of sales, but to my disappointment, the Internet didn’t stop what it was doing and congratulate me on publishing my book.  Do you have any idea how many books are self-published every day on Amazon?  Someone self-publishes a book every 5 minutes!  The best chance you can give your book is to follow all (or most!) of these preparations ahead of time.

Final piece of advice, try not to get sucked into the marketing vortex to such an extent that you delay starting your next book.  The best way to sell your first book is to write a second.

Best of luck!  You’ve written a novel, now go publish it.

One Born Every 5 Minutes

21018000_6e5d9637a0

 

Idiots?  No, books on Amazon.  Apparently there’s an idiot born every minute, which unfortunately seems about right, but this blog is about publishing.  So with a mountain of new books being published by both Indie authors and traditional publishers every few minutes, how can you get your book noticed?

There’s nothing like typing the words ‘The End’ to get you all hot and bothered about publishers, bestsellers and writing acceptance speeches (*gushes* I really wasn’t expecting this!)  As a committed self-publishing author-entrepreneur, I do sometimes fantasize about life with a traditional publishing deal.  Would I be better off?  Or is it a case of ‘Is glas iad na cnoic, i bhfad uainn’ an old Irish saying meaning  ‘faraway hills are green’.

A recent article by Dougal Shaw for BBC News explores the current state of self-publishing and finds that, while it is a hard road, it can be just as successful for the author (if not more so) than getting that holy grail of a traditional publishing deal.  It’s true that Indie Authors have to be a lot more creative with their marketing strategy and their use of social media when it comes to peddling their wares, but the fact is that even if you’ve signed up with a publisher, the marketing will largely be left up to you.  Publishers tend to budget their marketing spend in such a way that sees them putting their money behind one or two ‘sure things’, gambling that the profit made on those books will pay for the other 99%.  At the end of the day, the best person to sell your book is you.  You have a much greater vested interest in its success and getting it in front of as many readers as possible.  A good example of how author platforms can work for self-publishers is Andy Weir’s book The Martian, which has since been made into an Oscar nominated movie.  The story was originally published chapter by chapter on his blog for free.  Now that’s a gamble, but a gamble that paid off.

How about earnings?  Traditionally published authors can expect to earn an average of 10% royalties on their books.  Self-published authors can earn up to 70% royalties, which sounds much more interesting, but there are several factors to take into account.  Indie Authors generally charge less for their books, as low as 99p for eBooks.  The flip side to this is that people are more willing to take a chance on a cheap eBook, thereby boosting sales.  However, you have to consider the cost to the author in producing the book, which brings me onto my next point.

The old belief that traditionally published books are better because they’ve been professionally vetted no longer rings true.  Indie authors are hiring professional designers and editors, so really, they are on a level par.  The only difference is that self-published authors bear the cost of all this outsourcing, so while traditionally published authors are totting up how much they’ll make on their advance, Indie authors have to make a lot of sales just to break even.  Then again, the beauty of self-publishing means you are always in control of your sale price and distribution, so you can run a Kindle Countdown sale for your book to boost sales or even make it available for free for limited periods (which I don’t agree with, but that’s a whole other conversation!)  The point is, you have far more control, so even a year or two after the book has been released, you can still drive sales with promotions and giveaways.

So, will I self-publish or start the long and frustrating process of sending out manuscripts?  Well, therein lies my next point.  Once my book has been edited, a cover designed and a marketing campaign put in place, I am ready to rock if I decide to self-publish.  With a traditional publishing deal, I first have to go through the submissions process, which can leave you waiting for anything up to six months for a response.  All of that time, your book is sitting on your computer, going nowhere.  If it does get accepted, it could be another year before the publisher decides to release it.  Now, you could say I should use that time to write my fourth novel (gulp), but it is a long time to wait for your baby to be born into the literary world.  I suppose I’ve become quite spoilt in terms of making all of the decisions about my book.  Self-publishing is a control freak’s paradise!

Regardless of all these pros and cons, there is still that sense of validation for an author who gets signed by a traditional publishing house.  It would be hypocritical of me to say otherwise, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of getting your book ‘out there’, both options have their merits.  For so long the underdog and oftentimes dismissed as vanity publishing, self-publishing is now an equally viable choice when it comes to getting your book to market.  And if validation is the cherry on top, consider the validation of readers who decided to pick up your book, regardless of who published it, and leave wonderful reviews on Goodreads or Amazon.  Whichever path you choose (or whichever path chooses you!) you’ve got to be willing to learn the business and find a happy compromise between writing and promotion.

The Wait Is Over!

 

the-mysterious-bakery-on-rue-de-paris-2-copy2.jpg

Today is the day!  I’m celebrating the official release of my new novel, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris  I am so excited to launch my second book.  This is a very big day for me as an author, and so to celebrate with all of my loyal readers, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris is available on Amazon today at the very special promotional price of $0.99!  So pick up your copy now 🙂

This is the magical tale of Edith Lane, who sets off to find her fortune in the beautiful city of Paris.  Fortune, however, is a fickle thing and Edith ends up working in a vintage bakery in the positively antique town of Compiègne.  Escaping heartache and singledom in Ireland, Edith discovers that the bakery on Rue De Paris is not exactly what it seems and that some ghosts from the past are harder to escape than others.  A heart-warming story that is sure to appeal to all of the senses, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris is a mouth-watering journey of love, liberty and la vie en rose.

Hope you all enjoy reading this quirky little story about a woman who set out on a journey to Paris, but found so much more…

Book Trailer – The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris

So I decided to ramp up the cuteness factor to 11, when I got my two nieces to help me make a promo video for my upcoming book launch (9th June people – mark it in your diaries!).  Several jokes were harmed during the making of this video – what can I say?  I’ll never make it in stand up!!  If you like it, please share it 🙂

The Time Is Drawing Near….

I am very excited to say that my book cover is almost complete and will very shortly be revealed on this here blog, so stay tuned for that!  I’ve been working closely with Tugboat Designs and we’ve created an alluring image that encapsulates the story beautifully.  

So now everything is happening quite quickly – I’ve formatted my book for uploading (best formatting advice to be found here – thank you Catherine Ryan Howard!) and I’m now checking out Virtual Book Tours to help launch and promote The Cross of Santiago.  I’ve just signed up to http://worldliterarycafe.com who offer lots of promotion options, some free and some paid.  Exposure is vital as a debut author, but as I’ve said ad nauseum, reviews are the best publicity.  As long as they’re positive!  But how can you avoid beating your followers over the head with relentless book promotion?  How do you deal with negative reviews?  Here’s some good advice from AbsoluteWrite.com

 

 Here’s how to engage in effective promotion:

First: Participate in the conversation. That means it’s not about you and your book. It’s about books, and readers. That means you talk about other people’s books you love and why, and you engage with people who write books you’ve read and loved, and with other readers.

You comment on their blogs. You don’t constantly bring up your own book, but you make genuine, thoughtful, engaged comments. Your comments use the name you write under as your ID, and in the URL field you link to your Web site. 

You post honest, engaging, and genuine reviews of books you like on Amazon, and GoodReads and Library Thing. You don’t slam other people’s books, but you don’t always create 5 star reviews. You are not mean-spirited, but you are always honest. Your profiles connect to your author Website. 

Second: You do not engage in the Author’s Big Mistake. 

  • You Never Ever Comment On a Review of your Own Books at ALL Ever in public.
  • You Never Ever Review Your Own Books Ever At All Under ANY Name or Account Or Sock Puppet. Ever.
  • You Do Not Engage With Reviewers of Your Books or Trolls
  • You DO offer book giveaways on your blog, on the blogs of those who review similar books, and you do politely email reviewers and offer them a free copy if they’d be interested in reviewing.