Can Your Library Be Your Publicist?

As indie authors, we are always looking for ways to market and put ourselves out there. Many of us schedule our own appearances at local bookstores or show up in groups for author events. It’s easy to get focused on the bookstore and online opportunities. However, there is one other place that can be a gold mine for authors if they use it right. What is this place? Your local library. Can your library be your publicist? In a sense, yes. There are two things libraries want from their local authors-donations and time. Here are some tips to help make both things work to your advantage.

Donations

Libraries are a great way to get your work out there without spending any money, not to mention they love donations.

1. Donations help get your work in circulation and help you gain readers.

2. Donating copies of your book to be sold at a library sale helps guarantee that they will find a permanent home. This also shows that the reader is genuinely interested in your book by buying it and taking it home.

3. Donations help your library in that they don’t have to spend extra money to help keep their shelves full of current reads.

Can Your Library Be Your Publicist?

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Time.

Libraries are looking to gain new patrons and by donating your time, you are helping draw people in.

  1. Offer to teach a seminar about publishing a book.
  2. Offer to give a speech about your writing journey.
  3. If you are a children’s author, sign up to read to children during story time.
  4. Contact your local author friends and set up an author event where people can come and buy your books as well as ask questions.
  5. Participate in Indie Author Day. (Every year in October.)
  6. Teach a writing class for the afternoon. Make sure you give each participant a copy of one of your books as a thank you for coming.

 

By donating your books and your time, not only are you bound to create a great partnership with your library, you are also bound to bring in new readership for both of you.

 

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Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle

One of my favorite authors, Jon Acuff, made a very good point in his book START. He said, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I absolutely love this quote and agree wholeheartedly with it.

Don’t Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else’s Middle.

On any journey, it is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other people. Whether it’s your first job, starting your own business, writing your first book, or going to work for a really big company, it is easy to feel insignificant to others further along the journey than you. You may feel like you’re not good enough because you work in a lower paying job. You may feel like just because your friend got their business up and running full speed ahead in a year, you’re a failure because you are still struggling at six months. You may feel like you will never learn all the things that go along with writing, publishing, and marketing your first book. You may feel like a peon at the big company you just started with because everyone else is further along than you. Don’t do this. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s’ middle. Why?

Don't Compare Your Beginning To Someone Else's Middle

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They have had much more time to learn and grow and work the kinks out. Your beginning is exactly where you are supposed to be. Take pride in your lower paying job, people need your service. Hold your head up and enjoy the journey of building your business. Enjoy the process of writing, publishing, and marketing your book-step by step. There is a lot to learn, but you’ve got this. Think of your entry level position at this big company as a platform for you to grow, not that you are everyone else’s peon. Embrace the journey and the road ahead, for you are exactly where you need to be and on the way to your best life.

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Why Are Writer’s Groups Important?

Being a writer can be a lonely road.  We often spend long hours at your desk researching, writing, and editing. If we’re not careful, we can get isolated. Sure, we spend time with our friends and families and love them very much for their support. Still, sometimes it’s hard because they don’t always understand us. We need to be around our own kind but with many writers having busy schedules outside of their writing lives. How do we combat this? Writer’s groups. Why are writer’s groups important? They give us the friendship, support, and feedback that we crave.

Why Are Writer’s Groups Important?

  1. They are a place where writer’s can develop personal friendships with fellow writers.
  2. They are a place to get constructive criticism about their work.
  3. They are a place where writer’s can share tips, articles, and blog posts about the craft and business of writing.
  4. They are a way for those who are published to mentor those who want to publish a book.
  5. They foster a sense of community by each member of the group supporting each other through attending each others personal author events.
  6. They are a great way to share information on upcoming local author opportunities.
Why Are Writer's Groups Important?

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How To Find A Writer’s Group?

Online-There are many different groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc for both writers and indie authors alike.

Local Community-Call your local library or community college to see if they know of any writer’s groups in your area.

Start your own-Sometimes you live in an area where there is nothing going on. Does this mean no one is interested? Not likely. You are probably surrounded by writers like you who just aren’t sure how to connect with others. This is the time to be the catalyst and start something in your area. Contact your local libraries and community colleges and see if they can help you get the word out about what you want to do and get some feedback.

 

I have met some amazing, talented writers in the groups I have been in, some of which have become close, personal friends. It is always great to know I can post a question and get honest feedback without ever feeling dumb for asking. Writing is an ongoing process, not to be done alone. There is always a question to ask or something to learn.  Interacting with others will feed your mind, soothe your writer’s soul and make your journey a lot less lonely.

 

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Indie Author Day Is Coming.

Mark your calendars my author friends, Indie Author Day is coming.

Indie Author Day Is Coming.

What is Indie Author Day? Indie Author Day is a day where authors, libraries and readers connect. This event is held across the nation in various libraries and offers authors the ability to speak on different panels, display their books, and interact with other authors and readers. Last year was the first of its kind.

When is Indie Author Day?

Indie Author Day is being held on Saturday, October 14th this year.

Indie Author Day Is Coming

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My experience from last year.

As I said, last year was the first Indie Author Day event ever.  I went to the library in the next town over to participate and had a great time. Here are some of the highlights.

  1. I was able to meet other local authors just like me and develop some friendships.
  2. Being able to go around and chat with everyone about their writing journey.
  3. Being able to display my books as this was my first event ever.
  4. Chatting with those who came in to take a look at what we had to offer.

However, there were some low lights too.

  1. I didn’t sell any books
  2. Very low traffic. Most people were there specifically for the library and not for what we had to offer.

Would I participate again?

Absolutely. I’m not going to write it off (no pun intended) because last year wasn’t fruitful. The way I see it, it was a learning process for everyone. Librarians can gauge how they need to change their promotion compared to last year. Local authors can help by writing about it on their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Regardless of turnout, it is a great way to meet other authors, learn from each other, and build relationships.

 

 

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How To Run A Blog When You Are A Beginning Author.

Being an independent author is one of the greatest things I have ever done and one of the hardest things I have ever done. So many people think that we just sit and write books all day and nothing else. If only it were that easy.  There are so many hats we have to wear-writer, publisher, marketer, editor, public figure to an extent (depending on how big you are-events, appearances and such), blogger, and the list goes on. Just the other day I heard someone say that once you decide to publish a book you are officially an authorpreneur.  Today I want to focus on how to run a blog when you are a beginning author.

 

How To Run A Blog When You Are A Beginning Author.

Photo courtesy of kaboompics via Pixabay

How To Run A Blog When You Are A Beginning Author

Here are some tips to get your blog off to a good start.

*Have a clear topic. Do you want to showcase other authors? Give advice to other authors? Promote other books in your genre?

*Write for your audience.Think about what they would like to know or questions that they have about your genre.

*Learn how to use keywords and SEO. Keywords and SEO  are a learning process. I use the plugin Squirrly to write my posts and it is a HUGE help.

*Add social share buttons. If you have a WordPress site, you can search for social share button plugins that are compatible with the theme of your site.

*Post more than once a week. I have heard you should post less often than you want to. I suggest posting at least twice a week and I need to take my own advice here. 🙂

*Set up an opt in/newsletter option-If you want to promote your work, you’re going to have to set up an opt in with some sort of freebie or discount to persuade people to give up their email address.

By implementing the steps above you should have a pretty good start on how to run your blog when you are a beginning author. Keep in mind it will be a work in progress and there will always be something you can change or tweak to make it better.  Most important, have fun with it and make it your own.

 

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What’s in an ISBN?

You have finished writing your book, the editing is done, and now you are ready to move onto the publishing process. One of the most important parts of publishing a book is the ISBN. What’s in an ISBN? Apparently, how you choose to obtain one has a lot to do with how much reach you will have. I found this out the hard way this week after publishing four books using a free ISBN for each one. Big mistake. Here is why.

What’s In An ISBN?

I published all of my print books through Createspace using a free ISBN for each. By doing this, Createspace OWNS my ISBN. Not good. This limits me to only being able to sell my books on consignment to local bookstores and at local events but not much else. (Don’t get me wrong, working with local bookstores in my area has been an absolute delight.) However, if I want to extend my reach into bookstores I’m going to have to change my game plan. Here is an article I found that explains why using a free ISBN is not ideal.

http://www.newshelves.com/2016/12/13/can-i-work-with-wholesalers-if-i-use-createspace-to-print-my-book/

 

What's In An ISBN?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what is the answer to this dilemma? The first thing you need to understand is you will need both Createspace and IngramSpark to help extend your reach. IngramSpark is a publishing company that offers distributorship to their authors, allowing their books to be available for bookstores to purchase and sell in their stores. Here is an article to explain why you need both places.

Why you need IngramSpark AND CreateSpace – UPDATED

The second part of this answer is that you will need to buy your own ISBN through Bowker. Here is an article for more information.

Why You Need Your Own ISBN From Bowker

Okay, so you have been enlightened and are ready to proceed correctly. How do you do it? Is there a way for you to transfer your Createspace titles to IngramSpark? Thankfully, yes. Here is how you do it.

How to Transfer Your Book to Ingram Spark From CreateSpace

Learning this information was a huge eye opener this week. I hope by sharing with you, I can help you avoid my mistake before publishing your first book. However, if you’re like me and realizing your mistake, thankfully there is a way to fix it and to give the power back to all of us.

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How Do You Come Up With Character Names?

Being a writer is a wonderful thing but can also be exhausting. We have so many things to do when writing our books-ideas, plot outlines, figuring out a title, finding the right book cover, and the list goes on and on and on. Then there is the subject of coming up with character names. How do you come up with character names?

 

I have a few different ways of coming up with names for my characters.

How Do You Come Up With Character Names?

Start with names you like-When I first started compiling a list of both male and female character names, I just wrote down names that I like.

Think about names you don’t like-I think everyone has names that they are not fond of. For example, I don’t like the names Josh, David or Frank. Nothing against people with these names, but I have not had good experiences with people who have had these names. I would never use them as a character in my book.

Keep your eyes and ears out-I am always listening for different names in conversation and looking at people’s name tags who work in stores and restaurants.

Find names on social media-Pay attention to the names of the people who post in the groups you are in on social media. There are many times I have come across a cool first name and have added it to my list. Social media is a great way to find new and interesting names.

What are some of your favorite foreign countries?-Think of places, you either have traveled or would like to travel out of your country and look up popular names from that country. For example, I love the Irish name Padraic which is the Gaelic form of Patrick.

Baby Name Lists-This is my last resort when trying to come up with names. Granted, I have found some cool names on these lists, I want my characters to have unique names and not what is popular right now or in this decade.

Take Your Character Names A Step Further.

I haven’t done this yet but I’m going to start when I choose names for my characters in the future. Think about the kind of story you are writing and choose the names off your list that you think will best compliment your storyline. From there, look up the meaning of each name and then choose the best one for your hero and heroine. For me, I think this will not only help flesh out a character sketch but it will also help incorporate characteristics in my character that go along with the meaning of their name. This will also help in developing a more well-rounded character.

So, what’s in a name? The perfect concept of your character. I hope by using some of these ideas, you will not only grow a list of names that you love but also have extra inspiration from the names you pick to build strong, robust characters.

 

 

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Restoring Your Attitude After Rejection.

We as writers, no matter if we freelance or only write fiction or non-fiction, are quite a unique group. We are the only profession that constantly deals with rejection. Every day. There is no telling how many rejections can land in your inbox at any given time. It’s frustrating and disheartening at times. But what do you do after that rejection? Here are some tips to restoring your attitude after rejection.

Restoring Your Attitude After Rejection.

Don’t take it personally-This can be very hard at times, but seriously, it is not you. In times like these, you have to remember your ‘why’. Why do you write? What is your ultimate goal? This should help give you some perspective. We all get disheartened, but I always remind myself that I’m one pitch closer to a ‘yes’ and that this publication or web site was not the best home for my work.

Let it out-Definitely let your emotions out. If you are a crier, cry. If you are a screamer, scream. Whatever you need to do to get the pent up frustration out, do it. Take a walk, go to a hard core exercise class, call a friend, etc. Reach out to your writing peers for support, this way you know you’re not all alone.

Treat yourself-When you pour your heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into an article or project, it can be extremely depressing when it comes back to you with that lovely “Thank you for submitting to XYZ but…” that we are all familiar with. In times like these, go treat yourself. Get that massage, have your nails done, go out for an expensive dinner, eat the whole pint of ice cream. (I won’t tell, I promise.)

Look at your accomplishments-If you haven’t, start a bulletin board in your office with acceptance emails, inspiring quotes, book covers, print copies of articles you have had published, etc. This way you can always look and see how far you have come and all you have accomplished.

Move forward-This is probably is the most important thing to do next. Take a day and step away from your rejected piece and then go back in and find another place to pitch it.

Remember, rejection is not a reflection of you. It’s a sign of better things to come. Hold your head high and keep moving on. The perfect home for your next piece or book is just around the corner.

 

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Why Start?

Today I thought I would reach out to all of you who are just starting on your writing journey. Like you, I was filled with excitement, tension, and nerves when I started thinking about publishing my first book. You may have doubts and fears. You may sit and wonder, why start? What if I mess it up? What if something goes wrong in the process? What if it doesn’t go anywhere?

“Why Start?” you ask.

Because you have been dreaming about writing it your whole life.

Because it makes you feel alive.

Because it’s a part of you.

Because maybe you have always been encouraged write a book.

Because you can’t imagine doing anything else.

Why Start?

Photo courtesy of Lauren Mancke via Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because you will learn a lot on your first journey.

Because you’ll make mistakes.

Because it may not go anywhere. But it’s okay. For now, the feeling of accomplishment you have will be just as good.

Because you’ll meet new people along the way.

Because you will work with great people. (Interior designers, illustrators, etc.)

Because you want to leave your mark on the world.

Because you don’t ever want to have to wonder, “what if…’

Because you can.

 

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To Market, To Market: Magnificent Resources for Upping Your Book Marketing Game.

Hello. Today we are going to talk about book marketing.  Yes, I hear you groaning a collective sigh out there.  As authors, we love to write and put our blood, sweat and tears into our books. We shiver in anticipation at our next release date. We get excited when illustraions and/or book covers come back from our amazing illustrators and designers. We love the process of bringing our books to life. But what do we do after? A lot of us have a fear of promoting our books. We fear we’ll be seen as annoying self-centered. We may fear our book is not good enough.  We may be introverts and have a hard time networking and talking to people. Still, at the heart of it all, I think a lot of us don’t know where to start.  There is tons of marketing advice, classes, blogs, articles, etc. It just gets mind boggling. I get it. Today I have made a list of some magnificent resources for upping your book marketing game than any author can try.

Magnificent Resources for Upping Your Book Marketing Game.

Books

How To Market A Book Release: Develop Your Best Marketing Strategy For Each Book Launch by Misty M. BellerI recently read this for a book review challenge and found it very helpful. Misty breaks down everything from finding your target reader, Preorders, Paid Advertising and so much more.

How I Sold 80,000 Books by Alinka Rutkowska-I was on a webinar with Alinka and she really knows what she’s doing. Her unique marketing technique is that she sells her children’s books on cruise ships.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker-This book is targeted specifically to ‘Smashers’, those who publish on Smashwords. However, I feel this book could be helpful to anyone.

YouTube Videos.

I recently attended the Bestseller Online Book Summit and gleaned a lot of information from the presenters.  If you are looking for information on how to make your next book launch a success which ties in with marketing, check out this video.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Bestseller+Online+Summit

Blogs to Follow.

www.michaelhyatt.com-Michael Hyatt is a successful author and virtual mentor. I highly recommend his book Platform which is about how to get noticed in a noisy world. Although he doesn’t necessarily specialize in book marketing per se, he still gives out really good advice about content marketing.

www.goinswriter.com-Jeff Goins is a successful author who blogs about writing, life, and creative work.

www.servenomaster.com-Jonathan Green was on the Bestseller Online Book Summit and I totally resonated with him. He is a best selling author and online business entrepreneur. His blog, Serve No Master, gives great advice on both business and writing matters. Make sure you click on the sidebar and register to win a copy of his Kindlesniper course, which teaches authors how to start a profitable Amazon business and launch best sellers.

By taking the time to check out these resources, you could be taking your book marketing from lame to ‘on top of your game’ in no time.  Do you have any book marketing resources you find helpful? I’d love to know.

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