All About the Authors

Helping edit, publish, and market your book.

Author: Priscilla Goudreau-Santos

A Story of Two Fires

    By  Jim Minick

             The novel Fire Is Your Water started out as nonfiction. Two fires struck my family in this one small area of Pennsylvania where I grew up, and though I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to make a larger book about these, especially because one fire occurred before I was born. So it took me five years of wandering in the wilderness of words to understand fiction would allow me to combine these stories if I could figure out how.

Part of that “how” came by collapsing four generations of people into two generations, and thirty years of stories condensed to three months. The larger part of the “how,” though, was discovering the connecting thread, which eventually became this: what happens to a faith healer when she loses her ability to heal? That became the driving question.

Ada Franklin, the main character in Fire Is Your Water, is based on my great-grandmother, Ida Franklin Minick, who was a faith healer or powwow doctor in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. She could remove warts, stop blood, and take out fire, like Ada in the novel. And like Ada, she entered a burning barn with a relative, who was severely burned in the process. Afterward, my great-grandmother was not the one who healed my grandmother’s hands—another person did. So that got me thinking about why and what happens if faith is lost. I’m pretty sure that did not happen with Ida, but it opened a door for me.

My first memory is sitting on my great-grandmother’s lap, but then Ida died when I was four. So I wish I had known her better, and in a way, this novel helped me imagine a little of her life, like what it was like to work on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the 1950s, or to heal an epileptic, or even, to heal a bleeding cow by saying a chant through the phone. All of these are family stories I was able to weave into the novel to honor these people and this place.

I worked on this novel, off and on, for fifteen years. Attention got pulled to other projects, so in that time span, I wrote four other books, plus taught full-time. At some deeper level, I think I knew I wasn’t ready yet to write this book, so I had to learn my way in, through other genres, and then through extensive reading and studying of novels I admired, like Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men.

One of the great risks I took with this book is with the character of Cicero, a raven who learns to read and talk. Most of Fire Is Your Water is in third-person point-of-view, but Cicero’s chapters are in first-bird’s POV, and as, one reviewer commented on the bird’s swearing, he is “foul-beaked.” Cicero and the idea of a talking bird came much later, maybe two-thirds of the way into the writing. I was taking a fiction workshop with Darnell Arnoult (an excellent teacher and writer), and I knew the other main character, a man named Will Burk, loved birds, so I kept playing with that idea, trying to figure out how to develop that passion of his. Then I remembered reading an essay about a person growing up with a talking crow as a pet, and that, along with encouragement to just experiment, let me walk through that door of magic realism to find Cicero there waiting to chew my ear off, literally.

And yes, many birds, especially “smarter” species like ravens and crows, can learn words. I collected several stories from fellow birders about such. One ornithology professor told of a raven tamed in grad school. The bird loved to say, “Nevermore,” and he loved to drink whiskey. When he got too tipsy, he’d just repeat, “Never, never, never….”

When Cicero heard this, he wanted to file an animal abuse report until he realized that it all happened decades ago.

I’ll end with one of Cicero’s favorite quotes, from Eubie Blake: “Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind—listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody.”

Jim Minick is the author of five books, including Fire Is Your Water, a debut novel released this spring. His memoir, The Blueberry Years, won of the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His honors include the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, and the Fred Chappell Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His work has appeared in many publications including Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, Appalachian Journal, and The Sun. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at Augusta University and Core Faculty in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.

Jim and his new book will be featured at the Women’s National Book Association Charlotte’s 8th Annual “BIBLIOFEAST” Book & Author Dinner on Monday, Oct. 16. Tickets are available at http://wnba-charlotte.org/wnba/calendar/bibliofeast-tickets/ (credit card) or at Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, 704-525-9239 (cash or check).

It’s your party! 5 Tips for a Great Book Event

Burkhalter 1Here’s the awesome part! It’s time to tell everyone about your book. Hopefully, you’ve already launched your website or blog and built relationships via social media. So, the buzz has begun. Now, you can begin planning your book signing event or events. Your first step is securing your location/s. Then, begin planning for each event.

Follow these five tips for a great book event:

  1. Once you secure your location, work with the bookstore or other retailer. Speak to the person handling the event for the store and find out what she or he will do to promote the event. Most bookstores look to their authors to bring in traffic for the event so coordinate your own efforts with those of the bookstore.
  1. Then, create buzz for your book(s) with press releases that dovetail with social media including Facebook, Twitter posts and LinkedIn as well as email marketing via a newsletter or Call-to-Action marketing piece letting the media and your fans know about the event. You might offer a sample chapter and author information to your local newspaper, magazine and radio station and ask for an interview before your book signing. Your community papers and local radio stations are the best media sources for getting the word out.Burkhalter 5
  1. Develop collateral materials and giveaways including postcards, posters and bookmarks. Send postcards to friends and family with a handwritten note before the event and keep them handy on your table. Several posters displayed in the store as well as one at your table are great point-of-display items that will create interest. Also, ask nearby retailers if they’ll display your information, too. Contact special interest groups like the local Chamber, arts society, your book community, or any other group relating to your book’s topic.
  1. Practice your presentation and/or reading. This helps you be more comfortable in front of a crowd especially when you’re not following a structured speech. Many authors are more relaxed when they speak less formally but it’s always a good idea to have at least an outline of what you’d like to talk about. And, if you’re doing a reading, make sure that you practice reading the excerpt aloud on your own. Most authors talk for about 20 to 30 minutes and then open up for questions from the audience. Have a few of your own handy to get the conversation started.Burkhalter 4
  2. Have a friend on hand to help. When your table gets mobbed by readers as you hope it will, a friend can hand out bookmarks and giveaways, replenish your books, ask customers to join the email list, make announcements, and take pictures of the event. You’ll want to post these on social media as soon as the event is over with a short write-up about the event. Also, send it out to the same media contacts who may run a photo or two with a caption.

There are so many great ways to promote yourself and make the most of the event.  Have fun and do as much as you can to make it successful.  You can always add special touches like food, wine and a designer cake to make the event a celebration.  After all, it’s your party!

6 Steps to beginning your book marketing campaign

couple reading booksBeginning your book marketing campaign can be daunting. The key is to begin well in advance of your book’s publication, know your goals and expectations, and make productive and sustainable choices about the publicity for your book and your identity as a writer. Here is a list of six steps that will (hopefully) clarify the process:

1.  Let your fans know about your book

The first step is letting your fans and potential readers know about your book. But it’s often confusing and overwhelming to begin a marketing and publicity program. There are so many choices available today including traditional media as well as online social media resources. Begin with those most familiar to you and your fans. For example, if Facebook is a good tool in reaching your fans – one that you use frequently — this is a good place to start.

2.  Determine your goals and expectations

Your path to book sales also depends in large part on your expectations and personal goals. Your book publicist is a resource and guide through all the myriad media outlets, but you are critical to your book’s success.  Is your goal to sell a certain number of books? Or, is it to gain recognition of a cause that’s near and dear to your heart?

3. Start well in advance

Learn as much as you can about publicity and marketing well in advance of your book’s publication date. Talk with your publisher’s publicist or marketing manager for guidance. Once you’ve determined your goals and expectations, and thoughtfully plotted a three- or six-month strategy, you can decide whether working with a publicist makes sense for you.

4.  Advantages of working with a publicist

One of the advantages of working with a publicist is that he or she can offer you needed exposure to media. Your publicist has the expertise to develop a list of media and bookstores that are best for you—saving time and energy. Publicists will also make the media calls for you. Although it’s necessary to make an investment in publicity, in the long run it’s much less expensive than traditional advertising and more credible. It also saves you time so you can do what you enjoy and do best—write.

5.  Make productive and sustainable marketing choices

As an author, remember that you’re in it for the long haul. Develop a campaign that reflects your values, is comfortable for you to implement, and that is sustainable over time. If you create a website or blog, make sure that you post to it regularly and that you include information that’s interesting to your readers apart from your book. Do this with your social media as well. The goal for all your online and traditional media is communication, and developing a following is all about being interesting. Thoughtful, funny and informational posts will go a long way in building loyalty.

6.  Decide if a publicist is right for you

When you interview potential publicists, ask them if they will regularly update you on their progress and provide you with information such as media lists, a schedule of media outreach, follow-up results, and any other outreach they may do for you. An experienced book publicist can be a valuable, effective partner who will offer education and direction, and can increase your book’s visibility in a very crowded, noisy field.

Photo credit: Copyright Erin Kelly at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ekelly89/7030239035.

 

7 Things about Book Marketing You Want To Know

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Build demand with consistent messages or “viral marketing”

Hey, is it catching? You certainly hope so! As an author, you want to get the message out to as many people as possible about you and your book. Viral marketing is contagious and describes marketing on the Internet. You goal is to entice people to share your information with their friends, who then share with their friends, and so on. It spreads like a virus if your message is creative and on point.

Be accessible

Authors who are available for comment for news stories in print, radio or television, are sought out by reporters who cover their topic, industry or expertise. Guest columns on social media are another great way to keep yourself and your book in the news. Media and website owners will seek you out – and keep seeking you out — if you’re accessible.  Self-promotion builds if you make it a point to be available, are on-time for the interview, if you’re well-spoken (or written), and keep your promises.

This publicity is free and frees you up to do what you like best – writing. An effective first step is letting media know your availability and including your contact information on all correspondence. Then, stay in touch, especially is there’s a newsworthy event that relates to you and your book. When someone cancels at the last minute, you might be next in line for an interview.

Keep showing up

Why should you keep showing up even if it seems like you’re making little headway? Because it takes five, seven – or even 10 impressions before media and fans begin recognizing you and your book. It used to be the “rule of three” impressions to make an effect in advertising and marketing but now there are so many ways to send your message and so much noise (static from everyone else sending messages) that it’s better to just keep sending them so that you’ll be heard. A caveat is not to annoy reporters by contacting them too frequently. Just remain persistent and helpful. And, remember, double check your contacts to make sure your message is going to the right person or people.

Make them care

Creating empathy with your audience connects you and your book in the same way you’d connect with a friend. Today, relationship marketing pulls at the heart and core beliefs of your followers. Everyone wants to be understood so your mission is to connect on a deeper level than just telling them the facts. What about you and your book is important to your audience? At a book event that I attended this weekend, I was able to hear the story behind many books directly from the authors and all of them were connecting through the heart. For example, Jo Anne Normile, author of memoir Saving Baby, discussed her passion for horse rescue and how it’s transformed her life. And, beyond the passion for horses that I’m sure many people share, a portion of the proceeds from each book sale provides funding for the Saving Baby Equine Charity. You want your reader and fans to believe that you’re talking directly to him or her – and you are.

Find or target your audience

As an author, chances are that you defined your “target” audience before you even began writing your book. This market is the right group to target for your marketing messages. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone is your audience. Age group alone segments book audiences e.g. Young Adult literature, and gender is key. Envision your target and speak to them. In fact, if you haven’t done it yet, write down a detailed description of your reader. Geography is also a good way to segment your audience. Is your book classified as Southern fiction? Or, is it set in the northeast along the coast? All these factors further define your target audience and give you a starting point for marketing.

Next, you’ll want to brainstorm what best matches your audience’s beliefs, opinions, attitudes or intentions. “Every day brings something good!” is the central message within Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall, now deceased.  Although Carol chronicled her battle with cancer, the overriding message is that life is uplifting if you open your heart. Her friendship with a gardener from Kenya had to do with much more than gardening and is an inspiration for readers looking for this message about life and living.

Write effective marketing pieces

Writing effective marketing pieces is entirely different than writing a book and for some it’s a daunting task. The best marketing pieces are short and catchy. Whatever you’re writing – press releases, letters, website content or an email blast – remember to focus on your reader. First, write a headline that’s succinct, to the point, and interesting. A rule of thumb for email messages is no more than six words in the subject line. I sometimes use more if needed to get the message across. If it’s a press release about an event such as a book launch, I usually include the day and time to express urgency. Next, connect with your readers on a deeper level than just the facts. Telling them some of your story is a great way of connecting. Write copy that talks to your readers directly and include a call to action. This is a direct communication to come to your book launch, buy your book, find out more, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.

Follow-up

Follow-up – or the lack of follow-up – can sink your marketing campaign. All of us struggle with what feels like a sales call. I generally wait until I’m relaxed and have a “smile in my voice” before picking up the phone to follow-up with media or other contacts. If you follow up consistently, with a genuine desire to build an ongoing relationship, people will be receptive. A good guide is to set up a simple list of contacts and make notes regarding date of contact and comments. Then, mark dates to follow-up with them. You’ll build relationships that will be win-win.

Be a PR Superhero!

Why We Love Press Releases (And You Should, Too!)

supergirl - pr superheroWriting a great press release or pitch is essential to telling potential readers about your book. Not only is the job of the press release to announce a book launch, event or other newsworthy event, it’s to gain interest.

That’s the fun but also the challenging part.

Writing for journalists is very different than writing a book. Your mission is to grab attention and get to the point immediately. Journalists are flooded with potential stories or pitches on a daily basis but if you grab their attention and get to the point….and if you’ve done your research and hit the right reporter at the right time…you may just get that news story or radio interview.

In this week’s All About the Authors video installment, I talk about seven ways writers will gain attention and interest with a well-crafted press release. Are you ready to pen a super-charged pitch and gain publicity for yourself and your book?

Here are the seven steps to writing a great press release that hooks reporters who will want to know more:

  1. Create an attention-grabbing headline
  2. Get to the point and stay laser focused
  3. Proofread for perfection
  4. Include quotes often
  5. Keep it short. No longer that two pages – one is better
  6. Include your contact information
  7. Offer access to more information

Before you begin writing, remember that nobody cares. Journalists are very busy and are pitched by many, many people every day who all believe that they have that must-tell story. Use this adage to force yourself to step into the reporter’s shoes. What makes your story interesting? Why should this publication or station and next, this particular reporter, care? Find the angle that will interest him and help him reach his story goals.

Next, follow-up to make sure he received your release and ask if there are any questions. Find out if he would like a copy of your book and in what format. Only send your book when the reporter asks for it.

When working with a young adult author several years ago, I announced the newest book in her teen suspense series to reporters in Northeast Florida because that’s where she lived and worked. It helped that she was published by an imprint of Penguin Group Inc. and that she was a school teacher. The community interest angle intrigued a columnist at The Florida Times-Union who wrote an excellent story in his weekly column, “One of Us”. What makes your story interesting?

Finally, remember the long game when promoting your book. You may not deliver the one-two punch with the first swing but if you practice, pitch and persevere, you’re sure to land a winner (and possibly, save the world).

 

Radio Rockstar: 10 tips to Rock Your Radio Interview

By Dr. Patty Fitzhugh

dr patty cares webThink you’re ready for your first radio interview? It might look easy but taking the time to prepare will make all the difference in your comfort level and success. I host two radio shows, Managing Mid-Life and Morning Coffee, and have done hundreds of interviews. Whether you’re the interviewer or interviewee, you’ll want to follow these easy steps to rock your interview.

  1. Prepare

Most authors I speak to during my Emerging Authors segment have assembled a media kit. If you have, you’ve probably created a sample question-and-answer sheet to add to your media kit. These Qs and As will give you a great starting point for your media interview. Here are some highpoints that will help offer a guideline for both you and your host:

  • Your background, and other interests, ideas, or expertise
  • How you came up with the idea for your book
  • Some of the more interesting ways you researched or learned of the information you used when writing the book
  • How your book connects with local issues and events
  • Authors or books that have inspired or influenced you and your work
  1. Research

Research is a critical. I suggest that you read, watch, and listen to interviews with the media outlet or outlets you are most interested in or which are on target for your book. Become familiar with the interview format, the types of questions usually asked, and the length of time for responses. For example, during my Morning Coffee show on Wednesdays, I have only 20 minutes for the interview. The setting is very relaxed. But, during my Sunday night show for Emerging Authors, I have 45 minutes. Your responses need to be succinct and on-point. Find out whether the interview is live or pre-recorded. That gives you more flexibility in the length of your answers.

It’s also a good idea to learn what issues associated with your book are most likely to appeal to the station’s audience. Practice answering those questions. Interview yourself in front of a mirror or webcam or have a friend help you practice. Remember to relax and pause for a deep breath if you need more time to respond with a clear message.

  1. Help your host

Sometimes, short answers are better because they allow the host to ask another question, take another phone call, or go to a commercial – so keep your answers to 30 seconds or less. But, other times, the host will ask an open-ended question that allows you the flexibility to expound on your answer. You’ll judge the pacing when you research the show you’re being interviewed on, and by asking the host in advance.

  1. Express yourself

Listeners will “hear it” if you stand, use well-timed gestures, and smile – even on the radio. Try to match the host’s energy. If it’s an early morning call like my Morning Coffee show, get up early and have your coffee or whatever helps you wake up and be energized for the interview. Your passion – or lack of it — will really come across to the audience.

  1. Find a quiet spot for your interview

Most interviews will be arranged in advance. That’s what I do. If it’s handled over the phone, be sure that you arrange to take the call in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Also, practice your interviews in this space, too. You’re the expert and the radio host will usually attempt to make you comfortable and at ease.

Take your time and have your talking points in front of you. Make sure to answer questions in a way that presents you and your book in the most positive and interesting way.

  1. Practice makes perfect

With practice, you’ll relax during interviews and put yourself and your book in the best light. Think carefully before responding to questions and answer with your practiced responses but avoid sounding canned.  The audience will pick up on rote answers so just be natural.

If you feel yourself becoming shaken and nervous, take a deep breath. It’s perfectly alright to tell the host or reporter that you don’t know the answer to the question if you don’t. Just respond that you’ll be happy to find out and get back with them. This gives you another reason to be on the show again!

  1. Be honest and avoid hyperbole

It’s easy to get nervous and misstate information about your book. Be cautious about this because your audience will know if you’re exaggerating or hyping your book. The host and audience appreciates real, in-depth information about you and your book. That’s why you’re on the show. And, if you make a mistake, don’t sweat. Everyone makes mistakes and you’ll improve with experience.

  1. Don’t depend on the host to make the plug

Make sure to mention your book title and where listeners can get a copy of your book such as your website, local bookstores, etc. and ask them to follow you on social media. Also make sure to talk about an upcoming book signing or author talk.

  1. Repeat your message during the show

People tend to drop in and out of the interview so do what CNN does best – repeat your message throughout the interview.  Your host will probably help with this throughout by saying, “I’m talking with ___________, author of _____________.

  1. Follow up after the interview

Everyone appreciates a thank-you as a follow-up to the interview via phone or e-mail. This is also a great opportunity to assure that the reporter, editor, or producer who interviewed you has all the information they need to complete their segment. If you have a publicist, this is usually SOP – standard operating practice.

 

Dr. Patty is a White Plains, NY native who has recently settled in Chatham County with her daughter, Anjela. She also has two sons, James Jr. and Joshua. Dr. Patty holds a Bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University, Master’s degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix and, most recently, she achieved a Doctorate in Ministry from Family Bible University.

Dr. Patty believes in thinking big, and in 2005, she took the challenge to enter a new sphere of influence with the Pastor Pat Radio Show. The show offered a platform for relevant issues affecting the individual as a whole and proved to be a powerful and effective medium for her years of training and life experience.

She next established The Mid-Life Resource Center in 2012 that offers a comprehensive array of resources for people experiencing tremendous challenges and transitions associated with mid-life. She hosts two radio shows, Managing Mid-Life and Morning Coffee with Dr. Patty.

Dr. Patty hosts an Emerging Authors segment where she interviews new authors in her Sunday night programs. For more information about Dr. Patty and to arrange an interview, contact her at info@managemidlife.com.

 

All About the Authors welcomes guest posts from authors and those who are experts in the book industry. If you’re interested in submitting a guest post to All About the Authors, please send your information and topic idea to allabouttheauthors@gmail.com with the subject line “Guest Post”.

 

Guest Blogs: Why they work

9 tips to great guest blogs that build exposure, relationships and influence

Why pursue guest blogging or a virtual blog tour? Because guest blogging gives you opportunities to get in front of the right and different audiences – people who are interested in you and your book. travel pic for siteIt’s like travelling without all the hoopla…from your location to any destination you choose.

1. First, determine your audience and topic. For example, a book about gardening would be a fit on blog sites that discuss gardening as well as organizations – local, regional and national — that offer information about gardening and all the products surrounding it. Often, you can submit a guest blog for free by submitting your idea or written blog for review on the site.

2. Find good blog sites for your posts. Google search is a good way to start. You’re probably also familiar with sites that discuss your topic. This is a good time to do some research that will show you are interested in the site and the message. Try typing in a keyword that suggests your subject and “submit a guest post.”

3. Become familiar with the site and posts. Does the content match yours or your style of writing? Or, will your blog be a unique voice for the site if the owner is interested in different viewpoints? Keep in mind that your goals are to:

• Get accepted
• Attract readers
• Build relationships with new fans and site owners

4. Check whether the blog has engaged readership and also if posts are shared via social media and even better, commented on. Your goal is as much positive interaction with the readers as possible. Remember, guest blogging is a way for the site to keep fresh content on its blog, add a new perspective for its audience, and hopefully get new readers from your guest blogger’s community. It’s a win-win situation!

5. Pick great topics for your guest posts (remember you are the expert in this area). If it’s interesting to you and seems in line with other posts, that’s the path to follow. Play around with several catchy titles and keep the headline fairly short.

6. Pitch your idea or finished blog. When writing your pitch and guest post, make your writing shine. You’re publishing an article on someone else’s website or blog and you want to do an amazing job for yourself and your new fans. What’s a good length for a blog post? There are many opinions on average length from super short posts of 200 words to super long posts of 2,000 words or more. I like posts of about 600 to 1,200 words. Make your post work for you and your host. Often, the site owner will provide guidelines to follow.

7. Link to the post to your blog or website. I suggest using an “ender” that includes your name, book title, website address and social media handles. This can be 100 words or longer depending on the site and blog length.

8. Promote it on your own social media with links back to the post. You are building your fan base and your credibility.

9. Keep the conversation going! Make sure to reply to comments
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Check out my video on Guest Posts and find out why I like Virtual Tours, when to do them and how to plan them. Join our All About the Authors community  Continue reading

Serving authors both together and within our own businesses

All About the Authors’ founders and partners know the book business. Not only have we joined to launch an explosive new site for authors that offers tips and guidance on editing, publishing, and marketing their books, but we are all business owners within our own book niche.

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Betsy and Carin

Carin Siegfried, owner of CS Editorial, offers a wide variety of services including developmental and line editing, academic editing, and query letter and synopsis writing. She began her business five years ago after leaving Charlotte-based book wholesaler Baker & Taylor.   Carin’s extensive credentials include working at St. Martin’s Press in New York City and Ingram Book Group in Nashville before moving to Charlotte. She is the author of The Insider’s Guide to a Career in Book Publishing and National President of the Women’s National Book Association.

Betsy Thorpe is the owner of Betsy Thorpe Literary Services. Betsy’s impressive credentials include working as an editor at many of the big publishing houses in New York City as an acquisitions and developmental editor. Betsy specializes in developmental (big-picture) editing, book consulting, and ghostwriting.  She has co-written many books, including the best-selling book 365 Nights, and her first novel just attained an agent. She is the former Vice-President of the Women’s National Book Association-Charlotte.

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Priscilla

Priscilla Goudreau-Santos owns Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing. She began specializing in book and author publicity two years ago after an amazing, highly successful, twenty-plus-year career as a marketing and public relations consultant, publicist, writer and ed
itor. PGPR&M offers campaign, content and digital strategy, event coordination, writing, editing, and press relations. Priscilla is the current Publicity Chair for the Women’s National Book Association-Charlotte.

AyersNicole Ayers, owner of Ayers Edits, shares her editing expertise with writers interested in self-publishing or traditional publishing. She offers developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading. She is available on a consultative basis for others services, such as assistance writing query letters. She opened her freelance editing business two years ago after more than a decade of experience teaching writers and working with a National Writing Project affiliate.  She is currently Events Chair for the Women’s National Book Association-Charlotte. Nicole is also an assistant editor for The Bookwoman, the WNBA national newsletter, and is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association.

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Karen

Karen Alley owns Karen Alley Writing Services.  She began work as freelance writer and editor 10 years ago, after a publishing career that included work as an assistant editor in book production for Digital Text Construction, and serving as editor of two separate magazines, the IGA Grocergram and Carolina Gardener. Karen spends a lot of time writing for various clienets, as well as keeping her blog, Blending it Up, updated. Her editing work focuses on developmental and line editing, and she loves working on fiction, especially romance novels, as well as non-fiction projects.

Working within our own businesses and joining forces as a partnership is all about achieving the All About the Authors’ mission: to better serve authors. And between us, we have a tremendous depth of knowledge. Combined, we’ve worked with authors whose successful books have included a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a Kirkus Books Best Indie Book, an iBook Pick of the Year, a Red City Review Book Award Finalist and a New York Public Library Best Books for Teens.

Find out more about each book pro at Meet the Team. And, join the All About the Authors’ author community to learn how you can achieve your goals and dreams.

The Worst Advice We’ve Heard About Book Publicity

megaphone-kid-cropped1You must do a book tour

Ask a handful of published authors or better yet, go to a local book signing and discover why book tours aren’t a must for most authors. Unless you have an established following or are part of a larger group such as a YA panel, a book signing may be a bust. Bookstores depend on authors to bring in a crowd and often underestimate attendance.  I represented a Nashville author who wanted help arranging his book launch. The large-chain bookstore underestimated attendance and had to ask him to bring an extra box of books for the signing. If not for his personal following and our combined publicity efforts, he might be like the majority of authors who show up to only a handful of dedicated fans.

Why bother with a social media campaign?

Today’s industry standard includes a social media campaign. I know, I know, you’re a writer not a Facebook positor of trivialities or a “Tweeter” of the banal. But, believe me when I say that publishing contracts are sometimes awarded to those who have built a large fan base proving that people are interested in them and what they have to say. Start with social media that you like and that makes sense for you. Make sure you’re targeting your audience – Facebook is known to be popular with women, Google+ with men. Today’s book publicity is fueled by social media. Try it – you might like it.

Media outreach isn’t important

Let’s face it – it’s hard to sell yourself. Everyone (or almost everyone) has trouble with self-promotion. But if you’re self-published or even if you aren’t, media outreach is a crucial part of standing out in your community and in the larger book world. Not only should you seek stories about yourself and your book or books but also the crucial reviews that can help launch you onto a larger platform.

You have to be on Oprah to achieve success

This is a famous battle cry for wanna be top-selling authors. The gold stamp of approval is being endorsed by Oprah and it is, of course. It’s just really, really hard to achieve and an unrealistic goal for a beginning or modestly successful author. Yes, it’s important to reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground, too. Look for media opportunities in your local community or groups. Branch out from there with targeted outreach to media in ever widening circles and don’t give up. It’s usually just when you want to quit that you get that exciting phone call from a journalist or radio show host who is interested in interviewing you.

Garner book reviews by badgering reviewers

Reviewers are people, too, and usually very busy people. Treat these contacts with respect similarly to journalists who have limited time to find out about you unless you and your book are interesting to them. Find out if the reviewer covers your genre and work to develop a relationship with him or her. Send a personalized email asking if he would like a copy of your book (and in what format) and then follow-up. It’s a waste of a good book if you send it to a reviewer who isn’t interested or just doesn’t have time.

Book publicity isn’t selling

As an author, especially a self-published author, you are an entrepreneur with a product to sell. What you need to do is become comfortable with the process. Whether you’re promoting your book through social media, media outreach, with a book tour or signing, or by giving talks in your community and at conferences, you’re selling. And, the best part is that it’s something that you’re passionate about. Get out there and have fun!

 

Building your fan base means more readers!

writing-with-pen-3Where are you in your author journey? Did you know that marketing your book begins about the same time as writing your book or at least one year to six months before launch? Many authors are faced with this conundrum: if no one knows who you are, how will they buy your book? Traditional publishers also look to their authors to develop a following on their own. And, having an established following may be part of why an author is chosen for publication.

My name is Priscila Goudreau-Santos and I’m a Publicist and Marketing Specialist now living in Charlotte, NC.  I also specialize in book and author publicity. My background includes working as a journalist, public relations specialist and communications expert for a number of clients. I started my own business in 1996 and since then have been approached by many authors — both published and yet-to-be published writers who are asking for help in getting the word out about themselves and their books. How do you begin crafting your message and marketing strategy? It’s all about building your fan base…including social media networking, websites, blogs, and traditional press releases and media contacts.

First of all, how do you brand yourself? How do people find you or see you as different from others.  Set yourself apart from other authors by asking these questions:

  • How am I unique?
  • Why did I write my book?
  • Who is my market (including age group, gender and preferences)?

These are just some of the questions you should ask to find out who is your target and how do you reach them.

Next, formulate a marketing plan targeted to your audience. It sounds overwhelming task but it’s a lot easier to do it in steps. This centers around your Author Platform or (brand or position) where you chose your key message: religion, conservation, healthcare, intrigue, Sci-Fi, etc. What are you trying to say?

Then, make sure that you do what marketers of products do best by branding your image or message with colors or photos. If you use the same color, picture and message in all of your marketing and publicity, your fans will begin to recognize you. In the Carolinas, when you see a black panther with bright blue trim, do you think of the Carolina Panthers? And, the catch phrase says it all: Two States. One Team.

Next, choose the way that you’d like people to connect with you by choosing to create a website or blog. There are different websites that allow you to create your own website free of charge such as Wix.com or WordPress.com or you can hire a professional to help with the technical and creative aspects. You’ll want your vision to portray you and your book in a unique way that you like. If you like it, chances are your followers will like it, too.

Then, use this platform to launch social media that will further connect with your followers. It’s all about connections. Again, choose ones that you like and use and that your followers use. Using all the tools in the toolbox, start to think ahead to using traditional media like press releases, social media and other elements and how they all work together. For example, if you send out a press release announcing your book launch, make sure that you make this announcement on your social media as well. There’s so much competition for everyone’s attention that you have to repeat your message often and on as many channels as possible.

Be creative and have fun. Use videos to set your campaign apart that you can post on your website, in your blog or send via link to your fans. If pictures are part of your message, then set up a Pinterest site and ask your followers to join and pin pictures to your boards. Make your campaign as interactive as possible. There are so many creative ways to set yourself apart and get noticed.