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4 Tips On Alter Ego Marketing to Bring Your Character to Life

  
  
  
  
  
  

Imagine going online and finding Katniss Everdeen's tweets, Hermione Grainger's Pinterest boards, or T.S. Garp's Facebook posts. If you're a fan of their stories, you'd follow along, adding them to your favorites lists and perhaps sharing particularly good posts or tweets with other people on your list. This is one of the benefits of having a memorable character; she comes to life in your readers' minds so much that they react to her as if she were real.

Alter Ego Marketing Publishing

Why Do It?

Like any other real person, your character can get better known online by opening social media accounts and participating in them each day. Posting as your character will perpetuate the idea that she lives on past the events of the book, and creates interest in her life that readers pass on to friends. In social media terms, this means reposting and retweeting your words, sometimes thousands of times a day. You can't buy publicity like that. Well, you can, but it would cost a lot of money.

Where to Start?

Every social media site asks for an email account, so set one up for your character. GMail is quick and simple, and there's nothing in their TOS that prohibits you from having multiple accounts. Get a user name as close to your character's name as possible, for name recognition. Use this account everywhere your character has to sign up to an individual account.

Places to Join

Facebook can still be a powerful marketing tool, as long as it's used correctly. It's against their rules to have accounts under more than one name, but you can set up alternate sections called Pages. Make a page in your character's full name and post from that page to send messages to your fans' walls. Sign up for a Twitter account using the GMail account, as well as setting up a Pinterest board.

How to Post

The main point of social media hinges on the word "social." You have to commit to posting on a regular basis as your character, at least once a day for the best results. The idea is not to push your books but to turn thousands of people into fans of your character, making them care about what happens to her. You've lived with this character long enough, you know what she's like as a person. Imagine how she would post on social media sites, and take on that personality when you post. Stay in character, but switch up posts between funny, poignant, useful, and friendly, just like live people do. Make sure you add your character's social media account names into the back matter in your book, giving your readers the chance to discover and follow along as a fan or as a friend.

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!


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Self Publishing Success: 3 Key Actions To Find Your Readers

  
  
  
  
  
  

Every writer has dreams of being the next Stephen King, or at least the next Hugh Howey, but there are no guarantees what book is going to become a raging success and which one will sit on the shelves. You may not be able to find the golden key that opens up the door to unlimited sales, but you can tweak the odds a little bit in the way you market your book. The key is to make it easy for your readers to find your work. Until you've got multiple best-sellers under your belt, your readers won't want to search around to find your latest book. Giving your readers the opportunity to easily buy your work won't guarantee bestseller status, but without taking these steps, you're stacking the odds against you. You need to find the key and open the gates!

Open gates reader

Sell in Multiple Formats

Putting a eBook up on Amazon is a great way to put your work up in front of millions of people. So is publishing a hardcover or recording an audiobook. Each method has its own set of fans who regularly shop for their reading material in their stores, and they rarely cross genres. Why pick and choose between eBook lovers, those who adore paper in their hands, and people who listen to books on their commute? Give your readers the chance to experience your work in any format they choose. Sell eBooks, of course, but also sell audiobooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, and even digital copies on flash drives if you find a venue. The more, the better.

Sell on Multiple Outlets

It's accepted almost everywhere that Amazon is the big dog when it comes to selling books now. You'd be foolish to ignore its size and strength, but there are other venues that have their fans, and these fans won't touch an Amazon book. Place your book for sale everywhere that you can, from Barnes & Noble and Apple to Google and others. Put your book in as many stores as possible, to reach the highest number of potential buyers. Look for niche stores that may cater to your reader.

Market to Your Audience

Every writer has to market their book today, whether they're published by a big commercial firm or they do it themselves with the indie route. Your time is better spent writing your next book, but you have to spend time marketing every day. It makes sense to make the most of that time directing the work where it will do the most good.

Who is your ideal reader? Spend time figuring out exactly who this is, and find out where they hang out online. Post in garden forums, create a Pinterest page, put up amusing Tweets, or whatever works for your fan base. Don't waste time with general advertising that hits people who don't care about your genre. Narrow your niche and hit it hard.

The above are a few basic actions you take to catch your reader and keep him. See our new AuthorTree Marketing Program below...it may be exactly what you have been looking for to open the gates!

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!


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Is Crowdfunding the Right Move for Authors?

  
  
  
  
  
  

Virginia Woolf had it right: in order to do the best fiction work, one needs a modest sum of money and a room of one's own. The argument about the perfect writing environment can go on for years, but one thing is certain: in order to be able to write, you have to have some way to pay the bills. Most writers have other jobs, at least when beginning their career, but some are discovering an alternate source of income that might provide enough to live on while finishing up a novel or nonfiction book. It's called crowdfunding, and it's the newest way to raise money to allow you to use your creativity without tying up your day making a living.

Crowdfunding Authors

What is Crowdfunding?

It all began with crowdsourcing, a concept unique to the internet. If enough people do a small amount of tiny jobs, together they can achieve massive results. This was first proven on a popular scale with the SETI@Home project, which uses home computers in screensaver mode to do complicated computations. Companies soon popped up to take advantage of crowdsourcing. Offering pennies a task, they broke down massive data entry jobs and other digital tasks into small bits. Workers did tiny bits of almost brainless work for pocket change, and clients got very large tasks done relatively quickly.

Crowdfunding took this concept and turned it on its head. What if enough people believed in your project, enough so they'd be willing to pitch in five or ten dollars to help? Creative people across the globe are creating crowdfunding campaigns, raising money for creative efforts such as making indie movies, building inventions, and, yes, taking time off to write books.

How to Crowdfund?

If you've decided to try your hand at raising money this way, keep in mind that the initial setup takes a lot of time and effort. Choose a crowdfunding spot such as PubSlush, which is specifically for writers, or Kickstarter, probably the best-known of them all. Each site has its own pros and cons, and you'll need to sample several to find your best fit.

Research the site to find the best methods of creating your presentation. You'll need to make a video about your project, come up with a convincing essay, and create viable gifts for larger supporters. Ask for a reasonable amount to get you through your project. You don't want people to think you're taking advantage of them. Be honest and direct, and add a touch of humor if you can. Market your campaign everywhere you can, and ask all your fans to do the same. Keep in touch with your supporters if your campaign is successful, and promptly send out all the promised swag in a timely manner.

We have considered starting our own crowdfunding site for authors and would love to hear your thoughts?

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!

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How to Write a Killer Hook to Spice Up Your Book

  
  
  
  
  
  

If you think of your writing as a fishing line and your readers as the fish, the purpose of a hook becomes clear. Whether you author an essay for a class or the great American novel, the hook pulls the reader into the story.

Author Hook reader

“It was a bright, cold day in April ...”

Imagine if George Orwell had used this line when publishing his classic novel 1984. Now add:

“...and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

That hook teases your imagination. When self-publishing a novel, a good hook determines whether your audience wants to read the book or push it aside. 

What Makes a Good Hook?

“All children except one grow up.”
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

This would not be a good hook for a thesis about child development, but it works when publishing a children’s fiction novel.

Hooks for nonfiction books can be:

  • An interesting quote

  • A unique fact

  • A statistic

For fiction, you want to stretch your imagination. Writer’s Digest suggests hooks for fiction might include:

  • A statement of principle associated with the story – For example, The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton discusses the meanness in people’s hearts.

  • A simple fact – “I am an invisible man.” Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

  • Something that introduces the voice of the story – A supernatural thriller might start with a scary line or a love story with an affectionate phrase.

When a Hook is Something Else

Hooks are not always the first lines of an article or story. Sometimes a hook is a tagline used when self-publishing that will attract potential readers. In this scenario, the hook gives a first impression during a book marketing campaign or on the cover.

"A novel of vampire, werewolves and dirigibles.” This is the tagline for the paranormal romance novel by Gail Carriger call Changeless. It grabs your attention before you even know anything about the story. When creating a tagline:

  • Use active language – “Her next jump may be her last” as opposed to “She jumped, maybe for the last time.

  • Use colorful words – When is the last time you heard someway say dirigibles?

  • Avoid adjectives – The tagline is no place for “ly” words.

Things to Avoid When Writing a Hook

Whether creating a tagline or the first-line for your novel, there are some things you should never do.

  • Lie – Don’t promise a story about vampires unless there really are bloodsuckers in it.

  • Go over the top – Simple is the best policy. Don’t say olfactory when smell will do.

  • Make it too dry – If in doubt, go for the laugh.

A hook is a promise writers make to their audience. The goal is to provide a teaser that is both elusive and edgy. What is the hook from your favorite book?

 

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!

 

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How to Market to Unusual Groups Who May Love Your Books

  
  
  
  
  
  

Selling your books offline doesn't always have to mean sitting behind stacks of paperbacks at a book signing, waiting for readers to come to you. Conventions and book store events are great for pulling in readers who are already your fans, but thinking outside of the box with your book marketing can result in a new group of book buyers who might never otherwise considered reading anything you've written.

Unusual reader groups

Why Bother?

When marketing on the internet is so simple, while opportunities for advertising your books online are so widespread, why bother trying to market your work in the 3-D world? There are huge groups of people offline that make up an untapped market, one that's never read anything like your books. They need a reason to take the plunge on a writer they've never heard of, and making a personal connection is a time-honored way of making a sale. It's worked for insurance sales people and other sales professionals for decades; why not use this method to get some more book sales? The key is to find groups of people likely to want your work, and to let them get to know you. Once you're a trusted member of the group, buying your book will be the natural next step for them. 

Where to Look

Your offline fan base can be anywhere, but narrow your search to groups of people likely to read in your genre. For instance:

  • Quilt clubs for quilting books, garden clubs for gardening books, and other clubs for other nonfiction niches

  • Book clubs in your fiction niche that advertise on Meetup.com

  • People who hang out in hobby shops for socializing

In addition, getting to know more people on a personal level can increase sales, because people love to buy a book and then tell their friends they know the author. Meet up with a class reunion committee, get together for coffee with citizens after city council or school board meetings, or join in some volunteer efforts and make contact with people who have the same interests as you. Once you make the 3-D connection it will make it that much easier for you to further seek out the online pockets of similar groups.

Close the Deal

Don't turn into a pushy sales person, but casually let it be known that you're a writer, and you have a book or several available. Keep paperback copies of your book in the car for instant sales. Talk to people about downloading eBook reading apps right onto their laptop or smartphone if they don't want to invest in an eBook reader. Emphasize the convenience of having audiobooks on hand for long commutes, time at the gym, or hours spent working in the garden. Make reading your books convenient to them, make a personal connection, and you're likely to make the sale, as well.

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!


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Maximize Your Book PR Spend: Recruit Bloggers Like A Shepherd!

  
  
  
  
  
  

The point of hiring public relations specialists is because they can access a population you haven't been able to otherwise. Public relations specialists enjoy exclusivity with certain organizations and interest groups that may mutually gain from featuring your work, but tend to only deal with PR professionals directly. And, because they have wide social influence, they can help your book reach a mass population in a very short period of time.

Blogger recruitment

The biggest advantage of hiring a public relations specialist is to break into your target market. They'll craft a genius press release and bam, suddenly news wires are picking up and spreading the word about your new book to their social networks. If you're wondering what generates other big bloggers interest, news stations calling to interview you and organizations ready to host you, this is how it happens.

It pays to release your book with a big PR bang. It also helps break you into the blogosphere. An instant portfolio will attract other bloggers to you- they'll want to interview you and feature you on their blogs because they want to ride the cloud and be featured with a popular author too. 

1. Friend bloggers in your subject area. The easiest ways to connect are through direct emails and Twitter shout outs. Instagram is gaining traction in the social media sphere for authentic interactions as well. 

  • Reply to or shout out a blogger via Twitter or Instagram that you want to connect with. Offer a short comment or compliment and openly post your email. Maybe they won't reply, but perhaps one of their followers will. Choose an email where you'll maintain your PR and marketing contacts and put it out there. You'll be surprised how many people get back to you. 

  • Depending on the blogger's specific audience, decide what type of reach best fits their target. Perhaps you offer a recipe, maybe a giveaway of your book, in some cases an interview and in certain scenarios an excerpt. Whatever you choose, make your intentions clear and present it in a way that makes it sound special for their readers as well as acknowledging the great favor they're doing for you. 

  • Tip: if you're considering whether you need promotional copies of your book, the answer is yes! Many bloggers won't do guest posts without a sample beforehand. You can be choosey and only select bloggers that have large followerships, but be ready to offer books to those who make the request. 

2. Friend bloggers in your subject area who are published authors. Everyone wants to promote their work, new and seasoned authors. Offering to promote their work on your blog or other social media networks in return for sharing yours will get you noticed by their followers.

  • To get a big PR push, look for certain holidays or "noted days" (think national doughnut day or nurse's day) when you pitch authors. They'll appreciate the thoughtfulness and if they didn't think of it, will likely now get on track to feature your work on a day like this as well. 

Feeling confident about getting on the PR wire? Take advantage of your professional PR specialist while having fun connecting with other bloggers to promote your work. Have a PR experience that worked well for you? Share with other readers now. 

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!



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4 Things "Not To Do" When Writing a Novel (+ Tips From Hemingway)

  
  
  
  
  
  

If you are an aspiring novel writer or author of any type, you have likely procured as much information as you can find on how to go about becoming successful. However, you might not have read any information about what "not to do" when writing a novel.

Hemingway writing a novel

Hemingway had his own set of opinions on writing, many of these were compiled in 1984 by Larry W. Phillips in his book Ernest Hemingway on Writing. Below are five of his tips:

  • Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.

  • Never think about the story when you’re not working.

  • When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.

  • Don’t describe an emotion–make it.

  • To get started write one true sentence.

Read below for a few of our own tips on things to avoid in an effort to finish your book and make it a success:

Don't wait forever on inspiration that might not ever come:

Many authors feel they should be "inspired" before they begin to write any piece of literature. Unfortunately, that could cause a lack of progress when you wait for said inspiration to begin working on your novel. Famous author and editor Peter De Vries once spoke about writing only with inspiration. He said "I write when I am inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning. " Successful authors will tell you that their secret to writing novels is not to wait on inspiration but to write as much as possible, even when they don't feel very "inspired."

Don't neglect to schedule your writing time:

As mentioned above in the first point, "writing" is the key to writing a successful novel. Without that aspect, you won't get very far. Therefore, it's important to create a writing schedule that you will stick to regardless of what comes up. Accomplish this by establishing a writing quota. This quota will determine how many words or chapters you write in a day or over the course of a week. Having a goal will keep you focused and help you avoid distractions that will take away from your writing time.

Don't wait until you know everything there is to know about your characters' direction or publishing in general:

Some writers find themselves delaying the creation of their novel until they are 100 percent sure they know everything about their storyline and are completely sure how their characters will interact with each other and so on. However, if you wait until you know exactly how your novel will look when finished, wait until you read that next how-to book, take that next class on how to properly develop characters or learn everything about how to find a publisher once you have your novel completed, you might never start your novel. Therefore, do research enough to start your book, and complete the rest of the learning process while you are working on your first draft. This will ensure you are making progress instead of being in a perpetual state of preparation.

Don't write only what's trending:

When a particular novel topic is currently trending, that means that those novels were written approximately two years ago. Therefore, if you aim to only write for in trending market, by the time you complete your novel, chances are good that the topic will no longer be trending at that time. Consequently, it is best to write what you love and what you are passionate about and not to worry too much about whether or not your novel topic will be trending at the time it is completed.

Follow the advice listed above on what "not to do" when writing a novel for a greater chance at novel writing success.                                                                                   

 Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!


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25 Book Marketing Sites: Reach Out and Touch Them!

  
  
  
  
  
  

Writers who used to wait years to see their books published are moving in droves into self publishing. EBook publication allows authors to bypass the gatekeepers of traditional publishers and allow the readers to judge for themselves how good their work is. This means you're completely free to publish your books your way. This freedom means you're all on your own or the skys the limit when it comes to book marketing, your mindset will make the difference.

25 Author Marketing Sites

If you want readers to find your book, you're going to have to spread the word. Even with traditional publishers, it's more and more common to see an author marketing his own works rather than being able to rely on their publisher to do the job. They'll spread the word about Stephen King and James Patterson, but the rest of us are on our own. Hundreds of websites exist for helping you to market your book. Here are 25 popular sites for you to reach out to and make it happen! 

Newsletters

Some are paid and some are free, but newsletters are among the most effective ways to market your work. Genre specific newsletters are often easier to get into, as they'll reach fewer readers, but each one has its own rules for submitting a current book. Fill out an application to market your paperback, audio book or eBook. It can take weeks or months to see your book on the most popular newsletters, but the publicity is worth the wait.

Book Tours

Book review sites can make your sales numbers sing, but who's got time to seek out and contact dozens of site owners, then convince them to read and review your book? Virtual book tour owners have already done that work for you. Sign up for 20 to 50 different stops on your tour, and your book will be featured on dozens of book review sites, reaching thousands of potential new readers. Some book tour sites also feature drawings to whip up further interest in your book, and they'll use copies of your books as prizes.

Social Networks

If you're not convinced of the power of social networks, look at the movie Paranormal Activity. Its producers created the buzz for this film completely on social media sites, with absolutely no other advertising before its release. It's tough to get a million hits right out of the box, but with the right campaign you can increase your readership significantly. Keep in mind that this is a social activity, so only post marketing about 10 percent of the time. Spend the rest of your posts on other author's works, interesting tidbits about your writing process, or funny posts readers will love to share.

Book Shelves

Avid readers love to talk about the books they've read, both good and bad, and the internet is the perfect place to do this on a worldwide stage. Virtual bookshelf sites allow readers to list the books they've read, give the books reviews, and talk about them with other book lovers. Get your book on a good bookshelf site and the word of mouth can push your book up the rankings. The key to these sites is to join them as a reader. It's a subtle process, as any blatant marketing can be seen as being pushy, but those who follow the rules can see great gains in their book sales.

And Finally...

One of the most effective ways of marketing your work is to create an email list and send out a monthly newsletter. Set up an account at an email marketing site such as MailChimp, then add the link to your signup page in the back matter of your book. Readers can sign up immediately after finishing your work, and you can keep in touch with them, letting them know when your next book will be on sale. In terms of making loyal fans with a personal interest, there are few methods better than your own newsletter.

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!

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Tips To Engage Your Readers With Google Hangouts: Author Test Drive!

  
  
  
  
  
  

Chances are as a self published author you're already taking advantage of one or two Google tools. You've likely caught onto Google + by now, but have you taken Google Hangouts for a test drive yet? Their latest social tool in connectivity, Google Hangouts helps you interact with your target reader audience near and far. 

Author Hangout

Record Your Hangouts & Use Later At Your Blog & Other Social Media Outlets

There are generally two types of Hangouts. One features you and several others in a closed, pseudo-private group while the other is popularly referred to as a Google "On-Air" Hangout where you're live on You Tube or some other social channel visible by others. On-Air videos are the ones you can save for later use.

Video motivates people on an emotional level, so it's your opportunity to connect with your target in a variety of ways. Use your videos: 

  • On blog posts 

  • At your website in a video archive

  • Create a board on Pinterest

  • At your Goodreads account

What To Feature In Your Hangout

1. How-Tos

  • If your book features a method, demos are Google Hangout gold. You can send out an "invite" to your hangout via your blog, Twitter and Facebook, host your demo and record a video for your archive. 

2. Are you a novelist? Host a hangout that features an excerpt reading or how you developed each character. Again, send out an invitation to your mailing lists and on your blog. Record these and submit on your blog.

3. Host a fellow author. No matter what genre you've published, invite a fellow, popular author to a hangout. Either host a discussion, interview the author or create a fun, how-to demo the author participates in. 

Tips

  • Tip 1: Take advantage of Google's event app to send out invites.  

  • Tip 2: Create an event via Facebook rather than only posting once to your wall. 

  • Tip 3: Use a url shortener such as tinyurl.com or goo.gl for Tweets to maximize your 140 characters. 

The Logistics To Embedding

If this all sounds intriguing, but you're not sure how to get the videos on your site, it's easy! Follow these steps: 

1. Record Hangout via Google Hangout directions here

2. If you choose an "On-Air" hangout, your video will automatically be saved to You Tube.

  • A link to embed on your website or into blog posts will automatically be created with each video. 

  • Copy this link and paste into the HTML or "arbitrary text" area on your website. Once saved and previewed, the video should run perfectly. 

Remember, with each video your on screen appearances will get better and better so experiment- try using props, keep your book in the shot and get feedback. Ask your friends, your PR team or anyone with marketing experience what they think. In no time you'll have a video portfolio and space will become limited at your Google Hangouts!

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!

 

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The Writer's Workout: 5 Exercises to Keep You Healthy at Your Desk

  
  
  
  
  
  

Writers as a whole may not be the healthiest people on earth. We love our coffee, sit at a desk all day, and tend to unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail on a pretty frequent basis. In the middle of it all is a body that's slowly gaining weight, because we can't justify the time to go to the gym. Work out? There are deadlines to meet and marketing to do! No more excuses. Exercise adds oxygen to your system, which fuels your brain for better writing. Do some simple exercises without ever leaving your desk area and you might find yourself losing a little bit of that desk chair rear end.

Author Fit

Levitation

Cross your legs at the ankles so your feet are on your seat. Hold on to the chair arms firmly and lift yourself off the chair a few inches. Suck in your stomach and hold this position for 15 seconds. Lower yourself to the chair slowly and breathe. Do this five times. You'll exercise your arms and core with this one.

Backward Dip

Stand with your back to your desk. Sit on the very edge and place your hands on either side of you. Slide forward off the desk, holding your weight with your arms. Lower your body about six inches, hold for about 10 seconds, then raise it up again. Do 10 repetitions before resting. This exercise works out the back of your arms that get so flabby.

Chair Squats

Lower your desk chair as far as possible. Stand in front of your chair and lower your butt until it's almost touching the chair. Place your hands on your hips and lower yourself to the seat as slowly as possible. Stand again until you're barely off the chair, and hold for 10 seconds. Lower yourself again as slowly as possible. You'll strengthen your core and lower body tremendously with 20 repetitions of  this one. When it gets too easy, try it with your arms outstretched or on one foot.

Chair Rear End Lift

Tighten those glutes and legs with this killer of an exercise. Stand up behind your chair and hold on to the back. Place your feet about shoulder width apart. Lift your right foot up and back slightly and make a circle with the foot clockwise 25 times, then counter-clockwise 25 times. Switch legs so you're standing on your right foot and work out your left leg.

Good Habits

Exercises can help, but so can practicing good habits through your whole day. Keep a glass of water handy and drink it all day. Get a stand-up desk or work at your kitchen counter for a time.  Arrange your chair and monitor so you have good posture while writing. And try to laugh every day. It burns calories, and it just feels good.

Since I started running 20 miles per week my productivity and overall health has gone through the roof! No preaching here...but you do have the power!

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!


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