Thursday, June 28, 2012

Effectively # Your Way To A New Reader!

The one and most important thing on TWITTER is the # (hashtag). If it weren't for the idea of the #, Twitter would be a nothing!


But you have to # effectively or you will never reach the target audience you want to reach.
There are certain hashtags I use to get to my target audience. For instance, when I want to tweet my blog, I hashtag my tweet with keywords that will help me reach blog readers. Today I tweeted Effectively # To Gain  #reader #marketing #indieauthor #amwriting (url here) or use #amediting #writertip #promoting #writer.
These hashtags help me reach you, my target blog audience.

When I tweet my book, I use #mystery #ebook #2.99 #bestseller #womansleuth #beadedjewelry #streetteam. PLUS too many more to type here, but you get the point. Those hashtags help me reach my target reading audience.

Here are some tips to help # your way to success:

1) Pick KEY hashtags. Like I said earlier, pick hashtags that are already out there. Don't make up your hashtag that NO ONE will see. If you aren't sure what hashtags to use, go to the search box on Twitter and start typing in key words that will help you find your target audience.

2) Keep your tweet short. Sometimes you can do too many hashtags and the reader gets lost in the tweet. Even though you are limited to 140 characters, that too can be too many sometimes.

Here are some popular hashtags for writers:
#amediting  posts from people who are editing
#amwriting  posts from people who are writing
#askagent  agent questions and answers
#author
#authors
#editing
#fictionfriday
#fridayflash  flash fiction on a Friday
#nanowrimo  national novel writing month
#novels
#novelists
#poem
#poet
#poets
#poetry
#pubtip  publication tips
#publishing
#scifi
#selfpublishing
#vss   very short story
#webfic  web fiction
#weblit   web literature
#wip   work in progress
#wordcount
#writegoal
#writequote
#writer
#writers
#writetip  writing advice
#writing
#writingtips  writing advice
#wrotetoday 
 
Some hashtags are specifically “chats” – which means they work in the same way as all tags, but are mainly used at certain agreed times : 
 
#journchat
#kidlitchat
#litchat
#scifichat
#scribechat
#storycraft
#writechat
#yalitchat   young adult literature chat 
 


So get your tweet on and # effectively to reach your target audience.


Do you tweet effectively?


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TAG me, LIKE me, LOVE ME!

Over the past couple weeks I have been hearing a lot about tagging and clicking like on Amazon books. This is really nothing new. But it hit me like a ton of bricks!



It's new to all the traditional authors or writers who have decided to let go of the traditional route and self-publish. It's nothing new to the indie community. We have been tagging and liking books for YEARS.

As a matter of fact, this time last year tagging and liking Amazon books (any retailer for that matter) was a big controversy. The issue was how it was misleading to "the reader" when the person tagging or liking the book hadn't even read it. Even Amazon went as far as deleting ebook tags for a little while but then they  brought them back.

I saw it as a BIG BUNCH OF CRAP!
(REALLY GROSS, BUT I LOVED IT!)

I didn't give into the controversy because tagging and liking works for me. I do like the author and I do think they have tagged their books correctly. AND there is a reason those likes and tags are there.

1) The more likes you have your book moves up in the Amazon algorithms which helps with visibility. I'm not an expert on algorithms and I really don't care how they work just as long as I'm in there somewhere. 

2) Tagging your books help readers, YES READERS, find your book. A CHARMING CRIME is my latest novel. I tagged it magical, witches, potions, mystery, woman sleuth plus more. When a NEW reader who hasn't read me types in witch mystery or cozy mystery, my novel will pop up in the search as possible books they might like. BUT you have to have a lot of tags to get up in those algorithms. 

3) Liking and tagging your author friend's book is a GREAT way to pay it forward! It really is easy to do and takes no time at all. I always make sure that when my closest author friend's novel comes out, I go and tag/like the book. 

4) Tagging and liking groups. YES! I'm in a couple groups where we tag and like each other's books. One is a closed group, while the other is on the Kindle Board Author Tag Exchange. It's a great way to get some quick tags when your book is released and climb higher in those algorithms. 

5) Do you LOVE to view the who bought your book bought this book? Guess what? The tagging and liking helps put you in those streams too!! 

As you can see, liking and tagging is a great promotional tool. BUT beware....There is a down side to tagging. Readers can go in and add their own tags. Or even jealous writers can tag your novel. That is a very nasty thing to do, but it does happen. 

So it's super important to make your tags relevant to your books. Go ahead! Tag and like!

. . .Oh! If there was a LOVE click...I'd do that too!

What are your thoughts on tagging/liking? Do you do it?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breaking Writing Rules and RULING the WORLD!

Have you heard:
1) You can't write that.
2) That will never sell.
3) What genre does that fit into?
4) It's not a paranormal, no one will buy it!
5) Chick-lit is DEAD!



Alright! Put your hands down. We all have. But have we all listened?

HELL NO! We are writers and most of us here are self-published because we heard that our work is good, but has been rejected in one way or another. I had heard for many years "chick lit is dead" or "don't tell them it's chick lit. Call it women's fiction."

Hmmm....


I would call that a BIG OLE LIE!!! And that is ONE thing I DO NOT DO!

Sometimes we have to go beyond the fear of what others think  and write what we want to write. Why are we listening to people industry "professionals" that have NO CLUE what readers want? Have you ever had a gut feeling to write something and you thought that you couldn't because it doesn't fit the industry model?

Most of you know me as a mystery writer, but truth be told, I'm a chick-lit writer! YES! I just admitted that I'm a CHICK-LIT WRITER!!

My first novel, Carpe Bead 'em, was written as a chick-lit. I told everyone and anyone who would listen that I was writing a chick-lit novel. To my surprise, I heard chick-lit was DEAD. Not just dead, but road kill that had been ran over so many times that no one recognized what it was and vomited at the sight of it.

I decided that I wasn't going to listen to them. I was going to blaze my own path and write the best damn chick-lit novel I could. And guess what? I did!


Carpe Bead 'em ended up going to the TOP! It made Amazon's Movers and Shakers list #1 and stayed there for three days, it is on three best seller lists, as well as made it in the top 100 Amazon paid list.

Look at the cover...come on! It screams chick-lit. It has a pink poodle, high-heeled shoes, and jewelry ~ for crying out loud! What if I had listened to them? What if I didn't break the "rule?"

I knew there was an audience for my chick-lit out there. So I got in touch with writer pal, Jessica Park (through my friend and writer pal Heather Webber) and used her editor and got some ideas from her. It was priceless. She truly payed it forward to me.

So I YELL: it's time to beat the fear!

Listen to your gut. Write outside that genre guidelines. Make up your own genre. As a matter of fact, I write the BEST chick-lit cozy mysteries and they sell! Go figure....

Another way to write fearless is twist your plot even more. Just when your reader think they have figured out your plot, step up your game by putting an extra twist in it. This may sound crazy, but your readers will love you for this. They will be hooked and think "Wow! I've never seen an author do that and it's GREAT!"

What if Jessica Park had listened to the naysayers? If you haven't read her inspiring LOVE LETTER TO AMAZON, READ IT! She wrote past the fear of not fitting in the genre rules and her novel FLAT OUT LOVE is ruling Amazon! As a matter of fact, she has been picked up for one of their imprints and they featured Flat Out Love on the front page of Amazon!

It can happen to you! Write what you want and forget the fear of what you hear and RULE THE WORLD!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tips To Strengthen Your Writing

Everyday, well~I hope everyday, that you get out of bed and decide to put your best foot forward in your writing. Or if you have somewhere to go (like me~the day job), you get up, get showered, dressed, do your hair, eat, go to the day job, and perform what you were hired to do.

Right?

Why do I get up every morning and do this?
1) I feel better about myself when I'm cleaned up.
2) I have more confidence when I look better.
3) Perception is everything and if I went to my day job in my pajamas, I'm sure they wouldn't take me seriously.

But underneath the exterior of any job, especially writing, we have a bit of weakness. We do put cover-up on that zit, avoid talking about mistakes we made, wear clothes that are more flattering, or even use products to cover up a thinning hair line.
(LOVE Will Write For Chocolate Inky girl strips!!)
Writing is an all different story. It's very hard to cover up a weakness in your writing. It's hard to read those bad reviews, or get a rejection letter from an editor/agent. If you are self-published, we have a hard time when your editor tells you about a plot point that needs to be fixed.

There are ways to be able to look at your baby (book) objectively, and it takes months, even years to get there. And once you realize you are at this stage of the writing game, you are ready to learn and take your writing to a new level.

Your ATTITUDE is the first emotion you need to conquer before you can accept your weakness. Every writer has a dark moment when we just sit and stare, wondering if we are ever going to have that great novel that everyone wants to read. Our writing mojo is often broken at this point. Some will stop forever, while others will plug away.

Until your ATTITUDE is acceptance that you need to ask for HELP, your weakness will not get stronger.

There is nothing wrong with asking for HELP! There are so many other authors/writers out there that are willing to HELP you, but you have to take it upon yourself to find that help. Be open to that help.

A great way to do that is a critique group. There are several on-line, or check out a local writer's group. You are going to have to do some digging, but the outcome is wonderful. Not only will you get other people's opinion, other than your mom's, you are going to get honest feedback. Feedback that will help you learn some of the mistakes that are contributing to your weakness, which will help your writing get stronger once your recognize it.

Or just a critique partner. It can be someone you met on-line at a blog or on-line group. Below I have listed some on-line critique groups that will HELP you get started! So no excuses!

Use the internet as a RESOURCE! Resources are going to help you focus on a particular weakness. I admit, I still take writing classes. I work on my craft every single day. Even though I teach workshop, I know there are many more things that I DON'T KNOW, and I take those classes to work on my weakness.

Leave the house!! I know you have all taken my PR PERSONALITY TEST, if you haven't~ GO TAKE IT!! Go visit writer's groups, conferences for writers, visit places that feed your muse, go see a movie ( I love going to see movies because it helps my creative juices flow), give yourself a treat to get your spirits up.

Write what you have learned! Be aware of your weakness and cognitively work on it as you are writing. Take pride in your writing when you realize that you are catching your weakness in your writing. 

At the end of the day, NO ONE writes a perfect book. I don't care if you are Stephen King (who writes 10 pages a day, even on holidays), or Truman Capote (who wrote lying down in bed or sitting on a couch with a cigarette and cup of coffee in hand. As the day went on, the coffee gave way to tea, then sherry, then martinis.). All writers have a weakness and it's up to you to help yourself.

Check out these on-line CRITIQUE GROUPS:
The Critique Circle (free)
The Absolute Writer
Agent Query's Critique Partner Wanted Forum
Ladies Who Critique

Check out Savvy Author, where I teach, for GREAT options for on-line workshops!



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tis the Season for Writing Contest....hmm....

Don't we all want to be respected? Someone to tell us how great our writing is?

OF COURSE WE DO!!!!!


And we all fall into the ever evolving trap of "enter our contest!!!" Top notch judges, get your name in front of agents/editors, get some great feed back.....

I have to admit that I too fell into the contest trap when I first started writing. There was nothing more I wanted than to write the first three chapters, a synopsis and hit send as quickly as possible! I was going to WIN!!!
OH, don't mind the fee that is attached to it!

Now if you look over there <------- you are going to see that Splitsville.com is a FINALIST in a contest! GASP!!  Those aren't the contests that I'm talking about. I'm not talking about Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America, Indie Book Awards, Malice Domestic Agatha Awards....

I'm talking about the writer's chapters that hold contests to raise money for their associations. These contests are telling you that if you win, such and such agent is going to possibly request your novel! Who wouldn't want to pay for that???

But how you get there is a different story. This is where I say BUYER BEWARE!!

Do your homework. What are you really getting for your buck? Who are the judges? Are they really trained in judging?

Currently I'm judging a contest and while I'm doing it, I have to admit that I might not be the best judge out there. I was giving a NOT SO GREAT score, when I stopped for a moment. I had to wonder what made them ask me to judge the contest. What did I really have to offer?

I'm just a person who can tell a good story. I don't have an English degree. I haven't won any BIG contests. Hell...I'm self published! So what gave me the right to judge anyone's work?

Then I went back to the submission I was judging. Just because I didn't like the genre, I was giving a bad score. I had to take out my distaste for the genre out of the equation and judge the contest based on the scoring sheet.

How many other judges can say that they have honestly judged a contest taking their personal feelings out of it?

I'm not saying that you should avoid contests all together. I'm saying that these small contests do not offer any type of literary credits. Most of these contests are fun, and generally an interesting challenge.
And there are some legitimate ones out there.

Ask yourself the following questions before you enter into the contest season:

1) Check out the organization putting the contest on. Do your homework. How many winners actually got an agent from the contest? Not a request, a contract.

2) What is the prize?
Is it going to be worth it agonizing months waiting to hear if you won when you only get a small medal??

3) What is the fee? What do you get for that fee?

4) Who are the judges? What are their real credentials?

5) How you are scored? Look for a scoring sheet or ask for one.

All I'm saying is don't waste your time on something that is going to get you nothing. I'd rather you spend your time writing!

What is your experience with writing contests?



Monday, June 18, 2012

Blogging doesn't make you money....SAY WHAT???

Sometimes I come across some really GREAT people that make really IGNORANT comments. It cracks me up because most of the time, these people have no clue what they are talking about...and in that case, they really should keep their mouth closed.

Am I ranting? No. I'm actually chuckling inside, because these comments give me GREAT ideas to blog.

I'm not going to tell you the participants in this story, but I think it's really important for you to know the outcome....

I had suggested to a TRADITIONALLY published author that they should start a blog using their new book as the theme. IT'S A GREAT IDEA!!

I got a sweet smile, laughed at, and then..."blogging doesn't make you money."

I didn't rant, or go off, I simply got a pen out of my purse and wrote GREAT BLOG TOPIC on the palm of my hand. I did NOT want to forget the feeling I was having when those words left the mouth of that author.

I was almost giddy! Excited in fact! Little does that author know....

So this brings me to what I think is going to be a GREAT topic. WHY BLOGGING IS CRITICAL TO MAKING YOU MONEY!

1) Forces you to think about a target audience. Isn't this what helps sell our books??? Selling books=money...right?

If you target your audience (this blog targets writers and how to help them-readers probably AREN'T reading this blog), and promote it as the targeted blog, you will gain readers. The author who prompted me to write this blog, has a VERY targeted theme that would appeal to a VERY targeted audience that will lead to many sells...

For instance, if you write paranormal, you would do some great blogs posts on haunted houses, paranormal activities, talk about paranormal shows....etc....you get the point. You are building that target audience.

2) Forces you to write.
We have to write in order to get a book out. Blogging helps you stay focused and write! It helps you hone your voice. You can experiment with what works best for you and see the results from the traffic you get and  comments you will receive.

Blogging helps you explore topics that forces you to research topics, which in turn makes you more knowledgeable. AND that could spark more ideas for writing. Writing=money!

3) Makes you more visible. (blog forums)
I use my blog to promote my novels. Regardless this is for writers, I post on all forums. When I post a blog, I go to the Kindle forums, Nook forums, writer forums and post the blog topic with the URL. This leads to a lot of page views and believe it or not...usually a couple books sold!

The forums have my books in my tag lines and I hear from the reader how much they liked my blog and book covers so they bought "such and such book." THAT'S MONEY....RIGHT?

4) Creates a following.
A following is what all authors want! WE love to have readers, regardless of where they come from.


5) Leads to appearances.
This blog has given me a great platform to teach workshops. I've been teaching workshops for over three years. During this time, I have met some GREAT people in the writing community. I teach at conventions where I meet readers and writers. The readers want my books, the writers want any advice I can give them.

Blogging has also given me the opportunity to participate in book clubs! The book clubs read one of my books, and they love to bring up how I come up with characters, their development, the process. With out blogging about it here, I'd have a really hard time answering those questions.

Don't listen to ignorant statements. Don't miss out on opportunities to find an audience. Hey...Donald Trump blogs! Do you think he'd waste his time if he wasn't making money???

Blogging is like the NEW BLACK for authors. Well...maybe black doesn't look good on everyone, but it is my favorite color!







Thursday, June 14, 2012

Keep the Numbers Coming in After the Release Party

This blog has been a little wonky this week! I'm not on my normal Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule. This is due to the fact that it started off as release week for my latest novel, A Charming Crime!

And what a week it has been!! AND it's still going.....

Many of us promote the first day or two and then let the book fly alone. THAT ISN'T GOING TO CUT THE MUSTARD!!


I know I'm always throwing marketing and promoting ideas and the post on HOW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL RELEASE PARTY ON LINE was a big success in the blog world. BUT I'm here to tell you that it doesn't stop there.

This is how my release went.
Monday: I posted on my street team a Facebook status and a tweet. I asked my STREET TEAM members to kindly post these into their accounts during the day because Tuesday was party day on the STREET TEAM Facebook page!

A Charming Crime made it to #8k in the Amazon store and #61 on the mystery best seller list.

Tuesday: I had over 50 authors lined up to donate a book to STREET TEAM members only. This way I was able to host a give away on my STREET TEAM every 20 minutes. This was my way of giving back to the writing world (authors to find new readers) and my STREET TEAM for promoting their hineys off on Monday.

I had virtual characters from A CHARMING CRIME making appearances, virtual parties through out the day, virtual drinks, party crashers, and tons more give aways other than books! It was a HUGE success.

That didn't end it for me. I knew that I had to continue to reach those readers who aren't on my STREET TEAM.

Wednesday: Just because the first two days are over, you still have to promote! Take it to the boards! Get on Kindle or Nook forums and be sure to pimp out your novel! There are so many readers there! They are looking for great books just like yours!!

Don't stop there! Go to your on line groups! Tell the world that your book is available!!

Thursday: Get on Facebook (YES! You really need to be on Facebook!)!

Be sure that you LIKE the Amazon, Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo pages! Don't just say "BUY MY BOOK," put your blurb out there and a new release along with 'THE FIRST THREE COMMENTS WILL WIN A FREE EBOOK OF A CHARMING CRIME!"
This really does work! BUT you have to gift them the copy...which a win for everyone. You gain a new reader and it's out there for the others to check out. AND if you are in the giving spirit, you can surprise gift a few more comments!

Friday: Visit all your sites! This might take a few more minutes, but hopefully you will have a lot more comments. Interact with your people!!! This makes the reader/author relationship so strong!

The following week:
Make sure you have set up a blog tour for TWO weeks after the launch. Don't just target other writer's blogs, you need to target the audience of your book. For instance....My first novel, Carpe Bead 'em, has a beading theme. I set up blog tours on beading blogs! They love to bead, and love to read about beading! That book became #1 on Amazon's Movers and Shakers!

Blog on genre blogs! Readers flock to them, looking for new books/authors, AND offer a free book! They like it, guess what? They go back and buy your entire back list! See where this is going?


Third week out: You will go back and ask the people who read your book to post a review of your book. Good or bad! You need reviews!!  

Also this week, see what streams your novel is in. I mean "who bought your book, bought this book." Check out those authors. See if they have blogs, visit their blogs, become their friends, PR BUDDY each other!

Fourth week: Continue to connect with people and start the next book if you haven't already!!!

What do you do to make your online book launch continue to sell  more of your book?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The value of the reader!

Today I'm hanging over at Reviews From My First Read Shelf. I'm talking about the value of the reader. I normally don't post on my blog places that I am going to be a guest, but I want you to know how I market to my readers.

Today is TONYA KAPPES STREET TEAM GRATITUDE RELEASE. Yesterday my book A CHARMING CRIME released and because of my STREET TEAM my novel is climbing the charts! Today is the day I give back to them.

I have over 50 authors donating their books, swag, gift cards, STREET TEAM tote bags, and much more.

If you are interested on how I do it, you have to join the STREET TEAM. I'd love for you to have the wonderful success I have had with my amazing readers!!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Kobo Is Coming To Play On the Big Playground

Last week my novel, Splitsville.com came in 2nd in two categories in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the humor and mystery categories! The awards ceremony was at The Book Expo of America in New York City. The best of the best attend this conference and that means all ereader professionals.

I was PUMPED! I got two medals, two linen certificates. . .but the excitement didn't last long. GUESS WHAT MADE ME MORE CRAZY....

KOBO!

Have you heard of it or just seen it at Smashwords??

Here is what I knew about Kobo before last week: I upload my books to Smashwords and put it in the extended distribution hoping someone from Canada would buy my books on their Kobo. The soccer mom in Canada carries their Kobos with them everywhere!

Yes, I've sold a few hundred on Kobo, but that is it! So I look at Smashwords as an extra bonus if I sell a couple hundred a month.

BUT Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo, put a fire in my step! At the Book Expo of America, he announced a new program for self published authors, KOBO WRITING LIFE!

“Strong eReader growth is projected by IDC for the European market; with sales increasing over 400% to 9.6-million devices expected in market by 2015. We expect Kobo’s trajectory for international growth and user adoption to quickly meet and exceed market projections.” ~Michael Serbinis


Here is the low-down and how I understand it to be:


1. They are going to allow you to promote your book at free at any time with out any restrictions on an exclusive agreements. I think this will give Amazon's KDP select program a run for it's money. According to the KDP select authors I've talked to, they wanted to enroll in the program so they could take advantage of the FREE DAYS. 


(When I was in the KDP select program, I did NOT take advantage of the free days....I'm not a big believer in the free way....)


2. The royalty is 10% higher than most international markets! PLUS!


3. Kobo Director Cuts.
Now this is so cool!! 
This allows the author to put notes in the book or provide commentary to the reader, making the reader/author relationship grow AND it will be integrated with the Facebook timeline! AND you know that I LOVE to give back to my readers. 


Now....this might be similar to the Kindle Fire where you can go in and have a conversation with your readers....more on this in July after I have my first official, planned, Kindle Fire discussion:)


4. Sales!
They have grown 280%! And don't you want a piece of that percentage? I DO!


This means that I will no longer have to wait for Smashwords, which takes weeks, to get my books into the Kobo reader's hand. ONE problem! It won't be launching for a couple of weeks at the earliest. They are hoping to get it out there by the end of JUNE! 


Do you upload to Smashwords? If so, will you take advantage of this opportunity with KOBO? What are your thoughts?


If you like my blog and get something out of it......


Today is the day that I ask a favor of you ♥ Please, please post the status below on your Facebook status and/or Tweet the tweet below about A CHARMING CRIME! Today we promote, tomorrow we party and I give away prizes every 20 minutes to YOU!! Let's work hard and spread the word:) I can't wait to see A CHARMING CRIME IN ALL OF THE NEW FEEDS :)) 

Let me know you did one or the other and you are entered into the GRAND PRIZE GIVE AWAY TOMORROW!!! (STREET TOTE FILLED WITH GOODIES, $25 VISA GIFT CARD, AND MORE!) 

Status: Tonya Kappes' new mystery novel, A CHARMING CRIME, is now available on Kindle, Nook, and Print! A must read!! http://amzn.to/KrAbOg

TWEET: @tonyakappes11 new #mystery novel, A CHARMING CRIME, is now available on #Kindle, #Nook, and Print! A must read!!http://amzn.to/KrAbOg






Friday, June 8, 2012

TIPS to a SUCCESSFUL BOOK RELEASE ON-LINE PARTY!



We spend months writing our novel, editing our novel, talking to everyone we know about our novel, even go as far as a tweet or two or a couple Facebook status' about how many words you completed that day on your novel.

And the time comes. . .

Either you have a publisher that publishes your novel OR you are the publisher. You put a tweet out and make your status on Facebook "happy book birthday" or "it's launch day of my novel." Then. . .silence. You are on to the next one.

What happened? For MONTHS you talked about this book, you boosted about the word count you achieved or we cried with you when your muse wouldn't cooperate. Those were the fun times of saying you had a novel, but when it came time for it to be published and purchased, how did you exactly get it out into the public??

It doesn't matter what journey of publication you find yourself on, you still have to market your novel. Most publishing companies don't even have a marketing department anymore that will set up  book signings, send you your author swag, or pat you on the back anymore. All self published authors have to do their own marketing during a book launch.

So put on your marketing hat and use these sure-fire tips to help launch the best on-line book release party!!

1) When you start writing your novel, start talking about it all over. I mean ALL OVER. Post pictures on Pinterest of your characters, or things that remind you of your story. Talk about your progress on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, the bus stop, anywhere someone will listen.

2) Set your release date in stone! If you are with a traditional publisher, they set your date for you. But self published authors have the option to decide when to release their novels. I suggest you release your book baby on Tuesday. Tuesday is when  all traditional novels are released and you want the same respect for your novel as a traditionally published novel.

With that said, you want your self published novel available in all ebook stores that you can. This means that you have to upload your novel days before your release date to make sure your novel is available the day you say it's going to be available.

I always upload to Createspace a week earlier because you have to get a proof copy of the print or check it out on-line. I also upload to PubIt four days before my release date because it takes them a few days to get it published. I publish on Smashwords the day before the release day and publish on KDP (Amazon) three days before.

I want to make sure my book is available in all forms on the day I say it's going to be.

3) Two months before your release day, set up a blog tour. If your book has a theme, google blogs with that theme. You will be surprised how many blogs are out there. They might not be book blogs, but who cares! You want to reach readers and if you target the market (what better way then hitting the theme of your novel) those blog followers will want to purchase your book! They are invested in the theme of your book and will want to read your book.

My novel, Carpe Bead 'em, has a beading theme. I looked up blogs that had anything to do with beading. It was GREAT! I had a blog tour just for beading enthusiasts. Carpe Bead 'em hit Amazon's Movers and Shakers list in the first couple of weeks of release and made it to number one! I know it was due to blogging on those targeted blogs because they emailed me. They celebrated with me.

You also want to hit reader centric blogs. Those can also be googled. I always ask Melissa at Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries, and More or Dru's Book Musings because both of these sites target mystery readers. I also hit a few reader centric blogs that aren't mystery, but some of the followers could be mystery readers or willing to read a mystery. And I hit a few writer blogs. I make sure I have at least ten guest blogs during the first two weeks of my release day. If you need more help finding someone to host you, ask your groups on Facebook. There are so many authors/readers willing to host you, but you have to ask!

I suggest putting together a press kit that has your author photo, short bio, book list, and all your links in a PDF, as well as a nicely written note about how much you would love to do a guest interview, guest post, or what ever. Offer a ARC (advanced reading copy) of your book, even if it's in the last stages of editing. Be sure to let them know that it's in the final stages of editing, but they will get the point of the novel.

Be sure to keep a list of blogs you queried and mark on your calendar the date of your guest post. GET YOUR GUEST BLOG TO THEM A WEEK EARLY!!

4) Make a STREET TEAM!! I have been promoting this street team idea for a couple months ago and I'm telling you that it's so much fun!! I invited a few readers and it's expanded to over 250 members. It's a place where my readers love to gather and we talk about everything from books to the weather.

Just like you, I post when I have good writing days or bad writing days. My readers are there for me. They see what it takes for an author to get a novel completed and all the hard work that we do to get a book into their hands. On the flip side, I'm still in awe how they spend a second of their day invested in one of my books. My STREET TEAM is where I give back to them!

Now that Amazon and Barnes and Noble have made it so easy to gift a book, I hold a give away of other author's books, my swag, gift cards, or even a kind word. Recently I hosted a contest where I asked my Street Team to help me name a character. I gave the characteristics and told them I would mention them in my next novel. Simple. Free. Easy! I had over 47 comments! And got some great names!!!

On release day, I will politely ask my STREET TEAM members to post a link to my book and where their friends can buy it. That is all I ask of them.

5) Have a virtual release day party!!! It doesn't matter if you are an introvert or extrovert PR PERSONALITY~it's an on-line party and you get to hide behind your computer!

I made a Facebook event page on my STREET TEAM page for an all day event of fun! I went to all the Facebook writer groups that I belong to and asked them if any of them want to donate one of your ebooks to my release day. The response was unbelievable!!! I had over fifty authors donate an ebook to my release day!


(This is one of my STREET TEAM TOTES. EASY and FUN! I got the bags at the Family Dollar for $1!!! I made my STREET TEAM LOGO and printed it on iron on paper! Easy! And fun!! These are going to be given away on release day!!)

Not only is it a win for my readers, it's a win for authors for new readers to discover them! I'm able to give a book away every twenty minutes on release day! PLUS I'm going to be giving away a few copies of my own novel as well.

And I've talked it up all over Facebook and Twitter! I belong to a tweet team and the only tweet I have been using is JUNE 12 the release of A CHARMING CRIME (add facebook link) prizes every twenty minutes!! And I have a couple others that are being tweeted, but you get the idea.

These are just a few things that I do and that have been successful for me. What about you? Do you have any great tips to a successful release day?

BTW. . . my new release is next Tuesday, June 12 for A CHARMING CRIME!! Come on over and join my STREET TEAM if you'd like to participate in winning some GREAT novels!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Well Writer


I hope you enjoyed the funny video!! Seriously! Isn't that the way we stay fit? At least most of the days?

Recently I made the decision to work three days at the day job and take two days to work on my writing career. My day job keeps me in pretty good shape. I'm a Developmental Child Therapist which means I have a combined degree in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cognitive therapy, and developmental therapy. I rarely sit down during the day. So keeping fit has really not been an issue for me.

This is the third week that I have worked my new schedule being home for two days straight. Not only are those two days straight, it's Thursday and Friday which means the weekend makes it FOUR days straight. Granted, I have three boys who are into every sport imaginable and we are always running from practices to games which is really great because I take those opportunities to write outside of the home. (I'm so glad this writing gig can happen on the move!)

AND I walk my dogs every day....regardless of day job or not. BUT I never imagined that writing for HOURS in a day would bring the change to my body in only two days. By the end of the second day, my neck was tense, my shoulders ached, my butt-bone felt bruised, and my eyes were crossed. I got a lot of words done, and good words, but it took me all day Saturday to recuperate!!



Quickly I recognized that something was going to have to change. My body was use to being up and moving, lifting children, talking, playing games, and being active. BUT my writing career is very important to me and I needed to find a way for my body to adapt to my new schedule.

1) Keep a pack of gum handy! Oh. . .and make it sugar free because the last thing you need is a root canal to take you out of the writing mood. Chewing gum helps relax you jaw and neck which releases the tension. At the end of the day, you won't feel that tension.

2) Yoga ball! YES! Try sitting on a yoga ball while at your desk. Not only will it help with you NOT slumping, it will also help with your core strength and your abs will love you for it. Especially when you look great in that bathing suit this summer from all the time you write sitting on the yoga ball!!

3) Writing mini-marathons!
Set your time for writing sprints through out your day. Write for 20 minutes straight and when the timer goes off, stand up and stretch your legs by walking around your house, doing a couple of squats, mediate for five minutes. Do something that is going to get your body, mind, and spirit in sync.

4) Exercise!
If at all possible, try to get in regular cardiovascular exercise every day. Not only will it reduce your stress level, it will help keep you fit.

5) Stand up!
I know this sound really strange, but I get my best writing done while I'm standing. While waiting for my coffee to brew or my lunch to be heated, I will take my laptop or my notepad into my kitchen and write. It might not be the best cardio activity, but it helps with blood flow and moving my muscles around.

I have to admit that I love being able to get up, head to my office, and WRITE!

Do you have any good exercise tips to help with the writer's cramp??

CONGRATS PAGE PENDLETON!! YOU WON THE FREE EDIT WITH MY SUPER EDITOR JUDY BEATTY!!


Monday, June 4, 2012

From An Editor to An Author

Please welcome editor Judy Beatty!!

Tonya asked me to write a blog on editing, and I’ve been mulling around what I want to tell you over and over in my mind for days now.   I have finally zeroed in on some things that I feel are important to the editor, and for the author.

In editing a manuscript, there can be a tendency to “want” to forget that the author has his or her own voice, and change sentences into how we as editors would say it if we had written it.  This is where we can make or break trust in the person we are editing for.  It’s common to try and change sentences around to our liking, but once the author’s voice is revealed, we must edit in their way of thinking, and not ours.  I had one lovely author recently tell me that she sees my grammatically correct sentences and says “Grammatically correct? What’s that?”  Also, I edited a book for an author that had characters speaking the worst English I have ever heard, but that is the way he wanted it, and that is the way I had to learn to edit his book.  Now I am highly aware and try to find the pattern and rhythm  in each authors writing, and once I do that, I can easily edit without changing their voice.

Punctuation tends to be an issue in every manuscript I edit.   Commas are by far the most overused punctuation on the planet.  Quotation marks inside or outside of the period/exclamation point/comma are another issue.  I find this rule handy: If in Britain, put the quotes outside of the punctuation, and if in America, put them inside.  Since most of us are in America, writing to Americans, then I try to keep what our readers are used to seeing prevalent.  If any of you are writing to a British audience, please tell your editor so they can edit accordingly (I say with tongue in cheek).

It helps, also, to have a wonderful daughter who teaches high-school English for a living.  AHEM…YES, I do write her occasionally when I get stumped and ask for her opinion, and thank God, she is so quick to help me.

I love working with already published writers, but am sad to say that so many manuscripts are getting edited (even [especially] by major publishing companies) and leaving so much to be desired; and you, the author, have probably paid through-the-nose to have them edited, but they are still so full of errors and have been published that way.  Since I do a lot of re-editing for authors who are already published, I feel deeply sorry for them and want to do everything in my power to make their manuscripts as clean as possible. When I read a book for fun, and it is full of errors, I tend to cringe and put it down.  Actually, that is how I got started in editing.  I read a series by a well-known author, and found so many mistakes that I wrote her and asked if she would like for me to fix them.  She sent me her manuscripts and I was on my way with a new career.

New writers are fun to edit, and a bit more time-consuming, because they are just finding their voice and a good editor can help them find it if he or she is willing to take the time to discuss issues with the writer.  It’s great fun to watch new writers evolve, and see each new book come to life with more of “them” in it.
My final thought is, no matter if you are an already published author, or if you are just starting out –edits will need to be done; sometimes over and over again, until the manuscript is so squeaky clean you can see your face in it.  I do look forward to working with many of you, and will continue to enjoy reading your works, and editing to my heart’s content.  

Until then, “Happy Writing”.

Judy is giving away a one time free editorial service to one lucky comment today!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Tips to Edit Your Own Work

We all live in edit hell! Even if you claim you love it, you know you don't (shaking finger at you)! Unfortunately, editing skills separates a mediocre writer from a great writer in the self-publishing world. (Little secret: even traditionally published writers have to have extensive editing from their editors. NO ONE turns in a perfect book.)

I have never claimed to be a perfect writer. FAR FROM IT!! Over the past few years I have learned a few tips that help me self edit my books before I get them to my editor. I have to have an editor. It's only good business practice, but here are some ideas to help you along the way.

1. Just write!

Don't edit while you are writing. Get the words on the page and let your creative juices flow. If you worry about editing, you are going to get stumped and not get in your word count or ideas down.

If there is a blatant typo, yes change it. Don't go back and fix grammar, punctuation, etc....

2. Step away.

After you finish your novel, it's a good idea to step away for a couple days and let your mind have some down time.  Use this time to read. Writers should read, read, read, and this would be a great time for that. Let your mind escape from your characters.

After a couple days go back and read your novel. You will be able to look at it with fresh eyes and catch some of those simple mistakes. Plus stepping away will give you fresh ideas and see plot holes. This is a good time to help layer your story-line.

3. Kindle it!

I use the word Kindle as the universal reader but I also mean any ereading device, this includes your phone or your PC. I always send my novel to the ereader before I send it to my editor and before I publish it, I send it to my ereader.

It's easier to spot mistakes on a different device. Plus I want to see exactly what it will look like when my readers will buy my book. More times than not I catch too short/long paragraphs for an ereader or formatting mistakes that need to be fix.

4. Cut Unnecessary words!

I use a lot of but, exclamation points, and goofy words on my blog. It's a place for me to just write and help authors. I really should take the time to write the blog, edit it and take my own advice. BUT this is where I get my words out and let my creative juices flow and I don't cut out the unnecessary words.

Don't do this with your manuscript! Cut out the repeating words, phrases, unnecessary adjectives (Lisa spoke loudly....Lisa screamed).

5. Use spell check!!

Spell check doesn't always catch the true editing issues, but it doesn't hurt to run it a couple times before you send it to your editor or before you publish. It's another set of eyes to get you to look at some issues that you might not have caught before hand. Missing words and homophones are not found using spell check, but it will help with the general, easy mistakes that easy for your eyes to miss.

6. Read your story out loud.

Reading out loud will help your trained ear hear the missing words or world flow. This is one of the strongest editing tips you can do to catch those missing words. Read each word carefully, slowly. We know our manuscripts so well that sometimes we can skip over the words, so take your time and truly read it like a readers!

7. Send it off!

Enough is enough. Once you think you have edited until your eyes and fingers have had enough, you've had enough and so has your manuscript. It's time to send it to the editor or publish it. Let it fly on its own!


Side note: It's taken me years and over three editors to find a perfect fit for me. If you go look at any of my reviews, you will find several reviews that claim my books have editorial issues. AND THEY DO....luckily, I just had all of them re-edited by my fabulous editor, Judy Beatty!! She is doing a guest post on Monday!! AND giving away a free edit! Be sure to stop by!

Do you have any tips for our writing community about editing?

BTW....If you get a chance pop over to Book Tour Radio! I'm being featured today! FUN!!