It’s a pleasure to have visiting my blog today one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting online, Katie Salidas. Her three Urban Fantasy books are the Immortalis Series. The main characters in this trilogy are vampires, although there are several other types of creatures lurking about throughout. Her website, Written in Blood, offers a ton of great advice for authors just starting out, and I highly recommend it, along with her books. She’s also one of my favorite Tweeps. Without further gushing on my part, here’s Katie:
1. What’s the first word of your book? (You can exclude articles, pronouns or prepositions.)
I think the first line would best work here, rather than just the first word.
“I hate waiting.”
It shows, in one simple phrase the impatience of the main character and is also the catalyst for the entire series. If she had just been a little more patient and thought things through, she wouldn’t have tried to walk home alone that night.
But, if she hadn’t done that, we would have no story to tell, so I’m glad she did. (more…)
I’ve heard from a lot of self-publishing authors that they hate the promotion process. After a week of working to get myself out there, I’m not sure I understand the angst. I’ve found the experience actually quite fun, and I think that’s because I approached it a different way. Now, let me be absolutely clear that my book isn’t flying off the shelves, but right now performance is not what I’m after. I’m trying to build a readership that will continue on to my future works and above all, enjoy my stories.
I’ve known I was going to self-publish for about a year now. In that time when I wasn’t writing I’ve been building networks. I didn’t seek out to do that at the start, but now that I’ve had a chance to look at it critically, that’s exactly what I did. I met some great people on Critique Circle and Kindleboards that I have since come to know much better. I’ve invited several of them to guest blog, or madlib, or interview here because I like their style and think they have interesting things to say. I’ve traded beta reads with some of them, and I’ve learned more about writing from them than I’ve learned in any book. That’s what I mean by building a network, not the smarmy car-salesman idea I’m sure you envisioned when I first mentioned it. Anyway, these are the people I reached out to first, because I know them and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t take one look at my email and run the other way. So I guess you could say that I set myself up for success. I think that’s really important because it built my confidence for what came next.
From there, I extended to book blogs that I follow. In June of this year I happened upon the marvel that is book blogs! Little corners of the web dedicated to reading and writing about the love of books. I was hooked immediately. I have no idea how many book blogs I follow now, but it has to be more than thirty. They each give a slightly different perspective on books. I’ve found so many wonderful reads through them, and I highly recommend searching them out in the genres you like as a reader, not just a writer.
Now, not every blog I follow is an appropriate venue for my book, and I understand that. I didn’t just send out a mass email bomb. I treated each blog as an individual. I made sure to read their policies and check out the kind of books they’d reviewed and enjoyed in the past. That’s really important and I think it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. I took time with each request I sent out, I found out what kind of books they liked and only submitted if I thought they would genuinely be interested. I always sent the information they requested and nothing else. Once again, I set myself up for success.
My goal isn’t to get my book in front of a million random eyes, but a smaller number of the right eyes. There’s no sense pushing my book on someone who probably isn’t going to like it or is predisposed against it. That just leads to frustration on their end and mine.
While I’m on the subject of minimizing frustration, let me share one thing that has made my life so much easier during all of this. I made up a webpage for my book with the cover, blurb, and a link where an excerpt can be read. This is where I point people who ask for that information with a review request. However, if they want the information pasted into the email directly I make sure to follow those instructions. I also created a one page document (in .pdf and .doc formats) with the same information I can attach to emails, because some reviewers will request a separate summary sheet.
From the dismal reports of some other authors, I expected to hear back from very few of my requests, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my results so far. I’ve achieved a 25% success rate with my review requests, and that’s over a long holiday weekend when people might not be checking emails as much as usual. I expect that number to climb as this week goes on. Many reviewers are backlogged a few months, so keep that in mind when you make these requests. I probably should have started sooner, but I wanted to present a very polished product to them and didn’t feel comfortable sending an ARC.
Here’s the key idea I want to leave you with. Make every interaction with reviewers and bloggers the most pleasant experience possible. Be polite, professional and accommodating. No matter what the result, I want them to remember me fondly, not be annoyed with me.
I’ve decided to treat this more as a way get to know new people rather than push my wares. Maybe that’s not the savviest way to tackle this endeavor, but it’s how I feel comfortable. So if you’re new around here and visiting to see what I’m about, hello and thank you for reading. I promise not every entry will be this long.
I got an email today that mentioned that Google Friend Connect would be going away. At first I thought perhaps the person was mistaken because so many sites use it, but according to Google the Friend Connect will be discontinued for all non-Blogger sites as of March 2012. This presents a problem for me since about half of the followers of this blog use that tool. What’s really annoying is that I have no basis to complain, since they provided a free convenient service and have every right to discontinue it. Still, it makes my life difficult so I’m grumpy about it.
I’ll figure out a place to put it on the site sooner or later. If you’ve got a website and have a similar dilemma right now, you can go here to make your own Google Reader button.
As of this writing I haven’t cross posted anything there, but I will eventually. If anyone has figured out how to feed something from a blog directly to a G+ page, drop me a note because I haven’t found a way to do it yet.
If you want to use a different subscription service, click here to go to the RSS feed for this site.
Sorry for the inconvenience, if it were in my power I’d keep GFC, because I like it.
This is a catch-up post in which I’ll babble about general goings on this month. First, check this out:
Cool, right? Someone (sorry, I can’t remember which one of you) linked Wordle to me a few months ago, and it was on my list of neat stuff to do when I finished my book. You paste any text you want into the box and there’s a bunch of settings you can play with to get a cool looking collage with font size based on word frequency. This one is of the full text of Broods, set to remove common words (and, the, etc.). I love it! I’ve got to figure out if there is a way I can make a print quality image out of that. I’d love to have one for each of my stories I can put in a photo book or something.
Thank you to everyone who has offered me a place to blab on their blog in the coming weeks. I’ll be working on my posts over the holiday.
I’ve officially given up on NaNoWriMo this year. I’ll chalk it up to piss poor timing with the power outage and me wanting to get Broods up for sale before Christmas. I’ll still be working on finishing that story over the next few months, it features a sassy main character that I just adore, so her story definitely has to be told.
Something I wanted to share a few weeks ago, but I forgot: David Farland is holding a short story contest. 2500 words or less, contest runs until March 1st. The prize is super amazing. $1000 and a spot at the front of his next release, PLUS his publishing company will consider a novel submission from you. Here’s the linky. Fly my pretties! I’m not sure what I’m going to submit yet, possibly a short featuring Brand in colonial times that I’ve been dabbling with for a few weeks.
And just for a little bit of eye candy, check out the final version of the Broods bookmark, coming to a blog tour near you soon as swag prizes:
I’ve got an interview coming up this Tuesday with the wonderful Katie Salidas. After that you’ll notice a slowdown of hosting here for a while as I gear up for my own blog tour, but if you’d like a spot at some point, don’t hesitate to ask.
Last minute addition: I’m begging for like clicks on my new Facebook Author Page. It slipped my mind to start one earlier and now it’s the only part of my
media empire online network way behind the others.
Love, hearts, and puppies,