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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Author in the spotlight - Garry Rogers

On my review blog, the books that gain a 4-star mark or higher 'win' a spot on WWBB, and I was impressed by Garry Roger's novel Cor Syl the Warrior enough by giving it a 4-star review.


I found it refreshing, extremely unique with funny, laugh-out-loud moments, too. It's targeted at YA, but anybody who enjoy hard fantasy will like this book.

The origin of Cor Syl the Warrior - in Garry Roger's words: 

'The idea for this book came from the news, the bad news: The bad weather, spreading extinctions, and always the hunger, hate, and war. The Tsaeb (silent 'T', long 'a') have the intelligence and foresight needed to avoid global scarcity and inequity, but random events can always block perfection. Characters like Corr Syl (as in apple 'core' and door 'sill') are often driven to struggle against the forces of chance, greed, and evil as they attempt to protect perfection—an impossible assignment.

However, all of that wasn't enough to make me start writing. My ideal book includes action, adventure, romance, danger, and a bit of humor. I decided to write that book. The other stuff just adds a little meaning to the story.'

Check it out now all over Amazon: 

Connect with Garry Rogers 


Author Garry Rogers

Dr. Garry Rogers writes about an Earth on which intelligence appeared long before humans in Corr Syl the Warrior.

He also writes non fiction articles, and wildlife and nature conservation books. Before turning to full-time writing, he served on the faculties of UCLA and Columbia University in New York, and he served as CEO of an academic computing corporation.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

One author, one marketing plan

 by 
Luke Murphy

My marketing started with the writing of my book. I always had a plan, an idea of the plot, but now I had to think about the characters and setting, and I had to think about my target audience in this stage.

I wanted characters who readers could relate to. Characters that were real, not fictional to the point of unbelievable. My protagonist, Calvin Watters, is as real as they come, with faults and weaknesses like us all. Because of my sports background, I wanted Calvin to also have an athletic background. I was a pro hockey player, but I decided that hockey would be fine for a Canadian fan base, but I wanted to cater worldwide, so I chose football. I believe that more people follow football than hockey.

For the setting, I needed a major market in the United States that people would want to read about, so I chose Sin City, Las Vegas. Everyone is interested in this fast-paced, party-all-night lifestyle and city that is party-central.

In today’s society, most people don’t realize that writing a book is more than just putting a good story down on paper. I learned this quickly. Agents and publishers want someone with a “platform”, someone who already has a fan base and is guaranteed to sell books. It’s risky for a publisher to take a chance on a new writer, because there is no telling how many books they will sell, no matter how good that book may be.
In 1999 I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Marketing, so I felt I had a running start at promoting my work.

It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

I’m going to skip through the writing phase and seeking and agent/publisher, because this post is about actually marketing my début novel.

Once my publishing contract was signed, then the real work began, building my “platform”. I knew that when I signed on with a smaller publisher that the bulk of the promotion load would fall on my shoulders, and I accepted that.

I did four things quickly: created my own website, started a blog, and opened a Facebook page and Twitter account.

Now, I have been fortunate to have had many jobs in my life, jobs that have created interest in not only myself, but what I do.

Here are some things I did next:
-      I scribed a letter to all of my email contacts (2500) and all of my FB friends (2500).

-      I scribed a letter for all of the media outlets (radio, TV, print) in the cities where I played hockey, or have contacts. One of the benefits of playing professional hockey was that I went through a lot of interviews with personalities in all forms of media.

-       I picked out the site for my launch party and spoke with the owner about it.

-       I played hockey for teams and leagues all over North America, creating a fan base in a variety of cities, and also worked in hockey camps, so I already had some followers that I contacted.

-      I was a reporter on the radio for a couple of years after retiring from hockey, and my radio reporting was a presence on the web as well as in radio.

-      My sports column (2006-2009), Overtime, which was a main feature in The Pontiac Equity, not only had a following but helped in writing concise and exciting prose.

-     I composed a list of local stores for potential book signings.

-     I compiled a list of local stores to sell my book.

Next I picked out my target audience and searched the web for them:

    -   Thriller readers looking for an atypical thriller hero—an African-American who is no saint.

    -   Sports fans will be fascinated by Watters’ struggle to recover his decency and win, a kind of Blind Side story with little sentimentality and few illusions.

    -   A Las Vegas setting—the world of The Hangover movies and many youth films like Bridesmaids—will appeal to 20s-30s readers.

   -   Watters’ romance with a former prostitute will appeal to younger female readers.
The marital tension between Detective Dayton and his wife will interest adults. Both men and women will enjoy the twist on the femme fatale figure of the murderer’s lover, who has her own schemes.

  -      Lovers of history, as the term, “Dead Man’s Hand”, is a legend dating back to the Wild West of the 1800's.

I started creating relationships on the internet through Facebook and Twitter. I met not only authors, but fans of the genres I write.

When my book was released in October, 2012, I felt I had a solid foundation to stand on, but I still had a long way to go.

I contacted media for interviews, held book signings, joined shows and blog toured. I contacted anyone who wrote a blog and asked about being a guest. I joined Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +, as well as sites created to support Indie authors. I did anything I could to get my name out there, get my book in front of readers.

My publisher set up special promotions where my book was FREE on Amazon for certain periods of time. All of this was done to increase my following, and expand the awareness of my book on a worldwide scale. This will hopefully lead to future sales with not only my debut novel, but subsequent books if I’ve fortunate enough to write more.

I’ve been happy with the result thus far, but I don’t have anything to compare it to. I feel that the more books I write, the more success I will have. The more I get out there, the more excitement and interest is garnered.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

OBSCURITY: NOT AN OPTION

by
Cindy MacDonald

So you’ve written a manuscript. You had it professionally edited. You’ve got a great cover design. You’ve had it published in paperback and eBook forms, and it’s been uploaded to Amazon. Great! Now what? Sit back, relax, perhaps twiddle your thumbs a bit, and wait for those royalties to come pouring in, right?

Mmmm, I’m afraid not.

No good deed shall go unpunished!
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK
The fact is that no one is going to come looking for your book, no matter how well written, how engaging, or how action-packed it is unless you, the author, makes it happen!

Hey let’s face it, obscurity is not an option when you’ve published a book. The competition is fierce—and the competition is using all the resources that perhaps you are not. There is no doubt that marketing is an indie’s biggest hurdle, but you can’t afford to be shy or stuck in the nineteenth century. I’m not saying that marketing one’s book is insurmountable, but it can be hard to get started. Book stores are not usually very willing to arrange a signing for indie writers because they are relatively unknown—they’d rather have James Patterson, go figure. However, some local libraries may be willing to host an event for you. That’s nice, but that doesn’t tend to spread the word to a large mass of people. And that’s exactly what your need.

So what’s an author to do?

Brace yourself, because I’m about to say the S word: Social Networking. Yikes! You may consider it a dirty word, but I’m afraid it's truly the reality of our time. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pininterest, it’s enough to make an author’s head spin! After all, it has been widely rumored that authors are quite a recluse lot. The trick is to not allow it to overwhelm or intimidate you—no matter what your age.  The bottom line is it's your responsibility as an author to get the word out about your book—not your publisheryou.

Actually, I’ve seen quite a few traditionally published and even best selling authors on the networks pushing their books as well. So it’s my guess that their publishers feel the same way—get the word out, baby!

So stiff upper lip, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and do what you need to do to make that book of yours a success. Because you can.

If you don’t have a website—get one. You need it! There are plenty of website options out there and some are free. List your books—with covers, a synopsis, provide an excerpt, and yes do a book trailer, to boot! You can make one right there on your computer—it’s easy and it’s actually a lot of fun.

Don’t forget to provide links to your book’s Amazon sales site on your website.

Okay, now that you have a website, you need a…wait for it…Facebook page! I have two FB pages: one in my name where I talk about my life—nothing too personal—and one for my books. On both pages I will announce reviews and provide links to those reviews or my books, and sometimes I will post pictures of my horses just for fun. There are also FB pages that are provided for authors to promote their books. On all these FB pages I will also list blogs that I am featured at—like today—another excellent way to get the word out about your book—I also plug the blog site to draw in readers.

And then there are VirtualBook Tours—virtual book tours help you to promote not only your book but you—the author— without having to leave the comfort of your sofa. You have control as to how long the tour is: two weeks, one month, or the max—three months. 

How they work is that for approximately three times a week you will visit a blog for an author spotlight, a review, interview, or a guest post on a variety of subjects. The guest post will spotlight how well you write beyond the pages of your book. That’s important. It also provides potential readers an insight as to who you are and what you think or believe. While this service is not free, you can decide how much you want to spend by the length of the tour.

LinkedIn is a great place to post a blurb about your book on a daily basis. I usually write something like: Whoa! Those online romances can be real murder!  And then I list the link to where my potential audience can purchase DEADLY.COM I went from selling hardly any of this particular book to making it my best selling novel at this time—especially in the UK.

Then there’s Twitter *wince*. I thought I would never get the hang of that nightmare social networking demon. I thought it was stupid. Then I thought: but there are sooo many authors using it. Hey, there’s got to be something to it.  So I started following people—mainly authors—they would retweet my book blurbs—I would retweet back---this would result in book sales. Hmmm. I followed more—retweeted more—additional book sales. Who knew? I am now tweeting approximately three to four times per day. It only takes about ten minutes, and the payoff has been well worth it. 

Pssst…I’ve even got my publishing manger tweeting more than she ever did before. To tell you the truth, she probably hates me for it, but she has realized how invaluable it is for her and her cozy mysteries. She too has experienced a sharp rise in sales. Go baby go!
It’s true, I spend a lot of time per day promoting my books on the social networks—it’s a commitment. But hey, didn’t you make a commitment to the book when you wrote it? You love your characters. You love your stories, so help send them get to the masses.

There’s the light at the end of the very long indie tunnel—it can and will work!

Since I’ve been using Twitter on a daily basis, following as many people with an interest in books, tweeting and retweeting other authors, using hashtags, and writing something about my books on my FB pages and LinkedIn, my book sales have truly improved!

C’mon, don’t be shy. Get out of that “I am NOT going anywhere near social networking sites” demeanor. You CAN do this. Only you have the power. You’ve worked hard. So step up to the plate and take a swing at making your book into everything you wanted it to be—a success!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Social media isn't important to an author...

... it's CRUCIAL!
by 
Angelina Rose

VBT Cafe

Social Media

Social media is probably the most powerful marketing tool for writers. It gives you free access to millions of potential readers. Business owners tend to dive head long into social media expecting to see huge results in short periods of time. That is simply not the case. It takes patience in order to build up a presence on social media. Here are a couple of frequently asked questions.

How important is Social Media to Authors?

It’s not just important, it’s absolutely essential for writers to establish themselves in the social media world. Here are some of the reasons why:

Brand Building

Social media is perhaps the most powerful brand building platform in the marketing world. You can use it to decide the manner in which you want people to perceive you as a writer. If you don’t find a way to make readers feel that your books are in demand, then you will not sell very many copies.

Thriving Community of Readers

Social media brings with it a diverse and cultivating community. It puts millions of potential readers right at your fingertips. When you build a community, you are guaranteeing that future opportunities will be more successful. 

Gives you Authority as an Author

Without being active through social media, you will not be able to garner the authority needed to convince readers to buy your books. Authority is especially important if you are a non-fiction writer.

Competitive Advantage

The truth is that a lot of individuals don’t do a good job with social media. Therefore, keeping on top of it will give you a significant advantage. When starting out as an author, you need all of the advantages you can get.

What is the Best Social Media Platform

There are so many opinions as to the best platform to use that it’s a bit of a toss up as to which one you should use. Here are the three you should be most concerned about:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Facebook

If you don’t know what Facebook is then you must be living under a rock. It’s the granddaddy of the social media world. You should definitely have an account with an author page. Just be sure to make your profile and page come across as professional. The trick to simplifying Facebook is to use your author fan page to promote new books as opposed to creating pages for each book you release. Only do that when you can afford to hire a team to manage your Facebook accounts.

Twitter

Another great (and necessary) platform for writers is Twitter. Fans absolutely love to be engaged by authors. Twitter lets you easily connect and sometimes reply to readers in a more personal way. In addition, you can effectively get your fans to advertise for you through retweets.

LinkedIn

Finally, we come to LinkedIn. Many tend to skip over this ever-important platform of social media. If you’re trying to get signed by a traditional publisher, a LinkedIn account is necessary. Publishers are guaranteed to search through LinkedIn once they read your query letter. If they don’t find you on, then you will likely be ignored.

Final Tips for Social Media

Let’s end this article on a few quick tips of some things you should keep in mind when using social media.

Don’t Spam your Fans

Spamming is the fastest way to scare off fans (or send them storming off in rage). In the social media world, if you only ever post that people should buy your books or products, then you are spamming. So most of your posts should be fun and entertaining posts, with a few promotions scattered throughout. 

Be Consistent

You can be as active with social media as you want but I do recommend that you at least add one post a week. However, stay consistent. If you plan on posting once a week, then make sure you do so. Don’t go weeks without posting.

Never bite off more than you can chew

In other words, don’t try and do too much. Maintain a schedule and only spend a limited time on social media.




Saturday, 10 August 2013

Authors It’s Time To Plug In

Your Readers Are Waiting

by
Judy Ann McCole

There is one obvious universal truth for writers. We want to write. The only relationship status we want to update is the one with Microsoft Word or if you’re feeling old-school a typewriter. Sadly, the world has changed. Authors can no longer just write a novel, send it, and publish… or not, unless you’re J. K Rowling, at least.

The truth is you absolutely need to social network. You need to be so in touch with your network you know what time zones your friends and fans are in just by their response times.

Judy Ann McCole
WHY?

Because there are seven billion people on this earth and of those 7 billion, 1.2 billion of them are Facebook alone. 1.2 billion people! You, from your desk, have the capability to speak with millions of people on a daily basis just by clicking 'log in'. Now, before I jump ahead of myself I should explain how you, as an author, should begin to social network.

FACEBOOK

Chances are you already have Facebook. But make a second one with your pen name or your regular name with ‘author’ attached.

Make sure your profile image you use for your author account is the one your fans will notice.

With your new account, make a fan page for your book. That way if you ever want to run ads people will be driven straight to your book and then, if they want, look you up.

WHY?

Your family and friends have already heard you talk about your books dozens of times. You don’t want your personal account to be flooded with comments nor do you want those close to you to hide your post because all you ever do is talk about your book.

Also, with your author account you can join groups (and there are a lot of groups) for writers and authors.

TWITTER

Twitter is difficult for authors; well it was for me, because a 140-character limit just felt ridiculous and I had no idea what to tweet. I did not want to be one of those people who tweeted “it’s raining” or “I’m going to the mall”.

Twitter is a great way to let people know about your books and anything else you may doing. Because many people tweet almost hourly they don’t mind sharing your tweets or even commenting back.

More people are more like to read your post on twitter then on Facebook because they know it will be short and sweet.

Twitter gets easier the more you use it. One Tweet a day keeps the fans coming your way.

Lastly, you don’t want anyone pretending to be you if you don’t have one.

BLOGS

THIS IS HUGE!! All writers need one! Believe me. Trust me. Listen to me. If you’re a writer you need a blog.

Not only did blogging help Amanda Hocking (a self-published novelist) get attention but it has also helped writers express creative ideas.

The very first thing my publishers told me to do when I signed with them was publish a blog and link it to my website.

If you go to any recent author’s website, you will notice they have a blog. People want to follow you but you have to give them a chance.

Can you sell books without all of this? Yes. It’s possible, in fact some authors do. However, if there is a chance for you to get more readers why not do so?

Why not try and be social?

All I ask is DO NOT insult any of your fans/readers.

Some people are idiots and will friend/follow you just to post stupid things. Ignore and delete but NEVER RESPOND!

DO NOT trash other authors! Your readers may take that personally if they happen to like them.

It’s a lot to juggle I know. However, since starting my blog I’ve gained 1000+ twitter and blog followers… and my books aren’t even out yet.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Alison Neuman on how social media is important to her

For us authors, social media is important. Not only are we able to keep readers and friends up-to-date with our writing but also with the life events of others. Currently, it is impossible for me to travel so social media allows me to reach my destinations from the comfort of home, and I love that opportunity it's given me.

In the past few years, there has been a huge shift to the Internet. Blog tours are a great example of this and an excellent way to promote your books. How it works is that the author visits several blogs and they are introduced to a new audience.

I have heard of authors who have been made into bestsellers just because of social media.It’s a tool in the authors’ promotional toolkit that should not be overlooked. Although, we have to be careful. When I get continuing posts from individuals trying to sell me products, I must admit, I tune out. When that happens, we are losing a potential relationship. For myself, I plug Ice Rose during the holiday buying season and for blog tours or events. Just enough to keep my book out there, but not enough to cause offence.

Like most authors worldwide, I like to share activities and events that are going on with my career, but my blog isn't only focused on writing, it's also about the arts and crafts. A writer once advised me to post a new blog every two weeks, but I find this challenging. Finding fresh topics can be difficult and I wonder how other bloggers manage it.

And, I admit, when I write my posts, I do not always focus on how worldwide social media can reach. So when, few years ago, I posted a blog on a cookie bouquet that I was making, and received a comment from a reader in Germany I was very shocked and pleased.



Thursday, 1 August 2013

The changing world and its impact on social media

by
Jodie Clock

Outside of death and taxes, the only thing for certain we can count, on is change!

My day job happens to be a funeral home owner/director for both humans and pets. Some people may find this profession to be a bid odd, morbid or even down right depressing. Me, well, I find it incredibly fascinating. I get to learn interesting information about people. Not things like where they were born, or how many children they have (although that type of learning can be very interesting), I’m talking about things that really impacted their life.


It’s the 21st century, and presently our population, has more people over the age of 65 than ever before. In our funeral home, it’s not uncommon that we are taking care of centurions, nonagenarians and octogenarians. 


While I was writing Navigating the Eldercare Journey…without going broke! I had the pleasure of talking to one lady who was in her 90’s who came in to pre-plan her funeral. As we were capturing information, I asked her what was the biggest thing she had experienced that changed her quality of life. Her answer was “paved roads”. Many of the stories she remembers as young child revolve around traveling in a covered wagon. This response leads me to ask about her other inventions such as the television, which in her lifetime went from a large black and white monstrosity to the digital television we have today. 

VBT Cafe
This very wise lady got my interest peeked and forced me to reflect on what has impacted my life. In all candor, both personally and professionally speaking, I can say technology. Through the use of technology, I was able to pen and publish Navigating the Eldercare Journey…without going broke! in less than 18 months. The internet enabled me to communicate with my publisher, editor and even public relations team in real time. It’s only been within the last 20 years that the internet has been utilized to by the general public and not just the military. Think about how many things technology has changed! Books are now available in a digital format as well a paper bound format. The newspaper in some cases has all but physically gone away and has transformed into digital. How about social media? If you had asked me just 10 years ago what social media was, I don’t think I would be able
to answer that question. In a very short period, this concept we have labeled “social media” has transformed the way everyone communicates. Heck, there are now even college degrees that revolve strictly around social media.

As a small business owner and author, the invention or platform of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google have provided more affordable tools at my fingertips, which can provide an incredible experience for my consumer. As an author, the ability to have readers place reviews about my book on Amazon is incredible. Creating a Facebook page for my book that challenges me to create a fan base only inspires me to become a more efficient communicator. Social media, if used properly can be a powerful tool. The only downside I can see is that once you put something out there, there is no turning back, it’s there for the world, and I mean world, to see.

What is critical is to find the balance where your posts are consistent, but not over the top in terms of length of posts or frequency. Twitter promotes brevity, but can be difficult to understand all the tweet terms and protocols.

Facebook has a wonderful business page side that allows people to create pages (book’s page). It also has wonderful “how to” sections to learn how to market your book to your target audience. I love the fact that it allows you to upload videos, create polls and even have private email conversations with your readers. Amazon’s author page has some of these tools, but not all of them. My next venue will be to learn Goodreads and begin to promote my book.

Blogging has turned into an interesting animal, if you will. It seems the rules for engagement change to the point of really anything goes. Blogs are turning out to be powerful. Initially, they reminded me of an online brochure – now, they are becoming just as important as your website. Think about this – the fact that my book is on a virtual book tour is still difficult for me to wrap my mind around. The internet really is changing the face of communication, business, relationships, education, recreation – and the list goes on.

So in closing, what’s my point? My point is that as an author and a small business owner, I have found both writing Navigating the Eldercare Journey…without going broke! and running the business is far easier than promoting.
I find social media a double edge sword. It can, and if done correctly, provide a solid platform to market from and establish a relationship with your target audience. The challenge is monetizing it. We know that social media will encourage people to act on purchasing your book or seeking out your services, but what we don’t know is how many social media touch points it takes for that action. Like anything else, once we figure that out the information will be yesterday’s news, as at the end of the day, the only thing certain besides death and taxes, is change!