Humor, Marketing, Promotion, Real Life, Social Media, Writing

So, what’s the deal with Facebook Pages?

I have a Facebook Page as an Author. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. Not everyone who’s clicked to LIKE it follows me on Twitter or reads this blog, but a good many of them do. I expect some days when I actively participate in social media, they get tired of seeing my avatar pop up on their screens.

Like my Facebook page!I’m not naturally a pushy person. In gatherings, I prefer to sit quietly and listen. Though, I confess, if you start an interesting conversation with me, you might have trouble shutting me up. But I’m an Author now. Part of my job is to interact. So, I have a Facebook Page. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it.

This is different from my personal Facebook account, where I feel free to post silliness. As an Author, I think should be more dignified. I channel links to my blog posts there and comment about my writing progress. Those are fine, but here are some examples of what my Likers also saw as “status” updates this month:

Lays Limón chips should be classified as an addictive substance.

It’s hard to type with a 2nd degree hot glue burn on my index finger.

We are having an honest to God gully-washing thunderstorm! In June! If you lived where I do, you’d know how freaky that is! LOVE IT!

So, you see, I have a Facebook Page, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. Do you have one? Can you give me some tips on how to use it effectively as an author … please?

Books, Feedback, Marketing, Promotion, Publish, Reader, Tips, Writing

Tag, you’re it … at Amazon!

Consider today’s post a public service announcement. At least, it concerns something I didn’t know, so I’ll assume one or two of you don’t. (Please, someone say you didn’t know.)

Because too much sensory input overwhelms me, when I go to a website with fifty things going on at once, I tend to focus on the main thing and tune out the rest. So, until my novel appeared on Amazon, I ignored the sting of words below the reviews on each book’s page.

The label above this section is: Tags Customers Associate with This Product. These words should be key words descriptive of a book’s genre and subject matter. Amazon uses them as search terms. Were you aware that one of your search choices is: Products Tagged With? I wasn’t. But why does that matter?

For many (most?) of us who write books, we’re responsible for promoting them. We do that, of course, because we want people to read our books. It’s no fun writing books no one reads. So making readers aware that our book is out there is serious business.

On Amazon, the more clicks a book’s tag receives, the higher the book will rank in results when a customer search uses that tag. Obviously, books by famous, top-selling authors won’t go undiscovered if no one tags their books. But high tag counts can definitely help a debut author’s book get noticed.

From now on, especially when you buy a debut, or indie, author’s book at Amazon, remember to click their book’s tags. (And don’t forget to click to see ALL tags.) In fact, you can do that even if you read it as a library book or bought it somewhere else. Consider this a chance to create good Karma. What goes around …

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Author, Blog Stuff, Books, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Writing

Just when I thought it would never happen!

If you have a WordPress blog, you’re probably aware that they choose several blog posts a day to appear on the WordPress front page as Freshly Pressed. Months ago, I lamented that I had given up hope  my blog would ever be so honored. Then Wednesday morning arrived.

As I usually do, when I awake, I made a cup of tea and sat down to check my email. I had scheduled a new blog post to publish at a few minutes before I usually wake, so I hoped to see one or two comments arrive in my inbox. As I watched dozens—DOZENS—of comments flood in, my first thought was that my blog had somehow been hacked. I had visions of all those cheap prescription drugs and porn messages bypassing the spam catcher and sullying my beautiful blog.

But when I pulled up my blog, I was puzzled because there were only three comments on my new post. I rechecked my inbox and saw those other comments were on a post I’d published over a week earlier. That’s when it hit me. I flew to the WordPress front page and there it was—my post, Freshly Pressed. Oh, the excitement!

For thirty-six hours, I was almost famous. My blog received 8,929 hits! Over 200 new comments were posted—and, because it’s what I do, I replied to every one of them. I also gained 143 new blog subscribers and some new Twitter and Facebook Page followers. I was agog—AGOG, I tell ya.

So, thank you WordPress. And welcome new friends. You’re just in time for the announcement that my novel The Brevity of Roses is available now on Amazon (also on Amazon UK.) This is the Kindle version. The Nook version could be up on Barnes & Noble by the end of the day. Smashwords will have other versions in a day or two. And the beautiful print version will be available, I hope, within a week at Amazon and B&N.

My goodness! What a week this turned out to be. I’m a little bit happy.


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Books, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Opinion, Publish, Writing

Price my books at $.99? No thank you!

My decision to Indie publish The Brevity of Roses was not made lightly. I looked to self-publishing after I accepted that, in the midst of the current publishing crisis, books like mine were not highly sought after by the big NY publishers. It was up to me to find my readership. Since then, I’ve learned other reasons why going Indie is of benefit to me.

But make no mistake, my book is good enough to be published by one of those publishers. It’s not second quality. I work hard at my craft. Mine is not a book written in thirty days and edited once. It’s not a Penny Dreadful. So why would I price it like one?

Most Indie authors vehemently deny they need the “vetting” of any big NY publisher. I agree. So why price my book as if it’s not worthy? “But you’re an unknown,” they say. “You have to sell cheap to get readers to buy it.”

So, would signing a publishing contract with Viking, Knopf, or Random House suddenly make me better known? Or are we talking about vetting here again? Does having a big NY publisher trademark on a book’s spine guarantee it’s a well-written book, a quality read? Maybe once upon a time it did, not so much now. Far too often, what it guarantees today is that the publisher thought they could make a good profit on it.

I may not be the best writer you’ll read, but I’m far from the worst. I will guarantee that. You’ve probably bought books by debut authors before—and paid NY publisher prices. Granted, those publishers have expenses I don’t have, so you won’t see my e-book priced at $14.99. But you also won’t see it released at $.99 either. This is a personal decision, based in part on the fact I write general fiction with a literary bent.

I don’t believe quality self-published novels, like mine, will be taken seriously until their authors price them at respectable prices. I’ll price my books , both e-books and print, with respect to myself and my reader … because we’re worth it.

Your turn: I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.  Readers and writers, do you automatically consider Indie (self) published books as being lesser quality than traditionally published? Indie authors, am I just ignorant about pricing? Readers, have you bought—and read—a lot of $.99 e-books that you felt were worth more?


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Agent, Author, Editor, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Publish, Query, Rejection, Writing

Can you find an agent by cold querying?

The first agent blog I discovered was Nathan Bransford’s, and the first thing I read there were his posts on how to get agent representation. His number one tip: have a referral. For top agents, he said, that’s essentially the only way. I really, really, really didn’t want to believe that.

I don’t know any agented writers. I know of some. At least three have even commented on my blog, but I don’t know them in the sense they would refer me to their agent. Nor do I know any agents, editors, or publishers. My budget doesn’t allow me to meet them at conferences or seminars, not even online ones. I’m stuck out in the cold.

I believe my completed novel is a good one, but it’s not the novel of the century, a straight to #1 on the NYT bestseller list. No agent is going to read my query, or sample pages and synopsis, and declare, “I will die, absolutely die, if I don’t get to represent this book!” How close to a miracle will it be should an agent offer me representation, I wonder?

Tell me, fellow writers, do you know of any recent debut fiction authors who found an agent by cold querying?

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