Friday, September 30, 2011

BlogTalk Radio: Talk to Me!

Okay, you can’t write about PR and social media if you’re afraid to jump into new things. I’ve done Tweeting, FaceBooking, blogging, book trailers, even a video interview. What’s left?

Blog radio.


Say, what?


When we were looking for ways to promote GETTING IT OUT THERE: PR and Social Media for Writers on a time and money short leash, we looked outside the normal box of blog tours and advertising. Where do you go to reach out to a wide, open-minded audience that’s always on the run in a new and exciting way? Maybe be speaking up as well as just showing up, by giving them something to listen to while they’re multitasking.


Blogtalkradio.com offers tons of forums to do just that. It’s divided into diverse categories such as sports, celebrities, politics, and, most important for us, books. There are hundreds of shows already listed that you can approach for audio exposure or, as in Tell-Tale Publishing’s case, you can create your own platform.


With just a slight nudge from an author getting ready to launch her first non-fiction book, Tell-Tale established their own show. It’s easy. It’s free. It gets you out there. For my maiden journey last night, there was a call in number (free!) and I was put in queue while Elizabeth Fortin, my Tell-Tale editor and hostess of the "What’s It All About" forum did the introductions. Then, I was live. A truly painless process that was over before I was ready for it to end. And, if I don’t say so myself, sounded pretty darn good. Take a listen…


 
Listen to internet radio with TellXTale Publishing Group on Blog Talk Radio

So if you’re looking for ways to expand your reach, think of your other five senses and how they might come into play (I haven’t come up with a viable platform for smell, yet. Maybe a perfume with notes of overheating CPU and musty bookstore…)

What do you think? Ready to go audibly audio?

Monday, September 26, 2011

GETTING IT OUT THERE is out there!

There’s nothing like seeing your new title pop up on Amazon for the first time . . . except maybe ‘paging’ through it on your IPad Kindle app to see your words in print. Even after 50+ books, it’s still an exciting, humbling moment.




 



“Branding: What’s in a Name?” is the first installment in my Getting It Out There: PR and Social Media for Writers monthly series. It’s a step-by-step guide to the most important aspect of your author-audience relationship—letting the public know quickly and consistently who you are and what you offer. From taglines to logos to websites . . . It’s all about YOU! Don’t ever underestimate the power of that first, lasting impression. When to start? Now, even before you have a product. Just for print authors? Guess again. Branding is hugely vital in the ever-growing self-publishing market to make you stand out as unique.

Read more about “Branding: What’s in a Name?” here.

Start reading “Branding: What’s in a Name?” in seconds here.

To read about my personal branding adventure, stop over at The Yellow Brick Road at Wise Words Publishing's Blog, where you can follow my journey each month along the winding, sometimes rocky path of my topics. There’s also a fun quiz to see how well the entertainment industry has done in branding their celebrities and products. As an added bonus, once you’ve purchased any Getting It Out There installment, you’ll have a password to join me on an interactive bulletin board where we’ll discuss writing in general and social media and promotion in particular. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and toot your own PR horn on the Yellow Brick Road Forum. I’ll be waiting for you on that golden path to success.

Over the weekend, I got a chance to see my process in progress when my critique group got together to help new Tell-Tale Publishing historical paranormal author Victoria Craven develop her author brand. What fun! And if I do say so myself, the result was fabulous!

If you’ve read “Branding: What’s in a Name?,” please leave your comments below.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Trailer for Getting It Out There is Out There!

Enjoy this fun and fabulous book trailer for the Friday debut of my first non-fiction venture, GETTING IT OUT THERE: PR and SOCIAL MEDIA for Writers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting a New ‘Baby’ Out of the Nest!

School’s back in session bringing the frustration of following the minivan caravan as Moms cart their little ones off to those first weeks. Corners are crowded with anxious mamas clutching at the hands of their backpack-wearing babies as they enter an unknown and scary new world. And I’m thinking that’s the way it feels as Release Day approaches. You’ve nurtured and groomed and prepared, but that final step to letting go never gets any easier. You want to hang on . . . just a little bit longer. There are last minute things you want to rush to do to ease that transition. You want to stick close and hover in case your protection is needed. But in the end, you have to just trust and open your hand . . . and let go.

My new baby is getting ready for that first day.


I’ve never published non-fiction before. Sure, I’ve written articles that have been featured in national magazines. I’ve done tons of speaking engagements. I’ve written a mind-boggling number of promotional and informational blogs, but this is a Big First Step. A book about something close to my heart that I’ve put blood, sweat and tears into, about something I’m proud to boast of and share. Writing. Career. The business of a writing career. I want to hold onto that hard-won knowledge and keep it close, but then I think of my first wobbly steps into publication with no one there to hold my hand and to help guide me across that busy and often dangerous intersection . . .


Here’s my hand. Follow me into the fast lane of promotion and social media. I promise I won’t let go as we reach the busy intersections of budgeting time and money, public speaking, blog tours, swag and networking. We’ll take it a block at a time together.


This is me getting ready to let go . . .


More about that walk on Wednesday as we approach the September 23, 2011 release of Getting It Out There: PR and Social Media for Writers.



What things do you wish you knew more about when it comes to self-promotion and Social Media?

Friday, September 16, 2011

All That Matters Blog Tour and Chance to WIN a Kindle!

Someone, I believe it was Thomas Edison, described a success as not giving up after trying 99 times and succeeding the 100th. The road to a publishing career can be summarized that same way. In 2005, Loralee Lillibridge sold her first book, and in 2011, she sold her second. Loralee’s is a success story. Why? Because she didn’t give up before reaching the next goal.

I’m thrilled to participate in Loralee’s blog tour celebrating the release of All That Matters which was released on September 9th as the launch book for new small press Tell-Tale Publishing and now resides in good company on my IPad Kindle app. As one of Loralee’s critique partners, I had the privilege of watching All That Matters take shape from idea to revisions to wonderful book and I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!


Because I still love to toy with my degree in journalism, I’ve interviewed Loralee so you can learn more about her and her delightful projects . . .

 





 *******************************************************
NG: About that "second book syndrome"...Share some of the career frustrations you’ve had since your first book Accidental Hero came out with Silhouette Special Edition in 2005.

LL: Not making an immediate second sale was a real eye-opener for me, as well as a huge disappointment. Since Accidental Hero did fairly well in sales for a first book, my high-hopes bubble was deflated big time when a contract for the second submission wasn’t offered. I’d heard about the trials and tribulations of that "sophomore book", but optimistic me thought it wouldn’t apply to my work. Big surprise! So, over the course of the next few years, I kept submitting, taking time out only for some health issues. Still the “no, thanks” followed from my editor. I just wasn’t writing what they were looking for. Revisions, re-submittals, rejections. It was a stressful cycle and I often felt like a hamster on one of those running wheels. Since each submission had to be a full manuscript, it took over a year for each one to come full circle from submission to rejection. That long wait was my biggest frustration.


NG: To what do you attribute that difficulty in getting the second book sold? Market changes? Agent? Timing?


LL: The fact that I acquired an agent didn’t move the submission process along any faster, even with the agent’s efforts. Market changes are always a factor in some way, but I tried to keep up with the latest and still write the story I loved. That probably was one of the reasons I didn’t sell. My voice didn’t quite fit the line I was targeting. Timing on my part was also a problem, since I’m not the fastest writer on the planet. I eventually parted with my agent because I no longer felt marketable. I was admitting defeat, giving up. I could put the blame on everything listed, but to be honest, I was, and still am, my own worst enemy. In order to sell and sell fast, I needed to turn off my internal editor and simply write the story. To this day, I’m still working on getting rid of that bad habit.


NG: How close did you come to just giving up, and what kept you going?


LL: So close I actually stopped writing for a time. I had no agent, no motivation. But I discovered I was miserable, so I tried different genres – single title contemporary romance, mystery, and even a “free-range” writing experiment. My loyal critique group refused to let me get away with walking out. They pushed, pulled, prodded and threatened me with dire results unless I made an effort to write something – anything. I will be forever indebted to them for always being the wind beneath my wings.


NG: Talk about a great rebound! How did it feel to make not one, but Two series sales within weeks of each other?


LL: I’m still in shock, believe me! A contract in April and another in July. Unbelievable! I was already contemplating self-publishing as a last resort, convinced there was no longer a place for me in the publishing world I was trying to re-enter. The fact that I’d submitted one of the rejected romances to another publisher and had it rejected there only because they had no romance line for it at the time, led to that manuscript being recommended to a new publishing company that loved it and offered a contract. All That Matters, one of my Texas Hill Country romances, is a September release from Tell-Tale Publishing Group, and I couldn’t be happier about being part of their launch. Exciting times here in my corner of the world.


NG: Tell us a little about your new projects and how you came up with the ideas.


LL: Small towns are what I know best and I find it easy to write within those city limits. All that Matters is a Cinderella-in-reverse story about Buddy Lee Walker, the hunk on the book cover, (thanks to talented cover artist Pat Lazarus) the hero from the wrong side of town who falls in love with the banker’s daughter. An unlikely friendship that turns into a marriage of convenience and love by accident, All That Matters is an emotion-packed story with believable and a touch of small-town humor. I absolutely fell in love with Buddy Lee before I ever found the right heroine for him. I was fortunate that the editors at Tell-Tale fell in love with him, too, and offered a contract along with glowing words of enthusiasm. I was over-the-moon excited.


Though Bell Bridge Books passed on All That Matters because they didn’t have a line for romance, they did like my writing and my voice. Urged by my extremely pushy writing cohorts, I reluctantly submitted a proposal for my cozy mystery series, Joyful Noise. That project was the result of the “free-range” writing I did with no goal other than having fun inside the mind of a rebellious preacher’s kid all grown up, as she returns to the Southern, ultra-conservative small town to redeem her past and put the shine back on her tarnished halo. Who knew the story would lead to a humorous cozy mystery series that also addresses the bullying issue so prevalent in schools now days? Joyful Noise found its way to Memphis and Debra Dixon and Deb Smith of Bell Bridge Books, who were so enthusiastic about my proposal they offered a two-book contract and enough excitement to spark a party at our RV lake place, where I happened to be when the offer came. I admit to making my own version of joyful noise that Saturday afternoon.


NG: What else is cooking on your creative back burners?


LL: My back burners are full and turned up high. Another submission for Tell-Tale will be ready to send very soon. Her Hill Country Man (working title) is all about choices. The right choice isn’t always the first one we make, but many times it’s the hardest to make. This story is a favorite of mine with a cowboy/cop hero and a heroine, and how their first choices impact their lives in different ways. Another emotional story I hope will make you sigh with satisfaction at the choice they make in the conclusion. A third one is complete and also on a back burner.


The second book in the Joyful Noise series for Bell Bridge is still in the simmer stage, but I promise it will be a fun one, too. More on that as it develops.

 

NG: How has the market changed since you sold your first book? Any new tricks you’ve had to learn?  

LL: Market changes have changed drastically in my opinion. The e-Book revolution has impacted the publishing industry in so many ways. Writers are self-publishing right and left, some making millions, others not so much. There are so many opinions out there on the subject. Big publishing houses are trying to catch the e-Book wave while still hanging on to their traditional publishing. Readers are becoming more and more familiar with myriad ways to read their favorite books now, so many brick-and-mortar stores are closing, to the dismay of everyone. Right now, it’s a wait and see situation for most of us.


New tricks, technology and upgrades, oh my! Can I tell you I’m still reeling from all the social media, Twitter, Facebook and blogs that are now the responsibility of the writer if they want to get the word out about their books? First time around, my efforts at publicity consisted of a website and some book-signings and speaking engagements. This time, I’ve discovered that’s not enough. I’m poorly equipped to enter this highly-social online network and working with two publishers, I truly don’t have enough time. My answer to this dilemma? I hired a virtual assistant. My Girl Friday, a virtual maker of magic, has saved my life on more than one occasion and will continue to do so forever, if I have my way. I would not be able to meet my commitments without her help.


NG: Where can we find out more about you and your books?


LL: My website,
www.loraleelillibridge.com and my blog, Across the Back Fence, http://loraleelillibridge.blogspot.com will give you an opportunity to meet me, read an excerpt of All That Matters and watch the video book trailer.

A new website is in the works for Lora Lee’s new venture into the world of cozy mysteries. Watch for it later this year when my double life will officially begin.


Here’s the fun part . . . as a blog tour benefit, Loralee is giving away chances to win free downloads of All That Matters along with a KINDLE! All you have to do is leave a comment (and be patient with the comment section. It can be kind of mule-headed sometimes but try and try again!)


One of the things I like most about a Loralee Lillibridge book is the author’s voice. That Texas twang flavors the dialogue and narrative like a dash of spicy chilies. Every time I see the phrase “I might could,” I can hear Loralee saying it. Take a look at the book trailer for All That Matters and you’ll see what I mean . . .



Author “Voice” is one of my main reasons for returning to an author I’ve read. I love the feel of authenticity when the dialogue rings true and pulls you effortlessly along. When reading All That Matters, I’m there in Texas. I can hear the words coming out of the characters’s mouths and believe I’m listening to them swirling around in their heads, creating such an engaging humor and emotional heart tug that it makes each page feel like a downhome welcome. Well done, LL!


Who are some of your favorite authors that have mastered that use of “Voice” to invite you in to sit a spell in the world they’ve created? Share your comments below and be entered in a chance to read All That Matters on you OWN Kindle!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cover Reveal!

A new cover is always a source of anxious expectation. Will it reflect the content of the book? Will it make the casual shopper pause and take notice? Will it be a dazzling jewel you can show off and be proud of or something embarrassingly unattractive you’d rather keep at home in a drawer?

One of the big draws for me in working with Wise Words, Tell-Tale Publishing’s non-fiction affiliate, was getting a Patricia Lazarus cover. She and I had worked together on my vampire romances with ImaJinn Books and in the design of my website graphics. It’s nice to put something as important as the World’s first impression of your work into the hand of someone you trust and respect . . . and she didn’t let me down.


Ta Da!


Getting It Out There: PR and Social Media for Writers is my first foray into non-fiction and I couldn’t be more excited. That’s ME on the cover (albeit a younger, thinner me who could actually wear heels instead Skeetchers!) I asked Pat for something fun and informative that could be changed with each new chapter and she came through with this delightful rendering. Gosh, I’m going to have to start working out!

 

Getting It Out There: PR and Social Media for Writers launches with its first chapter Branding: What’s in a Name? on September 23, 2011 (that’s next week!) so stay tuned for more reveals . . .

WINNER! Jenny Solis sent me a photo of her and her brand new Kindle that she won in my scavenger hunt giveaway. Sweet girl downloaded my By Moonlight series first thing. Happy reading, Jenny!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Freebie Friday

Happy Launch Day!

I'm celebrating today with critique partner Loralee Lillibridge and my fab friends at Tell-Tale Publishing! ALL THAT MATTERS, Loralee's fantastic book, is FINALLY available as the debut of Tell-Tale's outstanding line up of talent, and is already nestled on my IPad's Kindle app.

ALL THAT MATTERS is a sassy Texas tale about friendship evolving into a lasting love despite all obstacles created by circumstance, family, and the characters themselves. The author's lovely twang invites you to c'mon in and sit a spell, and once you do, you won't ever want to leave!


Congrats to Tell-Tale for having the incredible good taste, good fortune, and business sense to snap up this book for their launch.


I'm excited to be part of the ALL THAT MATTERS blog tour. Y'all come back next Friday for my Q&A with Loralee Lillibridge! She's getting the party started today on her blog with chances to win a Kindle and free downloads. Yee Haw!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reviews: Get Thee Thick Skin


There is no promotional tool more terrifying to me than the Blog Tour. Knowing that a group of blog reviews are going to post your reviews en masse, is a double Tums event. You provide the link and let the chips fall where they may. You don’t have any control over who jumps on the Tour bus or over what you’re walking into: the good, the bad and sometimes, the really ugly. And you’ve just sent everyone to them with your blessing.

Reviews are always a crap shoot. Realistically you know everyone isn’t going to like your book. Okay. You don’t like every book you read, either. But to see a negative opinion there in print is like an arrow to your writer’s heart. One two-star cancels out twelve four- or five-stars in the fragile ego universe. It’s all you see. It’s all you think about. One person out of thirteen hates me.

Okay, they don’t hate YOU. It’s not personal. It’s not a mugging, although I guess there is some similarity to walking down a dark alley trustingly only to be clubbed to the ground and have your credibility stolen. You can’t keep it from happening even if you stick to safe routes where everything is well lit and welcoming. But you can take charge of your reactions and your recovery. You can pick yourself up and brush yourself off or you can lay there in misery and moan about it.

In a perfect world, reviews would reflect the genuine content and quality of your work. They would be objective and kind. In the real world, reviews are subjective and sometimes genuinely mean-spirited. Our writing isn’t meant to be viewed objectively. It’s meant to touch upon emotions and stir up reactions. Hot buttons are different for every reader and opinions vary wildly. Sometimes you wonder if they were reading the same book!

Your hero: “Whiny, downtrodden, co-dependent” or “strong, intriguing, multidimensional epitome of an alpha character”

Your heroine: “dynamic, fiercely loyal, complex, honorable” or “crazy, unscrupulous, despicable”

Your plot: “Unfocused, inconsistent, strains credulity” or “action-packed page turner, intense, beautifully written, complex and engaging”

Advice on the subject varies:

1) Don’t read them. How can you not look at the scene of an accident even if you know you might be horrified?

2) Call the reviewer petty, stupid, mean, jealous wannabe writers, or learn from them.

3) Argue with them in a public forum. This one is a No No NO!!! It never works out in your favor! Not ever!

4) Have your agent or critique group only send you the good ones. Rose colored glasses are sometimes our friend.

The fact is, you can’t ignore the fact that bad reviews are out there. You have to deal with them as a part of doing business with a very opinionated public. But you don’t have to feature the unpleasant ones on your website.

To make myself feel better about those occasion one or two stars, I go to the Amazon reviews of my favorite NYT bestselling authors and look at what they’ve received. All glowing? Not even close. Even more fun is the book Rotten Reviews & Rejections. Even the best of the best aren’t universally loved.

I think I’ll stick with my editors advice: one starred review from Publishers Weekly outshines all the other stars in the galaxy.

And then maybe I’ll peek through my fingers to see what other reviewers have to say.