Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zite

This was my daughter's high school mascot--seriously. Only rainbow zebra in the country.
Seriously, what is this? I put it in my file for ideas with each letter and I can't remember even where I saw it.

Anybody use Zite?

What does it do?

Is it easy or difficult?

Does it sell books?

Please! Enlighten us!!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for YOU

And by You I mean Yibus... the collective you... All o' y'all.

We can't sell books without readers, and who better to reach readers than MORE readers... Duh!

But how do we ACTIVATE this YOU?

I see authors with enthusiastic street teams... I want one. But HOW?

So I am asking YOU how to activate YOU!!! (see what I did there?)

How does a person recruit and utilized a group of individuals to be their voice in the Out There? Anybody know?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for X-ing Ts (and dotting Is)

Because seriously, what word actually starts with X. But this is an important point...

Whether you are submitting to agents or publishers or are self-publishing, it is so critical to cross (X) your Ts and dot your Is...


Research who wants what

Frame all this PERSONALLY for whomever the gatekeeper is.

Have your work checked, rechecked, edited, proofread...

Can YOU think of other Ts that need X-ing or Is that need dotting?

And gang... only two days left!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Wattpad

So I know a few of you use this. And I get the impression one of the things you do is share some of what you are writing? And this idea stresses me out... I somehow can't get myself to share any until I have edited ALL...

Wombat wisdom
That said, this is the full extent of what I know about Wattpad... So I am asking YOU!

Do you post writing on Wattpad?

From in progress stories or only done stories?

Has it built readership for you?

Has it helped sell books?

How does one go about getting involved?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Virtual Bookcase

So this is a service where you pay a fee to have your book listed. And that is the full extent of what I know...

I would just pretend my books were going here... (Prague)
Has anybody used this before?

Does it help sell books?

Who is the typical user? (like is it good for particular markets or genres?)

Do they have standards they require? (some quality test?)

It seems like a great idea, but I have absolutely no clue about the utility of it, so would love it if somebody could share their experience.

ALSO... I plan, next weekend, to go through all my posts and create a "best of" ideas post. Probably it will get posted the 2nd or 3rd, though the 3rd is also release date for Parallels, so I will have to see what works, but I wanted to let you know it was coming.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for Understanding

Understanding publishing seems a bit like this, doesn't it?

As in understanding how all this works... the systems. Self publishing. Traditional publishing... So I'm not asking you to explain it all to me, as this ever changing game is way too big for that, but I am asking for your best sources.

What websites, blogs, newsletters help you the most to maintain a understanding of this industry—for knowing the trends, the dos and don'ts, the tricks that help and the pitfalls to avoid. What helps you understand?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

T is for Twitter

So I understand this can do more than I somehow managed to do... I have a friend who has found requests for certain sorts of stories... agent wish lists... people network... But apparently I am a Twit...

Can anybody clue me in how to use this in a functional way?

How can I use it to network for an agent or publisher?

How can I use it to sell books.

Because it seems to me I use entirely too little crack to keep up...


Tyrion's Trial

Friday, April 22, 2016

S is for Story Bundle and Seismic Crimes

So most of the days this month I am only on something to help with book promo, but today Chrys Fey has also asked if I'd share a bit about her new release, so I am going to do that first...


Today is the release of Chrys Fey's first novel!

BLURB: An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his
brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his
innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a
deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion
consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his
darkest moments.

Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she
can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do
whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a
criminal’s crosshairs.

When a tip reveals the killer's
location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic
proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have
to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one
another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?


So you should go check that out...

and on today's theme...

I recently had a friend (Allison Dickson, who inspired an earlier post, too... I will have to send Allison cupcakes, or a strip fireman or something...) who had her book included in a Story Bundle... It was $20 for like 9 books, so when about 4 of them looked like YEAH, it started to look like a really good deal. And Allison said she had earned more in that week of promo than any of her other books in about the last year (don't hold me to this—this was a few months ago—but it was good sales). Now I have seen many friends bundle books, but Story Bundle was a formal THING... A real system...

Some of us really love books...
* What I want to know is how does someone get into one of these?

* Do you put together your own set of authors and books? Or do they do it?

* What is the screening process?

* Has anybody ever done this?

* How does it work?

Anything you can share about getting a book included in a Story Bundle and whether it is worth the effort to do so would be appreciated!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R is for Reviewers

So supposedly enough reviews really help you sell books, right? I wouldn't know. I've never had enough reviewers to push me into one of these higher sales categories. So I thought I would bring the questions to YOU!!!

How does one IDENTIFY potential reviewers?

Is there any way to incentivize reviews? (like not pay for them—that doesn't seem cool, but to encourage people to read and review)

Are any of the sites that help you find reviewers particularly good?

Do you know specifics on how much X reviews help sales-wise? (like what is the minimum you really need and are there tiers after that?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q is for Query Tracker

So I've used Query Tracker to find agents who might be appropriate, but I've never used it for.... you know... tracking... And I'm not sure I'm using it optimally to find agents... I mean I generate names of people who take my genres but still have to look into every person individually to see what they really like (And I believe I have not been particularly good at this).

Some trackers are hotter than others...

So nimble readers...

What tricks can YOU make Query Tracker do?

Have you had any big successes using it?

Are there any shortcuts in this process?

How is the system better than an Excel spreadsheet?

Is there some competing system you like better?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is for Publisher's Weekly

Is this still a thing? I mean I know it is still a thing because I still get emails from them--the newsletter, but it has been a couple years since I opened said email...

But when I was first blogging and trying to polish that first book this was the MUST DO way of keeping up with the industry... then self-publishing had its honeymoon and there stopped being rules.

Well maybe there were rules, but nobody knew what they were. (Lots of people claimed to, but after about 2 years of chasing them I learned they were ever-changing so there was no point learning them until it was time to apply them).

* So back to Publisher's Weekly...

* Has anyone had success from either following advice, crumbs, or news from this source lately?

* How? What is the best way to use it?

* If not, has anything replaced it as the MUST READ industry source?

* Where do y'all get your publishing news from?

ALSO: I am over on the Parallels blog today talking about my favorite villain: Pharma.

Monday, April 18, 2016

O is for Online Presence

In terms of book promoting, this is a big DUH, but I thought I'd poll all of YOU for which two or three things you find most valuable in term so branding yourself, selling books, staying top of mind... being an author.

It can be overwhelming, eh?
* What online system(s) help you MOST?

* Which ones are the biggest bang for the buck (or rather time—good benefit for the time required)?

* Which have you found to be a waste?

* Any that have big caveats? (good to do but be careful of...)

* Any huge rules for online interaction that you follow? (Any you break?)

And be sure to go visit some other A to Z bloggers!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

N is for Newsletter

Do you have any idea how much I hate this topic? If you've been here before, you may know my philosophical problem with Newsletters. Okay, not so philosophical. I don't like receiving them, so I have trouble with the idea of putting one out. See, they stress me out. I feel like I ought to read them, but would really prefer to seek information at my leisure instead of having it arrive in my in box.

But I've been told a thousand times authors need to do this.

So help me.

* Please provide a convincing argument that will make newsletters less painful as a philosophy.

* Any recommendations on which tool is best? (Mail chimp?) Others?

* Are there any chemical aids that will help me find this activity more palatable?

* How does one build readership?

* What is the recommended frequency? Is there a sweet spot?

* What is recommended content?

Anybody have any answers? I'd love to hear them!

Also... we have just crossed the half-way mark!!! w00t w00t!!!

And don't forget to go visit other A to Z bloggers!

Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for Media Kit

Welcome friends! You're HERE to work for ME, yes? Erm... I mean that IS my theme this month... bringing up a topic then asking YOU to tell me something about it...

Really hoping this media kit includes marmosets
So for our M Day, what I have come to is Media kits... I've had friends who have released books and I offer to be part of a blog tour and they say, “Hey, I can send you my media kit” but it is so MUCH that I find this very overwhelming and I haven't managed to analyze what should go in one.


* What goes in a media kit?
* Who do you send it to?
* Do you sometimes just send part of it?
* Any dos and don'ts?
* Clever out of the ordinary add-ons?

Your wisdom is appreciated!!!

Now go visit some other A to Z Bloggers!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Libraries

Hallo fine peoples!!!

So in line with the theme of the month, we are talking about libraries as a mechanism for promoting our books. They are awesome in all sorts of other ways, but what I want YOU to teach ME is how to utilize libraries to increase book sales.

Now I worked up my nerve once to request the library carry a book I wrote, and they did. It was very nice of them. I felt a little like a beggar doing it, but I know it was a good thing to do. I think LOCAL libraries are often willing, especially if you tell them, “I'd like to be able to tell people who are interested that they can find it at the library”.

But in what OTHER ways can libraries be used to promote?

Have any of you engaged in creative ways with your local libraries?

Has anyone worked up a good system for reaching out to NON-local libraries?

How do you find library events you might get involved with?

Have you ever held your own event at a library? How did you set that up?

Okay.... now go visit some other A to Z bloggers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for Knowledge Base

This is a bit of a cheat, too, but call it making up for yesterday, as it is exactly the opposite kind. Yesterday I didn't even have a TOPIC. Today I actually might be able to tell YOU something useful for a change. And not about one thing but about MANY things... because what I offer you is a RESOURCE. So useful in fact, that not only have I bookmarked it, but I have permanently put it in my sidebar.

Knowledge from OTHER heads into yours! Easy peasy!
You see, Elizabeth Spann Craig (which starts with a C but it sounds like a K, so bonus points, right?) and a computer engineer friend of hers developed a SEARCH ENGINE of BLOGS... so you can put in a writing, promoting related topic and up will pop blogs on the matter.

It is actually called the WRITER'S knowledge base, but KNOWLEDGE is the key... lots of it, right at your finger tips.

So if you need to know something, go to Writer's Knowledge Base.

And if you need to visit more blogs, which you do, go get the A to Z List.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for J is just dumb


Just fiction. the jackalope
So know how I am asking all of you for your wisdom on book promo topics this month? I looked and looked and found THREE J things that all start with “just”. Anybody who has been in the writing business since late this morning knows Just is the word you NEVER use with good writing. Who ARE these people?

I considered Jabberwock, as what marketing plan doesn't require a bit of nonsense, but I spend all yesterday at a summit for work and my sense of whimsy is strained.

And then my computer was jinxed... It died half way through post writing...

So my J day is going to go like this. Do you know a DARNED THING that helps with book promo that starts with J?

If not, I am just going to thank Jan, one of my favorite beta readers...

Now go see somebody with a better attitude...

Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for iTunes

Hallo, friends new and old!

My April A to Z schtik is to bring up publishing topics I don't know much about and ask YOU to fill me in. So there.

Ignorant Iguana needs your assistance
So iTunes...

I've never published on iTunes... Last time I contemplated it a person needed to upload from a Mac or Apple product. Now I have a thousand year old hand-me-down Mac, but it only runs for about half hour at a time before overheating. We've only kept it because it is (was) hooked up to our printer and so the kids used it to print assignments (pulled down from their clouds).

It is not a machine new enough or operable enough to format something I intend to publish. Or so I have assumed. But partly it also is one of those things with a learning curve, so I just haven't taken it on to find out... But I should know more...

Have any of you published on iTunes?

Do you still have to load from a Mac?

How different is formatting? (can I still use my Word doc?)

Are sales worth it?

Does it have any extra perks?

Go on, tell me about your iTunes experience. And then go visit some other A to Z bloggers!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Humility

Breaking pattern a bit today. While I still want all of YOUR advice on where to find it, and how to practice it, I do have a bit of wisdom to add for a change...

So why is humility important to promoting books?

Lemme tell ya...

So yesterday I was on the Facebook (I live on the Facebook) and I saw something about a certain mediocre yet arrogant author... One person was trying to remember his name and gave that description and my friend knew exactly who she was talking about...

But see it almost wouldn't matter if he were talented... it is the arrogance that is grating... people who act like they have it all figured out... because you know what?

Even if they DO the rest of us really don't want to have it shoved in our face.

And this reminded me a bit of the ethos when I was first blogging. I met so many great people, but at the time (2009) there were also a TON of blogs offering writing advice. Not the “here, I learned this thing” but the “do this, don't do that” sort. Making it sound like any deviation from the advice made us WRONG.

I sort of felt like I should join the club, it was so common, but thankfully I remembered I was an entertainment model, rather than a utility model. And over time it occurred to me that all this advice, well-intended though it was, assumed we were one size fits all.

We are not.

Giving a small piece of advice here and there is great. Especially told in a “lesson I learned” way. That is SO HELPFUL.

Scarier than a Sith Lord
A full plan about how every author ought to do every single thing? Not so much.

People may be legitimate experts and they STILL don't have the answer for all other authors. We are different beings who need more of a buffet of ideas to pick and choose from than a frozen dinner plan.

That Said...

As a RECIPIENT of information, we need to humility to let what rings true sink in. ESPECIALLY specific, directed only to us, feedback.

See... we need the humility to not think we have all the answers BOTH as a helper AND as a receiver. So ask for help. Listen to help. But lets do this thing a bit more intimately if we can...

So what do you all think? Any experiences where you learned humility?
Any times you felt someone should have HAD some humility?
Any advice on maintaining humility?

Also, over on the Parallels blog today I am sharing space with Crystal Collier. We are talking about Horror (or favorite horror creature and horror in our Parallels story) So come see us!

Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Goodreads

So for another tool I use but have no clue what I'm doing...

I present for today's book marketing topic... GOODREADS

I mean I SEE stuff... cover contests... Read wish contests... giveaways...

But how do you get on any of those lists? I haven't figured out how you get connected to the mechanisms for them. Are they nomination processes?

So from each of you I am asking

* Is there some particular thing YOU'VE found on Goodreads that works particularly well?

* How do you get involved with it?

*Any wastes of time to avoid?

* Things that can work but have tricks we should know?

And don't forget to come back and find out what others find helpful. And also go see other A to Z bloggers!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F is for Facebook and Fail

Welcome A to Z Bloggers! As many of you know, I am spending my month putting all of YOU to work! I will bring up a book marketing or publishing topic then ask for YOUR experiences with it. (so be sure to check back later for answers!)

But first, a confession: I had a presentation at work Tuesday and so I've been TERRIBLE getting around to other bloggers—only a few a day. But starting TODAY I will get back to a mix of visiting new and visiting BACK people who've visited me, so hopefully the END of my FAIL.

Now for the topic...


Now don't get all “that's old news” on me because I have been on FB since 2007 personally and since 2009 as a writer. But Facebook made some changes last year that made most of the old promo stuff not work. And I have some (well meaning) friends who seem to over-promote (this is more a “missing the mix” thing I think—promo has to be less than 10% of what you do).

But what I want to know from all of YOU is if you've figured out any new tricks to really make it work. Are you managing to drive blog traffic or boost booksales with any new tricks on Facebook?

How do you do it?
What are the new tricks?

Okay, now go visit other A to Z bloggers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E is for eBookasaurus

HA! Right?!

I should probably introduce my theme first... the theme is I bring up a promotion topic and YOU tell me what you know... (since I know nothing).

And I have a confession for you, since that's what we do around here... I was stumped for an ePromotion, so I went to this site and scanned the ones with the most green checks, but I fell in love with this name... and it looks pretty good in theory, but that is the most cursory glance.

Has anybody used this before?

How does it work?

DOES it work?

Does it have the best name ever? *shifty*

So what do YOU know about eBookasaurus?

Any OTHER promotional stuff that starts with E?

Now don't forget to go visit other A to Z bloggers!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D is for Direct (as in sales)

Welcome A to Z Bloggers! As many of you know, I am spending my month putting all of YOU to work! I will bring up a book marketing or publishing topic then ask for YOUR experiences with it. (so be sure to check back later for answers!)

Her books, her chatskis, and her daughter's art
Today's topic came to me courtesy of my friend Allison Dickson who went to a comic con this weekend and sold a bizillion books! Now she has a series that I think is superhero related, and a PI series not unrelated, but that isn't all she sold. She took her huge supply of MANY of her books (and some cute things she made) and SOLD OUT.

So my Direct Sales Questions to all of YOU...

1) How does a person find these opportunities where ready buyers are already there?

2) How hard is it to get involved? (is it a fee? Or do you have to earn a spot?)

3) Does it pay off?

4) Do you have to talk to people while you do it? Erm...

5) Have you ever done it and what are your experiences?

Don't forget to go visit other A to Z bloggers!

Also, I am over at the Parallels blog today discussing DECEIT as it relates to my short story The Seventeen.

Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Contests

Each day I am bringing up a tool for book marketing or promotion and asking all of YOU for experiences, knowledge, and ideas.

Oh, to be this badass...

Contests are something I actually have a bit of experience with. (Not the sort on the left, except in my wildest dreams, but the writing sort) I love them, because they provide deadlines for getting something ready and there is typically at least some level of feedback. But I have NOT done a lot of them because I'm just not sure where to FIND them!!!

Also, the contest I used to participate in regularly (the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) is now defunct. Poof. No more. All gone, bye-bye. (I hate that).

So do any of you know good sources for FINDING contests?

Are there contests that come around regularly that you really like? (what do they cost?) (what genres do they cover?)

So now you should go see some other A to Z participants!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for BookBub

No, not Bubba

For anyone who didn't see my theme posts, this month I will be bringing up a tool for book marketing or promotion and asking all of YOU for experiences, knowledge, and ideas.

So what is BookBub?

I learned about it from my neighbor... she asked me if I'd heard of it, then proceeded to tell me about how she would go and get free and cheap books...


Now we don't want to give ALL our books away, but a high profile site to give away one or two so people want to buy our OTHER ones is a great idea.

What I don't know... what I hope some of YOU might be able to help with, is: 


Anybody know the process? 

How much does it help sales?

Have you done this? How was the experience?

And because this is a group event, don't forget to go visit OTHER A to Z bloggers this month!

Friday, April 1, 2016

A is for Amazon

Are you ready!? It is time for A to Z and we are diving in! For a full list of participants, check out here.

For anyone who didn't see my theme posts, this month I will be bringing up a tool for book marketing or promotion and asking all of YOU for experiences, knowledge, and ideas.

Do we need to be Amazon Warriors?
So back to the day... A is for Amazon.

You all know that right? And this is not even remotely a new topic related to book publishing, but Amazon is DOING some new things... they are doing some quality control. They are doing some imprints that require a query process... So there are some NEW Amazon things I'd like to know...

Anybody have experience or read anything about this new quality control system?

What do you think of it? (It SOUNDS, in concept, good to me –you get through a few hoops and then have a quality stamp of sorts, but I get the impression it isn't exactly working this way?  What do you know? What opinions have you formed? What have you read?)

Have you used any of the select functions?
Is this the same thing as their imprints?
Do you think these are a good idea?
Do books sell well that go through this process?

Any other Amazon themes you want to bring up?

So go ahead! You're the experts! Make me smart!!!