Always Walking Toward the Setting Sun

One of many fine original photos that will appear in Double Take

One of many fine original photos that will appear in Double Take

One of my favorite bloggers wrote that Adventure = Risk plus Purpose, and suggests as many have, that if something scares the beejesus out of us, then “it” is something we should probably be doing. That leads me to wonder, is the way we live our lives mirrored in our style(s) of writing, or never the twain shall meet, or sometimes yes, sometimes, no? Do we crawl snake-belly up under the barbed-wire fences hemming in the confines, and thus the safety of our minds, or do we do the Star Trek thing and go beyond to worlds we have never explored, visited or perhaps even imagined? Is the sky the limit, or are there no limits to the Universe? Do we feel more secure beginning our writing journey with an outline of our story, however sketchily drawn – an end in sight, or do we rely on our characters, fictional or real, to guide us where they want to take the reader. Or is that all literary hogwash and do writers write what and how they want to write, and do they alone deserve the credit for astonishing some readers, disappointing some others and wrestling with the unrest that visits like Scrooge’s ghosts in the thick of night, creaking the boards and causing the author to wonder what if, should I or maybe even, I don’t give a damn if they like it – my writing is my therapy and if it is published, that’s just frosting on the cake? Please weigh in with your comments and visit again soon. R.R. Harris author of Double Take, soon to be published on Amazon

SIX SUPER INGREDIENTS TO PUBLISHING SUCCESS

Into your literary cauldron, throw locally-grown talent (raw, fresh or seasoned in with the right dash of character traits and a generous dollop of opportunity, stir in a finely diced cast of characters or a paste of must-know, how-to. Cook over a carefully tended, dancing flame of desire until it’s “ready” and you’ve got a stew that may be the Brunswick or Irish Stew of books or…

1) TALENT

“Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

 

2) RESPONSIBILITY

“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art.” ~ William Faulkner

 

3) PERSONAL EVOLUTION

“The truly wise know that what is behind them could just as easily be in front of them. What successful people possess in abundance is the ability not only to survive adversity but to be transformed by it.” ~ Jeff Herman

 

4) PLANNING

Once I planned to write a poem entirely about the things in my pocket, but I found it would be too long and the age of epics is past.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

 

5) SHOWING UP

“Many writing books advise writers to figure out their most productive time of the day and to set out to write during that time or times. Experts also say to find the place you are most comfortable when writing and match time and place. Great. It does work for some. Not all.

“I do have a place where I write. It’s my local coffee shop. I write at different times during the day: morning, afternoon, evening. So, I do the conventional writing with time and place matched.

“But. Yes, there’s a ‘But.’ Many of my poems, and a short story recently, have been written in bed at two in the morning. I spring out of bed sometimes to write down an idea, or a rough draft of a poem or story. I keep a notepad with a pen resting on it near my bed. No coffee, no table, no laptop, and very little light.

“Some of the poems I’m most proud of have been written on the subway, in parks, in stairwells, and on my bed. No specific time, no specific place.

“Be flexible. Set your time and place, have no time and place, just write.

Show Up: read, re-read, write, re-write, submit, publish, and do it all over again.”  ~ published by Blackcoffeepoet.com

 

6) PASSION & INNER ALCHEMY

“The fire of one’s art burns all the impurities from the vessel that contains it.” James Lee Burke

 

(Adapted from Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents: http://amzn.to/L1px0G)

 

Happy Writing!
Roger Harris, editor and consultant

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

 

 

Building your Author Platform, Part One

An Author Platform is the cornucopia of ways that we make ourselves known to our readers. Like Rome, it does not have to be assembled in one day, BUT it does have to be built, if you want to be an effective and popular author. The goal is to create and launch a platform that quickly communicates your genre and entertainment value if you’re writing fiction, and your expertise and credibility if you’re writing non-fiction.

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” ~ Roald Dahl

1) Be Alert – Setup a virtual Nanny Cam on the web by signing up for a Google Alert (google.com/alerts). At periodic intervals that you set, Google will email you any mentions of your name, your book’s name, your blog, your Twitter handle or whatever URL you set. You can mine this information by becoming friends with those who are talking about you and share ideas, guest blogs, back cover blurbs or reviews.

“In truth, I never consider the audience for who I am writing. I just write what I want to write.” ~  J. K. Rowling

2) Don’t Play with Every Stranger – Get to know your social media contacts before allying with them because, just like in real life, there are web predators mucking about that will take advantage of the unwary and you could become guilty by association. Basically, if you could not or would not be friends with this person or support their cause off-line, look elsewhere.

“To create something you want to sell, you first study and research the market, then you develop the product to the best of your ability.” ~ Clive Cussler

3) Know your Competition – Study what they do and how they do it. Emulate what you admire, discard what you don’t, but above all, come away with an improved product or outlook.

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it be heard.” ~ Allen Ginsberg

4) Go Madison Avenue – No need for loose morals, freely flowing whiskey and Mad Men here. Although posting affiliate links or ads on your site probably won’t buy you a penthouse on Park Avenue, consider them as another way to get yourself in front of the reader.

“It had better be quirky or perverse or thoughtful enough so that you hit some chord in them. I mean we’ve all read pieces where we thought, ‘Oh, who gives a damn.’ ” ~ Nora Ephron

5) Build your Bio – Succinctly tell people about you and your work, including your credentials, credits and awards. Keep it to one page and use it in your book, whenever you pitch your book, in your publicity package, on Amazon Author Central as well as on your website and blog.

“A reader reads to confirm a reality he knows is there, but which he has not experienced.” ~ Lawrence Durrell

6) Give It Away for Free – Create a signup list on your website/blog by offering a free excerpt of your work, a newsletter, an article, eBook, or video/audio product. The payoff will be a list of people who are interested in your book or product (readers = sales.) Integrate your e-mail marketing by using Aweber or Mail Chimp to handle your lists, newsletter, emails, and auto-responders.

“Like a small animal burrowing into its hole, I shift furniture around, and back myself into a cozy corner, with my back to the wall…and then I can write.” ~ Danielle Steel

7) Reel in the Reviews – Having a high number of reviews will attract new buyers because they are proof that your book is worth the reader’s investment of time and money. To get started, offer to swap reviews with other authors. Post your musings on Amazon, Goodreads and Red Room.

“Remember: A best-selling book usually follows a simple rule, It’s a wonderful story, wonderfully told; not, It’s a wonderfully told story.” ~ Nicholas Sparks

Watch for Building your Author Platform, Part Two, where we will discuss ways to put your best foot forward, make engaging offers and sustain your author platform over the long haul.

Ready to start your marketing plan? Get our free Book Marketing Checklist.

Thanks for stopping by.

Roger Harris , www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

IT’S A WIN-WIN WITH KDP SELECT FREE PROMO DAYS

KDP SELECT is an Amazon Kindle opportunity that allows you to put your book into the Amazon Prime lending program and receive a percentage of lending income from a fixed monthly pot.

It also allows authors 5 days in a 3-month period where you can price the book for free. You’ll attract new readers and your rankings can jump dramatically.

KDP Select Free Day(s) Checklist:

Maximize the use of your Free Kindle days and promote them as much as possible. Here’s what has worked well for other authors:

1. Schedule your Free Kindles for a Wednesday and Thursday to capitalize on the exposure and boost your sales ranking in time for the biggest sales days of the week, which are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

2. Publicize your Free Kindle day(s) on your blog and website and in your emails or your email newsletter.

3. Send requests to other websites and social networking sites that publish notices of Free Kindles (some want up to a month of advance notice).

•         Pixel of Ink www.pixelofink.com

•         Kindle Boards www.kindleboards.com  (under Book Bazaar)

•         Digital Book Today www.digitalbooktoday.com

•         WoMen’s Literary Café www.womensliterarycafe.com

4. On Facebook, post your Free Kindle notice on the day(s) of the giveaway on your wall, any groups that belong to your Fan Page and these free Kindle sites: Free Books for Kindle, All Things Kindle, Free Kindle Books and Tips, Free Ebook Deal, Ereader News Today

5. Post about your free book on your other social networking sites and Tweet often during the day. Use different hashtags: #freekindle  #freebook  #ReadThis  #Kindle  #Amazon  #authorshelpingauthors – Other authors will expose you to their follower list and vice versa.

5. Add a Goodreads event and send it to all of your Goodreads friends.

6. Add Kindle Freebie and Kindle Free tags to your book on Amazon page.

Pricing Before and After your Free Days

The day before your free promo, raise your price (to make it seem an exceptional value). Keep it at the higher price for a week or two after the promo to enjoy the higher royalties on the new wave of sales.

There are many factors that can affect the success of your Free Promo days. Please share your results with us.

For more Book Marketing Tips, get our FREE CHECKLIST at http://indieauthorcounsel.com/MARKETING_TIPS.html

Happy Writing and Selling!

Roger Harris

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

FREE KINDLE BOOKS BENEFIT READER AND AUTHOR

&quote;Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. &quote; ~ Rumi
&quote;In the presence of grace, forgiveness is a recognition that for every wound there is a healing. &quote; ~ Deepak Chopra

These are two quotes that appear in The Chakra Diaries, and give an idea of the themes woven through the novel life stories of ten people who find magic and miracles through attending a chakra healing workshop.

The Chakra Diaries is FREE ON KINDLE, all day today, Friday, April 6.

I asked Becca why she is offering The Chakra Diaries FREE on Kindle…

Roger: Why are you offering The Chakra Diaries Free today?
Becca: The Chakra Diaries is a unique book, stories of people’s triumph over the tragedies in their lives. I’ve had great success reaching readers interested in yoga and chakras, but the Kindle Freebie is a way to reach a broader market – readers of women’s lit, inspirational books, dramatic fiction.

Roger: Is using KDP Select part of your overall marketing plan?
Becca: Yes, I’ve learned that having a strategic marketing plan, including a website, blog, using blog tours, author forums, Ezine articles, FaceBook, Twitter and other social marketing sites, as well as the tools Amazon offers its authors, are all important in getting your name out there. Publishing houses no longer spend marketing dollars to promote their new authors, so all authors need to create their own marketing forum.

Roger: What other advice can you offer other Indie Authors?
Becca: I used a professional editor, a professional book cover artist, and Create Space to professionally design my book. I think it’s important for Indie Authors to take every step to make sure their book is every bit as inviting to read as the books we’re all used to. Even eBooks need to be well-formatted with an attention-getting cover. Kindle is the fastest-growing venue to sell your work, so pay attention to your eBook quality – otherwise, Amazon can offer instant refunds to dissatisfied customers.

Roger: I know you’re often asked, are you related to Deepak Chopra?
Becca: In philosophy only. He’s been one of my greatest teachers. And I wouldn’t mind being as prolific an author as he is.

Using Kindle KDP Select is only one of the many marketing tools that has led The Chakra Diaries to the top of the Amazon charts in books related to yoga and chakras. For a complete list of BOOK MARKETING TIPS, email info@IndieAuthorCounsel.com.

To download your FREE KINDLE version of The Chakra Diaries, go to:

http://amzn.to/FPcLzQ

For more info, see her website at www.thechakras.org.

Happy reading & writing!
Roger Harris

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com

ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR BOOK LAUNCH?

The face of publishing today is changing – brick and mortar stores are closing, traditional publishers are looking for celebrity authors and sure sales, and Amazon Kindle and indie eBooks are taking off.

The ways to market books are also changing with new online tools, many with little cost associated with them… just some hard work and organization.

For non-fiction authors, here’s a checklist of the actions to take to ensure a successful launch and sales of your new book:

I. BUILDING YOUR EXPERT AUTHOR PLATFORM

Create and launch a platform that quickly communicates your expertise, creativity and credibility. An author website and blog are two “musts.”

II. SOCIAL NETWORKING

Through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Goodreads (choose which venues suit you best), you can connect with people who like what you share, they will share it with their friends and you are exposed to a wider audience. People may then click through to learn more about you, go to your blog, buy your book, or take your workshop.

III. BOOK REVIEWS

Having a high number of book reviews will attract new buyers because they are proof that your book is worth the reader’s investment of time and money. If you have no reviews, sales will be slow.

IV. VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR

Several months before launching your book, start organizing a virtual book tour, through online blogs.

V. AMAZON

Rise up the Amazon rankings by using Author Central to promote yourself and your work, use Listmania, and KDP Select free promo days.

VI. PUBLICITY

All the previous marketing tactics will garner you publicity. Journalists may find your book, read a comment you made on a social network, and contact you for an interview. You can actively promote yourself to the media as well, sending out press releases about your new book or hiring a PR professional to write your release and send it out for you. In either case, be prepared with your unique “hook” and your press kit.

VII. ADVERTISING

Use paid advertising to garner attention and sales… you might try Facebook Ads, Google Adsense, or advertising in Kindle Nation Daily and also Pixel of Ink for Kindle audiences.

Need more help on specifics? Request the free pdf: MARKETING YOUR NON-FICTION BOOK ~http://indieauthorcounsel.com/MARKETING_TIPS.html

Please share your favorite marketing tips in the Comments section.

Happy writing and marketing!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

www.thechakras.org

www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com