Tag Archives: marketing

Writer Alert! Here’s your chance to win a free book!

king of glory 2 11 2018 25

One of my goals for this year was to revise my writing and publishing advice book, Write for the King of Glory. I’ve learned a few things since the first edition of this book, and you are the ones to benefit if you want to learn how to make your writing distinctively Christian plus get an inside look at one indie writer’s publishing journey from start to finish.

If you didn’t know there was a first edition, here’s what it looked like:

king of glory 25

I’ve learned a few things about publishing (and cover design) since the first edition, and I’d love to share them with you. I’d also like to get more reviews. But most of all I’d like to give away some ebook copies of this book. So just respond to this post with your email or send your request to my email (mjmcfindley@gmail.com). I’m happy to send you a copy in whatever format you like!

Here are the links so you can check it out on your favorite site. But remember, you can have one for free! Just ask!

myBook.to/Write-King-Glory

books2read.com/Write-for-king-of-glory

http://bit.ly/2EPDCGX

 

 

 

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Filed under Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books, Publishing, Writing

Nat Davis — She’ll Circle the Globe, Scour the Earth — Whatever it takes to get you forward on your publishing journey!

old map

Nat Davis is an independent contractor for the publishing industry, involved in the process from start to finish. In the beginning, she is the sounding board for ideas; in the end, she helps define a marketing program centered around your needs. While she is ready to offer help where needed, there are a few specific areas where her expertise really shines.

 Editing
This forms the bulk of her work. She checks for two main areas-
     Grammar- the typical proofing edit, which checks for typos, sentence structure, spelling, etc
     Style- this checks the structure of the book, including flow, descriptions, continuity, and other important factors
Marketing
Although she is branching out into physical marketing, most of her marketing expertise lies in social media marketing. She regularly keeps up to date on the constant changes for Facebook and the best times to post to Twitter. She is also familiar with various customization options for profiles, such as tabs for Facebook. She is also familiar with websites and SEO and how to use algorithms to your advantage.
Writing
“Some people are born storytellers, not writers.” If you have a story you’re burning to tell, but can’t write worth a darn or don’t understand how to put it all together, Nat Davis can write it for you! She has written close to 300 works to date, including business articles, marketing tips, academic literature, fiction stories, personal profiles, memoirs, and more.
Each project is defined for the needs of the client. For a free consultation, she can be reached by email or through her Facebook page.
Contact
Nat Davis can be reached at-
Email: Littlesteppingstones@hotmail.com

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The Further Adventures of a Twitterpated Journey through Social Media by Mary C. Findley

birds tweeting

Quite awhile back I posted a blog about my beginning to use Twitter to help promote our books. I am still struggling with writing tweets, and I know many others are, so I wanted to share a few “epiphanies” that have come to me in my struggles. Yes, you have to keep struggling, because Twitter works.

Don’t let people tell you everybody hates sales tweets on Twitter. Twitter is becoming the new site for journalism,  news, and all kinds of media. It’s not just “I’m bored at school” and “that guy is so cute” anymore. It’s full of Bible study fans, current events fans, fiction fans, homeschoolers, and people interested in every subject you could think of to write about.  And don’t let people tell you that you should never follow other authors. People looking at Twitter look for interesting stuff. Readers are looking for writers. I can’t come to any other conclusion, because most of our blog followers and apparently book buyers come from Twitter, and I follow and retweet lots of other authors.

First, both Smashwords and Amazon have tweet buttons on each book page. You can hit that little bird, and an automatic tweet comes up. It’s ok to just send that critter right out as is. You even have some space to edit or add some original things, like hashtags, pricing, or a short quote from the book or a reviewer.  But you don’t have to add anything.

Twitter also sends you emails saying “so-and-so retweeted your tweet.” This makes it easy to click the link to so-and-so and go to that profile and retweet a couple of his. Easy return of helpfulness to a person who took the trouble to retweet you.

Another kind of email is the one that says “So-and-so and six others have tweets for you.” These are recent tweets of people you follow anyway, usually, so you can retweet them right from your email.

You can join a tweeting group. There are quite a few on facebook. Some make a file into which people paste daily tweets. You can paste yours there as well if you commit to retweeting the others. They are supposed to retweet you also, Others just make a comment thread with a daily list of tweets. If you add yours, you should retweet the others in the list. A third kind of group makes up a special hashtag, for example #twitgrp, and you can do a search for that on Twitter and retweet everyone in your group who includes that tag. They can also find you and retweet you, without even going to facebook.

If you have many books like we do, and many sites where you book is sold, consider tweeting a group of them from one site. You can tweet your blog if they are linked there. You can tweet from Kobo, for example, where they have our books in a group by each author. I can tweet Sophronia Belle Lyon’s list there, and Mary C. Findley’s list, and Michael J. Findley’s list, and I have let the twitterverse know about all our books in three tweets.

Yes, it’s still a good idea to write original tweets. If you have multiple subjects or genres that you write about, try to concentrate on writing tweets for just one subject at a time. “Historical Romance” tweets Monday, “SciFi” tweets Tuesday, “Bible Study” Wednesday, “Literary Adventure” Thursday, and so on. Keep them generic so you can keep reusing them, but don’t always tweet the same ones.

Tweet lines from your books. Tweet lines from reviews. Tweet hashtags, to tell people what categories your books fall into. Twitter tells you what hashtags are trending. That means people are searching for #offbeatromance, or #electionpolitics or  #deathofchild. (I made those up. I don’t know what the real hastags of the day might be.) Take some time to check for those trending hashtags and include them in your tweets for that day.

My next step is going to have to be figuring out some scheduler program like Hootsuite. If anybody is out there reading this blog, I would love to hear your thoughts on the best, easiest, fastest scheduler and how you make it work.

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Filed under Excerpts from our Nonfiction Books, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

Findley Family Video’s Publishing Journey

space empire banner

my books 2013

A sweet blog reader was kind enough to say she’s been following us for some time now, and likes our writing and content, and also the way we promote our books. She asked about how we publish, and also how we promote, so here, I hope, is an answer to that question. I’m including links to other blog posts I’ve written about publishing where they apply.

We have been writing for over 30 years, but publishing about 4. So our publishing experience is not vast. But we do everything ourselves at this point, from writing, to editing, to formatting and cover design and actual uploading to publishing sites. Here’s a post on the mechanics of preparing and publishing an ebook. Part Two: Make It Clean, Get It Out

We use Amazon and Smashwords for the ebooks and Createspace for the print books. So far we only have a few print books but we will be doing more soon. Our philosophy of publishing is to make our works available as inexpensively as possible and that’s why we started with ebooks. Here’s a post I wrote on our philosophy of e-publishing. The Hows (And Whys) of E-Books

I was an editor for a publishing company and feel confident about my self-editing at this point. Here’s a blog post I wrote about things to look for when editing. Righting Sew Reel Ayes Reed Passed Yore Tie Till We also have worked as videographers and have graphic design experience, so I make our covers. The program I use for that is Photo Impact from Corel. Here’s a post on book covers Part 2 1/2: Cover It Beautifully .That has been a journey, and you can see how my skills have progressed at our Findley Family Video Facebook page, under the photos section, where our stages of cover design are stored. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Findley-Family-Video/149992491693629?sk=photos_stream I also have illustrated versions of some of our books. Here is a blog post I wrote about a site where all the images are offered free by the photographer, and about our latest cover redesign. Dressing up for the Holidays: Free Images to Help You Make Ebook Covers

We write and format our books in Microsoft Word, following the Smashwords Style Guide for ebooks, which is free on their site and on Amazon. Other writers have suggested using writing and book design programs but we are keeping it simple for now.  Here’s another post on ebook creation and publishing. Part Three: Your Book, Where It Should Go, How It Will Look

Now for the hard part — Promoting. I have a Goodreads and a Library Thing account. I have two Twitter accounts, a Google + account, and between us we have 3 facebook pages and two personal pages, plus I have a Pinterest account. I spend a fair bit of time networking with other authors on facebook. I try to share and tweet and promote their works as much as I can. I belong to several author groups on facebook and we exchange advice and promotions. We also have this blog, which has all our books linked to Amazon and Smashwords.

The blog posts get tweeted automatically when we publish, and most of our blog followers have come from Twitter. Some also come from facebook. Some come from search engines. I always include tags when I post a blog, subjects the blog is about, and we get a lot of blog hits on our Bible-related posts. One of the things people have said they like about us and our blog is that it’s not always about writing. Sometimes we post guest blogs and book reviews and talk about our books, but that’s not the focus of the blog. But the books are linked there for people to see and click on if they wish. We also have short descriptions of all our books at the end of most titles, and a link to our blog so readers can connect with us and check out our other titles. Here’s a post about being a blogging writer. Stuff Blogging Writers Need to Know: Part One

We have tried paid advertising or free trials of advertising that would be paid, several different online sites, and honestly, the results have been pretty much zero sales or responses. I participate in author groups where we all post tweets and retweet each other, and, as difficult as it is to be consistent and keep doing that daily, that seems to be very effective. I’m going to treat myself to a paid version of a tweet scheduling program very soon, because right now I do it all manually and it’s driving me crazy. Here’s a post about Twitter. Curiouser and Curiouser … An Author’s Adventures in Twitterland

One thing that has helped us get some notice is offering samplers of our full-length books for 99 cents. Some of our 99 cent books are complete short stories or novellas and some are three-chapter excerpts. We have also tried pricing a couple of full-length books at 99 cents, and even tried Amazon’s KDP select program for one book. The results for Select were pretty disappointing, though we did get some notice and a few reviews. Smashwords has a distribution network to iTunes, Sony, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and others, and we are beginning to see regular sales there.

We have a wide variety of genres — Issues non-fiction, Homeschool Curriculum, Historical Adventures and Romances, and Science Fiction. We have something for most ages and tastes. We are not bestselling authors by any definition I can figure out, but our sales have grown a bit almost every month. It’s interesting to note that people are buying from all the kinds of books we have.

So my conclusions about marketing, so far in our journey, anyway, are as follows:

Having a good, clear, relatively simple, striking, easy-to-read and understand cover is a good thing. Having a link in the books is a good thing. Tweeting is a very good thing. Having a blog is a good thing, but probably not one that’s just about writing. Pinterest is something I’m still thinking about. It seems to have good points, such as the ability to display your books with prices and links to Amazon all in one place. If you can join some groups with readers in them, this may be a very good thing. But I see a lot of lookers on Pinterest, not a lot of buyers. Many people are there to ooh and ahh and get lost in pretty pictures, not to click a sales link and go read an ebook. Here’s a post about my pinterest experience. Pinterest Is My New Interest

I didn’t say much about Goodreads, but finding readers there and talking to them about other people’s books makes them think you are a nice person. Talking to them about your own books is not always a good idea, but they will check out that nice person’s books and blog sometimes. Having your books available in as many places a possible (not just on Amazon) is a good thing. Smashwords also deserves praise for upgrading their response time and technical support recently.

Pricing some books at 99 cents is a good thing. Having multiple titles and a variety of kinds of books seems to be a good thing. I have been told repeatedly that having a series is a good thing, so I’m trying that next.

Let me close this by saying that the mainstream, traditionally minded publishers and many traditionally-published authors are not there to help those who want to be indie authors. They consider you the competition. Many of them are getting on the bandwagon of independent publishing, or say they are. Some want you to pay them for advice and claim to be able to help you succeed. But the key to successful indie publishing, once you have made your book as good as you can, is marketing. And few, if any, of these people want to help you market. There’s a lot of talk about “platform” nowadays. That means having an audience who will buy your books. And these people know you have to have one, but they won’t help you get one. Odds are they won’t even take you on as a client or pay any attention to you unless you are already successful at doing your own marketing. And if you keep at it, finding things that work to get yourself known, you will be successful without their “help”.

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Pinterest Is My New Interest

 

I have only “discovered” Pinterest within about the last month. Previously, I knew that non-writing friends, especially females, gushed about it. Sometimes I ignore what females gush about because it usually has to do with shopping and I dislike shopping. One friend said she couldn’t believe I would be on Pinterest. But several author friends poked me (Sorry, can’t help it) with urges to check it out, and see if it could be used as a marketing tool. We had a contest there for a book giveaway for another author and had lots of fun trying to add related items to the board along with her website, artwork and book pins. Not sure how she made out in term of sales results, but I did discover one really odd thng about Pinterest. I discovered this about Twitter, too, and it still puzzles me. If you follow people, like their stuff, and repin, people come see your stuff, and sometimes like and follow it as well.

I make two applications from this discovery. One is physical, and one is spiritual. The physical one is that I have expanded my Pinterest boards to include pictures from our website, our blog, and one board devoted to all our book covers with straight to Amazon links. Amazon has added the feature of Pinterest links to its products so that was easy to do, even with 24 titles now available. I hope people will come and look, and maybe repin or link to our stuff. I also have some interesting stuff related to my writing. I have a Steampunk page because I am working on a steampunk graphic novel. I have gorgeous places and clothing, Victorian mostly, because the Steampunk book will be set in that era. I also have boards for other authors’ books, to showcase them.

Transitioning to the spiritual application, I have an author friend who has had trouble making Pinterest work. He got pretty bitter about it. When the subject came up, he would poke his nose in and complain about how it didn’t work for him. So here’s my spiritual application. Sometimes God pokes you with an idea. You might say, “I’m not really interested in sticking a bunch of pictures up, spending time on this, when I have more important things to do. And besides, some of this stuff doesn’t work right.” You see, there’s a new feature where you can add book prices and Pinterest will put your books in a storefront-giftshop area. I’m having trouble getting that to work. My author friend mentioned earlier is gloating. In poetry, no less. Also, I do like pictures, and cool stuff, and it can become habitual to just pin cool pictures and get carried away with Pinterest. It’s been called “digital crack for women” by the New York Times.

But God will work it all out, just like some of the other things I believe He’s prompted us to do but which we don’t fully understand right now. There’s no point in letting it make me bitter and frustrated, or letting it control me and prevent me from doing other stuff. God wants us to have balance in our lives, and He also wants us to find places where we can let our lights shine. Our primary purpose in our writing is to glorify God, to teach about Him, to guide others to His Word and His truth. So here is our Pinterest light. Hope it directs you God’s Way.

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Curiouser and Curiouser … An Author’s Adventures in Twitterland

I set up a Twitter account awhile back because that was on my promotional “to-do” list. However, I did not really understand what it was for, so I did not use it much. I tweeted our blog posts, and that was pretty much it. My experience with Twitter was somewhat like Alice staring down the rabbit hole. The White Rabbit is marketing, and I want to go where it goes, but I hesitated looking down that small, dark hole. I know that Twitter resembles email, except that you have to be extremely careful what you say. You only have 140 characters in which to say it. Interestingly enough, this ties in with another part of my writer’s journey, inspired decades ago by Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style, my pledge to “Omit needless words!”

I never really understood writers who needed to write long books. Some people love long books with complex descriptions of places, clothing and every little detail. I like the characters and the stories. Excuse me while I skip the travelogue at the beginning of every chapter of Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff. I am not quite at the point of writing phone-screen-sized chapters or text-messaging novels, but I keep hearing that echo, “omit needless words,” and so I edit, trim, and refine my work. As a matter of fact, I have only recently learned the art of text messaging, another thing that resembles Tweeting. Our daughter is hard of hearing and our communication is almost exclusively by texting. I refuse to use all the abbreviations, symbols and jargon. It makes it difficult, but I have my limits.

Back to Twitter. Recently I timidly took the step of retweeting posts by some authors I have befriended and admire. I don’t just randomly retweet, and I don’t even retweet everything I agree with. I do, however, tend to retweet my author friends. In the meantime, our blog posts go on Twitter automatically, and the other day I was startled to discover that our blog followers had more than tripled in the last month. I was also startled to discover that our books were beginning to sell a little. Our chosen niche market is niched indeed, more like Scout and Jem’s secret space in the hollow tree where they exchanged treasures with Boo Radley. I don’t expect to have bestsellers. In fact, more than one blogger has refused to read our books for review or carry posts we have written because they are “too…” Well, I’ll let you fill in the blank and ponder what an unfair world it is.

I noticed also that strange Tweeters were beginning to say they were following me. I’m not going to tell you how many followers I have because it’s still embarrassing, but people do notice when you retweet a lot. The next step in my Twitterland journey was when I joined a Facebook authors’ group that seemed to fit better with my niche than those I had previously joined. I participated, talked, asked for advice, as I always do when I join a group. Then I noticed they were posting Tweets for their books or interviews or blog posts. I grabbed them and retweeted them, and everybody said “Thank You!”

Then someone said, “Where are your tweets? We will repost them all sorts of ways.” Aaaggh! I had no tweets. So I have been forced to create Tweets. I am still struggling to grasp the hashtag thing, but I think it makes it stand out more, like tagging your book on Amazon. I still hate having to abbreviate, to leave out my beloved exact spelling and punctuation, but I press on. And, though in some respects I am still staring down the rabbithole, I am getting the hang of this Twitter thing. Because of something I am doing, our blog is getting a higher profile and our books are getting some sales. A recent article said that Twitter will cease to exist this year. Perhaps. But in the meantime, it seems to be working for me. Go through your Twitter feed every day, look for the ones you want to retweet, decide if you want to follow people who say they are following you, and don’t forget to Tweet yourself!

How to create a Twitter Post (from an admitted newbie.)

Look at what other similar posts contain in the way of hashtags. For example, I write #Historical and #Fiction and #Adventure, my husband writes #SciFi and #Nonfiction, and there are TONS of other hashtags. Just add the Hash or pound sign in front of a word and you have a hash tag. They are subjects that people search for that can get your post noticed, and retweeted, and possibly get you followed. Punctuation and correct spelling take up extra characters, so grit your teeth and leave them out. Use a URL shortening program like bitly to cut down your links. HootSuite is a free program that can be used to schedule recurring tweets, I am told,. That’s the next step in my journey, I guess.

Some examples of tweets using hashtags

#SciFi #Christian The future of persecution. Lunar colony, gas-collection in the outer planets, forbidden romance http://bit.ly/x5Doq7

#Nonfiction doesn’t have to be dull! 200 illustrations, Nimrod’s worship foundations to founding fathers’ fears http://amzn.to/tUo6Kb

#Mystery Adventure Series, All Things New Doctor tests, Boarding school, secret society, Christmas ball, twin trouble http://amzn.to/vG8jGW

#romance #suspense #historical Occult attacks, child sex slavery, a lost prince, regain a throne, king’s hole peril  http://bit.ly/wnxxpt

#Blog, #Issues, #History, #Education #Science It’s tough but you need it. From a fan, “Need me some elk jerky, I do” http://bit.ly/vfdw8v

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