Posts Tagged With: authors

A Writer? So why aren’t you Writing?

This is the second in a series on marketing.

When writers start learning about how to reach their audience, they are told to build a platform across multiple channels to reach their audience. Then they get frustrated when no one appears to be paying attention to their posts, so they stop posting.

Big mistake.

Even if you aren’t a writer, but especially if you are, you must keep putting yourself out there. I’m tired of the word “content,” but content is exactly what you need to be producing. You must do this whether or not anyone is reading at all.

Think about it. How many television shows barely made it through their first seasons before they got noticed and became runaway successes? I can think of a few like Seinfeld and Everyone Loves Raymond. How many were canceled only to be reborn because the supporters — and writers — didn’t stop working the system? Star Trek, anyone? How many authors started out unnoticed only to become successful a couple of books later? What if they had given up after the first or second book?

No one may be reading your first attempts, but no one will ever read what you have to say if it never exists.

Realize you are competing for attention among millions of other people. Nathan Berry writes (via Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets), “There is so much content being produced that we can’t possibly discover it all. So we wait for the best to float to the surface after time. If step one in building an audience is to create great content, step two is to endure long enough to get noticed.”

Each social media platform is idealized for different types of posts, lengths of posts, and frequency. The first decision you must make is which social media outlets best suit your style and output. You don’t need to be everywhere, and to do so will just eat up valuable time. A regular website should be your primary home. This is where all your information can be found, your longer musings, and all other sites are a gateway back to the homeland. Then figure out which handful of other sites can benefit your brand. They may become more active as far as posts go, but have somewhere substantial as your foundation.

So how often should you write on your internet platforms? Some recommend every day. I think it depends on the type of site: Your main page should be at least once or twice a week. Sites like Facebook or MeWe, four times. Instagram, also four. I don’t like sites like Twitter or Gab for authors. Too short and flippant. Also realize I am talking about your author sites. Keep personal stuff on personal pages. While your home website is a better place for expanded content, if you find yourself posting quite a bit on non-author\writing topics, start another dedicated page. Most sites allow you to write multiple posts and save them for later, or specify a predetermined time to publish. This lets you write multiple posts in one sitting and have days or weeks of content ready to go.

Don’t be spammy. No one wants endless “buy my book” ads. This is the old way of doing things. Document your process. Detail your passions. Tell your Story. You convince readers to buy your book by not telling them to buy it. Rather, show them why your Story is so amazing. I once had someone try to sell me a product by giving me all the stats and figures — technobabble. I understand all that, but tell me why you are compelled to use that product. How did it change you? As an author, you tell amazing stories. Show people the path into your Story and why it will change them.

As Virginia Woolf wrote, “…in order to make you understand, to give you my life, I must tell you a story.”

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Want a Free Book?

This is the first in a series on marketing.

That got your attention. Everyone likes free stuff, but authors hate giving away their work. I saw one writer get visibly upset when she saw me give away a book. I get it. Writing is hard work and most authors want to make a living telling stories. However, when you are just starting out, you need to invest in marketing your book.

Giving away free stuff is Marketing 101.

How many times has a retailer lured you in with BOGO offers or deeply discounted products (“loss leaders”)? They do it all the time, every day. It’s hard to see your book as a product, but you’re on the hunt for readers, right? Readers are your customer, and your book is your product.

I’m not saying you should give away all your books for free all the time. It should be part of an overall marketing plan. Free book contests. Donate them to local libraries. Have you ever see those little community book exchanges in parks and other locations? Keep copies in your car. You never know when the opportunity may arrive to give out your book, free or otherwise.

Running sales, just as all other businesses do, should also be part of your plans. Once you have multiple books published, deeply discounting the first — or making it free — gives a no-risk invitation to new readers.

Giving away your books shouldn’t be the only freebie in your arsenal. Think about what other free content you can give out such as excerpts of your books, or short stories set in the same storyverse. Consider putting these together in a low cost book format (paper or electronic) and give them out at events or on-line even to those who haven’t bought your book (especially to people who haven’t bought your book).

As authors, we don’t see ourselves merely as a business, or our readers as customers. We are looking for a deeper connection (and we will get into all that in future posts). Ultimately, getting your book out there requires a business mindset.

Most importantly, keep telling stories. Don’t stop until you Find Your Purpose, Find Your Story.

Contact and connect with Darrick here. Watch for newsletter sign-up coming soon. Get your copy of Among the Shadows and choose a side. Will it be on the side of Light? Or Darkness?

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Garage Band or Superstar?

What to bands and writers have in common? Quite a bit. Author and editor Jaimie Engle wrote on the similar path musicians and authors take. It is up to you where to stop on that road, so check out her post and decide which band you want your writing to sound like.

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Writers: “Differentiate between drama and non-drama”

David Mamet wrote a “Master [writing] Class Memo” to his writers on the show The Unit a few years back. Much of what he presents applies to novelists just as easily as screen writers:

EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.

THIS NEED IS WHY THEY CAME. IT IS WHAT THE SCENE IS ABOUT. THEIR ATTEMPT TO GET THIS NEED MET WILL LEAD, AT THE END OF THE SCENE,TO FAILURE – THIS IS HOW THE SCENE IS OVER. IT, THIS FAILURE, WILL, THEN, OF NECESSITY, PROPEL US INTO THE NEXT SCENE.

ALL THESE ATTEMPTS, TAKEN TOGETHER, WILL, OVER THE COURSE OF THE EPISODE, CONSTITUTE THE PLOT.

ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN.

And most importantly:

I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE SCENE AND ASK YOURSELF “IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT ESSENTIAL? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY.

IF THE ANSWER IS “NO” WRITE IT AGAIN OR THROW IT OUT.

Does every scene of your story propel it forward or will readers feel like they are bogged down in a swamp?

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Nightmare of Editing

For you writers out there, editing can be the worst part of the process. When is your work really done? Good enough to begin showing to friends, agents or publishers? These are tough questions, with few easy answers. I’ll try two.

One, I read somewhere that you should take your best sentence or paragraph and use that as your standard. You know, that part that just pops. Every word is perfect. The flow. The content. Nothing is out of place. Compare everything else to those words and reshape until the standard is matched. This can be tough to do. During the writing, a lot gets thrown onto the paper. Now you have to really craft it like you are carving or sculpting. It is the editing process where people usually realize that writing is a skill. Good writing that is. The editing may take awhile, but you will know when each part is just right.

Two, delete. Yes, sometimes there is no saving a sentence or even a whole paragraph. Maybe a whole page. Remember that section you wrote that sounded so cool? You were trying to say something profound. There was some bit of great knowledge you had and needed to impart it on the reader. Chances are, it never sounded good. It never fit. Now, no reshaping is working. Erase it. Trust me, when you do it, you’ll feel better. Your story will be stronger and you’ll wonder why you wrote those horrible words to begin with.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

5 Things Not to Do on Your Novel

1. If the publisher is going to write the genre on the cover, make sure it’s right. I once saw “futuristic” instead of sci-fi. Really?

2. I realize some authors become so famous, whatever they write will sell. That doesn’t mean the back cover should just be a picture of them and nothing else.

3. I know a lot of research goes into many books, that doesn’t mean explain it all at the end in some “Author’s Notes.” For a few books it does work, but there is a fine line. In most others, it just sounds like you are trying to impress people, or worse, explain why you wrote what you did.

4. The teasers on the back of or inside the cover shouldn’t give spoilers to your plot.

5. Don’t put “A Novel” on the the cover. If people can’t figure out what kind of book it is, I’m not sure they should be reading it.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Stepping Through the Mirror

Myth has inspired some of the great works of literature. Worlds that we disappear into, away from our real existence, yet the best inspire and teach as well or better than any nonfiction. Primarily because they engage our imagination, the most powerful part of our intellect.

So from here forward, I will be expanding the scope of this site to include more on fiction and the fascinating worlds they contain. Even though I am old-school when it comes to reading (paper please), e-books may have opened a golden opportunity to reintroduce the power of fiction. Still, paper is going nowhere too soon as it is far more durable than our best inventions. Funny, isn’t it?

Where to begin but with the father of modern fantasy, George MacDonald. Many readers probably are unfamiliar with this man, yet he inspired C.S. Lewis. He and his children encouraged Lewis Carroll to publish. Long before Tolkien, MacDonald was revealing fantastic worlds. More in the style of fairy tale fantasy than epic, but an absolute must for fantasy fans. Over a hundred years ago, this author started it all with his sophisticated and magical stories.

Phantastes
Lilith
The Princess and the Goblin
The Princess and Curdie
The Complete Fairy Tales

Categories: Books, Fiction, Writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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