Monday, October 20, 2014

Now this is the story all about how...


My life got flipped-turned upside down.

No, I am not the new Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Though I do feel a bit like a princess. 

I'm finally ready to share the exciting news I hinted at last week. Ready?

I'm self-publishing my debut YA novel on December 4th! I'm Goodreads official and everything.

So I realize that many of you might be thinking 'Wait, isn't she an agent? Why is she self-publishing?' And those are great questions. I'm going to talk about my very weird path to publication and how I decided to go it on my own on Wednesday. I tried to include it all here, but it was too much info to include with this post and I didn't want to leave anything out and leave you with questions.

For today, I want to talk about WAM, that's right, What About Me, or really, you. Because I personally think this is going to be awesome (and not just because it's my book). 

Here's the deal. We all read the guest posts from authors that talk about how they market and get the word out about their book. But you can't really do justice to an entire marketing plan in a single post. But what if an author shared all their action steps and results in real time so you could follow along and get the full picture of what works, what doesn't work, and what might be crazy enough to work someday? Wouldn't that be cool?

Yeah, I think so, too. In fact, I've gone so far as to stalk research authors during their releases to see what they are doing. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to share every step I take, what I do, how I do it, and (when it's possible) how it worked. You guys will get to see the good, bad and the ugly all right here.

And here's where it gets even better. Do you have a marketing idea, or a platform, or program you've always wondered about, but didn't want to risk trying it? Hey, there. Let me know, and when it's feasible, I'll incorporate it into my marketing plan and tell you all about it. And if it's not something I can do (or believe is right for my book), I'll talk about why.

The idea is to be an open book and give you guys a backstage pass to my marketing efforts. To my knowledge, I've never seen an author do this before so I'm really excited about it.

So, for now, send me any ideas of marketing efforts you'd like to see me implement. And feel free to check out my Goodreads listing. I've also updated the Author tab on the blog to include all the book info. The cover is still a place holder until I figure out how and when to do the reveal. And when I do figure it out, you'll be the first to know.

And while we're on the subject of first to know, you guys are not actually the first to know about this. All my newsletter subscribers are. In fact, anytime I have big news or secret info, the awesome people who get my newsletter will always hear about it first. Including, opportunities to get an early review copy. So if you aren't signed up for my newsletter, do it now. You'll also get a free copy of my DIY Blog Tour handbook, so it's a win-win-win.

Finally, let me say thank you. The well-wishes I've already received have been so lovely. I can't wait to share my book with the world, but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun without all of you there to share it with me. You guys rock my face off, red lipstick and all.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gorilla Snot: Because words matter

A few weeks ago I mentioned this product in one of my videos:



In case that's too hard to read, it says gorilla snot gel. Yep, it does. And in case you think this is a product typo, here's another one.





Yep, it got worse. That is a picture of a gorilla with snot coming out of its nose. Before you ask, yes, this is a real product, and yes, you can buy it in US.



Now, to be fair, there is a lot of truth in advertising here. If you open up the container of gorilla snot, that's exactly what it looks like. A big tub of snot.

Had this particular jar of hair product not been in the dollar bin and was I not such a penny pincher, I would never have picked it up. Why? Because there is nothing even remotely tempting about a product that openly compares itself to animal boogers.

I have to guess there is a reason this product (which works pretty well, actually) was in the dollar bin, while similar products are selling off the shelves at ten times the price. And that reason would be the words used to describe it.


Words matter.

How you talk about yourself.
How you talk about your books.
What you title your books.

For a prime example of this check out the twitter meme #badmoviedescriptions. Here's one of my favorites.

 

The point is that words matter. If you refer to your book in general terms or don't talk about it with gusto, then don't be surprised if readers aren't lining up to read it. Don't talk about yourself as a hack or a part-time writer or anything other than the professional that you are (or that you're aiming for). Give your book a title that draws readers in. Don't call your hair gel Gorilla Snot.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Get your show face on

I've probably mentioned it a time or two (or hundred) that I am currently in a local theatre production. Very small time, but super fun for me. I took a hiatus from the stage when my girls were born so this is my first production in over seven years. Much like riding a bike, I was a bit rusty at first, but have gotten back into the swing of things. And not a moment too soon, since we open this weekend.

Monday night was our first night in full make-up. And I forgot what a pain that can be. Because I love you, here are a few shots of me from the stage.
In case you don't recognize me with all that make-up, I'm the one at the bottom looking all sultry and such. On the right, I'm trying very hard not to laugh while screeching a song.

As you can see, I've got the make-up piled on. This is huge pain in the rear to put on and take off. I don't wear make-up on a daily basis. None. At all. So any make-up is a change. False lashes and ruby red lips are a game changer.

But I wear the make up for the stage, because I have to. Without it, my face would be a washed out mess and no one in the audience would be able to make out my facial expressions with all the bright lights. If I want people to see me, I have to go big.

And here's the marketing correlation you've been waiting for.

I get that not everyone has a personality that's larger than life. Writers tend to be an introverted group. And for the most part, that's okay. You don't need to change who you are to be an author. You certainly don't want to be fake with your readers.

But there are times when you are going to need to put on the false lashes and red lipstick...metaphorically. 

If you want to be noticed, you need to make yourself noticeable. 

That may sound obvious, but so many authors don't get it. Next time you go to a group signing, take notice of the authors who tend to have the most traffic at their table. I'll bet you, it's the ones who are standing up, or even standing in front of their table. They are often the ones with candy or swag, who are willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger about anything. These are often the authors who have sign-up lists or contests that draw readers into their area. They are putting themselves out there.

In short, these are the authors wearing red lipstick. 

Next time you have an opportunity to get in front of your readers, think of ways that you can make yourself more noticeable. Step away from the table and engage. And if it makes it easier, wear your red lipstick.
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