Thursday, October 30, 2014

Author Endorsements

I'd like to make a public admission: I hate asking other people for anything.

I know, I've talked about this on here before. Where it's okay to reach out to others, and the worst that can happen is they say no, and yada yada.

But here's the thing. I have super tough skin. In fact, I'm almost looking forward to my first 1-star review so I can wear it like a membership badge. I'm not at all concerned about feeling the pain of rejection if authors turn me down.

My reluctance comes from not wanting to be a pain in the arse. I realize just how busy authors are. There are no free minutes. At least not for any of the authors I know.

But I also know these truths:
1. Authors are generally nice people.
2. If someone asked me for a blurb, I'd be honored, and would accept if it worked in my schedule.
3. Authors are still readers. Not just because they like it, but because they need to stay up to date with the market, too.

Armed with these truths, I have set forth to solicit author blurbs. The good news is this has been a friendly blog for authors for quite a while. I did a quick scan of my archives and came up with a pretty nice list of authors I have featured right here.

Not all of them are a good match, and I think this is important for authors to recognize. Yes, there is something to be said for having a line from someone who has "author of X" after their name. It gives you instant credibility thanks to their status as an author. However, if none of the authors you quote are writing for your audience, these are not going to be the most helpful to you.

So, I'm not asking for blurbs from anyone I don't feel has an overlapping market with mine. We might not write in the exact same space, but I'm only asking for blurbs from authors whose audience is similar to my own.

But, there's no need to waste a good connection. For the authors who don't match my audience, I'm checking out their platforms to see if there is a way we can continue working together.

I'm also going to reach out to a handful of authors who I have not featured here, but that I know better than a casual hi on the internet (gulp). This makes me nervous, as some of these folks are big names. If they can't do it, I won't be hurt or offended, but if they can...Let's just say you will absolutely hear about it. :)

Now, a word on blurbs. For this first book, there won't be any mention of these blurbs on the actual book. Maybe if I adjust the ebook backmatter at some point I will add them in, but for now they won't be there. So what am I going to do with them? For now, these will go on my Amazon listing.

Did you know there is a place on Amazon for editorial reviews. This is where people add the nice things said by place like Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly. But I don't have those, because they cost money if you self-publish and I don't feel like that's a good use of my limited funds. But you can put anything you want there. So that's where I'll put author blurbs.

Like reviews, this is just one more piece of social validation that hopefully convinces readers that my book is worth their hard earned cash and time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I don't like cover reveals, but I'm doing one anyway

I understand why authors do a cover reveal. Honestly, even though I hated being in charge of my own cover, I'm so excited with the finished product. And the feedback I've gotten from bloggers has been great.

But as a reader, cover reveals are a bit anti-climactic. We get to see the cover, and they are often beautiful and enticing and make me want to read the book, but then...nothing. Because that's all I get, just the cover. When what I really want is words.

So, I'm going to do something a little different because that's how I roll. I'm going to do a cover reveal (mostly because not doing one feels like a slap in the face to my amazing cover designer), but at the same time, I'll be releasing the first chapter. That's right, the whole first chapter.*

I'm hoping readers will see the pretty cover, get sucked in by the words and then pre-order the book. In that order. Or not, who knows right now.

But what this means is that I am going to do an awesome Cover/First Chapter reveal on November 3rd. That would be Monday. Yeah! I already have some generous bloggers signed up and ready to go, but I'm happy to have anyone participate that is interested. If you'd like to get in on the cover reveal action (and get to see all the pretty before anyone else), just fill out this quick form or shoot me an email.

Now sit back and count the days until you can feast your eyes on the beauty that is my cover. Or, you know, just stay tuned for tomorrow's post.

*Of course, if you are a newsletter subscriber you already got to read the first chapter. Because subscribers are awesome and awesome people get everything early. Don't you want to subscribe so you don't miss out on the next fun treat I send to awesome subscribers? Sure you do!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trying to do all the things

So here's a random Tuesday post for you with a bit of in your face honesty.

Self-publishing is hard, dudes. Like seriously hard. As in, there is a reason that people go the traditional route and hand over complete control of their baby to professionals who are strangers to them.
This is not really a one-person job. Publishers have many departments for a reason. There are a lot of jobs to do. But I don't have a team (not entirely true if you count my support team who is awesome). An assistant would be lovely, but those cost money and I'm so anal-retentive about all this, I'd probably spend more time deciding what to farm out than I would save from having an assistant.

What I could use is an intuitive robot. If you've got a lead on the intuitive robot market, I am definitely interested.

In the interest of honesty and sharing, here's what's on my plate right now:
- Drafting emails to bloggers who are closed to new books, but are open to spotlights, guest posts, etc.

- Creating the Google docs home base that will hold all the blog tour resources both for the participating bloggers and my sanity.
- Figuring out how Wattpad works without accidentally posting something.
- Trying to decide how soon I need to upload info to Amazon so it doesn't pre-empt my cover reveal while making sure I have a good lead for pre-sales.
- Getting a head start on the guest posts I've committed to so I don't get behind (December is not that far away).
- Making a contact list for local media and trying to remember who has told me they know who.
- Writing multiple press releases.
- Planning next newsletter copy

I'm sure I'm forgetting something (which is stressing me out more). Plus, all of this is on top of keeping up with my clients and agenting duties, and all my personal life business (like homeschooling my kiddos and making sure we all eat).

The truth is, I don't have to do any of this. I could (quite easily) upload the whole business tomorrow and be done with it all. And if I didn't care at all about getting this book into the hands of readers, that's what I'd do. But I do care, and so I will march down that to-do list and get it all done.

And I'll be happy about it. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she asked how the book launch was going. I said a few things before she stopped me.

"You are a smiley person, you do it a lot, but that smile right there, the one you get when you talk about your book. That tells me just how passionate you are about this. And if you put even a part of that passion into your work, I know you'll be a success."

It's true. I might complain about how much there is to be done (soooo much), but I'm honestly having the time of my life. This is so much fun. And when I think of all the readers who will be able to read my words in just over a makes my heart sing. I could melt an Icy Frozen Ana right now.

So, I'm going to try to keep things positive here. And that may lead some of you to think that this whole self-publishing business is a walk in the park. I don't want to dissuade anyone, but I also want to be completely honest. This is not easy. But if you love it, it's totally worth it.

Also, a note about timing. I really wanted all of my marketing updates to be real time so you guys could get a good sense of when I am doing things and how long they take. I now realize that would be completely unattainable. And that makes me sad, because I realize that timing is an important aspect of marketing. So, when all of this is said and done, I'll do a recap post that has the actual time frame for all of my marketing efforts. That way I keep my sanity and you get all the info you really need. Everybody wins!
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