Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Book Signing Event, Momentum and Music.

I have my first book signing event this weekend at a cafe near Hagerman Idaho.  It helps that I know who the owners are so I get 2 three hour blocks to sign my book on Saturday and Sunday.  I have done a little bit of free advertising with the local news paper and their community events, Craigslist, a Facebook event and Twitter.  From the responses for more information, I expect it to be fairly successful with 10-15 books sold and if I'm lucky I will sell out!

Look at that line!

Cutting back on the blogging and making the rounds on forums has helped with my writing.  Book two of my trilogy is coming along again.  I broke 5,500 words and I am on chapter four.  It feels good to get it moving again.  I wanted to have the rough draft finished in August but July just slipped away with getting the paperback produced and all the extra time it took to promote and market Requiem.

Something that I have been considering the last ten days with Guardian is to continue on and write Sentinel without stopping to edit Book two and make it ready for sale.  When I was writing Requiem the last 3 weeks I was on a huge roll and everything just poured out till it was finished.  Then the 5 weeks of editing happened and extra weeks of getting a book cover and dealing with the paperback and and and and.....  In other words if the momentum is there, I am not going to stop it.  I will carry that momentum into Sentinel.

Music plays a big part while writing.  I remember listening to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song for an entire day of writing.  The chapters were all action fight sequences between airships.  Right now I have found a few songs that help me get into the mood of writing.  Taking ten minutes to listen to a few songs while I read the last few paragraphs from the previous writing session really sets the mood.  For me it makes getting back into that groove a lot easier than dinking around for an hour or more before settling in for a good session.  Right now the intro theme song from the original World of Warcraft sets the mood for Guardian.

What do you do to get in the mood to write?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Targeting the influential and signed paperbacks available.

Monday I received my shipment of 50 books from Lightning Source.  After setting aside the ones that people had reserved, they are half gone already.  I have numbered them as the first run.  When I order and sell more, I will still sign and date them but only these 50 will be numbered.  If anyone wants a signed numbered copy, there is a Pay Pal buy it now button on the right.  The cost is an even $15 and that includes taxes and shipping inside the United States.  If you are wanting a copy and live outside of the US, you can e-mail me and we can work something out on shipping costs.

Now on to marketing again.  Yesterday I wrote up a pair press release regarding my book for the media.  They are basically the same except one tends to focus a bit more about being a local author and an upcoming book signing I have at the end of the month.  The other doesn't mention the book signing because no one in New York will care that I am signing a book in Idaho and is tailored to a more general announcement.  I have not done a press release before so we will see how it goes.  I have asked for help from the Kindle Boards forums regarding them and the response has been mixed.  Some say they are not worth the time, and others say the exact opposite.  In my opinion, it can't hurt to try and as one person mentioned, the only reason they got any press was because they sent out a press release.

Next piece of marketing advice I heard came from a movie I watched over the weekend.  'The Social Network'.  There was a scene early on when they first launched The Facebook from their dorm room.  Zuckerberg asked his friend for the e-mail addresses of the people in his fraternity because they were people of influence.  The general idea being that they would influence those around them to also join Facebook.  Later on a girl is checking out Facebook because she had six e-mails from her friends about it.  Book sales follow the same rules.  They rely on word of mouth to sell.  Even if the book is from a celebrity author, if its good, people will talk about it.  Once you hear about it enough times, you will either buy, borrow, or check it out from the library.

Its one thing to update your Facebook page, send a tweet, and announce that you updated your blog in hopes to generate word of mouth and ultimately sales of your book.  However if you are the only one talking about your book, then the only people who might buy a copy are those you influence directly.  The idea now is to get other people to talk about your book, thus targeting people of influence.  Now everyone influences everyone else to a small or large degree.  The goal here is to get the people you influence to talk about your book, tweet, or mention it somewhere and that will influence the people around them.  Even if its just a copy of your book on the table that people see during a party.  There will be overlap on some of this and you will pick up even more people.  Also targeting people of influence that you do not influence directly.  Such as a local radio talk host, or perhaps someone on the local news.  The lottery of influence would be Oprah.  But that doesn't mean you can't get a plug from someone like Joe Konrath if you play your cards right.

So when you get ready to release your book or already have.  Take a look at your social circle.  Find the ten or twenty most influential people in your circle and get them to plug your book.  Either ask them, or give them a free copy of your book, something and see what happens.  Also find a handful of influential people outside of your circle and do the same thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Paperback now available on Barnes and Noble 19% off.

I almost forgot to announce that Requiem is now available on Barnes and Noble in paperback.  It is also discounted 19% off of the cover price.


I have to give a thumbs up to Lightning Source for adding it to their catalog so fast and for Barnes and Noble for picking it up.  Last Monday when I approved the second proof copy I put in an order for 50 books.  UPS tracking says I should have them by Monday the 18th.  I have no idea when Amazon will pick it up or other retailers.

Marketing things to remember.

This is the first week of reducing my blog time to once a week instead of twice a week.  The main reason is that spending two full days of the week to blog, browse forums, post, tweet, Facebook as well as read and post on all of the blogs I follow and find new ones to watch just takes too much time away from writing.  I ended up choosing Tuesdays to do this for two reasons.  First was at the recommendation of someone on the KDP support forums.  They said that they had worked for years doing charity work and said that Tuesdays by far were the days that people had a little bit of extra time as well as money to spend.  The second reason is that Tuesdays mark the day that new books get released to the markets.  Those two reasons made sense to me.

New release Tuesday brings me to the main topic of my blog today.  When I should have been writing, I was on the KDP forums Monday and there was a post from a frustrated author who could not find their book with out directly searching for it.  Their question was if they could not find their book, how would anyone else.  Her book Godhead was released on July 4th.  A Monday.  I spent about 20 minutes looking through Amazon to see if I could "find" her book.  I did eventually under the new in 30 days in the romance department.  That's when it hit me about the Monday bit.  There were 11 pages of romance eBooks that came out on July 5th.  And when I searched on the 11th.  Her book was on page 30 and it was only a week old.  In the end, my advice to her was that she needed to sell, market, and promote her work.  People are just not going to stumble upon it and to be aware of how the market works.  Her book got dumped on and had less than a day before it was on the bottom of heaping pile of new books.

My own experiences with this situation are similar.  About 3 days after Requiem showed up on Amazon, I was browsing around and came upon the discovery that a week later Random House was about to dump the entire back list of Star Wars books onto the market.  My book is primary sci-fi genera and secondary fantasy.  At first I said to myself "Oh man, this sucks."  But it didn't bother me past that because I had already been selling my book and it was doing well, with positive feedback.  But there was the thought that if I had known, I would have waited a week till after.

The book world isn't the only industry that works like this.  Take the upcoming final Harry Potter movie this week.  If your movie is now finished, there is a feeling of pride and anticipation to get it out to the world, but premiering your new movie the same weekend as Harry Potter isn't the best of ideas.  Waiting a week or two will be much better, or even holding off for a minor holiday weekend that has no competition.

As a self published author, all the decision making is mine.  My question to you is:  When you are ready to publish your next piece of work.  Are you going to publish on a Tuesday because that is the major new book day and will have the most people randomly browsing and they have new books on the brain?  Or will you wait a day to publish so your book has the longest chance of being seen on the new books list?  Or maybe just publish it on whatever random day it happens to be when it is ready?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Back to writing. Requiem paperback books ordered.

Finally back to writing.  I had not realized how much time had passed until I made an effort to sit down and write.  True, I have been busy with getting all the kinks out of the print version of the book, holiday weekend and family but still...  June 22 was the date on my save file.  Time will get away from you in a heart beat if you let it.

I sat down yesterday after lunch with the goal of 500 words.  This is a tiny amount compared to what I was cranking out with Requiem.  In less than an hour I had that goal beat and by the time I hit save for the final time, I had cleared 1500.  Chapter 2 of Guardian is taking a lot longer than I had planned and it is developing well.  One of the plot lines for Guardian is how do you take a character who in book one became a superman/chosen one with a lot of power and continue to have them grow as a character?  Simple, you have them grow mentally  emotionally and focus on relationships.  It has been fun to translate the classic heroes journey as an emotional journey instead of the physical one.

Other note, I approved the second proof copy of Requiem to Lightning Source and ordered my first short run of 50 copies.  I hope I can sell enough to break even as most will be giveaways to family, friends, and promotional gifts.  Math says I can give away 29 of them and I have to sell 21.  I am pretty sure I can manage that.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July and my second proof.

Normally I blog on Monday, but it was a holiday so I spent that time soaking up as much solar radiation as I could.  Its good for Superman so i'm pretty sure its good for me too.  So what does an international selling author do on a holiday summer weekend?  (Thank you person in the UK for buying my book.)  Why they live the dream that's what they do.

The above picture is a little lagoon that is upriver from my parents place in Idaho.  It is only accessable by boat and there are a lot of rocks in that area of the river.  Rocks that every year mangle someones boat and this year was no exception.  Note to boaters.  Aluminum props break and can be replaced.  Stainless steel props don't break, but break drive trains and engines.  I took a PhotoSynth Picture of the lagoon as well.  The boats did not come out well because they moved while I was taking the shot, but it is cool non the less.

Back to the book world.  I received the second proof from Lightning Source for the paperback version of Requiem.  The chapter heading mistakes have been removed, and I increased the gutter by 0.08in.  It did make the book "longer" by a dozen pages or so, but it looks a lot nicer and easier to read the inside margin at the beginning and end of the book.  Later today I am going to give Lightning Source the green light and order my first run of books to sell/give away to those waiting without e-readers.  I am going to have to practice signing my name as SB Jones to.  I better start going to bed early for that.