Tweeting Success: Life of the Party

Tweeting Success: Life of the Party

Let's return to our virtual cocktail party that is Twitter in which you are looking to connect with readers. Now we've already talked about branching out and finding readers rather than just hanging with other writers. We've also spent a post identifying potential party fouls. So, this time I'd like to talk about how to engage effectively with readers on Twitter.

As I've mentioned before, you want to treat Twitter like a cocktail party. So, only talking about yourself all the time, is not a great way to build relationships. And make no mistake, relationships are what you want. Sure you can tweet out a link to your book, and you might even get someone to click on it. But you'll get far more traction by forming a relationship with a reader who will buy your next book when it comes out and recommend you to other readers. Relationships make FANS and fans act as street teams to spread the word when you release a new book, or have an event.

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Tweeting Success: Party Fouls

Tweeting Success: Party Fouls

In my last post on Tweeting Success, we talked about building your following. I suggested that you treat Twitter like a great big cocktail party. So, you and your author friends have split up to mingle with whatever readers you can find. You have pointed your pinchy shoes toward a cluster of potential readers and have decided to introduce yourself. Before you get going we should talk a bit about some DON’Ts of Twitter behavior.

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Are Nook Readers Hopeless Romantics?

Recently on a self-publishing forum that I frequent, a much more successful indie author than I asked the forum if we had seen our Nook sales dry up. I was one of the few people who answered "No". In fact, I have had a couple of months in the latter half of 2012 where Nook sales were all I had.  This prompted me to look a little closer at the difference between my Nook and Kindle sales and what some of the differences were. First, let's review the ebooks that I have and the differences between them (in case you haven't read them yet). I'll try not to give any spoilers.

histfic comparison

With that said, it's interesting to note that 84% of my Kindle sales are of The White House. This isn't completely surprising in since The White House was released four months before A Fond Kiss. However, 100% of my Nook sales are for A Fond Kiss. That's right, I have not sold a single copy of The White House on the Nook. Which is a shame, because it's a really good story (not that I'm biased or anything;)

This is what leads me to ask the question at the top of this post. Are Nook readers hopeless romantics? It's pretty clear that my based-in-fact love story appeals to them far more than pirates, even famous ones. Is it because A Fond Kiss is a love story, or because it's based on a true story? This of course has me wondering what's different about Nook readers vs. Kindle readers.

After a little frustrated searching online the only information that I found about the demographic differences between Kindle and Nook readers is a couple of years old. Since the e-reader market has exploded in the last couple of years, I'm not sure how accurate that information is.  This article from shows that Kindle users tend to be older than Nook users and credits the Nook color/tablet with attracting a younger audience. It also suggests that the older audience prefers the Kindle because it's lighter and therefore easier on arthritic hands (A dubious conclusion).  Given that this data is from 2010, before the Kindle Fire was released and was from a self-selected survey, the data isn't exactly that scientific. In fact, based on my experiences both as a reader and author, I found the idea that the Nook appeals to a YOUNGER audience surprising.

Here is another article from the Florida Research Group that compares the demographics of all e-reader users, but again it's two years old. There is no end to the number of articles comparing the devices themselves, and they're great for consumers shopping for a device, but there really seems to be a limited amount of market research done for authors looking to maximize their sales on either one. If I were about to publish a romance novel and was trying to decide whether or not to opt in to KDP Select with its exclusivity requirement, I might like to know a breakdown on Romance genre sales on Nook vs. Kindle. Otherwise, I might lose sales from other platforms that have a large number of readers in my genre. For independent authors running their own show when it comes to marketing, this kind of information would be very helpful in targeting that marketing rather than the current throw everything against the social media wall and hope something sticks strategy or the increasing popular mimic the best-sellers (50 Shades of Fill-in-the-blank) and ride the wave of whatever's popular strategy.

Maybe this is something that KDP, Pubit and Smashwords can offer as a value add to their authors. Maybe it could be another revenue stream for them. I can imagine that I'm not the only author who would pay a REASONABLE  fee for a timely demographic analysis of e-reader users or even monthly newsletter that goes beyond just the bestseller lists and looks at who is buying. I would think that this is all data that these e-publishing platforms have, it would just be a matter of putting it together in a form that people can read.

Admittedly, I'm new at this and I've been eyes deep in editing lately, but this doesn't seem too much to ask. Maybe this is out there already. If it is, please point me in the right direction. I'm sure it's a product of my corporate sales background, but I can get kinda nerdy about this stuff, and as the saying goes, Knowledge is Power.

Sitting on it

It's been a while since I've updated the blog. This is mainly because I was pushing hard to have the book ready for beta readers by Christmas. Unfortunately, the flu got in my way by running through the family not once, but twice since I finished writing the book. When you throw in holiday preparations and a rather slow Alpha reader, you have a recipe for disaster. So I missed my deadline (GASP!). I know, it was a self-imposed deadline and I was sick in bed or bowing down to the porcelain god, but still I have an innate aversion (or dare I say horror) to missing deadlines. I mean the "dead" in deadline is there for a reason, right? On the upside, much of the time I spent in bed sick was spent thinking about my characters and the feedback that my Alpha reader, my husband, gave me and mentally plotting out the next book in the series. I also spent plenty of time thinking about my next move. Namely the question facing a lot of authors today; Do I zip this out to market via KDP and CreateSpace or do I attempt to sign with an agent and get a wider distribution and maybe a little marketing help (and yes I know that help would be very little)? On the one hand, publishers are loath to take a chance on a new author with a series, and they would take a bigger chunk of the pie so to speak. On the other hand, it takes a lot of work to get noticed out there in the big bad reading world and my little historical fiction shorts while getting terrific reviews, aren't exactly selling like hotcakes. So, while my piece of the indie pie might be bigger, the pie itself (at least so far) is barely even snack size. What's a girl to do? I'm going to sit on it. That is to say, I'm going to hold off  publishing this book until I have something more. Here's the plan:

1) I'm outlining the rest of the series, or at least the rest of the series involving the main characters as they stand now. This will give me a clear picture of where it's going and it will enable me to write a synopsis of each book.

2)Using the bird's eye view of the series from Step 1, write a pitch for the whole series with which to query agents. I believe that this series could be very commercial. I also believe it will fit nicely into the newly minted "New Adult" category that seemsso popular right now. It has enough of contemporary fantasy aspects to appeal to a young audience, but the characters and subject matter are definitely more mature than Young Adult. Imagine a Twilight style love triangle (no vampires or werewolves, I promise) with DaVinci Code style themes and you're coming pretty close.

3)Query, query query while working on my platform and trying to build an audience. That will likely include a trailer or two that I already have worked out in my head. Luckily I know a good filmmaker, my brother, who I might get to help me with that.

4) Write, write, write the second book. Hopefully, this one won't take more than a decade to write.  But the writing/editing of it will most likely determine the timeline of the rest of the plan. I'll keep querying until I get a bite or finish the second book. If no agents or publishers have bitten (I really promise there are no vampires in this series.), then I will likely publish them myself in close succession. That way I can hopefully whet the reader's appetites with the first two books enough to get them to buy a third and fourth, fifth, and who knows by then I might even plan a series for the next generation of characters.

At least that's my plan, and it feels pretty darn good to start off the new year with a plan.

Now for some details about the first book. The working title right now is THE RIVER MAIDEN. Here's a working cover. 

And here's the pitch:

Raised by her Scottish Grandmother in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sarah MacAlpin grew up with one foot in the old world and one foot in the new world. She's worked hard to get to where she is and at 25 she's got her life planned out, that is until she meets Dermot Sinclair.

Plagued by nightmares of a tragic past and murky visions of the future Sarah pushes on toward finishing her dissertation. In spite of her hard work and planning the world around her seems to be spinning out of control. Her relationships with her boyfriend and her best friend are falling apart and the new guy in town seems to be dogging her every step. He's friendly enough and can help with her research, but she can't help thinking there's something that he isn't telling her.


If you're interested in reading further. There is a large chunk of the book available to read on Authonomy. If you read it there, please leave feedback. It will only help me. If you're interested in being a beta reader (kind of like a beta tester for software) and getting to read the whole thing once the edits are done (naturally in exchange for your feedback), please let me know in the comments here or through my Facebook page.

Thanks as always.

I hope you all will have as exciting a new year as I expect to.

Telling people you're a writer

This has always felt a little awkward for me. I've sort of had the idea that you're not a writer unless someone is paying you to write. Even when I was getting paid to write training material, I called myself a trainer not a writer. Still in the indie author business you sort of have to tell people that or you'll never sell books. It's never been a secret that I write, that's just not the way that I would introduce myself to people. It's one thing to say it online, but a whole different thing to introduce yourself in person to someone new by saying that you're a writer. I found myself yesterday introducing myself to someone as a writer for the first time. It felt weird, but awesome.  It just happened that my daughter and I were way early for her preschool field trip and I had not had enough caffeine, so we stopped at Starbucks for some coffee and cocoa. T in her indefatigable cuteness attracted the attention of the young lady at the table next to us. I'm a terrible introvert (as so many writers are) and children make the most wonderful icebreakers. After telling me how cute T is the young lady, Katrina, and I began chatting about kids, preschools, blah blah...Then she asked me what I do. Before I would usually say, "I'm a stay at home mom." or "I knit and crochet accessories". Yesterday I said, "I'm a writer."

Katrina's face lit up, "Wow. What do you write?" I told her and more conversation ensued mostly about leaving jobs and chasing dreams, the importance of support while you're doing it (I'll save that topic for  a later post). It was a good conversation, and before leaving she asked for my email.

Here I had to stop, because being newly published I did not have any cards for me as a writer. I did have cards for my fiber business and I gave her one, but I immediately began thinking of the need for business cards with my web address and some info on what I do. So I started looking around at Author Business Cards and trying to figure out what would be the best way to go. I found a few blog posts on the subject. Here's a pretty good one.

In the end I went with my standby I've used Moo before for my craft biz cards and have been really pleased with the result. I like their mini cards. Yes, they're smaller, but you'd be amazed at how much people like them.

  • For the cost of what most printers will charge for their stock designs. Moo lets you put your own photos on your cards, and not just one photo, you can do a bunch of different photos.
  • The half-sized mini cards are attention getters. Most people don't expect them, and they remember them.
  • The card stock is good quality. They don't feel flimsy.

I went into their card builder tool and uploaded some of the pics from here on the blog and from The White House's cover and a few others that looked sufficiently "historical fictiony" Chose my background color and put in my info. After previewing them , I ordered 100 to start with. I can always order more. Plus if I get some new pics, I can upload those for the next batch. 100 mini cards cost only $19.99.  Moo also does stickers in different sizes, and designs including using your own photos. All around I've been very please with them and can't wait to get my new cards. I'll be able to say I'm a writer and give a card consistent with that.