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Hot Ideas for Book Promotion

I attended a workshop with my publisher last weekend and learned some reasons why my online efforts have not worked as well as I hoped. I realized that I have two target audiences:

  • Writers and Writer Organizations
  • Historical and Christian fiction readers
In order to promote your platform and speaking opportunities you need to decide who your target market is and then provide information, blogs, and workshops for those who are most interested. Many of us make the mistake of trying to reach too broad of an audience. Narrow it down.
If you write a specific type of book then find out who reads them. What genre? Fiction? Nonfiction? Where do your readers hang out? Where they are is where you need to go.
Join online groups that focus on readers. Get an author’s page on Goodreads. Develop your profiles at Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other website so that you target your readers. Then, give them content that is valuable to them. Develop relationships, not just someone to pitch your books to. It’s okay to let people know when you have new books coming out or an event scheduled, but don’t let that be your only contact with them or they will feel like all you want is for them to buy your book, not become a fan.
Try these out.

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Critique Group Dynamics

Sometimes it’s difficult to find a critique group that fits your needs. I believe that when you’re looking for a group or forming a new one it’s important to be with people who are compatible personalities. Everyone should focus on similar goals and what type of writing they do. For example, fiction writers usually participate in groups who share the same genre or similar genre. Non-fiction writers generally get together in a separate group. That isn’t to say that fiction writers don’t ever write nonfiction. If those in your critique group members occasionally bring  something they wrote that is different from their usual fiction or non-fiction, then it’s up to those in your group to decide whether that’s okay with them. A group gets to set the basic rules. I know some multi-published writers are in more than one critique group. Decide what type of group you need to receive value and return value to others with your opinions and knowledge. Being a part of a critique group can help you become a better writer and provide different view points that may reveal something about your writing that you wouldn’t have seen yourself. We are too close to our own writing to see everything by ourselves. Not in a critique group? It’s worth looking for one. With busy schedules, you can even find groups online.

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Book Recommendations for Writers

A few of my favorites:

Get Known before the Book Deal [Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform], Christina Katz. I came by this wonderful resource through a friend who recommended it. Having a platform as an author has become very important in the publishing world. We have lots of competition out there and a changing industry. One of the things that will make a difference is if you have a platform. It takes you step-by-step through the process. Even if you already have published, Katz shares valuable advise and how-to information that will help you sell more books.

The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler. This book is such fun. You’ll get the inside scoop from the authors themselves. Whether you read or write mysteries, I think it’s a great addition to any writer’s library. Find out where these characters came from and how they developed. Read it one at a time or spend a long weekend curled up with the book. Prepare to be entertained.



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Tips on Starting a Book Club

Tuesday’s post talked about book clubs a bit and I made a suggestion. If you’re not a part of a book club and want to be in one, then ask around, look in your community newspaper for announcements or at your public library. The alternative to that is start your own with some friends and neighbors.

You’ll need to make some decisions on how large you want your group to get. You may want to limit it to a certain number like 6 – 10. Sometimes a larger group can be harder to manage with busy schedules.

Find a place for your meetings. Most libraries have a room you can use for a minimal refundable deposit. They love having groups meet and read. Your group may want to take turns meeting at each others homes. Dinner and a discussion in a restaurant that provides a private room may be your choice. Coffee shops are everywhere and can be a great place. Many book stores have a coffee shop in the store or near by.

Decide what types of books you want to read – fiction, nonfiction, genre. Vote as a group to decide. You could read a combination of different types of books and then compare them.

Set your meeting day and time. How often do you want to meet? How long is your time together?

Set the amount of time to read the book – 4 weeks, 6 weeks – be specific on what date member need to complete reading the book . That way no one gets confused.

Decide on a book to read together with suggestions from the group or a reading list that you all agree on.

Discussions should be focused on the book, it’s subject, the author, elements of the story, social issues, etc. If one person disagrees with another about the book or some point of view, then it should not become personal. It is an objective discussion about what the author wrote. You may not always like the book as much as others, but there is always something to be gained by reading and discussing the book afterwards.

Most of all enjoy yourselves. Your book club doesn’t have to read serious nonfiction that addresses the world and society. You can read humorous books or only one genre. You may want to focus on one author only. I know there are Jane Austin Clubs. It’s all up to you and your friends. Books take us places we may never go otherwise. Enjoy!

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How to Learn Writing from Reading

Sometimes writers read books on the craft of writing, but other times read for pure entertainment. Do you ever find yourself sliding into edit mode while reading? At a recent Panhandle Professional Writers meeting here in Amarillo, I discussed this with another author. We find typos and minor mistakes in books that we would have never noticed before. It takes many pairs of eyes on a manuscript throughout the whole process from first draft to final copy on it’s way to the printer. Get other writers and critique groups to assist you in the process. It’s even better if you can get a professional editor to go through your manuscript before it goes to the publisher or turned into an e-book.

I don’t recall who it was, but a well-known author suggested in an article that writers should pick up a used copy of one of their favorite author’s books. I went to a thrift store. Then, as you read the book, mark sentence structure, elements of the conflict, character development, and study how the dialog is written. Read the classics and read contemporary fiction. If you are a nonfiction writer, then apply the analysis to a book on your favorite subject. It’s a great way to learn from other writers.

As you read, make notes in the margins or in a notebook. You can find spiral notebooks or small journals most places, even the inexpensive  chain stores have them for as little as a dollar. Date your notes. Be sure to include the title and author of the book. I even include the publishing company and copyright year.

The publishing world is changing around us on a daily basis. More electronic readers like Kindle and Nook are put on the market each week. E-books are exploding onto the market. In my opinion, whether you write traditional books or e-books, it’s still important for us to develop our craft and produce the best possible writing for our readers. Keep on writing and reading!

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Upcoming Virtual Book Tours

It’s been a great year of virtual book tours and guests.  This coming year of 2010 is going to be even better. Our Virtual Book Tours – Authors on the Move group is going to have ongoing tours that last through the month so you’ll have plenty of time to visit all the blogs and meet even more writers.

We are a group of children’s book authors, fiction and nonfiction who love sharing fellow authors with our readers. In January, the first post is January 2nd on this blog. I’ll have a schedule of the additional blog tour and dates available.

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Why be a Ghostwriter?

Sometimes people ask me why I would want to ghostwrite when I could spend the time writing under my own name or pen names.

For me, the answer is that ghostwriting provides a good income if you establish a good reputation with publishers, book packagers, and clients/authors. I’ve also become a better writer. After all, the more you write, the better you get if you are truly working on your craft and pushing yourself to always get better at it.

If you are a person that doesn’t like anonymity and it’s important that you are the one in the lime light, then ghostwriting isn’t for you. When the book does well, I’m still very excited about it, but my author is the one who is taking the bow. That is what I get paid for – to remain a ghost, in the background.

One of the books on leadership that I ghosted became an amazon best seller in Canada. I have a copy of it on the shelf with other books I’ve written and am very proud to have it there. However, it is important to remember that without the author’s ideas and message, I wouldn’t have written the book. The collaboration is a great experience, especially when you and the author really click together.

Ghostwriting has given me the opportunity to write about many different topics – nonfiction. I’ve written about overcoming fears, becoming more than you are, getting the best and most out of life, leadership in business, real estate, teaching children how to manage money, and finding your purpose.

Most ghostwriters get paid a flat fee for their work and then go on to the next project. Sometimes a ghostwriter is recognized. One of my clients recognized me in the acknowledgements of his book. Occassionally, a ghostwriter gets a small percentage of the profits/royalties on books sold.