Marketing for the Self Published Writer


Hi all! Today I welcome Beth Fred to MFB. When I first met her, she was busy with a challenge to (I believe) read 52 books in a year. Which is a marvelous feat. Now she’s mainly doing reviews of stories she’s read. She’s really sweet and her reviews are REALLY honest, which makes her blog a pleasure to read, so head over and say hi.

Take it away Beth!


 

Marketing for the Self Published Writer


Believe it or not marketing begins with the title. Choosing a good title is your first line of offense. True, if the title is unique enough it will stay in the back of a potential reader’s mind, but there is a more common sense reason than that. In 2010 I went to the bookstore to buy Sea, but there were so many books with Sea in the title I picked up the wrong one by accident. Sea Changed was a good book, but I still haven’t read Sea. So recently, I put my short story originally titled Fate on goodreads and found almost 3000 records for Fate, some bestsellers. Not only am I sure the bestsellers book is going to pop up before mine, it’s 3000 chances for someone to find a different book. (And lots of books called Fate are romances—same genre). I went with Kismet. It didn’t change the meaning, but is more unique.

Almost as important as the title is the cover. We’ve all heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but I think in honesty most of us would have to admit we’ve picked up a book based on the cover. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but a professionally designed cover will go a long way towards making your book sellable.

Arrange a blog tour, preferably two months before the book is released. But if your late to the boat (and I was) it’s better late than never. It would be helpful to have hosts in your genre, but it’s okay to have hosts outside of your genre too. My first release is adult, but most of what I write is YA. I am thankful that the YA community has supported me anyhow. If you’re not able to arrange a blog tour on your own, use a company to do it for you.

If you’re planning a series, use book 1 as pre-marketing for book 2. Get your first book as out there as you can and let that build momentum for the rest of the series.

I know this is basic stuff, but I wanted to talk about it because it’s stuff a traditionally published writer wouldn’t have to worry about. And because it is so common sense, I think it gets overlooked a lot.


Tiffany is a hard-working accountant with no time for love. After escaping her sister’s too wild Cancun bachelorette party, she meets a local guy, Luke in the bar. When they’re forced to spend time together, Tiffany lets her guard down, but she still has to return to the US in two days. Will the airport be their final goodbye?

Available at:

Amazon



Thanks so much, Beth!

Before I go, I just want to do a bit of admin. First things first. I’m seriously tired of having my time wasted on word verification, so I decided to start a bit more of an awareness campaign. So if you feel the same as me, please go sign below the open letter. If you insist on using verification, I ask very nicely for you to read it.

And then I want to ask that you spread the word as much as you can in the coming weeks. It’s no help to complain about verification when you don’t do anything about it. Let’s see if we can at least wake a few stubborn bloggers up?

Then I want to invite guest bloggers to contact me for the last few GPFs left. There’s one more in October (theme: Scares) on the 19th. Then I have all the Fridays in November (theme: Keeping Track). For for more information, please read here. It’s really a great experience to get other points of view on my blog, so please let’s see if we can get the last six spots filled?

Thanks for your support! Have a wonderful weekend.

Before you go, I just want to ask. Who’s looking to self-publish? Do you have a marketing strategy yet or still working on it? Any self-publishing veterans with more tips for the uninitiated?

A to Z Challenge Reflections

If you want to see the overview, I wrote it on my other blog, since doing two identical ones just felt a little… silly.

Yep. I successfully completed the A to Z Challenge for BOTH my blogs. So I’m pretty chuffed with myself.

Here are some stats for April:

Posts written: 54
Blogs visited: about 700. I know I said I’d hit 1000, but I had to start working regular hours.
New Bloggy Friends: about 200 total for both blogs.
Number of times late: 2. Both on Saturdays.

Thanks so much for everyone who visited either/both my blogs and for supporting my efforts. And thanks for my old visitors who were patient with me. I will be dropping by soon!

Did you do the Challenge? How did you do?

A to Z Challenge: ZzzzzzZzzzzz

And…. We’ve reached Z! Congrats, lovelies!


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Steven King wrote in his epically awesome book On Writing that you should aim to take at least a tenth (or something like that) out of your story when you edit. While I’m more of an editing adder, I see the reason behind his words. That 10% of what we wrote are all the boring bits.

The things that our readers will skip in order to stay awake for the rest of the story. The bits that add no value to the story.

They all have to go. Every. Single. One.

Getting rid of some of those scenes really hurt, sometimes. Some of them might even be favorites. But if they don’t add to the story and if they’re just boring, they have to go.

My rule of thumb when it comes to getting rid of boring scenes:

If they’re more than 70% boring, you have to get rid of them, redistributing the 30% so that they have meaning in the story. If they’re 50-70% boring, you need to cut out the bits that make the scene boring.

Once your work is zzzzz-free, you’ll see most of your pacing issues disappearing. As will a lot of sagging middle problems. AND! Your story will be more exciting.

Win-win, right?

Look Out for These:

1) Crit partners of betas pointing out boring parts.

2) Any parts that were dealt with earliers and that reveal nothing new that’s of importance.

3) Any parts that don’t fulfill a valuable function in the story. You don’t have to get rid of all of them, but if the read is stalling, you might want to cut out a few of these.

How do you spot boring bits that have to go?

A to Z Challenge: X Things to Remember

Today I’m just going to do ten things worth remembering in edits/revisions. Yes, I know. Genius use of the letter X.



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i) Always take time away from your ms before starting an editing/revision round.
ii) Crit partners can be the difference between an okay ms and an excellent one.
iii) Parents, best friends and other family members are great for support, but not for critiquing.
iv) Edits/revisions are a lot of work, but are rewarding. But only if you remind yourself of this fact.
v) Know where the story is headed by revisions.
vi) Revise first, then edit, starting with the big things before going to the small.
vii) Make sure you keep the original of every edit round before you edit. If you don’t like the new changes, you can track back.
viii) If your written words look like gibberish, it’s time for a break.
ix) No matter what someone says in a crit, you know more about what’s right for your story. Go with your gut.
x) Yes. Edits do come to an end. Promise.

What’s your advice when it comes to edits?

A to Z Challenge: World Building

Almost as promised, here’s the post on World Building.

I believe that whether or not you write a form of speculative fiction, you will have to engage in some degree of world building to make your story believable. You might have to create a fictional town. Or disguise a real one (Gotham City, anyone?). Otherwise, you might simply bend the real world rules a little in to make them fit the purposes of the story.

Because of this, I’m going to address two types of world building. Spec fic and non spec fic.

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If you’re not writing spec fic, or only want to gloss over reality a little, you’ll need to put time in to research as much about the location and time of your story as possible. Especially if you don’t live in the location or time that you’re writing about. And the more you research, the better.

BUT remember, you’re looking for a feel for the place/time so that you can write a piece of fiction. You’re not writing a text book. So if you’ve written blocks and blocks of information with minute details of everything, you might have to cut back. It’s sort of similar to what I said about using senses. Characters aren’t going to list the histories/descriptions/cultural impact of every single thing the see and experience. Rather, we the readers want to feel everything through the character. Show the impact of certain things. Show what they mean. Don’t list them and go on and on about minute details.

Special bonus for historical fiction writers: Anachronisms are incredibly annoying, so make damned sure that the things used/referred to by characters existed/happen in the time of your story. NOTHING annoys me more than reading a western where badass gunslingers use the colt peacemaker three years before it existed. And yes. I know when it did or didn’t exist. Other people will too. Keep your dates straight. If you absolutely must bend the dates to suit the story, please remember to make note of it in a foreword or something. That way, you show that you’re not an idiot, and (possibly more importantly) that you don’t think the reader’s an idiot.

Spec fic, on the other hand, sets world building on a whole new level. More often than not, the world of your fantasy/steampunk/sci fi/urban fantasy/dystopian/horror/etc. etc. story will be foreign to your readers. And if your readers can’t place themselves in the world of your story, you already lost the battle.

When it comes to my spec fic stories, I try to know more than what goes into the book. Note: MORE. Not everything. Every single thing doesn’t have to go in. Important things go in. And not always in a clearly outlined way. Let’s say that amongst other things, your world randomly loses gravity. I wouldn’t suggest that you necessarily go into the depths of why, unless it’s important. The same for the cultures that you create. Remember, most spec fic characters already live in the world that you’ve created. So they won’t be explaining things to themselves or others. At least not all the time. There’s a fine balance between enlightening the readers and boring them with too much detail. Make sure that you stay on that line.

Taking the world rules a little further…. Natural laws should exist as natural LAWS. Same with the rules of your magic system. Or your cultural norms, rules and regulations. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let your characters break any of the above without them being aware of the fact, without an explanation, and without potentially huge (and hugely negative) repercussions. Especially, don’t let them do it to save the day. If you do, you’re undermining the credibility of your own story. These rules should be the frame that keeps everything in your story structured and believable. You can’t ignore them for convenience sake. It will make your story collapse like a house of cards. If the world rules create a problem for the story, you have two options: either rewrite the rules (and revise the whole story to fit them) or go look for a solution that fits and even comes out of the rules. See my P post for more info on that.

On a lighter note, having a fantasy world helps to set the mood of the story, if you use your world right. You have the joy of creating something special and unique. It’s one of the few forms of pure creation. So have a blast!

Look Out for These:

1) In both: Over-telling on the world/time, boring the reader and making everything seem unrealistic. Under-informing the reader, making them wonder how things work.

2) Non-Spec fic: Anachronisms, not knowing enough to get the feel of the time/place right.

3) Spec fic: World rules that are broken.

What do you love/hate about world building in your genre?

A to Z Challenge: Will do the real post early tomorrow

Hi… yes, I know that this isn’t something to do with the A to Zs of edits and revisions, but for some reason, I’m not able to string together the thoughts required to write the post I want.

So rather than doing something useless, I’m letting you know that the real post will be on world building, and that it will be online tomorrow morning, in approximately 8 – 10 hours. So don’t miss it. 😉