Archive for July, 2011

My favorite quote from the article: “A recent blog post from editor Alan Rinzler details why now is the best time to be a self-publishing author and it’s all about the ability to create buzz.”

http://singularityhub.com/2011/07/26/the-end-of-borders-is-a-win-for-technology-authors-and-readers/

Get on board people!

 

Let’s go back to the analogy we started with…building a book is akin to building a house.  You picked a lot, put the foundation in, framed from there, put the sheathing, siding and roof on, drywalled the interior and then beautified the interior with tile and other acoutrements.  (I will disclose that I was very happy to just use that word.  So much so that I used italics.  The small pleasures.)  All right, to get colloquial, the crap’s in place, but all you’ve got is a beautiful house on a piece of land.  Same with your book.  Actually, probably worse with your book, because your book is just one in a sea of flotsam.  And, you’ve got to get people to pick your flotsam out from the rest.  Time to let people know about it.  There are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to do this, but a good one is your local press.  How to get to those buggers though…

PRESS RELEASE FOR DUMMIES

First of all, you need one.  Don’t just send an email to a reporter or editor saying, “Yo, Adrian, got my book, wanna cover it?!”  The press release is what the reporter or editor will use to: (a) get hooked on your story; (b) get information about you; (c) get information about where they can research your story further.  I’m not claiming to be an expert in PR, but here is an example of what I successfully used for an upcoming release/signing party:

DENVER, COLORADO – July 19, 2011 — Rogue Books, LLC will host a release party and book signing on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. to celebrate the publication of Derek Blass’s novel entitled “Enemy in Blue.” The book release party will take place at the Ice House Tavern Lodo, 1801 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado.

Derek Blass will sign copies of “Enemy in Blue,” a timely and intense cop thriller. The story begins with the videotaped murder of an illegal immigrant by an allegedly racist police officer. The murder draws Cruz Marquez, a young lawyer, into an action-packed journey to preserve the evidence. His success depends on surviving the Chief of Police’s sinister plotting, assassination attempts by a deranged hit man, and the raw force of Sergeant Shaver—his enemy in blue.

About the Author:

Derek Blass lives in Denver, Colorado. He studied English and Economics at Duke University and earned a J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He received the “2011 Outstanding New Hispanic Attorney Award” from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and has been designated as a “Colorado Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine since 2009. He was elected to serve on Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Denver Latino/a Commission for four years, two of which he was a co-chair. He was recently asked to help start the Denver Chapter of the Colorado Latino/a Forum, a powerful Colorado-wide Latino/a organization.

Get the picture?  Short, sweet, and everything a reporter/editor would need to know on one page.  

CUSTOM TAILOR ALL OF YOUR TRANSMITTING EMAILS

Every publication or media outlet you will send your release to has a different mission.  Some may be edgy and avant-garde (I’m gonna burst at the seams if I can think of a third fancy word/phrase to use in this blog).  Some may be conservative.  Every one of them focuses on a certain target audience.  What’s that mean to you?  Custom tailor your pitch to them.  It’s just like when you apply to jobs, or in writing, submit queries to agents and publishers.  You can write a general cover letter/query, and you can correspondingly get back a bunch of rejections.  Or, you can do your research to better understand the job or agent/publisher, and then tailor your correspondence to them accordingly.  Which one do you think works better?  No-brainer, huh?  It’s the same thing with press.  Do your research on what the media outlet writes about and looks for in terms of stories, and then tailor the email transmitting your press release to parallel your research.

NUMBERS GAME..AGAIN…AS ALWAYS

Bombard is probably the correct term.  Imagine a bomber in WWII dropping its payload.  That’s you.  Here’s where the commitment lies, because if you agreed to research each media outlet to tailor your transmitting email, and you agree to bombard, well, you’ve wittingly or unwittingly agreed to do a healthy amount of work.  That’s what it takes though.  One week a media outlet may be in production, the next week they may be looking for stories.  One week your topic may not be relevant to a certain media outlet, but that may all change in two months.  These are just a couple reasons why you need to bombard, and not just pick and choose.

To sum it up, draft a concise, informative press release, research who you are sending it to and custom tailor a transmitting email to them, and then let loose with your payload!

On May 24, 2011, I posted a blog regarding editing.  In that post, I stated, “No one’s gonna take it seriously if it ain’t edited.”  Let’s fast forward about a month, when my novel Enemy in Blue, released.  A week later, I got an amazing call from one of my new readers.  First, she said, she had to put the book down or she wouldn’t get to sleep that night.  Awesome!  Elation!  Someone is enjoying my story!  Really, what more could you ask for as I rode a flaming chariot up to the heavens?  Then, she sucked me down to the depths of hell just as quickly.  “I am finding some errors though.”  Gulp.  Honestly, it was like Mike Tyson punched me in the stomach and  bit a piece of my ear off at the same time.

I’ve told people that two nightmares existed with respect to this book: (1) people aren’t going to like it; and/or (2) there are going to be errors.  #2 came true.

Just to give some context, I didn’t blow hot air up all of your collective arses in that May 24, 2011 post.  I did do multiple edits of the book on my own.  I did send the manuscript to readers to get fresh eyes on it.  And, I did pay a copy editor to review the manuscript after incorporating the fixes from my readers.  All that, and there are still errors.  What’s a boy to do then, huh?

This is where the beauty of self-publishing comes into play.  My book is simply two PDF files on Createspace.  An interior file, and an exterior/cover file.  This allows me the freedom to make the corrections being discovered right now, and upload a new interior file as soon as possible.  The book will be down for 2-3 days, but that’s a small price to pay to get closer to a perfect product.

What lessons were learned?  I rushed through the proofs.  Don’t do that.  Honestly, it’s difficult.  You get your book, you say holy shit I’m holding this thing, and the last thing you want to do next is read it again and then wait for another proof to come (I did go through three proofs).  Bottom line though, it’s worth the extra few days to read through the book again and catch any mistakes.   Second lesson, and something I fortunately did, wait to send your book out for reviews and more “formal” analyses until you’ve had some people read through the book.  That way, people who are more inclined to be gentle with you are catching the errors.  You can have the story polished to a shiny, impenetrable stone by the time you start sending it to the real critics!

There you go, lessons learned, some crow eaten.

Most important on this list, and something I’m about to blog about, is editing.  Check out this short list and do your best to comply with them!  “Eight Things Readers Want from Self-Published Writers”

Some great tips from an author that is finding success on Amazon, and helpful resources for marketing at a low (or no) cost:

http://www.bookbuzzr.com/blog/author-interviews/how-to-become-a-top-ranked-book-on-amazon%E2%80%99s-kindle-store/

Let’s get into the higher level marketing courses, the elective courses if you will.  Check out this blog (written quite a while ago, but certainly still relevant) on how to deliver a pitch of your story.

http://www.bookbuzzr.com/blog/book-marketing/a-perfect-pitch-a-sure-strike-out/