Posts Tagged ‘websites’

I will call what happened “an intervention.” A close friend took me by the hand and gave me a kind little shake up, a gentle push in the right direction. When she heard my intention was to soft launch my next book, The Last Tree, on Amazon, she was aghast. ‘But if you do the same things, you’ll only sell to the same number of people.’ It’s a privilege when someone gets real with you, because it means they care about you enough to intervene.

She asked me, ‘What do you want?’

‘To inspire more readers.’

‘If you want to reach more readers, you must do more.’

IMG_1411

My friend introduced me via email to two people in the business. And over the last fortnight I have met with these two wonderful successful business women, one a traditionally published author of sixteen books and a publicist, and the other a well-connected and respected literary agent. Both women generously gave their time as mentors.

I thought I should share some insights I have gained through this enlightening process.

The first advice was to use my time more wisely.

‘You have too many toes in social media. These things are time wasters.’

I think I sucked in a horrified breath. I’ve spent the last ten years working extensively on my brand, by maintaining ten social media accounts: going around the sites, liking, sharing, commenting, and by making status updates, posting photos and quotes. I thought I was building a social network of contacts, which was important for Indies. It never occurred to me I was wasting my time. Admittedly, sometimes I ran myself ragged keeping up with it all.

004 (2)

In life you learn and learn, then you course correct, then you learn and learn and change more. It’s a constant process, isn’t it? I remember hearing, ‘Margaret Mahy doesn’t have any social media accounts. She doesn’t even have a website.’ I remember being surprised by that. And I remember my writing buddy,James Preller, joking that he didn’t go near sites like Goodreads because they scared him. I had always felt I needed to be present in as many social media spheres as possible to build my brand as a writer. Yet, maybe that’s why Mahy published hundreds of titles and Preller is on his 85th and I’m on my third….

A week ago, I deleted half my social media accounts, reducing my activity to this blog and my Facebook Fan Page for writing. The monthly newsletter, Pinterest, and my personal Facebook page get to stick around for a while because I can’t bring myself to release them.

The next advice was to amalgamate my blog and website.  To do what I do online better, they suggested I study what the greats are doing with their Internet presence and do likewise.

005 (2)

I circled the internet and noticed the bestsellers usually have one official site which has a blog and website combined along with a few pages to read: about the author, coming soon/what’s new and links/downloads, that sort of thing.

I did the same. I shut my old website down and amalgamated my blog and website, so it is now a journal blog plus a few pages about me and my work.

The next advice was to expand my author branding. I changed my title from ‘Children’s Writer’ to ‘Author’ as the former might become limiting in future if I want to branch into other genres.

The next advice was to get out of my comfort zone. I shall start submitting to publishers, however if I do self publish, then I’ll spend the money to bring a publicist and a distributor on board, to get the book into stores and libraries and get media attention.

IMG_0692

Admittedly, I shall have to summon all my courage to submit to publishers again. I had gotten to the stage where I was sick of the rejections, and that was one joy of going Indie was I didn’t have to worry.

However, I will send the query letters. I will go to the Publishers Association New Zealand website and look up the member directory for publishers and then follow the guidelines on how to submit.

The last advice they gave me was to be professional. They said ‘if you want to be taken seriously in this business, have your manuscript checked by a proofreader and a copy editor. Pay the money.’

The Last Tree is with a proof reader now.

I’m taking notes. You live and learn, boy. What about you, what have you discovered lately?

IMG_1014

Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

*

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you will land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown

*

Subscribe to my newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

For me, the truly hardest part of being a modern author is the marketing.

How do you cover your bases as an Indie with limited time and budget?

DSC00263

For a start, you must do every job you can do, yourself. You hear seasoned authors warn debut novelists, ‘the effort is only just beginning.’ For good reason. Be prepared to dig deep.

On September 20th of this year, I self published, The Sasori Empire. I’ve poured hours into the marketing. Yet, there’s a seemingly endless list of more to be done. I feel the constant pressure like hot breath on my neck, the inner voice reminding me of the countless avenues of marketing which I have yet to employ. There are the latest marketing books to read, and videos to watch on YouTube, social media sites to join, bloggers to visit and palms to grease.

DSC00029

Paul Rand, president of a major marketing firm in Chicago, said, “Word of mouth is the fastest growing sector in all of advertising.”

How does the stay-at-home mum and Indie author harness the power of “word of mouth” advertising?

There is no sure-fire way of generating “word of mouth” advertising other than doing your part to create a large enough digital footprint and amp up your EP (or digital Extended Presence).

Build a website. Start a blog. Create profiles in the usual places: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Slideshare.

Do the usual rounds of guest blog posts, school visits, author talks, YouTube videos, book reviews, tweets, and book trailers. Additionally, marketing can involve speaking at conferences, book tours and running workshops. You can start a critique group, join a book club, write a newspaper or magazine column, contribute to community blogs or groups (like those over on Wanatribe), join writers organisations, or participate in interviews.

1343267365

Some Indie writers have found fame by tapping into the market for short fiction, and releasing their work in serial form, drip feeding a chapter at a time on their blog or website. This week, a local Kiwi writer sold the movie rights to her debut novel, after gaining popularity through the serial fiction platform Wattpad.

It’s necessary to build a community of friends online, email lists, and connections. It can be worthwhile networking by haunting the chat forums on LinkedIn and Google circles.

Primarily it’s vital to tinker with the SEO of your book, check and double check the marketing copy that goes with your book. Make sure it’s doing the job. Test and tweak how everything is performing by monitoring your status as some experts do, by keeping tabs on your conversion rates on Amazon.chrismcmullen

How does the Indie author do it all?

An Indie author wears all the hats, and the stress of promoting your work is white noise in the background which never fully goes away.

While life goes on: the next book needs to be written, the children raised, the work done, the garden/property maintained and at least a little reading is necessary.

What I do is compromise. I set aside time to write, time to promote, and I also let myself have time to play on Pinterest or Facebook. Everyone needs to goof off now and again in order to keep working. Also, if you can, delegate jobs where possible.

It’s a balancing act every day.

P1130475

How does the Indie stay sane?

This week, my critique partner, Maria Cisneros-Toth said adding her YouTube videos to her website had attracted more traffic. I thought, I’ll add videos to mine. Another friend said he was adding a “Facebook shop” to his author page. I thought, I’d better set up an author page too. There is always more graft to be done when feeding the maw of book marketing.

But, you know what, it’s doable. I’ve learned I can live with watching less television during the week in order to tick more jobs off my list. I make more meals at home. I can do at least one thing a day to promote my book.

The other day, friend, author and artist, Teresa Robeson, sagely said, ‘Just rest assured that no matter what you decide, it’s okay. It’s not a matter of life and death. It will all work out either way.’

True. Sometimes you need a reminder from a friend to chill.

Equilibrium is the right attitude to cultivate. A calm mindset is paramount. It’s vital to get the work done while also remembering to savour the in-between! Work is work. Yet, it’s the lulls between the waves, the quiet moments, the soft silence in the sun of an afternoon, these are what make the business of life worth living.

How do you handle marketing your work? Any tips?

DSC_1106

Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

+

But, you are marketing by word of mouth every time someone reads your post. You’ve got about 5 seconds (or 140 characters) to capture attention. Make sure each message you send builds your credibility. ~ Gina Burgess, Author’s Community

+

Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

Two Tips for Introverts on How to get an Author Headshot

We humans are a visual species. The fact is that we do “judge a book by its cover,” and I myself definitely make assumptions about people depending on their profile picture.

I’m having a new website built, to coincide with the upcoming re-launch of my novel, ‘The Or’in of Tane Mahuta.’ I felt that the time had come to update my profile picture accordingly, as the image I’m currently using is nearly five years old.

Picture 014

As you climb the ladder in any profession, you want to improve the visual imagery that gets associated with your name. Have you ever noticed, that as a person becomes more rich and famous, their imagery on social media becomes more shiny and glamorous? It’s a natural progression in this day-and-age and it’s called “upping your game.”

james_mailchimp_1_1

This week, I went along to see a friend who is a professional photographer, to update my author profile picture. This lady is an incredible, new up-and-coming talent in the photography field. But could she get a good photo of me? No.

I’m fine taking a photo of myself—a “selfie”—I’m an introvert, who could I be more comfortable with doing the shoot than me? Yet, for the professional shoot, I found that as soon as my friend raised the camera, I froze up inside completely.

No matter what I did: the deep breathing, the relaxing, the having a laugh in between, the looking away and looking back, every time I looked into the lens I tensed. I have an all-new respect for professional models!

Picture 021

I should probably explain that I’m an introvert.

I realised it was the first week of the kids going back to school. In the week prior, I’d taken my boys down to visit Grandpa at the beach as well and I hadn’t had any time off for myself in a fortnight.

“Every introvert has a limit when it comes to stimulation.” HuffPost blogger Kate Bartolotta explains it well when she writes, “Think of each of us as having a cup of energy available. For introverts, most social interactions take a little out of that cup instead of filling it the way it does for extroverts. Most of us like it. We’re happy to give, and love to see you. When the cup is empty though, we need some time to refuel.”

018

As soon as I saw the images come back from the shoot, and my first thought was, I look tired, I knew that the fault did not lie with the photographer, but with me. As I grow older and get to know myself more, I discover these things along the way.

I learnt a few things from flubbing this shoot. This lesson is for the other introverts out there (and friends). Here are my two top tips for nailing your author headshot.

1: Realize a professional shoot is a challenging situation for an introvert. Do some serious self-pampering with appropriate amounts of solitude in the weeks prior.

According to the book called, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Laney, Psy.D. says only about 25% of the people in the world are Introverts. Laney states that, “Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and drains them. So for this reason, introverts need less exposure to people, public situations, noise, social events, to gain all the information they need to be able to retreat again and process it.”

Xmas 2009 047

In order to function, I have come to realize that I need to have quality time alone at intervals to recharge. I hadn’t had a break in the two weeks prior to going for my author headshot. Therefore, I was primed to fail.

I had also made the mistake of running around like a headless chicken right up until the moment I drove to the photographer’s house. Then, I expected myself to be able to relax in front of a camera. I failed, go figure!

003

2: Right before the shoot, do something peaceful and calming. Give yourself adequate time in the hours prior for quiet whether it be walking, or meditating or whatever relaxes you.

In contrast, this morning, the boys have gone to stay with their father for two days, and I have had time alone. I took a selfie to go with this update. Right away, I noticed the difference in my pictures and those taken for my headshot. In my selfies, after just a few hours alone, the energy was coming back. You live and learn! My wonderful photographer friend and I are going to try a re-shoot this week, after I’ve had some R&R. She said, “Cool lessons hey!?”

Cool indeed. You live and learn.

Has anyone else experienced the same thing of freezing up in front of a camera? What’s the story behind getting your headshot?

018

Keep Creating!

Talk to you later,

Yvette K. Carol

+

The Zen roshi said, “Life is like getting into a boat that’s about to sail out to sea and sink.”