Tag Archives: Catherine Caffeinated

The ABCs of Self-Publishing: A Guest Post by Mark Evans

27 Oct

I’m working my way through this list of self-publishing to-do’s. It’s a bit of work. Some of them are simply going to have to wait until I have a little money to work with, but they are on my list. It just has a slightly different order than that of other authors. And that’s O.K., not everyone takes the same path.

It has taken me a while to be calm about these facts, but now that I have the voices in my head have stopped screaming at each other (at least, most of them).

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

Today we have a guest post from self-publisher Mark Evans, who has just released his first novel, Mrs God. Welcome to Catherine, Caffeinated, Mark! 

“You remember the scene in Glengarry Glen Ross, don’t you? The one where Alec Baldwin gives a lecture on the art of selling real estate, by swearing a lot and insulting Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris? It’s a great scene. Baldwin’s message can be boiled down to just three letters: ABC. Always. Be. Closing. Always be closing the deal, getting people to sign on the dotted line.

Well, Jack, Alan and Ed could have been authors and Alec could have been giving them advice on selling self-published books. The same principle applies – always be closing. It’s as easy as ABC. In fact, self-published authors should go even farther; they should be closing long before there’s something to sell. Let’s break it down.

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Social Media: The Beginner’s Y.I.C.K.

27 Aug

I don’t know about you, but when I started on this journey toward building an author’s platform I dove straight into research. I tried to learn about how to it all, find tricks to get more people to follow me, absorb ways to simplify my daily routine.

It was mind boggling.

It still is in many ways.

The more I learn, the more I know that I don’t know everything.

What I do know, is that this is a long learning process, and trying to understand it all on one week is just going to give you a headache and sore eyes.

When it all boils down, you only really need to keep 4 things in mind when handling your social media accounts…whichever kinds you prefer working on.

Just remember Y.I.C.K.

Be You. Be Interesting. Be Consistent. Be Known. That’s it.

I’ll try to explain the ideas in just a couple paragraphs each.

Be You

First off, you are the only one of you on the entire planet. Only you have your exact experiences, talents, thoughts and dreams. Use them to your advantage. Tell people that your latest short story came from a crazy dream you had last week. Or that you’ve always wanted to go to Portugal and are secretly saving change in a jar for your trip ‘some day’.

Secondly, trying to keep up a persona, a fake, always happy version of you, would get exhausting (and boring) after a while. Everyone has bad days. Everyone falls behind their writing schedule, drops something large on their foot, or has a crazy day or experience with their kid or a pet. Use those moments to humanize yourself. Don’t complain or whine all the time, and try to keep it in a humorous light, but keep people in the loop on at least one aspect of your real life.

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Be Interesting

Don’t just post links to your latest blog post, or only talk about your writing. Other people write cool, relevant blog posts too. And your friends on social media would love it if you would occasionally Tweet about how much you liked their latest book. Find short quotes which either uplift, are funny, or address one of your blogging subjects. Share silly facts, jokes, or anecdotes.

Go multimedia. I’m not saying you need to hire someone to help you make a video all about yourself. YouTube is your friend! Post the song that you’ve been listening to which really gets you into a certain character’s head. Did a certain video make you laugh uncontrollably? Paste the link into a Tweet. The rest of us could use a good laugh, too. Post photos of your work space, you pet looking innocent, your cover, your writer friend’s new cover (with their permission), your kid sleeping on the couch after a rough war with that chocolate bar they stole from your ‘secret’ drawer.

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Be Consistent

If you say you’re going to do it, do your darndest to make it happen.

Try not to abandon any account for more than a couple days at a time. Even if you only put up a new blog post once a week, go in a couple other days a week to respond to comments, or Tweet it out again.

There are several programs which allow you to schedule Tweets. WordPress has a post scheduler. Facebook will let you schedule updates on your author page. If you have to be out of town, or just need a couple days to relax and regroup, take an hour or so and make sure that something new will pop up at least once or twice a day on each of your social media sites.

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Be Known

It will take a while (a few months at the very least). For a time you will feel as though you’re just sending your blog posts, Facebook updates, and Tweets into a hope sucking black hole. Don’t give up. After a bit others will begin to respond to your thoughts, posts, and questions.

Just wait until you laugh with delight the first time someone (other than a family member) comments on your blog. You’ll be hooked.

I still haven’t reached the minimum of what some people say you should have to be somebody. But I am happy with the progress I have made since last November. Remember to acknowledge the work you have done. Celebrate each new milestone. Dance around the room when you’ve published your 50th blog post. Go get ice cream when you reach 200 followers on Twitter. These things have take a lot of work. Don’t let that grumpy Gus in the back of your mind steal the joy of your accomplishments.

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I got the idea for this post while reading this post:

How to Build a Social Brand That’s a Sweet Orange in a World of Bitter Apples

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Want more on how to move forward with your plans of social media world domination?

Try these posts:

How I Used Social Media to Sell Books | from the One Stop Self-Publishing Conference | Catherine, Caffeinated

Author Social Media – 10 Tips for You! | BadRedHeadMedia.com

Guest Post: Tips on How to Utilize Social Media for Content Distribution Without Being Spammy | Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

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Wow! You made it to the bottom of this post! Here’s your prize:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTC9NNg9OBo

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Ksenia has no problem being herself on all of her social media. (She’s a good writer to follow on Twitter! Very encouraging. @kseniaanske )

Hmmm…that may have to turn into another blog post of it’s own. Fun/Helpful authors to follow on Twitter.

What do you think? Would it make a good post?

Who would you suggest?

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Video

Have You Fired The Sales Department Before Even Getting Started?

13 Aug

Here’s where I got the idea for today’s post:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5crBbDA6e1w

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I am referring of course to the first of the two short animations. (although the second is funny)

(I love Dilbert. lol!)

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This got me to wondering how many writers (or any other profession which involves selling of wares on the internet) think that sales and advertising is beneath them, or not worth their time.

Being really honest, if you had a couple books for sale, but no one knew they existed, how could you expect people to drive to the warehouse (i.e. Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) and beg for your product?

That is where your Author’s Platform comes in.

You’re looking at me with a blank stare…

All that an Author’s Platform consists of is what you have set up to help advertise, and in general, inform potential readers about what you have written.

That’s it. In a nutshell.

I’ll use myself as an example.

Last November I had finally reached my goal of enough bathroom poems written that I could now put them out to friends and family for second opinions.

So Excited!

Then I really started looking into what it would take to publish them…

(I’m gonna be honest here)

YIKES!!!

This is a steep learning curve. Especially for a girl who is borderline computer illiterate, and can’t seem to make either photo editing program on her darling husband’s computer work the way she wants. *pout*

I must say, though, that formatting the poems wasn’t nearly the chore I thought it was going to be.  🙂

But I digress.

Last November I decided that the procrastination was over. The blog needed to start. So in I dove. Head first, no prep, barely any research. Loved (almost) every moment of the process.

Next came the Facebook page and Twitter (if memory serves I created them almost the same day).

Twitter seems to be more my speed than Facebook. I really thought it would be the other way around. The discovery still baffles me. But what is even more confusing, is that I get more blog hits from Facebook than Twitter. Go figure.

For a recap: At this point I have a blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. All building friends and followers for when I eventually publish my little book of poetry (and of course all the other stuff I’m creating).

Then I found out about something called Goodreads. All I can say is that I have an account. It still is a little intimidating to me for some odd reason. When I get this book out I’ll have to pull on my big girl pants and figure out how to make an Author’s Page. *squeals and hides under the bed*

It was something of a stroke of luck when I temporarily learned how to make my blog posts automatically appear on my LinkedIn, erm, wall…I think it’s called? Yeah, another one that eludes my braincells.

That’s another point!

If you absolutely hate working with a certain social media site…

Don’t Worry About It!

Sure all those people say that you Must be on all the sites.

But really, I think just being consistent with a few will get you better results than just occasionally showing up at 12 different places.

That’s why I’m don’t sweat not being able to figure out LinkedIn and Goodreads. Facebook is doing…ok for me. Twitter, well being truthful, Twitter is borderline on an addiction for me. I just have to know what is happening!

Seriously, though, I love my Twitter writer friends. They are the best!

The biggest piece of advice I can give you?

Have Fun With It!

If you don’t keep it interesting for yourself a) You’re going to burn out real quick, and b) You’re probably boring your hard won friends and followers (and yourself, to tears).

So post those kitten photos. Tell the world how you broke the wide screen with your contact lens. Brag about your kid’s burping ability. They like to know that you’re a real human.

Writers have good days and bad days like everyone else. We just learn how to turn the experiences into words for others to read. (But that’s another post, I think.)

Just don’t be afraid to be the real you out there in cyber world. A fake you wouldn’t be the same.

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Want more on how to actually build and maintain an Author’s Platform?

Check out these other bloggers!:

Bad Redhead Media

Rachel has a wealth of information on her site for everything from setting up a Sales Platform to internet etiquette. The above link will take you to her list of 10 helpful tips for authors. If you are interested in more just click on the tab for her blog (located at the top of the page, toward the left).

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Catherine, Caffeinated

Catherine is a lot of fun (at least I find her to be). She writes about the entire process of self-publishing, from first edits to the empty feeling afterward when you learn it’s not a get rich quick scheme. She also has many people guest post to share their experience and knowledge.

She has a handy search box at the top right hand corner of her blog. If you don’t want to spend an hour wandering through her writings (I’ve done it…many times. lol) go ahead and type in a key word for something you’re curious about and see what it brings you.

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Savvy Writers & e-Books online

While I do not agree with everything this blog suggests, there is a lot of useful information here. There is a long list of subjects down the right side of the site. I have it cued up for you on Author Platform/Brand. If you want to explore something else go ahead and choose your topic, there are plenty of posts in each. Don’t worry, we’ll come looking if we don’t hear from you in a few days. 😉

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This is just a small example of the many helpful blogs and bloggers out there.

Most writers are very friendly, helpful people. It surprised me when I found this out, but most of us work on the Pay It Forward strategy. We all help each other, so in return, we all get help.

Now go put on your Researcher’s hat so you can eventually learn enough to reach for that Promoter’s hat. Don’t worry, you’ll get there soon enough.

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How Self-Published Books Are Made: Start to Finish (PART II)

19 Jun

Here is the second installment of Catherine’s How Self-Published Books Are Made: Start to Finish. This one concentrates on what you should do once you have gotten around to the publicizing portion of self-publishing.

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It’s rather illuminating (and entertaining).

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Enjoy!

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

oldpost

In last week’s post, How Self-Published Books Are Made: Start to Finish (PART I), we assembled everything we needed to self-publish, decided whether to go e-book only, e-book first and then paperback or e-book and paperback together, sorted out our US tax situation and finally, self-published both an e-book with Amazon KDP and Smashwords, covering all major e-book retailers, and a POD paperback with CreateSpace. (Or we went to somebody like eBookPartnership.com because removing tabs and putting back in italics got all a bit much for us.)

But that was only half the battle. What do we do now that the books are here? How are we going to let people know they exist, and convince them to buy a copy? How do we sell our books?

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Please Don’t Say ‘Social Media’…

Sorry, here it comes: the best way to sell self-published books is by using social media

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How Self-Published Books Are Made: Start To Finish (PART I)

15 Jun

It’s been a busy day, and my brain is fried.

So I thought I would give you guys a reprieve from my ramblings and reblog something from one of my favorite self-publishing gurus.

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Enjoy! 🙂

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

oldpost

To mark the occasion of my 601st blog post (and I wonder why The Novel isn’t finished yet…), and after seeing that a number of people regularly land on this blog by googling ‘how self-published books are made start to finish’, I’ve decided to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a while: outline a basic master plan for self-publishing.

The internet is awash with posts about specific topics like formatting your e-book or maximizing your Amazon listing or using KDP Select, but there’s very few ‘this is everything that needs to happen and in this order’ posts—and I include my own blog in this. So let’s do it, starting today with Part I.

I should say: this isn’t how I did it (certainly not the first time!), but it’s how I’d do it now were I to get the chance to do it over. It’s how I’d…

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