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Archive for the ‘WordDreams’ Category

Two Valuable Books on Marketing Your Newly-published Book

28 Oct

I have a plethora of books in my library on writing, but a dearth on marketing what I’ve written. That’s a mistake. Most authors I know end up spending as much time marketing their books as writing them. Why don’t we get professional guidance as often for the latter as the former?

One reason for me: I have trouble finding books that address the types of online marketing that are affordable (or free–that’s nice) and doable for an author who’d rather write than market. Recently, I found two books I think assist with marketing the newly-published book:

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-By-Step GuideOnline Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-By-Step Guide

by Fauzia Burke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

I met Fauzia Burke when she was presenting at a San Diego writers conference and came away with no doubt she knew her stuff. I wasn’t surprised she has marketed books for some of my favorite authors (Jeffrey Archer, Dean Koontz, and Daniel Silva to name a few). When her how-to book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2016) became available on NetGalley, I grabbed it.

Based on what I’d seen at her presentation, I expected expert advice that would kickstart the online marketing campaign for my latest novel  in a down-to-earth voice with suggestions achievable even for the novice marketer. And that’s exactly what I got. It’s important to note: If you’re looking for a palette of marketing options that includes physical events such as book tours and radio interviews, this may not be the book for you. If you’re looking for online events you can participate in that are low-no cost and the payback on time spent is excellent, this is the right book. Fauzia specializes in showing authors how to use readily-available online tools to market their books such as blogs, websites, social media, and more.

She calls this an introductory book but don’t let that confuse you. I consider myself pretty savvy with online marketing–I’ve published dozens of ebooks over a decade–and I found nuggets that I can make use of immediately. Fauzia organizes the book into three parts:

  • Getting organized
  • Turning Your Thinking Into Action
  • Staying the Course

Each has relevant subtopics like personal branding and know your reader, as well as worksheets to help writers organize their efforts around the specific topic. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • The best part about online marketing is that it levels the playing field.
  • How do you prevent your brand from getting lost in all the social media noise? The answer: Be uniquely you. Aim for authenticity. 
  • …building an effective brand is a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Over the years, authors have told me interesting things when it comes to their audience. Most of the time it’s half the planet. “My audience is women…” [this is part of the chapter on knowing how to narrow your audience].
  • Develop a long-term relationship with your readers…
  • You don’t have to be an early adopter and chase every new social media tool. Use tools that have a track record for success.
  • When you look at all the different elements of online marketing, you may feel overwhelmed. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to do it all. You can start slow and small and grow gradually.
  • Double down on what’s working and ditch what’s not.
  • The bottom line is this: Don’t spam ever, on any network. Always show respect for others and their time.

Overall, this book is highly recommended to all authors who are trying to market their book and just need a few meaty suggestions to make that go well.


Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your SalesYour Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales

by Dana Kaye

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Dana Kaye’s Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-by-step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales (Diversion Books 2016) came recommended by several friends when I was whining about the lack of success I was having marketing my latest novel. While Kaye doesn’t have even a decade of experience in publicity, she does have a fresh eye and addictive enthusiasm. Once I got started reading, it was easy to see why her ideas were so valuable to writers.

Rather than the linear approach to marketing in Fauzia Burke’s book above, Kaye writes about typical problems writers might have with marketing and how to fix them using both online and physical solutions. She includes topics such as branding, online media, pitching, social media, in-person branding, and promotions, often with worksheets so readers can determine how to fit the topics into their world. A nice inclusion is a sample campaign and a suggested timeline for events.

Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

  • Book promotion is more of an art than a science. What works for one author may not work for another…
  • The first step is to always write a good book.
  • All authors, regardless of audience, will need an author website. This serves as your online business card,
  • All websites should include the following: [and then Kaye tells you what the critical pieces are].
  • …always pay for your images through stock photo companies; never pull images from the web.
  • To stay focused, answer the following questions: Does your audience prefer print or e-books? Where do they get their information (TV, radio, websites)? What else do they read (newspapers, magazines, blogs)? Where do they buy their books (online, grocery stores, chain bookstores)? What social media platforms do they utilize (Facebook, Twitter…).
  • There are many companies that will charge you thousands of dollars to boost your SEO, not telling you about the many easy ways you can do it for yourself. One of those ways is securing online media coverage.
  • A press kit is like a highlight reel, an expansion on the one-sheet that encapsulates all aspects of you as an author. It should feature all your books, showcasing the most important titles, as well as a longer bio and more in-depth talking points. It can also include any or all of the following: [and then Kaye lists those for readers].”
  • …Google+ is less about social networking and more about search engine marketing.

Overall, this could be an important part of the professional library for authors who are new to marketing.

–I received free copies of both of these books from NetGalley in return for my honest reviews.

More books on the business end of writing:

29+ Ways to Market Your Book

4 Reasons You Want a PLN and 13 Ways to Build One

Top Ten Marketing Tips for Your Ebook


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 

17 Ways to Describe Work Spaces

28 Sep

For the next few months, weekly writing tips will include word choice suggestions. That includes:

  • colorful and original descriptions
  • pithy words and phrases
  • picture nouns and action verbs
  • writing that draws a reader in and addicts them to your voice

I keep a  collection of descriptions that have pulled me into the books. I’m fascinated how authors can–in just a few words–put me in the middle of their story and make me want to stay there. This one’s on how to describe work buildings.

A note: These are for inspiration only. They can’t be copied because they’ve been pulled directly from an author’s copyrighted manuscript (intellectual property is immediately copyrighted when published).

General

office descriptionsOffice

  • My office looks like IKEA threw up in it . . . except for my black Kathy Ireland computer armoire which houses stacks of paper and office supplies and a bunch of real estate contracts I haven’t filed yet. I have a brown-black IKEA corner desk with metal legs, a high-back leather chair, and a laser and ink jet printer on IKEA tables on the opposite wall. I have brown-black IKEA corner book shelves – one shelf has literature and the other side has textbooks from grad school and my degrees which are collecting lots of dust. I have a view of my deck and the woods in my back yard where deer and rabbits frequently romp. I can also see my crazy neighbor in his thermal underwear while he’s letting the dogs out. It’s not pretty…can’t wait until the leaves come in.
  • When you enter my office there is a dark walnut bookcase lining the entire left-hand wall. There is a leather sofa with a fur rug over the back and an Indian blanket draped over the arm. The far wall has a large fireplace and mantle dominating the center, with bookshelves lining it on either side. On the mantle, I have two antique clocks and a painting of three jazz musicians. There is a television on the shelf to the right, but I only use it for XM radio. In front of that shelf is an upright piano and bench in dark walnut. Hanging on the wall above the piano is an abstract painting of jazz musicians. There is a double door between my desk and the piano which leads out to the patio. The view through the door panes is a southern pine forest. This side of the door is my desk. It is a large walnut piece — rather imposing, with glass over the top. Think early 1900s. My chair is Captain style on wheels with leather seat and back. To the left behind me is another bookshelf atop a matching file cabinet. The ceiling fan keeps the air moving in an otherwise enclosed space.
  • If you leaned way back in the chair and cranked your neck hard over, you could see the sky from my office window, delft-blue and cloudless and so bright it looked solid.
  • Inside, the office was small and cold. Four cubicles shared an empty common area. The carpet was sea green. There was one window, vertical, narrow and fortified with chicken wire.
  • The office was cluttered with the detritus of scholarship. There were books piled everywhere, and manila folders on the top of a long mission oak table under the windows. A Macintosh word processor sat on a corner of her desk, hooked to a laser printer on a small end table beside her.
  • Surveyed the office: big messy desk, file cabinets, an old wooden wardrobe, a poster on one wall, a gruesome photographic blowup of a man’s face beside it.
  • A hive of activity
  • Cracking the door allowed me to squeeze into the room. eight by eight, with a lav half that size; all the charm of an MRI chamber
  • Knew what I would find inside—faded curtains, a limp buffet for breakfast, and a pair of potted palms clinging to life

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We Remember

11 Sep

America, we love you.


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 
 

Book Reviews from New Indie Authors

31 Aug

This week, I have three Indie books (in Carrie Rubin’s case, she has a micro-publisher) that stand out in that crowded field:

  • Conflicted Hearts is the story of a damaged child who struggles as an adult to make sense of a childhood where she always seemed to be the problem
  • Brothers in Arms is a futuristic science fiction story about a world where men and women are brothers in arms, both struggling for the same goals, be it personal or national.
  • Eating Bull is a medical thriller about one obese teen’s struggle to fight the food industry, even when he becomes the target of a madman

Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter's Quest for Solace from Emotional GuiltConflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt

by D.G. Kaye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The preview for the book reads: A lifetime of guilt — What does it take to finally break free? And that’s exactly what this story is. A young woman’s guilt over parents who couldn’t love her, a childhood that included none of the nurturing events so critical to children, and mistakes made by the child–because she was a child–which she believed caused her parents to be distant and uncaring. Add to this horrible mix heartbreak, abuse, an incurable immune-deficiency disease, and almost losing the love of her life.– thank God children are resilient. You will want to hug this child and tell her it’s just not her fault.

Told with DG Kaye’s typical honesty and openness, and a writing style that draws readers right into the emotion. Plan to give this book to anyone suffering from childhood issues that simply aren’t their fault and they can’t fix.

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Cover Reveal: To Hunt a Sub

19 Jul

I’ve been preparing for this day for… years… Maybe longer. Simple words don’t seem enough to share the emotion of the event. Maybe a drumroll (as efriend Rebecca Bradley used to launch her latest book):

Or would Pomp and Circumstance be better, as I prepare for my future as a world-acclaimed breakout author:

Or maybe, Ride of the Valkyries, with its energetic march into the unknown, head up, spirit brave:

I hope this cover embraces the risk-taker spirit of my characters, their noble goal, and the danger that floats just below the surface as they try everything in their power to save a world they believe in:
to hunt a sub

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.


Book information:
Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray
Release Date: August, 2016 by Structured Learning
Genre: Thriller
Preview: Available on Kindle Scout
 ..
Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her debut novel, To Hunt a Sub, launches this summer. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.
***
A few blogging friends have joined me in this exciting unveiling and I wanted to share their blogs with you:
 
 

My Debut Novel Launches This Summer

07 Jul

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – I’m launching my book!

I’ve launched over a hundred nonfiction books, but putting my novel out there is a whole different thing. For one, it took 500 times longer to write–years instead of months. For another, it required a gut-wrenching honesty unnecessary in nonfiction. The latter is built on facts and research, but fiction requires a soul-bearing emotion that invites readers to judge you. In nonfiction–sure you can disagree with my facts, even my presentation, but it’s your opinion. Mine’s allowed to be different and everyone considers that a sharing of ideas. In fiction, if I don’t engage you in my story, you’ll stop reading–or worse, write a nasty review.

So, yeah, this is big. I have a few weeks before the cover reveal, while Kindle Scout is running my campaign. Then, the doors are open.

Sigh.

More IWSG articles:

Is NaNoWriMo Important if I Don’t Care About the Word Count?

Should I Continue My Newsletter?

Why do I get so few sales through Google Play?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Her debut novel, To Hunt a Sub, launches this summer. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

 
 

9 Must-have Tools for Writers Conferences

06 Jun

summer conferenceIt’s summer, time for writers to recharge our cerebral batteries. That could mean reading, going on field trips, spending time with online PLNs, or taking calls from family members who usually end up at voice mail. For many, it means attending conferences like Writers Digest Conference August 12-14 and the Writers’ Police Academy August 11-14 (this one sounds amazing) to learn how the heck to write for fun and profit.

If you aren’t a veteran conference attendee, you may wonder what — besides toothbrush, change of clothes, and a smile– you should bring. That’s a fair question considering in some of the more-active conferences, you might be asked to scan a QR code, visit a website, access meeting documents online, interact digitally, or use a backchannel device to share your real-time thoughts with the presenter. Last year, I posted five must-have digital tools you should bring. This year, there are nine:

Google Maps or Waze

Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees, your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Install Google Maps or Waze (both owned by Google now) on your smartphone or iPad, complete with audio directions. All you do is tell it where you’re going, ask for directions, and Siri (the voice behind the iPhone) will lock into your GPS and hold your hand the entire way. If friends are looking for a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts near the conference, the app will find one. If you want Chinese, use an app like Yelp (although I’m becoming a tad leery about Yelp. Anyone have a good alternative?).

Here’s my review of Waze.

Conference App

Most conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are juggling a digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: They’re simple and straight-forward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.

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Happy Memorial Day

30 May

I’m taking the day to honor our soldiers. Without their sacrifice, where would we be?

I think I had these same music videos last year–they’re still my favorite.

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Great Series: Berger and Mitrie

11 May

berger and mitryMy latest addictive pleasure is the Berger and Mitry series (big thank you to Pat Garcia for the recommendation). It is eleven books and growing, detailing the love story between Des Mitrie, a Connecticut trooper in small-town Dorset, and Mitch Berger, a famous movie reviewer who ended up living in that tiny seaside community for reasons you’ll have to find out for yourself. These two meet during a murder, fall in love, and go through all the stuff newly-minted couples experience while solving local crimes with creative thinking, original ideas and a large scoop of teamwork. Just enough death to be considered murder-mystery, but not so much it ever feels gratuitous.

I’d call this a cozy mystery series , but I like Mitch’s description better–:

“Our own private version of a Normal Rockwell painting.”

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6 Tips for Paranormal Writers

04 May

paranormal fictionOne of my writing gigs is as an Amazon Vine Voice. They send me free books (and other products) and I share my honest opinion. If you go to Amazon, you’ll find a label (Vine Voice) by my name, as you will with all of the other Vine reviewers. It just means we accept the responsibility to share our thoughts as objectively as possible.

When I log into my Vine account, I find a list of a couple hundred books to choose from. I can pick the genre so I don’t end up reading a travel book when I’d prefer a thriller, but, it’s not an exact science. More often than expected, I’ve been surprised. For example, Richard Bausch‘s fantastic new book that I’d consider more brainwork than I normally subscribe to is included under thrillers–which is usually reserved for plot-driven, non-stop action stories. This is my long way of explaining how I’ve stumbled on and enjoyed several paranormal novels which normally I would have skipped such as Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series and Carsten Stroud’s Niceville trilogy.

WiseGeek defines paranormal this way:

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