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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

For anyone who has written and sold their first novel, what comes next can often be a daunting task. How do you get the reading public to notice you and buy?

Logically, it sounds like this should be the publisher’s job. They’ve bought your book and made it one of their products. You’ve given over your rights to them. Wouldn’t it be in their best interests to market it so that they can make more money?

Apparently not, according to an article by Neely Tucker of the Washington Post, “On Web, a Most Novel Approach.” Publishers do actively push their titles, but increasingly it’s those at the top of the food chain that get fed, while new authors, those in print anyway, who must fend for themselves.

Authors are expected to behave like mini-entrepreneurs, says Kamy Wicoff, founder and CEO of She Writes, a Web site devoted to helping women writers promote their books. She started the site in June. More than 4,000 writers have joined.

“The landscape has altered so fundamentally and irrevocably that almost no one is immune from finding ways to participate in the promotion of their books,” Wicoff says. “Writers with small advances and limited resources are expected to treat their book as a new company, with marketing and promotion and PR.”

Tucker makes this sound like a new development, though it has actually been the case for many years now. The current economic recession and systemic financial difficulties in the publishing industry, however, have accentuated the disparity.

Never Underestimate the Value of a Book Trailer

As an example, the Post tells the story of first time nonfiction author Kelly Corrigan, who in 2008 published a memoir, The Middle Place, about cancer’s effect on the family. True, nonfiction about disease is a long way from romance fiction, but many of the same challenges face fiction and nonfiction authors alike.

When her book came out, Corrigan received no invites to book festivals, was not sent on tour, didn’t even get reviews. What she did in response, however, could serve as an excellent PR blueprint for all authors. She got busy.

She cobbled together a trailer for her book on her home computer, using iMovie software, downloading a free tune off the Web for background music, and stuck it on her Web site. Her agent helped get her on one network television morning show. About 20 friends hosted book parties, which she hit on a self-funded three-week blitz, selling books out of the trunk of her car. A guy shot video of her reading an essay at one of these parties, and she posted it on YouTube when the paperback came out.

A year later, the book has sold about 80,000 copies in hardcover and another 260,000 in paperback, according to Nielsen BookScan data. It sat on the New York Times bestseller list for 20 weeks, peaking at No. 2. That homemade trailer has been viewed more than 100,000 times. The video of her reading has drawn 4.5 million hits.

EBook authors may not find themselves selling copies of their books out of their trunks. Still, the ingenuity behind Corrigan’s story is admirable and inspiring. This is a meaty article, with a single bottom line lesson. If you want to get noticed, it’s your responsibility to do it for yourself.

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inverted-em-sigJust stumbled across this fun website, Excerpt Monday, an ongoing hub of links to new romance novel excerpts that are refreshed each month. For September, I counted thirty-six romance authors participating, among them Emily Ryan-Davis, Ella Drake, Stephanie Draven, Julia Knight, and Jeanne St. James. Here’s how site creators Bria Quinlan and Alexia Reed, explain it.

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share.

The site is pretty bare bones, but the links to the individual excerpts on authors’ websites are terrific. I especially love the sneak peeks at works-in-progress or books that haven’t yet hit the stores.

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As I hunt up new things to blog about, occasionally I’ll come across something noteworthy or fun that doesn’t always end up in a post of its own. Here are a few sites and tidbits I’ve come across this week that are well-deserving of a mention.

The Season

Hands down one of the most elegant and visually sumptuous romance sites I’ve seen, The Season is a place where historical romance fans can get their fix. It’s also worth a look by non-historical romance types for its sheer originality.

When visiting the site, viewers are asked to play along with the idea that they have joined the London Regency Era “Season” of parties and balls in full swing, while simultaneously viewing the latest historical romance titles. Run by romance author, Beverley Kendall, The Season exists in three-month doses with an archive page for past seasons. Visitors will find plenty of excerpts, book recommendations, and contests.

Sexy Wallpaper from Gena Showalter

If you’re into sexy guys—rhetorical question?—get this free wallpaper from Gena Showalter for Deep Kiss of Winter. Two versions are available for download.

deepkisswall1-300x187

The Passionate Pen

Looking for an extensive list of eBook romance publishers and their websites? Check out this no-frills, but extremely helpful directory by Jenna Peterson. Though not intended expressly for eBook authors, there’s still plenty of good coverage of the format, including articles on marketing your manuscripts to editors.

Free Reads from Celia Kyle

Not content to offer just one free read, this Liquid Silver Books author offers 7 short stories on her website. They’re not downloadable and must be read on screen, but hey! 7 free stories.

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Courtesy InkyGirl.com

Courtesy InkyGirl.com

This one falls into the you’ve-got-to-be- kidding category. Apparently desperate, agentless authors are now posting their queries on Craigslist. The Intern, a blogger who caught wind of this weird new trend, in which an author indiscriminately broadcasts his or her ideas to the world at-large, has some corker examples.

Among them:

I have written three non-fiction books which have best seller potential. Yes, you’ve heard that before, but if we dialogue I think you will agree. However, I am not a writer, but simply had something important to say. Therefore, I am not familiar with the usual query/submision proceedure and the books are time critical enough, that it doesn’t seem prudent to wade through the normal publishing channels.

As well as:

Compelling children’s picture book dealing with death needs a good literary agent to represent it and get it published. This is a story that provides a thoughtful, meaningful explanation about what happens when a child dies and goes to heaven, using words that are reassuring, loving and helpful to small children struggling with the idea of death. I want to get this book published and the topic is sensitive such that many publishers won’t touch it. Thanks.

Um, yeah. That’ll work. Thankfully, The Intern has not provided examples of any romance writers doing same.

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