Posts Tagged scm

Does Publishing Support the Writer-Artist?

 

On Monday’s post we talked about the importance of craft in the new paradigm, yet there seems to be some assumptions floating around that I feel are flawed, and we need to talk about those today. We are artists, and the ONLY one who can develop and mature an artist is…the artist. We are responsible. We always have been. Just because Amazon is not going to appreciate our art beyond the sales numbers doesn’t mean anything other than Amazon remains what it has always been—a means of getting a product to a consumer, the art to a potential patron.

Yet, I will say the same thing about NY publishing.

They can wax rhapsodic about how they care about developing writers and how they care about writing and art, and I believe they do…but only to a certain point. The second any art becomes a commodity, then no one really cares only about the art. It becomes more about how many units can be sold, and will it be enough to gain back our investment before they cut off the power?

There are bills to pay.

But we will get to that, too, in a moment. But first we need to make sure we all have nice open minds and to do this we need to dispel some myths.

Myth #1

The only people who publish on Amazon are writing junk and weren’t good enough to get a traditional NY deal.

In the comments section on Monday many of you expressed that you were working on your skills, honing your art and holding out for a NY deal. That is awesome and up to the individual artist, but be careful. A lot of terrific and innovative writing has come out of the indie movement.

Sometimes writing won’t get picked up by New York for any number of reasons that have nothing at all to do with the skill level of the writer. Feel free to check out Kait Nolan who was the only indie author nominated for the prestigious DABWAHA award (and you can go vote for her, too).

Myth #2 NY Publishing supports art.

True, Amazon doesn’t have any gatekeepers, thus no way to keep out the truly motivated. But, this does not therefore mean that, by default, NY is a great patron of art.

How?

Some art challenges. It upsets and disrupts the status quo. It transforms us and changes us. Not all art is commercial art.

For instance, I could publish a book of nothing but commas, and on Amazon, no one can stop me. No one would stop me. My book of commas might not be a great use of my free time, but who are you to judge my art? Maybe my book of commas is a challenge to the post-industrial society to take more breaks.

Why are you laughing?

Maybe I yearn to make our culture really think about how they have forgotten to pause in their everyday lives. Perhaps I long to expose all those tiny breaks to appreciate life that you missed because you had e-mails to check or a Facebook page to update. Every comma in my 1,000 page e-book represents a moment you will never get back.

I have them all here. Your lost moments. I captured them like little damsel flies in amber.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I collected your lost moments into one place, a tribute to all the breaks no one wanted. We are a pauseless society always on fast-forward, plunging into the Red Bull-soaked abyss of suffering.

Wow, I really ran with that.

Please look for upcoming book “,”…never in stores, well, for obvious reasons. It is part of a series–“?” “!” and “.” will be released some time after they let me out of the looney bin.

Some Art Cannot Begin as a Commercial Product

I know I am going to get e-mails about this one, but again. Breathe and give me a moment. Some art is meant to please and be aesthetic. It is designed to appeal. But is that the only art? No. Some art is designed to shake things up, to challenge. This kind of art, the kind that disrupts, confronts and even offends is often only appreciated as a commercial item retrospectively.

Trust me. Most people didn’t “get” Dahli at the time, and now his work graces many a T-shirt. The industrial publishing machine is in business to sell goods people want, but if something is a certain type of art, then no one knows they need it…yet. This art will only be appreciated by the society the art changes.

For instance, in Picasso’s time, art had been steeped in realism for centuries. Then Picasso stepped in and shook things up by doing things…differently. He painted a woman with her eye closer to her forehead or a person made of geometric shapes. It forced society to transform, to open its ideas of what it considered beautiful of what it considered to be art.

Of course, now, a century later, even a small schoolchild has seen cubism if only on her mother’s mouse pad near the computer. Modern art was once shocking and of no determined commercial value…but then as society changed, the value did as well. This art, once only appreciated on the fringes of society, over time became more and more commercial.

Writers are Artists

Yes, there are wanna-be-amateur hacks who believe they are being rejected because no one can see their brilliance, yet I would be bold enough to say that there are some genuine artists being rejected by New York, too.

Oooohhhh.

Who is to say that modern digital age society wouldn’t like to read a 130,000 word book written in the verbose style of A Tale of Two Cities? Anyone who shops at Wal Mart truly understands how it can be the best of times and the worst of times. That manuscript that is being rejected for all of its heaviness and lack of commercial appeal might just spark that style of writing back to life.

It could. Why not?

Maybe potential readers are feeling nostalgic. Maybe we were too immature to appreciate The Grapes of Wrath in 11th grade, but now, a book like that is just what we need. Maybe works that read like Jane Eyre would appeal to modern audiences if the stories were modern. Perhaps the unique juxtaposition of a modern world and archaic language would be brilliant.

Worked for the movies! I saw Romeo and Juliet. Lionardo Dicaprio’s performance was stellar.

You might chuckle, but maybe I am right. Yet, the thing is, New York will reject most books that really challenge conventional tastes, so how will we ever know?

Agents will reject these works not because they might not love them, but because they can’t sell them. New York will say these works won’t appeal to reader tastes, and they would be right. New York is in the business of satisfying appetites, not necessarily creating new ones or reviving old ones.

I am in no way saying that New York Publishing doesn’t appreciate art, it just doesn’t always support it. It can’t afford to.

Publishing is Not Necessarily about the Art

Yes, publishing supports some great works of literary genius…ones it believes it can sell. Publishers have overhead and payroll and frankly, they cannot afford to be philanthropists. It isn’t as if they are supported by donations and foundations. Museums have the luxury of being innovative and provocative.

Let’s take Dadaism as an example.

Dadaism was an artistic movement birthed in response to the outbreak of WWI. It was to protest the reason and logic of a bourgeois society. Dadaists believed the misguided values of the time had plunged the world into war. Dada was the antithesis of everything art stood for at the time. Dada had no concern for aesthetics, and their works were intended to offend. Through their rejection of traditional culture and aesthetics, the Dadaists sought to destroy traditional culture and aesthetics.

What this means is that people of the time, regular people buying stuff, probably would not have cared for anything Dada in nature. It was a fringe appetite. If we have a urinal installed in our home, it is a place to use the bathroom. Install it in a display at the Museum of Modern Art and it is an Marcel Duchamp exhibit.

So New York can say they support art, but the fact is they would probably love to, but they can’t. They likely could if they would embrace digital publishing. Maybe my book of commas would be a hit. If NY followed my suggestions, they could take more chances on art. Maybe they could mold tastes instead of trying to predict them and react to them.

Hmm. Food for thought.

Social Media Art–Embrace WANAism

Why my social media teachings are different is that I am not here to make “responsible little marketers” who can sell books as if they were no different than vacuums or light bulbs.

I created WANA (We Are Not Alone) to tear down the establishment that wants writers to run out and automate messages promoting book giveaways on 8 different platforms. WANAism rejects the current system and declares that writers are not car insurance and books are not tacos. My medium is social media, and I create art every day. So do my followers…WANAites. WANAism cannot be measured with metrics, because, while WANA is digital in delivery, it is human at its core.

WANA is here to liberate your inner artist, to show you the truth of the new paradigm, and that is you are free. Writers have a new medium. Social media isn’t a chore, it is a new canvas! I am not a marketing expert; I teach art classes for WordPress ;).

Art is the Divine Part of Our Humanness

What makes us human is this longing to create. No matter what race, creed, religion or place in time, we humans are united by our universal desire to create art, and we will use anything available—stone, canvas, skin, words, paper or Facebook. Doesn’t matter.

Those who follow WANAism understand that technology doesn’t steal our artist spirit, it gives it another medium, much like the invention of cameras and film gave rise to movies…a new way to tell stories. Make social media your art and your attitude will change. It will no longer be a chore to be endured. It will transform into a place to share your artist passion with those who can….appreciate it.

Social media offers a place to give away your art. Not your product…your art. Art is part of who we are so each interaction, each tweet, every blog represents a sample of us, our art, our personal Dada movement.

Amazon Opens the Door for Art

So if I really wanted to make an argument for who did a better job of supporting art, I would have to vote for Amazon. By opening the doors and not using any outside market standard of “acceptable, publishable material” Amazon has liberated the artist to put his art on display. If the world throws digital tomatoes at it, c’est la vie.

Either the world wasn’t ready or the artist wasn’t. Time will prove which was the case.

But…

The daring. The truly original. The writer-artist who creates that very thing that no one knew they needed until they saw it…this writer will be rewarded. He will sell books and his following will grow because his art will affect people. They will feel it and will want to share this experience and pay good money for it because this is always what art does.

This digital paradigm lets indie and self-publishing test the “art” to see if there is an audience for this innovation and create the market (then NY can step in with a deal when the risk makes fiscal sense).

The New Paradigm Liberates the Author-Artist

Until now, the act of publishing a book was so terrifically cost-prohibitive that is truly limited art in our medium. If we created something so original it would revolutionize the world, we had to hope and pray we landed a gatekeeper with vision who was willing to risk her reputation and career. A lot of money was on the line if the art was not embraced in a way that made it commercially viable. Now? Digital makes art possible.

All of us art putting out art…just not all of us will make the commercial cut.

Art vs. Tastes

Let’s even set this notion of art aside and maybe just talk a moment about reader tastes. Tastes can be molded, shaped and changed. In the new digital paradigm we are seeing a resurgence of essentially pulp fiction. Fantasy, sci-fi, erotica, Westerns, novellas, poetry books and all kinds of works are now finding a home now that we have loosed the chains of capital risk.

We no longer need anyone but the artist to invest, and the readers either come…or they don’t.

Maybe we are a Picasso that later will be embraced by millions and generate wide-spread commercial interest, but we could just as easily be a giant sculpture crafted from used diapers that a handful will think is brilliant and provocative…but no one will want to take home and display in their living room.

Thing is, in this Brave New World we all get our own exhibit.

Thoughts? Reactions? Are you elated? Horrified? Do you think writers should shape and create reader tastes or publishers? I want to hear from you! And yes, I am putting my art out there every week, hoping that even if you don’t agree, you will walk away somehow changed ;). Off to go do revisions on “,” and I will let you know when you can pre-order copies :D.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

This Week’s Mash-Up of Awesomeness

10 Myths about Forensics Spread by TV

Protecting Our Writing Time by Elizabeth Craig

I’ll Get to It…Eventually by Alan Orloff

How Does a Publishing Auction Work? by Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner

What is More Fairly Priced at 99 Cents? Nonfiction or a Novel? by Edward Nawotka over at Publishing Persectives

What is an Author Platform? by Jane Friedman

The Controversy Over Controversy by Amber West

What’s Better than a Fight? over at More Blogging Cowbell

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Who Will Rule Social Media? Introverts vs. Extroverts

Yesterday, one of the commenters asked my thoughts about introverts on social media. At first glance, it seems that social media, social networking and social platform-building is a job made in heaven for the extrovert. Well, yes and no. Actually, each personality brings a unique skill set to the table.

The terms “extrovert” and “introvert” were first made popular in the 1920s by the famous psychologist Carl Jung, then given further momentum later by the Myers-Briggs personality test. Over the past century, it appears our society has developed an unhealthy fascination with the extrovert, favoring the bubbly, outgoing energetic personality over their quiet, more contemplative counterparts. Corporations spend money by the buckets training their people to “group think,” and “team-building” has virtually wiped out all quiet reflection.

In a world that can’t seem to stop talking, the introvert is getting lost.

Yes, I am an extrovert *shock face*, but one thing you guys might not expect is that I actually score very high as an introvert as well. Every time I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs, I score almost dead even on the extrovert vs. introvert questions. I am technically an extrovert with strong introversive tendencies. It generally is only one or two answers that have tipped me over to the extrovert side. I do feel that introversive side is part of what drew me to becoming a writer in the first place.

So, let’s just say that I do have some idea of what it feels like to be an introvert trapped in a corporate culture that doesn’t value quiet time. I know what it feels like to slug though meeting after meeting with every person feeling the need to fill the air with chatter and suggestions, whether they’d thought them through or not. And to make matters worse, our culture seems to reward the person who is noisiest, regardless whether the person makes any sense at all.

I remember being part of a sales meeting and all the reps were tossing out what they thought the company’s main focus for the year should be. Lower prices! Shorter lead-times! More choices! The CEO was just beaming in the sea of all this noisy brilliance. After a while, I finally raised my hand said something that stopped everyone cold.

“Has anyone asked the customers what they feel is important?”

See, one area introverts shine is they tend to be better listeners. Most managers will seek out the gregarious chatterbox who isn’t afraid to strike up a conversation and recruit them to the sales force. Yet, the interesting thing is that what makes the extrovert supposedly “good” at sales, can actually be a hinderance. To be good at sales, the extrovert needs to, above all else, learn to be a good listener first…and that is an area where we extroverts can struggle. We get so busy being entertaining that we often forget to be quiet long enough to hear the real problem our product can solve.

Thus, when it comes to social media, introverts are at no disadvantage…well, not using the WANA approach. Originally I had intended to only post one vlog this week. But, since the weekend was such a disaster, yesterday, while Spawn was passed out on codeine, I filmed a quick vlog to answer this question…because talking is easier than writing at this point. And the Spawn is doing fantastic today. Thanks for all the prayers and support.

As you can see, the introvert doesn’t need to become an extrovert in order to rule social media. In fact, using WANA, introverts can actually rely on their extroversive teammates to carry on their message while they rest and recharge. Since WANA is a community, we all harness each other’s strengths while collectively mitigating each other’s weaknesses. TEAM–Together Everyone Achieves More. Introverts have their own special contribution, and we aren’t here to change your personality, just your approach. Introverts have just as much to contribute to the world of social media, so don’t try to be something you aren’t. No phonies!

So what questions do you have that you might like for me to address on the vlog? Questions about social media? Craft? Questions about sea monkey training? Throw it out there.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of…heck it is close enough for March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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86 Comments

The Road to Success Part Two–Understanding the Why Behind the Buy

A couple weeks ago, I started The Road to Success series with The Road to Success Part One–What Kind of Author are You? Then I apparently saw something shiny, and so last week we talked–passionately–about Blog Trolls. How to spot them and how to handle them. Thus, I thought it would be a nifty idea to get back on track with this series. Today we are going to talk about book sales.

*cringes* I feel your pain, but as professionals we do need to talk about this stuff.

I’ve been doing this “social media for authors thing” for quite some time and have taught thousands of people. In my experience, most writers, in the face of having to “sell books” have fairly predictable reactions. They either unwittingly turn into spam bots because they are trying to be “good little marketers”…or they run away screaming to the nearest liquor store. Those remaining either live in denial that writers don’t need to know about sales…or they change the subject to Chris Evan’s pecs.

Okay. Sally forth. Nothing to see.

So today I am gonna help y’all out, no matter what your opinion of book sales happens to be. I am going to give a little insight that will save tons of time, effort and embarrassment.

First, a little story….

Years ago, when I was in college at T.C.U., I was blessed enough to get a job at Successories. They were a wonderful company that treated their people as if they mattered, and it didn’t hurt that they paid better than most retail jobs. I loved going to work there because I always felt that I was serving some higher purpose. What could be a better job than helping people be inspired? To reach for the stars? A motivational store is like Disney Land to an ENFP.

The thing about working in a mall is that there can be a lot of down time, especially during the week. I am not a person to be idle, so after everything was sparkly clean and neat and organized, I would read…until I’d read every book in the store. I read all kinds of stuff. I read everything they had by Zig Ziglar, Vince Lombardi, Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie and on and on. I studied Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin. I read books about leadership, sales, business and marketing. I read every quote book until I knew them by heart.

Why did I do this? Aside from filling in the long hours of nothing, I did it with a motive to serve. See, every worried mom who came in looking for the perfect graduation gift, every employee looking for the right poster to hang in the employee lounge, and every teacher hoping to inspire her kids to reach higher got precisely the perfect tool for the job. When I came to work for this store, the sales had been so low that it was on the block to be closed. Within two months, we had the highest sales in the region.

So why am I talking about this and why does it matter?

MOTIVE.

When it comes to sales, any kind of sales, people can sense motive. I didn’t make any commission off those sales at Successories. I didn’t have daily quotas to meet. In fact, I think the company would have probably been fine if I just showed up on time, kept the place clean and didn’t steal out of the cash register.

Yet, I did more.

Not because they made me or threatened me, but because I wanted to serve. I loved the company and loved their products (still do) and I longed to help because I liked THEM. In serving others and being authentically interested in others, I had the highest sales, because customers liked ME.

Was my goal the highest sales? No. My goal was to help others, and, by helping others, the end result was that I had the highest sales. Customers sensed that my objective was to serve them and they responded favorably with purchases.

Zig Ziglar was one of my favorites to read when I worked there. My favorite quote by him is, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” In fact, this quote affected me so powerfully that I base all of my WANA teachings on this maxim. So how does motive affect an author’s approach to social media?

Brave New Publishing World

These days a lot of authors are going the indie route or even self-publishing, and that is fantastic. Yet, when you are the sole person who can make or break your book sales, it is easy to fixate on sales numbers. This is where things can go sideways, especially in the business of selling books. People can sense a motive. If our motive is primarily to sell more books, other people sense that and it turns people off.

Why do you think we dissect everything a car salesman says? Every compliment he gives us is like a move on a chess board. It is a maneuvering to part us from our hard-earned cash.  We think, “This dude wants my money and that’s the only reason he’s being nice” whether that is the truth or not.

NO ONE cuts the car sales guy a break.

Books are Not Tacos, and Writers are Not Car Insurance

One of the reasons I feel a lot of self-published authors have gotten a bad reputation is due to their approach to book sales. I cannot count the number of times I received a simply beautiful compliment, and, when I responded favorably…I immediately was sent a link or a DM to buy this writer’s book or “Like” their fan page. What they call “good marketing” I felt as “emotional manipulation.”

Tactics like this are a perversion of Dale Carnegie. Tactics like these make me feel used. They make me feel duped. It isn’t a pleasant emotional experience so it certainly isn’t an experience I long to share, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. I have no want or need for phoney-boloney compliments to get to my wallet.

So the trick in social networking is to be able to build a platform that will translate into sales…without thinking about the sales. I admit, the WANA way is a challenge and can be quite counter-intuitive…but it works. Why does it work? Because we are selling to flesh-and-blood-people. WANA methods appreciate the WHY behind the BUY:

People don’t buy for logical reasons, they buy for emotional reasons. ~Zig Ziglar

To be able to sell books, we must understand that what will sell non-fiction will NOT work for fiction. There is a good reason that The South Beach Diet can effectively use an infomercial, but a novel cannot.

Why is this? They are two different types of products selling to fill two very different needs.

Why do readers buy fiction?

One of the reasons readers are so loyal to authors is because of how that author’s stories made them feel. James Rollins makes me feel like I’ve had an exciting adventure. Sandra Brown makes me feel love is worth fighting for. Amy Tan makes me feel hope and power. J.K. Rowling’s stories make me feel heroic.

Fiction authors are brokers of passionate emotion.

This was one of the reasons that—before social media—it was impossible to build a platform for fiction unless one already had a book in print. WHY? Because the author had no way of making an audience feel anything because the book wasn’t yet in print. There was no effective way to attach an emotional context to the product before it hit shelves.

Why do readers buy non-fiction?

On the other hand, non-fiction authors are selling to solve a problem or to educate or inform. They are selling a method, a service, a diet, a trend. Non-fiction authors are brokers of knowledge. Who cares if the diet book makes me feel a certain way? I care that it can give me thighs like Heidi Klum. Results are all that matter. Consumers buy to LEARN. This is why a logical, strategic, cerebral approach will sell books.

Why does this difference matter?

Non-fiction authors deal information and solutions. Fiction authors? You guys are selling an emotional experience. People read fiction to feel passion, love, triumph, happy, moved, inspired. They buy to FEEL.

To sell an emotional product, one must have an emotional approach, and if others (potential readers) enjoy the emotional experience we bring to social media, they are more likely to trust the emotional experience we bring to the page.

These days consumers are being BLITZED with a zillion choices, so to cull through them, often we will default to the Old School methods…we go off our gut and choose who makes us “feel” a certain way. Why do you think even insurance companies like Geico and Allstate try so hard to make us laugh with funny commercials? Even they appreciate how important emotion has become in this digital age.

How does this work for fiction authors?

Protagonists (that a reader has to spend a minimum of 12-15 hours with in a novel) are very often a reflection of the author. Subconsciously we (humans) know this. Thus, it stands to reason that, if the author is pushy, cold, self-centered and unlikable, there is a part of us that expects their “hero” will be more of the same…so we steer clear.

Yet, conversely, if a writer can be someone we like and root for in person, we are more likely to feel good about spending time with this writer’s protagonist. We are going to assume that if we like the author, then we will like her books. And, if the book isn’t all that great, we will still feel good about the purchase because we like the author. It may not make logical sense, but since when have emotions been logical?

This is one of the reasons good author blogs can be such powerful drivers for sales. Readers are more likely to buy from an author who has already provided a positive emotional experience (if not a book, then a thoughtful comment, a compliment, a fun & witty blog). In fact, I would be so bold as to say that they will choose this author ahead of authors who are rude or absentee. This is why using automation is dangerous. It makes potential readers associate our names with being spammed.

How can we speak a “heart language” in a digital world?

Every tweet, every blog post, every comment is an opportunity to create a positive emotional experience. This might not translate into instant sales (which is why some writers get twitchy) but it will pay off in the long-run.

Likeability is good social media sense for any kind of author.

The key to being successful in social media rests in the exponential…NOT the linear. Social media is NOT direct sales. We are wanting more than to connect to one person. We are wanting to connect and then have THAT person SHARE our information with THEIR networks. If that doesn’t happen, it is virtually impossible to be successful with social media.

How do we do this? We do this the same way humans have for tens of thousands of years. We are likable. People feel good when they are around us. We are now in the digital age and now it IS possible to attach an emotional context capable of driving sales. Consumers judge the book by the way they feel about the author.

This isn’t that hard, but often writers panic that they aren’t being good responsible little marketers if “every tweet doesn’t serve a business agenda.” Every tweet that serves a business agenda is, by definition, spam. People create fake e-mail accounts to avoid that stuff, so why serve it?

Understand the why behind the buy. People are on Twitter and Facebook to make friends, connect and to have fun. If they wanted a non-stop commercial to buy more stuff they’d be on the Home Shopping Network, not the social network.

So what are your thoughts? Do you disagree? Agree? I don’t know about you guys, but I buy more books than I can ever read…usually to support writers I like. What about you guys? Do you do the same?

Does an author’s likability not matter? Would you buy a book you knew was not that great to support a writer you loved as a person? Have you ever liked an author’s books, but then met him/her on social media and they were a horse’s butt? Did this keep you from buying books, even if the author was an excellent writer (no need to name names, btw)? Will you buy from a writer who is a phoney? Does it not matter and you only care about story?

Come on! Let’s play armchair psychiatrist.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of January I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Last Week’s Winner of 5-Page Critique is Ed Griffin. Please send your 1250 word Word document to author kristen dot lamb at g mail dot com. Congratulations.

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books!

Happy writing!

This Week’s Mash-Up of Awesomeness

You guys simply MUST follow Porter Anderson’s Writing on the Ether. This is a fantastic way of keeping on top of all the changes and trends in our industry. Follow him @Porter_Anderson. One of the best tweeps in the Twitterverse and a tremendous resource.

Since you will already be at Jane Friedman’s place, seriously stay and check out her blogs. LOVE this one How to Know if Your Literary Agent is Any Good

One of my favorite new bloggers on the scene is Ingrid Schaffenburg. She is running a really amazing series on Dreams. Following dreams, defining dreams, reaching dreams. It is all just simply…awesome. But I want all of you guys to realize your dreams so this gets me excited.

What to know how to get more traffic to your blog? Great post here.

5 Screenwriting Tips that Will Make Any Story Better by Jeff Goins

Have you ever had a writer epiphany? Over at Wordbitches. Love their blog.

And you guys KNOW I am a total fangirl of Chuck Wendig. Seriously, he cannot start a writer cult or I might just pack some Nikes and gray PJs. The man is AWESOME and his blogs are laugh-out-loud amazing. DO NOT drink liquids or suck on hard candy while reading…unless you have a thing for choking. He is THAT funny. Fave post of late? 25 Things Writers Should Start Doing

Fantastic post by Elizabeth Craig about how to eliminate word echoes in our manuscripts. Great tips I’d never heard or thought about.

Truthiness–Raising the Bar in the Blogosphere by August MacLaughlin

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Three Blunders that Can KILL Your Author Platform

by Garda / Flickr

Image by Garda / Flickr

Happy Tuesday, my peeps! Today I am guest posting for Jane Friedman, contributing editor of Writer’s Digest Magazine, so I hope you will join me there. Here’s a taste…

Three Blunders that Can KILL Your Author Platform

The digital age author has more opportunities than any writer in the history of the written word. But with more opportunities comes more competition, and with more competition comes more work.

Mega-agent Donald Maass will tell you there are only two ways to sell books—a good book and word of mouth, and he is right. Books are not tubes of toothpaste, though many of them sell for less.

Each writer is unique, each product is unique, and thus our marketing approach must appreciate that or we are doomed to fail. Too many social media approaches are a formula to land a writer on a roof with a shotgun and a bottle of scotch. I am a writer first, so my social media approach appreciates that books are not car insurance, and writers are not tacos.

Yes, social media is a wonderful tool for building an author platform. But, unlike Starbucks, we cannot hire college students to create our product. We need to be on social media and still have time left over for the most important “marketing” task of all—writing awesome books.

I am going to point out three major social media time-wasters. If we can avoid these social media tar babies, we will have more time to write brilliant books…..

For the three blunders that can kill your platform, meet me at Jane’s and show her what amazing, awesome and strangely good-looking peeps I have….

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.

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