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Tips on Marketing – via Follow The Reader

Today, I defer to the wisdom of Kat Meyer, and her three most recent blog posts from “Follow the Reader.”
This collection of researched articles by an industry leader is just the thing for publishing professionals and authors alike to review and consider the following questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What tools do you have at your disposal to reach them?
  • How can you quantify your time online with actual sales?

Oftentimes with small presses, authors are only given a tiny push toward personal marketing and “what to do next.” By researching the following articles, you can find your footing to further stabilize your online platform, and make your way into identifying your audience, your readers, and ultimately increasing your revenue.

Thanks again to @ Kat Meyer for her ongoing quest to aid authors and publishers in this uncharted territory. (follow her on Twitter if you don’t already. You’ll be amazed what you can learn.)

Part One:

What do marketers think about when they think about marketing? I asked some really talented book marketing type people, each of whom approaches the marketing of books from a slightly different perspective: Jeff VanderMeer, novelist and author of BookLife: Strategies and Survival Tips for 21st Century Writers; Denise Berthiaume and Tom Thompson of Verso Digital Advertising; and Ashleigh Gardner, Manager of Digital Development at The Dundurn Group. … Read On…

Part Two:

In this second of three posts all about book marketing, publicity and advertising, Denise Berthiaume and Tom Thompson of Verso Digital Advertising were kind enough to offer some really great advice to authors and publishing professionals alike on how to make the most of the many advertising and marketing options available — and yes, they even have advice for authors with no budget!

[Verso recently published an incredibly insightful survey of book-buying behavior which is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the book industry. Check it out here. And for more info about Verso, check out Charlotte Abbott’s interview with Tom and Denise from late last year.]

Read On…

Part 3:

Ashleigh Gardner of The Dundurn Group

These days it’s a given that authors will be expected to take part in the marketing of their books. But, navigating the world of book marketing is no easy task for an author, and there are no hard and fast rules for them to follow.

Which is why it was such a pleasure to hear how one particular publisher’s marketing team has taken the lead in helping authors help them. In part three  (the last part) of our behind the scenes look into the world of book marketing, publicity and advertising,  I asked Ashleigh Gardner, Manager of Digital Development at The Dundurn Group, all about Dundurn’s innovative author marketing program, dubbed “The Author Countdown.”

Read On:

E-books – Love them? Hate them? They’re here to stay…

Stumbled upon this article that dissects why E-books are so ugly.

This is one of many articles I’ve seen- -the most poignant being the video of Angela St. James – and others – at the Oreilly forum, discussing why hardware should be developed for women. (In a word — pretty it up, Amazon!) and what do they do? They make what might as well be a clay tablet with the BIG DADDY DX. And I was so looking forward to owning a Kindle. My friend Jeannie Ruesch has been flaunting hers with much abandon. See, we love them even when they’re big, and gray and…well…ugly. We’ll bedazle the covers of the Sony Ereader. We’ll add a skin to cover up that blah exterior.

What do YOU want out of an e-reader… say, in ADDITION to some excellent books?  Read on! and leave a comment worthy enough, I might shoot you an e-book of your very own…

Why E-Books Look So Ugly

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Reinvent the perfect invention?

I stumbled across this article this morning — through Twitter. The title:  Why We Don’t Need to Reinvent the Book

Before you hop on over and give it a read, let’s think about the truth, falacy of this. Does the book need to be reinvented to fit into the time frame we have for it? As a mother and writer, I love to read. I read to the kids — I try to read for pleasure when I can, usually after everyone goes to bed with the help of my itty bitty booklight. But the truth of the matter, I can grab a chapter here or there, waiting for the kids at gymnastics or dance. Or soon, at soccer games.

But, as I was reminded by Smart B@#$%es Trashy Books this morning, sometimes when you dart out the door you forget something of key importance. Your latest paperback. Your Sony E-Reader or Kindle. No time to return, you suffer watching little ones tumble about — okay, it’s not suffering, but you get the point. Your heart longs for whatever story has captured your attention. Whichever author is currently holding you hostage with their carefully woven story. BUT who leaves the house without their phone?

Personally, I’d pay the two bucks to download a chapter through Stanza, while on the go. And while I love the feel of the book, I also love the earth. I am a author, so I want to build an audience.  As a new author, maybe readers will check out a free book or shell out a few cents for a short story. And, as one of my reviewers once said, the short story is the perfect fulfilling length for mommies on the go.

So, yes. Don’t reinvent to book. Don’t stop printing them. Keep them, love them, shelve them on something other than Shelfari. But, maybe Tim O’Reilly is right about something. We do need to reinvent some of the medium to keep up with the world. To engender a love of reading in our youth. And remind them why literature, the book, and the musty page smell we all adore is something not to forget.

Why do I Blog?

I was asked today at work – of all things – what is the purpose of a blog. That got me thinking… because–as you know–I love to blog. It’s my journal. It’s my way of keeping in contact with people who have similar likes and interests (such as you all!), and of course, it’s a way of sharing triumphs and tragedies, and contemplating this fast paced world we live in. Things change by the minute around here. Okay. Sometimes, even by the second.

Blogs are a great way to stay connected. Add a follower, or two, and you have people who are pinged when you post something new! If you have a contest, people can participate by the tens, twenties, and even hundreds! If you keep up with the latest technologies, it’s a great place to pool resources, and find out if other folks can rate a product (see e-reader posts), or e-book Applications to see what we’re all talking about. We keep up with predators and editors, and congratulate one another on a job well done.

Most of my readers are either small press authors, e-book authors, mothers, friends, family, or all of the above. Perhaps even a co-worker or two. I cherish each and every comment, and do my best to respond to every one. It’s how we roll. Blogging is just a natural part of my thought process, much as FaceBook has become part of my social life. (See my husband shake his head, in his inability to understand my need for online interaction).

I’m an odd case. I work remotely, for a company in New Jersey. I keep odd hours, as I’m a full time working mother, so my writing time comes in the late evening and early morning. When asked, I’m sure most don’t understand – but my husband can attest to my idiosincracies. He always knows when I’m deep in edits or writing, as the house descends into utter chaos!

So, why add blogging on top of all that? Because of you. So, thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, and I’ll answer. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

Kindle Part Deux – Kindle 2 Makes An Appearance

Well, Amazon has answered the criticism of its device… which might be the reason it’s been so difficult to find a Kindle in these parts. Kindle 2 is on the scene. It’s leaner, faster, pencil thin, and sleek. The advertisment shows a Kindle Savvy reader sitting with her $375 device on the beach.

Let me say that again. The advertisement shows a Kindle Reader SITTING ON THE BEACH, reading her Kindle quite happily.

Here’s what you don’t see. You don’t see her kids filling her beach bag with sand. You don’t see them pouring a bucket of sea water on her unsuspecting, romance reading head, and running off to merrily gather shells.

What I mean is simply this. The paperback novel is perfect in its design, but perhaps not perfect for our green-thinking. It’s highly portable, completely disposable (though I keep my favorite dog-eared, sun-stained, water-warped, sandy copies on my shelf). Okay. Read that again.

  1. Highly Portable. Pencil thin, light, with an available cover for $30.00. (I’m on my way to buying one with my Amazon One Click right now!)
  2. Dog eared. Kindle can bookmark pages and favorite passages. (That’s a good thing. A pre-order is still looking good.)
  3. Sun-stained. With the special e-ink or whatever they’re calling it now, reading in the sun shouldn’t pose a problem and might even be easier on the eyes than the white-hot sun reflecting off pages. Hmm. Can one read at night without an itty bitty booklight? Gotta go back and see.)
  4. Water-warped. Hmm. That’s where I freak out, and leave the poor thing in my shopping cart wish list. I wish I could break down and buy one. This gadget girl is DESPERATE to own an e-book reader. BUT, I don’t think I’d bring my Kindle to the pool. How can I swim around our community pool, wondering, worrying if my $300+ device is going to be swiped from my stuff?! But even if I can find the zen state I need to reach to free myself from that worry, what about water damage? Did any of you see the Michael Phelps commercials from ESPN last year? They were hysterical…I’ll find one for you to watch. Hang on. Just watch, and you’ll see my point.
  5. Finally, this. Sandy…I know I wouldn’t shove it in my sandy beach bag, the bottom littered with broken shells, fistfulls of sand, and last year’s unfinished Stephanie Plum novel.

I would travel with it in the car, on a plane, or to a waiting room. I would attach an itty bitty booklight to it and read into the night while my DH snores away. I do want one, just for the cool factor.

I still feel like Roger Rabbit, trying not to do the “Two Bits” part of “Shave and a haircut…”

The question remains. Is it the right thing to do, right now?! Please, help me out!

E-books & Reading Habits

Hey, everyone

I’m researching more about how and what we are reading – collectively. So, if you care to play – comment below:

1. List the last book you’ve read/purchased & plan to read (at LEAST 1)
2. Where you picked it up (Amazon.com, Library, Borrowed from a neighbor)
3. Answer this question: Have you ever read a chapter/story on your phone or computer?
4. How many hours a day/week do you spend reading blogs?

For me:

  1. Nora Roberts, The Pagan Stone — Next up on the nightstand: Courting Trouble by Renee Knowles! — Ordered from Amazon.com
  2. Christmas gift – bought at Costco & it MYSTERIOUSLY appeared in my stocking
  3. YES – on my computer. Still have yet to purchase an e-book & don’t yet have an iPhone or Kindle.
  4. TOO Many!! At least a half-hour to an hour a day.

Short Covers – An answer for the expensive Kindle?

This is a new e-reader program that’s launching the end of January. They are on target for iphone, as well as blackberry storm – basically an e-reader to kick Kindle’s butt… based out of Canada – they are owned/sponsored by Indigo.ca – Canada’s version of amazon.com

http://www.shortcovers.com/splash/ – The ShortCover’s splash page.

http://indexmb.com/indigos-ereading-initiative-shortcovers-is-out-in-the-open/ – a discussion on the product.

http://www.truveo.com/Talking-Tech-CES-Short-Covers/id/4035412680 – a podcast with the owner.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=34327 – another description of the service.

I’m most curious to hear my fellow romance writer/reader friend’s thoughts on this as a method of distributing our medium… Feel free to comment!