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Archive for December, 2011

Writing is a solitary work.  Only one person can do it. Being an author, on the other hand, is a communal experience. In fact I find interacting with other authors and industry professionals is one of the most motivating and invigorating things any writer can do. We write by ourselves, but we need each other to be better writers and authors and marketers. That’s why there are three things I want you to be aware of that could be just what you need to start off the new year on the right foot.

  1. Free webinar: 7 Secrets of Successful Self Published Authors–January 10. This is a free webinar from Writers Digest. Click here to register. It is a repeat of the webinar I did in November, which had the most registrations and attendees in the history of WD University. If you register and can’t attend, you will still get an email that allows you to listen to the webinar at a later time.
  2. Writers Digest Conference in New York City–January 20-22. This is one of the premier writing conferences in the country. I will be on a panel with Jane Friedman as well as giving a presentation on secrets of successful self published authors. Click here for registration information and I look forward to seeing you there.
  3. San Francisco Writer’s Conference–February 17-19. One month later, I will be at the San Francisco Writer’s conference. I will have more to say about this conference in a later post, but you can click here to get registration information. I would not wait too long though if you are thinking about attending. They have sold out most years. I am not surprised. They have a very experienced staff and run a great conference. I will be presenting here as well.

Bottom line is don’t go to deep into the year without  finding some encouragement and education from fellow authors. These are some great opportunities to improve your craft and learn how to market. I hope to see you on the webinar or at one of the conferences.

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For some time, I have been promoting the idea that there is no better time in history to be an author then right now.  In fact, the top tab of this blog is text from a white paper I published two years ago titled, “The best time in history to be an author.”  In the past year, there has been additional evidence to support the claim. So here are my top five reasons from 2011 why this is the best time in history to be an author

  1. San Francisco Writers Conference publishing contest name is changed to Indie Publishing Contest. The prestigious San Francisco Writers Conference publishing contest was renamed the Indie Publishing Contest and winners were awarded publishing packages from Author Solutions.  This mean more authors could win and get their books into the market sooner, which is one of the main benefits of Indie publishing
  2. John Locke becomes first author to sell 1 million books on a Kindle. Mr Locke broke through the seven-figure barrier and shared some of his secrets in a post I did earlier this year. He did it by doing things any author can do.
  3. JA Konrath finds success self publishing latest books. In an interview in USA Today, JA Konrath had the follow to say. “It’s a paradigm shift and a revolution,” says J.A. Konrath, who is considered the guru of the self-publishing movement. “It’s a huge win for readers,” who now have easier access to more writers from around the world, he says. “I am a guy who had his butt kicked by the industry for 20 years, and now I’m showing other authors what they can do so they don’t have to go through the same thing,” he says. “Traditional book publishers are just serving drinks on the Titanic.”
  4. Amanda Hocking sells more than 1 million books on her own and then gets traditional book deal. She made big news and I covered in an earlier blog post.
  5. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus both start to review indie published books. Both of these industry leaders now review indie published books, which I think is acknowledgment that good books are being published by indie author and the industry is shifting.

There were other candidates, including the launch of Book Country self publishing services  by Penguin and the Hachette document that declared, “self publishing is a misnomer”, but these were the five I thought were most important. If you have some other nominees for the top five, feel free to leave them in the comments section. I am sure 2012 will be even better.

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If you have been following this blog, you know I have been doing a series of blog posts titled, “Seven secrets of successful self published authors” In previous posts, I have shared the first five secrets: The previous secrets I have shared are as follows. Successul self published authors:

  1. Can describe their audience
  2. Believe in their work
  3. Set a deadline when they want to hold the first copy of their book
  4. Understand their goals and publishing options
  5. Know the power of social media and have a plan to take advantage of it.

In this post, I want to share the last two secrets. The sixth secret is plan your marketing before you finish your manuscript.

I can’t tell you how many authors write, write, write, write, get their book published, and then they think about marketing. That is too late. You want to actually start planning your marketing while you are writing. Describe your audience, determine how you’re going to reach them, and decide what help you’ll need.  In fact, you should start building your potential reader base even before your title is live. One idea I have seen work well is give potential readers a few different covers to pick from and let them vote. It is a great way to get potential readers engaged with and anticipating the launch of your book even before it is live.

I have had authors come back to me and thank me for encouraging them to do a book launch event

The seventh and final secret is plan a book launch event for when your title is live.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had authors come back to me and thank me for encouraging them to do a book launch event. Along with these events being a key motivator for completing the manuscript, they are also a lot of fun.  I know authors who have done an event in conjunction with a family reunion.  I know authors who have published a christian book and held their launch party at a church. My favorite example is an author who wrote a mystery book based in her hometown. One of the settings for the mystery was a restaurant in the town. She actually held  her book launch event at that restaurant. Since then the restaurant now sells her book at the cash register and  they have actually named a menu item after her book.  I think that is pretty cool, but the point to all these examples is publishing a book is quite an accomplishment and it deserves a celebration.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity. It allows you to connect to readers and get your word-of-mouth campaign started.

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