RWASD Good News April, 2014

Please share the good news- look at what our chapter members have been up too!

 

Aubrey Rose has published a new series entitled Shifting Fates. Congratulation, Aubrey!

 

Bob Richards received a request for a full of A More Perfect Union from Courtney Miller-Callahan at our meeting. Yay, Bob!

Dara Young’s historical romance novella When in Paris… was released in March. Congratulations, Dara!

Georgie Lee entered the Georgia Romance Writer’s contest “The Maggies” with her published book Engagement of Convenience. Good luck!

Georgie Lee entered the Ancient City Romance Author’s contest “The Heart of Excellence Readers Choice Award for Published Authors” for her book Engagement of Convenience. Good luck!

 

Georgie Lee’s second Harlequin Historical, Rescued from Ruin was released on April 1st. Congratulations, Georgie!

 

Gloria Gay has a book releasing on April 24, entitled Scandal at Almack’s. Congratulations, Gloria!

 

Karen Ritter, writing as Morgan Hannah MacDonald released Night Scream on March 23. Congratulations, Karen!

 

Karen Ritter taught a great class on self-publishing at our April RWASD meeting and inspired many of us to consider doing it ourselves. Thanks, Karen!

 

Laura Connors received a request for a revise and resubmit from Entangled for her first book, Sea of Fate. Go Laura!

 

Laura Connors thinks she received a request for a full for Sea of Fate from Courtney Miller-Callahan at our meeting. She’s not sure, because she and Courtney were talking so much they ran out of time.

 

Linda Wallace-Kurtz received a request for a full of Within Werewolves Revenge from Courtney Miller-Callahan at our meeting. Yay, Linda!

 

Lisa Kessler went indie with her release of Night Angel on March 17. Great job, Lisa!

 

Lisa Kessler entered both Beg Me to Slay and Hunter’s Moon into the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance Writers contest “the PRISM’s”. Good luck!

 

Shirley A. O’Neil’s book Links was published by Amber Quill Press in January. Congratulations, Shirley!

 

Sylvia Mendoza has self published the re-release of Salsa Serenade. Congratulations, Sylvia!

 

 

READ LOCAL booth this week-end- Sylvia Mendoza

Our very own Sylvia Mendoza will be at this event- please drop by and support her and other local authors!
The ENCINITAS STREET FAIR is this coming weekend, April 26-27! It’s so much fun and a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday in San Diego.
 
If you’re in the area, please visit the READ LOCAL San Diego booth on Sunday from 1:30-4:00. I’ll be joining other authors as we sign and talk books.
 
The opportunity to meet and mingle with other local authors of all genres, meet readers and share our writing process sounds like a perfect kind of weekend. To have it in quaint yet eclectic Old Encinitas on Highway 101–one of my favorite communities in San Diego–is the proverbial icing on the cake.
 
I’m proud to be a member of READ LOCAL San Diego. The mission of READ LOCAL is to connect readers with authors in their communities. I just like the fact that we see the power of the written word come alive in a variety of genres; there’s something for every reader. Much like a bouquet of wildflowers, we will each offer the unique beauty of our individual books as part of a bigger collection of art.
 
Hope to see you Sunday!!! 
 
For more info on READ LOCAL, visit http://sandiego.readlocal.org/ 
 
For more info on the 400+ booths and the weekend schedule for music and entertainment, visit: http://www.sandiego.org/events/festivals-and-street-fairs/encinitas-april-street-fair.aspx 

(www.sylviamendoza.wordpress.com).

Tips on Working with a Cover Designer- Janet Tait

 

 

When I was ready to publish my urban fantasy novel, Cast into Darkness, one of the first things I turned my attention to was finding a great cover artist. It’s been said “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, but readers do exactly that. I wanted a cover that would both show the book’s genre and tone and stand out from the crowd.

 

Here’s the process I used to find and work with a top-notch artist.

 

1)      Identify covers in your genre that you love. Pinterest is a great way of keeping pictures of great covers you come across. My Pinterest cover file for fantasy is here: http://www.pinterest.com/jtait06/fantasy-covers-i-love/ Creating a file of covers will give your cover artist a better sense of what will work for you. I focused on books with some genre similarity – urban fantasy and YA urban fantasy with spell-casters. Caveat: some covers that you adore might be based on original artwork or use custom photo shoots. You may not be able to achieve exactly what you want. Understand what is and is not possible for your budget.

2)      Find cover artists whose work you love. Check out their websites, take a look at their portfolio. To find great artists, ask your friends who have published who they used. If you belong to an online writer’s group, such as an RWA online chapter, some have lists of recommended artists. Or you can check out this list at Author E.M.S.: http://www.authorems.com/working-with-freelancers/web-designers-cover-artists/

3)      Decide on your budget. Some artists are rather expensive, and not all of them are worth the money. Others are very cheap, but their covers show that you get what you pay for. For my book, I wanted to use the cover as a sales tool, so I budgeted pretty high for it. Great cover artists can be found at lower price points. I don’t recommend you do your own cover unless you have a strong design background and thorough knowledge of the tools. Cover design is a specific skill much like good logo design, and personally I think it is best left to the experts.

4)      Give your artist a detailed design brief. Include a short synopsis, the genre of the book, it’s mood and tone, and design details like the main character’s description and any other elements you feel are important. Let the artist know what book covers you like (see #1, above). Don’t insist on a cover where every element of the book is represented, as having, say, a sword and a spider and a hat and a red-headed woman on the cover is meaningless without context. Similarly, it isn’t generally necessary to illustrate a specific scene in the book. What you are going for is to give the prospective reader a heads-up on what they are getting when they open the book. A romance should have a couple on the cover, preferably expressing some interest in each other (how much interest may vary with the subgenre). Fantasy should show the fantastic elements of your world – shapeshifters, or vampires, or magic users, for example. And so on.

5)      Include any concepts you have. If you had an idea that, for example, you want a couple kissing on a beach and you want the guy to be shirtless and the lady to be blond, let the artist know.  He may come up with other ideas, but at least he has a starting point.

6)      Don’t expect perfection on a first draft. It rarely happens with design work. Graphic design is usually an interactive process. The designer makes his best guess of what you want, and shows it to you. It’s your job to give him detailed feedback on what you like and don’t like. Each draft after that should be noticeably better. If you find that the artist is not responding to your feedback and you continue to be unhappy with the result, you may want to find another artist. Most reputable artists have a money-back guarantee and will do as many iterations as are necessary to get you a cover that makes you happy. But not all. Check out the terms before you sign on.

7)      When you get a concept you like, have the artist tweak it until you are satisfied. As an example, here’s the earlier versions of my cover and the feedback I gave in response:

  1. First draft:

Image

 

The artist also did another concept, but I felt this one worked much better. I loved the model and the pose, and the spell in her hand, but wasn’t as fond of the background and background color. And as much as I liked the font used for the title, I didn’t think it would show up well on a thumbnail in Amazon. I also wanted to mood – dark, dangerous action – to show better.

 

 

Second Draft:

Image       Image

These versions were close to perfect. It was hard to choose between the blue and the red/gray, but in the end I picked the red/gray, since it had more color contrast. Note the clearer but still lovely title font. I also “test drove” it with a small sample of my core reader group, and the feedback was interesting. They felt that the model looked older than college age. One 20-year old guy called her a “smokin’ hot cougar.” While that gave me a laugh, it also gave me concern. So I went back to the artist for help.

 

Final Draft:

Image

The artist lightened up the face, and altered the model’s expression a touch. At this point I was completely happy with the end result.

This cover was done by damonza.com. They were wonderful to work with, and I feel I got a fabulous cover.

How have you used cover designers, and did you feel you worked well with them? What kind of cover catches your eye and makes you want to buy the book?

 

 

Janet Tait is the author of Cast into Darkness, an urban fantasy novel of magic, romance, double-dealing, and action. It is available on Amazon and other online retailers. You can connect with her at www.janettait.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/janet.tait.author.

Scribophile- Demi Hungerford

I (Heart) Scribophile!

What is Scribophile? I ask most of my fellow RWA-San Diego Chapter members if they have heard of it, and surprisingly few know what I am talking about. In fact the total so far is zero.

I like to say that Scribophile (affectionately known as Scrib to initiates) is like Facebook for writers. Almost. There are two levels of participation, free with lots of limitations, and Premium with unlimited posting of your writing and messages and so on.

The way Scrib works makes it fair for writers of many levels. Once you are a registered member, you maybe join a few of the groups in your genre, and read some of the fun in the forums.

Watch out, the forums can suck your time away worse than Facebook, because it’s all about Writing!

So there you are, registered, and looking at all the posted work: Chapters, novellas, flash fiction, poetry, sometimes even query letters are posted for feedback. You read something, and you write up a critique. There are three choices of critique forms: In line, so you can comment word by word (my favorite), Freeform, and Template, where categories are set out for your comments and input. Also the author may have asked for a special something, like focusing on the pacing or the relationship or so on.

When you decide you have something relevant that will help the writer, you do the critique. Depending on how long a critique you write, you get Karma points. When you have earned 5 karma points (for me, that is about 3 critiques) you may post a chapter or short story as long as it is no more than 3,000 words long.

You will find that most writers who post their work on here want thorough critiquing. They want to know what doesn’t work, when they have misused a word, or when their description of the action is physically impossible. The general belief is that an all-positive critique on a first draft is hardly worth the time put in to it.

On your profile page, usually you will get a thank-you from the writers whose work you critiqued. You can mark some people as your favorites, and get notices when they post new work. You can send private messages to individuals. And you can list links to your web page, your blogs, your books, just about anything goes on that page for you.

When you post your work, you get to choose if it will wait in line for the “spotlight” or go immediately to a personal spotlight. Works that are in the spotlight earn more karma for the critiquers.

Your first work posted will go straight there, but after that you are in the queue with everyone else.  Your work stays in the spotlight until you get a certain number of long critiques. The personal spotlight means that only people who have made you a favorite or are in groups with you can critique the work. So you have to make up your mind which works for you.

Overall, Scribophile is fun, and an awesome place to find critiquing groups. It is not unusual to find someone there whose critiquing you resonate with, and make arrangements to work with them through email. You can create your own group for just your critique buddies. But the real magic is that you can find others going through whatever stage of writing you are in. You can talk with like-minded writers, and you can enter contests for more karma. You can have fun!

I hope to see you there, I don’t use a pen name or handle, but many people do. Do look for meif you join, and let me show you around my favorite on-line writer’s retreat.

Demi Hungerford

http://www.scribophile.com/

 

The Professional Writer- R. Ann Siracusa

THE “PROFESSIONAL” WRITER YOU CAN’T TAKE BACK A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION

While preparing for a class on Professional Image, I wondered if writers have a clear idea of what professionalism means in the field of writing.

We often hear that writers should act like professionals. And we should. But what, exactly, does that entail?

To write this blog, I delved into the subject and, to my dismay, discovered there’s very little out there on what professionalism is. Currently, there are blogs about what authors should and shouldn’t do on the social media, but professionalism goes far beyond that.

And according to Michael K. O’keffe, a well-known and respected business advisor, “First impressions count…and you can’t take back a bad one.”

WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL?Woman reading

Technically, a professional is someone who is engaged in an activity or occupation for compensation as a means of livelihood. The term used to refer to occupations such as doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, military officer, but today it’s significantly expanded to other types of work.

I don’t intend to debate the dictionary or common definitions…I want to articulate what writers should and shouldn’t do to look like, act like, and be “professionals”.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A PROFESSIONAL

The Monster Career Coach writes, “Acting like a professional means doing what it takes to make others think of you as reliable, respectful, and competent. There are, however, quite a few common traits when it comes to being professional…”

On the same subject, Author Simon P. Clark says “Professionalism in this case [being a writer] is as much a way of viewing yourself, your success, and your approach to the book world as it is something you act out. Seeing yourself, and being, professional can make a real difference in what you expect to achieve and how you feel about acting upon those dreams.”

I’ve combined several lists of professional characteristics and added comments about how they apply to writers.

  • Competent The professional knows and exercises the craft and has achieved a high level of skill in not only in writing, punctuation, and grammar, but editing, management, and marketing.

The professional has learned the rules of the writing/publishing industry, and follows them. Writers need to let go of the pretention that writing is an art and doesn’t need rules.

A competent professional produces quality work and pays attention to details. Everything you produce says something about your competence and professionalism. Present polished and finished work. This doesn’t mean you can never make a mistake. It should mean that you catch those mistakes they become “public”.

Do your homework. Be sure you know what you’re talking about before you speak, and qualify the statement when appropriate. Don’t say something is true or desirable just because someone has told you that it is.

  • Reliable The professional can be counted on to deliver on commitments in a timely and competent manner. That means the writer is able to accurately estimate the time it takes to accomplish a task, knows when to say no, and when to negotiate deadlines/other matters.

The professional says no to socializing and other routine activities when there is the need to complete a deadline (outside or self-imposed).

Being punctual (when it applies to a writer) is part of being reliable.

  • Honest The professional tells the truth and is upfront about where things stand, but knows how to deliver the message in the most effective and unhurtful manner.

● Has integrity The professional lives and works within consistent principles, doesn’t gossip or divulge confidential matters (their own or anyone else’s), and acts with integrity. For example, the professional doesn’t try to corner an editor in the restroom and pitch his/her book.

● Respects others The approach of a professional is to sincerely treat all people as though they matter. Respect the opinions of others and let them have their say, whether or not you agree. A professional knows when a debate is appropriate and when it’s not. And they don’t take differences of opinion as personal.

They don’t attack or trash others, particularly editors and reviewers, even if they believe they have good reasons.

The professional not only considers the feelings of others before speaking or acting, but also considers how others not involved will react to what is said or written. You can voice your opinion without being nasty or shooting yourself in the foot.

If you use social media, be cautious and discreet about what you say and how you say it. You are putting your image out there on display for everyone to see.

And for everyone’s sake, turn off your cell phone or set it on vibrate when you’re in meetings or talking to other people. There’s nothing more disrespectful. If, by chance you forget, don’t answer and turn it off.

● Self-Upgrading Professionals don’t rest on their laurels. Rather than letting skills and knowledge become outdated, they seek ways to stay current and learn new things.

Devour training opportunities that will keep skill levels above the competent level and ahead of the curve. Take classes, join professional organizations, teach, try something new, write in a different genre, test your limits, think outside the box. Grow constantly

● Has a positive attitude No one likes a constant pessimist. Many writers are insecure about their work. A professional believe in their product and has an upbeat attitude. Remember, this is a business. Rejections are not personal attacks on you or your writing. There are many reasons for a rejection that have nothing to do with the writer or the quality of writing.

Think positively about the editing process. It improves your work.

Reviews are one person’s opinion. Look for grains of truth in even the worst reviews.

● A problem solver The professional sees the signs of problems before they occur and searches for solutions.

Subroto Bagchi, vice chairman and cofounder of MindTree Ltd. and a columnist for “Forbes India” writes “If communicated proactively to the right person, most problems not only get addressed, but they can also be converted into an opportunity.” But never bring a problem to someone without suggestions for a solution.

● Pragmatic about the business of writing A professional approaches the business of writing with down-to-earth pragmatism. Author Simon P. Clark writes “Was your book rejected? Okay. Move on. It’s a business. Did you get bad feedback from a critique? Work on it. Tone down your ego.”

He also includes in professionalism: “Be courteous and businesslike in letters to editor, agents, publishers, and others.” And “Follow guidelines lines and directions on websites.” [Agents and publishing houses]

● Supportive of others Share the spotlight with colleagues, take time to show others how to do things properly, and lend an ear when necessary. Give a pat on the back to other authors for their achievements.

Professionals share their knowledge with others and don’t “hoard” it hoping that it will give them an extra advantage, or just can’t be bothered with beginners. Others have helped you on your way to professionalism; it’s appropriate to “give back”.

Show that you know it’s not all about you.

● Work focused The professional does not let private life needlessly have an impact on the job [as a writer].

● Reasonable to work with Someone who makes it difficult to do business with is not a professional. If the person is not serving the customer (in the writer’s case, the publisher and the reader), then they are pursuing a hobby, not a profession.

This doesn’t mean you don’t stand your ground when something matters to you or violates your principles, but don’t dig in on everything. And always be courteous and polite.

● A careful listener When others are talking, in a meeting or directly to the writer, pay full attention and hear what is being said. Don’t display bored or uninterested body language, and don’t talk or text during meetings, trainings, and group situations like critique groups.

Another piece of O’keefe’s advice that applies to writers. “A good rule to live by is that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Try and develop a habit of doing twice as much listening as you do talking. Leave all profanity and “street slang” at home.”

  • Dresses appropriately As a professional writer, you can sit at your computer wearing anything you want, including your birthday suit or a three piece business suit. When you’re presenting yourself to others, err on the side of business dress rather than sloppy or too casual. Even if the editors taking pitches look ultra casual, you should dress like writing matters to you and your career is on the line.
  • Pays attention to e-mail etiquette Introduce yourself early in the message and, if the recipient is someone you don’t know well, let the recipient know how you know them.  Also, try your best to keep the message concise and to the point. Put the bottom line (the action needed, the request, the information being conveyed) up front.

At the bottom of your message, always include a signature block with your contact information. Keep the signature block to three or four lines. For writers, this means that no one wants to read a list or see the covers of every book you’ve written. It’s better to have a signature block with your name, author brand and links…and let it go with that.

ACTING LIKE A PROFESSIONAL

The definition of “professional” is the definition. The issue is what behaviors and conduct does “professionalism” encompass? You can be a professional by definition and not conduct yourself as one.

Here are my additions to the list of characteristics, based on my experience as an architect, urban planner, and manager.

  • Make informed and thoughtful decisions I believe this is the key to professionalism. Gather the facts and assess them from all angles before you formulate your opinions and/or make decisions. Then don’t hesitate to carry out those decisions.

Don’t act impulsively or emotionally. Get the facts first.mad woman
● Know the Consequences of your actions and reactions An important part of informed decision making is knowing your business well enough to:

1) Know your options

Example: You get a hateful review on Amazon or a review site. What are your options? First, if you decide to do anything except ignore it, determine if you will deal directly with the individual in a personal communication or if you are going public (social media, etc.) Second, decide if you going to react defensively or you are attacking. Then consider the following.

a) Ignore (don’t acknowledge the review in any way);

b) Thank the person for taking time to read the book and writing the review;

c) Same as b only point out that you regret the reviewer didn’t enjoy the book (and maybe that other reviewers did);

d) Write a mild rebuttal, pointing out where the reviewer is mistaken, misunderstands, or overlooked something;

e) Come out swinging and write a scathing response. For example, Alain de Botton’s comments to fellow author Caleb Crain, who reviewed de Button’s book in the NY Times.

Caleb, you make it sound on your blog that your review is somehow a sane and fair assessment…. In my eyes, and all those who have read it with anything like impartiality, it is a review driven by an almost manic desire to bad-mouth and perversely depreciate anything of value…. I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.”

Ouch!dagger

f) Indulge your hurt and angry feelings and write the letter or comment, put it away for a day or two, re-read, and never send it. I suppose sending it is an option, after it’s been a few days, but an ill-advised one.

2) Know the consequences of those options

Using the same example and options, what is the worst (and best) thing that could happen to you, to the author of the review, and to others, as a result of following up on the various options.

3) Consciously decide the degree of risk you’re willing to take in relation to the consequences.

What are you willing to risk? You may not care what the reviewer thinks, but what about readers? Play it out and be sure you know what your risks are.

● Own Responsibility for you Actions If you make informed decisions, this shouldn’t be a problem, but you own your actions.

● Put your profession first. Whether or not writing is how you support yourself, if you are serious about writing, it should come first. That doesn’t mean if your mother is in the hospital, you should sit at your computer and not be with her. It doesn’t mean you quit your day job or write on your employer’s time and not do the work you’re paid for.

It does mean that if you have a deadline you’ve committed to and your child has soccer practice, you either negotiate the deadline with your editor or you find someone else to take your child to practice. It does mean you’ll have to miss the once-a-year sale at Nordstroms if you have a conflict with your writing commitments and needs.

● Time is of the essence. This isn’t just a cute turn of phrase: it’s a legal term which, in effect, says: the specified time and dates in this agreement are vital and thus, mandatory, and “we mean it.” Therefore, any delay, reasonable or not, slight or not, will be grounds for cancelling the agreement.

As the cliché goes, Time is money. It’s a “professional” necessity as well as a courtesy. If you have three months to do something, schedule it, but don’t wait until the last possible moment, unless you’re forced to. It’s similar to what author and teacher S.L. Stebel says about feeding information to the reader (in a novel) at the right time: “If later is good, now is better.”

If you can get it done earlier than the deadline, do it.

● Know what you are committing to. Be sure when you make a commitment, you’re able and willing to do what’s required to deliver. Don’t commit to something you know you can’t do. If you don’t know what it takes, find out before you agree to take on the task.

Right now it takes me close to a year to write a 100 k novel. I could probably do it in nine or ten months if I made some changes in my life and pushed myself. But I should not agree to eight months, particularly with the expectation that I can always ask for an extension when the time comes. I might need that extension for a real emergency such as serious illness, someone in my family is injured, my house burns down, etc.

You can always indicate that you have to think about it or check your calendar before you answer…and then do some calculating, check your calendar, and get back to the person right away…not a week or a month later.

You can always negotiate at the beginning, particularly if you know you have a conflict scheduled. If you agree to a time frame, but you’ve paid for a cruise with your husband for two weeks out of that time, talk about it. Most of the time, you and your agent/editor/publicist/whomever can work out something reasonable.

● Control your time. Easy to say and hard to do.But as a professional, it is a requirement of the job. Do your best, but constantly work at improving. Most important, don’t procrastinate. There is no excuse for that.

● Always acknowledge the receipt of something someone sends to you. Even if you can’t address it right away, let the person know you received it and, preferably, what to expect will happen, such as you’ll get back to them later.

  • Don’t burn your bridges Telling some off may make you feel better, but it might not be good for your career in the long run. (Go back to consequences of your actions.)
  • Don’t expect special treatment If you’re Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling, you’ll get it anyway. Otherwise, writing and being published doesn’t make you “special”. You’re just another of thousands of people who write and are published. Remember that not everything is about you. You’re part of a business…and a big one.
  • Take pride in doing good work Do good work. Make it the best it can be. Don’t undersell yourself. Not only should you be proud of your work, be proud of being a writer and don’t be shy about publicizing your work.

YOU BE THE JUDGEjudge

Here’s a practical example of a real life situation which is indicative of an author’s professionalism.

Is it professional behavior to request, beg, plead, or otherwise ask for other authors, readers, and friends to vote for your book in an unjuried competition (meaning that the winner is selected by popular vote and not by a panel or jury of experts) or to “like” your book on Facebook, Amazon, or B&N?

Have you ever voted for or “liked” a friend’s book or someone on one of your loops? Did you read the book first? Was it your honest opinion based on an unbiased evaluation of the book, or were you being supportive of another author? Do you believe it doesn’t matter since these are just popularity contests anyway?  

What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear it. Can you think of another such situation when professionalism comes into play?

Resources http://monster.typepad.com/monsterblog/2011/08/10-unprofessional-behaviors-to-avoid.html http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/2013/04/acting-like-a-pro http://ezinearticles.com/?Unprofessional-Behavior-Eventually-Destroys-Completely&id=3530415 http://www.expertbusinessadvice.com/experts/business-consulting-management-expert-business-professional-mike-okeefe.html

http://www.expertbusinessadvice.com/leadership/The-First-Step-to-Being-a-Professional-is-Acting-Like-It-201.html

AUTHOR R. ANN SIRACUSA

 

 

Five Key Strategies for Effective Book Promotion

 By Maria Connor

Maria Connor photo

One of the biggest challenges for authors—whether traditionally or independently published—is book promotion. Effective marketing requires time, knowledge, technical know-how and money, resources which are limited for most authors. Although marketing and promotion may seem daunting, there are strategies that can improve results. Here are five key points for more effective book marketing outcomes.

 

1. Communicate with readers by networking with other authors.

 

Have you ever attended a party and vowed to meet new people, only to hang out with the same circle of friends? Authors do this all the time, especially when blogging. Rather than invite other authors to visit a blog post, ask them to share the announcement on their social media channels. Reciprocate by announcing new releases, blog appearances, contests, etc. for other authors. To really leverage cross-promotion, work with authors who write within your genre.

 

Other ways to communicate with readers are to develop a mailing list for an author e-newsletter, monitoring and responding to comments readers leave on your social media channels, and acknowledging reader reviews.

 

2. Develop consistent branding.

 

Branding is one of those marketing concepts that sounds way more complicated than it really is. Branding is simply who you are as an author. Your brand may include a logo, a tag line, the genre in which you write, specific themes in your stories, etc.

 

It is important to use the same brand identifiers across all of your author platforms (website, Facebook, Twitter, print materials, swag, etc.) so readers can easily identify you from all directions. One example of consistent branding is using the same header or banner on your website, Facebook page and bookmarks.

 

3. Be selective.

 

Believe it or not, there are hundreds of marketing strategies available for authors. That doesn’t mean every author should pursue every promotional tactic. The marketing approach you decide on should be based on your resources (time, money, energy), what you enjoy and are comfortable doing, and what works. Most experts agree, however, that authors should have at least a website or blog, and a Facebook page.

 

4. Cultivate professional credibility. I once met someone who identified herself as a professional journalist, but when I read an article she had written, it had misspelled words, grammatical errors and did not adhere to journalistic style standards. She immediately lost professional credibility.

 

Authors can acquire professional credibility by educating themselves about the publishing industry, learning how to work with the media and communicating clearly, correctly and concisely. Proofread your website, keep the content up-to-date, and double-check information.

 

5. Maintain your inventory.

 

The most important strategy for effective book promotion is to retain the readers you’ve already cultivated and this means consistently providing new product. You must balance your time promoting the current release while writing the next book. Romance readers are notoriously voracious readers so keep them satisfied with well-written stories and engaging characters as frequently as possible.

 

Effective book promotion is not a one-step process. Authors establish a readership and build name recognition through consistent, diligent effort, much like a snowball rolling down hill. Marketing requires creativity, communication and persistence.

 

What book promotion strategies have you found effective? Share your suggestions and experiences!

Maria cover photo

Bio: Maria Connor has worked as a freelance writer, journalist and author in print and digital media for more than 10 years. Her marketing and editing skills include social media management, blogging, search engine optimization, proofreading, copy editing, editorial review, copy writing, book promotion, content creation, digital photography, e-publishing, graphic design, layout and AP style. She has also worked as an administrative support professional, project coordinator, event planner and budget administrator in the medical, academic, publishing and non-profit sectors. A long-time member of RWA, she has been active in the romance fiction community for more than 15 years, volunteering at both the national and local level. Her first completed manuscript finaled in the 2011 Golden Heart contest and was released as Willing to Learn from Boroughs Publishing Group in February 2013. Her next release, What Lies Beneath, will be released from Ellora’s Cave in 2014.

 

You can find Maria at:

Website:  http://www.myauthorconcierge.com/

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/MyAuthorConcierge

Twitter: http://twitter.com/authorconcierge

Website:  http://www.sexysassyromance.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/EmkayConnor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EmKayConnor

 

You can also find Maria Connor presenting at the 2014 RWA National Conference on “I’ll Take Care of That For You: Working with a Virtual Assistant.” Date and time TBA.

Update from RWASD Membership- NEW MEMBERS!

Renewal season is but a distant memory, and RWASD is proud to count 112 members for 2014. Thank you to all our current members for supporting the chapter and our activities. Your dues payments are an important part of chapter income that helps fund our programs and special events.

 

Welcome to our newest members who joined RWASD in 2014:

 

Aubrey Rose has self-published for two years mainly in new adult romance and paranormal. She lives in San Diego and joined RWASD on January. She’s currently working on a short paranormal vampire romance novel, and you can say hello to her at her website www.aubreyrosewrites.com.

 

Tessa McFionn is beginning her first foray in the realm of publishing and joined RWASD on January 27th. She lives in San Diego and has a variety of special interests, including dancing, acting, singing, watching movies, sword play and ancient weaponry.

 

Sirena Andrews joined the chapter on February 28th, and she writes under the pen name Catherine Stuart. She lives in San Diego and will be self-publishing her first novel in May 2014.

 

Nina Cordoba is another long distance member for RWASD and lives in Houston, TX. She attended our February meeting to hear our fantastic speaker, and then joined the chapter a week later (we must have been very impressive!!). She and her husband may move to San Diego, so we hope she does so soon and can take part in more of our great meetings. Visit her website and say hello at www.ninacordoba.com.

 

Donnamaie White lives in San Diego and writes under the pen name Caliente Morgan. She joined RWASD on March 4th, and was a member and past president of the Silicon Valley RWA chapter. She also ran their newsletter, judged contests and helped plan their conference (so when does she ever find the time to write!).

 

Michelle Gable is from Cardiff and joined on March 19th. Her debut novel A PARIS APARTMENT comes out on April 22, 2014 with St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne Books. Though not strictly a romance, she says there is a romantic element. Drop by her website to learn more at www.michellegable.com.

 

RWASD Co-Secretaries Susan Burns and Christine Locksy