Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Random Tips from PNWA 17

PNWA  Conference -- Part 2

I taught a class at the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association Conference, something I've been jonesing to do for years.
The class was called Survival Kit for Your Virgin Year - Tips for First-Time Authors.

Aside from having to speak in a microphone and stand at a podium (which I find terribly impersonal) it went well. OK, my new retainer thing in my mouth kept making me salivate and was distracting, and then there was that time I sneezed and it almost flew out on the stage, but I tried to rattle off as much info as possible in 90 minutes. People stayed and listened. I promised to send them my free KDP Select manual if they emailed me. Many did and I've sent it out to a bunch of new friends.

Here's the gist of what was said at the talk, for those who missed it:

You've written your book. Now what?

For self-pubbed authors...

1.       Cover-- Must catch the eye, be suitable for the genre, look professional, Kindle Cover Creator works too if you can’t spend money on a professional photo from Stock Photos, Dreamstime etc. Standards must be used to upload a photo. Professional cover creators charge from $100 and up, depending on the cost of photos. Find covers you like and email the author, or tweet message to ask who did the cover.

2.       Formatting-- Have it done professionally if you’re not sure.  Follow standards – 12 point, margins etc. At the beginning of your document, be sure to include Title page, Copyright page, Dedication, and anything else you’d like the reader to see before beginning the story. Remember Epages are free. At the end include Acknowledgements, Referral to web pages etc. Some writers put reader guides for bookclubs, some recipes, photos.

3.       Title – Must be catchy and genre appropriate, Use popular keywords in subtitle to aid in visibility, The title must be larger than your name until you have a readership. Font is important to genre.

4.       Content – Make sure you have a catchy beginning and keep the pace snappy. Imagine a contest submission for the first ten pages, then thirty etc. Use beta readers before you publish and listen to their comments, especially if several have the same criticism, Follow advice on how to write a compelling novel. Writing a good strong story without typos and problems is your best defense against fading into obscurity. Use a pro editor if you can afford one.

5.     Keywords and Categories – Amazon Keywords can make or break a novel, Make sure you have the ones that will put your book in front of readers, Learn how to request a unique category to boost sales.

6.     Promo – Free Days on Select, $0.99 Promos, Kindle Matchbook, Kindle Countdown Deals, Online ads, Some promos and sites are better than others for visibility.

FOR ALL AUTHORS--Self-Pubbed or Traditional

7.       Reviews – Must get reviews right out of the gate. Encourage friends and strangers to write you a brief review. Manage the review section of Amazon by engaging readers. (I thank every reviewer but don't comment on bad reviews!)

8.     Social Media – Pick two and do them well. Facebook has a wealth of groups you can join, use for promo, Photos! Make an Author Page and get likes, Pinterest is up and coming with a large female following, Twitter is a great way to spread the word. Follow back. Brand yourself.

9.     Friends – How to use your friends and family to get the word out without looking like a leech. Refer them to a blog on how to write you an honest review. Tell them you have a goal of 20 reviews by Month’s End. Use friends to find appropriate readers, share on Facebook, Give them a free copy to pass on.

1       Stamina – Pace yourself because you’re in this for the long run, Take short social media breaks, Keep writing, Set a 5 year plan with goals to release new books, Write short stories to promote your novels and give you a break from the full length commitment, Have short stories feed into the more expensive novels. Make them perma free, Accept the disappointments as challenges and keep going.

I have a manual on advertising and where to put money to have successful promotions on Amazon KDP Select. The booklet includes over 50 sites for free and cheap ads when you have a promotion and saves the author over 20 hours of searching for ad sites. email me for the manual and I'll send it.

Random tips

Create a great bio on Amazon's Author Central and link everything to social media
Mail Chimp for author newsletters
Don't include last names in acknowledgements or they may not be able to review
Start a group blog like this
Share readers with other similar writers- band together!
Always ask readers to sign up for your newsletter, collect readers like they are gold!
Have a pro author photo taken
I thank all reviewers bad or good to create engagement on Amazon
Ignore Goodreads reviews because their star system is brutal
Take out ads! Promo the heck out of your book like it's the best read since Harry Potter!!!

Email me for the KDP guide at kim hornsby @ yahoo .com (no spaces)

Go Get'em, Virgin!

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