Words of Wisdom

Building an Author Platform

Contributed by Florence Osmund As an aspiring author anxious to get published, you may be tempted to plunge into the profession by first writing a book. That seems logical, but there’s this thing called author platform to consider that can affect your standing as an author, and the best time to start building one is before you start writing. An author platform is a continual plan of action that conveys your expertise and credibility to others and is essential in building a successful writing career. Platform is your visibility so that others know who you are and how to find you and your books.   Think of building a career as an author like building a house. The first thing you need to do is start laying a foundation—a platform for you to sell your book. Just like a house, your writing career needs a solid foundation in order to last long-term. Without it, your career could become shaky or tumble altogether. Some people have built-in platforms—celebrities, politicians, sports figures, wives of celebrities, wives of politicians (I think you get the picture). If you are one of these people, you can stop reading now. But if you’re just an ordinary…

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Coping With Negative Reviews

It’s natural to react when you’re criticized. When you first see a one- or two-star review, you may feel a sinking or burning sensation in your center. You may be hurt and discouraged and blame yourself Oh no—this reviewer thought my book was (dull, unbelievable, too descriptive, depressing, etc.) It must be that bad.” Or you might be hurt and angry and blame the reviewer. How could that person hate my book? It’s had nothing but good reviews until now. They have to be either an idiot or a troll.” The safest response is to step back and make a space for reflection. Get in touch with your core self, the wise part of you that realizes you’re still valuable and whole. I know of an author who panicked over a two-star and recruited friends to write reviews. She got caught. The unreflective reaction backfired. I’ve read blog posts by authors who have argued with reviewers and giving in to this gut reaction also backfired. One even went so far as to stalk a troll who was attacking her. Needless to say, this only increased the author’s suffering. I’ve been an actor and a choreographer, and am currently a professor…

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Promote your published book by blog marketing

1. Host articles in your blog site and keep it active The blog is your content home base. Readers may access your blog post from myriad channels—social media, comment thread, backlinks, search—but they should all end up in a blog site. Don’t host your articles in external sites—for example, Tumblr, LinkedIn, or Facebook—because you don’t own these platforms, and you can lose your materials once these sites fold up or close your account. Instead, register your own domain and have it hosted on a paid server. There are three critical advantages for this: What about free blog platforms? They’re good at increasing your audience reach, but, again, you don’t own the site so you risk losing everything one day. Instead, use these third-party sites as complementary platforms—for instance, posting a synopsis or shorthand version of the full-text article in your blog. Same thing with your social media pages: post teasers, tweets, and backlinks in these channels to drive traffic to your blog. 2. Talk about topics, not your book Learn from content marketing experts: HubSpot and Content Marketing Institute are two top experts in inbound marketing (getting traffic from content instead of ads). When you check their websites, they talk…

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The benefits of the B.R.A.G. Medallion and being a part of the indieBRAG Family

The benefits of the B.R.A.G. Medallion and being a part of the indieBRAG Family 2016 As anyone who has had their book honored with the B.R.A.G. Medallion knows, it is a very challenging but worthwhile experience! Obviously, we hope having the B.R.A.G. Medallion on your book will bring it to the attention of a broader group of potential readers. But there is a great deal more that you can and should do to beyond just having the Medallion on your book. Here are some suggestions that will help us help you benefit from achieving this industry-wide, recognized standard of quality. We encourage you to take advantage of what we offer and to be generous in sharing your experiences and knowledge with other indieBRAG authors Be sure to tell everyone about your B.R.A.G. Medallion – The more recognizable the Medallion becomes as an indication that a book is worth a reader’s time and money, the more it benefits everyone. “One for all, all for one”! Encourage others to come to www.bragmedallion.com to find books that might interest them. We do not sell or distribute books, and we get very little financially when purchasers click through to amazon.com or the like to buy…

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How 6 Writers Found Bliss in the Destruction of a City

Nothing that begins with champagne can ever be dreary. That is how A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii began—with Stephanie Dray, Kate Quinn and me toasting the release of one of Kate’s marvelous novels. We three have a longstanding tradition of hanging out on release days, primarily to keep whichever of us has a book launching from relentlessly checking Amazon rankings or curling up in a fetal position (if you’ve never released a book, believe me it is as terrifying as it is gratifying). All sorts of things get discussed at these luncheons—including the types of plot points that seem perfectly normal to historical novelists, but send waiters scurrying away concerned. On that particular day, however, our history obsessed brains turned not to poison or regicide but to doing something creative together. Specifically to continuities—collections of short stories that each stand-alone but also interlink to form a larger novel—which were increasingly popular in historical romance, but hadn’t made the leap to straight historical fiction yet. Maybe it was all the bubbles, but we were determined to change that. Writing is generally a solo effort, and it can be lonely. So when you have a chance to work with…

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The Texas Book Festival: An indie author’s report

Anna Castle Author of the B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree Murder By Misrule (The Francis Bacon Mystery Series), shares here experinces at the Texas Book Festival Two Texas chapters of Sisters in Crime teamed up this October to host a booth at the Texas Book Festival on the State Capitol Grounds in Austin. Eight authors participated -- Traci Andrighetti, Alexandra Burt, Martha Carr, Anna Castle, N.M. (Noreen) Cedeño, Janet Christian, Helen Currie Foster, and Melissa Lenhardt -- a mix of indies and traditionally published. We took turns staffing the booth in two-hour shifts, but displayed our collective works throughout the weekend. The weather was gorgeous, the turnout was terrific, and we all had a great time. The book festival was first launched by Laura Bush in 1995. It has become one of the major literary events in the country, showcasing some 250 authors and attracting 40,000 book lovers. Most of them come for the fun of strolling around the capitol grounds enjoying street food, cooking demonstrations, live music, jugglers, the children’s story tent, and presentations by a wide range of authors. The streets are lined with big tents sheltering booths offering books for sale, alongside nearly every book-related organization in the state. We wanted Sisters in…

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GET A BOOK READING, MAKE AN EVENT!

Lorraine Wilke Author of 2 B.R.A.G.Medallion Honorees- shares some great advice on making your book reading an event! One of the most tangible, satisfying ways for writers to connect with their reading public is with a book reading, that vaunted affair every author pictures at some point during the creative process! But as many self-published authors can testify, the logistics of getting one scheduled can be challenging, with results that are sometimes less than auspicious. Certainly every venue comes with its quirks and marketing can be a bear, but there are effective ways to ensure that your reading becomes a win/win endeavor. First: how to actually get one on the books: Pay for it. Yep, some bookstores not only charge to stock your book (commonly called “consignment programs”), but to schedule readings as well. Which means any author with a checkbook can get books on shelves and readings on the calendar without much effort. Reading fees can get as high at $250-$300, (which can be daunting for the average indie author), but if the store has a high enough profile to garner you real attention, it may be well worth the investment. Check the policies of local bookstores to see…

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Overcoming the Terror of Speaking by Alison Morton

Alison Morton is the author of the Roma Nova thriller series – all B.R.A.G. Medallion honorees! Her latest is AURELIA featuring a new heroine pursuing silver smugglers in the late 1960s. It’s the day. You have a mass of faces in front of you. You are alone in the arena and the lions are pacing back and forth, tongues salivating. The be-tunicked and be-toga-ed are watching, a smile on their lips, ready to be entertained, but their thumbs are ready… No, this isn’t Ancient Rome, although it may feel like it as you stand there, notes in trembling hand, praying that the PowerPoint will work and that nobody will laugh or boo. An exaggeration, perhaps, but speakers today at events are expected to be as entertaining and as quick on their feet as ancient gladiators. Sometimes people who are expert in their field are not happy to speak to an audience. This is a shame as they may the very people we’d like to hear from. Now, I like standing up in front of people, but that’s not enough. I still agonise about whether I have too much or too little material or if I’m pitching it at the right…

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Book Giveaways – Do They Make Any Sense? By Florence Osmund

You want me to do what? Offer my book for free? Just give it away? I would never do that. I put too much work into writing it and spent a small fortune on editing, cover design, and formatting. And what would people think—that I put such little value on my book that I’m willing to give it away? Nope. Not me. That was some of my earlier thinking. I’ve since changed my attitude. Let me explain how giving away books makes good business sense. KDP Select My experience with book giveaways is with Amazon’s KDP Select program for Kindle e-books. When you enroll your book in KDP Select, you have access to certain promotional tools including free book promotions where you are allowed to price your book for "free" for up to five days during each 90-day enrollment period. The book then also qualifies for Kindle Unlimited (an e-book subscription service) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. The main caveat is that as long as your e-book is enrolled in the program, it is exclusive to the Kindle Store—you agree not to sell it from any other venue. I personally don’t have a problem with that, but some people…

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Attention Mainstream & Indie Authors

Some Lessons to Learn About Self-Publishing There is no question that the poor quality of the vast majority of self-published books has tainted the well and made all self-published books the target of criticism. We all wish that weren’t the case; however, the good news is that many in mainstream publishing have begun to notice that there are a small but growing number of self-published books that deserve attention. They are in every way as good as traditionally published books and many are better. Evidence of this was provided in the awards ceremony at the recent 2015 Historical Novel Society Conference, where three awards were presented: I think this proves two things: First, the best of indie books are competitive to mainstream published books. And second, indieBRAG is finding and supporting great self-published books. In conclusion, it is YOUR job as a self-published author to do the work to make your book the best that it can be. If you do, it is OUR job to do everything we can to shine a light on you and your book.  

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