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Lessons Learned #OpenBook Blog Hop   Leave a comment

December 23, 2019 How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I started a list of everything that changed about my writing after publishing my first book, and realized this p…

Source: Lessons Learned #OpenBook Blog Hop

Posted December 23, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in #openbook

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Maybe your next series?   Leave a comment

Someone is Binge Reading my series. Maybe you should too. Transformation Project Books 1-5 available on Kindle Unlimited. https://www.amazon.com/Life-Knew-Transformation-Project-Book-ebook/dp/B00UY6MKHG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=lela+markham&qid=1576888511&s=books&sr=1-1

Market Magic   8 comments

What’s the best way to market your books?

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If I Knew That, I’d Sell More Books

Seriously, I think there’s a magical formula … or maybe a novel fairy … that chooses who will be blessed among all indie authors to be “discovered”. For the rest of us, there’s just a lot of hard work and vagaries that work for some and not for others, and works some times and then not at all the next time.

Meanwhile, the advice is contradictory. Go to five book marketing blogs and you will find five different answers to that question. Some will say, “working with book bloggers” is one of the most effective ways to get the word out about your books. Yes, book reviews and interviews are essential to promoting an indie book. Blog tours can really help to get attention from a wide audience.

According to Penguin Random House:

Online exposure is the main benefit of using a blog tour to promote your book. It hits a different audience than, say, an NPR interview or local newspaper review. Sure, an unbiased review from a huge publication is fantastic publicity, but what the fans are saying can have a similar impact.”

Others will tell you to write guest blogs, a dedicated piece to be published on someone else’s site. It gets your name out there, drives traffic back to your website, and helps you build anticipation for your book. So “they” say.

Does it work? Sometimes. I’ve seen bumps in blog traffic when I write a guest post. Have I sold more books? Not really. Sometimes and not others. Why? I have no idea. And there in is the problem. I am not psychic and I just don’t know why a strategy works today and doesn’t work tomorrow. Maybe I need to invest in fairy dust.

How About Bonus Material?

Standard bookish merchandise ( otherwise known as ‘swag’), such as bookmarks, are often touted as excellent and relatively cheap promotional tool for indie authors. I know more than a few indie authors who have stuff to give away because they fell for this marketing ploy. It’s mining the miners. It’s a way to get indie authors to spend money they probably don’t have to try and sell books that probably won’t sell … that way. Always pause and ask yourself – am I being mined? Would I buy a book because the author gave me a free coffee cup? Yeah, maybe if the author was face-to-face with me to make me feel guilty, but through the Internet? If the answer is “No, I wouldn’t”, then the answer is “I’m being mined.” Formulate your own conclusions from there.

There are other “bonus materials” that might work better.

Related stories

I’ve written short stories for an annual anthology with an agorist/libertarian bent. Does it drive purchasers to my novels? Yeah, it appears to do so because I write books that appeal to agorist/libertarian/anarchists. I’ll usually see a bump in sales a week or so after they publish. I say “usually” because the bump was real weak once. Was that because I wrote a bad short? I don’t know. Where’s that fairy dust?

Although I haven’t done so yet, many authors offer a short or prequel for free as a reward for signing up for their newsletter, or as a bonus item for a book purchase. I’m developing a YA/NA book series that will have a prequel available for free on my website, if you sign up for my newsletter. We’ll see if it works.

Book club kits

That YA/NA series is a departure from my usual audience, so I plan to create a set of questions and discussion points that readers can use to talk about my books in a book club setting. I’ll make the list available on my blog. I’m told by friends this is an effective way to attract readers. Do I know it works? No, but it’s something that doesn’t cost me money that is worth a try.

Team Up With Other Creatives?

We creative types have to stick together, don’t we?! That’s what this blog hop is all about, right?

Doing the research for this post, I discovered a few creative collaborations I hadn’t thought of.

Bookstagrammers

I’m not on Instagram and I really don’t want to be, but I probably need to overcome my reluctance because many bookstagrammers are also reviewers, so sending out a free copy of my book(s) for some gorgeous promotional shots could kill two birds with one stone if they publish a review as well.

Podcasters

I had a great interview with a podcaster about two years ago, and there did seem to be a bump in my book sales for a while, but I’d rather write books than talk about them. Still, if you don’t flinch in horror at seeing yourself on the screen, do some research, reach out to podcasters and see what you can arrange.

Saturate Social Media?

That’s a lot of work. Before my books started paying for themselves, it was really my only choice because I couldn’t justify the financial outlay of most other options. I still post to my blog, Facebook (come join some of my liberty conversations), Twitter and MeWe, but I spend less time there than I used to and it’s likely I’ll spend less time there next year too. It’s hard to be heard on Social Media, so it’s a lot of effort for a little bit of return. It’s “free”, but man, what a time-suck!

I also think that it is counterproductive to keep waving a sign that says “Buy my books.” It’s annoying and I tune out that posts myself. Which is why I started the liberty conversations because libertarian/anarchist/voluntaryist topics (and the allergic reaction statists have to them) fascinate me and sometimes there will be a bump in sales or readership after a good one.

Become a ‘book fairy’

Okay, I’m not talking fairy dust here. Have you heard of Emma Watson’s ‘Book Fairies’ project? The Harry Potter actress began an international book-sharing movement, which involves leaving free books in public places for people to find and take home. The finder is encouraged to pay it forward by leaving the book for someone else to find once they’ve finished reading it. It’s not exactly a new idea. Something like this has existed in the Fairbanks community for as far back as I can remember. Go to any laundromat in this town and you’ll find a few dog-eared “left” books, some of them with handwritten notes inside say “Take This Book and Enjoy It.”. It’s a good idea that should go viral.

There are people participating in the Book Fairies project all around the world or with similar initiatives like Melbourne’s Books on the Rail. It’s a great way to do a good deed and promote more reading in the world – but have you ever thought of using it for promoting your own book?

I haven’t tried this yet, but there’s a fine madness in the thought of leaving copies of my books in public places for people to discover. Why haven’t I tried it yet? Why do I think it’s a little mad. It involves a cost outlay for me to essentially giving away several physical copies of one of my books for free. Would it work to drive traffic to my other books? I don’t know – which is why I’ve not tried it – yet.

Advertising

My father-in-law, an experienced businessman, will tell you “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” He’s right. Just make sure you spend money on things that make money. Advertising helps. I’ve tried Facebook ads and, yeah, I sold some books. I’ve tried the book advertising sites. Sometimes I’ve seen some sales conversions. I’ve tried Amazon ads recently. So far I’ve spent about as much money as I’ve made, but I’m not bidding very high and I just started, so I haven’t got enough data to be sure it’s working. Ask me in three months.

Write the Next Book

Honestly, I think the best marketing technique I possess is writing the next book. My readership goes up with each book I write in the Transformation Project series. I can now see that on KDPs KENP Reads. People appear to be binge reading the entire series. The best thing about that is it doesn’t require me to put on pants to set up a book signing at Barnes & Noble. I’m doing what I would be doing anyway and so, it is essentially free and not a time-suck. My self-imposed Transformation Project break since the publication of Gathering In is now officially over, so get ready for Winter’s Reckoning next year. And, possibly that YA/NA in Spring 2020 IF the betas think it’s ready to go to the editor.

So, I don’t know what the “best way” to market books is. Book marketing is a lot like playing Pin the Tale on the Donkey. There’s several ways and they work to varying degrees at times not necessarily of my choosing. Good luck and if you have any tips ….

Posted November 25, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Can You Imagine?   1 comment

Image result for image anchorage quake 2018

Today is the launch of Gathering In (Book 5 of Transformation Project series).

I’ve put my characters through a lot (terrorist attacks, radioactive rain, an air-handling system failure, a corn-field fire, confiscation of crops by the USDA) and they’re going to lose big in this latest book. Such is life for characters in an apocalyptic novel series.

Have you ever thought about how food gets to your local grocery store? How would it get there if the major transportation hubs were destroyed and rendered no-go zones?

Have you ever thought about where antibiotics come from and whether those avenues would be available in an apocalyptic situation? What about heart medications? Antidepressants? You name it. It’s unlikely it was made within a few miles of your home. So what do you do if the apocalypse happens? What can you do?

I live in Alaska, where everything comes through the Port of Anchorage. In fact, Anchorage International Airport is the second-busiest cargo airport in the United States. Last year Anchorage was hit by a 7.1 quake (which is NOTHING compared to the Anchorage Quake of 1964 – 9.2 or the Denali Quake of 2002 – 7.9) and roadways collapsed all over town. The airport was closed for a few hours. The railroad was offline for about 24 hours. The main road between Anchorage and Fairbanks was fine, but there are three “structurally deficient” bridges between here and there, so maybe it might not have been. So imagine what happens here if the Port or the airport are rendered unusable? Starvation, people without meds, no heating fuel which is a disaster if it’s winter.

I have to imagine that because I live at the end of a tenuous supply chain in a place where certain kinds of natural disasters are expected. We build for those disasters, but even then … roads collapsed all over Anchorage.

You should imagine it for wherever you live because the time for these thoughts is not after the damage has been done. It’s too late to do anything about it then.

Posted October 22, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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“Gathering In” Excerpt #3   1 comment

They’d been told to expect a friendly village, an increasingly elusive concept in the Mirage these days, so they’d all opted to carry for their own safety. A young boy of about ten met them at the town entrance and jabbered away in a patois mixture of the local dialect, the Miragan central tongue and English. Although it seemed impossible for foreigners to master Miragan, Shane’s grasp of Arabic and the months spent with Sera meant he understood enough of the boy’s chatter that they could at least communicate rudimentarily.

“What’s he saying?” Commander Roth asked Shane.

“The levees came through about a week ago, but they haven’t been back. They took his older brother despite being younger than draft age. They took his father last year. He’s hoping for some food aid as he’s feeding three younger siblings by himself.”

“Do you believe that?” Logan demanded.

I do. Take a look. You see any adult males around here?”

“Not on the ground, but I’ll bet there’s plenty squirreled away in the attics.”

“Where’s the headman’s hut?” Roth asked.

The boy seemed eager to cooperate and they moved deeper into the village’s narrow lanes, leaving squads behind as they went, until only Mike, Killgore, Roth and Shane continued. One moment it seemed friendly, and the next an icy finger ran down Shane’s back. He turned his head toward the left to see the barely perceived danger. A woman in a dark cotton hijab materialized in a doorway. Shane opened his mouth to call a warning and several shots to his chest slammed him back into a stone wall.

#NewRelease #Launch   1 comment

Posted October 22, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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It Works for Me   9 comments

What is your preferred method of writing? (By hand, on a computer, dictate it?)

Rules:1. Link your blog to this hop.

2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.

3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.

4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.

5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I do what works for me

Well, I can start by saying my least favorite method of writing is dictation. There is something about hearing my voice without a response by another human that just feels bogus. It might have something to do with my characters telling me their stories in their own voices. I “hear” Shane’s voice as deep and lush while his brother Cai is a bit higher. When I go to dictate it, it doesn’t sound like their voices and so I feel like I’m making stuff up.

When I first started writing, computers required an air craft hangar to house them, so of course, I wrote long hand because there really wasn’t another way to do it. My stepfather gave me my first typewriter when I was in high school. Still there are some forms of writing that I still prefer to do long-hand. I keep a journal that is spiral bound steno pads, for example. I write poetry very rarely and very badly and I do it long-hand almost every time. Some of my more poetic narratives have started out long-land. I also carry a notebook with me when I am out-of-doors, so that I can jot thoughts down when the mood strikes me. I enjoy writing long-hand. It feels more hands-on and creative.

I trained to be a professional writer – a journalist — and journalists have, for about a century, been taught copy-writing on typewriters. So early in my career I learned to compose writing raw using my 10 fingers. To me, that feels like I’m working and, as I am a professional author now, I use the method that makes me feel like a professional.

Practical Choice

Pragmatically, it’s a huge waste of time to write narrative long-hand and then transcribe it to the computer. When I was a reporter, I would take some minimal notes and then type the article raw on a typewriter. Personal computers were just coming into the newsroom when I bailed for a job that paid actual money. But the habit of mostly writing by typing had already taken hold of me. It’s efficient. It eliminates a step. It makes editing quicker and easier. It saves paper, which saves money. I can send it to other people without having to make a copy of it. It gets around my legible, but not very pretty handwriting. It is much faster since this former transcriptionist can type way faster than I can think, so typing on a computer doesn’t slow me down at all. For a whole lot of practical reasons, typing into the computer is my preferred method — unless I am writing something where the creative juices don’t want to flow that way, and then I do long-hand — rarely these days.

Posted October 14, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Inside My Mind

Words from my brain

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Sprinkling wonder into writing

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A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish

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A New Dimension to Explore!! Love for books and series is all we need. Life can be lonely without books. All I love is books, series, and talking about serious causes like bodyshaming. Do join me if you love to live your life to the fullest

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