Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Facebook Author Pages

I’ve mentioned in this series of posts that I’ve been attending workshops, reading books, and finding articles about using social media outlets as an author. “Marketing R Us” should be emblazoned on any work about becoming a writer.

Don’t like it? That’s kinda too bad. ‘Cause this is the reality for a professional writer. And that’s you, right? Professional writers do what they must in the craft and business parts of the professional writer’s life.

One aspect that I’m paying more attention to after one such workshop, is my Facebook Author Pages. That’s right. Pages. When you write more than one genre, you need an identity for each, even the as-yet unpublished ones. I subscribe to Christina Katz’s perspective, Get Known Before the Book Deal.

That book was the first book I read on marketing. The year was 2010. She convinced me since I wasn’t known and had no book deals yet. Since then, I’ve published with two traditional, if small, presses and will publish with a third this fall. I’m a believer.

Back to Facebook Author Pages, I didn’t have all four at first. In fact, number four, Caroline Adams Writer, was added this summer. I think by next summer, I may add number five, Olivia Lucas, who writes women’s fiction.

By the way, I’d love it if you’d follow me on all four! Links below. Is that a cheeky ask, or what? Just click on a name to go to the Facebook author page.

So what do they all write, in the order I created the pages, and what do I post for each of them every day? As a side note, the postings I suggest here also work for Twitter! Get a two-fer by posting the same content both places.

Sharon Arthur Moore-Author writes cozy culinary mysteries. Her first book, now unavailable, was MISSION IMPASTABLE. The book will be re-issued from a different publisher as PASTABILITIES this fall. The “Murders with Taste” series is planned as a six-book series with recipes that mostly reflect the titles. A second culinary mystery series (in the planning stages) will be set in Alaska.

She belongs to several affinity groups on FB related to mystery writing and to cooking. On her FB page, she posts recipes, mystery book links, food holidays, and cooking tools and facts. She is also starting a newsletter she is trying to get subscribers for.

Angelica French writes about relationships: romantic, familial, friendship, and business. She is all about communication and empathy. Her first book is an erotic romance (180 degrees from culinary mysteries, thus the need for a pen name. STREETWALKER is a story of trust and redemption.

She belongs to several Facebook affinity groups for romance writers. On Angelica’s FB page, I post links to books I get from other Facebook groups, articles I find online, and links to articles about popular culture.

River Glynn-Author has a bit of an identity crisis. She is, as yet, unpublished, but she’s written a novel with a ghost story and has written a full-length play with a “ghost” in it. She also likes science and science fiction and has some books outlined for topics like the Voynich Document and a future dystopian society. River is also a high fantasy fan and would love to do a fantasy series with paranormal elements.

She belongs to some FB paranormal groups and also follows a lot of them as well as science folks on Twitter.
She posts science events (past and present), weird holidays, links to paranormal, scifi, and fantasy books, links to articles about science facts and paranormal tales.

Caroline Adams Writer is my newest persona. She writes historical fiction and Intrepid Women biographies for middle grade readers. She has an historical fiction romance, LUCINDA, that is as-yet unpublished, though there has been some interest in her work from agents and editors at conferences. She wants to write about a Singuan woman she thinks was one of her previous incarnations. She also has plans for a Viking-settlement historical fiction novel. She is fascinated by many eras in history. Too many? Possibly.  

Caroline belongs to historical fiction affinity groups on FB. I post for her links to historical fiction books, archaeology finds, articles about historical eras, and historical trivia facts.

See, it’s easy to find stuff to post for your FB author page and Twitter. Just keep the focus for your persona.

FACEBOOK: Authors, do you struggle with what content to post on your FB author page or Twitter beyond links to buy your books? Struggle no more with these suggestions that will help. http://bit.ly/2EjWU6b

TWITTER: #Authors sometime struggle with what to post on Facebook and Twitter that isn’t just links to their own books. Try some of these ideas from @Good2Tweat. http://bit.ly/2EjWU6b

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

10 Tips to Build Your E-Mail List

BookBaby says your number one marketing goal is to build your email list.

If you’re an author, and not just an indie one, you know the mantra about the need to have a mail list. This is a tidy way to contact your followers, and most of us don’t spam readers with multiple e-mails in a month. And we NEVER sell or share our lists. Readers have an expectation of our professionalism when handling private information and taking their valuable time. We honor that.

In fact, quite the opposite of too many emails, lots of authors start a monthly newsletter and after a while it ends up being “periodic”. There’s just so darn much to do as an author and we have the same 24 hours the rest of the world has. But somehow it seems we’re supposed to fill all 26 of them.

Being able to get in touch quickly and easily with a large number of people is important to authors. So, I buy books on social media presence and attend workshop sessions in an effort to learn how to build a list organically. I might be able to buy email addresses, but really??? I want fans and followers, not bots.

So, one very important tip I’ve picked up is to have sign-up buttons everywhere. Now, have I done that, yet? Umm. No. But I’m working on it. Give me a break. I’m still figuring out MailChimp!

So on MailChimp, I can get a url that I can attach to social media sites I have (website, Facebook, Twitter, et al.) so that folks just click and they are added to my email subscribers list. So, I’ll figure that out and do it.

The other important piece, however, and this is the hard part, is how do folks know you exist with this amazing content?

One of the most interesting ways I’ve found is from Jeff Goins (whom I subscribe to for marketing tips. Contact him at jeffATjeffgoinswriterDOTcom) and an interview with a guy who went from 0 subscribers to tens of thousands. In a short time. With almost no effort.

Did that get my attention? Oh, yeah!

His guest interviewee, Benjamin Hardy took blog posts that had lots of hits and posted them on medium.com. He was discovered there. And with the url button available he got thousands and thousands and thousands of people following him on his website and blog.

Let me repeat. He took content he already produced and re-posted it. And sometimes, he tweaked it a bit and re-posted it again. He has a huge following on medium.com now.

Of course, I did it, too. I have not been discovered. Yet. By the same token, Ben said he wasn’t discovered immediately. He kept posting. Once one post hit big, he grew incrementally. And, I have only put up a few posts. My new marketing plan includes posting once a week at medium.com. Easy peasy since the posts are done. A past post that has 500 to 1000 page views should attract attention on medium.com, too.

What are some other tips on building an e-mail list that I’ve garnered?

1)   Put a link at the back of your book for readers to follow and click to be subscribed.
2)   Good content in a newsletter gets shared and your name gets out.
Keep your content relevant, not overselling your books, and keep it interesting. Word will spread. In fact, ask people to share your newsletter with others.
3)   Offer something of value when someone subscribes and require e-mail to get it.
(I am creating a PDF of recipes for one mail list. Another blog post is coming on this one.)
4)   An informative blog is the most common way to grow an e-mail list since people liking your content will often subscribe and tell others about you.
5)   Put an e-mail opt-in form on your website.
6)   Seek guest blogging opportunities and let people know they can be on your list.
7)   Encourage people to forward your newsletter so others will read it and subscribe.
8)   Vlog and give your address for e-mail opt-in to get more content.
9)   Create a closed section on your site that can only be accessed by members who gave an e-mail address.
10)  Collect e-mail addresses at events like book signings.

Facebook: Need tips on building your e-mail list? Here are ten ideas Sharon Arthur Moore culled to share. http://bit.ly/2BCJrkz

Twitter: 10 tips for #writers for building an e-mail list from @Good2Tweat http://bit.ly/2BCJrkz

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Professional Development for the Professional Writer

I attended another workshop on marketing and promotion last Saturday run by Holly Roberts, USA Today Best Seller author. We can never get enough of this stuff, right?

In the fall, I attended one at our local Historical Novel Society meeting. I paid nothing for this one and gained a purse full of gold from Marylee McDonald’s stellar presentation.

I buy books on marketing and promotion. I read articles on marketing and promotion. I take classes when I can. Since this is not an area I feel confident in, I seek the information from knowledgeable others. As a professional writer, I have a responsibility to keep learning and growing. It’s my career, so I must assume the bulk of the responsibility for my success while being grateful for support from my publishers.

Every source says first write a good book. Well, I try. I do the best I can, but when I compare myself to Louise Penny, Jaqueline Winspear, Diane Mott Davidson, and others, I can see that my writing is not at that level. Yet. But I’m working on it. Honest.

However, the marketing thing can take over your life. At last Saturday’s Holly Roberts’ workshop, I learned so much about how to create a compelling ad, what I need to do on Facebook, and more. With four Facebook author pages, I need to up my game and post more content on each.


To figure out, maybe, how to be more efficient while being more effective with marketing and promotion, I am “attending” a Facebook group’s marketing strategies week-long focus beginning next week. For free! Maybe this one will be the magic bullet. Care to join me? Check out the 12-Minute Book Launch Challenge for yourself. 

I’ll be writing a limited series of what I’m learning/have learned about marketing and promotion. Come back next week for tips on building your mailing list and how to use it.

What are you doing that’s been effective for marketing your books without sucking up your whole life? Please share below.

Facebook: Are you struggling with the book marketing energy-time drain, too? Commiserate with Sharon Arthur Moore at http://bit.ly/2F6ntIO

Twitter: Are you struggling with the book marketing energy-time drain, too? Commiserate with @Good2Tweat at http://bit.ly/2F6ntIO

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Professional Writer Makes Money

Well, that’s the idea, isn’t it? We write these tomes, and we would like to be paid a working wage. In fact, many of us don’t consider ourselves “professional writers” until we’ve pulled down some royalties.

But the odds of making a living from writing are slim. And there is no one to petition to raise our minimum wage. Marketplace purchases decide your royalties.

Here are some facts I gathered from online research of surveys and polls about writers’ incomes.

One in ten authors can make a living from their writing without a supporting, secondary job.

The typical writer earns less than minimum wage.

17% of authors earn $0 a year despite 98% of them having something recently published.

5% of authors earn 42.3% of all writing income. That’s 95% of us sharing the remainder. Talk about the haves and the have nots.

Women writers earn 80% of what male writers earn.

77% of indie authors made $1000 a year.

1.3% of traditionally published authors earned $100,000 a year. But only 0.07% of indie published authors earned that amount.

Oh, there are more of these discouraging stats, but why go on. Your writing is almost certainly not going to support you. If it does, well, bully for you. For the rest of us, we’d better have a back-up plan.

These stats are the reason that fewer presses give advances to new authors. Most new authors don’t earn out the advance in future royalties. The publishers gave more generously in the past because the expectation of future books was that over time the money for the advance on the first book would be recovered by the publisher.

So what do writers turn to for earning a living wage while waiting to get into the 1.3% who do succeed financially?

The majority of writers I know have a job unrelated to writing. But the mortgage gets paid and the kids have milk to drink. In their “spare time” they crank out their books and indie or traditionally publish them. The dribbling royalties justify their identity as professional writer. I tell folks rude enough to ask what I earn that my royalties are in the hundreds not the tens of thousands.

A very large number of my professional writing friends supplement royalties by providing editing services for other writers. These are professionals who are using their talents with others’ words. That service is almost certainly going to return more than royalties. So some authors are able to quit their day jobs and focus on their own writing and ancillary writing, keeping, thus, to the same field.

A smaller number of professional writers I know of supplement royalties by offering other services and/or teaching on-line and in-person classes. I’m hoping to be in the latter category.

I was an educator for thirty-nine years. Even as an administrator, I taught whenever I had the opportunity. It’s in my blood. Therefore, teaching writing classes, for me, is not just about being a professional writer who is paid for her expertise (if not her writing), but it gives me pleasure to be part of another’s understanding of complex materials.

I have approached Writer University with a couple of ideas. Writer University is not just any on-line writing classes group. It began in 2005 when Mary Buckham and Laurie Schnebley Campbell connected over their desire to create quality, affordable on-line classes for writers. They have expanded course offerings and instructors over the years, but the quality remains at the same high level they always envisioned.

The classes are in the categories of business/craft classes, basics, master classes, super classes, and private classes. The topics range from plotting to writing synopses to working on the first draft to so much more. The classes are two- or four-week experiences. And the price is right! Most classes are as low as $35 for four weeks of instruction and targeted homework. These are some of the best classes I have ever taken for any price.

I would love to teach classes for this group. So, wish me luck as I plan and try out a course or two. I’ll be looking for a few hardy folks who want to take the class to help me refine it before making it a general offering. Are you one of them?

Please spread the word about this post. Thanks so much!

Facebook: Can you earn a living from royalties as an author? Well, maybe, but it’s not likely. So how do writers make money? http://bit.ly/2EKYWZI

Twitter: #Writers, tired of trying to live off paltry royalties? There are other ways to use your writing expertise and get paid for it. http://bit.ly/2EKYWZI

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

5 Strategies to Build Better Writing Habits

You’d think aligned writing goals and priorities would be a given for a professional writer, but that ain’t necessarily so.

[Hand up] I’m one who struggles with the alignment, and you may be, too. Even though I know accomplishing writing goals is integrally tied to priorities I set for writing, it’s more difficult to do than to say.

Okay, so I know morning is my best writing time. I know I need to stay off social media/e-mail until I get my writing done. But . . . What if one of my children sent me an e-mail? What if my publisher is doing an impromptu interview with a fellow author? Do I want to miss those? Uh, no.

But will the world end if I do miss them? Uh, no.

Jeff Goins says that’s one of the problems. We are trying to align goals and priorities, when, in reality, we need to align habits and priorities. Habits are what gets the job done, not lofty goals you post on a list in your workstation.

Jeff Goins, whose e-mail list I subscribe to, says you need to set habits, not goals to accomplish what you want. Goals are too easily put off, delayed, excused. But by selecting the right habits, the goals will fall into place.

However, we all know from trying to break a bad habit or trying to implement a new regime that habit-forming behaviors are as difficult to create as it is to break old destructive habits. It can take 30-60 days to break a habit. It also takes about 60 days to form a new habit. So, you’re right. This is hard stuff to do. You have to ask yourself, how much do you want the habit gone or the habit developed.

On Terry Gross’ NPR program, Fresh Air, her guest, Charles Duhigg, shared how habits form and how to break them. He says habit formation is a three-part loop process.

In the first part, there’s a trigger cueing the behavior to begin. Then the habit starts, the behavior, and finally, there’s the reward for doing something your brain likes and wants you to repeat.

The best way to begin a new habit, Duhigg says, is to start on vacation or someplace not your usual venue so that the cueing trigger for the old behavior isn’t there. He also says that understanding the structure of habitual behaviors is a major key to changing them.

You will need strategies, new cueing systems, you use consistently to form the new habit while breaking the old. Here are a few suggestions:

1)   Set a timer. Tell yourself you will only do the new behavior for twenty minutes. Then at the end, of the time, evaluate whether to keep going or whether to stop . . . until the next time you set the timer for twenty minutes.

2)   Don’t access the Internet when you turn on the computer. Because it’s a habit to turn on the computer and click on Firefox, it happens almost before I know it. One way is to leave the computer on in sleep mode with the writing you were working on left on the desktop. You turn on the computer and what faces you is your project, not your e-mail.

3)   Make a “sticky” cue. The term, sticky, came into use to describe things that you remember more easily based on the book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Chip Heath and Dan Heath). The notion is that you create an image or a mantra to help you attach the cue to the new behavior. For example, you might say to yourself at the start of your writing day, “Professional writers work first and play later.” Or, “Professional writers produce xx pages/words each day.” By envisioning your ultimate goal, being a professional writer, you made your cue for the writing behavior “sticky.”

Another way to make a sticky cue is to visualize yourself writing and completing pages when you first sit down to write. Take a minute or so and “see” yourself writing and being successful. Build the image, and it will come!

4)   Control your environment to limit distractions. If the Internet is not on, if you open your computer to your work-in-progress, if you keep a list of your new writing habits on a piece of paper in front of you, you’ll be more successful.

5)   When the new habit breaks down, sometimes called the “What the hell” Effect, step back and examine just when you decided not to follow through on your new habit. What was that cue trigger? Then press the rewind button. Go back to right before you decided not to use the new habit and try again. Examining the breakdown should give you a strategy for a new trigger cue.

Use the If. . . then strategy. If you want to start on a new story because you’re tired of working on your old one, tell yourself, you only have to work on the old one ten minutes then set the timer. Intervene. Break through the breakdown.

Facebook: Making and breaking writing habits is as hard as making New Year’s Resolutions. Use these five strategies to be a more productive writer in 2018. http://bit.ly/2CD5p8v

Twitter: 5 ways to build #sticky #writing habits that last http://bit.ly/2CD5p8v

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Year of Writing Dangerously


Welcome back to the Write Away blog and welcome forward to the new year. A year with possibilities, riches (of some sort, even if not money), and fulfillment. At least, that’s the goal, right? The resolution?

This time of year is clogged with suggestions for how you can make a new, improved you. Just resolve to this, that, and the other, and presto bingo! Out pops a better version of you!

Or not.

While about half of us make resolutions, only about 8% of us follow through. I talk more about making and breaking resolutions and a viable alternative tomorrow at Romance Righter, Angelica French’s blog (www.angelicafrench.blogspot.com). Check it out tomorrow if that interests you.

But back to Professional Writer You. Over the years I have tried different genres and writing formats to challenge myself. I’ve dabbled in paranormal, scifi, historical fiction, biography, romance, women’s fiction, and culinary mysteries.

I’ve written short stories, full-length plays, 10-minute plays, novels, novellas, and non-fiction.

I keep learning when I try a new format or genre. One goal this year is to try writing humor. That will likely be my most difficult challenge yet. Humor writing is hard! While everyone thinks that a dying nice guy is a tear jerker, we don’t all agree on what makes things funny. One person’s witty wisecracker is another’s annoying pest.

Another writing goal I have for the year is to write in first person. First person terrifies me! To only know what your narrator knows. Why isn’t omniscient observer good enough anymore? So, of course, I have to try it! What’s to lose? Time, right? Maybe get a bit of a bruised ego? But the old, “nothing ventured . . .” saw comes to mind.

Time and ego are small potatoes in the grand scheme. So, ride along with me? Prod me to tell you how I’m doing. Join me in The Year of Writing Dangerously.

And what are you doing to stretch yourself this year? Tell me of your writing travel plans in the Comments section below and what challenges you expect to encounter. Let’s enjoy our journeys together.

Please share this post with others if you enjoyed it.

Facebook: Writers, what challenges have you tried in the past? What challenges do you set for yourself this year, The Year of Writing Dangerously? http://bit.ly/2CAYsIU

Twitter: It’s The Year of Writing Dangerously. What are you doing to challenge yourself as a writer? http://bit.ly/2CAYsIU

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Happy Holidays and Why I Say It

I write this greeting because I have friends from so many traditions that Merry Christmas isn’t appropriate for all, and how I am to know what holidays they celebrate unless they tell me?

Since there are 29 holiday celebrations between November 1st and January 15th, it makes perfect sense to be more inclusive with the “Happy Holidays” saying. How that is taking away from Christmas escapes me!

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Festivus, or any of the other seasonal holidays, I wish you a safe and joyous one!

See you next year!