Tag Archives: twitter

Hawking Your Wares

Early hot dog merchant,  1936 by Berenice Abbott courtesy EphemeralNewYork.wordpress.com

Early hot dog merchant, 1936 by Berenice Abbott courtesy http://EphemeralNewYork.wordpress.com

Yay! It’s official, I’m an author now!  I wrote a book or four, I had them edited, I covered them, and I had them published.  Now all I have to is sell enough of the darned things and that Hugo award is mine!

So how do we go about that?  There is the tiny problem of that old “getting your name out there” thing…I stink at that.

Roy Huff, author of the Everville series, regularly uses Goodreads to publicize his work. All his Goodreads connections received emails last week like this:

EVERVILLE Roy HuffRoy has modified the event Everville (#3) TheRiseofMallory 99 cent promo begins Midnight Pacific The First Pillar FREE KINDLE PROMO starts in 12 hours.
Date: April 14, 2014 04:22AM

Description: A new promo has begun. You can join that promo here https://www.goodreads.com/event/show/… feel free to invite others to join. Details are below as well. Thanks so much!

FREE KINDLE PROMO April 15 to April 18th for Everville The First Pillar http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BCOQSSQ
FREE KINDLE PROMO April 19 to April 22th for Everville The City of Worms [InD’Tale Magazine’s Creme de la Cover March Winner] http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EQZ5T2E

99 CENT KINDLE COUNTDOWN DEAL April 15 to April 21th for Everville The Rise of Mallory http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HYN 3NXC

Stay tuned on Facebook @http://on.fb.me/1ni21BT
Stay tuned on Twitter @evervillefans 

Well, I don’t know about you, but that seems like a good promotion to me, and I will be quite interested to see how well things go for him with it. Roy has a lot of connections on Goodreads, and he puts a lot of energy into promoting his work, so maybe he will do well. He has given me something to think about, in regard to the whole giveaway thing. One reason I made Tales From the Dreamtime, which is a novella, into the first of my audiobooks was the hope that it would generate some recognition for my brand, which if you remember, is my Author Name.

Swartz_After Ilium_FrontCvr_200dpi_3inAnother author friend, Stephen Swartz, is promoting his works too. Today is Tax Day in the US, so he is running a twitter campaign:

4/15 TAX DAY SPECIAL! 2 Books! 2 Bucks! ‪#‎Kindle‬ ‪#‎romance‬ 
‪#‎AFTERILIUM‬  http://bit.ly/AfterIlium_US
‪#‎ABEAUTIFULCHILL‬  http://bit.ly/BeautifulChill_US

He didn’t know if Amazon UK will honor the discount, but here are the UK links:

AFTER ILIUM kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009SDW1KC
A BEAUTIFUL CHILL kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00I6M4R9Y

I will also find out from him how well that went.

So, I am going to continue the way I have been, promoting via twitter. I have paid for a Goodreads ad for Huw the Bard, for the next two weeks or so and will let you know how well that went. I will also try the Goodreads promotion route in May, and will keep you posted on that.





Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, writer, writing

Strapping the Monkey to the Typewriter and Selling His Work

0000-9780857863782At times, creativity seems to fail. We’ve become bored with the work we’re doing and need some new thing to spark that creative genius lurking deep within our coffee-addled brains (or wine-soaked, as the case may be.) An infinite number of monkeys strapped to IBM Selectrics, industriously typing out Shakespeare could do better.

For myself, the way to beat this is to write something, anything–even if it doesn’t pertain to my major work in progress. The best part of being an indie is that you can write in whatever direction the mood takes you.

And that is how Huw the Bard  came about. I was supposed to be working on Forbidden Road, but I had become bogged down. NaNoWriMo came along and Huw grabbed me by the imagination and away we went.  This jump-started my mind on the other book too, so I wrote on both books for the next year. Forbidden Road was finished, edited and published in 2013

Now Huw the Bard has been published and I am working on Valley of Sorrows. In the meantime I have to find ways to publicize my work, and since we just acquired a hefty car payment, it must be affordable. (As in CHEAP.)

google plus iconIn other posts I have discussed the importance of getting Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+ profiles created. You must also have your Author Central profile put together on Amazon and one for Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and any other major online place you sell your works.

Today, I want to say that Facebook is fun, and a great place for a free launch party. We had a great time with that, and I do think it helped sell books.  But you need a sustainable place to put your work, and Facebook is no longer that great a venue for selling books.  I’ve had better luck through blogging, if the truth be told.  My good friends helped get Huw the Bard off the ground with their blogs and tweets.

Also, Facebook won’t allow your posts to be seen by many people unless you pay them. They call it ‘Boosting’ the post. I have done that on occasion, and  for 30.00 I sold 3 books.  That is a terrible return on investment.

tsra-button-01I was directed by Aura Burrows, who writes the hit series, “The Cold” on www.BigWorldNework.com, to an interesting and free website run by a friend of hers. It is called The Story Reading Ape Blog and I have gone to the “contact me” page and followed the instructions. It is free, and Chris is awesome as a person–he is very sincere about helping indies get their work seen. I will keep you posted as to how that goes for me, and if you want to try it yourself, please feel free to click the link and go for it.

There are many venues–blog hops,  paid ads on Goodreads and Google–all of which I will be doing over the next year. Paid ads are tricky–the ones I can afford are not that big or prominent so perhaps they aren’t a good investment. However, there are many affordable indie book websites who will sell you ad space for $30.00 to $50.00 a whack–a sum that is doable for me if I give up Starbucks for my craft.

So now begins my real push to get my work out there–to make it visible so readers will see it and want to know what it’s about.  I have to push Tales From the Dreamtime as well as Huw the Bard, because I have that wonderful narrator, Craig Allen, depending on me to sell our audio-book! I’m selling a few books here and there, but I’ll be posting about which venues were most successful as the year progresses.

The real trick will be to get the work out in the public eye without spamming and alienating my friends.



Filed under Books, Epilepsy, Fantasy, Literature, Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Branding yourself day 5 – Goodreads and All Points Beyond

MH900432556One thing most authors do first is go out to http://www.goodreads.com and make a profile for themselves there, because all the online writing groups say you have to do that.   And everyone told you to get a blog, so you did these two things and still, nothing happened. So why did I leave these two important detail to the last day of my series?

Tools. You needed the tools to make these two venues as professional as is possible.

In the course of this week you have gathered together an arsenal of tools with which to make the best Goodreads profile you can. You are tweeting. You have your Author Photo. You have your Author Bio.  You have links to your about.me profile, you are LinkedIn and made a book trailer. You opened a Pinterest account and you posted a poem to Wattpad.  You just googled yourself, and you are still not on page one .  Have patience!  This is where we pull all these disparate threads together in ONE important, cohesive place:


Open your Goodreads author profile. If you haven’t already made one, do it now!

MH9004093851. Go to your Author Dashboard. If you never took the tutorial on how to effectively use Goodreads, do it now. It’s there for a reason.

2. Now look at your Bio – is it the concise, professional bio that you have used on ALL your other sites? This consistency is very important, although I am not sure why. When it comes to the internet, consistency is magic, and I’ve never really understood magic. It works, so just do it.

3. Does your blog link back to your profile page? I have the RSS feed for my book review blog, Best In Fantasy, link back there because Goodreads is a club for people who are passionate about books. This means my review blog updates there every time I make a new post, and I try to crank out at least one book review a week. The link to the blog you’re reading now, Life in the Realm of Fantasy is in my Bio.

4. Are all the  books you have written, or been a contributor to listed correctly?

5. Have you read and reviewed any books on Amazon or Barnes&Noble?  Re-post those reviews on Goodreads.  Reading and reviewing is what Goodreads is all about, so if you haven’t read anything lately, take the time to write a paragraph about Pride and Prejudice or whatever books you have read in the past that inspired you to write, and post it. Be serious, because these reviews are part of what  builds your profile stats.

When you are a member of Goodreads you will be invited to join many reading groups and you can get involved in a lot of discussions.  This can be very good, OR it can be very bad. Tread these waters carefully! I have seen several authors raked over the coals in a sort of feeding frenzy when they were frank in their opinion of a poorly written book by a Goodreads author with many loyal friends. This is why I stay out of many discussions. The reviews I post on Goodreads are of the books I reviewed on my book review blog.

There will be people who tell you that Goodreads is a waste of time, haunted by professional trolls and wannabes. There is some truth to this assertion, but it is true only BECAUSE so many people use it. My Goodreads profile is the first thing that comes up when my name is Googled, so I can assure you I am very careful about what discussions I get involved with there.

I believe you do yourself a great disservice if you fall into the habit of harshly criticizing others in public forums. Ask yourself what you want agents and editors to see when they Google your author name, and make sure your  behavior in public reflects that.

As a reader, I go to Goodreads to find great books written by indie authors, and I am rarely disappointed.

my goodreads stats

As you can see, my rating is quite average, and not really outstanding, but it is the FIRST link that appears on the Google search.  This is where people will click first to see who I am when I submit a query to agent. This is why you must make sure it is as professional as you can make it.


NOW–you noticed that number three on the above list mentions BLOGs.  In fact, every venue for you to publicize your author name offers you the opportunity to POST THE LINKS TO YOUR BLOG(S). If no one knows your blog is out there, how can they find it to read it?  Flog your blog all over the internet through the free, easy to use venues we have discussed this week! (This is not Spank the Monkey. That is something entirely different!)

If you have wondered why the blog that you never wanted but were pushed into starting has never done well, it may be that you haven’t promoted it.  Every venue that we have discussed this week gives you an opportunity to show the world that you take your craft  as an author seriously.

You do this by writing.

Update your blog once a week, three times a week, or daily–it’s up to you, but be disciplined and somewhat regular.  Normally I update this blog every other day, although this week I updated every day.  I spend about twenty minutes to half an hour writing it.  It is usually stream of consciousness, unless I have some particular topic that I want to speak on.

Your blog is the place where you  showcase your published work and offer buy links in the sidebars.  You can discuss the weather, the cat (I love indie author J.D.Hughes‘ posts on William the Cat.)

It’s through making use of the most cost-effective venues out there —>Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, LinkedIn, About.me, Goodreads and your personal blog that you build your brand, your author name. It did involve some effort on my part for the first week or so when I was getting these venues up and running, but now they really maintain themselves.  All I do is write, blog and periodically check twitter. I am not even a fanatic about twitter–I use a free program called Hootsuite to schedule tweets for the week ahead, spending maybe 10 minutes on Sunday morning, and then I simply respond to tweets that interest me or thank people when they mention me.

I can’t say that I have made huge sales or become a best seller, because that hasn’t happened. I’ve only been officially doing this for 2 years, and I’ve made all sorts of newbie mistakes in the process. But the point is, I keep at it, and I keep my professional profile updated. If you want an agent or publisher to take you seriously in this new world you must take your own career seriously by presenting your name and your work in the best light possible.

In the new world of publishing, the internet (Google and other search engines) is your ‘Store Window.’ Your books are your ‘display’ in that store. Your name is the ‘brand’ that prospective searchers see. Am I branded like ‘Nike’ yet? No, but the late Robert Jordan is, and he mastered the internet thing in the mid 1990’s when his Wheel of Time series first went viral. By using the tools that are available to us we can achieve the best results possible.

One never knows what will convince a prospective reader to try your book, so offer them every opportunity that you can.

Thank you for sticking with me through this whole week of my take on marketing your name. Now go out there and build your brand, one brick at a time.


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Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, writer, writing

The Author With the Tolstoy Tattoo

250px-Branding_irons-Dutch_K,_c,_and_kToday’s post will continue the discussion on building your brand through social Media, and today we’re taking on Facebook.

I can hear you screaming, “What brand? I don’t have a brand! Keep that hot iron away from me!” (Cue the theme music from “Rawhide”)

Well, I’m not asking you to be The Author with the Tolstoy Tattoo or anything, unless dead Russian authors really ring your bells. While that would garner attention at the family picnic or the opening night mixer at the writers’ convention, it’s not really a useful tool for getting your name out there.

What you want to do is Brand Yourself through social media.

You will probably write many books, so your book titles can’t be your brand, even if you are writing an epic fantasy series.  Neither my Tower of Bones series nor my Billy’s Revenge series can be my brand, because using their titles doesn’t focus the attention into one cohesive spot well enough.

So what IS your brand? I sat in on a webinar on marketing that was made available to me by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association this last weekend. While I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know about marketing in general, this is what the presenter said, and it made sense to me:

Your Author Name is your Brand, so you must:

1.            Market the underlying theme that links your books–your AUTHOR NAME

2.            Communicate that brand though social media

3.            Blog, and communicate—write what you know or what you want to read and post it regularly

Yesterday you opened a twitter account.  Today you are going to make a Facebook Author Page.  If you look at my Google page from yesterday, the first 5 things come up in this order:

first page of google 3-18-2013

1>     My GoodReads profile (That will be our 5th and final workshop)

2>     My Amazon Author Page (Once we have all of these media pulled together and you have your book published you will put together an Amazon Author Page with links to all your media.)

3>     This blog, Life in the Realm of Fantasy (See? Regular blogging does pay off.)

4>     My Facebook Author Page

5>     My LinkedIn page

SO – today we are going to get ourselves out there on Facebook.  First, you must go to www.facebook.com and open a personal account if you don’t already have one. You don’t have to use it, but you can’t get a professional page without one. YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO SPAM YOUR PERSONAL FB FRIENDS ABOUT YOUR BOOK—it’s rude and ruins folks’ cute kitty picture moments.


Once you have that taken care of, you go to the ‘create pages’ page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php . There are 6 squares representing the various sectors of professional pages. You want to click on ‘public figure’.

fb pages chart

Click here  and a new menu will open up. You will select ‘Author’. Fill in your Pen Name exactly as you want it to be.  Place a check in the little box that says you agree to Facebook’s terms and click the ‘get started’ button.

This will take you to a place where you will fill in the blanks and soon you will have your professional fb page up and running.  You can use your personal page to invite your friends to ‘like’ your page once, that is not considered too rude.

My author page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/cjjasperson and I’ve fixed it up to represent me as a writer.  Everyone has a different style, this is mine.

You’re telling me it’s just like twitter—you don’t have anything to say. I am telling you that it IS EXACTLY like twitter.

You have plenty to say! You’re an author, you spew words out the ends of your fingers. Keep both your tweets and your Facebook posts light, and keep them short.  This is where you let your prospective fans know what is going on with your work. On  Facebook, occasionally post about things you are doing, such as word-count on a current project, the projected date of publication for the new novel, these sorts of things.

I linked this blog to something called Networked Blogs which is a Facebook app, and my blog posts automatically post to my professional page so that the content there regularly updates itself and my page doesn’t stagnate. That link is http://www.networkedblogs.com/syndication and it is a really good resource.

Now that you have your Facebook page, it’s time to get your Linked In account up and running and also your about.me account.  We will be discussing these two wonderful resources tomorrow!


Filed under Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, writing

I Tweet, therefore I Am

Portrait of Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin by Ilya RepinToday’s post begins a 5 part series on social media.

People have this idea that writing books is some sort of higher calling, that authors do some miraculous thing with words and bucks come rolling in.

‘Taint so, sadly. Books don’t sell themselves, no matter how great the cover is.

Even for those authors lucky enough to have a large, powerhouse company get behind their book, the actual work of getting their author name out there is a job they will have to do for themselves.   This is why, frequently, we see books by successful indies being snapped up by the likes of Doubleday (Fifty Shades of Grey) and Little, Brown and Company (Twilight).  The work has already been done – the book is deemed as having been edited properly, and the author has carved out the niche for their book. For the big publisher it’s a perfect deal.

I think there may be a trend there.

We know we have written the best book we are able. We’ve had it professionally edited, and we have commissioned a great cover. But our book has sold only 7 copies, and we don’t have any more friends we can coerce. No one knows our book is out there. No one knows we exist!

As you can see, my author name comes up on the first 10 pages of google. So, what do we do to make our author name come up on the first page of the google search engine?first page of google 3-18-2013

That’s easy.  First, for one week we spend one hour a day laying the groundwork for advancing our career through the various different social media that are proven to benefit authors.  After that, all we need to do is spend 5 minutes a day tweeting, and perhaps 15 minutes checking our various other social media venues. Also, authors need to blog. That can take as long or as short a time as you want it to.

What?  Yes, I said we had to ‘work’ at it.

Not only do we need to find time to write and get the book prepped for publication, we must use the readily available tools of social media to get our name out there.  Fortunately, there is a huge community of indie authors out there on the internet, and they are wonderful at sharing what works and what doesn’t work with us newer authors.

my twitter pageThe first thing they tell us is to make a Twitter account.  It is free, and not really too difficult. You begin with a blank slate, and they give you an ‘egg’ for a picture.

Choose your Twitter Handle (name) Wisely!  I went with @cjjasp because you only get 149 characters per tweet, including spaces.  Your handle takes up valuable real estate in your tweets, so make it reflect your author name and try to keep it short.

Don’t go with the ‘egg’ – upload a picture of your book, your dog or whatever, but ditch the ‘egg’ as it screams ‘NEWBIE’ when your tweets show up.

Twitter will give you the option of linking your blog or home-page to your twitter profile. If you don’t have one of these, don’t worry. By the end of this series you will have all those blanks filled in, and your twitter profile will direct people to your books.

Next, ‘follow’ some of your favorite celebrities.  They probably won’t follow you back, but celebs tweet all the time, and they often have funny things to say.  Especially  @GeorgeTakai  – he’s frequently hilarious.

Now follow some authors that you may know of.  They will have followers that READ BOOKS. Follow some of their followers.  Follow a few people every day at first, while you are getting the hang of it.  THEN – once you have an understanding of how Twitter works you can get down to the real business of growing your followers.  When a new person follows me I follow them back, unless they are a ‘bot’ and those are fairly obvious.  They are usually spammers and the like. If you get a creepy suspicious feeling from looking at their profile, don’t follow them.

Do something called RE TWEETING.  When one of my followers tweets something that catches my eye I retweet it to all of my followers.  It is a courtesy, but that is what social media is all about–courtesy and scratching each others backs.

As a side note – Don’t EVER click on these links that have been going around twitter for years, that go something like this: “I saw this video of you” or “3 people unfollowed you” or “People are saying bad things about you.” DON”T click on them no matter which trusted follower has sent them to you. THESE ARE VIRUSES, and soon your account will be hacked and you will be spreading this virus like poor Typhoid Mary.

At the end of your first week of building your social media platform you will have links to Twitter, LinkedIn, About.Me, WattPad, Pinterest, and of course, FaceBook.

Tomorrow, we will talk FaceBook.


Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, writing