Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: author platform

Book Deals and Author Platforms


Regular readers of this blog know I favor self-publishing; but, I’ve written quite a bit about the traditional route, too—they both have their challenges… 

And, one person who knows a lot about getting traditional book deals is Jane Friedman. This makes the 43rd time I’ve referenced her here…

And, as far as Author Platform, this is the 23rd post with that as a topic…

By the way, taking either of those last two links will show you this post at the top of a scrollable list of all the posts ( unless you first read this post after I’ve done a different post about Jane or platforms :-)

Regulars may be tired of me saying what I just mentioned in that last paragraph; but, my stats clearly show new readers arriving here nearly every day

Before I share a few excerpts from a recent article from Jane about platforms and deals, I’ll share a few excerpts about author platforms (for folks who know nothing about them) from one of my past articles—Building An Author Platform ~ One Critical Step . . . :

“The universe of Book Promotion gave birth to the term Author Platform and I’ve been amused ever since…

“There’s nothing inherently wrong with the term but there are plenty of folks who use it in funny ways.

“Some writers build a platform to promote themselves according to instructions from ‘experts’…

“Some build a platform for their books and then hide under the platform….

“Obviously, an Author Platform is constructed to Elevate the writer—raise them up above the Crowd—give them a place to deliver a Message…

“But, what many writers forget to do before building a platform is to choose a blueprint that They have drawn up and that makes the Platform serve their Own Purpose.

“That last sentence contains what I consider the most Critical Step in building your Author Platform.”

Now for Jane’s recent article—Building a Platform to Land a Book Deal: Why It Often Fails (Jane begins by saying it’s for nonfiction; but, it’s perfectly adaptable for fiction…):

“Platform, in a nutshell, is your ability to sell books based on your visibility to the intended readership. If you’re a total unknown, then you may be turned down for lack of a platform to support your book’s publication….

“The dream-crushing cynic in me is tempted to say: Don’t force it, because it won’t work. You’re reverse engineering a process that—in the majority of cases—is destined to fail. Here’s why.”

Now, I’ll list Jane’s main bullet-points (explaining why building an author platform specifically to attempt to win a book deal will, almost always, not get you a book deal…) and let you go to the full article to read her sage advice…

1. You focus on superficial indicators of platform.

2. You focus on social media growth.

3. You put everything on a timeline that’s too rushed.

I’ll close with part of Jane’s Parting Advice:

“Platform building doesn’t stop if you do land a book deal. Your journey has just begun. The good news is that authors can build a platform by engaging in activities that are most enjoyable to them—because if they’re not enjoyable, you won’t continue doing them for the time required to see any kind of pay off.”

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#BookPromotion on #Wattpad


Last November, I was finally convinced to try WattpadWattpad

Then, later in the same month, I wrote about Wattpad being a special “social media” platform for writers.

That was early in the game

I had a relatively small number of folks I followed and there were some following me

I have four books there; and, will soon have a fifthone of my booksmy novel, was getting reads and comments and all was productive and fun

Then, last month, my novel jumped from 1,ooo to 2,000 reads and my followers jumped from about 300 to over 1,200.

Today, I have 3,200 reads on the novel and nearly 2,000 followers

What happened was Wattpad decided to Feature my book.

Suddenly, being on Wattpad is “work” yet very welcome and productive work.

Back in November, my novel was being read in around 10 countries.

This map shows the situation now (countries with reads shaded blue, with darker blue being more reads):

Notes from An Alien at 7 months + one Week Featured on Wattpad

Do I recommend Wattpad for writers who don’t yet know how to promote their book; or, are either tired of or frustrated about their promotion efforts to date?

Perhaps

It depends on the writer.

One way to find out if you’re the kind of person who can do promotion on Wattpad is to sign-up for free; then, read How To Get Reads, Votes, and Comments – A Guide by Katherine A. Ganzel.

Here’s my profile on Wattpad.

And, here’s the novel that’s still being Featured :-)

Plus, you can read the interviews I have here with other Wattpad authors
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#AuthorBranding ~ Is It Worth Considering?


Author Branding

Image Courtesy of justus kindermann ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ackinderma-44705

Since Author Branding is something people talk about when they’re also talking about making money, I’ll share a bit from something I wrote last year about writers making money:

Many of you know I’m a maverick, in my writing and in the promotion I do… 

And, it seems apropos to share the etymology of “maverick” from my Oxford English Dictionary:

“Samuel A. Maverick (1803–70), Texas engineer who owned but did not brand cattle.”

Branding is all the rage now for self-published authors—come on, get on the brandwagon—cereal is branded, cigarettes are branded, underwear is branded—why not books?

Well, I don’t brand myself or my books because I don’t brand my cattle—I’m a Maverick…

But, whenever I use myself as the example to lend credence to a particular opinion about the BookWorld, I like to back it up with another person’s opinion

For today’s post, I chose Kelli Russell Agodon — poet, writer, editor, book designer, and co-founder of Two Sylvias Press.

Here are some excerpts from Kelli’s article, You Are Not a Brand. . . Why Writers & Artists Should Not Be Limited By Those Who Want to Define Us:

“I have heard about this ‘create your brand’ and ‘you must have a platform’ at a few writer’s conferences I’ve been at, but I thought it was something trendy like bedazzling your jeans — I thought it would be seen as ridiculous and then fade away, but it seems not to be the case.”

“It kills my spirit to hear writers and artists being talked about as if we were corporations with logos and mottos and theme-songs.”

“It feels as if it’s another way for people who don’t really write to sell things to writers: ‘Be Your Own Best Brand! How to Create Your Brand for only $295. Build Your Brand BEFORE the Book!'”

Jumping in to register my hearty agreement that Branding is a way to suck money and time from author’s lives

Just a few more excerpts from Kelli:

“When I hear sentences like this one (one that almost makes me weep): ‘Brand-building is constant. It should always be in the back of your mind’, what I want to say in response is: Writing is constant and should always be in the back of your mind.”

” I know I can’t let myself be put in that box. I am not a Twinkie. You are not a Ding-Dong (okay, you could be a ding-dong, but I don’t know that for sure). But you are definitely not a Twinkie, that I know.”

If you’re not a writer and you’ve read this far, you must know a writer (or, actually be one deep down…)—tell them about Kelli’s article and recommend they visit her blog: Book of Kells
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

There Should Be Only One Way to Promote Your Writing ~ Your Way!


I’ve written a lot on this blog about book promotion, author platforms, and social media. Alliance of Independent Authors

And, you can scroll down in the left side-bar to find all of it (in the Top Tags area)

But there are two posts in particular I’ll point out:

Breaking The “Rules” of Book Promotion ~ 6 Different Views

Authentic Book Promotion ~ Does It Sell?

I mention those because I’m going to excerpt from an article at the ALLi Author Advice Centre —> Opinion: Promote Your Self-Published Books Your Way, by Debbie Young.

You’d think that any self-respecting writer would consider their own abilities and proclivities before they tried some promotion program from some “expert”, even if that “expert” has sold gazillions of books.

There’s nothing wrong with reading what the “experts’ say—we just must pay attention to our own unique needs and abilities

From the ALLi article:

“Just because we can tweet/Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram etc around the clock, it doesn’t mean we should.”

Followed by:

“Too many of us believe that if we don’t put in a significant amount of time, effort and budget into doing so, we’re failing.”

Thankfully, followed by:

“Drop that thought right now.”

I started promoting my novel nearly 5 years ago (before I published it) by beginning this blog.

I’ve tried the other popular social networks and found all of them wanting (though other folks do find them useful…)

Recently, I started using Wattpad and I’m still wondering what took me so long to find out it fits in with my abilities and needs

So, back to Debbie’s article, with some teasers that can be satisfied by reading the whole thing :-)

“So, if the idea of staging online conversations in fewer than 140 characters makes you cringe, avoid Twitter….

“If you’re going to be irked by people posting cat videos and games requests in front of you every day, forget Facebook….

“…I found that the pressure to add affiliate bookstore links every time I mentioned a title put me off posting at all. So I’ve ditched the links.”

And, with another strong encouragement for you to read Debbie’s full article, I share this last excerpt:

“…I will try not to feel the need to justify my actions every time I turn my back on a marketing trick. Instead, I’ll take inspiration from the eponymous character from Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener, who, as I remember from high school, quietly declines opportunities with the refrain:I would prefer not to”. My English teacher, Mr Campbell, (who I think quite often fancied using Bartleby’s line in staff meetings), would be proud of me. Even if, in the story, Bartleby does eventually die of starvation.”

And, after you read Debbie’s whole article, look around on that page, ’cause you’ll be in the How-to for Authors section of the Self Publishing Advice site of The Alliance of Independent Authors
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#BookMarketing ~ Making Sense of #AuthorPromotion


I’ve written here before about Book Marketing… 

I’ve discussed my disdain for the term “marketing” and my grudging acceptance of “Book Promotion“.

I’ve explained that snagging a traditional book deal doesn’t guarantee a writer can forget about promoting their book (unless that “writer” happens to be wildly famous…).

I’ve discussed the buzz-term, Author Platform (and, its cousin “Personal Branding”).

In fact, there’s an excellent article, by journalist Ann Friedman, that traces the history of Personal Branding and leaves you wondering whether current advice for writers is, in any way, rational. The title is very revealing—Me Inc. ~ The paradoxical, pressure-filled quest to build a “personal brand”.

Just one quote from the article:

“I’ve noticed a paradox: The more time I spend defining my personal brand, the more contrived it feels when I talk about myself.”

Even though the article casts a rather lurid light on branding, I recommend eager authors read it as part of their making sense of what to do to promote themselves.

One thing is certain.

If you publish a book and tell no one about it, no one will buy it—even if you want to give it away, no one will take it if you don’t tell them about it

So

Writers have a need to consider various promotional strategies and choose or create one that won’t drive them crazy

So

When I decided what to write about today, it actually wasn’t, at first, about what Ann Friedman had to say about Personal Branding.

It was about what Fauzia Burke, Founder & President of FSB Associates, has to say about Book Marketing.

She started her company in 1995 and there should be no surprise that she can say it was “one of the first firms to specialize in Internet publicity and marketing for publishers and authors”.

So, here’s me, not liking the term “Book Marketing”, in fact not liking most of what most anyone has to say about the topic; and, here’s the title of an article by the Founder of one of the first companies to specialize in the field—10 Things I Know for Sure About Book Marketing.

I’m going to list those ten things and urge you to go read the full article—also, I must ask you to be aware that some of her points sure don’t sound like a person who runs a marketing firm

1. You can’t just do social media.

2. Don’t try and do everything.

3. Don’t try to promote your book to everyone.

4. The tortoise can beat the hare.

5. The age of generalists is over.

6. Think long-term.

7. Talking to people is a great privilege.

8. Go for engagement.

9. Start now.

10. Give value to your customer.

If you happen to read Fauzia’s article (and/or Ann’s), I’d love it if you could share your thoughts and feelings in the Comments
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com