Marketing your Novel

Greetings, and welcome to yet another week. I know; it is Monday! I know you all are thrilled to be doing your thing whether it be in a cubical or on a plane. Some of us are sitting in a converted bedroom office on the phone, or tied to the keyboard manipulating spreadsheets to make sense of things.
When you are writing, you must first consider who your audience is. This is paramount as you are crafting a story to tell them. Who are the ‘them?’
When I was a kid and we did the sleepovers, I knew if I tried and made it spooky enough, I could make them scream. We all did it as we knew who the audience was. We knew they were impressionable.
As an adult writer, nothing has changed. I write different genres for different audiences. Scifi is my favorite, and I am pretty sure I can depict the audience. Thrillers are the same way, I know who you are. Naughty Nighties, one of my wicked favorites, is a little gray, several shades of gray, pardon the play on EL James stuff.
Adult erotica is just fun to write. It takes little research and a good imagination. I know who you are too and not only do I not judge you but, here is a cyber hug, just for you. And you…and you…yes you too.
One of my fans asked me why I write that kind of stuff. Because I can. Here is the real reason, and I won’t blow smoke up your…rear. E.L.James is worth over 80million for 50 shades. Guess what, that stuff is easy to write, and many of you know it because the market is full of it.
People like to travel a road less traveled. They might want to read about an illicit love affair that takes place on some island where the couple is stranded. That trope is so done to death but, add a twist to it. What if they are two men or women and they fall in love. What if the two are from wildly different cultures where the one might want to kill the other, but realizing he or she would be alone, they have to grow as a human.
Amazon tells me little in analytics, but it does tell me where the person was who bought the book or books. When I say ‘was;’ I am talking country. That is still nebulous information at best.
With Tweets, which I use vociferously, I can tailor them to the audience. Social media is free and easy to use if you put some thought into it. From hashtags to keeping your brand out there in front of them is essential.
Some programs will render analytics on your tweets. Which worked and which ones didn’t. Now take it the next step and ask why.
Your website is vital and you need to have one. Whether you have one novel or three hundred, you need a website. Because they want to sell that service, as it is reoccurring revenue, they have made sites simpler to create.
There was a day you needed an experienced programmer to make an excellent looking site. Not so much today. If you can use Word you can make a website.

That brings us to money.
When times are good, you spend your money on advertising, when times are lean, you spend your money on advertising. Budget some money for programs and things to make your job as an author easier.

No, I am sorry, you cannot only write a lovely story that will scare the snot out of kiddoes. You have to sell that story, and make me, or others like me, want to pay money to read it.
One thing I do which you might try is; make good ole Jeff Bezos more money by putting a good story on KU. No, you won’t get anything for it. It is like working as an intern to get your foot into the door. While Amazon will say it has millions on the pool and you get something for each page read trust me on this grasshopper, don’t count on it.
What you want to do is write a story that makes them want to turn the page and…makes readers want to know who you are and if you have written anything else.
That is the only benefit you will get out of giving your work away for free. If your story is forgettable than you are.
Now that I have dashed your plan of financial success on the rocks as you feel yourself sliding into the abyss of despair take heart. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Get Better!
When I started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to tell a story and write something that I would enjoy reading. I did. I love what I write but here is the kicker, as I have written over thirty novels I have improved my craft of writing by leaps and bounds.

Hell, I may even understand the comma.

I attend many writers’ workshops, and I pay attention to what they are saying. I have read more books in my life than I care to admit and when I began to write, I learned differently. Today I read like I am taking a bomb apart and I have to diffuse it and put it back together to be ‘my bomb.’ If that makes sense.
I also give back to the other writers out there, and that might include you. Instead of working on my latest thriller, I am casting pearls into the wind for you to grasp.
Everyone with a pen or keyboard thinks they can write. Truth told they cannot. I got stuck in front of a live TV not long ago where the mother on some sitcom was reading her own novel into a Dictaphone. Now I did not stay in front of the screen long enough to know the show or care but I did stay there long enough to know it was horrible writing.
When you go to the movies or sit in front of the TV, disassemble what is going on.

Analyze what the writers are doing with the characters.
• How are they building tension?
• What promises are they making the viewer or reader?
• How are they keeping the audience engaged so they will stay there through the commercial breaks?
All of this is terrific information to have in your quiver. When you pull out that arrow and want to target a plot point or snag your audience, you will know how to do it.
There is good news for you indie writers out there. There are actually agents who are brighter than most. They will look at the novels on Amazon, and seek out new voices to represent.
Jeff, you are making a killing on independent writers. How about you give them some free advertising for each novel that you host? I realize you want to make money on each and everything Amazon does including sending the file to the customer. Don’t you think giving some marketing assistance to your suppliers would help your bottom line?

Ok, that was my pitch to the richest man around. Doubt he will ever see it but, that is the way we do things in our world.

To my friends and readers, take heart. 2020 is off to a roaring start, and good things are happening.

In my next blog, we will play a what-if game.  I am making notes so I don’t forget.

Hit that follow button on Twitter and by all means here on WordPress.
Much Love -TW

 

Newest Project

Are you one who reads at lunch? Check out my latest project.

As we roll into a new week, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you who hit that magic follow button, both on WordPress, and Twitter.

This weekend I attended a conference with many writers and want to be writers.  We had a wonderful time exploring the possibilities, hopes, and dreams, along with some that have already hit the publishing lottery.

I say lottery tongue and cheek.

We have examined the reasons we write, many times; please don’t let it be the ‘publishing lottery.’

While passion for the craft of storytelling should be your number one reason for writing, it is ok to entertain the ‘possibility’ that you might find the perfect agent who is just hot to trot over your idea or manuscript.  When I say ‘possibility,’ I want you to put that in the realm that I do when I spend a dollar on ‘a’ single lottery ticket.

“TW, you don’t waste money on those, do you?”

“Waste, no.  You see, with me, when I am traveling, and I need to use the facilities…(Nice way to say pee) and I don’t need gas or what have you, I will spend a dollar on a lottery ticket.

Now, I don’t feel cheap for using their bathroom; well, too cheap.   With that lottery ticket in my possession, I think of all the things I will do with it when I ‘win!’

Keep in mind, the only way to win the lottery is not to play.

We writers must have an active imagination, and that includes fantasy.  Use those thoughts as writing prompts.  Your character spent his or her last dollar on a lottery ticket instead of buying cheap soup.  You know those bags of noodles that you put into hot water like you did in college.

  • Why did your character do that?
  • Did he or she win?
  • How did it change their life?
  • Did they eat the ticket if they lost?
  • Did they have to explain what they did with that dollar to anyone?
  • Maybe your character is prosperous and just bought the ticket not to appear cheap and hit the lottery anyway!

*Write a flash fiction on your blog, with one of these and send me a link.

Since I titled this new project, I suppose I should tell you what I am up to.  I came up with the idea of creating a book of short stories.  Ten thousand words or less per story.  The idea is that you can buy this book, and take it with you to lunch and have a mental vacation while you dine on celery and salad.  Oh, you’re not one of those that made those ridiculous New Year’s resolutions to eat better?

Stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, I am still editing and changing my novels as time permits.  If you bought one, and I re-release it, you can speak with the people at Amazon and get the latest, I am told.   I called to make sure that you could, and what the process was.

Stay safe out there, write to me and tell me how you are doing and if you take on the prompt, I would love to see how you do with it.

 

Much Love,

TW

*Flash Fiction… For those of you who don’t know, flash fiction is usually a story of 1000 words or less that demonstrates a story and character arc.  In 1000 words or less can be a challenge.