Solid reasons behind rapid publishing, a la Hugh Howey and Liliana Hart

KevinHearneBookshelf.gif

Traditionally-published author Kevin Hearne—whose books line my bookshelf in this snapshot—reached NY Times Bestseller status within a year by launching the first three books in his Iron Druid Chronicles series over three months. Coincidence or strategic?

Would you like to know how wildly successful self-publisher Hugh Howey earned 1,200 reader reviews on Amazon? He danced as a reward for milestone numbers of reviews. Really. Check out the video.

Howey, known for Wool, sold more than two million copies of his dystopian “Silo Series” worldwide. He’s writing his Beacon 23 series of short stories in stand-alone story arcs, which he relates to a season of TV with each episode telling a story. He’s quoted in The Writer Files blog as saying, “People are eating them up at 99 cents each.”

This process for his short stories may have a foundation in his belief in the Liliana Hart method of marketing a book series. The best-selling author of mystery and romance uses a process that boils down to writing five books before releasing one of them a month. Howey’s The Wayfinder blog post describes why he thinks she may be genius.

He also points to another author’s take on the Liliana method, in which Rosalind James uses Kindle Select and Kindle Countdown marketing programs as the focus of her “Rolling Countdown” book launch campaign. A very interesting read.

Have Howey and Hart  found the “silver bullet” of successful self-publishing? What do you think?

P.S. Learn more about how Howey achieved his writing success on The Writer’s Dig blog.

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Indie publishing • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

 

Reveals behind the music: Imagine Dragons

Axyl Thorne illustration

My character, Axyl Thorne, is a famous rock star  in the Fae realm of Delfaerune… easily as famous as Imagine Dragons in our human world. 😀 Art by Stacy Lefevre

While conducting research on some of my favorite bands, I found out some fascinating trivia about the musicians behind the music, and thought you might get a kick out of it, too.

Let’s start with Imagine Dragons, a four-member alternative/pop/indie rock band based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Did you know…

  • Three of the four members in the band share the first name “Daniel:”
    • Dan Reynolds (lead singer)
    • Daniel Wayne Sermon (guitar)
    • Daniel Platzman (drums)
    • Ben McKee (bass)
  • Reynolds, child #7 in a family with 9 children, earned Eagle Scout status. He also stands 6’4″ tall.
  • Sermon is one of five children.
  • All the members of the band except Reynolds, attended the Berklee School of Music in California.
  • Platzman received his degree in film scoring, and has received the Vic Firth Award for Outstanding Musicianship and the Michael Rendish Award in Film Scoring.
  • Two of the Dans—Reynolds and Sermon—are Mormon, and married, girls. Sorry.
  • Reynolds’ wife Aja Volkman is an American musician, best known as the front woman for the indie rock band Nico Vega.
  • Sermon married ballerina/writer/photographer Alexandra Hill.
  • McKee was arrested on the Las Vegas Strip for public nudity. He later stated in a Billboard interview, “There were some bad choices being made. Vegas is a crazy place.”

What other trivia do you know about Imagine Dragons?

 

 

 

A proven technique to garner Amazon book reviews

Saguaro cactus, @2010 ANVidean

Are your readers a bit “prickly” about writing a review for your book? Choosy Bookworm might be a solution for you.

My author clients often express frustration about how hard it is to obtain book reviews from readers. They ask, they cajole, they beg. I guess a lot of readers are either intimidated by the process, don’t know what to say, or just can’t find the time.

Luckily, one of our savvy ALWAYS tribe members—author Karen Mueller Bryson of Short On Time Books—recently shared an inexpensive answer to this problem. She pointed us to a site called Choosy Bookworm, where readers sign up for free ebooks in exchange for an Amazon review. Here’s the process:

  1. Choosy Bookworm advertises your published or pre-release eBook to their readers via their Web site and enewsletter.
  2. Interested readers  sign up to receive your free eBook.
  3. You send the eBook as a MOBI or PDF; or you gift per Amazon.
  4. Readers will read your book and post a review on Amazon or GoodReads.

You can find all the details at Choosy Bookworm promotion, but here are some highlights:

  • Your book must be priced at $3.99 or lower.
  • You pay anywhere from nothing to $70, depending on the level of visibility you want.
  • Submit your ebook on a Saturday, at least one week before you want it featured on the Choosy Bookworm site.

That’s pretty much it, and Karen swears by it… Sound like it’s worth a try, right?

What other proven techniques have you used to secure book reviews? Please share.

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

My Mom, a Mary Poppins doppleganger, inspires increased book sales using a unique personal trait

A word-of-mouth marketing example from the lens of Ann Narcisian Videan
to inspire your book “village.”
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A vintage Rocky Mountain Post article about my mom, who entertained at parties as Mary Poppins. Do you have a unique trait you can leverage to market yourself or your book?

I’m counting on this post to inspire you to find your own special talents, traits, experiences, or even your looks—like my mother did—to entice your audience to talk about you. Find something unique that also pertains to your book and, víola!, instant word-of-mouth book book marketing.

I hear you thinking, “What?!”

Think for a second. Say you looked like Mary Poppins, and wrote a book about professional organizing. You could relate the movie theme to your book marketing. “Spit, spot!” Organizing made easy! Everyone  who wants a magically clean room/home can relate to the scene of the Banks’ children putting away their toys while their nanny sings, right? A unique, fun, emotional mental image. Exactly the techniques to compel readers into talking about you.

Or, maybe you’re a musician. How can you use that to tie into your books? I wrote a “soundtrack” to complement my first book, Rhythms & Muse. That became a Wow! moment for my readers. My next chat-worthy project will use my art skills. I’m creating customized faerie doors and short stories, as well as a faerie door coloring book, to complement my book Song of the Ocarina. (It’s book 1 in my Delfaerune Rhapsody series about New Zealand Fae who use Earth energy and music to make magic.)

Think now, what about you or your book would inspire someone to say, “Wow, that’s cool!” or to write a newspaper article about you? I encourage you to put some thought into this and come up with something outrageous to drive word-of-mouth marketing.

What do you do, or what’s in your book, that would entice readers to talk about you?

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Today’s key book marketing tips

writers fon't only hang out in writing groups. One of their natural habitat is a coffee shop. That's why I write a blog about them. Check out BuzzBerry on my Coffee CommuniTea blog.

Writers don’t only hang out at writing groups or libraries. One of their natural habitats is a coffee shop. That’s why I write a blog about those little hot spots. Check out my latest find on my Coffee CommuniTea blog: BuzzBerry Bistro

I love hanging out with authors. They’re interesting, smart, and — at least in my circles — extremely generous with helpful ideas. Every time I go to a place where writers hang out, I learn something.

So, what fun is it to keep all that great information to myself? I want you to benefit, too. So here are three great ideas heard in the last couple of weeks:

  1. I’ve mentioned this one before, but it bears repeating. Use the Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer tool to check the emotional value of your blog/e-newsletter subject lines and headlines. (The emotional connection makes them want to read your stuff.)
  2. Slip a postcard in the back of every book you put into a reader’s hand. On the card, ask for comments about the book, and leave a space for the recipient’s email. That way you can acknowledge his or her comment. Brilliant!
  3. If you have the opportunity to give something away in a raffle, why not give away a few dollars in an envelope with a link to your ebook. This allows you to buy the book for your recipient, and all you ask for in return is his or her review on Amazon. Sweet!

What book marketing tips can you share?

Coffee CommuniTea: BuzzBerry Bistro, Scottsdale AZ

BuzzBerry - 04Today’s Cup o’ Tea
BuzzBerry Bistro Coffee, Smoothie, and Espresso Bar —Scottsdale, AZ

 

IMG_0377Perks (what I really like!)

I recently discovered BuzzBerry in the Park Scottsdale Shopping Center just a minute off Interstate 101 at McDonald. This down-to-earth, hot spot offers:

  • A comfortable, laid-back atmosphere.
  • A wee, bright outside patio.
  • Rave reviews about the made-in-front-of-you omelettes.
Baristas with personality: Bronte and Hannah.

Baristas with personality: Bronte and Hannah.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee
  • Smoothies
  • Espresso
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (BuzzBerry menu)

The Grounds (location)

5959 N Granite Reef Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 717-9962
geturbuzz.com

IMG_0370Tea Times (hours)
Open 24 hours a day!

Yelp rating: 4 stars from 164 reviews

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I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so I found it natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Established authors share best book blogging secrets – ALWAYS

Our tribe of established, Phoenix-area writers —
The Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) —
gathers once a month for lunch and a chat about writing. It’s rather like a Secret Writer’s Society, except our tips are not so secret, since we share them with you.


TOPIC: Book Blogging

Established writer:
• Do you blog about your, or other’s, books?
• How do you come up with meaningful content?
• What makes readers actually read your posts?
• How do you build traffic on your blog?

Established Phoenix-area authors will share their creative blogging best practices at our next ALWAYS tribe meeting, at a more central location.

Though geared for enewsletters, I found this posting frequency chart from Constant Contact quite interesting. This is the type of information we will share at ALWAYS next month.

Though geared for enewsletters, I found this posting frequency chart from Constant Contact quite interesting. This is the type of information I expect we will share at ALWAYS next month.

Next gathering:
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS typically meets on the second Thursday of the month.)

Where:
Old Spaghetti Factory
1418 N. Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(Just south of McDowell Road on Central Ave. Please plan extra time for downtown light rail traffic and parking.)

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Join” link on our Facebook Event page
or
• Contacting Ann Videan, avidean@videanunlimited.com

If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

Are you an established writer who:
• Needs contacts to help your writing?
• Wants advice about your writing?
• Likes to hang with other cool writers?

If so, our tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.

Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

How to entice readers to support your book creation

Creating books can be overwhelming and expensive but, luckily, help is available! Authors can ask readers, or other interested folk, to help support the book’s creation… and pay it forward… through crowd funding campaigns like those available on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Buddy The Soldier Bear... created from the illustrations as the book's mascot

Buddy The Soldier Bear… created from the illustrations as the book’s mascot

Here’s an example of a live — through Sept. 18, 2015 — crowd funding campaign for a very worthwhile book. Buddy The Soldier Bear is a children’s book authored by a soldier’s mom and illustrated by a soldier.

If the campaign succeeds, author Marie Joy Monroe will be able to create her books and plush Buddy mascots, and donate them to public libraries, schools, and military support groups. Plus, a portion of any sales profits will go to Central AZ3 Blue Star Moms, and other nonprofit organizations who help soldiers.

You can see all the important elements of a crowd-funding campaign on Marie’s Indiegogo site:

  • A video introducing the book
  • A written story explaining the need
  • A listing of donation levels and associated perks
  • A call to action

Have you done a crowd funding campaign? What worked? What didn’t? What advice would you give to other authors considering this route?

P.S.  While you’re checking out Buddy’s live campaign, think about donating to it, or at least forwarding the information to families or those in your networks associated with the military. You would support an excellent cause, and have some fun, to boot!
[Just so you know, I’m not affiliated with the creation of Marie’s book, but I love her idea, and think her cause is very important. Why wouldn’t you want to support it, too?]

…………………..

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.
avidean@videanunlimited.com

Established authors’ secrets for creating creative book covers – ALWAYS

The Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) —
a tribe of established, Phoenix-area writers —
gathers once a month for lunch and a chat about writing. It’s rather like a Secret Writer’s Society, except our tips are not so secret, since we share them with you.


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TOPIC:
Established authors, when it comes to book covers…
• Do you know what elements will catch a reader’s eye?
• Do you know some low-cost avenues for artwork?
• Do you know what to avoid in the design?
Let’s gather over a delicious lunch and share ideas.
If you can’t attend, can you leave a book-cover tip in the comments below?

Next gathering:
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
(ALWAYS meets on the second Thursday of the month.)

Where:
Romeo’s Euro Café
(downtown GIlbert, AZ)
207 N. Gilbert Rd. #105
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
(480) 962-4224

Back-up location:
Joe’s BBQ
301 N. Gilbert Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 503-3805

Cost:
A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:
PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by:
• RSVPing through the “Join” link on our Facebook Event page
or
• Contacting Ann Videan, avidean@videanunlimited.com

If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!
…………………………………………………………….

ABOUT ALWAYS

• Need contacts to help your writing work?
• Want advice about your writing?
• Like to hang with other cool writers?

If so, our tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.

Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting … anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers.

An insider’s view of volunteering at Phoenix Comicon

Comicon? What?

It’s a fan convention, originally centered around comic books, but now encompassing all kinds of pop culture. The most popular Comic Con is held in San Diego every summer, but its success prompted similar events around the world including the Phoenix Comicon (PCC), which we’ve held since 2002.

I gave away these homemade Fae Wishing Tins at my panel: with a luck penny, pixie dust, Charms candy, and one even included a thumb drive with my "Song of the Ocarina" ebook on it.

I gave away these homemade Fae Wishing Tins at my panel: with a lucky penny, pixie dust, candy, and one even included a thumb drive with my “Song of the Ocarina” ebook on it.

I started attending with my family four years ago because of our love of sci-fi and fantasy media: Star Wars, Dr. Who, Farscape, Star Trek, etc. This year, though, I spoke on a panel about “Finding Your Inner Fae,” and volunteered in Outdoor Programming.

I had not volunteered at PCC until this year. I had a blast working in Outdoor Programming along Third Street, just outside the main entrance to the con’. The idea of this blocked-off street is to entice people to the con’ and to keep the main foot-traffic area free of motorized vehicles.  Unless they were parked and on display, like these beauties.

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Our team, headed by my friend Joanne de Biasi, helped the outdoor exhibitors load into booths, get what they needed, and find answers to all their questions. Not only was it fun to interact with the booth folk — like Build-A-Bear, and the dog rescue organization — but as a side perk, Event Staff receive a full event membership, t-shirt, $20 in vouchers for Hyatt food kiosks, and discounts with vendors. I’d already purchased my membership, though, so I donated mine to a friend.

Phx Comicon 2015 - 020My son’s band, The Darling Sounds, also played a set as part of the programming.

Besides the hundreds of break-out sessions on every geek topic you can imagine, including a writing/author track, I’ve developed a favorite trio of activities when I go to con’:

Celebrity panels. We’ve seen Nathan Fillion, William Shatner, Steve Amell, Summer Glau, John Barrowman, and many others. It’s so fascinating to see their personalities first-hand, and hear behind-the-scenes info on their shows/activities.

The cosplay costumes. These people are dedicated to creating authentic and fun costumes. You’ll never see anything like them.

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The Expo. Every possible geek product and service covers the main floor of the Phoenix Convention Center: posters, books/comic books, clothing, art, and tons of items you didn’t know you needed until you see them. My favorite may be a Castle badge sporting Nathan Fillion’s character photo and the title “Writer.”

I met some of the most creative, fun, and smart people, and cannot wait to do it again. Watch for next year’s post when I talk about my volunteer work with the writers/authors programming track. Woot!

If you’re interested, find out more details about volunteering at Phoenix Comicon.