Many of us watch unknown authors climb the ladder to success and wonder, 'How'd they do that', 'Why them and not me?' We all work hard to get our books in front of readers, what did they do that was different? Read diymfa's article, "5 Easy Steps to Overnight Success" to see what you can do to improve your success.
As a teacherI'm used to creating lesson plans for the next week or planning to achieve an academic goal. Even with years of experience this is not easy when you are faced with unfamiliar territory. Below is an example of how I might plan for my author blog in May. You'll notice it isn't the same thing everyday since I'm trying to build a relationship with my readers and want to give them a reason to return.
Keep it between the lines,
I’m about to complete my third novel, FAMILY MATTERS, the sequel to FAMILY WAYS. I’ve written other books, but FAMILY WAYS was the first one I got up the nerve to publish in July of 2014. It’s the story of Tracy Mahon, a single mother and her two girls. Tracy is injured in a fall and needs help. She finds herself falling in love with a married man, she deals with teenage problems. And they all survive an evil man who threatens to kill them. And so goes the story.
I knew I had to write a sequel, but in the meantime, SUGAR TIME jumped ahead in line and I had to write it. I published it in June of 2015.
When I sat down to begin FAMILY MATTERS I knew in order to bring the two books together, I had to cover some basics. I write from a stream of consciousness. No plot or outline. I sat down at my computer, brought up Word and started writing. I was scared to death. Failure surrounded me. What if the story didn’t happen? I wasted time checking emails and read the happenings on Facebook. I finally forced myself to write the first sentence: “Tracy Mahon shifted the laptop to her left hand and punched in the access code.”
She goes into her shop so I give my readers a glimpse as she continues into her office. So far I’ve dashed off a half dozen paragraphs. Then it happens. That zone or state of mind when my other self, the creative one, that other person within me, steps up and takes over. I’ve learned to trust it, but I’m still frightened whenever I begin writing a new chapter that it won’t happen. However the words take shape, chapter by chapter, layer by layer. It originates from where all stories are housed. From the unpainted shelves of creativity. I’m in awe of it. I thank God for it.
The new world of independent publishing is a double edged sword. Yes, it allows authors to publish their own work and bypass years of rejection, but leaves them asking, "How do I promote my book?"
I found myself in the same predicament. After a year of writing and editing I was excited to finally able to publish Broken Angel and begin its sequel, Broken Promise. That delusion was short lived when I realized that no one was going to pound down the door and demand to buy a copy of my book no matter how well it was written because I was an unknown author.
My advice, start a blog.
What is a blog?
A blog is a short dialog where you discuss a topic; sort of like a diary, but not as personal.
Why should I blog?
What do I talk about?
How often should I blog?
That is up to you, but the more frequent and consistent you are, the larger your following will be.
How do I keep a reader's interest?
Research: I'm including a couple of links to articles that I found useful.
Last Monday my doctor asked where she could buy a copy of Broken Angel. "Well," I said, "if you can wait until the weekend, it will be free on Amazon." She was shocked. "Why are you giving your work away?" Good question, why do authors give their books away?
I'm sure there are many reasons, but mine is simple: I'm a new author and need to build my readership. Sure, readers will see my name or the name of my book on FaceBook and Twitter, but they'll keep scrolling down their feed. Why? Because we have not made a connection. It is the same in the classroom (for those who don't know, I'm a teacher). I can lecture, simulate, and have students replicate, but unless I have helped them to make a connection to something they have learned previously or something they are interested in, there will be little learning and even less enthusiasm. So I need to do something to gain their attention.
Since it is imposible for me to meet every fantasy reader and introduce myself, I'm choosing to give Broken Angel away for a limited time. It is my way of digitally shaking the reader's hand and saying, "Let's get to know each other." If the reader enjoys my style of writing they might stop by my website or visit me on FaceBook and say hello. Perhaps they will read my bio and realize we have a common interest. Either way, we are starting a conversation and building trust. The goal is for a reader to discover they enjoy my writing which leads to them telling their friends and look forward to future books.
So, dear reader, please stop by Amazon May 6 or 7, 2016 , download a good read., and stop by my website to say hello and start our conversation.
Keep it between the lines,
The Reader's Bookshelf is designed for readers to find and interact with authors, and for authors to build their audience.