Writing and marketing your novel: A glimpse from the trenches

July 28, 2010

Day 44 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

 

  • OMG, I’ve gone viral! An example of what can happen when clever meets timely
  • Writing topic – they say “write what you know” but really it’s still who you know that counts
  • Marketing topic – The importance of keywords

 

OMG, I’ve gone viral! An example of what can happen when clever meets timely

 Earlier this week, I promised I’d show how the Old Spice video was linked to libraries. At a social media workshop given by Leanna Cowan of the Alvarado Public Library, Tina Hager of the Little Elm Public Library and Melissa Jeffrey of the Arlington Public Library, they showed the video below of the BYU library spoofing the Old Spice Super Bowl commercial:

 

 

Very clever, right? Now BYU obviously spent some bucks on the video, but I’m sure that if a writer were to put his or her mind to it, they could come up with something similar with low or no budget. I mean, just check out the parodies of the Beyonce video “All the Single Ladies” that I’m sure were produced on the cheap:

 

 

Writing topic – they say “write what you know” but really it’s still who you know that counts

 

This one’s for the mystery/thriller/detective writers. Most of the manuals out there say, “write what you know.” But I’m a firm believer in “know what you write.” For instance, I’m sure all the thriller and mystery writers are innocent of murder, yet they conjure up some of the goriest murder scenes humanly imaginable. How? While they didn’t kill someone, they imagine how to do it. They know what they write. But 9 times out of 10, they talked to someone who has seen grisly murder scenes to suspend their readers disbelief. So, how to do that? Simple. Talk to your friendly neighborhood police officer.

I was talking to a police officer today that knew I was a writer. He said he has always wanted to write a novel about what he’s seen over his 25 year career (It’s an item on his bucket list). Right there is a fountain of information for me and I am a resource for him about the writing process. Win-win, right? Every city and town has a police department. Chances are there’s a veteran there who has some great stories to inspire your writing. Go down to the department and see if you can do a “ride-along” with one of the officers. If they don’t offer that, see if you can join a civilian group that supports the police department. It will take a little time to network, but sooner or later you’ll be sharing war stories over a beer with one of your city’s finest that could be the plot to your next masterpiece.

 

Marketing topic – The importance of keywords

 

What’s a better keyword for people to find a novel in which America’s staggering national debt is used to produce global financial Armageddon: ‘national debt’ or ‘financial Armageddon’? (BTW, if you’re new to this blog, that’s the gist of the plot from my latest thriller, The Brink) Do you think more people are searching for the term ‘national debt’ or ‘financial Armageddon’ these days?  

Keywords continue to mystify me, as they do most people. There’s an art to picking them and timing seems to be the most important part of using keywords.

How do you use keywords? We’d all love to know in the comment section.  

 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

Here’s your chance to rip apart a book marketing campaign and caress its beating heart

July 27, 2010

Day 43 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • A new blog format
  • Writing topic – The Breakup of the US
  • Marketing topic – Amazon.com drops the ebook bomb

 A new blog format

While I created this blog to discuss the adventures of trying to market a book, there’s been some interest in also talking about the writing side of producing a book as well. So, we’re starting a new format here at ND that might just inspire some more interaction. ‘Cause you can’t market something that ain’t been written down, right?

So, for the foreseeable future, the posts will be broken down into two topics – one on writing and one on marketing. As always, comments are always welcome. So let’s jump “write” in with a couple doozies…

Writing topic – The Breakup of the US

Michael S. Rozeff is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York and the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire. He posted this article on the break up of our national government states, i.e. the states shouldn’t be “united” any longer. Now whether you agree with this or not, as a writer, this idea should immediately sets forth a slew of plot possibilities, setting possibilities, etc.  While this article hits somewhat close to home with my latest novel, The Brink, some other questions that popped to mind are:

  1. Could these individual states go to war? Could this spark a war with the other countries that we owe money to, seeing that with no more federal government, there’s no one to pay our massive bills.
  2. Fast forward 100 years. Are certain “staters” restricted from passage to other states. What would that mean in terms of character relationships? (the whole Romeo and Juliet thing)
  3. What if it happened and then one person tried to make the USA come together again? What factions would want to stop him or her?
  4. As far as settings go, would an end to the federal govt mean a beginning of total societal chaos? Would it be like the post-apocalyptic world in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road? Or would it be business as usual?

 Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? Comments? Let’s bring it people!

 Marketing topic – Amazon.com drops the ebook bomb

A recent Wired magazine article stated that, “Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers last month and it sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of this year as it did in the first half of 2009.”

Besides the notion that based on that info, I should change the topic of this blog to “ebook” marketing, rather than “book” marketing, what does the notion of ebooks being the wave of the future mean for our book marketing efforts. Should we stop promoting the hardcovers and paperbacks? Should we even do signings in stores anymore? Or should we concentrate all of our marketing efforts for the ebook crowd? Could there be a way to “sign” an ebook? Or maybe make a video intro for an ebook made by the author that readers could watch before reading the ebook?

Tonight’s topics are like Mike Tyson giving you the one two punch and then chomping on your ear for a bit, huh? I told you they’d be doozies.

 Let the comments begin!     

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…