Kimberla Lawson Roby and Me!

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a book talk given by Kimberla Lawson-Roby. She’s a prolific women’s fiction author who has written over 24 books in the last couple of decades. So when she talked, I listened. I also took notes because, one day, I fully intend to be able to get a hundred or so people in a room to discuss my books and writing process, too!

Kimberla

 


From Kimberla, I learned a few things.

Be yourself. People came to see her because they like her books. But, they also like her. Otherwise, they could have bought the book, read it, and let that be the end of it. She was personable and engaging.

Go with the Flow. The person who gave her introduction mentioned that Kimberla’s husband was her biggest supporter. She used that as an opportunity to share about how she first started out (self-published, by the way!) and to give her personal/professional background.

Know your audience. The event took place at a library that was also hosting a large gathering of authors. She not only spoke about her books, but also specifically gave tips and encouragement for aspiring writers.

Invest in your talent. Kimberla left a well-paying career that she was already established in to pursue her dream of being an author. Initially, she attempted to obtain a book deal with one of the Big 5 and that didn’t pan out. Instead of giving up, or continuing to chase publishing houses that weren’t checking for her, she invested in herself and independently published her first book. Her dedication to writing, marketing and engaging with readers paid off. Eventually, one of the Big 5 came knocking at her door and the rest is history!

Stand by your work. A large body of Kimberla’s work speaks on the hypocrisy of some churches in general, and a man of the clothe by the name of Curtis Black in particular. Some critics took offense at the fact that Kimberla chose to ‘expose’ the church by writing on topics of infidelity, abuse, addiction, etc as it relates to church folk. Kimberla stood by the fact that she wrote what she saw and experienced in some churches. What you choose to write may not always be pretty, but speak your truth and be prepared to stand by it.

Promote yourself. I almost wanted to do a fist pump when she effortless segued from a question that had spiraled into a rather long discussion and gently ushered in the title of her upcoming release. From there, Kimberla proceeded to read the opening pages of her next novel, sharing just enough to wet everyone’s appetite. I’m sure her pre-orders had a spike that day!

Show your appreciation. I couldn’t count the number of times Kimberla made it a point to show her gratitude and appreciation for her readers, the library staff, the book clubs in attendance and everyone who came out in support of her. I always say that appreciation and grace are the marks of a true lady, and I saw that in her.


I thoroughly enjoyed being in the audience that day and witnessing first hand the impact that a single person can have on so many people through her dedication to the art of writing. Writers spend a lot of time alone as a part of the job, but moments of engagement help reinforce that it’s all for a very good reason.

As a reader, what do you most look forward to at book discussions? As a writer, what do you do most hope to accomplish? For me, as a reader I want some back story on the characters, and as a writer I want to be remembered enough for them to buy my book!

 

Why I’m Writing Fearlessly in 2016

Hey y’all, it’s been two weeks since I last checked in. I had my gallbladder removed and the recovery was bruTAL. Had me looking for a Dr. Kevorkian copycat up in here. But, thankfully, I’m well on the road to recovery now.

Anyway, lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what writing fearlessly means. When I wrote my first novel, I wrote fearlessly but published terrified. When the Real Thing Comes Along was never meant to see the light of day. I wrote it for me, without any intent for anyone to read it other than my sister and a few close friends.

fearlessly

When I decided to publish I was anxious, to say the least. I figured that everyone would think WTRTCA was about me. So I painstakingly edited it, hoping that I could avoid the inevitable. When it dropped, of course everyone who knows me saw characteristics of me in Jacelynn, the main character, no matter how much I tried to disguise or deny it. That experience taught me some things.

First of all, writing from a place of fear stifles creativity. Anticipating that others will think that everything you write is about you, and allowing that to hinder you, is no way to live. I’ve finally accepted that everything I write is about me, to a certain extent.

When I pour myself into my writing, it touches others. Readers are discerning, and authenticity has a farther reach than any marketing plan. As I continue to write and build my brand, I want to be known for emotional, heart tugging literature. I can’t do that if I’m writing from a place of fear.

My next novel tackles some hard-hitting issues. One of those issues is emotional eating. Do I necessarily want people to know that when I’m stressed out, anything chocolate makes my world okay? Um, no. But I do want anyone who’s struggling with some sort of eating disorder to know that they are not alone; and that there is hope for them.

AnaisStanding in the light of my truth is the only way I can have a hope of guiding someone else into their’s. For me, that’s what it’s all about. My mantra for the last few years has been “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” That’s what I strive to do every time I sit down to write.

How do you find the courage to write fearlessly? 

Who Else Wants to Be a REAL Writer?

My blogger buddy and fellow writer M. Simone Boyd of My Family Fantastic is here today to dish on everything you ever wanted to know about attending a writer’s conference! She attended one for the first time this year, and she kindly agreed to share her experience. Get ready to take notes and/or bookmark this page because, I’m telling you, this information is GOLD. Enjoy!


Who Else Wants to Be a REAL Writer?

“You should go to a writer’s conference.” That’s what my writing mentor said to me about four years ago.  Until that point, I had implemented every piece of advice she’d given me with great fervor because she’s a REAL writer.

I, on the other hand, always felt like an impostor…kind of like I was faking this whole writing thing. Yes, I write a blog. Yes, I’ve had a few freelance pieces published.  Yes, my Twitter bio says writer.

But, secretly, I lived in fear that one day I would be found out as a fraud. And the thought of a writer’s conference gave me the heebie-jeebies.

My First Writer’s Conference…

That all changed at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference a few weeks ago. There is just something powerful about being with a community of people who are reaching for the same goals, and it was a life-changing experience for me.

I found out about ACFW by internet stalking my dream literary agency, Books & Such. They mentioned in Writer’s Market that they accepted few debut authors. However, the best way to seek representation from their agents was to meet them at a conference.

So, I looked at their conference calendar and selected one. This was my first conference and initially I was a little overwhelmed by reading the bazillion things I needed to do to prepare.

Pre-Conference Preparation

A writer’s conference is VERY different from most other conferences. Because you are going with the intention of “selling” your manuscript. (Some people go just to learn, but most folks go to get something i.e. an agent, an editor, a publisher, etc.)

At ACFW there were editors from Harper Collins, Revell, Howard, Bethany House, Love Inspired, Guideposts, Tyndale House, and a host of others. As a registered attendee, you choose your top four picks for appointments. However, you are guaranteed only one 15-minute appointment with an agent, editor, or mentor.

Editor and Agent Appointments

At that 15-minute appointment, you can pitch your story idea to an editor with the hopes they’ll express interest in seeing your full manuscript. The thing is, a tremendous amount of research goes into learning what interests each editor or agent.

For example, you wouldn’t pitch a suspense novel to a Love Inspired editor…because they generally look for historical romance. The same general rule applies to agents and each agent is looking for something different.

What Editors and Agents Want to See…

Additionally, each editor or agent wants to see different documents during the appointment. As far as I can tell, it boils down to a combination of one of four items:

  • One Sheet – includes an author bio, tagline, and back-cover copy.
  • Book Proposal –a business plan for your book and how you plan to ensure sales success
  • Three Sample Chapters –first three chapters of your finished manuscript
  • Verbal Elevator Pitch –three sentence explanation of book

These materials take a TON of time to write. The great thing about ACFW, is that when you register you can sign up as a first-time attendee and receive emails via the First Timer’s Loop.

Beginning in July, you’ll receive almost daily emails on how to prepare the suggested materials and helpful links. Best-selling author, Brandilyn Collins critiqued each of the first-timers elevator pitches and gave us great feedback on how to make them “punchy.”

Conference

The conference is basically three days. Workshops are organized based on where you are situated in your career:

  • Freshman Courses – some writing experience, little to no conference attendance
  • Sophomore Course – novelists with moderate writing experience, making progress on a novel
  • Junior Course – significant writing experience, benefits those previously published
  • Senior Course –established writers who are contracted

But, attendees can select any workshop they choose.

On Thursday night, there were agent and publishing house panels. Agents discussed what they look for in clients. Publishers discussed what types of manuscripts they are currently seeking. Attendees get to ask questions.

Saturday night there is an awards gala for titles in different genres. Francine Rivers won a lifetime achievement award, and she sat two tables over from me at lunch one day. (But, I was too scared to say howdy to Mrs. Redeeming Love.) The ACFW 2016 conference is August 25 – 28th in Nashville, TN.

The Definition of Success Differs…

I learned that the definition of successful book sales vary at different houses. For example, at Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) 25 thousand copies sold in one year is successful, at Waterbrook/Multnomah 10 thousand sold is the benchmark, and for Lion Fiction its 5 thousand copies sold over a period of two years.

Indie Author Support

There also seemed to be lots of support for indie authors. Both of the authors I met, told me they’ve made more money on their indie published books than their traditional published books. Also, indie authors can submit their books for the Carol Awards if the author has earned $4000 from a single novel in a twelve-month period.

Post-Conference

Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

I’m currently following up with contacts. One of the agents said she’s amazed at how many people she invites to submit full manuscripts that never do.

This doesn’t surprise me, because maybe they suffered from the same impostor syndrome as me and simply couldn’t risk being rejected.

My Main Takeaway…

In the workshop “The Wildness of Writing with God” the speaker explained that “our enemy loves to keep changing the definition of success…so that it never quite arrives.”

That was life-changing for me.

Because I realized, my identity as a writer comes from within and it is not based on some external measure of success that is forever elusive.


M Simone Boyd - Head ShotBio: Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month. But only because she likes to eat gluten-free cupcakes.

Keep up with Simone via her website: MyFamilyFantastic.com


HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A WRITER’S CONFERENCE? IF SO, WHAT WAS YOUR NUMBER ONE TAKEAWAY? IF NOT, DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ACFW?

 

A Lot Can Happen in 365 Days: Three Things I Learned After A Year in Publishing

I’m happy to celebrate with my girl Nigeria as she launches the release of her third novel! Today, she’s stopping by to offer some inspiration to fellow writers and to share an excerpt from her latest book, Tempted to Touch. Enjoy!


Every writer has experienced a day or two (or a month) where all you do is look up at the sky, sigh, and ask the Lord, “When is this thing going to happen for me?”

If you get a publishing deal you start doing the happy dance only to find out that your release date is almost ten months to one year after the date you’ve submitted the book. So, you spend another month with a crick in your neck because you’re constantly looking up asking the same question.

I know this because a year ago this was me. I was anxiously waiting for the release of my first novel, Born at Dawn and two years ago I was waiting for the publisher to offer me a contract.

Now fast forward to join me where I presently am in my writer’s journey; my first novel Born at Dawn won the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction, my second novel, Seasoned with Grace was released in July to some great reviews including a review right here by Faith Simone and in Publisher’s Weekly (Woot! Woot!). I am currently one week away from releasing my third book, Tempted to Touch by my own, yes, my own independent publishing company, Inheritance Books. After only one year in publishing I’ve learned that a lot can happen in 365 days. Here are some of the big takeaways for me:

  1. You are bigger than you think. Don’t let that newbie author status hold you back. Everyone isn’t going to embrace you because they don’t know you, but them being unaware of the gift that God has placed inside of you shouldn’t stop you from strutting through the door. Keep pushing. Try and unlock the side door if you have to, but don’t avoid knocking on the door because you believe you’re too small. I submitted Born at Dawn to the Phillis Wheatley Award competition and Seasoned with Grace to Publisher’s Weekly for review and found out I am bigger than I thought.
  2. God’s glory will open every door. I couldn’t bust through those big doors if it wasn’t for His glory on my life. I took the gift He gave me, and gave it back to Him. He hasn’t let me down.
  3. Listen to the Unction of the Holy Spirit. So, I started this publishing company, Inheritance Books this year, as in 2015. I never considered myself to be a business maven, but while on jury duty I suddenly felt very industrious and started setting up Inheritance Books. After I received my logo I showed my logo to my sister. She liked it, but she asked me why I was creating a publishing company when I already had a publisher. My response was, “I don’t know, but I feel like there’s a hole and I want to fill it.” I genuinely didn’t know why I was doing what I doing until two days after that conversation with my sister when my publisher announced that they were cutting the Christian Fiction line. There was the hole that Inheritance Books was designed to fill and now I’m preparing to publish books that entertain and edify. Starting with our first release Tempted to Touch. We’ll also be hosting webinars (for all kinds of dream chasers) and workshops for authors because I want you to #GetyourInheritance too!

Check out an Excerpt from our first release Tempted to Touch:Tempted to Touch

“Is that…?” Onyjie gasped after flipping my laptop open as I tried to press it closed when she entered my office.

“Yes, that’s Quincy, and this is not what it looks like,” I said, pointing to the screen. The mint green lacquer on her nails gleamed in my eyes making it difficult for me to formulate a good lie.

“I hope not.” Onyjie wagged her head and folded her arms across her chest. “It looks to me like you’re cyber stalking him.”

My head shook from side to side. There was no real way for me to make an innocent afternoon of research appear innocent. “No, I bumped into him this morning. He gave me his card.” This would be a great moment for a genie to pop out and shazaam the card would appear in my hand while Onyjie tapped the toe of her metallic silver booties on the floor waiting to find the hole in my story. I don’t know why she went into accounting after college. She has the entire detective thing down pact right down to the cold stare and twisted mouth.

“He’s in the industry now.”

“What industry? The how-to-get-a-divorce-in-ninety-days industry?” she asked, pointing at Quincy’s almond colored face.

“No, the music industry,” I said, laughing to disguise my guilt. I had not so much as called him and Onyjie already had me feeling like I was committing adultery.

“Girl, please. He’s been in the music industry since you met him like fifteen years ago. It turned out that all he did was hand out flyers for Diddy.” Onyjie adjusted her black and white graphic print A-line skirt and parked a quarter of her thigh on my desk.

“Make yourself at home,” I offered, sliding the laptop out of the way. “All that street team stuff is in the past. Now he’s the boss. He runs MacMusic.”

Onyjie shrugged her shoulders and shook her pepper colored pin curls. “Never heard of it. If, and I stress the word, if, this is a legitimate recording company, what do you think is going to happen? You cut a demo and then you’re going to blow up?”

I lowered my head and focused my eyes on a nick in my new desk to hide my smile. Was I being naïve in thinking that a chance encounter with my former lover was the key to living my dreams? Well, he wasn’t quite a lover. Quincy was more like the love you-leave you-then-love you again type.

Onyjie seemingly caught onto my quiet contemplation, or my poor avoidance tactics, and snapped my laptop shut. “You better let the past remain in the past.”

“I have. It’s been ten years since we’ve even seen each other. I entertained him off and on after we graduated, but once Mason and I got married I cut that off. You’re acting like I went and hired a private eye,” I said, swatting her hand off my laptop and popping it back open. “I bumped into him at Joe’s House of Java.”

“Yeah, and Eve bumped into Satan in the garden while she was picking up lunch.” Onyjie folded her arms and the corners of her mouth into a scowl at the same time. “You think you’re the first pretty girl he’s given his card. He probably has two baby mamas and a girlfriend. Don’t be no fool, girl.”

Do you think Kira is going to give in to her flesh or follow the Spirit?

Pre-order Tempted to Touch here to find out:

Paperback: Pre-order for the Inheritance Books website at 20% off and receive an autographed copy

Ebook: Amazon, Smashwords

For more information about Inheritance Books visit:

www.inheirtancebooks.co

Sign up for our newsletter and receive 3 Keys to Getting Your Inheritance FREE http://eepurl.com/bkYUAH

Follow us on Instagram @inheritancebooks and on Twitter @inheritbooks


nigeria

Bio

Nigeria Lockley possesses two master’s degrees, one in English secondary education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second master’s degree is in creative writing. Nigeria’s debut novel, Born at Dawn received the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home, King of Kings and Lord of Lords Church of God. Nigeria is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters.

Keep up with Nigeria

Website: www.nigerialockley.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorNigeriaLockley

Instagram: www.instagram.com/NewNigeria

Twitter: www.twitter.com/NewNigeria

To find out more about Inheritance Books sign up for our newsletter and receive 3 Keys to Getting Your Inheritance FREE http://eepurl.com/bkYUAH


Faith Simone says: I’m soooo proud of Nigeria! She stays on her grind and does not hesitate to give God all the glory. Her takeaways from her first year as a published author are awesome. It’s reassuring to hear an author speak from the place of their own doubts, yet still having the courage to step out on faith. People rarely admit that part of the process of chasing your dreams is getting weary on the journey. The key is to never give up!

***********************UPDATE 10/27/15*********************

Nigeria is giving away one autographed copy of the book and a $10.00 dollar Amazon gift card. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

rafflecopter

Have you ever dealt with a ‘Quincy’? (Haven’t we all!) What are your thoughts on infidelity? Do you think it’s something people just fall into? Or does the possibility creep in slowly? Do you have any questions for Nigeria about Inheritance Books? Ask away in the comments below.

ERIC JEROME DICKEY’S 6 TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR WRITING POP!

A couple of weeks ago I promised to share some of the tips I’ve picked up at the various writing events I’ve attended this summer. I’ve been hitting these streets hard and I feel terrible about taking so long to drop a ‘lil knowledge on y’all. Charge it to my head and not my heart. I’m a homebody by nature, and I’m past ready to have several seats. But fall promises to be just as busy, so I’ve got to keep grinding and chasing these dreams!

When I attended the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta I had the opportunity to sit in on an interview with two literary heavy weights in the African-American fiction community. Eric Jerome Dickey and Victoria Christopher Murray have both published like a gazillion books and have been in the game for decades. Victoria did the asking and Eric did the answering. Needless to say, I was beyond interested in what they had to say about the writing process.


Victoria Christopher Murray Photo Courtesy of victoriachristophermurray.com

Victoria Christopher Murray
Photo Courtesy of victoriachristophermurray.com

ERIC JEROME DICKEY’S 6 TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR WRITING POP!

  1. Watch A Movie. Yep, that’s right. Get your popcorn, some kind of drank, kick your feet up and watch a movie. But don’t get too comfortable because you’re going to be ‘working’ while you watch. Eric suggested downloading the movie script and studying the movie from the writer’s perspective while comparing the writer’s intentions to the actor’s portrayal. Look for movies and download scripts for free at The Internet Movie Script Database.
  2. Minor Characters Matter. Every single person in your books needs to pop. They need to have personality, special quirks, ways of speaking, etc. No matter how minor the character, if they’re on the page, they need to be on the page. No one is allowed to have presence in your book as filler. If they’re not bringing anything to the table, it may be time to say, “Hasta la vista.”
  3. Move the Dialogue. If you want to speed up the pace of your book’s dialogue, have each character say no more than 5 words at a time. Couple that with each character’s distinct way of speaking and you’ve struck gold! The words will fly off the page for readers and as a writer, you’ll pack a lot of
    Eric Jerome Dickey Photo Courtesy of ericjeromedickey.com

    Eric Jerome Dickey
    Photo Courtesy of ericjeromedickey.com

    information into a scene without a lot of wordiness.

  4. Don’t Slip on Setting. Eric’s novel A Wanted Woman is set primarily in Barbados. To capture the exact feel and layout of the island, he had a taxi cab driver cruise the streets while he video recorded as much as he could. Later, when he got back to his hotel, he would review the video footage and write down as much description as he could. Repeatedly reviewing the video helped make the setting authentic and real to readers, and went a long way towards the success of the book.
  5. Hook Up With A Writer Friend. Get your mind out of the gutter. They weren’t talking about that kind of hook up. Eric said that his book, Milk in My Coffee, came about from an improv exercise he did with a fellow writer. The exercise consists of having an entire conversation in the voice of your characters. No take backs and you have to just roll with it. Recording the conversation can be helpful, but the real premise is to step out of the way and let your character speak. You get a better feel for them, which will help when you’re actually writing the novel.
  6. Avoid Predictability. Plotting can be difficult. Trust me, I know because the struggle can get ridiculously real for me at times. To avoid predictability Eric suggests making a list of all possible scenarios and guesses, then don’t use any of them. Then ask your friends and critique group for possible scenarios and guesses, and don’t use any of those either. Challenge yourself to come up with new twists, new answers, new scenarios. Keep’em guessing and keep’em coming back for more.

I hope these tips help improve your writing process as much as they have mine. Getting the opportunity to soak up knowledge from people who have long traveled the path you’re starting out on is invaluable! As always, I strongly encourage you to make time to attend writing/author events. They’re all kinds of nerdlicious fun and I always walk away feeling like going was well worth my effort.

Do you have any unusual tips for writers? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to help get you out of a writing slump? What author events have you attended that you highly recommend for others? I’m planning my 2016 events calendar and I’d love to have some input!

I Was On the Radio Y’all!

Hey Peeps,

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I had my very first radio interview this past weekend! I was excited and nervous and I’m pretty sure I said ‘um’ much more than I wanted to, but other than that I think I did okay. The host, DuEwa Frazier, was warm and engaging. She made me feel comfortable and asked some great questions; that helped tremendously. So, here it is!

Interview with Author Faith Simone on Rhymes, Views and NewsTalk Radio

radio interview2

Shout out to Your Vision in Ink for obtaining this interview for me. Don’t sleep on the author services offered there!

OAN: I’m on Periscope y’all!!!! Well, technically I haven’t actually done a broadcast yet, but I am a registered user. For those of you not in the know, Periscope is a spin-off created by Twitter that allows users to stream live video to their followers. Think YouTube only live and much more casual. It’s like being invited into someone’s life for brief moments.

periscope-android-download-release-date

So far, I’ve toured an English garden in the UK, saw a couple of live concerts and got schooled on some publishing tips. The one caveat is that the streams are only available for replay for about 24-48 hours. So if you missed it, well… you missed it.  I’ll do my first broadcast once I familiarize myself with the platform a little more. I’m all crunked about it (are the kids still using that phrase?) because the broadcasts are live and I’ll be able to interact with you lovely people in real time! You can ask me questions and send your comments while I’m on the air. Chile, I’m over here feeling all Jetson like and whatnot. Where’s my flying car, ’cause we are doing the dog on thang!

Get yo’ life and follow me on Periscope @FaithSimone2011

If you took time to listen to my first radio interview, first of all thanks! Do you have any tips for me? I have another radio interview scheduled in August. School me now so I’ll have some time to get myself together. 

How do you settle your nerves before doing something out of your comfort zone? Me? I have a come to Jesus meeting, A.K.A. pray like it’s my last time! What’s your one bad habit when engaging in public speaking? 

Book Marketing for Dummies

So yeah, if you read the title and immediately clicked on the link to read this post, you’ve come to the right place. You’re obviously slightly desperate and probably equally clueless, which is why you thought, “Book marketing for dummies? Sign me up!”. The idea for this post came about due to a text message from my cousin and fellow writer Inilya Spencer. She’s a new author and wanted to know if I had any advice regarding marketing. I was all, ummmmmm…nope.

2015-06-10 09.25.20

 

Then I thought about it for a few days and realized that I have learned a thing or two about book marketing over the last year. I’ve mastered the art of ballin’ on a budget.


Start a Blog or Website– To me this seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many authors are out in these streets without a web presence. As in, you go to Google them and all that pulls up is their Amazon book page. For real? Let me check my calendar real quick; yep, it’s 2015. As a legitimate author, you must have  web presence. Whether it’s a blog or website is up to you. But if a reader cares enough to seek you out, you should care enough to make it easy for you to be found. Plus, that blog or website creates a one stop shop for said reader to find all of your books in one place. Winning.

Join Goodreads–This is seriously the single best thing you can do for yourself as an author. In case you live under a rock, and are not privy to Goodreads, it’s a social network similar to Facebook dedicated solely to people who love books! I’ll admit that I slept on Goodreads for a while because I didn’t want the headache of managing another social media platform. I was stupid, but you don’t have to be. Even if your book is nothing but an idea at this point, you should still get on Goodreads quick and in a hurry. Once you’re there, join as many groups within your genre as possible and interact with them. You can use Goodreads to solicit book reviews from readers who actually have an interest in your genre, promote giveaways, drive traffic to your blog, and create ad campaigns, which we’ll talk more about later. Goodreads is so important that I’ll wait while you go there now. Seriously. (Add this to your shelf while you’re there.)

Work Your Social Media Jelly– Again, this seems pretty obvious, but you should have a few social media platforms that you’re comfortable using and are actively engaged in. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever. Pick your poison and promote yourself. Notice I said promote yourself, not your books. Social media is meant to be, well, social. As in readers follow you in an effort to get to know you, not just your books. Engage regularly. Post about random thoughts, family events, cute bunnies, that delicious burger you made or whatever. If you’re doing it right, it should be fun. If you’re doing it wrong, it becomes a chore and you get blocked for being a spammer. I’ve stalked the pros and I’ve noticed that most of them only post about their books when they have a new release or event coming up. Keep it classy and keep it moving.

Postcard Anyone?–As you can see in the text message pic above, I love a good postcard or bookmark. These are oldie’s but goodies in the marketing game. They’re an inexpensive way to promote your book. Get some great ones designed with your basic information and pass them out like candy. I carry a stack in my purse. You can give them away at the hair salon, grocery store, book store, library, gym or wherever. They’re like over sized business cards that you should never leave home without.

20150122_163617

Ad Campaigns–This is one marketing strategy that’s going to cost you a little more than time. Ad campaigns are targeted ads that run for a specific period of time on a particular platform. You pay-per-click on your ad. The good thing about these types of campaigns are that you get to choose your budget, the length of time the ad will run and your target demographics. Some platforms that offer per click ads are Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve only run one ad campaign and I used Goodreads. So far I like it. Using a $25.00 budget I designed an ad that will only be shown to readers that previously rated books by similar authors in my genre at 3 stars and up. This is an awesome feature. I write in Christian Fiction and I listed about 20 other authors in that genre. It’s great that I know my ad is being seen by people who are fans of the genre and who also take the time to rate books they read.

Put Your Book on Sale–Fluctuating the price of your book is a great way to draw attention to it. Make it 99 cents for a period of time and hashtag the mess out of it on Twitter and other platforms. Contact promotional book sites to have them list it during your sales period. List it under the Kindle Count Down Deals.  If you’re only selling your book on Amazon, you can also enroll it in the KDP Select for maximum exposure.  One of the best tried and true strategies is to offer one of your older books for free to help boost the sales of your newer books.

Show Up and Show Out–One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a super popular author who said that new authors should focus on becoming well-known where they live. She admonished authors to keep their efforts local because it’s cheaper, easier and just makes good business sense. Go to every local book related event you hear about. Call up local bookstores and ask them to order copies of your books. Contact your local libraries and offer to host a reading or donate copies of your books. Join local book clubs.  Look for opportunities to showcase your books through speaking engagements and community events. Get out there and strut your literary stuff!

The American Way– Last, but certainly not least, you can always pay someone to market for you. I’m in cahoots with my blogger friend Quanie Miller who has just started her own business which assists writers with all things publishing related. You can pay someone to do the leg work for you and do what we all would rather be doing anyway: write!


I hope this helped get the wheels turning for those of you who don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to marketing. With a lot of effort and patience, you can sell your books. Once I stepped up my marketing game, I’ve watched that little graph on my sales report steadily climb over the last month. As long as I’m selling at least one book a day, I count it a success.

By the way, you can get my cousin’s new release here! Can you tell I’m excited for her in this pic? Excuse the treadmill and random suitcase in the background. I guess we stay ready to go ’round my way.

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What kinds of marketing advice do you have to offer? Don’t leave us hanging! Tell us all about how you get down in the comments below!