Guest Post – Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort? – T R Robinson

Are Character Interviews Worth the Effort?

Guest post by T. R. Robinson

I first came across character interviews here in Alex’s Library of Erana blog. There have been a couple elsewhere but the majority have been here. Now for a bit of honesty: My initial thought? ‘Silly and pointless.’ As a consequence, I simply glanced (not even sped read) through a couple and thereafter ignored them. I now feel a little ashamed. It is not usual for me to make such determinations prior to fully investigating the validity and seeking to comprehend people’s motivations. Why I did not do so in this instance I am not sure. I suspect it may have been I was new to authoring and probably, as most when first setting out on a new career, felt under pressure to complete a work and to interact in social media. Time pressure in other words: there never seems to be enough for all we want to do. Of course, this is no excuse but I hope it helps readers understand.

Character interviews appear to remain a rarity. I certainly see few. Nevertheless, I now take more note of them. One question that occurs: Who are these interviews for? The author or the reader? I would say both. I will consider them in reverse order.

The Reader

Of what interest are character interviews to readers?

  • (Perhaps with the exception of some self-help or scientific books, the majority of readers are looking to be entertained.)
  • (Usually provide further idea of the character’s true nature, aims and goals.)
  • (Provide some backstory details which will enhance the eventual read. Assuming they do go on to read the book the character is in.)
  • (Build interest in and expectations for a story.)

 

The Author

What benefits do character interviews provide for authors?

  • Display writing skill. (Readers do not readily pick up books by unknown authors. These free interviews provide them with an idea of what they could expect from the author’s books.)
  • Avoid ‘padding’. (Able to fill-out character personalities with additional information that would not fit or be appropriate to include in the primary manuscript.)
  • Know characters. (Authors are advised, for best results, to fully know their charters by writing biographies. Interviews go part way, probably a long way, toward this aim.)
  • Refreshed mind. (Continuous writing on the same theme can lead to fatigue and some degree of stagnation. Writing something different usually breaks the trend.)
  • Marketing/Publicity. (Done right, interviews may set a story’s scene and create intrigue and interest in it.)

Of course, the above are by no means the full extent of what readers and authors may gain from these interviews. Everyone is different.

Worth the Effort?

Back to the original question.

Having now admonished and corrected myself, I may unequivocally state, as far as I am concerned, character interviews do have their place in the reading and authoring world. Now, with respect to Alex’s own books: Fantasy is not a genre I usually read, or if I am honest, really enjoy, at least that has generally tended to be my past experience. Nevertheless, I have read and reviewed Alex’s Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends and have to say I enjoyed it. That was in December 2017. I have not read any others since but admit some of the character interviews here have intrigued and inspired me to contemplate reading more in the genre.

So far I have not undertaken interviews for any of my own characters. This is primarily due to the fact I write in the memoir and biographical fiction genre where, most frequently, who the person is forms an integral part of the tale. However, in view of how much I have enjoyed Alex’s character interviews, I may consider undertaking a few for some of the fictional charters I have utilised to enhance the real events within the biographical fiction and short story collections. There, see, I have been inspired. From sceptic I am now a believer.

Thank you Alexandra for giving me this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with your readers.

 

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In addition to authoring T. R. Robinson provides free guidance, tips and ideas for both authors and readers.

T. R.’s Primary Website and Blog: https://trrobinsonpublications.com

T. R.’s More Personal Blog: https://trmemoirs.wordpress.com

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Adventures in Self-Publishing – Marketing 1.1

One of the primary skills needed to sell your book is marketing. Many people don’t like pushy sales people – so don’t be pushy. If little and often works then go for it but if someone doesn’t want to buy your book then, they don’t. Don’t pester folks.

  1. Marketing
  • Marketing (no one is going to buy your book if they don’t know it’s there. Many people don’t like the pushy salesperson (I certainly don’t), but there are ways and means. I took a course (Diploma in social media marketing) with Shaw Academy. This was a bargain – the course is usually a couple of hundred pounds but a friend put me onto Living Social which offers all sorts of stuff at real bargain prices. It has everything from weekend breaks, to courses, to laptops or whatever. As I understand it – they have a small amount at the low price and when they are gone they are gone.  Check out these bargain sites – you’d be surprised what you find.
  • Facebook – There are zillions of pages and groups on FB. Set up an author page (you can do this from your main account). If you have somehow managed to avoid FB then I’m sorry it’s a good idea to get an account. There are lots of groups devoted to blogging, genre books, author groups, writing groups, promo groups – you name it there will be  FB group for it. Join a few – and CHECK THE RULES. Some let you promo, some let you promo with restrictions (once a week/once a day), and some are non-promo but good for advice and networking. Facebook really wants you to spend your money and buy ads. I haven’t as yet – and I have heard mixed reviews on whether it’s useful. But I understand you can spend a small amount to have a small ad. You can promote in some groups for free – but the reach is limited. Prepare to spend a lot of time on social media…
  • Twitter/Tweetdeck – If you are going to use Twitter to promote then get Tweetdeck. It’s free and it makes managing your Tweets much easier. You can schedule tweets, add graphics, and see what you’ve booked in and when. You can attach more than one Twitter account to it.  Does Twitter help? Probably – there are a lot of cross-tweeting groups, and many people follow there.
  • Linked-in – This is more of a professional site – many employers look there. I’ve been contacted via LI more than once about jobs (all of which were utterly unsuitable), but it’s another forum. 
  • Pinterest – I love pinterest. I set up a page for all the interviews and promo from the blog, but mostly I use it for pics of animals, Phantom of the Opera, and random interesting stuff.  Again there are reader and author groups.

There are countless others but keep in mind how many sites you’re going to have to manage. Even with Hootsuite (for FB, Linked in, Tumblr and Twitter) and Tweetdeck it’s still a couple of hours a night for me. That’s two hours not writing…

You could ignore the marketing, do less than I do and it MIGHT work, but then again it might not. Promotion of your book will get you sales. No one knows it’s there – no one buys it. Simple as.

Blogging/Website. 

Set up an author website if you can – again if you aren’t very good at that kind of thing then look for a course or watch You-Tube. There is plenty of free/cheap advice about if you look. WordPress is fairly easy (and free for the basic package), Wix, Squarespace, Blogger etc are other options. Also, set up a blog. My website is the ‘official’ author site – it lists the books, about me and is updated when there is something new. The blog is more informal (and gets more traffic). You can blog about anything – books you’ve written, books you’ve read, your cat/dog/rabbit/degu, plants, recipes or whatever. It’s good writing practice – builds a network of followers who might check out your book(s) and it’s fun. I will say this – pick what you blog about carefully. If you want to go rant about some reviewer leaving your book a 1-star review on Amazon; politics; what someone famous has or hasn’t done then go ahead but keep in mind what goes on the internet stays on the internet. It’s easy for a reader to misunderstand a comment, and if you start bitching then someone will notice and it’s likely to end up with a slanging match – which is public. You’re the author, you’re the brand. Being a jerk can harm this brand. You can’t undo it. I’ve seen authors behave badly – slagging off readers who rated a book low, or making some derogatory comment about a reader’s opinion or intelligence. It didn’t end well.  You have been warned.

 

 

 

Audiobook Narrator Interview – Matt Jenkins

*Name: Matt Jenkins

*Tell us a bit about yourself: Born and raised in a church (literally, in a church – the graveyard was my playground…) I have been reading in public since I was able to see over the lectern. Then I got dragged down the dark path of technology and computers consumed my soul. At least for a while. Then, thankfully, I escaped. Now I’m a Buddhist (much to the chagrin of my Christian folks) and a freelance electronic designer. One side-effect of all the technology is an understanding of audio production, and I am the chief audio engineer for the local Talking Newspaper for the Blind. I also sing in a number of local choirs.

How did you become involved with audiobook narration and production? One of our reading team at the Talking Newspaper mentioned ACX to me one day, so I thought I’d look it up and see what it was. Sometimes when reading a book I’d secretly visualise myself producing it as an audiobook, and ACX has opened that door to me.

Is this your day job? Nope.  As I mentioned above I am a freelance electronic designer. I spend my days sat in front of my computer drawing lines on the screen. Industrial control and monitoring systems are my thing.

Tell us about some of the titles you’ve narrated. Do you have a favourite amongst these? This is a tough one to answer: I have only produced two books so far – The Watcher: A Jack The Ripper Story, and Beyond The Vale, by Kerry Alan Denney.  I’m not sure which is my favourite, as they are like chalk and cheese.  Both have been enjoyable to produce, and good stories that I enjoyed reading.  I hope for many more to come.

Do you have a preferred genre?  Do you have a genre you do not produce? Why is this? Not really a preferred genre. I do, though, think it’s important to enjoy the stories you read. If you’re not enjoying the story it comes across in your reading. You have to enjoy the story to take a proper interest in it and bring the story to life. There’s no genres that I won’t touch, but if the book doesn’t appeal to me I won’t bother with it. Mostly I gravitate towards fantasy and science fiction, but I’m not fixated solely on it.

What are you working on at present/Just finished? Just finished The Watcher. Nothing lined up at the moment, but I do have a few auditions out there – one I’d really like to get selected for is Among The Dead – a Zombie book.

*Tell us about your process for narrating?  (Be as elaborate as you like.) My first book was produced all manually. Lots of reading and re-reading, then cutting up, splicing together, etc afterwards. The editing took longer than the reading. That was the worst part of reading, actually – the editing. So, being a technofreak, I decided to do something about it and wrote my own software to do it all for me. Now the editing is done while I’m reading by the program itself at the press of a key and afterwards is just a brief cleanup to make it sound as good as possible. The editing for The Watcher (it’s only a short story) took about 30 minutes, and 25 of that was just listening through.

What aspects do you find most enjoyable?  Getting to read books I’d otherwise never think to read – and (hopefully) getting paid for it 🙂

What do you find least enjoyable? The post-reading editing. Hence the spiel above….

Have you ever found an author you couldn’t continue to work with? How was this resolved? Not yet. But that’s only after 2 books…

Do you consider royalty share when looking for books to narrate? If not why is this? Yep, I do. Being a freelance designer my income tends to come in lumps, with vast expanses of poverty in between.  With royalty share, I’m hoping to get a little bit of regular income to help smooth over those dearths.

Do you listen to audiobooks? Indeed I do. They’re great to keep the right side of my brain occupied while I’m working with the left.

*With many people owning MP3 players do you think this is the future of storytelling? I don’t know if it’s the future, but it certainly has a prominent place in the future.

Why do you think audiobooks are becoming so popular? They’re great for when you’re commuting, jogging, working, whatever it is you do. You can listen and do other things (which is important in this fast-paced, need it yesterday, world).

Can you remember the first audiobook you owned? Probably a Terry Pratchett (read by my hero Tony Robinson). Sourcery + The Colour Of Magic I think it probably was. On cassette.

If you are an author, do you produce your own audiobooks or do you prefer to look for an independent narrator? Why have you made this choice? I’m not an author (yet).

Has ACX/Audible fulfilled your expectations? (such as earnings, ease of use, workload etc.?) I’ll let you know next year 🙂

Have you ever had a negative experience producing a book? Not as yet.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve had? Pause. Just that. Pause. The silence is as important as the words.

What is the worst piece of advice you’ve had? Is there such a thing as bad advice? If you learn from the experience it’s still positive, yes?

If you could narrate any book you wanted which would it be and why? Well, there’s The Wheel of Time series (Robert Jordan). That’d keep me in work for the rest of my life. I am (of course) a Terry Pratchett fan, but there’s no way I’d be able to match up to Tony Robinson’s readings. I quite like Tom Holt’s works – they combine fantasy with the kind of warped humour that appeals to my twisted psyche. Plus doughnuts.

Please tell us a silly fact about yourself. I spent 3 months living in Sweden when I was 4. When I came home, and started school, the teacher asked: “Who can count to 10?”. I put my hand up, stood up, and counted to ten, perfectly. In Swedish. Ett, två, tre, fyr…

Where can we learn more about you? I keep my personal life off the internet. But you can check out my company site if you like: https://majenko.co.uk

Social Media links: Social media is a mug’s game. You won’t find me on there. Twatter, Basefook, etc – not for me. I value my sanity, and I don’t need the rest of the world to tell me I’m fat: I already know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life Of Laurie Boris – writer and editor #Meetanauthor

 

Welcome to Laurie Boris

Please give us a brief outline of who you are. (no more than 250 words).

I’m an enigma wrapped in a pair of yoga pants and a T-shirt, with a secret yearning to go back in time and become either a stand-up comic or a chef. Otherwise, I’m just trying to enjoy my life as a copyeditor and fiction writer.

You’re a writer/editor – how is this reflected in your typical day?

Wearing a few hats means I have to be mindful of my time and energy. That includes keeping myself as healthy as possible, with regular exercise, stretching, and a good diet. If I’m working on my own writing, I’ll do that first thing in the morning, since that’s my best window of creativity. When I’m doing client work, I make sure I’m giving it my best focus. Everything else gets fit in around that.

Do you work at another job? If so tell us about fitting in the writing/cover design/editing.

I do. I work part time as a web content editor at a small community college. It’s a great place to work and my colleagues are terrific. My hours are flexible, so I’ve been able do my freelancing and my own writing around the job.

How do you fit in ‘real life’?

Real life? What is this real life of which you speak? I try to fit in a little fun once in a while and spend time with my husband, family, and friends. I like movies and baseball and swimming. And one important lesson I’ve learned from freelancing and self-publishing is that most tasks take longer than I expect. So I try not to schedule myself down to the minute.

What is your ideal working environment?

Total silence, with a cup of coffee at my side. Sometimes I’ll play an app of nature sounds. That’s very soothing and can sometimes improve my focus or help me transition from one project to another.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Gluten-free oatmeal with almonds and fruit, usually a banana. I don’t feel right if I miss breakfast—it messes up my energy for the rest of the day.

Links/samples/etc.

Thank you so much for letting me visit! Here’s where you can find me:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/laurie.boris.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LaurieBoris

My website: http://laurieboris.com

Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/laurieboris

Writer Wednesdays – Guest Post – T. R. Robinson – Who Do Authors Write For?

Today we welcome Tanya Robinson – who discusses the following topic:

Who Do Authors Write For?

It would seem many authors and writers (authors to the extent they are authoring a product) forget they are not generally writing for themselves. Having said that, it has to be acknowledged there are a variety of different takes on the topic e.g. some feel it is only correct to write what they want without consideration of others; others say writing should be entirely geared toward the anticipated audience even compromising upon content to satisfy them; others suggest an amalgam of styles. Of course, in varying circumstances any of these, or a combination, may be appropriate. Nevertheless, this post is intended to be pragmatic and realistic.

When anyone writes, author or not, it is usually for others to read whether it be a book, letter, article, post etc. Consequently, authors/writers need to consider, phrase and frame their writing from the readers’ perspective. It is very easy for them to get so caught up in what they are doing as to forget who they are putting pen to paper/fingers to keyboard for. This, for the readers at least, can often lead to uninteresting, dry and irrelevant narrative, commentary and dialogue which will do no one any favours. Fundamental to authorship, which is what is primarily being discussed here, is the desire for others to read the end product. The author who writes purely for their own entertainment is truly a rarity, an inspiration and a challenge to most.

Despite the above comments and observations, when it comes to books, though other forms of writing may be included, all should, at least in principle, be writing because it is what they want to do and not because they seek fame or wealth. Naturally most authors would love their books to become bestsellers but to only write with that motivation can lead to distorted, poor quality publications. Make no mistake, readers, on the whole, are not ignorant, foolish people; they will quickly note when something is below par. Nevertheless, despite all that has been said, it must be acknowledged, as a general rule, authors want their books to sell; scriptwriters want agents, producers and directors to take up their ideas; newspaper and magazine columnists want their articles read; letter writers want the recipient to comprehend all they have to say; etc. Consequently, though they may be writing out of a genuine desire to do so, most will also, inevitably, seek to formulate their writing to achieve their aim.

Regrettably there are books where it is clear the author has got caught up in their own thoughts. They understand what they are writing and expect their readers to have the same comprehension without giving thought to whether they have the same background knowledge or experience. It is really easy for authors to fall into this trap; to get carried away with what they know forgetting others will be approaching the work with different perspectives, knowledge and experience. People’s comprehension of a phrase, idea, concept or word is frequently subject to their background; social, cultural, national, religious. However, it would be a minefield to try and take in all the various possibilities. Overall, authors and writers should constrain themselves to writing within their own national understanding. It is more than likely, if a reader has chosen their book, they are either from the same national or cultural background or have a good comprehension of it.

Now to the nitty-gritty of the subject. It is not easy for an author to step back from their ‘baby’ and view it from an others perspective. Most just want to get on with ‘their’ writing and not be bothered by such distractions. Some may even be so arrogant as to consider the requirement to consider others, primarily the reader, trivial; hopefully those who think like that are a minority.

So what does it take to write for readers?

  • Research what readers want, whether it be in books, films, blogs or even letters.
  • Consider the reader’s background, if possible.
  • Authors should be aware of how things they read impact upon them; what they like and what they do not and why. They need to learn from this.
  • Erase or limit superfluous words, phrases and descriptions, which may make sense to them and their circle of acquaintances but are not in wide popular use.
  • Treat readers with respect: give them credit for being intelligent individuals.
  • If the writing is specific, bear in mind the age, and as far as they can know it, the knowledge and experience of the people they are writing for.
  • Avoid narrative or dialogue that talks ‘down’ to the reader.

These are just a few thoughts. No doubt readers of this post will think of other aspects that should or need to be considered.

One observation, regarding fictional works in particular, though the point may be extended to other genres. A book will distinctly benefit if the author is able to view the story as a film in their head. Characters, dialogue, scenery, etc. can all be based upon what they see and as a consequence may be more discernible for the reader. This is not something all writers find easy, though most, if they relax, are able to gain something from such vibrant imaginings.

The crux of the matter is simple: authors and writers should make time to stand back from their writing and take an objective view, endeavouring to see it as a reader will. If they really find they cannot do this, they should get a friend, acquaintance, editor (if they have one) or a reader to have a look. If they do not have anyone they could try asking their ‘friends’ and contacts on social media, perhaps somewhere like Goodreads. There are usually several people willing to participate in, and assist with, such ‘beta’ reading i.e. this is similar to testing  new on-line sites and systems but of course, in this instance limited to reading.

Naturally, as with anything, there are exceptions to the general rule. Some tales and stories need to be told in the author’s own style. The work may not become popular but it has to be acknowledged many interesting works would have been missed if some authors had not the courage and determination to write in the style they considered most suited their work e.g. James Joyce; William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac; etc. Sometimes a story has to be told in an individual style.

Whatever the circumstance, and no matter the style adopted, authors need to remember who they are writing for. They must avoid tunnel vision and accept, in most cases, they are not primarily writing for themselves.

T. R. Robinson is the author of memoir and biographical fiction. More about her, her writing and life may be found at https://trrobinsonpublications.com

1000 posts! Blogging and its merits

This is the 1001st post on this blog. Hurrah! OK, so I know some folks post way more than that, and I don’t post every day but when I began the blog I wasn’t even sure it would last ten posts.  New content is welcome, and followers don’t want the same old articles, or hear moaning every day – that is what Facebook is for…

I try and keep a mix, and hence the gaps. Also some days there is simply not enough useful content. I am sure most of you don’t give a damn I wrote 200 words, or saw a squirrel in the garden, or had a cold. I don’t know – do you?

So what’s happened over the last thousand posts:

Author interviews – many, many author interviews from a whole range of folks in a whole range of countries, writing a whole range of genres – fantasy, historical, science fiction, biography, books for kids, LGBTQ fiction, paranormal, romance, poets, black fiction, erotica, literary fiction and multi-genre.

Character interviews – I must say these are my favourite interviews. We’ve met gods, demons, vampires, demi-gods, an undead horse, heroes, villains, animals, men, women, gay folks, straight folks, folks who aren’t sure/bothered about that sort of thing, aliens, royalty, slaves and more.

Cover artists, narrators, editors and, of course, readers.

I’ve posted guides to Self-Pubbing on KDP and audio books; reviews; text speech and the evolution of language; the challenges facing authors and readers who have lost, or are losing, their sight; course reviews (historical fantasy, magic in medieval Europe, writing, social media marketing, Roman history); articles about how useful reviews are (or not); Hell Week promoting the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell series (look out for Hell Week 2017; Monsters and Myth; Greek Mythology; the influence of Fantasy in our society; Guest posts about research; important military anniversaries; Thunderclap. And information and news about my own books.

Blogging has brought me friends, useful contacts, a wider pool of resources (very useful – it’s amazing what you learn whilst looking for other things), and led me to look at articles I wouldn’t else have found.  Blogging has taught me the uses of social media. Not to mention the wide and supportive network of indie authors out there, the challenges we face and the joys and successes of writing and publishing. It can be daunting and lonely, especially when new to the arena, but the world of social media, is large indeed. And blogging can bring promotion, laughs, support, information, advice and a field as wide as the world if used correctly.   It’s also a good diary, a good way of processing thoughts and organising things (unless you’re me) and a good sounding board.

Yippee for blogs! May there be many more posts to come.

 

 

Ebook Bundles

I’m in the process of uploading all of mine, so I’ll post up if and when I get selected.

D J Mills Writer

Have you thought about participating in eBook Bundles?

BundleRabbit.com sells eBook bundles at all eBook distributors as well as on their own web site.

I have heard good things about BundleRabbit, so uploaded Rider, the first in my Tracker Series, to see how the process worked. And have been selected for an upcoming bundle.

View original post 912 more words

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

Originally posted on Ruth Nestvold – Indie Adventures: I am finally (finally!) compiling my “Starting Out as an Indie Author” series into a book, and since I started this weekend, I’ve noticed a couple of things I still need to add. Since the first part of the book revolves around the question, “Is Self-Publishing For…

via Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

KDP and Publishing – a Noob’s Guide Part 3

(C)A L Butcher

It never ceases to amaze me how people (often quite intelligent people) don’t bother to read things beyond what they want to see. Where I work (won’t mention the name) I’m forever yelling things like RTFM (read the f*cking manual) as no one has bothered to read past the first line of the email telling them what is needed, and more importantly how and when. And public wise – honestly – read the bloody info!

KDP-wise – check out the forums BEFORE you ask that question that has been asked a thousand times before. I’ve said it before READ THE FAQ. PLEASE. Years ago when I ventured on the Lulu forums as a noob I got totally roasted as I asked noobie questions and certain folks there really were NOT helpful. Anyway general the KDP folks are but it becomes very tedious with newbies asking the same questions as the person 30 seconds before.

Also if you want advice – then don’t fly off the handle if you’re given it and don’t like what you’re told. There are hundreds of threads asking about why books don’t sell, why the reports are ‘lying’, why the big bad Zon are diddling hardworking authors out of their money and mostly it’s bollocks. There are a number of active forum members who are happy to offer advice, point people towards the relevant FAQ area and try and help, but bitching to them as they’ve told you your book needs more work, or you haven’t registered your bank account etc, and getting snarky is likely to piss people off and remove said advice in the future.

So why isn’t your book selling? There are millions of books available on Kindle, and thousands more are uploaded every day. Why should anyone look at, or even find your book, or mine for that matter?

Reasons:

Promoting and marketing are not Amazon’s job – it’s yours. And it’s hard work, it takes time, patience and a certain degree of luck. There are tons of threads asking for advice on how to go about this. What works for one person might not work for another so there is a lot of trial and error. Here are some of the tactics I use and have used but there are plenty of others:

Author interviews. Get yourself on blogs and spotlights. There are hundreds if not thousands of blogs that will offer interviews, features and spotlights either free or at low cost. (This one for a start).  Obviously, there is some effort in this – you have to search around to find suitable blogs – genre related is better but some people do offer to any genre. Ask the host what their following is – what you get – especially if you are expected to pay.

https://princessofthelight.wordpress.com/ – is a great promotional site. The hosters are friendly and although the author does have to pay, it’s worth the money. At roughly $11.50 a shot, it’s within the budget of newbies.

Get your own blog/website. Currently, we are working on a website to companion the blog and promote my books. It’s useful to have a website – especially if you have more than one book. You can pay, or try and make your own for low cost  Try WordPress.com, Wix.com or squarespace.com. I think a blog of some sort is a must. For a start it allows you to network – and this is really important. Generally, indie authors are a supportive lot and will reciprocate.  Also, a blog is a space for readers and followers to get to know you (ditto author interviews). It’s not just about the books.  Some people say it takes time away from writing – well yes and no. It does take time away from stories but you are still writing, and honing skills. It makes you think about what to write, who your audience is, what is interesting, what isn’t. Of course, many bloggers use their space to share research or topics that interest them. I’m big on research and I think this also gives the reader some confidence that the author knows what they are talking about.

Facebook: It’s worth getting an author/book page on Facebook.

Here’s mine https://www.facebook.com/LightBeyondtheStorm

Recently I took a foundation diploma in social media marketing and one of the modules dealt with Facebook and ads. I haven’t used a paid ad there yet (I may next year) but there are plenty of free groups that allow promotion. Some people say FB isn’t a good platform – I disagree. I’ve bought books directly from FB promotions and I’ve made good friends and good contacts from FB.

Twitter: I wasn’t a fan of Twitter and held off getting an account for some while. Does it help? Yes, I think so. It’s a good platform to get the word out.

Why else might the book not be selling?

It’s crap. Of course ‘crap’ is a relative term but generally, I mean it’s badly formatted, badly written and well, bad. We’ve probably all seen them: those books in which the English language and grammar are distinctly lacking and a plot is absent or scraped from the internet. Now every author thinks their book is great, but it’s worth making sure it’s well written, formatted properly and (preferably) edited.  Do you have a decent cover? A decent synopsis?

KDP don’t have a quality check – that’s your job as well, at least in part. Formatting guidelines can be found here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A12NQC9HQPI9CA

I find formatting for Kindle a lot easier than the other formats but with a decent knowledge of MSword it’s not that tricky. If you don’t have a good grasp you may be better to hire a formatter. (That might be a service on offer from us next year) or search the interweb for sites.

It’s worth remembering it takes time to build a following. Very few indie authors release a book and it’s a best seller in a week. It can take years.

There’s a particular poster on the KDP forum who tells newbies to write what sells. If you’re like me you can’t simply sit down and say ‘ah romance is hot this week – I’ll write a romance novel’. Well, I can but no one would want to read it. Besides what is popular changes. Tastes change.

It annoys me – substandard ‘popular’ trash uploaded quickly with no care for the reader. There’s a reason indies have a bad rep. Grr.

What I’m rambling about is basically – it takes time, patience and works to sell books. The writing is easy (sort of). Do the best you can with the resources you can spare.

KDP Support Contact https://kdp.amazon.com/contact-us

Guest Post – Now What?

Today I welcome Dylan Callens to the Library of Erana where he chats about some of the challenges facing the new author.

What to Do Next

I’ve finished my first book.  I have one month to prepare before its release while my editor diligently works away at what I hope are my last few grammatical and punctuation errors.  That leaves me one month to navigate through the insane world of social media, to build some kind of audience before its launch date.  Where do I even start?

I have several ideas; I’m not green when it comes to web design or working on social media platforms.  I’ve promoting things online before with varying degrees of success.  I even purchased a book to help me with online marketing.  Alas, I am only one person trying to build a website, tweet interesting tweets, post amusing Facebook content, network on Goodreads, and create articles for other blogs.

Shit, I think to myself.  Should I create a book trailer?  Should it be shot using live action?  I know how to shoot and edit good video, so maybe I should.  Then I calculate the amount of time it will take me before I would be happy with such a project.  Ten hours, minimum, for a one minute trailer, I figure.  That is ten hours where I am not actively networking.  With only four weeks until launch, how will I fit that into my already congested schedule?

My attention turns to setting up accounts for distribution.  The usual suspects: Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks.  I’m leery about iBooks but I’m not sure why.  Then I notice Amazon’s button for KDP Select.  Some research is required.  On the surface, if sounds like a great plan, except for the part where I can’t sell my ebooks on any other platform.  More reading.  Some have success, some do not.  I can’t decide.  I shelf the idea for the time being.  I still have a few weeks, I’ll figure it out later.

And then there’s advertising.  Where do I advertise?  What is my budget?  I have a little money squirreled away for that but I’m not convinced that it’ll be enough.  I figure that I will be throwing money into a pit.  Yet, I need to get my name out there.  I read a great post about advertising on Amazon that suggests it is a profitable endeavor.  Does that mean I have to enroll in KDP Select to use it?  And what about Goodreads?  That seems like an ideal place.  But those ads look so cheap.

My head is swirling with ideas.  There is no clear path.  I sit up, take a deep breath and try to clear my head.  There is only one thing I can do, I figure.  Put my fingers to the keyboard and start on something.  Anything.  I will keep writing.  Timelines aren’t that important right now anyway.  As long as I keep pushing forward, I will be fine.  As long as I can contain the fear of failure, I will persevere.  When I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of work that is ahead of me, I will have to re-center myself on the idea that as long as I am working, I am doing the right thing.  Making mistakes will only delay success, not stop it.

Dylan Callens is a high school teacher in Sudbury, Ontario. He is the author of, Operation Cosmic Teapot, which will be available on Amazon on December 11, 2015
Web: www.cosmicteapot.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heaveninctheseries
Twitter: @TheNitzsch