We Interrupt This Program...
Sorry, the troll has gone gallivanting around being...a troll. We'll get her back and writing after the holidays!! Thank you for your patience :)
The Ladder of Awesomeness
I came across Avinash Kaushik and his ladder of Awesomeness! I had to share!
If you want to see his 9 steps of Awesome...travel HERE!
It's as simple as you see it above.
1. Build a website.
2. Make it mobile.
3. Collect emails.
4. Run some ads.
5. Do some promoting.
6. Get social.
7. Promote in your niche.
9. Reward your true fans.
Now we all are probably doing 1 - 7 but 8 & 9?
Automate? How? Get a VA, hire someone part time.
Rewarding true fans will require some thinking, questions and socializing with your base. But I know you can think of creative ways to reward your people.
Action Item: Double check to see if you are on the ladder of Awesomeness!
Tuesday's Tools: Rafflecopter
Monday I spoke about Rafflecopter and now I'm going to explain what Rafflecopter is for Tuesday's Tools.
Rafflecopter claims: Rafflecopter is the world’s easiest way to run a giveaway.
And they are.
It takes 5 minutes (3 in their estimation) but it really could be 2 min. if you have everything ready to go, to set up.
What it is: A internet place/code to giveaway an item for promoting your brand.
What you do: Sign up (for free) fill in a form, get the code, paste that code anywhere. Collect emails.
It's fun, it's smart, it's easy and it promotes you.
Seriously. I signed up--gave my name, my email, provided a password, proved I was human and put in my website URL. I was in!!
Now for the giveaway.
1. I nicknamed the giveaway.
2. Chose my prize.
3. Adjusted how people can enter.
4. Plugged in when it started and when it stopped.
5. Agreed to TOS.
6. Got the code.
7. Pasted the code into any element that takes HTML.
Done! Below is an EXAMPLE!! If you do happen to push the button don't come crying to me. It's an EXAMPLE that I did poorly--on purpose.
This version is FREE ~ but you can add a picture and other neat tricks by upgrading. There are two upgrades - Blogger $7.99/month and Business $59.99/month.
ACTION ITEM: Go to https://www.rafflecopter.com sign up and try your hand at a giveaway! Don't forget to promote it, just like anything else!
Rafflecopters and Promotions
Rafflecopter has been one of the most pinnacle tools in getting emails. Each time we run one of these, our email list grows! Take for instance this Rafflecopter...each time we run one we get another 200 or so emails.
Those people in turn will get notified before anyone when the next book is out. They feel on the up and up and launches are so much easier! Wonderful way to drive our marketing campaign and gain fans!
ACTION ITEM: Try your hand at a Rafflecopter paired with a special event!
Friday Fun: Word Count Pit Fight
Okay, NOT that I'm pitting my authors against each other because all my authors appreciate each other--but I've been concentrating on work count lately.
Naturally I wondered what my authors PUBLISHED word count was for 2013.
So below I've got the low down. Remember, this is for 2013 published works. It's also an estimate because I quickly ran through the word count of the whole book--legal wording & all.
ACTION ITEM: Tell me your word count for 2013!
Author Patricia A. Knight
Affectionately called: PAK
Hers To Command
Hers To Choose
Hers to Cherish
Total Word Count: 215,378
Author Carol McKibben
Affectionately called: Mom
Word Count: 60,827
Author John Daly
Affectionately called: My etiquette guru
The Key Class
Word Count: 47,024
Affectionately called: SNM
Lady Alene and the Widower
But For You, Yes
Cougar Bait in the Coffee Shop
The Demon Inside Me
Escape To Vampire Dam
Word Count: 46,791
Affectionately called: Ushci
Inspire Your Day
The Seeds Will Sprout Somewhere
Word Count: 13,824
Ramblings of A Mad Publisher
I thought of titling this one Ramblings of A Mad Publisher because plans don't always go the way you want, leaving you to scramble.
Uploading my authors books on different platforms is the challenge and fun of my job.
I knew it might take a year, but we've decided to move forward with the audiobook of Patricia Knight's Hers To Command...
Please by all means tell me what you think about the ACX options. Have you had success with the 50/50 split?
I read a post from Roxane Gay and thought...I want to answer these questions for my own sake. So here are questions in black (from Roxane) and answers in green (from me~Stephanie McKibben, Head Troll of Troll River Publications):
1. “Are you a good literary citizen?”
According to Roxane, literary citizenship is “the importance of remembering that no one is alone in the writing world. Conduct yourself as such.”
Don’t burn bridges. Get out of constant self-promo mode. Join a community — and help out.
Well, I contribute here which I consider a community where people can take or leave as they like. I also belong to a few communities in which I post when I can. So, I say yes.
2. “Are you more invested in the business of publishing than the practice of writing?”
Concentrate on writing first. Publishing, and all the gossip and who’s-who that it involves, should never distract you from producing the best work possible.
Well...I am a publisher but, I avoid gossip at all cost because it's disruptive and destructive. But I work on publishing everyday whether it's writing, putting a book on a platform, marketing, interacting with fans, etc. I tell all my authors to write what they want to write because they are story-tellers, not genre writers. Okay, some want to be genre writers, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I don't want them to feel boxed into writing what they don't want to write. I publish it all. I believe in their writing skill not their genre skill.
3. “Is your writing ready to be submitted? Will you stand behind your work not only today, but well into the future?”
Many writers are embarrassed by their early work.
Don’t be in a rush to publish. Wait a while before submitting your newest piece. Revise the thing until it’s something you’re proud of.
Uhhhh...yes, it does have to be something your proud of...but I have writers that love the book they wrote this week and then hate it tomorrow.
If I followed this advice my authors might never want to give me their MS. No, we aren't in a rush but you'll be a better writer tomorrow--are ya gonna wait 20 years to publish that book until your Hemingway ready?
How about put out the best book you can today. You can pull it from the platforms tomorrow.
4. “Are you willing to be critiqued and/or edited?”
Good readers can often see your work more clearly than you do. You’re too close to it and need some outside perspective. Open yourself up to the sometimes-painful process of critique. Listen.
I'm very open as a writer on critique. I have wonderful word-bashing critiqer's. They rip it apart and put it back together again with me. I have enough confidence to understand that some of my experiments are not going to work. Some of my author's are sensitive souls, but they also get the importance of critique.
5. “How will you deal with failure?”
You will be rejected. Don’t take it too personally. Just get smart about your submissions, send your best work, and hope for good results.
I deal with "failure" by writing another story or editing a story. In truth, failure just means it didn't turn out the way I thought it would and the outcome was undesirable. The word "failure" isn't used around here much.
6. “Are you reading diversely?”
Read “beyond your comfort zone,” as Roxane says — both in terms of aesthetics and demographics.
The wider your reading, the more empathetic your writing.
Have you seen my catalog? Let's see...From Unconditional Love, to Etiquette and back to Sugar Kink Ink...I'm pretty diverse.
7. “Are you taking risks?”
Experiment. Take some real chances. If you fail, no one has to read it! As poets are fond of saying, “no surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”
Does starting a business in a recession count? How about the time I released The Demon Inside Me...that is rather...risky I'd say. And I published it. Author Patricia A. Knight would tell you I took a risk publishing her books. She'd been turned down for Hers To Command and was convinced it was crap. It's the book that created her following. I'd say we are taking risks. No box for us. Even the company name "Troll River" invites risk. What would you say?
8. “Do you believe in your writing?”
As Roxane says, “if you don’t think you’re producing writing worth reading, why are you publishing?”
Doubt might serve you well when writing and revising, but self-deprecation is the last thing you want to bring to an encounter with an agent, editor, publisher, or group of readers. You don’t have to be a braggart, but present your work with confidence.
It's right there in our motto: "We BELIEVE in our authors...We Love our readers." I think that proves enough.
You can view the original article here!
Tuesday's Tools: Word2Kindle
Upfront honesty...I have purchased ($27) this tool, but I have yet to use it.
I just thought I might pass along the info in case this is something you might be interested in.
What it is: a formatter for kindle.
Now, understand, I'm a word aficionado. Inputting my author's word document into kindle doesn't scare me. I am the rare case of word user that understands the messy language of .doc files. I have zero problem navigating my author's manuscripts and turning them into kindle ready files.
My technique is with ease of cutting roses. Yes, there are some thorns and I get caught in them sometimes, but mostly, I enjoy the intricate pedals of Microsoft word.
You? Maybe not so much.
Which is why I'm directing you to Kinstant Formatter for this Tuesday's Tools.
Here is the lowdown directly from their site:
Here’s what you get with Kinstant Formatter:
Get your books uploaded in just a few moments…
1. No software to download or understand…. this is a web-based tool that works on PC’s AND Macs…
2. Future-proof all of your books… do the work ONCE and only ONLY… because KinstantFormatter is using the ONLY tool Amazon has promised will work indefinitely…
3. Publish your books in any language (We have happy users publishing in Spanish, French, and Greek so far…)
4. Upload many file types – we support doc, docx and odt
5. Make this VERY easy for your readers. This eliminates page breaking on black and white Kindles, makes bullets look GOOD, adds links in the Kindle’s “Go to…” menu for the cover, table of contents and NCX (location map), respects left indentations in your source documents, and respects and exists bookmarks “toc” & “start” from previous attempts to use KDP.
6. Upload images with no problem. Books with a few illustrative images – that are not overlapped – look GREAT… (Though fair warning: Image-based or fixed layout books are NOT our specialty).
Images are automatically resized, optimized and compressed to ensure the lowest file size possible. (This is important as your file size can have a huge impact on royalties.)
We also add a white background to transparent images so that they look as great as possible.
7. Your readers’ first impression, the Table Of Contents, is created in a breeze…. (with up to THREE levels per T.O.C.!)
8. Create placeholder covers which can be updated at any time…
9. Receive premium support -KinstantFormatter is well known for a high level of customer service that you simply cannot get from the open source stuff out there…
10. Keep your books a secret. As soon as you upload your file, it’s deleted by the server. We’ll never see what you create.
You might be asking me Steph...if you're a word wiz, why'd you buy it? And, I'd have to answer: Because correcting some formatting issues can be very time consuming and in the future, I may not be the one formatting my author's books. My VA might be doing it. Good to have the tool now and learn how to use it.
Again, if $27 is too much and you want to fight the good fight with word, no worries! It's just an option.
ACTION ITEM: If it sounds good, go on over to http://kinstantformatter.com/ and check it out!
Marketing Plan Review
Every year I review the marketing plan for the upcoming events. This is about the month I update, commiserate and consider doing again!
January 1st, 2013 is the official day we started publishing. So it will be a year. It was also a whirlwind. Amazed I'm still standing, grateful for all my authors, and still sticking to my principles of being an Author's Advocate, I charge into 2014 with a better perspective and new things I want to try.
What I've learned is:
KDP Select ~ New authors that don't mind exclusivity might want to try KDP select. It isn't the end-all-end-all as it use to be, but it does get you reviews and some new readers.
Mailing lists need to be use wisely. Determining what the mailing list is for will help you create and maintain a mailing list.
Promotions don't have to cost money. You can do a Facebook only sale but paid promotions work. Promoting doesn't have to mean shouting your work everywhere. Promotions can be blogging, guest blogging, articles, tweeting for others and engaging your audience.
Measuring efforts counts! Where did those sales come from? Wouldn't you want to repeat that? It also falls under who your audience is. Find them--or let them find you.
I was tempted to post my marketing excel spreadsheet--but I think it might take another year to streamline the process so it makes sense. When I send it to my authors they go color blind with all the different blocks of highlighted text. Perhaps next year!
Action Item: Get your marketing/promotional efforts organized and ready to go!!
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
Books on Kindle