When I woke up this morning, a second book trailer was the furthest thing from my mind, but I had some free time and — like the first book trailer — was able to put this together really quickly, in less than a half hour (with a little help from my tech guru, my oldest son). As I often discuss in this blog and in my classes, indie authors need to take advantage of whatever tools they have at their disposal to market their books. A little creativity goes a long way in social media circles. So put on your thinking caps! This video was put together using Microsoft PowerPoint and YouTube and cost me nothing but a few minutes of time. Would love to hear your thoughts!
As you work on self-publishing your book, you may want to consider getting a blurb or two. What are blurbs? Words of praise or reviews from another person that go directly onto your book cover or flap. Their purpose is simply to convince readers to buy your book. People like to read books that are liked by other people, so if a popular author gives a book an endorsement or her stamp of approval, that author’s legions of fans are opt to get on board and buy that book.
Who should write a blurb for you?
Well, there are no rules, but there are three good candidates:
- Well-known author in your genre (fiction)
- Well-respected individual in your field (nonfiction)
How do you go about getting a blurb?
It’s easy. Create a list of potential book blurbers — maybe 7 or 8 — kind of like a list you would make when applying to college. Divide the list into “reach” (blurbers who are probably hard to get, like celebrities), “match” (those for whom you have a good shot a landing a blurb), and “safety” (people very likely to provide you with a blurb). And then simply go down the line and ask each one. The great thing about social media and the internet is that anyone is accessible.
Remember, of course, to always be courteous and to make sure that you’ve spelled the person’s name correctly and that your request carries no typos or grammatical/punctuation errors. (I believe written requests, in the form of emails, are best. Also, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to find a telephone number for someone famous.) The worst that could happen is that person will say is no, but he or she might surprise you and say yes. At the very least, even if the person declines, he or she will remember your name.
I humbly asked David Baldacci to blurb my new book, Baby Bailino (he declined), but his associate remembered that I had asked four years earlier for Baby Grand (as you can see I tend to never give up). My hope is that the third time will be the charm.
It’s so thrilling to see a new author hit the scene. I had the pleasure of meeting Judy at an event I did in Scarsdale, N.Y. I’m so glad to see she has found her “someplace.”
The Scarsdale Library’s 2016 Festival of Writing by Judith Abelove Shemtob
The Scarsdale Library Writers Center marked its 2016 Festival of Writing on June 12. Sixteen authors read aloud their pieces to an audience of forty-five. I was one of them, a member of the Scarsdale Morning Scribes.
I sat in this same Wrexham House at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville two months ago to hear my critique group leader read from her recently published novel The Last Dreamer. I wanted to show support and understand more about being published.
The only seats remaining were in the last row. My fingers touched the clip holding my story together. My husband joined me.
My name was listed seventh in the program. I knew some people but not others.
The reading began. Many authors thanked Jimin Han and Barbara Solomon Josselsohn, for leading the three writing groups at the library.
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After I wrote Baby Grand, I decided to write a stand-alone novel, In the Red, before I tackled the sequel. I tend to do that, even if I’m reading (and not writing) a series — I concentrate on a work that’s completely unrelated, and then return to the next book in the series. I find that the distance creates a little perspective and pushes me more to think about the characters and plot lines and what they mean before I plunge back in.
I finished In the Red after a looong four years, and, unfortunately, realized that it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It needed some major revisions, and I decided that, rather than doing that, which would take quite some time, I would instead start writing Baby Bailino, the sequel to Baby Grand. This was in late 2014.
In spring of this year, I finished Baby Bailino. So now — as I prepared Baby Bailino for publication — it was time to move onto my next book, which, based on history, would be something completely different from the series I was working on. Right? However, In the Red had so many issues, which freaked me out, and had taken so long to write. I didn’t want to wait four years to start the final Baby Grand book!
I decided (isn’t it fun making these arbitrary decisions?) that it would be best to start writing the last book in the Baby Grand series immediately instead of doing something unrelated. Perfect. Sounds like a plan. I would start writing the next Baby Grand book right away.
And then I watched an old Tommy Lee Jones movie.
I have a certain affinity for suspense movies made in the 1990s. I don’t know why. I turn them on whenever I catch them on TV. The Fugitive. The Firm. Primal Fear. Anything with Ashley Judd. I tend to find my greatest inspirations there. (Baby Grand, in fact, was inspired by Robert De Niro’s character in Heat.)
This 15-second video was a cinch to put together. All I needed was my book cover, some type, and some fade-in animation, and the quick PowerPoint was complete. Converting the PowerPoint to video took some time, only because my particular version of PowerPoint didn’t have that easy “Create a Video” button that the newer versions have. Luckily, my college-age son had the most recent edition, so I emailed him the PPT and he created the MP4 in, literally, minutes. Then he zapped it back, and I uploaded the file to YouTube, added the music (free, courtesy of YouTube, which asks that you credit the music authors in your description), and voila! A cute little promo video. Then, using a YouTube Downloader app, I downloaded the video, so I am able to use it in other forms of marketing, like here. :) Such a great time to be an indie author!
I’m so THRILLED to premiere the cover of the sequel to BABY GRAND — BABY BAILINO — coming out this fall! I decided to go with a more literal interpretation for the cover this time around, rather than conceptual, like Baby Grand’s. I’m sooooo happy with it. I think it really captures the flavor of the series. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Well, after a month of rigorous editing and a thorough proofread, the manuscript for the sequel to Baby Grand is off to be blurbed and copyedited. As of yesterday, I finalized the eBook cover, which will be revealed later this month, and audiobook cover, and then it’s time to have the interior of the print version laid out and designed. So exciting!
As I work on producing this book and preparing for Pub Day in the fall, I am reminded of how much I enjoy the self-publishing process, how much I love making the creative and business decisions that pertain to my book, everything from cover design to price. As an author, it’s so important to invest time and money (as much as you can afford) into your book and treat it like a product, particularly if, like me, you’re not one of these self-published authors who likes to tinker with her books — fixing typos or changing cover designs — once they’re finalized and uploaded. I do everything I can to get things right the first time.
And that means shelling out some dough. I spent about $3,100, when all was said and done, to publish Baby Grand four years ago in all its formats, and it’s looking like it will cost that much or more to produce the sequel. (Note: I made my investment back on the first book and then some — and still going. Fingers crossed that I will do the same with the second, or else the third book — yes, there will be a third book! — might be published on tissue paper.)
As an author, I want my books to look and read a certain way. I want to be proud of them. And I want readers to be proud of them, too. Readers deserve authors — traditionally published, self-published, or otherwise — who put their best foot forward, whether they’re being funded by a major publishing company or a piggy bank.