To celebrate the publication of Baby Bailino this month, I’m conducting my first #AmazonGiveaway! You can win one of 3 copies of Baby Grand. All you have to do is click here for details. There’s absolutely NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The giveaway ends on Sept. 8, 2016, at 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. (Official Rules here.)
Why do a giveaway? There are lots of reasons: to find new readers, to create excitement. I conducted a Goodreads giveaway in October 2012, and more than 1,000 people entered. And like Goodreads, Amazon really does make it easy to set up your giveaway. Just pick the number of copies you’d like to give away, how you’d like to give them away (random, lucky number, etc.), set the duration of the giveaway, and you’re off!
Will my sales increase as a result of the giveaway? Ah, that’s the magic question, isn’t it? And the answer is: I don’t know. But I believe it’s worth checking out all the tools we indie authors have at our disposal to get the word out about our books. The more people who know about us, the better, and this is certainly one way to achieve that objective.
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.
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.
Well, here I am, my sequel sitting in its hypothetical drawer, and me anxiously waiting for a month to go by so I can dig back into it for a thorough edit. It’s like waiting for Christmas to come. Or maybe a route canal, I’m not sure which. New ideas keep flooding my mind during this downtime, and I’m doing all I can to try and remain detached from other intriguing creative ideas I have (jotting them down, of course, in case they turn out to be something) in order to focus on the upcoming task. When I emerged from my Drawer Limbo the first time, with Baby Grand, I was ready to breezily edit the book, but found myself miserably stuck on the first page for an entire day. It wasn’t pretty. Hopefully, I’ll be able edit this time around with ease (she says with a Homer Simpson-style d’oh!). I think I did a thorough first draft, but who knows? I guess I’ll find out May 1. Bring on the Novocaine! What have you been up to this month?
We talk a lot on this blog about just doing it — getting that novel written, setting aside time and energy to sit at your computer and peck at that keyboard until your fingers blister. It looks easy — you know, just type words and stuff — but anyone who’s tried to write a book knows that it’s damn tough. Kind of like parenting: You forget how tough it really is until you take the plunge again.
Recently, I had the honor of collaborating on a parenting book with former Navy SEAL Eric Davis titled Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught to Their Sons (St. Martin’s Press, May 2016). The collaboration was everything I always hope a collaboration to be — fun, interesting, and challenging, a project that pushes my limits as well as my collaborator’s in order to produce the best book we can. And I think we did that. (And to think, we wrote that puppy in 90 days!)
Eric recently wrote about the experience in a SOFREP blog post in which I had the honor of being called a “badass” (does it get any better than being called a badass by a Navy SEAL, the ultimate badass?). But that’s what you have to be in order to write a book. A badass. A person who doesn’t give up when the going gets tough, when the right words are elusive, when the editing never seems to end. As Eric says: Identify your objective; stalk your target, even when in doubt; collect intel; and convert that action and info into mission success. Whether it takes you 90 days or 9 years. (I added that last part.) He did it. I’ve done it. And you can too. Because you’re a badass. As Eric likes to say: Get some.