Friday, March 25, 2016

Break Out That Wallet - Marketing Your Book Is Getting Expensive

It used to be pretty cheap to self-publish and market your books, but not anymore. I could order my books at a reasonable rate, along with business cards, and get interviews and advertisement for a 25.00 giveaway cost of a gift card to Amazon. Times have changed.

Between Facebook Ads, reviewer lists, marketing class, a website, and all the swag, I'm going broke. The only thing I can do now is hope it pays off in the long run.

I remember articles about self-publishing for free and posting on your fan page reached all your fans. Ah, the good old days. The fact is, that's now gone by the waste-side. Everyone wants money.

I wish I had better news, or could give you tips on doing it cheap, but I don't. The fact is the competition is fierce now and if you want your books to shine, you will have to pay for it. Not only financially, but with your time.

I do have a few suggestions to help you get the word out, but none of it is free, well in the long run. If you plan to only sell digital copies of your book and share it to Facebook, Twitter, and the like, you won't get very far. Sure your close friends and family might buy a copy, but the one's who don't have a Kindle will be out of luck. And don't depend on those people to spread the word for you. They have lives too.

So, what do you do? 

My biggest tip - build an email list. It's actually free! 

But that's the only thing that's free, other than uploading your digital copy to Amazon. Here's the thing - the only way you will be ahead of the game, is with lots and lots of reviews. And the only way to get those is through the people that have read your books and don't mind taking a few minutes to write one. 

But that's where the email list can really benefit you. If you manage to build relationships with your readers, in time, you will get those reviews.

Now the downsides - it takes time to put out a newsletter and keep track. And you need to have a landing page for them - usually your best bet is a website. Although some use their blogs. 

I don't suggest just having digital copies though. Printing paperbacks can benefit you in many ways. You can't go to book signings without them, or conferences. You need them for your launch parties, and you never know when you will meet someone and they want to buy a signed copy. So, therein lies the cost. Once you start doing these signings, you need to have business cards, bookmarks, maybe postcards. 

And if you really want to get the word out, then you will need to do guest blog interviews, including the ones that charge you, Facebook ads, and the list goes on.

So be prepared to pay out some money. And be prepared to giveaway your books and swag. It's like the old saying, it takes money to make money.

If you're interested in other marketing tips, leave me a comment. I'm more than happy to give you some ideas and share what I have learned lately.

Until next Friday, have a great weekend everyone and a Happy Easter. Don't forget to check out my free Fable giveaway on my website. If you like urban mixed with epic fantasy, then you'll like Fable! You can find it here:  

Love, Lisa

Friday, March 18, 2016

Battle Scenes 101

One of the most daunting scenes a writer faces it how to write an engaging battle scene. It is tough to choreograph the positions and skills of the fighters. To write it so the reader can really see it. It is definitely one of my Achilles heel.  

So, since I even have a hard time with this, I thought maybe we could delve into it and it will help all of us. 

First - read how other's do it. Lately I've been reading a lot of fantasy fiction and when I get to the battle scenes I tend to skim. To me, they're boring. It's like trying to describe sex - there's only so many ways to do so. 

I decided this time I will study the different techniques other writers use and if they felt engaging. I found the ones that worked were the ones that our hero is losing, and have some emotion. You actually worry for the character. Those are the scenes you want to write.

Second - Don't write pages, upon pages of battle. I know people expect fantasy fiction to be nothing but fight scenes, but if the reader is anything like me, they won't like it. I don't suggest you make the book all about a war. Maybe instead, about a war looming. 

You can still have places throughout the book where your main character meets face-to-face with an enemy combatant. This way you are still writing a fight scene and it's not as overwhelming for the reader. 

Third - You can only write what happens through you POV's eyes - You can describe the actual battle scene as the character is looking across the expanse, but when it comes to the actual fighting, you can only describe what the character is doing. 

Don't jump to another fighter's head. It will only confuse the reader. Now your POV character can look over and see what his friend is going through, but not too much detail on that since he/she is in the middle of their own fight.

Forth - See the fight scene in your mind before describing it. - This is where the choreograph comes in. How the swords meet, the skills, such as a parry, twists and turns, lunges etcetera. Write it out step-by-step before cleaning it up. It needs to make sense and ring true. You want to make sure your reader can see the action in their own head.

Fifth - Add emotion - Your reader will want to know what the character is going through. Is he afraid? Is he embolden? Is he trying to get to the village to warn the others? 

And last, but not least, don't forget the senses - Use the senses to describe the smells, sights, and even tastes of battle. This brings the scene to life. Make sure to add some dialog, too, otherwise it's like reading info-dump.

Well, I sure hope these help you when writing a battle scene. I know this is the toughest fight scene to write. Whether it is a mystery, thriller, fantasy, even a fist-fight, there is an element of skill to writing any type of fight scene.

One more thing - don't forget I'm giving away a copy of Fable on my website. I sure would love to have you read it and let me know what you think. 

Enjoy Fable and I'll be back next week!

Love, Lisa

Friday, March 11, 2016

Free Download Of My Book - Fable

Last Friday I posted at the end of my blog that I have an announcement coming - well here it is.

I am giving away a free download to Fable. Yes, you heard right - FREE! I'm sure you're saying, "What's the catch?" Well, it's as simple as signing up to my newsletter. That's it. No big deal. Why you ask? Because I want to be able to send you news about my books so that if you are a fan, you will be informed.

I'm hoping that there are those of you who look forward to the next book in the series and the ones to come. I promise I won't bombard you with newsletters in your email, just when I feel I want to touch base with my fans they will know the latest, and greatest information.

So go to my website - and put your email in the little box that pops up. I will send you a free download in your email. You click on it and follow the directions. The digital download will work on most devices. That's it - all there is to it. 

I hope you enjoy Fable if you haven't read it yet, and I hope you then purchase Lore to continue on Stevie's journey. Each book's pace will get faster, bigger, better. She will discover the truth behind this hidden new world.

I look forward to having you on board and getting to know you better. If you ever have any questions, ask away. I'm more than happy to answer them.

Update: Lore is in the last bend. I am almost finished with the last revisions! It won't be long now and my plan is to have it published in May. So be ready - it will so be worth the wait!

I hope all of you have a great weekend and excellent week next week. Until next Friday, enjoy Fable and please let me know what you thought about the book!

Love, Lisa

Friday, March 4, 2016

Switching To The Other Hat

Lately I've put on my business hat, the one we writers usually don't like to wear - but is a necessary evil if we ever want to get our hard work out to the masses.

Yes, I've gone and done it. I hired a marketing guru to help me out with sales. Although Bryan would probably be too humble with the title of "guru", he really is a great teacher. 

It has been a long, slow road getting Fable out to more people. One of the issues I've dealt with is depending on my readers to spread the word. I had to learn the hard way that they have lives too. So, I took the plunge.

I am hoping once I get through the course that my sales pick up, especially since Lore will be out soon. Yes, it will be a shiny new book, but Fable is the first in the series and needs to be constantly marketed. And poor Fated - out there - alone on the proverbial Amazon shelf - just waiting for readers to check it out. (Really, go check it out. You might find you love it!)

But in all seriousness, it really doesn't matter how wonderful your book(s) is, it's the marketing that will make you or break you in this self-publishing business. That and reviews. I can't say enough how important chocking up reviews is. It can literally be the "All" in your rankings with Amazon.

Now, maybe you are saying, I'm not putting my book on Amazon. Well, you might as well not publish it then since the majority of readers look there first. And even though I have some serious issues with Amazon's KDP program, it is the best way to get out there - that is - as long as you have a lot of reviews.

Unless you have a magical system that pulls people to your books, you will need help in social media, and marketing. There are a few authors out there that figured it out and are doing great, I'm just not one of them. Not to say I haven't put in a lot of hard work and time, it's just a tough part of sales that usually we writers aren't that great at. 

So think about it. If you really want to help your sales and learn another way to deal with marketing let me know. I'll send you in the right direction.

But for now, I must get back to watching the required videos and learn some more about bringing my books to the forefront.

Next thing - taxes ...

Take care all and have a wonderful weekend!

Love, Lisa

PS. I will have an announcement soon, so stay tuned...