PPW News

Book Launch Marketing – What Works and What Doesn’t

Readers, today we have installment number eleven of Jason Henry Evans’ series on How to Write and Publish Historical Fiction.  Today he shares book launch marketing, what works and what doesn’t.


OK today we talk about the digital book launch and the things you have to do to make your book financially successful. Now I am going to say some controversial things to say about common ideas about book launch marketing and it might upset you. So this is your trigger warning. 

Things that don’t work

Kirkus Reviews. Among the professional writer community, receiving an excellent Kirkus review is a mark of status. It means you have literary chops. It means you have arrived among your peers as a well thought of writer. 

However . . . 

The vast majority of book readers don’t even know what Kirkus is. They go to Amazon, they look at the section called “Customers who bought this Item also bought . . .”  and the peruse titles like the titles they’ve already bought. 

Look, if you really want a Kirkus review, go get one! But please do not think this is going to help book sales. 

Spamming Private author FB sites or any other sites. Dude. You’re just going to piss people off with this. Stop it. If you’ve been invited into a private fb author group, please know that blasting the same old add about your book is only going to upset people. Besides, why are you trying to sell to other authors? Sell to readers, not authors. 

Book launch parties. Unless your Diana Galbadon or JK Rawlings, planning a book launch party should be a fun event to celebrate you. I have gone to these things to be supportive of other authors. Some will buy $400 in hor d’ourves. I went to one where we got free, premium beer! These parties are great and you should have one. But if you spend $600 bucks on a book launch party, how many books will you have to sell to break even? 

These activities are about you, the writer, celebrating your hard work. You should do them, if you want to. But disabuse yourself of the idea that these things will help you sell books. 

What does work? 

Getting reviews. Many authors use a lovely little tome called The Book Reviewers Yellow Pages by Christine Pinheiro. This book is updated every year. (Currently on edition 8) What I love about this book is it has an extensive list of websites that actually give reviews on new books. If you get twenty to thirty of these websites to read and review your book a couple of wonderful things happen. 

First, your book is now in front of their audience. These are readers from all over the world who now know about your book. They trust these websites and will probably go buy based off of their recommendations. You now have an audience. 

Second, the vast majority of website reviewers will also write a review on Amazon. This is HUGE. Everything I’ve heard from authors is that fifty reviews on Amazon seems to be the magic number. If you can get those from these book review websites, that makes selling your book a lot easier. 

Send out a press release to the sixty or seventy sites you want to review your book about 2-3 months before you launch. Actually read the details in The Book Reviewers Yellow Pages of each website so you know when and how to submit your book copy. (Most take digital copies, a small few only take physical books. Do your research.)

Sign up for Instafreebie. This site is for whale readers. (Readers who will read your entire back catalogue.) If you put up a novella, a long short story, or a chapter or two of your novel on this site, readers will download it and read it. Are you getting sales? No. But you are getting publicity. You can even ask that readers surrender their email address before downloading your piece of historical fiction. This helps with your mailing list, which helps with your sales. 

Write your next book. I was recently at the RMFW conference and I met author independent  David Gaughran. He said something author Susan Spann and others have said before. The biggest marketing tool you have is your next book. Constantly write. Constantly publish. The world is changing and there are readers out there who won’t even consider your book unless you have two sequels out. They want to get to know characters over the long haul. 

Writing multiple books, regardless of the genre, will capture your reader and get them to buy more!  

 


Jason Henry Evans:  Life is funny. In 2004 I moved from Los Angeles to Denver, newly married with a desire to be a great teacher and husband. I dedicated myself to public education and realized my heart was not in it. So I moved on. At the same time I stumbled into a creative world of art and literature I now call home. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worthwhile.

Like my Author Page on Facebook: Jason Henry Evans

Follow me on Twitter: @evans_writer

Read my personal blog at www.jasonhenryevans.com

 

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Is the Time Ripe for Multi-Genre Fiction?

Is the Time Ripe for Multi-Genre Fiction?

Today we hear from Steve Janss, who’s Dead in a Red Dress can be classified as a dramatic, suspenseful thrilling political spy novel, and more.  Steve shares with us the facts of genres and multi-genres, today and in classical literature.  In addition to working on his second novel, Steve leads the CS Writers group in Colorado Springs.  You can find out more about CS Writers at the end of this post.


What Genre is Your Novel?

“What genre is my novel?  Why, it’s a multi-genre techno-thriller!  No wait…  Let me explain…”

If this resembles a conversation you’ve had, I might not be alone.  Have you ever been told, ” ‘Multi-‘ is not a genre — you have to focus your work into a specific genre, or agents and publishers won’t know what to do with you.”  In an age when most movies and TV shows cross genre lines at will, combining science fiction, suspense/thriller, and action-adventure onto the latest silver and LED screens, I had to ask myself, “Why is the multi-genre approach still not respected in literary fiction?”

Although puritanical gatekeepers will burn you at the stake for crossing genres in fiction, we writers desire to combine elements of multiple genres in our fiction the same as we see being done in other media.  Doing so provides a rich increase to our creative pallets, and if we like it, our readers might like it, too.

Genre, Subgenre, Microgenre, NanoGenre…?

Classic lists of literary genres typically include comedy, drama, horror, fantasy, realism, romance, satire, tragedy, and mythology.  Naturally, as do all good things which have been analyzed to death, these break down into about 21.3 billion genres, subgenres microgenres, etc., so one must be very careful as to whether or not their protagonist’s brown plaid jacket seams were hand-sewn in Surrey using a blanket stitch or in neighboring Berkshire with a wrapped backstitch.  While the truth isn’t quite that bad, I recently discovered my first novel, Dead in a Red Dress, isn’t the murder-mystery I had envisioned after all, but rather, a multi-genre novel with the following taxonomy:

Genre:  Drama

  • Subgenre:  Suspense Fiction
    • Microgenre:  Crime
    • Microgenre:  Detective
  • Subgenre:  Thriller
    • Microgenre:  Political
      • Nanogenre:  Spy Fiction

Thus, it looks like it’s still of just one genre, albeit of multiple subgenres.

Taxonomies of literary genres have grown increasing complex, numbering a couple dozen or so in the middle of the 20th Century to more than 300 today.  If you think that level of hyperfocus is a bit too constraining, you’re not alone.  Even so, many writers and most books on writing continue reiterating the same thing:  “Pick a genre and stick with it.”  With so many genres out there, however, it’s nearly impossible to write a novel that stays in its lane.

 

Multi-Genre Fiction is Not New

Fortunately, articles such as Considering Alternatives: Multi-genre Literature and Multi-genre Writing (Scully, 2008) remind us that award-winning multi-genre fiction isn’t exactly new.  Robert A. Heinlein, for example, has won the Hugo five times, with eleven nominations, even though most of his novels are a mix of science fiction, romance, political, thriller, and even western genres.

So, do you want to allow yourself to be stuffed into a nice, tidy label, or do you want to write about that for which the masses are hungry?  I prefer the latter, and I hope you do, as well.  Even so, we still live in the real world, and if we want to be published, we need to adhere to at least a few standards, including those involving genres.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t write a book that fits into multiple genres.  You can, and public demand has long been dragging the publishing industry in the multi-genre direction.  Readers like it because it’s fun, and people everywhere are usually willing to pay for fun, so until someone crafts a non-purist reason for always coloring within one’s genre lines, be creative and pass the popcorn.


About CSWriters:

CSWriters meets for camaraderie, study, and critiques at 6:00 PM every Friday night at Agia Sophia Coffee Shop.  Guest Speaker Jeff Gerke will be joining us to discuss his “Hack Your Reader’s Mind,” October 27th.  Find CS Writers on Facebook or at CSWriters.com to learn more.


Steve Janss went to high school and college in Virginia before serving our nation in the Air Force.  He holds advanced degrees in management and business administration, and has been running CSWriters for nearly three years.  He is currently writing Body on a Cold Beach, the second of five novels in a series.

Quote of the Week Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, born Helen Fiske, was an American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the United States government

Helen Hunt Jackson, born Helen Maria Fiske on October 15, 1830 in Amherst, MA was orphaned as a child and raised by her aunt. Jackson was sent to private schools and formed a lasting childhood friendship with Emily Dickinson. At the age of 21, Jackson married Lieutenant Edward Bissell Hunt and together they had two sons. Jackson began writing poetry only after the early deaths of her husband and both sons.

Jackson published five collections of poetry, including Verses (1870) and Easter Bells (1884), as well as children’s literature and travel books, often using the pseudonyms “H.H.,” “Rip van Winkle,” or “Saxe Holm.”

Frequently in poor health, she moved to Colorado Springs, CO to take “The Cure” for respiratory illness on her physician’s recommendation. She met and married William Sharpless Jackson in 1875.

In 1881, Jackson became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the United States after hearing an 1879 speech by Chief Standing Bear.  In 1881  she wrote A Century 

of Dishonor, an exposé of the rampant crimes against Native Americans.  Her work led to the founding of the Indian Rights Association. In 1884 she published Ramona, a fictionalized account of the plight of Southern California’s dispossessed Mission Indians,.

Helen Hunt Jackson died on August 12, 1885, in San Franscico, CA and is buried at the Evergreen Cemetary in Colorado Springs, CO.  She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

(portrait of Helen Hunt Jackson Courtesy of New York Public Library)



Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog, is an engineer by trade and a writer by passion. Her published works included government studies, textbook credits, research abstracts, training manuals and poetry. She has extensive experience in website design and maintenance, blog content and management, and SEO. Gabrielle has put words to paper since she could hold a crayon and currently writes speculative fiction, humorous short stories, poetry, and literary fiction. You can reach Gabrielle at editor@pikespeakwriters.com.

 

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Coming This Week

On the Blog:

Pikes Peak Writers Blog features the next installment of Jason Evans’ series on Historical Fiction.  Jason provides some candid insight on what works (and doesn’t) for successful book launch marketing.  Look for this piece on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

And in Colorado Springs:

October Write Brain – Writing Disable Characters

Monday October 16, 2017 6:15 – 8:15 at Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (get directions)

What: Writing Disabled Characters

Who: Abby J. Reed

When: October 16th, 6:15 – 8:15pm – Note: This is a Monday! Temporary day of week change due to library reservations

Where: Venue@21c (upper floor, to the right if coming in the upper entrance) of Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80920

More Information: With more agents and publishers looking to support diversity in their lists, come learn the do’s and dont’s of writing a disabled character. Learn about The Spoon Theory, The Stages of Grief, Tropes to avoid and why, the role of medication and therapy, portraying your character as a holistic individual, and more.

About the Presenter: Abby J. Reed has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL, released in April 2017 by Soul Mate Publishing and is the first in a trilogy. Abby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint. Find her online at www.abbyjreed.com.


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog, is an engineer by trade and a writer by passion. Her published works included government studies, textbook credits, research abstracts, training manuals and poetry. She has extensive experience in website design and maintenance, blog content and management, and SEO. Gabrielle has put words to paper since she could hold a crayon and currently writes speculative fiction, humorous short stories, poetry, and literary fiction. You can reach Gabrielle at editor@pikespeakwriters.com.

 

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Events this Week

  • Pikes Peak Writers is committed to helping writers grow and thrive through education, outreach, and community.Some of our events are for members only, some are open to the public.  Membership is free and its easy to join, just click here.

    Write Drunk, Edit Sober Oct 11, 2017 — 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

    Location: Bar K 124 E Costilla St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (get directions)

    Please join Deb Courtney for Write Drunk*, Edit Sober on the second Wednesday of every month. We start at 6:30 PM will run until approximately 9 PM. It is located in the lower level of Bar K in Downtown Colorado Springs.

    The basic format is improv writing followed by discussion of critical techniques useful in unpacking improv responses in order to further develop them.

    Bar K is located on Costilla, between Tejon and Nevada.

    This event is no host, which means Pikes Peak Writers will not be providing the drinks. Alcohol/soft drinks are available for purchase. There is no food service; owners have graciously agreed to allow outside food/snacks. Please be courteous and leave no messes.

    This event is only open to writers who are at least 21 years old.

    Hope to see you there.

    * Pikes Peak Writers does not endorse or approve of drinking to excess. Please, if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, drink responsibly.


    Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

    Gabrielle V. Brown, Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog, is an engineer by trade and a writer by passion. Her published works included government studies, textbook credits, research abstracts, training manuals and poetry. She has extensive experience in website design and maintenance, blog content and management, and SEO. Gabrielle has put words to paper since she could hold a crayon and currently writes speculative fiction, humorous short stories, poetry, and literary fiction. You can reach Gabrielle at editor@pikespeakwriters.com.

     

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Quote of the Week Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert, (8 October 1920 – 11  February 1986) was an American science-fiction writer noted as the author of the best-selling, Dune, considered a classic in the science fiction genre.

Prior to the success of Dune, Herbert worked as a journalist, photographer, and book reviewer.  Early in his career he sold pulp adventure and romance short stories to magazines. He began writing science fiction in the early 1950s had his short stories were published in Startling Stories, Astounding Science Fiction, and Amazing Stories.  

In the Dune series, Herbert tackled such themes as ecology, evolution, genetic manipulation, and mystical and psychic  possibilities.

Dune, was rejected 20 times before publication in 1965; the novel went on to sell over 12 million copies. The Dune Series became a movie, two television series, and video games. Herbert’s estate has recently released studio rights to Herbert’s work. According to Variety, Legendary Films will film a new Dune movie, screenplay by Eric Roth and directed by Denis Villeneuve.

 


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog, is an engineer by trade and a writer by passion. Her published works included government studies, textbook credits, research abstracts, training manuals and poetry. She has extensive experience in website design and maintenance, blog content and management, and SEO. Gabrielle has put words to paper since she could hold a crayon and currently writes speculative fiction, humorous short stories, poetry, and literary fiction. You can reach Gabrielle at editor@pikespeakwriters.com.

 

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Fall in Love with Your Story

Readers, I introduce to you to Samantha Crane, a recipient of a Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2017 scholarship.  We ask those who benefit from our scholarship program to share a bit about their experience at PPWC.  We hope to see Sam back next year ready to pitch!

Each year, the Pikes Peak Writers organization offers a limited number of scholarships to aspiring writers who could not otherwise attend the Conference.  Since 1993, scholarships have been made possible by generous contributions from friends of PPW and participants of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and we thank those donors.   Scholarship applications for Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 will be open beginning in November 2017.   More information is available here.

The next Pikes Peak Writers Conference  is April 27-29, 2018 in Colorado Springs, CO.

Gabrielle Brown, Managing Editor


I arrived at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2017 ready to quit writing. I had not worked on my manuscript for ages and I had begun to hate it. While at the conference, the most amazing thing happened. I fell in love with my story again!

After four years of my manuscript waiting for me, I came out of this conference weekend with a bare-bones outline for my first book. I was even able to come up with concepts for two more books, taking this idea from hated and ignored to a trilogy that I am excited to work on. I really can’t pin it down on one “aha” moment because every second spent at the conference was building back up my love of writing. Of the 14 workshops I had the opportunity to attend over the weekend, two really stood out to me.

 

Impactful Sessions

The first was “Writing Worlds That Work” with Carol Berg. She gave us so much information that I filled nine pages worth of notes. Ms. Berg covered everything from the definition of setting versus world to the background of your world–that is what is 

happening around your character–to keeping your plot unpredictable. Ms. Berg even gave activities to complete so we would grasp the concepts better. 

The second class that stood out to me, perhaps because of my own manuscript idea, was “Designing Magic” with M.H. Boroson. With his help I was able to better define and make sense of the magic within my world. Instead of having a vague idea of there being magic, I now have ideas to make it an impactful part of my current manuscript.

 

Writers Encouraging Writers

While I loved the workshops that I took and the speakers had such helpful information, I have to say that it was the people that were there that had the most impact on me. From the very first day when I sat down at the query help desk to the final meal on Sunday, I was encouraged by everyone I spoke with. The most common phrases I heard during the conference, and probably the words that will stick with me most, are “just finish it” and “you will finish it”. 

The conference was not all work, however. In our down time we were able to talk with other authors, editors, and agents. We had opportunity to get favorite books signed and shop for new additions to our collections. One of the most fun experiences was the costume dinner. It was wonderful to see so many people dress as beloved characters. The dinner had contests and prizes and is something I will be looking forward to every year.

 

Turning Point

This conference was a drastic turning point in what I can now call my writing career. I would suggest that every writer, even every person that has a story in mind, attend this conference. You will come away with not only a deeper understanding of writing and its techniques, but you will also receive encouragement by the ton, ideas, and maybe a few new friends. Take the chance, you won’t believe the change this conference can make in your life.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying thank you, Pikes Peak writers conference 2017, I wish the conference could have lasted longer.


photo of Samantha Crane

Samantha Crane lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. She is first and foremost a wife and mother, who has joyfully taken on the  additional responsibility of homeschooling a preschooler and a kindergartener. In her free time Sam likes Fiber Arts such as crocheting, knitting, and has even tried her hand at spinning and dying her own yarn. Sam began reading when she was 4 years old but never really tried to write fiction until she was an adult. She is now currently working on her very first novel that combines her love of the Fantasy and Mysteries genres with a bit of Horror. Sam is hoping that she will be able to finish it and have it ready for editing within the next year, preferably in time for the next conference.



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Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

The Missouri Review’s 27th Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction is now open for submissions. First-place winners in each category receive a prize of $5,000, plus a feature in our spring issue and paid travel to a gala reading and reception in Columbia, Missouri. Contest finalists will have their work considered for publication at our usual contributor rate of $40 per printed page.

This opportunity is open to both emerging and established writers—we are most of all concerned with finding strong work, which is why I particularly wanted to pass on the word to writers involved with your organization. I would very much appreciate it if you could let folks there know about our contest by posting the attached fliers somewhere where they’ll get attention—such as your group’s Facebook group or page—or by forwarding this information to any email lists or newsletters that might have an interest. All writers submitting to our contest receive a one-year digital subscription to the Missouri Review (normal price $24) and a paperback copy of the first title of our new imprint, Missouri Review Books, The Trail of the Demon by Jane Gillette (normal price $14.95).

We accept submissions online or by mail. The postmark deadline is October 2, and winners will be announced in January of 2018.

You can find more information about the contest through our website: http://www.missourireview.com.

From Art to Can of Soup – Marketing Your Book

Readers, today we have installment number ten on Jason Henry Evans’ series on How to Write and Publish Historical Fiction.  Today he shares marketing tips.


Wow. Ten months ago I said I wanted to do a series of basic how-to’s for historical fiction. While this was originally conceived as an eight part series, it has grown to ten – yes ten blogs – on how to write and publish your historical fiction.

Over this year we have covered:

  • Story ideas
  • Historical research
  • Story planning
  • Character arcs
  • Publishing goals
  • Writing strategies
  • And a bunch of other stuff.

So now what are we going to talk about? Cover art? How to handle your millions in royalties? Managing the paparazzi in three easy steps? Make-up techniques for television?

Nope. None of that. There is one area we have not covered. It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

(more…)