Should You Have an Author Tagline?

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Hello, All!  It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to unfurl (yes, I said unfurl) our fears and insecurities onto the world.

Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Our awesome cohosts for the month:  Chemist Ken, Suzanne Sapseed, and Shannon Lawrence! To find out more about IWSG (and to sign up), click here.

I’d also like to take a moment to tell you: I’ve been nominated! Woo-hoo! *throws confetti*

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne,  Gina Stoneheart , Lidy Wilks and Liz Blocker have  nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and Renee Scattergood and Angela Wooldridge nominated me for the Liebster!

There are all sorts of rules to these awards. One must nominate other bloggers, answer certain questions,  watch 3 consecutive episodes of Catfish without throwing the remote at the TV, and juggle a swordfish while standing on your head.

But since I’m a renegade, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to answer two questions and list one thing that inspired me in the last few weeks.

Which fairy tale character would you rather be?
Definitely the Fairy Godmother because I’d go around turning cars into pumpkins just because.

How many books (on average) do you read each year?
I’m embarrassed to admit this but around 4. *Grabs chocolate donut. Runs from the literary police. Hides under bed.*

One thing that inspired me in the last few weeks.
I can see the end of the tunnel with this current novel! Almost done and have the next one outlined. My goal is to finish at least three novels this year and publish one. Fingers crossed!

Now. On to what I’m feeling insecure about this month: author taglines. I’ve finally hired someone to do my author website, and while looking at samples of things that I like, I realized that most authors have a tagline in their header. It’s generally a nifty little phrase that keys readers into who you are as a writer and the types of things that you write. For instance, Jackie Collins’ tagline is “She’ll keep you up all night.” When I read that, I think of page-turning, scintillating reads. Easy, peasy, right? It shouldn’t take me long to come up with a tagline for myself.

Let’s see….

Quanie Miller: B-Town’s Finest.

Quanie Miller: Southern Sass on fleek.

Quanie Miller: You Ain’t Seen Crazy Yet.

Quanie Miller: A bird in hand is worth two in a bush

Quanie Miller: Be like that sometimes.

Quanie Miller: Bringing Characters to life. Meh.

Quanie Miller: Don’t Start No Shit, Won’t Be No Shit.

As you can tell,  I. Am. Stumped.

So I did some digging around and found some really useful articles about taglines.

From Author Cynthia Herron (whose tagline is “Heartfelt, Homespun fiction”):

Think of a “tagline” as a condensed descriptor of your brand. Your “brand” is what makes you distinctive from other authors. It’s the “big picture” of who you are, what you write, the overall feel one gets when your name comes to mind. Your tagline creatively sums up all of these characteristics/factors into a few simple words that mirror you as an author.

And from  How To Attract Readers By Creating A ‘Lighthouse’ Author Brand:

A simple way to keep your novels top of mind is to create a distinctive theme tagline that draws your books together under a single overarching identity, giving them a memorable point of difference that enhances your Author Brand.

So now I’m thinking: what’s the one thing that ties all my books together, regardless of the genre? I haven’t come up with a tagline that I LOVE yet, so I’m still brainstorming. Do we need a tagline as authors? Not at all. But I think it’s a quick and useful marketing tool–especially when a new reader stumbles across your website.

What say you, folks? Do you have an author tagline? If so, share them in the comments section. Have you seen any really really really bad ones? Share those too!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Free is NOT a Four Letter Word! – Guest Post by Faith Simone

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Happy Monday, All! Today I am super excited because I have none other than the uber talented Faith Simone guest hosting for me today! Faith’s debut novel, When the Real Thing Comes Along, is now available on Amazon! I have a good feeling about this book so I’ve already added it to my Goodreads shelf. You can do the same here:) And that cover??? Woo, honey! Get the deets about the book below and in the meanwhile, check out Faith’s post about a much debate subjected among writers: free books. *Grabs popcorn* Enjoy! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

 ***

Ok, so maybe ‘free’ is technically a four letter word, but it shouldn’t be treated like it keeps company with those four letter words. My girl Quanie (fellow blogger extraordinaire) teases me about the fact that I feen for free books like a proverbial crackhead. Did I really just say proverbial crackhead? Sure did, but I digress. Free is not a word for authors to avoid at all costs. It’s in fact an effective marketing tool that the savvy author should always have in their repertoire.  Let me explain.

Free books attract new readers. –  Whether you’re an author with an incredible fan base or a new author, you should always be on the lookout for new readers. A free promotion does that simply by putting your book in front of potential readers. Once they read your book description and decide they’re interested, having a $0 price will lead to them clicking that ‘Buy Now’ button in a hurry.

Free books garner reviews. – Out of the potentially thousands of downloads you’ll see as a result of a free promotional campaign, you’ll probably get at least a few dozen reviews. That’s like frickin’ gold to an author! Having those reviews posted on reputable cites will open the door to other promotional campaigns that will only accept your book if you have X number of reviews accumulated. It’s a win/win situation.

Free books show reader appreciation. – Want to increase your Facebook & Twitter followers? Want to add more readers to your email subscription list? Occasionally offer one of your books for free and they’ll be sure to keep following you and actually opening those emails you send out.  Plus, you could include a free book as a standard incentive whenever a reader connects with you socially. Everyone loves being appreciated.

Free books help SELL other books. – The goal in giving away a free book is to gain a new reader who will then say to themselves. “Wow that was a pretty good book. Let me see what other books this author has written.” Then WHAMO: a new sell and a fan who might be checking for your new releases in the future.

Have I convinced you to check into a free promotional campaign? If so, you might want to look into the following promotional expediters: BookBub, E-Reader News Today, and Book Marketing Tools. Some charge a fee and some are free, so hopefully you’ll find something that works for you!

Don’t throw banana peels and apples at me because my book isn’t currently free. It’s my release week people, cut me some slack y’all!

 

WTRTCA_Cover

Title: When the Real Thing Comes Along

Author: Faith Simone

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Inspirational Fiction, Edgy Christian Fiction

Release Date: February 13, 2015

 

About the Book

She loved and lost…Will faith give her the courage she needs to love again?

Jacelynn appears to have it all together: a great relationship with her boyfriend Jason who is truly a man after God’s own heart, a decent career and the love of family and friends. But when an unwelcome reminder from her past shows up, her previously uncomplicated world is turned upside down.  Will she jeopardize what she has with Jason in an attempt to rewrite the mistakes of her past?

They say you never forget your first love, no matter how hard you try. So far, Jacelynn has done a pretty good job of forgetting Taylor, the boy who had her heart first. When Taylor returns several years later as a man requesting a second chance, what’s a girl to do…Especially when she already has a new man?

The hidden issues of Jacelynn’s heart come to light and she’s forced take a hard look in the mirror while making choices that will change her future forever. Will she be able to reconcile who she was then, with who she is in Christ now?

Living and loving in faith isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. That’s what happens…

Excerpt: 

My eyes were wide open the night I invited Taylor into my life. It was at the end of one of those parties that starts out with what seems like hundreds of people, but turns mellow before midnight. I was ready to go but my best friend, Kim, wasn’t. She was trying to finalize the hook up with a guy from her history class. Meanwhile, I was waiting on a ratty couch in the dark living room with a guy I knew I would never see again, wishing that I was at home watching Lifetime movies. That’s when I saw him.

He walked past me through the sliding glass doors into the backyard. Something about the gracefulness of his long strides, made me get up and follow him while the guy on the couch was still running his mouth.

The sound of Usher singing about how to tell if you got it bad muffled to a slow thumping bass as I closed the patio doors behind me. I waved away the sweet smell of weed as I stepped around a few people smoking and lounging on the mismatched patio furniture.

I trailed him across the large backyard where the only sound was the loud swishing of the dozen or so palm trees waltzing in the fall winds. Both of our steps were silent in the soft mushy grass. I felt strange following him without saying anything, but I wanted him to sense me behind him. I wanted to know if the crazy magnetism I was feeling was working on him too. But there was a different force drawing him that night. One that I would contend with at a later time, in another place, with a lot more to lose.

 

Author2

Faith Simone is a poet, playwright and novelist.  She is also an active blogger, sharing her personal thoughts, book reviews and tips for writers on her website FaithSimone.com. Simone is passionate about using her gift of writing as a tool to help promote humanity, understanding and compassion.

Social Links

Website: FaithSimone.com

Twitter: @Faithsimone2011

Facebook: Author Faith Simone

Goodreads:  Faith Simone

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Is Your Family Supportive of Your Writing Career?

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I was online recently when I ran across an interesting discussion. An author posted about his family not being supportive of his writing career, and other authors chimed in saying the same thing. I have to tell you: I was shocked.

My family has been so supportive of my writing. In fact, I was in my hometown last week and several of my relatives told me how much they enjoyed my book (one of my cousins said to me, “Boy! That Mrs. Collins is somethin’ else!”). My husband is convinced that when I hit the best sellers list we’ll be able to travel the world and my mom tells everyone she knows that her daughter is a bonafide published author. Their support really gives me the motivation to push forward.

Am I just incredibly lucky? What about others? What does your family think about your writing? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 


Story Roadblocks: Research

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup

 

Hello All! It’s the first Wednesday of the month and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! To find out more about IWSG (and to sign up), click here.

This months co-hosts are Gwen Gardner, Dolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax. If you would be so kind, hop on over to their blogs and say hello!

So what am I insecure about this month? The same thing I’m always insecure about: my novel(s) in progress. Some of you may remember me blogging about this particular story in a post called Story Rehab: Fixing Plot Holes. At that time, I couldn’t figure out what happened to the main character the night of the fire.

Well, here I am again, facing something that I’m sure most writers have dealt with: I hit a roadblock because I need to do research. Normally, I avoid this in my writing because most of the towns I write about are fictional. But I couldn’t get away with that this time. Because of the novel’s plot, I had to set it in an actual Louisiana town. Which town? Good ole Baton Rouge (which means “red stick” in French, by the way).

There’s a part in the novel where the main character, for certain reasons, needs to break into the governor’s mansion. Yes. You heard that right. I Googled how it might be done but of course, there wasn’t any information about it. And the last thing I wanted to do was call the person who schedules tours of the mansion and say, “Yes. My name is Quanie Miller and I’m trying to find out how to break into the governor’s mansion. Hello? Hello?” I imagine that my front yard would immediately fill with blue lights and the good folks at the F.B.I would want to have a conversation or two with me.

So guess what? I was in my hometown last week and took the drive to Baton Rouge to get a good look at the mansion. I had gotten to the part in the novel where the character gets into her car to drive down there, but I couldn’t visualize it. And let me tell you: that mansion is a thing of beauty! I took pictures of the road that leads there and drove around the neighborhood in the back of the mansion (and took pictures of the fence). As my husband and I were driving, I saw a man walking through a nearby park. He had what looked like a headset on so I knew that he was secret service. My husband said, “What makes you say that?”

“I watch Scandal,” I said. “Trust me: I know about these things.”

I didn’t want to get out of the car and walk near the mansion because I could imagine the headline and accompanying news article:

Woman found skulking near govenor’s mansion.

“…after further investigation, F.B.I discovered the woman had been researching how to break into the governor’s mansion and called the tour coordinator inquiring about the same. Woman insists she was doing research for a novel. Authorities are dubious. Charges are pending.” 

I found out some basic information online: how the outside of the mansion looks, and how part of the inside looks (the part that’s accessible to the public), but the character needs to go further into the house to find what she’s looking for. I imagine that, for security reasons, there are no blue prints of the mansion online. It’s dawned on me that I’m going to have to make this stuff up: how the other rooms in the house look, etc. And that’s my issue. Because the mansion is an actual place, I’m worried about people saying, “but that couldn’t happen!” Or, “Hey! It doesn’t look like that! The family room is on the second floor next to the guest bedroom, not on the first floor near the kitchen!” But in order for me to finish this story, I’m going to have to take some creative liberties.

What do you guys think? Am I worrying for nothing? Have you ever hit such a roadblock with a story? What did you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 


Why you Need Beta Readers – Guest Post by Christina C. Jones

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sdploveseries

Happy Wednesday, All! So, today we’re all in luck because the uber talented Christina C. Jones is guest posting today about beta readers (click here to check out her post on building your author platform). And guess what else? Her latest release, Fall in Love Again, is now available! It’s the third book in her Serendipitous Love Series (check out all the books here) and if you haven’t read one of her books before, do yourself a favor and hop on over to Amazon.

I’ve said it here before but I’ll say it again: Christina is one of the most talented and prolific authors I’ve come across. Believe it or not, Fall in Love Again is her tenth release–since last year. She has an amazing work ethic so I can’t wait to share her advice with you all. Enjoy!

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In my (humble) opinion, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your book is recruiting honest, outspoken beta readers. Now, I’m not one of those people who believes in the “value” of harsh critique — let’s get that out of the way up front. I gain nothing from having my work ripped to shreds by people who are supposed to be “helping” me. So, I’m certainly not recommending you find people who will do that to you. I am, however, suggesting that you find people who can point out inconsistencies, give their respectfully honest opinion on what works — and doesn’t — for them, and ask questions about things that left them confused. That is a good beta reader to me.

My chosen genre is contemporary romance. As such, I deal with a lot of different dynamics in the relationships of my characters, which can draw some pretty heavy lines in the sand for readers. What my betas do for me is: give me their thoughts as they read — helps me discern if my words are giving the same emotional reaction I think they should, make inquiries about certain elements — lets me know that they’re engaged, interested, ready to see what happens next… or just friggin’ confused, and answer a set list of questions that I give them at a particular point in the book — usually mid-way.

I ask a lot on this list. What’s your opinion of XYZ character, can you clearly picture them in your head, do you understand their actions/reactions to this event? Are the love scenes developed organically? Do they make sense? Is there any part of the book that feels slow? Does one scene lead smoothly into the next?

These are things that I’m too close to the story to see for myself. I don’t use my betas as an idea factory, I use them to make sure that my ideas are clearly translated onto the page, because their value isn’t in telling me what to write — it’s in telling me how they feel about what I wrote.

If only one of my betas understood that I was including commentary about the next generation of our children inheriting violence in our world, by having a kid playing with a red ball at a park (get it? Ball=globe, red = blood… okay, yeah, I’m stretching it, huh? Lol!), then I know I need to rethink my words. If everybody except one understood… then maybe I still need to rethink my words for clarity. But it does tell me that for the most part, my words have been understood.

I have a team of betas who are (mostly) unknown to each other, and fluctuates in size. As of now, that number is seven. They vary in reading preferences and speeds, age, personality, etc, which is so important. You don’t want all of your betas to be just like you, or just like each other. That way, you’ll get a nice variety of opinions to sift through and pull out what works for you and your project.

stillremember

 

Every critique you receive from your betas isn’t something you should go rushing to change or adjust. Remember, it’s their opinion, but your work. Ultimately, you should always make the decision that feels right for you, your process, and your book, but it should absolutely be an informed opinion.
Several of my betas were readers that I approached, and a few approached me, but they’ve all been super valuable, especially in this last project. My characters get themselves into some messy — maybe even unrelatable — situations, and my betas reacted. Boy, did they react.

And… I got scared.

Sure did!

They were mad at the hero, mad at heroine, mad at the secondary characters, lol! All with good reason, honestly. Some things I adjusted — most I didn’t — but I ended up with a project that is as I envisioned it. I told the story I intended to tell, and my betas let me know that Charlie and Nixon’s story is beautiful, flaws and all. The helped bolster the confidence to just tell it!

It’s actually my favorite so far, and I’ve heard from several readers of the series — this book, Fall In Love Again, is my tenth release, third in a series of standalones — that this one is their favorite as well.
Do yourself a favor. Find some trusted (some authors even have their betas sign release forms and such, but I’ve never personally felt a need for that) readers in your genre, send an email, and ask!

Quanie, thank you again for having me!

 

FILAcover

Everybody knows you don’t marry the rebound guy.

And yet, that’s exactly what Charlie does. But once the husband is out of picture — kinda — she’s ready to leap forward with her life. She returns to the neighborhood she left, the business she missed, and into arm’s reach of Nixon — the reason she needed a rebound guy in the first place.

Other than rebuilding her life, Charlie has one main goal now that she’s back in the place she considers home: Stay as far away from Nixon as she can. But their long history, his magnetic charm, and a certain sense of unfinished business makes that much, much harder than Charlie thought.

Nixon is willing to own up to his part in their break up, but for Charlie, finding a place of forgiveness is going to take much more than that. She’s willing to take a chance on friendship — something they’ve had since they were kids — but falling in love again? That’s a whole different story.

 

amwriting

Christina Jones is a budding author on a mission to show the beautiful — but not always pretty — journey of love in all stages, with a focus on people of color. When she’s not immersed in writing it, Christina is an avid reader of her favorite genre, African American romance.

Her first published work was released in November 2013, and since then, she has released ten titles:

Love and Other Things
Strictly Professional
Unfinished Business
The Trouble With Love
Finding Forever
Chasing Commitment
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Didn’t Mean To Love You
Catch Me If You Can
Fall in Love Again


Would you Give a Fellow Author a Negative Book Review?

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I’m not sure why, but I receive quite a few book review requests. Maybe I have that “I review books” look about me. Or, maybe folks think that any gal who used to be nicknamed Tanutsi is too genial to pen a negative book review. Whatever the case, I generally don’t respond to the requests because they’re not personalized. Note to book spammers: If you’re going to take the time to reach out to me about reviewing your book, at least write Dear Quanie!

Note to other spammers: I don’t care if your great uncle left you 25 million dollars and an offshore oil rig and for some reason you’d like to bequeath it all to me, a total stranger: I will not give you my bank account information. I repeat: I will not give you my bank account information.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, the main reason I don’t review books is because of what happened to me a couple of years ago. I won’t name names (I never do!) but an author reached out to me about reviewing her book, and without knowing anything about her writing or the genre of the novel, I said yes. Below is the sequence of events that followed:

Author sends Quanie book. Quanie reads first page. Quanie faceplants.  

I felt a sense of dread as the realization hit me: if I review this book I’m either going to have to:

Write a negative review and risk ruining a relationship (because let’s face it: it’s one thing if a stranger calls your baby ugly but if a friend does it? Them’s fightin’ words).

Lie to spare the author’s feelings and write a review that’s untruthful. Never good!

Pretend I never got the book review request and act completely befuddled when the author asks me about it. “Really? You sent me a book review request? Hunh. You know, my email’s been acting kind of wonky lately and maybe that’s why I never got it…”

I ended up contacting the author to let her know that, for certain reasons, I was not going to be able to review her book. Now, I know what you’re thinking: But, Quanie! She asked you for a review. You should have read it and gave your honest opinion. Reviews aren’t for the author anyway. They’re for readers!”

But I’m a big softie, ya’ll. And if I know in my heart that I won’t be able to give a book at least three stars, I’d rather not review it than leave a negative review. I just don’t like hurting people’s feelings.

Now that I’m independently publishing my own books, I think about that situation. If an author buddy of mine reads one of my books and expresses that they enjoyed it, I’ll ask them to leave a review, sure. But otherwise, I never solicit friends for reviews. Never. Even if they have a tee shirt that reads, “I will read your book and leave a 5 star review even if I don’t like it!” Never ever never. Why not? Because there’s a good that my friends would rather pour habanero juice in their eyes than read my books. So I tread very carefully.

What about others? What would you do if a fellow author asked you to review their book and it turns out you didn’t like it? Would you feel bad leaving a “negative” review? Would you decline to review it??? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 


Story Rehab: Fixing Plot Holes

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InsecureWritersSupportGroup

It’s the first Wednesday of the new year and you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

This months co-hosts are Elizabeth Seckman, Lisa Buie-Collard, Chrys Fey, and Michelle Wallace! To find out more about IWSG (and to sign up), click here.

So…my husband and I are rehabbing a house. When I first saw the inside of the house, I thought to myself, “My Lord. We have our work cut out for us!” Lemme splain’ you something: if any of you kind folks saw the condition this house was in before we bought it, you would promptly call the head doctor and get yours truly the nearest appointment. Someone cut all the wires out of the house. Stole the toilet out of the hall bathroom (let’s stop here for a second and imagine someone running down the street with a toilet hoisted over their shoulder). And guess what else? We had to take out all the floors because of termite damage. And I won’t even tell you about that horrendous turquoise, cast iron sink in the master bathroom. The good news? After we’re done fixing the house it’ll be worth more than double what we paid for it (and the house won’t look like something that landed on the lot haphazardly after a tornado).

Why am I telling you all this? Well, aside from the fact that because of this house, I can now say that I actually painted something for the first time in my entire life (woo-hoo!), the house reminds me of my WIP. Because just like this house, my novel is a mess. It has loads of potential, but as of right now, it ain’t much to look at. My biggest issue? Plot holes.

A plot hole, or plothole is a gap or inconsistency in a storyline that creates a paradox in the story that cannot be reconciled with any explanation. These include such things as illogical or impossible events, and statements or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline.

Slap me, Sally. I have so much work to do on this story it’s not even funny. I think the house might be easier to fix than this mess of a novel! “Statements or events that contradict earlier events in the storyline?” Gulp. This is the novel’s biggest problem. And it stems from this: there’s a particular incident in the story (a huge incident) that I haven’t ironed out. I kinda sorta know what happened, but the details are fuzzy. So because of that, plotholes are a-boomin’.

So how am I going to fix it? Well, I’m going to have to make a definitive decision about what happened the night of the fire (doesn’t that sound intriguing???). I’ll need to decide what role each character played that night and how their actions affected the main character. And after I know this, I can start patching up those plot holes.

Moral here? You can’t write a believable story if the details are fuzzy in your head. Iron out the kinks in the plot. Go through the novel with a fine-tooth comb and make sure all the threads connect. And if you don’t? Well, your story will probably be as ugly as that turquoise sink in our bathroom. Don’t do that to your readers. They deserve better!

What about others? How do you deal with plot holes? Any home rehab horror stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 


Promoting Your Book Online? 3 Lessons I’ve Learned from Marketing Experts

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Happy New Year everybody! I hope that everyone got a chance to relax during the holidays and that you’re all ready to tackle 2015 and pursue all of your writing goals! Today we’re in luck, because  author and blogger Stephanie Faris is sharing some kick-ass advice about marketing. I don’t know about you guys, but I need some good marketing advice in my life!

Stephanie’s upcoming release, 25 Roses, will be available tomorrow. You can check out the book cover and blurb below and add the book to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here. And guess what else? Stephanie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of her book, and a chocolate long-stemmed rose. Scroll down to enter the giveaway:)

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Children’s writing doesn’t pay the bills (yet), so by day, I write content for a variety of marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Part of that work involves advising small business owners on their online promotion efforts. I’ve found much of what I’ve learned in the past few years translates easily into book promotion since, in essence, authors are small business owners ourselves. Our brand is our name and our product is the book(s) we publish each year.

Whether you’ve just started your writing career or you’re launching your forty-second book, the time to build your brand is now. Here are three big online marketing lessons I’ve learned that you could put to use in making a name for yourself online.

Stop Promoting, Start Engaging

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog and at least one social media account. One mistake I see made every single day in both of these areas is over-promotion. If every tweet or blog post is a promotion for your next book, you likely notice very little interaction. In fact, many of us are scrolling past your promotional posts in search of more interesting content. Granted, the occasional “My new book is available for pre-orders” post is great. But that post should be preceded and followed by interesting, insightful content that keeps people interested in what you have to say.

The good news is that you don’t have to create all of this content yourself. If you read an interesting article about writing, share the link with your social media followers or blog readers. Swap guest posts with friends and invite them to post on your blog occasionally. This will save you time, as well as expose your readers to more great bloggers.

Build a Platform

When an author uses her blog or social media sites to provide information about her area of expertise, that site then becomes a platform. Quanie’s blog is an example of this. Marketing tips are in high demand among writing communities, so her blog draws people in to learn as much as possible. It’s the type of content that turns a reader into a loyal follower.

When your blog contains interesting content, readers will naturally want to learn more about its author. Because your blog and social media sites consistently bring interesting content to readers, when you do have a reason to promote something, you’ll have the built-in audience to receive that message.

Give, Give, Give

When people ask me how I’ve gained such a large blog readership, they never like my answer. I read a great deal of blogs every day. I enjoy doing it. While I’d like to say that a well-crafted, thoughtful blog will naturally draw the masses, that simply isn’t the case. In order to receive, you have to give. Find blogs within your range of interest and comment on a regular basis. Soon you’ll find your blog is getting more comments than ever.

The same philosophy applies to social media. You may have a built-in following of friends and relatives on your personal Facebook page, but professional engagement requires much more work. Find like-minded individuals on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and follow them. Regularly share status updates you find intriguing and occasionally comment on posts when you have something interesting to say. In time, you’ll find others are interacting and your audience will grow from there.

Online promotion is a great deal of work, but by sharing interesting content and interacting with others, you’ll soon find marketing through blogging and social media is not only easy but fun. Turning your name into a brand is a matter of posting interesting content and remaining true to your personal interests. If you’re having fun, others will naturally enjoy hearing what you like to say.

 

25 roses book cover

 

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

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What Are You Reading?

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Hello, All! It’s the Monday before Christmas and I’m sure many of you are doing some last minute shopping (I need to be doing that as I type this!). Since I have some time off from work, I’m going to get caught up on my ever-growing TBR list. I thought I’d share some of what I’ll be reading during the holidays and I hope you’ll share some great recommendations with me as well!

 

Goddess of Legend by Erin Ashley Tanner.

Buy the book on Amazon. Add it to your Goodreads shelf.

GODDESS OF LEGEND

Cameryn Kane is a private investigator with a spirit problem. She can talk to spirits, solve any homicide, and has no love life. When an unexpected death sends her world into a tailspin, Cameryn finds comfort in the arms of a tall, dark and handsome stranger—Hades, god of the Underworld.

When Hades promises to bring her loved one back from the dead if she allows him the chance to woo her for six months in the dark Underworld, Cameryn readily agrees. While fighting her growing feelings for Hades, Cameryn must deal with the return of his ex-wife, Persephone, who is determined to get her husband back.

Cameryn will soon experience love and betrayal while discovering powers she never knew she had.

 

Can’t Stand the Heat by Shelly Ellis

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CAN'T STAND THE HEAT

Over three generations, the Gibbons women of Chesterton, Virginia, have built their reputation as a family of shameless–but refined–gold diggers. They even have a strict set of rules by which they operate. But the rebellious, youngest Gibbons is about to break them all…

Lauren Gibbons is committing the ultimate family betrayal: abandoning the tradition of seducing men for money. Nothing is worth the abuse she’s endured from her sugar daddy. Now a sous chef, Lauren is hoping to break from the past for good. And when she meets hot former NFL player Crisanto Weaver, she even lets herself imagine a future. But the small-town rumor mill–and her own sisters–aren’t ready for a new Lauren. Between her conniving relatives, her vengeful ex, a mountain of debt, and a whole lot of haters, can she escape her old life, and create something new?

Quiver of the Pure Heart by Burnita Bluitt

Buy the book on Amazon. Add it to your Goodreads shelf.

QUIVER OF THE PURE HEART

Twenty-eight year old Blis Dumas’ peaceful life and sense of security becomes the target of a well-crafted scheme. The setting is 1989 San Francisco, and Blis fears a repeat of the 1950-60s, redevelopment that took place displacing primarily African-American residents from the Western Addition’s Fillmore District, their “Harlem of the West.” Her world crumbles as she is notified that her own Victorian home, inherited from her grandfather, is in jeopardy of demolition by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and she must sell to them…or so she thinks. She uncovers family secrets that reveal her problem is much closer to home.

Blis fights to save the home she adores; fights the temptation of an incorrigible former lover; and fights the threat to a tender, new, budding romance. Blis loves San Francisco, but like any love relationship, it is where her emotions will be tested, where passions will live and die, and where people are not always as they seem.

 

Finding Me by Dawn Brazil.

Buy the Book on Amazon. Add it to your Goodreads shelf.

FINDING ME

 

Sixteen-year-old Chloe Carmichael’s perfect world is in chaos.

It’s not because she has a vision of her boyfriend murdered. And then he’s found dead exactly as she saw. It’s not because she suddenly has the ability to move objects when she’s upset. It’s kinda cool to close a door without touching it. It’s not her overbearing mother who only cares about appearances. Chloe’s grown accustomed to her family’s distance.

So what has Chloe cringing in fear?

It’s a love that defies reason. It demands her attention. But Chloe struggles with a love that exposes the soul. What will her family think? What will her friends think? And is she worthy of his love.

It’s having to become another person for a new group of people. Chloe knows she’s not perfect but apparently she was when she was Amanda in another life. Her new friends won’t let her forget. It’s the stench of death that hoovers over her every move. It’s the threat of finality as she tries to acclimate to a life of super human proportions. It’s an enemy she can’t see and can be anyone she’s ever known. But her enemy knows her well. She’s the lone person with the ability to destroy him. But she doesn’t remember.

And it’s never discovering who she really is before finality meets reality.

 

What about all of you? What are you reading?

Happy Holidays and see you next year!

Peace and Blessings,

Quanie:)


Does Your Protagonist Have to Have a Love Interest?

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Recently, I was tossing around some ideas for a WIP, and when I went back and looked at the outline something dawned on me: the main character didn’t have a love interest. The main thread of the story was about the change that happens to this particular character as she searches for the identity of a killer. From beginning to end,  the search for the killer. And I wondered: how would readers react to this story if I didn’t give her a love interest?

I started thinking about some of my favorite novels. Even when the main story isn’t about the character finding love, the character is involved in some type of relationship. Maybe my memory fails me, but I can’t think of a single story I’ve read recently that didn’t involve people in the pursuit of love. Even people who have given up on love seem to find themselves in some sort of romantic situation.

Certainly, I can write the story and not have the character fall in love or even think about romantic relationships. But how would readers respond? Is there some part of a reader that expects every story to have a romance subplot?

So, I went back and reworked the story to include a love interest. I didn’t want it to seem superfluous so I really tried to make the love story integral to the plot. But it got me thinking: does the main character have to have a love interest? Can you think of any contemporary books where the main character didn’t? Am I driving myself crazy for nothing??? I’d love to hear your thoughts!