Saturday, September 17, 2011

Welcome to Jana Richards - Author of Till September




Hi Everyone!

I have a treat for you today. Author Jana Richards is stopping by to share her thoughts on writing and to give us a sneak peak at her latest novel. Self-Promotion is a necessary fact for authors. Authors love to write and it's like ice cream on the cake when a reader takes the time to write a review or contacts the author to share their reading experience. But, in order to do those things, the reader has to know about the book and how/where to buy it. So, when asked about how she approaches Self-Promotion, here's what Jana has to say.

Self-Promotion & the Introverted Writer

I’d rather have dentistry without anesthesia then stand in front of an audience at a book reading. I taught a couple of classes in romance writing a few years ago, but I gave it up because public speaking was giving me nervous palpitations.

The introvert in me cringes at putting myself out there. I feel as if I’m standing naked outside a bookstore hollering, “Here I am! Buy my book! It’s good! Really it is! Honest!”

Can’t I just stay in my room and write? That’s what I really want to do. Why do I have to spend so much time on promotion?

The answer is simple. I can write the best book in the world, but if no one knows about it, no one is going to read it.

So self-promotion is a necessary evil. If you’re an introvert like me, what are the best ways of promoting? What gives you the most bang for your buck, and what forms of promotion are the best ways of selling books, without actually having to make a live appearance?

Lesley Anne McLeod (www.lesleyannemcleod.com), a writer of Regency romances, says that sometimes promotion is frustrating, “like trying to get someone in another Universe to notice you.” She uses various introvert-friendly forms of promotion, such as creating book trailers, participating in online live chats, writing a blog, and having a MySpace page. Of all her online ventures Lesley Anne believes her website is her most successful.

“I think the website is my best tool, and of it, the contest and the free stories the best hooks for customers. Building my mailing list is always an aim of mine, and promoting the website where I can.”

Tina Pavlik of The Romance Studio (http://www.theromancestudio.com) agrees. I recently participated in Tina’s online class “The 42 Most Common Promo Mistakes Authors Make”, and she feels that some of the biggest mistakes center around websites. These mistakes include the following:
- Not having a website that she owns as opposed to a website hosted at a free host
- Not paying attention to the content of your opening page.
- Not having a simple, easy to navigate menu.
- Not updating the site often enough.
- Not auditing the site to make sure links and images work, and there are no formatting or spelling errors.
- Having a flashy website that takes too long to load.
- Not giving any thought to how easy the website is to find.

That last one was a biggie. Tina talked a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), metatags and descriptions tags that will help get your site noticed. If you are unsure what any of these terms mean (as I was), I recommend taking Tina’s class and whipping your website into shape.

What about buying advertising? I asked writer and editor Judith B. Glad (www.judithbglad.com) whether paid advertising is worth the investment.
“I think the answer is yes and no. You do have to spend some money to promote, but you don’t have to spend a fortune.” Jude says that when she was first published she bought some ads in Romantic Times. “I saw a tiny blip in sales with each review, but we’re talking just a few more sales than the previous quarter, so who’s to say that wasn’t due to pure chance.”

Do bookmarks sell books? Does it matter if your books are only available as ebooks? Jude says, “I think if you have books in paper, then having bookmarks to insert…is worthwhile. Having bookmarks for ebooks seems kind of contradictory.” Lesley Anne, whose books are available as ebooks, disagrees. “I really think bookmarks are worthwhile—just for getting the name out and about.”

In 2008 I attended the EPIC Conference ( www.epicorg.com ) One of the workshops I took in was called “Promotion: You want me to do what?” put on by Sherry Wille (www.derr-wille.com ) and Susanne Marie Knight ( www.susanneknight.com/mainpage.htm ) Susanne had some interesting and mostly stress-free ideas about promoting online that suits the introvert in me:
- Having a great website (of course).
- Using an email signature line. Be sure to use it and vary it.
- Reciprocal links: Share links with other authors and place on your “Links Page”.
- Offer free excerpts on your website. You can also post them to lists that allow excerpts such as www.groups.yahoo.com/group/romanceexcerptsonly Be sure to create your excerpts in PDF before sending them out.
- Write articles and post them on your website and other websites.
- Write free short stories and post them on your website to entice readers.
- Join forums, bulletin boards.
- Participate in author days on web groups. Try events scheduled by publishers and review sites.
- Start a blog and comment on other blogs you enjoy. Find great sites to guest blog at.

One word of caution from Tina Pavlik. She recommends that writers spend three-quarters of their time writing and one-quarter promoting. Sometimes writers, even introverted ones, get so caught up with all the blogging, online chatting and forum visiting that their writing suffers. Eventually they have nothing new to promote. Work hard to keep a balance between writing and promotion.

Thanks Sharon, for letting me do a little promoting on your blog today! It didn’t hurt a bit!

Jana's Bio
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, along with two university aged daughters and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.net/ .



Till September - Book Blurb

For the first time since her husband’s death, Hannah Kramer can imagine herself with another man. But then she discovers the truth about Quinn Anderson’s reason for staying at the bed and breakfast at her farm. He’s there to buy farmland from her cash-strapped friends and neighbors and resell it to foreign buyers. How can she love a man bent on destroying the way of life she loves? Will Quinn convince her that he wants to build her community, not destroy it? Can he make her believe he loves her before time runs out in September?

Thank You, Jana, for stopping by!





15 comments:

Karyn Good said...

Great tips on promotion, Jana! Right now I'm in a state of confusion. I'm thinking about websites. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with one and how I want it to look. I also like the 3/4 writing to 1/4 promotion ratio. That seems doable!

Jannine Gallant said...

Great advice, Jana. I'm trying to be more aggressive about promoting. But, like you, I'd rather hide behind my computer and write!

Mona Risk said...

Thanks Jana for a great post. I hate promotion with all my heart, and I waste precious writing time promoting. I don't know if it helps. But I'll keep doing it. How else will the readers find my books!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
I haven't had time to change my website much since I took the class with Tina Pavlik, but she had so many great ideas about making my website easier to find (Search Engine Optimization), and organizing my book page. When I have a few minutes to work on it, I'm going to revamp several things on my website. I totally recommend Tina's class. I'm not sure when she's offering another one. Drop by www.theromancestudio.com to check it out.

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Hi Jannine,
Lately it seems that all I'm doing is promoting - well, that and the day job. Like you, I'd rather be writing. I have to be careful that I leave enough time to write. If I don't, I won't have anything to promote!

Jana

Jana Richards said...

I hear you, Mona! In a perfect world, readers would come flocking to our websites all on their own, fighting with each other to buy our books. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. So I must continue to shout out into the universe and hope someone listens!

Hang in there!
Jana

Pat Dale said...

Hey, Jana. Great advice for a fellow introverted writer. It's interesting to see what works well and what may be wasted effort and money. Good luck with your new book.
Pat Dale

Rhoda Baxter said...

Great Article Jana
I've just set up my website and found your notes very interesting. Any chance you could do a blog on SEO?

Rhoda

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Jana, for putting so much information into your post.

All good advice.

Anonymous said...

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Jana Richards said...

Hi Rhoda,
A blog on SEO? That's a very good idea. Look for a post on my blog in November at http://janarichards.blogspot.com

Jana

Jana Richards said...

Margo, thanks for dropping by. I hope you found some of my information useful.

Jana

Sharon Poppen said...

Hi Pat,
I'm certainly no expert on marketing. Far from it. But I'm a firm believer in doing things that I feel comfortable with. I like blogging, and I enjoy my website (though I really need to do some work on it). I'm starting to catch on with Facebook, although that too is a work in progress. I want to market effectively but I don't want to tackle more than I can handle. I still have to make time for writing!

Jana

Unknown said...

You sound like my twin sister -- I think we should find a cave and be hermits with keyboards.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the writeup. I definitely agree with what that you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a whole lot lately with my father so hopefully this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!


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