Can we chat?

14183769_10154105636729145_3475893206531129845_nSo this is how it works.

I finish writing a book. I have about two minutes of absolute euphoria, and then reality hits.

This wonderful story, the one I’ve just dedicated my life to writing, the one that has wrung every emotion from my heart, now must be shared with the world, which means I need to work on the dreaded P word: promotion.

If you ever become exasperated, feeling you’ve seen the same post over and over or perhaps different posts about the same book . . . trust me, we authors feel the same way about promoting. It’s not our favorite part of being an author.

In my perfect world, I’d finish writing my book and then sit down with a group of my favor readers to chat with them about it. We’d get lost in characters and plot lines and so on . . . and at the end of our lovely tea, they’d go out and tell their friends about the book, who would in turn tell their friends . . . well, you get the gist.

Meanwhile, I’d sit back and work on the next book.

Now, though, my chatting takes place on social media. When I post a picture or a link, it’s my only way of telling people when to expect the next book. Live events are lovely and give me a chance to talk to readers in person, but there’s a limit to how many of them I can do. And so the internet it is.

Of course, I’m very lucky that I have my dear Temptresses with whom to speak. They let me go on and on about characters and stories, and I’m grateful. (If you enjoy my books and want to join us on the Temptress group, go here.) If only we could mystically meet up each time I finish a book and talk it out in person! They’re also awesome about sharing and twisting friends’ arms to get them to read my books . . . I adore their enthusiasm. It’s what keeps me writing.

Regardless of the opportunities offered on the web, nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to books. You telling a friend about a story that captivate you is more effective than fifty Facebook ads. Sharing your favorite reads is so important!

Well . . . since it seems no one is going to come bring me tea and chat about Days of You and Me just now, I guess you’ll keep seeing the pictures, the promos and the posts. If you feel spunky, shares are always appreciated, as are posts and tweets and emails . . . whatever does the trick.

That’s part of this author’s life.

#Monday Blogging: A Day in the Life

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway

 

That’s one of the most popular quotations floating around social media boards frequented by writers. And it’s true. Writing is only as hard as the author’s ability to be open, to lay herself naked to a world of readers.

Uncle Ernest had it easy. He lived in the days before the internet.

In so many ways, today’s authors are very fortunate. We can interact with our readers instantly; we don’t have piles of letters to answer, and we can share new information right away. But at the same time, that accessibility is a curse, because it can be a very big drain on our limit time and strength.

Let me show you what I mean. I wake up in the morning, and immediately I’m given a report on yesterday’s sales. That can be good news or bad news, but I know it, right away. And I usually wake up vintage-typewriter-100234507to messages and emails from readers (especially those around the world, whose time zone is different than ours), from promoters, from fellow authors and from other people in the industry.  I respond to the ones requiring immediate answers and flag those I’ll handle later.

Each day, I chat with readers. That’s the part of the job I love. I follow up on the commitments I’ve made to bloggers and other on-line personalities. And then there’s the event work.

I’m committed to attend six events next year. Each event requires me to spend time promoting it to readers, building up ticket purchases and hotel reservations. I love to share the information with my readers, and because I care about the events and the people making them happen, it’s a privilege to do this. But it does take time. “Just five minutes” here and there turns into an hour.

I talk with new or about-to-be-new authors, giving them information and advice. I try to calm nerves and encourage.

I love what I do. Writing is a joy, and sharing it with others is beyond the telling of it amazing. Every part is something I enjoy doing. . .it’s just that when you put them together, they add up to a more than full time job. I’ve known authors who get so wrapped up in the extras, they lose sight of the reason they’re doing this. It’s important not to do that.

And now I’ve got to get back to it. To the pure writing part. . .which is the point of all of this, right?

 

 

 

What on earth is a virtual book tour?

 

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If you follow my posts here with any regularity, you’ve been part of a virtual book tour!

When you see a post about a book that includes a review, a guest post from the author or an excerpt of the book, that is probably a stop on a virtual tour.

Once upon a time, when an author wrote a book, she would go from town to town to promote said book at book stores, libraries and book clubs. It was the staple of a book contract back in the day when a small number of books were published by a few large presses.

But today, things have changed. Books are published at a much larger rate, and neither traditionally  nor independently published writers are sent on those kind of tours very often. Only the big names rate that sort of promotion.

Instead, we use virtual book tours, where the author can promote her book to a large number of people worldwide. . .all without leaving home or even getting out of her pajamas.

Life is good.

I co-own Promotional Book Tours, which is a company that sets up and runs these tours. Here’s how they work.

An author comes to us and requests a tour. We offer several different options, from smaller, shorter tours to our larger, six-week versions.

Once the tour is booked, we offer it to our very select group of bloggers, people with whom we work on a regular basis. They can sign up to host a stop on the tour or to simply participate in a promotional blast, which usually is the first day of any tour.

A tour stop can be an excerpt of the book, a guest post written by the author, an interview with the author or a review of the book by the blogger or her designated reviewer. At PBT, most of our tours include two stops per day for the length of the tour.

Most tours also include giveaways, with prizes that can range from book swag to Amazon Kindles. The giveaways appeal to readers and to bloggers; it brings traffic to the tour and allows the bloggers to grow their own following. It also increases the writer’s visibility in social media.

At PBT, we also promote each tour stop heavily on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. With some tours, we offer video interviews as well.

Working at PBT is pretty cool. I have access to amazing books, work with the best bloggers in the cyber world and meet the finest authors and readers.

If you’re an author looking for a way to increase your presence in social media, raise the visibility of your book(s) and establish a strong base of book reviews, a cyber tour is an excellent idea.

If you’re a blogger, hosting tour stops will give you both content and traffic.

If you’re a reader, following these blogs and tour companies like PBT will give you a head’s up on the best books around and allow to get to know the authors.

For more information, click the PBT link above or visit our Facebook page.