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So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 12: The Blog Tour or Blog Hop

bannerStarting today (Oct. 1) and running until Oct. 14, some of our Lachesis Publishing authors are going to be highlighted on various blogs throughout the blog-o-sphere.

 

We worked with Sparkle Book Tours on this tour.

I’m loving all the graphics they’ve created for the tour, which I will be passing on to each author for their own use. Talk about some great takeaway! 🙂

Here are a few samples of what they created for every book that’s featured on the tour:

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There are a lot of blog tour companies out there – and you may try a few different ones just to see how they work out. But here are some points to consider when working with a blog tour company:

1. Find out the kinds of blogs they work with and the kind of audience the blogs have. It doesn’t have to be a huge audience but certainly the “right” audience for you. For example if you’ve written an historical romance you want to be featured on blogs that primarily write about historicals and have a loyal fan base of historical lovers.

2. Are they going to “package” your post? Whether it’s a promo for your book or spotlight of you or an article you’ve written – how will the tour company “present” your post on the blog tour? Will they include graphics? Will they format it in a particular way?

3. Who does the uploading – do you send the tour company your post or do you send it to the blog directly?

4. Cost! Ask about their different packages and the costs involved.

5. Social Media: Does the blog tour company have a facebook and twitter account with substantial followers? Will they be promoting your blog on their own social media pages?

6. Time: How long is the tour going to last and how close together are the bookings? Hopefully the tour company is open to arranging the tour to work with your schedule. I think a good tour should be done over a period of days or weeks blocked together to build momentum and create more buzz.

7. Create a variety of different posts for the tour. You don’t want the exact same post for each blog. Perhaps four or five different posts that you can spread out.

8. Don’t be afraid to check out the blogs ahead of time. You want to make sure that those blogs are appropriate for your tour and what you are promoting.

9. Word of mouth! Ask your author friends what tour companies they’ve used and what they thought of them.

10. Giveaways! Don’t forget to give something away for each post. Usually a free book. But if you want to get creative go for it!

Blog tours can be very useful and helpful in promoting your books. The idea is to get readers interested and excited in your books and hopefully generate some new fans!

Here two articles I found online that go through some of the blog tour companies and actually rate them! Here’s one in the Self-Publishing Review and one from The Book Designer.

Have fun!

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So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 9: Q and A with bestseller Ruth Cardello

1525041_763874253623047_936091427_nSo happy that Ruth Cardello is our Q and A guest today. Ruth is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is also SUPER savvy on social media and is DYNAMITE at utilizing social networking to promote her books and help turn them into BIG hits.

Why do you write?taken_not_spurred-2xer5tft36936dfnce8cne

I have always been passionate about reading romance stories. As a young girl I would stay up all night secretly reading the newest Harlequin novel. Writing became a natural way for me to escape into the worlds I loved being ensconced in. It is also a way for me to get the voices in my head to quiet down . . . or at least it gives me an excuse for them.

BeddingTheBillionaire-ebook-2xcx6nll4n8vh1kd2nfw96You are known for being an Internet success story –tell us how that came about.

I wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Publishers told me that the story I had submitted was good but not what they were looking for. I was determined to publish my book. I started searching on the Internet for information on self-publishing. It was still very new at that time. I methodically began connecting and networking with other authors online. Once my first book was self-published, I began connecting with my readers and sharing my knowledge with other authors who were just starting out. I’ve paid forward my good fortune each and every chance I had and I like to think that is what has brought so many wonderful people into my life. Writing a novel is a solitary process. Publishing it is not.

Some authors cringe at the idea of social media and see it as a waste of time away from their writing. What do you think about it? How much time do you spend on social media every day?

come-away-with-me-2wc5yekda8llpnwyuk1c7eI use every social media outlet possible.  I am on Facebook, where I have a personal page, a Business Page, and several other pages that are used for networking with other authors and my readers. I am also on twitter , Goodreads, Google+, Authorgraph and Pinterest.  I dedicate at least one hour a day solely to connecting with my readers and other authors.

Based on your own experience, do you think it’s a good idea for an author to invest in his or her own promotional or marketing budget? If so – what are some of the important things that an author should consider?

Yes, writing is a business and any business owner will tell you that you have to invest in yourself to grow. The initial investment can be time, but never underestimate the value of a good editor. Important things to consider are budget, target market, and finding the best advertisers within budget that will reach the most readers. A good cover and a good tag line are also important in your promotion.

What are the top three things every author needs to do to create a buzz around a new release?

MaidfortheBillionaire-ebook-2xcx6mccppwzok3n7zlc7e1. The best tool for me is my newsletter.  If you have a newsletter, use it to notify your readers of your new release. Every reader who reads your book and doesn’t sign up to stay connected with you in some way may forget you by the time you release your next. Not because they didn’t love your book, but because of the sheer number of good books available out there.

2. Inform your readers of your release via all of your social media outlets. Post about your release on Facebook. Tweet about it. Share it on Google + and add it to your blog. Encourage your fans to share it with their friends.

3. If you can arrange for a Blog Blitz or a Book Blog Tour you can reach even more readers.

What do you think of the notion that you’re not only an author but you’re a business person too? Does that resonate with you?

ForLoveOrLegacy-ebook-2xcx6myyx6kxksu05bim8aAbsolutely. Wearing an author’s hat and a business hat keeps me busy! Sometimes I have to set the business aspect of writing aside so it doesn’t cut into my writing time. But I can’t always put the business aside because being an author is like running a very busy shop where you are the sole employee.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

I have a lot of authors who have inspired me throughout the years.  I couldn’t begin to list them all here. Annette Blair and Sandra Marton were amazing to me when I first started out and I hero worshipped both for their writing ability.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

My laptop, an iPad, my cell phone, a plaque that reads “if you can dream it, you can do it – Walt Disney”, a bottle of water and some carrot sticks.

What is your favourite guilty pleasure treat that you indulge in when writing?
I don’t eat chocolate or many sweets, but I do love to start my writing day with an iced French Vanilla coffee.
 
RiseOfTheBillionaire-ebook-2xcx6p8e2g6blo9p2wuf4aA great writer or a good book doesn’t necessarily translate to hitting a bestseller list. What do you think the bestselling authors do differently than authors who don’t sell as well?

It’s a whole new world out here in Indie publishing. You’re right there are many good books that don’t hit the lists. All things equal, to make a list your book has to be seen. It’s that simple. How an author gets their book in the hands of new readers and grows their reader base—that’s an individual path all the best sellers created for themselves. But the bottom line is always the same. A good book needs to find its readers. Once it does that, it’s on its way.

Connect with Ruth Cardello via her web site, on facebook, twitter and pinterest.

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So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 6 (Q and A with bestseller Cathryn Fox)

cathrynfoxCathryn Fox is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes sexy contemporary romance, erotica, and hot paranormal romance. New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster describes Cathryn’s books as, “sizzling, irresistible and wonderful”. USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean calls Cathryn, “The next Queen of Steamy Romance.” National bestselling author Sylvia Day says, “A Cathryn Fox book is a must-read great escape!” 

Cathryn is our guest today and she’s got a lot to say about what it takes to be a bestselling author!

What do you love about being an author?

I honestly love being able to write down the stories that are in my head.  I also love the flexibility of my job. I was able to be home with the kids when they were young, and my husband is a shift worker, so if he’s off during the week, I can take a day off and just make up for it on the weekend.

Tell us the backstory of how you hit the bestseller lists – for which book (s)?

tornbetweentwobrothers_lgI’ve been on the USA Today list three times, and New York Times Twice, and let me say, the second and third times are just as exciting as the first. My book, Torn Between Two Brothers was in the Love in Disguise boxed set and hit USA Today. Yours To Take, was in Unraveled and hit USA Today AND New York times, and in July, Torn Between Two Brothers hit both lists in the Spice Boxed set. yourstotake_lg

How long have you been writing and how long did it take you to get on a bestseller list?

pleasurecontrol_mmI’ve been writing full time since 2000.  I hit my first big bestsellers list last year with my Pleasure Games Trilogy, a special three-book bundle for Costco and Walmart! I hit The Globe and Mail top ten!

How much time do you spend on social media every day? And what are some of the things that you do on your social media sites to engage with readers and fans?

histroubleintallulah_lgI am on facebook and twitter everyday. I would say for about an hour. In an effort to engage readers, I post pictures of numerous things, such as the deer who are currently eating all my fruit trees, the fire pit we just put in, the sailboat in the harbor near the boardwalk I walk in the evenings. I think readers want to hear about the ‘authors’ not just the books. I also recently started FOXY FICTION, it’s a facebook street team where I give sneak peaks, share excerpts, deleted scenes and will soon hold a contest where the reader can get THEIR name in my book. I’m seeking new members, so if any of your readers out there are interested in hanging out with me, please come by!

What if an author is starting out in social media – on facebook and twitter etc…or what if they haven’t gotten much buzz – what are some things an author can do to create a buzz or get more followers?

There are many facebook groups that host promotional parties. Definitely try to get involved. It’s great for exposure, especially when it’s a multi-author party. During your time slot offer incentives, perhaps a draw for a free ebook, to all those who liked your facebook author page, joined your street team, or newsletter. Other facebook places offer page takeovers and this way you get a chance to interact with their readers. I will be taking part in the Twin Sisters Rockin Book Reviews page takeover on the 18th of August 7-9 Eastern. If anyone out there is interested to see how it’s run, please stop by.

Based on your own experience, do you think it’s a good idea for an author to invest in his or her own promotional and marketing budget? If so – what are some of the important things that an author should consider?
 
crashingdown_lgMarketing is so important today, especially if you are indie publishing. Without a publishing house behind you, everything is left in the author’s hands. What good is it to write a book, put it out there, only for no one to know about it?  It doesn’t always have to be expensive. (especially since most things can be done digitally today!) You can reach out to goodreads reviewers and give them an advanced copy of your book to generate early reviews. You can ask friends to tweet or post on facebook for you. You can also purchase some fairly inexpensive ad space at places like Storyfinds, Ereadernews Today, Digital Book Today, Kindle Fire Department, Romance Reads, Fresh Fiction.  If you have a higher budget you can reach out to marketing and public relations specialists like InkslingerPR.  

Do you do brick and mortar book tours? If so, do you arrange them on your own or do you go through your publisher or an agency? Why are book tours still important in today’s huge e-book market?

I have done a few locally that were arranged on my own. I think it’s important to get out there and make that face-face connection with readers. During a tour you can also sell your book digitally, so it doesn’t matter if the reader likes print book or ebook, they can still walk away with your shiny new book.
 
Do you do online book tours? If so, do you go through agencies or arrange them on your own? What do you like about online book tours?

I’ve done online blog tours and they were arranged by both me, for my indie books, and my publisher for my traditional books. Goddess Fish is who I used. I enjoy it because I can do either, questions and answers, or write a blog post on a topic of my choice. My work/name gets put in front of many, many readers.

What do you think it takes to become a bestselling author?

knockingondemonsdoor_lgHard work, dedication, drive, ambition, knowledge of the industry, and a little bit of luck! It also takes a good book, good cover and a great support group behind the scenes who is willing to read and reread that book until it’s perfect!

A great writer or a good book doesn’t necessarily translate to hitting a bestseller list. What do you think the bestselling authors do differently than authors who don’t sell as well?

You are right. I’ve read lots of excellent books that have not hit bestseller lists. I think bestsellers study the market, are always evaluating the changes in the industry and are willing to change with it. I also believe they are prepared to try new things, even at the risk of failing.

Thank you for stopping by!

Thank you for having me!

You can connect with Cathryn Fox online at her web site and on facebook and twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

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So You Want to Be a Bestselling Author? Part 5: Postcards From The Edge

?????????????????????????????????We had a great response to last Wednesday’s post featuring the talented graphic artist Sharlene Martin Moore. Sharlene creates gorgeous online “postcards” for authors to use to promote their books, contests, book signings etc… She designs postcards for some of the biggest names in the biz including Eloisa James and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. We heard from several authors who are going to contact Sharlene to get some postcards made – which is awesome! A few of you already have! Dragons-Fall-Card2David Lee Summers got in touch with Sharlene and ordered a postcard for his dark vampire novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet OrderSharlene came up with two killer designs.

And some of you have been inspired to create your own postcards as well. Alexis D. Craig 10580012_869776593034942_4249028469916398592_n-1created a hot and sexy postcard for her romantic suspense Give Me Shelter. And guess what? Alexis has been getting great buzz on social media. Here’s the postcard Alexis created:

As you can see, postcards are a great way to engage with fans and readers. And people love to reblog them! Think of them as movie billboards – the kind you see when you’re driving. You really take notice and you want to find out more. That’s what these online postcards do. That’s the impact they have.

Make a statement with your books – both new releases and older titles will benefit from online postcards.

Until next week – keep promoting! 🙂

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, and social media networking.

 

 

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So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? – Part 4: Promoting your books in a creative way

Eloisa James - Three Weeks With Lady X

Eloisa James – Three Weeks With Lady X

Welcome to Part 4 of our ongoing series focusing on how to become a bestselling author. Today we feature an interview with Sharlene Martin Moore. Sharlene is a creator/designer of online postcards. Her cards are used by some of the most successful authors in the biz to promote their books on various social media networking sites as well as on on their own websites and blogs.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Heroes Are My Weakness

Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Heroes Are My Weakness

Her cards a.k.a. image memes, are an example of what creates a buzz online. When an author wants to promote his/her book they turn to  Sharlene to get the right tone and look that will convey the spirit of their book. Whatever you want to call them – graphic image cards, online postcards or graphic memes – they are attention grabbing and they have the ability to create a stir among readers and fans. Whether you want to announce a special sale, or a contest you are running, or to grab attention before an upcoming release – Sharlene will get it done. She is one of the dynamic people working behind the scenes, helping authors become bestsellers! 

Beatriz Williams - The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Beatriz Williams – The Secret Life of Violet Grant

What do you do for authors?

I create graphic image cards for authors to use on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter.

Who are some of the authors you’ve worked with and books you’ve done postcards for?

Eloisa James, Linda Francis Lee, Lauren Willig, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer McQuiston, Katharine Ashe, Kate Noble, Sara Jane Stone, Cathy Maxwell, Terri Osburn, Emily Greenwood and Cat Devon. I just started working with Ella Quinn and Jill Shalvis which is exciting.

Cat Devon - Paranormal Romance Author

Cat Devon – Paranormal Romance Author

Do you have a lot of repeat clients?

Yes, I do have a lot of repeat clients which makes me very happy.

Tell us about your background – how did you get started as a postcard designer?

Eloisa James - sentiment card (to interact with readers and fans)

Eloisa James – sentiment card (to interact with readers and fans)

I am a former elementary school teacher with a great love for arts and crafts. I loved glitter as a child and making attractive bulletin boards for my classroom as a teacher. Eloisa James is responsible for my start. I shared a couple of cards I had made with her, she liked them and off I went. As she shared cards on her Facebook page, other authors asked her who was doing them and she sent them to me. I owe her so much and I am honored to work with her and her assistant Kim Castillo.

What do you charge for a post card and how often can an author post it and where? Can they post it forever or is there a time limit? Can other people (i.e. fans/readers) repost it online?

collage featuring postcards for various auuthors

collage featuring postcards for various authors

I charge $5 per card or you can get 6 cards for $25. The author can post the card as many times as they want on any online medium such as Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest. Some authors share them on their blogs and use them on Twitter. There is no time limit on the cards. I love for others  to repost them and I know the authors love it too. 

How do you put a postcard together? What kinds of quotes and images do you look for?

It begins with a background, then either a quote or author blurb, possibly a review. I work to create an image that will convey artistically the message the author wants to share.

Lauren Willig - The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla

Lauren Willig – The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla

Can an author provide you with the image and the quote?

Definitely, some pick the quotes they want on the card and some ask me to find quotes from their book. Also some want the book cover on each card.

In your experience, how popular and successful are online or social networking postcards and why?

I think graphic cards or memes are very popular. I feel they are successful because a graphic image catches your attention much like billboards do. Images are the most shared and talked about posts on Facebook.

Are you open to doing cards for authors who write horror, suspense, or mysteries?

I am open to other genres as long as the material is not offensive to me.

Eloisa James - Paris in Love

Eloisa James – Paris in Love

Why do authors keep coming back to you again and again?

I have priced my product to be affordable even by new authors on a limited budget. The cards allow them to share snippets from new books, announce a new cover, and share the word about a limited time sale and so much more. They are pretty and everyone likes pretty. Social media moves so quickly, especially on Facebook, my cards allow authors to share something that will get attention.

What do you love the most about creating these images?

I love being able to create something that someone I admire likes. It is very rewarding to see my cards on the Facebook pages of authors I have admired and read for years. 

LFL12Connect with Sharlene Martin Moore via facebook, on her web site and on twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.


 

 

 

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