Alligators Overhead Trailer

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group

ALEX CAVANAUGH


Seven Things I’d Do Before I Published a Book 
(if I had it to do over again)

by C. Lee McKenzie

1. Have a professional website and/or blog designed. 
  • Be sure the navigation is easy and the pages are easy to read.
  • Buy a domain name. Mine’s cleemckenziebooks. I wish it were simply cleemckenzie.  The simpler the better. 

  • Don’t use music. People often browse in public places and music isn’t always appreciated.

  • Be sure people can pull up your site on all their mobile devices.

Your website/blog is going to be a major marketing tool. It’s going to reveal who you are and what you write. You’re unique, so this is where you show that uniqueness.

2. Write short pieces and get them published. Ezines are a great market. 

Having samples of your writing published gives people a chance to become familiar with your style. It gives you credits to add to those query letters. It gives you a boost and, there’s nothing like practice to improve your craft. You can begin your email list with these short publications.

3. Become visible on the Social Networking Media


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Goodreads
  • Shelfari
  • LinkedIn
  • Amazon (Especially, become familiar with Authors Central)
There are more, but these are ones I’ve chosen to focus on. You’ll have to choose the ones that work best for you.

The Social Networking sites are all a bit different, and there’s a learning curve for each one. That takes time, and after you’re published, you really don’t have much of that anymore. Learn how to use each of these or ones you find most comfortable using.

If you only have time for two, go with fb and twitter. Add goodreads if you have time to manage three. Why?


  • facebook claims to have over 500 million active users, average age 38
  • twitter has over 75 million accounts, average age 39
  • goodreads is about books and reading; their ads are targeted at people who buy and read books.

4. Build a relationship with well-respected and highly visible reviewers/bloggers.

When you build a relationship with a reviewer/blogger you’re doing double duty. You’re learning what they like and how they respond to different types of books. They’re also reading your comments and learning a bit about you. You’ve established a relationship before you ask for a review. I think that’s important. 

5. Build an email list of people who know you and know your work. (Short pieces, remember? )

Email is a powerful marketing tool. Just be sure you know the people you’re contacting and they know you. Don’t be a spammer.  

6. Find bloggers with a large following and similar interests: books, hobbies, lifestyle. Build a relationship with them.

Bloggers are amazing. First, they love content, so if you know what they want, you can give it to them. Second, they’re pretty cool people who like to help others because they know others will help them when the time comes. It’s a very symbiotic relationship, and it’s effective for writers who are marketing books.

7. Create an image for yourself. Answer these questions: Who are you? What are your interests? What will you share with your readers on your website/blog, fb, twitter?

Blowing your own horn is not effective marketing, so you have to have something to contribute on social media. You have to provide interesting/informative content, and you have to do it in your unique way.

About me: I write stories about people who overcome adversity and rebuild their lives.
My books: Sliding on the Edge, The Princess of Las Pulgas, Double Negative and Alligators Overhead (my one leap into fantasy-adventure.)
My webpage: CLEEMCKENZIEBOOKS
(Permission to publish under "Publishing" in Insecure Writers Support Group, A Guide to Publishing and Beyond.)




73 comments:

  1. I probably should've gotten a domain name. Oh well.
    I'm doing more shorter pieces now, but wish I'd done them in the beginning as well.
    Excellent tips, Lee! This will be a great entry for the book. Thanks.

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  2. This is really a fantastic list, CLee. I actually feel a bit better after reading it. I've done all of those things. So, guess I just have to keep waiting for my book train to take me away.

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    1. So you're all set! Congrats on such a good job of setting things up.

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  3. There's so much to do/learn, and I'm so bad at most of it. I think, when I first started my blog, I branded myself without knowing it. I've been trying to do fb, which I get to some extent. Twitter continues eludes me, I still haven't figured out how to use it to my advantage, or anyone else's for that matter.

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  4. Yes to all of it, especially short pieces. I'm working on that now and I'm late to the game. Wish I read this three years ago :) Wonderful advice.

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    1. I always work on the better late than never principal!

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  5. yes, just focus on 2 or 3 social media sites, because you can't handle all of them. Trust me, I tried once.

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    1. Me, too! I was going nuts. Well, nuttier than usual.

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  6. 2 or 3 media sites is all I seem to be able to handle (and even that seems over-whelming at times). As to the domain, thanks for the push! The rest of the list, I'm jotting down right now ;) Great tips!

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  7. Great advice! I'm hoping at least that I'm accomplishing some of these things. I think I need to try harder to get smaller pieces published.

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    1. I like them because they help me improve my craft in a way that longer work doesn't.

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  8. THank you, thank you, thank you, C. Lee! I love all seven bits of your tangible and doable advice! I wish I had done them all before publishing, but of course, hindsight is 20-20. I like your thoughts on building relationships with bloggers, reviewers, and with ezines. :)

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    1. Seems we're in the same boat. Oh well, we'll catch up.

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  9. Wonderful advice. All the social medias could drain your time quickly.

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    1. Even with only a couple, I have very little time to just write anymore. Frustrating.

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  10. Hi Lee - this is great and covers all the bases ... bloggers are an amazing bunch and all the layering up we do as we go along helps develop friendships and these remain so years later ...

    As Alex says - this will be invaluable advice for many ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I learned this after publishing, my usual back in the door technique. :-)

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  11. All of these tips are excellent! It's important to choose 3-4 social media sites and stick to those instead of using them all, otherwise (like Mason said) it'll drain you mentally and physically.

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    1. One thing about Twitter is I can schedule Tweets and let them release without having to attend to them everyday. That's a help.

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  12. Ooooh This is amazing!
    I'm trying to figure out my image, with targeted audience in mind, at the moment. On Social Media I'm definitely okay with FB and Twitter, but need to learn more about G+. I enjoy Goodreads as well. Love all the tips!

    S.K. Anthony: My New 2014 Business Card — IWSG (15)

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    1. G+ is my last SM. I can't quite get behind that, but I dabble.

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  13. This is a great list! And I totally agree about not having music on the site. Every one in awhile I come across a site like that - the music suddenly blares and makes me jump!

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. Libraries kind of frown on music coming from computers. Thanks for the visit.

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  14. Great tips! I love this list, especially the tidbit about music. Usually music means the page gets shut down and not revisited. :) I'm too much of a control freak to have someone invade my earspace like that.

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    1. I liken it to being put on hold while on the phone and having to endure music someone else thinks is lovely. No thanks.

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  15. Excellent tips. I think it great to get short stories out there even if you write novels. You never know where a new reader might find you. :)

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    1. Absolutely. And when I've contributed to anthologies, I get to smooze with other authors as promo events. That's always fun.

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  16. Doesn't Alex make you laugh? Like he could do anything wrong. LOL. Great post!

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  17. I feel a little overwhelmed reading this list. But it seems like a good idea to try to cover some of them. Blog, check. Now on for the rest, one at a time.

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    1. You are so right. Take it one step at a time.

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  18. I wish I had gotten to know book reviewers better. Now, I get too shy to approach because I don't want them to think I'm doing it just for reviews, but at the same time, would really like to get reviews from them.

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    1. They'll understand, but I know exactly what you mean.

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  19. This is a comprehensive list that is going to be useful to many. Thanks so much for sharing with the community.

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    1. I'm glad it's going to be helpful. Thanks, Suzanne.

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  20. Great list. I didn't get my blog off the ground until I already had a few books published. If only I had this list back then.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. Oh, well, it will work out, right?

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  21. Great tips, Lee. So important to follow those book review blogs that can also help you out when your book is published. Just hard to fit it all in.

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  22. Awesome list, Lee. I definitely wished I'd not waited until right before launch to hop on Goodreads and Twitter because...learning curve! (As if all the tasks of going indie weren't stressful enough.) Two years later, I'm finally getting the hang of these platforms.

    I'd add to your list figuring out local laws about earning royalties. I had to set up as a small business because my city is hungry for every penny to tax revenue. Without a small business license, I'd be facing hefty fines. No joke. This added a ton of stress at the last minute for me.

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    1. You're so right about the tax side of things. I had a license for a while, but the bookkeeping and the reporting were a Pain in the Arse and only took more of my writing time. I now let our library bookstore or our local bookstore do sales at fairs in town.

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  23. Yeah, I waited way too late to get into blogging. And not just because I didn't have a known platform, either. I learned SO MUCH through blogging -- and mostly by visiting other blogs -- that would have served me well when I was revising my first book.

    Oh the things I would have done differently!

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    1. But that's about everything in life I guess. I couldn't find a scroll long enough to list all the things I would do differently if given a chance.

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  24. I was mad my domain name was taken. I wanted plain mpax. I had to tag on 'author' at the end. Great advice. I find I'm still learning how to use my 'tool's more effectively.

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  25. Well, I did it right, methinks. (Other than learning Author Central.) I use LibraryThing rather than Shelfari. Haven't decided which is best.

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    1. We have to go with the media that we're comfy with. You've done famously.

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  26. It seems like good advice on the internet side of writing.

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    1. It's called selling books. I think of it as the opposite of writing, but I like it now that I understand how it works.

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  27. Hi Lee, waving from NY. So glad to connect with you through IWSG. We've known each other through cyberspace and I'm delighted that I'm doing most of your suggestions. I must get better about submitting shorter pieces to ezines!

    Best,
    Donna

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    1. Hi Donna!

      Yes, we keep bumping into each other, don't we? I love that.

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  28. This is so great. I have read some others and each give such wonderful tips. Really interesting to read all the tips and yours centred on this type of media

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    1. Thanks, Birgit. Appreciate your comment.

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  29. Finding blogs is HUGE. It's important to develop relationships with those who can promote your work well before it comes out. Also join a writer's group! I was very active in RWA back in the 90s and had a strong writing community around me. But when I left and came back and the industry had changed, I didn't have that same support group in the children's writing world because it wasn't the world I "grew up in." It's different coming in as an agented/published author. People set you aside in a different group than if you were a newbie.

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  30. Talk about things that would have been good to do before publishing...wow, what a great list Lee. Even though I beginning to do some of these things now, I do wish I had done them back then.

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  31. This is great advice, Lee... since I am not published yet, I will definitely diving into some of these before my time comes...

    THANKS so much!

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  32. Helpful advice, Lee. It's good to learn from someone who's already been there, don't that.

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  33. Haven't written a book, but some of these are familiar from all my time spent blogging. I've got two social media sites I use for it currently (G+ because it's connected to Blogger and Twitter because it was suggested to me).
    If you ever decide to post music on your website, make sure it doesn't start playing automatically because that's great way to ensure fewer repeat visitors.
    Anyway, good post and good advice.

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  34. What wonderful advice! I couldn't agree with you more and I know your advice will be a big help to new writers out there wondering what they should do while they are querying or experiencing writer's block. They can get involved with others in the field online and work on their blog. :)
    ~Jess

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  35. Excellent advice. I've been focusing on short stories for the time being to get those publishing credits and hone my craft. I go back and forth on when to start the website, but I figure when I have a paid piece out there, that will be when I start building it.

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  36. Wonderful post, which I believe I follow already. I've been submitting shorter pieces lately. I'm in one anthology and will be in this new one for IWSG. I like being included in such projects. I'd like to write short stories, though.

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  37. Very sensible, solid advice. I'm getting there, hopefully. Got a few stories published before I started blogging, will appear in a couple of charity anthologies and in this one and How I Found The Write Path. I have many beneficial relationships with bloggers, now need to befriend a few reviewers. It gives me hope that marketing can be fun because all this has been quite enjoyable!

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  38. These are such excellent tips, Lee. Even if you didn't do them before your book came out, you are doing them now and do it all extremely well. It's never too late!

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  39. I love how you jumped into your list with both feet by zeroing in on the most effective tips. Like Karen said, "It's never too late" to pick up where you left off in your writing career. This will definitely be a great addition to the IWSG Guide that I'll refer back to again and again!

    Julie

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  40. These are all such great tips. I keep meaning to work on short stories and submit to try and get more visibility. I also realize I've totally neglected the Amazon author central page. Thanks for this advice!

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  41. Have two blogs but don't have a website yet. Submitted short stories, but haven't tried Ezines yet. :-) Thanks for sharing these tips!

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  42. Still working on getting my blog up to professional levels. Hope to have that finished by the time I publish my first book.

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