Saturday, April 30, 2011

Marketing & Promotion on the Internet #2





Marketing & Promotion using the Internet #2

Listen and Contribute
By: Stephanie Burkhart,
author of: The Giving Meadow


Nowadays, as the traditional publishing industry is challenged by bankruptcy, declining income, and the availably of books online with ereaders, more and more authors are embracing the Internet for self-promotion. Why? It's affordable. It allows you to reach potential readers outside of your normal sphere of influence. Self-promotion may seem a little overwhelming at first, but its okay to go at your own pace.

First, we all know you're a writer, but in order to sell books, you have to dedicate a certain amount of time (and money to marketing)

Consider this: If you're just starting out commit to spending 1 hour a day on marketing efforts. Also consider how much you can put aside for a marketing budget. I know several websites that will host the cover to your book for $10.00 a month or your book trailer for the same fee.

#2 – Think about who you audience is. Is it adults with children and preschoolers? (I'm lucky in that I write romance and children's stories. Both crossover well, as most romance readers are moms or grandmothers with school age children)

#3 – Target your audience. Join those Yahoo Groups where readers of your genre are and just listen for a couple of days to get the feel of the loop. Introduce yourself and let others get to know you. I know a bunch of authors on the Bragging Rites Yahoo Group and have made several valuable connections that way.

Remember: to build readers and a fan base, it's not all about you. Listen. Get to know what your readers like. Interact with them and build community.

Here are some "listening" ideas:

Set up Google alerts. This will notify you when your name, articles, books, and even Twitter handle are used on the Internet. When you get the alert that someone is promoting your name or work, pop on over and say "thanks." A small thank you goes a long way.

If there's something you don't understand – ask. It stimulates conversation.

Be polite. Just like w" Please," "thank you," and "you're welcome" along with a friendly online presence goes a long way.

"Contribute" ideas:

By contributing, you show you're "down-to-Earth," just like the readers you are trying to attract. Here are some tips.

Give it away. Write a short story as free read. Give it away. People love to receive free things.

Your Blog:

Use your blog to contribute. Don't just talk about you, your book, or how great you are – but really engage your audience. You can start with your hobbies. Do you love to watch baseball? It's baseball season. Have a baseball day on your blog and talk about the different teams. Talk about the differences going to a game now versus when you were a kid. Talk about gardening and flowers. Share your thoughts and impressions on the latest movie you saw. Ask other authors to visit you. If you have a cause you support like breast cancer awareness or the Japanese Relief, don't be afraid to talk about it. Many others support causes as well. I like to talk about lighthouses on the California coast on my blog.

NOTE: Engage, but don't feel like you have to get too personal. You can discuss hobbies, movies, books, favorite authors, even coffee, but it's all right to keep your personal life to yourself.

TIP: Widgets send readers & followers to your BEST places on the net.

Book Reviews

Don't be afraid to share reviews of books you've read. It's a great way to contribute and interact with READERS.

Here's a Net checklist:

Home Base
Your Website
Update these sites frequently and often. I use tripod as my host. They offer free packages (you have to allow for ads) or at their cheapest: $5.00 a month you can get a basic, ad free website. Most web hosts have templates and you can create the website yourself without having to pay big bucks to have someone set it up for you.

Hang out on:
Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Ask a question to stimulate conversation. For example: What's your favorite 80's band? Get people talking in a general way and talk about your books will come.

Home Away from Home:

Your Amazon.com author page.

Visit your Friends:
Forums, Yahoo Groups, Good reads, Shelfari & JackFlap.


Reference for this Article: "50 Simple Ways to Build your Platform," by Christina Katz, Writer's Digest, March/April 2011, Pgs. 40-45.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Boy, artists talk funny! What on earth is a triptych? And why does my artist think I'd want one?

Part 1
by Aidana WillowRaven

Understanding what your artist is talking about when you are going over plans on how to represent your book, not only the cover art, but promotional media, too, avoids a lot of confusion. Unfortunately, more often than not, an artist needs to rephrase what they visualize to an author/publisher/editor, because the lingo she learned in art school, and the vocabulary an author/publisher/editor learned in school, can at times seem like two different languages.

So, today's first question: What on earth is a triptych? According to merriam-webster ...

triptych  noun  \'trip-(,)tip\ 
1 :an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together

2 a :a picture (as an alter piece) or carving in three panels side by side                                           
   b :something composed or presented in three parts or sections; especially : TRILOGY


The second definition is what your artist is most likely referring to, a picture (such as a painting, drawing, sculpture, or rendering) that has three panels or parts placed next to each other, or is designed to compliment, and be presented together, telling a full 'story'.

 


 If done right, each individual piece is a complete composition, in and of itself. Much like each book in a series has to be able to stand alone, so does each part of a triptych.

Traditionally, all three pieces are the same size. But, many times throughout history, the two 'side' pieces, were shorter/or smaller, with a central focus piece.

Early Christian art made the use of art triptychs very popular. From the middle ages onward, triptych art works graced alters as a standard format from  the eastern Byzantine churches to the English Celtic churches in the west.



Today, themes can range far and wide. I've seen everything from religiously inspired pieces to fantasy epics. Even family or wedding portraits can be presented as triptychs.

Oh, and the second question for today's post ... And why does my artist think I'd want one? 



What I've been showing above is a promotional triptych I recently finished for Harry Gilleland's book Alric & Anneliese (a 4RV Publishing release). Originally meant to be a pair of illustrations for use in the book's trailer (since the book isn't illustrated and the cover art is abstract, not making it very story-telling friendly, but more representational), a third piece was needed to tie everything together. And what's a love story (that surrounds knights, barbarians, kings, and ladies) without a good ole battle scene. And my first professional triptych was born. To learn more about triptychs, Wikipedia has a really good write up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triptych



The trailer the above illos were created for will be posted here on the 4RV news blog Saturday, May 7. Be sure to check it out.




Aidana WillowRaven


Art Director & VP of Operations
4RV Publishing

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Federal Depository Libraries Score A+


by vehoae  

Authorized by the United States Congress and signed into law by President James Madison two hundred years ago, Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs) have upheld rights of every citizen of this Republic. Those rights include having free access to records and information from all three branches of our government (Judicial, Legislative, Executive). Regional FDLs also include much information from military/defense, including extensive records from the war between the states.

The twelve hundred-plus FDLs nationwide work with each other to make documents, microfiche, journals, books, and much more available to citizens. To learn the location of FDLs in your state, visit the FDL locator site. I reside in Oklahoma where there are two Regional FDLs and eighteen selective FDLs (smaller, with limited information).

Having access to all these records is essential for those who desire to have the actual documents in hand to read. This is a requisite for those who write non-revisionist nonfiction and historical fiction.

Since moving to Oklahoma, I've spent several years researching at the Regional FDL located in the same building as the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) in Oklahoma City. This Regional FDL is situated on the second floor of ODL's three-story building, along with the Oklahoma Center For The Book and various literacy offices. The top floor consists of records from the territorial and state government, including archived documents and information from the Governors. On ODL's ground floor, you will find the State Library, ODL administrative offices, and the wonderful, award-winning Oklahoma Collection (the famous glassed-in Oklahoma Room filled with books and documents written about the territory and state).

Oklahomans are fortunate to have this particular Regional FDL -- it was recipient of the National 2009 Federal Depository Library of the Year award. For those of you who are researchers, readers, and writers of non-revisionist history, I urge you to utilize the primary documents, books, and other reference materials available at an FDL in your area. If you live in Oklahoma, I wholeheartedly recommend the Regional FDL located at Oklahoma Department of Libraries, along with its excellent Oklahoma Collection and Territorial/State Archives.

vehoae

NOTE: This article gives us an excellent source for researching for anything we write: fiction or nonfiction.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Promotion - Why a Web Site?


Why a Web Site? 

            Unless a person is already famous, he needs to build a platform – how as an author he reaches book-buying people or how he plans to do so.  One way to promote himself, bring his name in front of the public, is to have a web site. The same is true for illustrators, editors, and/or designers.

            Having a solid “platform” is one way a person can prove his books will sell. Many agents and publishers won’t consider offering a contract to someone who hasn’t built a platform before submitting a manuscript. In fact literary agent Rachelle Gardner said, “You really need to show that you are willing and able to put the time and effort into marketing yourself and building a readership online.” If that advice applies to those authors trying to break into major publishing houses, how much more important is it for authors who won't have the backing of one of the "big guys"?

            A solid plank in an author’s (or other book creative entities) platform is to have a web site. With the current web site providers who provide professional-looking templates creating a personalized web site isn’t as difficult as in the past. I have several web sites that I, technologically challenged as I am, am able to build and maintain.

            Also web sites provide access to a public for little or no cost. According to Merit Web Design, web sites are the Great Equalizer. Anyone can market himself and his book. A web site is a good way to build a customer or reader database.

            Other reasons to have a web site include the following:

  1. Information. A person wants to be sure that correct information can be found somewhere. I have found mistakes on Amazon, as have others.
  2. Credibility. An author, illustrator, etc. needs to show he takes his work seriously enough to provide an online presence.
  3. A comfort level of reader interaction. The web site holder controls the amount of interaction, but readers can interact. Readers want to know about authors and illustrators, but they want those authors and illustrators to “temper pride with facts.”
  4. Promotion, promotion, promotion. Even the famous have web sites to help promote themselves. We, as not so well known people, definitely need promotional aid.

            Authors and illustrators for 4RV Publishing are supposed to have a web site. Some, however, have failed to develop one, which hurts their presence in the heavily populated author and illustrator society.

            If a person can’t afford a pay-for website, several free services are available, which can be upgraded inexpensively, including purchasing a domain name. The two I have used are http://yola.com and http://weebly.com, and I’ve been pleased with both.




Vivian Zabel, author of Stolen   

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Creating an effective Picture Book Dummy Book

By Ginger Nielson

The term "DUMMY BOOK"  may bring to mind those yellow and black How To Books for Dummies, but a Dummy Book for a prospective publisher or author is quite different.

Illustrators will not always be asked to create one, but many will want to create one as a promotional tool, or as an example to show to a publisher. Writers may want to know how their work translates into a set number of illustrations.  Self publishers will welcome one as well.

Authors need not submit an illustrated version of their work unless they are actually the illustrator. Publishers choose the best illustrator for any particular picture book.

The purpose of the dummy book is to allow the editor to see what a final version of a picture book will look like.  Changes made at this stage affect the final finished book.  That is why only one or two of the illustrations in a dummy book need to be finished.

There are a number of ways to create a Picture Book dummy.
Traditionally picture books consist of 32 interior pages.  This may not be the case for some publishers and with self publishing on the rise there is a great deal of variance in page count.

For the purpose of this article I am going to stick to 32 pages,  and a wrap around cover. (I will cover the construction of a dust jacket and the template used for one in another article.)

Your page count (32) needs to include a Title Page, A copyright / ISBN page, a dedication page, a Half Title page if the editor request one and perhaps some place for a bit about the author and illustrator.


The first step is to really get involved with the manuscript.  Page breaks may be decided by the editor or the illustrator may be given that task.


If you have previously laid out your ideas on a story board it would look something like this:
You may click on the image to see the larger version.


Note that the actual illustrations in this particular book do not begin until page 5.  It is acceptable and sometimes effective to include a portion of the first illustration on pages 4 and 5 if the dedication on page 4 allows room for this.

With this outline and the manuscript you can begin the process of sketching your characters, selecting passages to illustrate and finishing all the illustrations in sketch form.  How detailed your sketches are will depend entirely on how you plan to finish the illustrations.  Some illustrators use the story board to simple WRITE out what they plan, others will make a small thumbnail drawing prior to more detailed full size sketches.

The sketches for a dummy book need only be detailed enough to mimic the action of the story but still need to be representative enough for an editor to know how the illustration relates to the text.


Assuming the page size has been decided and your sketches are finished to the correct size, you are almost ready to begin. Since most publishers will want at least one finished illustration along with the sketches, you need to have that done as well.  It can be sent separately or included as part of the dummy.
Many editors prefer the finished pieces to be separate so that they can hand them around during meetings or conferences.

You need to make copies of your sketches and a photo copy or scan of the finished work.  Originals should never be sent in the dummy.

With all the copies ready you have several options for assembling your copied sketches.

You can staple the pages together  (not  a great idea ... but some do this)


You can use artist tape to tape the backs of each page to the next and then tape all the pages together....
                                                                    OR

You can mount each page on another sheet of paper large enough to hold two pages on one side and two pages on the other side.  IF you do this you will need to leave a little room in the gutter.


Be sure to take into consideration where each page will go before you commit to gluing down your illustrations.

Take the first set of four larger sheets of paper with all the illustrations glued on back to back in order and sew them together with heavy button hole thread. This will create one "SIGNATURE" of 16 page sides.  Do the same with the next and then sew both "SIGNATURES" together.  I use a heavy carpet needle to get through the paper. But, by having the illustrations mounted on a thinner large sheet of paper, the gutter in between is a bit easier to sew through.



When all the pages are together it is time to attach the cover.  It can be larger sheets of paper with the illustration adhered or it can consist of a cardboard backing with the illustrations glued on top.   The cover needs ample allowance on the spine to accommodate the dummy book within.

I like to do my cover as a finished painting, but it is not necessary.


There is enough room between the front and back covers to wrap around the finished dummy.
In order to get the cover to become part of the entire book you may glue the spine created by the two signatures and then adhere them to the inside of the spine for the back cover. Or if the cover is to be your finish, you can simply wrap it around the inner book without gluing the two together.

With the dummy book finished you have a choice to send along one or two finished illustrations (not the originals) or you may have already counted the cover or an inside finish as sufficient.

Send your dummy to the art editor who requested it, or send it as part of your query for a new assignment.  A professional looking dummy book is worth the time and effort.



Monday, April 25, 2011

Come Entertain Me -- How to Start a Novel or Story

by Vivian Zabel

         A friend asked me how she should begin her book. She didn't know how to start. She had other questions that made me decide to begin a series of articles about writing. The first, of course, is about beginning.

         I have picked up something to read and lay it down in seconds. Why? Because the first paragraph nearly put me to sleep.

         We need to catch a reader's attention immediately with strong action verbs and, well, some kind of action, whether physical or intellectual. That first paragraph (and all the following ones, for that matter) should not be a dump for detail and description. The first sentence or paragraph is called the "hook," that which grabs the reader's attention.

         A manuscript submitted to a publisher started with the following paragraph:

        The town was dull and drab. The trees were colorless. The people matched everything else. They were walking with their eyes on the ground, and they were shuffling their feet as they walked. They were silent when they happened to met on the street.

         That publisher didn't accept that piece, but how could it have come alive, become interesting? Let's see what we can do.

         The dullness of the town spread to the trees around it. The drab forest of brown, withered branches matched the people who shuffled along the dirty streets, with no one raising his or her eyes. One stooped old man stumbled into a post.Without raising his eyes from where they watched his feet, the man mumbled, "Sorry," before he scooted away.

         Which version would you prefer? Which paragraph grabbed your attention enough that you might continue reading?

         One big difference between the two paragraphs -- the first example is filled with state-of-being verbs (was, were). Yes, at times a being verb must be used, but if a bit of rewriting will delete a state-of-being verb and use action verb, then a writer needs to tighten and strengthen the work by making the change.

         Another problem with the top example -- detail and description fills it, no action, no interest-creating material.

         The "improved" paragraph still isn't exactly interesting. It needs a plot push, something to move the plot forward or introduce it; or it needs something to help develop a character of characters.

          The gaunt man stood atop a hill gazing at the town below him. "Strange," he muttered to himself, "I've never seen such a drab place in my life."
         His eyes searched for any sign of life, real life. Trees stood bent and twisted, nothing but brown leaves in late spring. "The place looks dingy, almost like a film covers it." He shook his head. "The people don't even look alive." He watched one old man shuffle down the street, never lifting his eyes from staring at the ground. 

         Now, what has happened? We get the feeling that something is really wrong by "seeing" the town through the eyes of a character in the story. Does that give more impact? I think so.

         I write many short stories, some which grew up to be novels, but some which still remain stories, such as The Day of Two Suns.

         Thus begins a series of writing tips that hopefully will help us all be better writers. This coming Sunday, I'll give some writing "dos and don'ts" that may add to our writing tips.







Vivian Zabel, author of Stolen  
4RV Publishing  
4RV Catalog  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Publisher - Author Etiquette


          Finally an author has a contract from a publisher in hand. Now all he has to do is sit back and wait for the money to come rolling in, right?

          A publisher has several excellent books under contract. After the manuscripts are edited at least lightly, all the company has to do is sit back and watch the money fill its coffers, right?

         Actually no. After an author and publisher sign a contract, the work begins, and successful launching of a book depends on cooperation between company and writer. One way to avoid some minefields in the process requires etiquette, good manners. Let’s examine a few “tips” for good publisher/author etiquette.

1. The publisher (meaning all upper staff) should remember that the author’s excitement and desire to know every step of action means he wants his book to be the best it can be. Allowing the author to realize that he can’t be involved in every portion of the process should be gentle and caring, not hateful.

2. The author should remember that the publisher’s desire to have the book edited to the nth degree means he wants the book to be the best it can be. Working with the editor(s) results in a much better book and fewer problems.

3. The publisher must be kind, even when informing an author to grow up and let the publisher do the job needed.

4. The author needs to realize his publisher does know what to do and the best way to do the job of producing a quality book.

5. The publisher should always publicly promote authors in a positive way. Even if one person is easier to work with doesn’t give his book more importance over the book from a more difficult author.

6. The author should acknowledge the publishing company in interviews and reviews, giving links to the publishing company. That doesn’t mean the author should bow down to the company and “gush” about it, but giving credit for the group that made the book possible is good manners.

7. The publisher giving credit to authors, illustrators, artists, and editors aids in promoting books they helped create. Without the full team working together, the publisher wouldn’t have quality books.

8. The author should give credit to editors, illustrators, and/or cover artists who helped make his book one that interests readers. Sharing credit for a successful book doesn’t take any glory from an author.

9. The publisher shouldn’t distract from an author’s accomplishments. Praise never hurts a relationship, especially if justified.

10. The author shouldn’t distract from his publisher by including books from another source with the books or book from that publisher. Any promotion of other books from other publishers or that are self-published should not be posted or linked to the publisher’s information (blogs, websites, etc.).

          I’m sure there are other areas where good manners aid in good relationships in the author/publisher arena, but those ten are a good beginning.

****

          Now, for those who celebrate Easter: May today bring peace, hope, and love through Christ's sacrifice for us.





Vivian Zabel author of Stolen  

Friday, April 22, 2011

'The Story,' as it applies to Cover Art and Illustration.

by Aidana WillowRaven

Not too long ago, one of my fellow contributors for the 4RV Reading, Writing, & Art News blog, Karen Cioffi, posted an article titled: Book Promotion: The Foundation. In that post, she has a sub-topic I thought could also relate to another way a cover artist or illustrator could, maybe even should, approach the visual interpretation of a manuscript.

The sub-heading I'd like to look at is: The Foundation: Create a Quality Product. Below that, there is an even narrower focus: A. The Story. To quote Karen ...
  • "To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme."
To see how I'd relate this to approaching a piece related to almost any genre of book, I'll attempt to explain how these elements can be seen in my most recent work, commissioned for a book trailer, since the book itself has a more abstract cover theme.


The above illustration compliments Harry Gilleland's Aldric & Anneliese. As you can see to the left, the cover alone wouldn't really say much in a book trailer, unless I could endlessly search for stock imagery that just happened to resemble the characters and period of the story (6th century, Anglo-Saxon Europe). The book itself has no illustrations. So, I had the wonderful opportunity to create a few images to represent the book for its promotion.

 So let's start ... there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme ... In writing, these are most likely very different than what I am about to do, but just as important from an artist's, specifically an illustrator's, POV (point of view).

Characters: The illustration shows four of six major characters in the book, and no minor characters are shown. Whom I chose to portray, vs. whom I didn't, was chosen very specifically. Even who I placed where, what I have them doing individually, even who I focused lighting on was all planned out. Each character has to be a clue, not just aesthetically pleasing. The positioning, the postures, the gestures, the expressions ... What are they telling you about what you will read in Aldric & Anneliese? Clothing variances ... clues. Hair styles and colors ... clues. Even skin tones were carefully chosen.You want to give the viewer just enough to get them interested, but not enough to give away the plot.

Setting: Look around the 'room.' What do you see? What don't you see? Everything in the image means SOMETHING, hints at SOMETHING. And not necessarily a specific event or scene. In this case, the scene is contrived. No where in the book is this specific scene described. Although that's normally what I do, illustrate a specific scene, this time I wanted more of a general story, while wrapping it into a plausible scenario. I took great care to make the building look authentic, also. If I'd have put these characters in a modern building, it would have looked like a play, not reality. The furnishings, the props, and the lighting has to fit the book's theme and content.

Plot: Here is the fun part. When looking at a scene's plot, I get to delve even deeper into the characters and the story. The chessboard, the wine bottles, the map, even how the map is held in place tells more about the story and personalities of the characters, what moves the story forward. These are clues that may never be mentioned specifically in the book. But as you get to know a character, you get a feeling about things they may do during the course of the story. Things the author didn't mention, but would be something the character would do. This is where your individuality as the artist can be expressed best, because it didn't come from the book at all. It came from the artist, alone.

POV: This is where you may see a big difference in how POV to an author vs POV to an artist differ most. The point of view is something I often like to play with. By placing the table at an odd angle, and choosing who sits or stands where, I can tamper with what characters get more focus than others. I also can draw the viewer into the scene, like they are right in the room, by placing a simple barrel holding a few bottles close to the bottom edge of the scene, making it appear to be right in front of, or beside, the onlooker.

Theme: Very important. Do your best to be accurate to the period. Pretend a historian might pick it apart as to what is fantasy vs reality. (Here, I deliberately incorporated some fantasy, for interest reasons). Do some research of the period and region to stay true to the book's general theme.

As you see, even though an illustrator or cover artist looks at manuscript elements a bit differently, they are just as much key to a well developed piece, that is meant to represent any book, either symbolically or literally. And of course, if the writer doesn't flow their own version of these elements, it makes it that much harder on the artist. It's a team effort.

Tell me ... What do you see in this image that gives you clues to the book?





Aidana WillowRaven

Art Director & VP of Operations
4RV Publishing

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Requirements for a book trailer


          Book trailers add a promotional edge encouraging readers to be interested in a book. However, a good trailer needs to appear as professional as possible. Certain “ingredients” make the final result tastier and more appealing. So what should a “good” trailer include? The following needs, if met well, will cause the watcher/reader to want to read the book. If a person can’t do a quality job himself, he should hire someone who can. An amateurish project may gander some views, but it probably will not mean many sales.

1. An attractive, attention-grabbing beginning.
2. Colors that brighten the views, not cause the reader to lose interest
3. Coherent flow of information that keeps the reader’s attention
4. The title of the book at the beginning and the end – at least
5. The cover of the book at least twice
6. Enough information so readers know the genre, the theme, the main characters of the book: so that readers
        know what the book is about without giving away the climax or ending.
7. If music is used, make sure it matches the content of the book. For example, if the book is a mystery, the
        music shouldn’t be happy and snappy. The music and content should flow together.
8. The name and info for author, illustrator (if there is one), cover designer (if book not illustrated), and
        publisher
9. Purchase info, such as ISBN and places where book can be bought: 4RV books can be purchased
        through most book stores, online stores, and the 4RV catalog (http://4rvpublishingcatalog.yolasite.com )
10. Enough time for each “page” so readers can read the info and jot down information they may need. If text
         is used, time is needed for reading, too. However, the time shouldn’t be too long and drag.

     We all want any book trailer placed on a publisher’s home page, a blog, or website to be one all connected with the book can be proud to be associated with it. A trailer amateurishly produced isn’t one this publisher would want to use.

        Now, an example of a current book trailer in progress. This is the first draft, and the final version will be finished later this week. The final trailer will have music that's a bit quicker, another illustration, and a bit more text with a different layout, making it more complete and legible.



          The next article about book promotion will be Wednesday, April 27. The topic will concern websites.

          All 4RV books can be found on 4RV Catalog.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Writer's Platform: Why is it important? How to Create One with Websites and/or Blogs

By Joan Y. Edwards

Publishers want to know your Writer’s Platform (Marketing Platform) – They want to know: “Who is going to buy your book? Who is going to entrust their money to purchase what you have written?”

What Readers Are You Bringing to the Selling/Buying Table?

The following are articles that tell a little more about the Writer's Platform (Marketing Platform):

1. Rebekah Sabek http://savvy-writer.com/2010/12/writers-must-have-a-marketing-platform-for-their-books/

2. Book Marketing Experts http://workingwritersandbloggers.com/2011/02/28/what-is-a-platform-and-how-can-you-identify-it/

3. Joel Friedlander http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/03/author-platform-what-are-you-waiting-for/

4. Bill Henderson http://writeabetternovel.net/a-writer%E2%80%99s-platform-want-to-publish-start-building-yours

Who Knows You?

In other words, publishers want to know how many people have heard or seen your name in person, in books, or on the internet. The number of people who know you increases your chances of selling your book.

Jonathan Fields http://tribalauthor.com/author-platform/ says publishers want to know the answers to the following questions:

How many people are on your email list or subscribers to your blog?

How many followers do you have on Twitter? (You want thousands.)

How many Facebook friends or fans do you have? (You want hundreds.)

How many monthly visitors do you get? (I think you want to have a steadily increasing number.)

Blog or Website

• A blog is a website.

• A website does not necessarily have a blog.

• A website is not necessarily a blog.

• A website has static pages that look the same and have few changes.

• A blog is technically, a guest book with posts and comments.

• A blog is not static; it changes with new posts and/or new comments.

Websites and Blogs Are Part of a Writer’s Platform

Read Jenny B's article, "Why All Writers Should Have Their Own Website:" http://www.bukisa.com/articles/321187_why-all-writers-should-have-their-own-website

Makes them known by more people.

Gives a place to market the writer’s books or products thus making a plus for publishers to publish their works.

Web Presence Is Part of a Writer’s Platform

Search on the internet for your name. It’ll show webpages, blogs, comments on blogs, facebook, twitter, and other links.

Each time you create a blog, website page, or leave a comment, you create a listing for Google’s Search. You are increasing your web presence.

My Web Presence-Website and Blogs

A search on the internet for Joan Y. Edwards today gives you thousands of possible links. It didn’t start out that way. In 2001, I started out with one link on our church’s website. I wrote devotionals and puzzles for children’s liturgy for children who might not be able to get to church.

In 2002 I took an online course at CPCC to learn how to create my own website. Because I had a website, I got a job writing and consulting for Liturgical Publications for four years. My website and my writing got the editor’s attention. He liked my style of writing.

Because I started my Never Give Up blog, writers joined me in submitting their work to publishers and/or agents on a monthly basis in a group called PubSub3rdFri. Submitting more often, increased our chances of getting published. I’ve been a guest blogger on other blogs. My ideas have appeared in the SCBWI-Carolinas Pen & Palette. A college writing instructor shares my blogposts with her students. I was chosen to interview Jeff Herman, author of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011. The number of visitors has grown from 1 to 8,316. All of these things increased my web presence. Now more people know me or about me.

Why am I telling you this? I want you to know it doesn’t happen all at once. It all happens one click at a time. One word at a time. One learning venture at a time. Believe in yourself. Begin that website. Start that blog. Take a step to increase your web presence and make your writing platform stronger today.

Joan Y. Edwards