3 S.R. Johannes: March 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt: Kimberly Derting (Blue Team)

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! 

This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors and win awesome prizes.

NOTE: I am also giving out my own special prizes below. So don't forget to enter here before you leave at a chance to win even more!

Also - you can read my exclusive chapter of Uncontrollable (the sequel to Untraceable)

The YA Scavenger Hunt - Where do you go?

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are THREE contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter all three! I am a part of the BLUE team - but there is also a RED team and a YELLOW team. You can enter all three contests--which has a total prize bucket of 60 signed books!

Follow the hunt, collect clues, and add them up, and you can enter for the prize--one lucky winner will receive 20 signed books from each team (one book from each author on the team!) But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

Entering the Scavenger Hunt - What do you do?

Hidden within this post is a single letter that is blue. Make a note of this letter! It's a part of a scrambled phrase you will need to win. When you go to all the author sites of the BLUE team, you'll have all the letters you need to enter the BLUE contest. Then if you have time, complete the same process for the RED team and YELLOW team.) 

Entry Form:
Once you piece together all the clues to the BLUE hunt, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the completed phrase will qualify. You may enter all 3 hunts which means you will have to fill out the form 3 times.

Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 1st at NOON PST. Entries sent without the correct puzzle code or without required information may not be considered.

BLUE TEAM SCAVENGER HUNT: Author Kimberly Derting

Today, I am hosting Kimberly Derting. She 
is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins), which are as much coming-of-age romance as they are paranormal thrillers, as well as a new dystopic-fantasy trilogy, beginning with THE PLEDGE (S&S)

She lives in the Pacific Northwest where the gloomy weather is ideal for writing anything dark and creepy. Her three beautiful (and often mouthy) children serve as an endless source of inspiration, and often find the things they say buried in the pages of their mother’s books.

About The Last Echo (the 3rd book in Body Finder series):

In the end, all that's left is an echo…

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye.... 

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here! 

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT:The Bonus is a chapter from The Last Echo
(hint, write this letter down!)

Continue on with the YA Scavenger Hunt for the BLUE TEAM by visiting Abbi Glines!

You can also enter my own giveaway by filling out the form below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 26, 2012

Creating an Online Media Kit

Today, I'm going to talk about creating a solid Media Kit, also called a Press kit.

I think you should have media kits posted online so they are easily downloadable and in paper so you can hand them out if you go to a school, library, or bookstore.

You don't have to be published to do this. Self pubbed authors should absolutely do this (especially online) and pre-published authors can get ahead of the game! You never know. A media kit on your web site may even help you sell your book if an agent or editor comes across it. You would just have less items than a published author.

In Guerrilla Marketing, it says the key to approaching the media, is to have the right materials in place to make it easy for placement. Books, web site, and media kit.

Tips on Creating Your Media Kit
  • Your media kit should be accessible online. That way you can mail it out or email a link. You need to have everything easily available for editors or reviewers in case they don't want or need to contact you personally. All this information will convince them to interview you.
  • This is the first impression they have of you so make it good, professional, and of high quality. It is better to do a few things great than a lot of things mediocre. It can make the difference!
  • Make sure you keep your information current. A lot of authors forget to update their information.
  • Color (good quality) is usually more eye catching than B/W
  • You should have a menu item on your web site. A lot of people won't take the time to search - if it is not right there. So make it easy to find.
Must Haves of Online Media Kit
* indicates what a prepublished author can include (1-5)
  1. An author photo - high res is important.*
  2. A short bio *
  3. One page book synopsis *
  4. List of basic interview questions and questions (FAQs) - get to know you type stuff *
  5. Updated author contact information including social networks *
  6. Any links to articles or reviews or other interviews (actual documents would be better b/c links to other sites can change)
  7. A one page press release on your book - update this quarterly with recent news - maybe including new reviews, printing releases, upcoming milestones (Go to prnews.com for some samples). 
  8. Link to Tour dates/signings/speaking engagements
  9. Book cover file - high res
  10. Page of praises/reviews on your book
Nice To Haves (Especially in this age of technology)
  1. Video, audio, even a VLOG of you talking at signing or in interview - optional but I think in this day and age any technology is ideal
  2. Book Trailer
  3. Podcasts
  4. Recommended List of speaking topics
  5. Recommended List of pre-answered interview questions
Mail-out Media
  1. Try to use special folders. Glossy is preferred. Double pocket with biz card window. yellow, white or grey manila folders are not OK
  2. Cover letter - be professional - include project pitch, bio, and how you can benefit them (like a longer query letter)
  3. Business cards - do NOT print off your own. Make them nice.
  4. Order stickers for front - maybe book cover or other art. You can get folders and labels customized at VistaPrint.
  5. Be sure everything is branded to be in alignment with either your author brand or book brand. For example: use the same colors as your book or web site.) 
  6. You can add in cds or dvd's of book trailers or videos. Also include any pdfs of covers and head shots - you can even print them on nice photo paper.
  7. Any copies of newspapers, articles, interviews etc
  8. Always do your research, make a few calls to be sure you get your kit to the right person if you are mailing it out.
  9. Save your media kits (because they cost money to put together) for higher profile visits.
Some great articles on creating media kits

Great Media Examples:
Let me know if you have questions....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bookanistas: Christins Fonseca (Lacrimosa)

Congrads to Christine for her debut Young Adult Lacrimosa. (doesn't it sound like a nice cool drink!)

Today, I'm hosting a stop on her blog tour to celebrate Lacrimosa.

Before we hear some scoop from Christine, here is the 411 on her book.

As if casting out demons isn’t hard enough, five-hundred-year-old Nesy has to masquerade as a teenage girl to do it. Nesy is the best of the warrior angels called Sentinals. She never makes mistakes, never hesitates, never gets emotionally involved. Until she meets Aydan.  

He is evil incarnate; a fallen angel that feeds off the souls of others. Everything Nesy is supposed to hate.  But she can’t, because he’s also the love of her former life as a human girl—a life that ended too soon, tying her to emotions she was never supposed to feel.
Now Nesy must choose between doing her duty—damning Aydan to the fiery depths of hell—or saving him, and condemning herself.  

“LACRIMOSA reaches out, grabs readers by the heart, and takes them on an emotional journey from the first page to the last. The last novel you’ll need to read to understand true sacrifice.”
~Elana Johnson, Author of POSSESSION


Thanks Shelli for hosting a stop on the blog tour celebrating the release of LACRIMOSA. Since this week is "Getting to Know Aydan" week, I thought I'd share a little bit about him and, more importantly, how I "found" him.

LACRIMOSA was first conceptualized during Nanowrimo 2008, while I was working on another project. It wasn't drafted, however, until much later - August 2009 to be exact. Although I drafted it relatively quickly, it took much longer for me to edit it and get it ready for the world. Even after I thought it was ready, I revised significantly throughout the querying and acquisition process. And again once it was sold.

But let me back up and focus on one particular aspect of the story - Aydan. I had a "sense" of Aydan from the very beginning; knew that he was a tortured soul in love. Knew that it was that love that would both redeem and kill him.

I had a sense of his looks and demeanor. But that was it.

Over the course of 5 substantial rewrites I found his voice. Literally. See, the book started off in third person, told from Nesy's POV. Rewrite #1 added a POV - Aydan's. Rewrite #2 added another POV. Rewrites #3 and 4 changed it yet again, moving from third into first, and past tense into present. With each rewrite I got to know Aydan a little more, got a chance to peek into his heart and mind and see all the layers of him. By the time I finished with rewrite #5, I knew Aydan. Profoundly. Had I not been willing to go back to the beginning, start over and experiment with different things in order to get the story where it needed to be...

Had I not been tenacious and resolute in my wish to craft the authentic story that existed deep within my heart...

Had I not bravely gone where Aydan wanted me to go, I never would have found him; never would have be able to craft his voice. Hopefully the connection I found will be one you will find when reading LACRIMOSA.


Now, don't forget to enter the contest for fabulous AYDAN inspired books and swag. Just complete the form.

You can enter up to twice daily (through the tour and my blog).

And there's more - continue to collect the daily clues to enter the EPIC grand prize giveaway that includes books, swag and a special surprise.

Today's clue - LORI.

Missed out on any of the tour? Click over to the schedule to make sure you've hit all the stops, seen or read the posts, entered the giveaways, and collected the clues. More great things are coming next week as well. EEP!!!

More Book Information

  • Publisher: COMPASS PRESS
  • ISBN: 0984786368 (ISBN 13: 9780984786367)
  • Hardback and Digital formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and fine retailers.
  • Kindle ebook
  • Nook buy link -  
  • Book trailer can be seen by linking to YouTube - 

Additional Titles in the series include DIES IRAE (a Requiem Novella), LIBERA ME (Oct 2012) and REQUIEM (March 2013).


Check out other awesome Bookanista posts!

Monday, March 19, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt with 60 authors - March 29 - April 1!

It's time to announce the final lineup of the Spring Scavenger Hunt hosted by Colleen Houck, author of Tiger Curse series!  

I was chosen this year to be a part of it and I am thrilled!

This year it will be bigger and badder than ever before with 60 YA authors! They will be giving away books and sharing EXCLUSIVE content.With fabulous prizes around every corner - you DO NOT want to miss this! 

My friend and bestselling author Beth Revis has worked with Colleen Houck to create a website just for the Scavenger Hunts! The 60 authors are breaking into three groups of 20: BLUE TEAM, RED TEAM, and YELLOW TEAM! 

There will be 3 puzzles, 1 for each team. Each puzzle is a scrambled phrase with a total of twenty letters. You can follow 1 team to win or all 3!! And if you get lost along the way, just keep going back to the main page to get caught up.

I am on the BLUE team with amazing authors like which means all my prizes and exclusives will be on the BLUE team. The BLUE TEAM includes authors: KIMBERLY DERTING, CHRISTINE FONSECA, ABBI GLINES, CYNTHIA HAND, KAREN AMANDA HOOPER, S.R. JOHANNES, GRETCHEN MCNEIL, JESSICA SHIRVINGTON AND many many more.

I will be revealing my 1st chapter of Uncontrollable (sequel to Untraceable) as well as offering a couple of EXCLUSIVE giveaways to my followers.




Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cool 'Hunger Games' Stuff

Are you as excited as 1/2 the world about Hunger Games? I have my tickets for next weekend and my t-shirt is on the way.

So you can imagine how awesome it was to have my book Untraceable compared to Hunger Games - in any way! And I do see Grace as a modern day Katniss. Or at least that is what I wanted to create.

  • A fan of Untraceable who loved my cover mentioned it's resemblence to Hunger Games.  How spooky is that! I've never seen the Germany cover before this and look our much they compliment each other.
  • Or when this reader said this"Untraceable reminded me of a non-science fiction/non-fantasy version of The Hunger Games or The Calling by Kelley Armstrong. Lots of outdoorsy stuff, lots of mystery, lots of action. is :)"

So, here are some great things I found that are fun to help you get ready for next weekend:

Movie Stuff

Katniss Archery Training trailer

Movie Trailers/Songs

Writer Stuff

Interview with Suzanne Collins

Interview with Suzanne on writing

Suzanne at the Premiere

Interview with Stacy Egan - Hunger Games editor

Suzanne on Writing

Extras/Fun Stuff

Find out your Hunger Game Name

Find great gifts for Hunger Game Fans - tshirts or jewelry

Hunger Games 4th Book - Tribute Guide


Why Hunger Games will be Bigger than Twilight

People's Inside Hunger Games

Why Hunger Games is Good for This Generation

Families Bonding over Hunger Games

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Magic of E-Books: Rediscovering the Short Story!

Today, Rebecca Knight, self published author of over 40 short storie, writes out under various pen names and has seen so much success, she is now a full time writer.

Since I've known her a long time in the blogosphere (she was one of my first followers/blogger buddies back in the day :) - I asked her to stop by to discuss the rise of the short story in self pubbing.

Here she is :)


Hi Shelli,

One of the most exciting things about the indie publishing movement is that it's brought one of my favorite genres back into the mainstream: short fiction.

I've always loved short stories, and some of my favorite books growing up were collections of tales by Ray Bradbury, and more recently Neil Gaiman's "Smoke and Mirrors." When I first met my husband, we'd snuggle up on the couch, and he'd read me a short, delightfully weird story from that book, and I remember loving that we could experience an entire tale together in the space of a cup of tea after dinner. 

I've always been a fan of brevity, and it shows in my own writing. I like a tale boiled down to its very bones, raw and uncluttered, taking me through the action with no fluff to distract me from the beauty or horror of what I'm reading.

In the time of Dickens, people read serial stories published weekly or monthly. Several of the great novels from those English writers were actually small installments, short stories, in their original forms.

Since then, people have never stopped wanting short fiction, but for a long time, it wasn't cost effective to sell it to them in anything other than hardbound collections. But why buy a collection of several stories when you really want just one? It's like people having to buy a whole CD for that one song that really interested them.

That is, until iTunes changed the game.

Indie publishing and the rise of e-books gives authors the freedom to sell short stories just like they would novels, and now the artform is on the rise again.

The fun of a short story to me is that I can tell a story in the length it requires, instead of trying to jerry-rig it into a longer plot to make it publishable. 

For example, most ghost stories were meant to be short and either read under the covers with a flashlight, or read aloud to a group around a campfire. The "Ghosts" section of the kindle store only has about 3000 titles in it, compared to the 22,000 in the horror genre, and I think it's because certain tales are virtually impossible to tell in long form.

Those kinds of stories, the weird ones, or the ones that have a punchy, action-packed plot and a funny ending, are the ones I love to write :). I'm so grateful that I don't have to do them the injustice of trying to elongate them into something they weren't meant to be, but can instead sell them as stand-alones for .99 cents.

Check out, NO REST FOR THE WICKED, available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes, for an example of one of my favorite short stories. It's two shorts bundled together about a Fairytale Assassin named Veronica Grim. 

Thank you so much, Shelli, for having me on your blog, and happy reading, everyone!


You can follow her blog and Twitter.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Get a clue and do a marketing plan

Everyone needs a plan.

Even you writing "pantsers" need a plan for marketing. Throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks is a waste of time.

Here are some basic steps on how to get started on creating the right plan for your book?

1) What is your overall goal? 
This can be in the # of books you sell or the * of responses you get on a mailing? You book's ranking? You need to set a goal for yourself and your book. It gives you something to focus on and everything you do in your planning should target that goal.

2) What is your budget? 
You HAVE to invest in marketing. Even if your publishing house does. That does not mean you have to go bankrupt doing it. Maybe it is 10 or 20% of your signing bonus. Maybe it's a percentage of your sales a a self pubbed author. Whatever it is - use it wisely. You can be smart about it and there is a lot you can do on your own - making connections, ezine interviews, bookmarkers, business cards, stationary, articles, press releases, blogs Facebook and MySpace. Save your money for things that matter like high-quality brochures, professional web sites, and ads, book trailers, podcasts, phone calls, etc.

3) Who is your target audience(s)?
Think about your market. Don't just think of kids as by age. That is over 70 million people. You need to think in segments. There are many categories you can target with your marketing if you know how to break it down. Try and choose 3-5 categories. You will market to them differently.

For example: lets say you have a YA historical mystery book that is set in NYC in the 1920s. Your target audiences could be:

  • teens who love mysteries
  • regional NYC
  • regional where you live (always do this one - local places love local authors)
  • any group that promotes anything in the 20s - retro groups etc.
  • historical places (museums/societies/clubs ect)

4) What are the channels for each? How do you reach these targets?
Different markets use different channels to communicate. Think about that for each audience. It might be print advertising, Public Relations, publicity, direct marketing, direct mail, trade show exhibiting.

  • Create a excel spreadsheet that has a worksheet for each target audience you identify. 
  • Then Google, Google Google that subject (ie historical societies, history clubs, retro clubs, retro teens etc) and list all the contacts you can come up with. ezines, websites, clubs, organizations...anything you can find.
  • What is their basic need? How can YOU help THEM?
  • Then rank them 1 - 5 with 1 being the best mediums and 5 being the lowest.
  • Always pitch 
5) Where do you start?
Start with the most obvious target segment. first teens who love mysteries, then maybe your local area, then maybe historical places, then many NYC and so on. Make a place to dive into each segment sequentially.

6) Come up with a Pitch
Come up with a Unique Selling Proposition (what do you offer them.  Please do not call to discuss your book (zzzzzzzz). Think about what would benefit them! An article, a school visit to teach kids something, a discount. Whatever it is. Go into it offering benefits not asking for purchases. You may have to tailor it. ie mystery places - pitch a story on how to write mysteries. a history place - pitch teaching kids about writing on history or research etc. You can't pitch the same thing to everyone.

7) How can you contact all these resources? 
Start with the biggest group. Use one pitch. Contact personally - either by email or phone. Touch each contact at least 3 times (ie email, phone, and follow-up mailing). Take it in chunks so you don't spend 10 hours a day calling. Try and make 5 contacts a day at first and see how it goes. Change it up as you go to be sure it is effective. If you aren't getting any bites - regroup.

8) Which market/channel is effective? 
You will have some hits and some misses. Keep track of what works and what doesn't. Revise your plan every year.

Other tips
Create your own story to appeal to different markets and channels
If you ever write an article for any ezine or newsletter (etc), ALWAYS ask for a tagline. Promote your book in the tagline (XXX is author of. you can reach her at www.)
emarketing should be a huge part of your marketing plan
Follow up! Never assume the answer is No. Keep following up with contacts. At least 3 times. But don't be annoying.
Offer discounts and extras. Buy your books and sell them at a discount to beat bookstores. Or offer free bookmarks etc.
Partner with a charity or organization to cross-promote and give some proceeds to them
Cross promote with other authors on team tours.

Marketing plans are hard. Expect to fail some and succeed some. Don't be afraid to adjust as you go.

As always. feel free to ask questions in comments!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Marketing Pet Peeves - Change your mindset!

Authors need to change their mindset. 

Whether you are traditionally pubbed or indie pubbed. Marketing is a huge component of getting your books out there. Some of us are lucky to get tons of marketing from publishers. Most of us aren't. Most of you will do it alone with very little support. So you might as well except it and do it.

It's a matter of changing your mindset. 

Here are some of the DONTs of Marketing - in my opinion. These are mindsets that I still see and they make me smack my forehead. 

1) My web site is longer than Santa's naughty list - Don't make us page down through pages of text. The standard web rule is the user should not have to page down on a web site more than 2 times. (this is more lenient on blog posts) Your web site is an executive summary and TOC of you - not a book. You only need something short and sweet that grabs people. Web sites reflect your writing. If you drone on for pages - I might not want to read your book. Keep it simple, professional, and short. 

2) I like marketing from The Land of Cheapo. Come on! Don't put out crap. Nowadays you can get inexpensive, solid quality marketing swag from various web sites. You really don't want a plain white business card with your face on it. You really don't need a bookmark that is so flimsy it can be used as origami. Do yourself and your image a favor, invest in high quality pieces or don't do them at all. I don't want to see one more perforated business card that is black and white. Your card is your mark on someone. They might not remember you but if they see the card - it should interest them.  It is better to invest in a few key pieces than to do a bunch of bad pieces. Take pride in your materials as you would take pride in your writing or work. It is a reflection of you.

3) My target audience is children between ages of 0-18. Yeah good luck on reaching 76 million people. Everyone has more than one target audience and you need to find the smaller audiences (niches). Trust me, age is not the only way to segment your audience. There are tons of others such as by topic, by region as well as looking at the type of media, type of reader (library, bookstore, book club etc). Take some time to think through all of your target audiences and all the ways you can possibly reach them - you should be able to come up with at least 3 audiences and 3 mediums for each. For me -outdoors, North Carolina, and conservation are three additional segments I can target. Find yours. Write down three nouns your book covers - those are probably your segments.

4) I'm just gonna wing it. Everyone needs a business plan and marketing. Whether traditional of indie pubbed. Just like you need a plot for your book before you write, or plan a trip before you leave - you need a marketing plan before you can market. Some people think that winging marketing is effective. Nope! It's a shot in the dark and you spin your wheels for a while lot of nothing. I'm not talking about creating a 100 page word document here. I am talking about a process where you - as the writer - identify your target audiences, key mediums, key timelines, key events - and set up key contacts in advance. Your materials, plans, and contacts should be in place AT LEAST 6 months before your book comes out. Don't wait until your book is out before you think about it. It will be too late. Start now.

5) I don't know computers so I can't do marketing. Um it's time to learn. If you are selling books to kids, you need to learn computers. Nowadays at least 50% of marketing (and I am being generous, I think its more like 60-70%) is online. You need to know how to blog, how to do a basic web site, how to start a myspace or facebook page, and how to text/twitter. You also need to keep up with the youth trends (Ypulse is good for that) If you don't know how to use all these, they all are set up pretty easily to figure out. Some even have tutorials. This cannot be an excuse anymore - unless you don't want to sell anything.

6) No Branding. It drives me nuts to see authors not being consistent in their brand. They have one web site with gophers (which screams nonfiction), then a plain white biz card that screams (boring!) and a twitter background of lollipops. (you know who you are ;) Go can easily find backgrounds for twitter and blog that look the same. You can even use the same colors. But I should be able to recognize you online. Pulling it all together gives off the impression you have it all together - (hey fake it 'til you make it! :)

7) I just want to write. Yeah don't we all. I won't get into this too much. It's simple. Here's what I tell my kids when they ask if they have to brush their teeth. I say: "Only brush the ones you want to keep." That's what I say to authors. "Only market the ones you want to sell." End of story.

8) I don't know how to do marketing. Nope not an excuse. You didn't know how to write either but you learned. marketing can be learned. There are tons of resources, classes, books, etc. You can even pay for consulting to help you. Follow blogs, find webinars
So if you find yourself saying these things, change your mindset. Get out there, play around online, and market yourself. Try things out and have fun.

If you have any questions, post them in a comment and I will be happy to answer. :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

First #indiechat tonight!

Tonight starts The Indelibles new weely #indiechat

Tonight we will have an open forum to answer all your questions about indie books, indie presses, self publishing and marketing.

This chat is NOT just about self-pubbing. It is for anyone interested in marketing online, looking at small independent presses for publishing (as opposed to the big 6), self publishing or if you are looking for good indie books.

It will be on Tuesdays on Twitter at 9PM EST using the #indiechat hashtag.

Come with questions and if we don't have answers we will make them up! Cool huh?

Sometimes using tweetchat.com is easier. You can sign in with your twitter at http://tweetchat.com/

Hope to see you all there!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Marketing Round Up

A few housekeeping things:

1) I am looking for an un-paid internship for my marketing company! on the publishing side - I need someone to help me set up blog tours, blog guest posts, prepare book mailings, set up social media platforms, get mailings together, and more. (like *pinInterest, wattpad and tumblr) It may also encompass some a little for my marketing business, code calling etc.

It will be about 5 hours a week and can be remote with weekly phone call meetings.

I can offer a marketing/writing business reference (so if you want to get into publishing or marketing it would be good) and would also provide unlimited advice about marketing, the industry, self pubbing, and writing). If you are in school, I'm happy to talk to a professor about credit. I will need commitment through April - August so it should not interfere with school.

I was going to go to a local college/high school but wanted to give some writers/bloggers a chance to learn the book marketing process and some new social media.
Email me your resume at shelli@srjohannes.com if interested. I can also send a formal job description.

2) Yes, new blog design - I'm playing around so bear with me. The purple was starting to bug me :) What do you think - too boring?

3) The Indelibles are doing a weekly #indiechat, starting next Tuesday night at 9pm EST. It will be on Twitter using hashtag #indiechat. We will talk all things indie: indie books, indie presses, self publishing, ebooks and marketing. This is not just a self publishing forum as there is much more to indie publishing than that. It can encompass any genre really but it will mainly focus on MG/YA.

Marketing Round Up

My marketing round up is starting again.I can't promise it will always be on Fridays - but I think it's good to get this blog back to helping other people in marketing.

Because let's face it - the topic of me and my books will get old real fast. :)

So here are some great articles I ran across this week - 

A Blog that Matters

Joining an Online Group

PinInterest - The hottest new site

6 secrets to writing a killer author bio

Book Covers - are they important in the digital age?

Create a blog that matters

ebook pricing? how to price for readers

10 things to never do on Social Media

As always on these posts - I will take any questions you have about marketing books :)
So what's your question?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Not all is equal in publishing

So a few things have come up over the last few months that have got me thinking and I wanted to open a dialogue about it.

Traditional authors and indie author book are not held or measured against the same standard.

Even though traditional authors have the SAME problems as indie authors, the standard is different.

Here is reality:
1) all books have typos. 
2) not all covers are great
3) not all books are as short as they should be
4) not all people love the MC
5) not all love interests float your boat
6) All books can be too long.  
7) All stories can drag. 
8) All covers can stink.  All love triangles can be boring. Sequels can be disappointing.

It happens to ALL of us.

But if an indie author suddenly has a few typos,  it's b/c they weren't good enough for publishing. It's b/c they must have done it alone and not gotten any input from anyone because they were in such a rush. It must be because they decided to *whisper* self publish. And let me say - even when authors pay for copyediting - there are still typos. *sigh* and it sucks b/c it is expensive.

Even if I haven't run into some stigma as much as others - it exists - big time. And it's hard to watch friends deal with it when they have fabulous books. And it's frustrating to run into myself.

Books bought in traditional publishing automatically get an A in readers mind just b/c they got bought by a publisher. Most indie authors start out with an F and have to prove they are credible - one reader at a time. But it's not just readers, it's peers - the people you admire and respect. The organizations that support writers. The reviewers, to indies, the doors are closed.

I understand why it's at that point but it doesn't make it fair (whaaaaa!)

That is why I say if you decide to indie pub - do it right?

The more quality work, the easier to break the stigma. Don't scrimp, don't cut corners. It's not worth it in the end. You already have to prove yourself so why make it even harder. Don't get your brother to sketch a cover and don't get your mom to line edit. the odds are against you and you should do everything you can to put out the best you can. 80% of indie books sell under 100 copies. That is a lot to overcome.

This is why indie authors are much more open online about sales or awards or milestones - it is the only way to get away form the auto F grade and move up. 

Now, I will admit, in general the quality of indie pubbing is questionable. There are tons of crappy books out there in the indie world and some wonderful books in traditional pubbing.

But there are tons of crappy traditional books and there are tons of great indie books. 

Maybe it's time to judge a book by its writing...as opposed to its publishing process or path.

Being an indie author is hard. Getting past the stigma of indie pubbing is the most difficult part of this whole publishing process - for me. It makes me sad and I struggle with the double standard. The doubt. Sometimes no matter what I do - it still feels like it come up short.

Sometimes it feels like when I was back in high school - when the popular crowd wore Jordache (yes Im aging myself!)  and I could only wear Lee Jeans. Even though they looked the same...because the label was different, somehow I wasn't good enough. I even remember sewing different tags in my jeans - yes I did that. :)

Labels didn't matter then and they shouldn't matter now - but they do and that's just a reality. And being someone who likes to treat everyone equally and who hates to hurt people's feelings or make them feel less - i wish it was different.

What do you think? Is there a stigma? And is there a way around it?