Transcript of Doce Blant Publishing Group Chat
15 January 2016
WELCOME everyone to our informal discussion to chat with the EXPERTS about the publishing process.
We are fortunate to have a few people online with us, ready to answer questions and talk about their experience with the publishing process. Before we get started — if each of you will take a moment to introduce yourselves (if you feel comfortable doing so) that would be fabulous!
Hi guys my name is Adam. I’m in Longbeach CA.
Hi, everyone! I’m Cutter Slagle in San Diego.
Welcome Adam and Cutter!!
I am Gina Darlington, a writer and prospective published author I live in Flagstaff, AZ
Hi from Utah, where the flurries have already begun. I’m Lois
So that you know a little about Cutter and Lois — Cutter Slagle is an author, published last year with Doce Blant. His novel, The Next Victim is a huge hit and we are very proud to have Cutter on board!
Lois is an acquisitions editor (meaning, she screens manuscript submissions for publication as they come in). Lois also edits, as does Mary (who will be joining us later)
I’m looking forward to reading your book, Cutter.
Thanks, Lois. And thanks for the kind words, Doce.
Sorry I’m late!!
Maybe Cutter can start us out by talking about his experience being published and the difference between self-publishing (short stories) through Amazon versus publishing with a publishing company
If you don’t mind Cutter
Marti is also a published author with Doce Blant
Let’s see: I have experience with both self-publishing and now, thanks to Doce Blant, publishing with an actual company. One thing that stands out between the two is the team work. With self-publishing, in my experience, I was completely on my own. However, when working with a publishing company, I’ve been given the chance to work with and speak with others in the industry – editors, marketing gurus, etc. Furthermore, my novel, The Next Victim, is offered in more places than just Amazon.
Working with a publishing company has given me the chance to reach more people with my book.
That’s definitely a bonus.
I have two friends who have self-published, as well as my brother. It seems like marketing is the hardest thing about it. I invited them to join us, as I think their work is good and should be marketed more.
If I can jump in … books published through a publishing company hit a larger market
Marketing is a challenge for everyone — including traditionally published authors. Let me see if I can get Paul on here to talk about that, since we’re hitting that subject now
What kind of areas, besides Amazon, do books appear after publication?
And Marti is correct, the marketing is different (to answer your question, Adam) because of the way the book is made available to retailers.
When a book is publishing traditionally, there is distribution attached through the publisher. Baker & Taylor and Ingram are the two main distributors for books, each taking a different category of books (ie: B&T distributes to schools mainly, Ingram to retail stores like B&N, etc.)
The books distributed through them by a publishing house generally offer options for discount and returns that are almost mandatory for any retailer to put a book on its shelf
The options are: Discount of at least 55% and returns (for unsold books).
Hasn’t Ingram been around for quite some time, now?
Self publishing companies do not provide these options, which is why you won’t see Create Space publishing books on major retail stores’ shelves.
Ingram and B&T have been around for a long time.
Hello, Everyone. My name is Cristi Taijeron and I am the author of Endless Horizon Pirate Stories. I am currently self-published and I am always looking to learn more about improving the marketing and the publishing process. I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say in this meeting. smile emoticon
That’s definitely a plus!
To continue the answer to Adam’s question —
Because B&T and Ingram have developed their relationships with major retailers for so many years, they are able to reach out to a larger number of stores for placement. Think about these distribution companies as “Agents” for the books
Cutter — can you elaborate on what that looks like in your experience between self and traditional publishing
This is great information. As a new author, I know marketing, and building a fan base is important. If you are getting ready to put out your first novel, how do you suggest going about building a fan base or following before the book comes out?
For starters, my novel published with Doce Blant is available on Barnes and Noble.com, while my self-published books are not.
I also know that my novel will be pitched to Target to see if the retail store wants to carry it.
This was never an option for my self-published books, obviously.
Also, in my experience, it was very difficult to get all formats published via self-publishing. Traditional provides for hardbound, Nook, Kindle, Apple readers, etc
It’s great to have all of those options.
Yes, I agree, Marti.
To clarify — Doce Blant has its own distribution rep that presents all of our authors to major retailers, in addition to what Ingram provides in distribution (a double-whammy to the buyers).
Having Ingram behind our books with the options mentioned above allows them to stock the books on the shelves. Most retailers don’t even question that piece of it (libraries included). Of course, it all depends on what the buyers are looking for.
Does this answer your question Adam?
Paul Schreiter is our media expert and has a unique grasp on marketing. Are you online and able to give us your input, Paul?
I think that when we (as authors) remember that we are building a brand, it makes a difference in how to look at marketing.
You mentioned that a blog was important when we met in October to assist with marketing.
Yes. Paul knows more about this than I do. Cutter has nailed it writing blogs
Cutter – tell us what you learned about blogging, if you wouldn’t mind
I’ve read some and really enjoyed them.
At first I was against blog writing, but I’ve found it to be fun and helpful. When blogging about trending topics, you blog posts can (hopefully) reach a wider audience. An audience that maybe wouldn’t be looking for your novel.
Sorry stepped away for a sec. Yes that is great information! Very excited!
Do you try to focus on your “genre” in your blog, or use it to write about other things?
With Paul’s permission, we’ll share what he’s told the authors in his interviews. Mainly that the key is to find trending words for that day or week and write a blog around those.
You’re welcome! Blogging has intimidated me so far.
For example, I blogged on Monday about Kim Kardashian. I can’t stand her, but her name was trending. I connected her name to my book (something about if the book was turned into a movie would it star Kim K) and then posted it on social media and tagged her.
Paul’s words: “Take three main trending words and write a story about them that includes your book’s genre.” Cutter has this process perfected!
I have been blogging for years at the request of my author and friend Jon Scalzi…He has also had a blog for years and has built a huge following posting about books, politics, crazy cat pictures, and general musing throughout the day.
Cutter, where do you find your trending phrases?
Paul’s advice can rank you in Google searches. We offer a free 1 hr consult for each of our authors
I don’t blog in my genre. My fiction genre is murder mystery, suspense, etc. My blog writing is very real – when you read my blogs you get a sense of who I am. I’m blogging as me. To find trending words, I just google “Google Trends” and then find three or four words or phrases that I can easily connect to the title of my novel.
Whatever – PROBABLY JUST MADE OF BUGS
My Arisia Schedule January 11, 2016 John Scalzi14 Comments My first science fiction convention of the year is this weekend: Arisia, at which I am the author Guest of Honor. Wheee! Here are the panels I’ll be on and the events I’ll be doing. Friday: 8:30pm: The Future of Mars – Literature, Panel – 1…
So true! I out-ranked Johnny Depp in a “Johnny Depp” search once because of the keywords I used in my blog
SMART of you Cutter because CUTTER SLAGLE is your brand! That’s exactly what you want to brand, not “Murder-Mystery” (what if you decide to write romance one day?)
Christi — do you blog?
Cristi – apologies for incorrectly spelling your name
Barnacle – we’re talking about marketing and blogs. Tell us about your recent experience marketing your book at Barnes & Noble!!
I use “blog” on my facebook author page. I use it to share information about my current projects, to announce upcoming releases and events, and also share tidbits of pirate history. I also have a pirate historian who occasionally posts for me.. I love when he does that.
Do you have a website as well?
I have thought about doing a traditional blog, but I am so successful on FB that I have not taken the time to devote my time elsewhere yet.
Barnacle – we’re talking about marketing and blogs. Tell us about your recent experience marketing your book at Barnes & Noble!!
Congratulations! You should be very proud, Cristi!
Barnacle is also a pirate author — in case you couldn’t tell!
I just went in and spoke with the manager trying to sell my character and myself
They were all on board with the Pirate theme that they decided to dedicate an entire signing to me
(there’s more to his story)
I should’ve been in my Pirate attire, would’ve had more of an impact I believe
Tell them about your follow up phone call from the B&N manager!
Have you had the signing yet, Bill?
Yes, they called me on the phone just last week saying that they had taken a managers meeting about me. Want to give me the star treatment, even spoke of bringing in local schools for the event
Hello everyone! Stowaway Jaye here.
The very cool thing about Barnacle’s experience that isn’t easily recognized, is that he had all of the pieces in place when he approached B&N (ahead of our distribution rep) so that when the B&N manager vetted him (which I can guarantee they did), they could see he had the proper publication and distribution to put his book on their shelves.
Ivey, tell me more about your Facebook “blog.” Is that similar to what Anne Lamot does?
That’s exactly what they will do with his book signing and specifically told Barnacle NOT to bring books.
Congratulations, BB! That’s a perfect example of the difference between traditional distribution and the struggles that self-published authors go through
Before when I was an independent publisher with my 1st book it was way more difficult! They wouldn’t have given me the time of day!
That’s been the experience of most authors. The sell sheet Barnacle walked in with gave the manager the information B&N needed to know they could take the discount and return policy required to stock books.
That … and Barnacle’s dynamic brand (and sweet personality) is what sealed the deal for him.
Some grand tif between Amazon and retail book stores
We’re talking about Barnacle’s experience with B&N. You know first hand how it works for marketing and distribution. Can you share a little of your experience with this
Hey, Gina. I’d love to talk to you more about my facebook blog. Here is the link if you want to check it out and message me if you want more info https://www.facebook.com/EndlessHorizonPirateStories
Yes, the manager of B&N was a lady…so I winked a lot! I gave her my best smolder! wink emoticon
Cutter — you have experience with smaller retail stores and with your local library, don’t you?
Yep, I’m here.
Sorry, missed your question.
For me, the local libraries and stores ( in Ohio, where I’m from) it was just as simple as calling and introducing myself and my book.
Just curious what your experience has been with retailers and book signings
ya small independent book stores especially in our home towns seemed to be more welcoming.
Just being personable and describing my book.
I agree, Shelby.
That’s what I need to try, Shelby.
I was called by a store on Catalina Island. They’d orders my books and just wanted me to come sign. It was nice to have everything taken care of in advance
It makes a difference to have books already in a store waiting for you.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing!
Marti said something good to me the other day. She said,” Remember you are doing the bookstores a favor too by being there.”
It draws a crowd
Marti is correct. YOU are the brand and the stores NEED your brand to make money. As the author, you’re the commodity that will help put money in their cash register!
Have all of the questions regarding marketing been answered?
Paul – do you want to add anything here?
I have a blog question still
Lois — what is your question about blogging? I’m about to turn it over to you to talk about acquisition editing and ms screening.
There are so many blog sites, how do you choose one, and what do you blog about? Seems simple but I’m a little lost with all of the sites available
Cutter is the blogging King!!!!!!
Haha thank you!
Cutter has blogging mastered!
Adam as well, if he’s still here
So to make it simple, how did you choose your site?
I really don’t do anything special. I use word press. I just find those trending words and connect them to my novel. My blogs are all kind of silly and don’t really offer much, but I think those trending words really help.
I highly recommend WordPress. It’s easy to use, and allows very simple customization. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and have used both blogger and WordPress and I go with WordPress everytime!
Barnacle blogs on his main website
I agree, Adam. I like WordPress.
good info Adam
If anyone needs help setting up a WordPress site I’ve done it dozens of times and am happy to offer help where needed
I actually just set up one for a client yesterday
I use google trends. Gives you the latest lowdown of names and events
I’ll be in touch, and thanks, all good advice!
Lois is an acquisitions editor and line editor. She has some great experience screening manuscripts submitted for publication (it’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it). Lois is also an author.
Lois — talk to us about what you look for when screening submissions
Glad to be here.
Lois is amazing everyone!
First of all, I LOVE screening and editing!
She’s an amazing writer as well. I’ve had a sneak-peek at one of her manuscripts
Reading what someone has written, regardless of ability, is fascinating to me. It’s like a peek inside the way their minds work and how they think.
Question Anyone have an opinion on the importance of book trailers, videos?
because I’m getting ready to shoot #2…anybody wanna be a Pirate! lol
HUGELY important. According to what Paul advised us this week, Google isn’t the only one ranking with video clips — FB is too! Your book trailer as a video will throw your brand in front of many more people!
I feel like if the book trailer is done well it’s more exposure.
I believe in today’s market a good visual impact is important
yes we live in a visual world
Not much to the imagination anymore , so if the book trailer doesn’t tell to much and leave some to the imagination……..
Tamara does layout for books
Thanks! Glad to join in.
Questions about acquisitions, editing, and layout?
When screening, I would add that I look for a good flow as well as development of characters
Tamara — you’ll recognize many of those on this discussion. A few others are considering publishing and looking to gather information. Gina is a writer, Adam is a writer, Cristi is a published writer (not with DBP frown emoticon )
Hi Bill, I hear you were able to get some signings lined up. The book looks fantastic. Fiona did an incredible job with the cover. I think it will do really well.
Great to meet you all. I’m a total formatting junkie, so if you have any questions about print or ebook design, let me know!
I have a question about submitting material. Can you submit a sample of the book or do you need the entire book finished?
Doce Blant’s policy is a short synopsis of the book in the submission letter with an attachment that includes the first 50 pages.
What are your thoughts on this Lois?
Formatting questions? This is critical for those who have different sized books (affects page count) and those with images (how-to and children’s)
Usually I can get a great feel within those 50 pages. However, sometimes if the story has great potential but isn’t quite developed yet, I’ll request more to get a fair idea.
Is that true for kids’ books too, Lois?
Kids books are usually shorter and need to hook the young reader sooner
Any questions about formatting?
I have one. I always tell people to send their manuscripts in Word, double-spaced, 12 pt font, etc. Is this necessary for layout?
Formatting is one of those elements of the process that’s really easy to overlook because when it’s done properly, you don’t notice it. It’s when you’ve created disruptions for the reader that t really stands out.
I can certainly appreciate that, Tamara
Very true. Many times, authors themselves don’t notice errors until the book is in layout! Fortunately, Tamara is very skilled at catching those.
What’s most important is consistency, at least for my process. I will take the word doc and then apply styles and reformat as needed, but if the manuscript that’s submitted has a variety of style and formatting already applied, it can be very difficult for me to know what you as the author intended.
So is it best to have no formatting in an ms that comes to you?
Not necessarily, Marti. But you do want to keep it simple. One style for headlines, one for chapter breaks, one for epigraphs, etc. You do want to avoid any heavy styling such as Small Caps or Drop Caps. Word adds some really funky back end stuff that can be difficult to over come in the formatting process, so the simpler the better in the manuscript. We can add all the visual extras in the design process.
What about headers and footers?
Headers and footer don’t carry over to the software that I, and most designers, use. So while it’s okay to include them and they won’t cause any problems, they’ll need to be “rebuilt in the formatting software.
If you’re working with headers and footers in Word, it’s really difficult to get everything to align properly or as you intend it to, unless you just stick with centered text.
Good to know. No headers or footers in manuscripts that are going to layout.
What do you recommend working with, Tamara?
Word is definitely okay. It’s the best software for the editing process and as designers, it’s the integration we’re most familiar with.
What about margins and justifying versus left alignment for text?
If you want to tackle design, I use InDesign. It’s a bit intense if you’re not familiar with it, so I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. Formatting for publication can be done in word, but it can be a bit cumbersome. The biggest problem I have had with Word is that it doesn’t always export a proper PDF.
InDesign is a buggar for newbies (did we just say that?)
I have seen some really impressive formatting done in Word, so it’s very possible.
Tamara is a pro and so pleasant to work with
As someone who is still in the beginning stages of writing, this all seems very complicated. Overwhelming. Lol.
Thanks Doce, I’ve had so much fun working on the last few Books, Especially Barnacle Bill. The images are so fantastic! True Pirates!
ya it does for me too….. over my head Cindy
If I just write and submit my book. What happens?
Thanks Shelby. I feel kind of dumb.
Cindy, It is really overwhelming. The publishing process is secondary to the writing process, but equally as important. It’s easiest to focus on one at a time.
That’s why it’s so nice to have a publisher do all of this for you! You write everything and we do the work
Or at least we pass it off to people like Tamara who does all the work!
Hi, Marti! Finally here! And I love hearing Tamara talk about her work!
Our advice: Focus on writing the very best that you can and let us do the rest!!
Doce has a really incredible team of professionals who handle all of the publishing process. It really does allow you to focus on being an author.
Mary is our editor. She’s amazing and has worked on several of our projects. Welcome Mary!
Thank you Tamara. I couldn’t agree more!
We’ll take good care of you, Cindy!
If any of you have questions about editing, please ask Mary.
Thank you, Marti! I’d like to respond to one of the authors who was really nervous about headers and stuff. As Tamara pointed out, it won’t carry over but I prefer to edit *without* all those things on the page! Write your story!
Is it easier to edit in Word, double-paced, and with 1″ margins?
Fiona is a genius, just like Tamara!
I’d like to know that, too, Marti!
Fiona designed all of our author’s covers, except Cutter’s. He is blessed to have an incredibly talented family member design his (an we LOVE it!)
I prefer to see the Word doc with the 1″ margins, 8×11 page size, 1.5 line spacing. But that’s me. Industry standard is 2.0 line spacing, Times New Roman.
That’s what we ask for with submitted manuscripts (only we ask for double-spacing)
Cutter, I’ve never read your books. But how in detail do you get with Gore? And what about what some people call proclaim language?
I hate auto correct.
Hi, Cindy – When it comes to gore, it don’t get into too much detail. In fact, most of my killings happen off stage. Sometimes less is more frightening – let the reader picture it for themselves. As for language, I use language. I’m not afraid to use the “F” word. wink emoticon
I love that idea, Cutter!
Ok. I’m pretty intense and wasn’t sure about language.
BalluHuHu is really charming. So great to hear that it’s being considered for the reading list!
I write mild gore for the Pirate’s (when limbs get cut off) but I focus on the story and only add what helps to advance the plot. No gore for gore’s sake.
I like to think of my writing as more psychological suspense versus horror – so not too much gore, though there is killings and murder. As for language, it doesn’t phase me.
I agree, Marti.
Cindy, the big thing to remember is how your target audience will receive it. I’ve done a lot of work with Erotic Romance… it’s not for everyone and would offend many groups, but for the right audience, it’s totally appropriate.
If gore is necessary or helps move the story forward, then use it. Don’t use it for shock value. Same with language.
listening to you guys make me want to write
Sounds like Hitchcock. All about tension and suspense!
This is the reason we have genre delineations. As an author, focus on the story and we’ll help you place it into the proper genre. Tamara is correct, not every story is for every reader (pirate novels included
And like Hitchcock, a shortened timeline heightens suspense as well. If someone has to do something in a short amount of time, the tension can be incredible!
My stories are based on very gruesome things that happened where I worked. The atrocities I witnessed have actually given me P.T.S.D. and writing is helping me.
Good for that then, Cindy.
That’s a great point, Mary!
Cindy, people who write and journal “get it out” and it can be disturbing for others to read, but it’s extremely helpful if someone is in a similar situation. They don’t feel so alone. Good for you! heart emoticon
Mary is a content editor — her advice for advancing plots is invaluable!
Thank you, Marti. My only task is to make the story the best it can be!
Yes, Doce, I agree. I have ideas already
Thank you Mary!
Great info Mary indeed
I second that, Doce! Mary is also has a great deal of experience editing non-fiction books that deal with real-life, personal challenges.
Cutter – when you write your stories, do you plan out the plot or the “how” of the murder? How do you do it to keep the mystery moving forward and still have nail-biting twists (which is the comments we receive from your readers)
One of Tamara’s unique gifts is to break up the story into sections and chapters so that tension and “readability” are heightened, sometimes by the use of symbols and icons. She’s so inventive!
Thank you. I just wanted to make sure that writing about such things and publishing them is okay.
What does Tamara write?
Absolutely! People need to hear what is happening and others need to know they’re not alone in their own struggles
Thanks Mary. That’s a good point, subtle visual indicators can really help move a story along.
Dear Cindy, Tamara is our formatter. She’s the one who makes the book beautiful inside!
Thank you Doce
I don’t plan too much – I usually have the overall plot: how the murders are going to happen and why (the killer’s motive), but beyond that, I just kind of write and see where the story takes me. When writing, I like to try and surprise myself. I have certain plot points I want to it, but I don’t have the whole novel planned out.
Yep, I’m exclusively a designer. Okay, I’m a reader too
Dear Cutter, do you do a timeline, even if it’s kinda vague?
I write the same way, Cutter. The story writes itself
Compendiums are invaluable (and can be published, FYI)
I agree…. General idea and conclusion and what can occur as the story moves
I would say I use a vague timeline, at best.
Just depends on the story.
Cristi — how do you do your writing? Because you write historically, do you use a timeline?
Are timelines important?
I thought I was finished after 1st book…but no! Three more followed because the characters had more to tell
I do think a timeline works to the author’s advantage. Getting to Wednesday without ever living through Tuesday will create problems. And your readers and reviewers will let you know about it!
Personally, I think the timeline depends on the story. I would imagine that for some stories a timeline is a character itself.
Mine are dreams and flashbacks. So a timeline would be hard for me.
For The Next Victim, a detailed timeline wasn’t necessary.
I definitely need to read it. Does anyone else here write about true events?
Good point, Cutter. How do writers best deal with time-breaks or jumping forward (or backward – say in time travel) and still keep the story flow tight
Marti is great at that.
That was for Mary or anyone who has experience with writing in time-jumps
We have several authors who have written auto-biographies
I think all stories have elements of truth if not actual events guised as fiction.
I find that dreams and jumps in time are probably the stories that need a timeline the most. Think “Memento.” No way Christopher could have written that screenplay without knowing what events happened when.
I had an editor suggest breaking my time travel jumps into parts: Part 1, Part 2.
Keep in mind that when you get into unusual timelines, it can be difficult for a reader to make that leap with you. Sometimes you will need a visual indicator to help readers follow you.
Like an image? Barnacle — you did that with your book.
I love using images to lead but not to overpower one’s own imagination.
Tamara, what types of visual indicators would you suggest? A personal item? Or a place?
Sometimes an image, or sometimes a unique text treatment. I’ve recently worked on book where they author wanted to use a different graphic to start each each scene where a different character was the feature.
That would be interesting.
That would have helped me stay on track in Game of Thrones
With dreams and memories or flashbacks they don’t go in order of events. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Doce has their work cut out with me.
Lois, I like to keep graphics simple, either a non-specific flourish type graphic for a traditional scene break, or something more specific to the book.
But regardless, simplicity is key. It should b subtle and not distract from the content of the story.
Which brings up a good point – is a certain genre better for images than others when trying to separate time jumps?
And Cindy, you may want to compile the events first, then structure them into a sequence.
I’m not sure that one genre is better for graphics than another, but you want to keep the graphics appropriate to it. I wouldn’t use a very angular icon in a historic romance, for example.
Mary — from a content editor’s perspective, is there a better or best way to separate time jumps or scene changes in the text?
As I edit, I’m happy with asterisks. I know the author will work with Tamara to fancy it up a bit, but a simple break to start with is best.
What about a book like Cutter’s. Typically, we don’t use icons or graphics in novels like his. Do you see that happening more nowadays?
So Cindy can you tell me more about your story? curious
How does writing about real people and events work legally? Do you have to change names?
Yes, unless you have written permission to use their name in a book. It is illegal
It depends. What a typical legal answer! But if you’re writing about a current celebrity, I would urge avoiding the exact name and detailed description. If you’re writing about Jean Harlow, I think you’re good!
Marti, is it ok to talk about what happened?
I’d say yes
Cindy, are you fictionalizing it?
I worked at the humane society and witnessed things you can’t imagine. Torture for fun. When I went to police with tons of evidence I was told I was too sensitive and I was fired. I live in a small town and the good old boys covered each others backs. I took it to a lawyer abd was basically told to leave it alone.
We have a media attorney that we consult with about this very topic. The law is dependent on the situation. However, the advice we’ve been given is to opt for a conservative approach and get written permission to use anything about another living person (including quotes). A great resource is here: http://www.ibpa-online.org/resources/ask-the-experts/ibpas-ask-the-experts-publishing-law/
Legal Questions Answered by Publishing Experts
IBPA’s “Ask the Expert” answers member questions about publishing law. Experts cover copyright, libel, and choosing the right disclaimer.
I’m writing about real people and their horrific deeds, Lois.
Will this stay active so we can access these links later?
IBPA stands for Independent Book Publishers Association. Doce Blant is a member. Our attorney is a media specialist and is amazing! Our advice is to just fictionalize anything in question.
Real people and real deeds are not that difficult to fictionalize.
Sorry to hear Cindy, I can’t believe the atrocities of some human beings.
If not, we’ll send it to you
The American Association of Publishers (AAP) also has very good resources.
Yes Bill. People are cruel and disgusting.
Yes, I understand, so I’m trying to say that if you fictionalize these horrific things, it will not be a legal issue.
Written stories about atrocities make for public awareness and that creates change (look at the Sea Shepherds)
But if they really happened how are they fictional?
I have to head out for the evening, but I’ve enjoyed chatting with you all. If you have any questions about formatting or book design, you can get a hold of me through Doce Blant, or my website: www.deliberatepage.com. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. Have a wonderful evening!
Make it into a story, like most boôks or movies you see
write the events and change the names, gender, ages, appearances, locations of those involved
Along with Lois and Marti’s advice, making it into a story, with a bad guy, and a hero, and a happy ending, is fictionalizing it.
I was hoping to use police reports I made as well as pictures, polygraph results, handwriting analysis from an FBI specialist. How could I do that?
Cindy, does this help? I can only imagine how horrible that was.
The heroine could be the one to do those things
If you created it, I believe you can use it. The FBI material, you would need to obtain specific written permission
Personally speaking, I would be afraid of backlash
You’ll need to get those documents released to you with a legal document stating you have permission to publish that information in a book (that you intend to make public).
It’s likely going to be next to impossible. I would highly recommend just describing the situation in a fictionalized story
Greetings from SA …Doce Blant – trust you are well. Great to meet online.
Fiction is powerful.
Dale is a marketing dynamo in So Africa
Hi there- great to chat. Please explain to me the process of writing a draft to publication?
Dale – many of our authors are on this discussion. You will recognize their names from their books.
Cindy – we can talk in depth about this if you’d like to
Thanks Doce, that’s probably best.
Hi Cutter! Great to chat. I’m trying to get your books out here in our book stores –they’re awesome!
Dale – do you need the sell-sheets for the books? They are all internationally distributed
Hi Marti – we meet again. I love promoting all your books. I’d have a store for each of all the authors here.
Yes please! Sell sheets a definite.
Hi Barnacle Bill- your books are my next mission!
PM your email address and I’ll send them all as attachments. Can you print them where you are? We use Costco here. I’m not sure how to support you with that process best.
Done! These will come to you via email as attachments (maybe a couple of emails because there are a few sell-sheets to attach). I’ll include information for distribution as well.
Does anyone have any questions for Dale — about the market and books in Africa?
I actually need to forward you my “baby” manuscript one day. I’m attempting to write guys and girls.
Cutter’s and Deanna’s books are coming out in paperback in Feb. Joel’s will be in ePub and Hardbound by the end of the month. AND…we’ll have a new release within the next 6 weeks.
Exclusive books would be awesome to launch your books -all of you – I’m waiting to hear from their buyer.
YES! Love to read your ms!
Cool. I’ll be looking out for the books.
Ivey is a pirate writer although she isn’t published with Doce Blant. She is very talented from what we can tell!
Well Ill have to finish it first – getting there!
I’m back and have caught up on the conversation so far.
Dale – Gina is a writer working on her ms
Welcome back, Gina
Thanks. I’m getting so inspired listening/reading all your comments.
Well you are all nicely placed under an umbrella of Doce Blant which is great!
Cuttler – you write thrillers?
Aw, thanks for the compliments. Doce Blant has a fine bunch of authors, as well.
When is your next book
Yep, murder mystery, thrillers.
Most of our authors don’t write “pirate”
Hopefully, this summer. Working on it now. I need to just sit down and write it!
Guess who just joined the group! Kaycee — our Consultant Specialist is here!
Kaycee is the advisor, “go-to” person for most of the authors on here.
Every author needs a good advisor smile emoticon
She is invaluable to assisting the authors with everything they’re doing post-publication (a personal assistant, as-it-were)
We don’t know what we’d do without her.
Do you have any thoughts going into 2016 for the authors, Kaycee?
By-the-way, Kaycee didn’t guess “who did it” Cutter. You left her hanging! Good job!!
Haha! Awesome! Love hearing that! Hi, Kaycee!
I thought I had it too! I was very surprised.
Dale – is there anything the authors (or we) can do to support your promoting in So. Africa? Do images, quotes, photos, videos, etc. help? What is the best for marketing there?
What I have done is contact two bookstores. Their buyers are taking asin forever but as soon as I throttle them – which should be this week …. I can give you all the info and we can take it ffrom there.
Is FB a good connection social-media wise? Or does Twitter, Instgram, Google+ , etc seem stronger where you are?
Go for Instagram….FB is almost impossible without paying for it!
Trust me….I built a FB page from Zero to over 10000 fans and it was a pain in the ass.
What do you think about Twitter, Adam?
As you can see my FB is dedicated to promoting and I have convinced quite a few converts or convicts – in your case Cutter
Twitter is good for a personal brand but not as a business
Personal branding is what authors do.
Do you disagree that Twitter works for authors?
Everyone should read the books put out by Gary V. He has incredible insight to social media and is the best on the biz.
JK Rowling is heavy on there — as are several other authors.
I don’t like twitter. I always have too much to say for the limited character count. Any tips on making good use of it?
I think Twitter is for world news and gripes not …. promotions
Yes it’s great for getting to know an author but you should only post one “book” promotion every three days or so
Does Instagram promote authors better, in your opinion?
I dislike Twitter, as well
I like instagram.
Yes we live in a visual world.
Everyone likes pictures
I share screen shots of pages from my ebooks
but i dont really get twitter and instagram
Plus it’s easier to tag search and be discovered
It’s about what SELLS brands. Think of this as $
I think FB is where everyone socializes and have found it to be user friendly – far more than any other social platform at present
I think Marti did an excellent job with her excerpts on FB – people loved them
So I guess it is best to use all of the social medias if possible.
For those who need help with social media (including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, FB, Google+, etc.), please, PLEASE schedule a meeting with Paul.
Kaycee is a great resource as well. We can help tutor you and support what you want to do there
Facebook is great of course, but it is easier to reach new faces on other platforms.
My only complaint is not being able to add web links to the description. You have to hope they care to go to your profile page. Unless, I’m missing something?
Yes! Exactly, Kaycee. ALL platforms need to be utilized.
Cuttler – what inspired you to write murder, thrillers etc
Kaycee, Barnacle needs your help blogging
When I read books and watch movies, I prefer that genre – suspense and mystery. I like the “whodunit” aspect. I like creating surprises and suspense.
We don’t advocate posting more than a quote or two from books for several reasons. Images with quotes from characters are great to get attention. But the bottom line is, the public wants to hear from YOU! Remember, if you write more than one book, YOU need to be what the reader remembers, not each individual character.
ok, I’ll get in touch with him tomorrow about that. Thank you for letting me know.
Great – you need to watch SA news too !!!
Cutter, you have been a big help to Barnacle as well.
Its been great chatting to you and please know I will be promoting ALL of you – watch out for your ads.
Thanks, Shelby. I’m not sure what I’ve done, but I’m happy to help in any way I can.
I need to know more about Instagram and the best way to utilize it
Kaycee is the queen of Instagram
I love authors …. you’re in my heart guys.
Thank you Mary and Dale! Hope to see you tomorrow. Thank you for your comments and support!
Seriously! Read anything by Gary V! It will change the way you look at social media!!!!!!
I think Gary V. is the one Paul follows as well.
Thank you one and all for the great advice!
It has been a great discussion – just a pity there’s a time difference. You guys sleep – we get up!
Tomorrow — we’ll be here again. Please join us if you can!
Is there anyway to put together a summary of the points made. So much info to process.
Adam and Kaycee — I’d love to hear your thoughts about social media
Update the rest of us who are not as savvy to using social media as a platform to build a brand and reach massive public attention.
Each social media account serves a different purpose. My recommendation to clients is this…
Look at each platform and decide which works best with your personal brand.
Instagram, as I mentioned, works great for people who like imagery and pictures. However to be popular on it you need to be able to take good photos. Instagram is NOT for memes or pics off the internet.
Further … FB is good, but FB has an algorithm that makes it hard for fans to see your posts. So if you have 100 fans only about 10% see what you post.
What if you want to hit everything effectively? For example, like investing.
Marti and all of you – the fact that you interact with your target market makes you all amazing! That’s where the differences. You’re NOT just out there – you’re a person when you interact and places your books a cut above the rest.
That can be frustrating bc FBbos not linear
did not even know that
Here is the HARD truth…
True about the FB algorithm. Recently, they changed it too so that video clips are what drives public exposure on FB.
No one can hit all social media accounts effectively. And if you try you will KILL yourself!!!!
I always advise my clients to pick ONE and stick to it like glue!!!!
Thanks Dale. That’s exactly how Barnacle got his book into B&N
Learn everything you can about it…and build that account day by day post by post
The personal touch – the midas touch!
Think of social media this way….
Try writing 5-7 books all at once and make each one amazing
Can’t be done
So focus on one at a time
Adam you are awesome!
Build it well and make each post content WORTH looking at
Crap content is still crap
Do you think age plays into it? Like YA books should hit one soc. med platform and mystery a different one?
so how about if Barnacle focuses on FB and i focus on Twitter?
As long as whatever platform you focus on … You focus on GOOD content
If YOU wouldn’t stop and read your own post from someone else DONT post it
I agree with your premise, Adam. But the problem with limiting to one platform is that it cuts out a huge part of the consumers we’re trying to reach.
But doing one thing right is better than 3 things half-assed
This is true, but think of it this way….
So break it down into genres, if you would. What social media platform is best for YA (Barnacle Bill & Sarafina)?
Each social media platform has hundreds of thousands of accounts … Focus on one….build or right….and the followers and fan base will come
I would honestly say this on genres
That’s excellent thinking
What social media platform for mystery (adult) and paranormal — Cutter, Marti, Joel, Robert?
There is no age group for social media anymore. FB started out for college kids. Now we’re all on it. Snap Chat started out for teenagers. Now they are the largest growing SM platform out there.
Is there a magic formula to getting your content into a bookguys and girls>I often wonder – do you just get an idea and magic flows from it?
However, there’s an older generation on FB than on Snapchat or Instagram.
Study other authors and look at their social media platforms then imitate, copy, replicate.
It seems that it defeats the purpose to focus all of an author’s time on Snapchat if they are selling to adults — or am I missing the point?
ya my daughter says FB is for old people……
There is a learning curve and study involved but with patience and learning you can do it.
I just started my FB author page and am focusing on putting out good writing prompts, author quotes, and great images.
I have seen your prompts and posts, Adam, and they encourage interaction.
I will only self promote maybe once a week, and put out 3-4 posts a day
Thank you Dale!! Watch your email for the sell-sheets! Thanks for your help, once again!
And you promote on FB almost exclusively?
But I know FB really well and have learned a lot over 7 years advertising on it
Cutter — you and Adam write in similar genres / age groups.
I am now leaning towards Instagram for promotion…but that was after a year of learning photography
This is all great information!
very good info
The bottom line is you can’t wing it
You have to put time learning and effort into it.
What do you mean by “wing it?”
A lot of clients I work with will start a page and start just throwing up non-engaging posts
Their content offers the user nothing
Adam what do you think about a word press blog vs a Facebook authors page?
There’s no dialogue or conversation
The images are grabbed from the net
What do you think of the photo with quotes from books? Or excerpt one-liners?
And most of the posts are just ads of one type or another
Gina – you need both
Website are a must to draw sales
The content you put out, much like our stories, have to engage people. Draw them in. Make them STOP scrolling.
That take creativity and planning
I plan my FB posts a week in advance on Sunday and I spend a good 4-6 hours writing them, shooting images, and researching tag words.
Do you use the same process for Instagram?
Then every comment on my page gets a response. Every new fan gets a TY message from me.
Yes I do
What do you think about Google+?
Google + is a waste of time
It was dead 5 years ago
What’s a ty message?
I really think blogging was bigger a few years ago, and blogging just for the sake of blogging isn’t going to pull many in. Things move faster now.
Every expert out there will say the same
How do you get listed for google searches then? FB isn’t strong enough on Google+
A thank you message
That’s where a strong blog/website comes in
How have blogs changed over the years, Kaycee?
But again you have to put good content on there
Gotcha! Agree completely!
I can count maybe 3 public figures I follow that I would take the time to stop and read a blog post from.
And even that depends on the subject.
Kaycee why would you read those posts
Is length the problem or content? What makes a “strong” blog content?
What draws you to them
The running social trend is this…
If they are announcing something that is actually new/big with their book/movie/comic series.
If you wrote a blog post that take readers longer then 3 minutes to read they won’t finish the article or post
But doesn’t Google look at content length when they rank them?
so much good info my head is swimming
So if someone does a Google search using the words “pirate novel”, how does the author compete with Creighton who wrote Pirate Latitudes on the search just to be seen?
*Recorded message unavailable
Keywords in the title are so important!!
Keywords are important
We’re about done for the night. Anything anyone wants to cover in the last 10 minutes? I
Tomorrow at 4pm, we’re going to do this again. Perhaps we can put together ideas for topics we want to talk about, continue the discussion about social media posting, and bring in others who may want to share
And if anyone has questions please feel free to message me on social media
Thanks so much everyone!! Please come back again tomorrow. Let’s pick up where we left off. Everyone wants to pick your brain again, Adam. Plus, Fiona (cover artist) may join us!
Transcript of Doce Blant Publishing Group Chat
16 January 2016
Ready for ROUND 2 of our discussion on Publishing?
Let’s get this party started!!
Before we start chatting, let’s introduce ourselves once more for those who are new. Please tell us why you are interested in publishing as well
Hi guys, my name is Adam. I am in southern CA, and am currently working on a novel about Lucifer.
Hello…my name is Marti – I’ve written 4 books which are all published (my kids’ book by Doce Blant)
We are soooo stoked to read your book, by the way, Adam
And we LOVE Grandma BallyHuHu, Marti
Thank you…I have really enjoyed writing it!
Hi, my name is Kiri, I’m also in SoCal and I self-published an urban fantasy very loosely based on Alice in Wonderland and am working on the sequel
I’m Lois! My genre so far is contemporary romance and new romance
Hi, I’m Cristi Taijeron, author of Endless Horizon Pirate Stories
So … tonight, Paul is going to join us and talk a little bit about SEO. Adam helped everyone get familiar with social media last night. Hopefully, you can continue the discussion … Adam?
I am also writing a detailed article on social media for my blog and will post it this weekend as a resource
Paul is here!!
Hi everyone. Glad I could join the party tonight.
Welcome Paul!! Will you give us a short introduction and then launch into talking about social media and what SEO is?
Sure, thanks. I’m a retired dentist who has a couple of other loves… computers and marketing. I’ve studied both for years and found some pretty useful things. Some of you have found that out I believe.
Fiona Jayde has also joined us. She is our award-winning cover artist and a marketing expert. Those of you who have questions for her, please go ahead and ask (she’ll only be online a short time)
Search engine optimization has changed drastically over the years. Before we could pull a few tricks and get ranked really quickly. I once got a website davidarchuletastory.com ranked #6 in just 2 days. It’s not that quick any more. Wish it was.
I would LOVE to know how cover art is put together, how much input the author has, and how much the book cover matters.
Paul — are you going to be on here for a while? Can we jump to Fiona? She has to leave within the next 45 min. but I don’t want to lose you because your info is SO important!!
Would LOVE to hear from Fiona!!!
Hi Paul and everyone!
Great question Adam!
every cover artist is different, so I’ll take you through a quick overview of my process
Speaking of book covers, let me just say that I do judge a book by its cover. It’s the first thing people see. Maybe it’s just because I’m an artist, but i think it matters a bunch
I agree Ivey
I have often NOT bought books based on their cover *hides in shame*
I did a lot when I was younger–but that was before I had this HUGE list of recommendations to work through.
Which is why we have award-winning cover artists on our team!
once I get a cover art request, I first work with the author to see what is comparable on the market – because the cover is for readers to be attracted to the book. A lot of times when people hate the covers, it’s because the authors who are way too emotionally involved in a cover call the shots. I generally work with authors in a collaborative way to guide them toward what is marketable and find that fine line between “unique author vision” and “the readers of that genre/trope” will be attracted to the image
Hello everyone! I’m here.
And then – it’s on the authors to make the blurb as attractive as possible because once I get the readers to look at your book, you gotta reel them in!
I agree with Fiona.
We’re very particular about the blurb on the back, as Fiona can attest. That is the #2 selling “hook” of a book
Fiona you are talking about the book summary right?
Yes Adam:) The book summary
Yes. The blurb and book summary are the same
Oi. Blurbs take years off my life. It’s so important and harder than writing the whole book. Haha
Ivey you are so right!
There’s a formula
I once had a book about a kickass woman pirate and the author wrote about “the history period” in the blurb! So I nagged him to check out similar books and change the blurb to make it more interesting about the character. luckily he did!
Who cares about the history period – we like CHARCTERS!
so my job – to get readers to click
then YOUR job – reel them in!
I’d love to know this formula, Doce
Do you do your own artwork or work with stock like images?
Fortunately, Doce Blant works one-on-one to create a solid blurb
I am a photo manipulation artist – meaning I use stock photography and blend it with various techniques. I can’t draw despite having an art degree
Come on board with us, Ivey! We’ll work with you to get a really good one written
Fiona has the final say on blurb though
Oh that’s fantastic though! I love the photographic look.
That’s good to know about. I struggle with that, as well
Hi everyone! sorry I’m late
Are you okay with us sharing one of your covers, Fiona?
Would love to see one of Fiona’ s covers.
This is a great cover that took some reworking to get just right — but it turned out awesome and sold the manager at B&N on hosting a book signing for the author.
Is there usually a difference between cover art for Hardback vs paper?
there’s not much difference design wise, but there are some differences in set up (you need to leave more margins, etc)
Fiona is amazing! I love her work!
Fiona, do you have a worksheet or something you like to use to get inside an author’s brain to help your design process along?
Thanks Adam! Paul – I sure do! I have a questionnaire which I’ve developed over the years I’ve been doing this. It delves into the author’s brain but also sets expectations by going along the marketing angle. This way there’s little chance of disconnect between what the author wants and what the readers of the genre may expect.
What is the trend now days for covers? Or is there one?
Marti – trends generally depend on the genre
What is something we should really steer clear of?
self made covers:)
Are there any “trends” we should probably let go of (obviously we should trust the cover artist)
But I know some people are like, “I HAVE THIS SET IN MY BRAIN”, but are there any covers that we see often in stores that are kinda “no no”s?
Do you see huge transitions between them? I’m thinking of the Twilight books … for a while, every cover was plain background with a central object in it. I like that look too, btw
Amen on the self-created covers!
it really depends. Generally what happens is a break out books happens and then everyone tries to recapture the same lightning
In truth, when an expert is involved in your project, you’re best to let that expert do what he/she does best! It’s frustrating from a publisher’s standpoint to tug-o-war with an author over an idea or concept when the expert has worked so hard to bring that author excellence.
OK so question on that
Obviously trust the artist…however…Fiona in your experience do you try to imitate other covers, or come up with some unique?
depends on author audience
if an author is very new, it’s better to ride coattailes of someone that is expected for the genre
if author has a presense, we can be a bit more loose
basically it’s all about what readers will be attracted to and balance that with author appeals
i have an author client who is releasing often and has a lot of readers – so I can do some more unique looks for her
a brand new author is better going for a “obvious recognizable genre”
And that’s where the “expertise” is so valuable – Fiona knows what sells.
So how long do you consult with the author, Fiona, before creating the cover?
Paul – can you add to this, about media and the importance of images, video clips, etc to social media
it generally depends on the author and the book – sometimes it takes a few emails, sometimes there’s a slew of back and fourth.
Awesome! So the lesson I am hearing is…Trust the artist lol
Imagery is a huge part of creating emotions. The more senses you can stimulate, the deeper the connection. I always wished I could inventa computer monitor that would produce smells like popcorn or baking cookies. Words without images are great and vice versa, but together they’re far more powerful.
That is so very true with writing too, Paul
If Mary were here, she’d probably agree. Lois, what do you think?
Well said, Paul. BTW, I just had a candle made to go along with my series. If you have never heard of Book Scents, check her out! http://www.bookscentscandles.com/
Deanna Jewel here
AKA: Deanna Jewel is a romance writer. Her cover is the one with the Native American time-travel image on it. Just released in Hardcover
Yes, for me imagery and emotion are very strong
More senses involved is also why video is so powerful.
So sorry to cut this short everyone – gotta go pick up the munchkin. Thx for the awesome questions!
Paul – talk about what you found out about FB and video clips (speaking of senses)
By-the-way, if any of you have friends that you think would enjoy this discussion, please feel free to add them.
The human eye is designed to notice contrast. Video is often running 27 or 30 frames per second and our subconscious blends it all together to augment our natural emotions. If you can capture an idea in a very short video, it’s powerful. Just ask Vine
Vine is the 6 second video site. Hilarious.
Barnacle — are you there?
Why do you think Vine is so successful?
thanks for the Vine link!
Vine is successful because you have to be fast, succinct, clever.
If you don’t like a video, you’ve only wasted 6 seconds.
Paul does the video clips for the Doce Blant authors (by-the-way).
Can anyone post on Vine?
You set up an acocunt just like twitter
And people follow you
It’s the same on your websites and blogs. You don’t need to make big productions. Short little videos capture emotions, they capture hearts. Jaye did a couple of clever videos. Barnacle and a clever little “Where’s Barnacle” series that he did.
Cutter’s were great too!
I need to just make one and quite worrying that it won’t be perfect
I don’t know where they ended up. I just helped prepare them. Where did they get posted Jaye, Barnacle, Cutter?
Well vines make it easy to not be perfect because you don’t really have a window to edit or anything.4:52pm
Each author has a page on the Doce Blant website. At the bottom is a link to their video clips:
Terry, the market LOVES authenticity. Hollywood production types of videos are great, but from the heart is even more powerful
ah, kewl on the links at DBP
This runs for Chase Bank on TV for our author, Joel Silverman:
Because authenticity is so strong, people love to know about you on blogs on a regular basis. It never hurts to link what you write to something that’s trending at any given moment. Like Fiona said aboutt new authors, you kind of ride the coattails of what’s already going on and being seen.
Cutter talks about his favorite Halloween recipe in one of his. smile emoticon
I can attest to the authenticity. You should see what Paul thinks is cute on mine (but he’s always right!)
How does it affect your SEO ranking and FB?
LOL I love doing book trailers but those take 8-10 hours…..I should be able to do a 1 min video!
Ooh, one thing I do want to say when it comes to FB–for the most part advertising through FB is usually not worth the money. I learned this working as a social media manager in my last job. It expands your reach but a lot of that reach will be to dummy accounts and that’s not actually helping you.
Google keeps rewriting their algorithm and it’s become amazingly human. They penalize the very things that was standard SEO techniques just a couple of years ago. They’re looking for genuine and original. They penalize plagiarism like crazy.
Will you be specific, Paul?
In the old days it was heavily about keywords and meta data. You picked a word or phrase you wanted to rank and you heavily used it throughout your copy.
I am not sure what Paul is going to say, but I imagine it will mirror some of what I said last night about putting up quality content.
Some people say keywords don’t matter any more, but they are TOTALLY WRONG.
I’ve already learned new stuff stopping in here…..Vine and Book Scents! I’ll be checking into them more
So part of what Adam was talking about yesterday was FB and why authors should focus on one social media venue. But you’re saying, not FB, Kiri?
I’m not sure what I’m going to say either, Adam. Haha
So buying Likes is still a really big business on FB
With overseas companies
Keywords are important, but in association with good content…right Paul?
It makes your business seem more legitimate. However FB has been cracking down on like-bots. So to make these dummy accounts seem more real, they will go through and like multiple things to make the profile more robust
I think Adam and Paul are hitting on the same thing — although it sounds as if Paul advocates for Google and Adam advocates for Instagram and FB?
Usually the things that are being advertised in the side bar (like an author page)
my reach on FB is to about 5 people and I have hundreds of friends and followers yet don’t reach them all because of the algorithms
Absolutely. Google is absolutely looking for AUTHORITATIVE sites. Their business is guiding people to quality content when they do a search.
So while your author page likes DO go up, they’re not real people, so it doesn’t actually help you.
Does that make sense?
I once paid for an add on FB, I get more interest on posts I do not pay to promote. I see what you are saying, Kiri
Algorithms are the formulas used to determine if something matches or not. Good SEO is learning what the formulats are favoring and then doing those things so your site or video or blog will rank higher and more people will see it.
If you have a large reach it can be sometimes helpful for say a book that just hit the shelves, but you’re better off putting your ad money elsewhere
So what is the best, most basic thing I can do to get my brand noticed and “out there” to sell books?
Kiri, you’re so right. FB is NOT and equal opportunity sharer.
I would say I use twitter most for marketing and get the best results from twitter postings
I do most of my promo stuff on FB So I love learning more about what works and what doesn’t. I usually learn by trial and error. haha.
We’ve noticed a lot of authors promote to other authors. Is this a good idea or how can the authors reach readers and clients who will buy their book and follow them as fans?
Hi! It’s Mary, and I’m chiming in now! I’ve noticed a lot of ads directed at me based on what sites I’ve checked out recently. And Amazon is good at sending me info about books I might be interested in. However, what I’ve noticed is that most authors have not really worked on their material! I see repetition in blurbs, for example – that drives me nuts!
I have like 1300 Likes and get about 200 views per post. .
I know which of my posts on twitter work because a certain book will get purchased because of the way I reword a tweet
Oh, Terry, teach me the ways of Twitter. So far it just makes me crazy
I do too Ivey. The question is, how do “likes” really equate to book sales?
If you are looking to learn more about social media there are some great resources out there to help you learn.
I have several followers, many of the authors, who retweet my post and its then seen by their followers
One of the things Google does is give more props to certain things than others (just like FB in that regard). It’s one of the reasons why Google Plus still has huge value, in spite of it being crap in competing with FB. I think someone said it was dead 5 years ago. True, as a FB competitor. But it’s one of the BEST things you can use from an SEO point of view because Google promotes itself first.
So far, most of my sales come from FB. So it works. But I want it to work more. haha
The key to twitter is treating it like a party. You know like five people, maybe, and you chat with them, and every now and then there is a lull in the music and someone hears you say something funny or inspiration (through a RT) and more people wander over as a result.
There is a general maxed-out number of around 200 people who will buy from FB (friends, family, etc). Once that has capped off, the sales generally slow to almost a stop.
Ahhhh. Good way to explain it, Kiri.
Good point, Doce. Nobody ever got famous selling only to family and friends
Distribution is key to large sales.
The weird thing about Google + is no one really likes it, especially YouTubers who were FORCED to use it for a while. So while you should be posting to your Google+ page, don’t use it as your source of interaction. But Paul is right, it’s where Google will pull from
But marketing supports the distribution — they go hand in hand.
The other way to build a fan base, and Kiri and I have experience in this, is hit some of the more “geek” conventions and do panel disscussions.
Its a GREAT way to build an audience.
Ooooo I would love to do that
Its actually how authors like Jim Butcher got word out about his books
Google plus made 2 changes recently that can be big deals. The biggest one is the way you can link your website to your G+ page. Authoritative backlinks have FAR MORE power than if our little group here linked to each other’s sites
Twitter was powerful for me when I had a complaint about an airline situation happening in real time. I got immediate response on Twitter – nothing from the other sites
It doesn’t cost you anything, but you do have to submit a write up to the convention about your panel and what it will be about
Kiri has a lot of experience in this
BTW, I’m implying that G+ is an authoritative site… especially in THEIR eyes
so when we do our one minute video, we could also post it to our Your tube page so my followers there would see me more
I know I’ve found some great books at comic cons.
If you can meet people in person, it’s seriously a great way to sell books
So you suggest the authors link to one another’s websites on their blogs?
When they have a face and get to have a meaningful dialogue with you about your writing, you tend to make fans maybe slower but they stick around
It’s how you get your “super fans”, in my opinion
Definitely post to your YouTube!
A lot of cons also sell the a/v tapes. If you buy one and add it to your website, it’s great visibility and promo!
Though when you do your video, if you use a phone, please film in landscape mode, not portrait.
Have any of you ever done a vendor booth at an event?
A tape of you on the panel, I meant!
Plus during your discussion you can encourage people to like you FB and or twitter account. I used to do this, and then would give away a prize to one random new follower in the panel group.
I’ve done panels, and I attach my business card to the handout. I’ve gotten a lot of “looks” that way!
Yes, quality of contacts is more powerful than quantity
And you already have an in at conventions! Especially if people are in costume
A good friend of mine usually asks what they’re into for the convention and uses that to recommend one of his books
We have an event coming up that will feature some of the Doce Blant authors on panel discussions. I believe Joel has been asked to demonstrate his dog training too
I have author links on a page on my website if anyone wants me to add them, I’d be happy to. deannajewel.com We’re heading out for supper but I’ll be back here as soon as I get home!
I go to pirate parties for networking. But I am planning to get a booth at the big one this summer. I also create artwork to go along with my stories. Any tips about how to make the best use of this time?
For those of you who do conventions, panels, etc., where you collect names, do it digitally and not on paper. There are systems out there that you can collect a name/email and immediately start a conversation with them. Very powerful and saves a lot of work over collecting names on a clipboard.
I usually tell them to follow my twitter
Everyone has their phone with them
I don’t do email lists
Which is probably foolish of me
We used to use one called Instant Contact, but I think they’ve changed that now. We’d collect their name and then have our response go to them about 10 minutes later so they didn’t know it was an immediate auto-responder. It improved our lead capture by about 25 times what was done on paper
I have an email list and do occasional newsletters. My readers seem to like it when I do.
Festivals and cons are fun but expensive. I want to know what to do to get to a larger market
Not just local
So just fyi, you should probably have a back up plan in case the 4g or whatever is crap at a con. The larger ones almost always hit issues with so many people being on at once.
We use Mail Chimp
Does Doce Blant help with all of this? I know absolutely nothing about Twitter, videos, etc. I only post in Facebook.
Mail Chimp. I have heard of that. I do it all the caveman way. Haha
I can walk you through anything you need help with, Cindy.
As an author, you are assigned a consultant specialist (Kaycee is one) who will work with you to do all of that. She is your “Agent”
If you want to go big, you can’t do it manually. You HAVE to use systems. Can you imagine sitting down to write 10,000 thank you emails?
PS: You guys at Doce Blant are awesome. I love all the resources you have for your authors.
Each author works with their C.S. and spends an hour FREE to consult one-on-one with Paul to come up with a marketing plan
I’m reading all of this and feeling anxious. Lol.
Cindy, don’t feel anxious…There is a lot to learn, but you have resources and people who can help.
You are not in this alone
So, Marti’s question is a good one. What can an author do to branch out of the local cons and festivals to build a fan base, Paul. Or is that the best way?
And that’s what is super cool about having a good publisher
Thank you everyone.
Part of what I like about this Q&A is it’s introduced all of us to each other, and we can be there to help, inspire, support, and encourage each other!
Most libraries love to have speakers. Volunteer to give a writing session, have a box of books with you, and have fun!
What I have done at conventions is offer ways my fans at the convention can interact with me online…
Remember, there will be venues that will order your books through distribution for your event. You just show up and put on a show (ask Barnacle).
Every Christmas I do a scavenger hunt where fans have to create songs, take pictures, and find silly items wherever they are and post them to my page.
There is a BIG difference promoting yourself with a traditional publisher versus a self-publisher
I’ve got to head out. Anyone have any questions before I go?
What’s the secret of the universe?
If you could offer one single piece of advice to the authors to help them promote, what would it be, Paul?
The secret of the universe is … blue. That’s it, just BLUE
Wow, Doce, one SINGLE PIECE? Never stop promoting. Think McDonald’s, Coke, etc. that never ever stop putting themselves out there, even though we all know they exist.
Thanks Paul! For those of you who haven’t had the chance, PLEASE contact Paul for your hour consultation! It’s on US
Also, if you want to keep yourself being found, keep informed about the changes Google keeps making to their algorithms. Give more than you get. Law of the universe: givers get (without expecting to). smile emoticon
Mary — from a senior editor’s position, what is the most important piece any author can do to make their ms ready for an editor?
I’m a big fan of writing groups and beta readers. They’ll catch so many little glitches!
I’ll be available for consultation as needed. Nytol
Thanks again, Paul
We’re huge fans of beta-readers also
What are beta-readers?
A volunteer who’ll read your book and give you intense feedback. And not your mom.5:28pm
Haha, thanks Mary.
Can you give us a quick description of the difference in writing styles for each age group (ie: YA versus adult)? A lot of authors aren’t sure where their books fall
The biggest difference is age. There’s a huge amount of physical and emotional growth that happens between ages 10-12, for example. Your MG book is probably aimed at 12. A YA book will not really use a lot of bad language, and your protagonist will be around 16. But the topics are all over the place!
What about sentence structure. Is there a difference for each age
If you look at the Options in Word, go to Proofing, then check the box that says “Show Readability Statistics,” you can highlight a section and it will tell you what grade level the writing is at. Easy peasy!
I thought my series was a YA (because the heroine is 17 to begin with) but an agent told me it was adult
DId the agent sell it?
Excellent! Thank you Mary
Oh that is a neat resource
But a different publisher got it and published it as an adult series
If you are talking about Midnight Omen, it feels more adult to me, Marti
So much depends on what the publisher needs at the time, and how well they think they can market a genre. It may be that the agent and subsequent publisher did not feel comfortable selling YA books.
Where is Options located in word? Sorry to be dense. I have a Mac
Oooh. I’m on my Mac now, but I mostly use my PC for writing/editing. I’ve never used the Readability function on my Mac
Demand plays a huge role in tipping a book one way or another, if it falls in the middle
The daughter in “Pride and Prejudice” who ran off with the scamp soldier was 16!
They’re pushing it in high school. Darn fine read!
I think I read it in high school.
Any other editing tips?
A timeline. Some people don’t believe in them. I’m a firm believer in having one, even if you don’t end up adhering to it!
How do you recommend setting up a timeline, especially for a series?
Whether a series or a standalone, the timeline is like a calendar. You have dates, or you have a list, but every big event, even if it happens before the book opens, is listed with the day/date it happened. Keeps things from getting confused!
Do you suggest creating this as a linear type of timeline or is there a better way to do it?
I’m a linear person. But some people work better with a wall calendar type display, or page-by-page icons. It depends on how you work best.
Quantum physics experts would have you stack your timeline, just sayin’
And for the past event/present event type of story, that may work best!
I use whiteboards to set up timelines….A LOT of whiteboards!
I love my whiteboard! And my eraser.
Save The Cat format is what I use for screenwriting. I’ve used it in books too though
I am currently planning to print a calendar from 1641 and taking my notes on there
Blake’s system works beautifully! Do you use the software?
We use the STC format to create the blurb as well. For those who aren’t familiar with Blake Synder, here is his formula for creating a screenplay:
No. I have a white board and cards. I also have that board blown up in my office
Ivey — that’s the secret to a great back cover blurb. We walk the authors through creating the blurb then send it to Fiona for marketing suggestions
Unfortunately, I need to scoot! This has been fun! If anyone has more questions, I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to ask anything! Hugs!
Thanks so much, Mary! Have a great night.
So fun hearing from you Mary. Thank you!
There are still quite a few of you on here. Is there a topic that you’d like to discuss together? Please keep this free of self-promoting (your work, books, business, etc) if possible so that we can keep our focus on general topics that include everyone.
Here is a sort of off the wall question…how many of you participate in writers groups in your area? Have you found them helpful in your writing process?
Let me ask this — what do you as authors or aspiring authors want from your publishing company. How can we be more supportive of your process?
I did for a while but the group was mostly time filled with self-promoting that I left it
As far as what I am looking for…
It seems that you are VERY supportive. Can’t wait.
Support, being a writer is hard enough. I think the quote goes “being a writer is simple…you cut yourself open and bleed on every page.” So having a company to support you in the process is wonderful!
I want direction from experts. People like you’ve had on here to help me build my brand
What does support look like to you, Adam?
Direction is critical, Marti. As you can see — marketing, writing, cover images, audience appeal changes quickly. These experts know what to do to take your sales to the next level.
I go through phases. Sometimes I am happy being and indie author. The one thing that makes me think I want a publisher is marketing. I can build a book from dream to print, and I enjoy every bit of it. My sales are decent and consistent, but I get tired of the effort it takes to promote. I would rather just write and do the creative part of the job.
All the things we’ve talked about. Book covers, editing, distribution, etc.
Those are HUGE
There are pros and cons to traditional versus self. Both are legit but offer different opportunities. You need to drill down to what your GOAL with your writing and publishing is. Once you identify that, you’ll know what is best for you
Do you feel that you’ll get that support here, Adam (you have tremendous experience in some of those areas)
All of our authors have been asked to present their goals for 2016 so that we can adapt a supportive program for them. This is where the Consultant Specialists are so valuable (Kaycee)
Not every author has the same goals
Yes I do! I looked at other publishers before settle on Doce and chose you guys because of the personal attention I get here!
That’s a huge piece!
I like the personal attention thing. I am needy. haha.
Each of the team members is dedicated to making the author successful. It’s super important that that focus isn’t lost in the hustle of marketing and putting together a book.
And that’s a big deal. The other publishers seemed to focus on the company not the author.
I have heard quite a few stories like that, Adam.
Quickly – share with your friends that there is a Rewards Program for DBP. When they sign into DBP, points are collected and free stuff is sent to them randomly (books and other stuff) – like the movie rewards
Most publishers approach authors from the standpoint of ‘what can the author do for the company’. Doce is the opposite
Also — are any of you interested in receiving a transcript of the discussions?
Thank you, Adam. That is the goal
Since Cindy is a new writer, do you have any suggestions for her Kaycee (as far as what makes it work between a published author and a consultant specialist?)
Very interested in what Kaycee has to say.
Honestly, just ask for help. I’m here to help but I can’t if I don’t know you are having an issue. Between the resources of the experts behind DB and what I know, we can help with just about anything.
That’s really true!
I’ll be in touch with you. I will need a lot of help. Right now it’s just a journal. Not sure at all how to turn it into a book.
Well let me know what I can do to guide you with that!
Lois is a great resource for that too
Again – thanks for joining us. Happy writing everyone!
END OF DISCUSSION
Please join us next quarter for the next open group discussion with Doce Blant Publishing