Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mandatory Reading for Writers

I promised myself I'd never do this, but hey, I've promised myself a lot of things and I've found that I'm simply untrustworthy, so I'd just better learn to live with myself.

If you are a writer, you must read, must follow, The Rejectionist:

THERE'S NO CRYING IN PUBLISHING. Go out there with your fabulous selves, and own that shit. OWN IT. LOVE YOURSELF. Own how awesome you are, and how brave, every last one of you. Fuck a bunch of form letters. You're a fucking WRITER.

And don't let me, or any other editor, tell you differently.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Vagabondage Press News

Look at what our prior contributors have been up to!


From Michael Chacko Daniels
Michael Chacko Daniels from The Battered Suitcase, Autumn 2009, has had some success with what he says are his "bits of entertainment." Grey Sparrow Journal published five senryu (The Twig, The Spreading Chestnut Tree, Buffers, Evening in San Francisco, and Waiting for the Taxidermist) in Issue #5, Spring 2010:

From Doug Matthewson
Two of his pieces - "The Neighborhood" and "Babbage's Messaging Engine And Problems Arising From It's Use" were included in The Boston Literary Magazine Summer 2010 print issue. Available www.bostonliterarymagazine.com

From Jade Sylvan
Her "Drunk Driving" is in the June issue of Word Riot, http://www.wordriot.org/archives/1354
"Gold Dust" and "The Tower" are both in the Spring/Summer issue of the new OVS Magazine.

From Kyle Hemmings
Check out Kyle Hemmings's new online chapbook of short fiction: You Could Pass for Lana Turner at Silkworm Ink Press - http://www.silkwormsink.com/chapbook_18.html

From David McLean
David McLean has a new full length poetry collection, Laughing At Funerals, on sale at Small Press Distribution.

From Sean Patrick Hill
The Imagined Field, has been published by Paper Kite Press, and can be found here.
"Some poems are cast, some are scattered, some are written, some are crafted, some are teased out and some emerge as if by magic. The poems in Sean Patrick Hill's collection The Imagined Field can best be described as wrought, with all the blisters, callouses, sweat, smoke, and force the word carries with it. If you're looking to feel that thunk in the solar plexus you get when you see a hawk dive, tumble, tussle, and take flight with a field mouse in its claws, this is the book for you." Reviews are at elimae and The Line Break.

From Gary Beck
His Book "Expectations" now available at Amazon-- EXPECTATIONS is a passionate exploration of people struggling to cope with a difficult, demanding life. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984098208

From V. Ulea
SNAIL - Formed from memories of dreams of memories, Snail is journey of life, introspection, and familial connectitude. Its seven interconnected stories are bonded by mood, plot, a single set of characters, and heart felt emotion; yet separated in a very dream like fashion by time, space, and logic of reality. Beautifully adorned by the artworks of Irene Frenkel, this book is not simply a work to be read and considered, it is a texturized and exhilarating cosmic dance for all the senses

From Nina Schuyler
"The Bob Society" in The Meadowland Review, http://www.themeadowlandreview.com/spring2010/, the Spring 2010 issue. Her short short, "Collision," will be included in the Able Muse Anthology. It was originally published: http://www.ablemuse.com/v7/fiction/nina-schuyler/collision

From John Carroll
His short story "Some Come Running Through" appears in the current issue of Versal -

From Mitchell Waldman
FACE IN THE MOON, by Mitchell Waldman, is the story of a young man's journey down the winding road of first love and self-discovery. Check out A FACE IN THE MOON at Amazon.

From Amye Archer
Amye is a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction Magazine blog contest. You can read the entry at her blog at
The winner will be announced in the upcoming issue #39 of CNF.

From Corey Mesler
Unprecedented publishing happenstance: Corey Mesler has two new novels released on the exact same day (March 31, 2010) from two different presses. They are Following Richard Brautigan (Livingston Press) and The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (Bronx River Press). Along with Corey's other books, they can be ordered signed or inscribed through his bookstore, www.burkesbooks.com.

From Margaret Karmazin
Margaret Karmazin’s YA Fantasy novel, REPLACING FIONA, has been published by etreasurespublishing.com. Imagine being sixteen again without losing the worldly knowledge gained from age. In Replacing Fiona, a "dead" ninety-four year old woman accepts such an assignment, finds herself in the body of a teenage suicide and attends the girl's senior year of high school. Only now, it is 2004 instead of 1928 and she is acutely aware that her spiritual growth and possibly the fate of the world depend upon her success. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1607026392?ie=UTF8&tag=vagabpress-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1607026392

From Adnan Mahmutovic
Adnan's story 'First Day of Night" won second place in Biscuit Publishing competition
His novel THINNER THAN A HAIR, won the Cinnamon Press competition and was recently released to great reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Kirkus Discoveries (http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/fiction/adnan-mahmutovic/thinner-hair/). The novella is an amazingly poignant and compelling narrative about a young Bosnian Muslim woman caught up in the 1990s Balkan crisis. You can purchase it here:

From Jess C Scott
Jess's novel PORCELAIN (contemporary poetry + fiction), a collection/portfolio of new and previously published short stories, poems, essays, and artwork offers a personal draft of the author’s navigation through a world that is fantastical, offbeat, ironic, unexpected, and true. Jess’s work exudes pure honesty that deserves praise." – RCGNTN Magazine

From Kim Wilson
Kim's novel THE SPICES IN LIFE now available. Christine Veronica Webbster has outlived her cruel parents just to have her emotional after-effects predict her actions and reactions moving forward. The spices that flavor her adult life forces a nervous breakdown on her that she should have seen coming. Having to deal with securing multi-million dollar accounts, for her three companies, to feed her passion to succeed, her inner forewarning of issues to come can only be answered by one, and his name is Grim Reaper. The Spices In Life is available at ebooksforpleasure.com http://www.ebooksforpleasure.com/the-spices-in-life.html

From Robert Wexelblatt
Robert's novel ZUBLINKA AMONG WOMEN, winner of the 2008 Indie First Prize for Fiction is available online at

From Colin James
Colin James has a new chapbook of poems published by Thunderclap Press. The book cover is a painting by an old friend, the Scottish Landscape artist John Mackenzie.

From Myra King
Myra King’s short story, "The Black Horse", was shortlisted for the prestigious Glass Woman Prize
Her short story collection, CITY PADDOCK, was published by Ginninderra Press
The royalties from this book will be donated to the Creswick Light Horse Troop. This organization keeps the Light Horse memory alive and helps to save unwanted racehorses. Myra also has two short stories coming up in the print anthology, An Eclectic Slice of Life www.darkprintspress.com.au published by Craig Bezant.

From Jennifer Hollie Bowles
Jennifer's e-chapbook - EVERY MOMENT BREAKDOWN - is now published by Gold Wake Press and available here: http://goldwakepress.org/2010/04/06/jennifer-hollie-bowles-every-moment-breakdown/

Congratulations Everyone!  

Writer Promotion - Great Website Optimization Tool

hor I know I promised you a brush up on press releases, and I promise to deliver. I've been up to my ears in the slush pile, for both Vagabondage Press and Little Episodes and making sure our kind contributors get their submissions viewed in a reasonable time frame. But I promise, I'll follow up with some ideas on how to use press releases to promote your work.

In the meantime, I wanted to introduce you a great little tool to help you optimize your author website. It's call Website Grader, and it will scan your site and report back with ideas where it can be improved. It'll check on the quality of your blog, your backlinks, your content readibility and your indexed pages on Google. Just plug in your URL and you'll get some great ideas on how to improve your website presence.

Vagabondage Press only got 95/100, so I guess I better get back to work!

Find it at: http://websitegrader.com/

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vagabondage Press News

The Summer 2010 issue of The Battered Suitcase is now live and free to read online and marks our second anniversary. We're celebrating by expanding into eBooks and Print books and with a brand new look online.

We've got some great fiction from GK Wuori, Nicola Monaghan, Eric Fershtman, Josh Howatt, Jamie Guiney, Ken Tighe and much more. Brilliant artworks from Nancy Calef, Meredith Krell and Claudio Parentela (just to start). Non-Fiction contributors are Jodi Eichelberger, JM Huscher, and Mary Whitsell. We have an indulgent excess of of lovely poetry by Alison Ross, G Malin Wagnon, Lyn Lifshin and many many more.

We're celebrating our anniversary by bringing The Suitcase to you in beautiful print; three editions – the full color full edition, the text-only budget edition and the full color art-only edition.



Search Amazon.com for The Battered Suitcase

Now Available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Apps:

Download The Battered Suitcase and take it anywhere:

The Battered Suitcase Summer 2010The Battered Suitcase Spring 2010The Battered Suitcase Winter 2009

The Battered Suitcase Autumn 2009The Battered Suitcase Summer 2009The Battered Suitcase May 2009

The Battered Suitcase March 2009The Battered Suitcase December 2008The Battered Suitcase November 2008

The Battered Suitcase October 2008The Battered Suitcase September 2008The Battered Suitcase August 2008
The Battered Suitcase July 2008The Battered Suitcase June 2008

Don't have a Kindle? Did you know you can download Kindle Apps for free for your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Droid, PC and MAC?



We are currently seeking novella and novel length manuscripts for development, publishing and distribution. See our submissions guidelines at the website for details.


VBP is also developing a series of anthologies of literary erotica for release in time for Valentine's Day 2011. Submissions are still open – so if you've got an intelligent and erotic story to share, please see our guidelines online.

Our very special guest editor is none other than noted Creative Loafing Sex, Love and Relationships columnist Rebecca Ammon. You can check out her particulars by visiting her column online at http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/rebecca/



Little Episodes Late Night July Featuring Carl Barat, and Battered Suitcase contributor Kieran Leonard...
Little Episodes holds a monthly "Late Night Episode" in London every month and features new and established talent as well as providing a venue for socializing and networking. The July Late Night will be held at the famous 100 Club and features Carl Barat (of the Libertines), Kieran Leonard and The Penny Ballads as well as an interactive art project for all attendees. Check it out here:
and here http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=129766160388987

From Patrick Gallagher - Animal Farm Reading Series
The amazing ANIMAL FARM READING SERIES announces a SPECIAL FIELD TRIP EDITION for THURSDAY, JULY 15: This time the show will take place at BAR 82, at 136 2nd Ave (at St. Mark's Place). The EVENT begins at 8 pm and is FREE.

From Magdalena Ball – Book Signing & Reading
Australian Writer and creator of thecompulsivereader.com, Magdalena Ball is holding a Book Signing and Reading, at Angus & Robertson, Newcastle Mall, Shop 2/147 Hunter Street, Newcastle on Tuesday 27 July, 10:30 to 11:30am. Magdalena will autograph and read sensual, intriguing poems from her latest book Repulsion Thrust, which “explores the intersection between science and life, quantum theory and love, molecules and gamma rays and despair and betrayal.” (Sue Bond, M/C Reviews) For more info on Magdalena Ball or Repulsion Thrust visit http://www.magdalenaball.com/ 

From Adnan Mahmutovic – Live Reading
Adnan will be reading his Battered Suitcase contribution 'Mind's Garbage' at the Belgian Association of Anglicists in Higher Education conference in Brussels in December

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Writer Promotion - SEO for Author Websites

We're taking author promotion old-school and starting with setting up your author website. For the purposes of these brief write ups, I'm going to assume that you're creating your own website, and I'm going to offer some very basic tips on SEO. This is for those who have little experience in web design.

Your author site is the foundation of all the other online promotion you're going to be doing. It's the place where you'll send potential readers, agents and publishers who are interested in you and your work. It's the place where you'll link to in your announcements, newsletters, publication notices and posts on the various social networks. You need a stable home base where you have control of the content and layout.

Many of the agents and publishers who have an online presence have stated that they DO 'Google' up authors who's work they may be interested in repping or publishing and some of them have stated outright that they expect you to have an author website. So, it pays to create one, and make it content rich, attractive and representative of you in the most professional light.

SEO. If you've been online for a while, you've seen this term. It means "Search Engine Optimization". This is the science and art of coding your website so it is picked up and indexed by search engines and gets good return results from web searches. Search engine crawlers don't look at aesthetics, so you need to incorporate both good design and SEO in your website design.

You want to spend your time writing, not coding, so I'll keep it as simple as possible. There are a handful of simple things that you can do when creating your website that will improve your search ranking. If you plan ahead and take the time to code the site well as it's being created, you shouldn't have to do much more except keep it updated. That's tip number one.

1) Fresh content. When we first started publishing The Battered Suitcase online, many of our contributing authors were confused about why we insisted on submissions that were previously unpublished online and insisted that if they had posted it at their own website, that it be removed during an exclusivity period. That's because search engines down-rank websites that contain duplicate content. And that's the ONLY reason. When search engines crawl websites looking for content to index, they will 'demerit' websites that have the same content as other sites. So, you must insist that content on your author site is fresh and unpublished elsewhere. If you are featuring excerpts of your work, make sure that you've removed them from the critique section at your favorite author forum, or from your facebook notes, or where ever else they may be online. Even better is to feature excerpts that have never appeared online, and to leave those other excerpts up where they stand, especially if you have placed a back link to your website from that location (more about that later). BTW-as the publishers have begun to realize the selling power of the web, they have quite loosened their stance about online presentation of written work. Although putting something online IS 'Publishing" it, most of even the stodgiest old publishers have finally realized that it's good marketing and not 'self-publishing'. Search engines like it when your content is refreshed periodically, so you'll have to keep your site updated on a periodic basis. You don't want to put the whole of your recent WIP online, though, so coming up with new content can be difficult. Consider adding well-written scenes that were deleted from the current draft. You know, those "darlings" that everyone is telling you to kill. Coming up with fresh content can be a chore, especially when you're in the middle of revisions, or feeling down from a query rejection, but do try to add new content to your website on a regular basis.

2) Tags and Titles:  I've been looking around online at some of the author websites and found a distressing amount of them titled "Home Page". The very first element in your site that the search engines base your ranking on is your page title. If yours says "Home Page" it means that you haven't set up your titles and meta tags. Each and every page of your website should have a specific descriptive title, and your "home page" should be your author name and your genre(s). If you have more than one 'page' (and you should), each of them should be titled distinctly and descriptively.

If you're really new to website structure, a web "site" is like a book, with a number of pages all under one domain (title). A "page" is literally that - one single page in the whole book. You might have several pages in your "site". Your home page (which you will title correctly with your name and genre) might be something catchy and attractive with a quick blurb about who you are and what you do. Many authors feature their current publication or upcoming WIP on the home page. Other pages might be a biography, a bibliography, an FAQ, perhaps a page about your favorite charity, a contact page (with your 'safe' address or contact info for your agent, publicist or publisher), your tour schedule, whether a RL tour or a blog tour, maybe a shopping page with links to your books on Amazon (especially if you're self-pubbed although that's something that could be done on your bibliography). Some authors like to have contests to give away swag or copies of their books - that should have it's own page as well. You'll probably want to do an individual page for each of your books - where you can describe it, show a great picture of the cover, give your 250 word setup, etc. One page might in fact be your 'blog' - which you'll update periodically. Each of these pages need to be titled individually. For example:

Home Page: "Fawn Neun, Paranormal Romance Books for Teens"
FAQ Page: "Q&A for Teen Readers of Romance Fiction"
Bibliography: "Bibliography for Fawn Neun, author of young adult love stories"
Contest: "Win a Free Copy of "Love on The Run", the New Teen Romance Novel by Fawn Neun"
Etc., ad nauseum

Along with title tags, each page needs meta tags. Meta tags are coding that tell search engines how to index and deal with your site. You'll put keywords in these tags, your page titles, your name, suggestions on how often the crawler should index, etc. It looks complicated but if you go to http://www.submitexpress.com/ there's a meta tag generator there that will help you 'write' a basic set of tags for your website. Each and every "page" of your site should have separate meta tags with their own keywords and title.

Keywords are important and it pays to be clever when choosing them.  You don't want to go crazy and use every word you think will get your site some attention (for one thing, putting 'kinky wild sex' in the keywords will cause some firewalls and net nannies to block your website, even if the actual content is about 'fluffy mild socks'). What pays off is to use several different versions of terms that basically mean the same thing throughout the whole website. See the example above. You'll notice I used "teen" and "young adult" interchangeably, as well as using "stories", "books", "fiction", "novels", "romance" and "love stories".

Think about your keywords carefully and remember that people like to shorten words, sometimes misspell them, etc. If you write young adult fiction, remember that your audience is more likely to search on "books for teens" instead of "young adult fiction". Science fiction fans might use "sci fi" or "sci-fi" instead of spelling it out. Romance readers might be searching on "love stories". If you forget your audience and get too technical, you might find your site visited more by other authors sizing up the competition by looking up "Authors of paranormal romance for young adults" than actual readers who are looking up "hot vamp love stories for teens" -- so keep your mind with the audience when choosing keywords.

3) Keyword Density: Along with the keywords in your page titles and meta tags, you should reflect these keywords in the actual content of your website. It's easiest if you do so in the stable elements of your website: title blocks, subtitles for sections, navigation links, etc. For example, you could put a text block with the website description from the meta tag - a brief description of you and your work - and use it in your pages as a design element. You could use the term "My Books for Teens" or "Romance Novels" to click to navigate to your list of books, instead of the more generic "Bibliography" or "Books".

You should also use these keywords in subtitles for entries, part of the text and even as image tags. Image tags are descriptive text that is coded inside the placement of a picture on your website. Instead of throwing up an author photo of yourself called "TNG00056.jpg" (or whatever your camera calls it), rename your author photo "Fawn_Neun_Books_for_Teens.jpg" before using it. You can also add an alt tag to it, and if you are using a website building tool, you'll use the images properties menu to add the alt tag. Along with naming the photo something keyword rich, you can add an alt tag "alt tag="paranormal romance for young adults by fawn neun". This adds two more uses of my keywords to the page coding without the reader being aware of the redundancy. All of these keywords will be picked up by search engines and used to rate the content of your website. You can also do the same with pictures of your book covers - both changing the title and adding an alt tag. And if the image is clickable to a page with similar tags and keywords - even better.

Remember to keep a balance between coding and design. You don't want to pepper your website with keywords so heavily that it looks amateurish or silly, especially if they are visible to the reader, but do take advantage of opportunities when they seem appropriate. It's a subtle art.

4) Link Backs: This is the last of the really important elements you need for a high ranking website. Link backs are one of the top ways that search engines rank the importance and relevance of your website. These are links on other websites that link back to yours. The engines assume that if other websites think you're important enough to link to, you must be. There are several ways to cultivate links back to your site.

However, before slamming the internet with links to your website, it's important to know a few things. First, the higher the ranking of the site your link is on, the more 'respect' the link will earn.  (You can find the page rank of any site by using IE and utilizing the page rank feature in the Google tool bar, or by searching for it here: http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php) The second is to remember that links on sites that have nothing in common with yours are basically useless for SEO.

a) Link exchanges - many websites feature 'link' pages where you swap links to other, similar sites as a way of supporting them and increasing both of your page ranks. Remember item 2 above. If you're a sci-fi writer, a link exchange at a health and beauty site isn't much use.

b) Links at social networking sites. THIS is where the homebase concept comes in. If you're on social networking sites and sharing your work, link from your twitter or facebook page back to the full info at your website. Especially on facebook, it's nice to have a vivid image to show a thumb for on the page your linking to. So, make your pages visually interesting so the images appear on your facebook posts - they get attention. I understand the search engines are trolling twitter and facebook. Make sure the URL for your author site is in your SN profiles, favorites, etc. Make sure it's in your signature block in every forum you regularly visit - especially if it's a forum about books, writing, publishing, etc. And make sure it's an ACTIVE link. Just having the URL in text only doesn't work for search engines. It needs to be set up as an active, clickable link to be followed. Each forum is different, but it pays to take the time to learn how to make an active link in your signature block. Putting it in your signature blocks keeps you from having to type it in every time you post or comment. However, do be aware of any restrictions about links in each forums guidelines. Some of them have very particular rules about back links.

c) Blog/Forum commenting. If you're visiting popular blogs, forums, etc., make sure you utilize that great little function where it lets you put in your website when you comment. Even if the address doesn't show to the readers - the link will be there actively, linked to your user name. Don't be an arse about it like some people and comment randomly and irrelevantly on every high ranked writing/book/publishing blog you can find. The search engines don't care, but real people find it off-putting. Make sure you have an intelligent response and take advantage of the situation to present a good front to both the author and readers of the blog as well as providing a link for the search engines.

Once you have your website built and coded for SEO - you can use a submission tool to get the search engines to take a look at it. Links on other sites will be picked up when the crawlers hit those sites - but you can, in fact, submit the pages you've linked from to the search engines. It can take a couple of days, even weeks, for the search engines to pick up all your pages and all your links. The trick is to keep things happening and giving them a reason to reindex your site. So, keep your content fresh, keep it keyword oriented and get your links in the best web 'neighborhoods' for your purpose.

Without going into the technicalities here - if you're interested in learning more, consider creating and uploading a sitemap for your site and submitting it to Google. There's a similar key file for Yahoo. This isn't exactly high-level SEO, but it's the next step up from simple tagging and linking. I can see some eyes glazing now, so I'll stop, but those of you who have the interest and determination to do so should consider sitemapping and keyfile your next step after coding your site properly.

I hope these tips were useful for helping to optimize your self-made author site for search engines. Promotion budgets at the publishers are low, advances rarely cover the cost of a publicist, and hey - it never hurts to learn something new and become self-sufficient in unexpected areas of life. Besides, it's something to play with between writing projects and will distract you from your inbox when waiting for feedback from a query or a submission.

There are several tools online that can make the job a little easier. I do recommend Submit Express for some of the most basic services - it will submit your site to search engines, give you an idea of how many back links you have, it will help you create meta tags, etc. It's a good basic site of web tools to start with. Have fun and good luck !

Next - sticking to Old School Author Promotions - Press Releases; what they are, how to write one, where to send them...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Writer Promotion - Author Websites

If you've been brushing up on some of the ways you can promote your own work, you might have noticed all the emphasis on social networking. Social networking is great, and it's the best way to utilize "word of mouth" promotion. The entire social networking setup punches every button that people have that causes them to engage. Your avatar becomes familiar. People begin to remember and even look for your username. So make sure you chose both carefully. Remember "branding" - what is your genre, your niche, your style? You should always use your author name as your user name, whether that's a pen name or your real name. You want your online audience to begin to associate your avatar image and name with your voice and you want to become a part of their mental landscape - you want to become a landmark in their online lives. Chose avatar images that represent your writing style, represent you, and don't change them often or very much.

But let's take this back a step or two and go old school for a moment. Author Websites.

It's never too early to set up an author website if you're serious about a writing career. Even if it's something you do on the side for fun. Even if all you do is submit to small lit journals like ours. It's a small investment, but an important one, and it's a business expense come tax time. There's no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on a web package, either. There are a number of companies that will set you up with a website and domain for very little cash.

Personally, I like Yahoo because they handle both the domain and the hosting and it comes with a couple of web building tools that even a 10 year old can figure out. But there are others, so check around and find the best deal for yourself. Bravehost and Tripod are other web hosting companies that are cheap and come with site building tools.

Remember you don't want to launch a career in website building, so don't get too mired in the technicalities. Find something easy and affordable and get it up online. Search engines rank older websites higher in their search results, so it pays to invest in a site and get it up and running as soon as you can.

Once you've got your domain (use your author name as the domain name if possible), you should spend some time planning what kind of content you want to put up. I recommend against putting your home address and phone number, pictures of your children or anything else that might help some crazy stalker violate your privacy or put you in danger. That's just common sense.

Add your author photo (if you have one), a bio, a bibliography, and links to your social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, etc). A lot of authors have embedded their twitter feeds and blog posts into their home page. Updating the content of your site by adding news, essays, blog posts, etc. keeps the search engines coming back, too.

You can use excerpts of your own work, inspirational quotes, images, etc., to keep the page interesting. Do be mindful of image use laws. You can purchase great stock photos from iStock for very little, or you can use Flickr creative commons for free (with credit). Find images that reflect the genre you write in.

Your author site should be the foundation of your online promotion. It's the stable home of everything else you do online to promote your work. It's well worth it to spend some time setting it up and updating it on a regular basis.

Next time, I'll go into some SEO tips that will help make your author site friendly to search engines...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Writer Promotion

In this day and age of stingy promo budgets, cutbacks, low (or no) advances and the necessity of making a big splash in order to sell book 2, 3, 4... it's come to my attention that a lot of authors simply don't know how to promote themselves. It's not something they ever expect to do, and if they were raised to be humble (like I was) and smacked for boasting, it's usually something they dread doing.

But it's necessary.

Even if you haven't even started the outline of your first novel, it's a good idea to build a 'platform'. Yes - even for fiction writers. Get your name out there, make friends, develop relationships and 'brand' yourself. Get yourself a blog. Get yourself a Facebook page. Invest in a website. Get out there and join writing forums and genre reader forums. This is something you've probably already heard. It may sound false and dreadful, but let me put it into perspective: I buy books by authors who's voices I enjoy, relate to and can hear in my head as naturally as the voices of my childhood - the ones that taught me to speak myself. It doesn't matter the genre, the plot, or even the skill of writing. I read for the voice.

What better way to find an audience who identifies with your voice than by starting a conversation?

As an author, your voice is the biggest part of your 'brand'.

More on author promotion coming...