Friday, April 27, 2012

Why All Readers Should Get to 3rd Base (Part 1)

If the relationship between writers and readers was like a baseball game (or a bad metaphor for sex) then a reader finding your book equates getting to first base.

Even if you hit a home run, you have to get past this point before you can score--yeah this is def a metaphor for sex.

So how does one get the first base? Social media, word of mouth (talking--what people did in the dark ages BEFORE social media), book bloggers (which is a more specific type of social media)--are you guys noticing a trend here? AND you're real life, real network, of real friends and family members are the best way to spread awareness of your book.

So, now that you are on first base--what is second base, and how do you get there?

Well, if first base is finding your book, then second base is people PURCHASING your book. Or downloading your book if it's free.

So how do you get your people who have found your book--to seal the deal? The absolute best way to transom browsers to BUYERS is to have an awesome looking cover. I say it again and again. I don't care if you think the best way to sell books is to write books better than Harry Potter--cover it in garbage and you are never going to get to second base.

Then you will be forty, living in your parents basement, writing Lord of the Rings fan fiction that no one reads because you even need a good cover for those these days.

We will get to reviews in a second, but while they are very important. 9/10 paranormal romance readers wont scroll down far enough to see them if your cover is a joke.

Yes. I made that number up.

It's probably really a lot higher.

So now that you are on second base, your breathing is labored. You can see the finish line and you are ready to SCORE!! So you better come back Monday and see how to get to third base with your readers. Here is a hint, it's probably not what you think. Don't look away, because your readers have started flirting with the cute short stop.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writer Beware: Those Who Wish To Make You a MAN (or a best seller)

The more people who follow me on Twitter, the more direct messages in my inbox from people/services/demons from hell, claiming they can make me a BEST SELLER ON AMAZON!

OMG SRSLY??!! Let my just get my wallet....

Oh wait, I've already been a best seller on Amazon.

Newsflash, it's not really that hard. I mean really. Take a second away from envisioning yourself as number one, toppling the likes of John Locke, and Suzzane Collins, and whoever else is on your hit list. (I know it's not just me.) Now look at what they are really promising you. But first, play the theme music.

These services, promising to make you a man... er best seller, range in price from a few five dollar notes to more than you would pay for a nice professional cover.

I bet you think dynamic tension, must be hard work.

Seriously peeps. get the Cover.

They aren't promising you that you will have THE #1, they are promising you that you will be #1 in an obscure category. If that! Some of them don't guarantee their services at all. They just say they will tweet/ post the information and that is what you are paying for.

I think my first number one slot was something like children's books>>>social situations>>self help

I am not even kidding you, and I was pretty sure that I was there having sold less than seven books. I remember specifically because it was BEFORE the book launch so these were just people that had stumbled into it.

Most of the "businesses" that offer these services are the used car salesman of the digital age. They throw around impressive looking numbers like reach 50,000 people! Who cares if those 50,000 people aren't quality followers.

Get 50 magical unicorn MPG on this crappy old sedan!

Make good friends instead. Hit up  book bloggers (nicely), and don't pay for what you can get for free. Because there are quite a few free services out there. That doesn't mean you should ask people who you don't know, and you never talk to, for free promotional services. This happens to me allll the time! But if you mention you follow my blog, I can sure share a tweet for your cause.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Angela WRITE Now: So many annoucements, ALMOST too many to list!

So after feeling like NOTHING was getting done, everything seems to be wrapping up all at the same time. You maybe should be sitting down for this. I tried to list them in semi chronological order, but as always no guarantees.

Skeleton Lake is being REMASTERED by my publisher. Re-edited for typos. Re-formatted, and re-awesomeized.

AND the Red Iris website will soon play host to some awesome Skeleton Lake bonus material.

Included in this will be a never before seen letter to Cassie that was written by Raiden the night Marlow nearly drowned in Skeleton Lake.

AND Soonish, Skeleton Lake will have it's very own professional book trailer.

You know, pretending for a second I had the skills to make one by myself. That's cute.

You should go bother SM about it at Red Iris Books.

The Skeleton Song is complete, edited by me and has been turned over to my publisher for them to edit (it may come back to me, it may not) and get ready for publication.

In case you missed it, The Skeleton Song is a Novella set in the Skeleton Lake universe about what happened BEFORE Marlow came to the Lake. About the dark things in Cassie's life. About the things that killed her.

For reference, it's a little less than half of the length of Skeleton Lake.

It is also going to be absolutely free.



Stay tuned for deets and dates. We are going to have a fun little launch for this one and I am hoping it and the remastered version of Skeleton Lake will come out soon.
Pigments is on it's final edit. Every time I edit it I think it will be the last and it hasn't been, but this is it.

Definitely, the hardest book I have had to edit. There is a lot that goes on that is very important, even if you don't realize it until much, much later.

This is a love story that spans lifetimes, and each bit of the puzzle is as important as the life that is being lived right now. Only those pieces are buried, and it takes a little work for the reader and the main character to dig them out, brush them off, and realize what is so important about the bits that don't seem to make any sense.


Don't get me started on the ending.

Well, that is all I am going to say about that.
But wait, there's more! (Says Angela in her buy more oxyclean voice!)

It looks like Pigments of My Imagination is going to be turned into an Audio Book, and it's my first one so I am excited and overwhelmed! My Publisher, Red Iris Books, thinks that audio books (quality ones) are going to be very big for indie publishers. As it stands now I think Pigments is going to be the second experiment for them in audio books, so I really hope it rocks! Though, I hope all my books rock! AND!

They are looking for Anthology Submission pieces. Here is what they are looking for:

We are currently accepting short story submissions for the 2012 Blood Iris Anthology. Our books tread the line between horror and paranormal, so we love explicit violence, disturbing content, and other material you won’t traditionally find in paranormal novels. If you’ve written something that will make readers flinch as much as they swoon, it might be a good fit for the Blood Iris Anthology!
Click the logo for all the deets and payment info for selected pieces. {Money, good!}
This is my current WIP. I finished it at some point, but hated the beginning, and the end. Very, very small pieces of the book. That are mostly romance/relationship stuff.

I think it's 5, maybe 6 chapters that are holding me up.

Another issue I had with the book was, I love Alex. So do most of the Skeleton Lake readers. The only problem is, Raiden and Marlow leave Alex and Lena behind to bring Sara home.

I knew what was happening back on the home front, so I decided to include more of that into the story line. As a result, Dust of the Dead Sea ends up being considerably longer than Skeleton Lake.

Which I am totally OK with, except that means more editing.

Now I feel like I am forgetting something, but that is all you need to know... WRITE NOW anyway.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You don't like Klout, you don't understand Klout, or you have been living under a rock.

Get over it. It's time to put on our big girl panties and realize that what Klout scores you on will exist whether it's there to do the math for you or not. So lets start with the basics.

The score (or in this case mine). I will admit, it needs improving. Before Klout changed (yes, it used to score you differently!) my score was 12 points higher! I never really got over it.

You are scored on a Scale from 1-100 but you need to get that school grading system out of your mind because the only people who get A's are the people like Justin Bieber.

Even Amanda Hocking, who we all secretly want to be when we grow up, wouldn't get a passing grade if we use that old way of thinking.

And you can't even think of 50 as being the average, or the median. The average Klout score is actually 20, so I guess I'm not so run of the mill after all.

The good news is, the lower your Klout score, the easier it is to improve it. So lets talk deets. Where does this number come from? Remember in my last post Social Media: A Seven Days a Week Kind of Job I described what Klout does as this; "It measures how much of a difference you make in your social media bubble." And here is how. Klout scores you in the following categories.

True Reach

What is it, and why is it important? Well it is a more accurate representation of the people you influence. I say accurate, because if you see my True Reach is only 1k. When in fact, I have more than 3k Twitter Followers, and Facebook people, blog followers etc. The sad truth is, not everyone that follows us gives a damn about us. Your job is to change that, by providing awesome content. The more people you interact with, the higher this number is likely to be.


Like speakers. Like enormous speakers the size of the internets. Sure, you could shout your message from the top of the tallest mountain you could find. BUT NO ONE WOULD HEAR YOU. Amplification is all about spreading your content, and about how much people are influenced by it.

Network Impact:

The one time it's alright for all your friends to be cooler than you are. Network Impact is based on how important the people you interact with are. Great news, their coolest rubs off.

Did you know, I dig when people talk about me behind my back? Why? Because Klout also keeps track of how many mentions you get, how many retweets, how many followers, comments, etc. Witness:

So see, it was all there whether you were looking at the big picture or not. The question is, how can you use this information? Now I will admit, sometimes it makes me a little crazy. I see church moms, and Scentsy sales reps with higher Klout scores than me--because they gossip with their lady friends all day every day while the kids are at school. Maybe one day we will get a conversational impact score ;)

I also recently disconnected my Google+ account from Klout--because as much as Google would like me to be, I just am not that into it. It did increase my score, though only a little.

Now, I have told you all of this because I actually have spent a few months formulating a plan to increase my Klout score. I just don't have time to implement it until the fall because hey, I have to have a baby before then. The higher your Klout score is, the harder it is to increase but you should still be able to bring it up by improving your content. Timing is also important too. When you attempt to spread the content. I love sharing random facts and blog post a 3am as much as the next insomniac writer--but it's better if you share when there are more people on. I'll get into that later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Social Media: A Seven Days a Week Kind of Job

For new writers, (bloggers, and book reviewers) social media is. Everything.

I'll wait, whilst the over serious writer types shake their heads.

They think, it's the story. It's the editing. It's the--whatever their considerable skill gives them an edge over.

On a personal level, I think it's the cover and Twitter.*

This weekend my bank royally pissed me off. I won't go into the boring details, (it was their fault and it wasn't just me) but I will admit to sauntering myself over to their Facebook page to give them a piece of my mind. Which was their lucky day, I usually charge for that particular service.

Except for how it wasn't, as their Facebook page was already a PR NIGHTMARE--because their social media peeps apparently get weekends off. Must be nice! If I stop tweeting for ONE DAY my Klout score likely drops a point. A whole weekend can damage me as much as 3 points.

Now I know some of you don't LIKE Klout, don't understand Klout, or are living under rocks. That's why Thursday I am devoting a whole day to discussing what it is, and why it's important.

For right now, the basics are this: it measures how much of a difference you make in your social media bubble.

Now, why do I KNOW social media is EVERYTHING?

Ever heard of the term, slush pile? It's usually used when discussing an agents pile of unrequested queries or submissions. What a lot of people fail to realize, is self publishing, or publishing with a small micro publisher just puts you into the same slush somewhere else.

Some of the tactics of getting out of the slush pile are the same no matter how you slice it. Some are very different. Glitz doesn't work with agents. **

The number one thing writers must contend with today, is getting people to find your book. It doesn't matter how good it is, how awful wonderful your cover might be, if no one can find it, you aren't selling books. There are so many things on Amazon and that you have better odds of being plucked out of your dream agents slush pile than tons of people just buying your book because they happened into. You have to be able to work for it, and that is where social media comes in.

Have you seen how books appear on Amazon? Notice anything?

That is what people have to judge you by. A rating--which you won't have if people don't read your books, and a COVER! Nothing else. You don't get a blurb, or query, or hell an elevator or Twitter Pitch while you sit on the page with the rest of the slush.

So this is why I believe the most important things are the cover and Twitter.*

As a writer, you NEED certain things--or if not EXACTLY these things then you need things that garnish the same results.

Tagging, You want to tag your book in such a way that people who are looking at similar books will find you (book classification is very important too).

Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc have a right way and a wrong way to be used to promote your book. The best way I can describe it quickly, is to say you want to have people invested IN YOU not one book. Posting of links to buy your books should make up a very small percentage of your social media content. It should not be all day every single hour nonstop. People will ignore you, block you, unfollow you. Do not go looking for instant gratification.

Book reviewers. Want the best ones with the most audience and traffic? Not with out some sort of online presence or at least a decent connection. You ask them to review your book with a terrible do it yourself cover, while you have 28 Twitter Followers (7 of which are bots), and 9 blog followers (one of which is your mother) and the best ones will politely decline--or just ignore you.

I cheated, my publisher got some awesome bloggers for my first tour, but recently I have had them start contacting me. They send me emails with their credentials and traffic flow reports--like I'm special. You know what special treatment gets you? Less time doing this sort of work and more time for writing.

*Angela Kulig is aware a good story is important--but only if you can get to second base with the reader (more on this soon) 

**Agents aren't impressed by glitz, but you have to have something to get a stangers attention/.

JUST FYI I have some pretty HUGE announcements coming out next week. Including things like, the remaster of Skeleton Lake AND an audio book for another project, and other great things coming out of my publisher that has recently decided they want to be a whole new level of awesome.