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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Electronics is us

I've spent the last few weeks in a Wordpress class, and the eMails have been flying fast and furious. There's so much to learn, unlearn, and relearn. I look forward to this latest blast of technology helping me market my books going forward.

How much do you do online? Do you Facebook? Twitter? Blogs? Make a purchase? Even if you don't buy something online, chances are that you check out a product there. Electronics is us.

If a writer starts the story with a generic computer (pen and paper, and there are some who do), the scribbles are most certainly transferred to some software platform, sooner if not later. Many, if not most, agents and publishers now request submissions via eMail. If you're a writer who's been offered a contract (congratulations!), the manuscript may have to be sent via eMail to the publisher's editor. If you've made a decision to self-publish, I would advise you to acquire the services of a professional editor, and then, very often, the manuscript may be transmitted via some type of electronics...maybe a flashcard.

Marketing online is next. So, how does a writer get readers to buy the book, whether it's a hardcopy or an eBook? Writers have to define their target audience. Ideally, everyone would want to read your book, but we all know that's not going to happen. Writers have to know what they are writing—mystery, thriller, romance, memoir, police procedural, etc.—then ask themselves: What kind of reader would want to read/buy my novel? Female, male, teenager (boy or girl?), someone who wants a quick story to read on vacation? Important questions, and the answer is vital to marketing. Who the reader is determines how and where you market the story. It'd be rare that you'd be asked to talk about your teenaged-angst novel to a book club at the Senior Citizen Center. But there is one place that is universal. Online.

An online presence introduces a writer's name and work to potential readers. I took advantage of the online book retailers of Deadly Star by adding my profile to their author pages: Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, and the publisher, Crimson Romance. There are others, of course. On your blog and bio, use key words, tags, and labels that appeal to your audience. When those potential readers/buyers do an online search, they search for books by genre, or title, or certain phrases. Those key words, tags, and labels are important triggers for the search engine, and up pops you or your work. If you haven't done it already, try it. Search your own name and be surprised at what you find.

As a writer, I am also a reader and want to pay it forward and do so with reviews. Online reviews go a long way toward increasing sales and readership. I suggest that when you've read a book, be sure to review it for the author on Goodreads, Amazon, BN.com, or wherever you purchased it. Good, bad, or indifferent, reviews are important.

ON to another topic...if you've got an interest in YA, here are some YA publishing industry notes that crossed my desk (I'm a member of SCBWI): Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing is launching a new YA imprint, Blink. The imprint is designed for the general trade but won't go as dark as some other YAs. They plan on five or six titles a year. Enslow Publishing is launching its new YA (grade 6 and up), Scarlet Voyage. They request queries and submissions be sent via their website www.scarletvoyage.com   Also Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Publishing Group) is launching a YA romance imprint, Swoon Reads. The website launches in 2013 and they plan to release the first novels, paperback and eBook, in 2014.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I'll try to do the same.

cj


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