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Reflection

“No, Mom!” Mister yells.

I remove my hand from the bathtub drain lever.

“My toys are still in here. And please don’t let the water go down now. That will scare me.”

I nod, even though we’ve talked about him not being able to fit down the drain a gazillion times. I make a mental note to drain the tub after he’s asleep and to read I’m Not Afraid of Anything to him again.

I’m Not Afraid of Anything is the picture ebook I wrote a few years ago that was published by MeeGenius. It was recently featured on the MeeGenius blog as a book to help kids conquer their fears, especially the fear of the doctor.

It’s recent feature got me thinking about Mister and his fears. I find it funny that, even though I wrote it inspired by my own childhood fear of the vacuum, and even though Mister wasn’t even close to being born yet at the time I wrote it, the book still nails one of Mister’s fears. So, this week’s question is:

What book(s) do you find to be a reflection of your life? What about the book is familiar?

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Posted by on February 4, 2014 in Reading

 

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Progress Report

Today is my grown-up version of the manilla envelope sealed and market “To the Parent/Guardian of…” Yup. It is progress report time.

On Monday, I posted parts of my marketing plan for my ebook I’m Not Afraid of Anything. One of the best things to come from Monday’s post was that I felt held accountable for my marketing plan. Knowing that other people could read what I planned to do, made me actually want to do it. So, I started with the objective outlined below:

Objective: to identify online resources for promotion of my book.

Plan (one of five for this objective):

Get 50 new likes on my facebook author page

Actions:

1. Invite friends from my personal page to “like” my author page

2. Post comments on other facebook pages related to my target market asking for “likes” (like the local library and the MeeGenius page)

3. Introduce an incentive program for getting to a certain number of likes. For example, each new person to “like” my page is entered to win a MeeGenius giftcard when the goal is met

So far, I’ve invited friends from my personal page, posted comments to a few Pittsburgh-related and devices facebook pages, and started planning an incentive program. I’ve also started working on some of the other objectives I didn’t share on Monday. I’m pretty pleased with how much I’ve done with just a few days’ work.

Since there were no marketing stories or tips shared in the comments section of Monday’s post, I’d like to outline and link to a few other articles about marketing.

Robert JR Graham was kind enough to link to Monday’s post in his own post about marketing. In it, he says you can extend the life of a marketing plan by creating spin-off products, booking speaking events, and finding what from your topic is “evergreen,” or pertinent from year to year. Read the full article here http://robertjrgraham.com/2012/07/08/knowing-when-to-move-on/.

Duolit blogger Shannon shares her marketing mistakes including being ill prepared for a book signing and not using time efficiently. Plus, she’s funny, which I really appreciate. http://selfpublishingteam.com/selfpub-story-fails-lessons-learned/

This post by Kelly Schuknecht is over a year old, but offers links to social media marketing tips http://kellyschuknecht.com/2011/12/31/my-top-5-social-media-posts-in-2011/

A lot of the information about book marketing that is out there is about self-published books, but authors are responsible for doing more and more of their own marketing, self-published or not, so I think these links can help all of us. I hope you found something in my posts or the links you can use. Thanks for reading!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Marketing

 

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Happy Marketing

I’ve learned quickly that marketing is not so easy that a monkey could do it. But it also isn’t space exploration, one of George’s other adventures, either. I’m finding that, like most things, there are ways to make it more manageable.

I just found this resource from Dog Ear Publishing that outlines (in “chapters”) how to write a marketing plan for a book. It breaks it down into these parts:

Chapter One- Who will buy your book?

Chapter Two- What is your GOAL?

Chapter Three- What objectives, plans, and actions will you take to meet that goal?

Chapter Four- What is your timeline and budget?

Chapter Five- What is the brand you’re creating with your plan?

My book I’m Not Afraid of Anything with the digital publisher MeeGenius has sold pretty well so far. But I think with some focused effort, sales would improve. So, I started working on the marketing plan using this format. I’m going to share a little bit of it in hopes that it could help someone else who is starting to market a book.

cover

Chapter One- Who will buy your book?

I’d like to think that any parent who reads to a child would buy my book, but that just isn’t reality, and thinking about who would actually buy it can help me direct my marketing efforts. Here’s what I came up with:

1. My book is about a boy who thinks he will go down the bathtub drain when the water goes out (if you’ve never read the book, you can see a preview to get an idea of what it is like and/or buy it here). So, the book would be useful for a child who is suffering with an illogical fear, like of the bathtub drain, or, since the end of the book also mentions it, the vacuum.

2. The book is an ebook. It is available for use on the iphone or android or online, so the audience has to be slightly technologically savvy.

3. Since I have a background in teaching, I created lesson plans to go with my book. this makes teachers part of my target audience.

Chapter Two- What is your GOAL?

I’ve seen selling X number of copies or making X number of dollars as typical goals in the publishing world, but I don’t think they work for me or this book. My GOAL is to increase the sale of this book enough (by marketing to the target audience above) to be asked to publish a sequel with MeeGenius and/or submit this story and have it accepted for publication with a traditional publisher.

Chapter Three- What objectives, plans, and actions will you take to meet your goal?

Objectives– these are the steps you take to achieve your
GOAL

Some examples might be:

1. Set up personal events to promote my book – book signings, seminars, radio interviews, etc.

2. Secure reviews from print resources.

3. Identify online resources for promotion of my book

4. Identify non-retail opportunities for book sales.

5. Create outbound awareness campaign of me, the author, as an expert in my field

(there are more ideas like this in the 89 ideas link below)

Since my book is an ebook, I’d like to start with #3, identifying online resources for promotion of my book.

Plans – your PLANS outline the needed steps to get your OBJECTIVES moving, and they begin to suggest “to do lists” and measurable actions

My objective is to identify online resources for promotion of my book. How I would do that in a measurable way might be to:

1. Comment, with something meaningful or insightful, on 3 well-known writing blogs per day

2. Create a youtube video trailer for my book and publish it to my website and facebook

3. Post a new facebook status on my book’s page each day

4. Get 50 new likes on my facebook author page

5. Elicit three new reviews for my book on Goodreads (and, because I can’t spell, here)

I think 5 is a good number to start with.

Actions– these are the details of each PLAN

Okay, again, my objective is to identify online resources for the promotion of my book. If I focus on one plan to meet that objective, say getting 50 new likes on my facebook author page, I might start with these actions:

1. Invite friends from my personal page to “like” my author page

2. Post comments on other facebook pages related to my target market asking for “likes” (like the local library and the MeeGenius page)

3. Introduce an incentive program for getting to a certain number of likes. For example, each new person to “like” my page is entered to win a MeeGenius giftcard when the goal is met

Then I would continue to outline the actions for each of the five plans in the same way.

Chapter Four- What is your timeline and budget?

I am a stay-at-home mother of a toddler. End of discussion about time and money.

Chapter Five- What is the brand you’re creating with your plan?

In general, I think people care about other people more than they care about a product, so a brand should “push you as the primary product, building a brand around what you know and your ‘mystique’ as an author.” I don’t know about my “mystique,” but I think if I present myself as an author who cares about what I write and who is reading it, I’ll be happy with my “brand.”

Based on these “chapters,” I now have a pretty clear plan to market this book. The first step is taken. The harder part if going to be following through. Please share details about your own marketing efforts in the comments, and I’ll update the progress on mine there as well. Happy marketing!

Related Links:

89 marketing ideas: http://www.authormedia.com/2012/01/16/89-book-marketing-ideas-that-will-change-your-life/

I also read: http://www.ehow.com/how_6687910_write-marketing-plan-book.html

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in Marketing

 

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I’m Green

I’m green. Not like when Mister paints me with imaginary paint on his tickly paintbrush and tells me I look cool. No. I’m green with envy.

When Easter Ann Peters Operation Cool Cover Low Res Easter Ann Peters Operation Coolthe ARC of Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool arrived as a reading with my group of indie promoters (as described in this post), I wished it was my book. I wanted to be able to hold my published work in my hands. Yes, I have a picture ebook out, but somehow that felt like not enough when I could hold someone else’s real, live book. I wished things were a little bit different.

Something else like this happened to me recently. A few old friends who are closer to each other than they are to me went out to celebrate a birthday. When I saw the pictures, I wished I was invited. I had to do some soul-searching to find out why I felt this way. What I came up with is pretty interesting.

I know two things about my inner child. First, it is insanely competitive. Just ask the runners who thought they’d make cross-country a contact sport by elbowing a younger me at the start. I’ll bet they’re still bruised. I’m older, slower, and less competitive now, but perhaps, without an outlet, this side of me is looking to compete, and other writers and old friends seem like good targets. Second, I think there is still a part of the child within me that seeks approval. Having a work of my own to hold in my hands apparently appeals to this child as the ultimate validation.

I have to keep in touch with this inner child, even the unflattering parts like envy, to be a good children’s writer. But, as an adult, I also have the advantage of perspective.  Jody Lamb, author of the book of envy, was kind enough to leave a comment on Monday’s post about that:

Yes, I wish for things to be different often and usually, in retrospect, I’m glad they didn’t change. Life experiences are not by chance. They happen for a reason.

In retrospect, I know that, had I been invited to the birthday celebration, I probably wouldn’t have gone. Or if I did go I would’ve felt out-of-place. I also know that I’m thrilled to have my picture book published as an ebook. The format allows it to come alive in new ways and I couldn’t have asked for anything more for this project. These two events may even have happened just to stir up envy, an emotion that two of my works in progress are requiring right now. Jody’s right. Everything does happen for a reason. At just the right time, it seems.

I’m thankful for life experiences that keep me moving forward. And the perspective to look back on experiences I’ve had to learn and grow. As Hemingway said, “In order to write about life first you must live it.”

 

Operation Cool is fabulous, by the way.  And I’m honored to have been able to read it before its release. Please go here for more information about the book and the release date.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Inspiration and Ideas

 

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Little Bit Different

I type the equivalent of “count me in!” and hit send. This group sounds great. A group of writers who will read and promote books that deserve more publicity. How could I say no?

I enjoy the first few reads: The Rainey Seasons by Roo Cadell, Country and the Rock by S. Willett, Green Goo by Terri Rowe. Then the book for November arrives. An ARC of Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool by Jody Lamb.

The cover is smooth. The binding has never been cracked. The pages are crisp. I’m already in love, and I haven’t even read it yet.

And I want that for my books.

Have you ever owned something but wished it could be just a little bit different? What was it? Have your feelings changed about it over time?

Check out Sarah Perry’s post http://writertherestless.blogspot.com/2012/07/it-needs-to-be-said.html on the group.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Publishing

 

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Covers

The clichéd phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” was probably coined because it is in our human nature to do just that. Authors know it. Illustrators know it. Publishers know it (otherwise we wouldn’t have cover art, or this conversation) Salsanpeeps knows it:

It could be just that I love the book, but “There’s A Monster At The End of This Book.”  I think “Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing” is telling.  Not sure why, but the cover of “Snow Falling on Cedars” always captivated me.

I’d venture to say that any book illustrated by Eric Carle would make my least favorite cover.

Salsanpeeps makes a good point that I agree with. If I like the style of the illustrations between the covers, such as ANIMALS SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT WEAR CLOTHING, I usually also like the cover. And the same goes for disliking, as with Eric Carle’s books mentioned above. Most of the time, if I can’t judge the book by the cover, I can judge the illustrator’s style by the cover.

As an author, I’ve been told to let the illustrations tell half of the story. So, if I don’t like the illustrations, I probably won’t like half of the book. That means the cover of a book is REALLY important. But so are the words.  If I really like a book, I also usually become connected to the cover. The comment above hits on this too, with THERE’S A MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK.

So book covers can make me like an illustrator’s style, help me connect with a book I love, or remind my of a style I don’t like. Check out some of the covers I like below:

Covers I like because I like the style:

Covers I like because I like the book:

Covers that work for me on both levels:

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Publishing, Reading

 

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Green Grass Grows

Though my picture book,  I’M NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING didn’t win the MeeGenius Author Challenge or one of the runner-up prizes, the digital publisher did release my book for e-sales on Friday! Hooray! It has a new narrator’s voice too. Please click the link to check out a preview!

On that note, can you guess where I’m going with this week’s topic?

 

“I wish he’d just stretch it a little further between his feedings,” I complain to my mother when Mister is new.

“I can’t wait until he’s walking,” I tell my neighbor before Mister turns 1.

“If only he’d just sleep through the night. Then I’d be okay,” I tell my husband after 15 straight months of not sleeping.

“I’m ready for you to be done with tantrums,” I tell Mister.

“Enjoy him while he’s young,” a grandmother tells me in the dentist’s waiting room. “It goes so fast.”

I bite my tongue.

“It does,” another mother adds. “My daughter is getting married in the fall. It seems like just yesterday she was that small.”

I don’t tell her that waiting to have my teeth cleaned is the most “free time” I’ve had in months. And I don’t let it make me feel guilty that I haven’t enjoyed every second of Mister today, since he’s in this new hitting phase.

It seems that, no matter what phase of babyhood we’re going through, the grass always looks greener in the next phase. It’s not that I’m wishing away Mister’s youth. I really am enjoying most of each of his developmental stages. But it is even easier to enjoy them in hindsight. I think that is why mothers of older children and grandmothers offer that kind of advice.

When has the grass looked greener for you? And your writing?

 

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Other Stuff

 

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