I’m sharing the spotlight today on Waxing Poetic. Just scroll down a bit on the post and you’ll see my interview.
Write Brain/Left Brain Blog Tour
Down the Author Marketing Rabbit Hole!
Whoa! What’s down that Author Marketing Rabbit Hole? Will you be able to control your slide? Will you end up in hell, or worse, with no book sales? Alice may have been a brave soul, but you’re an author and marketing is far scarier than the Queen of Hearts.
Let’s make this simple. I’ll be your guide, your personal Mad Hatter. But remember, everything I tell you makes perfect sense; all you need to do is allow yourself to hear with your creative ears. Let’s start at the top.
Marketing is NO DIFFERENT than Writing
Most fearful authors skirt the Marketing Rabbit Hole because they imagine marketing to be so far from their creative skill set, it’s impossible to learn. No so! In fact, marketing, done well and with enthusiasm, is EXTREMELY creative, exactly like you are!
If you write a novel and put every effort into being creative and excited about the story environment, characters, and events, why would you give any less to creating awareness for that book? If something didn’t fit well with the flow of your plot, you’d change or eliminate it, right? The same goes for marketing. Every effort, every approach, every strategy must move your success efforts forward.
An author’s first hurtle is to stop seeing marketing as foreign or the enemy, and start looking at it as the success ally is really is. Once you make friends with marketing, a million doors open for you.
Okay, let me put on my Mad Hatter hat and lead you on the ride of your life. Sit here on the edge and …
Slip and Slide Down the Creative Marketing Trail
Whatever your book is about, whatever the genre, and whatever specific hooks you’ve written inside it, you can easily find wide and deep audiences beyond the limiting book genre strategies. Let’s slither along the idea path and see what can happen.
Imagine your book is a mystery about a suspicious death in a health club. Your main character and protagonist is handicapped from serving military duty, and frequents the gym regularly to keep strong and in shape. He joins the biking club that the victim belonged to and rides with them all over the country, learning bits and pieces that lead to solving the murderer.
Now, what are the unique hooks in this book? I see health clubs, biking, military, and travel. Those alone lead to lots of people who will love this book; however, the Marketing Rabbit Hole goes much deeper to uncover many, many more directions for the author to travel. Let’s take each unique hook and extrapolate it as far as it will go. These words are called SUPER Genre descriptive words. REMEMBER, each descriptive word must lead to a prospective audience, so words like fear, bloody, or red herring should appear in your SUPER Genre. Those words describe the emotions or elements of the story, but not prospective audiences. Okay, here goes:
• Health Clubs – gyms, yoga, hiking, spinning, cross training, healthy lifestyle, healthy eating, health food websites, healthy life bloggers
• Biking – biking clubs, bike shops, biking websites, bike enthusiast bloggers
• Military – wounded soldier recovery organizations, military family clubs and organizations, military wife bloggers, handicapped inspirational websites and organizations
• Travel – Travel clubs, travel agent websites, travel focused bloggers, bike tour websites, and bike competition websites
Now, instead of standing at the top of the Author Marketing Rabbit Hole and shouting to mystery genre lovers and mystery book clubs along with every other mystery author on the planet, you’ve just uncovered a total of 22 new targeted audiences full of people who will love your book. These are people interested in the things inside your book, and people to reach out to and connect with. These are book buyers who will become loyal fans because you reached out to them where they live—not where they are bombarded by books and author promotions all the time.
Search for these people on twitter, Facebook and in your own neighborhood. Join yahoo groups that focus on these unique hook topics. Locate these unique hook bloggers and offer to guest blog to their audience, an audience that will be thrilled and flattered to hear from an author, especially with a book that focuses on things they enjoy. Contact website owners and offer to write a monthly short article on the topic in exchange for a free add for your book and the buy link on the website. They get content; you get access to their already captive customer base. These things work! These people are interested. All you need to do is be brave enough to take the leap. If one says no, move on to the next. These approaches are loaded with your target hook lovers.
And here’s the best part—there’s not another author in sight. These audiences are all yours.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Write Brain/Left Brain:
Bridging the Gap between Creative Writer and Marketing Author
Marketing is a very scary prospect for authors. It seems like a foreign language meant to be spoken in a far off land without an embassy to help explain the culture. None of this is true. It isn’t marketing that’s the issue—it’s a fear and general misunderstanding of marketing in relation to an author’s talents and skill set.
It’s time to open the author’s mind to the purely creative aspects of marketing as it relates directly to their specific book and audience. WRITE BRAIN/LEFT BRAIN skillfully bridges the gap between creative writer and marketing author, and opens the wide road to sales success.
Available at Amazon and B&N
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising, and public relations as a writer for print, television, and radio. She writes fiction and non-fiction.
In 2013 her nonfiction, Finding Author Success (Second Edition), and Cross Marketing Magic for Authors were released. Her newest book, Write Brain/Left Brain, focuses on bridging the gap between the creative writer and the marketing author.
Deborah produces several pieces monthly for various websites and online publications. She writes an author industry blog and teaches online and live workshops as The Author Success Coach. She belongs to several writing and professional organizations.
I should be sooo tired!
It was my turn to post on Romance Books 4 Us.
What is your favorite thing about fall?
Conditional Offer: Stewart Realty Book 5 August 30, 2012
How I Write.
I’m a notorious head writer and have been known to stop dead in the grocery aisle forcing people to mutter under their breath and move around me as I have various “a ha” moments during the first part of my process.
I typically do not make written outlines, but as I work my way through this longer series I am doing a fair bit of character mapping with timelines as I do some back and forth between books. And by the time I hit the last book it will be the story of all the main characters’ children so I gotta make sure I remember who belongs to whom and how old they should be.
Once I can’t keep the story stuffed inside my brain pain I take a seat, open the Mac Book Air (one of my quirks. I simply canNOT compose on the main Mac house computer. I think it’s a function of needing to write where I am when I’m in full-on compose mode) and have at it. And at it. And at it…typically until the whole thing is done. Housework goes begging, children eat a lot of cereal and Whole Food food bar for dinner, dogs start to whine anticipating the lack of walk they know they will get. As an example, I wrote Essence of Time, the 4th book of the Stewart Realty series between April 1 and May 10, ended with about 85,000 words then added about 20k more in a few days more after getting it back from editors who said “this needs more here…and here.”
Not all my books come that easily mind you. And I subscribe to the Hemmingway school of “Your first draft is always shit” so I’m never averse to revision, rewriting or anything suggested by my kick ass editing team.
If research is required I typically do it alongside the writing as it’s hard for me to be motivated to research if I don’t have a specific project or question to answer right in front of me. Of course, since every time I say “never” I end up doing that thing—and am in the process of doing research into soccer clubs as a business as I prepare the extension of the Stewart Realty series—the Black Jack Gentlemen will tell the tale of the expansion soccer league and team that Jack Gordon develops for Detroit. The stories will focus on individual players and the coach and will run the gamut from m/m, m/f, with a dose of “second chance” for one married player, to a dose of femme dom as the BJ’s (as they laughingly call themselves) are gonna break a serious traditional mold and hire a woman as an assistant coach—a successful former team USA player, divorced who discovers her inner domme when confronted with a young player who is floundering at the club.
In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce that Conditional Offer: Stewart Realty book 5 is now available! It’s an in-between novella (about 45,000 words) that tells the tale of Craig Robinson, one of the men smitten with Sara in the first 3 books but who has quite a history of his own…and how he finally find happiness with a damaged woman. Two people who more deserved an HEA never existed I tell you and I was so happy to give to them!
Conditional Offer: Stewart Realty Book 5
Craig Robinson and Suzanne Baxter had no reason to meet, no real excuse to be friends. But when heart calls to heart…blood to blood…should two people who seem destined to be together heed the spin of Fate’s wheel?
Craig spent years floating through life on cruise control, using directionless jobs, his rock band, swimming, and a string of older women in his bed to smother feelings of loneliness and loss. He finally thought he had found his true love in one Sara Thornton — A sexy, beautiful, fellow real estate agent and mentor. But his self-doubt and innate sense of failure is only reinforced when he realizes her heart belongs to another man.
When Sara introduces him to Suzanne, a woman fighting her own demons from an abusive marriage and subsequent feelings of inadequacy and deep unhappiness, that chance moment snaps Craig’s hazy existence into crystal clear focus. A bond born of instant physical attraction is nurtured by time and shared experience, and plenty of erotic energy.
As Suzanne’s past continues to haunt her, making her push Craig away just as he thinks he’s getting closer, each of them must come to terms with their true selves and face their ultimate realities.
Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great middle west, in a Major College Town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing spouse plus making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) has prepped her for life as erotic romance author. When she isn’t sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, she can be found writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications. Her ground breaking romance sub genre: “Romance for Real Life” has gained thousands of fans and followers, interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”)
Her beer blog a2beerwench.com is nationally recognized for its insider yet outsider views on the craft beer industry. Her books are set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch and in high-powered real estate offices. Don’t ask her for anything “like” a Budweiser or risk painful injury.
Other Books in the Stewart Realty Series:
Essence of Time
Escalation Clause (November 2012)
House Rules (March 2103)
Due Diligence (May 2013)
Good Faith (September 2013)
Hi I have Author, Chynna T. Laird, on the Hot Seat
Janice: Tell us about yourself?
Chynna: Wow, let’s see…I’m a very busy mom of four children: three girls Jaimie (eight), Jordhan (six) and Sophie (two) and a beautiful little boy Xander (four). All of us live crowded together, along with my life partner Steve, in our tiny townhouse in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).
When I’m not running around with my kiddos, I’m studying to complete my degree in psychology with a focus on special needs children and families.
Janice: Sounds like a lot of work. When did you start writing?
Chynna: I’ve always loved reading and books. Rumor has it that I started reading when I was two. My uncle was a distributor with Golden Books at that time so I used to get tons of his sample books and I eagerly devoured every one of them. I think that’s where my interest began in wanting to write stories like the ones I read.
Then in Grade Four a publisher came to our class to teach us all about the world of writing, editing and printing books. We even got to write our own books, with illustrations, and have them bound. My book was called, ‘The Tales of Super Bug’ a brave crime-fighting bug whose only fear was a size thirteen sneaker (sadly, that’s what caused his sudden demise).
Okay, so the cover was laminated construction paper and the ‘binding’ was staples but STILL! To me, that was the coolest thing in the world. After we’d ‘published’ our books, our class got to put them in the school library to be borrowed by fellow students. We were supposed to have taken them home at the end of the school year but I’d completely forgotten poor Super Bug on the last day of school.
Several years later, my younger sister came home from school waving a book she’d taken out of the library. She was SO excited to show me her book had MY name on it! It was SUPER BUG!! And there had been so many names listed inside of who’d taken it out over the years. That was my sign that writing was what I was meant to do.
Janice: That’s wonderful. What a thrill it must have been for you. Who was the biggest influence on your writing?
Chynna: I’d have to say my grandparents were my biggest influences. They believed so much in me and encouraged me to go as far as I could on whatever path I chose. I even named my writing business after them: Lily Wolf Words (Grandma’s name was Lillian and Grandpa’s was Wilfred.)
Janice: A very nice homage to your grandparents. How do you go about your writing? Do your prefer pencils to pens or is it all straight computer work?
Chynna: I do most of my work on the computer. It’s just a lot faster. But I do enjoy journaling. I have a notebook with me everywhere I go so I can jot down ideas for stories or articles wherever I am.
Janice: What influences you in your writing? Music, movies, reading, or straight research?
Chynna: Every day people and experience influence me the most in my writing. Especially those who have had to face tremendous adversity in their lives and show us how we can overcome the tough times thrown on our life’s journey. I’m also tremendously influenced and inspired by my children.
Two of my children, Jaimie and Xander, have special needs. They often struggle with the simple things the rest of us take for granted. They each inspire me every day as they teach me new ways of seeing the world, of doing things and learning about things. They are a wealth of writing ideas, let me tell you.
Janice: When do you write morning or evening, or are you a late into the wee hours of the morning person?
Chynna: I have to fit writing in around my children’s schedules (eg: picking up/taking them to school, homework, Jaimie and Xander’s sensory games and therapy, etc.). I have sprinklings of time throughout the day but I get most of my writing done in the evening after we (finally) get the kids in bed. I’m not really either a morning or night owl…I’m just a ‘Write until I’m so tired I’m not making sense anymore’ person. HA!
Janice: Who in charge you or your muse?
Chynna: Definitely my muse. I don’t seem to be able to shut the thoughts and ideas off! Hence the notebook. A good writer friend of mine told me she gets tons of story ideas and creates a separate folder for each as they come to her, complete with title and brief plot. She’s told me she has many, many folders to go back to! I’ve actually started doing the same thing as I go through notebooks like crazy!
Janice: Use only one word to describe your writing style? Or at least what you want your readers to take away from your writing.
Chynna: Emotionally-charged. (Is that two?) I’ve been told I elicit deep emotions from my writing. I often write about some tough issues in my work based on personal experiences. I’ve always thought this is the way to get people talking about these issues, especially those considered ‘taboo’ so we can learn about them, understand them and accept them.
Janice: What other books have you written?
Chynna: In addition to my YA book, ‘Blackbird Flies’, I’ve also authored an award-winning children’s book (I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD), two memoirs (the multi award-winning, Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With SPD and White Elephants), and an adult Suspense/Thriller (The Gift to be released late 2011).
Janice: What influenced your recent book, the one you are promoting here today?
Chynna: Payton, the main character in my book, is loosely based on a few experiences I’ve had, only he’s a lot younger than I was during those experiences and he made better choices. I grew up with a mother who lived with bipolar that she refused to acknowledge or treat and she died due to maladaptive ways she chose to cope with her issues. Blackbird Flies is my way of discussing issues like mental illness, peer pressure, drug abuse, etc. in a non-threatening sort of way. People seem to be more wiling to talk about and learn about these issues when presented in a ficitional sense…at least that’s what I’ve found.
I’d love to see these issues become less ‘taboo’ so those going through them will feel better about needing, and seeking, the help they need to live their lives more effectively. I always say, “Through knowledge comes understanding.” If we’re willing to take in the information and absorb the knowledge, the understanding will follow.
The most important part about this book is that Payton shows us that kids can go through tremendous adversity and still come out okay. All they need is a positive distraction just that one person who believes in them. Payton’s distraction was his music and his grandparents believed in him.
Every one of us has the power to fly. We just need to allow ourselves to be carried.
Blurb: Fifteen year-old Payton MacGregor is a musical prodigy. To him, though, his music is merely a way for him to escape from the chaos that surrounds him. All of his life, he’s had to care for his mother, who copes with her bipolar disorder with booze instead of turning to her own musical talents. He refuses to become a statistic. Then he’s thrown a curve ball.
His mother suddenly dies, leaving him to be cared for by his aging grandparents. As much as they love him, they decide to send him halfway across Canada to live with his father, Liam—the man Payton always believed abandoned him and his mother. Payton isn’t making the relocation easy on anyone until he finds out he’s going to attend the prestigious School of the Arts for musically gifted youth. Any second thoughts he has about his new life are erased when he meets Lily Joplin. Their connection is instantaneous.
Lily is a talented singer, but her struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder hit too close to home for Payton’s comfort. And when her issues become all-consuming, he wonders if his music will be enough to carry him through.
Excerpt: The following excerpt is taken from the part in the book where Payton begins to understand why he was really packed up and shipped off to Edmonton to live with his Dad—the man he’d believed had abandoned him as a child. This scene shows the anguish Payton is in and the love-hate emotions he carries around with him about his mother. It also shows his passion for his music—what he’s always turned to when times were toughest. We also feel his initial attraction to Lily, his romantic interest:
The Dean led Payton into the opera hall. “Your Dad told me you are a bit of a pianist.”
Payton resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “I guess you could say that.”
“Well, we haven’t moved the piano back to the music room yet since our recital last night,” the Dean said, nodding toward the stage. “Would you like to have a go?”
Payton’s gaze switched to the stage where a full black lacquered grand piano sat. Its lid opened towards him, exposing its gorgeous strings…beckoning him. It had been days since his fingers last caressed the keys of a piano. There was nothing that would have made him happier or given him more inner peace at that moment than to play his music.
He didn’t answer the dean . He just walked down the stairs to the stage. A spotlight still shone on the piano. It didn’t even matter to him that the leather seat was hot from the lights. He sat down, pushed the seat back to account for his long legs and positioned his hands over the keys. He closed his eyes.
He played Chopin’s Nocturne—one of his favorites. He’d learned it completely by ear, listening to his mother play it. She’d played the piece with such emotion, it pained his heart. He wished the music flowed half as beautifully from his own fingers as it had
As a young boy, he liked lying under the piano bench while his Mom practiced. When she’d gotten really into her playing, the bench shook in time with her hands flying across the keyboard and her tiny feet pumping the pedals. Being only five feet tall, she’d often had to sit right on the edge of the piano seat so the pedals wouldn’t snap back up.
When Payton struck the last chord, the notes lingered high above the auditorium stage, echoing for several seconds. Then silence. Payton removed his glasses and wiped his eyes on his sleeve then heard…applause? It wasn’t just his dad and the dean.
He put his glasses back on and squinted, trying to block the glare from the lights with his hand. A small group of students had sat down in the first couple of rows while he’d been playing. He was embarrassed at first, but when he stood, the students rose, cheering, “Bravo! Awesome!”
He fidgeted for a few seconds then shot a peace sign and walked off the stage. Walking back up to where his dad and the dean stood, he saw that girl again…the one that looked like Alicia Silverstone. He got a closer look at her. Even in the dim light, he saw her face perfectly. Her hair was all one length and ebony. It draped around her shoulders, hugging her gorgeous oval-shaped face. Her dark emerald eyes were highlighted with perfectly sculpted eyebrows and long eyelashes—the same darkness as her hair. Her creamy skin looked like the sun had never touched it. Her pink, plump lips stretched into a half-smile when she noticed him staring at her. She gave him a thumbs-up.
He just hoped his mouth wasn’t open.
“Son, that was incredible,” Dean Fenehey said. “You’ll definitely be an inspiration to other people here. And you can almost bet if you keep up your practicing you’ll get that
Practicing? Scholarship? What the…?