How to Avoid Promotional Black Holes

August 1, 2017

Photo Courtesy Pixabay.

There are so many potential pitfalls that writers must navigate, even seasoned authors can make mistakes marketing a book today.

With hundreds of errors to choose from, here are my choices for seven of the worst ones …

Don’t Have a Web Site
This is a biggie. Authors absolutely need a web site. Traditional publishers expect their clients to have one, and it’s just as necessary … maybe more so … for an independent.

Aesthetics matter, too … and whatever you do, don’t let it get outdated. Updating your site regularly will help with search engine optimization (SEO), which is important to establishing your brand and getting your work out there.

Don’t Play Nice With Others
Another biggie. Other writers are not competitors or enemies. You should be reaching out to collaborate with them. As a community, you’re stronger when you share ideas and support one another (I’ve interviewed other authors on this blog, to help them promote their work … and I’ll do it again, because it all helps).

Don’t Have an Elevator Speech
I’ve said this often, and I’m always surprised when I discover the number of author wannabes who don’t have one ready. You never know when you will be chatting with someone and have an opportunity to mention your book(s). Have a 15-20-second soundbite ready, and share it as often as possible.

Ignore the Power of Reviews
Secure reviews with Kirkus Reviews, Foreword Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Readers’ Favorite, Blue Ink, TopBookReviewers, and others. Some you will have to pay for … but if your work is strong you will find they are like gold. You can never have enough.

Ignore Resources at Your Disposal
Writers fall short when they don’t join useful groups. For instance, I’m a member of the National Writers Association, the Association of Independent Authors, Michigan Writers and the American Academy of Poets. Other fabulous group resources are Independent Book Publishers, the Writers Guild (East and West), and PEN America. Get an author listing on Goodreads, too.

Your Head Isn’t in the Game
Lazy authors are not successful ones. Neither are authors whose ego is so huge they simply fail to hustle. Don’t get blinded by an inflated sense of self-worth. Tone it down, get off your high horse, and be ready to do whatever it takes to get your book out there.

You Don’t Go All In
Don’t say you already have a Facebook presence, when all you did is put up a profile. You need to engage and interact. Think about relevant visuals, personal stories, provocative statements. Be flexible, but don’t scream BUY MY BOOK! Be a friend, not a salesman.

I’ve found the book industry to more social than others in many ways. So, do the socially expected things following a book signing, classroom visit, or speaking engagement. Give the organizers a thank you card … maybe even a shareable goodie of some sort.

It not only makes your host feel good, it gives you a personal energy boost you can tap for weeks. Think of book marketing as doing honor to your work, and the work of others.

Try it. It works.

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Visit my web site to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.

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Check out my DEAD END STREET review

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I plan to attend the next Rochester Writers’ Fall Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

How Well Do You Use Metaphor?

July 11, 2017


I talked the other day about the use of metaphor adding richness and texture to your language. The strongest metaphors illuminate complex or abstract concepts by translating them into striking images that resonate with readers.

They stand out.

It was Aristotle who said that mastering metaphors is a “sign of genius.” When you create metaphors that are clear, concise, vivid and relatable your readers will do more than understand your meaning … they’ll experience the thrill of discovery.

Consider these examples:

    * “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
      ~ Truman Capote

    * “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”
      ~ Plutarch

To understand how to use them, if you were to ask yourself what love smells like, what answers might you come up with?

The aroma of chicken roasting in your grandmother’s oven? Freshly cut roses? Your wife’s favorite perfume?

All these things can represent love in a metaphor, because of people’s mental associations with the underlying question. But, of course, love doesn’t actually have an aroma.

Avoid Cliches
Sometimes writers select an image that, while powerful, actually contradicts the underlying message. It’s possible to overwork a metaphor. Stale, overused metaphors don’t resonate with readers. Instead, they become cliches. Select images not merely because they’re powerful, but because they’re apt. Be careful of cliches.

Consider these:
He’s like a bull in a china shop … or
Always go after the low-hanging fruit.

Powerful images … used far too much.

Assess your work using this standard of excellence: Is it clear, concise, tangible, vivid and relatable?

“That horse’s ass would beat the sun awake with a stick, if he could.”

“Townies tended to have multiple tattoos, pierced body parts and hair the various colors of Jell-O.”

The first is a line from my novel Blood Lake (a Readers’ Favorite Bronze Medal Winner), and I don’t think you need the rest of the character description to have a sense of what Luther was like. The second comes from my short story Zebulon (a Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner).

Both of them tell us a lot about the characters. When your metaphors are strong, you’ll forge intimate relationships with your readers. The kind marked by shared discovery and reflection.

What writer among us doesn’t want that?

**********

My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Visit my web site to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.

**********

Check out my DEAD END STREET review

**********

I plan to attend the next Rochester Writers’ Fall Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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