Navigating the Network | The Art of Self Promotion (part II)

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Last Wednesday, I sketched out a few of the challenges facing self published authors looking to build their brands in the digital marketplace, and I made specific note of how great social networks can be as tools of self promotion.  A well-curated Facebook page or an oft-updated Twitter feed are two of the easiest and most effective ways of getting your name out there, and they have the added benefit of costing nothing but the blood, sweat, and tears of setup and day-to-day maintenance.  But what can you do to build your brand outside of these new and occasionally glitch-prone websites?

Here’s the tricky part to understand.

2. Social networks are not the only tools.

It would be tempting to read omnipotence into the sheer pervasiveness of social media.  But given how much time they can take to set up and use, much less to cultivate into an important part of an author’s portfolio of self-promotional options, it may not be entirely practical to make it your sole platform.  Consider the warning implicit in the age-old eggs-and-basket idiom, and sketch out a quick cost–benefit analysis on the back of a napkin, with the word “cost” standing in for the time and energy taken away from other pursuits, including, well, writing!  You should never dismiss the viability of papering the town,  literally, or turning to a third party for advice and assistance.  Print flyers, write letters, solicit reviews, sign books, distribute ARCs, and put ads in magazines and newspapers.  You may not have as much experience putting together a press kit as a big publishing firm, but with a little legwork you can still put your name out there in a way that makes for meaningful returns––and all outside of social media.  I’ll come back to many of these points in future blog posts, but for now, suffice it to say: don’t give up on the physical distribution of physical promotional materials just because social networking websites exist!

3. Social networks are not the only networks.

“Social network” is a bit of a misnomer, because we automatically tend to associate the term with the internet.  But the word social––present in both social network and social media––should never be translated as applying only to digital platforms.  So when I say “social networks are not the only networks,” I guess what I mean to say is actually “you have as many meaningful social contacts offline as you do online”––and you should make use of them.  And while publications like Mashable and Wired are continually asking whether or not we’re sacrificing actual (read: offline) relationships in favor of those built through social media, studies continue to show that we seek out, require, and learn best from real-world interactions.  Internet-based social networks are usually an extension of, not an alternative to, traditional networks.

What does this have to do with self-publishing?  Well, consider using your offline networks as much as you do your online ones.  Calling up your friends and family members, and asking them if they have time to help out––either in distributing promotional materials, or generating them.  Do not undervalue the importance of the everyday interaction.  Not every conversation needs to be a sales pitch––in fact, that kind of approach can alienate your listeners more often than not––but your book is an important presence in your life, and a genuine word or two in the right context can sometimes do more than a hundred contextless tweets.  Your ultimate goal, on or off the computer, is to involve readers in your world and in your story.

Check back every Wednesday to read more about the art of self promotion!  Here’s last week’s post, the first in this series.  Next week, we’ll be wrapping up the all-important five starting points of self promotion by looking at what else is requisite in the process––and what to expect moving forward.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 9/30/14

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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

Should You Self-Publish or Commercially Publish Your Book?

This informative article provides several questions authors should ask themselves when deciding what publishing route to choose. This is a great read for all authors.

Self-Publishing Stars Speak Out

The writer of this article asks some self-publishing experts one simple question: “If you could give someone starting out in self-publishing only one piece of advice, what would it be?” This is an interesting read for self-publishing authors.

JukePop Wants To Bring Indie Titles To More Libraries

JukePop, an analytics and distribution platform for independent authors, is hoping to chip away at the discoverability problem by partnering up with libraries. The startup piloted a program with the Santa Clara County library system, making 1,000 e-books available to the library for free. Recently, it launched a Kickstarter campaign to expand its program to more libraries across the country.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Copyright Basics, Part III: How long does copyright protection endure?

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One of the most confusing parts of publishing for many authors is copyright laws. To address the common copyright questions I am often asked, I will be writing a copyright basics series every week for the month of September. See the end of the post for links past posts you may missed, and be sure to check back each week for answers to more of your copyright questions.

How long does copyright protection endure?

This depends on when the work was created and published:

Works Originally Created on or after January 1, 1978

A work that was created (fixed in tangible form for the first time) on or after January 1, 1978, is automatically protected from the moment of its creation and is ordinarily given a term enduring for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years after the author’s death. In the case of a joint work prepared by two or more authors,  the term lasts for 70 years after the last surviving author’s death. For works made for hire, and for anonymous and pseudonymous works (unless the author’s identity is revealed in Copyright Office records), the duration of copyright will be 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.

Works Originally Created Before January 1, 1978, But Not Published or Registered by That Date

These works have been automatically brought under the statute and are now given federal copyright protection. The duration of copyright in these works is generally computed in the same way as for works created on or after January 1, 1978.

Works Originally Created and Published or Registered before January 1, 1978

Under the law in effect before 1978, copyright was secured either on the date a work was published with a copyright notice or on the date of registration if the work was registered in unpublished form. In either case, the copyright endured for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. During the last year of the first term, the copyright was eligible for renewal. The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the renewal term from 28 to 47 years for copyrights that were subsisting on January 1, 1978, for a total term of protection of 75 years.

It also worth noting that some publishing companies have their own policies in regards to publishing works in the public domain. Be sure to contact your self-publishing company for detailed information.

 To learn more about copyright law, visit copyright.gov.

Copyright Basics, Part I: What is copyright and who can claim copyright?

Copyright Basics, Part II: What works are and are not protected?

Copyright Basics, Part III: How does one secure a copyright and is it required for publication?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 9/26/14

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OLD SCHOOL ANTICS

Have you been accused of that lately? Writing old school concepts or using old school style?  The first time I heard that (directed at someone else) I bristled.  The reading I’d just listened to—from the writings of a fellow student—had engaged and inspired me.  But the professor wanted to make a point and so he did. “Although your facts are most likely accurate,” he pronounced, “your sentence structures and concept development is old school, using too much emotionalism.”  And bah-humbug to you, too, I mumbled under my breath.  The instructor’s comments that day pushed my own writing goals in the opposite direction of his “modern-path-of-writing,” and led me to study (and enjoy) many of the old school authors.

By the time I became a teacher myself, I selected semester reading lists including authors Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott. Everyone groaned upon hearing Charles Dickens’ name and the specific book title: Hard Times.  However, there was a method to my madness.  My hope rested in my students’ abilities to discover the beautifully developed writing styles and logical thinking techniques presented by these old school authors.  You see, writers (in every existing genre) are “teachers of ideas.”  It is the readers who decipher the words and place the concepts in the most appropriate resource files, whether they do so consciously or not.

The three following points help us begin to think logically about the books we read—and write, of course—but especially the books we keep and/or use as resources.

  • WHAT DO YOU KNOW about the author? Are your opinions based on someone else’s quick review of the writer’s works in-part or as a whole? Did you quickly form an opinion from one book you read by that author, then sealed that judgment for all future reference? The closed-door can become a wall and then a fortress unless one opens it. So, research the lives—the histories—of the authors you read. If you’re one who enjoys creating outlines, build a timeline (from birth to death), adding the personal and historic events that occurred within their sphere of existence—what they would have been exposed to.
  • DO YOU HAVE AN OLD LIST of word-labels that have been attached to that author and his writings? Fold a piece of paper in half (lengthwise) and write those words on one side. After you’ve completed your personal research about this author, take a little time and consider those words and their multiple meanings. Do they really (accurately) fit him—as a person and writer? Turn your empathy ON and walk through his life beside him. Keep an open mind so that you can observe the truth about the circumstances he experienced and his human reaction—the imprints that were set in place—which, in turn, developed his writing style and the perspectives that birthed the plots, settings and characters in his books. Then write your own “labels” opposite those on that sheet of paper and compare them. You’ll find interesting differences.
  • NOW ALLOW YOURSELF to move beyond empathy to insights. Can you see the logical progression of actions and events, people connections and environmental/cultural surroundings that are sown into the writings of this author? Tapping into your personal ability to discover these aspects will develop your writing skills to a whole new level. HOW EXCITING IS THAT!
Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Weekly Self-Published Book Review: Memories Made and Lessons Learned

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Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:

 memories made and lessons learned

Memories Made and Lessons Learned

David Van Lear

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432781927

Fishing leads to many an adventure in life. “Memories Made and Lessons Learned” is a delve into the fishing stories of David Van Lear, who has fished all over North America and has seen much. With a bit of fishing know how and a focus on the experience of it all, Lear’s stories are sure to appeal to lovers of fishing and those who enjoy the many slices of life. “Memories Made and Lessons Learned” is a frank and choice read for fishing collections.

Navigating the Network | The Art of Self Promotion (part I)

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Ten years ago, self-publishing was by and large the province of wishes and dreams, and its successes were so rare that they warranted national attention.  In the early 2000s, authors like Christopher Paolini (author of the Inheritance cycle of fantasy novels) performed exhaustive regional trips to promote their books, visiting schools, libraries, and local coffee shops in a sometimes-desperate attempt to build a market base.  As the traditional publishing industry has struggled to overcome both infighting and growing competition from digital retailers––and as new avenues have opened up for authors looking to publish outside of these traditional structures––all parties have turned to a parallel revolution in hopes of finding assistance.  That revolution, you will have already guessed, is the tangle of startups, failures, and increasingly pervasive communications networks that we call, collectively, Social Media.

Fast forward to the present day, and you find yourself witness to the rise of these two new revolutionary forces––a self publishing industry with a substantial slice of the present ebook and print publishing market, and the aforementioned popular social networking platforms, typified by Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on.  It would be easy to link these two forces together, and to assume that a successful presence on the one side will equate to equal success on the other, but this isn’t strictly true.  Many new authors find themselves lost in the complications of navigating this network––so how might one make it safely through the white water? 

The task of building a brand, or finding a tribe, is tricky––but not impossible.  It is important to keep five points in mind from the very beginning.  Today we’ll examine the first of these points:

1. Social networks are fantastic tools.

Tweets can outdistance sonic waves, as the Daily Mail reported in May, and Facebook has proved invaluable in linking dissidents, outmaneuvering government censors, and supporting revolutions.  Social networks combine the appeal of a grass-roots movement with enormous computing power, a vast sociopolitical reach, and instantaneous delivery.  Authors like Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking have become internet sensations (and self-publishing success stories) in part because they are so intensely engaged with their readers online.  You can use Facebook to build a fan page and coordinate events in cities across the world.  You can utilize Tumblr’s built-in question function to respond to readers’ queries about purchasing details or the more obscure details of a character’s backstory.  And with its 140-character limit and endlessly useful hashtag feature, Twitter is the ultimate paradise for spreading news and reviews.  While it might be a bit of an overstatement to say that social networks can do everything and anything, they can certainly do a great deal for the burgeoning author.

Check back every Wednesday to read more about the art of self promotion!  Next week, we’ll be looking at the analog social network––that is, what you can do to build your platform as an author even before you plug in to Facebook and Twitter.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 9/23/14

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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

The marketing tools you need for any self-published book

This great article offers marketing advice to help you sell your book. This is a must read for all self-publishing authors.

5 Reasons Why Your Self-Published Book Isn’t Selling

Understanding the mistakes self-published authors make is just as important, if not more important, than understanding how they became successful. This article shares why sometimes self-published books don’t sell. This is a must read for all self-publishing authors.

Front Matter Matters: A Guide for Indie Authors

This article covers the where, why, and when of front matter. It discusses pieces such as preface, introduction, acknowledgements, and more. This is an excellent read for all writers.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

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