Are You A Real Author? Part III

Are You A Real Author? Part III

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the third question:

DO YOU HAVE A TRIBE?

Another way of saying this is, Do you have fans? Or readers who love your books? Or an audience?

Every author wants (or should want) to have a tribe. And every time you sell your book that tribe grows. That tribe will include people you don’t know, but it will most likely also include people who you do know.

How?

By building your email list. This takes time, so be patient.

How do you build your email list? There are a multitude of ideas on this subject. Believe me, because I have check several out. Here is a partial list of building ideas:

  • Friends who like your book
  • Relatives who like your book
  • Blog followers
  • FaceBook followers
  • Twitter followers
  • LinkedIn followers

In other words, anyone who has given you their email address and likes your books!

So how do I use the email list?

First, you need a provider. There are quite a few out there. I am familiar with three: Vertical Response, MailChimp, and Benchmark. All three are good, although I am only now learning about Benchmark. So far I have been impressed and amazed with the tools they provide within their Free package.

Google email marketing providers to find a more complete listing. Check them out and decided for yourself which is best for you.

How big should my email list be?

That’s a good question. I recently read where one expert suggests 1,000. That is 1,000 people who really like your books – the true fans! So, practically speaking, you should have several times that many.

Secondly, you need to incorporate the email list into your marketing plan. Caution: you don’t want to saturate them with your ads, it will turn them off! Remembering this is separate from your Social Media Campaign (below) send out periodic emails announcing:

  • Upcoming books
  • New books
  • Specials
  • More

But don’t overdue it.

What about Social Media?

An effective Social Media Campaign requires the input of some money. Not necessarily a lot of money. So first determine what your budget allows. Next determine where you will focus your efforts. Some experts discount Twitter, but others are high on it. Your best course of action is to experiment and discover which two work best for you.

One last thought. You may not yet have 1,000 true fans. Use your email list to garner them.

 As always I am interested in your comments.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1) can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

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Are you a Real Author? Part II

Are you a Real Author? Part II

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the second question:

DO YOU HAVE A PLATFORM?

Different people have different ideas about what a platform is. Here is my definition: A platform is a website, a blog, and social media.

A Website

I’ve talked about this before, but it cannot be overstated. An author needs to have a website. And not just any old website. An author needs to own a website.

Now this can have different connotations, so let me be specific. An author should have an website that reflects who they are. This can mean:

  • A website that reflects the book you’ve written
  • A website that reflects your name or alias
  • A website that reflects the you as an independent author.

For example, a website that reflects your book’s name will work if you have written only one book and won’t be writing new books. But if you write more than one book, such a website would be poor. Instead, you will want the website to reflect you as an author. By reflecting I mean both the domain name and the content would emphasize you as an author. I have used RFrederickRiddle.com as my website name.

However, when we founded T&R Independent Books and I decided to set up a new website, I created a typical publisher’s website where the author has his or her own pages. My former website RFrederickRiddle.com redirects to my author’s pages on the publisher website.

The important thing is that you want critical information within the domain name. In my former website it included my name and my new pages also include my name. This is a very important consideration, so if you have not done so yet, seriously consider it.

For more indepth wisdom check out my blog article, Hosting Your Website.

A Blog

As you know my blog’s url is RFrederickRiddleBlog.com. It tells the potential reader who I am and that it is a blog.

Your blog does not have to be about writing, but it should be about something you know and can be passionate about. And it should interest readers.

Social Media

You need to have a social media presence. While you don’t need to use everything that’s available, you should certainly be on at least two social media platforms. I use Twitter and Facebook, plus Goodreads and Bublish. Some authors also like LinkedIn, although that is primarily aimed at business to business.

It is not necessary to spend every minute of the day on your social media, but you should be active.

Why Is Having A Platform So Important?

Because people want to know about you and your book(s). And you want people to know about you and your books. Social Media provides excellent opportunities to self promote both yourself and your book.

Take a moment or two and tell us about your platform.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1) can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Are You A Real Author? Part I

Are You A Real Author? Part I

This four part blog asks you four questions and addresses each. Here is the first question:

Do you have a clear message?

Let me start at the beginning. When you write you should be writing with your reader in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I write books that I, the author, enjoy and so should you. But you also need to write for others.

Everyone of my books are written for people who enjoy Christian fiction and historical fiction. That said, what is your message?

Are you just relating a story or do you have something to offer? I believe that one reason it took so long before I published my first novel in 2003 is that every story I wrote had no message. But when I wrote Refuge: The Genesis Chronicles, I wrote with the idea of bringing the Biblical facts to life and giving people insights into the Biblical story.

Ever since then that or something similar has been my message: Bringing the facts to life. I would say that is one of the unique things I do. According to one reviewer I brought the people, places, and events alive giving her a deeper, wider understanding to the Biblical events.

The title of today’s blog is: Are you a Real Author. In other words, does your story jump off the pages? Do people like certain characters? Do they identify with them?

That is what the craft of writing is all about. Namely, to get the reader to use his/her imagination and be able to picture the unfolding story. If you can accomplish that you have become a real author!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

His eBook Perished: The World That Was can be found on Amazon Kindle. The paperback edition is found on Amazon.

Getting Book Reviews

Getting Book Reviews

How do you get book reviews?

This is a time question since I am currently seeking reviewers for my latest novel, Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1). Over the years I have used different approaches. My primary approach in the past was to make use of First Wild Card reviews. However, that is no longer available.

So I have move on to a broader, and potentially, more effective approach. In this blog I will share with you some of this overall strategy. Let’s start now.

Strategy.

  1. As a member of KDP Select make use of Free Days. My first set of 2 days are November 3 – 4 (Thursday and Friday). I use this in conjunction with my inquiry, offering the reviewer a free Kindle copy.
  2. Emailing friends/relatives and inviting them to review my book. I offer them the free Kindle (on 3rd and 4th).
  3. Research and contact actual book reviewers, offering them the free Kindle, a PDF copy, a ePub copy, a Mobi copy, or a paperback.
  4. Make use of a Goodreads review request.

I can ask friends?

Yes. But don’t be surprised if they don’t respond. Friends want you to succeed, but for a variety of personal reasons may not want to be a reviewer. It’s not personal, so don’t take it personally.

What are the results?

Since I just began using this strategy it is too early to be concerned about results, although I have already had three positives replies. This is an ongoing process that will take weeks and maybe months for me to complete.

In number 3 above I mentioned research. I used Indie Book Reviewers, although there are others out there.

How many book reviewers do you need?

I have heard several different answers to this. One is to get as many reviewers as possible. I totally agree with that as a long term goal. But short term I believe your goal should be a minimum of twenty. (If you fail to get twenty it is not a disaster. It’s a goal not a requirement.)

Who can review a book?

There are different types of reviewers. The Indie list covers those men and women who are professional in their approach yet charge no fee. (Using paid reviewers on a limited bases may be ok, but don’t build on them.) Then you have the more casual reviewer who occasionally reviews a book, but still takes the job of reviewing seriously. Finally, there are those who may never have reviewed a book before, but love to read.

All of these are acceptable. Try for a mix, if possible. You can find lists like the Indie Reviewers by Googling ‘book reviewers’ or something similar.

When doing your research remember that not all reviewers are interested in your particular genre. If possible visit their website and discover their likes and dislikes. And are they accepting books for review and what format they require?

How do you ask for a review?

This varies according to the type of review you are seeking. For example, when contacting friends/relatives your approach is more personal. You are actually asking for a favor, so I suggest you begin with “may I ask a favor of you?” or something along that line.

With the others you want a more professional approach. I will show an example in a moment.

There are at least two ways of doing this. One is to send out an email to all your potential reviewers at one time. This has the benefit of saving you time. But different reviewers have different requirements and a one letter fits all approach could backfire. I prefer one reviewer at a time. Requires more time and effort, but allows for a more personal and accurate approach.

Did you get the idea that seeking reviewers is work? Good, because it is. But don’t be afraid of it. Book reviews can be beneficial to your marketing efforts. With that in mind, what follows is an example of valuable content to include in your inquiry.

An Example

But no matter who you are asking or how you contact them you need to provide them with certain information. So with that in mind here is an example of information I recently sent out: (The highlighted parts are necessary.)

  • Title: Perished: The World That Was (Volume 1)
  • Publisher: T&R Independent Books (http://tr-indbkstore.com)
  • Published: 10-12-16 using Create Space publishing platform
  • Author: R. Frederick Riddle
  • Pages: 469 (paperback)
  • Reading age: 18+
  • ASIN: B01M4IDHNY
  • ISBN: 1537476378
  • ISBN-13: 978-1537476377

I also provided a brief description of the book. (Some reviewers may request an excerpt.)

Here’s my example:

Based on the first six chapters of the Book of Genesis this story brings to life the Bible especially as it relates to places, events, and people. You get to meet and know such people as Adam, Eve, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah as well as Cain and his descendants.

And remember to thank them. You are asking them to do something for you and that includes taking the time to read your inquiry. So thank them.

In conclusion, let me add that while this is a blog and not a inquiry, if any of you readers would like to review my book, feel free to contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

And thank you!

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R Frederick Riddle is co-founder and vice president of T&R Independent Books, an author of six novels, and blogger. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page.