Army of Worn Soles is on promotion today



Book 1 of the Eastern Front trilogy is on promotion through BookDoggy. If you haven’t read it yet, now is your chance to get it at a reduced price. Because after this promotion, the price will go back up to its regular setting.

Get it at BookDoggy http://bookdoggy.com/?p=2671&preview=true

What’s it about?

A Canadian is drafted into the Soviet Red Army during World War 2, just in time to be thrown against Nazi Germany’s invasion in Operation Barbarossa. Caught in the vise of the Nazi and Communist forces, Maurice Bury concentrates on keeping his men alive as they retreat across Ukraine from the German juggernaut. Now the question is: will they escape from the hell of the POW camp before they starve to death?

Get Army of Worn Soles for just 99 cents.

See a free sample.

How to market your book: Guest post by J.P. Berget



This week, guest blogger marketing marvel Jens-Petter Berget, owner of the SlyMarketing blog and company, reveals some of the best, most practical advice on how to market your books I’ve ever read. (This post originally appeared on the old Scott’s Written Words blog.)

I say that I was a failed writer because I could not finish what I was writing for a very long time.

I am a solo entrepreneur with a marketing business, and I have written a novel and a short story for the Kindle. I am fairly successful in business with several big clients and a popular blog.

I love writing, but my first hurdle was to choose the right language. I write in Norwegian and in English. I am a better writer in Norwegian, because I am Norwegian, but I have a much bigger audience when I write in English. And that’s why I started my marketing blog in English.

I am still not sure if it’s such a good idea to keep writing in two different languages or if I should focus on one. But since I believe that one of my strengths in marketing and writing is experimenting and I’m not really in a hurry to get things published, I’ve decided to keep writing in both languages for now.

The 5 reasons I was a failed writer

I have been thinking a lot about why I haven’t been able to publish my novel or the short story. I’ve come up with five main reasons. Let me just tell you the reasons first, and then I’ll tell you how I market my novel and short story.

1. I don’t have a goal

I write because I love to write. I want people to read what I have written, and I love feedback. And I work to become a better writer. But I don’t have a goal when I write.

I am telling a story. I want it to be entertaining, but do I want my readers to cry, to learn something, or to never forget about the main character?The truth is that I don’t know. I just write without having a single goal for the story or how my readers should react.

I believe writers should have a main goal with everything they write. Do you agree?

2. I don’t focus

When I started writing my novel, I thought that I wouldn’t do anything but write for a year. I believed that was what authors do. I’d lock myself inside my office and just write.

I did write for a long time, but I kept doing so many other things that were not part of my main projects. And I kept creating new projects, instead of writing and finishing the novel and the short story.

I believe that writers should focus on one project at a time, and finish it before starting new projects. Do you agree?

 3. I am terrible at editing

I write from the beginning of the first sentence until I’m finished. That’s it. I know that as soon as I’ve finished writing, I will be really just at the beginning. Most of the time it’s all about the editing. And the first draft is more or less just the foundation of the story. But I am having a hard time to remove anything from the story. I can add a lot, but since I have a hard time removing anything, the story becomes more and more complex.

I have come to realize the importance of editing, but removing is still a huge obstacle for me. I’d love your thoughts on this — what part of editing do you struggle with?

4. I write alone

I love the solitude of writing and I love the social part of the online world. My marketing experience is mostly part of the social world, where I have teamed up with lots of brilliant people who are helping me out. I get the experience of people from all over the world, and we share marketing advice. This has been all positive, and I wouldn’t have been able to start my business if I didn’t have this team of supporters behind me.

I believe that I shouldn’t have been doing all my writing alone. I should have teamed up with other writers and I should have told them about my projects, and we should have shared opinions and experience. I am sure it’s a myth that authors should be all by themselves when they write. I do my best work when I get feedback and when I am having conversations with people. If I could start all over again, I would find a mentor and a team of like-minded people to help me out. I understand the power of collaboration and I would have done my share.

Do you write alone, or have you teamed up with other writers? I’d love to know if other people are part of your writing process.

5. I write what I love, not what people will buy

One of my friends is a painter. I believe he is a brilliant painter. I love the way he paints, but the reason he doesn’t sell any of his paintings is that he only paints what he loves to paint. And at the time I am writing this, he loves to paint aliens and blood. I believe that if he would have looked more at what people are interested in buying rather than what he loves to paint, he would be making a career as a successful painter.

I am not saying that he should only look at the market, but the market should be part of what he’s doing. And the same goes for my writing. It took me a long time to adjust my first novel from a story that I wanted to write, because I thought that it would be an interesting project, to a story that would actually sell. I have added elements of both.

Adjusting to the market is important if you’re going to make any money from writing. I know that money isn’t really the issue, but if we’re going to be able to write every single day and make writing part of who we are and what we do, we need buyers. And that brings me to my last point.

How to market fiction books

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. I think of marketing fiction books in the same way: it’s a three-step process.

The beginning

Research who your audience is. Find out where they are, and what you should be doing to reach them. It’s usually not that hard.

Do a pre-launch phase. Think of how movies are marketed: they’ve got trailers and movie previews at the movie theatres. Create book trailers and add them to your blog, to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The point is that you should build expectations. It’s not hard at all. You can hire a brilliant person to do it on Fiverr for only $5. Add some text, and she’ll add the effects and the audio.

Use the trailer to drive traffic to your blog, and build an email list of people who are eager to read your book. Let them know that they’ll get it before other people, or make a promise that they’ll get it cheaper. The pre-launch phase should be no less than 30 days. It takes time to build expectations.

The middle

When you’re launching your book, you should first send emails to the people on your list. They should be waiting for your book. Write guest posts on related blogs, the blogs your audience reads (which you learned during the research part of the pre-launch phase). You should write many guest posts, and they should be about the process of writing your book. Add things about your new book (you could do this during the pre-launch phase as well). Create press releases and submit them to the local press (it’s fairly easy to get reviews in the local press) and to the large PR sites (such as?).

You should get testimonials from people who’ve read your book. Publish all the testimonials to your blog — the more the better. Ask your readers to publish the testimonials on sites like Amazon.com, which will give your book a higher ranking.

The end

The last part of the launch should be about building relationships with your readers. Relationships are one of the most important parts of marketing. Ask your readers for feedback, and get more testimonials. Build a community. Let them know about you. Tell them how you write, give them more background on the story, and why you wrote it and what your inspiration is.

It’s important that you add to your blog regularly, and that you build your newsletter email list. Communicate with your fans and they will spread the word about your awesome books.

Jens P. Berget is a Norwegian author and entrepreneur. He published the short story, Fuzzy, to critical acclaim in . He published the novel, Lizarragain Norwegian in 2013.

His marketing business is called SlyMarketing. He continues to live off his passion. You can follow him on Twitter @berget.

Jens’ blog, http://slymarketing.com/, published my guest blog on book marketing, as well. Check it out!

Independent book review: My Temporary Life



MyTemporaryLifeMy Temporary Life
Martin Crosbie, 2012

This was so good.

The traditional publishing model is broken indeed if a string of publishers rejected Martin Crosbie’s excellent first novel. I can’t imagine what made them turn it down. The plot is engaging from the beginning, filled with grabbers like high-school bullying and drunkenness and a strong statement about child abuse.

It’s traditional publishers’ loss, and Crosbie’s gain. He published the book himself and took it to number one on Amazon’s paid list for a whole day last spring.

Synposis

My Temporary Life begins with the narrator, Malcolm Wilson, at age 13 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. He and his best friend, Gerald, spend their days trying to avoid being picked on by the tough kids and the teachers, while somehow being noticed by girls. Crosbie skillfully reveals Malcolm’s back-story in dialogue: his mother came from Canada, met his father, Alex, in Scotland, and about nine months later Malcolm came along. After a few years, Malcolm’s mother moved back to her home town, Vancouver. Malcolm stays with his father, a part-time construction worker, through the school year, and visits his mother and her temporary boyfriend for the summers. Malcolm is left feeling that everything is temporary: he’s only with his mother or his father temporarily. Even when he wishes that his life could be the way it used to be, when his family was united, he realizes that was a temporary situation, as well.

When Malcolm is 13, after a particularly humiliating episode of bullying, Malcolm’s father teaches him how to fight. The next fall, he begins his teen-age growth spurt and discovers his ability at track running. After that, the bullying of Malcom stops—but not so for his friend, Gerald. Nicknamed “Hardly” after he’s found drunk in school, Gerald is not only bullied by his classmates, he’s beaten regularly by both parents.

Malcolm moves to Canada after getting a scholarship to attend a private high school on Vancouver Island. Alex Wilson takes Gerald in to save him from his abusive life, until Gerald is old enough at 15 to join the Army.

At that point, the book jumps ahead about 20 years. Malcolm is now in his 30s, successful in his career as an accountant and a failure in romance. He meets Heather, a 20-something woman with the apparent confidence to dye her hair green and wear high boots even when they’re not in fashion or even in keeping with the weather (it’s set in Vancouver, where you need galoshes more than high boots). Heather draws Malcolm into her attempt to reunite with her 10-year-old daughter.

Style

martinCrosbie’s style is exactly what publishers say they’re looking for: clear and so smooth you don’t even notice it. Without calling attention to his command of language, Crosbie brings you into Malcolm’s world and his heart.

His dialogue is nearly flawless. I can hear Alex’s brogue and Malcolm’s lilt.

Crosbie’s characterization is just as good. I can believe in characters like George and Rosie, and even Malcolm’s mother, because I feel like I’ve met people just like them before.
The only part that’s hard to believe is the way Malcolm won the scholarship. The whole episode seems too convenient. On the other hand, Crosbie, the author, was born in Scotland and moved to Canada when he was young, so maybe the episode is autobiographical. Still, it was the one weakness in the book.

Bottom line

This is an excellent novel, and I’m looking forward to reading Crosbie’s next book, My Name is Hardly.

I can’t wait.

Think strategically



Creative Commons

On Saturday, April 12, I’ll be showing my paperback books at the Canadian Author Association’s first-ever Book Fest.

If things go right, I may even do some live blogging from there. And if you come, we may even have a chance to meet face-to-face! I know I’m excited about it.
I look at events like this more as chances to network with other writers, readers and book enthusiasts, rather than as a place to sell product. But let’s face it, authors are all trying to sell their work. As my Internet friend and fellow author Russell Blake likes to point out, writing books may be art, but selling them is business. And in that frame of mind, I am re-presenting a blog post that I originally wrote for the Guild of Dreams blog.

Thinking of authors as business people

The book field is an extremely competitive, fast-moving market. If any of us hope to carve out the slightest sliver of presence in it, we’re going to have to recognize it as a marketplace and ourselves as sellers of products. Marketers. Business people.
The authors who sell the most books treat their activity as a business.
I have to admit I’m not the greatest business type person in the world. But over the past couple of decades that I’ve been selling my words, I have learned that you’re a lot more likely to succeed at something if you have a detailed strategy to achieve it.
If you’re a writer (or anything else, for that matter), think strategically about your career. Set some realistic, if ambitious, and measurable goals. (Check out George Doran’s SMART project management approach.)
These should not be just a number of book sales. Your strategy has to list a lot of specific steps that will help you achieve your goal. What will you do to increase sales? When will you write your next book, who will review it, edit it, design the cover, take care of the production of an e-book or a paperback?
What is your promotion plan? How will you contact book reviewers? What is your social media plan? What will you do on Facebook, how frequently will you tweet, what will you do to increase your number of followers on Goodreads?

A collaboration challenge

As individuals, we don’t have the ability to make much noise. But if we work together, strategically, we can have a lot more impact with a lot less effort.
Regular readers know that I am a big believer in authors (and other artists) working together, sharing skills and leveraging collective efforts. I participate in group sales and in professional organizations like Independent Authors International and Bestselling Reads.
Credit: Anthea Sieveking/ Wellcome Images
My challenge to all my readers who are also writers or other artists is to come together, not just in a mutual support and admiration group, but in a strategic one. Contribute your particular skills and take the advice of others who know about their specialties.
Collectively, we can devise an effective strategy to raise our profiles, improve the quality of our work and sell more books.
Want to get involved? Tell me about it or offer your time, expertise and effort in the comments, or send me an email (you can find it here if you look).

Three biggest mistakes that new authors make



A guest post by author consultant Barb Drozdowich

I’d like to thank Scott for inviting me to share some thoughts today. 

I’ve published four books focused at helping authors. They cover a variety of subjects and basically represent needs that I see in my day job,  teaching authors WordPress and helping them with various social media issues.

Let me start by saying that I love working with authors every day! They create the books that feed my soul and my world would be pretty empty without them. 

I often say that I think that it is sad that we expect authors to be jacks of all trades. Most of the authors that I meet do an incredible job of creating magical stories that we lose ourselves in. It’s not enough, however. As you all know, authors are now expected to wear all the book promotional hats. 

Unreasonable.

That being said, we need to get on task. What do I feel are the three biggest mistakes that new authors make?

In my opinion, the first mistake that many authors make is they do not start building their author platform far enough in advance of publishing their books. 

Ideally, authors should start working on their platform when they start writing their book. I’m not the only one to think this way. The blogosphere is filled with similar advice.

The platform: where the author begins the journey to success.
Photo by Matt Cornock used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical 3.0 Unported License.
I’ll take this advice one step further and suggest that your author platform consists of more than a blog, a Twitter account and a Facebook account. You want to make it as easy as possible for readers, both new and old, to find you. Google is the world’s largest search engine and because of that, Google+ must be part of your platform. You don’t need to understand the specifics of why, just know that Google+ will play a significant role in being found easier in Google searches.

The second mistake that authors make is ignoring the importance of presenting a professional face to the world. 

The look of your blog and the cohesiveness of your branding across your books and your various social media platforms is very important in today’s book selling world. The attitude of “I’m just not very technologically advanced so people need to take me as they get me” doesn’t fly. This sort of author often has a blog that looks like a thrift store.  It has sidebars stuffed with mismatched graphics and no discernible way to easily buy their books, or follow their blog. 

If you want to be taken seriously as an author, you need to find a way look professional. Look at your site. Without scrolling down, can readers follow you on all your social media and buy at least one of your books? Isn’t that one of major reasons why you have a blog?

The third mistake that authors often make is not asking for qualified help for things that they don’t understand. 

Authors take writing classes or go to writing retreats, but are reluctant to get help with the other aspects of publishing a book. Because of that reluctance, they try to do everything themselves, or they ask for help without qualifying the help.  

I find that people who look for help, don’t ask the right questions. It seems logical that you would ask whether a putative consultant knows enough to help you with your particular question — but it’s more important whether that person understands the unique needs of an author? A blog can be a technological wonder, but if you can’t use it, what good is it? 

If you are spending hours struggling with your blog or another part of your author platform, when are you writing? Isn’t it worth your time to get a few hours of instruction or a few hours of help so that you can spend more time on your next book?

Technical help doesn’t need to be expensive and it isn’t hard to find. What may be difficult to find is competent technical help. With the explosion of indie publishing, many people are hanging out a shingle and waiting to take your money. Choose carefully and ask a lot of questions!

Today’s book-selling world is global. You are selling your books to people around the world — not just the people you meet at your next book signing. Make sure that you are prepared to market your books to the world.

Barb Drozdowich

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

She has written four guidebooks in the Building Blocks to Author Success series: 


Find Barb:

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