by Michael Poeltl
It’s a fact that people engage with video almost three times longer than a static post or ad. That’s your first indication that video is your way forward. The other is that video can pack a visual punch a meme or gif just can’t accomplish. Consider an author reading passages from his or her book and the tension that accompanies it by standing in front of a group of people. If you’re lucky, you’ve filled the seats. If not, that anxious feeling could ruin your night. That’s stressful. Video readings, on the other hand, are completely stress-free. Do it from the comfort of your favourite chair. I was actually kind of nervous even to sit in front of the camera the first time, but with now over 20 videos behind me, the pace and comfort level at which I’m doing these video readings has increased ten-fold.
And, whereas in-person readings can go long, video readings should last no more than three minutes. You don’t want to give too much away, and this is more in-step with today’s short attention spans.
Book reviews is one of my on-going concerns with authors. Maybe they don’t care about book reviews and never put any effort into getting them. Their book has been available for months or years yet they have zero or one or two reviews.
Other authors put effort into getting reviews when their book is first launched (which is admirable). Yet after the initial launch, they press on to other areas and never do anything additional about book reviews.
My focus in this article is helping you understand the on-going importance of book reviews. Whether your book is just launching or has been out for years, you still need reviews. A new review whenever it is posted is something you can tout and promote on social media.
I encourage every author to get at least 25 reviews when their book launches.
Most authors dream of seeing their books turned into film/TV, so millions of people can experience their worlds. In today’s show, J.A.Huss and Johnathan McClain tell the story of how they worked together to turn Julie’s books into a successful TV pitch.
Plus, I have updated all my main landing pages on writing fiction, writing non-fiction, publishing, marketing, making a living with your writing, and the author mindset. You can find everything on my Resources page here.
This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.
J.A.Huss is an award-nominated New York Times and USA Today best-selling romance author with millions of copies of her awesome books sold around the world.
[Julie was previously on the podcast talking about writing and marketing romance.]
Johnathan McClain is an award-winning stage actor, screenwriter, and film and TV actor, appearing in programs like Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men. He’s also an award-winning audiobook narrator.
Julie and Johnathan co-write as Huss McClain.
Self-publishing books for children can be challenging because of higher printing costs and difficulties in marketing to your target market. In today’s show, Karen Inglis explains how she sells thousands of copies of her books for children and tips for how you can do it too.
In the intro, I mention my own writing update with Valley of Dry Bones, as well as how Gutenberg update will impact your WordPress site [The Digital Reader], and The Story Studio podcast episode about creative burn-out, focusing on the wrong things and how to get your writing mojo back.
My agent recently had a confab with a number of editors in New York, all from various houses. I can’t tell you the details of which house wants what (she’d kill me) but I can say this: what everyone is looking for is something fresh. They want the unique, the immersive, and the truly different.
There are a few catches to this.
READ MORE How to Write Fiction That’s Fresh
Last post was some tongue-and-cheek fun pointing out how brands (particularly author brands) abuse Twitter. Today, I want to shift gears and chat some about how writers—actually ALL brands—can use Twitter far more effectively.
Currently, too many writers are like Stormtroopers—lots of
shots fired tweets that hit NOTHING.
Admittedly, when I got on Twitter (practically when it was invented) I didn’t get it. I would—KID YOU NOT—freak out when people I didn’t know followed me.
WHAT? Are you, like, a stalker?
Yes, I was missing the ENTIRE point of Twitter. Hey, we all start somewhere.
Do you have to do Twitter? No. No one will take you to writer jail because you didn’t sign up. Is it wise to use Twitter? Meh, for the past couple years. Er, not so much.
Was sort of a personal choice if one was willing to be persistent and cull through bots to find gems. I stuck with it namely because I figured Twitter eventually would remedy the problems that were hobbling this once extremely effective social platform.
Now that Twitter’s going all Old Testament on bots and excessive automation? ABSOLUTELY a great idea to be on Twitter.
Branding helps readers find your books and enables you to build a long-term career as a writer – but many authors get branding all wrong. In today’s show, Kristine Kathryn Rusch explains what branding really is and how to build your author brand in the most sustainable way.
In the intro, I talk about watching the demographic shift in action – from Boomers to Millennials, who are now the largest living generation in the US.
There’s no disputing that social media has disrupted and changed, perhaps forever, the way we receive and deliver information. It has also changed how we read—and because of this, I think it goes without saying that it has influenced our stylistic choices as writers. But another phenomenon seems to be emerging, beyond style and digitized text: the rise in collaborative works. In the television and film world, multiple collaborators on any one project is nothing new, but then, most of those writers work in one room, spit-balling ideas off of each other. But it’s hard to imagine making this work in the novel writing world when we’re scattered across the globe. Yet it’s happening, and we very likely have social media to thank for this.
We’re all so much more accessible, for one, but we also have the ability to work “side by side” and “simultaneously” via Google Docs. (Some tell me they work in a joint Scrivener account or via a single Word Doc emailed back and forth as well, though that sounds cumbersome to be honest.)
Social media is certainly one of the big instigators, but collaborative works might also be popularizing because of other factors. For example, authors have been forced to become entrepreneurial. In doing so, we have realized the essential need to work together with others to promote our works. Two heads really are better than one in this case. Another factor in the rise of collaborative novels, is our need to find new ways to break into the increasingly tight book market. When you fuse the audiences of two authors together, you’ve doubled your reach. More and more of us are seeing the value in this approach.
I don’t remember much about elementary school, but I’ll never forget the time my favorite author, Ann M. Martin, of Baby-Sitter’s Club fame, came to visit. As she stood before my second-grade class talking about her books and writing process, I hung on every word. I still remember the answer she gave when a classmate asked where her story ideas come from: eavesdropping.
Martin’s visit has stuck with me for over 30 years. Now that I’m writing High Flyers, an illustrated chapter book series about a team of racing pigeons, and doing author visits of my own, I draw inspiration from that memory to create a rich learning experience that children will remember long after I leave. My approach was recently validated by a five-year-old boy who came up to me at a community event to tell me that I had given a presentation at his elementary school and that he enjoyed learning how to candle a racing pigeon egg to see if it’s fertilized. For a moment, I just stared at him with my mouth hanging open, stunned that my author visit had made such an impression on this young reader.
It’s not about you; it’s about them.