Friday, November 28, 2014

We're on Hiatus: Happy Holidays!

We do not add new content during our Holiday Season. Instead, we offer a collection of links for you to peruse. We'll be back in 2015.

Creating a Fabulous Book Launch Event

Marketing Outside The Box by Marci NaultFor her Book Launch Party – she  decided to cross-promote with local artists, wineries, theater companies, comedy clubs, and caterers. The outcome? A party that would’ve cost over $5000, but instead was only $200. She signed more than 100 books, and in this post she shares what she did to make that happen!

Insights from our favorite local Bookseller 
(Hint: Create a relationship with one near you!)

The Authors Road: A collection of author interviews offering insights. Look through their collection for your favorite authors. This project is labor of love from George, Salli & Ella: "We are doing this to honor one of America’s greatest natural resources — its writers."

Words Are All You Have - Jessica Page Morrell

Insights from Publicity Professionals

Publicity Professionals Enhance the Author Persona - Sharon Bially of Book Savvy Public Relations  

Enjoy our Book! 
Enjoy cruising around all the posts and tips here on our blog. 

       Happy Holidays and Have a Joyous New Year!
                                        Therese and Morgan

Friday, November 14, 2014

NaNoWriMo, Websites, and Active Links

It's mid November and what has become known as the National Novel Writing Month time of the year. If you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo - check it out at Many budding novelists have taken their storytelling skills to the next level by slugging through NaNoWriMo. FINISHING the first draft of your manuscript is the first step to becoming a professional novelist. Completing the process of creating a story others will consider worth reading is essential for crossing the threshold between 'hobbyist writer' and 'published author.'

Okay, you're a published author and now you want to sell books. The primary business tool to help you on that journey is - A Website! Simple, right? If you build it, readers will find it, right?

Here's some of our thoughts on what is necessary to know about websites, and how to make one work well for your success.

Pull to one Primary Point of Contact

Website Basics - Content for Pre-Pub & Published Authors

Your Website is Your Business Office and Bookstore

You Are Now A Successful and Prolific Author with Numerous Novels to Promote. How do you do that? How do you present your novels so readers can peruse and purchase them with ease?

Book Page Organization

Now Here's A Very Important Thing! Take Notes!

Once your website is established and you are using it to promote and sell your books, and it is listed on your business cards and all marketing and promotional items, Check The Links Monthly or Quarterly. Especially the Point-Of-Purchase (POP) links. The best way to do this is to go to a random computer, like at the library, and access your website. You want to see your website where it is not already tagged with cookies and frequent visits. Does everything look right, do the links work?

Another possibility is to go into a store that sells the latest mobile devices, like tablets and phones, and see if you can access your website on those devices. How does it look? Do The Links Work?

Websites that Wow by Collette Cameron

Any questions? 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Professional Persona

Therese and Morgan Say: Creating this Author Marketing 101 site, and now our Guide and Journal, began because we were hearing tons of misapplied marketing terms being directed at novelists. If you're new to this site please review our Persona and Push, Pull, POP pages! Novelists need a Persona for their marketing plan while it is their novels that need to be branded by genre. 

Persona vs. Brand: What's the Difference?
Most, if not all, of the marketing information targeted at authors tout the necessity for an author to develop their "brand" and "platform". One of the main reasons we started this website is our strong conviction that this advice is WRONG.
CORPORATIONS and businesses have brands. Politicians and activists have platforms.
So, what's the difference between a "brand" and a "persona"? [Read More!]
Okay, you've worked on your persona and have a clue about your brand. You're ready for the social media circus but... Which one is right for you and your audience? Not all networking is like grandmas sharing baby pictures, or foodies discussing recipes.

Linked In: Keep it Professional, Please...
Never heard of Linked In? Linked In is a professional networking site where people in different industries gather to share information. The key word in that last sentence is professional. On our newly minted Social Media Content Spectrum, Linked In content should be closer to the "Pious Grandmother" end of the spectrum. In other words, if you wouldn't want your average grandmother to read it, don't post it on Linked In. (Though your pious grandmother may actually enjoy fluffy pink kittens, don't post kittens either - leave them for Twitter and Facebook.) [Read More!]

Or maybe the whole social media thing is just too confusing. You're nostalgic for the days when there was a daily newspaper with a book section....

If you feel even Google is too confusing, and there's no proof any of that social media stuff works to sell books, you can return to your cave and write novels as a starving artist. Go for it. You'll be joining the time honored tradition of being consumed by your art. At least your brilliance will be found sometime in the future, right?

Don't despair! Digital media hasn't stood the test of time like chiseling stone tablets but success stories do continue to sprinkle from the internet clouds.
Here's an interesting one:

Taking the Long View (featuring Tawna Fenske) 

Haven't heard of Tawna? That's okay, we haven't heard of you - yet. But we applaud Tawna's marketing on every level so her website is a great case study for you to use as an example of all our tips and tricks.

We're sending you on a bit of a webbit tour with all these links.

In the business of publishing today it is in your best interests to keep your eyes open to all options, just don't make yourself crazy. Go back to your writer cave for a month or two and draft your next novel. Take a break to refill your creative well. Maybe you need to wait until the next new moon to take a look at your publishing options for your next novel.

We've already got a post about that, too:

The debate over whether to publish via Traditional, Indie, Digital, Print, or Self has ebbed and flowed over time. In fact, authors are now encouraged to have a HYBRID publishing career strategy. Don't You just LUV how fast the advice changes? [Read More!]
The Professional Author knows to focus on the craft of writing and the art of storytelling. The Professional Persona is for turning that craft and art into a career.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Grow Your Audience with Solid Media

Social Media is dynamic and changeable. As referenced in our previous post, each venue has a specific flavor and audience demographic. Any one could be the place where an author or entrepreneur gets attention and becomes an overnight sensation.

The Myth is that you need to be the loudest voice in the noise, or share the most pictures, or posts, or links, or likes, or shares. That is how the innovators and adopters made social media sites work for them in the early days. Yep, social media has been so dynamic and explosive that what worked three years ago is no longer valid. What hasn't changed is that social sites are a venue for discoverability of your author persona and books. What do you want discovered?

Giethoorn Village in the Netherlands **
Our previous post also highlights the popular trend for sharing content in text bursts and quick links. 140 characters per Tweet? Pictures only? What is that media content and where is it? Who is looking for it? Why?

The internet is the information highway and maybe Social Media is currently a new version of gridlock. (This is another reason why texting and driving are never done together!) YET, a link to media you have authored can drive traffic to your website and novel, whether by Tweet, Pin, Tumblr, or add-your-choice.

That solid little media piece you wrote, whether a blog; poem, interview, or review, that is worthy of being shared quickly through links, or hashtags, could be all it takes for a magic carpet rides to dreams come true and stellar sales. Right?

A novelist today needs to Sell Well. Your primary job is to write great stories that your audience will want to read. No matter how amazing your marketing plan, or how socially skilled you are on every digital media site, sales are based on your product being discovered by buyers. For novelists, product = your books and buyers = readers.

Readers read more than just novels. If the only content shared in text bursts and quick links is the release date of a new novel every year or two, that is not enough to generate reader recognition. Blog posts, short stories, fun quips, (all easy to find on your website!) are the solid media that can be hashtagged and Tweeted. It is the Content of the Media that Generates A Share Factor.

This is information that is being shared all over the web, so here's another example of the same concept being explained:

How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media   By  
[... ] Social media is a form of content, and can be seen as micro-publishing. Each post is sharing a tiny bit of your story, message or perspective—possibly something informative or inspiring. The posts might end up being part of a larger work. They might be daily creativity experiments. And they might offer you insight into how your audience thinks and engages with your work.
  • Nonfiction writers who author blog posts (part of the social media universe, in my view) compile and edit them into a larger publication.
  • Artists or illustrators who post quick images on Pinterest or Instagram and later publish a high-quality print book collection that includes some of those images.
  • Fiction writers who post about their research and inspiration for a novel, giving readers a sneak peek of what’s to come.
Or, think of it like this: You’re micro-publishing and sharing things you’re happy to give away, and that reach a very wide number of people, because they can spread freely. [Read More...] 

 Include All Relevant Media in Your Marketing Plan
Writers often want to engage in debates over the merits of Twitter vs. Facebook, Goodreads vs. Amazon author pages, and 'what is this Google+ thing?'. The reality is only two questions need to be considered:
  1. Where will you find your audience?
  2. Which media outlet do YOU like and will FREQUENTLY use? 
Remember, Media is the TOOL and Marketing is the CONTENT. A well thought out marketing plan will provide the roadmap for how you are going to connect with your audience. Through these touch point connections, your ultimate goal is to build interest and SELL more books. [Read More...]

**And that fairy tale village and canals featured above? It's a real place you can visit, and wasn't it nice to rest your imagination on that image?  :D

Friday, October 3, 2014

Back to Basics: Go To Your Audience via Social Media

In our last post, we talked about how to 'know' and 'define' your audience. Now that you know your audience, let's talk about how to focus your marketing efforts with special attention given to catering to your audience's needs and natural habitats. Today's post will focus on Social Media.

Social Media

There are some authors who believe you have to be everywhere online to find your audience. As we've said before, this sort of thinking is called the 'shotgun method' - yes, you are going to hit something, but you're also going to hit a whole lot of nothing. Think about your target audience and do a little research to determine which social media sites your audience frequents. Then take a moment to think about what YOU enjoy. If your audience loves Twitter, but you hate being confined to 140 characters - then don't use Twitter. Trust us when we say that your love or hate for an activity will shine through. Have fun and your readers will have fun, too.

We Goggled 'user statistics for social networking sites' to do some quick research for this post. Below is an Infographic on some of the major social media platforms.

Here is the link to the Leverage New Age Media to access a printable image.
It is easy to find out which sites have the most users, but it takes a little more work to determine which sites your audience frequents. The Infographic above really got us what are the gender and age breakdowns for each of these platforms? Here's what we found...

Second quarter 2013 data. Here is the link to the article 
12 Awesome Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2013

Morgan says: Ok - I'm a bit of a data geek. I often like to compare multiple sources to try to find a cross-section of information in an attempt to get an unbiased picture of what is really going on in markets I'm studying.( Here's where my corporate day job best practices creep into my writing career.  :D) Below is another graphic using fourth quarter 2013 data across a broader spectrum of social media platforms. (MySpace...really???) Since I am targeting 16-21 year-old readers, I will take a hard look at Instragram and Tumblr. Both platforms are of particular interest to me, since I LOVE taking pictures. (I carry my digital camera with me 24/7.) So it would be easy for me to post pictures from my adventures via my Instagram account to start building a presence even before my book is published. Yes, I am already on Facebook - but, I primarily use this account for interactions with friends, family, and my Author Marketing 101 readers who <no offence to anyone, please> tend to be older than the demographic I'm targeting for my fiction. Are you starting to get a feel for how to pick social media platforms based on your audience and your interests?

Fourth quarter 2013 age breakdowns from Smart Insights.

Please note: the social media landscape is an ever changing landscape. When you revisit your marketing plan, carve out some time to re-evaluate your online activities. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is bearing fruit? (Decide what 'bearing fruit' means to it number of followers? Is it the number of folks who leave comments? Is it the number of hits?)
  • What am I enjoying? (Have you decided that you really hate Facebook or Twitter or whatever? Cut the chord and move on to other activities without guilt. Remember this choice is a business decision, but be sure to let your followers <regardless of how few or how many> know that you are leaving this platform and where they can find you. No need to give a reason other than you are consolidating your efforts.)

Know your audience and do research to determine the best social media activities for your PERSONA. Work smart to save time so that you have even more time to write your next book!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Back to Basics: Know Your Audience

Lately, we've been feeling a need to rewind and go back to basics on a few topics. So, let's step back and take a moment to talk about your audience.

Who is your audience?

Sounds like a simple question, but we've seen many authors struggle with answering this question. During one of our first presentations, we had an author in the front row yell "kids." When we asked her, "What kind of kids?" she shrugged and repeated "kids, you know - kids." So we framed the question another way: "How old are these 'kids'? Are they 5-6 years old? Pre-teen? Early teens? Mid-teens? Heading off to college? There is a dramatic difference in types of books you would market to a 5-6 year old versus a 16-19 year old." We witnessed a 'light bulb moment' of insight from this author almost immediately.

So, "who is your audience?" To put this question another way: "Who is your ideal reader?"
Is your ideal reader a:

  • 30-45 year old woman struggling to balance the demands of work, family, and extended care giving?
  • 20-40 year old fashionista?
  • 25-50 year old businessman who spends more time in airport lounges than he does at the local pub?
  • 16-21 year old fantasy and sci-fi readers?
  • 3-4 year-olds starting preschool?
Morgan says: My current WIP is a young adult, Americana steampunk adventure. I'm shooting for a 16-21 year old reader. I like focusing on this age group because they are in the midst of transitioning from a young teenager to a new adult. Many of the choices they make at this age will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of their lives. I want them to know that they aren't alone and that they can feel empowered to make good decisions.
Therese says: My current WIP will be marketed as a New Adult romance novel. This is a developing genre and I chatted with a variety of editors at the RT convention regarding what defines this genre, in their opinion, at this time, which could change next year. "New Adult" novels feature characters in their early 20's who are trying to create their own life instead of reaching age appropriate scholastic, or societal, benchmarks. My target readers are the 19-26 year old females who have scholastic degrees, jobs, their own car, maybe even their own apartment, and they want a relationship too... This will be a marketing challenge. Young women in that stage of their life aren't reading a lot of romance novels. They've got plans and agendas and goals... I know these women. I adore them!

Once you know your audience, you'll be able to focus your marketing efforts and specifically target your readers.

In our next post, we'll talk about how to "Go To Your Audience via Social Media."

Friday, September 5, 2014

Group Efforts: Things to Consider When Taking the Team Approach to Marketing

In past posts we've talked about cross-marketing and teaming up with other authors in various ways to promote your books. We've touched on author scavenger hunts at conferences and co-ops to spread the love and the workload.

In this post, we'd like to take a moment to raise some practical points of consideration when organizing a group effort.

1) Pick your partners carefully: 

Pause for a minute and think about your books. Now, take a few more minutes and think about your AUDIENCE. NOW think about your author friends that you might approach with a group marketing idea. Do you share the same audience? Are you at a comparable level with regards to the progress of your writing career? Do you all have the same level of dedication to marketing? If the answer to any of these questions is a big fat "NO," then reconsider the roster of participants. There is nothing worse than having to drag someone kicking and screaming on your journey. Picking the wrong partners will sap your energy and your time...which brings us to our next point....

2) Plan your time wisely:

Remember, the goal is to pool your energies to multiply your efforts. Set a schedule for deliverables, plan topics for a group blog, and clearly communicate the time required for the intended outcome. Never forget that the best marketing for your backlist is a great NEW release, so be sure to consider your writing time and make it a priority over your marketing time.

3) Set goals:

For pre-published authors, your goal may be to see an increase in your author website or blog hits. For published authors, your goals should be to see an increase in sales. Whether that increase is large or small is really up to you, but have 'a' goal to help you determine if all your hard work is bearing fruit. 

4) Have an exit strategy:

Ok - You have to give yourself and the other members of your team a way to exit your marketing venture. For some activities, it's clear cut - the group brochure copy deadline for print layout is a hard deadline for an 'opt-out.' Other activities can be a bit more squishy like an ongoing shared website, blog, or podcast. When you form your group, make sure there is a space created for open and honest communication. If someone needs to leave your group, don't take it personally. It's a business decision. In the end you are the one who needs to manage your career and at times the best thing for your career is to walk away from a bad (or at least unproductive) situation.

Yes - life happens and your bandwidth will ebb and flow based on long and short term demands on your  time. A well structured team effort will be able to withstand shifting circumstances. However, if you find that your team effort is more of a drain than a draw, exercise your exit strategy, focus on your next adventure, and write your next book.  :D

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beware the Book Marketing Expert

We knew it would happen, once we had a published book to sell, that we would have even more opportunities to experience marketing mayhem. We even received an invitation to participate in a "Book Marketing Experts Online Seminar" where the opening sentence was something like, "We know we are not your target audience but ..." basically we were being encouraged to waste our time chatting with experts in the field of book marketing. It was free and online so all it would've cost was our time.

One of our primary messages is an author's time is a precious commodity and not to spend it foolishly by jumping on the bandwagon of the latest promotional gimmick or hot blog.Our primary objective is to educate our fellow authors so that it's easier to discern the truth from the hype without wasting your hard earned dollars. Everything about this AM101 blog and our book is focused on how to apply basic marketing principles to design and implement a PLAN that is effective to generate sales of your novel. We focus on novelists because they have unique marketing challenges not addressed until now. 

Many of these marketing "experts" include a lot of statistics regarding their message and will even embellish the stats with engaging graphics and colors. This gives the impression the expert is FUN but that doesn't mean it will make your marketing and promotions fun. The difference is, they had fun creating their statistical graphics because that is their job. An authors job is to write books. An authors marketing plan is for an audience to hear about their book so it can be read.

A recent WIRED article featured survey results from the consumer group labeled "millennials" about what they considered Bad Advertising. This is fun reading for marketing professionals like ourselves, and we had a good laugh over targeting buyers specifically by their age. We hope "millennials" and all the other Gen X-Y-Z Boomers voice their offence as being targeted and labeled by their birth year. Feng Shui does a much better job of doing that with animals and nature elements than marketeers will ever accomplish.

Another results survey of an age specific consumer group found that:
  • 49 % of respondents say they turn to brands they know and trust.
  • 40 % say they buy brands recommended by family and friends.
  • 30 % cite price as the primary motivator behind a purchase.
  • 55 % say they find out about products from friends first
  • 85 % say they tell friends about products they like.
Our response to these statistics is YEP.

These statistics merely confirm what we already know and have discussed in this blog:

  • A consistent voice combined with a consistent PERSONA creates a readership that will know and trust the quality of your stories.
  • Word of mouth (buzz) is the best way to attract readers.

Regardless of what the 'experts' say, the fundamentals remain the same:

  • Know your audience and specifically target them in their natural habitat.
  • Create an engaging persona.
  • And above all: write great books!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Marketing: Do What You LOVE!

Okay, okay, we can already hear the groans....'What do you mean do what you love? How does that even fit in the same sentence with the word marketing?'

Our mission here at AM101 is to bust myths and save time. Marketing does NOT have to be an aggravating and arduous chore. Online marketing is so easy and free that few take the time to do it right, instead they do promo blasting. One way to do marketing is to engage potential readers by doing the things that you already love to do and do them with others. Become active in social venues where you want to be, then find ways to mention that you have a book published or will soon have a book published. The trick is to be subtle. Truly it is the light touch that wins the day.

Here are some examples:

Do you love reading books? (Silly question, we know, for authors.) Maybe blog a running list of your favorite books or add this list as extra content for your website. Morgan was recently asked to cover the diversity and multiculturalism desk for Night Owl Reviews' monthly e-magazine. Of course, she jumped at the chance to promote great diverse books. And guess what...she's also found a new way to interact directly with her AUDIENCE. Her new column, The Melting Pot, will debut in the August issue.

Enjoy art? Why not start a Pinterest board that features works by your favorite artists. Someone may like your pin, read your profile, and buy your book. Art lovers read books, too.

Is eating out your thing? Are you a foodie? Why not showcase pictures of your fine (or not so fine, but yummy) dining, or cooking, on Tumblr or Instagram. Yes, it's been done before by tons of people, BUT there are also folks who seek out these posts. These same people can 'stumble upon' your book.

Are you a business article junkie? Post links to your favorite articles on Linked In.

Love kayaking? Hiking? Cycling? Join online groups that share photos and personal stories of being engaged in your preferred activities around the globe.

Love reading blogs? Ask to write a guest post for your favorite blog.

Love shoes? Post your latest shoe finds on Facebook or Twitter. Love purses? Why not start a blog to showcase your latest finds. You could even include pictures of outfits with each purse. Plus, there is no need to buy every pair of shoes or purse you like....take pictures of them in the store or do a screen capture from a website. Even better, include a Zappos or Etsy 'buy' link!

Do you love remote control airplanes? Jigsaw puzzles? Knitting? Lego designs? Celtic music?

What's your personal hobby or favorite leisure or luxury activity?

Morgan says: I love music. My personal blog, Morgan's Mix Tape, features my thoughts and experiences combined with a photo, theme song, and associated video. I now have a global following. Guess where I'll be announcing my book launches? In fact, here is the post about our Author Marketing 101 book launch.
Trish and Rob MacGregor have published dozens of novels and nonfiction books both individually and as coauthors. They love synchronicity stories, dog park politics, yoga, and more, so that's what they post about on their daily blog.

Paty Jager loves horses, dogs and everything country so that's what she posts about weekly even though she writes historical romances and contemporary mysteries.

Terri Patrick loves astrology and family adventures and her grand-babies. Her stories include outdoor adventures, extended family dynamics and esoteric elements.

Do what you love and find your audience!

Here are some more examples of authors 'doing what they love' in posts on our site:

Kari Luna's message to HAVE FUN with your marketing [8/2/13]

Jonathan Evison's message that if it ain't fun, he's not doing it. [8/9/13]

Friday, July 25, 2014

Promotion Made Personal

Promotion is a requirement for authors.
Readers can not buy your book unless they know there is a book, what it is about, and where to buy!

This promotional event was sponsored by Montlake Publishing for the 2014 RT Booklovers Convention. It included a scavenger hunt that required readers to review the novels and chat with the authors. 25 Gift bags were raffled to all the readers who completed their forms and there was a grand prize of a $150 Amazon Gift Card.

There was a consistency to each author table. This is something to consider when planning an event designed to engage customers and sell books, or any direct retail event. Every item, from pens to brochures to candy to costume jewelry was displayed with enough space to be noticed. No one promotion was bigger than the other and readers had to search for the books instead of being overwhelmed with a lot of banners mounted on the walls. This created a rather cozy feeling in a very crowded and noisy room. All the tables were in the center of the room and comfortable for standing, but chairs lined the perimeter of the room so no one had to leave in search of giving their feet a rest.  Separating the author tables, which could be rather crowded with fans, were a few more tables promoting additional books and authors.

The game was the brain child of Robin Perini and she stated it was inspired by Darynda Jones. Each of the eight participating authors had a table to display their book(s) and give away promotional items. All the clues for this scavenger hunt were about the book but the answers were not obvious.

Questions included: "Whose heroine and hero meet at a sacred wellspring?"
"Whose hero feeds his wife chocolate croissants in bed?"
"Whose heroine lost her mother to a serial killer?"
"In which book does a character get broken out of prison?"
Debra Holland and a fan
None of the answers were listed in the book blurbs so a reader would have to discern where those questions may apply then ask the author questions. Some of the authors had fun being cagey about providing yes or no answers and were able to chat more about their books. Players (readers) loved that added interaction to the quest for answers.

There was also enough time for readers to fill out their sheets, enter the drawing, chat with other readers, and still have time to get pictures with their favorite authors.  Everything about this event was low pressure, cost effective, and personal.

An interesting tidbit to us and our message of the author career spanning many years is - many of the featured books were first in a series and published years ago. This promotion was not geared to a latest release or debut author but to creating engaging relationships between authors and readers.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Putting Your Street Team to Work!

As we've mentioned in past posts, we attended the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans, LA in May. Of course, we were on the look out for GREAT marketing in action. Here's an example of what we found....

Saturday at RT is primarily composed of Teen Day and The Giant Book Sale. This year, there were two ballrooms full of authors signing books and double the usual number of convention goers.

As attendees, hundreds of us lined up in a snaking queue to enter The Giant Book Sale. (Some folks started lining up more than two hours ahead of time.) As we stood in line, shifting our weight from foot to foot, this guy in a tailored white shirt started moving through the throng of people handing out fliers and engaging otherwise bored readers in witty conversation.

The snaking queue waiting for the book sale to open.

Who was this guy? He was a member of Team Callahan, the street team for Coreene Callahan.


In fact, the execution of this marketing activity was so great it merits further comment and analysis!

  • I don't want to objectify this guy, but let's face facts, Ms. Callahan knows her audience. Utilizing what we shall dub the 'hunk-o-man walking billboard' definitely got our attention. I mean really... Is there a better way to promote your romance books to romance readers? The fact that he was also engaging us in conversation also made this strategy a winner.

Coreene Callahan's 'hunk-o-man walking billboard' street team member.
  • Notice that his shirt features a dragon...This one image is a HUGE clue as to what Ms. Callahan writes. If the reader doesn't like dragon stories, they could smile and walk away. But if a reader LOVES dragon stories, well now you most definitely have their attention.
  • The image includes her full name and website. Yes! Send readers to your website to learn more and access your BUY links. Smartphones and e-readers make this information even more important - now the reader can make an impulse buy!
  • Her tagline: "Romance on the Razor's Edge" also give readers a clue as to what to expect with regards to the story content.
  • You can make this shirt at home! Just pull a shirt out of your closet and apply an iron-on decal. (You can purchase printer friendly iron-on decals at your local office supply store or online. (Here's one we found!)
Of course, your walking billboard doesn't have to be a 'hunk-o-man'....And you do want to be careful that your street team members know when people are interested and when to move along. (Truly there are very few things worse than being stuck in line with an annoying and talkative person.)

We did not know Coreene Callahan or her books before we met her street team member. All that we can say is that we met him in May. It is now July and we STILL know who Coreene Callahan is, what she writes, and where to buy her books....that, my friends, is called good marketing.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pulling Readers with Your Research

So, you've done your research, written your story, and moved on to planning your next project. Do you file away all of that research work and let it collect dust in a drawer? No!

If you follow our blog, you know that we are HUGE advocates for recycling and reusing your work. Why not reuse your research to attract new readers?

Provided courtesy of the 
Westerville, OH Historical Society

What can you do to reuse your research?

There are tons of things you can do to reuse your research to attract readers. Here are a few ideas:

  • Write a blog post about a historical figure or event that took place during the time period of your book. Who knows, maybe a history buff interested in that event is also interested in fiction that takes place during that time period?
  • Create a Pinterest board that features images of places, characters, clothing, etc. that you used for inspiration while writing your story.
  • Post links to some of the sites you used for research on Facebook or Google+.
  • Add maps of the city or country featured in your story to the 'Extra Content' page on your website.
In training presentations, we've often heard authors of contemporary fiction say, "But I really didn't do any research." There are still ways to leverage some of the details of your story to attract readers!
  • What music do you listen to when you are writing? Make a playlist of songs that coincides with the themes of your book. Oooooh - what about a playlist for your villain?? Music lovers read books, too.
  • Make a Pinterest board of your heroine's wardrobe. What would she where to work, to a party, or on a date with your hero? You may attract a 'fashionista' to your author website and BOOKS!
  • Maybe your heroine bakes cookies when she misses her grandmother. Post a recipe on social media or on your 'Extra Content' website page. Someone searching for a recipe may stumble on to your book page with buy links.
  • Make a walking map of your hero's hometown main street or neighborhood. A tourist may buy your book to take with them on vacation!

Find ways to connect with new readers by tapping into their hobbies and interests. 

Have FUN and be CREATIVE!

Write about cities, cultures, food, restaurants, clothing, etc.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Taking the Long View

We've stated marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. We've advised taking the time to create your online presence and author persona before you venture into the land of social media. Why would you follow our advice? Everything in social media changes so fast why do we advocate the slow and steady approach when stories of viral bestsellers abound?

Of course your book will be that next sensation. But are you sure it's the one you just published or the one you're still writing? What if you follow our advice and keep working your career as a novelist? A novelist must do three things:

  1. Produce good stories 
  2. Tell readers about them 
  3. Point out Where to Purchase them

Where's the proof that those three steps will generate sales?

We've got proof!  And it's on the internet so that means it is True! <Wink, wink >

Tawna Fenske never took our advice on anything.
She already knew to Pull & Push through her Persona before we offered our first workshop. Tawna also did a whole lot of marketing and promotional activity in the first year of her career.

She no longer blogs daily, as she did as a newbie author with one book being released. Her story of "Building my brand, one crude joke at a time" was shared here, as an example of how marketing that is begun well can be maintained with fun. Now when Tawna posts a blog it is picked up by an established fan base of followers in their chosen manner of delivery. She is focused on producing more books and building her readership.

We first introduced Tawna Fenske's marketing journey to our readers in July of 2012, with a re-post of her story posted on her own blog in March of 2010. Tawna was a newbie author with one soon-to-be available novel. In 2010 blogging was the place to be in social media. Tweets were flying but there's only so much VOICE to showcase in 140 characters and hashtags unless they're used to spread the link to an engaging blog post.

Now she has a new story how networking through social media with her fans and readers - can generate sales!

In her "day-job" Tawna interacts directly with businesses and customers through media and personally. As a novelist, Tawna understands and implements our core messages and now interacts directly with readers through various technology tools. She celebrates the sale at the Point Of Purchase. Her website is more blue and neutral to showcase her novels but her blogspot has stayed pink.

In 2010, Tawna was a newbie author using the current social media to engage readers with her voice so she'd have an audience as soon as her novel was released. Now, only four years later, her latest novel was widely distributed to many places where it could be purchased! This created the promotional challenge of how to tell potential readers that her book was worth a read!

So Tawna let her fans and avid readers know that her book was available in so many places that she couldn't list them all. Her readers went looking for them and - spread the news!!!

On May 26th, 2014, Tawna posted on her blog how her fans became booksellers of her latest novel. We are not going to recap this story. It needs to be experienced in her own words. 

Please note, Tawna started blogging in 2010! Now, four years later, she has an established network of readers and followers who will not only buy her books - they will help promote them, too. Taking the long view by being consistent with the quality of her products (books & content) and voice has allowed Tawna to set a solid foundation for success. She's been discovered and her base is helping her maintain her momentum. She doesn't have to blog everyday, so now she can focus more on writing her next book!

Friday, June 6, 2014

How to WORK a Conference

Making Connections
In our 23 May, 2014 post, "Conference & Conventions: To Do & What NOT To Do - Any Questions?" we talked about some of the things we learned about attending conferences and conventions. Now let's take a moment to dive a bit deeper into some strategies for 'working' a conference.

What do we mean when we say "work" a conference?

There are two kinds of people who go to conferences and conventions:
1) People who are there to ATTEND the conference (attendees).
2) People who are there to WORK the conference (workers).

Each of these types of conference / convention goers is there for specific reasons. The attendee's primary objective is to learn and be entertained. The worker's primary objective is to network and make a sale. Both types are there to make connections. It is what they choose to do with these connections that differentiates an attendee from a worker.

How do you "work" a conference?

1) Choose your conferences wisely
There are loads of conferences and conventions that you can attend throughout the year. There are national, regional, and local shows that cover all aspects of the craft of writing and publishing industry. No matter how much buzz is associated with any given show, take the time to do some research before you sign up. Find out who typically attends. Is an editor from one of your target publishers going to be there? How about your top three agents? Will your favorite author be signing books or speaking on panels? Are there panels or classes that will help you with research or otherwise further your career?
Therese Says: I prefer local and regional long-weekend conferences where attendance is limited to 100-300 or less. I've learned my energy and attention starts to fracture after three days. I like conferences that promote a writer retreat flavor and publishing industry professionals who chose the same venue are usually my peers. If the word "boutique" applies, that's my choice.
2) Set Goals
Now that you've selected the conference(s) you want to attend, set some goals. The first time you go to a conference go primarily as an attendee. Make having fun your primary goal while you discover all the things a given show has to offer. At future shows, maybe set a goal to talk with at least five readers and two bloggers. Or maybe your goal is to pitch your latest manuscript to at least three of your target publishers in attendance.
Morgan Says: One of my key goals is to meet authors that write the same sort of books that I write. Networking with my genre peers may create opportunities for cross marketing, since we share the same audience. I also like to get to know the staff of the organization that is conducting the show.
Therese Says: I also like to interact with the staff and workers at large conferences. I've been a volunteer and that's how I've met booksellers from Australia and librarians from Norway. I have become more passionate about the global impact of a well-written good-story and why readers, like us, need more of those!  
3) Leave Room for Serendipity
It is easy to 'over' schedule your time. Running from panel to panel or meeting to meeting constantly can leave you exhausted. Allow time for sitting, observing, and random conversation. Everyone at the conference is a potential reader, until you know if they are or aren't in your audience. Some of the people attending will become great contacts for your writing career. You never know who you are going to sit next to or bump into.
Morgan Says: At the last RT Booklovers Convention, I was sitting in a chair along the main walkway and had just finished a call for my day job when three woman from MacMillan Publishers stopped and  asked if they could interview me for their Young Adult blog. I signed a release form and did the quick interview. One of them was an editor who asked me to submit my work. I was literally sitting in the right place at the right time.
4) Be Prepared
Have your pitch for your latest book practiced and polished. Have a quick answer ready for the question: "So, what do you write?"Mentally prepare yourself for the social interactions at the conference. Be in your author persona. Have your business cards and promotional materials ready to give to business contacts and members of your audience. If you are signing books at a book sale or fair, confirm that your books have been ordered and find out how much table space will be available for your book signing set up.

Attending conferences and conventions can be both fun and rewarding. Take the time to plan and prepare to squeeze every ounce of opportunity out of the experience.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Conference & Conventions: To Do & What NOT To Do - Any Questions?

This month, we attended the RT Booklovers Convention (RT) in New Orleans, LA. RT is a reader focused event sponsored by RT Book Reviews. This event is designed to celebrate romance readers and writers, and as a result agents, editors, and a vast swath of professionals in the publishing industry attend this event. Why? Because READERS, especially avid readers, do not limit themselves to one section of the bookstore. This is a unique event where the decision makers in publishing can have direct contact with customers who buy books To Read - not as part of a corporate revenue stream.

RT is a great venue for us, as marketing mavens, to connect with our core audiences. We chatted with traditional, independent, self, and e-pub authors at all stages of their careers. These are our friends, our tribe, our peeps, the people we created that first AM101 workshop to help. We also chatted with other author advocates who appreciate the simplicity and timelessness of our core message. We selectively passed out autographed books, our graphic cards, and business cards.

We also got to see good (and bad) marketing at work in real time. As novelists, we had an opportunity to talk with readers, bloggers, booksellers, agents, editors, and reviewers. Specifically as novelists, we were engaging with avid readers - we're talking readers who were willing to plunk down a nice chunk of change to hang out with their favorite authors! Plus,in general, RT attendees are savvy. They can tell you exactly what they enjoy reading and why. {And it doesn't hurt that we got to be total fan girls with our own favorite authors - Morgan met Charlaine Harris while exiting an elevator at RT two years ago.}

Often at conferences we see many examples of authors behaving badly. So in honor of our recent conference excursion, here are some Do's, Don'ts, and Be Sure To Go tips for attending conferences:

Industry Focused Conferences

An industry conference focuses on the business and craft side of the publishing industry. Only aspiring authors, published authors, editors, agents, and other industry professionals are permitted to attend.

  • DO put your best foot forward and wear professional attire that is comfortable for long days. It is better to err on the side of being too conservative than show up at an event in clothing that is too casual. You also don't want the distraction of pinched toes, rolled elastic, or scratchy fabrics. Look Good and Feel Good to present your best professional self.
  • DON'T sit in a corner or huddle with only people you already know. You are paying money to attend a conference - and publishing professionals are investing their time to meet you and learn about your projects. Try to break out of your shell and network with new people - how else are you going grow your network? If you're an introvert, stand tall beside an extrovert author friend to smile, listen and learn! 
  • BE SURE TO GO to the bar...yeah, yeah, twist your arm. All sorts of folks hang out in the hotel bar during conferences. Grab a soda, or beverage of your choice, and take a stroll around the room. Morgan typically wears steampunk jewelry - it's a great conversation starter. Therese has chatted with many agents and editors in the smoking areas but don't hang out there unless you are a smoker and understand the etiquette of that social sphere.

Reader Focused Conference

At reader focused conferences you should be fully in your author persona, but still be professional. Many of the folks who attend industry conferences also attend the reader events. Overall, the atmosphere is much more casual. Reader conferences tend to have more of a party atmosphere.

  • DO have fun with your author persona. Wear your persona specific attire and engage your audience.
  • DO take the time to reach out to bloggers. One author friend made formal appointments with bloggers who specialized in her genre before the conference. She even had little thank you gifts for them.
  • DON'T forget that you are still a professional. Do you really want to be remembered as the author who got sloppy drunk and sang "Free Bird" at the top of your lungs? No, no, triple no!
  • BE SURE TO GO to the lobby. If you have to get your word count done for the day, write in the lobby. Yes, it may be hard for you to get your words on the page, but you never know who you are going to meet. Morgan met Megan Mulry in the lobby during a reader event. She also bumped into two key editors form St. Martin's Press while looking for coffee. And of course, there is always the bar....but, see the DON'T note above.  :D

Overall Essentials:

  • DO have business cards. (See our posts here, here, and here on business card content.)
  • DO have your pitch ready. And we mean both your pitch for new projects and the answer to the question "So, what do you write?".
  • DO have some books and free reads to give to readers IN YOUR AUDIENCE.
  • DON'T canvas or blanket the conference with your fliers and bookmarks...(Canvasing would be exercising the shotgun method.) Many of these items end up in the trash. Be selective on who you give your promotional materials to, know and find your audience. A promo piece handed to me personally by an engaging author will get read (see our post on Nikki Duncan). The HUGE pile of promo materials in the conference bag often don't make it to the second day of the conference before hitting the recycling bin - this is because it is information overload. Our primary message here at AM101 is not to spend cash on what goes in the trash!
  • BE SURE TO GO to a variety of events or sessions and HAVE FUN! People will want to approach the person having fun. If you would rather be somewhere else, save your time and money and go there. <harsh, we know...but so true>
If you’re doing a reading, bring a personal copy of your book. Do not take a new book from the bookstore’s stock, crease the pages, and read from it during your talk! 
Hand people your book. This is an old bookseller’s technique. If people are holding a copy of the book in their hands, they are much more likely to buy it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Google Plus: Media that is Social

Therese Says: I am pretty sure Google+ is going to be my favorite social media platform because I'm into Media that is also Social. My account and activity evolved slowly this past year but when I click on the Terri+ link now I am accessing a dynamic and global news feed of interesting to me topics. I also see likes and links from people in my circles and chosen communities without extra effort or clicks. 
Google+ isn’t a one-trick-pony and I am only dabbling in its potentials because that’s all I need or want to do right now. Most posts are truncated with a “read more” link that always works. Links to external media and other platforms feel seamless. This means that Google+ has the technology and flexibility to streamline my online time and is a bonus of fun for my personal interests too!

Google created its Search Engine (the SE of SEO) as a tool for accessibility into a massive information warehouse that has been evolving for decades. Years ago I professionally had tons of fun trying out new techno tools and software specifically to break them, or at lease blow holes in the processes. That’s why I avoid most social media platforms. I started dabbling in Google+ in 2012 mainly because I’d been actively blogging for three years and suddenly all the (RSS) reader-feeds were shutting down. (See our post on Google Reader and read the comments.)

In the beginning, Google+ felt like a ghost town but then I joined two communities, “Kayaking” and “Needful Books” as these are two primary passions, and I connected with people who shared links and my journey began. Then I learned how to separate my personal and professional contacts into circles. From there I began to "Follow Pages" and recently decided to "Explore" by typing in anything of interest and quickly having new pages to view and more refined choices.

What Google+ does: It gives the user an organized and dynamic option of connecting and creating media content that is relevant for the user (you) of anything that is accessible through Google. That’s huge, so take small steps. Small steps is difficult for me because I am prone to bursts of enthusiasm. 

My first job after high school was at a large city newspaper (The Cleveland Press). I had a mild allergy to newsprint ink but still loved turning the pages and having all kinds of things to read in a format that spread across an entire table. Google+ is now my newspaper that fills my computer screen with color pictures and posts from around the globe that I’ve chosen to follow.

What do I read through Terri+? Articles and images from; The Huffington Post, BBC, Wired, National Geographic, The Seattle Aquarium, 10,000,000 Artists & Art lovers, Positive Inspirational Quotes, SEOwise, NASA, Etsy, Pinterest, Linked In, TED, and more from my personal connections and communities. That may seem like a lot but it's slick and easy, especially on my tablet. 

This means Google+ is really in the Green spectrum and seems to play well with many other social media tools/platforms. Hyperlinks can be embedded in posts and comments without issues.

How to make Google+ work for you may take some time and evolve as you explore. You can join and interact with communities, or only follow posts on public pages. Your choices of topics to join or follow are: every major/minor league sport team, brand of auto, celebrity, cooking style, nature and animal interest, photography, birds, sunsets, cats of all size and breed, digital art, coffee, gaming, and tons more. This aligns with our advice to go where you want to be (as the hyper-realized you as your Author Persona who doesn't whine or air dirty laundry) - and have fun. It's really easy to share and create engaging content - the "O"-optimization in SEO. 

There are lots of Google+ reader and reviewer communities, and those themed to specific movies; book or TV series, and more, each with hundreds or thousands of members. The number of members is listed on the icon for that community. Read their guidelines and follow them!

The + button is a "like" and people in your circles will see that you "liked" that post. However, if you want to Share a post you can choose options regarding sharing it privately, or to only certain Circles of contacts, or to a community, or Publicly. 

Circles are a great way to segregate connections. But that segregation is only regarding what you post. You see everything they post on your Home without extra effort and those posts don't get shuffled.

You may already have a Google profile so all you have to do is enhance it with what you want to make public. Create a profile page that represents your Author persona and branding (genre novelist) as on your website and other social media sites. You can make it identical or different like your author photo is the same on all your novels but the book covers are representative of the story.

For more information, here's some WebPro thoughts on why Google+ and Facebook are not Coke and Pepsi type products.

Like any Social Media, there is no guarantee or magic button to direct sales. But for an online tool with dynamic connectivity potential, Google+ seems to offer the most broadband, and personal control, for an online experience for the user.

Engage the customers, but don’t be pushy! Don’t sit at your table like a lump and wait for people to come ask about your book. Say hello! Tell them you’re in the store signing your books. Then, if they don’t make eye contact, or they act uninterested, leave them alone

Friday, May 9, 2014

Linked In: Keep it Professional, Please...

Morgan Says:  Recently, Therese and I were chatting about social media platforms. (Yes, believe it or not, we often chat about such things.) As a rule, we purposely avoid advocating one software package or social media platform over another. Especially since the technology changes so quickly and platform owners can kill a favorite feature at anytime. (See our post on Google Reader and read the comments.) During our conversation, we realized that there are some benefits to using specific platforms for specific purposes and goals. So, today, I'd like to spend some time discussing Linked In.

Never heard of Linked In? 

Linked In is a professional networking site where people in different industries gather to share information. The key word in that last sentence is professional. On our newly minted Social Media Content Spectrum, Linked In content should be closer to the "Pious Grandmother" end of the spectrum. In other words, if you wouldn't want your average grandmother to read it, don't post it on Linked In. (Though your pious grandmother may actually enjoy fluffy pink kittens, don't post kittens either - leave them for Twitter and Facebook.)

Corporate professionals are the super users of this site and I am one of them. I use Linked In all the time in my day job to research companies and utilize my network of contacts to find new customers and learn about new markets / industries. It also helps me to reconnect with former co-workers; find long lost undergraduate and graduate school classmates for networking; and learn about organizational changes at some of my key client accounts.

Because I use Linked In for my day job, rarely do I accept links from my author friends. Why? Well, I don't necessarily want my contact who is the vice president at a major electrical equipment company seeing a post on "Five Tips for Writing Erotic Love Scenes" in my Linked In feed. Now, if writing is your 'day job', post away, but don't get upset when your friends who have different day jobs don't link to you.

In addition, many agents, editors, and service providers <think - website designers, graphic artists, costume makers, etc.> utilize Linked In to find like minded professionals. (There's that word, again, 'professional.') There are groups for writers, self-published authors, etc. that allow members to freely exchange industry information.

In our current economy, Linked In has also become one of the few 'go to' places for recruiters. I've lost count of how many recruiters have contacted me about jobs across the country and around the globe because of my resume content posted on Linked In. I've also had members see my title and ask if I have any job openings.

In short, Linked In should be used for the business side of your writing career to make professional connections and exchange industry information. It is NOT the site to use to connect with readers or promote your book (unless you write non-fiction business strategy books - but even then, advertisements and promotions are frowned upon).

Put your professionalism on display on Linked In.

Don’t undercut or bypass the store. Want to piss off a bookstore owner? Hand out bookmarks that say “available at Amazon.” Tell people they can get your other books at the store down the street. Tell customers to call you direct for more copies instead of coming back to the store. Even worse, sell books out of your trunk right after the signing. The store has worked hard to put this event together, spent money on promotion, and showed their faith in you by providing space in the store. Return the favor and send them business.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Words Are All You Have by Jessica Page Morrell

Therese & Morgan Say: We’ve said it before and now we’ll say it again: writing a GREAT STORY the best marketing you could ever do. So, we asked one of our favorite editors and writing coaches to write a blog post on this topic. Thank you Jessica Page Morrell for sharing your expertise and wisdom!

Jessica Page Morrell Says: 

As you know this is a blog about marketing, written by writers for writers. Most of us have been following the changes underway in the publishing industry and noticed that they’re happening at hurricane speed. In the new publishing world writers are required to handle more tasks that once were done by publishing firms, need an online presence, and ways to reach readers outside of traditional events. It’s a lot to juggle.

So yes, writers and authors to-be: learn all you can about marketing and create an author presence as you learn your craft.  

But some things remain the same. A writer needs to approach his career with heart, integrity, and professionalism.

First comes being a writer with standards of excellence.   

I’m talking about a real writer: someone who writes books worth reading. Books that make a difference. Not a blogger who scratches out a few skinty ‘columns’ of oft regurgitated  or trite matter, or  tweets; not someone who writes a 20-page manifesto, self publishes and calls himself an author; not someone who mostly yammers in 24-point typeface to fill a page. A real writer doesn’t buy into the shortcuts, scams, write-a-book-in-a-weekend quackery or other outlandish propositions. A real writer has nailed the basics—active voice, figurative language, character development, the underpinnings holding together scenes and stories.

A writer is a craftsman, or craftsperson if the male form irks you. Not an artiste, maybe not even the most intelligent person in the room. Now, if you point out the omnivorous reader and word nerd in the room, a person of diligence, in love with language and its heady powers, well then this person could become a real writer. He or she is aware that words, formed from 26 simple symbols, are the humblest and mightiest of tools. Because when you think of it, it’s the most potent magic imaginable that the same symbols create millions of stories, not to mention speeches and articles and amendments and sermons. It’s one of our greatest mysteries: how humankind connects life with language.

To avoid getting lost in the poetry of writing, yes, the writing life is full of tripwires. Sometimes it seems like getting the words right, the story told in the proper order and proportion, will drain you of everything you’ve got. You worry that you’re not saying something new, that your voice isn’t vivid enough, your characters freshly minted.

Just keep going. One sentence in front of the other. Your career is about searching out perfect words, about understanding who and why your story people do what they do. Keep going deeper. Write from a place that is centered and thoughtful. Writers who strike literary poses need not apply. Write when you feel savage or weepy. Write stories that haunt us—now we’re talking.  Or write stories that when the reader sets your book down, she feels a bit disoriented because her ordinary world is seen through new eyes. Because a story should feel like home. Writing is home. Keep writing and bring your craft up to fighting weight.

Write something to feed the collective hunger.

Each manuscript lives or dies in its opening sentences. Each word must be polished, precise, and weighted with meaning. Editors and agents are word people. They will assess your level of craft within the first paragraph, so keep the delivery polished, vivid and exceptional. Write to take readers on an emotional journey and introduce us to people we’ll always remember.

Readers want to occasionally pause to marvel at language or an apt metaphor. So take risks with word use and voice. As you captivate the reader, they’ll leave an ordinary world and concerns and enter a new world. We all hope to be transported by the magic of storytelling.  As readers travel through your words they want to emerge changed by the experience.

Readers also want stories that make them see or understand things in a new way. We especially want to find a viewpoint that would have never occurred to us. The most recent book that did this for me was John Green’s The Fault is in Our Stars which is told by Hazel Grace, a sixteen-year-old with terminal cancer. I just cannot forget her. Most writing is about a question, a problem, a riddle. Make sure that answers, truth, and meaning emerge as your story unfolds. Help readers feel emotions in a world that is sometimes numbing and overwhelming; believe in a time when belief sometimes seems difficult.

Jessica Page Morrell understands both sides of the editorial desk–as an editor and author. She is the author of the upcoming No Ordinary Days: The Seasons, Cycles, and Elements of the Writing Life; Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching:Wisdom for the Creative Life; Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: master the subtle elements of fiction; and Writing Out the Storm. Morrell works as a developmental editor where she has learned how to quickly size up a story’s merits, as a writing coach, and was formerly the Writing Expert at She hosts a web site at and she’s been writing a monthly column about topics related to writing since 1998 which currently appears in The Willamette Writer, writes a newsletter, and has contributed articles to newspapers and The Writer and Writer’s Digest magazines. She also contributes to anthologies and is the founder and coordinator of three writing conferences. She lives in Portland, Oregon where she is surrounded by writers.

Be prepared! Bring a spare pen in case you run out of ink. Bring a little notepad where people can write down the spellings of their names. If the store doesn’t have a coffee shop or tea bar, bring your bottle of water or thermos of hot drink (save the booze for after the book signing, please).Speaking of pens, bring one that dries quickly. Especially if your book is printed on glossy paper, you don’t want to close the cover and have the signature smear or transfer to the previous page. If the paper is thinner, make sure your pen doesn’t bleed through.