Sunday, March 19, 2017

Social Media: How Do I Make it Work for Me?

One thing I'd really like to get better at is using social media as a more effective marketing tool. Last year I did an on-line marketing challenge that gave all sorts of great tips. One of the best things that came out of it was setting up a Twitter account, which previously I hadn't had. I was super stoked about it, but now nearly a year is sitting and languishing. I rarely post on it, so it's out there collecting cyber dust. And to be honest, I'm not sure how it's that much different than Facebook, other than you're limited to the number of characters you can use in a post. I'm sure I'm missing the point because I don't understand how it really works.

The same for my Facebook account. I rarely check that either. The biggest issue I have with Facebook is when I first set up my account, I did it as a personal account. What I needed to do was set up an author page. Does anyone who is more Facebook savvy than me know if I can switch it?

And will switching cut down on the endless stream of day-to-day from the hundreds of friends I have? I don't want to offend anyone, but what I'm looking for is a way to promote my books, not look at pictures of everyone's cats, babies, birthday parties, etc. I totally don't even know enough to know if having any author page would cut out the zillions of personal posts. Is there a way to use Facebook for strictly promo and not get an endless stream of everyone else's life?

Because I just can't keep up. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I am sorely tempted to go completely off-line with my Facebook account. I think, but again I'm so not up on how it all works, that I can put a 'hold' or 'stop' or 'freeze' on my account or something like that until I figure out how to switch it over from a personal page to an author/business page...if it's even possible to do that. Maybe I need to just 'erase' and start completely over. I just don't know.

What I need, me and every other author out there I'm sure, is a fresh approach. What's going to make me stand out from everyone else out there? I tried a promotion for my New Year's Eve release last year, but it didn't really pan out. I think I fell about 995 short in my #sellathousand 'challenge'. But in a sense, I don't consider it a complete failure. It got me to try something different as a way to reach readers. And as part of the promotion, I joined a few Facebook groups strictly for promoting books, which were great while I was running my contest and 99c book sale. The sale part of the promotion seemed to work better than trying to sell a thousand of a single title. I may try putting some of my others titles on sale in the near future, to see what kind of results I can garner.

What I need is to set aside time to really work at promotion. Part of the problem is I think of my writing as a hobby, not a 'real' job. Which means that other things in life always come first and take precedence over my writing. I know I'm not the only one. Everyone is busy and has a million things going on. I think I used to be better at balancing everything. I'm not sure what changed. Maybe just my attitude.

I don't mean to sound whiny...and I apologize if I do. What I'm really looking for here is to know how you use social media. Do you post on Facebook or Twitter everyday? Do you find there are certain types of posts that tend to draw more attention? How do you deal with the non-writing posts of Facebook? I'm not looking to steal anyone's unique and original ways of promoting, but if you're willing to share some tried and true strategies you've used, I'd be eternally grateful.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Paula's new novel - IRISH DECEPTIONS

Paula’s new novel, IRISH DECEPTIONS, will be released this week.   

This will be my 13th novel, if you count my early (1960s) four novels, and is the 9th of my ‘modern’ novels (those published since 2011). It’s also my 4th Irish novel. Like the other Irish novels, it’s a ‘stand-alone’ with two new main characters, but some of the characters from my previous novels do make an re-appearance, and the setting is the same – Mist Na Mara House which was introduced in ‘Irish Inheritance’ and since then has become an Arts Centre in the stunning surroundings of the west of Ireland.

As it’s my 13th (unlucky for some?) novel, maybe I should have expected some hiccups, and they definitely happened with the cover of this book. I thought all was going well as I loved the cover my cover artist produced, based on my ideas and the photos/images we selected. But then – oops, one of the photos couldn’t be used ‘for commercial purposes’. Panic stations! A whole evening was spent with back and forth emails between publisher, editor, cover artist and me, as we tried to find an alternative image that was suitable, and also available for a book cover.

A new ‘test cover’ had me cringing, as it didn’t look right at all, but a few hours later I received another cover – and yes, this was actually even better than the original cover. Cue a huge sigh of relief!

So here it is:

And here’s the ‘blurb’:
Ellie Vaughan relocates to Ireland after a devastating car accident which halts her career as a professional dancer. She finds a new but equally rewarding life teaching dance at the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre amidst the beautiful surroundings of Connemara and the stunning scenery of Ireland’s west coast.
A chance meeting with charismatic Irish actor Dan Nicholas leads to them working together as director and choreographer of a musical show at the local school. Their mutual attraction grows, until Ellie discovers Dan has deceived her. He, in turn, is shocked and angered by what he believes is her lack of honesty.
As soon as one problem appears to be resolved, another takes its place, with Ellie’s former dancing partner and Dan’s ex-girlfriend adding to the complications, as well as a thirteen-year-old schoolboy, who is hiding his own secret.
When the deceptions mount up, can Ellie and Dan find a way to overcome all the obstacles that threaten to tear them apart?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It Finally Happened!

Jennifer signed a new book contract...

While I don’t make a lot of money at it, writing is my full-time job. I’m lucky enough to have a very supportive family who believes I should pursue my dream, even if the financial payback isn’t there. I have children who are interested in what I write, tell their friends about my books, ask me questions and actually pay attention to my answers—if any of you have teens, you’ll know how amazing this is. And so, I dedicate a lot of my time to doing it.

I treat it as a job. I schedule time for it, and with some exception, I write even if I don’t want to do it. Which is why my dry spell was so tough to deal with. I was writing, I was editing, I was submitting, and I was getting rejected. It’s normal and it helps to develop a thick skin (those wrinkle slower, right???) But it’s frustrating.

So I made a plan. I had two stories I was going to finish pitching. If those two stories were rejected and there was nowhere else to go, I was going to try my hand at self-publishing one of them. And then I was going to give up. Because there's only so many times I can bang my head against a wall.

I submitted them, and I heard back from The Wild Rose Press. They were interested! I’d been eyeing them for years but the timing had never been right. Well, apparently all the stars aligned and the timing was right, because I signed a contract for one of those two books, Addicted to Love, on my birthday! I’ve spoken with several writers (Hi, Debra!) and they love working with them, my interactions with the editors have all been wonderful and they are the most communicative publishing house I’ve ever seen.

I don’t yet have a release date, but I did fill out a cover art request—those are scary. I always think I’m ready for them, and then I start to answer the questions and I draw a complete blank. My heroine? Who is she? My hero? Is there one? Luckily I make Pinterest boards for each story I write, so I pulled up the board for Addicted to Love and suddenly everything came back to me. J I do need to fill that board up with other pins, but I had enough of them to help me out and I can’t wait to see what my cover looks like.

In the meantime, I’m writing and editing and remembering not to give up. Because just when you’re about to is when good things happen.