What to Create on YouTube/Blogs – Marketing for Authors

As promised in past week’s video, this week I wanted to talk what types of things you should be posting on your blog or YouTube channel. You can use your blogs and vlogs to make yourself present online and promote yourself; this is called content marketing. It develops trust and marks you as an expert in your field, which helps promote sales.

Choose Your Format:        

The first decisions you’ll need to make when you peruse content marketing is deciding what format you’d like to use. Here are some popular options:

YouTube Videos- This is becoming more and more popular. The BookTube community is highly popular, but also on the rise is the AuthorTube community! That wasn’t even a term when I started making YouTube videos!

Blog Posts- Writer’s love to read, so most of the time writers will enjoy reading a blog post, rather than watching it. If you notice, I make all my YouTube videos into blog posts so you can enjoy whichever format you prefer!

Podcasts- Podcasts have been around for a while but they’ve just started to really catch wind now. People are busier and busier and Podcasts are great because you can listen to them while you’re on the go. The tricky thing with Podcasts is that they’re usually longer and more in-depth, so it takes longer to produce them. Like I said in my last video, when it comes to content marketing, it’s a good rule of thumb to produce something to push out at least once a week, so doing this with a podcast may be a little hard.

What Content to Create:

To choose what you’ll be talking about in your videos/blog posts, you’ll need to keep your audience in mind. What genre is your book? What would the type of people reading your book be interested in learning? My first novel, Essence, was a young adult fantasy, so I did videos on writing and publishing for young authors like myself. Another example if if you create a non-fiction book about how to start-up a business, then your videos or blog posts should be based around that. If you become stuck, just join the BookTube community. Create videos all about books! Do book hauls, review books, and give updates of your book as it comes together!

Content Marketing:

This is the basic premise of creating content to use towards marketing. The next step in this process would be to share it online and interact with other creators like yourself to help build your following, and that’s what we’ll be talking about next week!

 

When Should You Become Present Online? – Marketing for Authors

Time for another lesson on Marketing for Authors! Like always, if you haven’t covered The Basics yet, please be sure to read the blog post/watch the video. Today I wanted to talk about a question that’s come up a lot in the past couple weeks, and that’s when should you start marketing/creating your author website? The short answer? Right now!

How Marketing Works

The basic premise of marketing is to gain followers. You create a website/blog and you put yourself out there. If you’re writing a book, then you’ll need readers. How do you get those readers? Through people who trust you and the content you create. Building trust with your followers is vital. If your followers trust your free content, such as your blog or YouTube channel, when you sell something (your book) they’ll feel more inclined to buy it. They read your blog, they watch your videos, they follow you on social media, they know you make good content; thus they will likely feel your book is of the same standards (as it should be).

Why Start Now?

For a lot of authors if feel hard to start a blog or YouTube channel until they have a book. They feel like they’ll have nothing to talk about! Authors falsely assume people will only want to follow their blog to hear about all the things happening with their book. News flash: not a lot happens when you’re self-published and have a debut novel. A nice rule of thumb is to post something on your blog or YouTube channel once a week. When my first novel Essence was published, I felt lucky to have a book-related update once a month.

You need to start gaining a following online because otherwise, your book will be published and no one will know about it. A book’s launch date is important, even for self-published books. It paves the way for the future and the launch day is usually when you’ll get the most social media buzz. It’s hard to create that when your book has already been out for months.

What Should You Post?

So you know you have to start blogging or vlogging, but what are you going to post about? Well, unfortunately, that’s a whole other lesson. Subscribe and you’ll see that video and blog post next week!

Tour of My Writing Desk/Room

I recently moved into the basement of my house and I’ve been meaning to film a quick tour of my new space and today is that day! I’m super excited because I love all the space I have now! There’s room for all my books, my filming equipment, my guinea pigs, and of course my brand new writing desk!

Have a tour of your own writing space? Feel free to send it to me! I’d love to see it!

 

Witches and Cadets || BookCase Club August 2017

Get your subscription to BookCase Cub: http://bit.ly/2ljr9R3
Use the code Mandi15 to get 15% off your purchase!

The Summer on East End Tripple Moon by Melissa de la Cruz

After they cause a terrible accident at their old high school, twin witches Mardi and Molly Overbrook are sent to live with their “aunt” Ingrid Beauchamp in North Hampton, on Long Island’s mist-shrouded East End. Because the twins cannot control their powers, their father begs Ingrid to tame them over the summer, before the White Council exiles the girls to Limbo.
Trouble continues to bubble and boil when the girls meet the younger Gardiner boys, who are just as handsome and sexy as their older kin. But all is not as it seems. As Ingrid helps the girls learn to control their magical impulses, Mardi and Molly have just this summer to figure out how to grow up, how to love, and how to be a family.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.
So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty… no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.
Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust… and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Getting Your Self-Published Book in Stores and Libraries – Marketing for Authors

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One of the most thrilling things for an author is to see their book out in the wild. We dream of the day we walk into a store or library and there’s our book! We all like to say we write for the love of it, but let’s admit it, we’re all a bit vain and enjoy seeing our little book becoming famous. But how do you get your book into stores? Well, if you’re a traditionally published book, your publisher usually handles these things, but if you’re self-published than you are your own publisher. If you want a store to carry your book, you have to work for it.

Barnes and Noble:

The end goal is seeing our book sold in Barnes and Noble, but the thing is, it’s almost impossible to get into Barnes and Noble as an indie author. You can sell your book through their online store through expanded distribution on Createspace, but they usually won’t sell the book in stores. You can sometimes manage to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble, but it’s all about known the right people. It took me two years before Barnes and Noble finally let me come in for a signing. (Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to learn how to arrange a book signing at Barnes and Noble!)

Indie Book Stores:

Indie book stores are your best friend. They love doing events and signings and they will usually sell your book in stores as well. When you sell your book at an indie book store they will usually do it on consignment meaning you leave your book there and they’ll give it a certain amount of time to sell. When it sells they’ll give you a cut of the sale and possibly ask you to bring in more copies. (PS- always sell signed copies, they’ll sell a lot faster!)

The downside to selling through any bookstores is that they do get a pretty large cut. You’ll end up having to sell your book for a discounted rate for them to hold it in their store and they’ll get a cut of the sale at the discounted price. The bright side? Your book is in a store! The downside? You don’t really make money…

If you do bookstore consignment, here is the information you want to file away:

  • Bookstore’s name and address
  • Store owner’s name and contact information
  • Consignment contract (price and cut agreement)
  • Title and number of books left at the store
  • The date you dropped them off along with the date you will pick them up if they don’t sell.

Libraries 

It’s easy to get your book in libraries. Keeping in mind libraries are not for selling, they’re for reading, I always donate my books. I may not be making any money off of it, but I’m gaining readers, and that’s all that matters right?

You Can Get Your Book Anywhere

So here’s the exciting part. If you have expanded distribution through Createspace, than any bookstore will sell your book as long as someone requests it. Sad for us, they usually only buy the one copy that was requested, but someone still bought it! Book stories don’t order indie books because we usually come from a print on demand publisher. This means a book is only printed as it’s ordered. If a book store doesn’t sell a book, they send it back to the publisher, but if the publisher does print-on-demand, they can’t send it back. Which is why places like Barnes and Noble just don’t want to deal with books that come from publishers like Createspace.

 

Writing Rituals Tag w/ Kim Chance

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Recently I teamed up with Kim Chance to create a new tag, and that’s the Writing Rituals Tag! We each answered the questions, so now it’s your turn!

Watch Kim’s video: https://t.co/b0734bqUvh

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

I work or have class in the mornings, so I’ve found my sweet stop to start writing is 7pm. My most successful writing days are during the week because on weekends I usually use that time to relax, or mainly have fun. It’s rare when I write on the weekends.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

I turn my phone on silent and plug it in to charge on the other side of the room. If I’m having a day where I’m getting really easily distracted I’ll turn the internet off on my computer as well.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I’m simple. I usually just read over what I wrote from the previous day. If I see grammar mistakes I’ll fix them, but I never worry about anything other than that. If I see a big problem I’ll make a note of it to fix later in the second draft.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

These days I don’t tend to listen to music as much, mostly because I get easily distracted. If I do need to listen to music, I have a music score station on Pandora that I turn on to help me get into the writing mood.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

When I have writer’s block I like to read because I feel like my biggest problem when I can’t write is that I literally forget how to form a sentence. I know what I want to happen, but I can’t get the words down. To fix this I read because reading a book reminds me what an actual sentence looks like.

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

Whenever I write I have one book that I always keep by my side and that’s Writing 21 st Century Fiction by Donald Mass. At the end of each chapter, the book has questions to help prompt you to improve your writing so I love using it whenever I feel like a part of my book is too boring. I also have my writing notebook out. This notebook has all my notes on my chapters and chapters and any other brainstorming ideas I’ve had while writing. I use it mostly for characters when I need to reference something about them or their history. I also use it to take notes on whatever research I’ve accumulated that I may need to refer to while writing.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Whenever I write, without fail, I will have two Word documents open on my computer. One is my manuscript and the other is the outline of my manuscript. I’m constantly looking back at my outline to see what’s going to happen next and I also modify the outline as needed as I write.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

I always have water by my side when I write. I’m not one for snacking because I find it distracts me from writing.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I usually give myself a goal for the day. I tend to write 1,000 words at a time, so if my goal is over 1,000 words, I take a break every 1,000 words. When I’ve hit my word count, I pat myself on the back and finish up whatever scene I’m writing.

Last but not least, I tag Shaelin Bishop, Kristen Martin, and Lindsay Cummings! And if I haven’t tagged you, do the tag anyway! Happy writing!

Create an Author Website – Marketing for Authors

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It’s time for another marketing lesson! This is my third video in my Marketing for Authors series, so if you haven’t checked out the first video, The Basics, be sure to do that now.

Today we’re going to be talking about the thing every author needs, and that’s a website. Your website will be your home base. All roads (social media outlets) lead back to your website. Today I’m going to cover three things for you: finding a host for your website, creating a domain name, and what type of content you should be putting on your website.

Find a Website Host:

The first step when creating a website is choosing your website host. There are a lot of options for website hosts, but two I recommend most are WordPress and Wix. Wix is great for beginners but it’s very limited in what you can do. The website you’re on right now is a WordPress site. I love it because it’s still easy to use if you’re a beginner, but there’s a lot more tweaking you can do if you’d like. If you really know what you’re doing, you can also upgrade to WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com) that let’s do use different plugins that make your options almost endless for your website. Both Wix and WordPress have a free version and paid version. The difference between free and paid is your domain.

Claim Your Domain Name:

Your domain is your website address. For this website it is mandilynn.com. If I had a free account through WordPress my domain name would be mandilynn.wordpress.com. That’s not very professional, right? Using a free domain name is fine when you’re first starting out, but when you become more serious about your career you’ll want to claim your own domain name. To do this you’ll have to find a third party to register your domain. I use GoDaddy, but I’ll admit that I’m not sure what the differences are between all the different website registrars are. When you’re choosing your domain name, make sure it’s something that will be easy to find when people search for you, such as your name. Don’t use your books in your domain name, because that means you’ll have to make a different website for each book. Keep it simple and use your name. If your name is common, throw in the word author.

Website Content:

Now that you’ve got your site up and running, what do you put on it? When I was designing my website for the first time I looked to other authors to see what their websites looked like. Here’s a list of what I think are must haves:

  • Blog feed and easy to find subscribe button (if you have a blog)
    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to subscribe to a blog but been unable to find the subscribe button.
  • About you page
  • Social media
    • Have a list of everywhere you can be found on social media.
  • Book page with all info of each book you’ve written:
    • book cover
    • summary
    • links to buy
    • chapter excerpt
    • book trailer
  • Contact form 
    • Make sure people can get in contact with you easy. Start building bridges!
  • Events
    • Doing a book signing soon? List it on this page! I also like to make a log of all past events I’ve done. PS- I’m doing a book signing at the end of this month!

Here are some pages that are nice to have, but not totally necessary:

  • Press
    • Keep a log of everywhere you’ve appeared in the press (newspaper, TV, radio, blog interviews/guest posts). This is a great thing to have in your back pocket in case anyone ever asked about your media appearances.
  • Photos
    • Have any photos of book signings that you want to show off?
  • FAQ
    • This is a great place for people to get to know you more.

Overall, remember your website is a place for your author career. Be professional at all times. Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

40K Words Strong! || August Goals

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Monthly check in time! Last month I did a July Goals video and today we’re going to go over my goals to figure out what I did or did not accomplish, and then I’ll be setting my August goals! And don’t forget to enter to win a signed copy of Essence on Goodreads!

Accomplishments of July!

Word count-

My goal of July was to write 20,000 words, meaning my third novel would be 40,000 words by the end of the month. For a moment I didn’t think I would be able to accomplish this goal because I was on vacation the last month of July, but with an hour to spare, at 11pm on July 31st I hit 40,000 words on my third novel! This novel id becoming real! No turning back now!

Become a Re-model Master-

Last month I mentioned I was in the process of moving into the basement of my house. In the basement was an old desk of my dad’s from his childhood. My goal was to do a little remodeling to it and I’m proud to say, goal accomplished! I sanded it down, gave it three coats of paint and new knobs!

Not Accomplishments of July…

Re-Organize Author Website-

I had all the intentioned to re-organize my website, but I got distracted. Last minute I decided before I re-organized I wanted to re-vamp my website and doing that meant re-branding myself and that meant I had to re-design the banner of my website and social media sites. The great news is I love my new branding! Let me know what you think!

Exercise-

My goal was to exercise 4x a week. This goal is laughable. If you’re someone who’s ever moved, you know that after days and days of moving large items you’re too exhausted to go to the gym. So this means I maybe went to the gym twice a week…maybe.

August Goals:

Okay, time to redeem myself! I’ve got goals and I’m ready to accomplish them!

Word count-

Another month another 20,000 words! I’m confident that I can hit this goal and maybe over-reach…maybe. 60,000 word work-in-progress here I come!

 

Post 2x a week-

Have you guys noticed I’ve been posting more often? I’m going to try to make this a permanent schedule for the channel and so far so good! Right now I’ve been trying to post every Tuesday and Friday, let’s see if I can keep it up!

Book Signings-

Fall always seems to be a great time of year for me so I’m going to try to schedule at least two book signings for the future! Now I actually have a head start to this goal because I may have one book signing already scheduled. If you live near Oxford, MA be sure to visit me at the St. Roch vendor fair where I’ll be signing copies of my book!

Essence Giveaway! 4 Year Book Anniversary Montage

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Essence has been published for four years! It’s been a long journey, but it’s been well worth it! In these four years I’ve been able to do things I’ve only dreamed of: have a book signing in Barnes and Noble, speak on a book expo panel, be on the radio, be on TV, and so many other things!

I have all of you to thank for making this possible and my way of saying thank you is by giving away a signed and personalized copy of Essence. The giveaway will be through Goodreads and will be for two weeks only.

Read Essence now with the first three chapters for free now!

To help sum up the long road of Essence I’ve created a little video montage for you all to enjoy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Essence by Mandi Lynn

Essence

by Mandi Lynn

Giveaway ends August 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

Enter Giveaway