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

Watch on YouTube

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

Watch on YouTube

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

Watch on YouTube

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

Watch on YouTube

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

Watch on Youtube

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

The Horrifying Search History of a Writer

Watch on YouTube

You know how some people just have really weird search history? Like, normal people search odd things on the internet, usually funny things like cat videos, but writer…we open up a whole new brand of weird.

I thought it would be nice to make today’s blog post all about the weird, sometimes nasty things us authors tend to Google. Not only am I going to tell you different things I’ve caught myself Googling over the years, but I’d love to hear the different things everyone else has Googled as well.

Murder

We’ve all killed of characters in our stories, so odds are you’ve also Googled how to get away with murder, how to kill someone, what it takes to kill someone. You get the idea.

Decaying Bodies

When I wrote Essence, my first novel, I did a lot of research on decaying bodies. Not because it’s a zombie book, but it is a book about the afterlife. There may be a point where a character comes into contact with a dead body, and I wanted to know if it’s been sitting there for awhile, will it be stiff or…? And I promise you Essence is not a morbid novel. I probably didn’t need to Google that fact…

Diseases

I’ve noticed that I like to write about diseases in my novels. I am Mercy is all about the black plague. I went hardcore into finding out all the symptoms of the plague and let me tell you, it ain’t pretty. For example, people had these things called buboes (swelling) all around their groin. Imagine how painful that must have been? I like to think I only added enough detail of the plague to make the novel seem realistic, rather than gross, but I guess you guys are the judges of that.

Explosives

If you start Googling explosives than maybe the FBI is starting to keep an eye on you. But if one of your characters needs to know how to build a bomb, you have to make it realistic!

Drugs

Now only once in my life have I ever witnessed a person cracked up on drugs and that’s only because I was in Boston and there was a shirtless dude walking down the street screaming and hitting himself (and eventually the police found him and arrested him). The point is every now and then we may need a druggie in our story to help give it the extra edge, so that’s when we start Googling things to learn what effects it may have. And if you really want to see what someone looks like on drugs, you can also find a video on YouTube to get the full effect.

Google Maps

Now I’ll admit that when I was writing I am Mercy (which takes place in France) that I looked for a lot of pictures and maps of the area so I knew what I was writing about. However, I’ve talked to one writer who actually used the satellite view on Google Maps to somewhat stalk out the area. At first I thought this was a little odd, but now that I’m thinking about it, it’s actually kind of brilliant.

So those are just some category of creepy things you can find in the search history of a writer! Let me know in the comments below what odd things you’ve been Googling!

Finding Your Social Media Platform – Marketing for Authors

Watch on YouTube!

Last week I talked about the marketing basics, but this week we’re going to delve a little bit deeper. In my last video/post, I said you needed three things: a product, a home, and a presence. Today we’ll be talking about creating your presence on social media.

Being Present:

Social media is a dream and a nightmare for marketing. On a bright side, it’s free! On the down side, you’ve got a lot of competition. These days everyone is on social media, which is good because that means there will be a look of eyes for you to catch. This key is figuring out how to make yourself present. To do that you’d think it means going on every social media site ever, right? No! Of course not! Do you realize how many social sites there are? Here’s a list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Goodreads!

And that’s just a small sample. It’s impossible to be present on all these sites, and if you are, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and you won’t get anywhere.

Finding Your Niche:

So now that you’ve realized there’s no way to be everywhere, it’s time to come to the realization that you have to choose just a small handful. If you’re a new author, start with three or four social sites. As you build your presence online, and you feel more confident, you can start posting on other social sites as well. PS- Goodreads is a must as an author (enroll in the Author Program!).

Where is Your Audience?

The whole point of being on social is so people will know who you are and know that your books exist, right? But what if you choose, say, LinkedIn, which is great, but you’re writing young adult. LinkedIn is typically an older demographic. You need the audience of your social accounts to match up to the audience of your books. If you write young adult, go where the younger audience is: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Really any of the social sites but LinkedIn.

Develop a Post Plan and Socialize!

So now you’ve got your social sites chosen, so upload your profile picture, write a short little bio, and let’s get going! The point of being on social media is to develop trust among your followers. Present yourself as someone they can come to, talk to, and rely on. This is a great place for you to post updates on your writing, what books you’re reading and your latest blog post. But you can also share other blog posts you may find helpful. Build relationships with other writers and share their work. Social media is a community. We are here for each other. If you share or re-tweet someone’s post, they may do the same for you.

Is There More?

Yes. There are loads more. THere’s a lot of tools and resources and ideas I have to share with you, but that’s for future posts, so subscribe and stick around!

Where am I?

Since I don’t consider myself a “new author,” I’m present on a lot more than just three or four sites. Here’s where you can find me: Goodreads, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn.

 

Hustle Smarter, Not Harder by Kristen Martin (Review)

Watch on YouTube!

Today I wanted to do something a little different. A few weeks ago a fellow YouTuber/author, Kristen Martin, launched a webinar series called Hustle Smarter, Not Harder. The aim of the webinar is to help you accomplish your goals and learn what steps you need to make your dream into a reality. The webinar is split into three parts that in total add up to about an hour. When you purchase the first webinar, you get the other two for free. You also get a great little workbook!

A Little About Webinars…

Webinars are used a lot in businesses and are usually recorded live so the audience can ask questions along the way. Usually, they’re just a boring slideshow with the presenter talking. Kristen decided to pre-record the webinar, which was a great decision on her part because instead of having to watch a boring slideshow, you get to see her speaking, and sometimes a slide or two. You can watch Kristen’s webinar whenever you want because it is pre-recorded, so there’s no excuse of not being able to fit it into your schedule.

Why Did I Buy?

I love webinars! My job offers them all the time and I try my best to attend/watch as many as I can. I was a little hesitant to buy Kristen’s webinar because 1). I’ve never had to buy a webinar before, my job always paid for them. 2). I’ve done a lot of my own research into life-balancing, career launching, business building, ect. I didn’t think I’d be able to learn anything new from the webinar. In the end, I decided you can never learn enough so I decided to invest in my career and purchase the webinar!

You Will:

  • Pinpoint what is stopping you from achieving your dream
  • Initiate positive thinking
  • Discover your goals and how to make them attainable
  • Learn how to blend your passion with your dream career
  • Learn how to find/pinpoint your audience for your passion/career
  • Find what you’re wasting your time on
  • Learn how to prioritize
  • And lastly you will learn how to take all this and bring it together to launch your career/product

The Pros!

  • Don’t need to take notes! Like I said, Kristen gives you a workbook, which is basically the whole webinar in written form. If she says something that you think is great, instead of having to write it down, just highlight it in your notebook! (I printed mine out because I like having physical copies).
  • You find yourself. Kristen had a lot of little exercises in her workbook that force you to fill in blanks, decide what’ important to you, and how you can improve your schedule. There are some points in the workbook that are really inspiring and I’m not lying when I say I might just print out a few quotes and hang them on my corkboard over my desk.
  • Part 3 was my favorite video, though it was the shortest. It tells you how to launch your business/product from start to end. There’s even a checklist!

The Cons?

  • No pause button. The downside to the webinar platform is that once the video starts, it keeps going. There were a few points I had a hit of inspiration and had to write it down really quick because I didn’t want to miss anything in the video.
  • In total the three videos are an hour, but I’m not sure what they are split up. The first two were pretty long, but the last one was short. I split up watching the videos across a couple of days because I didn’t know how much time I needed to set aside.

Would I recommend? 

Yes! My cons are not so much cons, but technical difficulties. If you’re ready to take your dream seriously, let Kristen’s webinar inspire you.

If you’d like to sign up, visit thatsmarthustle.com, but make sure to do it before August 10th when the sale ends.

Marketing for Authors: The Basics

Watch on YouTube

A little while ago I was on Twitter and asked some of you if you’d be interested in some videos on marketing your novels and you guys screamed loud and clear, YES! So this will hopefully be the first of many videos/blog posts about book marketing.

Recently I’ve become more and more familiar with the in’s and out’s of the marketing world because I’ve acted as a marketing and PR intern at three different organizations, all of which had different ways of marketing. Through these internships, I’ve been able to accumulate a ton of ideas to help me market my novel, and while haven’t been able to implement them all just yet, I’m hoping to take you guys along for the ride as I do this.

I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide to implementing different marketing ideas that I use for myself. Marketing is essential, traditionally published or self-published. You have to sell copies of your book somehow, and this is how you’re going to do it!

Today we’re giving to start off with the basics three things you’ll need before you start any marketing and that’s a product, a home, and a presence.

Develop a Product 

If you’re a writer, your product is your book, but sometimes your product can be other things as well, but I’ll get into that topic in future videos/blog posts. All the marketing that you do should revolve around your book. Every decision you make will be whether this will benefit your book. And course course you also want to ensure that book is well written. Don’t rush through writing your novel just to get it done and move onto the publishing stage. You can have great marketing but the novel won’t pick up unless it’s good.

Find a Home 

Create a website. This is your home base. Everything you do will be linked back to this. All social media accounts will go back to your website. You only have so many characters for a Twitter bio, so put the full bio on your website. If someone wants to contact you, make sure they can do it from your website. Your website should capture who you are as a writer and it should encourage the reader to buy your book. Make it easy for them to find information on you and your books. If you’re first starting out it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but as you grow as an author, make sure your website reflects that.

Create a Presence 

Social media! The free form of marketing! In order to sell books, you have to make sure people know you exist and the easiest way to do this is to be on social media. Now there will probably be a whole series of videos/blog posts about marketing with social media, but today keep this in mind: be professional, be relevant, be you.

Be the lookout for more marketing videos! If you’re looking forward to them, please let me know! Or better yet, let me know if you have a topic that you want to be covered!

Book Unboxing || BookCase Club July 2017

Watch on YouTube

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

In this month’s BookCase Club:

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you’ve told yourself?
Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.
But it’s all a lie.
Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines’ biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught…including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.
Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.
Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter. 

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.
When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.
Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites