Social Platforms: The Pros and Cons

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Social media is a key point in marketing your book…if you are good at it. It doesn’t have to be complex just something to get your name out there and connect with your fans and readers.

Below is going to be a list of a few different social media platforms and some pros and cons about each one for marketing purposes.

Facebook Pros

* Easy to use and boost posts

* Wide reach

* Easy to interact with groups of potential audiences

* Easy to track events and invite people to your events

* No post length limit

Facebook Cons

* Hard to keep track of who is seeing your posts

* Several competing groups

* Hard to separate personal and professional pages

* Some posts can be lost in the many posts generated by others

LinkedIn Pros

* Perfect for authors with business books

* A great place to network professionally

LinkedIn Cons

* Not great for fiction authors

* Still a growing platform not the biggest audience reach

Twitter Pros

* Super easy to use

* Twitter chats are a great connection tool

* Hosting a giveaway is very easy

* Great way to engage an endorser or pitch to a blogger

Twitter Cons

* Character limits can be challenging

* Hard to get a tweet noticed with all the other tweets out there

* Again, limited audience reach

There are several other platforms that can be used it just depends on what you like and what works best for you. If you are uncomfortable on a platform it will show in your posts and interactions so be comfortable with what you are on. Also, don’t over stretch yourself by trying to be on too many platforms at once if you are not able to keep them straight and give them the attention they need. It is better to be confident and great at one platform than struggling to stay up to date on many. You may be able to reach more people but if you are not putting in the effort it shows and can do more harm than good.

Finally, whatever platform(s) that you are on try to make the connections two way. Comment on posts share things from others. Create interactions that connect you with your target audience in a stronger and more meaningful way.

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Five Questions to Help You Establish an Author Brand

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The point of marketing is to convince people to buy your book. (Duh!) Some of the best ways to do this is by using social media, events, blogging, and promotions. But it’s more complicated than just that!

* What is your style?

* What is your mission?

* What do you value?

All of these questions go into making a brand and figuring out who you want to portray to the public and how your book fits into that brand.

Here are a few different things to consider about your possible brand and how to incorporate it.

* What is your email address/website address that is available to the public?

o Is your name in it?

o Do you use/check it often?

o Does your audience know about them to be able to reach you?

* What is the content of your website? (if you have one)

o Is the information complete and up to date?

o What other ways can you use them to connect to your audience?

o Does the design of your website match your brand?

* What information is in your author bio?

o Does it market you well?

o How personalized is it and does it sound like you?

o Is it on your website?

* What marketing materials do you have/use?

o Do you have any business cards?

o Do you have any other easy to hand out materials?

o Again, does the design of them represent your brand?

* What social media do you use, if any?

o Are you on it often?

o Do you like to be on it?

o Are you willing to promote yourself on it?

Marketing your book can be as intensive or as relaxed as you want it to be. When you market yourself and your book your sales can be better, and you can reach a wider audience when your name is recognizable. If you are putting yourself out there, people will find you and once they do they can help you spread your name and brand more if they like what they see!

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Following the Mystery Muse

We asked Wise Ink author Amy Pendino to talk about the inspiration behind her incredible mystery novel, The Witness Tree. She didn’t disappoint! Dive in this fall and get inspired.

I've always chosen mysteries first. I like solving the puzzles; I like observing how people interact when they're trying to hide secrets. I like how the sleuth or the solver always has some flaw or tic that runs a current underneath the main story. I like women as the main characters in these stories, though they're often called witches.

My great-X8 grandmother, Mary Perkins Bradbury, was accused of being a witch in Salem in 1692. One hundred and eighteen of her acquaintances testified in her case after she was accused of bewitching a neighbor so that he became crazed and died. She also supposedly turned herself into a blue boar. She was convicted with four other women who were executed that September, but somehow she escaped punishment and lived until 1700. I wonder how her life finished, after that trial? What kind of things might her contemporaries have said, as they passed her in the street? "Oh, there's that Mary, she's a witch, you know--better not piss her off!" In sincerity, she was described by most of the witnesses as being a good woman and a strong Christian. Might she have been attempting good works through that heavenly avenue, instead? The dead man's brother did admit that the deceased had tendencies toward melancholy and despair. There's also the consideration of Mary's age, which tends to parallel accusations of witchery and haggishness: she was over eighty years old when her trial began.

Old women know things: their intuition, accepted and honed through a lifetime of experience, help them to avoid traps and temptations that younger women fall prey to. Old women have a self-preservation that doesn't back away. They nourish their creative lives and aren't afraid to love or forgive. Or rage.

Some women are born old. Their wise souls instinctively guide them past bad dates, inappropriate occupations, thoughtless comments and win-less situations. They listen, consider, and choose carefully. I'm not a member of that group, though I've been trying to get my application looked at again.

So, back to spells and mysteries: I've learned to listen to my inner voice, though I don't always have the confidence to follow her. I am curious, though, and wonder about other women who have had the courage to follow their muses, to speak their words loudly, to admit their mistakes without shame. Are these sisters blessed with these gifts as they writhe through the birthing veil? Were the secrets whispered to them as they dozed with the angels? To me, a spell is nothing but hidden words finally shared out loud, phrases that swell with the ability to inject their revealed wisdom into a communion of shared understanding--not agreement, but acknowledgement of truth that is or truth that should be.

Mystery is finding the truth hidden between the different shades of why. I read and write stories to satisfy the curiosity that pushes me forward to this place, and for the gratification of placing the pieces that don’t fit back into the box and shutting it tight. Because the years of this life continue to provide instances of many-headed monsters that won’t be tamed, solved or sealed away, I follow the muse of “what if” that hides under the words and phrases of my stories, and wait for the day that the hags and witches, spell-breakers and crones welcome me into their sitting rooms to share.

To order Amy’s book, The Witness Tree, visit amypendino.com!

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Using Writing and Creativity to Heal from Abuse

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The emotions that victims of abuse experience are complicated, painful, and take many people years to heal from. Part of what makes them so difficult to process is that abuse isolates people. Even when victims consciously recognize that the abuse wasn't their fault, the trauma of the assault can make them feel ashamed and powerless. Many victims don't want to talk to other people about what they went through, at least not right away, because telling another person can be like reliving the experience, and can make them feel even more vulnerable. Through writing, victims can create a safe space for themselves that is free from judgment. It can help them find clarity in their trauma, release their emotions, and process ways to move forward. Writing, along with other creative activities, are ways to exert agency and control. They give life meaning when life seems meaningless and cruel. 

Sexual assault is defined as any type of unwanted sexual contact through words or actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will without their consent. It occurs in every community, regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or age.

1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape sometime in their life.

1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experience sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lifetimes.

74% of adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well (one fifth of these assaults were committed by a family member).

Beginning in the 1990s, Sexual Assault Awareness Month has given organizations such as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center the opportunity to create resources on sexual assault prevention. Their 2016 campaign focused on the “building blocks of prevention by communicating how individuals, communities, and the private sectors can take action to promote safety, respect, and equality.” Their website is full of resources for survivors, advocates, and educators. 

While the alertness and promotion of prevention of sexual abuse is a concern that seems to have always been around, recently, campaigns such as It’s On Us and performances by stars like Lady Gaga, have brought sexual assault awareness into the spotlight.

http://itsonus.org/#videos

Wise Ink has turned to two of our authors who have used their writing and creativity to help them heal from sexual abuse.

Rae Luskin

“Child sexual abuse is a hidden topic surrounded by shame and secrecy. This silent epidemic happens in the poorest communities and the most affluent neighborhoods. It is time we brought it into the light. It is not a victim’s problem, or a family problem, it is our problem. It is my intention to create awareness through sharing my story, my personal artwork, and the creative tools that moved me from survivor to thriver. I want victims to know they are not alone. There is hope.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXA8kx-GRkw

Rae is a leader in using creative expression to nurture self-worth, resilience, healing and social change. After suffering from the long term consequences of child sexual abuse, she has spent the last fifteen years teaching children and families how to use creativity to improve their health, relationships, and self esteem. Her book, The Creative Activist is an inspirational tool containing 36 stories from people who have embraced their personal power and creative gifts to create a change in the world around them.

Her book can be purchased on amazon

Naomi Ardea

“Writing reawakened and strengthened my connection to my inner voice, which is so vital for guiding me in healing from trauma. I write and release the secrecy, shame, and self-blame of sexual abuse. It’s a way to listen to myself with compassion, validating that my experiences and ongoing pain deserve time and space to be heard. And often, the emotional turmoil then eases. In our society, the impacts of sexual trauma and the details of survivors’ healing journeys still largely remain invisible. One of my goals as a writer is to bring these details out into the open, to educate the public and give hope to survivors.”

https://www.facebook.com/survivorselfcare/

Naomi Ardea is an artist, massage therapist, and early childhood teacher. Her book The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul Through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition won the 2017 IPPY Award and also was a Midwest Book Award Finalist. It is available through amazon. 

Learn more at: www.naomiardea.com


 

If you or anyone you know are a victim of sexual assault, seek assistance at your local sexual assault center or call 1-800-656-4673 or visit www.nsvrc.org.

 

The Pros and Cons of Crowdfunding Your Book

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services have started to gain in popularity in the last few years. As authors the question you are faced with is should you crowdfund your project? If the answer is yes, then that brings with it even more questions.

There are many pros to using crowd funding to help make a writing dream a reality, but there are also some con to consider as well. Listed here are just a few things to get you thinking about crowd funding and if it is the right thing for you and your project.

PROS

* Can help you gain a wider audience than you might reach otherwise.

* Gives you a financial boost so the project doesn’t take as much out of your own pocket

* You can add “extras” to your marketing campaign for people who donate

* You are able to sell directly to those that donate so more profit for you with book sales

CONS

* It is hard to stay relevant on sites where hundreds of projects get posted everyday

* Each platform will take a percentage of what you make as a fee

* The extras you might make to give to donors cost money and cut into our budget

* It is a serious time commitment to promote the project and maintain people’s attention

Each platform is a little different just like each author, so finding the right one can make all the difference in your success if using a crowdfunding service. We hope that this advice is helpful and gives you a place to start when thinking about the different funding options for your project.

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6 Questions to Ask Before Recording an Audiobook

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Audiobooks are starting to grow in popularity and authors are faced with the decision of making their books available as audiobooks. There are several things that need to be thought about and decided on before giving the go ahead for an audiobook. The first thing that is most important to most authors is the cost of making an audiobook. The most popular way of making an audiobook is using Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange. The cost of each hour of recording is $200 so a finished book can be upwards of $2,000, depending on how long the book is. Aside from the cost of the audiobook here are a few other things to think of when contemplating the audiobook decision.

* Do your readers and target audience listen to audiobooks on a regular basis?

Ask around on social media get a feeling from their responses on how well received an audio version of your book will be.

* What is the genre of your book?

Personal stories such as memoirs and biographies tend to go over better as audio books than fantasy or fiction.

* Is there a performance element to your book?

If your book has special characterizations that can develop a character better in an audio version, it may be something to consider.

* Can you add an extra feature to the audiobook version to make it more of a draw?

Extras could be an Interview with you the author, a soundtrack of songs that inspired your writing or fit the books theme, or other additional audios bits.

* Do you listen to audiobooks yourself?

If the answer is no, then it is probably best to skip an audio version of your book.

* Are you willing to do extra promotion for the audiobook?

Think of what time you have available and is you can fit in more promotional time without feeling overburdened.

There are many more things that may come up as you are working through the process of deciding on making an audiobook but hopefully these questions will help make the decision a little easier for you when it does come up.

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Why Writers Need to Leave the Desk

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Plenty of tips abound throughout the glorious internet on how to write the best of the best. The articles helping you get rid of commas, adverbs, and wordiness. Most of these tips, and rightfully so, are meant to be used as you type away on your laptop—at your desk.

No one denies the necessity of just sitting down, giving time to your writing, and embracing the struggle of actually putting words on paper. But what happens when you get yourself in the chair . . . and your writing remains dry as stale bread? Is this writer’s block?

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott’s exceptional book on writing, she redefines writer’s block. Instead of writer’s block stopping up something that’s already there, she calls it a sign that you are empty of inspiration. You might (read: definitely) need to fill yourself up with new experiences. You need to constantly explore life to bring real breath to your novel, poem, memoir, or anything else containing your words.

Contrary to popular belief, most writers are not lonely hermits whose only friends are a bottle of Bourbon and a clunking typewriter. Many favorites, including Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, and Barbara Kingsolver quite literally got their hands dirty by getting out and living a little.

It makes sense. No matter what you write, all good works have a breath of life, containing people and places that should feel real and tangible to readers. If you don’t know how your characters laugh, shake hands, dance, or cross the street, how can you convince your readers to believe they exist? When writing about a gardener, you should put your own hands in the dirt.

To put it simply, you should live away from your writing desk as much as possible.

All writers need breaks from staring at white pages, and you might be tempted to spend that much-needed away time with that book you’ve been meaning to read.

Stop.

Don’t even pick it up.

You must read well to write well, but Steinbeck and Dickens cannot get you there all on their own. Writers have to know how real people talk, how real people react, and what goes on in the world beyond their desk.

To speak any language well, learners must actually speak it. When learning French, you might start out at your kitchen table, surrounded by verbs and scribblings of phonetic pronunciations. But no matter how much you practice ordering a crêpe in the mirror, you still need to do it for real. You could speak French without ever encountering another French-speaker, but something would be missing, and your words would be a little more broken.

But what about the things you want to write about but cannot experience? Did C.S. Lewis converse with lions before writing Narnia? Did George R. R. Martin witness a Dragon Queen strutting down the main street of his hometown? While we never want to deny the existence of magic, it’s pretty safe to say that these ideas came straight from the imagination.

Balance is key. Your imagination is a great place to draw from, to be sure, but Martin needed to see wings flap to describe his dragons, and Lewis needed to see the lamppost before creating Narnia.

So what are you waiting for? Never let yourself feel chained to that desk. Get out, live a little, but once you’ve been filled with a whole boatload of life experience, always remember to come back and bring it to the page.