Monthly Archives: January 2016

WGP Flyby – What About Amazon?

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Writer Groupie Podcast brings you discussions, insights, and insider details on planning, producing, promoting, and profiting as a writer.

In today’s flyby episode, I talk about fans and followers who are now titled Groupies.
I also share news about my mystery novel upcoming, and an offer for writers in the process of getting ready to indie publish. If you need help with formatting, you should listen to this episode!

There are quite a few fun items in today’s epp so – I hope you enjoy it!

Welcome to Writer Groupie!

Thanks for listening! You can find show notes, contact form, and more at http://www.writergroupie.net

A Short List for Creative People

creative

Creative.

Have you ever considered what that word means concerning you and your art? What about when you have trouble in the support department?

Have you ever been in the mood to write and someone simply says “Why?” and it makes you shrink away?

Never EVER let anyone steal your dreams

Do not listen to the naysayers, don’t surround yourself with negative people, don’t try to make non-writers get what you’re dreaming of.

They won’t.

Instead, look around for the positive, ful-filling side of the writing life. Find people who commend you on this journey you’re on.

Books exist because of efforts just like yours.

Dig in and create something. You do not need the permission of others to make art. Art is yours for the creating! Even if no one ever sees it, or reads it, you will have made something that centered you.

Here is a short list of things you need as a creative:

Acceptance

No woo-woo here. We all need those people in our lives to understand and appreciate us for who we are.  And what we do when we are creative.

Exuberance

We should have the exuberance of someone discovering the most wonderful miracle ever uncovered. We are making something never before made. Enjoy that.

Training

It is never too late to learn a new skill, and oftentimes, we need to be schooled in the field of our choice. You can learn a lot in conferences, workshops, and seminars. Online or in person, it is mportanti to keep skills honed. Check out my personal website for posts about writing.

Determination

No doubt about it, you must have determination to win over those obstacles that crop up in any creative endeavor. Sometimes it is only a word that might cause us to stumble and fall – sometimes it is a scene – or a chapter. No matter, with determination, YOU CAN DO IT!

So, in the end, I just wanted you to know that Writer Groupie Podcast is HERE for YOU. If you want to promote your finished work, drop us a line. We care. We want to help!

Self-Publishing into Indie Publishing

Indie publishing has come a long way, baby. Heck, even the name indie publishing is new.

In recent times, even in the last fifteen years (which is recent in the industry), self-publishing was considered to be a sideways effort to get your work into print. Self-publishers were considered poor writers who couldn’t break into traditional publishing.

And don’t even get me started on the print versus digital argument.

Those were the old days.

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Now, move ahead fifteen years, and tada! Self-publishing is the most popular form of publishing for EVERYONE. Trad pub authors are moving to a hybrid model where they see a lot of their work published by their own hand. And the rest of us, the original self-published authors, we are seeing some of the best years of all for our work. Because self-publishing had SUCH a negative start in its life, in the last few years, the moniker self-publishing has been transitioned over to a new term : INDIE PUBLISHING.

Aren’t you SO glad????

Indie publishing today

Today, I thought I would break indie publishing down into its parts. Good and bad. Let’s check out the negative side first, and get it out of the way.

What’s wrong with indie publishing?

***All the costs of editing, formatting, and cover design fall squarely on your shoulders.

***There are a lot of people in the industry that can help you but there are far more scammers and you may not know the difference. A wolf in sheep’s clothing never looked better.

***You may lose heart over the fact that your book doesn’t sell well at first.

What’s right with indie publishing?

***It’s fast-you can upload a book to Amazon or other distributors and within 48 hours have it on the digital shelf.

***You get to have all the control of the book from writing to cover art. You can literally DIY a book today.

***You can keep all the MONEY. This getting 70% of the total sales of the book and now we get it monthly is just the BOMB.

There are many many wonderful books out there in the indie pub world today as well. No longer can it be said that the indie published book is a bad book.

And in my opinion, the best of the reasons to be indie publishing your work is this:

Sometimes traditional publishers will find you. When you’ve done the right things, and marketing has worked. Sometimes if you build it, they will come.

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Writer Groupie Podcast is looking for all types of authors and industry pros for interviews. Leave a comment below or drop a contact form to get booked.

Interview with Magnus Stanke, author

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Welcome Magnus! What made you want to write a novel?

I never thought I’d write a novel. Love songs and film criticism, yes, even screenplays, but a novel – never. There just wasn’t enough time in the day, what with the teaching, the shiatsu, life in Spain, not to mention the reading, the travelling, the film-watching…

And then I started ‘Falling in Death and Love’ and everything changed. Now I can’t stop, am already busy writing the next one and contemplating the one after that.

Still, it’d nice if the days were a bit longer. Just saying

Tell us WHO IS Magnus Stanke?

I am a German national but I live in Spain and I write in English. Much to my own surprise I have just completed and published my first novel – the reason I’m surprised is that I had stopped writing about ten years ago (at the time I was doing screen plays and film criticism), and to be honest I never thought I’d ever write a novel. Until I actually started last year (well, in 2014), and now I can’t stop.

This book sounds great, tell us about it.

I’m currently working on the second book of my Retro-Thriller cycle. The first one, ‘Falling in Death and Love’ is set in 1977 on the Spanish island of Mallorca – I suppose it’s comparable for Americans with Cancun in Mexico, except that the latter is not an island.

Anyway, Spain’s long term dictator General Franco had just died a couple of years earlier and the country was in transition from dictatorship to democracy. Some old conservative powers were still at work and obviously none too impressed with these changes, this opening up to a new reality while the Spanish people were initially still afraid that the clock be turned backwards.

Mallorca was already a very popular holiday destination for Europeans and tried to present a different, modern picture of Spain to the tourists who brought their highly desirable hard currency to the country.
My story then has this as a backdrop, not exactly a free-for-all kinda place, but a disorienting time with much positive potential; however the protagonist can never be sure who to trust or where to turn for help – he is being chased by a combination of hitmen and the police.

The book I’m writing now is set in Germany in the Cold War. The story begins in the late seventies and ends in the early nineties and in a way it’s the opposite to the first one. Here everything is grey and cold…

What style of writing do you adopt?

I try to keep it light and fast-moving from the first line. My favourite crime authors are all Americans, the hard-boiled school. While I wouldn’t claim to be able to write like Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson or Elmore Leonard I’d say it’s pretty obvious that they influenced, nay – informed my style (I’m glad I don’t have to look anybody in the eye whilst making such self-aggrandising statements; I blush even as I think these words)

What do you find challenging about the writing life?

Time. The fact that I have at best two hours per day to spend writing after my bread-and-butter job.
If you could write from any place on earth, where would you choose to write from?
Somewhere (even) warmer than Spain; maybe Thailand or the Caribbean

When asked to set goals, what do you see( for yourself or current WIP) in five years with your writing?

In a utopia, in five years time I’d like to write full-time, live in a warmer place, have finished the Retro-Thriller trilogy and started on my Time Travel trilogy

What are you reading right now?

Gone for Good by Harlan Coben, Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith, El pez en el agua by Mario Vargas Llosa and John Gilbert, the last of the Silent Stars by Eve Golden

Who is your favorite author?

Varies by season, but generally I mention Haruki Murakami, Vargas Llosa and a lot of hard-boiled authors

Give a bit of advice for an aspiring author.

Well, you have to find your own writing rhythm, of course. What helps me is to start is a detailed outline of the story, chapter by chapter. And then keep at it – inspiration: 10%, perspiration: 90%
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You can find Magnus Stanke and his book at these sites:

This is a US-friendly link to the book on Amazon: Falling in Death and Love

Magnus Stanke’s Facebook page

Follow him on Twitter @MagnusStanke

WGP Flyby — Set A Writing Goal

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Writer Groupie Podcast brings you discussions, insights, and insider details on planning, producing, promoting, and profiting as a writer.

Welcome to Writer Groupie! Today I am bringing in the new year with some sage advice about those of you who decided 2016 was the year you would write the great novel. It is a lofty goal, albeit an achievable one, if you follow a few easy steps.

I will post up some new interviews in the coming days so be sure to check back!

Thanks for listening! You can find show notes, contact form, and more at http://www.writergroupie.net

Back episodes can be found at http://www.kimsmithauthor.com/writergroupie

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Too Much Promo Can Hurt You

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Too Much Promo and Why It Is Bad

There are two things that social media sites allow: one, interaction with others, two, publicity of anything you want to promote. This is not only a viable way for businesses (and especially writers) to get the word out about their products and services, but it is also the most popular way. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if overused can become one. Too much promo can be like too much sugar in our diets, eventually corrupting things.

So, why is it when we go out there into the world of the Internet, we think we have to shout and tout our wares? Because mainstream media is the leader, and they do it ad nauseum. We naturally think that if big companies shove ads in our faces all the time, then that HAS to be the way to go, right?

Wrong.

Don’t believe me? Go and like a major brand of anything or anyone on Facebook. Take one of my favorites: Dr. Pepper. They have a tremendous following on FB. Over 12 million fans in 2012, and of course, still growing. How did they do that? Well, it wasn’t from sitting idle, I can tell you.

On an average, this brand posts once a day, but oftentimes twice. And what do they post about? Dr. Pepper. A few years ago they held a tuition giveaway for college students. This past Christmas they posted yummy recipes using … you got it…Dr. Pepper. I don’t think the winner has been announced yet. Their posts contain images of their products (they have many) and interesting tidbits that they want consumers to know about their products.

Sounds like a great way to promote? Well…not so fast. What if I liked their page because I like the diet drink? What if every blessed time I go to my newsfeed I get an advertisement for everything BUT the diet version? Um hm…starting to sound familiar? How do you build sales? Get an already interested party to buy OTHER things. Here we go–too much promo.

Because it doesn’t stop there.

A few days later, Facebook sends me ads in that same newsfeed that advertise Coke. And maybe, Pepsi, or Gatorade, or anything else they think I might want since I love soda so much. This is the problem with selling on social media. It becomes a way for that platform to sell to us, too. If I like Amazon’s page or books there, you can bet Barnes & Noble will have an ad in my feed. As well as, Nook, Books a Million, and anyone else advertising similar stuff.

So, what I believe we are doing wrong is selling on social media. It’s like living in a tiny one room apartment. You toss the magazine from the mail on the coffee table. Then you leave your coffee cup there. Followed by the bags from your lunch at McDonalds and viola! Your small space just became really ugly and cluttered. Ditto for our social media sites.

Think hard about your newsfeed on Twitter. How many people do you see selling something, or promoting something? I am amazed at how far I have to scroll to get to a tweet with shared info that I care about.

Too much promo!

So what do we do then?

How do we stop too much promo?

Remember, first, social media is a place to interact with others. It’s great to keep up with your sister in Maine, your brother who is a pirate re-enactor, and your various friends who live far away. It is a place to BE SOCIAL! Go out and friend people who are into what you are into and start intelligent conversations. Get others excited about the fact that YOU ARE A WRITER. A lot of folks are writer groupies like me. We love books. We want to talk about that process and all its spiderwebs.

And second, I didn’t say NEVER promote. I think that if you say once a week that you are promoting this thing or that, you are probably safe. Just don’t fill up your Twitter page with nothing but that. No more repetitive “Buy my book for .99 cents on Amazon” posts on Facebook.

Most importantly, use your time wisely. Write more books, and try to make more friends instead of selling, selling, selling. Believe me, if you will build relationships before you wrangle buyers, the sales will come. And wouldn’t you rather have buyers who really want to read your work instead of people who buy out of some high-pressure sales tactic?

WGP Flyby 2016 — Write It Down

Hey Groupies! It’s Friday and I am doing a quick flyby podcast to remind you of a few things…things to help keep you on track in 2016 with your writing. We all need to be reminded…so…check it out!

I am also looking for ROMANCE authors to have on the podcast in February in anticipation of Valentines Day. Leave me a contact form, and let’s book it.

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Writer Groupie Podcast brings you discussions, insights, and insider details on planning, producing, promoting, and profiting as a writer.

Welcome to Writer Groupie!

Thanks for listening! You can find show notes, contact form, and more at http://www.writergroupie.net

How do I get traffic to my writing site?

One of the most common questions of authors who keep a blog has to be “how do I get TRAFFIC?”
traffic
Well, first I think you have to understand what getting traffic means.

  • First of all, getting traffic means having readers
  • Having readers means frequent posting
  • Frequent posting means having good content
  • Having good content means having good quality design in your posts

You get blog readers over time. It takes a while before people start seeking you out at your site. You should always send them to your site whenever possible. Posting frequently will give you plenty for the readers to find and read when they come to visit. Having good content will keep them on the site LONGER. And a nice appealing presentation (website) will make them want to come back time and time again.

And truthfully, that’s it in a nutshell. Unless you are one of those people who have a trickle and you want a flood.

What can I do to get MORE traffic?

You can do a few other things to insure that you get readers who will be the traffic of which you seek.

1. Visit other blogs and leave comments
2. Respond to commenters
3. Give things away. I know some of you are groaning, but there is a very good reason for this.
4. Be consistent, comfortable, and friendly. Readers are really wanting to connect with YOU not just your site, so make it easy for them.

That’s really a very small list, but a very important one. You have to be the person out there making friends and influencing people in order to build your site’s readership. And sometimes, I know, it’s hard.

So, why don’t you post up some of your ideas to bring traffic to your site and let’s have a discussion about it?

Blogging in 2016: Five Reasons to Blog

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016! This year would be a good time for you to re-evaluate your blog and your blogging life, and I am here to help.
blogging
Blogging is the only something that I can think of that helps us build our platform and define our brand as authors. Social media helps, but getting people to even read your post on FB or Twitter is really hard with all the other posts flying through their feeds.

But if they read your work, like what you have produced, the next stop (before or just after social media) is your website. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a blog they could read and be entertained?

So, here are my top five reasons why you should be blogging.

Five reasons for blogging

  • Blogging IS writing

It is. If you are a ritualistic word count fanatic as I am, you will be thrilled to note that you probably write a lot more when you blog than you realize. I normally get in 1000 words a week JUST from blogs. Having said that, I blog almost every day. Either here or at http://www.kimsmithauthor.com and so word count adds up like magic. If you are not only struggling with one blog (let alone two!) don’t worry.

  • It builds your writing ability

Since blogging is writing, then you get better at writing through blogging. A=B and B=C therefore A=C. Simple. As long as you do not do as I did and blog about everything and the kitchen sink on your blog. Keep it specific. KISS=keep it specific, silly. If your blog is about your writing, then keep it focused. If it is about losing weight, then keep it specific. No one wants to visit a writer’s site and see a bunch of stuff about weight loss. And food addicts don’t want to go to a lose weight quick site and see a blog about writing and the writing life. Now, if your book is about losing weight…well, just remember to keep a good focus in the right spot.

  • Blogging gives us support for what we do

I mean I love love love comments! When people comment on my blog it gives me the feeling that people really do listen. They really do care. They are really interested in what I do. Blogging gives us a little feeling of validity and prestige (especially when people respond to us!)

  • Blogging regularly, and well, will lend the appearance of pro status

Most authors do not believe in themselves. They have a deep feeling of “I’m a hack” nearly all the time. But when we blog, we present ourselves as authorities. Well, because when we blog we ARE an authority on that subject or we wouldn’t be blogging about it, right? Even NY agents have struck up relationships and built clientele through blogging. It really is a case of build it and they will come. It might take a little while, but it has happened.

  • Blogging is a benchmark

I really didn’t understand this until I started working on my end of the year posts. It allows us to go back and see what we have accomplished over the course of a year. We all need a yardstick to measure life by. Blogging really does do that.

OK, so I hope you are fully convinced on the matter of blogging. It is STILL a viable method of reaching an audience in 2016. It is even better for us personally because we all need some place to write and get our words out.

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