ONE THING BOOK MARKETING EXPERTS DON’T KNOW
Oh, goody. The platform-building seminar is next.
Finding the room on the writing conference map, I slam back the rest of my coffee and hurry through the lobby. The seminar is packed when I arrive. Must be a popular topic. I slide into one of the last seats in the back.
My anticipation is high. Super secret tips are just what I need to launch my pen name.
The book-marketing experts take their places on the dais. I whip out my notebook and put on my glasses. Ooooh. There’s a cute guy among the gurus. Nice. A spoonful of hot always helps the lessons go down, doesn’t it?
THE EXPERTS SPEAK
“Welcome to (name withheld to protect the innocent writers conference). I’m (name withheld) and with me are (names withheld because I don’t want to be sued and/or blackballed).”
Blah. Blah. Yadda. Yadda. They take turns sharing their impressive credentials.
“You should being building a platform preferrably before you publish,” says one of the men ~ not the cute one.
Okay. Sure. Like I haven’t heard that a gazillion times.
“Yes. To reach out and interact with your readers as much as you can ~ from your website, your email list, through social media,” says a woman with legs for days.
I wave my hand.
“A question already.” She points to overeager me. She smiles.
I smile back. “Yeah. I’m sorry. I don’t understand. If we’re unpublished, we don’t have readers yet with which to interact. Where should new authors, or those of us launching new pen names, start?”
“You find your tribe, you know. Get out there and find readers interested in your genre.”
Okay. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m part pleased and part pissed. How much did I pay for this seminar, again?
STUMPING THE EXPERTS
“Can you give us an example of how best to engage with such a reader? I mean how does a new author gracefully beg for a read?”
“Oh.” The leggy lady laughs. “You do not want to beg.”
“Then, what do we do? What’s the best way to interact with potential readers?”
Confused blinking takes over the panel. Are those crickets chirping?
The cute guy recovers first. He sits up and pins me with his bluer than blue eyes.
Yes, baby, tell me all your secrets.
“Well, first you have to write a good book.” Hmmm. I’m underwhelmed by his insight.
“Understood, sir. We all do our best.” The other authors in attendance affirm that with nods and murmurs. Embolden by them, I continue. “But we hear over and over again that we should build a platform and interact with readers before we officially publish. How do we do that without coming across as hawkers and stalkers?”
The crickets chirp, in slow-mo this time.
Eventually, Miss Legs-For-Days flips her lovely hair over her shoulder. “Just get out there and interact with potential readers wherever you find them.” She smiles. “Moving on, let’s discuss one leg of an author’s platform, social media.”
So there you have it. Even the collective wisdom of an esteemed panel can’t tell you how to go about building readership.
PASSIONATE READERS ONLY
Want to know my deepest fantasy? Can I confess a blasphemous secret? I don’t want to sell books only to have them sit on Kindles unread. I want to reach passionate readers. I want them to dive into the story, connect with the characters and feel.
To that end, I slipped on my prettiest big girl panties and made a decision. I’d make the first Wolven Moon novel completely and totally free. Oh, but you won’t find it on Amazon just yet. Hell no. Again, it’d linger on Kindles like the majority of free Amazon downloads. Nope. I’m poking around for a backdoor into reader’s hearts.
WHERE THE READERS ARE
Cynthia Dagnal-Myron, author and Huffington Post blogger , convinced me to post my work on Wattpad . Not as easy as it sounds. There’s a snag (isn’t there always a snag?) for paranormal erotic romance. R-rated pieces get buried and X-rated work isn’t welcomed at all. Still. Wattpad has R.E.A.D.E.R.S. and a lot of them. Gotta find a way around the snag.
What I came up with is serializing a PG-13 version on Wattpad and releasing the original super sexy version on my website .
Creating two versions of Soft Shatter has been more of a challenge than I anticipated. Sex is an essential part of the love story and fleshes out the characters. No pun intended. Removing the lovemaking destroys the overall arc. The most I can do is substitute words and shorten sex scenes to fit Wattpad’s guidelines.
Will it work? Can readers on Wattpad join my passionate readers? More importantly, will fans of erotic romance follow the crumbs to the sexy version?
Your guess is as good as mine and, I’d say, as valid as the distinguished, high-priced book-marketing experts.
Stay tuned. Good or bad, I’ll share results when I have them.
But, hey, in the meantime, can I interest you in a free read? Soft Shatter has a coven of smart witches, a multitude of sexy alphas and a four-chapter love scene.
Did you say four-chapter love scene, Miss Dany Rae?
I smirk. I sure the hell did and it’s effing hot, if I do say so myself.