IWSG: Sept 2014 – Ask PZM

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. IWSG is the brainchild of our noble leader Alex J. Cavanaugh, who understands our need for fellowship.

If this sounds like a group for you, check out IWSG’s webpage for instructions.

It’s a simple process:

“Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.”

Our Twitter Hashtag is #IWSG

Alex’s co-hosts for today are Laura at My Baffling Brain, mark Koopmans,Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham.

Please stop by and thank them for their time.

THANKS, co-hosts!

Before we continue to Phyllis’s post for Ask PZM, I have some exciting news.

It’s IWSG Anniversary!

Today marks three years since the very first IWSG post. Next month marks one year since the IWSG site and Facebook group opened. And we’d like you to help us celebrate!

The IWSG Team is putting together an eBook that will benefit all writers – The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond. And we invite all IWSG members, Facebook members, and followers to contribute.

Here are the details:

The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing.

Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Focus on one of those three aspects and give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.)

You can either post it for your October 1 IWSG post or email it directly. TheIWSG@gmail.com or alexjcavanaugh@earthlink.net (Since the length can go over the standard IWSG post length.) Include a one sentence byline and a link to your site. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.)

All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014. We will compile them into an eBook and aim for an early December release. The book will be free and available for all eReaders.

Thank you for making the IWSG such a huge success!!


Ask PZM Sept 2014

Q. Do you believe it’s never too late to promote our earlier novels? If so, why? If not, why not?
I absolutely believe it is never too late to promote earlier novels. That said, though, let’s look at some considerations.
Ebook formats
Do these earlier novels have ebook formats available? If not, I would recommend getting a well-formatted Kindle version to start with. Then I would recommend enrolling these new Kindle ebooks in KDP Select for at least a one-time 90-day period of exclusivity before putting the ebooks out on other platforms (if you decide to do this).
During the 90-day KDP Select exclusive you have the opportunity for free promotion days or a Kindle Countdown Deal along with being paid if your ebooks are borrowed in the KU monthly subscription program or the Amazon Prime program. (See Ask PZM for August 2014 for more information on these two “borrow” programs at http://budurl.com/AskPZMAug2014 )
Of course, when you have these earlier books turned into ebooks, you’ll be sure to include within these ebooks the links to all your books on Amazon and other sites. Thus these earlier books can also serve as marketing tools for all your books.
(Yes, if your physical books are no longer available in stores, this makes the ebook formats even more important.)
How can these ebooks help sell your earlier physical books?
Whether you are just having your earlier novels turned into ebooks, or whether you already have ebooks of these earlier novels, you can promote these earlier novels via social media. Use links that send prospective readers to pages that show both the ebook and physical book formats (Amazon or your own website, for example).
Or if your ebooks are not currently exclusive on KDP Select, you can choose to give away free downloads of your ebooks in order to encourage people to buy the physical books.
For example, you could provide a free ebook for book club members to read in order to consider recommending the book for their club. While many clubs may only read physical books for the actual meetings, a club member could read an ebook in order to make a book recommendation. (Do remember, though, that your physical books must be available somewhere for the book club members to obtain.)
Mechanics aside of promoting earlier novels, let’s discuss why of course you want to do this.
You worked very hard on your earlier novels. Perhaps you would tweak them a little (which you can do before creating the ebooks, or you can revise the ebooks), yet you still think the stories are good ones. Then you have an obligation to prospective readers to share these earlier stories.
Thanks to the Internet, the lifespan of a book can go on indefinitely in ebook format if not physical format. We authors today should take advantage of this unlimited virtual “shelf life.”
I see no reason NOT to promote our earlier novels except that, as in everything else, it is a time commitment. But this is a time commitment that can help our newer novels too. What’s the downside of a little extra love for our older “children”?
Additional consideration re promoting earlier novels
If an earlier novel were self-published, there is also the consideration that an agent might be interested in representing such a novel that was popular with readers. Each year Writer’s Digest magazine has an issue featuring agents interested in new clients. I tweeted the editor of the magazine asking if, in the future, the blurbs on each agent could include whether the agents would consider self-published books.
Here is what I wrote on this subject in a post on my own author blog:
After reading the information in Writer’s Digest, via Twitter I asked Jessica Strawser (@JessicaStrawser) — editor of Writer’s Digest magazine — if it would be possible for next year’s issue to include in the agent bios which agents will consider self-published books.
She replied that I might be able to get insight on this question now by asking Chuck Sambuchino (@ChuckSambuchino), author of the agent feature in this year’s magazine as well as editor of the annual GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and CHILDREN’S WRITER’S and ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET plus author of CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM and GET AN AGENT.
His tweeted reply: “If an agent does not specify they are NOT, then assume they are open, to some degree. Query and hope for best.”
(I’m querying agents now for my self-published women’s friendship novel MRS. LIEUTENANT – www.amzn.com//B0019V2HFK/ – a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist.)
Actively promoting an earlier novel, and getting good response to that promoting, might even catch the eye of an agent looking for a specific type of story. Who knows? But this is definitely another reason to say yes to promoting earlier novels.
Q: Do you have any tips for crafting an “elevator pitch” for a book?
I wish I had tips for this book marketing task that all authors need to consider. A good one sentence pitch requires boiling things down to the essential points that will attract the target audiences.
For example, if your book is mainly a romance but has a subplot about illegal immigrants, I’d probably pitch the romance and leave out the illegal immigrants in a one-sentence pitch. Of course, in that one sentence I would want to give some flavor of the obstacles to the romance in order to indicate that the love plot does not run smoothly.
I also once learned in a screenplay pitch training session that expecting people to remember the names of the people they just heard pitched is not realistic. And those names can confuse what people do hear.
For example, in this query two-sentence blurb I have been using for my work-in-progress dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE (read it on Wattpad at http://budurl.com/MSintro), note that I do not give the mother’s name nor any details about her profession or where she lives, etc. The only information about the mother is that she’s already a subversive for what could be considered a very good reason:
Imagine the future of 2049 and the government has just decreed that, in 30 days, all children from the ages of six months to 18 years will be removed to group homes. And as a mother you are already a subversive – having falsified the death of one of your children at birth to avoid the child being “eliminated.”
The good news about crafting an elevator pitch is that we can continually refine it. Keep an eye on reviews your book may get for phrases that leap out at you as excellent fodder for a revised pitch. We authors will take good suggestions from anywhere!
Tweet #1  How to promote your earlier novels. (Please click to tweet)

Tweet #2  How to craft an elevator pitch for your book. (Please click to tweet)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) is a fiction and nonfiction author who blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMilller.com and you can learn more about her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/phylliszimblermiller

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