Tag Archives: marketing for writers

What Novelists Can Learn from Webtoons

1 Aug

I won’t lie, 2020 has been the year of the Webtoon for my reading list. There are a couple reasons for this, the main one being access. When COVID first hit and Kansas City closed down, the library shut its doors completely, and that’s where I get 99% of my books. Granted, I managed to smuggle a pretty big TBR pile home beforehand and they have since opened up curbside service. But I also found myself consistently drained of energy by the end of my workday. A whole novel often felt like too much commitment. I just wanted to read something quick and fun, and be able to put it down at the end of the evening without more pending pages or due dates.

And so, Webtoons entered my life. 

A little background: I’ve always loved graphic novels. I grew up on manga, and I had heard of Webtoons from my reader friends who were enjoying them. The selling point for me was the free app. I downloaded it to my phone and started reading immediately. Which brings me to my first, and perhaps biggest, point: 

Episode Release/Payment Model/Community

This is more relevant to indie authors who have more control over their release dates and payment systems, but I find the Webtoon model really fascinating. Basically, you can read 100% for free—if you are patient. On average, a Webtoon releases one episode a week for free. If you want to read ahead of the free release, you’ll have to pay with coins, which you can purchase in the coin store. Sometimes, you get to spin a wheel and earn free coins. I love this setup a lot more than I thought I would. 

I don’t mind getting cut off and having to wait. It not only gives me something to look forward to throughout my week, but it also frees up some space, where I can read 3-4 Webtoons at the same time without feeling like I have to read the whole thing before my library due date comes up. In many ways, it actually keeps me reading, because my phone sends me a notification every week with updates, whereas an eBook or novel just sits on my device or nightstand, and am in charge of remembering it. (I know how that sounds, trust me, but speaking honestly, there’s something inherently satisfying about getting notifications from something you are looking forward to but don’t have to remind yourself of.) It changes the tone of your day. Even better? If I absolutely can’t stand that cliffhanger and I need to keep reading, I have that option. (Which, if you want a lesson in writing cliffhangers, these Webtoon artists are talented.) This sets it apart from platforms like Wattpad, where you either are paying to read or not. 

A last payment feature I loved? Many of the artists provide their Patreon, where you can further support them. With a few clicks, I was able to follow one of my favorite illustrators, look at their other works, support their Patreon, and check out their Instragram, where they post behind-the-scenes pics. EBooks, by in large, haven’t been as user friendly, let alone physical novels. I think we could be better about analyzing our platforms and asking ourselves how they can be more accessible, fun, and energizing. I mean, did I mention that comments are open to the public on every episode? Not only can you read each episode, but you can interact with the community right then and there, rather than having to finish the whole piece to write a review. (It’s similar to Wattpad in that way, but I definitely see more celebrating and fan theories on Webtoon.) In many ways, you feel like you’re sitting around in a big circle of friends while reading the same scene at the same time. And that’s not the only fun aspect that happens on the platform.

Music & Other Extras

Not only are Webtoons often colorful (Hello, Lore Olympus), but they are also filled with unique extras. Imagine reading a fight scene and hearing gunshots as they go off? Well, guess what. Webtoons do this! At least some of them do, and I love, love, love it. Why? Because it made the text so immersive to me. Plus, if I’m not in the mood to hear the sound effects, I can just turn them off. A great Webtoon that does this is the Purple HyacinthOther Webtoons lean more toward mood music, such as SubZero. I won’t lie, I’ve found some awesome writing music through Webtoons. Authors should consider how they can add such elements to their books. Though it would be harder to add many of these elements to a novel, why not provide a playlist on your website? I still remember reading Twilight back in the day and Stephenie Meyer releasing her music inspiration, and I jammed out to Muse for weeks. I wish more authors did this and/or artists from different mediums were open to collaborating. Maybe one day! 

The other part I loved is the fanfic-style mini episodes. When I was a teen, you went to fanfic websites to get fanfic. Or, if you followed the author, sometimes the author would share posts from artists who had drawn fanart. What I find really interesting about Webtoon is that the artist themselves often create fanart for their own work, like drawing their characters in chibi form and showing everyday scenes that wouldn’t fit into the story. It’s super fun! I also love seeing the behind-the-scenes sketches often included during breaks. Siren’s Lament is a great example of chibi artwork mini-sodes. Basically, as the author, ask yourself what behind-the-scenes sneak peeks can you give? Can you create new material that fits in with your overall material? How is it fresh and fun and unique to you? Where can you offer this to your readers? Newsletters is often a go-to for many, which I think is great, but I think we can take it a step further. Why not provide character sketches in the back of books? I always loved how mangas had character breakdowns in the beginning or fun facts at the end. Or—gasp—a book that starts off in graphic novel format, then converts to prose. W.I.T.C.H. did this when I was a kid and I still miss it! I always thought it was so fun, like slipping into a story.  

In the end, when I started analyzing why I was getting so much joy from Webtoons and not the same from novels, I feel like the modern novel—and what it offers as a product—has become really static. It has its classic appeal, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading novels, and I read over 100 novels a year. Nothing will replace the traditional paperback for me. It’s still my #1. But I also believe we have room for improvement, for innovation, for fun. And that includes the novel community as a whole. In many ways, I feel like authors have been shamed when they speak about or celebrate their own work, whereas Webtoons definitely has an air where the creators are their own biggest fan. I mean, how many times have you seen an author tweet about their book release, then apologize for spamming the feeds? Meanwhile, in Webtoon land, artists are drawing fanart for their own work and having a blast. Publishing could use some of that energy. It’s so addictive, because it is welcoming and fun and exciting. Every download is a new experience. Every novel should be, too. 

Next time you’re working on your novel, consider the modern reader. Do they only want your story delivered, or do they want an experience? How can you provide a broader experience to them? How can you push the definition of novel? Of story? 

I know I’ve been looking at writing in whole new ways as of late! I’ve definitely added “have my novel adapted into a Webtoon” to my author dream. 

Have you read any Webtoons? Which ones did you love?

If you are interested in Webtoons, here are some that I’ve read recently and loved:

~SAT

#WW Taking a Writing Break (And Why It’s Important)

8 Jun

I am taking a break from writing. (Why does that feel so dramatic to say? …Well, I don’t know. Maybe because writing is practically my life.)

So what do I mean by taking a break?

I mean just that. A break. A normal, little vacation for the writer’s mind. I’m not quitting. I’m not giving up. I’m not burning all my paperwork or throwing my typewriter across the room.

  1. I don’t have a typewriter.
  2. Who would do such an atrocious thing?
  3. I really want a typewriter. (Yes. For aesthetic sakes. I can’t help myself.)

Taking a break is simply taking a break—much like many do on the weekends—but if you read my article, The 90-10 Rule for Marketing and Writing and How to Love It, you might notice that I have forgotten what weekends are, as have many writers. Most of us work day jobs, which means many of us consider writing our second full-time job, and if you’ve ever worked two full-time jobs, then you probably know a workaholic. I am, by definition, a workaholic, but I love what I do, so it’s HARD not to work, which means it’s HARD to take a break. (Seriously. What do I do with all this time???)

Bogart the cat keeping me in line during my writing break

Bogart the cat keeping me in line during my writing break

For me, I don’t want to take a break. I want to keep writing. I want to turn that page, type the keys off my next keyboard, or daydream the next trilogy, but taking breaks is a necessary (and important) step for authors to take.

Why are taking breaks important?

Depending on where you are in the writing process, taking a break might mean putting some distance between finishing your manuscript’s first draft and editing the content. It might mean thinking deeply over what you need to keep or change. It might spark your next idea. It might clear up your mind, so you can consider the business side of your story. Taking a break might simply help you from NOT burning out. Because writer’s burnout is a thing. Trust me.

So, take breaks. Take them guiltlessly and enjoy them.

Read that book you’ve been dying to read, finish that terrible TV show you don’t want to admit you binge-watch, cry at a sad documentary, obsess over murder shows in the middle of the night, sing Disney sing-along songs at the top of your lungs, and botch a batch of cookies before you bake the perfect batch. (Okay. So you don’t have to do what I did…but I found it pretty cleansing.)

But I maybe sort of already broke my break by writing about taking a break. (Oops.) Still, I think we all need to write about taking a break from writing a little bit more,

~SAT

Win signed paperbacks and more at the CTP Sizzling Summer Reads Release Party THIS Friday at 7 PM EST on Facebook.

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Bad Bloods Book Teaser

Bad Bloods Book Teaser

Did you see the new Bad Bloods teaser? Well, now you do! 

Win a paperback of November Rain in this Goodreads Giveaway.

Win signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods by signing up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap and emailing me your support at shannonathompson@aol.com.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#WW Deciding To Change My Writing Plan

2 Sep

Writing is a business. It’s an investment of time, care, and love. (Love definitely makes it easier, anyway.) And all of this means that a writer must have a business plan, a plan that includes goals and direction and the ability to change at a moment’s notice if need be. That being said, every writer is different, which means every plan is different. I, myself, have an outline that varies from one writer friend to the next, but having a goal helps fine-tune my focus. That being said, I cannot do it on my own, so I’m often asking my fellow writer friends (and trusted friends outside of publishing) for their opinion on a change I’m contemplating.

Photo on 8-12-15 at 1.48 PM

Recently, for instance, I’ve been studying a major part of my marketing plan, particularly my author bio. For a long time, practically my entire career, I began it with my age. Literal quote? “Shannon A. Thompson is a 24-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox…” Why did I do this? Well, it all goes back to the beginning. I was sixteen when my first novel released, and my age often worked against me. (Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand. In fact, my first novel was so poorly edited, I wouldn’t want someone picking that up first and judging me today based off of it…which is exactly why it’s unavailable.) That being said, I continued to share my age when I returned to publishing at the age of 21. Why? I could blame my baby face. Quite a few readers—when I didn’t state my age up front—would message me and ask, probably for the same reasons stated above, so I began my bio for clarification. This happened both out of necessity and a bit out of my own insecurity. Now that I’m older, and I have a few more works out to stand upon, I have changed it. I no longer feel like I have to say I started at 16 and I’m currently 24. I feel like my work is enough, that I’m enough without a number defining who I am, and it’s a good feeling to have, one I’ve never truly experienced before. But it does change my marketing. It affects everything, really, and I look forward to seeing how this curve in my path directs me to new areas. We shall see.

It helps to have friends encouraging me along the way.

Keep them in mind when considering changes in your marketing and publishing plans. They might help you in more ways than you think.

~SAT

teaser1Since Death Before Daylight releases on September 15, I released the first book teaser yesterday during #TeaserTuesday! You can pre-order the last book of The Timely Death Trilogy on  AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, and basically everywhere where books are sold. You can also sign up for a release day blast by clicking here

If you haven’t started the trilogy, don’t worry. The first book, Minutes Before Sunset, is free! (AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks.) The sequel is out too. In fact, we’ll be celebrating the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, September 7-18 during the blog tour.

In other news, I’m stopping guest posts in October/November, so if you want to be a guest blogger, now is the time to submit. I’ll try to get everyone I can out before I change the posting dates again. I accept all original posts about writing and reading. You do not have to be publishing to qualify. Email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

Managing Multiple Projects at Once

3 Aug

Announcements:

I’ve updated my publications picture! You can see it around my website, including my pages: About Me and Novels.

update

Managing Multiple Projects at Once

Okay. So here’s the truth. I’m not an expert on this topic. Personally, I’m struggling with this right now. While I’ve never found writing numerous books at the same time difficult, I do find marketing one book while writing another difficult, especially when they are in different worlds entirely. Maybe it’s the way my brain wires cross. It just doesn’t work. It hurts my cranium. My mushy muscle master feels…well, mushy. So here are my tips that I’ve come up with for others who’ve struggled like I have.

1. Set aside a time for each project:

Maybe you spend the morning writing and the evening marketing. Separating the two can help keep your mindset in check, and eventually, you mind will adjust to expecting this schedule, so it will be easier to focus on what you’ve scheduled to focus on. I do this with work. When I wake up, it’s email time. When I eat lunch, it’s marketing time. When I finish dinner, it’s writing time. I even have my breaks scheduled, and those breaks help my mind flip over to my next task. Hardcore? Maybe. I’m on my schedule right now. I blog right after dinner and right before I focus on writing books. But it works for me, and it’s important to find what works for you.

2. If you don’t want to dance, get off the dance floor

What does dancing have to do with writing? A lot. Because this is a metaphor. If you just can’t get in the mindset of Project A because you’re still focused on Project B, that’s okay. Work on Project B, try not to worry about Project A, and move forward productively. If you continue to beat yourself up, you’re not going to get anywhere with anything. In this metaphoric world, you’re just going to stand in the middle of the dance floor, contemplating whether you want to do the jive or the twerk without realizing you’re at a disco. But who cares? You can dance however you want to.

3. Step Away, Clear Your Head, and Take Care of Yourself

I shouldn’t have to explain this, but I do because this is the biggest problem I – personally – have. I’m obsessive in nature in an unhealthy way. Seriously. I can admit this about myself. When I have a deadline I’m worried about, I forget to eat, and when I do eat, I don’t eat well. I drink too much coffee, and the tangles in my hair become so bad that Medusa’s snakes would be terrified of me. But I’m learning, and I’m getting better at closing my laptop, Weebo, before my vision gets blurry. I go to the gym, I buy a goddamn sandwich, I see friends, I laugh, and I don’t think about my books. I might have to force my book thoughts away, but it’s worth it because I am refreshed when I finally sit back down and get to work.

Speaking of which, I’m about to sit down to work on Death Before Daylight. We’re about 30,000 words into the content edits, and I’m hoping to have the manuscript out late this year or by early next year. But I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any tips for managing multiple projects at once, feel free to share them below! I could always use more help, and I’m sure all of us writers would appreciate the ideas.

~SAT

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