Tag Archives: marketing tips

Why Some Books Resonate and Others Don’t

31 Mar

I’m here to tell you why some books resonate and others don’t. Why? Because so many publishers/agents/editors are out there searching for the next big thing, and many authors are trying to become that. As authors, sometimes we stare at three or four different projects and wonder which one we should work on next (because we want to know which one would be more successful), and if we somehow knew how to predict that, we could cut back on a lot of work stress (and readers could get more books they love).

So how do you know which books will resonate?

Short answer: You don’t.

But the long answer?

There are numerous “reasons” a book will resonate with millions (or even hundreds) of people, but I put the word “reasons” in quotes for a reason. Most of these reasons are theories. Even if we do “know,” it is not necessarily a fact. Confusing? Stay with me. We’re going to talk about it.

Let’s start with the obvious place. The dreaded M word: Marketing.

It’s easy to see popular authors and their huge marketing budgets and think, “No wonder they are so successful! Who wouldn’t be with a billboard on 5th Ave?” But let’s chill out for a minute. Most authors started somewhere small. Most authors, even the current NYT bestsellers, did not get a huge budget on their debut. Their publishers decided to use a huge budget after the sold well the first time. Granted, marketing definitely has an effect, but it’s not the end all be all. Thousands of books get huge marketing deals a year but still don’t become the franchises everyone on the team was hoping for. Some books get very little marketing budgets, but then ARCs go out in the world and readers start clamoring for them and publishers have to rush to get a bigger budget behind it. (A great example of this is Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. She talked about it on the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, so go check it out if you want to hear that story. It’s very informative.) Basically, having backing will definitely help get your books in front of readers, but that doesn’t guarantee those readers will fall for the hype.

So now let’s look at books that did succeed.

Twilight! The Hunger Games! The Harry Potter series! Fifty Shades of Grey! Do you know what these books had in common? Lots of rejections. Lots of closed doors. Lots of what ifs. So clearly, “predicting” the books that will succeed is not obvious, not even for the professionals.

Some of the biggest books of our recent times were not expected to be HUGE hits. But there are some reasons that they succeeded that we can discuss.

So Twilight didn’t just have great timing; Hollywood had great timing too. It was arguably the first time Hollywood acknowledged the potential of a female-focused film fan base and they ran with it. Harry Potter, on the other hand, was a book that resonated with everyone between the ages of 8 and 50+, so it was another perfect option for the books-to-film boom. Not to mention all the new tech, with graphics making chasing sci-fi and fantasy films better than before. Granted, these books were already super popular before they were films, so let’s talk about The Hunger Games, because I think that one has an interesting study behind it. 

Looking back on The Hunger Games boom, many theorists believe it took off because it was published at the same time that the teens reading were the same people who were in middle school when 9/11 happened. And I think that study might be spot-on. (I say this as someone who fits into this exact category.)

Teens at that age in that time were searching for books that explained war and government and tragedy, and The Hunger Games gave not only a safe place to explore those themes but a modern place. What do I mean by “modern”? We all grew up on The Giver and Logan’s Run and all the other dystopian classics, but The Hunger Games was the brand-new dystopian my generation was itching for.

But again, that’s just a theory.

Maybe it was just a fantastic book, but there were millions of fantastic books that came out that year that didn’t take off the same way, so I tend to agree with some theories presented.

Timing is everything, and yet timing is rarely predictable.

Lots of editors and agents and publishers and authors want to have great timing (or think they know what the next trend will be), and maybe they’re right, but no one has ever predicted the HUGE breakthrough sellers with extreme accuracy.

To be honest, sometimes I don’t know if there is a reason to it. Everyone says retrospect is 20/20, but maybe we only say that because we can look back and justify the path that it took, rather than truly understand how that path happened in the first place.

At the end of the day, I look at book sales the way I look at my blog posts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve researched and spent hours on one blog post that goes nowhere, while in comparison a blog post I slapped together last minute pulled in hundreds more viewers than I ever expected. I can try to track it as much as I like. My website host will show me where my posts are shared (Pinterest, FB, etc.) and what was Googled to get others here, but even then, most of the stats are nonsensical at the end of the day.

Sometimes things just resonate, and sometimes they don’t, so what I do?

I stopped worrying about what resonates with others and started focusing on what resonates with me.  

As the author, if I’m not enjoying what I’m writing, I know my readers won’t. The first step with any book is to write what you care about first. Finish that. And then worry about editing and getting a publishing deal.

Maybe your next piece of work will resonate with the world. Maybe it won’t. But at least you know that it resonated with you. And if it resonates with you, trust me, it will resonate with someone else out there. So if I would leave you with anything, it’s this:

Write what you want to write, always.

~SAT

P.S. I’m in YASH Spring 2018 this year! If you don’t know what that is, it’s the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt, and my post goes up April 3. This also means my usual blog schedule is getting moved around a bit. I hope you’ll stop by on April 3, because there’s tons of prizes to be won. My regular blog posts will return April 14! 

#MondayBlogs Authors, Add Extras to Books

23 May

Writing a book is long process often filled with notes, maps, character charts, soundtracks, and Sticky Notes. If a novel is 350 pages long, there’s probably a stack of papers twice that high that led up to the publication of it. Whether it was an editorial letter or a rewrite or a list of background stories, authors are constantly juggling the writing of the journey and the creation of it—two very different things when you consider not all world-building and character creating makes it into the final story. But that doesn’t mean your notes have to be thrown away. It doesn’t mean that they have to collect computer dust either. You, as the author, can share them, and readers might just love you for it.

I’m talking about extras.

What are extras? These are elements of your story that didn’t make it into your novel but aspects you can still share with your readers. Below are some ideas to try out.

1. An Overall Extras Page

All three of my series have an Extras page on my website. (Check them out: Bad Bloods, The Timely Death Trilogy, and The Tomo Trilogy.) What do I include on my overall Extras pages? Anything and everything. I link to articles that relate to the building of the novel, I share fan art by awesome readers, I create games and personality quizzes, and I list anywhere else they might find other fun tidbits about the book. This could be where you offer signed books or swag. It could be where you post a map (if that’s not in your book) and/or maps of particular rooms. You could include music or favorite quotes or super fans who’ve sent photos in with your books or you at a signing. I have calendars that show what dates my chapters take place on. I’ve included scrapbooks where I pasted pictures on the pages that reminded me of characters. I’ve even discussed how much particular characters have changed. Any notes that helped you build would be great for this kind of page.

Example extras: fan art, calendars, and maps from my pages.

Example extras: fan art, calendars, and maps from my pages.

2. Wattpad Shorts 

Remember that scene you LOVED like crazy but your editor convinced you to cut? (Let’s be honest. It needed to be cut. It didn’t move the story forward, but it was SUCH a great scene.) Well, this is what Wattpad is for. Not only is Wattpad filled with aspiring writers and avid readers you can connect with, you can also give more to the fans you already have by posting shorts either cut out from your novels or brand-new short stories that are simply related to your novel. I’m doing this with my new release right now. Since there are so many characters, many of their background stories were very limited in the novels, but I had written longer, detailed versions, and I didn’t want them to sit on my computer. I’m now posting all their origin stories, spanning them out over a series of weeks, and they can be read as extras—before, after, or while reading Bad Bloods—or read just for fun. Never let that cut scene you love go to waste ever again.

3. Social Media Websites To Think About

Like Wattpad, there are dozens—if not hundreds—of websites out there you can use to host extras for your novel. Did you listen to certain songs while writing? Create a playlist on YouTube or 8tracks so readers can listen, too. Did you make a Pinterest board for all of your characters? Great! Link to it. Let readers see a physical representation of your imagination. Try to make personality quizzes (Which character are you? Which couple from the book are you? How long would you last in my post-apocalyptic story?). Think of your content and have fun with it! After all, you wrote an entire novel about it.

So, again, just a little list to think about: Fan art, any notes you had, related articles, maps, calendars, soundtracks, Pinterest boards, personality quizzes, swag, signed books, and more.

The only thing I’d warn against is spoilers. Be sure to warn and label spoilers accordingly. And, of course, have fun!

Original posted April 6, 2013

~SAT

13245233_1046886115358569_5859558976763581283_nIf you sign up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap, I’ll send you signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods. All you have to do is sign up, take a screenshot of your support, and email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. What’s a Thunderclap? It’s an automated message that will release from your Twitter, Tumblr, and/or Facebook page the day of the book release to help me reach more readers. I only have to reach 100 supporters for the message to go out, so any and all help is appreciated.

maggieIn other news, the Bad Bloods Prequel was updated on Wattpad! Read Maggie’s story today! Right now, you can read the origin stories of Adam, Michele, and Maggie. Ryne’s story releases June 3, with more stories releasing every other Friday. (There might also be an origin story coming up that relates to Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy, so…wink…wink.)

On top of that, you can officially pre-order both books in the Bad Bloods duology. If you pre-order November Snow, I will send you November Rain for review today! (And if you write a review, I will send you November Snow right after that.) This means you could read these two books RIGHT NOW just by preordering and sending me a receipt to shannonathompson@aol.com. All of this news (and more) went out in my newsletter on Sunday, so if you’re missing out on the latest giveaways, you should sign up here.

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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February’s Ketchup

29 Feb

First thing is first, you can read my latest interview with Laugh Riot Press via their monthly newsletter, the Laugh Riot Report. We discuss writing tips, publishing tips, and how to market yourself while writing your next book. Read that by clicking here. (You don’t have to sign up to read the interview, but I highly suggest signing up for the Laugh Riot Report. Read more about it by clicking here.) Why should you sign up for this newsletter? Well, once a month, Laugh Riot Press collects 12 extremely helpful articles for writers navigating the self-publishing world. These articles are handpicked as leading information in the industry. I’m a huge fan of LRP…and on top of that awesome deal, they are hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of Workman’s Complication right now. Enter via Rafflecopter here.  

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This was one crazy (but short) month! Between radio interviews and book signings, I didn’t have a lot of time to sit down, but it was a wonderful problem to have.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this February.

Big Moments:

I had a book signing in Barnes & Noble in Wichita, Kansas during the Romance Author Valentine’s Day Event! It was a blast and a pure joy to share the day with Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerJan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan. I even got to met a few dozen readers, and sitting down with you all is something I will never forget! I hope I can travel further and longer in the future to meet even more of you. Thank you for coming out!

Other than that, I had my first in-studio radio interview at Johnson County Community College. That was pretty crazy! That very day, Bad Bloods went up on Amazon, but the eBook won’t be up for preorder for another month or so. Out of celebration, I gave out the first sneak preview of Bad Bloods to everyone on my newsletter, and I received a lot of emails from you all expressing how much you’re looking forward to my next series! Thank you for your support and kind messages.

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

Top Three Blog Posts:

#1 referrer other than search engines was Tumblr

#1 referrer other than search engines was Tumblr

1. No. Reading is Not an Option: As a full-time editor and author, I have come across more and more writers who believe they don’t have to read in order to be a writer. I adamantly disagree, and I stand by my opinion—and Stephen King’s opinion—that you must read A LOT in order to be a writer. So go out there and fall in love with reading again.

2. How I Became a Full-Time Editor: Many of you have asked and I have finally answered. Long story short: I fell into it, but I give out a lot of tips on how you can pursue your dreams of becoming a full-time editor today.

3. Fandoms vs Mobs: I’m really saddened by how much fandom culture has changed. It’s more or less a mob now, rather than an exciting and supportive place for all types of fans to join together. This was my article addressing how we can get supportive again.

Other Blog Posts:

#1 SEO Term was Title Your Novel

#1 SEO Term was Title Your Novel

Choosing a Setting: It’s not that difficult! There are plenty of tools on in the Internet to help you.

Saturdate: Today’s Book Signing, The Infinite Sea, Shameless, and Puppy Chow: I had a book signing in a Barnes & Noble, which was way too much fun. I also read the sequel to a movie adaptation and discussed why sweets are the best.

Why Do You Read: I always talk about why I write, but I rarely talk about why I read.

Saturdate: Signed Books, Cherry Cookies, Everything, Everything, and The Lizzie Borden Chronicles: My weekly update included an opportunity to buy signed books of The Timely Death Trilogy, an awesome 2016 read, and a horror show based off of Lizzie Borden.

Music Muse and Tricks: This post covers how to trick your brain and get inspired by using music as a tool.

Authors I’ve Met Who Inspired Me: I have had the joy of meeting quite a few authors in my life, but I’ll never forget the first three authors who took time out of their day to sit down and talk to me about why I should never give up.

Saturdate: The 5th Wave, The Siren, Radio Interview, & Peanut Butter Cookies: I had a radio interview in a studio, which was pretty neat!

How to Use Real-Life Stories in Your Novel: I tackle an idea that seems black and white but isn’t always. Using real-life stories in your books can come with ethical issues and memory problems.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

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December’s Ketchup

30 Dec

Normally, I put announcements at the bottom, but today is going to be an exception. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, is based in Dallas, and we want to give back to the tornado victims. 50% of Wednesday’s CTP Amazon Profits to Go to Tornado Victims. (You can read the full post on their official website by clicking here.)

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If you have been eyeing any of our Clean Teen Publishing or Crimson Tree Publishing novels for a while now, we ask that you consider purchasing them on Wednesday.

Find Clean Teen Publishing Novels Here. 

Find Crimson Tree Publishing Novels Here. 

If you are interested in finding out more ways you can help victims, this post gives several ways you can help our community.

We look forward to making a large donation to the Red Cross on Thursday. We will be sure to share the screen shot of the amount made from digital novels on Amazon this Wednesday so you can see what these efforts produced. Thank you in advance for your help in spreading the word and in helping us to give back!

~CTP

On a side note, I have ONE more VERY important announcement I want to place right up here at the top. Yesterday, our 2015 blogging reports were released, and I wanted to thank my top five commenters for being just the sweetest peaches out there.

Thank you, Charles, Cristina, Viv, Siamese Mayhem, and Deby!

Have a Happy New Year!

topcommenters

2015 is coming to an end, and what a delight 2015 has been! I’m already looking forward to 2016, but first, thank you for spending 2015 with me. You are wonderful. I wish you all a Happy New Year!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this December!

Big Moments:

774959_954867311227117_7029831497832645098_oI’ve been editing Bad Bloods this month, and the covers are complete. We decided to wait to reveal them in 2016, so look out for that! I’m super excited for those books, and I hope you are too. Clean Teen Publishing is working hard to get it to you, and they added to their hard work by hand-making all the CTP authors a holiday gift. You might have seen it already, but the ‘S’ made out of passages from my books means a lot to me. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful gift, and I cannot thank the CTP team enough for all the work that they do. I cannot wait to see what happens in 2016.

~SAT

#1 clicked item was SAT on FB.

#1 clicked item was SAT on FB.

Top Three Blog Posts:

#1 SEO Term was Shannon A. Thompson (Thanks for Googling me, guys!)

#1 SEO Term was Shannon A. Thompson (Thanks for Googling me, guys!)

1. #RealYA How Does it Affect Fiction? I pariticpated in a Twitter discussion with modern teens on elements in fiction that aren’t relatable to their lives today

2. Top 5 Tips I Gave Out as an Editor and Marketer This Year: I did a round-up of the top tips I’ve given out in 2015. It ranged from editing to writing to marketing yourself.

3. Find Your Perfect Editor by Antonio Tooley: Hiring an editor is vital! Finding the perfect one is hard enough, but Antonion helps everyone out in this article.

Other Blog Posts:

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

All You Need as a Writer by Ken Hughes: A great article about the key to being a writer.

What Going to the Bookstore is Like: Because we all love going to the bookstore:

Saturdate: White Rose, Man in the High Castle, Burt’s Bees, and Sweets: I feel in love with an Amazon original and lip balm.

Saturdate: The BFG, Butterscotch, The Nutcracker, and X-Men Apocalypse: I read a lot, and loved so many movie trailers it was silly.

10 Books That Will Inspire You to Travel by Jason Biondo: My last guest blogger of the year inspires us to travel through reading.

2016 YA Reading Predictions: Every year, people predict what will be popular in 2016, so I joined in on the fun.

Saturdate: Star Wars, Novel Aesthetics, Antlers, and Florence: I finally saw the new Star Wars movie, and I listened to the new Florence + The Machine Album.

Saturdate: Cover Reveal, The Dark Artifices, Podcasts, and a Burglar: Deer tried to break into my house.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Interviews: Drew C. Ryan interviewed me on his entertainment YouTube channel. If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, check it out!

Calculated on December 28 at 20,558 followers

Calculated on December 28 at 20,558 followers

#WW Stopping Guest Posts & New Line-Up

23 Sep

Since January of this year, I’ve featured a guest writer every Monday. I was hoping to continue this tradition for at least a year, but with the Christmas season approaching, I’ve been denying articles more than accepting articles (due to the submitted articles mainly being advertisements). That being said, I’ve been very fortunate that so many fantastic and talented writers wanted to write for www.ShannonAThompson.com, and I’ve enjoyed every article shared. I am undeniably grateful that I have been able to meet more writers, speak with them, and share their work. It has been one of my favorite parts of this past year, here on the blogosphere. So, first, a HUGE thank you goes out to all the guest bloggers I’ve featured this past year.

Now, the time has come for a change.

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I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to turn Monday slots into, and I’ve only recently come to a decision. Next week will be my three-year blogging anniversary. (What? Can you believe it?) This means I have HUNDREDS of blog posts that many of you—especially newer subscribers—have probably never read or seen. In fact, many of my most popular blog posts to this day were posted in 2012, and when readers ask a certain writing question, I almost always have an old article I wrote that I could send them. These pieces mainly include writing tips and marketing tips, so I thought it would be fun to rewrite these posts, update them with new information (and tips), and share them on Mondays. So, if you have an old favorite and you want to hear an updated version, let me know in the comments below. I’ll even tag you as the reader who suggested it.

I hope you’ll enjoy these posts when they start. I am already organizing it now, and I’m looking forward to the change. Of course, I’ll make another announcement when it gets closer, but until then, I am accepting a few more guest posts for October/November, so if you want to be a guest blogger, now is the time to submit at shannonathompson@aol.com. I accept original posts about reading and writing, and you do not have to be published to submit. Best case scenario, if I have enough guest bloggers, I might even continue guest posts and rotate them with revamped posts.

Another option is just having a weekly post where I talk about what movies I’m watching, what music I’m listening to, and what I’m reading, but I figure I sort of do that on Facebook anyway. 🙂

Let me know your thoughts!

~SAT

All three books in The Timely Death Trilogy are now available! The first book is even up for free. For those of you waiting for the paperback of Death Before Daylight, don’t panic! It releases on October 19. Speaking of October 19, you can expect my newsletter to go out then and from now on every month on the 19th.

Teaser from Death Before Daylight shared yesterday

Teaser from Death Before Daylight shared yesterday

On October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

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Death Before Daylight: book 3

 AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#WW The Emotions of Listing A Book For Free

19 Aug

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert in this. In fact, I’ve never put up my book for free before. This is all new to me! (How exciting.) But, yes, the first novel in The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now up for free. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, did this to celebrate the upcoming release of the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, which releases August 25.

Whew. What a summary of events.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I felt like I failed. Like I failed my publisher, my readers, and myself. I’m not even sure why I felt this way, but if I could think about you in relation to my books, I thought, “Well, that’s it. My book didn’t sell, so my publisher dropped it to the big ol’ ZERO. I failed.” Cue my tiny and sad violin.

emotions

Emotions. So many emotions.

This was my initial reaction anyway. And it was a silly reaction. In fact, my publisher didn’t make Minutes Before Sunset free because it wasn’t selling. It was selling. Still is. They simply made it free to celebrate. That is it. My own crazy thoughts were just my own crazy thoughts, and I think it’s important, as an artist, to keep those emotional thoughts at bay until you have time to see what actually happens. Easier said than done, of course, but I’m only two days into this free-promo, and I’m loving it!

Within twelve hours, Minutes Before Sunset hit the bestseller category for young adult science fiction, and within 24 hours, Minutes Before Sunset became #5 in Science Fiction. #5! We also hit #7 in Paranormal/Urban Fiction and the top 500 Kindle books overall. It even appeared in the article The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books On Amazon, and the downloads kept coming in as more and more readers shared, liked, and commented on my one Facebook post about it.

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I was dumbfounded.

Here I was, thinking I was devalued, when—in reality—it connected me with additional readers who may not have found me otherwise. Lesson learned? I was too concentrated on MY value and not on the READERS’ value. I can admit that, can’t I? I’m only human, after all. A silly writer human (who really loves cats), and now, this silly cat-loving writer-human definitely suggests running a free-promo. You’ll never know how it’ll make you feel unless you try.

On a fun side note, someone attempted to hack my Instagram this week. I regained access, so expect more cat and coffee adventure pics soon. I also had the utmost pleasure of participating in fight research for a novel. I might write a post about that soon, but the trainer gave me a wooden spoon for a weapon. It was awesome.

#DontMessWithTheSpoon

~SAT

Now for FIVE giveaway announcements for hitting #5 in science fiction! 

Book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now free everywhere! Here are the links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I hope you check it out before the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in less than a week. (Less than a week!) On that note, you can pre-order the sequel here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. The last installment releases September 15. (So almost no wait time. Yay!)

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Jessica’s memory jar! I’m giving two away.

If you love Goodreads Giveaways, here is the link for winning a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise, but don’t let that make you forget that you can win another Seconds Before Sunrise paperback (as well as many other paperbacks and prizes) during the CTP Find Your Next Read FB Party on August 28. The little jar on the right is a sneak peek of what you can win. It’s called a “memory jar,” but you have to read Minutes Before Sunset to know why Jessica needs one!

I’m not done either. (Told you there was a lot of giveaways going on.) You can still sign up to support the release day of Seconds Before Sunrise on August 25 to win a signed bookmark and a swag pack from me! Simply join the campaign and shoot me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com, letting me know you’ve joined. By following my newsletter, you’ll receive monthly opportunities like this.  

Last but definitely not least, the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card, a bookmark swag pack, and a CTP eBook of your choice. Here are the latest places you can enter: If You Could Be Any of Your Characters (guest post on Black Words-White Pages), spotlight on Girls With Books, and a spotlight on The Bookie Monster.

I hope you win some prizes during this celebration! 

Stay Dark and Lovely,

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: Learning SEO: 5 Reasons It’s Now a Must for Freelance Online Writers

17 Aug

Intro:

SEO Terms. That single two-word combination probably put knots in someone’s stomach. It’s a necessary evil, a vital tool to use for surviving the Internet game, and today’s guest blogger, Eve Haugen, is here to explain why. She also helps you improve your footing in the SEO-crazy world.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Learning SEO: 5 Reasons It’s Now a Must for Freelance Online Writers

In the web world where thousands of sites are coming up in a rush, the competition is also getting hotter each day. The role played by SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in beating the competing rivals is undeniable. Also, there are no shortages of quality article writers around the globe. So what differentiates a specialist from the ordinary? It’s a question that every online writer should ask himself. Now simply writing good articles will not bring in work, but the knowledge of SEO oriented writing is bound to bring in more work. The 5 reasons that will give the freelance online writers the edge over their competitors are:

  • Only those writers that have a good knowledge about keywords will get an added advantage over the others. Finding the right keywords and their proper utilization in the article will give a clear edge to the website. Right keywords can honestly give the required push to move the site clear of completion and playing with the wrong keyword is sure to get the site dumped. Hence, knowledge about search engine optimization is bound to help select the right keyword. This knowledge of Search Engine Optimization helps in beating the competitors.
  • Knowledge always helps in bringing new work and consequently more financial strength. So those writers that have good knowledge of Search Engine Optimization are likely to get better paid than the other writers. There is no shortage of work for good writers in the web world, but it is an undeniable fact that only those that can show the extra quality of search optimization knowledge will win the race hands down and the winners are always well paid.
  • As workflow never dries so a person can definitely work from home or any suitable place of his choice without having to deal with travel stress. This will give the person more time for work and as a result bring in more financial stability.
  • During the time of recession, this part time job can be a life saver for many. The knowledge of SEO can give an added edge to the writer during this recession time. In a way, it can be said that this knowledge helps a person to become recession proof.
  • As a freelance writer, a person has to bid for jobs in several websites and for this reason competition is also high. This added knowledge will give the thrust required to move the person ahead of the others.

 

sero

Nowadays Google Panda and Penguin have changed the concept of Search Engine Optimization. Old fashioned search engine optimization will not help in improving the sites ranking. So proper knowledge of search engine optimization will help the online writers prove their worth in gold and bring in more potential customers. There is no dearth of good writers, but only those with proper online marketing knowledge will win the race. The opportunity is there for the taking and only those that have mastered the specialized art of search engine optimization related writing will have no shortage of work.

Bio:

eveEve Haugen has been a freelance writer for a long while. Her passion in writing is her main drive in crafting articles that are engaging, informative, and meaningful. Her partnership with QuickSEOResult has given her a whole new opportunity to take writing to a whole new level.

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday Emotionally Spamming Readers

15 Aug

Emotionally Spamming Readers

I want to talk about something unusual…at least for me as an author…and because I’ve never really seen an article discussing it (other than how to avoid it), I thought it would be fun to address it. Overwhelming your readers with spam. Rather than talk about literal spam, I want to talk about emotionally holding yourself back because you fear any announcement is spam. So, when I say “spam,” I’m not talking about an endless array of emails or tweets with no purpose. I’m talking about feeling guilty when you share news once or twice for various reasons. That’s the issue I want to address.

As many of you know, I started off this blog almost three years ago. I wrote every other day, and then, two years in, I took a one-month break where I changed my schedule to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (and Mondays are for guests only). During my Wednesday and Saturdays posts, I’ve recently been sharing news at the end of the article. “Here’s an upcoming release!” or “Check out this giveaway!”

To be honest, I haven’t had a lot happening up until last month, and now, it’s endless. Blog tours, giveaways, release days, appearances, interviews, etc. Which is all FANTASTIC. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so giddy my rolly chair barely stays still. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t worried. Sometimes, at the end of my recent posts, my announcements are longer than my post, and the spam worries roll in:

Am I posting too much information? Should I choose between one interview and a giveaway? Do I look like I’m bragging? Is anyone even reading that part?

And then, I came to a personal conclusion—a conclusion I’m not always sure about, but one that brings me comfort and happiness, and that conclusion is that I enjoy sharing that news at the end of my blog posts.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

For a long time—and I know I’m not alone in this—I hid my author life and accomplishments and current news, and when people asked about my career (or “hobby” as many put it), I gave a mundane answer like, “It’s going well.” instead of saying, “I have a blog tour coming up, and I just got back from meeting a long-time blogger friend in Atlanta.” Why did I do this to myself? Why did I hold back my excitement toward my career? Probably because, as many writers know, society rather pokes fun at writers who aren’t Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, but they weren’t always “them” either. One story that always sticks out to me is from the infamous King, who said he finally felt like a writer when he paid a plumber’s bill with his royalties. It didn’t matter who defined him; he defined him, and that’s how he did it. So, I’m working at accepting my pride as a writer—and not hubris, but simple pride for all the work I’ve done, and all of the readers who’ve done work to help me, and all the bloggers I’ve met, and all the moments we’ve shared. How do we share more moments if I continue to hold myself back by not sharing my latest news below my weekly articles? I have to share them, and I have to be okay with sharing them, and even more, I have to accept that I ENJOY sharing them without feeling guilty or worrying about if I’m spamming. As long as I have a purpose, and I’m not posting it wherever and whenever I can, it’s not spam; it’s a simple announcement about what’s going on in my author life. And if someone wants to read it, GREAT! If someone wants to just read my articles, that’s GREAT too!

This is my life, and my life isn’t spam.

It’s crazy, and wonderful, and I stumble over it every day, and for that, I am grateful.

~SAT

And now for those announcements I just discussed. ;]

Seconds Before Sunrise releases in less than two weeks! To celebrate, Clean Teen Publishing is hosting SO many giveaways. Win a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise via a Goodreads Giveaway, and win a $15 Amazon gift card, CTP ebook, and bookmark swag pack during the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour; here are the latest posts where you can enter: Deal Sharing Aunt Interview, Mythical Books SpotlightThe Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass Spotlight, and The Wonderings of One Person Spotlight.

If you want to participate in the next tour—where you can interview me, have guest posts, and more—sign up for the Seconds Before Sunrise tour here. You can also join my newsletter for more prize-winning opportunities…which brings me to my next announcement. CTP is hosting another Facebook party, where you can win prizes and talk to authors on August 28. I will definitely be there, and I hope you come too!

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Don’t forget to check out Minutes Before Sunset before the sequel releases at Amazon and Barnes & NobleIf you’ve already done that, here are the links to pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise (AmazonBarnes & Noble) and Death Before Daylight (AmazonBarnes & Noble). If you write a review and you want me to share it, please send it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I would be more than happy to do so!

Thank you for your support.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#SATurday: Authors, Be Yourself

9 May

#SATurday: Authors, Be Yourself

As an author—but also as a marketer—I am constantly stressing the importance of being true to yourself and being true to your work. For instance, it’s a popular question to ask an author how long it took them to write a story. In turn, this has caused millions of debates about how long it should take. The infamous Stephen King, for example, has been quoted saying that writing a first draft shouldn’t take longer than three months, the length of a season. And to that, I say, pish posh. (Respectfully, of course.)

To me, it is ALWAYS more important to be true to the story than to meet a deadline. I mean, George R.R. Martin practically dedicated his life to writing A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones for you HBO fans), and he’s labeled as a serial fantasy genius. His first draft, I doubt, only demanded three months. But he didn’t care. All he cared about was writing it, so he wrote it, and he took as much time as he wanted to write it.

So what does this have to do with you?

Well, I see a lot of authors getting frazzled over writing advice or reading discussions or publishing debates or marketing tips or (insert panic now as I continue listing uncountable reasons for authors to worry). And it isn’t worth it. None of these worries are worth an author’s identity. Be you. That’s my number one rule when I talk to my clients about social media marketing as we create a plan for them. As an example, if you hate Facebook, stay off of it. There’s no reason you should be worrying yourself silly about likes and shares and outreach when you could be on Twitter with your favorites and retweets and hashtags. There’s no reason you should be throwing your precious writing time away for all the millions of things the Internet demands you to do, because—I’ll let you in on a little secret—no one can do it all. No one. So, it’s better to just do what you want to do.

beyou

This doesn’t go to say that this is easy. It’s not. There are many temptations that sneak into our time slots. It’s easy to be on Facebook and see an author who has 10,000 more likes than you and feel like you have to do what they do in order to get to where they are. But we have to stop focusing on getting to “where they are” and start focusing on getting to “where you want to be”. I get it. That can be a little confusing, especially when you “want” to be where they are. Those 10,000 likes look nice after all. But those are THEIR 10,000 likes. Those exact same 10,000 likes are not going to be the 10,000 likes you want for you and your book. You want your own 10,000 likes—likes you achieve by being you. But this is exactly where I see a popular problem arise. Authors are so focused on getting “more” followers that they forget to dedicate time to the followers they already have. The goal is not followers. The goal is being yourself.

That being said, you can definitely have more goals and look up to someone—admire their work ethic, respect their status, learn from them, etc.—but remind yourself that you are going to achieve your own goals your own way, and there’s no need to copy what others are doing. As an example, one author kept sharing exactly what another author with a larger follower was sharing. That’s not going to work. That’s not going to do anything. Why? Here are three reasons:

  1. Someone is already doing it.
  2. You’re trying to be them, not you.
  3. You’re sharing it for the wrong reasons. (For followers, not because you enjoy it.)

You have to be you and do what you want to do. When you do that, you will come through as a unique and wonderful voice, and people who like you will find you. There’s no need to worry or debate or copy or steal or take shots at one another.

Just be you, and everything else will fall into place.

~SAT

Thank you for the announcement, Boo Boo.

Thank you for the announcement, Boo Boo.

Are you a writer? As many of you know, I have guest bloggers every Monday. I accept original posts about anything to do with writing and reading. It can be as complicated as in-depth writing tips to as simple as how your favorite series affected your life. You do not have to be published to be a guest blogger. Bios, links, and photos are encouraged. Please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

Publishing Tips: Marketing Your Book

21 Apr

Website Update: April 22: 8:00 a.m.: Shannon A Thompson Facebook Fan Page hit 200 likes today! Thank you 😀

10 days before the Minutes Before Sunset release (AEC Stellar Publishing) ! 

I know many of you are fellow authors or are working to become one, so I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to bringing attention to your work. (Especially since I’m often asked how I gained as many followers as I have) So below is a list of aspects to consider along with websites before you begin marketing (which I used myself to get where I am today.)

1. Readers: There’s no mistake that they are my number one is my list. Readers are vital to an author’s ultimate success. A writer could have the best publishing team for their story available, yet if they don’t have a relatable and entertaining story, an author won’t make it. The readers, in the end, decide, and that’s why I really suggest connecting with your fans as much as possible. Have an email they can send you messages, questions, and reviews too. Connect with them on all the websites below (don’t force them to join, but rather connect with the ones that are already on the sites.) Create a Facebook page they can follow (since many don’t feel comfortable sharing their personal Facebook, and I completely agree with that.) and talk to them on there. Figure out what they like and what they didn’t like about your book. Be willing to change. Be even more willing to help them change by supporting their dreams to become a writer or something else entirely. Personally, I love searching around the web for fellow writers, readers, and bloggers. I follow their blogs, and I often like or comment on material. That way, I find readers, rather than expect them to come to me, and I don’t expect them to follow back. They can reciprocate or not, because I’m coming to them as a reader (not a marketing writer) and respecting their work. If they check me out, and decide to support me, that’s great!

Oh! And never stop writing. Even if you're drenched in monsoon rain in the middle of an airport.

Oh! And never stop writing. Even if you’re drenched in monsoon rain in the middle of an airport.

2. Internet: Join as many social networking sites as possible for both yourself and your work. If you click any of the website below, you’ll be taken to my personal page, but you can see how authors and readers can connect through these communications. You can even join, too!

  • Have a blog: If you don’t have a publisher yet, you’ll surely run into this in the future. Blogs are essential in connecting with readers, so you’ll almost be expected to have a website. If you don’t already have one that you keep updated on a regular basis, I’d suggest creating a page with a blog. I update mine (this very page) every two days (three if I’m having a particularly busy week) with information on entertainment, writing, and publishing. This allows my blog to be focused but also fun to write and fun for others to read. 
  • Facebook: No one can deny how popular Facebook has been over the past couple of years. Even when you create a new profile, you fill out your “likes,” and that’s where authors and books come in.

    One part of my Interactive interview on Twitter with Sezoni Whitfield.

    One part of my Interactive interview on Twitter with Sezoni Whitfield.

  1. Author Page: Create a page for only you. This way you can announce all of your books, events, and other announcements all on one page. Personally, my author page has the most activity, compared to my individual book pages.
  2.  Novel Fan Page: This is purely created so fans can put your book in the “favorite books” section and/or follow news specifically about the book they enjoyed. I have one for both “November Snow” & “Minutes Before Sunset.”
  • TwitterTwitter is wonderful for finding writers and readers. Simply use a hashtag (#) and find anyone under the sun that is discussing the topics you want to connect with. I’ve also done an interactive interview on Twitter with Sezoni Whitfield, and I gained 200 followers in one days.
  • Publisher’s page: If you have a publisher, be sure to include their page, information, and more contacts. This allows your readers to see what you’re up to professionally, and it also gives them the opportunity as writers to see how the situations differ and work.
  • GoodreadsShelfariBoth of these websites are focused on readers. It allows a place for readers to connect and discuss what they thought about a book. Add your novel to join in on the conversations which include reviews, favorite quotes, bookshelves, lists, and trivia.

    Flyer used

    Flyer used

  • Amazon Author Central: For both published and self-published authors, you can control your author page on Amazon. This is wonderful, because you can connect it with your novels, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also announce events.
  • Linked In: This is mainly for professionals you’ve connected with: publishers, agents, cover artists, editors, etc. But I recommend joining it, because you never know which one of those very types of people may come across your resume.
  • All Author’s ListA free database that enhances your ability to appear on the internet.

Think about the internet this way: the more you’re involved, the more likely your name will pop up on a Google search. Don’t hesitate to spread yourself across many social networking sites, because readers go to many different websites to find authors.

3. Now Market! 

Now that you’ve joined the World Wide Web, you can start sharing your name and news all over. Without going into extravagant details on all those websites again, however, I’ll give other opportunities.

  • Find local businesses willing to support you. Print out flyers and share them with their customers. I have to thank Ice Fire Hookah in Shawnee, Kansas for doing this for me. It is very kind to know such a great group of people willing to support the arts.
  • Accept interviews, but also apply for them: Currently I’ve done five interviews for Minutes Before Sunset, and I’ve added them to my Extra’s Page: If you want to interview me, please don’t hesitate to send an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com
    1. Michael Fedison (March 11, 2013)
    2. Tim Flanagan (March 13, 2013)
    3. Dan Pantagram (April 16, 2013).
    4. Sezoni on Twitter’s #WritersKaboodle (April 18, 2013)
    5. The Magill Review (April 19, 2013)
  • Create Extras: This allows readers to interact with your work. I’ve talked about this before, so if you’re looking for ideas, visit my Extra’s Page. I also have 2 other extras coming this Wednesday !
  • Exchange Reviews: There are many authors like yourself that are wanting more reviews and buys. I’d suggest reviewing others’ works anyways, but if you don’t have a lot of time, I could understand why asking for them to exchange reviews is good. Try it out and see where you go from there.

I know today’s post was tedious, but if you have any questions or want further elaboration, comment below, and I will surely get back to you!

April 24: One Week To Go: Sneak Peek Chapter

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