Saturday, October 31, 2009

Laura Breck Talks E-Publishing

Never Thought I’d E-Publish - Book Release and Trick-or-Treat Prize!

Happy Halloween, everyone! After a week and a half of being officially a published author, I have to admit, I never thought I’d e-publish a book. I had visions of me at a quaint little bookstore, sitting behind a table signing my newest release whilst overflow crowds waited in line, chattering excitedly and taking photos of my smiling face.

Alas, my vision changed quickly when Red Rose Publishing contracted my first novel, Secret Vegas Lives, in January. Now I’m published electronically, and loving it! Wonderful international blogs like Prairie Chicks Write Romance (okay, I’m in the USA, and you’re in Canada, but technically it’s international!) invite me to blog with them. The hero of my novel is Italian, and an Italian blog site will be featuring my book in November. Wow, my book is being sold in countries around the world. How exciting!

Could e-publishing take over the industry some day? E-readers (Kindle, MobiPocket, etc.) are coming down in price, and the convenience of instantly downloading a book is very tempting. But friends still say, “I like to curl up with a book, though.” And I love that too. In a world going Green, and with younger generations expanding the book market, e-publishers just might be the future of publishing.

True, in a few months, my book will be available in paperback, and I intend to shamelessly beg for a book signing at every bookstore within a thousand mile radius, but right now, I’m enjoying the challenges and rewards of marketing an e-book.
· I learned how to maintain my own website, so I could make changes in a matter of seconds
· I learned to blog - something I hadn’t explored until I contracted my book
· I’ve learned the importance of taglines for Search Engine Optimization (to get my website and blog noticed by people searching for a romance writer)
· I’m happily settled in the social networking sites Facebook and LinkedIn
· And I Twitter, and automatically have my tweets post to Facebook and my website
· I host two monthly contests on my website, and send a newsletter to announce the winners, and I include other interesting information
· My press kit is online, and not in a pink pocket-folder, as I’d always envisioned
· I even learned to make a video trailer using Microsoft Movie Maker - take a look at it on my website, I’m especially proud of it
· I’m making banners and attaching them to e-mails, and I’m creating favicons for the tab that appears on my internet tab next to my website name
· I’ve planned a blog tour instead of a book-signing tour
· I’m researching review sites that deal with e-published books, and I ask them to review Secret Vegas Lives
· I’m offering myself for live interviews on radio and television - and because I’ve been a Toastmaster for many years, I’m comfortable with public speaking
· My branding promo items and book-specific promo items are geared toward e-publishing
· I’m entering published author contests, and for those that require a paper-copy of the book, I’m using Lulu.com to print my book - for about $8 each (shipping is extra)
· I’ve found out where my book is available, and I’ve signed up for that site’s author promotion opportunities (Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, etc.)

It’s amazing how much I’ve learned, and am learning every day. In all varieties of publishing, we determine how far we will go to market ourselves. I’m pushing myself - stepping beyond my comfort zone - because I am totally committed and childishly excited to make writing my full-time career. It’s been my dream for decades, and with the help of friends and family, I will achieve that goal.

Thank you, Prairie Chicks, for having me here today! I get re-invigorated just talking about promotion. I’d love to hear your favorite ideas for marketing - either e-books or paper-copies, or if you’d prefer, tell me what your Halloween costume is this year. Or both! I’ll randomly draw the name of one commenter to receive my goodie bag of promo items.

Happy Halloween!
Laura Breck
LauraBreck.com
Secret Vegas Lives is available at RedRosePublishing.com

13 comments:

Anne Patrick said...

My virtual book launch party was my first introduction to how much fun you could have without leaving the comfort of your home. 199 comments, yummy virtual snacks floating around and some delicious lemonade to wash them down with. How cool is that? Congratulations on your first release. I wish you the best of luck with lots of sales.

April said...

Congrats on the book.
tarenn98[at]yahoo[dot]com

Laura Breck said...

Good morning! Thank you, Prairie Chicks, for hosting me today.

Anne - what a great idea, hosing an online party. I went the traditional route and had an open house at my home. Which was quite a bit more expensive!

Vince said...

Hi Laura:

Good to hear from a fellow Toastmaster (Toastmistress). Are there many women in your group? I always admired women who would learn to speak in public in a group of 30 men and no other women. I have not met any women Toastmasters in romantic fiction and I feel this is a wonderful but lost opportunity just waiting for the right writer to exploit.

The day is coming when ebooks come packaged with their own ebook reader just like photographic film includes the camera. The future is now; it’s just upstairs getting ready.

As a marketing person I really enjoyed your efforts at promoting your book. I do have a suggestion: while you brought all the baby paraphernalia, I think you forgot the baby! I suggest you include in your post a few sentences, (usually done in italic type), providing the best pitch for reading your book. What is the book about, what genre is it, and what element makes it a compelling read?
Tease me enough to want to ‘click’ and find out more.

I think what you are doing is exciting and I’d love to hear from you again in six months with a progress report on what worked best. Good luck and thanks for your post.

Vince

Karyn Good said...

Good morning, Laura, and congratulations on being a published author! Welcome to the Prairies. We're so happy to have you here today to talk about e-publishing and promoting.

I was inspired by the things you've learned and used in helping you promote your book, Secret Vegas Lives. I have registered a domain name but have yet to do anything with it. At least I've figured out a format and know how I want it to look.

For myself, my favorite promotion idea is an author's website and excerpts.

When I'm published I'll be sure to come back to your post and make my way down your list!

Laura Breck said...

Hi Vince, thanks for the great suggestion of adding a little promotional blurb to my blogs. It's definitely on my list from now on!

We have an equal number of each gender of Toastmasters at our group. Last evening, I did a half-hour radio interview, and despite my TM training, I was nervous. But I made it through, and when I listen to it, I don't think I sound as jittery as I felt - thanks to Toastmasters!

Alexis Walker said...

Hi Laura,

I definitely know who to go to now when my first book is published. You are a marketing tornado with a very focused path! Enjoyed your radio show last night. I have to admit to being totally in love with your lipstick case USB drive that you give away on your site. I use mine ALL the time. BTW Secret Vegas Lives was an AWESOME book!

Laura Breck said...

Thanks for the kind words, Karyn and Alexis! I wish I had more hours in the day to promote, and I really need to sneak in some writing soon. I need to learn how to balance the two.

I'm going to start the discussion on Halloween costumes - I tutored a co-worker through an English class, and in exchange, she gave me a costume she bought and never wore. I'll be handing out candy tonight as a nun! And I haven't told my hubby - I think I'll get into the costume, sneak out the back door and ring the front doorbell. I'm giggling already!

Helena said...

You sound like a very dynamic person, and fun to be with, Laura. Welcome to the Prairie!

E-publishing talk is everywhere these days, and I'm sure we will all get more comfortable with the concept and even the delivery, but so glad there will always be a print version (I hope).

I don't have a reader of any kind yet, but I have several e-books downloaded to my laptop. It seems to take me longer to get through them, but reading in general is getting short shrift in my life these days. Must do something about that -- reading feeds my writing, ergo ...

I have not been published (yet) but your experience, as well as that of some of my writer friends, will certainly keep my options open in that direction.

Thanks for a fascinating peek into your world today.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Great post, Laura. I'm pre-pubbed so I haven't had a launch party yet and welcome your ideas.

I've been to virtual congratulatory parties at eharlequin.com and on Facebook. Oh, and of course at personal blogs and websites.

I can't see myself as throwing a book launch party at a local bookstore until I'm multi-pubbed.

Thanks for visiting Prairie Chicks today and good luck with your book(s). :)

Jana Richards said...

Hi Laura,
I'm epublished too, but I've got to admit that I feel about marketing and promotion the way I feel about going to the dentist: a necessary evil. I wish I could get as excited about it as you seem to be. I've got a novella coming out in January with the Wild Rose Press and I still haven't completely arranged my virtual blog tour. I actually like blogging and talking to people but I guess I'm uncomfortable with the whole concept of talking up myself and my book. (I'm so Canadian!) Truly, I'd rather just be alone in a room, writing.

But like you, I also would like to make this my full time occupation, and that won't happen unless I sell some books, so I know what I have to do.

Your promotion efforts wouldn't be any different if you were published by a traditional print publisher. I was just at writing conference and there was a lot of talk about the need for a writer to have a platform. That includes having a website, blogging, and having a presence on social networking sites the way you do. You're doing all the right things.

But it doesn't help to have all these things in place if you don't have more product to sell. I still think our best selling tool is our writing. And yes, it's a difficult balance between writing and promotion and the rest of your life. Still working on it here too!

Jana

Laura Breck said...

Helena - I also hope there will always be a print version of books. But who knows what's next for the publishing industry? I have a musician friend who no longer makes CDs - she sells her music directly from iTunes. And here I sit with a closet full of albums and a record player!

Anita Mae - I'm a huge proponent of visualization-to-realization. Dream something and want it desperately enough, and it will happen for you. You're well on your way to your first book sale by KNOWING you WILL BE a multi-pubbed author.

Jana - congratulations on selling to Wild Rose! They're a great company, according to friends published there. Definitely dive into your blog tour. Each of your guest posts should be unique, and fit the tone of the blog, and for me, one post takes about three hours to write. But it's a labor of love, and as you mentioned, is one of the best ways to get your name and your book noticed. Good luck!

Penny Rader said...

Congrats on your sale!

I'm impressed by all you are doing. What sort of promo opps have you found through Amazon and B&N?

My first book, Sapphire and Gold was published by The Wild Rose Press a couple months ago. I need to kick up my promo and marketing. I'd ask you to elaborate on some of the other things you're doing, but that'd take up quite a bit of your time. :D

Best of luck and I hope you sell tons and tons.