(Business) Blogging for Business

Oblogf all the marketing tools available to the fiction writer, blogging is one of the most effective. But to maximize your blog’s effectiveness for building sales, you need to keep some important points in mind:

1) Know what you are talking about.  Blog readers expect expertise. Give your readers cutting-edge information on your topic. Take the time to keep abreast of industry news and industry practices. As the old saying goes, “content is king” when it comes to blogging. 

2) Cultivate trust and credibility. One of the best ways to do this is by following Tip #1 above. When you consistently give readers information that helps them succeed, they will keep coming back to your blog.

3) Develop a community of readers that interacts with one another.  Seth Godin calls this community of readers your tribe. Your tribe will be an outgrowth of tips #1 and #2. When you inspire the trust of those who read your blog because you provide great content, those readers will turn into your followers. They will follow not only your blog, but also your Facebook page, your Twitter account, and other social media venues.  Eventually, many of these followers will become your customers.

Blogging offers many other advantages to the fiction writer. Start by focusing on these three. They will take you far on your journey toward building your fiction-writing business.

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Copyright 2014 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Source: Microsoft Clipart

(Business) The Hybrid Writer

A new type of writer has emerged as a result of the digital revolution. She is called “the hybrid writer” because her work is published both with traditional publishers and with indie (independent) publishers or via self-publishing.  I am an example of a hybrid author.  Some of my books have been published by traditional houses and others via my own indie publishing venue.

Only a few years ago, an author published primarily through a traditional publishing house. Her job was to write the best book possible. Her agent’s job was to sell the book, and the publisher’s job was to print it and market it.  All that has changed. Today we are witnessing a major paradigm shift in the publishing industry, a shift which has placed the onus of marketing a book squarely on the author’s shoulders. But this is not necessarily a bad thing.

What concerns me most of all is the misunderstanding I am seeing between the traditional publishing world and the rapidly growing indie publishing world. Sad to say, this misunderstanding has often been expressed in vitriolic language that does no one any good.  What all parties concerned (authors, agents, traditional publishers, indie publishers, self-publishers, and hybridists) need to realize is that whenever a major change occurs, there will be conflict.  I prefer to describe this conflict as “growing pains” that will last a while until a new equilibrium has been reached.

So let’s not be quick to accuse or disparage one another. There is a place for all of us if we would simply pool our resources and trust God to lead us in the direction He wills for our individual lives. This writing journey is not about us and our personal agendas. It is about exalting Jesus Christ and building His Kingdom through the words we write. If the traditionalists, the digitalists, and the hybridists focus on Him, we will eventually all be of the same mind–the mind of Christ. And when we are unified in Him, our Lord will command His blessing on all of us (Psalm 133:1-3).
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Copyright 2013 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.

(Business): Pre-Launch Strategies for Your Book

The time to begin advertising your book is before it’s published. In fact, several months before.

Advertising gurus tell us that a person usually must see or hear an ad at least seven times before taking action on it. There is something about repetition that causes the brain to pay more attention each time the same message is heard.

With this knowledge in hand, how can you best prepare for the launch of your new book?  Here are some strategies I am currently using to prepare for the launch of my new children’s picture book, Who Is Jesus?, scheduled to be released in September by TopNotch Press.

1. Develop a business plan for the launch of your book. Decide when you will begin your launch, how frequently you will send out a notice about your book, and what specific methods you will use to promote it once it’s published (e.g., contests, free offer for a specific period of time, bundling your new book with other books you’ve written, blog tours, etc).

2) Build a list of people willing to review your book once it is launched. Once your book is published, you will have a ready-made list of reviewers who have already agreed to review your book. Send each of them a complimentary copy. If your publisher offers advance review copies (ARCs), send your reviewers a copy before the publication date.

3) Build a mailing list of people who will be potential buyers of your book, people who share an interest in the subject matter of your book.  In my case, my mailing list will include parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, and others who would have good reason to purchase a children’s book for a child they love.

Strategies for launching your book are numerous and various, so much so that you can become overwhelmed. Your job is to choose those strategies that you think will make the most impact for your book. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If you do, you will be better armed for the launch of your next book.
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Copyright 2014 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

(Business) Indie Publishing

Many writers are becoming frustrated with the long waits and low pay of traditional publishing and are turning to Indie publishing.

What is Indie publishing? Indie is short for “independent” and denotes writers who publish their work themselves. As more and more authors reap significant financial benefits from publishing their own books, the Big Five publishers have stopped looking down their noses at self-publishers. What once carried a huge stigma now carries respect.

So, is indie publishing for everyone? The answer is no. The real question to ask, however, is “Is indie publishing for me?”  Before you answer that question for yourself, however, ask yourself the preliminary questions below:

1)  Is indie publishing in my best interests? In other words, will publishing your own work reap you the rewards you want to reap from your writing efforts? These rewards are not only financial; they are also psychological, emotional, and relational. Some writers want to keep their professional fate in their own hands and not depend on market trends to determine their success.  Other authors get discouraged at the long waits that traditional publishing, by its very nature, imposes.  So consider each of these aspects when considering your “best interests”.

2) Am I prepared to tackle the many challenges associated with indie publishing? Challenges like hiring an outstanding editor to review your work, finding the best venue for digital conversion of your book, handling all the marketing on your own? As an indie publisher, you will be not only chief writer, but you will also be chief cook and bottle washer.  If you are prepared to handle all aspects of the publishing process–and I mean “all”– then indie publishing may be for you.

3) Will indie publishing help me fulfill the long-term goals I have set for my writing career? Will I reach the audience I want to reach? Will I be happy reaching only a niche market? Will I reach my financial goals for my writing?

These are only a few of the important questions you will need to ask yourself before choosing to become an indie publisher. Talk to others who have gone before you. Find out all you can before taking the plunge.  Once you are satisfied with the answers to your questions, then jump in and don’t look back.

You may then ask yourself why you waited so long.

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Copyright 2013 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.

(Business) A New Direction for 2014?

As the end of 2013 fast approaches, I’ve been reconsidering the focus of this blog.  For a good while now, I’ve been blogging on the ABCs of fiction writing:  Attitude, Business, and Craft. On Mondays, I have been blogging about the attitude a fiction writer needs to succeed. On Wednesdays, I’ve been discussing the business aspect of fiction writing, and on Fridays, I’ve been posting on the craft of writing fiction.

I am considering streamlining my focus to only the craft of writing fiction. Before I do this, however, I would like to ask you, my faithful readers, if you think you would glean more from a craft focus or if you would like to see me continue the ABC approach.

Please let me hear from you. I write this blog to serve you and the Christian fiction writing community. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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Copyright 2013 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.