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What Is An Audience?

In today’s social media culture we assume bigger is better. Advertisers push their message onto millions of followers and get instant approval from billions of likes and retweets. But for writers, the ideal audience has nothing to do with numbers. Instead of pushing our work onto as many people as possible, it’s much more helpful to focus on pulling in that smaller slice of the population who will love what we’re writing. 100 fans who care about our work, can’t wait for our next release, and who loan our books out to friends, are worth more than a million faceless followers who will never take a chance on one single story. Instead of shouting louder to be heard over all the social media noise, the secret is to cultivate a solid audience that is ready to listen to what we have to say.

About The Author
Lauren Sapala is a fiction writer, writing coach, and blogger. She founded the Write City writing group in San Francisco, and its sister branch in Seattle. She coaches all levels of writers, helping them to discover their voices and realize their goals and dreams.  Lauren currently lives in San Francisco and is working on her fifth novel. She blogs regularly at www.laurensapala.com.

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By |October 19th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Meet and Greet Mondays: An Interview with Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy

Reedsy

1) Before launching Reedsy, did any of you have experience working in the publishing industry? What caused you (and the rest of the cofounders) to come up with the idea? I assume there was a passion that sparked the idea.

There was definitely a passion for books that sparked the idea, but more from the consumer side. In our founding team, we’re all avid readers of different genres, and it i s from this perspective that we approached the publishing industry.

We adopted the digital formats very early on, and were incredibly excited about what this disruption in the distribution models meant for the content creators, i.e. the authors. We started investigating the rise of independent publishing, and came up with this idea of building an intermediary model, fairer to the authors but keeping the highest standards of quality.

 

2) Can people view books that have been published as a result of collaborations that took place on Reedsy? If so, where?

We don’t yet track the books that come out of our numerous collaborations — that will be part of an ulterior development of our model. However, we do often get thanked via email, Twitter and Facebook for our great marketplace and also sent the book we have made possible.

So we’ve started publishing some “success stories” on our blog, highlighting some cool projects that our editors or designers worked on through Reedsy. Here are a couple:

Life in the Loop (1)

 

3) Do you have any well known success stories? (book titles)

We’ve had some fairly famous authors use Reedsy to find a new editor or designer: Brant Cooper, co-author of The Lean Entrepreneur, or Janice Graham, NYT bestselling author Janice Graham, who wrote The Tailor’s Daughter.

We’ve also recently started working directly with some UK-based agencies to help them rebrand literary estates for re-publication, and we’ll soon publish a wonderful “success story” about that.

 

4) How does Reedsy plan to stay ahead of the other marketplaces for freelance writers and editors?  

Though we’re still quite young, we have built an editorial/design network and a reputation that really set us apart. On Reedsy, authors know that they are guaranteed to work with a talented professional, whomever they end up choosing.

But we’re not stopping there. We’re currently building some amazing tech tools to help authors write, edit, collaborate and publish more efficiently. We believe we are about to change the way authors and publishing professionals work together to create beautiful books.

 

5) What is the biggest struggle you’ve had in launching the service to authors and editors? How did you overcome it/ are you overcoming it? 

The biggest challenge for us is that we operate in a space where authors are quite suspicious of new players. And they should be, considering the amount of “wannabe” editors/designers out there — on top of the websites that are just plain scams…

This is why we’ve spent a lot of time softly building a reputation through our blog, through our presence at writer’s conferences, and through our transparency. We prefer authors telling other authors about us and growing through word of mouth, which is what we’ve been doing quite smoothly.

 

6) Where do you see the future of the company going? 

We will continue growing our marketplace, and adding new categories to it: book reviewers, marketers, publicists — as always, all carefully selected and pre-vetted. Then, there’s the collaboration tools I mentioned earlier that are going to make a big difference in this industry.

But a bit like Find My Audience, we also want to connect rising authors with great stories to avid readers in their genre. This is why we are slowly dipping our toes into publishing and marketing right now, before making a big splash after the Summer — more on that then!

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

moi

Ricardo Fayet is a co-founder of Reedsy, an online marketplace that enables authors to directly access the wealth of editing and design talent that has been leaving major publishers over the past few years. A technology and startup enthusiast, he likes to imagine how small players will build the future of publishing. He also blogs about book marketing and conducts weekly author interviews on the Reedsy blog.

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By |July 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Original Social Media for Authors

Author signing autograph in own book at wooden table on light blurred background

The classic book talk still rules.

Maybe the publishers aren’t paying for as many big glamour author tours—jets, limos, chauffeurs—as they used to, but the old-fashioned book tour remains a cornerstone of the book-selling business.

The Tattered Cover in Denver (two stores in Denver, one in Littleton) buzzes with talking author heads every night of the week. If you’re a writer and want a slot, you need to request it months in advance.

Jenny Milchman, a friend who writes thrillers, hops in her car on a regular basis for what is officially the “world’s longest book tour.” It’s coast-to-coast, no store-too-small campaign. The 2015 edition of her road trip is called “Bring on the Night,” in honor of her third book, As Night Falls. Her gasoline-pumping ways start later this month (follow her here: http://www.jennymilchman.com/tour/bring-on-the-night-2015). You can stop and greet her when she stops at the Tattered Cover in Denver on July 23.

I would imagine the publisher backs Craig Johnson’s tour for Dry Bones, his latest, and all the Walt Longmire novels before it, too. At his recent stop in Denver, the room was full before the appointed hour and Craig answered questions for 15 minutes before the official “talk” began.

By the way, could you keep up with Craig? You’ll need some stamina. I counted 21 bookstore stops in May and he didn’t start the tour until May 12. He visited every town from Tehachapi to Tonopah (actually from Santa Fe. N.M. to Cody, Wyoming).

Up and down the Front Range of Colorado and anywhere you go, you could make a career out of being the ubiquitous book talk audience member from bookstores to libraries to the offbeat venues, too.

Even with Twitter and Facebook and Goodreads and blog posts connected to your LinkedIn profile, nothing beats a great book talk.

It’s the original social media.

The book talk is like the comeback of vinyl—something real.

You get to look those writers in the eye. You get to hear what they have to say. Why this topic? What drove them to write this book with these themes, these characters, these points, these ideas, these touches, these images, and in this particular style? How do they write? How to they come up with ideas?

Who inspires them? Where do they fit on the journalistic or narrative non-fiction landscape (if it’s non-fiction) or in the great sweep of story-telling in the post-modern avalanche of fiction?

You never know what you’re going to get—not really. Recently, Gregory Hill’s launch of “The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles” ended with a small-band acoustic performance of America’s chestnut, “A Horse With No Name.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFRo13Uy8f4 By the time Hill gathered his mates on “stage” for this performance, he’d already sold everyone in the room a book—his prepared speech was spot-on hilarious and well thought out.

If you’re a book talk fan, by the way, and are unfamiliar with the Authors on Tour podcast, check it out—a wide variety of Tattered Cover presentations are captured on audio for your listening pleasure. http://authorsontourlive.com/ (And if you’ve never given a book talk and want to get a flavor for the ones that work, that’s as good a resource as any to hear how they run.)

The recent podcast with T.C. Boyle was fantastic—and includes a long reading from his new book. http://authorsontourlive.com/tc-boyle-podcasts-the-harder-they-come/ All for free. What more could you want? Well, other than being in person to get the book signed by the author?

Book talks rock—stimulating ideas and in-person authors (artists) who have poured years into putting together something you can devour in a few days.

It’s you, the writer, and a book.

The best.

About the Author
Mark Stevens has worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston and Los Angeles; as a City Hall reporter for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver;  as a national field producer for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) and as an education reporter for The Denver Post.  After journalism, he worked in school public relations before starting his own public relations and strategic communications business. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors League, Pike’s Peak Writers, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Mark is the author of The Allison Coil Mystery Series, which includes Antler Dust, Buried By The Roan, and Trapline. Visit him at http://www.writermarkstevens.com/.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |June 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

10 Tips to Grow Your Audience on Instagram

The saying goes that a picture speaks a thousand words. This statement couldn’t be truer than on Instagram, a social media platform where your photos do the talking. If you’ve got 140 characters or less to find your following on Twitter, then on Instagram, you achieve success through compelling snapshots and short quips about them.

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to establish yourself on Instagram. But you do need to know a few things to set the stage before getting started.

Establish your online persona
The person who taught me how to get started on social media introduced the concept of developing an online persona, and this principle applies to all social media handles from the get-go. Know what message you’d like to get across and establish your goals and primary focus. It helps to ask yourself why you’re on social media and what you hope to achieve. Once you are clear, the answer will reflect in the types of photos that you share on Instagram—whether you’re working it purely for business purposes or posting occasional personal snapshots to give your brand a relatable image. Your audience recognizes authenticity and will respond to you, so be as true to being yourself as you’re comfortable with sharing. It will make a difference.

Write a strong bio
Remember to write a clear and concise profile. It’s your first introduction of you or your brand to your audience. I always believe in being natural and real with people. If you’re funny, definitely incorporate humor in your bio. If you’re using Instagram to promote a business, then include information about the business and a link to the site. Your profile photo can be you, your brand logo, or a pretty picture of items you sell.

Choose a theme
Decide on a look or theme to carry through your photos. While this isn’t absolutely necessary, if you’re doing work in beauty or design and you have a signature style, then IG is a great place to showcase that look and attract people who love your style too. Check out @aquietstyle, @misspoppydesign and @TLVBirdie who do an awesome job presenting their branding in a clear and consistent way.

Then there are others who focus exclusively on food (feast your eyes on @julieskitchen), yoga (check out @yoga_girl who currently released a book thanks to her Instagram popularity), flowers (dream of greener pastures on @saipua), vintage fare (@folkmagazine and its shop @buyfolk), slow living (arrest your fast pace here: @local_milk) and more.

Use the search option to build connections
Pressing the search button used to take you to the Instagram photos with the most hits. Recently, the IG team tweaked the search engine, so that you can now use it to discover accounts that share similar interests. You can then:

  • Like their posts.
  • Leave comments. It’s debatable whether or not it’s a good idea to ask people to check out your feed. I’m of the opinion to always play it cool and let them come to you, unless you develop a connection. What I find is that leaving positive feedback on someone else’s feed often earns reciprocal positive attention back.

Take a good photo.
This seems pretty obvious, yet there are still some bad photos on IG. Instagram offers a point and shoot camera, as well as tools and filters to create the exact image you want. With the latest iPhones and Android phones, I find these to be enough without resorting to a fancy camera or expensive photo editing programs.

Here are some basics rules to follow:

  • Make sure the photo is focused. I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve seen that are blurry. This is IG where all you’ve got is your photo. Make it work FOR you. A photo that is unfocused carries an underlying message of a lack of professionalism.
  • Unless your style is “less is more,” it seems that the more brands and different types of items generate more likes. For instance, as with @TLVBirdie, her fashion and beauty flat-lays get more attention than her other shots. Similarly, the more products I include in my posts, the more “likes” they get too.
  • If you’re going to post generic photos taken from Pinterest or “regram” someone else’s photo, always credit the original and don’t do it often. Too many “inspirational” posts tend to get stale on Instagram and are more suitable for Pinterest.
  • Pay attention to which photos generate more of a stir than others and do more of that.
  • Develop your style. Lauren Conrad is a great example of consistent use of filters @laurenconrad. You can check out her pro-tips here, if you like her images.

Clever caption
Short and clever captions seem to do best, since IG is mainly a quick scroll-through visual platform.  But feel free to ask questions to get other Instagrammers to engage with you.

Rock the Hashtags
Hashtags belong at the END of a comment on your photo and help others find you. If you don’t want to clutter up a clever slogan, you can always add the hashtags in the first comment to the post. Whatever you do, don’t #talk with #hashtags mid-sentence. I don’t like it on Twitter and it doesn’t belong on Instagram either.

But definitely use them. They will enable search engine compatibility and will help you find accounts who are using the terms.

Yes to the #selfie
People seem to like these photos aimed at capturing you. Check out @beautybybritanie who nearly doubled her following in a year with more than the occasional selfie. But make sure it’s working for you. One friend told me that she did an insta-video (limited to about 10-15 seconds long) with her singing and actually lost follows, so pay attention to what your audience likes and dislikes.

Tag brands or people in the photo
Before posting, you can tag the brands or people who are in your photo. In turn, the tagged accounts get a message signal (the symbol on the right under your profile lights up and when clicked, they will see your pic). If they like the photo enough, they may repost it to their account and you can cross-promote each other which is always win-win.

Don’t post too frequently
The rules of engagement are different on Instagram than on Twitter or Facebook where frequency of tweets and posts garner increased visibility. On Instagram, it’s the opposite! Too many consecutive photos will actually lose “likes” on each photo. What works? I find that one post between 9 am to 11 am, one around noon, and one in the evening after 8 pm should do it. Sometimes I wait until the first post of the day stops getting attention before posting the next photo.

Instagram can open an entirely new avenue of free exposure to your brand and business. It is well worth exploring the possibilities. Go ahead. Take a shot!

Sarita Coren is a freelance writer and blogger at Peace on the Skin & Peace Within, www.ediblefacial.com. She is committed to spreading the world about green beauty, holistic wellness, and living from the heart. She can be contacted at ediblefacial@gmail.com.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |April 28th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Amazon, Hachette and Commodification

amazon_hatchette

A recent editorial by Joe Nocera in the New York Times  got me looking at this conflict in a new light. Nocera, a business writer with keen insight and an alert conscience, boils the conflict down in this way:

No matter what you think of Amazon’s tactics, they surely don’t violate any laws. It is acting the way hardheaded companies usually act — inflicting some pain on the party in a dispute to move it toward resolution. On some level, the book industry has never fit comfortably in the contours of big business. But over the years, as one house after another was bought by conglomerates, as they merged with each other, as they tried to increase profits with the kind of regularity that pleases Wall Street, they began the process of commoditizing books. Jeff Bezos? He’s only taking that process to its logical extreme.

With all due respect to Joe Nocera, I have to ask: really? Books are inevitably headed down the path of widgetification, in which the only thing that matters is maximizing profit margins and moving units? And there is nothing to be done about it? What a dispiriting reality, if that is true.

But I don’t think it is.

Let’s take a quick look at commodification. When it comes to the market economics of products, commodification is at the far end of the Value-Volume spectrum.

At the Value end of the spectrum, the market price of a product depends more on the unique qualities of the product. A Stradivarius violin or an original Picasso are examples of the farthest Value-based valuation. Lower down the scale, you might find a Bentley or a Rolex, elite luxury goods whose prices are based as much on their quality as on market demand and production costs (although these factor in). With a traditionally lower supply for Value products, the price skews to the highest price that buyers will pay for it (such as an art work sold at auction).

As we move down the spectrum toward Volume-based valuations, profit margin (factoring in costs of production, distribution, and marketing along with price) becomes all important. If you have the formula for producing a product at even a small profit, and you can scale your production efficiently, you can maximize overall profit infinitely by increasing volume. Most consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in the world (such as soap and soybeans) are securely toward the Volume side of the spectrum. These are commodities. Prices for commodities skew toward the lowest price a manufacturer or producer can bear.

In aggressively driving to minimize the costs associated with their supply chain, which Amazon is unquestionably doing, they are certainly abetting the commodification of books. I don’t think any writers believe this is a good thing, nor do I.

Hachette of course is taking the position that not only is commodification bad for writers, but that publishers are an intrinsic part of the value-creation process itself (they are not just glorified “manufacturers”); they provide curatorial, editorial and marketing services which raises the quality of goods across the board, which ultimately serves both readers and writers.

To a certain extent this is true, although I agree with Nocera that corporate aggregation in the publishing industry has generally worked against the Value proposition for writers, and more towards a corporate bottom line orientation. You may feel (as I know my colleague Mark Schroeder does) that Hachette’s recent round of layoffs, followed quickly by its corporate acquisition of Perseus Books Group, puts the lie to Hachette’s moral high ground stance.

I’ll conclude by affirming my own belief that the best way to look at this dispute is not to look at what is best for Amazon or Hachette, and how that might then effect our economy down the line, but instead to look at what is best for readers and writers, and ask how the publishing industry might be best aligned to serve society down the line.

Books have always been an elite product, and they have served society magnificently. Does driving book costs down for consumers really serve society? I would prefer the costs of books remain higher, to better serve readers and writers.

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |June 29th, 2014|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Book Covers from Crew: American Spring

We are hard at work developing The Writers’ Dashboard, the first audience detection tool for writers. But it doesn’t mean that we aren’t still honing the craft that inspired us in the first place — that is to say, writing. Below are two covers from Mark’s soon-to-be-released YA novel, Crew: American Spring. This is quite a departure from his earlier work, The Book of Margery Kempe. Let us know which cover you like best. The covers were done by Thomas Mims from Hawk&Moon.
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By |November 29th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Springtime at Honey Bee Farm

Back in Winter I did a post on Snow Day at Honey Bee Farm. Well, here’s one of Springtime at Honey Bee Farm. Take a look and let me know what you think. Honey, salves, and tinctures coming soon!

Bee Hives out near the Barn 

Nettle

Culinary Sage

Lovage

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.

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By |June 28th, 2012|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Do We Need A Groupon For Writers?

Hi Writers,

Ok, full disclosure: I’m new to the game. I’ve spent the last fifteen years working as an entrepreneur and as an academic. Just recently, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and bring to fruition the many partially completed manuscripts that I have been working on during my “water cooler breaks.” I know many of you join me in this endeavor. Bit scary, eh? And exhilarating, too.

But the entrepreneurial mindset is one that is hard to shake, and as I navigate my way through the social web, I keep asking myself: how can we writers do a better job at marketing ourselves? That is to say, once we “locate” our readers, and I think a tool can be built to help do a better job at that, what do we do with them then? How do we get our “potential readers” to make a transaction?

My last company was in the travel space and I worked with many of the well-known travel brands. I recall that the big three OTAs—Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity–averaged in the 4-6% range for transactions, with seasonal variations, of course. If Expedia averages 25MM users a month, then that means 1-1.5MM users actually “buy” something each month. As you can imagine, that’s no small chunk of change.

I’m not sure that we writers can expect a 4-6% transaction rate, but one possible way (amongst many) would be to use a Groupon-like tool. Groupon, of course, is not interested in most of us–the margins aren’t there. But it is interesting to note that they did an experiment with Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of Zappos, and helped him sell 1642 books in three days. Of course you don’t want to use Groupon. After they take their cut, and assuming some other entity (such as Amazon) takes a cut, that leaves very little for you.

But what if there was a tool–elegant yet simply designed–that let you run group-buying campaigns yourselves? One that let you design the offer and then distributed the offer to your “located” audience?

As I said, I’m new to the game; sometimes that is a good thing. Sometimes it makes you look like, well, new to the game. Perhaps there is already a tool out there that does what I’m suggesting. If so, let me know. I could use it. If not, I would welcome hearing your ideas and input.

Thanks!

At Find My Audience, we understand that not all authors are marketers. That being said, growing your social audience can expand your readership and book sales. You don’t have to be a book marketer to find new readers online. We are here to simplify this process for you. Sign up today and connect with potential readers across the globe.
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By |November 23rd, 2011|EBook Marketing Innovations, Uncategorized|0 Comments