Please excuse any mess around here while blog is undergoing damage repair.

Friday, July 16, 2010

As much as I'd like these to be my shoes, they aren't...

They are the shoes of the fabulous Shelli Johannes-Wells. She kindly agreed to an interview on my blog back in October, and I'm reposting that interview one question a day this week. Shelli writes children's, tween, and young adult, and is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media. She is also a marketing consultant for several large, well known businesses in the United States. To learn more about her, please visit her web site or her blog. Shelli has given us all a lot to think about. Here are her parting words: 5. What is the best advice you can give in regards to using social networking as a marketing tool? Do it! Online Social networking is to writers what the after hours parties and team events are to businesses. You have to network to get noticed. Your writing should always come first, but you need to get out there if you want to be out there. :) Well, there you go. Did you read that? Writing comes first, but you need to get out there if you want to be out there. Great words of wisdom. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Will these shoes ever be mine?????

Probably not, because they are the shoes of the fabulous Shelli Johannes-Wells. She kindly agreed to an interview on my blog back in October, and I'm reposting that interview one question a day this week. Shelli writes children's, tween, and young adult, and is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media. She is also a marketing consultant for several large, well known businesses in the United States. To learn more about her, please visit her web site or her blog. So, one thing I think about a lot is whether or not this whole blogging thing is worth it for the YA author. I mean, seriously, what teens read blogs? Well, I'm easy to prove wrong. Here's what Shelli had to say about that. (Again, I apologize for the formatting. Blogger is just not cooperating with me on this one.) 4. Since teenagers don't typically blog, how effective is blogging as a marketing tool for the YA author? Wait - who says teens don't blog??? According to Pew studies, in 2008, more than half (58%) of all teens maintain a profile on a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace, 27% have an online journal or blog, and 11% maintain a personal website. Girls dominate the teen blogosphere and social networks. 66% of girls have a profile (compared with 50% of boys), and 34% of those girls (versus 20% of boys) keep an online journal or blog. A lot of teens also review books on their blogs. I follow a few, and they are amazingly knowledgeable about authors and books. Therefore, I say blogging is effective - if you do it well and often. Now are you blogging for the teen audience prior to being published? Probably not. In the beginning, your blog targets other writers, bloggers, editors and agents. But later, when you are published, that audience may change, and teens may follow. Just look at Meg Cabot's following! So, for all you YA authors out there, you may not have a teen following now, but eventually you will. Isn't that something to think about? I know it is for me. It makes me want to crank some Lady GaGa, put on my pink Converse, and take a picture of my feet. Come to think of it, maybe I should. You know, for the future when I'm published and all.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nope, still not my shoes...

If you've stopped by recently, you know they are the shoes of the fabulous Shelli Johannes-Wells. She kindly agreed to an interview on my blog back in October, and I'm reposting that interview one question a day this week. Shelli writes children's, tween, and young adult, and is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media. She is also a marketing consultant for several large, well known businesses in the United States. To learn more about her, please visit her web site or her blog. I have to say, she really knows what she's talking about. If you missed the first two questions, you will find them if you scroll down to the previous posts. As many of you know, the reposting of this interview was motivated by a discussion we had here last week about how blogging should take a backseat to writing, especially if you are not published yet. While, I still think writing should come first, I also feel that we should spend some time on social networking sites. What did Shelli have to say about this? Let's find out. 3. At what point do writers need to start considering the marketing aspects of social networking? Do unpublished, unagented writers need to worry about this yet? In my professional opinion, yes! I do think it is extremely important to build those relationships way before someone is selling books. It's no fun having someone push their book on you when they don't even know your name. Social networking relationships are like any business relationship. It is better to build them over time and with authenticity. Building a network has many advantages to unpublished authors: 1) You find out about other people's agents/journey, which can help your own 2) You have time to build up a relationship without jamming your book down people's throats. 3) It helps you stay connected in this crazy journey. It's nice to find like people who experience similar struggles and achievements. Many unpublished authors seem to think they cannot do a web site before they get published. That is not true - you can! Even if you don't have books published, you can pitch them on your web site. Why not? I am agented but not yet published. You can check out my web site and see how to do it. There you go. See, I told you she knows what she's talking about. Please come back tomorrow for question #4.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

These still aren't my shoes!

If you were around here yesterday, you know they are the shoes of the fabulous Shelli Johannes-Wells. And she so kindly agreed to an interview on my blog back in October. Shelli writes children's, tween, and young adult, and is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media. She is also a marketing consultant for several large, well known businesses in the United States. To learn more about her, please visit her web site or her blog. So, I'm reposting this interview, one question a day. If you missed yesterday's question, (I posted really late in the day) scroll down and read it now. I think you'll find it to be informative. Oh, and by the way, I couldn't get the interview to format right the first time I ran it, and I can't do it now either. Weird, huh? Anyway, please excuse the odd spacing. I've always thought of blogging as something I enjoy doing. I never really considered it work, but according to Shelli, in a way, it is an important part of our jobs as authors. Check out her answer to my second question of the interview. 2. Okay, now on to marketing. How important is social networking to marketing? And what role does blogging play in this area? Social networking is very important. Especially online. You can control the marketing of your book, but you cannot control the PR you or your book gets. PR is free. And that word of mouth comes from readers, friends, and your professional network. Blogs are just one way to network. As you know, we bloggers find other blogs we connect with and then somehow in a strange way become friends. Sometimes, I feel like my blogger friends know me better than anyone and that they 100% support me in my writing and journey to publication. I think and hope my bloggie buddies feel the same way about me. If you do not like to blog, find another way to build a network. You can use Facebook, Myspace, Ning, Xanga, Good Reads, Shelftalker, message boards, listserve groups, Twitter, or others. There are so many ways to network, so find a couple that work for you and do them well. Go figure...something this much fun is actually good business, too! It doesn't get much better than that. See you tomorrow for question #3.

Monday, July 12, 2010

These aren't my shoes!

They are the shoes of the fabulous Shelli Johannes-Wells. And she so kindly agreed to an interview on my blog back in October. Shelli writes children's, tween, and young adult, and is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media. She is also a marketing consultant for several large, well known businesses in the United States. To learn more about her, please visit her web site or her blog. In my post on Friday, I indicated that I'd be reposting the interview, one question a day, this week. I think you will find her answers enlightening. One thing, I've heard over and over again is that agents really do read potential clients' blogs. If this is the case, shouldn't we be careful about what we post? Well, let's see what Shelli had to say. 1. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I think my readers could benefit from your marketing knowledge. But first, everyone would like to know if agents really visit the blogs of potential clients. Based on your numerous interviews with agents and editors, do you think they do? If so, what do they look for? YES they do! First of all, if you go to my blog and read my weekly Monday interviews with agents and editors on marketing, you will see most of them Google writers online and expect writers to have an online presence. I also speak at many SCBWI conferences and end up hanging out with faculty. I can't tell you how many editors and agents goggle writers and scour the Internet looking for information on potential writers. I have at least 5 friends who got "found" on their blog. I think they look for voice, personality, good ideas, and optimism. They want to see if they can connect to this author and work with them. You can tell a lot about someone's personality by reading someone's blog. I think they are turned off by boring material, negativity, and detailed reports of submission rejection. Okay, so there you have it. Even if we don't have a book to sell yet, we need to keep our blogs positive and somewhat professional. You never know who might stop by for a peek. I'll be back tomorrow with question #2.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh, but blogging is not a waste of time!

I mean, seriously, you can use as many adverbs and adjectives as you want. Not to mention exclamation points and passive verbs like is, are, was, and were. That alone makes it worth while, right? Even better, though, are the discussions that almost always follow a well-intentioned, but not so carefully worded post. This is exactly what happened here on Wednesday. If you missed it, you can scroll down and read it now. Yes, in that post, I stated that my blog wasn't helping me sell books, and I meant it, just not in the way in which it was taken. To set the record straight, I'm here today to clarify. Is my blog helping me sell books right now? No! Will it in the future? Absolutely. And it's never too late to start branding yourself. I've spent the last week catching up on blog reading, and so many of you are talking about taking a break from blogging because it's such a time suck. The point of my post on Wednesday was to say, "Hey, it's okay. Your writing should always come first." I in no way, shape, or form, meant to imply that social networking is not a valuable marketing tool. It truly is the best PR out there, and we should all use it wisely. By that, I mean, use it to our advantage rather than our detriment. I'll be exploring this topic further next week with a repost of an interview I had with marketing expert, Shelli Johannes over at Market My Words. It was a super long post, and I hate those, so I'll spread the interview out over several days (one question at a time) to allow for continued discussion. Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time... There's Never Enough of It!

If you read my post on Monday, you know that social networking has been weighing heavy on my mind. One of my goals for 2010 was to expand my activity in this area, and I've regrettably gone backwards. Or have I? I'm not so sure that it's a huge priority right now. Obviously, marketing is important when it comes to selling a book, but what about for those of us who don't have a book to sell yet? How important is social networking? Some of you will remember a series of post I did about a year ago involving using social networking as a marketing tool. I still stand behind every single one of them, but I have some additional thoughts to add. For those of us who are not published yet, building a platform is a daunting task, and reasonably so. I think this is because, in part, we aren't ready for that yet. How do you market something that isn't for sale? Ever since I came back from my five week blogging break, I've noticed an increase in people stepping back from social networking because they are overwhelmed by the time it takes. I'm so glad I'm not the only one feeling the undue pressure. My blog isn't going to help me sell books. I mean, seriously, unless I wrote a book about shoes, how in the heck would this be a good marketing tool? Maybe, if I wrote women's fiction, it might work, but for young adult... I don't think so. My point is this: each and every one of us needs to define what blogging means for us. After we do that, we can decide how much time we should devote to it. If you are an unpublished author like me, the majority of your time should be spent honing your craft, not socializing here. Now, that's not to say that interacting with others who are learning as you are isn't helpful. I'm just saying don't beat yourself up about not blogging regularly. Writing should be your priority. Blogging is an enjoyable pastime that helps me associate with others who are in the same place as me. When I start feeling too much pressure, well then, it's like the bad friend who sucks me dry because she's too needy. When it feels like that, it's time to take a break. If I didn't, my posts would be ridiculously boring, and who wants to read that? I love you all dearly, and the decision to start blogging was one of the best I've ever made. I hope to feel that way in years to come. Thank you all for sticking by me during my inconsistent blogging period. So, you tell me, why do you blog? Are you feeling undue pressure? I hope not. If so, let it go, because there are much more important things to worry about.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Belated 4th!

So, the Fourth of July has come and gone. It marks the mid-point of the year, and I can't believe how fast time goes by. Every year about this time, I start reflecting on what kind of progress I've made. Some of you will remember that back in January, I set a few goals for myself. I've been thinking about those goals today. Some, I've made great strides toward. Others, not so much. My first goal was to finish revisions on my current project and to start on my next one. Well, I'm happy to say that I'm within days of completing revisions, and I've begun mapping out my next project. I can't complain there. My second goal was to expand on my social networking while balancing it with family and writing time. I hate to admit this, but I've actually gone backwards here. I'm not complaining, though. I think this was an unnecessary goal for me at this stage of the game. (Not the balancing part, but the expansion of social networking part.) I'll elaborate on this later this week, but for now, I'd love to know how your 2010 goals are coming along. Are you happy with your progress? Or, are you feeling pressure to increase your efforts? I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July, and for my Canadian friends, a spectacular Canada Day!