"I can help you!"

I NO LONGER WORK AS A BOOK MARKETING COACH; I'M THE PUBLISHER AT IMAJIN BOOKS.

I've worked for over 25 years in advertising, promotions and sales, and spent nearly 2 years as a motivational speaker for a major international company. Currently a bestselling novelist and 'shameless' promoter, I've shared my experiences and techniques as a Book Marketing Coach for nearly a decade.

Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help. My last publisher called me a "marketing guru" and "whiz", although I prefer to think of what I do as teaching, or coaching.

"Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Top Ten Must-Haves for Aspiring Authors

Here are the top ten things I believe every writer must have if they aspire to be a published author. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author

1.Domain name - you can register and buy a domain name, preferably your author name, at Namesecure.com or other domain registrars.
2.Website - you'll need a website that looks professional and that you can have your domain name linked to. Do not use free site companies as the ads they place will make you look like an amateur.
3.Blog - you can easily set up a blog and link it to your site so people can find it easily. Try a blog from Blogger.com or Wordpress.com for easy to maintain templates.
4.Twitter account - a Twitter account will put you and your work in front of people instantly. Try to tweet something every day and you'll have people following you in no time. The more people who see you, the more potential sales you could have when you are published.
5.Facebook & MySpace accounts - these accounts will help you connect with other writers and published authors. You should also connect with publishers, libraries, schools, agents, editors, magazines etc. Learn from your 'friends' here, connect with them, build genuine relationships, and when you're ready to have a book blurbed, you'll know who to contact.
6.Talent - you must have a natural talent at not only thinking up a good story or telling a good story but writing a good story. Without natural talent, all the writing courses in the world can't help you.
7.Ability to take constructive criticism - you won't go anywhere if you refuse to improve and all works can be improved. If you want to go far in this business, you'll need to learn to leave your ego at the door. Feedback and criticism is a gift. Take a few days to think about any feedback you get. Ask yourself if changing things would make your work better. If you get the same comments from a variety of people, listen to them!
8.Persistence - this is a slow moving business and you must be able to persevere no matter what. You WILL get rejection letters. Your work WILL be rejected. But it's a numbers game. Wade through the nos to get to that yes! Keep moving forward no matter the roadblocks.
9.Dedication - you must dedicate yourself to writing the best possible works you can and to always learning about the craft of writing and the business of publishing and promoting.
10.Belief! Without belief in yourself and your skills as a writer you won't go far. If you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else? You must believe without a shadow of doubt that your work deserves to be on a bookstore shelf. Without BELIEF, the first 9 must-haves will be useless.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twitter 101: Using the new Retweet feature

Retweeting is a social way of acknowledging that someone's tweet has value and should be shared. When you see a tweet you like from one of the people you're following, you can re-send that tweet as a "retweet". The old way of doing this is simply to copy and paste their message and add "RT" plus their Twitter name @cherylktardif, then the message.

But Twitter has created a new automated Retweet feature. Most people seem to like the ease of this new feature, but many don't like that they can't add a personal comment to the message. The Retweet feature allows for no editing or adding of text. But that's also a plus as you don't have to figure out how to edit someone else's tweet to make the old "RT @cherylktardif" lead in fit.

The advantages to having one of your messages retweeted by a follower is that your message then goes out to all THEIR followers. Like the old shampoo commercial, "and they tell 2 friends, and so on and so on..", your tweet goes viral.

So here's how you now retweet using the new feature:

  1. You see a message on your home page (which shows tweets from those you're following) and you know all your followers should see.
  2. Retweet it by hovering over bottom right of the individual message. This activates the Reply link and the Retweet link.
  3. Click on "Retweet".
  4. A message pops up asking: "Retweet to your followers?" Click "Yes".
That's it. You're done. That tweet has been retweeted to all your followers. If you'd like to verify this, simply go to the top right, right beneath your twitter name and click on #tweets (the # being however many tweets you've sent out in total).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twitter 101: Creating Twitter Lists

Twitter recently introduced Lists so that you can organize the people you're following and find them much easier. You can catagorize your lists in any way you like.

Let's say you want to make a list of your favorite authors:

  1. Decide what kind of list you want to make. For this example, we'll use your "favorite authors".
  2. Decide who your favorite authors are and search for the first one on Twitter. You can do this in many ways. You can look for them in your "Following" or "Followers" links (top right of your Twitter home page). If you'd like to add an author that's not in either, you can try searching for them by clicking on the "Find People" link at very top right of home page.
  3. Click on the first author you want to add to your "favorite authors" list.
  4. You'll see a grey box marked "Lists". Click on it. If you've already made a list, you'll see it listed first with a square tick box to left. You'll also see "New list" below.
  5. Click on "New list" and give it a name: "favorite authors". You can add a description if you want. If your title gives enough info, don't bother with the descr.
  6. Select "Public" or "Private". It's advantageous to select "Public" if you want to help promote the people on your list. Some lists you might want to make only for you.
  7. Go back to step 2 and locate other authors for this specific list and follow steps 3-7 until your list is as big as you want. You can always add another person to any list by going to their page and following same steps.

That's all there is to making a Twitlist.

Viewing your lists:

  1. You'll find all your lists (ones you've created and ones you're following in the "Lists" section underneath "Saved Searches" on right side of home page. Your lists that you've created will show first, then ones you're following.
  2. For easier viewing of the same thing, click on the "Listed" link at top right beside "Followers". The "Lists following you" shows any list where someone has added your name. The "Lists you follow" is just like the ones you see beneath "Saved Searches".

Lists are a great way to keep track of people since the list of your followers isn't easily searchable.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writers and editors: different roles, same goals

by Denise C. Baron
(originally published on Ragan.com)

The marriage between a writer and editor can be a glorious one, or it can be a relationship full of strife. As in any marriage, the glue that will hold it together combines mutual respect, appreciation and admiration of each partner's skills and the role each person plays.

Marriages tend to be most successful when the partners are also each other's best friend. They might not always agree, but they manage to work things out compatibly.

A writer's best friend should be his editor. I say should be, because that's not always the case. In a perfect world, a writer writes and an editor improves. Ultimately, the beneficary of their alliance is the reader.

Although you'll find many a talented writer/editor out there, not all writers are cut out to be editors and vice versa. So being a writer doesn't automatically entitle you to consider yourself an editor, nor can all editors write particularly well. What good editors can do well is recognize good writing when they see it and, in wielding their blue pencils, ensure they preserve the writer's voice.

Good editors will take the text the writer has labored over and artfully make it even better – and the writer gets the glory. They correct mistakes, rearrange text where warranted or necessary, amend for house style, confer with the writer, and occasionally suggest overall improvements.

What good editors don't do is equally important. They do not feed their egos by making changes willy-nilly. They do not need to put their stamp on the writer's piece to prove anything. They're already where they are because they've earned the privilege. Truth is, they'd much prefer getting clean copy that is publication-ready; the reality is that's rarely the case. And that's OK, because if all writers submitted perfect prose, these people would be out of a job.

Then there's the incompetent editor. The damage this person can inflict is unlimited in scope and may include whitewashing the writer's text, making it conform to a faceless style, or otherwise stifling what distinguishes one writer from another: the personality, the voice. This person should not be editing anyone's copy but should be praying for the writer's forgiveness – and a lenient penance – and then seeking a new line of work.

Similarly, career writers who fail to understand that theirs is a vocation of lifetime learning may be unsuited for the task. Good writers are on a never-ending quest to improve; what they know for certain is that they don't know it all. And so they strive for perfection. Every day. It's the only way they eventually can become great.

Still the so-called writers and editors lurk. It's no wonder that the writer's lament is that anyone can do his job. That's because everyone writes, right? Who in business today has not composed a memo or an e-mail or even an instant message? Isn't that writing, after all? Doesn't that make everyone a writer?

Uh, no.

A writer doesn't merely put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. What a writer does is create. A writer captures ideas and transforms them into verbal pictures for the reader. Pictures that do indeed tell a story. Pictures that captivate the reader. These pictures are powerful tools. They can make you laugh or cry, enrage or delight you. Mainly, though, they will make you think.

Next time you find yourself reading good writing, listen carefully to hear the writer's voice. Some writers sound witty; others sound academic. Some sound like people you can envision yourself hanging out with; others sound too intimidating for that. What you're listening to is the result of the writer and editor working in harmony.

Just like a happy marriage.

Denise C. Baron is a director of global communications with Merck & Co., Inc. This article was reprinted here with permission from Denise C. Baron.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reversion of rights: do I need a signed letter from publisher giving me back my rights?

This question came up on one of my Yahoogroups: do you have to get a letter of reversion of rights from the publisher? The quick answer is YES. If your book has gone out of print or if you want to end your relationship with your publisher, or vice versa, then you'll need that letter of reversion.

A reversion of rights simply means that any rights you initially signed over to the publisher will be signed back to you. You'll own them again. However, if the publisher has sold your rights to third parties, your reversion of rights won't include those.

Someone suggested that an author could assume their book is out of print and that the rights have been reverted to author if the title isn't in the publisher's current catalog. I would warn authors never to assume they have their rights back. It's too difficult to determine if a book is actually no longer in print. My novel Whale Song has been out of print since February, yet Amazon has it listed as "out of stock"--or at least it did last time I checked, which wasn't long ago.

ALWAYS get a letter of reversion of rights from your publisher. With their signature. As an author, you can't afford to make assumptions that could end up costing you a lot of money, or worse--a new book deal. Most publishers won't even look at that book if you don't have the reversion letter. And that was something a publisher told me.

So, unless you're going to self-publish that book afterward and don't care that you could be taken to court if the previous publisher wants to claim they still own rights, get the letter.

In the event of a publisher that is so unethical that they refuse or don't answer your emails, you can then claim your rights back by sending a registered letter to the publisher (one he has to sign for so there's proof) demanding your rights are returned and giving him 30 days to dispute your letter. That will work in most cases, provided the publisher isn't completely unethical and provided that the publisher actually accepts and signs for your letter.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've been through this and dozens of my friends are going through this right now. My advice to anyone in this position is: get the letter of reversion from the publisher or send the publisher a 30-day notice. If possible, talk to an entertainment lawyer who knows book contracts.

My agent said it was vital to get the letter of reversion if I wanted another publisher to look at Whale Song. Now Whale Song is in negotiations for a major motion picture and a 3rd print edition. So believe me when I say, having your book's rights revert back to you isn't all bad. In my case, it was the best thing in the world. :-)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
http://www.cherylktardif.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Learn a bit about author contracts at The Write Type

Today's guest on The Write Type is "Book Candy Sandy" from Book Candy Studios, a company devoted to helping authors by managing tasks "so authors don't take time away from what they enjoy doing - creating books." Today, Sandy is going to share some tips about the paperwork side of being an author. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif


Check it out at:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Winners of August Giveaway announced

The winners for my Lancelot's Lady August Giveaway have been announced. You can see the winning names and read more at Lancelot's Lady August Giveaway.

You can read Lancelot's Lady for FREE at:

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!"

People always told me I was a dreamer. And they were right! For 2 years I dreamt of the story behind my critically-acclaimed novel Whale Song.

In 2003, my dream came true in the form of a book I could hold in my hands.

In 2007, Whale Song was picked up by a bigger publisher.

Now in 2009, I'm negotiating a major motion picture deal with a respected producer. The film deal includes major publication in hardcover and paperback by a top US publisher.

It all started with a dream...and the persistence to never give up.

So if you have a dream, don't give up. Never give up! Pursue it with all your heart.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Creating mock book covers

Book covers can make or break a book, and I've been lucky to have 4 published novels with 4 covers that were well received by readers. Often when I'm working on a novel, I'll design a "mock book cover". It helps to inspire me to really visualize the finished product, even if it isn't the most professional cover. Of course, the published cover isn't even close to the mock one I design.

For the "Next Best Celler" novel contest, sponsored by Textnovel and Dorchester Publishing, I'm working on a romance novel. Lancelot's Lady is the name of the romantic suspnese I've entered, and it very quickly took off, making the #1 spot out of all contest entries for the month of June 2009. Last time I checked, Lancelot's Lady was also #5 in Most Popular Stories.

To keep me motivated, I designed a mock book cover early on (cover #1), using a few elements from the story. This early design was simple enough to add some color and excitement to my entry, while also respecting that Dorchester Publishing will have the final say in a book cover.

Weeks later, I designed a new, more romantic cover (cover #2), yet hopefully the darkness still lends to some suspense. I'd be interested in hearing what you think, but of course please keep in mind that these aren't real covers. They're really just for fun. I have no doubt that Dorchester Publishing (should I win the contest) would do a far better job at designing a suitable cover.

Lancelot's Lady by Cherish D'Angelo Lancelot's Lady by Cherish D'Angelo












...........(cover #1)...........................(cover #2)...........

So readers, now you have some extra insight into the mind of a reader--at least this one. And authors, you now have a great idea for keeping yourself inspired--create a mock book cover. :-)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Please vote thumbs up for Lancelot's Lady (you must sign up at Textnovel.com first, then go to and click on thumbs up icon at top of page.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Authors: If you're looking for an Edmonton company to print your books, check out Scan Copy Print!

If you're a self-published author who is searching for an Edmonton printing company to print and bind your books, I highly recommend Scan Copy Print, located at 5529 Gateway Blvd, Edmonton, AB.

For two of my novels--The River and Divine Intervention--I've had this local company print and bind my books for a fraction of the cost the publisher charges. This allows the publisher to focus on online sales and long distance orders, while I can sell my locally printed books in my area at book signings. Not many subsidy publishers allow you to do this, but I'm fortunate to have a publisher who doesn't mind.

Below is my testimonial/recommendation for Scan Copy Print:

As a Canadian author, I have used the services of Scan Copy Print for a few years now, and I find the quality and service to be excellent. Whether I've ordered print runs of my novels with color covers, bookmarks, business cards or signs, Ashraf, Crystal and everyone else at Scan Copy Print always provide me with very fast service, quality graphics and design, and superb customer service. They have often gone above and beyond to ensure I have the best products. Scan Copy Print is more than a print shop; they take great pride in every product they produce, and I would and do recommend them to everyone. --Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author
I've tried a couple of other Edmonton printers, but to date this one has been my favorite, and the most reliable and helpful. Check them out! :-)

Scan Copy Print
5529 Gateway Blvd,
Edmonton, AB

Phone: 780-434-0744
scancopy@ocii.com

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Short or long book titles?

1 word, 2 words, 3 words, 4...with book titles is less more?

A while ago I read a post by an author/publisher who wrote about book titles--should they be long or short? It made me contemplate how I named my novels, how sometimes I chose the titles before or during the writing or how the titles sometimes chose me.

The title of this publisher/author's post was Would You Pay Attention, Please? Or, How to Keep Up with Trends in Book Titles, Arguably the Most Important Element of Your Marketing! (which personally I think is ridiculously long!)

I have always believed that titles are key to a novel's success. I have searched out books in my genre and studied their titles, text placement, front cover, back cover etc and asked myself, 'Why does this book's title work?' For my own novels, my titles are always tied to the story, often in a symbolic way and sometimes in more than one way. Children of the Fog is literally children taken by a kidnapper nicknamed The Fog, and it represents the children in the story who are cloaked by an actual fog.

I might be an unusual author; I almost always have the title of the book before I've even started it, or at least before it's finished. I sometimes look within the manuscript for the title, as I did with The River--short, mysterious, adventurous, just like the novel. Some titles are just "there", in front of me before I even start writing, like Whale Song and Children of the Fog. Divine Intervention had no title a few chapters in, and then one night I saw a promo for a new TV show--Joan of Arcadia. As the preview ran, the words DIVINE INTERVENTION ironically appeared. I knew at that very moment, and the title affected some of the actual story and gave me my 'Divine' series. (I'm almost finished editing Divine Justice, book 2.)

I am also working on a suspense thriller called SUBMERGED. It's the story of a man who is submerged in grief and self-blame; and it's about a woman and her 2 children who are trapped in a submerged car--a fear that most of us have. I had the title the second I knew that the story would be about someone in a submerged vehicle. I also knew that the title was a play on words, that it would symbolize the main character's overwhelming guilt.

I have another novel plotted: The 6th Plague, a thriller about a small quarantined town gripped by a deadly plague during a film festival. I actually played with a few titles, until I realized what the invasion was going to be--and when I looked up the Deadly Plagues, I found that the 6th one--boils--was perfect. The idea for the story and the title came to me within 5 days.

As for subtitles, I have an aversion to long ones, unless they're absolutely necessary and ONLY for nonfiction. If the main title gives you enough information, then I wouldn't want a subtitle. But if you can't understand what the book is about from the main, then a subtitle is vital. Take for instance this nonfiction title: Kissed by an Angel. Does it tell you what the book is about? No. I am working on a nonfiction book titled: Kissed by an Angel: 12 Steps to Surviving the Death of a Child. This is not just a 12-step program, but a look into the paranormal/spiritual and healing side of grief.

As a reader, I tend to be drawn mostly to suspense fiction with titles that are most often two words. Years ago I read an article by someone who had researched some of the best known book titles. Guess what he discovered? These bestselling books had titles of 1-4 words! Rarely any more than that.

If you're a bookworm, please comment on your preference for titles. If you're an author, which do you prefer--short, long or somewhere in between? I look forward to reading your replies.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song

Friday, July 24, 2009

Top 10 Tips to Help Authors Successfully Promote Their Books


Most authors should know that it's really up to them to promote their books, not the publisher. The publisher will do what they can do, of course, but the author is the one who can really get the word out there to the masses. So here is my Top 10 list of things authors can do to successfully promote their own books.

  1. Promote your book BEFORE it's even published. Think of this like movie trailers. Film companies are super intelligent; they give people a sneak peek to get them interested, then hook them with anticipation by announcing a release date. Authors can do the same. Give your readers a sneak peek--a free sample, a book trailer. Then as soon as you know the release date (and about 1-3 months in advance) start promoting this new release.

  2. Have your book PROFESSIONALLY edited. If you want longevity as a writer, you must treat this like a career. This means that even self-published, author-originated works must be edited professionally by someone who knows HOW to edit. NEVER be the only editor for your book. If you put out an inferior product you will lose fans and sales, and bookstores will not promote you. If you're going to do this, do it right! You're competing with every other book out there, and there are millions, so find a good editor.

  3. Once your book is published, promote the heck out of it! Too many authors leave marketing up to their publisher. This is your baby, no one else's. As soon as your book is released, you have a window of about 3 months to get it off the ground, and another 3 months to keep things rolling. Not even a publisher can market your book as well as you can, and if you don't know how, LEARN. If you don't know where to start, I'm a book marketing coach; I can teach you.

  4. Create a solid internet identity. What will we find if we Google your name right now? Will we find someone else with the same name who sells lawn ornaments? Are there 10 hits? 1000? 100,000? Are the first 3 pages of any search engine all about you or at least 90% you? If not, you've got work to do. Make sure you have a professional looking website and blog. Don't use a free host with ads for your site. Invest in a domain name (your name preferably) and pay for hosting.

  5. Blog at least 2-3 times a week. On numerous blogs. Blogging about anything sells books. Readers like to see the human side of their favorite authors, so blogging should not be a hardcore sales pitch every post. Find a controversial or thematic angle within your book and blog about that. My novel Whale Song dealt with assisted suicide. I not only researched the topic, but I blogged about it and was then contacted by a radio station because of my blog post and then was interviewed. Blog about the journey you took to get where you are in your writing career. Blog about editing, rejections, writer's block, courses, anything that might be helpful to other writers.

  6. Hold a virtual book tour. VBTs are an excellent and inexpensive way to get the word out about your book. Other bloggers are now promoting YOU. There is, however, an effective way to do this and an ineffective way. Successful blog tours have the following main elements: thoughtful planning, research, themed articles/posts, calls to action, proper scheduling, advertising and high sales. Your book should reach the bestsellers lists on Amazon, at the very least.

  7. Sell your book on a specific day by holding a contest. If you ask people to order from one major retailer, like Amazon for instance, on a specific day and offer them some kind of incentive, you will have the opportunity to make Amazon's bestsellers list. Pick a day, offer a prize they can't turn down (remember: never make your book your prize-at least, not the book you are trying to promote) and have a proof of purchase to ensure sales are submitted on one day. Once you make Amazon's list (and don't forget, books are broken into categories), you're a "bestselling author" with a "bestselling novel". That statement alone attracts more success.

  8. Find out where your readers are. The goal is not to have your book in every bookstore. First, very few books achieve that. Second, having them in a store is no good if no one is buying them. So find out where your readers are. If you write mysteries, find out where mystery readers meet in your town. Become a guest author at a book club. Look for online reading groups or sites like GoodReads and start schmoozing with readers.

  9. Cultivate personal relationships with bookstore staff. Most authors underestimate the power of signing books in a store. Too many authors focus entirely on sales, or lack of sales. Forget sales! Think about relationships instead--with store staff, customers and potential fans. That is what is important. When you build these relationships you will have store staff who will hand sell your book and go out of their way to promote you, invite you to special events and feature you on special front-end shelves that publishers have to pay for. Customers can turn into media contacts and interviews. Potential fans can turn into lifelong fans who will buy everything you write and recommend you to their family and friends.

  10. Contact media for every event or set of events. If holding a bunch of signings during October, call it your "fall tour" and promote it. Send out press releases to local TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Send out online releases to services like 24-7pressrelease and free online services. Just Google 'press distribution services'. Many authors consider interviews a form of success, and the more you create a need for your area of expertise (whether writing, getting published, or a particular theme from your book), the more media will want to interview you.

It takes a combined effort and partnership between author, publisher and retailers to make a book successful. A partnership. That's how you must think of it. So don't just throw your "baby" out in the world and expect someone else to baby sit it or expect it to fend for itself.

Take control and responsibility seriously. Being a writer is the emotional, creative side; being a successful author of a published book means you have to recognize the business side. It comes with the territory. Accept it. Embrace it. And be the most successful author you can be.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author and book marketing coach
http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making the Right Editing Match

Here's another great article, printed here with permission and recently featured in my good friend and publishing expert Jerry D. Simmons' newsletter, which you can subscribe to at www.writersreaders.com.

Making the Right Editing Match - By Barbara McNichol

Setting out to find the right editor for your manuscript puts you on the road to feeling confident you’ve got a good match. You want to feel comfortable that your editor understands what you’ve set out to accomplish so you can “polish” it together.

Look for a reputable editor who understands the type of book you have written. For example, if your book is business or self-help, choose an editor experienced in editing these genres. Ensure that the editor you chose has worked with both traditional and self-published books over a number of years. That person’s website should reveal that information and project a professional image. After all, you want your writing to reflect a professionalism that comes from expert editing.

To help in your search for find the right match, use this checklist of questions to prepare you for questions a good editor could ask in the qualifying process.

Checklist of Questions to Ask

Your answers to these questions give a professional editor a better understanding of your project and help you both make a match in heaven. How would you answer these?

· Who is in your book’s target audience (demographics, age group, position, industry, region, etc.)?

· What genre or market niche does your book fall in? What section would it be found in a bookstore?

· What is your expected editorial timeline (e.g., when did you promise to give it to an agent or designer, or have it ready for a conference, etc.) allowing time for your review, peer reviews, and a professional editor’s review?

· How much of your book is written? Have you finished all the content you want including front and back matter (e.g., foreword, testimonials, acknowledgments, dedication, footnotes, resource list, glossary, appendix, etc.)? If your answer is not 100%, what is missing? When would you be ready to send your complete content?

· What is the current length of your book before editing? (number of pages and/or number of words in an MS Word document)

· What is the anticipated total length, including front and back matter?

· If you want to have a foreword, have you asked someone to write it and provided a deadline for delivering it?

· How much are you expecting to spend on having your book professionally edited (excluding proofreading after the design)?

· What else do should the editor know about your expectations so he or she can do a really good job for you?

An editor who asks these types of questions shows eagerness to understand your project and set up a discussion that gives you a sense of how you’d work together.

Here’s a key question: “Is the manuscript 100% content-complete?” If you answer “yes,” you can expect a project price and an estimated timeline from an experienced editor. If it’s “no,” your manuscript is likely a candidate for a Manuscript Review. This analysis evaluates the ideas and wording to provide direction for changes you’d make before it’s deemed content-complete.

The All-Important Sample Edit

How do you start to find the right editor for your manuscript? First, ask your writer and designer friends for recommendations, check acknowledgments in books you like and contact the editor listed, and search the Internet for editors in your genre. Then request a Sample Edit of your own work—especially if more than one editor is in the running for your business.

If an editor works magic on your writing but you don’t agree with the approach or the kinds of changes made, it’s good to discuss them up front so you both can adjust. Some authors (mostly new ones) fall in love with every word and find it painful to see their prose change. That’s why discussions help a lot.

Here’s a rule of thumb when reviewing the Sample Edit: If you, the writer, can clearly see an improvement from the editor’s work, if you recognize that the words flow better and your writing has more clarity and pizzazz, that’s a green light. If you don’t agree with the changes or find yourself arguing with them, that’s an amber light. Time to talk.

Yes, locating an editor who’s the right match for you requires effort to make sure you’re comfortable with the editor’s approach. Ultimately, you want your editor to be the advocate of those you want to reach—the pro who makes it easier for your readers to connect with you and your message.

Barbara McNichol edits articles, book proposals, and manuscripts. Request a free questionnaire “Getting to the Results You Want” based on the ideas in this article via email at editor@barbaramcnichol.com or contact Barbara at 887-696-4899 (toll free). To help you perfect your writing, sign up for Word Tripper of the Week, a free ezine at http://www.barbaramcnichol.com/.

To subscribe to Jerry D. Simmons' Tips for Writers from the Publishing Insider newsletter, visit http://www.writersreaders.com/.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif interviews Vikram Narayan from BookBuzzr.com

This interview was recently featured on The Write Type.

Hello Vikram, and welcome to The Write Type ~ Multi-Author Musings. We are so happy to have you visit us. Since I’ve used BookBuzzr and fReado.com myself, I can say that you offer a terrific service for authors and their readers. And it’s free!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Are you a writer? Reader?


I’m a serial entrepreneur who’s obsessed about building the next big thing on the Internet. I earned an MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University some years ago. I’m also a keen martial artist and practitioner of Aikido. I’m an avid reader of books and listener of audio books. I do have a book inside me that is waiting to come out some day soon.

Where did the idea for BookBuzzr come from? Why did you decide to create it?

A few months ago, an author friend of mine – Chetan Dhruve – was describing the pain that authors face in marketing their books online. There are two problems with traditional author sites:

1. Most of the traffic goes to 'destination sites' such as Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo or the New York Times. So your author site may not receive the kind of traffic that you would want.
2. Even if a fan of your book comes to your site, it's not easy for her to easily share information about your book with her friends.

So how do you market your book in an era where the attention-spans of consumers measure a few micro-seconds? How do you tempt your potential readers to flip-through the pages of your book? How do you allow easy sharing of your book on networks such as Facebook, MySpace and other social networks?

So I asked him what would be a dream online marketing tool. Chetan, in a few moments of inspiration, described what he’d want and we sketched out the screens of the ultimate online book-marketing tool. I got the product developed in a few months using developer resources at another software business that I own.

What exactly is BookBuzzr and how does it work?

BookBuzzr is a free, online book-marketing technology that can be placed instead of your book-cover image on your author website, Facebook profile and blog. BookBuzzr is more than just a replacement for your book-cover image. It's a portable author website that allows your book information and extract to be shared on Facebook, Blogs, MySpace and more. So every time a fan of yours decides to post your book-widget on his or her blog, your entire information (including where to buy and buzz about your book) becomes available there. It’s like your business card on the Internet!

Apart from the easy share-ability, we've worked hard at making the pages of your book look and act like a real book. So when a reader clicks on the edge of the book, the page turns like a real book. Somehow, this seems to elicit a "wow!" from most people who try BookBuzzr.

fReado.com is the site which carries all the books that are available in BookBuzzr format.

Is it difficult for an author to set up a BookBuzzr widget?

Putting up your book into BookBuzzr format is quite simple. If you know how to share your videos and photos on Facebook or MySpace you know how to use BookBuzzr.

How many authors are using fReado?

We expect to have over a 1,500 authors & books on fReado by the end of this month.

Are there any recognizable names using BookBuzzr? Any “big” authors”?

We have quite a few big name authors using BookBuzzr. Chetan Dhruve whose inspired vision gave us the start for BookBuzzr is a pretty well-known name and his book has become an international sleeper-hit that’s been translated into 5 languages. Author Tony Eldridge whose book “The Samson Effect”, acquired by a Hollywood studio, is also using BookBuzzr.

Are publishers using your service to promote their authors’ books?

Yes. We’re making it easier for publishers to mass upload their books and author information with just a few clicks. We’ve got about 60 Publishers who have begun using fReado and BookBuzzr.

Can you give us an example of a BookBuzzr book widget?


Where do you see BookBuzzr in 3 years?

The other day, we got a testimonial from the author Lee Murphy and he said, “I think you have a terrific service and I know I have already sold one copy on Amazon as a direct result of it.”

So we know that we have a unique little book-marketing technology that every author needs. Our challenge is to let authors know about this free resource that can help every author in building and extending their platform. So in terms of where we see BookBuzzr in 3 years … we want to be the first place where every author goes when he or she begins to think about marketing books online. If every book-cover image on every author, publisher and book-seller’s website is replaced with the BookBuzzr book-widget, then I would say that most of our mission has been accomplished.

Towards this end, we’re making several improvements to BookBuzzr in the coming months to make it easier for fans to distribute a book-widget on their Facebook profiles, Twitter, blogs, social networks and cell-phones.

Thank you, Vikram!! I am sure that authors will be very excited about your service/product, especially after they've tried it once.

For more information on BookBuzzr and fReado, please check out http://www.bookbuzzr.com/ and http://www.freado.com/.

Friday, June 26, 2009

20 Simple Ways to Drive Massive Traffic to Your Web Site

Embarking on an Internet marketing campaign doesn't have to be difficult, tricky, or complicated. Here are a few simple tips (twenty in fact) that you can easily implement to get tons of traffic to your site right now!

1) Write articles: believe it or not this is an incredible tool for driving traffic. Writing good, well-written, relevant articles can net you quite a bit of activity to your web site. Don't forget to add your URL in your byline. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length. You can send articles to sites like: articlecity.com, goarticles.com, submityourarticles.com and ezinearticles.com.

2) Social bookmark *everything* - and I do mean everything, you can bookmark each page of your site and each blog entry you post. While this might seem tedious it's worth it. You'll see a strong increase in traffic if you social bookmark each page on your site and each of your blog entries.

3) List yourself in the best directories - you'll have to pay for this but since most people don't do this (since everyone's looking for a freebie) you could really enhance your traffic by getting a listing: http://dir.yahoo.com, www.business.org, botw.org

4) Get yourself listed at: DMOZ.org - it's not easy to get listed there but worth the effort.

5) Review: if you can review hot new products or books within your market, head on over to Amazon.com and start positioning yourself as an expert. In order to do this effectively you'll want to create an Amazon profile and make sure and sign each review with a reference to your URL (your web site). You can also go to epionions.com and revoo.com to review products as well.

6) Offer a freebie on Craig's List: you'll be amazed at how much traffic you get from a single Craig's List ad. They key here is to send people to a page on your site and make sure they have to sign up for something (like your email newsletter) before they can grab their freebie. That way you're not just getting traffic, you're also building your list.

7) Create a "recommended by" list on your Del.icio.us page - you can do this by logging on and creating an account at del.icio.us and then tagging articles, blogs and other content you think is important to your readership. Then offer this page as a resource site. You can add a link to this page in your email signature line or on your web site.

8) And speaking of your email signature line - do you have one? If you don't, create one. Believe it or not people do follow these links. You'll be amazed how many folks read email signature lines. I have one and change it several times a year depending on what we're doing or promoting or what books I have coming out.

9) Lend a helping hand: you can be an answer person at Yahoo Answers, http://answers.yahoo.com/ - you don't have to spend hours on there but maybe a few minutes a week. Make sure and include a link back to your site by your answers.

10) Set up a social networking site using Facebook.com, Linkedin.com, or Squidoo. It's free and easy to do, just don't forget the all-important link back to your site!

11) Make sure your blog has an RSS feed so if you capture a reader you don't lose them if they forget to bookmark your site or blog.

12) Join relevant groups at Yahoo groups, http://groups.yahoo.com/. You'll find everything from groups on growing your small business, writing books, finding your passion, even underwater basket weaving. I dare you to find one that isn't right for what you're promoting. When you do find the right group, join and participate as you can!

13) Podcasting is another great way to drive traffic. Start a podcast by going to AudioAcrobat, http://bookmkr.audioacrobat.com/ - yes, this is our affiliate link. There are other programs you can use, but I love AudioAcrobat. You can record the podcast over the phone quickly and easily and then hit the "send" button on your computer once it's recorded and the system will syndicate it to 27 podcast directories including iTunes. It's a great way to let people know about you and your web site!

14) Start a blog and then once you do, start commenting on other people's blogs, linking to them from your site or adding them to your blogroll.

15) Inbound links: don't squander your time (or a perfectly good link) on smaller low-traffic sites. Instead spend your time going after high traffic, high quality sites. Good sites should have a PR (page ranking) of 4-6 depending on the market. You can find out what a site's page ranking is by downloading the Google toolbar which comes with a PR feature built in.

16) Start an email newsletter: while it may not seem like a newsletter that you email can drive traffic to your site you'd be surprised at the effectiveness of this type of promotion. If your newsletter (like your articles) is interesting and relevant to your audience you'll find that it has a huge pass-through factor. Meaning that it is passed from one email subscriber to another. Also, if you have an email newsletter you should never, ever go to a single event without your handy signup sheet. Yes, you can even use offline events to drive traffic to your web site.

17) And speaking of offline efforts: if you're ever quoted in a magazine or other publication, make sure and mention your URL as it's appropriate to the topic. Don't be too pushy about this but do not forget to tell folks you have a web site that may be a great resource for the topic of your interview.

18) If you have products to sell why not get a store on eBay? This site gets a tremendous amount of traffic and on your sales page you're allowed to list your URL. Another great way to get an inbound link and a way for people to find you.
19) Load a video on YouTube and 57 other video sites - if you don't have a video or don't know how to create one contact us and we'll refer you to our fabulous book video people!

20) While this isn't a tip per se it's still important. If you're going to go through all the trouble of getting traffic to your site, make sure your site is converting this traffic into something. Get folks to sign up for something, your newsletter, the RSS feed on your blog. Whatever it is, getting their email address will help you remarket to them when the time is right. Studies show that visitors landing on a site often don't buy the first time. That's ok! You want to get them into your marketing funnel so you can market to them again and again - not in a way that's obtrusive, offensive or downright annoying but in a way that is helping them with their own mission. An example of this might be an email newsletter. A helpful, informative newsletter is a fantastic funnel. A blog is another great way to keep people in your marketing loop without bombarding them with "please buy my stuff" email messages. Also, make sure you know what your traffic numbers are before you launch into any Internet marketing campaign. By traffic numbers I mean how many people are visiting your site. You want to know this so you can gauge a before and after view of your marketing efforts.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cheryl talks about using contests to promote novels at 'Your Shelf Life'

Today I was featured at 'Your Shelf Life', a great blog geared for writers and readers. The main question asked is what can you do to extend your 'shelf life' as an author and the 'shelf life' of your books.

I talked to Sandy about how I use contests to keep things fresh, interesting, exciting and interactive.

How Contests Can Promote Your Novels & Extend Your Shelf Life

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif



Thursday, June 18, 2009

Self-Publishing Tips from an Independent Bookstore Owner

Here's an informative article I found on Jerry D. Simmons' wonderful newsletter--TIPS for WRITERS from the PUBLISHING INSIDER...

Self-Publishing Tips - by Josie Leavitt posted in Publishers Weekly (Excerpts from the article)

As the owner of an independent bookstore, I get approached at least twice a week by self-published authors asking me to sell their books. The world of self-published books has changed a great deal since we've been open. The quality is vastly improved -- even Kinko's can produce a handsome book. The challenge becomes how to distinguish your book from the multitude we see a year.

I've amassed a list of what I'd like to see happen to make this growing area of bookselling as beneficial as possible for both parties. I've had some great success with self-published books. So if you're an author, don't despair, you can almost always get your book on the shelf. One thing I've changed is that now I'll take one copy of any self-published book on consignment. This involves no risk on my part and it allows your book to spend some time on the shelf. Just know that shelf space is at a premium. If after three months, the book hasn't sold, it may wind up in the back room until there's more room on the shelf.

One cardinal rule: if you want me to carry your book and you live locally, you should make an effort to shop at my store.

Do: Make your book look as professional as possible. Don't: Have a spiral wire binding (unless it's a church cookbook), laminated pages or folders.

Do: Send an email with details about your book. I love emails; I can't misplace them and I can quickly refer to it when I need to. And they give me an easy way to contact you. Don't: Come to the store unannounced and expect me to drop what I'm doing to review your book. There's nothing that puts me off more than this. Respect my time and I'll be much more disposed to look favorably on your book.

Do: Call to follow up on the email you sent. This reminds to review the email if I've missed it. Don't: Be hurt if I don't remember your book right away. We see lots of books. My lack of memory means nothing, other than I just don't remember. It's not a condemnation of your book.

Do: Try to leave a reader's copy if you want me to carry a novel. I do try to read them and if I like the book, I'll happily take several copies. Don't: Get mad at me for asking for a copy to read. I know it's expensive to have extra books; if you can't have a copy for me to read, then maybe an excerpt would be good. I can't just have things on the shelf I know nothing about. So give me so info that can help me sell your book.

Do: Try to price your book within the market ranges. I know picture books can be expensive to print, but a $25 paperback picture book will be hard to sell. Don't: Not listen to your local bookseller's advice. No one knows the market better than your local indie. Listen to their hesitations about carrying the book. See what you can do to modify the price. We had one self-published book that was really overpriced; we recommended a different printer and she got a much better price. As a consequence of the lower price we were really able to sell the book. I think by the time the print run ran out, we'd sold over 200.

Do: Think regionally. You're much more likely to get your book placed if it's got something to do local region. We've had good results with a book about boxers in Vermont. Don't: Expect a Vermont bookstore to carry a book about California ponies.

Do: Have an invoice for consignment available when you want me to carry your book. In a perfect world, I would have my own form, but sometimes we run out, and it's really helpful if you can keep track of the paperwork. Don't: Expect me to buy three copies of your book. It's not personal; it's business. Better to have the book on the shelf than not at all. We sold thirty copies of a Chapbook on consignment and it worked out well.

Do: Tell your friends and the press (if you live locally) that your book is available at my store. Don't: Not tell me if you're going to be featured in the local paper. Nothing is more frustrating than getting caught by surprise by not having a book on hand that's been featured in the paper.

On the whole, the future looks bright for self-published books. With the increase in quality, the stigma of self-publishing is going away. Remember to make your book look as professional as possible and be patient. We want you to succeed and nothing is more exciting than seeing a self-published book take off.

(This article was printed here with permission from the author, Jerry D. Simmons and WritersReaders.com

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Twitter 101: What the heck is a hash tag?

If you've been on Twitter for more than a week or two, you will have noticed that people often include a term preceded by the # sign, like #writechat. This is a hash tag or hashtag. Now you're probably wondering, what the heck is it for?

A hash tag is a specific keyword identified by the preceding # sign that is used to tag or identify a topic within tweets. It is used on Twitter to filter tweets, to make it easier for you to find that information.

Let's say you want to post a tweet about the writechat group that meets on Twitter and talks about writing and publishing. You might add #writechat to your 140 character tweet so others can find it easily.

Fans of this group or of writers in general could type #writechat (or just writechat) in the search bar on Twitter (right side) and up pops all tweets about this topic.

One thing you'll want to do is follow @hashtags on Twitter. They'll follow you back automatically and will track all your hashtags.

Keep in mind, hash tags must consist of either one word, initials (like #SXSW - South by South west) or combined words as one, like #writechat, all preceded by #.

So go ahead and add hash tags to your posts, and check out #writechat.

Plus, don't forget to follow me @cherylktardif on Twitter.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, aka Shameless Promoter

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Twitter, MySpace, Facebook - how much time should I spend on them?




So how much time SHOULD a writer spend on online social networks like Twitter, MySpace and Facebook?

The quick answer: Not so much time that your manuscript is piling up around you--unedited or unfinished.

For the not so quick answer, please visit:
How much time should an author spend tweeting, Facebook-ing and MySpace-ing?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

SP Tip #7 - Become a 'whatever it takes' kind of person

Do you allow negativity to rule your life, or are you empowered by the desire to succeed no matter what? It's your choice. Really. Pick one or the other. It's that simple.

Even when faced with immeasurable odds, those who succeed do so because of an inner voice that tells them to continue pursuing their goals no matter what it takes, no matter what challenges they meet. And believe me, we all have challenges.

Those who see a challenge and mentally give up or allow fear to control them will never see true success. They think, "I can't do it. This challenge is in my way. I'm afraid to face it." They hand over all the power to that challenge.

Those who see it and push through or find a way around a challenge will reach their goals because they are persistent and creative. They think, "What can I do to push through or go around? How can I make this challenge help me or disappear? I'll do whatever it takes!" These people are empowered by faith, hope and most of all, a dream.

Don't let anything or anyone stand in your way. If your dream is big enough, you can find the 'whatever it takes' person inside you.
"Become a 'whatever it takes' kind of person and success won't just knock on the door, it'll step right inside." --Cheryl Kaye Tardif

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SP Tip #6 - Check out publisher before signing contract

Most authors are usually so ecstatic when they finally get that book deal offer from a publisher that they forget to do their homework and check out the publisher. This is especially important if you didn't do this before you submitted a query, and even more important for the small to mid-sized publishing company. Major publishers generally have good reputations, which is why they've been in business as long as they have.

Too many publishing companies have bad reputations. Some don't pay their authors on time, some don't keep accurate sales records or give out regular statements, some don't communicate well with their authors, some don't follow through with what they promise, some are only interested in publishing their own books or those of their friends, a few are just plain rude liars who use their authority to abuse their authors. Of course the bad publishers aren't likely to tell you all this.

So who do you get this information from? Their authors.

Before signing that contract, no matter how good it may seem, make sure you contact at least 5 of the publisher's authors and ask them to list 3-5 things their publisher does well and 3-5 things that are problematic. Contact 1-2 authors who had books come out a few years ago; then contact newer authors.

Although authors generally don't like to badmouth their publisher to a stranger or in public, many will give you information via email or they'll tell you in such a way that you can read between the lines. Some will tell you outright that their experience was terrible, or that they wouldn't recommend that publisher to anyone. That should send up a very bright red flag. In simple terms it means, stay clear of that publisher.

You can also check for issues with publishers at http://www.absolutewrite.com/, especially in the Watercooler forums. Or check with Preditors & Editors

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
http://www.cherylktardif.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Twitter 101: How to send messages on Twitter

Have you signed up on Twitter but haven't got a clue what to do next? Are you unsure how to get your messages out? Well, here's a crash course in the very basics of Twitter--sending messages.

First, sign up for a free Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/. When you have logged in, you'll be on the Home page of your account.

On the right side, above the search bar, you'll see the following links:
Home
@your username
Direct Messages
Favorites

Home is where you can send messages out to everyone in Twitterville (or the Twitterverse). You can also send a public message to a specific person by putting @their username anywhere in the message.

@your username shows you all replies to your own posts. You'll want to check every now and then and reply back. To reply, hover over person's message and you'll see a star (to make favorite) and an arrow (reply back).

Direct Messages shows you who you sent private messages to and who sent you private messages. To send DM, click on top drop-down arrow for list. Sometimes DMs don't work, and you have to be following that person and they have to be following you to send a DM.

Twitter is an awesome little social network, a tool that anyone can use...once they figure out how.

Follow Cheryl Kaye Tardif on Twitter. By following me, you'll automatically be entered in my Twitter Contest.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

To blog, or not to blog?


Believe it or not, I've had a lot of authors ask me if they really need a blog. "Is it that important?" they've asked.

Blogging has become part of our culture, and whether you have a blog or read them, blogs are here to stay.

So why not hook onto the blog train? Even if you only post once a week and spend an hour advertising your blog through other networks, you'll start seeing an increase in visitor traffic. More traffic means more exposure, and ultimately leads to more sales. Unless you don't need more sales...

Check out these stats:

Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project:

  • Blog readership is growing among all demographics
  • Blog readership jumped 58% in 2004 from 17% to 27% of Internet users who said they read blogs daily
  • 27% of Internet users read blogs daily in November 2004
  • 12% of users are aware of RSS, and 4% have knowingly used RSS
Source: Backbone Media Business Blogging Survey:

  • 83% of corporate bloggers saw a traffic increase to their site
  • 51% took less than 1-2 months from initial concept to launch of blog
  • 88% saw a boost in search engine ranking within 3 months of launch
  • 62% saw an increase in sales within 3 months of launch
Source: BlogWorldExpo.com:

  • Over 12 million American adults currently maintain a blog
  • Over 57 million Americans read blogs
  • 1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog
  • 89% of companies surveyed say they think blogs will be more important in the next five years
  • 9% of Internet users say they have created blogs
  • 6% of the entire US adult population has created a blog
  • Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs
  • Over 120 thousand blogs are created every day
  • There are over 1.4 million new blog posts every day
  • 22 of the 100 most popular websites in the world are blogs
  • 37% of blog readers began reading blogs in 2005 of 2006
  • 51% of blog readers shop online
  • Blog readers average 23 hours online each week.
To blog or not to blog? There's really only one answer that makes sense. As Nike professes, just do it!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Thursday, April 2, 2009

SP Tip #5 - Penny Sansevieri's marketing newsletter

Authors: If you don't get The Book Marketing Newsletter by marketing expert Penny Sansevieri, you're missing out on excellent marketing tips. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Friday, March 27, 2009

SP Tip #4 Book Video Trailers

Book video trailers are increasing in popularity. Even the major publishers are using them to promote their authors. A video is more exciting than straight sales pitch or book description. People prefer visuals and sound.

You can either make your own book video trailer, have your publisher make one or hire a company that specializes in them. You can find book videos with simple graphics, text and music, or special effects, or live action (actors) videos. You must choose which best suits your book and your budget.

It's very important to keep the time/length of your video under 3 minutes. Any longer and your viewers might stray. Highlight the most important points and use music that fits the mood of your book.

*24-7PressRelease.com offers press release distribution with video.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

SP Tip #3 - Tweet on Twitter


Twitter is a form of blogging called micro-blogging. You have 140 characters to get a message across, usually answering the question: What are you doing?

However, people with products and services to market or promote can also "tweet" a short piece of sales copy or ad copy. But don't use hard sales tactics.

Since this is a social network, make sure you intersperse your sales tweets with more personal ones. Let people get to know you.

Hope you'll follow me on Twitter!

SP Tip #2 - Create a solid internet identity


Creating a strong internet identity or web presence is not as simple as starting a blog or designing a website. People have to be able to find you through search engines like Google or Yahoo.

You'll know you're "strong" in your internet identity when a search of your name gives you at least 30 pages of results--the first 30 pages, or more.

Keep in mind, these pages should be about you, not someone else with the same name.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SP Tip #1 - "Bounce" when you're doing a book signing


Of course I don't mean bounce like a beach ball in your chair, or jump up and down continuously like a bad impression of Richard Simmons.

By "bounce" I mean, don't sit the entire time behind your table. And don't stand the whole time either.

Alternate your position based on who's around you. Try to stand when you have potential customers and sit when things are slow.

Have fun "bouncing"!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book signing and book launches...oh my!

Recently, a writer friend had some questions regarding advertising book signings and launches. She asked if she should have had the store put up posters and showcase her book in the front window prior to her book launch. I gave her some advice, things I wish someone had told me at the very beginning.

In the beginning, I was bold...yet I didn't have a clue what to do either.

To find out what I told her and how I've helped other authors achieve success at signings and launches, hire me as your personal Book Marketing Coach.

Hire me as your personal Book Marketing Coach and learn how to best promote you and your books at signings and launches. Please contact me via GumboWriters at gumbomarketing@gmail.com.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Hot Trends, Hot Markets - Part 4: Optimizing True Social Networks Like MySpace, Facebook & Ning

I recently spoke about marketing books via online social networking at the CanWrite! Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, on the Hot Trends, Hot Markets panel. It was a popular topic and I was bombarded (happily) with questions afterward. If you're a writer who is looking for innovative ways to market yourself and your books, please keep reading. :)

Hire me as your personal Book Marketing Coach and learn how to properly use social networking to promote you and your books. Please contact me via GumboWriters at gumbomarketing@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hot Trends, Hot Markets - Part 3: Using AmazonConnect & Chapters Community

Last summer I spoke at the CanWrite! Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, on the Hot Trends, Hot Markets panel. I wish I'd had more time to talk, and since so many writers came up to me throughout the weekend, saying that they'd liked to have heard more about book promotion.

That's one of the reasons why I decided to offer my services as a Book Marketing Coach.

Part 3:

In Part 2 I discussed book collection or catalog networks like Shelfari. The next category of social networks is "bookseller networks", primarily AmazonConnect for US consumers and readers, and Chapters Community for Canadian consumers and readers.

Anyone, writer or not, can join Amazon.com and have a profile page, but they'll be slightly different with AmazonConnect. AmazonConnect is for authors of books sold on Amazon. Authors must apply by filling out the AmazonConnect request form. So if you're a writer with books available on Amazon.com, the first step is to sign up with AmazonConnect.

The Chapters Community works in a similar way. And I know a number of strategies to optimize your experience on either of these platforms and turn your time spent there into sales.

Hire me as your personal Book Marketing Coach and learn how to best use Amazon and Chapters to promote you and your books. Please contact me via GumboWriters at gumbomarketing@gmail.com.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
Canadian suspense author
http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hot Trends, Hot Markets - Part 2: How to use book collection or catalog networks

Recently, I spoke at the CanWrite! Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, on the Hot Trends, Hot Markets panel. I had a great time and I hope that attendees left with a better understanding of how they can market themselves online through the use of social networks.

Part 2:

Today, I want to talk about one of the three main categories of social networking--'book collection or catalog networks'. These are social networks that invite users/members to catalog their personal book collection, recommend books to fellow members/friends, discuss books and authors with others, and to send notes and virtually "meet" people from all over the world who love books.

Hire me as your personal Book Marketing Coach and learn how to properly use social networking to promote you and your books. Please contact me via GumboWriters at gumbomarketing@gmail.com.


~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song
http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Monday, March 2, 2009

Looking for writer's resources?

If you're an aspiring or published author looking for some great resources, I highly recommend the following books. Some will be genre specific as this comprises a large part of my own library.

General writing resources:
  • Writer's Market (the holy grail for writers)
  • The Canadian Writer's Market (ditto for Canadian writers)
  • The Canadian Writer's Guide
  • The Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits (excellent for building your characters)
  • Characters and Viewpoint (great for improving POV) - published by Writer's Digest
  • Writing Dialogue - published by Writer's Digest
  • Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
  • How to Write a Children's Book and Get Published
  • Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel
  • Forensics for Dummies (no dead bodies included)
Book marketing books:
  • What Writers Need to Know About Publishing (by Jerry D. Simmons, a great friend of mine)
  • The Book Publisher's Handbook (Eric Kampmann)
  • How to Sell What You Write
  • Beyond the Bookstore (Brian Jud)
  • Plug Your Book (Steve Weber, another friend)
  • 1001 Ways to Market Your Books (John Kremer, another author friend)
  • Web Site WOW (Jeniffer Thompson)
Like any craft or skill, you have to learn it first, then take the time to hone and perfect it. These books will only help you become that much better and even more attractive to an agent or publisher.

I invite my fellow writers to add to this list and share their favorite writer's resources.

All the best in your writing endeavors. :)


bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hot Trends, Hot Markets - Part 1: Social Networking

Last summer, I spoke on a panel at the 2008 CanWrite! Conference in Edmonton, Alberta. The topic of my panel was Hot Trends, Hot Markets, and it was the only panel that ran separately as a main feature. As an author, I looked at this topic from the perspective of aspiring and published authors.

As someone who's been nicknamed "Shameless Promoter" because I promote my books with everything I've got, utilizing everything I can think of or learn about, I want to share what
I've learned. This information will help writers and authors connect with readers and fans, which can lead to sales once a book has been published.

The question I asked myself was: "Which hot trend or market is really on fire today, one that actually benefits writers and authors?"

The answer I came up with?

SOCIAL NETWORKING!

To learn how to properly use social networking to promote you and your books, please contact me via GumboWriters at gumbomarketing@gmail.com.


~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
author of Whale Song
http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Virtual book tours -- what are they and how do you have one?

Want to know more about virtual book tours, how to organize one and how they benefit authors, hosts and avid readers? If so, then drop by a Canadian suspense author's site and find out how much work went into Cheryl Kaye Tardif's 1-month 'Touring the World' VBT.

There is a new wave of online marketing on the rise―virtual book tours (also known as virtual author tours or blog tours). About five years ago, various authors decided to promote their works online at host sites and announce those dates just as they would a bona fide book signing tour. It started off small―one or two appearances on someone else’s website. In fact, virtual book tours (VBTs) have really only taken off in the past year or two.

The concept is simple: the author “tours” various blogs and sites, often ones pertaining to a theme in the book or the host’s theme, or to writing in general. This way, an author can potentially reach thousands of avid readers each tour day from the privacy of his or her office or home...

Hire me as your personal Book Marketing Coach and learn how to properly use a VBT to promote you and your books. Please contact me via GumboWriters at gumbomarketing@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Short or long book titles? Which do you prefer?

1 word, 2 words, 3 words, 4...with book titles is less more?

In an article on Foreword Magazine there was a discussion about book titles and whether it mattered how long they were or how short. It made me contemplate how I named my novels, how sometimes I chose the titles before or during the writing or how the titles sometimes chose me.

The following are my comments about the article titled Would You Pay Attention, Please? Or, How to Keep Up with Trends in Book Titles, Arguably the Most Important Element of Your Marketing! (which personally I think is just a bit too long...hehe)

I have always believed that titles are key to a novel's success. I have searched out books in my genre and studied their titles, text placement, front cover, back cover etc and asked myself, 'Why does this book's title work?' For my own novels, my titles are always tied to the story, often in a symbolic way and sometimes in more than one way. Children of the Fog is literally children taken by a kidnapper nicknamed The Fog, and it represents the children in the story who are cloaked by an actual fog.

I might be an unusual author; I almost always have the title of the book before I've even started it, or at least before it's finished. I sometimes look within the manuscript for the title, as I did with The River--short, mysterious, adventurous, just like the novel. Some titles are just "there", in front of me before I even start writing, like Whale Song and Children of the Fog. Divine Intervention had no title a few chapters in, and then one night I saw a promo for a new TV show--Joan of Arcadia. As the preview ran, the words DIVINE INTERVENTION ironically appeared. I knew at that very moment, and the title affected some of the actual story and gave me my 'Divine' series. (I'm currently working on Divine Justice, book 2.)

I am also working on a suspense thriller called SUBMERGED. It's the story of a man who is submerged in grief and self-blame; and it's about a woman and her 2 children who are trapped in a submerged car--a fear that most of us have. I had the title the second I knew that the story would be about someone in a submerged vehicle. I also knew that it would represent the main character's guilt.

I have another novel plotted: The 6th Plague, a thriller about a small quarantined town gripped by a deadly plague during a film festival. I actually played with a few titles, until I realized what the invasion was going to be--and when I looked up the Deadly Plagues, I found that the 6th one--boils--was perfect. The idea for the story and the title came to me within 5 days.

As for subtitles, I have an aversion to long ones, unless they're absolutely necessary and ONLY for nonfiction. If the main title gives you enough information, then I wouldn't want a subtitle. But if you can't understand what the book is about from the main, then a subtitle is vital. Take for instance this nonfiction title: Kissed by an Angel. Does it tell you what the book is about? No. I am working on a nonfiction book titled: Kissed by an Angel: 12 Steps to Surviving the Death of a Child. This is not just a 12-step program, but a look into the paranormal/spiritual and healing side of grief.

As a reader, I tend to be drawn mostly to suspense fiction with titles that are most often two words.

If you're a bookworm, please comment on your preference for titles. If you're an author, which do you prefer--short, long or somewhere in between? I look forward to reading your replies.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Authors: Promote yourself and your books on Author Nation

By the people, for the people describes AuthorNation.com, a new forum-driven website designed and powered by Infinity Publishing. AuthorNation.com recognizes a writer's need to be read by treating readers to first looks at a favorite writer's new work and inviting them to join the fun in their own Reader's Lounge.

Infinity Publishing President Tom Gregory is the visionary behind AuthorNation.com. Gregory expanded upon the literary community concept first initiated by Ben Franklin in his early gatherings of writers, printers, readers, and business folks, who met weekly in a tavern to discuss timely publishing topics and exchange books of the day.

Free membership for everyone encourages writers at all levels, and readers of all interests, to participate through a considerable array of interactive tools. Writing hobbyists, emerging writers, and established authors can build a writing portfolio with short stories, poems, articles, book excerpts, and more, or simply use the space for a personal blog. Published authors wanting more book sales are partial to the profile bookstore, with a "Buy It!" button. Shameless promotion is encouraged.

*Reprinted with permission from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Belief Goes a Long Way for a Writer

During a discussion in one of my writer's groups, the topic of book signings, marketing, shyness and belief came up. Some authors expressed that they find signings or sales to be difficult, 'embarrassing', nerve wracking experiences. They don't like them or don't want to do them. Others felt it was a necessary part of a writer's life.

This was my reply:

I understand where you're coming from. My husband is like you and many others. If he had to live off his sales, he'd starve too. Thank God he's into the labour side of things. It's true that some people are more natural at selling, some can learn how easily, and some are just overly pushy...We all know the arrogant saleman or telemarketer who won't let us hang up.

Personally, I've always been good at sales...well, as an adult. But I always set my boundaries and had to believe in the product/service, no matter what it was, charity fundraisers, vacuum cleaners, dayhome directories (which I published myself years ago), Pampered Chef, cosmetics, security systems, vehicles, to name a few. Then I had to believe in myself, that what I had to sell was what many people (not all) needed. That's what got me the sales--not shoving a book in someone's face saying 'Hey, buy this! It's the best book you'll ever read!" (which incidentally is the 'technique' of an author I know).

Years ago, my husband had gotten out of the Armed Forces and had gone into car sales until he could figure out what he really wanted to do. Every night he'd come home and tell me how difficult it was. And this was coming from a guy who lived and breathed cars. He knew them inside and out. I barely knew how to drive one--and only if it was automatic.

The more he complained about his job, the worse it got. Until one day, I'd had enough. I told him to quit, but he refused. Then I said "Learn how to be better and believe you can do it." He said, "You have no idea how hard it is to sell cars. You should try it." Well, one thing led to another and finally I told him I was going to apply for a part-time job at a different dealership. He laughed and said they wouldn't even hire me. So I took the challenge and told him that I thought it was believability that was holding him back from sales. He didn't believe he could do it, therefore he couldn't.

He was right about one thing. I know nothing about vehicles. The next week I started a part time job at a Jeep dealership.

Then my husband said, "It took me weeks to sell my first car. It'll take you months."

On my third day I sold a brand new, fresh off the lot truck...I think it was a Ford F150 or something. :) Did I push my 'sales techniques' down the buyer s throat? No. I stood beside him, believing I could sell cars, while he said "Great, this has blah blah blah..."

When he asked me a question, I said, "I'm new here. Let me go verify that for you." Belief sells! Honesty sells.

I quit after 2 weeks. I had taken the job to prove a point. After that, my husband's sales started to improve. Now, that doesn't mean that he turned into a fabulous salesman, because he didn't. It was still out of his comfort zone. But he learned to improve by believing he could do it--even if only temporarily.

I know many authors who have a published book (traditionally and self) that don't do booksignings. I asked one of my friends why, and he said he just didn't feel comfortable doing it, he 'hated' doing them and then later he grumbled that his sales were low.

People pick up on your attitude. That's why it's key to LOVE those book signings. Unfortunately, you just can't have it both ways.

I know some authors who write more as a hobby. They have a self-published book and don't care how many they sell or if they sell. They did it more for themselves. And that's fine, if that's all they want. Although, I can guarantee that if they started seeing bigger paychecks rolling in, a few of them would change their perspective.

To each their own. I think it's important to understand your individual goal. If all you want is your name on a cover of a book and to sell a few copies to family and friends, that's your choice. Go for it! If your hobby is to self-publish a book every couple of years without any editing, that's your choice too, but don't be surprised if people complain. But if you want this as a career, there are things you must do in order to succeed. Like always learn. Learn more about writing, editing, marketing.

If writing is your passion and you want New York Times best selling status or to catch the attention of a highly motivated traditional publisher, I believe you have to put yourself out there, step out of your comfort zone and grab onto the belief that you CAN do it. If you want it badly enough, you'll make it happen.

And that's the key! I have a friend who is an artist. Her dream is to sell her paintings for tens of thousands of dollars each. I asked her what she was doing to get there and she said 'not much'. She'd only finished a few paintings. I asked how she was going to market them, she didn't have a clue. I asked if she could envision her art gallery opening with hundreds of people attending. She couldn't. I believe that when my friend can see that art gallery show, imagine, envision, taste the wine, hear the people's comments, that's when she'll believe it herself. Then and only then will she be on the right track to success. She has to develop a 'whatever it takes' attitude first.

Now consider that all I've said above is coming from the shyest kid there ever was in a BC kid. The kid who sat in the back row, who had zero self esteem. Sure I became very good at sales. My last professional J.O.B. was managing a sales department for a large security company and writing copy. I also became a motivational speaker for a major international organization. I overcame my shyness because I had to--I wanted to. And I wanted be the 'best at everything I do. And since writing has always been my intense passion and I want to be very successful at it, I overcame my nervousness of booksignings because there was no other choice.

It all boils down, I think, to one key question: How badly do you want it? Then it's up to you to define what 'it' is. Are you happy with your success? Satisfied with your sales? Want more?

We choose our success; it doesn't choose us. And we all have different definitions of what that success is. So for those who are happy with the odd signing and a bit of spending money, that's great. For those who want more, choose more. Then find ways to get it.

I totally respect where some authors are coming from, but I'm hoping this reaches a few that are looking for some inspiration to become more motivated with book signings or marketing in general.

This is what award winning author Alvin Abram has to say:
"Selling yourself is selling your product. I practice reading out loud every day. I try not to say uh, you know, or any such repetitive remark. It takes practice. I, too, was an introvert until I realized that I was a bottle with a cork that wanted to explode. If you want to sell, pop your cork, forget about the word 'can't and do."


Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song

CherylKTardif.com