"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Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help.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!"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Top 10 Reasons Why Authors Should Network with & Market to Libraries

When one of my coaching clients asked me what I thought were the top 10 reasons why authors should network with libraries, I created this quick list.

1. Libraries BUY books.
2. People still use libraries and will continue to do so.
3. Libraries are getting into ebooks.
4. Libraries love author visits.
5. Libraries often have other events you can attend.
6. You can arrange to sell your books to patrons during events in a library.
7. Libraries know other authors to which you can connect.
8. Libraries give your books more exposure.
9. Public Lending Right Commission will pay Canadian authors every year based on how many of their works are in public libraries, while Access Copyright pays authors for the use of their work in educational systems (& elsewhere).
10. You’ll be able to tell readers your books are in the library.

Authors and libraries go hand in hand. Both have a love for the written word, for books and ebooks. Both can work together compatibly to give readers what they want--access to books and ebooks. It's a win-win for everyone concerned.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why You Still Don't Have an Agent: "Self-Sabotoge"

Why You Still Don't Have an Agent: "Self-Sabotoge"
by Jeff Rivera, founder of 

If there's one thing that bothers me it's when you see a very talented writer ruin their chances of ever getting an agent. And it's not because they're not talented enough, or not nice enough or hard-working enough.  It's often because on some level, they're self-sabotaging their own success.

I ghost write query letters for clients and I recently had an Asian-based client who did exactly that. He had a wonderful storyline and I encouraged him, before we sent the query letter out, to get his manuscript as ready as possible.  If that meant having it professionally edited, so be it. I even had the name of editors who formally worked at major publishing houses who could do so for him here: http://tinyurl.com/2uqu2mj.

His response?  He wanted to leave the manuscript as he put it, "raw so that literary agents can see my full-potential."  Um, no.

No matter how much I gently encouraged him thatmaybe that wasn't the best route, he didn't want to listen. I told him that you only have one shot at these agents and you want to make a good first impression, yet he insisted he was right.

Here I am, dealing with literally hundreds of literary agencies a year. They tell me exactly what they're looking for, why they accept and reject clients and yet he insisted that he must know better.

It's just sad to me. His manuscript had tremendous potential but it needed more than a band-aid, it needed double-bypass surgery.

My point is, when you're talking to people who do this for a living, who engage with other publishing professionals day in and day out, listen to them.  They know what they're talking about. Do that, and you'll be one step closer to landing an agent.

If you would like to see an example of query letters that worked, visit: http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com

Jeff Rivera is the founder of http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com. He and his works have been featured or mentioned in Publishers Weekly, GalleyCat, Mediabistro, Los Angeles Times, New York Observer, NPR and many other media outlets.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Writer's Life in Transition

Anyone who works for themselves, especially from their home, knows that life often creates unexpected challenges, and most of us know that moving through transitions is only to be expected. But it isn't always easy.

A writer will go through several transitions in his or her career. First, they must transition from hobbyist to professional. This means they must treat their writing as a career, as if they're making money already. They must model success and see themselves as a professional writer, so that others see them that way. This transition starts in the mind.

It's one thing to dream the dream of being a bestselling published author, but it's a whole other ballgame to actually pursue it. A writer must first prepare for this transition. This means taking writing courses, perfecting the craft of writing and getting their work critiqued by others. Writers must also prepare by learning everything they can about the book industry. What's happening today? What are publishers looking for?

The next transition is accepting that you most likely need help to get where you want to be. You'll need a publisher and possibly an agent. Or you could decide to self-publish. Even then, you'll need help. In this stage, you'll want to make connections and network with other authors, publishers, agents, marketing coaches, editors, etc.

Transitions may be nerve-wracking at times, but they can also be exciting. Once you've secured an agent, you've transitioned into another level, one where people take you more seriously and where you have a partner who is invested in your career. Once you have a publisher, you have another team player who wants to see you succeed.

Becoming a published author will have its ups and downs. Being a published author has them too. You'll learn to transition from solitary writer to shameless self-promoter. You have to--if you want to succeed in this industry. Promotion, like anything else, is something you can learn, even if you're a shy introvert, like I used to be.

In recent months the greatest transition for most authors has been the sudden shift into ebooks, and the ease of publishing ebooks on your own, without a publisher or agent. Yes, the times are a-changin'. And they're not going to wait for you to catch up. Right now, authors and publishers can jump on the ebook train or risk the chance of missing it or being lost in the crowd.

A writer's life is always in a state of transition, simply because we never know what's going to happen next. Will a film producer contact you out of the blue and make a film offer? Will an agent ask to see a manuscript? Will a publisher offer you a two book deal?

I've learned to roll with these transitions, to deal with them as they happen. As long as I'm moving forward, the transition is a good one. The writing world is changing rapidly and life as a writer is exciting and unpredictable. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love a good mystery!

Please help me celebrate one of my transitions--my move from Cheryl Kaye Tardif, writer of suspense thrillers, to Cherish D'Angelo, writer of steamy romantic suspense.

Lancelot's Lady by Cherish D'Angelo: 
A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherishdangelo.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com.

What transitions have you made recently, and how do you feel about them?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

YOU KNOW YOUR QUERY LETTER SUCKS WHEN...You Ain't Got No Platform, Honey!

Here's another short article about building a platform from author and publishing expert Jeff Rivera. Enjoy! ~Cheryl

YOU KNOW YOUR QUERY LETTER SUCKS WHEN...You Ain't Got No Platform, Honey!
by Jeff Rivera, founder of http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com 

Agents are in the business of selling books. That's what they do. They're not our best friends, they're not our therapists, and they're not our life coaches.

The best agents put their nose to the ground, they focus on what they do best which is generating enough excitement on a book that they sell it for as high of a price as possible. When you get paid, they get paid. End of story.

The publishing landscape has changed dramatically the last few years. Whereas just having the credentials and a well-written book proposal could have sold your book even a couple of years ago, nowadays you need to bring your own fanbase. That is, you need more than just 10,000 Twitter followers, you need people who are poised and ready to purchase your book.

If you've got that already, then you need to mention that in your very first sentence. I've recently ghost written query letters for clients who had a very strong platform. At first, they wondered why I would mention it in the very first paragraph but trusting my judgement, they went along with it.

The result? Each had over 50 agents beating down their door asking to read their proposal. You can read the actual query letters here: http://tinyurl.com/25t2mkj

One author had a novel and I only wrote one sentence about what the novel was actually about.

"Don't you think we should tell them more about it?" the client asked me.

I told him, "Who cares what it's about? You're a regular guest on Fox News."

And I was right, the agents didn't care either because tons of them requested to read his novel.

If you've got a strong platform, use this technique and you'll be one step closer to landing an agent.

If you would like to see an example of query letters that worked, visit: http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com

Jeff Rivera is the founder of http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com. He and his works have been featured or mentioned in Publishers Weekly, GalleyCat, Mediabistro, Los Angeles Times, New York Observer, NPR and many other media outlets.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How to get early reviews and review blurbs

Many writers have asked me how they can get early reviews from industry reviewers and review blurbs from established authors, so today I'm going to answer that.

So how do you get early reviews and review blurbs? The easy answer: just ask. Really. That's what it boils down to, asking someone. Ask lots of someones and you're bound to get a 'yes'.

The more detailed answer: research, ask and ask others. Like so many things, including sending out agent queries, asking for reviews and blurbs is a numbers game that requires some preparation first. So let's break it down.

Research: You'll need to do some research to find out which reviewers read your genre and which authors are open to writing blurbs. Check your local newspapers to see if they still have a book reviewer. If they do, send the reviewer an email, with a brief synopsis (1-3 paragraphs) describing your book. Think of this synopsis like back cover text―present tense, exciting ad copy.

Check out the top reviewers on Amazon or Chapters and contact them. Search online for reviewers who write blogs, or have a Myspace or Facebook or Twitter account. An easy way to find these blogs is to Google search terms like "romance blogs", "mystery blogs" or whatever genre fits your book.

Use these same methods to contact authors whom you'd like a review blurb from, especially social networks. Contact authors who write in the same genre as you or have themes similar to what is in your book. Keep in mind that authors are busy people, so give them enough information to make a decision, including word count, genre and why you chose them.

Give authors plenty of notice; don't email them expecting a blurb in a month or two weeks. Sometimes you have better luck asking a mid-list author to write a blurb than a bestselling, award-winning big name author. Sometimes.

Ask: When you contact potential reviewers, make sure you remember to actually ask them for a review or review blurb. You can't get a 'yes' if you don't ask. Be gracious no matter what their answer is. Thank them for their time, regardless.

Ask Others: Don't just ask couple of reviewers and then wait months for an answer. Ask others! Keep asking. It's a numbers game, remember? You may have to go through a few nos to get that one yes. And you want more than one review.

Finding reviewers isn't that difficult nowadays; it just takes some work. Finding authors to give you a review blurb may take a bit more time, but it's so worth it. Just remember, do the research, ask and ask others.

Reading is subjective; everyone has different tastes. Writers should never expect 5 star rave reviews, though it's awesome to get them. An honest review is worth more than gold. Even if it's 3 stars and the reviewer didn't like one of your characters. There is always something to learn from a review―for an interested reader and the author. But the key to getting a review is to ask.

P.S. If you've read any of my novels, please consider writing a short review and posting it on Amazon, Chapters, B&N, Kobo etc. And do send me a copy and let me know if I have your permission to use it on my blog and website. :-) Thank you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

HOW TO LAND A LITERARY AGENT: "First Get a Platform"

Over the next few weeks I will continue to present articles to you about landing an agent, via my friend Jeff Rivera. If signing with a literary agency is your big dream, Jeff can help you get their attention. ~ Cheryl

HOW TO LAND A LITERARY AGENT: "First Get a Platform"
by Jeff Rivera, founder of www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com 

Your voice must be heard. There is no greater way to do this than to write a book. If you've ever given any thought to seriously landing an agent or being published, I'd like to offer a few tips that will speed up the process.

First, let me explain, I'm a book publishing executive who writes regularly for the #1 online trade magazine for the media & publishing called Mediabistro. I also write for GalleyCat, Huffington Post and I've interviewed everyone from major agents and editors to James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, and Nicholas Sparks. I also do something else, I help connect writers with literary agents.

Publishing has changed so dramatically in the last few years that getting published isn't more difficult, it's more challenging. There's a difference and that difference must begin first with a shift in your mindset.
Once you know what literary agents want, it's rather easy to land an agent.

Let's move beyond the fact that you need to write a great manuscript, because you already know that but did you know there's something else more important to an agent than ever before? Your platform. That is your built-in fanbase of readers poised and ready to purchase your book. Demonstrate you have this ,with at least 5000 readers and you can land an agent quicker than you ever could dream possible.

How do you do this? First understand, there's a difference between having 10,000 Twitter followers and having a platform. Anyone can get Twitter followers. You can even pay people to add them for you. That's not a platform.

I don't know about you but I don't tweet that often and I definitely don't read everything every person I follow tweets every day. I am not necessarily a dedicated fan of theirs. If I see their tweet, then I see their tweet. If I don't, then I don't.

As my friend, former Simon & Schuster editor, Marcela Landres says in her ebook What Editors Think, "It's not who you know, it's who knows you." Think about that difference.

The following are a few examples of legitimate platforms that will have literary agents licking their chops:

1) An opt-in mailing list of people who read your information regularly.
2) If you are regularly on television
3) If you have a web series with at least 10,000 views each episode
4) If you are a public speaker
5) If you are a journalist with a column of loyal readers
6) If you have a regular radio, podcast or internet radio show with a significant audience
7) If you've self-published a number of books before and sold at least 5000 copies of each
8) If you have a website with thousands of unique visitors each day
9 If you're the president of a large association or charity
10) If you're a celebrity already in another industry

There are a number of other examples of platforms you can view by visiting: http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com. You'll also see over 60 examples of query letters we ghost wrote that successfully garnered requests from top agents to read our clients' manuscripts.

Jeff Rivera is the founder of http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com. He and his works have been featured or mentioned in Publishers Weekly, GalleyCat, Mediabistro, Los Angeles Times, New York Observer, NPR and many other media outlets.


A special note from bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif:

A few years ago I used Jeff's query service. I was stunned by the response, especially after years of "following the rules" on how to write a query letter. Jeff breaks those antiquated rules and delivers a query that really grabs agents' attention. I had dozens of requests for partial and full manuscripts, and after a couple of weeks I signed with a reputable agency. My agent has been so supportive and a real cheerleader in everything I do. I highly recommend Jeff's query service. 

For more info on this query service, please email Jeff and me at cheryl@GumboWriters.com 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Best Time of Year to Query Agents

A special welcome to Jeff Rivera, author and entrepreneur. I've known Jeff for a few years and am happy to call him my friend and writing/publishing associate. Jeff has helped many authors find success, either by connecting them to fabulous publishers, agents or editors.

The Best Time of Year to Query Agents
by Jeff Rivera, founder of HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com

As any book publishing professional will tell you, now is the time when the industry goes on hiatus. But guess what? This is one of the best times of the year to pitch agents. Why? Because agents may slow down during the hiatus period but they cannot help but sneak a peek at their email.

I know because I deal with literally hundreds of literary agencies every year.

They're constantly searching for the next hot thing to represent. And if it's sent to them now, they will have enough time to spit polish it before the industry starts back up again in January.

What's so special about January? Editors come back from the holidays with a fresh new perspective. They're also loaded up with their expense accounts all over again so they'll be ready to rock n' roll when they use those accounts to lunch with your new agent.

Expense accounts are often on a "use it or lose it" basis. If the editor didn't use all their "lunch money" last year they'll receive an even less amount this year. It's also around the time when editors and editorial directors have set or about to set their editorial schedules. So, what better time to submit to agents!

If you have something solid and ready, get your query letter together. And it better be good because you only have one shot with these agents. What are agents looking for right now more than ever?

1) Middle grade - If you've written the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid, especially a funny book for boys now's the time to pitch it.

2) Young Adult fiction - Hot, Hot, Hot! If you have a YA book, nothing's hotter in the industry. It's the one genre that has not dipped in sales tremendously. In fact, agencies are adding more agents to their rosters, specifically looking for this genre. More agents means more opportunities for you.

3) Graphic novels - If you're an author who has had a difficult time selling your novel, think about adapting it as a graphic novel. The great thing is, you don't have to be able to draw. Simply align yourself with a great artist. Create a 5-page sample of your work, a detailed summary and presto! That's all you need. 100% of the clients we've done this for have gotten agents.

4) Celebrity Memoirs - If you've got connections to celebrities, even D-List Reality TV star celebrities, this is a sure bet. Submit a solid book proposal "co-written" or ghost written by you and your hot celebrity and two things will happen: 1) The sun will rise tomorrow 2) An agent will request to read your proposal.

5) High Platform Nonfiction - If you have a huge opt-in mailing list, are the president of a large charity or organization, own your own PR firm, or have strong media connections, now's the time to write a book. Remember, if it's a nonfiction book, you only need write a book proposal, not the entire manuscript. With a strong platform, you'll have agents chasing after you instead of the other way around. 100% of the clients we created book proposals for have landed agents and damn good ones within a week or two.

Remember, you only have one shot with these agents. So, make sure your query letter is as solid as possible. If you need help writing a winning query letter, contact: cheryl@gumbowriters.com and we'll help you. 100% of the query letters we've ghost written have received at least 10 top agents that have requested to read their manuscripts or proposals.

~Jeff Rivera, www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com and www.GumboWriters.com

A special note from bestselling author Cheryl Kaye Tardif:

A few years ago I used Jeff's query service. I was stunned by the response, especially after years of "following the rules" on how to write a query letter. Jeff breaks those antiquated rules and delivers a query that really grabs agents' attention. I had dozens of requests for partial and full manuscripts, and after a couple of weeks I signed with a reputable agency. My agent has been so supportive and a real cheerleader in everything I do. I highly recommend Jeff's query service.

For more info on this query service, please email Jeff and me at cheryl@GumboWriters.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Promotional Tools for Authors in an Ereader World

Thank you for dropping by this blog during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour. I hope you'll check out all my stops. Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address so you'll be entered in my daily draws. Grand prize: a Kobo ereader.

Over the years I've worked with many authors during multi-author events and I've coached authors on all areas of marketing, and one of the most common questions I get is, "What should I buy for promotional tools?" I used to have no problem answering that question, but now we're heading into an ereader world, where the usual promotional tools may not be as effective.

Many of my author friends have gone all out, spending thousands of dollars on t-shirts, mugs, fliers, bookmarks, business cards, coasters, calendars, pens, baseball caps, and many other items. I wonder how many of those items were either thrown away, given away or never used.

More importantly, most authors only make a dollar or two per book--sometimes less--so it's important to weigh the cost of such items and ask yourself if it's worth buying these kinds of promotional tools. I've tried many different things over the years; I don't mind experimenting. Most of the items I mentioned above are just too expensive.

My favorite promotional tool has been bookmarks. They're useful. Or they were until ereaders became so popular. Two-sided bookmarks were excellent promotional tools. You can get a lot of info on one, including book covers, where to buy and website URL. They're the easiest thing to give out when at a book signing or special event. They're also more affordable than most of the other promo tools listed above. I suspect bookmarks won't be as effective in the future as more and more people turn to ereaders.

Business cards are great to give out during conferences or when meeting an agent or publisher, but they're not so good for readers. Most will bury them in their purse or wallet or toss them. T-shirts, mugs and even pens are just too expensive, though they're a great gift or prize, if used to encourage sales first.

With ereaders, there is less demand for authors to tour bookstores and do book signings. I mean, it's not that easy signing an ebook on a Kobo or a Kindle. :-) So I'm looking for new promotional tools, things I can give out when I meet people. Something with some value so that people don't throw it away. Something that will bring people to my website or maybe give them a sample of my work.

I've designed a different kind of business card. It's more like a coupon. On one side I can add a brief description of a book and the cover. On the other side I give them the URL to a sample online. Or the second side has a special coupon code that allows them to read one of my works for free. The entire ebook. I'll even autograph the card if someone wants me to.

I plan to give out a lot of these cards over the next few months and I'll be taking a stack of them with me when I go on a Mexican Riviera cruise in February. I bet I'll see a lot of people relaxing by the pool--with a Kindle or Kobo or Sony or iPad in hand. Stay tuned for another Random Acts of Divineness, and if you happen to be on that cruise, come find me and I'll sign your Kindle or Kobo. ;-)


Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherylktardif.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com. Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

Would you ask your favorite author to sign the back of your ereader? If so, who would that be?

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The biggest mistake most authors make when doing a virtual book tour

There is so much involved in organizing a successful online book tour and it's easy to have some seemingly small thing slip through the cracks, but there is one mistake I've seen many authors do that will cost them sales and branding recognition.

The biggest mistake most authors make when doing a virtual book tour is that they don't update the direct links to their posts.


It's fine to list your blog hosts ahead of time and just use their regular URL. Ex. www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com

But tell me, what's wrong with that link? The answer is very simple. It doesn't link directly to your post.

Why is that a problem? When people come across your blog schedule on your website, they'll be directed to the HOME page and most recent article on that blog--NOT to YOUR post.

So how do you fix this? Easy. On the DAY your post goes live on your blog host's site, copy the direct link to your post. To find that link just right click on the live title of your post and copy the URL. The link will look something like this: http://cherylktardif.blogspot.com/2010/09/cherish-romance-with-cherish-dangelo.html 

Then go to your tour schedule page on your website/blog and change the link from the basic URL to the direct link. Save and voila! When your tour is over, double-check ALL links to ensure they are directing visitors to YOUR post.

Why is this important? Everything on the Internet is basically forever. Months from now someone will stumble across your schedule and will want to visit the blogs you posted on. If you don't have direct links, they'll be reading someone else's posts. Essentially you'll have wasted the viral potential of your virtual book tour as it then becomes stagnant and dead.

Awhile back I saw the schedule of a blog tour for a fairly well-known author who writes thrillers. When I clicked on the links, he hadn't updated to the direct ones. I couldn't be bothered to wade through all the posts after his, so he lost a potential buyer. I can't even remember which book he was promoting.

Don't let that be you.


Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherylktardif.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com. Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.

Have you ever had an idea for a story? Did you make notes, write it or forget about it?

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lancelot's Lady Virtual Launch Party begins!

Today is LAUNCH DAY for my contemporary romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady and I'm celebrating by throwing a huge all-day party at various blogs. This is all part of my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour celebration.

As a "shameless promoter" and book marketing coach, I have to tell you that a lot of work and preparation goes into pulling off an event such as this one--which is the BIGGEST ONLINE BOOK TOUR any author has ever done. Over 100 stops in 15 days! And plenty of prizes will be awarded along the way.

So what does it take to pull off such a huge event? PLANNING. I started months ago, by determining that I wanted to do something no author I'm aware of has ever done--hold a virtual book tour with over 100 stops at blogs and websites in only 15 days. Once I'd set my goal, it was time to pick a date, making sure I had plenty of time to find and book my blog hosts and find the prizes, not to mention write over 100 posts.

I took one month to find my hosts and email them an invite to my event, explaining what was in it for them. My hosts will all receive free ebooks! I gave myself 3 months to organize everything. Month two I started writing the posts for all the blogs. Some were open articles of my choosing, some topics were selected by my hosts, some were interviews, some said they'd review Lancelot's Lady. I like this wide assortment and I believe readers and visitors to these blogs/sites will enjoy them too.

Today is only day 1. I am so excited to be able to share my latest novel with you--my debut romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady.Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooksAmazon's Kindle StoreSmashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..." Review it if you'd like; I'd love to hear what you think. If you post a review on Amazon, Smashwords or your blog or site, be sure to send me the link, so I can check it out. :-)

Prizes & Giveaways: Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so.

GRAND PRIZE: 1 KOBO eReader will be given to one lucky winner. Rules: Anyone who leaves a comment with email address on any of my posts during my tour (Sept. 27 to Oct. 10) will be entered to win this draw. 1 point will be given for every blog you visit. To increase your chances, you can receive an additional 25 points if you purchase Lancelot's Lady during those dates and email me the proof of purchase receipt by October 10th. You'll receive 1 entry per point. The winner will be selected at random and will be notified by October 31st.

Let me know what you think about online book tours. Do you enjoy them? Are they fun? Do you like having the chance to win prizes?

Cherish D'Angelo
(aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do I Need an ISBN to Publish My Own eBook?

The above question is a common one for authors taking their first dip into the ebook pool. The easy answer is: YES. But there's a bit more to ISBNs than that.

If you've decided to publish your own ebooks using ebook retailers like Amazon's Digital Text Platform, KoboBooks or Smashwords, you will need new ISBNs for each retailer. To understand why this is necessary, you must first understand what an ISBN is and does.

What's an ISBN?

International Standard Book Numbers or ISBNs are a 10 or 13 digit number used to identify your book or ebook and each of its revisions or editions. The first part of that number (the prefix) identifies the publisher. ISBNs are used for tracking sales data. Print books also have the ISBN embedded into the barcode, again for easy sales tracking.

Why do I need an ISBN for my ebook?

Distributors, bookstores, wholesalers and the general public use this number to order your book. If you plan to sell to bookstores, libraries (many are bringing in ebooks now) and some specialty retailers, you'll need an ISBN.

Can I use the same ISBN for one title that's in print and ebook edition?

No. Many retailers won't distribute your ebook or book if the ISBN has been used anywhere else, so it's important to take the time to register individual ISBNs as needed. ISBNs are not assigned by title; they are assigned by edition. Editions are determined by who published your book. If you're publishing your own ebooks, then every time you publish at a different retailer, you'll need a new ISBN number.

Example: My bestselling novel Whale Song has been published by 3 different print publishers, so it has 3 different ISBNs for those paperbacks. It also has 3 different ISBNs for ebooks I puiblished via Kindle, Smashwords and KoboBooks.

How do I get an ISBN?

If you're an author from the US, you can purchase a block of 10 ISBNs from R.R. Bowker at  http://www.bowkerlink.com or http://www.isbn.org. Some ebook retailers, like Smashwords, allow you to purchase a single ISBN directly from them. Just keep in mind that whoever has registered the ISBN (in this case, Smashwords) owns the ISBN and it can't be transferred if you choose not to publish through them. Never use the same number for different books or editions.

Canadian authors are quite fortunate; they don't have to pay for ISBNs. If you're a Canadian author, you can register your ISBNs at http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/041002-2000-e.html. You'll first join CISS -- The Canadian ISBN Service System and be assigned your prefix. After that you can assign ISBNs to your ebooks and books easily and quickly online.

A special thank you to Russell B. for inspiring me to write today's post. :-) I hope I've answered your question, Russell.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
book marketing coach & bestselling author

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nancy Ancowitz shares 10 tips for new and aspiring authors

I want to share some great advice I found in TIPS for WRITERS from the PUBLISHING INSIDER, a newsletter distributed by publishing expert Jerry D. Simmons. Nancy Ancowitz recently blogged on PsychologyToday.com, sharing her tips for new and aspiring authors.

My advice: 10 tips for new and aspiring authors
  1. Purpose. Get clear about why you want to write a book versus an article or something else. Is it to reach more people, build your personal brand, hit the jackpot on the New York Times’s Best Sellers list?
  2.  Money. Determine how you’ll juggle making a living while writing your book. Will you save up plenty of money, go on sabbatical, work part-time—or work full time while writing your manuscript at night and just take catnaps while standing in elevators?
  3. Self-publishing versus conventional publishing. Weigh the pros and cons of self-publishing and e-book publishing versus conventional publishing. If you decide to go the conventional route, find a literary agent who is passionate about your book idea. She will “shop” your manuscript around at publishing houses and help negotiate the best terms for you. For a list of agents, check out theAssociation of Authors’ Representatives; also ask published authors for their recommendations.
  4. Branding. Start building your brand long before your book is published by writing, speaking, using social media tools, organizing and/or joining special interest groups, and spreading the word through your network.
  5. Product. Consider whether you want to offer a product or service in connection with your book. If so, set the wheels in motion now so that when your book comes out, you’ll have more to offer your readers.
  6. Public speakingIf you’re not already comfortable with public speaking, which is an important skill for an author, take a course, hire a coach, join Toastmasters International, and get some practice, even at small, approachable venues. Down the road, closer to the time of your book launch, also consider investing in press training to buff up your skills at answering questions on the spot for media interviews.
  7. Published authors. Meet them. Buy their books and review them on Amazon. Gain from their insights. Build relationships with them and ask for their advice about your book.
  8. Publicity. Save up now to hire a publicist, but don’t rely on him to do all the work. You’re the engine; start building relationships with journalists and organizations where you can speak that are interested in your topic.
  9. Information for authors.Read books, magazines, blogs, social networking sites, and other resources to become an informed author. Check these out: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published by Sheree Bykofsky (whose literary agency represents me) and Jennifer Basye Sander; Poets & Writersmagazine.
  10. Support. Get the support you need to write your book. Join or form a group of other authors, turn to a mentor, hire a coach, start a Meetup or Tweetup, and read, comment, and post questions to authors’ blogs. You’ll benefit from having a community of authors and can learn a lot from one another.
Read Nancy's full post on PsychologyToday.com.

Printed here with permission from Jerry D. Simmons (WritersReaders.com) and Nancy Ancowitz.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is Your (Internet) Marketing is Paying Off?

So you're out there marketing. You're doing all the right things (or so you think). You're following the book marketing advice of some leaders in the industry. You've got a checklist and you're methodically checking off your goals. But how do you know you're doing everything right? The fact is, most of us don't. Yet we forge ahead, keeping pace with our marketing plan, without ever knowing if it's paying off. We don't see it in sales. Does that mean it's not working? Not at all. You could be seeing the effects in other places but just aren't keeping track of it.

I find that especially in social media you need to keep a close eye on what's working and what's not. If you've spent *any* kind of time online you know that you can be in front of your computer for what seems like 20 minutes and yet three hours have gone by. If the three hours of marketing is paying off, then it's fine to spend the time. But you need to know the difference. Here are a few things you can review to measure the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of your marketing.

1. Jumping in without a plan: Set clear, measureable goals because most marketing is invisible. Let's face it, you send an email and wonder half the time if the intended recipient got it or if it ended up in a spam filter, never to be seen again. That's the power behind goals. You need them and you need to run your campaign by them. So what are your goals? And no, you may not say sell books. Yes, that factors in - but there are a million small steps along the way before you even get to sales. Consider these goals and see if any of them fit your book, topic, and future:

a. Establish yourself as an expert or get known in your particular field. Hey, maybe you just want to be known as the go-to person for everything related to paranormal romance. That's great and it's a realistic, attainable goal.

b. Increase the visibility of your brand. OK, sort of the same as the bullet before this one but more geared to the non-fiction author.

c. Increase traffic and incoming links to your website. This is a great goal. Whether you are fiction or non-fiction, it's a great focus.

d. Do what makes sense for your book: If your followers aren't on Twitter then why have you spent the last month or so promoting yourself on there? Mind you, Twitter works for most of the books we manage, but there are a few that don't make sense. Twitter skews older than most people think so don't be surprised if your YA reader isn't on there. Before you launch head first into a campaign, make sure it fits your demographic.

2. Neglecting other marketing: I know it's easy to get all a-twitter about Twitter, but what else are you doing to promote yourself and your book? If you're good at events and speaking, are you still focused on that? Don't get too myopic on doing just one thing for your marketing. The truth is, you need to do a lot of different things, balanced out over a week or a month for your marketing to really make sense.

3. Set goals - be clear on what you hope to achieve in social media: What are your goals for Twitter? If it's just about gathering followers then you are missing a big piece of this social networking tool. For many marketing people it's all about the number, but numbers don't make as much sense unless they are driving interest to you and your book. If the numbers keep growing, along with traffic to your website, then you're on the right track. But if you're just growing numbers for the sake of being able to say that you have 10,000 followers then it makes no sense. That's like buying a fancy car you can't really afford. Eventually the debt of it will drag you down. It's the same with Twitter and Facebook and any other social media site. It's not about the numbers. It's about the activity.

4. Be clear on who you are trying to reach: Many of you say you're trying to reach readers, but is that really true? We all want to sell books, but who are you really going after? In all likelihood you will have a variety of different targets you are going after. Consider these: booksellers, speaking opportunities, interviews, bulk sale targets, reviewers, and readers to name a few.

5. Measure effectively: In order to know if stuff is working you'll need to measure effectively. As I pointed out earlier on in this article you may not want to do that by fans or followers - instead consider these ideas as ways to measure your success:

a. Retweets on Twitter: The best sign of success on Twitter is the amount of retweets. Are you getting them and if so, how often? If your tweets are good and your followers are active, you should see a few a week at least (depending on the amount of followers you have). If you're curious about the amount of Tweets that get RT'd - check out retweetrank.com. Twitter Analyzer (twitteranalyzer.com) is another great tool for determining how far tweets have traveled.

b. Site hits: Are the hits to your site increasing? Are you watching your analytics to be sure? If you're not, you should be. Watch your site stats closely and monitor the increase in traffic and where it's coming from.

c. Inbound links: How many new ones are you getting? Did you do a vanity search before you started this campaign? If not, do that now. Make sure you know how many new incoming links you're getting as a result of your efforts.

d. Sign-ups to your mailing list: Are they increasing? If you're doing the right stuff in your social media they should be increasing weekly.

6. Increasing the contacts in your industry: Remember that social media marketing is just like going to a networking meeting. You want to expand your reach and get to know others in your industry. If you're not increasing your reach and contact base, then you need to be. This is another great way to gauge how effective your marketing is.

We always want to make progress in our marketing but we're not always sure how to do it or if what we're doing is making a difference. Follow these steps and see if it doesn't help your marketing momentum. If it's paying off, you'll know sooner rather than later and you can keep doing the good stuff, and punt the bad.

Bonus: additional tools for tracking marketing

Bit.ly: This site serves as both a URL shortener and also as a measurement tool. Bit.ly can help get you real-time results on clicks to links you are posting to Facebook and Twitter.

Google Analytics: If you don't have any back end web analytics (and even if you do), Google gives you a lot of valuable data.

Trackur: This is a great monitoring site to see what's being featured on you online and off. It's not free like Google Alerts, but much more comprehensive. Their basic package is $18 a month.

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

Monday, August 2, 2010

Seasoned publishing expert Jerry D. Simmons advises writers: "Follow your dreams."

Jerry D. Simmons spent twenty-five years as VP of Field Sales with Random House and Time-Warner Book Group before branching off to create his own publishing company, INDI Publishing Group. Widely respected, Jerry is one of my mentors and I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago when I visited Valley Forge where we both spoke at a writers' conference.

Here is Jerry's advice to writers:

Merriam Webster defines publishing as: the business or profession of the commercial production and issuance of literature, information, etc. Writers who ask me for advice on the best way to publish their work get the same answer, follow your dreams. Obviously there are tricks to the trade and better ways of making an impression on agents, editors, publishers and even consumers. However the only thing that really matters is that writers follow their dream despite the difficulty.

There are no secrets, regardless of what the master marketers tell you and try to sell you; there are no short cuts to success as an author. If there were a set formula then the biggest publishers would have it figured it out and would be following it with every single title. Following your dream does not mean mortgaging your home or bank account for a chance to publish. Publishing is a business first and creative process second. The business and production side of publishing over shadows the art of creating content. Understanding this fact should be a guide as you decide which route to take.

The more you recognize the terminology and how the basic pieces of the business fit together the better informed you will be and of course the better informed the better chance to recognize the opportunities before you. The one size fits all in publishing does not exist and there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to each type of publishing, including being under contract to a major publisher. The more you read and stay on top of competitive titles in your category, learn the basics of the business, and continue to create content as the same time you are trying to figure it all out the better prepared and positioned you will be. The better prepared and positioned the better chance you have a becoming a successful author.

Printed with permission from Jerry D. Simmons and WritersReaders.com.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crafting a Message Your Audience Will Care About

Book marketing expert Penny Sansevieri shares valuable advice on inbound marketing.

So at this point, you probably all know that Internet/inbound marketing is not only the wave of the future, but the best way to sell yourself, your book, your product, or your service. So maybe you're on Twitter, Facebook, you might even have a blog that you keep updated but if it feels like nothing seems to be meshing.

Before you plug in another tweet, take a moment to step back and really focus on who you're tweeting to. The point really of a good inbound marketing campaign is to bring consumers "in" and you can't do that if they don't care about what you're saying.

How can you determine what your reader wants? Well, ask them. If you do a lot of speaking events, or any at all, you probably get questions. I find that audience questions can really help to seed ideas, meaning that the Q&A portion of any author event is often a great resource to gather the needs of your market.

There are other ways that you can figure out what your reader wants, the first is to stay current. You can do this by subscribing to blogs, following industry leaders on Twitter or getting Google Alerts (which you should do anyway). Getting Google Alerts for your keywords is a great way to see who's writing what about your market.

Let's say that you have identified a message, maybe two, that is crucial to your market. How do you know if you've hit on your right marketing model? Well, the numbers never lie. By "numbers" I mean site hits, increased Twitter followers, etc. Here are a few ways to measure results:

1) Measure effectively: in order to know if stuff is working you'll need to measure effectively. Here are a few ways to do that: Retweets on Twitter: the best sign of success on Twitter is the amount of retweets. Are you getting them and if so, how often? If your tweets are good and your followers are active, you should see a few a week at least (depending on the amount of followers you have).

2) Site hits: are the hits to your site increasing? Are you watching your analytics to be sure? If you're not, you should be. Watch your site stats closely and monitor the increase in traffic and where it's coming from.

3) Inbound links: how many new ones are you getting? Did you do a vanity search before you started this campaign? If not, do that now. Make sure you know how many new incoming links you're getting as a result of your efforts.

4) Sign-ups to your mailing list: are they increasing? If you're doing the right stuff in your social media they should be increasing weekly.

Finally, before you launch headfirst into any marketing campaign, be sure and set some clear goals. For example, you might ask yourself, what are your goals are for Twitter? If it's just about gathering followers then you are missing a big piece of this social networking tool. For many marketing people it's all about the number but numbers don't make as much sense unless they are driving interest to you and your book. If the numbers keep growing along with traffic to your website then you're on the right track. But if you're just growing numbers for the sake of being able to say that you have 10,000 followers then it makes no sense. That's like buying a fancy car you can't really afford. Eventually the debt of it will drag you down. It's the same with Twitter and Facebook and any other social media site. It's not about the numbers. It's about the activity.

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dare to Dream...

It is said that every person has at least one good story in them! Some people are gifted to have more than one.

Do you know a future writer – someone who dreams of writing fiction, poetry, or short stories? Maybe that future writer is…you! If you dream of writing, then why not write?

Why not Dare to Dream…and Dream BIG?

There once was a young girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. Her goal was to become the next Stephen King…or 'Stephanie', at least. When she was about 16, she started writing a novel. It took her over a year to complete it and at 17, she tried to find a publisher. She submitted query letters, partial manuscripts…and her dreams, for other people to judge. She received rejection letter after rejection letter.

The first strike against her was that she had very few published works – a few town articles in a small local paper were her only credit. The second strike against her was that she was Canadian, struggling to get into a predominantly American market. 95% of the major, big-league publishing companies were American. She hit a brick wall – hard.

For the next few years, she wrote mostly poetry until she submitted a health and beauty article and landed another column in a small newspaper. And then a year or so later she ended up in a New Brunswick newspaper, as the writer of a song dedicated to the Gulf War soldiers. This was the first indication that she had power – power to influence people's emotions, to make them feel something.

Years passed as she struggled to find a way to make her dream come true, to be that writer. She continued to write, took a course in journalism/short story writing and graduated with a 98% average. She wrote two children's books, complete with illustrations and tried desperately to get them published. They became her 'babies', her creations. Her children's books were well received in schools when she did readings, but no one seemed interested in publishing them. After two years of more brick walls, she gave up trying. Her dream dissipated…died a slow death.

More years went by, until one day she was talking to a friend about a story she had always wanted to write. It was a story about a young girl who experiences a tragedy and loses part of her memory – a tale about killer whales and native legends. It was a story about wolves and dreams, love and life, death and fear…but mostly it was a story about triumph and forgiveness. Her friend told her "You need to just WRITE it! Even if it never gets published, write it for YOU!"

My friend was right! And now I am a bestselling author!

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: The Newbie's Guide to Publishing by JA Konrath

 4/5 stars ~ J.A. Konrath's blog has been a popular must-read for authors for a long time, and now he's consolidated his posts into one book, a reference every author should have, especially if you're new to marketing your books. He shares his expertise on publishing, self-publishing, Kindle sales, book signings, online tours, blogging and so much more.

Considering this author is earning more with his ebooks than many traditionally published authors with big publishers, his advice is worth listening to and following. Though most of what you'll read in The Newbie's Guide to Publishing isn't new (if you've been in the marketing biz for a bit), you could spend months searching for this same info online.

My only constructive criticism of this book is that it could have been better organized; there is a fair amount of repetition. And it could have used a decent editor. But if you can overlook these issues, the book has great value as a marketing tool. Along with Steve Weber's Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity through Social Networking, The Newbie's Guide to Publishing should be on every writer's bookshelf.

I find it helpful to have this book on hand for reviewing marketing techniques and reminding myself of what's important to me as an author and promoter of my works. As a book marketing coach, I recommend this book to my clients.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling suspense author & book marketing coach

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Should writers pursue print publication or publish their own ebooks?

The above question came up in a forum recently, and while everyone has to determine what's right for them as it is a very personal decision, I gave them my thoughts on the topic.
I say go for both--print and ebooks. If you have a traditional publisher for your print, all the better. But don't let that stop you from publishing your own ebooks, especially the ones your agent and publisher aren't interested in. You definitely don't want to overlook the ebook market. That's where the money is right now for authors, if you publish the ebooks yourself.

As a self-published and traditionally published print author, I've seen the pros and cons to both sides.

If you have a backlist of titles that your publisher is finished with, get them up on Amazon Kindle, KoboBooks and Smashwords right away. Sales of ebooks are on the rise, and they won't be stopping or slowing any time too soon.

Other ideas for ebooks: publish a collection of short stories or an anthology with other authors, publish a novella or novelette, publish a how-to book or a book of poetry.

I have 4 ebooks coming out between April 1, 2010 and Sept 27, 2010. :-) There's only one thing better than promoting your books, and that's writing them!

My agent is holding 2 thrillers. I'm considering taking one back and publishing it as an ebook next spring.

The key is this: you want to build momentum, then try to keep that momentum going. And the only way to do this is to keep releasing books under some semblance of regularity.
With Amazon's recent royalty raise to 70% for qualifying ebooks, it's possible for authors to now make more money selling less expensive ebooks than selling traditionally published print books. But in the end, it depends on the personal goals of each writer.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Guest Post: Ten Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet

Today's guest blogger is Gina Holmes, author of the novel Crossing Oceans, and she's sharing some valuable tips. Here are Ten Things You Can Do Now to Promote the Novel You Haven’t Even Sold Yet:

  1. Buy your website URL and begin to build it. You can go very expensive and pay thousands for a professional site, or you could start small and do something like godaddy, where you build your own site. I took a third route and hired someone to make me a template and then set it up like a blog, so that I could tweak and update it easily.
  1. Get professional headshots. I hired a friend whose work I admired but who is still considered an amateur. For fifty dollars and my husband agreeing to baby-sit for an afternoon, I got a few really great and professional looking pictures. Don’t let anyone convince you that a good headshot is a waste of money for a novelist. On Novel Journey we post lots of author photos, many of which look like candid shots that other people are cut out of. Remember how important perception is. I look at a substandard picture and I subconsciously think this author is no perfectionist, and am less likely to want to read their work. Spend the money and get a good promo picture of yourself.
  1. Keep a file filled with the names of magazines you come across that fit your writing. For example, if you write Victorian era historicals, Victorian magazines might later be interested in an article written by you. Jot down the names of them and any other publications you come across that might be a fit. This will save you a lot of research time later on.
  1. Keep a folder of book reviewers you’ve come across that seem to enjoy the type of  stories you write. I send myself emails with the reviewer’s name, books they’ve reviewed and liked, their email address and, if I know them, how I know them. While it’s true that they might not still be reviewing when your book finally releases, it won’t hurt to try. 
  1. Start reading marketing/publicity books now and take notes. My personal favorite is the simply titled Publicize Your Book. If you can only afford one book on marketing/publicity, I highly recommend you make it that one.
  1. Read The Tipping Point. It will explain some very important concepts on what makes things popular. It’s an easy and surprisingly entertaining read.
  1. Read How to Make Friends and Influence People. The book has been around forever for good reason.
  1. Keep a list of natural influencers. You’ll call upon these folks later for help in getting the word out about your book.
  1. Help anyone you can. For one, it’s just the right thing to do, for two, what goes around comes around.
  1. Start building your platform now. Write articles, create a blog with excellent and frequently updated content, volunteer to teach classes on what you’re an expert in, or for whatever committees in ACFW, or other writing organizations you belong. People are much more likely to be interested in your book if they feel like they know you and you’ve shown interest in them.
About Gina: In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans released April/May 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Top Ten Tips for Editing Your Book

There is an important element that will affect how well your book sells, and it's not your sales strategy. It's how well edited your book is.

Readers are smart, savvy, often well educated, and they prefer a book that is well edited over one that is rife with typos, inconsistencies and other errors. So don't skimp. Edit your book and get it edited by someone else, preferably a professional book editor.

Here are my Top Ten Tips for Editing Your Book:

http://bit.ly/a1G1vN

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recipe for a Bestselling Novel

Wouldn't it be great if there was a recipe for making a bestselling novel and if all a writer had to do was gather the ingredients and mix them in, and voila!―a bestselling novel is created? The reality is there are combinations of ingredients that can either get your name on a bestseller's list or fall flatter than an airless cheese soufflé. However, there are some common ingredients that have helped authors achieve bestseller status.

Common Ingredients for a Bestseller:

• 1 cup of well written novel
• 1 cup of professional editing
• 1 cup of professional layout and interior design
• 2 cups of professional book cover, including gripping back cover text
• 1 cup of decent distribution via major online retailers
• 2 cups of book launch, tours and other events, plus advertising
• 3 cups of contests and giveaways by author, publisher or both
• Countless hours of organization and time
• Dash of excitement

Method:

Take the well written novel and beat in professional editing until light and readable. Add professional layout and interior design, then stir in professional cover art and back cover text until well combined. Sprinkle in decent distribution until coated and roll mixture out with book launch, tours and events. Top with contests and giveaways, and fold in countless hours of organization and time before adding the finishing touch―a huge dash of excitement. Share with everyone and enjoy!

Reality Check:

While the recipe above may seem kind of silly, these ingredients can lead to a bestselling novel. I know because I've used them all successfully. My three novels have made bestsellers lists multiple times on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Whale Song made both lists in a single day. I've also sold over 5000 copies of Whale Song, which in Canada makes it a national bestseller.

So how did I do it? I created an exciting day-long event―a "Bestseller Day"―that had enough goodies to draw people in. It was held on my 44th birthday and I gave away 44 prizes.

There are three main ways to get prizes to offer:

1.) Pay for them (I don't recommend this.)
2.) Get others to donate them.
3.) Find someone to sponsor the event or the prizes. They pay for something you want to give away and get something in return, whether it's free advertising, a mention in your next book, or some other benefit.

Becoming a bestselling author takes persistence, creativity and good organization. Follow this recipe for success and you'll rise like a soufflé. Just don't forget that last ingredient―excitement!

If you would like to learn more about organizing a Bestseller Day, please consider hiring me as your book marketing coach. ~ Cheryl Tardif

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Website design tips for new or aspiring authors

Here are a couple of tips for new or aspiring authors who want to create a website to get them "off the ground", but without the costs.

1. Buy/register your domain name. For authors, the best domain name is your author name. It's the first thing people will put in the browser bar when hoping to view your site. I recommend you get your domain names from http://www.namesecure.com/ but you can use any registry service.

2. Sign up for a Google account. This gives you access to so many tools and allows you to register on Blogger for a blog.

3. Start a blog on Blogger. Blogger has new templates that are customizable. You can also add pages to your blog, giving it more of a "website" feel. You'll have access to lots of easy widgets and gadgets that will make your blog colorful and fun--for you and your readers. Design your new site.

4. Then link your domain name to your blog. This is done in different ways, depending on the domain registry, but at the very least you can forward your domain name to the blogger blog.

5. Don't spend big bucks on website design if you haven't got a book published. Don't pay someone to update it for you either. Save that for when you've got a book out. For now you want to brand YOU.

Happy blogging and have fun creating your website.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
author & book marketing coach

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cheryl & Cherish talk murder and romance over at I Love Canadian Authors

Please join me and my alter-ego Cherish D'Angelo as we discuss murder and romance, and answer questions from readers over at I Love Canadian Authors on Goodreads.com.

I'll be popping by the group throughout today, so be sure to leave me a question or two and I'll do my best to answer them. :-)

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/21249.I_Love_Canadian_Authors

And be sure to sign up on my website for FREeBOOK FRIDAY. I'll be giving away an ebook sometime on Friday. To enter, sign up for Divine News (top right corner) at http://www.cherylktardif.com/

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cheryl visits Polished Publishing Group blog and gives her Recipe for a Bestselling Novel

Two nights ago Kim Staflund, a publisher I've recently connected with, asked me if I'd like to write a guest post for their blog. Of course I said yes. I love writing, and even more I love a good writing challenge.

The topic she wanted me to blog about was on becoming a bestselling author. She gave me a good week to complete it. I was finished that evening. :-)

I invite you to check out my post on the PPG blog, and please leave a comment for us if you find it helpful. Now, get your mixing bowl ready...
Recipe for a Bestselling Novel

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Marketing at a Minimum - by publisher Jerry D. Simmons

Selling books without a minimum marketing effort will result in poor sales. Here are the basics every author should follow when marketing their book: (1) seek book reviews prior to launch, (2) write a press release announcing the publication and availability of your book for sale distributed to all online outlets, and (3) pitch yourself and your book to local print, radio, television and online for publicity.

Remember the local media is not interested in the fact that you wrote a book, they are interested in one of the following: (1) the story, (2) the author, or (3) the message. They must have an interesting angle in which to promote you as a guest. Figuring out the proper angle can be difficult; however this is the only way to give you the best opportunity for publicity which is what sells books. That angle may be the facts surrounding the writing of your book, or your background as a writer, or even the unique message from your book. The key is figuring out how to find and focus on that angle.

If you want to go beyond the basics and aim a bit higher then consider: (1) sending a free sample of your writing in an email promotion, (2) alert genre specific web site to your book, or (3) create a social networking campaign. The best marketing approach is a combination of all of these parts taking into consideration the category, price, title, format and a variety of other components that go into creating a targeted marketing program.

Marketing is the most difficult part of successful book publishing. A publisher can get everything right and fail due to a poor marketing campaign. It's so easy to publish in today's marketplace but extremely difficult to sell books. If you find yourself struggling then consider a professional marketer, someone with experience and publishing knowledge to give you the best chance at becoming a successful author.

Copyright 2010 Jerry D. Simmons

Reprinted with permission from Jerry D. Simmons and http://www.writersreaders.com/