You Just Have to Do It

I had a great time at the Geek Fest down at Main Library Saturday.  I sat on an author’s panel, and we had a really good talk, “Can Science Fiction inspire change in the real world?” (Spoiler: Yes.)

Geekpanel
Left to right, authors Claudia Gray, Brandon Black, Maurice Ruffin, myself, Zach Bartlett, moderator.

 

I met bestselling author Maurice Ruffin, author of WE CAST A SHADOW:

 

GeekMaurice

 

Alys Arden was running the Tubby & Coo’s table, and she hand-sold my book! (Or tried to anyway.)

 

GeelAlys

 

Alys was a real team player Saturday, helping out and supporting other authors, like having an impromptu panel with Bryan Camp:

 

GeekPanel2

 

Big shout out to Alys, whose third book in the Casquette Girls series, The Cities of Dead, just came out.  I appreciated her support Saturday.

Bryan’s second book, Gather the Fortunes, sequel to The City of Lost Fortunes, comes out later this month!

So I did have a really great time.  But the thing is, I had to force myself to do it.  Represent myself as an author allied with the library, who deserved to be there.

I have real issues with marketing my work.  I’m so introverted and socially avoidant, I quail at the thought of putting myself or my work out there, even if it’s just online. God forbid actually in public in front of real people.

But you have to do it.  No one’s going to read your books if they don’t know they’re there.

When my book was first published, I asked Alys, “How do you make yourself market your book?”

And she said, “You just have to do it.  You just have to put yourself out there.  It’s hard. But you just do it, and it gets easier.”

Well, I struggled and avoided it for a long time, but when I learned of Geek Fest, I thought, I have to be involved in this.  I thought, Hey, why aren’t I on that panel?

So I talked to the organizers, some of my colleagues at Main Library, and said, “Hey, I want to be on that panel at Geek Fest.”  And they said okay.

And it went well.  And there are rewards too:

 

GeekBethany

 

This is Bethany.  She came up to me after the panel.  I thought she was going to give me grief for trash-talking Laurel K. Hamilton.  (An unpopular opinion.)

But no. She said, “I’m Bethany. I work with your husband.  He gave me your book to read, and I loved it!”

Wow! My first time hearing from a fan out in the field. What an incredible moment.  Isn’t this why we write at all? To reach people, to be heard? Thank you, Bethany!

“She said, “I just wanted you to know.”  I offered her one of my cards with this website on it, and she said, “I have one, Sam gave it to me.”  So, hi Bethany! Great to meet you!  We talked about my follow-on book to Daughter of Atlas, which isn’t a straight sequel, but shows what happens elsewhere when Atlantis falls.  Which Bethany said was what she was curious about in a sequel. So that was wildly encouraging.

They say that’s the way indie authors build their fan base, one reader at a time.  The only way you can do that is by reaching out to them, both on and off-line.

So, if you are struggling with marketing your books, don’t be afraid.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  Go ahead and shoulder yourself onto a panel at your local sci-fi con.  You never know who you might meet.

 

SPFBO Update

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off has reached its finals: the blogger/reviewers have chosen their 10 finalists, and all will read all to determine the winner.  Read about it here.

My book is not among them.  In fact it was cut during the first round of eliminations.

Ouch. That hurt.  But I have to admit that I seriously overestimated my chances on this thing.  There are many, many authors entered in the Blog-Off that are far more experienced than me.

The mini-reviw of my book on Team Weatherwax is here.  The reviewer (not sure who) said Daughter of Atlas has “pacing issues.”  Ugh.  That’s hard to hear. But no else who’s ever read or reviewed it (that I know of) has ever said that, so I guess it’s a matter of opinion.

My biggest disappointment from being cut so early, though, is that DoA didn’t get a cocktail made to memorialize it by Book Wol of Tome & Tankard.  I was so looking forward to that. There is a general cocktail for all the early losers here.

One thing I have noticed, is that most (I think eight out of ten) of the finalist books have more “painterly” covers than your usual indie-published books, with their Photoshopped covers.  It looks like the authors paid to have artists actually paint cover paintings for their books, or at least composit them in a more illustrative style than the usual photorealistic , CGI’d indie covers we are used to.  It makes the books more “professional” looking, that is, more like commercially published books.  It probably contributes a positive halo effect to the books.  They are appropriate to the genre, fantasy, and are what readers expect to see.

(Not that I am displeased by the cover of my book, or having second thoughts. I love the cover of DoA, and I have always received positive feedback from it. But it is something to keep in mind for future works.)

Author and YouTube book vlogger Quinn Buckland gave DoA a stellar review here.  Check it out. Thanks Quinn!

My interview by Michael Baker of the Thousand Scars Muse blog is here.  I did see a small sales spike from that, thank you Michael.

And I have a new review on GoodReads from XDesoto, here.

Well, there’s always next time.  My forthcoming book is science fiction, so I can’t enter SPFBO with that, but I will return to fantasy and to my series Atlantis Fallen in the future, so hopefully one day I will be able to enter the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off again.

Does anyone know if there is a similar contest for indie sci-fi?

Finally, let me extend my thanks to Mark Lawrence, who founded the Blog-Off, and to all the bloggers and reviewers, who are putting in an incredible amount of work on their own time, for love of reading and the genre, and also to all my fellow authors.  Good luck to all the finalists!

SPFBO 4 Begins!

Several of the authors, myself included, are running a 99c price promo. Check it out:

 

 

Author Ann Woodley created this video. Thanks, Ann!

Participating author Andrea Domanski put together this list of the participating authors.

M. D. Presley put together a tournament bracket for the blog-off, so readers can follow along, here.  Hah, that should be fun!

The SPFBO has a Facebook page, which seems like a good place to stay up on the action.

I only learned about SPFBO in the final rounds of the last contest, so I’m really not sure how all this is going to play out.  We will experience it together.  Fingers crossed!

SPFBO 4 Starts Tomorrow!

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, Round 4, starts tomorrow, Wednesday, August 1.  I’m sure many of us authors are nervous and excited.

To celebrate, many of the participating authors, myself included, are dropping the price of their ebooks to 99 cents from August 1 through 5, to allow fans and readers to follow along and purchase as many of the entry books as possible.  Thanks to author Andrea Domanski who put this whole effort together!

You can find all the discounted books here at her website:  http://www.andreadomanski.com/spfbo

Of course, you can purchase my submission, Daughter of Atlas, here, as always.

Daughter of Atlas was assigned to the Team Weatherwax review team, and Bookwol of Tome & Tankard is already reading it!  Hm, hope that doesn’t mean I get eliminated early.  We’ll have to see, I guess.

Good luck to all the authors, and a huge thank you to all the reviewing book bloggers for putting in this huge amount of work, for love of the genre and indie publishing. And especially to author Mark Lawrence, who created the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off four years ago.

Hey, I Could Use Some Help

I’ve been looking at the books Daughter of Atlas will be competing with in SPFBO 4.  Here’s the Goodreads list.

There are some very experienced indie authors on this list, I see, as well as some noobs like myself.  The competition is strong.  Just glancing at the list, I see Daughter of Atlas has only a one-star rating!  This is because only one person has given it a star rating, and that rating is one star.  (As I understand it, some people on Goodreads like to mark their “to be read” books with a one-star rating. Yes, that’s it!)

So, it looks kind of bad to see that one star in there among all those three- and four-star ratings.  I’m hoping you can help me with that.  If you read and enjoyed Daughter of Atlas, and have a Goodreads account, hop on over there and give the book a rating of more than one star.  Whatever you think is an accurate rating.  (A review would be nice to, if you have the time.)

I’d just like the book to make a better first impression on Goodreads, for the judges, and anyone who might be following the contest.

Thanks! I really appreciate the help.

DoA in SPFBO 4

I’ve decided to do something fun with my book Daughter of Atlas. I hope you’ll follow along.

I’ve entered into the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 4, a big book review tournament for, as noted, indie-published fantasy novels.  It was created by indie author Mark Lawrence.  Eight bloggers or teams of bloggers will review 300 books. Each team will choose one semi-finalist to be read and reviewed by all the blog teams.  The final winner wins, well, the title of SPFBO 4 winner, fame and hopefully fortune.

My book was assigned to Team Weatherwax, and Tome & Tankard is the actual blog that will review my book.  Wish me luck!

You can follow SPFBO 4 on Facebook if you’d like to stay apprised of the contest.

And here’s a Goodreads list of all the competing books. And a list of the books for Team Weatherwax here.

I’m very happy and excited to be a part of this, and I’d like to thank Mark Lawrence, all the bloggers, and also all the authors for taking part in this wonderful opportunity for the indie book community.

The contest will begin in August.  I’ll keep you apprised.

Book Update, July 2

I got back the final draft of my paper book cover from Selfpubbookcovers.com, and uploaded it to CreateSpace.  So I am waiting now of the proof copy of the book to arrive from CreateSpace, which should take about a week.  Once I approve the proof, the book will be for sale.

I’m probably going to lose my mind when that proof comes in.  My book!  Made real! Something I’ve been waiting my whole life to see.

I should have done this ages ago. It was surprisingly easy, and I feel really good about it. As my friend Rob Cerio said, the only difference these days between a published author and an unpublished author is clicking that Amazon button.  So click it!  You’ll be glad you did.