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I will be at the Barnes and Noble at the Paddock Shops (formerly The Summit) in Louisville, Kentucky, today from noon until 9 pm. If you’re looking to pick up my books for a Christmas present, drop by and I will write a note of Christmas cheer inside. Hope to see you later today!

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Tomorrow, from 9 a.m. until midnight, I will be taking part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) and they mean anything. I will be discussing my best selling novel, The Hand of God, and the sequel, The WatchersBoth novels, by the way, are on sale through Sunday for only 99 cents for Amazon Kindle. I will also be discussing the publishing business and all things Hydra Publications.

Then this Saturday, I will be one of nearly two-hundred authors at the Kentucky Book Fair at the Frankfort Convention Center, from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. There will literally be a book for anyone on your Christmas shopping list.

Stop by and ask questions tomorrow, and find great book deals this Saturday. See you there!

This weekend marked the very first Oldham County Comic Con and as part of Hydra Publications, we bought two tables for the event. I was joined behind the tables by Stuart Thaman and Rachael Rawlings, two incredibly talented authors. Stuart offered up his fantasy novel, The Goblin Wars Part 1, his scifi/religious mashup, The Vatican Massacre, and his newest novel, For We Are Many, his first foray into the horror genre. Rachael brought her young adult paranormal romance, Dearly Departed, and her mystery novel, The Parrot Told Me. I sold quite a few copies of The Hand of God and The Watchers. Several people came to visit who already had book one.

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Bethany Morse and all the wonderful volunteers at the Oldham County Library did a fantastic job running the convention. Quite frankly, there is not one thing I would recommend they change for the next year. Anytime you have a first year convention, you wonder about turnout. The estimated turnout for OC3 (as it is known) topped three thousand. From the opening moments, the building was packed. The food provided for the vendors was also better than most any other convention I’ve attended. Heck, most conventions you fend for yourself. I am already looking forward to next year.

And of course, there were cos players. Here are a few pictures.

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Have you ever wondered what to do with a bad book review? Author C. Bryan Brown asked me to share my secrets on how to both get new reviews and how to deal with the trolls who leave you nasty reviews, just because they can. I was happy to oblige. Check out his blog here.

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From now through the end of Halloween night, my publisher, Hydra Publications, will be offering both The Hand of God and The Watchers for only 99 cents. If you’re looking for books to keep you up at night, there’s no better time like the present to pick them up. You can find them on sale at Amazon.com

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Yesterday I was invited by the Northwest Ohio Writers Forum to give a talk on book marketing. The event was held at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg, Ohio, up near Toledo. Instead of the usual conference room, set up, well had a seat in the home’s library, leading to a discussion which was more conversational. The members who attended were engaged in the topic and asked great questions. I would like to thank Judy and the staff at the 577 Foundation for taking very good care of us.

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James O. Barnes, owner of Loconeal Publishing was also on hand to keep me out of trouble. It worked. Barely.

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For those of you who were not able to attend, here are my tips for book marketing. Keep in mind, they are not the end all be all of how to market a book.Yet if you follow these suggestions, you will be well on your way to becoming the New York Times bestseller you hope to be.

Social Networking, Social Networking, Social Networking

 

There are many things self published and small press authors can do to market their books, but the first step is social networking. Social networking includes blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and more sites than I have the time or desire to list.

I believe every author should have a blog. Will each blog post sell books? No. But having a blog, where you post at least once a week, does help you connect with readers. Posting once a week will also help increase your search engine results. You don’t have to post about your books in each post. Research shows it is better if most of the posts on your page are NOT about your book. Blogs give you a chance to show your personality. If possible, try and get your name as your web address. Mine is Tonyacree.com. I recommend using WordPress.com to create your blog. It is the easiest to use and set up. And it is free! (You can pay $99 for more freedom to change the looks of the page.) Blogger.com is another site you can use to create your blog.

If you currently have a Facebook page for personal use, make a separate author’s page. People who read your books might not want to read posts about your aunt Bernice and her newest apple pie recipe. I use my Facebook page to promote my events (using the Create an Event feature).

Twitter is great way to engage your fans in a conversation. One of the biggest hurdles in Twitter is how to obtain followers. NEVER pay for them. One way to gain new followers is find another author who writes in a similar genre and follow the people who are their followers. Most will follow you back. Also, research shows following thousands of people who are not likely to buy your books is pointless. For instance, if you write romance novel, there is little point in adding people who only read zombie novels. Unless you have a zombie romance, of course.

Goodreads is another way to connect with readers using giveaways. Keep in mind Goodreads members tend to be tougher reviewers than your average review. I carry a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Amazon. The same book on Goodreads carries a 3.9 rating.

 

The one drawback to social networking is the time involved. Social networking, not done properly, can consumer all of your free time. I recommend using programs which allow you to schedule your Tweets, Facebook and blog posts. I use Hootsuite. I can sit down on a Sunday afternoon and schedule all my social networking posts for the week. Bufferapp and Tweet Deck are two other options, among many. They will cost you a monthly fee for full use (Hootsuite charges me $9.99 a month) but they are worth the cost.

 

Amazon

Amazon is the nine-hundred pound gorilla in the room. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are the largest book selling site in the universe. Amazon offers each author a personal webpage on their site called Author Central. You will find it at AuthorCentral.amazon.com You will need an Amazon account to claim your page. Author Central will allow you to post a biography, list your books and link to blog posts. Have fun with your bio and do not be afraid to show some personality. Claiming your author central page will allow readers to find all your books in one spot.

Amazon offers authors the chance to join KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing. I have mixed feelings about KDP. I have tried it both ways and I prefer NOT to use KDP. A year ago, my answer would have been different. But changes to Amazon’s algorithms dealing with free promotions, makes KDP less appealing. The advantage to KDP is the ability to run sales promotions inside the Amazon framework. Once you choose KDP, you are not allowed to have your eBook available anywhere else for 90 days. The great thing, if you try it and don’t like it, you can change your mind in a few months.

 

Promotional Sites

Now that you have started your social networking dominance, claimed your Amazon Author Central Page, you are ready for the next step. Promotion. If you use Kindle Direct, they offer the chance to run free or discounted prices for your books for a certain period of time. Even if you do not use Kindle Direct, you can lower your costs for a brief 99 cent sale, or free giveaway.

There are sites you can use to help promote your work. Several will do so for free, others charge for their services. The top pay sites, in my experience are:

Bookbub.com

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Getting Bookbub to pick up your book can be tough, but if they do, you will sell a ton of books. EReaderNewsToday.com recently changed their pay model from a percentage of sales to a flat fee.

Both Bookbub and ENT will also run promotions for your free giveaways.

If you are running a free sale, I would suggests PixelOfInk.com. Goodreads is also a great site for book giveaways.

 

 

 

Promotional Items

 

If you go to a book sale event, you will need something to hand out to the people who stop by your table, but do not buy a book. I use 4 x 6 post cards. It allows me to put the cover on one side, and book information on the other. If you go this route, make sure to include the book blurb, the ISBN number, and your website address on the backside. I also include a Q-code which will take people directly to my Amazon Central page. Google Q-code generator and there are plenty of free sites which will create one for you to download and include on your cards.

Many other authors use bookmarks, magnets and other items. I always get eBook sales post event because I hand out my cards. If you do not, you are missing out. Sites to use to create your cards or bookmarks:

NextDayFlyers.com and VistaPrint.com. They often will run sales, so watch for them and take advantage of the discounts.

There are more expensive options. I use banners. Mine are 80 inches tall and 33.5 inches wide. They run around 200 dollars. There are less expensive ones, but a great banner will bring in people from across the room. I use DiscountBanners.com You can also get them at places like FedEx Kinko’s, but I’m not as thrilled with the quality.

You can also create posters and banners to promote your books. DiscountBanners.com can do these as well, but you can also print them at Costco or Walgreens.

 

Book Signings

Everybody thinks of the Barnes and Noble book signing. And if your book is listed in their systems, then they will consider having you. Many authors attend conventions. But there are other places you can have signings. I have held signings at Starbucks, grocery stores with book sections and other no traditional places. Do not be afraid to ask. All they can do is tell you no.

Good friend and fellow author, Mysti Parker, has a series of new books based on her time as a desk clerk at at nearby hotel. Part fiction and part demented mind, I have no doubt they will be worth your time. I’ll let Mysti tell you about her new series. Take it away, Mysti!

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The Roche Hotel

Season One

A serial romantic comedy by Mysti Parker

After her husband ditches her for a blonde actress wannabe, Jane Seymour needs a job that pays the rent. The struggling Roche Hotel needs a miracle. With the former owner’s wife butting her nose into the renovations and new owners who are in way over their heads, Jane may be the answer to their prayers. Sure, she can handle The Roche Hotel’s quirky staff. But, can this skittish divorcee keep it all together when handsome Henry the Donut Guy makes his first delivery? This collection of serial fiction stories is a Tudorific romantic comedy that will leave you laughing out loud and hungry for more.

 

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The Story Behind the Stories

THEY say a lot of things, don’t they? Like don’t wear white after Labor Day or don’t fry bacon with your shirt off (that’s probably good advice, come to think of it). Most of what THEY say goes right in one ear and out the other. But, in terms of writing, when THEY say “write what you know”, it makes a lot of sense. So, that’s where The Roche Hotel got its start—from my own experience working in a hotel way back in the ‘90s.

Many of these first 10 episodes are based on some very real incidents that happened during my days as a front desk clerk in a little mid-priced hotel. Sure, a lot of stuff’s made up purely from my crazy imagination, but there were 5:00 AM donuts—delicious being fresh from the bakery. Henry the Donut Guy—not real, but I wouldn’t have argued one bit if he had been! Among the many other true-to-life items that appear at the Roche Hotel are a popcorn machine, a Muzak (think elevator music) that never played at the right volume, at least one “lady of the night”, and a dead body.

To discover all those things for yourself, from now until release day on October 15, you can pre-order your copy of The Roche Hotel, Season One for just $0.99 on Amazon Kindle! After that, the price goes up to $1.99, so make your reservation now and save a buck!

Click HERE to Pre-Order The Roche Hotel, Season One

The Roche Hotel Promo

Because I like parties, I’m also inviting all of you to the release day party on Facebook, October 15 from 6-9 PM EST.

You’ll get a chance to win a hotel-themed gift basket which includes:

  • Robe
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Tiny soap bars (so cute!)
  • Ghirardelli chocolates
  • Signed postcards

We’ll also have some fun and games, so I hope you’ll join me. And please bring a friend!

Click HERE to Join the Facebook Release Day Party!

Thanks so much for your support! Happy reading! ~Mysti Parker

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Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series. Her other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, Christmas Lites II, The Darwin Murders, Tasteful Murders and EveryDayFiction.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s seven week online course, F2K. She finished her first historical romance this spring and has one children’s book (Quentin’s Problem) soon to be published, with one more waiting for illustrations, and many more stewing in her head.