books, fantasy, historical romance, humor, new release, romance, Uncategorized, writing

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books, inspiration, interview, marketing, new release, Uncategorized, writing

Reducing the Horrors of Book Marketing: An Interview with Sue Campbell

Book marketing.

The very words make doom resonate through the universe like the implosion of a black hole. It sends perfectly sane writers running through the streets screaming and gibbering, while others huddle in the corner, under their desks, repeating in a zombie-like drone, “No, Lord, please, no.”

As someone who is getting ready to launch a zany romantic adventure called Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers, I’m familiar with both reactions.

Really.

~shifty eyes~

Seriously, though. Authors are well known for their aversion to marketing their own work. Most of us are much more familiar with and enthusiastic about the process of writing itself. But in today’s world of eight hundred gazillion books, you have to step up and promote yourself if you want anyone to read what you’ve worked so hard to create.

It was this realization that led me to learn more about setting up my author platform and launching my books into the universe. Tim Grahl, author of Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book, knows a thing or two about book marketing, having launched numerous bestsellers. Enter Sue Campbell, author and Tim Grahl certified book launcher, who was kind enough to answer some of my questions.


Sue_Campbell_headshot

Welcome, Sue. Please tell our readers a bit about yourself and how you came to work with author and book marketer Tim Grahl as a Book Launch coach.

I’m a recovering business systems analyst, turned freelance copywriter and content marketer, turned book marketer. I discovered Tim Grahl through the Story Grid. I’m an author myself, so I stumbled onto him when I was trying to fix a manuscript and found out his “day job” was book marketing. His marketing method was very familiar to me: content marketing, but specially adapted for writers. When he announced his certification training, I jumped on it. It was a natural pivot from what I was doing and the perfect niche for me. Now my whole life is about books. It’s fantastic. I’m super lucky.

What exactly is a book launch and why is it important?

First, let’s talk about what a launch isn’t. Lots of people publish books, whether through a traditional publisher or going the indie route. Simply having your book available for purchase does not mean you have “launched” your book. A book launch means you do the work necessary to find an audience. Sometimes that’s done in a tight window of time, sometimes it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. For most authors, I recommend the marathon version of a launch.

There are a few different types of book launches (list launches, influencer launches, bestseller launches, long-game launches), but all of them include trying to get yourself and your book in front of the right audience and putting out content so that audience can decide if they’ll like your book. If you’re not actively working to get your book in front of readers, you haven’t launched—merely published. And without a tremendous stroke of luck, you’re unlikely to sell many copies.

I tell my clients that, essentially, there are three simple things you need to do to market your books:

  1. Genuinely believe your book will benefit readers
  2. Meet as many readers as possible
  3. Tell them you wrote a book

I use a more formal system with my clients that Tim Grahl developed called the Connection System, but those three steps are really at the core of what we’re doing.

What are the biggest challenges you see in authors who are trying to market their work?

The absolute biggest challenge authors face in marketing is their own mindset. Our fears hold us back from putting ourselves and our books out there in a way that attracts an audience. We only do the bits of marketing that feel safe (how many hours have you spent tinkering with your website?). And we tell ourselves lies like, “I’m not good enough; I’m not well connected enough; I don’t have enough time.” If you can change your thoughts, you can improve your marketing and your book sales, by a lot. That’s a big part of the work I do with my clients. We look at their limiting beliefs and try to redefine their thinking about marketing. Once you see that most of your “challenges” are really excuses and resistance, you can get down to business and make some progress.

As an author yourself, what have been your biggest marketing successes?

I really proud that I’m approaching the marketing of my book as a long game. I’m using myself as a model for my clients. I’m not starting out with any huge advantages. I’m showing that drip by drip, you can get your book established and build an audience eager for this book and the next. My book has only been out for a few months, but not a week goes (and I try to do something daily) by that I don’t actively work to market my book. And I’m measuring my efforts so I can tell what works and what doesn’t. That helps me spend my time and resources more effectively. I’m walking my talk and making sure I’m addressing all parts of my author platform, building my email list, putting out great content and doing outreach activities to keep expanding my reach. As for specific successes, I’ve been having great luck with using Instagram for influencer outreach. I’m targeting influencers who are in my niche (middle grade fiction), sending them messages offering a free book, then following up once I’ve sent the book to see if they’d like to do a giveaway for their audience. I’ve increased by Instagram following about threefold and sold some books in the process. As a kidlit writer, I’m also concentrating heavily on setting up school visits, now that a new school year will be underway.

What services do you have available for authors now?

I offer a pretty wide range of services because I love working with both established writers and those just starting out and their needs and budgets are so different. For one-on-one work, I offer book launch services, helping you craft and execute a book launch plan, as well as private coaching where I just tell you what to do and you go do it. For beginning and mid-list authors, I have some group coaching programs to build your platform that are really popular and help authors break through their own resistance and make progress on building their audience. I’m also starting an accountability group that will help authors with mindset issues and goals, not just around marketing, but also with getting writing done.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Sue. Where can people contact you if they’re interested in learning more?

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I offer a free 45-minute book launch consultations for subscribers to my free newsletter, plus some other cool perks. Join me at: http://pagesandplatforms.com/subscribe.

 

books, literature, new release, review, Uncategorized

Historical Fantasy At Its Best

The Jinni's Last WishThe Jinni’s Last Wish by Zenobia Neil

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the first page, the novel weaves a spell of another world – a harem in the Ottoman Empire, filled with the scents of cinnamon and cloves, and heavy with desire. Young eunuch Olin fights his lust for the beauties around him while navigating the Byzantine politics that pit wives and mistresses against one another to win the favor of their opium-enthralled sultan. The atmosphere of luxury is enhanced by Neil’s talented descriptions and impeccable historical accuracy. The names of the harem women, such as Crimson Petal, Red Tulip, and Peach Blossom, serve to add to this atmosphere, and to the lyrical quality of the writing. Sex is currency here in the harem, and death, if one is not wary.

Olin is a well-rounded, sympathetic character who struggles with courage, duty, and honor. When the beautiful odalisque Dark Star offers him a magical pendant he unleashes the power of the jinni, one which will change his world forever.

If you like your historical fiction with a touch of magic you can’t do better than this addictive novel.

View all my reviews

books, historical romance, humor, new release, romance, Uncategorized

New Release Day … Antarctic Romances

Am I serious? Antarctica? Like, with the whiteouts and zillionty degrees below zero and icebergs running into the land?

Oh, yes, my pretties. And you will like it.

The Icebound Series

All Mouth and No Trousers

A romantic novelette in the Icebound series, an ongoing collection of polar delights.

Behold dogsleds and penguins. Howling winds and cold, pitiless wastes. This is Antarctica, where the intrepid inhabitants of the frozen ends of the earth battle the terrain, and each other, to find love—in a past much like that of the early 1900s.

Amidst the scientists and explorers at the British Antarctic base in 1900 there are a few women who serve as maids, cooks, and nurses.

Then there’s Electa Yellowsmith.

The beautiful blonde secretary has no problem attracting male attention, but she’s got her eye set on Commander Gorge Elderbatch. He may yell like a longshoreman and drink like a fish, but Electa likes the cut of his jib, and the idea of being an officer’s wife.

Gorge has enough trouble with ice crevasses, blizzard forecasts, and upcoming polar expeditions without his smart-mouthed secretary defying him at every turn. What could a looker like her want with a grump like him, anyhow? Especially since he’s sworn off women after his disastrous divorce.

Gorge may be as dense as an iceberg, but Electa hasn’t yet met a man she couldn’t charm. Though if that doesn’t work she has plenty of schemes that just might. The result is a comedy of errors and explosions in a frostbitten frontier.

Order Ebook Now! Free on Kindle Unlimited, $1.49 for purchase

Amazon.com

Whiter Pastures
Xina Marie Uhl

Reluctant spinster Florance Barton fled to the British Antarctic base to escape a scandalous love affair, among other things. Amidst the handful of other women there, Florance is the perfect chambermaid, meek, mild, and forgettable. No one has a clue that she’s also a novice spy.

When handsome young Handy McHanagan arrives at the base, he sets everyone agog. He’s charming, artistic, and … an accomplished gardener. His arrival may just be a mistake on the part of naval command. Or is it something more sinister?

Killer seals and subzero ice storms and aren’t the only danger in Antarctica: a enemy spy is on the loose. Florance has been ordered to choose between queen and country and her heart. Because penguin is off the menu now–and murder is its replacement.

Order Ebook Now!

Free on Kindle Unlimited, $1.49 for purchase (FREE through 12/29!)

Amazon.com

 

books, fantasy, new release, review, Uncategorized, young adult

The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl is worthy of its cover.

Great review for my latest novel by SciFiMonkeys.com!

Young adult fantasy novel swords sorcery friendship love adventure magic fun

I love the cover of The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl! Swords tend to be popular with fantasy novels, and with good reason. We immediately know that the book contains warriors, probably some epic fighting, possibly magic, and hopefully a great story. Thankfully the inside of this book lives up to its cover.

Source: The King’s Champion by Xina Marie Uhl is worthy of it’s cover.

ancient history, books, fantasy, literature, new release, Uncategorized, writing, young adult

YA Fantasy Book Release! The King’s Champion

Today is a day that will live in infamy! Errr, wait a minute. I mean, today is a famous, fabulous, FANTASTIC day! For Book One of the Land, The King’s Champion, is finally available for purchase. How many years have I been writing, revising, angsting about and generally fiddling around with this book is more than I want to admit. If you like swords, sorcery, friendship, bickering, fun, drama, and dastardly deeds, this book is for you.

Anyhow, enough blathering. For, *drumroll please* ta-da ….

Young adult fantasy novel swords sorcery friendship love adventure magic fun

A nameless orphan and a despised prince must conquer a living magic that threatens to destroy them and the people of their sprawling, beautiful land.

The first book in a fantasy series of swords, sorcery, and adventure.

A generation ago, a great war convulsed Cantwin. Amidst blood-soaked battles the Stormlifter kings rose up to save the kingdom by imprisoning the dark god Moleck in hell for all eternity.

Or so they thought.

Seventeen-year-old Lance thinks his life is just about perfect now that the prettiest girl in the village wants him. Sure, he dreams of fighting far off battles, but that’s nothing more than a fantasy. Until the elders order him away to find a name for himself.

In the dazzling capital, Lance navigates court intrigues with Prince Kieran’s unlikely friendship. Yet the glitter and gold obscures a dark conspiracy. Soon the two friends find themselves propelled to the edges of the world on a desperate quest. The stakes: Lance’s life, Kieran’s throne, and the survival of the Land itself.

Hunted by assassins, and haunted by the awakening of a strange and frightful power within them, they must find proof of Kieran’s claim to the throne before a dark god’s vengeance destroys them all. For the Power is summoning a champion, and it will not be denied.

Excerpt on Book’s Official Website

It’s this sense of fun, combined with a fast-paced series of adventures, which constantly place Lance in dangerous situations, lends a surreal atmosphere to the story, and leads readers to become more than casually involved in the outcome of his quest …. a story packed with satisfying twists, wry humor throughout, and the coming of age of a young man just beginning to realize his strengths and weaknesses. Young adult through adult readers will relish this original, lively story.Midwest Book Review

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Amazon * Smashwords

To Come: Barnes and Noble * Google Play * Apple Store

About the Author

Xina-300x225Xina Marie Uhl spends her days laboring in obscurity as a freelance writer for various educational projects and dreaming of ways to scrounge up enough cash to: 1. travel the world, and 2. add to her increasing menagerie of dogs, cats, and other creatures. The rest of the time she writes humorous titles such as The Cat’s Guide to Human Behavior and A Fairy Tail and Out of the Bag, fantasy like Necropolis, The Ruling Elite and Other Stories, and quirky romantic historicals like Whiter Pastures and All Mouth and No Trousers (to come). The King’s Champion is the first of a six book series.

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