Monday, March 25, 2013

Calisa Rhose - author to author advice


Pen of the Dreamer
Hi Becca! Thanks for hosting me today.

Glad to have you here, Calisa. Readers, be sure to leave a comment below for a chance at goodies from today's guest. 

You know, coming up with blog post ideas, much less full posts are coming harder for me the longer I tour.

I can relate to that one, but without it readers won't find your latest. 

True but still I hear it all the time. I’ve done it.

What's that? 

I’m talking about over doing a blog tour for a new book. 

Promotion.
When is it too much?
The Torture Art of Self Promotion  
by Calisa Rhose

A first book is mind-boggling in and of itself. So many questions, even more answers. Beware--when you ask a question--be prepared to be literally flooded with responses! It’s wonderful, exhilarating, and daunting, how many have already been where you are, and are very willing to help a newbie. I was in tears with appreciation at times. I wouldn’t have made it through those two months without all my new friends!

But you have to be careful how much of that advice, or which part of it, you choose to take advantage of. Remember--no matter how valuable or inspiring all the advice is--not all is for you or your book, as much as you tweak and try to make it fit. It’s like Cinderella’s stepsisters. The shoe was intended and designed for one person. Both sisters wanted to wear that treasured glass slipper, but it wasn’t a good fit for them and look what happened.

Advice is like that. Take what does fit and run with it! Just be prepared to share it with a newbie in your future who can wear it too. It’s not ours to keep and hog, but to share and spread around. Someone, someday, will find it fits them too.

When Home released I jumped in so far over my head I actually had to cancel blog dates. That’s not good. It was great that the hosts I had to cancel on were so very understanding, though. They all said no problem and wished me luck…which, I might add, I needed desperately.

Who needs self-inflicted brain damage?

Yet we all throw ourselves into the fray head first, not thinking how that endeavor could end. How are we supposed to know? We already, many of us, spend from dawn to dusk, or well beyond, on the computer. What’s a few more sites to visit? A few more minutes a day will put us and the book we are so proud of out there for others to see, hopefully, to buy.

Oy-- that frame of mind nearly did me in two years ago. A few more minutes??

I got my release date the first week of October and by the end of three days later I had over 20 blog guest spots offered. By the next week I had close to thirty and began scheduling them around December 28th--release day.

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I knew I didn’t want to begin too far before release day. I’d been advised people would get used to seeing my book out there so far ahead of the release date that by the time my book actually became available everyone would have already forgotten about it. That scared me into waiting until two weeks prior to the date Wild Rose Press put it out for all to buy. I think I scheduled about eight dates in that pre-sale period. Not so bad.

Starting on the actual release date, though, I booked every single day for a week straight, two days I scheduled myself at two blogs at once. That week from hell taught me a huge lesson. Never book two in one day and rarely, or never, one a day for more than two or three days in a row! By the end of that week, I hadn’t even reached the half way mark of my tour, I was ready to be finished. I couldn’t because I had already committed to another month! Yeah, every other day and twice on a few.  Not only that, I found myself on more than one occasion, writing a post for the next day because I’d fallen so far behind I couldn’t keep up with all the dates I’d booked. In addition -I was editing for a different publisher then, and so, had work, family and all other kinds of things I had to do around blog posts that didn’t have to do with writing.

It was brutal.

What I learned.

Risk Factors released from Lyrical Press on March 4th. I laid out my plans, collected my guest spots, two months before and began writing posts and responding to interviews a month before the date of release. I’m still behind, but now, at least I have three or four days to a week to catch up between posts. I’m mostly two or more posts ahead at all times even. I strategically scheduled my guest spots every other day and some with two or three days between, none on weekends, so I can catch up with my other blogging, editing and writing obligations--and still keep everything on track. And that doesn’t count all the other forms of promotion, all those pesky hoops we have to jump through, just to get our book out there, so we can hope to make a few sales.

I haven’t got it ironed perfectly wrinkle-free this time either, but I’m a lot less stressed and have time to breathe. I’m getting closer to getting this self-promotion stuff down, I think. But I doubt any writer will ever be able to really market a perfect plan. There’s just no such thing.

Marketing plan.

What I can share in this is simple. Don’t over-do.

*Schedule only as many blog dates as you can manage without going bald.
*Don’t be afraid to cancel some if you find yourself over-extended.
*Don’t forget your blog dates! (Yes, I’ve done that…Monday, this week, in fact…)
*You spend a ridiculous amount of time begging people to visit you on those blogs, pleading for company, so you aren’t commenting only to find you’re the only one replying to yourself…take a few minutes every couple of hours (if not more often) to reply to those who have heard your blood-soaked pleas for company. I can’t stress how important this is! Why will they follow you to your next blog post if you don’t even acknowledge them at the first one? And each blog on your tour is a first for some reader.
*Take a few minutes to return the favor to those faithful followers. Go say hi to them on a guest blog or to their guests on their personal blog.
*Let everyone know you are on tour. Don’t use Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, G+, or any of those other social media venues? Start…right now. Get your face and your book out there. No one sells out of a closet only they have the key to! Open that door wide and begin yodeling. Loud. Louder, Heidi!
*Do you have a website? Blog? I know there are some who don’t think they need one, but in all honesty--that’s how I began getting my name and writer self out in the cyber world. It’s my comfort zone, where I share without feeling like I’m being pushy and crude. It’s the one place that can be all about me and no one thinks it’s wrong.

I began blogging at least five years before I sold my first book. By the time I did sell, I had a good following and support base to help me with this promotion gig. I was in a ‘club’ with other struggling writers who understood, who cheered me on when I sold. I gained this support system through my blog mostly. But that’s another blog post.

*I know a lot of writers who swear by swag. I don’t have any yet, but it’s a financial thing for me. I will have some soon. Bookmarks, cover cards, QR codes, pens, etc. They are great contest and gift items and each one helps you and your book be seen in a wide arena other than family and friends or internet.

I got a swag pack from a publisher contest editor, sent all the way from Canada. I won another contest and got the most beautiful cup with LaVerne Clark’s book cover on it and full of scrumptious chocolates…sent from Australia. I won another cup from Sarah Grimm for her After Midnight contest, with a music note thing I made into a key ring.
Guess what? I join contests because I won such fun ones in the past. I hope my contest will be as fun for all of you who comment today.

Bottom line? It’s like the old saying: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Believe me, I’ve tried. You can’t. Not that I think readers are horses! Just that you can put your book out there all day long, but in the end the thirsty are the only ones who will buy your book, and only when they have been stimulated to do so.

To help you want to win my contest I’m also awarding one host with the same packages I’m offering each commenter. A signature Rose Rock or Gift Card and an eBook of Risk Factors along with some fun swag. Thank you all for taking a moment from your uber busy day to stop in and say hi. And seriously, that all it takes for you to be entered and help a host win too.

I’ve enjoyed visiting you Becca. Thanks for letting me take over to ramble. J

You're welcome, Calisa. It has been interesting and I hope helpful to other authors struggling with this very thing. And readers - remember, writers want to hear from you. The want to know what you think of their work (especially if you love it) and they what to know what you would like to see in the future from them. At least I do. So don't forget to say hi to Calisa. 


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RISK FACTORS- available March 4, 2013


Love, like life, is not without risk.
BLURB- Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps.

Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for.

Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again.

Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv--and himself--enough to play the possibilities?

EXCERPT:
It was close to five o’clock and Viv wanted to go home. Winter hadn’t reached the Midwest yet, but from September through October the temperatures often dipped and dove sporadically, before diving for the long winter ahead. There’d been a slight chill in the air that morning and she hoped for a few more weeks of warmth before harsh weather moved in.

She looked forward to a hot soak in the bathtub, but Skittles was due for pick-up first. Connor had assured her he’d pick her up, or have his father get her before five. She glanced at her watch again. Four-fifty-six. 
She didn’t mind staying late if she needed to; it would be a shame to leave the nervous animal alone another night.

She opened the small closet to put the dust mop away.

“Hello.”

With a start, she spun and her hand caught the broom handle on her way around. Gasping, she grabbed uselessly, horrified as the cleaning tool flew sideways from the closet. In slow motion she saw it shoot out against Connor’s shoulder and fall with a sharp snap onto the tile floor.

“Oh! I’m so--so sorry! Are you hurt?” Instant heat rushed up her neck and she bent to reclaim the errant broom to shove into the closet. She slammed the door and leaned against it on a sharp breath.

“I’m fine. You worried your killer broom might attack again? You might consider putting a lock on the door,” he said with a crooked smile.

Find Calisa Rhose


35 comments:

  1. I'm so excited to be here today, Becca! What a lovely purple site! If anyone has questions, I'll gladly try my best to answer them throughout the length of my tour. I'll be returning after today so keep those comments coming through April 8th! Thanks, Becca.

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  2. *waves to Calisa* Great post and awesome tips! Good luck with Risk Factors - I loved reading it. Connor and Viv were so fun!

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    1. Thanks Kristina. I'm so happy you came by. :)

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  3. Hi, Calisa! I can so relate to most everything you said. I remember booking myself for two blog appearances on the same day--twice!--when my novel Weathering Rock released in October. I also had weeks where I was somewhere every day. Somehow I managed through it with my sanity intact.

    I keep a 'blogging book' that helps me track where I'm supposed to be, who is guesting on my blog and what posts are due (either from me or visitors). It's worked well for me but I still feel that exhaustion whenever I do a tour. I guess it's inevitable, even with writing posts ahead as I try to do. Those dates roll around sooner than we expect!

    Good luck with Risk Factors. I loved the book and I've enjoyed following you around on your various tour stops. You always have something insightful to share!

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    1. That's why forgetting my spot last week stunk so bad, Mae... I keep a planner with all that in it...and I still missed it until late afternoon! Sheesh. Thanks for stopping by to share!

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  4. Wonderful advice Calisa...and terrific excerpt! Looking forward to reading Risk Factors and wish you many sales :)

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    1. I know you like to double book spots, Christine. You know what I"m talking about! lol Thanks for coming by.

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  5. I actually was going to write and ask you if all the blogs and the time were worth it, but you answered my question. thanks for the advice.

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    1. I do think it's worth it, Sandy. That's why I do it. I just had to learn what I could handle and what helps and what doesn't and work around that. If this is the only way to get our book seen by many, it's worth it. Plus, I meet such nice and helpful bloggers along the way...another marketing strategy--NETWORKING. :) Thanks for checking in!

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  6. I love your advice, Calisa, it always resonates so well with me. Thanks, as ever! RF is on my TBR list, can't wait!

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    1. *blushing* Thanks for your sweet words, Cait!

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  7. Spot on advice. As a newbie writer (December 2012) I didn't promote enough. I'm still playing catch up.

    Congratulations on the new book. Great excerpt.

    Marika
    maw1725@gmail.com

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    1. And that's the main problem for all of us, Marika. How much is enough and how much too much or NOT enough? I wonder if there's a balance that comes with experience? lol I think we find a certain pace that works for each of us individually, at least. Thanks for coming by! Oh- and congrats on your new release, too! :)

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  8. Great post and advice, Calisa! In my opinion, promotion is far the hardest part of writing. I appreciate any and all insight shared by other published authors.

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    1. For me too, Jerrie. I think if we all help others maybe it takes a little pressure off us too. Thanks for stopping in.

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  9. Wonderful advice, Calisa! Promotion is one of the hardest parts of writing, I think, but a must. It's so nice to share with other authors and learn from their techniques! Thank you!! And your book sounds awesome!

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    1. I'm glad it's helpful, Jennifer. I often start a post like this and end up rambling nonsense! lol

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  10. Calisa, always good to hear other's experiences. I've no idea how people with a job, kids, and hubby do this. I can barely manage with just a dog who insists on going hiking 2 times a day. (I do my best thinking during the hikes.) The job of being an author is very hard. Writing a great book is the easiest part of the equation. Marketing is the toughest because readers grow numb. What worked yesterday doesn't work tomorrow. Finding and engaging your readers is the hardest but most important job we have. All actions should support that goal.
    That's my opinion today. I remain flexible and may alter my opinion tomorrow. :) Liza O'Connor author of Saving Casey.

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    1. Flexibility is key, Liza. lol But you're right, what works today is obsolete tomorrow. I finally joined Pinterest, for whatever good it will do. I am raising a 8yo granddaughter and care for a 71 yo fil, and then there's the hubby, plus five dogs, four chickens and a horse! The only thing I don't have is an outside job.

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  11. Calisa,

    Thanks for capsulizing what you've learned thus far about blogs and promotion. I've been experiencing similar, but thus far, these have been more random thoughts bumping around in my brain rather than a coherent explanation, like you have here.

    Barbara Barrett

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    1. Ha! I'm so glad I made sense, Barbara! Thanks for contributing yours, whatever that may be. It's nice to know absolutely one is not alone in our struggles, isn't it?

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  12. I was the little girl who couldn't sell girl scout cookies even if the person in front of me had their money out and read. I've grown into a woman with the same phobia. Marketing is very hard for me. I'm
    trying but like Marika I also had my first publish on 12/12/12. I haven't promoted enough. I didn't even know how to blog. I'm learning and it has all been a very slow process for me.
    Thanks for the advice. I enjoyed the post and wish I'd read something similar last year.
    Robin (R.E.)

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    1. I know when I started blogging I had not the faintest clue what to write about. I didn't have a book out, heck, I hadn't even begun to write one with the intent to publish yet. Then I decided to write about me. My life, my dreams, my thoughts on the learning curve and stuff like that. Once I had a book written and shopped it out I wrote about that process and just kept going. Now I don't blog as much about the step by step stuff as the overall process like what I'm learning as I (hopefully) grow as a writer. Of course, as an editor I also have that to chat up, but I haven't really done much of that as I still feel I'm learning more there too. I'm glad you got something from this post, Robin. Thanks for stopping in.

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  13. I don't often have the time to read through an entire interview and am so grateful I could today. There was so much great information and it makes me feel much less intimidated by the idea of self-publishing/promotion.
    Is "Risk Factors" available in print as well? Do you go through Amazon for sales? If you could only give one piece of advice, what makes a successful blog?
    Thank you so much for your generous sharing of information. I don't have anything ready for publishing yet, but am looking forward to making writing (that doesn't involve a grade) a part of my life again once I graduate from College in May.
    Thanks!
    Laura

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    1. Hi Laura. Nice to 'meet' you. I'm glad you were able to read all of this, too. Sorry, but no, Risk Factors won't be in print. You can download the free Amazon Kindle app to read it on, though.

      One piece of advice about blogging... This is actually a two (or more) part response for me. :) You've already noticed a small part of it. Keep blogs short and pertinent to your topic as much as possible. This makes it easier for someone with little time to read a whole post and possibly take something away from it, without losing the post and never getting to finish what could have been very helpful to them. Like you, they have time to finish it. The other part is to blog things you know so you can post with confidence and hopefully have something interesting to read. There are a lot of little tricks to draw or keep readers and I haven't mastered them all--probably never will--but this is some I feel help me the most.

      Oh- the biggest tip once you get the hang of blogging on your own or somewhere else is to reply to those who take time from their busy schedule to say hi to you (as you've done here and I'm replying to you). I think that's one of the best ways to network and build a blog reader base. People like to know they are chatting with you, not the air.

      Thank you so much for coming by, Laura and I hope you check back to get this. Have a great week and good luck with your writing, with and without grades! :)

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  14. Hi Calisa,

    I'm smiling and downright laughing while reading your post...I'm in that phase right now! Started indie publishing in Feb and lining up blog visits and blog hops all over the map! Your advice is so appropriate for me right now. Breathe... eat... love... keep writing too! What a hoot! The nuggets I'm taking from your post are to plan farther ahead and write posts far ahead, and remove the stress. Wish I'd started my own blog years ago too -- that was very wise indeed! Thanks so much for sharing, and good luck with your new book Risk Factors. Sounds like a great read and I'll check it out.

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    1. It's a crazy life, Gemma! We do what we think is the answer and then wonder what the question was. lol Good luck and I'm happy you got a giggle and some nuggets from me and hopefully they'll work for you. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  15. "and only when they have been stimulated to do so." I love this comment :) Very smart advice. Thanks for sharing!

    Melinda

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    1. Why is it that line sounds questionable when you say it? But at least it made sense. lol I'm glad you came by, Melz. Love ya, babe.

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  16. Thanks for a fun and fabulous day everyone! I loved visiting you, Becca. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you for coming, Calisa. It was fun to see people's responses to your advice. Nice to know we're all in the same boat.

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    2. And what a fun boat it is. Have a great week!

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  17. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Calisa. I've learned that I need to put a proportion of time into my face-to-face selling campaign, because so many people still want to buy print books from local writers. Sitting at the computer working the blogs is only one aspect of sales, I've found. Easier, more comfortable, surely, but not the only avenue for sales. I even have a magnet sign on the side of my car! Shameless, huh? Good post, Calisa!

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    1. That's very true, Rolynn. But a magnet isn't shameless at all. I've told hubby I need one and window clings! lol But face to face is awkward, isn't it? I only have ebooks so far, but I think I should be doing in-person stuff even for those. I just need to get some swag and do it. Thanks for sharing your time.

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