Marketing 101: Building Your Author Platform

Marketing 101: Building Your Author Platform

If you are a writer you may have come across the phrase “Author Platform.” There are many sites that say you need to have one, but creating one; well that’s a whole other hurdle. This article will help you through some of the obstacles of creating an Author Platform that is right for you.

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Google That: Everyone has heard of using google to do research for projects, have fun while finding new ideas and different places to hang out, but have you ever thought about googling yourself?

Google your author name. Does your website, Facebook page,        twitter profile, Instagram, guest posts, Amazon Author page, & Goodreads page show?  Terrific this is what is known as your Author Platform.

Now that you know what you look like to others online the next step is to determine if it truly speaks of who you are as an author. Does it reflect your goals, your personality, and your quest to engage readership?

Other Pieces That Reflect Your Author Platform:

Do you have a professional author photo?

Do you have a tagline that conveys your creative work?

Do you have several venues where potential readers can   search for you? Facebook is a great place to start, but you need to have multiple reach in order for you to receive the largest reach.

The fewer places you are able to be searched the less reach you have internet wise. The fact is that most online will not take more than a few minutes to search for a new author they have heard of & that means less sales for you.

Once you have these different sites available for your potential readers you must remain coherent and cohesive in your persona. Understand fully the genre you intend to reach.  Where are they most likely to be involved? Research is not only important when you’re creating the latest amazing read; it’s imperative to define and reach those whom would love to read your work.

Defining a solid approach to your Author Platform is a necessity.

  • Describe yourself as an author
  • Provide contact information
  • Describe your books
  • Link to your book sales pages
  • Have some way for readers to stay connected to you, i.e. newsletter signup
  • Social media accounts, including Face
  • book fan page and personal account
  • Extras like guest blog posts, articles for magazines, and interviews

YOUR WEBSITE PRESENCE:

The website isn’t just the information hub of your Platform, it is also the design hub. Pick colors, images, patterns, fonts, and concepts that you can carry over to other Platform spaces. Some authors create mood boards so that the elements they use across their Platform is easy to remember and reuse.

Defining your genre, using specific images geared towards enhancement of your works. Using these same images on all of your sites so that you’re consistent. Your Facebook cover image, Twitter profile picture and other sites where there is an image must be the same. As you grow as an author your tastes will change. Make sure that your photos reflect this movement.  Define your space online as a uniquely as you can to stand out from the others who are within your genre.

Do you have a signature item?

Do you live in a unique area?

Do you enjoy a particular hobby?

Make sure you use your time wisely

There are so many places on the internet to give time to.  Remember, your time is valuable and you really should be writing and creating most of that time. You’re an Author after all.

Once you determine your design elements make sure to use them on all forms of social media. Same author photo and cover/header on every site. DO NOT use a book cover as your profile picture.  WHY? Because those seeing this will many times assume you’re a one hit wonder. Getting that just right photo will be discussed in the next article.

Bottom line: Your design should be eye-catching, consistent with your genre, and the same everywhere.

 

Grand Opening Updates!

ANNOUNCING SOMETHING AMAZING HAPPENING:

GRAND OPENING OF STITCHED SMILE PUBLICATIONS
JANUARY 3rd, 2016

WHAT THIS EVENT IS: An author spotlight to celebrate the grand opening of Stitched Smile Publications.  We have a terrific list of authors who will be talking about their creative works. There will be prizes, games, lots of great conversation.  All to help celebrate this grand occasion.

WHERE THE EVENT WILL BE SEEN: Join us on our Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/stitchedsmilepublications/

WHO WILL BE SHOWCASED AND WHEN?
This list for Grand Opening on January 3, 2016 11:00 AM EST times please check your zone for correct time in your area.

I am willing to take this up to 11 pm so there are still spots to take 30 minutes a piece. I need a donation to be given during your time spot, and your sweet self to have fun.

11:00 AM PM Barnes
11:30 AM Kyra Dune
12:00 PM Forbes West
12:30 PM David Youngquist
1:00 PM Derrick LaCombe
1:30 PM Edward P. Cardillo
2:00 PM Jeff Brown
2:30 PM Alex S. Johnson
3:00 PM David Reuben Aslin
3:30 PM Angela Carina Barry
4:00 PM Tony Sarrecchia
4:30 PM Charles Garcia
5:00 PM Thom Erb
5:30 PM Bobby Akart
6:00 PM Charles Phipps
6:30 PM Chris Philbrook
7:00 PM Scott Lefebvre
7:30 PM James Dean
8:00 PM Zeb Carter
8:30 PM Dave Moon
9:00 PM Kenneth Chin
9:30 PM Matthew Davenport
10:00 PM John Prescott
10:30 PM Derrick Whiteskycloud
11:00 PM Sean Hoade

Lisa Vasquez CEO and Founder of Stitched Smile Publications

Jackie Chin  Marketing Director for Stitched Smile Publications

Marketing 101: The Art of Branding

Marketing 101:  The Art of Branding

One of the things to consider during the writing process is to think about how you want to be viewed by your readership.

Yes, you want to create and connect with like-minded people, but you also need to consider how you will connect. Your choice of communications will determine if you will fit into the niche in which you seek.

Understanding your audience, giving yourself a sense of direction and purpose. Identify your goal, define your purpose, and understand who you are trying to reach.

Communicating clearly to engage your readership. Did you know the even the font on your web page, the colors you choose, the way you have your videos, which photos you choose all define you?

Companies such as Starbucks, Target, & Google are known for their exceptional branding. The focus on the customer and their customer service standards are extremely high. This allows for each of the stores to work as a team and sell effortlessly.

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What should you be considering when you’re designing your brand as a writer?

Identity: Own the fact that you are a writer. Among other things you do; you are also a creative who writes. Be proud of the fact that you decided to take your ideas and bind them to paper.

Express yourself clearly:  Do not try to be evasive. Do not pick so many things that you like in order to fit into the genre. Pick a few things that are important to you and connect with your readership on social media. Doing this will help you be seen as an expert. Or at the very least concerned about things that are important to them.

Remain focused: Pick topics of discussion no matter if you are on social media or in person that pertain to those around you. Your audience will decide if they are hearing what you’re saying, or if you’re off path. You’re not going to appeal to everyone. Here is a clue – You’re not supposed to. Once you have found your niche you will be more focused. Relax it takes time and perseverance.

Wash, Rinse, and Repeat:  Repetition helps people understand that your values, rationales, & nature will remain the same. Never take for granted that people will follow you no matter what you throw out there.  Always be in the process of helping others to move forward. Allow for others to see how you’re motivating yourself to stay on track. Teach others what works so that they too may be successful.

Everyone has a story:  Engaging people on multiple levels will help you not only gain traction for success; it will allow those who may not be where you are now to learn from you. Tell your story, be sincere. If you have had trials and have risen above tell them.  Engagement is extremely important to convey who you are and stay in the spotlight.

An Interview with Lisa Vasquez of Stitched Smile Publications

Back in October, Cate and I attended a festival in Beaufort (South Carolina). Though it was only a one day affair, Cate and I made it a weekend get-away with no children. After the festival we went to the house we were staying in and settled in for the evening. Before I went to bed that night I checked the good old Facebook (don’t judge me, you do it, too). While scrolling through posts about politics, religion, kittens, memes and some book-related things, I came across one that simply read something about someone’s book being published by Stitched Smile Publications.

I had never heard of that publisher before. I took out a pen and wrote these words: Research Stitched Smile Publications.

After arriving home the next afternoon, I sat at the computer and started researching. I found a Facebook page and a website that was in the process of being built.

During the information gathering, I came to realize Lisa Vasquez was associated with SSP. I contacted her, and guess what I found out? She wasn’t just associated with SSP, she was the founder. Being that I know Lisa works very hard at everything she does, I wanted to interview her and learn a little bit more about Stitched Smile Publications.

Let’s hop right in, why don’t we?

AJ: Lisa, not too long ago you made a decision to open a publishing house. What led you to do this?

LV: I’ve been sitting on the idea for quite some time but I think the fact that I didn’t know the ins-and-outs sort of held me back. Which is a good thing, I think, because I sat back and learned and did my time behind the scenes. As an author, I understand the pain of wanting to put your work out and having more control over what happens to it. An author’s choices are:
1. Submit to a “Big House” Publisher and hope for the best.
2. Submit to an indie publisher and hope they don’t get screwed over.
3. Publish it themselves.
The problem with publishing it yourself is not having the skills to wear all the hats necessary. I used my own book as a guinea pig, helped and volunteered whenever I could, and then finally felt confident that I could do it. That’s when Stitched Smile was born!

AJ: When you say you sat back and learned, what do you mean?

LV: I have a background in graphics and have been doing it for about 20 years for various industries. Printing, however, is so much different. If you don’t know about dpi and bleeds, you kind of spend a lot of time tossing things out that you spent hours on. So that was the first thing I tackled, because let’s face it, people do judge a book by its cover.

The second thing was learning about the industry itself. What publishers were doing that were good, and what they were doing that left room for improvement. What I found was a lack of author focus and development. The author ended up losing their identity in a lot of cases or just became a “new release”. Fans love to know things about the author and engage with them. There were other things like contracts, distribution, and marketing. I did a lot of promotional work but the book world is its own animal. Same basic concepts but different language.

AJ: How did you go about learning the things you needed to in order to feel confident in starting Stitched Smile Publications?

LV: I asked a lot of questions, trial and error, talking to others in the industry with more experience, and then I took on a position with another publisher (Burning Willow Press) as their Design Manager and got to see firsthand how it was done in real time. I applied what I knew, added what I didn’t, did a lot of trial and error with my own book, which I still continue to do, and then realized my approach was definitely unique and had some good results. I set money aside and then dove into it.

I think you just come to that moment where you feel like the only way you’re going to know if you got it is if you try it. I love what I do, and I love helping people and that added the final touch to my decision. If you don’t love what you do, you’ll never give 100%. That’s how I decided to just put my ducks in a row and start the process. I had the support of my amazing staff who got the word out, and then Jackie Chin teamed up with me and things rolled without much effort. We all knew we had a winning formula.

AJ: Sounds like you’ve done your homework. Where did the name Stitched Smile Publication come from?

LV: I wanted to branch out from my normal “persona”. I had Darque Halo Designs, and I always used wings or a halo as a brand. I wanted something that was reflective of this other side of me. It’s dark, it’s scary. It was a smile…with the darker element added to it. I don’t think there’s anything more unsettling than a maniacal grin. Since the publishing company specializes in dark content, I wanted something that appealed to both men and women. And one that would appeal to the reader. So I sat there and thought, ‘what would be the epitome of this?’ Well, one of my favorite characters is The Joker. His most memorable feature is his grin. It hit me right then that this is what I was looking for.

AJ: My favorite bad guy of all time is The Joker, and his smile is what people remember about him. I like the name and the logo. I think it fits.

LV: Thank you!

AJ: How did Jackie Chin come to be on your staff?

LV: Jackie and I were friends previous to this. I designed her new logo for her. We bonded rather quickly and she had me on her show, Zombiepalooza Radio. From there we just kept talking and when I told her what I was doing she sat back and watched me. One day she grilled the HECK out of me—which I loved because it showed me that I was really ready for this.

Then she asked, “I want to be involved, what can I do?” Now see, this was a scary decision because I love that woman and I respect her, so now the stakes were high because I didn’t want to let anyone down but least of all her because she’d done a lot for me and I know others had taken what she’d done for granted. Slowly, we began formulating an approach for marketing and I just let her run with it. Since that first day, she’s really put her heart into it and I’m happy to say she feels like it’s her home, as well. I couldn’t be more excited that she believes in us.

AJ: I’ve listened and watched Zombiepalooza Radio and I think she does a great job. She’s also quite intimidating, but she seems to have a heart of gold.

LV: Jackie is a go-getter. She’s a strong woman and knows her stuff. She comes off as hard, but she is focused and knows exactly where she wants to go.

AJ: One or two more questions and I’ll let you get back to work. I’m a writer. What do you have to offer me that other small presses (or even larger ones) cannot?

LV: What Stitched Smile Publications offers is a personalized plan for each author. We find out what they are great at and what they aren’t so great at and we build up the weaknesses so that they are a well-rounded author. Let’s face it, you have got to sell your book. It’s a product. Some people don’t think they can sell anything but in reality, anyone can sell.

What we do is take away the “car salesman” selling and teach them how to just do what they love. Work their personality into the marketing and put it out there. We also allow authors that have the skills to format their books, or design their own covers, a higher portion of the royalties. Finally, we have Jackie’s radio show. So now we’re reaching a global network with numbers that are nearly unattainable in the conventional way. We aren’t spamming the link to amazon on every Facebook group we can join, we’re inviting the readers to come to us.

Other than that, we have a badass team who are loyal and sincere in their intentions. We hold weekly meetings and allow the authors to attend. Everyone is an equal and every person’s ideas are considered when we brainstorm. There’s no one more important than the author. If the author isn’t happy, you aren’t going to have a productive relationship. It’s like a marriage. If one person isn’t happy they’re going to be looking for a way out. When we put a ring on it, we try to keep the honeymoon going!

AJ: That is an awesome way to go at it, one I am not sure I have seen or heard from any other publisher.

One last thing: Lisa, where can writers and readers find out more about SSP?

LV: We have a couple websites. The first one is the Stitched Smiles Publication Website. This is our landing site and a good place to start. In addition to that we have our SSP on Word Press where every staff member is allowed to post, including the authors! So potential readers get a place to learn about the authors, what they’re like and what’s in the future for them. And finally, we are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

AJ: Lisa Vasquez, thank you for your time. I’m sure you and your staff are going places

LV: Thank you, Jeff, for talking with me. It’s been fun!

AJ: Yes, it has.

Stitched Smile Publications Grand Opening!

Date: January 3rd (Sunday) 2016
Time: 11 A.M. CST – 8 P.M. CST

Time Slots are available! 30 min – 1 hour … If you’re interested please be willing to donate a gift or two to the event and email me at stitchedsmilespublications@gmail.com with your preferred time slot. These are first come first serve, so in addition to your preferred time slot, please give me a time of day that works best for you (morning, afternoon, evening).

Our Grand Opening Event scheduled for January 3rd, 2016 participant list as of 12-22-15

PM Barnes
Jeff Brown
Todd Barselow
Scott Lefebvre
Jonathan McCoy
David Reuben Aslin
James Dean
Alex S. Johnson
Edward P. Cardillo
Tony Sarrecchia
Derrick LaCombe
Charles Garcia
Kenneth Chin
David Youngquist
Thom Erb
Bobby Akart
Charles Phipps
Chris Philbrook

Also, as a special donation to our event there will be a signed book from Mr. Jonathan Maberry I can not begin to tell you how amazing I felt when he wanted to say good job on getting the position at the press.

OPEN CALL!

We are having another open call for submissions! This one will be done EARLY because it will take some time to put together this project.

Title: Gothic Betty Crocker Cookbook (And DIY Crafts)

We are looking for your own original recipes and craft how-to’s. This will collection will be hardcover and released in October for Halloween. This is a fun book with recipes from everything from Meatloaf to Fake Blood. You must submit your own photos for a step-by-step process of making your recipe. We also invite you to make a video of you making it so we can post it here!

We are not posting a word limit at this time because some projects are bigger than others. You will be asked to sign a release form for the pictures so do not scan the internet for these.

Pay: Each accepted submission will be paid $25

This will be an annual project. Some entries will be kept for future published cookbooks, so when you submit please remember that we may hold onto it and reserve the right to publish it in another book (yes, you’ll still get paid for it).

Categories (names subject to change):

  • Dead Cow Recipes
  • Dead Chicken Recipes
  • Is This Dead? (Sushi, raw recipes)
  • Something’s Fishy (Fish recipes)
  • Carnivorous Cravings (all other meats: pork, lamb, etc)
  • Rise from the Earth (Vegan)
  • Betty’s Baubles (jewelry)
  • Crafty Conjurings (all crafts)

***NOTES***
We’d love for authors and their wives, and/or family to participate in this who are already part of our family. It is open to anyone, though! Several copies will be donated to Authors Supporting Our Troops:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ASOT2014/

How to Submit:
Please submit by emailing your edited recipe to stitchedsmilespublications@gmail.com along with your high quality photo and step-by-step photos for completing your recipe!

Deadline: July 31st, 2016

 

 

Marketing 101: The Author Platform

Creating your manuscript, obtaining a great way to publish, and selling your works is indeed a tremendous achievement.  However, have you thought about how you will create an image of yourself as an author?  This article will help you develop a strong presence, and give you the confidence to approach new venues.

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Rules of engagement as an Author begin with a knowledge base of authority.  Interacting with people who align themselves with your frame of thought gives you the ability to tap into resources that perhaps were slightly beyond your reach.

On Zombiepalooza Radio Live we often talk about the 3 R’s:

Realism:  Are you producing a persona that your potential readers will believe? Do you have your concepts working for you or against you? Create your bio. Take advantage of the opportunity to highlight your expertise and accomplishments by creating a bio to use where your name appears online (guest posts) or when being introduced offline (speaking engagements).

Research: Have you done everything you can to become an authority on the subject you have created in? Will it be enough to be considered a good fit in the niche you have geared towards? Research your market, niche or genre. Study the competition. Search Google with keywords specific to your market or genre; who pops up? Search your favourite or popular authors in your genre; what are they doing–or not doing–that you can adapt to your writer platform strategy?

Reach: What is your demographic? Who would want to read your work(s)? What are you doing to encourage, engage and enrich your audience? Be everywhere. Or at least be wherever your ideal readers are. Consider incorporating one or more of these social media networks into your platform building strategy: GoodreadsAmazon Author CentralinstagramFacebookGoogle+,YouTube

 

 

 

 

By the Shore Editing joins Stitched Smile Publications!

I am excited to have joined Stitched Smile Publications as one of their editors. I look forward to helping the authors unleash their voices!

A couple of my stories are in anthologies as well. There’s “Blue” in Happy Little Horrors: Alienated and “City of Ashes” in Tales of Magic and Misery by Tim Marquitz. And I have two in submission limbo, so fingers are crossed on that one!

If I’m not working on a book, I’m probably crafting something. I run Capitaine Crochet as a side business and sometimes provide giveaway items in both the crafting and publishing worlds.

By the Shore Editing on Facebook | @ByTheShoreEdits on Twitter

You’ve been chosen for a Radio Interview

Congratulations your hard work has paid off and you are finally ready for your close up on Zombiepalooza Radio. Internet radio has reached such proportions that it can no longer be ignored. Those who listen to internet radio are extremely engaged in their favorite programming and buy products.

The key trends driving Internet radio include:

• User Growth: from today at 160 million to 183 million in 2018 • Time Spent Listening Growth: displacing traditional audio

• Revenue Growth: from both subscriptions and advertising Consumer Behaviors

• A Favorable Demographic: Internet radio hits all demographics but skews to tomorrow’s audience of Millennials and younger

• Shift to Mobile Listening: mobile is the driver of growth and future of listening

• Reaching Consumers on Mobile: 95% of listening is now on mobile devices

• Listening While Otherwise Occupied: 79% of music listening is done while multitasking Radio

• What about Broadcasters: traditional advertising is falling while digital revenue grows.

Internet radio should be incorporated into your advertising plan.

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So you have made the official show date to talk about your works and accomplishments.  What should you do to prepare? IT’S SHOWTIME!  Before you go on the air, have your book and notes handy. Make sure to have at least 4-5 key points you want to cover during the interview so you can stay on track. Your websites, and any other information that is important to locating you on the internet, or by email needs to be in your possession.  Isolate yourself to a quiet area prior to the call. You want to  make sure that you are heard clearly and there are no interruptions.

Being interviewed is much like giving a performance. Do your best to appear natural, spontaneous, and relaxed. This takes some practice. If you know your genre well, and are confident in your works, the uneasiness will usually disappear quickly. Preparation always brings confidence and security. Most of all enjoy yourself this is your time to shine.

I listen  carefully to what the guest has to say and HOW they say it, so bring your A Game. Your passion for your works is what makes you believable, and engaging to our audience. Be relevant, we are not interested in what you had to eat 3 days ago, nor what your favorite beverage is. We want to know how you take a concept and run with it to post production. Then we want to know why our audience should buy it.

A radio interview is a accomplished in 3 parts. Who are you, what do you produce, and why our audience should listen and interact with you. Don’t fail this test.  I want your opinion.  I want the real you. Offer your input and perspective. Be inspiring, provocative, believable, different and memorable. Look at this opportunity as an audition; a genuine tryout to showcase what you are capable of to a willing and listening audience that has grown strong over the past 3 years.

Make sure that you are ready and waiting by your computer with a headset and mic attached, or your smartphone, app & headset.  As a producer I need to know that you are standing by and ready at least 5 to 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. It makes things much easier knowing that you are ready to go and committed to do your best.

Have your book handy to talk about different aspects.  Use tags that label various sections so that it makes for easy reference. Then if a specific topic suddenly pops up, you can go right to it.

Weave the name of your book into the conversation make it a necessary part of the equation.  Your on Zombiepalooza Radio Live to promote yourself, your talents and your work(s). Mention the name of your current work and other’s that you have done in the past. This adds to credibility and your knowledge base.  Practice talking about your book with others. Don’t be shy. Your happy with what you produced, and those who care about you will be happy to help you.

**Reader Note It’s also a good idea to know who is interviewing you. Research the show.  Ask questions. All this helps you to relate to our audience. Google us we love to hear feedback. The more you know the better your experience on Zombiepalooza Radio Live will be.