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PrintingPressAs the Senior Editor for a small publishing company, I see a lot of potential books pass through my hands. To be honest, most of the manuscript submissions Light Messages receives have great potential. The themes are creative and timely, the information is engaging, and the characters are colorful. But more often than not, the books are simply not ready yet.

The single biggest mistake I see new authors make is to publish a book too soon. And I understand how it happens: You write the final line, share the manuscript with a few close friends and family, receive adoring reviews, and then proceed to submit the manuscript for publishing because you think there's nothing more to be done. Then, you wait. And wait. And wait some more. But the call never comes.

 

Social Media ContentSo now you have all of the accounts set up—but maintaining 2 to 3 social media platforms isn’t as easy as it seems. Creating original content for each individual site can be tricky. Do you always and only find yourself retweeting on Twitter or sharing other people’s posts on Facebook? There’s another way to engage in social media! Using one or a combination of the tools in the next section:

harshreaderAre you sitting down? I have some news for you: Not everyone is going to like your book. When they don't, you have two choices: 1) Move on or 2) Move into a cabin in the woods.

Nobody likes a bad review. Not you. Not your publisher. Not even the reviewer who most likely feels she wasted her time. But bad reviews do happen.

So what's the best way to handle the inevitable bad review? Do nothing. Seriously. PR experts across the industry agree that the best thing to do is absolutely nothing. Move on and keep working.

If you can't do nothing, then your other option is to take a deep breath, step back, and glean what constructive bits you can from the criticism. Learn from the reviewer and consider if there's anything you can apply to improve your work.

By Fauzia Burke

One of the nation's leading online book marketing experts, Fauzia Burke recently published Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step by Step Guide. Sharing her expertise of online publicity, book publishing and social media, Fauzia points out trends authors should focus on. 

Important Trends and Statistics for Authors

When authors stay on top of trends, they can use the information to develop more effective online marketing strategies. Your author platform is your ability to reach your readers and build a community. Here are 12 trends to note for authors:

What’s the one thing that’s worse than reading a terribly dry book? Reading a terribly dry review about a book! Here are some tips by our Senior Editor to help you rise above the noise and catch the attention of book pros.

1. Choose wisely. You don’t have time to read everything, let alone review it. So choose carefully. Unless you're one of the "big voices," it will be nearly impossible to make an impression as one more review about the latest, hottest best seller. But you can make an impression by highlighting quality works by emerging authors. You’ll be the proverbial big voice in a small room instead of the other way around. You can help direct attention to your review by sending a copy to the author, publisher, and/or publicist listed on the author’s website.

By Kylee Wooten

Coming up with a name is challenging. Whether you’re deciding on the name of the new family pet, battling over whom to name your child after, or trying to come up with the perfect title for your new novel, it’s almost impossible to know if you’re making the right decision.

Use our handy pre-publication checklist to help you schedule your marketing and promotional tasks for your book. Make sure you get started early––some of the items on the checklist start as early as 12 months before publication!

pdfClick here to download the checklist.

By Kylee Wooten

The biggest “do” of all: You should need to be on social media. These days, having a Twitter account and a Facebook page are almost as essential to your success as an author actually having a book.

You’ve finished your book. You’re in your last round of edits. You’re cover design is in the process of being finalized. You’re ready to pass out copies to friends.

And just when you thought writing your book was the hard part, now it’s time to promote your work. But don’t worry. We’re here to help.

The first step after publishing your book is to understand the importance of book promotion and starting early. And I mean really early, as in a year to six months in advance.

One of the things that we continue to stress to our authors is the importance of a strong presence on Amazon. Amazon has a dedicated "Author Central" page, where authors can "claim" his/her books, post a bio, updates and trade reviews, and more. As one of the largest book retailers in the world, we believe in the importance of utlizing Amazon to its full capacity. Brooke Warner breaks down the most important misconceptions, little known facts and valuable tips for authors to consider when they are navigating the world of Amazon. This article was originally featured in Huffington Post.

Are you tired of asking your friend’s kids for help on the Internet? Do you dread scheduling a post—let alone writing one? Are you embarrassed by your social media accounts?

You can stop worrying about that now. As a sneak peak into Pub Light: A Publisher’s Introduction to Selling your Book in 10 Easy Steps (available this month), this week starts a series of blog posts that can help you answer all of the questions you’re constantly asking yourself when it comes to social media. By tuning into our weekly blog, you will be able to learn about snippets from our latest book as well as instructions on how to revamp your online presence in order to build up your book brand.

First up: Facebook.

The journey towards becoming an author can greatly differ from person to person, so Nancy Boyarsky and Rebecca Stevenson offer their own unique perspectives and experiences.  Have more questions for our authors? Leave us a comment on Facebook or Twitter!

Having trouble keeping up with what’s trending online? Confused by all the hashtags? Want a key to all the shorthand messages? The second post to guide you through the social media universe is here. 

Twitter is essentially a timeline of micro-blogging. By tweeting messages of 140 characters or less, you can share, respond or interact with other users in real-time. You can form a relationship with your followers by becoming a “person,” not just a name on a page. 
You should use Twitter to share your thoughts and movements. Tweet what you’re doing, where you’re going, highlights from your life, and books you’re reading. Remember, Twitter is not a shouting media platform. It’s social media. So be social. All posts should reflect a personal, author brand that you’re trying to build.

What defines success for an author? Is is the number of books sold? The number of awards they recieve? Authors Brad A. LaMar and Susan Örnbratt join us for this week's Ask the Authors blog post on defining and finding success as an author. If you have any questions you'd like to ask our authors, make sure to leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter!

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform.

Users can post and edit images with captions or view the images of those users and friends that you follow. News organizations, magazines, events, interest groups and more use Instagram to share information. You can also use it. For example, you may post a sneak peak of your latest book cover. You may post a picture of a place where you write or create a contest to engage with followers. You can also create book quote images using one of the graphic creators we will cover later on.

Seal StandardsChecklist

To give both authors and book industry professionals an at-a-glance method by which to gauge the professional presentation of a book, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – ibpa-online.org – has released a 2-page Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book. The checklist is broken into two sections, content and production, and provides an unbiased measure by which to critique published books.

As part of the IBPA Advocacy Committee, Light Messages Senior editor Elizabeth Turnbull helped write the checklist alongside committee chair Brooke Warner of She Writes Press, committee member Karla Olson of Patagonia Books, and Angela Bole, CEO of IBPA. 

Have the normal social media sites under control? Are you a Facebook genius, but want to branch out into something different? Or do you want to try something besides Twitter and FB to connect with readers? Then reddit is a great place to connect.

Do ideas just come to authors, or do they have to work for them? How do they decide what kind of book they’ll write? Betsy Streeter and Dave Edlund talk about how they found their path. Do you have any questions for our authors? Let us know by leaving a comment on Facebook or on Twitter!

 

By now you know that using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a free and effective way to build an audience. Luckily, authors and booklovers have another option to connect with readers: Goodreads. Goodreads (Goodreads.com) is a book lover’s social media haven where members can keep track of books they love, books they hate, and books they want to read. Friends can share recommendations, readers post reviews, and members can even sign up to win books through the giveaway program.

Think Again!

By Nancy Panko, Author of Guiding Missal

After ten years of researching, writing, resting, and repeating the process over and over, my book Guiding Missal was published. One of my crowning achievements as a human being and a writer was also one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. I had yet to find out that there was more hard work to come. 

Throughout the process, I diligently followed the Light Messages “Author Pre-Publication Checklist” laying a lot of groundwork on which to build. You have probably all done the same basic work now that you are a published author but if you haven’t, perhaps you may want to download that list.

Cover Reveal Blog Title

Everyone has heard the cliché “Don’t choose a book by its cover.” But we all still do that to an extent, don’t we? People do judge a book by its cover. Most people let their opinions of a cover at least subconsciously shadow their perception of a book.

Looks matter. Thus, the cover matters.

One of the biggest misconceptions that authors face is that their work is done once the book is published. Whether you’re self-publishing or you have a world-renowned publicist, you should expect to spend as much time marketing your book as you did writing it.

Author Newsletter

Another way to spread the word about your new book and keep readers updated is through an email newsletter. That’s right. Don’t just send one email. Send many. Invite friends, family and readers to sign up for your newsletter either online or at your launch party. If you commit to writing a newsletter you should send it quarterly, monthly, or weekly depending on your schedule.

How are audiobooks changing the publishing industry? What is involved in the production of an audiobook? What is it like for an author to have her book narrated by someone other than herself? This month we interview author Kate Rademacher and audiobook narrator Becket Royce about their experience collaborating on the production of Following the Red Bird: First Steps into a Life of Faith. If you have any questions you'd like to ask our authors, make sure to leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter!

Thank you for joining us for this month’s blog about the production of audiobooks. Can you both introduce yourselves?

Kate: My name is Kate Rademacher. I published my debut memoir, Following the Red Bird: First Steps into a Life of Faith, in mid-2017. The audiobook version, which was narrated by Becket Royce, was released in March 2018. Following the Red Bird is the story of my very unexpected conversion to Christianity, and how I began to understand what it means to be a Christian in the first year after my baptism. I like to say that the book explores not only the why of Christianity but the how.

Becket: I'm Becket Royce, and I was very pleased to have been chosen as the narrator Following the Red Bird. Most of the audiobooks that I've narrated are fiction, so I really enjoyed the challenge of narrating the words and thoughts of an actual human being! I'm honored to be a part of this project.