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Friday, October 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Angi Morgan

FIVE THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE SELLING

Thanks for the opportunity to be a guest with the Lady Scribes. I’m a big fan...even if I don’t get to post comments each day. Let me preface this blog with a statement that I really wish I had more answers, more advice, more knowledge regarding my top five list. For those of you who may not completely know my story, my book HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP is on shelves just ten short months after Harlequin Intrigue offered me a contract. I’ve had a wonderful time this past year with lots of ‘first’ experiences after I received THE Call. But there are a few things I wish I’d learned before I sold.

1. Social Media: Twitter

2. Social Media: Facebook

3. Social Media: Blogging

4. Social Media: Reviews & Book signings

5. Social Media: Widgets

Do we see a pattern here?

Before this past year I hadn’t even heard of the term SOCIAL MEDIA. Now I’m taking webinars from my publisher, and everywhere I turn someone’s got an on-line class. Our chapter had guest speakers last winter who spoke on how much time to devote to social media and they touched on a very small part of what to do. It gives me a headache to think how much I need to learn. And hey, what about READER communities? Heard of those? And RSS feeds? Is your head hurting yet? (LOL)

Okay Okay Okay... this is my Top Five, not a complaint. I just need ten or so extra hours in a day and I might actually get caught up (and *I* don’t have a full-time job--not certain how those authors manage it). I also want to add a caution: Have a professional on-line persona and warn your family about not posting private information publically. It’s very easy to forget where you’re posting what...and once it’s posted the information will always exist somewhere (even if you hit delete--the message is somewhere).

NUMBER ONE: Twitter

Tweetdeck is a must. I’m not completely certain why yet...but I’m beginning to see the benefits of utilizing it. In the training I’ve been receiving, there’s a general rule of thumb: 12 to 1. Twelve general posts or retweets to every one post regarding promotion. In other words, you have to really use Twitter. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it has a limited number of characters and a shorthand which takes time to get used to. But more than anything else, it takes time to learn. AND IT’S FREE.

NUMBER TWO: Facebook or MySpace

Facebook LIKE/FAN page is a must. I’m familiar with Facebook but still don’t know how to utilize it completely for publicity purposes. Facebook has changed a couple of times since I’ve been using it (Jan ‘10). It’s a mini-blog 24/7/365 that is worth learning how to use --especially as a professional. AND IT’S FREE.

NUMBER THREE: Blogging

There is no guarantee that blogging sells books, but you’ll get your name “out there.” Most of the time it’s fun, readers and other writers are excited to discover your story (and honestly, it keeps your excitement at a high level). Advice--start your blog now since growing followers is a slow process. You need a consistent place to be found when you sell (join a group of friends and form a blog). My word of caution is to get involved on the blogs and not just be a guest. It doesn’t require a devoted following. Find subjects that genuinely interest you and leave a comment --it’s polite. Second caution: Don’t schedule blogs on your release day, enjoy it, spend it with friends looking at your book on the shelf (if this isn’t possible choose a blog to have a party). AND IT TOO IS FREE.

NUMBER FOUR: REVIEWS & BOOK SIGNINGS

Attend book signings and help an experienced author. Make notes on what you need, make friends with the employees at your local book store who are in charge of the book signings. BE BOLD. ASK. Learn what type of publicity they give, provide the stores bookmarks (that means you need to design and order in advance). FIND out where to submit reviews. Will your publisher be sending your ARCS anywhere? How far in advance does a book need to be submitted? Is it going to be worth your time? And grow a thick skin (not everyone will love you). MOST OF THE TIME IT’S THE COST OF YOUR FREE PROMOTIONAL BOOK AND POSTAGE.

NUMBER FIVE: WIDGETS

Uhm what? I’ve heard the term. Want to learn more about what they are. Want to have the time to find all that I need and where they should all be placed (I have a place in mind, but I’m a guest here). Can I describe a widget? My very general-non-professional description: an application shortcut. The cute little buttons that take you to (what else) other social media (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon.com., Barnes & Noble, etc.). AND GUESS WHAT...THEY’RE FREE.

The best advice I can give pre-published writers is to learn about the different branches of social media a little at a time, at your own pace, but start walking down the road. One step now will eventually get you ahead of the game.

Let me paraphrase what Cherry Adair (CheryAdair.com) told me when we spoke about my first sale: Don’t get caught up in the first sale and publicity dawhling (she’s a transplanted South African). Writers...write. Always remember that writers...write. Great advice that I took to heart. So I might be a little behind in the social media/publicity world...but I made the sophomore sale and hope for a third soon.


MY QUESTION FOR YOU? How many from my list would make yours? And if you have ANY advice...I’ll take it.

Thanks again for having me...

~~Angi

Check out Angi’s new look on her website: AngiMorgan.com and check out the prizes she has for her Debut Release: Hill Country Holdup. Just send her a picture of you holding the cover of HCH (that would be her HOLD UP THE COVER contest), register for her newsletter, and maybe win one of those prizes.

17 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for guest blogging with us today, Angi. Great advice all around, but my favorite is "Writers write." Sometimes it's hard to remember with all the other things on our to do list.

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  2. Thank you for having me!

    I want to preface ALL the lists above with "I barely know what I'm talking about." I need lots of advice on this subject.

    SLIGHT CORRECTION NEEDED Regarding Widgets and applications: I'm seriously learning about these and the definition above WAS my understanding...it's not technically accurate I'm certain. So feel free to help out the beginners (I'm sure there are a lot of them here)--if you have expertise.
    ~~Angi

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  3. Hi, Angi~
    Thanks for the advice.

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  4. Thanks D'Ann...
    I really wish I had more and more knowledge regarding Widgets and Applications.

    And finding the time to do everything.

    ~~Angi

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  5. Thanks for joining us Angi and what great advice.
    I'm still in the unpublished stage so I'm soaking all this in but I will say this having joined a blog with these wonderful ladies has been a huge bonus for me. So my piece of advice — if you choose to blog — find a group blog with others like you for several reasons. Number one: It cuts down on your time having to blog. Each of us blogs every two weeks. Works out perfectly for me because it frees up a lot of my time this way to...guess what...write. Secondly, as an unpublished author I kind of get the chance to ride on the coat tails of these lovely ladies and while their fan base grows, hopefully my name will be remembered when I publish. LOL and they love the fact that I am all for using them! j/k this is just an extra added bonus for me. And lastly, it's just a lot of fun. Blogging with these women and the fact that we help each other out so much has simply been a blast. And boy, do our off blog conversations get interesting LOL. You make great friends - lasting friendships and that makes it all worthwhile.

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  6. Hi Melissa

    "lasting friendships and that makes it all worthwhile"

    You are so very right. I definitely agree about the blogs. I'm currently on two: Blame It On The Muse & The Daily Dose-Fantasy Romance(dailydose-fantasyromance.blogspot.com).

    Blogging with the groups makes it much easier then the daily one I offer at my website.

    ~Angi

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  7. Good advice, Angi! All this social media is just baffling to me. I mean, I get why you need to do it and the general functions, it's just the techy stuff I don't get. Like widgets, etc. And Twitter is not something I'm very disciplined about doing. Probably because I can't yell "fire" in fifteen words or less.

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  8. Hiya Tracy!

    I hear ya! I'm a person who refuses to use shorthand when I text...so Tweeting (with its own shorthand) is really really confusing for me.

    But I'm trying.

    ~~Angi
    (And thanks for sending my book to California--I have a fan now!)

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  9. I spent hours getting my blog in shape yesterday - it was a real fixer upper. And, not being the handygal type when it comes to techie stuff, it was a struggle. But it is done (yay!) and I feel good about it.

    Now, reading your post, I see that there are other things I need to put on my to-do list as well.

    Thanks, Angi.

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  10. Angi, your book looks great. I'll definitely add it to my list. :)

    I'm a bit of a contrarian (no I'm not, yes you are!) -- I don't like FB but I love Twitter. It seems most people prefer FB and hate Twitter. I've been texting and IMing for a long time, so Twitter is a natural extension of that for me I guess. Plus I can make my little humorous comments and go do something else. LOL

    I also blog -- on my own blog twice/week and on a group blog (Romance Writer's Revenge) -- and it keeps me on my toes, meeting deadlines, coming up with fresh topics. I also think it keeps my brain stimulated, so that's a good thing. It's awesome to have so many different ways to connect with potential readers and other writers.

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  11. Regina...?
    When you figure out how to do all of them will you phone me? LOL Step by step instructions are always wanted.

    ~~Angi

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  12. Hey Donna,

    I'm finding Twitter funny at times. It just takes time to go through everything. I need to set it up on my phone, but I'm really afraid at how many tweets I get. Yikes...it's that unknown thingy.

    ~~Angi

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  13. Angi: Great post (and great book - loved HCH). I can recommend a book by Kristen Lamb entitled "We Are Not Alone" - it is a practical, useful guide to social media for writers. It literally changed my attitude and knowledge about Twitter, FB etc. She also has a website - you won't regret getting that book.

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  14. Robin,

    Thanks for the HCH plug and thanks for reminding me about this book. I thought I had ordered it before...but I guess the transaction didn't go through. I've heard several people recommend this book. And Kristen Lamb will be on Write Workshop (free loop sponsored by Candance Havens) next week (I think). Another "class" for me to copy and make notes.

    ~~Angi

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  15. Angi,
    Thanks so much for joining us today at Lady Scribes. What a great blog! I recently made my first sale, but my book release is not until Fall 2011. That has left me time to hopefully master some of these social media outlets.

    I'm super lucky to blog with this great group of writers. I tweet, but I'm still not using FB like I think I should. Your advice to build up your social media use a little at a time makes good sense.

    Oh, and I love Cherry Adair!

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  16. I hope the post helps, Samantha.

    Congratulations on your sale and don't think next fall is a long way off. Get started!

    And any hints you pick up along the way, please share.

    ~~Angi
    (Cherry's a hoot!)

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  17. Thanks again for having me Ladies.

    ~~Angi
    AngiMorgan.com

    Don't forget to check my website for my HOLD UP THE COVER contest. Send me a picture of you with my book HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP and be entered in a drawing for lots of prizes--two weeks left.

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