Sunday, August 2, 2015

Notes from The Magic of Books Workshop

The Magic of Books, Celebrating Literacy
Workshop Notes
Self-publishing and Marketing
Philip L Levin, M.D.

Getting It in Print
1.      Prepare your work. If you self-publish, make sure your work is clean and polished.
·         Get a professional editor. This is the one must! Friends and family and self are blind to mistakes.
·         Join a critique group.
o   Face-to-face groups are a great way to get feedback.
o   If you can't meet face-to-face, there are numerous online critique groups.
2.      Build a Platform
·         Enter contests
·         Attend workshops/conferences
3.      Have a cover that draws attention
·         Design it yourself
·         Hire a graphic designer
·         Use the publisher's people
4.      Use local printers for small jobs.
·         Gives the local economy a boost.
·         Look for quality.
5.      Vanity press is an option, but don't take it lightly. Be vigilant about the companies.
·         AuthorHouse is good— (877-962-6320) **Subject to opinion
·         Avoid Xlibris, Publish America
·         Subsidy printers are also in this category. This is where the publisher puts up some money and the author puts up some money.
6.      Contract Printing
·         Small publishing houses might require a certain number of books be ordered
o   Storage can become a problem
·         May find within each state
7.      Do It Yourself
·         CreateSpace
o   Works with Amazon
o   Kindle
o   Expanded distribution
o   24/7 help line
o   Can use their products or your own
o   Quality printing
o   Used by a number of small publishers for print copies
·         Lightning Source
o   Ingram/Lulu
o   B & N
o   Can get quite pricy
·         CDBaby
o   Recording of books
o   Great for the visually impaired
o   Read it yourself or get someone else

1.      Social Media
·         Create your own website
·         Have a blog
o   Follow other blogs
o   Get a blog tour
o   Participate in blog events
·         Use Facebook
o   Create an author page
o   Pay for promotional ads
o   Join groups
·         Get on Amazon
o   Have an author page on Amazon
o   Review other authors and seek reviews
o   Do a few promotions, giveaways
·         Twitter
o   Ask for and return following
·         LinkedIn
o   Ask for and return following
2.      Get listed on as many online sites as you can
3.      Go to venues where you can sell
·         Arts & crafts fairs
·         Flea markets (Not the best b/c folks are looking for a bargain)
·         Conferences
4.      Calling cards (Business cards)
·         Have several
o   A business card with contact info
o   Cards for your books
o   Leave them everywhere
·         Create swag to give away
o   Bookmarks are cheap
o   Pens with your name/author page
o   Bigger items if it's in your budget (mugs, t-shirts)
·         Banner/poster to display
·         Get a SQUARE for your cell phone. You'll be able to run credit cards
5.      Libraries, bookstores, civic organizations
·         Donate to libraries
o   Send in your own press release if you must
·         Knock on the doors of indie bookstores.
o   Promote your signing
§  Newspaper ad
§  Local TV shows
§  Postcard invitations
§  Flyers
·         Get into schools/colleges
o   Another good place to donate

Writing across Genres
Carolyn Haines (Author of more than 70 novels)

Whose story is it? Do you write for yourself (for the love of the craft) or do you write for an audience?
Use a pseudonym if you feel your following will not like a new/different genre.

Stop sweating the POV. The key is consistency. First person is extremely difficult and must be geared to the audience. Things to consider
·         Voice
·         Identity
·         Goals
·         Ambitions
The four main parts of a novel
·         Plot
·         Character
·         Setting
·         Theme
The key to non-fiction is to be true to reality, no matter how hard.
Different genres focus on different parts.
·         Mysteries
o   Focus on plot
o   Serial mysteries develop character
o   The theme is justice prevails
·         Suspense
o   Differs from mystery in that the reader knows more than the protagonist
o   Focus is on how/why, not whodunit.
·         Thriller
o   Both mystery and suspense
o   Must have the ticking clock theme
o   Antagonist MUST be of equal merit to the protagonist
o   The stakes are much higher
·         Romance
o   Theme driven
o   Love prevails
o   Does not have to be about a physical relationship
o   Erotica is a sub-genre of romance
·         Historical Fiction
o   Setting is of utmost importance
o   Get history right, down to the clothing and dialect (Even in historical romance)
·         Horror
o   Setting is of utmost importance
o   Psychological thrillers incorporate my suspense and the ticking clock
·         Fantasy
o   Setting. It's all about world building
§  High fantasy is about elves, fairies, etc.
§  Low fantasy is about werewolves, vampires, etc.
·         Sci-fi
o   Has typically appealed to males
o   Plot oriented
o   But setting and character development moves the story along
o   Very logical genre
·         Literary Fiction
o   Tells a good story
o   Character development is essential
o   Often deals with social issues

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