Aug 292013
 
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Hello longtime readers and supporters!

In the previous few months we’ve been trying to hold onto a semblance of normalcy at WriteSEX, I’ve sold a novel to Red Sage (and possibly a series) had one book come out from Sizzler Editions and be listed by USA TODAY as a Recommended Read, and then sold a six book series to Secret Cravings Publishing.  All those covers are featured here by the way.  The thing about the six book series is that the first three books are written.  The last three….well… I have to make a ton of time for all that.  The second book I’m pitching to Red Sage is also written and under consideration and the third book will be on their desk before year’s end.

The folks at Decadent publishing are asking me to promote more, which means spending more time blogging at other sites to get covers and blurbs out to more readers.  Expansion is key in any business if you want to make money, which I do.  This has always been a business labor of love for me, meaning I’m doing this because I love it and can make a decent living from it.  Yet it’s not easy and it IS time consuming.  Requires a lot of dedication, which we’ve talked about in previous posts.

This has left me with little time to do much else other than promote myself, which brings me to the bit of sadness here at WriteSEX.

With great regret, I’m leaving the site and handing it over to the capable hands of Jean Marie Stine, publisher at Sizzler Editions who has contributed frequently over the last three years.  The main reason this change is occurring has to do with my hectic writing schedule and lack of time to maintain the site, let alone get content updated as often as we once were.

The biggest change you’ll probably notice will be some new faces to the site who contribute twice a week.  Yes, we’ll still be the premier site for the business of Erotica but WriteSEX has outlived the purpose it served me initially in that it was part of an author platform.  My own career is shifting away from definite erotica and into more mainstream media (romance) and while I don’t mind being tied to the erotica world, I’ve never been exclusively an erotica author.  My dreams have always gone toward romance in a variety of genres, as that makes me happy.

Yes, I will still contribute here but turning the reigns over to someone with as much experience as Jean Marie Stine makes sense as it will allow the site to grow, the reader base to grow and for those of you who have chosen this path as your career, this site will remain a large part hopefully in your toolbox of writer tricks and tips.  After serious consideration, Stine was the only choice I could have made when it came to letting my baby (and a part of my author platform) go so I could free up more time for writing and the personal changes I’m about to make.

There will be classes taught and of course you can find our panels often at DragonCON and Frolicon, among other conventions I’ll be at next year.  (In fact, this post went live the day I left for Atlanta, so be sure to stop by our WriteSEX panel, Saturday 10 PM Hilton 201!)

RE: those personal changes include moving across the country to live with my mentor, Morgan Hawke for a few months while we fill up my writer’s imagination and I dive angry.

It’s been a definite pleasure to share my experiences with you, loyal readers.

 

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Aug 242013
 
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Margie Church is the author of The 18th Floor, one of Sizzler Editions bestselling titles. Her other books include the Razor trilogy (co-authored with K. B. Cutter) and Wet. 

I’m here by request. Or was it threat? Humm, not sure, but I came, I blogged, I will politely answer your questions. Buy 15 copies of each of my books and I’ll give you five more ways to boost your market presence. LOL Well, it seems only fair since you just boosted mine. *snicker* Okay, I’ll knock off the nonsense. I know you’re dying to know the secrets. Get comfy and let’s see if I can lend a hand.
1. Determine your brand.
This is about your visual identity and tagline. There’s a huge rush to get your blog started and website created, but you need to really think through this part of your branding strategy. It’s better to be less adventurous to start, and build your identity over time, than to just do something, anything, and decide a few months later to scrap what you’ve done and start over. As you have undoubtedly discovered, promoting your books is time-consuming.Try to formulate one simple sentence about who you are as an author. Keep asking yourself: does this statement reflect the kinds of books I write, the genres, the person I am, and the aura I want to create as an author? If you haven’t got good answers, you aren’t finished with the exercise. It could take awhile! Once you have something, stick with it. Brand building never happens quickly.
2. Be accessible.
We’d all like to think we can stay in our writing caves and the world will buy our stories and clamor for more. We find out that’s a ridiculous notion while we’re reading the fine print on the submissions form. For me, being accessible means social media and blogging. I spend a couple hours a day wading through emails, and my Twitter, Facebook, and Goodread feeds. The underlying goal here is to get readers to know YOU. Be approachable, engaged, and interesting when you respond. Think of this as attending a cocktail party alone. Listen more than you talk. You don’t have to gab with everyone, but spread the love. Get to know a few more people every visit.
I am not a blogging maniac, but last year, I wrote about 100 guest blog posts. I average six book releases a year. You have to get the word out. I blog at my home, Romance with SASS, a couple times a month or whenever I have something worthwhile to say. I host others in between. My blog is networked to Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I blog elsewhere to share book releases and guest posts like this one. I keep all my blog posts and occasionally freshen up something I’ve used previously, but I put effort into every post.

3. Fall in love with Facebook and Twitter
Many believe the more friends and followers you have the more successful you are. It’s not a numbers game. Who cares if you have 2,000 friends if you don’t know them, and they aren’t your market? You don’t have to friend or follow every request. I also unfriend/unfollow people who don’t share my core values. If you’re rude, homophobic, or blast political or religious groups, I’m going to quietly remove you.
Turn down the sales pitch and talk with people before they turn you off. Say hello, happy birthday, how are you, congratulations, buy my books. What’s shaking, happy Halloween, TGIF, goodnight, buy my book. The weather sucks, my kid is sick, I got a raise, buy my books. How may I help, sure I’ll blog with you, host a chat, what should I name this character, here’s an excerpt, please buy a book.
Facebook lets you really build relationships. I use it heavily, and you can really get to know me well there. I announce everything related to books on Facebook. I belong to a number of groups and share newsy posts there, too. This amplifies my message. I’m careful to go back to read others’ posts and some blogs and reviews, too. I also belong to a number of private groups that I use to conduct research and find beta readers. It takes time to build these relationships.
I use Twitter to share buy links, reviews, and blog appearances. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with clever 144-word tweets for my books. I see a direct correlation between my Twitter activity and my Amazon sales. I comment on other posts in my feed and I participate in #FF and #WW somewhat. I’d do it more if Twitter’s automatic address feature actually worked for me. I acknowledge every new follower whether I follow back or not, every RT, list and favorite. Doing so is good social media manners. I usually don’t follow authors unless they are brand new, or we’re pals, or write for the same publisher. I follow publishers, reviewers, romance columnists, sex toys, romance sites, media reps, musicians, special interest groups, and anyone who might have Tweeps who will enjoy my romances.I vet my friends and twitter followers to seek a larger balance of readers than authors. Readers buy more books than authors do, plain and simple.
4. Join a chat.
Whether your publisher hosts, or you visit a site that has reader chats, these are worthwhile. Lurk in a chat or two to see how well they’re run and how many readers join in. Ask questions. Prepare at least 4 items, plus a contest for an hour-long chat. On your virgin chat, take an experienced pal with you. Sometimes the traffic is dismal, sometimes it’s overwhelming. Pick a Friday or Saturday evening, or a Saturday morning to chat. Be yourself, have some fun, hold contests. Put your buy links, blog and website addresses on each of your posts if you’re in a reader loop.
5. Participate in some kind of public event
Whether it’s having a signing, doing a reading, teaching a class, speaking to a book club, or being on a panel at a convention, get in front of the reading public. You might be quaking in your boots at first, but you can get over that by preparing what you plan to say/read. Let the local media know you’re going to be around and let them help spread the word about you. These days, the thrill of holding your book on release days rarely happens. Some of us will never hold our books in our hands—period. When you participate in these kinds of activities, being an author becomes very, very real. Buy an autograph pen and practice your signature. It’s fun.BONUS TIP
Build your back list. Work your rear off so as your following grows, they have other books of yours to buy. Push hard. Set daily writing goals and deadlines. The more you do this, the faster you’ll get at writing quality books your readers can’t wait to get their hands on.
So, those are five of my favorite book promotions and a bonus. I could write tons more, but you’d be asleep or outselling me. I’m happy to answer specific questions – fire away. And thanks so much for spending 10 minutes of your day with me!Margie’s website: Romance with SASS
Margie’s blog: http://blog.RomanceWithSASS.com
Margie’s Amazon Kindle Page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Margie%20Church&search-alias=digital-text
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Aug 232013
 
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Recently ebook industry insider Marie Force conducted a survey of 3000 readers asking carefully targeted questions about their practices and preferences. Widely reported in the media, it is the most extensive such survey so far in the age of digital publishing and it offers much food for thought.

Some of the findings were shocking, some amusing, some counter-intuitive, some disturbing. No one who writes or wants to write erotic romance or erotica should fail to read the findings.

 For those who may have missed it, WriteSex has summarized the findings. To make their significance more apparent, we have arranged the answers by percentages.

eBooks Versus Print

77 percent preferred ebooks

Where Readers Buy Books

80 percent buy their books from Amazon

23 percent Barnes & Noble

13 percent iBookstore

Bookstores

58 percent of have not visited a brick and mortar bookstore in the last year

75 percent visit less than once a month

Romance Biggest Genre

81 percent of those surveyed listed romance as their favorite genre

5 percent chose mystery

Importance of Publisher

64 percent say it doesn’t matter who publishes a book

33 percent say it sometimes influences them

4 percent say the publisher’s name influences their decision to buy

Self-Published Books

68 percent are reluctant to buy a self-published book from an author who is unknown to them.

Where Readers Learn about Books

18 percent, Facebook

17 percent retail sites Amazon, B&N, etc.

13 percent Goodreads

10 percent author websites

Where Readers Learn About Favorite Author Books

63 percent author websites

62 percent Facebook

36 percent author newsletters

27 percent Goodreads

19 percent Twitter

18 percent retail sites

What Reviews Sources Influence Readers

50 percent choose books based on reviews posted to retail sites

16 percent based their decisions on Goodreads reviews

13 percent were influenced by blog reviews

10 percent were influenced by publication reviews (RT Book Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, etc.)

Publications that Influence the Decision to Purchase a Book

76 percent said none

13 percent said RT Book Reviews

Influence of Starred Ratings

43 percent will not buy a book with a low rating – unless they hear something good about it

38 percent will try a book if they like the cover and sample, despite a low rating

11 percent responded that starred reviews do not influence them

9 percent choose based on stared reviews and will only purchase books with high ratings

Free Books

85 percent were more likely to buy another book from the author if they liked a free book

35 percent have been discovered new authors via free books more than 20 times.

21 percent have found new authors through free books more than 10 times.

What Readers Like in a Story

75 percent of readers chose all these qualities:

outstanding characters, setting, storytelling and

Typographical Errors

33-three percent said typos don’t bother them

27 percent said they’d give an author a second chance if there were lots of typos in the first

24 percent said typos ruin their reading experience

8 percent said they would never buy another book from an author whose book was full of mistakes

Bestseller Effect

72% said the presence of banners like NY Times bestseller do not influence them

60 percent of those surveyed never look at a bestseller lists

28 percent said such banners do influence them

Influential Newsletters

84 percent subscribe to the newsletters of their favorite authors,

5 percent subscribe to the blogs of their favorite authors.

50 percent subscribe to BookBub to find out about free and reduced-price books

31 percent subscribe to Kindle Fire Department.

Social Media

60 percent of those surveyed do not follow their favorite authors on Twitter whereas

87 percent of those surveyed do follow their favorite authors on Facebook.

85 percent of those surveyed do not follow their favorite authors on Pinterest, and

86 percent do not look for authors on any other social media platform besides those already listed

Pricing and Length

52 percent said if they want a book badly they don’t care what it costs.

22 percent said they will not pay more than $4.99 for a book.

68 percent are looking for novellas (20-25,000 words) in the $0.99 to $1.99 range

21 percent said they would pay up to $2.99 for a novella

26 percent said they would pay $4.99 for a full-length novel

19 percent said they would pay $5.99 for a novel

13 percent said $7.99

12 percent said $6.99.

Bonus Material (interviews, short stories)

34 percent won’t pay extra for a book with bonus material

26 percent will pay extra for “bonus” material, such as a short story

Favorite Author Endorsement

60 percent say author blurbs or endorsements do not influence what they buy

40 percent say an endorsement by a favorite author does influence what they buy

Audio Books

70 percent replied that they do not buy audio books

15 percent had bought audio books via Audible

11 percent at Amazon

7 percent iTunes

Of those Who Buy Audio Books…

18 percent bought between one and 10 audio books per year

4 percent bought more than 20 audio books in the last year.

Book Trailers

54 percent of those surveyed have never watched a video trailer for a book

8 percent have bought a book because of a trailer

Book Covers

53 percent are influenced by a well-designed, attractive book cover

32 percent are not influenced by covers

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