• My guest today is Dawn Chandler, a multi genre author from Idaho

    Welcome Dawn to my blog, thank you for joining me today. Please let everyone know about your writing journey.

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first full length novel when I was in middle school. I was always writing stories and tales.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I live in Idaho on a small farm. I have a menagerie of critters including donkeys, ponies, mules, Texas Longhorn, dachshunds, cats, rabbits, goats, ferrets, turtles, and Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. I enjoy drawing and doing children's books as well as writing my novels. I am very outdoorsy, I like hiking, rock climbing, camping, swimming and spending time in my garden.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    I have written The Dark Lady, the first in a series of medieval romances. Dark Christmas, a short story that falls in between book one, The Dark Lady, and book two of my Dark Books Series. The Infamous A.H. the first in my London Series based in 1800 London. Dan's Dirty Day, a children's book. I am currently working on finishing edits on a fantasy, The Legend and the second in my Dark Books Series, From Under a Dark Shadow. First chapters can be read at www.dawnchandler.net

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    I am on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, my blog and my website. My promotions do fairly well through Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    My novels can be found at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Smashwords.com, Audible.com, iTunes.com, BlackOpalBooks.com

    They are available in ebook, print, and audible.

    Thank you, please let me know if you need anything else.

    My books are

    The Dark Lady

    Dark Christmas

    The Infamous A.H

    Dan's Dirty Day

    If you would lke to buy one of Dawn's books then please visit her Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Chandler/e/B00DWGYZ7S

    Thank you Dawn for sharing.

    Natasha :)x

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  • Going crazy promoting my books! Or am I just wrestling with a crocodile?

    By writing this article I am expelling the book promotion demons that torment me but as I write, I am feeling guilty, as I would much prefer to be writing my next epic creation. Does it have to be like this?

    Over the past 6 years, I have tried everything to promote my books and have yet to find any scheme that actually sells enough to cover the cost of the ad or service I have stumbled upon.

    I follow avidly my most inspiring self-published authors, Mark Dawson, Nick Stephenson and Joanna Penn, who publish and run webinars regularly offering the best promotion advice ever. I try many of their tactics but still my books are not getting noticed.

    Many authors are not consistent with their promotions and like me try one thing after another, not wanting to spend too much money, with the hope that we may see a sale. All too often we spend a little too much time and money on advertising with minimal results.

    So the key problem with my book promotions is a lack of structure and also my free book subscriber list is minimal.

    Another reason that I think that my sales may be low is because my books are for a niche market. I think that most like to read crime novels, thrillers and romantic tales. My books are for children, teenagers and I have one fantasy novel Chanctonbury that is popular with mature ladies. Alas, my play ‘A Flea in the Paw’ is lost at sea! I am always hopeful that sales will improve as the feedback I am getting is that my books are good.

    What doesn’t work for me?

    1. I have targeted my Facebook ads to those that like dystopian novels. I have had very few people clicking on my ads to see what 3004 and 3006 are about – no sales. At the time of creating a Facebook ad, they suggest that your ad will reach thousands of people but the reality is hundreds only.

    2. PR companies are expensive and promise you the earth. They may send out your press release to a huge pool of contacts but the reality here is that the reviewers and bloggers are inundated with review requests and I only get one or two reviews and never got a review in a newspaper.

    3. Paying for targeted traffic to your website – I tried this and 3000 clicked on my page and despite there being a free book at the time – nobody downloaded my book. Is this traffic real - I think not?

    4. Twitter – I enter posts – I follow many – no sales.

    5. Attending fairs and markets – I was invisible!

    6. Amazon (AMS) marketing service – I actually sold some of my extraordinary ‘Chanctonbury’ and my dystopian novel 3004 – such a good feeling – I smiled but I didn’t quite cover my advertising costs.

    7. I just tried a paid Google keyword ad – over a week, I had 47 people click on my website, paid £9.55 but had no sales.

    So what could I be doing to promote my books without spending too much money?

    I need to have a weekly advertising plan that I am able to keep to despite having a busy life. This could include:-

    1. Increasing my email list by offering a free book on my website and on Instafreebie – so I pay 20 dollars a month to Instafreebie which means I am able to see email addresses for those that have downloaded ‘3004’ – these kind people want to hear about further book releases – hooray!. With the new data protection laws, you do have to make it clear when people subscribe to your list that you will be contacting them in the future with book release details and offers and will not inundate them with emails. The thought is now that these subscribers actually like what you write and will be interested in other books produced. I really don’t want to be a nuisance but must try and contact them with an article of interest and a little book promotion at least once a month. The subscriber list is growing as we speak.

    2. Some say you shouldn’t target your Facebook ads as you will get a larger audience – I will try this or just post on my book page using # on key words but no more than three of these and I should get more views than normal and perhaps sales. I will let you know.

    3. I know I need more reviews. Once I get 50 reviews for each book then Amazon should make my book more prominent. So my quest goes on to find reviewers that have time to review my book. This aspect of a writer's life is time consuming but necessary and it makes me sigh.

    4. I will try again to promote Chanctonbury on Amazon (AMS) and follow again, Mark Dawson’s excellent instructions. After I have got a few more five star reviews for Chanctonbury, I will use this service to promote this book.

    5. I organised a book show this year in March (The beast from the east nearly gave me heart failure) – The UK Southern Book Show on Worthing pier and over 60 authors took part. It was wonderful, despite the weather, to actually see people attending the show - interested in listening to talks on writing, publishing and most importantly of all – willing to support UK authors and buy their books! I am looking for a venue for next year in the South of England to hold another show in sunny May 2019 :).

    6. I will continue to host guest posts from other authors on my blog on my website as I like to help others promote their books if I can. This gives both them and me web presence.

    7. Lastly Instagram – apparently there are many readers there and I have read if you post photos of your life and add that famous # to book related keywords you will have a good response – I will investigate this.

    I dream that someone could promote my books for me and would be willing to share the £1 profit I make on each book sold. If anyone does know of such a person then let me know - no crocodiles though ;).

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  • Las Vegas YA and Children's author, Tina Kirchner, talks about her books and her marketing journey

    Tina Kirchner is my guest today. Please tell everyone about your yourself and your books.

    "I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, and currently reside there with my husband, one of my two children, and the Kirchner Zoo, which is five dogs and three cats. I love being outdoors and practically stay outside when the weather is over 60°. Activities I like besides writing include playing tennis, doing yoga, hiking, biking, painting, gardening, and walking the dogs. I love all animals, but wolves are my favorite. My preferred reading genres are fantasy and paranormal, but I’ve read a little of everything.

    Finding My Niche

    I’ve always loved to write, but I didn’t get serious about writing until after I had children. Reading picture books to my kids re-sparked my desire to write and do art. However, after trying to write 800-word picture books, I realized that I enjoyed writing middle grade stories more. Two middle grade series of mine, Pirates Off and The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich, were published by Short on Time Books. Pirates and zombies are two of my favorite subjects, and I hoped paranormal mixed with fast-paced action and adventure would encourage reluctant readers. Middle grade is great to write, but it has limitations. When I came up with Dagger & Brimstone, the premise would only work for young adult, so I switched gears again. I could add some horror to my stories in YA. It’s kind of funny that I started out trying to write picture books and moved onto longer works. Of late, I’ve been writing short stories that are usually under 2,000 words. My advice to new writers, try a variety of works and play around with different point of views as well.

    My Thoughts on Book Marketing

    I’m not going to sugarcoat book marketing—it’s tough and time-consuming. Natasha’s Promotion Tips are great. If you haven’t checked out the page, do so. At the very least, a website is a necessity for an author. Several web-hosting services, such as Weebly and Wix, offer free websites and even provide templates to get started. I have a website set up exclusively for my books and art and another for my blog.

    I promote on Twitter; however, tweets can get lost as fast as they’re posted. It helps when followers retweet and like tweets. I make it a point to retweet and like posts to help friends or for tweets that I enjoy. For writers searching for an agent, Twitter pitch parties are a free outlet to showcase your writing.

    I’ve also created book trailers for the first books in my three series and posted them on YouTube. They haven’t gotten a ton of views, but they were a lot of fun to create. It was like producing my own mini-movie. Buying even a few seconds of video online can get expensive, so I took my own shots. I have snippets from the beach, forest, desert, graveyards—anything I thought I could eventually use to go along with my books. The only actors I used are my husband and one of my dogs, Turbo. They didn’t charge a fee. The recommended length for book trailers is under two minutes, so my stored snippets are really short.

    Just like writing, authors need to keep working on marketing. It’s not easy, but it’s a part of the process to get your books into readers’ hands.

    A Great Quote

    I saw a quote posted on Twitter by author Lacey London, “Other authors are not my competition, I stand with them, not against them.” This is so true. There may be plenty of books circulating, but there are millions of readers, too. That’s why it is awesome when blogs like Natasha’s allow authors an outlet to promote their books. Another way to help fellow writers is to write a book review, no matter how short, for any book you’ve read. Retweet and share posts. Critique groups can be a tremendous help as well. I’ve been with a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) group for 10 years. We give suggestions, honest feedback, and share writing, contest, and promotion tips. Best of all, we support each other.

    And Now, Here’s My Book Plug

    My book series are all available on Amazon. Here are the links to book one for each series:

    YA - Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell https://goo.gl/8xnXVw

    Middle Grade - Pirates Off the Deep End https://goo.gl/ZabnGB

    YA (Safe for Middle Grade) The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich: The Zombie Next Door

    https://goo.gl/62krdP

    Book Trailers:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbrxjR71DEqajxbWfbgf0rQ

    My website: www.twkirchner.com

    Follow me on Twitter @TinaInLV

    My blog: https://aceinlv.wordpress.com/

    Thank you Tina for sharing with everyone, I think that other authors will appreciate your honesty.

    Natasha :) x

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  • Philosophy student Hollie Thubron talks about her debut novel ‘Insane’

    Today I welcome new author Hollie Thubron to my blog.

    "Hi everyone!

    I hope you are all having an amazing day. My name is Hollie Thubron and I am now launching my debut novel!

    First off, I want to thank Natasha for allowing me to be a guest on her blog and talk to you guys!

    I'm going to talk a little bit about myself, my book and my marketing strategy.

    Insane is a psychological thriller about a serial killer. She kills because she enjoys it. You might call her insane, but who are you to judge?

    1. What made you want to write a book?

    I wanted to write this book because I have a fascination with philosophy. Being a philosophy student, I have studied many of the moral theories that have been proposed and from this, I realised that since there is no agreed morality, then there is no universal morality. Morality is individual and personal. So what I think is right and wrong, won't be the same as what you think is right and wrong - but that doesn't make either of us right or wrong! I have also found that most stories - portrayed through books or TV - that have the "villain" as the "protagonist" create a sympathetic backstory. I don't like this. Why can't we take something at face value? Why can't we accept someone, even if we don't understand them? This is why I wrote Insane.

    2. Tell us about you and where you live.

    I live on the outskirts of London and have done all my life. I am a 19 year old student of philosophy and maths. Along with this being my debut novel, I am also a singer-songwriter. I have 2 singles out and am currently working on an EP. I used to be a affiliated horse rider - but I gave it up to pursue music. But writing? That has been something I have always done. I have written several "novels" as a child, I always loved creating new stories.

    3. What have you written and what are you working on now?

    Insane is my debut novel, so that is the only one I currently have to my name. But I am really loving the book community and after the launch of this book, I have an idea I am going to start working on - I am pretty sure it hasn't been done before so it's going to be quite tricky to do, but if all goes well I should have another book out this time next year!

    4. How do you market your books and do your promotion methods work?

    Initially, I was adamant about getting an agent and publisher. I bought the writers' and artists' yearbook and contacted over 300 agencies and publishers - no luck. I wasn't disheartened though! I knew that my book was controversial and not for everyone, so I started to look into self-publishing. At first, the idea was so daunting and seemed almost impossible to do successfully. However, after extensive research, I came up with a plan. Unfortunately, since my book is only just launching, I can't say for certain if my marketing strategy is successful, but I certainly have high hopes.

    I first started by building up my social media accounts for the book - all from scratch. Engaging in the communities and getting contacts - and fans. I have had the most luck on Instagram, but it's different for everyone. I also had a very specific and detailed timeline of social media posts leading up to the launch - including character reveals, a book trailer, sample chapters and giveaways. This is something I will definitely keep up after the launch as well, to keep the buzz going. Having a launch party was important for me, because not only is writing and publishing a book a great achievement, it looks professional and official to host a launch party - and it is great for social media. Lastly, after the launch I am going to have a continuous rota of sales on my Kindle edition (full price, 99p and free) and advertise this using recommended services I got online.

    5. Where can readers find your book for sale?

    You can find my book on Amazon - in both paperback and kindle versions. You can also check out my website for blog posts and if you are interested in any upcoming giveaways, then please follow my socials!

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you like the sound of my book and decide to check it out, please let me know what you think! I would love to hear your thoughts."

    If you would like to get a copy of Hollie's new book then please visit Amazon at:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1540466183

    It was great to hear your story Hollie, I wish you all the best for your writing career.

    Natasha :)

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  • Guest Author Halimah Bellows, talks about her life and her new book Champion Your Career

    My guest today is Halimah Bellows At an early age, Halimah Bellows became aware of her natural ability to listen to people non-judgmentally as well as her desire to be of service to others. In her life as an educator, a career counselor and a coach, she has been able to marry her fascination with people’s stories with her deep interest in the world of work.

    Welcome to my blog Halimah, please tell everyone about yourself.

    1. What made you want to write a book? Was it for the book itself, to become an author, or both?

    I was inspired to write my book “Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work”, because I felt that a comprehensive career development book for the 21st century was needed to address the critical concerns of our time—the workers who are victims of downsizing and outsourcing, the “boomers” who are at retirement age but cannot afford to retire and the recent college graduates who are faced with an avalanche of confusing information and are clueless about how to pursue an appropriate career path.

    2. Tell us about yourself and your life: where do you live? Where are you from?

    As a career counsellor/coach, I’ve been able to bring together my innate abilities and passions and the skills that have naturally flowed from me since I was a child. People have always fascinated me, and the world of work fascinates me as well.

    After completing my undergraduate studies in Social Science and English at New York University, I earned an MA in English Language Teaching at the University of Exeter in England and then taught English as a Second Language in England and Indonesia. Returning to the United States, I earned my MS in Counselng Psychology at San Francisco State University and received intensive Certified Coach Training at The Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, California and Retirement Options in St. Louis, Missouri to become a Certified Retirement and Professional Coach.

    Additionally I have obtained graduate certificates in Training Systems Development and Educational Drama. I hold Washington and California Community College Teaching and Counseling Credentials and am a Certified Dependable Strengths Articulation Process Facilitator. I served on the executive board of the Puget Sound Career Development Association for two terms.

    I am also employed as a teacher of English as a Second Language at South Seattle College where I have worked for over 20 years. I also volunteer with several community theatre groups and for community events like Folklife Northwest. I participate in and am considered an elder in my spiritual practice. I do yoga and pilates. I love to travel, have lived in Asia and Europe and am married to a British citizen.

    3. Tell us about your books: what are you currently releasing, what have you released in the past, and what are you currently working on? Which is your favourite and why? How strongly do you relate to the message/theme/characters in your book?

    In addition to my current book “Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work”, I have created and distributed “Career Quest Cards”, a practical, portable tool that provides a distillation of 30 key career-coaching exercises. A Career Quest Card app is also available.

    I am passionate in my belief that fulfilment from making the right career choice is imperative to achieving a life well-lived. Most working adults spend one third of their days in the workplace. Being in a rewarding career and a healthy work environment has a ripple effect throughout their personal and interpersonal lives.

    I’m not really planning another book right now though am working on a 2nd edition of it with updated career resources. I am also looking at making an audio book of “Champion Your Career”. And there is always the possibility of expanding on some sections of “Champion Your Career”—such as a book specifically for retirees.

    4. What methods do you use to market your books? Do they work? Which methods do you find most successful? Do you find different methods work for different books?

    First of all, you must fully utilize your own network, all of your work associates, community groups etc. Beyond that, a good public relations consultant can open many doors you might not be able to open on your own.

    The importance of a good book cover cannot be overemphasized. If you are able to find your own graphic artist to work with, it is worthwhile to do so. If you self-publish through Bookbaby or Create Space, they do offer the service of creating the cover for you, but it’s much better to find an artist who can really work with you to graphically convey the message you intend.

    I am active on social media and have my own, twitter, facebook author and book page as well on Linkedin and having the book listed on Goodreads and other online book sites.

    5. Do you immerse yourself in an author’s lifestyle, and what does that mean to you personally? Would you recommend publishing? What do you think are the required attributes to write a book, particularly in your own genre? What message would you give to new authors?

    I feel that having a passion for one’s subject, as I have for mine, is essential for any author. My method for developing my book was an approach that worked for me. Much of the material came from a radio interview show that I had done earlier, based on my twenty years of experience as a career coach. I was given the rights to the tapes from the show, and, with the help of my developmental editor, I turned the interviews into prose and added updated information, resources and social media platforms. I was fortunate to be able to work with a developmental editor who was comfortable with my speaking and writing style—a process which I recommend to writers who have the kind of active public life that I have.

    6. Where can readers find your books for sale? Do you have a blog? If so, what is its general theme?

    “Champion Your Career” is available in print and as an ebook on Amazon https://goo.gl/Bhk5Je Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and Powell’s online bookstores. It is available directly from my website, www.championyourcareer.com. Additionally, it is also now being carried in bookstores around the country as well as in some local college bookstores and college and public libraries in the Pacific Northwest. My blog, www.careerquestcards.wordpress.com, is continually being updated with articles and tips for career seekers at any point on their career paths.

    The path to a fulfilling new career is a journey of many steps. Champion Your Career: Winning in the World of Work has been written to serve as a helpful guide and companion on every step of that journey.

    Champion Your Career is unusual in that it combines career counseling with career coaching. By asking the appropriate questions, Champion Your Career gives you not only the theory behind choosing a career that’s right for you, but offers practical exercises, resources, and powerful questions so you can then become your own career champion. The books that are on the market now offer career choice theory with self-assessment exercises, but without the coaching structure and support that moves readers to active decision making within the process of championing their careers. Champion Your Career provides you with theory, exercises and coaching to support you on the path to finding both the right career and the job that’s perfect for you.

    Anyone who has faced the challenge of embarking on a new career knows how important it is to have someone cheering you on and guiding you in developing effective strategies. In this book, seasoned career counselor/coach Halimah Bellows offers you the tools for becoming your own career champion. With empathy and enthusiasm, she will inspire you to delve deeply and honestly into your experience to discover the career path that is right for you.

    Champion Your Career uniquely addresses the major concerns, methodologies and plans of action that are applicable in the 21st century for a new generation of career seekers, in a new economy, and in a quickly changing marketplace. The resource listings are current and include many websites, blogs, and forums that keep the reader updated on the latest career trends in a given geographic or demographic area.

    Career development is a process. The strategies presented in Champion Your Career can be used throughout your working life.

    Thank you Halimah for talking today.

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