Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What really works in terms of online marketing?

There are so many tactics out there, all of which work in varying degrees, but if you’re a busy author, with kids and a day job, you want to hone in on the best strategies that have the maximum effect. Social Media Marketing Everyone has a Twitter and Facebook account these days, but very few know how to use them optimally.

The power of Twitter lies in reaching large numbers of people in your target market. Short, hard sell promotional Tweets do not work. Instead, concentrate on relationship building. Read up about using hash tags. This helps you to reach like-minded people who may be interested in your work.

Facebook is a great social networking tool. I’ve made many wonderful, supportive ‘friends’ on Facebook. Because conversations are longer, meaningful relationships are easier to develop than on any other social media platform.

Consider joining groups with large followings, so when you do post, you reach a larger group than if you just posted on your own wall.

Timing also makes a difference. I restrict my posts to once a day on both FB and Twitter, and usually in the afternoon, as that way I know I’m reaching my US market, which is online by then.

· Your website is the hub of all your marketing activity. All your profiles, biographies, bylines and social media profiles should link back to your website.

· An email subscribe form on your website will help you build a list of dedicated fans. These are people who are interested in your books and want to be contacted when you release your next novel. To this effect, make sure a Contact Me button is clear and visible on your site.

· Your website provides information on your books such as where to buy them, blurbs and positive reviews.

 · Your website should list your awards and accreditations – so as to build your credibility.

 · List any events or signings that you’re attending so your fans have an opportunity to meet you in person.

Interviews and Guest Posts.

Follow worthwhile blogs, especially those in your target market. Ask to be interviewed by the ones you enjoy the most. The same goes for guest posts. Your aim here is not to make sales, but to build your brand, gain recognition and get your message out there where it will be picked up by search engines. Use key phrases particular to your genre, pen name or books in all your articles and interviews so they are easily picked up by online searches.

Take time to respond. Your readers are your biggest fans and your bread and butter. Answer every email, tweet or post you get from readers and nurture those relationships. This can take a huge amount of time, but it’s worth it. Set time aside for this. But don’t let it get in the way of your daily writing routine.

Louise Rose-Innes

Author @ LouiseRoseInnes.comhttp://www.LouiseRoseInnes.com

Friday, July 19, 2013

Newbie Review of RNA Conference by Julie Heslington

Two days on and I think I may have finally re-regulated my temperature following my first time at an air-con-less (is that a word?) hot and sticky RNA Conference.  The temperature soared (boo) but so did my inspiration (hurrah). 

The Gala Dinner

For me, there were three stand-out moments:

1.     Julie Cohen’s workshop on theme. What a fantastic trainer! I’ve always been conscious that my trilogy of novels have a theme but I hadn’t thought about the depth of this and how I could incorporate it into all parts of the book, whether this be through secondary characters or even metaphors. I also discovered that each of my books has a secondary theme; something I hadn’t considered previously. I left that session brimming with ideas that I think will massively add value to my writing
The Goody Bag

2.     My editor meetings. I was lucky enough to secure meetings with MIRA and Harper Impulse and found these most enlightening. First learning – editors are human! They’re actually friendly approachable people and not these scary beings who’ll stamp “reject” on my forehead in indelible ink. Second learning – I can write! I was told by both that I have a great concept and a very strong and lovely voice which was a huge boost. An even bigger boost was that they both would like to see my full MS. But the greatest learning for me was a light bulb moment triggered by a question that Charlotte from Harper Impulse asked. We were discussing my protagonist and her motivation for finding love and she asked me something to which the answer was, “no”. But then I thought, “What if the answer was yes? What if that did actually happen?” And suddenly I’d found the missing piece of the puzzle; the part of chapter 1 that I’d always felt was missing. So now I have a new chapter 1 and I absolutely love it (she says very modestly). Thank you Charlotte

3.     Meeting up with some of The Write Romantics. Jo Bartlett and I ‘met’ via Romna last November and set up a blog but quickly recognised that we may struggle to keep it updated regularly with just the two of us so we opened up our membership. We’re now a ten-strong team of  NWS members (or recent graduates) and have been blogging together since spring. We’ve never met so it was fabulous to meet and talk all things writing with five of the team
The Write Romantics
As for the rest of my experiences as a newbie, I was very impressed with the venue (and gutted that my Halls of Residence weren’t that nice when I was a student), delighted with my goody bag (although slightly traumatised by the weight of my suitcase when travelling by train) and really appreciated the effort put in by Jan, Kate and the team to ensure we were prepared and felt welcome. The pre-conference information, in particular, really helped dispel those newbie-nerves! Overall, an invaluable, enlightening experience. Thank you RNA!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sally Quilford Talks About her First RNA Conference

This was my first RNA conference, and as a published writer, I must admit to feeling some trepidation before I left home. The last time I went on a holiday involving other writers, the moment I mentioned I’d been published, it was as if a veil came down. I was no longer a considered a struggling writer or ‘one of the crowd’.

Thankfully at an RNA conference, there is no such demarcation line. Published or unpublished, we are all in this together, and that spirit was very much in evidence.
Charlotte McFall, Sally Quilford, Sarah Watkinson and Kate Jackson

It was also a bit like speed dating. There were so many people there to talk to, so I usually managed no more than five minutes with each person and sadly didn’t get to speak to everyone. Maybe next time we should turn it into an event, where we all sit at tables then a bell rings every five minutes telling us to swap over!
The contents of the goody bag

Particularly thrilling for me is that my book, Take My Breath Away, made the conference goody bag. And let me tell you that the goody bags alone are worth the price of entry!

I loved that my badge had a sparkly flower, to denote me being a conference virgin. The moment people saw it, they took me in hand and helped me to find my way around, welcoming me to their tables in the café and generally just making sure I was okay. However, there was no pressure. I could take part if I wanted to, or I could choose to go to my room and chill out.

I had opted for a quiet block, because I do sometimes need to escape and be alone with my thoughts. I only regretted this decision once when I opened my window on a sweltering evening in Sheffield, and could hear fabulously raucous renditions of Secret Love and Oklahoma coming from one of the community kitchens. If anyone is planning a ‘Night of the Musicals’ in their kitchen next year please invite me. I’d be a great asset because I know all the words, honest.

An important lesson learned was that it’s perhaps not a great idea to try and attend talks for every session. I ended up playing hookie from a couple because I was so exhausted. I may pace myself a bit next time.

The perfect end to the perfect weekend was that I won the Kitty Charles hamper! We all had to wear a badge saying ‘I Am Kitty Charles’ and then we were put into the draw. It was only when I got home that I realised I could have bored people all weekend with a Pythonesque ‘I am Kitty Charles and so is my wife’. Maybe next year.
A kitchen party in full swing

All too soon it was time to leave. I am now no longer a first timer as far as attending the RNA conference is concerned. But next year I will be paying it forward by looking out for other conference virgins and helping them to have a wonderful time. 

You can find out more about Sally on her website...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July Self-Published New Releases

REGENCY BOX SET 1 by Amanda Grange


July 2013



3 Regency romances for the price of 1 from bestselling author Amanda Grange. Perfect for the summer weather! In A Most Unusual Governess, Sarah stands up to her arrogant employer and sparks fly as they find themselves irresistibly drawn to one another. In The Earl Next Door, Marianne is drawn into an adventure with Lord Ravensford which whirls her to the shores of revolutionary France and changes her life forever. And in The Six-Month Marriage, Madeline overcomes her fear of men in a convenient marriage which turns into something far deeper and more profound.





An Englishwoman's Guide to the Cowboy by June Kearns


Pub – June Kearns

October 2012

Price: £5.54


Format: Kindle edition

Price: £1.57


Texas 1867. After a stagecoach wreck, buttoned-up Victorian spinster, Annie Haddon finds herself thrown into the company of cowboy maverick, Colt McCall – a man who relies on animal instinct for survival, and lives by his own rules.Can two people from such wildly different backgrounds learn to trust each other?Annie and McCall find out on their journey across the haunting, mystical landscape of the American West.




Tall, Dark and Kilted by Lizzie Lamb

Amazon kindle

The New Romantics 4

November 2012



Amazon (Create Space) paperback

November 2012




Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there's a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester Ross , Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an up close and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate - starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family. Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?






Monday, July 15, 2013

Nikki Goodman On Her Favourite Things About The RNA Conference

RNA Conference 13; Here are a few of my favourite things …

1.    Arrival
AKA shooting out of the car after a clammy journey (detouring through Mansfield and Chesterfield to avoid the nightmare that was the M1, ably chauffeured by author Sue Moorcroft) in search of a cold shower and a colder drink.
Jan Jones and Christina Courtenay 

2.    Sheffield Uni Rocks!
… Apart from the broken air con during one of the most scorching weekends of the year. But it was also modern and spacious, with helpful staff and lovely student digs to sleep/shower/sing in!

3.    Romantic Novelists Rally (no, not a new F1 team)
So it was hot, and everyone was melting … but the first day kicked off to a great start anyway with an opening speech by new Chairman Pia Fenton aka Christina Courtenay and news of contracts and other reasons to celebrate. This was followed by wine - mostly consumed outside - and writing pals having a good old gossip. (For the record I really did intend to be sensible and have one drink, go to bed early and pace myself. Is it my fault The Romaniacs plied me with wine and let me sing?)

4. The Usual Suspects
As I was expecting, the weekend was choc full of:-
A)   Great shoes (I’m almost certain pictures will be on the blog already)
B)   Bottles of wine  (red, white, rose, whatever)
C)   Lovely outfits (check out the dresses at the Gala dinner, darling)
D)  Fantastic chat (yes, we write but we can also really talk)
E)   Loads of laughter (goes without saying)
F)    Sharing of tips/markets/opportunities (we were there for work after all, and publishing is going through some seismic changes at the moment so there was lots to confab over)
G)  Informative talks/panels/workshops (where to start? Julie Cohen’s workshop on theme? Janet Gover’s interactive media session? Carole Blake’s talk about her 50 years in publishing? I learnt so much).
H)  Awards and contracts (the Elizabeth Goudge went to Choc Lit author Kate Johnson, two new authors announced as signed to Choc Lit publishing, a new series of short stories acquired by Harper Impulse … the list goes on)
I)     Helpful 1:1 editor appointments (I wasn’t a conference virgin as I was at Penrith last year but I still felt pretty nervous at the prospect of these, but felt suitably rewarded with some lovely, positive feedback)
J)     Support from all sides (sincere, shared happiness in each other’s recent writing achievements; urging the unpublished writers to just keep going; profuse thanks and applause for everyone who did panels and talks)

  1. Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration
Though sad to say goodbye to everyone and leave (personally I could’ve stayed a week) I was also excited to get back home and return to the WIP and some submissions. I always feel re-energised and refocused by the conference … and as I sit here, slightly hung over, hoarse from talking and very tired from the late nights, I’m already looking forward to RNAconf14.

Laura James and Nikki Goodman

By Nikki Goodman, NWS (4th year)