Monday, March 11, 2013

Highlights from Writer's Sessions at Tucson Book Festival

Things Writers Might Want to Know, a.fonte/anitawrites


·         Use Twitter for news, pr, announcements

·         Blogs—post at least once a week, preferable 3x a week; add other blog sources; put a chapter of your book on the blog; “interview” someone and post the Q&A

·         High Concept Blogging is blogging so that the blog gives people something they want, can take away—don’t use the blog to talk about your writing, present a “water cooler” subject

·         Branding your Social Media sites means being consistent with your name, content and emotion you are trying to convey.  You are trying to build a high “likability” factor.  Hitting “likes” on others’ FaceBook pages increases your likability—it shows you are interested in others.

·         On Facebook, set up an author’s page; consider adding a fan page and of course, you have a profile page


·         In writing fiction: know the journey of your protagonist before you begin writing; your character has to change by the end of the story; there are several levels of story—the story of the character(s), the universal story the read will connect with, the Point A -> B story line.


·         There is traditional publishing where the author has a literary agent and takes the book to a publisher who then owns the rights to the book.  The author still has to do a lot of self-marketing. Royalties are split with the author.

·         There are small publishers who may or may not have “buy back” agreements with the distributors (Ingram or Baker & Taylor).  The author wants a publisher who has a “buy back” agreement because this makes the book more attractive to book sellers.  The author maintains the rights to the book.  Small publishers should be willing to do an editorial analysis, assist with editing, cover and back cover design, interior design, registration. Royalties are split with the author.  The range varies from 25% to 50%, depending if in print or online.  There may be a “success quotient” built into the contract where if a certain number of books sell, the author gets an additional incentive.  The publisher should help with promotion such as directing the author to a literary service and get a review of the book, help with media interviews and guest speaking.

·         True self publishing is when the author finds a printing source (CreateSpace, BookBaby, Lulu, Espresso, AlphaGraphics) and, depending on the services paid for, may or may not get assistance with design, registration.  There may be hidden costs for formatting, print on demand, shipping.  Author gets the total royalty, if there is one.

o   For first time authors who want to go with “true self-publishing” for a print book, start with CreateSpace and/or Espresso.  Smashwords is accessible and free for ebooks.  These are basically printing resources (as is AlphaGraphics).

o   Consider using Word Publisher which typesets in standard 6x9” and will omit pagination for the first page of a chapter/section which should not have a page number.

o   Use InDesign (Adobe) or Photoshop to manipulate images

o   To market your own book—start with letters to bookstores, press releases with letterhead of your publishing business on the header of the letter.  Include a picture of your cover, directions on how to buy/order the book, a summary of the book, a description of you/the author and how to contact you/the author.  Consider putting ads about your book in various newsletters. 

·         Covers of your book should look good in grayscale (early Nooks and Kindles don’t have color) and as Thumbnail. 

o   The cover should tell the story; it represents a “promise” to the reader

o   The cover is your brand

o   Author’s name/font should be bold and get attention

o   Do NOT use a font from the computer; go to www.webfonts or www.myfonts and buy a font ($6.00-$300.00)

o   Straight fonts look clean

o   Smashwords requires a portrait format not landscape for the cover

o   Smashwords provides a list of professionals who design covers and/or can do formatting

o   It takes 3-8 seconds for a reader to an impression of your book; the reader’s eye goes from upper left corner to clockwise around the book

·         The cover sets the emotional tone of the book.  Know the genre of your book.  If it’s nonfiction, look at other nonfiction covers; if it’s short story, look at other short story covers, etc. 

·         Images need to be 300 dpi; no smaller than 200x300 pixels; color for web is set at RBG; color for print is set at CMYK.



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