First news: Deadly Bones should be out by the weekend. It will be all digital first, but I’m also working on the Create Space version for those who prefer print. You can read the first chapter on my website.
I returned home from the NINC (Novelists, Inc.) conference with a brain that had reached overload after the first day. This conference was geared toward the business side of writing, and it was an eye-opener. We had speakers from Amazon, from Goodreads, from Barnes & Noble. We had agents. We had cover designers, book formatters, and successful authors, both indie and traditional. Everyone shared things that they thing work (or don’t) and there was a good amount of disagreement.
I could go on for days recapping individual sessions, but I thought I’d hit some of the eye-opening (for me—I’m sure lots of people already know them) tidbits for starters.
In no particular order of importance:
Discoverability came up frequently. How do readers find you?
Social Networking is important, but focus on the social. If you’re trying to promote a product, you’ll more likely turn people off.
Twitter profile pictures should NOT be a book cover. Use a picture of yourself so people can connect to you as a person, not a product. (Yay! I do that one right)
Reach outside your own circles. One approach was the Goodreads giveaway, where people who don’t follow your blog or know you from Facebook, etc., can find you. (In case you haven’t noticed the sidebar widget, I’m doing a Giveaway of Deadly Secrets right now.)
The foreign market is opening up, but now it’s very hard (and expensive) for an indie author to tap into it. Agents are good at this, but right now, few, if any, are willing to handle only one aspect of an author’s book. They want all the rights.
Videos, trailers, etc. Most viewers only last 15–20 seconds when they’re checking a video. If you’ve got one, make it short, and make that opening count.
Pinterest: different opinions on this one. Some people loved it, others not so much. It can be a major time suck, because you have to spend time finding things to pin, repin, and whatever else one does on Pinterest. There are copyright issues as well. Also, it’s great for visuals, like shoes, or cooking, or craft, but not really a place for books. (So I’m holding off on that one.)
There was a fascinating presentation on Search Engine Optimization given by David Wind. Keywords and metadata. I didn’t understand most of it, but I have the handouts and will be going over them—probably along with a web guru. What looks great to someone surfing the web doesn’t look the same to these bots. While we don’t like spam bots, we need to attract the search bots. These are the programs that pick up keywords from a website so if someone’s looking for a Colorado romantic suspense author, maybe they’ll get my site in their hits.
Two tidbits I took away for immediate use (and I’m talking going right up to my room and fixing my website immediate).
1. The bots don’t see all caps. So, if your book titles are in all caps (as mine were), the bots won’t see them.
2.The bots see only text, not images. So if your website is full of graphics and pictures of your books, you have to make sure there’s text (alt tags) so the bots have something to read. So many of us simply upload an image from our computer, and what appears on a mouse roll-over is whatever name we gave the file when we saved it. However, David told us to go in and fill that alt tag with keywords. I started doing that immediately as well, at least on my home page images.
That’s it for this post. I’ve hit a lot of conferences in a short period of time and I still have pages and pages of notes from all of them. As authors, what have you found that works for you? As readers, how do you find authors? What makes you give that new author a try?
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society