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Category Archives: Social Media Book Promo

Variations on Promoting a Book

With the pandemic dragging on way too long with so many variants, a book author has to find variations to in-person presentations and book signings to promote his or her book. Being a library lover and patron for many, many years, I am focusing on a few ways for library patrons and other book lovers to find my book, learn about it and borrow it from the library. And yes, I do get royalties for that from the Public Lending Right Program in Canada, as long as the library branches carry copies of my book. So, out there in library land are my three Beyond mystery books and my newest book The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir. It is the memoir I am going to spill the beans on what I am doing beyond getting the book into the libraries.

It helps that my East End Writers’ Group was meeting at the S. Walter Stewart library branch (as one of its programs), that is until the pandemic closed the libraries during lock downs, but even when lock downs were lifted and the libraries opened, in-person programs didn’t return. According to the librarian who I liaison with for EEWG, that won’t happen for some time. EEWG now meets twice a month on Zoom. But more importantly for this post, EEWG celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020. I know, pandemic cancelled any in-library celebrations, but besides taping two appearances with a couple of EEWG members on the online TV show The Liquid Lunch, EEWG went virtual for a big 20th anniversary celebration in 2021. Hey, you got to do things differently.

My favourite meeting place

Three of us organized this celebration – two other members, Kit a speculative fiction writer, and Shane, who is also my publisher at Blue Denim Press, and also a published fiction author and me. I lined up members – new and longtime – to showcase their creative talents, Kit hosted it, and Shane put together the publishing panel as well as being on it, and designing the invitation and setting up the Facebook login for people to attend. Shane and I also sent out virtual invitations and some of mine went to librarians and a retired librarian from the Toronto Public Library system.

And I made my presentation relevant to both one of my Beyond books – the latest Beyond Faith – and my memoir The Enemies Within Us. I used a connection between them – that nun from my past who bullied me in grade school. The nun in Beyond Faith is based on her. So I did a combination of reading and a skit for my presentation. Shane edited the Facebook video, divided it into two videos and both are now online and have been for the few months since the big celebration of May 26.

But I also recently did something else. I emailed my liaison librarian to see if she could get the links to the two EEWG anniversary celebrations on the Toronto Public Library website – as we had been meeting in one of the TPL branches. That didn’t happen exactly, but she was able to get another TPL branch, the Danforth/Coxwell branch to post it to their Facebook page the end of July. So thanks to Luke at the Danforth/Coxwell branch and Jennifer at S. Walter Branch for making this all happen. To see the Facebook posting Log in to Facebook, go here and scroll down. Or log into Facebook and do a search for Danforth/Coxwell library branch.

The library branch posting video links to East End Writers’ celebrations

That’s not all I’m doing with the library – or trying to do. Toronto Public Library welcomes program proposals from authors – at this point for virtual and/for in-person whenever COVID will permit the latter. The big proposal form you fill out online lets you decide which you want – virtual or in-person or both. I chose both. My presentation, without completely giving it away, uses my little girl self and my senior self to present parts of my memoir, especially what it was like growing up with an elderly father who has cancer and being bullied. No bites yet, but I’m still working on the actual presentation.

The take-away here?

Find a writing-related event (yours or something else) you can anchor on to connect with the library and come up with an unusual presentation for your book that can be virtual. And remember libraries have branches for when they finally can open to in-person presentations, and there are libraries right across your country, which can be good for you and the libraries during a pandemic.

We book authors have to be creative to promote our books in pandemic times.

But don’t forget to get your book into the library. Find out how from your library and do it. Mine is in three Toronto public library branches and holds are on for it with some copies in transit from … you guessed it…the copy at S. Walter Stewart branch. The link to The Enemies Within Us in the libraries is here.

Good luck with promoting your book through the libraries.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Shared Virtual Book Promo Key during COVID Lockdowns Part 1

This COVID-19 pandemic keeps continuing and we writers need to find different ways to promote our books. And help each other in the process. As you know from previous posts over the past few years, I host the online TV series Crime Beat Confidential on thatchannel.com. The latest was done just before the end of 2020 and featured another series mystery writer  – Rosemary McCracken. who writes the Pat Tierney mystery series.

Rosemary and I belong to a couple of the same mystery-writing organizations – Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime. In the days when we could still do so, we often were panelists together (and with other authors) with those organizations’ presentations. Here we read and/or talked about our books, including doing some q and a.

My favourite meeting place – closed for now

I also run the East End Writers’ Group – for writing critiques – now virtual. When we met at S. Walter Stewart Library in Toronto, Canada, Rosemary was one of my guests for one of our special presentations. So books were physically there for readers to buy. Now the book-selling process is online in various capacities. I know, I know, some of us, like me, have done some book sales from our verandas. But all sales instigated either from Facebook, email, book launch, or elsewhere on line.

My veranda in October where I sold my memoir. Note veranda guards.

So now we writers pair together to promote our books. Below is the link to Rosemary’s Crime Beat Confidential interview, done remotely.  It is about 45 minutes long. Warning: my pesky in-your-face Beyond character, PI Dana Bowman, loudly starts the show – as she usually does. But despite her brashness, she is turning into a good marketer for my memoir. Hear and see what she has to say at the beginning and then she talks a bit about Rosemary. But I am the one interviewing Rosemary while Dana gets banished out of camera view on the living room couch.

See Crime Beat Confidential here.

And stay tuned for the next couple of blog posts as Rosemary and I have concocted something more in this shared marketing.

How are you promoting your books in these pandemic times?

Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford

Author of The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir and the Beyond mystery series, all published by Blue Denim Press.

 

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Insights on Author presentations and readings

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Last evening’s East End Writers’ Group presentation on Making Your Short Stories Sparkle and Sell drew a full house of authors and readers (some are both) at the S.Walter Stewart Library Branch in Toronto, Canada. Rosemary McCracken, Madeline Harris-Callway and I got everyone involved in why and how we write and that included lots of questions from the audience. We had a real dialogue of sharing information and stories on writing fiction and getting it published.

And then Rosemary reminded us all that we should each read from one of our books. I had forgotten all about reading as I was so engrossed in the conversations we were all having.

Just as well Rosemary got the reading ball rolling. Because afterwards, a fellow in the audience who is also a writer came up to me and said that he likes to hear authors read. He compared it to musicians performing and said that what else can authors do to preform except read.

I was surprised. Because it has been my experience that too much author reading can make the audience yawn with boredom.

His words made me rethink the whole presentation situation. Perhaps we should have more reading time. Perhaps we should do more author readings. There are a lot of those in pubs, cafes, and yes library branches in Toronto. I’ve done some of those readings myself and also with other authors.

I think the boredom factor might have something to do with how the author reads. If they read in a quiet inside voice, if they read with no expression, if they are not animated as they read, if they don’t have inserts about their stories and writing them between reading excerpts, maybe they lose some connection with the audience.

The purpose of authors reading (besides hopefully selling some book copies) is to engage the audience, to bring the audience into their stories, to live with their characters for a time, to take the audience out of their own lives and into someone else’s, and to just listen and love the words, their flow, and the story being told.

Wise words from someone in the audience.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

And as usual, if you click on the book cover at the top it takes you to my amazon profile and my two Beyond books.

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How self-publishing has changed – this editor’s personal take

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The self-publishing business has evolved a lot in the last few years. It is no longer on the fringe but has moved more main-stream. Here is my take on some of what is happening. This will sum up my postings on the editor-self-publishing author relationship based on my talk on the Editors Canada panel April 26.

  1. Self-published books are now considered respectable and not vanity press. Authors of sp books can be members of The Writers Union, have their books in libraries, do library readings and presentations, and register the book(s) with the Public Lending Rights program
  2. Author has much more say in what is done, can be more satisfying but also lots more work and responsibility and cost. And no middle person for taking cut in book sales.
  3. Choice in how to publish (e-publish only or print only or both – Kobo, amazon, etc.).
  4. A lot more social media and the like (including doing book review trades with other authors) involved –author blog, Facebook, Linked In, Goodreads, etc.; author must organize and pay for any in-person book launch, but virtual book launches are becoming popular. As the title suggests, the author is glued to the seat of her chair at the computer for hours, but she has control over the time and length of her book launch – also much cheaper than in-person launches.
  5. Other online media authors can schedule – videos, including guesting on online TV shows such as The Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com and join meet-up groups such as the Toronto Indie Publishing group.

But author having more control can be good and prosperous. My writing colleague, Rena Natan who self-publishes some of her books is proof of that.Here is what she emailed me (in part) to use in my presentation:

“The process of promoting the book is time-consuming. I try to have it reviewed by friend authors (like yourself), by Midwest Book review (authoritative, free, but it takes about a year) and Goodreaders members.

Then I submit the book to all competitions that are not too expensive; I check them first on the website  www.pred-ed.com (preditors and editors).

When you win a competition you get, in general, perks, like free listing on a number of Websites, Bookdaily,  and the like. These help a little to sell.”

Rene’s books have won awards as you can see from the first page of her website. She also has more info on her books and what is happening with them here.

And for those who have trade publishers, some of these promotional activities can apply as today published authors have to take their publicity by the horns and do a lot of it themselves.

Which is good in that authors can connect more with their readers.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

 

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Authors helping authors

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

I have always tried to help other writers in whatever way I can – and I don’t just mean editing their writing or consulting for a fee. And this is so true for authors promoting their work – published and unpublished. We all have strengths and weaknesses here (and sometimes we don’t always know what they are at first).

Sometimes it is a good idea to mutually help each other – using our individual strengths. You know the old saying “two heads are better than one.”

Last evening I had a chat covering all this with another published fiction author (suspense romance) Karen Blake-Hall. When we met I had no idea that our conversation would lead to this mutual help to promote our books. Karen has a sales background and is willing to help me with using social media. Yes, I use some, but could do much more with social media and boy did, Karen have ideas.

On my side, as I admitted to her, I am better at the in-person promotion. A blogger once told me I am good at connecting people with what they want and need – in person and by email (All those business networking lunches, dinners, etc. in the past are paying off). And I am good at public (as in physically there) presentations and readings). Still need a little bit more promo slants there, though and Karen came up with something she does that would work for me, too. I also connected Karen with the TV and radio programs where I was interviewed.

I am glad to do so. For those of you who might have the idea that authors helping each other will interfere with their book promotion and sale results, think again. Think of a variation of the old saying “safety in numbers” – i.e., “more exposure and more fun in numbers.” Still don’t believe me? Read my guest blog post from March 9, 2015 on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog at http://shannonathompson.com/2015/03/09/author-and-reader-connection/

 

Often I help emerging authors –whether through writing workshops, my East End Writers’ Group, word of mouth, email, etc. And their thank you and getting some good, some success, out of what I have to offer gives me a good feeling.

I do believe that what you sow, you shall reap – in other words what goes around comes around.

It might not be right away, but it will happen. And good Karma is better than bad Karma. So why not work together?

Authors helping authors. It’s win/win.

And here is a link to Karen Blake-Hall’s website. Take a look and maybe some of her e-books will interest you. http://karenblake-hall.com/

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo – there.

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile. If you buy a copy there, please do a review there.

 

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