Friday, July 01, 2016

Getting Your Book into Barnes & Noble

Authors with traditional publishers take for granted that we can find our books on shelves on release day. We go to our local Barnes & Noble and there it is, like magic.

It isn't so easy for independent authors. If you self-publish or choose a small press, you often must go to your local bookstores and ask that they carry it. You'll also need to promote it, which means one of these:

Most authors, no matter how we're published, must put these events together ourselves. And most of us have no clue how to go about it in the beginning. I walked into every bookstore in the area and introduced myself.

One bookstore has the best idea I've ever seen. Ever. Barnes & Noble in Chattanooga, Tennessee has a community relations manager who "gets" authors. Not only does he support us, he becomes a cheerleader for our careers. If every bookstore in the world took this approach, this is how readers would be:

He has put together an event to help authors who want to have a book signing in the store. The event not only tells you what you need to do to make your signing successful, but it provides information on how to get your books on the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble.

Plus (and this is the super-smart part), attending one of these seminars is a pre-requisite to having a signing this fall. Which makes life great for both B&N and authors because when the signing does happen, an author just might see a crowd like this:

(We can dream, right?)

Unfortunately, if you don't live near Chattanooga, this won't help you. However, the community relations manager has offered to share his notes with other Barnes & Noble locations. Visit your local B&N and tell them about this, then have them call Kelly at the Chattanooga, Tennessee store if they'd like his notes. Maybe this will eventually become a regular event at all their stores.

Also, Barnes & Noble has its own printing platform (eBook and print), in case you didn't know about it. More information here:

Do you have any tips for writers interested in getting their books on the shelves of bookstores? Or any tips on successful book signings? If so, leave them in the comments for others!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How NOT to Sell Crap on Facebook

A few weeks ago, a girl from high school I've never spoken to before added me to her group. She didn't ask first, so I assume I was one of hundreds of people she added. Her product was part of one of those pyramid scheme things that pretend not to Pampered Chef and Mary Kay.

So this spammy woman immediately started posting junk to her page. Videos of her talking about the product, ads for the product, invitations to buy the product. There were probably about five posts a day.

And then I made the biggest mistake. I bought something from her. I'd bought the product before from other people and she was the only one I could find who was selling it. She posted one of these and tagged me, so everyone I knew could see I'd bought this crap:

No biggie. I'd ordered from friends on Facebook before and gotten the same thing. Had nothing happened after that, life would have been fine. But soon after, I got a personal email asking me to check out her other items and buy something.

I ignored that and the next day, she posted another video. Another notification came with it. She messaged me and told me to check those out. I clicked over, intending to do this:

But, whoops, along the way I saw this and decided to click on it:

Problem solved. But I couldn't help but think that if she'd just not been so obnoxious, I would still be following her. She could have posted the occasional special and I would have been fine. But the constant messages were just too much.

Have you ever had a friend who seemed to always be trying to make money off of you?

Monday, June 27, 2016

How to Get a Book Published in 1,000 Easy Steps

Once you're published, you get the occasional question from an aspiring author. The question almost always boils down to this:

Maybe they've written a book. Maybe they haven't. But questions like "How do I get a book published?" can be complicated to answer. I often feel that they're looking for the magic fairy dust.

I started writing in 1995. I landed my agent in 2009. I got my first book deal in 2012. So...yeah...that magic fairy dust was this:

So, I've decided to write this blog post, which I'll save as a link to send to anyone who asks. This is the most important thing I'd tell anyone who wants to be a novelist:

So if you pass that test, I'd point you to the next piece of advice almost every working author today lives by:

Long before I typed "Chapter One" on my first book, I was reading everything I could. Including Stephen King's entire collection. Once I started writing, I kept finding time to read, including listening to audiobooks and riding the bus to work so I could get my reading time in.

There are supplies you can gather for your journey, including a support group. I highly recommend it. For the first half of my journey, I relied heavily on the support of Romance Writers of America (RWA), a 100-percent awesome organization.

If you're a children's writer, this is your group. Another 100-percent awesome organization.

If you're looking for a group that meets in person regularly, Meetup can help you find a critique/support group:

You should also set up a Twitter account and start following agents who represent the type of books you plan to write. They'll often post calls for specific types of manuscripts. You may also want to sign up for this:

If you want to self-publish, I'm not the person to ask. That's a whole other complicated blog that I'm sure one of my mega-talented blogger friends has posted about before.

(If you have, please post the link in the comments!)

Hope this guide has been at least a little helpful. Also, once you're published, be careful reading an unpublished author's work. It can put you into some serious legal hot water if that author decides you "stole" his or her idea later.

What advice do you have for new authors?

My giveaway ends Wednesday. Enter now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus by Stephanie Faris

Piper Morgan Joins the Circus

by Stephanie Faris

Giveaway ends June 29, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway