Sunday, June 12, 2011

Guest Blogger Deborah J. Ledford

Today we're pleased to welcome guest blogger Deborah J. Ledford, novelist, short story writer, film producer, editor, and photographer. Deborah’s latest thriller novel SNARE is The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist. STACCATO is book one of her Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series, both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. A three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize in the short story category, her award-winning stories appear in numerous print publications, as well as mystery and literary anthologies. Deborah invites you to her website: www.DeborahJLedford.com.
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As writers we wear a lot of hats. First we create the words, then edit, polish, edit some more, submit our work, begin other projects while we wait to hear back from agents or publishers. And once you become a published author there are even more burdens that seem as far away from the craft of writing as one can imagine.

Organization is key. I recommend keeping a separate calendar for all writing related projects. Put nothing personal in this log. As you’re writing the first draft of a new novel or short story, consider notating that day’s word count. Think of this task as a reward, a cookie at the end of the evening. This also helps to maintain focus and stay on track—especially if there’s a deadline to remember. Do your best to restrict information such as signings, events, publication acceptances, conference dates and so forth for this calendar.

A different hat is needed when it comes to promoting your published novels and short stories. Hours upon hours spent on social sites can leave one wondering if any of this is worthwhile. There doesn’t seem to be a formula for finding readers, so getting your name out there on the Web is crucial. Try not to spend too much time on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. As many of you know these methods seem to be the best way to stay in touch with fans and potential readers, but these sites can be addictive.

It is important not to be too blatant about self promotion. Sharing links and re-tweeting your other “friends” kudos and interesting tidbits is every bit as crucial as presenting your own information about appearances and celebrations. Of course this takes time as well, but if you choose your methods wisely something you never expected can come your way.

For example, I posted two separate responses on a Forum page targeted
specifically for readers of thriller books. The next day I was shocked to see over
1,700 visits to my website on that date. Now this was also the same day I updated my website announcing that my latest thriller SNARE had been nominated for The Hillerman Sky Award, but I’m quite certain my mention of other writers’ works on that Forum had a lot to do with drawing more people to my site.

Personal appearances require another hat. We writers are comfortable sitting at our keyboards and when it comes to appearing on a professional panel with hundreds of attendees, or even facing a book club of four readers, this can be paralyzing for some. Although I’m getting better as more personal appearances come my way, it takes a lot of courage and fortitude to face the unknown. I will say that being engaging to audience members, adding a little humor, and having knowledge about what you are presenting does indeed help sell books.

With so many demands, all we can do is our best. Most important is always remember to be true to your words.

3 comments:

Donis Casey said...

I have more trouble forcing myself to spend time on forums, tweeting, and other types of social media than anything else I do related to my writing. And yet that seems to be the way the world is going. I prefer personal appearances to virtual appearances. Yet lots of travel takes more time and money than most writers can afford. Often if an author can afford to tour extensively, he's so popular he doesn't really need to. One of the ironies of life.

Deborah J said...

Thank you for the opportunity to appear on the great Type M for Murder, Donis.

Although virtual book tours seem to be the way technology is going and there's the potential to reach far more book lovers, I agree with you--it is so much more rewarding to make a personal connection face to face.

virginia nosky said...

I love your cookie at the end of the day's writing. I have another. For example: The word count for your novel shows 24,997 words. For heaven's sake...find a place for three more words and voila! You're at 25,000. Sleep like a baby. Xvirginia