Æther Feature — Olivia M. Grey on Publishing & Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author

Every Thursday, the Archives will feature artists, musicians, and makers of all variety, entered for your approval here in the Archives. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community of steam and cog, or perhaps remind you of one artisan’s successful efforts to bring the past that never was to the here and now.

This week’s Æther Feature for December 6th, 2012, submitted for your pleasure:

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Ning, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, LinkedIn, Google+, LibraryThing, Reddit…

The list goes on and on…and on…

The simple days of MySpace and LiveJournal are over. And how. Although both still exist and are used, they have fallen far from popularity, simply because there are better (and so many) choices available now. More interactive, cross-posting, easily sharable choices. It’s what keeps us locked in our smart phones, checking in, updating statuses, sharing inspiration, and uploading pictures that narrate our lives in the middle of Lowe’s or in the long morning line at Starbucks. In this overwhelming age of too much information at the tips of our fingers anytime, anywhere, it’s becoming difficult to find what we’re actually looking for. Or, at best, we get so distracted by all the ooooh-shinys on the way.

I recently saw a statistic (ironically on Facebook) that read in the month of January 2012, Facebook users worldwide spent an average of 10.5 billion minutes per day, not including mobile devices, which is where most of my social networking is done. That is equal to more than 100,000 years every month. So as you scroll past the cute animal pictures and the cat playing with the dalek and the inspirational or humorous meme that you just must share, easily twenty minutes has passed before you remember what you went to the computer for in the first place.

With so much information going back and forth how does one see anything anymore? This proves to be a huge obstacle for emerging authors. Sure, it’s easier now to get a book published, and with more publishing avenues, than ever before, which is great, but it also means there are more books. Thousands of books. An average of 800 books are published *every day* in the US alone, and that figure is about 7 years old, before the eBook revolution. How is an emerging author to be seen? Between 800+ books a day and cats with daleks and feel-good memes, it is a considerable challenge to find one’s audience amidst the din.

The way to reach audiences and potential readers today is to make a personal connection with them. And I mean personal. Several of my social media clients have said, when discussing Twitter or Facebook, “I don’t care if you need coffee and I don’t want to see another picture of your cat. There are more important things to talk about, like my book!” Therein lies the problem: No one cares about your book. Why should they? They have a reading list a mile long. They don’t know you. You and a thousand other books just came out. They’re busy, often working two jobs, plus getting their kids to soccer practice, plus PTA, etc. etc. etc. They go to social networking to unwind and (shock!) be social. They don’t want to be sold to, and I don’t blame them. People are tired of advertising, everyone always trying to get them to part with their money, and if you’re not careful, that’s how they’ll see you.

They will care about you and your book when you make a personal connection with them. The way to do this is to almost never talk about your book! Strange, I know.

Under my legal name, Christine Rose, I wrote a book called Publishing and Marketing Realities for the Emerging Author, in which I go through this extensively, but here is the short of it:

  1. Create a blog.
  2. Blog often, a least once a week and preferably 3x a week.
  3. RARELY blog about your book, but have information about you and your books in the sidebar and on an “about” page, with a link (one click!) taking them to where they can purchase it if they so choose.
  4. Identify your target audience, like for romance novels it’s generally women 18-65, and blog about something they will find interesting. I blog about romance & relationships, for example. But I could as easily blog about gardening or crocheting or being a soccer mom, whatever. But you blog FOR THEM. Give them articles that will benefit them. That’s why they’ll read it, and that’s why they’ll keep coming back. Ultimately, that’s why they’ll care about you and buy your book.
  5. Build your social networks, and you simply cannot keep up with all of them, so pick two or three. Again, rarely talk about your books. Connect with people. My most “liked” and commented on posts have to do with daily life. Enjoying a mocha. Needing coffee. Opinions about a popular TV show. Because that’s what people do. That’s how an initial connection can be made.
  6. All social networks will lead back to your blog, where there is more information about you, your books, and how to purchase them when they’re ready.

This is getting very long, as there is so much to say, but I guess that’s why I wrote a book on it! I’d love to go into things like Blog Tours, like the one I had just last week under O. M. Grey (http://omgrey.wordpress.com) and the one I’m having next week under Christine Rose (http://christinerose.wordpress.com). They can be highly beneficial or they can be a waste of time. I’d love to talk about contests, what works and what doesn’t, and most just don’t. And I’d really love to talk about giving your books away free for a couple of days and how to do that…and how it will boost your readership like nothing else, except for maybe podcasting. But that will all have to wait for another post.

Until then, you can actually download my Amazon Gothic Romance bestselling novel AVALON REVISITED for FREE on your Kindle (http://t.co/ddTMbJBf) today and tomorrow. Similarly, next week during my blog tour from http://christinerose.wordpress.com, I’ll be giving two books away free all week to anyone who wants one.

Please, come on by and don’t be shy! We can talk about more Publishing and Marketing Realities then.    -_Q



Olivia M. Grey writes dark fiction and Steamy Steampunk, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

(photo of O.M. Grey by Erin McLarty)


Do you have a steampunk musician, artist, short film, designer, or maker that you wish to see in our Ministry Æther Feature? Contact our journalists at tee (at) teemorris (dot) com and pip (at) pjballantine (dot) com, and they will labour to feature you here. If selected, the artist-in-question will be notified. Thank you for your continuing interest in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

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