Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Presenting a Special Guest-CE Vance

Good evening, and please join me in welcoming a special guest. Meet CE Vance, author of How Maxwell Grover Stole My House. 
C.E. Vance is an avid reader and proud Indie author. Aside from dreaming up fantastical tales for her books, she also enjoys writing poetry and short stories. She loves all types of literature, but has a soft spot for children’s fantasy. “How Maxwell Grover Stole My House” is her debut novel and is the initial book in a trilogy for middle-grade readers. She happily resides with her husband and four children in Utah.

Additionally, Vance is also a fantastic supporter of indie authors via organizations such as IndieBooksBeSeen, Author Promo Co-op, and Get Down with the Awethors.
How Maxwell Grover Stole My House.
Currently on sale at Amazon, How Maxwell Grover Stole My House tells the story of a ten-year-old boy who enlists his best friend’s help to try to figure out why a vindictive neighbor is trying to make his life a living hell.
Here is the official blurb:
What if every fear you ever had about your creepy next-door neighbor turned out to be true? 
10- year-old Zeke Langley has become the target of his nasty new neighbor, Maxwell Grover. For reasons known only to him, the unsavory stranger seems determined to make Zeke’s life miserable and force his family out of their home.
Inevitably, Zeke and his best friend Winks set out on a journey to discover what Grover is hiding. What they find sends them down a road they never imagined … and on a mission they may never return from.
Here are what some reviewers are saying about Maxwell Grover:
I loved this book from start to finish! It was so exciting and every page had me gripped. The characters are fantastic – particularly the disgusting Maxwell Grover himself. As a teacher of 9-11 year olds, I imagine that every kid in my class would just adore this book, but it isn’t just for kids. The idea of a sadistic, bullying adult picking on kids is something everybody can be afraid of. It locks into something inside every one of us, and you just can’t help but root for the kids to come out on top.

Surprisingly, even though I knew the ending (it’s the title of the book for goodness sake!), I actually didn’t expect what happened! And I was definitely left wanting more so I can’t wait for book 2 to be released!
The name Maxwell Grover sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong. Maxwell Grover is the epitome of a grumpy old man– inside and out. If you’re expecting a heartwarming oh-he’s-just-a-lonely-and-misunderstood-man-who-needs-a-friend twist from this book, you won’t get it. The author’s descriptions of Maxwell are disgusting (in gross-out mid-grade appropriate ways) and a couple of times I regretted trying to eat lunch while reading a chapter.
The ten-year old protagonists acted their age which frequently frazzled my helicopter-parenting nerves . The children repeatedly antagonized Maxwell and invaded his personal space without understanding the potential danger they were placing themselves in. Multiple times I wanted to pull them aside and tell them to stop doing what they were doing because it wasn’t safe. I’ll admit it. I’m getting old.
Mid-grade readers will get a kick out of this one, as long as they can accept not all books have to have a happy ending. BTW, this is not a spoiler. You find out in the first chapter that things aren’t going to end well.
I bought this book for my nephew who is a struggling reader. I am amazed how both my nephew and I are enjoying the book. C.E. Vance has a natural ability to tell children’s stories and to tell them well. She used suspense, humor, and language in a way to evoke the most natural feelings in story-telling. I look forward to finishing this book with my nephew. Already we have enjoyed Vance’s uncanny ability for description and emphasis on unraveling the story. Thumbs way up!
This book was amazing. It kept my interest from the very beginning. It really picked up after Zeke’s family moved to a new place and he befriends Winks. Their adventures went from harmless fun (who didn’t go toilet papering as a kid?) to, I can’t believe you did that and got away with it! …… This was this author’s first book and she is an amazingly talented author! She’s extremely descriptive and weaves a fabulous story. Again, the reason I didn’t give 5 stars is because I’m old-fashioned and like a happy ending that this just didn’t provide. I can’t wait for her next book, though. If it’s a sequel that gives me my happy ending, I will definitely be reading more from this author!
So if you’re looking for a fun read, check out How Maxwell Grover Stole My House. It’s on sale this week, so grab your copy today!
For U.K. Customers: http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Maxwell-Grover-Stole-House-ebook/dp/B00UP43C1K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1438129312&sr=1-1&keywords=CE+VANCE

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Author Spotlight-Javier Salazar Calle

A native of Spain, Javier Calle is fluent in English and speaks some Swahili. His novel Ndura: hijo de la selva was originally written in Spanish, published in Spain, and has won an award for young adult literature in Spain. I read the English version, Ndura: Son of the Forest, a survival thriller that will keep you turning the pages.
The protagonist, also named Javier, is traveling home from an adventure trip in Africa with his friends, Alex, and Juan, when the plane is shot down by guerillas. Javier is (presumably) the lone survivor of the crash, but finds himself stranded in the middle of the jungle with inadequate resources. He must use his brains, his instincts, and his few resources to survive.
Told in first person journal-style, Ndura gives a detailed account of Javier's day-to day actions, which includes finding food, water and shelter, protecting himself from wild animals and insects, and trying to find his way back to civilization. It also includes-and this is one of my favorite parts-the range of emotions that Javier goes through: grief for the loss of his friends, homesickness, anger, survival guilt, pride at developing new survival skills, and gratitude and friendship towards the friendly tribe of Pygmies who briefly host him. The plot is exciting and thrilling enough to keep you turning the pages, and Javier is a character you really start to care about.
Another one of my favorite parts was the fact that the author clearly put a lot of time and effort into doing research for this book. The reader will get to learn about various flora and fauna native to the African jungle, the culture and society of the Pygmies, and to a lesser extend, the state of political affairs in various African counties. Senor Calle  even includes a list of tips for surviving in the wild. I thought that was cool. The ending is completely unexpected and will leave you with a haunting mental image.
One caveat: The English translation is imperfect and awkward in places but is understandable. Please don't let that keep you from enjoying this treat of a novel. Thank you, Senor Calle, for your contribution to the literary world.
To buy: http://www.amazon.com/Ndura-forest-Javier-Salazar-Calle-ebook/dp/B00WTKLYPY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1437335762&sr=1-1&keywords=Ndura%3A+son+of+the+forest
Here is the Spanish version: http://www.amazon.com/Ndura-Spanish-Javier-Salazar-Calle-ebook/dp/B00LPINOUY/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Friday, July 17, 2015

Author Spotlight-Ryan Guy

Ryan Guy, author of Atomic Aardvark, is a familiar name among the community of young-adult indie authors. Via his website, atomicaardvark.com, he features YA authors and even gives out copies of the books he features. Additionally, he is also a co-moderator in the Author Promo Co-op group, where he chooses the YA Book of the Month.
I read Atomic Aardvark after hearing from several friends that it was hilariously funny. I wasn’t disappointed. Marissa Mallory (‘Sirena’) has taken a job as a waitress at Aardvark Pasta to gain independence from her father, a junk food tycoon. The restaurant’s mascot is an aardvark named Aardy, to whom Marissa has become attached. She is also chatting with Conley (‘Ennui’) via social gaming and the two have plans to meet in person. A series of comical events prevent this meeting, the main one being a meteor that has landed in the Precipice, a giant drop-off that Marissa’s father uses as a dump site. Long story short, the combination of something within the meteor and the toxic waste give Aardy and an ordinary skunk later named Surly supernatural abilities, including the ability to communicate with humans. When Surly comes up with an absurd plan to kidnap Marissa, it is up to Conley and Aardy to rescue her.
The entire book is a bizarre and humorous comedy of errors. The randomness of it is the best part. Although it is intended as a comedy, Guy does address some more serious issues (albeit in a comical manner) such as environmentalism, corporate responsibility, identity theft, and over-dependence on technology. This is a highly recommended and enjoyable read for all ages.

To buy: http://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Aardvark-Ryan-Guy-ebook/dp/B00FVYWFR6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1437195370&sr=1-1&keywords=atomic+aardvark

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Author Spotlight-Lynne Murray

Have you ever traveled to a foreign country? If so, do you remember how different it felt, and some of the local customs felt strange? Imagine visiting a foreign planet. In Lynne’s Murray’s novel Gravitas: Valkyrie in the Forbidden Zone, which is a science-fiction comedy with just the right amount of erotica, Val-Sybilla (better known as Sybil) finds herself in that very situation.

While making a trip to transport a shipment of “Gravitas,” a powerful aphrodisiac within the Ritual Jewelry that the powerful women of the planet Valkyries wear, she and her companions stop at a market, where, to her horror, she finds her first (and favorite) husband Josu, chained and being offered for sale. Determined to find out the truth about what happened to Josu, she enters a ritualistic meditation state to conjure up the three (very interesting and diverse) “demons” who live in her head. When her meditation is interrupted by Gelbraves, a loutish delegate from a rival planet, they both, along with Josu, fall into a portal that makes them crash-land in the Forbidden Zone (known to us as “Earth.”).

One of my favorite parts of this novel is the witty dialogue. Although Sybil’s clueless culture shock is endearing, she turns out to be confident and resourceful as she attempts to figure out a way to return to Valkyries before the load of Gravitas that she is still carrying overwhelms her to the point that she can’t focus. I will have to add that the effect of the Gravitas on Sybil’s mental state is a tad underplayed, but readers will get that it is slowly having a debilitating effect on her and especially her “demons,” who are still trapped in her mind.

Valkyries is a matriarchal society. Women hold the positions of power. The women of Valkyries are polyandrous; they are not only encouraged but expected to have multiple husbands (even though Sybil briefly hints that she would prefer a monogamous marriage with Josu).Although Gravitas does have a feminist theme, this theme is presented very matter-of-factly so it’s not “in-your-face” and doesn’t appear to have a hidden agenda.

I give this book five stars. A+ for character development, A for plot development, and A+ for plot flow. A highly recommended read. Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Gravitas-Valkyrie-Forbidden-Lynne-Murray-ebook/product-reviews/B00U4EOBR0/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_three?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addThreeStar&showViewpoints=0

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Standard #1: Use social media wisely. More is not better.

Standard  #1. Use Social Media Wisely. More is Not Better
As mentioned, one of the biggest mistakes that many new authors make is to over-promote on different social media platforms. This is not only unhelpful, it can work against you. Social media can be a powerful promotional tool IF used correctly. Unfortunately, too many writers (especially newly published writers) shoot themselves in the foot using social media the wrong way. Most writers have been guilty of this at one time or another and, to be fair, there is no clear dividing line between promotion and spam. Furthermore, your friends/followers will have differing levels of tolerance. All authors who I talked to agreed that over-posting (to the point where it may be considered spam) was ineffective and annoying. Here’s why, and what you can do to fix it:
1.      It just plain doesn’t work-There are thousands of different “book pimping” groups on Facebook. And it may seem logical to join as many as you can, but don’t. Before you join a group, scroll through the feed. Is there productive conversation going on? Are the posts getting attention (based on the number of likes and comments from other members)? If so, go for it. Or, is the feed one long list of promos that no one seems to pay attention to? If that’s the case, pass it up. It’s probably not going to help you, and to post in such a group too often may make you look desperate.  As a general rule, don’t self-promote on Facebook or Goodreads more than once per group (unless requested by your street team for sharing convenience) or more than once a week or so on your regular wall. These same rules apply to Google Plus.
On Twitter, the game is slightly different. Tweeting your book every five minutes is not likely to increase your sales and may cause you to lose followers. Hashtags are ineffective unless a lot of others are using and following them as well. Tweets tend to get lost in the massive Twitterverse. My advice: have a single pinned post about your book that your followers can retweet, and otherwise, use good judgment when you tweet. Paid tweeters have varying results and are certainly worth a shot if you feel like trying them (See my comments below about paid advertisers).
Instead of plastering any social media platform with book promos, use them in conjunction with your street team to cross-promote.
2.      Excessive self-promotion is annoying to your friends and followers-People’s tolerance varies, but some people will block you for this. If they didn’t buy your book the first 50 times, they probably aren’t going to on the 51st. Most authors are guilty of this, but the easy fix is to use good judgment, follow the rules of the group, and tweet wisely. There is no defining point between self-promotion and spam, as mentioned earlier, you’ll have to use your judgment. If you think you’re over-posting, you probably are.
3.      By focusing on yourself, you’re passing up wonderful opportunities to network and cross-promote with colleagues- By ignoring others and only focusing on yourself, you’re sending the message that you aren’t interested in interacting with others, which will make them think you’re unfriendly. People are more likely to recommend you and work with you if they like you. Instead of posting about your book, post about other authors’ books (although this can cross the line into spam territory if done excessively as well-once again, use good judgment). Participate in group discussions. Ask questions about things that concern you. You want to show the world that there’s a real person behind the book. Choose groups wisely; look for signs of  drama and trolling (name-calling, off-topic conversation, etc.) and spammish posts (ads for anything other than books). This is a sign that the group is not being supervised, and plus, the trolls will turn on you soon enough. Being involved in an Internet fight will do no good for your reputation. Facebook and Goodreads groups that actively encourage cross-promotion and free, writing-related discussions while discouraging excessive self-promotion are a wonderful way to meet new authors. It’s probably wise to join 2-3 groups that make you feel welcome and comfortable and be an active participant. Leave any group where you’ve been inactive for six months or more, where you feel unwelcome, or doesn’t help you; You’re just receiving unwanted notifications for no good reason.
4.      Any time spent on social media, for valid reasons or otherwise, is time taken away from writing-Maximize time spent on social media to your advantage. While taking a “brain break” is good and even beneficial, make sure you’re keeping up with your writing as well. The single biggest factor in writer success is to continue to produce quality works that people want to read. There’s nothing wrong with goofing off on social media. Just keep it to a minimum if you have a book you’re working on. If you’re interested in assistance managing your social media accounts, several authors have recommended hootsuite.com and roundteam.com
What DOES work:
1.      Cross-promotion and street teams.- As author Krissy Belden explained, a street team is “a group of people, sharing promotion for your book, commenting on blog postings, and sending "teasers" and links around on your behalf. They do the promotion work for you.You get to concentrate on writing while the street team does the work. Street teams can be formal or informal, large or small. The key is to select a street team who will work with you and to treat them right. Author Jen Winters puts it this way: “a street team is a group of your fans (can be large or small) that you use to promote your work.these people should be the first to know what is going on with you, the first people you turn to to promote your work on Twitter or Facebook. Because they work for your benefit for free it is essential you reward them with benefits such as contestant gift cards, advanced reader copies, and other such benefits.” You want to have as many people as possible to shout your name to the four winds, but you don’t want to get so overwhelmed that you forget to thank the people who helped you or cannot properly reward them. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep. In my opinion, it’s best to start out small with street teams. You can always add more to your team as needed.  Jen, who writes paranormal fantasy, reports she has had success in cross-promotion because, in her words, “I promote EVRRYONE. What’s good for you is good for me.” For more information about street teams, read this excellent blog post by Karin Tabke: http://writerunboxed.com/2008/06/11/what-exactly-is-a-street-team/
In a nutshell, you promote someone (on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or anywhere else) and they promote you back. It’s a win-win.
However, there are some things to be mindful of when it comes to street teams and cross-promotion.
a.       This goes against what was posted in the blog, but never ask your street team to do anything unethical, including attacking another author or re-shelving books in bookstores. Author Jamie Jeffries explains it best, saying, “Guess who the bookseller is going to send an angry letter, at the very least? Remember that whatever your street team does in your name comes back to you--and they are usually just enthusiastic fans who want to help you. They don't know the inner workings of the publishing industry.” You have to remember that anything done in your name is going to reflect back on you. If your street team is doing something iffy while promoting you, it’s your butt that’s going to have teeth marks, not theirs. So do not ask or encourage this type of behavior from your street team, don’t look the other way if you know someone’s doing something they shouldn’t, and immediately dismiss anyone who is not acting in your best interests. On this same note, do not allow any author to talk you into doing something out-of-bounds. They will get found out, and you wouldn’t want your name associated with them.
b.      Do not agree to promote material that you don’t like or found personally offensive just because you feel you owe someone or you need their help. Your lack of enthusiasm will show, so you aren’t doing the author any favors. If someone promoted you but you don’t feel you can give an honest endorsement of their work, you can repay them in other ways, such as a gift card. You need to kindly but directly tell them why you can’t promote. If they refuse to work with you again, that’s their right. There are plenty of others to take their place.
c.       Don’t get so over-involved with cross-promotion in any form that you don’t have time for writing. Some web presence is essential, and what you decide on will depend on your personal preferences, your comfort level, and your time commitment, but writing should always come first. look for signs of  drama and trolling (name-calling, off-topic conversation, etc.) and spammish posts (ads for anything other than books). This is a sign that the group is not being supervised, and  plus, the trolls will turn on you soon enough. Being involved in an Internet fight will do no good for your reputation. Facebook and Goodreads groups that actively encourage cross-promotion and free, writing-related discussions while discouraging excessive self-promotion are a wonderful way to meet new authors. It’s probably wise to join 2-3 groups that make you feel welcome and comfortable and be active participants. Leave any group where you’ve been inactive for six months or more. If you haven’t needed them in that time, you probably won’t and meanwhile, you’re just receiving unwanted notifications.

2.      Book Bloggers: Author Kim Cresswell shared this list of excellent book bloggers: http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/. And these aren’t your only choices. Many other writers, readers, and reviewers you meet will be glad to give you a spot on their blog. When many of these are done at the same time (called a blog tour), this can be an extremely effective form of promotion, especially when you reach out to bloggers with a large following. You should open up your blog as well to other authors you’d like to promote. Politely email the blogger at the email address provided. Address the blogger by name (“Dear Mary” instead of “Hi!”), politely request a review, and ask which format he/she would prefer the book. Allow the blogger plenty of time (around 3-4 months if you need it by a certain date). Some bloggers have certain submission rules, so make sure to follow them. Don’t assume that the blogger will accept your request. If he/she declines, politely thank him/her and move on. If the review is accepted, you will generally be expected to provide a copy of the book. My advice is to be wary of bloggers who ask for money to guest-blog you. They may give you the promotion without reading, and while this may seem like an easy way out, in the long run you really want people who are going to promote you from the heart. Plus, any form of paid endorsement, not just on Amazon, is technically against FCC regulations. Best to keep everything above-board. http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers/. ALWAYS thank a blogger after he/she promotes you, or if you can, promote them back.
3.      Radio interviews, Youtube channels, and podcasts-Many authors I’ve talked to reported an increase in sales after an on-air interview. Author Kelly Marsden recommends ArtistFirst Radio (http://artistfirst.com/) and has reported an increase in sales after an interview. She points out that many readers who don’t frequent social media will listen to these interviews. You can always start your own YouTube channel or podcast for you and your street team to use. Just remember that it may take a while to get a solid following. Audio broadcasts are an excellent avenue for cross-promotion as well.
4.      Paid advertising-there is mixed consensus on this. Some say don’t waste your money, and others swear by certain paid promo groups. Author Jessa Jacobs has given her personal endorsement for Give Me Books (https://www.facebook.com/givemebooksblog). They are certainly worth a try, but my advice is to start out small, and test one paid reviewer at a time with no other promo to see if it works. The only way to determine if a paid promo will work for you is to try it. It’s better to get personal recommendations from other writers you trust. A few caveats: (1) paid reviewers may give you a spike in sales, but your long-term goal is to have a fan base. Don’t rely on them too heavily (2) different advertisers have different guidelines and submission requirements. Read these before signing up (3) You will have to sign up well in advance of your desired promotion date (4) paid advertisers are not allowed to leave you a review.
5.      Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations-This is the hands-down best way to win new readers. People who like your book will hopefully recommend you to their family and friends. Street teams function as advocates for your book, but nothing beats a personal recommendation. It just has to be genuine; otherwise, as mentioned earlier, the lack of enthusiasm will be obvious.
The main point is that “book spamming,” is a waste of time and can ultimately backfire. However, I asked some other authors if there are occasions when a little extra self-promotion (within reason) is acceptable. The vast majority agreed that it’s OK to post a little extra (key word: “a little) when: (a) you are running a free/discount special of your book (b) the period pre- and post-launch. (c) occasionally, to renew interest in an old title (d) if there is a purpose to your post other than a sales pitch (for example, to announce an especially cool review or to respond to a genre-specific topic of conversation).

Additionally, in conversation with the groups, authors have told me that that following are NEVER acceptable:
1.      Using another person’s group or page to self-promote unless given permission to do so.
2.      Tagging another person for the purpose of self-promotion without permission.
3.      Private messaging a person more than once to make a sales pitch.
4.      Bugging a person who’s agreed to do a review to check their “progress.”
5.      Becoming rude or belligerent when a person declines your offer or can’t meet your request when you want.
6.      Hijacking a discussion topic to promote.
7.      Crashing another person’s promotional event.
8.      Doing anything that’s generally agreed to be unethical, immoral, or illegal (or encouraging others to do so)
So, what if you’ve already broken a rule? Are you doomed?
No, of course not. We’ve all done at least some of these things at one time or another. No need to beat yourself up. Just learn from your mistakes and move on. Hey, we understand, and we forgive you. I myself have violated every single rule on this manual a time or two (or three…thousand) and probably some others I don’t even know about. We understand that you only want to get the word out about your book. We’re just here to let you know there’s a better way, one that will result in more sales for you and better relations with your fans and colleagues.
How can you handle an errant author?
If you see someone else violating industry standards, there are some steps you can take.
1.      First, reserve judgment. People aren’t trying to be annoying. They really don’t know else to do. Remember, you were a first-timer once, too, so try to have some compassion.
2.      Deal with the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s natural to want to avoid confrontation, but silent approval of inappropriate behavior benefits no one. It’s better to deal with the issue than to allow an author to continue behavior that might damage their careers or cause them to lose readers.
3.      First, talk to the author directly, gently, and PRIVATELY. If possible, give the author a chance to save face. For example, you can say (via PM), “You probably accidentally posted to the wrong group, but just a reminder that posts are limited to once a month.” It’s not necessary to reprimand the author, but at the same time, don’t dance around the issue and hope the author “gets” it.
4.      Try using humor to alleviate the situation. (“Could you limit posting to once a month, please? I’m starting to get “Ice, Ice, Baby” stuck in my head”). Smiley-face emoticons and a “LOL” sprinkled in may let the author know you aren’t trying to be confrontational.
5.      If this is a group issue, designate one person to speak with the author. That way, he/she can correct the problem without feeling like the group is ganging up on them. Use a “group intervention” only if this technique fails.
6.      Reiterate that the author is still welcome to participate in regular group discussions.
7.      Suggest an alternative when possible (“we are doing a blog tour in a month, and we’ll be glad to put you on the list.”
8.      If the author fails to respond, you’ll have to be firmer (“Posts are limited to once a month, please.”)
9.      Your third-and final-warning should be hard-core (“Constant posting interrupts the flow of discussion. The rules of this group say that members are limited to one post a month, and unfortunately, I have no choice but to remove non-compliant members.”)
10.  Use drastic measures-banning, unfriending, etc.-as a last resort when an author refuses to respond to lesser methods.
For the sake of time and simplicity, this chapter discusses professional behavior on Facebook, Goodreads, Google Plus, and Twitter. There are many social media platforms available. For advice on etiquette within other social media platforms (Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others), ask an admin or another author you trust.
For more information, Jamie Jeffries has recommended The Coffee Break Guide to Social Media for Writers: How to Succeed on Social Media and Still have Time to Write by Amy Denim. http://www.amazon.com/Coffee-Break-Guide-Social-Writers-ebook/dp/B00GPJOB78
Oh, and don’t worry about anything: be patient and give your book time to catch on. You’ll be fine. Just keep writing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How-to manual for new authors-Quick Tips

Congratulations! You have just published your first book as an independent author. Whether you have chosen Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Nook, Barnes and Noble, or any of the many platforms available for self-publishing, you have finally taken the important step of putting the book you so much hard work into out for the whole world to see. After so many hours of writing, rewriting, editing, formatting, choosing an eye-catching cover, and tearing your hair out because the blurb doesn’t seem to come out quite right, you get to enjoy your reward: your very own spot on a publishing platform. And hopefully, lots of sales, readers, and positive reviews.
You are now officially an indie author. Now what?
As an indie, it is always our dream that our book will take off like a rocket and readers will download it like crazy and leave lots of awesome reviews, which of course will lead to a movie deal. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Very few books, independently or traditionally published, become overnight bestsellers. Those books that do earn a spot on the coveted bestsellers list generally have a lot of marketing, good timing, and luck behind them. So, what as an indie can we do to increase our chances of success?
These are some tips brought to you by real indie authors who have “been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.” We published our first books with high hopes, only to find out that the publishing part was only the beginning. When we didn’t get instant sales, we became discouraged and even wondered if here was something wrong with the book. Then sales start to pick up, a few reviews come in, and things start to look up. Then, BAM, you get slammed with your first one-star review. How do you deal with a critical review?
This guide is to help you navigate the fun and exciting but often frustrating world of indie publishing. These are real tips brought to you by real authors who have taken off, crashed back down to Earth, received good and bad reviews, made mistakes along the way but learned from them, and are now willing to pass their wisdom onto you. This guide is brought to by Author Promo Co-op and #indiebooksbeseen. If you need us, we can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus. We also have blog pages if you wish to follow them. Once again congratulations and happy writing.

Quick Tips.
Many of these will be explained in more detail in the coming chapters, but here are some quick and easy tips to remember.
1.      Don’t over-promote on social media-This is one of the two most common fatal mistakes that indie authors make. It will get you attention, but not the kind that you want. In this guide, we will explore various social media platforms, and the smartest ways to use each one. It’s tempting at first to join every Facebook group we can find and plaster our books, tweet our books every five minutes, talk ONLY about or books, and blog about your books five times a day. I’m not saying don’t use social media at all. If used the right way, it can work for you. What’s wrong with overposting?  First, it doesn’t work. Readers don’t join authors’ groups, so you’re trying to sell your book to other authors who are in turn trying to sell to you. In truth, it’s a lot of work for nothing. Second, you’re annoying your friends/followers with constant updates. You’re flooding their notifications feeds, interrupting the flow of conversation in authors’ groups, and making your regular friends wonder where the “old” you went. Third, by focusing on yourself, you’re ignoring your reads, fans, and colleagues. Finally, all that time you spend anxiously updating is time taken away from networking, socializing with fans, and writing. There are alternatives to “book pimping” that we’ll get to shortly.
2.      Cross-promotion works better than self-promotion-When groups of writers, together with their readers, team up to support you, you’ll get more sales and more positive attention than when you plaster the Internet until you turn blue. See, when someone else promotes you with a blog post, a retweet, a Facebook mention, or a recommendation on Goodreads, that establishes credibility in readers’ eyes. But in order to make cross-promotion work, you have to give at least as much as you take. People aren’t going to be so willing to promote you if they don’t even get a thank-you. Promote other authors you like. Even if they don’t do the same for you, it’s good karma and it does get noticed. The best technique is when groups of authors and/or readers agree to promote each other. This is what’s called a “street team.” Cross-promotion means that you have to establish good relationships with others and you have to do your part.  
3.      Common courtesy takes you a long way-Who wants to work with someone when their efforts get ignored or they feel unappreciated? If someone does you the kindness of a retweet, a post share, a blog mention, etc. don’t forget to thank him/her. Even better, return the favor. When participating in group discussions, be on your best behavior. Sarcasm, demeaning comments, and passive-aggressive behavior will get on everyone’s nerves. The same goes for ignoring people who are trying to talk to you. You don’t have to get into an at-length discussion with everyone, but at least acknowledge their presence. Be respectful of others, even when you don’t agree with them. As they say, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Rudeness disguised as ‘honesty’ is still rudeness. When in group situations, follow the rules of the group. Nothing irritates other members more than someone who ignores the posted rules, especially when they do it repeatedly. And don’t overuse profanity.
4.      Other indies are your colleagues, not your competitors-Refusing to work with them because they aren’t ‘readers’ will cause you to miss out. Other authors are often very happy to promote you. They may also have helpful tips and if nothing else, a sympathetic ear. Besides, authors are readers, too, and just as likely to be looking for a cool new read as a regular reader. The indie world is not a contest to see who can make the most sales or get the highest ranking. Sales and rankings vary, so the person who is #1 today may hold an “average” spot tomorrow. Think of the other authors you know as members of your team, not a competitor that you have to squash on your way to the top.
5.      Don’t engage-This is the second “ultimate sin” that can give you a bad reputation. NEVER publicly engage with a reviewer. When you publish your work, a bad review is almost inevitable. Face it: not everyone is going to like your work. The worst thing you can do is to argue with the reviewer via public comment. Don’t respond publicly to any review in any way. Even thanking every reviewer, as harmless as it might seem, can come across the wrong way. The best comment is no comment. Instead, pay attention to the review. If it’s nonsense, ignore it. If there’s anything you can learn from it, take it If it’s a positive review, celebrate it. But leave the reviewer alone.
6.      Choose groups on Facebook, Goodreads, and other social media that welcome you. Leave the ones that don’t.- You do want to establish an online presence, but be selective. There are some groups that you’ll look forward to going into because the atmosphere is so positive and inviting, you know that your input will always be welcome, and you can say what’s on your mind without fear of being put down. There are also some groups that are so toxic that no productive conversation ever takes place. Most are a happy medium where you’re just “there.” Choose 2-3 groups on your preferred social media platforms where you feel like an active member, and leave the rest behind. You can always change groups if your situation changes or if the group no longer works for you. There’s no reason to join every single group. You’ll never be able to keep up with that many discussions, and you’ll just receive constant updates. If you haven’t been an active member in more than six months, leave the group. If you are constantly being put down by other members or a group is not helpful to you, it’s not worth your time. You don’t have to pick a group right away, but start exploring your options. There is no “best” group, so I’m not going to recommend any here. The “best” groups are the ones where YOU feel the most welcome and are most active. On this same note, while you do need some web presence, you don’t have to follow every blog or  sign up for every social media platform. Once again, tailor your membership and participation to your personal preferences, your comfort level, and your time commitment.
7.      Take your time to build a true fan base- Fads in reading come and go, but some things never go out of style: giving readers something worth reading and something to look forward to, proper editing and formatting, relevant content, an engaging plotline, and overall professionalism. The reason Stephen King’s books become automatic bestsellers is because he has fan base in the millions established over more than forty years. Each reader gained is a victory. Take baby steps. And give your readers promise for the future; let them know what you’re working on (with a tentative release date). Treat them with respect. Don’t snub them. You’re establishing a professional relationship so you want to take the time to keep your customer satisfied so they’ll come back for more.
8.      Other authors are often your biggest allies. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise- While it’s true that you don’t want to market to others authors, you do want to make the most of your professional connections. Don’t think of interacting with other readers as a waste of time (as I’ve heard many a writer say) because it’s not “marketing to readers.” Which brings me to the next point:
9.      While we do want to “market to readers” do keep in mind that readers don’t come in neat little groups to market to. Consider everyone, including fellow authors, a potential fan, and act accordingly. This means a professional, courteous online presence at all times. This means don’t overpost, don’t treat others rudely, and don’t involve yourself in Internet fights. Things like that make people not want to buy your book. Little things like a “thank you” or a shared post go a long way.
10.  Appreciate each review-Celebrate the positive ones. See if there is anything you can learn from the negative ones. Ignore the nonsensical ones. Remember, NEVER ENGAGE. Take all reviews in stride; don’t let the positive reviews go to your head or the negative ones get you down. Never pressure any reader for a review (even an “honest” review, which reviewers will interpret as code for a positive review). If you are getting a lot of negative reviews, consider that your work may have not been ready for publication. Fix it and republish. Yes, troll reviews happen. They suck, and as hard as they are to swallow, pretend you don’t see them. Never email Amazon (or other platforms) to request that any review be removed (yours or another writer’s), even if it is unjustified or even if you “know” the review is fake. This is part of what’s causing our current problems with Amazon-authors who go crying to Mama Amazon every time their feelings get hurt or every time they want to tattle on someone who’s not obeying. This is a good situation where the ‘stop snitching’ rule would apply perfectly. The review system IS flawed and unfair, but guess what? It’s always going to be. Dishonest reviewers will always find a way to get around any system, and the honest reviewers are the ones that suffer.
11.  Don’t spend so much time on promotion and in writer’s events and discussions that you have no time left for writing.-While networking and creating an online presence is essential, remember that your most important job is to work on your next book. The most successful authors are the ones who regularly publish quality material. Don’t get stuck in the mode of having just one book that you continuously try to pitch. Your readers want something fresh. And publishing a  new book may help renew interest in the old one.

12.  Have fun. If you’re not enjoying yourself, there’s no point-That downer review you got today? You’ll laugh about it later. Have sense of humor about things and enjoy the company of your fans and colleagues. If the process is not fun for you, do something else. Other authors are often your biggest allies. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise