Build your Followers

I know an author who is striving to get a publisher. Today she was publicly whining that the publisher wanted to know her follower count – and that it was stupid because THE PUBLISHER was supposed to do all the work of selling her book for her. She’d done her part, writing it, the end.

I have a feeling that publicly venting like that is not the way to build a relationship with a publishing house. The publishing house has thousands of other manuscripts coming in weekly which are just as good. Undoubtedly a number of those come with authors who are eager to do their part of the marketing task.

If an author presents herself as unwilling to help at all, she automatically has created large barriers in the relationship. Given the thousands upon thousands of other authors eagerly competing for that same contract, why would any author deliberately downgrade their chances?

Tip: Don’t whine in public about how you’re unwilling to help support your book’s sales. If your follower count is low, work on building it up. If your marketing skills need help, take steps to build them. Your source manuscript may be great – but so are thousands of other manuscripts flooding the publisher.

Many of those authors will bring solid marketing systems and fan bases with them. If you want to compete against those, then compete.

Audiobooks and ACX

There are all sorts of reasons people use audiobooks. Many people have trouble reading, either because of age-related eyesight problems, genetic issues, or other challenges. There are people who have long commutes who like to use that time productively. There are people who listen while they jog or walk. If you neglect the audiobook segment of your potential fan base, that’s a massive number of readers you are abandoning.

And best of all, it’s wholly FREE to make an audiobook. So there’s no excuse not to have one.

Go to Log in with your Amazon account username and password. You’ll need to do a bit of basic setup in there and “claim” your book(s).

Now put those books out for narrators to apply to. You’ll want to supply a sample script for each. Most of the time you just take the first few pages of your book for them to read. If you’d rather use another section that involves more “voices” so you know how they’ll handle that, use another section. It’s up to you.

Now you sit back and let the narration samples roll in.

Listen to them. See what you like and dislike about them. Update your book description so that you help tune the narrators in to what you want.

Soon you’ll get a narrator who is absolutely perfect for your storyline. Then you make the offer. I suggest you go with the 50/50 revenue split with them. This applies to the AUDIOBOOK ONLY – not to any other book formats. It gives the narrator incentive to help you promote and publicize this book. Yes, you only get half the proceeds – but if you get far more sales, you also get more money overall.

The alternative is to pay them up to $200 for finished audio hour and keep the full proceeds. Me, I’d rather the narrator benefit from higher sales if they are helping drive those sales. After all, their efforts also promote my kindle and paperback versions as well.

The narrator will then start posting their readings chapter by chapter. You can make whatever suggestions and comments you want. They’ll re-record them. When you are all done, you approve the book, and it goes live! It goes live as “another version” of your existing book, tied to that same Amazon entry.

Ask with any questions. I just had narrators finish book 3 in my Wyoming series and book 2 in my Diner series. In both cases I absolutely adored the readings. You can click on either book cover to see what these series are about:

Let me know if you’d like to see either series in ebook format. If you want to try the audio format to see how it works, I have free coupon codes. Just let me know which you’d like to try and I’ll send the code along.

Ask with any questions! If you have books on Amazon, you absolutely should be doing this. If you aren’t, you’re losing out on a ton of “easy” “free” sales.

Diner Days are Here Again

I’m so so thrilled! My audio narrator for my Asperger’s mystery series set in Worcester lunchcar diners just finished book 2. That book is Diner Days are Here Again. I had tears in my eyes laughing while listening to her reading! She did an awesome job. It should be live soon.

Book 1, Diner Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, is free in Kindle format. Let me know if you’d like a coupon to hear book 1 for free in audio!

I’d love one more review to reach 30 ratings!

Twitter Tips

Twitter Tips

Many people have a negative impression of Twitter because of politics. That’s fine – it’s OK not to like Twitter. But you really need to learn how to USE Twitter to market your products. Twitter is the #1 best way to reach strangers about your books and products. Facebook primarily markets to your friends and fans. Twitter gets to those millions who have never heard of you.

If you don’t have a Twitter account yet, now’s the time to do it. Go to and sign up. It’s free. If nothing else, you can “like” our group’s posts to help us gain visibility. It takes no effort and helps us immensely. 

Here’s some tips when you’re ready to start making marketing posts on Twitter.

Every post should always have an image with it. The image catches the reader’s eyes. No image, and your post visibility drops like a stone.

A key on Twitter (and other social networks) is you want your post to be liked and shared, so others see it. That means you want to phrase your post to be intriguing, fun, etc. Something that a person would say “Yes I agree!”. It’s why inspirational quotes do so well. Post fun factoids. Post cute sayings. You’re a writer – you can simply post about writing sometimes. The more people who know about you and follow you, the more they will then see your book-related posts.

I write romance novels. Sure, 16% of romance novel readers are male. That’s fairly well known. But if I invested my time chasing those 16% to see my posts – never mind to publicly SHARE them – that would be an exercise in futility. It makes far more sense to focus on the 84% who are female and far more likely to be willing to publicly share that interest. Study your genre. Know your demographics. Target them and make posts that group would be eager to share.

Twitter has limited space. If you then use hashtags that nobody will ever see, that’s a waste of valuable space. Make sure every hashtag you use is a high-volume one. You can see that yourself by searching on them – like #MondayMotivation or #AmWriting or whatever you choose. See the results. If you only get a few results, don’t use it. Your aim here is to reach as many people as possible with each post.

Ask with any questions, and let me know what your Twitter account is! Even a few posts a week can make an immense difference in your projects and in helping all of us succeed!

Marimo Moss Balls Review

It’s interesting that there’s even a problem with fake marimo moss balls. It shows the strange world we live in. I did tests and the Marimo sold by Aquatic Arts seem to be wholly authentic. Plus, they are awfully cute and enormously helpful to a fish tank.

First, some of the basics. MARIMO ARE NOT PLANTS. They aren’t moss either. They are algae which naturally can form into a sphere shape based on water wave action. In your tank you replicate that by turning them occasionally. That helps them to continually grow out in that sphere shape. They need gentle light and some nutrients (nitrates, carbon dioxide, etc.) to live. You’ll want to do regular water changes, just like with a fish tank. They live fine in freshwater but not saltwater.

With this set from Aquatic Arts you pay for 5 1-inch marimo. I got 7 in my package. If you look at other peoples’ 1-star reviews they complain because their marimo were damaged in shipping, probably by being shipped in weather which was far too hot or cold. That’s outside of the vendor’s control, and the vendor is awesome at replacing these problems. But the very fact that a small portion of marimo die due to those temperature issues in shipping means of course THE DARN THINGS ARE ALIVE. They aren’t plastic or fiberglass. Plastic wouldn’t get black and stinky due to overheating.

Still, what if it was moss wrapped around a foam core, as some unethical vendors do? The easy way to test that is to cut one in half. So I did that. As you can see, it is marimo algae all the way through. If it was wrapped moss it would then unwrap. If it was squished moss you would see the spaghetti-like mish-mash in its center where it was squished. Instead, this marimo has the nice radial growth shape from a center point. Again there is no “core” on a marimo. They don’t form around an object like a pearl does. They just grow out. So this is a real marimo.

Make sure you thoroughly rinse and squeeze your marimo when you first get it, then sit it in cool water for a half hour, then rinse and squeeze it again. Now put it in your tank. If you do get one that was damaged in shipping and is smelly, brown, black, etc., just contact them. They’ll send you new ones. If your location is experiencing a 110F heat wave now is probably not the time to order one via the mail.

Over time you can weigh and measure your marimo to watch them grow. That’s of course another sure sign they are alive. Just be patient. They only grow 1-2cm a year. On the other hand, if you see single strands reaching up toward a light, that’s a sign you got a moss-rolled version. So far, I haven’t seen that happen with these. And, again, I’d be able to tell if it was moss (rather than algae) when I cut one in half.

To summarize – these are absolutely perfect for my 20-gallon tiger-barb-only tank. The tiger barbs love them, the marimo help hold down nitrate levels, and they look cute.

Ask with any questions!

Buy these from Amazon: Marimo Moss Balls