Our June 2017 Meeting
††††††††† On Thursday the 1st of June, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers welcomed Lila Bolme, SASP member and Vice-President of the Idaho Writerís League, Coeur díAlene Chapter.† Lila talked a little about our sister organization, the IWL, but focused primarily on the ďTen Skills Every Writer Needs.Ē† This was an informative and entertaining presentation.† As a result of Lilaís visit, we are once again receiving copies of the Lakegazette, the IWL Coeur díAlene Chapterís newsletter.† These will be forwarded via e-mail to members of SASP.† (Many individuals are members of both organizations.)
††††††††† President Esther Hildahl was a bit under the weather and unable to join us for this meeting.† Vice-President Sue Eller stepped up and did a fine job of moving things along.† We all hope Esther is feeling better in time for our July meeting.
††††††††† Former member Barb Hollace joined us and invited the ladies of the group to a writing conference for ladies only.† Chuck Lehman, who is involved in a project to create a screenplay based on his novel Asher, told us the team involved was told to scrap the preliminaries and get right to the script. Fred Jessett mentioned he has published his first two fiction works.† Both are based on less well known stories from the Bible.† One is called My Name is Tamar, and the other is Drummer Loves.
††††††††† The topic for our ten minute discussion was to have been ďBest-selling Formats,Ē but there wasnít much thought amongst the members on the subject, so we elected to skip over that portion of the meeting.† In addition, no topic for next time was announced.
††††††††† While we forgot to have him introduce himself, we were joined by new member David Y. Potter.† He had found SASP on-line and had joined via the US Postal Service.† Welcome!
††††††††† Door prizes were plentiful as usual, and winners included Chuck Lehman, Stan Parks, Joan Carter, Lila Bolme, Larry Danek, Bob Manion, Sue Eller, J. B. Rivard, Betty Deuber, Dave McChesney, Cindy Silliman, Ed Des Autel, and Bob Weldin.† Congratulations everyone!
††††††††† For our July 6th meeting we had originally planned to have a forum or group presentation dealing with the creation of dialogue.† That has been rescheduled to our August meeting.† Instead, in July we will be honored to have guest speaker Niki Breeser Tschirgi.† She is a local Spokane Writer and author of Growing Up Alaska.
††††††††† Please note that we are well into 2017.† Names have, or will shortly start to disappear from the list of members on our web-site.† To prevent that from happening, or to restore your name to the list, please make sure that your dues of $15.00 are paid for 2017.† If you joined later in 2016, you should have paid a pro-rated portion of the yearly dues, with membership expiring at the end of the year.† If you joined very late in the year, you may have also paid for this year.† If you are uncertain, please contact the SASP Treasurer or SASP Secretary.† Thus to continue membership status you need to pay again for 2017.† Dues may be paid in person at our meetings, or you may mail a check or money order to: Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers, P. O. Box 18573, Spokane, WA, 99228-0573.†
From Our President
††††††††††† I read in the latest "AARP The Magazine" that in 2015 there were 700,000 self-published books, and in 2013 there were 300,000 traditionally published print books. Wow!† That's a lot of books.† Sounds good, right?† Imagine all the readers eagerly waiting to read your masterpieces.† But wait, what is the chance your wonderful book will be stocked by a bookstore?† The answer--less than 1%.† What!† Less than 1%?† I don't know about you, but I was shocked by this number.
††††††††† We in Spokane, until late last year, were very fortunate to have had three Hastings stores plus Auntie's Bookstore in which to sell our books and have book signings.† But now sadly with the closure of all Hastings stores, three-fourths of that is gone forever.
††††††††† With the number of local bookstores dwindling, we authors who are serious about selling our books must look elsewhere.† Making our names and book titles known to the public is more important than ever if we want to sell our books.† This task can be challenging and we need to be diligent and creative.
††††††††† I'm new to Amazon and Kindle and find myself trying to figure out how to get my books noticed.† After all, there are millions of books on this site. If you are like me, I usually look for books or authors that I have heard of before I even go to Amazon.† Of course, this isn't fair to other authors and their books.† I have vowed that the next time I order from Amazon, I will buy at least one book that I have never heard of before.
††††††††† Recently, I joined my high school alumni site.† After filling out some information about myself since I graduated from high school, I scanned in a couple of pictures--one of me and one of my two books that I have written.† However, I got the two photos mixed up and the picture of my books ended up where my picture of me should have been.† As I sat contemplating how to switch them around, I suddenly thought that maybe I should just leave them like they are.† That way, when an alumnus sees my name and picture of my books, maybe he or she would be curious enough to check it out.† So far fifteen have done just that.
††††††††† I've also been posting bookmarks of my books on public bulletin boards.† When I check back, most of them have been taken. Another thing I have been doing is encouraging those who enjoy reading my books to tell their friends and teachers about them.† One girl out in the Valley is doing just that.
††††††††† Marketing has become very important to me.† Today I discovered I sold two books on Amazon.† Of course, I don't know who purchased them, but I can't help wonder if one of the above ways of marketing my books encouraged someone to buy them.† Keep writing and marketing!
FROM THE EDITOR/WEB-MASTER
††††††††† In recent weeks Iíve noticed it is harder for me to concentrate and get things doneÖ even those things I need to do.† I havenít posted anything on Live Journal in weeks, nor have I taken time to comment on anyone elseís post(s).† Nor do I ďTweetĒ or post on Facebook as often as I would like, or from a marketing standpoint, as often as I should.
††††††††† I wonder if this has anything to do with my upcoming retirement.† True, Iíve been looking forward to it for a very long time, but it is a big change.† I long for the time when I do not have to get up and go to work, when I can do the things I want to do at the times I want to do them.† Yet there is an uncertainty to it that might be messing with my ability to focus on the tasks at hand.
††††††††† We always hear of those people who retire and then discover they are bored.† Honestly, I donít think that will be a problem for me.† I look forward to the time when I can get back to writing on a more consistent basis, resume painting regularly, and pay more heed to the marketing aspects of being an author.† I also have plans to re-work my web-site as well as the one for this fine organization.† Now I find Iím reluctant to start as I feel Iíll run out of time and donít want to leave these and other planned projects half finished.† And thatís not mentioning different yard and garage, handyman type projects that come to mind.
††††††††† Perhaps it is because of all the things Iím thinking of being able to do with my time freed up that I just donít know where to start.† Then I tend to put off doing anything.† I guess Iíll find out at the end of July.
FROM OUR PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR
Time to Revamp Your Platform Just a Little
††††††††† Summerís a very good time to take a break, but marketing your books is an ongoing commitment. Here are some ideas that could make your online presence as fresh and appealing as summer peonies -- regardless of your genre.
Does your website need an update?
††††††††† Is the information on your website current? Does it profile all of your books? What pages do you have:† About the Author, About My Books (with purchase links?), Blog, Book Reviews, Media Kit, Newsletter signup, and Contact pages? Have you included videos or audio files? Check out other authors in your genre. What do you like best or not like at all? If you donít have a website, why not consider WordPress or Bloggerís free hosting?
††††††††† Pictures tend to grab your audiencesí attention. So take another look. Are you happy with your websiteís banner? Your author photo? Does each post on your blog (or newsletter sent to subscribers) include a picture relevant to your writing that would be enticing to your readers? And, perhaps most important, do you routinely post to your blog? Once a week? Once every two weeks? And do you routinely send out your newsletter? Offer incentives to new subscribers?
Is your Amazon Author Page current?
††††††††† Consider revising your author bio. Less is more when writing for online readers! Marketing experts recommend no longer than 2 short paragraphs. Does your bio establish your personality and your qualifications? Your writing genre? Why your readers would want to read your books? Include a website? Did you know you can now post pictures and videos on your Author Page? Go to
http://authorcentral.amazon.com to get started.
††††††††† With e-books expanding rapidly in China and India, are your books are listed internationally? Currently, some countries (like India) link to your author page automatically. But for other countries, for example, the United Kingdom, you need to add that bio, pictures, and video. You can Google search for Author Central England to get started.
Are you active on Social Media?
††††††††† We could talk at length about Facebook, GoodReads, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube. But the key seems to be: Which shoe best fits your foot? If you only choose one or two of these options, do you follow a consistent schedule for being active? Do you read and respond to what others have written?
††††††††† Whatever changes you decide to make, working on your online platform is about building relationships with your readers, valuing their contributions, and sharing the heart of your work. You can pay others to build a website or even write and post entries on social media for you. But how do you build enthusiasm for your books? By being authentically present -- whether online or face-to-face.
Do you write reviews of other indie writerís books?
††††††††† Even a short review can make a tremendous difference. Why not make a commitment to read at least one book by an indie author each month and POST a review?
Just one more resource
††††††††† Iím a great believer in online training resources. Joanna Penn offers free Podcasts every Monday at her site: The Writing Penn. You can scroll through and listen to past Podcasts on a very helpful variety of writing and marketing topics.
††††††††† Happy Summer! Have a great month of writing and marketing!
††††††††† Beth Camp is currently knee-deep in revision for Rivers of Stone, historical fiction set in Canada in the 1840s. Sheís a member of A Round of Words in 80 Days, an online writing community. Her blog:
† ††††††† She currently serves as SASPís public relations person.
††††††††† Audiobook now available for Standing Stones!
††††††††† Scottish proverb: "Bend, don't break."
Have a writing tip? Why not send it to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in a future edition of SASP NEWS.
Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers
Page revised 06/25/2017 DAM