Tuesday, March 27

Fear Factor

So, IT finally happened!

Last month, I was offered a contract for my book, Wild Horses, from Crimson Romance. I still can't believe it. OMG. Then a week or so ago, I was offered another contract for A Cowboy to Keep from Ruby Lioness Press. OMG.

Overwhelmed isn't even close to explaining how I feel right now. Not by the sales, or the revisions. I can handle them. But the publicity. I don't like to blog. Ha! Then what the hell am I doing here, you ask? Hmmmm.... Kidding, I love the WWs.

I'm not as active on loops as I once was. At one time, I answered every newbie's question. I critted everything that came along. I was everywhere! LOL

But, seriously, promo does scare me. Which is really funny because I used to promo my 4-H stuff like a pro. I was slick. I was good. I built a gymkhana series from 10 kids when I started with it to 110 on our last one ten years later.

But that wasn't my life. It wasn't something I wanted forever. What if I say/do something dumb? (like this post?) What if I screw up?

I have a BIG fear of failure.

Anyone have any sage advice?

65 comments:

  1. D'Ann, an author friend of mine was complaining the other day that hardly anyone left comments on her blog. In two years and three books, she's managed to gain 147 followers. But...on Twitter, she has over 1,300 followers - growing every day. Food for thought, I guess. Good luck and happy writing :)

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    1. Good advice, Amanda. I need to get on Twitter.

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  2. D'Ann, you won't fail as long as you put yourself into your project. You're good. On some level you know that, you just have to remind the scared little kid inside of that truth.
    And, hey, even famous people screw up and say dumb things . . . A LOT! But their books and movies and careers still sell and flourish, so tell your fears to shut it. :)
    One thought though . . . try to pick promotion projects that you feel you can handle and then bug your friends to show up and remind you that you EARNED where you are. Your skill at story telling is WHY you got picked up - twice!
    Good luck and brightest wishes.

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  3. First, congrats on two contracts! Second, you can't screw up. When we make ourselves public it's only natural that we will say or write things that not everyone will like. So what? At least we're trying our best. That's what it's really about. Wishing you all kinds of success.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS--available at many libraries
    THE TRUTH SLEUTH--now in large print
    DEATH LEGACY--new release!

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    1. Thanks, Jacqueline! Appeciate the help.

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  4. Congrats on the two contracts!! Promo scares me too. I've never worked in marketing and I'm very shy. But I'm learning to jump out there meet new friends and network.

    You can do it. :) Just be yourself.

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  5. No sage advice from this corner--I hate promo and I suck at it--but you will do fine, plus you have laid such groundwork with the groups you're in and the people whose questions you've answered and work you've read. Congratulations on your sales!

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    1. Liz! Wah! You're my go-to girl for help.

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  6. Hi D'Ann! Congrats on your 2 shiny new contracts....way to fun!

    As for promo, I'm with Lia, I'm a bit shy (I know you can't believe it...lol) and it's hard to get out there and bare yourself. But I try and just have fun with it. I've met some awesome people, I'm having fun and I know if I say something stupid to just laugh at myself. We all do and say stuff we roll our eyes at later, so if you do that, just remember you're not alone and that your friends got your back!

    Good luck...you're going to do great!

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    1. Thanks, Christine. You are the Queen of promo and I bow before you.

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  7. D'Ann! My advice to you would be- go at it like you took down the fence. You knew what you had to do and you did it. Your family came in and lent a helping hand and together it you accomplished a great task. The same will go for your writing career. We'll be here for you to lean on and in your cheering section. !!Yay!!
    Enjoy the ride,
    Neecy

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  8. Just be yourself, D'Ann! I, myself get nervous abouit promo. I hate talking about myself.

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  9. Interesting article here: http://www.genreality.net/a-writers-enemy-feeling-like-a-fraud. Bob Mayer talks about writers feeling like frauds, which I think applies to the fear of promo. We don't want to toot our own horns for fear of sounding like...well, like we're tooting our own horns. But if we don't, who will?

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  10. Promo is the necessary evil if you want to sell. Good covers and blurbs go a long way. Review sites are great. D'Ann - here is an action item list i would suggest now.
    1.) Set up an author page on FB, Manic Readers and The Romance Reviews
    2.) Get a Twitter account and start following anybody and everybody you can. Never turn down a Twitter follow unless it's one of those spamers. Widen your sphere of influence.
    3.) Get a list of review sites (both your publishers should have this)
    4.) (OPTIONAL) Join various places for marketing like The Romance Studio. Their prices are reasonable.

    There's probably more but I can't think.

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  11. First congrats, and second, I have no expertise to share, but it looks like others have. You're gonna do great!

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  12. Congrats on your second sale! That's awesome. Like Em, I don't have any grand advice to share.

    One of the things I've done in prep of selling is to store ideas I've seen other authors use that I've responded to. One of my favorites is Sarah Addison Allen who offers a contest in which the prizes correspond with the book. For example one of the prizes for the book, The Girl Who Chased The Moon, was moon jars.

    I've already started saving ideas to do something similar when Bix is published :)

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    1. Margie,
      When Bix comes out, I'll be singing like a bird all over the place. Can't wait! And thank you.

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  13. I am one of the most shy, introverted, quiet, homebodies you will ever meet D'Ann, but behind a computer screen I can pretend to be a blogger, extrovert! LOL! I'd never guess that about you. I remember a certain night not long ago on FB with a few friends, a bottle of champagne, a little celebration...nope, sorry, you've joined the introverts-behind-their-computer-screens-who-are-extroverts-group! So get on out there and let the world know about your fabulous books because they are gonna want to read them! Trust me, I know :)

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    1. Jenn~
      Shhh...*looks around* that night was our little secret. LOL

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  14. Congrats on two contracts, that is completely impressive. I know promo can be scary, I've been there, I am there. Sometimes it makes me choke to the point that I completely draw a blank. I have a book coming next month, my first erotica...or what I am assuming will be termed erotica. I have a book out that I self published. I tweet all about it...if you don't have twitter, get twitter...I don't use it often, but I have developed a small following...when you get Twitter, explore and start following other authors, publishers and agents...sometimes, they follow you back. Use Facebook...advertise your blog or book or buy links in any way you can. I know people think Myspace is a has been idea...but people still use it...if you don't have a myspace...get one... get on linkedin...get on author's den...offer your blog for guest blog spots...if you're not sure what I mean, go check out my blog (SorensenShorts Tab) and then check out the Be My Guest Tab to get an idea of what you might want to do on your own. If you don't blog often, then getting others to blog on your blog will keep it active.

    Hope I was able to help, even just a little.

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    1. Laurie~
      You helped me tremendously. Thank you so much!

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  15. I love Jennifer's description of us. I was shaking my head saying, "Yup, that's me." LOL.

    You have to find what works for you and you can only do that by trial and error. Book signings scare the hell out of me. I can sell stuff like nobodies business because that's what I do in my day job, but go out there and sell my book face-to-face at a bookstore? You'll find me hiding behind the stacks.

    Experiment. Try different things and focus on what works for you.

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    1. I got to sit with Margot Early once at one of her signings. I was terrified just watching her interact with her fans. Gulp.

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  16. Marketing is a necessary evil. It also takes a lot of time away from writing. My plan, since I'm not published yet, is to try to get out ahead of it so I have a platform for when I am.

    Congrats on both books. You deserve it.

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  17. I have no advice to give because I suffer from the same fears as you. And like Ella said, marketing and all that jazz is an necessary evil. I just finished up a week long blog tour and I'm beat. And it does take a lot of time away from your writing. Even though the tour was only a week long, I was writing blogs weeks beforehand. And like you, I do not like blogging.

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    1. You did a GREAT job with your tour, Brenda. I'm proud of you.

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  18. Having previously embibed in the virtual champagne with D'Ann, I can say she lets her alter (altered?) ego loose and slams as hard as the pros. LOL Promo is scary stuff, especially with our books. Be comfortable with what you know you're capable of. If you want another pair of eyes to look over a blog before you send it off, have your CPs look it over. Your posts are always fresh and unique, you shouldn't worry there. The unknown is a frightening place, but we're here for you.

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    1. Hehehehe....shhhh. *we're not talking about that*

      Seriously, great advice. Thanks!

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  19. I too have a fear of success, but as a friend told me, it is all a learning experience. So yah, you'll probably make a few flubs, it goes with the territory. Just keep asking questions and go for it.

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    1. Thanks, Cj. You're so great to come by.

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  20. Hey D'Ann,
    We all have the fear of failure. It's one of those things they ingrain in you in school by grading your papers (okay, I'm speculating here). No one likes to be judged, but it's an unfortunate fact, particularly when subjecting writing, art, etc. into the world.

    The thing is, I don't typically project my negative thoughts into something I don't like because I don't want the author or artist or whoever to feel bad. If I think I can help, I do and if I don't feel that I can, I don't. It's just my opinion anyway and who am I in the grand scheme of things?

    You're gonna do great because I've read other things you've written and I would gladly pay money for them. Smack that fear out of the way!

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  21. Sorry I don't have any good advice but I do have some encouragement. You're an excellent blogger. It's just going to feel foreign to you at first but I know you'll be fantastic!

    Just try to always keep the question readers usually ask themselves- What's in it for me?

    So excited for you!

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    1. Thanks, Mart! I appreciate the support.

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  22. I hate blogging. I feel like no one will want to hear what I have to say. Promoting is scary. I still haven't learned what's right and what's not. Congrats on your two sales.

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    1. Shawn~
      I love when you blog. You have fantastic posts!

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  23. I have no good advice, D'Ann! I hate promoting my stories and feel like it's hit or miss. Lol, mostly miss for me.

    I've read we should promote, but not to the exclusion of writing new books. Many bestselling authors say the best promotion is more books out on the shelves--virtual or otherwise:)

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  24. Congratulations again on your sale, D'Ann!

    Go to 1st Turning Point and read the articles archived there. We have over 600 articles from 50+ authors on this very topic, covering just about anything you can think of. I also co-wrote a couple books with Ann Charles that would help. The first is about building your career: Nail It! The Secret to Building An Effective Fiction Writer's Platform, Level 1: Laying the Foundation. The second is about finding your book's audience: Growing Your Audience: Workbook for Published, Unpublished, and Under-published Writers.

    Information is the key to not wasting a whole lot of time and money on things that don't work.

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    1. Thank you, Jacquie! Great advice.

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  25. And the contracts just keep coming! So happy for you, D'Ann! I've done a little self-promotion, and like most everyone here, hate doing it. Most of the answers I was going to suggeest have already been given, but let me add a couple of new ones.

    1. I go to Vistaprint and create postcards with my book cover on the front and a blurb and buy-info on the back. I put them on the windshields of cars at the university in my town. My two books target that age group. I also create business cards with the same info and keep them in my purse so I can hand them out when the occassion arises. I also leave a postcard or business card at different establishments, such as restaurants, hotels I've stayed in, in books I sell or lend. It won't help me get rich, but it helps sell a few books.
    2. I read the headline of an article about how some authors are using Pinterest to market their books. I should have clicked on the article but I was rushed and didn't -- and now I can't find the article!
    3. Some authors arrange to be the guest speaker at a book club or writers group. You could talk about your road to publishing, the expertise you gain from dealing with your contracts, pitfalls to avoid, marketing, and so on.
    4. If your story is set in your home town/state, you could send a press release to the paper. They often will run a piece on a local author.

    That's all I can add. I'm brain dead after a long work day. Best of luck, and congrats again! Sophia

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  26. I hate blogging too, which is why I don't even have a blog. It's time consuming and I'd rather write than blog. So, I admire other people who do and you can do it.

    Congrats on you sales.

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  27. Funny we're on this topic. I just read an article about authors needing to brand themselves. Interesting stuff --

    http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/03/20/branding-author-platform/

    Toni Zuma

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    1. Thanks, Tomi! I'll check out this article.

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  28. Congrats, congrats and more congrats! My advice is to remember this is you're dream. Not anyone else. We can make mistakes, but it isn't like it would be over. Pick yourself up and keep going. You already proved you could do it, by writing and submitting. Which is the really scary part.

    Nichelle

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  29. Congratulations again, D'Ann... And you'll do fine. I think you are on the right track by asking for advice. I really don't have anything to add. But I think using your local resources are a good place to start. Check out your local library, most of them will sponser local authors. Do a talk about your journey and about the changing industry. Do the postcard/ romance trading card/ book marker thing. Leave them everywhere. I started leaving my business cards everywhere I can... resturants and handing to people who ask about my books.

    Then check out a book tour or make your own by asking to guest on other people's blogs. Figure out who you write like.... ex: for my westerns, I think I'm a mixed up mess of Linda Lael Miller, Kat Martin and Joan Johnston. Once you know who you write similiarly to--- try to attract their audiences. I plan to do this with A Hunter's Angel by going after JR Ward's, Amanda Ashley's and Stephanie Myers's (adult) audiences during my blog tours.

    But most importantly enjoy the ride, cowgirl....

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    1. Great advice, Sara. Thanks so much!

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  30. I think if you approach your own blog like you do WW you'll be great. You always come up with unique topics--just keep on blogging! My advice RE: promo--don't let it consume you. One school of thought is that your next book is the best tool to sell the one you have now. The more you write, the more opportunities people have to read your work and want more of it. Word of mouth/recommendation is the #1 thing that sells books according to some sources. Make a plan and that will get you through it.

    Good luck and congrats again on the contracts.

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  31. Great advice, Jenna. Thank you.

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  32. D'Ann, I am so proud of you!
    Blogging and getting to know others is a struggle we all conquer, or at least manage, in our own ways. I’m outgoing, but don’t like blogging and yet I try every week.
    Like many others trying to build a platform before the sell is good and I believe you’ve done this very well.
    You are one of the nicest, real people I've had the pleasure of knowing.
    Your wonderful writing will speak, read, for itself. And your books are going to go like funnel cakes at the State Fair!

    Best wishes and CONGRATS!

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    1. Ah, Summer. That's so mice. Thank you!

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  33. Admittedly it is hard but it is just like any other job I've had (but more enjoyable). You need to sell what's great about you and your books. Why should people read what you write? It is our job to convince them!

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  34. Hey D'Ann, congratulations on your book contracts -- fantastic news! And it looks to me like you're doing everything right just about now, so no fear!

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