Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Updates – An Exciting Month!

January was an important month for me. I entered Unwanted Heroes into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and Oilspill dotcom into the IPPY contest. I have already written about the importance of contests in a previous blog entry (January 8th – In Search of Golden Nuggets). In addition, I listed Oilspill dotcom with a company that markets books for a commission.

My goals for February are focused on a number of specific social networking forums. I have been active in LinkedIn groups that, while I learned a lot from the other contributors, have not produced any sales (as far as I can work out).

These are the forums that I plan to work on this month.

1) CreateSpace community
With the merger of Booksurge and CreateSpace, I want to explore the CreateSpace community. This is an active forum of authors and I want to expand my online platform with a group of authors from the same publishing house.

2) Goodread community
This is a community of readers. I have already seen how authors use it to promote their books (harnessing reviews) and there is a very different group of people assembled here.

3) Smashwords Marketing Document: Read Through & Implement
I am very proud to have my ebook published with both Smashwords and iScribd, but I have not put an effort into promoting my ebook outside of this blog. The emerging ebook market fascinates me, and I need to focus on developing my presence in the e-reader world.

4) Amazon – I have purchased the book ‘Sell Your Book on Amazon’ by Brent Sampson. I plan to read through the book this month and implement his ideas. Amazon remains the most effective platform to sell my book. While I experience success (sales) when meeting people face-to-face, the options available in Northern California are steadily shrinking, and I am not succeeding in creating marketing opportunities further afield. If I am to invest time in Social Networking Media, then I need to fully exploit my Amazon store.

5) Amazon community – Amazon do a very good job creating an online community for its customers. In the same way that bookstores use different ploys to get/keep you in their store, Amazon have created a number of communities to achieve a similar goal. This is, therefore, another network where I need to develop a presence.

One of the common threads is to spread my blog throughout these networks. If I am writing my blog, I should try to promote it at each of these forums. This thought has brought me to scrutinize how I am utilizing my blog and what I want to write in it.

A friend of mine recently attended a seminar facilitated by a very successful blogger. The blogger made a number of statements including the need to blog a few times a day (everyday) and also to write passionately about whatever platform is the subject of my blog.

Countdown to a Novel Published began over a year ago as a countdown to the launch of Oilspill dotcom. After the book was published, it became a diary sharing my experiences in marketing and promoting Oilspill. I hope I have honestly portrayed my successes, frustrations and challenges.

I have purposefully avoided sharing inane descriptions about standing in line at the post office and what new protein smoothie I am drinking to increase word production. There are plenty of narcissist blogs and the airwaves are a-twitter (pun intended) with such descriptions. They are read essentially, one would assume, by loved ones, friends and helicopter parents.

Truth is, I am struggling more and more to find topics that I believe are interesting to those beyond my immediate support circle, and I think that this struggle is reflected in the lack of growth in readership over the past 2-3 months. Blogging is a time-consuming component in the little time I have to market my books. I say this while acknowledging the significance of such an investment. But if I am to be truly productive with the time I have, my blog needs to grow, in subject matter and readership.

So I am adding another goal to those listed above: to decide where to take my blog from March onwards. And I would like to solicit your honest thoughts about the direction I should take. So please, drop me a line (comment on the blog, my website, email, or over a beer – yes people still meet face-to-face). I appreciate your input.

Good Writing,

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