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All the news that's fit to print--or not.  Check in here for our latest articles and updates about anything in the ePublishing world.

 


Cover of Fit to Be Dead

Fit to Be Dead, by Nancy West, Nominated for a Lefty!

Nancy G. West's Aggie Mundeen mystery, Fit to Be Dead, has been nominated for the Lefty Award,

...which has been given annually since 1996 for the best humorous mystery novel of the year.

Nancy G. West's Aggie Mundeen mystery was shortlisted along with five others for the prize, whose winner will be announced at the Left Coast Crime Conference in Colorado Springs in March. The conference is held annually in Western North American cities and on the west coast of England (Bristol) and Hawaii (Waikoloa).

The nomination is decided on by voting from approximately 1,200 conference attendees, which include some of the most enthusiastic readers of crime fiction in the US and UK.

"I'm thrilled to be a finalist for this award because it's voted on by mystery fans," said West, a resident of San Antonio and Seguin. 

West wrote the biography of San Antonio artist, Jose Vives-Atsara. Her suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, received the Blether Gold Award, and Friends of the San Antonio Public Library honored her with the 2012 Arts and Letters Award for her contribution to writing. The second Aggie Mundeen mystery, Dang Near Dead, has been recently released.

Past winners of the Lefty include Janet Evanovich and Elaine Viets.  If you want to see what all the fuss is about, check it out on Amazon.com:  Go to:  Fit To Be Dead

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How To Use Twitter

Steve explains how to compose an effective profile bio, what #hashtags are, why you should use links, and offers up examples of good, bad, and ugly self-promotional tweets.

1. Create an informative, concise, and unique bio.

You want potential followers to know who you are, what you do, and why you do it, without appearing arrogant, hasty, or a bore. Think like a (micro)journalist: answer the obligatory who? what? when? where? and why? as briefly as possible. Alternatively, think like you're filling out an online dating application. What kind of followers are you trying to attract? Bloggers? Reviewers? Agents? Readers? Ex-cons? Marine Biologists?

Example of a good profile bio:

Ellen Jones   @ellenjones
Oakland-based motorcycle rider and author of the Jane Smith YA mystery series. Read more about Jane's latest adventures: www.janegoestowashington.thebook.com

Why this bio is good:

It tells us that a woman (presumably) named Ellen lives in California, likes to do crazy things like ride motorcycles (without obnoxiously proclaiming "I'm wild! I ride motorcycles!"), and writes a mystery series of young adult novels about a girl named Jane who most recently took on Washington. If I'm curious, I can click on her link for more information. Short and sweet.

Example of a bad profile:

Joe Smith   @joesmithcool
My name is Joe Smith. I am an author. I have written 4 books. Two were published with Book Publishing, Inc. One is self-published because I'm trying to stick it to The Man! My books are, without a doubt, some of the bestest books in the whole wide world!!! Read more about "The Awesome Series" (including tons of 5-star reviews) on Amazon!!

Why this bio is bad:

It tells us that an author named Joe Smith has written 4 books, is bitter about the fact that only 2 of them were traditionally published, and is (likely unfoundedly) convinced that he's an extraordinary writer. The extraneous exclamation points take up unnecessary space and suggest he might secretly be a 6th grade girl. I know the title of his book series, but if I want to read it, I have to search for it on my own. This bio is long-winded, immature, and ineffectual.

2. Self-promotional tweets

When tweeting to promote to your followers, be it an event you're publicizing, a blog entry you'd like them to read, or a product you'd like them to buy, tread carefully. In a world ripe with bombarding advertisement, it's difficult to convince people that your self-promotion is any different from or better than everyone else's self-promotion. Make it your goal to pique interest. Promote creatively, humbly, and concisely. Come up with 140-character phrases that would make even the busiest, pickiest reader just have to know more.

And... Never underestimate the value of hyperlinks and hashtags.

For the uninitiated, a hashtag consists of a # sign followed by a word or words that categorize a tweet (no spaces in between). #books denotes a tweet about a book or books. #Obama2012 denotes a tweet about Obama's reelection campaign, including event listings, press coverage, and commentary. Anyone can employ any hashtag at any time. Hashtags that are trending as I write (you can find trends on the left hand side of your Twitter home page) include #MayWeather, denoting tweets about thunderstorms and sunshine, and #AJBurnett, denoting tweets about whatever sport that dude is playing right now.

Hashtags authors commonly use:

#books
#ebooks
#kindle
#nook
#amreading
#mustread
#read
#bookclub

Hashtags useful in promoting KDP free days:

#freekindlebook
#freebooks
#freeebook (that's "free ebook")
#free

Why these hashtags will help you:

If I'm searching for a new book to read, I can type "#books," for example, in the search field located in Twitter's upper right hand menu. Twitter will send me to a page listing all tweets including the hashtag #books, whether I'm following those users or not. If I'm looking for a replacement for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I've just finished reading, I can search for #thriller, #crimenovel, or #SteigLarsson.

This search feature works for promoters as well. If I've just written a crime novel I would compare to Larsson's series, I can run searches for those books in Twitter and use hashtags I find in my own future tweets, such as #MillenniumTrilogy.

Apart from using by the book (no pun intended) categorical hashtags, use your imagination in your tweets! Don't be afraid to be funny.

Bad self-promotional tweet:

Back to Basics is free today! Please Retweet you guys! I love you!

Why this tweet is bad:

It's lacking information. Remember that people use Twitter for various reasons, not just to find books they'd just like to buy and read and share with their friends. We have no idea what "Back to Basics" is. A book? A work-out video? Even if I were to assume Back to Basics is this author's book, there's no link to it, which means I'd have to search for it. Then he asks me to retweet to my followers with the additional qualifier that he loves me. Not only am I annoyed, I'm a little creeped out.

Good self-promotional tweet:

#freekindlebook: Back to Basics www.amazon.com/backtobasicsbook A case for resuscitating the electric #car. #books #nonfiction #amreading #green #energy #algore #hybrids #free

Why this tweet is good:

Right off the bat, it informs followers that the tweet is about a free kindle book. It gives the book's title, a direct link to where it can be purchased, and a phrase explaining what the book is about. Hashtags in the tweet explain that the product is a book, is nonfiction, and pertains to energy policy, green energy, that it is related to hybrid vehicles, and that it is a free product.

More examples of good self-promotional tweets:

Now out on #kindle: #Murder in #Miami, the 2nd #book in the Jan Austin #mystery series: www.amazon.com/janaustinbooks #chicklit #femalesleuth #romance #florida #mustread

Is #Twitter REALLY an effective tool for #selfpromotion? An interview with #selfpub #author @JackieJCollins www.interviewjackie.com

"Joe Jones does it again. Before There Was #Coffee is #hilarious & #moving. A page-turner to the last drop." www.link.com #books #satire #humor #capitalism #starbucks

Non-promotional tweets:

Don't use Twitter only to sell yourself! Think of it as a bar conversation with an acquaintance. Retweet (denoted by "RT") tweets you're interested in by large publications and individuals, ask your followers questions, find common ground with other Twitter users, start conversations with those you follow, make small talk about day-to-day happenings. You wouldn't talk incessantly about your job or divulge gory details about your recent divorce to the stranger sipping a beer on the bar stool to your right; don't do it on Twitter, either.

3. Quick Tips:

Twitter now has a built-in link shortener, which automatically codes your hyperlinks to take up no more than 20 characters. This means you can copy and paste links without having to worry about losing precious characters.


Running out of room in a tweet? Can't figure out how to shorten it any further? Replace "and"s with "&," and compound words w/ (hint!) contractions.

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Booknook.biz client and Indy Author L.J. Sellers signs 11-book deal with Amazon!

Although this is bittersweet news for us--as we'll be losing a client--it's amazing news for those of you out there toiling on your Indy- and self-published books.  L.J. Sellers, one of the very first Booknook.biz clients for conversion to Kindle and ePUB formats, has just been offered an 11-book contract with Amazon.  Amazon bought her entire backlist of nine novels, plus the next two she'll write.  Even more excitement--Amazon is planning to produce translations, hardbacks, etc., of LJ's bestselling Detective Jackson novels. 

L.J. left her small publisher over four years ago and struck out on her own--and it looks like she made the right choice.  She worked hard, wrote well, and sweated blood and tears marketing her series.  Now Amazon, as her publisher, will obviously take that series and her writing career to a whole new tier.  Our deepest (although sad) congratulations to you, L.J.!

You can read L.J.'s announcement here, on the Crime Fiction Collective Blog (to which we both contribute); if you want to read some of LJ's books on Amazon, you can start by clicking here to go to her Author page.  Want to try the book that started it all?  Give The Sex Club a whirl--and see if you're not caught up right away.

Well done, L.J.--The Crew and Oompa Loompas here at Booknook wish you the best--and I hope to see you at Bouchercon this year. 

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Intent to Sell: Marketing the Genre Novel, by Jeffrey Marks

Due to overwhelming request, we've begun migrating our previously private, "available only to Booknook.biz customers" Resources section--over 80 links and sites helpful to the Indy Published author--to our FAQ.  As part of this effort, we're adding our resources a bit at a time, focusing heavily at first on marketing tools and techniques as well as other areas (like cover designers, how to create/obtain a cover template, how to work with Twitter articles, etc.) 

Today's addition--someone well known to many of you--is Jeffrey Marks, award-winning novelist, marketing and publicity Guru, and his most recent Kindle Book, the Fourth Edition of his immensely popular "Intent to Sell:  Marketing the Genre Novel." 

For those of you who don't know Jeff, he's not talking out of his hat; he's won a number of awards including the Anthony in 2009 for his Anthony Boucher biography; Barnes and Noble Prize; he has been nominated for an Edgar (MWA), an Agatha (Malice Domestic), a Maxwell award (DWAA), and an Anthony award (Bouchercon).   We're delighted to mention that  Booknook.biz produced this fourth version for him, in digital (ePUB and MOBI) formats, but having disclosed this--we'd be recommending Jeff, his novels, his book on Marketing and his book-promotion-related classes highly regardless. 

For more information on Jeff's book, his personalized courses and available video instruction, please "click on over" to our AWEsome FAQ.  Feel free, whilst in the FAQ, to rummage around, use the search (see the little magnifying glass icon at the upper-right-hand-side of the menubar) for any relevant articles, and enjoy yourself.  We're happy to take suggestions for other article categories and specific topics.

Thanks--and we hope that you enjoy Jeff and his works as much as we do!

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Booknook Success Story: Client Tom Gates No. 1 in the iBookstore!

One of our favorite clients, Tom Gates, author of Wayward, is celebrating this week; his book has just topped the charts at iBooks, holding down the #1 spot in Travel Books, doing so in a matter of a mere few weeks. Tom talks about his book and experience in this interview in Matador. (n.b.: adult language in the interview). The book is knocking them dead on iBooks as well as Amazon, climbing to Amazon's top-ten in "travel essays," although that description doesn't do it service. Witty, charming, (and a hoot to work with), Tom shows how self-publishing can be the road forward--and a successful one, at that--for those of you with unheard voices.

Tom was also kind enough to give old Booknook.biz a plug, for which we are, of course, grateful.

To find Tom's book on your Amazon Kindle, you can click-thru this link: Wayward: Fetching Tales from a Year on the Road. Don't miss this one!

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