Tag Archives: Jen Hilborne

Life as a self-published author #3

The internet is a mind-boggling place with so many different sites that writers can use to connect with their readers, ‘meet’ other writers, write about their topic, share their ideas, and find new channels to market. At a recent writer’s workshop hosted by crime author Jen Hilborne here in Swindon I noted down the URLs of at least 12 different author networking sites. Even for someone fairly technically ‘connected’ this was bordering on the brain-numbing – I dread to think what it was like for those who’d just got their email account up and running.

Technology is moving at a tremendous pace, with new sites springing up every day to help us build – or dilute – our online profile. From my perspective I’m sure there’s more I could be doing but at the moment the most I can manage is
blogging, Facebook, Linked-in, e-mailing and tweeting to get the word out about The Journal Writer’s Handbook.

Fact is I don’t want to spread myself so thinly, plus I don’t have the time nor the inclination to keep up with so many different sites. It’s grand that WordPress has got a sharing function which automatically ripples new content through the main social network sites. So as soon as I push the button on my blog I know the update will be visible elsewhere. This way we’re able to focus on the quality of our posts rather than making them ubiquitous.

I’ve started to check out other people’s blogs and leave comments, but again this takes time and it pays to be discerning.  Last week I commented on the blog of Moodscope – a fantastic on-line service to monitor and record your daily mood, and perhaps alert a friend when your mood plummets. It’s of great help to people who have a depressive illness, but it’s also useful for anyone just wanting to raise their own conscious awareness about their state of mind.

Moodscope is one of the recommended resources I refer to in the index of The Journal Writer’s Handbook, and provided me with some of the inspiration for my book’s Mood Index. So last week when Jon Cousins at Moodscope wrote a blog post talking about the value of keeping a gratitude journal to enhance our mood, I couldn’t resist getting in touch to tell him about my book. It was a very useful connection to make, and resulted in a couple of on-line sales of my book.

Similarly Gabrielle Lichterman’s Hormonology website gets a mention in my book – so when I wrote to her last week to tell her she very kindly included a link to The Journal Writer’s Handbook on her page.

And just this week I’ve started to make use of Facebook ads – Yeay – that could be why you’re here reading this, and if that’s so you get an extra special welcome to these pages!

Again, using the logic of following your nose, promoting your book on the internet needn’t be daunting or exhausting. Use the social media sites you’re already familiar with, or choose one and make an effort to get to know it in detail and how it might help you in your marketing. One thing’s certain, whether you’re publishing entirely independently or with a partnership publisher, your online platform is an important part of your life as a self-published author.

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A self-publishing adventure

Yesterday my hubby, who’s doing all the techie side of getting the Handbook published, pushed the button on blurb.co.uk to order the first proof of my book. Yeayyy!

I’d written the manuscript in Word, he’d converted it to pdf (though a very specific format of pdf), then uploaded it to blurb’s ‘pdf to book’ service. All this nitty gritty left me cold. “I’m a writer,” I declared. “I need to be doing the writing and I need someone else to do the content uploading and formatting for me.” I’m lucky to have my own technical monkey to help!

Yesterday afternoon I spent in the company of local writers as we listened to crime fiction author Jen Hilborne give us the benefit of her experience getting published both the traditional way and the self-publishing way. It was a very rich workshop, packed with hints and tips about how to use Amazon and social media to promote our books, and how to decide which publishing route to take. I learned the distinctions between self-publishing, independent publishing, vanity publishing and traditional publishing, and it was useful to know that self-publishing is becoming an increasingly respected channel to market.

It also goes to show how quickly things are changing in the publishing world since I started thinking seriously about writing in 2007.  Back then self- and indie-publishing were invariably tarred with the same stigmatising brush as vanity publishing. The advances in digital technology, and the determination of the writing community to exploit as much of it as we can manage to get our words out into the world have completely changed the picture. Now, thankfully, blogs, e-books, and print on demand have begun to steal the market from the vanity sharks, who prey on the delicate egos and vulnerable wallets of new writers through their gushing letters of flattery and boiler-plate promises of authorial greatness.

If you’re a writer local to Swindon and you’d like to learn a bit more about publishing and book promotion online, Jen has offered to run another workshop at Basepoint, West Swindon, in the New Year 2013. Drop me a line at juliet@treetopscommunications.co.uk if you’re interested in attending.

If you’re struggling to upload your content into blurb using pdf to book, check out my hubby’s extensive blog on the subject: Blurb publishing.

And if you’re into crime fiction check out Jen Hilborne’s books No Alibi, Madness and Murder, and Hide and Seek via her website.

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