State of Writing

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I wasn’t sure I would make it this week, but I was able to complete my two chapters for the week on Hoods of the Red Order. It was a struggle late on Friday since the week’s work really knocked the stuffing out of me (the two day blizzard and canceled school and school programs actually creates more work for us youth workers). In the end, I had to shut myself down so I’d have the energy for a last-minute funeral I got called to play bagpipes at; I wanted to stay up and keep writing—I hit a great section where Robyn meets Vlad Calugarul of the House Draculesti (the half-brother of Vlad the Impaler).

YA time-traveling Robin Hood versus vampires. So much yas!

The Kakos Realm 3 is also just about ready for launch. I finished up looking over suggestions and edits from a few readers and made some minor edits. I’m still planning for a Spring release.

On the other side of things, I did some good online networking with other authors/groups and got a few interviews done with other blogs. Apparently I know a few things now so I get to pretend like I’m an expert on a few topics. I’ve also got a top secret writing project in the works that I have been investing some time into. Shhh.

Are Press Releases Worth Doing?

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Derek Murphy of Creative Indie has a pretty low opinion of press releases. They just don’t seem to have the same weight that they used to.

In his exact words over at his blog, creativeindie.com, he says

“Press releases for book promotion almost never work… It doesn’t matter how catchy and well-written they are, which is why 99% of press release services book publicity gurus offer are BS.”

He talks about a predatory website geared to take advantage of authors. Rather than make well-crafted press releases they make up a boiler plate one and fill in the blanks and then submit it… using good SEO, keywords, and paid placing they get ahead of the results in web searches and look like a great option for starving Indies who are just looking for a way to be heard.

Murphy uses some comical examples to reiterate “publishing a book is not news. You need to DO SOMETHING that makes you newsworthy.” And when he says, “If you can’t think of any news besides ‘hey I wrote a book!’ then you’re better off paying for book advertising than wasting money on a press release,” I’m inclined to agree with him.

All of that said, sometimes they do work. I have some friends in my writers’ network who feel they’ve been very beneficial and seen some other promotional opportunities come out of them. what I found interesting is that one had said a few outlets had found his press release by also searching for keywords—the same basic premise the shady PR factory was using can also work for an author who can be smart about using his language in a press release (and isn’t that what we’re supposed to be capable of as writers?”

A good solution for the DIY or low-budget Indie Author is to work through a couple steps:

  1. Heed Murphy’s advice and find your story (releasing a book is purely a factoid and not, in itself, newsworthy—it has no value or story attached. Give people a reason to listen.) A good primer for this is at http://www.publicityinsider.com/freesecret.asp
  2. Do some research into how news outlets might discover your press release. Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find the most effective terminology related to your book. (More on that at https://www.bookworks.com/2017/06/7-keyword-tools-book-metadata )
  3. Obey the accepted format for press releases. You can find some rules and guidelines on it (as well as a great story about how A Gronking to Remember became a hit sensation—an author made their bad book into a story) at this site: https://kindlepreneur.com/book-press-release/
  4. Use a discount service such as Fiverr to get your release into circulation for a reduced cost

Another template can be found here:
https://allfreelancewriting.com/writers-resource-sample-press-release-template-for-a-book-launch/

 

Review: The Silver Horn Echoes-A Song of Roland

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I was sent a copy of The Silver Horn Echoes: A Song of Roland for review. It is historical fiction but comes off in such a way that it crosses over into the appeal for the fantasy crowd—it invokes kind of the feeling that Game of Thrones fans would have when watching Vikings. As a fan of both shows I enjoyed the story of Roland and it had similar intrigue to the later seasons of Vikings with the kingdoms of the region vying for dominance during the Dark Ages (even though the central figures are the characters rather than the countries).

The story is well researched and flows seamlessly—although the action never bogs down in history lessons. The action comes quick and regular during the campaigns and you never quite feel safe as the reader. Continue reading Review: The Silver Horn Echoes-A Song of Roland