With my new book, Unexpected Superhero, out last month, I am reading the perfect marketing book. It’s called Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl. I’ve been following Tim via his company, Out:think, for a year or more. The company works with writers to sell more books and become more successful.
The book came out two weeks ago and I’m halfway through it. So far, the most compelling piece of information is the incredibly strong argument for writers to have an email newsletter. And not just to have one (I sent out my first newsletter two weeks ago! Woo-hoo!), but to have a robust list, focusing more on email followers than Facebook or Twitter followers.
One of Tim’s examples is of an author whose analytics show that for every book she sold via Facebook and Twitter posts, she sold fifty due to her email newsletters. Fifty! Tim also reminds us that no matter what is happening with the various social media outlets, we will always have the contact information we collect via our newsletters. If Facebook changes this or that policy, if Twitter makes a change, we can lose contact with all of our fans. Snap! Just like that.
The other thing Tim emphasizes several times is that our newsletters need to be “relentlessly helpful.” Think about that. Relentlessly helpful. What does that mean to you? More importantly, what does that mean to your readers? What kind of information would be in my newsletter that would cause subscribers to not only read every issue, but hit the Buy Now button when I have a new book out? What kind of newsletter would do that with your readers?
If you’re looking for a good book on marketing your new book, I think you should try Your First 1000 Copies. I’m getting a lot out of it, and I think you will, too.
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, came out in 2011. Her new novel, Unexpected Superhero, book one in The Adventures of Lewis & Clarke humorous urban fantasy series, is now available in print and ebook format. Love at the Fluff and Fold, book one in The Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series, will be released later this summer. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.
Kitty Bucholtz is the author of the romantic comedy Little Miss Lovesick and the light urban fantasy Unexpected Superhero. Though she grew up in Northern Michigan, the setting for many of her stories, she followed her husband to Australia twice. While he made a penguin named Mumble dance, she earned her MA in Creative Writing in Sydney. When she’s not unpacking or repacking, she’s working on her next book or chatting with readers on Facebook.
Kitty was interview by long time OCC/RWA member Marianne H. Donley.
Marianne: First question, do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?
Kitty: Itâ€™s funny you should ask because I discovered one theme a couple years ago, but I discovered a secondary theme while writing my book, Unexpected Superhero. After several years of writing, I finally realized that I write about women who are finding out that they have more â€œpowerâ€ than they think they have. Mostly, it comes down to personal strength, inner resolve, and the character to think through how to change a situation theyâ€™re not happy with, though in Unexpected Superhero, she literally discovers a power she didnâ€™t know she had. That theme comes directly from me and my life experience. Iâ€™ve never wanted to just accept a bad situation; Iâ€™m always trying to make things better.
But writing this new book, I realized that several of my stories have a â€œprotecting children in dangerâ€ element. Itâ€™s a little weird to me because I donâ€™t have children. Where did this theme come from? I could guess, but I donâ€™t really know. The fun part about not knowing is that I get to find out more about it as I write!
Kitty: The best advice Iâ€™ve gotten is â€œtrust yourself.â€ It takes a lot of writing for that advice to be useful, but thereâ€™s a point at which trusting yourself is the best thing you can do.
The worst advice Iâ€™ve gotten is â€œreal writers write every day.â€ That doesnâ€™t work for me. I work best in bursts. That may mean writing 5-8 hours a day for weeks to finish a book, then 10-14 hours a day doing what I call the book build, creating the files that will become the ebook and print book. Then I may read all day every day for a week, and half a day every day for another couple weeks, researching and ingesting material that will eventually find its way into another book. The only way I overcame the worst advice for me was by taking the best advice for me – I trusted that I had figured out how I worked best.
Marianne: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how do you get past that?
Kitty: Iâ€™m laughing! Run out of ideas? No! I get tangled up in my ideas and get stuck when I donâ€™t realize Iâ€™ve got two or more ideas working against each other. Thatâ€™s been happening a bit with my next release, Love at the Fluff and Fold. But thatâ€™s been untangling more as I finish the current book and spend more time on the new book.
An example to show you why the question made me laugh – when I was hired at E! Entertainment, the cable TV network, I had to sign a standard contract. In it was a clause that any creative ideas I came up with, at work or away from work, while employed there would be the property of E! Entertainment. I made a polite but assertive fuss about it and wouldnâ€™t sign the contract. The network attorney finally said that I should provide a list of all the titles of projects Iâ€™d already thought of and those would be exempt. My agent suggested I write down everything Iâ€™d ever thought of, ever. I took her advice and the addendum was two pages long, single-spaced. I think there were fifty or more ideas listed!
Marianne: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Kitty: I get really excited about people discussing ideas with passion. Once at a party, I got all fired up talking to a friendâ€™s uncle about economics because he was passionate and I knew a bit about the subject and was really interested in what he had to say. I love talking about God and how everything works together, from personal situations to the fact that we are on the only planet in the known universe that provides the exact mix of elements for us to live freely. I cry over commercials and TV shows, even though I know itâ€™s pretend, because Iâ€™m thinking, â€œSomewhere, thereâ€™s a real person this is happening to, and I feel for them.â€ Thereâ€™s just something about passion and energy coming together in the form of ideas that makes me crazy excited!
Marianne: What are you dying to try next?
Kitty: Ooo, good one! Well, itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve been interested in for a long time, but itâ€™s going to require a ton of research and Iâ€™m inherently lazy, so… LOL! During a class in my masterâ€™s degree program, we had to write one scene in each of eight different categories from romance to detective to thriller, etc. One assignment was to write a scene with â€œmagicâ€ in it. That led to my masterâ€™s degree final project – a spiritual warfare, angels vs. demons story set in modern New York City with a teenage girl as the main player for both sides. Kind of a Joan of Arcadia meets Supernatural story laced with the kinds of humor that are in both of those TV shows.
This is kind of a â€œbook of my heartâ€ story, inasmuch as I have some really strong spiritual beliefs that I want to use without disrespecting them. I need to research what we think we know about angels and demons, what we think we know about what is happening outside of our five senses, and I need to research New York, its tunnel systems, the political climate, the financial district, and more. Yikes! So Iâ€™m slightly terrified! But Iâ€™m hoping to have at least a strong first draft done in the next 12-15 months.
Kitty: Iâ€™m really glad I made you, Kitty. You really crack me up!
It’s funny how many accidents create ah-ha moments. What would we do without penicillin and Post-It notes?
I’ve been trying to figure out for two years how to write interesting, entertaining blog posts that are similar enough to my book-writing style to encourage blog readers to become book readers. Then last month I had an ah-ha moment.
I’d written a funny article for the OCC RWA newsletter encouraging people to sign up to enter or judge the Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers. Then I wrote a funny guest post on Louisa Bacio’s blog about How Hotel Sex Turned Me Into a Romantic Comedy Writer. I mentioned to several people that I love writing this kind of silly fun article, but I didn’t have an outlet for it anymore.
D’oh! Yes, I did! Um, blog, sitting there, waiting for me to be brilliant!
So this week I started a new column on Mondays called Marriage Madness. Since I write stories with fun romances in them, and since Sunday was my (gasp!) 23rd wedding anniversary, it seemed like I’d finally found an interesting and entertaining topic that might lead my blog readers to my books.
Whether my tactic will work remains to be seen. But I’m having such fun writing about all the good, bad, and hilarious things that I’ve seen in marriage! Coming up will be the “tornadoes in trailer parks” story, the “will she walk into that light pole” story, the “65 days of no cooking” story, the “how to never argue” story, and many more.
If you’ve met my husband, John, you’ll understand in about a minute and a half why I write romances – and why all my heroes are tall, dark, and sexy – I mean, handsome! 😉 And if you haven’t met him yet, you’ll feel you know him pretty quickly when you read about his shenanigans.
If you like reading fun, romantic stories, stop by Marriage Madness every Monday. And if you’re a writer trying to figure out how to write blog posts your potential book readers would be interested in…well, I suggest you look for something to trip over. 😉
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novel, Unexpected Superhero, will be released May/June 2013, followed by Love at the Fluff and Fold this summer. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.
I’ve been wanting to go to a comic book convention for a long time, probably since I first starting writing my own superhero novel. Last month, I finally got to go! My husband John took me to WonderCon in Anaheim. It was so much fun!
Of course, the first thing you notice (after trying to stay in a good mood for the hour it took to park in Anaheim) is all the people in costume. There were so many different kinds of characters with costumes that went from homemade to super-wow! My geek factor isn’t deep enough for me to be able to recognize who everyone was, but there were a lot of Doctor Who characters, lots of manga-like girls, lots of superheroes (of course!), and a quite a few steampunk costumes. And lots of other things that I couldn’t figure out.
|Tom King, author of A ONCE CROWDED SKY, and me|
John told me I should walk around the booths at the Expo and talk to authors who had tables there, find out if it was worth the time and expense. I had about half a dozen business cards in my wallet; I figured that would cover meeting the other writers. Boy, was I wrong. There were a lot of writers there! Some who wrote mostly novels, some who wrote mostly comic books, and some who wrote both. I ran out of business cards long before I ran out of writers to talk to.
I’ve been to enough RWA conferences, both regional and national, to know the rhythm and to fit myself into the flow. There are lots of reasons why that is a good thing, but you no longer walk around with saucer eyes. At WonderCon, I was definitely Saucer-Eyed Girl! It was a totally new experience. Everything I saw made me think differently about stories, writers, and readers.
If you’ve been in your usual groove for a while, it’s time to go see the world differently. Go to a different kind of conference or expo for a day. See who’s out there buying comic books, buying boats, doing brain surgery. If nothing else, watch YouTube videos on something you know nothing about. (I just watched one about how the length of your chromosomes may determine how much life expectancy you have left.)
New experiences literally change how your brain makes connections. I’ve been reading a lot of books on brain science in the last year. Want to change your brain? Improve its function? Even read something way outside your known world. All these things improve your ability to see the world differently. That’s not only fun, it’s good for your writing.
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novel, Unexpected Superhero, will be released soon, followed by Love at the Fluff and Fold this summer. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.
Over the last few months, I’ve been getting a ton of coaching and encouragement from Jennifer Lee and all my new friends in the Right-Brain Business Plan mentorship program. We’ve learned so much, but the two things that have hit me hardest are:
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novel, Unexpected Superhero, will be released March 28, followed by Love at the Fluff and Fold this summer. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.
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