Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Authors Helping Authors Update

Last week I came up with the idea of authors collaborating (please read it before continuing - opens in a new window) to get as wide a reach as possible on Twitter by creating the @AuthorTeam account and inviting fellow writers to follow, which gave them automatic inclusion in the AHA list. People could then search for that list and find tweets to retweets.

However, it isn’t working out a planned. First of all, I open the list every day and I get the tweets for the latest follower going back a whole week, which means I have to keep the list open for some time while the timeline fills up with new tweets. As anyone who has been on Twitter for a while knows, leaving it open soon cripples the browser by sucking the system memory dry (or maybe that’s just my laptop). It has also been brought to my attention that the #AHA hashtag has been adopted by others not involved with the group (even though a search for #AHA brought back no results last week!)

Besides this, the list is being filled with tweets that are not book-related, and it can take some time to find anything worth retweeting to the author’s benefit. That’s the case now with just 100 followers, but imagine how it will be when there are 1000 followers, or even 10,000!

Therefore, I plan to implement something new, but I need your help. It has to be something that remains free but doesn’t take a lot of maintenance (otherwise I won’t get to finish Gray Redemption, the third in the Tom Gray trilogy). I will give you my idea, but it would be wonderful if others could chip in and suggest something that would make sharing relevant tweets an easy and rewarding experience. In the meantime I will continue to run the AHA list.

My suggestion is simply to have a new hashtag: #HYFA2, which stands for Help Your Fellow Author Too. If you have a book-related tweet which you want others to share, just add the #HYFA2 tag. I have done a search and found no matches, so it will be ours for the next few days at least! All you have to do is click one of these #HYFA2 tags in a tweet (and preferably click the wheel next to the search button and select Save Search - that way every time you click into the Search box this tag will appear) and then pop back every day to find similar authors willing to share.

I really want this to work for everyone’s benefit, so please, add your ideas below or send a DM to my @Jambalian account.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Authors Helping Authors...

…is a hashtag I came across on Twitter a few weeks ago when I thanked a fellow writer for spreading the word about my novel, Gray Justice. His response was “My pleasure #AuthorsHelpingAuthors”. I didn’t really think much more about it until I decided to check out a book promotion website recently. I had been to the site before but had baulked at having to pay a fee, especially as I didn’t know if my book was ever going to sell. Now that I have some excellent reviews and a growing fan base (not to mention regular royalties) I looked again in more detail, and it struck me that something similar could be done quite easily (and most importantly, FREE) through Twitter.

Now some might think "Why should I tweet for other authors? I'll be pushing sales their way!" I had the very same worries when I first joined Twitter but the reader that buys their book isn't going to give up reading once they've finished it. They will simply go and find another book, and this time it might be one of yours. I regularly tweet for three authors, and all write in much the same genre as I do. That doesn't scare me at all, because I know that once the reader has finished their book they might go looking for recommendations from that author, and that leads them to me. Since I started taking part in the tweet exchange my sales have increased around 300%, and I hope theirs have gone up, too.

My idea is extremely simple. I have created a new Twitter account (@AuthorTeam - https://twitter.com/#!/authorteam) and in that account I have started a new list called AHA (Authors Helping Authors). You can find it here: https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorTeam/aha.

The plan is for as many of you authors as possible to follow this new account on Twitter (don’t worry, I will follow back and won’t tweet). I will then automatically add you to the AHA list. This might take up to 12 hours, so please be patient.

Once you have been added, here's what you have to do:

  • Go to https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorTeam/aha and add it to your Favorites in your browser.

  • Visit that page as often as you can (try to get there once a day if possible).

  • Look through the list of tweets and retweet a few of them (and also check out what they are offering)

  • If you get a retweet, please reciprocate

  • If you have a tweet that you would particularly like to have retweeted, add the #AHA hashtag to it

In order to make this work we need all participating authors to try and go to the list once a day and retweets some of the posts. If we can get 100 authors to join in, the chances are your tweets could be retweeted to thousands of new readers, getting you more exposure. Even if you can only manage to visit the list a couple of times a week you will still be contributing to the author community. You might even want to schedule a few tweets a day to let others know about this venture.

I must have a thousand authors following me at the moment, and if they all joined in that would be an awesome network. So please, click the first link above and follow @AuthorTeam.

And don't forget to tell your fellow authors about it!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Gray Resurrection

This is a two-part post to answer questions raised during the launch of Gray Resurrection. I will first of all explain how the launch went, and then tell you about the cover image.

It is now 4 days since I released the sequel to Gray Justice and it’s time to reflect on how successful (or not) the promotion actually was. I set the price of Gray Resurrection to just 99 cents while at the same time offering a coupon to get Gray Justice free from Smashwords. It turned out that the promotion wasn’t that popular. Only 2 people took advantage of the free copy, yet actual cash sales increased, with daily sales up by 800%! That might sound a lot, but I think the figures have peaked and I expect them to fall back over the rest of the month.

It was fun while it lasted, but it does show you the value of a second book. I’m hoping to get another leap in sales when I release the last in the series – Gray Redemption – towards the end of the year. I’ll be back with details nearer the time.

As for the cover image, I wanted something really eye-catching for my second book. I recently interviewed Russell Blake on this blog and one of the things I asked was where he got his book covers from. While Russell couldn’t give me his/her name, he did offer to pass their email address along. I contacted the person and was given a great price for what I consider an outstanding image. I gave them the basics of the story and pointed out which elements where most relevant: the bolo (knife used for cutting your way through the jungle - or someones neck!); the protagonist in his battle to escape; and the attack on a military base. I was given a suggestion which I liked and asked for an example, which I got a week later. Unfortunately, the image of Tom Gray was all wrong. He had a normal nose, whereas Tom's was flat against his face. I pointed this out and three hours later I had the revised image you see here. That is one service provider who has found a customer for life! If you want a similarly stunning cover for your next book, take a look at Russell’s interview for details.

Ok, time to do some more writing…
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