As writers and authors, we are formidable in our ability to create narratives but we also have to learn how to market the ‘end product’ of those many months or even years of creativity. We become a book business.
The first avenue many authors take is social media, which can be seen as a ‘soft’ option. After all we are not up close and personal with the public but at arm’s length. However, due to the countless sites available just choosing the ‘right’ one or two can be overwhelming. Then there is the matter of maintaining our ‘presence’ on each platform. We need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for our genres but also our ability to sustain them. Do your research on similar authors in your genre and see what they use (and of course ‘follow’ them).
2. Following selected authors, genre based bloggers, book reviewers, and writing groups allows you to gain followers but also to learn about your particular genre and gain a reader base. When someone is interested in your genre they ‘search’ for more posts, articles, links and books within that specific field. While you are doing that follow 10 ‘friends’ of friends on Facebook and 100 people on Twitter – this can gain a wider audience. However, in light of these two platforms losing participants also follow people on Instagram. (We have to keep up with the ‘in’ thing!)
3. Improve your author bio on all platforms to entice and inform as many followers as possible on all sales sites, your blog and social media platforms. Ask yourself – does it reflect you as a writer as well as a person.
4. Use hashtags specific to writing, authors, books, genre and associated links – look at what other authors use.
5. Then there is the personal touch, which means organizing or being involved in author readings, attending book events and participating in Q&A panels. Search your local area for book related events, get to know your local bookstores, inquire at your library, join a local writing group, the wider your reach the easier it will be to find avenues of sale for your book.
6. Merchandise is another way of promoting your book. It can be as simple as custom bookmarks to T-shirts with the book cover/main character on the front. Make up a prize basket for a contest to be collected at an event (good photo opportunity to use on social media) or create an online contest for a free autographed copy of your book.
7. An easy promotion is to leave five of your author business cards in local businesses, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis. Many places have community boards too so pin some cards or a poster of an event you are attending there too.
Do you have any promotion tips you would like to share?
What inspired your latest novel? It is actually a comic book called Snarc. The character came to me in a dream in 1982. I believe it was initially inspired by an alien abduction experience from my childhood.
How did you come up with the title? The title and the name of the character is from the dream
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, we have to work together to solve our problems because time is running out.
How much of the book is realistic? Snarc visits various locations in the USA where real life problems are happening (i.e., the border with Mexico).
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? My wife Ginger says that I am Snarc. I pay close attention to what is going on around the country. So, yes.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone? Snarc is a comic book series. I have already written enough stories for three more issues.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? Snarc is my favorite. He is part human, part alien, all heart. He is learning about the troubles we face as humans from a totally objective viewpoint and with an eye toward helping all of us survive the upcoming calamities.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? I write non-fiction, I write theatre plays, I love writing.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? Totally right brain seat of the pants and awaaaaay we go!
What is your best marketing tip? I use FaceBook and direct mailers. Old and new.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? Definitely a great tool, but don’t forget about the old ways and use those too!
OPTIONAL QUESTIONS What do you enjoy most about writing? Writing is life, and I enjoy life.
What age did you start writing stories/poems? Age 7.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both? Both, but mostly research.
Where is your favorite writing space? My home library, my sanctuary.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be? Mark Twain.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? Northern Norway.
Do you see writing as a career? Yes, a second career.
Bruce Olav Solheim was born in Seattle, Washington, to Norwegian immigrant parents. Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. He served for six years in the US Army as a jail guard and later as a warrant officer helicopter pilot, and is a disabled veteran. Bruce earned his Ph.D. in history from Bowling Green State University in 1993. Bruce is a distinguished professor of history at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He was a Fulbright Professor in 2003 at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway. Bruce has published eight books and has written ten plays, two of which have been produced. He is married to Ginger and has four children and a grandson. Bruce has just published his second paranormal book, Timeless Deja Vu: A Paranormal Personal History. Bruce’s mother was psychic and introduced him to the magical realm. His first paranormal experience took place in northern Norway in 1962 when he was four years old. Bruce took a parapsychology class while he was stationed in West Germany in 1979 and has wanted to write about his experiences ever since. He has continued to have paranormal experiences throughout his life and has developed advanced mediumship capabilities. It was only three years ago that Bruce had a spiritual awakening after a vision and communication with his departed close friend Gene that Bruce decided to publish his paranormal stories and overcome his fear of being rejected and ridiculed by his peers and the college administration. Bruce studies quantum theory and has developed a model that may help explain our quantum reality, ghosts, reincarnation, alien contact, and more. He is interested in all esoterica and oddities. Bruce teaches a Paranormal Personal History course at Citrus College and has his own radio program. He is also an associate member of the Parapsychological Association.
First of all, my book is not a novel but a self help book so I will try to answer the questions……
What inspired your latest novel?
In 1993 I left my husband and in leaving him lost everything for a time, my home, my job, my family and so on. I struggled to make sense of how I was feeling without any real help from the therapists I went to, the self help books I read, or any friends, etc. I talked to. I decided to return to University where I discovered the work of William James. It made sense of what I, not only, was experiencing, but also what my family was going through. Had no intention of ever writing a book about it, but after hearing everyone responding to 911, in much the same I felt in 1993, I decided I need to share what I had learned and so put it all down on paper.
How did you come up with the title?
William James developed a model of self in the late 1800’s – the title refers to how we, without being aware, are searching for that level of understanding.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
You are okay – no matter what is happening to you. It all makes sense if you take into account your whole journey through life. Only once you clearly understand your “self” you are you free to choose the next steps wisely.
How much of the book is realistic?
All of it, I hope.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are three main sources for the examples I use in the book, my own life and what I have learned from two groups of people who live on the extreme……those with autism and those who were sexually abused as children.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Social media: facebook – interact with people all over the world on messenger through it. No blog as such, but do share thoughts through the notes section on facebook. Also have a website for my work in autism: www.autismconsultingservice.com
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
Have just completed my first novel – one I carried around in my head for 45 years. Currently have a couple more on the go. One is a murder mystery type, the other, the impact in a community in the midst of a world wide disaster. Don’t think I will be writing any more self-help books
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I like the main character in the murder mystery -Oliver Weary……he is a good man, in spite of what happened to him as a child, and spite of what the community at large assumes.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Definitely a dabbler. Just finished a dinner theatre murder mystery for my family that worked out well, completing two very different projects in the moment: a manual for the work we do, and a short history of my grandfather’s life for my extended family as well as the two novels in progress.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Am amazed at how, although one has planned out an outline, how stories take on a life of their own as time goes by.
What is your best marketing tip?
Wish I had one!!!
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
For me, it has been a great tool, but it does take time and energy to use it effectively.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It is who I am and I delight in the freedom to do it at this point in my life. At a certain point in life, I actually burned everything I had written up till then, something I have regretted ever since. Not good to not live with the freedom to be oneself.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I don’t remember, did a lot of newspaper ideas as a child and carried on with them in high school and college – the childhood ones were all fiction, while the later ones were of actual happenings and shared with the community I was in at the time.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I think it has always been diverse.
What genre are you currently reading?
Current book of the moment is Emma by Alexander4 McCall Smith – a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s novel. We have a wee library close to our home and I currently get all of my reading material from it……so becomes very diverse based on what others have contributed.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
At this point, pleasure. Started researching both autism and the long term effects of childhood sexual abuse in the late eighties and basically gave up reading for pleasure for the next 20 years…..so it feels goo to get back to it.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My husband Clay
Where is your favorite writing space?
On the computer!!! So nice to have something that I can use that gets my thoughts down almost as fast as I can think them!! Have my own office in my home so that’s where the writing happens at this point. Have this dream of moving into at hotel for a stint and having everything looked after for me so all I needed to do was write, but fear it might end up too boring.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
No, not really – joined one last fall but nothing came of it…..
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Margret Lawrence – to thank her for a portion of The Diviner’s which explained how I was responding to life and what I needed to do to change it.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right where I am. Love my home!!! But in the midst of that, also NEED to experience the energy of the mountains, the ocean and the old growth forests so make the effort to visit them at least once a year.
Do you see writing as a career?
Since I am almost at the age of 70, not really looking for a career. May have wanted it when I was younger but know now that the life I experienced has opened me up in ways that sitting at a desk never could have….and it is those experiences that make what I write powerful.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
No – drink a lot of coffee but rarely snack if ever.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
No deadlines at this point in life!!
Gail Gillingham Wylie, M.Sc. is an individual, marital and family therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada specializing in the field of autism. She has a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Science in marital and family therapy from Loma Linda University, California. She has worked as a quantum biofeedback practitioner with SCIO since 2005.
Gail is known internationally through her books on autism: Autism Handle with Care (1995), Autism A New Understanding (2000) and Sharing our Wisdom (2003) and has spoken at many conferences on autism in United States, Canada, England, Malaysia and South Africa throughout the last quarter century. These include presentations at the World Conferences on Autism in Toronto in 1993, and Cape Town, SA in 2006. Her latest book In Search of Self takes her out of the autism world as it applies to each and every one of us.
Gail first began using the model of self as tool with her clients while working as a family therapist. She has successfully incorporated it into her sessions on the scio as it provides a visual map for those who are working towards self awareness. She fully believes that we are living at a time during which developing and unconditional acceptance of one self and of others is of prime importance. The model of self can help us do that.
I so enjoy this annual event not just because I am involved with the organization of it (I’m secretary of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County) but that so many local authors attend – some are regular to the event but every year new authors join us. Part of Alberta Culture Days, the event hosted it’s 12th year with 50 tables of authors and artisans.
As may of you know, I am rather an obsessed planner, so had practiced my table displays before hand. With eight published books in multiple genres, it takes some planning! With two tables, I could split the children’s and YA books from the adult books by way of different coloured tablecloths. I also, again, used summary & review pages (backed with linking coloured card to the book background colour – see obsessive!) for each book. This engages the visitors and gives them an idea of the story and what other readers thought of it. I also have merchandise, hats and T-shirts, related to a couple of the books, which are always fun.
This year was the launch of the sequel to The Rython Kindom, which was reader driven (they nagged until I wrote it – a nice thing for an author to experience). Rython Legacy follows the trials of the original sorceress’ grand-daughter.
This is the second book fair in September, a week earlier I was at Word on the Street in Lethbridge, and each time it is the connection to local authors that makes the events so special. I do have several other book events up until the end of the year to attend.
This will be a busy week! I attended Word on the Street on 21st September in Lethbridge. It is my fourth visit to that particular location for this event and as always have so much fun meeting readers and new authors. My publisher, Dream Write Publishing attended and I assisted with their table.
There were several authors, I wanted to catch up with from last year: Krysta MacDonald, Jenna Greene, and Bianca Rowena. I was pleasantly surprised to find another author, Natasha Deen, whom I had not seen in quite a while.
We were fortunate that the weather was a balmy +21 (unlike last year when we froze!) as it is a outside canopy event. There was lots to see and many presentations and speakers too.
With that event over I could not sit on my laurels, as I have another event this Saturday 28th September – Words in the Park. So it was home late Monday night, unpack and reorganize. You can imagine my excitement when I found a box of books waiting for me. These are the long awaited sequel to The Rython Kingdom. So many readers wanted a sequel and I spent quite a long time (to my readers frustration) pondering what that story would entail. Now it is here: Rython Legacy – the sequel.
I hope to see you this Saturday – Agora, Community Center, 401, Festival Lane, Sherwood Park, Alberta. 10 am – 4 pm Free admission with local authors galore, music, story telling, treats, games & interactive sessions and prizes too. A family friendly event with something for everyone.