4 July 2015: The Florida Writers Association – What I learned

This past week, I attended a meeting for the Florida Writers Association over in Winter Park, FL.  I’d never been to any sort of association meeting like that before and really enjoyed being in an atmosphere that wreaked of writing!

Basically, we started out by going around the room introducing ourselves.  Most folks were aspiring writers, maybe a little less experienced than me.  Let’s say they were Freshman in the School of Hard Literary Knocks, where as I’m more of a Sophomore.   Some had published their works, others were looking to learn how to get started.  Others were already publishing and doing quite well at it.

The speaker, Ben Hale, an author and publisher was very interesting.  Here’s a few things I took away from his talk:

I’m doing a lot better than I thought … and a lot worse …

How’s that?  The Good: Well, I’m actually plugging away at my writing without letting anything stand in my way.  I write – write – write like a little fiendish little writing demon.  The Bad: I waited to really get down and dirty in the trenches of marketing and promotion of my books until just now … yes BOOK SIX!!!  I should have started with Book 1.  But, you live and learn, and I learned it’s never to late to start.

I might want to think about redesigning the cover of my first novel.

Ben said something to the effect that when you’re writing your novel, you can get all emotional about it, but the day you have a completed manuscript, you no longer have a baby, you have a product that you now have to sell.  Yes, I like the cover of my first novel, but it’s not eye-catching enough for the person scrolling though all those other books on Amazon.  It needs work.  I’m also thinking about renaming the series.  Here’s the good part, since I didn’t really do much by way of marketing on them, there’s not much to be undone by rebranding the whole series, covers, titles, etc.  Talk about a downside having an upside!

Writing for a smaller niche market means you have less competition.

There are hundreds of thousands of romance novels on Amazon.  Why would someone pick mine?  Well … besides the fact that they’re awesome, I mean 🙂  If you search just “Romance Novels,” you’ll have to sift through more books than you can shake your Kindle at, but if you search for “Cat Mystery Novels,” as Ben explained, and that’s what you’re writing, your only other competition on Amazon is going to be the one other lady up in Peekaboo, WA penning them on her back porch.  A LOT LESS COMPETITION for you.  No, as intriguing as it sounds, I’m not about to start writing cat mystery novels, but I am about to start thinking about how I can gear my novels towards a smaller pool of readers that I’m more likely to capture the attention of.

Audio book?  Of my little ole’ book?

Yep, Amazon has a side company that will do all the recording for you. Whoda Thunk!  They actually came up with another way to make money off of us lowly authors!   You can either pay for the studio time to get it recorded and get more royalties, or let them take on the expense of recording it and take less royalties.  Either way, they produce it for you.  You can send them a sample of your book and they will send you samples of different narrators you can choose from. Ben’s good advice if considering this option was to pick a narrator not so much based on how wonderfully they read your book, but also to consider the following that particular narrator already has.  Seems some audio book narrators have fans and people will seek out books to hear that narrator read them.  If you get a narrator with a following, that following will see your book as an option to buy when the search him out.  Here’s the website for this: http://www.acx. com

Sprechen sie Deutsch?

If you want to get your book into foreign markets, one of the best ways is to get it translated into another language.  when I asked Ben what languages were the best for say a romance novel, he said to see where your international sales were coming from.  If I have sales in Germany, German might be the way to go.   Don’t speak German?  Cause I know I don’t, well here’s a company that will do it for you: http://www.babelcube. com

Well that was the highlights of what I learned, which as you can see was quite a bit.  They have this meeting once a month and I think I’ll be becoming a regular attendee.

-Jennifer

Author of the novel If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.  Now available on Amazon along with her other fine and underappreciated novels. 🙂

If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online, by Jennifer Geoghan

If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online, by Jennifer Geoghan

4 comments

    1. I think you can google them once you have the samples with their names an voices to choose them. I think he said the ones that were really good had websites or blogs like authors do. I’m going to do it for my book that just came out. I’m just waiting a few weeks to see if anyone points out any of those dreaded stray typos I missed 😦 – Jennifer

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    1. I never considered that a audio book reader would have a following, but in hindsight, it seems logical. I have the Harry Potter books on CD and Jim Dale who reads them, is amazing! If he was reading something, I’d definitely consider listening to it. – Jennifer

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