Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Archive for the ‘Marketing & Promoting’ Category

Writer Wednesday: Teasers – To Post or not to Post?

Posted by Dahlia on August 31, 2011

I once lurked around a discussion board about writing and publishing. One poster mentioned posting an excerpt to a story she was working on. To say the discussion went bananas after she wrote it is an understatement, they went ape —-. So many of the writers said they would NEVER post a WIP (work-in-progress) on their blog or website because once it goes live, it’s published.  Once published, you’ll have a hard time snagging an agent. I felt so bad for the poster who made that statement. Poor thing, they had ripped her a virtual new one.

Last month, I bought a copy of We Are Not Alone The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb. The topic of posting WIP excerpts comes up in her book. She makes a compelling argument why it’s generally a bad idea to include WIP excerpts as one, some, or all of your blog posts if you’re not yet published. I’ll briefly touch on a few of them. (*start plug* if you want all the reasons and details, I recommend purchasing her book, it’s a really good read *end plug*)

  1. Difficulty getting an agent if you post too much
  2. The feedback may not be honest enough
  3. The feedback may be TOO honest or just flat out mean-spirited
  4. Frustrating the reader who wants to buy the book only to find it isn’t available yet

However, there have got to be exceptions to the rule (isn’t there always?). I managed to find a few. Established authors can get away with it. I recently read a few not-yet-published teasers on the Facebook page of an accomplished, published, and bestselling author.  Considering she has an agent, a book deal, six best-sellers, and a loyal fan following, I’m sure these teasers won’t hurt her a bit. They’ll only make her fans beg her to publish them not now, but RAHT now. Even if she doesn’t publish them right away, her fans will wait. I’m sure it helps that they’ve got six books to choose from to pass the time while they’re waiting.

The second exception is the self-published/independent author. This person has complete control of his/her work from the roota to the toota. He or she is his/her own agent/publisher/marketer/PR person. Sylvia Hubbard would be my example of Exception #2. Not only does she offer a few of her novels for free, she also does what is called a Live Story in Progress (LSIP), where she posts pieces of her story on her blog as she writes them. This method has been met with success. Her fans can’t wait for the next installment and are more than willing to buy the completed version once she formally publishes (I am one of the fans eagerly awaiting her most recent LSIP to be published). However, Sylvia has her own publishing imprint.

I would have to agree with the posters who slammed that poor lady on that discussion board and Kristen to an extent. If you don’t have an agent and/or not published, it probably isn’t wise to post teasers to your book. You never know what might change in your story (the title, the characters, maybe even a huge chunk of plot). It may seem innocent enough to give potential readers a taste, but in reality it can be a setup to fail and a setback for you. However, if you meet one of those two exceptions, then you may be safe to tease away.

Writers – Have you ever posted an excerpt from your WIP on your site/blog? How was it received? Do you think teasers for unpublished pieces are helpful or harmful?

Readers – If you read an excerpt on a writer’s site, do you expect for it to be published (as in the next few months). How would you feel if it’s a long way from being published? Do you still support the writer or do you feel you’ll get tired of waiting after awhile? Of course, this is assuming you liked what you read. 😉

Posted in Marketing & Promoting, Publishing, Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Blog Interview with Morgen Bailey featuring…moi!

Posted by Dahlia on August 30, 2011

Hi! Today’s post will be very brief. I just wanted to announce that I’m being featured over at Morgen Bailey’s blog today. My first interview…woot-woot!

Let me give you a little information about Morgen Bailey. She is a fiction writer out of the UK (so this means I just went international…BOOM!) Her blog is full of great information, such as blog interviews (such as the one I’m being featured on), author spotlights, guest posts, podcasts, writing tips, as well as her own work as a writer. Her blog interviews are open to any blogger/writer in any genre, so if you’d like to subscribe or even be featured on her blog, check out her Blog Interview page.

So, to check out my interview, please click here to go over to her page. Let me know what you think!

Peace & Blessings

Posted in Announcements, Author Interview, Marketing & Promoting | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

This book would make a great movie…

Posted by Dahlia on August 5, 2011

Taking a popular book and turning it into a movie or tv show happens all the time, sometimes with great success, sometimes not. I can mention the obvious Twilight and Harry Potter series. Then there’s I Am Number Four, The Nanny Diaries, Rizolli & Isles, Lipstick Jungle, Sex & The City (a good example of book to TV show to Movie ) – It even happens to books written by African-Americans and/or featuring predominantly African-American characters. Precious, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale made it to the big screen. Disappearing Acts was on HBO. Zane’s The Sex Chronicles got a series on Cinemax. Steve Harvey’s book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man is filming as we speak. Helena Andrews, who penned Bitch is The New Black just got a movie deal for her book optioned by none other than the super-fab Shonda Rhimes. And yes, the screenplay will be written by Helena.
I don’t know of a writer who doesn’t play Fantasy Casting Director with their books, wondering if their novel, memoir, or self-help book has what it takes to grace either the silver or small screen. We’ve imagined who would play who in the movie version of our book. What can I say, writers dream big. I’d like to suggest a few books, both fiction and non-fiction that would make good movies or TV series.
Flyy Girl — Talk about 80s nostalgia! It’s hard to come by a black woman who didn’t love Omar Tyree’s coming of age novel about a girl in the hip-hop era. Even he knows it should be a movie; the follow up to Flyy Girl, For the Love of Money is about Flyy Girl becoming a movie.
The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy — I envision Shirley Strawberry’s compilation of letters from people seeking relationship advice that have become very popular on The Steve Harvey Morning Show becoming somewhat of an ensemble movie, like Valentine’s Day or He’s Just Not That Into You (also started as a book) where the characters don’t all interact with each other, but they’re all connected. I can only imagine the drama, comedy, and hijinks a well-written screenplay played awesome actors could create.
Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime — Written by Damon Young and Panama Jackson, the title alone to this dating and relationship book has me envisioning movie trailers and promo posters. Again, another ensemble cast is in order.
Scenes From a Sistah, Getting to The Good Part, Tastes Like Chicken — this series of books by Lolita Files featuring best friends Misty Fine and Reesy Snowden can easily be the replacement to the void left behind by Girlfriends.(see Gotta Have Girlfriends). However, this show would need to make its home on either HBO or Showtime. Network TV and basic cable won’t do this show justice.
Casting The First Stone — Love, Honor, and Betray — Kimberla Lawson Roby’s eight-book (to date) series of stories centered around Rev. Curtis Black could be the perfect hour-long drama series. Lies, greed, sex, scandals, cheating, gossip, power struggles, scheming, money, love, and church. Whoo! I’d tune in every week. Hey, Brothers and Sisters just got cancelled…10pm every Sunday is appropriate AND perfect.
Those are just my thoughts, and I know there are more out there that I haven’t thought of. So, now it’s your turn. What book do you see making an excellent movie or tv show? If you think a book is better suited for television, what station would you put it on and why?

Posted in Books, Marketing & Promoting, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Change the Game

Posted by Dahlia on July 28, 2011

Lately, I have been thinking of ways to expand my platform to get more readers. Like I mentioned before, I love the writers who follow me. Great relationships have been formed because of it, and while I know writers read, I really wanted to reach out to that reader that I’m writing for. And the majority of my posts haven’t been for the reader.

I subscribe to Kristen Lamb’s blog and get her updates in my email. For those who don’t know who this fabulous lady is, she is considered a social media expert. She has written a book titled We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and it’s all about platform building to attract a following of you guessed it, readers. Not even halfway (I was at about 22%) through her book, I saw that my strategy was wrong and I needed an overhaul of my blog. Simply put, with the imminent publication of my novella with a full novel to follow, I’ve got to change my game. However, I don’t want to lose the writers that have hopped on this journey with me. Supporting each other is
still important to me. At the same time, books generally don’t sell themselves,
especially if you’re going the independent route like I am. So, I’ve got to
reach my target audience and change the way I’ve been approaching social

So, here are the changes that I’m going to incorporate. **drumroll, please and thank you**

1. Blog title change

You may have already noticed this. I feel the new title is more inclusive of
not only this writing process but the content relevant to my genre and my style
of writing.

2. More frequent updates

No, I’m not going back to daily. I’m a writer who blogs, not a blogger who writes. I am pushing for three days a week. I want to dedicate my Wednesdays to my writer followers that have been hanging out with me since February. And since I like alliteration like that, Writer Wednesday is for you! Smooches!  :X

3. More reader friendly content

I write fiction. Specifically women’s fiction. Even more specifically chick-lit (and the occasional drama). My characters are predominantly African-American. So, my niche is African-American Chick Lit. So, I need to talk about things related to what someone reading African-American Chick Lit would read in a book: relationships (not just the romantic ones but the ones between parents and children, siblings, etc.), love, friendships, fashion, socializing, and maybe a little bit of drinking. Also included in this would be interviews from authors similar to me, book reviews of books in the same genre, etc.

4. A slight Twitter change

My original twitter handle was already ok. It was @ycbmcclain, but I felt
it was better to use my full professional name. It’s a part of branding. Unfortunately
@yvesbrownmcclain was too long, so I settled for @yvesbmcclain

I would HIGHLY recommend Kristen’s book to any writer trying to navigate the internet and all these social networking sites to engage readers. It can get overwhelming and time-consuming. The tips just make good common sense and can help you from spamming away your network. This is only the beginning of the revamp of my platform and I am very excited. You can get either the print or the electronic version. It’s so worth the investment in yourself, your brand, and your product.

Posted in Announcements, Marketing & Promoting, Publishing, Purpose, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

A Conversation with…Hannah D. Spivey (part two)

Posted by Dahlia on July 20, 2011

Last week was part one of my talk with Hannah D. Spivey, author of Ebony The Beloved. It’s very fitting that our conversation concludes today, as July 20 is the official release date of her novel. Again,  I enjoyed talking with Hannah, I’m very excited about her book, and I’m sure she will continue to do well on her future projects. Enjoy!


YBM: If you could meet or work with any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

HDS: I’d love meet and work with Kimberla Lawson Roby, Toni Morrison, and Mary Monroe. I think they’re awesome wordsmiths. They’re irreplaceable.

YBM: I ♥ Kimberla Lawson Roby. She’s definitely in my top ten…From the reader’s perspective, what can they expect?

HDS: My readers can expect the unexpected. You name it: Shock, humor, sadness, everything! (LOL)

YBM: When a reader sees your name, what is it that you want them to say about your work?

HDS: I want them to say that I’m a good story teller, and I’m very descriptive, and detailed.

YBM: Any advice for aspiring writers ?

HDS: Know your target audience, never edit your own book–

YBM: Amen to that! Any more tips?

HDS: Join social media sites and writing groups, write for other people, think out of the box, and never ever give up.

YBM: Any future projects?

HDS: I have twenty more novels and a screen play in the works. 🙂

YBM: LOL, you sound like me. I’ve got at least that many projects planned for down the road…where can we find your books?

HDS: You can find my short story e-books on www.Lulu.com. The names of them are: My Sherry Amor, Lloyd Tube, and Payback is an S.O.B. My novel, Ebony the Beloved will be available on Amazon and BN.com this month.

YBM Now for five random questions, just because I can get a little random…the first one is If you could be on a reality show, what would it be?

HDS: My reality show would be called, “The Literary Adventures of Hannah D. Spivey”

YBM: If your main character, Ebony, could be on a reality show, what would it be?

HDS: “Ebony Butterfly”

YBM:  If you could coin a term for yourself as a writer, what would your title be?

HDS: I would use my twitter name as my title: Boss Lady Writer.

YBM: What makes you smile?

HDS: Chocolate and the R & B singer Lloyd! Girl, that man is too hot to trot! LOL

YBM: Lastly, what makes you go WTF?

HDS: Face tattoos and all sorts of dumb down ratchetness.

YBM: I’m with you on the face tattoos. That’s just craziness. Any last words?

HDS:  Follow me on Twitter @Bossladywriter

Posted in Author Interview, Marketing & Promoting, Stories, Writing | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Blogging: A few Novel ideas

Posted by Dahlia on June 22, 2011

As a writer,  when I started this blog, I wasn’t sure what to blog about. I’m not a non-fiction writer, so I couldn’t write posts about my topic of expertise. So, I decided to make the blog about the process of getting my novel written and when I do publish, start sharing my experiences of being published as well do some promotion. I wanted my platform to be more than just self-promo (“Buy my book! Buy my book!” gets old after awhile). A lot of my posts have been targeted towards encouraging other writers, sharing tips and experiences. As a result, I’ve attracted a lot of other writers. This is great, because we should support each other and I’ve formed a few relationships “in the cloud” because of this. However, I also wanted to attract an audience of readers. Outside of posting an excerpt from my WIP (which I did as part of a blogfest), I was a little short for ideas. Until I came across a post from bookmarket.com. There is a list of 45 ways (more like 47 plus several reader contributions) to blog as a novelist, and it’s a pretty good list. A few items I’ve already done or am in the process of doing. Many more I’d like to incorporate. Check the list out — do you see anything on that list you’d like to try?

Posted in Marketing & Promoting | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Promoting: Twitterviews

Posted by Dahlia on April 15, 2011

In my last post, I gave a few reasons for using online radio shows in the promoting and marketing of books. Another good way to spread the word about your upcoming novel/collection is the “Twitterview”.  A combo of Twitter and Interview, it’s also known as a Twitter Party, and should definitely be considered for book promoting. Of course, since this type of promoting is done on Twitter, you and your audience are restricted to 140 characters or less in answering and asking questions. It’s also important to use the hashtag of the twitterview host so that the audience can keep track of the Q&A. I’ve lurked around a few Twitterviews/Twitter Parties and trivia has been done as well as giveaways, so it’s not always your average interview.  This can also be good for the writer who may be a bit apprehensive about going on the radio to promote. I have listed a few organizations that host twitterviews. However, there are tons more out there in the “twitterverse”.

NOVEL PUBLICITY – This company out of my home state (Michigan) is a full service author promotion and prepublication service.  Twitterviews are one of their many services. You can either pay for the service or enter into a giveaway for a Twitterview. You can follow Novel Publicity @novelpublicity. The twitterview hashtag is #emlyn

RAWSISTAZ – The Reading and Writing Sistaz started out over 10 years ago as an online book club. They have since expanded to book reviews and twitter parties with a goal to get the word out about books, writers, and literary events.  You can follow RAWSISTAZ at either @rawsistaz and @blackbookchats. Their twitterview  hashtag is #blackbookchats.

Posted in Marketing & Promoting | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Promoting: Online Radio Shows

Posted by Dahlia on April 11, 2011

Many writers are aware that marketing the books they write will be primarily their responsibility. Regardless of if the book is self-published, or the writer goes with  independent/small publisher, or a major one, the author has to do a lot of the marketing and promotion. One way to promote is by radio interviews, specifically online radio shows. There are many online radio shows solely dedicated to featuring authors and their books. Many of these shows use the same platforms to promote the show as the author – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Also, some of the shows tie in book reviews to the interview so it’s like a two for one deal. Blogtalkradio.com has a variety of radio shows to meet your genre and intended audience. Below are some links to radio shows that I have come across in researching promoting my book when I get to that step. Keep in mind, my list is limited to the target audience for my story, so feel free to add to and expand this list. No matter where you are in your process of writing, it’s never too early to begin thinking of your marketing strategy, and online radio shows is one medium in which to promote your work and yourself as the writer. For readers, online radio shows are good ways to learn about the latest books coming out, as well as get an inside view of the book that you can’t find in the blurb that’s on the back cover.

Posted in Marketing & Promoting | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dashboards: How to manage all your profiles

Posted by Dahlia on March 3, 2011

Many of us are aware that in order to build an online presence we need at the very minimum Twitter, Facebook, and a Blog. However, there are a bazillion more social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Goodreads, Shelfari, Tumblr, SheWrites, Ning, and – dare I say it – MySpace (gasp!). I have profiles set up with at least five social networking websites. Just having to manage it all can be overwhelming. However, setting up a social media dashboard will aid you in managing the madness that is social networking.

There are several platforms in existence. The ones I have seen the most are HootSuite and TweetDeck. Some prefer one over the other. I use HootSuite and here a few reasons why I like it:

1. One-stop shop for all your social media profiles: HootSuite lets you set up five profiles for free. Any more than that, you’ll need to go Pro, which is a pay service. You write up one update and it will feed into all of your profiles, or just a select few.

2. Tweet scheduling: One thing these platforms offer is the ability to schedule your tweets and updates in advance. This is helpful when you want to establish that online presence, but you can’t sit in front of the computer all day tweeting and updating Facebook. I often schedule my tweets about my latest blog posts to go out throughout the day. A good friend of mine called me last week wanting to know what kind of job I had where I can sit and tweet all day because every time she checked twitter, there “I” was with a tweet.

3. Smartphone app: HootSuite has an app for BlackBerry, which is the phone I currently have. I had TweetDeck before and, unfortunately, I had to be either Team iPhone or TeamDroid in order to use their mobile app. It was the mobile version that caused me to switch from TweetDeck to HootSuite.

Those are just a few reasons why a dashboard can be of good use. Regardless of which platform you choose, it is an excellent way to handle managing your online profiles and still find time to do other things…like write.

Posted in Marketing & Promoting | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Networking & Support: A Genius Combination

Posted by Dahlia on February 12, 2011

Networking is an important tool/skill to have. It can connect you to other people, aid in promoting, and lead to sales of your product or service. As writers, we need networking. Regardless of our route to publication (traditional, self, eBook, etc), it is mostly on us to market what we do. We are our own best promoters. Blogging is one tool for establishing yourself online and can be used for many purposes, be it book promotion,  a “brain dump” of various subjects, an outlet to showcase creativity, encouragement/motivation, or a combination. However, in order to gain a following, people need to know you exist.

As much as we can blog, tweet, Facebook, set up LinkedIn profiles, and sign up for the many sites for books, writers, and writing, we still need support. Writing is an art form that can be frustrating, daunting (at times), but also fulfilling, exhilerating, and rewarding. We need that push, that motivation, that group of people cheering us on to keep going.

So, when I saw a tweet about the Second Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade by writer Rachael Harrie, it was worth checking into. It combines the networking AND the support. It’s a brilliant idea for any writer/blogger who wants to connect with other writers and build an online presence.

So, check it out. And if you’re game, join the Crusade.

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