My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Samantha has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, Mahoney. So I thought I might entertain you with a story about the publishing business.
My first book, Yellow Hair, was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing, to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.
“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!
I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months. I had them as adults in the Old West. Then I sent out query letters to literary agents.
A few weeks later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in the country emailed me. He loved the story and suggested a few changes. They were good suggestions, and I incorporated about 80% of them into the book. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count was 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon (twice) and won the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.
But not quite.
Now we come to the crux of the matter. My readers really enjoyed the book. Reviewer after reviewer said they would love a sequel, but given how I ended the story, I could not envision that being possible. Then I started getting emails and phone calls from my agent, badgering me to continue the adventure. At first I ignored him. Finally, to stop the badgering, I started MOLLY LEE, a “sort of” sequel. It’s a stand-alone book, a parallel story, if you will. (Molly was a minor character from Redemption.)
Then, of course, I had to do a sequel to the sequel, hence RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure.
After I got done with Huck, Tom, and Molly, I turned my attention to my first novel, the one I couldn’t sell to an agent. I whittled it down from 164,000 words to 132,000 and published it myself. And guess what? It won Book of the Year from one outfit and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from another.
So, I reckon the moral of the story is: Stay true to your vision, but along the way, it’s all right to conform to the norms people try to place on you.
Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors' Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen's Book Reviews.
If you are an author, I am sure you have seen plenty of books advertised on social media, mainly Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Authors will post every day to various groups in a bid to get sales, but does it work?
Like many things, book groups have become oversaturated and flooded with buy my book posts. Hundreds are added everyday and as most book groups cover a wide range of genres, it can be difficult to get your book seen. Not to mention algorithms acting against you. So how can you make your book stand out from the rest?
For a start, use an image in your posts as opposed to the image which appears when you add a link. A clear image can be eye catching to the user and posts with images do better on the likes of Facebook.
Make sure that your image fits the platform. An image which works well on Facebook will not fit on Twitter or Instagram. Each platform has set dimensions and the last thing you want is a blurred or stretched image. If you use sites like Canva to create images, they have the correct dimensions available for specific posts.
Ad copy should include the book blurb, a teaser and a call to action – e.g. Click the link below to learn more. You need to grab the user and keep their interest. Images are the first step and if followed by a great blurb, this will increase your chances of the user clicking the link.
For the book link, add it to the comment section below your post as opposed to adding it to the main post. Facebook tends to hide posts with links in them. By adding them in the comments, you have a better chance of your post being seen.
For Instagram, it is difficult to show a book cover, but you can create an image for your book. You could create a teaser post with a short extract from the book or use a picture that ties into your book. Include a blurb and link in the comments.
For Twitter, it can be difficult to get your book seen. Twitter is fast moving and as soon as you tweet, it gets lost in a sea of other tweets. The best way to be seen is to post multiple times per day – up to ten times. You may want to use Tweetdeck to set up tweets in advance. A good picture will get your tweet noticed. Due to the reduced word count on Twitter, you will have to rely on a good hook to entice the user.
Social Media Marketing can be effective and when combined with ads, it can really boost sales. Remember to always follow the rules of any promotional group you are in and look for groups with more specific genres that suit your book as opposed to a group which includes every genre.
It can be a lot of work, but it is possible to get sales through social media marketing. If you are having problems getting sales, then perhaps it would be a good idea to get a second opinion on your cover and blurb. There are many feedback groups available to help.
Social Media Marketing is free and when done right can prove profitable.
Viral: After Zombie Series Book 3 is out on June 15th 2019. You can preorder your copy today.
I've died three times already, I might not survive another bullet...
When Jenna reunites with her father, under devastating circumstances, she knows that the only way to keep them both safe is to fight back against the ones who are hunting her.
Time to go Viral...
If she can show the world what Gene-Pharm Industries are really doing, the secrets they are keeping, then she can bring them down once and for all. That just leaves CHAOS.
But if Jenna thought she knew the whole story, she's in for a surprise. More family secrets threaten to tear her life apart. Add to that some zombies and she is facing an impossible situation. One she may not survive.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”