Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

This WordPress.com site confirms all things are possible through God!


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Getting the word out!

Ok, it’s Monday, are you ready for the work week? Me, not so much, but got to get moving. I’ve been asked so much lately about my advertising strategy that I’m writing the post to get the word out. So here goes:

When I first started publishing my books, I had no clue about marketing my book. Four years later I’m starting to get the hang of it. I even have a website where authors can advertise their books for a minimal fee and I use what I’ve learned on that site.

This is what I’ve learned that works, it really works:

1: Use a service such as Hootsuite to make many posts, even while you’re sleeping. I especially like to use this service when I have a new release coming out soon. I usually set up several posts and have them go through my WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I do different posts for each time slot, that way I’m not overusing the same thing.

2: Twitter is a really cool marketing tool. I actually see a bump in sales when I do Tweets during the day. Make sure to be creative with the 140 characters. I use my buy link and a savvy, short piece from the book. It really works people, but you have to actually do it for it to work 😉

3: Facebook Ads: This I love and see lots of results. Facebook has made it easier to set up. One thing I love about this is you don’t inundate your friends and family with book ads. These ads go to where you want them too and go to people that aren’t friends on Facebook. I’ve gained many new fans from a simple Facebook ad. You can set up any price you want to and even the length of time you run the ad is up to you.

4: Website: Every author needs a website. There are so many places you can set up a website now, it’s amazing. but if you don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up a professional author website, then get in touch with me, my company Horseshoe Publishing does this.

5: Blogs: This is very important to authors. It gives you the chance to talk about anything, but I suggest leaving off political topics, only for the reason of making someone angry. Blog about your life giving readers a look at what you do other than writing. It’s amazing the response you’ll get.

So, these are only a part of my marketing agenda, but I’m short on my word count this morning, so I have to get back to writing. My assistant gives me the evil eye if I get too far behind on my schedule.

One last reminder before I go, if you don’t have the time or drive to do any of these and want help, check out my new advertising site www.freshfromthebook.com and for a minimal fee, we’ll get the word out for you.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Fresh From The Book

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Well, as I’ve been hinting at for a week or so, I started a new venture. Yeah, I know, like I needed something else on my plate, but… I’ve been listening to fellow authors and readers. Authors are constantly asking how to reasonably market their books and fellow avid readers always want to be able to find new books. So, in comes Fresh from the Book.

I created this website to help with those exact problems. As the marketing process of a book is expensive, I’ve checked out several upon several websites that advertise for authors. Some of them want a ridiculous price to place an ad, so I created this to help with that. Of course, I couldn’t do it all for free, but after many months of searching and experimenting, I’ve come up with costs that are below the normal costs.

I’ve set up the website and Facebook separate from my own author page, but the Twitter and Pinterest are connected to me. Since I have over 4000 followers on Twitter and here on WordPress, I thought that would be a better start to get the word out. Once the subscribers build, I’ll detach the site from my author sites.

So, in honor of the launch day, I’ve come up with a couple of incentives to share the good news. If you share the new website, like the Facebook page and share it, then go on Twitter and share, then I’ll give you 50% off your ad. Since you’ll be tagging me, I’ll see your efforts and thanks ahead of time. To receive your discount, I’ll send you a discount code to use upon checkout.

To say I’m excited about this new venture would be understating the truth. As you will see on the website, I’ve used my own advertising to give you a taste of what the ads will look like. Also, all ads will be archived on the site, so that way readers can scroll through older ads and still snag your book. It’s a win-win!

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

www.facebook.com/freshfromthebook/

www.freshfromthebook.com

 

 


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And the Winner is…

Winner

It’s time to announce the winner of my “A Light Upon My Heart” cover reveal contest. But first, I want to thank all of you lovely Bloggers, Tweeters, and Facebookers for all the wonderful shares and likes. It was a phenomenal reveal, but only because of all of you.

Of course, I can only choose one, so, drum roll………. the winner is Sara Beth Williams from over at https://authorswilliams.wordpress.com/. Congratulations Sara! Thanks for the shares! If you will email me at stephaniehurt4@gmail.com and give me your address, I’ll mail you a copy of the book as soon as it’s released.

But don’t worry, I have several contests coming up. Just keep watching. Also, I’ll be doing a backstock clearance sale in the next couple of weeks, so don’t miss an episode of my writing blog. Can I call it an episode? I don’t know, but it sounds good 😉

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Learning from others…

Good Monday morning! It’s drizzling rain here in Georgia, but that’s alright, we need it. Also since it’s Monday it kind of meets with my mood.

Today I want to talk about how you train as a writer. Some people say, ‘it’s easy to write, anyone can do it’, but that’s not the case. Writing takes more than you think to get from start to finish. You can sit down and write an idea for what you want, but it takes more than just an idea to get the full story. I’ve had ideas before and thought they’d be good, but they didn’t have enough filler to actually make a book.

I like to study what my favorite authors do. You may be asking what I mean, well it’s quite simple. I read lots of books in the genre I write. As I read, I’m looking at the sentence structure, paragraph lengths, the setup of the characterizations and the way the book is brought to the end. It’s amazing what you can learn from doing something you love, reading.

Then of course I read posts from other authors, writing magazines and even study courses. So, do you still think it’s all that easy? I’ve learned more English in the last three years that I’ve been publishing, not just writing. English skills are very important when you’re writing. Hey, I was thinking backwards for a while, but once you get into the business you realize, it’s more than just words on paper.

Several authors I follow have businesses that help other authors. All authors should want to help each other. It’s amazing the things you can learn from other authors about their own mistakes and how to correct them. I also join many Facebook writing groups, which just by reading them daily I can learn so much. Try it, you won’t regret it.

So, do you learn from other authors? If you’re struggling with something in your writing, there’s always someone out there or an article that can help you out.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you….


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Just like editing a book, only a lot messier!

Saturday we started pulling up the carpet in our home and replacing it with hardwood. Let’s just say it’s been interesting. You don’t know how dirty carpet it until you pull it up. I was astounded to say the least. Twenty one years of living life were ground into the floor and no matter how much you’ve vacuumed and cleaned, it’s never clean enough.

Here’s some pictures of the finished den, still have kitchen, dining room and three bedrooms, yikes!

fireplace floor 2 floor

As I was ripping up the carpet and cleaning up, I realized that it’s similar to editing a book. How you might ask? Well, think about it this way, you make a draft. That’s the starting point, the place you’ve poured your heart into with sloppy abandon. You know the first draft is always riddled with holes, bad grammar, spelling issues and much more, like the dirt I found.

Then of course you dig in and start the editing process, much like the moment the broom and shop vac start clearing out the ground in dirt. Once you’ve got that first draft cleaned up, it’s time to lay in the shiny, squeaky clean new floor, uh I mean manuscript.

Now the work is done and it’s ready for publication or is it. Have you done everything you need to do? Even with the newly laid floors, we had to run a dust mop over the top and put down a little finishing molding. The same is needed for your new manuscript. It’s important to make sure you’ve read, reread and read out loud. This is your showplace and it’s got to be as close to perfect as you can get it.

So, what have you been up to lately?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

If you get a chance come over to my website for all the news…. www.stephaniehurtauthor.com

and like my Facebook to get updates  and help me break 100 likes! https://www.facebook.com/StephaniePayneHurt


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What, it’s July already!

I don’t know about you, but for me time is flying! It seems like just yesterday it was Christmas and now we’re halfway to Christmas again. Guess it’s like my grandmother always said, time flies when you’re having fun.

Today as I sit here working on my latest manuscript I have to say I’m excited. As you know I am working on Chase and my historical romance, but I also have a surprise coming. It’s something totally out of my usual realm so I’m keeping it hush hush for a little longer. Let’s just say you’ll be pleasantly surprised, I hope.

What are you planning for July? Me, well we’re putting hardwood throughout our house starting in the next week. Yep, I said we’re doing it. I’m actually excited because we’re doing this as a family project. Thank goodness it’s a inside project because of the summer heat. I can’t wait to get a hammer in my hand and get to work. Well, I guess I’ll be allowed to hammer, but more than likely I’ll be handing wood to my hubby and son. Sometimes me and tools don’t work out so well.

Do you have some exciting plans for the 4th? I’m lazing away the day at the lake with family and food.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and my website for continued updates on my surprise!

https://www.facebook.com/StephaniePayneHurt

www.stephaniehurtauthor.com


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If you cut it off, it will grow back, Who knew!

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You may be wondering what I’m talking about. Today’s post is two fold. Since I’m on a low calorie diet, that means I’m eating salads, salads, and more salads. That means I’m buying lettuce constantly. A couple of weeks ago as I scanned down the many thousands of posts on Facebook I ran into an article about regrowing lettuce. Well since I’m eating so much lettuce (feeling somewhat like a rabbit) I decided to read the article instead of passing it by.

It was talking about the kind of lettuce that I eat, which is Romaine. All you do is cut the hard end off which you can’t eat anyway and put it in a cup of water. Now I have letter regrowing in my cups. Yes I did a happy dance on my patio the other evening when I saw my little lettuce sprouts reaching up to the sky. Of course my hubby and son laughed at me and they’ve played some really mean tricks on me regarding my little baby lettuce sprouts. Who knew you could grow lettuce from your cut off stalks, well maybe some of your knew, but I didn’t.

As for the 2nd meaning, I’m talking about your manuscript. I’ve been working on Chase, the 3rd book in the Five Oaks Ranch series and something just didn’t feel right about one of the scenes. I read it and reread it until my eyes crossed. Then I made the decision to cut the whole scene and start over. Guess what? It worked! Once I decided to delete the whole scene that wasn’t sitting right with me, I felt better.

Then as I started back over with this section of the book it took on another feel altogether and actually led into another scene I hadn’t even thought of. So, it helped to cut it off and let it regrow and then it multiplied! Now that’s the kind of cutting off I like.

So, how’s your writing going? I hope it’s going well. Also, have any of you ever replanted something in order for it to regrow and multiply. I’d love to hear about it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!

P.S. Just a little exciting news, I’m featured this week in Southern Writers Mic Nite! Here’s a link to said article:  http://www.southernwritersonline.com/mic-nite.html

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7467877@N07/4970032832″>Novelty Gene Autry Barlow</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;


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Ebook piracy is real and growing…

Good Wednesday morning! Hope all of you are well and safe. I know several people in the flood ravaged south and I hope all of you are safe this morning. As I watch the news its devastating and tears at my heart. Prayers going up to all of you in the danger zones.

This morning I want to discuss Ebook piracy. When I started my writing career I was a little leery of putting my book on websites that I wasn’t familiar with. I’d spend hours checking out their ratings and BBB information before I’d even set up an account with them. We want to keep our work safe from those that want to take advantage, but what can we do in this day and age of cyber piracy? Nothing, not a thing…

I noticed about a year ago that when I googled my name, several websites came up that I didn’t recognize. Of course I checked them out and some of them are legitimate because they are distributors from Createspace that legally sell my book and I reap the royalties. But unfortunately a couple were actually pirating my books for free on their sites. A month ago I was searching out my books and found that the number of websites that my books are showing up on have more than doubled.

Of course it got me a little hot under the collar until a well known author told me something that hadn’t really hit me. She told me that it’s like free advertising. The word pirates as I call them were actually doing free promotions for my work. I still don’t like the fact that they steal your work and place it everywhere for free, but in a way it is getting my work out there. She also went as far as to tell me I should be proud that they picked my work to steal because that meant they evidently thought it would help them. Never thought of it that way either.

My question to several authors was how do you stop them, but all of them came back with the same response, you don’t. The websites change constantly and have crazy names. I keep a watch on it though because I don’t want someone else to list their name as the author of my work. Now that will spur me into action, but for now I’m just watching it.

I suggest if you’re a published author to keep an eye on your work. Do a cyber search frequently on your author name, book name and website. It’s just a precautionary measure, but it could save your work.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Oakley is coming out by the end of next weeks!!! I’ll be posting updates by the end of the week. So go over to my website at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com and subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on new releases or exciting news. Or go over to Facebook and like my author page to stay up to date at https://www.facebook.com/StephaniePayneHurt. If  you’re a Twitter lover then check out my tweets at https://twitter.com/StephanieHurt4.


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Promote or not to promote…that’s the question!

Good morning! I do hope all of you are staying warm. As for me I’m sitting beside the fire wrapped in a blanket. It’s only 12 degrees here in my part of Georgia which is not funny for this southern girl. It’s a beautiful day outside from the bright sunshine, but then you step outside and it hits you like a ice wall. Not even going there!

On to my post for the day… How do you promote your book? Or do you even do any promoting? For me I do promote when I can. Some authors say that they can’t afford to do a lot of promoting, but I have some good news. You can do some really good promotions for free. Yes I said FREE!

Here are some of my favorite free promotional places:

1: You are looking at the first place. Your blog is an excellent place to promote your book. But be careful, don’t overdo it. Sprinkle in promotional posts here and there, but make sure to keep it light. I’ve seen some really good results from it. You can set up a blog for free and make sure to assign a page for your books within your blog setup.

2: Twitter is an excellent place to promote, but as I’ve said above don’t overdo it. I tried an experiment with Twitter and it went really well. A couple of days I didn’t post anything about my books and my sales were normal, but then for a couple of days I sprinkled in some tweets directly from my book pages on Amazon, Smashwords and some of my other book pages. It helped my sales. I actually sold extra books on those days and the trend went that way for days afterwords and then back down to normal. If you spread out your book tweets to several hours apart and use hash tags such as #amwriting #amreading and #ebooks you’ll see some great results.

3: Facebook is another great place. As with any other promotions don’t overdo it. Make sure you have a separate page for your books because your friends my not enjoy seeing your posts repeatedly. I have a couple of different pages for my books and series. That way it keeps them sparse. Make it interesting…

4: Do a press release. I use PRlog.com and it’s really easy to set up. When I have a new release I set up a powerful press release with tags, then you can share it almost anywhere straight from the release page.

5: Your website. You may be saying ‘but you have to pay for a website’. Well actually there are several free places to set up websites, but keep in mind these free websites can be limited. They are still a great place to tag your books.

These are only 5 of the many free sites where you can promote your book. I hope these help out. My publishing service Horseshoe Publishing can help you for minimal costs to set up any of the above options. But if you’re computer savvy then you should be able to do these fairly well.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…