Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Downhill slide…

Good morning! It’s a sunny morning here in Georgia. The sun is streaming through the trees and into the windows as I sit here writing. It’s been a productive morning so far. My exercise is completed, my breakfast eaten and 2000 words typed into my manuscript. Yes, Oakley is almost done.

This book has been really fun to work on. I’ve enjoyed writing all of my books, but there’s something about this series that really pulls at me. I think it’s the fact that the whole story of each of the five siblings actually is already in my head. It sounds crazy but it’s true. Of course I do have the filler material to put together and that’s the time consuming part.

Let me introduce you to Oakley, the cowboy, the man. He’s such a old spirit with his old fashioned way of thinking. His heart is filled with compassion and so much kindness. As he goes about trying to understand his brother, Ridge’s decision to hire a woman as a ranch hand, he struggles with other feelings that start up.

Keep watching for updates on Oakley and the release date will be announced possibly this week. Also, with the upcoming release of Oakley, I’m giving away 5 copies of Ridge over at Goodreads. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/137212-ridge

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Advertising and Promotions?

Well I forgot to turn the heater on in my office this morning. It’s a balmy 25 outside and inside my office it’s real close to that. My fingers are numb, but I ran into the house and warmed up my sweater by the fire. I’m sure my neighbors think I’ve gone nuts running back and forth between the office and the house, but it’s too cold to merely walk.

On to this morning’s writing topic. How do you advertise or promote? Well you may be saying, what’s the difference? I’m going to give you my view of the differences and then a few pieces of advice. To me advertising is something you pay for and promoting is getting your book out there via any channel you can get your two cents in.

Advertising

Advertising is a hot topic among authors. Do you pay a hefty fee and hope that someone will see the ad and buy your book? It’s a catch 22 really. I believe that you need some paid advertising to get your book in front of a different audience than just Facebook, Twitter and various other places. But choose wisely. I’ve heard of too many authors that paid for advertising and never saw the ad or much less found it on the site. Don’t choose too quickly from an exciting email you get from a “advertising firm”. 

Take for instance, yesterday I received an email from a company that said they’d put my book on many sites for a fee. They went on to paint a pretty impressive picture of their company. Funny thing is when I Googled their firms name I didn’t find anything, nada, nothing! That was a major red flag for me. They then went into their fees. WHOA!!! Let’s just say, I’d have to sell hundreds of books to even make it back. Needless to say I deleted said email and went on my merry way.

If you find a reputable place to advertise and it’s fairly reasonable for what you’re getting, then by all means go for it. If they say their service tweets and facebooks your ad, go to Twitter and Facebook to see the traffic they garner. If they only have 10 followers and no responses or few retweets you’d best move on. ‘Nough said.

Promotions

Now this can be fun and tedious at the same time. Don’t over promote in a day. The reason I say this is, I’ve tried to analyze the results from a study I did. I tested this theory on Twitter and was amazed. I spent two days just blowing up Twitter with nothing but promotional stuff from my books. I tweeted from every book site I had and yada yada. Then I watched as my Twitter followers started dropping off like wasps in a nest after they met Raid. Well, it’s obvious that this wasn’t a good plan. Then I did this in a more laid back way and gained several new followers. I only tweeted a couple of times during high traffic times and added in books from other authors and funny sayings or just daily writing tips. Amazing the difference. Even had several nice retweets, especially thankful ones from the authors I tweeted. Yes, the first test garnered a couple of retweets, but only from my most dedicated Twitter followers. 

A lot of sites say they’ll do the tweeting and posting for you, but let’s get real, we can do that ourselves for free. Well, that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Here’s a couple of the places that I’ve done paid advertising and seen results:

http://www.rwa.org/ Romance Writer’s Of America – I put an ad in their monthly magazine and had some great results. It’s not very expensive and it reaches many readers that actually read my genre. They’re really easy to work with and totally worth it. Also join their organization to get the monthly magazine and all their wonderful help on their website.

http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/about-ian.html The Independent Author Network. This is a great site also to promote and advertise. The authors here work as a team to tweet and retweet each other’s books. I always notice a big upswing in views and sales when I go in and help other authors. Very reasonable to join.

http://bookclubreading.com Book Club Reading is a new one I’m using for both areas. They help you to get your name and books out to book clubs. Their advertising is fairly reasonable and it’s helped with sales of my Christmas book.

Promotional sites I worked with that are free and easy:

http://www.prlog.org This is a press release site. I use the free option and they produce great looking press releases that you can send out to all your social sites and they put them into several channels. It’s fairly easy to use and set up is easy.

Goodread.com Goodreads is a great promotional area. Set up events for upcoming promotions and join groups that are in your genre. It promotes your name and get’s you some great advice to boot. 

Shelfari.com Shelfari is a great place to put your books and gained followers. You can download your books directly from Amazon and even your reading list. I’ve made some great friends on this site.

http://worldliterarycafe.com/ This site is a wonderful promotional tool and I’ve learned a lot from them. Join their group on Facebook and ask what you need to know or just read what others have asked. Of course on the Facebook group don’t promote your books. That part of their site is only for Q & A or helpful hints. 

Now these are just a couple. There’s so many great sites out there and I know I didn’t mention even half of them.

As always good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 


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Trying to see the surface with a Giveaway…

Come over to Goodreads and sign up for my Giveaway. Of all weeks for me to set up a Giveaway and need to be positive. Well, I guess it will help to keep my mind occupied. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/69641?utm_medium=api&utm_source=giveaway_widget

 


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Building a Platform…

For those of you that aren’t authors I’m not talking about a stage. I mentioned to my husband one day that I was trying to build my author platform and he started laughing. He asked me where I was going to put it and what was I going to say when I got up on it. I then explained to him that a author platform is the advertising, blogging, etc. you do to get your book out there. He still thought it was funny. MEN!

When I first started publishing I wasn’t very computer savvy. Of course I knew about accounting programs and such but not the intricacies of publishing, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and all that goes with it. Since then I’ve developed blogs on several sites and now I Tweet everyday. It’s funny how your life changes when you become a published author.

Here are the top ten places I’ve used to build my platform:

1: WordPress: I set up a blog and made it my very own author website. It’s so easy to do once you get into it and take the time to set it up.

2: Twitter: My Twitter account has garnered lots of interest in my writing and it’s attached to my blog so they go hand in hand.

3: LinkedIn: This site allows you to follow many people from various walks of life. My blog is attached to my LinkedIn account, so everything I blog it goes straight to this page.

4: Goodreads: For an author this is a very important aspect of building your platform. Here is where you meet established authors and Indie authors all on the same page. It’s also a good place to gather reviews.

5: Independent Author Network: This site is awesome and it’s so reasonable to set up. I have my own author page and you can put all of your sites on it. Also, other authors will tweet your page for you and they’ll tweet your tweets. It’s really helped my fan base and I really like how it works.

6: Smashwords: This is a place that I have my books for sale. They also put them through to Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, Diesel and several others. You also get an author page and you can be an affiliate.

7: KindleBoards: This one takes a little more time and reading, but it can get some interest in your books.

8: AllRomanceEbooks.com: This is a great place to sell and advertise your books. It’s all about every genre of romance. It’s easy to set up and put your books on it.

9: CreateSpace: This is where I currently have my books for print. I also have a blog on this site.

10: Amazon: I have all my books on this site. You can set up a author page and link it to your blog and Twitter Account. On Amazon you can be in several countries.

Well, these are just a few of my spots that help me. I have many more, but I didn’t want to bore you too much 🙂

As always, Good writing and May God Bless You…


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Social Media! Oh Me!

Well, it’s official. I’m now on Facebook. My books have been on Facebook for a while, but now I am personally. I’ve been fighting it forever. My assistant has been telling me I needed this for my Author platform. Well, I did it. I broke down and joined the millions of people on Facebook. It’s a little daunting. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get into telling everyone what I had for breakfast. Yikes!

I have never been Mrs. Social Butterfly. It took my assistant forever to get me to publish my books. She said it was like pulling teeth to get me set up on Twitter. It’s funny because now I’m on every social media site I can think of. It’s crazy how being a published author can change your life. All of a sudden people want to know what I think. Me! Plain, nutty, me!. I had someone ask the other day what I drink while I write. Really!!! I told them with a smile, sweet tea. I’m a southern girl, gotta have my sweet tea.

So if you get a chance go on over to Facebook and friend me. I will friend you back when I figure out how to. You may be laughing but I’m serious.

On a book note, go over to Goodreads and check out my new book giveaway for “The Winner Is Love”. It goes through December 31st. It is available to US, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, India and Canada. I think that’s all of them.

 

As always, good writing and May God Bless you!this way, that way


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Goodreads Giveaways!

I have set up a giveaway of 1 signed paperback of each of my five books on my author page at Goodreads. Just follow this link to the “Moonbeam & Roses” giveaway http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/36077-moonbeam-roses. Follow this link to the “Tender Flames” giveaway http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/36081-tender-flames. Follow this link to the “Ghost Lover” giveaway http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/36078-ghost-lover. Follow this link to the “With All My Heart…” giveaway http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/36079-with-all-my-heart. Follow this link to the “A Love Never Lost” giveaway http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/36010-a-love-never-lost.

It has been a great week. The trees are turning beautiful colors and the air is starting to turn crisp. This Sunday is our Church Fall Festival, which being the children’s minister I’m in charge of the activities. I’m excited. Wednesday is Halloween and time for our annual “Trunk or Treat” at the Church. Trying to figure out what I’ll dress as. I’ve been a bouquet of balloons, a cowgirl, a pumpkin, a little girl and so on. SO I have to figure out something cool.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. As always good writing and may God bless you!