Friday, August 17, 2012

Guest Post by Raine Thomas!!!!!

So... after much begging and pleading, and more begging... on my part... Raine graciously did a guest blog for me!!  Yay for me!!!  Yes, I am doing a happy dance right now!

All in a Day’s Work: What I’ve Learned after a Year as a Published Author

Thanks, Jess, for inviting me to the blog. It’s a pleasure to be here!

It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy was published. At this time last year, I was really wet behind the ears. Everything intimidated me. Seriously.

Having my book-iversary has made me a little nostalgic, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a bit about my own writing journey, and offer a few tips that might help you on yours. I know we’re all at different points in our careers, but hopefully I can help even one fellow writer today!

Before July of last year, I’d never used Twitter. My only Facebook account was my personal one, and I wasn’t about to turn that into an author platform. I’d never used Google+, and Pinterest wasn’t really off the ground yet. I’d barely even read a blog, never mind written one. I guess I published my books thinking everything would magically be okay.

Well, magic or not, I’ve somehow managed to nurture a steady writing career. I leaped into Twitter and now have nearly 6,000 followers. I created a professional Facebook page, an author page, and a page dedicated to my books, all of which have hundreds of friends and fans. I’m addicted to Pinterest and have even gotten my husband to browse on it when he thinks I’m not looking (no small feat). Google+ is a great resource, though I don’t use it often enough. I’m also a member of several tribes on Triberr, maximizing my blog exposure. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, I’ve published a fourth book and have the fifth one, Shift, set for release on August 24th.

Huh. Would you listen to me? I almost sound as though I know what I’m doing! Quite the difference from a year ago, I assure you.

How did I learn what I’ve learned while managing a full-time wedding planning career and raising a family? I can only say it was one day at a time. What I’d like to do is pass along some tips that I hope will help you on your own path. Here we go:

1.  There is no “formula” to writing a bestseller. You can read blogs, articles, and book after book, but no one really knows what will be the next hot selling sensation. What works for one author will not work for all.
            2.  Don’t expect to be an overnight success. I’m the first one to tell you that it just might happen for you. Others might naysay and argue that very few people are ever successful with their first book, but I say that you could be one of those few. Just don’t expect it. Instead, expect to work hard to achieve your dreams.
       3. Support others. The writing community can afford to be supportive and generous. Just because someone buys one author’s book doesn’t mean they won’t also buy yours. Lose any sense of competition and focus on helping the next guy. It will come back to you when you need it, and you’ll make some lifelong friends along the way.

       4.  Avoid self-promotion. This is a hard one. Many people don’t understand the concept of marketing their own books without engaging in self-promotion. The fact is, you can “passively” market your book in a way that doesn’t come across as a pitch for selling a used car. You can participate in interviews and giveaways, join a network of fellow authors and exchange promotional posts with them, pin images related to your books to catch the eyes of readers, and, yes, occasionally write guest posts for other writers and bloggers. J
       5.  Build your social media presence. This is an ongoing process. You have to be involved and engaged or you’ll lose fans and followers. Diversify and go outside of one platform (such as only Twitter or Facebook) so you can reach multiple groups of potential readers.
       6.  Write a good book. This is truly the bottom line. We all know this is subjective, but if your book is reviewed by an editor for content and spelling/grammar, and you use a good cover designer, you will get sales.

I think that hits the highlights. I’d love to hear from you with more tips! Please leave a comment or reach out to me on my social network sites. Thanks again, Jess, for the opportunity!

I have posted the pics of Raine's book's so everyone can see what she has achieved!!  Raine, you are my inspiration to get my book done and published!  You are proof that someone who works full-time, has a family and obligations can do it!!  I got lost in my book last night for the first time in awhile, and it felt great!  I can't wait to start Shift though.... as you said to me the other night... I am Esiltorian obsessed!!!  


Raine Thomas said...

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Jess!

L. M. Davis said...

Good tips Raine. I have been doing this just a little longer than you have and I feel like there is such a way to go.

I tell everyone that in the beginning it is a labor of love. I don't have the following that you do yet, but I keep plugging away because ultimately I believe in my series. It is really the love that keeps you going when, despite your optimism, you do not become the next J. K. Rowling/Stephanie Meyer/Suzanne Collins.

Also, keep trying new things but also try old things differently. If you have a Twitter strategy, for instance, that does not pan out, don't abandon Twitter. Revamp your strategy. Who knows, a new approach might be just what the doctor ordered.

Jess's Journal said...

Thank you for guest posting Raine!! You're welcome back anytime to take over again!!

Me? I was trying for just strictly romance... I couldn't think why it wasn't working for me. When you mentioned trying a romance suspense genre, it really got me thinking. Now, I have a story with Jill and Bryan that has a mind of it's own at times! It's not usually what I've been sticking with so I decided to look outside of the box for once.

I'm really glad that I took your advice and tried something different.

I've also found Facebook and Twitter to be great areas for authors looking for an audience. Because of it, I have 77 followers (hopefully more) and counting!

Laura Howard said...

Great post, Raine! I love your blog Jess, so pretty and I loooove Purple! You are definitely one of my 'role models' Raine, you are always so kind a professional in everything you do-- who wouldn't want to be a part of that!?

Raine Thomas said...

Great advice, L.M.! I agree. Also, just because one method of building a following works for one author, don't think that's the only way you can do so. Everyone is different. :)

Jess, I'm so glad that I've been a source of support in your writing. I can't wait to read the next installment in Jill and Bryan's journey!

Jess's Journal said...

I'll be sending more over to you once it's done and written... at least the last two I was working on. Of course, the outline is changing on me after only working on it for about a day!

Thanks Laura! Miss Janice Foy designed it for me, so I can't take all the credit!! I loved it the moment she sent it over to me!

Raine Thomas said...

Thanks so much, Laura, for the lovely words of encouragement! I'm lucky to have connected with you on Twitter. :)

Kate Papas said...

Your story reminded me of mine. Only, I'm in the beginning of the road... I hope to experience the same happy ending!
Thanks for the encouragement!

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