Lessons learned from other authors

This past Friday I had the good fortune of participating in the March to a Bestseller 2 event on Facebook.  Organized by Bryan Cohen (of Build Creative Writing Ideas) and Jim Kukral (of Author Marketing Club) and sponsored by their Sell-More-Books-Show podcast, the event brought together an eclectic mix of successful authors in all genres of fiction and non-fiction.  It was fantastic.

First, I got to buy a bunch of great books on writing, formatting, and marketing for authors – each for only $0.99!  Most of them have gone back up to their regular prices now, but I probably saved twenty or thirty bucks on the dozen or so books I purchased.  If you’re an author, keep your eyes open for the next event like this, so you can stock up.  (For the record, though, I already owned some of these books; they’re each worth way more than their regular prices anyway.)

I just checked, and the books below are still on sale.  If you’re an author (current or aspiring), pick them up!  At less than a buck, how can you go wrong?

But even better than that, I got to talk to and befriend many of these great authors.  They gave me fantastic tips for my writing career, including:

  • Find reasons to stay productive (motivation – your ‘why’ to keep working)
  • Eliminate distractions (such as internet) while working (obvious, yes, but I need the reminder)
  • Formatting tips to make my Kindle books more readable
  • Marketing ideas, including connections for where to send my promo books
  • Names of other authors in my genres with whom to network and co-promote

And lots more!  I even got some personal feedback on my own work, from great writers like internet business guru Steve Scott, master cover designer/publishing genius Derek Murphy, and best-selling horror author J. Thorn.  This advice felt a lot like tough love, but boy do I need it.  Here are a few of my key take-aways:

  • My covers suck.  I need new ones.  (Yes, for all nine of my books.)
  • I need more reviews.  (I knew that.)
  • I’d be better off picking a genre or topic and focusing more of my books on that niche, to create sales funnels and build a following.  (This could be hard for my ADD brain to tackle, but I’ll do my best.)
  • I need to make connections with other authors, to start branching out and letting more people know about my work, to offer to help others with no expectation of return.  (I’ve already started doing this.  Gonna keep it up!)

Regarding that last item, I’m planning to dedicate the Fun with Fiction podcast to the mission of building exposure for other authors.  Granted, I already kind of do that – by reviewing their books and talking about their work on the show – but I’m going to continue making contacts, to interview successful and up-and-coming fiction authors on the show, providing them another avenue to reach potential readers.  (If you haven’t subscribed to the Fun with Fiction podcast on iTunes yet, please do so!  I work hard to keep it entertaining and informative.  I think you’ll enjoy it.)

So, on to business:

  1. I’m in the market for a cover designer – or someone who can help me become one myself.  I can’t drop huge dollars on it at this point, but I will pay a fair price for a great cover, and will feature the artist’s name prominently in the book.  Contact me!
  2. Do you want all of my books, for FREE?  Great!  Because my books need REVIEWS.  So if you’re interested in what I write, email me at luke@lukejmorris.com and let me know what book you’d like to review first.  I’ll send you that book in the format of your choice (Kindle mobi, epub, PDF, etc.).  All you have to do is read it, review it, send me a link to your review, and let me know which book you’d like next.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.  😉 
  3. Which of my books is your favorite?  In what genre would you like to read more of my stories?  Please email me and let me know!  I can’t promise to focus my efforts 100% toward the most popular genre in my wheelhouse, but I will certainly give stronger consideration to the type of books that people really want to read.
  4. If you’re an author in a similar vein, and would like to connect, by all means, hit me up.  If I like your work and you like mine, and we get along together as human beings, I’ll gladly co-promote you, trade reviews, and have you as a guest on Fun with Fiction.  Cool, right?

Thanks for reading!  As long as you’re here, sign up for my mailing list.  It’s 100% non-spam, all entertaining and informative content.  Do so, and I’ll give you a couple of my best books for FREE – no strings attached.  Give it a try!  I’d love to connect with you.

Speaking of connection, you’re always welcome to email me at luke@lukejmorris.com (yes, I know that’s a funny-looking email address).  Whether you want to ask me questions about life as a writer/podcaster, tell me what you think of my books, talk to me about your own projects, or just commiserate with someone about how much the Bears suck this year (they’re making me cry), I answer every email I receive.  It’s great to make new friends.  🙂

Now, back to work!  NaNoWriMo beckons.  (I’m at 15,251 words right now.  How ’bout you?)

– Luke

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