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For 2017, our motto for the year was TEAMWORK! “Texas Experts helping Authors with Marketing their Words and Offering Responsible Know-how.” We worked hard to create programs that benefit Texas authors on multiple levels. Many of the events were successful, while a couple did not meet our anticipated goals. What we learned, as an organization, is that Texas authors need and want support in marketing their books. And, with the ever-increasing number of authors and advanced technology, the need is even greater and continuing to grow.

Your Success and Growth as published Texas Authors has always been at the forefront of Alan’s goals and desires…much more than his success on a personal level. However, he knows that while a few authors have seen great growth in sales, many more are just now starting to realize the value of Texas Authors, Inc. and that by using the tools, programs, and events they have potential to increase their success. There is still a great deal of work ahead for everyone. Therefore, Texas Authors, Inc. has determined that 2018 is the Year for Success and Growth!

How will Texas Authors, Inc., work towards this affirmation and goal? Simple. By continuing to listen to the membership and create programs and events designed to help each author who uses them, to succeed. Last year we produced four book festivals across the state. This year, we have seven currently scheduled across the state. These will help authors discover new readers for their books and give them new ways to reach out to them over the year. Our Book Festival Network (http://BookFestival.Network) has already been recognized as a new way to produce Book Festivals, from organizations outside the State of Texas.

Our Authors Marketing Event & Campus (http://Campus.Authors.Marketing) offer a variety of ways for Texas authors to learn more about marketing and selling their books. Our third annual event already has a great lineup of presenters, with more to come. This cost-effective event brings authors together from across the state to learn from the professionals and to share with each other what works and doesn’t work for them. If you can’t physically attend the annual event, the AME campus offers opportunities for authors to learn at home from the recorded video presentations of the presenters. It simply offers another great cost-effective way to grow. We are the only organization in the world that certifies authors in Marketing, another first among a long list of firsts that other organizations are now copying and using.

Texas Authors Point System (TAPS) started in the middle of last year, and shortly the membership will have access to the accrued points they earned from book sales, donations, membership dues and every other way they spent money in any of our three nonprofits. TAPS is yet another great way to save money and increase your strength!

Introducing new ways to reach out to Texans through an Authors in the Park event on April 28 has already received accolades from a variety of cities praising the concept and the fun that will be created by introducing authors to local residents, and encouraging more reading.

Those who have been members of Texas Authors, have seen Alan work tirelessly in creating new avenues and refining old ways that benefit the Membership and help them to succeed. There is no doubt, in 2018, Alan will once again think of new and creative ways for you to Succeed & Grow in your chosen career as a published author.

But, none of this can happen without a strong membership. We need dedicated members to help us grow so we can continue help authors succeed http://txauthors.com/index.php/join-us. Our goal is to have 840 members by the end of March. We currently have 350 members. That’s a lot of work, but by bringing new members to the program, we can be more successful in our goals which then helps you to be successful! This is TEAMWORK and six years of experience has proven it WORKS!

Your comments and suggestions are always encouraged. But, please know that without new members, Alan’s ability to accomplish the goals for this year is diminished. He desperately needs office staff to continue growth. Increasing our membership is one way to make this happen. Spread the word, earn TAPS credits for referrals and make this year, the year for Success & Growth for Texans on many levels.

 

The following article may not completely apply to you as an author, however, there are many attributes in the article you should read to get a better sense of our future readers. This, as a marketing concept, will prove valuable.

Originally printed Publisher Perspective by Porter Anderson on December 13, 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, Canadian reading and writing platform Wattpad has produced a series of readership trends based on its users behavior. These trends offer publishers some insights into the interests of Wattpad’s 60 million monthly users.

In terms of tech, for example, Wattpad Studios’ partnership chief Ashleigh Gardner says the second-screen phenomenon—in which television viewers simultaneously use mobile or other devices to share and interact with the content their are watching on TV—is becoming more influential.

“Even in binge-watching,” Gardner says, “people are going through content so fast. We see people wanting more” of a show they’re sharing. That’s the point at which fan-fiction writing kicks in and the writers and their readers on Wattpad basically keep the party going, extending and embellishing storylines, generating new action for characters and plot points. The second screen of choice, then, becomes the Wattpad app on which the viewers are searching out new work that appears almost as fast as they can search for it.

“They’re coming to Wattpad,” Gardner says, “to stay within the worlds of Riverdale [the CBS-Warner Bros. show based on Archie Comics] or Stranger Things [the Duffer Brothers’ show on Netflix]. Every show we see on TV, we find fan fiction about on Wattpad.”

It’s Riverdale that’s had the biggest response this year in Wattpad’s tracking of the action on the platform. Content based on that series peaked in terms of reading minutes by users in October, when the system recorded 7.9 million minutes on Riverdale-related material. Some 54,000 story uploads related to the show were counted throughout the year. Also in October, Stranger Things drew almost as many users, recording its own high of 7 million reading minutes in material related to that series.

But it would be a mistake to think that all is entertainment and TV gossip among the more-than 60 million readers and writers at Wattpad.

“It’s been great to see how our users are responding to social movements,” Gardner says, referring to a particularly strong uptake on the #NoMoreBullying movement. One example of this is a paranormal tale called #FatGirlMagic by the writer known as @ClaireKann and responding to the #BodyPositivity theme. Gardner’s team has seen as many as 8 million reading minutes per month going into material based in such widely hashtagged topics and interests.

A related such focus, for example, could be seen in #FreeTheLGBT, a push to increase the number of prominent LGBTQ characters in fiction, and this was a big one, with an average 13 million reading minutes monthly. As many as 2,500 new story uploads were made with the tag following the pride activities of June.

The writer known on the site as @Vapid_Ink scored big in 2017 with Vigilante rising to massive popularity in the action category: the story pulled more than 2 million reads. The #MeToo movement in sexual harassment awareness has been a major trend on Wattpad this year, but it’s so far been harder to track because the hashtag is applied less precisely than some others are. #MeToo can refer to many things, in other words, and not always to issues related to sexual harrassment.

Diversity interests in wider terms drove 4.8 million reading minutes a month to a “person of color” tag (#PoC) . The system tracked an 84-percent growth level during the year for genre stories with diverse characters, too. If publishers have needed any evidence to support a readership’s interest in more diverse character sets, look no farther than Toronto where they could see more than 30 million reading minutes monthly going into tags including #DiverseLit, #Diversity, and #LGBTQ+.

In 2018, Try Werewolf K-Pop Killer Clowns

Here are several more trends that Wattpad’s staffers are reporting tracking this year. Gardner confirms that some 70 percent of the platform’s active user base is female and remember that roughly 90 percent accesses the content on mobile devices.

• K-Pop has been especially popular among Spanish-language users of the platform, which supports some 50 languages. In January of this year, Latin American users shared 12,000 K-Pop story uploads and by July, that trend had increased to 21,000 story uploads. • English-language readers seem to love Korean music, too, hitting more than 50 million monthly minutes of K-Pop reading time for the first time in 2017.

• Zombies are an abiding passion for the mostly-millennial crowd of readers and writers at Wattpads, with the writer @CrystalScherer pulling in more than 600,000 reads since January for her The Virus Within.

• Werewolves, however, seem to be another unholy grail of popularity among horror and sci-fi fans on the platform. Some 196 million minutes each month went to werewolf stories–that’s more than 136,000 days of time–and that’s over a measly (by comparison) 13 million monthly minutes going to zombies.

• The preponderance of women’s readership on the platform can lead some to think that the whole picture there is romance, but in 2017, but in fact, romance-and-something combinations in terms of genre interests have gained grace this year among Wattpadders. Romance and action seems to have been a favored combo, with romance readers gravitating toward mafia stories and bad-boy bikers. As do we all, surely.

• As long as we’re in the neighborhood, material relating to the boy band Why Don’t We was attracting almost 20 million reading minutes (13,888 days) per month by August. This one is an especially global attraction according to the sites’ officials, who say they expect WDW fandom to reach even more feverish heights on the big platform in 2018.

• And as we’ve mentioned in earlier coverage, cannibals seem to have taken on special meaning for many Wattpad regulars. They and killer clowns were two surprise quick gainers on the site, rising in the stats to 9,000 story uploads in September and October.

‘They Want To Participate’

If any over-arching message is inherent in all the data coming in from Canada at the end of this year, it’s engagement.

Gardner was at the FutureBook conference in London on the first of December, shortlisted for this year’s Disruptor of the Year FutureBook Award sponsored by the Frankfurter Buchmesse. She heard Eliza Filby’s closing keynote, as covered by Publishing Perspectives, on the rising influence of Generation Z and listened carefully, of course, as that group’s readers now are moving into range of Wattpad’s offerings—the minimum age for participation on the site is 13.

“While we’re extremely popular with millennials,” Gardner says, “we’re seeing more and more of the younger group on the platform, too. The 13-to-16 group is a flourishing community online, and that ties into a lot of what Eliza was talking about.

“They’re not just consumers,” she says, “they want to participate, they want to write their own stories. We see readers who want to write their own stories. They want to be heard. They want to consume the art their friends are creating. They don’t want celebrities to be out of reach, they want to be able to reach out to them,” as readers at Wattpad interact with their authors.

And there’s one more thing that publishers might do well to mull along with the wine over the holidays: speed to market. One of the most striking elements of success at Wattpad is how quickly new content arrives for readers on the platform in reaction to real-world events. Much as we see in the second-screen dynamic, the readers and writers of Wattpad are working far, far faster than much of trade publishing is used to working.

“They’re not just consumers. They want to participate, they want to write their own stories. They want to be heard. They want to consume the art their friends are creating.”Ashleigh Gardner

Gardner recalls #AlexFromTarget, the cashier whose photo went viral. “Its fascinating to see how quickly people will start to write stories about news stories or memes” for the platform. “A girl had secretly taken a photo of her checkout guy at Target, and he became a teen-heartthrob. The amount of fan fiction we saw about #AlexFromTarget immediately spiked in the next 24 hours, and you still see stories written about him today,” more than two years later. “Some were so inspired by that moment that they wrote the meta-fiction about him, and what it must have been like for him to have people so in love with him. “When it comes to reactions, the creativity and the speed happens as soon as the inspiration hits.” And this presents a challenge to traditional publishing.

“That lag to market,” as Gardner puts it, has also meant that the startup of some partnerships with publishers have taken awhile to put into action. But more of these deals will be introduced in 2018, she says.

“I’d like to see the industry get to a point where the trends” tracked in real-time on Wattpad “are being listened to. No one in the industry has as much of a direct reader connection as we do.” The potential, she says, is “to be able to show them, ‘This is what people want,'” to capture new market energy on the way up.

 

These set-and-forget marketing tricks help make books more discoverable

By Mark Coker | Originally published in Publishers Weekly on Nov 17, 2017

 

Marketing is critically important to a book’s success, yet time spent on marketing means less time for writing. Here, I share 10 set-and-forget tips to put an e-book’s most important marketing on autopilot. These tricks work 24 hours a day to make an author’s books more discoverable to readers.

 

1. Add These Three Sections to Your Back Matter

These sections drive sales and build an author’s social media following:

  • About the Author: A short two- or three-sentence bio to humanize the author.
  • Connect with the Author: Listing social media hyperlinks will make it easier for new fans to start following authors and subscribe to their mailing lists.
  • Other Books by This Author: The reader just discovered a new favorite author, so help them find their next read!

 

2. Add a Discussion Guide

It’s great to sell one book to one reader, but if the reader’s a member of a reading group, that could mean even bigger sales. If they see a reading group discussion guide at the end of the book, they’re more likely to recommend the book as for the group’s next read.

 

3. Add Sample Chapters from Other Books

The reader just finished the book, they loved it, and now they’re ready to read more. Let them jump into other e-books by offering generous samples of other titles.

 

4. Do a Sample-Chapter Swap with Another Author

Many indie authors have friends who also write in their genres or categories. Offer to swap sample chapters. Each author places the other author’s sample chapter in the back matter of their books. Be selective. Only swap with quality writers who target the same readership.

 

5. Add Enhanced Navigation to E-books

E-books support a hyperlinked table of contents. If the author adds the enhanced back matter recommended above, they can advertise and link to those sections in the table of contents.

 

6. Make at Least One Book Free

Free e-books get about 30 times more downloads on average than books that cost money, which means that more readers are exposed to the enhanced back matter. Nothing hooks a reader like a free first book, especially for series. Authors who write standalone books should consider running free promotions of priced titles to help introduce first-time readers to their bodies of work.

 

7. Editing Turbocharges Word of Mouth

Good books aren’t good enough anymore. An author only gets one chance to wow a new reader with a five-star reading experience. It’s the five-star read that leads to the ultimate form of autopilot marketing: reader word-of-mouth. To maximize reader satisfaction, hire a professional editor, preferably one with experience editing other books that became bestsellers in the same genre or category. There are multiple types of editing:

developmental editing, copy editing, and proofing. Each is critically important, and none can be skipped. Developmental editing is the most expensive but will have the biggest impact on reader satisfaction.

 

8. Work with Beta Readers

Beta readers are test readers. They read the author’s book prior to publication and provide feedback to help guide the final revision. A properly managed beta round could provide feedback similar to that offered by a developmental editor. To learn how to run a beta reader round, check out my December 2016 column, “Making the Most of Beta Readers,” or listen to Episode 5 of the Smart Author Podcast.

 

9. Occupy Multiple Price Points

Readers harbor pricing bias. One reader’s bias will be different from another’s. Some readers will only try a new author if the book is free, while others will only try the author if the book is priced under $3.99. Other readers will avoid low-cost e-books altogether for fear that lower prices indicate poor quality. By occupying multiple price points, the author can accommodate a wider range of pricing biases so that more readers will give the work a chance. Once the author earns the reader’s trust with one book, price is less of a factor.

 

10. Always Release with a Preorder

Books released as preorders sell more copies because preorders enable more effective book marketing. Much of this benefit is on autopilot. Indie authors can get their books listed for preorder up to 12 months in advance of release. During this entire preorder period, these upcoming titles are merchandised alongside the author’s other books at retailers. It means more months of selling time.

Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords and the host of the new podcast Smart Author.

 

About

Texas Authors, Inc. is an organization designed to help Texas Authors learn how to better market and sell their books.

We work closely with our partners DEAR Texas, Inc., and Texas Authors Institute of History, Inc., both nonprofits that have created additional programs and events for Authors.

Texas Authors is a subsidiary of Bourgeois Media & Consulting