Tuesday, January 6, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM, January 2015

It's that the first Wednesday in the new year! Which also means Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.



To start off the new year, we've all been invited to include an introduction into who we are. For those of you who don't know me, here's my brief story:

My name is Joylene Louise Butler, and I am famous (in my own mind) for having eleven grandchildren and 2 suspense novels: Dead Witness and Broken But Not Dead; the latter won IPPY silver medal in 2012. I also collaborated on a steampunk anthology published last year called Break Time. Prior to that I had no idea what steampunk was. I, my husband and our two cats Shasta and Marbles, live 6 months in Cluculz Lake in central B.C. and 6 months in Bucerias, Nayarit. Because my husband's retired, the plan was he’d cook, I'd write...(hmm)


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Our hashtag is #IWSG


The awesome co-hosts for the first posting of the IWSG for 2015 are:

Chrys Fey, and 

Please stop by and thank them for their time. 



Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for free downloading. You can check out the sites here.


Ask PZM


Q. Does offering the first chapter for free work for unknown authors?

First, let’s look at this question in a known context.  Many traditional publishers include a first chapter of a different book by an author at the end of that author’s published book (both in print books and ebooks).  This makes good marketing sense because, having read the first chapter (or chapters) and having liked what we read, we as readers are probably much more likely to buy (or borrow from a library or from a monthly ebook subscription provider) that book.

Now with an unknown author, especially for a first book, there is not yet the opportunity of including that first chapter at the end of a previously published book.

Yet how much more necessary is it to give our potential readers a taste of our story as well as our writing style if we are unknown?

Assuming that giving away the first chapter for free does not affect any agreements we may have with publishers or KDP Select or the like, why not provide this opportunity?  Although we may not gain from this, it certainly is one way to get in front of potential readers.

What are some of the ways that you might give away a chapter?

1      Provide the chapter on your author website or as a download on your author website. (Here is an example from a humor book by my 90-year-old father Al Zimbler -- http://www.alzimcomedy.com/first-date/ )

         Create an ebook of just the first chapter and publish that first chapter ebook on sites where you can list the price as free.

         Post the first chapter on Wattpad for free.  (For example, see the first chapter of my women’s friendship novel MRS. LIEUTENANT -- http://www.wattpad.com/2140539-sharon-i-may-4-1970-mrs-lieutenant-a-women%27s )

     Possibly ask a self-published author who writes in the same genre to include your first chapter at the end of his or her book (with the commitment to include a chapter from one of that author’s books at the end of your book).

         Print out copies of the chapter (include the cover and in color if possible) and hand out to people.
Caution:  Make sure that all sample chapters in whatever format include the links to where people can buy the book.

Getting out the word about your sample chapter:
Here is where using social media to link to the sample chapter online can be very effective.  And you can ask friends to share the link on their social media accounts.


Q. They say to be a successful author you have to connect with your readers. How do we do that effectively without driving them away with our boring day-to-day living?
  
It is important to clarify what is meant by connecting with our readers.  In my opinion this does NOT mean always talking about our own books or our own lives.

What it does mean is sharing on social media accounts and blog posts a variety of information that may be of interest to our readers.

For example, if you are a romance author, you might want to share news of other romance authors.  Why?  Because romance readers are known for consuming many books, so why not showcase yourself as someone who recommends other good books besides your own?

At my own author blog at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com I often write about topics that are important to me, such as the portrayal of women characters in fiction as well as real-life projects that support our military troops, their families, and veterans.

I very rarely tweet or post on Facebook anything about my own life, which I agree would have little interest to the readers of my books.  Yet I am very active on social media because I share good information on several topics (which does reveal what interests me).

A word of caution:  I personally think it is good to share information only on a set of specific topics.  If the information you share is all over the map, this may be too confusing for your followers, and confusion can cause people to stop following you.  (My mantra in marketing is “Don’t make me think.”)

Q. Are there any new epic trends out there that we haven't heard of?

There are so many new trends all the time that it is very hard to keep up with these.  Because as authors we need to conserve time for writing, I would recommend that we do not worry too much about emerging trends.  If and when these trends push themselves to the fore, then we can consider adding them to our promotional toolkit.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  
Learn more about her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/phylliszimblermiller and visit her author site at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com



ps. I'm a day early because we're having power outages, and I'm having blogger issues. IWSG is officially tomorrow. 

77 comments :

  1. Hi, Joylene. I did get a copy of the IWSG ebook downloaded. I just haven't had a chance to read it yet. Have a wonderful 2015!

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  2. Hi Joylene .. me too - I've downloaded the IWSG book .. not sure I've switched the Kindle on since .. but I'll get there.

    Lovely intro to you .. and 6 months here and 6 months there .. sounds good - yeah .. any other retired husband's around - going spare???!!!

    Have a lovely year and I sure hope the cook gets back into the kitchen soon ... cheers and enjoy Mexico ... Hilary

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  3. Now that's a drastic way to get out of cooking. Eleven grandchildren must be 'grand.'
    Phyllis gives good advice.

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  4. Happy new year! What a sneaky way to get out of cooking. ;) I need to make the same deal with my husband. Add in housework with the cooking too! Thanks for the advice.

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    1. Yes, great idea. After some deliberation and a brief moment of horror, I decided to keep doing our laundry.

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  5. Having my husband in my kitchen would drive me nuts! That's my room! LOL

    I did buy my copy of the IWSG book and I think I even wrote a review, Great resource, very inspirational!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. I'm off to read your review, Yolanda! Awesome.

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  6. Happy New Year Joylene! My wife likes me in the kitchen because I'm a pretty darn good cook, fast, efficient, and clean. But hey, all you have to do is follow the recipes and drink wine.

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    1. I know, I know. But it's rough when I reach for a glass and it's all gone! Bad cook!

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  7. Don't make me think - all right, I won't!
    That's an interesting idea about two authors sharing each other's first chapters.

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    1. Yeah, excellent idea. Sure got me thinking.

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  8. Nice to read a little more about you, Joylene. Hope you get your cook back on form soon so you can enjoy your writing time. Happy New Year.

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    1. Thanks, Suzanne. Hope your new year is outstanding.

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  9. Joylene, I bet you are both writing and cooking right now.

    I used to do all information posts, but ironically, I found the more I revealed of me, the more I connected with others.

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    1. That makes total sense, Diane. If I had a chance to get to know Margaret Lawrence through blogging... well, it would have been marvellous.

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  10. Hey, there are plenty of things he can cook with one arm, hehe.

    Thanks for the marketing tips. I especially love the advice to not pay too much attention to the latest trend---there is such freedom in not having to beat eery new social network into submission.

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    1. Yes, that advice stuck a cord with me too. Thanks, Nicki. Happy New Year.

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  11. You're doing better than me - I still don't know what steampunk is.

    Those are some great tips! Thanks for sharing them! :)

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    1. I looked it up on the internet, Krista. Happy New Year!

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  12. You seem very accomplished...and I definitely think 11 grandchildren makes you a legend. Great tips on giving away the first chapter!

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  13. I'm famous in my mind too. Aren't we all? ;) I can always use more marketing tips, so thanks for sharing!

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    1. Somebody has to be famous, right! Thanks, Chrys!

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  14. Great thoughts on free chapters. Who doesn't need a few more marketing avenues?

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    1. I wish I could bride one of my sons to pretend he's me and then do all my marketing for me! Hi Crystal. Congrats on the soon to be baby!

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    2. Thanks, Joylene! I'm totally with you. If those darn ninjas hadn't stolen my cloning device... ;)

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  15. Too bad about the husband. I guess there's always takeout, right? Anything to keep you writing.

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  16. Hi Joylene, that was most interesting to read about you. I didn't know anything of your story, so thank you for the insight. Good way to start out for the new year :-)

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    1. Hi Yvette! Hope your New Year is off to a great start.

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  17. Thanks for the introduction, and the really useful information from PZM. And thanks for commenting on my blog! Today's IWSG is such a great way to start the new year.

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    1. You have a great blog, Lisa. Loved the story about Lawrence.

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  18. I like the idea of offering the first chapter free on my blog. I think I have to ask my publisher (although I did it on GR already). Thanks for all the tips!

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  19. Sorry to hear that the problems with computer power continues, Joylene. Wishing you every success with your shared 'plan', your life, and every writing success in 2015!

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    1. Thanks so much, Carole. Hope to see you in May/June.

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  20. Hi Joylene! Your hubster is not going to get much cooking done with one arm. :) Love your blog! From your IWSG friend, Rob.

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    1. It was very nice meeting you, Rob. Thanks for stopping by.

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  21. It's great to get to know you a little better, Joylene!! I'm guessing the plan isn't quite working out, though ;)

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    1. Haha, you'd be right, Lynda. I'm searching online for new recipe ideas. There's just so much you can do with hamburger.

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  22. Happy New Year Joylene! It's great to get to know a bit about you. Wow, eleven grandkids. Nice. I don't know about Hubby cooking, though...

    That's good advice for unknown authors from Phyllis. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a great night. Eva

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  23. You are famous Joylene!
    When I want to purchase a book on Amazon, I like the take a look feature.
    That way it helps to see how things flow.

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    1. Me too, David. I love the take a look feature. Thanks for dropping by.

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  24. Hi Joylene! I'm still making my IWSG rounds this morning! What an interesting Ask PZM post. It was fun to learn more about you. We share the same middle name, btw! I like Joylene so much more than Myrtle! Have a good day!

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    1. Well, from one Louise to another, thanks for visiting, Myrtle. You have yourself a super day.

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  25. Joylene, I'd LOVE a peek inside of Phyllis' mind... just for one day. Can you arrange that?
    You ARE famous! How can you even question that?
    Chat soon when we 'hook up'! :)

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    1. Thanks for mentioning that, Michelle. I think learning more about Phyllis would make for a great post apart from our regular IWSGs.

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  26. Loved this post! It includes such helpful marketing information! Lots to think about. There are new trends all the time and the advice for writers makes a lot of sense- we do need to write and see what trend seems to be moving to the top. :)

    Thanks again! Wishing you a wonderful 2015!
    ~Jess

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  27. Thank's for the great post and the great marketing advice. :)

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading Phyllis' post, Joss. Happy New Year.

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  28. Good to know! Thank you, Phyllis and Joylene. I like that mantra, "Don't make me think." So true and good to remember.

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    1. If we all did that, not thinking, think how happy we'd be. Okay, don't think about happy, just feel it. Thanks, Karen.

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  29. This is such good advice. I usually post my first chapter on my blog and sometimes maybe even a few other chapters during the writing process.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too, Doreen. Thanks for the kind words! Happy New Year.

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  30. Of course you're famous! Have a great 2015!

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  31. Hi Joylene
    Great advise, I'm definitely going to put up my first chapter.
    Nancy

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    1. Great to hear that, Nancy. Looking forward to reading it.

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  32. So I'm sensing the division of labor hasn't turned out exactly as planned. Unfortunately, I understand. Oh, and being famous is highly overrated, unless it is in your own mind. Then it's fabulous.

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    1. Hi Lee. Yes, being a fabulous grandma does have its perks.

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  33. Hi Joylene,

    You can now stop twiddling your thumbs. It's official, I, the deluded inspiration behind IWSG aka "I Was Seeking Gary", has finally arrived to leave yet another one of my um, award-winning comments.

    Just like C. Lee above me, as in the comments section, you are super famous and I idolise your famousness.

    Six months there and six months at the other place. Happy cooking and writing and not at the same time, I should add.

    Interesting stuff from Phyllis.

    Your loyal, adoring fan,

    Gary

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    1. Thanks, dear Gary. Best to you, Penny the Jack Russell dog and internet superstar, and of course, Tristen. The very B E S T to you!

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  34. Good luck with the thriller, Joylene, yes, know what you mean about finishing a project, I HAVE to complete River Dark before I can even think about my book for grown-ups that is almost complete but not edited :0(

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    1. We'll get our projects done, I'm sure, Carole, and more!

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  35. I love reading first chapters and if the story hooked me, I'll get the book regardless if the author is multi-published or new.

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    1. Me, too, RR. There are simply too many awesome writers out there not to take a chance on a new one.

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  36. Lots of great advice, as usual. Love these posts!

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  37. Thanks for the great advice! I always learn something new here. Joylene, I'm an impatient fan who can't wait for your next book. Loooove how you write!

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  38. Love this post. I didn't read through all the comments, so I apologize if I missed this somewhere, but doesn't Amazon KDP limit how much of the book you can release (would a chapter qualify as going beyond that)? And 11 grandchildren--WOW! Clearly I'm woefully behind in getting to the January IWSG posts. I'll do much better in February!

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    1. I don't care if you're late, Tia, I'm just thrilled you stopped by. I'm not sure about the one chapter policy, but Phyllis has more to say about KDP in tomorrow's IWSG post. Hope you can stop by and find an answer to your question. Thanks for visiting!

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