Tag Archives: Sia McKye

Naysayers and Online Promotion

There are a lot of Naysayers out there who negate the value of Online Promotion.  Particularly with using social networks to create name recognition to sell their products—books. They tout other methods, proven methods formerly used in promoting books and authors. What I say to the Naysayers, is this:  TIMES CHANGE.  The basic methods of publicity/marketing remain the same but the focus of the methods has changed. To be successful you must CHANGE with the times.  Or get left behind

These days, a great deal of shopping is done online, including books, music, movies, clothes, house wares and appliances—even cars and houses.  Online is a HUGE mall and that’s the way you have to look at it. No it hasn’t replaced concrete stores, but that doesn’t reduce the validity of online sales, or online promotion.  Why?

Face it, we’re a techie generation and the technology is there, in ever-increasing numbers, to facilitate online selling and buying. Studies track how much time the average person spends online for things other than working. While I don’t have the figures at my fingertips, it’s a huge block of time.  Computers can do about anything a TV can—provide you with the latest news, music, TV shows, movies, and books.  Cell phones can hook you to your computer and access the Internet.  C’mon.  The Internet isn’t going anywhere unless some catastrophe happens to eliminate it. Naysayers have to get with the times. Which is why e-Books, Print on Demand or digital technology, and traditional published books in e-book format, aren’t going to go away, no matter how many opinions there are on what constitutes a “real” book. 

 If online sales weren’t valid, why is every paper catalogue put out have an online store?  Why are even major manufacturers providing an online presence and a venue to sell their products?  Everyone from attorneys to roofers sell their services on line.  Manufacturers from Beer to Xanax use known personalities to sell their products. These personalities and stars are known because of their activity in sports and on the silver screen—and known on the Internet. Why? Name and face recognition. 

 Hollywood sells their products online.  Their products are stars, producers, movies, and TV shows. The music industry is the same. Just about everyone who sells something has a website.  It’s real. It’s today, not yesterday. 

For instance, in Hollywood of old, anything that got the actors, producers, and the name of the movie or show, in the paper was publicity.  It was encouraged, it was “leaked”, it fabricated. Paparazzi are still everywhere with hopes of catching something to write about and sell on the citizens of the movie and TV industry.  But now, it’s not the papers that get it first, it’s the Internet and the publicity grinders make sure their people are on the internet. It’s the same method, different focus. Actors get known on the screen by the body of their work—if that was enough we wouldn’t see them in print or on the Internet.  Personalities sell products.  People want to get to know something about the actors not just the shows/movies they’re in. 

 If you’re an author and your product is good, you are going to sell it—if people know you have a product.  How are they going to know?  Today, it’s the Internet.  Authors have to have an Internet presence. Social networks (no doubt there will be other ways in the future) provide a way for the authors to become known and to build a readership base. If the author is a known presence, then readers will know who these authors are, may have even chatted with them online. Readers will know the books, the storylines, and release dates.  Consequently, authors will have better sales both online and where ever books are sold. 

 I’m not discounting the other avenues such as book signing events, speaking to book clubs, newspapers, radio, and TV, but, unless you have an existing platform for it, unless you already have name recognition, this may not increase your sales appreciably. Local, versus the World Wide Web. This is especially so given our present economic situation and the money spent to do this physically. The old ways vs. profits made? Getting known on the Internet can increase your sales. It’s free. Will it give you over night success?  Pfft, not usually, in fact rarely

 It takes time and work to garner success. It may not seem like you’re getting anywhere in the beginning, but this is a long-range goal. The amount of publicity also depends upon how you promote yourself as an author and it depends upon how soon you start with gaining name recognition on the Internet before your book is released. It takes a lot of focused time and work.  

 My thinking on it this is if you go to all the trouble and time to write a book what’s the point if you’re not going to take the time and work to sell it?  Or ignore the new ways to gain name and face recognition. 

 To the Naysayers, I again say, times change and either you change with the times or get left behind. 

Welcome to today.  

Sia McKye

 

I’m married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request.  I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry. 

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, http://siamckye.blogspot.com/  Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

 

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How Can You Be a Writer if You’re Not a Reader?

I  read a number of blogs. One blog I regularly read is written by an agent. On this particular occasion there was an informal discussion going on between several agents and editors, chatting about a dichotomy between readers and writers. The gist of it was that there were a whole lot of writers out there that weren’t readers. People convinced that they had a “book or two in them.” Or people who feel you can’t read other’s work in your genre because it will interfere with your “voice”

To me, the question has always been how can you effectively write a book if you don’t read them? Base it on TV? Your fascinating life? Because you’re a professional writer on the job?

I write many things professionally, articles, seminars, notes, and lots of reports. I’m writing something every day and while I don’t have the time to read six or more books a week anymore, I do read something everyday. I read for pleasure. I also read to keep an eye out for what is selling, what’s not, styles of writing, and premises used.

I write creatively and have completed two 90k contemporary romance manuscripts of a trilogy and I’m working on a paranormal trilogy. So, I’d say I had “a book or two in me”. I’ve told stories all my life. I come from a very creative family of oral storytellers and published authors.

My love of books came from reading voraciously throughout my life. As a child my parents and grandparents felt to be well read one must read classic literature first. I was also encouraged to branch out and explore various genres, not just one. Consequently, I regularly read various sub-genres of romance, paranormals, suspense and thrillers, and I love Sci-fi. You could say I’m a mood driven reader. I’m the same with music for much of the same reasons-my parents and grandparents.

There is a perception out there that you can’t read another’s words when formulating your stories-something nonsensical about copying the voice or premise, yada yada. To me, that’s BS. My voice is mine and doesn’t change just because I read someone’s work.

I often think about how coaches train their athletes. It isn’t by ignoring the competition. To the contrary, they watch recorded games of the competition so they can be better. Actors know the style of other actors-they watch them. You don’t think musicians aren’t aware of those who produce the same style of music? Or artists aren’t aware of whose style is similar?

As an author, to know what’s marketable you have to read it. Analyze it. That’s keeping your finger on the pulse of market.

I’m a marketing/promotion rep by profession, to sell my products and people; I have to be familiar with what’s out there. Is their product comparable? Better? Worse? How is it packaged? Any book I write is my product and to market it effectively I have to know what’s selling, what my target demographics are and why.

So, you want to be a author? Read. Particularly in your genre. Know what’s selling out there and why.

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SNOW DAYS AND WRITING

~Sia McKye~snowfall

When I was a kid, snow days were the thing to look forward to.  A time for laugher and fun.  No school, snowball fights, snow forts, and using the shovels—after we had shoveled the driveway—and making snow paths in the yard.  We used these as trenches in our warfare games.  The not so fun part of snow days was my mom and her list of chores.  I now know this was self-defense on her part.  It was a way keep six rambunctious kids occupied.  Needless to say, we didn’t often whine, “I’m bored and I’ve got nothing to do.”  Lord, big mistake and The List came out.

 

Snow days at my house are a bit different.  First, I don’t have six kids, thank God, to keep occupied.  Back then we stayed outside or found adventures of “lets pretend that…” in our bedroom or the third story attic.  I have one child. Uno only goes so far.  Snowboarding outside takes up a few hours, if I’m lucky.  Snowball fights still happen but it’s the kid and me. He has TV, movies, 360 Xbox, paper and art supplies, and shelf full of books.  I have a computer and projects to get done.  Articles to write, books to finish, books to edit.  Did I mention editing? 

 

This is a normal workweek for me. I’m trying to keep to my schedule. Four days of no school and a husband who can’t get to work either. It’s vacation time for them.  I’m in a groove and I have not one but two housebound males wandering around bored.  I am not bored.  I have plenty to do.  I get up from the computer for a short fifteen-minute break and stretch out my tight muscles, go to the bathroom and get a cup a coffee. My mind is on what I’m writing, working out the kinks mentally, and walk back into my office and there’s my husband checking out Fox Sports.  We do have a working TV.

 

 “Oh, I thought you were done?”

 

I’m dumbfounded.  You can tell, dropped jaw, wide eyes, standing frozen in the doorway.

 

He can tell.  “You’re not done?”

 

“Sweetheart, what part of five open tabs on the computer monitor makes you think I’m done?”  I always try for the sweet, reasonable approach first. 

 

So I decide to take out the dog, clear my head in the cold outside air and rid myself of frustration.  It’s beautiful outside.  The type of day that brings back echoes of laughing kids, snowball fights and snow forts.  I feel a pull on the leash and bring my mind back to today just in time to see my poor Great Dane trying to do her business and ever so slowly slide down the incline.  This is her first winter and she’s still learning her way on this white stuff. The look on her face is priceless and I can’t help but laugh. It feels good.  I’m feeling better, which is a good thing.

 

I walk back into the house; breathe a sigh of relief when I see my husband watching TV.  I walk into my office.  And there is my fourteen-year-old son.  At my computer.

 

            “Oh, I thought you were done?”

 

Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be a long week.  Sigh.

 

 

december-2008-jake-and-momI’m married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request.  I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry.

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, http://siamckye.blogspot.com/  Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

 

 

 

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INVOKING ATMOSPHERE AND EMOTIONS

Sia McKye

We all have things that make us feel good; things, which bring us, comfort, or lift our heart. Maybe it’s a snatch of song, the scent of cookies baking, watching kittens play, the sound of a baby’s delighted laugh. The first snowfall and the quiet hush of peace and beauty it brings to our heart. It’s all about atmosphere. Sometimes atmosphere is something that happens, other times it’s something we invoke.

When I’m not in the mood to do household tasks, but know it has to be done, I play music with a strong beat and rhythm. Want to set a party mood, music again. Music and scent has always been a big thing in my life. Music makes me feel good, adds energy and can reset my mood. Music is a tool I’ve used to give the atmosphere of peace and serenity after an argument or so my baby could sleep. After a stressful day out in the world I long for the comfort of home. I light my scented candles, turn on music, change into something comfortable—lounge pants, oversize shirt, a pair of soft socks or barefoot. If it’s cold and dreary, cooking special foods for dinner which call upon memories of growing up or happy times. Surround myself with cozy things to snuggle to on a cold winter’s night, a funny movie, the smell of popcorn, a down comforter, a cat in my lap, a dog at my feet, and my family around me. A plate of homemade cookies, the snap and crackle of a fire all are atmospheric things of comfort I deliberately set up in my environment.

How do you set the atmosphere in your writing? We want to show not tell, so how do you show the mood and tone surrounding your characters? Dialog will show but what do you do with your ‘scene’ that gives a clue to your atmosphere.

What makes you feel good, brings comfort, invokes happiness or laughter?
At the end of the day or the close of a long week, what does your mind leapt to that spells comfort? How do you give that to your readers? How do your characters or scene reflect that?

What sets the mood of fear or caution? What suggests anger or danger without a word being said?

What comes to mind:  Seeing a cowering dog, tail between its legs, dark clouds boiling on the horizon, circling of vultures over a copse of trees, or a house shrouded in fog on a dark night, maybe footsteps in the night behind you. The squeal of tires, crash of broken glass; what comes to mind as you approach a door and hear the screaming of obscenities and a thump against a wall.

Setting atmosphere and emotions are important in our stories. Our characters represent real life. We want to touch our readers with something they identify with. We want to touch their emotions and their memories with our writing. It’s your readers’ emotions and memories that help layer your stories and make your characters multi-dimensional.

When you need to set a particular tone or mood, what do you do to put yourself there first? Sound? Touch? Scent? How do you set your scene so your readers feel and see it, without drowning them in words?

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Snow Days and Writing

When I was a kid, snow days were the thing to look forward to. A time for laugher and fun. No school, snowball fights, snow forts, and using the shovels—after we had shoveled the driveway—and making snow paths in the yard. We used these as trenches in our warfare games. The not so fun part of snow days was my mom and her list of chores. I now know this was self-defense on her part. It was a way keep six rambunctious kids occupied. Needless to say, we didn’t often whine, “I’m bored and I’ve got nothing to do.” Lord, big mistake and The List came out.

Snow days at my house are a bit different. First, I don’t have six kids, thank God, to keep occupied. Back then we stayed outside or found adventures of “lets pretend that…” in our bedroom or the third story attic. I have one child. Uno only goes so far. Snowboarding outside takes up a few hours, if I’m lucky. Snowball fights still happen but it’s the kid and me. He has TV, movies, 360 Xbox, paper and art supplies, and shelf full of books. I have a computer and projects to get done. Articles to write, books to finish, books to edit. Did I mention editing?

This is a normal workweek for me. I’m trying to keep to my schedule. Four days of no school and a husband who can’t get to work either. It’s vacation time for them. I’m in a groove and I have not one but two housebound males wandering around bored. I am not bored. I have plenty to do. I get up from the computer for a short fifteen-minute break and stretch out my tight muscles, go to the bathroom and get a cup a coffee. My mind is on what I’m writing, working out the kinks mentally, and walk back into my office and there’s my husband checking out Fox Sports. We do have a working TV.

“Oh, I thought you were done?”

I’m dumbfounded. You can tell, dropped jaw, wide eyes, standing frozen in the doorway.

He can tell. “You’re not done?”

“Sweetheart, what part of five open tabs on the computer monitor makes you think I’m done?” I always try for the sweet, reasonable approach first.

So I decide to take out the dog, clear my head in the cold outside air and rid myself of frustration. It’s beautiful outside. The type of day that brings back echoes of laughing kids, snowball fights and snow forts. I feel a pull on the leash and bring my mind back to today just in time to see my poor Great Dane trying to do her business and ever so slowly slide down the incline. This is her first winter and she’s still learning her way on this white stuff. The look on her face is priceless and I can’t help but laugh. It feels good. I’m feeling better, which is a good thing.

I walk back into the house; breathe a sigh of relief when I see my husband watching TV. I walk into my office. And there is my fourteen-year-old son. At my computer.

“Oh, I thought you were done?”

Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be a long week.

Sigh…

banner-over-coffee

 


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AS A WRITER, WHERE AND HOW ARE YOU DROPPING YOUR PEBBLES?

Sia McKye

I’m a reflective person by nature. I think about many things in life. Look for lessons and ways to make things better for me and mine. To me life is like a giant puzzle made of pebbles. Sometimes it’s comprised of hard labor. Other times, the fun is in seeing how to work all the pieces tossed at us, and make a picture of it. Don’t like those particular pieces, rearrange them. I’m also an optimist but with my feet firmly planted in reality. I know if I work at it hard enough, think it through, I’ll find a way. And so it is with my writing.

To be a writer is rather solitary. We pour our hearts and souls into our writing–our characters, our created world. They’re part of us, aren’t they? When someone rejects that, of course we feel it AND feel they’re rejecting us. On one level that’s true, but we have to learn to compartmentalize, or we’re dead in the water. We have to have tough Rhino skin or we’re not going to survive. And yeah, it sucks.

As with most of the entertainment/arts groups, publishing is a tough playing field to break into. A key element in being a success in any field, is focus, working at perfecting your skills, and believing in yourself and your abilities.

I think about authors like Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Catherine Coulter. They all started out with Harlequin and or Silhouette. Many curled their lips at books from Harlequin. Whether it’s a lightweight romance publisher, or POD and E-book publishers—who cares where you start, so long as you start? I believe these authors honed their story telling skills and learned what readers like and didn’t like, and built a readership base in these forums. And who are we to curl our lips, or diminish the worth of an author that makes those choices? Now, these authors are now regularly on the Best Sellers lists.

Singers start out playing local, market themselves aggressively, and get their names out there. How? Singers play for anyone that lets them sing. Bars, lounges, you name it. Actors do the same with local theater, and work their way up. They network like crazy. Are you doing that as a writer?

Pebble in the pool effect. Think about American idol. These singers are looking for shortcuts and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but even the shortcuts come with fierce competition. As authors, we do contests too, so we can relate.

What’s important here is: if the pebble isn’t first dropped into a pool of water, no ripples happen. The pebble has to be dropped more than once. It’s the same with writing. Every time you write a story, you drop a pebble and every time you query, or enter a contest, you drop another one. Every blog, writer’s conference, and joining a writing group is another pebble.

Maybe only a few of us will make it big. The truth of the matter is; it’s not solely dependent upon talent. There are lots of talented people. Sometimes chance or fate or whatever you want to call it, steps in. But, if we’re not putting forth the effort, and getting our writing, and our name out there, it can’t be offered.

There’s a quote I like and I’ll share it with you. “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.”

…or dropping the pebbles.

It’s something I think about frequently—what am I doing with my pebbles?

Am I stacking them in a pile with no work or thought given them?
Am I hoarding them in a drawer where no one can see them?
Am I allowing fear of success or failure, hold me back?

By putting our work out there, we’re on the dance floor or to continue the metaphor, dropping our pebbles.

As a writer, where and how are you dropping your pebbles?

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