A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

NOTE: the blog is currently dormant but please enjoy the posts we're keeping online.

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Just who and how are you on the net?

Join the authors and friends of Not Your Usual Suspects for an occasional series of posts about their world of reading, writing and publishing.

Short and sweet, hopefully both informative and entertaining - join us at I-Spy to find out the how's and why's of what we do.

TODAY'S POST: I-Spy something beginning with ...


The internet and the growth of e-publishing has opened up many opportunities. Plenty of people have benefitted from being published earlier than they might have been in mainstream print publishing, and many niche genres have thrived. Assuming most people are online already, but maybe at different stages of a writing career, here are some headline suggestions and thoughts to consider in building up your confidence and exposure online.

Whatever your motivation for e-publishing, the online YOU is the first thing people see. Make it work for you. What’s great about the net? The access and immediacy and the astonishing breadth of exposure. And that’s what’s intimidating, too. But it doesn’t need to be.      

Who are you?
This is the essential first stop. You’ve chosen a pen name, you’re published: now you start to build a personal brand. Make it easy for readers to find and follow your trail.
Show them how to contact you and where you are on social media. Use your pen name consistently on email, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Where are you?
Your website is an essential online business card. It can be just a couple of pages or a template blog. There are many online editors to help you set up something simply that looks professional and clear. No design skills? Ask help from your community! Other people have the skills and many are glad to help. Always make it easy for readers to browse and buy. And build in scope for later books!

Gather them in
All the links on your website should take the reader to where your book's sold, then tempt them back again. Use links that open in a new window so the reader's always anchored to the starting point, so they can browse again.

Use the social media you’re happiest with, and post as often as you can and/or like. Try to balance promotional posts with other interests. You can post links to useful blogs or reTweet intriguing Tweets, if you don’t like to chat aimlessly. You can also set up your posts to feed through to other media where you spend less time, yet would like to be noticed.

Group Hugs
Join some relevant Yahoo Groups. You can network, meet other authors, learn a lot about how the industry and these communities are run – both good and bad!

One on One
Do you have a blog? Invite a friend over to feature their new book. They’ll hopefully invite you back and you’ll tap into a new circle of readers and potential friends.
Also, look for themes or topics to blog about that will (i) be of interest to your visitors and also (ii) will provoke replies. Readers like to engage.

You’ve met people. Now introduce them to your books!
Try to see it as introduction and information, rather than a hard sell. The book’s quality is what sells in the end – but there are lots of great books out there. This is all about letting readers know YOURS is also available.
*Use the Groups for promotion. See which ones offer Excerpt Days, gauge the amount of traffic to make sure you can make an effective contribution.
* Watch out for themed chats, set up specifically for your genre.
* Watch how other authors post and interact – then leap in yourself!

Promotional goodies
Promo gifts are optional (and fun!). You can send them out as prizes and/or take them to events. Run contests: offer free copies on release. The loss of $2 royalty is worth it to gain attention from new readers.

A touchy subject, I know! They can be great and they can be devastating, but they also represent ATTENTION. While people are reviewing, they’re reading, which means other people may want to as well. Share them!

Keep in touch
Readers like to hear you’re still in the game between releases. Utilise a Coming Soon/WIP page on your website.

Quick wins
If we have product to offer but never emerge online, we may not sell much. However, if we spend all our time on the net, we’re unlikely to have any product to sell in the first place. So why not CHEAT a little?
*Post your news once but use feeds to other social media.
*Set up standard excerpts on Word, ready for a promo or chat day cut 'n paste.
*Make your signature standard. A strapline and a couple of website links is enough.
*Add your pen name on Google alerts. They’ll tell you if someone’s talking about your books anywhere on the net.
*Keep a note of potential blog topics for quick reference. Some publishers and genre groups like you to blog regularly.

Outing yourself
Some people don’t want – or can’t afford - their “real” persona to be available to all and sundry. Remember YOU’RE in charge of what you tell people. I do believe you can be friendly and cautious. And always try to be civil and generous. People remember bad behaviour for much longer than good.
Person v persona
It’s a big and definite step, moving from a personal online persona to a professional one. You must choose the best balance of your new life. Over the last few years online I’ve met some of the very best friends, learned a lot about publishing, expanded my life horizons like nobody’s business, and garnered plenty of writing inspiration. Enjoy your time in the spotlight and long may it continue!

Clare London 


FUTURE POSTS will cover:
Kindlegraph / the art of research / writing male/male romance / rejection and writer's block / building suspense / writing love scenes / anti-piracy strategies / audio books / interviews with editors and agents / using Calibre.
We welcome everyone's constructive comments and suggestions!

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