May 5, 2016

How YA Fans Started a Bookstagram Movement on Instagram

Whoever said paper books are a dying thing must not be on Instagram. I can't stop seeing books in my feed. I wanted to dedicate an article to a very special group of ladies I've been fortunate to find. They are book lovers who have cultivated an entire movement creating art with books. Their official title: Bookstagrammers. Their photographs are lovely and creative -- and they make me want buy more books! I wanted to celebrate them and their unique artistry, so I interviewed each one asking why they started taking pictures of their favorite books.


Alexandra Ling aka @twirlingpages  (40.9k Followers)
"I created my #bookstagram after realizing Instagram would be a wonderful platform to share my love for books and challenge my creativity through photography." 




Tracey Spiteriaka aka @youngadultbookaddict (83.7k Followers)
"I originally started my Instagram account in the hopes of finding one or two people who shared my love of books, since none of my friends or family are really readers. I never in my wildest dreams expected my photos to garner as much attention as they do, but I've met some truly wonderful people because of it!"




Adriana Vélez aka @booksthetics (16.7k Followers)  
"I started bookstagramming because in it, I found a community of people that share the same passions as I do, which is to say books and photography and arts and everything that relates. And I must say, that my passion for all of these has grown and grown ever since I joined. Not to mention I've met so, so, so many loving, caring people, and in them I've found friends that I don't doubt I'll cherish forever. I love it, and I love them!"




Cherry aka @_forevermint (14.1K Followers)
"I started taking photos of books because I needed an outlet for my inner fangirl, at the time I had no idea bookstagram existed but I was quickly introduced to the amazing community and it's been my second home ever since."




Taylor Knight aka @taylorreads (63.4k Followers)   
"I wanted to share the books I love with fellow readers and connect with others about books."

    

Jeanette Le aka @myriadinklings (50.6k Followers)
Jen wanted me to write something about her, so I'll tell you why I love her pictures. Her color palettes are impeccable and she's incredibly charming. Oh, and her room is pink!




Raeleen Lemay aka @raeleenlemay  (18.3k Followers)
"I've been making videos about books on YouTube for over four years now, and I'm finally getting into taking pictures of books (and loving it). It's another great way to express my creativity, while also including my love of books."




Tamsien West aka @babblingbooks  (15.9k Followers) 
"One of my favourite things about sharing book photos and reviews is all the incredible friends I have made from all over the world. It is a joy to connect with inspiring, encouraging & sometimes challenging people. They motivate me through reading slumps, blow me away with excellent book recommendations, press me to read outside my comfort zone, and enrich my world far more than I ever could have anticipated.

To me, it's not just about taking photos of books, it's about sharing stories on pages and the stories in our hearts. It has been said that readers live a thousand lives, and I think that truth is only amplified when shared with friends."



Gabby Gibson aka @_myfictionalworld/  (23.3k Followers)
"I started taking pictures of books because I love instagram and I wanted to share my love for books on a platform that I know and love."




Allissa Lemaire aka @abookishloveaffair (80.1k Followers)
"My reason for starting my bookstagram account is simple; I love to read and I needed some way to express and share that love with people who could fully understand just how much books mean to me. Bookstagram is such a beautiful and inviting community of people we book lovers can relate to."



There are plenty of #bookstagrammers on Instagram, so go out there and find your tribe! Your feed will be filled with endless streams of beauty. And your TBR pile will increase exponentially. 


Keep writing. It saves








March 12, 2016

That wonderful amazing incredible phenomenal feeling

It's been MONTHS since I posted here. I've been incredibly busy writing and editing my latest novel. Today when I finished editing the last paragraph (took about two hours for four sentences), I felt that feeling. The one I love so dearly. The feeling that keeps me going when I want to quit everything. The feeling of being a writer. There's something so deeply rewarding about spending months outlining, developing characters and plots, writing and re-writing (and re-writing) until you're finnnnnallllly ready to send your draft to that one friend who won't let you off the hook. It took months to get here, but this is what I live for. Writing.

These last few months, I've had to re-engineer my perspective on the indie publishing business. I was starting to lose my mind. All of my tried and true marketing tactics just stopped working. And I kept banging up against a very stubborn wall.  Marketing is only fun when it's working. Right? It sucks when you spend countless hours and money for very little return. So I decided to take a step back. I stopped trying so hard. I know this is the EXACT opposite of what smart marketing people practice, but man I feel SO much better. I also stopped looking at my sales reports. Now when I get royalty deposit it's like a sparkly gift from a friendly unicorn.

For my last book series I wanted to go the self-publishing route so I could learn about the industry. But for this novel I'm going to send out query letters. I hope I'll miraculously find a young adult agent who will fall in love with my book (and me). Simple, right? Yeah, rejection blows. But I want/need to try something different. Honestly, I have nothing to lose.

When all else fails -- keep writing. It saves lives.





Follow me on Instagram for #keepbookmarching. 

December 7, 2015

Writing from the heart



So... that's my view all week long. I'm in Ojai, CA on a personal writer's retreat. I finally finished my outline for the next novel and I needed a change of scenery to get started on the first draft. Ojai brings out the best in me. Probably because it's so quiet compared to Los Angeles. And, well, trees. Lots of trees. I come up to the Ojai Retreat at least once a year to clear my head and reboot. This time around there's a little rabbit following me from place to place. It's good to be among woodland creatures.

These last two years of publishing my young adult book series have been a roller coaster ride of excitement, fear and joy. Authoring novels is something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl. No kidding, I used to do imaginary interviews on the Johnny Carson show about being one of the youngest authors out there. Definitely not the case now. It took me decades to step out of the shadows and follow my true passion. Putting off what I really wanted was a helpful cloaking device that seemed safe at the time, but eventually hiding from myself depleted my soul. Fear is such a bully.

I thought once I published my books, I'd be in hog heaven. But I soon found myself forcing solutions and ending up more and more miserable, I finally hit a rock bottom. My selfish ambition was killing me. My efforts weren't bringing me any additional joy, I just wanted more and more. It's our nature, us silly fallen creatures, to want more. To cure this ailment, I've been working hard to be grateful for everything I have and not looking at what I don't.

As I begin my next novel I don't have any expectations other than to do my best and enjoy the process. Learning to deal with my inner demons of wanting more and not feeling good enough has been one of the greatest gifts of writing. I'm happy to say that I'm finally able to move on with a grateful heart. Onward!

This guy.


 Keep writing. It saves lives. 

October 10, 2015

Six things to help launch your book

Two years ago, I published my first novel. Since then I've published three more in the series and a collection of short stories, as well as an audiobook. Over the years, I've done extensive research and talked to countless authors about the publishing industry. I love offering help to writers who are just starting out on the journey. First, I want to say, it's not an easy one. It has ups and downs, ins and outs, hours of isolation, grueling hours of solving what feels like trigonometry equations, moments of frustration and discouragement followed by limitless joy. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Whenever someone sends me an email asking for advice about launching a book, I have a go-to list of tips (which you'll find below). I also have a very short guide on getting started, available on Amazon: A Short Guide to Marketing Your Book. One day I'll put together a syllabus and start coaching people through the publishing process. If you're interested, please contact me because by the time I put together a syllabus I might be dead.

For now, let's focus on getting some visibility in a highly saturated market. Let's say you already have a book and you're ready to get it out in the world. Whether you're looking for an agent or going the self-publishing route, you'll need to do a lot of your own marketing if you want to sell books. That's just the way it is these days.

There are so many different approaches to marketing and it changes daily. The more creative and organic, the better. Right now, I'm loving Instagram. But after spending time with my friend's daughter I just learned five other social media tools, some I can't even pronounce. I feel so old.

Here are a few things that work for me:

1) Get reviews
I try to get about 25 - 35 advanced reader reviewers BEFORE I announce the launch my book. I email ebooks about a month before the book launch and follow up a few days prior with a friendly reminder to please post their review on launch day.

2) Announce your launch
On launch day, start with friends, family and your mailing list. Email every single person you know and tell them about your book launch. List your book at a lower price and let people know it's "on sale" for the first week. These folks get the ball rolling, and when they start buying your book, your Amazon rank increases, which will attract new readers and move you up the ranks in the "Hot New Releases" category. Also, you should announce your launch on every social media site -- but find a fun way to share this news with your followers. Try a Facebook book launch with some other authors, or by yourself.

3) Giveaways
I used to do free ebook promos with KDP Select, but after giving away about 60,000 books, I'm no longer taking this approach. I think it's helpful if you want to pull in new readers, but the market is so saturated I think people download the free book and forget about it. The best thing to do, if you can, is sign up for KDP Select so readers can borrow your book through Kindle Unlimited. These days the only free books I shell out are exclusive giveaways to my mailing list. If I reach out to book bloggers, I'll do giveaways for their readers. I still do Goodreads giveaways because they are amazing. I list the giveaway for a month and usually get 1,200+ readers adding my book to their wishlist. That's a lot of potential readers. Must be a paperback giveaway.

4) Advertising
When you do promos (free days or discounts), some sites will post your promo for free, others will charge a small fee. My favorites (and this changes) are: ENT, BKnights, Awesome Gang, Bargain Booksy, Booksends. If you can get a Book Bub ad, bless your heart. For many people this has been a game changer. I ran an ad with them for a free ebook promo and had 31,000 downloads. Imagine if I would have gotten paid for all of those downloads! It's tough to reserve a spot with them, but worth trying. There are literally hundreds of promo sites, it all depends on your budget and time. There are also services that will blast your promo to sites for a fee.

5) Publish more books
The more content you have, the more you sell. 

6) Study the industry and stay on top of the trends
Below are some great websites; some offer free PDFs with marketing tips:

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/
http://www.writersdigest.com/
http://www.thebookdesigner.com/
http://www.kboards.com  (go to the Writer's Cafe forum)

Great article:
http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/promote-your-book/

This post has the top 50 sites for indie authors:
http://augustwainwright.com/the-indie-50-the-50-best-sites-for-indie-and-self-published-authors/

Hopefully this is enough to keep you very busy as you research your next steps! Writing the book is the easy part (ha!), it's the marketing that takes work. I suggest having fun with all of it and trying out different things to see what works best for you.

Best of luck to you in your writing career!



Keep writing. It saves lives.





September 18, 2015

Latest News from Simone Pond

LATEST AUTHOR NEWS 


BOOKISH UPDATE

The New Agenda complete ebook box set is now available on Amazon for only $9.99!

Click here to buy or send as a gift: Amazon Box Set.


 

GIVEAWAYS

I have a new bookmark that comes with a handy Apocalypse Check List on the back. The first TEN people who follow me on Instagram AND reply to this email will receive their very own bookmark!


 

FAN PIC OF THE MONTH

All the way from Africa, Brian K. reading The New Agenda.



Please email me your pics to be featured!
 

READER OF THE MONTH

Colette is my reader of the month and I'll be sending her an Amazon gift card. She has an incredibly beautiful bookstagram feed that you can follow here: YA Reader.
 

BOOK OF THE MONTH

I've been reading A LOT, so rather than recommending just one book, below are my TOP picks for the month. To read my reviews, you can follow me on Goodreads: Simone Pond's Reviews.


 

INTERESTING THOUGHTS

I hope this is NOT the future (click below to read):


 

MY BOOK STORE

All of my books are available on Amazon - FREE with Kindle Unlimited!










The collection of ten short stories is only $5.99 on Amazon - FREE with Kindle Unlimited!











The audiobook is available on iTunes & Audible.


         
 



 

I'm embarking on a new novel project and you can follow my updates on Instagram: Simone Pond Instagram

Feel free to send any questions about the new project, or writing in general.

xo Simone

 
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Keep writing. It saves lives.

August 18, 2015

Friendship, forgiveness and staying gold

This is guest post by my dear sister-friend Stefanie Timpke. I could say all of these words back to her (but probably not as eloquently or heartrending). Stefanie taught me how to show up for a friend and stay there - no matter what. Also, I want this read at my memorial one day. 

      1985                                                                                                                2015



It happens all the time, this crazy love of mine…

…wraps around my heart, refusing to unwind:

Simone and I have been friends since we were about 10 years old. I'm not sure how it started, logistically speaking, but we were neighborhood kids. She lived two streets away, which I predict prolonged our union by about five years. It seems you have to be at least ten before your world grows beyond your immediate block.  It may have been Erika that introduced us; maybe Adrienne and Erika—but either way—Simone and I always had something special; a language we spoke that was ours alone. We were always tirelessly trying to perfect the art of being as cool as humanly possible--and sometimes that caused us to fight.  And we had some blow outs.  But we always made up.  Simone and I always made up.

These days we don’t fight. We have earned this sweet spot. And it has been worth every single bad break and misunderstanding. This is friendship gold. And you can’t get here without putting in the time and staying the course. This kind of thing is not a rite of passage—it’s an earned mosaic that not everyone will have; only the brave ones with the courage to continue and, when the truth calls for it, admit they’re wrong, will have a thing like this.

When I opened my hotel door at Farmers Daughter Hotel in LA (I highly recommend this spot) and saw Simone, I felt 12 years old again. I always feel somewhere between 12 and 16 years old when I am with Simone.  Not because I feel especially immature—but because my heart feels courageous and youthful and unfettered by any of the shit storms that have hardened it a little as life has happened. Simone’s presence melts that away, and I have the eyes of Rusty James from S.E. Hinton's Rumblefish. She can remember vivid details of the past because she has a shockingly sharp memory. And I rely heavily on her to tell me about things from back there because my memory is spotty.  I have some crystal clear Polaroid's in the archives that I can access and scan if I want to—some diamonds for sure--but there is not much in the way of entire events. Simone has all that, and she can jog my memory as if she’s been trained to do it. I used to get upset about the blank spots—but I think God does what’s best for us. 

It always seems unfathomable how time has stood still when I see her. Whenever I'm with her, I tell her how young she looks. I don’t think she believes me. I think she hears that platitude kind of sentiment you say to someone in their 40’s that you’ve known your whole life—that “Oh my God, you haven’t aged” kind of thing. But to me, Simone legitimately still looks 20.  Maybe when you've gone through your formidable years side by side it’s the face that prevails. And maybe when you’ve looked up to that person and they have shown you the kind of love that involves giving you their coveted Matt Dillon poster because they knew how bad you wanted it, or have written songs with you and given you the courage to sing them on a stage because they knew it was a dream of yours, or took the risk to open their arms wide to hug you when you were charging towards them in rage--maybe when you have that kind of history—maybe that face is just always the face of youth. Or maybe the youth and beauty in the face comes from the spirit that shines through it.

The thing I remember most vividly about my last visit with Simone in LA, was when we were in the pool at the Palomar and she pushed off the bottom into a dolphin-like back flip; our signature childhood move.  I knew when she did it I had one of those priceless Polaroid's in my mind that I would be able to access forever. And I believe this image of Simone, and others like it compiled over time, will be the things that will continually strengthen my character. These things make me brave. This kind of love gives me the courage to continue. And, oh man, the laughter . . . so much laughing . . . all the time with the laughing. 

What a gift to have a friend where there is no such thing as linear time.  And how remarkable it is that we have stuck by each for well over 30 years, and that at every sad time when it was hard to breath—like when my dad died, or that God-dang wedding disaster -- she was there somehow. And she has always told me the same thing in the toughest times -- she says, “Stefanie your spirit is bigger than this and your heart is stronger.”  Simone will walk right into the dark and bring the hope right there to you. That is friendship gold. And she is a friendship warrior.

Some days you just need to sit with someone who understands about how you went to that weird alternative high school because you just couldn’t stay awake in class or stay at school, and how much you truly loved that boy in Colorado and how bad it hurt when he left us, and how it felt to pretend I was her when she was too shy to call the boy she loved, and what it’s like to have the cops chase you away from another perfect night at Parkwood Elementary, and how much we love our parents, and all the times we fell and got up—just all of it . . . every bit of your life is understood.  And you don’t even have to say a word. Sometimes you get on a plane and you fly to a person like that. And you just sit with them. And you are braver for it.

When Johnny told Ponyboy to stay gold we knew he was talking to us.



Thank you, Stefanie, for your beautiful words, your love, your light, your soul and for being here for me -- through it all. I love you, Simone


Keep writing. It saves lives.

August 4, 2015

August Author News

LATEST AUTHOR NEWS 


AUGUST GIVEAWAYS



I'm giving away a set of paperbacks of the entire New Agenda series!


How to enter:
1. Follow @ya_reader_
2. Follow @simonepond
3. Tag 5 accounts you think would be interested in this giveaway.
4. To earn extra entries, repost this pic with #YaReaderAgendaGA, but this step is not required!

Giveaway ends on 8/15 at 5:00pm PST. Good luck to all the participants!
 


FAN PIC OF THE MONTH

This reader won a set of paperbacks in a giveaway and sent me a photo, which I love so much! You can follow her on Instagram for cool book pics: @aparanormalromance



Email me your pics to be featured!
 

READER OF THE MONTH

Bethany C. won an Amazon gift card! Also, she sent me this lovely picture. I'm a fan of that nail polish.


 

BOOK OF THE MONTH



I really enjoyed this book A LOT. It had my favorite elements: us vs. them, post-apocalyptic world building, star-crossed lovers, a dog, a ticking clock, a horrible bad guy (or woman), and heroes to remember for a lifetime. There were many elements in this book that reminded me of my book series, which might be why I loved it so very much. I cannot wait to read the other two books in this series. I read it in a day.
 

INTERESTING THOUGHTS

Great story that makes you wonder why history often repeats itself.
 

 

MY BOOK STORE



Available at --> Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo.




              Audio Book available at --> iTunes & Audible.
        (I still have some free UK codes, email if interested)




          Collection of short stories available at --> Amazon.


Keep writing. It saves lives.

July 15, 2015

Latest author news from Simone Pond

LATEST AUTHOR NEWS 

Voices of the Apocalypse Fan Fiction

One of my readers (Craig P.) suggested asking you guys about Fan Fiction.

Have you heard of it?

Fan fiction or fanfiction is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator.

Are you interested in submitting stories, using Voices of the Apocalypse or The New Agenda Series as inspiration? Email me.


If you're not familiar with Voices of the Apocalypse, all of the short stories are available on Amazon. You can buy the collection, or the individual stories. Everything is FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited.



 

FAN PIC OF THE MONTH

All the way from Maryland! (love the art direction)



Email me your pics to be featured!
 

READER OF THE MONTH

Craig P. was reader of the month for July. We met for tea and chatted about life, books and Renaissance Faires. Neither of us had tea.
 

READ OF THE MONTH


I LOVED THIS BOOK. Just like the description says: It's the funniest book about death you'll read. The narrator had such a powerful voice - cynical and sarcastic. Just the way I like them. The movie was great too. They fixed a few loose ends.
 

THE NEW AGENDA BOOK SERIES


To view my catalog: SIMONE'S BOOK STORE.
 

AUDIOBOOK

The City Center Audiobook reviews are coming in and so far everyone is really happy. Click below to listen to a sample.


Available on: iTunes
Available on: Audible

You can read more about my amazing narrator on my blog: Interview with Actress Sarah Zimmerman.


Thanks for tuning in!
Simone

simonepond.com