December 11, 2014

An open book

Is it possible to have postpartum depression if you've never given birth?

Since I launched my last book, I've been feeling a lot like what the Mayo clinic says happens to some women after giving birth: "a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — depression."

Hand raised! Yes. Yes, that's me. Only I didn't have a baby. I had a book. I should be celebrating, right? I guess some people do. I tried, but a wall of depression got in the way. (Mothers: I'm not saying writing and publishing a book is anything close to making and birthing a baby, I'm just saying I relate to the symptoms of postpartum depression, except for the joyful part and breastfeeding.)

These last few weeks have been like trying to walk up a rocky crag without any shoes, alone in the rain, with a four-hundred pound backpack. Maybe that's a bit dramatic. Okay, the backpack is fifty pounds. At the bottom of this sadness is the fact that reality isn't matching my expectations. Also, the radio silence from friends has been slightly discouraging (seriously, if you ever want people to avoid you like the plague -- publish some books). But underneath the superficial junk is the glaring fear that I'm not good enough. Good enough for what? Still trying to figure that one out.

Many authors/artists/musicians go through similar feelings after releasing work into the world. Months of being alone in your head, hunched over the laptop and listening to people who aren't really there can seem like a form of  madness, and when you finally come up for air to share your precious work with the world, it's freaking scary and weird. And it's worse when the reception doesn't look like Carrie Bradshaw's. Maybe I need me a Samantha?

The last couple of days have been better. I'm not hitting the refresh button on my sales page six hundred times, and I've stopped checking for new reviews. It's time to take the needle off the record and chill out. Anything worth something takes time. If I could buy a virtue it'd be patience.

Writing about this stuff might seem weak, but I've found (like my tagline says) that when I expose my demons they lose their power over me and I can live again.



Keep writing. It saves lives.


November 28, 2014

I'm down with being a winner

So . . . I finished NaNoWriMo (two days early) and I feel pretty good. In the midst of writing those 50,000 words in one month, I also launched my third book. Needless to say, I'm exhausted. BUT - I'm also very happy. I'm happy because I love writing. It brings me so much joy. In my soul. It's painful and grueling work, but there's something so deeply satisfying about finishing a draft. And I actually like what I wrote. However, I'm no dummy, I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. If I'm going to publish this book (a collection of short stories based on the Repatterning, which is inspired from my book series), I will need to spend the next couple months editing and rewriting. And that's where the real magic happens. Or insanity. Whichever you prefer.

For today I will soak in the happiness of being called a winner. It has to be true, the sticker says so:


Keep writing. It saves lives.

November 25, 2014

Why readers make writing so much more fun

I'm down to the last few days prior to the launch of my third book, The Mainframe. I wanted to write a glowing post about how amazing it's been preparing for the launch, but I have to say, it hasn't been pretty -- emotionally speaking. I've been very weird and messy. I'm still eating and showering, most of my friends are still talking to me, and my husband hasn't left me (yet), so that's good.

I've spent the last two months dividing my time between finalizing the production of the book and handling the marketing promotions. At one point I was simultaneously reading four books on book marketing, in addition to ten articles a day. Needless to say, I've done everything in my earthly power to get the word out. Now comes the hardest part: letting go. I have a sticky note on my computer that reads: I am powerless over the outcome. I still find time to debate this point, but I end up reaching the same annoying conclusion -- I am powerless.

My job is to provide my readers with good stories and if I've done my part, they'll do the rest for me. Word of mouth will always be the best form of advertising, and this is something the marketing gurus cannot teach.

Here's why readers make writing so much more fun (I love the outtakes):





Keep writing. It saves lives.

November 10, 2014

It's National Novel Writing Month


Maybe you've noticed some writers talking about NaNoWriMo and wondered what that insane-sounding acronym means. It's basically another method of torture for writers by agreeing to write 50,000 words in 30 days. So if all goes well, I'll have a really shitty first draft by the end of November.

It sounds like a lot (because it is), but it can be done. I've done it before. They weren't good words, but they were words. And I got a sticker!!!


Ten days in and I'm feeling pretty good. Since I write every day, the routine has already been established (and that really is the toughest part), but I'm approaching this writing exercise unlike any previous projects. I didn't do a meticulous outline. I didn't study my characters and dig down deep into their souls to find out what it is they truly desire and what is keeping them from getting it. Nope. This time around I'm going footloose and fancy free. Almost like a hippie. But with better hygiene.

The project I'm working on is a collection of short stories based on an event that takes place in my New Agenda book series. During the 21st century, a group of elites implemented a program called "the Repatterning." They marketed it as a way to restore society, but in reality it was a man-made apocalypse designed to kill off a majority of the population. These are stories about the people who fought against the Repatterning.

If you're a writer and haven't tried NaNoWriMo yet, I highly recommend getting on board. It doesn't take much. Just a willingness to write a bunch of words and not worry how they sound (yet). There's something magical about building momentum and watching it grow over time. I'm sure if Einstein were alive he'd come up with a theory. Something like "the more you write, the more you write."

Also, I'm proclaiming December is National Editing Month!



Keep writing. It saves lives. 

October 2, 2014

Why finding a good editor is essential

Did you ever have an intense coach who forced you back on the field? Or a forthright instructor who didn't mince words? I'm sure at one point you've had a boss, teacher or parent sit you down and tell you what you were doing wrong. And hopefully they told you how to fix the problem. At first your ego might've been bruised, but after you got the winning home run or the standing ovation you realized the value of that person.

That's an editor.

The big-picture person who reads your words after you've spent months stringing them together and re-tooling them and running them by other people to make sure you're not completely off the mark. It's essential to work with an editor you trust. Also, you'll want to work with someone who will take the time to explain where the story isn't working and offer solution-oriented suggestions.

Right now my third book (The Mainframe) in the series is with my editor. I checked in with him today to see how things were going and he emailed this:

Scott Tipton hard at work reading The Mainframe


It's also good to find an editor who has an imagination and a sense of humor.



Keep writing. It saves lives.
  

September 11, 2014

Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Winner

As writers we write because most of us don't have a choice. We hear the constant chatter of the narrator in our heads while we're driving around, sitting in class, waiting at the doctor's office, enduring a meeting, taking a shower, dreaming . . . The relentless voice will nag and poke and prod, and it won't stop until we put the words down on paper––or in a word doc. 

This has been my case. I've been listening to the voice for decades. It wasn't until I stopped listening to people outside of me and started listening to my inner self that I finally wrote my first novel. I published The City Center in October 2013 and so far it's been doing pretty well out in the world. No groundbreaking success just yet, but enough to keep me inspired. 


I recently found out The City Center won the Gold Medal for Dystopian Fiction in the Readers' Favorite Awards. For an indie author who is still navigating through the wilderness of self-publishing, this accolade is nothing short of amazing. I'm very happy to know my words have been well received––and even liked! 

Below is the review:

Reviewed By Anne Boling for Readers’ Favorite

The City Center (The New Agenda Series Book 1) by Simone Pond is a dystopian tale set in the future. A group of elitists have killed off most of the people, leaving two sects; the elitists that reside inside the utopia of Los Angeles City Center and the rebels that live on the Outside. The elitists have devised a way to live for an extended period of time. Ava Rhodes is the citizens' favorite of those competing for the office of Queen of City Center. Unlike the other candidates, Ava has a lot of unanswered questions. When Joseph, an Outsider, is captured, Ava not only assists him in escaping but she also goes with him. She discovers the lies and deceit that have been perpetrated on her people. The Outsiders discover a traitor in their midst.

It is difficult to believe that The City Center is Simone Pond’s first novel for she writes like a seasoned author. The City Center reminds me of Donor 23, The Hunger Games, Logan’s Run and Brave New World, which are all dystopian tales. The characters are well developed. Morray was so well developed that he gave me the creeps just reading about his despicable crimes. My only complaint with this novel is the lead character, Ava Rhodes. I would have liked to see her as a stronger character and not quite so needy. This tale is well written and the plot is interesting. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.





If you still haven't picked up a copy of The City Center, check it out on Amazon.  



Keep writing. It saves lives.

August 18, 2014

Book marketing breakthrough

I did it! After spending countless hours on kboards (if you don't know about kboards, you're missing out on a wealth of information: kboards), I feel like I got lost in a k-hole (if you don't know about k-holes, your parents raised you well) -- BUT -- I finally figured out how to sell tons of books!

Publish more books.

Yeah, that's pretty much it.

I've tried several different approaches to marketing and I've had some success, but the common denominator for the most successful authors is publishing more books. Common sense, right?

Check out the track records of these successful best-selling indie authors:

  • H.M. Ward estimated sales 4.2 million -- published over 37 books
  • Marie Force estimated sales 2.1 million -- published over 28 books 
  • Amanda Hocking estimated sales 1.5 million -- published over 17 books
  • Hugh Howey estimated sales 1.5 million -- published over 18 books
  • J.A. Konrath estimated sales 1.2 million -- published over 50 books (yes, 50 books!)

I don't know about you, but seeing the number of books these writers have published makes me want to jump off a tall building. How'd they do that? I can guarantee they weren't spending countless hours researching how to become a successful best-selling author.

Instead of comparing myself to these writers, I look to them as inspiration. They're the reason I started this journey last summer. I didn't know what to expect. But it's a year later and I'm finishing up my third book. The more I write, the easier it gets. So maybe in a few more years, I'll have 10 books under my belt. Or maybe I'll be lost in a k-hole somewhere. Either way, I'll be happy because I'll be writing.



Keep writing. It saves lives.




August 13, 2014

The unfathomable aftermath of suicide

I'm sitting here at my dining room table, staring at the LA Times, the one with Robin Williams on the front page. I can't bring myself to read the article about the loss of this great man. It's just too depressing.

Suicide is something you can never ever ever take back. To those left behind in the unfathomable aftermath it's surreal and confusing. To the one who does it, it makes the most sense in the world. The only way out. Freedom from the demons.

No, I can't read the article or any other articles about Robin Williams' suicide because it's too close to home. I've been there too many times. The plotting of how to do it, the begging for courage to do it, the wailing and tortured sobs asking God to take my life so I don't have to, and the utter desolate loneliness. It's gross. All of it. Just horrible.

Addiction and depression go hand in hand. We know this. It's nothing new. It's not rocket science. But this is the way our society deals with inexplicable things: cover it up, look the other way, eat a hamburger, go shopping, pop a pill, get another prescription, drink some wine, smoke some pot -- but whatever you do, don't look at the real problem.

I've suffered from suicidal depression since I was a teenager. I drank and used drugs for over twenty years until I finally got help. And nine years later, I still suffer from suicidal ideations -- only much less frequently because I've made a full-time commitment to my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. But even with all of this, I still get those soul-wrenching thoughts. I don't know why. I don't know why death seems like the most rational solution to pain. I can't explain any of it because it makes zero sense.

There was a time when I joked that the Suicide Hotline knew my phone number by heart. Those wonderful humans saved my ass on several occasions. Strangers. Just regular people on the other end of phone who didn't know me from a hole in the wall. They took my calls and listened to me cry incoherently. They gave me suggestions; small practical steps I could take in that moment to calm down and find a dust mote of hope. I'd come to realize whatever insanity I was feeling in that despicable moment would eventually pass, but killing myself would be permanent.

It doesn't matter how much you're loved, or how well you're doing in life, or how much you work out, eat right, go to support groups, or work on yourself, when the overwhelming darkness seeps into the soul it's almost impossible to see your way out. Especially without a light source. These days, I cling to my faith in God. A lot of people don't want to hear that. They want to keep trying to figure it out on their own. I've never been able to figure my way out of depression. I've always had to ask for help and it has always come in one form or another.

I'm praying for Robin's family and the millions of fans he left behind. Most of us are walking around with a pit in our gut and a lingering sadness. It doesn't matter how much we read about it, we'll never understand why -- because it makes zero sense.

There is help out there. In many forms. Here are a few places you can start:

Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
AA: http://www.aa.org/
Pastor Melissa Scott: http://www.pastormelissascott.com/

My friend Paul Gilmartin, of the Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast, wrote an article on the subject you can find by clicking here. Also, his podcast is exceptional and listening to it has helped me tremendously. Check it out here: Mental Illness Happy Hour.





Keep writing. It saves lives.


July 1, 2014

Eleven essential things I've learned about writing

I've been writing since I was a little girl. By the time I got to college, I had grand dreams of being like one of those infamous authors who spent time at the Les Deux Magots, sipping wine and writing the next great American novel. Instead I just drank wine. I'd always finish the bottle, but never the first page.

I stunted my growth for decades, too afraid to write and too tortured not to write. Until I was politely shoved off a cliff and landed at the bottom with a broken soul. That's usually how it goes for alcoholics. They rarely see their own ending coming because they're too wasted during the climax.

So I did what any desperate writer who wants to keep living does: I got sober. And I started writing. But more importantly I started finishing things.

Since I enjoy sharing my experience with other writers, I've put together eleven essential things I've learned about writing:
  • Write for yourself. Most people (including loved ones and close friends) suffer from Cranial Rectal Inversion Syndrome, more commonly known as "head up the ass" syndrome. I'm fortunate to have a solid support system (I'm relentless), but not everyone you know will buy your book or give you kudos for writing one. They have lives. Writers are needy. Save your friendships and get a therapist.
  • Write every single day. Even if it's one sentence -- WRITE. The only requirement for being a writer is to actually put sentences together. Don't complicate it. Just shut up and write.
  • Read. Read. Read.
  • Take a class or two and be done. You can make a career out of taking classes on how to write and never get anything finished. Experience is the best teacher.
  • Read a book or two on writing. Beware -- there are hundreds. You only need to read a few. I recommend starting with The Writer's Journey, On Writing and Wired for Story
  • Learn to love making outlines. The painful moments you spend upfront meticulously working out your story beats will save you months (or years) of agony.
  • If you finish a first draft, put it down for a few weeks (or more) before you start the editing process. Editing is where the real writing begins. Edit, edit and edit until you can't stand the sight of that manuscript. Sit on it again, then go back and edit some more.
  • Share your work with people you trust. Also, expect to hate those people when they tell you the truth. But don't worry, you'll get over it and thank them in the end.
  • Find an editor who loves your genre. You'll probably think they're secretly trying to kill you, but they love you in their own special way. Remember that your editor might be brilliant, but if you don't agree with something don't be afraid to stand behind your work. Unless it's about pride, then shut up and make the changes.
  • If you're going the traditional publishing route, you'll need to write a kick-ass query letter. One that sings like what's her name in the Sound of Music. One that will stand out among hundreds of thousands of other query letters. You can find great advice on Query Shark. Warning: Not for the faint at heart. Take that killer query letter and send it out to as many agents and publishing houses as you can. You can join Publisher's Weekly for a small fee to get lists of agents in your genre. Another good resource is Writer's Digest. After you send out your hundreds of queries you'll want to invest in a suit of armor, or if you're a drinker, vodka. Anything to numb the stab of rejection. You'll get plenty.
  • If you're going the Indie route, bless your heart. That's what I did because I wanted to learn about the industry and I wanted control of my work. You'll need to pull together a team of people including the content editor, proofreader, book cover designer and interior designer - both print and ebook versions, a street team to help market your book and pre-readers. You'll also need to reach out to bloggers, podcasters, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, libraries, book stores to help spread the word. Self promoting is a beastly job and requires patience and tenacity. These days, most authors have to self promote, so there's no getting out of it, unless you're Stephen King or Suzanne Collins. The work doesn't stop after you hit "Publish" -- you'll need to stay plugged into the industry and your social networks, as well as keep up with the advertising and book promotions that are working. Or you can just publish it and let it go. It depends on your goals. 
 
Which one do you think is the most important?

Yeah, it's the one about writing.



Keep writing. It saves lives.

June 7, 2014

How I launched my second book

Let me start off by saying I broke my laptop by obsessively cleaning it. This is the second time I've done this. Damn you, OCD! So I was computer-less for a few days, which wasn't helpful in preparing for my book launch.

But everything worked out - as it always does.

Early Friday morning I launched The New Agenda.

Here's what launch day looked like:

1) Reviewed emails confirming the ads I purchased. There are websites that will eblast your book to several websites, but I decided to save the $40 bucks and do it myself. Probably won't do that again in the future.

2) Scheduled my Goodreads Giveaway. I can't say enough good stuff about Goodreads. I love the opportunities they offer their authors. One day I hope they'll feature my books in their newsletter.

3) Updated my website and my social networking sites with links to my Amazon page: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Google+
* Prior to launch, I had been posting teasers about the book, along with the cover reveal and a book trailer, which you can see here: The New Agenda book trailer. Over the last couple of months I sent out hundreds of emails to book bloggers and top Amazon reviewers to consider reviewing my book. I have a few interviews coming out soon, which will help spread the word.

4) Sent an email to every single person I know with a note asking them to join me in celebrating the launch of book two. I included a link to my Amazon page and let them know the ebook and paperback will be on sale for the first week.

5) Created an "Online Book Launch" event on my personal Facebook page and invited about 895 friends. I used this page because I have much more visibility than my Facebook author page. (I don't know why I bother with the Facebook author page--my posts reach very few people unless I pay for advertising, which never converts to sales.)

6) Sent out posts on Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Facebook with links to my Amazon page.

7) Throughout the day, I responded to every single email and comment people had generously sent my way, sharing my gratitude for their support. Seriously, none of this would be possible without my friends, family and colleagues--they are the foundation. It starts with them and grows.

Here's where I ended up at the end of launch day:

- Went from ranking 879,843 to 7,600 in books and #85 in my category -- amazing.

- Reached a #36 ranking in Kindle books in my category. My goal is to hit the top ten in my category by Sunday.

- So far I've sold 31 ebooks and 34 paperbacks. I expect more sales over the weekend when people have more time to go online and purchase. And I'll see an increase when my advertising hits. Sales for my first book, The City Center, have also increased.

These results might not seem huge, but for an indie author it's a solid and steady start. Right now the most important factor is getting more visibility on Amazon.

Through my experience with both book launches, I've learned that patience and perseverance are helpful tools, and that success has many definitions. For me success is writing every day, finishing a project I love and sharing my work with others -- the amount of others isn't up to me. 

You can purchase my books on Amazon: The City Center and The New Agenda.







Keep writing. It saves lives.

 


June 2, 2014

SFCrowsnest Review of The City Center

It's a huge honor to have a review on SFcrowsnest - check it out when you have a minute: Book Review of The City Center.






Keep writing. It saves lives.

May 7, 2014

Why Book Clubs Are So Cool

Earlier this week I drove out to the valley (there's an 80s movie about it) to meet with a book club to discuss The City Center. These ladies have been meeting once a month for the last ten years and have read 155 books. Talk about commitment! They were one of the original book clubs to start inviting authors to join the discussion and have been featured in the news for their devotion to books and authors. I'm honored my book was included in their selection.

The experience was one I'll always cherish and hope to do more of. I loved sitting with the ladies and listening to them catch up with each other, giving updates on their jobs and families. We sat down for dinner and they took turns asking me questions about my book and my writing process.

As I sat among these wonderful women, I realized their monthly gatherings are much more than a book club, they've created a community. Over the years, they've pulled together to navigate the ups and downs of life. They've supported each other through the tough times and cheered each other on through the good ones. Their devotion isn't only about reading the current book selection, it's to each other. They have something really special.


Be sure to visit their website where you can follow their reviews: http://www.brainybabesbookclub.com/

March 26, 2014

Book Reviews

I love readers who take the time to write a review. Readers might not know how much this means to an author. Let me tell you - it means A LOT.

We spend countless hours alone in our heads with characters who we'll never actually get to meet and then we release them into your care. It's nice to know when the hard work has been enjoyed by someone. When a reader takes the time to write a review this tells the world they care about books. New authors, especially independents like myself, can't make it without the help of engaged readers. Reviewers give us a voice to reach other readers. I don't even mind the harsh reviews (well, unless they're hurtful and offer zero constructive criticism). I try not to invest my emotions in the harsher reviews, but rather try to glean something from them. There's always something to learn and apply moving forward. On the contrary, when I accidentally come across a review that is just plain mean and pointless, I try to conjure up some compassion for the person. I tell myself there must be something deeper going on in their hearts and souls. Or . . . maybe they just really hated the book.

One of the most important lessons I've learned is that you can't please everyone.

I'm writing this to give a note of thanks to those who have taken the time to share their thoughts with an endless sea of strangers. Thank you for reading my words and sharing yours with me. 



Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 21, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Five

This is the final installment of the marketing plan series and the most important, as far as I'm concerned. You can theorize your goals, strategies and audience, but unless you actually do the footwork, your efforts will be fruitless.

There are many ways to go about marketing your book, I'm just sharing what worked for me with The City Center, which has been on Amazon's best-seller list a few times -- so I must have done something right. But who knows? With the rules constantly changing, I plan to continue doing extensive research on book marketing. 

I've been in advertising for over twenty years (ugh) and without fail the best advertising is word of mouth. My advice is to write an excellent book that people can't put down, then write a few more of those. The more work you put out into the world, the higher your chances are to get some author buzz.
 


THE NEW AGENDA - MARKETING PLAN

4)  Describe your tactics and specific actions you will take

Strategies you will take in each of four areas:

1) Product mix: eBook and Print (paperback). Multi-book series
2) Distribution: Amazon – CreateSpace/ Author Website/ Simone Says Blog 
3) Pricing: Ebook: $2.99 – $4.99 Print: $9.95 – $13.95 
4) Promotion: see below (a - e) 

a.  PUBLICITY

AUTHOR BRAND 
  • Hire Damon Za to create book cover art
  • Create book trailer
  • Update all social sites with new book cover and retail component
    • website, facebook, twitter, g+, goodreads, pinterest, youtube
  • Update Kindle author page
  • Update Goodreads author page
  • YouTube: reading from The City Center (maybe from new book)
REVIEWS
  • Email current list of Sci-fi and YA book bloggers (50-60 contacts)
  • Email current list of top Amazon reviewers (200-300 individuals)
  • Email last group of pre-reader reviewers to consider a review (35-40 readers)
  • Post a request for reviews on facebook and twitter (if you don’t get enough from previous readers)
  • Consider a Book Tour (Xpresso or Book Nerds: $200-$300)
  • Upload manuscript to NetGalley (cannot enroll in KDP Select, if I do this option)
  • Upload manuscript to Story Cartel (cannot enroll in KDP Select, if I do this option)
  • Professional reviews (I've decided not to invest in professional reviews as I've heard from experts in the field that they're not worth spending the money, but if you're interested, below are  some I would consider if I had extra funds) 

b.  SALES PROMOTION

GIVEAWAYS
  • Goodreads Giveaway (THIS IS AMAZING)
  • Blogger Giveaways (offer this incentive when reaching out to bloggers for reviews)
  • Promote Free download days (advertise on list of 50 free websites) 

c.   INTERNET & COMMUNITIES

AUTHOR PRESENCE IN COMMUNITIES
  • Write articles: Genetic Engineering, Transhumanism, Eugenics
  • Pitch article ideas to community websites
  • Request for author interviews on book blogger websites, writing websites, sci-fi websites, YA webisites
  • Listmania – research how to get on more lists 
BOOK CLUBS
  • Continue reaching out to book clubs and do virtual discussion with clubs
  • Consider hiring Author Buzz ($1000) 
LIBRARIES
  • Santa Monica Public Library
  • Los Angeles Public Library
  • Marion County School Libraries
  • Compile list of other libraries to contact (this is a huge undertaking, so one at a time)
BOOK FESTIVALS
AWARDS

d. ADVERTISING
PAID 
  • Kindle Nation Daily ($150 - $350)
  • FK Books ($50)
  • Book Sends ($20 - $50)
  • BookBub – for ebook discounts only ($70 - $350)
  • AuthorBuzz ($995 - $1850)
FREE 
  • Email campaign to friends & family & current readers
  • Facebook posts
  • Twitter posts
  • Pinterest book cover campaign (ask readers to send in pictures of them with the book)
  • Pinterest book inspiration page
  • Goodreads Post Apocalyptic group

 e. PERSONAL SELLING
  • I need to come up with a tactical plan for this section
    • Promote books at story-telling performances
    • Book festivals, speaking events and tradeshows

Next Step:
- Start sending emails
- Start working on author interview questions and guest posts
- Start releasing and letting go - and trusting that you will be okay no matter what 



Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 12, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Four

Now that I have the 1) Goal and 2) Overall Strategy locked in, I’m moving to the next section of the marketing plan: 3) Audience. This was probably the most difficult section for me to nail down because I want everyone across all audiences to read my book. But it’s extremely important to hone in on your readers, so you know where to reach them -- and even then, it’s tough.


THE NEW AGENDA - MARKETING PLAN

3) Describe your audience

a) Why’d you write it?  (Task. Topic. Target)

To entertain (task) hip and cutting edge adults (target) with futuristic dystopian stories (topic).

I wrote it because it’s a cool idea and very relevant to the direction our society is headed. I wanted to explore the most extreme consequences of living in a society that is controlled by clandestine think tanks and their hidden agenda. I’m hoping that it inspires people to open their eyes and become aware of what’s going on behind the curtain.

b) Who Will Buy Your Book?

1) Professional females, 21 – 45, who work in creative fields like the advertising or entertainment industries.

2) Cutting edge men and women, who are on the look out for new books in the post-apocalyptic genre.

3) Sci-fi geeks.

4) YA females who are looking for the next sci-fi series.

The audience has some crossover. 1) New sci-fi readers who like The Hunger Games, Divergent – dystopian story with some romance and 2) More seasoned sci-fi speculative fiction readers who like The Matrix, MaddAddam Series, or A Brave New World – saying something about the state of the world.

c) How do I speak to them in the terminology they’re used to using on this subject?
Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian fiction. Love Story. Genetic Engineering. Transhumanism. Societal Oppression. Eugenics.

d) How they will be informed, entertained, or educated by your treatment of the subject?
Like in The City Center, there is the underlying social commentary threaded throughout the novel. I don't want to ram it down the readers' throats, but rather let them come to their own conclusions bases on the information I set before them.

e) What motivates them to learn more about my subject?
 “Hey do you all see what’s happening around us? We are being controlled and manipulated and our freedom is slowly being taken away from us under the guise of protection. If you’re interested in this kind of stuff, I wrote a book about the most extreme consequences to these type of conditions.”

f) Who is a dominant competitor in this field?
Hunger Games series, Divergent series, Wool series

g) What does my book give people they don’t already have? 
Ugh. I really don’t like this question. My book is different because it’s my take on eugenics. It’s my voice, which will be different than other authors.

h) My book is different because:
Double Ugh. It’s different because it's mine. I could write a book about why my book is different, but I already did.


Next Step:
- Describe your tactics and specific actions (that’s gonna be a long one!)


Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 5, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Three

In my last post I described my overall goal for my upcoming book launch for The New Agenda. This post focuses on overall strategy, which is a quick snapshot of the game plan. There are thousands of articles and websites out there on marketing strategy, some of my favorites can be found at the amazing Joanna Penn's The Creative Penn and incredible Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer. If you're on Create Space, this article is a must-read: Developing a Marketing Plan and Strategy.

THE NEW AGENDA - MARKETING PLAN

2) Describe your overall strategy
  • Leverage The City Center to continue building an author presence: 
    • Author interviews (podcasts and blogs) 
    • Guest Posts 
    • Book reviews 
    • Giveaways
    • Book Clubs 
  • Leverage Simone Says Blog (offering help to other writers) 
  • Continue creating a presence in the Scifi & YA community (blogs/meetups/goodreads) 
  • Build a visual campaign for The New Agenda to coincide with tactical plan

Next Step
- Describe your audience



Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 2, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Two

As noted in my previous post, I'm going to share each step of my book marketing plan with my readers. My goal is two-fold: 1) actually write the thing and 2) hopefully help another author. 

Something I just thought of - maybe someone out there has some tips on book marketing that I can add to my plan. If this is you, please email me (you can find my contact info here: Simone Pond). 

I'll recap each step before moving to the next one. 

On my last post I gave myself a deadline of 3/4 to write the first draft of my marketing plan. Since I had some extra time this weekend, I went ahead and wrote the first draft, so now I can start sharing the details with all of you.


My marketing plan is divided into four parts:

1) Goal
2) Strategy
3) Audience
4) Tactics/Actions 

Without further ado, here we go...


THE NEW AGENDA - MARKETING PLAN   

1) Describe overall goal and what you hope to accomplish

Launch THE NEW AGENDA on June 8, 2014. Make Amazon’s top 100 Kindle list in my genre by July 2014. Sell 1000+ copies by September 2014. Average monthly sales of 500+ by end of 2014. My ultimate goal is to make it on a bestseller list by the end of 2014. Release the third book by the end of 2014.

Next Step:
- Come up with overall strategy 



Keep writing. It saves lives.

February 28, 2014

Preparing for my next book launch

Last year as I was preparing to launch The City Center, I read every article on the internet about marketing and launching a book. I created multiple lists, timelines, calendars and a very detailed marketing plan. The marketing portion of my book launch took up as much time as writing the book itself. The first time around for most things requires some digging, trudging and the dreaded trial and error. I still haven't made back the money I spent on my marketing efforts with my book sales. But that's okay, I know this is a marathon. I'm in it for the long haul.

As I'm nearing the final rounds of edits for The New Agenda, there's an under current of anxiety growing inside. I haven't put together my plan yet! The only items on my calendar are "send out review request emails" and "book launch". I wish it could be as easy as sending out 800 emails (ha!), but it's not. I know from experience if I want to have a successful launch, I'll need to devote some time and energy toward my planning.

For my next series of blog installments I think I'll write about my marketing plan, focusing on one step at a time. Kinda like a support group. . . "I'm Simone and I'm a writer."

Next Step:
- Schedule an appointment to write the first draft of my marketing plan Due: 3/4



Keep writing. It saves lives.

February 2, 2014

Are book trailers worth it?

It's up for debate if writers should spend money on having a book trailer made. In my opinion, which I try to keep humble, I say, why not give it a try. It can't hurt.

Without further ado, here's the book trailer for THE CITY CENTER:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZPeCIJ0dWo&feature=youtu.be



Keep writing. It saves lives.

January 29, 2014

Author Interview via The Reading Cat

What book genre of books do you adore?
Speculative fiction and memoir.

What book should everybody read at least once?
The Outsiders.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I was born in Kensington, Maryland - a small, dry town just outside of Washington D.C. I went to the University of Maryland, College Park and moved to San Francisco a week after graduation. After five years, I headed south to Los Angeles where I live today. I came for the opportunity and stay for the weather. I love the city, but my dream is to retire in the small town of Ojai, CA.

How did you develop your writing?
By writing, writing and writing.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
I love sharing my work. When I was in junior high school, I’d write stories in my spiral notebook and read to my classmates. They couldn’t wait to get to class the next day to hear what happened.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family is incredibly supportive. My father is my number one blog commenter. I drive my poor friends nuts with my constant requests for their support. I wouldn’t be as inspired to keep going without the love and support of my family and friends.

Do you plan to publish more books?
Absolutely. The City Center is the first in the series. I’m not sure how many there will be total, but I’m staying open to the possibilities.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I’m a freelance project manager in advertising. The job requires a lot of organizing, communicating and planning ahead. I’ve become an expert on managing the creative process – with a smile.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Sometimes I fantasize about living in Paris, but then I’d have to start drinking, smoking and eating meat again.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I write on a laptop at my dining room table. When I start to get cabin fever I go to a coffee shop to be around other humans. I keep a notepad next to my bed and write notes when they come to me in the middle of the night. I learned the hard way that I won’t remember them in the morning.

The City Center
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
Connect with Simone Pond through Facebook and Twitter


Original source: http://thereadingcat.blogspot.com/2014/01/author-interview-simone-pond-simonepond.html



Keep writing. It saves lives.

January 24, 2014

Why writing an outline IS creative

Ugh. Outlines. Right?

I had a few meetings this week to talk about the writing process, and the same issue came up three different times - all the writers I met with can't seem to get passed chapter two or three.

Whenever a writer tells me they can't finish a project, the first question I ask is, "Did you do an outline?"

And the typical response is a sour look with a defeated sigh, "No."

The very word "outline" sounds daunting and very un-creative, but in my experience the outline is the pinnacle of the creative process. This is where it all begins - the hero's journey. You get to design an entire road trip for your main character to travel, and you can go anywhere in the universe.

My next question is, "Would you go somewhere you've never been without a map, directions, or a navigation system?"

Of course not, because you'd never get there - or you might, but it could take a lot longer and you might end up in some dodgy places.

The outline serves as a road map to get the writer and the main character from point a to point b - all the way to the last point, or rather the end of the story. When you have a solid set of directions it's not as scary to wander off the trail and explore new avenues, you might find a cool twist you never thought of before, and then you can jump back on the path and continue the journey. Outlines aren't written in stone, and remember even Moses broke the first set of commandments.

The heroes I love are brave, confident and show great foresight. Their confidence shines through the pages because they know where they're going.

There are several approaches and suggestions to story mapping, but the one that works best for me is Ken Vogler's The Writer's Journey. He breakdowns Joseph Campbell's tried and true "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" and explains in a simple way what makes a story work and how to take your main character through each phase of the journey. It doesn't feel like an outline, it feels creative and fun.

Writing the words "The End" is the most wonderful moment in any writer's journey.



Keep writing. It saves lives.

January 5, 2014

We did it steampunk

After seven years, Peter and I made it official and tied the knot. 

We met through friends on myspace and he became an avid follower of my blog. He left the most interesting comments and I had to meet him in person. After our third date we changed our myspace status to "in a relationship" and it stayed that way until we canceled our accounts.

We've collaborated on many projects and miraculously we've stayed happily together. He's a huge inspiration and the brains behind the operation; I just show up and neurotically get 'er done. 

Some pics from the big day - January 3, 2014.











Keep writing. It saves lives.