Tag: The Wild Rose Press

Expect the Unexpected: Top 5 Surprises from RWA17

My writing buddy Joyce and I celebrating our first ever RWA conference.

From the moment I joined my local writing group, I heard about the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference from fellow writers.

“It’s the largest conference for romance writers on the planet,” they said.

“Everyone goes there,” they said.

“It’s the place to network with everybody who’s anybody in the romance world,” they said.

“Hmmm,” I thought, shrinking a little inside. “I think I’ll just stay home.” I mean, no sense putting myself in front of a crowd of authors, agents, editors and publishers until I’m further along in the publishing process, right?

Little did I know over a year later I’d have two books released in two different genres with two different publishers. The time had come to experience another first in my writing journey: My first RWA conference. So, I talked it over with my writing friend Joyce, and before I knew it, we had booked two tickets to Orlando, Florida, and a room at the Walt Disney World Swan for the end of July.

What to expect?
Before we left for RWA, experienced conference-goers offered a lot of advice.

“Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes,” they said.

“Don’t worry about attending every workshop. It’s not possible to get to them all,” they said.

“Bring a sweater—those conference rooms get cold,” they said.

I imagined myself in a mass of authors, trying to navigate through long corridors into frigid, packed conference rooms in a short-sleeved dress and heels.

“Good advice,” I replied and packed my suitcase with comfy flats and an extra sweater.

Off to the races
Joyce and I soon found ourselves using the handy-dandy RWA conference app on our cell phones to plot our schedule before flying the friendly skies to Orlando.

We arrived in Florida at midnight on a sauna-like Tuesday night, a little tired but definitely ready to experience all the conference had to offer. Little did I know RWA17 would reveal a few surprises—here are my top five:

Surprise #1
It’s the People — Sure there are plenty of workshops on a variety of topics. But the greatest value for me came in the form of people—new authors and New York Times best sellers, rising stars and award winners, agents, editors, and owners from small and large presses, bloggers, librarians, readers, vendors, photographers and a top-notch wait staff. People from all aspects of the business and stages of development seemed willing and even eager to interact with little ole me.

Case in point: Wednesday morning, veteran author with more than 100 books under her belt in five different genres, Sharon Sala, treated Joyce and I and four other first-timers to breakfast. This was Sharon’s way of passing it on, and we couldn’t have been more grateful recipients. Not only did we get to enjoy a sumptuous Disney buffet, but Sharon also shared personal stories, offered advice and was genuinely interested in each of us.

Veteran author Sharon Sala treated me and several other first-timers to breakfast on day one of the conference.

Surprise #2
The RITA Ceremony Was Something Special — And not only because it was like The Oscars, although it was. I write this because I didn’t know one of this year’s award winners, but I shared in their excitement like it was my own. Seeing these authors and editors who had worked so hard to write an exceptional book receive their awards was in turns gut-wrenching and inspirational, adrenaline-pumping and emotional. Hats off to whoever wrote the scripts and put together the videos for the event because they were all of the above as well.

Enjoying the RITAs as VIPs–we innocently sat at the wrong table. Lucky for us, the other occupants (editors and agents) were gracious.

Surprise #3
You Really CAN Meet Your Favorite Author — I’m not much of a “fan girl.” But anyone who knows me will tell you that Jayne Ann Krentz is my favorite author. You see, Jayne and I go back—far, far back—as far back as the 1980’s when I read my first paranormal and fell in love with her work. Jayne says she was too ahead of the genre, and it wasn’t the greatest career move. I know because when Joyce and I decided to take a little break from all the RITA excitement and grab a Sangria at the bar, Jayne was sitting at the table next to us…all alone…nursing a drink. A perfect invitation for me to introduce myself and ask a question or two…or in my case, at least twenty. Jayne confessed she worried no one would show for her workshop the next day that she was doing with her best bud, New York Times best seller and all around rock star Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Really? Jayne Anne Krentz suffers writer’s doubts just the same as I do? Yes, she does. And what’s more, she has the same concerns I have as a new author. Stuff like how to best market her books and create publicity. Jayne even gave me a tip, advising me to “claim” my books on BookBub, as they promote them with emails.

Jayne Ann Krentz and I bonding in the restaurant bar at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel. I managed a calm facade, but my stomach was doing somersaults.

Surprise #4
I Fan Girled Over the Founder of Sourcebooks — Okay, “girled” may not be a word. But, it’s true. She wooed me with data, bowled me over with insight and inspired me with her passion—not just for publishing books but for helping authors succeed in a crowded marketplace.

The company tagline? “We publish authors. Not books.”

This from someone who started the company out of her home with a $17,000 loan from her 401K. The company is now the #10 publisher in the country.

When someone asked her how important it is to Sourcebooks that authors have a social platform, she replied, “The job of publisher is to make it public. We don’t need you to do it. Make great work! What we need from you is to be coachable and to write an extraordinary story.”

I was so pumped after her data-driven workshop, I literally chased her down in the lobby to tell her how truly amazing I thought she was. She was on her way to catch a flight but graciously posed for a selfie with me. How cool is that?

Dominique Raccah is not only the visionary leader of publisher Sourcebooks, she also takes a great selfie.

Surprise #5
The Literacy Signing Was Well Worth It — I debated over the literacy signing. Should I attend? It’s a great cause. But hundreds of authors partake in this event, most with much bigger names than me. Besides, no one knows me in Florida…who would possibly buy my book? Not only did I sell two copies to strangers, several attendees took pictures to purchase later online. Plus, I was fortunate to be placed next to Rachel Van Dyken, a popular author who was generous enough to give me a free T-shirt, put me on her live video and pass along her business card so I could reach out if I ever wanted to cross-promote. A win-win all the way around.

Receiving support and a hug from fellow Boroughs Publishing Group author, Michelle Pashko from Canada. Michelle and I met up for the first time at the conference.

Home, Sweet Home
I left Orlando early this morning, my brain buzzing with ideas and my heart full of excitement.

Was RWA17 worth it? You betcha.

Will I attend again? Most definitely.

Should you pack a sweater and comfy shoes? Don’t leave home without them.

 

Joyce and I with the fabulous Jennifer Probst, who writes contemporary romance. I can’t wait to read the book she signed for me.

P.S. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I also managed to pitch three agents while I was there, each offering to look at my next manuscript. Time to get busy.

P.P.S. If you are a member of RWA and you were not able to attend the conference, be sure and download the data driven session sponsored by Sourcebooks.

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Mind Waves Cover Reveal — Check It Out!

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDERS! DEBUTING OCT. 7!

It’s here, it’s here! Mind Waves is finally here!

It’s been nearly three years since I wrote the book, so as you can imagine, I’m pretty darn excited the day has come for you all to see the cover.

Isn’t it perfect?

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY AT ANY OF THESE LOCATIONS!

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iTunes
Bookstrand

Congratulations to all who preordered Mind Waves or shared the buy links on social media and then entered my raffle to win one of  5 $20 Amazon gift cards.  Winners below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


zIMG_6537_ppcrpAbout the Author

Amanda Uhl has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumored to be haunted, you might say she was “born” into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master’s degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cyber security. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Visit her online:
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Goodreads
Pinterest
Website

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How I Plan to Promote My First Book (And Other Scary Tales)


The closer I get to the release of my first novel, the more anxious I grow thinking about how best to promote it.

Ironically, I have an MBA in Marketing. I’m also responsible for running campaigns and events on my day job, so you would think I would have some idea about how to approach a book launch. But no amount of classes or business experiences have prepared me for this next step in my journey to publication.

Writing a book is personal. It’s much easier to suggest creative ideas when someone else will be doing the presenting. Knowing I must be the front woman in this campaign has me waking up in the middle of the night, pulse racing, thoughts spinning and panic flooding my body.

How the heck do I do this?
“Isn’t there a template for this?” I asked this question recently of some of my critique partners. “I mean, millions of books are published every year. Hasn’t some smart author figured this out already?”

“Nope,” they said. “Not that we know of.”

“So what are you going to do when your time comes?”

“We’ll just watch what you do.”

Uh-oh. Now we’re all in trouble.

Why is it so hard?
The more I explore ideas and collect information, the more I realize that there are SO MANY ways to promote a book, even the “industry experts” can’t agree. And the market is shifting, so tried and true methods don’t necessarily work anymore. Here today and gone tomorrow, as the saying goes.

For instance, more readers than ever before are reading their books online. This is much different than say, twenty years ago, when print sales still had the largest market share. And recent reports talk about the popularity of audio books. How the heck do I make one of those?

And what about blogs? I still remember the first time a writer friend explained the concept to me. That was many years ago, when the popularity of blogs was exploding. Last year at a writer’s conference, the speaker stated that blogs don’t generate traffic like they used to, and she wouldn’t recommend spending time on them. Every time I post mine, I question its relevance. Who am I reaching with this post? Will they buy my book when it comes out?

Although I can see by my stats that I tend to have some readership, the number of visitors stays about the same from post to post. What does that mean? Should I quit?

If I had a million dollars…
I don’t. But I recently asked this question on a marketing expert’s site: If you had $1,000 to spend on promotion, what would you spend it on?

The answer I got back? “I wouldn’t spend a cent. Save your money.”

Hmmm. I’d like to that’s for sure. But I can’t imagine I’ll get away with it entirely, can you?

What to do?
Any day now, I’ll be getting my preorder link for Mind Waves from the publisher. While I don’t have a solid plan on paper, I do have a few ideas:

  • Write the Next Book — I know, seems contrary. But the faster I write the next book and the next one after that, the faster I build a following. So I can’t slow down on the writing, even while I’m promoting book one.
  • Do a Cover Reveal — This one is a no-brainer. It seems natural to want to share my cover and a pre-order link in a big reveal. I’ll set up a Headtalker or Thunderclap and ask my friends on social media to participate. I’ll purchase Facebook ads to spread the news far and wide and build my profile on Goodreads. I’ll blog, and maybe I’ll ask a few other writer friends to feature me in their blog. I’ll experiment by commenting on a beach glass site I belong to — since beach glass is featured heavily in this story, it seems like a good idea.
  • Introduce a Newsletter — I’ve been slowly building an email list. Those folks will get my news first. And something special to make them glad they’ve subscribed.
  • Create a Book Trailer — Think movie trailer but for a book. I’d like to do several versions, featuring sites and sounds from Cleveland, and then share them over time via social media. Sounds fun, right?
  • Launch a Street Team — This is a group of supporters who want me to succeed. These folks will help me spread the word and be rewarded with free copies of my books and other special deals. If that sounds like you, let me know! A lot of authors use a private Facebook group for this, but I may use email, since not all my supporters use Facebook.
  • Ask for Reviews — I’m told reviews are hard to acquire. But I’ve already had a few friends commit to doing one. Anyone on my street team who does a review will receive a FREE e-copy of my book. This is a non-shareable copy but is a great deal for anyone willing to post a review. I also have a list of review sites I’ll email. And I’ve purchased a Net Galley membership for September. This is a site that provides the book free to readers willing to post a review.
  • Get Out and About — This one gets me all tingly with excitement. Nothing makes me happier than meeting new people and talking about my book! I have three Cleveland locations lined up to host book signing parties, but I’ll work to host a whole lot more this year and next. I’ll discuss what motivated me to write a paranormal romance, tell a few ghost stories, and describe my journey to publication. There will be prizes, of course, some fun beach glass giveaways, and anything else I can think of to make this a not-to-be-missed party.

    This seemed to be a hit at my first book reading, so perhaps I'll make some more.

    Beach glass candy seemed to be a hit at my first book reading, so perhaps I’ll make some more.

  • Stock Local Stores — Okay, I’ll admit. This one is more ego than anything and will probably end up costing me money. A printed book purchased through a small publisher like mine is not cheap. They don’t distribute to book stores, so I’ll have to purchase the book myself and then mark them up to make any sort of profit. Although I receive a discount, I’m told the shipping cost is astronomical. But I do plan to invest some money into purchasing printed copies for book signings and to stock a few around town, especially in small book stores and gift shops that sell beach glass. If those sell well, I’ll stock a few more.
  • Donate a Copy to the Local Library — This is a great way to give back to the community and make sure readers can find my book. Hopefully, they’ll like what they read and want more.
  • Donate to Charity — I’m looking for a local, Cleveland charity to donate a portion of sales from each book. I’m interested in donating to food banks and hunger centers, so if you know a worthy organization, let me know.
  • Pitching the Press — I’m hoping to garner articles in local newspapers and alumni publications from my alma maters. This is when it helps to have a sister who runs a newspaper and a friend who’s a reporter. And there are some great websites, like Cool Cleveland, I might approach.

What won’t I do initially?
Pay for blog tours or other advertisements. I’m going to wait a bit before considering anything costly. The marketing guru may be right. After all, this is a business. It would be smart to understand my revenue before shelling out big bucks for promotions.

So there you have it. What am I missing? I’m sure there’s something…scratches her head and tries to calm her racing heart

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