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I’m Not Good Enough

Something’s been bothering me for years. It is my reluctance, and the reluctance of so many authors I talk with, to commit to promoting our books (and ourselves). We’re told to by publishers, agents, fellow authors, even readers, but we resist. Oh, how we resist!

It started (for me) with Carina Press back in 2010. They said their authors needed websites, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and to be engaged online with readers. I struggled. Basically, I wasted opportunities to get involved on Facebook (which still isn’t an intuitive social medium for me, i.e. I get lost on Facebook), although I do love Twitter – but that’s because I have a short attention span and a magpie’s curiosity. It’s not because I use Twitter effectively to promote my books.

I’ve also tried and abandoned Tumblr (I felt old over there), Pinterest (too much), Tsu (remember it?), Google+ (loved the functionality but never fell into a community that let me nest there), and on and on, all the while avoiding what I ought to have been doing.

And what ought I have been doing?

Plague Cult, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, kindle unlimited, plague dystopia, cult romance, cult thriller, cult mystery,I ought to have been listening to great advice from successful authors; advice like “start a mailing list”. I have now, belatedly. (The VIP New Release newsletter, subscribe today!) Advice like joining other authors in my genre to cross-promote our books. Advice like getting professional covers for my self-published books. On that, it’s under way! See Plague Cult, it’s the first, but Lou Harper is redesigning all of the covers for the Collegium series.

Basically, I can’t say that I didn’t know what I should be doing to promote my books and myself as an author. I received excellent advice from people I respect – and I ignored it. And the reason I ignored it suddenly struck me last night, and I thought on it overnight, and now I’m writing this post.

It’s about thinking I’m not good enough. Take the newsletter issue. I resisted starting one because I struggled to believe that a) I had anything worth saying, and b) that I (via my newsletter) was truly welcome in readers’ homes (i.e. their email inboxes).

What a lot of ****!

I listened to the demon of self-denigration and doubt, instead of giving it a kick in the rear.

A newsletter will have worth if I start it with a clear value proposition – a promise to readers – and keep that promise. So the promise I made was that my newsletter would be an alert to my new releases (which is information of value since my books are great! ha! take that demon!) and would often include links to other free books or … but I won’t give away the goodies I’m thinking of providing to add extra value while I deliver on the core promise of a new release alert. They’re a surprise! People love surprises.

My fundamental approach to book promotion has been fear that I’ll get it wrong, and so drive readers away from my books (and me). So I’ve played on the fringes, paddled in the shallows, tried not to dive in for fear of making a splash! By keeping the deep pool of promotional possibilities free of the contamination that is me and my less than perfect efforts, some superstitious, self-doubting corner of my psyche evidently believed (and believed powerfully) that I was keeping this space open for magic to happen.

Now, I write paranormal romance, so I write about magic all the time. But here’s the thing, when it comes to selling your books, waiting for magic to happen is a strategy on par with preparing for your retirement by buying a lottery ticket. It’s possible you’ll win, but the odds are against you.

Everyone’s marketing strategy is different, as it should be. It needs to take into account different genres, audiences, real life demands on authors (yes, we have lives), etc. So my tip is to analyse the authors you admire. What do they do to promote their books? Analyse three. Then balance it by analysing three authors whose books consistently top the best-seller list in the genre you write in. Note everything they do: the titles they choose, their cover design, keywords, categories (metadata), their blurbs, website, social media, how they work with their publishers’ publicity departments, their street teams’ activities, sign up to their newsletters. Note down everything they do – I’m repeating that advice because often we kind of don’t. We filter our analysis through the “that’s too hard for me to replicate” thinking and resist possibilities. Only once you have a complete list of activities from six people can you sit down and see what ALL of them are doing, the things that you judge most effective, and then, how you will replicate the important bits (yes, you too can be an awesome author).

Have I done this myself? No. But remember, I only had this revelation last night!

Whatever the strategy you use, please be honest with yourself. If you’re saying “I can’t…I won’t…it’s not sensible for me to…” then at least question your resistance.

You’ve written a book. That’s a damn fine effort. Now, back it up with confidence in yourself. The world is waiting for you.

***If you’ve found this post helpful, could you please do one of three things for me (or all three, that would be beyond cool)?

  1. Share this post with a friend, or on Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Like my official Facebook author page, and in particular, the post sharing my beautiful new cover for Plague Cult so that Facebook will share it with more people (because the social proof of likes and reshares = viral reach).
  3. Check out my latest release, Plague Cult, on Amazon and if it intrigues you, preorder it for the bargain price of 99c.

Thank you! Now, go forth and rock the publishing world!

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Cover Reveal: PLAGUE CULT

Plague Cult – this is the first professionally designed cover I’ve ever commissioned. Isn’t it stunning? Lou Harper of Lou Harper Designs exceeded my high expectations and even higher hopes!

Plague Cult

In a small Texas town a desire for love becomes a curse that unleashes a deadly plague.

Ruth Warner is estranged from her family. She loves them, but her magic makes her an outsider in Bideer, Texas. Ruth has built a new life in New York as a healer at the Collegium.

Sometimes, though, you have to go home.

After the local coroner reports a suspicious death, the Collegium’s Chief Healer orders Ruth to Bideer. There’s a new cult in town, a lonely hearts club, and it’s playing reckless games with a death curse.

But Ruth isn’t going home alone.

Danger is in Shawn Jackson’s blood. He is a Collegium guardian, a mage trained to fight evil. He’s also a man accustomed to keeping secrets. He’s a hollerider, a huntsman; one of those who birthed the legend of the Wild Hunt. When he unleashes his magic, terror rides with him.

He’s also Ruth’s back-up.

As evil stalks an innocent town, the dedicated healer and battle-hardened marine must trust their own hurting hearts to prevent a devastating plague.

Warning: Plague Cult includes a haunted house, an unconventional ghost, and a home renovation romance.

If you love your paranormal romance fast-paced, intense and chilling, Plague Cult is irresistible.

Plague Cult, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, kindle unlimited, plague dystopia, cult romance, cult thriller, cult mystery, Plague Cult is out June 27. It is available for pre-order today!

Mysteries & More

mysteries, kindle,

sky garden, kindle unlimited cozy mystery, london romance,I’m delighted that my romantic suspense novel, Sky Garden, is part of this new 99c promotional event. There are over 60 books at 99c May 13-14.

***

I’ve managed to escape the computer for a couple of hours two Fridays in a row! This is an awesome achievement. I’ve been writing and organising marketing for my books like a machine for all of 2016, so I’m glad to be sneaking in a little bit of balance. Why, yes, there is a world outside!

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Looking towards Penguin Island

Yesterday, I was near the coast, so I managed a few minutes at the beach. It was a windy day with the clouds rolling in, but so beautiful.

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Rain coming

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For those of you who signed up to my new Review Team, advanced reader copies should be with you in a week, possibly two, for Plague Cult. (For those interested in reviewing my new releases, please contact me. I need your name, email and preferred digital format for reading; i.e. mobi, pdf or epub).

Plague Cult‘s blurb:

In a small Texas town a desire for love becomes a curse that unleashes a deadly plague.

Ruth Warner is estranged from her family. She loves them, but her magic makes her an outsider in Bideer, Texas. Ruth has built a new life in New York as a healer at the Collegium.

Sometimes, though, you have to go home.

After the local coroner reports a suspicious death, the Collegium’s Chief Healer orders Ruth to Bideer. There’s a new cult in town, a lonely hearts club, and it’s playing reckless games with a death curse.

But Ruth isn’t going home alone.

Danger is in Shawn Jackson’s blood. He is a Collegium guardian, a mage trained to fight evil. He’s also a man accustomed to keeping secrets. He’s a hollerider, a huntsman; one of those who birthed the legend of the Wild Hunt. When he unleashes his magic, terror rides with him.

He’s also Ruth’s back-up.

As evil stalks an innocent town, the dedicated healer and battle-hardened marine must trust their own hurting hearts to prevent a devastating plague.

Warning: “Plague Cult” includes a haunted house, an unconventional ghost, and a home renovation romance.

Plague Cult releases June 27, 2016.

 

I’ve started a Review Team

Here’s the official announcement from Facebook:

I’d just like to add that writing this was HARD! I’m so shy about asking for reviews. I just dread it. What I’m hoping is that I get 20-30 people to sign up and then I can email you all when I have a new release and I’ll know that I’m not annoying you because you signed up! You want my books!

So, please, if you’re interested in reading and reviewing my books, please join the review team. Email me! If you already have my email address, please drop me a note telling me your e-format preference: i.e. mobi, pdf or epub. If you don’t have my email, jenny @ (let’s confuse the spammers) authorjennyschwartz (dot) com should reach me. If you don’t hear from me, then the gremlins ate your email. If you leave a comment, I’ll go chase them 🙂

Thank you.

I’ll go away and hyperventilate for a while. I really dread the whole requesting reviews thing. Thank you a hundred times to everyone who already shares reviews (D, I’m looking at you 🙂 )

PPS  Please don’t feel you have to sign up or ever review. That I’m a review requesting phobic author is my problem 😉

 

“Skyriders” is in Flight! Release Day

SkyridersThe big news! This is the secret group project I haven’t been able to share with you. My Australian steampunk novella “Clockwork Gold” is part of an anthology of steampunk adventurers with big name authors in steampunk: Lindsay Buroker! Shelley Adina! AW Exley! Melanie Karseck! — yes, really! I give you … SKYRIDERS.

Intrigue and airships…

These five novels will take you on soaring adventures set around the globe.

A reckless ship-racer with a shattered past finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery in Melanie Karsak’s The Star Garden.

In Lindsay Buroker’s Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, the last remaining guardian-sorcerer must enlist the aid of an impulsive colonel to find her bonded soulblade… and must avoid death at that same colonel’s hands.

A young woman inherits priceless artifacts and a world of danger in Nefertiti’s Heart by A. W. Exley.

Shelley Adina’s Lady of Devices will take you to Victorian London, where a young woman loses her place in high society only to find a new path to her future in the underworld.

And in Western Australia, a messenger pilot must navigate a lawless land as well as her own heart in Clockwork Gold by Jenny Schwartz.

These five exciting reads are geared towards adventure and ready to fly!

SKYRIDERS is available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo & pretty much everywhere ebooks are sold!

VIP Reader Rewards

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If you haven’t discovered the Reader Rewards Monthly Mega Sale & Giveaway with its limited time offers, now’s the time! I have Doctor Wolf and Sky Garden featured at 99c. Deal ends May 20.

So many great books in so many different genres. It’s incredible! Don’t blame me if you’re To Be Read pile explodes 🙂

… and just to ensure your To Be Read pile does explode, there’s the Spring Fever 99c & free, new & much-loved promo on May 1-2. Enjoy!

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