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Bloggers: The Opinion Czars to Readers 150 150 admin

Bloggers: The Opinion Czars to Readers

Congratulations, your novel is published! Whether you joined the DIY movement or sold it to a publisher, you’re feeling great. Take a moment to enjoy this milestone.

Now, get ready to switch gears. You are no longer a writer but a marketing machine.

Wait, you say. Writers sit in ivory towers, churning out their next masterpiece. Unless you are a brand name author, you will soon realize that the publisher is counting on you to market your work. Especially, if you self-published.

As you consider your options, you may feel overwhelmed about where to allocate your time and money. Placing ads seems a logical choice. But ask most writers about the effectiveness of paid ads and you will hear nothing but disappointment.

The American Booksellers Association has 1,900 independent, brick-and-mortar members. Yep, that’s all. And although they have had an increase of 15.5% since January 2010, is there any community that hasn’t seen a longstanding bookstore bite the dust? Sadly, I experienced this firsthand: the local bookstores where I held book signings in 2007, the beloved Dutton’s in Brentwood and charming Village Books in the Pacific Palisades, no longer exist. Recently, my book launch for my new novel, Revealing Eden (Save The Pearls Part One), was held at Frank Pictures, an art gallery in Santa Monica. It was a great party, but I missed the company of other books.

And with the proliferation of self-published e-books, the market feels inundated; your fabulous book into which you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears, soon lost in the crowd.

So what’s a writer to do?

Coming from the world of indie filmmaking, I learned long ago that with limited resources the only way to reach your unique audience was through niche marketing. Unfortunately, if your book lacks an easily identifiable genre, your marketing job will be that much harder.

All you have to do is study the bestseller lists to see that, on average, only a handful are general fiction. God Bless Kathryn Strockett, the author of The Help, for beating those odds.

And yet, while the growing trend towards genre fiction has limited the marketplace for more inventive works, it also has produced a plethora of niche groups interested in those subjects. Storefront bookstores rely heavily on traditional pre-publication reviewers when determining which books to order. With the huge surge in online book buyers, the relevance of those reviewers’ opinion has diminished — and will continue to do so.

Do you really think any teens who bought The Hunger Games through Amazon.com cared what School Library Journal had to say about it? More likely, those buyers follow one of the many blogs that cater to Young Adult books, or particularly, dystopian fiction and post apocalyptic books.

And that is why niche bloggers are the new opinion czars for readers.

Reaching out to these bloggers simply requires time and patience. Each has a different set of requirements: some will add a Q&A, others, an online chat, or perhaps, a book giveaway. And unlike the nameless façade presented by the traditional reviewers, most likely, you will find passionate readers who are thrilled to receive a copy of your book and post a review on their blogs. Despite the conduit of e-mail, the one-on-one interaction that these blogs provide writers and bloggers feels fresh and intimate like a visit on a Southern porch!

In 2007, when TeensReadToo.com gave The Virtual Life of Lexie Diamond a Five-Star, Must Read review, I was thrilled, but made sure to include their quote after Kirkus Reviews and the Recommendation from The Center of Children’s Books.

Today, my main approach hinges on appealing to bloggers! To date, I have sent out over 60 copies of Revealing Eden (Save The Pearls Part One), my new fantasy romance novel, a veritable pastiche of genres, at their request. I deeply care what they think. And I have been richly rewarded for the attention I’ve paid to them.

Before Revealing Eden was officially released until January 10, 2012, it already received rave reviews on several blogs as well as many posts on Amazon, all of them enthusiastic.

Live To Readhighly recommended it with Five Stars to young adult and adult readers, and included a lengthy author Q&A.

The Bookshelf gave Five Stars for a “fantastic read, I recommend everyone to check out this book!” Amanda’s Writings “Revealing Eden was a great read. The end left me hanging, and I can’t wait to read the next book!” And Books Obsession: “This was a great book to the start of a unique series.” And I have begun a series of online chats: Wednesday the 14th, I chatted with followers of YA Bound, which was an amazingly rewarding experience!

Being directly connected to these lively communities of readers is a writer’s dream. Many of these clever bloggers also post their reviews onto Goodreads.com, one of the largest sites for readers, thereby widening the scope of their influence.

And what has did it cost in dollars? Shipping costs and a discounted copy of my book.
Just as the Internet has provided direct avenues to consumers in almost every area from buying real estate to testing your DNA, authors can connect to readers through blog. The world of opinion has come to roost on niche bloggers to the benefit of readers everywhere, and writers, too.

Enter Eden Newman’s Online Fantasy World 150 150 admin

Enter Eden Newman’s Online Fantasy World

In 2007, inspired by a news story about a book trailer posted on YouTube by author Michael Connelly, I created a short video for my debut novel, The Virtual Life of Lexie Diamond, a young adult supernatural thriller. At the time, the idea was edgy, so much so that my marketing representative at HarperCollins had never heard of YouTube.

When it came time this summer to discuss how to market my new dystopian novel, Save The Pearls Part One Revealing Eden, a Young Adult fantasy/adventure romance, a book trailer seemed so yesterday. In an age when the phone in your pocket provides more resources and virtual experiences than someone living only two generations ago might have had during an entire lifetime, what could we do to appeal to readers?

We created a virtual world at SaveThePearls.com where the lead character, Eden Newman, dramatizes her predicament in a series of short videos.

The actress, Claire Pfister, a real find with the right amount of edge and appeal, is the perfect Eden Newman. Stunningly beautiful as she is, in the post-apocalyptic world of the book, she’d be considered ugly and oppressed.

Because resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, the racial paradigm has been turned upside down. Eden’s white skin brands her as a member of the lowest social class, a Pearl. Doomed unless she soon mates, Eden hopes a Coal from the dark-skinned ruling class will save her. But who will want her when she has a mate-rate of only 15%?

And so Eden presents her plight at SaveThePearls.com, sometimes wearing her natural look, or in dark makeup to make her appear like a Coal. She invites others to follow along, even to help her save the Pearls. We witness her fear when visited by an Ethics Officer who warns her that her time to mate will soon expire.

And then there is the recorded visit from a handsome Coal, Jamal, whom Eden secretly dates. She shares with us her desperate desire that he will save her though she knows the odds are against her.

Interested viewers quickly have begun to post their own videos, and like Eden, pitch themselves as a great possible mate. On the site, they receive dating advice on how to improve their rating, or deal with interracial dating in particular. There is even a commercial advertising Midnight Luster, a darkening cream that Pearls can use to cover their hideous white skin.

The ease with which viewers have embraced this multidimensional site is a natural extension of our familiarity with the Internet. Online, time and space are relative factors that we arrange to suit our interactions. Is Eden Newman real, or is she a character in a game?

At TheNewWorldChronicle.com, news articles have been appearing about missing Pearls or other frightening incidents that happen in Eden’s world. Everything conspires to create a real character in real time, if only in the viewer’s mind.

Finally, another desperate Pearl contacts Eden, begging her to reveal all to an important source before it’s too late. We watch in anticipation as Eden walks through the shadowy underground world and, looking anxiously over her shoulder, knocks at an unmarked door. A woman, Victoria Foyt, answers. She wastes no time in questioning Eden. “Are you willing to talk?”

In fact, Eden has a dangerous secret to share. “A way for Pearls to survive, Coals, too.” Her father is involved in a highly experimental experiment, one funded by a daring Coal titan whom Eden despises, despite her overwhelming attraction.

When Eden makes her last appeal to viewers on SaveThePearls.com, it seems only natural that she asks you to read her story: Save The Pearls Part One Revealing Eden. In the novel, which is being released on the site, as well as through other booksellers, including Amazon.com, she promises to share her secrets, apocalyptic fears and romantic hopes. And she’s counting on you to spread the word. Before it’s too late.

And, how can you quit her now after you will have shared so much, and been an integral part of her journey?

The online campaign is not a teaser, but an extension of Eden’s world. It joins a community of those who care about the state of the environment, or fear for their own romantic dreams in a loveless world.

Only those who continue ahead and read Revealing Eden will learn how she unwittingly compromises her father’s secret experiment, is thrust into the last patch of rainforest, and into the arms of a powerful, beastly man. And ultimately, how Eden fights to survive but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty and of true love.

Fundamentally, the way we write love stories hasn’t changed much since the time of Jane Austen. And yet, the way we reach our readers must be as different as riding in a horse-driven carriage is to a quiet spin in an electric vehicle.