Indie marketing tip #1 – “Keep your profile pics/head shot out there. If they don’t know who you are, they won’t read your work.” – tip from Mike Pettit Your face should be recognizable. Imagine being at a signing event of 350 authors. I bet if you read romance you could pick out the big names, like Nora Roberts. Friends and fans love this pic which was taken of me with my first book by Monica Parks. I love it too, it’s fun and is a good memory for me. But, guess what it doesn’t do? Boost my brand. You need a full head shot to do that. Branding – it’s important. I’ve listened to a lot of people give talks on branding and have read about it. I’m going to sum up branding as simply as I can, to cut through some of that for new Indie authors. Your brand. How do you brand yourself? New authors often ask me that question. Here is the answer I always give. Branding: “To brand yourself first you must know who you are and then act like it.” – Debra Parmley So there are two steps. Do you know who you are? Ego comes up in this topic. And what is ego? It’s our personality, the things that make us who we are. We came down here to earth to be somebody. Remember that. Living small does not serve you well. There is nothing wrong with having an ego. Not enough and you’d never put yourself out there. You’d hide in your author cave. Too much and you’d be insufferable to be around. But you are in control of that. So know who you are. The more you figure that out, the better your branding will be. And guess what the experts who will charge you money to brand you are going to ask? The same questions you have to ask yourself to figure this one out. So you figure that out and then, step #2, you act like it. Be true to yourself. There is only one you. And readers want to get to know you. Every social media site out there is going to want a profile picture. Because that is step one of people getting to know you. So… profile pic = head shot. And as Mike Pettit says, you need to post new ones to keep your brand, your face out there. I’m going to take my own advice here and will be changing my profile pic once a week. Will call it Brand Boost. Cause I have to boost my brand. There are thousands of authors out there and we have to keep boosting our brand if we want to be remembered.
Montana Marine just re-released on July 15th through Twisted Pages Press LLC, Elle James new publishing company!
Protecting Pippa just re-released on July 16th through Aces Press LLC, Susan Stokers new publishing company!
I’m so excited the books are out again and were only down for a day. I’m also excited that they will be available outside the U.S. and there is the option to go to print, which wasn’t possible before.
My other exciting news is … I have a new book coming out in Elle James Brotherhood Protectors World! Watch for Defensive Instructor on July 24th!
And in August, Split Screen Scream will be out in Susan Stokers Special Forces Operation Alpha World! So keep watching!
I’ll follow these up with a few books my readers have been patiently waiting for. It’s a busy writing summer! Happy reading!
There are two ways to see and hear the news first. One is to sign up for my newsletter and the other is to join my Facebook Fan Group. Here are the links:
Newsletter sign up link: http://eepurl.com/ZUyC1
FB fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/debraparmley/
“THE END …. IS THE BEGINNING” Writing Workshop with Debra Parmley
Saturday, August 19th, 2017 11 am – 4 pm
(includes an hour for lunch on your own)
At Ervin Hypnosis Center, 2965 Summer Oaks Dr., Ste. 100, Bartlett TN 38134
$65 per person Energy Exchange
Join Amazon Bestselling author Debra Parmley as she demystifies the process toward publishing your book. Set your path, see your path and step forward into your future as an author.
11:00 to 1:00~~
Taking your book from idea to first draft
Finishing your first draft.
Polishing your first draft to present your best book. Structure and title your book so it resonates with your reader.
One-hour lunch break
2:00 to 4:00~~
Get your book published – which way will you go, traditional or Indie self-published? Choosing your path.
Landing an agent or publishing contract or self-publishing on platforms that pay.
Marketing your book.
Building your brand.
Debra is a writing mentor and is available after the workshop to take appointments to look at your manuscript. Appointments may be scheduled to be in person or on Skype. You will need to provide a hard copy of your manuscript.
Students of Debra’s workshops are invited to join her student newsletter and to follow her writing blog.
RSVP for this special experience to Madra Little at 901-827-0023 (call or text)
Today I’m Dancing For the Broken – My Seventh Year With Shimmy Mob Memphis
Today, Saturday May 13th marks seven years since I founded Shimmy Mob Memphis. I’m proud of all my dance sisters and the work we’ve done to raise founds for our local domestic violence shelter over the years.
People have often asked me why I signed the city up and took on that job the first year even though I had retired from dancing and was focusing on my books and book signings with little extra time to spare. I usually have a four word answer.
Babies with broken bones.
I do not want to live in a world where babies have broken bones because a malicious adult injured them. That’s simply not acceptable to me. The work I’ve done with Shimmy Mob fights that problem and is just one small way I could help. Can you imagine what would happen if we each did one small thing to help? You can by making a donation when we dance.
There were lots of challenges that first year. In 2011 here in Memphis we had tornados and the river rising. No one wanted to let us dance because a Shimmy Mob/flash mob though organized and not mob like at all was brand new and flash mobs in the past had sometimes led to violence. I often thought of the irony of that as I searched for a place to dance. We ended up dancing downtown on the trolly line with the proper permissions in place as the City came through at the last minute, thanks to Dawn Vinson. Forty five dancers had signed up but because of tornados that day only a fraction of that number made it out to dance. We danced in between tornado sirens and watching for tornados but we got the job done and we raised a thousand dollars that first year even though we received no local news coverage for our event. The photographer for the Commercial Appeal called me as we were driving away. He had just missed us. I thought we had been a small voice that few heard, but even a small voice can help. Even a small voice can speak up. That too is an important part of fighting domestic violence and an important example to set. Later, we were honored by Shimmy Mob International for our efforts.
Since then we have gone on to dance each year to raise funds. Our first year the funds went directly to the YWCA shelter and I took toiletries and diapers which we’d collected to the shelter. At the time I was told it was the only shelter in the tri-state area – which is not enough for a metropolitan area this size. Now here we are in our seventh year and we now collect for The Family Safety Center which is the first place domestic violence victims can go. It is a wonderful place and offers many services.
Things often come full circle, at least they do in my life. Last year I wasn’t able to dance because I’d fractured my talus bone (ankle) in half. (Not domestic violence. Before you jump to any conclusions here. In fact my husband was out of town at the time.) I’d stepped off two steps as if it were one, rolled my ankle and landed on the ankle bone on concrete. I was in a boot for several months. So dancing of course was out. This year I am dancing, though I’m wearing an orthopedic ankle brace and have to put a medicated cream on my foot. It’s nothing anyone would pay to see, I’m slow on the turns and have to modify many things and if the dance were about me or about that I’d sit it out. But it’s not. It’s about dancing with my dance sisters all over the world on the one day a year we come together to raise funds for our local domestic abuse shelters. It’s about dancing for the broken women and children (and yes men too) who cannot dance.
How can you help? Today we are dancing from 5:30 to 7:30 at Overton Square in midtown Memphis, TN and will be taking donations there for the Family Safety Center. We have two Facebook event pages:
There will be other appearances throughout the year as our team leader schedules them and you can keep up with us at Shimmy Mob Memphis on Facebook
Goodreads. Authors often either love it or hate it. Some won’t be on it at all. Others are on often and enjoy it. Today I’m going to talk about why I love it.
First, I came to Goodreads as a reader, before I ever had an author page. So I learned to love the site as a reader and that has not changed.
I like being able to keep track of books I have read, so I don’t order the same book twice. In this way it saves me from wasting money. I like being able to “shelve” the books by category and have started doing more of that recently. I can even keep track of which books my grandson has on his shelf so I don’t buy duplicates. So as a reader, shopper and gift giver it is useful to me. I also like the way Goodreads will suggest books to me and the fact I can adjust that by simply saying not interested. Just because I gave one book a 4 or a 5 does not mean I want to read a bunch more books like it.
So now we come to the ratings system. one star to five star with three being I liked the book. Anything above a three and the system is likely to suggest another book just like it. When I am rating a book I tend to rate high. I’d give everyone five’s if I could. But then if I do that, the system will keep suggesting more and more of the same. So I need to fight that inclination to make it easier to find the books I most want to read.
So that’s me as an reader on Goodreads. Just another reader who likes Goodreads.
Then there’s me as an author. Of course I have a Goodreads author page and I think every author should have one. I hear authors say they won’t be on there because things can get ugly. You know, with trolls and all. Well, that’s kind of like saying I won’t go play on the playground because there might be a bully. Or there has been a bully. I think it’s too bad when that happens. I’m not going to let any bully keep me away from enjoying books and talking about them. As a reader or as an author. So I have a Goodreads author page.
I like Goodreads so much I had it on my iphone long before I had Facebook. It’s only in the last year that I added Facebook and only because I felt I had to in order to keep up with people who have events and messages and such and won’t use texts or emails. I was missing out on things by not being on there. Kind of like authors who are missing out on Goodreads by not being on there. Each author makes their own decisions about these things.
The thing is, readers are on Goodreads. So if you are an author and you want to meet readers or for readers to see your books, if makes sense to be there.
I love Goodreads and will be doing more on the site in the future. In fact, we just opened a branch new group for my readers on Goodreads and you are welcome to join! Look for Debra Parmley Lamplighters. Here is the link. See you there!
When I coach, or teach a class, my writing students will hear me say “everyone can write for for minutes a day” and so often if we are not writing it is not because we do not have time. Everyone has five minutes a day. But we let things get in the way. Often this is driven by fear. Let’s dig in and root out one of those and look for a moment at the fear of writing too much.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Oscar Wilde
I collect quotes and often return to the ones which speak to me. Expect to see more quotes here as I will be sharing them for my students.
Why does this one speak to me?
Because once upon a time, when I was a beginning writer, I thought there was only so much writing juice in me. I had a fear that if I wrote too much I would run dry. Like many fears, this was simply not true.
Fears are things that can get in the way of our writing.
To often we get in our own way, with many things, but especially with writing. When we don’t write, it becomes harder to write. When we do write, even for 5 minutes a day, it becomes easier to write. I have experienced this on both ends, the writing and the not writing, and know it to be true for me.
Everyone has five minutes for the things that are important to them. Often I ask my students if they got their five minutes in today.
Have you written today? What is holding you back today? Pick up that pen, fire up that computer or typewriter and begin. Even if you only have five minutes. Set the egg timer. Or the timer on your phone. Get going. It could be the best five minutes of your day.
Santa, if there’s one thing I want for Christmas more than anything, it’s someone to spend Christmas with, not as an afterthought invitation because they feel sorry for me, but someone who really wants me to be there.
Romance author Jenna Heart is headed to the mountains of East Tennessee for a December writer’s workshop. Since her mother passed after a long illness, Jenna has had one wish: she doesn’t want to spend Christmas alone. Meeting Nicolo Maldini, cover model and actor, could make more than Jenna’s Christmas wish come true. If Ember Morten, Nicolo’s ex girlfriend doesn’t do something crazy to stop Jenna and Nicolo from being together.
Find our more at http://debraparmley.com/
Why are Amazon reviews and ratings so important to authors?
These little gold stars and reviews are like gold for authors. Amazon reviews are vitally important to authors. Here’s why:
*25 reviews and Amazon starts in including the book in “also bought” and “you might like” lists to readers who might like to read it
*50 -70 reviews and Amazon will consider the book for spotlight positions and the newsletter.
Number of reviews may affect sales ranking and some websites won’t consider or promote your book unless you have a number of reviews on the page. Reviews help readers decide whether or not to buy you book so even a few reviews help, but if the book stays hidden in the mass of books on Amazon, readers may not see it to even be able to look and decide. With over 200,000 books on Amazon a good book can remain invisible for readers who would enjoy reading it, unless it garners enough reviews that Amazon will suggest the book to the reader.
Amazon’s system called A9 uses algorithms to place product rankings. An algorithm is a process of calculations by a computer. According to Amazon, more sales equals higher rankings. If the book is selling it is higher on the list. Verified purchase reviews count more toward the rankings of Amazon sales. You can still leave a review for a book you didn’t buy through Amazon. You can review anything on Amazon whether you purchased it there or not, if you have an account there.
Reviews with ‘likes’ count more toward rankings and algorithms. So while you are reading the reviews hit that ‘like” button. This will also help the good reviews rise to the top and the bad ones float to the bottom if there are no likes for the bad ones. It’s one way to counter the mean spirited reviewers who are out there. The ‘likes’ help the reviewers Amazon review stats and also helps the author with a higher-ranking review.
Amazon reviews are important! A review can be short. Anyone can write one in just five minutes. Writing a review is one of the biggest things you can do to help the author of the book you just enjoyed. So please, write a review!
Check out my Path to Publication story today!
Today I’m thrilled to have Debra Parmley on here, sharing her Path to Publication story. We’re both Historical Western Romance authors (she also writes in additional genres), so I’m happy she’s willing to share her story. Without further ado, here’s Debra…
First, thank you Christi for inviting me to share my path to publication and my stories here today.
My path to publication has been one roller coaster of a ride.
I’ve always wanted to be an author from the time I was in elementary school and reading books as fast as I could get my hands on them. I had written poetry in high school and short stories in college. But a novel seemed so large. I’d had one short story published in a horror anthology, More Monsters From Memphis and my story Vampire from Memphis had romance in it. I was already leaning toward romance.
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