Thursday, April 17, 2014

Using Social Media to Promote, Market and Sell Your Book

In a previous blog post, I recommended a three-pronged strategy for advertising, promoting, and marketing your book: 1) word of mouth, 2) social media, and 3) local selling. 

Word of mouth can be an effective way to jump-start sales of your new book.  But to keep the sales flowing and reach a larger audience you will need to tap into social media in all its varying platforms to build a following, keep sales flowing, and create a market for your next book.  

Here are some social media opportunities that can help promote your book(s) and you as an author.

Your author’s website – if you don’t already have one, get one.  You can set a website up for free using Wordpress, or you can hire someone to set it up for you. Be sure to include links to where your book(s) can be purchased

A Blog – a blog (like this one or my other, Musings of a MadCityWriter) is one way to keep in touch with potential fans. Don’t know what to blog about? Be creative…you’re a writer after all, aren’t you. 

Facebook –  you can set up a personal page or a dedicated author’s page…or both. Take a look at ways to effectively use Facebook to promote your book.

GooglePlus – is similar to Facebook.  It is very popular with many writers.  It’s worth checking out as an alternative to FB or in addition to it if you are addicted to the Internet.

GoodReads – the absolute must-go-to page for writers. People who love to read join Goodreads to get ideas for their next book to buy and to join communities of readers.  Writers join Goodread for the same reason as readers, but also to develop a presence for their book(s) and themselves as authors. 

Twitter – the jury is out as to whether you’ll get many sales by advertising on Twitter, but it can’t hurt. And if you are doing a free promotion on Kindle, it’s an absolute must for getting the word out.  There are also author support groups, such the Authors Social Media Support Group (ASMSG) that retweet members book blurbs. 

Pinterest – many writers maintain Pinterest pages. There are also some authors’ group pages you can get included on. And of course, the ideal is to have your book recommended by someone who pins it to their page.

LinkedIn – this is a social platform that many professionals use to connect with others both within their fields and outside. Many authors join LinkedIn as well, especially (but not exclusively) those who freelance in other areas of writing.

KindleBoards – if you’ve made your book available as an e-book on Amazon, you might want to join Kindleboards, a forum for all things Kindle. The two places on Kindeboards that authors frequent are "The Book Corner" and "The Writer’s Café" in the "Book Bazaar."  Kindleboards is a community with moderators and rules, so it’s a good idea to lurk for a while before getting your feet wet. You’ll get lots of advice on marketing and other things having to do with writing and book production. It’s a good place to go with questions and you can use the search box to see if your question has already been covered.  They also have a forum for giving your book exposure to people looking for new titles for their Kindle addiction.

 My Book Trailer
Chek out my book trailer!
YouTube – Book Trailers have become popular as a way to advertise your book. You can make your own trailer for free, or hire someone to do it for you. Once made, you can house your trailer on YouTube, and then use that url to embed into other social media platforms, such as your webpage and Facebook, or into emails. Some author’s support groups also feature links to their members’ book trailers.  

This is just a sampling of social media opportunities that you can take advantage of to help promote your book.  And the best part—they are free!

It takes time to maintain a social presence on the web, so if you haven't already, you’ll want to start by dabbling in one or two to get your feet wet and to see what works for you.

A Word of Caution: Social media can provide an awesome way to get your name and your book’s name in front of a large number of people. But it can also be a huge time suck—time that could and should be spent on writing your next book.  Because the thing that will do the most to sell your current book is to have a next book.  More on that later. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

How to Advertise, Promote and Market Your Book

Are you an independently published author?  Have you self-published your books—whether fiction or non-fiction, digital or print—through independent outlets such as Amazon, and Smashwords, and now you are trying to figure out how to get the word out and maybe sell a few copies (how about a couple hundred or a couple thousand or more)?

Or maybe you went with one of the print-on-demand hybrid publishers who now wants to charge you to advertise your book.  Or was your book published by a traditional small or mid-sized press, but their marketing budget for your book is incredibly small or non-existant?  

I think the one thing all writers have in common—regardless of how and with whom they publish their work—is the fervent wish that there was an active marketing division behind the book helping to get the word out, setting up book tours, and stocking bookstore shelves.

In the absence of a marketing team or even a publicist, a writer has no recourse but to do the work herself. And work it is.  Advertising and promoting, and ultimately selling lots of copies of your book, does not have to be expensive, but it does take work.

I recommend a three pronged strategy to publicizing your book: 1) word of mouth, 2) social media, and 3) local selling.

I’ll start here with word of mouth advertising to give your book that push out into the marketplace.  In future blog posts I’ll address social media and local selling. Word of mouth starts with your family, your friends, and your co-workers.     

Promote Your Book Using Email

Maybe you’ve already done this, but if not you should send an email to everyone you know announcing the publication of your book, whether it be digital or print (or both!).
  • Be sure to include a photo or graphic of your book cover in the email. 
  • Include a direct link to your book’s page on Amazon and other outlets that are selling your book. 
  • At the end of the email ask that the recipient forward your email to anyone they think might enjoy your book. 

Send your email announcements out in short batches (so they don’t go into people’s spam folders), and use different opening salutations for family, for friends, for work cohorts, etc.  

Create an Email Signature That Promotes Your Book

An email blast is a good marketing tactic when your book is first released, but you want to keep reminding people that you have a book available for sale long after those heady first days.  The easiest way to do that is to create a signature for your email that includes a thumbnail of the book cover and links to points of purchase. 

Check with your email's Help link for details on how to do this. Once set up, you can also include links to your author webpage, your blog, and your Facebook page (more about those when we get to social media).

Advertise Your Book With Bookmarks

Bookmarks are a great way to help people remember to buy your book. There are places on line like that are quite popular for creating and ordering bookmarks.  But I’m really cheap, so I made mine using MS Word, got them printed at Office Max during a sale, and hand-cut them. 

When you meet someone and have an opportunity to bring your book into the conversation, give them a bookmark that has your book cover and the Amazon url on it so they'll have a reminder to look for your book. 

You can leave bookmarks in strategically placed locations, such as the staff lounge at your workplace, or on give-away tables at events where you are promoting your book. 

Create a Newsletter and Collect Email Addresses

A short e-newsletter letting your family, friends and fans know when you’ll be participating in book events, doing book store appearances, or coming out with a new book is a great marketing tool. Have you won an award? Toot your horn!

Staying in touch with people who enjoy your work is a good thing. But don’t litter their in-boxes with daily announcements. Monthly check-ins is a better idea.  Unless, of course, something really big comes up. Then, by all means, get the word out.

How to build a list of people to send your newsletter to? Easy--wherever you go to promote, sell, or sign your books, be sure to have a page available for people to sign up with their email addresses.

Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to jumpstart sales of your book.  And you can continue that momentum via emailed newsletters.  But you’ll have to use other methods to keep the sales coming and to reach a larger audience.  That’s where social media and local selling come in. 

Watch for future blog posts for ideas on how to use social media and local selling to promote, market, and sell your books.  And leave a comment if you have other ideas or had good experiences promoting your book through word of mouth!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

10 Tips to Better Research for Novelists

Author and writing coach Christine DeSmet is an expert at doing research.  With a background in journalism she brings to her fiction writing that perfect combination of curiosity and know-how needed to conduct primary—or first hand, in-person—research. The kind of research that bring characters, place, and story alive.

Christine understands that many writers are intimidated by the thought of doing first person research and readily admits that writers can conduct the bulk of their research on the internet. But, she says, "the Internet is not the same as planting your feet on the actual soil of a place and visiting with local people, or sharing a laugh." 

If you are someone who shies away from doing first person research, check out these words of advice from someone who doesn't hesitate to let people know she's a novelist looking for information to give her books that authentic edge.

MCW:  You are a screenwriter, playwright, and novelist.  What role does research play in the fiction you create?

Christine:  Research creates my stories. I start out a story with a sketchy outline, and I know in general what the story will contain, but then after I do research I find many, many new angles and facts that change or deepen my plot, characters, and setting. There are also many facts that go into writing fiction; you have to get the facts right. My protagonist in First-Degree Fudge (Book 1, The Door County Fudge Shop Mystery Series) for example, enjoys chemistry and science, though she has no college degree in science; she’s just fascinated by what makes the world run. But to write about fudge in a scientific way, I interviewed the head of research and development at DB Infusions Chocolates in Madison, Wis., for example, and watched their process of making chocolates. I asked questions about how to handle the “crystals” that make up chocolate. That crystallization information became a clue in my mystery plot.

MCW:  What about the old adage, "Write what you know about?"

Christine:  Rubbish. Write about what fascinates you (Tip #1). Research is the lifeblood of writers. We’re explorers who set out constantly to find new worlds and discover new things so that we can bring back that new information to our readers and communities. When I started my series on fudge, I knew almost nothing about fudge except that I liked to eat it. I wasn’t sure there was all that much to learn about fudge. Boy was I wrong! And what fun it’s been to delve into its history, for example. It was popularized in this country in the 1880s when the women students of Vassar College thought the chocolate treat would do well at a fundraiser. Indeed, it did. Other colleges copied them, creating their own fudge recipes.

MCW:  Isn’t it possible to write an entire novel without ever doing any research?

Christine:  Yes, it is possible. Fiction has no rules. People leading interesting lives or who have interesting thoughts can sit down and write a novel just from what they know and that book can be successful.
MCW:  In the age of the Internet, can't writers find whatever they need to know on the World Wide Web?

Christine: They can usually get 75 percent of what they need, but then there’s that 25 percent of extra work you still need to do. Internet information is often wrong, so you have to verify everything you read there (Tip #2). We journalists and writers always know you want three credible sources for everything. What’s more, the Internet is not the same as planting your feet on the actual soil of a place and visiting with local people, or sharing a laugh. If I relied just on the Internet, I would have missed meeting and talking with wonderful people like Al and Theresa Alexander of Brussels, Wisconsin, who gave me an amazing tour and insider information about the historic Belgian church, St. Mary of the Snows, in Namur, a tiny village in Door County, Wisconsin. The Internet couldn’t show me all the hidden areas from the basement to the belfry of that church, which will come into play in my mystery series.

MCW:  When you do in-person research, how do you prepare for it?

Christine: I prepare a list of preliminary questions (Tip #3) of things I need to know based on my character’s profession, the plot, setting, and the crime. (I write mystery books.) I might have ten to twenty questions at first. I also do an Internet search on the person I’m going to interview (Tip #4), just in case something interesting pops up about them. I then scan the Internet for more general information about the subject matter, and look for books I might need at the library and bookstores. I also touch base with family or friends, just in case they come up with a question I might not have thought about. I focus on “Why” and “How” questions (Tip #5). I skip easy questions such as “What year was your church founded?” because I can find those facts in resources online. When I’m with a person in-person, I want to know “why” they do what they do and “why” it interests them and “how” they came to live where they do. Those “why/how” questions tend to yield a goldmine of information you don’t expect. I’m always attuned to letting the person surprise or shock me with their information.
MCW:  Do you let people you are talking with know that you are researching for a novel?  How do they react to that?

Christine: Yes, I’m always honest and upfront (Tip #6). They’re pleased that I take the time to do good research. There’s respect for you doing a professional job. I’ve found that once they find out I’m a writer they go overboard to point out other sources of information for me to pursue. A natural partnership develops with your interviewees.

MCW:  Do you just drop in on people, or do you set up appointments?

MCW:  I do both. I set up appointments (Tip #7), always, with experts or people who may have crucial facts or information for me and who are very busy. I always respect a person’s time. But of course I also take advantage of people who expect you to drop by (Tip #8), such as bartenders, store clerks, wait staff, hotel clerks, local cops, and so on. When working on my novel research, I made a point of stopping at out-of-the-way restaurants and bars in Door County that I knew the average tourist wouldn’t find or bother to visit. I talked with locals and listened to them talk to each other (Tip #9) about issues important to them in their daily lives in their own backyard. I also write down in a notepad whatever I see (Tip #10) in their office or environment, things such as fliers about local events, types of décor, the type of equipment or furniture they use, and anything else that’s there. I know exactly what color and kind of chair you sit on if you’re arrested in Door County and will be talking to your lawyer in jail!

MCW:  What is the most important thing writers should know about doing research for their book?

Christine:  Don’t be afraid to ask people your “why/how” questions. (Bonus Tip!) And no question is too dumb or insignificant; ask away! People love to be asked questions about what they do, where they live, and how they came to live there. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about your character and setting, too; people will feed you facts that will deepen what you write.

A writing teacher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Christine specializes in one-on-one coaching of writers and offers an online novel-writing course. Her first published novel, Spirit Lake, was an award-winning, best-selling novel for publisher Hard Shell Word Factory/Mundania Press. Also a short fiction writer, her humorous romantic mystery series set in Wisconsin appears in two volumes: Mischief in Moonstone and Men of Moonstone from Whiskey Creek Press as well as in several anthologies.

Christine recently landed a three-book deal with Penguin's New American Library/Obsidian imprint for her Door County Fudge Shop Mystery Series. First-Degree Fudge is her series debut.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tips For Designing a Book Cover from Artist Dianne Gardner

A writer creates worlds with words. An artist illuminates those worlds with images.  When done properly, the synergy of storytelling can be palpable.  And it's that synergy that draws young peoplefrom 9 to 90to the work of author/illustrator Dianne Lynn Gardner, creator of the Ian's Realm series. 

A saga in every sense of the word, the books of Ian’s RealmDeception Peak, The DragonShield, and the upcoming Rubies and Robbers—chronicle the coming of age story of Ian Wilson, a boy who follows his father through a portal into an alternate world where he is kidnapped by a tribe of dragon worshippers.

Dianne engages in extensive research for her books. She has sailed on a tall ship, walked a mile into a lava tube, and even constructed a yurt, all of which she discusses on her blog, illustrating her adventures as a writer with photos and videos. 

Dianne’s foray into novel writing began with the image of a dragon. "Once the dragon took form the story came alive in my mind," she said in a recent interview for my Musings of a MadCityWriter blog. "From then on I wore a footpath from my house to my studio painting and writing all in the same day."

Dianne is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to see the third book in her series through to completion.  As an incentive to induce contributors to back her work, she is offering the original oil paintings that were used for the first book Deception Peak, plus the cover illustrations for the four short stories in the A Tale of the Four Wizards series. There are also smaller level rewards such as eBook and print book packages and signed posters. The campaign ends April 13, 2013. 

Intrigued by her book covers, I engaged Dianne in a conversation about designing cover art.  She offers some practical advice for artists or even those looking to do their own covers. 

MCW:  If I am an artist--or I know an artist willing to do my cover--what do I need to know about format?  For instance should the cover be designed on a computer, or can the artwork be done in a different medium and later converted to digital? How did you do the artwork for your cover? 

DIANNE:  The artwork can be designed in any medium you like so long as it translates well (i.e. pencil sketches are hard to scan). The artist should, however be told of the size of the book so that they can plan their piece accordingly (square, rectangular vertical, rectangular horizontal etc). Some artists who will not be giving the end product will need to know the exact dimension of the book for their artwork.

I design both the image and the copy. For the image, I use oil paints. All my book illustrations are actually oil paintings. When the painting is completed I take a high-resolution photo and place them into my software program. A popular program to use is Photoshop, but I’m more skilled with InDesign. I switch between the two.

I think more important than knowing the technical aspect to designing a cover, since that will be the artist’s responsibility, the author needs to know how to communicate with an artist. Too often authors request that the artist tell the whole story on the cover of their book. Please, trust the artist. It’s what they study. We have a saying in the art world “Less is more”. I’ve had to convince more than one author that there’s no need to put the whole novel as a picture on the cover. Your cover should be simple create a mood  and lure your reader inside.

MCW: What is the most important thing a cover artist should know about image?

DIANNE:  If I can’t read the entire novel, I need some good visual passages from it and a synopsis. I would need to know what kind of world the story takes place in, if it’s fantasy, modern, countryside etc. I would want to know the author’s vision as well, and simplify that.

MCW:  What should a cover designer think about when planning title and author name?

DIANNE:  Font makes a big difference in the look of the cover. Because of that, again, the artist needs to know the mood, the genre, the target audience, and if the author has any specific requests. Researching some best selling cover designs in the book’s genre helps to make a decision on types of fonts to use. As far as placement, that comes with experimenting with me. But sequels should be consistent in both author name and placement as well as font.

MCW:  How important is the design of the back cover and spine?

DIANNE:  The appearance of the back cover is just as important as the front because potential readers will flip the book over and look at the blurb and any reviews. The design should be simple enough that it’s read easily—not too busy. It’s nice to have the design continue onto the back cover in some way. You’ll see how I did The Dragon Shield in the example. The spine also should be attractive and easily read.

MCW:  Is it possible to design a cover that works for both print and digital versions of a book? Are there differences between the two that the designer should know about?

DIANNE:  It’s very simple to design a cover that works for both. A digital version needs to be read as a thumbnail, so there needs to be an element of simplicity to it, a good thing to remember when making a larger rendition. The nice thing about digital covers is you don’t need the back design.

MCW:  Do you use, or are you familiar with, Photoshop or Gimp as a platform for designing covers?  Are there other software platforms that you know of?

DIANNE:  I use Photoshop, but I’m not as well versed with it as I am InDesign due to prior experience with the latter, so that’s the program I use. Often I’ll switch between the two because there are some things you can do with Photoshop that you can’t with InDesign. I’ve used Gimp before but not for designing book covers.

MCW:  What about using stock photos for cover art?  Any thoughts on that practice?

DIANNE:  Pay the price. As an artist I am an artist’s advocate. Photographers work hard creating their unique and beautiful images. Their equipment is expensive. Their return is minimal, just like writing. If you can’t afford to pay for your images, then learn to shoot your own.

MCW:  Once the design is completed, whether digitally or in another medium, what are the next steps toward preparing and uploading the design for use digitally? 

DIANNE:  Export to Jpeg and submit it for publication. I have a publisher so I don’t do my own uploading for publication.

MCW:  What about for paperback format for a POD publisher such as CreateSpace? Is there anything specific to uploading a cover to a POD publisher that a designer should be aware of?

DIANNE:  I believe Createspace has their own  specifications. If so, the author will need to provide a template to the artist. I usually send my covers to my publisher in a file they can manipulate and they do the rest.

MCW:  What, in your opinion, are the most common mistakes people make when designing covers?

DIANNE:  I see covers that show lack of creative ability all the time. Poor color harmony, the design doesn’t fit the book, the font doesn’t match the mood. Since your book cover is the first thing a reader is going to see it needs to be representative of your book. Make it count even if you have to pay someone who knows what they’re doing.

My thanks to Dianne for sharing her artistic insights with me and my readers.

Dianne Gardner lives and works in the Pacific Northwest.  DeceptionPeak and The Dragon Shield, along with her other published worked can be found on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Orangeberry Trick or Treat Book Tour

I am taking my first plunge into an online book promotion event for my book, On the Road to death's Door.  The promotion is being conducted by and is called The Orangeberry Trick or Treat Virtual Book Tour.

This particular event takes place from October 15 through November 15 and can be accessed at the Orangeberry Trick or Treat site if you want to see how one is organized or want to see which blogs are hosting author interviews (with a Halloween theme). You can also click the Orangberry button on the sidebar.

Forty-seven authors are included in this event promoting 51 books.  Each author will be making three blog stops to interact with readers. Each author has also contributed a small sum toward the purchase of a Kindle Fire to be raffled off to readers.  And several authors have contributed books to be used in the raffle as well.  Here is the button for the raffle. Feel free to sign up!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can check out the books involved on Amazon's Listmania and on GoodreadsListopia.

Wish me luck!  

If you are looking for some info on what a virtual book tour is or how to go about organizing one, check out these websites:

There are many, many online companies that will organize virtual book tours for a fee.  Here are three  to consider:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Age of Publishing Secrets Workshop

I am delighted and honored to be invited as a guest presenter in Bridget Birdsall's writing workshop titled: New Age of Publishing Secrets Revealed: Has Amazon Won?  The September 29th workshop is one of the many fine offerings by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Continuing Studies.

Bridget is an Associate Faculty member in the UW's Department of Continuing Studies specializing in writing programs.  She is also the author of the young adult novels Ordinary Angels, August Atlas, and Bringing Home Divine, as well as being a poet and an artist.  She and I were co-panelists earlier this summer at the wonderful Write By the LakeWriter's Workshop and Retreat.

Here is the blurb for the New Age of Publishing workshop:
This two-hour seminar is for all writers and curious readers interested in exploring the dramatically-evolving world of publishing.
 Gone are the days when a few giants guarded the literary gates. Today we live in a world of blogs, e-books, print-on-demand presses, indie presses, self-publishing and more. 
Join local authors Bridget Birdsall and Peggy Williams to learn why the landscape for writers has changed forever and plan for your future.

The date is Saturday, September 29, 2012.
The time is 1-3 pm.
The fee is just $25.

To register you can call 608-262-2451or register online, through the UW Dept. of Continuing Study's online catalog. (Course #7168)

The beautiful University of Wisconsin-Madison campus
Even if you are not interested in this workshop or if you see this blog post too late, if you live anywhere near Madison, WI you might want to check out the catalog for other classes, workshops, and learning opportunities.  

The UW Department of Continuing Studies offers awesome writing programs and classes in a lot of different learning areas. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Romance Writer Dave Thome Reflects on Self-Publishing

Dave Thome, author of the indie published Fast Lane made the decision to self-publish his romance novel last year, first with Amazon as an ebook for the Kindle then in paperback through CreateSpace.  Many people still think of self-publishing in terms of the vanity presses of old. Sure, those pay-to-get-your-book-printed businesses are still around. But Amazon has changed the game for writers who can’t or won’t sign a contract with a traditional brick and mortar publishing company.

Today’s self-published authors called themselves (okay, ourselves – I’m an indie author, too) "independently published" authors—or indie authors in the vernacular.  With the advent of the Kindle, the market opened for writers to, in many cased quite successfully, publish their work without an agent or publisher and without putting out any money upfront. Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple iBooks, and others quickly followed suit, creating even more venues for independently published digital books.

Then Amazon followed with CreateSpace, a publish-on-demand (POD) subsidiary that offered writers the same opportunity to publish their work in paperback, with no money up front, and a ready-made venue for sales: Amazon.  There are other POD publishers, for example LuLu and AuthorHouse.  But Amazon went a step further and worked deals to make their CreateSpace books easily available to any bookstore and library wishing to purchase through them. Of course, the writer has to do all the marketing, but then, often that is the case even with traditional publishing houses, particularly the smaller ones or if the writer is only considered “mid-list” in a bigger house.

So…the game has changed. And Dave Thome is right in the thick of it with Fast Lane.  During our e-interview, he touched on the subject of being an “indie-author.”

MCW: Talk about the pros and cons of being an independently published writer. 

DAVE: Even though I had scripts optioned, it was always necessary to hand off the ball and wait for other people to run with it. There was no choice. And querying book agents? Do those people ever respond to anyone? By self-publishing, I carry the ball all the way. I’m not necessarily getting rich right now, but I’m seeing results and can make adjustments in my marketing strategy and so on.

That said, marketing is a lot of work. It can take a long time to become known now that everyone seems to be self-publishing.

MCW: Would you go with a publishing house if the offer came?  Why or why not?

DAVE:  I know Karen McQuestion [author of The Long Way Home and A Scattered LIfeand she’s a self-publishing juggernaut. She has a publisher for print books, but she keeps the rights for online publishing.

That’s a very good way to go, I think, because formatting a print book was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done—and I’ve recovered from five knee operations, including a replacement, and I think I’d rather have another knee replacement before I try to format a print book again.

But a publisher will take care of all of that and market the book, too. I can get Fast Lane into local book stores on consignment, but I can’t get it onto the shelves at Wal-Mart.

MCW: What, in your view, is the biggest challenge to being an indie writer?

DAVE: Getting known is No. 1. No. 2 is getting enough material up for sale to help with No. 1. The wisdom now is that the more you have for sale, the better you do, and if no one’s interested in screenplays, that means I’ll have to turn mine into novellas. And if series do better than stand-alones, I’ll have to actually write the other two Fast Lane books.

Some people are churning out a book every month or two. I can’t do that. I refuse to do that. There’s no way I can maintain what is for me an acceptable level of quality at that pace. 

MCW: What kind of vibe are you getting regarding self-publishing when you attend events such as the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books?

DAVE: I was the only male who'd written a romance on the panel at the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books, but the panel was designed to address unusual romances. (The other panelists were a woman who'd written one from a male point of view and a woman who'd written a lesbian romance.) From what I understand, only about two percent of romances are written by men, and most of those are gay romances.

I didn't get much of a sense about the future of indie publishing at SEWI because it still focuses mostly on paper books and publishing the traditional way. But last year, the romance authors were cool toward anyone who'd self-published and urged authors not to self-publish, and I didn't experience that so much this year.

MCW:  What piece of advice would you give to writers, those trying to decide whether to go indie and those already self-published?

DAVE:  Self-publish. It’s the way of the future. Services are starting to appear that will help you with the detail work of publishing and marketing, taking over the former roles of agents and publishing houses.

Thank you, Dave!  And good luck with all your publishing, indie or otherwise.

Check out more of my interview with Dave at:

And read more about Dave’s experiences writing the romantic novel, Fast Lane, and about his relationship with readers of romance novels on his Man Writing a Romance blog