Wednesday, January 30, 2013

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 002: Write a Blog

Last time I talked about why being active on social media is important for writers. That's all well and good, but it won't benefit you a whole lot if you don't have anywhere to send people. Sure, you can give them links to your product pages on Amazon, B&N, etc., but that doesn't do much to build relationships or help them get to know and love you. And an "official" website is important--I'll write about that in the future--but a blog is even more important for staying connected with your potential readership. Why?

Well, people like content. People want to be informed and they want to be entertained. And if you're a writer, making regular blog posts will not only do that for your audience, it will help you hone your skills as well.

So what should you write about? The answer is fairly simple: anything. Be wise, be funny, be profound. Some posts completely unrelated to reading, writing, books, etc. are fine, but you do want to tailor the majority of posts to your audience. If they like science fiction, write about science fiction. Give your thoughts on books you've read, film adaptations of novels, writers to watch, etc. Keep readers up to date on your work in progress or give them insights into how you developed the books you already have out. Some writers post short stories to their blog or excerpts from their novels. I also like to do interviews with other writers and even open up my blog for guest posts from time to time.

Blogs are meant to be fluid. They're meant to be updated regularly. But don't write a blog post if you really don't have anything to write about. Remember, a blog is intended to get potential readers interested in your books by informing or entertaining them. If it does neither, they're likely to move on. I also personally feel it's a mistake to write too many highly-controversial blog posts. Making people uncomfortable or angry is never good when you want them to consider buying something from you.

And some people approach blogging like diary writing. In this day and age, it's become common for people in the public eye to share far too much information. I don't mind slice of life moments in blog posts at all, but understand when you've crossed the line from warmly conversational to hotly intimate. There are many times when it might feel good to share, get things off your chest, but that is what friends are for, not strangers on the internet.

I would also suggest making sure readers can easily link to your books from your blog. They may like what you've written, but if you don't have a prominent link, they're probably not going to search out your work on their own volition. Visual links are best, like the little banners I have in the sidebar to the right. You'll also see I have a "Connect" section so readers can seek me out on Facebook and Twitter as well as visit my "official" website. With everything you put out to the public, always give people an easy way to find you and your books. Your readers may like a good mystery, but not when the mystery is how to buy your novel.

Finally, you can give readers an easy way to stay connected. If you look again at my sidebar, you'll see that you can follow my blog via email. This means you'll get an email update every time I post something. Go ahead and enter your email address there so you can see how it works. :o)

Ultimately, your blog will be what you make of it. Don't waste readers' time and don't insult them. Make your blog a place they want to visit. Give them articles that will make them want to come back to see what you're up to. As a writer, you're trying to sell people on your written word. Let your blog reflect the care and attention you put into your books.

If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here.

You might also be interested in my new eBook, Building a Promotional Package: How to Prepare for Your Successful Book Launch. Details about it can be found here.

All the Best,
Michael K. Rose

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Benjamin X. Wretlind's Free eBook Experiment

Hello, all. If you haven't heard yet, my friend Benjamin X. Wretlind has made all his books semi-permanently free. What that means is that they are not just free for a few days, they are free for an extended period of time. How long? Who knows. Even Ben doesn't know. So I would suggest that you pick them up while you can.

Click here for links to his three books at all the major online stores. And just in case you're not convinced that they're worth the price, they come with my personal recommendation:
I honestly don't know how to write this review. I don't know what I can say about Castles that will be informative to the reader without exposing something that the reader really has to find out for him or herself. I can't tell you the emotions I felt while reading it because I felt all of them, often many of them at the same time. I can't even tell you what kind of a book this is: literary, horror, psychological, supernatural, allegorical, because it is all of those things and more.
But I suppose I can tell you what Castles isn't. It isn't a book you will be able to put down. It isn't a book you will be able to forget. And, most of all, it isn't a book that you will read without spending nearly as much time thinking about it as you spent reading it.
I suppose the best thing I can say, perhaps the only thing I should have said, is this: Castles is a work of true brilliance. If you read it you will not regret it. If you don't read it, know that you will be missing one of the great literary achievements of the 21st century. I know that sounds a bit much, but that it truly how I feel about this novel. If there is any justice in the literary world the name of Benjamin X. Wretlind will be spoken alongside those of Steinbeck and Hemingway as a truly great American novelist.
Every new work I read by Benjamin X. Wretlind solidifies in my mind an already rock solid belief: that he is one fantastic writer! With a skill on par with any of the great American novelists, Mr. Wretlind has penned a tale of such emotional and literary depth that it will haunt the reader long after the last page is turned. He has penned a tale filled with rage, sorrow, loss and just a little bit of hope. He has penned a tale that can only be described as a masterpiece. Do not miss this book. Do not miss any of Mr. Wretlind's work. He is truly a master of the written word.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 001: Get Active on Social Media

I was toying around with the idea of making a series of articles called "101 Self-Publishing Tips." I dutifully began compiling a list of tips, but after the first few dozen, I realized that a lot of them were not tips so much as thoughts, but still things that I felt were important to mention to those interested in self-publishing. Besides, I don't know if I am really the one to be giving people tips. That would imply I know what the hell I'm doing. Also note that these thoughts reflect my personal experiences. Your own experiences may differ.

So here, presented one at a time as they occur to me and as I have the time to write them, are my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing. They will be presented in no particular order, but I'll try to keep related thoughts flowing in a logical manner. I'll try to do two or three a week, but I'm not making any promises just now.

001: Get Active on Social Media

If you've found this blog, chances are you came across it on social media. Why is this important? Well, you now know my name, and if you look to the right of this page you know the titles of my books.  Even if someone who finds you the way you found me isn't initially inspired to buy your books, that name recognition builds valuable word-of-mouth potential. When a friend recommends a book, having heard of the author provides an addition "authority"--nebulous as it may be--and a reader is more likely to act on that perceived authority. Even if they're just scanning titles on Amazon, your book will stand out if the readers thinks, "Oh yeah, I've heard of him/her!"

Social social media is great for two things: getting your name out to the public and building relationships, both with other authors and potential readers.

Now, social media can either be a blast or a pain in the ass. It can either be valuable time spent marketing and networking, or it can be a black hole into which all your hopes and dreams are relentlessly sucked. But for a self-published (and even trad-published) author, it is an essential part of getting your books in front of eyes.

I am personally active on Twitter and Facebook.

With Twitter, you can do a lot of things in 140 characters: greet new followers, share jokes and random thoughts, compliment and congratulate other writers on their books, etc. Even so, I find the format annoyingly limited. It's difficult to have a true, relationship-building conversation on Twitter. But it's great for making connections that one can later pursue on Facebook or via email, and I have met some wonderful friends that way. Promoting your book on Twitter is important, but be sure you spend at least as much time posting things not so obviously self-serving. Triberr is a great program by which you can post links to others' blog posts and they in turn will post yours. It keeps your content varied and ensures that you're posting a lot of information that is not directly leading back to you. Just be sure to limit the number of groups (called Tribes) that you participate in, or Followers can get overwhelmed by your constant Tweeting. More on Triberr in a future post.

Facebook is great for building on the relationships you've formed on Twitter. Since you can get across a lot more information than you can on Twitter, it's also best for sharing quotes from reviews, updates about your releases, or even just sharing the things that are going on in your life. You can also make a "page" on Facebook for people to like if you don't want your private Facebook account to be public. This does, however, limit the flow of conversation as you won't see the posts of people who have liked your page; you can't engage with them by commenting on the things they post.

I've met some authors on Facebook or Twitter who had one but not the other. By not using both, you are unnecessarily limiting your potential reach. There are certainly other social media sites, but I recommend all self-published authors get active on these two, at the very least. 

There are also book-specific sites such as Goodreads. I'm not as active there as I could be, but just by having an account, I get tons of friend requests. As mentioned above, those are people who are learning my name and the titles of my books, and that has powerful potential. You can also announce events such as book giveaways, contests, new releases, personal appearances, etc. Even if you don't do a lot on Goodreads, I recommend keeping your account up to date by adding all new releases. It's just one more place for people to see your books.

If you enjoyed today's thoughts, look to the sidebar on the right and you can follow by email to receive notices when I have new posts and also join the site with Google Friend Connect. If you have additional thoughts or observations, I'd love to hear them! Just leave a comment below.

All the Best,
Michael K. Rose

Edit: If you would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here.

You might also be interested in my new eBook, Building a Promotional Package: How to Prepare for Your Successful Book Launch. Details about it can be found here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Aspiring Writers: Stop Aspiring!

I am writing this post for all you "aspiring" or "wannabe" writers out there. I see the phrase "aspiring writer" used by a lot of people who follow me on Twitter, and I know where you're coming from. I've been writing on and off for well over a decade now, but it wasn't until I stopped saying things like "I'd like to be a writer someday" or "I'd like to write a book someday" that I finally did it. It took an active change of perspective to go from "Oh, I have this idea" to "I wrote this book." I embraced the fact that I was a writer. No matter what else I did to earn a living, I was, and I will always be a writer. I had to claim the title before anything could happen. Now, just a little over a year later, I have two novels and a short story collection published and another novel out next month.

So if you call yourself an "aspiring writer," what do you mean by that? Do you mean you're an aspiring writer because you have a day job? Most non-bestsellers do. Do you mean you're aspiring because you haven't been published yet? So what? That doesn't mean all the work you've put into your writing doesn't count. So if you have the words "aspiring writer" or "wannabe writer" anywhere on your Twitter or Facebook profiles or on your blog, remove the offending adjective.

Being a writer does not mean you are successful. It does not mean you are published. It doesn't even mean you've ever finished a novel. Being a writer means that you have stories to tell and you are telling them. It means that you can't help but tell those stories. It means that you will finish that novel. It means you will hold a copy of it in your hands and know that it exists because of you. Don't let the word "aspiring" trick you into thinking that being a writer is something you will do in the future, that it is something that has not yet come to pass. Do it now. Be it now. You are a writer, and until you decide otherwise, nothing and no one can take that away from you.

Michael K. Rose

Release Announcement: SULLIVAN'S WRATH

Hello, all! I am very pleased to reveal the cover of my upcoming novel Sullivan's Wrath and announce the official release date: February 8, 2013. This is the long-awaited sequel to Sullivan's War. Like the first book in the series, this will be an action-packed, thought-provoking read that will take the story to places you never could have imagined.

Rick Sullivan, Frank Allen and Kate Alexander are all back, along with their pilot friend Dale Hammond and Eugene Brain, now the criminal overlord of Abilene! And the mysterious hyperspace entities will finally reveal their motives to Sullivan and Allen. But are they telling the truth? And what plans do they have for Earth?

Find out in Sullivan's Wrath! Meanwhile, get Sullivan's War as an eBook from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or order a signed print copy here. The final installment in the series, Sullivan's Watch, is due out this summer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prices Reduced on Signed Print Copies of SULLIVAN'S WAR and SHORT STORIES

Hello, all! I have a lot of stock of Sullivan's War and Short Stories which I'm trying to move so I can make room for copies of Chrysopteron and Sullivan's Wrath. I've therefore reduced the price on both books.

Signed print copies of Sullivan's War are now just $7.99 plus $4.99 S&H.
Signed print copies of Short Stories are now just $5.99 plus $4.99 S&H.
Get the Sullivan's War and Short Stories Signed Combo for $12.99, and pay just $4.99 S&H for both books!

You'll also get free swag (bookmarks, signed cards) with each purchase!

Michael K. Rose

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guest Post: The Future Has the Best Toys by M.H. Mead

Today, I am pleased to present this guest post by Margaret Yang and Harry R. Campion, writing together as M.H. Mead. Their novel Taking the Highway is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. More information can be found here.


The Future Has the Best Toys

The best part of science fiction for both of us is the cool new inventions. We love the toys. Specifically, we like the toys that end up having far-reaching, wide-angle effects that change society. Sometimes writers guess right and sometimes they guess wrong, but the thoughtful nature of the speculation is the heart of all science fiction. We love the tradition of playing “what if?” on a grand scale.

In our novels, we’ve written about everything from hyper-intelligent pets to murderous computer programs to brain chemicals that allow you to exercise while sleeping (we especially love that last one). But there’s one dream that we can’t let go of. It’s the thing that says future to readers everywhere, the thing that practically defines science fiction. We’re talking about the flying car.

Or maybe not. Without almost complete autopilot and navigation, our neighbors would probably wipe out half the population of Michigan. So we invented an intermediate and more reasonable step—smart highways.

In the near-future world of Taking the Highway, a series of interconnected artificial intelligences called Overdrive watches over Detroit’s highways. As cars take the onramp, the system is engaged and the silent electric cars are conducted to their destinations at a smooth and uninterrupted 160 kilometers an hour. Want to read? Go ahead and read. Want to catch up on your favorite program? Watch it. Need a nap? Take one. Overdrive will wake you up for your exit. People still drive while on surface streets, but on the highway, they are basically passengers.

Of course, none of this technology exists in a vacuum. The inventions themselves may be interesting, but their effect on society is fascinating. In Taking the Highway, Overdrive technology has a significant cost and comes with political compromises. Enforced carpooling is the law, and nobody can get on the highway with fewer than four people in the car. But what about carpools that come up short when a regular member is on vacation or sick? There’s one way for an incomplete carpool to get on the highway—hire a fourth.

These professional hitchhikers can be found near every highway entrance ramp. More than just a warm body, each fourth tries to outdo the others in looks and charm, since nobody wants a slob or a bore in his car. Fourths have become an accepted part of the commuting landscape. The city needs them. They need the work. It’s an easy way to earn some extra cash.

Or end up dead. Someone is killing fourths and the only one who can solve the murders is burnt-out homicide cop Andre LaCroix, who moonlights as a fourth himself. But as Andre looks into the murders, he finds disturbing links between the dead fourths, failures in the Overdrive system, and the sordid politics of Detroit.

Will Andre be able to solve the murders before becoming the next victim? He has to use his brains, his connections, and every single bit of high-tech equipment he has.

Thank goodness we’ve given him all the best toys.


About the authors: M.H. Mead is the shared pen name of Margaret Yang and Harry R. Campion. To learn more about the authors, read some of their stories, or share a great key lime pie recipe, please visit their website at

Saturday, January 5, 2013

CHRYSOPTERON Blog Tour Day 10: A Guest Post
at Hobbes End

The great folks over at Hobbes End Publishing have hosted me on their site for a guest post. The topic: "Will the Future Be Better than the Past?" Chrysopteron was also their eBook of the day. Be sure to check out the list of titles Hobbes End has available!

Also, Sullivan's War Books II and III are free from Friday, January 4 through Sunday, January 6 in Amazon's Kindle stores. Links below:

Sullivan's War: Book II - A City Without Walls

Sullivan's War: Book III - Edaline's Dawn
Amazon UK

Michael K. Rose

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CHRYSOPTERON Blog Tour Day 9: An Interview
by SB Knight

Horror author SB Knight has interviewed me about Chrysopteron. It is up on his blog today, so check it out here. I interviewed Mr. Knight back in October about his series The Blood Chronicles. Click here to give it a read.

I'd also like to mention that the Kindle versions of Sullivan's War and Short Stories have now been permanently reduced to just $2.99 each. Links below:

Sullivan's War: Amazon US, Amazon UK
Short StoriesAmazon US, Amazon UK

All the Best!
Michael K. Rose

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

CHRYSOPTERON Blog Tour Day 8: An Interview
by Tara S. Wood

Today, paranormal author Tara S. Wood has poster her interview with me over at her blog. Check it out here! Also be sure to have a look at Tara's books.

In other news, my Christmas sale is over. But if you didn't manage to get Sullivan's War and Short Stories, no worries! The price of each book has been permanently reduced to just $2.99. You can read about all my books and find links to purchase them over at my official website.

All the Best!
Michael K. Rose