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Make Your Own Luck – tips for indie authors

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As an indie author it’s important for word of my books to get out there. If I don’t go the extra mile to promote my novels, no one else will. So – how do I achieve this I hear you ask? 

I achieve this by accepting invitations to appear at book fairs, signings, author talks or library visits. I use these events to create blog posts and  promos which I disseminate via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and two retweeting groups I belong to. This could be viewed as casting my bread upon the water in the vain hope that the fish will bite. However, I find that getting my name out there in a variety of ways reaps dividends.

lizzie-lamb-new-email-signature-300pxHere are some of my top tips

There are many social media sites and they can be a real time suck, taking you away from your WIP. Experiment to find which ones work for you. I focus on: Facebook (personal, author page, groups) Twitter, Instagram and my website/blog. I also belong to many Facebook ‘groups’, it takes a little time to figure out which ones work get little or no traffic, so don’t be afraid to leave a group if you’re getting nothing from it. LIfe’s too short. 

Increase your social media presence

As a result of increasing my social media presence I have been invited to appear in Writers’ Magazine (blog tours – 2018), Writers Forum (my writing space – 2019) De Montfort University to lecture final year creative writing students, library visits, author talks and workshops. One word of warning – book sales are not always guaranteed so do check in advance that you will be paid for the talk, be offered petrol expenses and whether or not the venue will want 10% of your book sales. Yes, really (!)

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Narberth Book Fair – Wales – September 2019

Get out and about

I believe that my books deserve to be brought to the attention of the largest number of readers possible so I canvass different venues to see if they would like a visit from an indie author, or authors in the case of New Romantics Press. So far, I/we’ve appeared at Aspinalls of London, Waterstones Kensington High Street and hosted literary lunches at top Leicestershire venues to raise money for charity.  

Get organised

Keep your author bio, author photo, links etc up to date. Be organised, you don’t want to be hunting around for an excerpt of your novel when an outside agency approaches you. Invest in a mobile phone capable of taking decent photos and syncs with your computer.

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Join author groups where you can learn from others. I’ve been a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association since 2006 and co-organise the Leicester Chapter with June Kearns. What I’ve learned from other authors has been invaluable. I used to belong to local writing groups where members critiqued each other’s work. They didn’t work for me, but they might work for you.

Don’t be afraid to enter competitions, but choose wisely as they can be time suckage, too. Remember to publicise the good bits which you’re happy to share and project a positive image of yourself and your novels. 

Check out the great promotional apps out there: Canva, Ripl, Photolab Photofunia  – you have to stand out from the crowd. 

Once you’re published and have proven sales, join professional groups such as the Society of Authors. It might not do much to raise your profile in the short term but offers invaluable professional advice on contracts, tax matters. Using the #SOA tag on your profile identifies you as a serious writer.

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Carol Bevitt, Adrienne Vaughan, Lizzie Lamb, Marcia Holah, Caroline Bell-Foster, Marilyn Rodwell

Remember your fellow authors

Make friends, be generous to other writers but don’t expect them to always return the favour. Invite authors on to your blog, ‘like’ any blogs you read and (if time allows) leave a comment. Read and review their books (don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same for you). Retweet authors in your genre, like their posts on Instagram etc. A good time for this is via your mobile phone when you’re watching tv (!) Remember the USA doesn’t come on line until (roughly) 3pm.

Be ready for opportunities

Me and long-suffering husband

Over the past two years I’ve been offered an Amazon Prime Deal and an Amazon Kindle Deal in India. The former arrived via email when I was in John O’Groats on a research trip and I had to respond straight away. See what I mean about always having your phone with you, always being alert?!

I’m currently waiting to be accepted on the Women’s Institute and Rotaract circuit where I will talk about writing, travels in our caravan, I’ve just signed up to Kindlepreneur and downloaded software to hone my tags and categories more effectively and increase my novels’ visibility on Amazon. The learning never stops. 

AND FINALLY . . .

If I’m allowed a small boast (it’s my blog – right?) I’d love to share the article in WRITER’S FORUM where I talk about my writing space. Quite an achievement for an indie author. 

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So – good luck with all your enterprises. Don’t wait for luck to strike, go out and make it happen. And, if you see me on social media, do ‘like’ and ‘share’ my posts – I always pay it forward. 

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My Writerly Year 2019 #part two

The highlight of the year was publishing my fifth novel – Take Me, I’m Yours. For this one I abandoned Scotland and headed for Wisconsin where I spent a glorious five weeks a few summers ago. However, fear not, there is a Scottish connection as the hero – Logan MacFarlane and the heroine India-Jane Buchanan are of Scots descent – natch. You can read about it here. Within a few weeks it reached #1 in its genre –

If you’d like to read the first three chapters – follow this link – And if any readers think I’ve abandoned Scotland, read to the end of the blog for details of my next novel . . .

July was a busy month. Adrienne Vaughan and I arranged a Literary Lunch at the Belmont Hotel, Leicester which raised £300 for MIND. It was also a great chance to showcase our books and to thank people for supporting our writing. We are lucky to have such generous friends and readers.

It’s funny how good things happen when you least expect them. I was overwhelmed when Simon Whaley of Writers Magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to contribute to a piece he was writing on BLOG TOURS.  Having taken part in two blog tours in as many months I felt qualified to comment.

June saw Bongo Man and me heading for Scotland with our caravan for a month – writing, touring, kicking back. I don’t know what it is about Scotland but it feeds my soul and my imagination. We’ll be returning there this summer, too. This time, we’ll be staying on a site overlooking Castle Stalker which was the inspiration behind Girl in the Castle.

For me, writing is all about making friends and sharing my work with others. Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve made many friends who have gone on to become readers and reviewers of my novels. I never take their support for granted. On our way up to Scotland, by an amazing coincidence, one of my proofreaders was staying on the same campsite in Kendal so I was able to thank her in person for all her help. Later in the summer, on the way to Cornwall in July we were able to meet up again at Exeter Service Station where I gave her a signed copy of Take Me, I’m Yours. Who says writing isn’t romantic? LOL.

Here we are at Exeter Service Station, with a signed copy of TMIY

In March I attended the RONAs with La Diva, Isabella Tartaruga, who is always first to read the rough draft of my novels and give me honest feedback. I also met fabulous JILLY COOPER – cue fan girl moment. And, in case you’re wondering, Jilly is even lovelier than you could ever imagine.

If I was to choose an author whose books put me on the path to writing, it would have to be Jilly and books such as EMILY, IMOGEN etc. And who could fail to fall for her hero Rupert Campbell-Black in her bonkbuster(s) Polo, Ride and Jump?

We’re getting close to the beginning of the year and Burns Night, which we celebrated at our Danish neighbours’ house. Go figure. As for my obsession with Men in Kilts, I encourage my husband Dave to wear his as often as possible. Purely for inspiration you understand. Here he is on his way to the Burns Night supper, looking quite the part. For those who are wondering, we belong to clan LAMONT (pron: Lam’NT, not La Mont). It’s motto is: Ne Parcas Nec Spernas (Neither spare nor dispose). Not quite sure what that means . . . but I do know that I wouldn’t have achieved half of my success without Bongo Man by my side.

A Kilted Bongo Man
I’m sure I say this in my sleep!

I was lucky enough to be featured on other writers’/bloggers’ posts this year. Here’s a selection (including two blog tours ) if you want to take a look:

As for 2019, the events are stacking up
Carole Matthews Book Launch (February), States of Independence (March), Self publishing Conference (April), Deepings Lit Fest (May) RNA Conference (July), RNA York Tea (September), Narberth Book Fair (Wales), return to DMU to give talk on self-publishing. In addition, there’s monthly Belmont Belles meetings which I organise with mu oppo and great mate, June Kearns.

If you like superbly written #Hisfic, check out June’s Amazon page.

All that remains now is for me to wish you a healthy and happy 2019. I’m about to pick up the threads of the next novel which I started just before Christmas and to get stuck in. What is it about? I’ll let this tweet and the video do the talking –

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