31 March, 2017

"Cabover Cabaret": Behind the scenes of a marketing campaign

Afternoon, folks! First: apologies for the delay in this update, but it's a biggie, so I wanted it to be as informative as possible.

Recently a friend of mine asked what went into my marketing platforms, such as the one I did leading up to the release of Cabover Cabaret, so I thought I would transform our conversation into an informative "Behind the Scenes" look for your pleasure.

To begin with, I'll preface that I do most everything myself, so the financial cost for my marketing endeavors ultimately comes down to just my time. I'm the writer, artist, editor, layout editor, advertiser, promoter, so on and so forth. About the only thing I can't do myself is peer review, and for that I have wonderful connections via an online critiquing group that provides me the essential feedback I need to make my stories the best they can be.

First and foremost, though, I am my own agent. I'm responsible for setting everything up outside the actual writing in order to sell my product to the public. In this particular case, I had to set the deadline for myself a year in advance: I wanted to publish my next short story in February.

Plan ahead. Really far ahead.

13 March, 2017

Author Spotlight: CL Feindel

As part of my continuing series of spotlighting fellow authors, this month I'll be interviewing Christina "CL" Feindel.

Christina is the author of The Revenant, book one of a sci-fi series about Grayson Delamere, a mechanic living on the fringe of the Trisolar System, who makes her living aboard any ship that will have her. That is, until someone blackmails her into helping recover the ghost ship Revenant and rekindling the fires of rebellion against the all-powerful Federation. If Grayson wants to survive, she'll have to stay ahead of a corrupt government, her elusive blackmailer, and her own dark secrets.

To start us off, Christina, could you please tell us about your preferred tools of choice for writing?

Christina: I can only write on a laptop. My brain just rebels at having to use a desktop, tablet, or anything else. For this project, I started using Scrivener. I’m kind of a hyper-organized person, so I really love the tools a program like that offers. After using it for this, I can’t imagine going back to a typical word processor or, heaven forbid, a notepad like I used when I was in school.

I see, and do you aim for a set amount of words or pages per day?

Christina: I consider it a good day if I get at least 1,500 words on the page or, if I’m working on edits, get through a whole chapter (which is usually about 3,000 words). But most of the time, that doesn’t happen. I write when I can, as much as I can. I’ll get where I’m going eventually.

Interesting. Can you tell us a little about your views on social media marketing, and which platforms have worked best for you?

Christina: I used to work as a social media marketer for a bestselling non-fiction author, and I learned a lot from her. I don't believe you can have a successful campaign without social media anymore. Part of your success in pitching a book or a TV show or any other creative project these days lies in how big your audience already is. I think the thing that works best is just being active and available and honest. You’re building a community, not a sales funnel. People want to connect with you. Encourage that and you might just find successful sales along the way.

I agree! What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing?

Christina: I don’t have personal experience with both, but I’ve been on the sidelines of traditional publication. It would be nice to have that kind of support from start to finish, and the resources to create a high-quality product that gets widely distributed. But you still wind up doing most of your own marketing, which is probably the part of the process beginning authors need the most help with, so the main advantage of self-publishing is retaining a larger percentage of the profits for all of the hard, often uncomfortable work of advertising yourself.

Okay, final question for today, and this is the hard one. How do you relax?

Christina: I’m kind of a workaholic. I tend to feel a little guilty if I’m not working, writing, or getting some chore off my to-do list. I also feel really good when I’m accomplishing something (even if it’s just cleaning the bathtub). So I have to kind of force myself to slow down and appreciate just being still and enjoying the current moment. Reading is a great way to do that, and I also try to work in some yoga and meditation every day.

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Christina Feindel resides in central Texas with her multi-talented husband, Noah. While traversing academia, civil service, and chronic illness in early adulthood, she founded the whole-foods blog ACleanPlate.com and now works as a cook, photographer, and educator.

She pens fiction in her spare time, with a particular passion for character development and genre-blending. More info about her and her debut novel, The Revenant, can be found at her author website.

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Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.