Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pippa's Journal - 7/1/12

Happy 1st July! Um, yes, I know the 4th is the US celebration of Independence. I was due to post then but Laurie generously offered a swap as I have news! Of course we don't celebrate the 4th of July in the UK, but I'd like to wish all my US friends and fellow authors a very happy Independence Day for Wednesday. Today I have a special announcement and reason of my own to celebrate...

On the 1st July I learned that Keir has made it as a finalist in the Readers Favorite Contest Awards. Woo hoo! This is my first literary contest. It means Keir will at least score an Honorable Mention when the winners are announced in September. Maybe more. You can check it out here under the Romance - Fantasy/Scifi category waaaay down the page after the non-fiction categories. And my publisher posted the news on their blog too here. As someone who has never done contests of any kind and with Keir being my debut novel, I'm stunned and proud to see my title reach the top five for its category. :D

In the past month, I've learned two things. Actually, I've learned a lot more than that, but these are two that I'd like to pass on to authors, aspiring and published.  One, blog hops are a great way to get your name out and gain followers. Since the start of the year, I've taken part in four (one of which I organized), and one blogging event where several authors posted over a day on one blog. In all cases I've gained new followers on my blog, and often new followers on Twitter and my Facebook page. For two of them, I didn't even have a book out. Of course, most people visiting are interested in the prizes on offer. I'll freely admit to that myself. But I think it follows that same principle of having to show your toddler a new food ten times or more to persuade them to eat it. I notice books more if I've seen their cover or title a time or three on Twitter. They stick. If I'm seeing good reviews, or a recommendation by a friend, or an interesting blurb, I'm more likely to pick that book up. People coming to the blog have commented on the cover or expressed an interest in the excerpts and blurb, something that always gives me a warm feeling. How many of them will buy it, I don't know, but getting potential readers to even look at your book can be a struggle, especially if you're a new, unknown author without any PR support to back up your promotion. So I'm grateful for the people who stop by, and who like the cover and the blurb. Maybe they'll come back. Maybe they'll tell a friend or two. :)

Two, requests to reviewers need to be researched and as skillfully constructed as queries and submissions. I'm not the kind of person who sends out form letters - ever! I've received them once or twice, and it drives me insane. From what I've seen on Twitter, it also drives other reviewers, publishers, agents and authors crazy. Don't do it! Research your reviewer as carefully as you would anyone else you'd submit to. Check out what they liked and didn't like in your genre. That way you can get an idea if your book would be accepted and/or receive a favourable review. And don't mass email a load with the same letter. Most reviewers have a review policy of some description on their blog. Read it. Read it again. Make sure your query fits what they're asking for. Some will want a huge amount of detail beyond the basic 'title, genre, author, word count, format' etc. Many have a backlog that may mean them taking up to a year (a figure quoted by one of the reviewers on my list) to get to your review. Treat them with respect. You really don't want to annoy you?

I've sent requests to eight reviewers in the last month. (BTW, my publisher submitted to 32 on my behalf, and out of those I've so far received one review. That's fairly average, FYI). Out of those I've received three acceptances and one post as a featured author (but no guarantee of a review there). One author interview also resulted in me being offered a review. Keir had a handful of independent reviews at the time of release, which was encouraging, but I intend to carry on submitting requests for more. Every review will raise my book's profile a fraction. And frankly there's nothing that encourages me with the sequel more than hearing people enjoyed the first book. :)

I'm currently a featured author over at Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews (not, I hasten to add, my Spacefreighters co-blogger Laurie Green) with an ebook copy of Keir up for grabs, open until the 21st July. You can also find out about my near-death experience and my childhood ambition to be a Jedi Knight.

Blog Hops - if you like the idea of taking part in blog hops (you DO need a blog to take part, but you don't need to be an author, published or otherwise) or you're interested in knowing when some are on and want a chance at some cool prizes, you can sign up to Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog Hop page here on Facebook. Carrie Ann hosts them regularly, and I'm pleased to have taken part in three so far this year, with a fourth at the end of August.
If you're into dragons and dragon-related artwork, I found this page on Facebook - Dragons of the Fantasy World.

On Thursday I have a guest post and giveaway with Diane Dooley for her latest release Mako's Bounty on my blog here. She'll be discussing Birth Control of the Future! Entries for the EPIC Ebook Awards also opened on the 1st June and close on the 15th July. Following Keir's success as a finalist, I'll be entering it there too.

Ping Pong
Donna - can't wait to read what you and Heather came up with over your time together. And I hope you and Laurie enjoy the Conference. Go Firebirds!


  1. Interesting thoughts on blog hops. I agree it worked well (the SFR Brigade one). Better, I felt, than a blog tour. Good luck with Keir and congratulations

  2. Thanks, Greta.
    I think group events have more of an impact than a solitary tour or giveaway.

  3. Congrats again on Keir's final! I'll be rooting for you!

    And that's some great advice on seeking reviews. Not something I've given a lot of thought to yet, and something very valuable to file away for the future.

    Great post.

  4. Thanks, Laurie. I won't know until September, but being a finalist feels pretty darn good. :)

    What amazes me is some of the requests I've received myself, even though I don't generally take reviews. Some don't even manage to be polite, let alone show that the person asking knows anything about me or my site. Seeking reviews is pretty nerve-racking, but aiming for those reviewers that rate similar books highly seems good sense.

  5. Congrats on your book. That is so awesome. I love blog hops. I have found so many new authors and books. And yes I love the prizes they are a plus but; I really like interacting with the authors. It's fun to get to know them and what they are doing. I do usually try to join their blog,email, FB, or Twitter pages just to show my appreciation.
    Sue B

  6. Thanks, Sue!
    I'm glad you enjoy the hops. I know some authors ask people to follow as part of the entry into prize draws - I'm always touched when people choose to do it themselves. :)

  7. Good luck in the contest, Pippa. Well done on getting so far. Never again - are my words on contests - that's just me. I can't stand the stress. (or losing LOL)

  8. Congrats, Pippa! Contesting must be so much more nerve-wracking with a published book--after all, it's done, isn't it! But this is great--you've made the Top Five, at least! Good luck as you hit the final round!

  9. Thanks Barbara! I'm still quite shocked to have finaled so who knows - I might not take to losing too well either. :-P
    Thanks Donna! Actually, that's an interesting (and unnerving!) point. I looked at it as 'well, at least it's all been edited and polished for publication already'. I don't think I'd have been brave enough to enter something that hadn't. But writing is so subjective - there's no telling what will do well and what won't.


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