Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Tag: book marketing

Book Marketing 101: Part Three

20160709_154446Though I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve discovered the value of doing readings while visiting in different locations. Usually, bookstores aren’t interested in having authors read at their venues unless that person has a following in the area. The conventional wisdom is that readings are more productive in areas where we have family, friends, or acquaintances. That might be true in some instances, but there are exceptions, particularly in small towns where there isn’t much cultural activity outside of the local bookstore.

Book Marketing 101 (Part 2)

campaign-creators-yktK2qaiVHI-unsplashIn my last blog, I promised to articulate what seemed to be the most helpful marketing tools in my next post. Here I am!

Book Marketing 101

art-2417013_1920We writers are innocents in many ways, especially regarding the selling side of the publishing business. As long as we can stay in front of our computers, engaged in the dream world of our fictions, we don’t have to think of how these narratives will find their readers. Now that three of my novels have been published, I’ve had to make the adjustment. It hasn’t been easy.

Blogging into Visibility

interaction-1233873_1920Fling!was published in 2015, my publisher told me to create a fan base. I don’t think he was referring to the kind of fan I’m used to, a mechanical object with rotating blades that whirl around and stir the air. In a way, though, I suppose the kind of fan my publisher was referring to can stir things up and call attention to our work.

Do Published Writers Need Media Kits & Sell Sheets?

social-media-1233873_1920Until a few months ago, I had no idea what a media kit or sell sheet was. They seemed like something only a publisher or publicist would need to create, not an author. In some cases, my assumption might be correct. But for those of us who are published by presses with limited marketing budgets, or if we are self-publishing, sell sheets and media kits are essential.

Book Marketing 101: Part Four

Though I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I recently did readings while spending a week at Sea Ranch, a coastal community in Mendocino about three hours from my home. The conventional wisdom is that readings are more productive in areas where we have family, friends, or acquaintances. That might be true in some instances, usually at bookstores. But there are exceptions. And that’s what this post is about.

I thought that while I was in the Sea Ranch area, I would try to book events so I could get a broader readership for my novel Fling! I first contacted the only bookstore in Gualala, a tiny town just a few miles from where we were renting a house. I was surprised at how enthusiastic the owner was about reserving a late Saturday afternoon slot during our week 20160709_160317in the area. He told me that the venue has a healthy clientele of mostly regulars but also of those visiting the coast. Since there isn’t much entertainment locally, many residents are eager to attend something out of the ordinary. The owner also recommended that I contact the Point Arena library, a half hour drive further up the coast. And he put me in touch with Peggy, the host of one of the local radio stations so she could interview me.

I followed up and was delighted when Julia at the library signed me up for the Sunday afternoon at the library series. She was also eager to offer her usual visitors an inspiring talk and/or reading. I had planned to frame my discussion of Fling! with a talk on “The Magic in Magical Realism.” Again, Point Arena is another small town whose inhabitants are hungry for enriching programs.

20160709_154446Each of these venues did a great job of advertising its event with flyers, notices on their websites, and postings in the local papers. I happened to pick up the Coastal Observer when I was there, eager to read the local news, and was amazed to find a quarter page write up about myself, something I didn’t expect.

While I was at Sea Ranch, KGUA, the public radio station, did a 25-minute interview with me that featured my upcoming readings and allowed me to give extensive info on myself and my work. I later learned there is another station in Gualala, KTDE, a commercial one, that also would have interviewed me if I’d contacted them, which I will do in the future. In addition, I discovered that authors should submit some sample questions beforehand to the station so the interviewer has material to work with.

This experience helped me to broaden my horizon for doing readings and giving talks. Intimate rural towns can be great resources. They often are hungry for the kind of events that big city residents take for granted.

What has your experience been in booking readings outside of the mainstream?

Book Marketing 101 (Part Two)

lily book passageIn my last blog, I promised to articulate what seemed to be the most helpful marketing tools in my next post. Here I am!

I researched extensively, and continue to do so, potential readers and reviewers for my novel Fling!. Reviews generate a buzz, especially if they are posted on major sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. It’s essential, then, to gather as many as we can. They encourage potential readers to take a chance on our books based on other readers’ experience. And it’s more readers that we want, right?

I also found it useful to generate interviews on other writers’ blogs. I did this in multiple ways. First, my press, Pen-L Publishing, has authors who were willing to work with me, doing blog exchanges. In addition, I found blogs that seemed to have good followings and suggested we exchange interviews or guest blog posts. This also generated some good connections.

I also paid Women on Writing (WOW) to manage a blog tour that included four reviews. It was worth it to me to spend this money on marketing, though the “tour” wasn’t as well managed as I’d hoped. I’m not sure that I connected with potential readers of my novel during the 12-day event. I was supposed to be available each day to respond to questions that could come from followers of these blogs. But, in reality, in most cases, I was the only one there, waiting for someone to ask me a question! Even the blogger was absent. The four reviews that bloggers posted on their websites were the best part of this deal. After some prodding, most were posted on Amazon, etc. Would I do it again? Not likely. I could probably do as well on my own by contacting potential bloggers and reviewers, but for those who don’t want to spend their time in that way, WOW might be the answer.

I have found Goodreads to be the best source in two ways. First, I have done two giveaways of a total of 20 books. While it’s costly to mail the novels, especially if you don’t designate US only (as I didn’t on my first giveaway, opening it to Canada and the UK, thinking it would give me a lily 2 book passagebigger readership range), it’s worth the expense, a tax write off. A number of people listed the novel as one they wanted to read. And some of them will write a review.

Goodreads ad campaign also has been productive. The book title and description reaches many people over a long period. I’ve been running mine since early July. So far I’ve only paid about $39.00 for my original $50 ad campaign, but I’ve reached innumerable potential readers. So in terms of pay off, the Goodreads ads seem to be a good investment.

Bookstores are only worthwhile if you have a large following in an area and can generate traffic. Otherwise, the percentage they want per book doesn’t make them a viable option. Also, several now charge authors for the honor of doing a reading in their facility. I just paid $100 for such an honor.

The message here? Take the time to do your homework and find the many resources there actually are out there before you give away too much of your hard-earned money. It pays off in the end.

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