February 7, 2013
I met Aoife on Book Blogs – a great website to network with other authors. Aoife is twenty-eight years of age. She lives in Kells, Co. Meath, a small town just outside Navan. She was raised in Navan but left with her family at the age of sixteen. She has always had a passion for writing but mostly poetry. This is her first time writing a novel. She studied Accountancy and qualified as an accountant technician. She worked in this profession for several years, but with the economic downturn she was made redundant. She now spends endless hours reading and writing. Read on to learn about her inspirations and her books.
Christine: Aoife, what have you published recently?
Aoife: My works so far:
Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy)
Four banished Angels,
A world created by the hands of God,
A Kingdom on its knees,
A secret protected for centuries,
And one mortal can save them all.
Step into Saskia.
City of Secrets (Part two of the Saskia Trilogy)
A war awaits her arrival,
A warrant for her arrest.
She must rise as a princess,
And Darkness shall fall.
But will their love survive this battle?
For Tristan and Sarajane?
Step back into Saskia.
The Rise of the Rightful Queen (Part three of the Saskia Trilogy)
Aoife’s Other works:
Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become a writer?
Aoife: I have always written but mostly poetry; it’s always been my way to deal with my emotions, no matter how big or small. Two years ago I lost two people I was close too. I had never lost anyone before, so I didn’t deal with it very well. One night I had a dream of a man and a woman on a horse, passing through a wall of fire. The dream lingered with me, as did my grief. So, instead of writing poetry, I started my story. My starting point was my dream and I worked my way from there. Eden Forest helped me once again deal with death and all that comes with it. So, in a way, I am very grateful for this story.
I always wondered why God created us and what was our purpose, but those questions are unanswered. So in my story I give you the answers for this world called Saskia. In the story, God creates a world parallel to ours for four fallen angels.
Death is something that I also question now, like why do we die? Is 60 to 90 years of life enough? Imagine having immortality…what would one do to gain it? And that’s where a lot of my plot lies. The greed for immortality, for powers that only God should wield, drives Saskia into war.
God decides to give one person all the powers that anyone could possess to banish evil before it destroys Saskia and Earth. This one person happens to be a young lady called Sarajane Anderson who lives in the mortal world (Earth) but is actually from Saskia.
Christine: Where can we find your published writing?
Aoife: I have my own website: www.aoifemariesheridan.com
It displays my work, links to where you can purchase my books, listen to my interviews, watch my book trailers, and more.
Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?
Aoife: I work full-time, so I write when I can, but always with pen and paper, never typing at first. I carry a pen and paper wherever I go and when an idea comes to mind I jot it down. Also, if I had any weird dreams (the ones that linger) I will keep them maybe for a different story. At present there are seven books I want to write. Since I started, I just can’t stop.
Christine: What types of writing do you do?
Aoife: My writing I would consider fantasy. I write about the impossible, of different worlds that have magic in them. I always feel this can’t be it. All of us on this little planet, floating in the galaxy…there has to be so much more; we just haven’t discovered it yet. Maybe in a couple hundred years people will look back and say, “They knew all along that there was more”. Well that’s what I like to think.
Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.
Queen Bellona – she was the most interesting to write about. Bellona is all that is bad in the world. She is a combination of people that I have crossed paths with in my life. But she does not represent one person alone. Through her, I could vent the injustice of people’s ways and display it.
Second would have to be Sarajane. She plays the main character. She is relatable as in she isn’t perfect. I created Sarajane with flaws, as we all have them. Mine can be that I am selfish, so that’s the flaw I gave Sarajane.
I am surrounded by very strong women in my life, and I am grateful for this. I take a lot of their personalities and place them in my characters, or something they might do, or even a facial expression. I love to watch people’s reactions as they talk to me. If they stumble on a line, they may chew their lip in an endearing way. I note it and file it away for later.
Christine: Do you find you “mentally edit” other writers’ works as you read them? Does doing this help you or bother you?
Aoife: Yes, which I absolutely hate. I am so much more aware now. It drives me spare. But in another way it makes me feel better that I am not the only one who makes mistakes. LOL.
Christine: What music do you listen to while writing?
Aoife: My favourite musician would have to be David Guetta , Titanium, and She Wolf. I wrote nearly the whole two books to these songs. I find the words empowering and a story is told even in the beats.
Christine: What do you eat while writing?
Aoife: O God, I am really bad; I have a serious sweet tooth. I do try and control it. Sometimes I do, but other times I fail. So I love sour cream Pringles. Yum. Cadbury’s cream eggs. Love the centre. After that, I love Sprite. These are my three enemies yet my favourite things ever (apart from writing and reading, of course).
Christine: Where can we find you on the web?
Thanks for joining us today, Aoife. Good luck with your future novels.
October 13, 2012
Posted in Blog Tours tagged author interview, authors, blog, blog post, blog tour, blog tour banner, blogger, bloggers, blogs, book, book blogs, book events, book review, communication, ebook, guest posts, marketing, networking, promoting, published, websites, writer's digest community, writing at 3:58 pm by Christine Rice
In part 2, I covered email communication with bloggers and how to maintain an effective “contacts” list in your email program. In today’s post, I will discuss: how to schedule blog tour posting dates with bloggers, how to keep track of the blogs and dates for the tour, how to network and market the start of the tour, how to begin the blog tour, and how to promote the blog tour.
The way that I scheduled posting dates for the tour, and had no conflicting dates where two people wanted the same date, was I started slowly by contacting a few bloggers at a time. I started with the bloggers I had contacted first in the very beginning and replied to their last email. (One thing I would have done differently, was to forward emails I sent that were not responded to, to the blogger they were intended for, when I needed to contact the blogger again, so that all emails would have been in one email thread and they could have seen my previous messages.) In the email, I told the blogger the date range of the tour and I let them choose the date they wanted. I received responses the same day, so I emailed a few more. I mostly had one email thread per blogger to keep the exchange organized.
I made a “blog tour list” that had each blogger’s name, blog URL, email address, type of blog post, ebook format they preferred, and the scheduled posting date. I turned the Word document to “landscape” and put one blogger on each line. As I scheduled the posting dates, I typed them on my blog tour list and highlighted them in yellow so that I could easily see what dates were taken.
Around that time, I published my book and sent out the ebook copies to the bloggers. I looked at my blog tour list to see what ebook format each blogger wanted, then I emailed the ebook and cover image to each of them using the email threads I already had going. I waited at least a week before I sent them any more emails, to give them a chance to read my book.
I began receiving interview questions from the bloggers who would be interviewing me on their blog. So I answered the interview questions, and after editing my answers, I emailed it back to them right away. I also wrote my guest posts. During this time (about one week), I did as much writing as I could, because I knew that once the tour started, I would be too busy running and promoting it to do any additional writing. Plus, I didn’t want to save anything for the last minute.
Then one week before the tour started, I began promoting it. I created events on Facebook, Book Blogs, and Goodreads. For the Book Blogs and Goodreads events, I posted a description of the tour and listed all of the blogs’ URLs and posting dates (with live links). For Facebook, I did not list the blogs’ URLs and posting dates in the description of the event; I only posted a compelling description of the tour to get people psyched up for it. I also published a blog post here (on my own blog) with a full description of the blog tour and a list of all of the blogs’ names and URLs. I tweeted about the tour too.
One other thing I did – I asked the leader of my Goodread’s group, “Writers and Readers,” if I could be involved in a Q&A discussion, which is when an author is spotlighted and readers ask them questions. The group leader just happened to be looking for authors for Q&As. So we scheduled my Q&A discussion for the first three days of my tour.
Just before the tour began, I emailed everyone a blog tour banner, which listed all of the blogs’ URLs that were on the tour and had my book cover design as the background. It is a good publicity method. I created the banner myself by uploading my cover design (before I had put the title, the subtitle, and my name on it) onto a PowerPoint slide and added the blog tour information. Not all bloggers are willing to post a banner on their blog, so I did not force them, but I asked them if they would and some did.
The night before the first blogger hosted me, I sent them an email to remind them to post. The email was easy-going, but well-written, and it included the posting date. Here’s an example:
Hi [blogger’s first name],
This is a reminder to post [your review/the interview] tomorrow [month/date]. I look forward to seeing your post!
(As you can see, it’s a very simple message, used just as a reminder, without sounding pushy.)
When I woke up and went on the computer the next day, I checked my blog tour list for that day’s blog URL. Then I went on the blog to see if the post was up (most of the time it was – thanks bloggers!). I then clicked on the title of the post to display just that one post. If the post had share icons, I shared it on Twitter, Google+, my Facebook page, LinkedIn, and Digg. Otherwise, I copied and pasted the URL on those websites manually. Then I went to my Facebook event page and pasted the URL in a comment, along with a compelling description of the blog post. I then pasted the URL into the “Post Your Blog Updates Here!” forum post in the “Blog Tour” group on Book Blogs. Then I created new blog posts on Book Blogs and the Writer’s Digest Community with the title being the same as the title of the blog post and put in quotation marks; a “teaser” in the body of the new blog post with a direct link to the actual post; and appropriate tags, such as: blog post, book review/author interview, blog tour, Christine Rice, and Freelance Writing Guide (my book for the tour).
After I shared the blogger’s post everywhere possible, I emailed them to thank them for their post and for participating in my blog tour. I told them that I shared their post everywhere so that they will get some extra hits to their blog. Then I put a line through the blogger’s information on my blog tour list to show that the blog post had been successfully published and I finished communication with the blogger.
The rest of the tour consisted of the same: sending “reminder emails” the night before the next blog stop, promoting the blog post, and sending “thank you” emails the day of the post (preferably right after sharing the post). I kept all the emails in my blog tour email folder until the tour was completely over. I still have my blog tour list in case I need the information in the future.
I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series about how to organize and run your own blog tour! I hope you will take the plunge and create your own blog tour. If you do, you will save money that would have been unnecessarily spent on a blog tour company, and you will have a memorable experience. Good luck!
October 6, 2012
In Part 1 I covered: how to begin organizing a blog tour by announcing your plans in various online locations, and how to find bloggers who would be willing to host you on their blogs. In part 2, I will discuss: what to write in emails to bloggers, how to maintain an effective “contacts list” in your email program, how to have effective exchanges with bloggers, and what to do when bloggers don’t respond to your emails.
Part 1 left off with contacting bloggers that you find on Book Blogs or on your list of followed blogs. Before I go into the new topics for today’s post, I want to mention that it is a good idea to follow the blogs of the bloggers you contact, because it is polite, and because you will be adding to your list of followed blogs which can be a helpful resource in the future. You can adjust your notification settings for the blogs you follow according to your preferences.
Now, on to how to compose and send emails to bloggers. I know it saves time to type up a standard email and send it to all the people you wish to contact, but you won’t get as many responses that way. It is more effective to write a custom email message for each blogger and to send the emails individually. The bloggers will really appreciate that you put in extra effort to speak to them individually and personally.
So when you find a blogger you wish to contact, you should first set them up as a “new contact” in your email program by adding their name, email address, and blog URL to the contact form. Before, during, and after your blog tour you should add notes to your blog tour contacts so that you will have a record of what your exchange was about. This is so if you delete their email in the future, which you probably will do eventually, you will know how you met and what your interaction was.
After adding the contact, open a new message and select their name from your contacts list. This is so they will see their name at the top of the email instead of their email address, which is more personal and effective.
Create a subject line that says: “Book review request,” “Author interview request,” “Giveaway request,” etc. Keep it short, simple, and direct so that it will avoid getting sent to the blogger’s spam folder. Compose the email message based on your instinctive feelings about the blogger and their blog, and what services they provide to authors. At minimum, you should do the following: introduce yourself, mention how you found them (e.g. I saw your post on Book Blogs that says you are looking for authors to interview…), explain briefly why you are contacting them and what your needs are (e.g. I am having a blog tour in November and I want to know if you would like to review my book/interview me/host my giveaway, etc.), state your book’s full title, provide a short description of your book if the genre or subject matter is not assumable by the title, state what you will offer them in return for their services (e.g. Free ebook in your choice of format), and include a “call to action” (e.g. Please contact me at your earliest convenience and let me know which ebook format you prefer). Each of these parts should be only one sentence long in order to keep the email short and more likely to elicit a response. Edit and proofread your email and then send it.
Create a new folder in your email program and title it “blog tour.” Move and keep all emails related to your blog tour in this folder until the blog tour is over. Next, you will just wait for the responses to come in. Don’t send a second email if you don’t hear from them on the first contact, because it likely means they are not interested. After you receive most of your responses, you can create a separate email folder for “no/no response” and put into it emails in which you didn’t receive a reply from the blogger (yet) or if the blogger said they are unable to host you (I did not have many of either of these).
Generally speaking, the best way to communicate with bloggers is by being professional, friendly, and assertive – all at the same time. You want to be professional, because you are a professional writer and a blog tour is a business exchange; you want to be friendly so that the bloggers will be more receptive to your emails; and you want to be assertive to get your needs (a successful blog tour) accomplished. (Maintain this style of communication before and during the blog tour.) Respond to your emails promptly, because there is no time to waste. Show your gratitude to the bloggers for agreeing to host you on their blog. Communicate with clear language so that your messages will be easily understood. Edit and proofread your messages before you send them to make sure they: follow the rules of your language, communicate your needs clearly, and are assertive and friendly. Think about all the information you need to provide the blogger and all the information you need from them in order to set up your blog tour. Then try to include as much information as possible in each email (without overwhelming the blogger or asking too many different questions) to keep the number of emails to a minimum. Each time you email someone, there is a chance they won’t respond, so the less emails there are (that effectively get your needs met), the better. Always end the email with a clear call to action if you need a response from them.
If you don’t get a reply from a blogger after they have already agreed to host you on their blog, you can send a followup email 3-7 days later if you need a response from them. No responses and having to follow-up makes setting up the blog tour take longer than when the blogger responds to every one of your emails promptly. This is the reason why a blog tour must be organized one month in advance. (Plus, it gives the bloggers time to read your book.) On the other hand, if you don’t need a response from the blogger at that time, wait until they contact you or until you need to send them another email.
In part 3, I will discuss how to schedule blog tour posting dates with bloggers, how to keep track of blogs and dates for your blog tour, how to network and market the start of your blog tour, and how to start the blog tour with a bang.
October 4, 2012
Posted in Blog Tours tagged author interviewer, author interviews, authors, blog, blog post, blog tour, bloggers, blogs, book, book blogs, book review, book reviewer, book reviews, books, community groups, freelance writing guide, giveaways, guest posts, indie author, nonfiction, promotion, readers, writers at 1:31 pm by Christine Rice
As most of you know, I recently finished up a month-long blog tour for my book, Freelance Writing Guide. I feel the blog tour was a success, because all of the bloggers posted on the correct days, there was effective communication between me and the bloggers, I made some valuable connections for the future, and it generally went smoothly and was easy to keep up with. Below I will share with you my tips on organizing and running your own blog tour.
For a month-long blog tour, you will need to start organizing it one month in advance.
I started announcing my blog tour around July 23rd (my blog tour started August 29th). I posted my announcement and my request for bloggers to participate on Facebook, Twitter, Writer’s Digest Community, LinkedIn, and here on my blog. Doing those posts was a good means of self-promotion, but it did not draw the interest of many bloggers who would participate in my blog tour. So I checked all of the blogs I had followed on WordPress by looking at my “reader” on the main WordPress page. I also checked the Blogger blogs I followed through Google Friend Connect (GFC) by going to a Google blog that I knew I followed and clicking on my profile picture in the list of followers; that brought up my GFC profile, which had a list of all the blogs I followed.
I checked out each of the blogs that seemed to be for writers or readers, to see if the blog owner was a book reviewer or an author interviewer. These types of bloggers usually have a page on their blogs that explains what types of books they review and/or their book review policy, what types of authors they host on their blog, and their contact information. If they reviewed nonfiction books or hosted nonfiction authors, I contacted them by sending them a message from their blog’s contact form (located on a page of their blog), or by emailing them if the email address was provided. I rarely came across bloggers that provided no means of contact. But if that was the case, I posted a comment on their “about me” page or on their most recent blog post.
I had not followed enough blogs in the past to acquire enough bloggers to host me, so I had to look at additional methods. In a comment to my blog post on here, Patty Apostolides kindly suggested I check out Book Blogs. I had never heard of the term “book blog” before, but I quickly learned what it meant. A book blog is a blog where the blog owner posts book reviews on their blog, and sometimes author interviews and giveaways. Book Blogs was where I found most of the bloggers for my blog tour. I will tell you how. After joining Book Blogs, the first thing I did was scroll through every one of their interest groups (currently there are 490) to find the ones that related to my purpose of acquiring bloggers who’d be interested in hosting me. Every time I saw a possible group to join, I wrote the name of the group down on a notepad. After I had gone through all of the groups, I separately typed the name of each of the groups I had on my notepad into the search bar on the group listing page to bring the group up. I reviewed each group a second time and joined the ones that were most compatible with my needs (to save time from joining groups that would not be very effective for my purpose). Some of the groups I joined were: Authors Needing Reviews and Interviews, Self-Published Book Reviews, Network Your Blog, Advertise Your Work, and Promote Your Books!. Network Your Blog was the most helpful, because it had the most members.
For the groups I joined, I looked through the forum posts, and used the search bar for the forums that had an overabundance of posts where it would take too long to look through them all. I commented on bloggers’ posts, who were looking to review books and host author interviews on their blogs, telling them about my book and asking if they would like to host me. I also provided my email address – since I did not follow all of the forum posts I commented on, because I ended up with a large amount of emails in my inbox from other people’s comments – because I would not get notifications for their posts. I clicked “stop following,” a link that is just below the main post on each forum post, if I did not want to get notified of followup comments.
Next, and this was the most proficient way to get in touch with bloggers, I went through every comment on the Network Your Blog forum post entitled “Bloggers Seeking Authors, Guest Posts, Giveaways, Or?”. That post was 27 pages long when I got to it, but it was more efficient to look through that one post with hundreds of bloggers on it, than to search for bloggers on individual posts. So I started from the last page that had the most recent dates and worked my way to page one, by reading each comment and looking into the bloggers’ blogs to see if they were compatible with me and my book (indie author of nonfiction book). Then I contacted them – not by replying to their comment on the forum post, because they probably unfollowed the post like I did, but by finding their email address on their blog (sometimes it was in their forum post comment) or (second best) by using their blog’s contact form.
In part 2, I will talk about what to write in emails to bloggers, how to maintain an effective “contacts” list in your email program, how to maintain an effective exchange with bloggers, what to do when bloggers don’t respond to your emails, and how to schedule the bloggers’ posting dates for the blog tour.
August 6, 2012
Posted in Books, Editing, Publishing, Reading tagged author bio, author interviews, blog tour, book blogs, book review, book reviews, books, chapters, editing, edits, excerpt, freelance writing guide, guest posts, publishing, reading at 7:29 am by Christine Rice
It’s been almost a week since my last post. The blog tour is currently being assembled. I spent a lot of time on Book Blogs trying to gain tour participants. Thanks to everyone who is participating! I really appreciate your generosity. I’ll be writing at least a couple of guest posts, there are eleven book reviews and seven interviews set up so far, plus one author bio and one excerpt for good measure. It’s going to be exciting! I can’t wait! If you’re scheduled to be on my blog tour, please email me with the date you want to reserve during the first three weeks of September (if you haven’t already). I will also be sending out a reminder email at the end of this week.
Freelance Writing Guide is coming along great! I am impressed by how it is turning out with the edits. I have finalized 7 out of 22 chapters, and I’m almost halfway through page-wise. I’m working on getting it all finalized by mid-month (middle of next week!).
I’ve also been reading a lot! I’m trying to keep up with my 3 books a month review schedule, while also editing and publishing my book. I have not overwhelmed myself too much this month. I had to decline some opportunities so that I will not have a nervous breakdown from it all ;)
I’m reading The Zul Enigma. I will be posting a review, probably sooner than later, since it is such a great book and I’m flying through the 500+ pages. I find it hard not to talk about the books I’m reading when they are really good. I love this one, because it is science-fiction and has a positive message and an adventuresome plot. It is definitely a page-turner!
Well, that’s about it. I hope you all have a great week!
July 30, 2012
Posted in Books, Editing, Lulu, Publishing, Reading, Self-Publishing tagged author interviews, authors, blog tour, bloggers, blogs, book blogs, book cover, book reviews, books, ebook, editing, formatting, freelance writing guide, giveaways, paperback, publication, publishers, publishing, reading, revision, second editions, self-publishing at 11:00 pm by Christine Rice
I recently joined Book Blogs – an interactive, lively community for bloggers and authors. On the website, bloggers get the benefit of promoting their blogs, gaining followers to their blogs, and finding authors to host on their blogs. Mostly, the bloggers have “book blogs,” which means they publish book reviews, giveaways, and author interviews on their blogs. While, authors can promote their books and find bloggers to host them. During my short time there so far, I have been using the website for both purposes, since my blog is part book blog and I’m an author.
I have also been organizing my blog tour. Getting a blog tour together is a lot of work! I have found a few people that will be reviewing my book (thank you!); plus others that will be reviewing my other books, which is wonderful. I am still waiting to hear back from other bloggers I have contacted about my September blog tour, so I’m hoping for more opportunities. If you would like to host me on your blog in September, I can provide a complementary ebook copy of my book, Freelance Writing Guide, for a review or an interview. I’m really looking forward to the blog tour and the publication of my book.
In fact, I will be starting the second (and final) revision this week. It looks like mid-August is when I’ll be creating the cover and formatting the book for publication in various formats. It will be available in paperback and ebook from Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Smashwords (who also distributes to various retailers). The ebook will be available before the paperback, since I have to approve the paperback’s proof copy, which Lulu will be sending to me to review (and as you may know, shipping a product takes some time compared to electronic transactions).
It may sound easy to self-publish a book, but it’s very time consuming. The last time I self-published (in January of this year), I came out with second editions of three books, and I worked on the publication for days. Hopefully, this time will be a little easier, because I will only be publishing one book and I’ll be familiar with the formatting guidelines for the different publishers from last time (I will have to create multiple versions of my book, one for each publisher, because each publisher has their own formatting guidelines).
But, that is still weeks away! For now I will be taking care of blog tour communications and reading, as well as my other normal online activities. Starting Thursday, I will be focusing on reading, editing, and posting updates on my progress. Lots to do!