MASTER Update – 9/17 – Ellie Augsburger

rainy car crash

Ellie Augsburger, award winning cover artist, has agreed to design my cover for Master. I’m pumped! She is responsible for the following masterpieces:

augsburger cover augsburger 2 augsburger 3

We have agreed to give the cover a Gillian Flynn inspired tone – dark background, police sirens, ominous symbols and a strong, powerful title font. It’d be pretty sweet if it comes out looking anything like this:

gone girl 2

However, I’m sure anything Ellie does will be an improvement from my original cover for A New Kingdom:

dear... god

Anyway, recently I posted about how determined I was to establish a greater social media presence. I’m happy to say I’ve stuck with that goal, and am beginning to reap baby benefits. For one thing, my various websites are all the top five links provided when you enter my name in a google search engine (along with a scathing review of A New Kingdom – a sci-fi novel I wrote 6 years ago. Relax, I’m better now).

I knew an app developer, and I remember he advised me that the more webpages you have linking to one particular site, the more traffic will flood to that one site. I truly believe that now – I’ve witnessed it firsthand.

Twitter, btw, is awesome – it gives you the chance to connect with other authors, agents, and publishers. Snag an agent or two, you might just be able to establish one of those mythical social-media-networking things people tell tall-tales about. Another advantage, you can hook up your twitter account with your wordpress blog, that way anything you post on here will automatically have a link provided to your twitter followers. For real though – tweet central is worth checking out.

Goodreads though? That’s another story (pardon the pun). I’ve linked my goodreads blog with my wordpress blog, but every post on there comes out looking like shit. I’m having trouble making friends, because I don’t read half as much fiction as I write. And God knows for every one person who likes to read, there’s four-or-five maniacal writers already fighting to shove their books down his/her throat.

Other than that, I’m happy to know a few people are actually reading my short stories. I’m pleased with the first 3 parts to ‘Donald and Thurma’, but the fourth I had to write twice, and even the second try could use some improvement. The first attempt no longer exists (it will hereby be known as FAIL, and I would burn it in an instant if that didn’t mean torching my laptop).

I’m determined to deliver content that is entertaining through these short stories. I want to be the best writer I can be, so the more honest feedback you can give me in the comment section, the better. This means when you finish a story and are left with a feeling of ‘what the?’, I would be honored to have you write exactly that in the comment box, and for as many times as it takes for me to figure it out.

Keep keepin’ it real homies.

  • Thomas M. Watt

Social Media and #Pitmad Update

man lost

Let me start out by saying I’m grateful to be here.

No, seriously. I’ve spent the last few hours fumbling my way through twitter, goodreads, and a few cover design pages. My last post outlined five goals for promoting my book. I’m happy to say I can check off all of them.

The big #pitmad event was today. Much thanks to Zara Kramer with Pandamoon Publishing for favoriting my pitch for Master, I look forward to querying you shortly.

Anyway, contacting potential cover artists was a piece of cake. I’m not too particular – if the portfolio looks professional, I’m in.

After that I logged some hours on goodreads. God I’m lost there. I posted in three different discussion threads, then updated my page with a worthless post. If you like laughing at clueless people, scroll down and read the comment that begins with “waddup goodreaders.” I don’t even know how to link directly to the post, but here’s one for my profile page. I’m sure all 1 of my goodreads friends can’t wait to check it out.

One of the big highlights of my day was having a few of my tweets retweeted. By some mega-twitter accounts and highly established authors, mind you – Carole Gill, J. H. Moncrief, and Charity Parkerson. Apparently they liked what I had to say. Or maybe they just thought my hopeless twitter account would give their hordes of followers a good chuckle. I really want to thank them properly, but I’m not yet educated about twitter etiquette. Do I say: Thanks for retweeting! @twitternamehere(?)

Please answer if you know how to solve this dilemma. I signed up to follow these word-weaving powerhouses, but feel obliged to properly express my gratitude.

Happy #pitmad day everyone.

  • Thomas M. Watt

First 5 steps to book marketing & MASTER Update – 9/9

indiana jones

Contrary to amateur belief, it’s most beneficial for an author to market their work before it is published. This way, potential readers will have something to look forward to, much like the opening weekend of a new blockbuster movie. That’s why we see trailers for movies that aren’t going to appear in theaters until much later; to generate some hype and anticipation.

If you’re like me, promoting your work is alien to your nature and feels like an insult to art (I am trapped by this deep-seeded ideal that beauty should be recognized the moment it is seen, and is apparent enough in itself that it should never have to be pointed out to anyone. Then I remind myself that Van Gogh never sold a painting).

Fortunately, the world wide web holds an endless bounty of information, and enough google searches will get you off the sidewalk and onto the main road. I owe a lot to Benjamin Myatt, author of the High Moon Rising series for pointing me in the right direction. His books have been downloaded several hundred times over. He recommended I check out this link, which led me to a free, downloadable PDF file that includes a checklist of the most effective ways to promote my book.

Now that I have a plan for marketing Master, I feel much better about my future as an independent author. It’s hard for any artist to accept, but nobody is going to buzz your doorbell to ask if you’re the next big thing. You’ve got to bang knuckles door-to-door and say, “Here I am.”

Below is my list of things to do today in order to get the ball rolling in the marketing department. Follow along if you’re in the beginning stages of promoting your work.

1.) Contact three potential cover artists (whose portfolios include covers for psychological thrillers)

2.) Create a list of keywords that describe ‘Master’, seek out blogs that express interest in those keywords

3.) Involve myself in an online forum without being called an idiot, getting booted, or giving out my address to someone who wants to help me receive an assault and battery charge.

4.) Figure out how Goodreads works (What’s this place for? Am I supposed to log-in when I read a book, then log-out when I’m done?)

5.) Figure out how to get more twitter followers.

* One final note, tomorrow (9/10/15) there is a #pitmad event on twitter that allows you to pitch your story to tons of literary agents. (write your logline in 140 characters or less and use the hashtag #pitmad). I plan on entering Master, and suggest you enter whatever story you’re currently working on.

  • Thomas M. Watt

“Master” and Social Media – 9/6

PART_1441565706467_20150816_135846

Waddup, waddup.

I’ve been busy the last few days setting up a twitter and goodreads account. Well, not really. Setting up the accounts were easy – it’s figuring out what I’m supposed to do with them that has been giving me trouble.

My introduction to social media was myspace, but that was all about adding friends. I don’t even have a personal facebook account, and until two weeks ago ‘flippy’ was the only phone I felt comfortable using.

flip phone

  • That’s flippy.

Anyway, I’m in the midst of a social media push, tweeting like a madman about meaningful things… When you use a hashtag, are you supposed to press the pound sign (#), or is there a special hashtag button I’m unaware of?

Goodreads is another story. It looks like I can host a blog there, similar to wordpress. I tried taking one of their quizzes, thinking it would help me find friends or gain followers. Three hours into it, I noticed the quiz was titled “Never Ending Quiz.” I stopped taking it right then and there. I didn’t even get a good enough score for book worms to let me into their prestigious reading clubs.

I’ve got five beta readers working on ‘Master’ right now, and they’ve been overwhelmingly positive and excited about the material in their responses. That’s huge for me, because for the first time in my life I can honestly say I have a product that’s entertaining, thought-provoking, and ‘hard to put down’. It may not sound like much, but until you’ve put your own work under the spotlight, you have no idea how difficult writing entertaining fiction can be. #wordpressed

  • Thomas M. Watt

Social Media and Flippy

Along with the importance clothing your book with an enticing cover, it has come to my attention that another necessary step along the path to literary success is social media. You can credit Ashlee Willis, author of the well-known fantasy novel “The Word Changers,” for bringing this to my attention.

Unfortunately for me, I hate social media.

I pretty much loath electronic communication in general – for proof, here’s a picture of my phone:

flip phone

That’s right, I own a flip phone. Let me take it a step further – I paid fifty dollars more to get that hunk of junk than I would have had to pay for an Iphone. Why?

1. My last touch screen phone pocket-dialed every time I put it in my pocket.

2. Sending a text on that thing takes 5-10 minutes. Why is that a good thing? I’m an impulsive person. Impulsive people say things they regret later on… often.

3. No internet or games. Why is that a good thing? Because when you’re goal is to make a living as an indie author, you’ve pretty much signed a contract that stipulates any wasted time will result in ‘insufficient funds’.

Though I personally have no problem with flippy, the opinions of others have gotten to me. For one thing, even when I manage to get a girl’s digits, every time I whip out flippy they look at me like, “Oh… you’re poor.” Not to mention technological progress is inevitable, and if you don’t get with the times you’ll get run-over by them.

So back to social media – What can you expect to find me doing on my new Thomas M. Watt twitter, facebook, goodreads, and google + pages? Well I’ll tell you – I have no idea. Probably doing my best not to send out updates like “I hate facebook” or post tweets like “f’ twitter.”

One thing I’ve noticed, successful people are quite often positive people. I guess that means I should post things like “Way of the world, coming soon!!!”

Because an exclamation mark is a sure sign that your product is something that will make your customers happy. God forbid I post “Way of the World, coming soon.” I can only imagine the ‘negative vibes’ such a tweet or update would send out to the rest of the exclamation mark loving population. I’d probably get booted from those sites in no time.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to today. Anybody have any advice for how I should dive into these new social media platforms? How do you gain followers on twitter? Do you think there are book blogs that would be willing to discuss the “Way of the World” as part of a virtual blog tour?

I received some great responses yesterday, and can only hope to get more of the same today.

– Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”