Guest post from James Garcia Jr. on Creating an Indie Author’s Platform.
James Garcia Jr. has recently graduated from being a small publisher-published author to a self-published author. What I like about James, beyond his bravery in deciding to write as a self-published author, is that he has successfully created a well done, professional and accessible indie author’s platform.
Let’s welcome James with his friendly and professional advice.
Hello, Fire Enthusiasts… Oops! Wrong blog. That’s what I call the folks who follow my regular posts. I’m a horror writer, you see. I currently write vampires with a crossover slant. That’s my veiled attempt of disclosing that you can find some Christian themes in my series. I don’t’ really call what I write Christian, but that’s another post entirely.
I have the second installment on my vampire series just released around Halloween. It wasn’t intentional, but simply how the whole thing worked out. If you’re curious, I have a “good” vampire and a bad vampire. They don’t sparkle – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but they do come after you while you sit on the proverbial edge of your seat. They won’t gross you out, mostly, but they definitely do have bite. I’d love for you to come by and check my series out; however, that isn’t what I have come to tell you.
I didn’t come by to give you writing advice either. I don’t feel qualified to do that. If we’ve met before, chances are you have figured this out about me already. Although my name doesn’t show up on bestseller lists as of yet, I’m working on that - and that is definitely something that I can share about. There have been many false starts, hiccups and bumps in the road these past three years. Perhaps hearing about these might help you on your road.
Writers just want to write. Unfortunately, unless you get your novel picked up by the big six, Amazon or have your story picked up by Hollywood, you are going to have to do everything yourself. It’s the sad reality.
I had a small publisher for a while until they just recently closed their doors. A month before they published my debut novel back in 2010, I was informed that I would have to build a platform. This meant blogging. I didn’t know the first thing. She created one for me which I’m still using, handed me the virtual keys and said go for it. The successful bloggers will tell you that you have to have content in order to get traffic. I did this for nearly two years; however, I eventually realized I only had time for one post a week. It works for me because I am able to spend the rest of the week visiting the blogs of others who are like-minded, similar in content or friends that I’ve made.
From there I moved to Facebook and created an author page. I already had a Facebook profile for myself, but I needed something that was for my writing. I had some professional photos taken and stayed with that shot for two years, using it for each and every site since those early days. That list now includes Twitter, Google Plus, Goodreads, LinkedIn, etc. I have since changed that photo to something a bit friendlier. That first one was too serious. I don’t have a degree in Marketing, but you won’t need one to figure out that you should be consistent and serious with your “brand” or “image”, if you prefer. We all hate having to hunt for our shampoo because they seemingly change the bottle twice a year, so change very little about yourself and only when necessary.
At some point you might begin to worry over your numbers on those social networking sites or even on your author page on Amazon.com. Don’t be. Just keep doing the work and they will come. I have spent time in these groups where we all like one another’s pages; however, we have to ask ourselves whether this is really getting us where we want to be. I thank those people who have taken the time to do this for me. I have done it for them, too. Yet, are they buying my books or spreading the word for me? No. All we’re doing is padding our numbers. It just doesn’t seem real to me anymore. As I meet new people I love to drop by their sites and throw them some love. I’m just not going to spend a day doing forty of them in a “liking session” anymore.
I recently wrote a blog post asking the following question: “Where are the readers?” I’m still searching for that answer, but I don’t think we’ll find them by promoting to fellow authors all the time. We need to make friends and support one another in this great community because writing can be a very lowly and difficult proposition and the group can and frequently does offer a helping hand or virtual shoulder when things are tough; and they certainly celebrate our successes. In the meantime, what we can do is build our brand, continue to improve our writing, and do everything we can to appear professional. In this community you will find competent cover artists, folks willing to beta read your work well before the buying public, professional editors to polish your work and challenge you to make it the very best it can be.
Remember, my friends. This is a very tough road that you have decided to travel, but you’ve chosen it because you have an artistic bone in your body that needs to show itself. There will be heartache, but there will be successes, too. If it doesn’t work out quite the way you hoped, at least you’ve given it your very best attempt. That’s what got me writing again. I just didn’t want to go to my grave with any regrets.
I realize this isn’t my blog, but I’ll close the way I do over there…
We’ll talk soon.
About James Garcia’s first book ~ Dance on Fire:
Each May, the Central California town of Kingsburg celebrates its Swedish heritage with the annual Swedish Festival: a weekend event where the town puts on its traditional dress, culminating with a dance around a Maypole on Friday, and a Swedish pancake breakfast and parade on Saturday. The town with a population of over 11,000 residents draws thousands more to the event. This year, two uninvited guests also converged upon the unsuspecting town.
Nathaniel is a vampire. He wandered into town, bothering no one; feeding upon stray cats and other vermin, wanting nothing more than to have a place to rest his head. Vincent is a second vampire, and the one responsible for making Nathaniel. He has been searching for his long lost “son” for well over two centuries. Vincent’s goal is to take Nathaniel home or kill him. Nathaniel has often wished for death, wondering why God ever allowed this punishment: to walk the earth undead and unable to be redeemed. Does God remember the little boy from Romania who watched his parents die, was raised by the murdering vampire, only to become one himself? What does God think of Nathaniel and could there yet be redemption for one outside of heaven?
Ten days before the start of the Swedish Festival the most tumultuous week in the history of Kingsburg has begun with two vampires leaving death and destruction in their wake. Kingsburg Police Detectives Mark Jackson and Michael Lopez, Barbara and the entire Lopez family find themselves drawn into something that threatens to destroy them all or leave them scarred forever.
In a marriage of the classic horror story and the Christian themes of good conquering evil and redemption, Dance on Fire is the account of characters being drawn into the fire and the supernatural forces around them watching as they burn.
His latest recently self published effort and sequel Dance on Fire is ~ Flash Point.
Five years after the death of their only child Tiffany, Steve and Angie Rosen receive an unexpected guest to their Morro Bay, California home: their daughter. She comes with a tale of having suffered a terrible head wound in the fire that took their Kingsburg home, causing her loss of memory and migraine headaches that force her to hide from daylight in order to prevent. Tiffany's reemergence is treated like Manna from Heaven; however, her story is only half true. Tiffany is a vampire and their daughter in name only. She sleeps during the day and hunts for human blood during the night, and has come back to enact a twisted revenge upon those who ruined the plans of her master, the notorious vampire, Vincent. And she is not alone.
Five years after the terrible events that reshaped the Swedish Village, Kingsburg lies unsuspecting as five vampires descend upon her with a great evil in their black hearts.
Five years after old wounds have finally healed and the old fires were thought extinguished, Police Chief Michael Lopez and Officer Mark Jackson and their families find themselves surrounded when fires blaze anew. The good vampire, Nathaniel, has pledged his service to these people, but he is no longer among them. He lives high in the Oregon Mountains near the California border, seeking whether God might have a place in His kingdom yet for him.
When Nathaniel discovers that Tiffany has returned, will he be too late to stop her? And will his desire to protect his friends destroy what God has begun in him?
It will all begin with a Flash Point.
Both of his books can be found on Amazon.