Tag Archives: marketing

Thoughts on Blogging – A Question For My Blog Readers

As we approach summer, (which means I should have more time to write blog posts), I’ve come up with a question for those of you who read my blog:

What do you like reading on my blog, and what do you want to see more of?

Is there anything you would prefer to see less of?

About a year ago I went from only posting “behind the scenes” content about book covers I had designed, to writing articles on my writing processes and the steps my husband and I were taking in creating our publishing company.

Then I started creating the video blogs with the readings, and then finally reblogging our pseudo-steampunk series, The Multiverse Chronicles.

From what I can tell, most of the people who follow this blog are writers. Do you want to see more posts on writing and the writing craft? Publishing? Self-publishing techniques?

Do you like seeing the Behind the Scenes posts about how I make book covers?

Do you watch the video blog posts I do, and/or listen to the readings of Magic’s Stealing?

Do you read the Multiverse serial episodes?

Is there anything you want to see that I haven’t tried yet?

Feel free to respond via the form below, or to send me an email privately (my contact page).

I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

* * *

Just a quick reminder, I’m running a giveaway for two ebook copies of Magic’s Stealing! There’s only four days left, so enter while you can. 🙂


Filed under Writing

(Reblogged) How to Save Your Twitter Profile from the Algorithm

I don’t often reblog other blogger’s posts very often, but this one has some important information regarding a Twitter algorithm change that may affect how you see posts in your timeline.

(In other words, they’re trying to emulate the Facebook timeline).

It’s an easy fix, but I didn’t realize they had made the change.

Drew Chial

On February 5, Buzzfeed reported that Twitter was doing away with their chronological timeline in favor of an algorithmic one. Users would no longer see tweets as they were posted in real time, but rather in an order the algorithm thought users wanted to see them. Buzzfeed theorized that this would help manage spam links and adjust Twitter’s signal to noise ratio, but users remained skeptical.

Many users feared, myself included, that Twitter was downgrading everyone in order to sell priority placement tweets to power users, just as Facebook had done with status updates on its Fan Pages. Social media services were shifting stanchions onto their free dance floors, relabeling the spaces as their VIP sections. Twitter appeared to be doing the same; gutting the democracy of the service to benefit a monopoly held by power users, celebrities, and advertisers.

We feared that the algorithm would put an end…

View original post 1,078 more words


Filed under Writing

Cover Reveal – Penny Pony and Nickel-Bred

I know I usually just show one cover at a time, but in this case, I wanted to talk about creating book covers that are meant to be part of a series. These two covers are for Melange Books’ young adult line. In this case, I worked with the author to find images that worked well for the book (and in the case of Nickel-Bred, the author actually suggested the picture from Dreamstime, and it worked well without needing to be changed). For these covers I had set a specific style of editing and formatting. A block of color above and below the photo, with the title on top and the author’s name at the bottom. Position varied a bit, but I kept the same font in both. Keeping the scheme the same, it should be easily visible that they are of the same series or type of book. Also, being that they are meant to be of a more realistic/contemporary nature, I didn’t do a whole lot of extra editing. I did edit for lighting effects (see the stock images listed below for the changes), and on The Penny Pony I changed spot color and added ear tufts per the author’s request.

So, even thought the colors are different, the style remains relatively similar. Something to think about if you’re designing a cover or having one designed, is how well can you tell the book are of the same “brand” or series.

SBibb - Penny Pony Cover SBibb - Nickel-Bred Cover


Stock Images for The Penny Pony:


Stock Images for Nickel-Bred:



Photoshop CS6, as usual. 🙂


By the way, if you didn’t know, you can find my work at my Deviant Art account, where I usually upload book covers before I talk about them here. 🙂


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Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration

Marketing Your Book

So, as Isaac and I get closer to finishing Distant Horizon (and thus starting querying), I’ve been doing reading on how marketing of a book is done, both for trade and self-publishing. After all, both are looking for readership, right? I found a few interesting tidbits I thought I’d share.

One is the article at the link below. It talks about how marketing is done of a book in the trade publishing world, and points out some good tips that could probably also be used if you’re self-publishing, too. It talks about the importance of marketing as a way to gain publicity, but that marketing doesn’t always equate to publicity. It’s that word-of-mouth you want, when you get other people promoting your book without your asking. Needless to say, I thought it was an informative read:


Another interesting idea I came upon was the idea of offering signed prints of your book cover (if it’s one that looks really good)  for the first people who buy your book off Amazon and show you a receipt. Found this at Madame Guillotine’s blog, here: http://madameguillotine.org.uk/

Of course, ARC (advanced reader copies) are also a good idea, and it looks like Goodreads contests may be a good way to get publicity for them. The hope, of course, is that they’ll read your book and leave a review, and maybe, just maybe, recommend t to a friend. 🙂

Also, another neat blog (not so much on marketing, but on publishing) I found is called The Intern: http://internspills.blogspot.com/

Thought I’d share that, too. Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for you at the moment. 🙂

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Filed under Book Covers, Business Ventures, Writing

Self-Publishing and Marketing: Guest Interview – Matthew Selznick

Today I have a special treat: the first blog interview. 🙂

When it comes to self-publishing, we’ve all heard about the importance of editing and beta readers, and how good cover art is important to catching potential readers’ eyes. However, one thing I have not heard a lot about is the actual marketing of your book. Of course, word-of-mouth is an important starting point, and word-of-mouth is what will keep sales flowing long after your book has been available to the public.

However, some of us need a little extra push to get that book out on the shelves in the first place. You can have the most awesome book in the world, but if no one knows it exists, how will it be read?

That’s why some authors hire marketing and public relation consultants. Each one has a variety of services, and what the author needs will depend on their book and how well they can market it themselves.

Since this isn’t a topic I’m particularly familiar with, I decided to ask around and see if anyone who offers their services would mind answering a few questions.

For this interview I’ll be talking with Matthew Wayne Selznick, a creator working with words, music, pictures and people. Through MWS Media, he helps other creators bring their endeavors to fruition. He lives in Long Beach, California and is available at: http://www.mattselznick.com.

Read his resume here: http://www.mattselznick.com/about-matthew-wayne-selznick/matthew-wayne-selznick-resume/


Matthew: I provide marketing consultation, and I’ve occasionally done public relations work. I have experience as an author (self-published and traditionally published), a former bookseller, and an interactive marketing producer.

How should an author go about marketing their book?

By going where your audience is, being an engaged member of the community, and building relationships with people who become fans, supporters and evangelists. By seeking out new fans by looking for opportunities and areas of overlap. By establishing yourself as a writer worth reading, which means both writing a good book and presenting yourself well.

You mentioned being an engaged member of the community, and building a fan base. How do you go about doing that?

No matter the genre or niche (for non-fiction), there are people talking about it on the Internet and, very possibly, in your local community. Since you’re focused on YA fantasy / science fiction, there are probably hundreds of like-minded forums, Facebook groups, Yahoo! groups, fan websites, and even real-life meetup groups available to you.  Use Google to find them… join them… and be an active member there.  It’s all about building relationships and establishing connections *before* you even mention that you’re an author, or that you have a book for sale.  Build relationships and become known… people who “know” you will be much more willing to support your book when it’s time to unleash it on the world.

The same thing goes with Twitter — follow people in your genre, and watch their tweets and conversations. For example, if you’re writing young adult fantasy, you could do worse than follow Neil Gaiman. Follow their conversations, and follow their followers — engage with them when appropriate.  Contribute useful information when you can.

What do you expect of the author your working with?

To be available, to be open, and to be willing to be the brand. Authors who are not prepared to be marketers of their own work are at a tremendous disadvantage. Nothing sells a book like an engaging, involved and passionate author.

You’ve mentioned branding, and being a passionate author. Do you have suggestions regarding branding? How do you go about determining an author’s brand?

The author’s personal brand is built by the author through their public voice — which should be their *real* voice.  Brand isn’t something that’s determined… it’s something that is developed.

For example, Wil Wheaton’s “brand” could be “super-smart, really nice author, actor and gamer who feels like every geek’s older brother.” That’s not something he deliberately created… that’s who he *is.*


What do you charge?

It depends greatly on the project, the niche, and the author’s willingness to get their hands dirty. It also depends on whether I’m engaged on a project-based level, or as an hourly consultant. My base rate is $50.00 / hour, but project-level work usually results in a lower “hourly” rate overall.

How do you go about determining project level prices? You’ve mentioned the $50.00 base rate hourly. What all does that entail? How long do you typically spend with an author on this sort of project?

My primary role is mentor, trainer and advisor. Since the best spokesperson for an author is the author, I encourage them to manage their own Twitter stream, their own Facebook page, and so on.  It’s my job to make sure they’re handling their social media in the most ethical and most effective means possible.  I will also research opportunities like guest blog posts, online magazine articles, anthologies (a short story in an anthology is a way to promote an upcoming book!) and reviewers.

Because the tasks and level of involvement vary with each author client, this kind of work is usually billed on an hourly basis, although I do occasionally work under a retainer.  Project-based tasks would be creating a website, doing a book cover, editing, e-book conversion, and other services.

When do you suggest that an author begin looking into a hiring a marketing consultant, if they plan on doing so?

It’s good to get some advice tailored to your specific book early on… and by “early on,” I mean once you’ve completed your first draft.  The time to begin building a personal brand and an author platform is well before your book is to be released.  You want to have an audience to promote to on release day!

For authors who would like to get their feet wet planning their marking and social media, I recently added virtual and, when
practical, in-person consultation services. There’s more information at http://bit.ly/mwsmedia-consultation.  Folks who “Like” my MWS Media Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mws.media.us can also use a coupon code for 50% off their first appointment, so that might be an inexpensive way to be introduced to these concepts as they apply to a new writer’s specific situation.


So there you have it! I’d like to thank Matthew Selznick for being our first interviewed guest, and I appreciate his taking the time to answer a few questions. Hopefully this has been helpful for you readers. 🙂


Filed under Writing

Self-Publishing “1000 Words” – Socks

The last “1000 Words” short story, Socks, is now available on Smashwords. It’s young adult themed, mostly sci-fi romance with a hint of a dystopian background. I say a hint because they’re never actually in a dystopian society, but it was in the back of my mind when I wrote it. Needless to say, I had an interesting time working on the cover. It didn’t like me.

First of all, I wanted a pair of socks on the cover, one of the elements in the story. So I decided to make it plain and simple, aiming for something like the cover of Matched. Only, if you think about it, that cover isn’t really simple. Clean, yes. Not simple. (Awesome book, by the way, if you like dystopias and romance).

So I did up a pair of socks to look like the ones in the story, threw it on a white background, used a grungy text in watermelon pink to match the coloring. Too plain (as you can see below).

 SBibb - Socks Cover In-Progress

So then I decide to do a soft background, one with an industrial or city look and a grungy texture over it. Ah-ha! Awesome! I showed it to a few people… who pointed out that socks would do nothing to sell the story, especially considering that it was pink… and looked nothing like a dystopia. (Nevermind that at this point I realized the story isn’t dystopia. It’s sci-fi, maybe post-apocalyptic, but not dystopia). I was disappointed, since I thought the cover was well done… until someone else pointed out that it looked like a children’s book.

Well… rats.

As you can see below… it doesn’t fit the market.

 SBibb - Socks Cover In-Progress

So I tried again. Borrowed from the background, grabbed a couple pictures of people, did some more tweaking… and hated the cover. Didn’t look right, wasn’t going well at all, and I needed to be formatting the print version of “1000 Words,” not fiddling with covers.

 SBibb - Socks Cover In-Progress

Finally, I tried again. I borrowed the original background and softened it. Found a picture of a girl in my stock, tried to give it that sci-fi dystopia look. Made it kind of ambiguous. Image was kind of soft, so I played with that more in my favor. Added text… no socks this time, and didn’t make it pink. Played on the gray, grungy look. Liked the title being center, and added a bar running behind it.

 SBibb - Socks Cover

I actually like this cover. Now the only problem is that it looks military sci-fi/dystopian… when the story is sci-fi romance (in a post-apocalyptic world). *Sigh.* Well, it works for the point of showing cover art, but if I had more time, I’d try again. Maybe a couple teens laying back on a grassy hill, overlooking the destruction of the city. A nice, opening scene. And in the gray sky, “Socks” would be written in the clouds.

Why didn’t I think of this three days ago? Now I know I need to get more couple stock photos.

So there you have it. The process behind the cover art for Socks. What did I learn? You can make a cover you like, but if it doesn’t look the genre, you’re still going to have problems.

Read Sockfor free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154150

Up next: I’m working on revamping sbibbphoto.com, where I’ll split it into two sections. One will be for “real world” photography, while the other will be for book covers and illustrations. Also, I’ll soon be announcing the release date for the print version of “1000 Words,” and I’m currently in the process of formatting it for an eBook.

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Filed under Book Covers, Writing