Getting down to business with Shoshanna Evers Part 2…

Yesterday I asked erotic romance author Shoshanna Evers questions about what she did to build her successful writing career in relatively short period of time. If you missed it, you can read it here: Shoshanna Evers Interview Part 1.

Today I present Part 2 of the interview, in which Shoshanna offers her advice for other authors. But first, a little background about Shoshanna:

Ellora’s Cave published Shoshanna Evers’ first book Punishing the Art Thief in September 2010. Since then this RN and married mom of a young son has released FOURTEEN titles and quit her day job. She’s in several anthologies (one a print release of three of her EC titles) and recently expanded into the realm of self-publishing, producing six titles, among them the Amazon Erotica Bestselling short story Overheated, a new Femme Dom series, and the #1 Amazon Authorship Bestselling nonfiction book How to Write Hot Sex. In addition to Ellora’s Cave, she’s published with The Wild Rose Press, Cleis Press (Best Bondage Erotica 2012) and Berkley Heat (Agony/Ecstasy).

Cara Bristol: Other than improving craft, if a writer did nothing else, what three things should she do to further her career?

Shoshanna Evers: Three things other than improve your craft?

Cara Bristol: Improving craft is the obvious answer, it’s what everyone  says. But what comes AFTER that?

Shoshanna Evers: One: Promote your books, and if you have no books, promote yourself. Make it so everyone knows your name because that leads to sales.

Two: Stay current on what’s happening in the publishing industry. Read blogs and articles and books about it. You’d be surprised how confused new writers can get about the business side of writing, but ultimately writing is just one part of the job. More than half of my work day is spent on business, not writing.

Three: Get to know your readers. I’m constantly on Twitter and Facebook so I can interact with my readers and other writers (who, by the way, are also readers! You just have to look at my Kindle book list to see that’s true for me too, LOL). Readers expect a certain level of responsiveness from an author, and I completely understand that. Recently I read a book I loved, so I went online, Googled the author’s name to find her website, and looked for the “contact” button so I could tell her what a great book she wrote. There was no email listed. No Twitter account. No Facebook. I was quite surprised… and she missed out on some fan mail, LOL. I was all ready to squee, too…

Cara Bristol: What factors should a writer look for in selecting a publisher?

Shoshanna Evers:  There are two main factors I can think of: Do you personally read a lot of that particular publishing imprint’s books? If the answer is yes, then you know that you like their books and they probably accept the type of book you wrote, and you know there’s an audience of readers out there (like you) who are buying their books. The other factor is: what does their contract look like? Do you have to option your first born son? Do you have to promise never to publish another book in that category again because it might compete with the contracted book? etc. Look at the option and non-compete clauses and also look at when and how you can get your rights back if things don’t work out the way you hoped. I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t contract advice, it’s just common sense. #disclaimer

Cara Bristol: What mistakes do you see authors making in their writing careers?

Shoshanna Evers:  I see writers who aren’t ready to have books out there self-publishing. I recently read a self-published book that was an amazing story, but my reading experience was ruined by the author’s less-than-stellar writing skills. If she’d waited until she’d grown as a writer before publishing the book, it could have been a bestseller. Another mistake I see authors making is they brand themselves based on one book (usually their first book or the name of their series) instead of on their author name. For example, having a Twitter handle that focuses on the title of their book, and then they come out with another book and they have to completely rebrand.

Cara Bristol: What career advice would you give an intermediate-level author (i.e. one who has already published a few titles)?

Shoshanna Evers: My advice would be to keep writing, because building your backlist is a good way to build your income. The more titles you have for sale the more chances you have of connecting with a reader. I would also suggest that an author who has several traditionally and small-press published books might want to try self-publishing. I think that self-publishing is the wave of the future. But don’t do it unless you’re ready to treat it like you’re running a business. Don’t use your kid brother’s cover art just because you’ll hurt his feelings if you don’t. You need to be able to look at your work objectively, and ask other people for their opinion if you can’t get enough distance from your own work. I see so many self-published books out there with crappy covers, and it’s a shame because that’s an aspect that you have a lot of control over when you choose to self-publish.

My other advice would be to remind your readers that you have books for sale and give us some links! I chat with authors on Twitter who only promote on release day, and even then they do it with a real sense of embarrassment, like telling their readers about a book they might want to read is dirty business. But I love a well-crafted tag line and I click links all the time. If the free sample download is good I buy the book, period. Sometimes I follow authors on Twitter and I have *no idea* that they’re authors unless I happen to look at their bios, because they never mention their books! Don’t be one of those.

My last bit of advice might be controversial. Personally, I usually try to avoid getting into politics online because I don’t want to lose a reader over some self-righteous blog post. It’s hard for people (myself included) to separate the book from the author. If the author pisses them off, they won’t want to buy her book no matter how good it sounds. Occasionally I let something slip, but in general I don’t use my author platform as a platform for soapboxing about politics. I’m not sure if soapboxing is a word. Fortunately, I get to make up words for a living, so I’m keeping it. 😉

Thanks for having me here, Cara! 🙂

Please stay in touch. I welcome emails from readers and writers.

Cara Bristol: Thank you for the interview! Readers can find out more about Shoshanna here at the links below.

Email: shoshanna.evers@ yahoo. com (no spaces)
Website: www.ShoshannaEvers.com (sign up for newsletter at the bottom where it says Mail List)
Blog: www.TheWritersChallenge.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ShoshannaEvers
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShoshannaEversAuthor

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/shoshannaevers

***

Cara Bristol: On Friday, April 6, 2012 I interview Pauline Allan, a Loose Id author, whose novel, See Me, features a pornography business owner as its heroine. Pauline gave a very open and honest interview about her research for the book. I’m reading See Me now, and it’s fantastic.

 

 

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13 Responses to Getting down to business with Shoshanna Evers Part 2…

  1. Gemma Parkes says:

    Great interview, thanks for the advice. I definitely don’t promote myself enough, or maybe not in the right places?

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I’ve learned that promotion has to be targeted and focused toward one’s readers. It does little good, for example, to do a guest slot on a historical romance blog if you’re writing sci fi romance.

  2. Paula Martin says:

    Promotion is a difficult one – too little, and no-one knows about you or your books; too much, and everyone is fed-up of hearing about you and your books. There’s a very fine line between the two, I think.

  3. Casea Major says:

    Great interview, Shoshanna. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks guys! I agree, there is a fine line between selling books and annoying people. I am 100% positive that I annoy some people with my marketing, however I am also 100% positive that I sell books. I lose some followers and gain some readers. It is definitely a fine line and I tend to push it a bit, probably…

  5. Karla Doyle says:

    Great part 2, Shoshanna & Cara. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts & experience with us.
    As a newbie published author, I’m still getting the hang of promoting myself. (Cara has given me some helpful tips in that department 🙂 ) When I tweet-promote myself (ditto on Facebook), I get this pang of guilt. I really need to get over that!

    • I’ve heard that from so many authors, that they feel guilty for promoting their books! But I love to read books, and if authors don’t tell me about their books then I might not get to read them. Sometimes I hear about books from book reviewers or from other readers, but many times it’s from a promotional link or ad…

      • Cara Bristol says:

        I second what Shoshanna says. I run across a lot of author’s books and I think, “oh, I want to read that.” And then I forget. I need to be reminded. And keep in mind, I’m “in the biz.” Imagine readers who aren’t. I think the trick is to balance self-promotion with other informational/social content.

  6. Layna Pimentel says:

    Really great advice, Shoshanna!

    Thanks again ladies. 🙂

  7. Mike Woody says:

    Thank you for the valuable information, touched on some things for writers that are just starting that i hadn’t heard before.

  8. Great posts! (I read them both!) Very informative!

  9. Fabulous advice! More things for me to make sure I’m doing. All the best!

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