Monday, September 30, 2013

WWoW! Guest Blog for Exposure!

Let's talk about writing Guest Posts for other blogs.
There are benefits to being a guest on another blog. The exposure you gain magnifies because you are able to reach out to more readers. Since most bloggers have guest spots, its not too difficult to find blogs you fit with. Writing a guest post puts you in front of a whole new audience and can increase your own blog's following. Blog readers that haven't yet heard of you now get their first impression and may then follow you... and maybe even buy your books!

Here are some GENERAL GUIDELINES to follow:

Be Relevant to the Host Blog. Know before you sign on that your genre is a fit for this blog's followers. You don't want to post erotic romance on a sweet romance blog. You also likely won't want to post paranormal on a contemporary blog.

Be Polite. Follow all the guidelines the Host Blog provides. They are hosting you so its the least you can do. Most will tell you when they need your post and how they want it provided.

Be Aware. Know what the format of your host blog is. You will want to submit the correct things the host blog regularly includes. For example, know if they include a book cover or a banner. Can you include an excerpt? What length?

Be Knowledgeable. It's about more than self-promotion. We all need to promote our books but most blogs are looking for more content in a blog post. Unless agreed upon otherwise, your post should have a topic for discussion. Write about something you have knowledge on - maybe a topic that fits with your latest book.

Be Connected. Include links back to your own website or blog when relevant to your post. Back links will connect your blog to the host blog and benefit both. Use these links to reference prior posts on similar subjects.

Be Loud. Follow up on you guest post by promoting it on your own social media outlets. Visit the host blog on the day of your post to respond to comments and interact with followers. One idea I use sometimes when guest blogging is to write a brief post on my own blog that drives traffic to my guest post. This sends my followers to a new blog they might enjoy.

Want to Guest Blog?
We offer guest blogging opportunities here on WWoW! You can submit a guest post and we will schedule it into the next available Friday. Tell us about a success you had as an author. Just share your experience. Our blog is all about Writers sharing their knowledge with other Writers. You can also include some promo of your latest book.

Send your guest post HERE. Use the subject line: "WWoW! Guest Post".

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Got The Writer's Blues?

When making the choice to be a writer, whether for a hobby or a career, you learn quickly how lonely it is. You need quiet and your mind to write, so you can't be chatting on the phone while you write your next great piece.

So what happens when the blues hit? The self doubt, the sadness when something doesn't go the way you want. Who to talk to?

If you're like me, your "real life" friends don't really want to listen to your woes. They can't necessarily relate to why you're upset about a sale rank to a book you threw months of work into, only to learn the rest of the world isn't interested in it.

Hopefully, if you're published or not, you've got your writer-self hooked up somehow on social media. Authors and writers are on facebook all day it seems, writing status after status. I think writers post more than anyone else, but it's our outlet. Its how we connect with other writers, and they understand.

Hopefully within time, you build a relationship with one or two authors/writers. And then hopefully you can cry to each other. You can email them when you want to throw in the towel, and they will have the magic words to keep you from doing just that. I know I've been talked off the ledge a time or two. I've been close to quitting, but their words kept me around. As well as fans. I then often remind myself that I'm not writing for the money. Though...when I get a little, it's always worth it. I write because I like it. Love the craft of developing the characters in the early stages as I figure out just where the story is going to go.

While I don't have answer to beating all the writer's blues. I will say chocolate helps, taking a break and doing something else, as well as talking with other close writer friends. Then take a step back and see what's bothering you. If it's a rank of a book---QUIT LOOKING! If it's the story you're working on---WALK AWAY AND WORK ON ANOTHER. Most of the times you can find a fix. Don't let the blues take over.

Until next time, keep that smile on and your fingers on the keyboard. :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#WWoW! Using Scrivener Part II: Producing a Final Document for #Publishing

Happy Hump Day and welcome back to Writer's Words of Wisdom. I'm Tammy and each week I join three other authors sharing the things we've learned in our journey in the publishing world.  We talk about what's worked and not worked for us and from time to time we'll host guests who'll share their bits of wisdom as well. 

This week I'd like to share the second half of my story about my experience using Scrivener for the first time. The original post was in February and around the time I published my second poetry book. As I mentioned last week, Scrivener was a fabulous tool for that project and has since been my go to organizational program for all of my projects including more poetry, short stories and full length novels. 

I'm still in the middle of edits for The Surrender of Julia (Now and Forever 3) and don't know how I can do without this program! Using the split screen feature, I have two editor's versions of Julia's story side by side. I'm able to compare all the notes from both editors at the same time, or alternate between the two of them and my final manuscript incorporating all the necessary changes. What a time saver!

Here's the post from February. Afterward, I'll add a few more comments.  Enjoy!

Last week I wrote about trying out the organizational program called Scrivener. I was using it to compile my vampire inspired poetry in order to have a file to submit to Smashwords, Amazon, and Createspace to end up with both ebook and print formats of The Courtship of the Vampyre.  This week, I'm here to share how it all turned out.

Now, formatting a book of poetry is a little easier than a novella or novel. First of all, there are no chapters to deal with. Each separate poem was it's own folder or file if you will. With that being said, it was a great way to feel my way through using Scrivener and figure out the features I will use the most. I was the most worried that I wasn't going to have a file that I could could use for Smashwords, but ultimately I was worried for nothing.

I decided to save each file for the publishing outlets as a .doc file. This turned out to be the best thing for me since all of them accept this file type and it is the one most publishers (like Siren Bookstrand) accept as well. Let me show you what some of the screens looked like for my first book file created with Scrivener.

The above is what I call the main screen or continuous screen. It shows all of the folders in continuous flow with lines separating the files/folders. If you look at the list at the left, it shows all the folders I've created including one for the cover photo, the dedication/acknowlegments, a copyright page for Smashwords and Kindle, all the poems and my About the Author section.  

Now, I made a separate copyright page for each publishing outlet because they each need to be worded just a little differently. At the compilation stage, I can choose which folders are to be included in the final draft.  Let me show you my favorite view...the cork board.

See how the index cards are all laid out? I can actually rearrange them in whatever order I want them to appear in the final draft. I've included the notes on each card reminding me what is still needed in the folder or a brief summary of what the poem is about. This was very helpful when figuring out the order of the poems so they told a story. I didn't want to just toss them in there willy nilly. Next I want to show you what the first compilation screen looked like for this project.

See the check boxes? This is the screen where you pick which file or folder will be compiled into the final manuscript. There are more options in the next steps which are very easy to follow by going through the tutorial. I even kept the tutorial open so I could refer to it when I was at this stage.

How did it all turn out? I'm happy to say The Courtship of the Vampyre was released on February 22 as an ebook on Smashwords and Amazon, and on February 23rd on both Createspace and Amazon for the print version. It's currently available on iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and many other retail outlets.  To help celebrate the release of the book, I had offered a code for readers to be able to download a copy of the book for free from Smashwords.

I'd like to offer that again. All you have to do is visit SMASHWORDS and use the code CW28E

Next week I'll talk about how to turn the final manuscript you created with Scrivener into all the ebook formats you'll need in order to sell on your own website, All Romance ebooks and Omnilit.  

Until next time,

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunes 
Sassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube

If you'd like to share your experiences in the publishing world, please contact us about setting up a guest appearance. We'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#WWow - Loot? Booty? SWAG? What to do.

SWAG Ideas & Places

SWAG: loot, booty, plunder, valuables

What’s a author to do?

A newbie writer friend who’s going through her first blog tour soon, asked me about SWAG and giveaways last week. So, I thought I’d share a few ideas here as well as places to create SWAG online.

Here’s a list of ideas:
·        Bookmarks
·        Postcards
·        Canvas Bags
·        T-shirts
·        Pens
·        Notebooks
·        Notepads
·        Sticky Notes
·        Magnets
·        Pins/Buttons
·        Cozy
·        Keychain

The list is endless. What I enjoy are SWAG items that are related to the book. 

For example, for my upcoming release, Love and Other Games (Oct. 1), I will be giving away a Ty beanie doll dressed in Olympic garb. My story in this anthology is about a snowboarder named TY participating in the Olympics. I thought it was a cute idea.

Release Day Giveaway! Join FB Party! Ty Beanie Babies - Victory Olympics Bear (Internet Exclusive): Toys & Games

We’re also giving away Olympic pins, like this one:

Embedded image permalink

Another item we’ll give away is a necklace that one of the heroines wears:


If you’d like a chance to win any of these SWAG items or learn more about our Love and Other Games release, please come sign up for our Facebook Release Day Party!

The point here is --- Relate your SWAG to your book theme!

Now, the places you can visit to make easy SWAG. Here are a few I’ve used or heard about:

Tammy also wrote a post a few weeks ago about SWAG here

I'm curious to know what type of SWAG you like to receive. Please leave a comment below!

Melinda Dozier is a contemporary romance writer. Her three debut novels were released in 2013: The Boy Next Door and Time Changes Everything from Entranced Publishing, and Breaking the Rules from Crimson Romance. Her next release, Love and Other Games: Trouble With Gold will be released in October from Swoon Romance. You can find more information at her

Monday, September 23, 2013

WWoW! Use Tweepi!

Tweepi is my favorite tool to use with Twitter.
Tweepi helps you make sense of your Twitter social graph with stats. You will be able to learn about the number of people you haven't followed back, the number of people who aren't following you, search people who your friends follow and much more. It makes it simple to manage your account by doing the following things much easier than manually through twitter...

This tool allows you to unfollow users who aren't following you back.

This tool helps you find all the users that follow you, but you don't follow back. Then you can follow them back with a click of a button.

This feature allows you to unfollow users who no longer keep active twitter accounts. It's likely that you're following more than a few hundred people on Twitter. You must've noticed that many of these users either don't engage in conversations, never retweet anybody, or simply just ramble about nonsense stuff all day long (no links to useful content whatsoever!). You can use Tweepi cleanup tool to filter these people out and unfollow them. The Clean-up tool enables you to filter out those inactive and unwanted tweeps by letting you check out their details and decide for yourself!

This feature gives you a resource for finding users with similar interests. The most common way to find and add people with the same interests as you, is to find a popular user within your area of interest and add people who follow these known users.

Tweepi helps you analyze and filter tweeps out -the geeky way,
with numbers in a table- based on their activity and sociability. 

How do you start using Tweepi?
It's only 5 simple steps.
  1. Go to
  2. Choose "login" (to start using Tweepi for free which is all you need)
  3. Enter your username/email with your password and click "Authorize app"
  4. Create a Tweepi account with your first and last name and your e-mail
  5. Start using Tweepi!
The first time you go through your account, it may take awhile but as you then update it every few weeks, it
becomes less of a chore. You'll find it worthwhile to create a SAFE LIST so you never accidentally unfollow someone you want to follow regardless of any stats. For example, you might be following a celebrity who doesn't follow people but you won't want to unfollow them. You might be surprised though at how many people you follow that aren't  following you and vice versa. Tweepi gives you the tools to make your Twitter account be exactly what you want. Make it work for you using Tweepi.

Then, get back to it...
Keep Writing!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Neglect Your Facebook Fan Page #wwow

As authors, we usually have both a fan page for "likes" as well as a facebook page where we "friend". Each page is important, but I must be honest, sometimes I forget about the fan page. The one I advertise and ask for "likes". I have a decent amount of likes, so I need to make sure I'm paying attention to them.

One thing I recently discovered was you can schedule posts on your fan page. I think it's important that you post at least three times a week on the page, and make sure you interact back. Even if it's just liking someones comments. The point of social media is to be social.

How to schedule posts:
See the clock on the left hand corner. Click it.

Then, simply select the year, month, date, hour, and minute.

Then click schedule!

Also, don't always talk about your writing. Be someone relatable. Have young children? Share something funny. Or even photos of pets.

A great way to get your fans talking is with a giveaway. Have a book with a theme? Use it. Such as when my story Finding Home released and I did a giveaway, I asked readers to share a funny moment when they were pregnant or someone they knew. I'd then randomly pick two people to win. It worked out well. I had fans chatting with fans!

That's my tip for the week. Reaching readers is hard sometimes, but if we keep ourselves out there and our pages fresh, hopefully readers will like us and perhaps one day pick up a copy of our books.

See ya next week!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#WWoW! Getting Organized with #Scrivener

Hello new visitors and returning readers! Welcome to Tammy's Tidbits on Writer's Words of Wisdom.  Each week four participating authors write about a variety of topics that center around our journey through the world of publishing. From writing, blogging, editing, critique partners, social media and more, we've got takes on everything. 

While sometimes we may discuss the same topics, we do so with different perspectives. All of it's done in order to share what's worked—and not worked for us along the way. If you'd like share your Words of Wisdom, we have Fridays open. Let us know and we'll get you scheduled.

The following post was originally done just before I released my vampire inspired poetry book, The Courtship of the Vampyre. This post is a step by step description of my experience using Scrivener to organize my work. I'm telling you, the program saved my backside on numerous occasions by helping me keep everything at my fingertips. Recently, I've used the split screen feature to help with edits of The Surrender of Julia(Now and Forever 3).  

More on that in the coming weeks. For now, here's my introduction to the wonderful world of...

My post today's about a writing program called Scrivener. I was reluctant to try this even after all the rave reviews by fellow author friends. I mean, I had a system that seemed to be working for me and I didn't want to mess with it. That is, until I ended up adding more projects to my "To Do" lists for all three of my pen names. The number of paper notebooks I was hauling around with me at any given time was beginning to weigh me down—literally!

The program for Windows (and Mac) was readily available through Amazon for $40. I figured , "What the hell?" I had a credit from Thank You Points left over from another purchase, so I wasn't out any extra money. So with the click of my mouse I bought the program.  The download was easy and painless as was registering the product with the Scrivener site.

So what now?

With most new "toys" I tend to just open it up and figure it all out as I go, but this looked too damn daunting. To get a bit more help, I went back to Amazon and found a few books that would help me with creating an ebook using the program and of course I had the help that came along with the program itself. Not only did it come with a manual within the program, it also had a tutorial. Hmmmm...this was going to be a first for me, actually watching the tutorial!

Trust me, no one was more shocked than I was that I started up the program to get my initial bearings.  I was so glad I did! It takes you through each section with ease and in language that's easy to understand. Not only do you learn each step, but you learn different routes in the program to achieve the same goals. It's all about tailoring the experience to fit your own needs.

The tutorial explains how each level works from draft, to folders, text files and research files. I can even store the photos that inspire my characters so I can pull them up while writing the scenes. How cool is that?  I found out that I can create multiple levels for each project (chapters and scenes for example) or just keep it straight forward like having each folder/chapter one separate poem. By setting it up that way, I can be sure each poem starts on it's own page like a chapter would.

example of cork board view
My favorite part so far is the cork board view. With my vampire poetry project, I have all the poems/folders laid out on "index" cards. I can then write a short synopsis on each card so I'll be reminded what is covered in that poem without having to open the folder to read it.

The best part? I can shuffle every card in whatever order I want! No more cut, past and then delete like when I worked with just Microsoft Word. If I don't like the order, I can just move the cards around and then flip back to the document view and see all the poems laid out with page breaks. This helps me to visualize what the ebook will look like once it's all finalized. I haven't got to the compiling part yet where I convert all of my "chapters" into an ebook, so I'll leave that discussion for next week.

I'm at the point where I have my cover, nearly all the poems in the order I want them in, my copyright page, dedication and acknowledgement page, table of contents with links to find each poem within the document and my "about the author" section. I've even made separate folders for Kindle, Smashwords and Createspace copyright pages. You see, when it comes to the compiling phase, I only have to choose the appropriate folders/chapters to combine into the final product.

So far, so good! Next is to compile everything and make the different formats needed for Smashwords and Kindle. This is the key reason I purchased this program so that it will be easier to format all the different files for each publishing route. Unfortunately, I had a bit of trouble with compiling into different formats. I'm not sure if I wasn't following directions properly but the files just wouldn't convert. Of course I got fabulous .doc files. Both Smashwords and Amazon require this file type so I'm not flipping out yet. LOL!

Instead of fretting over my issues with this phase, I found another program to help me out. In Word, I saved my .doc file as a PDF.  Using this format in Calibre, I converted it to all ebook formats I'd need for uploading to All Romance ebooks, Omnilit and for sale on my own website eventually.  Calibre is a free program that helps with ebook file conversion and organization of your library. It's fun! More about that next week!

Have you used Scrivener or another program like it? Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Until next week!

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube

Monday, September 16, 2013

#WWoW! Street Teams make an Impact!

Let's Talk About Street Teams.
Likely, you've heard this term before. They're popping up all over the place as authors take advantage of their most valuable resource - their readers. Readers -especially bloggers/ reviewers- are vital to a book's success because their opinion goes a long way. Some have an established reputation as being a person to turn to for book recommendations. Why not partner with them if they love your books/ series?

That's exactly what creating a street team is... partnering with readers who like your books so much, they want to share them with other readers. A Street Team is a group of readers/bloggers that are fans of a particular author and want to spread the word about books they love. They're just doing what they already do - reading what they like and telling their friends. There's no recipe as to how many members per street team, benefits to offer or rules to follow. Each author has their own style.

Here's a list of links to some author's street teams for ideas on how to begin your own:

A Street Team is an indie author's secret weapon. In this article at Kobo Writing Life, an in-depth description of one author's experience puts it all into perspective. Read it here.

You might already have bloggers sharing your books with other readers. A Street Team just makes it all more official with “target tasks” such as hosting a blog stop, liking books at on-line sites, placing reviews on goodreads, sharing cover reveals, pinning on Pinterest, posting updates on facebook or tweeting about new releases. Most authors design a street team that works best for them. Typical perks to being part of a street team include an exclusive facebook page, yahoo or google+ group, swag, earliest available ARCs, blog badge, link back to blog, sneak peeks at WIPs, and "personal" on-line access to the author. Some authors even choose to have incentives and/ or prizes for participation.
It's Your Team - You Make It What You Want!
There are a lot of books in the world and authors need help to spread the word. A street team is a fun way to interact with fans while asking them to do what many already do … and it has added perks (for you both).

CLICK on the ROMANCE BECKONS STREET TEAM BADGE to the left to read about my Street Team.
Check It Out... and then... Keep Writing!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Interview with an editor #WWOW

I've had the pleasure of having Tara Chevrestt edit my Brookfield Series. She does a wonderful job, and after each round with her, I come back learning something new. I've sat down with her and asked some questions that I hope helps everyone.

Lacey: To start off, tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been editing.

Tara: I’ve been editing for a little over a year. I started as a writer and discovered that thanks to having had a great editor myself, a knack for English and literature, and my prior years as a book reviewer, I made a pretty decent editor, and I like the job. I love to read, so what could be better?
I’m an author who dabbles in just about everything. I’m a book reviewer, and I run a blog called Book Babe. I am married with canine kids.

Lacey: Is there a common mistake you find in most of the stories you edit?

Tara: Oh yes. Let’s see. Eyes, eyes, eyes everywhere. And lots of THATS. It’s an unnecessary word half the time. Breathing. You breath 24/7, so why it’s used as a dialogue tag is beyond me.

Lacey: Some words simply aren’t needed when we write and sometimes we tend to over use the words. Can you give us a few of the words to look for as we read through finished stories before turning them in? You know, to make our editor’s life easier.

Tara: THAT’S and OFS. In today’s lingo, it’s not necessary to say, “Get off of me.”
“Get of me” works just as well.
“I said that I loved her.”
“I said I loved her.”
I also see some authors overusing passive voice...such as sentences beginning with ING words.

Lacey: What amount of editing should an author do before submitting their work? As in, a basic spelling and grammar check in word? Or something a little more complex.

Tara: You can’t expect a first-time author to know much of anything, so I’m pretty patient with them and don’t have a lot of high expectations. I do advise any author submitting a book to closely read the publisher submission guidelines though. If you can’t pay attention to that and follow directions, chances are, you’re going to be a difficult author to work with.

NOW, if you want to talk about an author that has five, six, seven books behind their name, I have high expectations. After working with you on five books, I expect them to know what a head hop is, how to do a dialogue tag, etc.

After five books with me, if you’re still handing me this:
“I want to go too.” She said. OR Placing the cup down, he turned to look at her, “I like that idea.”

I’m going to be pretty PO’d editor.

Lacey: Now, listen up authors, I’ve got a good question for Tara. What is your biggest pet peeve that authors do and you’re always having to correct?

Tara: Dialogue tags! Urgh!

Lacey: What makes a story great in your opinion?

Tara: I think it’s really important that readers LIKE your characters. If they don’t like your characters at all, they aren’t going to care about them or what happens to them. The best way to engage a reader is with characters they can relate to. Oh, the story and plot is important too, but first step: create likable people. We don’t want to read about assholes. We get that in our everyday life. ;)

Lacey: By day you’re an editor and by night you’re an author. You’ve had the pleasure of working as an author with publishing houses as well as the self-publishing route. For an author who is looking to self publish, any tips on what they need to look for in an editor and questions to ask before the editor and author embark on a relationship together?

Tara: Quit worrying about prices. Yes, money is tight, but you get what you pay for. There are a lot of editors out there charging pennies and they are making nothing...this means their workload is toppling. Lots of work because they’re cheap, but because they’re cheap, they have to take more of it. Your book isn’t going to get the attention it deserves. So while I’m not saying not to take advantage of a good deal if it comes, be careful. Don’t make price your number-one factor.

Lacey: Any advice you would like to give to un-published, or even published authors?

Tara: Get your work edited before you seek an agent. If you don’t do the agent route, do get a beta reader to read your MS before you submit it. DO shop around and research publishers. I’m seeing an alarming trend in the industry. People are just so desperate to have their names on books they don’t even care if the publisher who offers them a contract has the crappiest reputation in the business. Check places like Absolute Write or Piers Anthony and don’t get in a hurry.

Because once the excitement settles down...once you’ve been sitting there waiting 8 months and haven’t seen a dime, you’re going to want that book back.

So calm down, think clearly, and don’t just get obsessed with having your name on a book. Think long-term.
Find out more about Tara on her website, as well as her prices for editing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

#WWoW!: Promotional Swag On A Budget

It's Wednesday once again and you know what that means. Time for Tammy's Tidbits here at Writer's Words of Wisdom. Each week the four of us post some tips, insights, or  share our experiences with writing, editing, publishing and promoting. You may have already experienced these things yourself, or find something new. 
Either way, we would love to get your comments on our posts and perhaps you will join us each week posting some of your own experiences. It's authors helping authors at its finest. We've opened up Fridays for guest authors so if you're interested, let us know!

The following is another updated post I did a while back when I was about to start a blog tour to promote the second book in my Now and Forever series. Now I'm about to release a brand new short story as one of my alter egos. It will be the first piece in the Fearless Love series by Lia Michaels. 

This one is a completely new area for me...LGBT romance, specifically M/M erotic paranormal romance. It's a tough genre to break into so I'll need some way to get Lia's name and her work out there. She's already established in the blogging world, hosting guest authors and all over social media in general.

So what else is an author to do?  Promotional swag!

As a veterinarian, I've attended many conferences over the years and was always inundated with "stuff" from vendors, exhibitors and of course my conference notes for the lectures. Back in the day when you didn't have to worry so much about how many checked pieces of luggage you were allowed to have, I could easily come home with an entire suitcase full of the freebies I picked up. Many of the items I eventually tossed into the recycle bins. 

Now that I have to watch my promotional budget like a hawk, I didn't want to create items that would immediately end up in the ole' circular file. I could pass out business cards and flyers until I'm blue in the face, but if they are tossed aside without a glance, what good are they?  Talking to my author friends who've gone down this road before me, I've found out a few good tips.

Ink pens are always a hot item. I know this one from my veterinary conference days. You have a "clicker" pen, and you have folks stopping by to pick one up. Magnets and key chains are hot items as well as lip balms and mouse pads. Some people found little mints or other candies and put them in special boxes with their websites on them. Food is a good item, but not so much if you have to ship it somewhere. Who wants to open up a box with melted chocolate smeared over your contact information?

There are many places available to order your promotional items. The most popular appears to be Vistaprint. You can have all sorts of items printed up with pre-made designs, or using your own logos and photos. I created some key chains, pens, mouse pads, book bag/totes and  coffee mugs. All of these are kept in my portfolio. Those I ordered as well as those I wish to order in the future are kept there for me to do with as I see fit. The prices are pretty reasonable and you can find specials at times. One of my author friends found a fabulous Groupon offer for Vistaprint and was able to many items for a fraction of the cost she thought she was going to have to pay.

Here is the basic logo I designed using my own picture and some of their pre-made graphics.

This wrapped around the pen nicely and on the other items. Take a look...

Something I won from another author's contest during a blog hop were trading cards. These were fantastic! They had the covers of all the books in her series with some fun facts on the back of some, and blurbs on others. In my search for where to get these, I came across Romance Trading Cards website. Here authors of multiple genres have created and uploaded cards to share and collect. They have a tutorial on how to create your own cards.

In the videos, the instructor shows you step by step how to create the cards using the free program GIMP. It looked a bit daunting at first, but using the tutorial, I was able to get through it all in no time flat.  I've created cards for two of my books using the templates provided by RTC. These templates were in fact created from the downloadable templates provided by

One more item I used last year were printed post cards. I made those myself using my portable Canon Printer. I was able to print off my covers on 4 X 6 postcards. I handed them out to people before the first book's release, signing the back of them. People loved them and are asking me to do the same for this book. 

Might as well give them what they want! LOL

Take a look at what some of these sites have to offer. Plan a portion of your promotional budget for these items and above all, have fun with it!

Until next time

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

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