January 24, 2012

Can I Help YOU Reach More Readers?

Previously, this blog has contained my ramblings and musing as I struggled to become a better writer and a published author. I've posted my health updates as I battled three autoimmune diseases, Lyme Disease, and a slew of other illnesses, sex toy reviews from the Everything Erotic (EE) blog, contest news, writing progress… well, you name it and I probably covered it!

Will I still be doing the incredibly popular sex toy reviews? Yes! I took a hiatus from EE while my career exploded, but now I'm back on track and will be posting regularly there starting this month.

The format and content here will change. It will no longer be my personal journal. I share so much on FB it's not like many readers track me here to this obscure blog. I've decided I want to build a website and teach writers what I've learned through videos and typed content. I've done a ton of marketing research and spent thousands of dollars on trying new things. After talking to other Indie and small press authors, discovered I learned more than I actually thought.

I think a lot of the knowledge sifted in little by little as I read blogs on the publishing industry, retailer trends, social media sites, and basically tried my hand at anything and everything to reach readers -- all without me realizing I'd done a hell of a lot in a short span of time.

The writers I work with at Red Hot Publishing (RHP) have been encouraging me for months to get my ideas down into a cohesive format, but honestly, I thought, who the hell would care? There are a ton of ebooks aimed at the author market, did we really need another?

This concept will be different. It will teach via these blog posts, videos on the website, and be organized on a Page on Facebook (FB) to share ideas.

Some of you may be saying to yourself, "Who the hell are you and why should I care?"

And you're right. I'm still basically a nobody in the publishing industry. I have an agent who couldn't sell my work to the NY market and I have a business background from before I became a writer. My life education of running a business and being in a commission only sales position for ten years helped me see I did not need a small press, or an epublisher, to do what I could do on my own.

Here is what I've accomplished and why you might want to read about what I've learned:

  • My main Facebook Page, C.J. Ellisson, has over 10,000 followers at the time of this posting
  • I founded a group FB Page for EE, which is a Kindle blog with a paid subscriber list of about 800 per month. And the Page has over 2k FB followers, through mine and the teams' marketing efforts
  • I've recently launched a Reader Page on FB for authors and readers to interact and in less than one month live it has over 2k followers and over 350+ subscribers to the newsletter (exactly two have gone out so far). The concept is to help authors build up a email database of readers interested in their work, and it's working phenomenally well.
  • My debut novel released on Oct 2010 with a reader base of less than 500 (meaning it sold less than 500 copies within the first three months). By month five I'd sold around 2500 ebooks and thought things were going well, but I wanted to reach more readers. Within 12 months from its release, I'd built my brand and released the second book in the series and two unrelated novellas to sell 32k books total
  • I started out thinking I'd self-publish the right way: through my own company called Red Hot Publishing, a business license, a tax ID number, a block of ISBN numbers, and a business account -- not simply with my name slapped on as the "publisher". But within 30 days I took on 11 other authors and published an anthology making my company, RHP into a real small press. Since launch, we've taken on three more authors, published over three dozen titles, and sold close to 75k books in under a year.
  • I've done all of this and polished my craft in less than three years. Let me explain the significance of this: I never wrote a fictional word until February 2009. 
Sure, we've all witnessed the successes of people like John Locke, Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath or H.P. Mallory, but none of them achieved what I have in three years from when they entertained the very idea of attempting to write their first book and typed the words "Chapter One".

Will I be able to guarantee your success in reaching readers? No, for all I know your product could be crappy. ;-)

Above all, don't even think of building your brand and reaching readers unless you have a product you can be proud of. That means a professional cover, professional editing, a damn fine story and excellent formatting. When you have all those things, then you'll be ready to learn.

Stop by in a few weeks and I'll reveal the FB Page dedicated to me sharing what I've learned and I'll roll out my first "beginners" series for free here on this blog.

For those of you reading this who have been loyal followers and are readers, not writers, please consider checking out the blog on my website, right on the front page. This is where I have been posting monthly for readers since this summer and will continue to do so, rather than here.

As always, thanks for your support! Without readers there'd be no point to publishing my work!


~~ C.J. Ellisson ~~
Guest Speaker at Vamps at Sea – A vampire themed cruise to Alaska 6.23.2012


Danielle Ravencraft said...

I'm excited to read your first post geared toward teaching writers how to reach readers! Been waiting for this and so happy you decided to do it. :)

Bri Clark said...

You had me at "Lyme's disease" had it myself and sunk the deal at "for all I know your product may be crap."

Dainelle is a friend and colleague who sent me here. I'm ready to learn and how can I help?

Anonymous said...

Will definitely come back and see what it is you have to share with us. My interest has certainly been peaked.

C.J. Ellisson said...

Thanks Danielle! starting the first post to air next Monday now. Trying to find a starting point seems to be the hardest.

Nice to meet you Bri! Thanks for stopping by and thank you for the kind words. I sincerely hope you're past Lyme, I know it's been one helluva battle for me. Appreciate the offer to help! I'd say the only thing I need right now is people spreading the word. I haven't spent much time building a blogger bas (as you can see by my low GFC followers).

Thanks Anonymous! Hope to see you back and we can put a name to the handle ;-)

Bri Clark said...

Don't worry CJ...GFC is only a number. It's the hits. People subscribe by rss and email. Then it's the social media that really brings it.

I'd say take email or vlogs. Those are the two newest but untalked about marketing. You could suggest some of the email marketing programs or tackle why someone would want to do email. Same thing with vlogs.

My email is briatbelleconsult.com if you want to talk more.

Kay Dee Royal said...

I'm excited about this CJ...I've been waiting around, hoping you'd facilitate some sort of workshop, and here you are.

Danielle pointed the way, and I'm glad she did or I might have missed it.

I'm looking forward to attending...see you Monday.

Charlene A. Wilson said...

Hi CJ. Danielle sent me, too. Lol. Gotta love her. I'm all ears, ready to learn. Love your facebook page. You did a great job. Joined through GFC here and we connected on facebook a bit ago. Looking forward to getting to know you. :)


Carole Gill said...

Sorry about the health issues!
I'm here to learn as well and I can't think of anyone I'd rather listen to than you.
Your advice is always sensible and based on what you've learned.
Also, you can be funny as hell.
The combo is great.

You go, CJ!

Adriana Ryan said...

I'm so excited to read this series! :) Thanks, C.J.!

C.J. Ellisson said...

Bri - thanks for the suggestions! I'm mapping out the whole "course" this week so I can cover a variety of topics and educate as best I can.

Kay Dee - thanks so much! The first topic will be covering author-geared websites I've tried the past three years and my success rate with them.

Charlene -- thank you! I've worked my ass off on that Page. Way more work than I ever thought it would be, but I think the reader connections I've made are worth their weight in gold. I'll be thanking Danie for both of you finding me, thanks!

Carole -- very kind of you, thank you! I try to mix the gruff with the humor… sometimes it falls flat, sometimes it works. Health has been *much* better lately. I'm thrilled and have started working my ass off with the renewed energy. Man, everyone thought I accomplished a lot when I was sick, they aint seen nothing yet! ;-)

Adrian -- Thank you! I'm hoping each week I'll be able to at least help a little. We'll have to see how things progress.

Hoping to see you all back here tomorrow! The first post goes live at 6 a.m. EST.


Brenda said...

Holy doddle, have you ever accomplished a lot. Bravo!

Gregory Marshall Smith said...

I think it's amazing that you've done all of this despite the numerous health issues. From the previous posts, it seems like your family is trying to keep up with you. Anyway, it's a great thing you're doing for future writers and current and future readers.

Keep up the excellent work, my friend.

See? Not Talkin' Out My Ass!

About this blog:

"Who the heck is this C.J. chick?"

Sure, you may not have heard of me and that's okay. I may not have heard of you either ;-) But ask yourself this one simple question -- What were you doing in January 2009 and had you ever written one word of fiction?

I can tell you where I was and what I was doing. I spent days in doctor's offices and sitting at home the rest of the time, wondering what I was going to do with my time now that my property management and Realtor business was on hold for the foreseeable future.

That's right, I never wrote a fictional piece before and I never thought I could be a writer. My background is Art, Chemistry and Business… not English, Journalism, or Creative Writing.

Now, I'm an award-winning bestselling author of contemporary fantasy. In under three years. And I have over 10,000 followers on facebook. Do you? 'Cause if you do then you probably don't need my help. ;-)

Side Note: I use an editor for all my books (several in fact), but not on my blog posts. So if you see errors, try to be nice and overlook them.

Please comment on the posts you find helpful -- I look forward to getting to know you!

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