Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Eating Bon Bons and Sending Emails! Not!

Today’s post is by Ginger Simpson. Ginger writes award-winning historical and contemporary fiction. Her western, Sparta Rose, was named the Best Historical Read for 2009 by Love Romance Cafe.

Shortcomings, a YA Romance, is available at Muse It Up Publishing, and includes a free Teacher’s Guide.

Eating Bon BonsPeople, at least those who see me most often, don’t realize how much goes into being a e-published author. My family thinks the time I sit in front of the computer is spent playing games and chatting, but little do they know I’m really trying to further my career and keep my name in the limelight.

I’ve compiled some of the ‘promotional and marketing efforts’ essential to doing this, and as you can see, it requires countless group memberships and communication efforts.

Ginger’s Tips

If you want someone to know you have a product to sell, getting your name and work out in public is key to sales. I’ve been published since 2003 and there aren’t too many things I haven’t tried to make or keep myself visible and promote my work in as many ways as possible. Money of course, is a key-factor in doing more, but I continue to look for inexpensive tools and ideas.

I also utilize very opportunity to network with my peers. Sharing information is most helpful in finding new avenues to market oneself. There are a number of ways to do this effectively, and I’m listing those to which I already subscribe and have included my plans to make myself even more visible now that I have new releases. Asterisks indicate the steps I’ve already taken:

* Tweet! Yes, I know many of you don’t see the value, but I recently joined triberr which increases the “reach” because other tribe members retweet posts. My current reach when everyone posts from the “daily stream,” is over 30,000. Probably not everyone will read what I share, but if only a handful are interested, I’ve made progress. You can also check out sites like “Hootsuite” to help manage your tweets.

* Establish and maintain a current website with buy links, excerpts and information about myself. Keep it up to date. Create video trailers and post them. Put them on youtube and other places that allow uploading videos. Don’t know how to make your own…check out places like “” that does all the hard work for you and walks you through the process. Even a caveman can make a trailer there. 🙂

* Establish and maintain a personal blog, offering subscription option to those interested in receiving it daily. This allows you to become real and human rather than just a website and name. Establish an RSS feed for your blog and use it whenever you can.

* Besides maintaining your OWN personal blog, join group blogs to double your promotional efforts. Publisher’s blogs are a must. Sign up for blog tours…get out there and be found on search engines. Below are just a few (and I mean few) places where I’ve blogged:

  • MySpace
  • WordPress
  • Eternal Press
  • Novel Sisterhood
  • BooksWeLove
  • Muse It Up Publishing
  • Historical Novel Reviews
  • Bragging Rites
  • And any on the blog of any friend willing to invite me.

* Maintain memberships and personal pages on promotional sites such as:

  • Twitter
  • Google (Plus one)
  • Author Central o Amazon
  • MySpace
  • Bebo
  • Bookplace
  • Facebook
  • Good Reads
  • Shelfari
  • Manic Readers
  • The Red Room
  • Stumble Upon
  • Linked In

* Participate in interviews and guest blogging days. Being a hostess increases your blog traffic by introducing you to friends of friends.

* Network with others authors and readers through group and forum memberships. You can’t believe the ideas I’ve gotten from peers and readers who post their likes and dislikes. Here’s some places I’ve been:

  • FAR Chatters
  • The Romance Studio
  • Romance Junkies Chatters
  • ManicReaders
  • Novelsisterhood
  • Gingersgroup
  • Cata Network Readers
  • CoffeeTimeRomance
  • Night Owl Romance
  • Brenda Williamson Romance Party
  • Chatting with Joyfully Reviewed
  • Love Romance Café
  • The Romance Room
  • World Romance Readers
  • Eternal Press Readers/Authors
  • Muse It Up Readers/Authors/Gab
  • Creek Authors
  • Kindle Forums

Contact local news media with press release information, arrange to participate in local events or arrange local book signings (although information I’m reading now indicates that holding a writing class or workshop is much more effective.)

Basically, I try to participate in any event that will provide a ‘buzz’ about me and my work.

I’ve done only press releases in a former city because the newspapers around here don’t have the “helpful” attitude I hoped for. I’ve only attended a few book signings and haven’t found it a helpful way to sell my work. Especially with the economy, people are looking for bargains, and trade paperbacks are not the way to go if I want to recoup what I’ve spent per copy.

Several peers have found small-publisher friendly stores in their area, but I haven’t been that fortunate. I did check with my local library, and they are open to hosting me. Of course, I’ve also donated copies of each of my books. If someone reads one, they may be more inclined to look for new releases, or so I’m hoping.

Not all my work is published in print. The good news: since the sales of ereaders soared, so have my download sales. “Soared” for me means I can buy more than a Happy Meal with my royalties. 🙂

My current project is contracting local schools and teen organizations with the study guide from my new YA with hopes of speaking about bullying and how we treat one another. Of course, I’m hoping to get the press involved.

I’ve been very pleased with the following I’ve already garnered through the efforts mentioned above. I think the biggest secret is to be a team player and share promotional opportunities with your peers. What benefits one, usually benefits all. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to work with publishers who makes their authors a priority. That’s always a good feelings.

This is not a comprehensive list of everything in which I’m involved but it gives you a good feeling of the time I spend working on “me.” Just coming up with interesting ideas for my own blog is wear-and-tear on my old brain. For this reason, you may see my posts shared in more than one place. Hey…brain cells fade everyday and I don’t have that many left. 🙂 If you were one of the three who remember this one from 2008, then hopefully you didn’t notice until I mentioned it. I’ve updated it with new info.

Eating Bon BonsNOTE: If you don’t think promotions and blog posting help get your name out, you’ll appreciate that when I was looking for this image to portray dying brain cells…I found my own picture and a link to a previous blog. I must say, seeing my face under dying brains cells didn’t do much to pick up my spirits. 🙂

If you’re so inclined, please stop by and visit my blog at and saunter on over to my newly-designed website at

Thanks to Kelly for letting me blather on. It’s been fun.

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Guest Interview: Ginger Simpson

I first met Ginger Simpson on the Eternal Press authors-only forum. With her quick wit and wealth of knowledge, she very quickly became my “hero” — answering a lot of newbie questions — some I wished I’d thought to ask — offering suggestions, and adding wise counter-point to rants. And then I realized she’s also a fabulous writer.

When you’re done reading, please check out Ginger’s books. At the very least, show some love in the comments. We’d both enjoy hearing from you.

The Illustrious Ginger SimpsonWho is Ginger Simpson?
Well… she used to be an attractive (at least I thought so) younger women who worked an 8-5 job and used her lunch hours and breaks to work on her books. Now she’s retired, facing the official senior citizen birthday and doesn’t seem to be able to accomplish nearly as much as she did back in the day.

When and why did you begin writing?
For years, I’d read every western historical I could get my hands on. My interest stemmed from the Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House series and blossomed into romance novels…basically anything with the word “savage” in it. I’ve always been an avid reader, but one day I decided I should try my hand at writing my own historical. Prairie Peace, my debut novel, was proof I can write.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The moment I held Prairie Peace in my hands and saw my name on the cover. There’s no greater feeling except maybe having a child or winning the lottery. I can’t really comment on the last as I’m still trying to achieve that goal.

What inspired you to write your first book?
Having access to a computer at home. I’d brought my laptop home from work to finish a project, and afterwards some strange woman named Cecile popped into my head and started telling me a story. The longer I typed, the more enthralled I became with the tale, and I had to see it through to the end. In case you can’t tell, my stories are character driven. I’m basically just the fingers that do the typing and go back and add in the components that make it a novel. The emotions, the smells, the identifying tags. 🙂

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
Only one of my books was actually spawned by a real-life experience. I wrote Embezzled Love based on my sister’s horrible outcome at finding love on the Internet, and I hoped that the final product would cause women to pause and remember how vulnerable they are in situations like dating sites. Men, too, actually. I think the book turned out well because it was a finalist in the 2009 Epic Award nominations.

Most of my books contain a little of me or a trait I admire and wish I possessed. For instance, Forever Faith is about a woman with a weight problem, Hope Springs Eternal is about a woman who faces growing older without anyone in her life, Sarah in Sarah’s Journey is the heroine I hope I am: fair, not afraid to take a stand, and a great friend. I think every author’s personality is hidden somewhere in their stories.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Like I said, I read every Laura Ingalls Wilder book a multitude of times. If someone could go back and find the “check out cards” from my grammar school library, they’d find my name on every other line. I think Ms. Wilder definitely set my writing wheels in motion.

What are your current projects?
I’m currently finishing a YA that I’ve already contracted then I plan to move on to my Women’s Fiction/Mystery, First Degree Innocence, then The Locket. I always have too many WIPS in progress because of the revolving door on my mind that allows characters to enter at will. They all have a story to tell and my WIP folder is overflowing with ones I’ve started to appease the anguished cries. *lol*

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest released book is all about changing. It was previously published in 2004 by another house, and the new version of White Heart, Lakota Spirit is my attempt to remove the amateur writing style and replace it with all the things I’ve learned in the process. Even editors learn as you go, as at the time, I felt this was thoroughly edited and perfectly so. It’s funny how you read your novels years later and wonder how so much slipped through the cracks.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The changing requirements from house to house and all the new writing “rules” that crop up on a frequently basis. For example: one house I queried took such issue with “ly” words, they wanted them all eliminated. I try to avoid them, but there are cases where I think they lend tension or emphasis to a scene. Now the emphasis seems to be on avoiding “was” as much as possible. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on what’s right and what’s wrong, you don’t. 🙂

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I have several favorites, but I’ll name two of them, and you’ll notice that I’m limiting my choices to my fellow e-pubbed authors. I think if we don’t support our own, then who will. I often wonder why more people don’t feel the same and mention their peers as favorites…but Anita Davison, who writes historical novels set in England (her home) converted me with her descriptive writing and flowing prose. I mumbled to myself when I started critiquing her first chapter in our group, knowing it would be dry and boring, but boy was I wrong. She hooked me from the start, and I anxiously await anything she writes. Margaret Tanner, an Aussie author, who writes from the heart with such feeling and emotion that I immediately connect with her characters, just as I do with Anita’s. A true author moves the reader into the story and makes them feel the emotions, smell the smells and cry real tears. These two ladies do exactly that.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Research the publishing houses you’re targeting before you consider signing with them. There are so many new houses springing up, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t destined to doom and you don’t want to go down with them. Signing a contract is like entering into a marriage. If it’s a bad one, you’re stuck with them until the contract expires and divorces you from them. There are many awesome companies out there—one’s who know how to treat their authors. Ask your author friends…they’re your best source of information.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Just a giant “thank you” for following me all these years, frequenting my blog, and believing in me. You keep me doing what I love.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. – please share your public links.

Web site:

Thanks Kelly for hosting me today. You’ve asked some very interesting questions and I appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into showcasing me and my work.