Another wing-flap out of my bat cave: I created my Bat Hughes Amazon author page. If you’re new to publishing eBooks on Amazon, curious about what kind of author page a horror writer who just published a vampire story might create, or if you’re thinking of publishing your first eBook, I hope this will interest or inspire you.
Promotion for eBooks: Author Photo
The Amazon author page includes an author photo. I admit, I used one I took myself, not a strategy I recommend. I jumped into publishing my first eBook after dragging heels for so many months a non-psychic vampire could track me by the deep tread marks. I picked this shot in part because of the big green plant with the hand-shaped leaves. I once read that it’s good to have red or green in a promotional pic.
For most non-fiction topics, I’d opt for professional attire, say, at least a shirt. Of the pics I had available in my frenzy to launch my first eBook by the end of the year, this one, sans shirt, suited my self-image best. As uncomfortable as I’ve always been about self-promotion, I grok the concept of branding and the use of images is a powerful part of that. As soon as possible, I’ll look into having a professional shot done. I avoided the pitfall of a do-it-yourself eBook cover and opted for a professional photo. I’ll have to make the same investment in myself.
Author Page Features:
The Amazon author page displays blog and Twitter feeds and it’s simple to set up. I linked my WordPress blog RSS feed and it displays my most recent posts from here. I also linked by @Bat_Hughes Twitter feed. Consider setting up a Twitter author account separate from any other activities you do on Twitter. I started mine weeks before I launched my first eBook.
I tweet about horror, science fiction, space exploration, archaeology, insects, and favorite authors, and retweet items I find funny, enlightening or gorgeous, such as great bits from George Takei.
I enjoy interacting with new people and once I overcame my initial unfamiliarity, began enjoying the Twitter adventure. I unfollow people who use a lot of hashtags or do nothing but self-promote.
The highlights of using Twitter include keeping up with my favorite authors, discovering new writers, small press book news, meeting people from other countries and the opportunity to engage with potential readers.
The Amazon author page also includes links to the author’s eBooks, in my case, Vampire Madams #1: Animals of London. A bio note next to the author photos and a Customer Discussions area for comments round out the author page.
I’m glad I became active on a few different platforms, WordPress, Twitter, Blogger, and more recently Google+ and Goodreads before taking the wild flight into publishing my first eBook. I took the advice of others who undertook this journey and winged my way into social networking before I published.
It took awhile to gain a comfort level with each venue, and gaining followers takes time. It’s the tricky step for some of us shy writers: Find your audience. I got a kick out of having an author account on Twitter and WordPress already established and ready to link once I got the first book out.
I’m still a bit squeamish about self-promotion. An interview in The Writer with children’s book author Mike Jung helped a lot. His approach is to engage in social networking, not flog product. I’ve cut back on Twitter because of the constant advertisements. In my offline life I’m put off by people who are all about themselves, and I have the same reaction online. Jung’s approach gives me hope that my networks and readership may grow over time, without resorting to the sort of tactics that make me cringe.
Reflections on Publishing the First eBook
The thing that hit me the day after the book came out was ‘now I’m an author.’ Sounds so hokey, yet it got to me.
I’ve identified as a writer since my teens, started publishing in my 20s, and I’ve been writing articles full-time for more than four years. I make all my income from non-fiction under another pen name, aside from some ad revenue from my other blogs and posts. One of the highlights of 2013 was hitting the Google Adsense payout for my Ancient Egyptian Clothing Blogger site. I’ve contributed to literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and websites. I completed my MFA in creative writing and taught CW at my university. I’ve been an editor for a magazine and an academic journal. Writing is as intrinsic to my life as eating and dreaming.
Getting a book out was a turning point. It’s a short story, and it’s self-published, and I’m not going to kid myself or you that it’s the first book I dreamed of when I began sacrificing many other things in life to follow this path, yet at least I finally did it.
If anyone reading this is still procrastinating on publishing an eBook, I’ll tell you it feels good to have it done. I just started writing the fifth episode of the Vampire Madam series and I’m having a blast with it.
One of the best things about self-publishing this series is I don’t have to expurgate it to meet the content restrictions of newsstand and many online publications. It isn’t full-on erotica, yet it includes sexuality in many forms. I’m also going deeper into my fascination with vampires, shapeshifters and Jack the Ripper.
My unexpurgated imagination isn’t for everyone, yet with my Amazon author page and multiple platforms, maybe my eBooks will reach people who enjoy the kinds of horror and dark fantasy joyrides I do.