March 26, 2014

Book Reviews

I love readers who take the time to write a review. Readers might not know how much this means to an author. Let me tell you - it means A LOT.

We spend countless hours alone in our heads with characters who we'll never actually get to meet and then we release them into your care. It's nice to know when the hard work has been enjoyed by someone. When a reader takes the time to write a review this tells the world they care about books. New authors, especially independents like myself, can't make it without the help of engaged readers. Reviewers give us a voice to reach other readers. I don't even mind the harsh reviews (well, unless they're hurtful and offer zero constructive criticism). I try not to invest my emotions in the harsher reviews, but rather try to glean something from them. There's always something to learn and apply moving forward. On the contrary, when I accidentally come across a review that is just plain mean and pointless, I try to conjure up some compassion for the person. I tell myself there must be something deeper going on in their hearts and souls. Or . . . maybe they just really hated the book.

One of the most important lessons I've learned is that you can't please everyone.

I'm writing this to give a note of thanks to those who have taken the time to share their thoughts with an endless sea of strangers. Thank you for reading my words and sharing yours with me. 

Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 21, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Five

This is the final installment of the marketing plan series and the most important, as far as I'm concerned. You can theorize your goals, strategies and audience, but unless you actually do the footwork, your efforts will be fruitless.

There are many ways to go about marketing your book, I'm just sharing what worked for me with The City Center, which has been on Amazon's best-seller list a few times -- so I must have done something right. But who knows? With the rules constantly changing, I plan to continue doing extensive research on book marketing. 

I've been in advertising for over twenty years (ugh) and without fail the best advertising is word of mouth. My advice is to write an excellent book that people can't put down, then write a few more of those. The more work you put out into the world, the higher your chances are to get some author buzz.


4)  Describe your tactics and specific actions you will take

Strategies you will take in each of four areas:

1) Product mix: eBook and Print (paperback). Multi-book series
2) Distribution: Amazon – CreateSpace/ Author Website/ Simone Says Blog 
3) Pricing: Ebook: $2.99 – $4.99 Print: $9.95 – $13.95 
4) Promotion: see below (a - e) 


  • Hire Damon Za to create book cover art
  • Create book trailer
  • Update all social sites with new book cover and retail component
    • website, facebook, twitter, g+, goodreads, pinterest, youtube
  • Update Kindle author page
  • Update Goodreads author page
  • YouTube: reading from The City Center (maybe from new book)
  • Email current list of Sci-fi and YA book bloggers (50-60 contacts)
  • Email current list of top Amazon reviewers (200-300 individuals)
  • Email last group of pre-reader reviewers to consider a review (35-40 readers)
  • Post a request for reviews on facebook and twitter (if you don’t get enough from previous readers)
  • Consider a Book Tour (Xpresso or Book Nerds: $200-$300)
  • Upload manuscript to NetGalley (cannot enroll in KDP Select, if I do this option)
  • Upload manuscript to Story Cartel (cannot enroll in KDP Select, if I do this option)
  • Professional reviews (I've decided not to invest in professional reviews as I've heard from experts in the field that they're not worth spending the money, but if you're interested, below are  some I would consider if I had extra funds) 


  • Goodreads Giveaway (THIS IS AMAZING)
  • Blogger Giveaways (offer this incentive when reaching out to bloggers for reviews)
  • Promote Free download days (advertise on list of 50 free websites) 


  • Write articles: Genetic Engineering, Transhumanism, Eugenics
  • Pitch article ideas to community websites
  • Request for author interviews on book blogger websites, writing websites, sci-fi websites, YA webisites
  • Listmania – research how to get on more lists 
  • Continue reaching out to book clubs and do virtual discussion with clubs
  • Consider hiring Author Buzz ($1000) 
  • Santa Monica Public Library
  • Los Angeles Public Library
  • Marion County School Libraries
  • Compile list of other libraries to contact (this is a huge undertaking, so one at a time)

  • Kindle Nation Daily ($150 - $350)
  • FK Books ($50)
  • Book Sends ($20 - $50)
  • BookBub – for ebook discounts only ($70 - $350)
  • AuthorBuzz ($995 - $1850)
  • Email campaign to friends & family & current readers
  • Facebook posts
  • Twitter posts
  • Pinterest book cover campaign (ask readers to send in pictures of them with the book)
  • Pinterest book inspiration page
  • Goodreads Post Apocalyptic group

  • I need to come up with a tactical plan for this section
    • Promote books at story-telling performances
    • Book festivals, speaking events and tradeshows

Next Step:
- Start sending emails
- Start working on author interview questions and guest posts
- Start releasing and letting go - and trusting that you will be okay no matter what 

Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 12, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Four

Now that I have the 1) Goal and 2) Overall Strategy locked in, I’m moving to the next section of the marketing plan: 3) Audience. This was probably the most difficult section for me to nail down because I want everyone across all audiences to read my book. But it’s extremely important to hone in on your readers, so you know where to reach them -- and even then, it’s tough.


3) Describe your audience

a) Why’d you write it?  (Task. Topic. Target)

To entertain (task) hip and cutting edge adults (target) with futuristic dystopian stories (topic).

I wrote it because it’s a cool idea and very relevant to the direction our society is headed. I wanted to explore the most extreme consequences of living in a society that is controlled by clandestine think tanks and their hidden agenda. I’m hoping that it inspires people to open their eyes and become aware of what’s going on behind the curtain.

b) Who Will Buy Your Book?

1) Professional females, 21 – 45, who work in creative fields like the advertising or entertainment industries.

2) Cutting edge men and women, who are on the look out for new books in the post-apocalyptic genre.

3) Sci-fi geeks.

4) YA females who are looking for the next sci-fi series.

The audience has some crossover. 1) New sci-fi readers who like The Hunger Games, Divergent – dystopian story with some romance and 2) More seasoned sci-fi speculative fiction readers who like The Matrix, MaddAddam Series, or A Brave New World – saying something about the state of the world.

c) How do I speak to them in the terminology they’re used to using on this subject?
Post-Apocalyptic and Dystopian fiction. Love Story. Genetic Engineering. Transhumanism. Societal Oppression. Eugenics.

d) How they will be informed, entertained, or educated by your treatment of the subject?
Like in The City Center, there is the underlying social commentary threaded throughout the novel. I don't want to ram it down the readers' throats, but rather let them come to their own conclusions bases on the information I set before them.

e) What motivates them to learn more about my subject?
 “Hey do you all see what’s happening around us? We are being controlled and manipulated and our freedom is slowly being taken away from us under the guise of protection. If you’re interested in this kind of stuff, I wrote a book about the most extreme consequences to these type of conditions.”

f) Who is a dominant competitor in this field?
Hunger Games series, Divergent series, Wool series

g) What does my book give people they don’t already have? 
Ugh. I really don’t like this question. My book is different because it’s my take on eugenics. It’s my voice, which will be different than other authors.

h) My book is different because:
Double Ugh. It’s different because it's mine. I could write a book about why my book is different, but I already did.

Next Step:
- Describe your tactics and specific actions (that’s gonna be a long one!)

Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 5, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Three

In my last post I described my overall goal for my upcoming book launch for The New Agenda. This post focuses on overall strategy, which is a quick snapshot of the game plan. There are thousands of articles and websites out there on marketing strategy, some of my favorites can be found at the amazing Joanna Penn's The Creative Penn and incredible Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer. If you're on Create Space, this article is a must-read: Developing a Marketing Plan and Strategy.


2) Describe your overall strategy
  • Leverage The City Center to continue building an author presence: 
    • Author interviews (podcasts and blogs) 
    • Guest Posts 
    • Book reviews 
    • Giveaways
    • Book Clubs 
  • Leverage Simone Says Blog (offering help to other writers) 
  • Continue creating a presence in the Scifi & YA community (blogs/meetups/goodreads) 
  • Build a visual campaign for The New Agenda to coincide with tactical plan

Next Step
- Describe your audience

Keep writing. It saves lives.

March 2, 2014

The Book Marketing Plan - Installment Two

As noted in my previous post, I'm going to share each step of my book marketing plan with my readers. My goal is two-fold: 1) actually write the thing and 2) hopefully help another author. 

Something I just thought of - maybe someone out there has some tips on book marketing that I can add to my plan. If this is you, please email me (you can find my contact info here: Simone Pond). 

I'll recap each step before moving to the next one. 

On my last post I gave myself a deadline of 3/4 to write the first draft of my marketing plan. Since I had some extra time this weekend, I went ahead and wrote the first draft, so now I can start sharing the details with all of you.

My marketing plan is divided into four parts:

1) Goal
2) Strategy
3) Audience
4) Tactics/Actions 

Without further ado, here we go...


1) Describe overall goal and what you hope to accomplish

Launch THE NEW AGENDA on June 8, 2014. Make Amazon’s top 100 Kindle list in my genre by July 2014. Sell 1000+ copies by September 2014. Average monthly sales of 500+ by end of 2014. My ultimate goal is to make it on a bestseller list by the end of 2014. Release the third book by the end of 2014.

Next Step:
- Come up with overall strategy 

Keep writing. It saves lives.