The timing of this class is perfect! Unforgettable Roads was just released a week ago from Martin Sisters Publishing. In fact, I received the first box of books just last night. It was the moment I've waited for! Opening a box and seeing my work encased in a shiny cover...picture perfect :)
Unforgettable Roads slowly emerged from a short story I wrote years ago. This was the project that I returned to again and again as I worked on other novels - yes, I'm a little ADD and can't focus on one thing for too long :)
I have another book that I self-published last year - simply to find feedback about my writing and storytelling voice. The response has been extremely promising! I will be using this class to boost the marketing of both books.
I will admit, this is the first time I've participated in an online class. I graduated from college too many years ago - I'm not afraid to admit my age, but I do feel a little embarrassed by my lacking tech-savvy knowledge.
Unforgettable Roads is a fiction novel with Christian undertones. Being a consumer of red wines, I would describe the book as a rich bouquet of memories with subtle hints of life lessons. I was careful to not preach :) because my kids tell me I do enough of that at home.
Back Cover Summary:
Jack Elliott has Alzheimer’s . To preserve his mind, he has written his life’s story: the lessons, the gains and the losses he has lived through, in hopes that as his granddaughter, Alison, comes of age, she will not make the same mistakes he did. For her birthday, Jack takes Alison on a journey to the places in the West where he found his independence in life, his dependence on God, and fell in love for the first time.
When Jack’s journals are stolen, Alison realizes that nothing will protect her grandfather from the evils of Alzheimer’s. Victims of a hit-and-run, Jack is seriously injured. Desperate to find a piece of his past to bring to him, Alison continues the journey, searching for answers, seeking the people and places her grandfather once knew. As Alison follows the stories she grew up on, she realizes that she’s looking for Jack’s first love…and it’s not her grandmother. Will this woman be enough? Will she be the ‘kiss’ that wakes him up?
I. Author Bio: (This is copy and pasted from my website. I spent hours on it a few months ago, but haven't made any changes yet. Comments and suggestions are welcome! My first thought is that this is probably too long, so on my Press Kit page, I did a much shorter BIO: http://www.booksbyjessica.com/#!news/cgvh)
Thanks for visiting my website! If we could be face-to-face, I'd offer you a cup of coffee (or tea, if you swing that way) and we could talk about the latest books. You're here to learn about me...a very humbling thought! I'm not super interesting, but hey! I'm a writer...I'll spin a tale of wonder about my life for your reading pleasure.
If you love waking early to read outside, walking through nature trails, and quiet music, we have much in common. If you also live in Michigan, are a stay-at-home mom and drive an over-sized, gas-guzzling truck (sorry Earth!), then we will be fast-friends! If your favorite moments are sandwiched between raising four kids, trying to write the next NY Times bestseller and make dinner, we need to talk!
For a few years I tried my hat at teaching and I loved it! (Hi to all my students from St. Thomas the Apostle in G.R. M.I.! Drop me a line!) But the draw to be a mother was stronger than my desire to keep excellent lesson plans. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I left teaching behind for a time and have stayed home ever since. This fall will mark the beginning of our 8th year homeschooling my daughters; an experience in parenting unlike anything I had ever hoped.
Two years ago, we were blessed with a son through adoption. He's added a level of activity in our household that I had only seen from a distance. My heart and mind have been stretched by his arrival and I am a stronger person for it! He's a gift from God, a spunky addition to the Schaub clan, and he completes our family.
With every job, within every organization I've worked, we were driven by a mission statement. I've written my own - for my life and my writing - To be a beacon of faith and hope and to write stories that do the same. That said, I work extra hard to not preach, but to entertain. I strive to create worlds with flawed characters who overcome darkness through the basic elements of Christian faith.
Today I'm working on marketing my current book, writing the next one, re-learning algebra, grading a few spelling tests, preparing a science experiment, and training a puppy. Tomorrow will be much of the same, but we'll try to do a little laundry and cooking.
Blessings to your day!
A new Bio for a flyer that is next to my book in smaller bookstores:
Jessica has uncanny skills of cooking and editing at the same time, changing a diaper in 15 seconds flat, tracking lesson plans for her homeschooled children, and making yogurt from scratch. She can also stretch a budget, make eggs work for any meal, and quote any line from the Princess Bride.
The heart of her stories stem from her love of God, her faith, and her family. “Without those influences, there is no story in my life; no beginning, no middle, and certainly no happy ending.”
With a M.Ed. in Education from Grand Valley State University, Jessica loves teaching children how to read, to understand what they read, and express thoughts, ideas, and budding stories through writing. She helps parents help their children become strong readers.
Action Plan: Change up my author bio on Amazon and Goodreads.
II. Media Angles:
Main theme of Unforgettable Roads: Sharing Stories: family stories are the essence of who we are; not that they determine our future, but that they remember the milestones overcome to bring them where they are.
Research timely news that ties in with the themes
This is going under my Action Plan for May - News I will research will include: Alzheimer’s, road trips gone bad, family story (heritage tales), faith formation.
Possible media outlets include: Alzheimer's journals, magazines, and websites; geneology magazines; Catholic and Christian based magazines & websites to submit articles and/or sample chapters.
Be sure my angle is as specific as possible
Working on this… I think depending on the nature of the media, I will focus on a different aspect of the book.
i.e. Write Blog/Articles about:
10 Ways to Raise a Reader (Include statistics on reading and overall success, Include faith formation, Self-esteem, Movies vs. books)
Alzheimer’s and Family Stories (Writing prompts)
For a Catholic/Christian Publication (How our stories/testimonies affect others; Our example is our greatest teacher.)
III. Media Page/ Press Kit on Website.
First draft completed @ www.BooksByJessica.com listed under "Press"
Completed 4/18/13: Added a fresh bio, recent & professional pic of me, links to both books, pics for use, summaries of each book.
The website has links to reader reviews as well as a few listed right on the page.
I added more links to purchase the books on each page.
IV. Pitching Media
Sent themes, interview questions, and local newspaper contacts to my publisher. Will work on my own articles for smaller papers and blogs.
Action Plan: Seek and submit to smaller magazines, specifically local (state) magazines that feature: women, mothers, homeschooling parents.
V. Generating More Reviews
I am doing a Blog Hop for Unforgettable Roads through my blog: http://jessicaschaubbooks.com/2013/04/06/unforgettable-roads-photo-and-essay-blog-hop/ This action plan fits well here and under the blogging action plan.
4/25/13 - 5/25/13 - Goodreads.com giveaway up and running!
Sent 6 copies of Unforgettable Roads to people of influence: bookstore owner (took it to him personally), priests at two churches, a school superintendent, a radio talk show host, and two authors whom I have completed reviews for in the past and said they would return the favor.
Emailed friends and family (100+ people) about the release of the book with a small note about how valuable book reviews are. I also offer a friends and family discount for the book. Email included links to purchase and review the book.
5/25/13 - Goodreads Giveaway will be complete. Don't just hope for reviews, but will kindly ask for them.
May 2013 - email friends and family who have read book and kindly ask for reviews.
June & July - I’m upping the social media advertising of it in hope to drum up some interest.
Start a Goodreads Q&A Group
Add Events to Goodreads Author Page, my Website, post on facebook, and Twitter
Seeking book clubs to read Unforgettable Roads. Will offer to come to the book club to listen & and add to the discussion. In preparation for this, I will be adding a ‘book club discussion page’ to my website. For book clubs too far away for me to attend, I’m looking into Skype or a similar video-chat feature to still be able to attend.
VI. Make Blogging Go Further
4/23/13 - Explored Reddit.com - was a little disheartened at first, then laughing at the incredibly sarcastic dialogue on the site, and then found a little success with increased traffic to my site. (35 visits, up from the average of 7-10/day)
4/25/13 - added another link to Reddit.com
Plan to add a link every Monday. Will track the nature of the blog post and the blog stats to see what types of articles and titles capture more attention. (I’ve posted two more times, but traffic to my site has been lower than normal. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.)
May 2013 - will seek 5 Blog Carnival sites to submit posts. Goal to have 5 Blog Carnivals completed by 5/15/13
Continue with my Marketing 101 blogs (in which I share what I’m learning by trial and error about marketing - these posts receive higher hits). Continue with 5 Blog Carnivals to submit to. Include my LinkedIn Group (Parents who are Writers) with a post or two about writing time during summer vacation, including your children in your writing time, and using that time to explore new writers.
June - Make an editorial calendar for Blog posts. Goal of 1 blog post each week - due on Friday.
July - Make an editorial calendar for Blog posts. Goal of 1 blog post each week - due on Friday.
VII. Guest Posting
May 2013 - will seek 3 Blogs to Guest Post. This goal includes submitting a title, post outline, and writing sample.
June 5/13- will seek 3 Blogs to Guest Post. This goal includes submitting a title, post outline, and writing sample.
July 5/13 will seek 3 Blogs to Guest Post. This goal includes submitting a title, post outline, and writing sample.
VIII. Utilize the Power of Local - this is of particular interest to me and, I believe, the most difficult. There is a sense of safety in promoting my work via Internet, whereas local marketing requires me to ‘get out there’ face-to-face
4/19/13 - I sent my publisher/publicist a list of local newspapers for a series of possible press releases
4/29/13 Will research Chamber of Commerce for events.
4/26/13 Will visit local Library website (and locations) to meet with head librarians to donate copies of book and learn about possible author events.
5/2/13 Take book to 3 locally-owned books stores for a ‘Michigan Author’ shelf. (Schuler’s, The Curious Bookstore, Mason’s bookstore)
5/9/13 Check back with libraries for books and author events. - it’s likely too late to be in on the summer events, but I’d like to sign up for fall 2013 - spring 2014 events.
5/16/13 Last fall I spoke at a MOPS meeting (93 women) about ‘Raising Readers’. This is my field of expertise - I will contact the Director of that MOPS group and see if I can be added to next year’s speaker list as well.
June - Get to know the librarians at local libraries. Donate copies of books, work on hosting writing classes (10 tips to improving a story), a Q&A session at the end of the summer complete with book prizes.
In July, I have an children’s illustrated picture books scheduled for release. By pure luck, the illustrator and I both attended the same University (although more than 20 years apart…I’m the older one…[sigh]…) I will contact the Alumni Magazine Editor about doing an article on the book, author and illustrator - working on the specific angle of this pitch…
IX. Linked In
I’m already on a few groups through LinkedIn - will increase my activity there - commenting more frequently and posting more links to other writing resources.
One group I belong to is: Parents who are also Writers. I will work on a weekly series of blog posts specifically for parents trying to manage a home, family, and a writing career.
June - Work on increasing connections with other writers. Endorse those I’ve worked with.
July - Same - continue to link blog posts to LinkedIn.
X. Commit to Twitter
Week of 4/29/13 - figure out how to add HTML code to blog for the automatic Twitter updates.
Tuesdays and Fridays, I will commit 30 minutes to setting up Tweets through Social0omph.com with a goal of having 5-10 fresh Tweets daily.
June - with each blog post, I’ll include ‘Tweetables’ - lines with links to my website that people can copy and paste onto their twitter account. I’ve seen this on Author Media, but don’t know how successful it has been. I will try it for the month and track my website hits.
July - Based on how June goes, I’ll tweek the tweets :)
XI. Paid Ads
I don’t have much money to spend, but I’ve been thinking about BookDaily. Will research more on this and make a decision by 4/30/13
Week of 4/29/13 - research EreaderNewsToday - I’m intrigued by the idea of paying for this with a % of the sales. Seems less risky financially, but I need to find out what % they take.
Week of 5/6/13 - Pixel of Ink. I’ll try to submit to them - I know it’s difficult to get on their list, but I won’t be on it if I don’t try at all.
Week of 5/13/13 - If I do try BookDaily, this will be the week I do it.
XII. Public Speaking
Because of my experience as a teacher and a reading specialist, I do have a background in public speaking. Last fall I spoke at a MOPS (Mothers Preschoolers) about Raising Readers. The director of that group added me to the Michigan MOPS speakers list, but I have yet to generate another engagement from that.
Action Plan: Contact that director and ask if I can return again this year to speak about a similar topic - Raising Readers for the Active Child - bringing stories alive with movement.
I’m also working on a presentation for elementary students called “The Story of a Story” - how a story is born, drafted, reworked, edited, and published. For older students, I’m looking to do a workshop about writing, covering 8-10 points about writing that teachers usually don’t have an opportunity to teach. Action Plan: Put a syllabus of this workshop on my website along with pictures and contact information for school teachers and librarians to sample the presentation.
To make all this more managable, I will be using Google Calendar to create an editorial calendar of sorts - to keep me organized, scheduled, and hopefully, timely.
Here I go! wish me luck!