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You Found an Error in your Manuscript… and it’s been LIVE for a Year…

I’m going to tell you a little story. Last Friday I had a mini-meltdown. No, seriously. There was ranting and raving. I think I may have thrown something… there were even a few tears. I questioned why I even bother trying to write and publish and the sheer impossibility of ever being able to put something out that’s error-free.

You see, when you’re indie-published, you have this overwhelming need to make sure everything you do is “perfect.” We don’t have the resources of a huge publishing house, their personnel list of umpteen copy editors, proofers, etc… we must do everything ourselves, we must hire our own editors and proofers, then work with beta readers, then possibly even beg and plead with friends, to help proof our books. I sometimes feel like it’s all just too overwhelming, to be honest.

So, back to the meltdown… It all started with me trying to figure out what makes people want to buy my novels. I’m on a lot of social media outlets and trying different things on different sites. I tackled instagram this month and started a hashtag contest for readers to upload my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU with the hashtag #xanaduquest, and they will be entered to win one of five signed hard covers of the next novel in the series, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB. It’s been going well so far and I made a “Fan Shout-Out” page on my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com if you’d like to check it out.

So, on Friday, I copy/pasted the first two paragraphs of Chapter One of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, loaded it to Paint, adjusted it and put it on instagram. I was thinking it would be a cool way to entice people to read the first part of the novel and maybe interest them enough to want to read more. Here’s what I posted:

xanaduinstagram

I then promoted it on twitter, google+ and then to my author groups on FB. Well, lo and behold “eagle-eye” editing/proofer friend, Bob Nailor, side emailed me and told me laughingly that I had a few edit problems with this paragraph. I went “stone cold.” Edit problems? How can there possibly be any edit problems? I’ve had this book out for over a year and it’s been scanned through meticulously. He HAD TO BE WRONG.

But he wasn’t. Can you see the errors above? I couldn’t. It actually took me THREE reads to find what Bob was talking about – and he even told me what they were. Apparently there should be a comma after the word “drugged” but more importantly, there should be the word “be” after “reckoning it would” – which I obviously missed. Not to mention I see a spacing issue, too, between “an impressive.” But you know what kills me? What made me have my mini-meltdown? I published this book December of 2013. I had an editor, a proofer and six people sifted through it before it went live. I read it myself easily fifteen times. I had six updates I put on both Kindle and Createspace because people kept finding errors. But no one found this… until Friday. No one found this error IN THE FIRST CHAPTER, until Friday. The mini-meltdown happened for about twenty-five minutes where I decided I was going to quit writing, that I was an utter hack and maybe the books hadn’t gotten traction because they are “riddled” with mistakes.

And then my writing friends talked me down. My book isn’t RIDDLED with mistakes. It’s missing a “be” and it’s one of those words the mind actually adds as you’re reading the copy. Most people probably never even noticed. (well, unless you’re Bob Nailor). I’ve calmed down, fixed the document and re-uploaded the fixed document to both kindle and createspace – I’ll have to figure out how to fix the copy on ibooks.

What I learned? You can’t be perfect. I can’t tell you how many errors I find in mainstream published books coming out of big publishing houses, but yet as Indie Authors, we feel this need for perfection and I wonder if I simply have to stop expecting myself to be perfect, because I obviously am not. I may be putting too much stress on myself. Mistakes happen, and we are all human. The good news is since I am indie-published, I have the control to be able to fix these errors when I find them. If I had a mainstream published book, it would not be as easy. In less than 25 minutes I re-uploaded the novel without these mistakes and I moved on with my life… (of course, I try not to cringe, knowing how many people purchased my novel with this mistake, and the hard copies sitting in my closet that I use for book signings have this mistake, but what’s done is done)

FYI – Do you need another pair of eyeballs to proof your work? Maybe give Bob a call – he’s also a proof-reader, author and editor by trade, and obviously a good one. You can reach him here and he’s very reasonable: http://www.bobnailor.com/index_b.php?type=b

And, if you’d like a copy of the novel WITHOUT THESE ERRORS, (sigh), feel free to get it here: http://amzn.to/1JXHtul and hey, come join the contest – I’m giving away five signed hard copies of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB. It’s at the formatter right now. Launch date: 2/28. I’m trying not to obsess what mistakes I possibly missed in THAT. Sigh…

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Why run a #Hashtag Contest on Social Media

Upload your photo with the hashtag #xanaduquest to enter the contest

Upload your photo with the hashtag #xanaduquest to enter the contest

There is so much noise in social media that sometimes it’s hard to be heard. A hashtag (used with the # symbol) is a great way to “target” a particular topic so that you and your fans can search for it easily. I’ve used hashtags regularly for Twitter events, such as #FP for Friday Phrases – which is a weekly micro-fiction game on Fridays, #mondayblogs where people search for blogs to read each week on Mondays, or #writerskaboodle, where readers can see interviews with Sezoni Whitfield on twitter and facebook. Authors, definitely check out her Writer’s Kaboodle blog. She does author Q&A’s on twitter and FB you can have your own live event – fastest 30 minutes OF MY LIFE! You can also use a hashtag to find things that you’re interested in. #thrillers, #free, #gardening, #cooking, #recipes – you get the idea. To add a hashtag to a post, all you do is write the post and then add the hashtag to it. Then, if you ever wish to search this particular hashtag and anything related to it, you go into ANY search area on any medium, type it in and you can see all the related posts to that particular hashtag. If you don’t like posting, but reading particular topics, just type it in and find what you’re looking for.

I decided to run an instagram and twitter hashtag contest for the launch of my next book. I wanted to generate some excitement (and, truth be told, I wanted to learn instagram and this seemed to be a great way to quickly jump into it). Each person that uploads a photo of them holding my book THE HUNT FOR XANADU (either hard copy, on their phone or iPad) and in comments includes the hashtag #xanaduquest is entered to win one of five, signed copies of the next book in my series, launching 2/28. I’ve then asked for permission to put their image on my web-page and now I have a whole “Fan Shout-Out” on the front page of my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com (and to the fans who have so far participated and those that allowed me to put up your photos – you have no idea how thankful I am, nor any idea how unbelievably cool it is for me to simply stare at that page)

I also announced the contest to my Facebook author page and boosted that post $15 so far – I plan to do a few dollars every week until I hit $20 and have had over 2200 people see it now, gotten over 70 likes and lots of comments. BUT, what I can tell you is that many of my readers have uploaded their photos on the Facebook stream with the #xanaduquest hashtag. What I’m finding is that many of my readers are ONLY on FB and not on twitter or instagram. As a result, I’m allowing those people to be part of the contest as well, and their photos are up on my webpage, too. By doing this contest I’ve now learned where a lot of my readers are coming from and that is extremely helpful to know.

It’s hard enough to get people to actively do things – but to get them to actually upload a photo? I’ve had about 10 people upload photos right now and I’ve had a bunch of sales of THE HUNT FOR XANADU since I started this. I even got a review in, so I have to think this is a successful contest so far. It’s going to run until 2/21, so my hope is that I get double the amount of people and simply fill the webpage and possibly even be lucky enough for my hashtage #xanaduquest (a mix of The Hunt for Xanadu and The Quest of the Empty Tomb) to “trend.” Trending is when a hashtag gets a lot of play and people start using it. If you go to twitter, instagram or Facebook right now and plug that hashtag in the search area, in you’ll see a bunch of entries across the board.

Other ways I’ve promoted this contest:
It’s now on my profile on my instagram acct, I promote on twitter, directing to my webpage, google+, FB author page, here on wordpress, and created a goodreads event about this (though I can tell you only 4 people out of nearly 4000 at this point have even responded – goodreads is better with free books, giveaways, listopia lists and launch event information in my opinion). I may use my regular FB page mid February for one last push for folks who might not have remembered to enter.

If you’ve read The Hunt for Xanadu, please consider entering the contest. I’m giving away randomly one of five signed copies of book #2 in the series – and this is open worldwide – I will ship to wherever a winner resides. You can grab your copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU here: http://amzn.to/1JXHtul

I’m always looking for new ways to interact with readers – so if anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to share. I’m all ears.

How would you like to win one of 5 signed copies of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB?

The Hunt for Xanadu - Book #1 in the Kelsey Porter Series

The Hunt for Xanadu – Book #1 in the Kelsey Porter Series

Hello lovely readers,

Here’s something totally fun! How would you like to be one of five lucky winners to win a signed hard copy of Book #2 in the Kelsey Porter series? I’m launching THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB on February 28th and doing my first Instagram/Twitter contest to kick it off. All you have to do is upload a snapshot of yourself holding a copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, or of you with the cover showing on your Ipad or Phone and UPLOAD it to Instagram and/or Twitter with the Hashtag #xanaduquest Don’t forget the hashtag #xanaduquest as that’s how I’ll find you. I’ll keep a record of all the names and FIVE people will win a signed hard copy of THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB in a random drawing. Contest ends on 2/21/15.

Don’t have an instagram or twitter acct? Then feel free to flood my Facebook author page at http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor with the photo and hashtag and TAG me! Good Luck! (and yes, I’ll ship to any winner, wherever they live throughout the world)

Want your photo up on my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com? Check out my “FAN SHOUT OUT” of folks who have already given me their approval to put their photos up. Let me know if it’s cool for you and you, too, can be on my webpage.

Don’t have a hard copy or ebook yet of THE HUNT FOR XANADU? Come on over and grab one here on amazon at:

US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Twenty-two year old Kelsey Porter has dedicated her life to avenging the death of her parents, murdered in their quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. Before she can locate the murderers, she has to discover their motives for the brutal crime and finds herself at the epicenter of a Buddhist mystery as old as time. With the help of her companion, Detective Desmond Gisborne, she hunts the killers across the globe and discovers a darkness in her spiritual past that tests the very limits of her soul. Soon she realizes that it is not she who is doing the hunting, but the one being hunted. Kelsey must find a way to survive, while ancient demons attempt to destroy her.

Come join the fun, I’d love to see you and feel free to follow me here:

Twitter: @elysesalpeter

Instagram: elysesalpeter

http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor (give a like to the page)

http://www.elysesalpeter.com for more details.

Soooo, want to hear what THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB is about? Where XANADU took you to Tibet, QUEST is taking you to…. EGYPT!

On the heels of THE HUNT FOR XANADU, Kelsey returns from Tibet with Desmond to begin a new life in New York City. But peace is not to come to her. One night, a stranger appears at her door with a note from a man from her past, begging for her aid. It involves her parents and Kelsey leaves for Egypt to learn the truth. But the truth is more than she bargained for. What secrets did her parents hide? Why is she now plagued with odd aches and pains and why is she having nightmares again? Kelsey must find answers and the only way to get them is to confront her demons and solve the ultimate mystery: The Quest of the Empty Tomb.

See you all on social media!

How many social media sites can I possibly be on? No… really, how many?

social mediaOk, let’s talk social media and how many platforms should we be on? I have read so much about this and the consensus is you can’t be effective on every single one if you are on too many at once. (unless you have no life, never sleep and work them 24/7, which is unrealistic) I do Twitter, FB (communities and groups), Goodreads and Google+ (communities and groups), Pinterest regularly (and my blog) and built up, through hard work and sweat, excellent followings. I’m even on Linkedin but I do this strictly for work and my day job. But being active on all of these outlets is very time-consuming and frankly, I’m seeing some sales, but not as much as I’d expect with the amount of followers I have on some of these platforms (I mean, I have over 150K on google+ so what’s the point?). Now, there are some authors that say I should also be on Tumblr and Tsu and others as well. I guess at the end of the day I just want to know “Where Are My Readers?”

The other day I chatted with a woman who does promotions for authors. We were discussing her services, I explained what I do and she took a peek at my activity and she said “you actually do more than I do for my own clients.” Okay, then what does that mean? I’m active on so many social media sites, and I get tons of conversations, but how do I translate that to consistent sales? I honestly don’t know.

She suggested I start looking at bloggers. I said “but “I’ve been on a ton of blogs.” She said, “no, get on the RIGHT blogs. The fandoms, the biggies.” So, now I’m thinking about how to find book bloggers, and will start spending some of my social media efforts on finding these people.

Where’s the easiest place for me to find book bloggers? Turns out on Instagram. I’ve done some small little things are Instagram, but true to form, now I want to conquer it. So, I updated my profile, started following book bloggers and started to learn how this works. The ins and outs, the hashtags, the little nuances that Instagram offers that are different than FB, Twitter, and all the other sites. The first thing I can tell you is that younger people are on there. The teens and twenty year olds. People in their 30’s, definitely 40’s and 50’s, are on Facebook. I hardly see the kids on there unless they’re following adults who only put information on FB and that’s the only way they can reach them.

So, how many social media sites can I possibly be on? Apparently a lot. So how about following me on them? I love to interact with people and I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me on any of them here:

Instagram user name: elysesalpeter
Twitter: @elysesalpeter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115455594389801672671/posts?tab=XX
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3054679.Elyse_Salpeter
Blog: http://www.elysesalpeter.wordpress.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elysesalpeter/elyse-salpeter-author/

And lastly, want to know about new releases? Come on over and sign up for my newsletter: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact-me.html

As for tumblr (sorry, ain’t happening yet – I can’t even figure out how to get off the first page), tsu (sort of like FB but I’m too invested in FB to worry about this yet), Stumble Upon (I’ve got an account and never used it) Reddit (not quite sure what this is), flickr (completely not sure what this is), myspace (is that even still around?), youtube (yeah, I’ve put some book trailers up there) and the others? I think I’m maxed out for now, thank you very much.

Of course, if there is something new and BIG, something that will help me reach readers better – please let me know. I do love to hear about the newest stuff out there.