Guest Blogger: BETH TRISSEL
Please help me welcome fellow Pixie Chick, Beth Trissel. A 2008 Golden Heart finalist, Beth has published four romance novels and has several more in the works. A self-described romantic, she weaves history and paranormal elements into her love stories. Three of her novels made the Publisher's Weekly BHB Reader's Choice Best Books of 2009. You can learn more about Beth at her website, http://www.bethtrissel.com/ and her publisher's website http://www.thewildrosepress.com/.

As a historical/light paranormal romance author published primarily in the digital media with The Wild Rose Press, I strive to find ways to reach my target audience, mostly women who read romance. However, I also have some male readers. In my quest to connect with people, think globally here, I happened upon a venue right under my nose, making better use of Myspace. I’m also tapped into Facebook, Twitter, Gather…the internet is full of networking opportunities. With the rapid growth of E-readers and other reading devices, the digital market is only expanding.

I have an ‘If you build it they will come’ mentality based on that famous quote from the movie Field of Dreams. It seems apt for an author reaching for the stars. I decided it wasn’t enough to simply hope potential readers found me, so I went in search of them. In the process, I’ve made some wonderful new friends. I’m also building a readership.

Regarding Myspace which has been very good to me, first create an appealing profile. Be very specific about what you write and where your books are available, as you would with key words for your blog posts. That way when readers do a search for a certain genre/topic, your page will come up. Then think what Myspace sites are likely to be frequented by readers.

Successful authors who write in a similar genre as yours are a good place to start. Take a look at their friends and those of such sites as The Romantic Times, Coffee Time, and various book clubs/groups, again, particularly those that specialize in your genre. But any reading or book lover group is worth exploring. Not overlooking librarians, booksellers, reviewers and others in the literary world who might be interested in your work.

Read over their profiles and see what you can identify with. Send a short greeting along with your friend invite saying something about yourself. If an individual accepts, follow up with a note commenting in a positive, at times even sympathetic way, on whatever strikes you in their profile; include a few lines about what you write and your website.

I’ve been deeply touched by many of these women and the courageous lives they lead. Initially, I reached out to readers, but it’s their reaching back that touches me. Women want to feel a connection with each other. Authors and readers are no different. *Again, not to neglect my male readers/friends.

Making valuable connections on social networking sites may be an excellent way to build your readership. The possibilities are limitless and growing all the time. Plus, you may make some lifelong friends. And, after awhile, people will come to you.

About blogs, I’m a big blogger and have multiple blogs: Wordpress (it feeds into Goodreads), Blogger, I’m a member of the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers… My blogs at Myspace and Authorsden get the most hits. I know this from the stats, not the comments left. I have Lots of lurkers who count just as much.

Amazon Connect provides authors with a profile page and blog that allows up to three posts at a time. To get the most mileage from a post I REPOST on my primary blogs and try to put up something new every day or two. Strive for good key words to help drive traffic. An appealing, well maintained author website is vital. I link my website with my favorite blog and vice versa: http://www.bethtrissel.com/

*Always give your website and blog in your signature line and whenever you leave comments on other blogs. I need to remember this one myself.

I often announce my posts on various loops, Facebook, my update status at Myspace (linked to Twitter) and give the blog link. My current favorite blog is: http://bethtrissel.wordpress.com/

The reason I have so many blogs is because they each have readers, so why drop one? And they’re FREE, except for a minor fee at Authorsden. There are also innumerable sites like Readers and Writers of Distinctive Fiction where I have a profile and post occasional blogs, pics, book trailers, etc. The Wild Rose Press has various blogs their authors have access to.

I post on a variety of topics: the history/inspiration behind my stories, old Southern recipes, herbal lore & gardening, anything that interests me. I tie the themes in with my books wherever applicable. And of course, I do promo, but endeavor to make it appealing. I illustrate my posts and excerpts with photographs taken by my talented family, purchased from royalty free stock, or from the net if the image isn’t copyrighted. Being a Virginian with roots reaching well back into our state’s history, I set many of my books here. Local pics of the Shenandoah Valley and mountains are a great asset.

This info should give you a good jumping off place, but there’s much more to promo, like appearing on blog radio, getting an interview in the paper, tapping into groups with a shared interest in the subject of your book, entering contests for authors...Speaking of which, I’ve gone after Reader’s Choice Awards and won with the support from my wonderful online friends!

*BHB Reader's Choice Best Books of 2009 (Barbara Vey’s Blog at Publisher’s Weekly)

Somewhere My Love, my murder mystery/ghost story romance with flashbacks to early nineteenth century Virginia, is in the ultimate Cover Contest at Embrace The Shadows Blogspot. I’d appreciate your vote for it at: http://embracetheshadows.wordpress.com/

Never underestimate the value of shameless begging.