Wednesday, June 17, 2020

New Author: Self-Publishing and Marketing Experience - Fiction Author Dianne Krogh Begins Her Journey

Recently, I was fortunate to meet new fiction author Dianne Krogh. She had just completed her first novel and was ready to publish it. Just like many new authors find out, their work has just begun. This is a business.

I thought I would follow her around to see if there is anything new in getting a book out the door for a new author. There is a commitment that has to be made. Writing and then selling a book is a big deal. Especially, your first book.

Write and rewrite

“So your idea kindles in your mind and finally you sit down. It’s time to do this and you start the process.
… a process that requires many hours at the keyboard and days when you spend more time with the characters in your head than with your family.” she stated in one of her blog posts.

Opening paragraphs and Excerpt

DK said, “By this step, you have probably decided on an opening sentence. Something to reel in the reader right upfront. But don’t type it yet! (This advice comes to you from someone who didn’t follow this advice, and who had to buy a larger aspirin bottle as a result.)”

The beginning of your novel is very important. You need to capture the reader’s attention. Today most publishers give the reader a sneak peek at your book. Amazon, for example, has a feature on your buy page to view the first few chapters of your novel so the reader can decide to purchase or go on to their next selection. (Look Inside by Amazon) Sometimes this is how the prospect decides to buy.

Dianne added, “My advice. Keep notes on everything you do include changes and problem areas. I am notes and outline kind of guy. You will need this stuff for next novel you write and publish. You will have an outline of what you did before. This could save you valuable time and effort.”

Character and plot development is what it’s all about. A good story, interesting characters. And you have edited, edited, proofread, and do more editing.

You’re on your way. Best-seller. The sale of lots of books. What! Not so fast. You’ve journey has just started.

Down the road, you will be asked to provide an excerpt for your novel. This is information you should keep handy in your notes. Here is the excerpt that started Dianne’s publishing effort.

Excerpt from Life in a Peacock Nest by Dianne Krogh

Tom Wallace

Day 1, A December Thursday, 1984 The First Thread Unravels
Tom Wallace looked at the face of Alan Dravel staring back at him from the cover of the magazine on his tray table. He thought the guy looked a little cold, maybe arrogant. Square jaw. Square glasses. All hard lines. Intimidating not warm. Tom really needed to see some warmth in the face. He needed help, and Alan Dravel was probably his last hope.

Tom thought maybe he should read the Business Weekly article again, but he had read it three times since his 727 left the ground in Phoenix. Instead, he let his head fall back against the headrest on his plane bound for Minneapolis and closed his eyes. 

It was about nine o’clock back in Phoenix. Lindy would be taking their two boys to their swimming lessons at the country club about now. She would be barreling down the long hill in her red Mustang. If it was even a little warm, she would have the top down and the heater going full blast, and all three would be laughing as their dark hair stirred in the wind.  (top-down)

Lindy and his boys were counting on him, and he wasn’t going to let them down. If he could only get this job nailed down today, it could be in time to keep their lives from unraveling. No one would even have to know. But he was down to the wire…

Title and Subtitle

The title and subtitle of your books are an important part of your marketing effort. Typestyle and placement on the cover rank second in my opinion, in importance. If you’re writing a series of books, the cover format should be consistent.

Cover Specs and Design 
The cover should catch the reader’s eye. I must admit the cover means more on a hardcover book but the good smaller image for an eBook can be effective.
Amazon requires a cover image at least 1000 pixels high. A good size is 668/1000 pixels. This scales down to a great image to use in your marketing. (300/450 pixels)

DK was prepared for this one.

“I have done a lot of graphic design, but never a book cover. But I applied the same concept: First selected a typeface that I felt reflected the somewhat light-hearted tone of the book. Chose an art element (peacock feathers) that related to a theme and then a background color that was best for the art element. Finally, I created the primary image - Man in Mysterious Doorway - to convey the evil that lurks in the main character.”


Then there was what the story is about. Write a good description of the plot of your book. You will use this often as you list and sell your book.
Here is Dianne’s blurb.
Life in a Peacock Nest - Crimes of Greed and Ego are Rarely Punished

From a new storyteller comes an engaging and light-hearted novel. A powerful boss with a Stage 4 case of greed and ego. People eager to crowd into his orb. But, can anyone survive there?

Scarred from growing up in a small town where the children from a clique of wealthy families were always favored, Alan Dravel begins a vengeful search for his own wealth and power. He barges into the technology boom of 1980’s corporate America with an idea. Over his head but never in doubt, he unleashes his greed and ego in a self-serving climb to success which turns destructive.

Alan’s quick thinking, he considers it a special kind of genius, keeps him a step ahead of his failures. He shuns contact with the common herd and disregards the opinions of people who wear rubber-soled shoes, but those are the people he turns to when he needs scapegoats.

With a handsome face, a quick mind and a lack of ethical or moral considerations to restrain him, Alan
 drags a Kansas farm family, a country church and associates of a high-flying corporation together in his widening web of failures – all while being honored as one of the country’s top business leaders.

Those caught in the slipstream of Alan’s wild ride to power struggle to hang on for the rewards they believe association with Alan can provide. Power and ego prevail as Alan orchestrates the most unimaginable twists and turns to entangle his victims and save himself. Those who survive find justice in the last place they think to look.

Life in a Peacock Nest is a captivating saga that probes the strength and weakness of the human spirit. It is a story about the nature of people, with characters so memorable you won’t want to let them go.

Author Preparation

Now we need to get ready to market your book. Good preparation will help down the road. You should start with a clear picture at a reasonable size. Some authors offer a small image and that doesn’t work well as you market yourself. Also, a good, concise biography is a plus. The readers want to know something about the new author they about to buy a book from.

DK’s Biography

I’ve always loved words. Their power to elicit emotion. To tell a story. To create understanding. Or to persuade. I’ve used them for all those things over the years.

After getting a degree in journalism and a master’s degree in communication, I spent many happy years writing advertising copy, producing corporate communications, and creating publications for clients of my public relations group.
Now with time to let the words flow in whatever direction my mind takes me, I have published my first novel, Life in a Peacock Nest.

My mind is off on another journey already. So, I am working on a new book. Stay tuned.

Contact information

You should prepare your contact information in your notes. Be ready to use the information at any time. All of these contacts were set up new by Dianne to start her marketing effort.

Author: Dianne Krogh

Author Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Saga

Social Media

Twitter: @kroghdianne

Internet Usage

Website – The Authors’ Pub
Dianne Krogh – Blog:

Dianne’s website provides a communication form that she encourages her readers to use.
Some authors use an email account with a signature line.

Also, some authors have a newsletter rather than a blog. Remember it’s all about forming a relationship and capturing a way to communicate with your reader.

Time management

Controlling your time is an important part of your writing and marketing efforts.

DK’s background: “I have always worked. I had to put in whatever time was required to deliver clients’ projects on time and still have my family time. That did, at times, require long hours.  I usually work based on priority. The most critical tasks get my attention first. If nothing is on fire, I prefer, as you say, to play it by ear.”

Focus and hard work will reap rewards.

Publishing the Book

Here’s Dianne Krogh’s experience

“Ready to Publish. YAY!! Don’t break out the champagne yet. It’s really easy in retrospect, but …

Should you start with an eBook format and then create a hardcopy? Or do both?

I recommend you start with an eBook your first time out. The digital format allows you to easily change the context if you find an error. Readers will tell you if they find something.

Let’s Start with Amazon

You need to set up your own Author Central Account (KDP) which begins by updating your Author Page.

This includes adding multimedia, blog feeds, or events to the page. Also, you will enter your Biography and a list of your blogs.

Next, you add your book to a list of books. This lists your book on your Amazon author page. You add additional product details and submit them. This is where you can make corrections also.

Down the road, if one of your books is not listed, this is the place to enter it. Just click the button: ‘Are we missing a book?’

Your book will be listed with the cover, the price, and buy links plus a blurb with a look inside feature.

You have your book in an acceptable format, a great cover, a descriptive story blurb, a good author bio with a clear picture, and you have defined the genre with keywords. You are ready to get the show on the road.

Adding a New book on Amazon Central

Author/Publisher Information

Go to your Bookshelf and select: Create a New Title. From here you will just follow the instructions. Here are the latest Amazon instructions.

Book Content: You can upload a manuscript, or use our free creation tools to create children's books, educational content, comics, and manga. Get started with Kindle content creation tools.
Book Cover: You can use our online Cover Creator, or upload a cover of your own. Creating a great cover.
Description, Keywords and Categories: Tell readers about your book and help them find it on Amazon.
ISBN: Get a free ISBN to publish your paperback. Kindle eBooks don't need one. More about ISBNs.

You will need to define the Genre. (Fiction: Mystery or Romance or …)

A Book ID is required.
ISBN – you can buy one on the open market or Amazon will assign one.
Filing for a copyright is also recommended but not totally necessary.
ASIN – Amazon’s Book ID will be assigned automatically by Amazon..

You will be asked for Keywords that match your novel. (#Mystery, #Action, #Romance, etc.)

Finally, after all that, Dianne ended up with an Amazon Author Profile. Check it out.

We are almost ready to go for it. I recommend you set up an Amazon Associate account.



Sometimes readers will check the price and equate that with value. I don't know if there is any good way. It's supply and demand. If you're selling books, you're at the right level. When the volume decreases, you drop the price.

The Pitch

You need a pitch to use at Book Festivals, Library outings, and signings at Book Stores and direct contact with a reader.

I have a short pitch and a long pitch to present to readers and prospects.
The short one includes my title, the genre (Mystery), and something about my lead character, Jonathon Stone.
The long version: discuss the specific book and its overview like the blurb published with the release.


You should accept any opportunity to interview with a reliable blogger or reviewer. Here’s Dianne’s interview.

Author and Group Support

You should join groups of authors and readers. Here is a list of a few good groups.

Book launch

Now it’s time to get the book out the door. It’s time to launch your novel into the world.

DK outlines her First Steps in marketing

1.      Gather ideas from people who have experience in marketing books.
2.      Begin Social Media marketing with contacts and sharing.
3.      Maintain a website that brings people back repeatedly through fresh, changing content relevant to my audience.
4.      Take advantage of every opportunity to meet with people.
5.      Produce discussion questions for book clubs to use and attempt to market to book clubs.”

Book showcase

Accept any type of book promo that will get you in the reader’s view. Here’s one for Dianne.

It’s important to establish a Social media presence and a website to inform your readers.

Other avenues of book promotion commonly used.

Join book clubs
Free Books and giveaways like Goodreads giveaway program
Targeted ads which point back to my Facebook author page

You must earn the interest of the reader.

Finding Readers

Now the heavy lifting starts. Finding readers is an important part of being an author. You need to find readers that will buy your book. Here is a list of some methods used by other authors.

1.      Using social media – record names/groups social media networks to promote
2.      Getting reviews is important.
3.      Find Reading groups that read your genre or close to it.
4.      Join writer groups like WLC, IAN, IAI, and AuthorsDen mentioned above.

And most importantly, you need to build or develop a list of readers and prospects that will make the next time around easier. Here are some useful ideas to continue your search for readers.

1.      Make your book available in the places and for the prices that people most look for them.
2.      Use the end of your eBooks to have links to your various internet contacts. Also, include your email address or website contact form.
3.      Form relationships with your reading audience in your genre 
4.      Do guest blogs if you get the opportunity.
5.      Use your Facebook author page
6.      At the end of all my eBooks, I always provide an afterword with a link to sign up to my newsletter
7.      Try to get face time with readers. Library and bookstore events are a good place.
8.      Using your newsletter, blog or email subscription where people signup, help you capture the reader/prospect information. Then keep track of their twitter handle and Facebook account, if you can.
9.      You must spend the time and effort to have a chance of being successful.
10.  Caution: don’t bombard readers with promotions. Make your contact interesting and informative.

What’s Next?

Now it’s time to start thinking about your next novel. DK is out in front of this one.
Dianne shares this. “My mind is off on another journey already. So, I am working on a new book. Stay tuned. My next book will be a more contemporary novel.”

Here’s a tease.

“A light-hearted novel dealing with death and regret. (It won’t be as depressing as it sounds. I obviously need a better descriptive line, but that is the topic.).”

Other Links to help get started.

Follow me:

Or visit my blogs: 

Plus a NEW Blog: Spox's Daily Briefing, a satire of the New Normal.

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