Saturday, March 28, 2015

Author or Social Media Wizard

This post is geared toward self-published, indie authors who self-promote, or established authors looking to expand their social presence.

When an author writes a book, they think, “Wow.  I’m done now.  I can sit back and watch the magic happen.  I will get paid and be happy.”  Well, unless you have a publicist and entire team working to promote your book, the work has just begun.  Even if you have this team working for you, there is no guarantee that they are doing the right things to promote your book.  You might have to help yourself and learn a few tricks to succeed.

Please keep in mind that I am writing a book series, and am working to finish my second book before I explore every option available to writers.  I am using my first book as a learning experience so that I can understand the industry and find out what is involved.  I’m not running out and screaming to the world that I’m an author.  I’m taking my time to figure out what is involved and what works.

Self-promotion and marketing can be a fun, though a challenging experience.  I’m still in the beginning phase, which is the hardest part.  Personally, I had to piece together a media plan based on what I learned from different advice sites, or by trial and error.  I wanted to help enlighten fledgling authors on the uphill battle ahead of them so that they are prepared for the long journey.  These suggestions are based on things that I have tried, though I am always learning and happy to hear suggestions from other authors.  Please feel free to add comments about your experiences, good or bad, with your promotions.  I will add to this post once I tackle other avenues.

Let’s take a look at all of the steps needed to start the process.  When I told a family member about all the things I had done to start promoting, she laughed and said that she had trouble reading her email let alone embarking on an online campaign to search for readers.  It made me realize how much I had done in such a short period of time.  So, let’s begin.

Load your book to an ebook site, and/or have it printed.  If you don’t have a publisher, you need a platform for people to find and purchase your book. is a great place to start.  You need to load your book to their site, but you MUST have a well-formatted Word (.doc/.docx) file.  Forget editing at this point, (that should have been done long ago) but you need to review your actual formatting.  Are your margins consistent?  Are the paragraphs tabbed correctly?  Are the paragraphs spaced properly?  Most importantly, does your Table of Contents link to the correct chapters?  Forget about page numbers because Amazon uses locations, which mean nothing to the writer.  Once loaded, REVIEW THE FILE TO MAKE SURE IT LOOKS CORRECT!!!  I can’t stress that enough.  Remove extra carriage returns, etc.!  Check Amazon’s submission guides before uploading to review their suggestions and acceptable formats. is another platform to sell your book.  I have to warn you, the formatting MUST be done correctly.  Smashwords loads to different ereaders and will turn your words into a flowing river that will expand and contract based on the ereader’s requirements, so their formatting guide MUST be followed.  I read through the 117 page Formatting Guide and nearly cried.  You will have to rip apart all of your formatting and start over.  There are people and companies that will do this for you, for a fee, but it will save you time. and are sites where you can print copies of your book for a surprisingly low fee.  I was shocked that I could print one copy and not pay a crazy amount.  It was somewhere around $10.00 for a 250 page book plus shipping.  It’s not the printing presses of old where you needed to print 100,000 copies to turn a profit.  Since I’m still testing the waters of my self-promotion in print, I have only used this to print a few copies, but I plan to use it to sell print copies as well.  Sadly, I only have so many hours in the day to investigate all the ins and outs of every site or program.  (More to come on this once I devote my attention to it.)

Bring in the reviewers.  You can have the best book in the world, but without feedback and reviews, you will have a hard time convincing the world to read your book.  Think about how you purchase things online.  Last week I wanted a rice cooker.  I went to Amazon and what was the first thing I did?  I scrolled down to the reviews.  We all know that we have to take reviews with a grain of salt because there are tons of people online that LOVE to HATE, but you can usually get a good idea about the product.  If there are more 4-5 stars than 1-3 stars, then it’s probably a good rice cooker.  This is the same mentality that readers will use when looking at your book.  Why do they want to pay for a book that no one else has bothered to review? 

It’s time to throw your book in the murky waters of book reviewing.  You will need to find online reviewers who are willing to review your book.  Yes, you can ask every family member to go online and write a review, but people will start to notice that independent reviewers aren’t amongst your 5 star reviews.  Do you need professional reviews?  Unless you market a different way or already have a huge social media campaign that is working for you, it can’t hurt. 

Putting yourself out there to professional reviewers is probably the scariest thing you will ever do, but it needs to be done.  Personally, I stumbled on to a reviewer during a normal conversation on Twitter and it turned out to be one of the top 500 reviewers on Amazon who LOVES books.  I was nice to her and she somehow decided she liked me and wanted to review my book.  It doesn’t usually happen like that, but being nice pays off.  It turned out that she LOVED my book and gave me 5 stars.  I nearly fainted, literally!  I will forever love her.

The key to submitting a review is finding the right reviewer for you.  Search their genre, their likes, and dislikes.  Most reviewers state very clearly what they will read and what they won’t read.  Don’t send a sci-fi book to a romance reviewer or the results could be disastrous.  You wrote your book with a type of reader in mind.  Reviewers are no different.  They love books, but they too have preferences.  Pay attention to their requirements and ALWAYS be kind.  Even if they don’t like the book, use it as a learning experience.  Not everyone will fall in love with your book.  Thank them for their time.  Listen to their feedback and be willing to make changes if different reviewers are saying the same thing.

Build your website.  Readers want to know more about their favorite authors and books.  They will search to see if there are other books in your catalog, or look for more information about the book.  Give them what they want.  If they can’t find you on a Google search on multiple sites, you are dead in the water.  As an amateur web designer, I used to create sites for my husband’s side business.  I learned Photoshop and Frontpage (the only way of doing things back then) and had to teach myself how to do everything.  Over the years, I became really good at it, but it was time consuming.  Now, you can find sites that will help you build a page in a few hours, if you want more than just a page or two of basic info. 

I use and it is a thousand times easier than finding a template and reshaping it into what you want.  What once took me days or weeks to perfect, Wix helped me in a few hours.  Updating is simple, which is imperative because I’m always adding content or linking to some other media site that I found.

On your site, talk about the book, add links to buy it, and tell the audience about yourself.  The more interesting your site is, the longer they will look through your books.

Social Media time!  Reviews are vital to a book, but even the reviews are just a stepping-stone.  It doesn’t matter if you have written the book of the century if no one knows about it.  What you need now are actual readers!  Yes, you can make a Facebook page, a Twitter user name, etc., but you still have to speak to people to gain their attention.  You have to interact with people.  Find other authors or people interested in your genre and talk to them.  Retweet their posts.  Don’t just throw Tweets at people without taking the time to speak to them.  Some people are only interested in promoting their own works, but others understand the importance of communication.  Social Media has become less social and more one sided like a billboard ad.  Put “social” into your tweets and see what kind of feedback you get. 

I have met interesting and amazing authors along the way and I have learned something from all of them.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity of making a friend or an ally.  It will take you a long way.  Also, for the love of all that is holy DON’T DIRECT MESSAGE PEOPLE YOUR BOOK LINK!  Personally, if I have an interest, I will come to you.  I have already downloaded interesting books that I’ve seen and tried sample pages from Amazon when I find something unique.  I don’t need you slamming me with it.  At least buy me a drink and take me to a movie before you try to get something from me.

Be interesting!  Readers like a multimedia experience, as do other authors.  Start a blog and talk about something, anything!  You are a writer, so write!  Talk about something interesting or entertaining.  It can’t be all about your book.  I started this blog as a way of talking about my experiences writing a novel/series, including the highs, the lows, and the problems associated with being a writer.  I wanted other writers to know that they weren’t the only ones dealing with these issues.  Now that I’m beyond the writing phase, I have made my blog into advice about writing and promoting.  Who knows what I will write about next year.  The point is, I’m trying to, as one follower on Twitter called it, “give back to the writing community”.  Everyone needs help and advice, so share your experiences.  Be funny, or helpful, or whatever, just be something.

Claim your book and your identity!  As a part of your social media campaign, you will need to “claim” your book or your “identity” on some sites.  Most people don’t know about this aspect of self-promotion, but it shouldn’t be overlooked.  The first place you want to go is to set your Author Page on Amazon.  This author page is associated with your online book site.  It’s a separate site, but you can load your twitter feed, blog feed, photos, and appearances.  There is a section where you can add your bio.  You can even see all of your Amazon reviews in one place.

Next is and where you can search for your book and submit yourself as the author.  Once they accept you as the author, you can add details to your book, and add your blog or twitter feed.  A separate author page is where you can add your bio and other fun details.  Once you are set up, you can add your friends, make new friends, or join groups with similar interests.  Regardless of how you interact with people, DON’T SHOVE YOUR BOOK IN THEIR FACE.  Get to the know them.  Find out what they like.  They might be just cool people.  Learn more about what they want in a book or genre.

Promoting at a price.  You will have to decide which paid sites you want to advertise with.  There are tons of Twitter sites and online promoters that will blast your book, but you will have to decide on how much to spend.  Promoting takes money, so you need to invest wisely.  Will you do a Book Tour?  Will you do a Giveaway?  Will you promote Free books?  There are many different ways to promote, but the bottom line is how much are you willing to spend?

There is an excellent article written by Lisa Medly, author of “The Reaper Series” who wrote about her experiences funding her promotion campaign called, “The cost of self-publishing one book: By the numbers”.  The article is well worth the read to find out about the stark reality of promotion expenses.

Learn from other writers and authors.  The most helpful information I have found is from other authors.  Sign up for sites where writers interact or give advice. is a newer site where budding authors can ask questions or write blog entries.  Anyone can answer and give advice. is another site where you can interact with authors and readers.  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or find out how another author started.  Again, interaction is the point of being on these sites.  Put yourself out there and see what comes of it. 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if you use a publishing company, or self-publish, there is no guarantee that your book will sell.  It’s up to you to write a quality book and take the time to understand how best to promote it.  You need to put in the effort to sell your book.  Talk about it to whoever is interested.  Highlight the points, don’t oversell.  Tease the reader to gain their interest.  Have your 30-second pitch ready.  Talk about you as an author, not just about your book.  The amount of time and effort you put into your promotion will show and hopefully people will be excited enough to read your master tome.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Editing Your Book - A Loathsome Task or An Opportunity to Make YourBook Shine?

You've just finished your first draft of the most amazing thing you have ever written and now it's time to edit.  You think, "this can't be hard, I'm a talented writer who knows what they are doing".  Then you start reading your work of art only to realize that your fast typing fingers have made weird mistakes that spell check didn't catch and there seems to be a few words missing that are important to the sentences.  That's when you realize, "Crap, now I have to pay attention to every letter on the screen to make sure that this book makes sense."  Welcome to editing your own book.

Editing is torture for most writers and not just because we see our errors or have to take time away from writing the next great tome, but because it is very difficult to review your own work.  You know the story, you know the dialog, you may have even acted out some of the scenes in your car or in the shower, and that is the problem.  You know what the story is "supposed to say", but your reader doesn't.  The reader has to rely on your sentence structure, your descriptive words, your story lines, and your plot twists to know what's going on.  If any of these elements have mistakes, the reader will be lost and confused, and ultimately give up on reading your masterpiece.  (We won't even mention the reviewers who will not be kind to your work of art.)

While it's suggested that you find a reliable editor, the reader still needs to review their own work before sending it off to someone else.  Even the editor needs to understand your objectives and goals.  They aren't miracle workers with crystal balls who can figure out what you "meant" to say versus what is written.

A book should go through at least three drafts according to time old traditions.  Personally, I edit and edit, until I'm happy with it.

1) Start with the first draft, where you write with wild abandon and let "future you" worry about the errors.  Creativity flows and the muses bow to your whim as you invent amazing lands and fantastical creatures.  No one in the history of time has ever written something this amazing!

2) Then comes the dreaded second draft, where "future you" kicks herself because your writing is riddled with problems.  You think, "Was I actually awake when I wrote this part?"  "It sounded so much better in my head."  "Was my brain impaired when I wrote, "The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over the Lazy Dog" in the middle of the fight scene that I stayed up all night writing?"

You question "past you", who wrote with wild abandon.  "Why didn't you have spell check running the whole time?"  "Why didn't you pay attention to the grammar check when speeding through your action sequences?"  "Why in the world did your brain translate "don't" into "do", or forget that "your" and "you're" are two completely different words?"  It's frustrating to see these errors, but you must accept them and move on. 

The second draft is where you fix the structure sentence problems, the bad spelling, and the incorrectly used words, but most importantly, you have to deal with content of your story.  If you only edit using spell check and grammar suggestions, you are cutting out a crucial step. You need to ask, "Does the story make sense?" 

If you were smart when you started writing, you used an outline to set up your plot, your characters, your story lines, and your twists and turns, but even when using an outline, you tend to get caught up in the moment and write about too many extraneous details.  The problem is, while these bits are fun or entertaining, you have to ask, "do they enhance the plot and move the story along"?  If not, then these extraneous details need to be left behind.  The second draft is always the hardest because writers have to cut out parts of the story that slow down the pace, or take too much time away from the main idea.  This is the time make hard decisions.  You have to ask, "Does this paragraph match the tone of the scene?  Does it make sense or does it serve no purpose, even though it's funny?"  Writers complain all the time that they to chop their book apart but unfortunately, it's a necessary evil. 

Here are my suggestions for when it's time to make the hard decisions and remove content:

- NEVER enter this phase when you are tired, upset, or unfocused, because the results will be disastrous.  This is the book that you love.  When editing with unkind eyes, you may remove important details just because you are angry that you have to cut something. You may be frustrated with the process and chop out too much. Think of a rose garden.  Gardens need to be pruned to take away the dead leaves and branches so that the garden can bloom and live up to its fullest potential.  Gardeners take away anything that will harm the garden or keep it from being beautiful.  If they started hacking away at it without regard for the blossoms or the lush greenery, they will be left with a dead mass of thorns.  You wrote this wonderful tome; make it the best version possible, and edit with care.  Read the story paragraph by paragraph to see if its transitions properly.  If a paragraph doesn't fit or doesn't further the story, remove it or reshape it.  You want the best from your work, so take the time to cultivate your sentence structure, and review your story lines for timing and pace so that one part doesn't drag.  Make sure there is a flow that keeps the reader moving through the story.

- When deciding if a chapter is working and progressing the story properly, read it through and think of it like stepping stones.  Start the chapter and see where each paragraph takes you.  Does each point of the story connect, or did the information fall off somewhere, leaving you stranded?  When a chapter isn't living up to its potential, it's time to re-evaluate.  Decide what information needs to be given and what points need to be highlighted.  There may be certain dialog that is critical or major character interactions the need to happen, but the structure isn't as tight as you wanted.  Maybe you've had too much fun with the dialog and things got sloppy.  I suggest using One Note, Word, or paper and pencil to jot down the objectives of the scene.  What needs to be said?  What needs to be done?  What critical plot points need to happen here?  Jot down only your important ideas.  Now, review them and rearrange them, if needed.  Change the order to create a better flow, or condense some of the ideas into the same paragraph, rather than taking multiple paragraphs and dragging out the information.  Once you have your structure, then add the fun bits back in.  It's doesn't have to be dry just because it's been reordered.

Example:  My Angel of Death wakes up to meet a boy whom he has never met before.  He has been captured and has lost hope.  The boy turns out to be more than just a kid off the street.  He has some knowledge of Death and knows more than he should about Death's world.  Personally, I had way too much fun with this scene.  Death is snarky and fun, and has some of the best lines.  My problem was, I couldn't convey all the information I wanted in a concise manner because I was having way too much fun watching these characters interact.  I finally had to sit down and reorganize my thoughts.  I had to state the key facts needed to progress the story and explain critical plot points while still having fun with the interaction between the characters.  It felt like a jumbled up mess, but once I came at it from a different perspective, I was able to get a handle on it and fix my mistakes.

3)  Finally, you have the third draft, where you are confident in your story line and have fixed most major pitfalls and mistakes.  The third draft is the polishing stage.  This is where you want your story to shine.  You need to do a final read through to eliminate any more sentence problems, or missing words.  When looking for the mistakes, give yourself time to improve on a word or a description.  During the first draft, you were were so concerned with your characters battling the giant monster, that you forgot to mention the color of the creature, or what it smelled like.  Clothing options, drape color, weather conditions, are small things that can enhance the reader's experience so that they can imagine exactly what you see in your head.  This would be an excellent time to pull out, or load, a Thesaurus.  Let your creativity from the first draft come through and "paint" your final creation with vivid colors and details.

Once the final draft is complete, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, have someone, or multiple someones, edit your work.  No writer will catch every error.  We are too close to it.  We will still complete the sentence in our heads without realizing that there is a missing "to, for, a, and the" in the sentence.  You need someone who knows more about grammar than you do, or who loves to read and understands the qualities of a good book.  Find a editor who is experienced in your genre.  Not every editor is the right editor for your book.  Find someone who will give you a God's honest opinion, but no matter what any of these people say, you have to be willing to listen to advise.  Again, as writers, we are too close to the story.  We have blind spots for our beloved works and sometimes we have to accept that something isn't working and be willing to deal with it.

After I went through MULTIPLE edits on my first book, I knew deep down the beginning wasn't as powerful as the rest of the book, for multiple reasons, mostly because the dangerous characters hasn't been introduced yet.  My friend, who is an AVID book reader, with strong opinions, read my story and the first thing she mentioned was the problem with the opening chapters.  I sat down with her and talked through her thoughts.  Some thoughts were her personal opinion, which I knew wouldn't detract from the book, but the parts that I felt shaky about, she agreed needed help.  After she left, I went straight to my computer and rewrote the beginning.  While the plot stayed the same, I changed the tone of the characters and tightened up a few things.  I took out some of the "fun" aspects that I loved, and made the hard decision to reshape the section.  I let it sit for months.  I wasn't ready to review it.  Finally, when I was in the right frame of mind to tackle it, I ran through it again and felt more confident about it.  I rounded out the tone by adding a short introduction of the one of the dark characters and stated very clearly to the reader what the main plot was, without giving away any details.  I felt much more confident about it in the end and was grateful for my friend's suggestions.

In the end, you have to be happy with what you wrote and be confident that readers will see the book through your eyes.  If you have doubts, ask for help.  Reach out to other writers for advise, or do more research on what you are having trouble with.  Find readers, reviewers, and editors that you trust to help you on your journey and be willing to accept that not everyone writes an award worthy story on their first draft.  It takes time, patience, and the willingness to change what isn't working.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Creating Unique Character Names

Writing a book takes a lot of imagination and creativity, but even the best writer needs to look outside of their minds for inspiration.  A good writer knows their limitations and how to work around them.

Over the years, I have found three sites that I have helped me immensely, though they are very different from each other.  The first one is Baby Name websites.  While I am usually good at creating character names, there are times when I want a name to start with a certain letter so that I avoid having too many A characters or C characters.  Usually I search the name databases when I want an ethnic sounding name.  Anyone can come up with John and Peter, but for ancient angels, I needed something more diverse.  Sometimes I will use a unique spelling of a common name to distinguish the character.  The baby name sites have given me Calin, Derick, Sacha, Rayan, Viktor, Pax, Brend, Serena, Bayard, and Edric, to name a few.  I'm particular partial to sites that categorize the names by ethnicity.  It's easier to narrow down to Russian, Romanian, or Polish names.

There are a number of good baby name sites, but it's always interesting to use the ones that tell you the meaning or the origin of the name.  While I don't always go that route, it's sometimes nice to add that extra touch to make the character stand out.  My main heroine is Anjali, which means "gift from God".  This particular character is literary a gift from God to the Archangel Gabriel.  While I wouldn't expect most people to know that, it's an added layer of detail.

When dealing with historical books, look for the baby name lists from specific decades or years.  There are certain sites that will list popular names from the 1800's or 1950, depending on when the story takes place.  The decade sites will give the top 10-20 popular names from that time period. 

The second site that I have used on more than one occasion is Google Translate.  This tool is tremendously helpful when writing Fantasy or Paranormal stories.  There are so many myths and legends and vampire stories out there that certain words or ideas have become tired and worn out.  How many stories are there about monsters and evil creatures?  Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are in every corner of the bookshelves.  There are plenty of creatures that herald the coming of the apocalypse and tons of Harbingers.  Instead of using the same characters, I decided to create my own. 

Using Google Translate, I begin with the phrase or description of the creature I want.  For example, I needed a creature that eats souls, but didn't want to call them "soul eaters".  I translated soul eaters into Hindi and created the Bhaká¹£aka who prowl the Caves of Darkness in Hell and keep the prisoners from escaping.  When coupled with a scary description such as, "tall, lanky creatures with long claw-like fingers.  They had sharp, pointed teeth, which were easily seen through the remnants of their lips that appeared to have been chewed off.  Their black tattered robes were covered in blood and they smelled like death," you have a new terrifying name to fit a creature as old as time.  

By using Google Translate, I have created the Predznak, who are Harbingers to the Bringer of the Apocalypse.  Xiphos Warriors, or "sword" warriors, and the Veteres, or the "original" creatures created by God, are also examples of what can come from everyday words translated into Romanian, Greek, or Polish.  The program does require patience because it can be hard to find a good phrase to translate or the right language to translate into since sometimes the translation is very similar to the original word, but given time to play with, it is a valuable tool. 

The best part about Google Translate is the save feature.  When trying out different ideas, the writer can log into a Google account and save the translations.  It's also helpful to save the translations to listen to the pronunciations and remember how to say the name of the new creature.

The last helpful websites I use are quote finders.  I don't necessarily use the quotes in my writing, but I will use them for the opening of the book.  Not every book starts with an opening quote, but when done right it can push the reader in the right direction and set them up for what is to come.  If the writer is planning to use a quote, it should be relevant to the book in some way.  My books are setup to follow the journey of one main character who is burden by some type of sin.  Once I have my main idea, I will search for quotes that fit the particular sin I am dealing with.  One of the sins I deal with is death, either through murder or suicide.  Since I am writing Paranormal Romance, I do have to stay within the confides of love.  I managed to find a quote about how love doesn't die a natural death.  The quote goes on to explain the different reasons why love can die.  It fits perfectly into my theme because the Angel of Death waited for Anjali to come for him, but she didn't and he gave up hope.  The reasons for becoming the Angel of Death and wanting to join with his Master were lost and he became bitter.  His love for God and his sense of duty diminished and withered away.  

For my first book, I used part of a suicide note from a famous author that is quoted often.  My main character commits suicide because she hears a voice that compels her to take her own life to be with the voice.  The quote at the beginning of the book stands as her suicide note because she didn't write one before she succumbed to the voice.  It was a small way for me to give her loved ones a reason for her death before the darkness took her.

Bonus helpful website:  There is one more website that I find helpful, though doesn't isn't exactly fit in with my theme of word play.  I'm a firm believer that a photo is worth a thousand words, but unfortunately, I don't write books with photos in them.  Instead, I have to describe the image I have in my mind.  The problem comes when I can't imagine something.  In my case, I have trouble describing clothing.  I am terrible with fashion and don't know Prada from Pizza Hut.  I find that searching through Pinterest helps me to narrow down the infinite clothing choices, especially for men, and makes me focus on specific looks.  If it were up to me, all of my characters would wear black pants and black shirts with no further description.  Perusing the models on Pinterest makes me excited to think about clothing.  Seeing a man in a well fitted suit and a crisp shirt definitely gets my attention, and makes me want to rethink the bland clothing descriptions I have.  It still doesn't mean that I will talk about Prada, but I can learn to appreciate it and describe my characters in a more interesting way.  Forget about the clever cakes on Pinterest that look like Easter Baskets, and search for male or female clothing.  Pinterest offers a quick glance at some fabulous and attractive outfits without have to search every designer website looking for the right style to fit the character's personality.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Promoting Your Book in 140 Characters or Less

~A post for new writers who haven't had the pleasure of promoting their books yet, or authors who are new to social media.

Social media, such as Twitter, has changed our world in amazing ways, but it has also created a world of short attention spans.  Everyone wants to know a brief summary about their favorite things so that they have more time to do their other 500 favorite things at the same time.  This short attention span can make it very difficult for an author to promote their book.  With smaller advertising space and less time to grab a potential reader's attention, the author has to be clear, concise, witty, friendly, energetic, compelling, organized, thoughtful, and entertaining.  This is not an easy task given that you must do all of these things in 140 characters or less.

Book Summaries:
Everyone who writes a book should be able to talk about their book, in fact, they should love talking about their book.  If they took the time to write it, hopefully they are excited to tell anyone and everyone about their book.  The problem comes when the writer has to write a summary of their book.  Talking about the book is easier than writing a one paragraph summary about it.  When we talk about things we love, we embellish and try to engage the person we are speaking to by highlighting parts that they would find interesting.  Writing a short summary takes all the fun out of the book and cuts down 200-600 pages of material into a short synopsis.  Choosing the wrong words can kill a book before it even sees the light of day. 

How do you cut down your 600 pages of prose into a few sentences that will interest a reader?  First, you must think about your audience.  Who is your target demographic?  For a younger audience, the summary should be fun and entertaining.  For twentysomething audience, you need to be relevant and fresh in your approach.  Older audiences will want a more refined summary.  Think about who you want to read your book and then write the summary for them.

Be honest about with your book summary, but add detail to it.  Instead of saying that your book is, "The Best Travel Guide for New Jersey", say that it "takes a closer look at the rich history that New Jersey has to offer" or "follow our guide to see the amazing arboretums and proud farmlands in the Garden State".  Don't be afraid to romanticize topics that aren't considered romantic.

To write your summary, step back from your book and don't think about all the fun dialogue or weird characters that you love to write about.  Think about it from a strangers perspective who knows nothing about the book.  Break down the elements to get the basic idea, and then add the detail.

Here's an example of my breakdown for The Third Throne:

What is the main idea of the book? A young woman struggles to survive the horrors of Hell only to learn her true destiny.
What is the genre? Romance/Erotica that falls into the Paranormal subcategory
What do you want the reader to know about the story?  It's an emotional journey for both the young woman and the Angel of Darkness as they learn what love and sacrifice mean.
What are the common themes? Deception, darkness, duty, faith, compassion, and kindness
What should they take away from the book after they read it? Love comes in many forms, but it isn't always easy.  Sometimes, to love someone, you must sacrifice something in return.

When writing a summary, it's sometimes hard to describe the book without giving away too much of the plot.  I suggest putting the big reveal, or the surprise ending in a box and locking it away.  Decide what plot lines you don't want to talk about, but find a way to hint at them.  Even though there is a surprise ending and the main character is really dead the whole time, find a way to lead the reader close to the truth, but don't give them them whole picture.  Entice them find the secret, but don't give the secret away.

Turning Your Summary into 140 Characters:
In the old days, before the internet, and mobile phones, if you wanted to sell a product, you had to actually speak to people.  A friendly voice, or a well-groomed appearance was usually enough to grab a client's attention.  Once they had their foot in the door, they had to impress someone with their prepared speech about their product.  There was a sales technique called and "elevator speech" that salespeople used.  The theory was, you had to be able to tell a client about your product within the length of time it took for the client to ride the elevator and convince them to set up a meeting to discuss their product a length before they left.  Once in the meeting, they could employ whatever means they needed to pitch their product.  Twitter has taken that elevator speech and reduced it from 30-60 seconds to 5 seconds.

In the fast pace world of Twitter, the average reader will only glance at a tweet briefly before moving on to something else.  Once you have your well thought out summary, you have to chop it down even further.  If you have used Twitter before, you know how to type a tweet about the weather, or how cute a celebrity is, or how amazing your children are, but that's easy compared to shoving 600 pages into a sentence or two.  The problem comes when you have to add the link to your book or website and then add hashtags.  Once you have your Bitly or account, you still have to be cleaver enough to write all about your wonderful book in a sentence.  It's frustrating and annoying, but it has to be done if Twitter is where you want to promote yourself.

Again, you must think of your target audience.  The idea needs to be brief, eye catching, and interesting.  You may have to try different approaches until you find something that works for you.  Selling your book at $0.99 is fine, but you still have to mention what the book is about.  This where #hashtags come in.  Hashtag the genre, a keyword, or anything that's relevant.  Do a search for different keywords to see what they pull up.  You may have to try out a few before the right one sticks.

Adding photos is also a great way for people to recognize your book cover, or your face, or your product.  "Photos" can be used to give you more room to write about your book.  You can create a .gif of a great review or snippets of your book to work beyond the 140 characters since they appear as attachments.

Advertising a book takes time and patience.  It takes followers and friends.  Don't be afraid to retweet a book from a different author.  Helping them can sometimes help you.  If they are nice, they will return the favor and retweet one of your posts.  Your tweet may be seen by 8000 followers of a different author, broadening your range.  Hopefully, some of their followers will like you and start following you.  Be creative and search for authors in similar genres or genres who might also be interested in what you write.  Remember to thank or mention that author for helping you out.

There is no guarantee that Twitter will help to sell a single book, but it will get your name and your book out into the world for people to remember and recognize on other promotional sites.  It's only one tool that an author can use to gain name recognition and to seek out advice from others who have been where you are.