Author Nicole Loughan doesn’t believe in being shy — at least when it comes to her creative work.
As a writer, you need to be your own promoter, she says. “You need to get the word out both online and in person. A lot of authors are too quiet. Writing a book is a lot of work, and you should be proud of it.”
Loughan is the author of the bestselling mystery Saints series of novels available on Amazon in e-book, paperback and audio book formats. Her latest book, “Divine Hotel,” comes out in paperback this March. In addition to writing novels, she writes for several media outlets and has been recognized by the Michigan Press Association as a top feature writer (www.nicoleloughan.com).
You can learn how she does it all in an upcoming workshop, “Essential Tools to Sell More Books,” at the Winter Writers’ Weekend. Sponsored by Open Door Publications, the workshop takes place Friday through Sunday, March 4 to 6, at the Lambertville House in Lambertville. The cost is $200, which includes more than 11 workshops offered in two tracts, one for published and another for unpublished authors, networking with presenters, and continental breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday. Register online at http://winterwritersweekend.com or call 609-553-9800.
Loughan will offer two workshops during the weekend: “What’s New in E-Book? How to Get 100,000 Reads” takes place on Friday. She will share how she captured readers’ interests over a three-year period and sold 10,000 books in one year. Her suggestions for authors include:
Make early sales. Alert your friends and social contacts on the issue date ahead of time. If you make sales the first day, your Amazon rank goes up. “It helps to get out of the gate running,” she says.
Target your audiences with Facebook ads. A recent improvement of this platform allows you to target specific regions and readers so your ad will appear for the people you want to reach.
Use online promotional companies. Signing up with companies like E Reader News Today gives you a good return on investment. It costs about $25 and gives you lots of exposure, Loughan says.
Don’t forget low tech ways of getting the word out. Loughan carries promotional paper bookmarks in her purse, and when she meets someone who shows an interest in her novels, she hands them one.
Her workshop, “All About Audio Books,” takes place later in the weekend. Although the production process can be expensive, the upside is that audio books are popular with the public, and having an audio version gives you legitimacy, Loughan says.
For the Saints series, she used ACX.com, an Amazon-based company that helps match authors with audiobook producers. In the workshop Loughan will discuss the ranges an author can expect to pay per finished hour. The lowest range ends at $50 and the next range goes up to $100. The going rate is about $200 per finished hour but it can go upwards of $1,000. However, Loughan found that good talent is available in the $100 range.
She was lucky, she says. Based on her e-book success with Amazon, she was awarded a stipend by ACX, which paid $100 per finished hour for her book.
Loughan has been a writer since she was a young child. Recalling a book she wrote in the third grade titled “The Bunnies Got Scared,” Loughan says she must have always known that she was going to be a story teller.
She grew up on her family’s farm in Michigan where her father took care of the land until he died when she was eight years old. Her mother was a hair dresser, and though she never published, she was a writer.
Loughan’s love for writing continued through high school and college where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University. She has fond memories of her high school teacher Bill Johnston, who would light a candle and read stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Johnston taught her the importance of setting the mood in a story, she says. His classes and Poe’s stories inspired her Saints mystery series.
When not working on her latest novel, Loughan keeps busy as a journalist writing for Bucks County Courier, Intelligencer, Calkins Media, Happeningmag.com, NBC.com, Phillyburbs.com, and E-How.
Her columns include “My Bucks County,” “Fresh Offerings,” and “The Starter Mom.” Writing from personal experience, Loughan and her husband are the parents of a preschool-age son and a daughter in kindergarten. The family lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
Loughan’s most recent novel, the “Divine Hotel,” is a time-travel, historical mystery set in the Philadelphia landmark, the Divine Lorraine Hotel. The novel was influenced by a job she held as a social worker in Philadelphia between 2006 and 2012.
“When I came to Philadelphia I was so surprised by the older architecture, and I had my first view of city poverty. I wanted to share what I saw in a way that was respectful to the people,” Loughan says, adding that before the hotel fell into disrepair, it held promise for many people in need.
“The Divine Hotel” is Loughan’s first paper back aimed for mass appeal. For this novel, Loughan has moved from working on her own to teaming up with the publisher Open Door Publications.
In addition to Poe, Loughan is influenced by several authors including mystery writer Charlaine Harris; New Jersey mystery writer Janet Evanovich; “The Vampire Chronicles” author Anne Rice; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. More importantly, her work is influenced by the people who have been a part of her life. She relates to Fanchon, the protagonist in the Saints series, who says, “I call them my saints and they have always been with me.”
Loughan says she is not a very religious person but the death of her father has touched her life. “I feel like my father is still with me in many ways and in my stories,” she says. “You keep your lost loved ones in your thoughts and they live on. And my English teacher, who has also passed, introduced me to the world of macabre writing. It was a new art form to me, which allowed me to grieve through art. The influence of those who have passed from this life to the next will always be with me.”
#b#Writers’ Weekend Workshops#/b#
• Writing a Book That Sells. Presenter: CEO of Open Door Publications Karen Hodges Miller.
• Book Covers: Making That Great First Impression. Presenter: Design and marketing consulting firm owner Genevieve Lavo Cosdon.
• Developing Your Author Platform. Presenter: Marketing strategist and CEO of 20 Lemons Noelle Stary.
• Have a Book, Now What? The Art of Making People Interested in Your Book (and you). Speaker: CEO and Founder of Smith Publicity, Dan Smith.
• Just What is Ingram, Anyway? Presenter: Ingram Content Group representative Michial Miller.
• More Than Copyright: Your Intellectual Property. Presenter: Attorney Yvette E. Taylor-Hachoose.
• Printing Basics: How to Print a Professional Paperback. Presenter: Book printing expert Melissa Tessein.
• Your Book is Your Business. Presenter: Accountant and principal of Steinberg Enterprises LLC Leonard Steinberg.
• What’s New in E-Books? How to Get 100,000 Reads. Presenter: Author Nicole Loughan.
• All About Audio Books. Presenter: Author Nicole Loughan.
• Photo Shoot-add on by professional photographer Laura Pedrick.
For more details visit http://winterwritersweekend.com.