Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Radio Interview Geared Toward Writers

On Friday, October 21, I spoke for an hour about writing, publishing, and marketing books on the blogtalk radio show PAGE TURNERS with hosts Nancy Denofio, Meg Collins, and Bennet Pomerantz. I also share details about writing my latest novel DEAD OF WINTER.

To hear the recorded podcast, click on this link:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Using Twitter to Market Books & Blogs Part 2

Here are some more tips on how to use Twitter to market your books and blogs and build your audience. This is a continuation from Part 1.

If you're promoting a book or blog, be sure to include the name of your book(s) and website in your Twitter bio that goes beside your photo. You have about 160 characters to write something to introduce yourself. Here's my Twitter bio as an example:

In the website space in "profile settings" I inserted the link to where readers can buy my book: . This goes underneath your bio. You want to include your website in your bio, because that gets emailed directly to people every time you follow someone, and it gives people the opportunity to click on your website link right from their email. The designated website space below the bio allows you to post a second link to a blog, Facebook page, or Amazon page of your book.

Now that your bio is set up to best promote your book and website(s), you want to search for people who are most likely to read what you write. There are a number of ways you can search Twitter for readers that fit your demographic. I will cover many of them in this series of blog posts. Today I'm focused on searching for key words in the Twitter search. If there's a certain author in the same genre that you write, then do a search on the author's name. This brings up a list of everyone talking about this author and their books. Those tweeters would be good ones to follow because they have an affinity for your niche. For my genre, I might do a search for a popular horror author or key words like zombies, werewolves, ghosts, vampires, supernatural, or horror novels to find my audience. This will take me to a results page with people talking about horror novels. I scan the tweets on this search list and read not only their tweets, but their bios as well. I look for key words in their bios like: avid reader, love reading, book junkie, love horror, or love Stephen King. These are the booklovers that I choose to connect with.

If I were a cookbook author, I'd search for people talking about recipes. If I were promoting a health book or diet book or a how-to book, I'd search for people tweeting about topics that matched my subject matter. When you follow them, they are now aware that you have a book that matches their interest. You've now introduced yourself, your book title, and your website to a person who has a high-probablity of buying your book. If they follow you back (and many of them do with gratitude and enthusiasm), you can message them with a "thank you for following" and start a dialogue. In social media, selling books is about building relationships with people who share your common interests. The more time you spend getting to know readers and letting them get to know you, the more likely you are going to sell books. What's phenomenal about Twitter is that your fans that you connect with will eventually become your promoters, as well. They will tweet about your books with high praise and spread the word, attracting you more fans and book sales.

I have more Twitter tips to come ... to stay tuned, subscribe to this blog.

My author website:

Using Twitter to Market Books & Blogs Part I

Here are some tips on how to use Twitter to market your books and blogs and build your audience. For those who are new to Twitter, it's a social media site where you set up a profile and post short messages about what you're doing. These messages are called "tweets." People from all around the world can "follow" you and read every message that you post. Just about every celebrity imaginable now uses Twitter to give their fans a personal connection. Twitter is also great for authors connecting with their readers. This is a goldmine for marketing books and blogs.

Once your profile is set up, search for hundreds to thousands of people who match your reading audience, click on the person's name and follow them by clicking the "follow" button beneath their name. Their descriptions and what they tweet about will tip you off to what they love. Whatever subject or genre you write about, type in key words in the "search space" next to the Twitter logo, then hit return. It will pull up a list of recent tweets from people talking about your topic. Go down the list and follow each profile that you like.

For instance, I write horror fiction. I also blog about writing, publishing, and the adventures of being a professional author. On Twitter, all I have to do is search "horror" or "horror novels" or use the ashtag #horror, and there are hundreds upon hundreds of horror fans out there who say so in their descriptions.

"I'm an avid reader of horror.

"I love skiing, my dog, watching movies, and reading horror."

"Reading novels is the air I breathe. I love mystery, romance, and horror."

When you follow the people who fit your reading audience, they often follow you back. Now they know who you are, and since you blog about a topic they enjoy or you write the types of books they love to read, they will most likely visit your website at least once, and if your blog or book is engaging enough, they become fans.

In one sitting I might follow 20-30 people who are my target market. Often within minutes, I get emails from Twitter showing me who's following me back. I've made a lot of new friends this way. And several times new followers have written to tell me that they just bought my book on Amazon. Thanks to the world of Twitter, it has never been easier to find your fans.

Brian Moreland is the author of the horror novels Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist. He also writes for two blogs.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Farewell, Borders Books; Hello, e-Publishing

My favorite local book store, Borders, where I used to love to hang out and buy books, has recently closed its doors, as are all the Borders stores across America. Today, I discovered another local independent book store, Legacy Books, which did a lot for the community of authors and book lovers here in Dallas, Texas, also shut its doors forever. Before that, I had witnessed other smaller Mom-&-Pop book stores close, because they couldn't compete with the bigger chains. In the world of books and book sellers, as Bob Dylan once sang, "the times they are a-changin'."

What's causing this change? Online book stores like,, and have changed the way readers buy books. And more and more readers are buying e-books over paperback and hardbacks.

"According to the Association of American Publishers (AARP), sales figures for the first half of 2011...paperback sales dipped nearly 18% and hardback sales fell 23% compared to the same period the previous year."

On the contrary, e-book sales are up 160% from this time a year ago. Every publishing professional I've talked to sees ebooks as the future for books. My own publisher, Samhain Publishing, one of the largest e-book publishers, told me last year their ratio of e-book readers to trade paperback readers was one e-book to two paperbacks. This year it has reversed; they now sell two e-books for every one paperback. And the trend seems to be expanding for e-book sales.

According to a Janaruy 2011 article in Today @ PC World, "Amazon says that, for the first time, it has sold more e-books than paperbacks. Since the start of the year, Amazon has sold 115 Kindle books for every 100 paperbacks. Kindle sales continue to outpace hardcover sales; during the same time period, three times as many Kindle books were sold as were hardcover books."

So the e-book trend is alive and thriving. Just ask some members from the younger generations (readers in their early twenties to teens) who have been raised in a digital world surrounded by electronic gadgets, and you'll discover that a growing percentage of them own some form of e-reader (Kindle, Nook, or Ipad) and enjoy reading e-books.

Does that mean paperbacks and hardbacks are following Borders to extinction?

Hopefully not for a very long time. I still love holding a book in my hand. I love the smell of the paper and the feeling of turning the pages. I also enjoy seeing the book cover on my nightstand, reminding me there's an exciting fictional world to dive into or a
how-to-book that inspires me to learn something new. While trade paperbacks and hardbacks seem safe for the moment (although the high-priced hardbacks could be threatened by the state of the economy), the smaller mass-market paperbacks are the ones in most danger. The paperbacks on the grocery store racks that I used to flip through as a kid are now being phased out, just like the popularity of DVDs pushed VHS out of the market. E-books are doing the same to mass-market paperbacks. Dorchester Publishing/Leisure Books, who is one of the oldest mass-market publishers, took a huge hit because of this trend and had to release many of its established authors, as well as layoff talented members of its publishing staff. Now, most printed books are coming out as the larger trade paperbacks.

Bottom line: Book stores that you can walk into are a dying breed and digital e-books are the next wave for publishing and selling books.

So, if you are an author in today's market, how do you respond to these changes? Well, if I you are with a mid-size to large publishing house, you can relax, as your books are most likely already coming out as both paperback and e-versions simultaneously. Just remember to include e-book readers in your book campaign.

If your publisher doesn't produce e-books, it's time to find a new publishing house that's on the cutting edge. If you are an independently published author and you don't have a digital version of your book selling on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, then you better catch up quick, because it won't be long before paperbacks and hardbacks are just a small percentage of the market. And if you're a YA author, publishing your book as an e-book is an absolute must to tap that expanding teen market. Within the next five years, all your books should be selling in digital formats if you aim to sell books in this ever-changing high-tech world. Because who knows if there will be any brick-and-mortar book stores left by then?

So, with a bittersweet feeling in my heart, I bid farewell to Borders--my old cathedral of books--and goodbye to all the other local Mom-&-Pops that tried to compete with giants like Barnes and Noble, Wal-Mart, and Amazon. As an author of the twenty-first century, I embrace the popularity of online book stores and e-books, and I admit that I even own my very own Kindle now. But in secret, when the time comes to curl up in bed with a riveting book, I still enjoy reading a good, old-fashioned paperback.


Brian Moreland is an internationally successful author of supernatural novels (DEAD OF WINTER, SHADOWS IN THE MIST) and a number of short stories. He also helps other writers achieve success through consulting and creative services: creative brainstorming, editing, complete book design (interior & cover), ebook formatting, and assistance with authors ready to explore independent publishing.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My New Book Cover

"A frightening and chilly romp through a winter wasteland, Dead of Winter will freeze your soul! Sharply written and scary as hell, this one is a must-read for all horror fans. I am in awe of Brian Moreland."

-- Ronald Malfi, author of Snow and Floating Staircase

Well, it's just months away until the release of my next horror novel, DEAD OF WINTER. The official release date for the ebook is October 11, 2011. To read an excerpt of the first three chapters visit my DARK LUCIDITY blog.

"Moreland's novel is a unique blend of historical fiction, thriller, and horror--and it all works flawlessly. Dead of Winter had me breathless. This is one hell of a great read."

--Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of The Reach, Sparrow Rock, and StarCraft Ghost: Spectres

“From lust and greed to duty and piousness, the cast of complex characters in Dead of Winter erupt to life in historical splendor. Drawing on several horror elements, the reader will be swept away on this canoe-ride of excitement, terror, and mystery. Tom Hatcher takes his son, Chris to the isolation of the Ontario North to repair the wounds of their past. When the blizzards bring an evil to the fort that mysteriously turns the inhabitants into vicious cannibals, Tom’s detective skills are insufficient weapons against the menace that lurks beyond the walls of the fort. Grab a warm blanket and throw another log on the fire, and delve into the terror that only winter can snow down on the soul.”

--Aurora Nominee Suzanne Church, author of "Destiny Lives in the Tattoo's Needle" and "The Tear Closet"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just Landed a New Book Deal

My previous post promised some big news. Well, I just inked a book deal for my second novel, DEAD OF WINTER. It's been a long journey since I published my first novel, SHADOWS IN THE MIST, five years ago. My World War II supernatural horror novel has done well, publishing first as a trade paperback, then as a mass paperback through Berkley/Penguin, then as a hardback in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger. Now, it is still selling as an ebook for Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook.

DEAD OF WINTER is a horror novel I started researching and writing back in 2006 and finished the winter of 2009. It sat in limbo for a little over a year before it found a home with Samhain Publishing. I'm thrilled to be working with legendary horror editor Don D'Auria and I'm eager to get my second novel out to all the readers who've been asking, "When's your next book coming out?" Well, now it's very soon. I'll announce the release date as soon as my publisher has set one.

In the mean time, you can read an excerpt of DEAD OF WINTER at my fiction blog DARK LUCIDITY.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Zen of Writing

A writer responded to my previous article “Dealing with Distractions.” What happens if the kind of family distractions are not external noises like children playing or romping around but the internal kind that sticks within you and rubs you uncomfortably and you can't seem to shake it off at that moment? You want it out of your system because you know it distracts that peaceful state within that makes you want to write? I'd like to think that professional writers too have internal disturbances -- what do you to not let it get in the way of your writing?

Honestly, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't have something internal pulling at me to do this or do that instead of sit at my computer and write. I have a few approaches in handling these gremlins. First, I meditate and see if all I need to do is quiet the mind for a little bit. If there's something that really has to be done, like pay bills that day or do a task for someone, then I'll take care of business.

I've gotten in the habit of dedicating a block of hours early in the morning to write. I usually get up before everyone in the house. It's too early to call anyone and no one calls me (because I turn off the phone.) So I have peace and quiet in which to work, and I don't feel obligated to talk to anybody or do anything for anyone. It's 100% Me Time.

During my morning hours (5:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.) there's very little to distract me. All the business that I need to take care of that day can be handled after 8:00 or noon, depending how long my writing schedule is that day. If there's still too many nagging thoughts breaking my concentration, I'll go back to meditating or do some yoga. It's all just mental noise anyway, and breathing and stretching quiets things down. The key is training your brain to be a habitual writer, so that when it's time to sit down and write you can focus and get into the zone. If someone can't focus at all, then I would recommend getting coaching from a personal coach trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I'd have them guide me through some closed-eye exercises that help your mind create more resources around being focused and more relaxed when the time comes for you to sit down and write. Productivity is all about getting yourself into a zen state.

Dealing with Distractions

A writer who was having too many family distractions asked me, "Have you ever just had to get away somewhere to write?"

Yes, I would say my best writing happens when I take some time off and go on a brief writing sabbatical. Anywhere from a three-day weekend to five days, whatever time I can afford to take off from my business. I have a friend's cabin in the woods I escape to. Or I housesit for people who are traveling. If I can afford to rent a room somewhere, then I'll do that, too. The investment in myself is well worth it. Other places to escape to are the library, coffee shops, a friend's house while they are out. As a writer it is important to create a space of solitude to write. I have lived with roommates and I have lived with a girlfriend and her children. I told them that writing is part of my career, and they have given me space to write in my office without disturbing me. They know that when I leave for a few days to write, it is because getting my book done is important. When there are a lot of family activities going on that make writing difficult during the day and evening, I wait until everyone's asleep and write then, either staying up till 2:00 a.m. or getting up at 5:00 a.m. I prefer mornings, because I'm most creative after waking up. With 3-4 hours of focused writing, I can really move my story along.

What do you do when you get stuck, I mean really stuck and can't seem to push through?

If you are feeling stuck, then the best thing to do is take some kind of action--ask a family member to take over your responsibilities for a few days and get away to write. If you are constantly sacrificing your needs for others, then you run the risk of being a martyr. And this doesn't help anybody. It creates an unspoken tension for everyone in the house. Your needs are just as important as your family's. If you truly are a writer, and publishing novels is your dream, then you making time to write is just as important as everything else you do. Share your goals with your family. Hopefully they will be supportive and give you the space or help to write. Even if not everyone supports your choice to make time for yourself to write, then that's okay. Give yourself time to write anyway. Every writer who has responsibility to other people deals with this challenge. The writers who succeed at finishing books, publishing, and building a career out of writing novels know that sometimes being selfish is okay. Writers have to be somewhat selfish to achieve writing books. Successful writers give blocks of time and attention to their loved ones and blocks of time and attention to their writing. Think of your book as just another child who needs your love and attention.

If you can enroll some help from a family member or friend, I highly recommend you get away from your current situation so you can breathe and get your book written. You will feel much better about yourself, your book, your life, and your career, and you will return to your loved ones feeling renewed and appreciative.

Brian Moreland is a published author who offers professional coaching to writers. Check out his services at

New Coaching Services

Looking for some advice on writing, publishing, or marketing books?

Have you considered talking one-on-one with a professional author and coach?

I've added some new affordable coaching services to writers on my website:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

World Horror Convention 2011

I just signed up to attend the World Horror Convention in Austin, TX Apr 28-May 1, 2011

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Facebook: Author Brian Moreland

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Should You Continue Writing

A budding writer wrote: Do you think I should continue writing even though my parents don't want me to continue? They are always telling me that I have no future being a writer.

Yes, definitely continue writing if that's something YOU want to do. What your parents probably want is to make sure you find away to earn steady money so you can support yourself. Writers don't typically make a lot of money at first, so it's good to have a second career that you work while you write. For instance, I make my living as a video editor, editing TV commercials and documentaries. I also coach writers and do brainstorming sessions with them on their books. The novels I've written and published are now bringing in additional money, but I would have starved years ago had I relied solely on my writing to pay the bills. So, you should definitely find another career path that you love that pays you steady paychecks. And, if you really love writing, keep writing, no matter what other people think. My dad didn't understand my desire to be a writer. He didn't see how I could make money at it. But I kept writing because it is my #1 passion. It's my calling. It's why I am here on the planet. So I kept at the writing and now, after much success with selling my books internationally (I just landed my fourth book deal), my dad sees that as a writer you can make good money. Really great money. Eventually. Keep at it. Keep writing for you. It will pay off down the road.