Last weekend I attended a workshop by Bram Stoker winner, Jonathan Maberry. I was a little put off by the fact that he writes horror/thrillers., since I write romance, YA and mysteries. However, I went to the workshop, because when you live in the boonies like I do, you take what you can get.
With Jonathan it was more than take what you can get. He's an exceptional presenter. For six hours, he kept us spell bound with advice and stories from his experience. I haven't taken notes this way since graduate school. I'll give you a couple of points I liked and may do more later. I have a notebook full of ideas.
Social Networking is important. I have two novel contracts with Red Rose Publishing, so I knew I had to do it, but until I heard Jonathan, I wasn't sure how to be effective. I had accounts and invited a few friends, but I figured that wasn't going to sell many books that way. My friends would probably buy them, but I needed broader exposure. Here's Jonathan's suggestion: make a list of the successful writers in your genra and see if they have pages on My Space or Facebook, then invite them to be friends. Being a rather shy person, I would never have thought of doing that, but what do you have to lose. Worst case, they will say 'No,” but there are lots of nice writers out there who are willing to help newbies. Jonathan told several stories about people who established relationships with "famous" people and got known because of it.
Another idea that caught me because I write Flash Fiction is the commuter novel. The style is often associated with Dan Brown. He writes very short chapters opening with a hook and ending at a crisis point. After doing several surveys, the publishers discovered that people read these novels all the way through. Because the chapters are short, you quit feeling that you've made progress – hence the commuter idea. People reading on the way to work want a good stopping place when they get off the train. I've written flash fiction and I know writing this way isn't easy, but it has the potential of getting your readers more involved in the story and keeping them there.
Jonathan made other good points, but I think I'll keep them for another post.