Rainer M. Domingo

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Fictional Book Giveaway Appeal


My Goodreads giveaway has been running for a week and I’m satisfied with the number of entries thus far. I find it fascinated that mostly women have entered to win. I wonder why?

Is it because…

  • The cover features two women?
  • The cover features three men?
  • The cover features men and women?
  • The book’s marketing copy?
  • Mostly women read medieval fantasy books?
  • Goodreads membership is mostly women?
  • Mostly women enter book giveaways?
  • Or is it something that I haven’t even considered?

I have no idea what demographic is drawn to my book. You would think it appeals to everyone that reads medieval fantasy novels with characters that have magical powers, but that’s probably being overly simplistic.

What I decided to do was go through the current list of giveaways with the intent of finding medieval fantasy books that I would be interested in reading.

The first thing that drew my attention was the theme and artistry of the cover. If it looked medieval, not too cheesy, not too basic, and gave me a hint about the characters or what the story was about, then it was worth investigating. The title of the book didn’t matter. Then I read the marketing copy to determine if the story would keep my attention. If there was some type of mystery to be solved or questions to be answered as a result of certain events AND the story generally appealed to me, then I would enter the giveaway. Giveaways by best-selling authors definitely influenced my decision to enter. A story intertwined with actual historical events didn’t appeal to me. I prefer documentaries. When I watch movies that fictionalize historical events, I throw out the actual history and watch the movie for its entertainment and cinematic value.

Did this little exercise help me figure out why more women than men entered to win my book? Not even close.

So what can we take away from all of this?

  • Your cover should strongly reflect your genre and provide a hint about the type of characters in your story or the story itself.
  • For me, the title of the book didn’t matter. It may matter to you and your audience, but it wasn’t important with regard to drawing my attention to a book.
  • Your marketing copy should include a question that is important for your character(s) to answer that will intrigue the reader.

If you have any additional thoughts about what makes a book giveaway appealing to readers, leave them in the comments below.

My book giveaway runs until July 19, 2015. Click here to enter for a chance to win!



What the California Gold Rush and Self-Publishing have in common

I’m not into book marketing. I wrote a book to write a book. I was so happy that I finished it. Marketing it was the last thing on my mind. But here I am. Doing the marketing thing. Like everyone else who can pick up a guide on how to sell a book, I can follow the advice just as much as the next guy or gal. Well, sort of.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve done the bottom of the barrel basics.  I posted my book on a few free sites – GoodReads, BookDaily, BookTalk, and kboards. I also created a facebook page for my book series. But so has everyone else who has been marketing a book over the past two weeks, which doesn’t even account for all the people who have been doing it for the last umpteen years.

What this means for new authors who are trying to get their book noticed, is there are so many new and established books out there, that it’s next to impossible to get a book in front of people – unless of course the author is willing to spend some money. Which ties quite nicely into what self-publishing and the California Good Rush have in common.

As many of you already know, more people made money from selling mining supplies than searching for gold. While the majority of miners went home penniless, all of the store owners made a fortune or at least enough to make a decent living.

The same thing can be said for the cottage industry that has developed to help people self-publish and market books. There are editors, cover designers, interior designers, all the online book stores, those who will gladly accept money to do a review, and those who will help market a book every which way possible. I guarantee all of these people are making more money than the majority of authors.

Oh sure, authors can go the do-it-completely-yourself route, but some of the work requires specialized skills readers have come to expect from high-quality books, both traditionally and self-published.  I know there are people who can design their own cover without spending a penny. But even if the cover can get a reader’s attention, if the book isn’t professionally edited, it’s probably not going to sell very well.

I spent money self-publishing my book and I’m going to spend more promoting it. Not because I want to put money in other people’s pockets, but because I want my book to get noticed and at least try to make back some of my money before throwing the book into the pay-per-month library that shall go unnamed.

I certainly don’t fault anyone for being in the business of helping people self-publish and market books. If people can make a living doing it, then more power to them. Authors on the other hand, need to realize that they have to invest money into publishing and promoting their book in order for it to have a chance of doing well on any level. In the long run, they may never make any of that money back.

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Recommended Books for New Fiction Writers

Are you thinking about writing a novel? Have you started writing, but don’t know how to continue? Perhaps you’ve already written a manuscript, but don’t know if it’s any good. Well you’re in luck, because there are some really good books out there to assist you. These books were the most helpful for me.

story engineering1. You absolutely have to read is Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. It will help you take whatever story idea you have and validate if you can turn it into novel or book series. You’ll learn about the six core competencies you’ll need for professional storytelling – concept, character, theme, story structure, scene construction and writing voice. The cool thing is, that he didn’t make this stuff up. He studied successful books and figured out the best way to explain it.

2. Don McNair does a great job of helping you clean up your prose with Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave (Great Books for Writers). It helps to read this book before and after writing your manuscript, so that you can correct your own mistakes.


3. Are you a plot first or character first writer? What you may not realize, is that you need to be both to write a successful novel. Jeff Gerke’s Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction will help you understand what readers are looking for and why each approach is important.


4. In order to hook your readers, you’ll need another one of Jeff Gerke’s books, The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success. If your book meets all the criteria he explains – which is often what readers get to sample, you’re well on your way to success.


If there are any any books you can recommend to new fiction writers, I invite you to put them in the comments below.