Today, I’d like to welcome my friend and fellow author, Amy Atwell, to my blog. Welcome, Amy!
Thanks so much, Melanie, for inviting me here today! I’m happy to say that I write cops, too. My debut romantic suspense, LYING EYES features a hot undercover cop, a cool ten million in gems, a heroine who hates lies and an overweight rabbit. Set amidst the glitter of Las Vegas casinos, its focus is more pure escapism than police procedural.
However, when it comes to doing my own research, I try to be as effective about gathering, organizing and storing information as a CSI. This no longer only applies to fiction. Heck, the publishing industry is changing so rapidly, it’s hard for any of us to keep our scorecards up to date. It seems to me that the amount of time authors spend searching for answers to questions about social media, promotion options, indie publishing, trends, agents, editors and more is…well, a crime.
What’s painful is that so many new authors are retracing the steps of authors who asked the very same questions a year ago. Five years ago. You can’t always rely on following someone else’s advice because of how much publishing has evolved in so short a time. And one of the biggest challenges? Archived web pages that still show up on Google searches, sharing information that’s outdated and, sometimes, just plain wrong.
As someone who’s uber-organized (okay…anal), I began storing away tidbits of information years ago. Links to blogs by or about agents. Info from the help pages at Facebook or Amazon. Common hashtags used on Twitter. When other authors would post questions on discussion groups, if I had the answer, I shared it. As my information grew, I started to catalog it by subject and then to curate it, tossing out links to information that no longer applied. Last spring, I was hit with a crazy idea.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were ONE resource with answers and links to the information authors need?
That’s the basic premise behind Author E.M.S. (Entrepreneur.Management.Solutions.), my newly-launched website. AuthorEMS is designed to be a one-stop resource center for all questions relating to the business of being an author. From understanding how to build your Amazon Author Central page to how to manage your Twitter feed through TweetDeck, from where to find book reviewers who love steampunk to whether you should use Smashwords or distribute directly with PubIt!, we hope you’ll find Author E.M.S. is helpful in providing information, education and perspective. We won’t promise to offer answers to every question—every author’s situation is unique. But knowledge is power, and we definitely want to provide a simple, central place to share knowledge.
We offer public pages with general resources, public policy documents, articles and downloads. Inside our paid Members’ Area, we offer an extensive and growing library of information overviews, how-to lecture classes, and annotated links to other sources. Members also gain access to a searchable database of over 500 online reviewers. And we offer forums so authors can share information peer to peer in discussions organized by topic.
Building the site has been an eye-opening challenge. Working with a tech team, building the database, contacting over 1,000 book reviewers and endless hours of research on various topics. From a children’s book blog to the Department of Justice, I’m all over the Internet daily. I find a clue to an answer on one site and often follow a link to another site and another. Eventually, the trail often leads to a terrific resource. I don’t mind spending the time because I hope that it will help hundreds of other authors when I share it. Our goal is simple: help authors save time, reduce stress and improve focus.
The site isn’t finished—it’ll never truly be finished. I’m on target to add 2-5 pages per week. We keep a Site Map to show what pages are live and what’s coming soon. I’m seeking additional material, so if you’ve written a blog or article relating to the business of being an author and you’d like to submit it, see our FAQ page.
I hope you’ll agree such a resource is worthwhile, but now I’m curious, what information would you be seeking from a library like this? What part of the writing business frustrates you the most?
Amy Atwell worked in professional theater for 15 years before turning from the stage to the page to write fiction. She now gives her imagination free rein in both contemporary and historical stories that combine adventure and romance. When not writing, Amy runs the WritingGIAM online community for goal-oriented writers and has recently launched the Author E.M.S. online resource library. An Ohio native, Amy has lived all across the country and now resides on a barrier island in Florida with her husband and two Russian Blues. Visit her online at www.amyatwell.com, Magical Musings, Facebook, Twitter and/or GoodReads.