Let's face it. It's not easy being an aspiring author. Whether your goal is self-publishing or querying for agents, the journey to success is riddled with self-doubt, misinformation, fear, and procrastination.
When Melissa Foster published her first book, Megan's Way, three years ago, she became a pioneer, figuring everything out herself, making mistakes and learning. There were few other authors who had ventured into the nascent tide of self-publishing.
Fast forward two years and two books later. In November, 2011, Melissa published Come Back To Me. This time she was prepared. She had gathered a team of authors and aspiring authors. They supported each other in preparation for launch, social networking and patting each other on the back. Come Back To Me raced out the gates and topped all the charts. It was a phenomenal movement that saw many members of that group become best selling authors. By working together and supporting each other, Melissa taught her team that book selling is not a zero-sum game. Small pie or big pie? Melissa is definitely a pie grower.
At this point, I was blissfully unaware of Melissa and her team. So all of the history was gleaned from my interactions with Melissa and WLC members. I was an aspiring author with a single finished manuscript being edited. It was November 2011 and I was busy playing NaNoWriMo, completing two first drafts. I vegged around in December to recover from NaNoWriMo and wanted to sit back and read. About this time I discovered World Literary Cafe, called WoMen's Literary Cafe. They were recruiting Reviewers. I had been an Amazon Vine reviewer years before and I thought it would be fun to review for WLC. They'd give me free books and all I had to do was write a review.
Little did I know that by reading and writing reviews, I would begin to appreciate that reviews were lifeblood to an indie author. I was gradually introduced to the author forums and found a class Melissa Foster taught on Basic Book Marketing for only $25. My editor had returned my manuscript and I was busily revising it. Soon, I would have to launch my book and I had no idea what to do except hit the "publish" button at Amazon.
The course was fantastic. Not only did Melissa explain social networking, web sites, twitter, and promotions, but she did it online using Google+ Hangout. She talked to us and answered questions from us personally. She then put us in a special Facebook group of all the people who took her class. We were encouraged to ask any stupid questions we wanted and no one would make us feel inadequate. Those who had gone before guided those who were coming along.
Melissa was always available to answer questions and help in a personal manner. When someone had trouble with a tweet, she'd explain how to use URL shorteners. No question or problem was too trivial for her. She'd spend hours on the phone encouraging people and making suggestions. She was seemingly everywhere, on Facebook, Twitter, Google, and online at WLC. And the amazing thing is that she remembered everyone's name.
This summer, Melissa recorded all of her fantastic information into courses offered through a website Fostering-Success.com. Courses offered are:
Social Media Made Easy
Creating an Effective Author Website
Creating an Effective & Branded Online Presence & Platform
Effective Book Marketing
These classes come with online videos and bonus handouts with useful content. They are entirely self-paced and you can watch and review the videos at your convenience.
I met Melissa Foster rather accidentally. Someone told me to follow some famous writers, so I found twitter addresses to quite a few of them. I was still relatively new to twitter and when I followed Melissa Foster I immediately received a direct message (or DM). I was amazed that this famous writer would send me a message asking me to be her friend on Facebook. I know what my husband said about not friending strangers on Facebook, but I broke his rule because Melissa was a famous writer, and I had read her books. She couldn't possibly be bad!
Chasing Amanda, and how she had thrown all these red herrings and had me imagining completely off the wall scenarios. She thought that was funny. How cool was that? I had never talked to a best selling author before. They always seemed so distant, in the ivory tower, surrounded by minions of flying monkeys with batwings, spears and helmets.
When I finally launched Michal's Window at the end of February, Melissa and her crew supported me the entire way. I signed up for WLC New Release Program and put my book up for free on Kindle Select. I used the WLC Tweet Teams to inform everyone about the free book. After my free days ran out, I purchased a WLC Book Buzz to extend the exposure for my book. I ended up selling 995 books that first month.
WLC offers many programs for authors, readers, and bloggers, such as Author-Blogger Connection, Read-and-Review, #WLCFreeToday Forum, Tweet Teams and more. But the most important thing WLC offers is the community, a connection between people helping people. My self-publishing journey would have been a lonely grind into obscurity had I not met Melissa Foster and her fantastic team at WLC. Instead, I'm a member of something greater than myself and my books, all thanks to the vision and hard work of Melissa Foster.
Melissa Foster's Books are available at Amazon. Visit her Amazon Author Page
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