Patricia Stoltey, local Fort Collins author, is not just active in the writing community. She’s also a social media rock star, and we could all learn a lesson from her prowess online and offline in author promotion. If you haven’t visited her site, PatriciaStolteyBooks.com, please do so immediately. If I were to write an article about a great author website, I would use hers as an example.
When I asked Patricia why she writes her blog, she told me that it’s especially difficult for new authors to reach audiences of readers. With the busyness of everyday life, it’s difficult to find readers and those willing to try a new author are not common.
She said, “There’s so many books out there. There’s so much going on, and it’s so hard to compete. So if I can get them another way to reach a few people, that’s fun.”
Patricia believes new authors are scared of promoting too much in fear of driving all their friends and family crazy, so they under promote. But others promote the wrong way by getting on Twitter and tweeting out “buy my book” every three minutes. Instead, Patricia invites people to promote the old-fashioned way: by building a network, getting their name know, and then requesting people buy their book. She often goes to authors who have been published for the first time and asks them if they want to publish an article on her blog.
After the writer has posted to her blog, she often promotes it through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Patricia gave the example of an author she promoted on her blog. She said, “I promoted her and her book and at the same time she says ‘I’m appearing on the wonderful Patricia Stoltey blog this week’ and people say ‘The wonderful Patricia Stoltey? Hmm, I should check out her blog,’ and then they see my big picture of my book over on the right side corner sidebar and meanwhile, I have now promoted myself in that process. It’s a connection that we make. Helping to promote authors gets your name out there in a second-hand way that’s very productive.”
Most of Patricia’s social media activity is to promote the links to the blog posts she makes, but she also occasionally has fun. She said, “I swear, on Facebook, the one way you can get tons of likes and comments is to put something out there about food—something weird about food—or something about chocolate, especially dark chocolate. But it’s got to catch a person’s attention so you need to put a picture with it. On Twitter, ask a question to get a conversation going. I procrastinated about getting on Good Reads. But now that I have, I have seen tons of opportunities I haven’t even taken advantage of yet.”
Social media book promotion is very important for today’s writer. Patricia does a great job of showing how it can be done well.
Patricia considers herself a binge writer instead of a pantser or outliner like other writers do. She said, “I don’t write every day…I write in binges. I do a lot of writing in between. That can be when you’re doing the dishes or when you’re gardening. Hopefully not when you’re driving down the road because you might have a wreck. You have a story idea or you’re halfway through a novel, and you get stuck a little bit, but it’s always working back there. You’re always thinking about what you want to write next. So when you do finally sit down and write, it comes out in this big flood.”
Outlining doesn’t work for a writer like Patricia. She said, “I’ve tried a scene outline and a chapter outline and I found that it was pretty much a waste of time because I don’t follow it anyway. You’re writing along and then suddenly your mind takes off in a different direction and some authors like to say their characters grab the story and run with it or tell them what they want to do next and in a way, it’s like that. Your subconscious gets to work and you’re in the work of this character and you decide you want to do something that’s not on the outline, so I don’t bother with the outline. The problem with it is that you usually have to end up doing a lot more revision and rewriting then if you were careful and precise and did your outline and did your story. But I’m having more fun doing it my way.”
One of Patricia’s favorite things to do is go to the Northern Colorado Writers’ Retreat in the fall. Last year, it was hosted in Estes Park. She said that she can churn out more words in that weekend than she can usually do in three months.
Patricia’s writing story begins as almost every writer’s does. She was a reader as a child and read everything she could get her hands on. Through the years, she began to wonder if she could also write something. She took a few writing classes and attended conferences while busy as a wife, mother, and with a full-time financial management and accounting career. After retiring from work, she finally was able to become serious about writing at the end of 2003. Her first print book was published when she was 65 years old. She said, “It’s very cool to be a writer when I don’t have to worry about surviving, getting a roof over my head, feeding myself. It’s very cool to be able to do what I want to do.”
Patricia knows that writing is addicting, like chocolate. But writers have to work hard at their craft and force themselves to write even when they have a busy schedule. She said, “The most challenging thing about writing is to sit down and do it. There’s always an excuse. You could have three chapters in your head, but if you don’t get them written down, and then revise and self-edit, and submit, it’s not going to do any good. You have to get the writing done. I can always think of something else that needs to be done first. If you want to write, you sit down and write. No excuses.”
Patricia has six published works that include a short story, a fairy tale, crime novels, and a thriller. Her latest novel, Dead Wrong, was a finalist in the thriller category for the 2015 Colorado Book Awards. She also has four works in progress. Shown below are her three novels and anthology containing her fairy tale “The Three Sisters of Ring Island”. See her website PatriciaStolteyBooks.com for more about her work.