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Author Mark Tierno: Turning Tragedy into Triumph

Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, he spent 25 years of his life caring for them and watching his Dad’s health deteriorate from Parkinson’s Disease.  It was during this time that he discovered his talent for, and love of, writing stories.   The result was joy brought to the Tierno household as well as an epic that spans 13 novels.

“A world beyond time… an adventure beyond imagining.”

Let’s welcome Mark Tierno,

MarkTierno image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Mark:  Well, my old publisher who shall remain nameless (cough_PublishAmerica-cough) simply did not look out, or care for, its authors.  Their idea of marketing was to nickel and dime their own authors instead of trying to sell to the general public.  Since 100% of the work of marketing, selling, and distribution was left up to the authors, then why not publish it myself and get 100% of the profits.  After all it IS my hard work and creativity.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Mark:  “Maldene” is my big fantasy epic, with the first novel out as a two-volume set due to sheer size and my lack of notoriety.  It is a story of epic fantasy that also blends in some Sci-Fi in future novels in the series.  Seeing as how it’s a 13-novel series, I really need to get this first book selling first before I bring out the others.

Mark Tierno cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Mark:  Right now I’ve been looking into Social Media Marketing through Facebook.  It’s the cheapest alternative that I can currently find, doesn’t require a really big marketing firm, and is something I can do while still at home working on my next story.  As far as results, it’s still too early to tell yet.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Mark:  Definitely!  LinkedIn is a great treasure trove of contacts just waiting to help you out.  I have seen people on there where I’m thinking, “Hey, I’ve seen the movie this guy wrote!” It’s where I got into contact with a couple of helpful people as well as a group of other authors that I am currently working on a set of stories with.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Mark:  Letting the world know that you exist, finding out what to do after putting your own label on your book, and interacting more with the real world.  A lot of us writers aren’t really on great terms with the real world.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Mark:  Don’t give up!  Some people may tell you that you only have a one in a million chance of making it as an author, but you have a ZERO chance if you give up.  If writing is your passion, if you start to go through withdrawals if you’ve been away from the keyboard for too long, and if you have some stories that you REALLY need to get out, then just keep on trying.


Mark lives in his home town of Monrovia California, the recipient of degrees in Physics and Math, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and SciFi.  The son of loving middle class parents, while Mark had a good enough childhood that allowed him to develop both intellectually and creatively, in the middle of High School his father developed Parkinson’s Disease. What followed was 25 years of watching his Dad and the family finances get worse and worse, helping out his mother with his Dad while finishing up his MS in Physics. A lifelong reader of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, when added tragedy, in the form of his grandpa’s old house burning to the ground, struck, the resulting insurance money eased off the collective burden enough to allow Mark to start writing a series of books that he had been developing in his head for the previous 15 years.

The result was some joy brought into the Tierno household to offset the bleak circumstances that an ailing father can bring. Caring for his father up through his death became a full-time job, but even so he was able to pen an amazing series of books that have few- if any- equals. This creative effort became the light in the darkness, bringing back some hope and joy and turning the house back into a home.

His father never lived to see it published, but his mother lived long enough to see it first published and a chapter or two read in a library before a small audience. Now his goal is to see his life’s work bring pleasure to the world outside his own.

In total, Maldene spans 13 novels, 5.2 million words, 250 characters, many worlds and dimensions, thousands of years, and is a unique blend of both Fantasy and Science fiction, coupled with skillful prose and realistic characterizations that put it head and shoulders above everything else out today. You will get lost in a story that will have you wondering if- somewhere out there- the world of Maldene just might exist.  Maldene is the first book in a series that will redefine the word Epic.






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Filed under Book Marketing, Book Media, Self Publishing Author

Maximize Your Social Media – Easily

I know that I said the whole social media thing is a bit boring and a total time suck but I have been having some fun with it.  I think once you start to see results it gets you more excited.  You just have to get over the hump.

My first social media blog was about setting up basic accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.   I was getting distraught on the thought of having to post everyday and be consistent.  But then, along came Hoot suite.  I had heard of these social media ‘platforms’ and then started to really look into what they have to offer.   Let me just say – it is A-MA-ZING!

I researched a few of these systems and some are setup more for individuals.   Hoot suite seemed to be the best fit for me.  You can add all your social media streams (or accounts) and view simultaneously.  The program is free for up to 5 social media accounts – so you can do Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and one more for no monthly charge.  I am a member of quite a few author groups on Facebook so I upgraded to 9.99/month pro plan to have 50 social media ‘accounts’.  Each ‘group’ I belonged to on face book counts as 1 social media ‘account’.

When I posted a blog, I found myself going to each group on Facebook, then my Twitter, then my LinkedIn, etc.  This was very time consuming and I would end up getting distracted with screaming children in the process.  Well, the most awesome thing about Hoot suite is that you can compose a message (or blog, whatever) and include all (or some – your choice) of your social media accounts and post to them at one time.  And get this – you can SCHEDULE the posts too. This is what gets me so excited (I know I am kind of a loser if this makes me excited, but anyway…).  Anything that helps me manage my time better I absolutely love.  So now on the weekend I will get all my posts for the week and schedule accordingly.   You can be more consistent and almost tell a story with your posts.   The best time to post is between 10am-2pm so just schedule them for that time of day.

Hoot suite also features reports and analytics.  Once you really start to get some traction, these tools are super helpful.  They will help to show trends, what links are being clicked, what messages get the most views, etc.  It is nice to start seeing results and feel like the time you are spending engaging with your social media is really paying off.  This program helps to put everything right in front of me so I give it 2 thumbs up.

Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.


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Filed under Book Marketing, Self Publishing Author

Social Media – Not So Scary

Who would have thought that we would be able to video chat with friends across the world, become an instant celebrity through a YouTube video or broadcast our every thought and action to hundreds of friends online?  I know that was pretty cheesy – but I am talking about social media here folks.

In a recent post, I talked about how the last thing I really want to do with any free time (which there is none with a job, kids and now this book) is be on the computer engaging in social media.  Well, here is a breakdown of what I have done so far.  I am in no means calling myself an expert in social media because there are many gurus out there that can help develop many levels of social media for you.  The purpose of this is to talk about how a newbie like me gets connected.  Many of my authors have asked how to take the first steps so here goes:

WORDPRESS – First things first, if you are going to do any kind of social media you have to send them somewhere.  You need a home base.  This is what Word Press can do for you.  Easily create a simple or not so simple website and blog.  I have only 4 pages now and may add more in the future.  The most important to me was a home page (to introduce the project/book), a blog page, a contact page and a ‘buy my book’ page.  Word Press is free but you can upgrade for $18/year to have your own url otherwise it will contain’ Word Press’ in it.  For instance, my website is at www.realanswersrealauthors.com instead of www.realanswersrealauthors.wordpress.com.  I thought this was worth the money.  Word Press has a pretty extensive dashboard and lots of customizing you can do.  It is helpful with many links to guide you through setup.  Just try not to get overwhelmed.  Take a couple of days and just click through and see what everything does.  You don’t have to figure it all out day 1.

FACEBOOK – I assume this is the most common and widely used platform.  Everyone you know probably has a Facebook page – which you can now use to your advantage.  I started a page for my book and put the cover image as my profile pic.  I started to look into various groups that related to my book.  I found many author and book promotion groups.  I asked to join these groups.  Once you are a member, you can look to the right on their page and see ‘related groups’.  I then went through all related groups in each group that I was a member.  This really helped to open up my FB world.  Once I joined these groups, I started to get friend requests from authors and sought out friends who were authors.  This is how social media can snowball for you.  I would suggest seeking out groups that have a common interest with your book.  When I posted a blog, I was sure to share it on my Facebook page and also post it on various group pages that related to the particular topic.

TWITTER – I had always refused to join twitter and when I say the word ‘tweet’ – I want to kick my own a** but I guess I had to do it.  I signed up for twitter.  Basically what I do here is share my blog links when I post something.  I have also been trying to tweet (there I go again) every day.  I just take excerpts from my book and post.  The important thing with this and most social media outlets is that you want to have quality content to get quality followers.  If you don’t care then you will end up with a bunch of crap.  If you work hard and spend the time, just do it right.   Because of this, I get a steady stream of people following me.  I don’t have very many but get a few a week and I am okay with that for now.

LINKEDIN – This is more of a professional networking tool, so you should keep it that way.  No embarrassing photos or posts on what you had for breakfast.  This will turn people off.  I was not very good at keeping up with my account so when I logged in, I had about 90 invitations waiting.  Once I accepted the invites then LI asked me about all of these other people I may know.  They also have a nice feature for updating your profile as well.  It will ask if you want to update your profile info and then you will answer a series of questions – quick and easy.  LinkedIn is also a place where I will post my blogs or update on any work type activities like if Mira Publishing added a new product or if we have a print sale happening that month.

REDDIT, STUMBLE UPON, DIGG, TUMBLR and PINTEREST – These are additional social media platforms that all do about the same thing.  They are resources for information basically.  I opened an account for each of these sites and just post my blog.  I do not know all the ends and outs of each one but will be researching a bit more.   I have seen hits on my blog from each site once I post so I think it is definitely worth looking into.

Word Press is great because if you setup their ‘Publicize’ feature it will automatically post your blog in the various outlets for you.   I also think it is important to be consistent so keep the same profile pic and same color scheme throughout all your social media accounts.  This will help others to relate to you and will be more familiar with your ‘brand’.

Also, something big with social media is seeking out information from others that relate to your book/topic and engage on their posts or follow them.  This will help others to come around to you.  It is not just about you sending info out to everyone and expecting them to read what you have to say –  but you have to do the same and read and comment on others as well.  This, I find the most time consuming but necessary.

That is about all I have on social media.  I know there is much more that can be done but this is a good stepping stone.  I started my social media about 8 weeks prior to my book launch and will continue building through the months and years.  It takes patience and time so be prepared.

Check out my previous blogs on prelaunch marketing and cover/manuscript setup.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.   My next post will be about printing and getting quotes.

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.





Filed under Book Marketing, Self Publishing Author