Tag Archives: self-publishing

Write And Sell: 5 Social Media Tips For Book Marketing

Write And Sell: 5 Social Media Tips For Book Marketing

Oh the horror… Many authors hate book marketing, and they aren’t that keen on social media either. Authors want to write, and leave everything else to others.

Would that we could. That would be the best of all worlds. Sadly, even if you have the money to pay a good publicist, you’re better off doing most of your marketing yourself. No one knows your novels (and nonfiction books) as well as you do.

You’ll learn a great deal from marketing too. This helps your writing.

So — is social media useful, or useless, for book marketing?

Social media marketing: slow growth, then a healthy, ongoing harvest

Important: be aware that NO form of marketing is an ATM machine.

I posted about visibility on the freelance writing blog:

… (some) writers think of marketing in terms of “launches”. That is, they believe that marketing is something that you do for a few weeks a year whenever you have something new to promote.

… It works for a lucky few. For the vast majority of writers however, launches produce a tiny number of sales or none at all.

Look at marketing in general, and social media in particular, as a cumulative process. Just because no one’s bought your book in a week, after you posted on Twitter FIVE times, it doesn’t mean that no one’s seeing your tweets. (Try posting something stupid, and the instant response will provide a quick reality check. :-))

A reader may need to see mention of your book several times before he clicks through to your book’s product page on Amazon or elsewhere.

Now let’s look at the tips.

1. Invest in assets: create or buy great images

Images sell — seriously.

I know we’re all about the words, but people can’t read your words if they’re not paying attention. You grab their attention via images.

2. Create a plan to build your audience, reader by reader

Social media is social. You attract readers individually.

When you’re just starting out (and afterward too) think in terms of small wins. One response to a tweet; a like on your Facebook page… two followers on Pinterest.

3. Leverage others’ audiences with great content

Guest posting on other authors’ blogs used to be super-effective. Now, not so much. However, it’s still valuable. Leverage others’ audiences to grow your own.

4. Write and promote: promote your books before publishing day

You publish your book, and then promote it, yes?

No — if you do that, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build anticipation and readers before you publish.

I gave you a mini marketing campaign for social media on this post. Use that as a template to create your own publishing plan; start when you start writing your book.

5. The 80/ 20 rule: remember to promote your books on social media

Marketing on social media is a balance. If every post you make is promotional, you’ll never sell. On the other hand, if you’re too shy to sell, you’ll sell a lot fewer books than you could.

The 80/ 20 rule is popular in social media marketing. That is, for every four items you post, one is promotional. The other items provide information or entertainment.

You don’t have to adhere slavishly to the rule, but do remember that you’re marketing on social media to sell books.

Onward — book marketing on social media works if you do. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell. More info →
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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Writing Fiction: 5 Tips To Eliminate Writer’s Block Forever

Writing Fiction: 5 Tips To Eliminate Writer’s Block Forever

Blocked? That’s OK; it’s common. When you’re writing fiction, you depend on your creativity and imagination. The bad news: you can’t harness them. The good news? You can baby them and reward them into giving you what you want.

Writing fiction takes imagination, playfulness, and energy

What sparks your imagination? Pay attention next time your imagination flows. I’ve found boredom and repetitive tasks useful. Whenever I’m stuck on a novel, I go for a drive, or I dust a couple of rooms in the house, and allow my mind to drift.

Tip: avoid social media. Today, when we’re bored we pick up our phone and scroll through our Facebook or Pinterest feed.

Pinterest can be great for coming up with character quirks, but in general, to spark your imagination, do something physical, and boring.

Now let’s look at some tips which will help to eliminate writer’s block.

1. Enjoy rest and recreation: fill your well

Self-publishing authors find themselves on a treadmill. Amazon rewards new content, so for a month after you publish a book, your Amazon catalogue will enjoy a boost.

Some authors set themselves huge challenges, such as:

  • Publish a book a month, or even every two weeks;
  • Write a million words in 12 months…

While challenges can be beneficial, and anything which inspires you to write is good thing, you need time off.

Rest when you complete a novel. Give yourself time away for a mini-break if you can. Time away from your desk helps you to “fill the well” as Julia Cameron puts it.

If you allow your imagination and creativity time to recover, there’s less chance you’ll burn out.

2. Read for creative energy: find authors who inspire writing

Some authors, like P.G. Wodehouse, inspire me to write fiction. Reading nonfiction history does too.

Luckily I haven’t suffered true writer’s block (the horror) for at least a decade, maybe longer. But I do have days when I’m “not in the mood” to write fiction. On those days, I read a few pages of P.G. Wodehouse.

Here’s why reading works to unblock you: writers who get blocked have lost their joy in writing fiction. When you read a writer you love, you reignite your inspiration.

3. Your characters are your friends: enjoy them

Make friends with your characters. Think about them as you go through your day. Carry index cards so you can jot down ideas if you wish. I carry index cards everywhere, but it’s not necessary. When you’re inspired with a great idea, you’ll remember it.

Why this works: when you’re actively imagining your characters, you’ll be eager to write.

4. Grab your index cards and be outrageous

Recently a student told me that she was beyond bored with her current novel — and her boredom was shading into active dislike.

Here’s what I suggested: “list your major characters, and their attributes. Then make each one face his biggest fear, or his worst enemy. Be funny. Be outrageous.”

Index cards, the larger 5 x 8 size, are perfect to make notes on your outrageous scenes. Brainstorm ten scenes. Choose one, and write it.

Authors who block insist on perfectionism; they choke off their creativity. When you surprise yourself, you’ll regain your enthusiasm for your novel.

5. When you can’t write it, speak it

Do you talk to yourself?

Everyone does, constantly.

Mind-chatter aside, it’s fun to talk to yourself about your novel.

Tip: avoid talking to others about a novel in progress. Usually it won’t help. And if someone says the wrong thing — “that’s STUPID,” for example— you’ll lose heart, and the novel will be dead to you, forever.

Grab a voice recorder, or use an app on your phone. Talk to yourself about your novel.

You can…

  • Talk out the novel’s problems: “I don’t want to write this scene because…”
  • Discover your characters: “Malcolm is an unremarkable man — maybe he should be the murderer? No one would suspect him…”
  • Build your plot: “I need two scenes before the midpoint. What if…”

You can transcribe this material if you wish. The Dragon voice recognition software will do it for you if you have it. Usually however, a complete transcription is a waste of time. Listen to the recording, then jot a few notes of anything you can use.

When nothing works, relax, and enjoy writer’s block

Perhaps the cause of your writer’s block is rooted in something that’s happening in other areas of your life. If it is, wait for your life to become stable again. Just try to relax, and focus on having as much fun as you can.

Alternatively, you may be too disappointed to write. Maybe your latest novel bombed.

Here’s what to do. Tell everyone you’re giving up writing fiction forever. Have a tantrum. Throw things. Before you know it, a little voice at the back of your mind will whisper: “what if…” 🙂

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99
What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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How To Write, Even If You Think You Can’t: 21 Easy Exercises To Bring Out The Writer In You

How To Write, Even If You Think You Can’t: 21 Easy Exercises To Bring Out The Writer In You

$4.99
Do you find writing a struggle? I work with writing students every day who believe that they “can’t write.” And yet, they must write, for one reason or another. More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

Ultra-Simple Plotting For Pantsers: Focus On 3 Steps

Ultra-Simple Plotting For Pantsers: Focus On 3 Steps

Do you HATE plotting? Many authors do. Others are convinced that they “can’t plot.” Either way, these non-plotting, outline-averse authors are pantsers: authors who write by the seat of their pants.

Plot? Who needs to plot, or outline? Well… maybe you, even if you are a pantser, especially if you habitually start novels you never finish.

Ultra-simple plotting with three steps to success

Last year’s classes on plotting were fun. Amazingly all the pantsers discovered that yes indeed, they could plot, in a fun, minimalist kind of way.

We discovered a fun new way of plotting: I call it the “open the door” method. With this method, you’ve got a clear visual of your plot. It helps.

Look at your plot like this:

  • You’re standing in front of a closed door. Look around… when you open the door, you’ve done the setup of your novel;
  • Next, explore the darkness. Careful — don’t stub your toe!
  • You reach another door. Open it gently (you’ll need to fight to open this door.) Then SLAM the door, and step away.

This method is fun, and helps you to structure your novel.

1. Entry: open the door with the setup

You know that the first 25% or so of your novel is the setup. You get to know the main characters. If you’re writing a mystery, the detective goes to the crime scene, and we learn a little about his (messed up, always) home life.

The setup ends when you open the door. In the Hero’s Journey, the Quest/ Adventure begins.

Getting back to our mystery novel, our detective tries to get someone else to take the case, and fails. He’s stuck with it. Moreover, if he doesn’t solve the case, the results will be dire. The setup ends/ he opens the door when he sets off to hunt for clues and question suspects.

2. Walk around in the dark: nasty surprises

The “walk around around in the dark” phase is the long stretch of the novel from the 25% point (end of the setup) to the roughly 80% point, which is the Dark Moment/ All is Lost/ Ordeal in the Hero’s Journey.

I love the Dark Moment. Prepare for the Dark Moment (80%) as soon as you open the door and start exploring. However, there’s a long stretch between 25% and 80%: this long stretch is often called the “saggy middle.” Your sole aim is to stop the middle sagging. 🙂

Imagine you’re walking around in the dark. Do you:

  • Find a torch?
  • Tumble off a cliff?
  • Meet someone threatening, who injures you?

Pantsers love the idea of walking around in the dark, because they know that the midpoint’s coming up.

At the midpoint — the 50% point of the novel — there’s a BIG change. In our mystery novel, the detective gets fired, and it’s his own fault. He faces his demons. Often, he has a drinking problem, or a drug problem, and he knows he has to overcome this.

In a romance, the hero and heroine make love at the midpoint.

3. Open the door gently, then SLAM it — and step away

As we’ve said, at the 80% point it’s the Dark Moment, or the All is Lost Moment. You’re heading for another door, which is the Climax; the Big Fight at around the 95% point.

At the Dark Moment, your hero loses big: it’s his fault. His negative attribute (carelessness, bad temper, dislike of authority) or whatever it is, means that he knows that there is no way he can win.

Of course he does win… 🙂 However, at this stage, it looks as if he won’t. After the Dark Moment, the hero pulls himself together, and decides that he will win, or die trying.

And it’s onward to…

The Climax: the big fight, or reveal, before your novel is DONE

In a mystery novel, at the Climax, the detective discovers the killer, and captures him. Or, if you’re writing a cozy, your Miss Marples character calls all the suspects into the library, so that she can reveal the killer.

The Open the Door Method helps you to visualize your plotting journey

Students who are pantsers enjoy this method of plotting, because it’s visual. You know where you should be at the 25% point for example: you know that your setup should be done by now.

Give this plotting method a try. It’s sufficiently freestyle to please most pantsers. Have fun with it. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell. More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.