Tag Archives: creativity

Writing To Sell: 3 Tips To Help You To Be Original

Writing To Sell: 3 Tips To Help You To Be Original

You’re an author and you’re writing to sell as many copies of your books as possible. However, you want to be as “original” as you can. That’s wonderful, because today, you can publish whatever you choose.

In days gone by, when getting published meant getting a publishing contract via an agent and an acquisitions editor, originality didn’t sell.

Publishers wanted “the same, but different.” If you insisted on originality, you were (everyone shuddered) a literary author, and everyone knew that literary authors cost everyone money, rather than making money.

An author asked me “how to be original” and I though it was a wonderful question. The short answer of course is: be yourself.

Writing to sell? Be yourself

Being yourself is more challenging than it appears.

Even Ray Bradbury (one of the world’s most original authors) had problems with it.

From Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing (a book that’s well worth reading):

It was only when I began to discover the treats and tricks that came with word association that I began to find some true way through the minefields of imitation. I finally figured out that if you are going to step on a live mine, make it your own. Be blown up, as it were, by your own delights and despairs.

Bradbury discovered how to be himself — an original — in his writing via word association.

So, let’s look at three tips you may find useful when you’re striving to be yourself, an original.

1. Try word association to discover what matters to YOU

According to the Collins Dictionary, word association is:

… an early method of psychoanalysis in which the patient thinks of the first word that comes into consciousness on hearing a given word. In this way it was claimed that aspects of the unconscious could be revealed before defence mechanisms intervene.

Word association works. So does listing things, without thinking about it too much. Whenever I get stuck in a manuscript, I make lists.

From Top 70 Writing Tips: Write More, Improve Your Writing, And Make More Money:

Whatever kind of writing you’re doing, listing will make it better and easier.

What kind of lists? Start by making a list of all the things you could list.

Pick one item from the list, and make a new list of what you could list about that.

Writing a report? Write a list of everything you need to mention in the report. Then write a list of what you should NOT mention.

Try it yourself. When you get stuck, make a list of words. Ray Bradbury made lists of nouns; I like to use adjectives as well.

2. Keep a journal: describe people, activities, places and your dreams

According to research, you can only keep around seven things in your mind at any one time — even though you can recall everything that ever happened to you. It’s all locked away in your subconscious mind.

Keeping a journal is a great way to rummage around in the attics of your subconscious mind to find stuff that you can use in your writing. Original stuff, because no one has, or ever will have, your experiences.

You can use a journal in many ways. For example:

  • Describe a problem you’re having in an area of your life. There’s no need to strive for solutions. Those solutions will develop, simply because you described the problem.
  • Take a moment to jot down a few sentences to describe people and places wherever you are — whether you’re in your office, in a store, or in your local park. Most of us have stopped seeing what’s right in front of us. Try sketching what you see, that helps to improve your observation skills too.
  • Write a sentence or two about any dreams you remember when you wake up in the morning.

3. Believe in yourself: write the truth, as you know it, and write fast

From Dr. Frank Luntz’s Words That Work:

… good communication requires conviction and authenticity; being a walking dictionary is optional.

Whether you’re a new author, or are a pro, write the truth as you know it, or perceive it to be. Trust yourself. Your authenticity makes you an original.

Write fast too. Stop thinking so much — do your thinking while you’re writing. Bradbury (from Zen in the Art of Writing again):

The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style…

When you’re writing to sell, being original takes courage

As we’ve said, being yourself is challenging.

It’s exhilarating too. Have fun. 🙂

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

The Journaling Habit: Achieve Your Goals And Change Your Life In Just Ten Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you love your life?

If you don't ADORE your life, you can change it — more easily than you can imagine.

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Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

More info →
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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Write A Novel: How To Write What You Really Want To Write

Write A Novel: How To Write What You Really Want To Write

What if you want to write a novel, but you’re frightened of the struggle?

Several months ago I coached a novelist who was terrified of beginning another novel. She’s written three novels, and is pleased with the sales, but couldn’t face writing another.

“I want to write, but I can’t,” she said. “I’ve been putting off starting for six months. Maybe I should give up, and write a nonfiction book?”

Write a novel from your heart: what do you REALLY want to write?

Writers write. Writing may not always be comfortable, and at times you wish you were doing something else — anything else. Sooner or later however you realize that writing is just something you do, and you’re happier writing than not writing.

So, I asked the novelist to dig into her subconscious to discover what she really wanted to write. What if she kept a dream journal for a week?

Dream journal to access your creative self

Your creative self is part of you; a powerful part. If you’re not writing, chances are that your creative self is putting blocks in your way.

A dream journal is a simple way mine your subconscious mind, and uncover your creative blocks.

Funny story. A few years back a client commissioned me to create a plan for a series of horror novels, with the main characters, and the first three books in the series plotted out. He was targeting the Young Adult market.

Problem: generally speaking, I avoid horror stories. My favorite horror tale is Casting The Runes, by M.R. James.

So, I decided that I’d better leave generating ideas to my subconscious. I kept a journal beside my bed, and each night, I imagined myself waking up in the morning, with the perfect idea for a horror series.

This worked rather too well. (I’ve often thought that the subconscious mind has a sense of humor.) For the two months I that worked on the series, I’d wake up at least three times a week, shaking from a nightmare. It got so bad that I slept with the light on.

I’ve used dream journaling since, without any drama, so I’ve no idea why the nightmares occurred. 🙂

A dream journal exercise to help you to write a novel you really want to write

The dream journal exercise is simple. Before you go to sleep, write in your journal: “I need a plot for a story that I’d love to tell.”

When you wake up, scribble a sentence or two about any dreams you remember. Keep your notes brief, there’s no need to analyze your dreams, you’re just nudging your creative self.

If you wish, and if you enjoy drawing, draw or paint any images from a dream.

The blocked novelist I was coaching started writing a new novel three days after she began dream journaling, so that process worked for her. I chatted to her after Christmas, and she’s still using her dream journal. She says that the process has helped her in many areas of her life.

Resistance is common when you write a novel

“Resistance” is the feeling that you want to write, but you can’t. Unfortunately, resistance is common when you’re writing a novel.

Here’s the thing — it doesn’t matter why you’re resisting writing. You don’t need to know why. You just need a way to prime the pump of your creativity again. Try journaling, dream journaling, or even bullet journaling — the process may work for you too.

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

More info →
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Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Genre: Writing

Today, the opportunities for writers have never been greater. Back in the day a writer who was making six-figures a year seemed a creature of myth. These days, highly successful writers are making six figures a month.

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Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

Book Marketing: 3 Tips To Drive Sales With Image Marketing

Book Marketing: 3 Tips To Drive Sales With Image Marketing

Let’s be blunt. Book marketing is hard. Aside from your book, millions of other books are available to readers at the click of a Buy button. Some books are even available as binge-worthy serials on the video streaming sites.

With so much competition for their words, it’s little wonder that authors complain that advertising and social media “don’t work.”

Well, they do, but it’s very hard to grab readers’ attention. Images help with that.

Why book marketing with images?

In brief, so that you can grab readers’ attention. According to 3M research, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Devoting a little time to book marketing with images can pay off hugely.

Doubt me? OK: check out large brands on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. You’ll find images, images, and more images.

Unfortunately, when it comes to book marketing, an author thinks only in terms of cover images, and perhaps cover image mockups. (Mockups are those images where your book’s cover is superimposed on an image of an iPad, or phone.)

There’s a WORLD of book marketing images beyond your book’s cover.

Here are some tips to help you to expand your book marketing with images.

1. Think story and mood, to create evocative images

As with many large publishers, Penguin Books creates mini-stories which are book covers placed in evocative situations, as you can see on their Instagram feed.

Penguin Books Instagram

Similarly, as you can see in the image below, Author T.R Ragan uses book cover images evocatively. However, she also uses family images, as well as book trailer images.

Author T.R Ragan

Here are a couple of ideas to help you to create evocative images which will encourage readers to explore your books:

  • Add some text to your image, as well as adding your book’s cover.
    T.R Ragan does this well, see an example below.
    (Be aware that Facebook can be picky about their ads if there’s too much text on a posted image);
  • Think mood when you choose images. For thrillers, aim for a hint of danger. Romance? Then hearts and flowers are apropos.

book marketing image and text

2. Your images for book marketing don’t need to be glitzy, and super-professional: YOU are the story

You’re an author, and whether you’re an indie or are traditionally published, you’re you.

Professional images are nice, but you’re not competing with major publishers who hire professional photographers with a studio, and models.

Home-made is fine.

Be creative in your image marketing. Jenny Meldenwald posts jokes. I liked the one below. It’s a giggle.

Book marketing: jokes

3. You’re your own marketing department: be consistent

We often speak about an author’s platform, and that can sound super-challenging. Here’s a simple way of looking book marketing in general: you’re aiming for recognition, that’s all.

You post images to Facebook, Instagram etc, and you end up with a few followers. So what, you think. You need 10,000 followers, don’t you?

That would be nice. 🙂 But all you want, is basic awareness.

When a reader is browsing Amazon, or another book retailer and sees your name, chances are that they won’t remember that goofy picture of your dog wearing a Santa suit you posted on Instagram. But they do recall your name, so they read your book’s blurb… and after a minute or two, they buy your book.

The old copywriter’s acronym: AIDA comes into play. I’m a veteran copywriter, so thinking: Attention, Interest, Desire, ACTION comes naturally to me with all advertising.

Book marketing is advertising?

Indeed it is. And advertising your book doesn’t come much less expensive — or more powerful — than using images.

Give it a try — and as always, have fun. 🙂

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.

What if you could market in just 15 minutes daily?

More info →
Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99

In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams.

More info →
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.