Best of Blog: Round Up!

IMG_5222.JPGI spent 5+ years on this blog and I haven’t posted in awhile, but I wanted to share a great round up of some of my top posts throughout the years.

I think I’ve made this place a good launch pad for authors’ careers answering questions about all aspects of the writing and publishing arenas.

Let me know which articles were most helpful to you!

THE CRAFT

Top Tips for Writing / Editing:

On characters 30 questions to ask your main character.

On comparison to other writers 6 Tips on why writers shouldn’t (but might) compare themselves to others, and why they shouldn’t (what they should do).

On category and genre. Infographic: Do You Know The Difference Between Literary, Upmarket and Commercial Fiction? Helping writers understand the difference between these three categories so that they can market and sell (or query) their book better.

On writing page one: Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One Tips on what hooks a reader (so they keep reading) like a secret, verses mistakes that encourage them to put the book down.

On where your book begins Five reasons why you might be starting your novel in the wrong place.

On how to redirect a wandering book: 4 ways to edit your book back on track When you feel like you’re losing your novel, do these four things.

On writing synopsis Ways to write a synopsis.

Top Tips for Dealing with Writer Anxiety:

On what writers should stop worrying about Lessons writers should take to heart on what they can and cannot control.

On what writers should stop wasting their time on What writers need to avoid so their time is more productive.

THE BUSINESS

Top Tips for Social Media / Marketing:

On Instagram Tips on how to use Instagram and how it can establish brand/marketing.

On writing for the market and you Tips on writing for the marketing but not trying to write “trends.”

On agents googling authors Insight on the truth about agents googling writers after they like a query, as well as what social media is best for each kind of writer (including times to post).

On building platform 7 ways to build an online community which is essential to success.

On how social media hurts writers 6 ways social media doesn’t help you get published–i.e. what writers shouldn’t do or share online.

Top Tips for Querying / Pitching:

On querying 8 query tips that nobody tells writers (but you do!)

On personalizing your QL 10 ways/examples on how authors can introduce their book in their Query Letter that shows they’ve done research and/or have similar taste.

On QL content–focusing on plot vs. theme 3 big reasons why agents are interested in plot-driven Query Letter instead of theme-elaborate Query Letter.

On passing on QLs 5 quick reasons why an agent say “no thanks.”

On pitch potential The advantages and disadvantages of various ways authors pitch their work to agents (in person, conference, etc.).

On reading slush (your strategies) How I read slush!

Top Tips for Publishing:

On publishing industry “rules.” 4 rules you can break and 6 you can’t.

On publishing your debut novel. 5 tips on how to get your book to the printer.

Top Tips for Agent Relationships (and getting one):

On lessons you’ve learned as an agent. Your 15 points on what you’ve learned about being an agent–I thought these were really sincere and smart and something to exemplify.

On what agents like to know about potential authors. What you like to know about potential authors.

On how to be a good client. 7 tips on what will make you a great client to work with (for your agent).

On what’s wrong with your manuscript. Agent perspective on what flags a weak novel.

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4 Easy Ways To Streamline Your Author Brand

Every writer has an author brand whether they know it or not. So how can you take control of it? Here are my four easy ways to streamline your author brand across platforms and within platforms.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR AUTHOR BRAND WITH THESE 4 STEPS:

1. Cross-platform brand consistency

Do you use the same author photo on all your platforms (i.e. Website and Instagram) so followers know they’re in the right place? Do you use the same colour scheme or header image on your platforms (i.e. Facebook and Twitter)? Use visual cues to let readers/followers/fans know they’re in the right place. This creates tone without saying anything and is an easy way to start having a consistent brand across the web.

2. Unique content per platform

If you promote the same links across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-newsletter etc. then readers only have to follow you in one place to get the same information. Try creating unique content (but not spamming people about buying your book) for each platform and see how your voice and following can grow in different ways.

3. Engagement

Rule #1 of social media and growing a brand is engaging with comments/readers/followers. Don’t let a single comment go by without replying. Show followers that if they have the time to visit your pages that you have the time to engage with them. Then they’ll keep coming back because they have a personal relationship with you. When it’s time to promote your book they’ll be there to support you.

4. Promote other writers/creators that are consistent with your message/tone/voice

It can be counter-intuitive to promote other people while you’re trying to grow your own following, but believe me–this works! Show the writing community that you’re there for them AND get your name out there by promoting other writers who are comparable to you. This increases your engagement with established authors, shows the marketplace where you belong, and links your name to theirs in google searches.

Try that for a month or two and see how it feels. It will become natural very quickly!

3 Differences Between a Demographic and Your Market

I get a lot of proposals or pitches that say “there are 157 million women in the US, that’s my market” and unfortunately they’re mixing up the difference between a demographic and a market. Publishers (especially publicists) don’t take well to these things because it makes someone seem out of touch from a marketing and sales perspective which is very worrisome considering writers are doing more and more to market their own books–and publishers expect them to.

THE THREE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A DEMOGRAPHIC AND A MARKET:

1. A Demographic is a population which generally unknowable in a marketing sense (without data), a Market is data-driven, tangible, and accountable. A Demographic is a fact and often an unattainable group. A Market is an engaged group of probable book buyers rooted in proof.

2. Do you know how to actually reach that Demographic? If so, you’re starting to get a Market.  If you don’t know how to market to these groups then they aren’t your market–you can’t reach them to share your book news.

Market:

  • Do you have a newsletter with subscribers or mailing list?
  • Do you have an engaged social media following with numbers to back it up?
  • Do you have a podcast with regular listeners?
  • Do you belong to any associations or groups (writing, alumni, or professional)?

3. Can you quantify the number of people that will directly encounter your promotion, marketing, or publicity? That’s your Market. Family, friends, co-workers, social media followers, subscribers, associations, groups–this is your market! They will be the people that you share your promotion with. Your publisher will help with bigger markets: their own mailing lists, their distribution reach, their bookstore promotion, their social media circles, existing customers and more. Your publicist will try to increase your market: getting essays, articles, reviews and interviews in front of more eyes. However, you have to do the work too–by knowing the existing market you have and how you want to grow it.

5 Year Blog-versary Round Up!

9e4073d6863e21b9a5b923c3e62390afWow, 5 years since this blog began!

Thank you to the loyal readers and commenters for your engagement with my posts.

I decided to do a round up of some of my top posts over the years.

Craft:

30 Questions to Ask Your Main Character

When You Start Comparing Yourself To Other Writers

7 Things Writers Should Stop Wasting Their Time On

6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

4 Ways To Edit Your Book Back on Track

Business:

Do You Know The Difference Between Literary, Upmarket and Commercial Fiction?

5 Secrets To Publishing Your Debut Novel

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

Queries:

How To Write A Synopsis

8 Query Tips No One Tells Writers

How I Read Slush: 3 Lessons for Writers

Agent perspective: What’s wrong with your manuscript

Social Media:

7 Ways To Build a Platform Through Your Online Community

6 Ways Social Media Doesn’t Help You Get Published

Q: Do you have a favorite post? One that changed your opinion of the industry or changed your manuscript for the better?