Quick Link: 5 steps To Building A Successful Author Platform Before you Publish: Donna Galanti

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

When is the best time to start marketing your book and looking for an audience? Before you even start writing it! Head on over to the Self Publishing Advice Center of ALLI and find great ideas for building your author platform or improving the one you got! I am taking notes!

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5 steps To Building A Successful Author Platform Before you Publish: Donna Galanti

This post is part of Frankfurt Book Fair Indie Author Fringe, an online author conference that showcases the best self-publishing advice and education for authors across the world — harnessing the global reach of the Alliance of Independent Authors’ network. Our self-publishing conference features well-known indie authors and advisors, for 24 sessions over 24-hours, in a one-day extravaganza of self-publishing expertise straight to your email inbox.

We hope you enjoy this session. Let us know if you have any questions or input on this self-publishing topic. Visit our Hot Seat and join in the conversation there, or leave your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Read the full post on Self Publishing Advice Center

Quick Link: Building an Author Platform with Ginger Monette

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

You did it! You finally finished your book, it is edited and ready to go. Now what? Ginger Monette from Romance University has some great tips on the next steps.

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Building an Author Platform with Ginger Monette

Welcome Ginger Monette who is here to show us how to build an author platform and send your book off with a bang!

our manuscript is in the hands of your editor, and you’ve got the big release day circled on your calendar.

What now?

Should you start advertising? Tweeting?

It’s little early to alert the media, but there are a host of pre-launch foundations new authors need to put into place before they release their baby to the world. Let’s get right to the checklist.

-Create a new email address to use exclusively for your author correspondence. It will keep your writing correspondence separate from your emails from Aunt Sue and Old Navy and allow you to see at a glance any unopened correspondence and emails needing immediate attention.

Create an email signature line and maybe a “one-liner” that describes in a nutshell what you write.  Begin using it so your friends and associates will know you’re an author. Mine is:

Read the full post on Romance University

Quick Link: This Is The Reason Your Author Platform Impacts Book Sales

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

Rachel Thompson, at Bad Redhead Media does not mince words! But if you want to know what you can do in terms of marketing your book, and don’t mind a little bluntness, she has got some great tips for you. If you are an indie writer, you must also be a business person, even if you hire people to help.

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This Is The Reason Your Author Platform Impacts Book Sales

Internet Marketing On Monitor Showing Emarketing ConfusionBy Rachel Thompson

How much impact does your author platform have on book sales? People ask me this all the time — they want hard numbers.

Author: If I tweet about this or that for three months, if I post on my Facebook page about my book or share a few reviews, if I share a recipe board on Pinterest…how many books will I sell? 

Me: There’s no way I can give you a hard number. There are too many factors to consider. 

Author: So, 10? 50? 100? 

(One person told me that even though she’s writing a book, she’s “not an author,” so she won’t need to market it; though she fully expects people to “just know to buy it.” Um, okay.)

It doesn’t work like that: there’s no easy button. Let’s deconstruct.

Writing Is A Business — So Be Professional

Pardon me while I’m a bit indelicate here, but please, take your head out of your ass for a second. Why do people believe that a few tweets will equal book sales? It boggles my mind. Writing is great — I love it. I encourage anyone who feels they have the talent to pursue the craft, work with professionals, and create an amazing book which will have the greatest chance of catching the eye of a reader to do so.

But there’s the rub: how to catch the eye of a reader. With 1,000 books released daily in the US (Source, UNESCO via Wikipedia), how will readers, book bloggers, book clubs, and book reviewers find your book at all? By marketing! Marketing is a function of business. And publishing is a business.

Amazon Sues Over 1,000 Freelancers For Writing Fake Reviews

This article by Mari Jo Valero originally appeared on the Fox23.com site on 10/18/15.

Amazon.com is fighting fake reviewers with a lawsuit against more than 1,000 people.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, targets freelancers working for Fiverr, an online website that offers services like video editing and graphic design for cheap.

As for the name of the defendants? Well, Amazon doesn’t really know. They’re all listed as John Does in the suit.

And instead of cheap services, Amazon claims these John Does are deceptively selling online reviews for as little as $5.

The company says it’s suing the individuals for “tarnishing Amazon’s brand for their own profit and the profit of a handful of dishonest sellers and manufacturers.”


Read the full article on Fox23.com.

Connecting With Book Blogs

This post by Stephanie Barko originally appeared on The San Francisco Book Review on 10/2/15.

When Technorati quietly changed their business model earlier this year and quit categorizing and ranking blogs, I began to wonder how to identify the top book blogs going forward. It turns out there are still plenty of ways to determine the best book blogs to partner with. It just takes a little time and effort.

Where are those book blogs whose followings we can’t wait to borrow for free? Let’s take a look at some of the options out there for finding and connecting with book blogs.



Alexa is a good resource for blog traffic stats, but it’s not free like Technorati was. However, Alexa offers some pretty savvy tools, such as:

Which sites to pay attention to: Easy-to-use tools let you narrow down the web to specific sites that meet your criteria.

What a site is doing and how well it’s working: Use Alexa’s intelligence tools to pick up traffic stats and demographics.

How a site compares to others: Benchmark any site to see it in relation to competitors.

These are excellent tools that will definitely locate quality book blogging sites, but prices range from $10 to $149 per month. It requires a bit of an investment.




Read the full post on The San Francisco Book Review.


The Secret to a Powerful Author Brand

This post by Kristen Lamb originally appeared on her blog on 9/28/15.

Last time we talked a little about our author brand and why, these days, our brand is almost as important as the books we write. It is an awesome time to be a writer, but also a scary one. Why can’t it be like the good old days when all we had to do was write the book?

Because that world no longer exists and, frankly, it wasn’t all that great to begin with.

Granted, in the pre-digital publishing world we authors didn’t need to tweet or blog or be on-line, but it was also a world with a 93% failure rate. According to the Book Expo of America, as late as 2006, 93% of all books (traditionally and non-traditionally published) sold less than a 1000 copies. Only one out of ten traditionally published authors would ever see a second book in print.

These days, anyone can be published. This is good and bad and we can talk about that another time. But with more titles than ever before and bookstores becoming an endangered species? Our brand is our lifeline. Whether we decide to self-publish or traditionally publish is a business decision only we can make, but we still must have a viable author brand if we hope to sell books.

So What is a Brand?


Read the full post on Kristen Lamb’s blog.


Forget The Book, Have You Read This Irresistible Story On Blurbs?

This post by Colin Dwyer originally appeared on NPR on 9/27/15.

Whatever the old adage might warn, there is a bit of merit to judging a book by its cover — if only in one respect. Consider the blurb, one of the most pervasive, longest-running — and, at times, controversial — tools in the publishing industry.

For such a curious word, the term “blurb” has amassed a number of meanings in the decades since it worked its way into our vocabulary, but lately it has referred to just one thing: a bylined endorsement from a fellow writer — or celebrity — that sings the praises of a book’s author right on the cover of their book.

They’re claims couched in quote marks, homes for words you might never hear otherwise — like compelling, or luminous, or unputdownable. Heck, at least three books have reportedly inspired celebrated memoirist Frank McCourt to say “you’ll claw yourself with pleasure.”

Nearly as long as they’ve been around, they’ve been treated by a vocal few with suspicion, occasionally even outright snark and scorn. Author Jennifer Weiner, for instance, sees some value in them, but suggests they’ve been getting over the top; scholar Camille Paglia, not one to mince words, called them “absolutely appalling” in a 1991 speech.


Read the full post on NPR.


Ask Polly: Should I Just Give Up on My Writing?

This post by Heather Havrilesky originally appeared on New York Magazine’s The Cut on 9/16/15.

Dear Polly,

I feel like you get lots of letters from folks either starting out pursuing their passion, or looking for a passion to begin with, but here I am, midlife, mid-career, full of passion but in a slump.

I’m a writer — a peer of yours, I guess, though age-wise, I’m staring straight at the big 5-0. And I’m stuck. I can’t seem to get to the next level and I’m frustrated. I do well enough that it’s a bona fide career — not “here’s my Brooklyn duplex” successful, but a humble income as a freelancer, which, combined with what my partner makes in a stable job, sets us up okay. There are books with my name on the spine on my shelf. Some good reviews (some truly awful). All assembled, I’m a “success.” But not really. I can’t talk about this with many people because as someone who is mid-career and mid-level, I’m not crying from the outfield here, and I can’t be picked up with a “Dust yourself off, kid, you’re young!” speech, either. It’s hard enough to make a profession of writing so I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Many, many people are trudging uphill, trying to get a toehold, so I know how good I’ve had it, relatively speaking. With so many earnest climbers on this Everest just trying to get to base camp, they can’t see you’re clinging to the side of the mountain, running out of oxygen and losing sight of the summit.


Read the full letter, and Polly’s lengthy reply, on The Cut.


David Foster Wallace and the Perils of “Litchat”

This article by Laura Miller originally appeared on The New Yorker on 9/8/15.

I knew the late David Foster Wallace a very little bit—not much to speak of, really, but I wrote about his work often. An interview that I did with him during the book tour for “Infinite Jest,” in 1996, achieved a surprising longevity. I reviewed his essay collection “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” for the New York Times Book Review, and his last short-story collection, “Oblivion,” for Salon. Until he committed suicide, in 2008, when anyone asked, I’d say that he was my favorite living writer, a statement that was typically greeted with astonishment and skepticism. So while I was barely acquainted with David Wallace the man, his reputation was another matter.

These two things aren’t the same, not in the case of any writer: a notion that many people would agree with in principle but that everyone has a hard time bearing in mind on a daily basis. Even the reputation of a reputation is subject to distortion. That Wallace was not widely regarded as a “great” writer during his lifetime is quickly being forgotten. Of course, a writer’s reputation changes over the years—that’s to be expected. Literary works grow or shrink in significance as the moment in which they were created recedes and as new readers bring new sensibilities to bear on them. But our memory of a reputation’s evolution itself changes, or at least that’s what seems to be happening in the case of Wallace. As more than one critic has observed, Wallace’s death, and the private suffering that it revealed, has led to the formation of an iconic posthumous public image that some of his friends have taken to calling “Saint Dave.” The critic Christian Lorentzen wrote in New York that Saint Dave is David Foster Wallace “reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.”

Yet even Lorentzen himself isn’t entirely immune to this sort of drift. In his review of “Purity,” the new novel by Wallace’s friend, Jonathan Franzen, he contrasts Franzen’s reputation for “being kind of a prick” with Wallace’s. Although Franzen had remarked upon the lack of “ordinary love” in Wallace’s fiction, Lorentzen writes, “The paradox was that Wallace’s readers felt loved when they read his books, and in turn came to fiercely love their author.”


Read the full article on The New Yorker.


How To Build Your Own Self-Hosted Author Website In Under 30 Minutes

This post by Joanna Penn originally appeared on her The Creative Penn site on 8/13/15.

Your website is one of the most important things to get sorted if you’re taking your career as an author seriously.

It’s your home on the internet and the hub for your books.

It’s how readers, agents, publishers, journalists, bloggers and podcasters judge how professional you are.

It’s where you can start to build an email list of readers.

A free site is not good enough if you want to take your author career onwards and upwards.

But your own site doesn’t have to be a big deal. It’s not expensive and it won’t take long to set up.

In [a video on the linked page below, written transcript also provided there], I take you through why having your own site is important, how to get a hosting account and set up your wordpress site, as well as using an example theme and how to start your email list.


Read the full post on The Creative Penn.


Can Digital Community Support Writing, Really?

This post by Porter Anderson originally appeared on Futurebook on 8/7/15.

Not unlike climate change, it’s something that digital-age writers worry about, but can’t nail down.

I’m not sure what effect the accepting warmth of digital communities has on our literature. I don’t think encouraging people can make bad writing suddenly appeal to the masses. Are the communities going to start getting the same blame that self-publishing used to get all the time? “Because anyone can publish a book, there’s no good writing anymore.”

That’s the author Lara Schiffbauer in a comment on my piece from earlier this week, Digital writing: If only community weren’t so communal. In her comment, Schiffbauer — one of my most faithful readers over the years — talks of her own tour-sans-Virgil through the writerly maze of communities now shuffling around on the ether.


Read the full post on Futurebook.


Opinion: Why Authors Need to Step Away from the Internet

This post by Debbie Young originally appeared on the ALLi blog on 6/29/15.

Author and ALLi Advice blog editor Debbie Young makes the case for self-published authors to occasionally turn their backs on the ever-hungry beast that is the world wide web.

As indie authors, we sell most of our wares in a marketplace that never sleeps. In theory, at least, we are able to reach new readers 24/7, all around the world, without leaving our homes. But with this privilege comes a never-ending action list of online marketing tasks – and a ton of related stress.

Build a website – blog and guest blog – tweet and retweet – pin and repin – share an update – share a story on Wattpad – like for likes – schedule some posts to reach other parts of the world at their busiest times – schedule some more to get ahead of yourself – check your sales stats – tweak your keywords…

Sound familiar? Yes, we all know we should prioritise. Ring-fence marketing time, limit online hours, protect writing time. But how many of us are that disciplined? Not me, I confess. Even for those with the best time-management skills, the pressure can still build up, because the internet is always there, begging to be fed.


Read the full post on the ALLi blog.


On Changing Book Titles And Covers: My Own Experience And How You Can Do It Too

This post by Joanna Penn originally appeared on her The Creative Penn site on 4/28/15.

I’ve just been through a massive rebranding process: re-titling and re-covering the first 3 books in my ARKANE series, and updating the back matter for all the other books.

A hefty amount of work!

Here’s why and how, just in case you want to go through this sometime. It’s quite a long, confessional style of post. I’m ‘fessing up to my mistakes, so be gentle with your comments!

First up, here are the awesome new covers: Stone of Fire (previously Pentecost), Crypt of Bone (previously Prophecy) and Ark of Blood (previously Exodus), designed by the wonderful JD Smith Design.

New ARKANE covers

So, why change my fiction book titles anyway?

Basically, none of us know what the hell we’re doing when we start writing  🙂

Here’s how my first book title journey went.

In November 2009, I joined NaNoWriMo in an attempt to write something fictional. Amusingly, I videoed the process – here’s Day 1, and you can follow the whole journey here. The working title for the book on Day 1 was Morgan – and Morgan Sierra is still the name of my main character and alter-ego, so that hasn’t changed.


Read the full post on The Creative Penn.


How to Make Custom Images for Your Blog Posts Without Hiring a Designer

This post by Neil Patel originally appeared on Quicksprout on 6/8/15.

The posts on this blog are typically 2,000 words long. Would you honestly read them if they were nothing but text? Sure, some of you would (and that’s amazing, thank you), but I could never blame anyone for not wanting to read a giant block of text.

This is why articles that include images get 94% more total views than articles that don’t.

Remember though, that stat is just an average. If you use images well, your traffic could increase even more.

It’s a win-win: you get more pageviews, and your readers get to enjoy reading more digestible content.

While social media isn’t the same as your blog posts, it illustrates the power of great images.

Posts on Facebook that include an image get 53% more likes than posts without an image. Additionally, they also make up 93% of the most engaging posts.


Read the full post, which includes 5 specific tips for making custom images, on Quicksprout.


Secrets Of A Small Press

This post originally appeared on Mysterious Matters: Mystery Publishing Demystified on 5/5/15.

Can it really be two months since I blogged? Wow. Well, I always said I wouldn’t blog unless I have something to say, so I guess the last couple of months have been pretty thought-free.

The idea for today’s post came to me after reading about the death of Ruth Rendell, one of mystery’s luminaries. This isn’t something I’d necessarily say in public, but I didn’t like her work. Nor was I a fan of the late P.D. James, either. I found Rendell’s work to be cold, and James’ to be unbearably snobbish. Both had a tendency to write books that were much too long, and I suspect both women liked the sound of their own voices (words on the page) a bit too much.

Are you clutching your heart, gasping in horror that an editor who publishes mystery fiction should dare say such things? I should say that I love any writer who has a loyal following and whose name sells books; I’m not snobbish that way. But I recognize that an effective brand name doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to like the brand myself. Would I buy stock in Pepsi? Sure I would, but I never touch the stuff. I’m a Coke man.

Anyway, this crazy desire to admit that I think both Rendell and James are overrated made me think about the other “secrets” that we small publishers keep close to the vest (but not any longer). Here are a few:


Read the full post on Mysterious Matters.