Tag Archives: publish

Boiling Down Story – Creating a Pitch

As a competing mentee in this year’s Pitch Wars, I’ve been working on formulating a pitch. It would seem that, having dreamed up, outlined, and written an entire novel (and I won’t even go into the number of revisions I’ve done) that I should be able to write a sentence or two about what the novel is about. It should be cake, am I right? It isn’t. Or at least, it isn’t for me.

Photo by Alexander Tikhomirov

Photo by Alexander Tikhomirov

I wrote a handful of ideas to communicate the heart of my story. I’d prefer to share its emotional payoff, more than the plot points, but I seem to revert to the temptation to describe action. I’d like to arrive at the “benefit” of what the reader will gain from my book, but I also want to avoid being vague. Le sigh. What’s in it for the reader? A story about finding a place to belong, when everyone calls you crazy. But that doesn’t fulfill the book’s title, RADIO HEAD. It is truly a story about the redemptive quality of music. I’ve also tried to keep my pitch ideas between the recommended 17-25 words.

I NEED YOUR HELP! Do any of these jump out at you? Do you have any thoughts about what would make them more intriguing? Do any turn you right off? Your advice is appreciated!

Pitch Ideas for RADIO HEAD:

  1. Haunted by the burden of hearing a song inside anyone who touches her, mentally disturbed Shelby Rey searches for a place to belong.
  2. When you hear music in everything and everyone, the white-coats call you crazy.
  3. Everyone has a song inside. Can Shelby Rey silence hers before narcissistic rockstar Zac Wyatt convinces her to help him write his solo album?
  4. Mentally disturbed Shelby Rey will never be normal, not when she can hear everything, including the songs of everyone who touches her.
  5. Music is the only thing Shelby Rey can trust. When her headphones are bagged as evidence, all she can hear is herself.
  6. Mentally disturbed Shelby Rey can hear rockstar Zac Wyatt’s next album. All she has to do is touch him.
  7. Mentally disturbed Shelby Rey can hear what rockstar Zac Wyatt can’t—his next album. All she has to do is touch him.
  8. A narcissistic rockstar seeks musical healing through a mentally disturbed woman with a secret, and a heroin-addicted prodigy.
  9. Music is a healer, both transcending and transforming. RADIO HEAD is a contemporary adult novel about how we hear.
  10. Blurring the lines between music and self-expression, RADIO HEAD turns up the volume on finding a place to belong.
  11. Shelby Rey can hear music everywhere, and it’s making her crazy.
  12. An unforgettable contemporary novel about finding your song in someone else
  13. Homeless Shelby Rey is haunted by the burden of hearing the songs of anyone who touches her.
  14. Everyone has a song inside. Mentally disturbed Shelby Rey is haunted by the burden of hearing the song inside anyone who touches her.Please let me know if any of these speak to you–and any advice you’d like to share! Leave a comment below, or tweet me @TheRJLacko. Thank you, and happy writing!


Filed under Fiction Novel Writing

Sell More Books with Calls To Action at the End of Story

A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great book gives you no choice. When a reader comes to the end of your novel, he or she lives in the world of your characters. If the story was compelling enough to get to the last word, chances are good this reader wants MORE. More of what you, lovely author, have to offer.

Putting calls to action in the back of your book is a form of passive marketing that will help you to sell more books. You only need to set up these calls to action once and you’re done–but they will continue working to help you to sell books.

556_woman_reading_book_on_grass_3001BookMarketingTools.com has some excellent ideas for directing readers where you are mostly likely to keep them as a reader–or better yet, a fan.

Below are Book Marketing Tools’ call to action ideas that you can strategically place in the back of your book to encourage your readers to buy more books from you–or connect with you so they are more likely to buy from you in the future!

6 Calls to Action To Put In The Back Of Your Book

1. The link to your homepage. This is a simple one, but putting the link to your website at the end of your book will help to guide the readers to your website, where you will hopefully have appealing bonus content, as well as your other books listed for sale. If your website URL is only listed in the front of the book, your readers may never go back to the front of the book when they are finished reading. Put the link in the back of the book as well.

2. A bonus offer if they sign up to your mailing list. Inform your readers that they can get a special bonus if they go to your website and sign up for your free mailing list. Bonus offer ideas might include additional worksheets for a nonfiction book, art, a novelette about your main character, or a sneak preview to your upcoming book. Once you have a mailing list setup, then you can notify each person on the mailing list every time you have a new book coming up.

3. A chapter of another book of yours. This works great if you have a series of books. They will keep reading since they are already at the end of the book, and you can end the first chapter of the next book with a cliffhanger (and a call to action to buy the book). Be sure to promote the additional content such as a chapter from the next book, in your book description.

Read tips 4, 5 and 6 HERE! 

Book Marketing Tools exists to empower authors with tools, education, and community to help them sell more books. Their Ultimate Author Checklist for Book Marketing online is a FREE guide that helps authors to make sure they have done all of the important steps for creating their book marketing engine. Click here to get this free guide.
What Calls or Action have been successful in your book marketing plan? Comment below or tweet me @TheRJLacko

1 Comment

Filed under Best Writer Tips, Fiction Novel Writing, Guest posts

Write your book title in 10 minutes

There is a deep satisfaction in stories that “write” their own title, the perfect title, revealing itself without effort. It’s a magical occurrence, happening just enough to keep the writer a believer in miracles, but infrequently enough to aggravate a desperate longing.

catch-22_coverWe know better than to judge a book by its cover, but a title is our first reader hook. A great story with a ho-hum title may be overlooked and left unread.

Author and book coach Jennie Nash recently posted a genius method, contrived by her (undebatably) genius 17-year-old daughter, Emily. I’ve offered the main points her daughter taught to a class of middle schoolers–yes, Emily is a writing teacher, and not yet out of high school. (My hero!)

Why listen to a 17-year old? Emily is a talented writer who has attended the Iowa Young Writers’ Workshop and whose stories and poems last year won three national awards in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and a trip to Carnegie Hall to collect them.

Ten Minutes to Choosing a Title

As Jennie Nash points out, “Many writers avoid writing titles because a.) it forces them to think about their real point and that can be unnerving if you have no clue and b.) it feels so much like making a commitment and commitment is frightening.”

As a writing coach, Jennie often works with writers “at this stage of the process and they can spend days or even weeks agonizing over the right title.”

Emily’s method can work for fiction or non-fiction alike.

Some Background, according to Nash: Emily taught her writing class in a bookstore. One day, she asked the students to take 5 minutes to wander the store and collect 3 titles that intrigued them. They weren’t supposed to read the book jacket copy or consider the cover art. Just the titles. (Note that if you are doing this for your own work, you can take far more than 5 minutes. Scour the online bookstores. Search high and low in the category to which your book belongs. Search in categories you would never dream of searching, just to spark your mind.) They all sat down and then talked about why they liked the titles, what appealed to them, why they were drawn in. From this discussion, a list emerged that described the attributes of the “most appealing” titles. (The examples are Jennie’s.)

One word (Kidnapped, Jaws, Unbroken, Seabiscuit)
Six Words (Six words is Hemingway’s famous “shortest short story” concept – a brilliant way into a title simply because it offers a constraint rather than letting you be totally free to wander around the vast universe of your mind. The Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All; The Other Side of the Mountain.)
• A title that includes a number. (Catch 22. Farenheit 451; The 4-Hour Workweek; The $100 Start Up)
• A title with imagery/metaphor/symbols. (Who Moved My Cheese? Swim with the Sharks, On Cold Mountain.)
• Fill in the blanks. The ______ (adjective) ______(noun). (The DaVinci Code; The Dark Knight; The Book Thief; The Artist’s Way; The Writers’ Guide to Agony and Defeat)

Jennie also suggests a category for non-fiction:
• A list (Eat, Pray, Love; Women, Food and God; Godel, Escher, Bach.)

The Story Problem: Emily was toiling over a story she’d been referring to as “The Turkish Journalist;” she felt the title was a little flat. So she set the timer on her smartphone for 30 seconds, and off she went:

The System:

Step 1: Creation. Approximately 2 minutes. Using the timer, give yourself 30 seconds to come up with at least one title for each of these categories. Do the 30-second intervals one right after the other.

•One word
•Six words
•A title that includes a number
•A title with imagery/metaphor/symbols
• Fill in the blanks: The ______ _________
•A list

Here is the list Emily got:

· Unscathed

· Censored

· Writing for an honest Turkish newspaper

· Twenty-nine Kurds Dead

· The Unreported Truth

· The Story’s End

· The Untold Truth

· The Censored Truth

Step 2: Expansion. Approximately 4 minutes. Review your list and expand or improve on any of your title ideas. There are no rules here, be free and go crazy.

Here is what Emily did. Changes are in bold, italics. Not that this step included some brainstorming that didn’t make it onto the page.

· Unscathed

· Censored Self-Censored

· Writing for an honest Turkish newspaper

· Twenty-nine Kurds Died Last Night

· The Unreported Truth

· Delete the Story

· The Turkish Journalist

· The Untold Truth

· The Censored Truth

Step 3: Pare down your ideas. Approximately 1 minute. Ruthlessly cut what you don’t like. Shift your view from creator to audience/viewer/analyst.

· The Story’s End

· The Untold Truth

· Delete the Story

· Self-Censored

· Twenty-nine Kurds Died Last Night

Step 4: Select a winner. Approximately 30 seconds to a minute. Close your eyes and envision  your story out in the world–on a book jacket, on a bookshelf, on a bestseller list.

You did it! A strong story title in ten minutes. Voila!

Jennie Nash can help you finish your book! In one-on-one sessions, she will help you find the structure that best serves your story, teach you how to write in a way that will resonate with your readers, and provide the tough love and accountability that will get you to publication day. But the main benefit of working together is that Jennie can already see your book on the shelf. 

Ready to explore one-on-one coaching? CLICK HERE to tell Jennie Nash about where you are in your writing life and schedule a time to talk.

Interested in a powerful, short-term strategy session to quickly answer your most burning questions about your writing life? CLICK HERE to learn more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Writer Tips, Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing

Sell More Books: Good Writing vs. Creating Urgency

Writing “well” should be good enough. Good enough to score an agent and a publishing contract. Good enough to entice a potential reader to move past page one, and keep reading, breaking only for food and the uncontrollable urge to refer your book to everyone with an inbox.

Author and mighty story expert and deconstructrix Lisa Cron (read her bio below–be prepared to be impressed) says the goal of learning to write well is a myth. A myth! Phew. (Does that mean I can produce a dungheap and watch it skyrocket to the top of the New York Times bestseller list? Assuming I publish it under an anonymous pen name, that is.)

Ms. Cron points out how the myth of “good writing” is perpetuated: “Everyone says it – writing books, professors, writing groups, editors, agents, even readers. It sounds so logical, who’d argue?”

Makes sense to me. However, as Cron states, “The first goal of any story is to anesthetize the part of the reader’s brain that knows it is a story. When we get lost in a good story, it feels like reality–literally. Recent research has shown that when we read about an action, the same areas of the brain light up as when we actually experience that action. We really are there. As a result, the last thing a reader is able to do (or wants to do for that matter) is analyze how, exactly, the story is creating such a perfect rendition of reality. And so when asked what it is that grabs us about a great story, we say it was the luscious language, the intriguingly complex characters, the witty dialogue, the fresh voice. In other words, we say it’s well written when what we really mean is that it felt like life.”

Doesn’t that sound like good writing?

“Writing well is the handmaiden of story,” Cron says. “The real goal of every writer is to learn to create that sense of urgency that makes the reader want to know what happens next. This is not triggered by dazzling wordsmithing, but by mastering story itself, and understanding what people are wired to crave from every story they hear.”

To put it more plainly, “We turn to story to shed light on the thorny internal problems we face. Stories teach us how to make sense of ourselves, others and the world at large by allowing us to vicariously experience myriad “what ifs.” After all, life is tricky and rife with risk, so what better way to prepare to navigate the one place we’re all headed — the future — than story?”

Lisa Cron’s top three tips for creating a sense of urgency:

1. Make sure you know how your story ends; ask yourself, how
does my protagonist’s world view have to shift in order for her to achieve her goal?
What does she have to realize that, most likely, she’s spent her whole
life avoiding? Then don’t hold back — sew this internal conflict into the
story, beginning on the first page, if possible, in the first sentence.

2. Always remember, what draws people into a story is that sense that all is not as it seems. The reader is all too familiar with “business as
usual” (read: ho hum), a story is about what happens when something out of the ordinary bursts through that predictable pattern and forces your protagonist to deal with it or else – even if it begins with something as seemingly mundane as the mail arriving a half hour late.

3. Let us know that something specific is at stake, and don’t be shy about telling us what it is, and how it’s affecting your protagonist. Make us feel it by letting us know what it forces your protagonist to confront. How does it differ from her expectations? What action does it trigger?

After all, stories are about how the unexpected forces us to confront our beliefs about ourselves, the world and others – and find out what we’re really made of.

What’s the last book that swept you away? What did it teach you about life, or better yet, yourself?

Lisa Cron spent a decade in publishing, first at W.W. Norton in New York, then at John Muir Publications in Santa Fe, NM, before turning to TV. She’s worked on shows for Fox, Bravo and Miramax, and has been supervising producer on shows for Court TV and Showtime. She’s been a story consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency in NYC, and for Village Roadshow, Icon, The Don Buchwald Agency and others in LA. She’s featured in Final Draft’s book, Ask The Pros: Screenwriting. Her personal essays have appeared on Freshyarn.com and the Huffington Post, and she has performed them at the 78th Street Playhouse in NYC, and in LA at Sit ‘n Spin, Spark!, Word-A-Rama, Word Nerd and Melt in Your Mout (a monthly personal essay series she co-produced). For years she’s worked one-on-one with writers, producers and agents developing book and movie projects. Lisa has also been a literary agent and for the past five years, an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where she currently teaches. Her book, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, will be published by Ten Speed Press, Summer 2012.


Filed under Best Writer Tips, Fiction Novel Writing, For the love of writing, Guest posts, Who is Writing What?

Author Paul Dorset’s “How to build a brand on Twitter for FREE!”

I have a feeling I would like Paul Dorset, were we to meet. Well organized, typo-free, and to the point, Dorset writes prolifically, and not just books. His blog Utterances of an Overcrowded Mind offers concise, valuable  posts about the craft of writing, yet for all his laser-focus, the banner image for his headline is a complete departure: a darling child, likely his daughter, next to a Christmas tree. Whimsical, warm, and poignant–and nothing at all to do with his niche. Works for me.

I follow Paul on Twitter (@jcx27), where he appears as a Twitter junkie, posting roughly 50-60 tweets–about writing–PER DAY. Is he feverishly tweeting the hours away on his iPhone, to the consternation of the little girl in the picture? Before any of us forcefully disarm his Twitter app,  he posted about his method on his blog, to help writers build their own brand in the Twitterverse. The following are excerpts from Dorset’s post:

1. Where do I get my material from?

If you’re like most people, there is only so much relevant content you can make up for yourself on a daily basis. This means you’re going to need to get more material from somewhere else. But where? The Internet of course. I use Google alerts. Go to http://google.com/alerts and try setting some up. Use the Alert information that is emailed to you for writing Tweets. Another place is your favorite RSS feeds. You probably read this stuff already so use it and re-tweet it.

2. How often should I tweet?

There are millions and millions of Twitter users on the Internet. Unless you have millions of followers, the chances that a lot of people will see all your tweets and click on links are very small. But don’t be despondent, this can
work to your advantage as well.

I have over 50,000 followers on Twitter. What do you think the chances of everyone reading and actioning any single tweet I make are? Actually, the number is very small. Twitter is a bit like a fire hose, you spray water everywhere; it’s not a direct pressure jet of water that is directed specifically at something. What does it mean? Well, actually it means that if I tweet one thing at 8am and then a very similar thing at 9am, there’s a good chance that the tweet will be seen by different people. But, if I only have 10 followers, then they will all most likely see both of my tweets. So, follower numbers are important as a ratio to tweet frequency too.

As a general ratio, for every 10,000 followers you have you can tweet the same
thing one time per day. So in my case, I can safely send the same tweet out 5
times a day without worry that people will notice I’m spamming them. But you have to intersperse your tweets with other tweets so that anyone looking through your timeline doesn’t see the repeated pattern. A reasonable timeline that anyone looking back through will be about 20 tweets or so. This means that if I am to repeat a tweet 5 times a day, and I need to create 20 tweets between each repeat, then I should be tweeting about 100 times a day! Now that’s a lot more than I currently tweet. In fact I guess I send out around 50-60 tweets a day. This means I shouldn’t repeat the same tweet more than twice a day.

But the question still remains, how often should I tweet? The simple answer is
that the more followers you have and the more you want to build a brand, the
more you should tweet – up to a limit of about 6 tweets an hour (above that and
it will be impossible to follow you). Tweeting 50 times a day (for me) is a lot of tweeting so I have automated much of the process.

3. How can I automate my Tweets?

There are two tools I want to introduce: Twitterfeed and Twaitter. They differ slightly and they both serve different purposes.


In the first step I wrote about building alerts and having them delivered as emails. Well, now it’s time to change those emails to RSS feeds so that you
make better use of them. If you go to http://google.com/alerts
and edit one of your alerts, you can select ‘Feed’ in the edit box. Save this
and then you should see a little RSS button next to the alert. By right-clicking on the RSS feed you can copy its feed address. Do this! Next, go to Twitterfeed.com and set up an account there if you don’t already have one. Create a new feed and then follow the prompts, pasting in the RSS feed address when appropriate (use the advanced settings to determine how often to update Twitter – every 30 mins or so). Then finish off the process and you are now automatically posting new alerts into your Twitter feed (you may need to wait up to an hour for the first feed to kick in). So, onto automating your own Tweets.


Twaitter is a free product that allows you to schedule your own tweets (up to 10 an hour) on a single or recurring basis. The process is very easy so I’m not going to go into details.

Put all your best blog posts on Twaitter. When you’ve built up 30 or 50 blog posts, I’m sure you’ll have a handful of favorites that you’d like others to read again. Post the links in Twaitter and schedule them (recurring). (Note: Link your blog to Twitterfeed to post all freshly published posts. Keep in mind, if you have a WordPress blog like me, there is a built-in tool which does this automatically, after each new post. -RL)

With the combination on Google Alerts, Twitterfeed and Twaitter, you can have
most of your tweeting automated and your branding well underway.

If you’ve followed along and actioned all the steps so far, you should now be
sending 30+ automated tweets every day to your Twitter feed. Now all you need
to do is a little gardening!

With the increased flow of tweets you’re going to get more replies from people.
Be prepared to answer them! You’re also going to have to carefully monitor the
traffic that’s flowing to your blog. This is the only way to understand which
of your tweets are working and which are not. Hopefully you have analytics on
your blog and you can see just how many hits you are getting. What time of day do you not get any visitors? When do you get peak traffic? Rearrange tweets to try and smooth things out a little.

Oh, and use exciting headlines for your tweets. There’s a lot more chance of people clicking on them that way. Words like ‘FREE’, ‘advice’, ‘help’, ‘dummies’, etc. will all drive traffic to you. Put yourself in the head of the reader. Which headline would make them want to click your tweet? If I had called this series ‘Building brands on Twitter‘ it wouldn’t have had as much reader power as ‘How to build a brand on Twitter for FREE!

It’s not an overnight process. Get the ball rolling, and refine your process to suit your material and unique audience. Do you currently automate? Do you have any advice culled from your experience?

Comment below or tweet me @RebeccaLacko


Filed under Best Writer Tips, Guest posts

10 Simple Ways to Support Authors You Love, and Love the Readers Who Support You

I’ll admit it, I’m a fangirl.

When an author’s amazing book inspires awe, when an agent teaches a class with the intention of improving and inspiring our burgeoning manuscripts, or either write a blogpost containing encouragement and advice for other writers–well, I want to return the favor of their generosity and give them a (virtual) hug.

I can’t get enough of author Jody Hedlund‘s blog, a vast compendium of rational, well-thought-out, organized and helpful advice on the craft of fiction writing. (She MUST teach a writing class. She must.) Her advice is so thorough, so intelligent, and in many cases so refreshing, that I began reading her books–I wanted to witness the application of Hedlund’s fascinating writing theories.

It is in the spirit of gratitude that today’s guest-post features excerpts from Jody Hedlund’s 10 Simple Ways to Support Authors You Love. “Before I was published,” says Hedlund, “I didn’t realize how much authors appreciated readers taking the time to publicly support them. In fact, I didn’t know my support was important. And even if I had known, I wouldn’t have had a clue what kinds of things would help my favorite authors the most.”

What kinds of action can we fans take to lend support? “Yes, THE best support is actually reading the author’s book,” contends Hedlund, “But, if you enjoyed the book, you’ll do the author a big favor by taking the support one step further. That one step can make a huge difference.”

Here are Hedlund’s ideas for choosing which “one step” feels right for you:

1. Write a book review and post it on Amazon. If you’ve ever ordered on Amazon then you’re eligible to post a review. It’s very simple to do and incredibly helpful (if it’s a good review!). Jody’s book, The Preacher’s Bride, has garnered several #1 slots on Amazon’s Kindle store due to the positive ratings readers have taken the time to write. [Side Note: If you’re a writer, use your author name when writing reviews. This can give your name extra exposure. For example, Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont, put the first review for The Preacher’s Bride on Amazon (and she did a fantastic job with the review!). Now her name and book are the first that people see when they visit the Amazon page for The Preacher’s Bride.]

2. Copy and paste your review onto other online bookstores. There’s nothing wrong with copying your Amazon review and using it on other sites, like GoodReads, Shelfari, Barnes&Noble.com or CBD.com.

3. Click the “Like” button on a book’s Amazon page. (You’ll find it near the top of your fave book’s page.)

4. Click on the “Tags People Associate With This Product” on Amazon. If you scroll down on The Preacher’s Bride Amazon page, you’ll see approximately 32 tags. The more tags and the more clicks, the better a book will come up in search results.

5. Tweet about the book. Recently Pamela Trawick tweeted a noteworthy tweet about The Preacher’s Bride. In 140 characters she managed to capture the essence of her reading experience: The Preacher’s Bride is outstanding. Great tension, good pace, fabulous plot. Read it.

6. Make a short comment of praise about the book on Facebook (or copy the one from Twitter). Twitter streams move quickly, and so tweets come and go. But on facebook, news has the ability to stick around a bit longer.

7. Pass along the book to a friend or to family. And ask them to pass it along when they’re done.

8. Buy the book as a gift for friends and family. Publishing houses keep track of every book sale. And each purchase is important to an author.

9. Ask your local library to carry the book. First check if they have the book (you can usually look it up online). And if they don’t, next time you’re at your library, personally request the book.

10. Make an effort to pass on your love of the book. Somehow, someway tell someone how much you liked the book. Word-of-mouth is the best way to help support an author! The more times a person hears about or sees a book, the greater the chances that they’ll pick it up and read it.

What other practical ideas have you done to help support authors? Have you taken the time to publicly support a book or author you’ve liked? Or haven’t you given it much thought before now?

Marketing is part of the job description of the modern author. Whether we’ve gone with self-publishing, small indie press, or the traditional route, all authors must market. However, writers tend to be happier working quietly, alone.

How can we avoid turning our marketing and promotion efforts into a litany to ourselves? Here are Jody Hedlund’s three ways:

1. Connect With Readers: Pay attention to what they’re saying on our blogs, facebook, and twitter. Be available. Make sure do the best we can to answer personal emails and messages.

2. Engage Readers: Don’t stand on the sidelines. Instead jump into social media conversations. Ask questions on Facebook or Twitter. Discover what people think or how they feel about issues.

3. Care For Readers: Find ways to let them know we appreciate them. Offer encouragement. Be real and open so they feel comfortable sharing their concerns and problems with us.

In one word: LOVE. Yes, love your readers.

If you love your readers, they’ll promote the heck out of you.

I’m sure we can all think of an author we’ve met online (or in person), one we’ve grown to admire and respect because of how personable and kind they are. I know it makes a huge impact on me when an author is down-to-earth, chats with me, retweets something I say, leaves a comment on my blog, etc.

I may have already liked that particular author. But my admiration rises even higher when they take the extra effort to connect with me.

On the reverse side, our admiration for authors diminishes when they act too busy for us, don’t respond to something we say, or only chat within a certain circle of author friends.

My point is that if we as writers grow to appreciate other writers/authors who connect with us, imagine how much that means to our readers when we make an effort to relate to them.

Marketing 101: Start by loving the readers we already have (including followers on social media sites). We may want more. But first we have learn to take care of those that are already sitting in our stadium. We need to figure out ways to bless and encourage the audience that’s before us.

When we’re loving and taking care of the readers and followers we have, they’ll WANT to support us. They may even go out of their way to help us and shout out the news about our books. They’ll be excited to promote for us, essentially taking a large part of “self” out of self-promotion.

We won’t need to toot our own horns so loudly because our readers will do the tooting for us.

What do you think? Have you supported authors because you’ve learned to like and appreciate them? Is “loving your readers” a good strategy? Or do you think it’s lame? If so, what do you think can work better?

Isn’t Jody Hedlund fantastic? If you would like to read more of her ideas, I’ve posted Hedlund‘s 5 Transformational Story Elements here. She offers a goldmine of excellent advice for polishing your WIP until story shines.


Filed under Best Writer Tips, Fiction Novel Writing, Guest posts, Who is Writing What?

Publishing with Kindle Single for not quite full length Books

I stumbled upon Debbie Weil’s thoughtful take on publishing through Amazon’s fabulous “new” concept, Kindle Singles. Weil is the author of one of the first and most definitive books about business blogging: THE CORPORATE BLOGGING BOOK.

Her article intros with perception I’ve wrestled with myself: your book is your platform. In Weil’s case, she is intrigued by her research about Baby Boomers and social media, but she knows all too well that when an author releases and speaks about her book, it becomes accepted as her area of expertise; young at heart, Weil is reticent about becoming the “old person” expert. I get it, too. I have a collection of published nonfiction materials on the topic of family and spirituality, and the makings of a nonfiction book outlining (what I believe could be) an entirely fresh take on making every part of your life more enriching. On the flipside, my novel in progress is decidedly more edgy, not always “pretty,” and my characters are not necessarily interested in thinking about spiritual or religious ideas.

Debbie Weil explains, “Amazon was clever enough several months ago to identify a new publishing space in the age of short attention spans. It’s called the Kindle Single and it’s for almost-book ideas, 10,000 to 30,000 words in length. For those who’ve written a book, a typical chapter is 5,000 words. Amazon calls a Kindle Single ‘a compelling idea – well researched, well argued, and well illustrated – expressed at its natural length.'”

“This is brilliant,” Weil adds. “It combines the possibilities of rapid self-publishing with the natural appetite of readers for less – quick, compelling and digestible.”

I couldn’t agree more. Like most writers with a variety of niches, this digital format gives the opportunity to cast a wider net to a variety of audiences.

Weil also included a solid list of Kindle Single related links:

Named one of the Most Influential Women in Technology in 2010 by Fast Company, Debbie Weil is a rare species – a Baby Boomer who is a digital native. She launched her first website in 1995, she has been blogging since 2003 at debbieweil.com/blog.


Filed under Best Writer Tips, For the love of writing, Guest posts