A well-placed piece of press can help you reach a wider audience. But how do authors get interviews? Well, it’s not by sitting around and waiting for the media to come knocking.
The best way to expand your reach is to find media outlets in markets you want to target and send them a press release. Press releases inform editors and reporters about items that might be of interest to their readers.
Press Release: Any information sent to the press and/or media outlets is considered a press release.
Media outlets get a lot of press releases, so here are some tips to make yours stand out. And you can breathe easier knowing the resulting interviews will flow smoothly because you’ve prepared everything beforehand. Continue reading →
First: “Do you want your book to sell?” Second: “Do you want to sell your book?”
These questions illustrate vastly different mindsets. Most authors want their book to sell. Few are willing to actively sell their book.
Self-published means self-promoted. If you want your book to sell, you must sell your book. There is no magic formula that will compel people to hand you cash. Authors need to employ all the same marketing strategies to promote a Kickstarter campaign as they do when promoting their books.
Earlier this year I used proven business skills to successfully launch a Kickstarter that raised over $3,000 for my debut novel in just 30 days. In this post, I share my marketing tips.
Banned books are trending on social media and in the news. Parent groups concerned about the content in books stage protests and overrun school and library board meetings. If you’re not a reader and want to know what this banned book whoopla is all about, have I got a surprise for you. Many banned books have been made into movies!
Common refrains from book banners are, “Books should have a rating system, like movies” and “Books for adults should be kept separate from books for children.”
Both of those things already happen! Books are rated and organized according to age-appropriateness and reading level. There’s no way a child perusing picture books would accidently stumble across a western, a romance, or even a Christian fiction novel because they are all shelved in different parts of the library.
But my question to book banners is, “If the books are so bad, how come no one is trying to ban the movie?”
Below, I’ve outlined the basics of how books are organized and catalogued in schools and libraries. I’ve also included lists of popular movies based on banned books for each category. Continue reading →
There are several problems with banned books lists, the first of which is that they keep getting longer. The American Library Association (ALA)reported a record number of book bans in 2022. Last year there were 1,269 attempts to ban books, up from 729 in 2021 and 156 in 2020. And they just keep coming.
The other problem is deciding which list to check. Do you want children’s books, novels, classic literature, or nonfiction? Do you want books banned anywhere in the United States or only those banned in your state? Do you want a list of the most banned books of all time or just those that were banned last year? How about a list of banned books that are over 100 years old? Or better, how about a list of 100-year-old books that were banned last year?
After a lot searching, I’ve created a list of 83 books recently banned in the State of Idaho.Continue reading →
My favorite stories have strong sense of place. I absolutely love when an author pulls you into the story so deeply that you’re startled to find there isn’t six feet of snow outside when you put the book down. This is achieved though worldbuilding.
Most people think worldbuilding is easy. Science fiction and fantasy writers get told it’s easy because they can just make stuff up. Historical fiction writers get told it’s easy because they can just look stuff up. Writers who use contemporary settings are told it’s easy because it’s just the real world, duh. Savvy writers know worldbuilding is anything but easy. Continue reading →
Writers get a lot of terrible advice. Among the worst are phrases like “follow your passion” and “believe in yourself.” This type of advice sounds inspirational—in reality it’s just nonsense. Meaningless platitudes won’t make you a better writer or increase your word count.
Another equally useless piece of advice is “find your muse.” I’m all for seeking inspiration, but there’s a glaring problem with this advice. Most people don’t know who the muses are. Worse, they have no idea how each of their domains aligns with the different genres. Continue reading →
Debut and self-published authors struggle to compete with the thousands of other books published each year. Writing awards come with the feeling of validation that your writing is “good enough.” They are also a marketing tool.
Awards drive sales by catching the eye of new readers and opening doors to new sales opportunities. Many readers and booksellers are skeptical about trying an unknown author. A good way to allay their fears is adding the tagline, “award-winning author.”
If you win an award, don’t be shy—let everyone know! Announce the award in your newsletter and on social media. Post the information on your website and include it in your press kit. Get extra milage out of an award by adding it to your Amazon author page and on GoodReads.
A writer’s first priority is to set aside dedicated time to writing books. Their second priority is to sell those books. Since most writers juggle a day job in addition to caring for family and finding time to write, marketing often falls by the wayside. Yet, marketing information is the most common request I get from authors each year.
When authors think about marketing, often times they envision an advertising campaign that will magically draw people to their book. In reality, marketing encompasses much, much more. Marketing is defined as any activity an author undertakes in order to sell books. Consequently, a good marketing strategy begins the moment an author decides to write a book.
Below is a step-by-step guild that walks authors through the various stages of book marketing and includes a downloadable checklist to keep authors on track. Continue reading →
Every author needs a newsletter. Newsletters get mixed in with blogs, guest articles, and social media posts . . . all things an author must write when they’re not writing a book. If it sounds painful, it shouldn’t. Why? Well, because newsletters are letters. They’re a special way to share your personal life and build connections with readers.
An author newsletter should contain the kind of updates you’d send a favorite cousin. The email format allows authors to be more personal and candid than they would on Facebook or Twitter. It’s the place to open up, be a little vulnerable, and totally authentic because newsletter subscribers truly care about and support the author as a person.
Develop a loyal readership by showing off your personality, sharing stories from workshops, and occasionally including pictures of pets. Don’t turn your emails into a diary. Just give small insights into your personal life and be sure to include something fun. Once readers understand that your newsletter is a conversation, not an incessant one-way sales pitch, they’ll be more engaged and far more likely to open the email. Continue reading →