Tag Archives: Writing

Network! Don’t Compete!

Too many times I see authors competing against one another to the point where it is not healthy. The very first thing I learned on my publishing journey was that I need other authors to help me be successful. Other authors are certainly not my competition. In many ways, they are my bread and butter, as they are often the first to pick up and read my work, and they help me with feedback, advice and guidance on how to ensure my book reaches more readers.

Therefore, author-to-author, I encourage you to get to know a network of authors; respect them, learn from them and build a friendship with them.

I watch in surprise at times as authors play themselves against other authors, or write far too critical reviews for the public to read, or even worse, openly put down other author’s work. This is not a game; many authors are doing this for their living. We are not all perfect, and we will never like the same things in life. However, we should appreciate talent and passion. Like an artist, we have our taste in the style and genre of any piece of work. The same goes for writing. If we all enjoyed the same things, life would be pretty boring!

And why should we compete?

Think about it … there are millions of readers in the world. There are now different ways people can now access books: paperback, eBook, and audio books. So what makes us (as an author) think we can dominate the ‘entire’ market on our own?

Fact: we can’t! So don’t even try.

As an author, my publicity, word of mouth, readership, reviews and more have all come primarily from the author community and then it’s grown from there. Without that author community I would literally be a lone soldier trying to get my book out there into the wide world of readers. With the help of my author friends, I have expanded my readership, built a community of support and surprisingly, I’ve even made some friends.

What I’m saying here, is network. Network the hell out of your author networks, either through social media, book fairs and events, or any other available avenues. Introduce yourself, your book and your genres. Get to know the author behind the book.

Personally, what has been amazing on my own author journey, is that I have met a group of authors who are incredibly talented and write in genres I may not have picked up in those mainstream stores. Through these connections we support, promote and help each other on our journey to building our readership. Even more, I call these authors my friends. Some of them, I have never even met, but they are incredibly important now to my life, and I could not do this without them.

At the end of the day, it’s another person to talk to, albeit online or over social channels, but it is a connection that will help you on your journey as a published author. Sometimes, we need to admit we cannot do it all alone!

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The Many Hats of an Author…

I’ll admit that after submitting my first book for publication I was naïve. I thought you just had to be a good writer to be a successful author. Wrong!

Being an author is not just putting clever words to paper and then waiting for those royalties to start flooding in. No not at all. There is so much more to this world than many can even fathom to understand.

An author needs to be Internet savvy. June Service 2012

Get yourself a website, a blog, and establish your online presence through different social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What I’ve found is that readers want to know you – the person behind the book. A book just doesn’t sell on its own, so as an author you need to build your profile, and not in a ‘buy my book’ way. There is a delicate balance between promoting your book, and interacting with others, blogging, commenting and networking. ‘Buy my book’ gets boring, as I have quickly learned, so we need to mix it up with clever ways to build out the author profile, grow followers and establish a strong network that will help cross promote.

Find your audience and market yourself.

Now, I’m certainly not a trained marketer, and neither are many of my author connections. Nonetheless, we have had to learn quickly the tips and techniques to different marketing strategies for our books. Depending on your book’s genre, its about targeting your audience, finding out where they buy your type of book, and getting in there. Sounds easy right? Well it’s much harder than you’d expect. It takes time, dedication and determination.

Some of my learnings so far:
• Get the right reviews, and promote what people are saying about your book.
• Read and review other books in your genre (and blog them)
• Cross-promote with other authors – there are enough readers in the world for all of us, and we should support not compete against each other.
• Enter awards, promotion deals and get your book on as many sites as possible
• Be wary of quick and cheap promotion sites – they may not deliver or will do so with tactics that may not be in your book’s best interests
• Seek advice, counsel and support from other authors. Look at their successes and learn from them.
• Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – book signings, magazine interviews, guest blogs and anything where possible if you are offered.

With the world of self-publishing becoming much more accessible to individual writers, it is important to ensure your voice is heard above the noise. Sometimes it is just one thing, and your book hits a trigger that sparks an influx of interest and sales. I say, take that spark and keep it alight.

Most of all, have fun, enjoy the journey and don’t lose hope. Every day offers a new opportunity and a new reader to inspire.

Taking the Plunge to Publish

As an author or writer, taking that first step to getting yourself published is certainly a big decision. I remember writing many pieces of work, but shelving them away, or thinking that if they weren’t accepted by the ‘big name’ publishers that I should just bin them.

The reality is, that if you are not represented by an agent, or mostly if you fall into the thousands of other manuscripts submitted to big publishers, you’ll be waiting forever to get your first publishing contract. Nowadays, self-publishing is a great avenue for aspiring authors but having now ventured down that avenue it’s not one to jump into without doing your proper research. Critiques can be cruel and positioning your book correctly from the very beginning is the key to starting off your success as a published author!

What do you want from being published?
I wish I could tell you otherwise, but writing will not get you rich quick. For me it was about having my work recognised and enjoyed by readers, and my books are growing steadily, but not without a continued personal effort. Think about why you want your book published, who your ideal audience would be and how committed you are to your book’s continued promotion and success.

Proof reading and editing your work
It is so easy to think that reading and editing your own work would be suffice, but my strong advice is to get a third party to edit it. Personally I pay for editing, however it is an outlay that many would prefer to avoid, so if you can get someone you trust who can be objective, and has a good grasp of grammar, spelling etc. It’s the small mistakes that distract readers from your story, and can lead to poor reviews.

Getting the right cover and promotion material
You want your book to stand out and be noticed. You want potential readers to want to buy your book on the first view. So make sure you spend time getting the cover right (colours, graphics, style) as well as an enticing blurb and other promotional material. Do a cover reveal, get a book trailer and post to your social media channels. Get the word out there that your book is coming and get people excited about it before they’ve even read the first line!

Getting it right on Kindle or eBook formats
With e-Readers offering much more convenience than paperback and reachability all over the world, why wouldn’t you publish your book electronically? However, be warned, the formatting is tricky, and can sometimes lead to compatibility issues for readers, again distracting them from the true essence of your story. My advice is do your research, spend the time getting it right, and if you’re not sure, ask someone who can help. There are many authors out there who have tried, tested and learned from their own mistakes, and will be very willing to support and help you succeed.

Connecting and marketing your work
I met an author recently who told me he hates social media and refuses to engage with it. Big mistake! The World Wide Web is your key connection to the world, and whilst it takes a lot of effort, it will help you connect and network with other authors, and spread the word about your book. So don’t be afraid, set up a Facebook page for your profile, try out Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Whilst they aren’t the only channels they certainly help and I’ve made most of my sales through these channels with people I’ve never met in person.

Marketing is the key to your book’s success; you need to be prepared to find opportunities and avenues to reach new audiences.

Enjoy this journey, be passionate about your writing, and use it as a connection point with other authors and readers. This is a brilliant community to be a part of!

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The Business of Writing

Many a writer could easily believe that getting a book published would quickly result in a flurry of sales and interest from the general public.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality.

Being a writer is an art of passion, and for me personally, it releases the creativity and ideas that bottle up inside my head. I had ambitions however to develop my writing into something that could be made public; a story that would be read, known and talked about. To do this, I needed to build a following.

Nothing is simple.

What I found is that there is an entrepreneurial side to writing that many new authors underestimate. I certainly did! I quickly needed to put myself out there; and that was a frightening thought. The ‘what ifs’ start to arise as my work was released into the wide open world, and I tentatively waited for that first bout of feedback on my story, my writing, and its public appeal.

Confidence is key . . .

It is about finding the right audience, targeting your work aptly and listening to your readers. Criticism is expected, and broad shoulders are necessary for survival; any business owner should expect that.

Being an author is like owning your own business.

Your writing is your pride and joy, something you have worked on for a great length of time, and most likely put your heart and soul into every typed page. Suddenly, you are at the hands of your consumer, and the control feels like it is slipping away.

So take back the control! business-writing

Connect and grow your network, push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and use your creativity to build visibility for your work in different ways. Develop your author brand! Get comfortable with social media, and join online and community groups to broaden your reach. Anyone who starts a business will say that their first year is the toughest, but the rewards are fruitful when the hard work pays off.

Hence, I am reinventing myself as an entrepreneurial author and I’m embracing the business of writing!