Book Writing and Marketing Tips for Authors
writing
Carolyn Brown
Contemporary Romance Historical Romance
3 years

#1 STAY FOCUSED
There's always, always something that can distract you from sitting in your writing chair. The grandkids want you to go play in the snow. The doughnut in the kitchen is calling your name. It takes a lot of self discipline to get a book written. You are your own boss, so you have to keep reminding yourself that if you don't get a book written, you are not going to get it published.

#2 NOTEBOOK, FILE, SOMETHING
Keep a notebook, file or something to refer back to concerning your characters. If Tommy has brown eyes on page four, blue eyes on page sixty and brown eyes on page two hundred, your readers will scream at you. I'm old school. I still use a notebook and a pen for my rough outline ideas. On the first page of that notebook I write the ABC's down one side, and then I start a list of my characters. You really shouldn't have characters with the same first initial. It's confusing to your reader. Also hero/heroine with sound alike names (Lisa and Lane) will stump your reader. Especially on series books when I need to remember the hero from book one when I'm writing book seven, I buy one of those little recipe card files and keep it right beside my computer. Each character, even the dogs and cats, gets an index card (filed alphabetically by first name) in the card box. That way all I have to do is find the card, and presto hero in number one was six feet two inches tall and had blue eyes. Some folks like to do this on the computer, and that's fine, but once I lost nine thousand words by shutting the wrong window and not saving. So it's old school for me.

#3 EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!
Your rough draft is finished. Now it's time to edit, edit, edit. Have someone else read your manuscript, and don't take the constructive criticism personal.

#4 WALK AWAY
If you begin to feel overwhelmed while you're working on those edits, get up and walk away from them. That's when it's all right to leave the writing chair. Take a walk. Pet the cat. Get your mind cleared so you can go back to the edits with a fresh outlook.

#5 START A NEW BOOK
Your book is finished, is in the agent's hands or the publisher's, now what? You start another book! This is the WRITE, DON'T WHINE! phase. Don't whine that it's taking so long to get your book published, or that you've got rejection slips. Write another book while you're waiting. When that first one does sell, you'll have a new one in your hands to sell.

    • Georgia Rose Georgia Rose 3 years ago
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    • Thanks for sharing Carolyn, I've found some really useful tips here and love the index card idea - definitely using that one!
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    • Kim Beall Kim Beall 3 years ago
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    • What I would like to obtain is Distribution, since I've already swallowed the bitter pill that I will always be the only person on the marketing team. Still, there is no way I am going to be able to drive to every single Barnes & Noble in the US to peddle my books to them, and that's what I want to see: my book in every Barnes & Noble, as well as every independent bookseller. Yes, I am aware some people believe bookstores are going the way of Blockbuster, but for the present, there are still millions of dollars of books being sold in bookstores every day and I want to be part of them. Bookstores HATE having to deal with Amazon, which treats them like competition instead of colleagues. I'm just wondering if there is any such thing as a real book Distributor with which authors can work to get their book distributed to places other than Amazon POD.
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    • C.J. Darling C.J. Darling 3 years ago
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    • I've been doing all those things for years, and still almost never make any sales, though I get excellent reviews from the few sales I do get. My question is, how do you get an agent? How do you get someone in a position to help you to take a look, take an interest, make an offer? We write because we love to write...it's an addiction that has to be fed. LOL But so do the hungry mouths around the table. How do we bridge the gap between published author and successful published author?
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      • Shana Gorian Shana Gorian 3 years ago
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      • Start advertising on Amazon Ads (sponsored product ads) if you haven't already. They really sell our books! You don't need an agent! :) There are plenty of blog posts and courses to learn how to do Amazon ads if you need help but the best way is just to dive in and spend $5-10/day and take all their suggestions on the keyword bid amounts. (PS. I am just another indie author who's tried everything and finally found what really works.~All the best to you)
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      • Carolyn Brown Carolyn Brown 3 years ago
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      • Getting an agent is often one of those Catch 22's. You have to have a few good sales for an agent to be interested in representing you, but to get into the bigger publishing houses, you need an agent. Building up your readership is step one. That brings in more sales. It took me years to get an agent and then it was only because she had been my editor previously when I was writing for Avalon. It certainly wasn't because I had sales big enough to warrant getting a foot in the door with her. I hope that helps!
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Valerie Lynne
Contemporary Romance New Adult Romance
1 year

Mine is short and simple-"Never quit!"

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Noelle Holten
Crime Fiction Thrillers
1 year

#TopTip - Read in the genre you want to write in and read a lot of it! If you don’t know what readers want, you won’t be able to write what they want.

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    Debbie Mitchell
    Contemporary Romance Romantic Suspense
    1 year

    I am very new to this, but I will tell you things that have helped immensely. I got invited to an author convention as a reader. I met over 50 authors. I had no intention at the time of writing. I joined many groups in that genre and interacted. I became friends with several and when I wrote a book; they were so helpful with everything from writing to self publishing.

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    Harry Carpenter
    Crime Fiction Thrillers
    1 year

    1. You can always learn something.
    2. Never stop. Even if the situation seems to call for stopping. Breaks are ok though.
    3. Get out and see the world. Sometimes watching human interaction or the day to day hustle of life can inspire conversation, situation, or settings!
    4. Write for you first, write for "them" second. Put what you want to put on paper first, and revise for others to enjoy!
    5: Don't write for page count or word count. Write to tell the story, whether that takes 20,000 words, or 140,000. Tell the story.

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    Kwyn Marie
    Science Fiction Fantasy
    1 year

    Just write. You learn by doing. Crafting sentences and scenes and characters and worlds becomes easier the more you do it.

    Understand the type of fiction writer you are. If you are not that fond of planning ahead, that's OK. If you need to plot every little thing in every chapter, that's OK. If you're in between, that's OK. If you are comfortable with how you write, it will be easier to do so.

    Use timeline software. I write my stories, then go back and add everything to a timeline as part of my editing process. I've caught mistakes in dates doing this and can fix them before they become a problem.

    If you're stuck writing, answer a prompt question. These questions can be serious or silly or informative. Prompts like, "Where's the coolest coffee house in your setting," or "What does the color blue mean to your cultures" or "What's the most terrifying carnival ride at the nearby theme park" may never make it into your story, but focusing on them can get you thinking about your tale, your characters, your world, in a different way--and perhaps break through that writing block.

    Write down all names and places and a brief description of them. There's nothing so frustrating as trying to remember the name of a bit character that suddenly became more important, searching through the chapters trying to remember where you mentioned them, realizing where you thought you wrote them is not so, and re-reading half your book to rediscover them.

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    Harry Carpenter
    Crime Fiction Thrillers
    1 year

    1: Advertise. This means free, and often, paid ads. Work within your budget. Amazon Ads can get out of hand, be sure to stay on top of it. Facebook ads are hit or miss. Think outside of the box. Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are all great if you are familiar with those formats. Try to run ads when you can.

    2: Talk about your book. Be enthusiastic about it. Talk it up at signings, book clubs, restaurants. Wherever you get the chance. Part two of this is: know WHEN to talk about it. Throwing the book into an unwanted conversation never goes well. Know your audience, interject when appropriate.

    3: Your cover, blurb, book description, etc can always evolve. Change often if it isn't working. Tweak your blurb, see what the public thinks. Adjust the book description. Find out what people don't like about the book cover and try to fix it. You may have a fondness for the cover, but everyone else may not. You're trying to sell a book to THEM, not YOU.

    4: Local Bookstores should never be dismissed! Just because they're not the big time Barnes and Noble does not mean they can't equally sell dozens of your books a month! There is no guarantee that having a book at B&N equals billions of sales. It'll likely get lost among the trillions of books they stock. A small store likely will develop a personal relationship with you and help promote your book. Always promote that your books are carried in their stores on social media. They appreciate it.

    5: Calm down. Just because you're not getting a sixteen movie deal with Netflix does not mean your books aren't moving. Selling a book a month is a big step. Selling one a week is excellent. Selling one a day is amazing! Baby steps. Don't sink a ton of money into anything, do not follow rabbit holes of false promises of vanity publishers guaranteeing you sales. Nobody can truly make good on that statement. If it happens, it happens.

    6: Just be smart, calm, and positive out there. It's not so much its own step, but a means of getting through just about everything in life. Be calm and think things through. Ask for help. Patience is a virtue! Good luck out there!

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    Colin Ward
    Crime Fiction Thrillers
    1 year

    1. Always judge a book by its cover. You wouldn't get into a taxi with battered body work to go to a dentist with bad teeth, would you?
    2. Aim for the heart, the head, and then the wallet. In that order. A weak book, badly designed won't sell at the cheapest price. But a book that promises to move and engage someone can command a good price.
    3. Make sure your designs can be read quickly - you only have seconds to draw a reader in.
    4. Don't try to be too "unique." If no one is doing something, a "super idea" you have had, there might be a good reason for it.
    5. Say as much as you can in the fewest words. Cut out all the stuffing. Remember, give your reader the prime cuts, because you want them to come back for more. If you fill their plate with fat and gristle they will tire of chewing.

      • Dushica Labovich Dushica Labovich 1 year ago
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      • 4. Don't try to be too "unique." If no one is doing something, a "super idea" you have had, there might be a good reason for it.
        Well said!
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      • E R Wills E R Wills 1 year ago
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      • Thank you for your advice. And you're right, who wants to read a book that's been padded out with waffle?
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        • Colin Ward Colin Ward 1 year ago
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        • When I write draft one of my books I let myself go. I pad it and stuff, be artful and over the top. Basically, I let my ego write with me. My first edit (after I have left it alone a while) is what I call my "sledgehammer" where I go through, tutting at myself, and casually whack all that rubbish out. Often, draft 2 is some 10% shorter with little effort.

          (It should be noted, however, that when it comes to food, both Belgian sweet waffles and Birdseye potato waffles are utterly scrumptious.)
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    Levy Mutasa Attached
    General Nonfiction Christian Nonfiction
    1 year

    1. Write everyday, even a poem if you have nothing to write about.
    2. Meditate more.
    3. Stay away from Tv and music in the process.
    4. Connect with fellow writers.
    5. Do not despise readers opinions, and talk about your writing.

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    Jennifer LeBlanc
    Contemporary Romance Literary Fiction
    3 years

    Always hire a professional editor and proofreader. Most new authors feel that with programs like Grammarly they can just edit their books themselves, which is a great tool to clean up an outline. But it is important to also hire a professional editor to really polish your book and make it the best it can be. Readers always know when a book wasn't edited properly and this can affect the type of reviews they give the book once it's published.

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    Seralynn Lewis
    Contemporary Romance
    1 year

    1. Do something every day. Even if it's one thing...and even if it's small.
    2. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
    3. Small gains, pay off in the long run.
    4. Be efficient with social media. Organize and use a service. It takes time to set it up but once it's set up, you'll only have to monitor and update. Use a schedule and stick to it.
    5. Be strategic and relevant in your marketing.

        • Seralynn Lewis Seralynn Lewis 1 year ago
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        • There are various ones available. My daughter uses Hootesuite, but there are others like Later, Cinchshare, and Social Bee I'm still working on analyzing which one best fits me and everyone has to do that for their own lifestyle. It's my 2021 goal to automate social marketing! :) Good Luck and let me know which one you chose and why. I'm interested.
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    Brigid P. Gallagher
    Advice & How To Biographies & Memoirs
    3 years

    1) Blog and Social Media Links
    Create a blog or website well in advance of your book launch, and keep your followers informed of your progress. Remember to include information on your blog/website and social media links at the end of your book.

    2) Quality
    Ensure your book is of the very best quality, by enlisting a professional editor and book cover designer. It will pay dividends.

    3) Keywords and Categories
    Choose your categories and keywords for online retailers carefully. Try to find categories that have smaller numbers of books to boost your rankings. Keep a close eye on your progress, and tweak as necessary.

    4) Pricing
    Keep your prices in line with your competitors. Readers will not buy your book if you charge too much. Regular discounted offers will increase sales.

    5) Read and Review Books
    Read and review other author's books, and post to your blog/website, social media, BookBub and Goodreads...
    It will come back to you in many ways.

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    marketing
    Marilou Ryder
    Advice & How To
    1 year

    Do something to market your books every day.

      • Cherise Arthur Cherise Arthur 1 year ago
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      • What do you recommend for new authors - I have written a children's book. I would love to be able to get into schools once they reopen to share.
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        • Diann Floyd Boehm Diann Floyd Boehm 1 year ago
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        • A good starting point is to start with schools that you have friends or family in. Teachers will spread the word and you will be adding more schools before you know it.
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        • Cherise Arthur Cherise Arthur 1 year ago
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        • Hey children;s book authors I sent my book to Fergie who has a YouTube Channel and I have been corresponding with her promo gal Antonia Marshall - hoping to get an approve to be read on her how. I could use some suggestions for podcasts for my children's books
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    Silvia Sama-Lambiv
    Christian Fiction African American Interest
    1 year

    Always carry a notepad/phone with you! Why?
    Whenever and wherever a book idea pops in your head.... write it down so you never forget a thing.

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    Leslie R. Henderson
    Crime Fiction Suspense
    1 year

    1. Write what whatever story is yearning to burst out of your soul, regardless of whether it fits into a popular genre.
    2. Get rid of all negative energy that is in your creative space (i.e. people and things that bring you down).
    3. Don't get it right, get it written.
    4. Don't fall in love with characters or a plot that doesn't work. Be flexible enough to make changes when necessary.
    5. Don't rush. Write for the long haul. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.

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