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Yearly Archives: 2018

How to Create an Engaging Author Website That People Will Actually Visit


By Mariah T.

The key to being a successful author is exposure. You have to get your book out there. You can thank the internet because the PR game is now in your hands. The architecture of a solid website is enough to get readers curious about what you wrote. But getting started creating a site with good SEO, aesthetic design, memorable branding, and more is a work of art.

A website gives you the perfect opportunity to launch a platform for yourself and your book(s). But creating that site is only the beginning. You must use it as a portal to connect you and your work to your audience. This can come about in a lot of different ways, but first and foremost you need to make sure it has a solid foundation. Once the basics are in place and you have a website that works in browser and on mobile, then you can worry about SEO, branding, and everything else.

Let’s look at a few ways to generate traffic to your author website and to better understand the rules of making it attractive with attractive content.

 8 things to include in your author social media strategy


To develop a successful social media presence, it pays to spend a bit of time developing a strategy first, says Jon Reed.

4 minutes to read

Social media is one of the best ways to connect with readers, build a large, engaged audience – and promote your books. Whether you’re an author working on your own social media, or a publisher developing a social media presence for one of your authors, it pays to think strategically about what you want to achieve.

However, this is still surprisingly rare. Book-based social media is still incredibly prone to last-minute-ism, ‘throw stuff out and see what sticks’, and ‘same old same old’ copycat churn. So make sure you think through these eight elements when putting together a social media strategy, if you really want to see results.

Writing Tips: 7 Steps For Beta Testing A Story Idea


Writing is simple, but it’s not easy. Sometimes you need a nudge to turn that blank page into something worth reading.

In today’s article, Autumn Birt shares some tips on how to reboot your story.

Have you ever been writing and hit a wall to wonder, what happens next?

Or, worse, written until you realize you have no where else to go, the story just sort of dies right there under your cursor, and you’ve lost months of work writing something that isn’t publishable?

It doesn’t have to be that way. The good news is the only choice is not to plot every detail before you start writing in order to know that you have all the elements to create a solid story.

There is a lot of room between coming up with a story idea and hoping for the best as you dive into writing, and creating a twenty page outline.

Like, how about a technique that will take about half an hour, will help you organize the key points to your story, find holes or areas that need developed before you spend months writing to hit a dead end, and will, hopefully, get you more excited about writing instead of worn out from plotting?

The Framework of All Stories

What You’re Doing Wrong on Twitter and How to Make It Right by Rachel Thompson (@BadRedheadMedia)

by Rachel Thompson (@BadRedheadMedia)


Twitter is a terrible selling channel…

…if your goal is to spam your book links and hope for the best.

Most writers write their book and then realize, oh hey, there are millions of potential readers just waiting to buy my book. I’m going to tell them all about my book by repeatedly sharing my link with them! They’re all going to buy my book and I’ll be rich!

Sorry, doesn’t work that way, writer friends.

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter spamming book links to random people who don’t know you, you’ve likely figured this out already.

Even for people who are really great at using Twitter, the organic (non-paid) conversion rate is…0.22%. Yep, that’s right. Less than 1%.

So…why bother?

80 Million Books Sold. Tips For Long-Term Author Success With Sherrilyn Kenyon


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Writing one book is hard enough, but writing several books a year over a long-term career is a challenge that few authors can manage. That’s why I love to talk about longevity with authors who are still writing after 30+ years, and in today’s show, I talk to urban fantasy legend, Sherrilyn Kenyon.

In the introduction, I discuss the AI translation from English to Chinese that took 30 seconds with 95% accuracy. [The New Publishing Standard]. Plus, my personal update and the launch of Valley of Dry Bones this week.

This podcast is sponsored by Kobo Writing Life, which helps authors self-publish and reach readers in global markets through the Kobo eco-system. You can also subscribe to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for interviews with successful indie authors.

Sherrilyn Kenyon. Photo credit: Liza Hippler/ Nashville

Sherrilyn Kenyon is the multi-award-winning and multi-number-1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance with over 80 million books in print sold in over 100 countries. She also has YA novels, children’s books, manga, graphic novels, coloring books, historical romance under a pen-name, and her Lords of Avalon novels have been adapted by Marvel.

You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher, watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.

Show Notes

  • Sherrilyn’s links with Europe and how her fascination weaves into her writing
  • Tips for writing a series that sustains reader’s interest over time – and why her characters are like family. Her latest novel is Stygian, in the long-running Dark-Hunter series
  • How Sherrilyn engages with her super-fans, the Menyons, and what strategies she uses for marketing – including a preference for live interactions at conventions and why merchandise continues to be important
  • How to maintain a sustainable creative writing and publishing career over the long-term, and why staying positive is the best way forward in an ever-changing market.

You can find Sherrilyn at and on

Want to Know More About Podcasting? Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Own Podcast


If you’ve been following my blog, you probably already know that my husband and I have a weekly dinosaur podcast, called I Know Dino. A while back, I gave a webinar talk about how to start your own podcast, breaking it down into 7 steps. Here are the slides if you’re curious and want to know what to do to start your own podcast:


15 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events

Maybe you’ve done events in the past – whether these are book shows specifically, or book signings in bookstores, libraries, or even craft fairs. If you came up short on book sales, you’re probably not alone. So often we decide to do these events, without any kind of real insight into what it takes to make them successful. And that’s not your fault per se, because doing successful events takes time. People who do a lot of trade shows know this – it can be a lot of work, but also a lot of payoff if it’s done correctly.

As authors, we spend a lot of time online, or locked behind our computers. And while this has merit, there is nothing quite like an in-person event. And while getting a book event booked seems like half the battle (and it is), now it’s time to figure out how to start selling more books at events, regardless of the event you’re doing. In addition to this post, I’ve also recently published a checklist here!

Some years back, I was promoting a fiction book I wrote, The Cliffhanger. The book was set in Oregon and I traveled up there to do some events. But you know, factoring in the travel and the time it takes to do these, I really needed this to pay off in terms of book sales. As luck would have it, a major storm hit the area on the day of the signing. Though I had gotten some press for the event, the heavy storm kept the majority of people away.

I had also sent the bookstore a ton of swag to use, including a sign for the window, which they had never unboxed. So other than the article in a local paper, no real promotion had happened.
With the store all but empty, I started to panic and then I remembered my own guidance to authors: marketing is about message and movement. So instead of just sitting in a chair, I got up and walked around. People, seeing refuge from the storm were browsing the shelves and I politely introduced myself.

Several of them said: “Oh I read you were going to be here.” And I sold a book to each of them! I stayed way past my signing time and wound up selling out of the books I brought with me, which admittedly wasn’t a lot. I think I brought 20 in a box. But it was better than I’d initially expected to sell, which was zero. This signing taught me a lot about connecting with consumers in stores and selling more books at events.

If you have an event coming up, consider the below ideas while you prep, and if you haven’t contacted me yet and you’re serious about taking your book to the next level, let’s chat so you know what your options are.


15 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events

Brand Your Small Business with a Gusher of Local Publicity


If you’re new to promoting yourself, go after the low-hanging fruit first. That means pitching media outlets in your own community, joining online neighborhood groups like Next Door, and getting to know local bloggers, podcasters and freelance writers.

After you feel comfortable interviewing, aim a little higher and go after daily and regional newspapers and magazines.  Then, try your hand at pitching national media.

Kasia McDaniel of Southern Pines, N.C., a home decorating and staging expert, used a smart publicity strategy that you can use too. She concentrates on local media and has pitched her local bi-weekly newspaper seven times in the last few years. Each time, she got publicity.

Because she’s an active volunteer, she also found her way onto the websites of nonprofits and into their newsletters too. All those media hits helped brand her as the local decorating and home staging expert. And they made the phone ring.

Here’s how she did it.

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What Do Authors Want To Hear About Book Publicity?


Authors work very hard at perfecting their craft, courageously putting their heart and soul out to the public to be judged.  They must work just as hard at promoting themselves. Are they really mentally prepared to do what it takes to successfully brand themselves and market their books effectively?
Most authors do not thrive when it comes to promoting a book.  They lack the time, skill, know-how, and resources to do a great job. But most of all, they lack the desire.
They fear it, loath it, and consider it as an exercise that takes them away from pursuing their true passion and talent, namely to write.
So what do authors really want to hear about when it comes to book publicity?

Self-Publishing 3.0 And How To Build Success As An Indie Author With Orna Ross


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It’s an exciting time for authors who want to take control of their creative business and explore the many opportunities we have to get our books into the hands of readers – and make a living from our writing.

In this powerful talk given at Digital Book World in October 2018, Orna Ross explains the rise of self-publishing 3.0.

Orna Ross is a poet, novelist, non-fiction writer, creative coach, professional speaker, and founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors. She’s also my friend and creative mentor.

Orna and I do a monthly Advanced Self-Publishing Salon on the ALLi podcast feed.

Show notes: 

  • What is an independent author?
  • Why you’re in business from the day you self-publish your first book