January Writers' Forum 2019

FEATURED ARTICLES: Wordplay Author Lineup & Top 10 Publishing Industry Trends for 2019

The Writers' Forum is a compilation of the month’s important publishing news and helpful writing information for authors, particularly those independently publishing their books. As an independently published author who is now agented, I provide this information to assist others in the way that generous writers assisted me when I was at the beginning of my publishing adventure. On a professional level, I also use my publicity and editorial skills to aid other authors through my company Lost Lake Press. I'd love to use my skills to guide you through the steps of independent publishing!


Wordplay Author Lineup

The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis is sponsoring an amazing new author/book festival on May 11 & 12 called Wordplay. The featured authors include Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Jamaica Kincaid, Tommy Orange, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Jared Diamond, Edwidge Danticat, Natasha Trethewey, Bill Mckibben, and so many more. I had heard this was going to be an amazing group of authors and it is!

The Loft Literary Center presents Wordplay with an amazing list of best selling authors.

Top 10 Publishing Industry Trends for 2019

Written Word Media has come up with what they think will be the top 10 industry trends in 2019 by surveying writers and industry professionals. These include an emphasis on quality indie published books, the growing market share of audio books, the need to learn and utilize Amazon ads, and more.


Book Launch Resources

You CAN get your indie published book into Barnes & Noble. Here's how!How to Get Your Book Considered for Placement in Barnes & Noble and Other Retailers

This is a must-read article BEFORE you publish as an independent author because some of the decisions you make in the pre-publication process will impact your ability to get in the door at Barnes & Noble. If that’s important to you, take the time to read this article and plan accordingly. (Thanks to Stephanie Chandler at the Nonfiction Authors Association for this excellent article.)

Launch Calendar

The Writers’ Digest has one of the best book launch tasks lists I've seen. It starts months in advance of your launch date and continues three months after. Take note!

15 Magazines Accepting Books for Review

The Authors Publish site sends out some great lists if you subscribe to their newsletter. This week I received a list of 16 magazines accepting books for review

Creative ways to make money with your writing in 2019!

How to Make More Money with Your Writing in 2019

It is January and along with that comes a plethora of articles on how to make this the best year yet for your writing career. One article that seemed particularly helpful was Dr. Judith Briles’ list of how to energize what you’re already doing as an author with some new ways to reach out to followers and create new revenue paths. 

I also loved the Book Designer’s list of 9 Inexpensive Revenue Streams for Broke or Struggling Authors. I’m guessing that you have talents and skills that you’ve learned that you could share with others and add a little side hustle to your regular writing revenue.

Don’t be Scammed

Anne R. Allen walks through some of the current (ongoing) scams authors may fall prey to if we’re not careful consumers. That leads me to the Writer Beware list on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website. This list is by category, so you can check out whether a company you’re considering working is a bad actor.  Finally, The Alliance of Independent Authors (a group I highly recommend), presents the Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services – Reviewed & Rated by the Members of the Alliance of Independent Authors. The rating includes more info that just pro/con and gives details about each resource, so you can make your own informed decision.

Quick Links:

Types of Editing Explained (Good reminder of these definitions and services from Jim Dempsey at Writer unBoxed.) 

How to Set Up and Edit your Amazon.com Author Profile (This is all about your Amazon Central Account – don’t neglect it.) 

12 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Book Cover Designer (Great list from Diana Urban on BookBub.) 

How Much Text Should Be on Your Author Website Home Page? (Bakerview Consulting has an excellent infographic to walk you through this decision.) 

12 SEO Tips to Drive Traffic and Sell Books (Talking about Search Engine Optimization is never a FUN topic, but this article breaks down some of the harder to understand elements of how to make this work—particularly with the YOAST plug in on WordPress sites.) 

Illustrator Query Letter (Mary Kole at Kidlit.com addresses the nuances of an illustrator query letter.) 

Your Email Signature – Have you thought about that lately? Judith Briles gives us tips on the best practices for creating the best email signature for different types of emails. 


What’s a Literary Executor?

After working through an extremely complicated estate for a friend, my husband and I are both double checking all of our estate planning documents to make sure we wouldn’t leave a mess for our kids. (Yes, it’s a morbid topic, but when you plan ahead, you’ll save everyone a lot of trouble.) One thing I hadn’t considered is having a literary executor. This is someone who is in charge of the writing world/works you leave behind. Maggie Lynch writes a smart article to walk you through the steps of finding the right person for this important role. 

Promotion is NOT Platform & Ads are NOT a Brand: Know the Difference

Author Kristin Lamb explores the nuances and differences of platform and brand. This is worth a read. I typically tell authors that their Brand = them + their books, but Kristin goes a step further and explains that she sees brand as NAME + PRODUCT + EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE. She’s right! The emotional experience of either your engagement on social media or the reaction to what you write is definitely part of your brand. Smart stuff here!

Plan out your book marketing in 2019 - month-by-month list.


2019 Book Marketing Calendar

Amy Collins breaks down some excellent book marketing tasks that can push your sales month-by-month in 2019. I like this list, but I would rearrange it a bit and put updating your book blurb and author bio and such before you start delving into Facebook and Amazon advertising. If you’re going to spend the money on those ads, you want to put your best face forward. 

Amy Collins also writes a refreshingly honest look at mistakes she’s made recently in marketing her books. Mainly, she let discouragement sidetrack her efforts. (Haven’t we all?) But this article gives us a way to get back on track. 

9 Things Amazon Secretly Launched that Can Help All Indie Authors with their Book Marketing

Now, I’m not sure how secret these all are, however, you should know these nine things if you’re an indie publisher – Kindle Countdown Deals (if you’re exclusive to Kindle), Goodreads tips (Did you know that Amazon owns Goodreads?), new book categories, and more. 

Best Book Marketing Blogs for 2019! You need to read these!

12 Book Marketing Blogs to Read in 2019

Frances Caballo on Social Media Just for Authors promos the best book marketing blogs that you should be reading. I read nearly all of these on this list already and find many of the articles I include here on the Writers’ Forum on these websites. But there are some I am not familiar with, so take a quick look and see if you want to subscribe to any of these directly

The Smart Marketing Podcast: Why Word of Mouth Marketing will Sell More Books

We often discount the value of word-of-mouth marketing, or we just don’t spend much time thinking about it. This is an interesting podcast to load up when you’re driving or on the treadmill. 

Best Marketing Strategies for a Long-Tail Book Promotion

One of the best parts of indie publishing is that we can control the longevity of our promotional efforts. (We all know of the pressure of necessity of immediate success in the traditional publishing world.) Amy Maroney explains how certain promotional/marketing efforts have long-tail impact on your sales.

Best Social Media Tips for Authors - January 2019.

Social Media:

Creating Images for your Blog, Website, or Social Media

I use Canva almost exclusively when I’m creating graphics and manipulating photos, however, I recently learned about a free photo editor called Photofunia. You can learn all about them from Joan Stewart’s article for The Book Designer


Use Fun Calendar Days to Promote Your Book!Social Media Holiday Calendar

Nearly every day of the year is something special, like Eat Ice Cream Day or Hat Day or Clean Off Your Desk Day. If you’re curious about those silly or clever designations and whether any of them might fit into your social media calendar just for fun or possibly for promotion, check it out here. 

And, Sandra Beckwith at BuildBookBuzz shows you how you can fold the fun February calendar celebrations into different book topics. (NOTE: Her calendar listings are a little different than on the first website listed in this section.)


Quick Links from Bakerview Consulting to aid in your 2019 Social Media Planning:

10 Social Media Terms You Should Add to Your Vocabulary

An updated list of 2019 Social Media Image & Video Sizes

A tutorial on picking the preferred social media platform to fit your goals.

12 Social Media Management Tools (If you’re finding it hard to manage all the posts you’d like to be making, maybe it’s time to check into one of these tools.)

Where will I see you this spring? WRITING CONFERENCES 2019

Let’s Just Write: An Uncommon Writers Conference – Chicago, Illinois - March 16 & 17, 2019

Writers’ Institute – Madison, WI - April 4-7, 2019

WisRWA Write Touch Conference (Wisconsin Romance Writers) – Milwaukee, WI – April 5–7, 2019 (I’ll be attending this one.)

UntitledTown Book & Author Festival – Green Bay, WI – April 26-28, 2019 (And this one!)

SCBWI Wild, Wild Midwest Conference – Naperville, IL – May 3-5, 2019 (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators). (I’ll be at this one, too!)

LakeFly Writers Conference – Oshkosh, WI – May 10 & 11, 2019

Happy Reading & Writing, Valerie  


Great newsletter, as always!

Thanks, Christine! Glad you found it helpful!

Thanks so much for including me in your post. Honored to be part - and found something to read that I didn't know about :)


Thanks, Barb. I really appreciate the great content you provide. I'm always happy to pass it along to the writers I know!

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