June 2020 Writers' Forum

June is Audiobook Appreciation Month

Audiobook Production Resources

Podcasts to Support Your Writing 


The May 2020 Writers' Forum - Writing Craft Help, Book Marketing Tips, and Publishing Industry News


5 Reasons to Turn Your Book into an Audiobook

Derek Doepker guest posts on the Build Book Buzz website with these 5 reasons to jump into the audiobook market. The main one is tapping an additional revenue or royalty source! But many authors think that audiobook production is expensive. In truth, it CAN be, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn how I produced my audiobooks on a budget in the podcast I link below.

The Writescast Network: My Podcast Episode on Audiobook Production

With June being audiobook appreciation month, this is a great time to talk about audiobook production for authors. In this podcast with r.r. campbell, I walk through how this works (from the author’s perspective) on the ACX platform. Access the Writescast Episode Here!

The Making of An Audiobook: An Interview with Narrator Paige Jensen

You may remember this article from earlier in the year with the interview with my narrator Paige Jensen. It’s a fun look on how the audiobook production process works from the narrator/producer perspective. Paige has just completed the narration on my 2nd book Circle of Nine: Novella Collection . . . now available on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. You can listen to the sample HERE or by clicking on the book cover image. (I am so pleased with her voice talent!)


23 Top Writing Podcasts That Help You Improve Your Craft

C.S. Lakin curates an excellent list of podcasts you may wish to add to your listen list. (I’d add one more and that’s the Writescast Network podcast!) Some of these are directly educational about craft and others help you to build the right mindset and environment to support your creativity.


Stop Staring at a Blank Page: 4 (Not So) Silly Writing Tips to Get Words on Paper

Sandra Wendel writes this helpful article for Jane Friedman’s blog that addresses the different ways that we synthesize/learn information and how we can use these different approaches to jumpstart our writing. Cool article! Read it here: 


Write/Right for the Market

This is a crucial article to read at the beginning of your writing journey. Florence Osmond at The Book Designer advises us not to dive into writing a story until we’ve first thought about the audience the book is for and to take the time to understand the basics of writing. Read here tutorial HERE

Enrich Your Characters with Opinions

Zara Altair teaches us some excellent techniques for revealing our characters’ opinions in a story. And, she says, make sure your characters HAVE opinions—it makes them human!

Writing Natural Dialogue-Using Contractions

I love this article about using contractions from Louise Harnby. She explains how the use of contractions affects dialogue and encourages the use of what feels natural to read.  An exception, of course, may be when writing historical fiction and a more formal cadence/structure of dialogue would be more proper. See if her advice can help: 


What I’ve Learned Writing Middle Grade Nonfiction

This article caught my eye because I have a middle grade nonfiction book proposal on submission right now. Tim Grove discusses the 8 things he’s learned about the nonfiction traditional publishing world. These tips are also applicable to other nonfiction works beyond middle grade.

Writing middle grade - tips for authors plus more on fantasy writing for all ages.

Before You Write that Fantasy Novel . . .

Paul Goat Allen advises fantasy authors of the five major things that they must do for success in this popular genre. Mainly, you must understand the expectations of these readers and what is selling in the market, but he also talks about the extreme importance of world building and the “hook.” Read it all in the BookBaby Blog HERE.

How to and (Especially) How Not to Write About Family

I had to think about that t-shirt that writers sometimes wear that says, “Be Careful. I Might Put You in my Book.” Sharon Harrigan addresses memoir writing and how to treat family, knowing full well that you’re going to get reactions. My favorite tip is that you should write down your own memories first before you start talking to others. That way you can be sure your recollection is not influenced as you learn other family members’ viewpoints. Good advice at: https://www.janefriedman.com/write-about-family-memoir/


Blurbing and Being Blurbed

As I work with more authors, I am helping to facilitate the blurb acquisition process, which is very interesting. Barbara Linn Probst tells us on the Writer Unboxed website that you need to be professional with your request and you need to have done your homework. But she also addresses how to handle blurb requests—when someone asks you for this favor. Smart advice in the post -- click HERE

Keywords in Your Book Description: Do They Help?

Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur often discusses the proper use of your keyword fields when you set up your book on the KDP platform. However, in this article, he discusses whether it matters if you include keywords directly in the book description. This is a helpful analysis of how Amazon looks at your book description.  

Questions to Ask Your Publisher Before You Sign the Contract

This is a smart guide from Jane Friedman for those seeking a traditional publishing contract. Bookmark this article or print it out . . . but keep it handy so you’re ready to ask the right questions and make the best decision for your book’s journey into the hands of readers.

Before You Sign a Publishing Contract - Questions to Ask the Publisher


Marketing is a  Relationship: A Roadmap for Novelists

Beth Barany takes the time needed to really explain book marketing and how to think through the message you want to send to your potential readers. Her road map is designed to help you to craft your own path or route, emphasizing that not all marketing paths will look the same for different authors. Read the article HERE.

Are You Offering a Compelling Reason to Buy?

This is a short, helpful article from the Marketing Christian Books blog that helps you craft the answer to the question, “Why should I buy your book?” Good tutorial!

Turn Your Book Marketing Around with These 4 Tips

Sandra Beckwith, one of my favorite book marketing gurus, helps us shift our marketing with these four areas of focus: feedback, research, audience targeting, and tracking. If you’re realizing you need to adjust your marketing strategy this is an excellent place to start: https://buildbookbuzz.com/turn-your-book-marketing-around/

5 Ways to Sell More Books and Reach More Readers with Video Marketing

Yes, video . . . I’ve been writing about how authors need to jump into creating video content for many months, but this article from Cristian Stanciu for the Digital Pubbing website gives us the help we may need to get started. The most frequent worry I hear is, “I don’t know what to talk about.” This article gives you two great options on content along with tips on how to make the most interesting, findable, and successful video possible. Read the tips HERE. 

How to pitch radio and become a talk show guest!

How to Pitch Radio and Become a Talk Show Guest

Radio is still popular . . . do you listen to radio? Apparently, 89% of Americans age 12 and older listen to radio at least once per week. Sandra Beckwith explains how to find and pitch radio programs! One of the best articles I’ve seen on this topic!!

Online Marketing Doesn’t Have to Mean Lying, Cheating, or Gaming the System

This headline caught my eye and I was thinking – well, of course, you don’t have to lie, cheat, or game the system to do online marketing well. And then I thought – wait, who are the bad actors? Anne R. Allen writes a must-read expose on the scams that are pervasive in the online author marketing world. I like that she has a picture of a snake oil salesman at the beginning of her article. LOL So read this, remember this, and don’t fall for these scams.


Social Media Image Size Guide 2020

Here’s a link to an infographic that gives you all of the social media image sizes for 2020 from Social Media Today. You’ll want this if you’re active on social media. One shortcut that takes all the guessing out of this is using a site like Canva, where these sizes are already built into the template. You can check out the easy-to-use Canva site HERE. (Note that’s an affiliate link.)

Social Media for Authors - An Author Pro Course

Social Media for Authors - My New Course!

I’ve added a new course to My Author Pro catalog! In Social Media for Authors you’ll learn how to set up and utilize five different social media platforms, focusing on guidelines for authors. We'll cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Plus, we'll review management tools to help you stay on top of your social media presence. There are seven videos with 80 minutes of tutorial as well as a resource handout priced normally at $89, but it's 50% off or $44.50 until July 31.  View the course details here. 

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  

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