March Writer's Forum 2020

Turning Anxiety into Creativity

What Amazon’s Slowing of Book Deliveries Means for Authors

How to Host Webinars, Online Conferences, and Online Events



Turning Anxiety into Creativity

I’ve heard from more than one writer that even though they have the time to write, their anxiety has stopped them from being creative. Lia Keyes from the Good Story Company shares some “tips and tricks to help you turn anxiety into creativity, and chaos into opportunity.” These tips vary from working on some new marketing plans or taking an online class to restructuring your new-found free time and more. Good ideas with supportive links included.

What Amazon’s Slowing of Book Deliveries Means for Authors

You may have heard that Amazon is prioritizing the shipping of food, household staples, medical supplies and other high-demand items over book deliveries. This article from the Self-Publishing Review gives tips on how to gain more attention for your e-books and direct readers to purchasing those over hard copies in the coming weeks:

How to Host Webinars, Online Conferences, and Online Events

All of us have had a number of events and conferences cancelled lately. If you were set to host a course or event, you might be interested in learning how to teach it online. Stephanie Chandler of the Nonfiction Authors Association walks through the resources necessary to begin offering online content. She offers a smart questionnaire to help guide you.


Novel Outline Template

This is a sweet post by Mary Kole! Bookmark it now! She says because of “very, very, very popular demand” she’s created a novel outline template. It’s the one she uses when she’s working with clients to perfect their books. Check it out HERE.

The Biggest Mistakes New Novelists and Memoirists Make

Anne R. Allen gives tough love to writers who have unrealistic expectations along with those who are not doing the proper homework before publishing their books. The main takeaway here is that publishing a book is a long(ish) process if you want to do it right. She gives tips on what you should be doing! Check out her advice here! 

5 Mistakes When Writing Flashback!5 Mistakes When Writing Flashbacks in Memoir (and Fiction)

This is a great article on Jane Friedman’s blog by Sarah Chauncey about the difficulty of writing flashback scenes properly. I think her best tip addresses the need to anchor your reader when you go in and out of flashback scenes . . . read more about that and her other four areas of concern HERE.

Writing Unlikeable Characters Readers Will Root For

E.J. Wenstrom writes, “A flawed character is so much more interesting than your classic Dudley Do-Right.” I couldn’t agree more. Why do we love a good “bad character” so much? Because they make reading fun! His article talks about how to create redeemable characteristics in balance with their flaws. Getting it right is tricky, but worth the effort. See if you like his advice.

The Difference Between Editing and Revising

Amy Wilson of the Good Story Company explains the difference between editing and revising, and yes, there is one. She explains (in good amount of detail) how revising is really focused on the big picture items in the story. She has a super list of questions to ask when you’re in this phase. She also tackles the questions that you need to be thinking of as you edit, although this list is shorter. Read it here

How to Copyright a Book in the US

This question comes up frequently. Here’s a step-by-step article from the Kindlepreneur website that explains the copyright process, however, the cost just changed. You can access the new costs on this page:

Being creative together!



3 Unique Research Methods for Identifying Small Publishers

These are fabulous tips on where to look to compile a list of small publishers by browsing reviews, awards, best sellers, and new releases. There are lots of links to help you out with this search methodology.

How to Get Awesome Book Cover Blurbs

We all want a beautiful blurbs from well-known authors adorning our book covers. But how in the world does that happen? Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz writes a smart 9-step plan on asking others to write blurbs for you. One of her best notes reminds us not be afraid to ask. And that leads me to another article I read about the power of asking that popped into my inbox on the very same day. In “The Power of Asking” Amanda Zieba notes the cool connections she made because she wasn’t afraid to ask.

How to Match Your Cover to Your Genre

The Indies Unlimited blog properly advises authors to be aware of the covers of books in the genre they write. You want your book cover to stand out, but it’s your first promise to the reader about what they can expect on the pages inside, so you don’t want to mislead. Read all the tips HERE.

Your Author Brand

"What’s Your Author Brand" by Sandra Beckwith helps us understand this (sometimes) elusive concept and asks questions that will help us to target what our author brand might be. Thinking about your body of work as something that can be ‘branded’ is important to draw in new readers. In “Attract Your Readers: 4 Steps to Your Author Branding Statement," Beth Barany explains how to create a concise, one sentence description of your book(s) or body of work to get you started.


Why (& How) Books Sometimes Get New Covers

Last month in the Writers’ Forum we talked about Updating your Published Books. That discussion included your book cover as something that might need an update. This month, an article from Writers’ Digest walks through book cover updates and the reasons that this is done. It’s fun to the see the before and after pics of these covers. Good discussion!

Three reasons to embrace one-star reviews. (Even if you don't want to.)3 Reasons to Embrace One-Star Reader Reviews

I’m on a serious Sandra Beckwith kick this month, but here she is again with another insightful article. I had NEVER gotten a one-star review UNTIL RECENTLY. In all fairness, it was a rating. . . a single click of a button that gave my audiobook an overall rating of one star with no explanation as to why. (This is among mostly 4 and 5 star ratings and reviews mind you!) And yes, I’m still feeling a bit indignant about it. So . . . I thought I’d better give this article a read.

She puts bad reviews into two categories; "those that are mean or nonsensical and those that might have some merit." But you need to take a step back to allow yourself the distance to see the merit. Is more than one reviewer criticizing the same thing? Is it something you can fix?

Read all her advice here:

Book Promotion Sites (Updated)

Here’s a nicely-compiled list of book promo sites where you can (for a fee) have your book featured on a website and/or in an email that goes out to subscribers. I’ve used a number of these sites and find them to be useful to promote bargain or free days for my eBooks.

Advertise your book on BookBub -- You can do it! Full tutorial!


Biggest BookBub Ad Mistakes Authors and Marketers are Making

One of the sites listed in the previous article is BookBub. I encourage every author to have an author listing there and attempt to get an elusive deal of the day. Because of the difficulty in getting that prime position as a deal of the day, many authors turn to running BookBub ads. (If you’re curious about this, check out my BookBub Ad tutorial.) And learn some of the biggest mistakes made when designing and targeting BookBub ads HERE.

How to Sell Children’s Books

Selling books in the children’s book market can be tricky. You really need to target those who buy books for kids – librarians, teachers, and parents. This is a detailed article on how to reach out to these decision makers, including some unique options that I’ve never seen detailed before.  


April Holidays for Promoting your Books

I love the unique and sometimes silly days that allow us to promote our books (or other things) on social media . . . here’s April’s Calendar. Given our concern over the coronavirus, maybe we shouldn’t be talking about Plan Your Epitaph Day on April 5 and instead focus on World Health Day on April 7. There a lot of fun days all month.

15 Mistakes that Could Tank Your Social Media Strategy

Check out this quick infographic from Emily Gaudette at Contently that highlights the things not to do on social media. Some of these are obvious, but the reminder to properly engage with your followers is always good advice. 

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

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