Resources for Writers/Bloggers

And so you have stumbled upon my little neck of the internet woods, stay for a while and check out this resource page with loads of tips and help about all things writing, publishing and blogging. Your journey has only just begun…

Recently I put together a three part series of blog posts about my journey to being published. They are listed below

Part 1 – Do you have what it takes?

Part 2 – Get yourself an editor 

Part 3- Cover artists and publishing checklist

And here is my guide to book promotion.

Table of contents.

Section 1: Blogging, a short guide.

Section 2: Tips on all things writing 

Section 3: Book Marketing 

Section 4: Social media success 

Section 5: Literary agents, a quick guide

 

Section 1 : Blogging a short guide

imageSo you want to be a writer? That title can indeed take many forms. From books, poetry to journalism all of those titles involve writing. Blogging can be classed as something much similar. It’s an opportunity to say your piece on your own patch of Internet without interruption (unless your internet provider sucks).

My advice would be, if you want to be a serious writer then start a blog. Write articles whenever you are inspired to say something or review pretty much anything. That’s what I do and over the past 2 years my following has slowly grown. This isn’t an over night success thing, blogging takes time to perfect and engaging readers to read takes some figuring out. Just to have one like or follow from a post is enough to consider it a success.

Publish at the right times. Not at 4am when everyone you are targeting is asleep. Use relevant tags and hashtags, this goes for the actual post and social media link shares also. Get into Twitter and Facebook, start a page and ask your friends to help you out by liking and sharing. This starts off small but as you begin to blog about stuff people will follow and read. They do really.

From what begins as a small idea eventually will take off. It’s all about timing, relevant posting, engaging the right people and wanting to succeed. You can do it because I can and I started this blog from scratch.

Section 2: Tips on all things writing 

1. Before you ever think about going any further than writing a book, just remember they are just books. Nothing more nothing less. There will come days when your inspiration is circling the drain, it happens to everyone who writes. Pages and words folks that is all they are. Sometimes they dont need to be taken seriously.

2. Plan. There is no greater feeling that seeing what you have planned come to life on a page.

3. Write what ever the hell you want to. Many say ‘write what you know’. To begin with I didn’t know the characters or the surroundings of my stories but after 10 years of writing about them I did.

4. Follow your heart.

5. There are many people out there who just want your money/signature/soul for second rate services.

Before ever signing up to something such as an agency/manuscript assessment service make sure you have read some real honest reviews. Many of these people just see a starry eyed writer who has no sense of reality and they take your money!

6. Read self help books! Yes there a plenty out there, many good and many bad, even if you get a sentence worth of advice from it, that’s still worth something!

7. Help and support other writers. They know your pain!

8.Be professional in everything you do towards writing.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be ashamed if don’t know something about writing. Google isn’t far away.

Section 3 Book Marketing 

Selling books to a complete stranger is hard and remember not everyone will want to buy your book without some convincing. Just asking someone is never enough and as much as this section is linked with the one below you must have some kind of strategy to sell your story.

Luckily the internet is full of good ideas and well so am I. Here are my experiences:

-A: Advertising via Facebook

Cost: anything from £5 upwards depending how long you run it.

Results: Several hundred more likes for my FB page. I also ran an advert with my amazon link to Open Evening which didn’t really result in any more sales but according to the insights a hell of a lot of people saw it, so that’s exposure I guess.

I have also boosted numerous posts from my page and got some more eyes on my product. Essentially every time I have run an advert or post boost the page has gained a few likes.

Verdict: Facebook advertising is vastly complicated and you can pretty much customize it to appeal to anyone you like in any place in the world. Saying that I’m pretty sure my money went towards paying people to like my page so it may be a bit wonky. But hey more likes makes me look better I guess.

-B. Selfie’s (Yes I just said selfies) 

open evening clip collection

Cost: Free 

Results: I have mentioned before that the Open Evening selfie movement probably sold me the most books. Seeing your friend pose with my book actually drives sales, you’ve just got to convince them to buy it and put it up on the gram! Then watch it catch on hopefully!

Verdict: Book selfies are great and get plenty of eyes on your product. One particular selfie which included my brother and his cat gained a lot of attention. Get your friends involved! (Friends are required though)

-C. Giveaways 

Cost: Postage and packaging/ cost of how many books you want to send (worth it for the exposure)

Results. The first giveaway I ran was via amazon’s US giveaway service and I put up two copies available. This service is only legible for people in the US currently and what’s great is that people from the UK can run the giveaway. Amazon then print the book and post it US side.

The second giveaway I ran was via Goodreads, the book social media giant! I offered 3 signed copies to people in over 40 countries world wide or whatever countries could be reached by post.

Verdict: For my amazon giveaway, over 500 american people entered for a chance to win and the criteria was to follow me on twitter. It put my followers up into the high 900’s  and two winners were chosen at random.

Goodreads got me over 1500 entries and plus several people marked Open Evening to read. So overall 2000+ looked at my book. No real sales figures are available at this point.

 

Section 4: Social media success

I began my journey of writing by creating a Facebook author page. Soon enough my close friends and associates quickly liked the page and the ball started rolling. It takes time to get genuine likes on a FB page. The advice I would give you is rather simple. Post stuff that people will find interesting. By that I mean don’t just say ‘written 100000 words today’. Yes that’s an achievement but you have to approach the situation as if nobody cares what you have to say. You have to shout to get their attention or be clever about it.

I also have a Twitter account and Instagram account. They are both linked to FB and it gives full circle coverage. To find success, likes and shares you have to stray away from your niche. Take pictures or tweet about stuff other than writing. Have a diverse range of interests and exploit them via social media. People like that you have interests outside of your pages field, you can even reference writing in that post with a hashtag. Then your followers will like or retweet, then their followers will see it and maybe like it. Then comes your opportunity for more follows.

The Instagram post below shows exactly what I mean. A rather picturesque candle and in my comments I referenced it to writing. 12 likes isn’t bad at all and some were from non followers. And that’s all there is to it for getting follows, likes and clicks. Use the blog page as a base and then diversify your posts on all different social media accounts.

If you are like me and have a proposed publication date of a book , all of these followers you have gained over time may even help you out and buy your book.

image

Section 5: Literary agents, a quick guide

There is a massive misconception to the amateur author as to what a literary agent does and what they are looking for. My advice would be when beginning your search is to ask  yourself these questions.

Who is your book aimed at? Does this cross reference with the agent you are approaching?

This leads to: What is the agent in question looking for?

What clients does the agent already have?

How do they like to be contacted?

What are their submission requirements?

Landing an agent is a massively tall order. They make this obvious by wanting certain criteria or ‘walls of defence’ to only allow those they want through.

If you don’t have the following, then the chances for you are rather low:

A well edited completed manuscript.

A covering letter that is ‘perfect’ to the standards

A decent attitude

Patience

Willing

A synopsis (also well edited)

Agents are looking for any excuse not to offer their representation to you, so don’t give them the chance to. Be the best you can be and then strive to improve it! They want the absolute best, it’s their job to find it and believe me most of them know their stuff.

There are many ways to get the above perfect or near as that as you can. Many many self help books have been written to help the amateur author make it and there are also many great blogs. Google is a click away!

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