Monday, August 29, 2011

Writing Your First Book

Writing your first book is one of the most important, creative accomplishments a writer will experience. The entire process from idea to manuscript is a very personal creation. In fact, many writers relate the experience to that of having a child. Your book will take on many different dynamics throughout the process, and so will you as a writer.

It doesn’t matter, what your subject matter is. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction. The focus, determination, and creativity involved in writing a book, is an enormous undertaking which should be applauded.

The idea portion of the journey usually comes first. As a writer, you have a fantastic idea for a book. Or you may have a specific story that you want to tell. Either of these is a great place to begin your writing process. It’s not going to be extremely productive worrying about the finished product of your book, before you even start.

Getting started for some, will be the most difficult part. There are two basic ways to begin the preliminary work for your book. Although there are many different approaches, these are some of the most popular. The first of these is done through note taking. You can do this manually or electronically, the choice is up to you.

When you get a wave of inspiration about your book topic, write it down. Don’t let good ideas or specific details about your subject matter simply pass you by. Some of the brilliant nuggets that pop into your head can be of great use when you are putting the whole book together. These are useful when you actually begin to write.

Another preliminary approach to practice before you write is research. Research is important to writing nonfiction, and fiction as well. When you are writing someone’s story, even if it is yours you need the facts. The facts told in your book will be decided by you. But they will need to be specific and flow well as you write. Proper research can help you tell a story through writing in the best possible way.

Research is also quite important to fictional writing, too. For instance, you may be writing about a character visiting a specific location. It doesn’t matter whether this is a city, state, or country. Your reader will want to find details that are very descriptive. Researching the area you’re writing about, can be crucial to adding not only ambiance to a story, but also depth.

Once you’ve culminated notes, ideas, and research you are really ready to write. Some writers prefer to write via their computer. Others like to write by hand and then type later on. This is obviously a matter of individual taste. The important thing is to get started in the process. Most often when writers begin writing, it is very difficult to stop. This is why beginning is important, and not allowing anything to deter you.

Everyone has busy schedules these days. Setting aside time to write daily, or even weekly, can be helpful. This will be a productive way to work and to allow your focus to be only on your book and making progress.

Need a writing coach? thepublishingguru (at)

Monday, August 22, 2011

10 Facebook Tools for Authors

  1. SocialOomph - The upgraded version of SocialOomph allows you to update your Facebook page automatically.  It is best to do the one-week free trial first and see if it will suit your needs before committing.  While it allows you to update your personal page, it does not allow you to update pages that you admin, so if you have a group page for yourself or your new book, you will not be able to automate.

  1. Animoto - People are more likely to look at pictures than status updates.  They’re even more likely to look at videos than pictures.  Animoto lets you upload pictures from your computer or Facebook photo galleries and set them to music from your computer or external hard drive to create professional looking slideshows.  For free, you get thirty seconds and basic backgrounds with their name plastered all over it.  For a subscription fee of $375 per year or a pay-by-the-month plan, you can create unbranded video content with unique URLs and a wide variety of themes with extended video time.

  1. Fan Pages - You can create a fan page for yourself as an author, separate from your personal page, or a page for your book or blog.  This is especially useful if you are trying to promote yourself as a brand or are quickly approaching your maximum number of friends.  If you are approaching your maximum number of friends, post this as a status update or send out a message, inviting everyone to join on your fan page, as you will be reaching your maximum.  You can then begin to delete people who are fans and not friends or people who do not frequently interact with you to make room for more real friends or interactive friends on your personal page.

  1. Groups - Facebook groups allow you to create a group of which you control the size or viewership, something between a personal page and a fan page.

  1. Invitations - Use invitations to invite people to your book signing or an event at which you are speaking.

  1. Profile Linking -  Profile linking is possible for the time-pressed; however, it should be used with caution.  A Twitter update does not translate well to your Facebook friends if it has hashtags and at-mentions; if they wanted to follow you on Twitter, they would.  If you link your Facebook to Twitter, its reach is fairly limited, as you are not taking advantage of at-mentions and hashtags.

  1. The “human” touch - People like to think that they’re really friends with all of their Facebook friends.  If you have always posted on a purely professional level, you don’t feel like much of a friend.  Go ahead, post some pictures of your kids being silly, comment on the latest episode of Burn Notice, comment on the shockingly bad fashion faux pas at the DMV, be funny, be clever… let your personality shine through at least 25% of the time.  And don’t be afraid to show off.  People on Facebook are your friends; they’re happy for you when you achieve something new, whether you’ve successfully been a vegan for a month or just had a baby.  It’s just not that serious all the time.  If they wanted your “professional” image, they could follow you on Twitter or just go to your website.

  1. Photo Galleries -  See number seven.  People want you to be personal, know what you look like, and about your life.  Instead of just posting your book jacket picture or a picture of your book, post pictures of you holding your book, at a book signing, and even some fun pictures.  Sometimes self-promoting is just that.  Having people to like you as you makes them more interested in you as an author.

  1. Being a good Facebook friend - Facebook is still a personal place.  Unlike Twitter, people usually like to keep Facebook to people that they know or who contribute positively to their Facebook experience.  Many people will “purge” Facebook friends who they never hear from.  People want you to “like” their quotes, tell them how great their dresses are, congratulate them for getting into a toe stand in their yoga classes, commiserate about the weather in Minnesota, and tell them how adorable their children and Pomeranian are.  It might not seem like it matters, but the more you interact with people and the more that you contribute positively and compliment them, the more they will interact on your page.  It is very reciprocal.  Don’t expect people to interact with you if you don’t interact with them.  If you want them to “like” the release of your new book, comment on what you are doing, or look at your blog posts, you need to look at what they’re doing.  There is no “I” in Facebook.  If you have noticed the same people in your status feed, try clicking “Most Recent” to see all of the people you haven’t heard from recently and get new people interacting with you.

  1. A social media professional - Facebook takes time, patience, and energy.  That’s why modern marketing made the social media professional. (Me!)
Register for a free copy of Twitter and Facebook for Authors:

Monday, August 15, 2011

How Does a Book Tour Work?

A book tour actually involves various book publicity events scheduled for an author. These events may include book signings, conferences, and interviews with media. They can be local, statewide, national, or international. All of this depends upon the travel budget available to the author.

The purpose of a book tour is very diverse. On one hand it is focused on selling books. On the other hand this type of tour publicizes the author. Overall book tours are all about marketing and advertising.

Having a publicist’s involvement can be helpful with a book tour.

When an author has a publicist assist with arranging a book tour, things are much simpler. The publicist sets up book signing events, media connections, and company appearances. The book signings are typically through major bookstore chains or independent stores. These are opportunities for an author to be seen by the public. They are also lucrative avenues to sell books.

There are publicists who work to make media connections for authors. This may materialize in the form of a television interview or a radio interview. These most often are local outlets used to notify the community the author is in about the book release. This is one of the big ways authors stir up publicity for their work.

Every publicist has their own connections. Because of this, authors are able to travel quite a bit to advertise their work. Regarding the travel budget, the expense would fall to the author. If this is not possible, the book tour would be severely limited.

Publishers that pay authors advances often expect the author to use these funds to promote the book. They expect the advance to be used for travel and book tours. I personally have a problem with this. If you are going to pay for the marketing, why do you need a traditional publisher?

Authors without a specific budget or assistance will have to establish their own tours.

These tours will be limited to local venues and events. These tours also must be arranged by the author directly, instead of by the publicist. Although these are limited, they still can be quite successful. This is especially true when the author lives in or near a major metropolitan area. There are many local bookstores and conferences to attend. Using these locations can be productive ways to market your book.

Taking advantage of specific local and statewide events can be strategic marketing.

Every city and state has some events that take place annually. Many of these events are perfect venues for book marketing. Authors should make a point of participating in as many of these as possible. Some may require small fees to participate, but it will be worthwhile to gain publicity for your work. Small events can be quite productive when it comes to book sales. Authors usually have to supply their own copies in these instances.

If you need assistance with marketing your book, call us for a free consultation. We will help you market your book even if you published it with someone else’s assistance.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Developing a Fictional Character

Writers who prefer working in fiction often struggle with character development. The process itself can sound quite easy. But, in reality it takes a lot of work and consideration. It doesn’t matter which genre of fiction writing you’re doing. Developing quality characters who are memorable can be difficult.

Research and background work are crucial elements to developing fictional characters. Before you embark on either of these elements you will need to decide on the right form of fiction. For instance, you will need to determine if your story is a romance, or is it suspense. This is important information to begin with. Not only will it help to classify your book later on, but it will also assist you as you’re structuring your story line.

Once you have decided on a type of fiction, then you can proceed to work on your characters. Every author has a format to this process. Some choose their characters for specific reasons, or to represent real life people. No matter which of these is the case, working on good character development is paramount in fiction. The characters are, in essence, the instruments you will use to allow your book to take on personality.

Beginning this process with your story idea is a common way to develop fictional characters. If your idea involves an occurrence, even an actual one, using this will help you form characters. Authors often use events or relationships to provide the people in their novels. Names are typically changed as a part of the creative process, but the story can be representative of something which really took place.

This type of fictional character development is often easier than other processes. It can require nothing more than coming up with names for your characters. Other writers develop characters by first choosing a specific setting. These characters will be central to this locale. They are individuals who can be simply developed because of their origin.

An example of this would be if the characters are from the South. Depending on the city or state, you will be able to incorporate their surroundings into the characters. Your characters will not only tell your story, but answer questions about life in that place. Accents and customs of locations can really add a lot of depth to the overall story.

Many authors choose their characters because of preliminary research they have done. This is a scenario where the author has researched his or her idea. They have chosen a location and researched it, as well. Taking all of this information, the author then is able to develop the characters in their book.

Most authors will confess that a lot of their inspiration for fictional character development comes from real-life experiences. They take bits and pieces of people they’ve met and places they’ve visited, to assist in the process. Using this type of inspiration often results in some of the greatest fictional characters, because they are simpler to envision. These characters are also easy to write about.

Register for a free copy of Twitter and Facebook for authors:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

10 Tools for the Author on Twitter

Photo by Stitch

  1. SocialOomph: There are not enough wonderful things to say about SocialOomph.  If you are managing multiple pages like a personal page, an author page, and a page for each of your novels, SocialOomph allows you to manage several accounts from one place.  It also helps you to remember to tweet, as you should tweet at least once a day to remind people that you are out there.  If you simply can’t remember to do so, you can set all of your tweets for the week or the month in one sitting, setting specific times and dates at which they will be posted to your account.

  1. Automated DM: Social Oomph is a free service; however, for a small fee, you can set an automated Direct Message to be sent to any new followers, thanking them for following you, inviting them to join you on Facebook, or directing them to your website.

  1. TwitLonger: You just can’t say it all in 140 characters?  Use TwitLonger, which allows you to post a long tweet; however, don’t allow yourself to get lazy and overuse it.  Make sure that the first words are compelling enough for people to click the link and read the full tweet, or its effectiveness is lost.

  1. Qwitter: Qwitter allows you to find out who has “unfollowed” you on Twitter.  It is important to maintain a strong base of followers, so this may help you to evaluate the effectiveness or relevance of your tweets and re-strategize your Twitter presence.

  1. @Mentions: Hitch your wagon to a star.  Whether they are a real celebrity, or just a Twitter celebrity, finding someone with a huge Twitter following, someone considered an authority in the literary world, or someone who is just plain famous and mentioning them on Twitter can be effective.  Don’t expect results, but it does happen once in awhile.  Scan through their Twitter feeds and see who is good about responding to or re-tweeting their fans.  Or find someone popular but not so popular that it is impossible for them to respond to everything that they receive.  Ex: Kim Kardashian is not likely to re-tweet you or respond, but Camille Grammer stays very on top of her Twitter mentions.  If you get re-tweeted or mentioned by someone with 10,000 or 100,000 followers, chances are, someone out of all of those people will follow you back.

  1. Account Linking: You can link your Twitter account to automatically update your Facebook and vice versa; however, you should use caution in doing so.  A status update with hashtags and at-mentions is likely to annoy your Facebook friends and a Facebook status update will not do much to expand your reach on Twitter, as it is free of hashtags and at at-mentions.

  1. The Twitter Updater: When you make changes to your blog, The Twitter Updater will automatically publish your Twitter account.

  1. Twilert: Sends you an e-mail alert whenever someone tweets about your name, product, book, or a particular keyword.

  1. Humor, Creativity, and Common Sense Tweeting something funny, clever, or eye-catching is a lot more likely to increase your re-tweeted tweets and get people to follow you, click your links, etc.  Don’t forget, people can use applications like Muuter to technically follow you but not actually have to hear from you, so make sure that you are a valuable part of their social media experience.

  1. A social media professional. Twitter can be fun, rewarding, and a great tool to build your presence and customer base; however, it can also be confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating.  If you just don’t have the time or the skills, find a social media professional, Twitter jockey, or internet marketing company to take the guesswork out of Twitter.

Need help with writing, editing, publishing, or book marketing? thepublishingguru (at)
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