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Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs | 9 September 2017

Best of the Blogs: the best posts of the week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.

Writing

Point of View

One of my personal bugbears when reading (and editing) is novels which headhop. In this excellent post, Most Common Writing Mistakes: Head-Hopping POV KM Weiland explains why headhopping is a bad idea … and how it’s often a symptom of a bigger problem:

it’s also a sign the entire narrative—all the way down to the structural foundation of the plot—lacks focus.

Publishing

Kristine Kathryn Rusch discusses Rip Van Winkle Syndrome among writers—a summary of how the business of publishing has changed in the last decade. Anyone who hasn’t kept up might feel like Rip Van Winkle did after waking from his twenty-year sleep.

Marketing

Cover Design

Emilie Hendryx visits Novel Rocket to share 3 Ways Your Cover Sells Your Novel. I have to agree: people do judge books by their cover. There is a new release I keep seeing promoted on blogs and social media. I know from the title and blurb it’s supposed to be historical fiction with a romantic element. Maybe I’m the only one, but the cover image reminds me of Cruella de Vil … not my idea of a romantic heroine. No, I’m not going to share the name or author.

Amazon Ads

David Gaughran shares 9 Ways to Improve AMS – Amazon Ads for Authors. It’s a combination of instruction on how to use Amazon ads, and how Amazon could make their advertising more user-friendly i.e. encourage advertisers to spend more money by providing clearer information on how to get a positive ROI.

I don’t have any books for sale on Amazon, so my experience of Amazon ads is solely as a potential Kindle book buyer. Almost all the books I check out are Christian fiction, so I’d expect the advertised books to be Christian fiction—or at the most edgy, fiction written by Christian authors for the general market. But that’s not the case, and I guess we can thank EL James and Christian Grey for that. I wonder if these authors realise they are wasting their time and money?

Sharing to Social Media

Buffer have an excellent post on What to Post to Each Social Media Platform (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter). You can post to five of these six using a free Buffer account, or to all six using a basic paid Awesome account (my choice). Anyway, check out the post. Or click here to find out more about how I use Buffer.

Website Maintenance

If you have a WordPress website (and you should), you need to keep it maintained (voice of experience here). Shannon Mattern explains how in How to Maintain Your Website.

If you want to set up your own WordPress website and don’t know where to start, I recommend Shannon’s free Five Day Website Challenge. It’s how I developed this site, and www.iolagoulton.com. Click here to find out more.

What’s the best blog post you’ve read this week?

Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs: 1 July 2017

Last week was all writing craft, and this week is marketing (well, almost all marketing)!

Marketing

Branding

First, two linked posts from Kristine Rusch on branding and discoverability. There are a lot of things that make sense in here (including a brief explanation of why non-fantasy readers like myself still love the Harry Potter series).

She quotes Lee Child on his Jack Reacher series (which I’ve never read, but apparently a stunning 70% of Child fans will buy his next book, because they know what they’re going to get:

There are two components of loyalty: one is the author and the second is the subject. If you like the author but you’re uncertain of the content of the next book, that’s an obstacle. It runs counter to the literary view of writing that values originality and growth. Jack Reacher is the same person in every book.

(However, she also points out that some readers will abandon the series for the same reason: that Jack Reacher is the same person in every book. The lack of character growth gets stale.)

She also quotes a Codex Group survey, which states:

consumers are willing to pay a 66% premium for a book by a favorite author over an unknown author.

This is why new authors often discount their first book (or make it permanently free): to attract the new reader in the hope their book turns that reader into a paying customer. It’s not platform: it’s brand.

 

Brand vs. Writing to Market

Author Rosalind James expands on this idea, saying that if we brand ourselves as authors and write to that brand, we won’t need to get stuck in the “churn” of writing to market.

Facebook

First, do you have a separate Facebook author page? Social Media Examiner tells why you should.

BookWorks have a tutorial especially for authors.

If that’s not enough detail for you, BookBaby blog has a series. It’s older, but the steps haven’t changed.

Facebook Header Videos

What has changed recently is that you can now use video in Facebook headers. In An Exciting Opportunity for Your Facebook Author Page, non-techy author Jebraun Clifford shares the 8 steps she took to create her own video header.

She also got a shout-out from Chris and Becca Syme at the Smarty Pants Book Marketing podcast (listen to the whole thing for an excellent discussion on recent changes at Facebook, or listen from 20 minutes to hear them discuss video headers).

Writing

Yes, I know I said this week was all marketing. But I couldn’t resist including this excellent post from the Reedsy blog. Learn What Irony (Really) Is and How To Use It discusses three types of irony and gives examples of how they have been used in writing, cinema, television, and on stage.

 

What’s the most interesting post you’ve seen online this week?

 

Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs: 3 June 2017

The best blog posts I’ve read in the last week (or two. Yes, I missed last week’s post. Apologies!)

Writing

Writing Scenes

Beth K Vogt visits Novel Rocket to share her 5-5-1 method of planning a scene. She makes it sound easy … and effective.

Characterisation

In Shame, Shame, We Know Your Name—Or Do We? Kristen Lamb makes the point that shame is an important element of good fiction, that our characters don’t just need a secret. They need a secret that shames them.

I hadn’t thought of that … and I almost dismissed it. Except that the same day, Christianity Today published a related article: Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most. Hmm …

Publishing

Carla King at Bookworks has another article on the perils of vanity publishing. She specifically addresses how to re-publish your books (aka self-publish).

Marketing

Branding

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has started a series on branding. I value her opinion on all things related to writing, publishing, and marketing, so this is definitely a series I’ll be following. The first posts are:

In the latest post, Brand Identity, she talks about branding the book, branding the series, and branding yourself as a writer. My view is that the last is the most important—especially for pre-published authors.

Branding is obviously a current theme, because romance author Barbara O’Neal visited Writers Digest to share her take on developing an authentic brand: Your Writing Platform: Letting Readers Know the (Sort of) Real You 

Social Media Marketing

Neil Patel from Quicksprout shares his daily online marketing routine. Yes, you have to sort out brand first, and you need to have your website and social media set up properly. If you don’t, click here to sign up to be notified when my Kick Start Your Author Platform email course starts.

Do you have a daily social media routine?

Inspiration

Melanie Dickerson visited Seekerville to share her six tips to Take Your Career from Whine to Shine. It’s an inspiring post, and requires us to take action. Check it out!

 

 

That’s all for Best of the Blogs this week. What blog posts have you read that inspired you?