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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: marketing, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 1,171
26. How to Self-Promote Without Losing Yourself in the Process

By Nick Cross

Whether you’re traditionally published, self-published or still trying, the pressure to promote yourself has never been greater. We’re exhorted to “get out there and build a platform” via social media and word of mouth. But while some authors manage this transition gracefully, there are others who undergo a Jekyll and Hyde transformation, turning into publicity-hungry monsters.
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27. Is there a library in your ebook’s future?

Alli-logoI came across an article at ALLi, a blog for independent authors, about three services that might enable you to place your book in libraries. Two of the services provide payment for authors, one does not.

Why would you want to be in a library where your book can be read by many for the price of just one sale? For unknown, independent authors, discovery is the reason that makes sense to me. I’ll be checking these out for my novels and, perhaps, Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling.

 The article offers insights on the mechanics and capabilities of the three services, including lists of pros and cons. Check out Ebook Library Services For Authors. An Alliance of Independent Authors Report and see what you think.


© 2015 Ray Rhamey

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28. Steps to Creating an Author Brand

I received this question from a reader. I can't thank you enough for that. I'm clearly running out of ideas and need all the help I can get. That being said, you didn't exactly send me an easy question to answer. ;)

I was wondering if you'd do a post regarding author branding? Specifically, how an author should brand his/herself. How an agent can help this process. And the importance of creating a brand.

Kudos on thinking about this and what it means for your career. Branding is important. Think about some of our most famous brands. In almost any decision, Coke, Rolex and Harlequin make they consider their brand. Sometimes a brand changes or brands shift, but everything you do from your website to your social media, your book covers, the next book you write, and even your presentation at a writers conference should reflect your brand.

When we think of branding let's look at publishers as our guide. Every publisher has an overarching brand--Grand Central for example. Under that brand Grand Central has found a way to distinguish the various things they do. Forever is the line that focuses on romance,  Grand Central Life & Style focuses on, well, life and style books (nonfiction), and Twelve their specialty imprint (for lack of a better term).

As Jessica Author you need to determine what your brand or brands are. If you want to write in multiple genres then the best thing to do is create your own "imprints" which would be brands under one brand umbrella. Maybe Jessica Author is where you start so that's also your thrillers, but Jessica Writer is where you want to start your historical romance career. In some cases the areas might crossover so you might be able to stick to one brand (thrillers and romantic suspense or YA thrillers for example). If they don't cross over you might have to start an "imprint."

No matter what you do your brand needs to become so representative of what you write that when someone says Jessica Author people know exactly what you write. Think Stephen King, Nora Roberts, or Sarah Dessen. Authors often get frustrated with agents and publishers who encourage them to write in one genre. But this is why. If you want a brand, you need to stick with something to build it with. Later, once you have that brand name, you can expand and build, maybe add Dassani water to your list ;)

As for how to brand yourself, well there are no easy answers to that and it would depend on what you're writing. How do you want to brand yourself? Would you like to be the author who dispenses writing advice or legal advice? Maybe the one who makes great pies. Whatever you do, make sure it ties in to what you're writing and the person you are. And everything you do should match the tone of your books. Design a website that matches the cover of your books (use the same font even) and use a social media picture that constantly sells your brand (book covers probably).

This is where your agent can help.  Together you can talk about the website and social media, your bookmarks, ideas for marketing and new and different ideas for building a brand.

Just like writing a book, there are no tried and true guarantees to what works and what doesn't when it comes to brand building. However, thinking about it is the first step to success.


Note: I did not credit the reader for the question. I wasn't sure if you wanted your name public. If you'd like the credit leave your name and a link to your website (if you have one) in the comments and I'll add it to the post.

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29. Blog Tours

Setting up and participating in a blog tour is an excellent way to get the word out about your book.


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30. Book Tours

Here are some things to know if you're doing a real life, as opposed to blog, book tour.


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31. When in Doubt, Pitch

Trying to make a decisionRight now we’re in the middle of a session of my Write for Magazines class, and I’m getting these questions/statements a lot from students:

How much should I research a magazine before I know it’s a good market for my idea? Right now it’s taking me hours.

I want to pitch this publication, but I can’t find their writer guidelines so I don’t know if they use freelancers.

I researched this magazine to see if my idea is a good fit, but they don’t have a good department for it/they’ve never run anything like it/Mercury is in retrograde — so I think I won’t pitch them.

I just want to tell all the writers out there:

When in doubt, pitch.

If you have even the slightest inkling that your idea would fit in a particular magazine, go ahead and send it.

As you know, I recommend sending simultaneous queries. (If you didn’t know that, you can read all about it here.)

That means you’re writing one query that you’ll be sending, tweaking as necessary, to multiple publications at the same time.

If you already have your query written, then it’s no skin off your nose to send it to one more magazine. It will take you only a few extra minutes to research the editor’s contact information and tweak the query as needed. If it ends up the pub doesn’t use freelancers, or doesn’t have the space for your idea, or doesn’t pay, then you’ve only wasted a few minutes — and your query is still under consideration by a group of other editors.

No problem, right?

And get this: If your idea is even a somewhat close match for the magazine (which it is, right?), you’re probably ahead of 90% of the pitches they get. I once heard a Family Circle editor tell writers that they shouldn’t pitch her articles on the sex life of frogs. She said that because people do it.

Let the editor say Yes.

You need to research a magazine only enough that you can be reasonably sure your idea will fit in it.

What you don’t need to do is spend hours poring over back issues and guidelines trying to figure out why your idea won’t work. Why spend all that time and effort thinking of reasons not to send a query?

Instead, give the editor a say. Editors are smart. They know a lot more than you do about their magazine and their audience.

And only the editor can know if, say, he’s about to start a new department where your pitch would fit perfectly, or he was just wishing he had an article on X (with X being your idea), or one of his freelancers just flaked and he needs another good writer pronto.

Or maybe your pitch will be so wonderful that the editor will make an exception for you. Carol Tice and I had one student in our recent Pitch Clinic class who sent a Letter of Introduction to a business she wanted to blog for. Here’s part of the response she got.

Ordinarily we do not accept guest posts, as they are almost always short and shallow. We receive numerous requests daily, but only post two or three per year. However, your email is better than most and touches on a few points that interest me.

We pay our writers and they work on assignment. Our top writer is off on baby leave so I’m looking for a backup. A few candidates are in the wings, but I’d like to try an article from you, if our terms are suitable to you.

This can only happen to you if you go ahead and pitch.

You don’t necessarily want to sell your idea.

Guess what? The goal of a pitch is not necessarily to get an assignment.

Well, of COURSE you would like to get an assignment. But what often happens is that your query or LOI doesn’t quite make the cut — say, the publication already has a similar article in the works — but the editor is so impressed by your pitch that she invites you to pitch again, or even assigns you a different article.

The goal of a pitch is to start building a relationship with a client.

If you hold off on pitching because you’re not fully, absolutely, 100% sure your ideas are a good match, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to start a conversation with an editor who may want to hire you down the road.

Your pitch shows what you can do. It shows you have great ideas, can write well, and are professional. Even if it’s not a perfect match, it can lead to assignments.

So the next time you find yourself spending hours researching magazines looking for excuses cut yourself out of the running, stop.

Just send that pitch.

P.S. Are you looking to leave your day job to become a full-time freelance writer? Then you’ll love my e-book Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race…And Step Into a Career You Love, which has 36 five-star (and 9 four-star) reviews on Amazon! It’s available in Kindle and PDF.

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32. Writer Wednesday: Email Marketing

Today I thought I'd share something I learned about marketing recently. I've heard in the past that email marketing is so important. I thought that just meant expanding your mailing list. While that's very important, it's not ALL email marketing is. Think about this. When your book is chosen for the Kindle Daily Deal, Amazon emails LOADS of people to tell them about your book being on sale. And from that, your ranking gets amazingly good. Why? Email marketing.

So I took that theory and started focusing my efforts on sites that have huge email newsletter lists. I'm talking 70,000+ people. You can advertise your sales in their newsletters for very small fees, which I've found are totally worth it. Why? Because so many people are hearing about your book when they open their email. And these are people who sign up for these emails because they are looking for good sales on books. They are your target audience.

So research some sites that have newsletters like this and consider trying this marketing technique. I'd love to hear if your experience is as good as mine.

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33. Publishers and Marketing

Who's responsible for marketing your book--you or your publisher? You both are.


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34. Book Marketing Blues - #getpublished - #bookmarketing #indieauthor #selfpubbed

Book marketing is not an easy part of being an indie author / self-published writer. To be honest, I loathe it. Promotion is not fun. It is tedious and time-consuming and nerve-racking, but a necessary evil as an author entrepreneur. 

I published a book this week, SMASH INTO YOU that I was feeling very proud and excited about. It is a New Adult Romance and I ventured out of my comfort zone to write this tale. But the minute, I started promoting it, that evil little voice of doubt entered my head. 

What if no one likes it? What if I get only negative reviews? What if the storyline sucks?

I feel super anxious whenever I have to start contacting book reviewers and requesting a review. I mean, physically sick to my stomach even. It is hard enough to release your “baby” into the world, but asking strangers to basically critique your work and post it on the Internet for the world to see is downright scary. I always hope that readers will like my books, yet I'm realistic enough to know that not everyone will enjoy my brand of storytelling.

I try VERY hard not to read reviews anymore. Good or bad. Sure, positive reviews can boost a writer's ego; however, the negative ones can rip it apart. You are not alone if you feel this way, too. When you get less than stellar comments about your "baby," it is a natural response to want to defend your hard work. PLEASE DO NOT. Just don't do it. Ever.

Okay, yes, I have responded to a bad review in the past and embarrassed myself. Yes, I have made some stupid mistakes when requesting reviews. Yes, I have even unintentionally pissed off a few book bloggers by sending them updated ARCs after sending the first one.

But I realize that reviews help to sell books and spread the book love to readers. I know if I don't reach out to readers and reviewers that I won't sell as many books. Hence, the need to promote.

Some authors use book tour companies to help them with new releases. I have used a few in the past, but it wasn't worth the money in my opinion. I even hired a very nice book publicist once and paid her two hundred dollars (which is a lot of money for a single mom) last year, and I still have no idea what promotion she did for that payment. Now, I do all of the marketing myself. 

I have a list of over two thousand bloggers to contact whenever I have a newly published novel. BUT I have to contact each one individually and request a review or offer a guest post, which is a slow process. Maybe five out of thirty respond. That's why I try to contact at least five hundred or more. I'll spend about six to eight hours each day contacting reviewers for a month. 

Like I said, I loathe it. I'd much rather be writing or editing or blogging. Or sticking a hot poker into my eye.   
While I don't have a simple answer to deal with book marketing blues, I can offer some advice that might help.

Make sure you have an informative "book request letter" that includes all of your novel's information, including links to Amazon, goodreads, and excerpts. Some reviewers get hundreds of requests a week, so make it as easy as possible for them. Be polite and courteous. Be professional. If they decline, just move on and ask someone else. Be respectful of the reviewers time. 

If you need help writing a "review request" letter, please feel free to email me and I'd be happy to help.

So, how do you handle the stress of author promotion? 

How do you deal with negative reviews?

Any marketing advice you'd like to share?

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35. Author Swag

Promotional items are a way for people to learn about and remember you and your book.


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36. Author Websites

What information should you include on your author website?


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37. Pinterest

You can use Pinterest to increase interest in your book.


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38. How Not to Be a Spammer

Social media is great for book promotion, but not if you spam people.


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39. Writer Wednesday: Marketing Highs and Lows

Last week on my Monday Mishmash I mentioned that I've been committing to doing at least one marketing effort per day. I also mentioned that I've seen some positive results from this. So I thought today I'd share a little more about what I'm doing.

I tried something new, which is to use sites to advertise my books. I'm not one to spend a lot of money on advertising though, so I found some sites that are free and others that are under $10. My results were mixed. Some of the promo days wants really well, ranking my book in the 200s on Amazon. One book was ranked there twice in the span of a few weeks and is still going strong. This book is free though. Now you may be thinking, Kelly, why would you pay to advertise a free book? Well, here's why. When you put a book out for free, you're doing it to allow readers to sample your work and hopefully become fans. If you succeed, you'll get readers who then go buy your other books. When you market a free book, you're reaching more potential readers. Will I make that money I spent back with my free book? No. But I hopefully will with the next book in the series.

Now I mentioned mixed results. This happened when I promoted a book that wasn't free. I saw no change in sales. None. Same tactic, different book, very different results. Does that mean I'll never try it again with a paid book? No. I think everything with marketing is hit or miss. It could have been the day of the week, the price of the book, the fact that this followed another promotion that was free and readers didn't have enough time to read my previous book they downloaded, etc. There are so many factors that could have contributed to it.

So what does all this mean? I think the promotions helped get my name out there. Right now it's too soon to tell how many new fans I was able to hook, but hopefully that will become apparent soon. In the meantime, I'll continue with my one marketing effort a day.

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40. Promotion Tip

A free, easy to implement, promotion tip is to call your book by its name where talking about it.


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41. The Annotated "Saving the Planet & Stuff" After Party

Yes, the Annotated Saving the Planet & Stuff project is done. You can access every post for some kind of total reading experience.

 But What Was The Point?

The original edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff went out of print in 2006. Print books go out of print because publishers make the decision that the sales the books are generating aren't large enough to justify warehouse space. That's why so few even traditionally published books are found in bookstores, too. Shelf space goes to books believed to sell. Print books are expensive to sell because of the real space they take up. The window for marketing a print book isn't very long. I've read more than once that after three months, authors should give up marketing efforts and work on the next book.

The edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff that I self-published is an eBook, however. No warehouse or shelf space required. Theoretically, you should be able to market eBooks indefinitely. Theoretically, you should always be able to find new readers because there are always new people who missed earlier promotions, who are growing into your book's age range, or who are discovering your subject as a new interest.

This theory gives me an opportunity to indulge my obsessiveness. Saving the Planet isn't my passion. You don't hear me going on about how much I love this book, believe in it, must give it its chance in the world. No, STP&S is much more of an obsession, probably because it straddles the YA and adult reading group and is so many things. It is fiction. It is humor. It deals with characters at different stages of life. It is connected to time and place. That wide net gives me opportunities to experiment with so many things.

What Was I Trying To Do This Time?

I had thought of putting up STP&S book excerpts at my website, but, seriously, I couldn't see myself going to a website to read an entire chapter of anything. Why would anyone else? Something briefer in a blog post was another story. And I love annotations and those behind the scenes features you see on DVDS. I'm always looking for ways to do Earth Day tie-ins. The annotated excerpts became my Earth Day month tie-in.

What Did I Actually Do?

Sold a few books. That's what you want to know, right? It really was just a few.

Learned that these days you have to promote blog posts. I got the idea to tweet the Annotated STP&S posts at the marketing program I attended in March. I also posted them to Google+ communities when the content was appropriate for them. On days I didn't do Annotated STP&S posts I tweeted the guest blog posts I'd done over the last two years. This past month I got the best blog stats I've had since back in the Golden Days of Blogging, around 2005-06. I suspect that that won't lead to a lot of new, regular readers. However, I will be more proactive from now on about promoting blog posts as a result of this experience in order to extend my reach.

Twitter has it all over Facebook for getting the word out. There's nothing to discuss. But I will. Facebook author pages, in my experience, reach barely anyone. Personal pages involve a finite group of Friends. Posts are liked, but rarely shared. You're not going to reach new people, and your friends are primarily interested in hearing about your kids and vacation. On Twitter I could use hashtags to attract people beyond my own followers, people who were interested in what I was hashtagging. I got some retweets by environmental groups, one with a lot of followers. I could see results there, and those results presumably led to the leaps in blog page views. 

Confirmed that Google+ communities don't get the credit they deserve. Links posted to a community could end up getting shared days after they went up. I've often seen a little boost in blog stats here after posting at a Google+ community.

Definitely An Experience

This last month's work has changed how I'll be doing my posting. I've blogged in the evening for a long time, then posted as soon as I was done. For this project, I blogged in the evening, then posted early the next morning so I could tweet and retweet during the day. I'll be continuing with a similar system.

Also, the next time I have a new book come out, I would far prefer doing a lengthy blog promotion than a blog tour. I've done one traditional blog tour for a book and a nontraditional one, over a long period of time, for the Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook. I think this past month's promotional work was more effective.

For now, I am looking forward to blogging about other subjects. I'll be taking a rest for a while from Saving the Planet & Stuff promotion. But I do have a couple of ideas to try sometime in the future, because who just drops an obsession?

Next up: A weekend off from blogging. I've got some biking planned, and any time I can squeeze in for work I'll be using for my May Days project. Then next week--new material!

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42. 10 Ways to Write an Awesome Book Blurb - #WriteTip

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE <![endif]-->
 Whether you plan to self-publish or work with a publisher, it’s crucial to know how to create an appealing blurb for your book—one that’s compelling enough to entice a reader into buying your book. 

Book blurbs are mostly used in query letters and the back jacket copy of novels. Basically, it is the beguiling description of your novel used to entice readers into, well, reading your work.

This is marketing copy, not a synopsis. Keep it brief. Keep it interesting. Keep it engaging. Don’t bog it down with too many details about the plot or subplot. Use persuasive, strong nouns, adverbs, and verbs to describe your novel.

Strive for quality—not quantity. Superb back jacket copy never explains every characters background, every plot twist, or pinch-point of your book. Write a blurb that is descriptive, but not all-inclusive. Think tempting, but not embellished. 

Professional copywriters know that effective promotional copy harmonizes with a storyline and doesn’t exaggerate or minimize what readers will find inside.

One way to get a better understanding of good promotional copy is to read the blurbs of other published novels in your genre. Visit a library, bookstore, or search online at places like Goodreads to read book blurbs. Whenever you find a blurb that really grabs your attention, see if it gives you some ideas for your own book description. 

Once you have a few blurbs written down that you like, find a critique partner to help you polish it. Or ask a friend or writing buddy, who’s familiar with your premise, and have them write a brief summary of your storyline, noting the detailed plot points they enjoyed. This is an excellent way to gain an invaluable assessment of your storyline.

Another excellent way to help you write a blurb is to excerpt your own work. Try this, comb through your entire manuscript searching for paragraphs or phrases to quote. This method can be very effective if you find a strong passage that can be taken out of context and still make sense. 

In the following chapter, I’ve included examples of blurbs used in query letters and used for backjacket copy to give you a better understanding of how a book blurb should be written.
I spend a LOT of time revising and tweaking my book blurbs. I have CPs go over and over them until my head bleeds. Writing a good blurb with a great “hook” isn’t easy. But it is essential to an Indie / self-published author if you want readers to take a chance with their time and money on your book. Or if you’re asking an agent or publishing editor to read your manuscript.

Either way, it is important to create a blurb so amazing and catchy that who wouldn’t want to read your story?

Please read these awesome posts on writing a better book blurb, which should really help as you revise your own with a more successful “hook”:

SELF PUBLISHING AN EBOOK - Writing A Catchy Book Blurb: http://theperfectplot.blogspot.com/2013/04/self-publishing-ebook-part-2-writing.html

*How to Write a Blurb (Back Cover Copy): http://www.marilynnbyerly.com/blurb.html

The 5 core elements of a book blurb (and why you should know them): https://www.standoutbooks.com/five-elements-of-a-book-blurb/

How long does it take you to write a book blurb? 
What methods do you use to create a "hook"? 

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43. Writer Wednesday: The Dreaded M-Word

No, I'm not talking about money—although I'll gladly take some if you're offering. ;) I'm talking about marketing. I'm not one of those authors who loves to market. It's actually my least favorite part of being an author. I'd much rather write more books, which is why I have a backlog of manuscripts in various stages of revision. (Don't tell my agent, who is already handling plenty for me at the moment. I don't want to scare her away.)

Recently I realized I need to step up my marketing game. Yes, even though I don't really enjoy it. Sure, I love in-person events. Give me plenty of those! But the other marketing stuff…not so much. So I promised myself to do at least one thing a day to market my work. And you know what? I've found that one thing usually leads to another and sometimes another. Yes, I've been averaging about three marketing efforts a day. Here comes the really surprising part. The more I market, the more I enjoy marketing.

I know! It's crazy! But here's the thing. I marketed my free book Campus Crush, and I saw results. That's motivating. So now I'm stepping up my game with my other titles and hoping that I'll get results for those too. The tricky thing is that what works as far as marketing one book may not work for the next, so I'm constantly trying new things and keeping track of what works and what doesn't.

How about you? Do you force yourself to market even when you don't feel like it?

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44. Email Live Feed – Can it Get Any Better for Marketing and Any Scarier for Privacy?

GetResponse just launched a new email marketing tool, Global View. With this tool, you can see when your subscriber opens your email AND where. Talk about big brother. If GetResponse has this feature, you can be sure the other email marketing services either have it already or will be getting it soon. The Pros This is great for the marketer. You can instantly track who’s opening and clicking

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45. NESCBWI: Marketing Your Brand

Oh, Look! Suddenly I Can Add Captions!
Yesterday I attended a New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' program, Marketing Your Brand. Jen Malone was the program leader.

Now Jen's first book, At Your Service,  was published just last year, though she has several others under contract and coming out soon. What she brings to the table when it comes to marketing is that she is the former New England Head of Publicity and Promotions for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films and has sixteen years of experience teaching film marketing at Boston University. 

This was a very good program. I try not to go into too much detail regarding events like this, because the content is the presenter's. But I feel comfortable discussing workload and blogging.



You cannot exaggerate how hard many children's and YA authors are working at promoting, the time they are spending going to events, planning presentations, traveling, contacting people, all on their own dime. They may hold jobs of one kind or another and have families. It is just huge. And then they need to be writing their next books.


Sigh. I happened to be reading Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki today. Suzuki says, "The driver knows how much load the ox can carry, and he keeps the ox from being overloaded. You know your way and your state of mind. Do not carry too much!" It seemed appropriate.



The feeling among the people in attendance yesterday was that blogging is a bit yesterday as far as "Authors must blog!" is concerned.  Some authors in that room were vocal about disliking blogging. What does that mean for long-time writer/bloggers like myself?

I'm thinkin' good news.

The Internet began to buckle under the weight of all the blogs that were created by writers from, say, 2006/7 to date. The pool of blog readers couldn't absorb them all, so many of us saw our readership drop and drop. If writers no longer feel compelled to blog, that could mean more readers for the rest of us.

That's what I'm hoping, anyway.

The caption under the picture of Jen Malone? The capacity to caption appeared out of the blue. Computer Guy is mystified.

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46. What Are We Really Promoting?

This week I'm starting a new schedule that involves doing promotion/marketing on Mondays. So it's appropriate, I think, to talk today about this terrific promotional article, What It Costs to DIY A First Book Tour. In it, author Katey Schultz discusses her year-long promotional tour for her book, Flashes of War, which was published by a small university press.

Interesting points:

  • Schultz spent $12,000 on her tour, split pretty evenly between hiring a publicist and tour manager and travel expenses. It was money she'd inherited or saved, not borrowed. She wouldn't go into debt for the book. This caught my attention because several years ago I attended a NESCBWI event at which a colleague said she didn't want her family to lose money on her writing. Something writers need to consider--writing can cost you money.
  • Five thousand books is too large a goal for a year. Schulz had to lower her expectations and spread that goal over three years. She's been told that the 1,500 books she believes she's sold over one year is a good number. Good numbers are still small numbers.
  • Some booksellers were not very supportive. I don't know if her experience is common. I can't help thinking, though, that within writers' circles there's so much commitment to booksellers. So...
  • Schultz hasn't made back her financial investment, but feels the work she's done has been good for her career overall, preparing the way for the promotion of a second book. And that's often how things work with writing. You have to think in terms of the career, not any one particular book.
We're always promoting ourselves.

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47. The Apple Watch and Content Marketing

Apple ‘officially’ launched its new product, the Apple Watch. While Apple isn’t the first to create and market a wearable computer, it is the company that is expected to take the market to a new level. The first to create and market a ‘computer’ watch was Google with its Android Wear technology. The site explains that the ‘watch’ “organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows

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48. 44 Posts That Will Help You Escape the Content Mills & Make a REAL Living as a Freelance Writer

escapes ... (86/365)Stuck writing for the content mills and struggling to pay your bills? Yeah, you and a TON of other writers!

Content mill owners and misinformed writers have been spreading the word that if you want to make a living as a freelance writer, you need to start out by writing for cheap-o content mills, bidding sites, and revenue share sites that pay you pennies for your hard work.

And even worse, after spouting this lame advice, they offer no tips on moving on up out of the mills to start earning some REAL money as a freelance writer! So too many writers keep slaving away at the mills for $5 per article, and they burn out before they can rack up a decent amount of pay.

Well, I’m here to change that. One of my passions is helping writers earn a decent living, so I scoured the web for 50 posts that will help you escape the content mills — from motivational posts to basic articles on how to break into more lucrative forms of writing.

So…let’s begin!

Not Convinced You Want to Leave the Mills?

Lots of writers are afraid that if they leave the content mills, they’ll be left with nothing at all — and even $5 per article is better than that, right?

Not so. I rounded up a bunch of posts that will convince you to kick the mills once and for all. They show why content mills aren’t a valid “step up” to real freelancing, how the numbers don’t add up, and more.

1. The Science of Undervaluing Yourself (And How To Overcome It)

Blog: Psychotactics

Author: Sean D’Souza

A cautionary take about undervaluing yourself as a businessperson…plus great stories about clients who complained about spending $250 on one of his products, only to go out and blow $2,500 on a vacation or $30,000 on a new car. You think you can’t command high rates? This post will make you think again.

2. Writers Explain What It’s Like Toiling on the Content Farm

Blog: MediaShift

Author: Corbin Hiar

A telling quote from this enlightening post: “‘I was completely aware that I was writing crap,’ she said. ‘I was like, I hope to God people don’t read my advice on how to make gin at home because they’ll probably poison themselves.’ […] ‘Never trust anything you read on eHow.com, she said, referring to one of Demand Media’s high-traffic websites, on which most of her clips appeared.” Be sure to read the comments!

3. Why You’ll Fail at Freelancing if You Suck at Math

Blog: Profitable Freelancer

Author: Jen Mattern

You may be thinking you can make the numbers work as a low-paid content mill writer, but they just don’t add up. Read this post and you’ll stop fooling yourself.

4. The High Cost of Earning Little

Blog: Ask MetaFilter

Not a blog post per se, but this thread will show how U.S. freelancers pay more in taxes than the employed — which makes writing for the content mills even less worth the effort than you thought!

5. The Reality of Writing for Content Mills: 14 Writers’ True Stories

Blog: Make a Living Writing

Author: Carol Tice

Carol put a ton of investigative work into this post, and the result is a real eye-opener. If you’re not quite sure the content mills are something you want to avoid, reading this will MAKE you sure.

6. Why You Shouldn’t Write for Content Mills

Blog: The Matador Network

Author: Michelle Schusterman

Michelle writes, “Still…work hard on queries and send them out daily on the off-chance of getting a response months from now, or write the toilet vent piece for a guaranteed, immediate $15? I went the mill route. Here’s why I shouldn’t have.”

7. Content Mills: Why Aspiring Writers Should Avoid Them

Blog: Make a Living Writing

Author: Carol Tice

Not only do content mills not give you the experience you need to become a better — and better paid — writer, but the whole content mill model is at risk of dying. Carol offers these and more reasons why you should steer clear of content mills.

8. 3 Things Writing for Content Mills Can Teach You About Freelance Writing

Blog: The Writing Base

Author: Samar Owais

One lesson learned from this post: “There’s nothing like earning $5 an article to make you realize you’re never going to achieve your goals if you keep writing for these rates.”

9. 6 Crucial Lessons from Writing for Content Mills

Blog: Be a Freelance Blogger

Author: Shannon Cutts

What writing for content mills has given you: You have a thick skin, good self discipline, and a warrior mentality. Now, Shannon wants you to use those winning traits to land decent paying work!

10. 5 Pros and 5 Cons Using Content Mills to Start Your Freelance Writing

Blog: Freelance Writers: Expertise for Newbies

Author: Melony Candea

One notable “con” of writing for the mills: “It is a plain, hard truth that you can’t use a lot of your content mill experiences to sell yourself to quality sites once you’re ready. It doesn’t matter how well written the pieces are, the sites themselves have a slight smear on them within the writing community.”

11. Quit Getting Paid Peanuts: 10 Tips for Freelance Writers

Blog: SuccessWorks

Author: Heather Lloyd-Martin

A big takeaway from this post is that if you don’t think your writing is worth much, clients won’t either. Here’s what to do about it.

13. So You Want To Make A Living Writing? 13 Harsh Truths.

Blog: Write on the River

Author: Bob Mayer

Think everyone’s doing better than you, and it makes you want to just give up and stick with the mills? Love this quote: “People lie. Writers are professional liars. I’ve listened to keynotes from writers and known they weren’t telling the truth. I’ve seen ‘deals’ posted in Publishers Marketplace and known the agent was grossly exaggerating the sale. No one blogs about ‘my career has gone down the crapper.’ Nope. People talk about good things. So don’t let it discourage you when everyone seems to be doing better than you.”

14. How I Make a Living as a Writer and You Can Too

Blog: James Altucher Confidential

Author: James Altucher

Learn the realities of writing for money, including Altucher’s revelations that platforms are shit and bookstores suck. An eye-opener!

15. The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living

Blog: Copyblogger

Author: Sonia Simone

Here are all the intangibles you need to make a living writing, from love to confidence to support. But don’t be fooled — this post goes beyond touchy-feely sentiments to share some key real-world insights.

16. How To Make A Living As An Author: Joanna Penn With Mark McGuinness

Blog: The Creative Penn

Author: Joanna Penn

Here’s how bestselling author went from writer to successful author-entrepreneur. My favorite line from this post: “Stop thinking like needy artists or freelancers living hand to mouth, and start thinking and acting like creative entrepreneurs.”

17. 3 Ways to Escape the Content Mills & Earn More as a Freelance Writer

Blog: The Renegade Writer

Author: Linda Formichelli

I think it’s important for writers to know there is a VAST, good-paying market in between content mills and hard-to-break-into magazines and businesses.

18. 8 Strategies to Building Your Freelance Writing Career

Blog: The Writer’s Dig at Writer’s Digest

Author: Brian Klems

Lots of good, solid nuts-and-bolts advice that will help you pitch your way to success in a market Brian says is getting easier to break into — thanks to email and the Internet.

19. So You Want to Be a Freelance Writer

Blog: Freelancers Union

Author: Kate Hamill

Kate, head of the Freelancers Union, gives the scoop on starting a freelance writing business.

20. Creating a Stronger Freelance Writing Business

Blog: Words on the Page

Author: Lori Widmer

A sample of the “why didn’t I think of that?” advice you’ll find in this post: “Look where others aren’t–right at the doorsteps of the companies and people you want to work with. Suppose you write about organic gardening. What associations cover that industry? Who are the experts? The PR firms? What publications support the growers, suppliers, manufacturers, or organic landscapers? Go to the sources themselves with your pitch. Do your homework, write your introductory letter, and follow up in a few weeks.”

21. To Become a Successful Freelance Writer, Start Here

Blog: Make a Living Writing

Author: Carol Tice

Are you one of those aspiring writers who says, “I’ll get started as soon as I determine my niche/decide on a business name/learn this fancy word processing program”? Carol tells you how and why you need to just take action NOW.

22. How to Stay Sane While Building Your Writing Career Part Time

Blog: The Write Life

Author: Ali Luke

Some core takeaways from this post: Be realistic, look into cutting down on your non-writing activities, and create systems that work for you.

23. 3 Secrets to Quickly Grow Your Freelance Writing Income

Blog: Make a Living Writing

Author: Carol Tice

Spoiler alert: Use your job and educational background to score gigs, even if these aren’t the topics you’re passionate about right now.

Yeah, But How Do I Actually GET These Lucrative Writing Assignments?

Somehow I knew you would ask that. :) So I gathered posts that outline the very basics on breaking into several different kinds of writing that can pay well. If one type calls out to you, you can do some Google-fu to dig deeper into the details.

First, a couple posts that outline all your options for writing niches that are worth pursuing:

24. What Kind of Writer Do You Want to Be?

Blog: Writing-World.com

Author: Terje Johansen

Wow! Get all the details on 25 types of writing to choose from — from technical writing to resume writing to journalism.

25. 105 Ways to Make a Living Writing in 2015

Blog: All Indie Writers

Author: Jenn Mattern

From ad copy to write papers, this list offers 105 ways for writers to make money, well, writing. My fave quote: “If you aren’t sure where to start, or if you’re worried that there aren’t enough potential writing gigs to go around, consider this: Just about everything involves a writer in some way.”

And now, the newbie guides to breaking into better writing niches:

Copywriting 101

Freelance copywriters can earn $50, $100, and more per hour for writing ad copy, brochures, newsletters, product descriptions, and more.

26. How to Become a Master Copywriter in Just One Year

Blog: The Write Life

Author: James Chartrand

I love how this post doesn’t promise instant riches, and also delves into some of the mental aspects of becoming a copywriter.

27. How to Become a Freelance Copywriter

Blog: CopyHackers

Author: Joanna Wiebe

Solid details on how to build a portfolio, find clients, and more.

28. The Freelance Copywriter’s Unfair Marketing Advantage

Blog: Copyblogger

Author: Brian Clark

Being a successful copywriter is about a LOT more than knowing how to write well. Brian discusses how to differentiate yourself from all the other copywriters out there.

Online Writing 101

Basically any writing for an online market counts here: Web copy, online newsletters, articles, and other types of writing that appear on the web. Pay varies widely, but bigger businesses tend to pay more moolah.

29. How I Make My Living as an Online Writer (And How You Could Too)

Blog: Aliventures

Author: Ali Luke

Ali earns not just from her writing online, but from affiliated activities like coaching and running a membership site. Here’s the scoop on how, why, and how much each earns.

30. How to Make Money Writing for the Web

Blog: The Writer’s Dig at Writer’s Digest

Author: Brian Klems

Brian leaves nothing out of this informative post — from websites that list paying freelance jobs to tips on the craft of writing for the web.

Content Marketing 101

Content marketing is writing that’s meant to entertain and educate with an eye to garnering readers, loyalty, and sales — and can include blog posts, e-mail newsletters, and more. Pay varies, but many businesses are learning it’s worth it to pay more for good content.

31. How Freelancers Can Break Into Content Marketing Writing

Blog: WordCount: Freelancing in the Digital Age

Author: Jennifer Gregory

Jennifer outlines the steps to becoming a content marketing writer in this post that includes a load of great resource links.

32. Getting Started as a Content Marketer

Blog: The Content Marketing Institute Blog

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Not exactly a blog post, but a web page by industry pro Joe Pulizzi that offers up a list of resources for newbies who want to break into content marketing.

33. Epic Content Marketing: How Business Writers Can Profit From The
Content Megatrend

Blog: High-Income Business Writing with Ed Gandia

Author: Ed Gandia

Ed interviews content marketer extraordinaire Joe Pulizzi (does that name sound familiar? :) to get the scoop on what content marketing is and why it’s a good market for freelance writers.

Magazine Writing 101

This is MY baby, and let me tell you: Some magazines pay zilch, while top markets can pay $2 per word and up. I’ve actually been paid well over $2,500 for a single article for a newsstand magazine. Other magazine markets that pay include trade publications, custom publications, and online magazines. If you’re interested in breaking into this market, you may want to check out Carol Tice’s and my upcoming Pitch Clinic class. We show you how to write a killer query or letter of introduction, and we two magazine editors on staff to critique your homework!

34. How to Get Paid to Write for Magazines: The Ultimate Guide

Blog: Boost Blog Traffic

Author: Linda Formichelli (Who is that chick, anyway?)

I know this is one of mine, but it really is an ultimate guide! Get the details on who will buy your articles and how to pitch them.

35. How to Write for Major Magazines

Blog: AboutFreelance.com

Author: Allena Tapia

Allena has some great tips on which editors to pitch and how to flatter your way to success as a magazine writer.

Blogging 101

Want write blog posts for clients? Lots of businesses are realizing the value of maintaining an interesting updated blog, and they’re looking for writers who can make it happen. Pay varies, but $50-$75 per post is common, and you typically don’t have to do all the research and interviewing you’d do for a magazine article. You can also earn money from your own blog through selling products, running ads, and doing affiliate marketing.

36. How to Start Earning from Your Blog – Right Away

Blog: Write to Done

Author: Carol Tice

Carol lists a bunch of ways to attract blogging clients — but notes that if clients aren’t coming to you, you need to reach out to them. (And she has tips for that too!)

37. How to Become a Highly Paid Freelance Blogger

Blog: Writing Happiness

Author: Marya Jan

Choose a niche, gather testimonials, and blog your butt off! These and more tips will help you get started as a paid blogger.

38. How to Become a Freelance Blog Writer

Blog: Freelance Switch

Author: Leo Babauta

Lots of advice for the blogging newbie. One great tip: “Once you’ve got some subscribers (a couple hundred would be awesome), don’t submit your stuff to the social media — let your readers do it for you. And they will, if the article is worthy. If it’s not worthy, you don’t want to submit it anyway. The effect of a popular article — or more accurately, a few popular articles — is big, in terms of becoming a freelancer. It gets you noticed by other blogs, and they’re your real market.”

Self-Publishing E-books 101

Self-publishing is tough to earn a lot from, but even so it beats the hell out of the content mills. You own your content and can sell it wherever and however you like, and online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble make the selling process simple. My Amazon titles earn me a few thou in royalties every year.

39. How Can the Average Writer Make Money Self Publishing E-Books?

Blog: The Writer’s Dig at Writer’s Digest

Author: Brian Klems

A very thorough discussion of the ins and outs of publishing e-books, especially hitting that sweet spot with pricing.

40. Self Publishing Podcast 116: What We’d Do If We Were Just Starting Out

Blog: The Self-Publishing Podcast

Author: Jacob Tullos

This podcasts addresses such newbie questions as: Should I start a blog? What should I blog about? Should I write a full novel or focus on shorter books? Should I break in with a series or release a standalone title first?

41. How to Make Money on Ebooks

Blog: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing

Author: JA Konrath

JA Konrath makes a living from self publishing, and in this post he gives an overview of what it takes — including a Q&A of common newbie questions and a pro/con list for traditional vs. self publishing.

Ghostwriting 101

Ghostwriters can make a mint penning books, articles, and blog posts under their clients’ names. I’ve ghostwritten a couple of small Chicken Soup books that paid $5,000 each, and know from experience that series like Idiot’s Guides and Dummies books (though you’re technically a “co-author,” not strictly a ghostwriter, because your name appears under the subject matter expert’s name on the cover) can pay $10,000 and up.

42. How I Ghostwrite Other Writers’ Books

Blog: The Write Practice

Author: Joe Bunting

Joe offers a thorough discussion on the ethics of ghostwriting, how to land gigs, and the process for ghostwriting a book.

43. How to Be a Ghostwriter

Blog: Standout Books

Author: Robert Wood

I love how this post outlines the different types of ghostwriting you can get into, and gives advice on breaking into this niche.

44. So You Want My Job: Ghostwriter

Blog: The Art of Manliness

Author: Brett & Kate McKay

The authors interview Dean Zatkowsky , who averages $150 per hour for ghostwriting. Lots of great info on what to expect if you want to get into this field.

And that’s 44 posts to help you break out of the content mills, say buh-bye to writing for peanuts, and make a good living as a freelance writer. If you enjoyed this post, please share with all your writer friends via email, on Twitter, and on Facebook!

Happy writing,

Linda Formichelli

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49. Make the Most of Business Opportunities Without Getting Overwhelmed

Today, everyone is pressed for time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. You may be trying to squeeze writing and marketing time in while working full time and taking care of a family. You may be trying to s-t-r-e-c-h time to get as much done as possible. You may be trying to do it all. Well, before you take on too much and finally break the ‘camel’s back,’ take a step

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50. Emotional Marketing and Samsung

Today you can get confused with all the different marketing strategies there are at your disposal. There is: Content marketing Contextual marketing Inbound marketing Video marketing Affiliate marketing SEO marketing B2B marketing B2C marketing Email marketing Social media marketing The list can go on and on. There’s also emotional marketing. Buffer Social explains that new research has

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