Writing and Promoting: Get the Balance Right

A couple of weeks ago Ewan Morrison published a fascinating article on epublishing and authors’ self-promotion in The Guardian.

In the article, Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors | Books | guardian.co.uk, he says:

“I’m convinced that epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months. The reason is this: epublishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn’t, and we’re just starting to get the true stats on that. When social media marketing collapses it will destroy the platform that the dream of a self-epublishing industry was based upon.”

If you’re a writer, and you aspire to self-publish, or are already doing so, it’s well worth a read.

That said, the claim that authors are spending 80% of their writing time tweeting is hyperbole. I know a lot of writers, and I don’t know anyone who’s doing that. He may be right, maybe some misguided writers are doing that. (If you’re a writer, and you’re doing that, stop it. Focus on writing, first and foremost.)

Of course social media isn’t a magic bullet. There’s no free lunch and magic bullets are always a fantasy. No writer I know is basing his marketing on social media; that would be suicide. Social media is SOCIAL, above all.

Every writer needs to balance writing and promotion. You need to do both but the writing always comes first. You can’t sell what you don’t create. Think in terms of your career; make plans for where you’ll be three and five years from today. A frantic marketing effort, at the expense of your writing, is always a mistake.

“Create and promote” has been my mantra for years. Creation and promotion go together, but creation is always more important.

Making promotions the center of your writing life is not the way to go. I’m a fan of Pareto’s 80/20 principle, however writing must form 80% of the time you have available to write. If you’re a new author, writing should take up 95% of your time, because you don’t have enough ebooks to promote. Write five or more ebooks, then think about promotions. Yes, you can use social media, but you’d be very wise NOT to make any of those sites the hub of your efforts. What happens when they vanish, as they will?

Pay attention to writing, first — never let the promotional tail wag the dog of your writing. It’s your career.

Kindle Fun: 30 Days Of Novel-Writing

I’ve been working on a series of novels for the Kindle platform since the start of the year. Everything was going well, then life and work caught up with me, and I found that my novels had been pushed to the back burner.

It occurred to me that it would be fun to create a month-long challenge. I mentioned it in my writing tips ezine, wondering whether other writers were experiencing the same difficulties in making time for their novels.

As it turns out, they were.

Here’s an excerpt of Day 9. We discussed getting ready to publish your novel, and brainstorming.

Get Ready to Publish While You’re Writing

Start thinking about publishing now, before you finish your book. I posted this article on the blog: “Kindle Publishing: 3 Simple Ways to Increase Your Sales”.

Read the article, and make some notes on what to do once you upload your novel to the Kindle book store.

Today, let’s look at a tactic which will not only help you to write, but will also help you to build your enthusiasm for your book: brainstorming ideas.

Brainstorm Ideas: Ten Ideas Are Better Than One

You can brainstorm whenever you get stuck, or you can brainstorm everything. I like to brainstorm everything from titles and character names, to motivation and ideas for locations. (On Day 14, we’ll be looking at location. Your locations are as important as characters in your novel.)

I do a lot of brainstorming, in every draft. I FORCE myself to come up with ideas. There’s a reason for this. The first idea which pops into your head might be great. However, that’s unlikely. It’s much more likely that the tenth, or 20th idea, will be just what you need.

Try to surprise yourself. At the level of a scene, every character in the scene needs an agenda: a goal. Brainstorm a goal for every character in a scene. Rarely will a character reveal his/ her goal. This means that every character in your scene is hiding something. Brainstorm characters’ secrets before you write a scene. Your scenes will be suspenseful. Your readers will keep reading.

Want to join the Challenge? You can. :-) You may surprise yourself at how much you get done in 30 days.

Three Ghostwriter Secrets For Writing Your Book

Ghost 1

I’m a ghostwriter, so I write books and book proposals for my clients.

Let me share three secrets that ghostwriters know. They may help you to write.

1. Write your book proposal first — it’s a business plan for your book

Even if you have no intention of going the traditional publishing route — you intend to self-publish — creating a book proposal first helps you to write the book you should be writing.

I like to create a blurb first. What’s a blurb? As this post, The Keys to a Great Book Proposal | The Steve Laube Agency, puts it:

“Back Cover Blurb: In two or three short paragraphs, make me want to buy your book. Take the time to make this sparkle, because great back cover copy will help sell me on your book, then the editor, then the pub board, then marketing, then your readers.”

Your blurb keeps you on track. All books morph as you write them. Your blurb reminds you what you’re writing.

If you’re writing a mystery, make sure that there’s a mystery to solve. If you’re writing a book of seafood recipes, every recipe must contain seafood, or be a recipe for something you could eat or drink with seafood…

2. Ground your book in daily life

Novelists and short story writers are told to “show, not tell”, and this applies to your book too, no matter what you’re writing.

Use the evidence of your senses, such as touch, taste, and smell, to ground your book. Your writing will be real. You’ll show, rather than tell.

3. Start anywhere you like

You don’t have to write from the first chapter to the last. You can start anywhere. When you begin writing each day, go where your energy directs you.

If you force yourself to write sequentially, and you’re bored, your reader will be bored too. Your own energy is the perfect guide. Follow your energy.

Writing a book is hugely satisfying. There’s nothing like the feeling of holding your own book in your hands for the first time, or for seeing it on bookstore shelves. Have fun writing. :-)

Kindle Publishing: Write a Book and Get Published

Kindle Publishing  It’s never been easier to write a book and get it published. Once your book is written, you can upload it to Amazon so that it’s available for millions of people to buy.

A research study suggested that 10 per cent of the adult population of the US wants to write a book. If you would like to, it’s no longer a dream. You can act on your inspiration with confidence.

You may be wondering how much this will cost you. Amazon Kindle publication is free. There’s no charge for publishing your book, although of course Amazon keeps a portion of sales. Nevertheless, Amazon will give you a healthy share of the profits. All that’s required is for you to write.

Can’t write? If you’d like to have a book published under your name, but don’t want to write it, you can hire a ghostwriter.

Ghostwriters have always written a good percentage of published books, especially bestselling books. Celebrities, business leaders, and others don’t have time to write, so they hire writers.

Although many people want to publish a book for the satisfaction of having done it, many more want to make money from their efforts.

You can certainly treat writing books as a profitable business.

The first step is to decide what you will write — or what you’ll hire someone to write for you. Published books may be either fiction, or nonfiction. Fiction means novels and short stories. Nonfiction works are factual, and include biographies, how-to books, recipe books and many different kinds of reference books.

If your goal is income, rather than creative satisfaction, you should probably decide to write nonfiction. For nonfiction, writing ability is less critical. On the other hand, fiction is entertainment — you need to manipulate the reader’s emotions. This takes skill.

When choosing a topic, think about your own life experiences. If you can teach a skill, then you already have the topic for your book. Alternatively you can research a topic, in order to write a book based on the experiences of others.

Of course, you won’t be able to publish your book alone. As Kindle publication becomes more competitive, authors are hiring editors and proofreaders as well as cover illustrators to give their books a professional appearance. They want to get as high a reader feedback rating on Amazon as they can; this leads to more sales.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to write a book and get published, start today.

Want help writing your book? Contact me to discuss my book marketing and promotion services.