Marketing a New Book Release: 9 Tips You HAVE to See #motownwriters

Marketing a New Book Release: 9 Tips You HAVE to See

Over the past 10 years, I’ve written more than 40 books and learned countless lessons along the way. I’m both traditionally and self-published, which is one of many factors that can affect marketing possibilities. Readers also react differently between genres — or even between books or series by the same author. Testing is critical, and things can change.

My top nine list below contains the tactics that consistently deliver the best results for me when marketing a new book release. If you feel overwhelmed, remember: All marketing is optional, so please only do what you have time, money, and energy for, and experiment to see what works the best for you.

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Be Your OWN Publicist via @pamperry #motownwriters

Expert Author Pam Perry

When marketing make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read. -Leo Burnett, advertising legend

I saw the PR person rise up out of a lot of people during a recent national Talk Show host contest. People were tooting their “OWN” horn and getting eyeballs to their video audition. And racking in votes! I saw one contestant with more than three million votes. That’s a lot of exposure!

Some took it a bit further and leveraged their audition to get media coverage. They wrote a press release, called their local news station or local newspaper – and BAM – they got a media hit. Not front page story, but some traditional media exposure none the less.

What was their “hook” that led to the media interest? Basic “local guy/girl goes for the big time.” People love to cheer for the underdog and are always fans of folks from their hometown.

It was cute human interest story – nice video and sound bite. Great plug for the national show (the station was a local affiliate.)

Hey, whether they win or lose, they got folks buzzing about them. They got their “15 minutes of fame.” And the TV station got folks tuning in watching the new national TV show which led into their early evening news program. Public Relations (PR) is great when it’s a win-win for everyone!

Which is what people want, right? Publicity is about amplifying your message to the masses – typically through radio, TV or print. But in today’s digital world, by increasing your online presence through social media you can be your own publicist. You could have the next “viral” video sensation by having your YouTube video viewed by millions.

And you know happens when you are a top video on YouTube? You hit the radar of the media. CNN regularly features the top YouTube videos on their program – and print reporters search the web looking for what’s hot. So can you be found? Are you ready for Oprah?

Here’s a few tips to get your PR Mojo Moving:

1. Have a solid brand. Make sure your stuff is tight and right. From your logo, to your tagline, to your website URL, to your professional email (no Gmail, AOL or Yahoo, please!), to your email signature, to your photo and other graphics. Have everything matching – and make sure nothing is random.

2. Position yourself as an expert. One of the quickest ways to do this is to write a book. Even if you don’t become a best-selling author, you would have instant credibility. Write columns for local newspapers or magazines in your niche. Do your own seminars. Host an event where you give out awards to leaders in your field. Have tons of testimonials on your website. Be seen at the right conferences talking/connecting with the right people. Capture that on video or in photos. Post on your website and social media sites. Nothing is random, in PR, every move is strategic and deliberate.

3. Craft and distribute news releases regularly. Just make sure that are newsworthy. Submit them online to the free (or inexpensive) press release distribution services like PR Web, BlackPR, ChristianPR Group or prnewswire. Make sure you have a great press kit and/or news room on your website.

4. Get to know the media. Understand different media outlets. Subscribe to services like PitchRate, HARO or ReporterConnect to get regular emails from media folks looking for sources for stories they are working on. This is the best way for a “newbie” to land in the Wall Street Journal or Good House Keeping.

By using PR effectively you can accelerate your sales and quickly make you a household name. The first step is the most important – making sure your “BRAND ready” and that your brand delivers on its promise. That’s the bottom line.

Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps authors and speakers garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” Head over to and get more free tips. She offers help through her private mentorship program at

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What to Do Daily, Weekly and Monthly to Brand Your Book via @pamperry #motownwriters

Expert Author Pam Perry

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

Most authors will not become millionaires unless they have multiple works or multiple streams of income that can keep their income level consistent. Otherwise, they will not be able to give up their “day jobs.”

But there are ways to build momentum, expand your platform and solidify your brand so you are successful. Most authors tell me, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to next” or “I hit a brick wall – and I can’t seem to get motivated to market anymore.”

You can market yourself everyday just by doing these things. When I coach clients, these are the things I tell them to do on an ongoing basis:


  • Attend a writers meeting or critique group.
  • Ask for reviews or endorsements from those you’ve given “comp” copies too.
  • Attend a civic organization and tell the members what you do.
  • Read trade publications like Writer’s Digest or The Writer.
  • Take a teleclass or attend another type of live internet event.
  • Look for contests you can enter or awards you can nominate yourself for.
  • Create a YouTube video message or be a guest on a local cable show.
  • Hold or plan a teleseminar.
  • Update your media list & research for new ones to add.
  • Invite a media person you’ve admired to lunch.
  • Participate at an event by speaking, presenting or teaching.
  • Write articles and submit to article directories.
  • Post reviews of other books you’ve read on Amazon.
  • Write and post press releases.
  • Write and pitch feature stories to the media.
  • Create and distribute an online or direct mail newsletter.
  • Reach out to bloggers and see if you can do a “blog tour” with them.
  • Meet with your advisors, mentors or “master mind” partners.
  • Add additional information to your website or blogsite (i.e. a blog article, a link).
  • Keep in touch with key bookstores that are selling your books.
  • Email mini-courses to those who sign up via an Eblast that you send out.
  • Manage back end tasks such as customer support, accounting, sales, etc.
  • Look for easier ways to do business. Ask others what systems they use.


  • Give someone you meet one of your books and follow up in 30 days.
  • Visit an online forum and participate or get some PR coaching.
  • Look for new articles to read on internet marketing and joint ventures (Google).
  • Listen to podcasts (look for the topic of interest online in a podcast directory).
  • Send an eblast to your email list – giving them a tip or link to blog post you found helpful.
  • Mail a handwritten note or postcard to someone you met in person or connect with online.
  • Post to your blog & add a new feature to “amp” it up (get cues from other blogs).
  • Drop postcards or bookmarks at places where you regularly go – bookstores, libraries, hair salons, cleaners, restaurants, coffee shops.
  • Update your website or blogsite by adding current “media hits” and interviews.
  • Send an email to someone online you would like to connect with.
  • Interact with a “group” on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Get to know the key authors / leaders in your field. Follow their blogs or Google them to see what they are up to.
  • Keep track of your stats on your website, blogs and Ezine opens.
  • Do at least one blog talk show or at the very least call-in to one.
  • Post a bulletin on your MySpace or Facebook and add some new blogs.


  • Write. Write. Write. That’s your main job. Content is king!
  • Read some trade pubs or read magazines in your niche.
  • Comment on someone else’s blog.
  • Make a phone call to a media outlet you’d like to be featured on.
  • Read the daily newspapers looking for topics you can comment on.
  • Scan columns by the regular columnists and give feedback their blogs.
  • Add friends to your Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn accounts.
  • Follow someone new on Twitter or Shelfari.
  • Add people to your database that you meet or have not been in touch with (with permission).
  • Add an automatic signature to all the emails your answer.
  • Twitter by sending a link to your blog, or a favorite blog, or a free report they can download.
  • Participate in message boards, chat group or yahoo groups that are industry related. This helps to increase exposure and give your information to stay on the cutting-edge.

For a creative writer and author, time is managed with calendars – not with clocks. What you are doing is leaving a virtual “footprint” everywhere you go – online and offline. These elements can be implemented with little or no outside help.

If implemented correctly and consistently, these mini-marketing tactics can help revolutionize your ministry or business in no time. By continually branding yourself with the key message of your platform, people will come to you for information and expertise.

Remember to have a marketing mindset and let people know why they should buy your book (mention the benefits of what the book will do for them.) Keep the main thing “the main thing” – focus on changing lives and making an impact for the Kingdom.

Building solid relationships is critical at every stage of branding. Don’t expect instant results though. Trust is the basis of all relationships. Trust is never freely given – trust is earned. Demonstrate your solid commitment and be willing to stay the course.

Pam Perry is known as the “PR Guru”, “Marketing Whiz” and “Social Media Expert” by the national media such as Detroit Free Press, Publisher’s Weekly and Gospel Today magazine. She was named one of the Top 50 Black Women Business Online by BBWO.

Perry has arguably been one of the more high-powered and visible figures in public relations. Her career serves as a notable example of the potency that personally handled promotion has acquired in the mass media. Perry’s rise in the wrangling world of publicity began when she worked in public relations and advertising. Learning the business from the inside out, Perry and eventually formed her own firm, Ministry Marketing Solutions, Inc. To see how she help clients achieve their goals, see

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Article: Everyday Activities that Definitely Count as Writing #motownwriters






Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.

Raise your hand if you’re still managing to meet your writing goals during a global pandemic.

Ha! Trick question! If you were really writing, both hands would still be on your keyboard. And you know what? That’s okay! It’s hard to find the mental energy to create when so much of it is consumed by work, social distancing, missing friends and loved ones, keeping kids safe during the new school year, and just trying to stay alive. If you’re stressing about your writing career, go easy on yourself—you’re already doing a lot more than you think. A lot of your daily tasks are perfectly valid parts of the writing process. Don’t believe me? Let’s review a few everyday tasks that totally count as writing time.


  • Outline. Create a roadmap of where you want your story to go.
  • Research. Such a broad category, it could encompass pretty much anything, from reading up on medieval weaving techniques to eating a 2 a.m. snack that your stomach will regret come morning.


    • Daydream about your characters. Talk through your characters’ dialogue while you’re driving to pick up your groceries. Run through your villain’s monologue while you take a shower, since there’s some nice reverb in your bathroom.


    • Call your loved ones. This is basically just rehearsing dialogue. And given the fact that any of them could get sick at any time, it’s also laden with dramatic tension and foreshadowing.
    • Get into a heated argument on social media.

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Article: How To Reboot A Flagging Author Career With Michaelbrent Collings #motownwriters

What happens when you’ve written award-winning books, get amazing reviews from readers, and your sales still start a downward spiral? You can give up writing — or you can take a step back, review your catalog, figure out a plan and up-skill, then reboot your author career.

In this episode, Michaelbrent Collings shares how he ended up delivering pizza to support his family because his sales had stalled and how he turned it around, reinvigorating his career, taking his book sales income and reader engagement to new heights.

Show Notes

  • How to recognize when an author business needs attention and a revamp (and it’s not a craft issue!)
  • Facing reality and being honest about what needs to change
  • Marketing strategies that stopped working
  • Tips for growing an email list and using paid advertising
  • Balancing marketing and writing
  • Knowing your worth and when it’s time to outsource some of your work
  • The importance of being endlessly curious

You can find Michaelbrent Collings at and on Twitter @mbcollings

Tell us about that difficult time and how your career stalled.

Michaelbrent: Well, it did. When I say stalled, a lot of people are like slowed down, but I’m talking about, you’re flying in a World War II prop plane and the engine stops. That’s the kind of stall that I was in.

I was still writing as well, but I had a combination of physical and mental health problems. And then the changes in the marketplace. Amazon became much more of a pay for play playground to work in. All of that combined to make me say, ‘Hey, I’m going to join the fast-paced and interesting world of pizza delivery.’ I had to pay bills and I had to take a second job, which was my closest thing to having a grownup job in a decade.

Since doing that, I’ve seen a huge increase. My mailing list loan has gone from a couple of hundred to tens of thousands in the last year. And a lot of that is just due to stepping back and going, ‘What do we need now?’

It’s not the wild West. I can’t just put a book on Amazon and be one of six books and expect to sell it. There’s a lot more required now Continue reading

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Article: Book marketing tips from a first-time author #motownwriters

By Andreas Wagner

Authors often see themselves as artists. When they write their first book, things like marketing and advertising are often not on their mind.

Once the book is out there and nobody buys it, however, writers have to start thinking about how to generate attention for their book. In the weeks after I published my nonfiction book Get Rid Of Your Small Addictions through Amazon’s KDP, I faced these challenges.

Emailing friends and family

My first measure didn’t cost any money, but was very time-consuming. I went through every single contact in my address book and wrote almost everyone a personal message and sent those out on the day of the launch. I even messaged some of my ex-girlfriends after I hadn’t been in touch with them for years.

Facebook for the long term . . .

Another option for free advertising that I used was to join Facebook groups about the book’s topic. If you keep engaging with other members and give them tips, you will establish yourself as a helpful member of the community, which in turn could lead to a few book sales.

. . . podcasts for the win

For short term sales success, I recommend trying to get booked on popular podcasts. This measure is also time-consuming, but for me it was lucrative.

I had to send numerous messages to podcast hosts (personalized messages are also essential here), but every time I made it onto a podcast, my sales figures went up in the following days.

Paid advertising to push up Amazon rankings

Amazon adsBooking advertising directly on Amazon through its pay-per-click service is also an option. But this is usually only profitable if cover and blurb are very appealing, you research the right keywords, and you have enough good ratings. I had to experiment quite a bit with this and lost some money.

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Article: Pandemic Got You Blocked? Try These Ideas to Stay Active in Your Writing Life #motownwriters


Hello and welcome to another Monday, in this, the year of a thousand Mondays.

I don’t want to harp on the obvious, so I’ll just summarize it like this: For many of us, 2020 feels endless and relentless. We are drowning in our feelings about the pandemic, civil unrest, and the upcoming election — and that kind of anxious uncertainty is not ideal for creative pursuits.

Some of you are doing the work anyway, somehow. In all seriousness, kudos! I am eternally impressed by those who get their shit done no matter the circumstances.

Others of us… Well, we’re trying. And that’s not nothing.

Think practical

Now is a great time to update your online presence. (Okay, it’s always a great time to update your online presence, but how many of us actually do it?)

Craft a snappy bio, and make sure it’s consistent across all your social media, and on your website, if applicable.

Wherever you keep a list of your writing credits, add in the latest and greatest.

Take a new headshot.

Think small

Look for “bite-size” opportunities. Maybe you can’t hammer out 500 words each day (or even each week) on your manuscript, but how about 100 words on a different project? Smaller scale successes are still successes, and can provide a boost in morale and momentum.

These are some of the things I do to stay active in my writing life, even when I’m not actively writing. What about you? What other writerly things can we do? Continue reading

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  • /


    Nobody likes to be scammed, right?

    Yet, there are sooooo many scams that target writers. Where there are people with dreams, there is someone looking to take advantage. From vanity presses that charge out the wazoo to folks imitating real agents (and hurting both authors and legitimate agents!) there are plenty of sharks in the water.

    Luckily, there are also lifeguards. Richard C. White came on the show and talked about Writer Beware, the anti-scam committee of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and their efforts to expose the scams and educate writers about red flags. We talked about what do look out for in publishers, services, and more. Have a listen.

    Learn more and get in touch with folks at Writer Beware:



    email: beware (at)


    More about Richard:

    Richard’s website

    Richard C. White is the author of the “For a Few Gold Pieces More” collection of dark fantasy short stories being released by Musa Publishing.

    Along with writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, Rich has been bitten by the “New Pulp” bug and has several stories coming out by Pro Se Productions in the near future. The first of his, “Notes in the Fog” has been released in the “Charles Boeckman Presents: Johnny Nickle” duology in May 2013.

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There’s no question about it. Successfully marketing your indie book can prove extremely frustrating. Often it seems an insurmountable task. Perhaps you’re asking yourself questions like Where on Earth do I begin? I’m a writer, not a salesperson! and How will my book stand out from the rest? There are so many authors vying for the same audience.

Full disclaimer: I am in the heart of the promoting process myself, currently between e-book and paperback launches. I am still figuring out a lot of it. I am not a marketing specialist, book agent, or publishing executive. I am a writer, just like you, attempting to learn the ropes of an ever-evolving industry and happy to offer both encouragement and tips I’ve found helpful. My compulsion to share my experiences with those a few steps behind me stems from both my nature as well as a reaction to the current landscape.


Now that a large bucket of cold water has been dumped on your head, let me throw you a warm, dry towel with what I’ve learned so far.

  • If you never ask, there’s no chance of getting an assist. I’m that person who hates asking for favors. My husband tries to convince me other people want to help or would at least view receiving my book for free as a worthy trade. While I’m not convinced of this (see above), the fact remains if you don’t ask, you’re sure not to get. Request to meet for coffee, exchange emails, or speak on the phone. You risk the dreaded rejection, but at least you’ll be leaving the door open for a yes somewhere down the road.
  • People love videos. There’s no denying the results. Facebook business pages allow you to see the stats, including how many views on any post.
  • There’s a treasure trove of free online education. I regularly watch YouTube and KDP University webinars and sign up for other free courses. In return, the organizers receive my email address. Seems like a good swap to me. I treat these free classes as real-life courses, taking notes and following up. The trick is to pay attention as if you will be tested on the material.
  • Organic growth before paid ads. The people who love you will want your book and happily pass the word around. These are unpaid ambassadors who represent you. Go with it.

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Article: An American Editor #motownwriters

August 7, 2020

Website changes that can lead to finding new clients

By Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader

Guest Columnist

With the pandemic dragging on in the U.S., public events such as conferences and trade shows are effectively canceled for the indefinite future. Your chance of meeting new clients (or colleagues who might refer you to new clients) in person is essentially nil, which means that your website is 10 times more important today than it was last year.

If you haven’t taken some time to refresh your site recently, now is a good time to do so.

In my last post for An American Editor, I discussed 18 questions you should ask when refreshing your site. Today I would like to share seven specific changes you can make to your site to win more clients.

Let’s start with email.

Get a professional email address

One easy way to set yourself apart from all the other editors out there is to get an email address that matches your website’s domain. Almost everyone has their email with Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or another of the big web service companies. Those services are fine, to varying degrees, but using simply looks more professional. It sends the message that you are serious enough about your work that you choose to present a professional image. (Editor’s note: It also gives you a permanent e-ddress, so you can change providers as necessary without having to notify everyone you’ve ever corresponded with about a new point of contact.)

Add a Services page

Clients can’t hire you if they don’t know what you do, and that is why your website needs one or more pages listing your services.

I used to have several service pages, each focused on a single service, but now I just have the one services page on my site. I list four services on that page, and for each service, I explain what I do and how my clients benefit. I also have a button that links to my contact form.

Pro tip: The easier you make it for a website visitor to take action, the more likely they are to become a client. (Repeat after me: A frustrated visitor is a lost client, while an engaged visitor is one step away from being a paying client.)

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Article: How to market a book even if you HATE marketing! #motownwriters

Have you published a book, but now the idea of marketing it makes your blood run cold? Don’t worry, book marketing doesn’t need to be expensive, time consuming or uncomfortable, and it’s totally possible to market a book even if you hate marketing!

Why authors dislike book marketing

If you’re finding book marketing uncomfortable, let’s think about why that might be.

First of all, many writers I know are introverts and introverts hate the idea of self promotion or talking about themselves. Plus the idea of selling sounds shallow.

Secondly, many of the authors I speak to are really afraid of coming across as a sleazy car salesman, trying to push their book on anybody and everybody who’s passing by.

Think long-term

If you intend to be a writer for the long-term, that you want this to be your long-term career, you need to think about long-term book marketing.

It’s not about you

If you’re an introvert, then you probably dislike the idea of marketing and self promotion. But here’s the thing, it’s not about pushing your book, it’s not about pushing yourself, it is about connecting with those ideal readers and presenting your book as an ideal offer for them.

This post is an excerpt of my original post that can be read in full at, by

Belinda K Griffin

Book Launch Coach & Author Publicity Expert at

Download your free guide: 7 Steps To Grow Your Author Platform

How to market a book even if you HATE marketing!

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how to change your kindle keywords

Did you know you can change your book’s keywords anytime you want?

In fact, it usually takes Amazon just 24 hours to reflect changes you make, and with the right keyword strategy, this can revive a book that hasn’t been getting consistent sales.

But, in order to do this effectively, you need to have a reliable process. There is actually a best-practice for how and when to change your book’s keywords. And if you don’t follow it, you might accidentally hurt your book sales.

So, in this article, you will learn:

  • What happens when you change keywords
  • My process for how to change your keywords effectively
    • Poor cover
    • Poorly written book description
    • Cover + title + subtitle doesn’t tell the shopper enough about the book
    • Poor reviews
    • Ranking for keywords that are not a good representation of your book
    • Choosing broad keywords that don’t truly fit
    • tep-by-step instructions for actually changing your keywords


      So, first things first, let’s discuss what happens when you select keywords for your book.

      When you fill in your 7 kindle keyword boxes, you tell Amazon what words or phrases you want your book to show up for.

      keyword rankings when conversions are poor

      So, what makes a book fail at converting for keywords? Well, here are a few things:.

      • Poor cover
      • Poorly written book description
      • Cover + title + subtitle doesn’t tell the shopper enough about the book
      • Poor reviews
      • Ranking for keywords that are not a good representation of your book
      • Choosing broad keywords that don’t truly fit

      So, what does this mean for you?

      If you select your keywords, and your book does well with them, Amazon will rank you for more and will help show up more often. If your book doesn’t do well, then your book’s ranking for those keywords will drop and ultimately, your book will disappear from those searches on Amazon


      If you haven’t made any sales or KU page reads, then you should change them and see if that can help get you back in the spotlight. I’d also recommend looking at the bullet points above and asking yourself why your original strategy didn’t work. Was it because you used the wrong keywords or phrases that didn’t fit or get traffic? Was it because your book needs improvements? Diagnosing the problem can definitely help


      A lot of times when you change your keywords you will see a bump in sales. The bump in sales happens because there’s some new life Amazon picks up on. They reindex you and they kind of give you a little bit more love just to see if you should be higher in the rankings.

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By Penny Sansevieri

There isn’t a secret formula for executing the perfect book launch. There are numerous factors in play that are constantly changing, from news and popular culture, to the publishing industry, to what just plain work in marketing and promotion.

As authors, it’s important to be flexible and adaptive to these changes and have a clear idea of how they play into our own marketing plan.

But while change is inevitable, there are still some key strategies I’ve tested and one in particular I want to share today. Though it won’t guarantee success, it has worked well for me and the authors I collaborate with, and I hope it can help you too.

The Latest Trick for How to Launch a Book

I say “trick” but this is really not a new concept. I’ve been testing it, however, and it’s worked so it’s new for me to promote so wholeheartedly.

I want to focus on the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) marketing principle that every single author needs to get intimately familiar with.

Understanding Who Your Buyers Are

Figuring out how to launch a book the right way, specifically if you want to push for pre-orders and that lucrative bestseller ranking, means you need to figure out a WIIFM offer that will really resonate with your target buyer market.

This is a great brainstorm, in general, for your ongoing marketing and not just for how to launch a book with more success. I’ve written about bonus content and special promotions before, and this plays heavily off that concept.

1. If you write non-fiction, your offer should be a bonus that supports the topic of your book or the problem you’re trying to solve for your audience. Yes, you could do something only semi-related but you’ll miss out on the psychology behind helping them make the easy choice to buy.

How to Launch a Book with this Strategy

Now, how to launch a book with a killer WIIFM concept!

It’s not as top secret as you’d think. Essentially, what you need to do is set up a very strong, short-term promotional plan to get the word out about your pre-order period and the bonus content buyers can get for purchasing your book before the release.

Yes, some of you are thinking, “That’s the big secret? Easier said than done.”

But it’s really not that complex:

1.Figure out a solid WIIFM offer. In fact, think of 2-3 and get some feedback from friends or colleagues that understand what you do and who you write for.

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Article: Writers, Are You Struggling? It’s Time to Turn the Page #motownwriters


This year’s been a bit of a nightmare, hasn’t it? It feels like we’re living in the Upside Down. Between COVID, anxiety, financial stress, (and new responsibilities if you have school-aged children), you probably haven’t written as much as you’d hoped and your other goals have been disrupted. You aren’t alone.

Not having control over our lives in such an extreme way is hard, and naturally, it impacts our mindset. We struggle. We get discouraged and pessimistic. In fact, you might be tempted to just write the year off completely…rip the 2020 calendar down, douse it in gasoline, and light it on fire along with any plans and goals.

Please don’t do this.

Goals Are Important

Every January, we writerly types perform a ritual: sit down and decide what we want to focus on during the next 12 months. Will we write a new book? Build our platform and learn everything we can about the industry? Take the leap and self-publish?

We aren’t alone in setting big goals. The rest of the world does too, in the form of business plans, marketing strategies, and heck, even New Years Resolutions. Collectively we understand that goals motivate and achievement moves us closer to the life we want. Since we view the start of a new year as a fresh beginning it’s the ideal time to chart a course toward our dreams.

Dreams Are Important

Writing a book. Publishing a book. Building a sustainable writing career. This is our collective dream – yours and mine. A crap sandwich like COVID can’t erase the fact that DREAMS MATTER. Your dreams matter. And while it’s harder than it should be for all of us right now, if at all possible, we need to find a way to keep moving toward those dreams.

When Seasons Shift, So Can We

For many, September marks a unique point in time: when summer gives way to fall. As such, this month has always had a “roll up your sleeves” feel to it: kids go back to school, adults return to work if they’ve been on holiday, and we writers head back to the keyboard in earnest after ignoring our WIP a little (or a lot) over the summer.

An Opportunity to Regroup & Refocus

The symbolic nature of fall is powerful, and we can use it to our advantage. This time of change makes it easier for us to regroup, leaving disappointment over what didn’t get accomplished or didn’t happen in the past and shift our thoughts to what can still happen. Continue reading

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Article: What—and How Much—Belongs in Your Novel? #motownwriters

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The question comes up at every conference.  How long should a novel be?  It puzzles me that this anxiety persists.  We are in a literary era that tolerates length.  Game of Thrones, anyone?  Even at 292,000 words, George Martin’s first novel in his epic series is not even in the race.  Gone with the Wind is 419,00 words long.  War and Peace is 560,000.  Even those do not compare to Marienbad My Love by Mark leach, which clocks in at 17.8 million words.

(To be fair, Marienbad My Love is an “open source” novel created by a conceptual artist and which leans heavily on found texts.  It’s a desert island story in which a filmmaker “attempts to persuade a married women (sic) from his past to help him produce a science fiction-themed pastiche to the 1960s French New Wave classic, Last Year at Marienbad.”  It includes a UFO, Nazi/alien collaborations, mind control, a Cthulu-worthy green monster and the end of the world.[1]  Plenty to say there, obviously.)

What Belongs

André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name (2007)—you may have seen the movie—is a gay love story (by a straight author, note) that tells the anguished tale of a teenage boy who falls in love with a male guest at his parent’s mansion on the Italian Riviera.  (I know, I know…poor kid.)  The time isn’t stated but the novel’s languorous pace and charming metachronous affectations, such as substituting “B.” for the name of a nearby city, suggest a closeted culture and era when same-sex love was not openly accepted.

How You know

So, how then do you know what belongs on your pages?  How much is too much?  How much is too little?

Perhaps the glib advice—as much as it takes—now makes a little more sense.  It starts with knowing your intent, which is to say what you want your readers to think, feel and experience.  If you know that then you have a measure by which to weigh the words.  Is what you’ve set down in this line…and that one…and that one…contributing to the effect you want to have?  Are you immersing us, or chilling us, or making us think? Continue reading

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