#motownwriters Article: 50 Books For 50 States: A Literary Road Trip Across The USA #amreading

Longing to hit the open road but unwilling to suffer the potential health risks at this uneasy moment in history? If months of self-isolation has left you feeling a bit restless—particularly in these temptingly bright days of early summer—you’re not alone. But you’re also not alone in your hesitancy to begin traveling again. And for all my fellow would-be explorers: you’re in luck.

read more https://www.forbes.com/sites/katherineparkermagyar/2020/06/17/50-books-for-50-states-a-literary-road-trip-across-america/#88205ac2fa19

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Article: Building an Author Platform Guest Post #motownwriters

Building an Author Platform

Guest Post by Yen Cabag

Nowadays, writing is only one part of becoming a successful book author. The other part is something many aspiring authors frown upon, but it is absolutely necessary: Building an author platform.

Does every author need an author platform?

One way of looking at it is this: let’s say you were buying makeup or some other beauty product, and you went online looking for a website and couldn’t find any. How would that make you feel? Wouldn’t it make you wonder if the product was manufactured in some grimy garage? Chances are, you would think twice about buying it again!

As an author, you also face a similar challenge: Readers will be more comfortable buying books from someone they’re relatively familiar with. And the other side of the picture is just as important: Publishers and bookstores are always more willing to take on someone who has a solid following.

What is an author platform?

An author platform refers to the name you build as an author, which includes the number of people that you reach. The bigger your following, the bigger audience you have for anything you publish. This makes publishers more willing to invest in your book and gives you a greater chance for more people to know about your book!

Maintain a blog. The key here is to think of giving value to others. Creating a blog gives you a place where you can offer your thoughts for free. Focus on developing useful content, and the more people that you end up helping, the bigger the chance that they will be interested in anything else you have to say.

One important note: when you blog, be sure to learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO), since that will help the public find your posts.

Offer giveaways. Connected with giving value, people love giveaways. Just make sure you present the giveaways as something celebratory, and not as a desperate ploy to get people to do stuff for you.

Build your email list. As you start your website and blog, find ways to build an email list. People who sign up for free reports or free inside information that you give away on your blog can be a good audience for future marketing programs for your book.

Remember to choose the book promotion sites that match your genre. Some book promotion sites focus only on specific genres, so knowing which ones work best for you can save you a lot of effort.

Be effective on social media. Different people have different views on the role of social media in building an author platform. In any case, choose the social media outlet that you are most comfortable with, as that will shine through in the way you post updates. For example, some authors prefer to use Facebook, while others are more comfortable with Twitter or Instagram. The key is to choose what you enjoy using, so that you can do it without any pressure.

Building an Author Platform

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Article: Weaving the Backstory #motownwriters

 posted in: Writing Craft  1


photo by anne hawkinson
Photo by Anne Hawkinson

When you write a series, you hope your readers will start the journey as you did — with the first book. That may not always be the case. Readers may pick up a book midway through the series or find one out of sequence that grabs their attention. As a writer, it’s your challenge to ensure that any book in a series is a satisfying, engaging experience.

Stand Alone

This may seem contradictory to the concept of a series, but each book must stand on its own, two feet. Sure, readers in mid-series will miss a lot of what happened before, but you can’t bring all of that forward (Hopefully they’ll be inspired to go back and start at the beginning!) However, they’ll need to have enough backstory to get firm footing in that one, individual book. If it’s not there, they’ll get confused, frustrated, and set your book aside.

Bits of Subtlety

Informational lists are handy but not entertaining. Weave backstory in as part of a conversation, a physical description, or a particular place, date, or time. “Her mind alerted her to the trauma she’d endured the last time she was in the glade.” Now you have the perfect opening to provide some details the reader needs without knocking them over the head with them. “He had the telltale, mis-matched eyes of his biological father, not the one who raised him.” What about the eyes? Who is the real father? What happened to him? Now you’ve piqued the interest of your reader. The subtle bits you weave not only help your reader with the current book they’re reading, it can also inspire them to go back and learn more about your characters and their relationships in the earlier books.


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Article: Cross Promotional Marketing Tips for Self-Publishers #motownwriters

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As the name suggests, the concept of “self” publishing centers around the idea of an author bringing a book to market on their own.

It’s a fact that many writers covet the idea of being able to publish their fiction and non-fiction works without having to jump through the typical hoops, barriers and gatekeepers associated with the industry such as publishing agents and houses.

The advent of self-publishing has made it relatively easy for just about anyone to turn their thoughts and ideas into a manuscript that can then be published in print or digital format with just a fraction of the time, effort and money that it used to take with one of the more traditional avenues.

If you’ve already been flying solo with your book publishing efforts you may feel like you can find your success without help from anyone else. You definitely can, however, even the most independent self-publisher can benefit from combining their efforts with the efforts of others in order to achieve a mutually beneficial and common goal.

One example of this is using cross promotional marketing to improve the visibility of your brand and offers.

What is Cross Promotional Marketing?

Cross promotional marketing means targeting customers interested in a specific product with the promotion of a different but related product.

Here’s an example….

Imagine that you’ve just written a book that teaches readers about the basics of starting an online business. Next, imagine that you’d previously written a book that outlines the steps one needs to take in order to start a WordPress blog.

How Do You Market Using Cross Promotion?  

If you’re wondering exactly how cross promotional marketing works and how you can use it to improve your book selling prospects, there are several different methods you can try that each have the potential to boost your business results.

Imagine for a second that you could double, triple or quadruple your audience overnight with just a click of a button? What would it mean for your business to have 4 or more times the pre-qualified eyeballs than you have now seeing your offers on a regular basis?

It is very possible if you partner with other authors and cross promote your offers to each other’s lists.

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#MotownWriters: Word of the Day: Proboscis #wotd

Part of speech: noun
Origin: Greek, early 17th century

The nose of a mammal, especially when it is long and mobile such as the trunk of an elephant or the snout of a tapir.


(in many insects) an elongated sucking mouthpart that is typically tubular and flexible.

Examples of Proboscis in a sentence

“At the zoo I had the chance to watch an anteater use its proboscis to stir up the dirt and eat insects.”

“The garden was planted with flowers known to have pollen to attract bees and other insects with a proboscis.”

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Article: How to and (Especially) How Not to Write About Family #motownwriters

Today’s post is by Sharon Harrigan (@harrigan_sharon), whose novel Half is available now.

Writing about the people you are closest to can be one of the most rewarding experiences a writer can have—but also the scariest. This is a big topic, so I will cover it in two parts. First: what to put on the page. And second: how to deal with your subjects’ reactions to what you write about them.

Let’s start, as some of my favorite memoirs do, with a cliffhanger. Here is what you should not do: When your publisher gives you a January 1 deadline for submitting the final manuscript, you should not print out a copy for each of your family member-characters and send those copies all at the same time, which guarantees you will receive their responses right before Christmas.

But who would do that? Such recklessness would be really dumb, right? I know. At least I know now. But I’ll get back to my own experience later—so you can learn from my mistakes. First, let’s talk about best practices when writing about your family. (All quotes are from Writing Hard Stories, edited by Melanie Brooks.)

Don’t worry about what your family will think when you’re writing the first draft.

One way to invite writer’s block is to imagine the people you are writing about looking over your shoulder. “I try to just write alone and worry about the publishing part later,” Joan Wickersham says. “My feeling is you can write whatever you want, and then you think about it again when it’s time to publish.”

Richard Hoffman adds, “Writing and publishing are two different things. Don’t confuse them. As soon as you start thinking, I could never publish that, then the censor is in the room with you crossing stuff out as fast as you can write it. You can’t work that way.”

Your family will react.

What kind of reactions will you get from your family—whether they see the memoir before or after it is published? I posed this question to an online group of memoirists and received a wide range of answers. Some told me their families had threatened to sue or cut them out of their wills. One writer said her sister refused to talk to her for a long time, but she thought the rift was caused by jealousy not injury. And sometimes people respond in surprising ways. Instead of wanting you to take them out of your book, they will complain because they are not in the spotlight more. Edwidge Danticat says, “My brothers asked why the book was all about me. I said, Because I’m the one writing it.”

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Article: How to Get More Media Exposure for Your Book #motownwriters

Reading Time: 4 minutesThe first thing that authors often ask me is: “How do I get on the Today show?” When you ask this question what you actually want to know are some of the ways to get more big media exposure for your book, especially on a national scale. But if you take a look at the Today show or any large national show for that matter, you’ll see that most of them don’t showcase more than four books a year. That means that it’s really on you, the author, to find more creative ways to pitch yourself. This is something we’ll continue to break down in a series of podcasts and blogs.

Timing And Tact Are Important

Try to assume that you only get so many contacts with a single news outlet or with a particular individual, so make each one count! Educate yourself on your specific market and stay on top of that market as it appears in the news. What I recommend for our authors is to set up news alerts for the market they’re planning on targeting.

News alerts are a great way to ground yourself in how competitive your topic is, and who’s making the cut. It’s important to check out the people who are getting interviewed – I’m willing to bet they already have a solid platform behind them, that they’re putting out content regularly, and that they have at least one great social media account. Remember that successful people have put in a lot of work to get where they are.

Remember that you’re in the process of building your resume and that means that nothing is too small. In fact, lots of seemingly “small” opportunities particularly stand out when you take the next step, versus having nothing on your media resume and expecting somewhere like Today or the New York Times to take a big chance on you – spoiler alert: they want a sure thing!

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Article: Stop Staring at a Blank Page: 4 (Not So) Silly Writing Tips to Get Words on Paper #motownwiters

Image: open notepad with the word "Crap" written on the first line
Photo credit: matthewebel on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Today’s post is by editor and book coach Sandra Wendel.

Photo credit: matthewebel on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Today’s post is by editor and book coach Sandra Wendel.

Imagine the first writer’s block: perhaps a caveman with a rudimentary stick staring at a large, blank rock. Today’s equivalent of the blank rock may be a computer screen, and your process may seem like the pie chart below.

When you sit down to write (and there’s a problem right there; you may not do well sitting down), do you find yourself with a sudden urge to clean out a file drawer? Throw in a load of laundry? Search the internet for ways to clean wine stains out of carpet? Check the refrigerator for the third time? Bake a cake instead?

You have something to say, but what’s holding you back?

1. The I-Need-to-Hear-It Writer

The audio learner may well be an audio writer. You are easily distracted by sound. So the birds chirping outside take your attention away from the computer. The furnace clicking on and off, the clock ticking, the refrigerator cycling, a hum from somewhere—all distract your brain from the task at hand.


2. The I-Need-to-See-It Writer

sample storyboard with Post It notes, on easel

The visual learner needs to see the big picture. These writers make outlines (outlines can turn into the book’s table of contents). They use index cards for ideas and shuffle them or lay them out on a table to visually see the story as it unfolds. Post-It notes do the same thing when placed on a board or table, as a storyboard. Others may simply draw out the plotline through time for each character


3. The Quirky Kinesthetic Writer

Neither visual or audio driven, the kinesthetic writer needs movement, which is why sitting down at a computer/laptop isn’t going to work well. So stand up. Put your laptop on the kitchen counter. Take a walk and then come back and dump your brain onto paper.

4. Start at the Beginning—or Not

When you are wondering where to start, just jump in. Anywhere. Somewhere. And not necessarily at the beginning. Write what feels right at the moment without the pressure to start at the beginning.

People writing memoirs like to start at the beginning chronologically, and that’s fine to start with. But a smart editor can often see the big picture and move something life-defining to the opening chapter as a grabber for readers Continue reading

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Article: Writing, Pitching & Promoting in the Age of the Coronavirus #motownwriters

Stefanie Sanchez von Borstel and Leslie Zampetti

Today’s guest post is a Q&A by Sangeeta Mehta (@sangeeta_editor), a former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster, who runs her own editorial services company.

Like everyone in the book industry, writers have experienced considerable change over the last few months. Although they might be used to working from home, being forced to do so has impaired creativity and made it nearly impossible for some writers to focus. For others, being under lockdown has provided just the right push for them to finally finish their book project and research agents and publishers.

Please note: Although both agents answered my questions as best as they could when the interview was conducted in May, it’s a very changeable situation. Still, their answers suggest that it’s possible for writers to thrive even during unpredictable times.

Stefanie Sanchez von Borstel: While we’re all still deep in the pandemic, I am advising fiction writers not to center on the pandemic. We’re inundated with COVID-19 news 24/7, and so much is changing week-by-week that it would be difficult right now.

For fiction projects, at the moment I’d prefer to represent feel-good stories and stories that explore our humanity rather than pandemic fiction. As we’re all trying to figure out how best to navigate work, school and family life, I think we can all use laughter, hope and happy moments.

Leslie Zampetti: My advice to writers stands firm: write what you need to write. Write what you’re good at. Write what excites you. Trying to chase trends will drive you crazy. I do feel that writing about the pandemic while in the midst of it is challenging. Getting your thoughts and reactions down while they’re fresh, as they happen, can be cathartic and provide material for a later book, but I feel that trying to write a novel based on the pandemic means writing about events and emotions none of us have fully processed yet.

Not writing about the pandemic doesn’t mean you’re not thinking about its impacts. Leaving out those impacts will place a book solidly pre-2020, just as details about flying place a book either pre- or post-9/11. Details matter. I’m advising my clients writing contemporary fiction to think about how the pandemic would affect their characters, even if they’re not writing about it yet.

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Article: How I Hosted a Socially Distanced Book Event #motownwriters

Ed Cyzewski socially distant book event

Today’s guest post is by editor and author Ed Cyzewski (@edcyzewski).

It’s not ideal to release a book during a global pandemic with quarantines, social distancing, and limits on group gatherings.

It’s especially not ideal to release my current book about the many unintended and unforeseen consequences of smartphones and social media at a time when we are especially dependent on social media and digital devices to stay connected!

print / ebook

Authors throughout my networks are cancelling appearances at conferences, bookstores, and other events. As a small-time author in a small Kentucky town, working with a relatively small press, even I have had to dramatically change the marketing plan for my latest book Reconnect: Spiritual Restoration from Digital Distraction.

Reconnect talks about the ways social media manipulates us, how our digital activities shape us, and how spiritual practices can lead us to greater freedom and health. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was working hard to avoid a dependence on social media for my book’s marketing.

That all changed with the many lockdowns and “healthy at home” policies.

Nevertheless, when local friends asked how they could buy a book from me in person, I decided to figure out a simple way to safely host an event in our small western Kentucky town. Sitting in our local coffee shop with my mask on and a healthy distance separating myself from other customers, I hatched an idea.

What Went Wrong with a Socially Distanced Book Event

1. At best, half of the folks wore a mask. While a mask is not a guarantee of safety, studies have shown that widespread mask usage makes transmission of COVID-19 far less likely. For whatever reason, many folks didn’t wear a mask even though the event posters and invites asked everyone to wear a mask.


What Went Right with a Socially Distanced Book Event

1. A good mix of foot traffic and book event guests bought a book. Having the event at a public place like a cafe made up for the people who didn’t show up.

If I did this again, I would try to host the event a little closer to the farmer’s market on a Saturday in order to increase foot traffic. It helped that a number of people had heard of me or my books through my press release in the local paper or through word of mouth, and they took the opportunity to buy one when they saw my table set up.

Since I write spiritual nonfiction books, I myself wouldn’t get a spot right at the market since I don’t fit into the more general audience of a farmer’s market. But that same audience may be more receptive to a novel with a wider appeal. Continue reading

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The Branding Accelerator Digital Program is for individuals who want increased profits in their business with less costs through media exposure. Brought to you by @PamPerry #branding #bookpromo #authors

branding accelerator by Pam Perry

A Road Map to Create a Brand That Will Position You as a Legend In Your Field

brought to you by

pam perry
pam perry

This program is for individuals who want increased profits in their business with less costs through media exposure. The Branding Accelerator Digital Program will give you step by step focused training, development of tangible brand assets, PR checklists and creative resources to make it simple for you to supercharge your brand’s authority.

Imagine having a complete grasp on:

  • Successfully Pitching Your Brand and Ideas to the Media — What to say, and how to do it in a manner that gets them to invite you back over and over again.

  • Fortifying Your Platform – The base of your brand is what will act as a springboard towards success. I’ll instruct you on building an unshakable foundation. 

  • Publishing Books with Ease – How to effectively put your voice and ideas out there, making a name for your brand and gaining authority.

  • Cleverly Collaborating – Teaming up with like-minded people is at the core of creating a reputable name for your business. You will be guided towards finding the right connections and getting sponsors for your events.

  • Telling a Dazzling Story – Learn how to share your story in a way that strikes chords, positions you as the expert and delivers an experience people can’t find anywhere else. 

End result: You will be able to look yourself in the mirror and confidently claim yourself as the “go to” expert the media will love – thus getting tons of free media exposure worth thousands of dollars.

So, if your branding is not standing out and making others pay attention, then you are simply blending in.

This program is designed to help you level up and get out there!

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Article: How to Write a Trilogy in 6 Steps #motownwriters


Give your trilogy the help it deserves

The best editors, designers, and book marketers are on Reedsy. Sign up for free and meet them.

Learn more about how Reedsy can help you craft a beautiful book.


Listen to your readers

You’ve edited and revised with your editor — now it’s time to hear from your readers. Once you’ve published Book One, read reviews online and send a survey to your mailing list asking for reader opinions. Look at these as objectively as possible — that’s the best way to deal with negative reviews and still maintain your confidence. It’s a gentle balance, but you’ll get there in time. Continue reading

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Article: Third Step to Beating Writer’s Block: Getting the Words Flowing #motownwriters

Third Step to Beating Writer’s Block: Getting the Words Flowing

This post is based on episode 86 of the ProBlogger podcast.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about beating writer’s block. I’m sure every bloggers faces it sooner or later, and to be a successful blogger you really need to know how to deal with it.

We started off by learning about the different types of writer’s block, and how to identify which one you’re dealing with. And last week we talked about how to deal with a major one – running out of ideas.

But now that you know how to keep coming up with fresh ideas, it’s time to take the next step: getting the words flowing and turning those ideas into posts.

So here are ten things you can try to not only get the words flowing again but also keep them flowing.

1. Mix up your environment

Now this is going to mean different things to different people. I like white noise, and so I used to head to a nearby café quite a bit. I found the clinking of glasses and the nearby conversations helped me get into the flow of writing.

But I understand that might sound like your worst nightmare, and that you need a much more controlled (and probably quieter) environment. My wife Vanessa loved going to our local library, not only to get out of the house but also to get away from the noise and distraction of our children. (And me, quite possibly.)

So if you’re finding it hard to get the words flowing where you are, try creating a different environment. That could mean anything from changing your location to having music or even the television playing in the background.

It can also mean creating a distraction-free environment by disconnecting yourself from the internet and switching your phone to silent.


5. Get into a rhythm

Make sure you schedule regular writing time into your week, ideally at the same time every day. That might mean every day, every weekday, or perhaps every Saturday or Sunday.

And try to choose a time that best suits your writing. My ‘golden hours’ are in the morning, and so that’s when I schedule my writing.

The most important thing is to make it a regular thing so you can get into a rhythm with your writing.


10. Talk about what you’re going to say out loud

My final tip is to do something that might have people thinking you’re a little bit crazy: compose your blog post by speaking out loud.

I go for a walk most days. And during those walks I often recite the blog post, talk or keynote I’m working on out loud. I’m sure my neighbors all think I’m a little bit crazy, but sometimes I think best out loud and need to say it before I can write it. Continue reading

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🎧Episode 41: Membership Programs – Your Key to Easy Monthly Income 👊 [PODCAST]

DBA Logo
DBA Podcast E41 Cover
If you’re signed up with Netflix, Hulu, or Lynda, then you know what it’s like to pay a small amount of money each month to access a whole lot of interesting content.

But have you considered what it’s like to be on the receiving end of money that’s paid every month by dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people? And depending on what you offer, they’ll pay way more than $10 or $20 a month for access.

People will pay for access to interviews, articles, recordings, worksheets, templates, videos … any way you choose to package and share your expertise.

There’s an art and a science to creating a thriving membership community, so listen to this episode where we introduce this income producing topic, including: Why you should accept payments monthly instead of quarterly or longer intervals, why Facebook is a popular place to host membership groups AND a horrible way to do it, the tools that make setting up an online membership group easier than it’s ever been, examples of successful membership programs, the simple secret to keeping people in your membership program for years … and more!

If you’d like more information about setting up a membership site or want some help untangling the mess in your online business, schedule a Private Deep Dive Session with us. We’ll listen closely, offer clarity, and point the way.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • What a membership program (aka continuity program) is and what it does
  • For Example: Pam’s first membership program
  • Why membership programs have become more popular over the past few years
  • Why you should have a monthly payment option
  • The big benefit for participants in your membership program
  • The best thing about Facebook Groups, which is also the worst thing…
  • The problems with hosting your membership program in a Facebook Group
  • Why we believe that using Facebook Groups cheapens your brand
  • How Facebook Groups should – and shouldn’t – fit into your business model
  • A platform created especially for membership programs (and it sure ain’t Facebook)
  • What we like about Mighty Networks, and a vital piece that it’s missing
  • What Mighty Networks has that 10XPRO doesn’t – and vice versa
  • One huge benefit to using 10XPRO to host your membership program
  • A rare exception to Vernita’s rule about digital asset ownership
  • For Example: The Black Speakers Network’s two online communities
  • For Example: James Schramko’s switch from products to membership programs
  • How long people usually stay in a membership program
  • How you can keep people in your membership program for years
  • Two different community participation mindsets
  • Will a membership program work for you?

Pam & Vernita

P.S. Let us know what topics you’d like us to
discuss next…we drop knowledge to help you grow
your digital business.

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Don’t forget to Subscribe to MotownBookClub.com | Subscribe for updates at http://dld.bz/hU37Q | Would you like to be featured?

Don’t forget to Subscribe to MotownBookClub.com Connecting readers to Michigan authors. Subscribe at http://dld.bz/hU37Q
Would you like to be featured? Contact us www.motownwriters.com/sla
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