We Need A Heartbeat!

Sometimes we have to crawl out of our writing cave and rub elbows with other heart-beating creatures. I'm saying that we actually NEED to get out of our house to stay among the living.

Another way to connect with writers is through local, unaffiliated writing groups. Cincinnati has Cincinnati Writers Project which is divided into a fiction group and poetry group. Use the internet to search for groups in your area.
I belong to the local chapter of Romance Writers of America. . .YEP! Romance! And I don't even write romance. BUT that's okay. There are so many cross-genre authors in my local chapter that we have a great mesh of knowledge about the craft. And who couldn't learn and grow more? 
There are so many published authors in my group, and their publishing paths are so different, but we love the craft. We help each other understand what is going on in this small, crazy writing world. We have guest speakers that talk about everything from goal, motivation, and conflict to detectives. 
I travel to several writer's groups a year to be a guest speaker on marketing and promoting or self-publishing. This has been a great opportunity for me and if I didn't belong to a writer's group, I'd never known how to expand my readership. 
These organizations offer many opportunities…and you know what I say about missing those opportunities—DON’T! Speakers, small conferences, and critique groups are just some of what writing groups offer.
Conferences are often held by your local writing groups, too. This means exposure to big agents/editors who are looking for that next “big” author. Or if you are self-published, it's a great way to work on that PR buddy or networking that can only be done in person.
That just might be you!
When you’re published, reader-centric conferences like Fresh Fiction’s Readers and Ritas or Lori Foster’s Reader Author Get Together, offer you an intimate way to connect with die-hard readers who will proselytize your book to their friends or to anyone who will listen. Whatever your goal, there’s a conference for you!
Do you belong to any groups outside of you house? 
Let's talk critique groups Friday!

Online or Offline, Let's Join A Group!

What online groups can do for you:

·         help you set goals
·         make you accountable
·         celebrate your successes
·         help you overcome your failures
·         provide you with information
·         help you build the confidence to succeed as a writer
·         connect you with like-minded people
 No matter what genre you write in, there is a group for you. At Yahoo Groups, for example, just type in your interest. Related groups will come up in the search. Click on them and read what they are about. When you find a group that fits your needs, simply join by clicking on the join button.
One of my favorite groups is called GIAM , Goal Setting, Inspiration, Amity, Motivation, which I found on the Yahoo group list. At the time I joined, it was a group of twenty women who aspired to be published. They shared everything from information on agents and editors taking pitches, self-publishing journey, to cheering each other on in contests they entered. This group has expanded and now offers free on-line classes to its members, as well as a website where each member can blog. Membership is still free.
They are 300 members strong. Just think about that for a second. These are all people who love books and reading, just like you do. Think of all the potential there is to connect with people who will probably be interested in visiting your blog/grog and/or reading your book. Even if you connect with just one person, think of that old FabergĂ© commercial. It starts with just one person. That person tells someone else. Then they tell one person, and so on….
You might shy away from this type of connection, thinking it’s just shameless self-promotion. It’s not!
I have become friends with some of the writers in the GIAM group. I even met a few of them at conferences, traded material to critique, and found people who understand my need to write.
I'm also involved with The World Literary Cafe. The authors and bloggers come together and form blog hop when the authors have book launches. The blog hops allows the readers to find new authors, and vice versa. There is also an opportunity to pay it forward at the World Literary Cafe that you should definitely be taking a part of. JOIN the Tweet team! It's an amazing opportunity. 
Savvy Author is another phenomenal and inclusive site. It’s a community of writers and is bursting with information, blogs, classes, resources, forums, and more. You’ll find like-minded people and hone your craft, building your network and making friends along the way.
There are also many genre specific reading groups out there. These groups are about the reader. THE READER! That’s who we are spending all our time marketing to. To connect with a reader on a group level is much more personal than signing a book for them at a signings. Believe it or not, readers can be both introverted and extroverted too, but in an online group, you can get into deep discussions about the genre, and books within the genre. Personalities shine in a different way online.
Readers love to connect with authors. Trust me when I say, if they can connect with you on a personal level, they will buy your book.
There so so many other online groups that are genre specific, Romance Writer's of America and Sisters in Crime are two great sites that do cost a minimal fee to join. 

Do you belong to any online groups? Let's share!
Wednesday I'm going to talk about all the great groups off line and IN PERSON!

International Bestselling author Tonya Kappes believes that targeted and smart promotion and marketing can take a book from lackluster sales to the world of bestseller. She pooled her resources and knowledge to write The Tricked Out Toolbox: Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs. When not touting marketing and promotion through her workshops, she write cozy mysteries, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. I'm addicted to coffee, McDonald's Diet Coke, and Red Hots Candy!

Building Your Network

If you’re like most writers, there are two things you do every day after you get up out of bed:

·         check your email
·         check out your favorite blogs

But wait! Checking emails and reading blogs are great, but you need to do more. I've covered blogging (and how your blog is one many people should be checking in with every morning), but now we’re talking about building your network.
Just having a website doesn’t cut it these days. Yes, we have our own little world that only we writers understand. But your goal is to build name recognition and find potential readers. That means interacting with other writers and readers in the blogosphere—and beyond.
I'm talking about joining actual on-line groups and local writing groups. Trust me, there are plenty out there to fit every personality.
You may be saying to yourself, “Oh no, not me. I’m not a writing group kind of person.”
You just hold on to your tool belt. I'm going to give you the group networking tools to put in your toolbox.
Writing is very lonely. I'm sure you’ve figured out just how lonely it is by the blank stares people give you when you tell them you’re a writer. Or how about this one: “Are you published?”
And when you tell them you are on the road to publishing, they tilt their heads and give you the “Huh?” look. Translation: S/he’s not really a writer if s/he’s not published. Man! Don’t you love that look?
The point is, being lonely, especially when you’re passionate about something, is no fun. You have to get connected to other writers who understand your passion. Online groups are great for both introvert and extrovert personalities, they help you form connections and broaden your marketing outreach.
Join a group that best suits your writing needs. From there, your level of participation is totally up to you. You can lurk, sitting back and reading what everyone else is doing, or jump right in and comment on all the posts. Or find someplace in the middle.
Next Monday I'm going to discuss some really great online groups that you might be interested in.
Check out these Author Networking sites!

International Bestselling author Tonya Kappes believes that targeted and smart promotion and marketing can take a book from lackluster sales to the world of bestseller. She pooled her resources and knowledge to write The Tricked Out Toolbox: Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs. When not touting marketing and promotion through her workshops, she write cozy mysteries, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. I'm addicted to coffee, McDonald's Diet Coke, and Red Hots Candy!

What's up with the grog?

I know. . .grog sounds really strange, and when I started to talk about a grog, five years ago, everyone asked me what that strange word meant. I'm sure most of you know, but it's a acronym for Group Blog, GROG. 

If you took the PR PERSONALITY quiz or took the quiz in my new craft book, THE TRICKED OUT TOOLBOX~PROMOTION AND MARKETING TOOLS EVERY WRITER NEEDS, and have discovered that you are a little more introvert and don't want to blog on your own, or your just not ready~a group blog might just be for you.
I joined a group blog before I was published. Even though I'm an extrovert and beyond (sorta alien really!), I wanted to stick my toe in the water to see if I was going to like it. 
When I was asked to join, the rules were already laid out. Everyone had a specific day, the theme was decided, the audience the grog reached was already in place. If I didn't like it, then the grog wasn't for me.
Luckily, I loved it all! I've been part of four grogs, currently two, and left two (we will get to that later!).

There are some important factors you need to consider before joining a grog:

What? Commitment? But, Tonya, I already have to commit to working on my current manuscript. That is commitment enough! Well. . .no it's not. 
Commitment is the single most important factor when joining a grog. You have to show up on your day.  If you don't, there won't be a post (as your grog partners had expected), and your audience will  begin to lose trust in you as an author. You said you were going to show up and you didn't.

There has to be a platform!
Check out The Digital World for a great blog on Fifty Ways to Build An Author Platform.
Jungle Red Writers is all mystery, all the time. Six mystery writers stay focused on the theme of their grog. Same with Murder She Writes, a grog with 10 people, all mystery related. Lipstick Chronicles and 14 represent women’s fiction/chick lit grogs.
The Naked Hero, one of my grogs, focuses on hero/heroine archetypes which appeals to readers and writers.

There has to be some type of communication with in the grog. One great way my grog partners and I have found is communication through a yahoo loop. It allows us to communicate back and forth without tying up email and it's all in one place if you ever need to go back and check something out.

This is a little sketchy. I know that we writers are a different bred. We like to think that we can get along with anyone at anytime. Well. . .sometimes that just doesn't happen. At the beginning of joining a grog, everyone is excited. HUGS all around. . .until you begin to recognize different personalities that you wouldn't be friends with in person, so why waste your time on line.

BEWARE of the ONLINE personality that is the person who is really not like that in person. I've come across a few of those people and have left grogs due to compromising morals and beliefs. This career is so small (really the writing community is soooo tiny) that it can take ONE bad seed to ruin your reputation that you have taken so long to build. 
If you join a grog and you see this happening, I say run! GET OUT! There isn't a shortage of grogs out that and you will find one that really does fit your career needs.

This is really hard for some people to do. A grog is a joint effort. It's not just about you and what does fit your needs. There are other people to consider in the grog and you have to be willing to compromise on issues to make everyone mesh. This could include schedules, when someone gets sick and can't post, when someone needs to take a leave of absence, switching scheduled days, change the grog to fit the industry, etc. The list could go on and on.

A grog is great, but at the end of the day it's a business/career decision. You have to support your other grog partners. Go to your grog every day, comment on your partners posts, add value to their blog. You are trying to build or keep your readership going and showing a joint effort, by all grog partners, by supporting each other is an amazing tool.

A following is not born overnight. It takes time. Be cognizant of your readers so they know you care about them.

Do you belong in a grog? What has helped you continue on your grog journey?

To Blog or Not to Blog. . .That Is The Question

Blogging is only going to help you if you do it well. No blog is better than a bad blog. This is not the place to rant, wax poetic, or otherwise indulge yourself. Use our guidelines to help you build a better blog.

Know Your Theme

Before you build a blog, you must decide what your purpose is. Ask yourself these questions:

1.      Do I want to be funny and pithy?
2.      Do I have enough energy and time to write daily, or at least every other day? (Remember, a blog without fresh content is as stagnant as a mosquito pond)
3.      Do I have friends to guest blog?
4.      Will I be able to sustain my blog with consistent content?
5.      Would I prefer to blog alone, or blog with buddies?
6.      If I blog with others, will I be a leader or a follower?
7.      If I blog with others, will I be able to set boundaries and resolve problems?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move forward. Remember, you have to decide what your blog is going to be about—the writing life, genre specific content, book reviews, some element of craft, etc.
When I decided to start this blog, I structured it to be a destination site for writers seeking information on marketing and promoting. I started The Naked Hero with author Misa Ramirez and Lee Lopez to appeal to readers.

There is no shortage of blogs out there for readers to choose from, so make sure your blog or grog stays focused so readers know exactly what to expect when they stop by. This means you need to know your audience.

Once you have your theme dialed in, you will know who your audience is. On the flipside, if you know who you want your audience to be, that can help you hone in on an appropriate theme.
Ask the simple question: Who do you want to be reading your blog/grog? Mystery readers? Agents and editors? Romance writers? Men? Women? Mothers? Sci-fi fans? Self-published authors?
Whoever it is, identify them, then gear your site to them. Write about ideas and topics related to your theme that your audience will also be interested in. Blogging/grogging requires commitment. A following is not born overnight. It takes time. Be cognizant of your readers so they know you care about them.

Do you have a blog? What is your audience?

International Bestselling author Tonya Kappes believes that targeted and smart promotion and marketing can take a book from lackluster sales to the world of bestseller. She pooled her resources and knowledge to write The Tricked Out Toolbox: Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs. When not touting marketing and promotion through her workshops, she write cozy mysteries, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. I'm addicted to coffee, McDonald's Diet Coke, and Red Hots Candy!

The Tricked Out Toolbox~Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs

Whether you're just sticking your toe into the murky waters of the publishing industry, traversing the white waters of your already established career, or somewhere in between, The Tricked Out Toolbox is for you.

In The Tricked Out Toolbox, you'll identify your personality type: introvert or extrovert. Read anecdotes from authors about what's worked for them and what hasn't. Get ideas, craft a budget, build a marketing plan, and learn how to execute it.

With checklists and worksheets galore, real-life advice, and an easy to read format, this user-friendly, practical guide allows you to pick and chose what promotion and marketing tools will work for you. If you buy one business book this year, make it The Tricked Out Toolbox.

"In today's tough market, savvy promotion is often a key ingredient to an author's success, but few authors are familiar with all the tools available to them. They spend a fortune on the things that don't work and overlook opportunities that might create more impact. That's why I'm thrilled Melissa Bourbon and Tonya Kappes have taken on this aspect of the writer's life and demystified the process. In Tricked Out Toolbox, the new author has all she needs to successfully promote her latest book." ~Brenda Novak

Over a year ago, I was working on my REAL marketing plan for my first novel, Carpe Bead 'em. Well. . .what I thought was real. Quickly I realized that I had been working on my marketing plan for the past FIVE years before I was even published. 

I had joined a grog (group blog), began volunteering at writer's conferences, promoting other's, telling anyone that would listen that I WAS AN AUTHOR, I made swag with my genre to hand out (NO! I didn't have a published book), I even began to speak at writer's conferences.
I made so many contacts that I didn't realize that I already had a following before I was even PUBLISHED.

When I got the idea for The Tricked Out Toolbox, I knew there was nothing out there like it. I wanted to give back to authors by giving them the real marketing plan from the time they begin to write that first word before publication to the end of their career.

Since I wasn't yet published, but did have a contract, I didn't think anyone would take me serious about the after you publish marketing ideas, so I asked bestselling author Misa Rameriz (AKA Melissa Bourbon) if she would be interested in co-authoring this marketing and promotion book. After all, she's got an agent, big six published, and works for Entangled Publishing, she knows a few things!

Of course she was on board. She loved the idea! 
We worked endlessly for four weeks, we have over fifty industry professionals giving some GREAT advice in the book, we have a go-to website, and the book has worksheets to help you throughout your career!

To date, I've sold over 50k ebooks in six months that I have been published, plus made Amazon's Movers and Shakers list #1 five times. I used every single marketing and promoting tool in The Tricked Out Toolbox.

As a matter of fact, I've gone back several times as a reference for myself and I WROTE IT! 
I promise! You will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! It will give you every tool you need from websites, grogs, blogs, social media, budgets, PR buddies, and MORE!

Do you have a go-to marketing and promoting book for your career?

To purchase your copy of The Tricked Out Toolbox in print!
Purchase The Tricked Out Toolbox on Kindle!

Creating Synergy With Your Marketing And Promoting

I don't care what anyone says, unless you are an anomaly, you have to connect with readers through social networking. And it doesn't matter if you are published through a publisher or self-published.
The tech era is here and not going anywhere. But we can look to the future to see what is or might be in store for 2012. Today isn't too early to start planning your promoting and marketing strategies for your novels.
Over the past few months I've been watching a couple different marketing and promoting trends that have to do with our industry. Marketing and promoting has always come easy to me, and when I wrote my non-fiction marketing and promoting book, The Tricked Out Toolbox (February 2012), I keep my ear low to the ground to see what is rumbling in that arena. Here are a few of the strategies that I'm going to be adding to my list of tools in my marketing and promoting writer tool box.
We’ve already taken a look at adding to our PR Buddies by promoting them in our novel.
Synergy is two or more things working together to create something that independently, without the forces of each individual thing working in partnership, could not be done. If you don't already use this term, you NEED to. Synergy is going to be the driving force with PR Buddies in 2012. I did this exact thing last year.
I partnered with another author in the back of our independent novels. What I mean by this, I had an excerpt of her books and all her information in the back of my novel, SPLITSVILLE.COM.
You say so what, big deal....think about it. SPLITSVILLE.COM made Amazon's Movers and Shakers list debuting at number two. Someone is buying my book, and that someone reads the other author’s excerpt in the back. My format guru has a direct buy link to her book, not a link to Amazon's page or her website, but the actual buy it now for you Kindle button.
SPLITSVILLE.COM was on Movers and Shakers for a week. It sold over 3k copies that week and over 3k new potential readers for this particular author. Now, I'm not sure if any of her books peeked that week, but the potential is still there.
My prediction: I've already had three other authors ask if they could put my excerpt in the back of their ebooks for 2012. Those three authors are MEN! I know I will continue to ask authors to partner up with me in my novels. I see this is a great, free way to promote and market your novels. We will so a lot more of this.
2) Partnering with companies. This has been blogged about before where companies actually partner up with authors to promote their product, sorta like ads~only in the ebook. I'm not sure if I would do this, jury is still out.
3) Adding multi-media to your ebook. With all the technology and tablets, I'm working on embedding my book trailers in my ebooks for tablet users. Many people don't believe book trailers work, well those are wrong in my case. Every time I put my book trailer on any of my social networking sites, that book generally sales between 10-20 copies within the hour. I even wonder if I can take it a bit further and add music to some parts of the novel...hmmm.
4) Anthologies. Anthologies are becoming very popular among the Indie community. This is an amazing way to market and promote your self. I'm taking this a bit further and publishing all of my short stories on my own as well as in the anthologies.
5) Cyber store front. There are a handful of authors who are selling their own books on their site as well as Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Google Books etc. I believe that 2012 you will see more Indies begin to build their own cyber store on their website through Xuni, other companies, or themselves.
You put all your novels in YOUR own bookstore with an ebook shopping cart that has a paypal link right on your site. Most readers who go to your site will read your blurb, look at your covers, maybe click on your trailer. BUT do they go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble to buy your book?
Not sure. I do know that they would be more likely to click the paypal button on your account if it's right there.
Straight from XUNI:
• brand new technology using PayPal's new API, where users never leave your page... all transactions done on your site via PayPal AJAX window
• upon payment completion, users are presented with secure download links to your products
• no other 3rd party software involved... store code, process and eBook files stay hosted within your site
• credit cards, PayPal, etc., accepted.... users do not need to have an existing PayPal account
• shopping cart is customized and styled seamlessly into the design of your site
• choose the format you'd like to deliver your eBook in or use multiple formats (.epub, .pdf, .zip, .prc, .mp3, etc.)
 • sell audio books or mp3's • set different prices for each book or format • receive store payments directly into your paypal account
• no overseeing necessary; simply withdraw your money from PayPal at your convenience • compatible with all major browsers and many current smartphones
• uses PayPal Micropayments resulting in lower PayPal fees per transaction I know that I love my readers, and I price my books to gain readers, but it's also become a business for me.
Of course, Xuni isn't free and there is a steep cost. OR If you are tech savvy, as my format guru guy is, you can set up your own.
J.A. Konrath uses Xuni, and here is his numbers on profit: "On a $2.99 ebook sold through a retailer, I earn about $2.04. In my ebook store, I earn $2.79. On a $0.99 sold through a retailer, I earn $0.35. In my ebook store, I earn $0.89."
This is definitely something I'm working on now. I want readers to come to my site. I want readers to be able to get my books for 2.99. AND I want to make this my career.
Now that I have you thinking about promoting and marketing your novel in 2012, what do you think you'll be doing to hit that Movers and Shakers list?

Published and Profitable website has a great essentials to online marketing including Synergy!

The 411 On Author Websites

(If you haven't checked out Will Write For chocolate by Inkygirl, you should! Love her comics!)
      Last week we discussed whether or not you should have a website. This week we are going to look at what your website should and what your website should have on it. 
I've had a wordpress website, but I've found that blogger really does have everything I need. 

You have your end goal in mind; you’re a professional writer and you’re presenting yourself to the writing community at large.
Now let’s take a closer look at the most important elements of a website:

·         Creating a brand.
·         Simplicity. A website must be easy to navigate. Make it crystal clear what type of book you’re promoting. 
·         Fresh Content
·         The front page of your website creates a first impression. Does it tell readers what you are about and what they can expect from your books? Are the colors, tone, language, graphics, and overall visuals in line with your style of writing?  They should be.
·         Your website should reflect the tone of your intentions. It should have the same voice. Your book, your website, your brand, and your tagline are all parts of the same puzzle. They must complement each other.

Take a few minutes to look at these other author sites: Laura Weisberger (, Lisa Kleypas (, and Allison Brennan (
They are all miles apart from each other with branding, tone, color, and style, but they all have one thing in common. They have structural simplicity with ease of navigation. They are not cluttered. They do not overwhelm. They flow, neatly direct visitors to wherever they want to go, and they are easy on the eye.
If you want your website to be a destination, be creative with your content and think of ways to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Depending upon your personality profile and your strengths, the commitment of creating fresh website content may not work for you.
The purpose of a website is to keep your name in your audience’s mind.
Great go-to sites on website advice:

Wednesday we are going to be discussing platform.

Do you have a website? What do you have on yours to make yours unique?


The other day I was cleaning out one of my old blogs. One of them. Yes, I’ve had many over the years. I dabbled in an anonymous blog, attempted a serial story blog, played with Tumblr, created one for Amazon Affiliate sales with Blogger, started up a free site, bought a domain name, and recently launched a book review site.

Sigh. What was I thinking?

Sure blogging is a great way to stretch our creative minds. It’s also a great distraction, along with Twitter, writing groups, author sites, book clubs, Facebook, critique groups, forums, Etsy (aka: porn for women) and the latest, Pinterest. Each of these items can help grow our platform, but they all pull us away from our main objective - to write fiction.

As I was cleaning posts off my old blog, I came across one that gave my readers an update on my writing life. Healing Touch hadn’t been released yet and Off Leash was a WIP still listed as “Untitled”.  There were others. Some I’ve completely forgotten about.

I read through that post and noted my excitement regarding each story. I couldn’t wait to get them out and have readers get to know my characters.

My jump drive contains approximately thirty WIP ideas. I’ve started roughly seven to ten of those. Looking back I know I spent more time blogging and surfing then I did writing. What happened? How did I get myself so far removed from the fiction?

I know we all get into this position in some form or other. We look back on the weekend and know we had ample opportunity to write. The kids were away, house clean, and groceries bought. We had hours and hours to write, but we didn’t.

A writer writes. Having a blog and Twitter account with high follower numbers is great. I’m glad I have this audience. Unfortunately, my free time has become dominated by this quest. I know many, many authors through my activity online. At what point will I have to remove myself from their company because I am not an author putting out new stories - merely someone who hangs out with them? I tweet, blog, Facebook, and surf writer blogs. The definition of an author contains none of these words.

I’d like to thank Tonya for having me as a guest on her blog today. It’s a great opportunity for me to ask - have any of you ended up in this position? How do you balance writing activities with actual writing? Be sure to leave a comment to be eligible to win a copy of each of Jenna's novels!

~ * ~

I'm a fulltime mom, wife, sister, & friend. Throw in a little housework, an irritating lapdog, the need to watch every episode of Forensic Files & I guess you could call me a busy woman. There are just not enough hours in the day. My escape is writing. I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

~ Jenna Anderson

Are you a worry wart writer?

Seriously, what the H*** does that mean?
 It means that worry won't get your next book written, it won't help you send out that query to your favorite agent, it won't help you take the leap into self publishing. It will only help you stand still and do nothing. 

Stop being jealous. This does nothing for your creative flow. It does nothing but put a nasty taste in your mouth and stop you from writing your stories. It's time to put all that to rest and cheer each other on. I promise you will not only feel better about being happy for others, but you will have more energy to put toward your books.

Stop procrastinating. Yes! I don't want to hear that you are busy. I'm busy! I out line how busy I am in my blog How Bad Do You Want. If you haven't read that post, you should! I promise it is one you won't forget. Procrastination will get you no further to publication. You say you want to be a writer, but do you really mean it? Are you doing what is necessary to get it done? Not if you are procrastinating.

Stop blaming others. This is so easy to do in our everyday life. The dog had to walk, I had to drive the kids to school, I had to go to the day job (did I mention I have a day job, four teenage boys, husband, and two dogs), I had to go to a late meeting, my wife's family came over for dinner. OR I got another rejection from XX agent, the editor hated my proposal, the reader gave me one star. . .the list can go on and on. But you can stop this! Post a positive quote that speaks to you or re-read the favorite book, blog post that started your writing career that made you want to become a writer. This is YOUR career. No one else. Besides, who ever you are blaming this on doesn't even know and doesn't care.

Stop moping. So you got another rejection or your self published novel got a one star review. Okay, take a minute. I'm timing you! * whistling*

Moping is over! You are a writer. Pull up your big girl/boy pants on and do the job that you love. If you don't love it. . .well, you love it so do it!

Stop chasing the writing trend. If you don't write vampires, stop trying! If you don't write YA, stop trying! I've heard it so many times that chick-lit is dead. Who cares? I love writing chick-lit, so I self published Carpe Bead 'em. If it is so dead, how did I make Amazon's Movers and Shakers? How come I'm selling over 2k copies a month? There is an audience out there. If you love what you write, write it.

Stop listening to what isn't selling. Read above!

Stop being afraid. No matter where your publishing career is taking you. Take the next step. Whether that step is querying the agent of your dreams or self-publishing, go for it.

Stop sitting and start doing. You know that you are sitting in front of your computer trolling the internet (stumbling upon my blog. . .but read my blog first before you go:)) Do you have a book to finish? A book to upload to KDP, Smashwords, etc...Do you have a blog to write?

Stop not taking yourself serious! You have decided to become a writer, a published author. It's time. It's time to treat this a any career.

Stop being ashamed. This one KILLS me! I've heard from so many writers say that their family doesn't know that they write. This baffles me. As a writer I can't contain myself from going on and on about what is going on in the industry or my characters. If you are ashamed. . .then maybe you shouldn't be a writer.

Success in this business is up to you. You decided if you want to keep going after those rejections, you decided how to get that next book to your editor, you decide if you want to self publish the book that hasn't sold to a publishing house. You decide whether you want success or failure.

International Bestselling author Tonya Kappes believes that targeted and smart promotion and marketing can take a book from lackluster sales to the world of bestseller. She pooled her resources and knowledge to write The Tricked Out Toolbox: Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs. 
When not touting marketing and promotion through her workshops, she write cozy mysteries, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction.

What came first, the website or the author?

We've covered a few things that you need to promote and market your career already.
PR Personality Test
What Is A Brand?

What about a website? Do you need a website? Do you need a website before you have a book out?

Why don't you just go ahead and ask me, "what came first, the chicken or the egg?"
This is sort of like the big debate on the pricing of ebooks. Nonetheless, it's all important information for you to put in the back of your head. OR in your writer's toolbox to refer to when you are thinking about a website. All I can do is give you pros of having a website at all stages of your career, starting without a book.

Author Buzz Founder, MJ Rose gave me a quote for my upcoming non-fiction book, The Tricked Out Toolbox~Promotional and Marketing Needs Every Writer Needs.
"Yes, you need a website, but it doesn't have to be complicated. People go to your website after they hear about you and your book. No one wakes up and says I'm going to start searching for websites of authors I never heard of."


NYT Bestselling author, Brenda Novak's advice, "a website is important for anyone who's really serious about becoming a professional writer. Just as you lay the foundation for selling your first book by finishing a manuscript and submitting, you lay the foundation for the promotion side of your business by creating a great website, one where you can begin to establish a presence in the community."


Agent, Holly Root, even weighed in on the subject. "A website helps me get a sense of who the author is. I've never said no to a bad site, but it does make me eager to say yes."

I have to agree that it is very important to have a website. I use to have a high dollar website with web hosting, web designer, yadda-yadda. I gave all that up for here! I love this blogger site and I choose it because it fit the needs of my target audienc.

1) Know your goal. Determining your purpose—meaning what you want people to take away from your site—is key.
 I wanted my site to be light. All about tips and tricks I have learned on the way. My website is centered around this blog. My website is my blog.

2) Keep your audience in mind. 
My audience is writers and paying it forward. I do know that my readers come here to check out my tabs with my books, trailers, and events page.

3) Knowing the Purpose of Your Website.
My purpose is to help other authors and entertain my readers. Simple!
Based on what your audience see, will they pursue you as a writer, or cut you lose?
o   One: selling yourself is knowing that a bad website is worse than no website, so make sure you create a professional web presence.
o   Two: make sure your website exemplifies you as a professional writer. Your site is doing more than selling your writing. It’s giving a snapshot of your commitment to your craft. You must exhibit proper use of the English language and show your attention to detail. Take yourself seriously as a writer and others will, too.
o   Three: edit your website carefully, always keeping your target audience in mind.
o   Four: choose a website design to match your genre. The visual design of your website should
 mimic or compliment the style of your writing and the tone of your books. If you write erotica, naked people and a sexy feel are great. For a gritty thriller writer, not so much.
o   Five: dress for the job you want, not the job you have. That saying is applicable to websites, as well. Your job is to sell your personality, or the desired image you are creating, to the public. Build a site that highlights you AS A WRITER. Sure, being a handsome or pretty person helps, but an interesting life story or a beautiful visage will not sell your book. Dress your website by focusing on your career as a writer, not your pretty face!

I started my new website on September 17, 2011, a little over four months ago. My target audience is to reach writers with my blog and readers with my tabs/content. As of today, I have had over 11k page views. I keep the counter on the side of my blog because even seeing it go up one, makes me giggle and tickle inside.

The Plot Monkey's Blog asked this a couple years ago, and I've found the findings in the comments very interesting.

The Huffington Post also has a great post on Does An Author Need A Website.

What about you? Do you have a website? Why or why not?


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