Building Readership

How to Build Your Website Without Knowing Code

Today I sent out the latest issue of my e-mail newsletter, which I call “3 Happy Things.” Each issue has a different theme, and this one focused on how to build a website for free, without knowing code, in less than an hour. Click here to view the newsletter on codeless...

5 Innovative Poets to Watch & Learn From

As everyone knows, you can’t make a living from writing and selling poetry. Or can you? Well, it IS next to impossible to make a living by only writing poems. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why poets seem to be the ones I see most often experimenting and innovating. They know...

Helpful Insights for Self-Publishing Novelists

I moderated a panel at SXSW called The Self-Publishing Novelist, which included insights from 3 experienced experts: John Sundman. Read an interview with John here, Building an Enthusiastic Fan Base as a Self-Published Author. Carolyn McCray. Read her helpful articles over at Digital Book World, including Best Practices for Amazon E-Book...

How to Get Reviews for Self-Published Books

Today’s guest post is by Joel Friedlander, one of the most informative people I know on the topic of self-publishing a book. Go visit his blog, or follow him on Twitter. — It’s never been a better time to be a self-published author, and there have never been more book reviewers...

How to Start a Professional Newsletter for Free

Last year, I talked about why authors need to start building an e-mail list … NOW. Even though it may sound antiquated in light of other tools available, e-mail is still one of the most effective ways to reach and engage with readers. (One exception: It’s not so great at reaching...

8 iPhone Apps to Grow & Connect With Audience

Last summer, I did a post on Ultimate iPhone Apps: 30+ Productivity and Creativity Boosts. In a few months, I’ll update that list, but first, I’d like to share specific iPhone apps that can help you market, promote, and grow your audience. I’m dividing the apps into 2 categories: Key Tools....

The Future of the Novelist

This week, I’ll be at SXSWi in Austin, where I’m presenting a brief session on your publishing options at PubCamp (free!), and moderating a SXSWi panel,  The Self-Publishing Novelist. I can’t envision a more exciting or opportune time to be at a national event, guiding a discussion on self-publishing. Why? Take...

7 Don't-Miss Sites for Online Marketing

Today’s guest post is from author Meg Waite Clayton. You may remember her from an earlier guest post, How Book Club Readers (and Bookstores) Can Drive Success. — How friendly are you, really? Do you have enough followers to qualify as a cult? Are you still blogging, or have you bought...

My Latest Thoughts on Writers & Social Media

While at AWP, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Caleb J. Ross and Nik Korpon to talk about writers, social media, and the digital era.You can listen to the 20-minute conversation here. Some topics we discuss: How is it writers are so attached to the physical book? Is aversion...

How to Leave Meaningful Blog Comments

As readership on your site or blog grows, you’ll have to figure out a strategy for dealing with unproductive comments. There are 3 categories of “unproductive”: Straightforward spam. This is the stuff you automatically delete, or preferably filter out using a plug-in like Akismet. Trolls. These are people who say inflammatory...

Excellent Online Learning Opportunities (Free + Paid)

There are so many interesting opportunities coming up for online education that I wanted to take a moment to round them up! FREE: The Evolution of Self-Publishing webcast, brought to you by Digital Book World and Publishers Weekly. Feb. 22. Go register here. Building Your Author Platform, a new 8-week online...

How to Meaningfully Grow Traffic to Your Site/Blog

It’s a problem that every new blog or website faces in its early days—or every day (!): How to get readers (also called traffic). There are a few well-worn pieces of advice in this area, such as: Comment on other people’s blogs. Virtually all comment systems ask you to leave your...

What Digital Natives Can Teach Us About Publishing

First, I don’t really believe in the idea of “digital natives.” Digital natives are the students entering college right now who have never experienced life without the Internet. (See more about the history of the term at Wikipedia.) At UC, I’m teaching roomfuls of these so-called digital natives, and while I’m...

You Don't Have to Blog, Tweet, or Be on Facebook

I’m often giving many reasons for writers to start a blog, be on Twitter, or use Facebook. But the truth is, you don’t have to do any of these things to get published or to sell books. (Sidenote: You’ll often hear stories of bestselling authors who don’t use social media, but...

Listen to Full Audio of AWP Social Media Panel

As you can probably tell—due to lack of Best Tweets—I am still catching up from being away at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference. BUT—I have some wonderful things to share with you related to the event. (My own insights will come later in the week.) 1. Full audio...

Who's Listening to You? (AWP Thoughts)

While delivering a session at the Writer’s Digest Conference (read this very kind & generous recap from George Davis!), I mentioned a few ways that writers can waste their time: By not submitting your best work to commercial publishers or agents By publishing your work digitally when your audience wants print...

Thinking Beyond the Book: What's Your Demand Curve?

At the Writer’s Digest Conference, Richard Nash delivered an inspiring keynote. Writers loved it. Deep in his talk, a slide flashed up on the screen that, to the untrained eye, might not have seemed like much. It was a piece of innovative and critical business advice that spoke to the transformation...

MASTER Recap of 2011 Writer's Digest Conference

This post is a collection of: Best tweets from the 2011 Writer’s Digest Conference Links to official live blog posts of selected sessions Best recaps of the event by attendees & presenters BEST TWITTER TIPS BY CATEGORYSearch #wdc11 to view all tweets from the event. (Pictured above: Me hunched over at...

A Writer's Platform: How to Make It Natural and Happy

The following guest post is by writer Erika Robuck, who attended the Writer’s Digest Conference on Saturday and generously offered to recap the sessions she attended. “The business of writing is the business of reading.”—Richard Nash These words from Richard Nash’s keynote address have been sitting in a quiet space in my...

A Luddite Enters the Digital Marketplace

Today’s guest post is from author Nath Jones. In 2011, Nath Jones will finish an MFA in creative writing at Northwestern University, where she was a nominee for The Best New American Voices 2010. Nath’s work is influenced by small towns, small business, the army, the ocean, and cornfields. She is...

How to Find a Direct Line to Your Readers

On tap today we have a Q&A with author and independent publisher Patricia V. Davis, who will be a featured speaker at the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC. I first met Patricia at a Writer’s Digest event, before her first book was released. Since then, her publishing career has steadily grown,...

My Best Posts From 2010

Here’s the very best advice I offered here at NO RULES in 2010. This can serve as a handy guide, or share this link with writers who might be new to NO RULES. (What a good Christmas gift, right?) Above: my cat Zelda. She approves of this list. Plus I don’t...

When (or Why) Social Media Fails to Sell Books

There are countless articles/posts out there, by professionals as well as established authors, that claim social media has had no (or marginal) impact on their sales or success. Such posts then get trumpeted by writers everywhere who feel like online marketing and promotion responsibilities have been shoved down their throats (and...

New In-Depth Interview With Me at Writer Unboxed

Last Friday, part 1 of an interview with me went live over at Writer Unboxed. Here’s a quick snippet: Overall, social media tools—and I use that term broadly, to include all types of person-to-person interaction online—have driven transparency and opportunities to communicate with and reach a very distinctive and unique audience....

Online Marketing Works If You Have the Long View

These days, it seems like everyone has become a big skeptic of social networking’s effectiveness—or even believes that cultivating a site or blog can harm or stall a writer’s career. In the following post, I explain why I think authors aren’t getting the results they want (or why they fail in...