Build a Platform & Start Blogging

Every writer can benefit from having a platform from which to promote their work. And for writers of non-fiction, it’s critical. Here you’ll learn the basics, including setting up a blog, strategies for effective blogging, and how to make your platform a revenue generator as well.

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...

The Power of Mentors, Community, and Relationships

Last night, Chris Guillebeau paid a visit to Cincinnati, as part of his Unconventional Book Tour. (I had the honor of helping arrange some of the logistics of his stop.) If you’re not familiar with Chris, here are 2 good places to start: His popular (free) manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight...

Are Bloggers the New Gatekeepers in Publishing?

Today’s Q&A is with Michelle Black, who is the author of six novels set in the Victorian West. Aside from writing, she has been known to practice law, own a bookstore, publish a Cheyenne language course, and snowboard. She and her husband divide their time between a home near Boulder, Colorado,...

Stop! Before You Post Your Work Online, Read This

Today I’m a guest over at Writer Unboxed: Giving Stuff Away Is Not a Strategy I discuss how and when you might want to give your work away for free, and how strategies differ between published and unpublished writers—as well as between fiction and nonfiction writers. Go check it out! You...

Should You Hire Someone to Design Your Website?

In publishing, we often say how critical it is to hire a professional editor if you plan to self-publish. Or we say how valuable a professional publicist or PR person can be. As someone who isn’t trained as a designer (but who has worked with many designers over the years, and...

Before You Write a Single Word: Develop a Reader Profile

Today’s guest post is from Shennandoah Diaz, the Business Development Assistant at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor supporting independent authors and small presses. — You can easily find yourself living in a bubble while writing a book, chaining yourself to the keyboard and avoiding all human contact (and some...

Back to Basics: A Writer's 101 Guide to Blogging

On Thursday at 1p EDT, I’m presenting a live, online class, “Build Your Author Platform Through Blogging.” In preparation for that, I’m gathering my favorite resources and 101 articles that are helpful for anyone in getting started—and posting them here for everyone to enjoy. First, a few blogging principles: Provide consistently...

A Time of Immense Change—For You, For Me, For Everyone

Today was my first full day of orientation as a professor teaching e-media at the University of Cincinnati-CCM. (The CCM Village is pictured above—at a very early hour!) Overwhelming doesn’t quite begin to describe the experience. But I know with each day, it will get easier. And as I gain experience...

How to Score a Traditional Deal After Self-Publishing

Today’s Q&A is with authors Anne Milford and Jennifer Gauvain, who originally self-published their book, How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy, in May 2009. They marketed and promoted like madwomen and then sold the book—at auction!—to Random House in October 2009. The new revised edition came out in May 2010...

Newest Opportunities to Hear Me Speak

Lots of cool things happening to update you about (pictured above: a candid shot of me speaking at Midwest Writers in July 2010!). Last week I was a guest speaker on a live teleseminar on memoir, with the NAMW. If you missed it, you can still sign up to get an...