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.

Publishing Is the New Literacy: 3 Things Writers Must Know

Since the release of Clay Shirky’s newest book, Cognitive Surplus, a flurry of interviews with him have appeared. It’s become cliche to say that we’re now experiencing the biggest change for reading & writing since Gutenberg, but it’s the truth. And it’s why you see such visceral debate on the topics...

A Novel's Setting Can Be Your Marketing & Promotion Linchpin

Christine Lemmon is an example of self-publishing at its best, with nearly 50,000 copies of her books sold. After selling books in her own community of Sanibel Island (off Florida’s coast) and expanding regionally (through her own vigorous promoting and selling to local bookstores, hotels, gift shops and more), she is...

Writers' Lives Change When Abundance Is the Problem in Publishing

Kevin Smokler recently commented, “The day Clay Shirky does not say something fascinating is the day we all pack it in.” I discovered Shirky last year when his article on newspaper declines spread like wildfire. Go read his blog post, “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable.” Since then, I’ve read his book,...

Authors: Build Your E-mail List—NOW

Since April, I hear the drums getting louder and louder: E-mail lists are the strongest tool in your marketing and promotion arsenal. I’ve heard it from large publishers, from small publishers, from authors. Here are three examples: Small publisherSophia Institute Press has a small and focused e-mail list of people who...

Should You Create a Facebook Fan Page? (And If So, When?)

At conferences, not long after I propose that writers use Facebook for platform building (here’s why), I’m asked whether writers should use their personal page or create a fan page. First, there is no one right way to do this. But most people have privacy concerns (try to ease your mind...

What Should Fiction Writers Blog About?

I often receive the following question at conferences and via e-mail and blog comments: It seems easier for nonfiction writers to offer free content through their blogs (e.g. how-to tips). Could you share tips on how fiction writers can make that work? There are many ways to approach this, which ought...

Managing Multiple Identities Online (Avoid)

Inevitably, at some point during author platform discussions, two questions get asked: What if I want to write under a pen name, or two (or more) different names? Do I need to maintain multiple identities? What if I have different areas of interest that have no connection to each other? Should...

What, Me Market? (Adventures of a First-Time Author)

Today’s guest post comes from celebrated short-story writer Robin Black. I asked her to share how she managed to get an agent and secure a deal for her collection of short stories, which as many of us know, “do not sell” — and then how she approached marketing. This is the...

Why Start a Website or Blog If You Have Nothing to Promote?

I feel like there’s a debate heating up between the group who believes it’s never too early to develop an online presence (that’s me) and the group who believes it’s necessary to focus on the WORK first, and not be distracted by online media—especially when you don’t have a specific message...

Why You Should Post Your Work Online

Today I’m the featured blogger over at Writer Unboxed, where I contributed a new post: Stop Being Afraid of Posting Your Work Online*. Too many people are afraid of the very thing that could move their career forward and improve their work. After you read that, you might also be interested...

Best Resources for Successful Writers of the Future

Today I gave an online class on how writers can succeed in an ever-shifting publishing landscape. To help those students—as well as all of you—I’m providing what I consider the most helpful information sources that offer forward-thinking views for people trying to stay ahead of the curve. These sites should help...

AWP Note + Best Tweets Rests This Week

I’ve been in Denver for the last 5 days for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, where I participated on two panels, and also manned the Writer’s Digest Bookfair table with WD magazine editor Jessica Strawser. I’m calling it a day of rest—Best Tweets will return next week. To...

Social Media Is Not a Waste of Time

Today I have a guest post over at Writer Unboxed that debunks the myth that fiction writers don’t need to worry about developing a platform. I was inspired to offer this advice when I read a blog that told fiction writers not to worry about building an online presence—it even warned...

5 Superb Tips from San Francisco Writers Conference

Pictured above: Patricia V. Davis and myself in San Francisco, outside of Fog City Diner — I took my first trip to San Francisco to speak and attend the San Francisco Writers Conference. It was a fabulous event, and I covered as much as I could on Twitter. Thanks to the...

5 Things That Make Me Stop Reading Websites & Blogs

Just in case you missed it, my first contribution to Writer Unboxed went live last week: 5 Things That Make Me Stop Reading Websites & Blogs It’s generated a lot of excellent discussion (45 comments!), where I’ve contributed some additional tips and answered questions. I think the discussion also made me...

I'm Now a Regular Contributor to Writer Unboxed

I’m very proud to announce that, starting this week, I’ll be a regular contributor to Writer Unboxed. My first post, to appear this Friday, will discuss the 5 things that make me stop reading an online site or blog (based on my experience curating Best Tweets). —— Housekeeping note: I’m taking...

The No. 1 Disappointment of Published Authors–And How You Can Avoid

While all authors’ situations are unique, they tend to experience the same disappointments during the publishing process. The most common disappointment (and the one that can have the most damaging effects on the author-publisher relationship) is: (Real or perceived): Lack of marketing and promotion support This disappointment is becoming more and...

Your Simple Checklist for Getting Known & Getting Readers

There’s such a wonderful comment on yesterday’s post that I wanted to bring attention to it (slightly modified to apply to all genres). Thank you, Banana the Poet (aka Michele Breton)! Follow her on Twitter or visit her site. Simple Checklist for Getting Known, Getting Readers, Building Platform Blog your work...

Turn Your Book Into an iPhone App

This is a story about an energetic author who deserves an award for truly living by the adage, “There Are No Rules.” In fact, I shall start an honorable group, “There Are No Rules Crown Club,” for people who live up to this moniker, starting with Al Katkowsky. Al e-mailed me...

The First 5 (Simple) Steps for Growing Readership on Your Blog

One of my posts last month, The Benefits of Blogging, received a number of valuable comments. For anyone wondering about the value of blogging, this is a must-read for the variety of perspectives. The next question that naturally arises—after you decide to blog—is how to gain readership. Before I mention specific...

15 Worthy Blogs I Just Discovered

I recently received the “One Lovely Blog Award” from Jillian Livingston (go check out isdisnormal—and you must if you are a mom). My thanks to her for introducing me to this concept. As a result of being honored, I’ve been asked to note 15 blogs I recently discovered that I find...