The Fiction Writer’s Ultimate Guide to Using Pinterest for Your Author Platform // Resource List

I find the sheer number of blogs/ posts/ and videos about any given topic overwhelming. When it comes to creating an online presence, there’s enough to do already. So I’ve limited the list for you. Each link should provide comprehensive and/or a unique look at its section so that you can use the best advice for where ever you are feeling stuck.

If this too feels overwhelming I recommend you at least take a look at the one time tasks and take your time checking them off one by one. These not only permanently boost the feeling/ look of your Pinterest profile but also will help you with your SEO immensely. This would include:

  • Setting up your business account
  • Connecting it to other platforms
  • Creating your bio
  • Setting up a board for every topic you can think of and making the empty ones secret so that you can easily organize your pins as you run across them or make them
  • Creating your board descriptions
  • Putting your best boards on your website and adding a pin it button
  • Considering and looking over an autopinner or another post scheduler

Resource List.pngYou may even want to pin this post so when you are ready to start creating pins and giving them descriptions, check back in to make sure you hit the high points. With that being said allow me to present this summarized slice of the internet.

Your Main Goal:

Create a visual experience of your philosophy and your author brand.

Best Link For a Complete Overview & why Pinterest is important: 

Pinterest Traffic for Bloggers: How We Get 300,000+ Monthly Visits

34 Strategic Ways You Can Use Pinterest to Market Your Book and Your Author Brand

Set Up Your Business Account:

Pinterest Business Accounts: The Definitive Guide to Getting Started

Create your bio:

How To Write A Pinterest Bio That Attracts Followers

HOW TO WRITE THE PERFECT PINTEREST PROFILE

Don’t forget to include a CTA or Call to Action to invite the viewer to engage with you elsewhere. Refer back to your why and make sure you are inviting people to do what alines with your goal.

Connect your Pinterest to your website:

WordPress  ▽  Wix

Note: You can only claim your website if you have and upgraded account on Wix or have a WordPress business plan

Add the Pin it button to your website:

Make your ‘Pin It’ Button look perfect

If you are going the Plugin route check out: 11 Best WordPress Pinterest Plugins to Increase your Pins & Traffic in 2019

Put your boards on your website:

WordPress   ▽ Wix

Board Ideas:

Remember, you’re trying to make boards your audience wants to look at, here are some ideas:

  • Board of story prompts
  • Board based on the aesthetic of your book
  • Fandoms/ related books
  • Your favorite books
  • Aesthetic pictures of books
  • Quotes that your target audience would relate too
  • Drawings/ pictures that convey the feeling/ genre of your book (horror, romance etc.)
  • Posts from your blog  (with an email opt-in graphic that links to an email sign-up page on your site)
  • Posts from your youtube
  • Posts from your Instagram
  • Behind the scenes boards for world building, character creation, and plotting
  • Refer to your unique selling points list

What is your mission or the message you’d like your readers to hear?

Write good board descriptions:

How to Write Pinterest Board Descriptions That Get Results

Write Amazing Pinterest Board Descriptions With This Template

How to optimize your Pinterest boards

Where to make Pins:

Canva   ▽   Photopea

Best Practices:

Look:

  •  600 x 900 is optimal or otherwise quite long
  • Bright/colorful
  • Simplistic
  • Include a logo if you can, people can change the descriptions

Pinterest for Authors: How to create a pin for your book

Pinterest for Authors: Your Essential Guide

Posting:

A word from Pinterest

Write good Pin descriptions:

HOW TO WRITE A PERFECT PINTEREST PIN DESCRIPTION

6 Tips for Writing Effective Pin Descriptions on Pinterest

Rule the Pinterest Search Bar: How to Write Great Pinterest Image Descriptions

Pinterest SEO in 2019: How to Optimize Your Pins for the Changes

Authors/account to for Inspiration or Following

Find the flow and make things easier:

Look into an auto pinner that can post a few times in the morning afternoon and evening. This makes your boards easier to find. I was against this at first, but you can set them up to pull from secret boards you’ve set up ahead of time.

You can also try Later.com to plan your custom pins.

For the AuthorTubers:

 

 

Fiction Writers: Here are The Nine Never Talked About Rules to Launching Your Author Platform from Scratch (With Examples of How Others Started)

My Anecdote // Background for why I think this is the best way to build an audience

My first experience learning about the self-marketing side of being an author was reading a book called ‘your first 1000 copies’. I picked it up my first year of college and religiously followed everything it told me to.

I wanted to be a full-time writer/author so badly I blindly followed any advice I could get.

So I read every book in the library, every blog post, scowerd Youtube, took online courses. The more I studied the more I leaned.

You need a blog and an email list, promote your blog on Pinterest, get on the platforms your audience is on. Redesign your website, it needs these pages. Be an AuthorTuber, put out videos twice a week, put out Instagram posts daily, use a Pinterest auto pinner. Remake your website again. if you have multiple ideas for your youtube videos you need different accounts. But authors don’t make money from selling books: set up one-on-one coaching, sell corses, get public speaking engagements and do everything you can… everything except for writing.

I constantly felt overwhelmed, like I had too much on my plate. My love for writing deformed and became relentless self-promotion. It took up all my time and I never had the chance to write. I was slipping in and out of burnout every day and developed depression related to my identity. All the sources said I needed to have one solid, unified online presence but I was having a hard time trying to fit myself into one box. I thought I was the flawed one for being a ‘jack of all trades’ type and tried to cut out every other avenue of my personality.

I knew there was an issue. A work acquaintance once asked me: “what do you do for fun?”

I replied, “I work”

“But when you’re not working?” He asked.

“I go home and find more work to do.”

Then three things happened.

  1. I moved to Japan so I could dedicate myself to my work
  2. My best friend built a pretty substantial following on another platform without any of the research, just doing what they were passionate about.
  3. I released my first short story and it sold zero copies

I was trying to do everything perfectly and plagued with self-doubt. I talk like this was a long time ago, but it was earlier this week.

Well, I ran across this article and realized I was taking myself too seriously.

I’m not a big brand and no one wants to follow or “be friends” with marketing. When I look at a blog, a youtube channel, any social media, I look for people with personality. My brand screemd ‘love me’ & ‘buy me’ &  ‘look mom’ & ‘newbie’

So how should small writers start their platform? What are the best practices and how much should you stick to them? How will you actually grow? Well In all truth, I don’t know. What works for one person may not work for the next. But let me share with you what I know in the hopes that you get put on the right path.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful Destinations

  1. Help relentlessly. Your job is to help your audience as much as possible. That’s how people will find you and respect you. Make a profile of the type of reader you want to attract, think about what kind of content they want to find online as well as what content makes them happier. Not what they need. But what they are looking for. Your writing will provide value for someone, an escape, motivation, inspiration, that’s what you want to convey even before the launch of your book.
  2. Go against the grain and fuck the flow. If you are competing with everyone else in your genre then you’re competing for second place. You have to break out and create some new, different, unique, be the originator for this topic so that you are the influencer on that topic. Otherwise, you’ll just be competing for second place. If all you’re doing is following advice you will never stand out against all the other people following the same advice. Take a stand, think for yourself and most importantly be yourself.
  3. Be absolutely and completely genuine. Actually be a person, not a brand. Post, comment on other people’s posts, reply to people… That’s how social media is meant to be used and using it properly will be the biggest difference in how much that platform promotes you.
  4. Never surrender. Know that if you keep working at it you will eventually stumble across the right topic, the right platform, the right audience. My favorite example in the super carlin brothers who made vlogs back and forth every day for a year before eventually discovering that viewers also shared the same passion for Pixar movies and theories that they did. They filled an untapped market. Over the next few years, their channel has blown up and branched out to topics higher up in the pop culture sphere.
  5. Master your fate and don’t leave things up to chance. Know the rules before you break them. Knowing the best practices won’t hurt you, getting too wrapped up in them will. There’s nothing wrong with doing things right as long as it doesn’t get in the way of your creative prosses. You need t find the balance that works for you.
  6. Give your all to everything you start. Stop putting out content just to have content out on a specific day and start putting out high-quality content. Only pick two social media to start on so you don’t overload yourself. Determine what social media your reader likely uses and focus your efforts there. Then choose the one you like the most. Over time and with patience you’ll build your own system to post high-quality content on schedule and then you can spread out to other platforms.
  7. Create Remarkable Content. Fallow the 80/20 or 80 percent rule. You want to make content that isn’t just helpful but remarkable, something so great that everyone wants to share it. But… putting that level of pressure on yourself is deadly. Take stock of what the top 20% best performing content looks like and work on the project to 80 percent completion. What you learn doing the first 80 percent will make the next time you do the project a lot easier and the last 20% will take up the most of your time and create the least amount of improvement.
  8. Follow your intuition… When you get excited by an idea, TRY IT so you have no regrets. Realize when you’re creating excuses and overcome them. You never know what is going to be the piece of content that blows up. It’s been studied and proven that your intuition or ‘gut feeling’ recognize patterns faster than the conscious mind and will point you in the right direction. We shut down what feels right with excuses and those tend to be our regrets. If it costs less than $20 or will take less than four hours to do, there is no reason why you shouldn’t at least try.

9. Heres my biggest tip: Start with something searchable. As creators, a lot of our content is actually impossible to find. No one is looking for the book title of the novel you haven’t launched yet. So start with a genre or fandom your passionate about, (and is related to your book) something that people are already looking for. A great example of this is the youtube channel ‘hello future me’ where the creator, Tim, originally was making theories and plot break downs of famous works of pop culture and then started to make new content about more general topics, like creating your magic system, but still referencing the fandoms he built his audience around. Then he released a book on the topic.

That’s it. Those are the things I’ve learned from doing marketing wrong for five years.  I’m going to be doing from here on out. So if you want to find out if they work I guess you’ll just have to follow me on some platform to see if I start to grow exponentially 🙂

Instagram • Pinterest • Youtube

 

Let me know, what do you wish you had been told when you just started out?

How Fiction Writers Find Their Audience // Make an Actionable Plan and Create Compelling Content

The reader profile. Essentially a character sheet that lets you envision the person you’re actually writing your book for. It could be anyone, maybe even someone very similar to you.

I thought I knew my target audience inside and out, being that they are essentially a younger version of me. I thought this old business trick was overrated and I could do it all in my head. Oh, how I was wrong! When I finally completed this one page I was able to find and focus in on the elements that really mattered.

How to do use it:

Your Reader

  • Fill out this sheet (example below)
    • Figure out what they are searching for and where they’re looking
    • Focus your content creation on the platforms you think they use the most
    • Figure out a way to address their problems, fears, and anxieties so your content becomes extremely relevant
    • Realize what makes them happy so you can make sure to include that in your mix
    • Learn about related works and fandoms so you can discover people to collaborate with and the best practices of big names
    • Connect with your audience over shared interests so you become a person instead of a brand

 

Here’s mine, all filled out.

Copy of Untitled Design

So what did I learn? I need to be more active on Reddit • I want to make more content that inspires confidence • Most of my content isn’t outwardly very gay, I can definitely dive into that more • I can talk about other fandoms that I like, such as anime or specific gay novels, and I’ll probably meet more people like him.

This also informs how I talk to my audience. My specific reader wants to go into a science field as is a bit older and more mature than I originally thought. I’m not too different from him so I shouldn’t hold my self in such high regard above him. I need to talk with my audience more like peers.

Then I just needed to figure out what kind of content I could put out on those three platforms that help anxious people, connect with anime watchers, or helps people moving out to college for the first time. Topics like that will be much more helpful than what I’m doing right now… Helplessly sharing my writing prosses on insta and my blog hoping people will pity me and buy my books while acting like I have some kind of authority.

So, I took each different piece and list out 10 ideas per platform, per interest and suddenly I have 150 new ideas for posting. I can also make sure to fallow plenty of new communities on those platforms to start commenting and introducing myself in all of them.

Fill out the form and feel free to download it or save it to Pinterest for later. It should be easy to edit in most software but I’d recommend Canva or Photopea. I hope this helps you focus in! But anyway, thats all I know. I wish you the best of luck.

How I Plan my Author Instagram Posts, September 2019 Printable

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Right-Click this Image to save it, or save it to Pinterest 

I know September already started but I wanted to put this out in case anyone else wants to use it!  I recently stumbled across this video by Bethany Atazadeh. I’ve always had trouble being consistent on my various social platforms because I get self-conscious about what type of content I should be posting. But following along with her video made it extremely simple!

It didn’t even take me 60 minutes to do! If you’re looking to plan out or schedule your Instagram posts this is definitely the way I’d recommend. Feel free to save my little calendar, it’s easy to edit in Canva, Photoshop, and other photo editors, or you can print it out and write it by hand.
Best of luck to you!

Gaining Inspiration and Motivation so You Can Finish your Novel

Copy of Becomeing A fulltime Writer.png

Many famous writers will tell you to ‘just write even if you aren’t inspired’ but writer’s block is a long and difficult battle to fight. Finding inspiration can help to get rid of writer’s block, get more word per day, make more time for writing, and simply enjoy writing more.

With that in mind here are some of my favorite ways to hunt down inspiration.

Reading a Good Bookjoao-silas-9c_djeQTDyY-unsplash.jpg

The old stand by. Read in your genera, outside your genera, outside your age range, or style. Just be careful not to get sucked into it. A companion book is something you pick up whenever you’re stuck that is funny, interesting, or otherwise related to your novel. You don’t, however, want it to distract you from your own writing. If you often fall into that trap then look for smaller books or easy reads so that you won’t be distracted for long.

Reading a Good Book About Writing

This is the easiest way to keep yourself from getting sucked into a fiction book. You’ll get expertly crafted excerpt and immediate tricks to try in your own writing. These books often double as self-help book. My favorite is 7 steps on the path of a writer. You could also try YouTube videos or podcasts about writing, but be wary of platforms that aim to distract you and keep you tied up. A good rule of thumb is to create a ritual time to read or listen, like when riding the bus to work or while in the shower.

Travelsebastian-leon-prado-MgODFmLOaEY-unsplash.jpg

Learning about new cultures and places, seeing new sights, meeting new people, hearing myths, stories, and legends… all of it lends itself to inspiration. I love to travel far and wide but even a day trip, a new way to work, or a walk-off of the main streets can make me relax and find inspiration. Having time for your own thought without distractions can help you work through your writing blocks. I have a feeling this is where the idea of the coffee shop writer came from. You get out of the house, sit down, and force yourself to do nothing but writes. And by sitting and looking, learning and thinking, you will find inspiration.

A Good Movie

Dedicating your self to a new (to you) movie can excite your mind. Instead of just throwing a show on in the background, pay attention to the character development, the set, the subtext of each line and how it’s portrayed in body language. There’s a lot you can learn from the details of a well thought out film and a lot of creativity to be gained from animated films. Perhaps try a forum film, a (short) tv show or anime. Things from other cultures will have different ways of relating to their audience and will portray developments in new and unique ways.

I once found tension through three hours of an otherwise dull film just from the fact that the character had a gun that was never fired in the whole film but that she had reason to use five or more times. There’s always something to learn.

Music That Tells a Story

Throwing on your writing playlist can kick you into the mood in no time flat. Songs that tell stories in their tune or their words can excite your mind. I love finding new artists whom I know nothing about and turning them into characters in my own work. Or listening to classical music which portrays complex emotions working in harmony.

Your Writing Communityian-schneider-TamMbr4okv4-unsplash.jpg

Taking through my problems either to a stuffed animal of to my best writing friends always helps. Though the act of just spelling it all out helps, getting ideas and opinions from your writing community will do you a lot of good. If you don’t have friends to meet up with at a coffee shop, through a question on Reddit or join a Facebook group. Writers love to congregate and complain plot together. Going to a writer’s convention or even a YouTube comments section can show you interesting people with which to converse.

Pinterest

I save all my idea on Reddit. Writer’s block busters, characters, and places for me to look through when I’m stuck. Then I create individual boards for each book, saving articles, characters, and prompts to look through when I’m feeling sluggish. If I enjoyed them before I’ll hopefully think they’re interesting again. If not, Pinterest has a lot of very good suggestion features.

Writers Notebook

I’ve made a post and a YouTube video about what a writer’s notebook is and how to use one. Mine consists of three different colored sections where I write down interesting ideas. Names, traits, symbolic elements, places, objects, and just odd things. A quick flip through that and my brain starts to stir.

I hope you find inspiration in one or many of these things and can make some headway in your writing. Don’t forget, you have to either put energy or time into finding inspiration, it won’t come for free. The most important thing is to not get frustrated and enjoy the search for just the right next move.

Becoming a Full-Time Writer

Becomeing A fulltime Writer.png

Most people only dream of becoming a full-time writer. It sounds impossible, to make a living writing. So how do so many people do it? Today I’m breaking down how one becomes a full-time writer.

How A Writer Makes Moneymatt-ragland-8OVDzMGB_kw-unsplash.jpg

Your primary goal as a writer would be to sell the book you write. But with it taking so much time create and no guarantee of investment, it can be a risky game. Multiple streams of income, or money form many places, is a great way to not starve. It’s primarily useful as a safety net, that way if your novels don’t pull in as much money one month as they usually do, you won’t be defaulting on your rent. Here are some ideas and how you can make money, though most forms of social media are monetizable.

Your Website or Blogs: Writing posts can only get you so far. You can run ads and be an affiliate with other companies, promoting their products for a cut of dough but there are a few other ways too. Of course, you should be marketing your own novel but also your other skills like author platform management, website creation, or coaching. Other things you can host or promote on your website may include:

Online Courses

You make them once and, if they’re good quality, sell them for years to come. Ebooks, video series, and powerpoint type presentations can be sold easily on your website as total guides. Write about any topic and sell for any price. Once you have them made, you’ll hardly even need to update them.

Classes

You can host classes either to one person or a group on a topic you enjoy and feel comfortable talking about in person or over skype. Post open spots on your website and advertise them through other media too. Then you become the teacher on a certain subject, talking with your students and assigning them work. This is the much more personal alternative to online courses.

Social Media

Knowing how and when to post on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Tumblr will teach you a lot of skills that will not only make you money but can make you an expert. Then you can teach other writers how to use them in their own platform building. I’d recommend picking two that you enjoy and that your target audience frequents. Then you can expand from there.

Public speaking/ Coaching

Going out to speak in the community or at writing events and panels can be a fun way to earn some extra cash. But if you’re shy in groups you could also try coaching people one on one. This might be on skype or in person. You may help with one specific aspect of writing, plotting, character development, symbolic elements, or just read over the whole of what has been written and offer advice.

 

Keep Your Expenses Low

When it comes to starting on your path as a full-time writer you may not make much money the first month. So the trick is to keep your expenses low. Keep track of where your money is going and look at what you can cut out. And I don’t mean cutting your daily coffee or the little joys of life. Cutting big-ticket items like rent or car payments will free up a lot of wiggle room in your budget.

For the first three months of my full time writing path, I won’t have to pay rent, utilities, or car things: just student loans and food/fun. I’m doing this off of savings and using workaway where I’ll get a free room for about 5 hours of work a week with the added bonus of being in Japan the whole time!

Creating Your Budgetolga-delawrence-1jbxXN4OkMM-unsplash.jpg

List out the solid/essentials first:

$600 for rent

$100 for utilities

$80 student loans

Then the things that are negotiable:

$100 bus pass

$300+ for food

See what you can cut out and what you need to set as your initial goal. be honest and write out how much you’re actually going to spend and look at what you actually have spent in the past. Being honest will keep you from going over in the future.

Setting Goals

stil-flRm0z3MEoA-unsplash.jpgLook at all your options for how to make money as a writer and choose the ones you like the most, not necessarily the ones that will make you the most money. Put the majority of your effort into just those first few. Then decide what it is reasonable to earn/charge for each of there to reach your budget goal.

Do your research on those platforms so you can plan out a month to month or week to week plan. Plan out when you will create classes or posts, what you will post and on what platforms. Look at what you are already doing to see if you can consolidate your work. I recommend setting SMART goals, as does the rest of the internet.

Creating a ‘No Going Back’ Situation

I think the best way to become a writer/author is to force yourself to try it and see if you can make it or not. If you just have the option of writing, or blogging, or creating your course then it’s much harder to motivate yourself then if you knew it was your only stream of income. Putting yourself in a make or break situation will push you above and beyond your day to day life. This could be quitting your job, moving, breaking up with your downer friends. Getting away from the negative influences and the things that hold you back. You can start off slow but eventually, you just need to dive in. But you should probably have savings and a plan.

Plan creation

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Start doing your research on what you need to do each

month

week

day

in order to start making this amount of money. Set a deadline for when you’ll need to have made that amount of money by. Then do your research for how to make that amount of money from your platform. Write down your goals and make sure you start small and work your way up so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Batch tasks to get projects out of the way early. Reuse content whenever possible.

Then just go for it! Write and release your book, teach your classes, post your pictures and don’t get discouraged by the response. Over time you’ll find your niche and gain your following. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Most forms of social reward the uses who post the most often, but don’t overwhelm your following either.

Enjoy yourself and just keep writing!

Can You Teach Yourself to Write a Best Seller?

You can spend a fortune learning how to write great prose. And another fortune to learn the ins and out of the publishing industry. Writing well isn’t something everyone can do. Not only that but there are so many different paths you can take to get published, to promote your self, story’s you can write and ways you can tell a story. I might not have written a New York Times best seller but I’d like to give you a look at a storytellers path to publication while looking at how to save the most money or what the most expensive option would be.

 

Writing Well:

$$$ 

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If you were looking to spend the greatest possible amount on learning how to write, 

could I suggest a college degree? This option is good if you don’t have the determination 

or drive to learn on your own, or if you’re the type of person who will never sit down to start writing. If you can afford a life with student debt you will definitely learn a lot. There are many intricacies to wordplay that only masters of the language can teach you as well as many wonderful books you really should read that are too boring to actually be interested in. Aside from the debt, some teachers can actually scare you away from writing, making it sound harder or (in the case of your own writing) worse than it reallyis.

 

Free

Once upon a time, I read every book in my school library about writing, then all the ones in the public library. I planned when to use the free trials of courses like Lynda.com and others so that I could take the maximum about of courses in the one free month. I watched hundreds of hours of youtube videos of talks, speeches, and editors talking about writing. I volunteered at many a convention to hear the last half of a panel or network with outer writers in the area. I found mentors by joining clubs and online forms.

But I had plenty of time on my hands and a superabsorbent teen mind. Now that I work full time, have a social life, and need free time as well as time to cook, eat, clean and write, I’d find all that very hard to do again.

 

The Middle Path.

Reading the books you have access too and putting on youtube corses in the background can’t hurt but I’ve found Community courses are the way to go. If you know and like the teacher, they can teach you things you didn’t pick up while reading. Mentors can assess your work and tell you what your strengths and weaknesses are. You’ll also learn a lot about your own writing style when you compare with others. You could also try auditing a college class if you have a bit more time on your hands.

 

Editing:

$$$

Hiring an editor/ story coach can make a world of difference in your novel. A second set of eyes to look over your word choice, sentence structure, and plot, not only will improve your manuscript to an infinite degree. Moreover, they’ll soothe your mind, having a professional tell you that ‘yes that makes perfect sense’  or ‘that was a really great plot twist’ will help you know what you do well and give you confidence that your work is ready to be put into the world. But paying someone by the word adds up quickly for new novel writers. It can also be hard to tell who would be right to edit your work. Some people suggest using multiple editors who specialize in different things thus the reason behind having a story coach.

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Free

Sure there are a lot of books on writing well, but have you tried to find one on editing. There are only a few worthwhile editing books and they both end up being just as much about writing as anything else. I found blog posts are the clearest on outlining how to tackle your novel. But there will always something that you think are normal that simply aren’t. As well as words and sentences that you glossed over and forgot to tweak.

The Middle Path:

Beta readers are the potential readers of your work. Getting it straight from the source can tell you more acutely and definitively what stands out in your work, good or bad. Often times it’s free or can be done in exchange for reading their work. You can get multiple sets of eyes on it though some people will never fully finish or get back to you, and others could take years to complete it. But when you find the right person, you’ll create a buzz and can even give your book a little boost right out of the gate. 

Publishing:

$$$

Self-publishing gives you great control over every aspect of your work from the words to the title, cover, marketing strategy, and platforms its put on. But it can take a lot of time unless you happen to already know a fair bit about graphic design, marketing, copy wiring, and other random pieces. Most self-publishers can’t commit money of their own and end up with slightly off covers (or worse, pollute the world with more awful writing and continue to give self-publishing a bad name). But if you love to learn and want to really take control of your work you could probably do it for relatively cheap.james-tarbotton-gm18kqu9TxQ-unsplash.jpg

Free (or better; paid)

Ah, the elusive book contract. Long for by so many. I’m not like a lot of writers who will sit there and tell you how hard it is to get traditionally published. (Fair enough, I’m not but have received multiple personal response letters that indicated that I’m very much on the right path). But it really is the best option. If you can get through writing your query letter and sitting on your hands for 3-6 months for a response then you might find more fulfillment then most writers. Or else you’ll be sent into a downward spiral of depression… but it’s probably worth it.

Middle Ground

You may think there’s no middle ground to this but you can, in fact, do a little of both. Self-publishing a few stories can prove to a publisher that you’re committed, that your writing sells well, or otherwise that you are trustworthy. You’ll get a really clear view of all the steps it takes to publish something and it can make your next run a lot easier. You may start thinking of a stories query before you even begin writing it or add specific elements to a book based on what would make an aesthetic cover. Overall it’s been a great learning experience for me.

That’s right, I’m finally about to put my work out there. If you’re interested in what I write about, or if you just want an insight into my type of writing then check this out. Say up to date on what I’m doing and get my best advice all wrapped up in a whimsical little writing called ‘Out There’

STOP Trying to Doing Everything Right (writing, marketing, and publishing advice)

Is it possible to do everything right when creating a novel to be published? There are thousands of blog posts (not to mention all the books, youtube videos, college classes, and E-courses dedicated to writing) about what to do to create the perfect novel, the perfect query, get published, and sell millions of copies.

I for one gobble up all the information I can on things I’m passionate about. I’ve minored in creative writing (twice), taken outside classes on publishing, read over a hundred books on the topic, and have been reading blog posts and writing them since 2015. So when it comes to writing, I can do it quickly, and to a decent quality. In publishing, I’ve gotten custom responses to my query and a few manuscript reads. I have three ebooks scheduled for release this year. But have I done everything right? No.

How could you? So much of today’s advice contradicts itself. But more than that here’s why you shouldn’t.

In day to day life, you don’t even see people doing everything right. Do you stand up straight with your chin lifted, your feet square and at shoulder with, your abs engaged? Do you breathe through your nose with your tongue resting at the roof of your mouth and swallow using your tongue not your throat? These are some basic examples of how humans are ‘naturally’ supposed to be. If you do all this then you are doing everything (in this regard) right. But how many people do you know who actually do this? How many people who live to a hundred do this? How many attractive people do this?

The point is you don’t have to do everything perfectly. So many resources I’ve come across make it seem like you have to do everything: All forms of social media, blogging, building a following before the book is released, interviews, blog tours, writers conferences. And all of this puts unnecessary pressure on writers. And it takes away from writing time.

We became writers not because it pays well, not because it is some kind of higher form of art. It’s more like a spiritual release or even just fun. We didn’t start writing because we love marketing or because we want to reach people. We may want our writing to help others or move them in some way but the people who write just to gain respect, money, or power tend to stop writing pretty quickly.

So I’m here to tell you to STOP DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT. Your novel doesn’t have to be perfect. The editing doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have 10,000 followers or an email list or a twitter account to be a real writer or to be a successful author.

Doing everything right makes you feel fake. I found that out forcing myself to write blog posts once a week (sometimes once a day) even though I hated it and saw no results. I made myself film everything I did and posted it on youtube hoping to be one of the ‘found’ vloggers, I wrote about what I was supposed to, went to college for what I was supposed to, queried the way I was supposed to, and saw no results from any of it.

It wasn’t until I stopped forcing myself to do everything right that I saw results.

I don’t post youtube videos I think will do well anymore, I post what I enjoy.
I don’t write blog posts every week, I write when I have something to say.

I don’t fight social media every day so that I can get more people (who probably won’t be interested in my novels) to fallow me.

I write what I enjoy. And I’m not going to worry about making them absolutely, completely perfect before publishing them.

So please don’t worry about doing everything right. Do what makes you happy, what got you into writing in the first place. You can try new things but don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Books that helped me understand this:

Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path: This book is therapy and gets rid of writer’s block. It got me out of a very bad place.

Paper Hearts, Volume 3: Some Marketing Advice: All three books in this series are lighthearted, easy reads on every stage of writing and publishing. This book really opened my eyes to how much pressure I was putting on myself and helped to take the stress away.

I hope this helped. It seems like everyone could use a little destressing right now.

Why Setting Matters More Than Characters in Many Novels

I remember being asked the same the same question two times in my life.

What are the words that you use to define yourself? EX: Mother, Father, Writer, Reader, Explorer.

After making a long list choose three.

For a character, three character traits might define them but you see the same traits repeated over and over. Why don’t we get bored of all the superhero movies, detectives, or vampires? Well, that because even when there’s a surge in one type of character or plot the setting is different. By placing the characters in other places you get the opportunity to show them in more than just those three traits.

You can write a character who enjoys playing violin, and thats telling about a character’s interests. But put that character behind the scenes of an orchestra and then you will really SHOW how much that character enjoys or is obsessed with the culture of violins.

I am not trying to say that setting is more important than character but without it, the character would be hollow. By putting our characters in different situations we are more easily able to flesh them out.

When you think of a character from your favorite novel I doubt you think of them alone. You may envision them in a scene or srounded by other characters or in their story world. By contrast you would probably find it much easier to invision your favorite movie character.

In film the audience gets to see everything. Every piece of the world, ever facial movement, every shadow. I know I’ve worked in film. That’s why I find writing so magical. We have to craft our setting without every detail and allow our reader to fill in the details on their own. Therefore what we choose to describe becomes important. It takes on a life of its own in creating the mood, tone, foreshadowing, red herrings, and the subtext.

The very words we use become important (particularly in first person). We can show the characters beliefs about the world, their mood, their predispositions and can be used to show the characters story arc. Having the MC return home and see the setting in a new way is a trick as old as writing (see the first written story the Epic of Gilgamesh) but it’s not cliche nor will you ever hear about it being overused.

For example, Harry Potter would be so different if it were set in the future. It would make the magic less interesting, less dramatic, and it would change most of the drama. Imagine if they had cell phones, any owl related or information retrieval drama letter getting events would no longer be interesting.

I write all this just to remind you not to forget about your story world, even if it’s modern day. Turn your setting into its own character and enchant the reader by letting them see the world through your eyes.

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