You might get sick of hearing it but around here, we like to say “Authors are our largest support network.” This is very true but here is something to bolster your author network to expand your reach further than you can imagine.
It might come as a shock but you are more than an author. (dramatic gasp) You have hobbies, interests, areas of expertise, travel experience, parenting, your day job. The list goes on and on.
The major problem FyreSyde sees nowadays is authors have this uncanny thought that all they are or have to talk about is being an author.
Dr. J has a great way you can get away from this way of thinking in her article for NaNoProMo Day 18 (created by Rachel Thomson).
As always, we give you an insider scoop at an excerpt:
Some people are unaware I grew up on a farm. I took part in crop planting and harvesting when I wasn’t feeding and watering animals. I translate lessons from farming to authoring because there is a lot in common, like seasons. You plan and prepare, plant the seeds, grow the product, harvest and when it’s ready, you share with the world. So, which was I talking about, farming or writing? By understanding the similarities, it helps me show how to make author network connections with five easy elements.
What Is Networking? Networking is when you interact with individuals to exchange information and grow professional or social contacts.
As I worked on the farm, I learned that you succeeded when you were connected to the people with whom you worked. These included other farmers and their families, farm agencies, institutions that supported our work, and the consumers who used our product. I needed to understand how they all fit together as I do with author networking.
Dr. J Author, How to Make Author Networking Connections with Five Easy Elements
You hear this all the time. As an author you are a brand. Do not fall into the trip trap of thinking you are nothing but a book title. Too often, we hear stories about authors who give off the feelings that they don’t care about their readers because all they do is talk about them and their book.
As an author you are a brand
This is not the way to do this. It’s why today’s NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) is so powerful it gave us chills.
Charli Mills gets real in a post showing why credibility is so crucial in maintaining a strong brand. She gets real about her struggles she’s encountered during her journey of being a military spouse. As a former Army wife and husband team, we can relate to these struggles.
Excerpt from Charli’s Article:
In October of 1983, my husband jumped into a war zone known as Urgent Fury. As far as battles go, the one for Grenada barely registers. In fact, the US government declares 1983 as part of a “non-combat” era. However, the reputation of my husband’s elite unit of US Army Rangers earns him respect regardless of where he served.
He volunteered for the Army in 1981, volunteered for Airborne school, and volunteered for the Rangers. He had to pass three phases and accept an assignment to a Ranger unit. He also qualified as a combat diver and managed his unit’s Zodiacs. He emphasizes that he volunteered for service and dangerous duty, something he’s fiercely proud of achieving. But it’s made for a rocky after-service life.
Not only did my husband bash his knee on that Grenada jump, but he also struck his head twice. Just a week before, he took a hit to the head that knocked him out. None of these incidents warranted a Ranger seeking medical attention and wouldn’t be worth mentioning decades later had it not been for puzzling changes in his cognition. He’s needed a total knee replacement for 35 years. As he aged, chronic pain aggravated combat PTSD, the kind rooted in survivor’s guilt and anger – the fuel a soldier is taught to use but not neutralize. While seeking VA treatment, we discovered an alarming loss of processing ability linked to long-term effects of subconcussive hits.
Here we are again (still a bit behind) but hey we promised to deliver NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) and come heck or high water, we are.
Today is something special. Here at FyreSyde, we know nothing is more important than learning to delegate. As human beings who carry jobs, have kids, go to school and somehow still find time to write, finding someone to help can mean a world of difference.
Emilie Rabitoy brings to you how important it can be to have an author assistant. Read the full article about it here.
Have a juicy excerpt:
When it comes to hiring an author assistant, it can be difficult to know where to start. The possibilities are sometimes limitless, so it’s hard for an author to know which tasks they should hand off to their assistant or which they should continue to do on their own.
One of the first things I ask my clients is if there is any task just they cannot stand, or feel is necessary but don’t have the time or skills to do. These are absolutely the most important tasks to give to your assistant, because either they currently aren’t getting done at all, or aren’t getting done very well.
The most important part of the relationship between an author and their assistant is communication, so finding a style that works for both parties is crucial. Though many writers don’t feel they can afford an assistant, they’d be surprised by how reasonable the cost is.
Think about a spiderweb. The intricacies of the design where threads reach out and appear to grab and lead the eye towards the middle of the web.
This is the way you should think when you’re building your author website. Your social media (Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, Business cards, bookmarks, you get the idea) serve as those tiny threads. At the center should be your website. You want to lead your potential viewers to your little hobbit hole on the internet.
Day 19 of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) offers ways you can do just that. BookWorks wrote a magnificent article on what it takes to draw attention to your website.
The Insider’s Guide to Author Websites: Set Your Foundation
An author website is the foundation upon which you build your platform. We asked BookWork’s Web Lead, Tyler Doornbos, to share his insider’s perspective on what that should entail…
(Adapted from The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guidecreated by BookWorks founder Betty Kelly Sargent and Joel Friedlander, “The Book Designer,” and winner of the 2017 Silver IPPY in Reference Book category) At this point, you’ve heard the endless refrain: you need a website. Probably for years now. I won’t reiterate it. It feels a little 2008 to even be mentioning it. What’s worth mentioning, however, is what your website needs. The independent author sphere is saturated with bad design and marketing—from unintentionally hilarious book covers to websites that look like refugees from the wreckage of Geocities—and you don’t want to add to it. But it goes much deeper than that. Design isn’t just how your website looks, but what it does (to very loosely paraphrase Steve Jobs), and you have to do more than just have something out there. It needs to be as remarkable as your book.
Here we go again with the whole marketing thing. Heck yes! Marketing is scary, intimidating and is so easy to lose so much money if one doesn’t follow a…wait for it……PLAN! We know, we’ve done it with some our earlier titles.
Well, one of our favorite gurus, Frances Caballo has just the cure to the marketing blues as part of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) Day 13. Check out Ms. Caballo’s article for some really good advice on how to prepare for book marketing.
Juicy excerpt alert:
Book marketing involves so many steps. When people come to me, they erroneously think that all they need is social media marketing.
Social media alone won’t cause your books to start flying off the proverbial bookshelf. So, take this quiz and see if you’re ready to tackle book marketing on your own.
Frances Caballo, author of Social Media Just for Writers
Find more about Frances Caballo at her links below:
Marketing can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing. Trust us, we’ve been there. We know how you feel. Breaking it down into a marketing plan can help ease some of strain, especially for Indie and self-published authors. Here’s the kicker, bashing people over the brain with “buy my book” tweets is NOT the way to go.
Often times, as authors, we forget that our readers are people too. As part of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson), Maureen Joyce Connolly offers ways to make your marketing plan successful. Check out the full article here:
And to get you interested:
The very core of my approach was to learn as much about launching a book as quickly as possible, to compile a strategy and to execute it with support if I needed, but for me to be the driver of my plan. I also understood instinctively, that I would need to identify my personal strengths and use them to my advantage since I had no social media presence – nada, zip – as my business had flourished via referrals. In the social media arena, I wasn’t starting from the ground floor; I was starting in the basement. But I have a bulldozer work ethic and creativity. Two killer strengths.
Maureen Joyce Connolly, author of Little Lovely Things
Blogging is something we’ve found works wonders in growing an audience. It shows that authors are more than books with a body. It shows we’re human and that we like to share content we don’t charge for.
Here at FyreSyde, we preach to our authors to always and we mean ALWAYS have free, EVERGREEN content. What is evergreen content? It’s content that will always be relevant to someone.
Now, something we get a lot of (and we mean A LOT of) is “I don’t know what to blog about.” As authors, your first reaction is probably to go straight for the jugular right? You write books, why not talk books? The truth is, just because you’re an author, it doesn’t mean you have to talk books and writing. We will have a segment on this in our future posts.
For now, enjoy this excerpt from Shaunta’s post:
Building an audience is one of the hardest parts of being a writer. It’s hard for a lot of reasons. We want to create. We don’t want to be marketers. It feels weird and wrong to sell these stories that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into. We want to just write our books and leave the rest up to fate.
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. At least not most of the time. For most of us, building an audience and learning how to interact with that audience is an important part of our job.
Readers, we know we are behind but fear not, we will be bringing you the amazing information from NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) up until the very last day.
How would it feel if you could sell your book in 20 seconds? Does that sense of elation make your spine tingle? Well, look no further than this article by Sharon Goldinger. She offers some amazing ways both fiction and non-fiction authors can pitch their book in very little time.
Excerpt: (of course)
Picture this: You’re in an elevator, your book cupped in your hand, the title clearly visible to the other person in the elevator. While riding from floor 1 to floor 19, she asks, “What is From Fat to Fit about? You respond: “You’ll be inspired by the amazing Community Meltdown, which motivated 1,000 people to have fun while losing 8,000 pounds in 8 weeks, and my personal story as I went from fat to fit and lost 62 pounds.” When the elevator lands at her stop, she says, “Sounds great. I’ve got to get a copy.”
Who knew using sites like bit.ly could help an author brand themselves? Apparently GeniusLink has some really good advice in the latest installment of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson).
Trust us, you do not want to miss the information in this article. We are definitely going to implement some of these things on our marketing team.
Below is an excerpt of what you can expect from this amazing article:
Do you know what harder working links are and how they can help you with your marketing and even sales? As an author, you hear about a lot of great ways to maximize your income from your published work. Unfortunately, most advice around implementing new, or optimizing existing revenue is somewhat time intensive and often means taking something off your plate to make room for trying something new. Don’t get me wrong, experimenting and continuously trying new things is essential, but we are big fans of mastering the fundamentals first and picking the lowest hanging fruit. One of those things we’d consider a marketing fundamental is the links you use in your marketing. You know, those things that actually take someone interested in your literary work and gives them a way to act on that interest and purchase your book. We are a bit biased of course, but we think the link is the most critical piece of any promotion (though a great call to action, solid copy, and an enticing visual are good contenders). It’s likely you already use links in every marketing and promotional project you work on. But stop for a second and ask, “Is that link working for you as hard as it could be?” Let me quickly introduce you to what we call “intelligent links,” the hardest working links on the internet. These aren’t the links you copy out of your browser window or a shortened bit.ly links, but rather supercharged links that can help you sell more books and unlock a new stream of revenue. And the best part is that you are already doing the hard and time-consuming work, swapping in the use of “intelligent links” doesn’t take much extra time at all.
As always, here is a sample of what you can expect:
Making Time For Book Promotion
As authors today, we’re compelled to juggle more tasks and responsibilities than ever before. Given the colossal effort you’ve invested in writing and publishing your book, you know you’d be crazy not to dedicate some energy to promoting it. But with all that’s going on in your life, how do you make the time for this? Here are four different approaches to carving out some precious minutes or hours for boosting your book. Experiment with these, and you’ll find they’re a big help in making sure you undertake regular promotional activities, without becoming completely overwhelmed by all you have to do.
Whether or not we want to admit it. As an author, you are a brand and need to focus on becoming a brand. An important part of business is say it with me: “Brand recognition.” Book titles will come and go but you as a marketable person will stay the same. People identify with brands they’ve come to trust.
Imagine this, how often do you walk into an Apple store and someone asks you if you only want an iPhone? Probably doesn’t happen anymore does it? Why? Because Apple is more than its iPhone. The iPhone is a product of Apple, the brand.
Ask any author like JK Rowling or Stephen King and they most likely will tell you; “Yeah, I wrote that book but it’s not me.” Their name is their brand. You don’t have to have a publishing company to be a brand, that’s a choice.
If you’re like me you were probably resistant to the ideas of “branding” or “building your brand.” A lot of writers are – no judgment here. In fact, tell me if any of this sounds familiar: “I don’t want to become fake to my readers.” “I don’t want to become just a logo who writes what she’s supposed to write about, not what she wants to write about.” “I don’t want to become a productand lose my identity.” If anything similar to these thoughts has ever crossed your mind about the concept of branding, my friends, then I totally get you because I felt the same exact way. In fact, I went through a massive existential crisis over it because I redesigned my website at the same time.
Marketing can be as intimidating as public speaking. However, the hard truth is, even if you choose to go the traditional publishing route, you are still your best marketing tool. While some publishers will do their best to make sure you and your book get adequate coverage, we can’t do it all.
FyreSyde strives to treat its authors like family. We will market you and your book long after you’ve published. In the end, you, the author will need to do your part.
Here is what you can expect in this amazing article:
If there is one common thread that runs through every author it’s this: we don’t have enough time! For writing, for book marketing, for any of it (whatever it is). Sometimes when we see a huge task ahead of us, like book marketing, we tend to focus on it as a whole. And that can be overwhelming – which can make many of us put it off for another day, or just give up on it altogether. But when we break it down a bit, there is actually a lot we can get done in just a few minutes a day. So I thought I would share some tasks that take 10 minutes or less that will vastly improve your book marketing. These are tasks that can be done quickly during your lunch break, while you’re waiting in line to pick up your kids from school, or even during commercials breaks while watching your favorite show. It helps you get things done – and each task usually takes less time than you thought.
Day 3 of NaNoProMo is all about pitching, written by our own Blaise Ramsay. Pitching can be daunting, especially when you’re not sure what constitutes as a strong pitch. Maybe you’re not sure what an elevator pitch is or how a pitch is different from a query letter.
Let’s talk about your pitch today. The publishing world is a struggle. With agents receiving multiple submissions from multiple authors, it is easy for your manuscript to get lost in the author’s proverbial nightmare: the “slush pile.” As a publishing company and as professional book reviewers who request a pitch, often times we see the author sending us things like reviews or rewards the author’s book has received. This is not what an agent, publisher or book reviewer wants or needs immediately when asking for a pitch.
Recently, FyreSyde Publishing has been working to open up submissions to help authors looking for representation. Though we do not require agents (yet), we do expect an elevator pitch prior to receiving a query letter. For #NaNoProMo 2019, we are delighted to bring authors a better understanding of what a pitch is, how you can properly write an elevator pitch and provide some steps on how you can write an award-winning pitch that can land you an agent.
Blaise Ramsay, author of the paranormal romance Blessing of Luna
Let’s face it, speaking for authors in general can be pretty daunting, especially if you’re one of those who freezes up in front of people. For day 2 of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson), Paul Geiger offers a way that could help ease the stress of speaking.
Most authors will admit they write a lot better than they speak. (I happen to write the same way I speak – but I’m only developing one character here.) Most people, in general, don’t even like the sound of their own voice. Couple that with a little nervousness when being interviewed about your book and you’re in for a bumpy and unpredictable ride. Any time you let the word out that you’ve got a big promotional opportunity, you will inevitably receive a lot of well-intentioned advice: “Be yourself.” “Just speak the way you write. You’ll be great!” “Show them how smart you are.” “Take a deep breath and go for it.” Your friends and family mean well but, ultimately, you’re still left with no answers. The better action plan for how to talk about your book has only three parts: Discover your bumper sticker. Leverage your forward momentum. Know how to close the loop.
So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?
In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.
What Is Failure?
The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.
According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:
A lack of success
or an insufficiency
You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success).
Why Does It Terrify Us?
Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly. Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.
History Is Made on Failure
No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures.
Why It Is More Valuable Than Success
This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature.
Why We Need Failure
We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise.
The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane
Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television.
“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House
Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?
Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:
Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar
Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor