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This One Tool Can Make Novel Plotting So Much Easier

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Hello everyone! Long time no see! We deeply regret that!

With Camp NaNo on the horizon, many of us are preparing projects to land a win in a less strenuous child of NaNoWriMo.

Planners everywhere know that planning can either drive you absolutely insane or it can be as easy as your grandma’s homemade pie.

Now, to begin, I want everyone to know, I am by no means, a plotter. Not by any means. If given the chance to Write in the Dark (Dean Wesley Smith term) or plotting, I’d write in the dark every time.

However, sometimes I do have to have some general info before diving off into the wild blue yonder. This being the case, I want to introduce a tool that made this so much easier: Trello.

What Is Trello?

Simply put, Trello is the digital version of writing on index cards. It was founded in 2011 by Fog Creek Software but was later sold to the New York based company, Atlassian in 2017.

It makes working with teams incredibly easy when involving large projects with multiple steps.

How Authors Can Use It:

For an author, it can be used in any number of ways:

  1. Front/ Back Matter Layout
  2. Amazon Keywords
  3. Potential Publishers/Agents
  4. Outlining
  5. Characters
  6. Setting
  7. Scene set up
  8. Blurb creation
  9. Alpha Readers
  10. Query Letter Writing
  11. And much more….

Each “card” and “board” can be moved around according to the needs of the author. Meaning, you don’t have to write tons of scenes and work on the floor of your bedroom (unless that’s your thing). More on this a little later.

It also has a mobile app so you can work on any device! How nifty is that?

For more information, Mackenzie Kinkaid made an amazing resource for authors to see how she uses Trello. You can find it here: Trello for Writers.

A Set-Up Example:

When you first sign up and log into Trello, you’re met with a screen that looks like this:

(c) Blaise Ramsay via Trello.com

This is basically how Blaise uses the program. Each board is used for things like characters (which may or may not include photos), Settings (which isn’t included with this one) and some sort of noting system.

Here, you can see an example of the 3- Act layout, which is actually less of an outline and more of a “beat sheet.” There are still crucial details needing to be filled out. I’ll do a post on this later.

Important stuff — like story premise, theme, Synopsis, blurbs, keywords, target word and chapter count, and back matter — are included here.

Then you have characters — including ARC developments — followed closely by settings (which isn’t included here) and whatever “beat sheet” (if any) you use. Notes are in the form of comments below each Act and character.

Other things (not in this case), you might include are potential publishers, agents, Dedication, Acknowledgements, etc in the boards following the beat sheet.

Every novel is different. Depending on the needs of the story, you might switch up my beat sheets. If you’re a panster like we at FyreSyde are, you might not go into too much detail prior to writing.

We hope this helps! Let me know if you use Trello in your upcoming endeavors. We’d love to see what you think in the comments!

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Surviving Camp NaNo Part 1: Camp vs. NaNo

Camp NaNo is around the corner. Though it’s not as strenuous as NaNoWriMo, it can still seem overwhelming to those who are thinking of undertaking the challenge.

In this short series, we hope to debunk some of the confusion revolving around Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo (which takes place in November). We hope to help you stay motivated, whatever your goals are, and to win Camp NaNo during the month of July.

What’s The Difference?

To begin, answering the question “what’s the difference?” can go a long way. The difference between Camp NaNo and regular NaNoWriMo is that Camp NaNo is much more laid back. You can set your own goals based on Word Count, hours, minutes, pages, lines, etc. It does not demand a definite 50K word count to win. You still must accomplish the goal you set for yourself to win but it is your goal.

Camp NaNo can also be used for revision on a project you are already working on.

What Are Cabins?

Cabins are spaces where authors can actively engage, must like online chat rooms. Authors can meet future critique partners and arrange manuscript swaps when they complete their goals.

While NaNoWriMo doesn’t have cabins, it does offer help through forums. However, Camp NaNo’s cabin system can help authors on a more “live” basis for the reasons listed above. Many authors do this in the form of word sprints, write-ins and more during regular NaNo but it can become hard when trying to sprint to meet that winning goal.

There’s No Month Ahead Planning (at least not yet)

Because the goals are primarily set by the author, Camp NaNo doesn’t have a month ahead of time for the authors to prepare their stories (Preptober). Preptober is when authors use the entire month of October to outline, prepare their writing projects and organize a calendar with word count goals.

Don’t Get Us Wrong, Camp NaNo Requires Discipline and CareFul Planning

Just because Camp NaNo isn’t as demanding as NaNo, it doesn’t mean an author shouldn’t devote to starting it and not working towards a finish line. It is laid back but it still requires a level of devotion and discipline.

One must still plan carefully in order to reach the intended goal. Procrastination still can seep in and cause lethargy no matter what an author wants or plans to do.

Next week, we will cover what you can do to help stick to your goals during July’s edition of Camp NaNoWriMo. Until then, Happy Writing!!!

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Info-Dumping: How You Can Avoid It

Nothing slows down a story worse than paragraphs of description. It becomes even more problematic when an author chooses to open a novel with too much backstory. This ruins the hook and can often result in the loss of the reader.

Here’s the thing, as authors, we seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking we have to explain every little thing that goes on in our novel. The truth (and the beauty of this) is, we don’t.

Jerry Jenkins, author of the international best-selling Left Behind series, is quoted to say:

“Less detail is often better”

Jerry Jenkins, https://jerryjenkins.com/blog/

This has never been more true in today’s publishing industry.

The fact is, “info-dumping” does not help your story. You don’t have to explain every little thing.

So what is “info-dumping?” Why do authors think they need it? Most importantly, what are some good ways to get rid of it?

Let’s begin.

What is Info-Dumping?

Ellen Brock gives a great description of what an info-dump is:

For those who don’t know what an info dump is, it’s an extended form of telling (rather than showing). An info dump is a big chunk of information that is “dumped” in the reader’s lap all at once. These info dumps are usually done through narration but can be found in dialogue as well.

Ellen Brock, NOVEL BOOT CAMP – LECTURE #3: HOW TO AVOID INFO DUMPING

The fact is, relying on info-dumping is shifting attention from the plot which is the more vital part of the story you’re trying to tell. It slows things down (as previously mentioned) and can often come off as “alright already” moments.

Some of the most common cases of info-dumping can include:

  • Backstory
  • How things work (government, magic, etc)
  • Different creatures or races
  • Landscape or houses (living quarters)
  • How someone looks (really bad in romance)
  • Weather
  • Technology (prevalent in science fiction)
  • And many more…

Why Do Authors Think They Need It?

As previously mentioned, authors think they need to paint the picture for their readers rather than letting the reader do it themselves. The beauty of reading is it allows the reader to develop their own pictures in their mind.

Info-Dumping is “telling” not “showing.” It is always better to do as much showing as possible. Let your reader paint the picture of Mr.Wonderful from your romance novel or the wicked beast in your horror novel.

It keeps them engaged, develop theories and at times, leads them to contact you (the author) to ask questions and spread word of your novels.

Rule of thumb: If you choose to use an info-dump, keep it brief! A few sentences max.

How Can You Avoid or Get Rid of It?

The easiest way to avoid and eliminate info-dumping is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the reader really need to know this? If so, can I split it up via dialogue and narrative?
  • Is it prudent to the story? Meaning does it contribute to the plot? If not, get rid of it.
  • Can I replace the dump with conflict (a scene) capable of delivering the same information? For example, if the dump is backstory, maybe the villain and the hero have history. Can you give a hint of backstory through brief banter?
  • Can the info be delivered in an already existing scene?

Further tips:

  • Do not be afraid of re-writing. Info-dumps are a very common problem in first drafts. Often an author can slip into writing them and not recognize what they’re doing.
  • Scenes can become info-dumps. For example, an office scene where two characters are talking can easily become cumbersome to the reader. Keep it short, keep it brief.
  • Show! Don’t tell as much as possible. Readers like to create an image in their minds.
  • Make it creative!
  • Have beta readers look over your novel prior to send it publishers. Many require manuscripts to at least have two rounds of rough editing. Nothing burdens an editor worse than having to re-write large amounts of info-dumping.

For further reading:

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Querying: What You Need to Know Right Now

Querying. The word of shaking bones, chattering teeth and chewing on nails as you wait for the agent or publisher to respond. Hours upon hours, days upon days…well, you get the idea.

As we said in a previous article (featured in NaNoProMo) about pitching, the publishing world is an absolute struggle. Agents and publishers are getting over-run with queries from authors wanting to publish their latest literary masterpieces. It is so easy to get lost in the nightmare known as the “slush-pile.”

Recently, FyreSyde had the privilege of opening our doors to the authors looking for a publisher who doesn’t require an agent. We received a total of almost fifteen queries in a short span of time (and that’s just the emailed ones).

Why is this number important? Because, it shows just how busy a publishing company can be and how many queries we receive (in just a month!).

Something we noticed in this submission period is how important it is for authors to be well-aware of what their publisher expects and to follow their rules for querying to avoid automatic rejection. Your publisher (or agent) should never have to instruct you on how to query them.

Let’s begin.

What Is a Query?

Look at a query the same way you look at a job application. You’re selling yourself to your potential employer by telling them a little about you, your work history, achievements, etc. What they don’t want is to be blasted with how much of a god-send you are to their company (more on how this applies to books later).

The query is pretty much the same thing. It includes:

  • If you know the agent or publisher from somewhere (a connection) then tell them. If not, don’t.
  • The title and genre of your book (maybe include the word count as well)
  • A bit about your story (main characters, etc)
  • Who you are as an author
  • Any achievements, experiences, etc that you have gotten

1. Connection to the Agent or Publisher:

What do we mean by connection? Did you meet the agent at a conference? Were they recommended to you? Maybe you heard they liked a certain genre or sub-genre somewhere? Anywhere you might have heard of them, let them know. It creates a rapport and can help with the querying process.

FyreSyde loves to know where people found or heard of us. We often ask to get a feeling about the person and what they’re looking for in a publisher. An agent (or publisher) might want to know the same thing.

2. The Title, Genre and Word-count of Your Book

Yes, we want to know these things. They can often be a good selling point or help us in deciding if we want to pursue a contract.

Almost every publisher includes a list of genres they’re looking for, what they aren’t looking for and what they’re very picky with. Taking the time to learn these things can help you (the querying author) avoid serious heartache. It also gives you an understanding of the current literary market.

FyreSyde also has a word-count limit, as do many others. This helps us not only in printing costs but also to check and see if the book is marketable to our readers. Longer books tend to be cumbersome so we put a limit of 95K on our submissions (look for a later blog post on “over” and “under” writing, coming soon). Being aware of these can help an author do some final revisions before submitting.

Novels: 55,000 up to 95,000 words
Novellas: up to 50,000 words; must have at least 10,000 words

FyreSyde Word-Count specifications, FyreSydePublishing.com/queries

3. About Your Story (avoid giving away the plot)

Of course we want to know about your story. It’s the main reason you’re contacting us after all, yes?

FyreSyde has specific things we look for when it comes to deciding on whether or not we want to ask for a partial manuscript:

What we look for when reading pitches: Strong world development, deep character arcs, flawed characters, showing not telling, well-edited writing, original ideas, and consistent characters. Having these things will be more likely to land our interest as we are avid readers as well.

Found via FyreSydePublishing.com/queries

The same can be said of our fellow publishers. The more unique and strong your story is, the more apt we are to ask for a partial manuscript. If we like it enough, we’ll ask for a full.

A general rule of thumb: This is not the time to tell the publisher or agent (at least not FyreSyde) how badly we need your book. Please don’t do this. FyreSyde automatically rejects queries who say things like this.

You can include your main characters, the trials they face and the conflict we can expect in your story. You don’t have to give away the entire plot. Keep us guessing and wanting more.

4. Who You Are As An Author

Tell us a little about yourself but keep it about writing and publishing. What achievements have you accomplished? Have you attended any writing conferences, hosted any panels or received an award for your story? Now is the time to tell us. Keep it brief.

5. Tips from a Publisher

  1. Read the querying page in its entirety. By no means should the publisher or agent have to instruct you on how to query. FyreSyde experienced this many times during our first submission window. We will no longer be looking at queries that don’t follow our submission terms. It got ridiculous. So, please, read the submissions page. They are there for a reason.
  2. Keep it short. Don’t send two or three pages to the publisher or agent. One page is the comfortable maximum. Remember, we see many (and we mean many) queries we have to answer. This can be a source of auto-rejection for some agents and publishers.
  3. Make it exciting. An article via Nybookeditors.com that we found helpful when formulating a query letter had a great idea: Query in the tone of your book. It can be an amazing way to get us interested in what to expect.
  4. Build a rapport. Don’t just come to us and demand to query with us. Most of us have social media and like to engage as normal human beings (but a bit more professional). Getting to know us, following our social media and interating with our content can help when it comes to the querying phase. We might just help because we want to.
  5. Be Unique. Here at FyreSyde we treasure uniqueness in stories and in authors. We don’t like to see plots we’ve seen a million times. Be willing to be bold and show us who you are as a writer, not what the market expects you to be.
  6. Hire an editor (or have someone look over your letter). Many publishing houses require at least a rough round of editing and revision before even looking at a manuscript. The same can be said for a query letter. There is nothing more damaging than a query letter with missing words, bad spelling, incorrect grammar and poor wording. You’ve heard you never get a chance at a first impression?
  7. Be aware of submission windows. FyreSyde doesn’t even look at letters sent outside of these windows. They’re deleted immediately.
  8. Don’t be scared of us. Yes, FyreSyde may reject manuscripts and query letters but that doesn’t mean we’re something to be afraid of. We’re human beings just like you and often know what it feels like to be where you are. FyreSyde goes as far as to help critique query letters prior to submission.
  9. You are going to be rejected. Rejections happen all the time for a variety of reasons. Just because we reject one query, it doesn’t mean we’re going to automatically reject the next. If we have time, FyreSyde tries to say why we’ve rejected to help the author understand.
  10. Follow the template. Nybookeditors.com has a beautiful breakdown of how to format a query letter. It’s exactly what FyreSyde wants to see in the letters we receive.

If you liked this post, here are a couple of others that might help:

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NaNoProMo Day 29: Why Good Editing Is Good Marketing by @Alexandria_SZ

Day 29 of NaNoProMo is all about editing and how important it is in marketing your book by Dr. Alexandria Szeman.

Editors are there to make your writing look cleaner and more professional The hard truth is, unless you are willing to do some of your own, it can be hard to market your book.

This has become such a problem, especially with indie and self-published authors. So often, we see manuscripts that have not been looked at by a beta reader or read by another to spot preliminary problems. It can and most likely will result in an automatic rejection.

We require our authors to have their manuscripts read at least twice before they even submit to us.

Editors can be expensive, we know this, however, there are other ways to have editing done or get your manuscript cleaned up. Beta readers, critique partners and friends who have some editing experience can also help.

The point is, there is indeed, no excuse for good editing.

Excerpt:

Why IS Good Editing Good Marketing?


You’ve probably heard at least one fellow writer claim that s/he doesn’t have to worry about spelling or grammar or even plot-holes because, once the book is accepted by a publisher, the editor will fix any errors. Maybe that was true before typewriters were invented, but it wasn’t true when my agent was sending my first novel out to publishers 27 years ago.
The hard truth is that, unless you’re already a bestseller or a major celebrity with an established audience, no agent or editor will even look at your book unless it’s already well written and well-edited.
In traditional publishing, agents and editors are marketers: agents “sell” manuscripts to editors, who “sell” the books to the rest of the editorial staff before making the author an offer to publish. (Once the book is published, the bookstores, not the publishers, are the ones that literally sell the books to readers.) Agents and editors simply don’t have time to edit a book, especially not for unproven authors. And if you self-publish, your readers will expect your work to have the same quality editing that traditionally published books have.
That means whether you’re looking for agent representation, submitting directly to publishers, or planning to self-publish, anyone who reads your book has to be completely engaged by your story, has to like your writing, and should never notice that there’s anything that needs to be changed, i.e., edited. Good editing is essential for all books, but there are lots of different kinds of editing, only some of which is done by traditional publishers.

Dr. Alexandria Szeman, Why Good Editing Is Good Marketing

Where to find Dr. Alexandria Szeman:

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NaNoProMo Day 28: 5 Reasons Authors Should Market Themselves With Email by Conor Kelly

Day 28 of NaNoProMo (founded by Rachel Thompson) is all about emails and why authors should be willing to market themselves via email.

Email lists are used widely here at FyreSyde. We use them for our street teams, our blogger list and of course our newsletter. Having email lists can be crucial if social media should suddenly become useless. Where would you find those readers or get in touch with them?

Excerpt:

Email. We love it, we hate it.  We like to complain we get too much of it, but we’re also addicted to our inboxes.  If you’re an author who’d like to build a following, sell more books, and be seen as the go-to person in your industry, then this article will show you how – by using simple emails.
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why every author should market themselves using email:

Conor Kelly, Reasons Authors Should Market Themselves with Email

Find more about Conor Kelly:

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NaNoProMo Day 27: How to Pick a Bestselling Title by @BarbaraDelinsky

Day 27 of NaNoProMo (founded by Rachel Thompson) is all about titles and why they make such an impact on book sales, courtesy of Barbara Delinsky.

Excerpt:

Your novel is done and you’re ready to start hyping characters and plot on social media, which is the current marketing tool of choice, right?
Only in part. Social media is important. Same with building hype with blog endorsements. Before you get to those, though, you need a good title. Studies suggest that the average reader makes a book-buying decision in less than three minutes based largely title and cover. Okay, the recommendation of a friend (or Reese Witherspoon) helps, or, if you’ve published before and have a devoted following, they may snap up your book on the weight of your name alone. A gripping plot description on the book jacket helps, but only if the shopper actually opts to read this summary.
How to make that happen?  How to get the reader to actually pick up your book and take a closer look?

Barbara Delinsky, How to Pick a Bestselling Title

Where to find Barbara Delinsky

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NaNoProMo Day 26: 3 Reasons Authors Need a Content Strategy Now by @AbbieMood

FyreSyde has a saying: “Authors don’t always have to be authors.”

Why we say this has everything to do with one little word: content. Often, authors think they have to talk about nothing but writing and focus only on their books. This is not the case.

NaNoProMo Day 26 (founded by Rachel Thompson) offers three reasons why authors should focus on developing a content strategy courtesy of Abbie Mood.

Excerpt:

Why Is Content Marketing Important for Writers?


Over the past few years, content marketing has gained popularity as a marketing strategy. And rightfully so—businesses all over the world are successfully using blog posts and social media to gain customers, clients, and brand fans. In fact, content marketing converts people to paying customers at a rate SIX TIMES higher than other/traditional methods. While it’s becoming a no-brainer for businesses, content marketing and having a content strategy is just as important for solopreneurs, writers, and authors.
You might not realize it yet, but if you’re writing full-time or trying to become a published author, you’re running a business and it will greatly benefit you to think of it from that perspective. And that’s why a content strategy is integral to your success as a writer.

Abbie Mood, 3 Reasons Authors Need a Content Strategy Now

Where to find Abbie Mood:

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NaNoProMo day 25: How to Work With Book Bloggers (By a Book Blogger) by @Girl_Who_Reads

Book bloggers are crucial to the writing community. They offer their reviews free of charge (in most cases) and are willing to often take more than they can handle.

However, there is a right and a wrong way to work with book bloggers. Unfortunately many receive backlash for their honest reviews.

Thankfully, NaNoProMo day 25 (founded by Rachel Thompson) brings a book blogger to the table. In her article, Donna Huber offers details how to communicate properly with book bloggers.

Excerpt:

Make Friends With Book Bloggers
One of the top questions I hear from authors when discussing book discoverability and marketing is “What can I do that doesn’t cost a lot of money?”


My Response Is Always: Make Friends With Bloggers


Unfortunately, I see way too many authors only using bloggers as review generators and failing to make any kind of personal connection with them beyond the review pitch. Bloggers are an awesome resource to have in your toolbox, but one too many authors do not properly know how to incorporate this tactic into their marketing plans.
As more and more bloggers close to review requests, it is important for authors to find new ways to leverage the impact a blogger can have on a book’s success.
I have a number of publishers and publicists that contact me about traditionally published books. I can almost always tell when an email is from the traditional side of publishing from the first few lines. It is subtle, but it sets them apart from the indie and self-published pitches. Pitches from traditional publishing rarely begin with a request for review. Bloggers are pretty smart and already know that if an author/publisher/publicist is contacting them, they are hoping for a review.

Donna Huber, How to Work With Book Bloggers (By a Book Blogger)

More about Donna Huber:

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NaNoProMo Day 30: How to Create a Book Marketing Roadmap by @Beth_Barany

Marketing. We talk about it so much and find so much on the internet but still new authors struggle with how to go about it. It’s intimidating, horrifying and can, at times, be confusing.

NaNoProMo day 30 (founded by Rachel Thompson) offers a great roadmap on how authors can go about their marketing. Beth Barany shares some steps you can take to make marketing your book a bit less daunting.

Excerpt:

Why Market Our Books?


We writers want to be read. Otherwise, why would we publish our work? Well, it is so gratifying to hold the book and see it on the shelf. But it’s the readers’ joy in reading is what it’s all about. Otherwise, why publish?

To be read, we must market our books. How to do that can be overwhelming and feel like a big black box you can’t open because:
There are so many choices out there on how to market
There is so much advice on the “right” way to market that clashes — confusing! and
You may be afraid to actually to do the work because of well, many reasons. (I’ll address this aspect more below.)
To bring some clarity and offer an overview roadmap, let’s start by defining our terms.

Beth Barany, How to Create a Book Marketing Roadmap

Where else to find Beth Barany:

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NaNoProMo Day 23: Tips: How to Leave Digital Breadcrumbs by @LolaAkinmade

Day 23 of NaNoProMo offers insight on how to get your name spread across the internet for other than just marketing your book. Marketing yourself is the most crucial part of the author platform.

For example, FyreSyde does more than preach books. We add evergreen content that can be used by virtually everyone. We also submit guest posts to various blogs and submit stories to literary magazines on our off-time (when we have it).

Lolá Akinmade Åkerström does an amazing job at showing you how you can get your name recognized for something other than your book. It gives you an air of professionalism and authority on subjects you are passionate about.

Excerpt:

“We are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving bread crumbs of our personal information everywhere we travel through the digital woods.”…Gary Kovacs


The last few months have been rather surreal workwise and I will share a Latest News & Updates post soon but there’s something that has been on my mind the last few weeks surrounding my LAGOM Book.
We’re now up to 17 language editions (!) and I thought I just spotted a Ukrainian version recently on Instagram? I still haven’t found the right words to express the gratitude I feel for catching this wave at the right moment when it crested.
But I digress…
The number one question I get surrounding the book is how I got a major publisher.
People are curious about my proposal and pitching process. How did I land that specific publisher? Do I have an agent? (No, by the way). How did I get on their radar? Especially people who are coming across my work for the first time, or have lived in Sweden much longer than my eight years here.

Lolá Akinmade Åkerström, Tips: How to Leave Digital Breadcrumbs

Find Lolá Akinmade Åker:

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NaNoProMo Day 24: Tips to Grow Your Author Platform by @IolaGoulton

You’ve heard it preached so many times. Having an author platform is critical before your book even releases. Some will say you have to wait to have the book in hand, but we here at FyreSyde tell our authors to market themselves first.

On average, platform building should begin six months before your book is even released. Some (like us) begin the process (if the author has not already done so) of building a platform fifteen months in advance.

NaNoProMo day 24 (created by Rachel Thomson) has a wonderful post by Iola Goulton on how to grow your author platform.

Excerpt below:

This might seem self-evident, especially if you’ve followed most or all of the#NaNoProMo posts this month. But I do come across published authors who don’t even have the basics in place: website, email list, and basic social media links.
It annoys reviewer-me when I want to promote an author but can’t, because the author doesn’t have anything for me to share or promote beyond an outdated Facebook page.

Iola Goulton, Tips: How to Create Your Author Platform Basics

Find more about Iola Goulton:

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NaNoProMo Day 20: How to Improve Your Email Newsletters Right Now by @SugarbeatBC

What would happen if social media suddenly went black? We’re talking no more tweets, Instagram death, Facebook crashing apocalypse. What would you do?

Enter your email list – one of the most powerful marketing tools in any business’ arsenal. These are the people who receive newsletters every month with exclusive goodies (or we hope you include them).

For NaNoProMo Day 20 (created by Rachel Thomson), Barb Drozdowich offers some insight as to how you can improve your newsletters. Don’t miss out on this valuable information.

Excerpt:

Many of the experts in the field focus on aspects of this communication which in the big picture don’t really matter. Or in some instances are detrimental to your ability to communicate with readers. In fact, it is my assertion that many of the experts in the field haven’t actually read any of the research in the field of communication with readers. They often repeat advice from others – assuming if someone is talking a good game, they must know what they are talking about.


In today’s post, we are going to mention two points of proven research and then talk about some ways to harness the power of that research to up your game.

Barb Drozdowich, How to Improve Your Email Newsletters Right Now

Find out more about Ms. Drozdowich:

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NaNoProMo Day 18: How to Make Author Network Connections with Five Easy Elements by Dr. J Author

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

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NaNoProMo Day 19: How to Set Your Author Website by BookWorksNYC

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.

Excerpt:

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 Guide created 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.

Tyler Doornbos, Bookworks

Find more about Tyler Doornbos and Bookworks: