Month: September 2010

Three Ways Social Networking Can Increase Book Sales


This is the first guest post for The Chipper Writer, contributed by Angelita Williams.

While social media networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can keep you connected with friends and family, they can also serve as excellent marketing tools for writers trying to promote their latest project. But it takes more than just creating a profile or fan page to keep the momentum and your number of readers up. Here are 3 tips to utilize networking sites properly and increase book sales.

Create a fan base. This might be the hardest part for new and upcoming writers. The key thing to remember is that you need to build a connection with your readers/fans so that you can prove later on to your publisher that you actually have them. Knowing fan base numbers may become beneficial when you want to get the green light on your next project. Creating a fan base can be accomplished in several different ways.

1) Responding to selected tweets/wall post every now and then. This shows your readers that you do care what they have to say and that you personally participate in your page. Fans prefer it when the writers themselves monitor their pages as opposed to a publisher. Take note that it’s not all about you either, meaning don’t only respond to things regarding you. Commenting on fans’ and other writers’ statuses/tweets that interest you is also encouraged.

2) Another way build a fan base is to create scheduled forums or “chat times.” For example, make a post saying, “From 3 to 4 p.m. I’ll answer any question written on my wall or tweeted to me.” Or, “Today from 3 to 4p.m. I will be having a forum discussing my latest book.” Readers will get to know you better and you’ll get to know your readers better as well. It’s important to note that some readers/fans may use this opportunity to criticize you, and it’s important not to respond rudely when/if they do.

Use all of the site’s applications. Whether it be videos, photos, or the events applications, make sure you use all of what the site has to offer to its maximum potential. Change your profile picture to be somewhat related to your project, for instance, the cover of your book if it is available. Use the events section to invite fans to promotional events such as book releases. Use your Facebook status and tweet updates as teasers like a line from your book, or the release date. You can also use your statuses/tweets to get ideas from your fans. You can post questions like, “Do you like this idea?” or, “I need a good name for this character, any suggestions?” Anything that can keep your fans interacting is best.

Previews/Trailers: Hollywood uses them to promote up and coming films, why not create them for your book to give your readers a little taste of what’s to come? This can be accomplished numerous ways. One way is to post a video of yourself reading a section of your book out loud accompanied with images or music that sets the theme of your book. This is an excellent way to plug your book. It will ultimately leave your readers wanting the whole thing. Whatever you choose to do, make it creative and make sure that it will leave your audience wanting to buy the book. To make sure that your fans see it and don’t pass it up accidentally on their mini feeds on Facebook, you can send the video in a mass private message.

By-line:
This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topic of online college courses. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.

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A Conversation with Novelist Sarah Willis & Brian Martin’s Community Short Story Project


Greetings, dear readers. I have two writing-related tidbits to share with you:

1. My latest interview for The Writing Show, A Conversation with Sarah Willis, is now available for download here. Sarah Willis is the author of four novels: Some Things That Stay, The Rehearsal, A Good Distance, and The Sound of Us. I spoke with Sarah about her books and the writer’s life.

2. Over at The Writing Show, Brian Martin’s Community Short Story Project is well underway, but there’s still plenty of time for you to participate and win some great prizes. If your story is selected as a winner, you have your choice of the following prizes:

-an appearance on The Writing Show

-a 750-word critique of a first chapter from Paula B.

-a perfect-bound paperback from the Espresso Book Machine at the McMaster University bookstore

-a copy of Maralys Wills’ inspiring book Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead: The Bumpy Road to Getting Published

-help with a query letter from Paula B.

Round 3 submissions will be accepted until October 2. Voting for Round 3 will take place October 3-9, and the winner announced on October 10.

To learn more, read the write-up on The Writing Show’s Web site, and get into The Writing Show Forum to participate. Once in the forum categories, click on Brian Martin’s Community Short Story Project.

Happy writing from The Chipper Writer!

New Guest Post for Procrastinating Writers


What is flow and how is it created? You can read the answer in my new guest post for the Procrastinating Writers Blog, called Time Warp: 5 Ways to Find Flow in Your Writing.

If you missed them, here are my two other pieces posted on Jennifer Blanchard’s blog that “offers guidance for writers who struggle to get started”:

My second place essay for the Procrastinating Writers Blog essay contest:
Logs, Frogs, & Blogs

The companion article to the essay:
The Finer Points of Frog Eating

Also, a reminder….the 27th Annual Western Reserve Writers Conference and Workshop is two weeks from today on September 25. There’s still time to register here.

Happy Writing from The Chipper Writer!

Photo credit: Day 79 – focus by margolove on Flickr

27th Annual Western Reserve Writers Conference & Workshop

You may recall my post last March about the 19th Annual Western Reserve Spring Writers Conference. The fall counterpart, the 27th Annual Western Reserve Writers Conference and Workshop, will take place at Lakeland Community College (Kirtland, OH) on September 25 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

I’m pleased to tell you I’ll be a presenter on the Q & A Panel this year. My presentation is called “Jumpstart Your Writing Life”. I’ll discuss how to avoid pitfalls and procrastination, and how to organize and make the most of your writing time.

Erin O’Brien will host a workshop called “Mastering the Memoir” and John Ettorre will talk about “Social Networking? There’s a Better Way.” Conference Coordinator Deanna Adams will hold a workshop titled “About Book Proposals and the Novel Synopsis.”

The cost of the conference is $95 (which includes lunch if you register by September 10th), and for an additional fee of $10, you can sign up for a prearranged editing session with Nancy Piazza, Elizabeth Irwin, or Jo Gibson. For more information, including a complete list of workshops, the bios of all the presenters and editors, and to register, please click here. I’d love to see you there!

If you can’t make it to the conference (or if you can) but would still like to learn some valuable writing advice from Erin O’Brien and/or Deanna Adams, you can download and listen to my interviews with them on The Writing Show. I spoke with Erin about fiction and nonfiction writing, and Deanna about memoir.

The Importance of Detail, with Erin O’Brien

Writing Memoir, with Deanna Adams

The main pitfall I encounter is procrastination, which I have to battle every day in order to get words down. The focus of my talk at Lakeland will be on how to overcome procrastination and organize writing time. I’m curious though, from my fellow writers and bloggers, what other difficulties do you face and what do you do to defeat them so you can write?

Thanks for reading, happy writing, and I do hope to see you at the conference!