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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

~by Pamela Aares

Oh the drum rolls, the eye rolls, the intake of breath when a writer tells an editor they are going to write ‘out of genre’, that they are going to write in a new time period, that they are inspired and gripped by a story set in a new place or with new characters, a story that won’t let go and they simply have to write it.

But”, the editors say definitively, “readers won’t be able to make that jump, to another genre, or time period, or story concept.” This is often followed by the whispered advice, “You’ll taint your brand.”

Well, I am here to say (along with the voices of my sister writers and readers), that readers are far more sophisticated than they are given credit for by the powers of New York.

The trusted journey of story is far more sacred and powerful than any brand or marketing scheme. The brand at its best can simply point to the trust between reader and writer.

When we readers consider a new book, we peek into the pages, scan the screen, glance through the words to confirm- oh yes, this is the map, this is the voice— I want to go where this writer will take me.

We seek out writers who will take us on a journey so that at the end we will feel just that much better about life, have new clues for living, feel lifted, encouraged, charmed, empowered, and, having had the break that reading the story allowed, be renewed and ready to enter life with more vigor.

Readers want stories that will transport them, entertain them and provide those moments of aha! and oh yes, I have done or felt that or want to do or feel that.

Life takes courage. Going along for the ride on the magic carpet of story blows on the embers of our courage and ignites those precious aha moments that transform us. Those moments light new thoughts within us and often lead to actions that re-enchant life just by the doing of them. Inspired and encouraged by a great story, we find new ways to love the world and ourselves and our lives.

We go on the journey together, readers and writers. Anyone who forgets that breaks the covenant of story.

An author promises not only the words on the page that will wind and turn and weave the fabric of a wonderful story; a trusted author delivers the smile, the laugh, the moments—often days later—when one sees the world and oneself just a wee bit differently, when one feels the gap that has been teased open between what was and what could be and that gap cracks opens a whole new sense of freedom.

We are creatures of story; we are wired for their power.

So when someone, anyone, tells me that a reader (or a listener to audiobooks) cannot cross a gap, cannot read a new time period, will not try a new genre, cannot try something new, I smile. Though I am a writer, I am also a reader. We readers can do far more than marketing departments think possible. Why? Because we, the author and the reader together, are engaged in a sacred journey that is more expansive and reaches deeper than any concept of branding, marketing plan or algorithm can predict.

Stories have a power all their own and it is ours, readers and writers taking the journey together.

Pamela Aares is the author of Jane Austen and the Archangel. She’d love to hear from you at www.PamelaAares.com of on facebook at Pamela Aares. Not much of a twitterer.

Before becoming a romance author, Pamela produced and wrote award winning films and radio shows including Your Water, Your Life featuring actress Susan Sarandon and the NPR series New Voices. After producing The Powers of the Universe and The Earth’s Imagination, she knew without a doubt that romance lives at the heart of the universe and powers the greatest stories of all.

Pamela holds a Master’s Degree from Harvard and lives in the wine country of California with her husband and two curious cats. Her love of nature led to adventures scuba diving the coral reefs of Fiji, exploring the cliffs of Greece, sea kayaking the Rosario Straits and white water rafting the wild and scenic rivers of the west—and romance!

 

~ By Heather Thurmeier

I was always told, “Write what you know!”

Well, for a long time I didn’t want to do that. I mean, what the heck do I know anything about, that readers would find interesting? Is anyone going to find my laundry list of daily activities for taking care of my house and family interesting? Diaper duty, dishes, grocery store runs? Possibly other moms would, but on the larger, more general scale of readers, not likely.

So I listened to the advice and simply didn’t write anything, since I couldn’t possibly make a story out of what I “knew.” I did this, sadly, for years. Sigh.

Then I got an idea.

Huh. Maybe… Maybe I could write about this… But do I “know” anything about it?

My idea was about a twenty-something girl who decides to go on a reality dating show with the hopes of finding a hunk to fall in love with. And she does. Only it’s not the bachelor who catches her eye. Nope. It’s the forbidden cameraman who sleeps just on the other side of the adjoining room door and who follows her around each day filming her every move.

Ah-ha! Finally, I had the idea for a story that I just had to write. I couldn’t ignore it.

But there was one problem.

I didn’t actually know anything about being on a reality TV show. I’ve never been on a TV show of any kind, let alone a reality show. I’ve never even applied to be on a reality TV show. Heck, I’ve never even auditioned for a play or anything. Never been in front of a camera. Never spoken on live TV or radio. Nothing. Nada.

And yet I couldn’t not write this book. I simply had to.

Had.

To.

The characters started talking and they just wouldn’t shut up! So what was I to do?

I took the leap. I figured I had nothing to lose writing about something I really didn’t know—at least I didn’t know it first hand—because I liked the idea so much and at least writing it would make the characters in my head finally zip it. Of course, it wasn’t like I didn’t know anything about reality TV. Sure, I’d never been on a show, but hadn’t I watched about a million hours of reality TV shows of different varieties? Didn’t that make me something of an expert in the field?

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t a reality TV expert exactly, but I had logged a lot of hours as a viewer. That had to give me some basis of knowledge to build from, right? So I used all those shows I’d watched, and I may have started watching a few news ones too… *cough*… for research purposes only. And I created a new reality show and contestants for my book. I daydreamed about what kinds of show I’d like to watch on TV and the kind of characters would keep me tuning in each week. I thought about all the great moments in reality TV I’d seen over the years and pinpointed what it was about those moments that made them so great. I played with the moments, twisted them, changed them, manipulated them into something different that fit within my book and my characters. Then I took little pieces of all the shows I’d ever watched and blended them together in ways I hadn’t seen before on TV.

Basically, I created something new and different, but also something comfortingly familiar.

And I realized with every challenge my contestants competed in, every dramatic catfight that happened, and every behind-the-scenes moment of forbidden romance, that I actually was more knowledgeable about the subject that I thought.

Ha, ha! I was writing what I knew! And I had no idea I was doing it!

Now, I’ve not only created one fictional reality TV show that I technically know nothing about for my new contemporary romance FALLING FOR YOU, but I’ve actually created three shows. That’s right. My little story idea that I just had to write even though I knew nothing about the subject has become a contracted trilogy of reality TV romances!!

Not bad for someone who didn’t think they knew anything worth writing about.

So go and write the story you’ve always wanted to write. And when people tell you that you should “write what you know” tell them that you are, because really, there’s something in your book that you do know a lot about, even if you don’t realize it yet. Maybe it’s in the little details of your character’s personality or memories of places you’ve been and now use as a setting. Somewhere inside that book of yours is stuff you know. Embrace what you know and let those little details shine so they add authenticity to your characters, setting and plot.

And when all else fails and you realize that maybe you really don’t know something you’re now committed to writing about… head to Google and research!

Happy writing… and researching!

Heather Thurmeier is a lover of strawberry margaritas, a hater of spiders, and a reality TV junkie. Her passion is contemporary romance—writing stories filled with laugh out loud moments, uber-hunky heroes, feisty heroines, and always a happily ever after. You can find out more about Heather’s books by visiting her blog: heatherthurmeier.com.

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~ By Melina Kantor 

Hello Everyone. I hope you’re all having a somewhat relaxing and enjoyable summer, and that if you’re in one of the many places where it’s really unspeakably hot right now, I hope you’re staying cool.

This week, I came across an article on the appeal of chick lit. I’m sure that those of us reading this blog could come up with a billion reasons to love chick lit, but Lucy Walton had some interesting points:

When I pick up a chick lit, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, that although I have not read it; I am going to like the ending. Despite their predictability, they are still addictive. I often ask how new writers make the modern chick lit not a cliché as this is such an easy trap for a authors to fall into. I am assured that with the diverse careers women now have (compared to Austin days) that can take them anywhere in the world. This can be the basis of many a story previously untouched.

What do you think?

Have a great weekend!

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. She loves to travel and enjoys turning her adventures into research and inspiration for her writing. This summer, she and her dog will be moving from Brooklyn to Jerusalem. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.

~ By Melina Kantor

When I was 27, I had to leave New York and move back to California.

And back into my mother’s house.

Now, I love my mother. And I love her house. And it would be wrong to complain about living in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.

But I was 27, and in love with New York. But even with my recent MA from Columbia, I couldn’t get a job with a salary high enough to be able to live there.

The plan was to go home for one year, and save enough money to go back.

I could not have been more miserable, and I was not at all shy about saying so.

One Sunday morning, I came downstairs and tried to make breakfast. There was nothing I wanted. Sure, the kitchen was well stocked, but I wanted take out from one of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan. The kitchen could have been filled with fresh baked pastries straight from Paris, and I wouldn’t have cared.

Cue the tantrum.

I went to the living room and gave my mother an ear full. I was a failure. I would never be 27 again, living the life of a single girl in the city. My opportunity was lost. Even if I went back in a year, which by the way I was absolutely, positively going to no matter what just you watch, I was going to be 28 and it wouldn’t be the same.

Everything was ruined. I was a complete and total failure.

Okay, so I was being dramatic. Forgive me. Being around my mother causes me to act like a teenager.

My mother waited for me to finish, and looked up from the couch. Her response? “You’ve been reading too many of those books with pink covers.”

In other words, too much chick lit.

Now, I think we’d all agree that there’s no such thing as too much chick lit. Her point was that I was reading about too many 27 year old single girls in New York, living the life I wanted, and having their happily ever afters, and that none of it was real.

I still thought I could have made the “chick lit style life” my reality if I’d just tried a little harder.

But my mom was right. I was reading about too many protagonists who had great shoes, cute apartments, cute pets, good jobs, great social lives, and a love interest.

Yes, of course there are plenty of 27 year old women who do have those things. But many of us, especially in big cities, don’t. I know many readers read chick lit to live vicariously and escape. But honestly, there are some books that used to make me feel awful.

I still refer to the protagonists in those books as “shiny happy characters.”

I’m not saying that characters can’t be happy and successful. I’m not even saying a character has to be likable. I just think that even in the lightest and happiest of stories, it’s important that the protagonist have her fair share of struggles and challenges, and not just guy related.

Otherwise, it can be hard to relate. Especially for those of us who live in real New York apartments where we keep our blow dryers on the bedroom floor because our bathrooms have no outlets and our socks in a drawer under the television because we don’t have an inch of space to spare.

I did move back to New York after a year. I got a decent apartment. And a job, and a cute dog. I made friends and built a life.

But still, life’s not shiny. Not at all. And my friends’ lives aren’t shiny either.

My characters all live in New York, are in their late twenties, and single. But I do my best to keep it real. In fact, my tantrum in my mother’s kitchen inspired a scene in my first book.

What to you think? Do you enjoy living vicariously through “shiny happy characters” or do you prefer a protagonist with some real challenges?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.

~ By Melina Kantor 

Sadly, this week’s biggest chick lit related story is the news about Nora Ephron.

Yes, she may have been best known for writing chick flicks, not chick lit, but she was definitely a role model for us chick lit writers.

As Jennifer Weiner put it in her Huffington Post article Nora Ephron Made My Career Possible:

I am heartbroken that she’s gone, that she won’t be blogging her funny stories, or making more movies or publishing more essays. I only hope she had some inkling as to all of the women who grew up reading her and believing they could become writers because of the stories she told. She blazed a path for so many of us, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Or course, we’ll always be grateful for scenes like this too (thank you, chapter member Elle Filz, for posting this on Facebook):

What’s your favorite Nora Ephron scene, book, or essay? Please share in the comments.

~ By Nan Reinhardt

Not long ago, Husband and I were driving up to the lake and I was telling him about the event I’d attended the previous day. My chapter of Romance Writers of America sponsored a mini-conference with Bob Mayer, who presented hisWrite It Forward workshop. I still couldn’t find the words to describe all that I’d learned, but what came through loud and clear was how inspired I was by what Mayer had to say about writing and the process of writing.

As I was sharing, Husband asked me about my process, how do I start a new book? All books begin with an idea, as Mayer told us. That’s “the heart of your story.” For me, sometimes it’s an event in my life. That was the case with my most recent book.  The fun we had in a pub in Cork, Ireland when Son got to pull his own pint of Guinness inspired a scene that became my hero and heroine’s love story.

Sometimes it’s a film I’ve seen that sparks an idea that turns into a story. The seeds of my first novel were sown with one scene from a movie that I saw over thirty years ago. That one scene stayed with me and eventually ignited the creative process that became the novel that my agent signed me on.

The third novel came from one of my secondary characters who cried out for her own story, and the fourth started as a simple romance between two colleagues, but then turned into a story of suspense when a walk along the shores of Lake Michigan made me think about shipwrecks and lost treasure.

So as I was telling Husband about my process, I tried to think of an example and suddenly, here was the kernel of my next book. “What if…?” I said and proceeded to set up a situation. He immediately got into it, making suggestions, offering different paths to take, “Or how about if the heroine is…” and “What if she…?”  By the time we arrived at the cottage, I had the rough outline of my next story.

The creative embers that I’d deliberately banked for the last month and a half to work on the paying gigs flared into a small fire that is already filling my mind so quickly I’m overwhelmed with ideas. All through the weekend, I scratched notes on scraps of paper—words, characters, scenes, choices, movies or programs that I might want to check out, things I need to research—what Lani and Alastair at StoryWonk call discovery. Late Monday night, I sat down at my little netbook and at least got everything put into a Word doc instead of carrying around the bits of paper.

When we got ready to head back home yesterday, we stopped by the neighbors to say goodbye and one of the guys asked if  I was writing this week. I mentioned briefly that I’d had a new idea and was playing around with it, making notes, and figuring it out. He grinned and said, “See? That’s the difference between a writer and the rest of us. When you daydream, you write it down. I daydream all the time, but I never think to write it down.”

Well, maybe that’s not the whole difference, but it’s probably the beginning…

* How do your story ideas come to you? What starts your creative process? Leave a comment and let us know! *

Nan Reinhardt is a romance writer and an incurable romantic. She’s also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. She’s been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last fifteen years, has earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. But writing is her first and most enduring passion. Rule Number One is her debut novel. Two other novels are currently with her agent, Maureen Walters, of Curtis Brown Literary Agency in New York. Like Jo March, she writes at night, after the work is done and her household is asleep. Talk to her at www.nanreinhardt.com.

~ By Melina Kantor

Hello Chick Lit Fans,

Happy Friday.

And happy summer!

June is here, which hopefully means a lot of us are on or soon to be on vacation. Which means there’s more time for writing!

But we all know it’s impossible to write if we don’t a) take time to relax and have fun and b) allow time for some inspiration.

That’s why I loved these to posts about summer movies and TV:

These posts from Chick Lit Central are all about chick lit authors and their favorite movies.

This post from Heroes and Heartbreakers is about June TV premiers.

In case any of you feel guilty for indulging in movies and TV when you should be writing, just remember how much movies and TV shows can teach us about writing.

Although eventually, we do have to write. . . If you need a boost, check out this post from Novelicious: Top 5 Writing Tips from Alice Peterson

Stay cool this weekend!

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. She loves to travel and enjoys turning her adventures into research and inspiration for her writing. This summer, she and her dog will be moving from Brooklyn to Jerusalem. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.

~ By Elle Filz

So, if you haven’t heard, the movie version of Rock of Ages flopped at the box office over Father’s Day Weekend.  Apparently, it came as a shock to everyone involved, and I’m guessing some studio execs are currently out of some jobs due to the financial disaster the failure inflicted on Warner Bros.

I’m a huge fan of the original Broadway show, so when I bought my ticket on opening day, I was excited to see how the fast-paced, totally rocking, nothing-but-a-good-time theater experience would translate to the big screen.  Short story: it didn’t.  And as the two hours unfolded, I sat back and realized that what Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, and Allan Loeb did to D’Arienzo’s original Broadway book is exactly how so many authors manage to ruin their manuscripts during the editing phase.

Editing, the moment between the end of the first draft and turning the book in for publication, can make or break the novel in question. If you’re conservative, a few minor tweaks or a well-planned plot change can make the book sparkle like the lights in the Hollywood hills.  All too-often, though, editing quickly descends into a maddening phase called “book-licking.” Like a cat moving from spot to spot, grooming her body with no apparent rhyme or reason, book licking involves the author jumping around in the editing phase fixing “just one more thing.”  Eventually, the cat (and the book) is left with bald patches, and everyone agrees that it’s time for a cone of shame.

Nobody likes the cone of shame.

It’s too late for Rock of Ages, but it’s not too late for your next first draft to escape the same, cruel fate.    In just five easy steps, you too can ensure that you can absolutely hit your novel with your best shot…

From here on out, I’ll be referring to the two versions as “Broadway” and “Film.”  Warning, there be spoilers ahead.

1)     Keep the best stuff intact – Let’s start with the positive.  There were some good scenes in Film.  They also happened to be the two scenes lifted nearly word for word from Broadway.  Your first draft probably has some scenes that everyone who has seen it loved.  Keep those scenes intact.  Seriously, don’t change a word. Those are your anchors, and they’ll keep you honest in the editing process.  After all, if you can’t change the scene that everyone loved, you’re limited in the changes that you can make to the scenes leading up to it.

2)     Always remember the story you set out to tell – Broadway is the story of two small town kids living and dreaming in Los Angeles, and Stacee Jaxx (the character played by Tom Cruise) is a  relatively minor character who basically comes in and screws it all up for them.  In Film, Stacee is brought to the forefront of the action, and he becomes critical to the central conflict.  To be fair, I’d probably do the same if I had Tom Cruise in the cast, but beefing up Stacee’s role so significantly means that he can’t be the one note character he is on Broadway.  No, see Film now has to redeem him, explain him, and give him a backstory. And with only two hours to devote overall, something has to be dropped.  Guess what that was….

3)     Know your conflict – Overall, the central conflict of Broadway and Film are the same.  The Bourbon Room is in financial trouble, they need Stacee Jaxx to put on one hell of a show to bail them out, and there’s a third party who’s convinced the mayor to tear down the Sunset Strip (where the Bourbon Room is located).  The difference between the two is that in Film, the conflict gets personal.  The Mayor’s wife (a new character to Film) hates “hateful” music and Stacee Jaxx especially, and she’s out to get The Bourbon Room because of it.  There’s also a “big twist” related to this that 1) I had figured out thirty seconds in and 2) I really couldn’t have cared less about.  In Broadway, there’s nothing personal about it: the developer wants to tear down the strip to put in a shopping mall.  People who love the strip are opposed to the idea and begin protesting.  It’s pure, it’s simple, and it keeps the focus on Drew and Sherri.

Changes in the central conflict are the most devastating changes to the editing process because in order to change the central conflict, you have to change practically everything about the original piece. Now, if your feedback thus far has been conflict-related, yes, you’re going to have to change.  If it hasn’t, put the pen down and ask yourself why….why is it important that I change the central conflict?  And if the answer is not “I’m paying Catherine Zeta-Jones and Tom Cruise, and I have to make sure they have stuff to do…” there’s probably no real justification for doing it. Remember, trust your gut; your gut is never wrong.  If the conflict was important, it would have manifested this way during the first draft.  It didn’t.  Leave it alone.

4)     Know your characters – You wrote these people in the first draft.  You know them, you (probably) love them, they have been living with you for months. They are fictional to the rest of the world, but they are real to you.  And when you’re writing “real” people, you can’t fictionalize what they do that’s completely out of the character that you created for them in your mind and heart.  As you can probably imagine, Film did that to the characters created on Broadway.  You know what, let’s not dwell on examples.  There are too many, and it makes me sad to discuss it.  Instead, I’ll just point you to this letter (http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/04/forget-your-personal-tragedy.html) that Ernest Hemingway wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald after Fitzgerald asked for feedback on Tender Is the Night.  As someone who is often inspired by her friends (sorry, guys!) while writing characters, reading this letter was a real eye-opener.  Read it, love it, post it on your writing wall.  You’ll be glad you did.

5)     Remember the joy – or whatever theme you were trying to go with here.  If you’re writing serious, don’t toss in an LOL moment unless you’re using it smartly.  You can be funny in a serious novel or serious in a funny one…the key is that you’re transitioning it back to the original mood of whatever it is you set out to do without making it sound like you’ve forced it into the manuscript.

Broadway is a fun, fast-paced experience that leaves you singing in the seats after the show is over.  Film is not.  Why? Because Film took itself too seriously.  For example, “Don’t Stop Believin’” is used as a semi-significant plot device in Film.  In Broadway, it’s a joyously fun way to wrap up everyone’s stories and bring the night to a rip-roaring end.  In Film…it’s not.   If you make significant changes, read through one more time to ensure that everything  feels natural.  Yes, you can have funny scenes in a serious book or serious scenes in a funny one, but their use should flow in and out of the piece without a jarring disruption.  If it feels out of place (like a rocker fronting a boy band) it needs to go.

No method is perfect, but keeping these five steps in mind will  help keep the original magic alive the next time you sit down with that red pen of yours.  Above all, the novel-writing process should be nothing but a good time, so don’t stop believing that it can be.

By day, Elle Filz is an IT geek in Baltimore, MD.  By night, you can either find her singing karaoke or jotting down notes for her next women’s fiction story.  She is also an aspiring Betty Crocker-type who thanks God every day that a fireman lives next door.

~ By Melina Kantor    

Happy Friday, Chick Lit Fans.

We hope you’ve had a good, writing and / or reading filled week!

A while back, we mentioned that Esquire Magazine is coming out with a line of ebooks geared towards men. According to this article in The New Zealand Herald, the books are “plot driven and exciting.” Hmm. As opposed to, well, what exactly?

As the article states, in many ways these books are just a harmless gimmick. But this point is also made:

The thing is, “chick-lit”, or “Women’s Fiction”, only exists as a sub-genre because There. Is. A. Dominant. Genre. If books about women’s experience were the standard, the term wouldn’t exist.

What’s more, such descriptors are generally used in a pejorative way by the literary world, to demean certain women’s writing, pass it off as commercially viable but also intellectually crap.

What do you think?

In unrelated news, I also came across this blog post by Liza Palmer about making deadlines. She has some really good advice. If you have any tips to add, share it in the comments.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. She loves to travel and enjoys turning her adventures into research and inspiration for her writing. This summer, she and her dog will be moving from Brooklyn to Jerusalem. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.

~ Interview by Kimberly Farris

Today we’re very lucky to have Lindsay and Madeline from Beyond Novel visiting the blog to share their thoughts on the publishing industry.

Welcome!

1. What is your opinion on some of the publishing houses telling their clients not to worry about going outside of their comfort zone by utilizing Facebook and Twitter?

While we completely understand authors not go wanting to go out of their comfort zones, the reality is that the industry is constantly changing and you have to change with the times or be left behind! The industry isn’t what is was ten years ago, or even five years ago. What we recommend, if you’re introverted, or just not completely at ease with social media, is to create a persona that you’re comfortable sharing with your readers. You don’t have share too much if you don’t want to, perhaps stick to five to ten topics you feel interested in discussing and run with those. While being online is essential, when you do commit to social media, it is important to maintain consistency. Stay active; it’s part of the role of being an author in this day and age.

2.What are some mistakes or missteps you’ve seen authors make while promoting their books or networking?

A misstep we see consistently, is authors filling their post with relatively empty content. It is easy to fall into this trap, specifically on Twitter where it is so easy to just re-tweet. Taking the extra time to add thoughts of your own is crucial. Make sure to add original content that people will want to see. Don’t bother with blank statements such as, “Check out my blog post.” Aim for your posts to be 80% content and 20% push, asking your readers to do something, go read something, go vote on something. Stay active and maintain engagement by being active and offering a glimpse of the person behind the screen.

3. How soon should an author start promoting an upcoming release? For example, if the release date is more than three months away?

Major planning should be started around around 5 months before the release date. By three months before you should have a plan in place, a thorough strategy, and a true understanding of what’s going on. Something to keep in mind, even if you don’t have a release, you always have to maintain your presence. Never disappear!

4. What social media tools do you recommend writers use? Avoid?

If you are going to choose three social media sites to be on absolutely, without a doubt, go with Facebook, GoodReads, and Twitter. That’s where people are and in our experience, those are three most comprehensive and easy to use. Just be careful about linking everything together. Your message on Facebook should be different from what you are saying in 140 characters on Twitter. Also, the biggest advice we can give to you about social media, is when someone writes to you, respond. It is really important, though, to know your reading community and know where they spend their time online. If your readers are hanging out on Shelfari, then by all means, you should be there too! 

5. Are newsletters effective at all or are they just a waste of time?

We are personal fans of newsletters and believe they can absolutely be effective. However, the content has to be worthwhile, and the subject line has to be catchy, or else no one will ever open them!

6. Blog tours– yay or nay?

Without a doubt, yay! Participating in a blog tour gets your name out there, lets your engage with your readers in a unique way, can allow you to tap into new audiences, and maintains engagement. When planning a blog tour, do your research, or hire an expert, who knows the community, knows which blogs to tap into, and can offer some sound advice on where your time will be best spent. It’s important that the author feels as though they have had a strong ROI (return on investment). Meaning the time that they have spent to create the original content is then actually read by a decent amount of people, and that some of those said people respond back with thoughtful comments or questions.

7. Are there any promotional items writers should not waste their time or money on?

Book trailers, hands down. So not worth the time, energy, or money. With that being said, remember you know your audience/readers best. If this is something that you have had success with in the past, go ahead use what works. 

Thank you Lindsey and Madeline. 

When working with clients, Beyond Novel takes into account who you are, your brand, and where you are in your career. We specifically and meticulously tailor every campaign to be a completely unique and personalized package. The answers provided here are based on our general industry prospective, rather than from an individual client basis.

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