Posts Tagged ‘Jenny Kate’

Off the Grid

Disconnecting to Stay Motivated & Ward off Procrastination

By: Jenny Kate

Did you know, Americans spend an average of 6.5 hours a day on the internet. Pew Research found that most of us spend almost a full day on the internet a week. That’s nuts!

Does the internet help you procrastinate? Does it distract you from writing? Do you ever get sick of being online?

For me, yes to all of the above.

Going to Costa Rica

A year ago, we had to cancel plans to Costa Rica because of COVID. This year, we finally went. And I’ve been thinking about the positive effects of being off the grid. Especially for writers.

I was off the grid, completely, for ten days. No phone. No tablet. No internet. In those ten days, I read five paper books. I slept. I meditated. I swam, surfed and hiked. I ate good food. Took some Spanish lessons on the beach. I wrote by hand.

But I was in Costa Rica.

Get off the Grid!

Back in the day, that would have mattered because we really were unreachable. These days, we’re completely reachable no matter where we are. I had to deliberately put myself off the grid.

So, could I do this at home?

We live our lives online. My day job is spent on the computer. And because I’m in marketing and communications, it’s also spent on social media and news sites. The other day, I was in two meetings – at the same time. One on Zoom and one on Microsoft Teams AND I was answering emails and watching my phone in case a text came in.

How ridiculous is that? Am I supposed to write after that? Um, no. After that, all I want is a stiff drink and some mindless television.

But I don’t have that kind of day on the weekend or holidays. So could I go off the grid in some sense, and rejuvenate without having to fly across the planet to do it?

An Experiment

A little experiment told me yes. But it’s not off the grid in the way living in the Alaskan bush is off the grid. It’s more like deliberate breaks from my devices.

My experiment lasted three weeks. Here’s what I did:

  • Logged off the internet by 5:30 every day during the week.
  • Left my phone to charge downstairs (not by my bed). Every night.
  • Left my tablet downstairs and read paper books instead of watching TV before I went to bed. Every night.
  • Turned off all notifications on my phone after 5:30pm and all weekend. (I did have an exception for my daughter and my husband. They have their own ringtones for calls and texts).
  • Wrote by hand on a yellow notepad. Then transferred that to my Atticus program during the week.
  • Continued my daily walk habit (this has been a gamechanger for me the past two years).

The Results

I felt less overwhelmed and less anxious. And way more productive in my writing over the weekend than I have in quite some time.

Will this work for you?

Maybe not this exact scenario, but think about your life and where you can experiment with being off the grid. Maybe it’s an internet blocker while you’re writing? Apps like Freedom, Cold Turkey, or AntiSocial are good ones to block internet distractions and let you focus on writing. Business Insider found Fortune 500 company execs were way more productive when they used these types of apps.

How about taking all social off your tablet and use it only to read your Kindle books? Leave the social for your phone and designate a time to scroll. Then stick with it.

Or put a reminder on your phone to get up and walk around every hour?

One of the reasons I think it was so easy in Costa Rica was because there was a lot to do other than being on my phone.

So what can you do that is motivating and fun offline?

Well, one thing is write. We’re writers. That’s what we do. The minute you feel the itch, ask yourself is there something you could be doing to advance your story instead? Create a story bible. Do a character sketch. Draw a map of your setting. Create a family tree. None of these have to be done online.

Another thing is live your life. It’s a little hard to write about life if we really aren’t living it anywhere but on a 4×5-inch computer in our hands. Become a tourist in your hometown. Visit museums, parks, other attractions you’ve saved for “one day” and haven’t gotten around to. Take up tennis or hiking or sailing. Whatever. Find a weird, fun, quirky habit you enjoy. My daughter paints. I cook. We both like to make soap.

Whatever you decide, let it feed your soul and keep you motivated.


Jenny Kate

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

  

 

Writing Habits from the Best of Us

By Jenny Kate

As we embark on a new year, tons of folks are thinking about how to develop new habits.

  • Go to the gym.
  • Eat better.
  • Write more.

Habits and goals are important. They give us purpose. And purpose gives us longevity. I’ve been thinking a lot about Blue Zones. These are the locations in the world with the most people aged 100 or more. One is a place close to my heart. The Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. We go for Christmas every few years. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. Surfing. Jungle. Sun. I’m off the grid for two weeks. I read paper books. And I just get to be. As I was there this past year, I was thinking, why do these people live so long?

Writing Habits from Centenarians

Their longevity seems to boil down to four things: diet, exercise, community, and purpose.

Diet & Exercise – duh

We’ve all heard it a million times. Eat healthier and move. Honestly, I can’t help you with your diet. Although I can tell you most of the folks in Nicoya eat a crap ton of fruits and veggies and some fish. Lots of rice and beans and plantains too.

They also live in a place where being outside is part of the culture. Beach every morning to surf or swim or walk. Beach at sunset for obvious reasons. Walk everywhere.

During the pandemic, I got in the habit of a daily walk. Kurt Vonnegut did pushups and sit ups all the time. Nora Roberts works out every day. What can you do to get yourself moving? Feeling better keeps you motivated to keep writing.

Community

The importance of community can’t be overstated. Writing is a solitary business. But producing books is all about community. Beta readers, street teams, agents, editors, proofreaders, critique partners.

Whether it’s in person or virtual, you are not alone in this writing endeavor. And community can keep you motivated to stick to your daily writing habits. Your community can be whoever supports your writing: immediate family, friends, colleagues at work, or writing buds. It just has to be a group of people that provide a positive environment for you.

Purpose

Purpose is the one aspect of this I think we control the most and might be the hardest. What is our writing purpose? To create wonderful worlds for our readers? To entertain, excite, scare?

How do you maintain that purpose when things like imposter syndrome sneak in?

This is where daily writing habits can be helpful.

  • Specific amount of writing time
  • Specific number of words written
  • Specific chapters finished in a certain time period
  • Specific timeframe work is due to the editor

Daily writing habits can be helpful if you have your community to hold you accountable. Whether it’s pages to your critique partners or chapters to your proofreader, a deadline to a human being can be motivating.

If this doesn’t motivate you enough to create your writing habits, then maybe some of the famous among us can.

Writing Habits from Famous Authors

Several bestsellers repeat the same mantra: “It’s our job.” If a doctor said he didn’t feel like it today, a life could be lost. A bit dramatic, but the point is, it’s our job. We sit down and we write. We produce stories. No one’s habit or process will be the same. But having that habit or process is what puts books on the shelves.

Ernest Hemingway: “I write every morning.”

Jodi Picoult: “I don’t believe in writer’s block. You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page.”

Khaled Hosseini: “You have to write whether you feel like it or not.”

Toni Morrison: “I am able to write regularly. I have a nine-to-five job. I write either in between those hours or spend a lot of the weekend and predawn time writing.”

Henry Miller: “Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema – all these come after.”

Nora Roberts: “I write every day. It’s my job. Routine is my life.” and “Stop whining and write.”

Joe Lansdale: “I write every morning at 9, and I’m done by noon.”

Maya Angelou: “I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”  

Whether you take it from the Centenarians or the Famous Writers, find the writing habit that works for you. Stick with it for a month and see what happens.

Happy writing!


Jenny Kate

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

How’s Your Instagram Game?

By: Jenny Kate

Instagram: Feed, Story, Reels, IGTV – Oh My!

Facebook bought Instagram for a cool $1 billion, and put its juggernaut of an advertising platform behind it. For that reason alone, it’s worth a look. Yes, there are others making a run for “Best in Show” – SnapChat, TikTok, Clubhouse. But for 2021 at least, if your reader is under 40, Instagram is going to be your new best friend.

Cultivating a following on IG is the same as everywhere else. Give readers a reason to follow you. Make your content fun, entertaining, informative or educational.  Be yourself. Consumers, readers included, buy from those they like, know and trust. IG is a great place for them to get to know and trust you.

But where should you put all that great content you’re going to create?
Instagram has four main places to do this:
Your Feed, Stories, Reels and IGTV.

Your Instagram Feed

The Feed is your main profile page. It’s the blocked grid that followers see when they click on your profile. This is like window shopping. It’s the first impression people will have of your feed. How does it look? How does it feel? Is this something that will keep my attention?

The algorithm changes all the time, but for the most part, it does not prioritize the Feed. So that means you don’t need to spend hours creating beautiful graphics on Canva to post every day. Posting every two or three days works great. But this isn’t your Facebook Feed where you dump photos and go. Curate your best content, make it look great and write a compelling caption with a call to action to click the link in your bio or DM you for more information.

Pay attention to your bio. Have a professional headshot. Use emojis and tell people who you are and what you do. Whatever link you decide to use, make sure you have a strong call to action to tell followers what to do at that link. 

Your Stories

Stories are Instagram’s answer to SnapChat. They can be found at the top of the screen where you see a row of circles. The best Stories actually tell a story. You’re a storyteller, just do it visually with videos or photos or a mix of both. Use emojis, hashtags, GIFs – have fun with it. The name of the game on IG is fun!

Stories are definitely shown more often than the Feed. They are a great place to jumpstart and grow your readership, so consider posting to this every day or every other day.

You can mix it up here. Chat about your day, talk about a current event, or give updates on your writing. But again, just be yourself. This is the place where readers get to know you.

Your Reels

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok. The link for Reels is found toward the bottom of the screen and looks like a movie clapboard.

These have shown to absolutely jump engagement. Reels are short form video that if you use the TikTok rules, it’s a lot of dancing, singing, and general merriment. You can add music if you want.

The best Reels content is entertaining, educational or inspirational. Make people smile. Teach them something to get a result. Tell a story to inspire them.  

A Quick Word about Live Video

You can also go live using IGTV or your Stories. This is what it sounds like. YouTube for Instagram. This is more long-form video content than Reels. You can go live from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. Accounts with larger followings can go up to an hour.

Best practice for using Live Video is to be consistent with your timing. Almost like having a weekly show where people know you’ll be there. Tease it beforehand with a post telling people what time and day to expect you. The algorithm prioritizes Live Video in both the Feed and in your Stories, so that works in your favor.

Content

The location of your content is honestly less important than the type of content you create. Make it fun, educational and motivating. You can read your book, interview a character, talk writing with a friend, go into your research. You can also make this about other hobbies having nothing to do with writing.

Do you hike, knit, play an instrument, sing, woodwork? Any of those are great for helping people get to know you. Readers want to know, like and trust you. IG is an amazing place to help make that happen!


Jenny Kate

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Clubhouse – Everything you need to know for now

By: Jenny Kate

Clubhouse is the hottest social media outlet on the internet right now.
But how familiar with it are you? Is it right for authors? What can the book industry get out of it?

Let’s dig in.

What is Clubhouse?

It’s the social media outlet all haters of live video have been waiting for!
It’s basically a conference call without video. Like having your own TedTalk with a bunch of people. You can listen in to any open room on the platform.
You don’t have to speak if you don’t want to. Or you can host your own room and have a conversation about a topic of interest.

Clubhouse is new

First, a little background. It’s only been around since the spring of 2020. So if you haven’t heard of it, don’t despair. It’s super new. And my guess is you had other things on your mind back then than worrying about a new social outlet. But there is nothing like it out there and I’m super excited about it.

Poll after poll shows people like to listen. Whether it’s to audiobooks, podcasts or the radio, listening while working out, driving, gardening, cleaning, working has shown to be extremely effective as a marketing tool.

How Clubhouse works

Right now it’s in beta and only on iOS so Android users have to wait until late 2021 at the earliest. Without an invitation from an existing user, you’re on the outside looking in. So, if you’re an iPhone user it is easy to create your account. Once you receive your invitation, just go through the steps. If you want to find out if any of your contacts are on Clubhouse, you can search via phone number. If you want to invite others, the platform gives you two invites. You’ll need to input their phone number and Clubhouse will send them a text. (Of course get their permission first). 

I got mine through a colleague who posted about it on Facebook.

A really great workaround came from Tiffany Lee Bymaster on Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy podcast where she suggested finding an old iPhone, connecting to wifi, download the app, get an invite and explore. It’s a great idea! I borrowed a friend’s old iPhone since we’re Samsung users.

What can authors get out of it?

For now, I see two ways authors can use Clubhouse.

  1. Authors can listen to great conversations for research. The exposure to experts and celebrities is unreal. Take advantage of that.
  2. Name recognition through speaking will be way easier than on other social outlets. You can add to conversations or host your own. Either way, participation will have a tremendous payoff down the road.

I think Clubhouse has really filled a hole in the social media market. So many people don’t do live video because it’s intimidating or just not fun. Speaking where no one can see you gives you a lot of freedom to connect without worrying about the extras (lighting, being camera ready, location, etc..).

This is one of the reasons I like podcasting over video. I can just talk to people without a lot of technical know-how and external prep. So for now, I’m doing a lot of listening and will continue to explore how this platform will be a game changer for authors.


Jenny Kate

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram


Cover, Fresh Starts

FRESH STARTS, Pikes Peak Writers first anthology will be released April 9th.
From more information, visit our webpage.

9 Newsletters for Writers

By: Jenny Kate

There are so many reader newsletters out there that it is hard to keep up with.

I know you keep asking yourself: where is the best place for my money?

Hopefully, this will help.

Book promotion newsletters or eblasts are basically an email readers opt into that tells them what new books are available in their favorite genres. Those emails are sometimes advertising sales or free books or just new releases. It just depends on what the newsletter offers.

There seem to be a gazillion newsletters out there that promote books for authors but the 9 below are probably the best. Authors have found great success with some of these and terrible success with others.

The best advice I’ve got is to try them out and see what works for you.

I didn’t include BookBub because it warrants its own blog post and you can find it here. 

1- Freebooksy

  • For free books only
  • 400,000+ readers across several genres
  • Thrillers and mystery genres have the most subscribers with romantic suspense close on their heels

2-  Bargain Booksy

  • A discounted ebook of at least 100 pages at $3.99 or below
  • No minimum review requirements for standard ads
  • At least 20 4-star reviews on Amazon for Deal of the Day features
  • 294,000 subscribers across several genres

3- NewInBooks

  • New books released in the past 120 days
  • At least 100 pages
  • Advertised across all Written Word Media Brands
  • 80,000 readers across several genres
  • Includes an author interview on their website

4- Red Feather Romance

  • Books with at least a 3.5-star rating on Amazon
  • Be more than 50 pages in length
  • 120,000 readers of steamy contemporary romance

5- Reading Stacks

  • Promotes Kindle Unlimited or audiobooks
  • Books with at least 20 reviews and an average 4-star rating

6- Ereader News Today (ENT)

 ENT started in 2010 and their goal is to advertise free or discounted books to readers. They don’t have nearly the reach as Bookbub with only about 200,000 subscribers, but exposure is exposure. Their deals are much cheaper than a Featured Deal on BookBub, so for that reason alone is worth considering. You might gain a few new readers with ENT. For approval, they recommend reviews and a high-quality book – professional book cover and edit. ENT has two options available to you.

 Book of the Day sponsorship

  • Posted to 475,000 Facebook fans
  • Emailed to 200,000 email subscribers
  • Most prevalent demographics of its fans are women between 35 and 55

Bargain or Free Book

  • Book must be at least 125 pages
  • Must be available on Amazon
  • Must be free or on sale

 7- Robin Reads

 Just like with ENT, Robin Reads is a newsletter for readers looking for a deal.  They have almost 200,000 subscribers as well.

  • The book must be free or $0.99.
  • Mystery is its largest subscriber list with over 130,000 readers.
  • Romance comes in at a super close second.
  • Things that will help you get listed: good reviews and a high-quality book with a professional cover and edit.

 8- The Fussy Librarian

  • Fussy Librarian produces two daily newsletters: the Most Bargain Ebook Newsletter and the Free Ebook Newsletter.
  • The Most Bargain list has 120,000 subscribers.
  • The Free Newsletter has 200,000 subscribers.
  • These prices are way cheaper than the others, but the lists are smaller.
  • For example, Contemporary Romance has about 80,000. Regardless that’s still 80,000 readers who like your genre.
  • If you advertise with the free newsletter, you’ll reach an additional 120,000 but they may or may not read your genre.

9- BookGorilla

This is another discounted newsletter service, but it has slightly more subscribers at 350,000.

  • Not surprisingly Mystery and Thriller are its top genres.
  • The outlet requires the book be less than $3.99, and according to the site, books in the $1.99 or less range do better.
  • It should also have more than five reviews on Kindle with an average 4-star rating.
  • You can pay for a Starred Title but it’s not a huge jump from what you’ll already receive.
  • BookGorilla reports 88% of its subscribers opt to receive 25 or more book recommendations a day.

 Keep watching the author groups to see which ones folks are having the best luck with. Always check out the site for their most up-to-date submission requirements and prices, but more importantly, look at their subscriber rates. Ask around to see how effective they are.

If you want to join us for the most up-to-date marketing and publishing advice and news, Writer Nation FB Group is open to all PPW members. You will find a great group of writers to help you with your writing, marketing and publishing.  Click here to join us! (Please remember to answer the security questions.)


Jennifer Lovett

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Pro Writing Aid – A Review

By Jenny Kate

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Grammarly. It’s a nice little program to proofread your work. I mean, it’s cool and all. But have you heard of Pro Writing Aid?

It’s like Grammarly on steroids with a PhD in writing.

I’ve become a BIG fan!

What is Pro Writing Aid?

Chris Banks, the brainchild behind Pro Writing Aid, developed it because he wanted something to help him take his writing to the next level. PWA has extensions for Chrome and Word and even Scrivener.

The entire point of PWA is to help you become a better writer.
Not a better proofreader, although it will help with spelling and grammar. It’s to help you build better stories.

You know how Stephen King says no to adverbs? PWA will point out every adverb you have and then it will suggest a way to replace it.

Passive voice? Same.
“That” “very” “great” – yes to all those.

One thing I think is fantastic for fiction writers is its dialogue check and contextual suggestions – in other words, too many long sentences or too many short ones.

Let’s Compare

Grammarly was built as a proofreader and is probably a little better at that than PWA. But PWA offers way more recommendations for fixes than Grammarly.

I plugged my academic paper into Grammarly and then into PWA. Then I plugged in my fiction work in progress, both caught misspellings, punctuation and grammar, but PWA gave me nearly 20 reports to look at. Grammarly gave me far fewer but was pretty spot on with what it caught. PWA caught more. And by that I mean sentence structure, readability, overuse of words.

For nonfiction, academic work, I think Grammarly has the edge for now, but I don’t expect that to last.

For fiction work, PWA has the edge. Hands down. If you use Scrivener, it’s integration with that alone is enough to sway me.

Remember this is an artificial intelligence machine reviewing your work at warp speeds. So make sure to read through each suggestion, just as you would with your editor. Some rules will apply to your work. Some won’t.

One final thought.

PWA is way cheaper than Grammarly and has the edge. But if you’re buying for academic writing as opposed to fiction writing, Grammarly may be better because it has a wider plagiarism checker database than PWA. For now. Either way, if you’re in the market for an AI editor, definitely check out Pro Writing Aid.

P.S. Chris Banks was recently on the Self-Publishing Formula podcast. If you’ve got a half hour, listen in.

Editor’s Note: For more information on software for writers check out,
The Best Writing Software


Jennifer Lovett

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Bookstagrammer – The New Book Blogger

By: Jenny Kate

Remember book bloggers?

Back in the day, writers and publicists would reach out and build book blog tours for a writer with a new release – kinda like a virtual book tour – to increase exposure and sell books.

Well, today those have moved to Instagram.

Bookstagrammers are 2020’s book bloggers, and New York has taken notice.

Bookstagrammers are Instagram influencers who share book reviews with great overlays of the book cover on their feeds. Some of those influencers use their Stories for these as well, and some post videos routinely on IGTV with their review.

Those with more than 10,000 followers are generally paid and have rapidly built relationships with agents, editors and publishers. If you have an agent, have them reach out.

Influencers with followers in the 5,000 range are a bit choosy about the books they review, but they tend to work directly with the author. Expect to pay $50 and up for a review, so careful vet before you pay.

Those with less than 5,000 followers are still pretty powerful simply because of the nature of the internet. Having your book seen by new readers is a win-win all the way around, and these bookstagrammers are much easier for an author to reach.

To find a bookstagrammer in your genre, simply search the hashtag.

Good rule of thumb is if they have 5,000 or more followers, have your agent reach out to them via the Direct Messenger on Instagram.

If they have less than 5,000 followers, pitch them your log line on a DM and offer some swag.

Make sure you like and comment a thank-you to any bookstagrammer who reviews your book.

Some bookstagrammers to follow:

For more on social media, click here

More about Jenny Kate, head to www.thewriternation.com


Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Writing in Covid

By: Jenny Kate

Are you still writing?
Do you think it’s even worth it?
Is your new normal so stressful that you think it isn’t?
Well, I want to put your mind at ease about at least one thing.

The industry still needs books.

People are still reading.

The Reading Agency just reported that almost one in three people in the UK are reading more – classics and crime novels in particular.
Yay for mystery, crime and thriller novelists!

Those in the 18-24 age bracket showed the greatest increase.
Yay for Young Adult writers!

The reasons seem to be that books offer a new (for them) form of release, and that they now have more free time to read them. In the United States, Americans have shown a full 30% increase in reading across all age demographics.

Children’s and kid’s books are way up
Yay for children’s!

Most people admit to reading to either learn something about health or to escape reality.

We don’t have current stats on romance or science fiction, but if I’m reading to escape reality, these are a fair bet.

But how are people reading?

Not with print books.

Those are dipping, probably due to the closure of bookstores and Amazon’s priority list doesn’t include books right now. Ebooks did slump a bit, but those numbers bumped back up over the Easter holiday. Same with audio. It was down at the beginning of the quarantine but has since leveled back out to where it was.

I feel this was a commute and gym problem. Folks like me with long commutes or gym time didn’t have those anymore. But we humans adapt and evolve, so we figured it out. I now listen on my daily walk.

All of this is important for any writer who may feel discouraged.

Don’t. People are still reading and still want books. If you are feeling too stressed out to write. Take heart. That’s totally normal as well. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that if basic needs are met (food, home, shelter, job security), it’s real hard to move up to enjoy interests and hobbies.

Take care of yourself and your family and breathe.

At some point a new normal will take over and you’ll want to write again. Until then, do whatever you need to do to get through. If it’s not writing, that’s ok. If it is, then have at it.

If you’re writing, are you also thinking about your career?

Again, don’t overwhelm yourself in one of the most unprecedented times of our lives. But if you feel up to focusing on your career, then send out a couple of queries and see what happens.

The industry still needs books.

Continue to grow your email list or work on your social media engagement. Readers are hungry for connection. Maybe just focus on world building or character development or plotting. Set a schedule or create a way to focus on just a bit of writing every day. Take small steps to stay connected to your author business.

If your author business is your livelihood, then let’s talk.

Create a game plan. Don’t just wing this. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Write down your objective.
  • Plot out the tactics to meet that objective.
  • Think about ads. Now’s the time for Facebook ads. They are at an all-time low.
  • People are buying ebooks. Put yours up.
  • Try an email blast ad like BookBub or BookGorilla.
  • Consider content marketing…this means once a week create a piece of content: video, blog, podcast, long social post, and repurpose it into other content: Instagram Story, Tweet, Facebook Group post. It will boost your website’s searchability on Google.

Regardless of where your state of mind is right now, know this. You are a writer, and it’s totally fine if you want to write or you don’t want to write. A global pandemic that just killed 60,000 Americans in two months is seriously unnerving, and there is no right way to deal with it.

So, however you manage that is absolutely what is best for you – writing or not. Things will get better. Readers will read. And your stories will be awesome.

Sources:
The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Changing How People Buy Books
World Book Night: One in three reading more during lockdown
Share of adults reading books more due to the coronavirus…


Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram

Indie vs Traditional – Which Would You Choose?

By: Jenny Kate

Are you on the fence?

Traditional publishing is still considered the holy grail to many a writer. It validates you as a bona fide author. There is definite street cred to getting an agent and a book deal.

But … there seems to be a growing movement to “just go indie” when the traditional route takes too long or isn’t panning out quite the way writers had hoped. Going indie may sound super easy – write a book, slap on a cover, post to Amazon. Done.

And believe me, I just heard this version at a writer’s conference back in the fall and just about fell out of my chair.

Before you decide, weigh the pros and cons of traditional versus indie.

Indie publishing isn’t that easy. It takes a crap-ton of work. Before I decided to indie publish my nonfiction, I weighed the pros and cons of traditional versus indie.

For nonfiction, indie won out for a couple of reasons but mainly because I wasn’t all that concerned about wide distribution and I’m comfortable marketing.

For fiction, on the other hand, I’m still holding out for a trad deal.

Before you decide which direction you should go, I really, really, really encourage you to do a pro-con list because publishing indie isn’t for the feint of heart.

The factors below helped me decide, and I hope they help you before you decide.

Street Cred.

  • Although Jeff Bezos told Amazon shareholders in his annual report that more than 1,000 authors hit the six-figure mark, there is still a stigma around indie publishing as not being of the same quality as traditionally published books. Is it as deeply ingrained as it used to be? No. And if you are confident in the quality of your books, then you can build your own street cred. But that brings me to marketing.

Marketing

  • Regardless of which method you decide to publish, you will have to do upwards of 80% of your own marketing. Yes, even with a traditional deal. Former Writers Digest Publisher Guy LeCharles Gonzales led a publicist’s panel at Writers Digest conference in August and all agreed with this. This means you will need to know how to sell yourself and your books online and in person.
  • However, the traditional houses have ins with the major networks and news outlets you would have a hard time busting into as an indie.
  • There are a million ways to market a book and the information available is overwhelming and doesn’t all work. You’ll have to do a ton of testing to find which works for you.

Timeline

  • If your books are not time sensitive, then traditional publishing will work for you. It takes one to two years to get a new book to market.
  • With indie publishing, you’re on the timeline it takes you to write, edit, design and publish. It took me 10 months from the start of the first page, through the edits, book designers and uploading to Amazon. It’s taken five for the second book.

Editing

  • Traditional publishers want a clean manuscript, so having beta readers or a critique group or even a freelance editor review it is smart before you query. That being said, they will still edit it a million times for you.
  • If you indie publish, you’ll have to hire an editor (developmental, content, line, proofreader). I found mine on Reedsy and scored with the first one. I’ve had friends go through several before finding the best one for their work style.

Book Cover and Design

  • For the book cover, traditional houses will determine that for you. I’ve heard repeatedly that even authors with a stipulation in their contract to have final say on the cover never actually get that final say.
  • With indie publishing you’ll certainly have final say, but you’ll also have to do the market research to ensure your covers are industry standard and then hire the designer. It took me four before I found the right chemistry with a designer.

Distribution

  • Traditional publishing has the upper hand here. They can get your books into brick and mortar stores and yes, those are still a thing. Indie bookstores are rising and the Big Five have the contacts.
  • However, with IngramSpark, you can now pitch your books to libraries and bookshops.

TV and Movie Rights

  • Traditional publishing has the contacts to sell your book to Hollywood and get your story on the small and large screen.
  • If you indie published, you’d have to find an intellectual property attorney or a hybrid agent to help you do this.

International Rights

  • Selling your books overseas is lucrative. Period. A traditional agent again has the contacts at the London Book Fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair, BookFest Singapore and others. It takes money and time to get to those, make contacts and get you an international deal.
  • That being said, you can sell in other countries on Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books and Google Play Books. You can use an aggregator/distributor like Smashwords and Draft2Digital to help you.

Audio Books

  • Audio is simply exploding this year and with a trad deal, you won’t have to pay upfront costs or find a reader.
  • As an indie, audiobooks can be cost prohibitive as it can cost upwards of $3000 to produce an audiobook and you’ll have to find a reader using ACX or Findaway Voices.

Jennifer Lovett

Jenny Kate is the founder of Writer Nation, an online space dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 19 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity. You can find her on her WebsiteFacebook, and  Instagram