Most authors go randomly into their career. 

Quit waiting! Stand out as an author!They had a great idea for a book.  They write it.  They hope it will be good enough to get published.  They send queries.  Their focus is not on having a career as an author.  It’s strictly about becoming an author—getting that one book published.

Even indies will put a book out and randomly attempt to market it without thinking long term or seeing the bigger picture.

Think about the implication.  Most people choose a career—say a business marketing career.  They go to school to train for it.  Then they take the steps to build that career. 

Too many writers are waiting in line to be chosen as if waiting to get picked for a team during gym class.  Will I get picked?  Will people like me?  Do I have what it takes?  If I give them free stuff will they buy stuff later?

People in business don’t wait to get picked.  They hone their skills, choose positions carefully, read up on employers and keep an eye focused on their goals.  There is no waiting to be picked.  They make their careers happen.

In my class, Get Serious. Get Discovered. I ask my students to take a stand.  They will not hope to become an author.  They will not wait in line to be picked.  They will take their career seriously.  Hone their craft.  Get their work out in front of readers.  Consciously work toward building their readership, getting feedback, writing more, putting more out there for people to read.  They will work toward catching the eye of agents and publishers.

I ask that of them because they deserve it.

But how can you accomplish all of that?  Well, let's start with the basics:

1. List out the genre or genres where you want to excel.  The genre you want some enthusiastic fan to list you at the top of their "Best of" list on Goodreads.

2. Read that genre.  Read the best and the worst.  What made the difference?  What can you learn from both of them?

3. As a fan of that genre, what would you like to see your favorite authors blog, tweet, or post about?  List at least three.

4. Do you follow any of the authors in your genre on social media?  If not, start now.  Watch what they do.  What they don't.  Think about what works for them.

5. Learn.  Emulate.  Grow.  Take what you have learned from your favorite authors in your genre and emulate them—the way they write and market themselves.  When you have their basics, then start to find your own voice.  Add your own rhythm to the dance. 

That's how people in business succeed.  They find mentors in their field.  They read about them, study them and find out all their business tactics.  They follow them on social media and interact with them.  Then they take what they've learned from them and start to build their own dreams. 

Need a little help getting started?

Get Serious.  Get Discovered.  May 6 – 30

Online class at

Just $40



“The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later.”
–Seth Godin


Yes, I heard that collective whine.

What if it took three years for you to be noticed?  Your book takes off.  Your career launches.  You quit your day job.  Would you care about the three years leading up to that time?  Or would you think to yourself how freakin' lucky you are and how you would have waited five years if it meant getting to this stage of life.

We all want our first book to be published.  Most first books are not published.  We all want to hit the marketing jackpot and have the next Harry Potter.  Heck, some of us would settle for a 50 Shades of Grey if it meant we could quit our day job.  Most of us don't.

We cry and grumble at how hard it is.  We know we need to blog and tweet and work the market.

But who has time?  We need to write!  We have a day job!  We have other responsibilities!  We need a life too.

You do realize that these are same kind of whines that your kids give you when you tell them they have to go to college?  Right?

This is not a joke.  The process of building your platform to a significant readership can take 1-3 years.  Whether you are tradiitionally published or an indie.

Becoming a successful author takes time.  Time to hone your skills.  Time to build a following on your platform.

But by getting out there and making it happen, you will feel stronger, more capable and more determined.  You will find people who can mentor you.  You will get feedback from readers. 

You will put yourself in a position to be DISCOVERED.

Put this word up in lights in your head:  


It comes with it’s own soundtrack, doesn’t it?

How do you get DISCOVERED?

People talk about the amazing success of Amanda Hocking.  They say she came from nowhere.  She was an indie who hit the author success lottery.

She worked her freakin’ butt off.

She marketed her books like a pro.  She had a blog.  She was on Twitter.  She was on Facebook.  She pulled out old manuscripts, edited them and put them out on the market so that she would have an inventory.  She wrote fast and built up more inventory very quickly.  She put her books out to review blogs and freebie sites etc.

She worked her way into becoming DISCOVERED.

For her, it happened in about seven months.  For most, it takes longer.  She got in at the right time.  She wrote in a genre that was hot.  Even with those two things in her favor, she worked, worked, worked to get herself and her books into the spotlight.

Three years will feel like no big deal when they start working for you.  

I can still hear your grumbling.  

But I sense that you are reluctantly agreeing that you need to put some effort into this platform thing.  So how do you do it?   Well, that’s what my upcoming class is all about.

I concede that maybe I haven't given you enough of a taste to make you want to take my class.  Okay then, come back tomorrow and I'll give you a sneak peak at what you will learn.

Tomorrow:  5 Author Career Strategies



One of the very best ways to capture audience attention is by giving away your writing.  People are willing to take a chance on a new author if their work is free.  But did you know that giving away your writing is also a great way to measure the effectiveness of your writing?  It can show you whether you are connecting with people or if the writing needs work.  

There are a variety of ways to gain exposure by using your writing.  Blogging is the most popular, but it isn't the only way.  Here are a few marketing strategies you can use that may even help to improve your writing:

Continue reading »



One of the biggest things that new authors worry about is that they don't want to exclude anyone with their marketing. They want their book to make everyone happy.  They want to be universally liked in their marketing.  When I try to coach them, they often tell me things like "everyone can read my book." 

Sure, anyone who is literate can, technically, read your book.  But trust me, you don't want everyone to read it.  You especially don't want to market it to everyone.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually benefits you to narrow your marketing and exclude people. 

Don't believe me?  Check out the reasoning:

Continue reading »


Here are some great tips on how to focus your marketing and avoid overwhelm, from my favorite author platform guru, Joanna Penn.  You can find her at

Enjoy her lovely accent too!



Three additional tips to avoiding overwhelm:

1.  Be Patient – Your platform will take time to build.

2.  Build in Steps – Don’t try to do everything at once.  Try one thing, get comfortable with it, then add another.

3.  Schedule time & take breaks – Create a schedule for when you are going to do your marketing (ex. every morning for one hour).  Also, define time when you don’t work on your platform.  I rarely do any marketing on the weekends.


In a previous blogs, I talked about building a team of authors who work together to support each others through blogging and marketing.  There was a lot of great feedback about the idea, but confusion on where and how to find the right people.

So here are a few places to start your search:


Search the groups on Goodreads.  There are tons of genre specific groups.  Some are for readers, but you can find some that are for authors.  If your genre doesn’t have any groups for authors in your genre, then start one!  It’s a great format for building your team.

In addition to the genre groups, check out the independent author and marketing groups.  If you type “indie authors” into the search field, you’ll find a list of independent author groups who meet to talk marketing, publishing and everything you need to be an authorpreneur.


Okay, I admit.  I really wasn’t a big promoter of LinkedIn for authors.  I didn’t see the value of it for promoting your work.  Boy, was I wrong! Continue reading »


If you are a new or self published author, you have the same problem with your author platform as you have for your blog… finding readers.  We are all told to have a blog so we can attract readers and turn them into fans of our writing, but how do we get the there?  As the final post in this series about fiction blogs, we will look at readers. They are the reason you blog. The three most important rules of blogging revolve around how well you know your readers, how well you cater to them and how you capture them.

Rule #1 Readers – Know Them So You Can Find Them

Who is your reader? Your reader likes your writing.  Why?  They have specific reasons for liking it. What are those reasons? Do they like your sassy style? Do they need a laugh for the day?  Do they want to be informed or inspired?  Build a strong image of your reader in your mind the way you would a character. The more you know about them the better you will be at finding them and giving them what they want on your blog.

Once you have a strong idea of who your reader is, then you can put yourself in front of them at the venues they frequent. Think about what other blogs they’d like to read or what social media they are using. This helps you to focus your marketing — saving you time.

Rule #2 Readers – Cater To Your Reader

I talked about this in a previous post, but I can never say it too much. Cater to your reader! Take the time to know who they are and what they want, then make your blog the most inviting place for them. This is where content is king. Though here’s the tricky part: you can write the most wonderful post with perfect grammar and intelligent prose, but if it’s not what your reader wants from you then you might as well have not written it. Readers are fickle folk. Many are short on time and they come to your blog with a “what have you done for me lately” mentality. So make sure that you are thinking of them when you write.

Provide the content they want, also provide the experience they want. Help them out with useful links or tips. Find out what they want. How? Ask them. There is no harm is writing a post that asks your readers what they’d like to see on your blog.

Rule #3 Readers – Capture Them

Once you have them coming to your site, you’ll want to create ways of capturing them… or at least their contact information. Put together a sign up area and something special that can be sent to them regularly. Hey now, wait a minute, I can hear you groaning out there. Many writers I meet don’t want to send out weekly newsletters or be perceived as a spammer. Frankly, I would never ask you to do that. Still, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to gather the information of your readers. Imagine the boost in sales your next book will get if you can send an announcement of its launch to a large list of people who love your writing.

So here are a few ways to capture contact information without feeling like a spammer.

  1. Offer to send your blog posts to their inbox. People who love your writing will love to have it sent to them when it is posted. Best of all, some contact management companies offer this automatically. They send your feed to your list. Check out contact management companies such as aWeber and Constant Contact.
  2. Do a monthly newsletter with links to specific posts from your blog and add in contests where your readers can win books from similar writers. They’ll appreciate the chance to win and your fellow writers will appreciate the nod (hint: let your fellow writers know you are doing this and maybe they’ll return the favor)
  3. Come up with a short but consistent item you can send. For example, a sign up for the quote of the day, word of the week or story of the month. My books deal with the paranormal so I’m starting a weekly horrorscope (spelling intentional) delivered to their inbox.
  4. If you don’t want to send out anything consistently, then have an occasional contest with a prize. Readers must sign up with name and email to be entered into the drawing.

Always remember that your blog has a purpose, to attract and keep your readers so that you can sell more books.


Are you a blogger gone wild?  Do your posts wander from topic to topic?  Do you know if your posts are even striking a chord with your readers?

Blogging is like writing a novel. Some people are plotters and some pantsers.  Some people know what they want to write and they just dig right into it. Others see a stretch of blank page and feel overwhelmed.  Some blog a few times, then give up because they didn’t achieve instant fame.  Other despair that they don’t have time to write.  Often, blogging gets out of control. It’s like the middle section of a novel. That area in your manuscript where you just want to give up because the plot no longer makes sense and you just know you’ll never make a success of it.

We’ve all been there.

Unfortunately, most authors-turned-bloggers live there permanently. Probably because bloggers don’t treat blogs like a novel, but as a weekly regurgitation of their thoughts and experiences. That is perfectly understandable, since blogs started out as online diaries.

Unfortunately, these unfocused ramblings do little to inspire fiction fans. If we want to turn readers into fans then our blogs need to be less self-absorbed and more thoughtful, planned and reader-driven.

So let’s look at how the tools of novel writing can help get your blog back on track. Continue reading »


This week we are exploring the pains and problems of blogging as a fiction author.  As authors, we are told to blog so that we can build an author platform, gain a following of readers and boost book sales. Unfortunately, only a few bloggers will ever find success with their blog. Why is that? Is it the blog or the blogger?

In this post lets examine the blog. That mysterious of beasts.  There are so many options for blogging software.  There are so many problems with blogging itself.  What are some of the pitfalls of using a blog as a marketing tool for fiction and what you can do to overcome them?

Pitfall #1 – Blogs don’t come with instructions.

Well, technically, they can.  You can find a plethora of blogging tutorials and classes (we even have a WordPress Class).  However, I’m not talking about how to post pictures or change your theme. I’m talking about gaining a readership and advancing your writing career. Even the gurus don’t really have a guaranteed formula. It’s more like a template of what usually works, or what’s worked lately. Blog marketing is part science, part art, and dollop of “let’s throw it out there and see what sticks.”

So how do you know what will work for you? Continue reading »


You’d think that as people who love to writer, fiction authors would be excellent bloggers.  They should easily be able to crank out the 500 or so words a day that it takes to write a post.  Non-fiction authors do it all the time.   They seem to know exactly how to use blogging to market their books.  As a fiction writer/author, how successful are you at blogging? Feeling good about it? Sort of? Not so much?

If you feel ambivalent, you are not alone. Blogging has become the necessary evil. It is often viewed as a burden foisted on innocent writers by that dark force of the publishing industry — the marketing department.

Blogging seems unavoidable. It is the axis upon which all other marketing strategies revolve. Got a radio interview? Make sure you tell those listeners your blog address. That newspaper article needs a link too. Literature for conferences must contain your domain. The list goes on.

That pressure to provide a link causes many writers to scramble haphazardly into building their blog presence. Often they do so without training or guidance. Soon their unfocused blog posts run the gamut of topics, seemingly based on the principle that posting anything is better than nothing. Blog! The readers will come. When no readers arrive, they have no idea why. Even worse, the visitors they do get leave without buying a book or even commenting on a post. What went wrong? Continue reading »


In January we are offering a class entitled:
Where Do I Start? Book Marketing Mastery Series #1
If you’ve been wondering where to start on your road to marketing your book, then this is the class for you.  But you’ve heard that before.  So we’re going to offer you some tantalizing tidbits from the class.   Giving you a chance to try it on for size.

Here’s tidbit #1


Interested in learning more? For more about the class CLICK HERE
Have questions? Feel free to comment below!


It’s good to have friends.  They lift us up when we are down.  They are the biggest fans of our writing.  They regularly promote our books, blog posts and promotions on all the social networking sites.

What?  Your friends don’t promote you on Twitter?  They don’t share your blog posts on Facebook or with their circle on Google+?

Our friends, god love ‘em, are great for many things.  But if we lean on them to help us promote our books, they may not stay our friends for very long.  This is why a smart author looks for social media allies (a.k.a. other authors) to help them.

Think about how much more effective your efforts will be if you are part of group blogs (glogs), social media collectives, group virtual tours, group book signings and much more.

Below is a great video on this topic that was put together by the WriteOnCon 2011.  They start out talking about gathering authors together for a collective blog.  But they expand into how you can use your collective to market the whole group through virtual tours, collective marketing campaigns and social media.

Social media author groups are forming all over the web.  Just find some folks in your own genre and build a group that fit you.

Have you started an author marketing group, been part of one, need one?  Share your experiences below… Continue reading »


Blogging for authors

In my last post, we looked at how to build a list of candidates of potential marketing partners.  This list will contain writers similar enough to you that their readership that might also be interested in your books.  However, each of the members of the team might have different strengths and weaknesses in the way that they market. The key is to discover their marketing style so that you can work together on those types of marketing.  That way you are not adding any burden to their daily routine.  You may even be helping them out by asking to guest post on their blog or commenting on their posts.  Working with their style will encourage them to promote you regularly.

Today, we will go through the list to find those whose strength is blogging. Begin by sorting them into five blogging areas:

  1. Commenting
  2. Blog Roll or Badges
  3. Guest Blogging
  4. Group Blogging
  5. Blog post referrals

Any person on your list can be categorized into multiple areas. Just be careful not to stretch them too thin. If you have them doing all five, they will quickly get burned out.

So let’s take a look at each of the these arenas and how you and your marketing machine members can help each other build your readership. Continue reading »


Promoting your book can be exhausting work.  Wouldn’t you love to have a team of authors who support your marketing projects.  Ones that can help you spread the word or let you guest blog or keep you updated on new opportunities.  We have this for our writing.  We join writers groups and critique groups to energize our writing and feel the support and encouragement of community.  So why don’t we create the same gift for ourselves when it comes to marketing?

Author marketing list

The first step is to build a list of writers who are similar to you. This will take a bit of brainstorming. Consider the people in your critique groups, on your twitter feed, Facebook or other social media. Evaluate whether these authors and writers would be good candidates for your marketing machine. Start by writing those people down on a list. You’ll want to gather a list of twenty or thirty and then whittle them down to a core group.  Why?  Because, just like in critique groups, you want to be sure that the people you choose will be the right fit.  In order to be successful, you’ll want them to meet some specific requirements.

Requirements for Your List… Continue reading »


Over and over, I’ve heard authors explain to me why they don’t need a book marketing strategy.  They tell me that they aren’t a business (a statement that makes me shudder).  That books are sold on the merit of their writing (like Snooki’s book).  And finally, that if a book is truly great, the word will spread.  Sure it will.

Do you really believe J.K. Rowlings sold a gazillion books without an ounce of book marketing strategy?

Think of it as a critique or support group for your book marketing.

Here’s the deal. If you have a book, then you already have a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy might be that you depend on your publishing company to do all the work. Your marketing strategy may be to tell your friends and relatives about the book, then let word of mouth sell the book. Maybe you posted a website? Maybe you are on or Those are all pieces of a marketing strategy.

So people who don’t like or believe in developing marketing strategies are still marketing. They just aren’t marketing effectively.

The good news is that, for those of us who are eager to put our books in front of more eyeballs, there are better strategies to help us market. One strategy that works well is to build yourself something that I like to call the marketing machine. Continue reading »


Okay, here comes the tough question.  As you push toward publication, do you know what you’re getting into? Do you have the knowledge necessary to be a successful author?  I’m not talking about the knowledge to become an author.  I’m talking about the work, the business, and the complications of being a published author.

How many authors have been blindsided by all the business aspects of being an author?  Too many.

Nobody likes being a casualty of ignorance.  If you understand your industry before the book deal (or self-publishing), you will enjoy the process much more and be prepared for challenges and u-turns.

So what am I talking about?

I’m talking about the myth that all the problems go away when your heavenly book glows its way into the publisher’s capable hands.  When you sign that contract, aren’t you really just telling them where to send the checks?  Lot’s and lot’s of checks?

Let’s pop that balloon right now.

Even after being published, over 90% of books fail to support their author full-time.  It’s my belief that the reason isn’t just in the writing.

It’s a business failure. Continue reading »


Tomorrow is #WW (Writer Wednesday) on Twitter, making it a perfect day to cover that crazy Twitter phenomenon called the hashtag. What is it? Why should you care?

Twitter Hashtags are created by putting the # symbol in front of a word or words. They started as a way to organize conversations. For example, a tweet with #writermarketing on the end would indicate that the tweet was part of a conversation about… you guessed it, writer marketing. The hashtag makes it convenient for tweeters to click on the tag and bring up all the people who are tweeting in that conversation. This creates a type of Twitter chat room that is open for public viewing. All those using the tag can communicate with each other, but your followers will also see your tweets, and they can decide whether to join in the conversation.

That is the normal use of a hashtag. You may be perplexed to see hashtags that don’t have groups, such as #notcool or #winning. Hashtags have grown beyond their original usage into a creative way of expressing one’s self. If people like the hashtag, think it’s funny or clever, then many people will use it. That is called trending. It is fun, but not necessarily useful. #ohmygodbecky Continue reading »

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