The mere concept of writing a novel can be overwhelming, let alone actually getting it done. After having written and published thirteen books, (and having worked for many authors) I have a simple 10-step formula that works every time. However, every writer is unique, but I believe this will help remarkably in helping you find your own special way to putting pen to paper and clicking that 'publish' button!
So, here it goes.
1) First and foremost, the idea. You have an idea. It's great. You think it's perfect for a book and plenty of readers will love it. But, before you start typing or scribbling, you've got to get that research done. Regardless of genre, fiction or non-fiction, there has to be a level of realism in your story. What themes and issues does your tale deal with? Are you an expert on those subject matters? If not, crack that textbook asap. Search the net. Speak to knowledgeable individuals. Researching, if done right, dependent on your book's length, should last anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. Don't skip research. You'll regret it.
2) Now then, let's work on that first draft. Forget punctuation. Forget grammar. Forget writing tips and tricks. Forget any webinars or seminars you may have taken on the craft of writing. Forget everything you've learned and just get it done. Write the story. Write the characters. Get that first draft done. However, I personally write a rough chapter outline beforehand so I have an idea of where the story is headed. But many authors choose to let their story run wild and see where it takes itself. Try out both ways and see which works for you. I am a self-confessed control freak, so I need that chapter outline to guide me and give each scene and chapter a purpose.
3) Edit, edit, edit. Here comes the part many writers hate, but I've grown to love. First, tear the story apart. Look for run-on sentences, telling instead of showing, lack of character development, overused words, and so on. Look at unessential content that wouldn't be missed. Extend scenes that seem rushed. Add senses to dull scenes.
4) Proof and off to an editor. Once you're completely done with the judicious editing, now comes the time to proof and weed out those typos and grammatical mistakes, along with punctuation errors. An editor or proofreader is crucial as you (the author) won't notice mistakes due to a familiarity with the manuscript. Every author needs an editor. You think Stephen King and J.K.Rowling use an editor? Actually, they have several! You can help them out by proofing as best you can, but you have to find an editor if you want your work to be taken seriously and not be left vulnerable to a torrent of bad customer reviews online.
8 signs it's time to hire a book editor: http://thomasauthorservices.weebly.com/author-blogs--book-reviews/8-signs-its-time-to-hire-a-book-editor
5) Go over corrections. Once you've received the manuscript back from your editor, take time to go over the corrections. You won't always agree with the corrections when it comes to the story, characters or other creative decisions, but take what they are suggesting seriously. They know what they are talking about. Obviously if you just hired a proofreader, mistakes are mistakes, they need correcting before you publish.
6) Review copies. Almost there. Books in great condition. What does that mean? Send out review copies! That's right. Send to bloggers, readers, fellow authors, friends or family for some customer reviews when the book goes live. Goodreads will allow reviews to be left as soon as the book has been listed on their site. But Amazon doesn't allow reviews until it has been published.
TIP: Make a list of everyone you sent a review copy too, and remind them when it's time to leave that review. Be aware, only ten percent of people you send review copies to, will actually leave reviews. So, send to many people.
Here's a helpful blog: http://thomasauthorservices.weebly.com/author-blogs--book-reviews/how-do-i-get-the-attention-of-book-review-bloggers
7) Cover. Now it's time for the arty part. What's a book without a cover? You can get a cover either by a professional designer or buying a stock image and designing it yourself. There are sites such as Shutterstock, CanStock and so on for images. You can get fonts from fontsquirrel.com, 1001fonts.com etc. Be sure to check font licenses, and publish a credit for the downloaded images if you decide to do it yourself. Obviously working with a designer is more expensive, but it depends on your artistic ability and budget. Not all authors can make create covers. So, sit down and think about this.
8) Marketing Campaign. Yep, you heard me. I know, I can hear your sighs. But marketing is hugely important. Decide on services you are going to use, design banners, spread the word, publish teasers, arrange blog tours and so on. If you need help with a marketing campaign, check out these blogs:
5-STEP MARKETING CAMPAIGN: http://thomasauthorservices.weebly.com/author-blogs--book-reviews/effective-5-step-book-marketing-campaign
6 SECRET WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK: http://thomasauthorservices.weebly.com/author-blogs--book-reviews/6-secret-ways-to-promote-your-book
18 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL MARKETING CAMPAIGN: http://thomasauthorservices.weebly.com/author-blogs--book-reviews/18-steps-to-a-successful-book-marketing-campaign
10 SIMPLE WAYS TO GET BOOK SALES: http://thomasauthorservices.weebly.com/author-blogs--book-reviews/10-simple-ways-to-get-book-sales
9) Final Check. You're ready. Everything is done. But, that's no excuse to be lazy. Check everything. Check the blurb, keywords, price, review quotes, cover, manuscript, front and back matter. Be confident in your release.
10) Publish. And here it is. Time to publish. You can either set up a pre-order for it to be released in a couple of weeks, allowing you time to drum up some pre-order sales. (http://blogpostsforwriters.blogspot.com/2016/03/9-reasons-you-should-put-your-book-up.html)
Or, you can get the book out there asap. There are pros and cons to both. Think on it. Oh, and good luck!
A young boy craves adventure. An uncle is more than happy to encourage this personality trait. But will adventure lead him further into a darkness he’ll regret?
Spencer, discovers he has diabetes, victim to shots and the monotonous monitoring of sugar levels, but he copes. Even better, this gives him a mutual affliction with a young girl named Chloe, whom our protagonist happens to have a low-key crush on. This shared medical illness, leads them to realize they have another shared interest (or concern): something flying around their town murdering people. But what is it?
As usual, Anthony devices a superb plot, with excellent twists, and heavily researched characters that appear as real as you and me. We root for Spencer, developing a relationship with this young man and his struggles. These struggles aren’t just restricted to diabetes and a murderous not-so-mythical creature, but a complex family dynamic also. What more could a reader want?
Are Spencer’s struggles with the monster a metaphor for his struggles with diabetes? I feel so. It’s a strong metaphor for life in general. Events and incidents are thrown are way, and sometimes we feel a lack of control, as he feels by trying to self-care with his ailment. A strong life lesson. I am not sure if Mr Hains intended this worthy analogy, but for me, it gave the story a new level of not just entertainment, but significance.
As someone who lives in Michigan, near Lake Michigan, I love that Mr Hains chose to set this novel near that very lake. But on the other hand, it made this novel all the more unsettling and a little too close to home. However, as usual, I was spellbound to the pages, unable to put the book down!
Captivating. Brilliant. Powerful. A thrilling tale of a young man with his own personal struggles, battling a supernatural intruder to his livelihood.
Grab your copy!
Available digitally or in print.
Add it to your Goodreads!
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Need your novel edited? Or marketed? Check out our affordable packages!
Hiring a professional editor is crucial for your book's success. Readers can forgive a couple of typos, but if your manuscript is riddled with errors, it will get old fast. And the book will receive bad reviews, dragging it down into the pit of millions of unsellable books.
So, how do you avoid this? Hire an editor! But how do you know it's the right time? Read the signs below.
1) Am I satisfied with the manuscript? No nagging feelings tugging away at me that it needs some more work?
2) Why am I looking for an editor? Is it laziness or a need to get another book out asap, or I feel I have done all I can at this point and need professional help to give my book a fair chance at success?
3) Have I judiciously self-edited? This will make the editor's job easier. If they don't have to focus on too many typos, they can direct their talents on the characters, story, plot, flow, pace, structure etc. In other words, what the readers care about. Unless it is just a proofread that you require.
4) Have I had any fellow writers or beta readers take a peek at it? Posted into any groups and asked for criticism? What were their thoughts?
5) Is it as good as it's gonna be? Nobody is perfect but try your best.
6) Have I set aside a budget for the editor? Most editors aren't cheap.
7) Have I been in touch with a couple of editors for sample edits, to see how they would alter the manuscript and check they know what they are doing?
8) Do I know what level of editing I need? Proofing, substantial, or developmental?
DON'T FORGET: Read the contract. All editors will request you sign a contract before paying the agreed upon fee. Read - and if necessary - question any terms that confuse you.
Need an editor / proofreader? Prices start from just $100.00! (WE OFFER A FREE 5-PAGE SAMPLE EDIT.)
Check out our affordable and professional packages:
So, you're planning a blog tour? Let's make this as easy as it can be then.
First things first, get those contacts! There are hundreds of blog sites where bloggers are listed based on what material they are interested in, fiction or non-fiction, and what genre. And if they post teasers or interview authors. Make a thorough list of who you'd like to reach out to and get started. Always be professional, understanding, and personal. (TIP: reach out to the bloggers who have many followers. The whole point of a blog tour is to reach a large audience!)
2) Follow Up.
Usually, one or two follow-up emails are expected. Anything more can be considered harrassing. You don't want to give a bad impression. If they don't respond to your follow-up email, I'd let it go and move onto the next blogger.
Once you have a list of bloggers that will feature teasers from your upcoming release and/or and interview to promote this new novel, get writing dates in a calendar.
4) Stay Organised.
Stay on top of things. Be organized and efficient. Send what needs sending. Promote the blog tour effectively.
5) Thank You.
Don't forget those thank-you emails. Always. If you don't show your appreciation and their blog really helped, they may not welcome you back and consider you an ungrateful author. So do what your parent/s taught you, be polite!
I know, we don't all have the time for huge book launches and hectic marketing campaigns. Some authors have day jobs. But worry no more, you can still create a modest marketing campaign and get impressive results. Here is my five-step plan for a quick but effective marketing campaign to give your book a great launch with minimal effort. Which is what we all want, right?
So, firstly, promotional and newsletter advertising services. There are so many services out there for authors. They professionally promote your work or advertise it in a newsletter going out to readers in your genre. Personally, I would research this. Decide on a budget. Some only charge $20 - $50 dollars, others are upwards of $100.
It's best to experiment and see which services work for you. Once you know what works, it will help with future launches. You can erase services that don't pack a punch!
2) Power of Pre-order.
Don't underestimate that pre-order feature. If your book gets plenty of pre-orders, the day it is released, all those sales will hit on the same day, giving it a good chance of getting on those bestseller charts and into the hands of hungry readers!
3) Advance review copies.
Before the launch, write a list of people you know you can trust, reviewers / bloggers, or even friends and family. Don't have a list? Get started reaching out now. Send advance review copies and let them know you'd like a review on Amazon, Goodreads etc, in exchange for the free book. Reviews are essential, and as soon as your book goes live, remind those readers to post those reviews. Hence why a list is essential!
4) Banners galore!
Put banners everywhere. Website. Blog. Social media accounts. This can be to advertise the pre-order, or actual release. Personally, I create banners to do both. Not sure if you can create a good professional banner? Ask around. Authors always know designers, so get networking. Or comment on this blog if you need help. Our company happens to know many professional banner designers.
5) Publish snippets on your blog.
Release teasers on your blog with links to pre-order or order the book. Pick the best sections of the novel. All of it should be great but select a teaser that has strong cliffhangers and great descriptions. Show off your best work.
There you go. Good luck. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.
Want reviews? Need reviews? You are doing everything right - or so you think - but you just can't get the attention of those pesky review bloggers? Then this blog is for you. You've come to the right place.
- First and foremost you must be professional. This means proofread any contact (email, FB messages, social media contact etc). Poor grammar or punctuation will instantly turn bloggers off you.
- Besides being professional, you must also be personal. This means don't be a robot. You are a person, you have hobbies and interests. Also, they probably receive hundreds - maybe thousands - of review requests every week. You must stand out with a personal comment. Comment on their website. Comment on a book they reviewed that you happened to read. Maybe they say on their blog they like animals, movies, traveling etc, which you happen to also like.
- Your contact must be easy to read. You must have a clear layout. Cut down longer chunks of text. Keep it brief. Don't bore them. Easy-breezy but professional and personal.
- Also, this is embarrassing, but it happens all the time with author clients who come to us for marketing or editing services. Make sure all the links to your book or website are correct! Again, this isn't professional. Most bloggers will just ignore the email if you don't even have the correct links. So double-check these.
- Thank them! You'd think this is common sense, but again, authors sometimes leave this courtesy out. Be sure to thank them for reading the email, and that you hope to hear back from them soon.
- Research them! Do they even read books in your genre? Do they only read print books? Do they have requests or demands when you contact them? Don't give them a bad first impression by showing that you haven't even read the 'terms' on their website.
Good luck! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like a subject mattered blogged about.
Side Note: keep track of who you've contacted so you can refer to this list later on. It makes things far easier.
In a world with millions of books, it's hard to stand out from the crowd. How can you be remembered by readers? Maintain a career? Well, here are a few tricks!
1) Have a great cover. If you know you are a terrible cover designer, hire help! If you have a nack for it, then do it yourself. Whatever the case, it needs to look professional.
2) Work on your craft. Don't look at your book as a business product, look at it as an experience for readers. Meryl Streep is arguably one of the best actresses that has ever lived. But she admits to constantly working on and improving her craft. She sees it as a lifelong career, where one is always striving for perfection.
3) Post like a person. Post interesting content on social media, don't just spam them with posts of your work. Get involved in culture and society. If they see you as an interesting person, they'll think your work must also be interesting.
4) Money. Price your work reasonably (think about the length of the book, and the time and effort you put into it). Also, think about your target audience.
5) Be smart. Take the time to devise a marketing campaign, don't just wildly throw tweets and posts out there without a plan. It willl turn out disastrous. Not great at marketing? Hire a pro who knows how to get your book out there!
6) Reliability. Get powerful quotes from other authors for your book cover and manuscript. This adds legitimacy. If you are lucky enough to get a well-known author with millions of readers to review your work, and they like it, that book and your other books, will rocket into the charts.
7) Perfection. Never release your work until you are satisfied with it.
8) Run a giveaway. Simple enough. But not all authors do this. Confused as to how to run a giveaway? Head over to Youtube, or the internet. There are plenty of useful guides out there on running a successful giveaway.
9) Be one-of-a-kind. Aim to write original and engaging content in your work. Write what you care about. You should be excited to write, not dread it. If you look forward to waking up every day and getting to work, that's a good sign that you are writing with passion and not monetary agendas.
10) Hire an editor. So many authors go at it alone, without so much as hiring a proofreader or editor. This doesn't look professional and is offputting to the reader.
There you have it. Jump out from the crowd. Be different. Be unique. Claim your audience.
An author's website is a crucial marketing tool. It not only allows readers and other interested parties to head over to your site and check out the content, it enables you to secretly promote your work in various ways.
1) Blog Banners:
Have a blog, post interesting content regularly, and alongside the content, have banners for your publications. TIP: Professional looking banners!
2) Book Page:
Have a page with all your publications, and of course, links.
3) News Section:
Keep readers up to date with your latest releases, keep them informed, and this gives you an opportunity to mention your current releases also.
4) Samples and Teasers:
Offer your readers a sample page, where they can read some of your work for free. If you are doing your job right as an author, and give them an enticing section from one of your books, they'll head over and buy a copy.
5) Free Book with Newsletter Signup:
A great way to build your author platform, and get your work out there, as well as build your subscriber list! Gift them a free PDF book upon signing up to your newsletter. More than likely, they'll read the freebie, and head over to actually purchase your other books.
Entice them even more. Have a page where readers / reviewers have left excellent comments about either you as an author, or a book in particular.
7) Book Trailers Page:
A professional book trailer to advertise one of your publications is an excellent way to allure a potential reader.
8) Pop-up Promotion of Newsletter or Sale:
As they click on to your site, set it up so that after a minute or so, a pop-up brings to their attention, either your newsletter (with a freebie) or your latest release (which may be on sale - influencing a purchase!)
Search. Engine. Optimisation. Go to the settings of your site, and each individual page, and add tags to the site and each page. By doing this, you'll make your site more discoverable by engines searches. Thus increasing your potential for higher book sales.
There you have it. Utilize that website of yours!
Besides marketing campaigns and using promotional services, there are some secret ways to promote your book. Caution: use in moderation!
1) We all have Twitter right? Well if you are an author you should have! Plenty of readers on there. But also there is something known as FollowFriday (#FF). Where a post on Friday can have many people tagged in the conversation and it is socially acceptable. You can choose a link to your blog, an interview, book promo, and tag potentially interested people. TIP: Don't always have links to your books because word will spread and soon people who you tag won't even bother favouriting or retweeting. They won't even click on the link. When it comes to content on Twitter, share a wide range of material. From quotes, news, inspiration, images, personal details, hobbies and other author's books. Don't always self-promote, it gets old fast!
2) There is a similar thing that can be done with Google+. When you share a blog post you can tag as many communities or people as you please (but again, don't overdo it).
3) Also I have found that subtly discussing your book on your personal social networking accounts (Facebook, Twitter etc) can be rather effective. But you have to say something about the themes, something comical or that you are happy the first draft is almost complete. Or when it's published, say something personal, entertaining or humorous about the book.
4) Locating where your readers are mostly likely to hang out online and socialize with them. Don't blatantly self-promote, build a relationship so they trust that you write quality material. Even suggest your blog where they can read samples from your work or free short stories (ONLY IF THE OPPORTUNITY ARISES!)
5) Use free short stories. Promote short stories with the intended purpose of giving readers in your genre a free read. But place ads on the blog or site where the story is available, as to advertise your work. And if they enjoy the story, chances are they will buy at least one of your books for the right price.
6) This is one you've no doubt heard a lot, but have more than one book available! If you haven't published any books yet I would wait until you've written at least three. Then when they buy and finish one they can buy another from you. In the meantime you can be churning out a fourth and fifth. If not they will move onto another author and probably forget you even exist.
So, you can't afford an editor? are you going it alone? Or you want to make your editor's job easier? As an editor myself, here are my suggestions.
1) Font and structure:
It is important that you choose a readable font for your readers (and / or editor, proofreader, betareader).
Equally important, don't forget those pesky paragraphs. Basically, if something changes, start a new paragraph! Nobody likes huge chunks of text, even the most dedicated bookworms among us.
2) Overused words:
We all have them. All authors have a word or two that they know they use far too often. This is okay, if they are aware of this. They can add it to the list of things to look out for when going through the editing stages. Not sure what your words are? Ask a friend, family member, or better yet, fellow author, to read your manuscript! Tip: you can search for words in Word to see how many times you used them. Commonly overused words are: very, great, good, bad, that, had, was.
Your book opens with a flashback. A blue car crashes, killing the protagonist's husband.
Later in the story, the man thinks of his late husband, and how he died in their red car. Wait, what?
You must know your story inside and out. If there is anything you think could mess you up and cause an inconsistency, make a note of it as you a) write the story, and b) edit the story
4) Flow and pace:
You want to be in complete control of the book's flow and pace. So, the story should flow evenly. Depending on your genre, you should mix normal but interesting scenes with mind-blowing / scary / tense / thrilling scenes.
The pace should be different in each type of scene. Long sentences for a slower, calmer, perhaps character-building or significant moment, and short sentences for a tense, exciting, unnerving, on-edge part.
this is so simple, but most of my clients are guilty of missing words that should have an apostrophe:
- isnt / isn't
- havent / haven't
Another little tip, check you are using the following words in the right context:
- where, were, we're
- they, there, they're, their
- was, were
I hope these editing tips are helpful. For more marketing and writing tips, check out our author blog:
If you are really struggling with marketing and want sales & author recognition. Check out our thriving service that has created many bestselling books!
Or if you are in need of an editor, but can't afford the high prices, we have affordable, professional editing from $100 - $650. Dependent on the level of editing required, and the length of your manuscript. Take a look: