Tips for Online Marketing and Building Your Author Platform

My best advice is to get a quick medical check-up before you publish that book.  Exercise, eat healthy and take your vitamins.  WHY? Because you will need every ounce of strength and energy to put you book in reader’s hands.  Let me tell you, writing that darned book is the easy part.  I’ll take rewrites over bookstore research any day. 

Bottom line: you have to get out there and blow your own trumpet, or find others to blow it for you.  Even if relatives think your writing career is a big yawn, the reading public LOVES to meet authors.  If you come to them they WILL buy – think Field of Dreams!  This is why you have to gird your loins (don’t wear tight pants) and march into the panting hordes, waving your book in the air, pen ready to offer autographed copies.

Shy writers take note.  You and your book are a package deal.  You need to sell yourself and your book.  Make your name synonymous with writing books for kids. This is called branding.

The secret of promotion is finding free ways to KEEP your name + the title of your book, in the reading public’s eye.  Regular Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc is a huge help.  Just mention something about your book at least once a day, along with your other comments. Promote other authors and they will return the favor. Try for posts that HOOK reader interest. Add book covers whenever possible, along with other pics you fancy.  And ALWAYS end with a signature that sells YOU and your book

The easiest and cheapest thing to do is design a short and sweet signature.

Current Book title
Link to your blog
Put this under everything you write – e-mails, letters, documents, bills you send out – whatever!  When people see it enough times they begin to take notice. 

Going online and finding where home-schooling moms, teachers, and librarians hang out is a profitable plan.  Get to know the teachers and librarians in your school district.  Offer to do a writing class ( a chance to sneak in your latest book), and you never know – they might pay you.  Even if you don’t get paid, you will have fun, and have a chnce to meet all those future readers of YOUR books.  This applies to libraries as well.  Ask your local library if they would like in-person visits by you – readings, writing chats, or impromptu writing sessions.  These are all great ways to BRAND yourself as an author of books for kids.

Some writers are going all techno crazy, and where possible, they visit far-away places, schools particularly, using Skype and its onboard camera.  Technology now allows us to promote our books, writing talents or whatever else we do, via our computer – YEA!!  No long car trips to get there, or strip searches at airports.  Double YEA!  Authors who live in more isolated locations should snap up this technology and run with it.  I am one of the many small county authors, and I am working on the Skype way of widening my field of promotional opportunities right now.

Things you MUST become proficient at:

* Asking established writers for promo advice.  Let it be known far-and-wide that you are
   looking for book reviewers, and are willing to help those who help you.
* Writing an interesting blog with frequent updates.  Fun, catchy headers work best.
* The art of writing a catchy and simple Press Release.
* Compiling lists of reviewers, newspapers, radio stations, bookstores, school districts, and any
   other organizations that might be interested in a book signing, talk, interview or promotion.
* Embracing Facebook and Twitter.  Get with the apps they offer and use them to promote you
   and your book.  Linkedin and JacketFlap are two other sites that might prove helpful.
   However, be selective.  Join groups and lists that relate to your writing goals and your books.
* Promoting and helping out other writers. They will return the favor.
* Joining online Lists and Blogs that might have an interest in the topic your book covers.   
   Finding a good niche market is not to be sneezed at.
* Designing an appealing Logo and offeing it to everyone.

There are lots more ways to promote your book, but I think this will do to get you started..


Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant who writes midgrade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. Margot didn't begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot said, "I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes!"

Her first books, a 7x book rhyming series, "Wild and Wonderful," offers fun facts about animals from the US and Australia. Educational and fun, eBooks can be read on a computer, laptop, or various color e-Readers. They are great for classroom or home schooling moms.


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Aim for Writing Success

Writing success can mean different things to different writers. Some writers may simply want to get a book or article published; others may want to be on the New York Times Best Sellers List; still others may want to make a living writing; and there are those who may be seeking wealth and fame. The key here is to dig down and really know what your perception of writing success is.

Once you are certain what you are aiming for, take the necessary steps to become the writing success you dream of. Sounds easy, right? Well, we all know it’s not, if it were, there would be no struggling writers.

The first problem we seem to run into is actually realizing how we perceive success, or what we want from our writing efforts. According to Jack Canfield, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul, the number one reason for being stuck and not realizing your potential or goals is the lack of clarity.

Step One: You Must Define Your Goals and Your Perception of Success

It’s not sufficient to state you want to be a published writer; you need to proclaim the specifics. You want to be a self-help nonfiction author of published books and magazine articles earning an income of $100,000 per year. You can even get much more specific than that—the more specific your goals and intentions are the more likely you will attain them.

Step Two: Prepare a Plan

When you finally have a break through and know exactly what you want from your writing efforts, you need to prepare a detailed plan. Your plan, just like your goals, needs to be very specific. Think of a recipe: You plan on baking a cake, but you’ll need more than just the ingredients, you’ll need the exact amount of each ingredient, the proper procedure for mixing them together, the baking temperature, how long to bake it, how long to cool it before removing it from the pan . . . you get the idea.

Now you’re on your way . . . you have specific goals . . . a detailed plan . . . but . . . you’re still not achieving success.

Step Three: Take Action

Think of the first two steps as the foundation of your house. To move forward toward success, you need to build the house. This takes action; it actually takes more than just action, it takes ongoing action and perseverance to carry you through to completion.

Step Four: Projection

You have the other steps down pat, now picture yourself attaining your goals. According to motivational speakers, you will have a much greater chance of making it happen by projecting success. This step encompasses a number of strategies such as envisioning, projection, projection boards, and affirmations.

Take aim . . . shoot.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. You can find out more about writing for children and her services at: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children.

Check out the DIY Page and don’t forget to sign up for The Writing World Newsletter - it has great monthly writing and book marketing tips and it's FREE.

And, get a copy of Walking Through Walls (a middle-grade fantasy adventure set in 16th century China). Honored with the Children’s Literary Classics Silver Award.


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Writing Elements Mix – Is There a Right Balance?

Writing can be thought of as a recipe, a handful of plot, a quarter cup of setting, a third to a half cup of dialogue, and a half cup of action and forward movement. Then you also need to add just the right amount of theme, character, and style. Stir it all together and bake for several months (might be longer, depending on your oven), and that’s it.

Ah, if it were only that simple.

Today, there are a number of rules to writing that didn’t plague writers years ago when the world was slower and people actually had time to sit and read at a leisurely pace. Writers had the luxury of setting scenes in detail and didn’t have to worry about ‘telling’ too much.

Now, publishers want your story to begin with a BAM. Grab the reader right away, or you’ll lose her. And, it’s important that setting and telling are limited. In addition, don’t forget to magically weave backstory for your characters seamlessly into the mix.

So, what is the right balance of writing elements that will create a successful story?

Well, there really isn’t a pat formula. Each story will call for its own particular amounts of elements, and each publisher will have her own set of rules that the author must adhere to. But there are certain basics that all stories must contain.

The five basic elements of a story are:

Plot: The arrangement of circumstances and/or events in the story, including conflicts and resolution.

Character: Without the main character and supporting characters the plot is useless. It is the character’s struggle to overcome the conflicts or obstacles in his path that gives the plot life.

Setting: This element includes the physical backdrop of the story, the time period and location.

Atmosphere or Tone: The mood, including the setting, characters and their clothing, weather, and other elements within the story, determines the tone of the story.

Style: The author’s way of expressing herself is the style. Sentence structure, diction, choice of words, point of view, imagery, and symbols are all means of conveying a story that is unique to the author.

In regard to the amounts or balance of each element, the objective is to create a story that continually moves forward toward a satisfying conclusion while holding the reader’s attention. You can have a plot driven story, or a character driven story, you can also have a story with a lot of dialogue, but you need to be sure the story is focused, coherent, and engaging.

Often, as you self-edit your own work, you won’t be able to see if the elements are just right; you should have it critiqued and have an editor take a look at it to see if you’re on the mark. And, then after all that, it will be up to the publisher’s editor to give the final say on whether you have just the right balance of writing elements for a successful story.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children's author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. You can find out more about writing for children and her services at: Karen Cioffi Writing for Children.

Check out the DIY Page and don’t forget to sign up for The Writing World Newsletter - it has great monthly writing and book marketing tips and it's FREE.

Get your copy of Walking Though Walls (a middle-grade fantasy adventure set in 16th century China).


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Marketing Matters-World of Ink Author Spotlight: VS Grenier

Marketing Matters with VS Grenier

When I first got the go on my picture book, Babysitting SugarPaw being published, I started my email blasts. I had press releases sent out, I posted on all my social sites, talked about it in SFC Newsletter for Writers, did radio interviews, etc. I wanted to build the hype about my book before it even became available. Once it did, I did not stop my marketing campaign. In fact, I stepped it up a notch once it came out.

My publisher sent an email blast about my picture book to their contact list with the cover art, my photo, a blurb on the book. I had them send me a copy of the blast so I could do the same with my contact list. I also had post cards made up of the blast to send out. I sent them to every school, library, preschool, daycare, children’s store, doctors, dentist, and bookstore I could think of or find in my phonebook. I did give-a-ways. I had free coloring pages available on my site. I did contest. I sent copies to blog review sites. You name it . . . I pretty much did it and I was not even done yet with the ideas I was coming up with either.

Things changed however and my marketing plans fell flat. Time passed and I thought I missed the boat on getting the word out about my book. It's been two years since my book, Babysitting SugarPaw was first printed. I've sold a few hundred copies, but now I'm back with a new marketing plan as my book is getting ready to be releases as an eBook!

Just because a book campaign did not go the way you would like does not mean you should give up on your book. It just means you need to rethink, redo, or adjust it. In my case, it means do all the things now I could not do before.

Books can only do so much on their own. A great book cover and blurb will help if someone picks it up at the store, but it is the author who really makes the sales happen. A long time ago, publishers used to put effort into marketing new releases. Now they focus on their best-selling authors. But if you want to be a best-selling author, you are going to have to work at it because no one is going to do it for you. If you want to see thousands of your books selling, you are going to have to work at marketing your book and building your name.

If you really think about it, why do you know the names of Hollywood Star, Singers, Book Authors, or any celebrity for that matter? It’s all about the marketing.

VS Grenier is an award-winning children’s author, founder & owner of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC., award-winning editor-in-chief of Stories for Children Magazine and chief editor for Halo Publishing, Int.; in addition, to running her own editorial and critique services.  

Her picture book "Babysitting SugarPaw" has received high ranking reviews from mommy bloggers, book reviewers and children's caregivers. "The perfect book for children who will have their first babysitter soon and also for someone who is going to be a babysitter for the first time."

"Babysitting Sugarpaw, written by award winning author Virginia Grenier,and illustrated by Kevin Collier is a must buy for children. This book will satisfy adults, as it brings back memories, and for children who love to laugh." ~American Chronicle

HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW ~ "Anyone who has ever done babysitting will be able to empathize with Bonnie and her plight. For that matter, so will anyone who has ever been babysat! Author V. S. Grenier has created a tender, heartwarming story that children will enjoy having read to them and that parents will enjoy reading to them."


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