You wrote a book! …now what?!

Every 12 seconds, a new book is published (and 80% of statistics are made up on the spot). To be slightly outdated, but more accurate, in 2012 Bowker reported that there were 3,500 books published every day in the USA alone, and this figure doesn’t even include e-books. (I don’t math, so feel free to calculate the per-second volume in your own time!) Simply put: There is a ton of competition in the book marketplace. How can a new writer stand out with all this noise?

 

Is she your audience?

Is she your audience?

1) Define your audience. And no, your audience isn’t everyone from age zero-65, male & female. Get Stats Canada up in here and define your audience avatar: age, occupation, likes, dislikes, income, reading habits, preferred reading format (blogs, e-books, zines, print books). If you haven’t nailed your audience down this specifically, then your book will be, at best, a teardrop in the ocean. Everyone does NOT want to read your book – but someone does, so figure out who that someone is and go after them with a targeted approach: your marketing plan.

2) Get all Benjamin Franklin up in here! Old men (and women!) are always saying wise things like, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Your marketing plan should include pre-publication, launch, and post-publication activities. (If you just said, “Pffft! Marketing plan?! I don’t need no stinkin’ marketing plan!”, please take a moment to envision yourself taking all the money you spent on the creation of your book, putting it in a pile, and lighting it on fire.) Continue reading

Are you taking yourself seriously as a writer?

Remember: whether you’re writing fiction, creative non-fiction, graphic novels or a research paper on the mating habits of termites in Madagascar… (wait, whaaaaaat?!) there are some rules of the road that apply to everyone.  Today’s post comes from the co-founder of an exciting new literary venture out of Toronto, Nicole Brewer – hold onto your hats, check out her site, and when you’re done – get busy being a writer!


words(on)pages
is an organization created by emerging artists for emerging artists, so that we can help writers and poets find the validation and acknowledgement that every budding writer needs to keep going. We want to give writers the opportunity to showcase their work online, in print, and in front of an audience, so that they can value themselves as much as we do. Often, the most difficult part of being an emerging writer is getting yourself noticed, so words(on)pages wants to give you a few pointers on what you can do to help get yourself out there. We may not be experts (this is an art, not a science!) but it’s been working for us.

Take yourself seriously. If you don’t take yourself and your craft seriously, why should anybody else? Write like it’s your job. Write every day, regardless of inspiration or lack thereof. Writing isn’t just about writing, it’s about honing your craft, and that means rereading and editing anything you’ve already written. Don’t say you “want to be a writer,” say you are a writer, and participate fully in that vocation. Realize that a great deal of what you write will never see the light of day, and that’s okay. It’s practice, it’s improvement, it’s proving yourself. You don’t need to pump out War and Peace every single day, just write another paragraph of your novel, another verse for your poem, another entry in your journal. If you can’t write, edit. Still, you’re only human, so don’t beat yourself up for the days life gets in the way. Even the most successful writers need to have a day job.

dog 2Read. Read everything. Don’t dismiss anything because of its reputation, good or bad—don’t feel like you should hate a book because it’s commercial, don’t feel like you should love it because it won the GG. Read critically and feel confident in your literary opinions, but don’t let those opinions define what you read. As someone trying to find a place in CanLit, you need to know exactly what CanLit publishers have been doing. On those days when you’re having a hard time finding inspiration, your library should be the place you look for it—you won’t get better as a writer if you aren’t conscious of what came before you. Don’t be afraid to embrace different voices while you’re trying to find your own: there’s nothing wrong with paying homage, just don’t be a rip-off artist.  Continue reading

Your Next Presentation: The Art & Science of Effective Intros and Exits

Let’s pretend you’re an expert on aviation safety. Your brain is an encyclopedia of statistics on the subject, and you are delivering the keynote speech at the 2014 Symposium of World Transportation Authorities.

They’ll be asleep before you know it!

You start with the perfunctory thank yous: “Thanks for that introduction, Alan. I’d like to thank you all for being here today…” move onto the preamble (“Historically, commercial airlines…”) and then carry on with a segue (“I was thinking the other day…”)

BEWARE!

These are powerful sedatives. They lull your audience and dull the impact you’re going to make with that amazing thing you’re going to say once you’ve finished with the front matter (save the thank yous for the end!), the prologue (those belong in books!) and the lead in (GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!).

For a more arresting kickoff to your presentation, consider cutting out the lead-up to your interesting statistic, analogy, or anecdote, and go for the jugular:

Fact: 43% of pilots admit to falling asleep during flight. 33% of them report waking up to find their co-pilots have fallen asleep as well.** Continue reading

FreshVoice’s Great Content Map: Part 3: Text Signposts

In the third post in our series based on Indie’s Great Content Map, we focus on the ways in which you can help your content seekers stay on course as they progress through your blog post.

In Part 1, we presented the concept of the map, and in Part 2,  Be the Captain, we discussed ways to brand your content so your travelers know who’s at the helm.

Once readers know who’s manning the ship, there are some key tools you can use as text signposts to get them and keep them on the path and eager for their next steps. Let’s look at three of the most common and examine why they work so well.

Continue reading