If you are just starting out or contemplating writing a book – here are some tips I learned along the way.
When I first started out as an author over three years ago I had no idea what to do with social media. I spoke with my talented artist friend, Ara Atkinson-Skinner, who I met while on vacation in Aruba and she coached me, a fledgling writer who had dreams of becoming a successful author one day. Boy, did I have some surprises coming and a rude awakening! I remembered becoming so excited and yet anxious anticipating what I needed to put into practice. Ara was a godsend to me and helped me get started on my journey to become an author. I can’t thank her enough. She gave me the tools and the confidence to believe in myself so that I could begin my journey. I didn’t know how much work I had ahead at that time but have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!
Beginning the whole process of getting oneself out there is not an easy task, I soon realized. Just so you understand, I am not an expert at anything but certainly learn from my mistakes, again and again and again! Lol! I don’t want to discourage any newbie authors but you must love what you do – write – in order to want to succeed with all your heart. We won’t all become famous like JK Rowling but we will have a grand time trying! Never give up and keep positive and believe in yourself!
Here are my friend’s suggestions with my take in parentheses:
Start a blog on wordpress.com – easy to do (easier after three years but not at first when I was still unskilled, am still learning after three years, with some tutorials from Chris Graham, thank you, Chris! My blog is Jemsbooks.wordpress.com where I love to support fellow authors. If you want to be supported check it out and drop me a line.)
Set up a Facebook Page or Pages (not too bad to do but lots of work keeping the pages relevant. Be careful who you follow. There are some strange people out there. I know I have met some of them by clicking too many follows. Lol! I find I can reach more of my target audience here though on my main page. I have three pages, one main page for sharing everyone’s work, one for my children’s books and one for my novels. FB offers numerous free promotion sites to join that are open to all authors.)
Set up a Twitter account (easy enough but you must tweet a few times a week or once a day to keep yourself out there. Too many tweets though could make you obnoxious?)
Sign up for Goodreads (Love this site – keeps all my books listed and the ones I read and review in one place. I sign up fir the Reading Challenge each year to set a goal of how many books I plan to read. This year I set it at 125 books. The past two years I surpassed my goals and read 138 and 125. Also, I enjoy doing giveaways here that are simple to do and help get my books out to more readers and hopefully receive reviews. You meet other authors, readers and some follow you and recommend books. Amazon now owns this site.)
All these sites are necessary for authors and are helpful in getting oneself discovered? Well, let’s say they get your name out there but discovered is not quite the word. But who knows maybe you will become the next JK Rowling. I have found that I have been fortunate to meet some lovely people out in cyber land. Most of them are fellow authors, illustrators and musicians. I feel blessed to call them friends who have become ardent followers and supporters of my work and I reciprocate their friendship and support.
Besides these basic five sites there are many more to choose from. Here are some more:
6. LinkedIn – used mostly for job searches but can be helpful to getting one’s work out there too. There are groups in LI that provide helpful info to authors.
7. Google+ – another place to promote oneself, but I haven’t found it that helpful and only post occasionally here.
8. Pinterest – site where you can pin things to boards that you create and follow others’ boards and they can in turn follow yours. I find it time consuming and not that helpful.
9. ColdCoffeeCafe.com free promotion site where you can list your books, get book reviews and meet and greet fellow authors. Theodocia runs this site and is always extremely helpful if you have any questions or want more promotion. I did a promotion through her and was pleased.
10. Google free promotion sites for authors’ books and you will find sites like these:
indiediaries created by Chris Tucker, an author and blogger. I use this site.
All these others I plan on looking at more closely but there are many more. I used to use Shelfari, owned by Amazon, similar to Goodreads, but it is now closing.
And here is my blog where I support fellow authors:
Of course you already know Chris Graham aka thestoryreadingapeblog.com is one of the top sites to visit if you are an author and want some help. He has an unlimited amount of valuable resources for authors.
Another wonderful place to find support is through by dear and lovely friend, Sally G. Cronin’s blog. Sally unselfishly posts your books and runs promotions regularly for new authors and seasoned ones as well when newly published books come out. Hope onto her band wagon!
After you have signed up on these sites you must have something to promote – books. Now get down to working on your story. Once you have your story completed find beta readers that you can trust, a copy editor (I offer this service on my website), proofreaders, and anyone who can help you make your book the best it can be.
If you can find an agent/publisher, congratulations, for they will do the work of promoting your book. If not, then you can go by the Indie publishing route through Create Space for print on demand, and ebook (Kindle) through Amazon. Promotion will become a daily necessity for you on one or more of the social sites. There are other book publishing platforms out there but these are the ones I chose to use and they have worked well for me.
Following others’ blogs is another way to help spread the word about your books. Visit blogs that interest you and like, comment, follow, and share their posts. These bloggers will notice your presence and do in kind on your blog.
Offer to interview other authors on your blog. This will not only get more exposure for your interviewee but also for you. Guest posts work the same way. Fellow authors will offer to host you on their blogs to express their gratitude. One hand helps the other and all reap the benefits. Everyone is happy and you just may find some readers and followers of your books in the process. You will find some like-minded people who may become your friends and support and help you along on your journey as I have.
Remember no one can do it alone. There are always others that have helped you along the way by purchasing your book, reviewing, spreading the word about it or just supporting your online sites. Be kind to others and help those who are just starting out by offering them helpful words of advice.
I hope this has been helpful to you. If you want to contact me about an interview or guest post on my blog, or for copy editing service, go to my blog, or by email with Interview or Guest Post in Subject Line. I receive nearly a thousand emails in a week and I do not want to miss yours.
Thank you, Chris, for having me on your incredible blog and for your kind support.
Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina is an award-winning author with ten books, seven of these are children’s books, two are middle-grade books, and one a novel written under J.E. Spina. All her children’s books carry life lessons and are written in rhyme.
She has been writing since nine years old, starting with poetry, and plans to continue writing poetry and stories for many years to come. Writing is her first love but singing is a close second. She sings whenever anyone allows her to, but mostly in her car, while in the shower and washing dishes. She was once a member of the Profile Chorus which is part of the Sweet Adoline’s International Chorus.
Janice also loves to crochet amigarumis (stuffed animals) and other pieces for her grandchildren and nieces and nephews when she is not in the middle of a book. Her other joys in life are spending time with her husband, John, grandchildren (5 in all), walking for exercise, going to the movies and traveling.
She is working on her second novel which will be coming out within the next month or two. Janice plans to write two more books for her Davey and Derek Junior Detectives Series in 2016. Her husband, John, who is her illustrator, is working on two new children’s books which will be published over the next six months.
Their joint goal is to encourage children of all ages to read. Janice’s motto is Reading Gives You Wings to Fly! Her logo is Jemsbooks for all ages!
Janice loves to hear from readers, fans and fellow authors.
Janice’s books can be purchased here:
Trailer for J.E. Spina’s novel ‘Hunting Mariah’ created by Chris Graham: