Category Archives: Marketing And Promotion

4 (Almost) Effortless Ways For Writers To Meet Their Fans | Web Design Relief

Writing may be a solitary experience, but it’s important to your success as a writer that, at some point, you connect with your readers. While it’s always nice to meet your fans in person at readings, book signings, or conferences, the Internet experts at Web Design Relief know it’s easier than ever to interact with your readers online. And best of all, with just a few clicks, you can answer questions, talk about your writing, and schmooze—all while sitting in your favorite chair and wearing your fuzzy slippers!

Easy, Almost Effortless Ways For Writers To Connect With Fans Online

Create A Facebook Group. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Social media is vital for promoting yourself and your writing. By creating a Facebook group dedicated to you and your writing, you provide a forum for fans who want to talk about your work and follow your progress. A Group can be open (visible to everyone) or private (visible to members only). For ideas, check out the Stephen King: Constant Reader Fan Club or Midnight, Texas Fans, dedicated to novels written by Charlaine Harris.

Hold A Live Streaming Event. You can also host live streaming chats on Facebook and interact with your fans in real time. And it’s easier than you might think—you can even use your cell phone camera! Your followers will receive a notification of when you’re going live so they can tune in and meet you “in person.” It’s a great way to announce the cover art selection for your new book, the publication of your latest poetry or short story in a literary journal, or your upcoming book signing or presentation.

Open A Book Club On Goodreads. Goodreads is the original online mecca for book nerds: Forums, yearly reading trackers, and book clubs galore can be found in this corner of the Internet. You can create a fan club to discuss your favorite books—including your own! Take a look at Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf or author Colleen Houck’s Book Club for ideas. Be sure to link your author website and social media to your book club page so that new fans can follow all your online author platforms.

Start A Group Chat On Twitter. You can also create a group on Twitter that will allow you to Direct Message the group and have conversations with members. It’s a great way to develop a stronger relationship with your readers and to quickly and easily share updates about your writing. Groups can be public or private—but who wouldn’t want to belong to a secret fan club?

 

QUESTION: What online forums or groups do you belong to? Tell us in the comment section!

How NaNoWriMo Can Boost Your Writing Career In Just 30 Days | Web Design Relief

One of the most highly anticipated racing events of the year happens in November: The New York City Marathon. And for some authors, the high point of the year also happens in November, when writers line up on November 1 to begin the 50,000-word National Novel Writing Month marathon, hoping to reach the finish line on November 30.

Could participating in a November writing challenge boost your writing career? At Web Design Relief, we think it might be worth a try!

Meet National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo)

In 1999, twenty-one people participated in the National Novel Writing Month challenge. By 2017, NaNoWriMo had close to 400,000 participants—including over 70,000 K-12 students—start a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. And 34,000 people (roughly 12 percent) were reported to have completed the challenge—which says a lot about just how hard NaNoWriMo writers have to work to meet the steep word-count goal of approximately 1,667 words per day.

In a statement from NaNoWriMo’s executive director, writers who participate in the novel writing challenge are nothing less than superheroes:

NaNoWriMo ignites people’s superheroic creative powers every year by empowering them to write their stories. It takes courage, grit, resilience—and wild imaginative leaps—to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Our stories save us from villainous forces that we encounter every day. Our stories determine the future of our world,” says Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo.

Think you don’t fit the profile of a typical NaNoWriMo participant? Fear not. A group of renegade writers under the National Novel Writing Month umbrella has created a kind of rogue subgroup called NaNo Rebels. Although these writers don’t specifically follow the NaNoWriMo guideline of writing a 50,000-word novel in thirty days, they are still able to enjoy the benefits of participation. NaNo Rebels are working on screenplays, short story collections, and experimental works; they are setting their own personal alternative word-count goals; they are working with a writing partner—in short, they are writers who still want all the perks of NaNoWriMo even though their project falls outside the NaNoWriMo perimeter.

And the rebels are not treated like second-class citizens during National Novel Writing Month; organizers embrace flexible participation.

That said, if you would prefer to participate in a writing challenge that more closely aligns with your own interests, you do have alternative options. Here are a few word-count-driven writing challenges for writers who don’t feel like they are a good fit for National Novel Writing Month.

Still not convinced that you might be a good candidate for National Novel Writing Month?

Although there are people in this world who reject the National Novel Writing Month philosophy as well as a whole bunch of misconceptions about the challenge, you may find that there are plenty of great reasons to participate.

28 Reasons Why National Novel Writing Month Might Be The Adrenaline Boost Your Writing Career Needs

It’s really fun to participate. Enthusiasm is contagious. And when you are rubbing elbows with writers who are as excited about their projects as you are about yours, good energy multiplies exponentially. Tap into it by joining the NaNoWriMo party!

Get great deals on writer software and gear. National Novel Writing Month sponsors offer seriously incredible discounts on products writers love.

You might overcome the fear of trying new things. Let’s let Twyla Tharp, famous choreographer and author of the book The Creative Habit, explain it: “No one starts a creative endeavor without a certain amount of fear; the key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you’ve begun.” Start by setting yourself up for NaNoWriMo success.

NaNoWriMo can establish an intensive new writing routine for you—one that might last even after your November creative writing marathon is over. Participating in NaNoWriMo means sitting down to write regularly, and you may even find yourself missing it after it’s over. Habits that you established during the challenge could extend long after November has passed.

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.—Twyla Tharp

Your creativity will improve. You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again: Creativity is like a muscle. You use it or you lose it! And the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

And NaNoWriMo can also inspire creativity through the pressure of a deadline. Habits can improve creativity. But so can a deadline. There’s something extraordinarily exciting about racing to a finish line that can fire up a writer’s imagination. In fact, many professional writers confess that they actually like having deadlines.

The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.—Nolan Bushnell

Preexisting “bad” writing habits will be eliminated. We all have our bad habits as writers. But when you’re on a deadline to write 50,000 words in one month, there’s no wiggle room for habits that are anything less than 100 percent productive. Learn some National Novel Writing Month survival strategies that can help you power through.

You’ll be empowered to recognize and throw out excuses. It’s natural to make excuses when facing something difficult. Or when it’s time to put your butt in the chair and write, but you just don’t feel like it. When you’re serious about reaching a deadline goal, excuses must fall by the wayside.

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.—Winston Churchill

You’ll be meeting the daily word count threshold of top-selling authors. Some surveys have suggested that contemporary top-selling authors write about 2,000 words a day. When you participate in National Novel Writing Month, you launch your writing habits into the realms of the best-selling professional authors.

Best advice on writing I’ve ever received: Finish.—Peter Mayle

It’s a good way to learn how to create a dedicated writing schedule. Many writers feel like there’s never enough time to write. With NaNo, there’s no excuse. Participants must figure out how to budget their writing time. If necessary, they actively create time to write, as opposed to waiting to fit it into their schedules.

Some authors’ method for creative writing is rather helter-skelter: writing time is nothing more than the minutes or hours they are able to squeeze out between other obligations. But that method probably isn’t going to work for NaNoWriMo. If you participate, you will have to learn the skill of planning out dedicated writing time—and sticking with it.

Writer’s block is crushed. Many writers swear that when they don’t feel like writing, and they’re not especially inspired—the solution is to write anyway.

You’ll connect with new writer friends. After you create your National Novel Writing Month profile, you’ll be able to connect with other writers who are participating in the challenge. You may also be able to find live local events or real-time online chats. Writers can share ideas, cheer one another on, commiserate, and offer strategic publishing industry business tips by sharing their own experiences. Here’s some National Novel Writing Month advice from participants.

There are pep talks and other motivational texts. Writers who participate in National Novel Writing Month often read pep talks in order to keep motivated and on track. Some pep talks are officially commissioned by the event’s organizers, but others are shared by rank-and-file participants.

You could connect with a writing mentor. NaNo organizers are now giving participants the opportunity for one-on-one mentorship with established authors. That said, you may uncover a lasting relationship with a writing partner or future writing mentor simply by participating and networking on your own.

Now you have a legitimate excuse: “Sorry, I can’t, I have to write.” Is there anything more delicious in the world than uttering those words? Participating in National Novel Writing Month could be the excuse you need to turn down all duties and obligations—at least those that are not strictly necessary.

The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.—Anne Enright

You’ll discover what kind of writer you are/are not. If you love the challenge of participating in National Novel Writing Month and you feel that you thrive on the tight deadline, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to do to improve your writing process once the month is over. But if jumping into NaNo leaves you feeling depleted and uninspired, then you’ll know you need to set a slower pace.

At the end of the month, you may have a viable draft manuscript. When NaNoWriMo is completed, you may actually have the beginnings of a book. If it’s your first book, it may be that National Novel Writing Month helps to lay the cornerstone of your future writing career. Of course, there is some possibility you will decide that your super-rush book was a valuable exercise in creativity—but nothing more. Here’s what to do when you’ve finished your NaNoWriMo manuscript.

You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.—Jodi Picoult

You will learn how to ignore distractions. Because you can’t be distracted—not when you’re trying to write 2,000+ words a day. With NaNoWriMo, you have to make every minute of your writing time count.

Neighbor kids screaming in the backyard? Write anyway. Your favorite show just came out with a new episode? Write anyway. Your back is hurting, your eyes want to close, you would rather be doing anything at all…write anyway.

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.—Benjamin Franklin

If you use an outline, you will discover the value of pre-established story structure. For some writers, learning how to work with an outline can lead to increased productivity and efficiency. Some writers create their outlines before National Novel Writing Month begins so that they can hit the ground running on November 1.

If you don’t use an outline, you’ll discover the benefits of being a “Pantser.” Pantsers are authors who write with an inexact idea of just how their story is going to unfold—flying (or writing) by the seat of their pants, with no predetermined plan. Trying to beat the clock may be the ultimate way to make the most of freewriting. When you are forced into a word-count deadline, you’ll learn what stories your brain will come up with and when to move on from focusing too long about what’s currently happening on the page.

NaNoWriMo HINT: Why not use National Novel Writing Month as an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try out a new method for storytelling? If you usually rely on an outline, use NaNoWriMo to attempt a freewriting experiment. And if you eschew outlines, why not try working with one? After all—it’s only for a month.

You’ll develop the ability to write more words, faster. If your words-per-hour ratio matters to you as a creative writer, nothing is going to force you to top speed faster than National Novel Writing Month. Learn more: The Need For Speed: How To Write Faster In Five Easy Steps.

No thinking; that comes later. You write your first draft with your heart.—Stephen King

You’ll separate writing from editing. For some writers the creative writing process is slowed down because they are actually trying to edit and write at the same time. Sky-high word-count goals mean that there is no time for combining left-brain editing with right-brain creativity. You might actually experience a sense of liberation when you are thinking less about writing and spending more time actually doing it.

NaNoWriMo can teach you to respect deadlines. If you’re hoping to be a professional writer in any capacity, you have to make peace with deadlines—even the really tight ones.

Your writing will get the attention it deserves—from you. Even if you are not yet a professional writer who is making money on book sales, establishing a mind-set of writerly professionalism is the number one hack for setting off on a long writing career.

Write your books. Finish them, then make them better. Find the way. No one will make this dream come true for you but you.—Laini Taylor

You could connect with a literary agent. Many literary agents keep a sharp eye on National Novel Writing Month. Here are just a few strong-selling books that came out of the November writing marathons. Also, here’s how to know when your NaNoWriMo book is ready for literary agent consideration. And here are some ways to celebrate and relax!

It proves you can do more than you ever thought possible. And it’s not just that you have some vague, foggy idea at the end of the November challenge that you might have accomplished something great. You’ll have hard, incontrovertible proof in the form of a finished first draft.

When you finish, you’ll probably have a surge of confidence. You’ll be able to say: I did it. You hit your word-count goals. You exerted an extraordinary, Herculean effort! The odds were against you, but you did it anyway. If nothing else, participating in a November writing challenge like NaNo is worth its weight in gold simply for the confidence boost.

NaNoWriMo writers get bragging rights. National Novel Writing Month participants get cool digital badges—not to mention accolades within their local writing groups. Plus, publishing industry insiders understand just how hard it is to actually complete the NaNoWriMo challenge: If you manage to be among the small percentage who finish, you position yourself as a person who can make good on an unbelievable deadline.

You’ll have a cool story to tell about your book’s genesis. Storytelling is powerful in the world of marketing and promotion. Having a great backstory—full of lots of obstacles and challenges—makes for excellent blogging when it comes time to start marketing your book later on.

Realistically—How Am I Going To Actually Meet The NaNoWriMo 50,000-Word Goal?

Thinking you want to participate in National Novel Writing Month but you have no idea how you could possibly manage such an extreme deadline?

Don’t worry: We’ve got just the thing you need!

Check out this definitive article: Writers: 11 Shortcuts To Help You Meet Your Deadline

Writer: Can you help?

Please share your National Novel Writing Month experience with our readers in the comment section of this blog post. Did you find it to be positive and empowering? Or unrealistic and enervating? Our readers would love to benefit from your experience!

How To Write Effective Facebook Ads To Promote Your Book | Web Design Relief

Back in the infancy of social media, when you posted on Facebook, the majority of your followers saw your posts. But then Facebook began applying algorithms to determine which of your posts your followers might be most interested in—and the average user’s reach plummeted. So even though you may have lots of fans following you on your Facebook author page, many are probably not seeing your posts. According to the social media experts at Web Design Relief, the best way to reach a wider audience on Facebook and to promote your book is to utilize Facebook ads.

Facebook ads are a great way to advertise your book online. But to create a successful ad campaign, you’re going to need to master skills that many creative writers typically don’t focus on—marketing techniques. This includes writing compelling ad copy and choosing enticing imagery. Here are a few ways you can create effective Facebook ads:

Talk Up Your Book

Many writers tend to be a bit introverted and not inclined to toot their own horns. However, if you want to boost your book sales, you’re going to have to put modesty aside and grab that megaphone! Try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential reader. Why would you choose this book? What are the most interesting aspects of the book that you would like to share without giving too much away? Why should someone read YOUR book and not one of the many others out there?

Brief Is Better

Your book is your baby, and like a proud parent, you might assume everyone is fascinated with every minute detail of your baby. And you may be tempted to get your dollars’ worth by overcompensating and writing a lot of descriptive text. But more is not necessarily better when it comes to ads on Facebook. In most cases, potential readers will be scrolling through their Facebook feeds and see your ad. Dense, lengthy paragraphs are likely to dissuade potential book buyers from reading your ad. You need to grab your readers’ attention and pique their interest—fast!

And be sure there’s a clear call to action. It can be as simple as: Buy your copy today!

Media Sells The Message

Videos and images help Facebook ads stand out and grab attention in the competition for your audience’s awareness. The most obvious image choice: your book’s cover art! After all, your book cover is your best point-of-purchase sales pitch. In bookstores, the cover plays a big part in getting people to walk over and pick up your book—yes, people do judge a book by its cover. It’s the same with ads on Facebook. You might also consider using artwork or video that suggests the themes and genre of your book.

Hit Your Target

Facebook ads allow for very specific targeted marketing, which is excellent for pinpointing the audience most likely to be interested in your book. It also eliminates wasted spending. For instance, if you write strange, supernatural tales, you can target your books to fans of Neil Gaiman or Stephen King. Gather a list of other books and authors similar to you and your book, and plug them into the interests section of Facebook’s audience targeting tool to promote your ad to the widest—and most likely to be interested—audience.

Advertising your book on Facebook can be an affordable way to reach a larger audience and boost sales. In addition to creating new ads using Facebook’s ad manager tool, you can spend as little as $10 to boost an existing post!

 

Question: Let us know about your experience with Facebook ads! Have you found success with them or are you going to steer clear?

Writers: How To Use Twitter Like A Best-Selling Author | Web Design Relief

With over 336 million monthly active users, Twitter is still one of the most popular social media platforms. For this reason, you’ll find many best-selling authors using Twitter to connect with their readers, including Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Jodi Picoult, Rick Riordan, Neil Gaiman, and many others. The social media experts at Web Design Relief… Continue Reading

11 Web Design Tips That Self-Published Authors Must Know | Web Design Relief

Cookie-cutter author website templates with little functionality might be cheap—but “cheap” is still a waste of money if your author website doesn’t actually grow your writing career. At Web Design Relief, we know that self-published authors need a website that acts as a hub of connectivity and works as a powerful sales driver. The Best… Continue Reading

Behind The Scenes: 10 Secret Tips For Creative Writers Who Blog | Web Design Relief

Creative writers who blog tend to drive more visitors to their author websites than those who don’t. But what are the secrets behind a successful blog? The experts at Web Design Relief offer ten insider tips for writers who blog! 10 Tips To Help Creative Writers Boost Their Blogs Post original content. While this may… Continue Reading


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