Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurus

black 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery ThesaurusWe first saw this clever idea of a color imagery thesaurus on GalleyCat and had to share. An idea that makes writing more visual (and fun) is always a useful tool. And with fall in the air, a chance to flex some creative muscles before the holiday sales crush begins…

Ingrid Sundberg, a writer and illustrator whose young adult novel All We Left Behind will be released this fall, has created a “color thesaurus.”

white 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurus

How many ways can you say b&w?

Sundberg posted the twelve images on her blog (shown tiny below – but visit her site for the cool full-sized versions!). She feels that employing this tool allows her to add specificity to her writing. Said Ingrid in her post revealing the images, “Making word lists can help to find the voice of my story, dig into the emotion of a scene, or create variety. Having a variety of color names at my fingertips helps me to create specificity in my writing. So for fun, I created this color thesaurus for your reference. Of course, there are plenty more color names  in the world, so, this is just to get you started.”

What other imagery guides might prove useful to your writing? Shapes (pointy, cragged, lopsided) or smells (a visit to a botanical shop might yield fun results you can match with photos)… Weigh in, tribe, and meanwhile, enjoy the view!

grey 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurustan 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurus

yellow 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurusorange 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurusred 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesauruspink 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesauruspurple 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurusblue 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurusgreen 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurusbrown 300x187 Writer Tip: Create Your Own Imagery Thesaurus

[Read more...]

Self Publishing Case Study #2: How many books should you be selling?

9 ways to increase book saes Self Publishing Case Study #2: How many books should you be selling?Thanks to book publicist Claire McKinney for this guest post!

I’ve been thinking about a client of mine who came to me with a lovely novel that he decided to self-publish.  In our initial conversations he expressed knowledge of how he knew this was a venture that might not yield a lot in the way of money, but for a man in his position it wasn’t a major concern.  In a few words, he had resources.

With the ability to pay for a well-conceived package for the book, an editor, a web designer, and of course a public relations and marketing team, he was off to a really good start. [Read more...]

Hot Book Buzz Tips for Authors

kindergarten Hot Book Buzz Tips for AuthorsLoving this article about wise book buzz from our friends at WiseInk Creative Publishing, a favorite go-to resource!

10 Things You Learned in Kindergarten That’ll Help You With Your Book

In 1988, American writer Robert Fulghum came out with a collection of essays entitled, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. One piece inside is a short, simple essay about—you guessed it—the important life lessons learned in kindergarten.

Many people strive to live these lessons, but have you ever thought about applying them to your life as an author?

Here are our top ten things we all learned in kindergarten that will make us all better authors and entrepreneurs: READ MORE

Five Ways to Use Goodreads to Your Best Author Advantage!

goodreads 304 300x197 Five Ways to Use Goodreads to Your Best Author Advantage!If you’re not yet using Goodreads, you’re missing a fabulous opportunity to connect with your readers and future readers. Here’s the LEAST you need to be doing as an author on Goodreads:

1. Claim Your Goodreads Author Profile

If you’re not sure where to begin, first head to www.goodreads.com/author/program. They’ll walk you through the process, which will require you to scroll to the bottom of your author profile page, click “Is this you? Let us know” to send a request. They’ll want a wee bit of info in the text box, such as, “I’m Doris Smith, the author of XYZ for Authors.”

It may take a day or two for Goodreads to confirm your author status. Once your author profile is confirmed…

2. Set up and edit your profile

  • Add a bio to tell readers about yourself (you can copy the bio right from your author website if it’s short and engaging!)
  • Upload an official author photo.
  • Add your Twitter username.
  • Import the blog from your author website (it will automatically post your most recent blog posts to Goodreads this way).
  • Ensure your book metadata is correct (ISBN, etc. If it’s not, e-mail support@goodreads.com).
  • Add your video book trailer.

3. Get to know your author dashboard

This is your home base for your entire author program needs—stats, widgets, giveaways, advertising, how-to pages, groups, and more. Check in on this weekly. Schedule a giveaway to drive awareness of your book (this will require sending a physical copy of the book to the winning entrant). The huge advantage of the giveaway is all the readers who will enter and list your book on their “Want to Read” status!

4. Enable “Ask the Author”

Take questions from readers by enabling the Ask the Author module on the dashboard. (Goodreads will start you out with some questions to answer such as “How do you deal with writer’s block?” and “What are you currently working on?” To get the most out of this Goodreads feature:

  1. Set Expectations. Edit your message to readers to set expectations. Once the “Ask the Author” tool is activated, you can edit this message to let people know how many and what kinds of questions you’ll be answering. For example, “I’ll answer one question a week!” or “Ask away, and I’ll do my best to answer when I can!” are some examples. The default is “Ask [author name] a question.”
  2. Tell your fans you’re answering questions. Use your Goodreads blog, a status update, or other social media channels to let readers know they can ask you a question on your author profile page.
  3. Answer interesting questions, and provide interesting answers. Give thoughtful responses to readers’ questions. Readers will be more likely share your answer if it conveys new or insightful information. There’s no advantage to brevity.
  4. Give yourself a break. Even if you only answer one question a day, you’ll delight your readers. Answering too many questions in one sitting will overload the newsfeed of your followers. Set a schedule to review and answer questions. We recommend answering 2-5 questions per day.
  5. It’s okay to skip questions you don’t want to answer. Questions are visible only to you until you share your answer. The person who asks the question will be notified via email if you answer and your response will go into the newsfeed of your followers.

5. Final Advice for a Great Goodreads Experience

  • Invite friends to join you on Goodreads. You can even use the import tool to find people you already know from Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, and more.
  • Talk about books (and not just your own!). Participate as a reader in groups and conversations that interest you.
  • Be gracious to your fans. Do not harass or spam them with repeated private messages.
  • Join groups that interest you and start connecting with readers. Be sure to join as a reader and not simply to talk about your book.

Keep it fun! And if you’d like to share your Goodreads Author page with our tribe now (and we can all make some new writing pals!) please include it in your comment below. For more info on Goodreads author benefits, visit www.goodreads.com/author/guidelines.

Here There Be Monsters

literary monsters 241x300 Here There Be MonstersOur thanks to author and media relations expert Christina Hamlett for this guest post and to freedigitalphotos.net for the scary monster… Talk about character development…

Like a lot of kids, I grew up thinking that monsters lived in my closet. I had no particular reason for believing this, nor did I ever ponder why they could be kept so easily at bay by a Tinkerbelle nightlight, an open bedroom door and a cadre of vigilant stuffed animals. Perhaps, though, I now credit my childhood angst for the adult rationale of keeping my walk-in closet stuffed with enough apparel that any monster dumb enough to get trapped inside would likely suffocate before he could inflict much harm.

Bogeyphobia (yes, that’s a real word) is a fearful state of mind that has probably been around since the dawn of mankind. They can arise from internal predispositions, exaggerated reactions to traumatic external events or just weary parents trying to keep their children in line with scary stories.

Fabricated “monsters” of any ilk share a common denominator of giving their intended victims a racing heart, rapid breathing, excessive sweating and uncontrollable shaking. Not only, you see, is it just the thought of impending death that causes them to quake with such dread but – thanks to Hollywood – the thought of meeting one’s demise in a particularly weird, painful and icky way.

By definition, a monster is a fictional creature that has sprung forth as a freak of nature or an experiment by man gone terribly wrong. Whether through hideous appearance, destructive actions or an amoral mindset, monsters serve just as much purpose in holding a mirror up to our own dark sides as they do in filling a proxy role for real-life sociopolitical threats.

In the 1950’s, for instance, movie themes involving invasions by outer space creatures were subliminal propaganda to remind us that Communists were malevolent bullies wanting to crush us. This was the same decade – fueled by post-atomic jitters – that begot plots in which unleashed radiation spawned giant ants, monster blobs and mutant crabs.

By the time we moved into the 80’s and 90’s, the public’s respective criticism of the American space program and the tweaking of DNA to produce clones like Dolly the sheep inspired fare such as the Alien and Jurassic Park film franchises as a graphic warning that persistent scientific curiosity could kill much more than just cats.

If you want to write horror stories that grip your readers’ imaginations, terrify their souls, and escalate pulse rates, there are some immutable laws of monster mashups they’ll expect you to observe. Specifically:

  • The monster is either in circumstances beyond its control or intellect (and, thus, courts empathy) or purposely threatens our existence because (1) we’re in its way, (2) we’ve awakened a curse, (3) we represent a plentiful food source or (4) we destroyed something it loved.
  • Monsters have a keen sense of smell, vision and/or hearing which always becomes more sharply honed as the story progresses and the pursued start to employ more cleverness in seeking out hiding places.
  • The one person who figures out something is dangerously amiss and tries to warn others that precautions must be taken is (1) always laughed at and thought to be a kook, (2) often tries to befriend the monster or at least see its point of view, (3) sometimes dies by misjudging the monster’s motives, or (4) has a love interest that needs to be rescued from the monster’s clutches.
  • To vanquish a rampaging monster, you must either employ the most high-tech gadgetry (that has presumably never been tested until now) or resort to something incredibly simple such as fire, water, mirrors, trip-wires, chasing it onto a glacier or throwing salt in its mouth. A reference to the method of destruction must be foreshadowed early in the plot (and probably by the same guy that everyone laughed at).
  • Sometimes the monster wins. (We just don’t always know it.)

Here’s to bringing your own monsters to life! And remember to leave that light on….


Christina 262x300 Here There Be MonstersChristina Hamlett is a media relations expert and award-winning author whose credits to date include 30 books, 156 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films, and hundreds of articles and interviews that appear online and in national/international trade publications. In addition, she is a script consultant for the film industry (which means she stops lots of really bad movies from coming to theaters near you) and a professional ghostwriter (which does not mean she talks to dead people). Learn more  at www.AuthorHamlett.com.

Karma and Cooperation: Secrets to Author Success

Giving is getting author success 300x300 Karma and Cooperation: Secrets to Author SuccessOur thanks to book coach Nancy Baumann for this guest post.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of everything in life being so competitive. Whether you’re seeking a job opportunity or trying to find a parking spot, it can feel like a battle zone out there!

I’m so glad authors don’t have to be that way. Our profession is unique. Authors, we’re not in competition with each other! People are always going to buy books. It’s not like readers will only buy one or two books a year and have to decide between yours and mine. Books are relatively inexpensive, so when readers find something that interests them, they’re going to snatch it up.

We all want to be successful, and in terms of our books, for most of us author success means that people are reading what we wrote. We write to be read, and if nobody ever reads our work, then we can hardly feel successful. It’s wonderful to hold our book in hand, but it’s even more wonderful when it’s in the hands of others. [Read more...]

Five Expert Tips to Tighten Your Writing

Horrorstor 252x300 Five Expert Tips to Tighten Your WritingOur thanks to author Grady Hendrix for this guest post loaded with writer wisdom to tighten your writing…

Before I wrote Horrorstör, I wrote everything. I wrote seven-word descriptions of reruns of Matlock for TV channel guides, I wrote garbage-sorting manuals for Hong Kong hotels, I wrote pamphlets hawking fake jewelry, I wrote English-language patter for Chinese television presentations that no one ever watched, and I wrote hundreds of articles for a now-extinct field we called “newspapers.” 

For years, I churned out thousands of words, week in and week out, always with tight word counts and always on tight deadlines, and while I often wanted to blow my brains out, I realized that not everything I learned as a keyboard-clacking hack was totally useless when it came time to write a novel. Here’s what stuck: [Read more...]

Will Bookstores Sell Your Indie Books? A Self-Publishing Series Case Study

FaulknerHouseLg XL 300x252 Will Bookstores Sell Your Indie Books? A Self Publishing Series Case Study Thanks to book publicist Claire McKinney for this guest post! Pictured here, a favorite indie book store, Faulkner House Books in New Orleans, LA.

The short answer is yes, it is possible to get brick and mortar bookstores to take your self-published books, but it isn’t an easy option. The simplest course is to hire someone to get your e-book set up on every available platform including Nook, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, etc., and then market like crazy online.

But today I am highlighting an author and how his perseverance with booksellers continues to pay-off, over a year later. [Read more...]

Announcing WWW’s New Partner Page!

18 300x253 Announcing WWWs New Partner Page!From soup to nuts… That’s always been the goal of Where Writers Win — to provide a “home base” from where any writer or author, no matter WHERE they are on their journey, can find their “next step” resources.

And though we provide a number of those resources ourselves, there’s always more… and plenty of great companies doing it right.

So, beyond our WWW team offerings and our amazing Winner Circle of vetted access to influencers, we’re always seeking the best and brightest in the publishing industry to whom we feel confident referring our tribe.

Because many offer special pricing, discounts and promo codes to our Winner Circle members, our tribe of free blog subscribers and followers doesn’t always get to see just how many great folks we recommend to emerging authors. So we’ve rectified that with a special page called WWW’s Approved (and Stellar!) Partners.

We hope this will make your own strategy as an author easier to plan and execute. Our partners page divides author needs into one of three categories:

Stage 1. Coaching/Editing/Ghostwriting

Whether you’ve just begun your book planning and need a ghostwriter or coach to get the job done, or you need quality editing services, these partners are ready to help (and offer competitive pricing to WWW readers as well as special discounts to Winner Circle members).

Stage 2. Perfect Prep / Dutiful Distribution!

Cover design, website launches… social media coaching and media training? Our team has you covered. And we have relationships with several fabulous hybrid publishers we can refer you to as well. But if you’re self publishing and/or creating your own imprint, we heartily recommend some very fine companies to help you put your best foot forward.

Stage 3. All the World’s YOUR Stage!

The book is out; the website has launched — You’re blogging and sharing fabulous content with your social media outlets… Like those late night infomercials shout, “But wait, there’s more!” And again, we’ve got you covered with our Winner Circle and video book trailers… But that’s not the end of your journey to create more buzz for your book, not by a long shot. Here are folks that will offer you some more bang for your marketing buck.

There are more stellar partners to come, but this will give you a healthy start!

Not sure where you’re at on the road to successful publishing? You can always schedule a free chat with us to answer any questions you may have! Just email info@writerswin.com.

A Clever Twist on Video and Book Club Promo from Author Neil Gaiman

author neil gaiman on book club promo 248x300 A Clever Twist on Video and Book Club Promo from Author Neil GaimanA+ for clever goes to author Neil Gaiman! Combining the best of two book influencer worlds, Neil shot a video praising book clubs. Uploaded September 2, 2014, it’s had nearly 10,000 views on YouTube in just 10 days.

In the video (you can check it out below), Gaiman begins by praising the value of live book clubs. And not just for influencing book sales, but for what they’ve meant to him as an author being able to try his work out on a club. 

He then offers up his own answers for what he feels would be “top book club questions” for The Ocean at The End of The Lane.

Smart, Smart, SMART!

Why do we love this? Because in one video, Neil has achieved:

  • Using video to promote his work, with a chance of it reaching a widespread audience (and so it has, and will continue to do so…)
  • Creating book club questions (something we recommend all authors do for the back matter in their books as well as on their author websites)
  • Bringing those questions to life by answering them on a video…
  • Sharing that video across social media channels from Tumblr to Facebook
  • And thus inviting himself into the living rooms of live book clubs everywhere, who can read his book, and then discuss the questions, and the author’s own answers to them!

Lest you think video is JUST for video book trailers and author interviews, here’s a fresh new take to include in your author marketing mix!

Other cool video promo ideas? Please share with your comments below….