10 Ways to Tighten Your Pitch

IMG 2805 1024x502 10 Ways to Tighten Your PitchOur thanks to author Steve Piacente for this guest post and photo, taken of a pitch slam at the recent Writer’s Digest conference in NY, moments before the doors opened for authors to meet with agents!

Imagine the bullpen overflowing with pitchers. Each will get a turn at the mound, but there’s no room for error. One mistake and it’s game over.

Welcome to Pitch Slam, biggest draw of the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. What’s it like knowing you have three minutes to make an agent fall for your story, or at least request a second date?

Three minutes. That’s 90 seconds for the pitch and 90 seconds for questions. Once three minutes passes, a bell sounds and your time is up. Those who linger beyond the deadline can expect an unfriendly tap from the on deck author.

As any relief pitcher will tell you, the work doesn’t begin when you walk on the field. The work begins well before, in this case by crafting and rehearsing the pitch, and knowing whom you’ll be facing before the game gets started.

That in mind, here are 10 tips to help you step it up, whether you’re pitching at a slam or chatting up an agent between innings at a ballgame. Credit for 5-10 go to Writer’s Digest’s Chuck Sambuchino: [Read more...]

No One Ever Just “Says” Something: 50 Ways Not to Say “Says”

somebody said No One Ever Just Says Something: 50 Ways Not to Say SaysOur thanks to media relations expert and award-winning author Christina Hamlett for this guest post. Graphic provided by freedigitalphotos.net

When I was a teen, I had an aversion to using “said” in a story. It was blah. It was ordinary. It was pedestrian. Why use “said”, I thought, when there were so many words that were way more expressive? Throughout high school English classes, my characters squealed, pontificated, reflected, mused and accused.

As if that weren’t enough to liven up their dialogue, I was also generous in my deployment of adverbs. After all, who’s going to be a scarier villain: the one who “growled menacingly” or the one who said, “If you don’t give me the money, I’ll kill you”?

Being a voracious reader, I always paid special attention to how published authors handled this issue. I remember at age 12 going into the kitchen to ask my mother what “ejaculated” meant. “What?!” she responded, nearly dropping whatever she was holding at the time. I showed her the latest Nancy Drew mystery I was reading. “It’s right here,” I said, pointing to a passage that read, “Wow! That’s great news, Nancy,” Ned ejaculated. [Read more...]

Chanticleer Author Conference: Bellingham, WA Hosts Special Events for Authors

conf poster 11x17print 1 194x300 Chanticleer Author Conference: Bellingham, WA Hosts Special Events for AuthorsIf you’re anywhere near the Pacific Northwest this September, this event promises to be a great time and fabulous chance to network with industry insiders…

The Chanticleer Book Reviews Awards Banquet & Conference 2014 will take place at the Hotel Bellwether located in Bellingham, Wash. on Fri., Sat. & Sun., Sept. 19th, 20th & 21st, 2014 at Squalicum Harbor on beautiful Bellingham Bay.

The Chanticleer Awards Banquet and Conference will feature:

  •     Three full days of classes, sessions, & author events
  •     Master’s Classes require extra fees.
  •     Coffee, tea, & snacks
  •     Networking Opportunities & Cocktail Parties
  •     Saturday Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Shari Stauch of Where Writers Win
  •     The Chanticleer Banquet honoring the 2013 CBR award winning authors & titles
  •     Keynote speaker at Awards Banquet
  •     Exhibitors
  •     Books By the Bay Book Fair on Sunday – OPEN to the PUBLIC / a FREE and Family Friendly
  • Event Author Space  at Books By the Bay included with two/three day registration fee.

For more details, visit http://chantireviews.com/save-the-date

bellwether hotel Chanticleer Author Conference: Bellingham, WA Hosts Special Events for Authors


What to Expect When You’re Expecting Your First Book Tour

Dollbaby by Laura What to Expect When Youre Expecting Your First Book TourOur thanks to author Laura Lane McNeal for this guest post! Laura is continuing her travels with DollBaby – you can view her book tour dates HERE.

Congratulations, so you’ve published your debut novel and you’re getting ready to go on your first book tour. Exciting, isn’t it? Then you panic, because if you’re like me, you’re used to the solitary task of writing, not touring around and speaking in front of others. Having recently returned from my first book tour for my debut novel DOLLBABY, I’m here to relate a few things I learned along the way:

1) No two books tours are alike

I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kind that likes surprises, so I queried other authors about what to expect on my first book tour. What I found is that there’s no simple answer to that question. I had what my publisher called a Southern book tour due to the equivalent theme of my novel, but different genres travel on different types of tours to different cities that attract different audiences.

So bottom line: don’t try to compare your scheduled book tour, whether paid for by the publisher or DIY, to others. You can always supplement it later at your discretion, which I will discuss more in point number 5. [Read more...]

What’s Your Writing Routine?

wall clock write now Whats Your Writing Routine?Our thanks to editor and Pressque founder Ellie Maas Davis for this guest post!

“To be a writer is to sit down at one’s desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone—just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again, and once more, and over and over…”John Hersey

Becoming a writer is about routine and commitment, commitment and routine. No matter what the genre, a writer must have discipline, so don’t let a single day go by without writing. It’s the same as being an athlete, it takes daily practice—it’s work—if you want to be good. [Read more...]

Seven Ways to Use Your Video Book Trailer

video marketing for authors Seven Ways to Use Your Video Book TrailerWhether you’ve created your own book trailer, used one of our resources, or had a super slick video book trailer produced in Hollywood, you’ll want to get the most mileage out of it. That means finding new and creative ways to get that video seen by potential readers!

Here are seven (plus) ways you can and should be sharing your video book trailers. Have more? Share your insights with your comments below!

1. YouTube.com – The most obvious of course (besides your own author website) is YouTube. Once you’ve uploaded your video there, it’s also easy to share it to a number of places, embed it on your website, etc. For a comprehensive guide to making the most of this highly shareable video site, CLICK HERE.

2. Don’t forget to share your video on social media sites. Give yourself a reminder — perhaps one week on Facebook, another on Twitter, another on Google Plus, Linked In, Pinterest, etc. By scattering the video posts you’ll be casting a wide net of potential views.

And, while we don’t advocate spamming your readership, it doesn’t hurt to re-post once in a while. Existing readers will ignore it (like we do all those Coca Cola commercials) but new readers will have a chance to view.

3. Friends with websites are an overlooked option but a useful one. Get together with other authors, in your area or your genre, and share each other’s videos on your websites and social media outlets. While you’re at it, remind sites reviewing your book that you have a video and might they share it?

4.Right to those readers: Both your Amazon author page and your Goodreads author page (visit each link to learn more) allow you to share your videos, too, so don’t overlook these important outlets! [Read more...]

Freebie Friday: Three Months of Bookarma!

bookarma 300x296 Freebie Friday: Three Months of Bookarma!We tweeted about Bookarma back on May 31, 2014. Now, the good folks at Bookarma have offered our readers another incentive, a free 3-month subscription for the first 250 to sign up.

The coupon code to get three free months (for the first 250) is WritersWin. To take advantage of this free offer ($45 value, no strings attached), visit http://bookarma.net.

This new social sharing site for authors works easily, and lets authors load their own book info, then gain points for sharing other books on the site with their own social networks. The more you share, the more often your book is seen and can be shared. [Read more...]

10 Worst Things to Do When the Media Calls

avoid mistakes when media calls 10 Worst Things to Do When the Media CallsOur thanks to media relations expert and award-winning author Christina Hamlett for this guest post. Graphic provided by freedigitalphotos.net

When your new book comes out, wouldn’t you love a call from a reporter wanting an interview? Wheee! You could be on your way to becoming a media darling. Unfortunately, the potential for totally botching this invitation to free publicity is pretty high.

Herein are the 10 most common mistakes that will land you on a reporter’s never-call-again list. [Read more...]

What is an Author Supposed to Tweet About?

Twitter for authors What is an Author Supposed to Tweet About?I know I’m supposed to be on Twitter. But what am I supposed to tweet?
And why would anyone want to read what I tweet?

Before we address the value and use of Twitter for authors, a surgeon general’s warning: If you’re only using Twitter to broadcast your own message, you’re missing a whole wide world of interesting and fascinating content. We often advise it’s better to begin by re-tweeting to get a sense of all the great stuff that IS out there on Twitter.

True, it may take you a bit of time to learn what’s a flourishing plant and what’s just weeds, but after the learning curve our authors are consistently amazed by what they can find and how they can connect on Twitter (yes, even if we had to drag ‘em in kicking and screaming). [Read more...]

Creating a Virtual Writers Conference: Toward a New Tribe for Writers

Slider Image contest1 300x125 Creating a Virtual Writers Conference: Toward a New Tribe for WritersOur thanks to Authors First’s Lou Aronica for this guest post!

I belonged to two significant tribes when I was growing up: guys in rock bands and guys who loved baseball. I was briefly in the guys-who-play-baseball tribe as well, but it turned out that you had to have a talent for baseball to stick in that tribe.

There was very little overlap among the members of these tribes for me, but one thing that was consistent between them was conversation. Lots of conversation. About equipment, technique, best guitarists of all time. About batting averages, clutch plays, best shortstops of all time. We consumed many hours every week “talkin’ music” and “talkin’ baseball.” [Read more...]