4 Ways to Advertise Your Book

Nowadays, it’s all about advertising. The field in which one works doesn’t matter very much. A good advertising campaign can make any product or service look then ten better than it really is.

Writers who go publishing the traditional way don’t have to worry about such trivial things. However, writers who choose the self-publishing path should consider putting a lot of effort into promoting themselves. Being unknown and without having their back protected by a publishing house are major decisive factors.

The advertising world is huge and a writer, when he begins his journey, can feel overwhelmed. I know it from experience. Unfortunately, I realised the importance of self-promoting after a year or so – and then I developed a strategy.

I want to share with you some of my tips on promoting yourselves. I hope you find them useful, and let me know if they work well for you. Also, in case you have other tricks, let the followers of this blog know by telling us in a comment.

  1. Be active on social media

That one was expected, I guess. However, notice that I said to be active. Having an account and posting a something when you remember won’t be enough. Also, don’t post only things related to your books. It will be boring, and you won’t be able to create your audience. The posts must vary according to the platform you use, and never ever post the exact same thing on all your social media accounts – only if it is a big announcement.

I suggest that you use many platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, LinkedIn (these would be the most important ones).

  1. Take advantage of special occasions (aka holidays, celebrations, birthdays)

You can shamelessly promote your book on special occasions such as Christmas or Easter. These events are the ones which urge people to buy gifts. What better way to say “I love you!” or “I care about you!” or “I wish you a relaxing time!” than offering a book? And I am sure your book is the perfect gift. You only have to find a way to not sound as if you force people or insist too much. Give them this option and tell them why it’s good.

  1. Post an excerpt

This one is tricky but is worth giving a shot. You can join a writing platform (Wattpad, for example) and post the first two chapters of your book. It will give your readers a taste of how the book would be and what’s your style. If they like it, they might not hesitate in buying it. But if they find the blurb interesting, but not the chapters, they won’t buy it, probably.

However, it’s nice to let them know what they’re getting themselves into. It shows your authenticity and you don’t wish to rob them of their money.

  1. Giveaways

Name one person that doesn’t love free stuff. Even more, name someone who doesn’t adore winning free things. There can’t possibly be a person like that. That’s the motive why you should, once in a while organise a giveaway. There are many platforms that can be used (I prefer Goodreads) and it will increase your audience. It will also show you’re generous and want to make your readers happy.

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How to Correct Your Book Properly

As you know, I’ve always said that correcting your novel is not an easy job — it’s exhausting, boring, and it feels like wasting time, although it’s not.

Even though, let’s not forget this:

Everyone who edits their copy has a fool for an editor.

— Donald Davis

This comes to say: if it’s going hard, if you feel like you’re not doing a good job, you’re doing the best you can, and many (most) professional writer do have an editor. You might need to edit it more than once or twice and even ask other people about what’s their opinion (do they feel like there are plot gaps, irrelevant details, too many details) and then decide if you want or not to do something about it. It’s your book after all.

And never forget:

Different people have different tastes

It’s important that your book won’t appeal to everyone, but first of all, you have to like it. That’s what makes you authentic and invested in your work. You should like it. If, like the rest of us humans, you fear failure, I strongly suggest you read THIS post.

This is not the first time I touch upon the subject of editing, I shared a few different tips on how to edit your work before (HERE). However, I felt like I needed to deepen the subject; that’s why today I am going to speak only about the manner in which you can correct (from a grammatical point of view) your novel.

1. Use a specialised programme

Nowadays, technology eases our tasks and brings lots of benefits to our lives. Many programmes that aim to help the writers and bloggers around the world had been developed. Happily, there are also free versions of these. Although regarded with scepticism, they are very good. I’ve personally used Grammarly — the free version at first — which is easy to use and competent all the same. It might not find all the grammatical errors, but you’ll be surprised by it nevertheless. You can also choose whether you want to have the text corrected in the U.K. or U.S.A English. In addition to this, the program offers explanations for each correction. And you can also download the Microsoft Plug-in and this option is also available for Mac.

If you go for the paid version, there are even more features. Luckily, if you invite friends and they make an account, you both receive a free week of Premium Grammarly. Yay!

2. Get a beta reader

Beta readers don’t only tell you how can you improve your book overall. If you ask them, these persons can especially look after grammatical errors. This method is very nice because it helps you make friends and get to know people in this field. If you search thoroughly, you’ll find people willing to give a helping hand without expecting material benefits. These types of person can be usually found on different Facebook special dedicated pages or websites.

Warning: Be aware to whom you entrust your book. There are scammers and the so-called “bad people” who would/could steal your work. I would suggest doing a little research beforehand; that does not mean you should be paranoiac, just pay attention.

Besides, a beta reader can also give you his opinion regarding the book. If he or she can be integrated into the segment of the market you’re addressing to, his thoughts are very important when it comes to improving the quality of your work.

3. Contract an editor

If you want to take the self-publishing road and you have an amount of money at your disposition, you should consider contracting an editor. He’s a professional and a capable person with a vast experience in the domain. You can “steal” a few tricks and improve your writing in the future as well (just analyse the changes he makes/suggests). On top of that, the editor can be your connection to get to know other people in the field.

4. Don’t rush!

This one, I don’t think it comes as a surprise. However, I feel like I can’t stress it enough. Mostly, because I fell victim to this trap in the past, when I was a newbie (if you’re a newbie as well, I suggest you read THIS post). If you want to properly correct your book, you should be patient and not rush the process or the people you’re working with. Also, be open-minded and decide with your head whether you should or make a change, not with your heart — sometimes, pressing delete is very hard, but it’s also needed. Don’t be afraid to be merciless with your book. This is a good time to let listen to your inner critic a bit.

And also:

Avoid distractions

When you start editing, turn off your phone, don’t be the “I’m just going to check my mail once” or “just a quick look on Facebook/Twitter.” Although I’ve acknowledged the importance of music in the creative process (HERE), I advise you to keep it to a minimum.

If you liked this post please share and subscribe for more tips! Also, let me know in the comments below which tip do you find more useful and if you have any suggestions.

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Don’t Be Shy!

You might have already published something or you might still be on your way… No matter the situation, congratulations! Not many have the courage to take this path. Today, I’m going to get a little personal and talk about why you should not be shy when it comes to admitting that you’re a writer or talk about your book.

Believe it or not, although I’m a sociable and brave person, when I had to talk about my work with someone whom I knew, I instantly froze. It was not that I was ashamed, but I found it strange to talk about myself as an author, a writer. It felt uncomfortable. Should I know the persons, things only got worse. I didn’t want my friends or acquaintances to think I’m changed only because I managed to get my book in the market. I was afraid of being judged…

Talking about my books was just as hard. People would usually ask me “What’s it about?”, and I had to summarise it in a few lines. They would then, because of my anxiety and the brief talk, regard me uncanny and change the subject. Inside my heart, I was craving for letting others know what made me write a certain scene, or why did I start the book in the first place, but I was shy. Looking back in time, it’s not a big surprise since I was a teen author. Who does take seriously a fourteen-years-old girl?

It took me more than ten months to convince myself I should be very proud and not let the situation overwhelm me.

If you confront with something similar, know that you’re not alone. I’m not going to lie to you, the path won’t be easy, but you can overcome this feeling! Don’t be shy!

If you’re a newbie and still work on your book, don’t be afraid. You’re stronger than you can imagine.

There is no real secret which I can share with you. Everyone has to win this fight with his own forces in his very own way. We are different and respond uniquely to experience, but that’s a good thing. I wish there was something, but it’s not.

Believe in yourself! Don’t be shy! Don’t let anyone put you down, because working on a novel or publishing one is a big deal!

Tips for Mastering Social Media

My social media skills have never been the best. Once I published my first book and I understood the importance of creating your audience, I tried very hard to improve them. Happily, I succeeded in what I wanted. Still, the struggle was real. The hard part was finding the most reliable approach.

But lucky you, I’m willing to share my discoveries! We writers have to be united, after all. All that I’m about to tell you might seem obvious, but when you find yourself in the actual situation your eyes aren’t open and your view so clear. Everything is a blurry mess, usually.

Without further ado…

  1. Create a schedule

The very first thing you should do is create a schedule. It will help you keep track of your posts, know which days you should be active on a certain platform and help you with time management. The real question is: do you know how to make the schedule? I suggest that you begin by taken a blank paper and write down the platforms you’re using and the week’s days. Mark gradually when you post on a certain platform. Also, try to post at least three times a week on every single platform. You must not post on the same days on all the platforms. It’s comfortable, but a lazy thing.

  1. Posts’ variety

Now that you have a schedule – and you follow it – you need to think what post you’re going to make. I think that unless you have an announcement, you shouldn’t have the exact same post on every account. Again, it’s lazy. You must invest time and creativity. Variety does matter, especially for your readers. But bear in mind that this is your audience, so post think related to your field of work, or subject in which you are very interested. “Silly pictures” as those with “It’s Monday/Friday” are fine, as well as those who have a funny pinch. But it’s all down to your personality in the end. If you’re poetry or novels are dark and morbid, go for something like that.

  1. Stats

Stats are a feature that you have access to on almost any platform that can be used for promoting yourself. You should keep your eyes these because they tell you the most what were the most viewed or liked posts, which hours and days were the best. According to the stats try to adapt your content and schedule. It will not only please your audience but also attract new persons.

  1. Write posts in advance

Life is hard and keeps you busy. I know; it happens to all of us. That’s why, when you have spare time, you should write some posts in advance. Constancy is very important to keep your audience engaged. If you post once a month, people will literally forget who you are. Don’t let them! You can usually schedule posts which help you have something published in case you don’t have time to write in the scheduled date.

3 Tips for Better Editing

Today, I want to touch upon the editing subject. Editing is a very important part of the writing process. It contributes to polishing the work. This part, however, might be exhausting as it implies much patience and finesse. And when our perfectionist spirit kicks in, we better grip on something.

But editing doesn’t necessarily have to resemble a walk along the path of hell. I’ve discovered over the years how certain preparation could make the experience almost enjoyable. The short list that I’m about to present you does not only help with improving the experience but also with making the editing better.

So, without further ado, these are my 3 tips for better editing:

  1. Take a break

Haha. That’s, I think, the best thing one could hear when it comes to hard work, right? Can you believe that I’m not even joking? Let’s assume you’ve just finished your novella or novel. You’d want to get it done for good and start editing, probably. But the right thing to do is to let it cool for a while. You’re too caught in the story. Instead of frying your brain further, take a break of a month or two. It will give you a more objective view on your work and more patience. During the pause phase, do not touch the material, or think about it. Relax, do activities you enjoy and enjoy life.

  1. Read aloud

Editing is a tricky activity, especially when it comes to dialogue. In your head, the exchange of replies might sound perfect, but then, when you read aloud, it seems dull. When you engage more than one sense, your skills strengthen. It somehow makes the experience more real and gives you a quite objective work. It’s like you hear those persons speaking, and not read a dialogue. Also, reading aloud makes you realise whether or not the description is boring.

  1. Divide the editing into two phases

I observed that this works like a piece of cake. It’s a secret that no one wants to tell. Usually, when one edits his work he tries to take care of both style and errors at the same time. He might re-read his work to see if he’s satisfied with the results, and he’d still focus on both of them.

Editing should be divided into two phases: the style editing and the grammatical errors correcting one.

The author should start by looking at the composition as a whole, at the characters in order to make them believable and other things regarding plot and development. Unlike editors, writers don’t have the superpower of reading on letters – I know an editor with a vast editing experience and she lent me a trick or two -; that’s why the second round of editing should focus only on grammatical errors.

How to Cope with Mean Comments

I promised you this post and here it is. Let me know what you do when you encounter this type of comments.

  1. Understand that they don’t define the quality of your writing

I think we all agree that feedback is very important. For writers, it’s almost vital. However, the feedback will tell you how to improve yourself whereas mean comments won’t. You should not let anyone tell you’re not worth something.

  1. Understand that art is subjective

Some individuals have a more aggressive way of expressing their opinions. They might not like your piece of work, but it’s alright. Art is subjective and the simple fact that yours didn’t let them indifferent is important.

You don’t like whatever you see or read, so don’t be a hypocrite and expect others to do it. Once you don’t have such expectations, your perspective on your writing career will change drastically.

  1. Don’t read them

If you are the type of person who gets angry or hurt easily, simply stop reading those comments or reviews. Usually, you can see whether or not the comment is going to be mean. If it starts inappropriately or gets so, stop. You don’t have to read the reviews of the people who didn’t put enough effort in trying to point out the problems in a polite way.

Reading them won’t do you any good.

My First Book Release

Today I want to talk about a subject which is very dear to me. It’s so close to my heart that every time I speak about it, my mood gets better, my day is brighter.

In November 2014, I’ve published my first novel. But what’s more, I’ve also had a book release! It was quite intimate since there have not been persons whom I didn’t know – 30 persons, if I remember correctly. It might sound like a lot, but it is not, as they were friends or family acquaintances. However, I can recall being both anxious and excited. It felt like a dream. For the most part of that day I was like “Is this really happening? Am I not dreaming?”.

The place

Although financially speaking my parents could have helped me, I wasn’t willing to spend much money on my debut novel release. So, we’ve tried to find the best solution. Doing the now famous online releases wasn’t an option for me as I was unknown and I didn’t have a fan base or a community to support me. There was nobody out there waiting for my book except for my parents.

The most common place would have been a library. I’ve seen dozens of book releases happening there. With a little bit of research and help, we’ve managed to find a small one, which wasn’t famous but which was large enough for the guests.

Still, the setting proved to be perfect as it made everyone communicate and gave the impression of a warm atmosphere.

The people

I invited about 10 colleagues and not even one of my teachers. I kind of wanted it to be a separate part of my life apart from school. Judgment, critics and any other “professional” opinions didn’t interest me. It was not due to my insensibility; I was aware the book was not addressed to those kinds of people – some high school’s teachers tend to be narrow-minded. What’s more, I did not want it to be a motive of fuss. It’s not that I am necessarily modest; yet, at fifteen-years-old, you’re shy and may not want all that attention.

My father works in a private university, so as the library was close to that place, he had to – and had been proud to – invite lots of university professors. I felt awkward at first. Those people were really intelligent and I was merely a teenager with high aspiration. Did they come out of politeness or of curiosity? I have no idea.

Moreover, one agreed to keep a speech and has even invited another two persons – a short-stories writer and an academic professor. I’ve been overwhelmed. Can you think about it? Having your very first work – which, for sure, won’t be the best from of your life – read by well-known people?

I felt like I was going to die.

Oh, I also called a person to film everything and managed to have an interview taken by a student.

It was epic.

The speech

A fifteen-year-old girl. A crowd full of respected teachers. A cameraman. A speech that had to be held by the respective girl.

This might be the scenery for a drama or horror movie – it highly depends on whether you’re the main character or the spectator.

Well… looking into retrospection, nothing’s gone wrong; but in those moments, it felt like hell because of the emotions. I’d prepared my speech the night before. It took me one hour and a half for one page!

Then, I repeated it about ten times. Ridiculous, I know. The words were mine, but I was so nervous I would screw it up.

The moment when I had to talk… haha. My insides were tangled, my heart was pounding furiously, and my head was dizzy. Never had I ever experienced such ravaging sensations. My mother told me that I had looked fine, calm – and looking at the filming I can say it too –, but the reality is that I was so scared! (you will find the film at the end of the article)

I cannot express in words what I felt then. It’s literally impossible for me to do so.

The happy end

In spite of me being anxious, everything went smooth and perfectly fine. I talked, I laughed, and I had a good time. My speech was met with a round of applause and many smiles. I received encouragements and from those who had read the book already – for beta and critics motives – congratulations.

I couldn’t have had a better day.

I have to say, though, that it was the next day I realised and processed what happened. Until then, I was in the phase of daydreaming.

*The video with my speech (turn on subtitles)