Take your writing to the next level with writing advice from the greats.
There’s no need to start from scratch when it comes to writing. The very writers whose careers we admire have given us some great advice.
Learn to develop the habit of writing. Writing is a craft more than it is a talent. You develop into a good writer by developing a writing habit.Octavia Butler put it best:“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
And Read A Lot! Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird says “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.”
Then FINISH the book.
Neil Gaiman hasn’t written a book about being a writer, but he has written at least 29 books(!), so he knows something about how to get writing done.
“How do you do it? You do it. You write. You finish what you write.”
If you’ve been working on the same story for years and you don’t see a way out, ask yourself, “What would Neil do?”
The way to write better books isn’t to work on 1 book for 8 years. Maybe it’s to write 8 books, getting better with each.
Now MY Advice:
Listening to audiobooks isn’t cheating, I promise! I love that I can listen to audiobooks while I’m driving or taking a walk. And they’re great for both fiction and nonfiction.
Some fiction books are read by voice actors who really bring the performance to life. American Gods is AMAZING to listen to! And most of the time the author reads their own nonfiction audiobook and adds in some interesting asides that didn’t make it into the book’s print version.
Give Audiobooks a try with the free offer from Audible below:
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5 Best Book Marketing Podcasts for Writers
These 5 podcasts are my go-to picks on book marketing for writers. With these podcasts you’ll get a solid mix of information and entertainment. And the hosts of these shows write both fiction and nonfiction, so no matter what you write, they’ll help you sell more books.
I’m a podcast junkie. If I find an informative podcast, I binge-listen. Then when I hear a podcast guest I like, I look for other shows where they’ve been a guest, and I’ll probably subscribe to them too. That’s how I found most of these.
If I don’t listen to any other podcast in a week, I listen to The Creative Penn. Joanna Penn is a fiction and nonfiction author who has self published and traditionally published. And she knows her stuff.
Since she’s the queen of book marketing podcasting, she gets top-tier guests, but her solo podcasts are just as enlightening.
Dave Chesson is the founder of Kindlepreneur.com, a super-useful Kindle e-book marketing website, and the creator of KDP Rocket, the book marketing tool of my DREAMS. So listening to his podcast is a no-brainer. Dave and his guest will teach you all about Amazon categories, keyword mastery and nailing your book cover.
With Dave Chesson’s product, KDP Rocket, you can see how many searches are being made on Amazon for any search term AND how much money books in your niche are making. Use this information even before you start writing to make sure your book will have an audience.
KDP Rocket also helps you maximize you book listing and Kindle ranking to make sure readers who are searching in your niche will find your book. The right categories and keywords make your book more discoverable.
So you see how this show can enlighten your book marketing path. My favorite recent podcast episode from the Book Marketing Show is Reviving a Dead Book (Case Study #1). If your book’s already published, tips from this series will help you breath new life into it. And if it’s not published yet, you’ll learn some what-not-to-do’s.
The SPA Girls are a HOOT. This podcast is a relaxed, laid back conversation with four funny friends who know their book marketing stuff. The hosts speak from their own author experiences with good guests mixed in.
My favorite recent episode is 5 Branding Tips You Can Use Right Now. They discuss what other writers are doing to build their brand and attract raving fans. But you can jump into their show on any episode for tips and laughs.
I’m pretty sure Jeff Goins is traditionally published, but you’d think he was an indie the way he markets his butt off. (I mean this in the best possible way.) His message to writers is to start by building your tribe of readers and helping them through your writing. Then you’ll have buyers when your book is released.
Book marketing isn’t Jeff’s sole focus; his show aims to help writers create a complete writing life. But his advice on building an author platform is GOLD.
Jeff Goins’ recent nonfiction book Real Artists Don’t Starve aims to kill the myth of the starving artist. It’s never been easier to make a living from your art, and it turns out it wasn’t impossible for historical artists either.
Shelley began as a nonfiction author in the inspirational and faith space. She wrote Broken Crayons Still Color. So it’s no accident that her podcast is full of thoughtful guidance with actionable steps mixed in.
Shelley gave her listeners a serious insider tip on this episode. She explained that CreateSpace books aren’t eligible for distribution to most bookstores. But publishing your paperback and/or hardback version with IngramSparks puts your book in the IngramSpark catalog with the potential to be ordered by bookstores.
This is the first time I’ve heard this tip, and it means a writer can put their e-book in the Kindle Unlimited space and get paid per page read while still selling their print book elsewhere. Listen to Shelley’s podcast episode for the tea on how she mixes publishers to her benefit.
“‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert is a celebration of a creative life. That doesn’t mean (just) painting or writing but encompasses something larger: a worldview that extols the pursuit of any activity that takes you out of yourself and opens you to the experience of wonder and joy.” — Jennifer Reese
“Are you a painter, a writer, a start-up founder or a cabinet maker? Wondering how to avoid not paying the rent while you pursue your craft? Well, that’s where Jeff Goins’ Real Artists Don’t Starve comes in. The book offers 12 strategies to create your art, promote your art and make money from your art — no matter what it may be.” — Tree Franklin
“I would recommend this book: Unlocking Potential: 7 Coaching Skills That Transform Individuals, Teams, and Organizations by Michael K. Simpson to managers, leaders and aspiring-to-be leaders. Be sure to take note of those important techniques and strategies mentioned. It’ll be very useful for future reference.” — Gladys Jane
“Rhimes is, unsurprisingly, a fantastic memoirist: Her writing is conversational and witty and lyrical, inflected with the supple human breathiness you might expect from a person who spends her days writing dialogue. [It] is in many ways a side door self help book…[with] pieces of advice that concern not just Rhimes’s readers, but everyone. …Year of Yes is a book about the shifts taking place in Hollywood right now. It is, like Shondaland itself, making a statement. It is insisting that it is time for the people who used to be invisible to come forward and be seen.” — Megan Garber
“I love Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Instead of being the person with all the answers, learn how to be a coach—and a good one at that. Because your people have Google to find answers, you can give them what they really need. 1. Someone to ask them well-designed questions that get them into problem-solving mode. 2. A good set of ears that provides them with a much-needed blank canvas to make sense of their thoughts.” — Shawn Vanderhoven
“Laying out a roadmap for change, the author includes chapters on eliminating blame and shame from work and education, and daring to be the adults we want our children to be. Brown’s theories—complete with personal and not always flattering examples from her own life—will draw readers in and have them considering what steps they would dare to take if shame and fear were not present.” — Publisher Weekly
“It is hard to locate self help books written by people of color. Many involve lengthy exercises, but the simplicity and effectiveness of these mantras help one to stay the course and maintain the practice of meditating beyond the 30 days. When you fall of your practice, pick the book back up and start again. You will gain new insight as you are not the same person. I suggest this as a gift to young people and and anyone you love as everyone could benefit from it.” — Kaiyah F
“Iyanla Vanzant offers a unique spiritual technology called “thought therapy,” a process that harnesses proven spiritual tools with the science of neuroplasticity. The 42 prayers and affirmations in Get Over It! and complementary energy-clearing tools at the heart of the thought therapy process are designed to neutralize and eliminate the unconscious, unproductive, soul-destroying dominant negative thought patterns (DNTPs) and discordant emotional energies, allowing you to get to the root cause of your personal suffering, and make life-affirming choices.” — Hay House Publishing
“Tim Brown’s book has blessed me tremendously…I don’t know of a better guy who’s more committed to doing things in a Godly manner for the sake of others, particularly as it relates to young boys. He has a great heart and passion and a gift for challenging, inspiring and shaping boys into men.” — Clark Kellogg
“At its core, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a book about finding what’s truly important to you and letting go of everything else. More than a practical guidebook to choosing what’s important in our lives and what’s unimportant, it’s a brutally honest and much needed reality check about our personal problems, fears and expectations. It’s a bold confrontation of self, our painful truths, faults and uncertainties, without all the positive airy fairy fluff we’ve been spoon-fed to believe by self-help gurus.” — Tree Franklin
“This book by Pete Hollins teaches you how to really learn in an accelerated manner. It’s how to process info, condense it, make it stick, and use it.
The Science of Accelerated Learning starts with shaping our mindsets to be geared for learning, fertile. Then he tells us the three types of factors that can make or break us. It was a great breakdown and the further breakdowns at the end of each chapter with the takeaways were priceless.” — Reviewer
Each of these books was written by a writer who saw a gap on their bookshelf and filled it. If you want to take your expertise and write the book your audience needs and are feeling unsure about where to start, I have a free worksheet that will help you focus your message.
Get started on these personal development books right away! Click here for 2 free audiobooks from Audible.
As a freelance writer, I’m in a ton of Facebook groups where we share our Facebook page links. And I’ve found a few prospective clients that way.
Usually, the group administrator will create a weekly post asking everyone to share a link to their business. These link-shares are a great way for freelancers, coaches and speakers to get found by new clients.
But all too often the links people share are missing pertinent information. And sometimes I get on the prospect’s FB page and hit a dead end.
They’re a coach, but there’s no clear way to connect with them further.
Remember, your potential clients may need several points of contact with you before hiring you. And Facebook pages aren’t the most direct communication route. So make sure your Facebook page leads them to other ways they can connect with you as well.
Help clients find you!
Here are a few tips to take your coaching Facebook Page from dead end to expressway:
1. If your biz name / Facebook Page name doesn’t clearly state what you do, add it. “Social Stephanie” isn’t as helpful as “Social Stephanie: Freelance writer”. Any Facebook page for coaches, consultants and speakers should include the specifics like “Personal Finance Coach” or “Women’s Empowerment Speaker.”
2. Make your Page’s cover pic informative. Include your biz name, what you do and contact info for a better preview. If people are scrolling through a post of 100+ links, make it easy to find what they’re looking for.
With this method, when you post your link in a comment, your full cover image, which appears when someone hovers over the link, will give enough detail to entice your prospective clients to click. And they won’t have to dig for information.
3. Include links to your other social media profiles in your About section. Facebook’s default setting gives you space for your website and email address. To add Twitter (if you choose) and LinkedIn (always!) just edit your contact info and click the “add account” button.
LinkedIn and Twitter are my faves, so I always connect with people through their links. If your Instagram is personal pics only, it’s ok to skip it. But I’d urge anyone in a visual business, like design consultants, to link your Instagram too.
4. Make sure to include your email address also. I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many coaches forget to add their contact info or website link to their page. Dead end city.
5. Include your Twitter feed. Are you dropping gems on Twitter that your potential clients should see? You can add a Twitter or Instagram app on Facebook that displays your timeline and a “follow” button right on your FB page. I like this as a method to “show your work.”