Most authors will at some point in their life face writer’s block, and for some this can feel completely crippling, staring blankly at the page before them with no idea of how to start or where to go next. This is something that has affected the most successful writers and authors of every age, so you’re in good company if you’re battling a block right now.
The good news is that you can work past any block, with the right frame of mind and trying some of the following techniques you can get your flow back and start writing once more!
So here are our top ten ideas of overcoming writer’s block.
1 Take a break – The temptation is in trying to force the creativity and keep banging away at the keyboard, but this can be the worst thing to do, take time and stop, if you need to take an hour or two (or even a day), do it, you’ll find it easier when you come back refreshed and refocused.
2 Just write anything – Free writing (anything) is a really useful way to step back into your flow and build momentum to get back to your manuscript.
3 Go for a walk – Get outside and into the fresh air, a walk outdoors works wonders to pump blood through your system and re-energize you.
4 Headphones On – Listen to some music while about to write, this has shown to help countless authors get back into the zone, it works well if you choose music without lyrics.
5 Meditate – To some this may seem a little on the New Age side of things, but try it, start by finding a quite spot and sit or lay down, concentrate on your breath and quiet your mind. There are some great guides on YouTube which will show you how meditate so check these out before you start. Meditation is practiced by many successful people both in writing and in business, it helps to clear your mind, refocus and regain your creative flow.
6 Change the scenery – Grab your laptop and find a different space to go and write in, many try their local coffee shop, but if you’re easily distracted you may want to take your headphones or try a quieter location.
7 Take notes – Lots of writers keep a note book where they record events, conversations, observations and things which interested them, over time these books become invaluable and a go to for inspiration.
8 Go off line – Switch off your internet connection (put your laptop and cellphone into airplane mode), with emails and social media notifications constantly coming in it can be incredibly distracting, take away the temptation and switch them all off.
9 Read a quality book – Read a classic novel or work of non-fiction, what ever your preference this can really help to inspire you back in to writing again.
10 Go old school – Grab a note pad and pen/pencil and write by hand, there’s something freeing about writing with a pen or pencil, if you need to free write then do it.
The main thing is not to lose hope, you can get your creativity back again so keep going and try some of the tips listed above.
We’d love to know if writer’s block has ever affected you and how you overcame it, what worked well and what would you recommend to your fellow authors?
Successful book promotion relies upon the dedication of the author (if you’re independently launching your book), there are of course some great ways to publish, but once your book is actually for sale what do you do next to reach a larger audience?
Well the good news is that there are plenty of things that every author can do to self-promote, with a little planning and some effort you can ensure that more people see your book and that you go on to build a future readership.
So here we have our list of TWENTY things you can do to promote your book.
21- (Bonus) Learn from the professionals - There are some great courses offered by very specific marketing professionals which will help you become a master in successfully promoting your book to a massive audience, the good news is that most of them are very reasonable to use too. Two that we like are specific for either Fiction or Non-fiction (follow the links for further details), but with a little bit of advice every author can successfully promote their book.
With the turning of a new year most of us look towards making resolutions, setting goals, breaking habits and getting on with the things that we may have put on the back burner for a while. If you’re an author/writer this is the time where you’ll refocus on that (almost completed) manuscript, the one that’s been in a file on your laptop for the past six months without being opened.
I’m not sure why we feel the need to wait for a certain day in the calendar (in all honesty, any day is a great day to make a positive change), but with the start of a new year it feels more like the ‘right’ time to make those dreams a reality.
So, forget about the cliched ideas of working on your goal for a couple of weeks and then quietly dropping it, NOW is the time to move forward, NOW is the time to get back on with the manuscript you started, NOW is the time to begin the story you’ve been promising the world (and yourself) that you’d write, NOW is the time to make it happen.
In order to make your goals a reality you need to take in to account several things, most of them are not rocket science, which is great, because it means we can all do it, but they do require a little bit of effort.
1) Break it down – A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, if you have a goal to complete a book of 300 pages or so, it can seem a little overwhelming when you face the very first blank page and a zero-word count. But you are not going to write the novel in one day, if you are also holding down a job or looking after children then you won’t have the time to spend 8hrs a day writing. You need to plan for the long term of writing your book, many writers start by trying to write thousands of words every day and get burnt out in the process, the manuscript then ends up in the ‘I’ll never touch this again file’, so, plan your time and be realistic, if you can spend 30 mins per day (Mon-Fri), then plan to write for this time only, some writers target themselves for just achieving 300 words per day (again, Mon – Fri) writing to this schedule you’ll have a novel completed in 12 – 14 months.
2) Have a time to write – Saying you’ll write each day is great but you do need to plan when you’ll do it, this is of course a very personal thing, some people feel more creative in the morning and others later in the day, also, you may only have certain times of the day when you are actually free to write. Which ever time of the day works best, plan and schedule for it, when you schedule a time to write (and stick to it) it becomes a habit and over time it’s this habit which will ensure that you complete your book.
3) Have a place to write – Just as important as making time to write, having a place which is free of distractions and that is conducive to creativity is vital to writing, you may not have an office or even a desk, but if you have a kitchen table and a laptop/pen & paper then you have everything you need. But the key is to ensure that wherever you choose to write it is free of distractions (and yes that includes cell phones, Facebook, twitter and the internet).
4) Just write – The most terrifying thing that a writer faces is the blank page in front of them, the notion of having to make everything perfect from the get go can stop you in your tracks, remember, everything CAN be edited and re-edited. Make a start and if you need to tweak it, just tweak it later.
Following these four basic tips can help you to not only start your book but ensure you go on to actually finish it, so plan your new year and make it a great one!
Book cover design for your manuscript is an element which many authors leave until the very last stage of the publishing process, once you have finished editing the book and proof reading it you should be at a stage where you need to organize the ‘face’ of your book. So, at this point what should you consider?
1) Look at it with a fresh pair of eyes.
The first thing is to try and put to one side your own preconceptions, the thing is that you will have spent many hours, days, weeks and months in writing your book and as such will have formed ideas as to what the cover should look like (it’s hard not to). However, this can lead you to become blinkered against other options, sometimes the urge to stick to a certain element for the front page may not be the right thing to do.
Knowing that you may need to look for new ideas for your cover is a good thing, it makes you reflect upon the elements within the book, those that are important in selling the book and others that can be left off of the cover. It can be helpful if you have created a synopsis (this is vital when promoting your book to publishers) to list the key components of the book, from here you can brainstorm ideas which represent those elements, it’s important to keep writing and put everything down, then whittle it down to the most important, this should start to show you what is key for YOUR book. Of course if you are hiring a book cover designer, they will do this as part of the design process, they’ll also bring knowledge of the industry and what works for you genre too (make sure you take their advice).
3) Hire a professional
With the sheer volume of books being published each and every day (there are up to 2,000 published daily at the last count), you need to take your book’s cover seriously, it is a key element of the book’s advertising and people will initially judge you by it. A book (along with many other products) will be dismissed or looked at based upon an initial judgment call of the viewer, if it looks unprofessional, then the viewer WILL make the same assumption about the contents, having a great looking book cover will speak volumes and encourage your potential reader to pick it up off of the shelf. So, if you’re not confident about creating a book cover, get a professional to do it for you.
4) Have the information ready
The trim size of your book and publisher/printer (such as KDP etc.) are important aspects of your book and details that your designer will need in order to create the book cover for you, in fairness the cover can always be adjusted, but if you know what size you want from the beginning it really helps.
Most people print their book as a paperback and also have an option for eBook too, this will mean you’ll need two covers, one will be a print-ready PDF and the other as a JPEG. Another option is printing your book as a hardback, there are several formats for this, you can have a traditional dust jacket or without but having a case laminate (this is where the cover design is actually glued over the boards.
Which ever format you choose, the main thing is to ensure that you give your book the professional cover that it deserves, along with a great cover you should also consider some images (3D if possible) to promote online, using social media, a blog and a website (if possible). The more effort you put in the greater the results will be, if you approach your book’s publication with a can do attitude the results will follow.
Once you’ve written a book, you’ll find your hands rather full as a promoter of your own work. While it’s not fun to toot your own horn, you do have to drum up interest in your book. One of the best ways to do this is by hosting a book signing event.
Don’t know how to go about it? Pay attention to the following helpful tips.
The Kind of Event
Not all book signing events are the same. Before you go about picking a venue, you should try to set the tone for it. Most authors have a causal or semi-formal setting for the book signing event. Are you going to have a Q and A session or a reading session as well? This can make your event friendlier and drum up more interest in the book.
Picking a Relevant Venue
Once you know the kind of book signing event it will be, it’s time to pick a venue. Most authors tend to pick bookstores but, how about thinking out of the box here? You can host book signing events in bars, outdoors and even in museums. Use your book to draw inspiration for the venue that suits it the most.
The Timing of the Event
Make sure that your event is not timed to coincide with a holiday or some other event. This can negatively impact your book signing event. Although in some cases, it can end up boosting interest. For example: If you wrote a horror thriller, Halloween is the perfect time to have a book signing for it.
Start to Market It
When you have hashed out the venue, the type of book signing event and the timing, you have to actively market it. While you will have to make use of advertising over social media, you can also add a personal touch here. Send invitation cards to all your friends and acquaintances, co-workers and more.
Pay Attention to the Fine Details
Now that you’re at the book signing event, don’t forget the fine details that will be responsible for making the event a success. These include:
Close it with a Flourish
When the event is drawing to a close, don’t forget to thank everyone for showing up. You might want to offer goodie bags or handwritten notes to your friends, the venue owners and other people who showed up.
One of the most important elements of your book is the cover. Marketing can only bring the reader so far. The odd thing is that previously, the cover was usually not as important. More emphasis was given to the content inside. However, it has been noted that the book cover can definitely impact the appeal and the sales of the book.
People are visually impacted by the products around them and a beautiful book cover will compel someone to buy it. This is the first step. Once they pick it up, they will look at the blurb on the back which is when most make up their mind to buy it. To get to this point, the cover needs to be appealing enough to tempt them and they will be willing to buy the book.
This little phenomenon is known as selling your book before it is even read. In fact, the cover of the book is so important that you will find limited editions of books with different covers. It not only boosts sales and compels readers to buy the book again. Now, if you have written a book and are thinking about getting a book cover made, consider the following:
Get a Good Designer
Always work with a good designer who understands the content of the book. You don’t have to give them the book to read but you can also provide a brief summary of the storyline. Additionally, if you have any examples of the kind of book covers you like, share it with the designer. This makes it easier for them to design the cover. Sharing the summary also means that you and the designer are on the same page.
The Font of the Cover Matters
The font on the front of the cover will make a huge difference on the reader. Bad font choices here can drive away people from buying it. Certain fonts are also associated with different things. The dripping, goopy font is often seen in R.L. Stine’s horror story titles. Many non-fiction books use Helvetica or a Serif font on the cover since it is associated with feelings of trustworthiness. You will hardly ever see Comic Sans unless it is on a kid’s book or a spoof or comedy book.
Pick Attractive Colors
When picking colors, pay attention to the impact of color psychology as well as the theme of the book. Some colors like red and blue are common choices but you can also use muted alternatives such as pink, teal or more. The right color combinations, along with the right font can elevate your book cover. Even if there are no graphics, the colors will be appealing enough to attract buyers.
These are just 3 quick tips you need to remember while getting a cover made, but if you're unsure, why not get in touch with us, we'd love to help!
When publishing a book, the genre it falls into can make a major difference in the process. Non-fiction books can be simpler to publish but they do present a few challenges you shouldn’t overlook. If you’re interested, the following are a few simple tips for non-fiction publishing that can help you out:
1. Always Get a Professional Editor
If you’re writing your first non-fiction book, a professional editor will play a major role. Pick someone who understands the genre and is also familiar with non-fiction publishing requirements. An experienced editor will also make your writing process easier.
They can identify mistakes and help you overcome many challenges in non-fiction writing. Their knowledge can prove to be invaluable in helping you create content that is true to your story and appeals to the readers as well.
2. Make Sure You Have Permission
With writing, it is impossible to not draw inspiration from real life people and scenarios. If you must include them, always ask for permission from this person. This is an important step in fiction and non-fiction publishing. This ensures that any issues relating to libel, improper representation and more are easily sorted out before the book is released.
A big example of this can be seen in Caitlyn Jenner’s tell-all novel, “The Secrets of My Life.” The book showed the Kardashian family in a negative light. The Kardashian’s also claimed that Caitlyn published a version of the book which had not been shared with them. It ended up creating a feud that has still not been completely resolved.
3. Check for Accuracy
If you are including descriptions of locations, events that have happened in the past and more, you shouldn’t always rely on your memory. Sure, your emotions of that incident might make the event more poignant for you but do your research first. In non-fiction publishing, checking the facts to make sure that you are only including accurate ones is a necessity.
For example: The Great Depression started in 1929 when the stock market crashed. A similar stock market crash also happened in 2008. Confusion between the two historical events is a major error that will create confusion for readers and ruin the credibility of your book.
4. Use Both Formats - Paperbacks and eBooks
Many people gravitate towards paperbacks for non-fiction publishing. However, don’t skip on eBooks or even Audiobooks. These two formats are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among older, busy readers nowadays.
EBooks and Audiobooks also have increased flexibility in terms of shareability. You can also link them to your website, your social media pages and incorporate them into your online marketing scheme with ease.
With these tips, you should be able to write and publish a non-fiction book in next to no time!
Before you submit your book for publishing, you need to focus on its formatting. This is a major component which is responsible for improving readability. Formatting makes a huge difference and poorly formatted books are hard to read.
The following are some book formatting tips which will improve readability.
1. Formatting Based on Genre
Fiction and non-fiction books have different formatting requirements so pay attention to the genre of your book. Additionally, the book’s genre can also allow you to incorporate some design elements. If you never paid attention to the difference in formatting, you should pick a book and see for yourself. From the page indentation to the font, there is a noticeable difference.
2. Don’t Hard Indent
Indenting the content can really help to show the start of a new paragraph. It also breaks the monotony of reading a large body of text. Indents are also largely used in fiction book formatting. When you’re looking to add an indent, avoid using the tab button for it. Instead, go to the paragraph settings on MS Word and indent the paragraph with its help.
3. Focus on Font Readability
Apart from indentation, you need to ensure that your content is readable. Pick a font and a size which is pleasing to the eye and makes your work look neat. Avoid picking fonts based on aesthetics only. Even Times New Roman is a good font to use.
Additionally, when working on your document, make sure the MS Page view settings is set to 100%. This gives you a look at the content from the neutral view. If the font is too small, pick a size bigger. Usually, 12 will do but some font types can be smaller and difficult to read, even with that font size.
4. Headers and Footers
Always include headers and footers, particularly if you are dealing with an eBook project. Even in print books, you’ll find the title of the book or the chapter on the top right corner of the book. Including page numbers is a necessity and you’ll hardly ever see a book without this important addition.
Moreover, pick header designs or footer designs which can add to the appeal of your book.
With the help of the tips mentioned above, you can not only improve readability but also enhance the overall appeal of the book easily.
So, you have gotten your book published. Congratulations! You might think that the hard part is over but we hate to break it to you, it isn’t.
There’s still some distance you have to cover and book advertising is one path that you inevitably will cross. It is a major factor that plays a huge role in the success of your book. The last thing you would want is to waste money, time and energy on poor marketing and book advertising.
Whether you’re looking to market a hard copy or an eBook, the following are some excellent book advertising tips which can help you.
Set Up a Promotion
Hold an online quiz or offer a discount or a book package to boost interest in your book. Many people, especially avid readers, love a good promotion. Not only will they buy your book but if it is good, they will probably recommend it to others.
Organic, word-of-mouth book advertising plus a healthy promotion from your end will give a lot of results.
Use Social Media Platforms
Many writers focus on traditional routes of advertising such as book signings, local book gathering or even the radio. However, unless you are already established and have a good following, it can be hard to make a big impact.
Luckily, you can save time and money by choosing to use social media platforms instead. Whether you are on Facebook or Twitter, you can create bigger and faster engagement with ease.
Record an Audiobook
Just as there are many readers who enjoy reading on Kindle, there are many who love audiobooks. Audiobooks have slowly grown in popularity to rival eBooks. Recording one can be time consuming, especially if you are choosing to do it yourself. However, the effort and time you put in it will be rewarded with the large number of sales you garner.
A well-recorded audiobook can increase interest in your work as a writer and be an invaluable tool in book advertising.
Use Reviews of Your Books
From blog posts about your book to 5 star ratings on Amazon and Facebook, you can incorporate your positive reviews into your book advertising strategy. Positive reviews also increase interaction with other bloggers. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to interact with them. An added plus is if your book has a beautiful cover, making it Instagram worthy for pictures.
Book advertising can be complicated since what works for one author might not work for the other. As long as you understand your target audience and their buying behavior, you won’t have any problems in advertising your book for them.
You might think that the hard part is over once you have finished your book.
While you should rightfully celebrate this amazing accomplishment, it is also a good time to mentally prepare for the final leg of the race here. You should now focus on self publishing your book to get it out to the masses.
Self publishing entails doing all the work that a regular publishing house does. In short, you have to edit and format the content, design the cover as well as the marketing and pricing of the book. Self publishing can be challenging, particularly for newbies but with the help of the following tips, you can make things easier for yourself.
1. Designing the Cover
This might be the second step but it is extremely important. A good cover can entice readers as well as reflect the message of the story without giving away spoilers. Having a cover that does all that is necessary. Remember, we all judge a book by its cover, so make sure you have a great one!
2. Know Your Format
Self publishing can be done through traditional print or in a digital format. Either format comes with a number of different challenges that need to be considered. Traditional print also tends to be more expensive to self publish and sell so it is a good idea to think about your available budget.
3. Picking the Market
Once you have decided the format, you need to pick the marketplace you are going to release your book on. Amazon, Apple and even Google offer online libraries but you can also monitor the reading habits of your target market. Younger readers are more comfortable with eBooks they can read on their Kindle or tablets. Older readers still tend to prefer traditional print books.
4. Focusing on the Fine Details
Always focus on the fine details when you are self publishing. Often these are the very same details that a publishing house would be managing. However, since you are self publishing, you are responsible for them. These include the layout of the page, knowing fictional and non-fictional book formats, adding images, picking the type of paper to print on, getting an ISBN number and more.
5. Don’t Forget Your Rights
Make sure that you are 100% certain that you hold the rights to your book. Always ensure that you have full ownership of your ISBN number, your book as well as the cover unless otherwise specified. This ensures that should your book become a best-seller, you won’t suddenly be inundated with lawsuits or pending payments from its shares.
Book cover designers.