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November Update and #IWSG Question

What's harder?
Hello Lovelies,
Man alive, October Frights was a blast and it got me creating new fiction again. I LOVED it.
So, to keep in the spirit, I decided to do NaNoWriMo this year. It’s been a hot minute. But some of my best works came out of NaNo and it’s great for keeping me motivated with that collective word count goal. I need that motivation! If you’re participating in NaNo, feel free to follow me!
I am working on the 3rd book in The Hunters Saga, The Counsel, for NaNoWriMo, as well as working to get the first books re-launched under my own umbrella.
Combine that with prepping for holidays, and reconstruction from a bathroom leak, November is shaping up to be a CRAZY busy month. Definitely need the motivation vibes from everyone!
On to the main event!

#IWSG November Prompt

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

This month’s optional question:

What’s Harder to do, Coming up with Your Book Title or Writing the Blurb?

Honestly, I am the worst at titles. I either tend to go too esoteric (Elements of a Broken Mind) or too basic (The Hunters) and trying to match for genre is just…. ugh.
The blurb, I actually find a lot easier. I get more words! Lol.
But, I also am lucky to have built up a pretty awesome community and with both, I always shop them in Author Anon and after getting their feedback and tweaking, I shop them in my reader support group Heidi Angell’s Geek Street Squad. I used to use other groups to shop but found that the feedback often conflicted and was so divorced from who I am as a writer, my brand, and my audience. So now I just stick to these two groups. If you are an author who would like help shopping your titles, blurbs, covers, marketing content etc. I welcome you to join Author Anon. If you love my work, come join The Geek Street Squad!

Thank you to the awesome co-hosts for the November 3 posting of the IWSG, Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!

Be sure to check out the other awesome posts on the Blog Hop
And until next time,
Keep Reading!
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#IWSG – How Do You Define Success

#IWSG How Do you Measure Success?

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to another look into my life as a writer and the fun of #IWSG monthly prompts! This month we’re looking into what defines success as a writer.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting
You ready?
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!


For those who don’t know, I’ve been writing for probably close to 30 years, publishing for nearly 15, and I have run the gamut of defining success. From setting a goal to write 50K words in a month. (I’ve “won” Nano about 9 times.) to writing The End to cap off a new story (over 17 times.) to holding my book in my hands, to being a guest speaker at conventions, to running a publishing house and helping others see their dream happen, and I’m getting pretty darned close to filling up a whole bookshelf row (my ultimate goal is to be able to write enough good content to fill up a whole bookshelf, but still working on that.)

But the best experience I have had of “success” is one that I cannot plan for or control and in some ways, that makes it so much sweeter.

That is the moment when a fan shares their passion for your work, completely unsolicited, often unexpectedly. This happens as social media posts, book reviews, at book signings, and sometimes randomly on the street.

The best example I can share is when I was at the second annual SLC Comic-Con and this young man came up to the booth asking for the 2nd book in The Hunters Saga. I let him know that it wasn’t out yet but that it would be out later that year and gave him a bookmark so he could find me online to purchase it when it came out.  He didn’t even realize I was the author but he asked if I’d read the book and went on to tell me how it had completely changed his life. He felt so alone in the world until I’d written a character whom he could completely relate to with Chris.

That was when I realized that representation matters so much. Sharing stories of people with different motivations, different drives, different hopes and dreams, different experiences, all of that is so important. Because we don’t get that so much in the mainstream media. I started my career off focused on writing strong women, women like me and my friends who didn’t fit the “traditional model”.

This is why I keep writing and exploring new and different characters and stories.

People are different. We need to accept and embrace those differences and see how those differences can create a brighter more vibrant world.

Giving that feeling of not being alone, of being seen and known and VALUED.

To be able to do that with “silly fun fiction stories that people don’t really NEED” (that quote is from a nonfan who didn’t understand why I was wasting my time writing when I could be doing really valuable work.

So glad I did not listen to that person’s opinion.

Until next time,

Keep reading, writing, and growing! 

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Joining IWSG- Craft of Writing Books and What’s New?

IWSG- Craft of Writing and What's new

Hello Lovelies,

Man, it has been a hot minute since I posted anything, hasn’t it? My whole routine of things has been so out of whack and I have been trying to do all the things and getting so overwhelmed.  I have been struggling, for real. How, after being in the writing industry for 12 years, after writing 13 books, and reaching a pinnacle, can I be struggling?

Because no one tells you that even when you achieve “success” that there is a lot to maintaining success. Other writers share their experiences with imposter syndrome all the time, but we all seem to think “Oh, once I hit this magical number (of sales, of books published, or experience, whatever), that feeling will go away.”

The last two years have been rough as I try to republish all my books, re-release all my courses, build my blog back out, and work a day job all while dealing with my health issues.

So my first step to trying to get back on track with the site is to start writing here regularly. Get back to the creative stuff, not just the replicating stuff. But I need some outside help so I’ve joined the Insecure Writer’s Support group.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

I’ve been an avid fan of the group for years, but have never been more than a spectator until now.

Each month IWSG members share a post discussing our struggles as writers, network to support one another, and it gives me some outside motivation to keep to a schedule over here on the blog.

This month, we’re sharing the top books we recommend to help with writing craft.

My bible, which sits on my work shelf in view whenever I have questions is The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White.



I probably review this book every couple of months. It isn’t focused on writing fiction but I tend to be a very functional writer and need the reminders from this gem. The tips apply to all forms of written communication from blogging to fiction writing.

Alex J. Cavenaugh recommends Save the Cat, which is another great resource that is geared towards screenwriters but is a fantastic tool on storytelling in general. Check out all the other recommendations on the list. I know I will be buying a lot of books on the craft of writing this month!

One that is on my TBR so will be the first book I buy is Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James.


Any that you recommend? Let us know in the comments so we can all grow together!


Until next time,

Keep Writing!


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How to Market Your Book In 2021- Guest Post by Rose Patterson

Marketing is the single most effective method of selling books. That was emphasized in our post ‘The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape—and What You Can Do’, which also touched on how the pandemic has changed the book marketing landscape. For example, the pandemic has shut down release tours, leaving authors one less marketing strategy to employ.

Then again, release tours are just one component of book marketing, which ought to be multi-pronged if it is to be effective. A multi-pronged approach is even more crucial moving forward in light of the many marketing strategies that you can now employ. And here are some of the best:

Leverage Amazon

The obvious option here is to self-publish via Amazon—as Israeli author Mike Omer has been doing since 2016. In fact, Omer’s first book, Spider’s Web earned him enough money to quit his day job as a computer engineer and become a full-time author instead.

Alternatively, you can start your own store on Amazon, and it is easy to do yet extremely beneficial. Some of the benefits of starting an Amazon store include its low start-up fees and the site’s wide reach. When you become an Amazon seller, you gain access to the over 100 million Prime members of Amazon, whose collective spending in 2019 comprise 45% of all online spending that year. Having your own store lets you tap into that massive market, and potentially boost sales!

You can use Amazon Advertising, too, wherein you market your book on Amazon. All you have to do is sign up, choose the type of ad you want to buy, pay a minimal fee ($1–$5 a day), upload your book’s cover, and write a 30-word marketing hook for it.

Take Advantage of Free Publicity

Now, even while on Amazon already, it is critical that you still look for and maximize free publicity. And as outlined in ‘How to Get Free Publicity’, the key to this strategy is simply to ask around.

Ask your peers to feature you in their social media or blogging platforms—and reciprocate the favor when the time comes. Reach out to your local paper or library, or even your alma mater. Ask help from anyone and everyone. Then, expand your network and keep asking people to put a good word out about your book.

Be on Social Media

Lastly, use social media! For the most part, it is okay to be on multiple platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Just remember that there are pros and cons to joining each one, so choose wisely.

Facebook, for instance, is best leveraged if you have the budget to run paid ads. Instagram, on the other hand, will require a level of creativity in making visuals, while YouTube will necessitate speaking in front of a camera. The key is to choose the platform you are most comfortable with and then master it before moving to another one.

From there, engage with your audience as often as you can. Share your writing inspirations, give overviews of what your book is about, and provide insight into your creative process. Hold contests, offer discounts, and share fan-made content. In other words, give your audience compelling reasons to check back infrequently, and to buy your book eventually.

Pursue Those Reviews!

Rob Dircks is a self-published author, whose first book, ‘Where the Hell Is Tesla?’, sold 10,000 copies in its first 12 months. One of his secrets to success is relentlessly pursuing reviews, as the more thoughtful reviews you have, the more your book gains credibility. To do this, you need to get in touch with as many advanced reviewers as possible prior to your book launch so that the reviews will be available by then.

Actively look up reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible, too, and offer a complimentary copy of the book (plus a small token) in exchange for a review. Lastly, include a clear call to action at the end of your book encouraging readers to share their thoughts on your book. Emphasize that dropping a review can help independent authors gain exposure and boost sales.

Now, if all of the above is too much work for you, feel free to get in touch with us for additional help. You can also check out the Marketing Tips section for more tips on how to best market your books. If you’re looking for a chance to do a virtual convention, check out LitCon2021

Happy writing!

BIO: Rose Patterson is a freelance journalist, creative writer, and part-time editor. She is also an aspiring author looking to publish her own novel in the future.

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What Direct Mail Marketing Can do for Your Book Promotion

Finishing your manuscript may seem like the biggest hurdle in your book journey, but the whole thing is a marathon, not a sprint. Sending it off to the printers doesn’t mean that everything is over and done with. On the contrary, you now have to contend with the latest challenge of modern authorship: marketing your book.

In our post The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape — and What You Can Do, we talked about the struggle to find effective marketing techniques in the current climate. Things like traditional readings and tours may not be enough to cut it anymore, so it’s up to authors and publishers to think of new and innovative approaches to get the word out there.

That’s where direct mail marketing comes in. While not exactly “new”— it’s been around for almost as long as advertising itself, after all— it’s definitely an effective way to capture readers’ and distributors’ attention. Curious? Read on below for exactly how direct mail can boost your sales and readership.

Why Direct Mail?

First off, why direct mail? Sending out mail materials can seem like a huge drain on resources and energy that could be directed elsewhere. After all, you’re going to have to plan materials, rent a mailing list, send them out, and wait for responses. But direct mail marketing is actually worth all that work.

Direct mail marketing is high impact, low cost. Redemption and response rates on direct mail campaigns often soar high above equivalent digital campaigns. A study conducted by the UK Royal Mail found that 60% of people believe direct mail makes a more lasting impression.

In fact, as high as 95% of 18-to-29-year-olds look forward to receiving personal cards and letters in the mail, Gallup reports. Direct mail materials are effective because they tap into a part of our brain that elicits positive feelings and better memory. Where an email promotion might be forgotten as quickly as a click to another page, direct mail materials stay relevant for recipients for far longer.

How Can You Use Direct Mail?

But how can an author use direct mail? It’s pretty easy. Probably one of the greatest advantages of direct mail is that when it comes to design, your imagination is the limit. Paper postcards are a great approach as they’re lightweight and cost nearly nothing to produce, but they’re not the only option out there.

Plastic postcards, for example, are a great out-of-the-box approach to direct mail marketing. Marketing specialists Triadex Services report that plastic postcards can yield redemption rates as high as 71%—  a huge return on investment. You can also try sending out little trinkets or freebies related to your book, sparking opportunities for conversation and sharing among your recipients.

When it comes to marketing techniques that are high ROI but low cost per lead, direct mail marketing definitely tops the charts. If you want to bring your book into your readers’ homes even before it’s launched, then this might be the way to do it. Unique, impactful, and effective, it’s a marketing tool that every book author should be able to master.

contributed by Celine Soria Briones

Thank you, Celine, for an interesting new idea on old marketing techniques.

Do you have a tip on book marketing techniques that you’ve tried? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Are you looking for other book marketing techniques? Feel free to check out our Angell4Authors Author Support

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The DL on #Writerslift

The DL on writerslift

Happy Wednesday! 

Let’s talk about a phenomenon that has taken Twitter by storm: the #Writingcommunity #Writerlift #Wednesday posts. 

For those who’ve not had the privilege of discovering these mad events, let me break down what it is. Every Wednesday (and a lot of Saturdays, and Sundays, and apparently any time someone hits or almost hits a new arbitrary follower count) these lifts are purportedly designed for networking with fellow writers, boosting your follower count on twitter, and helping one another out. But after a few months of participating, I’ve found some concerning issues with these events. Let me break them down so you can protect yourself. 

Don’t go to Twitter Jail 

One of the dangers of #writerslift is that many authors put their content in and then go through this thread with hundreds of comments, following every single person who comments. In a day or two, they will unfollow all who don’t follow them back. That’s not networking. That’s follow for follow, which is specifically against Twitter policies. Twitter will lock your account when they see you following and unfollowing large numbers because that behavior is against twitter terms of service. 

Blue bird mug shot- Twitter Jail
This image 1st used in

So if you decide to participate in these events, don’t just randomly follow. Be selective. Follow writers in the same genre. Follow 10 to 20 and then interact with them and give them a chance to follow you back. If, after a week or two they don’t follow you back, you can let them go. It’s hard to be patient and grow your following slowly and steadily. I totally understand. But as I mentioned in my Twitter Tips, you are better off with 5,000 true fans who you are actively engaged with than to have 30,000 followers who never interact with your content (or worse, never buy your books.) Unless, of course, you’re just in it for the big number. But why would anyone do that? 

Ask Yourself What is the Benefit to You?

There are many who’ve been in the #writingcommunity for some time and have asked a very valid question about #writerslifts: who is really benefiting from this? The person(s) who get the first three or four posts out and get RT’ed over and over and end up with hundreds of comments and RTs on their post most certainly. But does anyone else benefit from it? 

What is the purpose of having a lot of followers on twitter? To show you have a platform and an audience, right? But if those numbers of people never interact or engage with you, then does it do you any good? Or did you sell your follow for a follow and now you’ve muddied your analytics to the point that you won’t even be able to use the data to advertise effectively? 

But you can mitigate that, obviously. You can be selective about who you follow and work to build relationships with those people (hopefully) right? 

Yes, but…. I think there’s something else going on with a lot of these #writerlifts. There are people exploiting authors’ desperate desire to build a following and are using that to build up accounts and then sell them. I can’t prove that, but I’m generally pretty selective about who I follow. I have key qualifications that determine who I follow on Twitter, and I am very big on making a concerted effort to engage with and interact with those I’m following as well as with my followers. 

I have participated in a lot of #writerlifts in the last three months. In the last month or so I’ve noticed some oddities. I have a strict unfollow principle. If you are someone I’m interested in following but you don’t follow back, I put you in the appropriate list and then I unfollow you. In the last two months, I have had way more unfollows than I have previously. (I’ve also seen others complain about experiencing this after doing a lift. Some people are predatory. Whatever.) The weird part is that when I go to unfollow these accounts, they have a crazy imbalance (like 300 following, 28K followers.) and they have nothing to do with any of my buckets. 

I don’t follow random people. I don’t follow insurance companies (and yet I was unfollowed by three in the last month.) I don’t follow musicians unless I actually know and like their music. Yet I have a bunch of synth pop, dubstep, and rappers unfollowing me the last two months. 

Be Selective

So am I saying you shouldn’t participate in #writerslifts? No, actually. But re-evaluate why you’re doing it and be careful who you do it with. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon. But when someone you know does a lift and it fits your needs then by all means, participate. 

 I do #writerslifts every Wednesday on my own page. It is truly about networking. I mix it up every week and keep it narrowed to appropriate audiences. This inherently means that I don’t get a ton of shares or comments, but I’m not in it to get a ton of comments or likes to boost my numbers. My hope is to help people network and if we work together and remember what the purpose of #writerslifts are then my efforts will gain ground. 


I am looking to network with my #writerlift. I will ask for specific genres. I also ask you to list your favorite author, booktuber, book blogger, whatever in that genre. This isn’t about follow-for-follow. This is about introducing others to people you know who are amazing. 

This is putting the social back into social media. Which is great because it’s kind of like doing the #FF. You are recommending someone, which makes them feel special when you tag them. You are following fellow authors, bloggers, etc in your genre, which is really helpful. And if you play it right (build a list and add them to it.) you are providing yourself easily curated content to RT as needed to fill out your own content. And by RTing them (you guessed it) you build that relationship and make them feel special. They are then more likely to return the favor and RT your content. Suddenly you find yourself in a group that are lifting one another up. 

Win/Win/win because your fans win too by being introduced to other amazing content that they will hopefully love too.  

So, feel free to join me every Wednesday for my lift. If I’m featuring outside your genre but you know others who are in that genre, please tag them. If I am featuring your genre, please tag others first before letting us all know you’re part of that genre too. 

And if you’re doing a #writerslift, please feel free to invite me too. I love them when it’s done by authors I know!

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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How to Create Effective Media Kits

How to create effective media kits

I talk about media kits all the time. They are essential for a book launch, for book promotion, for event promotion, for interviews, everything to do with public relations, publicity, and even for your own marketing convenience. They are essential to be able to maximize your virtual book tour, which is why I spend a whole lesson on how to create your own media kit for your tour and give you a template to build in the course. (If you are interested in being on the waiting list to know as soon as Maximize Your Virtual Book Tour Masterclass relaunches, please sign up for my newsletter and select that you’re interested in Angell’s 4 Authors. )

I talk about it briefly in 5 Inexpensive Ways to Skyrocket Book Event Success.

And I stressed the importance of having it when I talked about How to Get Free Publicity.

What is a Media Kit?

The generic answer is that a media kit is a grab bag with the most important information that you can share with journalists (or whoever) to create consistent content and branding. You can read a bit more about what publicists include in media kits in CP Communications publicity tips guide.

I have so many media kits for me and my books that I actually created templates of them under OWS to make it easier for the marketing managers for the books we were publishing were able to ensure that each author had everything needed for their annual marketing campaigns. (If you would like a copy of this template format to customize for your own work, I would be happy to provide it for $50. The template kit includes an author media kit, a book launch media kit, a book tour kit and an event media kit. Or you can piece it together from this post.)

What do I have in my Author Media Kit?

I have pictures. In my kit, I include my most recent headshot, my book covers, photos from my most recent events, awards I’ve earned. Each picture is the highest quality png I have available to reduce the risk of grainy images that don’t scale properly since most of my media work is online.  

Next, I have a one-sheet that includes: my bio, awards I’ve won, references to the images in the kit (For example, Heidi Angell speaks to a room of 10,000 at SLC ComicCon 2013 where she was part of the momentous largest 1st-time ComicCon in history), Lists of the awards and their significance, a few quotes about me as an author, links to my website, my book shop pages on my site, my e-newsletter sign up link, my social media links, and links to my most recent media appearances.

Lastly, I have a “commonly asked questions” page. This page consists of all the most commonly asked questions I get and the answers I have carefully prepared.

What do I have in my Book Media Kit?

Images- all the images that have been created for the book in the same quality as in my author kit. Book quote images, review quote images, book ads, everything. I rarely send the book media kit to anyone. But I can pull the items that are appropriate for each event quickly and easily as I have everything in one place on my drive.

I create a book one-sheet with a lot of the same information that is on my author one-sheet except specifically for my book. The Hook, the blurb, review quotes, pricing, links to all the sales pages (starting with my storefront page.) and links to all the recent publicity.

I include a “Most common questions” about the book sheet. With, you guessed it, my carefully prepared answers. When I do tours or events for the book, if a clever new piece comes to light, I will add it to this kit. I try to keep the common questions doc down to 2 pages and curate only the best questions and answers.

I also create series media kits for the same purpose.

What Goes into a Launch Tour Kit?

Images: I will add my most recent headshot, the book covers, the launch tour banners, and then 2-3 promo images (typically 1 quote, 1 review quote, and 1 ad image.)

The Tour Launch One Sheeter actually becomes quite long because it will have the tour dates, the hook, a sales copy description (NOT your blurb, how boring.) the pricing for e-book and paperback with links to my shop pages and Draft2Digital so the contact can choose the bookstore link that works best for them.

If I am doing any kind of giveaway, I will provide the link and the HTML and the rules of the giveaway.

I will then list each stop in the tour and the location information.

I also include a “commonly asked questions” page with the questions from my author, book, and if this is the next book in a series I will add the series questions as well.

What is in an event kit?

The event kit is the template I use for creating a signing kit, a sales tour kit, a festival kit or con kit, and an awards announcement kit.

The event kit is for any one-off event. It will pull heavily from the author, book, and series kit.

For images, I include the headshot, book cover if for a single signing, the series cover if for the series, or if I am doing an event where I am repping all my books, then the scalable version of my social media covers which has all my books in a row based on the order of publication. If it is a convention or festival, I will include their custom content. If it is a signing or an event I am running myself then I will create custom media for it including banners, ads, and flyers.

I have a one-sheet that provides key details about the event. Dates, times, locations, purpose. The one-sheet will also have my bio, my key links, and some pull quotes. If I am doing a giveaway then the details of the giveaway and how to enter will be included.

I will have a commonly asked questions sheet tied around whatever the event is about.

I will also include a marketing plan in this media kit, though it won’t be sent to my publicity lists. I may use it to curry favor with the event location or organizers though. See, I build these kits in advance. Showing I am prepared to promote the event may be the difference between my getting a signing or my needing to find four other authors to attend if I want the location to say yes. It could be the difference between me just having a booth at the convention, or being able to get on a panel or two or three. It could get me higher billing on the event venue’s promotional content.

So there you have it, my top tips on how to create effective media kits and how to reuse your templates to make it easier to recreate next time.

A note about Design

These media kits are going out to the public. Literally, some of the people you send it to may simply copy and paste what you provide them. It is essential that you take some time to make it clean and polished. Add in some branding. If you use a specific font on your cover, use the same as the headers in your kit pages. If you use a specific font in your book for chapters, use the same font for your section headers in your media kit.

If you have a special image header for your social media pages, use that in your author media kit header. You can even incorporate colors.

Take as much time with these kits as you do with everything else in your book publishing process. This is literally the icing on the cake that is your book. It needs to look and taste and feel as good as the cake itself.

If this sounds like a lot of work and you would rather have my templates, you can order them here:

Is that still more work than you care for?

I am available for hire. Email me at with “free 1/2 hr publicity consultation” and let me know what event you have planned, when it is, and I will reach out to schedule a half-hour appointment with you to discuss a proposed plan and cost.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape- and what You can Do

The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape- and what You can Do

Hello Lovelies,

Over the last few months I have been sharing a lot of marketing tips, such as How to get Free Publicity, How to Create an Effective Media Kit, and Marketing in Minutes a Day because marketing is the single most effective method of selling books and it takes careful planning with a multi-pronged approach to be successful. However, thanks to Covid-19, I am seeing that some of the more intricate elements of the marketing landscape are shifting and changing. I want to talk a bit about what you can do if you are like so many I’ve seen who are struggling.

What has changed in Marketing?

I have been reading a lot of posts on social media, in author-focused forums, and in industry mags lamenting the damage Covid-19 has done to the book marketing landscape. Everything from release tours being canceled to indie authors (who have always championed online marketing while trad tends to snub their nose at it) have seen it harder to get stops for a virtual tour and everyone has seen their sales plummet, their keyword competition go up, and their overall advertising strategy not be as effective.

While some of the struggles of placements will be significantly reduced in the coming weeks and months as those who were laid off rejoin the workforce and have less time on their hands, they still have seen how many opportunities there are and will certainly continue to weave that into their marketing-while-working schedule. I know I did when I went back into the workforce.

I also suspect that we will continue to see trad authors taking advantage of more and more virtual tours. It is something that we’ve already seen YA and Fantasy trad authors taking advantage of more frequently and that shift will continue to grow.

So what is a small press or indie author to do as our free and low-cost options quickly outgrow our reach?

There are a lot of options still available to us. Do not despair.

Tap New Blog Markets

We all love book bloggers (I am one, so you’d better love us!) but more and more of the book bloggers are closing their review request doors for extended periods of time (I totally get it, I have 185 books in my TBR. at an average of 3 books a month, it is going to take forever for me to get to all those books.)

While I totally respect the “don’t pay for a review” philosophy, there are a lot of reviewers who are offering to bump your book up in the line for a fee. If that blog has enough reach, it is worth considering.

You can also look at blog-adjacent areas. Are your books geared to teens, what are some teen bloggers who talk about popular teen interests? Reach out to them and request a review.

Is your book about Fantasy? Reach out to video game or movie bloggers who focus on Fantasy. There are thousands. It is a unique take for them so they very well may give you a mention.

Think outside the box (or book, in this case) and target blogs that share an interest in your subject matter. Have a strong female character? Feminist bloggers LOVE showing strong female characters in culture. Your book qualifies. Break the mold.

Tap Other Resources

But you can also look at other outlets. Submitting to literary magazines and for editorial reviews is a tried and true method in the traditional publishing world.

There are a lot of sites popping up to allow you easier management of reviews, such as Netgalley, Reedsy, and online book club. Most of these sites will have a fee associated with them and there is a ton of competition, but if you have a compelling title, cover, and blurb you can get a lot of reviews.

Or you could consider a market that is being tapped pretty powerfully by a lot of brands from tech to cooking products and weightloss, but has barely been touched by the author industry.

Influencer Marketing

You have probably seen on Bookstagram the hundreds of influencers hoping to get repped by one of the top 5 publishers, or the trend that booktube is always talking about the same YA books? That is influencer marketing at work and while the top 5 have tapped it pretty hard for YA, they have not realized the benefit of it for other genres for some strange reason.

#Catherinehouse on IG, over 1,200 posts. Not an accident

But you can. Intellifluence is a great tool for you as an author to tap into the Influencer market and they give you access to over 36 million influencers.

I am one of those Influencers and man people are not taking enough advantage of that market. I’ve only seen a few nonfiction (mostly weight loss) books available so far. Which means that it is ripe for you to get in on.

Think Outside the Box

We always have new marketing strategies that gain ground and then get overwhelmed by everyone jumping on the band wagon (E-newsletters, Facebook launch parties, #writerslifts, you know what I’m talking about.)

Some are pulled from what other marketing is growing in other industries (like e-newsletters grew in the wake of e-mail becoming a hot marketing trend.) but others come from someone looking at a system and thinking up a new tool for that system.

So many book festivals are shifting to online and finding that online has been HUGELY successful (Which B2BCyCon already knew from 5 years of online events.)

So brainstorm from what you’re seeing and be brave and try something new. Whether it be seeding wildflowers with your name (or the name of your book.) like Robert Sheehan of Umbrella Academy admits doing.

let your brain run wild.

Want help with your marketing strategy? Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me

Have an out of the box idea you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Until Next Time,

Keep Writing!

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How to get Free Publicity

How to get Free Publicity

The answer to how to get free publicity is shockingly simple. Ask.

What? I know, you need more than that. I get it. Asking is the simplest and hardest thing for anyone to do. There is so much that goes into asking. Let’s break it down into easily digestible chunks: Who, what, when, where to ask for free publicity. We already know why you are asking for free publicity, but we will have a bonus why addressed here.

Who to Ask

This is actually completely up to you, your network, your confidence, and your skill.

If you have little time and a lot of money, you would be best served hiring a publicist, however, they can be quite pricey. Even top authors typically only hire a publicist about 2-3 months before a release and then have them plan publicity for the next 12 weeks or so.

But they are not cheap and finding the quality of a publicist is often tricky. Your best bet is talking to someone you know and trust who uses a publicist and asking what they thought of their publicist.

Let’s say you don’t have $1,000 to $10,000 to invest in a publicist. You can be your own. It’s a lot harder, but can be very beneficial to getting free publicity in the long run.

The generic answer of “who to ask” that publicists consider is local, regional, national media (in that order.) because starting with local is easier for newbies with limited platforms. It is easier to find relevance, and there will be less competition. That is not necessarily true for someone writing in a major city. You also have tons of online opportunities for free publicity. They don’t fall into the same scope as real-world media but you have small, medium, large, and massive audiences you can tap for free publicity.

The best place to start when looking for who to ask is to look to your current network. Do you follow other authors on social media? Check their website out. Many of us blog and as part of our blog, we are open to sharing our platform in hopes that someone will share their platform with us when we are ready to promote. This is my number one recommendation for free publicity. You can take a look at how I share my platform in my Angell’s 4 Authors post.  

An Angell's Life

You may ask those in your same genre if they will let you share on their social media page or e-newsletter list.

Go beyond the authors you know. Otherwise, it quickly becomes a repetitive circle jerk, much like the end of Facebook parties.

Do you know someone who also knows you and works at your local paper, at a school that is the right target audience for your work, at a business that is always doing events for their team? Write their names down.

Do you know someone who also knows you and works at the local library? You could reach out to them to arrange an event.

Maybe you aren’t super connected. That’s ok. I’ve been there too. When we moved across country seven years ago, I knew five people where we moved. All from the same family, three of them were kids. Slowly but surely I have built up a local base. You can do the same. Go to the library, go to bookstores. Talk to people. Ask them about themselves. File bits of information away for later.

But you don’t have to wait, either. You can make lists of people you want and need to know. Who handles the entertainment and events sections of your local newspapers. Get their name and contact details. You can usually find it on the paper’s website. If you are able, make that publicity list on a regional level.

I have so many lists that it is ridiculous. All have been created at local and regional levels, and I have even created lists free publicity outlets for places where I am traveling and plan to do signings on my trip. Why not stay an extra night at Disney and do a book signing and get to write off half your vacation as a business trip? Win/win! But we’re talking about publicity packets.

Each publicity packet I create has the following:

Local and regional Newspapers

Local and regional Radio stations

Local and regional Libraries

Local and regional bookstores

And then I have my online resources. I have a variety of different lists depending on my genre and audience that I am targeting:

Press Release distributors

Book reviewers





99% of what is on my free publicity lists, I found through google search and social media. You can do the same. It takes time and working on your lists regularly, but there are so many publicity opportunities out there that it is so easy to get free publicity. I strongly recommend that you spend at least a few hours every week creating these lists, and once your book is finished and getting ready for release, spend a few more hours each week crafting campaigns to target to each segment accordingly.

What to Ask

This is something that needs to be carefully crafted depending on the target, the purpose, the audience. But there is a formula that you can use to create your templated ask.

Who is their audience + Why would their audience benefit from + knowing about my X= a perfect pitch.

If you can also tie it to something timely, that is newsjacking.

If you can tie it to something local that adds draw.

When to Ask

I am all about templates and in my course “How to Maximize Your Virtual Book Tour” I actually share the templated email I create for every one of my book tours and send to book reviewers, book podcasters, and Booktubers. There are pieces that get customized on each template and those pieces are exactly what you see above.

I have templates for each of those free publicity lists I mentioned, and templates for each of the different types of events. A release tour, an awards event, a sales announcement, a book signing, attending a festival. Now obviously some of that news will be newsworthy on many of my publicity lists, and some of it will have a narrower scope. But the point is that if I have it all ready and easy to access, then planning my when to ask becomes a lot easier.

For new release tours, I start planning three-four months out so that I can reach out to bookstores to plan signings with 2-3 months notice, I can reach out to book reviewers with at 2 least months notice, I can reach out to virtual tour stops with 4-6 weeks notice. That gives me time to get all the stops I want for a 6-12 week tour.

Two weeks before the tour starts, I will start reaching out to local newspapers, news channels, radio channels, libraries, and event calendars to share the full tour masterlist in an effort to get free publicity.

For smaller events, you are looking at a much smaller lead time. For conventions, you want to reach out to local news about a month before because you are not the only one who will be trying to do so.

For a regular book signing, I plan with the venue about a month out, and reach out to local lists a week or two before to see about setting up some promotional spots or doing an interview. The day or two before, I will target local free promotional spots with flyers. Anywhere there might be a local message board such as grocery stores, libraries, gyms, community centers, schools, parks. Any free publicity to drive as much traffic to the event as possible.

Where to Ask

Whenever possible, ask in person.

As uncomfortable as it may be for you to ask, it is also the most uncomfortable way for them to say no.

Next best bet is to ask by phone. We have become a society that loathes using phones. As such, their phone probably isn’t ringing that much.

If you have a choice between your email or their contact me form, use their form.

Email is a last resort partially because it is so easy to ignore, and more importantly if your email address gets reported as spam or deleted without reading too frequently, it will get lumped into your non-contacts spam folders automatically. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t check our spam folders. That doesn’t do you any good at all.

Why to Ask

Because the worst thing that they can do is ignore you.

But the best-case scenario is that they make time for you and you build your reputation, your brand, your audience, your sales.

A couple of other benefits to asking:

The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

The more you practice, the easier it is to craft your message.  

Create a page on your website for media appearances and link to all those events. Add that page in your correspondence. It will give them more confidence in having you on.

This is how media darlings are born. Everyone wants to be in on the hottest news.

Not all of this will be free publicity because you may have to pay for flyers or travel costs, or promote a really good blogger’s book review on your tour, or put an ad in the paper to announce an event that they didn’t seem interested in giving you free space for.

But so much of it will be more valuable than running Amazon Ads, Bookbubs, or Google Ads.

Got any specific questions about how to get free publicity that I didn’t address here? Feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer your questions.

Want to learn how to prepare a media kit to have everything you need for any type of publicity or 5 Inexpensive Ways to Skyrocket Book Event Success

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

Posted on

How to Manage Contracts Efficiently

How to Manage Contracts Efficiently

Hello Lovely Writers, 

As an indie author, you become more than just a writer. You must manage every aspect of your business. Part of that is managing book contracts. You need to protect your rights and your book. You also know as a savvy business owner that you cannot do all the work yourself. You will hire many different contractors based on your budget, time, skills, and needs. Everything from editors to cover designers to marketing support and Personal Assistants. 

You can hope that the people you hire will be professional enough to manage contracts, but in my experience, a lot of them work on the digital handshake method. This leaves you hanging if things don’t work out. You do not want to risk your masterpiece this way! You should have contracts drawn up for each project and have them signed before any money exchanges hands.  But if you are working with contractors all over the world, (my cover artist for The Hunters Saga is based out of Greece.) How do you manage contracts? Do you let your work wait for a contract that was sent via certified mail and requires notaries? That could delay project start dates up to a whole month. In the publishing world, that is a long wait. Why not send a digital contract? They are considered as viable as a physical contract, and in a lot of ways are more secure and don’t require a notary because proving who is who becomes a lot easier! Digital contracts are as viable as paper contracts with less hassle.

I Sign Here is an electronic signature company that you can utilize month-to-month (only $15 a month for a single user) and will provide your e-signature needs. Get your contracts all lined up, and ready to go, get a one-month service contract, send out your contracts and get them signed, and then keep them on record. Or you can get a one-year service contract for only $180. That contract comes with 24/7 support services, unlimited contracts signed each month for one user. If you anticipate needing more than 4 contracts (typically 1 book per year) then this is a wise investment to protect your asset and is far cheaper than alternatives such as Docusign, or .E-signature by Adobe 

I’ve used I Sign Here for several years now and absolutely love the service and Karl Ward has been great. It really is a fantastic deal and a great way to help you save money.  Want to learn more about I Sign Here? Visit their website or contact owner Karl Ward. with your specific questions. Ready to get your own ISignHere Contract going today? Sign up and mention that Heidi Angell sent you to Karl. He will get your account set up within a few hours. Any questions about digital contracts or I Sign Here? Let us know in the comments below. 

Until next time, 

Keep Writing!