January 2021 Writers' Forum






The Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2021

The biggest news in these trends is that more traditionally published authors will move to indie publishing and that more platforms (beyond Amazon) will be competing for that indie author business. Overall, there will be more competition—and that also includes audiobook sales’ platforms. Ebook sales will continue to be selling at a high rate at least for the first half of the year when people are still largely isolating before mass vaccination is achieved. There’s much, much more here to digest—read the full article from Clayton Noblit at Written Word Media here.

Four Strategic Actions for a Productive Writing Year

C.S. Lakin dives into four strategies that can make our writing lives more productive this year. The first bit of advice is logical—WRITE. Her book “Crank it Out” discusses her 8-10 week strategy for getting a first draft done. The other three may not be as obvious; platform building, creating a writing community, and the importance of learning—as in never stop learning.  There’s lots to learn here: https://www.livewritethrive.com/2020/12/07/4-strategic-actions-for-a-productive-writing-year/

Key Publishing Paths 2021-22

Jane Friedman has updated her key publishing path sheet that breaks down the many different ways you can get your book published. Great resource, which is available to use in pdf format. Check it out: https://www.janefriedman.com/key-book-publishing-path/

Independent Publishing Blueprint: The Why & How of Indie Publishing!

Along those same lines, my newest course The Independent Publishing Blueprint is now available for $99. This course begins with a comprehensive discussion of the pros and cons of independent (self) publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional publishing. The rest of the course goes through a step-by-step approach or blueprint that will allow you to successfully publish your book independently. You’ll learn the lingo of the publishing world, business basics you need to consider, book readiness and formatting, categories and keywords, options for print, e-book, and audiobook – and as a bonus we'll discuss the elements of your online author image and a book marketing/launch campaign. The course includes a 60-minute instructional video, a Publishing Guidebook, and more.

Check out the full info here: https://valeriebiel.podia.com/independent-publishing-blueprint


Dave Chesson of the Kindlepreneur website provides some of the most helpful book marketing advice, tutorials, and tools that I use weekly (if not daily.) He has a newly designed website which you can find here: https://kindlepreneur.com/ Definitely sign up to receive his email updates. My favorite product is his Publisher Rocket program (affiliate link) which allows you to identify the best categories and keywords to aid your book’s findability on Amazon and design profitable Amazon keyword ads. (This system has saved me so many hours of research time as well as allowing my books to become highly ranked in additional Amazon book categories.) 

Here’s Dave’s Bio: I’m a military veteran, husband, and father of three crazy monkeys…I mean kids. But, when I’m not doing dad things, I’m an avid book marketer. 

My work in both publishing and book marketing has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, ALLi, Huffington Post, and even Market Watch.

I’ve been blessed to have worked with many New York Times bestselling authors in multiple genres and topics like Ted Dekker, Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson and more. I’ve also been a paid consultant to major publishing companies helping with digital sales, advertisement methods and sales page optimizations.

Even Amazon has recognized my book marketing strategies by officially saying that authors “…should gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing your books…”


How to Restart Your Unfinished Book

Allison Williams writes a very helpful post on Jane Friedman’s website about restarting your unfinished book. She guides us through identifying what is holding us back from finishing the manuscript and offers suggestions about what these might be. (And for those of with more than one unfinished project she gives tips on picking which one to tackle, too.)

How Many Acts Should Your Novel Have?

Allesandra Tore discusses using a four-act structure for your novel rather than three-act structure to help combat the sagging middle. And then breaking each of those four acts into two halves, giving you essentially eight mini-stories that convey your full story. It’s an interesting discussion—there’s both a video and an article. 

The Nuances of Deep POV Part 1 - 4

C.S. Lakin’s four-part series on Deep Point of View is one to take note of. Part one defines what this really is and reminds us of the difference between author voice and character voice—and how to be careful of slipping out of deep POV as you write. The other parts help you process sensory details as your character, write as your character instead of about them, and also delve into the difference between an author’s writing style and each character’s voice.

Start here with the link to part one: https://www.livewritethrive.com/2020/11/16/the-nuances-of-deep-pov-part-1/

Access the others here: Part Two - Part Three - Part Four 

Eight Novel Outline Templates That Help You Write Your Story

Thanks Novel Factory for these free writing outline templates. See if they can help you write your next (or maybe your current) book. There’s one for character-driven stories, hero’s journey, romance, mystery/crime, detective noir, universal, screenplay, and short story.

Show Don’t Tell the First Rule of Writing

We’ve read many articles about the advice to show readers things rather than telling them. I include this article by Lou Aronica from the Authors A.I. website because I love the way it focuses on the reader experience of being in the middle of the action—THIS is why show don’t tell is so important. Worth the read.


The Differences Between Line Editing, Copy Editing, and Proofreading

Sandra Wendel writes this comprehensive description of each of these three types of editing for Jane Friedman’s blog. Within the text there’s also a link to another article about structural or content editing. Great reminder on the focus of each type of editing: https://www.janefriedman.com/the-differences-between-line-editing-copy-editing-and-proofreading/

Proving Copyright Ownership with WIPO Proof

Robin Phillips brings us this article about a new way you can register ownership of digital files. “Earlier this year, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations (UN), created WIPO Proof as a way to register ownership of a digital file such as an ebook file or PDF." A WIPO Proof token costs less than registering with the US Copyright Office.” But there are cautions within this article about how and where this token can be useful.


Novel Submission Package Tips

Worth a watch: A ten-minute video from Mary Kole about creating a strong novel submission package that will get noticed by editors.

Writers: In These Covid Times Are You Prepared for the Unthinkable

No one wants to think about dying . . . but this article gives very clear guidance on the parts of our writer lives that may need to be addressed to make it easier for our loved ones to sort out our affairs if we were no longer here.

Technical Tips for Indie Authors Publishing a POD Book on Amazon KDP

Wolf Bahren hit it out of the park with a detailed account of her experiences publishing her print book on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. These are the kinds of tips and explanations that you don’t often find in other tutorials. https://www.wolfbahren.com/post/technical-tips-for-indie-authors-publishing-a-pod-book-on-amazon-kdp


Use Amazon’s Embed Feature to Preview Your Book Anywhere

We all know about Amazon’s “look inside” feature for books, but I’ll bet you didn’t know you can use it yourself to embed this preview in other places—like your website for instance. I followed Walter Rhein’s instructions on the Build Book Buzz website to post my book this way below.

19 Best Seller Tips from Trade Publishers

In this article from the Savvy Book Writers, you’ll get a helpful checklist of how to maximize your writing income with additional ways to share your story/content and a list of places where you can gain sales. You’re probably already doing a bunch of these—see the full list HERE.

Don’t Ignore Global/Worldwide Book Sales

There were two articles this month about expanding your book sales worldwide.

In “The #1 Mistake of Self-Published Authors for Worldwide Book Sales” from the BookBaby Blog, Steven Spatz talks statistics for which platforms sell the most books in markets other than the US. Note: Amazon does not have the market share in most other countries that it does in the US. Additionally, he has some handy notes on the number of English speakers in other countries for helping to target your efforts.

The Fussy Librarian article “Without Borders: Why You Need to Sell Global” echoes some of the same stats about readers in other countries and which platforms they use to purchase their digital books.

Three Ways to Sell More Novels in 2021

The Indie Reader article by Sandra Beckwith is short and sweet, but oh-so-smart! Get the details on following traditional publishing guidelines when you create your indie book, exploring promotional tactics beyond those typically employed for fiction, and focus in on who your ideal reader really is.


How to Market a Book on a Shoestring from Smart Authors Lab

Check out either the article or the accompanying video with these tips that help you leverage free or nearly free activities to promote your book.


How to Increase Reading Engagement When Promoting a New Book

I love this article from Sabrina Ricci which encourages authors to truly engage with their readership by asking questions of them and creating opportunities for Q&A sessions and more. You may have thought of some of these already—but have you done them? Read it all here: https://digitalpubbing.com/guest-post-how-to-increase-reader-engagement-when-promoting-a-new-book/

7 Ways Podcasting and Marketing Are the Same

Also by Sabrina Ricci, this article caught my eye as so many of us are engaged in podcasting or being guests on podcasts. This is a handy comparison about how the essential elements/steps of marketing are the same as podcasting. Fun article.

Won a Book Award? 12 Ways to Share the News

Sandra Beckwith has the best posts – and you’ll want to read this one in advance of any potential contest wins so you’re prepared! (That doesn’t jinx anything, does it??) "12 Ways to Share your Book Award Win News"

If you’re curious about how you can tell whether a contest is legitimate to enter in the first place, you might want to read my post: “Are Writing Contests Worth the Fees?”  I also go into more depth in a short course by the same name that covers both the steps to take when entering book award contests and what to do once you’ve won!


My Favorite Apps

Social Media Just for Writers is sharing a very helpful list of the favorite apps to help you control/wrangle your social media posting . . . everything from scheduling apps to graphic design assistance, you’ll want to read about these helpful apps that can save you precious time.

Mastering Pinterest for Small Business

Yes, your book writing is a small business. If you’re interested in learning more about how to make Pinterest work for you, this article from Bakerview Consulting might be a good place to start. I love using Pinterest for many things and am amazed at how many people visit my website from my Pinterest posts.

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  


Like the idea of previews on other places!
Great list of posts, as usual!

Hi Christine -- I was like "wait - what???" when I saw that Amazon look inside preview option. How did I not know this?? LOL Isn't that fun? - Val

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