Writers' Forum - February 2024

Book Marketing Overwhelm: How to avoid being crushed

Outrage over Terms of Use at Findaway Voices Forces Change

March Book Promotion Opportunities

FEATURED ARTICLES

Book Marketing Overwhelm: How to avoid being crushed

The list of book marketing tasks you could be doing seems endless, right?? Sandra Beckwith has some freeing advice to share. She encourages us to pick just one task and master it, along with good advice on how to strategically choose that task. Read it here:

https://buildbookbuzz.com/book-marketing-overwhelm/

Findaway Voices and Their New Terms of Service Debacle

On February 15, the audiobook distributor Findaway Voices (which was purchased by Spotify in 2021) replaced their old distribution agreement with new terms of service which were an egregious rights grab. Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware has the most comprehensive article on the topic. With the push back from authors, the language was changed the next day, which is better but still contains vague language. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has also written a good article on this. And here's the info directly from Findaway Voices.

March Book Promotion Opportunities

I love these calendars of interesting days and holidays that you can use to promote different aspects of your writing work. For March, Sandra Beckwith at Build Book Buzz gives us 23 of what she calls, “unconventional and goofy holidays.”

The Latest on AI in the Writing and Publishing World

How I Fixed Audible’s Virtual Voice Problem (and How You Can Too)

Since Audible’s catalog has gotten flooded with books produced by virtual voice (AI narration), audiobook lovers/shoppers have been trying to find a way to filter out those books from their searches in Audible’s catalog. Here’s the answer on how to do that from Brian’s Book Blog.

Court Trims Authors’ Copyright Lawsuit Against Open AI

In one of the ongoing author lawsuits challenging the use of copyrighted material to train AI models, the judge has dismissed four of six claims; however, the suit will likely be amended, as reported by Andrew Albanese for Publishers’ Weekly. This is just one of the lawsuits however. There are two other ongoing lawsuits in New York, one that’s filed by Authors Guild along with well-known authors like Jodie Picoult, John Grisham, and David Baldacci, and another filed by the New York Times.

AI’s Latest Scam Is Publishing Fake Biographies of Deceased People

Among the AI generated books flooding the marketplace (Amazon), there’s a new wave of biographies that appear within a day or so of someone’s death. It’s reported by Rachel Ulatowski for The Mary Sue blog that these are often wildly inaccurate and full of errors. And relatives have less recourse to take action because “there is no such thing as defamation or libel against the dead.”

Writing Rules that Beg to Be Broken

Andrew Silva’s takes on some popular writing advice in this fun article on Jane Friedman’s blog. He encourages you to (sometimes) ignore advice like --- write what you know – and – show don’t tell. Read it here:

https://janefriedman.com/writing-rules-that-beg-to-be-broken/

3 Ways to Experiment with Memoir Structure to Improve Your Narrative Arc

This is a smart article by Lisa Cooper Ellison that helps you think through the best way to tell YOUR story. If you’re thinking of jumping into writing a memoir, read this first.

How to Describe Emotion

We’ve all struggled with getting that emotion onto the page. Amy Wilson helps us out with this post from the Good Story Company. She reviews expressing emotion through dialogue, through actions, and through interior thought. Good read!

When—And Why—Reveals Don’t Work

I read this article with great interest as I’m diving more and more into mystery writing where there are a lot of those revealing moments. But because all books have ‘reveals,’ this advice is important for all storytellers. Tiffany Yates Martin (for Jane Friedman’s blog) walks us through problems we might run into . . . like the reader not having enough information for the reveal to work or perhaps we know too much or maybe the stakes are unclear …. She covers these and more HERE.

Perform Your Own Developmental Edit: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written Word Media provides a great tutorial on developmental editing by Polly Watt. I like this because it uses a tool that I refer to often when I’m teaching about plot and that’s a plot diagram. The article walks through how to overlay your story on this diagram to be sure your story’s structure or arc is hitting the right beats / plot points at the right time for an enjoyable read.

How to Get Good Writing Feedback from Beta Readers

From time to time here in the Forum we find a good article on beta readers.  The BookBaby Blog article by Janna Lopez is excellent. I think the most important part is what giving your beta readers clear info on what you want to know from them. Read it here: 

https://blog.bookbaby.com/how-to-write/good-writing-habits/writing-feedback-2

Good Story Company Podcast: Self-Publishing Your Book with Author Allison Speka

“Romance author Allison Speka joins the pod to discuss her journey into writing and self-publishing. She talks about her love for the romance genre, and shares her experience with self-publishing, including tips on cover design, book marketing, and the value of learning from other indie authors.”

Hybrid Publishers and Paid Publishing Services: Red Flags to Watch For

I’m so glad this important topic is being covered by Joel Pitney for Jane Friedman’s blog. He acknowledges how confusing the “landscape” is for authors out there. How do you know who to trust? Who should you hire for what? How much should you pay? This article gives you the framework to answer those questions when approaching someone to be your partner in publishing your book, but it is mostly summed up by saying, “do your homework.”  Good read!

https://janefriedman.com/hybrid-paid-publishing-red-flags/

Make Improvements to Keywords and Book Descriptions for More Visibility on Amazon

Here’s an updated article from Kindlepreneur on how to find, assess, and best utilize the seven keyword phrases in your KDP book set up and whether you should use all 50 characters allowed for each of these seven.

And Penny Sansevieri explains how updating your book descriptions can make a difference in your Amazon sales. She gives clear advice on how to make that description easier to read and more enticing to encourage higher sales.

30 Ways Authors Use Videos to Engage with Readers

The BookBub Partners blog provides a super helpful list on the ways you can use video as an author. We all know video works great to engage readers. We’ve probably made a book unboxing or cover reveal video—but what other kind of content makes for great video? 

Everyone’s a Sellout Now

With that controversial of a title—this Vox article by Rebecca Jennings definitely needs the context the subtitle provides: So you want to be an artist? Do you have to start a Tik Tok? The article is all about the crazy world of self-promotion we seem to find ourselves in as creators, and how we’re all expected to ‘curate our personal brand.’ Really interesting read.

https://www.vox.com/culture/2024/2/1/24056883/tiktok-self-promotion-artist-career-how-to-build-following

Target Trad Readers (Readers of Traditionally Published Books)

In this podcast from Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Show, Michael R. Miller fantasy author and co-founder of Portal Books talks about how indie published authors can effectively target those who read traditionally published books. Watch below or check out more info and the transcript here.   https://selfpublishingformula.com/episode-419/

How One Author Uses BookBub Ads to Drive Direct Sales

I’ve talked about how direct sales is a hugely hot topic for indie authors and many are making the leap to sell their own books from their websites, but you first need to entice interested readers to your website and you can do that from social media ads or other platforms. Here’s the scoop on one author who is using BookBub ads to drive her direct sales. (Article from Audrey Derobert for the BookBub partner blog.)

6 Types of Featured Deal Submission Comments BookBub Editors Love to See

Did you ever wonder what’s the secret sauce that helps you get a BookBub featured deal? There’s that little area for more comments that you fill in and then cross your fingers, but what should you put into that space? I’ve put in awards, category bestseller status, editorial review quotes, and review average stars, but Lauren Aldrich gives us other types of info that can help you be accepted for a featured deal – like any special pricing information or flexibility, your retailer status – like did you just take the book wide vs being exclusive to Kindle, and whether your book can be considered for other relevant categories. If you’re planning to submit for a Featured Deal, save this article for reference.

36 Authors Using Pinterest for Book Marketing & Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I have a Pinterest board for each of my books. It helps me with the visuals of describing historical clothing or items and gives me the vibe I’m going for. BUT Pinterest can do so much more to give your book visibility and boost sales by revealing cover designs, announcing book releases, and more. Remember at its core Pinterest is a powerful search engine that has more than 498 million monthly users. Get the details in this article by AJ Yee.

 

Comments

Great info, as usual!

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