Just Five Things: Best book marketing blogs

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number-5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  BookMarketingBuzzBlog / Brian Feinblum

2.  The Creative Penn / Joanna Penn

3.  Savvy Book Marketer / Dana Lynn Smith

4.  Author Marketing Experts / Penny Sansevieri

5.  SMART Marketing for Authors / Chris Syme

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: How to avoid writer burnout

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Familiarize yourself with the signs and  symptoms so you can take action as soon as you recognize you’re headed toward writer burnout.

2.  Take care of your physical health. Eat nutritious meals, avoid junk food, stay hydrated, manage stress, get up and move. Visit Writing and Wellness for articles on becoming a healthy writer.

3.  Step away from the desk. Writer are notorious for working 10, 12, 16 or more hours a day, but workaholic habits actually impair productivity and affect not only your mental and physical health, but relationships too. Each writer’s definition of work/life balance will differ, but the important thing is to set boundaries and make time for hobbies, friendships, recreation and other obligations.

4.  When planning your production schedule, allot more time than you estimate needing. It is not uncommon for projects to take longer than anticipated. “Padding” your timeline can reduce stress, allow for better quality output and even give you a chance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

5.  Be selective in how you spend your time, money, energy, creativity and other personal resources. If projects, conferences, relationships, etc. don’t contribute to your life or career in a relevant and positive manner, now may not be the time for them.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: Nurture your creativity

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Before making any decision, spend 3-5 minutes brainstorming.

2.  Infuse your physical environment with creative elements – music, photos, inspirational sayings, toys, candles, colored pens, etc.

3.  Tap into collective brainpower for new ideas – exchange ideas with a critique group or writing partner.

4.  Observe your surroundings and pay close attention to what you see and hear. These observations can provide inspiration for new ideas.

5.  Change things up. If you normally work on a laptop at home, write longhand at a coffee shop. If you usually plot your story, try free writing or pantsing. If you write linearly, start by writing the ending first.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: Storytelling with photographs

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imagesJust Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1. Look for images that reflect a mood or emotion.

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Contemporary romance author Chris Keniston (R) at a costume-party reader event.

2. Compose photographs with contrasting, surprising or unexpected elements.

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A romance author in a military hangar? Heather Ashby makes it work.

3. Focus on unusual details or perspectives.

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This reluctant reader was still willing to promo Jacki Delecki, one of her favorite romantic suspense authors.

4. Aim for spontaneous vs. staged.

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Cover model Vikkas Bhardwaj sends a personal message to a fan.

5. Develop photographic themes related to your branding.

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Historical romance author Madeline Martin often pairs wine and romance on her social media.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: Book cover graphics for promo applications

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Blank CoverJust Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1. Ask your cover designer to provide files (usually a png or jpg) for the book’s stylized title and your name. Make sure they are on a transparent background. You can overlay these on ads, teasers, etc.

2. Resize your book cover jpg so you can provide the correct size for ads or promotions. Commonly used dimensions are 200×300, 600×900 and 1400×2100.

3. Ask your cover designer to provide a 2-D (flat) version and a 3-D version of your book cover. Each has different uses.

4. Ask your cover designer to provide a high-resolution jpg of your book cover without the text (title, author name, cover quotes). You can use the image or parts of the image to create backgrounds for teasers, social media banners, etc.

5. Make sure you know the name of the font used for your book cover text elements. You may want to use the same font when creating promotional graphics.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

Just Five Things: Creating blog content

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.   Curate content.

2.  Invite guests to write a blog or contribute content.

3.  Develop regular features such as What I’m Reading, Five Favorite Things, Friday  Freebies, etc.

4.  Identify a common problem for your readers and offer a solution.

5.  Comment on a recent article (be sure to link to the article and cite the source) or topic.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

The importance of images, graphics and photographs for authors

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As writers, we rely on words to create imagery in the minds of our readers. Each noun, each verb, each adjective is chosen to paint a vivid mental image of our characters, setting, action and emotion. Words are the tools of our trade, and we must learn to wield them adeptly, masterfully, artfully.

Images are every bit as powerful as words and should not be overlooked by authors as a means of promoting, communication, engaging, connecting and inspiring.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” — Unknown

Using images is especially important when it comes to online content and marketing. In this case, less is more when it comes to words. Consider these points:

  • The brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text.
  • “Today, more content is created in 48 hours than all of the content created between the beginning of time and 2003.”  (Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO)
  • Content with images gets more engagement than without images.
  • Today’s consumers are visually oriented and tend to skim content.

“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.” — Andy Warhol

Authors are often driven by deep-seated passion and work for years to achieve each professional milestone: first completed manuscript, first cover, first book signing, first fan letter, first industry award. Documenting your journey in photographs, just like any other meaningful life event, allows you to look back and remember each step of the journey. Sharing a photograph of these occasions enables you to convey the emotion and excitement without being limited by words. Which one of these expressions is more effective?

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Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  — Anton Chekhov

One of the first “rules” new writers learn is the classic admonition “show, don’t tell.” This same principle applies to use of images instead of, or in conjunction with, words. Researchers report that images affect emotions more than text. Images can evoke mood in a single sweeping glance whereas even the most talented writer would be hard pressed to do the same.  What mood(s) or emotions(s) do these expressions inspire?

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“Paint a perfect picture / Bring 2 life a vision in one’s mind” — Prince, The Beautiful Ones

Writers, by nature, are creative people. Nurture that ability and fuel your imagination by exploring visual expressions of creativity:

  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Collaging
  • Cooking
  • Decorating
  • Sculpting
  • Building
  • Gardening

How do you use images and graphics to inspire your writing or connect with readers?