It’s Your Year to Build Your Platform and Sell Your Book!
[Issue 90 was edited by Margo L. Dill]
Welcome back to the WOW! e-zine themed issues. We’re excited about their return, and we’re specifically thrilled to start with an issue that we feel will motivate you to build your writing career—no matter whether you’ve been writing for a month or for twenty years. I don’t know about you, but I always need tips and ideas to grow my audience and build my platform.
As a matter of fact, my word of the year for 2019 is grow, and one of the things I hope to grow is my writing and editing business. So, when Angela and I worked with these fabulous freelance writers and WOW! staff to put together this issue, the wheels in my brain whirled and twirled, so much so that my eight-year-old daughter said she thought she saw smoke coming out of my ears. (Or maybe it was my breath, outside, on these really cold Midwest winter days! We’re with the groundhog this year and ready to see spring early.)
I even plan to use this issue chock-full of tested marketing strategies as the “textbook” for the WOW! Individualized Marketing Plan class that I teach because each article provides practical ideas any writer could start on today. Nobody should try to do every single one of these, but that’s another thing that I’m excited about—I really feel like we’ve put together a “31-flavor” (Remember, Baskin Robbins 31 flavors of ice cream?) variety of marketing and platform-building strategies for you, depending on where your audience hangs out and finds books to read—no matter if you’re writing novels, memoir, nonfiction, or even a poetry chapbook.
We hope you’ll start with one article that speaks to you and work on building your audience and platform, then move on to the next one; and before long, you’ll see the growth you’ve wanted since the beginning of your career!
A big, warm thank you goes to our freelancers and staff members:
We welcome back to WOW, Kerrie Flanagan, the author of The Writer’s Digest Guide to Magazine Writing, and thank her for her article, “How to Write an Effective Nonfiction Book Proposal.” Kerrie is a seasoned writer, and she shares with you the sections of a nonfiction book proposal most publishers want before offering you a contract. Did you realize with a nonfiction book that you don’t have to write the complete manuscript? This is why Kerrie’s article on writing book proposals is so helpful. She explains, with examples, what you do need to take your book from concept to contract and see it on the bookshelves one day.
Many authors, including myself, have trouble explaining what our books are about or writing back cover copy or a query letter because the manuscripts are so near and dear to our hearts! How can we leave any section or endearing character out? But as readers, we know what entices us to pick up a book and spend our hard-earned dollars; and so does author Karen S. Wiesner, who deserves the title “The Blurb Queen.” We thank her for sharing with us an excerpt from her book, Writing Blurbs that Sizzle and Sell, in this article, “How to Write Blurbs that Sell: Three Types of Blurbs.” Clicking on that link will take you to a tutorial, complete with step-by-step instructions and examples, on how to write: high-concept blurbs for a query letter or pitch; blurbs that go on your back cover or as an Amazon description; and series blurbs, such as for a romance or mystery series.
Gila Green, a novelist and WOW online instructor and whom you might recognize from some vlogs we’ve posted on our social media accounts, shares with us insight from her own career with her article, “What I Learned From My Second Book Launch.” When Gila published her first book, King of the Class, she wrote a blog post about what she learned from publishing her first book, and we thank her for allowing us to publish the sequel to that popular article. Gila lists eight lessons she’s learned from publishing Passport Control; and in her wisdom are several marketing takeaways for all of us, such as the smart way to get book reviews and writing press releases.
Most of us have heard that we need to start building our author platform before we even finish our book manuscript, and so we thank freelancer Jenna Faccenda for her article, “How to Build Your Author Platform Before You Are Published.” Jenna has worked in publicity and marketing for Penguin Random House and Running Wild Press, and she is also a novelist. So, she speaks to you with real-world experience on how to think about your platform—what social media sites you’ll use and your brand, for example—before your book hits the shelves. Plus, her article includes quotes from other writing professionals with tips and tricks they’ve used to build their platform authentically.
WOW! blog tour manager Nicole Pyles is back with a great article, uncovering some of the mysteries of Twitter with “The Lazy Guide to Twitter (and My 5-5-5- Rule).” Nicole is very active on Twitter at @BeingtheWriter, and she shares the secrets of how she tweets, engages with other tweeters and builds her followers with the 5-5-5 rule. If you’ve always thought Twitter was too difficult to use, this article provides a guide, and you’ll be happily tweeting away in no time.
If Twitter’s not where your book audience hangs out or you’re more into photos, then we’re covering Instagram, too! We welcome freelancer Loie Dunn with her article, “How to Use Instagram to Build Your Audience.” Loie takes us through everything you need to know to set up your Instagram profile and gives even seasoned Instagrammers ideas on what to post and hashtags to use to find and grow your audience. Do you know about the popular #bookstagrammer posts on Instagram? You will after you read this article, complete with screenshots to help you learn the best way to use this social media app.
Let’s be honest—many of us cringe when we hear SEO (search engine optimization), and we think our strong right-brain minds cannot possibly understand how to use this strategy to market books. Luckily, we have a great interview with Heather Lloyd Martin, who is the president and CEO of The SEO Content Institute, to help us out. In this article, “Book Marketing With SEO: An Interview With Heather Lloyd Martin,” we welcome back freelancer and author Dorit Sasson. Dorit and Heather discuss how to use SEO content strategies to market your books as well as Google Analytics and optimizing your website. As Dorit states, Heather makes this all sound “easy peasy,” so make sure you bookmark this article!
Podcasting is a word that really hit the web around 2004; but in 2019, hardly a day goes by where I don’t hear someone say, “I listened to the best podcast,” or I notice people sharing links of podcast episodes they found to be inspiring. So, we knew we needed a podcast article for this issue, and who better to write one than an author who is out there in the trenches with her very own podcast? We welcome Sheena Yap Chan and thank her for her article, “How Podcasting Can Help Increase Your Presence for Your Writing Career.” Sheena hosts the podcast The Tao of Self Confidence, where she interviews Asian women about their inner journey to self-confidence. In this article for WOW, she walks you through everything you need to know to start your own podcast, which is something I really want to do by next year, and I plan to use Sheena’s article to guide me. From what type of microphone to buy to how to get your podcast listed in directories, she is full of knowledge, and she includes a great list of podcasts hosted by women toward the end of the article, so you can check these out and start listening today.
Finally, we get to the money, as in the marketing budget, with an interview I did with bestselling romance writer Skye Warren, who is known around the industry as a Facebook ad guru. She spent $100K on Facebook ads and generated $850K in profit from those ads. In her interview, “Being Smart with Your Marketing Dollars: An Interview with Skye Warren,” she shares her tips and tricks for spending money on ads on Facebook, Amazon and Bookbub bottom ads. Of course, you don’t need $100K to try her methods. Her advice is simple and straightforward, and it obviously works. Plus, she shares great strategies for backlist books and debut authors, too.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank our executive editor, founder and chief Angela Mackintosh for her amazing graphic design skills and her vision for this ezine. She’s the one that leads all of the WOW! staff to be our very best and creates such a warm, caring community of writers who want to improve their craft and be successful. Without Ang, not only would we be without these amazing article headers and artwork, but we would not have a site to go to for themed issues, writing contests, blog posts, online classes and the amazing new-and-improved writer resources page. She is simply the best!
Calls for Query Letters and Submissions: E-zine Themes and Deadlines
We are seeking fleshed out query letters and submissions for the online magazine. Themes and deadlines are below. We may add more themes, but this is what we have planned now.
Please send your query to submissions[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com. Please type the issue/theme you are querying in your email subject line. If accepted, pay rates are $50 - $150 per article, depending on length, topic, and how many experts are included. We are looking for how-to articles, interviews with industry professionals, market profiles, round-ups, and craft articles (NOT essays). We look forward to hearing from you!
Theme: Lyrical Writing (Poetry, Prose Poetry, Lyric Essay, Creative Nonfiction, and More!)
Issue 91: May 2019
Deadline for queries: February 28, 2019
Make your writing sing! Believe it or not, we’ve never published a poetry issue before. We're looking for how-tos, interviews, round-ups, markets, and more for this issue. Both poetry and creative nonfiction—along with other forms of lyrical writing—will be explored. We’re open to your ideas!
Theme: Self-Publishing Topics
Issue 92: July/August 2019
Deadline for queries: May 3, 2019
We’ve published e-zine issues on self-publishing before (like this one: DIY Self-Publishing; and these two fabulous articles we recently published on Self-Publishing here and here), but there are so many topics that need exploring and publishing platforms are frequently changing. Ideas include: Mastering Amazon, self-publishing services reviews, book formatting, metadata, and more. We’d love some round-ups with authors who’s self-published successfully for this issue.
Theme: Dark and Twisty (Mystery, Thriller, Speculative, Horror, and More)
Issue 93: October/November 2019
Deadline for queries: July 16, 2019
Gillian Flynn is the master of the twist, but how does she (and other authors) do it? We’re looking for how-tos on writing the twist, plotting twists and turns, red herrings, diversions, suspense, writing horror, mystery/thriller, true crime, and more. We’re mostly looking for craft articles, but round-ups with authors on these topics would be great, genre trends, interviews, and anything else you can think of. Reading a jaw-dropping, unexpected twist is one of my favorite things to do, and twists are so hard to write!
On to the issue . . . enjoy!