Tag Archives: promoting your work

Five tips to building your platform as a self-published author

Reading back over my last few entries, here’s the heads-up on the key steps to building an authentic marketing platform for your book – and for it to feel easy rather than utterly terrifying or a real ball-ache:

  1. Make friends with a local journalist or editor. Remember they need copy to keep their publication in business. As a writer you deal in their life-blood. They will love to receive your press release as a local news story.
  2. Build an authentic network off-line by engaging in activities you are genuinely interested in and feel compelled to contribute to. Let your network be a by-product of your participation rather than its raison d’etre . This way people will get to know the real you rather than the networking you.
  3. Offer yourself as a speaker to a local group or society. You could tell your writer’s story, or speak on a subject that you learned about in your research. If your book is non-fiction set up a how-to workshop pertinent to the topic of your book.
  4. Don’t be daunted by the plethora of on-line social networking sites. Start with what you know – even if it’s just emailing your contact list – and go from there.
  5. Follow your nose when it comes to broadening your marketing reach. Take a look at what other people are doing and see if it’s something that appeals to you. Keep a note in your journal of all the possible marketing ideas that occur to you, and notice which ones hang around in your head. These could be the ones that you have the greatest energy for. Alternatively check out Pete’s story in Chapter 6 of The Journal Writer’s Handbook – he could be your inspiration!


Filed under Self-publishing

Life as a self-published author #3

The internet is a mind-boggling place with so many different sites that writers can use to connect with their readers, ‘meet’ other writers, write about their topic, share their ideas, and find new channels to market. At a recent writer’s workshop hosted by crime author Jen Hilborne here in Swindon I noted down the URLs of at least 12 different author networking sites. Even for someone fairly technically ‘connected’ this was bordering on the brain-numbing – I dread to think what it was like for those who’d just got their email account up and running.

Technology is moving at a tremendous pace, with new sites springing up every day to help us build – or dilute – our online profile. From my perspective I’m sure there’s more I could be doing but at the moment the most I can manage is
blogging, Facebook, Linked-in, e-mailing and tweeting to get the word out about The Journal Writer’s Handbook.

Fact is I don’t want to spread myself so thinly, plus I don’t have the time nor the inclination to keep up with so many different sites. It’s grand that WordPress has got a sharing function which automatically ripples new content through the main social network sites. So as soon as I push the button on my blog I know the update will be visible elsewhere. This way we’re able to focus on the quality of our posts rather than making them ubiquitous.

I’ve started to check out other people’s blogs and leave comments, but again this takes time and it pays to be discerning.  Last week I commented on the blog of Moodscope – a fantastic on-line service to monitor and record your daily mood, and perhaps alert a friend when your mood plummets. It’s of great help to people who have a depressive illness, but it’s also useful for anyone just wanting to raise their own conscious awareness about their state of mind.

Moodscope is one of the recommended resources I refer to in the index of The Journal Writer’s Handbook, and provided me with some of the inspiration for my book’s Mood Index. So last week when Jon Cousins at Moodscope wrote a blog post talking about the value of keeping a gratitude journal to enhance our mood, I couldn’t resist getting in touch to tell him about my book. It was a very useful connection to make, and resulted in a couple of on-line sales of my book.

Similarly Gabrielle Lichterman’s Hormonology website gets a mention in my book – so when I wrote to her last week to tell her she very kindly included a link to The Journal Writer’s Handbook on her page.

And just this week I’ve started to make use of Facebook ads – Yeay – that could be why you’re here reading this, and if that’s so you get an extra special welcome to these pages!

Again, using the logic of following your nose, promoting your book on the internet needn’t be daunting or exhausting. Use the social media sites you’re already familiar with, or choose one and make an effort to get to know it in detail and how it might help you in your marketing. One thing’s certain, whether you’re publishing entirely independently or with a partnership publisher, your online platform is an important part of your life as a self-published author.


Filed under Self-publishing

Life as a self-published author #1

Just over one month ago I pushed the publish button on Blurb to initiate the first edition print run of The Journal Writer’s Handbook. It was an exciting moment, and since my books arrived I’ve sold a respectable number of them – and not only to people who know me!

To celebrate my first month as a self-published author I thought I’d include the Blurb BookShow in my blog post today, which shows a preview of the beginning of it, and an idea of the indexes at the end. Here it is:

Life’s been full of surprises since I completed the book. The very first surprise came when I held the finished article in my hands. I’d heard countless people say what a special moment it is when you first have your own book in your hands, and you read your name on the front. What surprised me however was that I didn’t feel particularly moved by the sight and feel of the book itself. I saw my name on the cover and thought “about time!” I guess as a writer this is what you’d expect to happen sooner or later. It’s normal.

So no, the physical product, while gem-like and beautiful, didn’t of itself send me into paroxysms of joy. Instead I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and pride in having achieved what I set out to do. Once you’re holding your book in your hands you have the ultimate manifestation of the hours spent scribbling and editing and self-doubting and doing-it-anyway. And for me that is where the joy lies.


Filed under Self-publishing

Journaling to nail the marketing jitters

It’s been an exciting week during which I pushed the publish button on The Journal Writer’s Handbook, thus inflicting my book on the world!

My head’s been full of marketing stuff, and last evening I had the great privilege to join in on #JournalChat Live on Twitter, beautifully hosted by Dawn Herring of Refresh Journal fame, who’d chosen my blog post 7 Astounding benefits of journal writing as #JournalChat Pick of the Week. The chat was awesome – heartily recommended – and I met some great journaling folks from the other side of the pond.

Needless to say, in amongst tweeting, updating Facebook, blogging, amending websites,writing press releases and emailing to get the word out, (the joys of independent authorship) I noticed yesterday that I was starting to get a bit jittery. I know this feeling – mentally I start to jump hap-hazardly from one thing to another without completing anything, and all the while ideas are crowding each other out in my brain. Add to that a deep physical tension like my body is constantly bracing against something, shivering like crazy and with an annoying ache in my jaw, and I concluded that this was certainly not conducive to making progress.  So I did what any wise and seasoned journal-writer would do in the same circumstances, I made myself a cup of tea and reached for my notebook.

I needed to nail the jitters. I needed to rein in my desultory thinking. I needed to be crystal clear on the key tasks that would take me the furthest along my checklist of things to do. I needed to prioritise.

What’s amazing is that within the time it took me to drink my tea I’d written 3 sides in my notebook – and completely nailed the jitters. And here’s how it went:

I named what I was experiencing and described how it felt in my body.

I named what it was I was working on, and described the last discrete task I’d actually completed.

Then my brain went wandering, and I started listing out the next umpteen tasks I might possibly embark on. I swear I got to 7 tasks before I woke up. Woah!

Things were getting desperate so I threw myself a challenge. “What’s the bare minimum I must do?” Fighting talk!

But it didn’t work! Immediately I began waffling on again about this or that I could or should do. What a twit!

“Hang on,” I manfully wrote, “What’s the deal?”

I was running out of tea. I knew it was my last chance. Effortlessly a list of 4 must-do-nows plus 2 nice-to-haves flowed from the end of my pen. I wasn’t shaking any more and I ticked off all my necessary tasks within the next 20 minutes. Phew.

And that is how journaling helped me nail the jitters – and take a significant leap forward in my book marketing activity!

(BTW, click here to buy the book!)

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Filed under Journal Writing, Mood Management, Self-publishing

5 ways journal-writing can help you promote yourself and your work

Journal writing offers time and space for us to ‘work in our life’, to discover our underlying interests, talents and skills, and to recognise our own unique style and approach. This is as true for us whether we’re in business, whether we want to find a way to connect with other people, or whether we have a product idea that we’d like others to engage with and buy. Our journals are somewhere to do our homework, to reflect on what we want to achieve and how we want to get there. Without this thorough exploration and self-awareness under our belts our promotional efforts can be a bit hollow, and certainly unsustainable. The fact is authenticity is attractive and it sells.

So here’s what journal writing does:

  1. It helps us get clear on what we want to say – and how we want to say it
  2. It enables us to view the choices that are available to us and understand the pros and cons objectively (there’s nothing like a list!)
  3. It forces us to identify promotional approaches that work for us – you quickly come to recognise the physical feeling you get when you’re on to something
  4. It stops us from chasing wild geese ideas that intially seem exciting, but which quickly make us feel exhausted just thinking about them
  5. It develops our authentic voice and reveals the thread of our own integrity weaving through all our thoughts and activities

These things become more apparent over time, and through a well-established reflective writing practice. However with the right quality of attention paid to our physical responses, our energy level and the words that flow from the end of our pen, transformative discoveries can be made quite rapidly and our approach could change in a flash.


Filed under Journal Writing