Thursday, November 20, 2014

Starting Your Author Blog

Dear Fellow Writer,

I hope you're well and happy.

Not to beat about the bush, the following Kindle books are currently on 99 cent special:

The Easy Way to Write Thrillers That Sell

The Easy Way to Write an Autobiography That Sells

Make Your Writing Sparkle: Self Editing for New Authors

The Easy Way to Write Picture Books That Sell

The Art of Story: Writing Fiction That Sells

How to Write a Great Children's Book

Easy Cash Writing

The Easy Way to Write Crime Fiction That Sells

The Easy Way to Write Romance That Sells

This is a short Kindle Countdown Deal, so you'll need to act quickly.

By the way, the specials are on the site. If they don't appear as specials in your country, it's because you're viewing Amazon through your country's Amazon subsidiary. To take advantage of the special price, try coming out of your country's default and going back into Amazon through the US site.  

Keep writing!

Starting Your Author Blog

I speak with many new authors who are literally terrified of revealing themselves online. I completely understand that blogging can be nerve-wracking. But actually the hardest part is having something new to say each time you blog. 

This is where the image of your ideal fan comes to the fore.

This person - just this one - absolutely loves you and can't wait to get another message from you, especially if it's about something you're passionate about. 

We all feel comfortable with someone who loves us because we can be ourselves and say what we want without fear. That's what your ideal fan is like. And so, when you write a blog, imagine you're writing just for him or her. Then, the process begins to get a lot easier. 

Your journey as a writer is probably going to be your starting point for most author blog posts. This is good - because this is precisely what will make your blog engaging.

As a writer trying to promote yourself, you’ve an advantage. You don't have to extol the virtues of a product or service. You don't have to construct a thesis on moral philosophy or a manual on Ethics in the New Millennium. 

Most writers' first blog post is about the writer constructing their first blog post - and that's fine. That's engaging, sweet and honest - all good qualities to begin a blog with.

Later you can talk about whatever you like. But try to always bring your topic back to the writing. You can write about any experience, event or circumstance - but then try to make it relevant to either you, your reader, or your writing, or their lives. 

Blog posts can be short too. 200 words is fine. More than a 1000 words and you're pushing the envelope. Less is often more, as the saying goes.

If I'm stuck for things to say - which rarely happens - I'll make a list of ten possible titles for blog posts. Then I'll pick one the next time I need an idea. Generally I prefer to wait until the last minute and come up with an idea on the spot - and write that. 

I find this latter approach helps if I want to say something about a piece of news or something a subscriber asked me - or whatever else has been creeping around my head that week. I think the trick is to be constantly on watch for topics to blog about. It becomes a habit. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Pick a day during the week for your blog post - and stick to it. At various times in the past I've written blog posts every day. Personally I think that's too often - but I know that for some authors, daily posts work well for them. 

For the longest time I’ve written just one a week, every Friday morning. 

There are certain rules it's best to abide by if you want your blogs to become popular and 'follow-worthy'.

After all, the primary reason why you're blogging is to attract followers, readers and potential buyers of your books. What you don't want to do is annoy folks, insult strangers or be so controversial you become some hated enemy of the people. 

Be light, fun, and informative. That's really the style you should adopt. Being angry and bitter can get you some notice - but it's generally short lived.

Funny is great. If you have a talent for writing humorous stuff, go for it. 

Most times you'll just want to be interesting, and educational. That's where most successful bloggers excel: imparting information that is helpful to the reader, that solves a problem for them or offers a solution or two.

The important thing is to be giving. You're not in competition with other authors. We're all in this together. And other writers can often become your strongest and most passionate advocates.

I read an book by a well known writer the other day (I won't name him) which said he thought that having lots of other writers as your subscribers was a waste of time. I don't agree. 

While I agree that ideally fiction authors want readers and book buyers as subscribers, it would be a mistake to regard other writers as superfluous. Far from it. Writers are often the most voracious of readers of all. Plus, having another writer as a fan is pretty much the greatest compliment you can get.

Blogging is dependent on your unique personality - and how you come across. 

If you're open and honest you'll attract the readers and subscribers that respond to your mojo, your values, and your integrity.  

The thing to remember is that if you're writing for readers, you don't want to dwell too heavily on the writing process. Fiction readers are often more interested in the stories, your characters and their relationships with those characters. 

I see much advice around these days that asserts that you should try to be different.

I'm not sure I totally agree. 

I believe that unique is good - but that is achieved by being yourself.

If you're just deliberately trying to be different - as in obtuse, obscure or by playing devil's advocate, I'm not sure that will do you any good. Having been online for over a decade I've noticed one profound fact: 

Most people don't want different.

They more consistently want reinforcement of what they already believe.  

Plus, if you're a writer of a particular genre, readers have certain expectations as to how you should act, think, and what you might aspire to. If you write children's books, for instance, I don't think your average reader will want to read about your drunken orgies in Cancun…

Do this now: go to and get yourself a FREE blog. Use your own name as the blog title and send out your first blog post about being an author. 

Connect your blog to your Gmail account (I think you have to do this anyway) and then get on to Google+. Invite all the friends in your address book and start following other writers.

Within half an hour you'll be on your first step to independent authorship.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell



Thursday, November 13, 2014

Creating Your Author Brand

Dear Fellow Writer,

Great to talk to you again. I hope your life is full of interest and purpose!

Working hard at the moment to get the final kick-ass version of Purge up before Monday - that's the deadline Amazon has given me: 10 days before the actual release date.

Sometimes it's daunting working to deadlines, but they're often necessary to make you complete your works at all. Looking forward to finally getting Purge out there. I truly believe it's a great novel.

Keep writing!

Creating Your Author Brand
Creating Your Author Brand

It doesn't take a genius to work out that a successful author's name is his or her most powerful asset. 

You'll no doubt have noticed that on paperbacks, the more successful an author becomes, the larger their name is printed, when compared to the title of the book.

This is no accident or design fluke. It's deliberate. 

Like it or not, your name is, or will become, your brand.

When you're starting out it's important to attach a particular look to your name, your future book covers and your website. The easiest way to do this is to pick a particular font for your name and use it consistently on all platforms. 

We are visually motivated animals. We often recognize a logo's design, like Coca-Cola, Google, or Nike, for instance, more readily than the actual letters or even the words.

A brand may be represented graphically but essentially it is the feeling evoked by the font and the graphics that you're after. 

This feeling is a nebulous quality that is individual to the people who experience it. But as an author, what you have to do is to help make that feeling quantifiable and consistent by using the same design all the time - or as much as possible - in your blogs, on your book covers, on your website and in all correspondence with your fans and subscribers. 

Do this now as an experiment: 

Type your name into a WORD document and try out lots of different fonts to find one you think is appealing - to you and your potential fans. 

When you find one that works, commit to using it on everything.
Later, when it comes to designing book covers, instruct your graphic artist to use the font you've chosen. 

Or, if you're creating your own book covers make sure you use that recognizably unique font. 

At this stage, if you're just starting out, deliberately choose blog templates and web design tools that will augment and emphasize your author logo - because that's what your name will become. 

Of course, you can always change your mind later. But understanding the crucial importance of branding now will help all your future book sales. 

Back in 1999 I spent a lot of time and money (I had a proper job back then) designing a concept for my own author website. That website doesn't exist anymore - but I was always surprised just how much interest the website created in my fiction.

But that was then. 

These days I don't recommend authors spend any money on websites - at first. It's really not worth it until you have some blog followers or subscribers (anywhere between a 100 to 1000.) 

There's simply little point investing in an idea or a concept unless it’s working. 

But the great thing about Internet blogs and social sites is that they are a terrific testing ground for ideas - before you spend any money on developing them. 

Because before you start shouting from the rooftops (especially if you don't yet have book to sell) you need to make sure that people are going to be listening… 

As we discussed last week, in Finding Your Unique Genre, it's hard to define your future bestselling genre in advance. 

But that's what you need to try and do.

Ask yourself: Who do you write for? 

What does your ideal reader look like?

How old is he or she?  

What do they do for a living?

What sort of things do they like? (Apart from all your books!) 

Build a picture in your mind of your ideal fan.

Just one.

Many would-be authors make a very simple mistake. They believe they are selling books to lots of people and imagine a huge crowd of clamoring punters. 

Then they ask, how can I appeal to all these people?

This type of thinking leads to errors of judgment and very often failed marketing efforts. 

Because you're not selling to people, you're not blogging to a crowd, you're not even writing for the masses, you are writing for just one person at a time. 

And each person is an individual, and he/she needs to be respected, cherished even, like your best friend ever.

That's the secret. You're always writing for an audience of ONE: your ideal fan. 

Place the image of that ideal person in your mind whenever you write, whenever you think of a book idea and whenever you design a website, a blog post, or even a tweet.

Do this now. Visualize your ideal fan in your mind. He or she represents your entire audience. 

And all of your future success.

Become friends with your imaginary fan and make sure your brand is working for him or her.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell



The Easy Way to Write

Welcome to the official blog of the Easy Way to Write from Rob Parnell, updated weekly - sometimes more often!