Monday, November 30, 2015

Virtual Tea With LaShaunda Hoffman

Last week's guest, LaShaunda Hoffman graciously donated a 30-minute virtual tea session with one commenter. That person will have the opportunity to discuss their promotional challenges, as well as promotion strategies with LaShaunda.

I'm happy to announce that the winner is Robyn Campbell!

Congrats, Robyn! Be sure to contact LaShaunda at one of the links below.

Don't forget this Wednesday is IWSG post day!

LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the owner of Hoffman Content LLC.  This summer she published her first book – Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time.  She’s the publisher of award winning Shades Of Romance Digital Literary Magazine, and also has a coaching business, Virtual Tea With LaShaunda, where she teaches writers and businesses about using online promotion to reach their clients. 

Catch her online:
See Ya On The Net, her personal site - h
Facebook -
Twitter – @lashaundaH or the new platform
Periscope @sormag where she’s scoping about book promotion.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mailing List Promotion

Today, we welcome literary advocate, LaShaunda Hoffman who will provide us with tips for promoting via your mailing list.

The number one goal for a writer is to build your readership.  Most writers make the mistake of waiting until their book releases to start building their readership, that’s too late.

I recommend to my clients that they start building their readership as soon they start writing the book.  If you have a website or blog you can start building your readership as you write your book.  Most readers are excited to know that you have a new book coming out and probably will sign up for your mailing list just to keep in touch.

You can offer them a small excerpt of your book or maybe create a short story just for your mailing list to get them to join.   Your main focus during your writing time is to get as many people as you can to join your mailing list.  As I tell my clients its one reader at a time so don't get upset if no one joins at the beginning, the readers will join over time as you write.  When your book is ready for publication, you will have a nice size list to promote to.

Remember I said most writers wait until the book comes out before starting their mailing list, now they have no one to promote to.  They have to start from scratch.  You will be different because if you get 10 readers a month, imagine how many you will have by the time your book hits the shelves.

Below is an excerpt of my book Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time.  It's all about learning how to build your readership with step-by-step plans on different things to do to get in front of more readers.


I use my mailing list to introduce readers to writers by sending out eblasts and newsletters. You can do the same thing.

1. You can create and send out an eblast to introduce your new book.
2. You can create a monthly newsletter.
3. You can create eblasts for monthly sales.
4. You can host contests.
5. You can host workshops.

LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the owner of Hoffman Content LLC.  This summer she published her first book – Building Online Relationships – One Reader At A Time.  She’s the publisher of award winning Shades Of Romance Digital Literary Magazine, and also has a coaching business, Virtual Tea With LaShaunda, where she teaches writers and businesse
s about using online promotion to reach their clients.

Catch her online:
See Ya On The Net, her personal site -
Twitter – @lashaundaH or the new platform
Periscope @sormag where she’s scoping about book promotion.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Answer to Everything

There isn't another person on this planet who understands what it's like to walk in your shoes. And vice versa. Each of us are unique beings who may feel out of sorts more days than we care to count. We flood our minds with doubts, negative talk, and questions we never seem to find the answers to.

What if I told you I know the answer to every single question in the world?

Bet that would grab your attention. Why? Because,  like everyone else in the world, we want to know:

Why am I here?
Why am I alone?
Why aren't I handsome or beautiful?
Why aren't I rich and successful?
Why did s/he reject me?
Why aren't I happy?
Why did this awful [thing] happen to me?

Why can't I land an agent?
Why can't I sign with a publisher?
Why isn't my book on the best sellers list?
Why are my book sales stagnant?

Why am I a failure?

The next time you hear anything even remotely similar to any of the above, ask yourself one question. Pay particular attention to the first answer that comes to mind.

What would someone who loves themselves say?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Our Author Newsletter

By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
The importance of our author newsletter is reiterated by everyone from Joanna Penn to Mark Dawson. This is because our list of subscribers is something authors own. If Facebook or Twitter were to close down tomorrow, we’d lose our followers there—but we’d still have our newsletter.
Readers who sign up for our newsletter tend to be the most interested in our work. These are the readers we want to alert to our new releases since they’ll purchase and review the books early, leading to better visibility on retail sites like Amazon.
It took me a long time to finally put together a newsletter. I think part of the reason I was a slow adopter is because I already felt as though I were behind. If only I’d started years ago! But it’s never too late to start putting a list together and have it start working for you.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’re first going to want to find an email newsletter service to handle subscriptions for you. I use MailChimp, which is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. For more information about setting up a newsletter and for the different services available, industry expert Jane Friedman has great advice in her post “Email Newsletters for Authors: Get Started Guide.”
You can make your newsletter signup pitch more visually appealing by encasing it in an image. Image creation is easy with a free tool like Canva.  Create an image (I used a simple one with a book cover and my picture and a bit of text) and then hyperlink the entire image to your newsletter signup page (here’s how to find your signup form link on MailChimp).
Do you need more newsletter subscribers?  Consider giving away a free book to anyone who signs up for your newsletter. You could offer to give away Amazon gift cards, coffee mugs with your cover on them, etc.
Are you linking to your newsletter signup in your email signature? On your blog?  In the front/back of your books?  On your Amazon/Nook/Smashwords/Wattpad/Goodreads bios?  On your Facebook profile?  Linking to the signup at reader-facing sites and in our email signature is a non-pushy way to get more subscribers.
My readers seem to appreciate a personal tone in my newsletters.  I include recipes at the end, a popular feature for cozy mystery readers. But aside from a personal touch and the recipes, they especially want to be updated on my book progress and any new releases. You can experiment with your newsletter content and its frequency, adjusting it for your genre and readers and what their interests are.
Do you have an author newsletter? What are your thoughts on service providers and frequency of contact with our readers?
Elizabeth writes the Southern Quilting mysteries and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine and blogs at elizabethspanncraig/blog. Elizabeth makes her home in Matthews, North Carolina, with her husband and two teenage children.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Insecure Writer's Support Group Post Day, Anthologies, and Short Stories!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

Our awesome co-hosts today are Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson!

The submission deadline for our anthology contest came and went this past Sunday, November 1. And we had a lot of great submissions! The admins are busy reading and sorting at the moment, and the top stories will be passed on to our judges mid-November:

Laura Maisano - Senior editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian fiction
Russell Connor – Author and owner of Dark Filament Publishing Startup
Candace Havens – Editorial Director for the Covet, Select, Select Otherworld, Select Historical, Embrace, Indulgence for Entangled Publishing. She is also a nationally syndicated columnist and award-winning and best-selling author.
Dawn Frederick – Literary agent and the founder of Red Sofa Literary
Alice Speilburg – Founder of the Speilburg Literary Agency
Michelle Johnson – Literary agent and the founder of Inklings Literary Agency
Kendare Blake - Author
Lydia Mo√ęd - Associate agent at The Rights Factory

The top ten stories will go into a royalty-paying anthology due for release next year.

Short stories are a great way to break into the publishing industry. In addition to anthologies, there are magazines, online periodicals, websites, and journalism opportunities. Some writers even make a career out of writing short stories.

The anthology contest is something we hope to repeat year after year, with a different theme each time. So, if you didn’t submit or make the cut this time, there is always next year.

Thanks to all of our members who submitted and/or helped spread the word. You guys rock!

Monday, November 2, 2015

5 Steps to Deal with Writer’s Block

Some authors claim there’s no such thing as writer’s block. They say with conviction in their heart that all you have to do is write through it and it’s gone. I’ll tell you now, for me writer’s block is real. It’s usually born from a deeper root than simply being unable to come up with a fresh idea, or imagine the characters with enough clarity to make them sing on the page. Writer’s block is born from that deep dark place we don’t like to talk about—the dark alley of our minds where Courage is cornered by Fear and Doubt, along with Stress, Boredom, Frustration, and Pressure.

Let’s look at the first bad guy: Fear. On his own, Fear isn’t so bad. We need Fear to keep us from growing complacent, to push us to do better, and not settle for “close enough.” Fear keeps the adrenaline flowing. But Fear is the father of Doubt. Put them together and they turn into a nasty pair. Together they put us through no end of self-torture. They slow us down, make us second guess ourselves, or push us to pull away from taking the risky route of trying something new. And that’s just the start. Fear and Doubt are ringleaders. They call in a gang of other distastefuls and use their powers to keep us from writing.

Without understanding what these guys are up to, we might try to push through the wall that’s blocking us, only to earn a sore shoulder and a broken spirit.

So how can we deal with Fear and Doubt and the rest of the gang when they pounce? Unfortunately there’s no one, easy solution, no snap of the fingers and they’re gone. It takes recognition of what’s happening, a desire to change what’s happening, and then the strength to take action.

And the action we need to take? I’ve found the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to follow these steps:

1. Nurture a realistic perspective on your writing. Fanciful thoughts about our writing have a tendency to sweep us away. For example, my first draft will be gold, I should be earning good money by now, the first novel I ever write is going to become a world famous bestseller. These unrealistic thoughts inevitably lead to giving the Fear Gang an invitation to come visit. Success and satisfaction through writing come through practice, hard work, time, and more writing with lots of frustration and joy along the way.

2. Be aware of your surroundings. Be on guard for the nasties lurking in the shadows so when they pounce—and they will pounce because that’s part of being a creative person—you can stand tall and defend yourself. In other words, know what’s “normal” in your writing life. You will experience ups and downs, moments of inspiration and times when ideas are sparse, but that’s okay. That’s normal for any writer so there’s no need to flail yourself over a perceived failure. Sometimes life will get in the way of writing, and that’s okay too. We write about life, even when we write about other worlds, so even those unavoidable distractions can be used to generate more ideas for writing.

3. Make eye contact. Remember the bad guys are cowards because they only attack when you’re at your weakest. So when you do get jumped, don’t react like a victim. Don’t think your writing career is over. Make eye contact and show you know who the attackers are and you aren’t afraid of them. Do this, and there’s less chance of getting backed into an inescapable corner.

4. Run for help. There’s no substitute for an understanding friend, or a supportive group who know exactly what you’re going through. There’s no reason to suffer or struggle alone. Speak up. We’ve all experienced it.

5. Keep writing. Even if you have five minutes for writing, even if you can only scratch out a single sentence. All writing is beneficial. None of it is wasted effort. Even the ugly stuff we’ll never show anyone. Just keep writing and don’t give up. Remember, you started on this journey for a reason. Don’t let the nasties stop you.

What are the things that stop you from writing? What do you do when you encounter a lack of inspiration or desire to write?

Lynda R Young