#Read #Authors: Keep It Real! by Jaq D Hawkins

Tricia Drammeh:

Jaq D Hawkins talks about her publishing journey and her transition from traditionally published to indie. Please visit Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Blog to read this excellent guest post.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

218599Ever since the indie publishing explosion, I’ve been watching the adjustments in marketing that have tried to keep up with a rapidly changing industry.

To put things in perspective, I started out as a traditionally published author in the late 1980s and decided to cross the line into indie publishing in 2012. I was a little late to the party, which really started in 2009 and was going strong through 2010-11, but I came from a tradition where self-publishing was considered the realm of the unpublishable and old attitudes die hard.

I started studying the business of writing when I was very young and even in high school, I knew how to format a proper manuscript, what was expected when approaching a publisher and how to put together a press pack. However, the rules all changed with indie publishing. Even the definition of ‘publisher’ has changed. Once a small publisher…

View original 1,263 more words

Without hard work, talent is not enough ~ Henri Mattise.

Tricia Drammeh:

This article by Kate Jack is both inspiring and beautiful. Enjoy!

Originally posted on KATE JACK'S BLOG:


The title of this post is a quote from artist, Henri Matitise, and one that has always inspired me. Talent is a wonderful thing to have, but can be squandered by laziness, lack of enthusasim, and so on. Whatever a person’s talent is, it should be nurtured like a delicate plant, until it thrives and blossoms into a magnificent bloom.

fantasy rose

Determination and persistance should be the keywords of every writer, artist, entertainer, and so on, until goals are either achieved, or it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Anyone, or anything that holds the artist back, should be cirumvented or sidestepped. But it’s also important to remember that compassion and respect for others must be paramount in whatever journey is undertaken.



View original

Make a Difference in the Writing Community

Most authors at one time or another have dreamed of taking the writing world by storm with a breakout bestselling novel. I’m sure most of us still harbor hope this will happen. Regardless of sales or monetary success, we can still make a difference in the writing community. Whether you’re published or still writing your first novel, you can make a huge impact. Here’s how:

  1. Make connections. I recently read an excellent blog post by Susan Toy that discusses online connections and engagement. When it comes to Twitter and blog followers, some people mistake quantity for quality. Would you rather have 100 followers who regularly visit and comment on your blog, or 1000 followers you never hear from again? A huge number of Twitter followers or Facebook Page likes might look good on paper, but what does it really mean if you aren’t making connections with people? Visit blogs and leave thoughtful comments that add value to the conversation. Join a non-promotional writer’s group on Facebook. There are many ways to make real connections online that will have a positive impact on your life and on the lives of others.
  2. Be a friend. Some of your new connections might become friends. I treasure my online friendships. There are people I chat with on Facebook or email back and forth with every single day. These people have been there for me through thick and thin. I dearly love the family I was born into, but my online family of writers has kept me sane. In some cases, my online friendships have evolved into phone calls, mailing Christmas cards internationally, and even face-to-face meetings. Forging friendships with other authors is essential. Just remember: To make a friend, you have to BE a friend. Being a friend means helping each other out in a mutually beneficial way. It doesn’t mean swapping reviews or telling your friend what they want to hear when they ask you to critique their book. It means giving honest but compassionate advice, lending an ear when your friend is having a bad day, or celebrating your friend’s success.
  3. Spread joy. Share a Facebook post, retweet a Tweet, reblog a post. Share an indie’s new release. You don’t have to start your own promotional blog, but there are many things you can do to help your fellow writers. Just liking or commenting on their blog post means the world to them, especially if they’re new and still struggling to gain a following.
  4. Be positive. We all go through tough times. No one is happy all the time. The majority of your tweets, comments, and posts should focus on the positive. We all rant and complain from time to time, but if you MUST do so, please don’t make ALL your posts negative and ranting. And, for the love of all that is holy, don’t rant about a specific author or reviewer and say, “I’m not going to name names in this post, but if you send me a private message, I’ll tell you who I’m talking about.” Not only is this unprofessional, but it isn’t very nice either.
  5. Share your knowledge and experience. Everyone is an expert at something. Writing, gardening, cooking, photography – there are probably lots of things you’re good at and/or enjoy. Share! If you have a blog, that’s the perfect place to share your knowledge. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your knowledge and experience by commenting on other blogs. Like-minded people will want to follow you or connect with you on other platforms. You might even make some new friends.
  6. Remember it’s not a competition. I’ve seen jealousy destroy relationships and reputations. Don’t let your envy lead you to do stupid, spiteful things. Other authors are not your competitors. Maybe they’re more successful than you. Maybe you feel your book is better and should be selling better than so-and-so’s book because it’s total crap. Well, guess what? That attitude will bring you nothing but heartache. Just because your book hasn’t hit the bestseller list doesn’t mean it won’t. Just because another author has a movie deal doesn’t mean you won’t get one too. Keep writing. Keep connecting with other authors. Celebrate their successes and soon they’ll be celebrating yours!
  7. Be professional. Set a high standard for yourself and for the work you create. If you can’t afford to hire an editor, enlist the help of beta readers. Self-edit until you’re certain you’re publishing the cleanest work possible. Conduct yourself with professionalism and pride, and surround yourself with others who share your values. No matter how much you know (or think you know) there’s always more to learn. Invest in yourself and your writing by making time to read, write, and learn about craft.
  8. Be careful. When you’re in the public eye, you have to be careful what you do or say. You might think you’re small potatoes, but when it comes to online activity, anyone can be famous (or infamous) very quickly. All it takes is one angry rant on Facebook, a tasteless Tweet, or an inflammatory blog post, and before you know it, everyone is talking about you – and not in a good way. I’ve seen authors fighting it out with reviewers on Kindle forums or in the comment section of a hotly debated review. I’ve seen authors naming and shaming other authors on Facebook. I’ve seen authors rant about a review on their own blog or on Facebook. If you’re angry, rant to your spouse or to a friend, but don’t take your complaints online. Never respond to a review because doing so will land you on a ‘badly behaving author’ list and invite trolls to one-star your book. If you use a little caution online, you can avoid the sort of drama and turmoil that make some authors wish they’d never published their books.
  9. Have fun. While you’re waiting for the huge publishing contract or for your self-published book to hit the bestseller list, you might as well have fun. Make friends, connect with other authors, and socialize. It’s true that too much time online can take a cut out of your writing time, but if you don’t make some time to have fun, writing can feel like a chore. So, share that Grumpy Cat picture or the cute puppy video. Join a silly conversation on Facebook. Enjoy being a writer. It’s a hell of a journey.

For me, the best part about writing has been the people I’ve met. Through this blog and through Authors to Watch, I’ve made lasting friendships that have changed my life for the better. I hope I’ve contributed to the writing community in some small way and that I’ve helped writers as much as they’ve helped me. You don’t need to be online all the time to make a difference. You don’t need a bestselling novel or even a blog to make an impact. Just a few words of encouragement or some shared experience can be life-changing for someone else. And all you have to do is be yourself and share a small piece of your uniqueness with others.


#Read about Guest #Author Tricia Drammeh

Tricia Drammeh:

I’m on Chris the Story Reading Ape’s blog today!!! Please hop over to his blog, leave a comment on my post, and browse the site. There are author interviews, informative articles, and even the occasional comic strip.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

Tricia Drammeh 01

I’m Tricia Drammeh, wife, mother, and author. I’ve lived in Ohio, Georgia, California, and Missouri, but now make my home in New Hampshire with my husband and four kids. By day, I’m a number-slinger who works in accounting, but at night, I venture into the world of books.

I’ve been a book junkie since the time I could remember. I was one of those kids who loved it when the teacher gave us a new book for Christmas, and I always had a book (or two) to read. As a young child, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books and Nancy Drew. By eighth grade, I was reading Gone with the Wind, and anything by Stephen King or S.E. Hinton. My all time favorite authors are Anne Rice and J.K. Rowling. I’m also a huge fan of Lord of the Rings.

Firebound   …

View original 235 more words

12 Tips on How NOT to host a 30-minute #Podcast, #Radio Show or #Google+/#Youtube #HOA

Tricia Drammeh:

Here is an excellent How To article by Sally Ember, Ed.D. For authors or bloggers who are considering starting their own online radio show, these are points to consider.

I’ve tuned in to some very engaging shows presided over by professional, organized hosts. And I’ve tuned in to some shows that are somewhat lacking.

Hosting your own podcast or radio show is not for everyone. But if you do decide to give it a try, please read this post first!

Originally posted on Sally Ember, Ed.D.:

12 Tips on How NOT to host a 30-minute #Podcast, #Radio Show or #Google+/#Youtube #HOA

Based on my having attended, listened to and/or watched many such shows in the past eighteen months that could have been SO MUCH BETTER, I give you this list of DON’Ts:

  1. Do not waste your show’s time. That means you cannot spend the first 5 or more minutes reading the names of everyone who is attending when you only have 30 minutes for your show. I know there is a prevailing “wisdom” that “everyone likes to hear their name said,” but, honestly: when you have dozens or hundreds of viewers and only 30 minutes, it’s just not practical or useful for your overall broadcast. Furthermore, audience members can go to the event page and see everyone’s names for ourselves, in most cases. Similarly, don’t spend time making announcements you can post. If you only have…

View original 1,057 more words

Author Etiquette for Contacting Book Bloggers

Hello, everyone! It’s me again with another author advice post. Warning: This post isn’t for everyone. If you’re an author who finds etiquette posts tiresome, this post isn’t for you. If you’re already an expert on book marketing, this post will probably seem pretty basic, but I hope you’ll read on and add your advice in the comment section. This post is for people like me – people who came into the writing world with limited social media knowledge. It’s for people who didn’t realize book bloggers existed until they were told to go out and promote their book. If you’re intimidated or overwhelmed by the idea of contacting reviewers and bloggers, or if you’ve sent requests to bloggers and only received a lukewarm response, this post is for you.

  1. DO read the blogger’s FAQs, Policies, or Submission Guidelines. Each blogger is different. Some bloggers want you to contact them by email. Others have a submission form. Some are focused on certain genres. It’s important that you read the guidelines and follow them. It makes the process easier for everyone.
  2. DON’T assume the rules don’t apply to you. It’s not up to you to decide which rules are silly or unnecessary. You can either follow the bloggers guidelines, or you can choose not to submit.
  3. DO submit requested materials on time and in the format preferred by the blogger. If the blogger asks you to submit cover art in a JPEG, don’t send it pasted into a Word Document. Bloggers have different software and skill levels. Many of us also have day jobs, so if you submit your materials late, you might have missed our very narrow window of opportunity to get your post formatted and published.
  4. DON’T send unsolicited book review requests or manuscripts. (This goes back to #1) If a book blogger indicates they are not currently accepting unsolicited review requests, they mean it. Not only is it extremely rude to go ahead and send that manuscript, it won’t get you very far. I delete unsolicited manuscripts unread. To me, it would be unethical to read a free book given to me in exchange for review if I don’t have time to review it.
  5. DO remember that bloggers are working for you for free. Most bloggers don’t make any money on advertisements. In fact, most bloggers pay for website domains and hosting out of their own pockets. When someone is working for you for free, they are doing YOU a favor. Please don’t behave as if it’s the other way around.
  6. DON’T make demands. It’s perfectly acceptable to point out a broken or incorrect link. It is not acceptable for you to email the blogger throughout the day, insisting they add things you forgot to include in your original submission. It’s not okay for you to demand changes in formatting or appearance.
  7. DO contact your blog tour host if you have a problem. If you are paying a blog tour company to organize a tour, that company is obligated to do what you’re paying them to do. Please bear in mind that the individual blogs who are posting your materials are doing so for free. If there’s a problem, do not contact the bloggers – contact the tour host.
  8. DON’T expect a reply from every blogger. Some blogs have multiple reviewers and a whole team of bloggers. Most blogs are a one-man or one-woman show. Sometimes bloggers give birth, have a death in the family, get sick, or have other unexpected events that prevent us from blogging. Sometimes we just need a break. Bloggers are under no obligation to host you or respond to you. (See #5) I try to respond to everyone who contacts me, but there are times emails end up in my spam folder or accidentally get deleted. It happens.
  9. DO understand that bloggers can’t accommodate every request. There will be times when you send a review request, only to be told the blogger can’t read your book. They may offer you an interview instead. Or they may offer nothing. This isn’t a reflection on you as an author. When I was ill, I had to turn some authors away very suddenly. You might not always understand why a blogger is turning down your request, but try not to take it personally.
  10. DON’T harass the blogger. If you have read and followed all the guidelines, you may send the blogger a second request. Like I said in #8, sometimes emails are accidentally deleted or end up in spam. Before you send that second request, though, be certain the blogger isn’t on hiatus. Be sure you aren’t sending a review request to someone who doesn’t accept unsolicited requests. Make sure the blog is still active. If the blogger hasn’t posted in three months, they might have quit. Or had an unexpected life event and didn’t have time to update their blog.
  11. DO show support. If a blogger is kind enough to offer you a platform to promote your book, show your support for the blogger by following or subscribing to their blog. You might also consider following the blogger on Twitter or liking their Facebook page.
  12. DO thank the blogger. A simple thank you in a blog comment or email is so appreciated. Bloggers certainly aren’t in it for fame and fortune. A quick thank you is all we expect in exchange for our time and effort. And maybe a little support. (See #11)
  13. DO share. Share your book feature, interview, or review with all your friends. Send traffic over to the blog. Encourage others to leave comments and/or share. Bloggers love it when we get lots of likes and comments. We really really do.
  14. DO pay it forward. Many authors have blogs and host other authors, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t have the time. There are lots of other things you can do. Return to the blogs that have featured you and leave comments for other authors’ posts. Some authors don’t have a legion of friends or fans. A little support and encouragement goes a long way. Retweet. Reblog. Share!

In an effort to really get to the heart of what book bloggers are looking for when accepting submissions, I decided to ask an expert. Susan Toy is an author and blogger. Her promotional blog, Reading Recommendations, features a variety of authors and books. She offers writing advice and insights into the publishing world on her blog, Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing. Susan offers the following advice:

From Susan Toy – Why I stopped accepting unsolicited submissions on Reading Recommendations

When I first began writing my author promotion blog, Reading Recommendations, I asked a number of authors I’d met  over the years if they wanted to be promoted. Then I opened up to general submissions by making announcements on social media. I received a large number of inquiries and accepted pretty much anyone who sent me an email. Some authors who came to me this way proved to be great writers and I like to say now that we have become friends over the course of this past year. They’re also many of the same authors who have hosted me on their blogs, reviewed my books, promoted other authors I’ve promoted, and just generally been very supportive of not only me but the entire writing community. They have also sent a number of new authors my way.

I made the decision to close the blog to unsolicited submissions mainly because I already personally knew or was discovering great authors on my own. When I find a book that interests me (usually on Goodreads, on another blog, Facebook or Twitter, or through comments made on my own blog) I contact the author and ask if they’d like some promotion. No one has turned me down yet.

What I consider is the book’s cover (especially true on Goodreads) and whether it looks professionally designed – I can tell the difference. I try to find an excerpt of the book, again to see how professional the writing is and whether an editor was involved at any stage. (Again, I can tell.) I also check that the author has some kind of a web presence – a blog, or that they are engaged on social media. (Note: I said “engaged” and not just that they have an author page, but that they post something meaningful and support other authors.) I also look at their profile. If all they talk about is their own published books (especially on Twitter), I don’t bother pursuing them. It’s become my bugbear with those authors who wish to follow me on Twitter that they tell me in their profile what’s in it for me. If I read, “Author of the breathtaking new novel XXX”, I will not follow. But if someone describes themselves as, “Writer, reader, promoter of fellow authors”, I’d not only follow, but would probably offer them promotion on my blog – once I checked out all of the above about them.

By the way, for me being a “reader” is the key word in that description, because the other way authors can get my attention is by asking me about my books or the other books I publish. If anyone asks to read and review either of my books, invites me to be a guest blogger or be interviewed, I automatically reciprocate and offer to promote them on Reading Recommendations. It’s only fair. After all, just like them I have a couple of books I’ve written and published that need promotion!

I’d love to hear from other bloggers and authors. What comments or suggestions do you have?


8 Ways to Make People on Twitter Want to Stab Us IN THE FACE

Tricia Drammeh:

Exactly this!!! Kristen Lamb is a genius. Tip #4 is one of my biggest pet peeves. If you use True Twit, or a similar service, stop right now. Just stop.

I’ve been guilty of 5 and 8 to some extent. I go on huge retweeting/link sharing sprees and forget to create original, engaging content.

Before you use Twitter, please read this excellent article.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

One would think a lot of what I teach about social media (Twitter) would be self-explanatory, but hey…we live in a world where a box of frozen corn dogs has a warning that I need to REMOVE the corn dogs from the box BEFORE placing in oven. Hell, who KNEW?

As a social media expert, I run into all kinds of strange behavior and tips that make me scratch my head. Social media is social, meaning it’s supposed to be an extension of how we might interact with other human beings in person. Today’s post (obviously) is tongue-and-cheek, but humor can be the best teacher even if we’ve oopsed.

Tip #1—Only Use Automation

Writing a 140 characters is SUPER time-consuming. We aren’t Jack London. Besides, people LOVE talking to robots. I know when I feel lonely, I call AT&T because I know a human being will NEVER answer…EVER. Humans can…

View original 1,130 more words

Oh, Readers . . . where art thou?

Tricia Drammeh:

Calling all readers! Hope over to Susan’s blog and read this essential post. Are you a reader? Please leave a comment on Susan’s blog.

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

My editor, Rachel Small, is co-conspirator on this post.

Hello, READERS! Yes, you – those people who are not attempting to write their own books but simply enjoy reading the fruits of others’ labours. How are you doing? Have you read any good books lately?

We’re addressing you specifically today because we (my editor and I and many other professionals in the book business) want to get to know you. We’re all so busy talking to other writers and authors about how to write, how to get published, and how to promote books that we sometimes forget the most important person in this entire equation – the READER! (Although Rachel never forgets – she’s always reminding the authors she edits to remember their readers!) If it weren’t for you Readers, this business wouldn’t exist. It’s kind of a “If a tree falls in the forest . . .” conundrum.

View original 965 more words

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.