What went well in 2020!

What went well in 2020!

2020 took me on a roller coaster ride of … well, grief.

You guys. I had such enormous plans for 2020. Like so many people, 2020 was going to be MY YEAR. I was finally going to burst forth from my chrysalis and sprinkle glitter and butterfly fairy dust all over the publishing world.

And then, March 13th, (Friday the 13th as it was!) I watched the news conference that changed everything. Our governor announced the children would not be going back to school on Monday or for the foreseeable future. Businesses would close. Life would shut down. Temporarily. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

What we hoped would be for just a few weeks dragged on and on and on and on and on and on.

In that moment, all I felt was intense fear.

What would I do? How was this going to work? My husband was unemployed, I was trying to launch (add that to the list of things that flopped, but we pulled out a win in the end!), I have three kids (2 in elementary school and 1 in Middle school), and now not only was I scared I was going to die from this mystery virus, but I needed to figure out how to homeschool 3 kids while keeping the business, that is our only source of income, afloat?

Somehow we figured it out. But we got some bruises along the way.

These things did NOT work for us in 2020:

  • Large program launches (WIP school went from being a $2997 program to $297 – the steal of a lifetime for the people that joined in)
  • Traditional launch strategies; especially those focusing on an in-person launch. We had to completely redesign our launch strategies…
  • NaNoWriMo – y'all my brain was so fried by November, I couldn't even write a grocery list, let alone a 50,000+ word novel
  • Chrysalis Press – the traditional press we launched at the end of December 2019… I was so busy trying to save the rest of my business, the traditional press took a back seat. But super excited that our sole author, Kasie Whitener, has a 2nd book coming out in 2021!
  • Sales funnel launches – for and . Neither of these lived up to my expectations, (especially considering the time and monetary investment) – largely thanks to the ridiculous cost of Facebook Ads because of all of the election insanity…
  • In person retreats. 🙁 2020 was meant to be the year I hosted my first in person retreat. But… never fear, we're going to do it at the end of 2021! WOOHOO!
  • Planning an in person conference for 2021. We planned on having the Women in Publishing Summit be an in person event in 2021. NOPE. Not happening. But… this year's line up is out of this world anyway! (Are you registered? )

But… it wasn't all bad.

In fact… 2020 wound up being a very surprisingly fantastic year, once I got my mindset straight.

I tried a lot of new things this year. We had some really big WINS. Like the phenomenal .

Our biggest wins of 2020: (besides the WIP Summit, of course, which thankfully ended right before mayhem set forth)

1. Our Book Launch in a Box program was amazing. We covered a lot in one month and our students really performed well! I can't wait to run that again! We managed to completely re-envision our book launches, including some really incredible changes that we made with Instagram, resulting in some really big launches. We teach it all in this program. We'll be running it again in the Spring – you can get on the waiting list here:

2. WIP School was incredible. For a full six months, from April to September, we met twice monthly with 30 authors and trained on all things publishing and marketing. We had fantastic guest experts and really covered a lot of ground. We are converting it to a 4-month program in 2021, with several on-demand modules, but I'm excited about the improvements that we're making for the .

3. Email list growth! I've been focusing hard on growing the email list, through a wide variety of efforts.

This is so important for you as authors… the bigger your email list, the better book sales you're going to see. It's just a fact.

Why? Because people who actually give you their real email address and actually open your emails are interested in what you're talking about. And if you've done the work to convert them to actual followers / fans – even friends, people who take the time to read your emails are likely the people who want to read your book or sign up for your course or take some sort of action you're asking them to do.

To grow that email list, you have to have something that is worthy of someone handing over an email address. You might host a webinar or training event, you might give a free download of a tool that's necessary (for example, I recently downloaded a novel planning spreadsheet, which I was more than happy to give my email address to receive), or it might be a sample of your book.

I could provide a whole list of ways to collect email addresses, but the really challenging part comes in the next part… what you do with them, how you get people to actually open your emails, and how you make sure people want to stay on your list.

So this month's training workshop is on this topic. Not just why you need to grow your email list, but what tools you can use to do it, how you get people on the email list, how you KEEP them there, and how you create calls to action that, well, result in some sort of action.

Email Lists for Authors! How to build one, grow it, and keep your peeps (to sell more books!)

January 12th at 1pm EST, and yes, a recording is provided.

This training is included as a benefit in our as well.

4. Small monthly training workshops. These have been a huge win for us and our audience. Digging into a specific topic each month has really worked well. And because the live attendance rate is general in the 15 – 20 person range, our attendees get plenty of personal interaction and feedback.

5. Amazing launches for our authors. This year we brought forth some books we are really proud of:

Purple Butterfly Press

Kat Biggie Press


6. Partnerships and Webinars. Heck yes to this! I had a GREAT time running joint webinars this year. Some of it was already planned as continuing education with the Women in Publishing Summit, but I did TWO webinars with ProWritingAid () and another on what you need to know to self-publish like a pro. I had the opportunity to appear on several podcasts and summits, and I made some really great connections with others in the industry. Networking and building relationships is always a win!

7. The opportunity to be authentically myself… for the BIGGEST WIN. 2020 allowed me the chance to open up, share some really personal stories, give everyone a peek behind the curtain, and see me for who I really am… a mom trying my best to make a positive impact in this world… fueled by a desire to show my children how to show up in this world, while helping other authors get their words into the world. I finally launched , a place where I get to share the ups and downs of publishing, as well as really great interviews with experts in the industry.

So, we survived 2020… and some really great things came out of it. From the failures, we learned how to pivot and to do better. We're still learning. 2020 forced some major change to happen in so many areas, including book launching and marketing. These are not things that are likely to change soon.

What was your biggest accomplishment of 2020? And what do you have planned for 2021?

How do I get in front of the right readers?

How do I get in front of the right readers?

Who wants more book sales?

Yesterday in our Facebook group, we received the question I hear so often.

I've done my target audience research. I've looked at all the comp titles. I know my keywords and categories. But HOW do I get in front of the people who will buy my book?
This is one of the most difficult things for authors to figure out. And quite honestly, it's what makes a lot of authors give up…

But it doesn't have to be quite so difficult.

We were able to add 1100 readers for one of our authors, just by using Facebook Ads. But the key part about Facebook Ads is that, when set up properly, Facebook will cultivate the “just right” audience for you.

You may have noticed that if you have an interest in something, an ad shows up in your newsfeed on Facebook or Instagram? That's because the algorithm is always looking for ways to put the RIGHT ads in front of the RIGHT people. You might have just mentioned something to a friend, perhaps you need a new tire. And bam, Firestone ads fill your newsfeed.

The Facebook algorithm is GOOD. It's so good, I've managed to buy ALL of my Christmas presents this year just through Facebook and Instagram. 🙂 🙂 🙂 (PS, when you run ads on Facebook, they also go to Instagram if you have it set up to do so.)

The point is, it doesn't have to be as hard as you think to build your audience of the right readers.

But it DOES have to be set up properly to work well. Simply boosting a post on your Facebook page might get you lots of views. But it doesn't matter if it's hit the wrong people. You want to have people who take action on your ads… so you need to have your ads set up to find the right people.

When you do it right … the possibilities are endless. I spoke to a romance author that had over $100,000 in book sales in one year-directly from her Facebook ads. (Plus a good book, good sales page, etc, let's be honest, Facebook ads aren't magic… but they work well when you've done the work too.)

Join us for our monthly workshop all about Facebook Ads – specifically for authors! So that you can be knowledgeable and ready to go hunting (or let Facebook hunt on your behalf) for the right readers.

When you find the right people, you will see more sales.

This stuff works.

Click here to find out the full details.

How does your genre inform your writing? Tips for Self-Help writers

How does your genre inform your writing? Tips for Self-Help writers

One of the most exciting aspects of being an author is how amazing it is to positively impact and move people. Our words have the opportunity to shape someone's understanding of a situation, move them to take action, help them take steps to heal themselves, provide resources, teach them, or entertain the heck of them. It's really pretty cool; the power of the pen.

Everyone has their reasons for writing. This month we'll be talking about them, and also digging into the how, too – there are different ways to approach writing and marketing a book, depending on the genre it's in. We'll be exploring these ideas with authors who have written on the same topic — the grief and pain that happens when a parent loses a pregnancy or a baby.

DON'T STOP READING NOW… just because that topic doesn't appeal to you. We're using this as an example to showcase some authors, but you can apply these tips to almost any genre.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and it's important to me for two very important reasons. First, and most essential for understanding who I am as a writer and as a person, I began this publishing path as I was reeling from the death of my infant daughter. I needed to tell her story like I needed to breathe – for myself, for my husband, for her sisters and brother and for all the other women who walked that path.

The second reason this month is important to me is that it didn't just set me on a path to publishing my beautiful Kathryn's story, but it set me on a mission to amplify the voices of others as a publisher and a coach. And in doing that, I've met some incredible women who also had stories to share about the grief of losing a child. I am so honored to be in their company and to get to work with them in supporting their mission.

But what I didn't realized was that writing through grief doesn't look the same to everyone. I saw people creating children's books, self-help books, inspirational books, memoirs and I even put together an anthology. I have even seen women take their painful stories and write amazing fiction books based on their experiences.

Now these are all VERY different books – and while the springboard subject matter is the same, the way they were written and the way we marketed any one of them can be applied to the self-help book YOU have been writing or YOUR children's book than they are to each other!

This week we're going to discuss the self-help/instructional genre, so read on for some tips. You'll also want to be sure to check out the details on the new session of the phenomenal Amazon Ads course our friend is offering, and get the download details for some FREE books to check out as the weather cools off for many of you!

And if you have been impacted by the loss of a pregnancy, infant, or child, or know someone who has, I encourage you to check out , at a very low rate. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit , which provides care packages to grieving mothers, free of charge.


caption for image

Last year I worked with a really special author, Kimberly Calabrese. After the experience of losing her beautiful baby girl, Paris, she knew that the world needed her message. She spent years doing the groundwork for and writing her book, . Her idea was unique AND very needed, as any grieving parent can tell you: there's only so many casseroles a family needs. What they really need is someone who can sit with them in understanding, and who can do the practical things they need to keep life moving. It is a self-help and instructional book, but not for the grieving parent. It's purpose was truly about self-improvement, in a way – not about getting over grief, but about how to respond to the stress and pain with true kindness; not about how to keep going yourself, but about how to meaningfully help a grieving parent keep going as a colleague, teacher, friend or relative.

The most important thing Kimberly did in this book was years of painstaking research. She interviewed hundreds of people and really collected the information she needed to make it useful. It can be tempting when you're writing self-help or instructional books to make it all about you – I mean, you're an expert, so why not?

But doing the work to dig into where your experience is universal – or if there even is a universal experience in your subject area – and identify patterns of success is VITAL to this kind of book's quality. Thanks to countless hours of talking to other grieving families and seeing what supports they'd wished for, she was able to give comprehensive advice that works for a huge number of people. Given that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in a loss and that the U.S. still has fairly high infant mortality rates, most people know someone touched by this grief. Because of the thorough research and time spent analyzing it in the writing process, she was able to target a potentially enormous audience.

When it came to marketing, Kimberly first began raising awareness of the need for compassionate, practical grief support, and she wanted to offer the same sort of practical tips she got into deeper in her book. To do this, she hired a publicist who helped position her as a subject matter expert. She got booked on many news shows from major market local news segments to national cable broadcasts. She was able to speak to people about her why really effectively.

But as a marketing tool for the book, it didn't quite catch fire. A key element to selling an instructional or self-help book is, the person you're trying to help has to want to change. We discovered that the book was like most self-help books – not the kind of thing you buy and keep on a shelf “just in case.” When you need it, you need it now. But until you need it? You won't buy it.

In strategizing the next step for this important instructional book, we realized that there was one kind of audience for this book that DID need to think ahead: organizational buyers. That's just a fancy way to say that the businesses, companies, medical offices, nonprofit groups, religious communities and educational institutions who are constantly encountering grieving families have more motivation to prepare – and, important to Kimberly's book, to improve – their response. She pivoted to market her book to the people who wanted to proactively change because their organizational and business health depended on it.

If you're writing a how-to style book or a self-help book, you might think you know who you're talking to. But, having worked with Kimberly's amazing book, I have definitely learned to drill down even further with our ideal audience, and target those who can't afford to back-burner change in marketing the book first.

If all of this has made you curious about , you can find it . I can guarantee, as a woman who has lost a child, there is someone you know right now who will thank you for reading it. You can also find Kimberly .


How does your genre inform your writing and marketing efforts? We'd love to hear your questions!


Julie’s story

Julie’s story

So many of us write books because we want to have some sort of influence on the world. Even if it's a fiction book, we write largely because we want to create some sort of reaction… evoke some sort of emotion. Whether it begins strictly for our own needs or not.

Julie was no different. At one time in her career she was a powerful business woman on Wall Street, and she walked away from all of it when she realized she was unfulfilled and unhappy in her life. She spent the next few years building an audience talking about topics like gratitude and finding your true course in life, living in a fulfilled way.

When we started talking about her book, Awaken: 6 Sacred Steps to Remember Who You Are & Why You Are Here, Julie had several moments of absolute fear of releasing her book into the world. She experienced those moments of panic like we all do.

  • Should I launch this book?
  • Maybe I should just do a simple print run for my existing clients?
  • What if no one wants this book?

Julie was afraid that her book would fail… and this is a common fear!

At one point, Julie almost pulled the plug. I encouraged her to continue moving forward.

We came up with a launch strategy that felt good and aligned for her.

Now she had a very engaged and active Facebook group and a significant email list, so we leveraged those to the max.

Julie launched her book and had over 1,000 sales in her first week. It was incredible. Not only that, we chose smart awards programs to enter her book into, and she kept winning awards! She won 1st place in the Foreword Reviews, she was the award winner for Body/Mind/Spirit in the National Indie's Excellence Award, and several others. (Guess what? Winning in major book awards gets a lot of eyes on your book!)

She sent me this message:

Our sweet book keeps getting more and more recognition! I want to THANK YOU so much for holding the vision of this book when I wanted to run away from it 😉

Part of my role as a coach is to make sure I hold my authors to their vision, even when they doubt themselves. So this note from her really warmed my heart.

The world needed her book.

But without a proper launch strategy and implementation, the results might not have been as powerful.

She has 95 reviews on her book, and all but one of them are genuine and heartfelt 5-stars.

Sometimes when you feel afraid, what you need is someone who knows the right path to hold your hand to get you there.

I've been talking a lot over the last few days about the program I am launching, Book Launch in a Box – with live coaching. The cart will be closing in a few days, so if this is a program you might be interested in, I encourage you to join us.

Check it out HERE==> https://writepublishsell.com/book-launch-in-a-box-course/

I'll be helping you with personalized feedback to create the RIGHT plan, and how to take the steps to ensure when the book launches, you are successful.

It doesn't matter what genre you write in, it doesn't matter what size your audience is, it doesn't matter if your book isn't written yet. We can still create the RIGHT plan for you.

Take advantage of MY EYES and my team's support on your book launch strategy and avoid the many pitfalls so many authors face.

You owe it to your readers, but more importantly, you owe it to yourself.

Get the full details here: https://writepublishsell.com/book-launch-in-a-box-course/

Write on and market hard!

GoodReads… the best secret marketing tool for authors

GoodReads… the best secret marketing tool for authors

We are PUMPED up right now. We have a children's book launching September 15th, and based on the engagement the book is getting across Netgalley, Instagram, and GoodReads, we are positioned for an incredible launch.

There is one tool I see authors skip over time and time again, even though it's FREE and they probably even already use it. What is it? GoodReads! Yes, the same site where you compare notes with your family and friends before you vote on a book club choice has HUGE marketing potential for authors. Think about it: you're probably a reader with an account on GoodReads. You can probably remember more than a few occasions where you saw that one of your social connections had 4-starred a book, and you went right in and stuck that same book on your “want to read” shelf. Maybe you even headed straight to Amazon to buy it. And in doing so, you spread the word about that book for its author – your interest served to market it for them for free. It's an excellent way to leverage social connections to reach people already primed to read.

Back in 2017, my phenomenal team member, Nancy, and I went to Book Expo in NYC. We listened to this fascinating presentation about GoodReads. They shared the details of how, because of the activity on GoodReads, the book had THOUSANDS of reviews and a ton of buzz before it even launched. The book hit ALL the big lists at launch, and sold a ton, thanks in no small part to the GoodReads strategy, combined with a solid launch and marketing strategy.

[bctt tweet=”How we use #goodreads to market our #booklaunches. #booklaunch #bookmarketing #amwriting ” username=”womeninpublish1″]

We knew it was a powerful tool before that day, but it really gave me a whole new understanding of how much it can move the needle.

WATCH OUR WEBINAR: How to SMASH a Book launch!

I had been using GoodReads as a reader for a long time. I love the fact that it's a social site dedicated 100% to avid readers. True book fans. Everything that happens on the site is related to books, reading, authors, and writing.

I recently recorded this introduction to GoodReads for authors that you can check out on my YouTube channel.

If your book is available on Amazon Kindle, it's even MORE key that you get your GoodReads profile up and running.


Amazon doesn't let folks leave reviews on their website until after a book has been released, but the BUZZ of readers is such an important part of having a successful launch.

So want to have your book in places where people can leave reviews leading up to the launch.

Want to learn all there is to know about GoodReads?

I have a $37 course that will show you ALL the things!

Get the Course now!

You TOO can have over 50 reviews before you even launch!

Every time we walk a new author through the advanced reader part of our launch process, they get a little nervous. “Won't it kill all my sales if I give away the book for free?”

Well, the short answer is NO. But even more importantly, I cannot tell you enough how important it is for the success of your book for you to have a LOT of reviews and activity on your book. That will bring in organic new traffic outside of your reach. It also gets the eyes of librarians and book retailers on your book.

Having great reviews to influence potential buyers is so important, and you can't snooze on it, especially when you've planned a marketing strategy all around your launch day.

Back to GoodReads. Another cool thing is that it is integrated into the Kindle interface – so if someone is reading your book on Kindle, the option pops up to add it to your GoodReads shelf and mark it as READING. Every time you do something like this, the notification goes out to all of your friends and followers.

So imagine: you will have some avid readers with LOTS of followers on GoodReads, and their entire network is notified when they start reading your book. Pretty amazing, huh?

You can see the power of those reviews for our upcoming children's book release, “Rupert's Snowman.” Even though the book isn't launching until September 15, Phillipa already has more than 50 people weighing in on her book, endorsing it to their social network. It's all part of a great launch strategy (you can join her launch team and watch her work, friends – she's going to have an exciting one!) and it works both because she has a truly fantastic book AND because she's put in the time to explore and maximize success on GoodReads and other places.

Even more exciting, we just started a giveaway for Rupert's Snowman yesterday, and over 600 people have already entered!

Holy smokes, this is exciting!

Setting up your GoodReads account as an author is one of the totally free things that you can do today to market your book, so go play around with setting up your author profile. Don't be shy: ask your network to be sure to follow you as an author there! And if you want more tips and tricks for a successful GoodReads experience, you can grab my quick, powerful GoodReads course — it's a $37 investment that you'll see returned with increased book sales and a bigger author platform!

News from around the (Zoom) water cooler…

  • I'm participating in a great promotion for anyone who's looking for new books about writing – if you want to build your Author Toolkit, head on over and check out the offerings!
  • In our virtual world, how will publishers make sure that authors aren't being harassed during online events?
  • KatBiggie Press is publishing our FIRST EVER YA book! Check out the cover reveal for K.T. Angleheart's “The Wise Ones,” coming in October, and look for a free sneak peek soon!
  • Are editors responding to submissions during COVID-19? One of our favorite experts has the answer.

Have fun checking out all the features of GoodReads this week, and let us know how it will fit into YOUR book marketing plan! We'd love to hear about it!