Love Is In The Air

Love Is In The Air

Happy Valentine's Day! Love is in the air and we have a little treat for our Romance writers!

Free Writing Romance Mastery Summit!

GET YOUR FREE TICKET HERE!

We are really excited to announce that Paula Judith invited Alexa back to be a speaker at her FREE Writing Romance Mastery Summit that begins Feb. 19th!

Their conversation this time is around overcoming the fear of marketing, but as you'll see when you check out the page below, there are SO MANY great sessions with so many masters of romance and the writing and publishing business!

Register for the Free Writing Romance Mastery Summit now!

The Writing Romance Mastery Summit will take place from February 19, 2024 through February 23, 2024, and we can promise it’ll be a top-notch event. Paula Judith is bringing together a great lineup!

Here’s a selection of speakers we are excited about hearing from:

  • Alexa Bigwarfe – Overcome the Fear of Marketing (you might recognize that name 🙂 )


Alexa is an author coach, book marketing expert, host of the Women in Publishing Summit, and a published RomCom author under the pen name Lexi Haddock. Alexa is known for her courses and training, which focus on author platform growth and creative ways to make marketing FUN, not scary!

Whether you are indie or traditionally published, marketing is essential. In this session, Alexa Bigwarfe discusses ways to approach marketing in a manner you enjoy.

  • Jill Lublin – Audience Building for Romance Authors

Jill Lublin is a Premier Publicity Authority, 4x Best-Selling Author, and International Speaker, who helps Entrepreneurs, Speakers, Coaches, and Authors. Jill has worked with ABC, NBC, CBS, and other national and international media as a highly regarded publicity expert. She has been featured in The New York Times, Women’s Day, Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc. magazines.

There are many ways to approach building your author platform. In this session, Jill Lublin explores how branding yourself leads to more book sales.

  • Philip Duncan – Book Marketing Made Easy With Email (Philip is one of my favorite people and knows his stuff with email marketing!)

Philip Duncan is an award-winning and Amazon bestselling fiction author. He's the host of Email Marketing and List Building Made Easy and the co-host of Fiction Marketing Academy.

In this session, Philip Duncan discusses how to make book marketing with email a natural and easy process to incorporate into your author platform.

Philip is a friend and I've had him guest lecture on email list growth. He's a pro!

  • Ellen Finkelstein – How to Promote Your Books through Email Marketing


Ellen Finkelstein started her first website in 1999 as an author platform – she's written 11 published books with McGraw-Hill and Wiley and self-published 10 e-books during her 20-year career as an author. The books range from 20 pages to more than 1200 pages. Since then, she has developed e-mail lists of over 22,000 people and a social media audience of over 100,000.

In this session, Ellen Finklestein explores ways to build your author platform to make more book sales from your reader email list.

  • Elise Krentzel – Generating Sales Without Advertising on Amazon


World traveler, author, ghostwriter, and coach. Elise is known as the Rebel Writer. From rock journalist to restaurant critic, she’s been stirring up the pot since the 1970s! Published her wild memoir, Under My Skin – Drama, Trauma, and Rock & Roll was a #1 bestseller in 9 categories on Amazon.

Elise Krentzel details connections and methods to increase organic book sales.

Happy Valentine's Day, Romance Writers!

And do not miss the 2024 WOMEN IN PUBLISHING SUMMIT!

See the full schedule here and grab your ticket today!

We hope to see you at the 2024 Women in Publishing Summit!

Insight Into The World Of Literary Agents

Insight Into The World Of Literary Agents

Each year, the Women in Publishing Summit hosts special sessions, digging into topics of interest for the attendees. The following is a guest post by an attendee about her experience at our 2023 Slush Fest.

Attendee insights: Slush Fest 2023

The 2023 Women in Publishing Summit featured what's known as a slush fest. As an attendee, I thought this was a unique and interesting experience, and it sparked me to share my insights.

The word slush refers to the slush pile of submitted manuscripts on an editor or agent's desk, usually sorted through by an assistant, with the most promising ones forwarded for further consideration.

What is a slush fest, anyway? It’s an opportunity to have a first page read and critiqued by agents! Slush Fest at the 2023 Women in Publishing Summit was a rare gift for writers in attendance.

When an editor looks at a manuscript to critique, the focus is on the positive aspects of it with suggestions for improvement. It’s a work in progress.

When a literary agent looks at a manuscript to decide if a traditional publishing house will take up the book, the criteria is different. This is important for a writer to know. The standard process is to submit to a literary agent and either receive interest or a standard rejection, similar to “This book is not something I can represent.”  Most times there’s no feedback beyond that, leaving the writer to try again pitching to someone else. 

In a perfect world with unlimited time, feedback on the writing from the literary agent would be golden. The writer would learn what improvement their writing needs for it to be a better fit with what publishers want.  This is what the Slush Fest gave to those whose pages were read, but all of us learned from the feedback given to others, and by witnessing each agent’s process while listening to their advice.

Prior to the session those who wanted to take part sent the first page of a manuscript they intend to pitch to an agent or publisher without identification on it to allow for a blind read. 

At the Slush Fest, Women in Publishing Summit founder Alexa Bigwarfe read aloud as many first page submissions as time permitted to the four agents. 

Kelly Thomas, Serendipity Literary Agency; Amy Collins, Talcott Notch Literary Services; Michelle Lazurek, WordWise Media Services; and Quantrilla Ard, Embolden Media Group would raise their hand to stop reading if not interested. Once all four hands were raised, Alexa would stop reading, regardless of whether she was finished with the page. 

What a valuable insight into the reality of the writing profession! 

If a writer loses an agent’s interest after a few lines, the agent won’t represent that manuscript. It’s not nasty. It’s the nature of the business with so little time, and so many manuscripts.

What was so spectacular about this slush fest was the honesty each agent shared about each page!  Sometimes they all agreed. Sometimes they didn’t. That’s what happens when sending to agents, and why one rejection doesn’t stop us from writing. We submit to different agents until the author, manuscript, and agent connect to find that perfect fit.

Yes, it’s subjective, however, the feedback at the slush fest was exceptional and served to help us better understand the publishing industry. One agent asking to connect later with one author gave confirmation that literary agents do not reject everyone, providing a testament to the need for persistence.

An important point I learned early in my writing career is that a rejection of my writing is not a rejection of me as a writer. We need to keep our ego out of it, learn what needs improvement, and work on our craft to incorporate any feedback we’re fortunate to get. We keep on writing.

Too much gatekeeping? Probably, but that’s the reality of traditional publishing. 

The option to do it on your own, hiring the professionals you need to self-publish a quality book, is always there to choose to reach your audience.  It took years of my taking part at conferences in their “speed dating” version of meeting with literary agents to help me decide. One-on-one with enough of them giving me the same feedback confirmed to me that my book idea wasn’t big enough from its regional perspective to generate the amount of sales traditional publishing expected. 

No one even looked at the writing, dismissing it on concept alone. With a local audience asking for the book, a passion project of mine, I determined it would never happen if I continued on the traditional route, so I self-published. I believed it could go beyond a local history audience with its conversational approach to the history tied to what was going on in the world that interacted with Tottenville.

Two reviews on Amazon from sales in the United Kingdom that showed interest in looking at the 17th Century from an American point of view confirmed that for me.

So much for only people living in Tottenville being able to find value in my book!

Thank you, Alexa Bigwarfe, for giving us this valuable peek inside the making of these gatekeeping decisions not easily accessible to writers, and to the participating agents for giving of their time to share such valuable feedback. 

Angie Mangino is the author of 17th Century Tottenville History Comes Alive, the first in a series on the history of Tottenville. Having lived in Tottenville since 1978, the Council on the Arts & Humanities Staten Island awarded a grant to her in 1999 to research the history of Tottenville to conduct an interactive workshop in the community. Her book series on Tottenville History stems from this research and information garnered from the community to offer a conversational look at the history and its wider reaching significance. https://angiemangino.com/


 

What’s An Email CRM And Why Do Authors Need One?

What’s An Email CRM And Why Do Authors Need One?

ed. note: Many thanks to team member Nancy Cavillones for submitting this post, which originally appeared on her blog.

The Basics of an Email CRM

One thing you'll almost always see in a book marketing plan, or a book marketing course, is an emphasis on “building your list, ” using an email CRM, sometimes called an ESP or Email Service Provider. This means building a list of email subscribers. Of all the ways to reach your readers, the email list remains the most effective way to sell your books.

  1. If a reader is on your email list, that means that they WANT to hear from you. (More on opting-in in just a moment!)
  2. You have more time and space to say what you want to say to readers.
  3. You have the opportunity to provide extra value to your readers.

In this post, I'll cover the very basics of using an email CRM, or Customer Relationship Manager. If you subscribe to an email newsletter or online mailing list, chances are very good that they are being delivered to your inbox via an email CRM like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.

First, let's talk about WHY you, an author, needs an email CRM. Whether this is your first book or your 100th book, when you write a book and sell it, you are in the author business. When you collect email addresses, you must provide a way for readers to automatically unsubscribe from your email list. You cannot do this with a personal email address.

Another difference between an email CRM and your personal email is that your personal email server will almost certainly flag you as a spammer if you start sending mass emails, and you'll end up in some hot water.

Okay, let's break down the parts of an email CRM.

Campaigns: Sometimes called a broadcast, campaigns are one-time emails that are sent to your whole list, or a segment of your list. These are usually newsletters, product offers, announcements and updates.

Segment: A portion of your subscriber list that has something in common. For example, you might identify a segment of your list as people who downloaded an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of your book. This will be important when we talk about opt-ins below.

Landing Page: A type of form. Landing pages are a full-page design, usually containing sales or promotional copy and calls to action, along with a form to sign up for whatever it is you're selling.

Subscribers: These are the people who have agreed to get emails from you!

Automation: An automation is a workflow based on triggers. For example, someone may fill out a form to get an ARC of your book. When they fill out the form, it might automatically trigger a welcome email that contains the link to their copy of the ARC. You can do all kinds of neat things with automations, depending on which email CRM you are using.

Forms: This is what readers fill out to let you know that they agree to get email from you. Forms can be as simple as a first name and email address. (Always get the first name, so you can personalize those emails!). Some forms may collect more information, like what kind of content they are interested in or demographic information. I have a client whose form asks whether the reader is a parent, student or educator. The emails she sends out are tailored to each of these groups.

Opt-In: To get someone on your list, you must ask permission! Don't be a spammer. Get permission from readers to email them. Many opt-ins have a freebie attached to them. You send them the freebie in exchange for their agreeing to be added to your email list. Many authors give away a free chapter of their book as the freebie or an ARC. If you receive a list of email addresses from an event or promotional coordinator, keep these emails separate from your main mailing list. Only add them to your main list if they've expressly given permission. For example, if you participate in a BookFunnel group promo, you will collect a whole lotta emails from people who opted into the promo, but not necessarily your email list. Create a segment of those BookFunnel people, send them a welcome email and invite them to join your regular mailing list. It's just good business practice.

Email CRMs range from super basic to powerfully featured. If you're just starting out, I recommend using an email CRM with a free plan like MailerLite or MailChimp. As your audience and your business grows, you can graduate to something like ConvertKit or ActiveCampaign. Our team uses Convertkit, ActiveCampaign, and MailerLite.

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email crm

 

Women in Publishing Summit: A Place for Growth and Learning

Women in Publishing Summit: A Place for Growth and Learning

The Women in Publishing Summit is a place where writers, authors, and publishing enthusiasts gather to learn and grow. With workshops led by industry leaders and experts, this event offers a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for those looking to improve their skills and advance their careers. This year, several members of the Women in Publishing Summit team are excited about attending a number of workshops that will help them to achieve their goals and gain valuable insights.

Raewyn says “I am always on the lookout for ways to help my children navigate the world and understand some of the more challenging and difficult topics.” That's why she is excited for “Writing Scary Topics for Fiction In Ways That Educate and Empower Children” workshop. As a marketing expert, she understands the power of storytelling and believes that by learning from published authors who specialize in writing about these topics for children, she can gain valuable insights on how to use books to help her own children grow and develop. She is eager to discover new resources and strategies for educating her children in a way that is both informative and empowering.

Mandi, one of our expert social media managers, is looking forward to attending Julie Broad's workshop “5 Tips To Write A Book With Marketing In Mind.” She hopes to be able to learn how to sell her book before even starting to write it, making it appealing to readers and increasing the chances of book sales and landing speaking gigs. She is confident that this workshop will provide her with the necessary tools and knowledge to weave marketing into her initial planning stages. Previously, she has struggled with the marketing aspect of her projects and books but is optimistic that this workshop will help her overcome this obstacle.

Lauren Udoh is eager to attend the workshop “Working Together: The Ghostwriting and Collaborative Writing Process.”. As an Executive Assistant, she is fascinated by the process of bringing a story to life through collaboration and is interested in learning more about how the relationship between the author and the ghostwriter works. Lauren believes that ghostwriters play a crucial role in helping people share their stories and is excited to hear all the details of this dynamic collaboration from E. Danielle, who has worked with numerous authors to bring their stories to life. She is eager to learn more about the behind-the-scenes process and how this relationship can help bring stories to life.

Pam is excited about attending Emily Enger’s session on “Minimalist Marketing”. This session aligns perfectly with Pam's goal of simplifying things this year, and she's eager to learn more about the minimalist approach to marketing. Pam believes that quality is more important than quantity, and she's looking forward to learning how to apply this principle to her marketing efforts.

Whether you are a seasoned writer or just starting out, the Women in Publishing Summit offers something for everyone. From workshops on writing scary topics for children to marketing and ghostwriting, there is no shortage of opportunities for growth and learning. Join the Women in Publishing Summit team and attend the workshops that interest you. 

Get your ticket today and start your journey towards becoming a better writer and publishing professional.

Get your Women in Publishing Summit ticket.

Why is networking important for women in the publishing industry?

Why is networking important for women in the publishing industry?

Get ready for the ultimate networking experience at the Women in Publishing Summit!

We are thrilled to announce that the Women in Publishing Summit is back for another year, and this time, we have made sure to pack the event with even more opportunities for networking and connection! Our past attendees have raved about the benefits of having a writing team of friends, accountability partners, and co-commiserators. Writing can be a lonely journey, but with the Women in Publishing Summit, you will never have to go it alone.

Many of our past participants have formed lasting relationships and even continue to meet regularly via zoom. With the Summit, you'll have the chance to connect with a community of authors, writers, editors, graphic designers, and more in your specific genre. We heard your feedback, and this year we've built in even more opportunities for you to network and connect with others in the industry.

The Women in Publishing Summit is the first online conference dedicated to women in the publishing industry, and it's the biggest event of its kind. Over the course of four days, you'll have access to over 40 workshops covering a wide range of topics, including writing craft, editing, production, marketing, and the business of being an author. With expert speakers and panel discussions, you'll leave the Summit feeling inspired, empowered, and ready to take your publishing journey to the next level.

With Day 1 dedicated to writing craft, Day 2 to editing and production, Day 3 to marketing, and Day 4 to tools for business growth, the Women in Publishing Summit has you covered. And with the event held completely online, you can attend from the comfort of your own home or office. All workshops and events will be recorded, and you'll receive access to everything, so you never have to miss a moment.

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, learn from industry experts, and take your publishing journey to the next level. Register for the Women in Publishing Summit now!

Here's what some of our past attendees have to say about the Women in Publishing Summit:

“Fabulous! (I probably shouldn't say this out loud, but based on what I've seen so far, and what I know is coming, I would have easily paid double!) 😁” – Amy T., Writer

“Such an amazing conference. So impressed with the content. By far the most comprehensive collection for a writing/publishing conference. Great job!” – Stephanie Victoria Anderson, Cover Designer & Book Formatter, Alt 19 Creative

Join us March 1-4, 2023, and see what all the buzz is about!

Get your Women in Publishing Summit ticket.

Lessons from My Book Launch

Book launch days can be stressful which is why I want to bring you some of my favorite book launch tips from my recent launch of my book, 4 Days in Paris.

Book launch days are so much fun, and yet, nail biting may be occurring as I'm refreshing the screen to check for new reviews and rank advancement. If you know, you know, right?

If you've been in our workshops, trainings, or listening to the podcast, you've heard me talk about my first novel, 4 Days in Paris  by Lexi Haddock (my pen name). My book launched on December 6th!

In honor of the big day, I wanted to share some of my book launch tips and the lessons I learned from my launh. This includes marketing tools that have helped make book launch day extra special. But if you want to help me out, please at least click on the link to my Amazon page – which may or may not help the rankings increase. Obviously a sale is the biggest rank mover. Reviews right behind that. But it's been said that even activity on an Amazon page can raise the ranking. And I'm in some pretty competitive categories.

So check it out, then come back for the rest of these resources and advice!  (This is not an affiliate link because that would be against KDP Terms of Services.)

Book Launch Tips and Resources

And now… here's some info to help you as you plan for your next book launch, or work to re-energize a book you've already launched.

  1. If you haven't listened to episode 75 of the PublishHer podcast yet, from Paris with Love, you should listen! I go through my entire process. One of our listeners, Kay, said it's the most comprehensive podcast episode on the entire book writing process she's ever heard. Thanks Kay, I appreciate that. I talk about writing, editing, and a little on the launch process. Listen to episode 75 now!
  2. I was super thrilled to be featured as the Book of the Day on the BookyCall app on December 6th! This is an app you should absolutely be using as an author and reader – it's a growing community of readers who are “matched” to books that all have really fun “dating” profiles. It's a really cute concept and authors are getting a ton of new readers from it. BookyCall is one of our Session Sponsors for the 2023 Women in Publishing Summit, and they'll be doing a webinar with us next year. We will also have a special discount for our conference attendees if you're interested in marketing your book through them. For now, go download the app on your phone (it looks like a little ghost with a hat) and find out which books are a match for you! Pro tip: I set my ebook to $0.99 for launch day and have it in Kindle Unlimited in the attempt to lure in new readers who are unfamiliar with me. This is very helpful since it takes time for reviews to trickle in.
  3. Love Book Tours is an amazing company to run an Instagram tour with! I've had a review tour and blitz happening the last 11 days and it's been awesome! The LBT organizes the tour, and you get to watch them post away. You can check out @LexiHaddock_author on Instagram to see some of the wonderful posts. I'm trying to convince the owner, Kelly, to come talk to us in the conference as well. If not, we'll get her in a webinar or podcast interview. These review tours may not always result in immediate sales, but it does create a lot of buzz and I've seen many people comment they are adding the book to their to be read list.
  4. Time is your friend, not your foe. Unless you make it your foe by not giving enough time in your launch preps! There just isn't enough time to do all the things. I had millions of other activities lined up I wanted to do, and just could not get to it all. Because… work, life, all of the things that compete for our time. It's absolutely critical that you work on growing your platform as early as you can and have a plan that will allow you to get to as much as you can.

What was my plan?

My plan was focused on getting the book into the hands of as many readers as possible. We did this through listing the book on Netgalley and Booksirens, the LBT virtual tour on IG, the Featured book of the day with BookyCall, running a giveaway on GoodReads (at last check, over 2700 people had requested it!), and running launch day giveaways on all of our Instagram Accounts. Additionally, I've been making it my mission to spend as much time engaging with readers and reviewers on Instagram.

What I did NOT get to:

  1. Blogging
  2. Sharing more pics from my time in Paris
  3. Getting on more podcasts – I did get on a couple, including a great interview on the TufFish Podcast with Jen Milius in which we discussed using pen names and book marketing – check it out here!
  4. Creating relationships with other closed door romcom or holiday romance authors to do group promos with.
  5. Get my BookBub account running and run a promo with LitRing.
  6. About five million other things I would do if I had more time!

But the cool part is, that while you want to create as much as buzz as possible prior to launch, which I think we did reasonably well with, the rest can continue after the launch. So, I'll keep at it. The biggest piece of this will be finishing book 2, so I can launch it and cross promote both books.

Book launch day is important but you can continue to build buzz after the big day too.

I'm so grateful to my entire community for your love, encouragement, and support as I launch this book. You've been awesome.

And if a romantic comedy set in Paris on New Year's Eve 1999 sounds up your alley,  go grab your copy today! 

Please do check out these book launch tips, resources, and tools mentioned above. They can make a tremendous difference in growing your audience and selling more books!

Click below for a free book launch checklist to help you with your own book launch!

book launch checklist