Brand, Book, Bestseller with Tenita Johnson

Brand, Book, Bestseller with Tenita Johnson

Brand, Book, Bestseller: How to Write the One Book that's Going to Boost Your Brand and Accelerate Your Paydays

Brand, Book, Bestseller is a signature presentation for ensuring that you not only build a solid brand based on your book, but that you position yourself as the expert in your industry–allowing you to accelerate your paydays and unlock unlimited doors of opportunity.

Hosted by Tenita “Bestseller” Johnson, this session will cover:

  • Many of the pitfalls that stop aspiring authors from publishing their signature book
  • The signature framework my clients are using to write their bestseller in 60 days or less
  • What makes you the G.O.A.T and how that translates into a bestselling book
  • The mindset shift you're going to have to make to make it all happen
This workshop features in-session hot seats!
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Keywords And Categories Webinar: How To Make Your Book Discoverable

Keywords And Categories Webinar: How To Make Your Book Discoverable

In this hour long webinar with Publisher Rocket's Product Manager, Hank Marcacci, we'll dive into the details of how Keywords and Categories work on Amazon, tactics authors can use to gain traction, and optimization for effective sales results. Included topics are:
  • Finding profitable keywords that users actually search for on Amazon
  • Discovering and applying secret Amazon categories most authors don’t know about
  • Learning how to become a category bestseller without spending thousands
  • Strategies to make a book more discoverable to target readers
  • …plus more!

Publisher Rocket just released a huge update to their software, so don't miss this webinar! Hank is a great teacher, and we're pleased to welcome him back.

Register for free at

Access Creative Genius, Strategic Thinking and Writing Flow with Stacy Ennis

Access Creative Genius, Strategic Thinking and Writing Flow with Stacy Ennis

Stacy Ennis will teach neuroscience-based strategies to design a lifestyle that supports creative genius, strategic thinking, and writing flow.

During this session, you'll learn the neuroscience behind flow, and the habits that allow you to consistently access creative genius and deep strategic thinking. Part-scientific, part-practical, this is an audience favorite because of its transformational impact. After attending this session, attendees will be able to implement practical elements like discretionary time and time blocking to increase their productivity while maintaining a balanced life.

Register Now:

(Free for WIP School Members!)

Insight Into The World Of Literary Agents

Insight Into The World Of Literary Agents

The 2023 Women in Publishing Summit featured what's known as a slush fest. 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.


WIP Webinar Series:  How to Outline and Organize Your Books Like a Pro

WIP Webinar Series: How to Outline and Organize Your Books Like a Pro

Women in Publishing Summit Sponsor: Plottr

Plottr is a tool that helps writers outline and organize their content faster. We're hosting a free webinar with their team to help our audience build a plan to write your book. Master the three pro-writer tips for authors to write a book you'll be proud to share so you don't have to suffer from “author shame” on launch day! (IYKYK!).

In this free webinar with author, book coach, and Plottr Education Lead, Troy Lambert, you'll get clarity on:

  • How to use the Plottr’s suite of tools to accelerate your writing process
  • how to visualize your book and series arcs
  • track your character
  • place details
  • avoid plot holes
  • and much more

The best part? It works for pantsers, too!

If you’re ready to (finally) organize the story ideas rampaging through your head, then join the session, ask questions, and see why Plottr is rated the #1 outlining software by Kindlepreneur.

Don't suffer from “author shame” after you publish your book! We give you permission to ignore the advice to “just sit down and write.” Instead, master my three pro-writer tips for nonfiction authors to write a book you'll be proud to share. Get clarity on:

Register for Free Today:

PublishHER Podcast Episode 87: Writing Tips for First Time Writers

PublishHER Podcast Episode 87: Writing Tips for First Time Writers

Episode 87 Writing Tips for First Time Writers & StoryBilder with Tanya Gough

Tanya Gough, a multifaceted talent with experience in a range of fields, including ESL teaching, retail store ownership, and digital marketing, has now established herself as the founder of Story Builder, a creative writing platform designed for new and aspiring writers. With a passion for middle-grade fantasy fiction and science-infused fantasy short stories for adults, Tanya's diverse background showcases her expertise in various industries. As a guest on the PublishHer Podcast, she shares invaluable writing tips for first-time fiction writers, encouraging them to embrace the importance of play in the writing process and to accept that the first draft will not be perfect.

Through her journey with writing, Tanya Gough has not only developed a platform to help emerging writers, but has also uncovered a powerful approach to storytelling – one that encourages play, exploration, and breaking the rules. Little did she know, this new approach would revolutionize her writing process, transforming her stories and spurring her to inspire a new generation of authors.


Lean into your first draft not being great. Use it as an opportunity to play and experiment, and figure out what your story actually is. – Tanya Gough

This is Tanya Gough's story:

Tanya Gough's journey with storytelling began at a young age when she discovered her passion for writing. She quickly learned that the process of writing fiction was vastly different from nonfiction, and that it required a unique approach to structure and character development. Her determination to understand the art of storytelling led her to create StoryBilder, a platform designed to help emerging writers embark on their creative journey. By focusing on structure and embracing the freedom to break things and experiment, Tanya found a way to connect with her stories on a personal level, allowing her to enjoy the process and truly engage with her characters.


In this episode, you will learn how to:

1. Establish solid foundations by generating clear ideas and direction for your stories.

2. Infuse an element of playfulness into your creative writing process.

3. Tackle the anxiety of producing imperfect first drafts and focus on progress.

4. Optimize StoryBilder for a well-structured story development.

5. Leverage the power of short stories to sharpen your writing abilities.


Starting Your Novel

When beginning a novel, first-time writers should focus on having a clear vision of the story's main idea. This serves as a foundation for the plot, character development, and overall structure of the novel, helping the writer stay on track and avoid getting lost in the creative process. Knowing the direction of the story also allows the writer to maintain consistency and create a coherent narrative that engages readers. In the conversation with Tanya Gough, she emphasized that a strong concept is essential when starting to write a novel. Tanya suggested that writers should have a clear sense of the story's big picture, whether it's the plot, a character, or a particular theme. Having a guiding idea not only helps with story development but also keeps the writer focused and motivated during the writing process.

Key Takeaways

  • Check out StoryBilder, a creative writing platform for new and aspiring writers, founded by Tanya Gough.
  • Embrace the fact that your first draft will be terrible and use it as an opportunity to experiment and play with your story.
  • Use a working outline or structure to guide your writing process and keep you on track.
  • Be open to changing and breaking things in your story to see what happens and to find interesting narrative details.
  • Consider using specific software tools, such as Scrivener, to help you organize and manage your writing process.
  • Join writing groups or communities to connect with other writers and gain support and feedback on your writing.
  • Attend writing conferences or workshops to learn new skills and network with industry professionals.
  • Use social media and other online platforms to promote your writing and connect with readers.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for reviews, feedback, or support from friends, family, or other writers in your network.
  • Always include specific CTAs, such as links to your book, website, or social media profiles, in your writing and marketing materials.

Memorable Moments:

00:14:16 – About StoryBilder, Tanya Gough introduces StoryBilder, a writing platform she built for newer and emerging writers. It includes a story engine for world-building, character building, and a writing area for creating the story from start to finish. There's also a toolbox, education pieces, and a public library full of characters and maps from classic literature that writers can borrow and adapt.

00:19:03 – How Short Stories Help Writers, Tanya Gough discusses the importance of writing short stories for novelists. She explains that writing a tight short story helps writers hone their skills in story arc and language. Writing short stories also helps writers develop story ideas that they can expand into novels later.

00:22:51 – Short Story Contest, Tanya Gough announces a short story contest hosted by StoryBilder with over $4,000 in cash prizes. The theme is fear, and writers are encouraged to submit stories about spooky or scary experiences or stories about overcoming fear. There are three age groups and a grand prize of $1,000 for adult writers.

00:25:48 – Free Trial Offer, Tanya Gough offers a free one-month trial to writers who want to try out StoryBilder. Interested writers can go to and use the coupon code WIP to start their free trial.

Learn more at:

Smash Your Book Launch!

Smash Your Book Launch!

For self-published and indie authors, marketing is TOUGH. But we've been studying launches and have put together a tested strategy for ensuring our authors SMASH their book launch. A couple times a year, we share our insights, to motivate you and educate you on how you can see great success too!

In this free webinar, you reap the benefits of Alexa Bigwarfe's hard-earned knowledge. From her first self-published book in 2013 to today, Alexa has built a career on helping authors become the most professional author they can be, sharing industry insider info from book production to marketing.

This popular webinar is offered annually, and is updated with the newest information on marketing.

Can't make it during the day? Register for the recording!

The replay and slide deck will be provided. Closed captions are available for this event.

Creating Income and Connecting with Readers via Short Fiction

Creating Income and Connecting with Readers via Short Fiction

Matty Dalrymple, The Indy Author will provide a menu of items from which short fiction writers can choose to create income and connect with readers with their work, as well as best practices for independently publishing their short fiction.

Attendees will get an overview of options for independently publishing short fiction, including the mechanics of indy anthologies; effective use of short fiction as reader magnets or reader funnels; using micro-fiction for bookstore pitches; and best practices such as affordable approaches for cover design and editing services.

This workshop is free for WIP School members! (WIP members, keep an eye out for the access email in May.)
WIP Webinar Series:  How to Get Your First 100 Email Subscribers and Beyond

WIP Webinar Series: How to Get Your First 100 Email Subscribers and Beyond

Women in Publishing Summit Sponsor: Children's Book Mastery

Children's book authors, this one is for you! 

How to build your email list using a reader magnet, without getting overwhelmed, even if you don't know where to start.

Why building an email list is the most critical thing with marketing and how to get this going for real.
What a reader magnet is, when you should create one, and reader magnet options YOU can create as a children's book author. (HINT: It's not just the same as for adult book authors.)
The 3 Biggest Reader Magnet Mistakes: The three biggest mistakes children's book authors make with their reader magnets and why these lead to no subscribers.
How to create a reader magnet that will attract your target audience and get the right people to actually give you their email address.

Register for Free Today:

WIP Webinar Series: How to Write a Book People Actually Want to Read

WIP Webinar Series: How to Write a Book People Actually Want to Read

Women in Publishing Summit Sponsor: Dr. Cindy Childress

You won't suffer from “author shame” after you publish your book… if you ignore the advice to “just sit down and write.” Instead, master my three pro-writer tips for nonfiction authors to write a book you'll be proud to share. Get clarity on:

1. Who you're writing the book for so they'll feel you wrote it just for them
2. Why your readers want to read your book NOW so you can start your book there
3. How do they want to feel after reading your book so you can future-pace that outcome

With these tools, you’ll get out of your head and create a wow experience for your readers. Following the three steps motivates you to finish the book and promote it with confidence because you know people actually want to read your book.


Register for Free Today: