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!)

PublishHER Podcast Episode 93: Republishing a Children’s Book with Antoinette Martin

PublishHER Podcast Episode 93: Republishing a Children’s Book with Antoinette Martin

Antoinette Truglio Martin is a seasoned author of children's picture books and middle grade books. She made the decision to republish a beloved picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup, an adorable, beautifully illustrated book about independence and resilience, which re-published with a new publisher on May 9, 2023. As a multi-published author, Antoinette has a lot of great advice for authors about the process of working with several different types of presses, both hybrid and traditional, and great marketing strategies that have worked for her.

After spending decades in the children's book industry, Antoinette Truglio Martin thought she had seen it all – until she took the unexpected step of re-publishing her own book with updated illustrations and found out just how powerful connecting with her readers could be. Now, her groundbreaking journey is inspiring countless other authors to share their stories. What other surprises might this author extraordinaire have in store?

Watch how children play, see what they're doing, and write stories that will resonate with them. – Antoinette Truglio Martin

This is  Antoinette Martin's story:

Antoinette Truglio Martin, an award-winning children's book author and teacher, knows firsthand the importance of building connections and relationships for successful book marketing. With her recent book, Famous Seaweed Soup, she took matters into her own hands and re-published it with updated illustrations to better fit the modern world. From radio interviews to school visits, Antoinette has been proactive in her marketing approach, seeking opportunities to engage with people and create lasting impressions of her work.


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Excel in marketing children's books by navigating school and library networks.
  • Foster strong relationships to ensure successful book marketing efforts.
  • Harness the power of social media platforms for captivating book promotion.
  • Triumph over self-doubt and persist on the marketing journey.
  • Master the art of writing authentically for children while preserving their sense of wonder.
  • Persist through challenges and tap into expert guidance for triumphant public relations outcomes.


The Importance of Making Connections

Building relationships is an essential part of successfully marketing a children's book. Connecting with people in schools, libraries, and cultural events helps establish rapport and trust, which can ultimately lead to increased exposure and sales for the book. Networking with key players in your target market, such as the PTA or school librarians, can expand your reach and audience. Forming connections with educators, librarians, and fellow authors enhance your credibility and will showcase your book in various spheres of influence. For Antoinette, using her career as an art and education teacher helped her to engage with schools and classrooms for workshops and presentations. By establishing connections with school personnel, she creates a supportive platform that helps her introduce her children's book to teachers and students alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Start a blog to establish your voice and share news, events, and updates related to your book.
  • Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to promote your book.
  • Reach out to local schools, libraries, and bookstores to schedule author visits, workshops, and presentations.
  • Join local writer's groups and attend events to network with other authors and industry professionals.
  • Submit your manuscript to publishers, querying their interest in your book.
  • Consider hybrid publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing.
  • Develop lesson plans or activities related to your book for teachers to use in the classroom.
  • Market your book to homeschooling moms, preschool groups, and other educational organizations.
  • Use Goodreads and other social networking platforms for readers to expand your reach.
  • Reach out to local media outlets, such as newspapers and radio stations, for interviews and promotional opportunities.

Memorable Moments:

00:02:23 – Antoinette's publishing journey,
Antoinette talks about her initial struggles and how it took about five years to publish her book. She also talks about how authors had no say in how the book would look or illustrations used.

00:20:59 – Local Marketing Strategies,
Antoinette discusses post-launch marketing strategies such as reaching out to local gift shops, schools and museums for gigs. She emphasizes the importance of using social media to expand your reach beyond the local community.

00:22:14 – Benefits of the Children's Book Review Tour,
Antoinette shares her positive experience with the Children's Book Review Tour, where she was able to engage with a community of reviewers and promote her book through giveaways. It helped her reach new audiences and increase visibility for her book.

PublishHER Podcast Episode 92: Free publicity & PR tips for authors that work with Liz Kelly

PublishHER Podcast Episode 92: Free publicity & PR tips for authors that work with Liz Kelly

Liz Kelly is a publicist who loves helping authors find their WOW message and boil it down to the key and most exciting elements to garner the attention of media looking to feature you! Join us for some great tips on finding media coverage to promote your book.

Join Liz Kelly as she reveals how to master the art of PR and secure free publicity, including the ironic story of how she failed second grade but gained the gumption to pitch national media and book clients on top shows in just five minutes.

The secret is you want to use the power of threes and use things like emphasis statements. Just keep it simple and put that emphasis statement on there. – Liz Kelly

This is  Liz Kelly's story:

From failing second grade to becoming a renowned PR expert, Liz Kelly's journey has been anything but ordinary. Her unwavering determination was first tested when she fearlessly confronted her school principal about her missing report cards. This early gumption laid the foundation for her future success, as she later transitioned from the corporate world to the realm of public relations. Liz's passion for storytelling and helping others led her to write “Eight Second PR,” a book that empowers authors to capture media attention by crafting their own “Wow Story.”


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Develop a captivating ‘Wow Story' that commands media attention.
  • Hone your skills to pitch like a pro and secure valuable guests and book features.
  • Discover the advantages of targeting niche podcasts for increased book sales and audience engagement.
  • Uncover the worth of traditional media in securing free publicity and audience growth.
  • Persist through challenges and tap into expert guidance for triumphant public relations outcomes.


Pitching to the Media

When attempting to reach media houses, it is crucial for authors to ensure the pitch is perfect, the timing is right, and the book is tailored for the targeted audience. This increases the chances of landing interviews and coverage. Alongside a compelling pitch, you should present yourself professionally and consider media training before appearing live in any format. In the podcast, Kelly shares a remarkable example of how a persistent and well-prepared pitch over eight months culminated in a CNN booking in under five minutes. She encourages authors to practice and persevere, emphasizing that persistence is key in capturing media attention. Being prepared with a perfect pitch, an attractive book, and the right timing can take authors a long way in earning media interest.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider doing your own PR with the help of the tips in Eight Second PR
  • Practice your sound bites and key points for media interviews, especially for TV appearances
  • Reach out to podcasts to reach your niche audience
  • Use emphasis statements and the power of threes to make your story stand out
  • Don't give up – keep trying and pitching until you get a yes from the media.

Memorable Moments:

00:06:33 – Developing a Wow Story,
Liz shares how authors can develop a wow story by making their story different from everyone else's. She provides examples of clients with powerful wow stories and discusses the importance of finding the perfect pitch at the perfect time with the perfect book.

00:17:55 – Using Podcasts for Publicity,
Liz discusses how podcasts can be advantageous for authors by providing more time to tell their stories, practice sound bites and reach a niche audience.

00:19:05 – How to Get $50,000 in Free Publicity,
Liz shares how a client who used her book, Eight Second PR, got $50,000 in publicity value from just one TV interview by having an engaging story, making it easy for the media, and promoting a helpful message to their audience.

00:21:27 – Finding Reporters on Social Media,
Liz suggests researching reporters on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to find contacts and pitch your story to them.

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.


PublishHER Podcast Episode 91: Book Blurb Magic with Jessie Cunniffe

PublishHER Podcast Episode 91: Book Blurb Magic with Jessie Cunniffe

Jessie Cunniffe is a professional blurb-writer and book blurb coach from Sydney, Australia, and she's passionate about demystifying blurbs for self-publishing authors so they can take charge of their book description and sales! She offers an affordable DIY course, Book Blurb Magic, as well as 1:1 blurb critique and custom blurb writing services. 

With a knack for uncovering hidden truths, Jessie Cunniffe made an unexpected discovery – the true power behind captivating book blurbs isn't the plot, but the characters' emotions and unique circumstances. Join us as Alexa talks to Jessie about her journey to unlock the secrets of blurb writing and empower authors to craft irresistibly engaging back cover descriptions. What will she uncover next?

I always try to find the essence, the key message of the book, and actually frame the entire blurb around that. – Jessie Cunniffe

This is Jessie Cunniffe's story:

Determined to make a difference in the world of book marketing, Jessie Cunniffe embarked on a mission to unlock the secrets of writing tantalizing blurbs. Through tireless research and careful examination, Jessie found that the key to a successful blurb lay not in the story's plot, but in the emotional connection between the characters and their unique circumstances. Armed with this newfound knowledge, Jessie developed a formula to help authors perfect their blurbs, capturing the hearts and minds of their readers. Now, Jessie shares her passion for blurb writing, empowering authors to create impactful back cover descriptions that resonate with their audience and propel them on a journey they'll never forget.


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover the crucial role of book blurbs in successful marketing campaigns.
  • Conjure captivating blurbs for novels, memoirs, and reference books alike.
  • Master techniques for drafting compelling, thumb-stopping book blurbs.
  • Identify usual missteps authors might commit when writing their book blurbs.
  • Capitalize on social media channels to bolster book promotion and foster networking.


The Three-Paragraph Structure

 A well-structured blurb is crucial for maintaining your reader's interest, and a common approach is the three-paragraph structure. The first paragraph sets the context and introduces the characters, the second paragraph delves deeper into the character development and conflict, and the third paragraph raises the stakes, creating a sense of urgency for the reader. This structure allows for a concise and engaging blurb that maintains momentum and draws the reader into the story. Each paragraph plays an important role in context, character development, and raising the stakes. 

Key Takeaways

  • Start with a hook: Write a single sentence or two that captures the crux of your book and its main conflict.
  • Use third-person POV: Most book blurbs are written in third person, which is easier to convey your story.
  • Focus on emotion and characters: The driving force of your blurb should be the unique emotions and circumstances your characters are experiencing.
  • Establish the character's greatest challenge: Begin the blurb by setting up the theme or challenge that has followed your character throughout their life.
  • Create a satisfying narrative arc within the blurb: Provide a beginning, middle, and end that differs from the actual book's narrative to avoid spoilers and keep readers engaged.

Memorable Moments:

00:03:09 – Why are blurbs difficult to write?,
Jessie shares that many authors struggle with writing blurbs because they approach it as condensing the plot of their book. She emphasizes that the emotion, unique characters, and circumstances that they face are what truly drive a book blurb.

00:09:34 – How to write a book blurb,
Jessie explains that the starting point of a book blurb is to find the essence or critical character flaw of the main character. She also advises writers to find a narrative arc within the blurb that is satisfying without giving away spoilers. Jessie provides a free cheat sheet on that outlines the pieces of the puzzle needed for a book blurb. 

Learn more at:

Check out Book Blurb Magic course!

Check out her Book Blurb audit program!

Want a custom written book blurb? Check that out here.

Save 10% off all BBM products and services: WRITEPUBLISHSELL

Download your freebie:


Learn more on the main website:

PublishHER Podcast Episode 90: What Type of Editing Do You Need? With JoEllen Nordstrom

PublishHER Podcast Episode 90: What Type of Editing Do You Need? With JoEllen Nordstrom

 JoEllen Nordström hosts the Publishing Power Podcast for authors. She is the chief word wizard and owner of First Editing. As a fellow publishing enthusiast, JoEllen co-authored her first two books as an authorpreneur in 2005. As a progressive leader, JoEllen is recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as an elite National Pioneer Award winner. JoEllen's professional online editing company has helped over 50,000 writers with their words. 

Are you tired of spending hours on editing your book with no tangible results? Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by the lack of professional guidance you need to make your book truly shine? Discover the essential role of professional editing and how to find the perfect editor that can help you produce a flawless, captivating read.

Editing is an art, just like writing, and it requires a specific talent and skill. – JoEllen Nordstrom

This is JoEllen Nordstrom's story:

JoEllen Nordstrom's journey in the world of editing started when she realized her own self-bound book needed a professional touch. After joining First Editing, she poured her energy into developing a division that caters to authors looking for the perfect editor. With thousands of manuscripts under her belt, JoEllen's passion for editing continues to grow, as she believes it's an essential step in producing a polished book that can compete in today's market.


In this episode, we talk about:

  • The importance of professional editing in creating impeccable books.
  • Choosing the right editor who can provide valuable input while honoring your author voice.
  • The comprehensive editing process, including developmental, line-by-line, and copy editing.
  • Fine-tuning your communications skills to build a successful partnership between authors and editors.
  • Absorbing the techniques to develop a supportive community and foster valuable connections within the publishing realm.


The Importance of Editing

Editing is crucial for authors who want to present a polished, error-free book that stands out in today's crowded market. A professional editor not only focuses on the technicalities of grammar and punctuation but also provides valuable insights on pacing, structure, clarity, and the overall readability of the manuscript. The editor can help refine the story and make it more engaging, ultimately increasing the chances of the book's success. In this episode, JoEllen emphasizes the importance of hiring a professional editor. She mentions that even bestselling authors have errors in their work, highlighting the need for expert editing to stay competitive. She recommends authors to be open to critique and collaborate with a reputable editor who can provide constructive criticism while respecting their work, goals, and unique authorial voice.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider hiring a content editor, story coach, or book coach to help with developmental editing, ensuring important elements are present in your book.
  • Look for an editing service that offers certified story coaches and vetted book coaches, such as First Editing, to ensure quality and consistency in your editing process.
  • Begin your editing process with developmental editing, focusing on the concept, idea, and presentation of your book.
  • Move on to line editing, ensuring the flow, tone, consistency, and presentation of your book aligns with your genre's expectations.
  • Complete the editing process with copy editing, focusing on grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, transitions, and voice.
  • Don't forget the importance of proofreading, checking for formatting errors and ensuring nothing was lost during the editing process.
  • Utilize software and artificial intelligence tools to help streamline the editing process and improve overall quality.

Memorable Moments:

00:09:09 – Levels of Editing,
JoEllen breaks down the different levels of editing, starting with developmental editing for both nonfiction and fiction, moving on to line editing, and finishing with copy editing before formatting.

00:13:11 – Importance of Line Editing,
JoEllen emphasizes the importance of line editing, as it ensures consistency in tone and presentation while also adhering to genre expectations.

00:20:13 – Choosing the Right Editor,
It's important to work with an editor who is a good fit for you and your book. Companies like First Editing offer a free editing sample to match you with the best editor for your needs. Freelance editors can be hit or miss, so it's essential to do your research and find someone who has the right qualifications.

00:26:03 – First Editing Services,
First Editing offers a wide range of editing services for fiction, non-fiction, academic, and research writing. Their website also features thousands of author testimonials and resources, including a podcast and educational videos. As a company, they prioritize professionalism, quality, and timely delivery to ensure that authors can focus on their creativity.


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 89: How to Use your Website to Market Your Book with Fauzia Burke

PublishHER Podcast Episode 89: How to Use your Website to Market Your Book with Fauzia Burke

 Fauzia Burke is a book marketing expert and pioneer of online book publicity.  In 2019, she co-founded Pub Site, a platform for building author websites and used by authors like Tom Clancy, Robin Cook, and hundreds more. Fauzia also does consulting and offers a “power hour” for authors needing marketing advice. Whether you’re a first-time author overwhelmed by the idea of building a brand or an experienced author wanting to take your marketing and publicity to the next level, Fauzia can help! She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, and is based in San Diego, CA.   

With the goal of creating a successful launch for her book, Fauzia Burke tapped into her savvy marketing experience to develop an impactful website that will engage readers, build momentum, and establish a lasting community around her work.

Always think of the website as a before, during, and after project, and make it work for you. – Fauzia Burke

This is Fauzia Burke's story:

Through her experience, Fauzia Burke learned the importance of author websites pre and post-publication. She realized that a website should be viewed as a workhorse, constantly updated, and filled with unique content. Fauzia identified common pitfalls that many authors face in the digital age, such as waiting too long to create a website or relying solely on social media platforms. By sharing her knowledge and emphasizing the necessity of author websites to connect with readers, Fauzia has become a guiding force for countless authors, helping them grow their audience and achieve their goals.


In this episode, you will learn to:

  • Understand the significance of author websites throughout the entire publication journey.
  • Construct a captivating website with relevant book-related material to draw in potential readers.
  • Design distinct marketing strategies that stand out from the rest and cater to your specific objectives.
  • Cultivate authentic, joy-inspiring content that resonates with your audience and keeps them engaged.
  • Utilize Pubsite, a website builder that offers tailored solutions for aspiring and experienced authors alike.

Updating Your Website During and After Publishing

To maximize the impact of a book launch, authors should update their website with relevant content when the book is about to be released. This includes adding information such as the table of contents, book excerpts, and sample chapters as teasers for readers. This strategic content rollout not only builds anticipation but also serves as a promotion platform for getting noticed by media outlets for interviews and podcast appearances. Fauzia recommends updating your website at least six months before the book's release date, emphasizing the importance of keeping your website updated with all media appearances, events, and upcoming book releases. She suggests promoting a book for as long as it took to write it, stressing that authors should continue to utilize their website beyond the book release date to connect with their fans and build their mailing list. An updated and maintained website fosters a loyal reader base and ensures maximum visibility by establishing a lasting online presence that evolves with the author's career.

Key Takeaways

  • Build a professional-looking author website before starting the publishing process to showcase your commitment to the journey.
  • Update your website with relevant information about your book, such as table of contents, excerpts, sample chapters, and research, at least six months before its release.
  • Start building your mailing list as soon as possible to connect with potential readers and fans, even before your book is published.
  • Use your website to share blog posts and engage with readers.
  • Make sure your website is indexed by Google to improve visibility and searchability for your name and book title.
  • Continually update your website with new content, media appearances, podcasts, and other relevant information to keep readers engaged and interested in your work.
  • Promote your book for at least as long as it took you to write it, using your website as the central hub for your marketing efforts.
  • Plan your podcast and media appearances well in advance to build momentum around your book's publication and ensure you have a steady stream of publicity opportunities.

Memorable Moments:

00:05:33 – A Website Reflects Professionalism,
A website reflects an author's professionalism and commitment to their publishing journey. It helps publishers, agents, and book jacket designers understand an author's aesthetic and brand. A website also provides a space for readers to connect with an author and learn more about their writing skills, humor, and upcoming projects.

00:09:30 – Updating the Website During and After Publishing,
Fauzia recommends updating an author website six months before the book's release and continuing to add more material to the website after publishing. This includes adding information about the book's table of contents, characters, and excerpts, as well as media, podcasts, and events related to the book. 

00:32:14 – The Benefits of PubSite,
Fauzia discusses PubSite, the website-building platform she developed with her husband, John. She shares how their 20 years of experience building websites for authors and books helped them create a platform specifically designed for authors. PubSite is scalable, easy to use, and has ecommerce built-in, making it a perfect platform for authors to build their websites.

00:38:20 – PubSite's Marketing Tools,
Fauzia highlights the marketing tools available on PubSite, such as the calendar feature, which allows authors to display their upcoming events and engagements. She also mentions how PubSite is designed to cater to the specific needs of authors, providing follow buttons with links to Amazon and Goodreads.

PublishHER Podcast Episode 88: Making Your Indie Book Stand out with Jen Craven

PublishHER Podcast Episode 88: Making Your Indie Book Stand out with Jen Craven

Episode 88: Making Your Indie Book Stand out with Jen Craven

Jen Craven is a fiction writer. She writes contemporary women's fiction and is passionate about making sure her books stand out from the masses of other books. This conversation covers the broad spectrum of why it's important to get your books out there, while making sure you're creating a great product.

When Jen Craven, a passionate and determined author, made the pivot to self-publish her latest contemporary work, she faced a challenging learning curve and a battle between her ambition and her gut.

I'm always reminding myself of that and being proud of how far I've come and trying not to compare to other people. – Jen Craven

This is Jen Craven's story:

With her newfound freedom as an indie author, Jen reveled in the ability to oversee all aspects of her book, from its cover design to the timeline of its release. Yet, this path was not without its challenges. Jen had to quickly adapt to the steep learning curve of managing all aspects of her book's production, promotion, and sales. Despite the cons, she found joy in connecting with her audience on social media and building a community of supportive fellow authors. 


In this episode, we discuss:

  • Why Jen shifted from historical fiction to contemporary
  • Why it's okay to shift genres early on without worrying about having to rebuild an audience
  • Writing the story that calls to you rather than sticking to a genre
  • Traditional vs. self-publishing; why she shifted from trying to find an agent to self-publishing
  • Why your first book doesn't have to be perfect and your efforts should be on writing the story and improving your craft
  • Pros and cons of going the self-publishing route
  • Making sure you have a book cover that stands out while meeting expectations of the genre
  • Tips for making your book stand out as a self-published book
  • Time management for doing “all the things”


Making an Indie Book Stand Out

In a competitive market, making an indie book stand out from the crowd is essential for success. One approach is to engage and collaborate with your author community, requesting author blurbs for the book cover, collecting reviews, and participating in social media conversations. A professionally designed cover is also necessary, as it plays a significant role in capturing readers' attention and curiosity. Jen Craven emphasizes the importance of author blurbs on the book cover, especially in today's market. Reach out to fellow authors, whether or not they are personally acquainted, in order to secure those valuable endorsements. Continued growth and development are natural aspects of the writing journey. Focus on improving your craft and producing more books rather than craving perfection from the outset.

Key Takeaways

  • Research and design an eye-catching book cover that matches the genre and current market trends. If necessary, hire a professional book cover designer.
  • Reach out to authors in your genre and request blurbs for your book cover. Be professional and considerate in your approach.
  • Ensure your author headshot is professional, high-quality, and on a solid background with good lighting.
  • Build and engage with your author platform on social media, specifically focusing on the platforms your readers are on, like Instagram. Share reviews, reader responses, and create content like Instagram Reels.
  • Consider hiring professionals for services like formatting, marketing, and publicity if you don't have the necessary skills or time to do them yourself.
  • Focus on writing and improving your craft to continue producing quality work and growing your readership.

Memorable Moments:

00:04:20 – Traditional vs. Indie Publishing,
Jen shares her experience of querying literary agents and ultimately deciding to go the indie publishing route for her latest book. She cites control and timeline as two key pros of indie publishing, but also acknowledges that it comes with a steep learning curve.

00:09:09 – Pros and Cons of Indie Publishing,
Jen delves deeper into the pros and cons of indie publishing, highlighting the importance of cover design and author blurbs for making a book stand out in a crowded market. She also stresses the need for indie authors to be proficient in multiple skill sets or to hire professionals to ensure high-quality output. 

00:17:31 – Building Advanced Reader Teams,
Jen discusses the importance of building an ARC team and how she reached out to ten ARC readers for her book launch. She highlights how this is especially important for indie authors who have shorter launch periods.

00:19:15 – Connecting and Supporting Indie Bookstores,
Jen encourages readers to use to support indie bookstores and give back to the community.

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: