Time seems to be one of the biggest issues. Or lack there of. Prioritization can be really helpful. Alexa Bigwarfe talks about the stresses and time crunches on authors, and how we can make sure we're choosing the BEST for US places to spend our time and energy.
Are you struggling to find a balance between writing your book and effectively marketing it? In this episode, we talk about a strategy that will help you optimize your time and efforts, leading to heightened productivity and effectiveness in achieving your writing and marketing goals.
Time is the one resource we cannot create more of. We all have the same amount of it. So how do I fit in all the things? How do you fit in the things? How do you decide where to spend your time so that you can move forward? – Alexa Bigwarfe
In this episode, you will be able to:
Learn practical approaches taming time management difficulties authors often encounter.
Ascertain how to balance the duality of writing and marketing roles effectively.
Realize how a professionally designed website can levitate your book promotion efforts.
Gather efficient strategies for task prioritization that propels progress in publishing.
Comprehend the pivotal role of dedication and unwavering perseverance in navigating the publishing industry.
The Biggest Challenge for Authors
In a recent networking session, participants identified time as the biggest challenge in their author businesses. The never-ending tasks of writing, marketing, and building a platform make it difficult to find time for everything. In order for people to value your book, they have to know that it exists. You have to be doing things. You have to be making the time to go on podcasts, to go to book fairs or book events or places where you can speak as an author, to go to school visits if you've got a children's book, to go to craft fairs or trade markets or farmers markets…You have to be doing things so that people know what you are doing. Prioritize your goals and decide whether you want to focus solely on writing or also engage in marketing and audience growth activities. Map out specific time slots for each task and considering seeking help from professionals to save time.
Check out Pubsite: Pubsite is a DIY website platform designed specifically for authors to market their books. Visit womeninpublishingsummit.com/pubsite to get a free two-week trial and save $5 per month for a whole year on your monthly hosting. This platform makes it easy to create sales pages, event pages, blog pages, and more for your book. It also includes templates and tools to help you market your book effectively.
Build your author website: Having a website is essential for authors to promote their books. Use a platform like Pubsite to create a hub where readers can find information about your book, sign up for your email list, and learn more about you as an author. A website is a central place to share content, post updates, and connect with readers. Make sure to include a clear call to action on your website, such as joining your email list or purchasing your book.
Grow your email list: Email marketing is a powerful tool for authors to connect with readers and promote their books. Make it a priority to grow your email list by offering a free resource or bonus content in exchange for email sign-ups. Use platforms like Mailchimp or ConvertKit to manage your email
00:15:45 – The role of publishers in book marketing, Alexa discusses the potential help authors may receive from publishers in terms of marketing and launch support, but emphasizes that authors are ultimately responsible for selling their books.
00:16:08 – The importance of focusing on one book, Alexa advises authors to focus on one book at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed and making slow progress. She suggests dedicating time specifically for writing and setting a deadline for completing the book.
00:21:19 – Separating writing and marketing phases, Alexa suggests separating the writing and marketing phases of book production. Authors can focus entirely on writing for a set period of time and then dedicate another period to marketing and audience growth. This approach allows for better focus and reduces the risk of distractions.
00:30:53 – Balancing Learning and Implementation, It's easy to get stuck in the cycle of constantly learning without taking action. To make progress, authors need to strike a balance between learning new skills and implementing them.
00:39:53 – Setting Goals and Deadlines, Having clear goals and deadlines is crucial for efficient time management. Set realistic milestones and create a timeline that allows for flexibility, ensuring you stay on track without feeling overwhelmed.
00:43:11 – Prioritizing and Saying No, Focus on activities that directly contribute to your goals and say no to those that don't align. Avoid the fear of missing out and make decisions based on what will help you progress towards your desired outcomes.
Are you a good candidate for self-publishing or should you consider traditional or hybrid? Carol Saller gives her advice on the different routes to publishing, tips for self-publishing, tips for submitting to an agent, and more.
Just when Carol Saller thought her publishing journey had reached a dead end, she stumbled upon the unexpected twist that would change everything. But what she discovered about self-publishing will surprise you. Are you ready to hear her story?
If you're in a hurry to get your book out, self-publishing allows you to move ahead and take control. – Carol Saller
When considering self-publishing, it's important to understand the various types of writers who may benefit from this route.
About Carol Saller:
Carol Saller’s books include The Subversive Copy Editor and several books for children. A career copyeditor at the University of Chicago Press, she now serves as contributing editor to The Chicago Manual of Style and writes for the manual’s Shop Talk blog. In the past, she was a senior editor of children’s books for Front Street/Cricket Books.
To help writers understand the writer-editor relationship and prepare their manuscripts for submission, Carol has given keynotes, sessions, and workshops at national, regional, and local conferences, serving as faculty at Novelists, Inc., Midwest Writers Workshop, and the Willamette Writers Conference. She guest lectures for the University of Chicago Graham School’s publishing program and has appeared on Chicago’s PBS news program Chicago Tonight as well as at writers' events, bookstores, panels, webinars, and workshops on writing, editing, and publishing.
Carol’s young adult historical novel Eddie’s War was named a Best Book of the Year by Bankstreet and Kirkus Reviews, and a Best of the Best Fiction for Teens by the Chicago Public Library. Her picture book The Bridge Dancers received the Carl Sandburg Award for Children’s Literature. George Washington Carver was a NCSS/CBC Notable, and Pug, Slug, and Doug the Thug was a main feature on PBS Storytime television. Now in its second edition, The Subversive Copy Editor was Publishers Weekly Online’s starred “Pick of the Week.”
In this episode, you will learn to:
Uncover the advantages and drawbacks of self-publishing compared to traditional publishing.
Emphasize the significance of quality, copy-editing, and book design in the realm of self-publishing.
Grasp essential marketing expertise for self-publishing and grammatical knowledge needed for traditional publishing.
Recognize the importance of adhering to submission guidelines and the role of copy editors.
Discover the valuable insights within The Chicago Manual of Style on writing and style.
Preparing a Manuscript
A crucial element of both traditional and self-publishing is creating a polished, professional manuscript. This involves careful editing, proofreading, formatting, and ensuring that the work adheres to the chosen style guide. The author should also research the submission guidelines for the target publisher or platform to ensure their manuscript complies with those standards. By taking the time to properly prepare the manuscript, writers increase the chances that their work will be well-received and taken seriously by publishers or readers. During her conversation with Alexa Bigwarfe, Carol Saller discusses the importance of a good copy editor in improving the readability and consistency of a manuscript. She points out that copy editors can also provide formatting services upon request, ultimately helping the author prepare their work for submission. Carol further emphasizes the significance of following the recipient's guidelines when submitting, as failure to do so can result in a negative impression. She also suggests having others read the manuscript prior to submission to ensure it is polished and consistent with the chosen style.
Examine the key differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing in terms of benefits and limitations.
Recognize the crucial role of quality, copy-editing, and appealing book design in successful self-publishing.
Develop essential marketing and grammatical skills to conquer both the self-publishing and traditional publishing worlds.
Explore the value of following submission guidelines and utilizing the skills of copy editors.
00:04:08 – Five Categories of Writers for Self-Publishing, Carol Saller discusses the five types of writers who are good candidates for self-publishing: celebrities/social media stars, business owners, writers of genre fiction, writers who want to print a book for personal reasons, and writers who are in a hurry.
00:09:45 – Factors to Consider, Carol Saller mentions additional factors that should be considered when deciding between traditional and self-publishing, such as the need for tech support, desire for cachet, and the difficulty of marketing quiet literary fiction.
00:17:34 – Formatting in Manuscripts, Copy editors often offer formatting services or as an add-on service. Manuscripts require proper formatting to easily convert into the coded product. It is important to ask if a copy editor includes formatting and negotiate this service.
00:20:05 – Mistakes in Manuscript Preparation, Not researching the recipient's guidelines is a big mistake. It shows a lack of respect and professionalism. Always follow formatting conventions, such as double spacing, page numbers, and using a standard font. Have your work read and edited by others for consistency and readability.
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.
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!
As a book coach, Heather constantly sees writers make predictable (and 100% avoidable) mistakes. And, sadly, these mistakes often prevent writers from creating publishable manuscripts. They wind up with a novel that lacks depth, clarity, and oomph. They write 300 or 500 pages—and waste years of their lives—creating a manuscript that goes nowhere.
In Heather's experience, writers have one or more of these core issues in their manuscripts:
They’re not clear on the point they are trying to make with their novel.
They forget to create a character arc for their protagonist (and tie it to the plot).
They lack a clear cause-and-effect trajectory in their novel.
Their characters don’t make meaning of the situations that arise throughout the novel.
These problems generally result in 1) negative feedback from beta readers/editors/publishing houses, and 2) a subsequent fortune spent on developmental editing. All the while, many writers still don’t understand what they did wrong or how to fix the problem before it wrecks their next novel.This often prevents great stories from ever finding their way into the world. Heather's signature Build-A-Book Method breaks writing/editing down into simple, actionable steps that will ensure writers build a solid foundation for their novels.Why? So writers will confidently finish their work and readers will remember, rave about, and recommend their novels.
The Mini Build-A-Book Workshop includes the following 5 topics (with workbooks):
How to find the point of your novel.
How to work backwards from story idea to protagonist character arc.
How to master the simple elements of an engaging character arc.
How to create a flexible blueprint for your novel that ensures a cause-and-effect trajectory in your plot.
How to understand and master the age-old “show don’t tell” story writing advice. (Hint: it’s not what you think!)
Small, independent publishing companies have been increasing in popularity and visibility over the past few years. It’s an exciting time for new authors, who previously had not been able to find a publisher for their work. Indie publishers tend to offer more control to the author, and the royalties are typically larger. It’s a great time to tell your story, and make it available to the whole world.
That’s why I love being a publisher. My goal is to help mothers make their stories available for millions of people to read.
“Mothers?” you may be wondering. “Why just mothers? Shouldn’t you be helping everyone publish their books?”
Not necessarily. As a publisher, it’s important that I have a focus and not spread myself, or my company, too thin. I know what’s important to me, and who I want to help the most. Having spent quite a few years as a single mother, I particularly enjoy working with other single moms. We have some incredible stories, and invaluable advice.
However, I don’t agree to publish every book by every author that comes across my desk. Even if it was written by a lovely single mom whom I’ve known for a long time, there are still certain criteria I look for that will make a book more publishable.
A book that I agree to publish needs to have a good story, flow well, and be well written. The following advice will help you achieve those goals.
Complete Manuscript vs. Idea
Some authors have been working on their book for years. So, by the time they approach a prospective publisher they have the complete work ready to go. This is great, but it’s also fine if an author simply approaches a publisher with an idea.
You may have the entire idea for your book in your head, complete from start to finish. Even though you know exactly what will happen to each character, you need to be able to convey this to a publisher.
You’ll need to provide them with one or two complete chapters, so the publisher can have an idea of your writing style. Make sure these chapters are detailed, the characters are well developed, and the scenes are set properly. You don’t want anyone wondering how old the main character is, or what she looks like.
Make sure these sample chapters are very well-edited. You don’t want to use a period where a question mark should be. God forbid you write the word “too” when you meant to write “to.” Sure, spell-check will catch many misspellings, but it won’t catch the correct spelling of the wrong word.
A publisher will also want to see a chapter-by-chapter outline of your proposed work. Again, this is all about getting your amazing book from inside your head to a publisher’s desk. I’ve spoken with many authors who state that they prefer to write freely, without creating an outline first. But a publisher needs to have a solid understanding of your book before they decide to work with you.
Like 99% of writers, you’re most likely writing your novel using a laptop. You probably believe that reading your work directly on the screen is just fine. I’m sorry to say that it’s not.
If you plan to submit an entire manuscript to a publisher it is vital that before you do, you print the entire thing and read it cover to cover. Many authors I’ve spoken to think this step is unnecessary. Take my word – it is vital.
When you’re reading your work on a screen it’s very easy to miss errors, or even phrases that just sound awkward. You are much more likely to notice these inconsistencies in a hard copy of your book. Then, you can make notes or highlight passages that you can improve.
You might also that you already know your book inside and out. After all, you’re the one who wrote it! Again, when you pick up that print-out and read it from the first word all the way through to the last, you will notice things that you never noticed previously.
So before you send your manuscript to the publisher, make sure you complete this important step.
You might think that since you want to work with a publisher, you don’t need to market your book. They will take care of all the sales and marketing. I’m afraid to say, that isn’t true! No matter who you work with to bring your book to life, you, the author, will be expected to do a lot of work to get the word out about your book.
A good publisher should certainly help you, so keep that in mind when you’re talking to different publishers.
But even before your book is complete and you start searching for the perfect fit with a publisher, you should be working on your author platform. Build a website. Learn how to best use all forms of social media. Build your e-mail list.
Follow these guidelines, and then find the publisher that is the perfect fit for you.
Diane Windsor is the owner of Motina Books, an independent publisher in the Dallas area. She’s always loved books, and spent many late nights in high school scaring herself to death reading Stephen King novels. Diane founded Motina Books to help moms tell their stories, both fiction and non-fiction. There’s a special place in her heart for single moms. Diane lives in Allen, Texas with her husband and two Boxers. When she’s not writing, editing, or formatting, she’s probably baking sourdough bread – her latest addiction!
Be sure to catch Diane on the Publisher's Panel on Day 3 of the 2020 Women in Publishing Summit.
Register for the Women in Publishing Summit Today!