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.
Many aspiring authors struggle to find the right marketing strategies that resonate with their target audience and result in increased visibility and sales. Without a clear plan and effective resources, the process of marketing can be time-consuming and discouraging.
We're talking about children's books! Not only the importance of Social Emotional Learning and teaching that to children, but also self-publishing vs. trad for children's book authors, and tips from author Sheryl Bass.
Self-publishing has really leveled the playing field for regular folks to get out there if they've got a story in them that they want told. – Sheryl Bass
About Sheryl Bass:
Sheryl Bass holds a master’s degree in Social Work and has studied child development. She uses these insights to inform her picture book writing. Sheryl also holds a master’s degree in Journalism and is currently working in public relations. Her goal in creating Be-Kind Publishing is to produce lighthearted rhyming stories with gentle themes of teamwork and friendship. Sheryl resides just outside of Chicago, IL with her husband and two terriers.
In this episode, we covered:
The Importance of SEL in Children's Books
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a crucial aspect of children's development that helps them understand and manage their emotions, cultivate healthy relationships, and develop empathy. Addressing SEL in children's books allows the young readers to learn valuable life skills that will serve them well in their personal and professional lives as they grow older. The incorporation of SEL themes in children's literature like teamwork, accountability, and empathy fosters emotional literacy and develops essential communication skills. In the conversation with Sheryl Bass, she explains her background in social work and journalism, which led her to passionately believe in the importance of social emotional learning being included in children's books. Her stories focus on themes such as teamwork and friendship through whimsical narratives that captivate young readers. Such books aim to provide a solid foundation for children to develop critical emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
- Join SCBWI and Children's Book Insider for resources, conferences, webinars, and contests.
- Consider using April Cox's Write Publish Sell program for guidance in self-publishing.
- Look into Bobby Hindman's editing services for rhyme and meter in children's picture books.
- Use Facebook groups for finding editors and other resources.
- Visit Laura Bonchi Bontje for developmental editing to find holes in your story.
- Utilize vendors recommended by April Cox for finding an illustrator.
- Consider self-publishing for creative control over your book.
- Purchase an ISBN code for your book.
- Upload your manuscript into the Library of Congress.
- Use focus groups for feedback on illustrations and character design.
00:06:23 – Self-Publishing and Working with Editors,
Cheryl shares her experience with self-publishing and working with editors, including the invaluable guidance of April Cox and the importance of finding editors through Facebook groups. She emphasizes the importance of creative control and finding the right illustrator.
00:11:56 – Finding Editors and the Importance of Developmental Edits,
Cheryl discusses the importance of finding the right editor for a developmental edit, which can help find holes in a story and improve its overall structure. She emphasizes the importance of finding editors through Facebook groups and other resources.
00:14:46 – Marketing Children's Books,
Sheryl Bass gives insights on marketing children's books. She recommends hiring a PR professional specializing in books and authors. She shares tips on promoting books, identifying relevant awards, book reviewers and podcasts, and using ads on Amazon and Facebook. She also shares her experience using Pubby Co, a resource to review other authors' books and get reviews of your own.
00:23:25 – Traditional Marketing for Children's Books,
Alexa and Sheryl discuss the challenges of marketing children's books and how it differs from other genres. They agree that traditional marketing involves going out and getting in front of the community, such as school events, fairs, and author events. They suggest that authors consider hiring a PR expert who has the media contacts to help them get on the news and reach parents and teachers.
00:24:56 – Libraries as a Resource,
Sheryl shares that she purchased a database from Eric, who wrote a book on how to get your book into libraries. She plans to send a letter about her book to librarians throughout the US, which can be a great resource for selling books. Alexa suggests that going into schools, doing readings, and creating bookmarks with graphics from your book can also help promote it.
00:26:13 – Creating a Sequel,
Sheryl shares that she is working on a sequel to her first book and how it can help sell more copies of the first book. Once readers are invested in the characters and their adventures, they are more likely to buy
Have you ever wondered about travel writing retreats? Lisa Daily and Cami Ostman take authors on travel retreats for writing and are loving the results.
Trying to force creativity can be frustrating and often leads to disappointment. Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, consider using travel as a tool for enhancing your writing. Immersing yourself in new cultures, environments, and experiences can open up new perspectives and ideas for your writing. From exploring the streets of a new city to experiencing the natural beauty of a different landscape, travel can offer unique opportunities for observation and reflection, ultimately fueling your creativity and improving your writing skills.
Traveling opens you up to newer possibilities, newer things, newer creativity, newer ways to think about things that you may have never thought about before. – Cami Ostman
Lisa Daily and Cami Ostman's love for travel led them to create Wayfaring Writers, a unique program combining exploration and writing retreats.
About Lisa & Cami:
Lisa Dailey is an avid traveler and writer. In 2015, she traveled around the world with her husband and two teenage sons visiting 14 countries and nearly 100 locations. In her time abroad, she unearthed new ways of looking at her life through her discoveries in remote corners of the world and she continues to enrich her life through travel. Lisa is a voracious reader and writer, and has published more than 20 titles and 200 authors at her company, Sidekick Press, including her own travel memoir, Square Up. A native Montanan, Lisa now makes her home by the ocean in Bellingham, Washington, but returns to her roots every summer for a healthy dose of mountains and Big Sky.
Cami Ostman has traveled to all seven continents and to twenty-four countries. She’s run 25 marathons and zillions of races of other distances, always at the back of the pack. She is the author of Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents and co-editor of Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religion (Seal Press). Cami holds a Bachelor’s of Education in English and Theater from Western Washington University and a Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seattle Pacific University. She has a special interest in helping women live more authentically and freely. She is also a dog lover, a wine connoisseur, a runner, and a blogger. She runs a program for writers called The Narrative Project and has a passion for changing unhelpful narratives so people can be in charge of her own stories. She coaches people into their truest expression of themselves. Cami lives in Seattle, Washington.
In this episode, we covered:
- Adventure Writing – Why Travel is THE Way Hone Your Craft
- Travel is the best thing we know to spark an adventurous spirit and inspire creativity
- Travel WRITING offers opportunities to be inspired by PLACE and CHARACTER like nothing else.
- The Wayfaring Writer Retreats – a rare opportunity for a small group of writers to immerse themselves in their craft while experiencing the food, drink, art, and history of foreign places
- Writers to step out of their comfort zones and into using all their senses.
- Together Cami and Lisa have visited nearly 50 countries and know first-hand the impact that travel has had on their writing
The Wayfaring Writers Experience
Wayfaring Writers takes a group of writers to a particular location and goes on adventures from there. The group includes an agent who consults with writers, and mastermind sessions with Lisa, Cami, and an expert on the craft of writing. The writers are given specific coaching and lessons to help them build their skills in observation and incorporating their experiences into their writing.
- Unlock the creative potential of travel for boosting your writing prowess.
- Delve into off-the-beaten-track adventures for a truly immersive cultural experience.
- Grasp essential tips for women to make their travel escapades safer and more enjoyable.
- Immerse yourself in specialized writing guidance crafted to address your unique needs.
- Embrace the rewards of moving beyond your comfort zone to elevate your horizons.
00:02:43 – Philosophy of Adventure Writing,
Travel is about challenging assumptions and opening writers up to new experiences, sights, smells, and sounds. It helps writers hone their observational skills and become better at incorporating those experiences into their writing.
00:14:23 – Favorite Wayfaring Writers Experience,
Lisa and Cami share their favorite experiences, including a doctor who was able to finish her book and get published with Cambridge University Press after coming on a Wayfaring Writers trip. The trips are designed to challenge assumptions and open writers up to
00:16:01 – The Importance of Travel in Writing,
The hosts and guests discuss the benefits of traveling for writers. They believe that experiencing different cultures and perspectives can help writers become better contributors to the collective consciousness.
00:17:09 – Eating Tarantulas in Cambodia,
Lisa shares a story about taking her family to a restaurant in Cambodia that served tarantulas. The restaurant was also a non-profit that helped children from the street find a career in the food industry. The group believes in off-the-beaten-path experiences to expand their sense of the world.
00:27:10 – Setting Travel Intentions,
Alexa shares her intention to travel more and write about her experiences. She believes that travel is important for personal growth and to capture unique perspectives in writing. The guests encourage her to join their travel group and explore new destinations.
Do you want to boost your book's discoverability and skyrocket your sales on Kindle? Are you struggling to get your book noticed in the crowded marketplace? Our guest, Dave Chesson, has the perfect solution to help you achieve your goal of increased book exposure and higher sales on Amazon.
By using effective keywords, you can enhance your book's visibility and attract more potential readers to your page. Dave will be sharing his proven strategies and techniques to help you achieve greater success on Kindle. Get ready to achieve your desired outcome of increased book sales and greater readership through the power of keywords.
The most important part for a book is to make sure that the keywords you're using are synchronous with everything else. – Dave Chesson
Dave Chesson is a rockstar and one of the most knowledgeable people in the book publishing industry, certainly with respect to how to get more visibility through your keywords and categories.
About Dave Chesson:
Possessing a wealth of knowledge in Kindle sales and keyword optimization, Dave Chesson is a leading expert assisting self-published authors in enhancing their book visibility, ultimately resulting in increased sales. Drawing from his experience in search engine optimization and niche website building, Dave understands the intricacies of engaging with target markets on various platforms. As a former military veteran who found success in transitioning into entrepreneurship, Dave is driven by a passion to share his expertise and guide writers in optimizing their online presence and expanding their readership.
In this episode, we covered:
- Understand how pinpointing the right keywords can dramatically elevate your Kindle book's sales performance.
- Learn the significance of an eye-catching cover, title, and description on attracting and retaining readership.
- Tap into the minds of your target readers and communicate effectively for fostering strong engagement.
- Explore Dave Chesson's incredible journey from serving in the military to pioneering the field of Kindlepreneurship.
- Master the use of KDP Rocket and other innovative resources for enhancing your book marketing strategies and gaining higher visibility.
Making Sales on Kindle
There are two ways to make sales on Kindle: write a book that Amazon promotes to a pre-existing market, or go find the market somewhere on the Internet, grab their attention, drag them over to your book, and convince them to buy it. It's important to understand the demand opportunities and keywords that people use to search for books on Amazon.
- Discover the power of strategic keyword use for boosting Kindle book sales and visibility.
- Uncover the crucial role of compelling book covers, titles, and descriptions in captivating potential readers.
- Gain insights into identifying and connecting with your target audience through intentional content creation.
- Follow the inspiring story of Dave Chesson's transition from military life to becoming a Kindlepreneur founder.
- Check out KDP Rocket, a powerful tool designed to help authors find profitable keywords for their books on Amazon.
- Purchase Dave Chesson's book, Kindlepreneur's Book Marketing Guide, for in-depth strategies and tips on how to market your book successfully.
00:09:03 – Keywords for Nonfiction,
When it comes to nonfiction, Dave stresses that keywords are about the pain points or what people are looking for when they search for a book. It's important to find high-demand, low-competition keywords that are synchronous with your book's title, subtitle, and cover.
00:14:14 – KDP Rocket Tool,
Dave Chesson introduces KDP Rocket, a tool that provides authors with Amazon book ideas based on data analysis. The tool suggests better book ideas, provides information on money-making books, competition scores, and the number of people searching for a particular keyword.
00:19:00 – Two-Phase Process for Indexing,
To get Amazon to index a book for a keyword, it must be included in the seven fields for keywords in Kindle Direct Publishing. Other options include including the keyword in the book's title, subtitle, and within the book itself. Additionally, having a high conversion rate over other books for the same keyword will raise a book's ranking.
00:36:33 – Kindle Select and Building a Platform,
Kindle Select can be beneficial for newer authors to gain exposure, but may not be the best choice for established authors with an extensive marketing plan. A well-crafted author bio can also help bridge the gap between the book and the author's platform by connecting readers with the author on a personal level. Content upgrades can help with email sign-ups, but providing readers with a free book or prelude can help build a fan base.
00:46:30 – Getting Noticed as a Writer,
Dave Chesson emphasizes the importance of getting books in front of enough people and the right people. He believes that even amazing writers can miss out on opportunities if they don't get the exposure they need. Using KDP Rocket is just one tactic to help authors get noticed and get their work seen by potential readers.
Do you want to write stories that inspire change and promote inclusivity? Are you eager to learn how to create engaging content that addresses social justice issues?
Sherry Paris never could have predicted the impact a group of high school students would have on her life. As an educator and author, she collaborated with these young leaders on sensitivity training for middle schoolers, delving into complex issues such as racism and sexism. What she found was a group of passionate, insightful individuals who would inspire her to create books that engage readers of all ages in these crucial conversations. Sherry's unexpected journey taught her the power of young voices in advocating for change and challenging societal norms. But what happens when we empower these young leaders? The answer lies within the pages of her inspiring books.
From the student leaders. Elise says, I think the basis of a lot of social justice is being compassionate towards yourself and others. Love and compassion are a really radical thing that people underestimate all the time. – Sherry Paris
Join Sherry in a quest for inclusivity and social justice as she shares her tips on empowering young people to create a better world through their writing, while navigating the challenges of ageism, marginalization, and polarized times.
About Sherry Paris:
Meet Sherry Paris, an experienced educator and author dedicated to promoting social justice and inclusivity through her work. For the past 20 years, Sherry has successfully collaborated with young individuals as a diversity trainer, helping create a culture of acceptance and allyship in various communities. She is the brains behind the creative workbooks You Can Make a Difference and Being a Super Trans Ally, inspiring a new generation of activists and allies. Sherry Paris' work focuses on uplifting voices from all backgrounds and encouraging positive change through self-expression and understanding.
In this episode, we covered:
- Why Sherry wrote You Can Make a Difference! A Creative Workbook and Journal for Young Activists and included interviews with four student leaders
- Why this book is needed now (all actions by people of all ages are more important than ever!)
- How to empower others through your writing
- How she created and sustains a supportive container for writing (making writing and illustrating a sanctuary space/ritual)
- Tips for authors who want to be more inclusive in their writing
- How to be the beacon of love for marginalized people
Creating a Supportive Container for Writing
Sherry shares her tips for creating and sustaining a supportive container for writing and illustrating, including creating a space and routine, practicing self-care, and collaborating with others. She emphasizes the importance of knowing your why and allowing creativity to flow. By creating a supportive container for writing and illustrating, authors can cultivate an environment that nurtures creativity, sustains motivation, and encourages personal growth. Sherry's tips emphasize the balance between discipline and self-care, collaboration and individuality, and purpose-driven creativity, all of which contribute to a fulfilling and productive creative journey.
- Delve into the power of inclusive writing and its impact on social justice.
- Explore the essence of encouraging ally action and cultivating a welcoming environment.
- Recognize the importance of self-preservation and drive in the realm of activism.
- Acquire knowledge on protecting oneself professionally in the fields of writing and consulting.
- Comprehend the necessity of empowering the youth to acknowledge and appreciate diversity for a better future.
00:01:56 – Why the Book is Needed Now,
Sherry talks about the importance of the book and the need for young people to be affirmed in who they are and empowered to take action towards social justice. She shares quotes from student leaders who were interviewed for the book and highlights the importance of compassion, support systems, and motivation in making a difference.
00:12:33 – Marketing and Business,
Sherry discusses her marketing strategy for You Can Make a Difference, including co-presenting with student leaders at a queer and trans resource center and a book and business launch. She also shares her process for creating an LLC to protect herself as an author and educator in these polarized times.
00:18:05 – Tips for Authors,
Sherry provides tips for authors, emphasizing the need for writers to educate themselves by learning and unlearning about diversity topics, including sensitivity readers for their manuscripts. She also recommends paying marginalized people for their labor and being a beacon of love for marginalized communities.
00:23:11 – Where to Find Sherry's Books,
Sherry invites people to consider buying her books from bookshop.org, which is a public good company that donates or offers proceeds to independent booksellers. She also shares that her books, Being a Super Trans Ally and You Can Make a Difference, are creative workbooks sold anywhere books are sold and include affirming illustrations that she drew. She encourages people to get her books into the hands of schools, guidance counselors, and libraries.