Jan 10

10 Top Book Marketing Strategies

Top Book Marketing Tips

I say this a lot, but every author needs to know about book marketing, whether you’re self-published or traditionally published.

I want to bring this to every author’s attention, especially my children’s ghostwriting clients.

If you’re wondering if it’s really necessary to market your book, it is.

Well, it is if you want to sell your books. If you want to reach your intended target audience.

I would think most authors do.

According to Self-PublishingSchool.com, “Even if your book is the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective consciousness of the public.” (1)

This means if people don’t know about your book, they can’t buy it.

Here are 10 of the most important tips to bring you and your books visibility and credibility, boost your mailing list, and boost sales.

Pre-Publishing Tips:

  1. Write a quality book.

This should go without saying, but with the ease of self-publishing it’s worth mentioning.

Do it right and write a quality story. Be sure to edit it and if at all possible have it professionally edited.

  1. Have an eye-catching book cover created.

Your book cover is the first thing a potential buyer will see. You don’t want it to look unprofessional.

Research book cover illustrators or designers. Check pricing and quality, and check their portfolios. Find one you like.

  1. Price your book effectively.

For this you’ll need to do some research to see what similar books in your genre are selling for. You don’t want to overprice yourself out of a sale.

  1. Use a ‘good’ book publishing service.

You want a service that will take your manuscript and cover and build your ebook and/or paperback files to be uploaded to aggregators (Ingram Spark) or distributors (Amazon).

Services like BookBaby.com and 1106 Design.com do all this. But you should do some research and ask around for other services.

Find one you’re comfortable with and one that’s within your budget.

Now on to actually marketing your book:

  1. You really, really, really need an author website.

A number of authors believe that having space on social media is good enough, but it’s not.

Remember when Google+ was around? How about StumbleUpon? What about Yik Yak and Vine?

Aside from this, new networks are popping up all the time, taking users from older networks.

You need your own author website as the hub to all your online activity.

And, you can create one for free.

Here’s an article that explains more the author website:
Why You Absolutely Need an Author Website

  1. You need to be on social media.

Ha, sounds like a contradiction, but it’s not.

There’s a difference between using social media as your everything and using is to generate visibility and website traffic, and sales.

Social media is a main source of visibility – it should be used to drive traffic to your website and to make sales. Marketing experts recommend choosing two social media sites to work.

It’s the adage, don’t go wide and shallow, go narrow and deep.

I would also recommend using YouTube. If you don’t have an account, simply create one.

Post weekly or bi-weekly videos centering around your book’s topic. Video is a powerful marketing tool. As you continue to post, you’ll eventually engage people and get subscribers.

Statistics vary on this, but according to Spark.Adobe, Instagram is the social media leader with YouTube then Facebook following. Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest follow Facebook.

To use social media properly, you need to post to your networks every day. If possible, multiple times a day. There are automated services to help you with this. You can post about your book’s topic, related interesting things, and about your book.

It’s important to remember the 80/20 rule, though. Give 80% entertaining or useful information and 20% promotion.

You should also share other users’ posts, and comment when time allows.

  1. Create an email list.

Email marketing is how you connect on a more personal level with your readers. It allows you to tell them about your new projects, services, and books you have for sale.

Just as important, it allows you to offer tips and help to your subscribers!

For more on email marketing, check out:

4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in

Email Marketing – 10 Top Reasons to BE Doing It

  1. Get attention.

A. Connect with influencers in your arena. Query influencers to get a guest blog post on their sites. Just be sure you know what they’re looking for and pay close attention to their guidelines.

B. Similarly, look for people who do author interviews and/or podcasts with authors. Chances are they’d appreciate having someone new on their blog or show.

C. Contact your local libraries and let them know you have a new book out. You can also contact your local newspapers and TV stations. They’re usually looking for new content, especially when it involves a local author.

  1. Work on getting book reviews.

Book reviews help sell books.

Do some research on bloggers who post book reviews. Reach out to them and ask if they’d be willing to review your book. Just make sure your book is a fit for their site.

Ask people you know for reviews.

There are lots of other ways to get review. A great source for this is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically by Carolyn Howard-Johnson. It’s jammed-packed with useable tips and advice.

Be sure to ask whoever reviews you book to put the review up on Amazon.

  1. Get into book clubs.

The more visibility your book gets, the more sales you’ll make.

A great way to boost your visibility is through book clubs.

The article below has great tips on how you can go about doing this:
https://selfpublishingrelief.com/2019/04/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-your-book-to-book-clubs-self-publishing-relief/

  1. Bonus tip.

Keep writing books. Don’t be a one-book author.

And, to help you with your publishing journey, author and acquisitions editor Terry Whalin has a very useful book. I read it and it’s worth the investment: 10 Publishing Myths by Terry Whalin

I hope these tips help you get your book visible and selling!

Need help getting your author platform off the ground or taking it up a notch or two?

Check out my 4-week interactive eClass through WOW! Women on Writing, Build Your Author/Writer Platform.

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Jan 03

Author Website Must-Have Elements

Author Website

Most of my clients self-publish and I know they don’t realize they should have an author website.

Even if it’s simply a landing page, about page and book page, authors need a website.

And your landing page, as well as your entire site, should be focused on a specific keyword or couple of related keywords. This includes your domain name, the title, headlines, content, and so on. This allows for better search engine optimization and increases your online authority.

 Do You Have All 10 Author Website Elements in Place?

1. THE HEADER.
Your header should be relevant to your site’s brand (it's content and color scheme); and it needs to help visitors quickly grasp what the site is about.
Along with this, the header should be professionally done.

If you use a theme that doesn’t allow for a header or has a very small header, you might not be able to take advantage of a professional header. If this is the case, it'd be wise to choose a different theme.

An example of this is my site’s header. You can see it at the top of the page.

It tells exactly what the site is about and it conveys my brand’s color scheme. 

Interestingly, I’ve been wanting to change the look of my site, but I get clients who say they hired me because of it. So, for the time being I’m keeping it the way it is.
2. THE TITLE.
You need an effective, optimized title. Your title should be keyword effective and further cement the focus of your site to the visitor. As with any title, it should grab the reader and let him know what to expect.

Having an optimized title means to use words (keywords) that will tell the search engines and people what your site is about

The title can go in two places: in Settings in your WordPress dashboard, and in the Header Image you create or have created. 

I mentioned it can go in both places but it doesn’t have to.

The title of my site is Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi, but in my header, which I created, I have Karen Cioffi, Children’s Ghostwriter.

While I have a lot of helpful articles on writing for children on my site and I post weekly to it, the main purpose of my site is to offer services. The title in the header reflects this.
3. THE SUBTITLE.
An effective subtitle is where you can embellish on the title and add more relevant site information.

My header subtitle is the same as it is in my Settings (the Tagline in the #2 above image).

It’s important to keep in mind that images have no SEO juice, meaning search engines can’t read the text in images. But you can add a title and description to the images in the Metadata area after you upload the image. 

Any place you can add keywords or description in WordPress or any other Content Management System do so.
4. WEBSITE NAVIGATION.
This primarily pertains to your site’s menu. It’s what gets a visitor to your site from one page to another.
The navigation must be quick to see and easy to use. And, it must be above the fold. This means it must be immediately visible upon landing on the site. 

Most sites have the menu just below the header, but there are some that have it on the sidebar. If yours is on the sidebar, it should be above the fold.
Your menu needs to be quickly seen and functioning properly.
5. ABOUT PAGE.
Every site needs this page. Visitors want to know who you are, what you’re offering, and why you’re qualified to offer it. Don’t make it a guessing game or make the visitor have to search to find out who runs the site.

To make the page friendly, keep the content on this page conversational. You can give some personal information, but not too much. The internet isn’t the safest place, so be careful.
6. CONTACT PAGE AND OTHER WAYS TO BE REACHED.
You need easy to find contact information on the Landing Page and all the other pages. A potential customer or client doesn’t want to search for information on how to contact you with questions or a project. Have your contact information on every page (on the sidebar and/or at the bottom of each page works well).

This is especially important if you offer services. 
Aside from the Contact Page, I have my contact info on the sidebar right below my call-to-action (CTA).
I’ve used a contact form in the past, but it caused problems on my site (as told by Bluehost, my hosting service) so I removed it.

This is what I have on my contact page:
7. RESPONSIVE THEME.
With all the devices your website can be seen on, you need a responsive theme that morphs (automatically adjusts) to all formats: websites, laptops, iPads, Smart Phones, etc. 

To check how your site looks on any device visit: http://ipadpeek.com. If your site doesn’t measure up, search for a theme that works.

Google actually frowns upon sites that aren’t responsive
8. OPT-IN
You absolutely need an opt-in to your mailing list. The mailing list is considered ‘golden’ and is the marketing tool that will help you build a relationship with your visitors and readers. 

It’s this ongoing relationship that builds trust, authority, and conversion (having someone take action – buy your book or hire you).

While you should have an opt-in for your mailing list, it may also be to bring a visitor to a sales page for your books or services, or to sign up for a webinar or eclass. Whatever you’re offering and want your visitor to take action on, use an opt-in. 

The opt-in should be above the fold and in line with your color scheme. 

My opt-in is at the top of my sidebar:
 
9. ETHICAL BRIBE.
The most effective tool to get a visitor to subscribe to your opt-in is the ‘ethical bribe.’ This offering should be something of perceived value to your target market that will entice visitors to sign up. The above image is an example of an opt-in freebie.

Your ethical bribe should have a clear call-to-action (CTA). You need to explicitly tell the visitors what you want them to do.

In the image above, the opt-in is for my mailing list and the ethical bribe is “How Do You Plan a Children’s Story?” The clear CTA is “Get Free EBook.”
10. FOCUS AND SIMPLICITY.
I mentioned focus earlier. Your site needs to be focused. 

If your site is about writing for children, you wouldn’t write about romance novels or offer them for sale on the site.

Google pays attention to the focus of your site. If you dilute that focus with unrelated content and offerings, Google will most likely avoid using your site as the results for search results.

Notice how my site’s keywords are specific to children’s ghostwriting and writing for children. 
This focus helps search engine spiders and visitors quickly realize the focus of the site.

The next thing is simplicity. People have super-short attention spans. You need to make things as simple as possible for the visitor to quickly know what you’re offering and how they can get it.
Whether you’re an author or freelance writer, Build Your Author Online Platform in 4-Weeks is something you should think about. I instruct this eclass through WOW! Women on Writing and has amazing testimonials. Check for upcoming classes.

You can find all the details at: https://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_AuthorOnlinePresence.php

MORE ON WRITING

Get Your Self-Published Books Into Libraries – 6 Must Know Tips

Selling Middle Grade

6 Must-Know Book Marketing Basics

Social media sharing


Dec 20

A Children’s Writing Coach – Do You Need One?

Writing for children.

25 Reasons You May Need Help Writing Your Own Children’s Book

I’ve been a children’s ghostwriter and rewriter (book doctor) for many years.

Now and then, though, I’ll get someone who comes to me for help, but they want to write the book themselves.

This is great. I encourage wannabe authors to go for it.

The problem, though, is when they’re done and give me their draft to edit, I end up having to rewrite the story.

The reason for this is they don’t take the time to at least learn the basics of writing. They have no idea about story structure, plot, themes, memorable characters, the basic writing elements, and so on.

So …

I decided to offer children’s writing coaching for those who want to write their own children’s story, but don’t know how, or aren’t sure how to go about it, or don’t have the confidence to go it alone and need some hand-holding.

If you think you can just jump in, there’s nothing to it, I created a checklist for you to ponder over.

It’s also a list for those wannabe authors who aren’t quite sure if they should go it alone or take the plunge with some help.

Here is the checklist with twenty-five questions that will help you determine if you’re ready and able to write a children’s story on your own:

  1. Do you know how to start a story to grab the reader’s attention?
  2. Do you know about protagonists? How many can you have?
  3. Do you know the children’s writing genre differences?
  4. Do you know the word counts for each?
  5. Do you know about conflict? Is it age-appropriate?
  6. Do you know about the story arc?
  7. Do you know about the character arc?
  8. Do you know the protagonist should resolve the conflict?
  9. Do you know the protagonist should grow in some way?
  10. Do you know to write dialogue?
  11. Do you know about punctuation?
  12. Do you know about story structure?
  13. Do you know what the take-away value is?
  14. Do you know your story should have age-appropriate words?
  15. Do you know your story should have age-appropriate topics?
  16. Do you know that even the sentence structure and word count matter?
  17. Do you know how to format your story?
  18. Do you know that with picture books the illustrations help tell the story?
  19. Do you know how to pace your story, especially if it’s an MG or YA?
  20. Do you know how to move your story forward?
  21. Do you know what subplots are?
  22. Do you know that all loose ends need to be tied up.
  23. Bonus question – Do you know how to write a satisfying ending?
  24. Do you know about revisions and editing?
  25. Do you know what to do once you finish your draft?

There’s also showing versus telling, information dump, and more, but I think twenty-five questions to think about should give you an idea of whether or not you’ll need help.

A professional children’s writer knows about all these things. She can guide you to a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

So, what do you think? Do you need a children’s writing coach?

If you think you need more than guidance, feedback, and hand-holding, you might need a children’s ghostwriter.

Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

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Dec 13

Writing and the Imposter Syndrome

How confident of your writing skills are you?

I watched an amazing Zoom webinar with Carolyn Howard-Johnson and her publisher Victor Volkman. It was from the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association Writing Conference – they did it virtually rather than in-person.

Carolyn is an award-winning author and an expert book marketer, so when she has something to share, I listen.

A small part of her talk was about the imposter syndrome.

Making it easier to understand, it’s the ‘I’m not good enough,’ syndrome.

According to Wikipedia, the “imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.”

So, what has this to do with writers?

Well, once we feel we’re not really a good writer, we begin to underestimate our ability and our value.

Unfortunately, this syndrome seeps its way into new and even seasoned writers and it can cause consequences.

The ‘I’m not a good enough writer’ syndrome or I’m a fraud and sooner or later everyone will know.

Have you ever felt like this?

Once a writer has these feelings, it can stop her from moving forward.

Maybe she’s been thinking of seeking an agent’s representation.

Maybe he’s thought of submitting to traditional publishers.

Maybe he’s wanted to get article published in magazines, like Writer’s Digest or the Writer. Or, maybe there’s another magazine they’d love to write for.

BUT …

She doesn’t think she’s good enough so doesn’t even try.

There’s an expression I love: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

You don’t have to be the best writer on Earth.

It’s not the best writer who succeeds, it’s the write who perseveres. Part of perseverance is to actually submit your work.

It’s about writing the book you want to write and self-publishing if that’s the route you want to go.

It’s about submitting your manuscript to agents and publishers.

With that said, it is important to make sure you at least know how to write.

  • Read a lot.
  • Read books the agent has represented if that’s what you want to do.
  • Read books that the publisher has published if that your dream.
  • Read ‘good’ books in the genre you want to write.
  • And, take the time to learn how to write, if you haven’t yet. There are amazing online classes that can help you with this.

Another problem is if a writer with this syndrome offers services, like editing or ghostwriting.

If you’re offering writing services and don’t really believe you’re qualified enough to offer these services, you’re in trouble.

  • The first thing that will happen is you won’t charge what you’re worth. This can cause a domino effect.
  • Your lower prices will have some potential clients believing you’re not as good as other services are charging more.
  • You may let clients tell you how to write. Or, you may not be confident to explain to your client that what he has done or wants to do won’t work.
  • You’ll second guess most everything you do.

If you have these feelings, it might be helpful to create a vision board.

Put a few quotes or saying that will help you believe in yourself. Be sure to keep it where you’ll see it every day!

And another good idea is to keep learning your craft.

This also goes for wannabe authors. Learn about write by reading books in the genre you want to write and then go for it.

If you’re not sure how to go about it and need some help, I’ll be happy to jump in. Whether you need ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, just send me an email and we can discuss your project.

To watch Carolyn’s talk, which has lots of book marketing tips, CLICK BELOW:

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Get Clear About Your Ultimate Writing Goals

Middle Grade Book Versus Young Adult Book

Supporting Characters and Your Story


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Dec 06

Should You Edit Your Professional Edit?

Watch out for unprofessional editors with self-publishing services.

Once I ghostwrite a children’s story, I edit and proof it.

If I don’t have enough time to let the story sit for a while, I’ll send it out for proofing. Or if it’s a middle grade or young adult and I’ve been working on it for a long time and am too close to it, I may have someone else take a look at it.

But usually, I’m able to edit and proof the manuscript myself. Then I give it to my client.

At this point, it’s ready to move on to publication or submissions.

So, what can go wrong after that?

It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while, I’ll get a client who decides to edit the manuscript I’ve handed over.

This comes about in one of two ways:

1. The client, for whatever reason, takes it upon himself to add text, possibly to boost the word count. When the author doesn’t know how to write, it becomes an issue.

To give you an idea of what I mean, here are a few examples of added dialogue:

“Hey,” said Joe”, want to go for a swim?”

“Sure Pete, said Jane, how about if I go with you?”

“I’m working” said Justin.

“That’s what it’s for”, said his brother.

Hi, my name is Philip” she said.

I changed the text, but the punctuation is how it was. The errors aren’t even consistent. And the author changed some of my dialogue punctuation.

If I remember correctly, these kind of changes have only happened with male clients. That’s food for thought. LOL

2. The client uses a self-publishing service to get their book published and the service tells them they MUST have their manuscript edited first.

This has happened with both male and female clients of mine.

So, should you edit a professionally edited story?

Well, if the edit brings about an improvement, that’s great, go for it. Although, I haven’t seen this happen yet.

But if the client doesn’t know how to write, or the self-publishing company hires less than professional editors, that’s another story.

If you’re wondering how I know that a client edited a story I already edited, it’s simple. They end up coming back to me to re-edit what they’ve done or had done. (Click to tweet!)

It’s a shame.

They paid me to rewrite or ghostwrite a story and edit it.

Then, if they used a service, they paid the service to edit the story.

Then … when they come back to me, they pay me again to have the story re-edited.

I’ve seen manuscripts come back that have been edited by someone who clearly doesn’t speak English or doesn’t know how to write for children.

And, what I always find surprising is that I explain everything that comes up to my clients. And, I let them know that most self-publishing services can’t afford to hire professional editors.

But it doesn’t seem to register.

Again, it doesn’t happen often, but it’s frustrating when it does.

A perfect example is a return client I’m currently working with. It’s a middle grade story that was originally a rewrite/ghost project about a year ago. Originally, I explained:

  • There shouldn’t be more than one POV in a chapter.
  • One POV in a middle grade book is optimal, but two could work if necessary, and if it’s done properly.
  • The chapter length needs to be genre appropriate.

It seems the client had been shopping his story around and was told he needed a higher word count. He decided to add another 10,000 words himself.

The manuscript came back with the chapters broken down to 300 words, 600 words, 1800 words, and so on. There were over 50 chapters in a 42,000-word middle grade draft.

Along with this, there were multiple POVs within chapters, including the POVs of secondary characters. And a third POV was thrown in as a kind of overseer of the story.

The interesting thing is that after I went through the story once after he gave it back to me, I fixed the chapter lengths and when I emailed it back to him, he asked if I’d change the chapters to what he had.

I’m easy-going and do everything I can to help my clients, but I had to explain, again, that it’s not a good idea to have a middle grade story with chapter lengths too short and varying so greatly.

I let him know that there are certain guidelines for writing for children and if you’re submitting to publishers, it’s especially important to adhere to them.

I’m giving this story a third edit, but I have a gut feeling that after I hand the finished manuscript over to my client, he’s going to change it again.

So, what’s the bottom line?

1, Unless you know how to write, you shouldn’t edit a professional edit.

With that said, everyone makes mistakes. If you have a question about the manuscript or are concerned about something, talk to the writer who wrote it or edited it.

2. If you’re told the manuscript needs to be beefed up and you don’t want to pay for ghostwriting, read the manuscript carefully. Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, paragraph lengths, and chapter lengths.

Read other traditionally published books in your genre.

Then when you’re done adding to your story, have it edited by a professional. The less the editor has to do, the less it will cost.

3. Be careful with self-publishing services. They want to sell you any service they can – that’s how they make money. And to make money, most of these services can’t afford to hire professional writers.

I hope this helps you in your writing journey.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing Perfection – Is There Such a Thing?

A Writer’s Number One Job

Picture Books – What Grabs an Editor?

Social media sharing


Nov 15

8 Must-Know Tips to Get Your Book Visible for Free

Are you thinking about writing a children’s book? Or, maybe you have one published already.

Well, unless you’ve written a book for ‘your eyes only’ or maybe your family’s, you’ll want to make your book visible. You’ll want as many people as possible to see what you’ve written.

This is especially true if you want to sell any of your books. You’ll want to actively generate visibility.

So, how do you do this?

Promotion, promotion, promotion…

Promoting your book is the only way to create visibility. And, as many have limited funds and can’t afford to pay a publicist or marketer, you need to look at strategies that are affordable or free.

In addition to the very basic strategies of creating a marketing plan which should include the book’s cover, how you’ll self-publish, and where your book will be sold, there are at least eight book marketing strategies that are free and sure to help create visibility for you and your author platform.

These tips are just as important if you’re traditionally publishing.

Eight FREE Strategies to Help Create and Increase Your Visibility

  1. Before your book is even published, create an author website.

I realize a number of new authors don’t want to be bothered with a website, especially if writing books isn’t something you intend to continue. But it does make a difference. It makes you look professional and it’s the place you will lead potential buyers to.

Let people know what your book is about. Maybe put tidbits from the book or books. Write about your writing, publishing, and book marketing process and experiences.

Preferably you will want to post to your site regularly even if it’s just once a month. You want it to be active for the search engines and for those who visit.

For more on why you need an author website you can read:

The Author Website – Do You Really Need One?

2. Create your own social media campaign.

This is where your website comes in handy. Post about your book and share your posts to your social media networks.

If you absolutely don’t want a website, at least post to your social media networks about your book.

Tip: If you use social media to promote your book, don’t forget to share other users’ content. Social media is about engaging others and making connections.

In addition to this, it’s a good idea to provide some useful information to users.

For example, my middle grade fantasy, Walking Through Walls, is based on an ancient Chinese tale. If I were to use social media just for promotion of my book, I’d post about things that relate to the book – maybe about dragons or the ancient Chinese culture of the time period of the book.

It’s about giving and engaging, not just promoting the book

Numbers 3-8 are tips for after your book is published.

3. Go to your local library and give the librarian a copy. Ask if she will carry your book. You can also ask if you can give a workshop or presentation on writing and/or on getting a book published.

4. Contact your local newspapers and ask if they will do a feature on you. Local papers look for local news. Having an author in the neighborhood is news. When my book, Day’s End Lullaby, became available, my local paper did an article on the book and on me. It was great exposure.

5. Join groups and forums that focus in the area you write. Social networking is a wonderful way to increase visibility. There are also many marketing groups you can join to increase your book marketing knowledge.

6. Post reviews of books you’ve read on sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Shelfari.

This is another useful marketing tool that will increase your visibility and build your author platform.

7. Submit your book to reviewers. This is a great marketing tool. Having good reviews to post on your site, and sites such as Amazon, is an important aspect to selling books, and selling books is what book marketing is all about.

People are influenced by the recommendations of others.

There are also sites like The New Book Review to post your reviews to. Just read the guidelines.

Get your friends and family involved too – ask them to read your book and post reviews to the above sites.

Be careful with Amazon though. Sometimes they won’t allow the review if you’ve posted to a number of other ‘review’ sites. And, sometimes they may stop a review if the reviewer didn’t buy the book.

Ask the reviewer to include a simple note at the end of the review explaining that s/he received a free book and the review is completely impartial.

You might also keep up with Amazon’s guidelines.

8. Create a signature for your emails. This signature is another means of allowing your platform to take root and create visibility for your book. Include your website’s URL, the name of your book/s, and maybe the sales page link.

You might also include your primary social media tag or URL to help build your network.

Use these tips and get started making your book visible today.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Self-Publishing: 3 Perks and 4 Warnings

What is an Author Platform – How Do You Build It?

Small Home-Grown Book Publishers – Good or Bad?

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Nov 08

Children’s Ghostwriter, Rewriter, or Writing Coach – Which Do You Need?

I’ve lost track of the number of clients I’ve worked with through the years. I know it’s in the hundreds and if I had to guess, I’d say well over 300.

That’s a lot of people.

A lot of people with the dream of being author of their own children’s book.

And, it amazes me at times that some of these people have had the dream to write a children’s book for years … sometimes almost a lifetime.

I recently rewrote a chapter book and edited several short stories for a woman who is 92.

Does that make you sit up and say, “WHAT?!”

It did me. We had been communicating and I had no idea of her age until she told me.

Can you imagine waiting to become a children’s writer until you’re in your nineties? It’s just amazing. And, her stories are good!

My point is, are you going to wait until you’re in your fifties, sixties, seventies, or older to fulfill your dream of being a children’s author?

Don’t let procrastination stop you.

Don’t let fear stop you.

If you want to be author of a children’s book, go for it NOW.

But, how do you go about it?

The Ghostwriter

If you just have an idea for a children’s story or maybe some notes, or a rough outline, but don’t know where to go from there, then you’ll need a children’s ghostwriter.

A ghostwriter will take your idea or whatever other content you have on the story and weave her magic.

At the end of the process, of which you would be involved, you’ll have a publishable manuscript ready to go.

The Rewriter

Okay, a rewriter is the same as a book doctor. I just like using ‘rewriter.’

Rewriting is quite different than ghostwriting. You would have actually written a draft in order to use a rewriter.

If you wrote a draft, but you know it’s lacking and is far from publishable, and you don’t know how to fix it, then you’d need a rewriter.

Or maybe, you have an idea of how to fix it, but don’t have the time.

The rewriter will take your draft and actually rewrite it to make it the best it can be. She will look at the entire story, globally. Aside from plot, structure, voice, and so on, she will check for clarity and readability, as well as engagement.

There is a fine line between rewriting and ghostwriting, though.

I’ve had clients who have had drafts that weren’t salvageable. The drafts were so poorly written, it was basically writing from scratch, including having to come up with storylines.

When this happens, your draft is beyond rewriting and you need to move over to the realm of ghosting.

The Coach

The children’s writing coach is kind of a step or two beyond a developmental editor.

The similarity between the two is that neither will do the writing for you. They will guide you to write your own best story.

The difference between a writing coach and a developmental editor:

The editor will take your manuscript and go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Then she will give you an editorial letter that will tell you what you need to do to fix it, to get it in publishable shape.

The coach will stay with you through your revisions or rewrites, whatever is needed. She will hold your hand, advising you and guiding you with weekly or monthly calls and emails.

The coach may be more money, but there’s one-on-one hand-holding. On the other hand, the cost depends on other factors also, such as the length of your manuscript, the shape it’s in, and your commitment to getting it done.

So now that you know what the difference is between these three writing services, which will be needed to get you on the track to becoming a children’s author?

Children's ghostwriter
Children’s writing coach

Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Oct 25

Talking Yourself Into Success or Out of It

I had a client who, after the book was almost complete, began to talk herself out of the project.

Keep in mind this had nothing to do with money – the project was already paid for. The client simply began second-guessing herself.

  • She wondered will there be a market for her story.
  • She wondered if young readers would be interested in the story.
  • She wondered if she was just wasting her time.

I was able to convince her that ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ I told her that you just never know – her book could influence children. Even if a book influences one child, that’s one child you’ve reached.

Before this client, I don’t remember ever having a client try to talk herself out of possible success. But then I came across an email from the Morning Nudge by Suzanne Lieurance.

After reading it, I realized that many people talk themselves out of success, myself included.

For years I tried to make money writing. I tried a number of different arenas, including business writing, academic writing, health writing, and children’s writing. For a long while nothing seemed to click.

And, with the ‘feast or famine’ freelance writing business, it’s easy to get discouraged and feel like packing it in.

Fortunately, I kept plugging away. I didn’t talk myself out of success. I may have done other things to delay it, but now I have a successful children’s ghostwriting business and even have the need to hire subcontractors.

The point is, you never know when or where you’ll find success. You need to keep plugging away and stop talking yourself out of success.

In fact, do the opposite. Talk yourself into success!

Here’s some of what author and writing coach Lieurance says about it:

If you have trouble taking action to reach your goals, ask yourself this question, “Am I talking myself out of success?”

I see people do this all the time.

They say they want something, but in the next breath they start justifying why they can’t (or probably can’t) do, have, or be the very thing they want.

Sound familiar?

We all do this from time to time and most of the time we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

So, write this question on an index card and place it near your computer (or on your kitchen counter) so you can see it throughout the day—Am I talking myself out of success?

Then, if you hesitate to take action toward your goals today, look at this question.

It will help you realize the only thing keeping you from success is that you keep talking yourself out of it.

And once you realize you’re doing this, you can stop doing it.

To get your own daily nudge, subscribe to Suzanne Lieurance’s Morning Nudge!

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Children’s Writing – Creating your Main Character

Secondary Characters – Are They Important?

Be a Successful Writer Even if You Don’t Think You Have Enough Time

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Oct 18

Chapter Book Guidelines

I like writing chapter books. They allow the writer more freedom than picture books or early readers, but they’re not as involved as middle grade or young adult.

The chapter book is just right—at least to me.

At the moment, I’m working in three different genres: picture book, chapter book, and two young adult. And, there’s also my own middle grade story which I’ve had to put on the back burner for the time being.

Working in multiple genres I know what’s involved in each and as I mentioned in the first sentence, I like chapter books best. Picture books are a close second, though.

Chapter Books vs. Picture Books

The reason I prefer chapter books over picture books is you have more words to work with. A good length for the chapter book is 10,000 words, but it can be from 5,000 to 15,000 words.

That amount of words gives the writer freedom to provide details, description, and so on that you just can’t do in a picture book as the picture book should be 800 words or under.

You need to write tight with picture books in order to get a full story arc.

Chapter Book vs. Early Reader

Compared to the early reader, chapter books allow for a lot more freedom. While you do have to take into account the age of the reader for plot, sentence structure, paragraphs, and so on with the chapter book, it’s not as stringent as the early reader.

The early reader is geared toward the emergent reader. The words, sentences, and paragraphs have to be in accordance with educational tools like the Lexile Framework for Reading.

Chapter Books vs. Middle Grade and Young Adult

The other great thing about chapter books is they’re not as involved as the middle grade or young adult.

A middle grade book is usually anywhere from 20,000 (for a simple middle grade) to 55,000 (for upper middle grade).

The young adult books are usually 55,000 up to 80,000 words. This kind of word count calls for a lot of organization, and a lot of notes. And, a good memory helps too.

While a larger word count allows for a much more in-depth story with lots and lots of details, including subplots, and even more than one point-of-view, there’s a lot to keep track of.

To add to this, if you’re working with a client, you may encounter pauses in the writing momentum due to the client taking a long time to review what you send. This is a big deal when you’ve got a good momentum going and you have to put it on pause.

So, What Exactly Are the Guidelines of the Chapter Book?

According to editor Mary Kole, the chapter book’s key element is for the reader to have “easy wins.” (1) This means the new reader will get a sense of accomplishment for each chapter he reads. This is a huge win for a child just learning to read.

  • The age bracket varies, but the usual is seven to nine.
  • Because the child is new to reading on his own, the chapters should be 500-700 words. Short and sweet. This helps with the ‘easy wins.’
  • Considering the word count per chapter, having 10-15 chapters is a good amount.
  • The book should have a full character arc as well as a full story (narrative) arc.
  • There should be one point-of-view, that of the protagonist.
  • The word count can be 5,000 to 15,000, but the sweet spot is around 10,000.
  • It can have 64-128 pages.
  • It should have illustrations here and there. The beginning of each chapter is a good place, and where you want to ‘show’ the reader what’s going on. Most chapter books have black and white illustrations rather than full color like picture books.

This is the basics of a chapter book. If you’re a children’s writer and haven’t written one yet, give it a try!

References:

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngDXXlVrL1U&feature=youtu.be

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-are-the-elements-of-a-narrative-arc-and-how-do-you-create-one-in-writing#quiz-0

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with ghostwriting or rewriting, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347—834—6700

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable story today!

Or, if you’d rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

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Creating Your Main Character – Hit a Home Run

Your Children’s Fiction Manuscript and a Ghostwriter

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Oct 11

Get Your Self-Published Book Into Libraries – 6 Must-Know Tips

Have you wished you could have your book in the library system? How thrilling would it be to have someone borrow your book from your local library?

For a long while this was only possible for traditionally published books. But that’s no longer the case.

I read a great article at Jane Friedman’s site about getting your self-published book into libraries. (1)

As I mentioned, at one point, this wasn’t the slightest of possibilities. Libraries were prejudice against self-published books.

It didn’t matter if your book was exceptionally written and had a slam-dunk storyline. You could not get it into the library system.

But times are changing and self-published authors have come a LONG WAY.

Since most of my clients self-publish, I thought this would be helpful information.

Six Tips on Getting into Libraries

  1. You’ve got to do your research.

This step is key. You need to

You can do an online search for your local public library and see if they’re accepting self-published books.

For my book, I went to my library and asked to speak with the librarian in charge of the children’s section. I explained that I wanted to get it into the library.

Just keep in mind that library space is limited so don’t be disappointed if your book doesn’t get picked up.

  1. The sell sheet.

According to an article over at Hubspot, the sell sheet “is a one-page document that concisely details how your product solves a specific problem.” (2)

In regard to your book, that information would include the basics:

  • The book’s cover
  • The title
  • The publisher and its website
  • The ISBNs
  • The formats the book is available in
  • The price
  • A brief description of the book
  • Your author website
  • Your social media channels
  • Target market
  • Where it can be ordered

This should all be on one-page as mentioned. And it needs to be neatly formatted and appealing.

  1. If it all won’t fit on one page.

There’s a lot of information listed in number two above, so to have all the other information you’ll want to share with the librarian, create a page on your website with all the extra information, like your:

  • Awards
  • Review links
  • Social media links
  • Review links
  • Interior images if it’s a children’s book
  • Author events you’ve participated in
  • Anything else you think might be pertinent

4. Make it easy for people to get your book.

  • Be sure your book is available through major distributors like Baker & Taylor. This may be the difference between your book being accepted by the library of not.
  1. Offer to do an event for the library.

I did this with my library. I offered to do workshops, author readings, and even book signings.

This shows the library that you are actively promoting your book. And, it’s great exposure for you and your book.

Keep in mind that you will need to promote your event because you wouldn’t want poor attendance. It wouldn’t reflect well on your or your book.

  1. Always be professional.

Just as you would be with an agent or publisher, you need to be courteous and professional at all times with the librarians you’re dealing with.

Along with this, try to find out and use the individual’s name you’re dealing with. Address them personally – it helps create a connection.

References:

1) https://www.janefriedman.com/6-steps-to-get-into-libraries-self-pub/
(2) https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sell-sheet

Be a children's writer

Being a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 200+ page ebook (or paperback) that gives you all the basics of HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK. It’s newly revised and includes information on finding a publisher or agent and marketing your books.

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