What is a Platform?

The whole concept of building a following can be overwhelming at times, and there really isn’t much solid advice out there. However, a writer’s platform is not the complicated concept that many turn it into.

A writer’s platform is NOT marketing, promotion, or publicity. It’s not just a website or social media — for that matter, it’s not just your books. A writer’s platform is everything that you do to connect with readers.

It’s your local writers’ group that you attend once a month, or more frequently, as the case may be. It’s those conferences and book festivals that you save your pennies for so you can afford the registration. It’s your participation in special events that have nothing to do with writing and your books.

Yes, a writer’s platform includes your books, website, and social medial, and yes, this online component in today’s market is important, but it’s not everything.

Read More

Hidden Traps by Judy L Mohr (Coming Soon)

Working with Graphic Designers

My readers will know that I’m working toward the publication of Hidden Traps: A Writer’s Guide to Protecting Your Online Platform, due to be released August 2017. It’s been an interesting journey: revisiting my nonfiction writing roots; learning about ISBNs and publishing options; and devising marketing strategies. It has definitely been a steep learning curve. I have learnt many things along this journey, topics of which will become future blog posts, but there is one aspect that I thought was perfect to reveal now.

Graphic designers think in images.

Looking back at it now, it seems so logical, but at the time that I commissioned the cover for Hidden Traps, it was a concept that completely eluded me. I’m a writer and editor. I spend so much of my time looking at how to craft that perfect sentence to convey the right picture. I’ve commissioned artwork before, providing only a line from my stories and getting the perfect image in return. Surely, I can do the same for a cover.

I’ll hang my head in shame now, because clearly my words weren’t enough.

Read More

A Methodical Way to Marketing (Guest Blog)

Writing takes a community, sharing ideas and supporting one another. So, when we get approached with an article that shares hard-earned knowledge, we couldn't be happier to pass that information.

Today's post is written by Joynell Shultz. Joynell writes speculative fiction, venturing into the realms of cloning, medial research and vampires (but not all in the same story). As an independent-published author, she knows a thing or two about marketing, and she is learning more all the time.

Take a read of some of the insights into marketing books that Joynell has gained over the years.

Read More

The Synopsis for Editing and Writing

Those who are heading down the road toward traditional publication will be familiar with a beast known as a synopsis. Many agents and publishers require that you submit a 1/2-page synopsis with your submission materials. The chore of writing a synopsis that length is a frightening task. Many writers have been known to run away from it, screaming. So, when I mention that writers should write synopses as an editing tool, it’s not surprising that many look at me like I’m crazy.

In a querying synopsis, you include only the main plot thread, ignoring ALL subplots. The only characters named are your protagonist, antagonist, and often a love interest; everyone else is irrelevant. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s completely disheartening to see this complex masterpiece whittled down to a few short paragraphs, but for the querying synopsis, that’s what you need to do.

However, for editing purposes, that short, main-plot-only synopsis is useless. You need to create an entirely different beast.

Read More

When is writing classified as published?

The publishing industry has changed in a big way, thanks to the Internet, social media and self-publishing. While some aspects have opened doors to so many writers who would have struggled in a big way to become a published author, there are some aspects that have actually closed the doors to traditional publication paths.

Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the self-publication path. There are some brilliant novels that have been self-published and some extremely successful writers that have taken that particular road. As long as you’re prepare to put in the hard work, self-publication can be a rewarding experience.

Regardless of whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you will need to get your head around marketing within today’s industry. It really is a self-promotion game, hence, one of the reasons that many have turned to self-publication. You put in all that effort and energy. You should reap the benefits.

However, there might be other reasons that you have your heart set on the traditional publication path. Perhaps there is a particular publishing house that you have dreamed of for as long as you can remember. Maybe your local bookstores refuse to consider stocking books that are self-published. Maybe there’s another reason altogether. Regardless of what your reasons might be, if you are heading down the road toward traditional publication, you need to be strategic in your release of sample writing. If you release the wrong bit in the wrong location, you may have inadvertently published your work without realizing it, killing your chances at traditional publication.

Read More

Be a Good Reader of the Unpublished

There is a mantra among many writers: to be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. Many have taken this to mean that you need to read widely, reading every published book you can get your hands on. Some insist that you need to read at least a book a week while others spout that it’s one a month. However, is all that reading of the published works really doing your writing any good? Let me explain.

Read More

Sawn Book

Length matters but story matters more.

Every writer that is serious about publishing, particularly those attempting the traditional publication path, will know that agents and editors put a lot of weight on word counts. The acceptable limits vary depending on the age category and genre of the book.

(By the way, Young Adult is NOT a genre. It’s an age category. And Fiction is NOT a genre either. You can find more information about the various age categories here. More information about the main genre classifications can be found here.)

It’s incredibly important to have a good understanding of the average word counts for the type of story that you are writing, but it’s just as important to understand word counts are not an excuse for poor story telling.

Read More

We can tell you haven’t edited your book.

There are many out there now self-publishing. They’re decisions to head down this path have come about for a variety of reasons and there is nothing wrong with it. There have been many successful writers who have self-published, just as there has been many writers who have been traditionally published that bombed.

In some cases, writers elect to push for self-publishing because it’s the fastest way to get your book out there. For time-sensitive, non-fiction books, this is likely the path you’ll take. However, there is a HUGE difference between (1) producing a quality product that was self-published and (2) self-publishing because you want it out there.

In a previous post, I spoke about rushing the process. One flavor of the rush-the-process beast is the publish-without-editing variant.  Read More

Facebook and a Writer’s Platform

I frequently find myself in the middle of a conversation on some forum about Facebook and how one might include that particular social media site into their writer's platform. There are a lot of things to consider.

Unlike Twitter, where you can have as many accounts as you do email addresses, on Facebook, you are meant to have only the one account. Yes, there are some writers out there who have two accounts: one for personal use and the other for their writing persona. For those that get away with it, good on you. However, for those considering doing this themselves, be warned. There have been reported cases where writers have been locked out of their accounts by Facebook because of this. This is a standing policy of Facebook: one account per user. If they discover that you have multiple accounts, they can and will put you in Facebook Jail. It's a real thing, people. Considered yourself warned.

So let's carry on and assume that you've joined the masses in Facebook with only one account. So now what?

Read More

Pitching Blog Posts

Guest blogs can be a great way to get your name out there as a writer. Most blog hosts will allow you to have links to your various online accounts and are happy to include a brief bio and profile picture. Let’s face it, for the time and effort that it takes to write that blog post, you get free advertising. However, there are some rules that you should follow when it comes to pitching guest blog posts.

Read More