Category : Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

To Blog or Not to Blog

Once you’ve created an author website, you may be wondering what content to include and how to use it to gain more online traction. One of the best ways to do this is by starting your very own blog! A blog is a web page that is regularly updated with informally written articles, usually centered around a broad theme. Tellwell’s blog for example covers the publishing industry, with specific focus on self-publishing. Many blogs are in first-person and seem conversational.

You may be wondering how a blog will help to increase your book sales. Blogs are known to be one of the best tools to increase reader engagement and give readers a continuous reason to come revisit your site. Your blog is a preview of your writing style, so if readers enjoy the content you post online, they’re more likely to invest in your book. As with most online tools, blogs do have their own set of pros and cons. Keep reading to find out if blogging is a good option for you!

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Tips & Tricks

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

1. Write every day

A study conducted by University College London claims that there is no definitive amount of days required for a habit to stick; it varies depending on the activity. However, most habits will become a part of your daily routine after several weeks. Once you have your flow going, it is easy to produce dozens of pages in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, the hardest part is getting started. Depending on your writing objective, your quota can be something like a blog post, diary entry, or a page towards your novel. What you write does not have to be Shakespearean quality. In fact, this resolution focuses more on the process of writing by encouraging you to incorporate this activity into your everyday routine. Here are a few tips to help you achieve this goal:

  • Schedule in time – Commit time in your agenda that is strictly dedicated to freewriting
  • Start small – Spend 10 minutes per day on writing for the first week but gradually add more time as this becomes a regular activity
  • Create projects – It might be difficult to write something if there is no purpose for the work. Write for a reason. Submit your pieces to a writing contest, start a blog, or send reviews to a media publication.

 

2. Read every day

Reading is just as important as writing when you are trying to perfect your craft. Similar to the tips mentioned in resolution one (see above), you are going to need to dedicate a bit of time out of your day to reading. Most people will choose to read for 15 minutes before hitting the hay to calm themselves before bed. Reading on a regular basis can help make you a better writer, since it will expose you to new words, writing styles, and perspectives. Additionally, reading makes you more intelligent, empathetic, and relaxed.

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Tips & Tricks

Editing Process: Traditional vs. Assisted Self-Publishing

Completing the writing process of your book is a huge and exciting feat! Now you can carry on to the editing stage, which is extremely important as you will receive valuable insight from an unbiased professional. Some writers may feel like they want to opt out of editing; however, we highly recommend that everyone invest in the editing process. This process is crucial, as it can turn a good book into a GREAT book! Having someone else’s eyes on your writing allows you to receive feedback that you may have overlooked.

As a self-published author, when considering editing services it is important to understand the differences in the process between traditional and assisted self-publishing.

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Tips & Tricks

How to use Christmas to bring your book sales back to life!

It’s that time of year again where Christmas decorations are going up and people are getting in the holiday spirit. Malls are packed as people are shopping for their loved ones. As an author, you may think that this will be a profitable time for book sales, however, it can be challenging.

There are so many promotions on various items and books that are being marketed, therefore, your book may go unnoticed in the storm. Although difficult, there is the potential to make the most of the Christmas season and be extremely successful. You could even bring your book sales back to life! You may find the perfect holiday niche market, network, and/or promoting outlet that becomes a great source to boost your book. You know that it would make an amazing gift, so why not persuade others of that too!

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Use these tips to crush your Christmas sales:

  • Use your network to push your book sales. Your friends and family are your biggest supporting base, therefore, why not get them to help you? If your friends have events that they are going to ask if you can attend to promote your book. If silent auctions are going on, ask to place your book in it. Of course, you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or be that person that “only talks about their book.”
  • Offer holiday promotions to increase sales traction. Take a look at these tips to see how to effectively launch an online book giveaway. Consider investing in some online advertising as well, to increase your book’s visibility as people are shopping for gifts. For more on advertising options, check out these Tellwell tips.
  • Social media is your friend! Use it as much as you can to get your book out there. Find hashtags that gain followers and likes. Once you have found these, keep using them on every post. It also helps to tie your book into the Christmas season, by posting about how it makes a great holiday read, or adding visuals that tie your book into a Christmas setting.
  • Take advantage of events! Christmas is a time where people are constantly socializing and going to events. Try to go to as many events as you can to increase your networking opportunities. You never know who you are going to meet. Consider craft fairs and other community-related opportunities to optimize in-person sales.
  • Start early! Don’t wait until mid-December to promote your book. Start as early as you can. Keep in mind, bookstores finalize their events and inventory as early as September, so while it may seem ridiculous, consider developing an initial plan late summer, and begin liaising with literary contacts early fall. Proper planning will help you execute great promotion and marketing tactics.
  • Be easy on yourself! If you don’t reach your goals for Christmas sales, just remember that it is a really tough time and competition is high. Everything will settle down in the New Year and you will be able to get back to longer term marketing strategies.

Christmas is a wonderful season to reconnect with old friends and family, therefore, you may find the holiday season to be a better time to revise your plans, focus on writing, and get ready to pursue more marketing tactics in January. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your holidays and take some time to revitalize and cultivate new relationships that can carry forward into the new year.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Tellwell!

 

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Tips & Tricks

10 Steps to Write an Effective Author Bio

Writing your biography can be an intimidating task. Sometimes, it may seem even more daunting than writing your book! However, it is a crucial part of your book that can engage readers and increase sales. This being said, many author bios are too long as they provide extensive and unimportant information which loses the reader’s interest. Use these 10 quick tips to help write your author bio or edit your current one.

  1.  Write in third person. To avoid constantly using pronouns, use your name interchangeably.
  2.  Only include pertinent information that the reader will actually find interesting. It may seem easy to write about all your achievements and experiences however, others may find this dull.
  3.  Include relevant credentials such as previous published pieces, degrees, and awards.
  4.  Keep the writing as concise as possible. Remember, less is more!
  5.  Try to have multiple versions of biographies that are different lengths and geared towards different platforms. For example, an author bio you might send to a bookstore to arrange an event might be longer and more detailed than the author bio found on the back cover of your book.
  6.  Update your bio frequently, especially when you have newly published books and/or awards.
  7.  Try to write for a target audience. Remember, this is a marketing component that will contribute to target readers deciding whether or not to buy your book. Keep them in mind, and think about what they would want to know about you.
  8.  Read your bio out loud. This will help gauge if there is flow and if the information is succinct.
  9.   Have a professional headshot taken to include with your bio. For more tips on the author headshot, check out these tips.
  10.  Have someone else look over your final bio. Feedback will go a long way to create your ideal piece!

Have fun writing your bio! Writing in third person might feel strange at the beginning, and it may feel like bragging, but that’s okay! Someone is reading it because they are interested in your writing, so give them something worth reading!

 

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Tellwell News Tips & Tricks

Take a Number: Understanding Tellwell’s Production Queues

Unlike the majority of New Yorkers, your Average Andy doesn’t love waiting in line. Rarely does a person wake up, stretch, rollover and think, “I know, I’m going to wait in line for something today.”

Waiting in line — or “queueing” as our tea loving friends across the pond so fondly refer to it as — is no one’s favourite part of their day, and yet we do it. Constantly. Every day.

And while we know you’re not always thrilled about it, it’s an integral part of our process here at Tellwell. It’s how we keep ourselves organized, manage workloads and make sure our services are provided to authors in a fair and timely manner.

The queue system is applied to services from illustrations and editing through to design and distribution.

Nearly every member of our production team has a queue that project managers use to assign projects and it’s important that we have every element in place before we add authors to a queue. If a project manager throws an author into design before they have all their images selected or haven’t completed their design questionnaire, it adds a lot of unnecessary time to the designers’ workload. One missed piece of the puzzle can hold up the whole process, and the more often this happens, the more likely our turnaround times are to be negatively affected.

It might seem like we’re being nit-picky, but we do it to every authors, so please don’t feel like you’re being singled out. Each project manager goes over their authors’ project assets to makes sure everything is accounted for. Things like editor and design questionnaires give our team insight into you as an author, what your goals are, and how we can best help you produce an amazing finished product.

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Tips & Tricks

Tellwell’s Tips for Launching your Book

After months of preparation, you’ve reached the end of the self-publishing journey. You do a quick Google search and there it is – your book listing on Amazon, Chapters, and Barnes and Noble. Excitement turns to panic as you wonder, “What do I do now?! How am I going to launch my book?”

Launching your book doesn’t have to be a grand event, and it doesn’t have to happen the second your book is released. Many authors wait months to line up events or signings, and focus instead on spreading the word via social media. Others plan a book tour, involving readings and book signings at multiple venues over the course of several weeks.

Remember, the purpose of launching your book is getting the word out, whether that be online, over the phone, or through in-person engagements. Regardless of which approach you take, here are Tellwell’s top 10 tips to launch your book when it becomes available:

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  1. Have promotional materials prepared: While your book is being designed, you’ll want to start thinking about materials you can put together to give to people who ask about your book. Examples include a bookmark or business card to hand out in person, an email signature with links to your author website or social media profiles, or a poster of the book cover to take to in-person events.
  2. Build an email/mailing list: When your book is available, you’ll want to have people to tell. So, while you’re working through the production process, start building a contacts list complete with names and email addresses. That way when the book is available, you can send out an email blast to all interested contacts with links to where they can buy the book.
  3. Know your target market inside and out: While it may be tempting to say anyone would take interest in your book, it can be a lot easier to promote your book to smaller, niche markets. Ask yourself – “Who is the type of person most likely to buy my book?” Once you’ve figured that out, determine where you might find them, where they buy their books, and what they look for when adding a new book to their collection so you can tailor your content and keywords to their interests.
  4. Get social: In a digital age, it’s nearly impossible to avoid social media when trying to get the word out. Whether you’re a social media guru, or you’re just getting started, try to engage with readers on at least one social media platform.
  5. Keep your audience engaged as your book is nearing completion: Use your social media platforms, or your mailing list, to share updates with your audience before the book comes out. This creates some pre-launch buzz that will kickstart your promotion efforts.
  6. Network, network network! As a one-person operation, it’s extremely difficult to generate buzz around your book. That’s why it’s critical to build valuable relationships with individuals and organizations who can help you get the word out about your book. Whether it be a local business who is willing to host you for events, or a charity you partner with and donate a portion of your book proceeds to, get networking!
  7. Get Reviews: We know you feel passionately about your book, but having others praise it will help to attract new readers. Like any product, getting customer feedback will help others to decide whether they should buy your book.
  8. Invest in book giveaways: Whether it be organized directly through your website, or through another source like Amazon or Goodreads, give away some free copies of your book to build momentum. Incentivize your audience to keep your book on their mind.
  9. Use clear call to actions: When approaching people about the book, be very clear about what you want from them. Are you requesting a review for your book? Do you want people to subscribe to the blog on your website? Keep your prompts clear, concise and genuine.
  10. Take it one step at a time: Marketing takes time and consistent engagement, so be sure to break down your goals into tangible steps, and don’t forget to celebrate all the small victories!

 

 

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Tips & Tricks

The Key to Standing out as a Self-Published Author: Book Marketing

You’ve finally done it – your copy has been meticulously edited, you’ve spent too many hours tweaking the design of your book jacket, and now your book is ready for distribution – you’ve published your book.

But just when you’re about to get that freshly-printed, new book in your hands, someone says it. It creeps up on you, making the hair on the back of your neck stand up, your stomach tightens and a wave of uncertainty hits you; then someone asks you the question: “How are you going to market your book?”

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It’s okay, breathe.

It’s a long, labour of love getting your book published. It’s a monetary and time commitment. So why then, after going through the editing process, the tedious design process, and setting up distribution, do you need marketing for your book?

Well, the reality is, when you decide to self-publish, you’re involuntarily signing up to be your own publicist (unless of course you actually hire a publicist). Much like the term suggests, being a self-published author means a good portion of your book sales are going to be dependent on the effort you put into book marketing.

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Tips & Tricks

September is the perfect month to hit the shelves as students hit the books

With summer drawing to a close and students heading back to school, we think it’s time to share some information for authors who wish to see their titles on the shelves of public libraries.

Demand for titles has been increasing and waitlists for books have been lengthening at libraries across North America, the most popular categories being children’s picture books, general fiction, mystery/thrillers, cookbooks, and memoirs/biographies. This is great news for both readers and writers as library budgets are growing to facilitate this.

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Here in Victoria, BC, the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) encourages the community to make recommendations for additions to its collections as libraries aim to provide desired and relevant content for its patrons. Recommendations can be made on the GVPL website at https://www.gvpl.ca/suggest-a-title/. Librarians make selections based largely on the credibility or relevance of a book. Once a book is in a library’s collection and reports on checkout rates are viewed, other libraries will often order the same books. As well, library users can request books be circulated from one branch to another.

Alternatively, the GVPL accepts donations which “enhance its collections.” Book donations must be suitable in subject and style for its intended audience, relevant to community needs and interests, and representative of notable trends, genres, and cultures. Many libraries are currently seeking additions to their e-book collections which are increasingly made available online. Find out more here.

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Tips & Tricks

An Image-Based App for a Text-Centric Industry

Marketing your book requires branding.  Putting aside that nearly 70% of brands are using Instagram as a marketing tool and that it boasts an impressive worldwide user count of 700 million, humans are 90% visual beings able to process images 60,000 times faster than text.

 

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But we’re in the business of books and you’ve recently published a book that may be more than a little too word-heavy to be considered a “picture book”. So, how can an image-based app like Instagram be useful to you as an author?

Social media gurus would say, if you’re not active on social media, you don’t exist. Active social media doesn’t just mean hosting a website or having a Facebook account. Today, being active online means posting content often and engaging with other users on all major platforms – the big three being Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let’s focus on how authors can best utilize a picture-driven platform like Instagram.

Instagram is fun! It offers the opportunity for you as an author to give readers and fellow writers an insight into who you are as an individual, your process, your life beyond the cover of a book and a brief description of yourself. While Instagram certainly can be an enjoyable app with many cool features, like the rules of writing, you’ve got to know them in order to break them.

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