From The Creative Penn #Authors

This recently arrived in my inbox from Joanna Penn-The Creative Penn and I wanted to share:) This is one Newsletter that you may want in your inbox.


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As I write this, Amazon has just introduced Prime Reading and the author forums are going a little nuts on how this might affect author earnings, so I just wanted to start by reminding you of what’s important.

There will always be more changes to the publishing environment and a new marketing must-do will continue to emerge every month. But the writing remains our anchor. It has to, or we would go crazy.

We are all on the author journey and it will take our whole lives if this is the path we choose to follow. Some will race ahead and some of us will go slowly and enjoy the view along the way. Some will decide to try another path, while we keep walking on. You may reach a high point, only to discover that it’s not the pinnacle you thought it was. Or you might be in the bottom of a valley, with a huge climb ahead and then discover a short cut.

The most important thing is to ask yourself why you are following this path. Why are you writing?

So when you hear the latest in publishing news, or you get frustrated with a marketing approach that isn’t working, or you’re not making the income you want from your books, just stop for a minute. Consider why you do this and find the joy in writing again.

Are you Struggling with your Novel?
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The words above are for you, but they’re also for me! I’ve just finished the first draft ofEnd of Days and to be honest, it’s been a roller-coaster month. I have a process for writing a novel these days, but that doesn’t prevent me from hitting the ‘saggy middle,’ or struggling with plot points after about 40,000 words. I also experienced chronic self-doubt about my story idea, but then I took a step back and remembered to trust emergence. I spent a few days drawing pictures of my plot and then discovered a way to make it work. Somehow, that always seems to happen!

I also shared a couple of posts on my process that might help you:

Beware of the scams and Indie Author Fringe

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Where there’s money to be made, there will always be people trying to game the system as well as a myriad of scams. The publishing industry is no different and even big names you might trust are now getting into author services. 

But don’t worry, because authors look after authors and now the Alliance of Independent Authors has posted two very useful lists that will help you avoid the sharks: 

Please share these resources with your writing friends, so we can all look after each other on the author journey.

On happier news, ALLi is running a free online conference, the Indie Author Fringe, during Frankfurt Book Fair on 22 October. There will be 24 sessions on all aspects of running an author business.

Book Marketing: How to use PR to market your book through storytelling
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The most effective return-on-investment for book marketing is to be able to track your clicks and conversions, which is why authors favour Facebook Ads or other online marketing. But if you want to raise your author profile and build awareness of your brand, then it might be worth considering PR.

In this interview with Janet Murray, we discuss how to tell your story in an authentic way that brings attention to your book, as well as how to pitch effectively. This is valid for both fiction and non-fiction books. In the introduction, I talk about what I learned from The Bestseller Code, a new book on what bestsellers have in common, which you might also find interesting.

Tips for writing a series that sells
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If you want to make a decent income as an author, then having a series that readers love is a great idea, whether that’s fiction or non-fiction. The key is to write books that appeal to the same target market and deliver on the promise to the reader over and over again. In these two interviews, two different authors talk about their series and how to keep them fresh over the long-term, plus how to sell audiobooks and work effectively in Kindle Worlds.

In the month ahead, I am heading to Denver to speak at Digital Commerce Summit, then to the Oregon Coast to attend a writer’s workshop, before heading to Israel for book research and a little holiday. If you want to see any photos from the Israel trip, I’ll be posting them on my fiction profile, 

I’ll be back in November. Happy writing until then!

Thanks, Joanna 

PS. If you’re interested in writing a novel and you’re struggling with the process, check out my new course, How to Write a Novel: From idea to finished manuscript
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