Guest Post: Where to Find the Best New Authors; 5 Online Writing Communities To Explore

By Allison Phillips

The environment is changing for authors. What once was thought to be a solitary pursuit is evolving into an interactive process with the introduction of new technology. As we move from the printed page to the screen, it invites readers and writers to engage and share the experience through online writing communities. Writers now have access to networks that offer critique, feedback, and support to one another. This collaborative approach helps to beat writer’s block, get inspired, and obtain a fresh perspective.

Take the bestselling novel 50 Shades of Grey, fan fiction based on Twilight, and written in progress on a public fan-fiction website; it gathered fans and feedback over time before being formally published.

While online writing communities benefit writers by giving them the freedom to share their work, it benefits readers by allowing them to uncover a whole new world of storytellers. No longer are readers restricted to the bookstore in search of something captivating but can now visit a site to explore new writing styles, working plots and engage with a potential bestseller.

Here are some writing communities that readers can explore: Continue reading


Indie Author Marketing Guide: A Primer to Social Media

By geralt [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By geralt [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Social media is a big part of indie author marketing strategies these days. But for those just starting out, it may seem daunting. When I first began using social media for platform building, I felt slightly overwhelmed. But now, after lots of practice and just incorporating social media into my daily routine, I’ve come to embrace it. And instead of seeing it like a chore, I see it as another way to connect and interact with people, and I’ve been able to build real relationships through it.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. (And if you want guidance on how to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed, read Your Writer Platform’s “Are You Building Your Writer Platform at Gunpoint?“)

Don’t use social media just to sell books

Kristen Lamb’s “Social Media, Book Signings & Why Neither Directly Impact Overall Sales” goes into depth on why this is not a good strategy, but basically you don’t want to spam people/just make noise, and you will not develop any real relationships this way (meaning, you won’t attract real fans).

Rachel Thompson suggests spending more time online finding people who may be willing to review your books, and she gives a list of suggestions in her article “Why ‘Read My Book!’ Doesn’t Work…And What To Do Instead

Focus on one or two platforms first, then build from there

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Google. Youtube. Goodreads. LinkedIn. Tumblr. The list goes on and on. You can be active on all these channels, but it’s probably best to pick one or two and work on growing an audience there first. Every social media channel works a little differently, caters to a different audience, and has savvy users who expect others to use the network a certain way. The Book Designer’s “Do You Make These Online Marketing Mistakes?” offers tips, such as establishing one audience per channel and using landing pages.

Social Media Just for Writers also recommends researching your target market and then choosing your social media platform based on that in “How to Stop Wasting Time and Focus Your Book Marketing.” For advice on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube, read DBW’s “The Book Marketing Social Media Hierarchy: Which Sites to Use for Which Purposes.”

Business Insider broke down the demographics of some of the social media platforms. According to them, the 45- to 54-year-old demographic is growing, “27% of 18 to 29-year-olds in the U.S. use Twitter,” LinkedIn and Google+ are mostly male, Pinterest is mostly women on tablets, and Tumblr is mostly teens and young adults.

Eventually you can expand into other platforms. For a case study on why, read Kate Tilton’s “Why I Use Different Social Media Networks (And You Should Too) by @K8Tilton.”

For help determining which platform is best for you, read these articles:

Strategize how you will build your platform

Erindor Press’s “Platform Building Primer” is a good start, and advocates setting expectations and figuring out the best way to share content, either via blogging, email newsletters, or something else (and you can use social media to promote that content).

The Loneliest Planet shared a post, called “One Writer’s Platform (Part 2) Events and PR,” which goes over techniques of marketing offline (such as doing public readings and lectures) but also adds that it’s worth taping these performances and uploading them to Youtube to share.

Use lots of images/visuals

People tend to engage more with posts, tweets, etc. that are visual. According to Rebekah Radice’s “5 Steps to Get Massive Engagement With Your Visual Content,” “43% of social media users share pictures.” She recommends having consistent colors, using templates, appropriate fonts, and to create infographics, images, and videos.

Build Book Buzz recommends creating different types of images, including picture quotes, tipographics, and infographics. For tips on how to actually create these images, read Social Media Just For Writer’s “Writers: Use Visuals to Market Your Books.”

Make use of social media tools

Here’s a list of resources, along with helpful tips and links to additional tools:

Keep up to date on new platforms and tools

Lastly, the social media landscape is constantly changing, so it’s good to stay up to date. One example of a relatively new tool/platform is Aerbook, which according to PW turns social media into a virtual bookstore. Earlier this year, Social Media Just for Writers wrote about how indie authors can use Aerbook, which allows you to share previews and even sell ebooks on social media networks, as well as see analytics on your shares.

According to the article, there are three product plans to choose from:

Aerbook Retail is free, no credit card required. It gives you the social look inside the book, email capture popups within the sample, stats on how the book is used, and the ability to share the link and also get web page widgets that launch the Aerbook. This plan lets you sell the book directly through Aerbook, and our service earns 15% of the purchase price after credit card fees are deducted.

Aerbook Plus gives you everything Aerbook Retail delivers, plus lets you add links to other retailers, like Amazon, iBooks, or even your own purchase page. Aerbook Plus is $49 per year.

Aerbook Flyer includes everything above, but there’s no direct sale through Aerbook’s commerce service. You’ll add links to other retailers. Flyer also lets you do book giveaways, and includes 500 directly delivered, complete books annually. Flyer is $99 per year.

Got any social media tips? Please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post was originally published September 2015, as part of the Indie Author Marketing Guide series.

Indie Authors: Researching Your Books

By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When writing books, there are a lot of things you can research. What genre should you write in (if you don’t already have a preference)? How can you attract readers? Who are your target or ideal readers? What should your book title be?

Below is a list of resources that can help answer those questions:

Resources and Advice for Writers

Albert Anker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Albert Anker [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There are many types of writing: novels, short stories, articles, technical documents, copywriting, business plans, and the list goes on. Looking for some inspiration or help in your writing career? Here are some programs and pieces of advice from fellow writers. Continue reading

Guest Post: Top 7 Famous Literary Bars You Should Visit (Infographic)

By Linda Craig

Writing is often thought of as a solitary activity, but thanks to this infographic, you can visit your favorite author’s watering holes.

Throughout history, it has always been the case that with every famous writer, there is a pub or bar that becomes equally as famous thanks to their connections as the favoured drinking establishment of said famous writer. There really is something to be said about the fact that a glass of whiskey is often a writer’s best friend, and in the case of all of the examples we have put together for you in this cool infographic, that certainly seems to be the case. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Making the Most out of Scrivener


Scrivener is an amazing tool for writers. You can organize your notes, keep your research all in one place, easily make edits or move around chapters, and even export all your work into other file formats.

At first, using Scrivener may seem daunting because there are so many features. But luckily, many people who use Scrivener regularly are willing to share their tips and tricks. If you are looking for some help, then try Beyond Paper Editing’s “Scrivener Cheat Sheet: Start Using Scrivener Now,” which also includes a downloadable cheat sheet.

And if you’re looking for templates to use, check out Justin’s “Free Scrivener Templates,” which has links to multiple templates for full length novels, short stories, and non-fiction books.

Last, if you want to use Scrivener to help you turn your manuscript into an ebook, then read Angela Quarles’ “Writer Wednesday: Creating an ePub file Using Scrivener + Dreamweaver + Sigil + Kindle Previewer,” an in-depth guide on how to use Scrivener in your workflow to create a clean ebook file.

Got any Scrivener tips? Please share in the comments! And happy writing!

From Bid 4 Papers: Thoughts Behind Habits of Famous Writers (Infographic)

Hope you’re enjoying the holidays! I thought I’d keep today’s blog post light and share with you this interesting infographic from Bid 4 Papers, which displays famous writers habits. The idea is to be able to analyze how other people established their writing routine, and then figure out how it benefitted them, and possibly apply it to your own writing.

Opposite Habits of Famous Writers.
Opposite Habits of Famous Writers by Bid4Papers

Overcoming Writers Block and Writing a Strong Story

By User:Revital9 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By User:Revital9 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to writing, there are a lot of factors to consider. Continue reading

Indie Authors Writing: Writing Dialogue and Choosing Point of View

By Janpha Thadphoothon.Janpha at en.wikibooks [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

By Janpha Thadphoothon.Janpha at en.wikibooks [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Good writing takes a lot of practice, and it also helps to get feedback from readers, editors, and other writers.  Continue reading

All About Literary Magazines: Reading, Submitting, Publishing Your Own

Literary magazines are wonderful. They often publish new and established writers, are increasingly become more mobile, and for the motivated, are fairly easy to publish.

For readers, there are a number of great literary journals out there. Some examples include Glimmer Train, Narrative, and Strand Mag. (Also magazines that take submissions, for writers looking to get published.) There is also Literary Hub, a site which, according to the Washington Post, “attempts to bring together everything literary on the Internet.”

For writers, there are some comprehensive databases with links to literary magazines, submission guidelines, and what they pay (if anything):

Lastly, for anyone thinking about starting their own literary magazine, here are some hopefully useful tools:

  • NewPages (to help you find MFA programs where you can reach out to directors and ask to spread the word about your new magazine, as well as how students can submit work)
  • Submittable (to easily keep track of submissions and determine which ones are a good fit

If you ever start your own literary magazine, please let me know! I would love to hear about your experiences. Also, for those interested in other forms of literature, check out my articles, “All About Chapbooks” and “A to Zine: A Guide to Understanding Zines.”