How to Grow a Platform as a Fiction Writer

fiction platform Nov 23, 2020

 

Growing a robust platform through online marketing is most often a task associated with nonfiction writers. However, novelist Katherine Reay believes this is the job of the fiction writer as well.

In a conversation with hope*writers, Katherine gives novelists the following advice, based on her own personal experience, for growing platforms and building a loyal readership.

 

Embrace Small Beginnings

When it comes to a strong social media following, a large subscriber list, or other marketing metrics, the starting line is the same for all of us. No one has a built-in platform, and all writers have to work hard to build a following or readership from scratch. 

Rather than waste headspace lamenting a small beginning, we can embrace our platforms for what they are right now while still holding on to hope for growth. Our modest beginnings will grow as we continue to build our platforms with equal parts fun, effort, and strategy.    

 

Have Fun

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How to Find Time to Write

A common lament among writers is how difficult it can be to maintain a regular rhythm of writing. For many of us, our attention is pulled in multiple directions with various commitments to our day jobs, families, marketing tasks, or community responsibilities. These are often good and necessary diversions from our writing work; however, if we want to make progress as a writer, we need to develop and stick to a plan.

The key to finishing your work is simple, but it’s not easy. Hope*writers asked children’s author S. D. Smith how he commits to deep work.

He encourages writers to “stop not writing” and offers the following tips on how you can commit to your own rhythm of writing.

 

Recognize Your Limits

We are finite, and so are the hours in our day. Our energy and focus are limited, and no two writers have the same inner or outer resources. By recognizing our personal limitations as well as our strengths, we’re able to make informed decisions about...

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How to Get Helpful Feedback on Your Writing

As a ghostwriter, nonfiction author, and novelist, Shawn Smucker has a lot of experience collaborating with others. In his own work, he makes it a regular practice to invite others into the editing process by asking beta readers to read his manuscript before the final draft is written. 

In an interview with hope*writers, Shawn shares some of his pro tips for finding readers who can help spot a manuscript’s weaknesses before it goes to press. Beta readers can be an integral part of the writing process for any author. 

 

Who to Ask

The first step in choosing beta readers is deciding how many readers to ask. Recommendations vary among writers, but Shawn suggests asking between three and five readers who belong to your target audience for their feedback. The more readers involved, the more widely the opinions will vary. With too many beta readers, it can be difficult to find a consensus on what needs revising in your manuscript.

 

There are three important...

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5 Tips for Editing and Revising Fiction

craft fiction Nov 02, 2020

When serving as a fiction judge for the Christianity Today Book Awards, the number one skill author Sarah Arthur looks for in a winning writer is great writing. The definition of “great writing” is, of course, subjective, but as avid readers and writers ourselves, most of us have a sense for what is mediocre, good, and great when it comes to storytelling.

One key to great writing is the ability to edit and revise your own work with fresh eyes. We can aim for great work by putting Sarah’s top five tips for revision into practice.

 

  1. Practice writing an excellent first draft.

Some writing experts recommend writing a terrible first draft in order to quickly get your words on the page, leaving the bulk of the editing for later. This may work for some, but it can also build poor habits and train us to write badly from the beginning. 

 If we give the first draft our best effort, we will inevitably become better writers through our commitment to...

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What Book Cover Designers Wish Authors Knew

book design publishing team Oct 26, 2020

When an author goes the route of traditional book publishing, it can be a relief to have publishing team members lend their expertise to the process. However, those who haven’t been through this process may not be aware how much of the design process is guided by publishing professionals rather than the author’s direct input.

To help us understand what to expect as a book moves through the publishing process, hope*writers sat down with book cover designer Mark Lane, a professional designer with Tyndale House Publishers.

He gives authors a few pointers on how to work with their book designer for results everyone will love.

 

Remember Publishing is a Team Effort

As authors, much of our time is spent writing alone. We don’t often invite others into the writing process until we’ve completed our work and sent it to our editor for review. However, when you work with a traditional publisher, the design process is in progress behind the scenes by the time...

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What to Know if You Want to Publish Children’s Books

Author and publisher Maria Dismondy released a new book in 2020 called Sunny Side Upbringing: A Month-by-Month Guide to Raising Kind and Caring Kids. Cardinal Rule Press will open for picture book submissions on November 1, 2020. More details can be found at CardinalRulePress.com.

When elementary school teacher Maria Dismondy couldn’t find the right book to help her teach students about character, she decided to write the book herself. Nine books later, Maria is not only a seasoned author, she is the owner and founder of her own publishing company, Cardinal Rule Press.

As a parent, former teacher, children’s author, and publisher, she understands children’s literature as both a consumer and a maker, and she recognizes that it is both an art and a business. 

Maria sat down with hope*writers to share her publishing advice for aspiring children’s authors.

 

Begin With Your Why

Before reaching out to publishers, it’s important to know WHY you...

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How Publishing a Nonfiction Book Works

A published book is often seen by writers as the pinnacle of the craft. For many of us, our dream of becoming a writer began with reading good books. Perhaps you’ve imagined your name on a cover or looked for where your book would sit on a library shelf. 

Seasoned editor and publisher Roy M. Carlisle tells hope*writers that publishing a book is the final step in the process of developing and sharing an idea. 

He says, “People think of the book as if it’s the first thing [to be published], and it’s the last thing . . . You must remember that the book is a result of the process.”

What is this process? Roy calls it “the information funnel.”

 

Where to Begin

Book ideas are rarely fleshed out for the first time in the book itself. Writers begin to ask what resonates with readers and play with ideas in more accessible and immediate areas of publication. These include the internet, radio, TV, and daily newspapers, offering the most...

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An Insider’s Look at How a Book Is Published

agent publishing Oct 05, 2020

Writers love to spend time on content creation. Because of our focus on the art of writing, we may initially find the world of publishing confusing and mysterious. It can be challenging to find a clear explanation of the process of book publishing without chasing rabbit trails across the internet.

What happens first? Who are the main players? At hope*writers, we want to help you avoid hours of googling for the right information. We chatted with Alex Field, literary agent and owner of literary agency The Bindery to learn from his expertise on the process of publishing. He gave us an overview of the eight steps to traditional publication, from idea to contract.

 

Step One: Write a Book Proposal

A book proposal is a business plan for your book. It typically includes a summary and outline of the book, a description of your target audience, information about you as an author, and a marketing plan. For nonfiction, it will include at least three sample chapters. Fiction writers...

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One Secret to Launching a Bestselling Book

When Anna LeBaron applied to become a member of Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love book launch team, she had never participated in a book launch. Because there were an overwhelming number of applications for a small number of spots, Anna didn’t make it on the team.

Instead of feeling disappointed and giving up, she decided the next best thing to joining the official launch team was to gather the other 4,500 readers who didn’t make it into the group, and help launch the book anyway. 

For the Love became a national bestseller in part due to the efforts of Anna and the unofficial launch team she gathered in a private group on Facebook. She learned how to launch a book by doing it, and it paid off for both Jen Hatmaker and Anna.

Anna is now an author herself and a sought-after book launch manager who works directly with publishers to launch books. Her experience with Hatmaker’s book launch blossomed into a new career, throughout which she has launched many books,...

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Why Writers Don't Have to Dread Networking

networking platform Sep 21, 2020

Among writers, the word “networking” conjures up images of forced connections, mixed motives, and try-hard conversations. The thought of networking can leave many writers with a feeling of overwhelm or even dread. However, networking is an important part of sharing your work and growing your audience. 

At hope*writers, we know writers can’t do it all on their own. We’re committed to helping you balance the art of writing and the business of publishing networking is a necessary part of the process.

We interviewed author and speaker Katie Reid, who shared the wins and pitfalls she experienced in the networking process.

Katie offers us the following do’s and don’ts of networking as writers:

 

DO: 

Get to know people in the same casual, friendly way you would if you sat down over coffee.

 

DON’T:

Try to impress people. This doesn’t build authentic relationships. Building real relationships that benefit both...

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