• The 4 Ps and Cs of Marketing a Self-Published Book

    One of the first things taught in any marketing course are the four Ps: product, place, price and promotion. The four Cs are the updated version, and the two theories work together to create the 'Marketing Mix', that is the important factors that should be taken into account when starting a small business, or preparing to sell a product. Each of the four principles bleed into each other, and while it is useful sketch ideas under each heading, don't be afraid to make linkages between them.

    Any author self-publishing their work needs to get into this mindset, and plan their own answer to each of these principles. It is a useful exercise to help you understand the author/reader relationship, and it also gives depth of knowledge to a process that could be arbitrary for a first-time self-publishing author with no experience.

  • Successful Self-Publishing: Getting Started

    To be successfully self-published, a manuscript needs an action plan. The author needs to understand the facets of the industry, and be confident in the manuscript's quality, the route they will take to ensure the product is professional, and how the work will be marketed and distributed, and they need to know how they will get to get to that stage. 

    These are some of the things that anyone considering self-publishing should be thinking about.

     

  • The Dangers of Self-Publishing: What Do Publishers Do Anyway?

    Since the rise of the digital era, people have been calling for the death of the publishing industry as we know it. We've all heard someone claim that publishers are obsolete, they don't do anything for writers anyway, and that writers are guaranteed to make way more money from self-publishing. But they're wrong. 

    True self-publishing—successful self-publishing—needs to be treated like a business, or it will fail in 99.99% percent of cases. The author needs to educate themselves in and do all of the things that a publisher would, or their work will not sell. 

  • Why Good Writing Gets Rejected

    Writers are always told that to avoid rejection, they need to proofread, proofread, proofread. Follow the submission guidelines, be familiar with the publication, and things will go well. But that's not always the case. Sometimes writing that is laboured over is rejected. Sometimes even a submission that a writer has rewritten, edited and polished until it sparkles gets rejected—but that doesn't mean that the writer is a bad writer.

    So what is going on behind the scenes that an automated rejection email can't tell you? Why does good writing get rejected, and why should writers keep trying when it can be so hard to get traction?

  • How to Find Your Writing Tribe

    Writing a book can be a big and scary process—and it can also be lonely and demotivating if you don't have anyone to share the process with. Often creative people struggle to find people they can relate to and share their journeys with (and non-creative people aren't always interested in their journeys). 

    Fear not, writerly friends! You can totally make writing and other-types-of-creative friends, and there are people out there who can't wait to meet you. It's not even as hard as you think it is; you already have stuff in common that excites you and you know what it is to be brought alive by art and there is no stronger people-connector than that. 

  • How to Get Started with Freelance Writing in Australia

    A little-known fact is that most Australian publications are open to unsolicited pitches. That means that emerging writers can find themselves in the same magazines and journals as big-name writers such as Benjamin Law. And you don't need to sacrifice your whole life for it, either; you can build industry connections, find a niche of your own, and create a published portfolio while still working or studying full time.

    Of course, the whole industry can be a daunting place for someone just starting out, with no understanding of the industry. This is a gentle, step-by-step guide on building connections, a portfolio, and a career.

  • 4 Pantsing Methods for NaNoWriMo

    So, NaNoWriMo is about to start, and you haven't got a plot. Don't panic! Writing a novel without a comprehensive plan is an exciting endeavour, and it is definitely not impossible. The fun in pantsing is in the uncertainty; rather than painting-by-numbers, you get to create your story piece by piece, and discover the story along with the reader.

    Here are 4 methods of writing a novel without a plan (and without panic).

  • How to Research for Your Novel

    Once you've got a few ideas for your novel, the next step is to learn as much about the topic and setting as possible. This is to be done in conjunction with plotting your novel because to explore the best form and sequence of events for your novel, you need to understand at least some of the background knowledge. But finding relevant and accurate information is a challenge—not to mention keeping track of it!

  • How to Create Characters that Speak to You

    The characters in your novel are just as important as the stuff that happens to them. You (and your readers) are going to be spending a lot of time with them, so it's important to make them worth reading about. Note that they do not have to be likeable, but they do have to be interesting, and there should be a reason that they are in your novel.

    This post will take you through a method of creating characters that will be relevant to your novel, interesting to you and that have their own voice. It is likely that this voice will change and develop as you keep writing your novel, but this post is designed to give you a jumping-off point. As you go through the process, make note of anything you need to research later so you don't get distracted.

  • 5 Plotting Methods for Your Novel

    Once you've you've got an idea for your novel, you need to figure out what is going to happen, and who is going to make it happen (or who it will happen to). These two steps are fluid; they work together to create the overall picture of your novel, and they can happen simultaneously or one by one or in a strange order. It is different for every writer and every project.

    This post is for the planner-at-heart. There are 5 different methods here which you can mix, match and customise to work for your project. 

  • 3 Exercises for Finding the Perfect Novel Idea

    It's almost that time of year again! If you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, it's a writing challenge where writers of all levels, from newbies to seasoned novelists, attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. At 1667 words per day, it's definitely a challenge, but there's no reason you can't do it if you head in with a plan, a collection of writing buddies, and plenty of your caffeine (and/or alcohol) of choice.

    So, first things first—you need to figure out what you're going to write! Here are 3 exercises to get you started.

  • How (and Why) to Find a Literary Agent

    Why do I want an agent?

    Literary agents are essentially somewhere between the guardian angels and the mercenaries of the publishing world. They guide you through your career, bring your work directly to the people who matter, fight the contractual battles so you can spend more time on writing and promotion, and make sure you end up with the best possible deals. 

    The biggest benefit to having an agent is that they can get your manuscript out of the slush pile. An experienced agent has contacts in the publishing industry, and knows who publishes what, and what they're interested in. While to us mere mortals, the publishing industry behind a wall, an agent knows that Paul from Penguin Random House loves literary writing with a distinct voice, and that Bob from Pan Macmillan is a sucker for manuscripts set in the 1920s with snarky male characters.