Keep your website and/or blog updated

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upHaving a blog is essential for an author,and keeping it updated is just as important. Blogs allow people to have more contact with authors and their work. It also shows the commitment of an author to their work.

However, an out-of-date website and/or blog displays apathy towards your work. It is important to make sure all the information is up to date, all the links are working and the website contains accurate information. If you feel comfortable update your web page with recent pictures or video blogs (vlogs).

Reach readers with Twitter

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If you’re not already a member of Twitter, please head to the nearest computer or mobile device and JOIN NOW! Twitter is a micro-blogging site, that you should update very frequently (at least a couple times a day). Your posts are restricted to 140 characters. Many people think Twitter is pretty ridiculous when they first hear about it, but it is actually one of the greatest tools of social media, especially when self-marketing.

After you open a free account at, Twitter asks you a simple question, “what are you doing?” Answer the question, and you just tweeted. To send messages to other Twitter users, you can post, “@username, message…” For instance, “@johndoe, Hey check out my website at [insert site link].” Your friends, family, fans and basically just about anyone can follow your activity (unless you make the profile private, which is not recommended for self-marketing). You can also follow other users by visiting their profile and clicking “Follow.”

On your Twitter profile page you are able to construct a short bio where you should explain your work and list links to your website, blog and other social media sites “Twesume.”

Your success of Twitter depends largely on your participating in the Twitter community. Follow users. Post “Tweets”. Make sure your Twitter page is always active and lively. Also, feel free to tweet some personal information, like what you are doing that day. Followers like to feel involved in users everyday activity. You can also tweet about appearances, book signings and other things of public interest.
The larger your Twitter community the better but remember to start following people who you want in your network. Follow other authors and publishers so that you can be involved in their network.

twitterTips on Twitter etiquette:

Begging – DO NOT tweet at people and ask them to follow you. This is one of the most annoying twitter actions a user can make. You should earn your follows, not beg for them.

Spamming – Don’t spam your timeline with tweets only about your book.

Quality, not quantity – Every time you tweet, ask yourself, “will this tweet inform or entertain my followers?” This is a very important point to consider. You don’t want people to start ignoring your tweets.

We could talk about Twitter all day. Although it may sound confusing now, it is very simple to catch on. Sign up today and see for yourself.

Update your email signature

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Although it may seem like a very small detail, your email signature is a very powerful marketing tool. Many of us send dozens of emails every week and every recipient could represent potential consumers of your book. Your email signature allows you to modestly market your work to email recipients. Creating an email signature is very simple and nearly every email program allows it. In your email signature be sure to add a hyperlink to your website or author page.


Social Media

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To say social media networking is important for your marketing strategy is the understatement of the century. The use of social media to promote your work is absolutely essential!

social 8/7/13It is very important for authors to create a website for their work/s but it is just as important to utilize other social media avenues such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs (Tumble, WordPress, etc.). These outlets will allow you to put a face to your work. You should work on creating and perfecting these social media techniques long before a book is published or even finished. You want people to be anticipating your latest work.
With Internet marketing your search engine optimization (SEO) will be important. SEO is the process of improving the amount of visibility your web page is receiving from search engines. SEO programs like Scribe can help with this.

Importance of Self-Marketing

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It is often thought that publishing company’s play the biggest role in marketing a recently published book. This is an unfortunate misconception

Publishers spend large amounts of money on editing, layout, cover design, printing and distribution of their author’s work. With that in mind much of the marketing will fall on you and how you use your resources.

Song Lyrics in Urban Fiction Novels. 5 steps to Getting Rights.

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images-1While editing a manuscript of soon to change the game writer, I am noticing more and more heavy use of songs in Urban Fiction books. That makes sense because, like our music, our books are a pivotal part of our culture. That got me wondering how many Black self-published authors are fully informed about legal ramifications of the unauthorized use of song lyrics in Urban Literature.

While in the past, some books may have been overlooked through self-publishing, ineffective marketing, or low sales, that’s all changing as urban Lit grows up. Some of the chaos and messiness that the genre has experienced on its 20 year road to adulthood is slowly going the way of Hip Hop- mainstream.

Songwriters are writers too. Therefore, their lyrics are protected by Copywrite laws; and, as the game elevates, so will the stakes. Musicians will begin to start to want payment for lyric usage.

Urban Authors can save themselves a lot of headaches by seeking permission to use song lyrics before printing. This is an editor’s job. Traditional publishers do this for you, but Self- published authors with fewer resources may not use reputable editors and might overlook this. Don’t assume your editor will know this or even do this for you. Ask.

If your editor stutters, hesitates or you don’t feel confident with the answer you receive, its up to you to get the knowledge that will give you power.images

Just check out this great article from Anne R. Allen’s blog that tells you how to get the rights to use lyrics n your Urban Fiction novel. It’s called So You Want to Use Song Lyrics in Your Novel? 5 Steps to Getting Rights to Lyrics.

“This week the bookosphere saw something of a teapot-storm when a formerly indie author—now signed with a Big 5 publisher—got an odd notice from Amazon. It said her readers had been asked to delete their old versions of her book and get the new Big 5 version—at the author’s expense.

It sounded like some nasty author-bullying to me—until somebody on a writing forum said the first version might have used pop song lyrics without getting proper permission.

But why would it be such a big deal if the original indie book contained a few song lyrics? Isn’t there some kind of rule that you can use a couple of lines from something without worrying about copyright?

Yup. It’s called “fair use.”

Thing is: fair use doesn’t apply to songs. That’s because songs can have very few lines to use—fairly or otherwise.” You can read the rest of Anne’s article on her blog here….

Does your novel use song lyrics? If so, how did you handle that? I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions on this. If you are an editor, do you check for song lyrics?

12 Quick Tips for Self-Marketing Authors

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Urban Fiction Author Marketing Tips

  1. Leverage YouTube videos to reach readers
  2. Print up business cards
  3. Encourage your fans to become affiliate marketers of your book
  4. Create a reader’s guide at the end of your book
  5. Insert sample chapters from your other books
  6. Do a sample chapters swap with another author
  7. Promote your book to the top eBook listing sites
  8. Share these marketing tips with your fellow authors!
  9. Do not forget that you can also promote your book by writing articles, Facilitating a workshop, volunteer as a panelist, and joining an assortment Of professional associations and organizations.
  10. You can tack your postcards on local bulletin boards,
  11. Post your web site on Yahoo and MSN groups
  12. Have a friend host a book signing/reading party and, finally,

Build a Team!

To be successful you will need a great team behind you. Your team should include:
Urban Fiction Editor's Writer Marketing Tips 2

  • A Book Mentor,
  • A Focus Group,
  • A Professional Editor
  • Proofreader
  • A Typesetter
  • A Professional Cover Designer
  • A Publicist, to create press, schedule interviews with authors and publishing company where appropriate, 
press releases 24-7 about everything that happens
  • An Assistant (if you can afford one) to collate valuable information, update calendars, social media, websites additions to authors and company sites, mail, fan mail, etc.

If you don’t have a team, or at least the beginnings of one, start looking for people now! Many publishing companies provide these services. Be sure to ask about them when looking for a publisher.

How to Write Your Book Outline in Just a Few Minutes

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Screen shot 2013-06-22 at 2.00.06 PMAre you ready to write your Best Seller but are unsure where to start? Are you spending more time day-dreaming about being a guest on Oprah than you are writing? While the day dreaming will certainly get you far by projecting your desires into the universe, the saying goes: writers write. This means that as long as no words go on the page, your possibilities of making your dreams become reality are nil.

Why aren’t you writing more? Why does what you write not come out the way you imagined? The answer to these questions may surprise you. The answer is that you don’t have the right tool for the job. Screen shot 2013-06-22 at 2.01.12 PM

What is the right tool? Assuming that your writing skills are fair to fantastic, the tool your looking for is called an outline. Every successful writer uses one. Embrace the use of outlines for all your projects. All prolific Writers know that you need a road map to go somewhere you’ve never been before, unless of course you want to get lost.

Certainly, if you had a uncomplicated outline you’d be doing more writing than dreaming. With these easy step by step directions, you will have your complete book outline in place in just a few minutes.

Step 1

First, Lets break it down. Lets say, for the sake of this article, that the average book is 200 pages in length. This translates to 20 Chapters, at an average rate of 10 pages per Chapter. Can you see where I’m going with this? Before you start writing chapter headings, move on to Step 2.

Step 2

Now, make a list of 2O main Subjects you want to discuss in your book. Use no more than 3 Words for each Subject.
Such as: 4. When Cats Bite.

This will be what each Chapter is about. You can worry about impressive titles and names later.

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Now, next to this, make another list of the 5-10 important things (list single words only please) that you want to mention about each Subject/Chapter.

Such as, Chapter 4: When Children Bite

b. Breed
d. Trauma
e. Emotions

Step 4

Next, switch this list of important things around in order of importance. Put the best stuff that you are most passionate about first, the not so great stuff in the middle and the medium-good stuff last.

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This goes for the entire 20 Chapters of your book too, take a moment now to resort the overall flow of Chapters into this Best, Not the Best, Good order as well. This will get your readers hooked from the first page enough to coast through the middle and keep reading when they find it picking up 2/3 through the book.

Step 6

Screen shot 2013-06-22 at 2.05.27 PMVoila! Your outline is done and there is nothing standing in your way from writing that book. You have a complete and clear outline to make it happen. You now know fully well what goes on each page from beginning to end. Do this for all your books from now on. Do not try to write your book without finishing the outline first; it will only frustrate you more and put more time between you and the fulfillment of your dreams.

Congratulations. See you on Oprah.


Authors get taxed too!

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UntitledIf you do not have experience doing your taxes refer to this website for free assistance This company allows you to do a free 1099, unlike most other companys you’ll find.

It allows you to click back ad forth until the numbers are right and only e-files if you do the taxes before April 15th of the year, but you can do many years prior and print those out to mail to the IRS.

There are also tax deductions offered to authors. Refer to this video for information:


Do Book Signings

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Book signings are a great way to get your face out there. You are able to interact with fans and readers.

It is especially helpful to do local book signings in your hometown. Locals enjoy seeing their own on the face of a book. This is a great way to publicize yourself.

You can easily team up with the bookstore and take out an ad in the local newspaper for more exposure.