The Author Monthly Planner: A Freebie to Organize Your Writing and Marketing Life

MonthlyPlanner

My house is a mess.

We’re stuck in this cycle where, for at least one week every month, one member of our family is sick (I blame Olivia for bringing home the germies from daycare, BTW).

While being sick doesn’t rate highly on the ol’ fun-o-meter, it did give me an awfully convenient excuse to skip out on my regular cleaning routine.

After catching Olivia practically wading through a pile of books in her bedroom, however, I decided that enough was enough. It was time to get back on my game.

So, I made a to-do list. A looong to-do list. Pretty reasonable, right?

The result? My house is still a mess.

Wanna know why?

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7 Lessons to Improve Your Author Website (or, Learn from My FAIL!)

Not sure how to set up your website? Check out Have a Beautiful Author Website for Under $20/mo (Even if You’re Not A Geek).

The website I had reviewed — scary, huh?

At the tender age of 14, I submitted my first website for a design review.

My masterpiece came together after only a few days spent tooling around in GeocitiesI thought it was awesome – it featured a sharp black background, electric green content table, rockin’ aLtErNaTe capitalization, and sweet graphics made in Paint Shop Pro. I even had a page where you could adopt a sunflower seed (the terrifying screenshot you see on the right).

The result? A total disaster.

I’ll give the reviewer a bit of credit — she could tell that I was young and doing my best, but that made her review no less scathing!

According to her, my website was cluttered, hard to read and had little to interest any visitor. In fact, she said most would click away with a major headache!

I was crushed.

From that web design kick-in-the-face, however, I learned valuable lessons about what works in web design — lessons that are still true today.

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The Self-Publishing Journey: 6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Team

You don't have to be a lone wolf in the self-pub game! Photo by ghetzu

Yes, we know, it’s right there in the name — “self” publishing.

It goes with other terms like “do-it-yourself” and “self-confidence” and “self-employed.” But before you reach a point of utter frustration and begin belting out Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” you should know something; self-publishing doesn’t have to be a solo journey.

Look at it like this: Self-publishing is just like any other entrepreneurial endeavor. You might get the business off the ground by yourself, but to grow it into a prosperous investment, you have to hire help to cover the areas where you don’t have the time or expertise to give your product what it deserves.

But that’s not to say that you should go about hiring people all free and easy. If you were hiring someone to paint your house you’d have some questions before you made a decision. The same goes for hiring designers, editors and other consultants to help with your project.

Not sure what questions to ask? We’ve got you covered!

6 Questions to ask before you hire someone for your team.

1. What kind of experience do you have?

Your first priority is to identify what kind of credentials your potential team member brings to the table. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re looking for the most experienced person available, however. You just want to know that the individual you’re working with knows what they’re doing. You want your house painter to know how to handle a brush, right?Continue Reading

3 Do’s and 3 Do Not’s of Requesting Book Reviews

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could sell thousands of copies of our books just by sharing the raving reviews we received from our family and friends? Can you imagine these gems on the back cover of your book? 

photo by brandijordan

“Best thing she’s written since she scribbled her name in crayon on her bedroom wall.” - Dad

“It was the first book I read that wasn’t required for school, so I guess it was pretty good.” - Brother

“The book was great, but I knew it would be. She’s always been a talented child. Now if only she’d get married and give me some talented grandchildren.”  - Mom

While those are all moving endorsements, unfortunately our families don’t carry enough weight in the writing community to boost our sales with their honest opinions. Instead, we are forced to look elsewhere, to popular bloggers and news outlets whose opinions have value outside our household in order to let our potential readers know that we are every bit as good as we say we are.

But how do we get those reviews? What’s the secret to getting someone to write a review of your book? What hoops do you have to jump through? Who do you have to beg? Where is the key to the secret under world of book reviewers?

Don’t panic, the secret to getting a great book review is in fact very simple. All you have to do is ask!Continue Reading

3 Ways To Make Your Media Kit Rock

For more on media kits, check out Start Your Media Kit Today: Mini Workbook.

Anytime you request an interview, you use it.
Anytime you contact a blogger, you use it.
Anytime you solicit a review, you use it.
Anytime you create an online dating profile, you use it.

Okay, maybe that last one was a stretch…but the first three and a long list of others are all situations in which you will need an updated, well designed, engaging media kit. When properly executed, your media kit should work for you like a hired Hollywood publicist, promoting you and your books. It should leave potential interviewers, reviewers, and bloggers impressed by and interested in your work.

So the question is, does your media kit get the job done?

If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Upon conducting an honest review of their media kits, most authors find that their promotional package is not actually promoting them very well. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons, but in most cases we authors struggle to answer two critical questions about our media kits:

1. What in the world do I put in it?

2. How am I supposed to use it?

 

Does that strike a familiar chord with you? If so, I have good news. By the end of this blog post you will have the answers to both of those questions and access to a detailed sample of what a good media kit looks like, which will put you well on your way to creating a successful media kit.

So let’s get down to it. Here are Duolit’s three easy steps for building a media kit that rocks!Continue Reading