How To

Tip Thursday: How To Add Your Book To Goodreads

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 in How To, Publishing, Tip Thursday | 0 comments

Tip Thursday: How To Add Your Book To Goodreads

Most of you know that I’m a huge Goodreads fan. I think their free services to authors and readers are invaluable. Not to mention how awesome I think it is to have a digital library with bookshelves, my want-to-read books marked, etc. According to Goodreads it is a “free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large library that you can wander through and see everyone’s bookshelves, their reviews, and their ratings. You can also post your own reviews and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read in the future.” If you’re self-publishing or you have to do most of your marketing, I want to show you today how to add your book to Goodreads. It’s free, easy, and will be a big help in getting your book in front of new audiences and at the very least, in the hands of new readers.   Check first to see if your book is up on Goodreads –  If your book is being published through a publisher, they might add it for you. Before you add your book and accidentally create a duplicate, make sure that you check to see if your book is already up on Goodreads. You do this by searching for your book on the site. Type in your title into the search bar and hit enter, as shown below. The results will show up below.     If your book is not already there, it’s time to put your book up on Goodreads! Be sure to have information ready about your book for when you add it, such as the cover art, the blurb, publish date, publisher, etc. If you have the information and you’ve searched your book and it isn’t already there, choose the option to the right on the screen that says “Manually Add a Book.”   Once you click “Manually add a book” it’s time to add your work of art! Fill in the information on your book, such as title, author, isbn, publisher, number of pages, format, edition, official URL, and book blurb under description. It doesn’t require all of the fields to be filled out but fill out as much as you can. Once you’ve entered all needed information and upload your book cover (link on the right hand side of the page), select “Create Book.” When you’ve hit the “Create Book” button, VOILA! Your book has been created on Goodreads! The nice thing too, is if you add your book to Goodreads before it comes out, users that have added your book to their To-Read list will receive an email when your book comes out reminding them to pick it up. You can’t beat that!   My book is uploaded. What now?   Once your book is uploaded, there are a ton of different ways to promote your work as an author. Make sure you join the Author’s Program: If you’re not sure how to create an author profile, here’s a How-To. Run a Goodread’s giveaway! Get your book into the hands of eager readers! Information on how to run a Goodreads giveaway is here (and actually this whole slideshow is super helpful for any author). Enjoy Listopia! Go a step farther by adding your book to Goodreads lists. There are a million and one book lists such as YA romance or Adult Vampire Books, or whatever the niche your book may fall into. Add your book to as many lists that qualify and it will help with your book’s visibility.   If you have any questions or have anything to add, let me know in the comments below! I’m happy...

Read More

How to Build a Kick-Ass Street Team by Mina Vaughn

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Artistry of Marketing, Guest Post, How To, Marketing and Branding, Writing | 1 comment

How to Build a Kick-Ass Street Team by Mina Vaughn

So you’re going to be an author. Congrats! You’re at the start of a really exciting journey, so why not bring along your friends and gain some major cheerleaders! I love my street team, but it wasn’t easy putting it together, so that’s why I’m here at the Pen and Muse school to help you figure out how to put one together. There’s no right or wrong way, and many other authors may do it differently, but here are five steps to putting together an awesome street team.   1)      Figure out what you want. Do you want your street team to blast every new blog post someone does about your book, or do you mainly want them to tweet promo links? Think about what your goal is—discoverability? Sales? Having a goal-centered plan is key to being able to build your street team and also measure its success once it’s up and running. 2)      Start with your friends. I don’t necessarily mean your BFF from third grade, I mostly mean your writer friends. The ones who were in the query trenches with you, the ones who are already published and the ones who are almost there. If they’re active in the writing community and love you and your book, ask them. Note: I didn’t say add them. Some people may not want to be on your street team but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Don’t take anything personally—this advice will go a long way during this publishing process! If you don’t have a thick skin yet, work on it! 3)      Meet some bloggers. This part makes some new authors nervous. Bloggers for your genre may often be really influential and it’s scary to just say “UM HI READ MY BOOK”, so don’t do it that way. Follow them on Twitter. Like them on facebook. See what they love to read and what they’re not as jazzed about. Interact. If you end up forming a relationship, you can eventually see if they want to be on your street team. This is after they’ve read an ARC, of course, since they need something to base their opinions on. Some bloggers may not fall head-over-heels for your book, and that’s ok. Stick to the ones who are going to be your cheerleaders. Stop being nervous—bloggers do what they do because they LOVE BOOKS, plain and simple. Plus, they’re always on the lookout for new talent. 4)      Decide on a platform. There are many ways for you to organize your street team, but the best that have worked for me are google groups and facebook groups. Google groups is basically an email format where you would add people to a list and then shoot out emails to that pre-made list. Basically, if you have something to say (Hey, ____ starts pre-order today!) then type up the email to the group and it’s on its way. Easy. But not that interesting, and doesn’t build camaraderie as well. It’s good for just business and getting the important stuff out there. This is why I have two formats. Facebook groups allow members and myself to post pictures (This guy looks so much like _____) and ask polls and just interact more in a small, more intimate way. However, sometimes the main message gets lost in the feed so that’s why I like the two group method. Some people don’t have facebook, too, so that’s part of it. Anyway, pick your platform, add your friends and bloggers and then… 5)      Reward them. Tweeting your book, RT’ing reviews, sharing on Facebook. Those all take time and...

Read More

How To Format Your Manuscript

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in How To, Publishing, Writing | 0 comments

How To Format Your Manuscript

I was recently helping a friend format his manuscript. He’d queried and gotten a full request. Exciting, right? Yes! However, he was worried because he wasn’t sure how to properly format his manuscript. If you think about it, being turned down for representation or publication over a sloppy looking manuscript is a bit silly, isn’t it? Thankfully his manuscript already looked great, I only had to add on finishing touches, but it got me thinking that I should write a post about this. There are several different things you can do with your manuscript when you are finished. Obviously, you can hide it in a drawer for years (but where’s the fun in that?). You can self publish it. Or you can try to have it traditionally published. If you want to go the latter route, you will need to ensure that your final product is ready and presentable for publishers and agents. After all, someone wont want to buy your car if it’s missing wheels and half of it’s paint, right? (There I go with car analogies again.) My point is, your manuscript is your product and you would never try to sell an unfinished product to someone right? Presenting a sloppy or unpolished manuscript to a publisher or an agent may get you turned away. Exactly how are you supposed to format your manuscript? There is a little debate on this subject, such as which font to use (Time New Roman? Courier?) or how large the margins should be (an inch? 1.5 inches?). Otherwise, for the most part, the general guidelines for manuscript formatting are usually pretty consistent. If you are submitting your manuscript for representation or publication, the very best advice I can give you is to look at the publisher or agency submission guidelines. Some will have specific preferences, and if they do, follow them. If the publisher or agency you are submitting to does not list preferences, then I’d say you’re safe to use these guidelines. General Manuscript Formatting Guidelines Title page – Your manuscript needs a title page. It should contain important information such as your name, your contact information (address, phone, and email address), manuscript title, and word count. If you have an agent, be sure to include this information as well. Your manuscript name should be centered and just above the middle of the page. Below it should be the word “by” and then below that should be your name. All should be centered. Left justified – In case you had the urge to not do this and center your entire 100k word novel…just don’t. Left justify it and call it a day Double space – That’s right folks. Double space your manuscript. Font – Here is where there is a little debate. Some people say Times New Roman. Others swear by Courier. I always use Times New Roman. There usually isn’t debate over font size. Stick to size 12. Font effects – Just say no. I know what you’re thinking. This is still my answer even if your font effect is “really, really cool.” Background – No fancy pants backgrounds. Leave it white. Indent – Indent the first line of each paragraph, 5 pt (five spaces). You can set your document to automatically do this. If you are using Microsoft Word, you would select paragraph, indentation, special, first line, .5. Header – Put on at the top right of each page (except your cover page). This should include your name, your manuscript name, and page number. Some people argue top left hand side. Check the submission guidelines for clarification if...

Read More

How To Series: Recap & Itinerary

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in How To, Writing | 0 comments

How To Series: Recap & Itinerary

  Have you been following our Writers’ How To series? Afraid you missed one? Need to catch up? Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of all of them so you can quickly get up to speed.     More How Tos For Writers Than You Thought You Needed (Can we tell that I’m writing this post really late at night? Ignore my puns guys. Just do it.) How To Write Compelling Dying Scenes by Rachel O’Laughlin How To Make Fairy Tales Your Own by Jessica Grey How To Write Characters With Disabilities by Dannie Morin How To Publish a Graphic Novel by Ron Tucker How To Build Suspense by Joe Hart How to Defeat Momentum Killers by JC Lillis How To Create Secondary Characters That Sparkle by Kristen Strassel How To Craft Description by Meghan Schuler How To Use Real Life Experiences In Your Novel by Jessi Shakarian How To Craft Realistic Swoons and First Attraction by Mandy Schoen How To Put Conflict into Place Quickly by Nicole Steinhaus (Brooklyn Skye) How to Write Kissy Scenes by your lovely Muse Jolene How To Outline A Novel by your lovely Muse...

Read More

How To Outline A Novel: Muse KJ Style

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in How To, Writing | 1 comment

How To Outline A Novel: Muse KJ Style

It should come as no surprise that the most common thing people come to the Pen and Muse site looking for is: How To Outline A Novel. Whether you’re a plotter or a planner, you’ve at least considered outlining once or twice. The problem? Everyone does it differently. So, I can’t tell you how everyone does it – but I can tell you how I do it.   How To Outline A Novel (Muse KJ Style) All of my story ideas start with two things: a character and a blurb. Wait, what? A blurb? Really, KJ? Really. Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t necessarily use it as an official blurb. Things change, and what have you. But this is a way to get centered. Start scribbling down what’s happening – just get it out there so that you have something to work with. We’re playing stepping stones, and this is Block One. What the heck is happening in my story? Percie Collins never wanted to return to the South. At least not like this. But when the perfect journalism job said yes, how could she say no? She gave up everything to come home – even the diamond ring and the fiance she’d thought would stick by her through thick and thin. So she made a plan. It was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be foolproof. But then she walked through the doors of OSheas’ to find exactly who she never thought would be there. Her first love. Sitting at the bar stool as if he owned the place. It’s been a million years since high school – and here he is, still in their hometown. Is it fate? Is it destiny? All she knows is she has a second chance for the kind of love that she thought she’d always have.   Who: Percie Collins (& James Davidson) What: Trying to save the day in journalism + win the boy’s heart – again Where: Crockett, TN – her hometown Why: Her life dream has been to be a journalist – this is her chance to finally make it big. And her original life plan? Included being a journalist while being Mrs. James Davidson.   We know what’s happening – how do we get an outline out of that? Outlining for me is stepping stones – or even like skipping rocks. Figuring out what events will send the character bounding forward to the next stone. Which means you have to know your characters intimately. You have to know how they’ll react, how they’ll respond – even if it’s only a   My outline becomes a path – a ladder leading the characters to their next adventure.   A .Percie on the plane to TN (reminiscing) B. Reunion with the (estranged) family C. Oh God, I need a drink. D. Oh God, what is he doing here?   The first few stepping stones are easy – but then you have to think about what your characters will do. Percie’s just had a rough week, is soothing her rough day with fancy cocktails, and realizes the man she still loves is sitting right in front of her. What do you think would be a normal response? How will she react? What will she want? Will she even know? Maybe you don’t know yet. Maybe you need to skip around. That’s fine too. (Just maybe use bullets instead of letters.) So, that would look like: Percie on the plane to TN (reminiscing) Reunion with the (estranged) family Oh God, I need a drink. Oh God, what is he doing here? (Something)...

Read More

Putting Conflict in Place Quickly by Nicole Steinhaus

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Guest Post, How To, Writing | 0 comments

Putting Conflict in Place Quickly by Nicole Steinhaus

Let’s face it, conflict sucks. In real life we avoid it like rotten fish. It’s funny, then, that it’s the one thing that will keep us reading a story. Take a look at these beginnings from popular NA novels: She walks into Yogurtland with her cell phone pressed to her ear and a scowl on her face. Behind the scowl, her vulnerability shines like a fucking nuclear explosion in a dark closet. Whoever she’s talking to has stripped her bare. (Abandon, Cassia Leo) “I can’t believe it’s been five years,” Branch said as he held my hand tightly. I took a deep breath and tried to distract myself from getting choked up. (Love’s Suicide, Jennifer Foor) Everything in the room screamed that I didn’t belong. (Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire) What do they have in common? They open with conflict. Right from the beginning, readers know that not all is peachy, and immediately the reader is dying to know: Where are they? How did they get there? What are the circumstances and how will they be resolved? So what’s the reason readers are so drawn to conflict? The answer is actually quite primitive. Most people don’t want conflict in their lives; they don’t want to be burdened with fear or worry or heartache. Conflict in fiction gives readers a chance to explore these emotions through a sieve—better known as the eyes of your characters—without experiencing the negative consequences in their real lives. Is conflict necessary in a novel? Yes. Is it necessary in the story’s opening? Absolutely. Conflict is the device that will keep your readers turning the pages. Without it, your story becomes predicable and familiar. But a great first line—even one riddled with conflict and tension—is not enough to hold a reader’s interest for the course of an entire novel. It does, however, carry the reader to the next zinging bit of tension. Think of it like a bridge. Readers will keep reading so long as they’re continually presented with something to read for. The effects of a fantastic first line don’t last long, maybe a page or two, and that’s where you as the author must continue to present a string of minor conflicts until the central conflict or first all-important event of the story arrives. Adding conflict to your story is simple and can be done in a variety of ways. Conflict can show its face in the form of mouthwatering sexual tension—two characters attracted to each other but haven’t yet confessed their love; danger—like the someone-is-after-me kind; misery; pain; or even shame or humiliation. Whatever the emotion, the key to letting this conflict shine through from the first page is to not state it directly. Dialogue, body language, setting, even the prose and narrative rhythm can breed conflict. Donald Maass in Writing the Breakout Novel puts it this way, “If the milieu of the story is not only multifaceted but also involves opposing factions or points of view, then you have a basis for strong, difficult-to-resolve conflict. To put it another way, if problems already exist in your ‘place,’ that is a good thing.”  Nicole Steinhaus is the Assistant Editor to Karen Grove at Entangled Publishing, LLC. She is a Young Adult/New Adult author, represented by Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary Agency, and also the author of Amazon’s best-selling New Adult STRIPPED (written as Brooklyn Skye). Her newest novel FRAGILE LINE is out now from Entangled Teen! Amazon page (for books written under Brooklyn Skye)...

Read More