Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Promote Your Book

booksImage by brody4 via Flickr

Authors promoting their book

In today’s publishing environment it is up to the author to promote their book anyway they can. Unless your name is King, Bradbury, or someone as well known, the publishing houses are more likely to ask you about your marketing plan, and how many followers you have.

It’s up to authors

Do you self-publish, try to get an agent, use a publishing company such as Lulu, Book locker, Amazon or someone else? You will need to pound the pavement to get your book sold no matter how you get your book published.

How can authors promote their book?

There are many viral methods of promoting your book.

The time to begin promoting is before you publish the book.

You need to start building a following by creating a website, book trailer, using social media, virtual book tour, talking about the book to create a demand from followers.

Using social media to promote your book

By social media, I am not talking about Twitter and sites like that alone. Social media is anywhere the people congregate. Blogs, someone else’s blog, networking sites, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, building a website for the book, create a blog about the book, or add it to a list of books you have already published.

If this is your first book, you will have to work a little harder. You will have to work at creating a demand for your book sooner rather than later.

Obtaining a review

Once you publish your book, you will need to get reviews from reviewers. You can accomplish this by contacting reviewers, submitting your book to review sites via query, purchasing a promo package from companies, and through social media contacts who may know of reviewers.

How to approach a reviewer Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do not send anything before you talk with them to get a feel for the reviewer and the genre they review. Most reviewers don’t review everything and every genre.
  • Be professional.
  • Never send any kind of PR. As a professional reviewer, I toss it out. Leave it up to the reviewer to write what is an unbiased review.
  • Never take a review personal.
  • Never contact the reviewer to ask how the review is progressing
  • When contacting a review publication, query before sending a copy

Whenever you are promoting your book, always act like a consummate professional. An author is a businessperson, like it or not, writing is a business.

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor/Reviewer

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do Not Edit Your Own Work

Mark TwainCover of Mark TwainEditing what you've written is a mistake. Did you get what you really meant down on the page?

As Mark Twain said, "The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say."

What did he mean with this quote?

This quote is part of my signature on my e-mails. It means I walk away from my writing sit for some period of hours or days days before I submit it. I also have my wife whom I trust read it so I can see if my message is easy for the reader to get my meaning across the way I wished.

Do you have a trusted person to read your work, and offer constructive criticism? If not, find a trusted person and have them tell you if they see as something that may need to be changed or made clearer.

Many writers take constructive criticism personally, I like to think of it as a way of learning more about the craft of writing. Any time I receive feedback about my writing, I learn to make my meaning clearer so that the reader doesn't have to spend time trying to figure out what my point is. As you receive feedback, and go back to correct the points made by the second reader, you can become a better editor yourself.

As with most things, the more often it's done, the better a person becomes at it. It just takes hard work, some self discipline, and a healthy dose of desire to improve skills. From a personal prospective, I know it works.

Any time you can take a course about editing, writing, or entrepreneurship that you can attend, do yourself a favor and take the course.

Just put your rear in your chair, and stay there.

Robert Medak
Freelance writer/Editor/Reviewer
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meet Author Heidi M. Thomas

Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in her veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.

Heidi’s first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, has won an EPIC Award and the USA Book News Best Book Finalist award.

Follow the Dream is the second book in the “Dare to Dream” series about strong, independent Montana Women.

Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Skagit Valley Writers League, Skagit Women in Business, and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She is also a manuscript editor, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes in the Pacific Northwest.

Cowgirl Dreams Synopsis

Defying family and social pressure, Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.” Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer in a rodeo, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos.

Broken bones, killer influenza, flash floods, and family hardship team up to keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock. Will this be Nettie’s ticket to freedom and happiness? Will her rodeo dreams come true?

Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.
Cowgirl Dreams is available from the publisher, Treble Heart Books, or the author website. It is suitable for both adult and young adult readers.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Is Writing a Calling or a Hobby?

Which is it for you?

When writing is a calling, it is like art with an almost spiritual.

When writing is a calling, you are willing to dedicate the time, effort, and dedication to honing the art in your hands as any artist does.

When writing is a calling, you spend time improving, learning, taking classes, and reading to become a better writer.

When writing is a calling, you have to spend time writing, because when you are away from writing you feel lost.

When writing is a calling, you always have a notebook and something to write with everyday and you take notes for possible stories.

When writing is a calling, you write something every day.

I feel that writing is a calling that you have to answer. It is something that when you are away too long something from within pulls you back and you have to stare at a blank page until you come up with something. It could be something you saw, a clipping you saved, a note, or something from within that crowds your mind forcing you to put something down be it an article, short story, novel, memoir or whatever is within.

It calls and you answer because you have no choice. It is writing that is front and center, not being a bestselling author, or seeing your name in print.
When writing is a calling, it is all about the writing, and nothing else.

Robert J Medak
Freelance writer/Editor/Reviewer

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Writing is Exercise

Writing is Exercise

By Debra Eckerling,

Writing is exercise! The more you practice, the better you become. Spend too much time away from a project – or from writing in general – and it will be difficult to get back in the zone. It’s just like skipping a week or two at the gym; the longer you wait between workouts, the more painful it is to get back in the game.

It’s also essential to work out all of your writing muscles. Not just the ones in the type or genre you prefer. We tend to play favorites when it comes to formats and genres. We write what we like to read and watch (or at least we should) as a way of studying the craft. While it’s essential to like what you write and “write what you know,” there’s value in testing out less familiar territory.

Most writers work in more than one format as it is. And, if you don’t already, consider trying something new to shake up your writing regimen. That means, fiction writers can try blogging, screenwriters attempt a book review, article writers can give poetry a try … maybe, maybe not. But the point is the more writing you do, in as many areas as you can, will make you a stronger writer.

Here are some tips to jump-start or keep up your writing regimen:

- Write consistently on a daily or mostly daily basis … at least 15 minutes a day. Think you don’t have anything to write about? Look around. You’ll find plenty of material when you are people-watching, overhearing conversations, and just being aware of your surroundings in general.

- Don’t just make goals, post them. You are more likely to accomplish them when you are accountable to more than just yourself. You can post weekly goals on the Write On! Facebook page – and monthly goals on

- Write out of your comfort zone. Enter contests, try collaboration, write badly. Mix things up. You may discover a love for writing personal essays in the adventure genre. Also, practicing a less-familiar type may give you fresh perspective on an old standby.

Remember, first and foremost, writing is supposed to be fun! So, enjoy the adventure, When you put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – you never know what magic may come of it!

Debra Eckerling is the creator of Write On! Online – – a website and community for writers. Debra has written for national, local, trade, and online publications. A communications specialist and “personal trainer for writers,” Debra trains individuals, experts, and entrepreneurs, so they can organize, articulate, and complete their writing projects.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Where to Find Creativity

First, I want to ask you, where do you find creativity?

Is creativity within you, around you, or some other source?

For writers, it is all about you in forms that most people don’t recognize. Creativity is in nature, in places writers visit, the people they encounter, and much more.

Creativity, find it in reading a book. Writers should be reading everyday as well as writing something every day.

What should writers be reading?

Writers should be reading the classics, if writers choose to write in a specific genre, they should be reading books in that genre. You are probably asking; why should I read books.

The simple answer is to see how others do it. This is especially true for new writers. By reading what you want to write, you can learn a good deal from distinguished authors of the genre you want to write.

It is not about writing like them, but to see how they use words, construct sentences, create tension, and handle point-of-view. These are the things writers need to handle correctly so they don’t bore the reader.

Why not read an authors that sells books and see how they write, then emulate they way they handle a story.

This is where creativity lies, within the pages of books, and in life.
As writers, you should be keeping your eyes and ears open to everything around you, and write down observations in a notebook, for future reference in a story. What a way to create your next character, a composite of people, places, and settings you’ve seen and written down in your notebook.

Try it and see if something comes from it. You never know where your next creative idea will come from.

Robert Medak
Freelance writer/Editor/Reviewer

Saturday, February 5, 2011


As a writer, do you compete against yourself?

Every time you set pen to paper you should be competing with yourself; this is the only way to eliminate stagnation in your writing.

By competing with yourself, each new piece should be better than your last.

Readers expect to read a story that resonates with them on some visceral level. They want their emotions to ride along with the roller coaster ride of the characters in the story.

This is what writes do. By writing and competing against your last piece, the writing should improve.

For example, when you were younger did you ride a bike like an expert the first time you sat on the seat, and used peddles for the first time? Most of us would say no. it takes practice to improve.

As you learn more, write more, you are practicing writing. We all improve by doing, not just going through the motions.

Your readers will let you know how you’re doing by either purchasing your books or not.

If you are a writer, you want people to read what you have written unless your writing is a hobby and you just write for yourself.

Most writers write so others will read them.

Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” This is very true.

Writers work hard so that readers will have an easy time reading our work and escape the outside world during the time we take them on a journey through our words.

Work hard to make your reading easy.

Robert Medak

Freelance writer, editor, proofreader, book reviewer, marketer




Friday, January 21, 2011

What I have seen

This may sound like a rant, but this is not my meaning.

As of late, I have been doing some editing and manuscript evaluations.
I must say that I am appalled at some of the stuff that authors deem fit for publication.

Where to begin, I am not going to tell you that I am a grammarian, and am perfect. No one is perfect all of the time. I do however, know that grammar and punctuation are important when it comes to writing and not turn the reader off but things a blind person could find.

Recently having read two different manuscripts, the overuse of ellipses incorrectly, which only shows the author as being either lazy, ignorant, or an amateur; perhaps a combination of all three. As someone who considers themselves a professional, this is unacceptable and the manuscript is doomed to the round file for posterity.
Over the years of reading, there have been wrong word choice, typos, spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in books that are the responsibility of the authors to correct as much as possible. It is not the task of the publisher to correct manuscript errors in today’s publishing environment.

Now we come to another phase of publishing, that is self-published, or creating a manuscript for the Kindle and other E-readers.

Authors need to edit their work, hire an editor, or at least have someone they trust to read the work and see if there are the basic concepts of consistency, cohesion, believability, POV, flow, and a good hook that makes the reader want to read on.

Any author that wants to sell more books should work hard not to bore their reader.

As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Also quoting Mark Twain, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

These are two principles of writing that I feel writers need to adhere to; just my opinion for what it is worth.

Ok, off the soapbox now.

Robert Medak

Freelance writer, editor, proofreader, book reviewer, marketer