WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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October is just around the corner and my historical fiction chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES is almost a reality. So many things to cover before the big day. Getting the word out about my book is just one of them. Marketing comes in many forms and sometimes you need to get really creative to make sure your story isn’t lost in a sea of new releases. So I put together a list of some offbeat ideas for book promotions. It takes a little bit of moxie or gumption or assertiveness or whatever you might want to call it to approach some of these venues about doing a book event…i.e. reading, book signing, party, etc. You might have to help educate individuals on the benefits of allowing you to come into their establishment. Remember, it’s not about YOU and YOUR BOOK. It’s about THEM and WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM. The easier you make it for them to say YES, the more eager they will be to help you make your event a success. I like to call this my:

 

THINKING OUTSIDE THE CRAYON BOX MARKETING LIST

 

Teacher’s guides

Create your own set to post on your website and bring on school visits or hire someone like the talented Marcie Colleen (http://www.thisismarciecolleen.com/) to do it for you.

Hallmark stores

Why not offer to do a reading during the holiday season for free in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks?

Street fairs

Check your city’s website for upcoming events and see if you can participate in any of them.

Farmers markets

Maybe they will allow you to set up a booth or hand out flyers

Gyms

Some facilities have a children’s room and some have monthly promotions for their members. Maybe you can work out a deal to do a children’s activity during a monthly membership drive?

Airports

Many airports have retail stores in them. Why not see if there is one carrying books and set up a time when you can be available for impulse buys and a book signing?

Art stores

Your book will have illustrations. Why not offer to do a reading and maybe even a coloring contest where you provide your book cover as the pages?

Art museums

Same as above or even have a contest where kids can interpret your book in some other art form? Have a contest, offer some small prizes and then do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Craft stores

Like the art stores or art museums, you could have a craft party where you tie in some simple craft with some aspect of your book. Make simple puppets, make a cool picture frame and color a copy of your book cover to place inside. Do a reading/book signing afterwards.

Church bazaars

Make up a basket for the silent auction, ask for a booth space, offer to provide a simple craft in exchange for handing out your book’s swag items

Community youth sporting events

Ask if you can hand out flyers, offer to volunteer a couple hours in exchange for being able to hand out bookmarks at the concession stand.

Coffee shops

If the coffee shop is inside a bookstore or places like Walmart, maybe you can create a giveaway like for every cup sold the customer gets their name added to the drawing. Hand out a two part entry form where they fill out the bottom but keep the top with your book information on it.

Special interests groups

My HISTORY’S MYSTERIES series will resonate with both middle elementary readers as well as people interested in historical events or even a little mystery.. Find professional groups in your city that might allow you to leave information about your book for their clientele.

Radio stations

Offer a coloring prize pack to the first ten people to call in. Oriental Trading (http://www.orientaltrading.com) has a great selection of inexpensive items for prize packs. Don’t forget to include your bookmark and business card.

You Tube online video contest

Have a contest where kids act out your story or tell why they like your book. Post the top five on your website and promote others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to vote on their favorite. Winner gets a prize pack including an autographed book.

Book pairing on website or Amazon

If you have more than one book, see if you can bundle them together and offer a discount for the package. Create a collection of 3 or 4 short stories or maybe a short Ebook on how kids can become writers and offer as a freebie with every purchase through your website.

Mail Chimp Newsletter

If you haven’t set up a link for visitors to subscribe to your blog, do it now! I use Mail Chimp (http://www.mailchimp.com). Not only is it simple to use, it offers an easy newsletter template where you can keep in touch with your subscribers.

Fast food restaurants

Where do you see a lot of kids? McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys! Why not chat with the manager and offer to host a little party at their place? It can be a tea party, an ice cream party, a coloring party, etc. They supply the food and maybe offer something like a free cone or drink to the first 50 kids to come in on that day.

Local kids events

Check your city’s online website for local kids events. Make contact with whoever is in charge and see if you can participate. Some of them will allow you to join for free if you offer some kind of door prize or incentive they can give away. It’s how I’ve gotten into the Children’s Festival of Reading for the past ten years for FREE and been in front of more than 12,000 people each year!

Daycares

Think of the number one place you will find kids outside of school? Daycare and afterschool visits can really boost the opportunities to get your books in front of your targeted audience. Suggest acting out your story, coloring contest, and don’t forget the flyers going home to parents announcing your upcoming visit. Offer a way to preorder your book so you can sign them the day of your event.

Cub Scouts

Look online for the different badges cub scouts can earn. Create a 90 minute “lesson” where scouts can participate to earn their badge. Call your local organizational leader and offer to visit any pack in the area who would like a free author visit. Break up your “lesson” into three parts…part one is where you read your book to them and answer questions, part two is where you do your main activity (scouts could have completed other parts of the badge requirements prior to your arrival) and part three is where YOU present the scouts who have completed all the requirements with their activity badge (provided by the den leader). Send flyers home prior with pre-order info and hand out bookmarks, autograph sold books, etc. after the event.

Girl Scouts

Same as the Cub Scout lesson details listed above.

Festivals

Neighboring towns might have festivals where the cost of gas might put you in front of hundreds of potential readers of your book.

Civic organizations

Think of how your book might tie into their interests. Since my series will focus on historical events and little mysteries, I will look for those groups to see how I might be able to participate in some of their events. Maybe they will allow my bookmarks to be handed out at their meetings. Maybe they will promote my book on their company blog or website. The worst they can say is no.

School carnivals

Don’t forget the annual school carnivals, health fairs, book fairs, etc. where you can possibly have a booth or at least hand out flyers about your book.

There are literally thousands of opportunities out there to market your book. If you can be creative in your stories, then surely you can be creative in the ways you promote them?

Let me know if you have tried any of these ideas before? What worked? What didn’t? What do I need to add to this list? Comment below…

 

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HM-SHIP-OF-DREAMS (cover)     HM The Chocolate Train Wreck front cover

SHIP OF DREAMS COMING IN OCT! CHOCOLATE TRAIN WRECK COMING IN NOV!

 

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donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, will be available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers on October 14th, 2019.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

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GETTING A HELPING HAND

by Donna L Martin

 

With my new historical fiction chapter book series, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES, coming out this Fall, I wanted to share a basic process a writer can follow to create a great story or even an entire series like I’m doing. Book One, Ship of Dreams, was an easy choice because EVERYONE loves the Titanic and I came across a historical event which happened about a month before the maiden voyage. If history would have altered its course just a wee bit, all those people may not have died.

 

STEP ONE: Pick A Topic

 

Book Two, Chocolate Train Wreck, was a little bit more challenging. I was given a lead on a historical event not many people know about or if they do, it didn’t much matter to them. But it matters to me. It is a fascinating moment in time and I know I HAVE to learn more about it.

The first thing a writer has to do when they are thinking about writing a non-fiction story is to select their topic. There are literally millions of possible ideas to begin a story. I chose this one event as my topic. It is interesting, involves children, and is shrouded in mystery. So now that I know what my story will be about, what do I do next?

 

STEP TWO: REACHING OUT

 

The foundation of non-fiction stories must come from extensive fact-based research. Publishers are not interested in risking their reputations with stories built on shifting sand. They need to know the books they print are based on facts and the more data a writer can provide, the better the chances their story will be accepted by agents and editors alike. Keeping that in mind I made a list of how I wanted to learn more about my topic.

 

GOOGLE…

 

I googled everything I could about this event. The event itself, the place where it happened, any people involved at the time, etc. I printed off copies of newspaper reports and made sure I documented my sources as I went along. I discovered only 5 or 6 small articles over the past 50 years covering this event and they generally say the same thing. This isn’t going to help me uncover as Paul Harvey used to say…the REST OF THE STORY. I knew I had to do something else.

 

STRANGERS…

 

I decided to reach out and ask strangers for help. I wrote to one of the names that I saw in the articles, explaining what I was hoping to do with my discovery of this historical event, and I waited. And waited. Until one day I received an email thanking me for my interest and suggesting I contact a local librarian.

 

EXPERTS…

 

I reached out again and this time I spoke to the librarian over the phone. She was a lovely lady who not only had a wealth of knowledge concerning this event, I also found out she was in charge of a small museum housed in part of her library dedicated to reminding people of what happened near her town. She graciously sent me a package containing pictures and other information about my topic that I would never have found through Google. And then she gave me a special gift. A name of someone who was a first hand witness. I didn’t want to seem too eager but decided to reach out again…

 

PRIMARY SOURCES…

 

The name I had been given belonged to a very elderly lady who has a very special connection to the event and after sharing a few emails with her, I have discovered we both seem to share a few special connections with each other as well. Some of the “coincidences” I have come across includes facts like my primary source has a daughter just a little bit older than me with the same name who published a children’s book years ago, she has a son who has lived near Knoxville for the past 30 years, and she has another daughter in the medical profession (my son is in the medical profession and he was born on the 33rd anniversary of this historical event). She put me in touch with her son (another primary source) who told me much more about the event and I am now trying to arrange for us to meet in person.

 

SECONDARY SOURCES…

 

I have also spoken to an editor on one of the newspapers serving this community and they graciously offered to run a “letter to the editor” as a way of a shout out for any other primary sources to be able to get in touch with me about my topic.

There is much more to be done but my first act of reaching out has opened many potential doors and all I have discovered on the other side are lovely people eager to answer my questions and help shed a light on a little known event. I chose to boldly go where no writer had gone before and my reward for reaching out was a connection with some wonderful people and the beginning of a foundation that will become Book Two, hopefully by November of this year.

I hope you will join me next week when I will show how I’ve decided to organize my research and how I plan to outline my story…

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

 

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Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Six years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week we learn about the seven sins of procrastination…

 

The Seven Sins Of Procrastination
by Donna L Martin

 

Any one of these temptations could be a potential roadblock preventing a writer from reaching their publication goal. Take a look and see if any of them seem all too familiar.

 

TALKING IT TO DEATH

 

 
Ideas are all around us. Different people and events cross our paths every day and snap, we suddenly have a handful of ideas. Every one of them potentially able to carry us over the threshold from simply wishing we were authors to becoming the real thing. But instead of gluing our seats to the chair and actually using one of them, we mull things over and talk our ideas to death while we drown in a sea of indecision over which one to use first.

 

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

 

Contrary to popular belief, the only things a writer really needs to create a story are a writing instrument and something to write on. Sure, things like a top of the line computer system, antique writing desk, & pearl handled ink pens are all fine and dandy, but our ancestor the caveman still told a great story with just stone and ash. Don’t let your search for the perfect tools of the trade distract you from the task at hand which is to get your story written.

 

FINE TOOTH RESEARCH

 

Some stories like nonfiction require a lot of initial research before the actual writing can begin. Other stories like fiction, not so much. It’s one thing to gather the right amount of information in order to maintain your story’s believability and quite another to bury your idea under mounds of unnecessary research. Learn the difference.

 

CHANNEL SURFING

 

There will come a time in every writer’s career when they need a mental and sometimes physical break from actual writing. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact a writer will usually return with more clarity when their story is seen through a fresh pair of eyes. Just don’t let the time spent away from the writing to become an excuse for channel surfing. Television, social media, online games and the Internet in general are extremely tempting and it takes a dedicated writer to exercise some self-control when it comes to their “down” time.

 

FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL

 

This is where a writer decides on a story line and might even get off to a great start. The words fill up the pages and the dialogue flows sweet like wine. Then comes the reality check when the writer takes time to actually read what they have written and discovers they have been playing Plot Ping Pong…a nasty little game where a story’s main character zigzags through a great story idea with no clue of where they are actually going.

 

REVISION HELL

 

Very few writers stand on the mountain top and proclaim to love doing story revisions. Most consider them a necessary evil. But again, like fine tooth research, there is a difference between performing multiple revisions in order to mold your story into the finest creation you can and revising simply to avoid facing the fact your story is now ready to face the critics of the world.

 

HERE A CRITIQUE, THERE A CRITIQUE

 

Successful writers know they can’t travel the path to publication alone. Well, they can…but chances are they will not achieve their highest goals. Great stories are the result of a collective process where a manuscript goes through the hands of critique groups, agents, editors, and publishers before it makes it to book form. It may even pass through those same hands more than once. But when a writer continuously seeks the opinions of others simply because of a fear…be it fear of failure or fear of success…a potentially great story finds itself stuck in the never ending Critiqueland Loop until it passes out from exhaustion.

 
I have found there is a simple weapon in the fight against these sins of procrastination. I call it my SHIELD OF BELIEF. When I BELIEVE in the strength of my story idea, I will put my best writing foot forward. When I BELIEVE I have done the proper research to create the foundation of my story’s world, I can relax and let my story speak for itself. When I BELIEVE in the opinions of those I trust to be honest with me about my work, I can send my completed manuscript out into the world with the confidence it will one day find a proper home.

All I need to do is BELIEVE. What about YOU? Do you BELIEVE you were born to write or do you let the seven sins of procrastination prevent you from your true calling?

 

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week I share some free writer resources I’ve come across over the years…

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The Virtual Bookcase
By Donna L Martin

 

If your home office bookcase looks anything like mine, it is crammed with all kinds of books on the craft of writing. We can never have too many books on how to improve our writing. But sometimes we want to brush up on our writing skills and we’re nowhere near home. That’s where trusty little ebooks step in to make sure we aren’t missing our opportunities to grow as a writer. Below are just a few of the many FREE ebooks about writing I’ve come across over the years that are now stored on my virtual bookcase…just waiting for me to come by, select one, and curl up with my Kindle in a comfy chair for a little ME time.

Have you discovered your own FREE ebook favorites on the craft of writing I might have overlooked? Let us know about them in the comments…
Children’s Book Insider Clubhouse…www.cbiclubhouse.com…11 Steps To Writing Your First Children’s Book (enter your email address on right of screen to receive ebook link in email)
Steve Barancik…www.best-childrens-books.com…How To Write A Children’s Book (http://www.best-childrens-books.com/how-to-write-a-childrens-book.html)
Joanna Penn…www.thecreativepenn.com…Author 2.0 Blueprint (click on the button on top of screen)
Book Baby…www.bookbaby.com…The How-To Guide For Writers (http://www.bookbaby.com/free-publishing-guides)
SEO Discovery…www.seodiscovery.org…Free SEO Course…(http://www.seodiscovery.org/free-seo-course#axzz2Z3eOmACB)
Julie Hedlund… www.juliehedlund.com…Free Submissions Guide (enter your email address on right of screen to receive ebook link in email)
Working Writer’s Club…www.workingwritersclub.com…How To Become A Writer: Make Money Writing NOW (enter your email address on right of screen to receive ebook link in email)
Write To Done…www.writetodone.com…The Nearly Ultimate Guide To Better Writing (enter your email address on right of screen to receive ebook link in email)
Simone Haplan…www.picturebookpeople.com…Write A Dynamic Picture Book: 10 Keys To Success (enter your email address on left of screen to receive ebook link in email)
Freelance Writing…www.freelancewriting.com…Online Writing Jobs For Freelance Writers… (http://www.freelancewriting.com/ebooks/ebook-online-writing-jobs-for-freelance-writers.php) **You have to sign up for a free account to access free ebook**
Freelance Writing…www.freelancewriting.com…How To Write Fiction Stories With Substance (http://www.freelancewriting.com/ebooks/ebook-how-to-write-fiction-stories-with-substance.php) **You have to sign up for a free account to access free ebook**
Freelance Writing…www.freelancewriting.com…How To Plan A Home Office That Works (http://www.freelancewriting.com/ebooks/book-how-to-plan-a-home-office-that-works.php) **You have to sign up for a free account to access free ebook**
Freelance Writing…www.freelancewriting.com…How To Use Art And Imagery In Your Writing… (http://www.freelancewriting.com/ebooks/ebook-artistic-freelance-writing.php) **You have to sign up for a free account to access free ebook**
Jane Friedman…www.janefriedman.com…How To Publish An Ebook… (http://janefriedman.com/2013/04/21/how-to-publish-an-ebook) **This isn’t exactly an “ebook”, but it is an extensive resource guide on how to MAKE an ebook**

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donna

 

International best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy), ebook edition, is now available from Amazon, with the print edition coming October 15, 2018.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

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Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. I really love this series because I get a chance to share what I’ve learned over the years with others…

 

WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE?
by Donna L Martin

 

If I were to take a poll of the people reading this WRITERLY WISDOM series I would imagine most of them would be either children’s book writers or novelists. Some may write picture books, others write middle grade or young adult but I believe the vast majority sees their path to publication through books as the preferred medium. I, too, am one of those people who work daily toward the goal of publishing my own books. But if you are a beginner writer just starting to dip your toes in this professional writing pool, seeking to have a book published might be an extremely challenging goal. It also might make you wonder…

 

WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE?

 

When I started writing professional back in 2010,  I knew in my heart I wanted to write books…picture books…middle grade…and young adult. I wasn’t really sure how to go about it and I took the next two years learning as much as I could about the industry. I quickly found out winning a book contract is almost like winning the lottery…almost impossible to do and subject to a whole lot of luck!

So while I continued to write stories, I looked around to see what other avenues might be available to help me establish some publishing credits. I started to research anthologies and magazines as other possible paths. Not exactly a way to see my name on the cover of a book, but still a viable way to add to my writing resume.

It helped that I liked writing poetry, short stories and essays because that’s what editors creating anthologies look for…writers whose portfolio includes those types of copy. And when my essay “Shortcut To Peace” was picked up by Chicken Soup For The Soul: Angels Among Us edition (published January 2013) I realized there was a whole other market I should consider. If my goal was to become published then hard bound books wasn’t the only way.

 

AN ALTERNATIVE TO BOOKS

 

New writers may want to consider the possibility of focusing on stories and articles for magazines…at least in the beginning of their career. Magazines offer a number of advantages for the newbie writer:

1. The stories and articles are usually shorter in the word count department than say, a novel, so new writers could quickly feel a sense of accomplishment by completing an assignment.

2. Magazine publication cycles are much shorter than books so new writers must learn to work with tight deadlines. This challenges them to work consistently and streamline their entire writing process for optimum efficiency.

3. Even a small story in a small magazine with limited circulation looks good on an otherwise empty resume. I might only have a few publishing credits to my name at this point, but you can bet I include it in my query letters. It tells the world that SOMEONE took a chance on me and my writing is worth considering.

4. Both fiction and non-fiction stories can be found in magazine which gives the new writer a chance to perfect their research skills.

 

HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE

 

So which magazine should you choose? Just like Agents or Publishers, you have to do your research. Resources like SCBWI (http://www.scbwi.org) or the latest Writer’s Market book (http://www.writersmarket.com) provide a list of kid’s magazines being published today and there is always a Google search.

 

HOMEWORK, HOMEWORK, HOMEWORK

 

Just like you would do for your book manuscript, you have to do your research when it comes to magazines. Visit their website, check out their submission guidelines, even buy a copy or two and READ what types of articles they are accepting. Determine which of your work would do well in a magazine format, sharpen your query letter and send it off with fingers crossed!

To get you started, here is a short list of children’s magazines along with the link to their websites. Some of these names like Cricket Family of Magazines actually has a number of different maagazines to review on their website. Take your time, be thorough in your research and good luck!

And in the meantime?

KEEP WRITING!!

 

Sports Illustrated Kids (http://www.sikids.com)

 

National Geographic Kids (http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids)

 

Highlights (https://www.highlights.com)

 

Kids Discover (http://www.kidsdiscover.com)

 

Boys’ Lie (http://boyslife.org)

 

YUM Food & Fun For Kids (http://www.yumfoodandfun.com)

 

Girls’ Life (http://www.girlslife.com)

 

Discovery Girls (http://discoverygirls.com)

 

Zoobooks (http://www.zoobooks.com)

 

Cricket Family of Magazines (http://www.cricketmag.com)

 

U S Kids Family of Magazines (http://www.uskidsmags.com)

 

Cicada (http://www.cicadamag.com)

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition in the summer of 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

 

 

 

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Donna L Martin

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Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers.  I take the stage this week with a look at social media. You can find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/donasdays), Twitter (www.twitter.com/donasdays). or on my website (www.StoryCatcherPublishing.com).

 

Choose The Right Social Media For You
By Donna L Martin

 

I can remember when I first started writing professionally during the winter of 2010. There was so much to learn and one of the things I kept hearing was “You’ve got to build an author platform.” But what exactly did that mean?

Eight years later I don’t feel quite so ignorant about the plethora of social websites a new or established writer have to choose from. Below, I’ve listed ten of the most commonly used platform building websites an author should consider.

 

1) Blogging…a type of “online journal” supported by sites like Blogger or WordPress where writers can connect with “followers”. Blogging gives the most flexibility to write about whatever might be of interest to you, not just about the writing itself.

 
2) Facebook…a social media site where you, and millions of others, can connect with friends, family, and potentially unlimited followers from all around the world. You can even create separate “author” pages to promote your books as well as “fan” pages to encourage interaction amongst your readers.

 
3) Google Plus…a fairly new social website, Google Plus began in 2011 and is used by more than 100 million people per month with a total of over 400 million active users.

 
4) LinkedIn…this site is promoted as a professional networking social website. Writers can connect with other professionals, join discussion groups, post resumes and clips of their work, as well as go job hunting themselves.

 
5) Pinterest…one of the newest social sites, Pinterest uses “pinning” and “bulletin boards” to connect it’s 10 million monthly users with similar interests. It can be used to give readers insight to a writer’s other interests as well as a way to showcase a writer’s work.

 
6) Quora…this is a very useful site for writers, especially of the nonfiction variety. You can post your own research question and allow others to answer it or you can showcase your own expertise in a particular subject by replying and connecting with over 100,000 monthly users.

 
7) Reddit…registered users of this social news website submit copy or links to be voted on by other users. The larger the vote, the higher the rank, which determines the story’s position on the site’s pages. Not really set up for posting blog entries.

 
8) Tumblr…this social site is known for it’s picture sharing. Page views are in the billions as teenagers and young adults “reblog” and “like” posted images.

 
9) Twitter…writers who can condense their message into 140 characters or less will find this microblogging site perfect for them. Writers can use it to keep their followers updated with the latest info about their work and to connect in other ways.

 
10) YouTube…this extremely popular social network is used primarily for video production, vlogging, movies and music. With over 800 million unique views each month, writers can tap into an almost unlimited source of potential new followers if they understand the video technology.

 

Looking at this list, a new writer might be tempted to throw their hands up in frustration. Some writers struggle to make time for writing at all and now they are expected to become multiple social media participants as well?

Here are some questions to ask before deciding which social websites to join:

1) What do you want your online presence to do for your platform? Do you want to connect with potential readers? Maybe market your latest book? Even generate additional monthly income? How you honestly answer these questions determine which social media avenue will help you the most.

2) Are you trying to be an expert in a certain area? Your content on a new blog could showcase your expertise. If you’re an illustrator, a Pinterest account or WordPress website can spotlight your best work for future clients to view.

3) Who are you, anyway? The person you are as a writer or illustrator IS your brand or product you are trying to sell to the world. Blogging gives you the most freedom to express yourself through your posts while sites like You Tube provides a way to be even more expressive.

 

Bottom line is you don’t have to jump onto every social networking site out there. Decide what type of platform and message are you really trying to create before you choose one of these sites or maybe one I haven’t listed. Maybe a Facebook fan page to begin with while you visit some blogs or LinkedIn accounts to get a feel for how things work. Agents and editors who are interested in your work will google your name to see what your platform consists of, but one or two strong sites are much better than a dozen poor ones. And since you will have to find the time to devote to whichever site(s) you participate in, there is only one person who can choose what’s best for you!

 

Author Profile Pic

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is scheduled to be released by Expert Insights Publishing in the Fall 2018.