Category: Blog

Brand & Marketing Myths Every (Aspiring) Author Needs to Know

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an (aspiring) author in possession of a book (idea) to sell, must be in want of an author brand or platform.”

I’ve taken some liberty with Jane Austen’s words but I’m sure she would have agreed with the sentiment.

Jane Austen lived at a time when books by women were usually published anonymously. I like to think she would have jumped, in a most lady-like manner, at the chance to promote herself as an author.  

Why then do many (aspiring) authors, who want to get their books out into the world, consider marketing a necessary evil, or just downright evil?

The answer lies in the undeniable fact that creating an author brand or platform can at times be frustrating, confusing or annoying – ‘you mean I actually have to do social media?’.

The good news is that many of the objections or challenges relating to marketing can be overcome with a little persistence and the right guidance.

Unfortunately, this does nothing to address the many misconceptions that continue to plague marketing and stop some writers from embracing their author brand.

I’m here to restore your faith in marketing by busting some of the most common myths surrounding author brand and related topics.

Branding is for Businesses Not Authors

The easiest way to clear this one up is to ask yourself whether you want to make money from selling your books.

If you answered yes, then you need to treat your writing as a business, otherwise, it’s a hobby.

Being a professional writer or author entails all of the regular activities a business owner needs to undertake, marketing being one of them.

Your author brand is the foundation of all of your marketing activities, and it is much more than having a beautiful logo and business cards.

Brand is the experience or feeling you create every time you interact with the world. It is what you say and how you say it – it is how you make people you communicate with feel.

It is about creating a consistent voice for you and your writing that resonates with readers, publishers, agents, and other people important to your success.

I Don’t Need to Worry About Brand Yet

If you haven’t published a book yet, you may think it’s okay to wait before developing your author brand.

In fact, the best time to start marketing yourself as an (aspiring) author is now!

The more time you have to build your platform, get followers and refine your messaging, the easier it will be when you are querying agents and publishers, or are ready to launch your book.

I Don’t Like Selling Myself So I Don’t Like Marketing

Guess what? Most people don’t like ‘selling’ themselves and no one likes being ‘sold’ to.

Fortunately, marketing isn’t about ‘selling’. It is about making meaningful and authentic connections with people who are interested in you and your work.

Connecting with the right people through social media and other communication channels builds a support network of people who, when the time comes, won’t just buy or invest in your book, but will do the ‘selling’ for you. They will become your brand fans and ambassadors.

To stay in the know about my writing projects and to receive regular writing tips and articles like this, .

Friend or Foe: Giving and Inspiring Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships.

It’s the secret to personal connections, as well as business success.

Every day we make multiple decisions, sometimes in an instant, about whether to trust others.

We measure our hopes and aspirations against our worries and fears to determine whether someone is worthy of trust.

So how do we know whether someone is friend or foe? How do we earn other’s trust? And how do we trust ourselves?

This article in explains why some people are better at being trustworthy and judging trustworthiness.

Of course there are many factors affecting ability to trust—past experiences and betrayals, the ability to judge character, and to some extent personality, as well as whether we had a ‘secure’ or ‘insecure’ attachment and experience with our childhood caregivers.

“A child who learns the lesson that people close to her are reliable, can be trusted, and will take care of her goes out into the world with very different mental presentations and expectations about human interaction than an insecurely attached peer.”

I’m lucky enough to fit into the secure category and hope to do the same for my own son.

Fortunately there are ways for people who have had different experiences to improve their ability to trust..

“…Resolving trust issues is not about getting another person to be trustworthy. It’s about you become a trustworthy person with yourself and learning to trust yourself.”

For me it’s incredibly important for my own happiness to be a trustworthy person.

I must trust that “I have this”—that I can complete a difficult task.

I must inspire trust from my clients that I will do what I promised.

I must deliver on my commitments to my friends and family.

I must deliver on commitments made to myself: self-care; finish that novel; be kind to myself.

All of these things come down to “do what you say you were going to do”.

It involves taking responsibility for my actions and accepting blame when I’ve been wrong.

It involves giving credit to others when it’s due, and a genuine wish to help others.

I know that when I have good self-trust that I feel better about myself and more inclined to trust others.

Sure sometimes I get burnt by other people, but it comes down to this:

Do you prefer to believe that that the world is here to help you or that it’s against you?

On the most part I prefer to believe the former. That is, learn to trust and be trusted, and that leads to happiness—well at least more times than not—so I choose trust.

‘Trust’ is today’s word out of the jar. Read more about my .  

 

How to Structure a Novel

How do you create a good novel structure?

  1. The hook
  2. The inciting event
  3. Progress
  4. The setbacks
  5. The midpoint
  6. The final confrontation

Let’s Get Real – Creating Authentic Connections

As a content marker and online publisher a lot of the work I do is in the digital and social media world.

We often hear (and tell people) that we need to be ‘authentic’ in our storytelling, that we should create ‘authentic’ connections with people meaningful to us and our business.

I totally agree.

The thing though that has been stumping me for some time though is exactly HOW can we create REAL, AUTHENTIC and MEANINGFUL connections with people in a digital world?

Sure we can start conversations and engage with others like we’ve never been able to before.

In many ways we are more connected than ever – in a technological sense – but is it the same type of connection we get from meeting someone in the flesh – IRL? Are we in some ways more disconnected then ever? Is social media in fact anti-social media?

How can we recapture the same feeling and instant feedback loop we get when speaking to someone who is physically in the same space as us? Is it possible?

I was determined to get to the bottom of this and speak to people who are doing this as part of their work, as well as experts in human behaviour and communication.

I decided to create My Let’s Get Real Project – to pinpoint how to create the In Real Life Feeling (IRLF) in any communication circumstances.

Then on the very day I start formulating this project I reached for my latest word – and out of the hundreds of words I could have randomly chose I picked ‘authentic’.

Spooky right!

So consider this project started.

If you have any input or ideas you’d like to add to My Let’s Get Real Project .

‘Authentic’ is today’s word out of the jar. Read more about my 

Risk Averse or Risk Taker – Why You Don’t Need to Choose

There’s a great series of ads here in Australia from an insurance company featuring ‘Captain Risky’.

is a self-styled Evel Knievel wannabe who says: “I’ve always been drawn to risk – like a moth to an oxy-acety-lene flame”.

He performs crazy stunt after crazy stunt and has some epic fails along the way. Yet he goes on undeterred.

“One thing I do know is that sometimes you gotta go out on a limb – ‘cos that’s where the fruit is.”

There’s some real wisdom in that.

Sometimes you have to take a chance, take a risk – the magic happens outside your comfort zone, but what if you’re risk averse by nature…

I’m a safety first type of person.

Always unplug the iron after you’ve used it. Put the hot iron somewhere safe in case an incredibly powerful gust of wind suddenly materialises out of nowhere and blows it over. Go back and check it three times to make sure it is off, unplugged and hasn’t been knocked over.

Okay so that’s really just being sensible and a ‘little’ OCD.

Does being safe though mean I’m risk averse?

I don’t like going on scary rides, I have no wish to jump out of a plane, swim with sharks or bungy jump. I don’t particularly like flying.

Risk averse? I’m not sure.

I do know that I don’t like the feeling of something being completely out of my control and I also don’t like the feeling of puking everywhere – motion sickness is the number one reason I don’t like scary rides.

But this doesn’t necessarily make me risk averse.

In my life I’ve taken some BIG risks.

I’ve left a good job in a small country town and moved to Tokyo, not knowing a soul there or speaking any Japanese. All after living in only two country towns my whole life.

I have packed up my life and moved to cities of strangers several times with no job or income lined up.

I started my own business and several entrepreneurial ventures, some which have paid off and some which haven’t.

I have spent years working on fictional novels that may never be seen by the world.

So I take risks.

Why?

Because the If Onlys scare me way more than the What Ifs.

Just maybe the risk will pay off…just maybe.

But I’m probably what you would call a calculated risk-taker.

I like hedging my bets.

I like to thoroughly research something first and have a solid plan of attack, followed by Plan B, Plan C and an exit strategy.

I do know that real risk takers don’t have a Plan B necessarily, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not me. I’m a Plan B kind of girl.

My risks are probably a bit tamer as a result, but they’re still risks.

So from this day forth I would like to to be known as Captain Calculated Risky!

And as Captain Risky says…”Kick It and Rip It”….after a thorough risk assessment of course.

‘Risk’ is today’s word out of the jar. Read more about my .  

 

The Biggest Content Marketing Mistake You Need to Avoid

5 Life Changing Books Every Writer Needs to Read Today

I love being a writer. It is all I have ever wanted to do, but doing it for a living and balancing it among other work and life priorities can be downright hard. Whenever I do need a boost, inspiration, motivation or writing tips I turn to a few key books – here are what I think are the top books every writer needs to read.

1. Living as a Creative –

I’m a scaredy-cat by nature. Many writers I have come across are. For me, fear goes along with my overly active imagination that always asks ‘what if?’.

It’s great for fiction writing but not so good for getting over those fears of ‘am I really any good at this?’, ‘should I just give up?’, and any version of the ‘I’m a fraud’ factor many of us are regularly afflicted by. 

What I love about ” is that it deals with all of these fears and more. Gilbert encourages the writer to accept fear and invite it along on your journey, but never to let it in the “driving seat”. Beautifully written and packed with useful heart-felt advice on how to live a creative life.

2. Making Money as a Writer – 

One of the most quoted lines from this book is ‘Beauty is good, but coin is better. You can’t eat artistic integrity. It tastes like sawdust.’ It is the perfect summary of the theme of Birmingham’s book.

If you’ve ever wanted to make money from writing, be it as a freelancer, a features writer or author, then this is the book for you.

Notice though I didn’t say it was for poets…Birmingham doesn’t have any useful advice for poets, but he does have a wicked sense of humour – he really knows his sh…stuff.

There’s plenty of expert tips and laughs along the way starting with the tongue in cheek full title: : Who Smashes Deadlines, Crushes Editors and Lives in a Solid Gold Hovercraft.  

Topics covered include ‘How to slay writer’s block’, ‘What the hell is workflow?’, ‘How to write 10,000 words in a day’ and ‘The best apps for writers’. Hard-core, real-world practical advice. Read it if you dare!

3. Mastering Language –

is a guide to mastering language, written by the master himself.

Helpful advice, tips and instruction on using language is threaded among personal anecdotes and memoir.

King uses his life and writing experience, as well as examples from his own novels, to illustrate technical writing points. He shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work. If you’re a Stephen King fan you will get a serious kick out of this. Even if you’re not – and I don’t read much of his stuff (I told you I’m a scaredy cat) – you will still find it incredibly helpful.

For one, I share King’s hate for passive voice. If you catch me doing it feel free to tag me with a narky tweet. Scratch that. For all I know I’ve dropped a few clangers in this post. 

He also declares war on adverbs, which has led me to revisit my own work and weed out the little buggers but also live in perpetual fear of them. So I’d say King’s ‘On Writing’ mission is accomplished in terms of improving my writing.

4. Putting Yourself Out There – 

I have mentioned this book more than once in my blog posts, for several reasons.

Firstly, I have a massive writing and marketing crush on Seth Godin. Love your guts mate!

Secondly, this book is freakin’ awesome.

 is an urgent call to action to writers and other creative types to stop waiting ‘for their turn’ and to send their art out to the world.

He goes further, saying we owe it to the world to share our craft, whether the world likes it or not. It’s not the world’s job to love us, it’s our job to just put ourselves and our art out there – embracing all the challenges along the way.

I love how Godin simultaneously inspires and gives the reader the kick up the butt they need while also delivering necessary reality checks.

5. Understanding Story – 

Ursula Le Guin has created this deceptively simple guide focusing on the craft of story and narrative.

 covers the main components of narrative, from the sound of language to sentence construction to point of view.

Le Guin combines illustrative examples with her own witty commentary, as well as exercises. She also includes advice on working in writing groups.

These are just some of the books I have loved and found incredibly valuable for improving my writing.

What books for writers do you recommend?

**Stay in the know about my writing projects and receive regular writing tips and articles like this – .**

Truth. Can you handle it?

I’ve always been fascinated with the truth.

First there’s the concept of telling lies.

As a general rule I don’t tell lies.

White lies at times perhaps. Omissions maybe.

But not big fat porky pies.

For one, I’m a little scared of being caught out.

I do subscribe to Sir Walter Scott’s quote:

I also pride myself on being: what you see is what you get.

I’m not great at pretending to be something I’m not and I don’t enjoy it.

I try hard to lead an authentic life and be true to myself.

Truth for me means finding your purpose in life and following it.

It means saying something the way it is, though sometimes it’s necessary to focus on positives and a little bit of sugar coating, which, on a whole, is better than lying even if you forgo self-preservation.

I guess what I find most interesting is individuals who habitually lie…so much so that they actually believe their lies.

Whether someone is lying to themselves or others, I feel bad for them because there is nothing as fulfilling as knowing you are living and owning your truths, even if you don’t like them sometimes.

‘Truth’ is today’s word out of the jar. Read more about my . 

The Big Bad Truth about Blogging and Content Marketing and Why Your Business Should care

Content marketing and blogging remains one of the most effective marketing strategies for businesses.

Your online content has never mattered more.

In fact it REALLY matters. cites numerous studies that show:

  • Small businesses with blogs get 126% more leads than businesses without blogs.
  • 77% of internet users read blogs.
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog.
  • Websites with blog content have 434% more search-engine indexed pages – making your business easier to find on Google.
  • Content marketing generates 3 times the leads and 6 times the conversions, while costing 62% less than other marketing methods.

I know this first-hand because I regularly work with global marketing specialists and agencies. I also ghost-write for one of the world’s leading Content Marketing Experts, featured numerous times in Forbes magazine.

So what’s BAD about what I’m telling you?

It’s not bad if your business already has a content marketing and blogging strategy.

However, if you aren’t creating and distributing valuable content – preferably original content – then you may be missing out on valuable lead generation and sales opportunities.

I’m not talking about advertisements or blatant brand promotion. I’m talking about useful and interesting content, such as blog or online articles, relevant to your target audience.

The intention of the content, of course, is to stimulate interest in your brand and result in the reader taking an action, but this is achieved by being helpful as opposed to salesy.

How to Get Started

Regular blogging via your website, or publishing online articles on sites such as  is relatively simple when you work with a .

You can get high quality blog articles and online content in a cinch – and it will only take 10 minutes of your time.

Check out our . You may also like to check out my blogging .  for high quality content.

Pause. A short stop can change your journey for the better.

Take a temporary break or rest.

At this time of year things seem to really speed up.

Work. Family. Social events. They hit a crescendo at Christmas time.

If you’re anything like me you have set an ambitious list of tasks that need to be finished before Christmas, so when it gets to Christmas you can take a break.

But the problem with this approach is you can burn yourself out preparing for a break, and when you do get to the break it doesn’t feel like one at all.

This is why you need to pause every now and again.

Pausing from a long project or intensive period can be critically important.

Taking a short break can actually make your work more effective as it allows you to re-energise, regroup and unpack anything that’s been troubling you.

It enables you to see the wood for the trees.

And if you are looking for a relaxing and carefree Christmas break, then take a moment to pause…pause right now…today.

‘Pause’ is today’s word out of the jar. Read more about my .