So today I have a great author feature for you from author Sydney Logan. I am very excited about this post and hope you all enjoy it!!
Writing Tips for New Authors
Guest Post by Sydney Logan
I have written several of these “writing advice for authors” posts since releasing my debut novel in September 2012. With each new post, I’ve tried to find new ideas to share. This isn’t difficult, because I’m constantly researching and trying different things, all in hopes of writing the best story and marketing it to the masses.
The most amazing (and admittedly frustrating) discovery I’ve made is that there is no perfect recipe for writing and promoting a book. What works for one author may not work for another. I know authors (like me) who like to cross-promote with other authors. I know others who believe the secret to their success is a faithful Twitter following. I also know many writers who hardly promote at all and still become bestselling authors.
Here are a few things that I have found useful when it comes to writing and marketing:
Have a Plan – I’m not an outliner, but I do have a general plan when I sit down to write. I found this character chart which has helped me in the past. It makes me really think about my characters’ traits (both physical and emotional). This chart is very thorough and I don’t fill-in every blank, but I wanted to share it with you because it can be useful in keeping you and your characters on track. It was designed by author Tricia Goyer and can be found on her website at http://www.triciagoyer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/CharacterSheet1.pdf
What’s in a Name? – I have a love/hate relationship with naming my characters. Because both my novels are set in Appalachia, I try to choose names (first and last) that are representative of the region. I use old high school yearbooks and newspaper articles. I also use online sites like Baby Name Genie (www.babynamegenie.com) to help me choose the perfect name.
Writing is a Business – This has been my biggest eye-opener. I thought signing a contract with a publisher would mean that I could write my books and someone else would handle the marketing side of things. Wrong. As the author, you are expected to do the majority of your own marketing and promotion. This, obviously, cuts into valuable writing time. Which brings me to . . .
Finding a Balance – You have to budget your time. Assign so many minutes/hours per week to promoting your work, and try to stick to it. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself doing more tweeting than writing, and that will ensure that you miss your upcoming deadline.
Social Media - I love social media, but there are only so many hours in the day. One piece of advice I received was to pick two or three social media sites and really focus on them. For me, keeping a steady presence on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter has helped me build an audience and keeps me connected to readers.
Make Friends – There are a lot of independent authors out there, and many of them would be happy to connect with you to help you cross-promote. I belong to a wonderful group called Author2Author. We’re a group of authors who help each other by hosting each other on our blogs, promoting each other’s giveaways, and offering advice when needed.
These are just a few of the things that have worked for me. There is no secret formula. There is no “right” way. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and try not to be disappointed when they don’t work. Find what works for you.
Thank you so much Sydney for giving us some great tips and for being on the blog today.
Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. With the 2012 release of her first novel, Lessons Learned, she made the transition from bookworm to author. Sydney has a very unhealthy obsession with music, and her iPod is filled with everything from Johnny Cash to Eminem. She is also the author of two short stories: “Mistletoe Magic,” available exclusively on Amazon Kindle, and “Stupid Cupid,” which is featured in the Romantic Interludes compilation. When she isn't reading or writing, she enjoys playing piano and relaxing on her front porch at her home in East Tennessee with her wonderful husband and their very spoiled cat. Her second novel, Mountain Charm, will be released July 4, 2013.