4 Essential Articles You Need to be Writing to Start Making Money with Your Blog

When so many people are out there writing blogs, do you even stand a chance of monetizing yours?

The simple answer to that is yes. But it isn’t going to be easy. You can give yourself an advantage if you know what to write. 

The best writing practice for monetizing blogs is through affiliate marketing. This is where you provide links within your articles to goods or services. In turn, these companies provide you a commission if the reader buys through your link.

Just remember, you should only affiliate with companies you actually believe are worth it. Your readers will see straight through you if you try to mess them around or recommend a product that doesn’t suit their needs or is downright scammy. 

Check out these 4 proven money-making article types…

1. The List of Resources Article

I bet if you look through any of your favorite blogs, you’re going to find a “list of resources” article or a variation of it. They may even be pinned to the main navigation menu. And there’s a simple explanation for that. 

It’s because they generate income. 

Often when readers are faced with finding a new product for a particular challenge, they’ll turn to their favorite bloggers. I personally have readers ask me about the best editing software, best online writing classes, and best keyword research tools. 

And because of this, I’ve created my list of resources that I actually recommend. It lays out my top choices based on several criteria. 

I have become an affiliate of most of these resources and I provide an easy way for readers to access the products. This way, I can honestly net affiliate sales through actual products I use and believe in.

2. “Best of” and “Top 10” Articles

When was the last time you searched specifically for a mediocre product? You know… when you wanted something that worked… but not too good. Oh! And you needed to be unsure of whether its value was really worth the money. 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say never. 

I’d imagine you’d look for the best of whatever you needed or even a top 10 list for more options. That’s where the money will come in. An article like this is designed for readers in a lower stage of buying awareness. People who are looking to buy but are unsure of just what they want to purchase.

By providing them with a neat list of something like the best writers conferences, you may be able to accelerate their purchasing process in a way that results in an affiliate sale for you.

However, it’s not just “Best of” lists that reel in affiliate sales. Another variation of this is the “Cheapest of” article. There are people out there just searching for the best deal you can get. And in my experience, these articles actually generate more sales than the “Best of” or “Top 10” posts.

3. Product or Service Review Articles

With reviews, you’re connecting more with people who are closer to buying than in the previously mentioned articles. These buyers have a specific product in mind that they want to buy. 

They just may need someone else to affirm their decision. And that’s where you come in. Now, before you start reviewing everything under the sun, take a look at what you’re reviewing. Can you in good faith actually promote this product? Is it within your scope and is the product quality up to your standards? 

If the answer to either of those questions is ‘no’ you may want to consider a better option for review. Unless you plan on giving a bad review as a cautionary warning. 

Readers and potential buyers tend to have an innate ability to brush off what you’re selling as snake oil. They can sense it. So be honest with yourself and your readers and watch the sales roll in.  

4. Comparison Articles Between Two or More Products/Services

These types of articles may end up being your top sellers. They are specifically helpful for those in the end stages of buying decisions. It’s either this product or that one. And a well-written article can be all that’s needed for an affiliate sale.

Comparison articles also have a very unique position when it comes to SEO. Here… let me demonstrate what I mean.

Search TermAverage Monthly Volume of SearchersCompetitive Score (0-100 w/ Higher number being more difficult)
Mailchimp1.4M57 (Hard)
GetResponse30K28 (Hard)
Mailchimp vs GetResponse3502 (Easy)

This data was procured from Ahrefs.com–a great tool for SEO’ers.

Looking at the data, you can see the competitive scores for GetResponse and Mailchimp are hard to rank for–especially Mailchimp. Could you rank for it? Sure. Through an exhaustive amount of time and effort.

But look at the comparison keywords. It has a competitive score of only 2. That would make ranking for the keywords super easy. 

If you’d like to see an example of a versus article, take a look at Food Delivery Guru. This popular food blog reviews food delivery services and meal kits to help make your mealtimes easier. Food Delivery Guru has several articles comparing different services, but one of my favorites is their head to head review of Sun Basket and Green Chef. These two organic meal delivery services have a lot in common, and the writers do a nice job of pointing out the differences. 

Monetizing Your Blog Isn’t Impossible

Through the use of affiliate marketing, you can convert your blog into an online asset.

These 4 article types are written specifically for driving sales and providing honest information to the reader. Just remember to choose your affiliates carefully for your best chance of success.


Image from Unsplash by Micheile Henderson


How to write a book description that converts

Does this sound familiar? You’ve spent months planning and writing your manuscript, had it taken through a strict editing process, worked with cover designers and when you’re finally ready to go, you’re in such a rush to upload you don’t give much thought to your book description? 

Well, don’t worry. You’re not alone. So many writers leave their book description to the very end, and it can often get overlooked. However, if you think about a customer’s buying cycle, a book description is key. Don’t get me wrong, a cover is important and the first thing that catches a potential reader’s eye but the book description is what makes them click that buy button.

However, now we are talking about the dreaded ‘S’ word… sales. 

You need to start thinking of your book description as a sales page for your book. Now, I know that when most people think of sales, they immediately imagine using some shady tactics to sell a few more book copies….

That’s not sales though – well, not the type of sales we’ll be doing. I’m just saying that your book description isn’t a creative writing project. It exists to do a job — convert readers into buyers. 

But, the question is, how do we write a book description that converts? Well, in this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to structure a fiction book description 
  • Why a nonfiction book description is different than that of a fiction book
  • What free tool you can use to make eye-catching book descriptions

Writing a Successful Fiction Book Description

In a lot of ways, a fiction book can be a lot trickier to write a description for compared to a nonfiction book. Many nonfiction books are directly solving a problem, which makes it easy to talk about the benefits a reader can get. In fiction, it’s a little different because we’re all solving the same problem – the reader’s need for a good book to read. Regardless, the impact of a great, or of a poor, book description cannot be understated. 

The self-publishing market is getting more and more competitive, so any advantage you can get over your competition is worth the time. For fiction authors who want to write a great description, here is a basic structure I like to use, which is taken from Bryan Cohen’s book, How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis

Step One: A short tagline.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that on a book sales page, there are only a few lines of the book description on display with a ‘read more’ link.

Those few lines have to be compelling enough to get the shopper to click the ‘read more’ link. You can have the most convincing book description that would normally convert at a high percentage, but if nobody clicks through to read it, it’s wasted. 

That’s why you’ll need to include a tagline. 

A tagline is almost like a little hook for your book. Hollywood films use this strategy incredibly well! Here are some of my favorite movie taglines for some inspiration: 

  • Alien (1979) Tag: In space, no one can hear you scream
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) Tag: One man’s struggle to take it easy
  • Ghostbusters (1984) Tagline: Who ya gonna call?
  • Jaws (1975) Tagline: You’ll never go in the water again
  • The Big Lebowski (1998): Her life was in their hands. Now her toe is in the mail

So, come up with that short tagline that’ll hook potential readers in. If you’re struggling to find inspiration, you can use a rhetorical question as a way to ‘open the loop’ with the reader. By offering a question without an answer, you’ll make clicking that ‘read more’ link more compelling. 

Or, you can use a comparison to hook a reader in. This works because you’re relating something the potential reader knows nothing about (your book), with something they already have set emotions about. The book Dinosaur Lords uses this strategy for their tagline, saying “It’s like a cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.” Granted, it probably has a bit more clout when it is George R. R. Martin saying it, but the point stands. 

It’s also important to remember that if you ever decide on testing your book description, alternate your taglines first. You could have a killer book description that nobody reads because of an ineffective tagline. That’ll potentially save you writing a whole new description! 

Step Two: A present tense summary

Once you’ve hooked your potential reader with your epic tagline, it’s time to tell them a little more about your book. You’ll want to keep this incredibly simple, as too much information is confusing for a reader who is coming across your work for the first time. There’s going to be plenty of time for your reader to get to know your characters and setting when they start reading your book. For now, though, you’ll want to stick to the following rules. 

  • Only mention vital character details: For the short summary, a character’s surname or extended background isn’t important
  • Omit characters and places that aren’t important: If you can give the outline of your story without mentioning minor characters and secondary settings, do it. 
  • Don’t include any sub-plot: This is self-explanatory, make sure you keep your short summary focused on the important stuff
  • Use short sentences: Using short and sharp sentences can give your writing a bit more suspense – use it wisely

Basically, you’ll want to keep this simple enough to tell your reader that your book is in their wheelhouse. Think about it this way, for your potential reader to start reading your short summary, they’ve already done the following:

  1. Found your book on Amazon through a targeted ad, search, or general browsing
  2. Seen your book cover and title, and were intrigued enough to click through
  3. Read your tagline and decided to read more about your book

By now, they just need the quick summary to make sure your book covers topics they’re interested in. 

Step Three: A selling paragraph 

In a similar logic to what I mentioned above, if they’ve checked out your short synopsis and they’re still reading, it usually means they’re interested. Now you can start to build up some hype around you and your book. 

In this section, you’ll use a few strong adjectives and power-words to interest your reader. If you’re unsure what a power word is, you’re in for a treat because they’ve been used by sales writers for years with a lot of success. In fact, you’ve almost certainly purchased at least one thing over the years from the guidance of a power word or two. 

If you want to know more about power words, here are some great lists:

You’ll also want to mention any other important information about you and your book in this sales paragraph. For example, if you’re a school teacher who has started writing children’s’ books — or if you’re a previous bestseller — now’s a great time to mention it. 

Step Four: A call-to-action. 

Okay, so you’ve had a potential reader engage with your entire book description. Now, it’s time to guide the potential reader to make a buying decision. 

Every book description should end with a call to action. With your call to action, tell the person reading your description what their next step is. Usually, that next step is buying or reading your book (if on Kindle Unlimited). This doesn’t have to be a full paragraph pleading with the person reading the book description. Instead, keep it short and simple. 

It sounds so simple, but many authors don’t have a call to action at the end of their book descriptions. Perhaps they’re just ready to hit publish, or maybe they don’t want to feel like they’re pushing for a sale. Either way, you can capitalize on the interest of your potential reader by making sure you ask for that sale. If you’re unsure on how to construct a killer call to action, here are some guides I find useful. 

Step Five: Put it all together

When you break it down, a book description seems pretty easy, doesn’t it? 

You’ve got this. 

Now make it happen. 


Photo by ASTERISK on Unsplash


How to Write an Amazing Back Cover Blurb for Your Book

Do you remember the last time you went to a bookstore?

You probably browsed the shelves until you found a cover that caught your eye and picked up the book. And if I were a gambling man, I’d bet the next thing you did was turn the book over to read the back cover.

Chances are if the description drew you in, you bought the book.

But what about shopping online?

Did you know that you can view a book’s blurb right on its Amazon Sales Page? That makes your book description a super important marketing tool.

Your book’s description should do more than tell you what the story’s about. It’s one of the first opportunities you have to convince your reader to buy your book.

Your back cover is not just a summary, it’s a special form of ad copy. There are three key areas you need to focus on when writing your back cover. With this in mind, let’s go over how you can create a killer back cover blurb and sell more books.

What Goes Into Writing a Back Cover Blurb?

The first step is determining what you’re going to include in the blurb itself. You’ll want to draw your reader in as much as possible–be tropey and hook them but provide some meat as well.

Your Hook

Imagine that you have five seconds to get your reader hooked. How on earth are you going to do that? With a snappy, interesting hook–that’s how.

This can be a hard one-liner from your story, a catchphrase, or even a solid review quote.

Remember, this is ad copy. You need to set a hook to snag your readers attention, and entice them further. There are many ways to do this. For fiction, paint a scene for your readers. Present readers with a problem and what’s at stake. For example, if you’re a romance author, try something like this:
“What’s worse than waking up next to a hunky stranger? Being married to him.”

And for nonfiction, think about what the reader is looking for and give it to them. Tell the reader what you’re going to teach them or what they’ll walk away knowing after picking up the book. This can either come in the form of a question or statement.

Here are two of my favorite examples from both nonfiction and fiction:

Fitness, money and wisdom – here are the tools. (Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans)

At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet, a curmudgeon with staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People think him bitter, and he thinks himself surrounded by idiots. (Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove)

The Book Summary

This is the meat and potatoes of your back cover. Here you want to write two to three paragraphs to explain what your story is about. This does not mean cram every plot point in or give away surprise twists. Your back cover is not a synopsis.

For nonfiction, be sure to present issues clearly and promise big answers. Your reader should have a clear idea of why they’re buying this book and what they’re going to receive from doing so.

Fiction authors should provide a tantalizing summary that makes readers want to devour the story. Imagine this being just like a movie trailer. You want it to grab attention and convince the reader to make a purchase.

Another key tip: avoid using clichés.

Clichés are well… so cliché. They’re so overused that they might actually discourage a reader from buying your book. An example of this would be starting your blurb with, “Juniper stepped out into the pouring rain. Her heart had been broken one too many times.” Yawn.

Sealing the Deal

As we determined, a back cover blurb is sales copy. And no sale is complete without a close. So be sure to focus as much on your closing as you do your hook.

However, you don’t want to say, “Buy this book now!”

Nothing turns off a potential reader like a hard sell.

Leaving a cliffhanger at the end of your blurb though… That’s a pro move. It makes your readers intrigued about what happens next. And the only way they find out is if they buy the book.

Be Sure to Properly Format Your Back Cover

No matter how well your book blurb is written, it won’t be read if your back cover is poorly designed and formatted.

The saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” only exists in fairy tales. It’s a hard truth to accept but a truth nonetheless.

Fonts, Colors, and Pictures

We’ve all seen those book covers that look awkward. And not in an intentionally good way. Maybe the picture is off or doesn’t suit the genre. It might look cheap or washed out. Or maybe something’s wrong that you can’t put your finger on. And that goes for back covers too.

Either way, you probably didn’t buy the book. Because, as I mentioned, we do judge books by their covers. They are our main marketing tools in this business.

When designing your cover, take into account whether or not your back cover pictures are appropriate for your genre. Don’t forget about the color scheme either. Don’t go around using faded colors for a bold, dynamic novel. And make sure it properly meshes with the front of the book.

Pay close attention to your font selection when writing your blurb as well. Some fonts work better than others. An awesome Serif font may be applicable for your ‘hack-n-slash’ medieval story but look tacky on a nonfiction book about workplace dress code.

A good idea would be to examine what your successful competitors are doing. Note the trends. This will give you some clarity into what works and what doesn’t.

Hire a Pro

We’re not all amazing artists or graphic designers. And if you’re like me and fall into this group, you may want to seriously consider hiring a pro.

They’re called professionals for a reason. And there are many out there to choose from. Head over to sites such as Fiverr or Upwork, and you’ll find hundreds of designers waiting for you.

Give your book the best chance of thriving–even if you have to spend a little extra money.

Get Yourself Involved…

The back cover is a great place to promote your author brand and become more recognizable in the world of writing.

But a word of caution: the back cover shouldn’t be solely about you–unless you’re a household name such as Stephen King or Dean Koontz. It should be about the book.

However, a nice professionally taken headshot and bio does go a long way. Keep your author bio short, sweet, and relatable.

This is also a good place to showcase a few accolades. A quick quote from a reputable publication or author could do the trick. List down a few prestigious achievements such as Bestseller List, Hugo, Newberry, or other well-known awards. But if you don’t have any of these, no biggie.

Need more guidance?

This is a quick rundown of how to write an amazing back cover blurb. If you’re looking for a more in-depth discussion, head over to Kindlepreneur and check out my article on how to create a back cover blurb.



How to Start Building a Brand New Author Platform from Scratch

So you’ve decided to take the leap and become an author! That’s awesome!

But have you quite figured out how you’re going to build your author brand? 

I get this question a lot. How can you establish yourself as an author? Is it just writing good books?

Don’t get me wrong. Writing great work is definitely an important part of becoming a successful author. But with an abundance of authors out there in the world, it’s essential that you can set yourself a cut above the rest. And that comes from marketing.

Building a solid, credible author brand can be what sets you apart from all the other authors out there. Let’s look into how you can create your author platform from the ground up.

Determine exactly who you want to be.

Before you get too gung-ho about platform building, you need to get a bit introspective. 

Who is it that you want to be in the writing community and who do you want others to see you as? 

Do you want to be a celebrity writer who takes backtalk from no one? Or do you want to be a role model for younger writers? Maybe you just want to be one of the masses that specifically targets a particular audience.

Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, you need to determine it upfront. This vision will be the basis of everything you’re trying to achieve. 

One cool way to do this is to create a vision board or plan that visually shows what you’re striving for. It’s kind of like an outline for your brand, similar to how you would create an outline for your book

Place that board or sheet somewhere you can see it everyday and use it for motivation moving forward.

Build a killer website

If you’re going to be an author in today’s day and age, you’re going to need a killer website. Your website is one of the most important things you can have as an author.

It’s a place for you to display your work (for advertisement or sale), build credibility and authority, communicate with your readership, and network with publishers or clients.

In many ways, it’s the command center of your author platform.

But take note, your website is only as good as you make it out to be. If you want to save a few bucks and design it yourself, more power to you. However, if site design isn’t your forte… You may want to use a pre-built theme or hire some help. 

Launch your mailing list

Now that we’ve determined how important your website is, let’s talk about the most important thing to come from your website. Your mailing list.

Establishing a mailing list is critical to not only building your author platform, but to your continued success as an author. 

You need to look at your mailing list as the first part of your targeted audience. If people like who you are and what you have to offer, they’ll sign up. And they’ll most likely be the first to buy your books and support you.

When building your mailing list, you need to make it clear and easy to sign up for. The sign-up form should appear as a pop-up window or at the top of your website so it will be among the first things seen. You want to make it easy to convert your readers into subscribers.

Become present on social media.

Social media for writers is becoming one of the biggest ways authors can get their name out there. Not only that, but it provides a means of direct contact with your readers. 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Goodreads are great places to start getting active. And the more active, the better. Your followers or potential readers will love seeing your engagement. 

But be wary about social media. Don’t try to spread yourself too thin. It’s often best to focus on just one or two platforms instead of trying to hit them all.

Analyze and make adjustments as needed.

The world is a fickle place. What works now is surely not guaranteed to work in the future.

So when you first start constructing your author platform, look for trends and signs from your subscribers. 

What does your website traffic look like? Are you seeing changes when you adjust your website? Or what about your social media? Are you getting too little engagement? Maybe you’re posting too much or not enough.

Creating an author platform is just as much a balancing act as it is a building process. It takes time and patience to get it just right. Just be sure to monitor what’s going on with your platform and adjust as necessary.

Good luck on your author journey!

Photo by Burst from Pexels


How to be Original in an Already Crowded Genre

Let’s face it.

Originality is hard to come by these days. Sometimes it seems like all the good ideas have already been taken and written. And this just isn’t some modern day problem either. Even authors in the times of yesteryear faced this dilemma. 

So how are you supposed to stare down this millenia old issue and come out on top?

Surprisingly enough, it’s much easier than you think it would be. Whether it’s writing a children’s book or a cozy mystery novel, sometimes all you need is a push in the right direction. Let’s take a look at some ways you can combat this situation and emerge victorious. 

Improve on an existing story. 

Sometimes, the best ideas are adaptations of pre-existing ones. 

The movie Alien was pitched to producers as “Jaws in Space.” Simply changing the setting of a successful concept paved the way for a new movie that stood on its own merits and felt original. 

So in your writing, instead of starting from scratch, start with this thought exercise: “What if this already popular story was different in this way?” For example, “What if Bruce Wayne lost all his money? Could he still be Batman?” That’s a book idea, albeit probably a copyrighted one.

Or try this on for size: “What if Homer’s Odyssey were set in the 1930s?” That’s the premise of the Coen Brothers’ 2000 film, O’ Brother Where Art Thou? It follows the story of three Depression-Era chain gang escapees looking for a lost treasure. The movie is largely adapted from Homer’s Odyssey — with the main protagonist even being named Ulysses Everett McGill. However, the drastic change in setting took a classic idea and formed something new and original.

Instead of trying to make every part of your book a revelation of new ideas, why not find a framework that you know will connect and use your creativity to make it your own?

Get authentic with your writing.

There is one absolute, surefire way to ensure that you have an original idea. 

Use a story from your own life.

Your own personal journey is 100% unique. Sure, there may be commonalities between your life and others, but no two individuals are exactly alike. Using explicit details from your life can spice up your story and make it something of your very own. Remember, the devil is in the details.

This is a great way to create memorable, original characters as well. Look back at your childhood. Who really stands out in your mind and why? Did they have any funny quirks or attributes that make them unforgettable? 

Incorporate these details into your characters, and you’ll be guaranteed an original story — from your first sentence to your last. 

Take a trip down the rabbit hole. 

Do you recall the part in the famous children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where she initially falls down the rabbit hole? She’s in a downward spiral to who knows where, surrounded by familiar things. Clocks, cupboards and furniture all pass by her, but they slowly morph into more curious things. Until BOOM! She lands neatly on the ground in some altered version of her perceived reality.

Believe it or not, this bizarre scene is a great picture of how to be creative with your writing. By starting with something normal and allowing your mind to go deeper and deeper into new and creative ideas. 

The real challenge is learning how to harness this ability and put it to use. Here’s how you can build your own existential rabbit hole:

  1. Take a look at your preferred genre and write down all of the recurring themes and topics you can think of. The ones you want to pay the most attention to are the thoughts that occur most frequently. For example, if you’re a crime writer, murder may come to mind. Followed by strangulation, stabbings, and gunshots. These can all be related to murder. Jot these ideas down.
  1. Next, compare your lists. What did you keep coming back to? Continuing with the example, we’ll say murder and robbery kept coming to mind. Think about how you can combine these two. Is the real goal the murder with a robbery used as a cover up? Or a robbery gone wrong? Now these are just two variables. But combine them with the other commonalities and use word associations with these as above… You can easily craft an original idea or plot points. 

A great example of this can be found in the Austin Powers movies. Dr. Evil is a Bond villain parody who wants to take down the titular hero. By combining two methods of previous Bond-style–from Goldfinger and Thunderball to be exact–Dr Evil’s plot involves “sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their foreheads.”  

Summary: Story Trumps Creativity

If you’re worried there are no good ideas left, take a deep breath and give yourself the gift of inner peace. I just showed you three ways to prime your brain for creativity; and the truth is, a good story is more important anyway. 

Consider the Star Wars movie The Force Awakens — a new sci fi story for a younger generation. What new concepts did it bring to the galaxy from long ago and far away? Not many. And yet it got 93% from critics and 86% from fans on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Creativity is good, but it’s not the ultimate goal of storytelling. What is? Simply to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. 

And how do you that?

Well, it might require a little creativity. 


Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels


How To Build An Author Bio That You Can Be Proud Of

Have you ever read and online article and thought, “Man, that was pretty good!”?

(If not… you need new blogs to read.)

But me… when I read a great article, my first thought is… Who wrote this? And there’s just one place to look. The author bio.

Now, those bios can be the defining point for authors. They can mean the difference of gaining an avid follower or losing a potential reader. Some writers fail to see the importance of these. They may believe that only the writing counts.

However, the majority of these writers aren’t Stephen King. They are not household names whose name carries the weight of their career. But heck, even Mr. King understands the importance of a good author bio. If he didn’t, why would he have an author bio on each of his novels and an “About the Author” page on his website?

So how can you build an author bio that would make you (and Stephen King) proud? Follow these simple tips to be on your way to a successful author bio.


When writing your author bio, remember to KISS–no, not your grandma, but I’m sure she would appreciate it.

KISS stands for Keep It Short and Sweet. You see, your author bio doesn’t need to be a full biography. It needs to be well-crafted and to the point. No need to tell your life story. Save that for another book.

For example, if you own a German blog about air fryers and deep fryers, that’s awesome! But you shouldn’t mention that in the bio of your YA sci fi novel.


Your author bio is a perfect place to list some of your personal achievements and accomplishments. The key word here is some. Save excessive sharing for your author social media, where an algorithm will stop it from annoying too many people!

You don’t want to sound too ostentatious, but a little bio boasting here isn’t too terrible. The real trick is to do so while showing humility and modesty.

Write In The Third Person

Here’s the deal. I know you will write your own author bio. Your reader will know you wrote it. Everyone will know you wrote it. But that’s not the point.

By writing in the third person, you will sound much more professional. It gives an additional flair of credibility to your bio as well. Not to mention all that bragging you did in the tip above… a third person viewpoint will help to mitigate some of that unavoidable pomp from earlier.

Hopes and Dreams

It’s not a bad idea to sprinkle in some hopes and dreams of yours. But be careful. Not all of your hopes and dreams are good author bio material.

For instance, stating a quirky bucket list goal could be a nice addition. Like saying you’ve always dreamed of going to the moon when writing a space novel could work. But saying you’ve always dreamed of heading to Ireland after writing a travel guide to Dublin… not such a great idea.

Speaking of dreams… nobody really wants to hear that you have been dreaming of being a writer your whole life. I mean it’s awesome that you’re out here living the dream. Seriously. Most people don’t get that opportunity. But unless you are writing an autobiography…don’t bring it up.

Nail Your Opening Statement

Your opening statement should really grab your reader’s attention. This is the most important part of your author bio. If after reading your first sentence and the reader leaves, everything else in your bio goes to waste.

I really like this statement from Robin Perini, author of Forgotten Secrets. She starts her author bio with:

“Internationally bestselling and award-winning author Robin Perini is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts.”

Starting with some simply-stated accolades and finishing with some great descriptive language, Robin grabs hold of the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go. This is a perfect example of what to do and how to do it.

Don’t Let Them Leave Empty Handed

Let’s say you’ve written the perfect author bio. You hooked the reader with your opening statement. Kept them occupied with witty banter and interested with mentions of your accomplishments. So what’s next?

Don’t let your readers leave without getting your contact information. This info could include your social media accounts or a dedicated email for readers and potential clients. (I mean, how are they going to contact you otherwise?)

This is also a great place to mention any other works you have completed that the reader should check out. Your author bio is essentially your time to self-promote. So… go ahead and self-promote!

So, Now What?

With a little practice and by following these tips, you too can become a master of the author bio. This skill will prove to be invaluable if you choose to pursue a proper writing career. Remember your author bio doesn’t have to be a sloppy nightmare. It can be something that you really can appreciate and be proud of.


Guerrilla Publishing Techniques for Indie Authors

Although I’ve been talking about book marketing for almost a decade, I mostly used nonfiction books to build my client-based business. I need my books to be visible enough to generate new leads, but I didn’t need them to produce real income.

That’s changing this year, as I’m not focused on becoming a full-time writer. Which means, my books need to earn enough money to live on.

I’m doing that in two ways: first, I want to make sure my books are part of a funnel or series, so I can make the first one free or cheap, get a lot of followers on Amazon and subscribers on my email list (I have 25,000 subscribers on my list after less than a year), and launch my books well enough they stick (which means, at least 1000 sales on launch).

But especially for non-fiction, I also want my books to be loss-leaders leading towards more expensive products, in my case, online courses. I launched my first online course earlier this year and it sold out in 48 hours. Now I’m building some courses I can make an “evergreen” part of my funnel, and hopefully sell on autopilot, as long as I can keep a steady flow of traffic. In that regard, I’m experimenting with free and paid companion workbooks for each course, and also giving away beta-access to the courses when people buy and review the books during launch.

Although The 21 Day Bestselling Author Platform will be my major new course, I’m first launching this shorter, tighter one on Guerrilla Publishing.


Some of the things I cover in this book are building links to get your book’s amazon page to show up in Google; building a huge email list before you launch your first book; giving incentives to boost preorders; getting lots of book reviews quickly; and how to keep the book selling well even when you stop promoting.


The Editing Process As Told By Pro Editors

In honour of National Novel Writing Month, commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, it is best to give authors the advantage and advice they should receive before they jump into writing a novel this month. Since they will be hard-pressed to find the time to do the research on what it takes to get your work published and sold if they believe in their work that much by the end of the month. If an author is so proud at the end of the month and wants to publish their work, they should take the step further and consider hiring an editor.

In the novel writing profession, the editor is a crucial part of the publishing process. The editor ensures that the book flows smoothly. They help the author make sure all holes are filled, the plot is seamless, characters are understandable and the syntax is clear. Yet, they do not receive the attention they deserve. Therefore, it is best to lay out the benefits of hiring an editor for a new book.


The Editor’s Process

So exactly what does a book editor do? According to The Balance, the editor has a few key steps in their process. After submission, the editor goes into what is referred to as the “developmental edit.”In that stage, the editor comments on what is missing and what can be improved upon. After the author revises the manuscript and the second manuscript is submitted, the editor line-edits, or copy edits, the work. After the author perfects the final draft of the manuscript, the editor than approves the work.

Additionally, according to blogger and self-published author Joanna Penn, hiring an editor can be a phenomenal asset to the author. From her own experience, a good editor—in her case Steve Parolini—gave positive feedback before the criticism. For her first novel, the criticism involved “big picture issues, plot, dialogue, redundancy, setting and characters.” From there, she drafted different scenes and compared them to the original manuscripts. She advises new authors to “budget for an editor, but make sure it’s a good one!”


What New Authors Need to Know

Author, blogger and editor Brian Klems gave new authors some advice on dealing with freelance editors. As someone who has had experience on both ends, he suggests that an author reread their manuscript before submitting it to an author. It is better to make all of the necessary corrections and edits before bringing in a fresh pair of eyes. He also suggests authors take heed to the editor’s notes. In his words, he advises to “discuss other ideas” if an author “disagrees” with the feedback. Most notably, he emphasizes the fact that the editor’s job to make the author’s book “the best it can be”—in the sense that the author’s intent with the book is accomplished and conveyed properly.

The Novel Doctor, and editor for Penn’s first novel, Steve Parolini gave advice to up-and-coming authors for their novels. Similarly to Klems, authors have to walk away from their projects before editing it. Then, the author will give him or herself a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective on their work. He also advises to take it a step further and print out the work, aiding in the new perspective. The most important process in creating an author’s second draft, however, is to dig deeply into the bulk of the work.

He suggests that writers should “listen” to their characters and “kill any figurative pets.” It is best to take note of any and all inconsistencies with the characters and make sure that their motives and actions are revealed when they are supposed to be. State as a personal pet peeve, he warns authors “Stop telling [your reader] a character’s thoughts about what he’s going to do just before you reveal the same thing through his actions.” Above all else, the author should be honest with their work and critique it without being harsh on him or herself.

Getting Your Work Published

When an author gets the approval from their editor to publish, they can do one of two things: 1) send their final manuscript to a publisher or 2) self-publish. Self-publishing can be tricky, given that an author risks less pay and potential to write books of lesser quality. Former Thomas Nelson Publishers CEO and author Michael Hyatt gave his list of suggestions every new author should follow before publishing their work. The most important step should be the homework. He suggests that an author should know the market before trying to pitch their ideas and manuscripts to publishers.

That includes reading articles about the novel market and following publishing blogs. If possible, save space in your budget for an agent. If an author is considering traditional publishing, it is best to have an agent, as to be taken more seriously. If nothing else, self-publishing is an option. However, his most critical piece of advice to keep the faith.

These tips should be useful for new authors looking for clues to either find helpful editors or simply improve their writing. It is advised for new authors to take these tips to heart and into their writing. Also, if and when looking for editors, it is best for writers to conduct their research, plan and budget accordingly.


How to market young adult fiction (and get more book reviews)

I’ve recently realized that I have way too many websites; I haven’t posted anything on this one for awhile – I continue to post most of my book marketing case studies and experiments on my main site, www.creativindie.com. Things are getting more exciting now, because – while previously I only helped other authors market their books – now I’m publishing and marketing my own (including fiction!).

A lot of fiction authors say that what most people consider as book marketing doesn’t work as well for fiction writers.

Not true.

And I’m writing in young adult, a genre many authors feel is particularly frustrating (how do you reach teenage readers?).

I’m having fun learning and doing book launches, the first of which (January, 2016) is for Shearwater, a young adult mermaid romance. I built a YA email list to almost 10K with book giveaways, and I expect to have over 100 reviews the first week… but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will “stick” or keep earning money long term.

I know some books that have 300 reviews and still struggle to sell, and others with 20 reviews that make $20K a month.

Likewise, I know authors with 20 books that barely make $100 a month, and authors with 1 book that make $10K.

It doesn’t seem fair.

But this much is true:

1. You need to keep driving traffic so people find your books.

And this doesn’t have to mean getting on Twitter or doing promotions. With a handful of well written posts, on popular website, with keywords people are searching for, you’ll be able to bring in constant, long term traffic.

(This post, for example, is one of many that will bring new traffic to my novel – and I’ve linked my anchor text, “a young adult mermaid romance” directly to my Amazon page, so that it will rank well in Google search results).

2. Your book page needs to convert.

That means, when people find themselves on your Amazon page, they buy the book. That’s a combination of reviews, description and summary, editorial reviews and the about the author section, as well as the book cover. All that stuff helps them make a purchasing decision.

If you can drive traffic, and most of that traffic feels a thirst, a need, to actually buy and read your book, you’ve won.

That’s what I’m trying to make happen with my books. It will take some experimentation, but I’m doing a lot of things right, and by the end of 2016 I plan to have at least 10 books published and be making a living as a writer.

If you also write young adult and want some help, I’ve set up the Alliance of Young Adult Authors, and I also made a book review site just for YA books that authors can use to boost their traffic and visibility.