Every striving author remembers the emotional rush they felt when they first announced “I’m writing a book”. Sadly, a very small percentage of such declarations ever evolve into a notable writing career. These failures are often the result of unfinished novels, non-compelling stories and/or poor book marketing.
However, there ARE individuals who have beaten the odds to becoming successful published authors. I decided to collaborate with 29 of them (established, award-winning and bestsellers) and get their responses to these 3 critical questions about writing a book:
(1) What is one tip/strategy authors can use to stay motivated to finish writing their book?
(2) What is one tip/technique authors can use to captivate their readers?
(3) What is one tip/technique authors can use to attract readers?
Let me tell you, I was blown away by the amazing insights I received from these 29 well-established, award-winning and bestselling authors. And I’m super excited to share each of their responses (word-for-word) with you below.
Writing a Book:
How You Can Stay Motivated to Finish
Let’s be honest. You’ll never finish writing your book without the right motivation to grind it out Every….Single…..Day.
And if your ultimate goal is to attract a solid reader-base (more on this later), then you need to first finish writing your book.
Fortunately, in this section authors let you in on their proven techniques that can help you crack the motivational code and finish your masterpiece.
Author Lisa Hughey: “Don’t get caught up in making the words perfect”
Number of Books Published: 23
Number of Books Sold: 225,000 Copies
Book genre(s): Romantic Suspense, Romantic Thrillers, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance
Accolades: USA Today Bestseller List
Lisa’s Advice: “Don’t get caught up in making the words perfect. The main goal is to get a first draft of words on the page. The work in revisions is the time to make your prose beautiful and streamline your plot and characters. If you worry too much while you are first writing, it’s easy to get frustrated and stop. Just get the words down, then you can make them perfect.”
Find out more about Lisa at:
Author Renee Rose: “Stop in the middle of a scene”
Number of Books Published: Over 80 Books
Number of Books Sold: Over 500,000 Books including KU reads
Book genre(s): Contemporary, PNR and SFR
Accolades: USA Today Bestseller
Renee’s Advice: “One of the best motivational tips I’ve heard is to stop in the middle of a scene. If you finish a chapter, it can be harder to come back the next day and start new. If you leave off in the middle, knowing exactly where you’re going, it’s easy to dive right back in. Another useful thing is to jump to the end and right the happily ever after scene–usually the epilogue. You get the warm fuzzy from your characters and it reinforces where they’re going. I’m also a big fan of pulling out the beat sheet when I get stuck in the middle.” 😃
Find out more about Renee at:
Author RB Hilliard: “Journal your thoughts”
Number of Books Published: 13
Number of Books Sold: Over 50,000 Books
Book genre(s): Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Romantic Comedy
Accolades: All four books in my Meltdown series are Amazon Bestselling Novels; Utterly Forgettable is an Amazon International Bestselling Novel
RB’s Advice: “One tip that authors can use to stay motivated is to journal your thoughts. I have a spiral notebook for each book that I’ve written. Inside each journal is anything from character names to entire handwritten chapters. If I happen to come up with another book idea, I write it down. If I need to research a certain topic, I write it down. I’ve jotted down scenes that I ended up not using as well as scenes that I used in later books. The point is to write it all down. This helps in both character and plot development.”
Find out more about RB at:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Anwjr3
Author Marta Moran Bishop: “Put it down and write something else”
Number of Books Published: 5 novels, 4 adult poetry books, 2 children’s poetry books, and 4 or 6 short stories
Book genre(s): Paranormal, Dystopian, YA, Animal Stories, Children’s Poetry, Fantasy, Adult Poetry, Science Fiction, Romance
Accolades: My novel Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal won best rescue book at the EQUUS Film Festival for 2015 and 2016
Marta’s Advice: “Put it down and write something else, read others work, and let the piece lay for a bit. I don’t stop writing but continue even if it means that it isn’t that piece. When I was writing Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, written from POV horse, there was a period where it became very difficult to see the events that were unfolding from a horse’s point of view. So, I put it down; I didn’t stop watching the horse’s or reading every book I could find that people wrote POV animal.
While reading those books and stories, I wrote The Between Times and two poetry books. During that time, I wrote bits of his story and didn’t worry where in the book it would go during this time. After a few months, I picked it up again, and started at the beginning of the book, rearranging what I had written, put in the proper tenses, and added the parts that I had written when I was frustrated with the work that I had previously done. It gave me a fresh perspective.
When I picked up Dinky’s book again, I started at the beginning adding highlights, scenery, conversation, and continued from there. Each day, I’d start where I had begun writing the day before.”
Find out more about Marta at:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MartaMoranBishopAuthor/
Author Sandra S. Kerns: “Don’t think you have to do everything yourself”
Number of Books Published: 25
Number of Books Sold: 20,000 Copies
Book genre(s): Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance
Accolades: Award Winning Author
Sandra’s Advice: “If you’re published already, connect with your readers. One of my favorite things (and most motivating) is to visit with readers at conferences, library events, and book signings. Their positive feed back and questions always inspire me to get home and finish a book or write another one. If you’re not published yet, go to a writer’s conference or get a local critique/writer’s group. Getting input on your work and seeing the joy on fellow writer’s faces when they complete something is very motivating. Also, once you publish don’t think you have to do everything yourself. Sometimes it’s worth paying someone else to do the marketing, etc., so you can concentrate on writing.”
Find out more about Sandra at:
Author Website: https://www.sandrakerns.com/
Author Ann Hunter: “Write mini goals for the next day”
Number of Books Published: 11
Lifetime Earnings: $8,000
Book genre(s): Young Adult, some middle grade
Accolades: Books have been nominated for Whitney Awards and the Newbury Medal
Ann’s Advice: “I have multiple strategies that all work together.
1) Make it a game. I play 4thewords, which gamifies writing by turning writing sprints into monsters that drop loot and help you level up to take on harder monsters. It’s way fun. (My referral code is CCETV14661 if you want to play with me– DrBorkBork)
2) Map out the rest of your book. If you have a rough idea of where the book is going, you can break it down into chunks. At that point, you can go to each chapter and say “Okay, this is what happens in this chapter.” Giving yourself little waypoints is much less overwhelming than staring at how much you have left to write. Remember the old adage of eat the elephant? Do it one bite at a time!
3) Before you go to bed each night, write mini goals for the next day on a sticky note. Slap that puppy on your keyboard so you’re reminded as soon as you sit down what you need to do. Then, DO IT! Commit yourself to 1,000 words a day. That’s only an hour of work. Again: eat the elephant.
4) If you’re still struggling to get that last bit done, tell yourself “I only have to focus for 5 minutes.” It will satisfy your inner instant gratification monkey. And start typing for five minutes straight. If you’re tempted to check social media, mail, sales, etc, gently guide your attention back to the job at hand. You should start feeling fired up after five minutes, but if you’re honestly not… shift to one of your other goals that will prove more productive.
5) Work in sprints. You should be able to type about 300 words every fifteen minutes. Do that for forty-five minutes straight, take a five minute break, then go for another forty-five. Take a fifteen minute break at that point. If you’re feeling up to it, do another one of those cycles. Regardless, admire the work you’ve done for the day!
6) NO BASHING! Positive thoughts only. No matter where you are in your story, you are not allowed to talk down to yourself. You are AMAZING. I mean, whoa. YOU WROTE A NOVEL!”
Find out more about Ann at:
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/annhunter
Author Victoria Roberts Siczak: “I simply want to see how it ends”
Number of Books Published: 10
Book genre(s): Mystery Suspense, Mythical Fantasic, Children’s Books
Accolades: Nominated for Readers Choice, Nebula Award, and Woman’s Fiction Rising Star Award
Victoria’s Advice: “The way I am motivated to finish a novel is I simply want to see how it ends…lol. When you spend months, sometimes years with your characters in their world, it becomes imperative to have closure. Of course, I write science-fiction, mythological fantasy involving time-travel and mystical expenditures, so eventually I have to get back to the real world. However, sometimes the ending turns out quite different than you originally predicted. I guess that’s the twist and turns to the plot that even surprise the author at times.”
Find out more about Victoria at:
Barns & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Victoria+roberts+siczak/_/N-8q8?_requestid=227568
Author Ginger Chambers: “Relax and just let the story happen”
Number of Books Published: 33 books for Dell Publishing & Harlequin, 9 revised & republished as an indie writer
Number of Books Sold: Over 5 Million since 1981
Book genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Romance, and Romantic Suspense.
Ginger’s Advice: “When I first started writing I was the Queen of Chapter One. Chapter One, Chapter One, Two. Chapter One, Two, Three. Chapter One, Two, Three…over and over again. I couldn’t get past Chapter 3! Then I finally learned to relax and just let the story happen. Not to keep trying to make those early chapters perfect like a finished book. Once I started doing that, I finally finished a whole book. And once I learned I could do that, I was able to tinker a bit with the earlier rough draft pages as I went along, but was always sure to set a (for me) ten-page goal for each day moving forward”
Find out more about Ginger at:
Writing a Book:
Find Out How to Captivate Your Readers
It’s simple – If you can’t hold a reader’s attention in the first chapter, you won’t sell many books…period! Why? Because readers don’t have the patience to read through pages of useless similes or fluffy metaphors before they get to the “good stuff”.
So What Can You Do?
In this next section you’ll learn from expert authors about writing a book with “page-turning” story-lines that will leave your readers wanting more.
Author Amanda Prowse: “Make an emotional connection with your readers”
Number of Books Published: 21
Number of Books Sold: Over 4 Million books in dozens of languages
Book genre(s): Contemporary Fiction
Accolades: International Bestselling Author
Amanda’s Advice: “Make an emotional connection with your readers by linking your character’s journey with shared common experiences that they can engage with. By making details or examples relatable, to your readers, you are much more likely to take them with you and enable them to identify with your characters“
Find out more about Amanda at:
Author Website: https://www.amandaprowse.com/
Author Ava Mallory: “Give the readers someone or something to root for”
Number of Books Published: 90 novels, novellas, and short stories since June 2014
Number of Books Sold: Approx 1 Million books sold since 2014 [Projecting 1.5 million by the end of 2019]
Book genre(s): Cozy Mysteries, Sweet Romance, Contemporary Romance
Accolades: USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Bestselling Author
Ava’s Advice: “My advice would be to do your homework when it comes to creating a character who is not only likable (even villains should have some likable traits or quirks), but one who is fully developed. They should have a relatable story arc that readers can follow. You want to give the readers someone or something to root for. If you can master that, you’ll encourage the reader/s to want to stick around to see where your story’s character goes, whether that’s in one story or in a long series of books.
Readers might not always remember the title of your book, but they will remember a character they love. Take Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Stephanie Plum, Harry Potter, or any other iconic character for example. Readers instantly associate them with their fictional journeys. You too can create memorable characters and make readers want to follow their stories for as long as you’re writing them, provided you give them enough depth, relatability, and story to keep things interesting and realistic (for the character/novel/world).”
Find out more about Ava at:
Author J. Bengtsson: “Make your characters feel real to the audience”
Number of Books Published: 6
Number of Books Sold: Over 200,000 books
Book genre(s): New Adult Romance
Accolades: Amazon All-Star Author in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Bestselling Author, nominated for an Audie Award for Best Romance 2018, Featured in Audibl’s National Television Campaign, nominated by Audible for Romance Audiobook of the Year- 2018.
J. Bengtsson’s Advice: “I think what I did with Cake was I captured that giddy feeling of falling in love without really knowing I was doing it. Cake was just written for fun. I was bored with all the books I’d been reading, and I had a very specific idea of the type of story I wanted to read. For over twenty years, I searched for that perfect book (at least perfect to me) until one day I just decided to write it myself. I added everything into Cake that I’d ever wanted to read right down to a rock star walking into an every day girl’s place of work just to see her and in the process shocking not only her but all her co-workers.
I never intended to become an author and it had never been a dream of mine. I basically just fell into it 2.5 years ago when I released Cake A Love Story, unedited and without telling a soul, onto Kindle Unlimited. All I wanted was some feedback on my story and fully intended on pulling the book once I got a review or two. That never happened. Cake immediately started selling (I did get it edited a month later) and then, by word of mouth alone, it just took off. By the end of its first full month, Cake was a bestselling novel. Suddenly, I was an author and had no idea how to be one.
I’m not really sure what magic went into Cake accept to say I wrote the story I’d always wanted to read. I loved the characters and believed in them. I laughed and cried with them and dreamed about them at night. They became very real to me as I wrote about them (I think I might have liked them more than my teenage kids 😂). I feel like I’ve fallen in love with the characters from my other books but not to the same extent I did with Jake and Casey. And the funny thing is, although my other books have been well received, I’ve never really been able to recreate that Cake excitement with any of my other books. Cake A Love Story remains my bestselling novel 2.5 years after its release.
So I guess my tip/technique to use to captivate an audience is to make your characters feel real to the audience. Show their strengths and weakness. They are human so have them react like humans do. Don’t make them caricatures by contriving drama that no thinking human would do. That just pisses off readers. Not all couples have to break up to be interesting to the reader. Jake and Casey are proof of that. I often hear from fans that they think of the McKallisters as family. They’ve become invested in their lives and are willing to read any book that dives deeper into these characters. I think I’ve accomplished this by focusing heavily on dialogue (although I’ll be the first to admit Cake had way too much inner dialogue – rookie mistake). Dialogue is where their personalities shine. But be careful with humor. Don’t just add it because you think people might think it is funny. Only add it if it makes you laugh, otherwise, it will feel forced to the reader.
Good luck. And just know Cinderella stories do exist for authors too. I’m living proof of that. 😍“
Find out more about J. Bengtsson at:
Author Website: https://jbengtssonbooks.com
Author Anne Mercier: “Don’t get bogged down in the details”
Number of Books Published: 19
Number of Books Sold: 450,000 with 36,496,636 pages read in Kindle Unlimited
Book genre(s): Contemporary Adult Romance, New Adult/Coming of Age Romance, Young Adult Romance
Accolades: International Bestselling Author, making the Amazon top 100 with my first book (#14) and every book since
Anne’s Advice: “I have a couple tips I’d suggest:
First, always have book 2 in the works (preferably nearly finished or completed) before publishing book 1. This way, you’re always ahead and you can keep the readers happy with a steady stream of books to read.
Second, always make your dialogue real. Think about how you’d converse with someone—use that for how you write dialogue. If it’s stilted or unrealistic, it immediately puts the readers off.
Third, don’t get bogged down in the details. The readers are cool with knowing the room is warm and inviting or messy or whatever, but you don’t need to tell them there’s X on the shelf there and X on the shelf there and X on the wall. It gets to be too much and, as a reader, I skip over it.
Finally, stay true to your characters. Don’t change who they are, what they do, etc., because of negative feedback. In other words, don’t backtrack because of criticism. This is who they are. Be proud of the character you created.”
Find out more about Anne at:
Author Sandra Bolton: “It’s important to keep the action going”
Number of Books Published: 4
Number of Books Sold: Over 50,000 copies
Book genre(s): Mystery/Suspense
Accolades: #1 Kindle Best-Seller
Sandra’s Advice: “My thought is, no two writers are alike, and what works for one may not work for others. I don’t make an outline, more of a ‘seat of the panster’. To keep your readers engaged, it’s important to keep the action going. Have plenty of conflict for the protagonist, and don’t slow the pace with too much back story at once. It should be inserted gradually. I also keep a separate file with a timeline and a few words describing what happened in each chapter. Another file contains a character list. It’s easy to get lost in a 80,000 word novel. Writing is hard work. Just put in the time, sit down, and do it.”
Find out more about Sandra at:
Author Alison Gaskin Bailey: “Create three dimensional characters”
Number of Books Published: 6 books and 1 novella
Number of Books Sold: Over 100,000 books and Over 6 Million KU Reads
Book genre(s): New Adult, Young Adult, and Women’s Fiction
Accolades: My books have achieved bestseller status on Amazon, in categories as well as top 100 overall, both in the US and Europe. My first novel has been published in Italy, Poland, Spain, and Turkey. It was also named in YA Book of the year in the US and in Italy
Alison’s Advice: “One tip I’d give a new author would be to create three dimensional characters. You want readers to feel your story, to empathize, and relate to the characters. I want my readers to get lost in the world I create in my books. While 80% of my stories are fiction, the other 20% is based on real life events. I feel that this mixture is the sweet spot where readers tap into the emotions of the characters.”
Find out more about Alison at:
Author Ann MacConnell Lister: “Dig deep into the emotions behind your story ”
Number of Books Published: 22
Book genre(s): MM, MF, FF
Accolades: Amazon International Bestselling Author, 2013 Finalist for the Rainbow Award
Ann’s Advice: “The best bits of advice I’d tell new authors actually has three parts.
The first part is know your audience. This means read all the books you can in your chosen genre and get to know what these readers love in a story. Watch the trends and see what story lines are selling and read the reviews for these books.
The second part is stay true to your “author voice.” This “voice” is what will set your story apart from all the other stories in your genre. Dig deep into the emotions behind your story and always write the story that is in your head and in your heart.
And the third part is, develop a thick skin. Criticism is part of this job – good and bad feedback in reviews, private messages, emails, and even in public forums. The important thing is to keep an open mind with these comments, be gracious to every reader, and try to learn something from the bad reviews to apply to your next story.”
Find out more about Ann at:
Author Krysten Lindsay Hager: “Research is so important when writing”
Number of Books Published: 7
Book genre(s): Young Adult, Middle Grade, Adult
Accolades: True Colors, won the Readers’ Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist. Landry in Like is a Literary Classics Gold Medal recipient. My work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on Living Dayton.
Krysten’s Advice: “The main thing you can do to captivate your readers is to show them you’ve done your homework on your subject. Even when writing fiction doing research is so important in building a world that will captivate your readers. My latest series, The Cecily Taylor Series, is a clean rock star romance and the one thing I wanted to make sure I did in Can Dreams Come True, was to create a rock star character you could relate to and understand. I wanted to make sure I captured Andrew Holiday’s world and everything that came with it like the pressures of fame. My main character, Cecily, is a fan of Andrew’s before they met, so I needed her to see a different side of him when they got to know each other. To do this I started reading a lot of books on singers as in memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies. Then I started watching music documentaries and biographies. I discovered the Reelz Channel which has tons of shows about performers. To give you an idea of how many of these I watched, I got a Facebook “Top Fan” badge!
These shows, interviews, books, and documentaries gave me an insight into the lives of the singers behind the scenes. I took notes when I watched and started to notice a common thread of anxiety among the performers. Some of this I already knew, but as I watched more and more, I started to realize some of the struggles these stars had gone through was due to being overwhelmed by their stardom. Learning all this helped me make Andrew a more realistic character and helped me when writing my sequel where you’ll see him share a lot of his struggles with fame with Cecily.
Research is so important when writing and the feedback I have gotten from readers makes me realize how worthwhile it is to focus on it while writing.“
Find out more about Krysten at:
Author Patty Blount: “Open your story with a moment or a feeling”
Number of Books Published: 9
Book genre(s): Adult Contemporary, Romance
Accolades: Award-Winning Author and Amazon Bestseller
Patty’s Advice: “I find that the novels I enjoy the most start off with emotion. For me, that means giving me a character I can root for. So I’d say don’t start off with the weather, or the setting descriptions and instead, open your story with a moment or a feeling that means something to the character.”
Find out more about Patty at:
Writing a Book:
Learn How to Attract a Reader Base
Ok so you’ve finished writing your book and you’re CERTAIN you’ve written a killer storyline that screams “USA Today Bestseller” –
How do you get someone (other than your mom) to part with their hard-earned money and buy your book?
These next authors answer this question by giving you a few book marketing strategies that’ll help get your story into the hands of hungry readers.
Author Angela Ford: “Write from your heart! Edit later’”
Book genre(s): Christmas Holiday Romance, Action & Adventure, Women’s Fiction, Short Contemporary Romance
Accolades: Bestselling and Award-Winning Author, hit Amazon’s Top 50 Authors with her #1 Bestseller in Christmas Holiday Romance
Angela’s Advice: “Over the past six years since I’ve published, I’ve always heard the best way to attract readers is by promoting yourself and your book(s). While this is so true and a definite yes! and, I’ll admit…sometimes I’m slack in this department lol but I get easily distracted with writing…reading…and life. We want to attract readers but it’s important to find your true fans…the ones who want to read your stories…your genre. So, get to know your readers and social media makes it easy so we can interact with our readers. Online surveys help…do them on facebook…hold an event…join events and get to know your readers. And always, always answer that email, that message, comment on that comment. Also…brand yourself and your genre so wherever you visit on social media…readers will get to know you 😃 I’m angelafordauthor for my email…my website. And I always use ‘Escape with a Book by Angela Ford’ and add what I write which is ‘Sometimes Sweet…Sometimes Spicy…Sometimes Suspenseful.
I’ve hit bestselling categories across Amazon countries in all three genres and hit Amazon’s Top 50 Authors in Christmas Romance. I’m not sure on the exact count of books I’ve sold over the years but there’s been many. I don’t write for that reason, I write because I love to and no matter how many breaks I’ve taken over the years…just can’t seem to ever stop! Don’t get me wrong…retiring on a warm beach would be awesome! And someday I’ll hit that NY bestsellers list and do it! Then I’ll just write on the beach!! So my advise…Write from your heart! Edit later…and be proud to promote you and your story!”
Find out more about Angela at:
Author Eve Langlais: “Have a cover and blurb that draw the eye and interest’”
Number of Books Published: Over 120
Number of Books Sold: Over 1 Million Sold World-Wide
Book genre(s): Multi Genre
Accolades: Multi New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author.
Eve’s Advice: “I wish I knew the trick to consistently attract readers 😃. The most important thing, other than writing an amazing book, is to have a cover and blurb that draw the eye and interest.”
Find out more about Eve at:
Author Website: http://evelanglais.com/wordpress/
Author Andria Large: “Put the first book in a series up for free for a week‘”
Number of Books Published: 22
Number of Books Sold: 80,000 copies
Book genre(s): Romance, MM Romance, Romantic Comedy, Sports Romance, Military/Law Enforcement Romance
Accolades: Received a couple Amazon Best Seller Flags
Andria’s Advice: “One tip to attracting readers: Put the first book in a series up for free for a week. If you can afford to do it, it will really bring in a lot of new readers. Then if you’ve hooked those readers with the first book, they will buy the other books in the series.”
Find out more about Andria at:
Author Judi Fennell: “First, you have to write your best work. Every. Time.”
Number of Books Published: Traditionally: 10, Indie-published: full length: 8, novellas: 10, short stories: 4
Book genre(s): Romantic Comedy, Light Paranormal (romcom), Contemporary, Thriller, Erotic Romance under Raven Morris
Accolades: Award-Winner and Bestseller
Judi’s Advice: “There’s no “secret sauce” to this. First, you have to write your best work. Every. Time. While the book might be your sixth, it will be someone’s first of your books, so it has to be just as good—if not better—than the previous ones. Second, you need to be authentic on social media, in your personal interactions, and your writing. I’ve met several celebrities, including authors, whose work I’ve enjoyed, but their interpersonal skills were sorely lacking—or their ego was too lofty—for me to ever read/watch another of their work. Third, be professional. Sometimes knowing what not to say is more important than what to say. Fourth, live by the Golden Rule: treat others how you would wish to be treated. To me, that’s with kindness and respect. Not everyone will love our work, but they are entitled to their opinion. Now… how they express that opinion… that, too, is their prerogative. Just as naming a vile character after them in your next book is yours.”
Find out more about Judi at:
Author Website: http://judifennell.com/
Author Pepper Pace: “Having a social media presence contributes greatly”
Number of Books Published: 50 books including short stories, novella and collections (under the pen names Pepper Pace, Kim Chambers and Beth Jo Andersen)
Book genre(s): Erotica, Romance, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Urban Lit and YA
Accolades: Winner of the 11th Annual Literotica Awards for 2009 for Best Reluctance story, as well as best Novels/Novella; Recipient of Literotica’s August 2009 People’s Choice Award; Awarded second place in the January 2010 People’s Choice Award; Number one writer in the category of Novels/Novella as well as best interracial story in the 12th Annual Literotica Awards for 2010; Quarter finalists in the 2010 ABNA award (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award); Stories have been ranked as number 1 on Amazon in the IR genre.
Pepper’s Advice: “Having a social media presence contributes greatly to creating exposure to your brand. Creating a Facebook author’s page and contributing to it regularly helps to foster interest but it also allows established readers to gain more knowledge of you, as an author, as well as to your projects.”
Find out more about Pepper at:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pepperpace.author
Author Jenny Milchman: “Think deeply about what you love to write”
Number of Books Published: 4 (The fifth is forthcoming March 2020)
Book genre(s): Psychological Thriller
Accolades: USA Today bestseller and Mary Higgins Clark award winner, my latest novel, Wicked River, was a Strand Best of 2018 and an Indie Next Pick, Amazon Best Mystery, and Barnes & Noble thriller bay selection
Jenny’s Advice: “Everybody says, Write a great book, and that is of course true. But how? And what is meant by “great”? I would suggest that writers try to identify the element or elements that make what they do unique, set apart from any other writer’s work out there. Ultimately this is going to become the author’s “brand” and enable her or him to attract a group of readers who hunger for what that author alone has to offer. The author brand might be a series character who is going to propel each story–think Jack Reacher. Or a particular setting, say, northern England, urban Pittsburgh, a speculative universe. Or maybe it’s that each book delves into a subject matter that allows the reader to learn something new. The point is to think deeply about what you love to write, what keeps coming to the fore, book after book after book and unites them. Once you know what that is, ways to draw readers who will love it will open up like doors.”
Find out more about Jenny at:
Author A.D. Ellis: “Network with other authors”
Number of Books Published: 23
Number of Books Sold: 26,000 Books and 6 Million+ KU Reads
Book genre(s): Contemporary Small-town Romance, M/M Contemporary Romance
Accolades: Award-Winning Author
A.D. Ellis’s Advice: “My first answer to this question is write well, have your story edited (and your mom [unless she’s an actual professional editor] is not a good editor), have beta readers (not Aunt Sue or best friend, real beta readers who will let you know what’s good/bad with your story), have a good cover.
If your story doesn’t LOOK and READ as a professionally written story, you’re likely not going to get a lot of first or second looks. This doesn’t have to be super expensive, but it WILL cost at least some money for edits. You can teach yourself to format and design a cover (but compare your cover to those in your genre, it should compare well.)
After you have a good story that looks professional and makes the reader WANT to read it, then you need to network. You should have been building a social media presence before publishing. But now that your book is out, you need to go to author signing events (even if you only go as a reader) and network with other authors, industry professionals, bloggers, and readers.
My last tip would be to join your local professional writing organization. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and my local Indiana RWA. The connections and education I get from my local chapter is very beneficial and we are always sharing ways to attract readers in addition to how to write a good story, format, find a cover designer, find an editor, etc.”
Find out more about A.D. Ellis at:
Author Website: https://www.adellisauthor.com/
Author Jill Sanders: “Just keep writing”
Number of Books Published: 53 books (German, French, and Italian translations)
Number of Books Sold: Over 4 Million World-Wide
Book genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Western Romance, Paranormal Romance and New Adult Romance
Accolades: USA Today, NY Times, International Bestselling Author
Jill’s Advice: “Just keep writing. Your next book is always your best motive for readers to follow you”
Find out more about Jill at:
Author Website: http://jillsanders.com/
Author Lizzie Chantree: “Be active on social media”
Number of Books Published: 5
Book genre(s): Romance, Romantic Comedy
Accolades: Internationally bestselling author and #1 Hot New Release on Amazon
Lizzie’s Advice: “My tip to attract readers is to be active on social media. It’s not just a marketing tool. It’s a great way to connect with genuine book lovers and they enjoy posting about books and talking to authors on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and places like Litsy, which is a site for people who love to discover new reads.”
Find out more about Lizzie at:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B00FF99DHC
Author Alexandria House: “My tip actually comes as a reader rather than a writer’”
Number of Books Published: 13
Book genre(s): Contemporary Black Romance
Accolades: Won quite a few BRAB awards
Alexandria’s Advice: “My tip actually comes as a reader rather than a writer. What attracts me to a book first is a good cover. By good, I mean appealing and professional looking. Second would be a good blurb, but most importantly, a story that’s so good, I can’t wait to read more from the author.”
Find out more about Alexandria at:
Author Ancelli: “Make your readers feel like they are part of the story”
Number of Books Published: 20
Book genre(s): Interracial Romance
Accolades: Bestselling Author
Ancelli’s Advice: “Create characters that readers can relate to. Make your readers feel like they are part of the story. Keep your readers engaged (blog/Facebook/newsletters/Instagram…). Provide feedback, engage with the readers. Don’t ignore your readers and listen to what they have to say. Listen to constructive criticism (reviews), they can make your craft better. Invest in a cover artist, readers judge the book by it’s cover first. Invest in a good editor. I had to learn the hard way. Do your research, especially if you’re writing about something you’re not experienced in.”
Find out more about Ancelli at:
Author Anne R Allen: “Remember that social media is social”
Number of Books Published: 13
Book genre(s): Mysteries
Accolades: I’m best known for my multi-award winning blog for writers, which I share with NYT million-seller Ruth Harris. It’s Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris. We’ve been named to the top 101, 100, 50, 30, and 10 websites for writers from everybody from Writer’s Digest to Author Marketing Experts. I was also named one of the top 40 people authors need to follow on Twitter
Anne’s Advice: “As far as attracting readers: Be on social media and remember that social media is social. That means don’t phone it in, don’t use robots and most of all, be kind.”
Find out more about Anne at:
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