Creative Writing Resources – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Category: Creative Writing Resources (Page 1 of 6)


Guest Post: Top 13 Authentic Sites for Stock Photography

Today, I’ve got a guest post along the vein of a previous post: Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Stock Photography Sites. Someone contacted me with a list of stock photography sites they recommended, and I had to share them with you.

Our guest author, Jacky Chou, has gone over some of the lesser-known stock photography sites and shares his opinion on each:

1. EyeEm

In my experienced opinion, EyeEm is the ultimate stock photography resource for most content creators. I have used a lot, and done a lot of research, and no other site even manages to come close to the effectiveness of EyeEm, in my system of value, anyway. I love looking at the high-resolution, carefully curated, creative images that end up on this site.

2. Gratisography

Gratisography stands alone in second place on my list. It is very good. Not quite the best, but definitely separates itself from the pack in many ways. Why? Well, first of all, the photos themselves are very good. Mostly, I appreciate the way that categories are established and organized. There are straightforward, literal search categories like “People”, but also more evocative ones such as “Whimsical.” Personally, this suits me well.  More photos are always being added, and, as of now, this is already one of the best collections on the web.

3. MMT

Here is the first “niche” site to end up on this list, and one of the only ones. Generally, I judge niche sites quite harshly for their lack of versatility, but MMT manages to do it wisely and well. They seem to focus on two very distinct, different categories of image. Flowers and Nature, and Offices. If you think about it, these two general themes can be used for a wide variety of content. I mean, “office” doesn’t exactly scream “variety” but the amount of content writing that relates to workplace culture is quite significant. Flowers and Nature, on the other hand, has to be one of the most versatile thematic choices somebody can make. MMT aces both of these categories, which gives them an oddly broad appeal. The images themselves are incredibly well selected.


StockSnap is a great site. Great in quality, but also, great in sheer size. The quantity is substantial here, and leaves nothing to be desired. Even though higher quantity generally means less consistency in regards to high-quality, this website manages the balance quite admirably. In fact, I didn’t notice more “bad” photos here than most other sites, which is impressive, based on the amount that they are constantly adding; and the additions happen on a daily basis.

5. Unsplash

With every 10 days that pass, Unsplash adds another 10 photos to their impressive collection. No, it isn’t as substantial as a collection in size as many others, but the quality is hard to parallel. I really like this website and its impressive collection of images, and find myself on Unsplash on a fairly regular basis, admiring their new additions.

6. Negative Space

Negative Space does all the little things right, and takes care of business in a way that is quite admirable. The images are high-res, clearly chosen with care, and, best of all, completely free of charge. The organization also earns some bonus marks, as searching within the 14 distinct categories makes for user-friendly browsing.

7. is an underrated source of high-quality images. It is not particularly exceptional, but, as the name suggests, it is a quality site for free stock photographs. That’s what you’re looking for, isn’t it?

8. Picography

I enjoy the time I spend on Picography. Dave Meier created this site, and is the main contributor, but he has also put together a team of skilled, creative photographers and photo contributors. I highly recommend Picography if you’re looking for high-quality photos for free.

9. Death to Stock

Death to Stock is pretty odd, but it is also quite cool. Death to Stock runs itself as a service. Rather than skimming through a mass catalogue, Death to Stock sends 10 groovy new images to your email inbox on a monthly basis. Based on the name of the site, one could safely assume that Death to Stock is trying to change the game and subvert typical Stock Photography practices… However, as well as their neat photo packs, they offer a premium package that lets you dive into their entire 1500+ catalogue for a small fee. Based on what I’ve seen of their work, I would assume that this is a worthwhile purchase, if you’re willing to pay.

10. Picjumbo

There is nothing wrong with Picjumbo. The photos are good. It is categorized in an efficient, user-friendly way. I use it every now and then and never have a single complaint.

11. New Old Stock

This is an example of a “limited” niche, but I still think it is worth recommending due to the integrity and quality of the images. New Old Stock specializes in old-school, vintage images that give a very Americana, classic vibe. If you’re not into that, look elsewhere. If your content can benefit from that feeling, then head there right away and take it in. I really like these images and it’s a good site.

12. Getrefe

I’m not typically one for gimmicks, but the image collection on Getrefe is impressive even without knowing its major quirk. What’s the quirk? Every image hosted by Getrefe has actually been taken by the camera on a mobile phone.

13. Kaboom Pics

Rounding out my list of 13– last, but just ever so slightly “least” in such elite company: Kaboom Pics. I often use this site, and have no complaints! Great images, solid interface. I have used a few images from here, and I am sure I’ll be returning!

About the Author

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Jacky Chou is a digital marketing consultant, founder of Indexsy and, and he is pretty good with a stapler.



The Secret to Writing a Novel in Three Days

Just saying those words “a novel in three days” seems like an impossibility to me. I know I could never churn out 60,000+ words in that amount of time. At my current rate of 2,000 words in 90 minutes, that would require 900 minutes (15 hours) at my computer. There’s just no way I could hit that.

But, for some authors—namely Michael Moorcock—it’s a possibility. He could write a 60,000 word sword and sorcery novel (a la Conan) in just three days. Granted, sword and sorcery isn’t exactly high literature, but it’s still a pretty impressive achievement.

Here’s the basics of his process (taken from THIS POST, where you can find more details):

  1. Have everything prepared.
  2. Model the basic plot on the “Quest” theme.
  3. The formula depends on the sense of a human being up against superhuman force — politics, Big Business, supernatural evil, etc.
  4. Make lists of things you’ll use.
  5. Prepare an event for every four pages.
  6. Prepare a complete structure. Not a plot, exactly, but a structure where the demands were clear.
  7. Prepare a list of images that are purely fantastic, deliberate paradoxes say, that fit within the sort of thing you’re writing. The City of Screaming Statues, things like that.
  8. The imagery comes before the action, because the action’s actually unimportant.
  9. In your lists, in the imagery and so on, there will be mysteries that you haven’t explained to yourself.
  10. Very often a chapter is something like: attack of the bandits —defeat of the bandits.
  11. Time is the important element in any action adventure story.
  12. Don’t have any encounter without at least information coming out of it.
  13. You start off with a mystery. Every time you reveal a bit of it, you have to do something else to increase it.
  14. Never have a revelation of something that wasn’t already established.
  15. There’s always a sidekick to make the responses the hero isn’t allowed to make: to get frightened; to add a lighter note; to offset the hero’s morbid speeches, and so on.
  16. Divide your total 60,000 words into four sections, 15,000 words apiece. Divide each into six chapters.
  17. When in doubt, descend into a minor character.
  18. Once you’ve started, you keep it rolling.

It’s a pretty impressive formula, one that seemed to work wonders for him. After all, EVERYONE who reads fantasy has heard of Elric of Melnibone and his soul-drinking blade Stormbringer (no relation to the Hunter’s blade Soulhunger!).


Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Transition Words


When it comes to creative writing, we all have our “style”. Some people like to use fewer words and shorter sentences, while others of us (I’m guilty of this) prefer to go with longer sentences that use more flowing words.

Longer sentences aren’t bad, but they must be constructed properly to avoid being boring, dry, or becoming run-on sentences. Transition words are useful to help you put together better longer sentences.

Transition words and phrases signify a connection between portions of the sentences. They can compare, contrast, and organize, and they can help make the transition between the various parts of the sentences smoother.

There are a few types of transition words:

  • Addition/agreement — In addition to, by the same token, as well as, furthermore, and moreover serve to reinforce or add on to the sentence.
  • Opposition/contradiction– In spite of, instead, although, despite, but, and nevertheless can all indicate a shift in perspective or belief in the sentence.
  • Condition/cause– Because of, while, due to, provided that, and in order to all show causes and conditions that link parts of a sentence together.
  • Emphasis/example– For example, for this reason, chiefly, especially, to emphasize, in other words, and in general all support or emphasize the idea you are trying to communicate, highlighting them for the reader’s attention.
  • Summary/conclusion – As shown above, in summary/conclusion, to sum up, and for the most part are all used to close an idea or thought, or to sum up what was just said.
  • Place/location – Near, above, beneath, beside, across, between, further, farther, and in the middle all help to qualify location in writing, and work together with time/sequence transitions to give the reader an understanding of the “where”.
  • Time/sequence – First, later, before, during, after, until now, by the time, occasionally, and from time to time all answer the “when” of the writing.
  • Consequence/effect – Because, for, so, hence, and consequently explain the reason behind something or the consequence of the action.

These transition words can help to smooth out your longer sentences and make it easier for the reader to transition between thoughts/ideas.




Marketing Advice from a Fellow Writer

Today, I’m bringing a post on marketing from a good friend, EM Whittaker, author of the Turbulence book. I did an interview with her in early December, and her interview had some GREAT information on marketing I had to put into a separate post to share.

EM’s Marketing Advice

First: Writers cannot find all their own mistakes, no matter how hard they try. The first large message I received in my track changes (manuscript editing doc) was using over 600 em-dashes, and transposing words like “when” and “as” within a sentence. A good editor will help you find your mistakes, build upon your style and help you build a better voice while improving your writing at the same time. It’s a partnership, not a hand-off or a one-and-done type deal.

A good editor will help you SELL your books – a bad editor will not force you to grow and correct your mistakes. Readers will notice and will leave bad reviews if the editing’s shoddy, characters aren’t thought out, head-hopping occurs (transitioning POVs for no reason in the same scene) or if the book’s bad in general.

Amazon will remove these reviews if the author edits their manuscript and uploads a cleaner version later. However, new writers shouldn’t learn this way after being docked the first time.


Editors are valuable, and can make or break an author’s career. Make sure to schedule some extra time inside your editing window for your and the editor, in case extenuating circumstances occur. I also say this because you could have issues that need fixing that you didn’t know about (like timing issues, or parts that may need complete overhauls because they don’t work for the story). We ran into one of these scenes in Chapter Two, and it took four tries to fix.

All authors should find an editor, even if you need to use payment arrangements for services if you’re an indie author. I did this method, and it was money well spent, considering the book is 10 times better then when I first submitted it to Shay.

Second: While I’m on the subject of investing, cover art means everything. It is the focal point of why readers will pick up your book, whether printed or ebook. Therefore, if you’re not with a publishing house who offers editors and cover art, invest with a good cover artist you’re comfortable with.

If you’re a graphic designer or know someone else doing this for you, you can skip the next few paragraphs. Otherwise, please read. You don’t want to make the same mistake I did.

Shop and get recommendations. Ask in the community and look for feedback. Query and see what their process is and if you get on with your artist. It’s easier to work with someone who thinks on your lines and gets back in a timely fashion rather than someone who drops from the face of the planet every time something goes wrong.

Also. when working with the cover artist (no matter which way you publish), stay within industry standard when doing your covers. The human brain cannot process too much stuff on a cover (or, as we call it, looking busy). So, before you hire a cover artist or work with one, look in your genre and see what bestselling authors are doing to hook people in. You don’t want your book to look like a different genre or like a graphic novel, which is what happened to mine. It was nice for promotional art, but not as a book cover, which was a costly lesson.

So, cover artist is a must. Establish a relationship with them, and be nice. They’re doing you a huge favor.

In addition, please listen when the cover artist asks you not to share their “proofing images” around on the internet. I know one person who lost their cover artist for not honoring this request years ago when I first got into writing. Your artist may allow you to share with a close friend or colleague if you ask, explaining it’s for feedback purposes, not for influencing their work or your cover design. Examples of this are if the artist needs feedback on certain elements of the cover, not for changes.


Third: For marketing, use a method that works for you, not what everyone else is using and failing at. For example, a good horror author I talk to uses his bad reviews to sell his books, and makes a killing piquing the reader’s curiosity over the 1 or 2 star review. Most writers wouldn’t be so bold, but this seems to work for Jim.

I like to share  snippets (between 250-850 words) on my personal Facebook page while in the middle of drafting. This is how I’ve garnered a lot of interest before the book’s even sold, and gained valuable feedback. It’s also how I found my beta readers.

When NaNoWriMo happened, we had threads where we shared snippets, such as first and last lines of scenes. Some posted entire ones, while others just did the bare minimum. However, I acquired interested parties for ARCs this way this month, based on the few pieces I posted for the next book. This made people ask about the first, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Last: Network! You never know who you’ll talk to or what opportunities will arise within the industry.

Networking was how I got with my publisher (J. Ellington Ashton) originally.  I participated in a writing short based off a picture someone posted for a writing challenge. After I made the 4500 short story and got honest feedback, I started submitting for them. While I decided to continue submitting short stories for JEA, it gave me the confidence to branch out my writing and self-publish my novels. I’ll continue this trend, and start submitting to other houses later in 2017 to grow my portfolio.

Networking on Facebook and various groups was how I connected with several people I work closely with, including my editor, formatter PR/PA company and cover artist. So social media is a powerful tool if used correctly.



9 Tips for Email Marketing

Marketing is all about creating a message that will resonate with people, and finding the most effective methods to spread that message. For some, social media presents a way to connect and communicate with people on a personal level, while others prefer the mass approach of TV ads and billboards.

Of all the marketing methods, email marketing has proven to be the most effective. Email marketing gives you direct access to your customers via their email inbox. If you want to increase engagement with their clients, I can’t recommend email marketing enough. It cuts through all the noise of social media and is far more targeted than mass advertising.

If you’ve got a book launch, freebie, or giveaway on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about using your email list to spread the word. Below are a few tips to help you to make the most of your email subscribers and reach them with the message as effectively as possible:

Plan it Well

Before you open that “Compose Email” window, think about what you want to say. What is the most effective way to tell your email list what you want them to know? How can you say it in as few words as possible, but make those words count?

You might consider sitting down with a professional copywriter (freelance) and working together to draft a well-written, cohesive email. The more you can say in fewer words, the better! It takes time to plan what you’re going to send out in each email, but I believe it’s worth the investment.


Focus on One Thing

If there’s one thing guaranteed to make people click away from your email, it’s an overload of information!

When we open emails, we want to get to the meat of the content as quickly as possible. We don’t want to have to read through paragraphs, skip past links, wait for pictures to load, etc.

When you write emails, focus on ONE thing: update, information, link, subscribe button, etc. The whole email should revolve around a single bit of information you want to share. You can send out multiple emails to give your customers more information on your event, but make sure that each email focuses on just one thing. It will increase the chance people will actually open and read those emails!

Bonus: Keep it short and sweet! 2-5 paragraphs, an image, and a link. That’s all you need!

Make it Personal

Who wants to read an email addressed to “To Whom it May Concern”? Not me, that’s for sure!

We all like to see our names at the top of the email, so we know for sure the email is actually directed to us and not some random name on a list.

Your email service (like MailChimp) will automatically input the customer’s name into the heading of the email, but you should take steps to personalize it more. Send out your event marketing email only to the people who would want to attend, and track your customer data so you can know who responds to which emails. It takes a lot of work, but it’s 100% worth it!


One Call to Action

Just as your email should focus on a single piece of information, so you should only include ONE call to action!

A “call to action” refers to the thing you want people to do when they read your email. If you have a handful of links in your email (“Click here to find out more”, “Sign up now”, “Register in advance for a discount”, etc.), it’s far less likely that your readers will do even ONE of those things. But if your entire email is structured around that single call to action, you have a better chance your readers will actually click on that link or sign up for that event.

Make it Mobile-Friendly

Did you know a staggering 67.2% of people use their mobile phone to check their email? Add to that the 42.3% who use a tablet, and you have A LOT of people using the mobile version of their email provider (Gmail, Apple Mail, etc.).

The display of your email will look different on your customers’ mobile phone than it will on their PC. For this reason, you need to use a template that automatically scales for mobile devices. No one wants to move their screen side to side or zoom in and out to read your email! A mobile-friendly template and email layout will be much more appealing, not to mention easier to


Keep it Simple

This goes hand in hand with the “focus on one thing” point, but I believe it bears repeating!

The simpler you make your email, the easier it will be for your readers to get what you’re trying to tell them. Make sure the content is concise, clear, and easily understood, with something to “hook” the reader and get them interested in what you’re saying. Tell them what you want them to know, add the call to action, and END THE EMAIL!

Test it Out

One big mistake many email marketers make is failing to test their marketing campaigns. A/B testing is a good way to find out what your customers respond to, and it can give you invaluable data on the best way to use your marketing list.

How can testing help you? You may find that your readers respond to certain email subject lines more effectively than others, or that they preferred a certain email layout. Some calls to action will work better than others, or readers may respond better to a certain type of content.

The more you test and analyze your emails, the more effective you can be the next time you send out an email. Test, track, and analyze: it’s the key to success!

Send it at the Right Time

The timing of your email can make a huge difference! Send an email too soon, and your event will slip your clients’ minds. Send it too late, and they may not be able to shuffle their schedule to attend.

Send the first email a month or two in advance. Giving people advanced warning will get them thinking about the launch/giveaway/event to incorporate it into their schedule. The closer you get to the date of the event, the more emails you can send—each one focusing on a different aspect of the event, of course.

Resend to Unopened

Sometimes people fail to open your email not because they dislike your content, but because they get too busy, forget that they want to read your email, and delete it. You can use your mailer service (Aweber or Mailchimp) to find out who didn’t open the email, then re-send the email (if it’s very important). They may just need a reminder!


Yes, email marketing can be the most effective way to reach clients, but only if you use it right. The advice above can help you to take your event marketing strategy to the next level and give you a better chance of spreading the word of your event the RIGHT way.



Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Facebook Live

Facebook is your worst enemy when it comes to creative writing, but it’s great for promoting yourself as a writer!

If you’re looking for new ways to make your social media platform work for you, it’s vital that you stay up to date. That means not only understanding the newest changes to the algorithms, but also the new tools provided.

Facebook released the Live video streaming in 2015, and it has already become one of the most popular tools for savvy social media users—not just marketers, but people and companies looking to build a brand. Facebook Live videos allow you to reach your followers and fans instantly, and interact with you in a whole new way. Facebook Live can be a valuable asset in increasing social media engagement. We’ve come up with a few ways you can use Facebook Live videos for your business:

Promote an Event

Writing clever copy for an ad, marketing campaign, or email is a great way to pique your customers’ interest, but it’s not the only way. Why not talk to them IN PERSON?

With Facebook Live, you can set up an event and talk to people about the event yourself. You can give them the most important details, let them know about the incentives you’re offering, and answer any questions they may have. It’s much more fun to receive the notification of the event in person, via Live video, than in an email. You can still use emails to follow up after the video and provide further information, but the Live video allows you to give the first details in person.


Answer Questions

If your customers have questions, it’s up to you to answer them. Thanks to Facebook Live, it’s easier than ever! For example, if one of your readers has questions about your book, you can give them answers personally.

Or, why not use it to answer questions about your upcoming release? You can get on Facebook Live and talk to people directly about the even. It’s a way to provide your followers and fans with INSTANT access to answers.

Introduce a New Book

If you’re rolling out a new book or series, consider hosting a Facebook Live session to roll it out in style. You can make it a whole product launch video, complete with someone (beta reader, editor, ARC reader, etc.) giving their feedback on the book. It’s a much more interactive, personalized way to launch a novel via social media.


Share Content

Facebook users respond to other people, not necessarily products. They want to hear from YOU, the person behind the company, brand, or event. Help them get to know you, and you’ll have much better engagement.

Share content you find interesting, or that has helped you. Perhaps you’re doing research for a new book or trying to figure out a new story. When you find content that provides value, share it with your followers. Help people get to know YOU, and they’re far more likely to connect with your brand and message.

Go Behind the Scenes

Attending a conference or participating in a book reading? Set up a Facebook Live video and use your smartphone to take your viewers back-stage, into the producers’ rooms, or even to interact with your fellow authors or performers. This “behind the scenes” insight can make your social media followers feel like they are getting exclusive access to something that no one else is. That right there is adding value and capitalizing on people’s desire to feel special and exclusive.

You can use Facebook Live to show the team preparing the event or doing the planning of the event itself. Your social media followers can be a valuable resource to help you plan the event, as they can provide input in the early stages.

Interview People

You’d be amazed by how many people in your circle or team have interesting things to say!

Set up a weekly or monthly Facebook Live interview with fellow authors, your favorite reviewers, or editors. Heck, even step outside your circle and interview people who are important in your niche. Give these people a chance to share their insight, advice, and thoughts. It will provide value to the people who follow your brand, and will increase customer engagement.


Broadcast Events

Not everyone will be able to attend your event, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on everything. Facebook Live allows you to broadcast your event as it’s happening, so your followers and fans can still be part of what’s going on even if they’re not there in person.

Set up a Facebook Live video stream at the best part of your events: the book launch, reading, etc. This gives your followers a chance to follow along and participate even if they can’t attend personally. It’s a way to provide value and keep fans engaged no matter what.


Facebook Live can be an invaluable tool for not just reaching more fans, but for keeping your current fans as close and engaged as possible. After all, Facebook users don’t want just regular content or ads. They want to get to know PEOPLE, as that’s what the platform is about. Using Facebook Live will help you to engage with your fans and followers, and it will encourage them to continue commenting, posting, Liking, and sharing what you have to say.




Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Grammar Check

On this week’s Creative Writing Resources post, I want to share a tool that was brought to my attention. While it’s something I haven’t personally used (I have PERFECT grammar, after all) yet, it’s definitely something that could come in handy.

Grammar Check is a free grammar and checker that you can use to search your writing (web copy, marketing content, or novel) for errors. It works best with small chunks of text at a time, and (it seems) you have to pay a fee for a deeper check—which is done via Grammarly, not through Grammar Check itself. However, even the free check is good enough to help you clean up some of your more common grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes.

The checker catches:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Style mistakes
  • Punctuation mistakes
  • Grammar mistakes

It also makes suggestions on how you can clean up your writing.

To test it out, I snatched a paragraph from the excerpt of Anaerfell I posted last week. (Apologies to Joshua Robertson for using his work as a crash dummy):

Original text:

“Erzebeth convulsed. Her fur and skin shedding away while she wheeled about on the ground in agony. The bones readjusted and organs reset from beast to human. Where a beast had stood was now the naked figure of Erzebeth. Cuts and scratches patterned her body, but none were fatal.”

The free check only found the name Erzebeth as mistakes, but the Deep Check found a few more issues:


Not bad!

In addition to the Grammar Check, the site has a number of handy infographics to educate you on writing-related topics.

For more advanced writers, the tools may not be useful. However, if you’re a writer just learning the art of painting pictures with words, you’d do well to check out the site.



Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: YouTube

When it comes time for some creative writing, the FIRST page I’ll open is YouTube. Why is that? The music, of course!

Music plays a very important role in my (and most authors’) writing process. The music I listen to often sets the tone for the scenes I’m writing, but it also helps me to get into the emotional headspace of my characters to make sure those scenes are just right.

No other site can offer the broad spectrum of music that YouTube has. Spotify, Pandora, and all of the other internet radio/music sites have a lot of quality tunes, but none of them can compete with the second largest search engine in the world. Whether you listen to classical music, death metal, Indie rock, K-pop, or Indian sitar music, you’ll find that YouTube has it all.

I’ve been using YouTube for music for years, and I’ve created playlists for every activity.

For example, when I write fiction, I’ve got my “Comic Book Songs” playlist:

Or, when I need to chill, I’ve got the tunes on my “Relax” playlist:

On those days when I need a pick-me-up, I’ll turn on “Happy Work Songs”:

With YouTube, there’s none of those ads you often get from internet radio stations, and it’s all for free. It may take a while for songs to be uploaded to YouTube, so it’s not always possible to find the latest releases. However, you’ll find a lot of music there that isn’t available anywhere else. YouTube is a tool I use DAILY in my writing.


Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: MS Wishlist

When it comes to creative writing, I sit down with a very definite goal in mind: tell a story I have already outlined and defined. However, that’s just me. I know many writers actually like hearing ideas and inspiration from other sources. It helps them to come up with creative concepts that are more “marketable”.

To that end, I present to you the latest resource for creative writing: Manuscript Wishlist, or MS Wishlist.

MS Wishlist is a website where agents and editors post their “I wish I could have this!” For example, here are a few of today’s (Monday Sep 19th) wishlist posts:

  • #MSWL in YA or Adult -> original ghost stories, eerie near-contemporary settings, long buried secrets, high concept coming of age.
  • You know what I really want to read? The BAD MOMS for the expecting moms-to-be and the not-gonna-happens and the not-quite-yets. #WF #MSWL
  • Really want a story about a girl who works in a library and falls in love with someone through the books she pulls for them.
  • Craving exciting high fantasy: rich secondary world, complex characters, subtle magic, and high stakes.
  • Old Hollywood was the worst. Love to see something set there that doesn’t sugarcoat it.

These are all posts by agents and editors from big-name literary agencies and publishing houses, so you know they’re ideas that could appeal to the people you need to reach to get your books in the right place. If you’re looking for a direction for your next story, this is an EXCELLENT site to check out.

You may be thinking, “But I want to write the story I want to write!” Good for you. You should always try to tell the story that is as true to YOU as possible.

But, let me tell you this: what if you could tell YOUR story, but make it something people are looking for? If you can tweak your story so it will appeal to agents before you even write it, you have a MUCH better chance of success in the long run!


Guest Post: How To Promote Your Work On Social Media (Without Being Annoying)

Today, I’ve got a guest post on being smart with your social media:


As any writer who has been writing for a while knows, writing a book takes countless hours of hard work. And the hard work doesn’t end there: promoting your book will take a lot of effort. Yet all your promotional efforts will be worth it if it grows your reader base and helps you sell more books in the long run.

One of the ways many writers promote their work is by using social media. Most people use at least one form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or even blogs. This makes it an excellent tool to help you reach as many people as possible. There is one caveat though: you will only harm your reputation and book sales if you begin to annoy people on social media. Plastering messages about buying your book everywhere is likely to irritate users. It might even drive potential readers away. Social media can be a powerful tool, so use it wisely.

Create Your Author Platform

One of the cornerstones of a successful social media promotion campaign is an outstanding author platform. The term “author platform” is a little tricky to define because different people have different views about it. In terms of social media, the most relevant definition is that your author platform allows you to open a channel of communication between yourself and your readers. Creating your author platform on social media is an effective way to do this.

The easiest way to build your platform is to start a blog. While there has been some debate about whether or not blogs are social media, they certainly seem to fit the definition. At its most basic level, social media consists of applications and websites that allow users to take part in social networking and to share content. Blogs are a form of communication and many people will leave comments in response. Is that not a form of social media?

Once you’ve started your blog, you need to use it in an effective manner. Remember that your readers want to learn more about you and your work. So don’t limit your posts to information about your work, make sure to write posts that help your readers get to know you as a person. You will also want to avoid posting the same information continuously. People love novelty, so keep adding new details in your posts. This will keep your readers excited.

As we mentioned before, an author platform creates a channel of communication between you and your readers. This means that you need to play an active role in your blog’s comment section. Respond to comments and get to know your readers a little better. This will show them that you’re interested in them, which help will keep them interested in you and your work.

Expand Your Social Network

Once you’ve created your author platform in the form of a blog, you should start joining other social media websites. There are so many, but you should try to join as many as possible. Try Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Goodreads and as many others as you can find. Create pages or groups for yourself on each platform and link them back to your blog. Remember to put the details of your work and a link to your blog in each of your social media account profiles.

Again, don’t use the same information repeatedly. Add new information about yourself and your work to your pages and groups regularly. Remember to get involved with your followers and readers by replying to their comments. If you have any trolls, simply ignore them or delete them.

Expand Your Footprint.

After expanding your social network by joining social media websites and creating pages and profiles for yourself, you need to expand your social media footprint. You can do this by finding and joining other social media users, pages and groups that are related to the topic or genre of your work.

Once you’ve done this, you need to get involved with the users of those pages and groups. Join in conversations in the comments sections or start your own relevant conversations. As previously mentioned, don’t just talk about your book 100 percent of the time. Make meaningful comments and if other users find become curious about you, they can follow the link to your blog in your profile.


The bottom line is that social media is an exceptionally useful tool for promoting your work, provided you use it correctly. Have you got any other good ideas about how to use social media to promote your work? Any thoughts about those mentioned above? Please tell us all about them in the comments section below.


About the author: Caroline is an entertainment and technology blogger with a special interest in books and publishing. You can see more of her work at Culture Coverage and Secure Thoughts.


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