How to write a great book review

I read a lot of website reviews of books by bloggers, and I have a few suggestions to share for those who want to write useful reviews. What is a useful review? It’s useful for the potential reader (who is wondering, Do I want to spend my precious time to read this or not?). It’s also useful to the book’s author (your review is well written and points to positive aspects – so is helpful to the author, who may wish to quote an excerpt from your piece). And it’s useful to you, the reviewer! As the review author, you want others to link toRead More →

Tea Ceremory

Now, let’s look at how to create good content on your website: posts that readers will want to read and share with others. There’s a clear set of reasons why you should maintain a blog. 1) You’re a writer. You have the skill to write engaging content. 2) Writing engaging content can impress key people: editors & agents if you’re pitching a manuscript; readers and reviewers if you’re promoting a book. 3) Your own website is the only place you control fully, over time, where you can present your ideas, yourself, and your literary products to the fullest. The challenge is to do this well and in a way that it won’t be a sinkhole of time and creative energy.Read More →

What should I blog about as a writer? How can I build my online presence, accessibility, and fan base, and boost sales of my stories, my books, or my writing services? Here’s my short list of good things to blog about for any author. While most are obvious, some are overlooked. And if methodically tackled over time, the accumulating body of posts will create a powerful element of your marketing platform. The goal: think strategically, think long-term and sustainable, and avoid letting your blog become a bottomless sinkhole of time and writing energy. 1. Posts related to the topical focus of your writing. If youRead More →

As you consider launching a blog as a writer to feature your work, I suggest you start with these three simple principles. Plan for Longevity Many blogs start with a great flurry of activity, then fade away after an initial burst of energy in the first months. So it’s very important to find a frequency that you can sustain. In my experience, the key is to find a pace that you can keep going for a long time – a year and beyond. This will yield better results. Therefore, your core commitment should be for less frequent, rather than more frequent posts. Consider: if youRead More →

Q: Should I do an author website or a blog? A: Blog! I could equivocate and say, sure, you can do a website if (a) you know how to do them yourself, or (b) you’re willing to throw some money at someone else to develop and maintain a traditional website. Yes, a good website can be very artistic, powerful, brand-focused, etc. It can also, unfortunately, be complex, confusing, time- and money-sucking, or just downright intimidating to even think about planning it. Instead, a simple blog can definitely serve as an author’s main online presence. No problem! And it’s free. (Just create it on orRead More →

A great use of a blog is to answer an FAQ . . . a Frequently Asked Question. Hey, this is one way a blog can actually save you time! (As opposed to sucking it away from you!) Start by considering: what common questions do I get? (This works well for any profession, whether you’re a writer or running a plumbing business or a repairing computers or . . .) Let’s face it. You get the same questions over and over. Not a bad thing, but think how a blog can make your response simpler. Someone asks you a question about a common problem orRead More →

Quick Blogging Tips Do you have a blog? If the answer is no, why not? A blog is a free website. You can go to Blogger or WordPress (my favorite, it has options for multiple pages and tabs that make it look website-like). If nothing else, why not create a blog as an online business card? Forget the blog blather, just describe your services, bio, published clips or testimonials, contact info . . . . It doesn’t have to be more. Of course, it can grow (and probably will) . . . because you’ll find out how easy and fun it is! You’ll discover theRead More →

Every book has a story about itself. The story of the writing of a book-length work (or a substantial article) – how the work came to be – is grist for your publicity mill. It’s an effective and easy-to-use tool in your efforts to establish Brand You, your personal brand. Why? Because it tells two stories: one about the work itself, and one about you as a person writing the work. Hearing why an author picked a given topic, how he/she researched it, designed its telling, and populated it with happenings and ideas and and characters . . . is of great interest to manyRead More →

(This is part of a mini-series for writers, with marketing value to almost any small business. For related posts, click here: “blogging for writers.”) In the last post, I talked about the benefits of a low-key, minimalist blog: one that functions as a mini-website, an online business card or directory listing. You post your contact info, bio, and services, and be done with it. Except . . . hey, now your blog exists . . . and can be used for a couple of easy online marketing applications! One is to post a public thank-you note, as a simple blog post, at the end ofRead More →

You’re a writer (or run a small business). Do you have a blog? No? Really? Why not? I recently gave a talk (on story structure and practice) for the Independent Writers of Chicago (IWOC, excellent networking for freelance writers . . . thanks Dave Epstein for arranging it!). At one point, I asked how many had blogs (as a good place to develop their own business stories). I was amazed at the small percentage, given the high level of experience and skills of that group. But I find this is true when I ask the question elsewhere. My question stands: No blog? Why not? What’sRead More →

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