Over the past few years, advertising via BookBub Ads and other display ad platforms has become an increasingly important part of many authors’ book marketing plans, but getting started with ad campaigns can be a daunting experience.
To help guide authors who are dipping their toes into digital advertising for the first time, we interviewed four authors who created their very first BookBub Ads campaigns earlier this year. We’re sharing their experiences in a four-part series where they each discuss why they decided to start running BookBub Ads, what resources they used to set themselves up for success, how they set up their first campaigns, and everything they learned along the way!
In this post, cozy mystery author Sophie Brent — who also writes traditionally published romance and self-published nonfiction guides for writers under the name Nina Harrington — shares the lessons she learned about running ads to establish an audience for this new pen name.
If you’re a writer, by now you likely personally understand the phrase: all writing is rewriting. Writers get an idea, convert that idea into a draft, and then edit, edit, edit until they’re satisfied with every word.
It’s a long process, but knowing the impact writing makes in the lives of readers is worth it.
Here’s some good news: You can shorten the process.
Taking the time to really understand the different types of editing and which one is best for your particular process will save you time and energy. It will also help get your book out into the world with edits specific to your book’s needs, and take it from good to great.
As said above, all writing is rewriting. But there are different types of rewriting. Each type of rewrite focuses on a different aspect of your story. Depending on what you’re writing, why you’re writing it, and who you’re writing it for will play a big part in choosing what type of editing is best for you.
Here are seven new agents actively expanding their client lists.
Hannah Todd (UK) is actively looking for commercial fiction across all genres including women’s fiction; police procedurals; clever thrillers; cosy crime; romantic comedies; accessible historical fiction focusing on WW2 and including dual timeline novels; sagas; emotional issues-led fiction.
Madison Scalera wants domestic fiction, historical fiction, romance, and memoirs, particularly coming-of-age novels.
Dani Segelbaum is looking for narrative non-fiction, popular culture, fashion, lifestyle, feminism, memoir, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, politics, and cookbooks.
Elizabeth Fithian is looking for creators and creator/illustrators who create non-fiction, picture books, middle grade, YA fiction, and graphic novels. On the adult side, she’s eager to find a debut novel, as well as book club fiction, narrative non-fiction, literary fiction, memoir, fantasy, and mystery.
Tasneem Motala is interested in character-driven MG and YA fiction and graphic novels, with or without a touch of magic, written by BIPOC (black, indigenous, and other people of color) authors only.
Rachel Altemose represents a diverse array of genres (children’s through adult) and is particularly keen on narratives with unique voices, diverse perspectives, immersive settings, complicated familial relationships, young/twenty-something protagonists, magical realism/surrealism, or experimental style.
Barbara Jones is looking for fiction and nonfiction, from highly literary works to much more commercial fare.
Always check the agency website and agent bio before submitting. Agents can switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements can change.
NOTE: Don’t submit to two agents at the same agency simultaneously. If one rejects you, you may then submit to another.
6 Unique Ways to Think Up Story Ideas – Written By Ryan Lanz
Ask any successful author what question they get asked the most, and they’ll likely say “How do you come up with your ideas?”
We’ve all had our days where our mental engines have sputtered. Many beginning writers have the fear that they won’t be able to come up with enough ideas. I can relate to that back when I first started.
“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” – John Steinbeck
Some people write quickly, but it’s not unheard of to take a year to write and polish a novel. As long as you can think up just one idea a year, you’ve got something to work on.
I firmly believe that the best way to come up with ideas is to simply live your life. Every single writer comes up with story ideas every day. The thing is, some writers aren’t fully receiving them. I equate it to opportunity. Everyone has opportunities that come their way, but if they don’t recognize them, or embrace them, they’ll whisk by.
The trick is to be ready for an idea when it comes. And I don’t only mean ready with a pen and notebook. I mean mentally ready to recognize that your random thought could be a useful idea. When you pass by an intriguing billboard, when a friend says something interesting, when one of life’s tidbits strikes you as ironic, or when you overcome an obstacle in your personal life, they all can be converted into the foundation of your next story if you see it as such.
I mentioned in my previous post how we had some American friends stay with us over the summer. One of them was a teen girl who, as teens do, used “like” every now and then. A habit I soon found myself repeating.
Then I came across an interesting article on The Economist on this very subject and I started to wonder: like, where does “like” fit in? And is it useful, or simply an irritating extra word, to be cut off a sentence with the ferocity of a gardener weeding off his prized roses?
To answer that question, we must first understand the many uses of like.
The Beatnik Like
As The Economist explains, the first kind of like, sometimes referred to as “beatnik like,” is an expression of wonderment. It is found in decades-old exclamations such as “Like, wow, man.”
This use is now considered so rare that one scholar even considers it to have been apocryphal, more ascribed to beatniks than actually uttered by them.
I have written stories for as long as I can remember. My first book series was about a group of kids who ran away from home and became rulers of all the sharks in the sea. Worryingly they all got married at the age of 12-14 but that was old to my 8 year old self!
I wrote my first full length novel at 11. It was about a magician’s apprentice who was bad at magic.
Throughout my teenage years I wrote epic fantasy after epic fantasy that my poor parents had to read, even when they went over 200,000 words! As a child I was badly dyslexic and struggled with sentence structure and spelling to the extent that many of my early stories were illegible until I typed them up. It took me much longer than all the other children in my class to both write and type, but I just loved to write and have never been able to stop telling stories. Slowly, wth the support of my parents and teachers, I developed techniques to get around my dyslexia and now it never holds me back.
I now have ten published full length books and seven short stories.
2. What motivates you to write?
Partly it’s the characters in my head screaming at me until I let them out. Partly it’s the desire to write stories that really resonate with people and motivate them to keep going even when the going is tough!
I also think fantasy fiction is lacking diversity, though it is slowly improving, and I want to change that! Main characters are still often white able-bodied males. Epic fantasy is very male author dominated. YA fantasy however has had a massive influx of very successful female authors in the last ten years and so we are getting our kick-ass heroines, but they are still normally white and able-bodied and not ticking many minority boxes.
In my writing I try to have interesting heroines and heroes that have characteristics not often given to the protagonists. For example, “The Fox and the Train” (pen name Alice Gent) has an autistic hero. “The Flawed Princess” (pen name Alice Ivinya) has a heroine with a club foot (and yes she is still kick-ass). My Pied Piper retelling, “Silent Melody” has a main character who is deaf, and so is the only one resistant to the Pied Piper’s magic. This has been a real eye opener for me, and I was shocked to find how few fiction books there are in any genre with a deaf main character.
3. What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I write young adult fantasy and fairytale retellings. I chose this genre because I love it! I love the fast speed of the plots, the self discovery of the main characters, and the sweet innocence of the romance. I also wanted to keep my books clean and with PG-13 violence, so this worked well.
4. What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
I realised my dream earlier this year when I became a USA Today Bestselling author! I still can’t quite believe it! I am now hoping to make enough income from my writing to be able to devote whole days to it once my son is old enough to start school. However I also want to keep working a few days a week as a small animal vet for charity.
5. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
Sometimes, though normally I just skip the section and come back to it later. Sometimes I give the draft to my editor with a hole in the middle and ask her for ideas. I often find the answer comes to me after a few days of mulling on it. Reading other books also helps!
6. What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
My advice to writers who want to write fantasy is to read loads in your subgenre and keep writing. Never give up! Get as many people to read it who normally read fantasy. Also start simple and master basic concepts in shorter books before your epic 12 book masterpiece!
7. Please, tell us about your work.
The book I am currently releasing is Feathers of Blood, which is the sequel to Feathers of Snow, a retelling of the beautiful German fairytale, The Goose Girl.
It follows Brianna who is forced to take the place of a princess who doesn’t want to go through with her arranged marriage. She must travel to a strange land and keep her identity a secret or risk losing her life and plunging her country into war.
Not to mention avoid being eaten by giant Spirit Beasts or frozen to death in the wilderness.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Alice lives in wet and soggy Bristol, UK, with her husband, toddler and dog (oh and an immortal goldfish).
She has loved fantasy all her life. Her favourite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Holly Black, Amy Harmon and Robert Jordan.
When she’s not off gallivanting in other worlds, you can normally find her climbing trees with her young son, working as a small animal vet for a charity that treats the pets of people who struggle to make ends meet, hanging out with her church family, or walking the best dog in the world. (And as a vet she feel qualified to say that!)
I knew today wouldn’t be my best day ever. I had to face a few quite hard facts. I was behind everything, but in particular, I was delayed on a few things I had to do – and should have done quite a while ago.
After waking up with a hammering headache, the prospect of getting something done that I had secretly postponed day-by-day-by-week wasn’t compelling. However, I knew it was time to get it done and over with. I was still within ‘the deadline’, but I was definitely on the ‘late’ side, which I don’t like. But so far, everything else has seemed to be more intriguing than sitting down and getting that stuff done.
But a deadline is a deadline is a deadline. And yes, Douglas Adams has something to say about deadlines:
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” ~Douglas Adams
I knew I couldn’t wait until that deadline flew by and moved over to my office. On the way, I stumbled over Charlet, my black tabby cat, who decided to cross my path just as I surrounded the corner from the living room to the office.
Thank God I could catch myself and didn’t fall, but in my haste to see myself, I hit two fingers on my desk, and one of my fingernails folded over – backward. Now, if you have nails as hard as mine, that hurts! I howled like a hungry wolf on a full moon. But that was no reason to delay. However, it was a reason to go back to the kitchen, get me a glass of buttermilk and wait until the pain had lessened a bit. Unfortunately, from yesterday to today, the buttermilk in question has gone sour.
Well, I got myself apple juice and shuffled back to the office.
Then I sat down and worked intensely for five hours to get my task done. That worked fine… until I found out that this wasn’t the only task I had. I promised to record something and send it out – which I did too. Two jobs are done. And I had to write a blog post for tomorrow, which I am doing right now, three tasks done.
I had to go to the bathroom in between, which I didn’t bother to slip into my house shoes, and stepped with my bare feet into a cat hairball… what a mess!
When I returned, I found out I had not finished the September Newsletter yet, which means, instead of getting ready for bed, I’ll get ready to get that done as well.
After all, it wasn’t a perfect day for me today. When I surfed through some quotes for this post, I found that quote from English author Douglas Adams and laughed loudly.
I know precisely, my day could have been much worse! There are people with horrible problems! (Even though I do have a few things that cause me stress and anxiety…) But this quote made me laugh, and only the laughter made me feel better!
And I remember that very often, laughter can help. Look for something to giggle, for something to laugh about, look for a movie, a quote, a memory, or a couple of kitties, that tickly your humor center – and you will survive!
And with that, I’ll let you read a few more giggles from Douglas Adams. Giggle – and feel good about it!
Douglas Noel Adams was born on the 11th of March 1952 in Cambridge. He was an English writer and dramatist. Adams went to Brentwood School in Essex from 1959 to 1970. Until then his interest lied more towards Science rather than Arts. It was not until the age of ten when after achieving a full score in an essay, his teacher Frank Halford, encouraged him to follow a career in writing. While Adams was studying in Cambridge he hitchhiked from Europe to Istanbul, working various jobs to generate funds for it. After he left school in 1970 to follow his career as a writer, Adams was certain that success was eminent. However, the truth was far from this. After being discovered by Graham Chapman and John Lloyd he also made brief experiences in the series ‘Monty Pythons Flying Circus’. But Adams writings were not aligned with the style of radio or television of that time which proved to be a great hindrance in his success.
To make a living Adams tried several jobs including hospital porter, barn builder, bodyguard and chicken shed cleaner. Nevertheless Adams continued his efforts, though few of his works were accepted. In 1976, however, his career escalated a little when he wrote and performed ‘Unpleasantness at Brodie’s Close’ in a festival. But by the end of the year, he was in strife again. This left Adams with great depression and low self esteem. Slowly he learned to cope with his situation and decided to keep working hard for success.
His early works include ‘The Burkiss Way’ (1977) and ‘The News Huddlines’. In the same year later he worked once again with Graham Chappal to write an episode of ‘Doctor on the Go’. Adams most notable work is ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ which reached immense heights of success with the book being the number one seller in UK. He also became the youngest author to have received the Golden Pen Award for his book. ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ moved on to become a television series, a record album, a computer game and also theatrical plays. In 1980 he wrote another successful book ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ followed by ‘The Universe and Everything’ in 1982 and ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ in 1984 and ‘Mostly Harmless’ in 2002. Douglas Adams sold more than fifteen million books in United Kingdom, The United States and Australia and was a best seller in many languages including German and Swedish.
His works received many awards some of which are the ‘Imperial Tobacco Award’ (1978), Sony Award (1979) and ‘Best Program for Young People’ Society of Authors/Pye Awards for Radio (1980). In 1982, three of Adams books made it to the New York Times bestseller list and the Publishers’ Weekly bestseller list making him the first British author to achieve this target after Ian Fleming. His phenomenal book ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy’ was at the 24th number in the Waterstone’s Books and Channel list of the 100 greatest books of the century.
Douglas Adams died in Santa Barbara, California in May 2001.
All pictures in this post are courtesy of Google.com