Selling My Books: Samantha Warren’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares his or her favourite book promotion tip here.

Headshot of author Samantha Warren

Samantha Warren

I met Samantha Warren, who writes vampire novels, through the Alliance of Independent Authors. When I heard Samantha use the phrase “passive promotion” to describe her top book promotion tip, I couldn’t wait to ask her more about it. (I also loved her phrase “Spammy McSpamface”!) Thank you, Samantha, for sharing your top tip here today, via the usual questions. 

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip?

Samantha Warren: My favorite way to promote books is through what I like to call Passive Promotion.

Debbie Young: How do you do it?

Samantha Warren: Passive promotion is pretty simple, but it’s also very hard and takes awhile to work. It’s as easy as talking to people. Hop on Twitter, Facebook, what-have-you, and get sociable. Join groups, find new friends, and talk to them. Not just about your books, but about your life, their life, everything. The goal is to be real and to connect with each reader, one at a time, personally, before you even try to sell them your book. They get to know you, they get to like you, and then they become one of your biggest fans. As Neil Gaiman says about writing, it’s as simple as that. And as hard. Another quote (paraphrased) that I like is from Chuck Wendig. You don’t “find” your readers. You EARN them.

Cover of Vampire Assassin by Samantha Warren

The first of 10 books in Samantha Warren’s vampire series

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Samantha Warren: Passive promotion takes a long time to work, but in the end, it’s worth it. You find your true fans, those who will buy any book you write, even if it’s not in a genre they normally read. They’re the ones all the writers who say “Find your 1000 true fans” are talking about. It’s these people, the ones you connect with on a deeper level. Those are the ones you want. Not only do they become readers, but they become friends. Who could ask for more than that?

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?

Samantha Warren: I’ve employed this method since the beginning of my journey for the most part. I used to be Spammy McSpamface, and that kind of sucked because I hate self-promoting. But while Passive Promotion is difficult and takes a long time to work, I learned that it seems to work better than any of those ads I wasted money on, and it’s the only fool-proof way to sell books.

Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?

Samantha Warren: Nope. It can pretty much only be done one way. Be you, be true. The more I do it, the more I realize who my core readers are, and I can see that core group growing. And it’s awesome to know it wasn’t from money spent. I didn’t have to buy their loyalty. It’s because we interacted and became friends, and that’s just the bees knees.

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Samantha Warren: I hate that I spend so much time and money on ads and blog tours and stuff when I’d much rather be writing. But like everyone, I want to find that one trick that will make me a bajillionaire. Silly me, I know that’s not true and that it doesn’t really work like that, but still, I keep trying and hoping and being disappointed. So I should really just stick to passive promotion. :)

Cover of Bloodshed by Samantha Warren

The 10th in the series (wow!)

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Samantha Warren: Everyone I talk to says Bookbub is the big trick, but I have yet to get a book accepted despite meeting all the requirements. I have a feeling that no matter how much I try and how much I spend, though, it won’t live up to the hype once it happens. ;)

Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

Samantha Warren: I just released the 10th and final book in my vampire novella series on April 10th. Jane started with Vampire Assassin which is free on all formats.

To find out more about Samantha Warren and her books, please hop over to her website: www.samantha-warren.com.

FOR MORE TIPS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED & INDIE AUTHORS:

Selling My Books: Isabel Burt’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares his or her favourite book promotion tip here.

Headshot of Isabel Burt

The author Isabel Burt

I met Isabel Burt through our mutual friends at author services provider SilverWood Books, and it’s been my pleasure to have helped her with some aspects of her book promotion.

Like her fellow SilverWood author Edward Hancox, interviewed here last week, Isabel is focusing on bookshops for her top tip, but this time on a single branch of a chain store in Milton Keynes, where she recently held a book signing event to mark her launch. Her experience shows that contrary to popular belief, the door of the big chains is open to self-published authors with the right approach.  

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could be the one you enjoy most.

Isabel Burt: As a new author, the thing I have most enjoyed so far, in terms of promotion, was my first book signing at Waterstones, in Milton Keynes. It took a level of calm persistence to persuade a store to take an entirely unknown, debut children’s fantasy novel, but I am so glad I succeeded. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking with the young readers and their parents about Toxics, and other novels they are currently reading. I think I learnt more than them, on the day! My tip, therefore, would be not to ignore the valuable and enriching experience of getting out and about – it is not about profit, but of other incalculable benefits.

Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!

Isabel Burt: How did I begin, with absolutely no experience? First I read your wonderful book, Sell Your Books!, and then having thrown it down, thinking I could never do any of those things, I left my writing cocoon, and began. I approached all local bookshops, either in person or by phone. It was pre-Christmas so this was a terrible time to begin, but there was no choice. I followed up by sending them further information, and then further calls or visits. Within a couple of months I had my book on the shelves at three stores, four libraries, and my first book signing!

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Isabel Burt: Why I choose this as my favourite, new promotional activity, is that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking with the young readers and their parents about Toxics, and other novels they are currently reading. I think I learnt more than them, on the day!

Isabel signing books instore

Signing books at Waterstones, Milton Keynes

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?

Isabel Burt: I chose to do book signings, for Toxics, because it is my first novel, and needs to be publicised within my local community, as well as through online social media. For the sequel, Oceans, I will not hesitate to continue building on any foundations with bookstores, as the whole booksigning event brought a feeling of resolution and reality to the experience of writing and publishing a novel.

Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?

Isabel Burt: How I might do things differently next time would be to promote the event further in advance. I only turned my attention to the first event about 10 days beforehand. I contacted my local radio station, and a local newspaper, but I see I could have made even better use of these two friendly and supportive avenues. The next store has asked for my posters as soon as possible, which surprised me, but had me realising that I should work further in advance, myself.

Debbie Young:Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Isabel Burt: I know I am not alone in this, but I least like having to address the demands of social media, with respect to promotion as an author. I accept this is important and invaluable, and I do enjoy making new friends in the author community during the process, but I find it hard to find discipline and direction, sometimes, in this arena, in spite of the wonderful articles that exist to help authors do so!

Cover of Toxics by Isabel Burt

Having a beautiful book cover helps persuade store managers to host book signing events

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Isabel Burt: I know what I would like to now try, is teaching Creative Writing. alongside continuing to write regularly. Whilst not being a strictly promotional activity, I feel sure this will still quietly enhance my promotional activities, and build a strong foundation for me as a writer.

Debbie Young:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

Isabel Burt: Sales and promotion are so important, but the energy that keeps me going, is simply my love of writing – most particularly for young readers. My own childhood was spent with a book glued to my nose from the moment I had finally mastered the hieroglyphs on the page. It still gives me a thrill to imagine I have taken a young reader away to the land of my story, if only for a few hours! I hope to finish the sequel, Oceans, this coming winter of 2014, which continues the story of Felicity and Reuben in their primitive, mystical Old World.

I will be in Waterstones, Market Harborough, Northamptonshire, on Saturday May 24th, signing copies of TOXICS, with great pleasure!

Find out more about Isabel Burt and her writing on her website: www.isabelburt.com.

FOR MORE TIPS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED & INDIE AUTHORS:

Selling My Books: Edward Hancox’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares his or her favourite book promotion tip here.

Ed Hancox speaking in Foyles Bookshop at the SilverWood Open Day

Edward Hancox speaking at SilverWood Books’ Open Day at Foyles, Bristol

I met Edward Hancox via SilverWood Books‘ Open Day at Foyles bookshop in Bristol in January, where he gave an excellent talk about how he crowdfunded the production of his first self-published book, Iceland Defrosted, a bestselling travelogue about his passion for that country and all things Icelandic. I’d read and enjoyed his book when it was first published, and had never met Ed in person before. Even so, I could tell straight away that he was a personable chap and very much at home in Foyles. So it was no surprise that his top tip for book promotion involves relationship building in bookshops. Over to you, Ed, and thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom with us all.

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could be the one you enjoy most.

Edward Hancox: Book shops. Don’t forget bookshops, and especially independent ones. The big chains might not even talk to you (or worse, one actually lied to me!), but I’ve found independent bookstores to be very supportive. My local one – Wenlock Books – has sold over 70 copies of my book. A book shop in central Reykjavík stocks my little book. I’m also stocked in cafés (can’t beat coffee and a good book) and a record shop. The high street isn’t dead – if you support retailers, you’ll be surprised how much they support you.

Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!

Ed's books on a bookshop shelf

Iceland Defrosted on a bookshop shelf

Edward Hancox: Easy. Go in and say ‘Hello’. Be polite. Buy something. Ask for an email address. Get in touch. Always offer sale or return. Keep in contact. Watch the magic happen

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Edward Hancox: I enjoy book shops, record shops and drinking good coffee. This is a great excuse to indulge in all three! I also get a huge kick out of seeing my book for sale, as an actual book, from a real shelf, in a physical location. Something that ebooks will never be able to compete with.

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?

Edward Hancox: My debut book, Iceland, Defrosted is stocked in 10 shops now, and is doing very well. The support of independent shops has meant a huge deal to me.

Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?

Edward Hancox: No, I don’t think so. I have the contacts and  confidence now, which would make it much easier.

How about this title for an icebreaker in bookshops?

How about this title for an icebreaker in bookshops?

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Edward Hancox: Reviews. Urgh. I hate them. I have  tens of wonderful reviews on Amazon for my book, but a single cutting, malicious review can wound me for days. I need to grow a thicker skin.

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Edward Hancox: Vine. It’s like Twitter but with 6 second videos. I’ve tried it, but not mastered it. I think it has huge scope and potential – I need to sit down and figure it out.

Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

Ed's name on an event poster

Ed shares the billing with an Icelandic pop singer

Edward Hancox: I’m giving a reading at Left for Dead in Birmingham – the record shop I mentioned – on the 10th May. It’s worth mentioning, because I’m appearing with a singer/songwriter from Iceland who I admire hugely. She’s called Hafdís Huld and appears in my book, so the whole thing has a nice symmetry to it!

Debbie Young: That sounds very exciting, Ed. Have fun – and make sure you get a photo of her holding your book for publicity purposes! (I bet you’re going to give her a free signed copy…)

Find out more about Edward Hancox and his bestselling book on his website: www.icelanddefrosted.com.

FOR MORE TIPS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED & INDIE AUTHORS:

Selling My Books: Helen Hollick’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here.

Helen Hollick and Debbie Young at the launch of Sell Your Books!

I was thrilled that Helen Hollick was able to fit the launch party for “Sell Your Books!” into her busy schedule

I might have known that historical novelist Helen Hollick would be one of the first to volunteer to share her top tips on book marketing. Helen is one of the most generous authors I’ve ever met. So many aspiring self-published authors have benefited from her guidance and encouragement over the years, not only from reading her excellent writing guide, Discovering the Diamond, co-authored with her editor Jo Field, but also from her personal enthusiasm and kindness.

With a string of books to her name in both historical fiction and historical fantasy, and lively blogs to maintain, she is also the Managing Editor of the Historical Novel Society’s UK Indie Reviews section – another way of encouraging new talent. She’s looking for new reviewers, by the way, so do leave a comment if you’d like to find out more – I’ve just signed up myself! 

Thank you, Helen, for sharing your experience and wisdom with us all.

Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could be the one you enjoy most

Helen Hollick: Don’t promote your book! Promote yourself as a person – people will be interested in you, and will then become interested in what you do i.e. write books!

Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!

Helen Hollick: I post on Facebook every day. On my Author page I share articles and items of interest by other authors, using the page as a writers and readers information page. I try to keep my personal page for ‘me’ things – although I never put anything over-personal (social networks are public places, if you don’t want people knowing your business, don’t post it on a social network page!) I also have several active – and diverse – blogs.

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Helen Hollick giving a talk

Helen Hollick loves connecting with people in person, as well as online

Helen Hollick: I like communicating with people. Writing can be a very solitary occupation, it is nice to know there are people out there who enjoy reading what I’ve written. One of the perks of being an author is making so many lovely Internet friends from all around the world.

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?

Helen Hollick: All of my books – I am currently working on my tenth novel, the fifth Sea Witch Voyage, On The Account. I’ve used social media for a long time now, starting with MySpace, then moving, primarily, to Facebook and Twitter.

Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?

Helen Hollick: Probably not!

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?

Helen Hollick: It takes up such a lot of time

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?

Helen Hollick: I’d like to get to grips with Goodreads a bit more, I’m not really sure how it works.

Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.

Helen Hollick: I would like readers to visit my main blog: ‘Let us Talk of Many Things; of Books and Queens and Pirates, of History and Kings…’ (http://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.co.uk/) not especially because it is my blog, but because I have many interesting articles and posts contributed by a variety of guests. It is my way of helping to promote other wonderful writers!

Debbie Young: Thank you, Helen, it’s been lovely to talk to you here. And for anyone who hasn’t got round yet to reading one of Helen’s fabulous stories, here’s my review of my favourite: Sea Witch – a rollicking pirate adventure with a touch of magic and humour.

Helen Hollick's Facebook header pic

Here are other ways of connecting with Helen Hollick:

Sunset photo

LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TOP BOOK MARKETING TIP?

  • If you’re a self-published author and would like to share YOUR top tip for book promotion in the Off The Shelf guest slot, please message me via the contact form with a summary of the tip that you’d like to write about, and we’ll take it from there.
  • And if you run a regular guest slot on YOUR blog with a specific theme, please feel free to post a link in the comments section so we can all hop over to have a look at it!

?CALLING SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS!
If you’re self-published author, or are thinking of self-publishing, join me at the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) – a great source of education, inspiration and networking opportunities. To find out more, click here.

Cover of Sell Your Books!SELL YOUR BOOKS!

If you don’t yet have a copy of my book promotion handbook, written especially for self-published and indie authors but equally useful to trade-published authors too, hop over to its profile page on this website to find out more about it. And if you’ve read it and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a brief review on Amazon, Goodreads, your own website, or anywhere else that will help me to help more authors. Thank you.

Selling My Books: Francis Guenette’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here

Francis Guenette

Meet Canadian author Francis Guenette

I’m delighted to welcome Canadian author Francis Guenette for the first in a series of conversations with self-published authors talking about the best way to sell more books.  Fran is the author of two excellent novels (read my reviews on my author blog here). Living and writing in the vast, sparsely populated countryside of British Columbia brings its own marketing challenges, and I really admire how Fran has capitalised on local opportunities to get books into bricks-and-mortar stores. 

Debbie Young: What is your all-time favourite top tip for book promotion? This needn’t be the one that has sold the most books – it might equally be one that you enjoy doing so much that it keeps you motivated for the rest of the book marketing grind!

Francis Guenette: Developing contacts in the local marketplace that have resulted in venues where I can sell ‘real’ books.

In-store display of her books

Francis Guenette’s books in store

Debbie Young: How did you do it?

Francis Guenette: It was easier than I thought it would be. When I considered self-publishing, I read a lot about how difficult it would be to get my books into bricks-and-mortar bookstores. I would say that is true. But on the local scene, there are so many other non-traditional places to sell books. My best results have come from grocery stores and even more specifically, grocery stores in tourist locations like campsites, fishing camps, and lodges. Between these two types of stores, I have managed to tap into both the local and the tourist market.

Satisfied customer in store

Getting the books into readers’ hands…

How have I done this? I am indebted to my husband who is the type of guy who has no problem walking into a store with the books in hand, asking to speak to the manager and coming out the door with a sales agreement. We are also at an advantage in having lived in this area for over thirty years – the people who aren’t familiar with my name certainly know my husband. I suppose, to one degree or another, I have the curiosity factor going – people want to know what the heck I might write about.

The local newspaper has also been instrumental in promoting me. Again, this involved a personal appearance at the office with review copies of my books in hand and a quick chat with the editor. Emails and phone calls don’t seem to garner the right tone in the local marketplace.

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Another in-store display with customer

… and off the shelf!

Francis Guenette: While I go about the slow uphill slog of establishing a presence on various social media platforms, to increase visibility for e-sales, local sales are helping me get out of the red. But it’s more than that. When local people tell me how much they love my books, it’s a vote of confidence in the authenticity of my writing voice. These people live in the communities I draw on for fictional inspiration and they can sniff out an overly sentimental or phony depiction of their own backyard.

Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when/how often?

Francis Guenette: Trade paperback copies of both Disappearing in Plain Sight and The Light Never Lies are available for sale on the racks of a number of local stores.

Debbie Young: If you were doing the same again for another book tomorrow, is there anything you’d do differently?

Francis Guenette: I don’t think I’d do anything differently, but I certainly plan to expand what we have already done over a larger geographical area. A three hour drive down the road would take my books into a much bigger marketplace with a host of non-traditional book selling venues to choose from. My name wouldn’t be as easily recognized but the rural setting of my books would still resonate and the whole of Vancouver Island is pretty good about standing behind local talent.

Cover of Disappearing in Plain Sight

Francis Guenette’s debut novel

Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you least like?

Francis Guenette: The grind of social media is a most time-consuming process. It is also an area where it is very difficult to relate time spent on specific activities to books sold. An author has to go on faith most of the time and that is not so enjoyable.

Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’ve not yet tried (or tried but not perfected) that you plan to try in future?

Francis Guenette: I’m thinking about an interview on the local radio station. They’re pretty low-key and I imagine they might be open to squeezing me in-between The Birthday Book and the tide table information.

Debbie Young: Anything else you’d like to share with Off The Shelf readers just now?

Francis Guenette: I live in a rural area and lest readers imagine that local markets are not possible in larger centres, I would argue that even within a city, there are always smaller neighbourhoods and non-traditional venues for selling books. Don’t brush off the idea of acting as your own vendor to sell ‘real’ books.

My appearance on Off the Shelf is part of a blog tour to promote the release of my second novel, The Light Never Lies. There are prizes attached to this tour – two softcover copies of The Light Never Lies mailed to the lucky winners. One copy is for the blog host who garners the most engagement on their post featuring yours truly, and one for a commenter – name to be randomly drawn from all commenters across the tour. I hope readers will like and comment on this post (scroll down to the foot of the page for the comment box) and give Deb a chance for a win as well as following along with the tour and commenting often for multiple chances to win. The entire blog tour schedule is available on my blog here: The Light Never Lies blog tour 

Cover of The Light Never Lies by Francis Guenette

The sequel

Francis Guenette’s Author Bio
Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor and researcher. The Light Never Lies is her second novel. Francis blogs over at www.disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello to her.

LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TOP BOOK MARKETING TIP?

  • If you’re a self-published author and would like to share YOUR top tip for book promotion in the Off The Shelf guest slot, please message me via the contact form with a summary of the tip that you’d like to write about, and we’ll take it from there.
  • And if you run a regular guest slot on YOUR blog with a specific theme, please feel free to post a link in the comments section so we can all hop over to have a look at it!

?CALLING SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS!
If you’re self-published author, or are thinking of self-publishing, join me at the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) – a great source of education, inspiration and networking opportunities. To find out more, click here.

“Selling My Books”: The New Guest Slot for Self-publishing Authors

My favourite book promotion tip of the moment is to write guest posts on other authors’ blogs, especially when a specific theme is called for.

Writing posts on other people’s blogs may not immediately help indie authors sell more books, but it will:

  • raise your profile as an author
  • build name recognition
  • open up valuable new networking opportunities

Guest posts also give you the opportunity to place more inbound links back to your own website, encouraging search engines to give your site higher priority.

But it’s not just the guest who benefits:

  • Blog hosts gain new, fresh copy to supplement their own posts
  • They also gain new followers and friends that the guest blogger brings with them to the site via social media sharing of their guest post.

Here are three examples of themed guest post strands on very different websites. All are beautifully presented and branded, each readily identifiable at a glance.

Lindsay Stanberry Flynn’s “Why I Write” Series

Cover of The Piano Player's Son by Linsday Stanberry-FlynnNovelist Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn has just completed an eight-part series of guest posts under the banner “Why I Write”, spanning the first two months of 2014.

Lindsay is a gifted writer and writing coach whom I met online some time ago. A friendship formed across the ether in which we shared advice, moral support and humour, and we also often hook up via the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), to which we both belong, and whose blog of self-publishing advice I edit.  Our online connection leapt off the screen and into real life when last autumn Lindsay kindly invited me to the official launch of her second novel, The Piano Player’s Son, published by Cinnamon Press (Lindsay won her contract as a prize in their novel-writing competition!)

Lindsay specialises in novels about families in turmoil, following familial disharmony. Given my propensity to favour Pollyanna scenarios with happy endings, they’re not the kind of book I’d normally plump for, but I found both this book and her debut novel, Unravelling, gripping and fulfilling reading.

And her book launch was a joy, interspersing readings with live music and performance poetry, in a striking old hall in the centre of Worcester. On this memorable night, a cabaret of entertainment played to a packed house, whose audience snapped up copies of both of Lindsay’s books from the sales table as they left. I’ve reviewed both of Lindsay’s books on Amazon and Goodreads, where you’ll find them for sale as ebooks and paperbacks.

When novelist Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn invited me to be a guest on her blog in her new series called “Why I Write”, I jumped at the chance. You can read my guest post here:

“Why I Write”~7 – Debbie Young

The Alliterative Allomorph with Jessica Bell

Cover of String Bridge by Jessica Bell

One of Jessica’s many published works

Another  regular guest blog feature that I enjoy is Jessica Bell’s, gloriously titled! I met Jessica via the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), to which we both belong, and we’ve become good friends, though not yet met in person. I’m excited to be joining her Homeric Writers’ Retreat on the idyllic Greek island of Ithaca in August –  find out more about that here: www.homericwriters.com.

I’ve now featured twice on The Alliterative Allomorph, in which Jessica encourages her guests to sound off about whatever aspect of the writing life is currently on their mind.

Disparate authors follow each other, week after week, often with not much in common other than their passion for what they do, and the mix works well. You never quite know what’s coming next – just that it’ll be a stimulating read. Here’s an example of one of my guest posts on Jessica’s blog:

Why I Used To Feel Sorry for Tolstoy – and Why I’m Over It Now

The Undercover Soundtrack with Roz Morris

Cover of Roz Morris's novelOne of the great benefits of having a regular guest post series on your blog is that readers who stop by to read one may find themselves hooked and make a regular date with your blog to see who writes what next. This certainly happens for Roz Morris (another ALLi chum) with her now legendary blog slot, The Undercover Soundtrack.

The Undercover Soundtrack is the author’s answer to that long-running BBC radio series, Desert Island Discs (which I adore). This blog slot gives authors the opportunity to share thoughts about the music that inspires and informs their work. I’m sure it must encourage readers to discover and explore new writers, as well as to read Roz’s own novel on a musical theme, My Memories of a Future Life.

Strange – and pleasingly neat – how all three of the authors’ novels shown here share a musical connection! Jessica’s isn’t clear from the cover, so I should point out that String Bridge is about a guitarist and comes with its own soundtrack, written and performed by the author, who is also a talented musician. Wow!

My New Weekly Guest Slot

For the reasons I’ve outlined above, I’m pleased now to be launching a regular guest slot here on Off The Shelf. It will be called “Selling My Books: (Author’s Name)’s Top Tip for Book Promotion” and it will appear every Wednesday. Kicking it off next Wednesday (19th March 20014) will be the Canadian author Francis Guenette, whose two novels Disappearing in Plain Sight and Finding the Light just blew me away. I first came across Fran via Twitter and was really pleased when she joined ALLi, opening up more opportunities for us to network to our mutual benefit.

After Fran’s post, I’ve got a substantial list of guests lined up. If you’re a self-published author and would like to share YOUR top tip for book promotion, please message me via the contact form with a summary of the tip that you’d like to write about, and we’ll take it from there.

And if you run a regular guest slot on YOUR blog with a specific theme, please feel free to post a link in the comments section so we can all hop over to have a look at it!

If you’re a writer and you’re not yet a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), the nonprofit organisation for professional self-published authors, check it out – the ease it offers of making great author friends is just one of many benefits of membership. Aspiring authors are welcome to join, as well as those who have already self-published books! To find out more, please use this handy link to the ALLi website so they’ll know I’ve sent you!