A Note about this Blog

Photo of Debbie with four fellow authors at a reading

With fellow ALLi authors JJ Franklin, Ellie Stevenson, David Penny and Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn at Evesham Writing Festival this summer

I first set up this blog as an offshoot of my first marketing guidebook for authors, Sell Your Books! It contains over 100 great posts of great marketing advice.

I no longer add new articles here, because I’m now Commissioning Editor of the Alliance of Independent Authors’Advice Centre blog, which features regular posts on book marketimg, promotion ideas, and all other aspects of self-publishing.

I also write about my own journey as an indie author on my personal blog.

Please follow those blogs if you’d like to – and in the meantime, I’ll keep this website live so that you may continue to benefit from my blog archive.

 

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Selling My Books: Carol Cooper’s Top Tip for Book Promotion

Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog

Carol Cooper headshot

The multi-talented, multi-tasking author Carol Cooper

I first met Carol Cooper via the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which we’re both Author Members, and soon discovered that as well as writing novels, she has a busy and successful career as a GP, a medical journalist for the UK’s top-selling newspaper, and lecturer to medical students at the prestigious Imperial College London. Oh, and she’s had lots of medical and healthcare books published too – phew! I thought I was busy till I met Carol…

Back to her burgeoning career as a novelistI really enjoyed her debut novel One Night at the Jacaranda (which I’ve reviewed here).

I’ve been very grateful to her for the support she’s given to my own book about diabetes, Coming to Terms With Type 1 Diabetes, (she’s given me permission to quote her review: “It’s a lovely uplifting little book, full of insight, wit, and practical know-how. I think it will appeal to anyone with Type 1 Diabetes and their family. Health professionals would also find it useful. The book is beautifully written. A little treasure as well as a ray of hope.”

She also beta-read a short story of mine about a GP, helping me get my facts right about an important plot point. “The Art of Medicine” is published in my new collection of flash fiction, Quick Change.

I’m therefore delighted that Carol’s somehow managed to find time in her busy life to stop by Off The Shelf to share her top tip for book marketing.

Cover of One Night at the Jacaranda

The new cover for Carol Cooper’s debut novel

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

Carol Cooper: My favourite tip is based on exploring the world around my novel, which I think is advice I first heard from writer Jonathan Gunson.

So on my blog Pills & Pillow-Talk, I write occasional posts in which I let characters out of One Night at the Jacaranda to have new adventures.  Dan, Sanjay, Karen, and the rest of them are all fictional, but I know them pretty well by now so they’re friends.  It would be rude not to invite them round occasionally.

The posts are like some of the extra material you might get when you buy a DVD.  I can’t tell you how well they work to sell books, if at all, but I believe that as I’m selling almost exclusively online, then online is where I should concentrate my efforts.

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

Carol Cooper:  I write each post from a character’s point of view, in the third person.  Using the present tense makes the text feel more like a blog post and helps distinguish it from events in the book itself.  I’ll add some photos, which usually also find their way onto my novel’s Pinterest page (http://www.pinterest.com/drcarolcooper/one-night-at-the-jacaranda/).   As each one is a mini-chapter in that character’s life, it’s short like most of my posts. And I try not to let the characters interact too much. There’s no point giving the plot away!

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Carol Cooper: I enjoy it because it’s creative and it’s directly about the material in the book, so I don’t feel I’m giving up writing time for promotional activities.   It also means I can add a few topical touches.  There’s one post where GP Geoff visits his grandmother, who’s now so dotty that she’s put up Christmas decorations in the bathroom (it’s not Christmas).  He muses about a new online cognitive test, so I included a link to that test.  And in a post last September called Female, 38, Seeks Altruistic Single Male, Laure has read new research showing that men who do charitable deeds make more desirable partners.

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

Carol Cooper: So far I’ve only used it for Night at the Jacaranda, but I’m looking forward to doing the same for the follow-up novel once I’ve finished it.  I don’t want to write any scenes that might end up in the story, or, even worse, contradict the story.  Of course, one can do much the same for non-fiction.  Say you’ve written a parenting title.  You could write a post on, for instance, keeping your toddler amused on a car journey.  As it happens, I have authored childcare books, but I wouldn’t actually do this on Pills & Pillow-Talk as I wouldn’t want my fiction and non-fiction sitting cheek by jowl on the same site.

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

Photo of large ornate outdoor clock

The clock in Marylebone, London, where the action kicks off at the opening of “One Night At The Jacaranda”

Carol Cooper: I suspect I would do much the same.  A friend of mine includes interviews with some of the characters, which is a good idea too.

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

Carol Cooper: It eats into precious writing time (bet you’ve never heard that one before!).  I usually say I also dislike acting cold-calling or acting in any way like a salesperson as it’s far too brash, but the truth is that I’m not averse to stopping a woman I see in red heels, telling her that her shoes are just like the ones on the cover of my novel, and giving her a promotional postcard to prove it.  I think promoting a book is all about using and creating opportunities whenever you can, as long as it doesn’t feel icky.

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?

Carol Cooper: There are many activities that I haven’t perfected!   Next time I’d like a book launch.  As a traditionally published author, I never got book launches either.  Publishers tend to save their resources for books from big names – do I sound bitter?  Anyway I’ve seen the fun they can be, and of course you can post photos and blog and tweet about your launch, which all helps create a buzz.

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

Carol Cooper: I’m working on the follow-up to One Night at the Jacaranda, which will also be set in London.  Then there’s the prequel crying out for attention too.  It will go back about 15 years, to when Geoff was a medical student.  I also have plans for a novel partly set in Alexandria, where I grew up, and it probably won’t be chick-lit.

Debbie Young: I’ll look forward to reading both of those, Carol. I never knew you grew up in Alexandria – how interesting! Thanks for sharing your favourite book marketing advice here today, and good luck with all of your many books.

Carol Cooper: Thank you so much, Debbie, for inviting me onto your blog to share my thoughts.  I’ve really enjoyed your questions.

Debbie Young: I’m sure you’ll want to find out more about Carol Cooper and her work – so here’s a link to her website again so you can hop straight over there: www.pillsandpillowtalk.com

FOR MORE TOP TIPS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED & INDIE AUTHORS:

Selling My Books: Caz Greenham, Children’s Author

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

Head and shoulders of Caz Greenham

Caz Greenham, children’s author

I was introduced to children’s author Caz Greenham by Helen Hart at SilverWood Books who have published the first two volumes in her series of children’s stories about her character Eric Seagull.

Caz has since moved to Brixham in Devon, her favourite seaside resort which originally inspired her to write about Eric’s adventures. Her bubbly personality and willingness to talk to strangers about her book has given her legendary powers when it comes to handselling copies wherever she goes.

I’m sure there are plenty more adventures to follow, for both Eric and for Caz!

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.

Caz Greenham: My best tip is talk about your book after, never before, you’ve finished your business, i.e. at the bank, or a transaction in a superstore etc. and have either a bookmark or a business card to hand over. And smile while showing your enthusiasm about your books that you’ve taken millions of hours to write. Look them in the eye. Very important.

Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?

Caz Greenham: Because I actually believe in myself. I know I’ve written a fabulous children’s book with great characters that bring my books to life. I like people and I love to chat.

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

Caz Greenham: I talk about my books to everyone and anyone. So, everyone is a customer. ‘Do it all the time’

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

Cover of Eric Seagull Book 1

Eric Seagull’s first adventure

Caz Greenham: I wouldn’t do anything any differently with any new books.

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

Caz Greenham: The worst part for me would have to be public speaking. I’ve health/voice issues which prevent me from talking for very long. So that would never be an option for me, and one I would avoid at all cost. It’s not a confidence thing. I’ve plenty of that.

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?

Caz Greenham:  I’d love to talk about my book in front of a room of people. I can’t. That’ll never take place. (see above)

Cover of Eric Seagull Book 2

Eric Seagull returns for more fun

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

Caz Greenham: I have to say that Caz’s Blog Diary (Caz’s personal blog, accessible from a link on her author website) isn’t perhaps what others might expect – I’m doing it my way.

I see most authors simply interviewing other authors, and exchanging places on their blogs. I find this somewhat boring, mostly (Ed: except on this one!)

So, as you’ll see ‘I’m doing it my way’ here: http://cazgreenhamdotblogspotdotwordpressdotcom.wordpress.com/

I’m not climbing any Corporate Ladder of Success, here. I’m writing for me first, and the public second. I’ll always write to the best of my ability and hope my readers enjoy the journey with me.

I’m not one who finds it necessary to impress anyone with boring stats about sales of my books, and I never brag. I have no intention of joining the long ‘List of Boring Writers’ that appear to do just that most days on Facebook, and Twitter. I’ll never be that sad, for life is for living and enjoying and not, in my opinion, for trying to impress others along the way. I wonder what these writers expect to gain, I guess a big pat on the back and another click on the Like button.

Debbie Young: Caz, I’m sure our readers here will find your energy and enthusiasm uplifting and inspiring. Thank you so much for joining Off The Shelf today.

Find out more about Caz Greenham via www.cazgreenham.com – and if you follow her on Twitter, she’ll certainly liven up your timeline: @TheCazzz (yes, that IS meant to be 3 x z!)

To find out more about Caz’s impressive ability to sell her books wherever she goes, read my this post from the Off The Shelf archive:  How To Sell More Books By Seizing Handselling Opportunities

FOR MORE TIPS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED & INDIE AUTHORS:

How To Make Your Author Website Easier To Find Online

Row of self-published books on a shelf

How easy are you and your author website to find online?

An author website is an essential marketing tool for any writer, whether your books are self-published or commissioned by a trade publishing house.

These days, readers and reviewers expect to be able to find an official website dedicated to every author, and if you don’t have one, you’ll disappoint your reader. The absence of a website or any other online presence that you’ve devised yourself (Facebook page, Twitter profile, your author page on Amazon etc) also means the reader will have to find his information about you elsewhere. Sources devised by a third party are unlikely to be as accurate or comprehensive as those you compile about yourself!

Maintaining Your Author Website

So if you’ve set up an author website – well done! Your next trick is to regularly update it, not only to ensure that it has your latest information available, but also because frequent updates to a website will make it more likely to be selected from the seething hordes of other websites whenever anyone searches for you online. 

The internet is a big and crowded place, growing by the day, and clearly search engines can only show up so many websites in answer to every search. There are few searches these days that don’t run to many pages of results, listed in the order of priority that the search engine thinks fit. Your challenge is to make search engines choose your site over others – and the more common your name, your book’s title and your genre, the harder it is to rise above the masses.

How Search Engines Work

Search engines do not have an easy job, though their instant response to any request might make you think they do. If they have access to thousands of websites that appear relevant to the word or phrase you are looking for, how do they prioritise which site appears on that all-important first page of results?

Although the algorithms they use change constantly and are closely-guarded industry secrets, it’s safe to assume that search engines give priority to: 

  • large sites (the bigger, the better) i.e. with lots of pages
  • frequently updated sites (the more often they’re updated, the better)
  • sites with more inbound links, i.e. where the site’s URL (website address) is featured in lots of other places on the internet
  • sites with lots of daily hits
  • sites that have more frequent mentions of the particular search string that you’re looking for

They assume, quite reasonably, that sites fitting these criteria are likely to be the most helpful to the searcher. If a search string relevant to your website and your book appears on lots of other sites that are bigger, longer-established, more often updated and accessed than yours, then they will be given priority over yours. If you’re an author with a very modest website of just a couple of pages and not many visitors, your book’s mention on an online bookstore’s vast website can reasonably be expected to appear higher up the list that your own site.

Searching for Authors’ Names

Cover of "Ancestors" by Rob Collins

Less competition for “Rob Collinge” than the more common “Rob Collins”

This is when it’s helpful to have an uncommon name. As Debbie Young, it’s taken me nearly 4 years of blogging on my personal blog, www.youngbyname.me, to rise to the top of the Google search under “debbie young”, even with around 300 blog posts. I’ve been jostling with a Rabbi Debbie Young, a local councillor Debbie Young, an astrologer Debbie Young and a Jamaican poet D’bi Young for years.

Not that a very uncommon name is necessarily the answer – at least mine has the advantage of being easy to spell. When I set up a website for the author Rob Collinge last year, I was partly pleased that his name was unusual (there’d be so much more competition if he was the more common Rob Collins), and partly anxious as to whether people would guess how to spell his name if they’d only come across it by word of mouth, rather than seeing it written down. 

The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can and should do to increase the chances of your author website being listed further up the search engine’s pages:

  1. Keywords  Include the most likely key search terms throughout every page of the site, without disrupting the text (search engines will penalise your ranking if you overdo this). Mention your name and your book title frequently, spelled out in full – “Debbie Young” rather than just saying “Debbie” or “Young”, and “Sell Your Books!” rather than “my book” or “SYB!”
  2. Links  Ensure that wherever else online you are mentioned, you add a link to your website. Where your book is listed in online stores, add your website details (on Amazon, for example, you can do this by setting up an AuthorCentral page).
  3. Social Media If you have accounts on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc, write posts there with links back to your site.
  4. Emails & Online Comments When commenting on other websites and blogs, include your URL in your signature, and also in the footer of all your emails.(Set up a template to make it easy.)
  5. Updates Keep updating and adding to your site. The more pages and the more frequent updates the better. Add new reviews, reader feedback, plans for your next book, events, photos – anything that is relevant to your work as an author.
  6. URL Meet searchers halfway – make your URL (website address) easy to find! Put it on your book covers, bookmarks, business cards, and anywhere else it might be seen by your readers. That way, they won’t even have to use a search engine to find you – they can just go straight to your address! 
  7. Blog Add a blog to your website. Every extra blog post helps lure in the search engines. A website with just a few pages and no blog will always be lower profile than a big one with lots of pages and a new blog post every few days. 

The Author’s Guide To Blogging

I realise that last point may sound daunting to many authors, who may be wondering how to set up a blog, what to blog about and how to sustain a blog long term. Because I believe passionately that all authors will sell more books if they blog, I’m currently working on a book to answer all those questions and many more. The Author’s Guide to Blogging will be published in April 2014 by SilverWood Books, and I hope that it will help authors everywhere raise their profile online. To be kept informed about this book, click the “Follow” button to get new Off The Shelf posts by email. For free previews and the chance to win copies on its launch, just sign up for the Off The Shelf Newsletter by sendng a request via the Contact Form.

Related Posts

How To Sell More Books: Develop A Great Author Platform

Novelist Ali Bacon

Ali Bacon, author of “A Kettle of Fish”

“Develop an author platform” is one of the first pieces of book marketing advice that just about every new writer will hear.

When I first heard it, years ago, it put me in mind of someone standing on an upturned wooden crate at Speaker’s Corner in London, shouting to get their message across. In fact, that’s not too far from what it actually means: having a central spot on which to set out your wares, raising your head above the crowd, and an obvious place where people can find you if they’re looking for you. These days, the focal point of the author platform is likely to be your own website, with arms radiating out from it into social media and other online networking routes.

I’m delighted to welcome novelist Ali Bacon to Off The Shelf today to explain how she has grown her own author platform, at first almost without realising it, to the point that now, in some quarters, it seems like all roads lead to Ali Bacon. Here she is to answer my questions:

The writer now standing at platform …

Debbie: Now seven years old, your blog is one of the longest-standing WordPress websites that I know. How has your website evolved to reflect your changing status as an aspiring and then published author?

Ali: I started to blog back in 2007, partly for fun and also because of an instinct that in the increasingly digital world, it would be good to have an online presence. As an unpublished author it was also a way of finding an audience, and, if I’m honest, I’d also say that knowing I could publish a few paragraphs every week gave me a raison d’etre at times when the fiction-writing muse had gone totally AWOL.

It was only later that I ran into the concept of a platform and realised I had one! By then, I was aware of the need to extend my audience. In a ‘spare’ moment I also set up my St Andrews blog, again for my own satisfaction, but also because I had never tapped those connections.

For a year I was also a member of an online writers’ cooperative called Love A Happy Ending, whose aim was to promote our writing collaboratively, which was a big help. Meanwhile I had joined Twitter (hoorah!) and (more reluctantly) Facebook, which I use to network and also to promote blog posts.

In short, I don’t know that my own blog has changed very much, but I’ve tried to extend its reach through online networking and using other social media. Now I’m also developing the Bristol Women Writers website, a group project which I think is a good model for writers who haven’t quite made the big time but want to make an impact.

Debbie: Writing a blog is one thing, making sure people find it and read it is quite another. What are your top tips for attracting readers to yours and what have been your most popular posts or topics?

Ali: Good question! It’s quite a while since I checked my blog stats, but the results are interesting. Book reviews/discussions (which grew from a dearth of other ideas!) have gone down well and may explain why I now get sent review copies by some publishers. Guest bloggers are also popular (who have doubtless brought a following of their own), and occasionally I’ve engaged in a topical writerly debate (e.g. using Scrivener software, and a controversy surrounding the YouWriteOn website), with good results. Referring to a celebrity – especially an actor with a female following! – always gets a spike in hits, but, to be honest, I usually just choose what’s on my mind, rather than rating the likely popularity of a post.

My one main rule for blogging is always to reply to a comment. I think if someone has made the effort to respond, you should not be so rude as to ignore it. No point in gaining an audience only to lose it again! Rule number 2, by the way, is to avoid too many exalmation marks!

Debbie: You’ve done an amazing job to keep a blog going for seven years, but constantly adding new posts can be exhausting, as well as diverting the author from writing their next book. How often do you think an author ought to add a new post to their author blog to keep those visitors coming? Is there such a thing as too many/too frequent blog posts?

Ali: I once ran a golf blog for which I was paid to write two posts per week, and I used to regard that as the norm, but now I post weekly, if that. I do think there are limits, not just to my time but also that of readers. And I can now keep in contact with my audience via Twitter, which is of course, strictly speaking, a micro-blogging facility. In fact, considering what I’ve said about comments, these days the interactive part of blogging is moving, I think, to other media: I might comment on a post via the author’s Twitter or FB account rather than on the blog itself. (Same rule applies of course – always reply.)

Debbie: I’m a WordPress addict, and I evangelise about it to any friends who might be considering setting up a website, but you are much better qualified to judge than I am, as you have a background in IT training. Why do you think WordPress is a good system for authors?

Cover of A Kettle of Fish by Ali BaconAli: I trained as a librarian and then got hooked on online stuff when so much of my work ‘went digital’. I’m not at all techie, but I did move to a job in IT support, which is where I learned about Blogger and WordPress. I saw straight away that even the free version of WordPress could be developed into something that looks and feels like a ‘real’ author website, without the expense and without involving a third party. I have learned it bit by bit and I think it’s easy, but I’ve heard lots of writers say they find it too complicated. I think it’s important that anyone creating a blog should be in their own comfort zone, or as close to it as possible, otherwise they won’t enjoy it. Blogger is probably easier to learn for a complete beginner.

Debbie: You’ve said you fell in love instantly with Twitter, and you now have over 1,000 followers and 10,000 tweets for @AliBacon. What do you think of Facebook, and what does that offer that Twitter can’t? Are you adding any other social media to your armoury,  such as Pinterest or Google+?

Ali: As a confirmed Tweeter, I didn’t like Facebook at first, which I saw it as rambling, gossipy and visually messy. However, as time goes on, I find that I often get more of a response from posting on Facebook (and you know how that massages the ego!) than on Twitter, and I am perhaps reaching more readers than writers. They both offer great ways of communicating one-to-one via messaging without resorting to email which might feel like intrusion. I also like the Facebook groups: interacting in different communities via one interface – brilliant! As for other social media, I am on LinkedIn but don’t use it actively. I have also joined Pinterest which I suspect has huge potential but I simply don’t think I can afford the time to get hooked, which I almost certainly would – unless I give up something else. Finally the LAHE community advised me that Goodreads was a must – so I have joined, but find I just can’t give it much attention. (Here’s a link to Ali’s Facebook page.)

Debbie: Many new authors are anxious because they cannot master all the tools that might help them build their author platform. What would you advise a debut author adrift on the ether, wondering where to prioritise?

Ali: I think right now for a complete beginner, I might suggest Facebook and Blogger as a good start. Where they go from there would depend on their interest and aptitude. In fact I see some authors using Facebook for what I think of as a ‘full’ blogpost. I don’t really like this approach as I expect a Facebook status to be brief, but it is an option. There is also a generational thing. For younger people, Facebook is a given and needs no introduction. Many older writers are very nervous of social media because of all the adverse press re privacy and might be more comfortable in the more solitary confines of a blog.

Debbie: It’s too easy these days to focus on the internet for building your author platform and forget more traditional routes, such as print media, physical events and meeting people in person (as we did recently for coffee – and how refreshing that was!) What are your favourite offline alternatives for raising awareness of your work – or are those a thing of the past?

Ali: Having spent so much of my writing life online, I really have to kick myself into the real world where I find it much harder to push myself forward. An object lesson was a feature article in a local paper, which got a great response from all kinds of people, including my hairdresser who had no idea I was a writer. I find straight promotional events can be a bit of an ordeal and prefer to be engaged in some kind of activity. I recently ran a writing workshop in a local library and will also be at a Bristol Literature Festival event for new writers this Saturday along with the Southville Writers group. I’m happy to talk about subjects that interest me rather than just about me, and think I need to spread my wings a bit in that area. I’ve just been offered a regular column in a local community magazine, delivered free to the neighbourhood, which I think is a great way to get known.

Debbie: And finally… you’ve clearly been working extremely hard for the seven years – gosh, that sounds positively Biblical!  But your writing activity started even earlier. You’ve had a terrific novel published, A Kettle of Fish (see my review here), set in your native Scotland, and also many short stories and articles. To me, that sounds like the very definition of success – is that how it feels to you? And what are your next writing ambitions?

Ali: Yes, I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do , even if it did take what seemed like a long time, and I have to stop and remind myself of that. But it’s funny how our ideas of success change over time. Ironically, I remember years ago thinking how wonderful it would be to be asked to read my work in public, and now I find it’s something I don’t particularly enjoy. Maybe now I’d like to hear it read by a famous actor or actress (now let me think which one!)

Someone said recently that success is incremental, which I think is very true. Few of us will leap suddenly on to the big literary stage, but I feel I am now on a small local one and that feels quite gratifying for now. Of course, I still have long-term ambitions, of which the principal one is still to finish my next novel and have it picked up by one of the big boys of the publishing world. Of course, by the time that happens the whole publishing world (and my own aspirations) may have changed beyond all recognition …

Thanks Debbie for such thought-provoking questions. Very much looking forward to our next meeting – in the real or virtual worlds!

Debbie: My pleasure, Ali – and as it happens, that next meeting will be tonight, as I’m coming along to the launch of a new anthology produced by the Bristol Women Writers group called Writers Unchained, written to mark the 400th anniversary of Bristol’s public library service. Full report on that event to follow shortly!

If you’d like to see my return match on Ali’s author blog, click here to read my guest post on her site. 

How to Use Guest Posts to Sell More Books – A Practical Demonstration

Image used for Jessica Bell's guest blog spot

Image from the guest spot on Jessica Bell’s blog

I’ve blogged before about how guest blog posts can help you raise your visibility and so sell more of your books, whether you’re host or guest.  I’m pleased to share with you now a practical example of how I’ve just been featured as a guest blogger on author and writing coach Jessica Bell’s Alliterative Allomorph treasure trove of a blog.

A Great Example of Hosting Guest Bloggers

Jessica hosts a different guest blogger every Wednesday, under the subtitle “The Artist Unleashed”. Her brief to her guests is simply to produce copy that will inspire and inform other writers. The result: a wide range of posts on different aspects of writing.

The regularity and diversity of these guest posts, and the professionalism with which Jess runs it (specific guidelines re deadlines, word count, comment policy, etc), makes hers an excellent example of how guest blogging benefits host and guest:

  • Her regular readers, many of whom have never heard of me, now have
  • I’m sending Jessica’s way regular readers from my Off The Shelf Book Promotions blog, and from my personal YoungByName blog too, exposing them not only to my guest post but to news of Jessica’s poetry, novels and writing guides too

How I Wrote My Guest Post

When I realised how many accomplished writers Jess had already hosted on her site, I thought “This will be a hard act to follow.”  And that thought was my jumping off point for my post – a bit of fun in which I consider Victorian literary greats and wonder how they coped without the modern writer’s high-tech tools. My conclusions may surprise you. Here’s my opening line:

“Sorry for Tolstoy?” I hear you cry. Why should a little-known writer with zero published novels to her name pity the author of one of the world’s longest and greatest works of fiction?

Find out Why I Used to Feel Sorry for Tolstoy (and Why I’m Over It Now) by clicking here to hop over to The Alliterative Allomorph.

Jessica Bell As A Guest on My Blog

You might also like to read the interview I hosted here on Off The Shelf  with Jessica a little while ago.

Some of My Other Posts About Writing

If you’re interested in reading more of my posts about writing, as a writer rather than a book promoter, try these for size, all published on my personal YoungByName blog:

The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Writing on the Run

Flash Fiction for Summer Lightning

Memoirs