One Writer’s Journey

September 25, 2019

Marketing: Stirring Up Interest in Your Book

There are a variety of ways that writers can stir up interest in their book.  One is to get it out there on social media.  The problem with this is that you can only post about it so often yourself.  No, really.  Do it too often and you start to look just a tiny bit self-absorbed.  Those are the writers and illustrators I unfollow.  But the good news is that if you tweet, post on Facebook and Instagram, and blog about other people’s books, they will return the favor and you have grass roots marketing.

Another way to stir up interest in your book is to hold a contest.  That’s what my friend Sharon Mayhew is doing.  You can read about it on her blog here.  The social media response to the launch of Keep Calm and Carry On, Children was so great that she is thanking everyone with a contest.  And what is the result of that?  Not just happy people who hope to win marvelous snacks and a copy of the book but more social media.

It is also a good idea to have a website.  If you have a website, people can find you.  When I am looking for authors to interview when I am witing an article, I google their names.  It is amazing how many of them don’t have a web site.  If you have a site and have your e-mail addy listed on the site, someone might approach you for an interview.  An interview is free advertising.  They might also approach you to do a school visit.  That school visit? More free advertising.

In the Publisher’s Weekly article Author-Tested Middle Grade Marketing Tips, Kate Messner discusses school visits.  Her recommendation is that you develop in person and virtual visits that are more than just you trying to sell your book.  Offer something of value.  What is of value to a teacher?  I hope you said education.  What can you teach through your visit?

I have to admit that I find school visits intimidating.  Really intimidating.  I want to get over that problem so I am signing up for Margo Dill’s class on school visits and author talks.  Margo is a hands on teacher so I know I’ll come out of her class with something of value to share with my readers.


July 26, 2019

Social Media Do and Don’t

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:06 am
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First and foremost, to get published, you need a top notch manuscript.  It doesn’t matter if you are a picture book author/illustrator or a young adult author, it is your work that will get your foot in the door.

That said, there are things that will make editors and agents want to slam that door shut.  I’ve had both editors and agents look me up online.  More than one editor has told me that my social media presence encouraged them to make me an offer.  This wasn’t simply because I had a social media presence.  The nature of your presence can also make a big difference.

In addition to wanting to be able to contact you easily, they check out how you behave online.  Simply put, be professional and positive.

In greater detail, avoid rants.  Although each and every rant you post may feel justified at the time, whether you are ranting about a slow editor or the critique group that didn’t like your work, rants paint a picture of someone who is difficult to work with.  They make you look uncooperative and argumentative, the Negative Nancy of the publishing world.

Furthermore, don’t be continually negative.  Sure, we have all spells where we feel like the world is out to get us.  But avoid posts about how bad the publishing world is now compared to when you started.  Don’t pan publishers, editors and agents.

Does this mean that you can’t post less than glorious news?  No.  I’ve posted before about publishers that were closing or filing for bankruptcy. It is important to help fellow authors and illustrators stay informed.  But stick to the facts and try not to spiral into an epic tale of gloom and doom.

Be informative.  Be upbeat.  You can even be a bit irreverent and fun.  Be the kind of person that you want to present to future co-workers.  Quirky is good.  Volatile?  Not so much.


May 20, 2019

Social Media: Pick and Choose

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:04 am
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An editor or agent is interested in your book. They ask what you would be willing to do to promote it.  You point out that you blog and that you have a LinkedIn account.  When the next question comes, you cringe.  What about Facebook and Twitter?  Instagram or Snapchat?

My advice to you?  You probably can’t take full advantage of every type of social media.  After all, you only have 24 hours in any given day and seven days a week.  You simply won’t have the time to do everything.  You will have to pick and choose.

You may not want to hear this but promoting your own work is essential.  To do this effectively in this day and age when young readers, parents, teachers and librarians all use social media, you too will have to have a presence somewhere.

Look at what types of social media you already use.  Take some time to study how other authors use these platforms.  Do you see something that would work for you or your book?

Promoting your work on social media will take time.  And I don’t just mean the hours that you will need to post on Facebook or tweet.  No matter what type of social media you choose it will take time to build up a following.  Because of this, it will take time to effectively spread the word about your own work.

That is part of the reason that it is important that you NOT volunteer to use Twitter if you hate Twitter.  Not only will you have to use it every day, you will have to use it for weeks and months to build an effective following.  Do you really want to put that much time and energy into something you hate when you could actually use other social media that you enjoy?

Don’t say no but do take the time to wisely pick and choose what you might do to promote your work.  It will take time and you might as well enjoy it!



May 15, 2019

Sue Bradford Edwards: Finding Me Online including Amazon

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:29 am
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I realized that I haven’t posted anything about my online presence in quite a while.  If you are interested in finding out more about me and my work, you stop by any or all of these locations.

The Muffin. This is the blog for the Women on Writing community.  I am one of about fifteen women who blog about various aspects of being a professional writer.  I also teach Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults through WOW.  You can find out about my class here.

PrayPower4Today. This is a blog about prayer and faith.  Lori Strawn, Ruth Williams and I started working together on another prayer website.  We loved writing about prayer and faith but when they quit paying us we split off and formed our own blog.  Ruth is a great one for telling it like it is but also seeing what is good in the world.  Lori has a knack for poetic prayers.

Twitter. I tweet about writing and positivity.  And books. I tweet on average twice a day and retweet another two or three things.  What I’ve had to eat?  Where I’m shopping?  Unless it is writing related or really odd, I tend to keep those things to myself.  I will retweet humorous book related or writing related items.

Amazon.  The best way to see all of my books in one place is to visit my author page on Amazon.  Yes, you can go to Amazon and search my name but when you do that you get an odd variety of sponsored books as well including Gene Autry and Bonanza videos as well as fantasy novels.  I read a lot of fantasy but Gene Autry and Bonanza?  I don’t get it.  

My website.  This has my bio as well as information about my books and my class.  Am just now noticing how out of date this is.  Holy cow.  I think I’ll be printing this off to update things.  

Share your own links below so that we can all gain some followers!


October 4, 2018

Online Presence: Should You or Shouldn’t You

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:47 am
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Should you take time from your writing life to have an online presence?  The short answer – yes.

Understandably, your first job as a writer should be your writing.  Whether you write poetry, early readers or young adult novels, you need to write.  Most of us have to squeeze writing in between work and our families.  And that can be tough.

But before you start to submit, you need to have an online presence.  Why?  Several times, I’ve had editors admit that they Googled my name before giving me an assignment.  Obviously, I blog.  I’m on Facebook and Twitter.  What I post as a writer let’s these editors know that I’m a professional.  I’ve been around for a while.  I’m not likely to flake out and disappear.

After you start to sell your work, you really need an online presence.  When someone reads something you’ve written, they are likely to search on your name.  Do you want them to find you writing about your work or someone else writing about your work?

There’s also the fact that you want other writers to be able to find you.  When I write articles about writing and books, I frequently interview agents, editors and authors.  Agents and editors are easy to find.  If nothing else, I call the main switchboard where they work.  Sometimes they even answer the phone.

You would probably be surprised how many authors I would love to interview if only I could find them.  A Google search locates their book on Amazon or in a library but the actual author? AWOL.  There is no website, no Amazon Author page, no Facebook, no blog, no Twitter.  This means there is also no interview which would have translated into free advertising for their book.

Your online presence doesn’t have to be huge.  I get it.  Time is a factor.  But set up a Facebook author page where people can message you.  Or set up a super simple web site.  There will come a time that you need to be found or you are going to miss out.



December 15, 2016

Online Marketing: Who Has Time to Do It All?

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:30 am
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social-media-1233873_1920Its no great secret.  I make my living as a writer.  Like a lot of writers, I find the vast array of possible online markting options overwhelming. I know one writer who edits anthologies, spends scads of time on Facebook.  She hosts events on Twitter as well as book give-aways on Goodreads.  I watch her and wonder “what if you can’t do it all?  Is it worth the bother?”

Imagine my delight when I came across this Digital Book World post by Chris Syme – Why You Only Need to Sell Your Book on One Social Media Channel.  I’m all giddy at the prospect.  I can focus on — one.

Syme’s idea is that it is better to promote via one social media outlet and do a really good job than it is to do a mediocre job over many.  Focus your attention and get results.  The key is to discover which is best for contacting your audience.  If you audience is on Facebook on and off all day, Facebook is the way to go.  If your readers, Tweet, Tweet and Tweet come more, than use Twitter.  Maybe you’ve got photo savvy readers on Snapchat.  Which doesn’t matter as much as knowing that it is where your readers “hang out.”

Not that Syme’s gives you the all clear to ignore the other forms of social media.  The key is to find one to use to market your writing.  You should still update the others on a regular basis.  You need to have an extended presence because it makes you easier to find.  But your selling efforts?  That’s all in one place.

You just have to figure out which place is where your readers hang out.  One vs many.  That sounds much more doable to me.



December 1, 2016

Twitter: A Game of Roulette

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:20 am
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rouletteSocial media and marketing are two book related things that closely resemble roulette.  You know that there’s a small chance that you may win. You have to believe this or you wouldn’t bother to play.  You place your bet, making the pick you think will be a winner, and then you spin.  Where that bouncing silver ball will land is anyone’s guess.

I’ve been fiddling around with Twitter since some time this summer.  I have an account (@SueBEdwards) and for months I would post about once a week.  I knew that wasn’t enough but between blogging and having an author page on Facebook, the thought of finding enough brilliant articles and blog posts to post more often than that was daunting.

Then someone said something that caught my attention.  People view their Twitter feeds on their phones.  They don’t want to do a lot of lengthy reading.  This is the place for quirky quips and visuals.  Thus the escalation of the selfie.

I’ve taken one selfie in my entire life.  One.  Where to point the camera (aka phone), how to angle my big fat head . . . ack!

But I can do visual.  I’m actually getting pretty handy at snapping photos of other things with my phone.  And I can always visuals online that  draw attention — in a good way, people!  In a good way!

I am now ten days into posting daily images.  I’d love to say that I’ve caught the hang of what will be popular and what won’t.

A post about the SCBWI Winter Reading List (no image) brought 426 impressions (seen by) and 12 engagements (took an action).

“What I’m Reading” plus the cover of Anything but Ordinary Addie by Mara Rockliff with a link to my review brought 218 impressions and 6 engagements.

“What I’m Reading” plus a photo of my reading pile and compliment for my local library system complete with their twitter name, 540 impressions and 15 engagements.

These are my three most popular posts to date in spite of the fact that I once strayed into politics (hot button issue? not necessarily) and once posted about professional gaming.  Given the number of people who game, I thought that would be a hit.  Not so much.

Suffice it to say, that although I see trends — post something you can link to an organization — I am definitely still trying to figure out what will be popular and what won’t.




September 19, 2016

MSWL Day: The Best Thing About Twitter

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:04 am
Tags: , , ,

twitter-848528_1920-croppedYes, I participate in social media.  Yes, I get why it is important.  But I also see it as a great big, gigantic time suck.  That’s not someone with a straw that you hear.  That’s social media sucking down your time.

But, like I said, there are also pluses and one of the big ones for Twitter is #MSWL Day.  For those of you who aren’t twitter savy, MSWL stands for Manuscript Wish List. On manuscript wish list day, editors and agents post about the dream manuscripts they would love to receive.

Here are some of the tweets I spotted on the last #MSWL Day (9/13) that are relevent to children’s writers.  I’ll provide a link to each complete post.

Hannah Fergesen Amelia Peabody-esque YA series brimming over with archaeology and murder (Tweet).

Moe Ferrara is on the lookout for MG and YA fantasy and science fiction (Tweet).

Stephanie Stein wants YA and MG fantasy where the magic is 100% essential to the story (Tweet).

She is also on the look out for YA and MG with snarky, sassy characters (Tweet).

Jill Corcoran wants picture books, MG and YA. She wants story and voice that leave her with a feeling of peace and love.  And yes, she got that all into one tweet!  See it here (Tweet).


There were more but these were the ones that caught my attention.  Read the tweet.  Read up on the agent.  Maybe one of them will be right for you and your work.



May 31, 2016

Social Media: The Down Side

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:47 am
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wwwSocial  Media for Writers.

How to Use Social Media.

Social Media, the Author’s Way.

Everywhere I turn, there seems to be someone telling me how important social media is for me as a writer.  They’re willing to tell me how and why and just how little time it will take.  And I have to admit that I’d bought into it.  I blog — obviously.  I’m on Facebook.  And I recently joined Twitter.

Maybe it’s because I added one thing and then another, but I never realized just how time-consuming it could be.  But last weekend we were out of town.  Yes, where we were staying had wi-fi.  I should have been able to get on, but our particular room was one of a block that gets iffy reception, especially when the place is booked solid and every room has a device or two linked in.

I knew I was going to have some time to myself and I had looked ahead at my deadlines so I had my laptop with me.  I had already drafted the next three chapters of the NASA book but this was a really rough draft created before the present outline with our editor and publisher.  Needless to say, I lot had changed.  Instead of trying to find a place I could get on and check my e-mail or Facebook, I popped open my laptop and got to work.  Ninety minutes later, I had a draft of Chapter 5.  Sure, there were a couple of blanks that I could only fill in once I could Google but I had a solid draft.  The next morning, I had an hour to myself and before everyone got back I had drafted Chapter 6. Again, there were blanks but still.

Two chapters drafted in a couple of hours.  Yes, I had bit and pieces already written, but I think a lot of what I accomplished was thanks to the fact that I could check e-mail.  I could pop over to Facebook.  No one could IM me.  That’s a big one for me.  If it pings, I have to look to see if it is something I need to read immediately.

I’m going to try an experiment this week.  School  is out, people are home, swim season has started.  My writing time is at a premium.  I’m going to write for several hours this week after closing down my internet connection.  I have a feeling it will be time well spent.


March 23, 2015

Social Media: How to use it to market you and your book

Social Media Explained with CoffeeWhen I attended the March 14th Missouri SCBWI workshop on marketing and social media, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’d probably learn something but these events tend to leave me overwhelmed.  There’s just so much to do and I can’t possibley do it all, so why bother?

First things first, Kristi and Casey both explained the “why bother” of various types of social media.  Amazingly, each type of media from Facebook to Youtube is used in a different way.  You know that and I know that, but knowing how they are used is another situation.  Fortunately, Kristi shared the graphic at right.

Kristi also encouraged us to personalise our book marketing.  For Penguin Cha Cha, she takes a penguin photo board to her events.  Readers pose behind the board and have their photo taken as a dancing penguin.  She also taught them how to cha cha complete with lovely Latin dance hands!

Of course, since my book is on the Ancient Maya, this too gave me the giggles.  Get your photo taken as a Mayan king standing on the backs of your foes!   Here is a lovely book mark shaped like an obsidian knife!

Casey went on to reinforce how to create a platfrom that suits your pesonality.  Granted, I got the giggles when he talked about not trying to be cute if your books aren’t cute.  Rest assured, World.  I will NOT try to be cute.

He also emphasized the importance of creating a consistent online personality.  Part of this is using the same photo or image as the profile photo in each and every form of social media.  Not only did I not have a photo in the SCBWI Speakers’ Listing, the photo I had on Facebook doesn’t match the photo on my site.

Perhaps the most important idea was that we shouldn’t try to do it all.  Pick one or two things to do and do them well.  Otherwise, your list will be as long as the coffee graphic and you won’t do any of it.

If you ever have the chance to hear Kristi or Casey speak, do it! They are highly inspirational.  You will note – I may have not have an obsidian knife book mark, but I do have a photo linked to my SCBWI profile.

Special thanks to Marketplace Maven for creating this informative image.






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