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Helen Jones blog posts

Social Media and the Art of Promotion

Helen Jones

So you’ve written your book, edited it, sweated and slaved and fretted over it. And now it’s published. Time to sit back and watch those royalties rolling in, right?

Um, no. Now you need to promote it.

Dun dun dun! *cue scary music* What? But I’m a writer. I don’t need to promote anything. Do I?

Well, actually you do. And, to make things even scarier, you really need to start promoting yourself months before your book is finished. Whether you’re traditionally or self published, having your own media platform is part of being a modern writer, as well as a useful tool for promotion. However, it can also be a massive time waster, so be selective and work with what appeals to you – for example, I blog regularly, have a public FB page and dabble with Twitter. I know I’ve made sales through these platforms and, just as importantly, have also made some nice connections with readers and bloggers, so it’s worth the time spent to maintain …

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Self-Publishing - Designing your Cover

Oak and Mist

The old adage says ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’

But I’m afraid that this is exactly what many of today’s book purchasers do. With such a wealth of books available to choose from, having a strong, professional looking book cover is one way to stand out from the crowd. Of course, an exciting blurb and a well-written story are also very important, but you only get one chance to make a first impression. Whether you create the cover yourself or work with a designer, there are several things to consider when designing a cover for your book:

  • Make the finished design as professional as possible. Just as your story should be properly edited and formatted, so too should your cover look as though it has been designed professionally.
  • How the design works at different sizes. You may have commissioned a beautiful painting or detailed photograph that looks amazing at full size, but which loses many of the details when it’s at thumbnail size (the online display size for your book). Using …

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Self-Publishing & Working with an Editor

Helen Jones

I’ve recently made the decision to self-publish my first novel, Oak and Mist. In the interest of getting the process right, I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching and connecting with other self-published authors, wanting to make sure I present the best possible version of my book when it finally goes out into the wide world.

When you decide to self publish there can be a temptation, especially when it’s your first book, to just ‘get it out there’. But once it’s out there that’s it. Every future submission or search for your name will turn up that book, so it’s vital to make sure it’s as polished and professional as possible. Additionally, reviewers have no qualms in pointing out spelling mistakes and grammar errors, which can put potential readers off buying your book.

Every article I’ve read about successful self-publishing has stated that working with a professional editor is a necessary investment in the finished …

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How's Your NaNo?

Helen Jones

As the month of November draws to an end, so does the challenge of NaNoWriMo, weary fingers resting at keyboards, pens being laid down with a sigh of relief, cramped hands flexed as we all sit back with acceptance of a journey taken and work accomplished.

If you are one of the millions of writers participating this month, well done you. Well done to all of us. NaNo is a challenge in so many ways – a challenge to our time, our creativity, our ability to sustain a pace of writing that may be neither normal nor possible in our regular lives. It’s something that forces us to be writers, whether we’re ready or not. Forces us to take the idea in our head and run with it, forces us to write on the hop, no time for careful planning and research, a mad dash headlong into the unknown. I must say, when I signed up to do this, I had visions of myself hunched red-eyed over the computer, my family peering anxiously around the door at me, wondering when dinner …

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To Plan or Not To Plan

Helen Jones

‘I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.’ Douglas Adams

There are as many ways to write a story as there are writers, each of us taking our own journey to the end of the tale, discovering which methods work best for us as we commit words to paper. As I continue to learn more about the process, I’ve discovered that most of those methods tend to fall into one of two groups; planners and pantsers – I’m assured these are the technical terms and they can be defined as follows:

Planner: Writes a detailed plan of their novel, chapter by chapter, making sure loose ends are tied up, that the story progresses at an acceptable pace and the desired conclusion is met. Often this is in a chart format. Then they start to write.

Pantser: Starts to make a plan, has a few ideas, or one idea, or maybe a couple of characters. Starts to write and realises they had no idea what the story was actually …

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