SPS 140: Everything Is Figureoutable & How To Be A Time Genius While Writing Your Book with Marie Forleo

Most of you know Marie Forleo, but if not, she’s an entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist, and unshakeable optimist. Marie is the lady behind MarieTV, a fun and often hilarious weekly show full of wit and wisdom to help viewers create the business and life they want. She has also created hugely popular online training programs like B-School and the new Time Genius, which we get to talk about a bit today. 

Marie is the author of Everything Is Figureoutable, a book about training our brains for growth by asking and answering the right questions. Marie shares a bit of her first self-publishing experience, which led to a deal with McGraw Hill and made her hesitant to write again. Then she had the idea for Everything Is Figureoutable and tested it on stage with Oprah. We get to learn about her writing process, time struggles, and her marketing plan. She had a vast list and focused on preorders. She also gave away a course created from an extra chapter in the book, made strategic podcast guest appearances, and had a huge launch party/concert. 

She is also excited about her new course, Time Genius. She says that this course is especially relevant for writers struggling to find the time to write. The course is about working on what is most important and letting the unimportant things go. She says it’s about simplicity, not scarcity or stacking up your to-do list. Marie also shares three tips for anyone who wants to write a book of their own. You’ll love this fun podcast with Marie. 

Show Highlights

  • [02:02] Marie self published her first book after making an ebook to promote her coaching business. She was then approached by McGraw Hill to publish her book. This was her first time working with a big publisher. It was great, but she lost control and became reluctant to publish again. 
  • [04:57] Around 2015, she started to want to write a book again. She gave her idea a test drive during Oprah Super Soul Sunday. 
  • [05:48] She went wide and found a publisher for this book Everything Is Figureoutable. This is the one thing that Marie wanted to share. 
  • [07:19] This book is part of Marie’s larger brand. It’s not a strategic marketing tool. It’s part of her core message. People have the power to transcend any challenge they have. 
  • [13:13] Everything Is Figureoutable didn’t have to be about business to increase Marie’s audience. Even though there are stories about business there.
  • [14:11] It was a struggle to write the book and to keep the business and the show going. Marie would wake up around 5 a.m. and devote 2 to 4 hours to working on the book.
  • [17:20] Sitting down to write a book is hard. It’s different from other writing tasks for business. 
  • [18:53] Marie loves marketing. She leveraged her audience to get pre orders. She created a free course from a bonus chapter that wasn’t included in the book. People who bought copies of the book received this course. 
  • [20:38] She also had a book launch party/concert. She was also strategic, mindful, and persistent about the types of podcasts she wanted to be on. 
  • [22:29] Marie’s been building an email list for decades. She couldn’t have gotten all the pre-orders without having already built an audience.
  • [25:53] Marie also did a book tour across seven or eight cities. She had different hosts at each stop. She also went to Australia and the UK. A book purchase came with each ticket.
  • [29:29] After the free course, Marie asked for reviews. She also asked on social media. Ask for reviews wherever you can.
  • [32:49] Time Genius is for Marie and her audience. It’s for folks who are feeling overwhelmed and feel like they don’t have time to breathe. Some of the things taught are shifting your mind out of the world of time stress. It’s about putting what matters most to you first every day.
  • [35:07] It’s around simplicity and not scarcity. It’s not about stacking up your to-do list. Working eighteen hours a day is incredibly ineffective. This course is especially effective for writers.
  • [36:49] Spend more time on what matters and blissfully ignore what doesn’t.
  • [37:48] Be really passionate about the idea that you’re going to write about and the audience that you’re writing to. Be clear on who the book is for and who it’s not for and be okay with that. Get into the practice of writing consistently.

Links and Resources

print on demand books

12 Options for Print on Demand Books (Options for Authors)

Are you an indie author interested in learning about how to get physical copies of your book printed? Our full free guide to print in demand books covers everything you need to know.

This exploration of print on demand books explains:

  1. What are print on demand books?
  2. Print on demand companies for books
  3. How much do print on demand books cost?
  4. How to choose the right option for your book

What are print on demand books?

Before we get into print on demand, let’s talk about traditional printing. 

Traditional printing 

When books are published, the publisher or the author usually has to order a palette of books at a time. A palette will be a large number of books, as they’re mass-produced, so authors have to sell a lot of books to justify ordering another amount. You may have heard of books ‘going back to print,’ and this is basically what they’re referring to. A book has sold enough copies that the publisher is ordering another set of books from their manufacturer. 

This is why presales are so important for traditional and indie authors alike. Having an idea of how many people are interested in buying a copy gives everyone a better idea of how many books they’re going to need to order. 

The downside to traditional printing like this is that if you’re a self-published author, you’re ordering these copies yourself, often at a fee. You’re going to have to store them, and the cost can be pretty steep up-front. The cost per book is lower if you traditionally print, but the up-front cost is still high. 

The pro to traditional printing is that you generally get a lot of involvement in the printing process—you might get more say in what sort of paper you use, for example. And like I said before, while the initial cost is high, the cost per book printed tends to be lower. Additionally, it’s usually much easier to get brick and mortar stores to sell traditionally printed books. 

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Print on demand 

Print on demand differs from traditional printing because instead of printing sets of books yourself, you’re paying a company to print books to order. When someone makes a purchase, the book is printed and shipped to that customer. 

The cons for print on demand? The author is usually afforded less opportunity for quality control (although many print on demand companies are perfectly reliable, and even traditionally published books can print wacky copies sometimes), and while there isn’t an up-front cost, you’re probably going to have to pay the print on demand company a set-up and yearly fee. 

It’s also important to know that print on demand books can be difficult to get into brick and mortar stores. There are ways to work around this, and it doesn’t mean your book can’t be sold in a brick and mortar store—it just means it’ll be a little trickier, and that’ll be something to keep in mind if you want to sell your books in a physical bookstore. 

While all of this may make it sound like print on demand is a bad option for self-published writers, that’s not necessarily true! Print on demand can be a hugely helpful and accessible option for writers who don’t have the resources, time, or space to print, store, and ship their books. It takes a huge weight off the author to be able to outsource that to a print on demand company. 

A note, though: print on demand doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the company will handle distribution for you. Many of them do, and many of them will at least let you list the book for sale on their website for free. But you’ll want to do some research into the company you like to get a sense of what sorts of distribution they do, if they do any at all. You may need to buy an ISBN in order for them to distribute—some companies will help you with this, though, and it’s often not super expensive to do. 

Print on demand companies for books

Here are just a few print on demand companies for you to check out: 

1 – Ingramspark 

Ingramspark is one of the most popular print on demand companies out there. They’ll connect you to over 40,000 libraries, retailers, and e-commerce companies, which means it’s a huge help when it comes to distribution. The cost of uploading a book to print on Ingramspark is $49, which includes the ebook version. Ingramspark also gives you some options as far as formatting goes, which offers some customizability. 

2 – Draft2Digital 

Draft2Digital offers some customizing options, like glossy or matte finish or cream or white paper, and it offers some options for distribution, as well. Brick and mortar stores are able to order copies of your book through Draft2Digital, which will generally make it easier to sell in those stores than if you brought your own copies to sell. 

3 – Acutrack

Acutrack allows authors to work with their prepress team to finalize your product before it goes to print. They offer a variety of different options for your book and they let you order anywhere from 1-1000 copies at a time, making the process super customizable. They also integrate the book into whatever storefront you use, allowing for easier distribution. 

4 – Amazon KDP 

KDP is perhaps the most popular and widely-used print on demand publisher, and it’s easy to see why. It’s extremely user-friendly for self-published authors. Not only will Amazon give you a free ISBN with your paperback sale, but this will also allow you to use their Expanded Distribution Network, which allows other companies like stores and schools to order copies of your book. They’ll have your book ready between twenty-four and forty-eight hours, and if you haven’t created your own manuscript, they have templates for authors to use. 

5 – Lulu 

Unlike many other companies, Lulu lets you print hardcover books as well as paperback. They also offer a huge variety of book formats, like yearbooks, comics, or novels. This versatility means authors can make their books much more personalized, and it gives the author more say in how the book turns out. You’ll be able to sell on Amazon, but it takes a little longer for Lulu to get your book ready than Amazon does. 

6 – Bookbaby 

Bookbaby is also a great option for self-published authors, but it might be better for self-published authors with an established platform and some cash to invest in their production. The cost for using Bookbaby is a bit steeper than other platforms, and they allow print-to-order after an initial order of twenty-five books. This means you have to order twenty-five books first before print-to-order comes into play. 

7 – The Book Patch 

The Book Patch advertises no setup or listing fees and instead charges based on the number of books you order. The more books you buy, the cheaper the book. You also could potentially keep all of your royalties using The Book Patch, making this a compelling option if the steep fees on Lulu or KDP are a deterrent for you. 

8 – Blurb

Blurb allows you to straightforwardly order books as-needed to print. There are fees if you want to sell through sites like Amazon, but you can sell your book through Blurb’s website for free. They also allow the author some control over the profit margins on each sale. 

9 – Trafford

Trafford is another option for self-published authors with a little more cash to invest. They offer printing if you buy one of their packages. They’re an established company with quality printing, so in exchange for the up-front cost, you’re getting a very polished product. 

10 – Diggy POD 

Diggy POD allows you to print books in batches of twenty-four, and they offer a pricing calculator on their website with more detailed information. They also offer free shipping on orders above one hundred. 

11 – Espresso Book Machine 

Not only does this company allow you to collaborate with editors and designers, but it allows stores and libraries to print books in-house using special printers. This basically takes out the middle man, or a retailer, and brings the book directly to the library or school ordering the book. 

12 – 48hr Books 

Like the name implies, 48hr Books gets your book ready to go between twenty-four and forty-eight hours. They have the option to print hardcover, and they have templates for authors to use if they’re unable to get their own formatting done. However, this company does require authors to order a minimum of ten books, which means it isn’t technically print-on-demand in the literal sense. 

How much do print on demand books cost?

So, how much is all of this gonna cost? 

It depends. The cost can vary widely depending on which company you use. Broadly speaking, though, there are going to be two places to look when it comes to the cost of print-on-demand: up-front fees and royalties. 

Let’s use KDP as an example. KDP doesn’t charge anything to set a book up on their storefront, but they do take a chunk of the profits. On their website, they say that for books sold through Amazon’s storefront, the author gets 60% in royalties (which means the author gets 60% of the money made on the sale). If the book is sold through Amazon’s Expanded Distribution channels, the royalties go down to 40%. 

Ingramspark takes a little less of the royalties, but they charge a setup fee of $49 to upload a title to print. 

Many of these companies will offer pricing calculators, which can give you a better idea of what you’re going to pay them in setup fees and in royalties. It’s also worth knowing that using something like Ingramspark might appeal more to brick-and-mortar stores who don’t want to buy from Amazon, since they’re competitors. 

This isn’t to deter you from using KDP or Ingramspark—both are reputable companies which can allow their authors to make a living with their writing—but it is to say that before you settle on an option, look into the company and do your research. Decide what’s important to you. Do you want the option to distribute your book to basically anyone, or are you fine with having it just on that company’s website? 

Some companies also offer print on demand in conjunction with packages that you have to buy first. These tend to be the pricier options. Bookbaby, for example, charges $399 for their package which allows distribution on sites like Amazon. 

How do I choose? 

As with every step in the self-publishing process, budgeting is going to be key. First, you’ll need to decide whether print on demand is the best option for you. If it is, then you’ll need to compare different features across different companies. And you’ll need to have a budget in mind. 

If you’re a brand-new self-published author not looking to break the bank, signing up for an expensive package might not be the most viable solution. While Ingramspark or KDP might take some of the royalties, they won’t break the bank, which might make it a safer overall choice. It all depends on what you’re able to spend on the printing of your book and what’s best for you.

Want to sell more books? Check out our list of book promotion sites!

[Download] Promotional Sites To Sell More Books

11 Websites To Use RIGHT NOW!

In-depth list of the TOP sites to promo your book (including which sites DON’T require reviews to get started), pricing estimates to secure promotions, and more!

 

SPS 139: From The Hood To Doing Good with Johnny Wimbrey (The Millionaire Author Mindset)

Johnny Wimbrey is a motivational speaker, author, and coach. He trains and teaches practical principles for success and leadership. Johnny had a story to tell. His first book is based on his memories of living in a battered women’s shelter, growing up on the streets, and being a young drug dealer. He had several near-death experiences and lost a very good friend. These close calls inspired him to turn his life around and write his first self-published book, which opened the door to his future. That book was From the Hood to Doing Good: From Adversity to Prosperity Through the Choices You Make. 

He now uses the principles in his first book to help inspire and help troubled youth. He went on to self-publish several more books. His latest book Building a Millionaire Mindset: How to Use the Pillars of Entrepreneurship to Gain, Maintain, and Sustain Long-Lasting Wealth, is published traditionally with Mcgraw Hill. I talk to Johnny today about coaches and speakers who want to grow their business using books and building the millionaire mindset as an author. Johnny also shares unique marketing he used during the pandemic and leveraged relationships to get celebrity endorsements. 

Show Highlights

  • [01:42] Johnny self published all of his books except his latest Millionaire Mindset. In his first book, he wrote about the principles he used in his life to overcome adversity. 
  • [02:37] From the Hood to Doing Good teaches principles of how to push through adversity. Hood stands for hazardous obstacles of destruction. He wrote this book in his twenties. 
  • [04:10] Johnny shares his advice for others who want to write a book and suffer from imposter syndrome. You have to participate in your greatness and decide what voice you are going to listen to. 
  • [05:58] Johnny wrote Millionaire Mindset to prepare his children mentally for becoming millionaires.
  • [07:33] You need to be an expert when you’re in business. Having a book is the calling card that will get you through doors.
  • [08:19] When you self-publish you have control and you own the rights to everything. When Johnny got the offer from McGraw-Hill, he knew it was a good opportunity to brand his name. Have an agent or representation.
  • [10:29] Johnny is a motivational speaker. His confidence comes from his mindset that someone’s going to hit it out of the park this week, and it might as well be him.
  • [12:54] When Johnny was 27, he researched the personal development industry. He nurtured a relationship with Les Brown and that helped him meet other people in the industry. He was willing to serve and learn at the lowest level.
  • [14:40] Give and serve first and get into rooms so you can bump into people that you can serve and build relationships with. Be hungry, coachable, and willing to be seen and not heard.
  • [15:56] Johnny shares his book launch. They went hard on social media and went hard from regular people to celebrities. He posted verbal clips from celebrities. 
  • [18:09] He had to participate in his own rescue. He had to rescue himself since he couldn’t speak on stage and had other restrictions from the pandemic.
  • [18:46] To get testimonials he leveraged relationships that he already had. Some of the videos that he was able to use were favors called in from 10 years ago.
  • [20:29] Advice for authors who want to speak and speakers who want to become authors. 
  • [22:24]  Parting advice includes giving yourself permission to believe that it’s possible. Johnny also shares a story that is an example of this.

Links and Resources

creative writing examples

Creative Writing Examples (20 Types for You to Try)

“Creative writing” is a simple term which encompasses a huge amount of art. Much of the creative writing you see on a regular basis might not even seem like creative writing at first! You may have even done some creative writing yourself without realizing it. 

We’re here today to talk about some different types of creative writing, show you some examples, and give you some pointers if you’re looking to start creative writing yourself. 

Today’s guide to creative writing examples covers:

  1. What does creative writing include?
  2. Novel
  3. Short Story
  4. Flash Fiction
  5. Microfiction
  6. Novella
  7. Prose Poem
  8. Poem
  9. Sonnet
  10. Haiku
  11. Limerick
  12. Plays
  13. Scripts
  14. Personal Essays
  15. Songs
  16. Blogs
  17. Diaries
  18. Memoirs
  19. Letters
  20. Columns
  21. Comics
  22. How do I start creative writing?

What does creative writing include?

Let’s take a look at some different types of creative writing, as well as some examples: 

Novel

A novel is a fictional story which is about the length of a book, and it follows a narrative. Books are generally around 90,000 words, but they can be hundreds of thousands of words long depending on the author and publisher. Novels come in many different genres and subgenres, including mystery, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, literary fiction, horror, and romance. 

  1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt 
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 
  3. Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin 

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Short Story 

A short story is a complete fictional narrative, but it is, as the name implies, much shorter than a novel. Short stories range between 1,000 and 10,000 words, and like novels, they appear in a variety of genres. 

  1. “Passing Ghosts” by Hannah Lee Kidder (from her collection Starlight) 
  2. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman 
  3. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe 

Flash Fiction 

Flash fiction is a subtype of short fiction and usually refers to stories which are 1,000 words or less. The focus of flash fiction is usually much smaller than in short fiction, novellas, or novels, and the author will describe a very specific moment, character, or scene instead of following a character through a long quest or journey.  

  1. “Dear Emma” by Hannah Lee Kidder (from her collection Little Birds) 
  2. “Curriculum” by Sejal Shah 
  3. “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury 

Microfiction 

Microfiction is a subtype of flash fiction. The term ‘microfiction’ is often used interchangeably with ‘flash fiction,’ and there are ongoing debates about the definitive length of microfiction. Depending on who you ask, it ranges between a handful of words up to 1,000 words. 

  1. “Ignorance” by Hannah Lee Kidder (from her collection Little Birds) 
  2. “Chapter V” by Ernest Hemingway 
  3. “Give it Up!” by Franz Kafka 

Novella 

A novella is essentially a short novel or a very long short story. They range between 10,000 and 40,000 words, and they follow a fictional narrative much in the same way that novels or short stories do. The plot of a novella is compact and short because of its word count. 

  1. Home by Toni Morrison 
  2. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros 
  3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Prose Poem 

Prose poetry is poetry that isn’t broken up into the sort of lines you see in verse poetry, but which contains many of the same elements as poetry, like symbolism, metaphor, and imagery. 

  1. “Spring Day” by Amy Lowell 
  2. “Information” by David Ignatow 
  3. “Year of the Dig” by Danielle Mitchell 

Poem 

A poem is a piece of writing which relies heavily on metaphor and symbolism to convey meaning. Poetry often takes on a songlike quality. The term ‘poetry’ encompasses an enormous variety of structures and forms. There’s no word limit for poetry—poems can be thousands of words long, or they can take up only one line or two lines. 

  1. “The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred Tennyson 
  2. “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe 
  3. “Because I could not stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson 

Sonnet 

Sonnets are a form of Italian poetry. They’re generally fourteen lines long, with those lines being broken up into four subgroups. The first three groups of lines appear in sets of four, or “quatrains,” and the sonnet ends with a group of two lines. 

  1. “There is another sky” by Emily Dickinson 
  2. “Silence” by Edgar Allen Poe 
  3. “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare 

Haiku 

A haiku is a poem with three lines. The first line contains five syllables, the second line contains seven syllables, and the final line contains five syllables. These are often used to focus on a specific image, emotion, or scene. 

  1. “The Old Pond” by Matsuo Bashō
  2. “Haiku [for you]” by Sonia Sanchez 
  3. “The Taste of Rain” by Jack Kerouac 

Limerick 

Limericks are made up of three long and two short lines which follow the rhyming sequence AABBA. These are often rowdy or lewd, and almost always intended to be funny. 

  1. “There’s a Ponderous Pundit MacHugh” by James Joyce
  2. “A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican” by Dixon Lanier Merritt
  3. “There Was a Young Lady of Station” by Lewis Carroll 

Plays 

A play is a script intended to be performed by actors on a stage in front of a live audience. Plays come in as many genres as films or novels do—comedies, romances, tragedies, and murder mysteries have all been written for the stage. Since plays are written in script form instead of in prose form, the focus is on stage direction and character dialogue—there’s not really a narrator in the way there is for a novel. 

  1. The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller 
  2. Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare 
  3. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams 

Movie & T.V. Scripts 

Scripts for movies and television follow a format similar to scripts for the stage, but they take the different medium into account. Scripts tend to account for about one minute of screen time per page, and they’ll often include specific directions for the crew to follow while filming. 

  1. Shrek dir. Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson 
  2. Pride & Prejudice dir. Joe Wright 
  3. Steel Magnolias dir. Herbert Ross 

Personal Essays 

Personal essays are autobiographical accounts of events, but they’re told casually. Instead of feeling like an autobiography or an encyclopedia entry, these feel more like the author’s sitting down with you at coffee and telling you about something which happened to them. 

  1. “Barrel Fever” by David Sedaris 
  2. “Julius: The Story of a Premature Birth” by Jon Michaud 
  3. “The Sordid Necessity of Living for Others” by Justin Torres 

Songs 

A song is a type of verse poetry which is intended to be performed musically. There are tons of different songwriting methods and patterns and there aren’t any hard rules, but generally, they include some sort of verse, some sort of repeating chorus, and a bridge towards the end of the song, usually before the last iteration of the chorus. 

  1. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift 
  2. “I’m Not Okay” by My Chemical Romance 
  3. “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga 

Blogs 

Blogs aren’t always creative writing endeavors, but they can be! These are basically online personal essays, usually updated regularly for an audience. Authors will often use creative storytelling or creative writing skills to tell engaging, interesting stories, or to convey information in an interesting manner. 

  1. The Creative Pen by Joanna Penn 
  2. The Artist’s Road by Patrick Ross 
  3. terribleminds by Chuck Wendig 

Diaries 

Diaries are a personal recording of one’s thoughts and feelings. These can be very therapeutic, as they help the writer get their private concerns and anxieties out on paper, and it can be a great way to practice writing creatively without worrying if someone else will see it. These are written without the intent to show anyone, but lots of diaries have made it to print. 

  1. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 
  2. Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela 
  3. A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe 

Memoirs 

A memoir describes a specific period of time in one’s life. Unlike an autobiography, a memoir might twist information to make a more poignant metaphorical or symbolic point. The focus is more on artistic expression than the strict cataloguing of facts. 

  1. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green 
  2. Just Kids by Patti Smith 
  3. In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado 

Letters 

Letters are a form of communication written from one person to another. While these are often simple and without embellishment, it’s very common for people to include creative elements in their letter writing. Love letters, for example, are often painstakingly written with imagery and metaphor to convey the depths of the sender’s affection. 

  1. Letters from an American Farmer and Sketches of Eighteenth-Century America by J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur
  2. The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor by Flannery O’Connor 
  3. Essays and Letters: Friedrich Holderlin by Friedrich Holderlin 

Columns 

Columns are written for newspapers. While journalism is focused on conveying factual information to the reader (and therefore would be considered non-fiction), columns often leave more room for the writer’s personal opinions, and for the use of more creative language. Think of a column like a blog, but printed instead of online. 

  1. “A Short Story about the Vietnam War Memorial” by Molly Ivins for Dallas Times Herald
  2. “Gamalielese” by H.L. Mencken for Baltimore Sun 
  3. “Pithy into the Wind” by Dave Barry for The Miami Herald 

Comics 

Comics are strips of illustration accompanied by dialogue and some narrative text. Usually, comics are written out like scripts before they’re put down in the comic strip format. A comic might be a graphic novel, which is the length of a book, or it might be a single strip in a newspaper. 

  1. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson 
  2. Hulk: the End by Peter David 
  3. Maximum Ride: 1 by NaRae Lee 

How do I start creative writing?

If you’re looking to give creative writing a try, here are a few tips to help you get started and stay motivated while you’re learning! 

Step 1 – Pick a type of creative writing 

Read a few of the types of creative writing on this list and find one that speaks to you or that you’d like to try. Read some more to get a feel for the form and how it works. Knowing what kind of creative writing you’d like to make will make it much easier for you to get your thoughts on paper.

And you don’t have to stick to one type forever! Practicing in different forms will actually strengthen your writing skills overall, so don’t be afraid to branch out. 

Step 2 – Set a goal 

As with any new skill, creating a goal will help you practice and improve. Your goal might be project-oriented (complete a short story) or routine-oriented (write every day for five days), but whatever it is, it should be quantifiable and actionable. “Write a story” is a little vague. “Write a short story by the end of the month” is specific. 

Step 3 – Make a writing routine and stick to it 

To help you achieve your goal, carve out a little space in your day for writing. This doesn’t have to be a massive time commitment, and it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. If you can, write at the same time every day and create some kind of ritual around it (making tea beforehand, changing into comfy clothes, whatever works). This will help train your brain to know when it’s time to write, and it’ll get those creative gears turning automatically. 

Step 4 – Practice, practice, practice 

The most important thing a new writer can do is practice. Don’t get caught up worrying about publishing or perfectionism—you just learned this skill, and now you need to hone it. Practice as often as you can, and focus more on working consistently than putting out a ton of work. The more you practice, the better you’ll get overall!

Make a Full-Time Passive Income
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Creative Writer Class: How to Write & Publish a Fiction Book

Taught by a Bestselling Author with YEARS of experience doing JUST THIS! Learn the most recent fiction marketing tactics, Amazon algorithm deep-dive, with case studies, & more.

 

6 Tips for Effective Fiction Book Advertising

When it comes to being a full-time writer, producing the book is only part of the job. This is true whether you’re traditionally published or self-published, and it’s the part of publishing that often catches new writers off-guard. The work is the most important element, but the business side of this industry often goes overlooked. 

One example of this? Fiction ads. Fiction advertisements are a vital part of the business end of writing, but a lot of writers have no idea where to start. In this article, we’re going to talk about why fiction ads are essential for authors, and how to get started advertising your fiction book. We’ll also cover some examples of fiction ads done right. 

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Fiction Book Series Readthrough Calculator

Enter the title of book 1 in your series, its list price, your royalty rate, and how many book sales you get in a month. Then hit "add another book" in order to enter the information for each other book in your series.

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
 

Enter your details below to see how much your book series would be worth!

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
Read Through(%)
Sales Revenue
Your Total Series Value is:

Single Sale of

Why fiction book ads are essential for authors

So, why bother with advertisements? If you’re self-publishing, you probably already know that you’re going to need to do your own promo. But if you’re traditionally publishing, chances are you’ll still be responsible for most of your own promotion—this is equally important information for both parties. 

Increase sales 

Most obviously, advertising your book will help you sell more copies. It’s just like advertising anything else. Getting the word out there about your book and about yourself as an author, if done correctly, will mean more people buy your book. 

Reach a wider audience 

Ads aren’t exclusively created with the objective of driving sales, though. Ad campaigns are often created with the goal of increasing awareness of a product’s brand—in other words, advertising your book will introduce you and your book to a wider audience. You may have friends and family or even an existing online platform, but you’ll want to expand that platform to sell more copies. 

Grow your author platform 

Speaking of expanding your platform—because ads are designed to reach a wide audience, it means you’ll pull more people into your platform. Even if someone doesn’t make a purchase because of your advertisement, they might decide to follow your Facebook page or subscribe to your newsletter. This is still a success, and it dramatically increases the chances that person will make a purchase in the future. 

How to advertise a fiction book successfully

The idea of creating ads might sound complicated, but advertising your book can be relatively painless. And, if you do it right, you won’t have to spend a ton of money, either. 

1 – Create a great cover 

Your cover is your most important marketing tool. This has always been true, but it’s especially true in today’s world of online shopping. 

If you’re already an expert in graphic design, awesome! You can make your own. Otherwise, self-published authors will want to work with a cover artist to get the best possible cover for their book. It should look good as a thumbnail as well as in person, and it should hold up next to other covers in the same genre or subgenre. 

2 – Hype your book with reviews 

Reviews are enormously helpful in boosting your book on places like Amazon. In the runup to your book launch, work with a street team to get reviews posted before the book even comes out. When your book does launch, offer incentives for leaving reviews—maybe people who send in a screenshot of their Amazon review get entered to win a giveaway, for example. 

Not only will this boost your book on the platform’s algorithm, but it’ll also lend you credibility as an author. When other people go to check out your book, they’ll see all the existing reviews and feel more comfortable buying it. 

3 – Utilize social media 

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter are all completely free to set up and use, and they’re a great place to start. Do a little research to see where your readers are—teens are more likely to use TikTok than anything else, and readers thirty-five and older are probably on Facebook. 

Work on building a following on whichever platform you choose while you’re producing your book. This way, you’ll already have some followers to whom you can announce your book, and you won’t be kicking off your book launch at ground zero. 

4 – Start and use a newsletter 

It may seem strange, but email newsletters are still a reliable way to communicate with your audience. If you don’t already have one, get one set up on your author site (which we’ll talk about in a second). As is the case with social media, you’ll want to have a newsletter established before your book launch. 

5 – Create an author website 

If you don’t have an author website, get one set up! You can do it for free on places like Wix, and it’ll make a world of difference. Think of it as a command center for your platform. From your website, readers can find all of your social media accounts, all of the books you’ve written (and links to purchase them), and they can sign up for your newsletter and learn about upcoming projects. 

6 – Look into purchasing ads on social media 

If you’ve already got these steps down, the last you’ll want to turn to is purchasing ads on social media. There are a ton of different options which vary depending on the platform you use, so you’ll want to do some research to figure out what your best option is. 

What makes a good fiction advert?

Now that you know where to get started, let’s talk about how to make your ads the best they can be. What makes an ad work well?  

1 – A strong hook 

You want something to catch the eye of a potential reader. This might be a sale advertising a bargain, a photo of your beautiful cover, or an engaging graphic with information about your book’s publication on it. 

2 – Easy storefront access 

You also want to make it as easy as possible for the reader to get to your book from the ad. The ad should link directly to your storefront, whether you’re selling books on your own website or through a third party like Amazon. If a reader has to close Facebook, look up your book, find the storefront, and then buy it, they almost definitely won’t. 

3 – Call to action 

Your ad should have a clear call to action. This might be to enter in a giveaway, to buy a book while it’s on sale, or to pre-order your book before the launch. Whatever it is, it should be very clear. It should also, ideally, be something you can link to in the ad itself. Instead of “go to my Instagram and DM me a photo of your receipt,” link to both the storefront and your Instagram page, so the reader has everything they need to complete the task right in front of them.

4 – Clear campaign 

When you set out to create an ad, have a clear idea of what you want that ad to accomplish. This will help you in the creation of the ad itself, and it’ll help you track the success of that ad. Say you’re running a giveaway to get some reviews under your new book. Your goal should be to get more reviews on your book, and everything you do should be geared toward that objective. When the campaign is over, you can easily see how successful you were based on whether you got the reviews you were after. 

Where is the best place to advertise a book?

So, where do you start? 

Step 1 – Use what you’ve got

Before spending a bunch of money on Facebook ads, make sure you’re using social media to your full advantage. Making a post on your author page is completely free! Your marketing posts should always be shareable, so that readers can share them with potential new readers.

Step 2 – Create an advertising or business account on social media 

If you decide you want to buy ads on social media, you’ll want to first do that research I mentioned—figure out who your target audience is (which you’ll have done before you wrote the book, probably), figure out which social media platform they’re more likely to use, and set up a profile on that platform. 

Then, you’ll want to create a business or advertising account, if needed. On Facebook, for example, you’ll need to create a business page to run ad campaigns. From this point on, you’ll be following the instructions as detailed on the platform. 

Step 3 – Create multiple ad campaigns across social media platforms 

Finally, you’ll want to run multiple ad campaigns. If you only have one objective—let’s use the giveaway example again—you’ll want to create different versions of that same ad campaign to test for things like ad titles, graphics, and descriptions.

Examples of fiction ads

Let’s take a look at a few advertisements to get a sense for what to do. This is a mix of sponsored posts, or paid advertisements, and regular posts which advertise books. 

Jenna Moreci: The Savior’s Champion 

This ad works because it’s concise, clear, and actionable. We have the bargain both advertised in the graphic, so it catches our eye, and in the description. The description gives us a quick and vivid idea of what genre this is, and it hits us with some credibility with the statistic about being a bestselling book. Finally, all the reader needs to do is click the link to take advantage of the bargain. 

Brenda Trim: Her Vampire Bad Boy 

Like with the ad we saw before, this ad clearly shows us a bargain and links to where we can get the book. We also get a picture, which is an important physical symbol of what it is we’re going to be buying. If this looks like the kind of book you’re into, then this will catch your eye immediately. 

Tom Kane: The Brittle Sea 

Here, we have an example of an author using their cover to its full advantage. The cover works on its own as an eye-grabbing piece, and there’s a link easily displayed within the ad to learn more. This graphic also includes extra information about the book so that the description doesn’t have to be too lengthy. 

Susan Mallery: Hometown Heartbreaker series 

This description is a little long, but it works. This post is casual and reads more like a blog update than like an advertisement. Not only does this make the reader more comfortable—no one really likes to feel advertised to—but it allows Mallery more space to talk about the series. We also have a graphic with a snippet of the work itself to hook readers. 

Book of the Month: Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham 

This is a great example of an ad that isn’t necessarily an author trying to get readers to buy their book. Instead, the goal of this ad is to entice readers to sign up for a subscription box. They’re using A Flicker in the Dark as an incentive and offering readers a discount. This might mean that because they want this book at a discounted price, readers already considering Book of the Month might decide to subscribe.

FREE TOOL

Fiction Book Series Readthrough Calculator

Enter the title of book 1 in your series, its list price, your royalty rate, and how many book sales you get in a month. Then hit "add another book" in order to enter the information for each other book in your series.

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
 

Enter your details below to see how much your book series would be worth!

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
Read Through(%)
Sales Revenue
Your Total Series Value is:

Single Sale of
how-to-market-a-fiction-boxset-img

How to Market a Fiction Box Set (5 Steps)

Have you ever seen a particularly beautiful box set in a bookstore display and felt willing to risk it all? 

Maybe you have the individual books in a series in different wonky editions, and these are all beautifully uniform and put-together. Maybe this is a set from your favorite author including books you haven’t read before. There’s just something about a particularly attractive box set that hooks readers in—and your readers are no exception! 

Self-published authors might overlook box sets, but they’re a huge opportunity for sales and platform growth. In this article, we’ll talk about what box sets are, why they matter, and how to market a fiction box set to reap the most potential benefit from it. 

This guide to how to market a fiction box set covers:

  1. What is a box set?
  2. Why box sets matter for fiction authors
  3. How to market a fiction box set
  4. Where can I promote a fiction box set?
  5. Fiction box set marketing examples

FREE TOOL

Fiction Book Series Readthrough Calculator

Enter the title of book 1 in your series, its list price, your royalty rate, and how many book sales you get in a month. Then hit "add another book" in order to enter the information for each other book in your series.

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
 

Enter your details below to see how much your book series would be worth!

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
Read Through(%)
Sales Revenue
Your Total Series Value is:

Single Sale of

What is a box set?

A box set is a collection of books sold in one single box as one single unit. Instead of buying each individual book on its own, you’re buying all of them at once, and instead of paying for each of them on their own, you’re paying for the entire box as one item. Box sets usually also offer some kind of discount. While each book might be twenty dollars on its own, the five of them together might retail for eighty dollars instead of a hundred. 

Here are just a few examples of what you might see in a box set: 

  1. Box sets for series: in these box sets, a reader gets an entire series all at once, usually for a lower price than if they bought each book individually. 
  2. The first book in each series: these box sets will include the first book in each series by a single author. This introduces the reader to a ton of different series, which could lead them to check out the rest of the books in those series. 
  3. The first few books in a series: these box sets will include the first few books in a multi-book series. The reader will be able to binge these books and then, ideally, they’ll be intrigued enough to check out the rest of the series. 
  4. A starter kit of books by an author: these box sets include an assortment of books, which are not connected to one another, by an author. The idea is that the reader gets a sampler of the author’s work, and if they like it, they’ll look for more on their own outside the set. 
  5. Multi-author book sets: in these box sets, a reader gets a selection of books by different authors. These books are usually all part of the box set’s theme or genre—you might see a box set full of paranormal romance books or horror books or adventure books for children. 

Why box sets matter for fiction authors

Box sets might seem like an obvious play for a publishing company to make, but they’re actually a great opportunity for authors, too. Even, and especially, self-published authors. Let’s talk about why that is. 

Readers get more bang for their buck 

One of Netflix’s biggest appeals, at least when it was first entering its prime back in 2015, was that they uploaded entire shows onto their platform. Instead of having to watch each individual episode over the course of weeks, customers could watch the entire thing in an evening, if they wanted. 

It’s a similar idea with box sets. If a reader gets a box set of a series, for example, they know they don’t have to wait for the next one to come out—they can just read the next one as soon as they’re done. This makes the entire box set seem like less of a time investment. 

Box sets usually retail for a price lower than each individual book bought separately. This means the reader’s getting the series or collection of books all at once, and for a lower price than they might if they had to get each book on its own. There’s also an aesthetic appeal for readers who like to collect books—getting a series or set of books in a box set will often look nice on a shelf. 

Authors make more on box sets 

Remember what I said earlier about box sets being sold as one unit? That single unit will be cheaper than each individual book bought on its own, but it will definitely be more expensive than one single book. 

This means that authors make more on a box set, per sale, than they do on an individual book. While one book might be ten dollars, a box set might be fifty. 

Authors can also use box sets to drive paperback or ebook sales. Readers might prefer ebooks, but they’ll spring for a paperback set if it’s the most cost-effective option. Likewise, readers will be more likely to check out an ebook set if there’s a stellar deal to be had, and since ebook sales give a bigger cut to authors, that’s not something you want to overlook. 

Box sets can hook potential new readers 

Even if you don’t have a series to put in a box set, you can still use box sets to your advantage. Starter kits, for example, including a selection of books, can get a reader invested in your work and ready to check out your other projects and follow you for more. 

Additionally, box sets can be used to promote work outside of the box set—we’ll talk more about that in a minute. 

How to market a fiction box set

So, how do you market a fiction box set to make sure you and your readers are getting the most out of it? 

Step 1) Decide what goes in the box set 

If you write a lot of series, this is easy—put a series, the first few books in a series, or the first book in every series in a box set. 

If you don’t, don’t fret! You can choose to do a multi-author box set with other indie authors, or you can include a set of your books which you think serve as an introduction or starter pack to your work. Remember that these should be previously published books if you want to get the most out of it. 

The set should have some sort of theme. That might be scary reads, it might be the beginner’s guide to your work, or it might be a box set of your bestsellers. Having a theme or a unifying concept behind the box set will make it easier to market and sell to readers because they’ll have a clear idea of what they’re getting in that box set. 

Step 2) Make the box set a bargain

If the box set retails for the same price or for insignificantly less than each individual book might cost, readers might not see the point of buying the set. You want to make the box set a bargain that the reader won’t want to pass up—offer a significant discount for buying the whole set, and make sure that discount is clearly advertised. 

Step 3) Pick a killer title and cover design  

Remember that unifying theme and concept? If you’ve got one, picking a title and cover design will be much, much easier. Select a title that gets across what’s in the box set, and make a cover that’s attractive. Since lots of readers flock to box sets for their aesthetic value, you don’t want to skip out on making the box set as attractive as possible. Readers who already have every book in a series will grab a box set if it’s affordable and looks good on their shelves. 

Step 4) Hype the books in the set with reviews 

The books in the box set should be books you’ve already published, and they should be books with reviews. Stock the books in the set with reviews your new readers can check out—this will lend your books credibility, and it’ll make the box set on the whole more legitimate in the reader’s mind. Make sure the books are listed on places like Amazon where readers can check them out and read reviews. 

Step 5) Use the box set to promote other books 

The box set itself is a fantastic marketing tool. The books included in the set should include advertisements for other books outside the set. This might be just a page advertising another series you’ve written, or it might be a sneak peek of a new upcoming book. 

This is a vital part of box set marketing because it hooks new readers and it gets them to follow your work outside the individual box set. You want to use every opportunity you can to lead readers to other transactions. 

Where can I promote a fiction box set?

You may feel at a loss for promoting a box set, but you’ve probably already got the tools you need to get started! 

Newsletter 

Every self-published author should have an email-based newsletter. Lots of people think emails are a dated and ineffective method for reaching their customers, but this just isn’t true. Including a link on your website where readers can sign up for your newsletter gives you, as an author, a direct link to that reader’s inbox. 

This is the first place you should go to advertise any new project. Let your readers know directly that you’ve got a box set, and let them know about the bargain! 

Author Website 

Speaking of which—if you don’t have a website, get one. If you’ve got one, make sure your box set is advertised on the site, and set it up so that the customer can easily click to the storefront from that advertisement. 

Social Media 

Use your social media to advertise your box set. You can do this for free by posting about it on Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook. If you want to take this up a notch, you can pay for advertisements on social media to reach a wider audience. 

To make this as effective as possible, do a little research and figure out which social media platform your target audience uses. If your target audience is teenagers, you’ll want to look at TikTok. If your target audience is adults, you’ll want to look at Instagram and Facebook ads. 

Fiction box set marketing examples

Let’s look at a few examples of fiction book marketing done right. 

In this example, Mark Dawson uses BookBub ads to promote his box set. This article by BookBub details how this promotion worked to increase his sales. 

In this example, Mari Carr tracks the creation and advertising of her box set with fellow author Lila Dubouis. 

FREE TOOL

Fiction Book Series Readthrough Calculator

Enter the title of book 1 in your series, its list price, your royalty rate, and how many book sales you get in a month. Then hit "add another book" in order to enter the information for each other book in your series.

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
 

Enter your details below to see how much your book series would be worth!

Book Title
Price($)
Royalty(%)
Book Sales
Read Through(%)
Sales Revenue
Your Total Series Value is:

Single Sale of