Eight apps for writers


Take a jog over to Release Your Writing’s blog today to enjoy eight productivity apps for writers, courtesy of my friends at onlineclasses.org.


You? A Brand?

Excerpted from “How to Discover and Build Your Author Brand,” at The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn.

Branding is important because it enables people to find you, and when they find you, they might just buy your book. So who are you online? Which niche do you fit into? How do people find you?

Creating an author platform is vital for a new author’s success, and creating a brand is the basis for the platform. You need to know what you are creating before you start!

Deciding On Your Brand

To decide on your brand, answer the following questions:

  1. How do you want to be known? What words do you want people to associate with you?
  2. What are your goals for the next 3 years? What words are associated with that?
  3. Will your books be in a particular genre?
  4. Who do you admire and want to emulate in writing and also as a brand? Find their websites and keep screenprints of what you like and don’t like. Use them as a model (but obviously no plagiarism!)
  5. If you have a website already, enter it into Google Keyword tool. Are you happy with the keywords associated with your site? Do you need to change your focus?
  6. What images do you want associated with you and your brand?

Read Joanna’s full post here

Thank you Joanna, of thecreativepenn.com for permission to use your material here on Pajama Marketing for Authors.

Guest post: Christina Katz

With Christina’s permission, here’s an excerpt from her recent blog post: “There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be a Writer.” Can’t argue with that… (Full link here).

…”Because writers have increased choices for how to publish. Because we have increased choices of how and where to seek assistance. Because we have so many easy, inexpensive career-building tools at our fingertips. And because it has never been easier to locate and make the most of everything we need to succeed in the short run and the long run.”

More at ChristinaKatz.com

Slow news day: Let Jay Konrath take over

This from Jay Konrath’s “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.” as published Tuesday:

“Right now I’m looking at the Top 10 Kindle bestsellers in occult fiction.

Every one of them is self-pubbed. In fact, there are only three legacy authors in the Top 30. I count only ten legacy pubbed in the Top 100, and most are brand names.

That’s… staggering.

It also doesn’t bode well for legacy publishers.

Long ago, I said ebooks aren’t a competition. But that only applies when they are affordable. Once an ebook costs over five bucks, readers become choosy. The above list is proof. There are ten ebooks on that list priced more than $4.99.

Bet you can guess which ones. Hint: none of the self-pubbed.

At the moment, legacy publishers seem to be content with their ebook sales. They boast how ebooks are exploding, while print sales slip more and more.

And yet, they obviously aren’t pricing ebooks competitively. I’m outselling King, Harris, and Preston & Child. That’s odd, since they kill me in paper sales. But it doesn’t matter, because bestselling authors sell at any price, which publishers are aware of.

Midlist authors do not. Midlist authors right now are getting screwed by their publishers, earning far less than they could. It’s bad enough they’re only getting 17.5% of the list price; when the list price is ten bucks it is leaving a lot of money on the table.

So why aren’t legacy pubs pricing their midlists and backlists competitively? Are they still trying to preserve paper sales? Or have they crunched the numbers and figured out $7.99 to $14.99 is the sweet spot for profits?

Whatever the reason, it is misguided. Here’s a look into the future:

1. Amazon is the #1 ebookseller in the world. Its bestseller lists are prime real estate, allowing browsers to peruse genres and discover new titles to buy.

2. Free and cheap greatly improve a title’s chance of getting on a bestseller list, which leads to more awareness and more sales.”

…continue here:  http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2012/01/self-pubbed-author-beware.html

Have a good week,

Helen Gallagher

Overcoming Rejection

Got rejection fatique?

September begins a busy season for agents and editors after the slow summer days in publishing. So if your desired agent seems less interested than you hoped, or you wait two long months and still don’t get a response to a query, here’s some advice to keep you sane, courtesy of this week’s guest blogger, Maria Rainier, a freelance writer and blogger.

Overcoming Rejection

Unfortunately, most writers know rejection intimately. Even the most gifted writers have been met with dozens of rejection letters. Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times before it was published (and went on to win the Newberry Award).  Finding ways to keep those rejection letters in perspective and to keep trying is what pushes writers to eventual success. Here are a few tips to help you move past rejection:

Expect It

Rejection is more common than acceptance. There are thousands of writers out there all trying to be published in the same limited number of magazines and by the same handful of book publishers. You may be a gifted writer trying to sell a brilliant work of prose, but still face rejection because you pitched it to the wrong publisher; a similar piece was recently published; market fluctuations have decreased; demand for the type of work you’re selling, and so on. You may even just catch the editor on a bad day. Remember that rejection may have nothing at all to do with you or your talents as a writer.

Use it to Find Motivation

If your work continues to be rejected, set it aside and take some time away from it. When you look at it again, try to do so objectively. What can you do better? How can you improve as a writer? Use rejection to make your work better. Devote more time honing your skills and developing your work, then re-submit the work with the confidence that you have improved as a writer and have produced a stronger piece.

Use it to Open Doors

Sometimes, the work you submit just isn’t a good fit for whatever reason: It doesn’t have the right tone, the timing is off, or the publisher is just in the market for another style. However, your work may still catch the attention of a publisher, leading to other opportunities. Perhaps you will be asked to write another piece for publication, or the publisher may talk to you about what other work you have available to submit. Rejection doesn’t have to be the final “no”.

Rejection is always hard, and it is difficult not to see it as a condemnation of your writing and you as a person. However, maintaining an objective attitude can help you see rejection as a way to improve and to strengthen your talents. What other ways have you found helpful for overcoming the sting of rejection?


Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Elon University. She is currently a resident blogger at an online degree resource site, where recently she’s been researching different online aa business administration opportunities and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

12 steps before you’re ready to publish

My colleague, Stephanie Chandler, author of “BookedUp,” offers a thoughtful post on her blog here.  Her “12 Tasks Every Author Should Tackle Before Publishing a Book” is terrific. The advice includes many of the items I tell clients every week: Start a blog, Find a way to stay visible on social media,etc. But Stephanie goes much farther. She helps you understand how to prepare for a launch, create marketing materials, and really understand the commitment to making your book a success.

Again, Stephanie’s full post is here. Learn more at her site, Authority Publishing. She is a master at author marketing.

BookedUp” is available in paperback and ebook at Amazon.


Your book’s back cover

From Jan B. King’s blog comes this tidy summary of the components of your books’ back cover.

Most back covers have four elements to them (not in this order):

1. First, on the bottom left, there is a beautiful picture of you – a picture that says wow, she really knows her stuff, but she’s a lot of fun, too. If you aren’t the person you want to be pictured on your cover, then do the work you want to become that person now.

2. Beside the picture, there is a short to-the-point bio of three to five sentences – just enough to establish your best credentials for you as an expert in your subject. So if you’ve got work to do to establish those credentials, this is the time to do it.

3. Across the top are as many important, inspiring testimonials as you can fit in, from important, influential, and name-recognized people. If you don’t have those now from clients or friends, start thinking about who you know and who can connect you with the people you need to know. Network and get to know the people who you can help and who can help you.

Actually write the testimonials you’d like to read and the name of the person you’d like to have write them. If you know that a testimo-nial from a particular person would be powerful, do everything you can to meet that person. As you network, tell your new friends and business associates who you need testimonials from and find out if they have any friends and associates who can help you do that.

4. In the middle of the page there is a synopsis of the critical not-to-be-missed core message of your book.

Tell us in 50 words or less what we need to know – much like an elevator speech you might give as you network for your business, but this time for your book. Focusing on these elements you can begin to see how everything surrounding your book must come together to result in a successful publication: you, your message, and your audience must come together to create success.

As Jan says, there is an art to book covers and the back cover is especially important for in-person sales.

Have fun contemplating the best cover you can create.

Helen Gallagher


I’ve written before, in print and on the Release Your Writing blog about Smashwords… It is one of the few companies that does everything right.

Smashwords converts your book into ebook formats AND makes your ebooks available in required formats for mobile devices, from Kindle to iPhone and many more ereaders.

I get so many questions from people wondering how to convert print books to ebooks, how to understand Amazon’s Kindle upload process, how to understand DRM (digital rights management), but we don’t have to do all that work.

Mark Coker, president of Smashwords has the answers you need, at NO cost to you. What’s not to love?

Take a look at their guidelines for uploading your book, and begin earning 85 percent of net as royalties (60 percent of list price) on ebook sales, instead of wondering how to do it. Smashwords makes it soooo easy!

The first five Pajama Marketing readers who list their book on Smashwords can make a guest post here on our Pajama Marketing blog to share their experiences, success with uploading, and a link to their ebook, as a reward for taking the next step toward better book sales.

Helen Gallagher

Ten Apps for Readers on the Go

A guest post today on the variety of apps for readers. Think of it from the perspective of a writer/reader, but also, let it inspire you to get your work out.. to “release your writing” to the world. With all these formats and the ease of digital publishing, there’s always an audience ready to purchase your work.

10 Apps for Readers on the Go


Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

  1. Instapaper: There’s a reason that The Sound of Young America podcast host Jesse Thorn calls Instapaper “possibly the best app in the world.” While you’re browsing the web, you can save articles and stories to read later to your Instapaper account, which updates when you fire up the app and downloads the text files to your phone. Two versions: one free with basic features and one for $4.99 that allows for greater storage and organization.
  2. Kindle: The Amazon e-reader is one of the most popular on the market, but you can also use a version of it on your phone with this solid app. It’s a great way to use your phone (or iPad) as a portable e-reader if you don’t want to shell out for the Amazon device. Free.
  3. iBooks: Launched in mid-2010, iBooks is Apple’s proprietary e-reader for iPhones and iPads, with a built-in bookstore featuring a variety of free and for-pay titles. You can view your books on a virtual shelf and easily keep track of what’s unread. Free.
  4. Local Books: Sometimes being a reader on the go means not knowing where to get your literary fix, and that’s where the Local Books app comes in. The simple app uses your current location to find nearby bookstores, libraries, and book-related events, which makes it a handy tool for exploring new parts of town or after moving to a new place. A bookstore fan’s dream. Free.
  5. Classics: A great archive of classic titles offered for free makes this app worth it’s $2.99 one-time cost. Some users have complained about a lack of regular updates, but the app remains a fantastic way to get your hands on a collection of vintage titles. What’s not to like?
  6. Nook: Not one to be left out of the party, Barnes & Noble has developed apps tied to its Nook e-reader for a variety of outlets, including iPhones and iPads, PC, Android, and more. Upside: Nook lets you share digital titles with other users.
  7. Borders: Rounding out the major bookstores, Borders offers an e-reader app that lets users browse store titles, download titles to read offline, and make an impressive array of tweaks to the font and layout of the digital books.
  8. Stanza: Stanza is great for downloading and reading standard digital books, but it’s really handy for storing and reading your own files, particularly PDFs. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing there was an easier way to transfer and browse documents on your phone without going back into your e-mail program, you’ll love Stanza. Free.
  9. The New York Times: The Gray Lady has put out arguably the best news app to date, and it’s a lifesaver for mobile readers who want to stay connected. You can organize stories by timeliness and category, save favorites to read later, and share stories via Twitter, e-mail, or text message. Easy to use, quick to update, and pretty much the only news app you’ll need. Free.
  10. Comics: Equally usable on the iPhone and iPad (though you’ll probably enjoy it more on a bigger screen), Comics lets you read comic books from a variety of publishers, including Marvel, Image, and Top Cow. Pushing the envelope with tech to get comics online and into e-reading devices is one of the more exciting things happening in the publishing world right now, and apps like this one let you take advantage of things you didn’t even know your phone could do. Free.

Excerpted from source: Liz Nutt. Read full post here: http://www.informationtechnologyschools.org/blog/2010/10-apps-for-readers-on-the-go/