Tuesday, July 10, 2012

12 Social Media Sites For Writers

Writers need time to think, write, edit, market, and sell their writings to a publisher. But they also need time to surf the Internet to locate what amuses them or connects them to one another.

Here are a dozen media sites to check out -- below -- and don't forget to scroll down to three excellent interviews:
Interview With Publishing Consultant Janet Goldstein
Interview With Novelist Raani York
Interview With Judy Weintraub, Owner of SkillBites

The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors offers information to writers regarding networking, professional development, and the craft of writing.

Publishers Weekly is viewed as the leading source of book publishing news. It shares tips, news, and resources.

Online newsletter posts interesting links related to the book world and reviews books.

The American Society of Journalists and Authors shares information regarding its annual writing conference, as well as member news and articles on the business side of writing.

5.       www.facebook.com/cbcbook
The national nonprofit trade group for children’s book publishing, Children’s Book Council, posts news regarding writing and publishing books for kids.

A professional writer posts interviews with authors and literary agents and includes her perspective on the life of writing.

Nothing like advice to writers at 140-character intervals.

Stories about book publishing news and book business trends are tweeted out;

Hundreds of books are reviewed here and book giveaways are promoted (#bookgiveaway).

Gotham Writers’ Workshop, a NYC, creativew0writing school shares quotes and links to all things connected to famous writers on their birthdays.

Intriguing articles on grammar – fun if you like words.

A popular blog for novelists. It is geared towards helping fiction writers create good fiction and build a community online.

Interview With Publishing Consultant Janet Goldstein

1.                  Janet, how do you work with authors? As a publishing and strategy consultant, I work with promising authors at all stages, but I’m specifically focused on helping authors move from to writing to publishing—and from publishing to making an impact—with the right idea, the right publishing path, and the right platform-building and marketing approach. Alongside strategic editorial and business development work for authors, I do a select number of book proposals, ghost writing and collaborations. I conduct workshops and do speaking engagements. Some people say that working with me is like having a concept doctor or getting a graduate degree in publishing--and having fun while doing it.

2.                  What do authors need these days to be successful? Authors needs to be the CEO of their book—plain and simple. You must understand and get educated about basic elements of the publishing process—especially related to your niche. There are unique opportunities for publishing and marketing for every genre and publishing path. NOTE TO READERS: If you don’t know your book’s niche or category, or you think your project doesn’t belong in one, that’s where you need to start today. You need to discover where you and your work do or could belong.

Back to the broader question, there’s a sense that it’s possible to “outsource” so many aspects of the process: I’ll hire an editor to smooth it all out, a cover designer, a publicist, a social media assistant. Or, I just want the publisher to take care of it all.

This line of thinking persists. Yes, you must hire excellent professionals (to the extent your budget allows) and they will all contribute to your book. But if you don’t develop a vision for your project, a strong sense of your voice, the audience you want to reach, the competitive and comparable books in your field, and the right communities that will want to talk about it, then all the professional services in the world aren’t going to create that vision or give you the insights you need.

Like the spine of a book, a publishing plan needs a spine—and that’s you.

You can start small and learn as you go, but whether you’re going the indie route, working with a traditional publisher, or using a hybrid approach, the more knowledgeable and aware you are of the steps and issues, the more respect you’ll have and the more enthusiasm and passion you’ll experience from the people around you. Attend conferences, sign up for programs online,  [www.bookbreakthrough.com] and subscribe to a handful of newsletters to get started. The publishing and media businesses are changing in real time, and no one has all the answers. So accepting the leadership role for your book and work can keep the process exciting and realistic.

3.      What are the rewards and challenges to consulting on publishing? People get stuck in their own creative process, expectations, internal “rules” and simply a morass of information. The rewards of helping a person get clarity around just a few key elements is extremely satisfying.  For example, a memoir writing might find the thread that pulls their idea together into a whole, they may feel inspired to begin writing a blog or contributing to other blogs or journals, or doing readings and performing their work. They don’t have to keep waiting for something to happen and to be chosen. And their work will be better for it.

The entrepreneur who can set aside the notion of writing the “big book” and produce a really smart mini book, or even a booklet with some central insights, can create so much excitement that leads to so many good things that wouldn’t have been possible with a book that would take another 2 years to write. I love helping people take the huge amounts of information they collect, or their fixed ideas about how things “should” be, and develop a creative plan that gets their work out into the world.

The challenge is opening to learning and trying new things and moving into the 21st century of publishing, the media, and having to put yourself out there in order to put your work out there.  

4.      How did your past lead you to where you are today? Well, as an editorial executive at 3 of the Big 6 publishers, I bring an insider perspective to what works—as well as what doesn’t. As a co-author, I understand the creative process from the other side. As an entrepreneur now with my own business, I grapple like my clients do with getting it all done – projects and clients, writing time, maintaining a newsletter, speaking and teaching, the website, Twitter. And then there’s the LAUNCH – actually putting our work out there and “asking for sale.” Though I straddle traditional and new publishing worlds, one thing remains the same: when an author can answer the questions, Why me, Why now, Why this book, they are well on their way to success.

5.      Where do you see the book industry heading?  It is becoming a technology business and will become only more so. We’ll all need to understand reading devices, apps, and how people get their information and entertainment. Storytelling isn’t going away – the formats for stories, the length, the distribution models will continue to evolve rapidly.

6.      Any advice to a struggling writer? Develop a strong voice. Make your work excellent. Find like-minded people—and if you don’t like your writer’s group find another one. Publish small pieces now (or sooner rather than later) that you finish and truly polish. I say that “small is the new big.” You’ll experience the rewards and you’ll learn so much more.

Janet Goldstein is a publishing and strategy consultant [www.janetgoldstein.com] who works with independent authors, experts, and nonprofits as well as the biggest NYC publishers. As co-founder of BookBreakthrough.com [www.bookbreakthrough.com], she’s co-leading this summer’s 4-week online “master class” (July 16-August 13) to help authors at every stage develop their ideas, platforms, and strategies to realize their publishing dreams. 

Interview With Novelist Raani York
1.      What type of books do you write? I do write fantasy books. They all include the unusual - magic, extraordinary abilities, magical creatures even... What is your latest or upcoming book about? My upcoming book is a fantasy book, the first of a trilogy. 

2.      What inspired you to write it? There wasn't an exact time or date I could mention that inspired me to write this book in particular. I more think the story had built up in my head and just "wanted" onto paper. I finally decided to follow my instinct, sat down and started to write. 

3.      What did you do before you became an author? I still in fact work as a High Level Executive Assistant. Not many authors are really able to lead a comfortable life purely from writing. There's only a hand full of them. And I'm not yet this far. I'm working hard to get there - but for now I still work next to the writing, to guarantee having some food on the table. 

4.      How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? What I had published so far were a few "continuation love stories" for women's magazines and a few articles in magazines and newspapers. - I as well started a blog - to find on htttp://www.raaniyork.wordpress.com. When I first saw that my articles had been accepted and I was asked several times for new love stories I was very proud and happy - but I knew - there must be more than that... that's why I'm working on getting that novel on its way. And I'm nearly there.

5.      Any advice for writers? Never give up and believe in yourself! 

6.      Where do you see book publishing heading? For the moment I see that bookstores are struggling - many of them are closing because huge sales companies like Amazon and others are able to sell books cheap and entered the e-book industry. So far "Kindle" is still considered the best e-book reader on the market. I even use it myself. Still, I believe there are plenty of people around who prefer some paper in their hands. And I do agree. The Kindle is a great tool for reading - but in some situation it's not very practical. I'm talking about people who like reading in the bath tub - or at the beach... Still - there's no doubt the e-publishing will grow fast.

Interview With Judy Weintraub, Owner of SkillBites

1.      What is SkillBites? SkillBites is a resource center where people can learn important lifestyle and business skills in a fraction of the time that it takes to read a book, take a class or attend a seminar on the topic.

2.      Why did you create it?  SkillBites was created with two objectives:  to provide a platform for experts to share their expertise; and to provide quick, affordable, easy to absorb and easy to execute resources for people to learn the skills they need to succeed.

3.      How did you derive that name?  The name is an offshoot of Sound bite – to connote brevity.

4.      What is your background as it relates to launching this site? I am an attorney who has developed many presentations and training courses over the years, and was endeavoring to find a means of repurposing those materials to reach a wider audience.  I have some entrepreneurial experience, having started my law firm and a dispute resolution practice, as well as a consulting practice with a colleague.

5.      Where do you see the future of publishing? With the low cost of online publishing, online self-publishing will continue to increase while traditional publishing will continue to decrease.

6.      Any advice to a struggling writer looking to sell or promote his or her work?  Fortunately, there are many benefits to being a published author besides the income from sales.  SkillBites provides its authors with a host of ideas for promoting their published status, as well as several ideas for promoting their work to gain sales, including email blasts, social networking, blogging, and FaceBook ads.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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