• August 28, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: How to Focus Your Book Marketing Efforts


    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Last Saturday and Sunday, we offered our Marketing Seminar first to MacLit clients and then to the general writing public. There was a ton of great content, all focused on book- and brand-marketing. But one theme…one rule seemed to really rise to the top regardless of the topic or who was speaking.

    When it comes to book marketing, you don’t need to do everything.

    Whenever anyone talks about marketing (myself included), it turns into a kind of free-for-all. We cover Pinterest and YouTube and blogging and Facebook and LinkedIn and Google+ and soon it all seems very overwhelming, and authors come away thinking they need to sign up for this or that or they need to relaunch things that they’d previously abandoned.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    We cover all of these topics because there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing approach. What works for one romance novelist won’t work for another. So, we cover the bases in hopes that you will know what to filter out. That you’ll stay abreast of your options, but that you’ll only spend time on the areas that are a fit for YOU and YOUR audience.

    But of course, this assumes that you know what those areas are.

    Identify the areas in which you’re strongest.

    Here’s how we helped the folks at our seminar uncover which areas were working the best for them…

    The following is a list of potential author platform areas:

    • Facebook:
    • Twitter:
    • Goodreads:
    • LinkedIn:
    • YouTube:
    • Instagram:
    • Google+:
    • Pinterest:
    • Newsletter:
    • Blog:
    • Website:
    • Articles:
    • Events:
    • Radio:
    • TV:
    • Other:

    Go ahead and fill

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  • August 22, 2014

    Books about Books (a guest blog)


    Landscape, language, arts, culture, current events—these are some things a novelist must research before writing her novel. When I was researching my Ellis Island series, one thing I looked at was what people were reading at the turn of the twentieth century. You can discern a lot about a person by observing his/her reading choices, so why not do this for the characters in a novel?


    It doesn’t matter if you are writing historical or contemporary, but books were far more valuable and treasured in years past, so I think historical novels ought to include them. It’s not only fun for the writer but also for the reader who most likely enjoys books as much as you do.


    In my series I wanted to have my characters read L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz because it was taking the country by storm. Everyone was reading it. It’s no wonder because so many people related to Dorothy Gale—displaced in the strange new world that America was becoming. My Irish characters had be emerged in the storytelling tradition that the Irish are known for. My American characters had to be enthralled with the futuristic tales of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Public libraries were not as accessible back then so I imagined people traded books, talked about them, and looked forward to new ones coming out, perhaps even more than people do today.


    My advice for novelists is to research what people were reading at the time of your setting, and also look at what the newspapers were saying about the books being released. I’ve been hearing how much my readers are enjoying learning about my characters’reading tastes.




    Cindy Thomson’s newest novel is Annie’s Stories (Tyndale House Publishers, July 2014,) the second in her Ellis Island series. She is also the author of Brigid of Ireland, Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland, and

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  • August 21, 2014



    2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    I had a few guest posts hit the web this week.

    I talked about FINDING TIME FOR BOOK MARKETING over at Routines for Writers.

    And if you’ve ever wondered WHAT IS AN AUTHOR PLATFORM, then check out my post on SalomaFurlong.com.

    AND while you’re at it, enter to win a FREE copy of The Extroverted Writer!

    Goodreads Book Giveaway

    The Extroverted Writer by Amanda Luedeke

    The Extroverted Writer

    by Amanda Luedeke

    Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

    See the giveaway details
    at Goodreads.
    Enter to win

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  • August 20, 2014

    If you were building an e-bookstore…


    Recently some people in publishing got together for a weekend to discuss this question: “If you were going to create an online bookstore to compete with Amazon, what would it look like?” 

    I think that’s a great topic to explore, since I love Amazon, love my Kindle, and regularly purchase books there. But even more than that, I love going into a great bookstore and wandering around. My office is over the Cloud & Leaf Bookstore — a small independent bookshop where Jodi features great reads, helps customers find exactly what they need, and regularly steers them toward interesting little finds. I love wandering around a Barnes & Noble, where I can get lost in the history section, finding fascinating titles the explore small pockets of time that only those of us with a nose for the past can appreciate. I love going into Powell’s City of Books, and wandering for hours through the stacks, looking at titles and covers. I’ll pull out one book, read the jacket copy, peruse the table of contents, then maybe set it down and move to another interesting title that catches my eye. That’s the joy of being in a bookstore, and like you I can sometimes be convinced that I’ve entered a time-warp, since three hours will have gone by, and I’m sure I was really only wandering the stacks for twenty minutes.

    That experience — wandering the aisles and looking for great titles, hoping to find the next book for your nighttime reading stack? It’s what Amazon can’t replicate. We call it “discoverability” in publishing, and it’s the process of getting readers to know your book exists, get them interested, and encourage them to buy and read it. There was a workshop on discoverability lately hosted by Digital Book World, and they revealed a study that showed five years ago, 31% of all books purchased by regular readers were discovered by wandering

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  • August 15, 2014

    Dreams vs. Fears (a guest blog)


    “You write a book and it’s like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You don’t know if it will ever reach any shores.  And there, you see, sometimes it falls in the hands of the right person.”   ~ Isabelle Allende


    The other day a woman at a party asked me how the writing was going. “I’m not sure how you writers do it but I do know that you have to deal with writers block,” she said.

    I didn’t have five hours and neither did she for me to tell her how it really has been going for me.

    I wish that ol’ proverbial writers block was all I had to fight.

    The last two years haven’t been easy.  Currently, I’m not in a position of writing one book after the other in a niche market.  I guess I’m still trying to figure out what’s next.  With my first contracts, I thought I was sailing along.  Then the boat stopped. And the water was dark and cold.

    It seems that non-writers have this notion that our lives are easy, luxurious even, as we run with one idea for a book, get it onto paper in a few days, and then create another work while we take long walks on California beaches with glasses of Napa Valley wine.  Non-writers think that we spend summers sitting on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for inspiration.

    I know I’m not alone.  You might be on this same boat.  The wind is in your face and not in a good way because it hurts your skin; it blows so harshly. Or perhaps you’re on a sailboat and there is no wind.  You’re stuck.  No, not with writers block—you know how to be disciplined—but when you’re done with your story, who wants it?  You wonder why you are where you are.  At two a.m. you send messages to your

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  • August 14, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Book Marketing Challenge, week 3


    2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Last week, I invited all of you to participate in ANOTHER Book Marketing challenge! We did one the week before, and it was so much easier than I think any of us anticipated that I figured we should give it another go.

    Truth be told, I’m just trying to get all of you into the habit of doing this 🙂

    Okay, so the rules are that you challenge yourself to complete 5 marketing tasks for your book or author brand (or what-have-you). You then have one week to complete those tasks.

    Here’s how I did this week:

    5 MORE Marketing tasks for The Extroverted Writer

    1. Comment on five blogs (oh yeah…you heard me! I’m upping my game). This was harder than I anticipated, so I ended up commenting on a few blogs and then taking to Twitter. Twitter is much easier to search and find conversations that you can infiltrate. I did this and had great results. My Twitter feed seemed to really be buzzing there for a bit.

    2. Look into a Goodreads giveaway (and set one up if possible). Haha I did exactly this…I looked into it. I’m probably going to schedule one in the next week or so.

    3. BUY MY WEB DOMAIN!! Time to stop relying on the agency site as my main hub…gonna get my own space. Ugh, I am at times a major deliberator. And I’ve been deliberating about my website for AGES. Who should host? Where should I buy my domain? What template should I use? I’m drowning in my

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  • August 11, 2014

    What blogs do you read?


    I frequently get the question, “What blogs do you read?,” and I always stumble around a bit. You see, I’m a longtime literary agent (16 years now), and I represent a bunch of writers who have blogs. I have bestselling authors (Vincent Zandri, Rachel Hauck, etc) who regularly blog, some super-gifted writing instructors (J. Mark Bertrand, Lisa Samson, Les Edgerton) who occasionally blog, and some other writers (Lisa McKay, Sheila Gregoire, Nicole Unice, etc) who often have interesting insights to share. How do I pick?

    But I figured it’s fair to ask an agent, so long as he or she didn’t focus on authors they represent. So Here are ten blogs I regularly stop by to visit.

    1. Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/). He’s an interesting guy, with lots of practical thoughts on marketing and publishing.

    2. Janet Reid (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com). Now that Rachelle Gardner isn’t blogging much anymore, and PubRants is gone, Janet has become my favorite OTHER literary agent to read. I love reading sites where I learn things.

    3. Nathan Bransford (http://blog.nathanbransford.com). A former literary agent, now focusing on his own writing, Nathan only blogs about once a week, but it’s always interesting.

    4. Writer UnBoxed (http://writerunboxed.com). One of the authors I represent introduced me to this site, run by a couple of novelists. Insightful stuff on the business as well as the craft of fiction.

    4. A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com). Some people will find it hard to believe I stuck Konrath on here, and I’ll warn you that his ego may not all fit on your hard drive, but he’s interesting and offers good thoughts on the industry. Don’t take him as gospel (Joe is the presiding bishop at the Church of Amazon), but he’s often got insightful stuff to say about the industry, and he shares it straight.

    5. Reading Rambo (http://www.reading-rambo.com). I’m a huge Charles Dickens fan, so Andrea Burton’s look at literature (and the

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  • August 8, 2014

    What to Do With Your One and Only Story (A Guest Post)


    All of us have a story. But not all of us have a story that is ready to be published.

    If there’s no trembling in your fingertips, if there’s no hesitation, it may be that you want your story out there for the wrong reasons. It’s valid to want to be seen and heard, but if you’re going into publishing to have those needs met, you will be sorely disappointed.

    Though many writers may begin that way, the best memoirs cling to the sanctity of the story free of the undue demands of an author’s ego.


    Sanctity is found in the calling. You need to ask yourself: Why am I writing this book? Is it to fulfill a childhood dream? Is it to pass down my story to future generations? Or is it because I feel God has asked me to share my story with the world?

    The publishing journey is agonizing and hard and, for most, the rewards are few. There are some who strike it big and this may, in fact, be you—but be sure your motives are pure before heading into the arduous journey of exposing not only your own wounds, but your family’s as well.

    I was standing outside by the woodshed one day, my boys playing around me, crying because my family was reading through the second draft of my memoir and they had a lot of changes they wanted me to make, and some hurts they wanted to express.

    It’s a healing path, this writing about your life, but it’s a hard one. You will have stones thrown and even if you’re one of the few that makes it big, the journey will be painstaking and lonely.


    So, what to do with your one and only story?

    All of our stories matter. But, here’s the thing: Some stories need to be passed on to future generations. Some stories need to be preserved via tape

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  • August 7, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Book Marketing Challenge, Week 2


    2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    So last week I bemoaned my book sales and chalked it up to my overall lack of marketing enthusiasm this summer. To get myself out of the rut, I decided to make a list of five thing that I was going to accomplish to market my book over the next week. I then invited YOU to join in.

    5 marketing ideas. 1 week to get them done.

    Ten or so of you took me up on the challenge. HOW DID YOU DO? I’m asking you, Diana, Edward, Melissa, Raj, Robin, Chelsea, Rachel, and Saloma? And anyone else out there who played along maybe a bit more unofficially??? Let me know how your week went!

    Here are my results…


    1. Find a blog that I’ve never appeared on before and approach them about doing a post.  Done…we’ll see if they take me up on the offer.

    2. Follow up on that article that I wrote for that one online magazine and push them to run it. Done…they’re choosing not to run it 🙁 WAAHHHH!!!

    3. Think up an event/party/contest that I can do on social media in the next few weeks. Ugh, will need more time with this. Just can’t think of anything that will be super worthwhile for writers but also doable on my end.

    4. Send a newsletter out to all those people who first signed up to be notified when the book released. Let them know it’s now in print. Done!!

    5. Find two writer-related blogs and leave comments.

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  • August 1, 2014

    How I tried to market my memoir and ended up starting a small business (A Guest Post)


    UNL_0031Lisa McKay is an author with MacGregor Literary.

    One of the things I’ve heard Chip McGregor say more than once when talking about marketing is this: “Find your audience, and then figure out how to go and stand in front of them.”

    In 2012, when I published my memoir, Love At The Speed Of Email, that is exactly what I tried to do.

    Love At The Speed Of Emailtells the story of two humanitarian workers who mckay_fin_online_72dpidefy the uncertainties of distance and the isolation of working in some of the world’s most remote and challenging corners to build a long distance relationship entirely via email. As they risk love, the narrator struggles to better understand the legacies of her nomadic childhood and find a satisfying answer to that simplest of questions, “where’s home?”

    In my thinking, there were two obvious “specialty” audiences for this book – third culture kids (people who grew up like I did, moving a lot) and those in long distance relationships. So one thing I did to try to “stand in front” of people in long distance relationships was self-publish another little book called 201 Great Discussion Questions for Couples in Long Distance Relationships.

    201_comps_72dpiThis book is exactly what it sounds like – 201 discussion questions for couples, a bit about my own story, and an excerpt from my memoir. I wrote it and put it up on Amazon with no fanfare, about four months after Love launched.

    Much to my surprise, it then started to sell at a modest but steady rate. In 2013, that one little book earned me more than $2000.

    In all honestly, I’m not sure it’s done much to boost sales of my memoir (which still sells 20 or so copies a month, but certainly isn’t breaking any records despite recently being honored with a Writers Digest award). However, what 201 Questions has done, is convince me that

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