How To Set Up Your Gravatar

Ever get tired to having to insert your details every time you leave a blog comment? Want your photo to show up next to your post with a link back to your website? Gravatar is what you're looking for. Before we take a look at how to set up your Gravatar let's answer the question that those of you who are not familiar with the term are asking yourselves...

What is a Gravatar?

This is the definition given on the website:

So How do you set one up? It's actually really easy.

1) Go to and sign in using your sign in.
2) Click on modify profile
3) Insert your information in the online form
4) Upload a photo
5) Insert your preferred method on contact
6) Add links to your website and/or blog

Congratulations! You now have your very own Gravatar. 

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20 Ways You Can Promote Your Book

20 Ways You Can Promote Your Book @Writers_Authors

Marketing is part of being an author regardless of the publishing route you take. The idea of having to promote your books can be scary for some writers though. Here's a list of 20 ways you can promote your book to get you started:

1) Link your book to trending topics

2) Set up online giveaways e.g. on Goodreads

3) Host and live stream author hangouts via Google+

4) Create and submit a press release

5) Guest blog on sites that reach your target audience

6) Create a media kit

7) Attend networking events and conferences

8) Submit posts to blog carnivals

9) Do a virtual book tour

10) Take part in a blog hop

11) Do virtual author visits via skype

12) Film your author events and share the video on YouTube

13) Encourage your fans to market your book using their Amazon (or other) 
affiliate link.

14) Create a book video trailer

15) Do a cross promotion with other authors

16) Have an online launch party

17) Do social media chats e.g. Facebook wall chat or Twitter interview

18) Include your hook and website URL in your email signature

19) Create a board for book related pins on Pinterest

20) Create a newsletter
Got some ideas of your own to add to the list? 

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11 Signs You're Meant To Be a Writer

Are you meant to be a writer? This infographic by The Write Life Magazine lists 11 signs you're meant to be a writer. I know I can tick off a few on this list. You? What would you add to this list?

11 signs you are meant to be a writer infographic

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Interview with Tanya Yvonne

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Wow, um I always wanted to write just not novels.  I originally set out to be a songwriter.  Obviously, that didn’t pan out.  And I’m glad because I love, love what I am doing now.   

What genre do you write and why?  
I write YA because I love its hurried pace.  For my characters, it is that tricky time where you step away from the child version of yourself and commence the deep plunge into adulthood.  

Tell us about your latest book.  
The novel I just completed is, Violet Eyes.  The violet eyed genie called Azhar delights in burning the flesh from the hands of humans.  He needs his human master to speak a phrase that would unchain him from his bottle.  Here is an excerpt: Azhar is Violet Eyes  

Who are your favorite authors?  
I am really into the whole vampire genre right now.  The wickeder the better, so Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice for the time being.      

What advice do you have for other writers?  
Decide what your brand is and stay true to it.  Share your writing with someone who does not love you and have them tell you what they really think.  No matter what the opinion thank them and keep writing.            

What is the best thing about being a writer?  
For a time I get to get lost in a world created by me.  

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I am on Twitter.  I don’t auto follow because an endless stream of feed makes my head spin but I often retweet.  It’s my way of letting followers know I see them and appreciate their support.  I also have a Facebook page and I blog at: where I try to respond to all comments.     

Anything else you would like to add? 
Happy reading, writing or whatever:-)

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Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones—But A Bad Review Can Cut You To Shreds

You’ve poured your heart and soul into your latest book. Now it’s making the rounds of reviewers, and you’re holding your breath, hoping—no, praying—for gushing critiques, praise and admiration, five-star ratings. Because, as all authors know, endorsements from established reviewers can make or break a book.

After a few nerve-wracking, nail-biting weeks, the first reviews appear. Relief floods your chest. They’re not so bad after all. If ratings were grades, you’d get a B+. You can live with that. You’re happy. Your publisher is happy. Now you can pretty much count on your readers being happy too, as their positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads will definitely fuel sales.

This is the good scenario, the one every author prefers. But it doesn’t always happen this way. Why? Because there’s always someone—reviewer or reader—who trashes your work, gives it a two thumbs down or a dismal rating. It might be a caustic reviewer who nitpicks your plot and disses your characters’ motives, or a sharp-tongued vitriolic reader whose diatribe gets posted to every social media site. No matter how many accolades your book receives, bad reviews pierce the heart, cut to the bone and fester in your mind.

Even best-selling authors aren’t immune. Sara Gruen’s WATER FOR ELEPHANTS was a huge hit. Glowing reviews. A movie deal. Then came APE HOUSE. One national newspaper reviewer deemed it a disappointing and silly story with trite characters, and couldn’t understand why the publisher hadn’t given it a good edit. Ouch! Although the review contained a nugget of truth, the harsh critique took a bite out of sales, bruised the author’s literary reputation—and probably made her crawl into bed and tug the sheets up over her head. Because for all our successes and accomplishments, it’s only human nature to dwell on the bad stuff and replay it over and over like a stuck record until it consumes us.

What should you do when your work is attacked? Should you just stand back and say nothing, especially if a poor review is undeserved or excessive? Some authors fight back with rebuttals, but that hardly solves the problem and may fuel the flame, making the author seem vindictive and ranting in an online version of a shouting match. It might seem unfair, but often the best approach is the meditative way of examining it dispassionately and letting it go, letting it roll off you like “water off a duck’s back.”
Is there anything you can learn from bad reviews? Absolutely. If several reviewers point to the same defects in your book, pay attention. This isn’t a matter of one reviewer having a bad day. This is a major structural glitch that you need to mull over, absorb, and remedy so as not to make the same mistake in your next book.

It’s never easy trying to digest a bad review. But criticism is a part of the entertainment and movie industry, and we authors are entertainers, of sorts. When you put your work or craft out there for public inspection, you’re bound to get shot down sometimes. No matter how famous you are.

Jacqueline Horsfall is the author of over 20 books and hundreds of magazine pieces. The worst bad review she ever got was a questionable one-star rating for a children’s joke book because the reviewer had received it from the retailer “with a torn, dirty cover.”

Learn more about Jackie and her books at:

and Facebook:

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What You Need to Know About Guest Blogging

Google's algorithm focuses on improving site quality and building better, more relevant links between sites. Guest blogging is a great way of achieving both. There are however right and wrong ways to do guest blogging.

Guest blogging isn't a advertorial. If the content of the piece reads like an advertisement, that's what it is. An Advertisement. 

Then there's the question of good links. The Penguin 2.0 update defined a good link as one that comes from a high quality site. Your guest post should fit the niche of the site and be "on topic" with the other content being posted there. They also take into account the level of social engagement the site gets, including the number of shares the posts get on sites like Facebook.

So what should your guest post have?

1) It should be original, quality content. 

2) It should fit the niche of the host site.

3) It should have select, relevant links.

4) It should have correct usage of keywords.

Google loves fresh content and, as I mentioned before, it likes posts that are relevant to the topics covered on site. When it comes to links, all of them should be relevant to the content of the post. You also don't want to go over board. This also applies to keywords. Using keywords in your article is good SEO. Using too many can kill your post.

Leveraging your post.

Make sure you leverage your own social media accounts when guest blogging by sharing the link to the post with your connections. You'll want to pay attention to posting practices on the different sites though. Whilst it's fine to post the same link multiple times on Twitter, if you do this excessively on Facebook however you'll soon find that people hide your posts from their newsfeed or stop following you all together.

In conclusion, guest blogging is your chance to reach a new audience by being hosted on someone else's site. Make it count. Your guest post should; deliver value, use good SEO practices, and you should pull your weight in its promotion.

Do you have your own tips for guest blogging? Please share them in the comments section.

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An Author's Guide to Goodreads

This slideshow by Patrick Brown (Director of Author Marketing at Goodreads) and best selling author Bella Andre covers some of the ways authors should be using Goodreads in their book marketing efforts.

It also gives some nice ideas for how you can incorporate Goodreads into your website and boost your chances of getting more reviews.

Are you using Goodreads to promote your books and connect with readers? 

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Marketing Tips

It's many a writer's dream to sell thousands of books and to gain recognition. However, not all writers write for that reason. Some have a story that they want, or need, to get out. I know of two authors who have written about wars - the Korean War and WW1 - not to achieve fame, but to ensure that generations will remember the suffering that many endured during that time. I know authors who have written personal, moving accounts of loss of children, or about their own difficult personal journeys as part of a healing process. Others write simply to quiet the voices in their heads which burble away at night keeping them awake.

Whatever the reason, the market is awash with literature, some good, some not so good and some absolute gems that deserve recognition but get lost thanks to the enormous number of books available. How can an author ensure that their book is discovered, read and enjoyed? The only way is through regular social networking and marketing.

Authors today need to be prepared to work as hard, if not harder, on their marketing techniques than on writing their scripts, or all that effort made in producing the book, will be wasted. If you can't afford a PR company or have the weight of one of the Big Six behind you, then you will have to make all the effort yourself. However, it need not be the chore it may seem. Planning and determination will reward you.

Make sure you have a PR plan of action to put into force as soon as your book is ready for publication. Draft press releases and send out to all local press, alerting them to the imminent release of your book but make sure that you a have a hook. Journalists get lots of requests from local authors so try to bring in a relevant topic at the same time. Does your book have a local angle? Does it deal with a theme that is currently topical in the news? If so, use that. There is no point in sending in a release that says “Local author publishes book”. Your email will end up in the bin. Make your subject header eye-catching.

Write a couple of by-line articles relevant to your book title and send them to magazines for consideration. Finish each article with your name and name of your publication. When I wrote How Not to Murder Your Grumpy, I also wrote several by-line articles on 'Irritable Male Syndrome' and the 'Benefits of Laughter'. These were picked up by national magazines and my book mentioned underneath the articles.

Always follow up all your emails with phone calls to chat to the journalists. If they are not interested, thank them for their time. Offer to send journalists free copies of your book for their own personal collection. They may enjoy your book sufficiently to not only write about you, but review the book. I sent one copy of Surfing in Stilettos to a young journalist for his mother. It earned me a lengthy feature in his newspaper. He then passed on my details to a much larger glossy magazine who did a two page feature on me. Politeness and courtesy always help your situation.

Create a more professional image by getting a proper public relations email address, one that links with your website.  Generally, something along the lines of works well. If you’re feeling daring have a public relations person ‘sign’ emails from that address. My public relations person is my best friend. She’s actually a nurse. She agreed to let me use her name. I send out the emails to the press with her name at the bottom. That way, I can write about myself in the third person. If journalists contact her using the number on the email, I answer the call, inferring we use the same line and hinting they are lucky to catch me in.

Should you win an award, or are invited to do a book signing after publication, send a press release. Forge a relationship with your local press. You have to be bold but not too pushy. It takes many months and effort. The rewards, though, are excellent.

Last month, thanks to newspaper articles and local radio, my book got picked up by the bigger network. I did fourteen radio interviews for various BBC radio stations throughout the UK (and even some in the US, Australia and New Zealand) and book sales were boosted.

More importantly, I now have a list of excellent contacts. They know me and are very happy to interview me or publish pieces about me for my next release.

It can seem daunting but marketing yourself is worthwhile. Just remember to be polite, enthusiastic and above all, be yourself.

HowNotToMurderYourGrumpy-AuthorAfter completing a degree in French and English at Keele University, Carol Wyer became a language teacher in Casablanca, Morocco. She ran the EFL department at a private UK school (a non-magical Hogwarts), set up Language 2000 Ltd, teaching a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, and translated documents. Recurring medical problems forced her to give up teaching and become a fitness instructor. Thanks to older age, she now writes novels, articles and books that poke fun at getting older. Known for her light-hearted take on life, Carol has written two award-winning novels and now also tours giving talks on how to age disgracefully.

Purchase Links:   

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5 Key Book Publishing Paths

Choosing which publishing path to follow is one of the most important issues a writer will have to deal with. Many authors ask about the Pro's and Con's of the various publishing options and the question often creates a great deal of discussion about which is the best route to take.

The true answer is that there is no one path or service that is right for everyone. You need to take into account your strengths and weaknesses, your long-term goals, and consider industry changes. It may also depend on the type of book you plan to publish.

Jane Friedman has put together a great infographic that sums up the "5 key book publishing paths". She includes the key characteristics, value for the author, warning and exceptions, and gives some examples of companies that fall into each of the categories.

Understanding the 5 Key Book Publishing Paths by Jane Friedman

Click here for a larger version of the infographic.

Which publishing route did you pick? Why did you choose that path? 

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Interview with Joseph Badal

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first story in 1st grade for my school newspaper. The positive reaction I received from my parents, teachers, and fellow students was all the encouragement I needed. When I was a junior in high school, my father asked me what I wanted to study in college. I told him I wanted to become a writer and would one day write novels. He looked at me as though I was from another planet and said, “Dummy, you have no life experiences. What are you going to write about that people will want to read.”
I fixed him; I joined the Army to get life experiences.

What genre do you write and why?
I write thrillers. My first Robert Ludlum read put me on the thriller path. The life experiences I have had lend themselves to thriller plots.

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest novel, The Lone Wolf Agenda, was released on June 25, 2013. It’s the 4th book in my Danforth Saga, which began with Evil Deeds and the kidnapping of Bob & Liz Danforth’s 2-year-old son, Michael, in Greece. This is loosely based on the kidnapping of my own 2-year-old son. The Lone Wolf Agenda takes place in present time and brings Bob Danforth out of retirement and back to the CIA to manage a Top Secret program titled Operation Lone Wolf. This program is intended to counter lone wolf terrorists in the U.S.
Michael Danforth is now a general with DELTA Force and plays a significant role in this novel as he and his father combat lone wolf terrorists sponsored by OPEC.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
The bulk of my marketing activities are centered on the Internet and Social Media. Although I selectively do presentations and signings at book stores and speak to numerous writing groups, I have found that emails to friends and associates around the country and postings on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. are excellent ways to get out the word about my books.

What formats is the book available in?
All of my books are in print format—either hardback, trade paperback, or mass market paperback, and on multiple ebook platforms.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read all types of books, whether fiction or non-fiction. Thrillers and mysteries are my favorite fiction genres. I currently am reading A World Lit Only By Fire (William Manchester) and Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad).
I also like to do aerobic exercise. I find I can think about writing while exercising.

Who are your favourite authors?
That’s a question I get a lot, and one I can’t answer with one name. There are so many writers who have inspired me. In some cases, I find one primary thing about an author’s style that I strive to emulate. For example, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark’s economical writing is an example of what modern fiction should be. Tony Hillerman’s scene setting is superb. James Michener’s ability to tie history to fiction is amazing. Elmore Leonard’s ability to invent quirky characters is unique. Michael Connelly’s elegant prose is among the best. Robert Ludlum’s story-telling is inspirational.

What advice do you have for other writers?
I often speak to writers' groups. One of the things I tell these groups is that, with the ebook revolution, there is no excuse for a writer to not be published. Until a writer is published, he/she is not an author. But I warn these aspiring authors to focus on the elements of good writing, and to not be in a hurry to publish. Too many beginners are so impressed with their stories that they ignore the basics, like clear writing and editing. I warn them that self-publishing a bad book will taint their ability to ever get traditionally published.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Mark Twain wrote in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: “There ain’t nothing more to write about, and I am rotten glad of it, because if I’d a knowed what a trouble it was to make a book I wouldn’t a tackled it, and ain’t agoing to no more.”

What's the best thing about being a writer?
I can’t imagine doing anything more gratifying than writing. I have often said that even if I knew I would never have been published, I would still write. Also, I can get away with putting thoughts into a book that I would never get away with saying out loud.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a website at I am also on Facebook ( ) and Twitter ( ).

Anything else you'd like to add?
I have a pet peeve: Unless an author is writing in the paranormal or sci-fi genres, I suggest he/she avoid having characters leap tall buildings in a single bound or dodge bullets. I think readers want to read about characters with whom they can relate. I write about characters who are everyday people confronted with a challenge. How they react to that challenge tells the reader all about the character’s moral fiber and personal character. 


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Pet Peeves of the Publishing Industry?

Oh you have no idea, lol, where to begin...
Let’s see, well right off the bat what comes to mind is one of the basic submission guidelines you will find with almost any publishing house or agent. They have discovered through hours of research at least, that books that have an action sequence within the first twenty five pages sell better than books without an action sequence within the first twenty five pages. So they will not even consider submissions, unless they have an action sequence within the first twenty five pages. This results in such wonderful plot twists as say… a fight breaking out in a lunch line… or the scene I remember so well because of how little sense it made to the story, the gas line.
So next time you read a book, and think, “well that fight was random,” now you know, it was just there because an idiot in New York thought it should be.
What next… hmnnn…
Oh yes, the current method of finding a publisher or agent. You send off piles of submission letters, one at a time, to hundreds of different agents, waiting as much as three months between submissions. You thought the slow production of books was due to writers being lazy? Not even close. As an aside, you can send multiple submission letters off at the same time by simply mentioning the magic phrase, “multiple submissions,” that makes your manuscript disappear into a trash can upon opening.
What else…
The contracts! Writers read, we read a lot; in fact most of us got our start in writing by being compulsive readers. But these contracts! My goodness, you need a lawyer just to decipher the terms, and an author usually has a very good vocabulary, after all, words are our lifeblood.
So my response?
I am an independent eBook author, and I will remain so until an agent or publisher comes to me. This makes it so if I decide it is appropriate for my character to swear, he or she can swear without a publisher breathing down my neck about keeping it “PC.” If there is a spot in my book where I think it would make sense for a sex scene, it can be there; I have complete artistic freedom, and am thus able to write for my readers, what I hope to be a better book.
By Daniel Black. I write primarily Fantasy, though I also have a Science Fiction novel in the works. My Fantasy is a harsher, grittier, form of Fantasy than most. I write about real people in fantastic situations, I draw from psychology texts in order to properly portray reactions to situations, as well as experiences in my own life and imagination to help.
Buy Now @ Amazon
(soon available as an audio book)
More details about the book
Connect with Daniel Black on Facebook
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