How to Make a Book Trailer (The Easy Way)

Every time one of my novels come out, I create a book trailer that releases about a week or so before the book comes out. The book trailer helps create a ton of hype for the novels and also tells people where to go to buy the book. I have a YouTube video that I’ve made in the past that goes into detail about how I create my book trailers, but today I want to talk about how anyone can create a book trailer. No experience in video editing or filming necessary.

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What I Regret About My Debut Novel (Collab with Mari Suggs)

Today I’m teaming up with Mari Suggs, fellow author and YouTuber, to talk about some things we regret about our debut novels. Mari is the author of two novels and one non-fiction novel, so once you read my blog post or watch my video, be sure to check out her video as well! Our goal today is to be completely raw and open with you to know what we feel we could have done better so you can learn from our mistakes. Debut novels are tough. It’s our first novel! We didn’t know what we were doing! I think it’s safe to say almost all authors see things they could have fixed about their debut novel, so today we’re going to sit down and talk about it.

Regret #1: Writing So Young

This first regret isn’t so much a regret as something I question a lot. For those who didn’t know, my debut novel, Essence, was published when I was seventeen. For a novel I wrote when I was so young, I think it’s really good. Essence is a novel that’s full of a lot of emotion and sometimes that can be something that’s hard to write when you’re young. While I think I did a good job, there are times I question if maybe I should have waited. I question if maybe I had spent another year editing that maybe some things could have been better.  But then again, every writer is their own worst critique and it’s hard to say if our novel is good or not.

Regret #2: Publishing So Young

I also question that even was Essence is amazing, if I should have waited to publish until I was better prepared for the publishing process. There were a lot of things I could have done better to publish my book to help boost sales, but I wasn’t in that mindset when I published Essence. I just wanted to publish it. I didn’t have long terms goals in mind. I work in marketing, so looking back on how I published Essence, part of me is really proud of how much I accomplished at such a young age and the other part of me cringes because I know I could have done so much more.

At the same time, while these are things I think about, I still don’t think I would change publishing Essence when I did, because I fear I may have missed some lessons that I needed to learn if I hadn’t published so young.

Regret #3: Not Cutting Some “Stuff”

This last regret is really my biggest regret. While the first two were things that just pop into my mind, this last one really bothers me. It shouldn’t bother me because it’s just something that someone wrote in one of the reviews of Essence, but it stuck with me. There is one scene in my book where I say “this box is labeled” this and “this box is label” that. It’s a stupid scene and it’s a short scene, but it’s a scene that someone pointed out in a review and ever since I’ve read that review it’s a scene that I really wish I didn’t include in the book. So yes, authors do take your criticism when they read reviews.

And those are my three biggest regrets. If you’ve published a novel, let me know in the comments below what your biggest regret is.

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How to Start an AuthorTube Channel – Marketing for Authors

So you wanna be an AuthorTuber. If you saw last week’s blog post, then you know I talked about why you should join AuthorTube. Since you now know why you should join the AuthorTube Community, it’s time to talk about what you need to do to grow a following. Being an author on YouTube is really fun, not to mention it’s a great way to find a community of people who will support you and your books, and inspire you to keep writing. Let’s jump into it!

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Why Should Authors be on YouTube? – Marketing for Authors

So what’s up with all these authors that are on YouTube?  As one of these crazy authors, I thought I would take the time today to talk about why YouTube now has a community called AuthorTube. This community is what allowed me to create the author platform I have today and to continue growing my platform while selling my novels. In this blog post I’m going to explain what AuthorTube is, why you should join in on the fun and maybe give you a few ideas as to what types of video you could make as an AuthorTuber.

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Social Media Marketing for Authors || Self-Publishing

As promised, today we’re going to be talking about all things social media marketing. I’m going to be going through all the major social media networks and how you can use them as an author to help market your book and hopefully get a few sales out of it as well. Keep in mind, with all social media networks, you don’t want to push your books onto people. You want to interact and grow followers who look up to you as someone they can trust. As you establish yourself as someone who creates valuable content, even if it’s just tweets or Instagram posts, then your followers will see you as someone who would create a book good enough to buy and hopefully fall in love with.

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What to Plan When Self-Publishing [Collab with Natalia Leigh]

Today I’m super excited because I’m teaming up with fellow author and YouTuber, Natalia Leigh, to talk to you guys about the different things you should plan for when publishing a book. In my video, I’ll be talking about using advanced reader copies, finding readers, finding your author platform, creating a book trailer, launching your book and marketing your book. Be sure to also check out Natalia’s video because she’ll be talking about formatting your novel, cover design, finding an editor and beta readers!

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Social Media to Build Your Blog or YouTube– Marketing for Authors

Today I wanted to pick off where I left off in my last Marketing for Authors video, but first…I’d like to do a Q&A video soon, so if there’s a question you’ve always wanted to ask me, leave them in the comments down below and I’ll try my best to answer them all next week!

With that out of the way…

Last time I talked to you all about marketing, I talked about creating content for blogs/YouTube. As promised, now I’ll be talking to you about how to share the content you’ve created on social media outlets to get the most out for what you’ve created. As always, if you’re new to marketing, it may be helpful to watch the other Marketing for Authors videos I’ve created before watching this one.

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When Should You Become Present Online? – Marketing for Authors

Time for another lesson on Marketing for Authors! Like always, if you haven’t covered The Basics yet, please be sure to read the blog post/watch the video. Today I wanted to talk about a question that’s come up a lot in the past couple weeks, and that’s when should you start marketing/creating your author website? The short answer? Right now!

How Marketing Works

The basic premise of marketing is to gain followers. You create a website/blog and you put yourself out there. If you’re writing a book, then you’ll need readers. How do you get those readers? Through people who trust you and the content you create. Building trust with your followers is vital. If your followers trust your free content, such as your blog or YouTube channel, when you sell something (your book) they’ll feel more inclined to buy it. They read your blog, they watch your videos, they follow you on social media, they know you make good content; thus they will likely feel your book is of the same standards (as it should be).

Why Start Now?

For a lot of authors if feel hard to start a blog or YouTube channel until they have a book. They feel like they’ll have nothing to talk about! Authors falsely assume people will only want to follow their blog to hear about all the things happening with their book. News flash: not a lot happens when you’re self-published and have a debut novel. A nice rule of thumb is to post something on your blog or YouTube channel once a week. When my first novel Essence was published, I felt lucky to have a book-related update once a month.

You need to start gaining a following online because otherwise, your book will be published and no one will know about it. A book’s launch date is important, even for self-published books. It paves the way for the future and the launch day is usually when you’ll get the most social media buzz. It’s hard to create that when your book has already been out for months.

What Should You Post?

So you know you have to start blogging or vlogging, but what are you going to post about? Well, unfortunately, that’s a whole other lesson. Subscribe and you’ll see that video and blog post next week!

Create an Author Website – Marketing for Authors

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It’s time for another marketing lesson! This is my third video in my Marketing for Authors series, so if you haven’t checked out the first video, The Basics, be sure to do that now.

Today we’re going to be talking about the thing every author needs, and that’s a website. Your website will be your home base. All roads (social media outlets) lead back to your website. Today I’m going to cover three things for you: finding a host for your website, creating a domain name, and what type of content you should be putting on your website.

Find a Website Host:

The first step when creating a website is choosing your website host. There are a lot of options for website hosts, but two I recommend most are WordPress and Wix. Wix is great for beginners but it’s very limited in what you can do. The website you’re on right now is a WordPress site. I love it because it’s still easy to use if you’re a beginner, but there’s a lot more tweaking you can do if you’d like. If you really know what you’re doing, you can also upgrade to WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com) that let’s do use different plugins that make your options almost endless for your website. Both Wix and WordPress have a free version and paid version. The difference between free and paid is your domain.

Claim Your Domain Name:

Your domain is your website address. For this website it is mandilynn.com. If I had a free account through WordPress my domain name would be mandilynn.wordpress.com. That’s not very professional, right? Using a free domain name is fine when you’re first starting out, but when you become more serious about your career you’ll want to claim your own domain name. To do this you’ll have to find a third party to register your domain. I use GoDaddy, but I’ll admit that I’m not sure what the differences are between all the different website registrars are. When you’re choosing your domain name, make sure it’s something that will be easy to find when people search for you, such as your name. Don’t use your books in your domain name, because that means you’ll have to make a different website for each book. Keep it simple and use your name. If your name is common, throw in the word author.

Website Content:

Now that you’ve got your site up and running, what do you put on it? When I was designing my website for the first time I looked to other authors to see what their websites looked like. Here’s a list of what I think are must haves:

  • Blog feed and easy to find subscribe button (if you have a blog)
    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to subscribe to a blog but been unable to find the subscribe button.
  • About you page
  • Social media
    • Have a list of everywhere you can be found on social media.
  • Book page with all info of each book you’ve written:
    • book cover
    • summary
    • links to buy
    • chapter excerpt
    • book trailer
  • Contact form 
    • Make sure people can get in contact with you easy. Start building bridges!
  • Events
    • Doing a book signing soon? List it on this page! I also like to make a log of all past events I’ve done. PS- I’m doing a book signing at the end of this month!

Here are some pages that are nice to have, but not totally necessary:

  • Press
    • Keep a log of everywhere you’ve appeared in the press (newspaper, TV, radio, blog interviews/guest posts). This is a great thing to have in your back pocket in case anyone ever asked about your media appearances.
  • Photos
    • Have any photos of book signings that you want to show off?
  • FAQ
    • This is a great place for people to get to know you more.

Overall, remember your website is a place for your author career. Be professional at all times. Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Inspired to start making your author website? Let me know!

Finding Your Social Media Platform – Marketing for Authors

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Last week I talked about the marketing basics, but this week we’re going to delve a little bit deeper. In my last video/post, I said you needed three things: a product, a home, and a presence. Today we’ll be talking about creating your presence on social media.

Being Present:

Social media is a dream and a nightmare for marketing. On a bright side, it’s free! On the down side, you’ve got a lot of competition. These days everyone is on social media, which is good because that means there will be a look of eyes for you to catch. This key is figuring out how to make yourself present. To do that you’d think it means going on every social media site ever, right? No! Of course not! Do you realize how many social sites there are? Here’s a list:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Goodreads!

And that’s just a small sample. It’s impossible to be present on all these sites, and if you are, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and you won’t get anywhere.

Finding Your Niche:

So now that you’ve realized there’s no way to be everywhere, it’s time to come to the realization that you have to choose just a small handful. If you’re a new author, start with three or four social sites. As you build your presence online, and you feel more confident, you can start posting on other social sites as well. PS- Goodreads is a must as an author (enroll in the Author Program!).

Where is Your Audience?

The whole point of being on social is so people will know who you are and know that your books exist, right? But what if you choose, say, LinkedIn, which is great, but you’re writing young adult. LinkedIn is typically an older demographic. You need the audience of your social accounts to match up to the audience of your books. If you write young adult, go where the younger audience is: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Really any of the social sites but LinkedIn.

Develop a Post Plan and Socialize!

So now you’ve got your social sites chosen, so upload your profile picture, write a short little bio, and let’s get going! The point of being on social media is to develop trust among your followers. Present yourself as someone they can come to, talk to, and rely on. This is a great place for you to post updates on your writing, what books you’re reading and your latest blog post. But you can also share other blog posts you may find helpful. Build relationships with other writers and share their work. Social media is a community. We are here for each other. If you share or re-tweet someone’s post, they may do the same for you.

Is There More?

Yes. There are loads more. THere’s a lot of tools and resources and ideas I have to share with you, but that’s for future posts, so subscribe and stick around!

Where am I?

Since I don’t consider myself a “new author,” I’m present on a lot more than just three or four sites. Here’s where you can find me: Goodreads, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn.