Advice for aspiring writers

Posted on 23rd April, by Sarah in News, Writing. 2 Comments.

This is the second post in a series about traditional publishing vs indie publishing and on how to promote your books.

I have three books coming out in the next six weeks: Out of Control, The Sound (in the US) and Come Back To Me (my first new adult novel being published by Pan Macmillan in June). My friend and fellow author Becky Wicks (who I write with under the pen name Lola Salt)  is also publishing her first new adult novel Before He Was Famous, but after writing three books for Harper Collins this time she is going the indie route.

We thought it would be really interesting to document how we are both going about promoting our books and the differences between the traditional publishing and indie routes.

The first post can be read over on Becky’s website here.

So, Sarah, you have three books coming out in the next six weeks, all with big publishers, what are you doing to promote them?

I think the key part of that question is what are YOU doing to promote them. It’s true, I’m in the very lucky position of having three books (young adult and new adult) coming out in the space of two months with two major publishers: Simon & Schuster and Pan Macmillan.

It’s rather crazy to be honest. Usually it is timed so that I just have one book coming out every six to nine months and that is much easier to handle, allowing breathing space. It’s always very stressful trying to promote a book, not only as you are on tenterhooks waiting for those first reviews to filter through via Goodreads and Twitter, but also because a lot of the responsibility lies with the author to promote their books.

So I feel like I have three times the pressure at the moment and am pretty much working full time on it. I don’t have a winning solution yet as to what is worth investing time in and what isn’t but I am getting there I think.

Here are my top marketing and PR suggestions for authors.

1. Twitter

I have two Twitter accounts (one for my new adult pen name Mila Gray and the other in my own name Sarah Alderson). I tweet as much as I can from both accounts and cross market to my YA fans, many of whom are adults anyway.

I have a fairly good fan base for my YA so I’m having to start all over again for Mila Gray and building it from scratch. I use Tweetdeck to manage and schedule tweets (necessary as I live in Bali and many of my fans are in the UK and asleep during the time I’m tweeting). It’s starting to work, with many fans hearing about my new book Come Back To Me this way.

Being active on Twitter means three things for me:

– Providing good content by retweeting interesting articles (no spam) and amusing anecdotes about my life

– Connecting one-on-one with fans

– Only when I’ve provided the other two do I tweet to market my books.

Using hashtags also helps to get word out, so long as you know the right hashtags to use.

2. Requesting reviews

This week I’ve been asking on Twitter for any new adult bloggers who want to review the book. Although the publisher will put the book on netgalley and although they will also send out review copies to bloggers I’m also doing my part to spread the word.

I can’t stress how important it is for traditionally published authors to act like indie authors in this respect. That’s been very successful and I’ve probably sent out a dozen e-copies of Come Back To Me and about thirty copies of my young adult novel to bloggers who are all going to post reviews on Goodreads and on their blogs. Now you just have to hope the reviews are good…

Developing great relationships with bloggers is absolutely vital especially for Young Adult and New Adult authors but don’t forget your friends too. Email all your friends, don’t be shy, and ask them if they wouldn’t mind reviewing your book on Amazon or Goodreads and promoting it on their FB page or Twitter.

3. FaceBook

I have separate FaceBook pages for all my books. I also set up a profile for myself as an author. The upside to this is that you can directly message your ‘friends’, which you can’t do on a page. On the downside you can only have 5000 friends max so once you get super famous you’ll have to add or convert your profile to a page.

This week I have set up a page for Mila Gray and I’m posting there every one or two days.

These are the things I have found get the most attention on Facebook:

– Photographs. Make your posts visual. I’ve been using Canva a brilliant new online tool for creating posters, flyers, FB cover pics and more. A hot picture of a couple kissing and a choice quote acts as a good teaser.

– Fantasy Cast pictures are a great way of engaging fans in your book.

– Short quotes from the book.

I’ve found that giveaways, excerpts and links to Goodreads don’t get much attention. But I’m not Abbi Glines. I’m sure she probably does very well when she posts a giveaway!

Don’t forget to check our blogs over the coming weeks for more posts about indie vs traditional publishing and how to get your book out into the world.

Becky’s book ‘Before He Was Famous’ will be launching May 29th on Amazon. Add it to read on Goodreads now.

Sarah’s book ‘Come Back To Me’ will be released June 26th on Amazon. Add it to Goodreads now.

2 Responses to “Advice for aspiring writers”

  1. Jenniffer says:


    I LOVE this article and the previous one. I am an aspiring writer, and your articles gave me strenght to keep going.

    I have a question, do you use any writing software? Or do you use a regular MS office?

    I am also a blogger and i would love to review your books. My email

    Thank you so much for your insightful suggestions!


  2. Sarah says:

    I just write using Word… nothing glamorous!

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