If you are a first-time writer, chances are you are determined to write a successful novel. Success for many authors is about influencing others through the gift of writing, though it could mean something entirely different for you. However you define it, facing challenges is guaranteed, recognising your talent is important, and pushing yourself in the right direction to reach your desired end goal is essential.
If you want to get your book ready for success, it is time to implement effective ideas and habits. Use these tips below to guide you to the success you deserve.
Want to know more about beta readers? See our other article here.
If you’d like help with any of this, our Marketing Advisors here at Rowanvale Books can assist you with creating marketing strategies, promoting your book to the right people and transforming yourself into a brand. View our Marketing Advisor services here.
Over the years, many have searched for the ‘best’ creative writing tip out there. The fact is that one of the most important tips has no direct link to writing. You may have heard this advice before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need to hear it again: READING is the single most important skill that aspiring writers need to hone in order to write better. Read until your brain is filled, then read some more.
Writer William Faulkner knew the importance of reading for writing, saying, ‘Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.’
Devour every book within your reach, then move within reach of more. Hunt down and explore new, unfamiliar genres. Haunt libraries. Allow the words to seep into your soul. Ask friends for book recommendations. Check out second-hand bookshops and see what’s on sale near you. Read reviews online to find out what new novels you may enjoy. Try delving into non-fiction as inspiration for fiction. Join a book club and really throw yourself into analysing the chosen novel.
Mix things up a bit! Ask your grandparents what their favourite books of all time are, then see if you agree. Force yourself to study self-editing tips and tricks to truly make an effort to understand grammar and the nuances of the English language. Note down what you like and dislike about each author’s style in the books you read. How are the characters fleshed out? What elements come together to make a good plot? Read interviews of your favourite authors. What do they have to say about finding inspiration and their writing process? Learn from the masters!
As author Stephen King (you may have heard of him!) once said:
‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.’
So, which book is your favourite of all time? What in particular do you love about it? What elements of it – stylistic or otherwise – have you taken as inspiration for your own writing? Drop us a quick comment below – we’d love to hear from you!
Congratulations! You’ve finished your final draft and are ready to put your book into the hands of readers, and now you’re working out where to start with the publishing process. The first decision you’ll have to make is whether you want to pitch your book to traditional publishing houses or take the self-publishing route. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this guide to self-publishing to help you work out which is the best option for you!
#1 Complete Creative Control & Maintaining Your Rights
While traditional publishing houses will undoubtedly want a say in the final edit of your book, the design of the cover and the marketing strategies, publishing a book yourself will allow you total control over every decision. You can choose which aspects to seek advice on and whether or not you follow said advice. You won’t have to give up the rights to your book, or any future work. You’ll also have better opportunities for niche publishing, as most traditional publishers tend to stick with the more popular and established genres.
#2 Higher Royalty Rates
Traditional publishing routes can leave authors taking home as little as 10% of the royalties from their work. This is scarcely the case with self-publishing, especially if you opt to sell your books yourself and not through an online retailer. Publishing with Rowanvale Books and selling via our online bookstore will guarantee you a 65% share in the royalties earned from your books!
#3 Hand-picked Publishing Team
Gone are the worries of not getting on with your colleagues, if you’re the person who gets to choose them! Much like the freedom of complete creative control, you’ll also have the final and only say in who organises the logistics of publishing your book. You can choose different people for different services to make sure everyone on your team shares the same vision and values when it comes to sharing your work with the world. At Rowanvale Books, we have a team of friendly professionals able to help in a wide range of services to ensure that you can build the team you need.
#4 No Deadline Stress & Quicker Publishing Process (If Desired)
While setting your own deadlines can be a helpful time-management tool, when you publish your own work, there’s no one above you to bark orders about when final edits are due or when you need to have made a decision about your cover art. Especially if it’s your first book, it can be hard letting go of your work and putting it out into the world. Self-publishing gives you all the time you need to make the decisions that really matter to you. On the reverse side, if you want, you can speed up the process and release your book much quicker than a traditional publishing house, where it takes on average 12 to 36 months!
#5 No Rejection or Confusing Contract Clauses
You could have a future bestseller in the palm of your hands, but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that traditional publishing is a struggling industry. Many publishing houses can only afford to take on books they can almost guarantee will do well, meaning less-established authors can easily become overwhelmed or put off when faced with rejection. If you know that what you’ve written is worth reading, then self-publishing is a great way to start getting it into the hands (or Kindles) of readers. You’ll also enjoy the added bonus of avoiding the confusing contract clauses that come with signing with a traditional publishing house!
#6 Make a Name for Yourself
There’s no doubt that publishing a book yourself is a difficult thing to do, but the rewards at the end are so worth it! Seeing your finished product and knowing that every aspect had your direct involvement will only make you want to do it all again. And when the book does well, you’ll only receive even more kudos when people find out you published it yourself!
#1 Upfront Costs
Although in the long run you’ll receive more of the profits from your books, the initial upfront costs of self-publishing unfortunately cannot be avoided. Luckily, there are many options for you to choose from to find the prices and services that work best for you! Rowanvale Books work as a remote team to help keep costs down and tailor all of our packages to each individual project. We recognise that it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ industry, allowing for all budgets to be met.
#2 Finding a Reputable Publishing Team
The task of finding an entire publishing team yourself can feel pretty daunting at first, but rest assured, it’s by no means impossible. Rowanvale Books was founded when Cat saw the difficulties her father had faced with one of the world’s biggest self-publishing companies. As a result, the whole team is well aware of the service that authors deserve to receive and is dedicated to making sure they get it.
#3 Less Support
One common, and understandable, worry when it comes to self-publishing is that you won’t have as much of a support network around you as you would with traditional publishing. However, once you’ve found yourself a team that you trust and work well with, it’ll become clear just how many avenues for support there really are. At Rowanvale, you can find support right from the editorial process all the way through to getting your first reviews!
#4 Book Marketing
The business and marketing side of publishing a book can seem like it’s written in a foreign language if it’s not something you’ve ever had to do before. Like most of your concerns when it comes to self-publishing, this can easily be addressed with the right team behind you. At Rowanvale Books, we offer services ranging from running social media campaigns to self-publishing on Amazon to help with analytics. We believe in coaching authors so that you become skilled in marketing your own work, rather than just doing it all for you. This only adds to the list of skills you can gain by opting to self-publish!
Self-publishing a book, especially if it’s your first time, will always be a learning process. It is, however, also a truly empowering process when you’re able to be a part of your book’s entire journey from an idea in your head to a finished product. At Rowanvale Books, we’re here to help you every step of the way.
Being a new author can be difficult. For one, there are millions of other titles available to readers, and readers are always on the lookout for fresh new content. To gain their loyalty you will need to offer them something your competition doesn’t. Brands that invest time and effort into connecting with customers are more likely to earn their buyers’ trust in the long run.
Readers, like any consumer, are more likely to spend money on your books if they find you meaningful. Ultimately, this comes down to unique branding, developing emotive connections and cultivating authentic communication. In a saturated author market, this can be difficult, so we’ve established five easy steps to help you attract customer loyalty to your books.
To increase your chances of success, send personalised newsletters (as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach). You should ideally ensure your newsletter marketing is suited to your readers’ age and interests. This is something that can be achieved by using the email marketing software MailChimp. You’ll learn to fine-tune your mailer and adapt it on a month-to-month basis. Once you’ve got a good email following going, it’ll be worth interacting with some followers/readers from time-to-time, so take time out to ask for feedback on pieces or content they might like to see and read. This way, you can home in on developing material which you know your readership will love.
Additionally, Rowanvale offers a mailer service with lots of marketing information to push sales for your book, so head over here and take full advantage of it!
A pro tip to consider before you develop your brand is to identify your goals as an author and write a list of what makes you unique! One of the things that make Rowanvale unique is our commitment to ethical publishing. Unlike a lot of publishing companies who want to extort money from their authors, our mission is to fundamentally change and improve the self-publishing world, to take it from its ‘vanity publishing’ roots and transform it into something more ethical and caring.
Certainly, if you want more guidance about branding, our marketing advisor can help you out on a variety of topics, such as how to brand your website and promote your book to the right audience.
Want help developing your social media presence? Head over to our blog post ‘Running a Successful Bookstagram’ here for a ton of great social media tips.
If you don’t have Facebook, another way to build connections with readers and authors is through book social networking such as Goodreads. You might find this profile helpful if you want to start something similar here.
While you’re here, why not check out a few more of our blog posts here? Alternatively, if you’re interested in the services we offer, a variety of our packages can be found here and our Frequently Asked Questions can be found here. Can’t find an answer? Not to worry! Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we are more than happy to answer any other questions.
While authors rarely enter the industry expecting to face legal challenges, this doesn’t deflect from the reality that they may encounter some difficulties from time to time. Whether it’s knowing what to avoid within your own writing or understanding when someone has infringed upon your own work, we’ve outlined the top five legal issues authors and self-publishers might experience during the publication and post-publication process.
At Rowanvale, we understand that dealing with these types of issues can be both daunting and intimidating, but we strongly believe the more aware authors and self-publishers are of the legal challenges surrounding their work, the better off they will be. For more information on the legalities of writing and self-publishing, our Writing Advisors and Account Managers are always happy to help with any queries you might have. To get in touch, click here.
When it comes to something as personal as writing, it pays to remember that the best advice is no advice. No matter how much we may wish it, there is no book you can read that’ll teach you how to write an award-winning novel and no Netflix show to watch that’ll demonstrate how to overcome writer’s block. All you can do is pick up a pen and start writing.
In the spirit of ‘the best advice is no advice’, we’ve selected our favourite ‘words of wisdom’ that you’re probably better off ignoring.
Listen to any famous writer and you’ll eventually end up hearing this one. Everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Stephen King insists that if you don’t write every day then you are negatively impacting your chance of success. It’s easy for them to say this, because writing is their job. For most people starting out, it’s impossible to write every day due to other commitments. Whether it’s a full-time job or childcare, sometimes writing for eight (or even three) hours just isn’t going to happen!
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write every day. After all, you’re only human. After a hard day at the office, sometimes you just want to sit around and watch TV, which is totally fine! What matters most is establishing a routine that works for you and your writing. If you can only commit to writing for one hour every week, then commit to your writing for that one hour every week! Eventually it’ll become a habit, and you’ll find your writing better off for it. Trying to force creativity just won’t work.
Yeah, no. The likelihood is that if you’re writing a book, you’d like someone to read it at some point. Not only will writing like no one’ll read it make the focus of your novel go all over the place, but it also takes accountability off of you as a writer.
‘Who cares that this conclusion makes no sense, it’s not like anyone is ever gonna read this.’ See how that sounds? Instead, try to have some accountability. Feel free to write as if no one will read it, because then you’ll feel more comfortable asking ‘what if?’ and trying some crazy things, as long as you promise to edit like everyone is going to read it. This brings back accountability and keeps you in line, whilst giving you the freedom to at least workshop out-there ideas. After all, you’re less likely to go off-topic if you know you have to edit it later.
This one sounds good on paper, but in practice it falls flat. Obviously, a benefit of writing like you speak would be that your writing voice, and especially your dialogue, will sound natural. But have you ever listened to people speak? Natural speech is filled with noises like ‘hmm’ and ‘um,’ and when you couple that with the constant repetition and little quirks in everyone’s speech patterns, it’ll be an absolute nightmare to read, let alone write.
If you want your dialogue to sound natural, then read it out loud as you write. If it sounds off actually coming out of your mouth, then it won’t read convincingly either. Injecting your personality into your writing adds colour and flavour to your book, but actually trying to replicate speech will drive you – and your readers – insane.
Christmas is always a time of excess and over-indulgence – either in terms of turkey helpings or splurging on presents! As the season of excess, Christmas can be a difficult time to prioritise recycling and buying less. That being said, recycling at Christmas doesn’t have to be boring or drab! To help, we’ve developed some suggestions that help you combine your love of books with some handy recycling this Christmas.
Make Mini Gift Pouches
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimate that each year we use enough wrapping paper to wrap the island of Guernsey! If that statistic isn’t mind-boggling enough, a good majority of it won’t even get recycled due to laminates or glitter. Making your own mini gift pouches from old books is a fun and cute way to not only infuse your gift wrapping with some originality and vivacity this Christmas, but also a little step towards saving the planet! Using a touch of glue, you can connect old pages together to create a small pouch, and then use buttons, string or wooden pegs to fasten your pouches shut – all supplies you can source from independent craft stores or thrift shops to support your local high street as well. It’s a win-win!
Create Kusudama Balls for Baubles
Kusudama balls are a Japanese paper model where you sew or glue together multiple pyramids to form a spherical shape. Once traditionally used for potpourri and incense, they are now mostly decorative – and are the perfect way to combine crafting handmade ornaments and recycling old books you have lying around the house. Or alternatively you could even make a day of it as a family or group of friends and go on a trip around your local thrift stores to find old books– and then have a little crafting session (ideally accompanied by hot chocolates and classic Christmas tunes!). Not only will you create baubles you can use for years to come, but it’s a great way to get together and spend some quality time at Christmas.
Craft a Guardian Angel
This is a lovely opportunity to create a Christmas tree centrepiece that is a little bit of you, and something you can admire every year. You can use a mini pom-pom for the head of your little bibliophile angel and can decorate the wings with a splash of red or gold glitter for a cute Christmas vibe if you fancy. This is the perfect mini craft project to take on with your loved ones this festive season. You could even make a little competition of it, maybe with a box of Quality Street and a guaranteed place at the top of the tree as the number one prize! Bonus points if the old book is Christmas-themed!
Create Christmas Cards
One tree, on average, is only enough for 176 people to send cards to loved ones at Christmas – so if as many as one billion cards end up in the bin, that’s the equivalent of 33 million trees discarded! We also all know what predictable Christmas cards we tend to end up both giving and receiving each year. Using just pages from old books, some card and some glue, you can instead craft a sweet, handmade card personalised to its recipient. What better way to combine doing our bit for the planet and giving your friends and family a really thoughtful, bespoke Christmas treat this year? Another great way to save the trees this Christmas is to consider sending an e-Card. There’s no postage and packaging fees, they can be emailed on the day, and are completely eco-friendly!
Make a Christmas Wreath
This is a slightly bigger project, but a great Christmas challenge to take on! Wrapping some old pages into cones, you can glue them in a ring to create a Christmas wreath – and then you can really get creative with it. You could use glitter, old buttons, or other festive decals to spruce it up, and then hang it with some ribbon to show off both your bibliophilia and your artistic prowess. Although watch out hanging it on your front door in wet and windy Wales – we might suggest it’s best enjoyed inside!
Getting your book published can always be a difficult and confusing process – but not with help from the right people. In this blog post we’re going to lay out your timeline for writing and publishing a Christmas novel, as well as point you in the right direction to some friendly faces who will be able to give you a helping hand!
If you have any questions about publishing, here at Rowanvale we have a range of talented and helpful Publishing Advisors ready to see to your every need, so feel free to get in touch with any queries! And if you’re now ready to start thinking about post-publication marketing, please see our handy How to Market Your Novels at Christmas blog post, where we’ve laid out the next steps for you.
Whilst it might be ever tempting to just kick back and relax in December, the Christmas period is a crucial time in sales and marketing for your novel – an opportunity you do not want to miss! The Independent reported a few years ago that book sales during the Christmas period were the highest they had been in over ten years, with a mind-boggling 83.3 million books being sold. To make sure you’re featuring in that incredible figure, we’ve compiled a practical guide of how best to market your novels during the Christmas period.
Alternatively, here at Rowanvale we offer a fantastic Marketing and Aftercare Service which will help you navigate this difficult period with ease! Get in contact with one of our talented Marketing Advisors for any queries you may have.
From Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic A Christmas Carol to Terry Pratchett’s ’90s fantasy Hogfather, there is a long and diverse tradition of Christmas stories in British literature – and tackling one yourself is no easy feat if you want to walk in the footsteps of these giants. But never fear; we’ve honed down a practical list of tips for taking on this festive challenge.
E. M. Forster wrote about the distinction between ‘flat’ and ‘round’ characters, the former being one-dimensional stock characters and the latter being multifaceted, fleshed-out characters capable of complexity and contradictions. It’s important to remember that a successful story, regardless of whether it’s festive or not, is reliant on those ‘round’ characters. Nurture them!