Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Road to Creating a Great Book

Tips from Writer’s Digest and a few Words from VS Grenier

Every writer who has ever submitted his work to an agent, editor or publisher in the hopes of getting it published has at one time or another received the dreaded “rejection letter.” But do you wonder how other writers are doing it…getting published? Some will tell you they self-published or started their own publishing house. Others may say they have a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend in publishing. You may wonder if they just happened to scratch the winning lottery ticket. In most cases, these are all true but the one thing they also have done is called the softer side of marketing…or as I like to call it…selling yourself!

Writing is more than creating a great book, article, poem or short story. It is about sharing yourself with the world. A great way to do that is by building your author platform. If you are like most of us, you want to devote most of your time to writing. However, it is just as important to build your platform as an author if you want to reach your target readership and build a fan base. 

Most writers get queasy even imagining having to sell themselves but without a plan, you cannot truly figure out a way to sell your book. You need to think of this as your business plan, after all—this is your new business (writing and publishing), so you need to put a road map together for your book and/or business’ (you the author) success. You also should have this in place, or at least working on it, the moment you begin writing, especially if it is a new book.

In the publishing industry, not having a road map to detail your goals, book’s message and marketing plan will only land you lost among all the other books in the slush pile or on the selves trying to find a potential reader. Nevertheless, your map will keep this from happening by guiding you from staving writer to successful author. I talk about this often on my blog talk radio show, “What is Success” every Friday and this last month,  Writer’s Digest also had an article on this very subject: “50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day.”

With that in mind, you must be wondering, “What do I put in my author business plan?” A very good question, so let’s start with...what do you need to write a book? Now I know you must be thinking “imagination”, however, we both know you need more than that. What you will need is a “WOW” factor and some talent. To get started you will need some paper and a pen or if you are like me, a computer (laptop or desk) will do. However, what happens next?

So to get you started, here is a short list of ideas:
  1. Outline who you want to reach with your book. Knowing your target readership is important, not only in writing but in also knowing whom you need to market to after you are published, and better yet…before your book even hits the bookstores. Time to jot down all those people who will want your book and how effective they will be at getting more people to want it; after all, if you hit the right target market, they will be more than happy to share about you and your writing with others who like the same things they do. Nothing beats word of mouth marketing.
  2. Sign up for Google Alerts. Google Alerts ( can help you track who is following and talking about you or your book. I use this for not only myself as an author and my books, but also for Stories for Children Magazine, the World of Ink Tours and everything else I do. Why is this important? So I can make sure I am reaching my target readership or a group I might not have thought about to begin with. The other important thing to do is send a "Thank You" when you see they have posted, twitted or shared about you. Remember…Network!
  3. If you have a blog/social network site, post pictures of you out promoting your book and at writing events. Readers like to know you are actively involved with your writing. Trust me; I know how hard this can be. I am not the best about this either, but my goal in 2012 is to be better. I have a blog, I have a newsletter and I should be posting my picture at writing and community events. So get ready to see more of me in 2012, even if I hate having my picture taken.
  4. Hold your own local event. This one is not as tough as we make it out to be. There are many local businesses that are willing and happy to host a book signing or author event. You just need to ask, but I would first build a networking connection with the business first and also offer something in return for their help. Make it a partnership.
  5. Offer guest posts to those who have blogs or websites on writing or topic of your book. This helps build a fan base or following. Those of you who have been reading or following me for sometime know that I write guest post for a few blogs and websites (free of cost). I do this because I love sharing about writing, marketing and publishing.
  6. Be a guest on a talk radio show. This is a great way to show your expertise as a writer or on a topic in your writing/book. I have my own blog talk show but before I become a blog talk radio host, I was a guest on many different talk radio shows local and on blog talk radio. This helped me build a following and fan base for my writing and my services.
If you want more tips and suggestions, read the Writer’s Digest article: “50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day.” The tips I shared are also listed along with 45 more!

Wishing you much success in 2012.

Also, don’t forget to check out the January SFC World of Ink Tours. We have some great authors touring with us every month. You can learn more about our World of Ink Tours and the authors we are currently hosting and have hosted at

In addition, tune in to blog talk radio’s World of Ink Network every other Friday where I’ll be hosting the “What is Success” show on Fridays and the “Stories for Children” show on Mondays. You can also catch me monthly on the “Families Matter” show, which airs live on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. You can learn more about BTR’s World of Ink Network, our guest and hosts, and our shows at or on our blog

Bio: VS Grenier is an award-winning children's author, founder & owner of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC., award-winning editor-in-chief of Stories for Children Magazine and chief editor for Halo Publishing, Int., and also, the host of the blog talk radio shows Stories for Children, Families Matter and What is Success. To learn more about her, visit


Paul West said...

Good article.

I just have one question. I tried signing up for Google Alerts some time ago, and got tons of email alerts for someone with my name, but none of them were for me.

Any suggestions for that?

Virginia S Grenier said...

Yes, try and write your name like this vs_grenier for your alerts. I have the same problem. The other thing is if you have a common name, you may need to add something to your name. For example my Ezine is Stories for Children Magazine. I need to make sure not to set my alert to only Stories for Children or I'll get everything under the sun. I have to make sure I put magazine and Ezine in my alert name.

Google alerts use KEY words so try and use key words to flag you. So I would use Author with your name to help cut back on alerts that do not relate to you. This won't stop all of them, but it will help.