Good research sells books


Image courtesy of rajcreationzs /

Almost every author I have spoken to talks about research. It’s one of those topics that simply goes with writing a book. But authors do varying amounts of it. Some writers research barely enough to put together a book whereas others could almost write another book or two with the material they’ve had to omit from their intended book because of very extensive research. Of course, if you do research you will want to credit it in your acknowledgements page and that’s where the reader (as well as the publisher) will find out how much research has been done on a book.

Books that are well researched will generally sell better than books that are simply based on the author’s own experience and imagination. In fiction, the settings will seem more realistic, the characters better fleshed out and the facts more believable. In non-fiction, the presented facts will be more believable and authentic if you can back them up with solid research.

How much research do you need? That very much depends on your book. But don’t worry about having done “too much research”. There’s no such thing. Because whatever is left over and you can’t use for your actual book, you can use it for all your marketing activities. Here are some ideas where you can show off all your additional knowledge and up your marketing game:

  • blog posts
  • articles
  • interviews
  • book readings
  • speaking engagements and talks
  • your website (create an additional resources section)
  • “did you know” posts and Facebook and other social media
  • and if that’s not enough you can always write another book 😉

I am sure you can think of even more ways to show off that you’re an expert on your subject which makes your book even more desirable. Please share in a comment.




Filed under Marketing

SEO on a shoestring

English: The three biggest web search engines

English: The three biggest web search engines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have a website you have probably come across the term SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation). You will also have come across businesses who are set up solely to improve your SEO (and costing a fair bundle in the process). Especially at the beginning not everyone has that kind of money but you still want your website to be easily found by Google, Bing  and their contemporaries. Don’t worry, this will not be highly technical at all, just some simple tips that you can easily implement.

Search engines keep changing, so what was all the rage 5 or 10 years ago and kept you ranking high might not work anymore, so make sure your website is always up to date regading SEO.

At the moment these are some things you need to keep an eye on:

Incoming links

These are links from other websites to yours. They have to be relevant and good quality, meaning that you can’t simply swap links with anyone. If you’re a romance writer, and your link appears on websites about car tyres or washing powder it will not count. Links on book reviewer’s blogs and other authors, however, will be good for you.


Keywords are words and phrases that people type into the search engine when they look for something. Now once upon a time, the more you plastered your content full of those keywords, the better. Not any more. You need to have your keywords in the headings (make sure they’re also formatted as headings) and a few times throughout the content. Ideally, the main keyword you want to be found for is also appearing in the page description that appears at the top of the tab (speak to your web designer if you’re not sure how to do this).

No flash video on home page

If you have a funky flash video on your homepage to introduce your website which ends in something like “click here to enter the website” you have a problem. Google and Co cannot look past that and find out what’s on your actual homepage so will not rank you very well. Rethink where to put that video if you really like it, or get rid of it altogether. You could put it on YouTube with a link to your website – and create a good quality incoming link. 😉

These are my 3 top tips for DIY – SEO. I will offer more in the future and am very happy if you want to share tips of your own in the comments below in the meantime.

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Twitter for authors – use hashtags


hashtag (Photo credit: danielmoyle)

The Twitter usage of hashtags has somehow crept into everyday conversation, so even though hashtags were originally meant for use on Twitter and other social media you can now come across them everywhere. In social media, hashtags mean a particular topic or sometimes an emotion you’re talking about, so that other people wanting to talk about the same topic can easily join in a conversation that’s already ongoing or start their own.

Here are some hashtags that are particular useful for you as an author if you want to connect to readers:

  • #BookGiveaway
  • #MustRead
  • #LitChat
  • #TeaserTues
  • #FreeBook
  • #FreeDownload
  • #Kindle
  • #Nook

You can, of course, also connect with your readers via genre, so any of these will do very nicely for you as well:

  • #Romance
  • #Horror
  • #Scifi
  • #Thriller
  • #Mystery
  • etc.

It’s worth checking your particular genre with a simple hashtag google search.

Related Posts:

44 Essential Twitter Hashtags Every Author Should Know (


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Have you thought to use Pinterest as an author?

English: Red Pinterest logo

English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love Pinterest! I think it’s a beautiful medium and I simply love enjoying what other people have posted, liking, commenting and re-pinning onto my own boards. But it’s not just a fun place to hang out, it’s also a great tool for authors to connect with their readers. How, I hear you ask, since it’s all about pictures and writing is all about words? Well, if you think about it, writing is about painting pictures with words. Pictures and images often inspire us to write and why not combine the two?

Here are two ways I can see this working very well.

1. Create a board that shows what inspired you to write your book. Is it landscapes, places, foods, animals, people – wherever your inspiration came from, there must be images connected to that. Your fans will be interested and inspired at the same time.

2. Create a board with book covers of books that are in the same genre as your book. Make sure your book is prominently among them. If people find books they’ve already read and enjoyed in the same list as your book, they are likely to try out your book as well.

Make sure when you pin images you find on websites to link directly to those images on Pinterest, so you don’t breach copyrights. If you have the little PinIt add-on in your browser even better, it will make the process of only pinning images you can share on Pinterest easier and link to the correct content. When linking book covers, including your own, link to Amazon or another book seller. The book covers are meant to be marketing tools and people will be happy for you to share them.

I will post more ideas on how to use Pinterest as an author in the future, so watch this space. 🙂


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2014 East Midlands Book Award – UK

East Midland Reflections

East Midland Reflections (Photo credit: Gerry Balding)

The East Midlands Book Award (EMBA) is accepting nominations from local, national and international publishers of East Midlands Writers (this covers Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland). The writer needs to have lived in the East Midlands during the period of publication.

The categories are Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry and the work can be aimed at children and young people. There is a panel of judges who will put together a short list which is then promoted through book shops, libraries and reading groups.

To find out more about this award, such as who the judges are, its history as well as previous short listed books and winners, please follow the link:

To go straight to the section on rules and how to enter follow this link:

Related articles


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Something different – The Liebster Award

English: The Gloriette in Schloß Schönbrunn, V...

English: The Gloriette in Schloß Schönbrunn, Vienna, Austria. Français : La gloriette du parc du ChĂąteau de Schönbrunn vue de la fontaine de Neptune (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To my surprise I was nominated for the Liebster Award. I am currently taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge and one of the members, the lovely Deb Dutilh from (all about relationships and communication) has nominated me for this award. You are asked to answer  11 questions, then tell 11 things about yourself and finally nominate another 11 bloggers to ask them 11 questions of your choice. So here it goes:

Deb’s questions

1. What makes you happy?

The first snow, sunshine after a long dull period, rain after a hot, dry spell and chocolate.

2. What did you dream of being when you grew up? Is that what you’re doing now?

When I grew up I wanted to be a stewardess (I guess that would nowadays be called a flight attendant) but on my first flight in my teens I realised that I get air sick. 😩 So that ended that plan quite abruptly. I now run a small company that provides marketing services to authors and small publishers.

3. Who was your hero when you were growing up?

Pippi Longstocking – I loved how she lived with a horse all by herself and could do whatever she pleased.

4. If you were given an hour to make unlimited purchases in any store, which one would it be?

Oh, to choose only one – difficult. It would have to be a large bookstore with the American Bed Bath and Beyond close second.

5. Which actor would play your role in a block-buster movie about your life?

Not sure about the block-buster bit, but Meg Ryan would be great.

6. What are you reading right now book-wise or magazine wise?

I always have several books on the go, so I always have something to read depending on my mood. At the moment these are: Amelia and the Virgin by Nicky Harlow, Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs and Calico Joe by John Grisham.

7. Where did you grow up?

In Vienna, Austria.

8. What do you love doing on the weekend?

Pottering around the house and garden, going on walks and clay pidgeon shooting.

9. How do you want to spend your next birthday?

Going to good show in London.

10. What’s your favorite way to unwind and relax?

Reading and watching TV.

11. What favorite video or picture would you like to share here?

I would like to share a video I saw on Facebook the other day called Pendulum waves, absolutely amazing:


11 Things about myself

  1. I was born in Vienna, Austria but now I live in Nottingham, UK. People often ask me “why on earth would you leave Vienna to come and live HERE?” The answer is simple: my hubby is English so we moved here and the people are so much friendlier than back home.
  2. Until recently I worked as a Professional Organiser but due to the economic climate had to change my focus. Now I’m happily offering marketing services to authors and small publishers.
  3. One of my greatest achievements is a black belt in Shotokan Karate. I started training at age 38 and 3 1/2 years later I was the very proud owner of the black belt.
  4. My favourite country is the US of A. I would love to live there, in particular Colorado. It’s got amazing landscapes, a great climate and the people are lovely.
  5. When I was little my mum always read animal stories to me. A lot of them were really sad so we usually ended up crying together.
  6. I love sci-fi, in particular Star Trek. The idea of reaching out to the stars and making connections with other life forms out there simply fascinates me.
  7. A couple of months ago I took an online course in Astrobiology. It’s the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe: extraterrestrial life and life on Earth. Absolutely fascinating.
  8. My favourite food is sushi. I discovered it on a trip to the US many moons ago. I was still living in Vienna at the time and my friends were stunned when I told them about eating raw fish. Thank goodness a few years later the idea took off in Austria as well.
  9. I’m a bit of a techy geek – I used to teach IT to adults when I first came to England, so I’m basically the IT hotline in my family. As long as nothing goes wrong with the hardware, I’m usually able to help.
  10. When I was 17 I started writing an Western. I came across it again in a box of things my mum kept for me and now I’m in the process of re-writing it in English and then finishing it. I thought it was quite good when I turned the last page and wanted to know what happens next.
  11. I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter series as well as the TV series Charmed. Wouldn’t it be cool if magic like that was actually possible?

11 questions to my nominees:

  1. Imagine you’re 18 years old again and get a do-over. What would you do differently?
  2. What is your favourite smell?
  3. An old time favourite: which person, living or dead, would you like as a dinner guest and what would you ask them?
  4. If you had unlimited amounts of time what would you do?
  5. Cat or dog – and why?
  6. What top 3 things are on your bucket list?
  7. Would you ever bungee jump – why or why not?
  8. Which was your favourite book as a child?
  9. What kind of music do you like?
  10. What would you do if you met your favourite celebrity?
  11. If you could pick 3 words to describe you, what would they be?

And now my 11 nominees:

  1. Regina Walker
  2. Michelle Liew
  3. Chamara Hollingsworth
  4. Arleen Bradley
  5. Dana Lynn Smith
  6. Anne McDonnell
  7. Linda Ursin
  8. Nicky Sanders
  9. Dina Dove
  10. Jacqui Malpass
  11. Oceana LeBlanc




Filed under Uncategorized

Goodreads is good for authors

GoodreadsGoodreads is a great place for readers to share information about books they’ve read, they’re reading and they’d like to read. Everyone can post reviews, share interests and follow other people such as friends or people with similar reading interests. But Goodreads is also a great place for you as an author to market your book. You can create an author page for starters and promote all your books to the millions of members.

Here are some of  the things you can do as an author (info taken from the Goodreads website):

  • Add a picture and bio.
  • Share your list of favorite books and recent reads with your fans!
  • Write a blog and generate a band of followers.
  • Publicize upcoming events, such as book signings and speaking engagements.
  • Share book excerpts and other writing.
  • Write a quiz about your book or a related topic.
  • Post videos.
  • Add the Goodreads Author widget to to your personal website or blog to show off reviews of your books.

You can also promote your books by:

  • Sign up to advertise your book to up to the Goodreads Community—15,000,000 readers!
  • List a book giveaway to generate pre-launch buzz.
  • Lead a Q&A discussion group for readers.
  • Participate in discussions on your profile, in groups and in the discussion forums for your books.

As you can see Goodreads can do great things for your book marketing and most of it is free (even better!). I would definitely recommend it. Unfortunately I don’t get any royalties from recommending Goodreads which means I recommend it because I really believe it’s good. And I don’t seem to be the only one – see links below. 🙂

What do you think? Have you had any experience (good or bad) with Goodreads?


Filed under Goodreads