Overwhelmed with information? My top five author ‘go-to’ places

sponge-naturalIf you’re anything like me you will be soaking up as much information as is humanly possible related to all things author/writing/promotion/marketing.


The problem with this is that my head is so full of stuff that I can’t remember which bits came from where and then I usually forget something really important along the way.

This started me thinking about which resources I place the most value in (across the disciplines) and I came up with a kind of ‘top five’ which I thought I’d share here. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll find everything you need to know but for me, they’ve all been hugely beneficial.



Online courses and learning:

To learn all about social media and digital marketing (and loads of other stuff) visit Shaw Academy. They are the ‘largest live educator on the planet’ and deliver their courses via easy to access webinars. At the end of each course you can earn a diploma which gives you credibility on your CV – plus, you’ve gained the knowledge.

The courses can be expensive but Shaw Academy partner with Groupon and you can often get discounted or even free offers from there. Occasionally you will find an advert for a free course on Facebook or by visiting the MOOC home page.


Blog word.


The blog of Anne R Allen is a hugely valuable resource for writers. As well as covering all of the usual topics, she also unpicks thorny issues such as the new Amazon reviews system which is something we all need to be on top of when we are trying to get our books higher up the Amazon ladder.




To design blog/social media headers, posts, advertisements and promotional materials, then head to Canva.com. Here you can sign up for free and design whatever resource you need. You can upload your own images or Canva will license images for a small fee. Once your project is complete you can save it as a print-ready pdf which works with many of the online publishing companies (for promotional materials).




In the UK we have two fabulous writing magazines, namely Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum. These are both packed full of advice as well as offering competitions and writing opportunities. You can get the latest information from the writing industry and, if you’re lucky, win a break to a writer’s retreat. These can be expensive for a subscription but if you do what I did and ask for it for Christmas and/or Birthday, then it doesn’t cost you a penny and is well worth it.



Editing and Cover Design:

Although I want to keep them all to myself, it’s only fair to share the talents of both my wonderful editor and talented cover designer.

For editing I use Esther Newton who I cannot recommend highly enough. She has been a huge source of encouragement to me and I know that with her support I am going to produce the best novel that I can.

For cover design I’ve had the privilege of working with Rachel Lawston. If you visit her website then her credentials speak for themselves but in terms of managing to make sense of my rough ramblings, she has been amazing.


So there you have it – my thoughts and favourite resources from this crazy world of writing! Hope you find it useful.

Do you have any favourite resources?







Authors : Website, blog or both?

3d human with a red question markI have a dilemma. My website run by GoDaddy (www.annmariewyncoll.com) is due to expire and I thus have the option to renew it for another year – at a fee.

I initially set up this website as a way to generate freelance custom, however, apart from setting it up I have done very little else and so it has just kind of ‘sat there’ for a year. This being the case, I had decided not to renew it but I figured I ought to see what had been happening to it before I deleted it. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered that my website actually generates more traffic than my blog which I do spend time on and, even though its presence has not led to any business, it does mean that via my website, I am visible. This, from a marketing perspective, is huge.

With my new book due out early next year, it is important for me to be as pro-active and visible as I can be so I decided to add my blog link to my website in an effort to combine the two and kind of cross refer them. When my book is published I could use the website as a sales platform – should I decide to renew it.


Having just finished a digital marketing diploma via Shaw Academy (who I cannot recommend highly enough) I know that I need to be able to interact on a number of digital platforms but as we all know when we are doing this ourselves time is at a premium – so I thought I would ask all of you authors out there: what do you do?

Do you have a blog and website and if so, how do you manage them both?

Or do you just have one or the other? Have you found one to be more beneficial than the other?

Any thoughts and advice here would be much appreciated. Thank you!




Self-publishing – do I/don’t I and is it just a fear of marketing?

DSCN0031Self-publishing involves a ton of hard graft – there is no mystery about this. Anyone who has ever researched the idea will understand that not only do you have to produce the book, you are also responsible for making sure that it is edited (professionally), the cover design is good enough to stand out from the crowd and that the technology is in place for it to be available in multiple formats. And that’s before you’ve even tried to sell one copy.

Some of you may remember that I self-published one book a long time ago under my pen name of Jade Reyner. I learned a huge amount during that period and now that my next book is approaching readiness, I find myself debating incessantly which path I should travel.

I, like many of you I am sure, covet the dream of that publishing deal – the one that sees  my book in every store and on every bestseller list but I am realistic enough to know that such success only happens to the few. Moreover, I firmly believe that success in this industry is hugely influenced by luck and being in the right place at the right time.

If current thinking is to be believed – and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be – then traditional publishing does not offer the complete solution today that it perhaps did years ago. A recent article in Writing Magazine (Coping with change – WM Oct 2016) suggests that traditional publishing is all about numbers these days and unless the publishing house can see ‘bestseller’ in your work, your chances of clinching that deal are slim. In addition, it is my understanding that even with a traditional deal, there is still a huge amount of leg work to be done by the author. Which leads me back to self-publishing.


debspoons via freedigitalphotos.net

Marketing scares me. I am not that person who can sell ice to the eskimos, nor do I have a thick enough skin to knock on doors and have them slammed in my face. My only experiences with marketing to date have been in the form of party-planning endeavours, of which I have tried three. Each time my party sales were okay, but my ability to get parties was non-existent because I just couldn’t put myself out there and make that ‘cold’ phone call or knock on that unknown door. At the time I figured it was a failing of mine (and perhaps that is still the case), however, I have also come to realise that whilst I believed in the product I was selling, I don’t think I believed in it enough  – and there’s the difference.

I believe in my writing. I believe that I have a story to tell and that I can tell it and I believe that I can appeal to readers. Positive feedback from my previous self-publishing days has backed this up as well as several comments in the here and now. So, what am I scared of?

3d human with a red question markFirstly, when you consider the number of avenues available for marketing, it can be overwhelming plus, if you really want to get noticed, chances are you will have to pay one way or another. As I am sure we all know, money does not grow on trees and to fund our self-publishing journey can be really tough.

Secondly I am not a pushy person – nor will I ever be. When I talk about my work I am passionate – I know this and I recognise it, but if that is not enough to convince someone to stock my book or even to read it, then I will struggle for another strategy.

And finally, actually, where do I start?

Oddly I can see myself touting my wares. I can see myself standing proudly behind a stall at book fairs and talking to potential readers. I can see myself doing the rounds of independent book shops and even, dare I say it, meeting buyers. I understand enough about modern technology and social media to see me exploiting it, yet still that fear lingers. That fear of my book appearing on page 1,000 + of Amazon meaning that apart from the odd supporter and family, it will remain forever in the self-publishing graveyard.

There are no answers and there are no simple solutions because if there were, we would all be authors, either self-published or traditional. I guess for me it is about going with my gut, the only trouble is, my gut continues to be very much conflicted.

Thoughts anyone?