by .

Rock Your #Writing

Image of book cover for Rock Your Writining









Here’s a quick shout-out to a website that’s full of practical, doable advice for fiction writers.

Much of what’s said applies to nonfiction, too.

Cathy Yardley brings over a decade of commercial writing experience to the table. She’s got more than a dozen books in print with major publishers, and during this time she was holding down a 40-hour-a-week job and raising her child. Sort of makes it hard to gripe about not writing because you don’t have the time. 🙂

She accomplished this by making a thorough study of books on time management, productivity, writing and motivations. She then distilled this knowledge into several concise volumes.


Her series is on Kindle books, and covers how to write more each day. This is not the usual rah-rah stuff, it’s got specific processes and techniques and freebie worksheets. Cathy also covers plotting, editing, writing for specific genres, and crafting effective book proposals. She has a volume dedicate do taking stock of where you are in your writing career and then adjusting your promotional efforts to match. She tailors this advice to whether you’re working towards getting placed with a major publishing house or going the indie route. She speaks from experience.

Best of all, her work is also on, and she is a lively and very funny reader.

This series is very reasonably priced and definitely worth a look-see.


Cool Tools For Publishing Your Book and Building Your Platform

Cool Tools at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference 2015


Panelists – Nina Amir, blogger, author, consultant, has clients who have one more than 300K.

photo of Cool Tools panelst at the SFWC15

Cool Tools Panelists Ron and Penny prepare to talk about the latest in technology.

Emmiliese Von Clemm – Gumroads

Penny Sansevieri, author of 14 books, consultant, adjunct Prof at NYU

Ron Martinez, CEO Airbook, – online book store

Carla King, Moderator

Favorite Tools?

Nina – Scrivener blogs with it

Emmilies – gumroad

Ron – Aero – great way to browse books. Not the normal way you’d look for a book.

Penny – see the handout. One of the favorite tools is lean pub (?) allows you to monetize your work before you actually publsh. You can sell on leanpub and then update when a new version comes along. As a travel writer, she does a lot of travel writing. Has pay-what-you-want pricing. This allows superfans to pay more. It’s not geeky at all. It uses markdown language. Converts well to mobi, html and even pdf.

You can email her at and she’ll send you information on these tools.

Nina – markdown has simple coding. You just use asterisks for bold and slashes for headlines.

San Francisco Writer's Conference 2015

Cool Tools Panel


Nina says you can speed up your blogging by having a plug-in to allow you to drop in markdown and then drop it in. If you write in Scrivener you can export to markdown, and when you click to open it will open in a browser already formatted, you copy and paste this and drop it and you can drop it right into your blog post. For the most part, it allows you to format as you write. This speeds things up markedly.

Pay-what-you-like pricing is a cool tool to try out. You can offer a chapter this way, and it gives you a chance to see what the audience wants. One author set her work at $1 and the average ended up being $9.40.

Recycling content – one of the panelists blew off slidechair, but it’s predicted to be the YouTube of Powerpoints. Can get lead generation. You don’t have to create original content, you can put it in bullet points and Twitter. Remember how important images are. Morguefile is a great place to get free images for publication.

Pigmonkey will let you reformat them and add text (may be pick monkey.

Also InstaQuote, you can type in anything and create a quote very fast. Nina says if you want to sell books you need to be on Pinterest. It’s simple.

Remember that Scrivner will let you write ebooks. Scrivener is a place where she gathers research. Scrivener allows you to have binders and combine things.


Photo of Carla King at the San Francisco Writer's Conference 2015

Cara King moderates the “Cool Tools” panel at SFWC15

Carla says she uses Evernote, but is moving over to Scrivener more and just using the search function.

Nina – you can pull things off Evernote and put them into Scrivner.

You can pull PDFs into Scrivener.

Another tool is WattPad – some authors are serializing their books on wattpad.

Model is changing where the reader is the still point, and the gap between authors and their readers is collapsing.

The goal of some of these new tools is to integrate these into major retailers, too.

Carla uses ads to help monitize her site. She cross-promotes her friend’s books and this helps drive viewers to her site.

Penny – this may be a trend. The bundled book. There’s a romance author that creates themes such as Valentine’s Day or Independence day. She gets 4-5 authors together to write. There are specifications, and then they combine their efforts to promote.

Faceboo and Twitter are all going paid, and so you really need your email list. Some authors have plummeted in their views because Facebook has pulled this back. The followers have been throttled.

Newletters and email. If you look at the sales data, email converts. Social is 3.2% and email is 10.2%, almost three times as high.

So, what if you one day you lost your facebook account? You can move your audiences. This is a lifelong pursuit.

Be alert about the limitations of cheap or free tools. You want access to the email data and to tools you need. You can outgrow constant contact. Then you have a double-opt in with moving an email.

The better email systems require double-opt-in.

Then, you need a call to action. You want something to get an email. This could be a short ebook, 10 tips in a PDF. It could be Press books. Once you have a list you own it. They have asked to be on the list. You don’t want feedburner because it is owned by Google and we keep hearing how this will go away.

This is the best practice across the industry. Harper Collins does this. The Wall Street Journal has used it. Giving away a simple book to get an email. This can be hard to do if you are only in Amazon.

You need your own paid website. Free sites can go away.

Discussion of Rafflecopter. Weird in that you must spend $60 to get rid of crummy look of the free site.

Pinterest. You have to put a time limit on how much time you spend on it or it can suck you in endlessly.

Ron – Buffer app allows you to schedule Tweets that cross post to Facebook. This allows you to stand aside.

Nina – Social Oomph (paid service) – you can cluster Tweets. If you are in Book promotion mode.

You can write a bunch of Tweets an put them in a cue, and you can set it to run a certain number of times per day or week. This is a very nice service.

Nina uses Tweedeck and doesn’t care for Hootsuit.

Tweetdeck lets you set up columns for all the people you follow.

On your WordPress blog you can get a plugin that will retweet. She will email this information to you if you contact her at (I used one called evergreen-retreat old post, but this is not what she uses. Worth looking at what she has as she vets her stuff carefully.)

Sane box can help you keep your inbox clear.

Nina – Freemind is a good mind map software.

Nina said that Carla turned her on to Press Books. You can begin writing your book in Press Books, it will allow you to get it out in markdown, mobi, and RTF. You can go in there and create your whole document.

Fast Pencil is an option to quickly write a blog post or book and you don’t want to pay. You can import blog posts and they have templates. You pick the template and then you’re good to go. You can use their imprint for cheap. You can print to the market place for beta readers. If you think you are going to publish a lot of books, You can pay $600 and then a smaller fee each book and have the templates and such. They have author services, but Nina is not a fan of author services.

Their specs are a bit different. They distribute with ebooks too. Their distribution is as good as SmashWords. Consider getting your own Imprint and your own ISBNs,

Slicebook allows you to buy parts of your book. It’s the brainchild of people who used to work with O’Reilly.

When you upload your book, it automatically slices it into chapters and you can assign a price to it. This allows the creation of small books or pull-out sections.

From the consumer end of it, the reader comes in the store, and decides to dive into just what meets their immediate interest.

Be mindful of your work’s length. Short is the new long.

Podcast your book. Audacity is free, open sources tool

Levellator will optimize your file for you.

Focus@will – Great to help you focus.

Ron – Audio books are a great place to look for opportunities. “Iambic” is a place where people are getting together to produce audiobooks. This is going up against Amazon ADX – an exchange of talent.  – contact @emmiliese (check her name above)

@ninaamir – Twitter

Getting The Word Out – Twitter Tips


Check out @ShellyKramer’s Tweet:

#sfwc #socialmedia Frances Caballo Social Media is Social

@robblightfoot  #lightfootznotes

How To Manage Social Media in 30 Minutes A day

Saturday –Photo of Frances Caballo by Robb Lightfoot

Social Media is social – Frances Caballo

If you don’t interact… it’s just broadcasting.

Four things to do

  1. Curate – look for stuff that helps other writers. You should be looking at readers.
  2. Use the 80/20 rules. Eighty percent must be about others. If you’re at a party and a person talks only about themselves, then we tend to walk away from them.
  3. Share the posts of others, share posts/retweets, there are apps to help you socialize

Look at the analytics once a month – Look at what’s working and what isn’t


Curation – Let others do the work for you. Guy Kawasaki – look at alltop

Look at scoopit and newsly

Newsly looks at who has written a blog post that is getting traction and is being followed


Tfuffler, Tweetdeck, fluvio – three Twitter apps that allow you to schedule. This lets you line up all you posts for the week… and then you can socialize.

Linked in – the best time to post is 7am to noon. Hit the lunch time.

She doesn’t socialize in the morning, or she won’t get anything done.

In the afternoons, she responds and thanks. Keep looking for information to share.


You can schedule chats – lasting about an hour – joint some groups. Don’t promote yourself, or you’ll be bumped out. But you can comment.  If you’re someone who contributes intelligently, with great content.

Google+ – some great communities – The APE community. It’s very active

Also Google+ for writers.

Analytics tell you when you should post, when your readers are online.

The analytics tell you who your readers are, their demographic – age/gender. Also it shows their physical location.


Don’t link your blog and Twitter/Facebooks. This is easier, but it is spammier. You need to personalize.

Bitly – if you only use bitly on Twitter, then you can assess your effectiveness on Twitter.

Question – Why do I want to get on Twitter or Facebook and burden people?

Answer – Twitter is her favorite social media and best way for authors to connect, especially in the field of independent publishing. You may be invited by others as a guest post. Once you’re on it, you’ll love it.

Q – Where to start?

A-Begin with Twitter, and then go to Google+.

Q-What, if you’re just getting started, what are the first 5 things to do.

A-First, Twitter You can meet people all over the world. You can write a blog post about them. Facebook, Google Plus, go to Google+ first if you want good search optimization go to Google plus

Facebook is expensive to get people to find you. And if you buy likes, you’ll get no engagement.

Comment – A writers club has started a critique group just for social media. People are social, but they have to invest in new behavior. It’s an on-ramp.

A-Good idea. There are studies that show social media is an on-ramp for introverts.

Comment – You not Twitter for connecting with other authors.

A-Yes. But remember that you to include #bibliophile #librarians # and other reader-oriented hashtags

Frances – has tight settings on her Facebook page. Doesn’t accept all friend requests. Doesn’t allow people to post on her timeline.

YouTube – owned by Google and using it will increase your search ranking.