How to Use Twitter to Get an Agent – Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

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My quest to get published began before every agent had a website and accepted queries by email. I spent years carrying packages to the post office, paying for return postage, then checking the mail every day to see if a rejection letter had arrived yet.

Today’s aspiring novelists don’t even have to leave the house to land an agent. However, the Internet has also increased the competition. More authors than ever are trying to get the attention of an agent and all of them have access to the basic information on agency websites. However, even if agents list their preferences on those websites, they can change on a whim. My agent posted this a couple of months ago:

“I am dying for a new adult cozy mystery serious; historical or funny contemporary!”

If you were following her and just happened to have such a book on your hard drive, the timing would have been perfect to send it right over.

But there’s an art to participating on Twitter. Here are a few things you should do if you’re looking for an agent.

Follow Agents

Success on Twitter relies heavily on the people you follow. Find writers who have interests similar to yours and start interacting with them. They’ll likely help you build the community you need on the site. As you start querying, make sure you review each agent’s Twitter feed to see if they’ve expressed an interest in anything in particular lately. Here are a few agents who are always helpful:

Find Hashtags

In addition to following agents, you can also use hashtags to join in a conversation. Often the most useful hashtags will be part of events where participating authors get something useful out of it. Here are some hashtags to note:

  • #PitMad—A pitch party where participants tweet three short descriptions of three of their books. Polish your pitches—the next #PitMad is September 8!
  • #PitchWars—This contest has multiple rounds, with mentors and agents reading manuscripts. The most recent one just took place, but read all about it before the next one!
  • #AskAgent—Agents announce that they’re taking questions through the hashtag #AskAgent and Twitter members send them over. Read over past sessions and you’ll likely find some great tips.
  • #MSWL—Under this hashtag, agents and editors post their manuscript wishlists. A must follow, for sure!

Most importantly, participate. Have fun. The more you participate in Twitter events and get to know other authors, the more likely you’ll be to get the information you need to achieve your dreams.

PiperMorgan Joins the Circus

When Piper Morgan has to move to a new town, she is sad to leave behind her friends, but excited for a new adventure. She is determined to have fun, be brave and find new friends.

In Piper Morgan Joins the Circus, Piper learns her mom’s new job will be with the Big Top Circus. She can’t wait to learn all about life under the big top, see all the cool animals, and meet the Little Explorers, the other kids who travel with the show. She’s even more excited to learn that she gets to be a part of the Little Explorers and help them end each show with a routine to get the audience on their feet and dancing along!

Piper Morgan In Charge

In Piper Morgan in Charge, Piper’s mom takes a job in the local elementary school principal’s office. Piper is excited for a new school and new friends—and is thrilled when she is made an “office helper.” But there is one girl who seems determined to prove she is a better helper—and she just so happens to be the principal’s daughter. Can Piper figure out how to handle being the new girl in town once more?

Stephanie Faris

Bio:
Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

 

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

 

Links:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
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Amazon

 

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Overcoming That Murky Middle – Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

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Happy Monday, All! Today author and blogger Stephanie Faris is taking over here at Quanie Talks Writing and talking about something that we writers sometimes dread: that murky middle! Stephanie is sharing some awesome tips in case you find yourself in the murky middle without a paddle (or boat!). She’s also sharing the cover for the latest book in her Piper Morgan series, Piper Morgan To The Rescue. Isn’t that cover just too darn cute??? Feel free to add the book to your Goodreads shelf and connect with Stephanie online (links below).

Enjoy!

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“The Murky Middle.” Strange name for it, isn’t it? I remember first hearing the term back in the 90s, as part of a Romance Writers of America workshop. I was so excited to finally hear someone else say what I’d been thinking since the day I wrote my first novel: the middle is the hardest part.

Some of you may disagree. For you, the hardest part is the beginning, when you’re staring at a blank page with a blinking cursor that seems to be taunting you. Some find the ending the most difficult, when it’s time to tie up every loose end and bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. For me, though, I don’t truly begin to think about abandoning my novel until at least Chapter Six. If I can push through that and get to the big dark moment three-fourths of the way through, I’m usually home free.

If you’ve found yourself getting stuck midway through your novel, it could be because you fly by the seat of your pants like me. I’ve spoken to plotters who never quite experience the murky middle. Even if they do, they have a handy-dandy carefully-plotted outline to consult. For non-plotters like me, the midway point is tough because we have to make serious decisions while we’re writing.

Even though I’m not a planner, I’ve found it helps to stop and write a synopsis midway through. I give myself permission to change the direction of the story if necessary, but at least I get my overall plot on paper. This can often help me past that point of the book where I’m ready to abandon the entire project and start on something new. If a synopsis seems too formal, grab a piece of paper and draw the character arc. Where is your main character at the beginning of the book? What does she need to go through to be where she is at the end of the book?

Writing a book is a huge accomplishment. Sometimes we take that for granted. But if you’re like me, midway through you realize exactly how difficult it is. Hopefully these tips will help the next time you get stuck!

 

Piper Morgan to the Rescue JPEG

 

Blurb:
Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

 

Links:
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Twitter

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Promoting Your Book Online? 3 Lessons I’ve Learned from Marketing Experts

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Happy New Year everybody! I hope that everyone got a chance to relax during the holidays and that you’re all ready to tackle 2015 and pursue all of your writing goals! Today we’re in luck, because  author and blogger Stephanie Faris is sharing some kick-ass advice about marketing. I don’t know about you guys, but I need some good marketing advice in my life!

Stephanie’s upcoming release, 25 Roses, will be available tomorrow. You can check out the book cover and blurb below and add the book to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here. And guess what else? Stephanie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of her book, and a chocolate long-stemmed rose. Scroll down to enter the giveaway:)

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Children’s writing doesn’t pay the bills (yet), so by day, I write content for a variety of marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Part of that work involves advising small business owners on their online promotion efforts. I’ve found much of what I’ve learned in the past few years translates easily into book promotion since, in essence, authors are small business owners ourselves. Our brand is our name and our product is the book(s) we publish each year.

Whether you’ve just started your writing career or you’re launching your forty-second book, the time to build your brand is now. Here are three big online marketing lessons I’ve learned that you could put to use in making a name for yourself online.

Stop Promoting, Start Engaging

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog and at least one social media account. One mistake I see made every single day in both of these areas is over-promotion. If every tweet or blog post is a promotion for your next book, you likely notice very little interaction. In fact, many of us are scrolling past your promotional posts in search of more interesting content. Granted, the occasional “My new book is available for pre-orders” post is great. But that post should be preceded and followed by interesting, insightful content that keeps people interested in what you have to say.

The good news is that you don’t have to create all of this content yourself. If you read an interesting article about writing, share the link with your social media followers or blog readers. Swap guest posts with friends and invite them to post on your blog occasionally. This will save you time, as well as expose your readers to more great bloggers.

Build a Platform

When an author uses her blog or social media sites to provide information about her area of expertise, that site then becomes a platform. Quanie’s blog is an example of this. Marketing tips are in high demand among writing communities, so her blog draws people in to learn as much as possible. It’s the type of content that turns a reader into a loyal follower.

When your blog contains interesting content, readers will naturally want to learn more about its author. Because your blog and social media sites consistently bring interesting content to readers, when you do have a reason to promote something, you’ll have the built-in audience to receive that message.

Give, Give, Give

When people ask me how I’ve gained such a large blog readership, they never like my answer. I read a great deal of blogs every day. I enjoy doing it. While I’d like to say that a well-crafted, thoughtful blog will naturally draw the masses, that simply isn’t the case. In order to receive, you have to give. Find blogs within your range of interest and comment on a regular basis. Soon you’ll find your blog is getting more comments than ever.

The same philosophy applies to social media. You may have a built-in following of friends and relatives on your personal Facebook page, but professional engagement requires much more work. Find like-minded individuals on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites and follow them. Regularly share status updates you find intriguing and occasionally comment on posts when you have something interesting to say. In time, you’ll find others are interacting and your audience will grow from there.

Online promotion is a great deal of work, but by sharing interesting content and interacting with others, you’ll soon find marketing through blogging and social media is not only easy but fun. Turning your name into a brand is a matter of posting interesting content and remaining true to your personal interests. If you’re having fun, others will naturally enjoy hearing what you like to say.

 

25 roses book cover

 

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

Buy 25 Roses (Autographed)

Buy 25 Roses (Amazon)

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