3 Ways to Reignite Your Writing Career TODAY!

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Sally Jean

Man, I have missed you guys! Spawn flattened me with a stomach bug #kidsarecutebutevil. But, I am back so let’s get to work. All of us have days where we wonder if what we do even matters. Why did we have to become writers? Especially in these times?

Why couldn’t we have gotten into this gig when wealthy patrons financed our work? And we could seal our manuscript with a fancy wax seal like the kind we bought for ourselves at Barnes & Noble but are too shy to use on our water bill?

I know y’all bought one too, and for those who didn’t, is that a quill and ink set from the Renaissance festival I detect? Do I smell parchment? O_o

Ah the good old days…

I am an “Old Dog” of the digital publishing paradigm. I’ve been through all the fads. The FREE BOOK Rush of 2010, The Great .99 Book Deal of 2011, The Amazing Algorithmic Alchemy, The Magical Metrics and the Automation Invasion of 2012-2015 (there are still skirmishes along the front). Now I am enduring The Newsletter is Gold Rush.

Guess what? I’m still here.

I don’t say this really to brag as much as to make a point. Social media, done properly is not a short-term burst of gimmicky energy. There is no magic to it and it while it is simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We not only have to manage the brand, we also produce the product.

Not a job for the faint of heart.

And with all the tweeting and blogging and slogging month after month and year after year, I know that it is SUPER easy for us writers to get overwhelmed. That’s why today, I’m here to offer some simple ways to inject fire back into your writing and your career.

*plays Eye of the Tiger loudly* *punches at the air*

#1—Appreciate that Writing & Social Media Branding Can Coexist

When I am on Twitter, I often get tweets like these:

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 9.56.12 AM

Guess what? I agree! The writing always, always comes first.

But why is there an almost automatic assumption we must choose?

Social media, done the way I teach in Rise of the Machines, takes maybe 10-15 minutes a day and feel free to take off weekends. I offer no get-rich-quick advice. My author platforms take time (and discipline) to build, but they are virtually indestructible. It isn’t about quantity, it is all quality and then being consistent.

If we assume that platform-building is this awful horrible time-intensive thing? Then we psych ourselves out of some truly fantastic benefits. Additionally, our own misconception how much time social media takes can be smothering our creative fires.

But that is a lie. Solid branding/platform-building isn’t about large chunks of time, rather it is small consistent effective action. I can assure you, it is very possible to write books and be on social media.

Just like we can bathe and brush our teeth. No need to choose 😉 .

#2—RELAX Regarding Sales



For those who want to make a living as an author, appreciate we are in the entertainment business. Note that half that word is business. We are in the business of selling books. Yet how many of you are feeling snuffed out simply because you are terrified of sales?

Guess what?

You already ARE IN SALES.

Because writing a novel is nothing BUT sales. Every aspect from the cover to the title to the concept to every stinking page of writing (just in writing we call them “hooks”). Why do readers stop reading? Because we didn’t “sell” them on the idea of turning to the next one.

Great writers are able to sell the idea that is a better idea to stay up until 2 a.m. than getting to work on time 😉 .

In fact, I think novelists make up the greatest salespeople in human history. Writers have sold us on equal rights, women’s rights, alien worlds, space travel, a thing called a T.A.R.D.I.S. and on and on.

Think about it. Writers have to sell readers on an idea. Why should we spend 10-15 hours reading that story? How are we supposed to believe that sparkling vampires are plausible? Or in this place called Middle Earth?

Writers need to sell readers on characters. Why should we like her? Root for her? Why should we fear/hate him and want him to lose?

Additionally, every single traditionally published author has had to first sell themselves and a manuscript to an agent. Once published, these same authors most often are then required to then sell the next story and the next to an editor or agent via a synopsis of whatever else they have to offer (which is why I have a CLASS on how to do that this Friday).

So let’s just get this notion out of our head that all “sales” is the same and involves vitamins or vacuums. Y’all already rock sales if you write good stories, so ditch the phobia already.

#3—Reframe Perception of Social Media

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of GUV'NOR.

Original image via Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of GUV’NOR.

Part of embracing the new type of work we must do as digital age writers comes with redefining how we see our work (which now includes a degree of social media). Feel free to get on Facebook and trudge through it like some chore, but with that kind of an attitude? I recommend just staying off altogether. We (readers) can sense a poor attitude through the screen.

It is one of the reasons automation is such a turn-off. It shouts, “I want your time and money but I am too busy to talk to you!” And, to be blunt, it’s the equivalent of junk mail.

Junk mail has a 2% return on investment, so if we want better results than a telemarketer, we need to relax about getting engaged.

If you are struggling with enjoying social media, maybe this will help.

I was once on a panel at Thrillerfest in NYC and we were asked, “What is the most important thing to do to be successful of social media?” The edgy blogger next to me snagged the mic and declared, “You must be interesting.”

I disagreed.

My POV? It is far better to be interested than interesting.

Why do readers love our stories? Because if we have done our job well, on some level the story we write is also the reader’s story. It is about them. Same with social media.

We are not organ-grinding monkeys dancing for loose change and, in fact, the non-stop-entertainment-approach will wear everyone out in a hurry. Never underestimate the power of simply liking or commenting on the posts of others. Or asking an opinion or a thought. Humans are dying to feel heard, so do what introverts do best and simply listen.

What are your thoughts? Do you psych yourself out when it comes to branding and social media? Do you think you need to do everything? Do you see how social media can allow you to take simple steps to fire up your future? What are some ways you add some mojo back into your routine?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of SEPTEMBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Check out the other NEW classes below! Including How to Write the Dreaded Synopsis/Query Letter THIS FRIDAY! I have also included new times to accommodate the UK and Australia/NZ folks! 

All W.A.N.A. classes are on-line and all you need is an internet connection. Recordings are included in the class price.

Upcoming Classes


Friday! Pitch Perfect—How to Write a Query Letter & Synopsis that SELLS

You’ve written a novel and now are faced with the two most terrifying challenges all writers face. The query and the synopsis.

Query letters can be daunting. How do you sell yourself? Your work? How can you stand apart without including glitter in your letter?


Good question. We will cover that and more!

But sometimes the query is not enough.

Most writers would rather cut their wrists with a spork than be forced to write the dreaded…synopsis. Yet, this is a valuable skills all writers should learn.

WEDNESDAY October 5th Your Story in a Sentence–Crafting Your Log-Line

Log-lines are crucial for understanding the most important detail, “WHAT is the story ABOUT?” If we can’t answer this question in a single sentence? Brain surgery with a spork will be easier than writing a synopsis. Pitching? Querying? A nightmare. Revisions will also take far longer and can be grossly ineffective.

As authors, we tend to think that EVERY detail is important or others won’t “get” our story. Not the case.

If we aren’t pitching an agent, the log-line is incredibly beneficial for staying on track with a novel or even diagnosing serious flaws within the story before we’ve written an 80,000 word disaster. Perhaps the protagonist has no goal or a weak goal. Maybe the antagonist needs to be stronger or the story problem clearer.

In this one-hour workshop, I will walk you through how to encapsulate even the most epic of tales into that dreadful “elevator pitch.” We will cover the components of a strong log-line and learn red flags telling us when we need to dig deeper. The last hour of class we will workshop log-lines.

The first ten signups will be used as examples that we will workshop in the second hour of class. So get your log-line fixed for FREE by signing up ASAP.

Those who miss being in the first ten will get a deeply discounted workshop rate if they would like their log-line showroom ready.

SATURDAY, October 8th Blogging for Authors

Blogging is one of the most powerful forms of social media. Twitter could flitter and Facebook could fold but the blog will remain so long as we have an Internet. The blog has been going strong since the 90s and it’s one of the best ways to establish a brand and then harness the power of that brand to drive book sales.

The best part is, done properly, a blog plays to a writer’s strengths. Writers write.

The problem is too many writers don’t approach a blog properly and make all kinds of mistakes that eventually lead to blog abandonment. Many authors fail to understand that bloggers and author bloggers are two completely different creatures.

This class is going to cover:

  • How author blogs work. What’s the difference in a regular blog and an author blog?
  • What are the biggest mistakes/wastes of time?
  • How can you effectively harness the power of algorithms (no computer science degree required)
  • What do you blog about? What topics will engage readers and help create a following?
  • How can you harness your author voice using a blog?
  • How can a blog can help you write leaner, meaner, faster and cleaner?
  • How do you keep energized years into your blogging journey?
  • How can a blog help you sell more books?
  • How can you cultivate a fan base of people who love your genre.

Blogging doesn’t have to be hard. This class will help you simplify your blog and make it one of the most enjoyable aspects of your writing career.

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook



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  1. Reblogged this on Mystery and Romance.

  2. Reblogged this on Writing and Musing and commented:
    Love this! Social media is so useful, but it should also be fun and interactive. If you don’t want to be there everyone will be able to tell.

    • Angel Lawson on September 28, 2016 at 11:53 am
    • Reply

    “I am an “Old Dog” of the digital publishing paradigm. I’ve been through all the fads. The FREE BOOK Rush of 2010, The Great .99 Book Deal of 2011, The Amazing Algorithmic Alchemy, The Magical Metrics and the Automation Invasion of 2012-2015 (there are still skirmishes along the front). Now I am enduring The Newsletter is Gold Rush.”

    Yes to all of these things (Old Dog as well). Don’t forget the Erotica is a Goldmine Craze of 2013+

    I try to tell all of this to new authors that ask for my input. In the end it’s about creating content and hard, hard work. Sometimes it gets too much and I have to take a break. Other times I get carried away like everyone else. It changes very fast and the best thing to do is try to plant your feet firmly on the ground. Try.

  3. I’m still here too, though I’m guessing you wish I wasn’t. I’m that writer who likes to point out uncomfortable facts, like the fact that all this marketing hype about how one can make any kind of dent in making writing pay without serious advertising, connections or previous celebrity in 2015-2016 (I’m not talking about what you did pre-2011 which no longer works) is empty marketing hype. I’ve been a professional writer for over 20 years. I’ve been blogging more than once a week for two years (almost entirely not about writing), I have a good healthy newsletter with 500 readers, I’ve published seven books in two genres, they all have great, real reviews and almost no sales. I spend about 30 minutes a day on social media, strategically. I’ve never automated, forced people to join events or FB groups or done any of the other counterproductive spammy things a lot of people are doing (and inflicting on me as well). I’m doing it because writers are those who write because they can’t help themselves. I have never needed a pep talk to get me writing. I need crying, hungry children to get me to stop writing for a while and get some more clients in my boring job, so we can eat. So, I don’t believe the hype, but I do like your blogs on writing craft and send them to my writing students. And I will still be here writing as David Eddings always said “until they nail shut my coffin.” Oh, and I am a sucker for Eye of the Tiger too. I think a wax seal sounds cool but quill pens are overrated. Never been able to afford either. Parchment however is really cool for one specific thing. At least one type of art-store parchment burns without smoke or ashes, so if you do one of those things where you burn your fears and writer’s block in a candle indoors, use scrapes of it 🙂

    1. I need to write a separate post on this but branding and platform building are not the same as marketing and promotion. The brand and the platform are the foundation. The more solid the foundation, the more successful everything built on that.

      But yes! Write for the love. Readers will feel it and appreciate it.

      1. Yeah, not what I said. I said I was marketing. I’m doing way beyond what most writers do in terms of working to make it pay. But we all know it doesn’t really work. I continue to write, even though we all know it will not pay, because I am a writer. It’s what I am. It’s not about some sappy love thing. Why can’t you treat other writers like equals, like people, not like puppies please?

        1. Hey, if you don’t like what she’s saying, no need to read it. You had your rant, on her webspace – you have to get personal?

          Manners, please…

          1. That’s a rant? Sheesh.

  4. I actually enjoy the social media but have to step back and take weekends off for balance — and to make sure I hear my own thoughts. 🙂

  5. Wow! You made it to my Stickies board of inspiration with this: “It is far better to be interested than interesting. Why do readers love our stories? Because if we have done our job well, on some level the story we write is also the reader’s story. It is about them.” Thank you for the reminder about why I write–because life is so interesting!

    • Sky Burr-Drysdale on September 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm
    • Reply

    How can you see my quill & ink pot and smell my parchment from all the way over there? Do you have a camera in my house? No, that’s silly. I haven’t been arrested yet so you couldn’t. Your blog is the only one I follow on a regular basis. Love It! Thank you!

  6. Reblogged this on authorkdrose.

  7. Reblogged this on Erotic Vampire.

  8. I have just recently joined social media. I have not yet posted anything about my blog or writing yet as I figure I should be on for a few months before I post anything like that.


    All in, I find social media exhausting and disconnected. I’ve made a point to “like” things and put down the occasional comment. I even posted a few kid pictures. All in, though, I find the dialogue on social media to be very superficial, and I have to go out of my way to avoid the political bits.


    I much prefer blogging. You can actually say something, talk about something, and have some give and take.


    Maybe it’ll get better the more I use social media. Maybe not. But I put a strong limit on it. A couple quick, funny (if possible) tweets in the morning and maybe another in the evening. I check Facebook once in the morning and once in the evening. And I need to figure out how to get Facebook to stop sending me texts and e-mails whenever it wants my attention.

    1. You really should hang out with me and my friends on Facebook. We need to get you with the right people!

  9. I have an antique ink well, a few quills, and a couple of old typewriters, and I still Facebook, Tweet, and blog. It’s all good. I love what you said: we don’t have to choose between showering and brushing out teeth! It all works together. I understand the frustration of superficiality of social media. I choose one friend a week and hand-write them a letter. I have never done this with any consistency before, but I really love it. (I even wrote a blog about it. Shameless plug.) Some friends I’ve had for 30+ years, some for less than 5, but it’s fulfilled my desire to communicate at a deeper level. I have even received a few letters back. Love, love Rise Against the Machines. Your instruction has breathed new life into this process for me. Thank you, Kristen!

  10. I love the visual!

  11. I am a real person with real feelings dealing with real people who have real feelings and real issues as well. I loved Rise Against the Machines so much that I read it twice (and will, of course, read it again and again, especially when I need inspiration. As a small one author publisher (read that self-publisher), getting to know people one on one is the most satisfying way that I know to sell my books.

  12. When I read your posts, I realize how little I know. Thanks for always sharing so much of your experience and wisdom. Some things are simple common sense, but you know that isn’t as common.

  13. I have just finished Rise of the Machines, and have had a few ‘ah-ha!’ moments, enough that I have completely changed what I’m blogging and FB-ing about!! Thanks for that…
    A question though. You talk about socialising with others on FB or Twitter who have interests that are aligned with what you write. I write love stories. However, I couldn’t be less interested in the Bachelorette or any of the cooking shows, or rom-coms (all my romance novel friends are squee-ing over Bridget Jones…???) In fact, I watch very little TV and my movie choices are usually sci-fi, fantasy or adventure.
    So I discussed with my ever-patient, thoughtful and amazing partner (who really tries to keep up with my random ramblings, bless his little cotton socks) and we came up with the thought that perhaps I needed to watch some of the things I’m not really into, if only so I can talk to others about them. You know, everyone’s job involves SOMETHING they don’t like, right? But I’m not sure that’s what you meant…it’s not really authentic interaction if I really couldn’t give a rat’s patootie if Tanya or Alison win Brodie’s heart… is it??
    Did I miss a little something?? How can I interact with potential readers when I’m not that into the other types of media?

    1. But what KIND of love stories do you write? If you write Geek Chic Romance, then talk geek stuff. And thanks for buying and liking my book! Squeee! I am so happy it helped you!

  14. I enjoy Facebook lots… I sometimes think that’s lucky though… I do meet people who don’t enjoy it, some who don’t get it and others who use it in a self-defeating way… I really enjoy seeing what people are up to (call me nosy!), and I should probably be spending less time there… I changed my business page to an author page by the way, after thinking further about your previous post & I already see more engagement & the direction of the page makes more sense… so thank you for that!

  15. Hi Kristen, longtime follower of your blogs–you always have something I can learn and glean from! I tried to contact you by email, but don’t know if I had the right one. Wondering if you’d be willing to critique a short piece for me. Could you contact me: heidi at heidi m thomas dot com. Thanks!

  16. Reblogged this on Books and More.

  17. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog.

  18. Whenever I go on social media I’m at a loss what to say. Worse yet, I’m afraid when I do have something to say I will regret saying it. @_@;

  19. Hi Kristen
    Thanks I needed this now. After several years of health issues I an going to try and reboot my career, Off to see where Michael put Rise
    of the Machines

    1. Hey Elaine! So great to see you! I hope you are much better. Let me know if you need anything and (((BIG HUGS))).

      1. Thanks Kristen I will holler if I start pulling my hair out.

  1. […] 3 Ways to Reignite Your Writing Career TODAY! — Man, I have missed you guys! Spawn flattened me with a stomach bug #kidsarecutebutevil. But, I am back so let’s get to work. All of us have days where we wonder if what we do even matters. Why did we have to become writers? Especially in these times?  Why couldn’t we have gotten into this gig when wealthy patrons financed our work? And we could seal our manuscript with a fancy wax seal like the kind we bought for ourselves at Barnes & Noble but are too shy to use on our water bill? […]

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