Friday, 1 November 2013

Guest Post—Put Some Heart in Your Emotion

Happy NaNoWriMo Everyone!

To celebrate the first day of National Novel Writing Month I'm pleased to host fellow author Dianna Winget (who I just happened to find during the Writers Helping Writers Amazing Race) who will share her insight on injecting emotion into your writing.  Meanwhile, I am welcoming a group of authors from all over the globe to a writing retreat in Phuket. Seriously, they've come from Canada, the US, Dubai, Malaysia and Thailand! Over the next 6 days we'll be writing, critiquing, learning and inspiring each other. I will be joined by author and publisher Jo Parfitt who will conduct workshops on adding SPICE to your writing and Breaking the Block. I'll update you all next week and share our stories. For now, Dianna, take it away! 

Author Dianna Winget
            Our lives are pretty much ruled by emotions—and that includes all you manly guys out there, even though you refuse to discuss it. Just think how many feelings we experience on any given day. The gamut can run from delight to disgust, contentment to irritation, fear to frustration. So if these feelings are so common to all of us, why can they be such a challenge to accurately portray? Probably because it’s one thing to experience an emotion, quite another to make our readers feel it. Too often we fall back on the rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms type of description that’s been used a million times and has lost its impact. 

Here are a few tips that can help liven up your writing.


  1. Don’t expect your reader to feel what your character is feeling just because you want them to. Only when emotion is provoked through the circumstances of the story will your reader feel what you want.
  2. Consider your character’s age, gender, background and place in history. Ask yourself how this particular character might feel about or react to a situation.
  3. What is the strongest emotion you want your reader to feel? Search out and delete that word everywhere it occurs in your manuscript. How can you portray that emotion through action alone?
  4. Choose an emotion. Jot down the first five physical reactions that spring to mind. These will likely be clichés you want to avoid. Expand upon these until your description feels fresh and original.
  5. Get yourself a copy of Angela Ackerman’s Emotion Thesaurus. This is a fun and immensely helpful tool for accurately portraying character emotion.

            Always remember that readers have high expectations. They don’t want to be told how a character feels, they want to experience the emotion for themselves. So roll up your writer sleeves and make yourself sweat a little. Your effort will result in a much stronger manuscript and a loyal base of readers.

Author Bio


Dianna begin writing at nine years old, when she would stuff notebooks under her bed to prevent prying eyes from seeing her wonderful masterpieces. It wasn't until graduating from high school that she finally admitted her love for writing. After graduating from the Institute of Children’s Literature, Dianna began selling short stories and articles to magazines such as Clubhouse, U*S* Kids, Child Life, and Good Reading for Everyone. 

It wasn't until 2012, that she realized her dream of writing middle grade novels with the publication of A Smidgen of Sky.(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Watch for her next middle grade, True As Steel. (Scholastic Press, Fall of 2014) Dianna is repped by Lara Perkins at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. To learn more, visit her website at www.diannwinget.com. Or connect with her on Twitter @DiannaMWinget.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Don’t Miss The Writers Helping Writers AMAZING RACE!

Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers (formerly The Bookshelf Muse) have added two more books to their Descriptive Thesaurus Collection: The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws. To celebrate, they are hosting a race, and not just any old race, either. It's the...

 
Writing is hard, isn't it? Create the perfect hook. Make your first page compelling. Craft an amazing 25 word pitch. Knock out a query that will blow an agent's mind. On and on it goes. And sometimes, well, you just wish someone would help.

WISH NO MORE!

From October 21st until October 27th, Writers Helping Writers is posting an OPEN CALL for writers. You can fill out a form, requesting help with critiques, book visibility, social media sharing, blog diagnostics, advice and more.

An army of Amazing Racers are standing by (ME INCLUDED!) waiting to help with your submissions. How many people can we help in a week? Let's find out! Did I mention there are Celebrity Racers too--amazing authors and editors who know their way around a first page. Maybe one of them will pick your submission to help with!

Each day this week, there's an AMAZING giveaway, too. So stop in at Angela & Becca's new Writers Helping Writers website and find out how to take advantage of this unique, pay-it-forward event for writers. I'll see you there! 
Photo Credit: Tharrin

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

#NaNoWriMo: Links, Resources, Articles and a Nonfiction Alternative

Re-blogged with permission from , originally posted on her blogOctober 7, 2013

NaNoManiaIf you need a helping hand with getting that novel written, NaNoWriMo is just about to start again with a new look and new energy! From their official web site:“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.”
The Writers and Artists blog has published a great article by author Roz Morris , on how to nail NaNoWriMo. It is a must read guideline! https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/2013/09/could-you-draft-a-novel-in-a-month-here-s-how-to-nail-nanowrimo There is another great article on their site from author Jenni Davis on how she fared through NaNo and it’s benefits for her. It’s realistic.
CommuniCATE is also publishing articles to prepare you through October. Check the hashtag #nanoprep on Twitter, Google Plus and Facebook for more resources and support. NaNo also has a better blog than previously seen. Go there for encouragement. Plus if you have funds to give, please donate! NaNo helps many Indie authors. Their books are excellent or you can donate any amount you can afford.
tumblr_static_nano-blog-masthead-01__2_
If you are a memoir or non-fiction writer like I am, NaNoWriMo may have you feeling like a fish out of water! Non-fiction writers and people who want to finish works in progress, do have a forum at NaNoWriMo, but you can’t enter the competition. You are called a “Nano Rebel.” I like that term. I also appreciate their all-inclusive policy. You can search for the forum on theNaNoWriMo web site.
WNFINNOV
Even better than NaNo Rebels, Nina Amir, a teacher and writing coach runs ”Write Nonfiction in November.” It is much simpler, there is a great blog which is informative and has a Facebook page for group support. If November is just not long enough, get involved in Write Nonfiction Nowwhich Nina runs all year. I have gotten to know Nina over the last year and she shares excellent content and is a great lady.

New-Headshot-Nina-Amir-tight-tiltedFollow Nina:


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Writing Retreat in Phuket - Kicks off NaNoWriMo!




Are you working on a novel, desperately trying to 'find' time to write and never quite
The retreat will take place at the quaint and peaceful 
Baan Chayna Hotel in Surin Beach. 
getting there? 

As most of you know, november is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I've decided to kick it off with a writers retreat. You don't have to be a NaNoWri-mer, only a writer looking for support and inspiration... and a little quiet time to write!
Here's the plot... 

Surround yourself with other fiction writers who are equally as determined to get writing! It's the perfect jump start because - 
  • you'll participate in interactive workshops that spark creativity
  • there will be guaranteed solitary writing time 
  • you'll be in tranquil, remote surroundings that will help clear your mind
  • inspiration will abound breaking through even the worst writers block 
  • your word count will soar every day
If you've never done NaNoWriMo, maybe this can be your first year, but it's not required. All that's required is that you have a work in progress, whether it's an idea, an outline or even a few pages or chapters. The goal is to help you move the process along.

The retreat includes daily workshops along with time for solitary writing and a few fun activities thrown in for extra inspiration! 

I will be facilitating discussions on plot and character development, point of view, dialogue, and establishing your author platform.

I'm thrilled to be joined by guest facilitator:

Jo Parfitt, who has written 30 books (published by a range of publishers), is a journalist, teacher, editor and publisher and mentors others to write and publish books and articles. Her company Summertime Publishing was founded in 1997 and she has helped more than 150 authors get published. Her sessions will help you overcome writers block and show you how to add SPICE to your writing.

For more information visit here. I'd be happy to send you a full schedule and registration information. Just email me at anne@globalwritingsolutions.com

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Bloggers Who do Book Reviews

Image from freedigitalphotos.net by Digitalart

A while back, I promised that I would share the list of bloggers who joined in the virtual book tour for my debut novel, Mental Pause, and did either an author interview, book review, a combination review/interview and/or invited me to do a guest blog. If you're planning a blog tour, I encourage you to take a look at the blogs you're planning to pitch, subscribe to them, engage with them and, above all, read their guidelines for submitting queries for book reviews. Each one requires a slightly different process and not all of them will be interested in the genre you write, so don't just blast a list. Put some thought into personalizing each query and you'll have a much better return on time spent.

So here's my list... it keeps growing but this is as it stands now. I hope you enjoy exploring these blogs as much as I have:

Expat Info Desk - Feb. 28th - Author Interview
Linda is a long-time expat who just repatriated to the US and recently launched a book called The Emotionally Resilient Expat. 
Jo is a author, publisher (she published my book @Home in Dubai), writer, speaker and writers' mentor. She blogs about the writing process and getting published. 

Arabian Tales & Other Amazing Adventures - Review and Interview - March 8th

Book Readers Heaven - Review and Interview - March 8th

Morgen Bailey's Writing Blog - Guest Post - Advice on Switching Genres

The Alliterative Allomorph's Artist Unleashed, Guest post, Inspiration Can Come From the Strangest Places

Jeri WB's What Do I Know? - Author interview - May 17


Expat Focus - Expat Books -Author interview - May 17

I Am, Indeed - Review - August 3


These are all great blogs and I encourage you to follow and visit regularly. Happy reading!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Cover, Cover... Who's got the Cover?

I thought I would do something a little different in today's blog. With the permission of my wonderful designer Graham Booth from Creation Booth, I wanted to share some of the other book cover design options he presented to me through the design phase as we prepared my first novel, Mental Pause, for launch this past March.

I'd love your feedback on whether or not you think I chose the right cover! I'm working on my next novel and choosing a cover is definitely one of the most important things you'll ever do as an indie author.

Even if you're not an author and you're working on content for a communications piece that will require a graphical element, choosing the right visual presentation of your work is just as critical as the written message.

 So... here is the cover I chose:


















 Below are several of the other designs Graham proposed:




You can see I did use the window image from this one but the woman's face just didn't capture how I pictured Abbie.





And another...




I really liked this one for the shock value but thought it might be a little too risque (which turned out to be the case when I test-marketed it, which I highly recommend before making a final decision).











Yet another... (Graham never blinked when I asked him for more, or requested a combo of two or three - the font from one, photo from another and layout from yet a different one!)










This one was intriguing, however, the girls were far too young to represent the main characters in the book.

And...


This one had a mystery feel to it but was a little too ominous for me!


There were several more, including many combinations and permutations on a theme and we kept tweaking until it felt right. As you can see, the benefit of having a talented (and patient) designer helps you create the cover graphic that really tells a story even before your reader has a chance to turn the book over to read the back. For eBooks it's even more critical.  If you have a tight budget I still feel strongly that you should always hire a professional designer to work with you on cover design (and interior layout if you're doing a print version).

So... do you think I made the right cover choice?



Sunday, 14 July 2013

When Posting on Social Media - Double Check... and then Double Check Again

When I'm working on my social media, and especially with that of clients, I always pause, re-read, and pause again before hitting 'post' or 'share'. Then I double check any shortened links just to make sure (even after testing pre-post) that it goes to the right page.

Photo from freedigitalphotos.net by Michal Marcol
The importance of that habit hit home HARD yesterday and I'm still thanking the good Lord that I checked a link immediately after tweeting it. You see, I had made a derogatory comment about people who use Hyperbole. It was in reaction to a blog I had just read by Seth Godin. I included a link to a little animated video I created a while back called 'Going Hyperbolic'. Imagine my horror when I tested the link and it went to one of my client's YouTube videos!  Because of the process I always follow when posting, I was able to immediately delete it before any eyes beheld my gaff.

Whew!

I know, I know... we've all got sooo much on our plates that we're often thinking about the next task on the list instead of the task at hand. No time to check and double check! But, allowing yourself to be distracted will inevitably lead to mistakes. And, once they're out in the social sphere, they're hard to undo.

Here's an acronym I've created to remind myself not to get trapped in an unintentional social gaff:

T - ype
R - ead
A - bsorb
P- lan
P - ause
E - evaluate (check link)
D - eploy

... and check again! I'm sure glad I did!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The ABC’s of Re-Purposing Content

As social media practitioners we’re always trying to find sources of great information… breaking news, industry trends, research, expert insight, public opinion… the list goes on. We’re so busy following trends and reading what others are saying that we often forget to dig in our own back yard for the content that’s been written for other purposes.
Photo courtesy of flickr.com by Josh Kenzer


If you’re working in a large company the communications responsibilities are probably divided between different departments: PR & Marketing, Corporate Communications, Community Relations, Investor Relations or a combination of sorts. Social Media then works in lock step with all of these departments as a possible communications tool to reach specific target audiences. 

Freelancers or practitioners in smaller organizations will be juggling it all so it’s even more important to find efficient ways to re-package what’s already been written. The salient information (or key messages) will be the same with some minor adjustments depending on the vehicle used to carry the message and perhaps the target audience. You’ll adjust the language, deal with the word count, align with communications objectives and fire away!

The variety of delivery methods is endless and you’ll make your choices depending on where your audience lurks. It’s all about capturing eyeballs, then engaging, entertaining and building loyalty and trust. Of course, goals will vary depending on the tool being used but trust is critical no matter what. In order to build that trust the information shared needs to be consistent.

So, if you’re in a bigger company, make friends with anyone who is responsible for writing copy. If it’s all on you, scour your files for the great material you’ve already written… no need to reinvent the wheel.

Here are a few ABCs of rearranging your words for maximum mileage:

Articles and Annual Reports
Scan through features articles that have run in magazines that have featured your company or quoted your CEO or other senior leadership. Pull the quotes and create tweets and link to the article.

It’s the same with the annual report.  There’s typically a message from the CEO that could be broken down into bite sized Tweets, there are statistics that could make great LinkedIn status updates (as long as it’s been a good year) and maybe pull a few projections or future goals to highlight on the company Facebook page, with a link to a PDF of the annual report for anyone who wants to delve into more detail.

Books, Blogs and Bling
If anyone in your organization is blogging (preferably the CEO), gather the blogs from the past year and create an eBook (and a print version if time and budget allows). Think about the audience, create a clever theme and title, use it as a give away, bring it to conferences and conventions, sell it on Amazon, do a book signing, go on media tour, do a virtual book tour…

You’re probably getting the picture now. Us old-timers used to call it integrated marketing! Each individual blog could also be broken down into at least 10 Tweets that then link to the blog where the Tweet originated.

Website copy is also a great source for blog topics and bling. Maybe the copywriter for the website came up with a great catch phrase that could be re-purposed for some bling (t-shirts, thumb drives or iPad covers).

Catalogues, Cards and Collateral
I know, old-fashioned, thing of the past but they do still exist online on company websites. Take a few of the glamor shots (hopefully the marketing department has done a professional product shoot) and post them on your Facebook page (images have the highest click rate of any type of post on FB) and, of course, on Pinterest, with a link to the full catalogue. The FB message can also be Tweeted but when you craft the message, focus on the product benefit to the reader, not just ‘hey look at my product!’

Remember those pithy taglines your website copywriter created? Why not use them in a presentation or on a billboard. Heck, why not create an eCard for the holidays? And, don’t forget to Tweet it too!

The real secret to re-purposing content is to know what content is being written. Simple, right? All content producers should get together regularly to share, brainstorm and repurpose so everyone stays on message, aligns with communications objectives and keeps all feet firmly on the ground, not in mouth.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Guest Post from Indie Author Nonnie Jules on 'Getting it Done!'


I'm happy to host a fellow indie author today as part of her blog tour celebrating the launch of her first book! Here's Nonnie Jules' insight into taking the self-publishing road. Take it away Nonnie!
_____________________________________

Hello, my name is Nonnie Jules and I am the Author of The Good Mommies' Guide to Raising (Almost) Perfect Daughters, 100 Tips On Raising Daughters Everyone Can't Help But Love!  Although I was born in TX, my family relocated to Shreveport, LA when I was a toddler, so I am from Shreveport.  I am married with two beautiful "Angel" Daughters (as I like to call them) and we live on a huge tract of land somewhere in the "country".  Now, don't feel sorry for me because I'm not a city-girl.  I love where I am.  It's peaceful and quiet and gives me the solitude I need to think and create wonderful stories in my mind that will hopefully appear in print for your enjoyment. 

Now that I have shared a little of myself with you, let me welcome you to The (Almost) Perfect Daughters Blog Tour!  I would like to thank Anne for giving me this opportunity to share with her readers.  I was the winner of her book Mental Pause recently during one of her Author interviews with another blogger.  When she contacted me to let me know that I had won, I immediately turned around and asked if she would allow me to appear here, to which she responded without hesitation "YES"!  Anne, you are such a gem and I can't thank you enough.

I am a self-published author and The Good Mommies' Guide.. is my very first book.  The idea to write this book had been floating around in my head for quite some time, but I really just didn't know how I would actually make it happen....translation...how I would get it published.  I've heard the horror stories of your work sitting, collecting dust on a shelf while waiting to be picked up by a publishing house or the like.  During this time, I met another self-published Author who turned me on to Amazon's KDP Publishing, and I haven't looked back!  I must be honest though, although it took me only 17 days to write this entire book, it took me a lot longer to publish it.  Why, you ask, since I was so happy about the KDP publishing process?  Well, I thought that I would finish writing the book then just hit UPLOAD and wa lah!, my manuscript would be a BOOK, online, (on Amazon to be more specific), and ready for the world to purchase!  Well, that didn't happen.

So, there it sat for a few days while I had to learn how to format the book for the Kindle ("what is a Kindle?".... Yes, seriously, I was asking that question). I was so frustrated because of this, that for a few days, I wanted to just throw in the towel and give it all up.  But, a wonderful friend of mine, who is also a self-published author, shook me and said, "If you want to be an Author, you have to take the time and learn this stuff!  All of it!" By this "stuff", he meant everything having to do with the publishing process.  He explained to me that even if a publishing house were to sign me one day, that this was all education I was still going to need.  Because he knew that I was very overwhelmed and anxious to get my book published, he took it, formatted it, sent it back to me and then, after re-proofing, I finally got to hit the upload button!  I think I heard angels singing that day!  I was finally a published author! 

The reason I wanted to share all of this with you was because I want you to know that although it's not necessarily an easy, easy process, it is a very do-able one, and something you CAN get through.  I want to encourage you to never give up your dream of becoming a published author.  Especially now, when the process is not as difficult as it was in the past.  We don't necessarily need publishers and publishing houses to get our work out there anymore; we can be our own publishers and establish our own publishing houses.  Isn't that exciting to know?  Well, it was for me.

For all the new writers, aspiring authors, bloggers and the like my advice to you would be to first...just breathe.  Then, commit in your mind to doing the work because although it's an easy fix around a typically lengthy process, it's still hard work.  Take to YouTube and Google to learn everything you need to know from start to finish of the writing/publishing process.  I'm still not totally clear on everything, but at least I know how to get started.  I know where to look to find my answers, and I understand that patience and perseverance are what's needed to become successful in this industry.  When you take to social media, where I came across so many naysayers telling me that "I had to learn to play the game" (what game?  I'm serious about this), "I needed to put in my time before I got anyone to help me"  (really, I found some seriously cool people who jumped right in to help me), and there is so much more of where all that came from.  But, as Singer/Songwriter Kandi Burress belts out: "you have to FLY ABOVE ALL THE DRAMA"!  And if you are successful in doing that, the naysayers will never, ever be able to bring you down. 

Before I go, I'd like to share with you the two projects that I have in the works right now.  A children's book entitled "Kirsten and the Big Blue Tree", which is due out at the end of this month (June, 2013) and a as-yet-to-be-titled novel, with a release date of August 30, 2013.  I hope you've enjoyed what I've shared here today and ask that you check out my blog called Watch Nonnie Write!  at www.nonniewrites.wordpress.com.  I am giving away one $25 Visa Gift Card at the conclusion of this tour and you can register at www.nonniejules.com (under the EVENTS tab).  I'm always on Twitter @nonniejules, and on Facebook (Nonnie Jules) promoting others as well as myself (I know, a normal person would probably say, "Promoting myself as well as others"), but for some strange reason, I start out helping others before I even think of helping me.  Just a nasty old (nice) habit I have.

Thanks again for having me, and I welcome comments on my blog or my website.  I wish you all the best and every success you deserve!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Adverbs & Cliches in a Nutshell - Guest Post by Jessica Bell

Too many adverbs and clichés in your writing? I've got just the fix for you.
by Jessica Bell

Writers constantly have rules thrown at them left, right, and center. Show, don’t tell! Stop using so many dialogue tags! More sensory detail! More tension! Speed up the pace! Yada yada yada ... it can become overwhelming, yes? I used to feel overwhelmed by it all too. In fact, I still do sometimes. It’s hard enough to get the words on the page, let alone consider how to put them there.

In Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, she says that in order not to be overwhelmed, a writer needs to focus on short assignments. She refers to the one-inch picture frame on her desk and how that little picture frame reminds her to focus on bite-sized pieces of the whole story. Basically, if you focus on one small thing at a time, the story will eventually come together to create a whole. I believe the same applies to learning the craft of writing. If writers focus on one aspect of the craft at a time, the process will seem less daunting and piece by piece it will come together.

My name’s Jessica Bell, and my own struggles with feeling overwhelmed inspired me to write the Writing in a Nutshell Series of pocket-sized writing guides. So you can learn to hone your craft in bite-sized, manageable pieces. In the first book of the series, I focused on demonstrating how to transition “telling” into “showing.” In Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions of Adverbs & Clichés into Gourmet Imagery, I deal with another of the most common criticisms aspiring writers face: to absolutely avoid adverbs and clichés like the plague. But see, right now, I just used one of each. I also used a couple in the first two paragraphs of this post because they come naturally, and we utilize them frequently in everyday speech. But in fiction, too many adverbs and clichés weaken your prose. It’s considered “lazy writing,” because it means we don’t have to show what’s happening.

If your manuscript has too many adverbs and clichés, it most likely means that the emotion you felt while writing it is not going to translate to the reader in the same way. So how exactly can we approach the subversion of adverbs and clichés? For starters, play around with simile and metaphor when you’re trying to convey emotion, and for action, use strong verbs to show it happening in real time.

The key? Think smaller details rather than the bigger picture.

Need some help and inspiration?

In Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions of Adverbs & Clichés into Gourmet Imagery, you will find thirty-four examples of prose which clearly demonstrate how to turn those pesky adverbs and clichés into vivid and unique imagery. Dispersed throughout are blank pages to craft your own unique examples. Extra writing prompts are also provided at the back of the book.
“Jessica Bell's latest pocket guide, Adverbs & Clichés in a Nutshell, will inspire you to leave bland behind and pursue your creative best. With force and clarity, she demonstrates how adverbs and clichés hobble vibrant writing. She then marks a course toward unique expression and provides workouts that will help writers at every level develop a distinctive voice.” ~Laurel Garver, freelance editor, author of Never Gone and Muddy-Fingered Midnights
Purchase links:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Ca | Kobo


Bio: The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the co-publishing editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and the director of the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca.

For more information about Jessica please visit:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook


Monday, 8 April 2013

The Finer Points of ‘The Blog Tour’


Early last year I wrote a guest post for my publisher of @Home in Dubai, Jo Parfitt, where I outlined the Ten Steps to a Successful Virtual Blog Tour after completing one for that book's launch. Now that I’m in the throes of my third virtual book tour, I’d like to reiterate some of the advice and also share some more tips and tricks. I thought the easiest way might be by way of a few Do’s and Don’ts. So, here goes:
Image provided by freedigitalphotos.net by Nirots

Do's
  • Do identify blogs that actually do book reviews and are read by your specific target audience. The best way to keep track is by starting a simple excel spread sheet so you can take note of any special submission requirements and track your progress.
  • Do subscribe and start reading and actively participating in those blogs before or at least right after sending your pitch.
  •  Do send a tailored pitch to each and every blog. I know this sounds time-consuming but at least use the person’s actual name in the salutation. If you do, they’re more likely to keep reading.
  •  Do set up your author platform in advance… at least have a Facebook page and Twitter account. Those are easy. Having a website, blog and LinkedIn profile is advisable too. As you’re developing your plan you can delve more deeply into other places online that happily list indie authors and welcome you to feature your book.  Most bloggers who do book reviews want to be able to link to a website that will offer more background on… guess what? YOU!
  •  Do make yourself available on the day any review runs in order to respond to comments that unfold.
Don’t
  • Don’t take someone else’s blog tour list and just blast to everyone on it. It’s a great place to start but I found that as I reviewed list after list of other people’s targeted reviewers and visited them there were several that were not accepting unsolicited pitches or even any new books at all since they were already backlogged for the foreseeable future.
  • Don’t forget to include in your pitch that you are available for author interviews via email or Skype and would be delighted to provide a guest post as well.
  • Don’t send any attachments unless they are specifically asked for in the guidelines (which you will have read when visiting the said blog to make sure it was appropriate for your genre).
  • Don’t ask for a retraction or removal of the post if the review is negative. Accept the fact that not everyone will love it and move on.
  • Don’t forget to thank each and every blogger who has taken the time to read and review your book.
My virtual book tour for my new novel is ongoing so I’m sure there will be more insights collected along the way, which I’ll happily share down the road. If you'd like to share your favorite do’s and don’ts feel free to add them in the comments below!

Happy Writing!

P.S. If you want to see an updated list of the blogs I've been touring, here's the schedule.