OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
Some writing you just resonate with, and I am a huge fan of TribalWriter.com Justine Musk who joins me on the show today to talk about writing, blogging and authenticity.
Justine Musk is the author of dark urban fantasy novels, Lord of Bones, Blood Angel and Uninvited. She is also a blogger at the brilliant TribalWriter.com as well as being a Mom to 5 sons.(Video at the end of the post)
In this podcast you will learn:
- How Justine started writing, and had 3 novels published in the . She is now in more of a re-inventive phase, also writing for Marie Claire. Justine is interested in social relationships and grounded in realism as opposed to the fantasy element. Moving into contemporary settings but still with suspense. We talk about how author branding can be difficult to change once established, but how blogging enables this move. Twitter lists can also be an indicator of how people see your niche. Writing voice can transfer across books.
- On finding time to write. Justine has 5 young boys. Make writing a priority and take it seriously. You don't need huge chunks of time to write. Find spaces in your day and use the small spaces. Small gaps can help you write a page a day which is a book in a year. Be very deliberate about your intentions. Justine combines outlining and just writing as well. The material can shift as you write.
- About Justine's dark urban fantasy novels – you can find out more on the website here. Her plan with the sequel to ‘Lord of Bones' is to publish serialized fiction online as part of a publishing blend between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
- Having direct access to an audience means authors can play around with these business models. Building up a list is really important and can only happen over time by putting yourself out there. Recommendation is to start building a list as early as possible.
- With changes in the publishing industry, there are a number of opportunities coming. Ebooks will replace paperbacks as disposable reading. Bookstores are evolving and people buy and discover books online. So the question is – how do you connect readers with the books that are right for them? It changes the nature of what publishers and what authors do for marketing.
- Attraction marketing is far more authentic. It's about being useful and entertaining and attracting fans to you, rather than a push approach.
- Having a blog is really important and learn how to promote it. Then join in those social media places that play to your strengths. You need a hub to collect a list and the best thing for that is a blog. It is always changing and gives people a reason to come back. You become familiar to people and they are more likely to buy your books when they know you.
- When Justine sold her first book in 2003, the “author platform” was not around for fiction writers. It is a very different time now and it wouldn't be possible now to sell a first book without a platform. You need to think about how to build platform building into your creative life so that you can write and also promote. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy it as well!
- Top tips for new bloggers. Be useful and give information that entertains and helps people/solves a problem. Be yourself and be authentic. Develop a specific point of view. Differentiate yourself. Be consistent and think long term because blogging is a long term activity. Your audience accumulates over time so you need to be committed for the long term. Put some time into thinking about social media strategy and overall message of the blog as well as brand. But in the end, just get started and you can tweak along the way.
- Drawing the line with authenticity. How much to share and keep private when you have a family and a personal life. Take it slowly and you will feel the way to what is appropriate. Over time, you may open up more and find that helps connection but it's important to measure your comfort level. Many people are afraid of putting themselves out there. It's inevitable that there will be people who attack you sometimes but that is inevitable as a writer. You will attract people who support you as well. This is just the reality of putting yourself out there.
- If Justine were starting again now, she would start a blog and start building a platform. It has to be in progress. There still has to be an excellent manuscript but they do want to see that you can put in the time and effort to build a following. Even something in progress is important. So just get started. Start a Facebook page and engage people in the process of writing the book. Write sharable great blog posts and maybe a manifesto – something to grab people's attention and share.
- Justine's obsessions that feed her writing. Relationships between men and women, how we define family, overcoming the past, and dealing with the mysterious. So much of writing that comes back to identity.