Kickstarter For Authors: From Moldy Strawberries To Kickstarter Picture Book

Kickstarter For Authors: From Moldy Strawberries To Kickstarter Picture Book

kickstarter for authors

Kickstarter for authors. It’s a popular topic these days, but creating a Kickstarter campaign for your book can seem like an intimidating task. Luckily, we have Gina Soldano-Herrle visiting the blog today and sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Kickstarter campaign for her children’s picture book, Nia’s Rescue Box.

It all started with some moldy strawberries, or maybe they were blueberries. At Vindeket Foods, where I worked as a service participant (like a volunteer) every Tuesday night, I started telling myself stories.

Why A Food Rescue Picture Book?

Vindeket Foods is a food rescue and unlike any place I’ve ever been. It’s not just about any one thing; it’s much much more. So, I decided I’d combine it with my other passion, writing.

I wrote Nia’s Rescue Box in fall 2022 and queried for a minute before I decided to publish the picture book myself. With the encouragement of Vindeket’s founder and community support, I ran a Kickstarter the next spring so I could bring Nia’s story to life and share Vindeket’s philosophy with the world.

I could go on all day about their mission, but it’s basically about revaluing food and people providing a dual purpose solution that solves food waste and food insecurity in communities.

Kickstarters For Authors Done Well

There are A LOT of Kickstarters out there and many of them are done well. Below are a few that I’ve noticed, followed, or learned about that I think are examples of utilizing the platform well.

1. Rachael Herron’s Unstuck: An Audacious Hunt for Home and Happiness. Funded within a day at over 300% of target goal.

2. Joanna Penn’s Writing the Shadow: Turn Your Inner Darkness into Words. Funded at 729% of target goal.

3. Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper: Volume One. Funded at 655% of target goal.

Pre-Campaign Marketing For Kickstarter Books

This is the number one thing you can do to get your campaign up and off the ground. By marketing before you need any actual money, people will hear about your project with time to decide if they want to back it or not. And if not, they still might share it with a friend, coworker, or relative who could turn into a backer.

Pre-campaign marketing comes in a variety of ways. It could be webinars, social media posts, blogs, interviews, and more. Your focus will be determined by you, your project, and your target audience. No matter what your focus is, create your Kickstarter page as soon as you can.

The pages are editable and you can change the launch date as many times as you like before going live with the campaign. Once backers have picked certain rewards is when you need to stick to deadlines. Try to get your page published at least a week but up to a month in advance. Kickstarter has the option to “follow” a project. This lets you email potential backers to let them know your campaign is live. Also, having followers appears to help with the site’s algorithm.

Publicity For Kickstarter Author Campaigns

You know more than you think you know. For my own campaign, I was anxious about reaching out to people to publicize the project. I did what I could, but I know I could have reached out to way more networks than I did (think college, high school, home town, family, special interest groups).

I contacted some local news stations and was interviewed by a local paper. Other than that, I relied on grassroots support and my immediate networks through social media. Research who would be interested in your book, then reach out to those individuals, organizations, and news outlets to let as many people as you can know about your project. They can’t back it if they don’t know about it.

Community And Grassroots Support

Do NOT underestimate this powerful force. Community support is one of the biggest keys to having a successful Kickstarter.The campaign examples I mentioned above all had strong bases of support through readers, clients, and fans.

But, don’t worry. You don’t need to be famous to fund your book through Kickstarter. What is priceless are true fans.

Know the individuals who support your work. Reach out to your target audience. If you have a community-based project (like mine), let your community know exactly what you’re trying to do and what the rewards are for backing the project.

Rewards For Kickstarter Backers

Rewards can be tricky to figure out and I know now that I made a million mistakes. Lean into what you can offer that is a high ticket item and get people excited about it.

That could be “Ask Me Anything” calls in your subject of expertise. It could be a writing retreat, hiking retreat, meditation retreat, or online event. Offer classroom visits, guest speaker spots, special editions (Joanna Penn really nailed this one), whatever you can do that will be worth a backer’s dollar and fund your project.

Platform For Kickstarter Authors

You don’t need to have a huge platform, but you want people to be able to find you. Build that excitement like I said above before you launch your campaign. If your project doesn’t fund in time for your goal, you get $0. The stakes can feel impossible sometimes, but each campaign is a learning experience and you can always try again.

Although, you might as well take the time to do everything you can. It’d be way more exciting to hit your goal the first time, right? Use your platform on social media, email lists, and in local specialty organizations to build support and keep your project top of mind.

Updates And What Comes Next

Once your campaign funds (and even before), you’ll want to put out updates. For me, my first update went out when I decided on an illustrator and shared her first design. Updates can be once you have a cover or find a printer. Look at the examples above (all updates are visible to the public) for further inspiration.

You can also publish updates when timelines change. I originally told backers I’d publish in July 2023, but that changed to November 2023 because of a variety of factors. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Be human. The updates are also a great way to keep your project in front of people even well after it’s funded. You want to keep selling your book beyond the preorder, don’t you?

Keep updates coming as long as is reasonable or expected for backers and at least until they receive your book in their hands.

About The Author

Gina Soldano-Herrle is a professional core story consultant, ghostwriter, and author. She’s an active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and was recently awarded a 12×12 Picture Book Challenge scholarship for 2024. Her debut picture book, Nia’s Rescue Box is available at most online booksellers. You can also listen to recent author interviews about “Why We Write” on her website or your favorite podcast platform.

Hot tip: Listen to Gina interview Stacy on this episode.

Why we write

About The Book

kickstarter for books

Ashamed of her newfound food insecurity, Nia leaves the local food rescue with an empty box. Afterward, when confronted with the reality of food waste, she reconsiders accepting help and becoming a part of something greater. In this picture book, children learn about food rescues, food waste, food insecurity, and what they can do about it.

Buy it on Amazon.



Get Your Free Ticket To Sell Books With Collabs Summit And Boost Your Book Marketing

Get Your Free Ticket To Sell Books With Collabs Summit And Boost Your Book Marketing

Sell Books With Collabs Book marketing Event

I want this to be the year you fall in love with marketing your book. Effective marketing is hard . . . and bad marketing kills careers and passion, so this isn’t an easy endeavor.

We often think if we ‘show up for the right person with the right message at the right time,’ it’s okay to push our books over and over.

First, you risk annoying whatever audience you have. Every piece of content you put out there is a take; it’s asking people to give you attention in an attention-starved world. Think about it. When you hang out with your friends, you don’t insist that they watch Supernatural every time you see them, even though it’s the best TV show ever! You mention it a couple times and let a year go by before bringing it up again. Hopefully, between those moments, you’re checking in with your friends, thanking them, asking them questions, and recommending other shows. 

Second, when you chronically promote yourself, you burn out. Being an author whose #1 marketing goal is to vie for attention is ironically ineffective. The internet has become a noisy place. ‘Right message, right person, right time’ isn’t enough when 10,000 other authors have zapped your ideal reader’s attention that day.

So here is my suggestion: collaborate with trusted authors in your genre. Great things happen when we become each other’s referral networks:

You’ll show up with fabulous recommendations for your ideal readers, even when it doesn’t help our bottom line, directly speaking, which makes them feel you have their interest at heart.

And while we spotlight other authors to build rapport with our readers, those authors are spotlighting us.

No more chronic self-promotion. No more showing up just for the sake of it because you heard marketing is about making touch points. When done right, your collaborations bring warm leads in for you.

Does this resonate? If so, I’d love to invite you to Sell Books With Collabs, an event where authors will hang out in Zoom together to learn collaboration strategies AND do tons of networking with other collaborative authors. It runs from Jan 24-27, 2023. You can sign up here for FREE through my affiliate link.

Sell Books With Collabs Summit

If you upgrade to the VIP pass, you’ll get invite-only access to ATTEND the event in ZOOM where you’ll meet and bond with your future collab besties and get work done together. On top of that, you’ll get thousands of dollars worth of bonuses specifically made to help you write, publish, and sell more books on launch day and beyond. These bonuses include deep discounts as well as totally gifted software tools, courses, books, services and more.

Here’s why this is such an amazing opportunity. It can feel intimidating to approach industry experts doing incredible things, collaborating, platforming each other, and growing together, almost like they’re in some club. How do you get in the club?

Chances are not great that your dream partners will come knocking on your doorstep, and that’s okay because you can go to them; no one who is ahead of you is better than you. But remember, relationship-builders make and maintain friendships with relationship builders, so show them you are indeed a relationship builder when it comes to marketing your book. When you find your dream partners, think about approaching them in a way that makes them want to engage.

Thank them, introduce them to their dream partners or clients, check in with them, and invite them to speak on your podcast or at your summit. These are all ways to foster friendships with authors who already serve your ideal readers. People are more likely to say, ‘Sure!’ to promoting you when you have a track record of caring about them. The know-like-trust factor applies to colleagues, too,

At Sell Books With Collabs, you’ll learn collaboration strategies and walk away with lifelong partners you can collaborate with right away. The event features a variety of presentations and coworking and networking sessions scheduled between 1:30 and 9 p.m. Eastern each day. Watch the live stream or grab a VIP Pass and enter the Zoom session where you’ll form important partnerships. The speakers are bookselling and collaboration experts who will give short live presentations. Grab a VIP Pass and you’ll get direct access to them to ask your follow-up questions.

Presentation will be spaced out so that, in between, VIP attendees can network in breakout rooms, cowork to music, stretch, and play. All attendees will also have access to a private Facebook group where authors will be partying it up before the event starts and working together to figure out what types of collaborations best serve their readers and brands.

I bought my VIP ticket and hope to see you at Sell Books With Collabs so that this year you can explode your book marketing.

Affiliate links were included in this post, however, I only promote products and events that I recommend.


Free Workshop: How To Promote Your Book With Podcasts With @irenegabelnick

Free Workshop: How To Promote Your Book With Podcasts With @irenegabelnick

Are you an author who could use some publicity for your book? Irene Gabelnick will lead the live workshop, How to Promote Your Book with Podcasts: the Fastest Way to Get Radio and Podcast Interviews, on April 29 at 11 a.m. EST. This special event will be held in my Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple group on Facebook. Irene will share book marketing secrets for getting free media interviews to promote your book.

Irene GabelnickIrene is the international bestselling author of Podcast Power: The Zipping It Up Guide to Land Podcast and Radio Interviews Fast! This ebook shows you a quick and easy system to land live radio and podcast interviews. It includes email templates to get you booked in the media, build your brand, and get seen. She also works with entrepreneurs, speakers, and coaches, guiding them through the process of writing their book.

If you’d like to attend, be sure to join the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group. New members are welcome. A replay will be available.

Visit Irene’s website for more information about her books, courses, and services.


This post contains affiliate links.

What To Expect From Literary Agents And Editors @AuthorEncounter

What To Expect From Literary Agents And Editors @AuthorEncounter

what to expect from literary agentsHave you ever wondered what to expect from literary agents and editors? You’ll get an in-depth look during the panel discussion, The E & A Experience, organized by The Author Encounter. (You can watch it at the bottom of this post!) It was part of their event, Authors March Forward, held March 20 via Zoom and streamed to Facebook.

Nan Jenkins and Bethany Averie, co-founders of The Author Encounter, believe the concept “Keep moving forward” is essential to success as a professional author.

“Moving forward, developing connections, and learning from the people who have been there are the foundations for career success.” says Nan Jenkins. “The Author Encounter strives to create opportunities for authors using these foundations for career growth.”

Bethany Averie moderated the panel, which focused on common mistakes seen in manuscripts, how agents go about accepting books, and how freelance editors work with clients. I was a panelist along with literary agents Hannah VanVels of the Belcastro Agency, Ann Rose of the Prospect Agency, and freelance editor Deb Ewing.

There were lots of great takeaways. You’ll hear about the biggest pet peeves, get valuable insight into query letters, gain a better understanding of why rejection happens, and learn more about the editing process.

Thanks to Bethany and Nan for permission to embed this discussion on my blog. Visit The Author Encounter for more information about their upcoming events and how to join as an author or supporter member.

Free Workshop: Book Marketing Strategies For Authors

Free Workshop: Book Marketing Strategies For Authors

book marketing for authors


UPDATE: Here is a recording of the video originally streamed in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.

ORIGINAL POST – Are you an author who could use some book marketing strategies? Join award-winning author, podcaster, and Story Coach Liesel K. Hill as she visits the Shortcuts For Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group in February to present the workshop: Marketing At Every Stage of the Author Journey: What to Put Into Your Story to Set Yourself Up for Easy Marketing Later.

Liesel will discuss:

  • Pre-Marketing: What you should be doing while writing your book.
    Marketing techniques for when you have only 1 or 2 novels completed.
    Techniques for when you have a few more books completed.
    Marketing techniques to explore when your backlist is 10+ books.

The event will be held in the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group on Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. EST. New members are welcome.

Join my Shortcuts for Writers group here.

By the way, Liesel and I are doing a fun swap. I’m going to be presenting a workshop on nonverbal communication for writers in her Facebook group on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. EST.

You can check out her Prolific Author Community group here.


More About Liesel

Liesel K Hill is a novelist who writes across three genres including scifi and fantasy. She loved to read and write at a young age, and her earliest memories consist of her father sitting in the doorway of her room at night, relating stories of Frodo, Gandalf, and the One Ring. Her mother also read to her every afternoon as a child, sometimes for several hours a day. Today she is an award-winning author and a Story Clarity Coach. Writers can choose from her Story Clarity Coaching, Word Coaching, or Marketing Mentorship programs, ranging from her popular Power Hour Session to advanced Author Career Coaching.
Visit her:

Facebook group
Instagram: @l.k.hillbooks (for readers)
@theprolificauthor (for authors)

To read some of Liesel’s writing and editing tips, visit her guest Behind the Rewrite post on making sentences less passive.


How Authors Can Engage With Readers: 3 Tips From The @AuthorEncounter

How Authors Can Engage With Readers: 3 Tips From The @AuthorEncounter

Are you an author seeking to connect with readers? Then you’ll definitely want to attend the January 8, 2021 Facebook live in the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple group. Nan Jenkins of The Author Encounter will be chatting with me about that very topic. The event will be held at 12 p.m. CST and a replay will be available. If you’re not a member of the Shortcuts group, you can join here. I am honored to be a supporter member of The Author Encounter. Below, Nan shares three tips for building reader engagement. You’ll also learn about another special event The Author Encounter has coming up and how you can get more information. 

UPDATE: You’ll find a recording of the above livestream at the bottom of this post.

As writers we want to tell a story and have as many people as possible read that story and love it. Whether you’re an established author or just an aspiring one, a key component to reaching as many people as possible is engagement.

Engagement, or the relationship between Author and Reader, is not always easy to establish and can be a lot of work, but is key to spreading the word about a book or book series. There are three simple keys to establishing reader engagement that every author should think about and implement when building an audience. Those keys are Engagement, Consistency, and Follow-through. Using these keys will help create an audience that not only loves your creative works, but shares and engages with them.

How Do You Establish Engagement? 

The first step in establishing engagement with readers is to engage with them. They can’t engage if there is nothing to engage with. Figure out the most comfortable method for you whether it be some type of social media or email communication. Then once you set up your profile or build your email list, the next key begins. 

What Does Consistency Do For You?

Consistency lets people know where they can find you or expect to hear from you. At first when establishing an audience it can feel like you’re doing so much and no one is listening. However, most fans are excited when they know exactly where they can find and communicate with you. Which brings us to the next key: Follow-through.

How Does Follow-through Help?

Follow-through is key to establishing engagement because it lets the people know that they are communicating with a real person, not a bot or automatic system. So when a person asks a question on social media or in an email, a response is always important. Responding and following through on statements, comments, and questions not only establishes engagement, but it builds the bonds that tie your fans to your work.

Recap From Nan

Using these three keys of engagement, consistency, and follow-through in establishing engagement with your audience will give you a strong base to reach as many people as possible. Although the keys sound easy, they can be a lot of work to actually implement. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to help found The Author Encounter. 

The Author Encounter is dedicated to increasing the visibility of authors and boosting fan engagement. You can find more information about The Author Encounter on our website.

For more information on increasing fan engagement, watch the below workshop that was originally presented in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group.

How To Write An Effective Query Letter And Synopsis For Your Book

How To Write An Effective Query Letter And Synopsis For Your Book

how to write an effective query letter and synopsis

My editing clients often ask me how to write an effective query letter and synopsis. Thank you to the team at for offering to write this guest post which outlines the difference between a query letter and a synopsis and shares some tips for how to write each of them. I’m sure you’ll find it informative. Remember, there is a free blurb unit inside the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook Group. Once you’re a member, you can download the toolkit, 7 Simple Steps to Nailing Your Book Blurb. Your blurb will become an important part of your query letter.

What’s The Difference Between A Query Letter And A Synopsis?

The publishing world is difficult. Your work isn’t over once you finish your manuscript. In fact, finishing your book is just the first step to populating bookshelves with your masterpiece! You’ll need to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, but if you want to see book stores stocked with physical copies of your book, traditional publishing is your best option.

In most cases, to pursue traditional publishing, you need to work with a literary agent, who will represent your manuscript and pitch it to publishers. Landing a literary agent can be a challenge, however. When doing research on pitching your manuscript to agents, you’ll come across terms such as “query letter” and “synopsis,” which may be unfamiliar to those new to publishing.

In this post, we’ll take you through the key differences between query letters and synopses and offer some tips on writing both.

What Is A Query Letter?

When you pitch your manuscript to a prospective literary agent, the most important element is your query letter. Your query letter is your chance to introduce yourself and your manuscript to the literary agent and explain why she should be interested in representing your book. The key purpose of a query letter is to intrigue the literary agent into requesting more info about your manuscript, and your query letter thus represents your first step in the publishing process.

Query letters are short, no longer than one page, and provide only a brief overview of your manuscript and your author bio. Since your space is extremely limited, you’ll need to make every word count. Essentially, you have only a few sentences to sell your book to a prospective literary agent.

What Is A Synopsis?

Whereas the query letter focuses on the whole picture, meaning you, the agent, and your manuscript, the synopsis is concerned with your manuscript alone. In essence, a synopsis is a one-to two-page description of the entire plot of your book, including the ending. It gives a prospective literary agent an in-depth glimpse into your plot and helps her determine whether your manuscript may be worth a full read.

Sometimes, literary agents ask prospective clients to submit a synopsis along with a query letter, but in most cases, the synopsis is the second step in the publishing process. In general, if you manage to pique a literary agent’s interest with your query letter, she’ll follow up by requesting a synopsis, and if she likes your synopsis, she’ll request your full manuscript.

How To Write A Query Letter

Typically, a query letter consists of two main parts: the hook and the pitch. In the hook, your job is to draw the agent’s attention with an interesting opening sentence that captures the essence of your manuscript. The pitch elaborates on the hook, providing an overview of your manuscript in two to three paragraphs that may include mentions of comparable books on the market. Finally, your query letter may include a brief author bio describing your experience and reputation—for example, if you have previous publications.

The main purpose of your query letter is to succinctly sell your manuscript. Condensing your 80,000-word manuscript into a few sentences can be difficult, so it’s better to start small and build up. Start by summarizing your plot in one or two sentences and build off that, adding only the most relevant and intriguing information. Take some time to consider the main themes and questions your manuscript deals with to help you best summarize your work.

Use others’ query letters to inspire you, as well. With a quick Google search, you can find thousands of query letter examples, so do some research into what kinds of query letters have successfully landed literary agents for other authors in your genre. This will give you a better idea of how best to structure your query letter for success.

Finally, always personalize your query letter. You can find out more about the agent you’re pitching to by browsing her social media or website, which will likely reveal her interests and the books she has represented previously. If it’s relevant, include this information in your query letter while explaining why you think this particular agent is a good fit for your manuscript.

How To Write A Synopsis

As with a query letter, your primary goal with your synopsis is to succinctly summarize your manuscript in a way that intrigues literary agents. A synopsis gives you more room than a query letter: Typically, a synopsis should be 500 words, or around two pages, unless the literary agent specifies another length. This affords you enough words to explain the main points of your plot and give the agent a solid overview of your story.

Think of a synopsis as an abridged version of your manuscript. It tells the same story, but all the details are cut out. It simply moves through all the key plot points. It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, just like your manuscript. A good way to build a solid synopsis is to start by condensing each chapter into one or two sentences. From that, build a comprehensive synopsis with a clear narrative arc that explains the major plot points.

Your writing style matters in your synopsis, too. Keep things clear and concise—no flowery prose or wordiness. At the same time, don’t just mechanically explain each event. Use your personal style and make the literary agent feel something. Your synopsis should be a mini version of your manuscript, not an emotionless description.

The Importance Of Feedback

Aside from helping to proofread your query letter and synopsis to eliminate typos, a trusted writing colleague, beta reader, or friend can be instrumental in providing feedback that helps you detect issues with clarity or style. A polished query letter and synopsis will maximize your chances of success, so seek out and incorporate as much feedback as you can, finding ways to improve your query letter and increase the intrigue.

If you don’t know where to start in terms of writing your query letter or synopsis, reach out to the team at As experienced industry professionals, the team knows publishing inside and out, and they work with authors to help them navigate the challenges of the publishing world and get their books out on bookshelves.

StoryOrigin An Innovative Book Marketing Tool For Authors

StoryOrigin An Innovative Book Marketing Tool For Authors

book marketing ideas

Today I wanted to highlight an innovative book marketing site called StoryOrigin, a marketing tool and community of authors that work together to build their mailing lists, increase sales, find reviewers, and stay on top of deadlines. Recently I included StoryOrigin in my blog post: 5 Recommended Resources for Authors During the Pandemic.

Those of you who follow me closely know that my goal is to make editing simple and more affordable for authors, and I do that though my online course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan to Making Your Novels Publishable, my Facebook group, YouTube channel, and blog. StoryOrigin is doing something similar for book marketing, trying to break down a big, annoying task (book promotion) into more manageable components while also making it affordable.

You can read my review of the site in the above article, but here I wanted to delve into how this useful community came about and find out more about Evan Gow, the indie developer of StoryOrigin. Below is my interview with Evan. If you’re an active user on StoryOrigin, I’ll bet you find this behind the scenes look quite interesting. And if you haven’t checked out this book marketing site yet, keep reading!

book promotion

When did you start StoryOrigin?

StoryOrigin launched publicly in April 2018.

How did you get the idea to create it? Are you a writer yourself?

I used to write short stories back in high school, then participated in a tech entrepreneurship program in college, which sparked my desire to build a company. After working for a few years, I decided it was the right time to make the leap and combine my interests in writing and programming. I talked with a few authors about what tools they were using and realized just how much of a pain it was.

Before StoryOrigin, you’d have to use one site for finding reviewers, another one for building your mailing list, spend a few hours on Facebook looking for newsletter swaps, and the list goes on. So, I decided to simplify things and build a one-stop-shop, so authors could save time and manage everything from a single platform.


Why did you decide to make it free? How long do you anticipate it being free?

For the beta period, I wanted to be able to focus solely on building best-in-class features. I also knew that the feature set was going to expand immensely from when it was initially launched, and it wouldn’t have made sense to decide on a specific pricing model at the point.

StoryOrigin likely won’t be free for much longer, but the guarantee I make (and I state this publicly on the front page of StoryOrigin) is that if you join during the beta period, you will continue to get everything completely free for a period of months even after it becomes paid. The continuing free period is also there, so if you don’t like the pricing model, you can migrate to a different set of tools before you start paying. My goal with pricing is to make it affordable for authors at all stages though.


storyorigin book marketing site


What are your goals with StoryOrigin for the future?

My goals are to continue helping authors grow their audiences and their businesses. My to-do list always seems to be getting longer with lots more to incorporate into StoryOrigin, but I also like to play it close to the vest. 😉

About how many authors have registered for the site?

8,000+ authors have signed up to StoryOrigin and it’s continuing to grow rapidly.

How has the site evolved over the past several months?  

When StoryOrigin launched, it had minimal functionality. All you could do was create a reader magnet landing page and integrate it with your email service provider, so emails would automatically be added to your mailing list. Since then, I added quite a few features including:
  • Newsletter swaps
  • Group promotions
  • Review copies
  • Universal book links
  • Audiobook promo code distribution
  • A content planning calendar
My general method is to work out the main components of a major feature, release it, then iterate and improve upon it with feedback from authors, so it becomes a best-in-class feature.
The latest feature I released was a goal tracker, which you can use to track your word count and calculate daily targets to hit deadlines and stay motivated. There actually wasn’t anyone asking me for this feature, but I got a huge amount of love when I released it, because it meant one less spreadsheet to keep track of for a lot of authors. They could spend less time on managing their business and more time on writing.

Has anything been surprising to you during this journey? Is it growing the way you imagined, or has it gone in unexpected directions?

If you write a bad book, all of the advertising in the world can’t save you. Unfortunately, a great book with no advertising won’t get you anywhere either.

Oftentimes, what sets apart bestsellers isn’t necessarily the strength of their writing. It’s the strength of their marketing. A good book is a checkbox you have to mark in order to be successful, but it’s the marketing that will drive your success. Many authors simply aren’t willing to engage in that part of the business though. That’s why I’m trying to make it easier.


What are some creative and/or successful ways that authors have used the site?

StoryOrigin provides the underlying infrastructure to help you manage your review team, build your mailing list, and send readers to your purchasing page. However, it’s the group promos and newsletter swaps you can find on StoryOrigin that can multiply your reach to thousands of readers.


What are the benefits of group promotions and newsletter swaps?

The main benefit of group promotions and newsletter swaps is that they can massively expand your audience and can be used to find reviewers, build your mailing list, or increase sales. There are lots of ways you can expand your reach though, so why are newsletter swaps and group promotions are rising in popularity? Because they’re:
    • Free to set up
    • Easy to arrange
    • Targeted with other authors in your genre

Do you have any suggestions for authors interested in using the site to build reviews?

StoryOrigin can be used to build reviews for both your audiobooks and ebooks. When you set up a review copy landing page on StoryOrigin, any reader can apply for a review copy and mark where they will leave a review (e.g., Amazon) along with the link to their reviewer profile on that site, so you can see what other books they’ve reviewed.

StoryOrigin also gives you their reviewer stats—the percentage of review copies they’ve received through StoryOrigin and have actually left reviews for. When you receive an application for a review copy of your ebook or audiobook on StoryOrigin, you should check the reader’s stats and reviewer profile to make sure they are someone you trust will leave a review and that they actually read books in your genre.


If you’ve read this and are wondering how to get started, check out the StoryOrigin guide to email marketing.


Free Workshop – How To Get Free Publicity For Your Book @Mayah_Riaz

Free Workshop – How To Get Free Publicity For Your Book @Mayah_Riaz

How to get free publicity for your book

Join us in the Shortcuts for Writers Facebook group for a live workshop on how to get free publicity for your book. The event will be held May 21 at 11:00 a.m. EST.

The presenter, Mayah Riaz, is a celebrity manager who provides PR-to-the-Stars. She is on speed dial to many household names from the world of business, TV, showbiz and even royalty.

After 14 years of helping the rich and famous become even more famous, she now helps businesses and entrepreneurs to do their own publicity. Mayah teaches entrepreneurs all over the globe how to manage their own publicity without the need of hiring a big, fancy PR agency. Having helped hundreds of business owners with their PR, she finds this much more rewarding than getting a celebrity on the front cover of Vogue!

Mayah teaches businesses all the know-how that a PR agency has, so they can keep their profits in their business. She teaches on all topics of PR from creating relationships with the press, to sharing her top tips to getting a yes from the press.

.ow to get publicity for your book

To participate in the workshop, you must be a member of the Shortcuts for Writers: Editing Made Simple Facebook group. If you’re not a member, you can fill out the membership questions and request approval. If you can’t make it live, the replay will be archived with our other past guest workshops in the Units section.

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Unique Marketing Tool For Authors And Businesses

Unique Marketing Tool For Authors And Businesses

author giveaway ideas

Are you a business owner seeking unique promotional items to distribute at conferences and trade shows? Are you an author looking for swag to hand out at booksignings and conventions? I’ve got a neat marketing tool idea for you to consider: a USB business card from USB Memory Direct.

The company approached me about sending free flash drives printed with either my logo or a book cover in exchange for a review and blog post. I eagerly accepted this opportunity as I was scheduled to lead a self-editing workshop at a writers’ conference and wanted to offer items for the goodie bags.

Many writers give out bookmarks, postcards, and business cards at conferences and signings, but I wanted something more memorable. USB Memory Direct specializes in custom-printed flash drives, which can be an effective marketing tool due to their recognizable shape and large print area. When I described the flash drives to one of the conference organizers, she loved the idea. Paper swag tends to get thrown out, but a flash drive is a practical and useful memento.

marketing tool

How Can A Flash Drive Be A Marketing Tool?

Credit card flash drives are a great choice for artists and professionals alike. These flash drives fit into a wallet or purse, and can be printed across the entire surface of the card using the company’s high quality full color printing process. You can print it like a promotional flyer or like a business card complete with your contact information for easy reference. The company can also offer data preloading of your documents, portfolio, or media.

USB Memory Direct has several options for business card flash drives such as card-tab, round card flip, card flip, card spin, compact card flip (great for keychains),  and card twist. You can see examples of each option on the company’s website. In addition, they offer wooden USB drives in different grains and colors, including one style that resembles a book.

USB Memory Direct also offers classic compact flash drive styles, USB wristband/flash drive bracelets, leather USB flash drives, USB pens, and printed power banks. All can be customized to promote your brand.


I found USB Memory Direct efficient and pleasant in their communications. They helped me select a flash drive style, asked me to send a high-resolution image, and e-mailed me digital samples so I could see how it looked. I chose to send the Shortcuts for Writers logo, but using one of my book covers would have been another option.

My flash drives were the compact card flip style which features a flip out USB drive, helping to protect the data from everyday wear.

They arrived extremely well packaged, each flash drive in its own clear plastic wrapper. I was impressed by the sleek design, and the printed logo came out great. They company was even able to put my website on the back.

author giveaway ideas

Unfortunately, the pandemic led to the cancellation of the conference where I planned to give these out. I’m eager to distribute the flash drives in the future and am certain they will be well-received. They would also be nice for giveaways; for example, an author could pre-load the flash drive with an e-book, short story, or bonus content, and there would still be plenty of room for the recipient’s own files.

In addition to distributing the flash drives at conferences, I will likely give some to my editing clients. These flash drives are definitely a unique and useful promotional product, and I recommend checking them out. For more information, visit the USB Memory Direct website. And if you like the design of the Shortcuts for Writers flash drives pictured above, here is the link to the compact card flip style.


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