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The Wicked Writing Blog

Welcome to the home of writing award ideas and practical advice for story contest success. Fun and sheer tomfoolery are never far away. Feel free to add your comments. (To comment on a post, or see the comments there, simply click on its title.)


Ten Top Tips For Promoting Your Book - From A Dog

July 18, 2014

So you’ve finished an excellent book. It’s on sale. How do you overcome the ultimate barrier and get folk to buy it? Wise advice is everywhere on the web but here's some that beats it all: a tested ten-tip strategy from - a dog. It's recounted by the puppy’s friend, author Fiona Ingram.

She writes: Champ is the author (or rather, Pawthor) of an amazing tale, Champ: My Story of Survival, an account of how an abused dog came back from the brink of death. Champ has learned a lot along the way about writing and marketing a book. Here are his Top Ten (Budget) Book Marketing Tips.

As every Pawthor like me knows, marketing is an on-going slog once a book is written. I have a few suggestions as to how Pawthors can spread the word about their work, without it costing a lot.

Publicity can be so expensive and, until you make a truckload of money from writing, you should look at the free or cheaper marketing options. The best one is to tell someone every day about your book. Word of mouth is the greatest publicity and, yay, it’s free. Here are ways to do it.

1. Get a great Pawtrait shot.

You might need a professional photographer but Foster Mommy Suzy is so good with the camera that I just use her photos.


Soulful, intelligent, the look of a dedicated Pawthor

2. Enter book competitions.

You may not win the top prize (yay if you do!), but you may get Best Runner-Up, a Finalist or an Honorable Mention. That way more people get to hear about your book.

There are national as well as local contests, so you can find lots of opportunities. [A shameless plug: the Writers’ Village contest gives every entrant feedback on their stories, win or lose.] Sometimes you can even enter a few categories and increase your chances of winning. Although many contests ask for printed books, some also allow e-books, which is easier on a Pawthor’s wallet.

3. Have bookmarks made, using the cover of your book.

It doesn't matter that people read e-books. They love getting something cute (and free) and everyone has books around the house. What better way for them to remember your book!

You can also do postcards, notebooks and folders. You'll see something in the middle of this photo below - temporary tattoos! Kids love them. You could have great fun with these inexpensive items as give-aways.

4. Are you using Amazon properly?

Have you put up your Author Central profile? You can put up your profile on any of the Amazon Central pages in different countries like France and Germany, not just the USA and Britain. Amazon also allows readers to put up their own images if related to your book.

I put some of the pictures in my book on my Amazon book page. If you link your book to, you can also personally ‘sign’ your e-book. A cute way to thank people for buying it.

5. Get (free) book reviews.

The best way to do this is to offer your book free for people to read. Of course you can’t go and chew their ankles when they don’t write a review, but most people are very nice and they will. They might ask you to review their book in exchange, which is fair.

I review books about animals, mostly dogs. Speaking of Amazon and reviews, you can also comment when people write a review of your book. As the Pawthor, I always say thank you.

6. Coffee mugs are a really fantastic promo product to give away.

Imagine someone sitting at work, and every day they have their coffee break and look at the cover of your book! When people come into their office, they’ll notice it, too. It's a winner.

7. A book trailer is a must.

It needn’t be expensive. You can even make your own using Windows Movie Maker and free music off the internet. (I did!)

8. Don’t forget about all the other free opportunities on the internet.

I can’t get the hang of the keyboard but my bio-dographer Fiona Ingram manages my blog, Twitter and Pinterest account, and Foster Mommy Suzy manages my Facebook profile. That way I can spread the word about my book (but be careful not to bore people with too much of that) as well as Tweet and mention things that people will be interested in.

There are also loads of free social media sites where you can load your Pawthor profile, book cover and blurb, and details to entice readers to buy your book.

9. Make sure your book is the best it can be.

You don’t want to put it on sale and (oops!) readers find embarrassing spelling bloopers. That’s not the kind of publicity you want! Get an editor to really go through it and catch all the mistakes.

10. Not least, you can get posters printed for a special event…

like a book signing, a library, or a nice book shop owner who will let you put it in the shop window. There's no way people will walk past and miss seeing your book cover!

The photo below shows the poster Foster Mommy Suzy had printed for a special Petco Adoption Day. Isn't it just the best thing you've ever seen? (Yes, that's me Muttbombing!)


I hope these tips help you with your marketing campaign. Remember, never give up. Rome (wherever that is) wasn't built in a day.

I do something every day to tell people about my book Champ: My Story of Survival. Above, you can see me busy at the computer, keeping in touch with my fans. You can follow me on Twitter, or visit my Facebook page for updates.

Please tell everyone you know about my book, especially people who love animals (particularly dogs!) and who also like 'happy ending' stories like mine. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Do you agree with Champ, or disagree? (Don't worry, he won't bite...) What methods have you found effective in getting your book out there - and read? 

Author’s bio: CHAMP is a 7-year-old poodle mix saved from horrific abuse by S.A.F.E. Rescue, a no-kill animal rescue shelter based in Thousand Oaks, California. He lives happily with foster parents Suzy, Robert, and their loving family. He loves to be cuddled, and has not let being a celebrity turn his head. His favorite toy is his squeaky ball, and he enjoys going for walks. Collaborating on this book was the biggest step in his life and he hopes that people will love it to bits and tell the whole world.

See his other pages at: iAuthor, Champ Website, Champ Page Caladrius Books, Pinterest.

Three Ways (Not) To Kill Your Story In Its Cradle

July 11, 2014

Here's the opening scene of my latest novel. Do you think it will sell?
"Has the bishop had her baby yet?"

"No, she's hit the campaign trail, on a ticket to ban corruption in the World Series, so she has decided to adopt an orphan Panda instead, to help her ratings."

"Will you tell the Mafia?" The Pope smiled gently. "Or shall I?"
Religion, sex, motherhood, politics, sport, animals, crime… what’s not to love?

Forgive me if I have offended you. To mock the World Series is to live dangerous...

Continue reading...

Six Provocative Ways To Become A 'Real' Writer

July 3, 2014

Every author wants to be famous. To be a household name and become a fixture on the best-seller lists. Don't we?

In this provocative guest post, author Renee Vaughn questions that received wisdom. She argues that
fame or fortune can be liabilities for an author. Great writing has nothing to do with the desire - or ability - to become a celebrity. It starts with a great person.

And our first step to becoming a great person is... to be a
real person!

Fame is not always fun. As Princess Diana dis...

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How to acquire mana - and sell a million books

June 25, 2014

Prepare to shed a thousand tears! Well, one will suffice. Elmear McBride has just won £30,000 ($48,000) and the Bailey’s Women’s Prize For Fiction with a novel – mostly stream-of-consciousness - that even the judges confess is impossible to read. 

Her small publisher Galley Beggar Press now expects to stay afloat for two years from the profits of her book, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing. It seems that novels that win the Bailey’s award, once called the Orange Prize, typically en...

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15 Ways To Tell You’re Onto Something Good

June 19, 2014

How do I know what to write?
How do I know what readers want?
How do I know if I’m good enough to tell it?

In this exclusive guest post, best-selling author C. Hope Clark – founder of the legendary writing site Funds For Writers – reveals the passions that spur her to write fiction. Do they drive you too? Answer her 15 questions and you’ll know whether you
really have what it takes to be a star writer!

The world abounds with wanna-be writers. Most start and never finish. The majority...

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Six Ways To Win More Readers With Your Words

June 13, 2014

Do exotic words work? Really? How often have we tossed readers out of our stories without realizing it? By using words or phrases that we understand well enough but they don’t? In this guest post, veteran writer Nigel da Silva gives us six ways to get our meanings across more effectively – while still having a lot of creative fun.

When JRR Tolkein invented Elvish for his Hobbit novels, he opened a literary can of worms. He was a philologist by profession, so he had at least some exc...

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Six Big Mistakes That Even Top Authors Make

June 6, 2014

If you’ve ever made a Big Mistake when writing a story, be consoled. Top-selling authors make mistakes as well. Some do it so habitually that they’ve turned their errors into an Authorial Voice and their clumsinesses, if they win an award, into High Art.

Yes, this is an Opinion Piece and your opinions may differ from mine! But let’s see…

Here are six craft mistakes that I found in a random selection of best-selling novelists just last month, while researching my blog post An Infal...

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John Yeoman

Dr John Yeoman, MA Oxon, MPhil, PhD Creative Writing, FSRS*  is a UK university tutor in the short story. He has 42 years experience as a successful commercial writer, newspaper editor and one-time chairman of a major PR consultancy.

He has published innumerable works of humour, some intended to be humorous.

* Founder, the Society for the Rehabilitation of the Semi-colon