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Author: Leigh (Bella) St John

Leigh (Bella) St John ~ Achievement Strategist, #1 Best-Selling Author and Coach ~ When you meet Bella you understand the meaning of the word “passion” – she lives & breathes it with an enthusiasm that is contagious!
http://www.LeighStJohn.com ~ http://www.GuaranteedAuthor.com

Kindle Instant Preview on Your Website

Most of us know about Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature (below), but until recently, potential purchasers of your book needed to leave your website and go to Amazon’s website to view a preview of the contents of your book.

What if there was a way for customers to preview, share and purchase your book from Amazon without leaving YOUR website…

Introducing Kindle Instant Preview

Rather than sending people to Amazon, now they can preview your book on YOUR site – and there are links to share and buy as well!  Here is what it looks like on my Quantum Lace series…


How do you add a Kindle Instant Preview to your website?

You will need to know some very basic HTML coding – but only so much that you know where to paste the embed code.

Here are basic instructions from Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Instant-Preview/b/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&node=13489836011&linkCode=sl2&tag=artch-20&linkId=bf744cb3e48b81bbe898c380d6203142

…and for those who are not familiar with HTML but you can at least get that far, you might also want to centre the image.  To do that, insert <center> at the beginning of the embed code Amazon gives you, and </center> at the end of the embed code.

Once you are able to get people to your website in the first place, this will then make it far easier for them to actually buy your book!

Have fun!

~ Bella

What is your Expertise?

In addition to often receiving requests for referrals for different purposes, I regularly receive various media calls requesting expert comment on a variety of topics for a variety of publications and radio shows.  These requests I forward on to the relevant clients who have expertise in the area in question…


Upon looking through the extensive list of clients’ areas of interest and speciality, what struck me this morning was that a vast proportion of them have a focus that is so broad or vague, it is difficult to recommend them.

For instance, while books on the general topic of ‘Law of Attraction’ (LOA) may be popular, unless that book is then specifically focused on using the law to heal, or to build wealth, etc, it is almost impossible to find a media call that I could forward to an author of such a book.

The same applies to coaching.  There are a number of coaches in the area of LOA, but without a focus or expertise in one area, it is difficult to recommend them as a referral.

Here is a list of the types of expert-comment and/or referral requests that have come across my desk in the past 24hrs:

  • Healthcare professionals specifically in the area of diet
  • Retail expert
  • Entrepreneur parent re work-baby balance
  • Metrics expert
  • Instagram influencer
  • Mompreneur
  • Career coach
  • Relationship expert
  • Asset manager re Bitcoin
  • Customer experience expert
  • Online marketing expert
  • Restaurant expert
  • Criminal lawyer
  • Vintage wedding specialist
  • Mortgage broker
  • Content marketer
  • ePub expert
  • Pet expert
  • Travel insurance expert

So, ask yourself – “What is my area of expertise?” – and make sure your brand represents the answer to that question!

~ Bella

Speaking and Book Signing Tour

I am about to start a speaking and book signing tour across England’s south-west for my historical fiction series, ‘Quantum Lace’, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to not only suggest you might like to consider doing something similar, but also to give you some suggestions as to how you might put together your own such tour.

Why do a book signing tour?

P.T. Barnum (of Barnum Bailey Circus fame) once said, “without publicity, a terrible thing happens – nothing!”

It is one thing to have written your book, but you need to let people know about it, and to experience it and you as the author – that’s where book speaking, Q&A, and book signing tours come in.

They are an opportunity for you to share your book with your audience, and to interact with them, getting to know them and what they think of your work.

How to get speaking and signing engagements

There are a multitude of places you could approach to do a book signing, from bookstores to libraries to professional associations in the genre of your book, to hospitals, to tertiary institutions, to retirement villages…  The list is extensive.

Once you have decided on your targets, it is not simply a matter of emailing them and asking if they will host you.

First impressions matter…

For this tour promoting Bridgit’s books (Bridgit is my protagonist, and I usually refer to the series as Bridgit’s books), I include enough information for the venue to make a decision about not only the book, but also about my experience and ability to be professional, as well as help them promote the event.

…and it is all packaged up in my usual style, and one befitting Bridgit.

Below, you will see the letter itself is wrapped in red satin ribbon and sealed with my personal wax seal.

Also in the letter I advise them that full details of the book are available at the book’s website www.QuantumLace.com, as well as the complete first chapter.  This is important to include if you are not sending them the actual book to review.

Included in the package is a folded A5 leaflet on premium thick quality gloss paper giving details of the book and the author; reviews and awards… as well as an enticing review on the front…

…a postcard of the book…

…and my business card…

However you package up your request, make sure it is in line with your brand and that of your book – and that it is memorable!

…and remember to have your other promotional and marketing collateral ready, such as a poster:

Best wishes with setting up your own tour and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me…

~ Bella



How to get people to review your book

It’s an age-old problem for authors – how do you get people to review your book?

Once you have exhausted your mother, father, brother, sister, wife/husband, and pet rabbit, how do you get others to actually read and write a review for your book on Amazon?

What if you could connect with people who already reviewed books similar to yours?

Seriously – that was what I was thinking yesterday as I started to reflect on what else we could do to support our authors.

…and it occurred to me, that there is a way you can connect with people who have reviewed books similar to yours!  

Here’s how…

If you look at any book on Amazon that has reviews, one by one you are able to search the profile of that reviewer and see if they have published their email address for public access.

So, if you look up a book that has a similar audience to your book, it makes sense that if a person has taken the time to read that book and write a review, that they may well be interested in doing the same for yours!

But the problem is…

Think about it – how long would it take you to research just one reviewer, let alone a book that might have several thousand reviews?

Who has the time to go through all those reviewers and research to see if they have an email address publicly listed, and then copy that email address into spreadsheets for use when reaching out to them?

The answer is…

My Elves!  (aka my team of virtual assistants)

We can do that work for you and simply email you spreadsheets with the publicly listed emails of people who have reviewed books similar to yours.

Are you legally allowed to email them?

At the time of writing this post, it is perfectly legal and legit for you to use those email addresses in a non-commercial manner to request a review, provided you give them a review copy for free.  It is against the spam laws for you to request they first buy the book – but giving them a review copy is perfectly within the law.

What is the turnaround time?

You will usually receive the email addresses in approximately 7-10 days (sometimes less) from the time you submit your URLs.

As you will understand, there is a limit to how many books we can research in one week however, if there are already more searches scheduled in front of yours that it will take more than 10 days to process, we will let you know within 1-2 business days (or less) of you placing your order.

So, what’s next?

You know your book better than anyone, so you will know which books are similar to yours.

  1. Find 5 books that have a similar audience to your book that also have a large number of reviews
  2. Copy the URL links from Amazon.com (please note, we focus on the Amazon.com site so please do your search there and not on another Amazon country site) as well as the names of the books ready for providing to us
  3. Click the “Buy Now” button below (the fee is $297 USD for my Elves to gather all the email addresses for you) and once you submit your payment, you will be redirected to a webpage with instructions for forwarding your links and book names to us (and if for any reason you are not redirected, please email me personally at leighstjohn@leighstjohn.com and I will make sure you are looked after)
  4. We go to work pretty much immediately obtaining the email addresses for you
  5. Once we are done, you receive spreadsheets containing the email addresses as well as the reviews that were posted, and are then free to start contacting them and asking if they would review your book!

Please bear in mind that even if a book has 1000 reviews, there may be as few as 25 reviewers who have listed their email address – but also, there are some with only 500 reviews and over 300 of those have emails that are listed.  As such, please note we cannot guarantee how many emails will be publicly listed but it is usual out of 5 books with sufficient reviews to get 100 or more emails for you to contact.

Also, if your five books deliver less than 25 emails in total, we will run another three book searches for you free of charge.

Please note:  If you are already one of my coaching clients and/or a best-seller program client, we will process an additional 3 book URLs for you at the same time for no extra fee.

To proceed, click here:

…and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

~ Bella

Leigh (Bella) St John

How to sell more books


I am often asked, “how can I sell more books?”  

There are more answers to that question than one could possibly provide in a year or more of talking and explaining, so rather than re-invent the wheel, I recommend the following three books as the best I have come across that give step-by-step, practical, straight-forward, cost-effective marketing strategies and ideas to market, promote and SELL your book.

Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book

By Tim Grahl




How I Sold 80,000 Books: Book Marketing for Authors (Self Publishing through Amazon and Other Retailers)

By Alinka Rutkowska



How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months

By John Locke





As always, if we can be of assistance with anything or support you in any way, please feel free to reach out.

~ Bella

Turning Your Blog into a Book

turning blog into bookTips on How to Turn Your Blog into a Book

Blogging is where most people who love to write post or write some information that they want to share to others the use of World Wide Web (www) – and, blog is an informational or a discussion site that is published consisting of distinct posts classically presented in opposite chronological order.

Many bloggers and blogs provide explanation about a specific subject. They also serve as personal diaries and online advertising tools of a brand or a definite company or individual. And in today’s generation, more people are using internet in searching for answers to their questions. This is one of the reasons why almost all bloggers are turning their blogs into books.

Here are some of the tips on how to turn your blog into a book:

  1. Compile and edit your past blogs. This is very important so that your viewers and readers will not be confused on what you are writing.
  2. Choose a unique angle for your own book. You already have your blog and it is the basis of your book. You still need to look for a special angle for your book based on other or competitor books.
  3. Create a good content plan for your book. Start by turning you blog into a book by planning and creating a map (mind map) to flesh out all the contents that are essential to be published or posted on your book. Do not get fixed at what is presently published on your blog. It may not signify the most or the best complete book.
  4. Mind your blog for contents and posts that fit exactly to the content idea of your book. By the time you have the content plan, discover the available blog posts applicable to the chapters that you have outlined. Explore for them in the classifications you have created, which is wherever most of the bloggers “file” posts by subject substance.
  5. Blog all the missing contents. You must find and fill all the gaps of your manuscripts.
  6. Entice readers and publishers with unpublished materials. Also, include new contents in your blog. New information and chapters are also a must for more traffic on your site.
  7. Find a professional cover designer. You might want your book to be more professional and more attractive. It is also a lot better if you will hire a skilled and professional cover designer.
  8. Keep blogging. Blog your next book. This is a great way to repurpose the content of your blog. Making and gaining more traffic to your site is essential. People who love to read will also love your blog and book.

Turning your blog into a book gives you more opportunity and more viewers. Remember that a book can reach different types of audiences. Since not everyone reads blogs and not everyone surfs the internet, it is just a good point to turn your blog into a book. It also has its certain credibility and it gives you new life and meaning.

…and if you would like to learn how to turn that book into a best-seller on Amazon.com, simply go to www.GuaranteedAuthor.com!

Writing Competitions – June 2016

Why enter writing competitions?


It’s one thing to write, and another entirely different proposition getting others to actually read what you have written.

Here is a list of writing competitions with deadlines in June 2016.

Find one or more that fits with your style and submit your work!  You never know what might happen…

Dream Cruise Liner Writing Contest http://writersviews.com/writing-contests-cruiseliner-poem.php June 1, 2016 Submit your ocean inspired poem ideally capturing a heart’s moment before it is lost, or feeling one’s heart at the deep ocean at night making hearts speak of love and romance, desperation and agony, or dreams or more. Send in your poem, 50 lines or less, any style or mood as long as it is typed. Your creative writing can be either fiction or non-fiction although multiple poetry are not recommended.

Annual Writing Competition http://www.writersdigest.com/writers-digest-competitions June 1, 2016 Writer’s Digest’s oldest and most popular competition, the Annual Writing Competition, is accepting entries. Enter our 85th annual competition for a chance to win cash and prizes.

Driftless Unsolicited Novella Contest http://www.writermag.com/contests/driftless-unsolicited-novella-contest-2/ June 1, 2016 The 2016 Driftless Unsolicited Novella contest seeks 20,000-40,000 word novellas, with a strong preference for submissions from authors of color, LGBTQ+ writers, and women. Two winning novellas will receive a $250.00 cash prize, a publication contract, and royalties for the novella with Brain Mill Press. The cash prize is not an advance against royalties. Royalties commence with the internationally distributed release.

Boulevard Emerging Poets Contest http://www.boulevardmagazine.org/poetry-contest/ June 1, 2016 We are happy to announce the results of the 2015 Poetry Contest for Emerging Poets. We received many excellent entries this year, and our contest judge, Edward Nobles, selected Richard Lloyd-Jones. His winning group of three poems will appear in the Spring 2016 issue. PMB 325, 6614 Clayton Road, Richmond Heights, MO 63117

Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund http://www.aefdc.com/matsui-writing-competition/ June 1, 2016 The Robert T. Matsui Annual Writing Competition was established by AEF in 2005 to honor the late Congressman Robert T. Matsui and his many accomplishments. Through this writing competition, AEF seeks to encourage legal scholarship on issues of importance to the Asian Pacific American community.

Sunderland Short Story Award http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/shortstoryaward/ June 1, 2016 “Submit stories of up to 2,500 words by adults or 1,500 words by children (11 to 16).
The shortlisted entries in the adult category will be read by literary agent Susan Yearwood and publisher Unthank Books (work may be considered for their anthology). The children’s winning entries will be published in the local Waterstones.”

International Short Story Contest “A Sea of Words” 2016 http://intercompetition.com/index.php/writing/ad/a-sea-of-words-2016,586 June 2, 2016 This contest is addressed to young people aged between 18 and 30 years old from any of the 44 Euro-Mediterranean countries.

Young Norfolk Poetry Competition 2016 http://www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk/ June 2, 2016 They’re looking for writers aged 14-18 to submit lyrics or poems. The best entries will be celebrated at an awards ceremony held at the Writers’ Centre Norwich in July.

Words with JAM Competitions http://jdsmith.moonfruit.com/the-big-five-competition/4591904791 June 6, 2016 For the Big Five Competition, the winner will receive a year’s mentoring from Triskele Books – from manuscript to publication – worth over £5000.

The Brighton Prize http://www.brightonprize.com/ June 10, 2016 The Brighton Prize was founded to find brilliant short story writers. We offer cash prizes for new short and flash fiction.

2016 theme: Making Meaning of Ocean Pollution http://www.fromthebowseat.org/contest.php June 13, 2016 We invite middle and high school students from around the world to participate in the 2016 Ocean Awareness Student Contest! The theme is Making Meaning out of Ocean Pollution, and it challenges you to research, explore, interpret, and say something meaningful about the connections between human activities and the health of our oceans.

Short Stories, Novelettes, and Novellas 2015 & 2016 https://chantireviews.com/services#!/Winter-Short-Stories-Novelettes-&-Novellas-Chanticleer-Book-Reviews/p/43093848/category=5193080 June 15, 2016 We are now accepting submissions for Winter/Holiday Reads

THE BITTER OLEANDER PRESS LIBRARY OF POETRY AWARD 2016 http://www.bitteroleander.com/contest.html June 15, 2016 “An award of $1000 plus book publication of the winning manuscript is open to anyone writing in the English language. It is not open to employees or relatives of The Bitter Oleander Press.
Translations are not eligible for this award.
You may send your entry through the US Postal Service, but do not send it certified with a return-request receipt. Include a stamped self-addressed postcard for receipt notification purposes.” “4983 Tall Oaks Drive
Fayetteville, New York 13066-9776

Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize http://www.ruminatemagazine.com/submit/contests/poetry-prize/ June 15, 2016 “The submission deadline for the prize is June 15th.
The entry fee is $20 (includes a copy of the Spring 2017 Issue, international entries will receive a complimentary PDF copy). All submissions must be previously unpublished work.
You may submit up to two poems per entry, no longer than 40 lines each.
$1500 and publication in the Spring 2017 Issue will be awarded to the winner. $200 and publication in the Spring 2017 Issue will be awarded to the second place winner.”

New Writer Competition 2016 http://erewashwriterscompetition.weebly.com/2016-ewg-new-writer-competition.html June 30, 2016 “There is no theme, you can write anything you like. There is no minimum word count, the maximum is 3,000 words. You can enter as many times as you wish but only one entry per entrant can win a prize. Every entry must be accompanied by the appropriate payment.
” EWG NEW WRITER Competition, Parklands Connexion, Stanhope Street, Long Eaton, NG10 4QN.

The Hummingbird Flash Fiction Prize http://pulpliterature.com/contests/the-hummingbird-flash-fiction-prize/ June 15, 2016 Got something short, sharp and snappy to tell? Wow us with your most economical and brilliant storytelling. This contest is for short fiction under 1000 words. Want feedback on your story? Get a professional critique from one of the Pulp Literature editors for only $15 more.

Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year Competition http://www.canterburyfestival.co.uk/festival-friends/events/poet-of-the-year-2016.aspx June 17, 2016 “Poems can be on any subject and up to 60 lines long. It costs £5 each to enter.
A long list of approximately 40 poems will be published in an anthology.”

Summer Solstice 2016 Theme http://www.wildwords.org/wild-words-writing-competition/ June 21, 2016 The piece can be fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry, in any genre. The prompt line can be present in your work, or, it can just act as a jumping off point for your ideas. If you wish, you can change the quote into the third person.
Barns Wood, Lower Barns Rd, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 4DS, UK

2016 First/Second Poetry Book http://www.omnidawn.com/contest/poetry-contests.htm June 30, 2016 This contest is open to writers who have either never published a full-length book of poetry, or who have published only one full-length book of poetry, so that the winning book would become a poet’s first or second published full-length book of poetry. Writers who have published two or more full-length books of poetry are NOT eligible. (Chapbooks do not count and non-poetry books do not count.) The manuscript page limit is 120 pages. “1632 Elm Avenue
Richmond, CA 94805-1614”

North Street Book Prize https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/north-street-book-prize June 30, 2016 Your self-published book can win up to $1,500 plus expert marketing services
May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize http://www.bauhanpublishing.com/may-sarton-prize/poetry-contest-guidelines/ June 30, 2016 The 2016 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize is now open for submissions! “P.O. Box 117
Peterborough, NH 03458”

Battered Moons Poetry Competition http://batteredmoons.com/ June 30, 2016 Prizes: £700, £200, £100. Four commendations of £25 each. The winning poems and four commendations will be published in the Battered Moons pamphlet.

The Henshaw Competition http://henshawpress.co.uk/ June 30, 2016 Prizes: £100, £50, £25. The winners will also be published on the Henshawpress website and optionally in their next anthology.

Bath Flash Fiction Award http://bathflashfictionaward.com/ June 12, 2016 Bath Flash Fiction Award is an international rolling flash fiction competition. Each award runs for 4 months. Judging takes place quickly with a top prize of £1000, £300 second, and £100 third. At the close of each competition, the next competition begins. Our last winner was announced within two weeks of the Award closing, and running three Awards per year means our total annual prize fund is £4200.

Two Sylvias Press 2016 Chapbook Prize http://twosylviaspress.com/chapbook-prize.html June 15, 2016 January Gill O’Neil (author of the award-winning poetry book, Misery Islands). Winner receives $400, his/her book published as both a print & eBook, 20 copies of the perfect-bound print book, and an amethyst depression glass trophy (circa 1930). All entries considered for possible publication. Deadline: June 15, 2016.

2016 GFT Press Chapbook Contest http://www.gftpress.com/chapbooks June 30, 2016 What we are looking for: We want clean, coherent, well-written, creative, cohesive manuscripts that strike hard and are relentless. We want to feel what you felt when you were crafting your work. If you choose to submit work that is grisly and biting, it must have a grace and beauty to it. If you submit work that is beautiful, make sure that it is not simply beautiful for beauty’s sake alone. Show us that you respect your work and that you understand your craft.

CROOK’S CORNER BOOK PRIZE http://crookscornerbookprize.com/?page_id=12 June 15, 2016 The submitted book must be the author’s first published novel for adult readers, published in the United States between January 1, 2015 and June 15, 2016. “313 Country Club Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27514”

2016 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize http://backbonepress.org/contests/ June 1, 2016 The Lucille Clifton Annual Poetry Contest, held each spring, honors the prolific work of poet great Lucille Clifton. Widely celebrated for her unpretentious and unapologetic poems, Clifton’s unique free verse was free of punctuation, taut, and always recognizably her. When submitting think: humanness, struggle, adversity, resilience. “PO Box 51483
Durham, NC 27717-1483”

Salamander 2016 Fiction Prize http://salamandermag.org/contests/ June 1, 2016 “All entries will be considered for publication. All entries will be considered anonymously.
Send no more than one story per entry. Each story must not exceed 30 double-spaced pages in 12 point font. Multiple entries are acceptable, provided that a separate reading fee is included with each entry.” “8 Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108”

Writers Crushing Doubt Writing Contest http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-2016/ June 1, 2016 This latest writing contest is all about crushing doubt! In April I will be launching my new online course for writers, Writers Crushing Doubt, you can already view the introduction page here. This contest has been created to celebrate the launch of the new course, so check it out. (Tip: reading the introduction page will help, as it has subtle clues for writing your entry that will help you win this writing contest.) – See more at: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-2016/#sthash.SuCbOgSv.dpuf

2016 TIFERET Writing Contest http://tiferetjournal.com/2016-writing-contest/ June 1, 2016 We will be accepting submissions for the 2016 TIFERET Writing Contest from January 1, 2016 – June 1, 2016.

Segora short story competition 2016 http://www.poetryproseandplays.com/ June 15, 2016 “First prize: £300 Second prize: £50 Third prize: £30
Entry fee: £6 for single entry or 8€, £11 for 2 or 15€ and £15 for 3 entries or 20€.
Judge: Amanda Hodgkinson”

SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition http://www.spmpublications.com/competitions/ June 30, 2016 The second international SPM Publications Poetry Book Competition is now accepting entries. Poets may submit a collection of 20 pages of poems for the chance to win a publishing contract and cash prize. The winning collections will be published by SPM Publications – an imprint of Sentinel Writing & Publishing Company. “Sentinel Global Communications Ltd
Unit 136
113-115 George Lane
E18 1AB”

Flash 500 Competition http://www.flash500.com/index_files/flashfiction.html June 30, 2016 When it comes to prizes, it often seems as though flash fiction is the poor relation of writing competitions. This, however, is a flash fiction competition where the prize money truly reflects the skill required to encapsulate an entire story in just 500 words.
Wells Festival of Literature Writing Competition http://www.wellsfestivalofliterature.org.uk/competitionrules.php June 30, 2016 This year there are three prizes for the winners, £500, £200, £100, in all three categories plus the Hilly Cansdale local poetry prize of £100 and the Wyvern local short story prize, also £100. Entries are open to anyone throughout the world. Tregantle, Milton Lane, Wells, Somerset. BA5 2QT

THE MOTH SHORT STORY PRIZE 2016 http://www.themothmagazine.com/a1-page.asp?ID=3055&page=9 June 30, 2016 The Prize is for a single unpublished story of no more than 6,000 words. The competition is open to anyone, and you can enter as many stories as you like.
The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016 http://www.thelondonmagazine.org/the-london-magazine-poetry-prize-information/ June 30, 2016 This international contest from the UK’s oldest literary journal, The London Magazine, is for poems of up to 40 lines on any theme. “11 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5EL”

South Bank Poetry Competition http://southbankpoetry.co.uk/poetry-competition/ June 15, 2016 South Bank Poetry’s poetry competition is for London poems. It opens on January 1st 2016 and closes June 15th 2016. (Postal entries postmarked that day from the UK or abroad will be accepted ) 450 3179 South Bank Poetry, 40 Ledbury House, East Dulwich, London SE22 8AN

Creative Future Literary Awards http://www.cfliteraryawards.org.uk/how-to-apply/rules/ June 13, 2016 The Creative Future Literary Awards is a national literary competition and high profile awards ceremony which celebrates talented writers who lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health or social circumstance. Prizes are awarded for both poetry and short fiction. There is no entry fee. Winners are selected by a panel of industry experts. Prizes include £1000 of cash prizes & professional writing development support. PLEASE NOTE that all entries must respond to this year’s theme ‘A Sea Change’. “Community Base,
113 Queens Rd, Brighton, BN1 3XG”

Words with Jam Big Five Competition http://jdsmith.moonfruit.com/the-big-five-competition/4591904791 June 30, 2016 This one from Words with Jam and Triskele Books is for completed and unpublished novels of up to 100,000 words.

Women’s Poetry Competition 2016 https://mslexia.co.uk/competition/poetry-competition/ June 13, 2016 With springtime comes the launch of our our annual Women’s Poetry Competition! PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1PZ

Women’s Pamphlet Competition 2016 https://mslexia.co.uk/competition/pamphlet-competition/ June 13, 2016 Separate from our competition for single poems, our annual pamphlet competition accepts completed collections that are 20-24 pages long, and include 18-20 poems. The rest is up to the writer! PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 1PZ

Words Magazine Short Story Competition http://www.tyjustwrite.com/blog/writingcompetitions/ June 30, 2016 All entries should be sent via email only and should be a maximum length of 2,000 words.

Poetry Space Competition 2016 http://www.poetryspace.co.uk/poetry-space-competition/ June 30, 2016 Myra Schneider will be judging entries for Poetry Space Annual International Poetry Competition 2016 – our seventh year. Closing date will be June 30th 2016. 21 Davis Close Barrs Court Bristol BS30 7BU

Troubadour International Poetry Prize 2016 http://www.coffeehousepoetry.org/prizes June 21, 2016 Entry implies acceptance of all rules; failure to comply with all rules results in disqualification; submissions accepted by post or e-mail from poets of any nationality, from any country, aged over 18 years; no poet may win more than one prize; judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into. 263–267 Old Brompton Road, London SW5

Havant Poetry Competition 2016 http://www.poetrycan.co.uk/comp-news/1122-havant2016.html June 17, 2016 Havant Literary Festival‘s annual poetry competition has kicked off once again, applications to enter have officially opened both online and in a printed version.
ISFHWE Excellence-in-Writing Competition http://isfhwe.com/competition.php June 15, 2016 “Open to members & non members
Enter by 15 June 2016; early bird discount to 15 March 2016; members log in to get a discount.” PO Box 152987, Cape Coral, FL 33915

2016 Autumn House Nonfiction Contest http://www.autumnhouse.org/contest-submissions/nonfiction/ June 30, 2016 For the 2016 contest, the preliminary judges are members of the Autumn House staff and Heather Cazad, and the final judge is Michael Martone. The winner will be awarded publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500. The postmark deadline for entries is June 30, 2016. “PO Box 60100 Pittsburgh, PA 15211”

The Montana Book Festival http://www.montanabookfestival.org/contest/ June 1, 2016 The Montana Book Festival seeks to celebrate poetry, fiction and nonfiction by regional emerging writers. One winner in each genre will receive $200 and their writing will be published on our website. “c/o Missoula Cultural Council 327 E. Broadway Missoula, Montana 59802”

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/ June 30, 2016 Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. (One fellow once submitted over 3,000 entries.) Sentences may be of any length but we strongly recommend that entries not go beyond 50 or 60 words. Entries must be “original” (as it were) and previously unpublished. “Department of English San Jose State University San Jose, CA 95192-0090”

V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize http://rsliterature.org/award/v-s-pritchett-memorial-prize/ June 20, 2016 The Royal Society of Literature is delighted to announce the eighteenth V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize. There is a prize of £1,000, and the winning entry will be published in Prospect online and in the RSL Review. In addition to this, there will be an opportunity to appear at an RSL event with established short story writers in autumn 2016. “Somerset House, Strand
London, WC2R 1LA”

Manny Writing Contest http://www.midwestwriters.org/writing-contests/ June 18, 2016 The Manny Awards have become a tradition at Midwest Writers Workshop. The contest offers cash awards and is designed to recognize works in progress in four categories: short fiction, novel, poetry and nonfiction. 2106 N. Colson Drive, Muncie, IN 47304

Drue Heinz Literature Prize http://www.upress.pitt.edu/renderHtmlPage.aspx?srcHtml=htmlSourceFiles/drueheinz.htm June 30, 2016 The University of Pittsburgh Press announces the 2017 Drue Heinz Literature Prize for a collection of short fiction. The prize carries a cash award of $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press under its standard contract. “University of Pittsburgh Press 7500 Thomas Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15260”

Short Story Competition 2016 http://finchleyliteraryfestival.blogspot.com/p/short-story-competition.html June 25, 2016 Greenacre Writers and Finchley Literary Festival are launching the festival with a short story competition. The winning entries will win cash prizes and will be published on this blog and Greenacre Writers. Trinity Church Centre, Nether Street, London N12 7NN

Travel Writing Contest http://www.pw.org/writing_contests/travel_writing_contest June 1, 2016 A prize of $1,000 and publication in Nowhere Magazine is given twice yearly for a short story or essay that “possesses a powerful sense of place.” Porter Fox will judge. Unpublished and published pieces that have not already been chosen as a contest winner are eligible. Using the online submission system, submit a story or essay of 800 to 5,000 words with a $20 entry fee by June 1. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines. 1582 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213

Thomas A. Wilhelmus Nonfiction Award http://www.pw.org/writing_contests/thomas_a_wilhelmus_nonfiction_award June 1, 2016 A prize of $2,000 and publication in Southern Indiana Review is given annually for a work of creative nonfiction. Michael Martone will judge. Submit an essay of up to 35 pages with a $20 entry fee ($5 for each additional entry) by June 1. All entries are considered for publication. Call, e-mail, or visit the website for complete guidelines. 8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, IN 47712

Prizes in Letters http://www.pw.org/writing_contests/prizes_letters June 15, 2016 Three prizes of $10,000 each are given annually to U.S. writers for books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (including creative nonfiction) published in the United States during the current year. For books published between January 1 and June 14, submit four copies of the book, an author bio and photograph, and a $50 entry fee by June 15. The deadline for books published during the second half of the year is October 1. Send an SASE or visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines. 709 Pulitzer Hall, 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman http://carolinawrenpress.org/submissions/contests June 15, 2016 The Bakwin Award honors full-length prose work (novel, short story collection, or memoir) by an author who is a woman. The winner will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the winning book will be published by Carolina Wren Press. Read the full guidelines and submit electronically here. We look forward to reading your submissions! 120 Morris Street, Durham, NC 27701

2016 Curt Johnson Prose Awards http://decembermag.org/2016-curt-johnson-prose-awards/ June 15, 2016 We are pleased to announce Anthony Marra (Fiction) and Eula Biss (Nonfiction) will judge our 2016 Curt Johnson Prose Awards. $1,500 and publication in our Fall/Winter 2016 issue for First Place (fiction and nonfiction); $500 and publication in our Fall/Winter 2016 issue for honorable mention (fiction and nonfiction). P.O. Box 16130, St. Louis, MO 63105

How to Create Your Amazon Author Profile Page

amazon-author-profile-pageDo you have an Amazon Author Profile Page?

I know first-hand how frustrating it is when I want to find other books by an author I really like, only to find their author page doesn’t exist, or that it only contains a couple of their published works and I need to go hunting to find others…

Help existing and potential readers get to know you by bringing everything into the one place on your Amazon Author Profile Page, listing everything you have published (with direct links to be able to buy them), showing them your photos, telling them who you are, providing them with feeds to your blogs, videos, and even a calendar of your events.

Your Amazon Author Page is your opportunity for your readers to get to know you, so make sure you include any details about your background, any awards or competitions you have won, other books you have written, and personal details you want to share.

You will need an author photo and while it doesn’t need to be professionally created, it should be recent and of a high-enough resolution quality display.

Adding Your Book to Your Amazon Author Profile Page

Make sure every book you have written appears in your bibliography.  To add books:

  1. Go to the Author Central Books tab and click Add more books.
  2. In the Search field, enter the book title, ISBN, or author name and click Go.

Once you’ve found the missing book, click This is my book below that book.

Adding and Changing Information on Your Amazon Author Profile Page

Adding or changing the information is easy. Below is a list from the Amazon site – if you would like more information, click here to go direct to their help page:  https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?topicID=200649520

  • Biography
    • Adding or Editing a Biography
    • Deleting a Biography
  • Photos
    • Adding Photos
    • Moving or Removing a Photo
  • Blog Feeds
    • Adding a Blog Feed
    • Removing a Blog Feed
  • Events
    • Adding Events
    • Editing Event Information
    • Removing an Event
  • Videos
    • Adding Videos
    • Moving or Removing a Video
  • Twitter Feeds
    • Adding your Twitter Feed
    • Editing your Twitter Name
    • Removing your Twitter Feed
  • Author Page URL
    • Creating your Author Page URL
    • Share your Author Page URL on Twitter & Facebook
    • Use your Author Page URL in your Email Signature

As always, if you need any support or assistance, please reach out!

By Leigh St John


How to Create an Effective Book Trailer?

what makes an effective book trailerWhat is a Book Trailer?

Just as a movie will have a trailer to attract your attention and (hopefully) encourage you to go and see the film, a book trailer is a short video designed to get you interested enough in the book to purchase it.

The definition from Wikipedia is:  “A book trailer is a video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers to promote books and encourage readers”.

What Makes An Effective Book Trailer?

Just as with any piece of sales copy, for a book trailer to be effective, it needs to primarily:

  • Grab your attention in the first few seconds
  • Encourage (either directly or indirectly) you to share it with others
  • Inspire you to get the book!

It should also meet the following:

  • Be short
  • Have the rights to any and all images, music and footage used in the trailer
  • Have a similar energy to the book itself – for instance if the book is upbeat, the trailer should be upbeat
  • Doesn’t include any ‘spoilers’
  • Includes actual elements (eg quotes, phrases or characters) from the book
  • Leaves the audience wanting more…

How Do You Make A Book Trailer?

For those who are the DIY kind, we will go into how you can make a book trailer yourself at home for little or no cost further down in this post – although if you are like the majority, audio and video editing is not in your bag of tricks, and as such, it’s best to hire a professional.

This book trailer featuring Victor Pierantoni’s book, “Right Now Resolutions” is among the best examples I have seen.

Not only does it use actual footage and voice-over of the author, but it fullfils the criteria listed above.  It definitely grabs your attention right at the start, is interesting and cool enough that you want to pass it around to friends, and you are now curious enough to want to go and get the book.

I’ve known Victor for some time and am always impressed with his work – then when I saw his trailer, asked if he would mind if I passed on to you the production people who put it together for him.

Here is their direct contact info:  http://urproduction.com/contact/ and I’m sure if you have any questions, Ryan will be all too happy to answer them for you.

Want to view some other examples of book trailers?

Here is a collection on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=book+trailer

Creating your own book trailer at home for free?

OK, so you’ve decided to go it alone…  If you’re already familiar with editing video and creating sound-tracks, you will know how to proceed.  If not, here is a way you can create a book trailer simply using images you already have (or copyright-free images you download) and free programs such as Windows Movie Maker.

  1. Find a selection of images that are suitable to tell the story of your book trailer, including a photo of the cover
  2. Import the pictures into Windows Movie Maker (or whichever program you are using)
  3. Drag them in order into the storyboard bar
  4. Add text overlays where appropriate
  5. Record your narration
  6. Add a music soundtrack if suitable (make sure it’s copyright- and royalty-free)
  7. Export your finished movie

Obviously, there are many other elements you can edit, such as length of each image, transitions from one to the next etc, but these are the very basic minimum steps to get you started.

Now what?

If you have created a book trailer for your book, let us know!

Also, once you have produced your trailer, be sure to put it up on your website, each of your social media platforms and your Amazon Author page!  Here is the link from Amazon on how to do just that:  https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?topicID=200418470

…and as always, if we can help, just reach out…

How to write and use a press release to promote your book and your business

how to write and use a press releaseAlmost every one of the clients who goes through our Best-Seller Program asks for assistance with writing and using press releases to promote their book and their business.

So, I’ve written this post not only for them but also for anyone who is seeking assistance with this most important topic.

Sending press releases to alert the media to your newsworthy event is essential, however as Inc Magazine commented,

“An easy way to ruin your relationship with the news media is to send a bad press release.”

…but as PT Barnum, of Barnum and Bailey Circus fame, once said…

“Without promotion, something terrible happens…  nothing!”

So, how do you write a good press release?

I could write for pages and pages on this topic, but here is a checklist that will help:

  • At the top, make sure you put when it is to be released, for example FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
  • Come up with a headline that ‘hooks’.  Think about the audience who will read this article, your headline needs to grab their attention immediately and make them want to read more.  (here is an excellent article about writing catchy headlines and first paragraphs)
  • Many journalists and editors do not skim past the first paragraph when deciding whether or not to use a release so make sure that all-important paragraph has enough hook and ooooomph to get their attention
  • Having been a journalist myself, I know it’s actually quite common for the press release to be used almost exactly as is – so write your press release with this in mind
  • DO NOT use ‘marketing language’ – in other words, this is a TOTALLY FACTUAL piece, not hype and not opinion – just stick to the facts!
  • Use at least one or two quotes from someone connected to the story to provide context, insight and heart
  • Include biographical information on your and/or your business including how long you have been doing this, your mission and/or vision statement, where you are based, any awards or recognition you have received
  • Contact information – At the end VERY CLEARLY state your name, company (if relevant), your position (eg Author of the Best-Selling Book, “name of book”), address, email, website and cell phone number.  The reason the cell phone is important is that major publications will often not run a story unless they can confirm in person (in this case, on the phone) the contents of the release
  • Include a link to your EPK (electronic press kit) if you have one (http://leighstjohn.com/epk-electronic-press-kit/)
  • Double and triple check your grammar and spelling!
  • Format your press release to be double-spaced and preferably one-page (two at the very most!)

OK, so now you’ve written your press release, what do you do with it?

How do you use a press release?

Know Your Audience – the fastest way to get blacklisted is to blast your press release to outlets whose readers have nothing in common with you or the subject of your release.  Make sure you target appropriate media outlets.

Set Up a Google Alert – create a Google alert for your name, your book’s name (https://www.google.com/alerts) so you can keep track of who is mentioning you and creating articles based on your release.

Syndicate Your Release – once your press release is published, make sure you get it as much visibility as possible by cross-promoting the release and any articles in which you are mentioned on your own social media channels.

Add to Your EPK – mention in your EPK that you were covered by XYZ Publication and provide a link to that article, thereby giving you additional credibility.

Consider Timing – when you send a release is important.  If you are doing a book signing and speaking event to raise money for charity, you want that release to go out anywhere from 3-10 days before the event.  Other events such as you becoming a best-seller are obviously sent after the event, but as close as possible to the actual date it occurred.

Don’t be shy!

Reporters rely on press releases to give them the stories they need to fill their publications – so make yourself visible!  Just ensure that you follow the suggestions above.

If you have any questions about creating a press release for your book and becoming a best-seller, feel free to reach out!

I look forward to hearing from you…