Tag Archives: Girl Friday Productions

5 Things You Should Know About Modern Publishing

Posted by July 16th, 2014

1. You have lots of options

For decades, your only shot at getting your book into the hands of readers was to snag an agent who would (hopefully) get behind it and send it on to publishers. It was a daunting process with many gatekeepers between you and your readers. But with the advent of e-books and Print-On-Demand, the game has changed. The first step still is to write a great book; after that, there are many ways up the mountain, including small presses and self-publishing. It used to be over when the last house on your list said no. Now, it’s not over until you say it is.

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5 Tips Writers Should Borrow from the Ad Industry by Meghan Harvey

Posted by June 9th, 2014

Meghan HarveyMy husband is a creative lead at an advertising agency here in Portland, and I recently returned to books after a stint in brand marketing, so we often find ourselves talking shop at home. Whether it’s the shortcomings of different storyboards, scripts, and pitches he’s crafting; the strength of the cover design or flap copy for the latest novel I’m working with; or the business end of the client-creative relationship, we have a lot of overlapping space in the Venn diagram of our careers.

You might think that the production of a piece of fiction has little in common with the production of a TV commercial for Nike’s new kicks, but the ad industry uses strategies on a daily basis that authors should learn to love and leverage. Here, the 5 tips writers should borrow from the ad industry:

Distill your story

The advertiser’s central challenge is to condense complex messages into extremely small spaces—a thirty-second video or a single image in a magazine. Space and time are premium, so advertisers are strategic and selective about each word they use.

It’s equally important for writers to exercise control over their story. What would happen if you were to take a hard look at your novel and scrub everything out but the essential elements? You just might begin to approach the transcendent brilliance of writers like Ernest Hemingway, master of the concise. It’s a common and tempting mistake to want so desperately for your reader to pick up what you’re putting down that you end up hitting them over the head. Trust your reader to do more with less.

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March Madness: What Authors Can Learn from Athletes by Andrea Dunlop

Posted by April 2nd, 2014

March MadnessTo the uninitiated (read: me) the frenzy surrounding the NCAA basketball tournament can seem like, well, madness. But as my best hope of spending time with my boyfriend this time of year is to settle in for a game or thirty, I figured I’d better give the sport a shot. Somewhere between my diatribe about how Charles Barkley should really reconsider his three-piece suits and choking up during an NCAA commercial, I started to get into March Madness. The thrill of victory! The rivalries! The copious man tears during post-game press conferences!

I’m a sucker for sports. I’ve been both a writer and an athlete for most of my life and in some ways I feel like what I learned on the tennis court has been as helpful as anything I learned in the classroom. You may not think that writing a novel and sinking a sweet three-pointer at the buzzer have much in common, but you, my friend, would be wrong.

Greatness is mostly about discipline
Some people mistake the act of creating for divine inspiration that descends from the heavens, a muse that lands on your shoulder and whispers in your ear. Some think writing is a natural talent that you are born with. To which I say: pffffftttt. Of course individuals are born with varying degrees of innate talent for writing, basketball, singing, clog dancing, or whatever, but that’s only the raw material. The rest is craft, muscle memory, technique. HARD WORK. For writers, this means waking up in the morning and putting your butt in your chair, over and over again, until you have something good. It means reading everything you can get your hands on. It means attacking your writing with the dogged discipline that a point guard practices his free throws. Continue reading

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The Five Golden Rules of Social Media for Authors

Posted by December 11th, 2013

I am so pleased to welcome my friend Andrea Dunlop to the blog today! Andrea and I used to work in publicity together at Doubleday. Andrea is a writer of wonderful fiction (check out her novel THE SUMMER OF SMALL ACCIDENTS) and nonfiction, published on blogs around the web.

Now Andrea works as the Publicity and Social Media Coordinator for Girl Friday Productions, where she helps independent and traditionally published authors create marketing and publicity plans for their books. Andrea is also a brand-new member of the Book Country community!

Check out these awesome tips Andrea has put together for us about social media for authors. These are ways that authors can broaden their writing network, their audience of readers, and the public’s knowledge about their books, all via social media.


Andrea Dunlop portraitSocial media outlets like Twitter, Goodreads, and all of the myriad blogs devoted to books are a boon for authors (independent and otherwise) who want to promote their books. A robust social media presence has gone from being a bonus to a must-have, and it’s the ideal way to capitalize on that ever-elusive word-of-mouth marketing.

Whatever tools you use to build up your following, here are five golden rules for becoming a social media all-star.

Be realistic and be consistent

If you manage to do the hard work of getting readers to stumble across your blog or Twitter account, the last thing you want them to find is a space that has digital tumbleweeds rolling through it. Be realistic with yourself about how much time you have to spend on social media per day and design a strategy around it. Much like starting a new workout regimen, you need to give yourself realistic benchmarks and go from there or risk getting discouraged. Ever been to a gym in January? How many of the people in there promising themselves they’re going to work out every day are still there come February 1st? Give yourself something you can realistically work in each day—whether that’s a couple of tweets a day or two blog posts a week—and stick to it. Once you’ve been doing it for three weeks and it’s officially a habit, add on.

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