Fiction Writing Made Easy

#129: Overcoming The Fear Of Marketing With Alexa Bigwarfe

February 13, 2024 Savannah Gilbo Episode 129
Fiction Writing Made Easy
#129: Overcoming The Fear Of Marketing With Alexa Bigwarfe
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“Work on being a better writer and work on your craft and the other stuff will follow. As long as you have a great book, marketing comes a lot easier.” - Alexa Bigwarfe

In today’s brand-new episode, I’m sharing a conversation with Alexa Bigwarfe about how writers can overcome the fear of marketing their books and what you can do right now to kickstart your marketing efforts.

Read the blog post here!
 
Here’s a preview of what’s included:

[3:55] Where should new writers market their books?

[05:14] Alexa advises on what to do if you're afraid of marketing your book.

[09:06] How soon should writers start thinking about marketing their books?

[14:16] After writing 14 non-fiction books, what is it like for Alexa to now be in the fiction world?

[22:22] Alexa shares her ideas for marketing the second book of her series.

[35:56] Alexa talks about the Women In Publishing Summit, a virtual conference for authors of all experience levels to learn and connect with others in the industry.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Want to write a novel but not sure where to start? Click here to grab a FREE copy of my Story Starter Kit workbook that'll help you get clarity on your characters, setting, theme, plot, and so much more!

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Speaker 1:

Marketing is something that never stops, ever. You should start thinking about it from the moment you create the idea in your head. Plan to make a plan be consistent, start building things as early as you can and then always be growing on, always be adding to that for as long as you want to continue selling that book, or until you get to the point where you have a machine that's just selling them for you.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast. My name is Savannah Gilbo and I'm here to help you write a story that works. I want to prove to you that writing a novel doesn't have to be overwhelming, so each week, I'll bring you a brand new episode with simple, actionable and step-by-step strategies that you can implement in your writing right away. So, whether you're brand new to writing or more of a seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you. So pick up a pen and let's get started.

Speaker 2:

In today's episode, I'm sharing a conversation I had with Alexa Bigworth about marketing. Alexa Bigworth is a USA Today bestselling author, publisher and founder and CEO of Write, publish, sell, a company dedicated to helping authors professionally self-publish and market their books. She is also the founder and host of the Women in Publishing Summit, a conference and community dedicated to empowering and educating authors and writers A conference and community dedicated to empowering and educating authors and professionals in the publishing industry, and today she's here to chat with me about marketing. Specifically, we talk about things like how to overcome the fear of marketing if this is something that doesn't come naturally to you, where to start with your marketing efforts, including how soon you should start thinking about it and planning what to do in your marketing, and so much more.

Speaker 2:

Alexa is a published author herself. She's written multiple nonfiction and fiction books, and she's going to share a behind the scenes look at her own marketing efforts, plus what she's learned over the years helping writers market their books. So this is a jam packed episode and I won't make you wait any longer. Let's dive right into my conversation with Alexa Bigworth. Hi, alexa, thank you so much for coming on. Fiction Writing Made Easy. I'm so excited to have you here.

Speaker 1:

Hello, thank you so much for having me here. I'm so excited to be able to talk about fiction as, finally, a fiction author now.

Speaker 2:

I love it and we're going to get into what Alexa means by that shortly, but before we get there, I gave you an intro before the episode started, but in your own words, just quickly tell us who you are, what you do and things like that.

Speaker 1:

So I guess, when you boil it down to who I am today, it's really as a coach, a connector, a trainer, someone who is very passionate. In fact, one of my clients said I'm kind of like you're kind of like the advocate, or like you know, the person who's there making sure that authors are equipped with knowledge and training and community. And so, through my own journey of publishing, like I just I love being able to share resources and also remember how hard it was for me in the beginning and try to alleviate the stresses that authors have. I mean, writing a book is the easy part when it comes down to it, with all the other things that have to happen.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, which is so fun. So we're going to talk about that today. We're going to talk about how you went from nonfiction to fiction, how you have this amazing summit that happens once a year. We're going to talk about marketing in general and so many other things. But what you just said I love, because that's kind of the vibe I like to go for too. It's like we don't need to gatekeep knowledge. We don't need to, like you know, have degrees to do some of this stuff, Right? So if we could just kind of boil everything down to, let's say, we're a writer who they're at the start of their career, they're maybe they're editing, they're maybe they're finished All of them are going to have these fears come up about marketing, right? Because sometimes people are like marketing feels skeezy. I don't like it. It feels overwhelming. Where would you start if you were any of these people?

Speaker 1:

So the first and most important thing always is to remember that marketing is just about building relationships. I talk about this fear around marketing a lot and I tell people stop calling it marketing, call it connecting connecting with my potential readers, connecting with fans, connecting with people who love this genre just like I do and the moment that you start thinking of yourself, with your marketing, more as one of them than you know, than any other way that you can think of yourself, it becomes a lot easier and it's also really fun If you love what you're writing and you love your genre and you're reading and talking about other books when you're in them, you know, when you don't have your own book to talk about. Like all of these things, just like being excited and being one of the one of the readers can make it so much less intimidating.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that's such a fun point because I work with a lot of writers who they're really into their fandoms or they're really into books and they're on all the apps and they're, you know, even books to grammars and things like that, and they have no problem sharing and talking about other books. And they're so excited and it's kind of like I like to try to say just because it's your book doesn't matter, doesn't mean it doesn't deserve that level of excitement, right Like that's something to be so proud of.

Speaker 1:

Yes, well, we had this conversation yesterday in our membership program as well, because people, everybody this is that if you feel this fear, you are 100% not alone. It's more odd that people aren't afraid of marketing their own stuff, but I reminded people. I said you know, think about anybody that you follow, anyone that you're interested in learning more about. You're not put off by them talking about their books. In fact, you want that because you followed them for a reason, and when someone follows you, whether it's on your social media or joins your email list or comes to an event that you do, or whatever, they are giving you permission explicitly to talk about what you are doing as an author and they want it. And remember that because you want it too.

Speaker 1:

When you, when you follow an author that you love I mean, I love hearing what people that I am interested in have to put out, whether it's about their book, which I appreciate because, as a reader and fan of them, I want to know when their next stuff is coming out or maybe it's a book. I missed any of those things, so don't worry about that piece. And worst case scenario someone unfollows you. Does that really matter? No, because they're not interested in you or your writing.

Speaker 2:

Right, and I like how you said too, it's about connecting and more like sharing versus I'm marketing. At you, right? Yes, like we're not throwing things at people, we're sharing something that they're probably going to like too and, to your point, that they probably signed up to hear about.

Speaker 1:

So Exactly, and if they didn't sign up to hear about it, then maybe you need to look at how you're bringing people into your community, because that is one thing when we talk about fear the fear. Fear is based off of things that haven't happened yet but might happen, or it can be based off of learned and lived experiences, right? So if you have an audience that you've built but maybe you built the email list through a Amazon gift card giveaway or a recipe for your grandma's favorite pie or something else, or a really funny meme that everybody followed you about but it's not really relevant to who you are then you may be seeing frustration because you have the wrong people. So it's really important to make sure that, as you're growing your audience, to make the marketing more fun and less difficult, that you're finding the right people who do want that. Then they will engage, then they will say fun things back. Then you don't have to worry about those other scary factors, right?

Speaker 2:

And so sometimes I see that that happens on accident, but other times I see that happen where a writer, they'll do something that the internet tells them to do. So it's like the internet says post a meme every Thursday, right. And they post memes and they build the following based on the memes, and then it's kind of like, instead of just doing what makes you happy, what makes you want to connect with people, what you would like to see from your authors, right. So sometimes it's like listen to your gut, be yourself, and that stuff won't always happen. And funny memes are great.

Speaker 1:

I just saw a webinar the other day about how much comedy converts and laughter converts, and I know that's true. That's generally what gets my attention, are things that make me laugh. But if you're going to use comedy, make sure that it's relevant. Like there are a ton of hilarious memes out there about writers and books, and so if you're using things like that, then you're you're you're getting that right audience because they think it's funny and it's about something they love, right.

Speaker 2:

And it's. It's funny too, like thinking about, because, just as you were saying that, I'm like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense for someone who you know it's on brand for them, so the humor is on brand. Maybe there's humor in their book, Maybe it's the readers of their book are talking about things like that. Sometimes it's about, I don't know, expressing yourself versus what you think you should do, and that's going to draw the people in more and you'll just come up with a cohesive feel and vibe for your brand.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so that's good. And so then what if? So we talked about the fear a little bit, right? So if people are afraid of marketing, don't think about it as marketing Kind of tap into why you're doing this, what you enjoy and things like that. The second biggest question I get asked about marketing, other than like what is it is when do I need to worry about it? So is it something I think about when I'm starting an idea, when I'm editing a book, when I'm done and the book's in my hands, do I start thinking about marketing?

Speaker 1:

Oh man, this is such a good question and it's one that's really hard to answer. Well, the answer is easy you should be marketing from the time you have an idea, because it takes time and energy and effort to grow an audience and you don't want to be left behind. But the reason is the complicated answer is because when people hear that there's something that happens in your brain, I believe just because I feel this on my end as well that you all of a sudden are so worried about other details and, oh, now I have to learn about how to do an Instagram account. Now I have to learn about how to set up an email sequence, and I have to do that. You wind up spending all your time learning all of those things and trying to implement them, and then you're not writing your book. And the truth is, we all know you can't sell a book that's not been written. So well, you can, and people do it all the time, but that's a little bit risky because people actually want to get what they paid for. So I think that what is the most important is that you're thinking about it from a big picture standpoint, but not letting the marketing rule your life, like, maybe you have one day of the week that you set aside for working on your business or in your business, and if you're not thinking of yourself as a business owner, as an author, that's mistake number one. You need to be thinking about things from a business. A new restaurant wouldn't just open up and expect to have a grand opening day if they never put in any time, energy and effort of telling the community hey, there's a new restaurant, we've got this, we've got coupons, we've got all those things. You have to think in the same way about this with your book.

Speaker 1:

So I would say, do a couple of basic things in the beginning. We all know we have to have social media these days. That's just the way it is. And we all know we need to have an email list. And but then it starts to get overwhelming and I don't want anyone to get overwhelmed. So, at a minimum, think about your home when you find readers, where you're sending them to and what action steps you want them to take. And that could be as simple as a landing page for now, so that you can start collecting email addresses, because your email list will be critical to you and it's setting up your social media profiles, even if you're not active on them.

Speaker 1:

Claim the ones that we know are going to be the biggest for you right now, which, generally speaking, for fiction authors is definitely Instagram and could incorporate book talk or TikTok and YouTube, and probably not LinkedIn so much, but some of those big video Facebook, if you're in my generation and older, and even the one millennials are still like millennials and up spend a lot of time there. So if that's your crew, just establish those things so that you're not worried about them later and then, as you're getting out there and talking about your book, people have a place to find you and to become part of your community. So, if that's as much as you do, just think okay, I'm going to set up these accounts, I'm going to make them available so I have a place to send people when I'm talking about my book and I might post something once a month, but at least there's something on my feed if somebody comes to follow. And then you build that in later as you go and if you're doing this thing I know this is a long-winded answer right here, but if you're doing what we're talking about, which is building relationships and building readers, then you will naturally be posting things on your social media because you'll be.

Speaker 1:

Hey, I know y'all all love thrillers. Did you see this new thriller book? Or everybody's talking about this book. Have you read it yet? Those engage with exactly the right people, assuming you write thrillers. Don't do that if you write rom-com. But you know, so you can start just very naturally having conversations with people about your genre, about the type of the book, and posting fun things along the way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think don't discount behind the scenes too, because how many of us like seeing behind the scenes of someone else's process? Even if it's messy or, like you know, they don't have all the answers yet, it's still fun, because A if you have writers in your audience, it's going to make them feel like they're not alone, you know, and things like that. So I always say people are more interesting than you guys give yourself credit for.

Speaker 1:

It's so true. I mean because often, like, if you have an like, say, you write historical fiction, you're probably traveling, you're probably doing things. My book is set in Paris, so I am really keyed in on people who are interested in Paris as readers. So I'm not focused necessarily 100% on the rom-com audience, although that is a big audience that I want to make sure that I'm in there. But I know that people who love Paris will also love my books. So thinking about things of that nature also helps.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which is so fun, and it's kind of like you said in the very beginning, it's just sharing, right? So it's not like in these initial stages you need to worry about marketing to or marketing at people. It's just sharing and saying if you wanna find me, if you wanna connect, here's where I am. An email list is huge. You know, if I had to pick one, it's email list. But then it's like how are you getting the people on your email list? Yes, that's where social and stuff comes in. But so, speaking of your book, because you have written 14 non-fiction books and now you're kind of in this world of fiction, what was that like?

Speaker 1:

So a little bit of the sad part of my background was that I started all of this process after I lost an infant daughter, so I did not come into this world as a fiction writer, although, like many fiction writers, I was a gracious reader as a child. Just anything I could get my hands on I wanted to read, love books, always had a dream of maybe being an author, but then my career took me into homeland security and intelligence and the military and all those things. So a little bit of a different track D2R.

Speaker 1:

Right, exactly, but when I started, I actually started as a blogger, writing about what happened with my daughter and she was they were twins and twin to twin transfusion syndrome and all these things and creating a place again because I love to share and educate. So I was doing a lot of just information about that, information about the NICU, about loss, about all those things which led me to do a. I did a composite book. Basically I brought together over 30 parents and we put together Sunshine after the Stroma Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother, which really did lit my fire on writing. I was like, oh my gosh, I love this, like I want to write, I want to do this more, but also the publishing process. And so, without boring you through the entire next 10 years, basically because of this, I love to teach, I love to share I started sharing what I was doing in this exact same way. Y'all, I am a case study for exactly what we're teaching you. I just started sharing what I was learning as I was writing, publishing and selling right, publish, sell was born and people started coming to me asking more questions and they came to me and I got new clients and I started helping them and I really learned and then wound up creating publishing houses et cetera, et cetera. As that grew and we started doing the training courses which turned into the Women in Publishing Summit eventually, which we'll talk about in a minute, I started getting fiction authors. Originally, all my clients were either grief and loss, or moms who were building businesses and were writing books to grow their business, or entrepreneurs, business books, all those kinds of things. And then the fiction authors started coming and I was like, oh my gosh, this is one so different, like, so different trying to think about marketing a fiction book than it is when you're just, when you're sharing your innate knowledge on something. But two, I really started getting the bug. I was like I'm helping these people finish their books, publish their books, have these wonderful launch parties, do all this fun marketing and I'm like I wanna do that. So I knew I'd been writing all throughout this time, like I've been working on a historical fiction book for years and eventually, during COVID, I went back to a story.

Speaker 1:

That was a really fun time in my life. So it really happened. I was living and working in Paris in 1999. And on New Year's Eve my friends and I threw a party and one of my girlfriends, cousin, came and he and I like totally hit it off. We had this magical New Year's Eve. We went to that watch the fireworks into a nightclub and then we spent the whole night walking around Paris. And so I took that story.

Speaker 1:

Because COVID was such a dark time, I couldn't do the World War II research. I was like I need something light and makes me laugh. But also I was going through a divorce and so I was trying to keep myself upbeat and I was watching all these rom-com movies and I was reading all these books and they were just making me laugh and I was like this is what I wanna feel right now. So I wrote that story, I took a fun time in my life and I created a fiction book out of that. Four days in Paris I wrote it under a pen name, lexi Haddock, which is also something that, if you are a not primarily a non-fiction author and moving into fiction, I strongly encourage you to do, because what a weird blend of marketing that would be trying to market books on grief and loss and inspiration and transformation and healing and entrepreneurship, oh, plus rom-coms. It doesn't work, so Right.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. What a background you have, especially the military stuff. I didn't know about that. That's so interesting. And one thing, like I heard through all of that is you're passionate about all the things you write about. So you know, there's a lot of us have things like that we're passionate about. If it's animals, children, whatever you know, it could just be stories themselves. What would you say to people that? Well, first of all, I guess, is that something that fuels you? Do you feel like being connected to that deeper motivation, that deeper layer, deeper level? Why fuels you? What's your answer to that?

Speaker 1:

Yes, most definitely For a lot of reasons. In the fiction books, like in my nonfiction world, I talk a lot about writing to heal. It's how I started. It saved my life. That mission saved my life after going through one of the worst tragedies a parent can ever go through. So I talk a lot about the power of that, but also the power of our words and how much we impact other people.

Speaker 1:

And just having seen that in the beginning, when I started writing a rom-com, I actually felt and no offense to rom-com writers, because you'll see by the time I get to the end of this story what's happening here I felt silly.

Speaker 1:

I was like I have this desire to write these really big, deep, like life-changing fiction books where you come out the other end a different person or you feel like you just lost your best friend when the book ends and I was like and I'm writing this silly love-it-first site, you know adventure thing that happens in Paris like how far from reality are you? And then I had to remind myself what those books did for me and how writing fiction through a hard time or a hard area of life can still be as impactful and if not more impactful, and it can be such a big process and I was like this isn't silly at all. Did I feel silly that I watched those movies to make myself better? No, I laughed, and laughter is the best thing that can ever happen to you, especially when you're sad or grieving or any of those things. So yes, I'm super passionate about it, and just that. No story is a silly story. No genre is a silly genre because people have needs and our books fill whatever those needs are.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, and everybody's different too. So I am totally on the same wavelength as you there. And then what would you say to someone who because I talk to writers a lot and they're like I don't know if I have a deeper layer or deeper level, why I just want to write fiction Do you think everyone has one, or do you think you know you can write fiction without it?

Speaker 1:

I think if we I've been through a lot of therapy in the past decade and a half and I think if we really boil down to why they really want to write fiction, they have a why in there. They just don't know it, Like, or they're not really thinking that their why is important enough. Just having a why that writing fiction makes me feel good, or being a reader of this genre makes me feel good and I want to do that for others I think everybody otherwise you wouldn't have the call to write. Like there's a call somewhere in there, whether it's just because you love the fact you love what books did for you and you want to give that to other people, or you just want to create it for yourself, that's okay If that's your why. If you do it because it makes you feel good, yeah. But we all have a why. We just might not realize it.

Speaker 2:

I think so too, and just that reason of it makes me feel good. It's gonna make others feel good. That's totally true and valid. So yeah, so thanks for indulging that, because I do people that are listening are probably smiling a little bit because I talk about this a lot that even if you don't think you have a why you do, it's just connecting with it.

Speaker 2:

But so okay, so you went from nonfiction to fiction and then we talked a little bit earlier about like when do you start thinking about marketing so for your fiction? Because now we're talking about kind of book two, but you had book one, which is the four days in Paris. We'll link to that. When, or like how soon, did you start thinking about marketing for those? And then were there any things that you were like I have ideas for marketing while you're writing and those came to fruition Like talk to me about that.

Speaker 1:

So I guess one of the best and things about what I do is that I'm surrounded by people all the time that are experts in this industry and interviewing people on marketing all the time. I'm working with authors. You know all the things so so I just already knew, and I teach people how to launch their books. So I already knew if this was, if I was my client, what would I be doing, what would I be advising them to do? I was also working with a writing coach who is a very, very successful romcom author. So we were in our she was my writing accountability coach, basically and she was sharing what she was doing with her books. So I had that insight or knowledge. Like, for example, one of the things that I've learned because I've been looking at the markets and looking at all of these things is how much better series do and how, if you want to build your, your, your readers and money, that you know revenues as fast as possible, a series is just really important. So I started thinking about these things and originally it was just a story that I wanted to share about a good time in my life and then I was like but what, if like, what can I do with this. What I see is really trending and popular right now in the romcom book, world is building a whole series around the characters that are in that book. So each person gets their book, and that's what Kiki was doing with her books. So I knew, you know, that this is probably what I want to do. So from the get go, I was thinking, ok, whose book is going to be next? How do I make sure that I'm writing things into the book that will lead the reader in that direction, so that the next book is going to be about one of the other main female characters and her connection with one of the guys? And so you may not even realize that you're thinking about marketing. Sometimes when you're thinking about a marketing strategy, because now I've got, and let me tell you, the best way to market one book is by launching a new book. That brings a lot of activity around that too. So you know so. So, yeah, I was, from the get go, like how can I do this? And then, of course, it's set in Paris, and I know there's a lot of people who love Paris, and thank goodness for a TikTok and Instagram. I don't use TikTok very much, but I put a lot of videos on Instagram and I set out to see if what I was teaching people works really. I used myself as my own case study in there and I found that it's a lot of a lot of work to do all the things that we are getting experts teach. It's a lot of work. I didn't have time to implement all of them, but I did focus on the Instagram side and in three months, went from five followers to over a thousand followers. Now that took some effort, but I did what I would tell someone else to do and it hasn't grown much since then because I haven't been.

Speaker 1:

Consistency is so key in your marketing. It really is. But I went to Paris and I took lots of pictures and I've done those and I created reels and and I talk because I know and I know from the feedback that I've gotten in reviews is that people's favorite part about the book is the love story with the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They love the romance, they love the girl, the sister romance. That's happening between these friends too, but they love feeling like they are in Paris, right.

Speaker 1:

So you know, lean in on those things and sometimes your marketing. This is another reason why building advanced reader teams is so important? Because beta readers are likely going to give you feedback on structure, content and all of that, but your advanced readers are going to start giving you reviews that teach, that, give you marketing messages to use. They say the pieces that they love and it's often things you don't even think about. Like, I wanted Paris to be a big role, but I wasn't sure if I had done my. I had done it well enough and the reviews show me that, yes, it's definitely there. So you know marketing is something that never stops, ever. You should start thinking about it from the moment you create the idea in your head. Plan to make a plan be consistent, start building things as early as you can and then always be growing on, always be adding to that for as long as you want to continue selling that book, or until you get to the point where you have a machine that's just selling them for you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which is the dream, right? I always tell people just keep like a document of just marketing stuff If you're not at the stage where you are ready to focus on it. Keep a document with ideas, screenshots, like whatever, and then on the days where you don't feel like writing or editing, you can go play around in that document or make an Instagram plan or whatever you want to do, but it's not something that, like your writing, has to come to an halt. You know you have to focus on one thing in a silo and then go back to the other thing. It's all organic.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, following other authors in your genre is critical. You really need to see what other successful authors are doing so that you can literally just mimic what other people are doing, because it works. But the other piece of that is that I want to say that in that three month window I did not devote my life to Instagram. When I was growing that account, I devoted about, realistically, probably about 30 minutes two to three times a week. So it wasn't like my life, but I was very strategic. I went.

Speaker 1:

In case anybody wants to know exactly what I did, I was not following authors. I was. Well, I follow authors. Like I just said, I follow the major authors who are in my genre and relevant to me, but I was engaging on their pages with their readers and following their readers. And then their readers followed me back and guess what they liked? Those books. So they followed me. And then, when I announced I was looking for art readers, I also participated in some Instagram tours with Love Book Tours, which I love, love, love Kelly Lacey and everything that she's doing and that helped build a lot of momentum.

Speaker 1:

And I did not participate in author follow loops. I participated in reader follow loops. I engaged as a reader. I also shared books that I loved in my feed and of course I shared. I leaned in hard on all things Paris, so it was very little marketing about my book. I mean, I would mention my book in it. I'd be like this is the path that Julian and Kelly took on their night, or whatever. I would mention things. But I wasn't doing a lot of book marketing, I was doing a lot of reader engagement.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, with like kind of that indirect marketing, and I like what you said, that it was like 30 minutes twice a week, so it had to be intentional and you're not wasting a bunch of time on there, because that's how we eat up hours in our day, right, so okay. So I love that we're giving so many good tips and advice and we'll link to your Instagram and all that so people can see kind of how you did all that. But the other thing I'm hearing you talk about a lot is community and kind of sharing within the community. I know earlier you mentioned that accountability factor from other people too. Do you want to talk about that a?

Speaker 1:

little bit. I do because you know what Nobody ever gets anywhere without other people in this day and age. Like we just talked about the fact how important social media is. Well, that in itself that you need other people and you have the opportunity when you are newer at this game to form relationships if you're in the communities with the right people and growing with them. And I find that for the most part in the publishing world, people are very generous in the indie publishing world and indie authors, indie publishers like it's a very generous community in terms of sharing resources and knowledge and helping each other out. So I like to talk about leverage, leveraging other people's audiences and in the beginning, when you don't have an email list or you don't have a following, if you're making relationships with other authors who are in the same genre, they may be very willing to do a cross promotion or share different things, but they have to know you. If you just cold call somebody and be like hey, you look like you're a successful romcom author, will you share about my stuff? The answer is going to be no. But if you come out, if you build a relationship and you are saying I know I don't have much to offer you now. I will share about your book as my community grows. I will continue to share about your book. When I have an email list I'll email whatever you want we can do. And using growing I don't want to say using, because that is negative, but growing with other authors and community is really important and also just having the place and space and group of people who know and understand the struggles that you're going through, who can provide feedback when you're feeling low, who can hold you accountable, who can say you can do this, we're doing it. All of those things that come that you can ask questions of. These folks that you can share resources with. Or someone may say here's a tool I use that really helped me, or this helped me schedule posts, so I don't have to worry about it anymore. It's always accountability.

Speaker 1:

I think never gets enough credit for how important it is in our success in life. It's funny because my best friend and I we both want to want to lose weight. We've set ourselves a goal of 24 pounds in 2024. And she made the comment the other day. She was like the key to this accountability is we have to be successful, we have to be doing good things. Because she says when you're doing well, when you're eating well and you're posting that you exercise every day and you post that you lost weight, I want to do it too. And if you're like we ordered Italian last night, three entrees and I just couldn't stop myself, then she's like well, I don't have to work that hard this week because she gave her, she indulged. So community works that way too right.

Speaker 1:

You can fall into a place and I've seen this oh my gosh, there was one such toxic community Like. I never will go in there. But there are some places that it's just mass toxicity and everybody's this went wrong and that went wrong. I can't do this. And this person's a fraud and blah, blah, blah. Negativity breeds negativity. But if you find the right group of people which is something that we focus on very much in the women and publishing summits it's empower, encourage and support. That's our motto. Our theme for this year and maybe for the rest of our lives, is better together, because that's we are. And when we bring the positives things and guess what, it's okay to have a bad day, it's okay to say I need to vent, and those people will allow that space for you, but they're not going to let you fall into it and we'll bring you back up out of it again. So community is everything to me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I'm so glad you just said that, because I'm working with a writer right now and she has a community that's kind of like that and we've talked about it how her mood has just kind of gone from like positive to I don't think I can do this anymore in the span of months. So it's amazing how much your community can affect you, and not that everything, like you said, has to be sunshine and rainbows, but it's more like you know, what kind of vibe and energy do you want to associate yourself with? Do you want one that's constructive or destructive? And I think, like this particular person, in her group, there are people that are having success with, like, traditional publishing. She's not sure what route she wants to go yet, but you know she's just hearing things that are making it not fun, making it not exciting and things like that. There's a lot of judgment, but my point is that she's not ready to get out of it yet because she's like, well, maybe they can offer me something.

Speaker 1:

You know, oh gosh, this happened so much Can I tell you. I've been paying $97 a month for this program for four years because I'm thinking one day I'm actually going to use it. It's the same kind of thing. We're like, oh, I don't want to end that because whatever. But the truth is like if you know, give yourself I don't know, give yourself a deadline and say, if I don't meet this goal or this thing, or get help with this or have this positive experience by this timeframe, then I'm going to go find someone somewhere else. And oh, by the way, we would welcome you with open arms at the Women in Publishings of it if you need an uplifting community?

Speaker 1:

No, but we all fall into that. It's FOMO, right? It's nothing more than FOMO. We don't want to miss out on something. So we'll do bad things, but not bad things. But we don't make the best decisions because we're again that word fear when fear drives us. So I will tell them that there are so many great communities out there and don't be afraid of we went through this a lot with grief and loss.

Speaker 1:

Actually, when you really, when you go through a tremendous loss, you see who has your back and who doesn't. But really you know, and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and let me tell you, cutting some people out of my life was the best thing that ever happened to me, even though it hurt really badly. And it's the same with writing too. You know, at the end of the day, you have to make sure that you're putting you as number one and your goals, and if anything is happening around you that's stopping you from moving forward with writing or seeing success or feeling good about what you're doing, our mental health is so important when it comes to creativity.

Speaker 2:

Right, we're already in a silo most of the time. So, like you said, get that good community and, you know, don't make it harder than it needs to be. I also like how you gave it for your example of monetary value. You're like I've been spending $97 a month for four years. Think about what that could be at the end of four years, Right?

Speaker 1:

So I know I don't want to think about it, it's a lot of money and now, as soon as we get done recording this, I'm going to go cancel that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you're like mental note cancel, but it's the same thing. It's just not like physical dollars, right. It's like how much did that tax our mental health For all this time? But okay, so I want to talk about the women in publishing summit, because that's coming up next month, right? So what are the dates? Tell us a little bit about that. I'm going to link to everything, of course, but give us an overview.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so March 6th through 9th 2024 is when it runs live, but live it's virtual, so you don't have to travel anywhere, which is amazing, and everything is recorded and our attendees have access through the entire year so that we don't take away access until the end of the year. We also have a very active Facebook group with lots of fun and networking and connections and resources and help and all kinds of things happening. So during the actual live event we run four zoom rooms at a time and do four workshops at a time and then we also have special events. So we have lots of networking. We call in the coffee chats or happy hour, depending on the time of the day. Lots of networking and getting to know each other. We have opportunities to meet the speakers and the sponsors and publishers.

Speaker 1:

This year we're incorporating publisher speed dating. We do have one fiction publisher there. We'll work next year to grow some of that background with the fiction publishers. But it's fun. We have special events. A couple of the mornings we open up with a 10 minute yoga stretch. We have some great keynote speakers coming in to inspire and encourage everyone and it's built around tracks based on your expert, your knowledge base. So if you're a beginner, we have a suggested track of all the beginner level content, From writing craft across the genres, to your routes to publishing, working with an editor, all those type things, marketing and business growth. If you're more intermediate or advanced, we have a track for you. And if you're a professional, we have a track for professionals this year too. So talking authors, I mean editors, teaching editors and publishers, teaching publishers and professionals come in and talking about growing your freelance or publishing business. So that's really exciting.

Speaker 1:

But the fund doesn't stop. Just in that week we had, I think, seven pre-conference workshops where they're still in the works. We have one coming up on February 13th. We're writing backstory for romance writers, and all of these are also recorded and included and you can watch them whenever. And then we have monthly free webinars as well. So if you're you know you're just not ready to make the investment at this point in time or can't, you know, be there, then join us at a free event that we do every month.

Speaker 1:

So for me, the focus I don't want it to just be like a conference that you go to for four days and then you're done and you have to figure out what to do. We're really trying to structure an environment where our community is learning and connecting. Every month of the year we do monthly networking sessions. So it's been an honor growing this community and the women in it. And we do have some men and we do have those who are non-binary and other like. We welcome everybody. That's one of the things I get all the time is like who's welcome, who's not everybody's welcome?

Speaker 1:

But I started the Women in Publishing Summit because I was working with all these incredible women and being mentored by these incredible publishers and book experts and coaches and I was attending all these virtual conferences and not seeing women or diversity at all and I was like, okay, I'm going to change that. So that's our requirement is that we highlight the women. We do have a few men who are speakers, because I don't want to not have tools and resources represented that are key to publisher rocket those that are run by men. Book Funnel is another one of Brian Barney from Book Ads. We do have some subdued to participate, but I just make them pay because they're not women. Love it.

Speaker 2:

And so I love that. You clarified anyone's welcome and I heard you say earlier it's for all genres, so not just romance, even though there's going to be a ton of great romance stuff there and I'll be there. So I hope everyone listening comes and we'll put all the links and information to that in the show notes. But any last parting words of wisdom about marketing, writing anything on your heart or mind.

Speaker 1:

The biggest thing is don't give up. Like I'm going to just tell you right now, I never thought I would get that first fiction book done, because the transition from writing nonfiction to fiction was very challenging for me and the first draft was, oh my God, bad. It wasn't just like the shitty first draft, sorry. Hope to hope this can say that it wasn't just the crappy first draft, it was the. You probably shouldn't be writing books first draft. And we got it.

Speaker 1:

We did it through using my community, through using a great developmental editor, through going through the process and doing all the things and continuing to work and be consistent. Always, always, always, work on being a better writer and work on your craft and the other stuff I promise will follow. As long as you're doing the things. Like, if you have a great book, marketing comes a lot easier than if you have a book that maybe wasn't I'm not going to say a bad book, but maybe wasn't ready yet. So don't, don't push yourself into publishing too soon. Do it right, follow the steps. There is a process that works for a lot of people. So, yeah, but just don't give up.

Speaker 2:

And I love that. You said you got a lot of outside feedback, because I think that's important. That's something people skip when they are rushing. They think you know it's good enough. I'm going to put it out there and that's fine if that's your goal, but if you want something that's quality and lasting, it's super important to get outside feedback.

Speaker 1:

And it's a whole lot better to get outside feedback from people that you've asked to give you feedback from than it is to get some nasty reviews on your book.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, which is probably going to happen. No matter what, we're all going to get a bad review right.

Speaker 1:

But I mean You're not a real author. You got one star, yes, but you're going to get them and it's okay.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, alexa, thank you so much. I think this is going to be a listener favorite episode. I can already tell so many actionable things, so much good advice and things like that. So, like I said, we're going to link to everything, but let us know where's the one place we can go to find you.

Speaker 1:

I would say head on over to women and publishing summitcom, but actually use Savannah's link. We want to make sure you're going in through the right thing so that you can get the coupon code she's going to share with you. Why don't you go to Instagram and follow me women and publishing summit on Instagram? That'd be great.

Speaker 2:

There you go, so we'll link to all that and again I super appreciate you coming and hopefully we'll have you back again someday.

Speaker 1:

I would love to anytime. This is my favorite. All right, thanks.

Speaker 2:

So that's it for today's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in and for showing your support. If you want to check out any of the links I mentioned in this episode, you can find them in the show notes listed in the description of each episode inside your podcast player or at savannahgilbocom forward slash podcast. If you're an Apple user, I'd really appreciate it if you took a few seconds to leave a rating and a review. Your ratings and reviews tell Apple that this is a podcast that's worth listening to and, in turn, your reviews will help this podcast get in front of more fiction writers just like you. And while you're there, go ahead and hit that follow button, because there's going to be another brand new episode next week, full of actionable tips, tools and strategies to help you become a better writer. So I'll see you next week and until then, happy writing.

Effective Marketing Strategies for Authors
Author Platform and Transitioning to Fiction
Book Publishing Marketing and Community Building
Leveraging Communities for Writing Success
Support and Engagement for Fiction Writers