Meet Rebecca Vnuk of IndiePicks Magazine

Rebecca Vnuk


Rebecca VnukToday’s blog post is an interview with Rebecca Vnuk, Editor in Chief of
IndiePicks Magazine. Rebecca was most recently the Editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach with Booklist Publications and has an MLIS from Dominican University. Before her editing career, Rebecca worked for a decade as a public librarian, in a variety of positions from Readers’ Advisor to adult services management. She is the author of three reference books on the topic of Women’s Fiction, as well as a best-selling book on weeding library collections.

Please explain why IndiePicks was formed and what it hopes to accomplish.

Our publisher, Naomi Blackburn, is a huge fan of indie authors. She noticed that the review magazines she’d look at in her local library rarely mentioned indies and never mentioned any self-pubbed authors, so she decided she wanted to create a review magazine that would.

Do you see IndiePicks as filling a void in the industry?

Yes–it’s hard enough for librarians and readers to keep up with what the “Big Five” are putting out there, and many times, libraries won’t/can’t order books without a professional review.

Which categories or genres does IndiePicks consider? Are there genres that IndiePicks won’t consider?

Right now, we have started with ten reviewers who cover General Fiction, General Nonfiction, YA, Children’s, Romance, Horror, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers. We hope to grow in the new year to separate out even more fiction and non-fiction categories. We’ll consider any book that’s well-written!

What is meant by the statement that “IndiePicks is a recommended-only resource”?

Some review sources do offer negative reviews, but we’d prefer to use our space to promote only books that our review team would recommend to readers or purchase for their own library collections.

Why don’t libraries include independently-published books? Or, do some libraries carry these books that you know of? Is there a process for considering them?

Some do, many do not. There are a lot of factors at play, from whether or not they are getting requests for these books to whether or not they are seeing reviews for them (can’t buy them if you don’t know about them!). That’s where we’d like to think we come in. Several of our reviewers are actively adding indie books to their public library collections, and that’s part of the reason they’ve been selected to review for us!

Why do you think some libraries are hesitant to include independently published books?

I would wager that it’s mostly because they don’t know enough about them. If they aren’t getting professional reviews, then librarians don’t know if they are any good or not. We are in tough times right now for most library budgets, and many librarians simply aren’t comfortable spending precious dollars on unproven works or unknown authors. It’s a difficult spot to be in.

What is your vision as editor for IndiePicks Magazine?

I hope that we continue to grow and add more reviewers, which equals more books that we can review each month! I also would love to see us branch out into a one-stop shop for indies. Who knows? Webinars? Lists? All kinds of opportunities await.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – November 17, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update is chockfull of helpful tips. From Facebook ads to author websites to cross-promotion, you’ll find information to help you sell more books.

Indie Author Updates

Unpublished Writers and Websites: Should You Have One and What Should It Say? by Jane Friedman: “If you plan to pursue writing as a professional, long-term career, I recommend starting and maintaining an author website even if you’re unpublished. Your website serves as an online home and hub for everything that you do, whether in real life or in the digital realm. You fully own and control it, tell your own story, and connect directly with the media, readers or influencers. It’s hard to overstate its importance over the long term. Consider it the cost of doing business in the digital era, a necessary business card and networking tool.”

Use Your Author Website To Make Readers Care About You As A Writer  from Web Design Relief: “As a writer, your job is to create a narrative that hooks the reader, raises curiosity, elicits empathy, and leaves the reader satisfied. But have you ever considered how these fundamentals of storytelling can be harnessed to improve your author website?”

Email Marketing: The Complete Beginner’s Guide from Blogging Wizard: “If you’re a small business owner doing business online, the thought of not making any conversions can make you lose sleep at night. You work hard at creating your website – or the online version of your brick and mortar business – with a distinct brand and logo. You even heard that blogging can generate up to 67% more leads, so you start your own company blog.”

Pronoun Is Dead: The Ebook Retail Universe Redux from TheBoodDesigner.com and by David Kudler: “I’m bummed. On November 6, Macmillan’s Pronoun, the distributor that I had begun to rely on more and more over the past year, announced that it was shutting down its operations. No new books can be uploaded; Pronoun will remove all existing books from distribution on January 15, 2018.”

The 4 Best Types of Facebook Ads for Authors by Andrea Vahl: “Are you an author who wants to promote your book with Facebook Ads?  It can be overwhelming to know what is going to be most effective.  In this post, I’ll show you the 4 best types of Facebook Ads for Authors and how to approach your marketing strategy on Facebook. The first thing to clear up is that there are different types of authors and different goals for your book.  And once you are clear on the next step a reader should take with you, your marketing strategy becomes clearer.”

14 Ways Authors Can Cross-Promote Each Other’s Books from BookBub: “Many authors cross-promote each other’s books to gain visibility with a relevant new audience of readers. It’s a mutually beneficial way to inexpensively boost book sales and word-of-mouth buzz — and to make new friends and build relationships in the publishing community!”

Awards News

Jesmyn Ward Wins Second National Book Award in Fiction from Publishing Perspectives: “Jesmyn Ward led Wednesday evening’s (November 15) National Book Award honors, for her Sing, Unburied, Sing, becoming a two-time winner of the prize.” Her earlier award came in 2011 for Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA).

Fiction Writing Contests

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Winter 2017 Edition) from Writer Unboxed: “Much like editors are looking for reasons to reject work, I want to focus on opportunities worth my time. Thus, my list of writing contests below includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send your exceptional work.”

Quote of the Week

Ernest Hemingway

New to blogging? Check out Blogging Just for Writers 

Blogging Just for Writers by Frances Caballo

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

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50 Blogging Topics for Authors

Blogging Topics

Do you struggle with coming up with blogging topics?

Hey, I wouldn’t be honest if I said that blogging is such a breeze, I could do it in my sleep. Or when I’m sleep-deprived.

There are times when blogging topics come to me in bunches. I could be sitting at my desk, and one thought triggers another, and before I know it, I have six or seven or even ten new blogging topics.

I love those times.

But then there are also the other times. You know, when my fountain of creativity has run dry.

There have been times when I’ve followed my advice and set up a blogging calendar. I’ve used Excel to track my topics, an online app, a scrap of paper floating around my desk, or just a Word doc to keep all of my blog topics organized.

But lately, I seem to be a seat-of-my-pants type of blogger. During these times, I tend to write about whatever is up with me whether there’s something new in social media I’m trying to learn or certain issues that keep cropping up.

I know that other authors have this problem too because they’ve asked me for advice on what to blog about.

When we publish our first book, especially if it’s a nonfiction book, we think we’ve said everything we can on the topic. Then we find out that we need an author website and blog. So we wonder, should I write about my cancer, my trip to the Bahamas, or my garden?

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – November 10, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update covers everything from social media marketing to growing an email list to guest blogging. I’m sure that in the posts below, you’ll find some that speak to you right now.

You’ll want to sign up for the Amy Collins webinar this month. The sign-up link is at the bottom of this post. Amy is awesome and a wealth of knowledge.

Indie Author Updates

How to Tame the Social Media Beast by Chris Syme: “When it comes to book marketing, there is no bigger potential time waster than social media. There are approximately 210 social media sites listed on Wikipedia (global numbers). Of those 210, there are about ten that you can probably name and of those ten there are three to five that authors feel they have to be active on.”

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Sometimes You Have to Break the Rules on Social Media

Sometimes You Have to Break the Rules on Social MediaIn the past, I’ve recommended strict rules about social media use.

Don’t argue politics. Stick to neutral topics. Be aware of your readers’ differing opinions.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I’ve not only broken my own rules, I’ve shattered them. Yes, you heard me correctly.

You see, during the worst fire in California’s history, which occurred in my community, a lot changed around here.

For one, the way I kept in touch with the majority of friends during this time was through Facebook.

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Update – November 2, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Weekly Update covers a lot of topics and all but one focus on some aspect of selling your books. I hope you enjoy these posts.

Indie Author Updates

Book Reviews for Self-Published Authors: A Primer by Joel Friedlander: “It’s never been a better time to be a self-published author, and there have never been more book reviewers available to the writer who decides to go indie. Book reviewers help spread the message about your book by publishing a review to their own network. But if you’re new to publishing, you have to figure out how to get those book reviews that can bring you more readers.”

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Are You a Social Media Cynic?

Social Media CynicSo, are you a social media cynic? You sort of need to figure that out.

This past week, someone in my community hired me for some one-on-one tutoring. She asked the questions and I answered them.

Because people new to social media sometimes don’t know what to ask, I also filled in gaps with what I thought she might need to know.

At one point, I wanted to say to her, as lovingly as possible, that she needed to admit that she was a social media cynic.

Why lovingly? Because the fires that ripped through Northern California devastated my community. One thing I learned from this experience is that we all need to be as kind as possible, especially now.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – October 27, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts from Joanna Penn, Neil Patel, and David Gaughran and covers a wide range of topics from author websites to Twitter lists.

Indie Author Updates

3 Original Ways to Get More People Sharing Your Content on Social Media from Neil Patel: “When it comes to marketing, exposure is the name of the game. Having high-quality content is great, but it means nothing if there’s no one actually reading it. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that brands and businesses from all over the world are doing everything in their power to increase their exposure on social media. At this point, there are a variety of ways that you can do this.”

The Essentials Of Your Author Website by Joanna Penn: “Your site portrays your author brand and gives a sense of your personality as well as your professionalism. It’s how people judge you online. It’s the first place a journalist, publisher or agent will look if they are interested in you. They will click away if it’s not what they’re looking for.”

How To Create Twitter Lists from The SITS Girls: “Have you ever logged onto Twitter only to feel like logging off the second you saw your stream? Twitter lists are a great way to organize yourself on Twitter, and help you to find more of the tweets you want to see. Lists are one of Twitter’s best features, but they are underused.”

A Tale of Two Marketing Systems by David Gaughran: “Lots of people right now are asking themselves whether they should leave Kindle Unlimited. I’m generally agnostic on it, and I think writers should do what is best for them and their books, but there’s no doubt this is the big question of the moment.”

Quote of the Week

Sylvia Plath

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

Amy Collins

Amy Collins

Amy Collins is the President of New Shelves Books, one of the largest book sales and marketing content providers in the US. Join us for a webinar on November 15 at 2 pm PST / 5 pm EST. Amy will talk about Amazon rules, tips, and sales successes.

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tips to Stay Motivated During NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo

With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) fast approaching, now is the time to prepare for the marathon writing season.

You’ve heard of NaNoWriMo of course. It’s that time of year when many authors try to write an entire novel – yes an entire novel – in the space of 30 days. Is it possible? I know people who have written a novel during November so, yes, it is possible.

But you have to be organized, prepared and know how to persevere. NaNoWriMo isn’t an effort for wusses. It’s hard work trying to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. Damn hard work.

Plan for #NaNoWriMo in October Click To Tweet

I once tried but gave up. (Confession: It was really a nonfiction book.) So there, I admit it. But you know what? I didn’t prepare and wasn’t clear on my objective. So from my experience and those whom I know, I offer the following advice.

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Indie Author Weekly Update – October 20, 2017


Indie Authors Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update touches on blogging, Twitter, Amazon advertising, and book review sites. They are all topics important to you as an indie author if you want to sell books.

Top 10 Ways to Use Twitter Without Losing Your Soul by G.G. Andrew: “Though it may seem old-fashioned, I prefer to think of Twitter as the online equivalent of a giant cocktail party, and act accordingly (by which I mean practicing kindness and maybe also drinking things with umbrellas).”

[Read more…]