Today, I am launching my brand new landing website, cadyhammer.com! This will serve as a place to find the most up-to-date information about me and my books. My dad bought this domain for me years ago when I was a kid in hopes that one day I would use it. It makes me so happy to be able to showcase this site under my name as a part of my author pathway. I hope you all will check it out!
And don’t worry, Fluff About Fantasy will still be updated on a (hopefully) bi-weekly schedule. I plan to keep this site as active as possible as well. Sending good wishes on the first Monday of the new year!
It’s the end of 2020, the end of the most tumultuous year of my life. From March to December, I have been sequestering in my house due to an underlying health condition. My world that felt so big suddenly shrank to the size of my parents’ houses. Suddenly, I was writing, studying, and just living with my family all the time. It has been quite a learning curve. My heart hurts to be away from my extended family, my friends, and the love of my life. It aches for all the loss we have seen this year.
But some really positive things came out of this year too for me. I published my debut novel, Chasing Fae in August 2020. I spent March to August working to make it as perfect as I could, and it’s been out for nearly five months now. I love being a published author. It is such a liberating experience. I love how creative I get to be while writing and working on the business side. I also had a really great semester; I finished with a 3.59 GPA. Puts me in great contention for grad school.
As I look ahead to 2021, I want to share my author goals with you.
Books Planned to Release in 2021
I have three books that I hope to release by the end of the year. I’m going to list these in order of potential release, but know that these are subject to whatever schedule I can work out.
First, I am happy to announce a new project that I have just started: a prequel novella to Chasing Fae. This novella will be a series of stories from the House of the Evening to weave in a little bit of background and foreshadowing into the Fae’s world before book 2 of the trilogy comes out. Readers will see Grace’s parents fateful meeting, Neil’s perspective on that final scene from Chasing Fae, and a look into Grace’s new stepmother, High Lady Elise, and what it took to get where she is now. It’s a short project, and I’m hoping it could be out sometime in the spring.
Second, my untitled nonfiction project that I was previously working on with New Degree Press will be my first full-length self-published book. I am working on a combination of additional research and drafting right now. I shifted the direction somewhat on my original premise, and I think it is going to make the book more engaging and interesting.
Finally, Chasing War! I have been working on this sequel for a little while now, and it has been amazing. I really cannot wait to bring readers further into the Upper Realm. However, as I’m seeing from my beta readers, it’s going to take some significant revision to make it the way I want. Expect this one to be out closer to the end of 2021.
New Website and Email Newsletter
I am launching cadyhammer.com this month! This will be my home landing page for people wanting to learn more about me and my books as well as subscribe to my email newsletter. I will continue to create posts for Fluff About Fantasy, but it will be on a bi-weekly/monthly basis rather than my primary focus. I’m excited to finally use my name domain.
I also want to consistently put out a solid monthly newsletter to keep fans engaged with personal stories, special looks at my works, and early access to pre-order announcements. Since I’m transitioning to being a fully indie author, you’ll see many more opportunities to preorder books and get special extras.
The hardest part of the publishing process for me is marketing. An author has to do this constantly while also continuing to write. (I’m also a full-time student!) For me, my primary focuses will be on expanding my social media presence with my Facebook page and Instagram. Twitter will take more of a backseat and serve as my way to connect with other writers, and Pinterest will get a monthly update as I move forward. I plan to learn how to use Amazon and Facebook ads effectively, and who knows: maybe I’ll have the opportunity to attend another writing conference once the pandemic is over.
That’s everything to look forward to from me in 2021. It’s quite a lot of goals, but I think I’ll be able to manage. Wish me luck!
Hey Charlotte readers! I’m super excited to announce that Chasing Fae is officially stocked at Park Road Books! I was so thrilled to see my book in the front window and on the shelf at a place I love to visit. I spent lots of time here in high school searching for autographed copies of my favorite books to collect. I also found some of my favorite new books in their store. If you stop by, feel free to send me a picture!
Hey everyone! Finally getting around to doing a full-length post with all of the launch preparation going on. According to social media, what writers most want to hear about at this particular moment is how to market a fantasy book. This is a super pertinent topic right now as I am setting up my early marketing strategy for Chasing Fae. Today, I’m going to walk through my small budget and which sites and resources I am going to be using as of today to promote my book through its first month out and into the future.
Starting Budget: $100
For my 21st birthday a few days ago, my grandparents gave me $100 in two very nice cards. I decided that I could use that money to set up a few small promotion listings and advertisements to get a solid running start with my debut novel. The most important elements for me in my marketing strategy are to utilize as many free promotion sites and services as I can and spend money in key places to maximize sales (and hopefully reviews!) in the future.
Free Promotion Ideas
All Author – This is a great site that allows authors to have a profile and your books in their directories for free. The free plan includes a basic author page with a listing in the Author Directory, up to 4 books, and a tweet scheduler feature. The pro plan is $59 for six months and includes more features like a premium author page, unlimited book adds, a featured book listing, and more. I opted for the free plan here because I had more worthwhile places to spend my money.
Alternative Reads – I submitted my book for a potential Sunday Spotlight Author feature. I’ll see what happens!
Authorsdb – Authors Database is a great free option for promotion. They have over 20k published listing, and setting up a profile and adding your books is super easy. It looks like it has a fun author community; I’m looking forward to taking part in it.
Book Goodies – I opted for a free listing on Book Goodies that will be up for six months. This is a site that I heard was a good option.
Book Reader Magazine – I submitted a book listing and a free interview to Book Reader Magazine, which I am including in my blog tour this coming week.
Fantasy Book Place and Fiction Hideaway – These sites are both affiliates of Book Goodies; one is fiction targeted and one is fantasy targeted. I submitted a free book listing to both sites, which will be up for six months.
Awesome Gang ($10) – I submitted a book listing to Awesome Gang because it looks like a great site with quite a few solid affiliations with other sites. I submitted a free author interview to them as well, so I thought this was a good place to add some extra power to my listing. $10 buys a featured listing which gets me a listing on the front page for 2 days, a guaranteed spot in the newsletter, and a blast out to Facebook and Twitter with 70,000 followers combined.
Bargain Booksy ($25)- Bargain Booksy is one of the more well known promotion sites that I have heard of, so I decided to submit a title for a feature. Each genre has a separate price. I listed my book as a young adult title for $25. That gets me a listing in the daily email to thousands of subscribers as well as a feature front and center on their website.
Book Bongo ($19.99)- I liked the different kinds of marketing options offered at Book Bongo. The more I looked into it, the more I wanted to do a slightly higher priced package. I opted for the Book Blast for $19.99. My book will be permanently featured in two genres on the website and on the front page for up to two weeks during my $0.99 promotion period. I will also get a feature in the weekly mailout, a post on Facebook and Twitter, and inclusion in the weekly advertising campaign on Facebook. I thought this was absolutely worth it, and I’m hoping to see some results from it.
Book of the Day ($9.99) – Book of the Day was another promotion site that offered a lot of marketing outreach for a low price. $9.99 bought me my book on the front page for 2 weeks, the sidebar for 7 days, listings in the newsletter, on Facebook, and on Twitter; and addition to the Category pages and AI System.
eBook Booster ($20)- I found this form through Armadillo eBooks that guaranteed listing my ebook on 15 different promotion sites and social media channels. I browsed their database of options (and there were a lot of options), and I liked what I saw. I thought $20 was worth the breadth of the outreach. I’m looking forward to seeing where the listings end up.
Read Free.ly ($10) – This seems like an awesome site with a lot of opportunities for promotion at every level. For authors on a budget, this is a great spot. $10 buys a platinum level promotion package. This includes a long list of perks: promotion on the homepage for up to 7 days, promotion in the newsletter on a specific date chosen by me, promotions on their social media platforms, and an automatic spot on the shortlist for the site’s Editor’s Choice section.
YA Books Central ($3.99)- This is an essential database for any young adult author to take advantage of, and it has longevity. It’s been around since 1998. For $3.99, I entered my book into the database. This not only gives me access to a ton of readers, but it also opens me up to take advantage of the site’s other offerings in the future.
So this is my plan so far! I have a few other ideas for free listings in the works right now, and I may do an update later if people are interested. For now, there are a little less than 24 hours until launch day, and I have more work to do! Happy writing, everyone!!!
Hello! I am sorry about the delay in the posting for this week. All of the work that I am doing for the book has been taking up all of my time, so every time I sit down to do a post, there are like fifty other things to finish. I love doing the work, but I am very tired at the end of every day.
So one of the important things I have learned through researching marketing techniques for Chasing Fae is the necessity of reviewers. Personally, I don’t usually read reviews before I choose to buy a book, but I know many people do. Several of my friends skim the first few reviews to see if a book will be any good. Reviews help sell books. They help gain credibility for an author, and they help find you new readers. Today, I’m going to share my best advice for reaching out to book bloggers and reviewers.
First, A Short List of Book Bloggers and Reviewers for Young Adults
Get To Know Your Chosen Reviewer And Their Platform
The key to securing the most opportunities to book bloggers and reviewers is to be organized. Take a look at the resources that I have posted above, and make yourself a list of reviewers that you might be interested in reaching out to. Please make sure to double check that they have had a few posts in the last couple months or so. Then explore the blogs that you have chosen. Explore the selection of their reviews. Get familiar with their work.
Make sure to specifically take note of their review policy. Here, you will find how to contact the person, what genres they are looking for at the time, and most importantly, what formats they want. This can change regularly. You also want to know what information to include in your email or contact form such as the title, publisher, and a brief summary. Here is a great article that is super helpful in learning how to format your emails to reviewers. Don’t forget to include a personal note of why you want this particular reviewer; connect it back to the person or the site.
Take Time To Plan These Things Out
I spent days putting together a good list of bloggers. I have spent days drafting and sending out messages so far, and I have a long way to go before I finish reaching out to everyone. You don’t want to give yourself just one day to get all of this done. It is a process and one that you’ll be spending time on while you revise, market, write, and market some more. Find some times every day to chip away at that long to-do list, and you will see it go down.
I like to keep a table of emails sent and responses received. It is way too easy to get busy with other pieces of the writing and publishing process and forget that you had outstanding requests to bloggers and reviewers. When I receive an email back from someone, I go back and add it onto my to-do list for the day: “Reply to Person X”. I mark it on my table, and then I remember to reply every time. If you don’t hear a response from someone that you’re expecting a response from or don’t hear in the time frame a reviewer has listed on their review policy, feel free to send a second email. Keep it short and polite with all of the impertinent information. And I can’t say it enough, keep track! Check your email regularly and keep updating your list or table (or both).
Hey everybody! Today, I want to share advice about marketing yourself online. I think this topic touches many different disciplines outside of writing, and it is an important subject to discuss. Over the last couple weeks, I have stepped up my social media presence and the construction of my brand. I have been hearing a lot of questions around Twitter and around my own campus about what it takes to build your brand online and market yourself. So let’s talk about that today and shed some light on the subject.
When should I start building my brand?
In my opinion, it’s never too early to start, especially if you’re a writer. You can start by bringing your audience into your writing process. Let them see how your work in progress is faring. Share your successes as well as your failures. What scene is being written really well today? Which chapter is giving your writer’s block? Your book or project does not have to be finished in order to talk about it or start a discussion about the topic.
Where should I start building my brand?
Well… everywhere with conditions. Everywhere you have time to put time into and everywhere that you can reach people who want to hear what you have to say. Depending on your genre of writing or your area of expertise, different platforms may suit your needs while others don’t.
I think everyone should build a website. With platforms like WordPress and Wix available right now, it is very easy to build something beautiful with minimal technical knowledge. Free plans do offer you a decent amount of customization options, and if you choose to upgrade to a paid plan, your options expand greatly. Take a couple hours and think your website through. Add tabs for your current project or projects as well as any published material you have out already. Consider adding a blog that you can update semi-frequently. And don’t forget an “about me” page! Think about your colors and your layout because believe it or not, every little detail can be a part of building your band.
Special Subsection: Social Media
You must also consider what social media platforms you want to use. Again, you should try to pick places that will reach the audience you want to communicate with. This is going to require a bit of research on your part. Find out where your people are. And don’t be afraid to change it up after a few months if you find one place is working better than another! Or don’t be afraid to wait it out. My Pinterest account that I created to show off inspiration for the world my book is set in wasn’t doing much for the first few months. But within the last two months, I have seen a dramatic increase in traffic from Pinterest to my website as well as an increase in people saving pictures to their board.
How should I market myself?
This part is easy. Way easier than you think.
Relax and be yourself!
Share pieces of your life. Share your goals and your aspirations. Write posts about your writing, your daily life, and your favorite moments. Ask questions! Starting discussions is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and meet new people.
Post frequently. Doesn’t necessarily have to be every platform every day, but invest actual time and effort into this. You need to in order to see great results.
And have fun with it! Experiment and try new things, but always keep it true to yourself and the way you want people to see you.
Hey everybody! I hope everyone’s been having a wonderful week of writing. I’ve been working on my history book nonstop for the last week, and I’m making some great progress. I’m seeing chapters start to take form, and I’m liking how it sounds so far. Writing nonfiction is such a different process than writing fiction; there is SO much research that is involved. It’s a more focused style of writing. I want to make sure the text is informative and engaging at the same time. Progress is being made!
Today, I want to talk about how to create a good pitch that will get agents to listen to you. Query letters won’t always be your sole means of communication to literary agents. At some point in your writing career, you may have the opportunity to speak to a literary agent face to face and make your case about your book verbally. Now if you’re an introvert like me, that might make you panic. But don’t worry, this article’s going to give you some pointers about how to write a good pitch and execute it well.
Writing A Good Pitch
Luckily, the first step creating a good pitch involves writing! We’re writers! That’s what we’re supposed to be good at, right? Let’s use that to get us started on the right foot.
Your pitch has got to be concise, but informative. When you’ve got the attention of an agent for such a short period of time such as during a writing conference or in an elevator. Hence the name ‘elevator pitches’. As an author, you have to be able to sell your book in the first sentence. What is the heart of your story? Find the most compelling piece that makes your book unique and sum it up in about twenty words or less. For me, it’s a young mortal woman taking on the Fae world and its dangers to find answers about her brother’s death. 19 words, and I’ve shared my main character, her motivations, and the reason that readers should keep turning the page. Agents are in the business of selling books. Convince them you can motivate readers.
Once you’ve hooked them, then you can get into some of the details. Give a few sentences about your book. Elaborate on the motivations, the events, the intrigue. Don’t forget to mention the world a little bit. But keep it snappy. Let the agent decide if they want to hear more from you. Don’t forget to mention your target audience.
I would suggest writing your pitch down so that you can refer back to it whenever you need to.
Practicing Your Pitch
Pitching to agents requires a certain amount of preparedness. I’m not the most confident person in the world, but with enough practice, I was able to pitch to a literary agent and wow her enough for her to request a submission from me. Here are my best tips to prepare:
Practice, practice, practice: If you do not know this pitch backwards and forwards before you step into that room, you are not going to get anywhere no matter how well you think you know your story. Agents can tell when you’re putting something together on the fly. That’s not to say that you have to be a rigid script reader. Instead, you want to know your pitch well enough to start with it and then add a little more finesse as the meeting goes on. You’ll know if you get nervous, you can always revert back to the structure you already have in place. Remember, keep it concise.
Act the part: If you’re having face to face time with an agent, nine times out of ten, it’s going to be a pre-planned affair. So act like it. Business casual will show that you are serious about what you are putting forward without coming across as too formal. Walk with confidence. Stand tall, but don’t let it feel forced. Speak with authority, but not with forcefulness. Make sure your volume is at the right level. One of the things I learned in high school as an actress is that if you act confident, you will feel confident. Again, this will all come with practice. Watch yourself practice your pitch in a mirror. Take note of how you look and sound. It might feel silly at first, but trust me, it helps.
Be prepared to answer questions… and be prepared to ask them: Knowing your own book well enough to answer questions an agent throws your way should be expected. But something that I did not expect during my first conference was the agent to ask me if I had any questions. I had only one question in mind prepared, and we still had nearly five minutes to go in our session after that. Now, I think my age may have garnered me some sympathy in that department, but young people, don’t make the same mistake that I did. Have several questions prepared, more than you think you will need. Better to have more than you have time for than to sit in awkward silence.
Now I know this is a lot of information to take in, and it can feel a little daunting. Especially if you’re an introverted writer. But I promise you, you have the ability to make it happen. I believe in you!
I’d love to hear your pitches! Comment your pitches below, and I would love to help you out and maybe even offer some pointers. Happy writing, everybody!
Hey everybody! I’m wrapping up my author platform series today with a few notes about using Pinterest as an author. It’s a nice quick and short post today because Monday is the start of exam week! Wish me luck, y’all; I’m gonna need it.
Pinterest is an interesting platform that I find reaches a very specific audience. I never used it a bunch growing up, but I know a lot of people who did and they raved about it. Pinterest is all about images as inspiration for all sorts of different ideas and projects. It’s one of those sites where you could reach a lot of people or you could reach very few. Some authors have lots of luck with it, especially if they are big vision board people. But anyone can have success with it in varying degrees if you know where to start. I think it’s a good platform to use in general, especially for posting pictures that highlight your fantasy world. Here are my best tips for the site:
Tip #1: Create a Pinterest Business Account.
A business account looks pretty much the same as a personal account, except you will have access to free analytics. You also get access to tools to help you embed pins and boards directly into your blog posts or your sidebar if you’d like! And it’s free, so why not?! You can make your profile aligned to you as an author, to your website, or a combination of both. Here’s mine as an example.
Tip #2: Add links to your blog posts.
If you’re using images with each of your blog posts (which you definitely should!), use your first board as your blog post board. When you add an image, you can add a short description of the subject of your post and more importantly, a link!
Tip #3: Make Your World One Of Your Boards.
Show your viewers your world. Explore other people’s boards and save them to a board that reminds you of your world. A lot of readers want to be able to see your world even before the book is released. Try to add some new images regularly to keep things fresh. I’m not great at this yet because I’m just starting out with Pinterest, but I’m getting better!
I hope everyone has a great weekend and a wonderful week ahead. Happy writing!
Welcome back to the Building An Author Platform series! I’m happy to be back with more tips of how to expand your audience and presence online, and today, we’re going to be talking about Instagram.
To be completely honest with you, I started Fluff About Fantasy’s Instagram page on a whim. I had my own personal profile, but I didn’t use it very much. It was mainly for big announcements or holiday photos and such. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to use good pictures that would draw people to the site. But I also knew that Instagram was a really solid platform that could draw a lot of traffic if used properly. So I set out to learn as much as possible as I was building my page. Here are my best tips about creating your Instagram page.
Tip #1: Use A Professional Account
As an author (who will one day go on to sell a bunch of books!), it is going to be important to separate your personal profile from your professional profile. Go ahead and make that distinction now by creating a Instagram Professional Account. You’ll be able to access features like Instagram Insights, which can show you the stats and audience reach on individual posts that you make. You can also connect your Instagram account to your Facebook Page!
Tip #2: Add All Of Your Blog Posts
My first goal in making my Instagram profile was to add all of my past blog posts. That’s what the page was for, so let’s make it happen! I used all of the pictures that I used at the top of each post on the website and added a paragraph or two excerpt underneath. It was slow going, but it was definitely worth it. You can either do this all at once, or you can add a few on a regular basis until you catch up with your current posting schedule. The most important part of this process is using hashtags! USE YOUR HASHTAGS. I use the same base hashtags for each post: #writingcommunity, #writingcommunityofinstagram, #amwriting, #amwritingfantasy, #yawriters, etc. Then, depending on the post, I may add a couple other hashtags that fit the theme of the post. For my querying tips, I add #amquerying; for my worldbuilding posts, I use #worldbuilding and #worldbuilders. Hashtags are going to ensure you are reaching the right people. So don’t skimp on them!
Tip #3: Utilize LinkTree
I discovered LinkTree when I realized that I couldn’t add more than one link into my profile and any of my posts. This site essentially allows you to create a landing page filled with an unlimited number of links that your users can click and be sent to any URL on your site. You can get an unlimited amount of links COMPLETELY FREE. There is a Pro plan that allows you to see more analytics, but I think that the free plan gives you everything that you need. Now, you can have every link to your posts and your site filed under a singular link that you can add to your Instagram profile. I would highly suggest taking a look at this resource. Make sure you mention in your posts that followers can find their links in the link in your bio!
Tip #4: Share regularly.
Regular can mean whatever you want it to mean. I update my Instagram page once a week with every new Fluff About Fantasy post and occasionally update with new announcements or writing process information as it comes up. You can update every week or every other day or every day if you want to! Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Let your followers into your writing life and let them see various stages of your writing process. And remember: social media is all about making connections. Reply to other people’s comments and questions. Follow other writers that follow you. When you give a little, you get a little back. Make friends. That’s what we’re here for.
Today, we are going to tackle what I would argue is the most difficult part of your entire submission package: the synopsis.
When I realized I was going to need to write a synopsis for some of the literary agents I was going to submit to, I was absolutely terrified. Every single English teacher I have ever had has commented on my inability to stay within page/word limits. It’s just impossible! If my point needs four pages instead of three to be argued beautifully, how can they expect me to cut myself off? But of course, when you’re submitting your manuscript, you want to nail the guidelines. You don’t want your submission to be thrown out without a chance just because you couldn’t follow an agent’s directions.
The consensus among the writers I’ve spoken to is that the synopsis takes the most time to create and is the most complicated to figure out. So when I was approaching the synopsis for the first time, I took to Google to do some research. I read lots of articles about the subject, and to be honest with you, most of them were no help whatsoever. There isn’t a good consensus about how to write a great synopsis except to just…. well… write one?
But I did find one article that took a different approach to writing a novel synopsis. Instead of trying to deal with a lot of moving parts at once and writing straight through from beginning to end, the author offered a suggestion to break down your book into parts. Analyzing what is important from different elements of your story makes it a lot easier to write your synopsis. I’m going to break down this technique for you right now, so get ready, get a pen, and take some notes.
Basics of A Synopsis
Most literary agents are looking for a one to two page synopsis in size 12 font and single spaced. Single spacing is a lifesaver, trust me; use it well. There’s a few points you’re going to want to make sure to cover: the narrative arc, your characters and their motivations and emotions, and the ending, to name a few. Do NOT forget to reveal your ending. In your synopsis, an agent is looking for the full main story and as many nuances as you can include within your word limit. You need to be concise, yet detailed at the same time.
Breaking It Down
Step One: Get a piece of paper or open up a document, whichever you prefer. And get ready to make multiple lists. We’re going to start with the plot basics. Use a number list or bullet points to detail the main plot events in order. Emphasis on MAIN. Do not worry about your subplots at this point; we are solely focusing on the clear steps that move your protagonist from inciting incident to the climax and resolution. Include the turning points that set your protagonist on a clear path for either success or failure.
Step Two: Now, we’re going to make a separate list for the main character’s character arc. Introduce your main character and list the points where we see the protagonist thrown into situations where they are forced to make decisions. List the events throughout the novel where the reader sees the character change and grow as well as places where the character maybe takes a step back and reverts back their old ways.
Step Three: Next, let’s bring the secondary characters into the mix. These characters influence the main character in various ways and push them towards or draw them away from their goal. Showcase the ones who play a major role in your novel, and track their progress. Do those characters stay fixed? Do they change as the protagonist changes?
Step Four: Following the introduction and journey of these secondary characters, pick out the major relationships in your novel. This can be a romantic relationship between main and secondary character, or it can be the hero/villain relationship. Or both, depending on the story! Track the main events of each relationship like a mini plot, from beginning through the climax to the end.
Step Five: Take a look at what you have so far. Can you identify any key themes that are addressed throughout your book? Are there any messages that you are trying to convey, blatant or subtle? If these are crucial to the book, write these down and find ways to weave this into your synopsis.
Step Six: Organize your numbers or bullet points into plot order. Now you have a list of everything you should include in your synopsis. Now it’s time to write! One other note, especially for fantasy: make sure you introduce the world that the story is operating in. Include a few important details about the world that are important to your story.
There you have it! By the end of this, you should have a synopsis in your hands! But don’t stop after a first draft. Make sure you edit, edit, edit this document. Have someone look it over, whether it’s another writing friend or a professional. Polish until you are happy with the state that it is in. Spend some time on this! A synopsis can be what gets you that manuscript request!