Hi everyone. I’m Andrea Dawn, owner of Tell-Tale Press. We publish short stories on our website that are free to read in the genres of fantasy, horror, mystery/crime and science fiction. We also publish anthologies and novels. Right now we have our anthologies available on Kindle, but we’ll be producing print books soon. And we always, always pay our authors! If you want to learn more about Tell-Tale Press, our website is www.telltalepress.net. Submissions are currently open for short stories, so be sure to check out the submissions page! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram: www.facebook.com/telltalepress and #TellTalePress.

I posted this list on my personal Facebook page and was asked to send it on so more folks can read it. So here you go! I’m still learning about the publishing world, but in the past few months I have learned some extremely valuable information that I think can help everyone. So, these are some tips for getting your work out into the public and how to get published. I’m not scolding you or trying to name and blame. These are simply tips I think really can help.

  1. OTHER AUTHORS ARE NOT YOUR AUDIENCE. If you want to make friends with authors and collaborate, maybe beta read for each other, or just whine about the writing world in general, that’s great. No problem there. But they are writing too and are also trying to get their work out there, and most likely they won’t have time to read your book as they’re too busy writing. Your audience is instead readers. Find online book clubs, groups that talk about books. Look for reviewers who do honest reviews for free or a small fee (but be sure they are legitimate sources). Start a blog and post it in those reader groups. And in the real world, you can do things like donate your book to a library and include lots of information on how to follow you. You can also contact local bookstores and ask to do a reading and book signings. Be proactive to find readers, not other authors.
  2. DON’T USE MESSENGER OR EMAILS AS AN ADVERTISING TOOL. I am not joking: I literally will unfriend and/or block someone when they send me a link to their book immediately after I’ve approved their friendship. Using Messenger to solicit is like the Jehovah’s Witnesses of social media: no one wants you knocking on their door to tell you things you haven’t asked about. And don’t do it with emails, either, unless someone has signed up for a newsletter from you. I don’t mind if people send me an Invite to like their page, though.
  3. LEAVE EDITORS AND PUBLISHERS ALONE. Don’t message a publisher or editor saying someday you’re going to write a great novel, and they’re going to publish or edit it! First, you’re assuming that the publisher or editor would even want to work with you or like your work. Second, it’s nothing but buzzing in our ears. “I’m gonna” means nothing to us. We need product, not promises. If you want to set goals for yourself, do so by creating a calendar or Vision Board. Don’t use our inboxes to do it.
  5. FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES EXACTLY. I don’t know if I can get any clearer on those two facts.
  6. YOU GOTTA SPEND MONEY TO MAKE MONEY. Ads on Facebook have really worked for me. I haven’t tried ads on other social media platforms yet, but I will. I find that free advertising–such as those giant book websites that will post your ad for free–garner no sales. And figure out where your money is going to be most effective for your genre. Do most horror lovers find their book recs online? If so, where? And a great place to advertise: local cons. Readers truly do love meeting authors. You will find that you can gain more followers and support when you are face to face with a potential reader. And to that end…
  7. KNOW WHAT VENUES WORK FOR YOUR GENRE. If you are selling extreme horror, then the sidewalk fair that happens each month in the church parking lot is probably not the place for you. Or if your genre is fantasy romance, the Halloween con won’t be a good idea either.
  8. GIVING YOUR BOOK AWAY DOES NOT SELL MORE BOOKS. I know one publishing company that constantly gives away books. So why should I ever buy a book from them when I can just watch their page and sign up for a giveaway? Especially since their page isn’t closely followed by their fans and it’s very easy to be the only person who answers their trivia questions or shares their post. And this company is also screwing over their authors; they’re not getting any money for the books they give away, and therefore the author doesn’t get his/her cut. So side tip: watch out for those kinds of publishers as well. They won’t be doing you any favors as an author.
  9. GIVEAWAYS FOR A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF BUYS DOES WORK. Let’s say you have a trilogy, and the final book is coming out. Tell folks if they pre-order your book, you will give them the previous two books for a single discounted price. Or perhaps you’ll give away book 1 for free on Kindle. Now THAT is incentive to buy!
  10. LEARN TO ORGANIZE. Learn how to budget your time and money. There are lots of online tips for how to do both of these things. Even DIY shows can help with this–of course, we all know Marie Kondo is wrong about only having thirty books, but she still has great tips that really can help organize our lives. We don’t have to be the stereotypical “starving artist”. It just means that we must train ourselves to be better at where our money and time goes.
  11. ENGAGE. I have learned from watching authors over the past few years that trying to be secretive and private does not work. It doesn’t get your work out there, and no one is going to advertise for you for free. Or if they do, they won’t do it for long. Then I see those people try to randomly engage here and there, and they get no response. No one wants to know who you are if you’re not engaging with your audience–there is no longer that mystery of “who is that author?” going around like there used to be in the 90s. Or I see people try to create a new persona online that is separate from their real self. But then you get tangled up in what you told who and where and on what page… it can get very frustrating for you. I’ve learned that in social media, you must make connections. And the best way to do that is to be truthful. Be friendly. Be yourself. Talk about movies you like, other books you like, ask questions of people, like what’s your favorite dinosaur! You don’t have to tell your deepest, darkest secrets, but you can share cat pics and tell funny stories about your dog or spouse. If you touch on politics, remember that not everyone’s going to like you, and it’s okay for them to not like you and not want to buy your books. The key is that you will find your own audience by being yourself, and it WILL be worth it.
  12. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Okay, after talking about how to engage and interact, I tell you to stay off social media? What I mean is don’t waste time just scrolling along and randomly liking and commenting. Maybe set a timer for yourself on how long you’re on social media. Do advertising as you need, and engage as you need, and then move on. You can also set yourself a schedule: Every day from X to Y I will engage on social media, and that’s it. We all fall into the rabbit hole that is clicking away at everything, so learn how to step away so you can get to work on writing and advertising.
  13. HAVE FUN. Writing should be enjoyable. If you’re not having a good time, then reevaluate why you’re doing this. Be sure to make time for yourself as well–keep your health up and go outside here and there. You will find that it will only make your time on the computer even better!

Submissions are now open: http://www.telltalepress.net/submissions
Instagram: #TellTalePress

Andrea Dawn
Tell-Tale Press Owner & Editor


12 responses to “Advice for Authors and Writers”

  1. GD Deckard Avatar
    GD Deckard

    I’ve always said you can’t make money giving away free books. Those who post on Facebook that they are just hooking readers who will then buy their other books make less sense to me than does a real hooker. Usually, I ask them to please post their results. Subsequently, the only results I’ve seen posted are negative.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. mimispeike Avatar

    Thank you Andrea. Very good advice. I’ve saved this in my PUB INFO file. I especially agree with OTHER AUTHORS ARE NOT YOUR AUDIENCE. I am constantly reading, but I read for research on my fake-historical-comic-fantasy, set in the sixteenth century.

    I have one more round of recently gathered details to plow into my Book One, then I’ll come up with a cover, and move on to Book Two. Books two, three, four need extensive revision. They were all written ten to twenty years ago. My story has unfolded backwards.

    When I’m ready, I may come to you to format. Editing? I’ve been edited extensively, and have rejected most of that advice. No comical footnotes? No author intrusion? GD can tell you, my style is my style. I’m happy with it. Those odd/interesting/often hilarious footnotes ain’t goin’ nowhere.* Except for the ones that are perhaps too tied to the present, like the call-out to Joni Ernest for her pig-castration comment. In which case I may have to give my footnote a footnote. Actually, something I’ve much wanted to do but have held off on.

    My thanks to Antonin Scalia for a tasty phrase? That stays, most definitely.


    * BTW people, I’ve just finished Men’s Wives, by William Makepeace Thackeray. He author-intrudes on a grand scale. If it does for Thackeray, it does for me also.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. andreadawntelltalepress Avatar

      Formatting is definitely something I am good at. I can format for KDP and mobis, and I know other formats as well. I was a technical editor for many, many years, and that was a major part of my job. So happy to help!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. mimispeike Avatar

        Can you deal with chapter notes? I figure footnotes in an ebook won’t work, so I’ve put them at the end of my (shortish) chapters.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. andreadawntelltalepress Avatar

          Yes, that wouldn’t be a problem.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Carl E. Reed Avatar

    Great points each and every one, Ms. Dawn! So nice to hear directly from an editor about their site. Thank you for letting us know about TellTalePress!

    I am currently in the process of writing a 10-volume interstitial sex comedy/space opera concerning pan-sexual androids, an immortal Tyrannosaurus Rex who practices both KETO and necromancy, a lost Roman legion battling bug-eyed insects on Mars, and the intergalactic corps of psionic vacuum cleaner salesmen who interact with the aforementioned whilst traversing the stars in search of new markets. I’ve just sent you an e-mail which contains a detailed synopsis of the events and major themes I propose covering in these books. Also: a View-Master 3-D disk of character sketches and a scratch-&-sniff sample of the methane-rich atmosphere of Dalgroanian IV (the Bak-Choi home world) will be arriving via Fed-Ex three days from now. You will need to sign for this package. May I ask for your home address and an hour-by-hour accounting of your daily routine? (Just kidding, heh! Put the gun down. . . .)

    Seriously, though: How nice that you chose to post here, on the Writers Co-Op. Cheers!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Perry Palin Avatar
      Perry Palin

      If you will send me the first three books for free, I may buy the rest of them.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Carl E. Reed Avatar

        LOL, Perry! Now that made me laugh.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. GD Deckard Avatar
          GD Deckard

          🙂 Me too!

          Liked by 2 people

    2. andreadawntelltalepress Avatar

      Well, when you put it THAT way… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. curtisbausse Avatar

    Great tips, Andrea, thanks for posting. And I love the name, Tell-Tale Press. May it prosper and thrive! I think your tip n° 8 is probably right in that the number of freebie seekers now far outweighs purchasers. But I still have my first book in the series permafree and recently did my first KU free offer on another. GD, when I get round to it (the vaguest of deadlines ever, that) I’ll post the results – they’ll no doubt add grist to your mill. On the other hand, I’m quite happy for the moment to see the free downloads mount up – at least the books are going somewhere, even if only into some vast e-reader cavern with a zillion others. Meanwhile, a couple more ducks still have to get in the row before I’ll be testing tip n° 6 with some Facebook or Amazon advertising, but Andrea is right, it’s indispensable.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. victoracquista Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your insights and advice!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: