The Twelve Writing Tips of Christmas
As 2023 draws to a close, we thought it was a good time to reiterate some of the top tips that authors should be thinking about in terms of their books and marketing efforts. And since the holidays are upon us, it seemed appropriate to put them all together in a festive and familiar way.
So with that said, here are Ginger’s twelve writing tips of Christmas. May they help lead you to happiness and success as you continue on your publishing journey in 2024!
Snow has already started falling across much of the United States and Canada, leaving many of us with backyards and main streets that look something out of a holiday-themed small-town romance novel.
(So be wary all you successful big-city girls heading back to spend the holidays with your family, because there might just be a flannel-wearing hottie handyman waiting there to sweep you off your feet!)
For the rest of us, ‘tis merely the season to be jolly – and what better way to celebrate a winter writing wonderland than to receive the gift of some quick, effective writing advice?
So, in the spirit of the holidays, I’m going to unwrap the Twelve Tips of Christmas – a sleighful of actionable advice that will hopefully keep your self-publishing journey merry and bright. So, grab a cup of cocoa, cozy up to the fire, and let’s dive into the season of self-publishing joy!
On the first day of Christmas…
Santa’s Workshop: Polish Your Manuscript to Perfection
Remember how in all the holiday movies there’s at least one character who looks up at the snowfall and murmurs: “It’s perfect!” Well, perfectionism is a lie – but chasing it is still a noble pursuit. Therefore, before you let your manuscript slide down the publishing hill, give it the gift of editing magic. Be your own little elf or hire professional editors to ensure your writing sparkles like freshly fallen snow. Remember, even Santa checks his list twice!
On the second day of Christmas…
Rudolph the Red-Pen Reindeer: Embrace Revisions with a Shiny Nose
All good holiday stories involve a character reflecting on their past mistakes and promising to do better – whether that’s Ebeneezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, Frank Cross from Scrooged, or George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. Well, keep that tradition alive and don’t be afraid to let your red pen glow on your own past writing mistakes! Just as Rudolph guides Santa through the night, your revisions will guide your book to more success. Let your creativity shine as you trim unnecessary words, erroneous plot threads, and pluck all those errors just like you’d trim a Christmas tree (assuming yours isn’t a fake one, like mine.)
On the Third Day of Christmas…
Mistletoe Marketing: Plant the Seeds for Book Buzz
Hang the mistletoe over your book by creating a marketing strategy that spreads the love – because in this day of advertising-driven publishing, if you’re not marketing your book, people aren’t seeing it. This is a topic that can’t be squeezed into a single paragraph, but make the effort to embrace what works for you – social media, book blogs, or festive promotions – to hopefully help your book’s popularity grow faster than Santa’s belly after a plate of cookies.
On the Fourth Day of Christmas…
Frosty Formatting: Make Your Book a Winter Wonderland
Just like there’s nothing as enticing as a perfectly-wrapped present, the same goes for a perfectly-packaged book. Nothing should detract from a reader’s enjoyment of your story, so ensure your book formatting is as crisp and clean as a frosty morning. A well-formatted book is a pleasure to read, and readers will thank you for the smooth sleigh ride through your story.
On the fifth day of Christmas…
Sleigh Bells & Social Media: Jingle All the Way to Visibility
Santa may use sleigh bells, but for authors, social media is the jingling key to visibility. Harness the power of platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with your readers and fellow authors. Hashtag your way to literary stardom! This is a very effective, very easy “hack” to get your posts viewed by fans of your genre, and supporters of independent publishing in general. Try Googling “hashtags for authors” to see a bunch of suggestions you can copy and paste to get your books filtered into the algorithm.
On the sixth day of Christmas…
The Nutcracker Narration: Crack Open Engaging Dialogue
So far, a lot of these tips have been about marketing your book. Here’s one about your writing itself: Make your dialogue dance like the Nutcracker! Dialogue is a powerful driver of fiction, so sprinkle the dialogue in your fiction story with humor, emotion, and authenticity. A well-crafted conversation is like the sound of chestnuts roasting – warm, inviting, and impossible to resist.
On the seventh day of Christmas…
Tinsel Title Temptation: Craft a Title That Shines Bright
The title of your book is an oft-overlooked, yet invaluable marketing tool – the tinsel on your literary tree! Make it sparkle and stand out in the forest of books by choosing a title AND subtitle that not only explains to potential readers what your book is about, but also hits some of the beats that are popular in Amazon searches. A catchy title paired with a well-optimized subtitle is like a beacon, drawing readers in with the allure of holiday magic.
On the eighth day of Christmas…
Stocking Stuffer Story Arcs: Gift Readers a Journey to Remember
Distilled down to its most essential elements, a good story is just a journey – taking your characters from one place to another, with satisfying character development along the way. Therefore, on the eighth day of Christmas, make sure you craft a story arc that’s the perfect stocking stuffer – full of surprises, twists, and emotional turns. Just like the joy of reaching into a stocking and discovering unexpected treasures, your readers should revel in the journey your story takes its characters on.
On the ninth day of Christmas…
Yule Log-Length Blurbs: Set the Scene with Festive Flair
Your book blurb is like a Yule log – it sets the cozy, festive atmosphere that inspires potential readers to hit that “Buy Now” button. When you’re publishing your book, make sure to write a blurb that ignites curiosity and leaves readers eager to dive into the warmth of your story. A well-crafted blurb is the holiday magic that turns browsers into buyers.
On the tenth day of Christmas…
Gingerbread Grammar: Spice Up Your Prose with Proper Punctuation
There are always Grinches at Christmastime, and they all love to correct your grammar – so avoid the gingerbread house collapse of poor grammar by spicing up your prose with correct punctuation, so your readers won’t feel like they’re navigating a grammatical gingerbread maze as they read your work. Things don’t need to be perfect, but you need to avoid any common mistakes that can snap your readers out of the magic of your narrative. It’s the key to keeping them hooked until the very last page!
On the eleventh day of Christmas…
Sleigh the Cover Game: Wrap Your Book in Eye-Catching Art
We’ve spoken and written about this before: Your book cover is the gift wrap that entices readers to tear into the present. Invest in a professional cover design that reflects the spirit of your book and looks congruent next to similar titles on digital bookshelves. At its most basic, a book cover is like the dress code that gets you access to the Christmas party. However, a visually appealing cover is like a bow on top – the finishing touch that makes your book irresistible compared to all the others.
On the Twelfth day of Christmas….
Auld Lang Syne Analytics: Reflect and Plan for the New Year
As the year comes to a close, take a moment to sing Auld Lang Syne and reflect on your writing journey throughout 2023. Analyze what worked and what didn’t. Use these insights to set goals and resolutions for the upcoming year. Remember, just like New Year’s Eve, the end of one chapter just is the beginning of a new adventure!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Hidden Gems!
And there you have it, my festive friends – the Twelve Tips of Christmas for self-published authors! May your writing be merry, your books be bright, and your journey be filled with the joy of literary success. Happy holidays and happy writing! We look forward to sharing the next chapter of your writing journey in 2024.