VIDEO: How to Sell Your Books on Social Media

Recorded webinar: How to sell your books on social media

Do you wish you could use social media more effectively to sell your books?

Spend any time on social media sites and you’ll see authors promoting their publications. Most of the noise is sadly ineffectual. However, it is possible to connect with readers and sell your book using popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube. Your readers are online and they are searching for new books.

In this free, one-hour webinar, I share ten powerful promotion tactics you can use to sell your books through your social media networks. I detail such tactics as free day promotions, beta readers and reviewers, contests and sweepstakes and the pros and cons of paid advertising sites. This video is a must-watch if you would like to sell your book on social media.

TIP: I mention a spreadsheet with book advertising options in the webinar. You can view the spreadsheet here.

Next: How to get more followers on Twitter.

VIDEO: How to Get Book Reviews

Recorded webinar: How to get book reviews

Would you like more book reviews?

Reviews are crucial for building your book's visibility and driving sales. Collecting reviews can be quite a challenge if you leave it to the fates. In this one-hour, recorded broadcast, I present many strategies for increasing your book review numbers such as:

  • Utilizing beta and early review readers
  • How to ask for reviews without harassing friends and family
  • New sites specifically made for authors to connect with reviewers
  • Paid and free options

TIP: I mention the partner program in the video between IBPA and NetGalley. Click here to read more about about the deal.

This recorded webinar will teach you how to get book reviews. Watch this category for more recorded webinars about publishing and book marketing coming soon!


The Problem with Poetry

Problem_with_poetryPoets gets me in trouble.

First, it was all because of Poe. At thirteen, I obsessed over his gorgeous, grand lines. Safely ensconced in my playhouse with the door firmly closed against eavesdropping sisters, I recited his poems aloud over and over again. The imprint of some of these remain forever etched on my soul,trapped behind my teeth for instant recital.

I dwelt alone in a world of moan and my soul was a stagnant tide.

How deep! How dark! How profound!

Determined to be as great a writer as Poe, I labored to add such depth to my adolescent writings. When my language arts teacher projected an image of a girl looking out her bedroom window at a crow and told us to write about the picture, I felt the gods had smiled upon me. I knew exactly what to do. I was prepared. I was going to deliver the most profound piece that would win my teacher's adoring awe.

Instead, I won myself a trip to the school counselor's office. I remember I wrote something about how the crow was all there was, and all else in the universe was dingy, depressed death. (Oh, alliteration, how I love thee!)

My trouble deepened in college, when we would sit in seminar dissecting some famed poet's piece on gender identity, or privilege, or patriarchal pandering. Twenty students in the circle, twenty interpretations, yet one professor with the "truth" of the meaning. I read too many bad poems. I heard too much theorizing complex meaning out of trite sentiment. I didn't understand.

I scribbled a trite poem capitalizing on all the clichés I'd heard all quarter and received highest praise for my work. Screw that. Poetry is a sham. I'm done.

How grateful I am for the poets that brought me back to the light, or the darkness, depending on the piece. How grateful I am for Kay Kinghammer.

Kay Kinghammer writes with me every Friday morning at my Daylight Writers group. She started showing up a year ago, a friendly grandmother type with tight white curls and appliqué sweaters. Sweet enough, but easily dismissed, like so many poems of my past.

Oh, but Kay could write! When she chose to read her work at group, I would snap to attention. Here were lines that purred, that prowled, that crept up my spine, that occasionally rhymed! Here were lines I wanted to say again, with my own voice.

Down by the river in the dark,

I drifted with the water’s soft splashes,

I quivered with the rustling of bushes.

Hidden in the warm summer night

All the uncles, kids, and cousins,

Like so many peas in a pod.

Kay began her writer's journey late in life, the part where she put the words down on paper anyway. She was busy, go-go dancing, falling in love with questionable men, attempting a Gypsy life of travel, raising a son. Years pass so quickly. Now she lives in Seattle with her Grandson. She takes the bus wherever she wants to go. She doesn't own a laptop. She wears silly sweaters and comes to writing groups in coffee shops where she reads lines pulled from her past and captivates a room of caffeinated strangers.

Kay needs our help.

She was invited to debut her book of poetry (The Wenatchee River Anthology) at the Fermoy International Poetry Festival in Ireland. You may imagine, this is a very big deal for an emerging poet from Wenatchee. Living on a fixed income, there is no possible way Kay can afford a plane ticket to Ireland. This is where we come in.

Writers are wonderful people. I have received a great deal of support from my community. Now I ask that we direct some of that support in monetary fashion towards Kay. I've helped her launch a Kickstarter to raise the funds she needs to publish her book and get to Ireland. Please become a backer now.

I think of the dreams I have, how deep inside me some creature calls out her aching desires, how I would fly if that creature were freed. I think of your dreams. I think how incredible it is that we can have so much impact on one another's lives.

We can make this happen for Kay. Please join me as a backer of The Wenatchee River Anthology.

Become a backer now.



Do You Dwell in Your Mind or in Your Body?

The theme of the week for me seems to be touch.

Do you "live in your head?" Are you one of those who are rarely present in the moment, but instead drifting off on a swiftly flowing current of thought? I am. While I love the robust riches of my mind, the years have shown me that I miss much when I can not anchor myself in the physical world, in even my physical self.

Inspired by a post on Brain Pickings, I recently purchased and read Eve Ensler's new memoir, In the Body of the World. The book begins with this beautiful passage.

“A mother's body against a child's body makes a place. It says you are here. Without this body against your body there is no place. I envy people who miss their mother. Or miss a place or know something called home. The absence of a body against my body created a gap, a hole, a hunger. This hunger determined my life. ... The absence of a body against my body made attachment abstract. Made my own body dislocated and unable to rest or settle. A body pressed against your body is the beginning of nest. I grew up not in a home but in a kind of free fall of anger and violence that led to a life of constant movement, of leaving and falling. It is why at one point I couldn't stop drinking and fucking. Why I needed people to touch me all the time. It had less to do with sex than location. When you press against me, or put yourself inside me. When you hold me down or lift me up, when you lie on top of me and I can feel your weight, I exist. I am here.”[white_space]
― Eve Ensler, In the Body of the World: A Memoir

Eve well-illustrates a familiar ache. Human touch asserts a certainty. Proof. Evidence. Connection. For those of us that dwell chiefly in our minds, the hunger for this confirmation of our existence in the physical world may grow until we binge in corporeal experiences. I penned such episodes in my novel, which focuses not just on the separation of body and mind, but also the division of self.

We sit on the bed in my minuscule room, glasses of sickly sweet plum wine in our hands. He looks at me with a sadness so deep that I worry it might take me down with him. He sets his glass on my nightstand and places his hand on my thigh. A breathe I’ve been holding releases from me, long and slow.[white_space]

First touch brings great release. The frenzied anticipation fades, smooth relief flows through my limbs. Even from a stranger, a gentle touch feels like love. It is the realization that you can reach someone, can make a connection, even if you barely share a common language. He touches to feel my stockings and the curve of my thigh, but also to feel the heat and calm that comes when you are close to another person.[white_space]

- Kelsye Nelson, The Secret Life of Sensei Shi

Eve's book talks largely of trauma, of physical violence, of illness. These horrible actions came with a gift of mindfulness, of clarity, of immediacy. How lucky we are that our experiences needn't swing to such extremes in order for us to achieve presence of being. Here are the things that I do to root my mind to moment:

  • Run
  • Get outside for a little bit every day
  • Sleep well
  • Indulge in a steady, constant stream of light physical affection
  • Walk by any large body of water
  • Pet my dogs
  • Work outside doing something that requires the labor of my entire body
  • Breathe deep
  • Travel or put myself in uncomfortable environments
  • Walk in the woods
  • Swim

I love my brain, and the ethereal journeys it takes me on. Some of my favorite activities, such as writing or reading or dreaming regularly lift me from the concrete world. The trick, per usual, is balance. I have a natural inclination towards happiness. If for some reason I decide I must hold on to anger or resentment, I must actively work on it. (Which, like a fool, I sometimes do.) It's the same in this situation. My natural inclination is towards the mind. While a trauma or violence may rip me out of thought and into the present, in normal days I must make vigilant efforts to wake from my dreams. It's work. Thankfully, pleasure accompanies the process.

And you? Where do you stand? Do you live mostly in mind or in body? What do you do to anchor yourself to passing moments?

Also, go read Eve's book. It's incredible.


My June Promise

june_promiseYou will see one new post from me everyday for the month of June.

For the last two years, founding and running a tech startup consumed my life. With tremendous expectation and no boundary between work and personal life, I lost evenings and weekends. My friendships faded from lack of attention. My slender body became something of a memory as a softer form took its place, better suited for greater base stability to support endless hours at a keyboard. I gave up a high-paying career path and trained myself not to hyperventilate every time boot season came around and I had to abstain from adding to my coveted collection. My company gobbled up all my best hours, save for the few scraps of time and focus I managed to salvage for my daughter, my love life, and small bits actual paying work.

The joy of running my own company, getting funding, and helping other writers publish and promote their books made all these hardships more than bearable. The challenge sparked a great adventure.

However, one sacrifice hit my soul like the business end of long-haul semi. My writing.

My friday morning writing group often functioned as the only time I would have to write within a week. When I had to skip a month's worth of sessions in a row, I knew my life was seriously out of balance.

As both the bible and John Lennon will tell, there is a season to everything. These last two years were my season for push, for stretch, for sprint, for learn. Now a new season approaches. A season of reflection, of words, of quiet and space.

Why make a promise?

External expectations trump personal desires. If I am the only one waiting for my writing, I am the only one that knows when I let something else step ahead. If you are expecting my words, than how much easier it is for me to say no to other greedy time chompers and give my writing the priority my peace of mind requires.

I'm not a masochist. Nor do I plan to set myself up for failure. You may see a post here or there that I typed in days past, published in some other place. Those little life saver cheats will aid in the preservation of my sanity while meeting a daily post requirement. I'll keep them to a minimum.

Let's see how this goes. Any writers out there want to play along on your own blog?

Event: Publishing Advice

I'd like to invite you all to a special presentation I giving next week in Seattle. The Seattle Free Lances association is hosting my talk, Ten Things to Do Before You Publish.

Tip: If you enter the promo code friend, the price drops from $40 to $22, plus you'll still get the free wine and cheese. Excellent! Get tickets here.

From the event page...

Just as a field of tulips is the fruition of plans, labor and materials, so is successful book publishing. Kelsye Nelson's workshop covers ten things to do before you publish — ten things to propel you to success through your entire writing career.


Agents and publishers now take a good look at a writer's online presence, website, social media, network and community when deciding to take a chance on a new author. And if you publish independently, you absolutely need a strong author platform.


Luckily, with the free tools and resources Kelsye covers, it isn't hard to give your books their best chance for success by building a respectable author platform with minimal investment of money and time.


Starting from scratch? No problem! Let Kelsye illuminate your path.


Already have an author platform established? You're ahead of the game! Come pick up some new tips on how to optimize your online presence and get the most help from your real-life community. Kelsye's a wiz at this.


BONUS: Kelsye also shares insights on how she raised $9,800 on KickStarter last month to fund her non-fiction book project — and attracted an agent at the same time!

Get tickets here.

Hope to see you there!



When Things Go Wrong in the Best Possible Way: Motherhood

My plan was simple. I was going to become a photographer for National Geographic, travel the world, have great affairs. Finally, at 40-years-old, I would have a daughter with my most clever lover.

That didn't happen.

Instead, I married my high school sweetheart and had my daughter when I just 22. We moved back to a suburb outside of Olympia, Washington where I took a job as a secretary and grew increasingly depressed with my unremarkable trajectory with each inch of expanded belly.

Then my daughter was born. Instant alchemy.

Just a single week of holding her in my arms and the understanding that I am the most powerful force in her life sunk into my consciousness. All kinds of glorious revelations flowed forth.

What kind of life do I want for my daughter? I want her to live her dreams, to bravely pursue her passions and interests freely.

If I am the most powerful force in her life, and the best example she has of a life a woman can lead, I must live to my fullest capacity.

I started doing the things that I would want my daughter to do. I admitted my greatest dream. (To, gulp, be a writer!) I re-enrolled in a four-year college and majored in writing, career opportunities be damned. The very month I graduated, I moved my little family overseas to live in Japan. If travel was what I wanted, then no excuse should keep me from packing my bags and boarding the plane.

I don't expect her to do exactly as I have done. I expect her to do exactly as she wants to do.

When I was pregnant, pitifully employed and ghosting the same strip malls of my youth, despair oozed my from very being. How lucky that her arrival gave my life the driving meaning I required to kick-start my own adventure-filled life.

She's twelve now, and the most amazing person I've ever met. We're in Mexico where I spend my mornings completing the revisions of my novel, and our afternoons exploring together. When I think back to that simple plan I constructed when I was 16, I laugh. How little it was. How much bigger and better this life has become.

The Best First Line Ever

I need your help choosing the style and direction the beginning of my novel will take.

I'm currently on retreat to revise my novel draft. To help guide me, I've been reading Les Edgerton's book Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go. This book has illuminated many way I may make my novel opening much stronger. Here's where I need you help.

Below are two opening snippets. Please read them both and then let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page which one you find most compelling. I don't care for corrections at this point. The main function of the opening is to make the reader want to read more. Between these, which prompts you to want to keep going?

Opening #1


How many men do you need to sleep with to kill love? Basic tootsie-pop question with a twist. I could tell you about each one, but that would make this merely a story about sex. I don’t want the book of my life to sit on that shelf. Not enough traffic. Readings would be awkward.

I could easily make this a book about what the other writers call “the long dark wilderness of the soul.” Frankly, I never cared much for tragedies. Even the queens of my generation grow tired of brooding and dramatizing now and then.

This is simply a love story. A true story. My story.

For 25 years, the story of my life played out like a sitcom. I was the girl who fell in love at 16, married her sweetheart, earned a college degree and had a beautiful daughter—though not necessarily in that order. I built a successful life in a foreign country where I worked as an English teacher. Happy endings forever and ever.

Unfortunately, that plot was unsustainable. Every arc has an upward stroke, but also a twin descent.

Let me show you where it begins.

Opening #2


Let me show you where it begins.

Japan. Christmas Eve. Cold rain, but no snow. The apartment provided to me by the university where I teach has a wall of glass, sliding doors that lead out to a balcony and show me all of Osaka’s twinkling orange lights. Strings of tiny white bulbs wrap my scrawny fica tree. Brightly colored packages circle round the pot. My two-year-old daughter has finally succumbed to the inevitability of sleep and snoozes safe and warm in her pink Hello Kitty room. My husband has stepped out. Just for a minute. He’s probably halfway down the hill by now, hurrying to buy milk and Christmas cake topped with giant red strawberries before the grocery closes.

I’m sitting at my desk by the balcony, my face bathed in the deathly grey glow of my husband’s computer screen, scrolling through an accidentally discovered folder named 98taxclassifications filled with pictures of my best friend. Laughing. Smiling. Half-naked. Naked. In some her naturally blond hair is long and full of curls as it was years ago, in others her hair is chopped short and dyed red as it has been just last year after her divorce. In some photos, I see my husband’s feet, or a bare shoulder, or his shadow painting a swath of her skin a darker shade of pale. In a rare few, I see his face, pressed close next to hers, beaming up into a camera held at arm’s length.

I click, click, click through sub-folders with names like Christmas 99, Rainier Cabin or simply favs. The last set of photos seem to be dated the very month we left America for Japan.

My mouth gaps open and closed like a carp.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for your help!



The Great Writing Retreat Debacle


I have come to Mexico on retreat, with the sincere intention of finalizing the edits on my novel. I am failing miserably.

An author friend of mine, Judith Gille, has allowed me use of her house in San Miguel de Allende for two weeks. I have brought my 12-year-old daughter with me, thinking I could combine our yearly trip together with a personal writing retreat. I take my daughter somewhere each year, just the two of us. This trip forms a cornerstone of our relationship. In my usual life, I lead a tech startup, consult on marketing projects for authors, run Kickstarter campaigns and organize multiple writing groups and organizations. I'm very busy. I spend days and evening on my computer and often rush off to meetings or events. It's hard to get my attention. I sequester myself with my daughter for an extended amount of time each year so that she knows that her sole company and the adventures we create together are of utmost importance to me.

So why did I think I could bring a novel - the greatest attention hog of all - along for our trip?

The extraordinary doings my daughter and I embark on are but one obstacle in my writing progress. In Mexico, they say you must “live in your body.” I read about this in books before I came, but didn't know what it meant until I had spent a few days in country.

The afternoon heat, the close proximity of private lives to public spaces, the altitude, the hill we must walk to get home, the constant cacophony of dogs and roosters and bells and singing and kids and cars, smells alternating savory and putrid -- all these things draw my consciousness into my flesh. My shoulders and chest throb with sunburn. My thighs ache from holding tight to my mustang on the steep canyon trail. My ankles complain at the fast disregard I have for foot placement on cobblestone streets. My eyes burn from sand and sun block and sweat.

Evening entertainment in San Miguel de Allende.When we retire to our cool house in the evening (the very same featured in this book), a deep fatigue washes over me. Think? Turn thoughts into words into sentences into plot lines? How is this possible? The grand event of our evening is drinking water on our rooftop veranda, watching the sun slice the city into vertical bands of pink and gold.

I read a collection of Mexican literature I found on Judith's bookshelf. All the stories presented tightly-drawn characters and memorable narratives, but not a single one conformed to classic story structure. Sure, things happened. They all had beginnings, some had middles, and few even offered endings. But these were mere illustrations of moments, events, characters. That all-important character change never occurred. Not in one. The authors would write right up to the moment of transition or change, and there the story would end. It’s as though all the authors collectively agreed, eh, that’s good enough. You get the idea. And then wandered off from their pages for a siesta, or to perhaps discover the source of the noise in the square.

My novel has been drafted. It's been through a deep edit. All that is left for me is to implement the structural improvements my wise editor Tammy suggested. Maybe I should have retreated somewhere cold, somewhere my body pulls in close and tight. A temperate zone where my thoughts must rally, must act act as commander to spur my timid flesh into action. In San Miguel, my body propels me. My thoughts follow two-steps behind.

My writing office for two weeks.There's still time.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will command my conscience. I will wake up in cool hours, plant myself on our rooftop veranda, and fix one more chapter. But then… I hear there is a must-see religion procession tomorrow morning featuring donkeys and twelve apostles just one block away from our house. And one of the gauchos from our trail ride gave us a tip on lovely hot spring a mere eleven dollar taxi ride away....

I need a character change of a personal sort if I am to make any progress.

Copyright 2023 Kelsye ©  All Rights Reserved

I might earn a commission if you purchase a service or item linked from this page. Thank you for your support! ❤️