About Robyn Roste

The short story is I'm a professional writer living and working in Abbotsford, BC Canada.

Benefits of Having a Literary Agent

A literary agent represents writers and authors and is equal parts opportunity finder, deal negotiator and career advisor. While it’s not required to have a literary agent to get a traditional book deal, most writers recommend having one.

Since they’re up-to-date with the latest book publishing trends and have in-depth market knowledge, literary agents are positioned to handle the business end of writing—allowing you to focus on the writing end of writing.

Benefits of Having a Literary Agent

I met an author who told me how he got a book deal without an agent. I’m glad to meet someone who had a positive publishing experience this way but I have questions. Why did he skip this step? What made him want to pursue traditional publishing on his own? Would he do it again for his next book?

Here are a few ways having a literary agent benefits a writer

Legitimate agents work on commission so they don’t get paid unless you do. Talk about common interests! You can rest assured they have your best interests at heart.

Literary agents have a strong knowledge of the publishing business and have access to major publishing houses. They know they right people working in the right places and can get those doors open quicker than you can.

They read a lot and know what sells. Literary agents know good writing, they know the market and they know what editors are looking for. They know what you need to do to get a book deal.

Think of a literary agent as a connector. They connect authors with the appropriate publisher, negotiate the best deals possible and mediate any issues between the writer and editor that may arise during the book publishing process.

If you want a literary agent take some time researching the different ones out there and make a list of ones you think are a good fit for you and your writing. You find a literary agent through querying your book. While there aren’t really “types” of literary agents they all have different areas of expertise and preferred genre.

it's not required to have a literary agent to get a traditional book deal

Obtaining a literary agent isn’t necessary if you’re self-publishing a book. You may consider hiring a publicist or business coach, but these are different roles than what a literary agent plays.

Other posts you’ll find helpful

Evergreen Content Ideas for Writers

One of the hardest thing about being a working freelance writer is coming up with content for your personal website and digital platforms, which is why you need an evergreen content strategy. Trust me on this, it will change your life.

Evergreen Content Ideas for Bloggers

Writers who want to build an online platform know they should be producing content online, maybe a blog or something similar. And in theory it makes sense—a blog is an excellent way to showcase your skills as a writer and advertise your services. In reality things are a bit trickier. What do you write about? And how do you balance writing for yourself/your site with writing for clients?

This is where an evergreen content strategy comes in

Evergreen content can be described as the foundation of your blog—and this surprises many people for a couple reasons. First, because it’s hard to comprehend how timeless articles can stay relevant over time and second because hardly anyone has heard of evergreen content.

How can evergreen content be a foundation when I’ve never heard of it before!?

I know! But I’ll explain everything and you’ll never wonder what to write about on your website again.

First I’ll talk about what evergreen content is, then I’ll explain how to come up with evergreen content ideas in a way you can balance with your freelance writing workload.

What is evergreen content?

“Evergreen” is jargon but the word makes sense—think of evergreen trees, they keep their needles year-round and the needles maintain their green colouring thus, ever-green. Evergreen content works the same way, it stays relevant year-round and answers questions people are asking years after it was written.

Why you should employ an evergreen content marketing strategy is because this timeless, relevant information will deliver a consistent stream of leads to your website month over month. It takes a bit of time and effort to set up but once you have the wheels in motion this approach will allow you to spend your mental energy on your freelance clients while your website works in the background.

How to come up with evergreen content ideas

The best way to come up with ideas is to know your audience. In a freelance writer’s case, your audience is your ideal client. Think about who you serve and what problems they’re trying to solve. Your website or blog content should solve those problems and answer common questions. The more questions you answer the stronger your foundation.

Here’s what you need to do when coming up with evergreen content ideas: get clear on who you’re talking to (your ideal reader) and what you offer (what’s your goal? What are you trying to achieve?), decide what your topics are, and put everything into a calendar template.

To systemize these ideas (and actually get them written) you’ll need to take your ideas and build a content calendar with them.

Of course we could go a lot deeper when talking about creating evergreen content—there’s SEO, keyword research and virality to consider. But for today we’ll stick with the concept of evergreen content and building a strong online foundation as the base of your freelance writing business. When done well it’s a beautiful thing.

One of the hardest thing about being a working freelance writer is coming up with content for your personal website and digital platforms, which is why you need an evergreen content strategy. Trust me on this, it will change your life.

Bonus: here’s a helpful post on what type of posts work best for evergreen content from Thirteen Thoughts.

Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars [book review]

When you think of marketing what comes to mind? I’m betting it’s not an authority marketing system. I know this because when people come to me needing marketing help they have a specific solution in mind, which they hope is a silver bullet to solve their business problem. And sometimes gimmicks or marketing tactics can be effective but they’re not a long-term solution.

Authority Marketing Review Header

That’s why I love Authority Marketing from authors Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton. It’s a straightforward how-to for building a sustainable marketing strategy for your business.

The big idea with building authority as a marketing strategy (and authority marketing in general), is it starts with the end in mind—you build your strategy around reaching your business or personal goals and take a systemized approach to achieving them. It’s organized, focused and calm. I love calm.

Witty and Shelton take their readers on a no-nonsense journey through the why’s and what’s of authority marketing before diving into the how’s. Broken into seven pillars, their marketing approach mirrors mine in many ways.

  • Branding/Omnipresence
  • Lead generation
  • Content marketing
  • PR and media
  • Speaking
  • Events
  • Referral marketing

I think the most important thing to notice is these are seven pillars, not seven stand-alone items you can try sometimes. It’s seven elements you need to have working systematically in order to keep your marketing machine running.

And yes, that seems like a lot of work. Because it is. And you don’t get all seven pillars up and running overnight—it’s a long game. You identify your goals, you build your strategy, you devise ways to implement these seven pillars and then you systemize it so it’s sustainable.

This is such an amazing process and once you have all the pieces in place it is awe-inspiring to see how well it works. Trust me on this, if you want a comprehensive overview of what a long-term, sustainable marketing strategy looks like, Authority Marketing is an excellent place to start.


Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant synopsis

Learn how to use Authority Marketing® to build thought leadership and dominate your competition by playing a game no one else knows is being played with this ground-breaking book!

Are you the Authority in your field? Are you recognized as a stand-out thought leader, a published author, a keynote speaker, or a media personality? Are you viewed as a commodity? A hard-working expert who is a commodity and has to compete on every level, including price?

One thing is for certain: Authority doesn’t just happen; Authority is built through a systematic process called the Authority Marketing System.

But how can you make this shift in an environment that is noisier and more crowded than ever before? If you are an entrepreneur, CEO, or professional who is frustrated with the traditional approach to marketing and wants to grow your business and make a bigger impact, this book will show you how to use the Authority Marketing System to create a clear and trackable blueprint to shift yourself from a commoditized expert to a highly visible Authority.

In this book you will learn:

  • What Authority Marketing is and how to use it to grow your business
  • The 7 Pillars of Authority Marketing
  • How others have used Authority Marketing to create unimaginable success
  • Why thought leadership is your most important secret weapon

Authority Marketing isn’t about ego or attention—it’s about accelerating the speed of trust so you are viewed not as an expert with something to sell, but as a thought leader with important insight to teach. Start growing your Authority today!

The big idea with building authority as a marketing strategy (and authority marketing in general), is it starts with the end in mind—you build your strategy around reaching your business or personal goals and take a systemized approach to achieving them. It's organized, focused and calm. I love calm.

Other reviews

When to Query a Book

On this long and winding road called the publishing journey there’s the question of when to query a book. The answer isn’t too mind blowing but it comes up enough that it’s worth covering.

When to query a book

The answer of when to query a book is different for fiction and non-fiction, and there are different answers within non-fiction as well. Here are the basics.

When to query a book: fiction

If you’re querying a fiction book it both needs to be 100 per cent finished and revised/edited. In other words, your book needs to be complete.

One pub tip I read from an agent read she shouldn’t be the first person to read your book. Good advice!

When to query a book: non-fiction

This is a bit trickier to answer but I’ll try. The best advice is to check out the agent or editor you’re querying and see what their requirements are—because it seems like all non-fiction agents/editors want similar yet different things.

If you’re writing memoir or narrative non-fiction then your manuscript needs to be complete before querying (same as fiction). However, if you’re writing prescriptive non-fiction then you do not need to have a finished manuscript before querying.

I’m pleased about the prescriptive non-fiction rules because it’s what I’m writing but I’ve learned you still need to have the book figured out and, like, thought through because you need an amazing book proposal should you get past the query stage.

And another hitch with prescriptive non-fiction is you need a significant platform in order to get an agent or editor. I know. But you just do.

Since learning this I can see many reasons for holding off on querying even if you’re manuscript or proposal is ready. Because getting an agent or editor isn’t the only moving target in this adventure—there is so much more to consider. So. We’re all excited and just want to query the heck out of our books. But I challenge you to ask yourself if you’re really ready. Is your manuscript ready? Is your platform ready? Are you ready? If you have considered these questions then you know when to query a book.

On this long and winding road called the publishing journey there's the question of when to query a book. The answer isn't too mind blowing but it comes up enough that it's worth covering.

More about non-fiction publishing

How to Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, require) better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I’m a writer! I cannot! Even!

How to create better blog post images with Canva

And a few years ago I would have commiserated with you. Because there was a learning curve if you weren’t a professional photographer—you have to learn design and of course then you had to figure out Photoshop (and pay for it). If you gave up on taking photos yourself then you entered the world of stock photography and, a few years ago, the cost was high and the competition was low.

But the story is tres different today. There are so many tools available to non-designers and non-photographers it’s time to accept your need for better blog post images and hop on the bus.

For creating better blog post images I recommend Canva to anyone who asks. It’s a free design tool for non-designers—and it’s so easy to use. It’s in the cloud so you don’t have to download anything and you can use it from anywhere, including your mobile. You can design your own graphics if you’re inclined, or you can take suggestion from their huge template library.

The first thing you should do is figure out a few image templates you’ll use over and over in your blogs. This cuts down on decision fatigue and helps keep your blog brand consistent. Don’t freak out! This is all a part of creating better blog images. Templates are your friend. And remember what I said earlier? Canva has a massive template library! You’re going to be fine!

When building your templates you may get tripped up on fonts, images and colours. Since we’re not design trained I suggest we don’t trust our instincts. At least, that’s what I suggest to myself. Here’s what I do instead.

Create Better Blog Post Images with Canva

Fonts

First, you need to choose a font, which is no easy feat. There are bajillions of fonts to choose from. In the link I dropped I’ve offered a few ways to narrow it down but here are the main points: choose something readable and stick with it. Now, when you’re creating images you may want to use a couple different fonts—risky stuff! If you want to spice things up font-wise, use Canva’s free font combinations thingy. Select your main font and let Canva show you what will pair well with it. Done.

Images

While you can create graphics without photos there is still a decision to make here—will you be an exclusive image-only blog? Or just graphics? Or a mix of both? Figure out how you want your site to look and go from there. If you’re going with photos, Canva has a large stock photo library—some of which are free to use. There are many, many options online for stock photography these days so you have options if you want to use photos but can’t/don’t want to use your own. Even if you’re not planning on using many photos I still recommend finding a photo style you resonate with (be it nature, lifestyle, flat lay, etc.) as it will help you in your ongoing branding and in colour selection.

Colours

If you’ve chosen your website or blog branding colours then this isn’t a decision you have to make—stick with your branding. However, if you haven’t done this yet it’s time to pick a palette. And, since we’re not designers, how does one know what colours go together? I use Canva’s colour palette generator every time I need one. And I don’t just use it for my blog images—it’s how I chose my living room colours and how I decide the palettes for my knitting projects!

When you find your inspiration image, one that you feel represents the essence of your blog and/or brand, upload it to the colour palette generator and watch it do its magic. Because it’s magical.

In the writing world words are the thing. So when people tell us writers we need (nay, <em>require</em> better blog post images we recoil in shock. What now!? But I'm a writer! I cannot! Even!

As a writer, the subject of website images can be overwhelming. The goal of today’s post is to help simplify it—yes you should have images on your blog and yes, I think you can create better blog post images. Here are the highlights.

  • Use a program like Canva
  • Remember, templates are your friend
  • Build a visual brand using fonts, images and colours
  • Stay on brand!