Saturday, October 19, 2013

Authors Helping Authors

by Kim McDougall

My second greatest joy as an author is taking part in the online writing community. I say my second because my first, like any author is seeing my stories take flight in the world and be enjoyed by readers.
As authors, we all have this same goal in mind. We all want our books to succeed, win attention and make money. And yet, unlike other industries, authors don’t seem to compete against one another. Would a car dealership ever write a glowing review of another dealership? Probably not. Authors review other books all the time.

And it goes deeper than that. Since my first book was published, in 1999, I’ve had the pleasure of working with five publishers, three critique groups and uncountable blogs and author groups. Overwhelmingly, my experience in these forums has been positive. Authors help each other out by tagging books on Amazon, they give away their secret marketing ideas and they introduce others to their agents and editors. After all, just because a reader buys one book, doesn’t mean he won’t buy another. In fact, smart authors recognize that getting people to read in general will mean more readers for all authors. So we work together. We network in the best sense of the word.

On a personal level, the online community is a vital connection for an author whose world is often shrunk down to a keyboard. Authors helps other authors through personal crises, writing crises and even crises of faith. The kind when you’re feeling so bad about your new work in progress, you just want to chuck the whole eighty-thousand words and start over. Only another author can talk you off this ledge. Through writing, I now have friends in Australia, Canada, United States, South America, and Europe—people I’ve never met, face-to-face, but I consider close friends. It’s a strange new world we live in.

In 1999, I had been a neophyte, learning the mystifying rules of submission guidelines, finding my elusive voice and swallowing shyness to market myself. By 2009 I was something of an expert in my field of book trailers and I decided to give back to this community that had nurtured me. Like a good student— I wrote what I knew. I created Blazing Trailers, a site dedicated to books with video teasers. And I invited all authors to post a free promo page for their books. When I shut down Blazing Trailers earlier this year, we had over three thousand books listed. And I shut it down for a good cause. I wanted to create a site, bigger in scope. Not just book trailers, but a one-stop-shop for book marketing.

In July, I finally convinced my husband, Louis Chatel, to join me in creating this book marketing shop. Louis is a former marketing director and he’ll bring his expertise to the table as well as take on all those projects I’ve never had time for. The first ones are the new eCommerce site, this blog, and Facebook page and store. These are all works in progress with new features waiting to be added. Take a look around and let us know what you think.

The spirit of Blazing Trailers lives on at Castelane. I will never forget all the wonderful authors who got me this far. To them, I dedicate our FREE promo opportunities. Check out our knowledge base of articles on marketing, self publishing and writing, all written by authors who’ve been there, done that. This database is available to everyone. We will also be continuing with the FREE author promo pages for anyone who purchases our services. Take a peek HERE. Both these services are in their infancy but will grow quickly as we add more authors and articles every week.

And, yes, we have services for sale (who doesn’t?). But since I’m an author too, I understand how hard it is to spend marketing dollars you don’t have. Since I began making book trailers in 2007, I have always maintained low prices, with trailers starting at $200. Over the years, I’ve seen other companies inflate video previews into the thousands of dollars for the same, or inferior product. But authors helping authors don’t do that. I hope you’ll take a look at our services and sign up for our newsletter for updates on new offers.

The Castelane blog will feature guest authors, artists and publishers, writing about marketing, publishing and the joys and angsts of the writing life. If you’d like to contribute to either the Castelane blog or the Knowledge Base, please contact us at
I’d also love to hear your experiences with the online writing community. Feel free to post them here.

✍ Kim McDougall



  1. Good luck with your new venture Kim. And thanks for the support while you had Blazing Trailers, well blazing a trail for all our books.

    Marc Nash

  2. Thanks Marc. We're continuing the tradition at Castelane! Hope things have been good with you and your books.

  3. Kim & Louis,
    You are both congratulated and wished success in this new and exciting venture. Marketing is the key to success and as one writer who lacks such skills, I am looking forward to the help offered here.

  4. Norman, friendliness is half the battle with marketing and you've always been that! Thanks for your support. Hey all: Norman will be one of our guest columnists in our Knowledge Base. Look for his article in the coming weeks.

  5. Kim,

    Congratulations! I am looking forward to visting frequently. Your trailers of my books are incredible and I plan on tapping into your other services.

    All my best,

  6. Thanks Donna! I'm grateful for all the help you've given me over the years too. I look forward to working with you again.

  7. The website is great and speaking from experience, your services are wonderful. Congratulations on the new venture!

    1. Thanks Donna! I'm sure we'll be working together again soon!