Monday, September 29, 2014

Create Killer eBuzz


Copyright © 2013 Amber Scott
Originally published by 1st Turning Point, 2010
Visibility: We humans are pre-dominantly visual creatures. Around 67% of information retention into long term memory relies on visual images. Think of the grocery store line, the bookstore kiosks, the line-up on BN.com’s home page. These are purchased by the publisher. The good news is there is plenty of other property online.
  • Great cover art is crucial: Your first step in snagging attention is eye appeal. Make sure the quality is equal to any A-list author’s. Viewers will pick up on it right away if it isn’t.
  • Virtual property: Friendster, MySpace, Google Buzz, Red Room, a blog, Facebook, GoDaddy, Tagged, Manic Readers, Amazon, etc. Start joining and claiming your author name on these sites. Get your domain name under your author name and take it wherever you can go. Use your book cover as your profile picture. That picture will be there any time someone travels to your page, every time you comment, tweet, etc.
  • Blog Comments: Be the commenter you want to see in your blog. Commit to commenting on X number of blogs a week. Use your name and url. Folks will click to see who you are.
  • Book Review Sites: Get your book to any reader who will consider taking it. The more the better. If you get a review, no matter how big or small, you get visibility.
  • Free reads: Nothing moves faster than a freebie. Online, free reads are the new library system. Put your best work out there and earn the next read as a purchase because they love your freebie! Expand the freebies: Podcast your chapters (www.FETIDUS.org, create a free serial novel, youtube a character webcast (“Popular Lauren”).
  • Book Videos: Do it yourself at a site like One True Media or hire a reputable company like Blazing Trailers or Goddess Fish Promotions to create a killer preview of your book, your free read and put it up on YouTube. While there’s no correlative statistics available to track sales, you have your name and book in front of a huge viewing audience. Invaluable.
  • Guest spots: There is a plethora of guest blog spot opportunities. Romance Junkies, The Book Binge, Long and Short Romance, the list goes on and on. These smaller sites want content. They want author interviews. They aren’t staffed to court authors but love having guests. This is an excellent way to network and build your tribe.
Credibility: Once we humans see what we like, we then need to verify others like it, too. This need for peer approval has served us well since the dawn of time. We see a succulent berry on a bush. We want to eat it. But it could be poison? So we look to Zog and Ug. Did they eat the berry? Did they live to tell about it? Did they like the berry?
  • Contest Wins: Readers trust contest wins. With good reason! A writing contest win means your book is the best of the best. The cream of the crop. Enter your work in contests. Even a final will take you far in reader/buyer confidence. Even no win could earn you a new fan. Create a yearly contest entry fee budget and get out there.
  • Author/Cover Quotes: Endorsement from a peer, potentially an author the reader already is familiar with, is the next best way to earn buyer confidence. It demonstrates a fellow author will vouch for this author. A little, “Hey, you can blame me.” Author quotes not only create buyer confidence, it name builds for both authors. A win win!
  • Reviews: Online reviewer blogs are becoming the new beach front grocery store line property. No review site is too small and the ones who love you will push your career farther than any big name review site.
  • Backlist: The more books you have on your backlist the more serious you will appear about your career. Rome wasn’t built in a day and an author’s career takes years to patiently build. Pages first!

Tribe Building: An author cannot-does not-build a career on their own. But if they can build a tribe, a group of fans who love their work, that tribe will build the career. In truth, getting out there as much as possible is not just to create the buyer confidence of familiarity and esteem. It is getting out there, hoping one of those readers will become your reader, your fan. Your Twi-hard. Your groupie. Your member of the Alien Collective that will shout your name to the rooftops and pimp your book on every corner, because they love it and you so much. When you earn a tribe member, treat them well. Keep your tribe happy by giving them amazing books they love and extras exclusive to them and they will pay you back a hundred fold.
**And remember, you are not in this alone. We are all in this together. There is no finite number chairs at the big table, just the number of appetites. So stay hungry!

Amber Scott runs. Her feet hit earth while her heart chases fire. Her worlds are made of magick, redemption, attraction and transformation. While she has wanted to be an author her entire life, her dream finally came true seven years ago. Through life's twists and turns, her fiction and fans carry her forward. She makes her home in Arizona with her amazing children, where each day she gets to live her own inspiring love story. Someday she hopes to share it.







Saturday, September 27, 2014

Thinking of Independently Publishing? Think Thrice.


Copyright © 2013 Kris Tualla 
Originally published by 1st Turning Point
You have a really great story but it doesn’t fit into the big publishers’ “boxes?” Boy, do I feel your pain. While I have an agent and two requested manuscripts currently submitted to four publishing houses, I also have a Historical-American-Norwegian trilogy in the outside-the-box position. Great characters in a unique setting and unusual situations—and no publishing home. What’s an author to do?
Look into Independent Publishing—the accepted term for “self publishing” among professional authors. This market is exploding, both in print books and e-publications. And, why not? Technology today is lowering the cost, making printing one book as cost-effective as printing a thousand books. New distribution agreements are being negotiated daily. New authors should know by now that they have to market themselves, anyway—why not retain control of their product?
By control, I mean deciding the book’s title, approving the cover design, not worrying about word count, and choosing your pen name—all components that would be determined and/or changed by a traditional publisher.
#1: Think Cost
The biggest problem with newbie authors and self-publishing is that they don’t do adequate research before they sign up with a vanity press. These companies take their money directly from authors’ wallets, much the same way modeling companies (not legit agencies) make money by selling classes to wide-eyed hopefuls.
Think about it: if you are paying them, why should they work for minimal royalty checks? They recoup all of their costs from the impatient and ignorant, and have no reason to do anything more to further those authors’ careers. A 20-minute internet search and sampling of self-publishers and their costs (I say “self,” not “independent,” because these publishers prey on amateurs) turned up these horrifying package prices:
Infinity Publishing: $500
Dellarte Press $600-$1600
Author House: $600-$4000
iUniverse: $600-$4200
Xulon Press: $800-$4300
Master-Press: $900-$2000
Dog Ear Publishing: $110-$3500
XLibris: $1149-$2500
These companies then set the price for which the books must sell—and those prices are inflated above the market standard. Next come the royalties that the press skims from every sale on top of the start-up prices that the author has already paid! Add to this grim scenario the stipulation of minimum sales requirements: if your book doesn’t sell, you have to buy the extra copies. What are these poor authors thinking? This investment will not be recouped and, in most cases, these books are not distributed beyond Amazon.com.
If an author hopes to succeed, or make any money at all, they must keep their investment to a minimum and their distribution at a maximum. There is a sane and profitable alternative for those who want to independently publish their print books: CreateSpace by Amazon. Cost to publish your book: $0 or $39 for the highly worth it PRO plan. Cost to have your book distributed through every major channel: $0.
You do have to edit, format, and proof your book yourself. You can design your own book cover (I did all of mine on Word then converted it to a PDF) but they do have several pre-designed templates if you need them.
Be aware that it’s free to publish on Kindle, and soon on Nook. Plus Kindle, Apple, Sony, and all other e-formats can be published for free through Smashwords. That’s zero dollars, in case you were confused.
#2: Think Quality
After all is said and done, the free market will allow good books to rise over time, and bad ones will stink. I mean sink.
Let’s assume your manuscript is completed and you already have combed through it many times. You have critique partners—other writers—who have evaluated your plot and characters and their goals, motivations, and conflicts. Your grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been checked, either by an editing program such as PerfectIt or by hiring a freelance professional editor.
You think your manuscript is finally in good enough shape to put it “out there.” How can you get it ready for print?
The answer, in my humble opinion, is:
1) Print three-four copies in the form the book ultimately will take.
I learned when publishing my “Primer for Beginning Authors” that it does no good to proof a book that is not in book form; a completely wasted effort.
2) Recruit a battery of beta-readers.
I ordered four copies of my debut novel, “A Woman of Choice,” and gave it to four friends to read. (They cost $5.05 each through CreateSpace—comparable in cost to printing the 104,000-word manuscript at Office Max.)
When they found a mistake, they were to mark it, dog-ear the page, and then keep going. Mistakes could take any form: typos, scene breaks that fell at an awkward spot on the page, action descriptions that didn’t make sense, etc.
When I got the books back, 25% of the pages had mistakes on them—in a manuscript that I thought was clean. And here’s the kicker: they all found different mistakes!
3) Do it again.
I tweaked the cover, adjusted lines on the pages so the scene breaks didn’t overlap the top or bottom of a page, fixed every skipped or repeated word, adjusted the font size to be more pleasing, and clarified actions described.
Then I ordered four more copies. Four different friends got the fixed copies.
They came back with 10% of the pages dog-eared, marked with mistakes that were missed in the first round. Again, they all found different ones. *Sigh.*
4) Do it yet again.
Ditto on the changes, but this time I only ordered two copies. And they went to two different friends.
But I already spotted two mistakes myself. Really? Really??
5) Do it again, with hope, for the last time.
I have two more friends waiting in the wings for Round Four.
Does this process take time? Yes. Is it worth it? You bet it is! I don’t want my books to look shoddy either in print or on e-pub. I don’t want to give anyone a reason to say, “You can totally tell she published this herself.”
#3: Think Career
I am setting about building a readership. I respect those who spend their money to take a chance on me and my stories. I want to give them the best experience possible, whether the book is electronically, independently, or traditionally published—even if they only paid $2.99 for the e-book.
I’m in this for the long haul. And the long haul demands that I go the extra mile: My books are extensively proofed. I listen to critiques. I give 100% effort to creating a quality product. By publishing independently, I know my books will never be “out of print”—no matter what the format—because I am in control of them. I own the rights. I decide where and how they are sold.
I also take every single opportunity to promote myself that comes along: teaching online classes, reviewing books and book trailers, presenting at conferences, blogging and guest blogging, going to book signings, arranging book signings, creating author/reader events, and joining author groups. No exposure is insignificant at this point.
I also want to help other out-of-the-box authors build their careers. To this end, I have created a “publishing” label: Goodnight Publishing. Here authors can learn how to independently publish their own work. They also can link virtual arms and present a familiar face to the world with which readers will resonate.
Independently publishing can be an end to its own, or a stepping stone toward traditional houses. It does require tenacity and plenty of hard work. But the possibilities are unlimited. Are you up for it?
Kris Tualla, a dynamic award-winning and internationally published author of historical romance and suspense, writes with a fast-paced and succinct style. Her plots are full of twists, passion, and very satisfying outcomes! Kris started in 2006 with nothing but a nugget of a character in mind, and has created a dynasty with The Hansen Series and its spin-off, The Discreet Gentleman Series. Norway is the new Scotland!
Kris is an active member of Romance Writers of America, the Historical Novel Society, and Sisters in Crime. She is an enthusiastic speaker and teacher, and created Arizona Dreamin' - Arizona's first romance-reader event: ArizonaDreaminEvent.com - and it's author-focused companion: BuildintheDream.com
"In the Historical Romance genre, there have been countless kilted warrior stories told. Well, I say it's time for a new breed of heroes! Come along with me and find out why: Norway IS the new Scotland!"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When Good is Bad and Bad is Good


Copyright © 2013 John Foxjohn
Originally published by 1st Turning Point, 2011
Over the last few years, many people have asked me what I think is the key to self-promotions. To be honest, I’ve answered this different ways.
Recently, I presented a class on characterization to SOLA (Southern Louisiana chapter of RWA). Afterward, they took me to lunch and we had an hour-long question and answer session. As it so often happens in these informal, fun gatherings, the subject can and does change to other things.
This one changed to self-promotions. Now, SOLA has a male friend of mine as a member and he was in this session. Along with him, there were also some who have taken my online self-promotion classes. As it turned out, Nick was giving them as many answers on self-promotions as I was—and he was actually giving them my answers.
At one point, I asked him if he’s taken my class, and he said no, he used to be a salesman.
He really has a leg up on me because I haven’t ever been in sales. Most of the information I have obtained in self-promotions has come from a combination of common sense, willingness, and trial and error. Unfortunately for me, more error than trial.
But the simple keys to self-promotions lies in what I just said: common sense and willingness.
One of the things that we talked about at this little session was if you want to sell a book, you need to get that book into the reader’s hands. I had no idea this was a sales technique—I just knew that people who didn’t pick the books up didn’t buy them.
In a way, that is common sense on my part, and trust me, the only sense I do have is the common kind.
But along with common sense, willingness to self-promote might rank right up there at the top. Here is the common sense part of me speaking. I think promotional ideas need to have several key ingredients:
First, they shouldn’t be too expensive—there is nothing wrong with getting the biggest bang from the buck.
Second, they should draw attention to what you want them to. This attention should be to a book, you, or both.
Third, it should help the target people remember what you are promoting.
Here’s an example. I wear a set of small handcuffs on my lapel. People now know me by those cuffs. It’s like a calling card. They see them—they remember me. Here is my point: I obtained those cuffs from another writer at a book signing. The writer had a bunch of them and was giving them away.
The cuffs have nothing on them, no writing, name, anything, and I have long forgotten the name of the writer who gave them to me, and I am not sure I ever knew the name of the book he or she was trying to sell me.
These cuffs have helped me sell thousands of books, but probably didn’t help the original person at all. That writer was giving them away to people, but I wore mine and came up with a catchy little phrase to help people remember me.
My willingness to look at them in a different way is what helped me–not intelligence or sales ability.
Recently, I got to looking at another approach. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have come up with some very bad ideas. I am not afraid to say that an idea isn’t working and never will and ditch it. I think that is important. You can only ride a dead horse for so long.
But I digress. If I have a book in my hand, I want to find ways to get people to ask me about that book. However, if I don’t have a book in my hand, I try to find ways to get them to talk to me so I can tell them about my books.
Like I said, I have come up with some bad ideas, but I have also come up with some really good, original ones. My latest may just fall into the later category.
I had two t-shirts made up: one black with gold lettering, and the other white with black lettering—and yes, I chose those colors because they show up well. On the front of the t-shirt, the bold letters say, “Be nice… I kill people for a living.” On the back, it says, “You could end up in my next book.”
I can’t tell you how much attention I get when I wear these shirts, and ninety-nine percent of it is positive. Some people do edge away from me, but people ask me about them, talk to me about them, and it gives me an opportunity to give them a business card and talk about my books.
That’s my idea of self-promotions, common sense, and willingness to try.
John Foxjohn, the author of the best-selling true crime, Killer Nurse, epitomizes the phrase "been there--done that." Born and raised in the rural East Texas town of Nacogdoches, he quit high school and joined the Army at seventeen: Viet Nam veteran, Army Airborne Ranger, policeman and homicide detective, retired teacher and coach, now he is a multi-published author.
Growing up, Foxjohn developed a love of reading that will never end. In fact, he refers to himself as a "readalcoholic." He began with the classics and still lists Huckleberry Finn as one of his all time favorites. Later, he discovered Louis L'Amour and besides owning every book he wrote, Foxjohn says he's read every one of them at least five times.
However, when he was twelve, Foxjohn read a book about Crazy Horse, and decided right then he would also write one about the famous Lakota leader. After many "yondering" years as L'Amour called them, he spent ten years researching his historical fiction, Journey of the Spirit, now titled The People's Warrior.
Maybe because of his eclectic reading habits John has not limited himself to publishing in one genre. In fact, he has published mysteries, romantic suspenses, historical fiction, legal thrillers, and nonfiction Killer Nurse.
When he's not writing, teaching writing classes, or speaking to different writing groups and conferences, Foxjohn loves to spend time square dancing, working in his rose garden, or in his garage doing woodwork. However, his passion outside of family and writing is without a doubt, anything to do with the Dallas Cowboys.

She was hired to nurse them back to health...instead, she took their lives.
For months, the DaVita Dialysis Center in Lufkin, Texas had been baffled by the rising number of deaths and injuries occurring in their clinic. In April alone, they’d rushed thirty-four patients to the hospital. But no one expected such a horrific cause to be behind it all.
Kimberly Clark Saenz was a well-liked licensed vocational nurse at the center. The East Texas nurse was a mother of two, and known for her smiles and the stories she told to help patients pass the time. But on April 28, 2008, witnesses came forward to say that instead of lifesaving medication, they’d seen Saenz adding toxic bleach to IV ports. Turns out, it wasn’t the first time. Once caught, the shocking story of Saenz’s murderous practices began to unravel…

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spamming And The Beginning Author


Copyright © 2013 by Norman W. Wilson, Ph.D.
Originally published by 1stturningpoint.com
Spamming, simply defined, is the repetitious sending of the same messages over and over.
The most familiar and widely used form of spamming is unsolicited commercial email.  Among the more offensive are those that may be categorized as ‘meet’.  Meet singles, Meet 50+, and all the attached ethnic labels.  Let’s not forget all of those enhancer ads for parts of the male anatomy.  Hit delete and move on.
The source of the term spam may be from the 1970′s Spam Sketch on the BBC, specifically the Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  Others claim the term came from the early 1980′s use of bulk unsolicited advertising.  This practice was called Sales Promotion and Marketing, thus the acronym–Spam.  The earliest actual use of multiple messaging was by Gary Turk of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1978.  He had a message sent to just under 400 people.  Prior to this, email was sent individually.  Most likely, the first major commercial spam took place in 1994 when a husband-wife lawyer team (Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel) used bulk posting to advertise their immigration law services.  However, Sanford Wallace of Cyber Promotions in the late 1990′s was a chief contributor to making spam a predominantly email strategy.
Email spamming became an issue as the public connected to the internet in the late 20th Century.  The reason for this increase in spamming is it’s an economically viable thing for advertisers to do.  There are few operating costs beyond managing an email list or lists.  And that has generated another business–the selling of email addresses for mass distribution.
Much of the spam email is sent by unsuspecting home computers that have been infected with virus or worm infected messages.  An author’s name attached to such notices becomes an immediate persona non grata.
One has to question the monetary gain by such a practice. An acquaintance decided to buy 2500 email addresses and send out an invitation to a financial seminar.  Twenty people showed up. Besides paying for the list, and the rental costs for a meeting room, the costs of refreshments had to be absorbed.  Not one sale or new client resulted from that effort.  Do authors who blanket their written works unceremoniously all over the place make significant sales?  It’s doubtful especially in view of the poor sales showing at author-signings where there is direct contact.
A beginning author who commercially spams runs a huge risk of having all of his or her communications tossed into the junk mail box.  With the newer filtering systems available, the chance of acknowledgement is even slimmer.  The response to large corporations using mass mailings is less than one percent.  Why then, would an author want to use mass emailing?
Imagine the risk if that author spams his own group of professional writers.  They are the worst of the worst of all offenders.  These individuals, believing they are being very subtle and clever, load up their comments in discussions with photos of their books as their avatar, slipping in the titles of their current books, and listing a link to their books sell page.  Typical lines go something like this: “I just finished signing a contract for my new novel No Name with XYZ Publishing and would like to know how to set up a book signing.”  Others include “I’m looking for someone to review my novel, The ABCXYZ, soon to be published by (name of publisher).  And then there’s this type, “Just completed my website.  Check it out at URL and let me know what you think of the layout for my latest novel, The Name of the Novel.  You can contact me at….”
Such behavior is inexcusable by members of professional writing groups whose goal and purpose is directly related to the craft of writing.  When advised that such behavior is not allowed these ‘spammers’ get insulted, throw childish tantrums, and end with such threats as “I’m out of here.”  If that doesn’t work, these offenders of considerate decorum try to rally other members of the group against the management.  Good friend and fellow owner/manager of a group, Charlotte Boyett-Compo puts it this way:  ”There is little difference between spamming and cramming self-promotion down an unwilling throat.  Neither is welcome and both are unproductive.”
Have you ever met a shaman? Norman Wilson has. He was seven years old, and it triggered a lifelong curiosity for other worlds and cultures. Eventually, he wrote a series of essays on shamanism, which are now available as Shamanism: What It's All About. His doctorate in the humanities allowed him to study other systems, particularly the myths of the Ancient Greeks, and to examine in depth the Romantic poets, novelists, painters, and musicians. Like those Romanticists, Norman also has a deep abiding fascination with the world of mythology. That interest has wound its way into his novel The Shaman's Quest and the remaining five in my series, Shamanic Mysteries. Norman lives in the Puget Sound area of Washington State with his talented wife, photographer Suzanne V. Wilson, and they are ruled by three cats, who graciously allow them to reside in their abode. He has over 200 articles published on the internet, several college textbooks, and three novels published.





Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Meaning of a Single Word?


Copyright © 2013 Keta Diablo
Originally published by 1st Turning Point
I’m sure you all know that sultry means to be hot with passion or to be capable of exciting strong sexual desire. But sultry can also mean sweltering or torrid.
Have you ever heard a word that reminds you of a certain time and place, almost like Déjà vu? Whenever I hear the word sultry it reminds of only one thing–the novel To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I know that sounds odd because most of the time sultry would remind one of hot passion or conjure an image of Marilyn Monroe standing over an air vent on the sidewalk with her short skirt billowing about her.
Not me. When I hear the word “sultry” I’m taken on a journey back to my childhood, seventh grade to be exact. That year, my teacher placed a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird on my desk with a simple note, “Keta, read this. I hope it opens many doors for you.”
Now, years later, I wonder if I’ve done Ms. Lee proud. By word of mouth and my love for To Kill A Mockingbird, have I sold a few copies for her? We know all about the power of testimonials, the far-reaching effects of passing on vivid details about our most recent read, right? I hope we never forget the magic formula — you know, you tell five people about your great read and they tell five people, and so on and so on.
Back in the seventh grade, I thought it strange that Miss Holmquist would place a book on my desk, but then she was a rather over-the-top character. (Picture a short, stout woman with the shadow of a mustache whose flabby upper arms jiggled when she worked the chalkboard). Yet, the woman had piqued my interest with her subtle message. How could books open doors? Why did I want to read about an old lawyer in a southern state I knew nothing about? And, what’s more, what kind of a man would name his children Jem and Scout?
I took the book home, and several days passed before I opened it and read the first line, “When he was thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.” Hmm, this Ms. Harper Lee, whoever she is, has my attention now,” I thought. Who is Jem and how did he break his arm?
From that moment on I was hooked–mesmerized over the story, in awe over the character names, Boo Radley, Aunt Avery, Dill, Atticus, Calpurnia, and even the white girl who was supposedly raped, Mayella. And I’m still in awe of the plot, the personalities, and the vivid neighborhood descriptions.
So, why does the word sultry remind me of To Kill A Mockingbird? Because for the first time in my life I realized that by simply turning the pages, I could feel the sultry heat, taste the prejudice and agonize over the hatred between black and white.
“So what did you discover in this book?” Miss Holmquist asked me two weeks later. I didn’t know where to begin. Should I tell her about the rollercoaster of emotions I went through reading it? Do I dare ask her why the jury convicted Tom even though I prayed they wouldn’t? Or maybe I should tell her how brave Scout was when she diffused an explosive situation between Atticus and the old-timers of the town with a simple, “Hey there, Mr. Ewell, how’s your boy, Henry doing?”
I didn’t ask her any of those things, but I did tell her about every sentiment I felt. Mostly I told her about the bitter taste in my mouth over a word called prejudice, and I told her I felt the hot, sultry sun of Maycomb County.
Some days, I wish I could go back to seventh grade and ask Miss Holmquist if she knew that one day To Kill A Mockingbird would be one of the best-loved stories of all time, that it would earn many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. I’d ask her if she thought it would win the Pulitzer Prize one day and be translated into more than forty languages. And Miss Holmquist, do you think it will sell more than thirty million copies worldwide, and will it be made into an enormously popular movie?
You know, I think Miss Holmquist would have said, “Yes, I do think Miss Lee’s novel will achieve all those things and more, but the most important thing, Keta, To Kill A Mockingbird will transport you to the sultry heat of the deep south and will take you to places you never dreamed existed.”
And I would say, “Thank you, Miss Holmquist, thank you.”


Paranormal/Raven Shifter
* Nominated for Bookie Award by Authors After Dark.
* Nominated for Best Romance of the Year
* Book of the Month – Black Raven’s Café
* Top Recommended Read – 3 Professional review sites

A decadent-looking savage has captured Francesca DuVall and her brother Marsh. Now she spends every waking moment planning an escape from the camp of the brutal Dog Soldiers.

Ethan Gray is a curator at a national museum . . . until he travels through time to help his beloved People. In the Cheyenne world he’s known as Meko, leader of the most revered tribe of the plains.

Cultures and hearts battle, violence and death haunt the road ahead, but when kindred souls collide, anything is possible. From the windswept plains of Colorado to the placid life of a curator, their love is fueled by passion and kindled by destiny.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Blog Tourer’s Guide to the Galaxy (with Apologies to Mr. Doug Adams)

Copyright © 2013 Rowena Cherry
Originally Published by 1st Turning Point,

JA Konrath aka Jack Kilborn, Emily Bryan aka Diana Groe, Joy Nash, Sandy Lender, and yours truly have found that blog tours can be fun, incredibly time consuming, hard work, and very good for name recognition.
Joy Nash advises :

“I’ve done two extended blog promos-a 50 Day, 50 Books Blog Tour Giveaway for Immortals: The Crossing, and a Countdown to Summer Blog Party for A Little Light Magic. I highly recommend a tour as a fantastic way to get out and meet the readers. A theme adds to the fun. My Summer Countdown had readers posting all kinds of summer-related memories and experiences. If you’re doing a tour, be sure to include giveaways and contests-it can only increase your traffic. Caveat: be sure to allocate a good chunk of your (probably over-taxed) free time to the endeavor. What with the advance planning, writing up content, and interacting with readers, I guarantee it will take waaaay more time than you think.”
So, here’s how to do it.
Finding Tour Guides and Hosts:
Penny Sansevieri http://amarketingexpert.com/

Marianne and Judy of http://goddessfish.com/

DIY: email colleagues directly, ask your publisher’s PR department for help, post requests for hosts on your-genre-related author loops…and on Facebook and Twitter.
Know Your Goal:
The goal of a blog tour is to meet and entrance new readers at each blog. A lesser goal might be to make friends with the more established authors who are hosting your visit.
Know Your Limitations:
How long does it take you to write a piece? You will need to write one unique piece for each stop on your blog tour, and you will need to bookmark and return to each stop for at least the day your blog posts, and for two days after that, and then once a week until your tour is over.
Your Ticket: (You need a good hook)
Content is King (but Contest is Queen). Know something about your hostess, her interests, and her audience. Write a good headline, one that will attract readers, even when it is archived. Write an original post for each hostess. Don’t forget to name your book, give a buy link, give the URL to your website.
Some authors treat their blog tour like a scavenger hunt, where anyone who wants a free copy of their book must follow that author from site to site all month long.
Do those authors realize that such followers will probably postpone buying a copy of the book for the entire month? Time your blog tour for the month before your book is released. Then, parsimony makes sense.
If you want comments, you should offer prizes at each stop. The prize does not have to be a copy of the book in question, but it could be, especially if you have ARCs, and want reviews before your book comes out.
Making Friends Along The Way:
Show up early (send your blog post in to your host in good time) and stay late.
Successful guest blogs may get up to 100 comments (including replies by the guest author) on strong, busy sites such as Bitten By Books, all the way down to none at all, not even a public welcome-and-thank you from a hostess.
Take heart. Just because blog visitors don’t comment does not mean that they aren’t reading your guest blog post, and or don’t want to win your book. Moreover, if you have an intriguing headline for each individual post and a few quotable quotes in it, the search engines will pick you up.
Don’t forget to bookmark and go back to the blogs you have visited this month, and to respond to anyone who has commented (this will double the number of comments, giving the impression of success, and will gratify your hostesses, as well as your potential readers.)
Shouting Out The Stops:
Talking of good manners…how and where should an author promote her tour and her destinations?
Twitter

Status updates (on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Gather, Ning, Eons, etc.)

Yahoo Groups-Some accept such announcements on certain, designated days, or on Promo Only groups. Others frown on it.
Otherwise, promo is doable if the blogger focuses on a topic of general interest and spins the blog as an excuse for other authors with similar interests to promote themselves to the readers who regularly visit the hostess’s blog. (That’s why so many authors support Barbara Vey’s PW blog.)

Rowena Cherry’s blogs:
Award winning author and talk show host, and outspoken copyrights advocate, Rowena Cherry has played chess with a Grand Master and former President of the World Chess Federation (hence the chess-pun titles of her alien romances).
She has spent folly filled summers in a Spanish castle; dined on a sheikh's yacht with royalty; been serenaded (on a birthday) by a rockstar and an English nobleman; ridden in a pace car at the 1993 Indy 500; received the gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award; and generally lived on the edge of the sort of life that inspires her romances about high-living alien gods. Find out more about Rowena at the following:

SPACE SNARK™ www.spacesnark.com









Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Promote your Blog

Below is a detailed infographic by Digital Philipines that gives some great advice for new bloggers. They also have a comprehensive guide "120 Marketing Tactics for New Blogs." Visit them at digitalphilippines.net to view it.


how-to-promote-your-blog

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Article Writing Tips

Copyright © 2013 Mary Deal

Article writing tips can help you compose informational pieces that will attract a greater degree of publicity. You can make money writing articles. These short pieces require tight, descriptive sentence structure. Articles may cover full descriptions of items or topics, but it is done in brief format, with fewer words due to tight sentence structure.
Whatever it is you wish to promote or sell, a well-written description or synopsis will spark the interest of those looking for such information. They will come to your Web site to learn more about that which you offer.
Perhaps you do not have something to promote or sell. Maybe you just want to publicize your thoughts about an item or occurrence. Your slant on the topic must still be interesting and informative in order to hold your reader’s attention and belief.If all you wish to do is submit articles to various publications and make money writing, the article writing tips are the same. Each piece of prose should be factual and polished to the best of your ability.
Articles consist of more information than announcements; yet, as referral pieces, do not cover the entire subject thoroughly. The idea is to catch and keep the interest of the reader so that they seek out your Web site to learn more. Or, perhaps they will purchase your book for in-depth information.
All your articles can be accumulated into an anthology or book form. Remember, though, that in book form, writings should be more informative.A brief article published here and there will advertise the book that is expected to be the ultimate accumulation of facts.

For example, you are a tinker who knows how to fix just about anything. You write instructional articles about one item or another. You find you’ve written a book full of these short pieces. My suggestion in this case is to submit a few of these to various Web sites and/or publishers who request such information.
Applying good article writing tips, and once accepted and published, you will be able to refer readers to your completed book of more descriptive articles – provided it is published, of course.
Actually, any article in that book can be a “leader” and published elsewhere, to gain the reading public’s desire to ultimately purchase your book.

What follows are article writing tips to help you improve your writing. We all hope to make money writing.


1. Know the topic about which you wish to write. Be sure you are not including two or more topics in one.
  • Example: You want to write about the goodness of apples, how they grow and the nutrients they contain. You think you’ll also include information about how to core an apple or other fruit. Don’t!Coring an apple is another topic about apples that you may include when composing an article about coring other fruit. Unless you write about the entire history of apples—which would be a long article—focus on one aspect only. Save the rest for…. another article!
2. Once you have your topic firmly in mind, create a TITLE that offers a benefit to the reader. Your title will be what stimulates the viewer to keep reading.
  • If you’re writing about apples and their nutrients that could be the title: Apples and Their Nutrients. Or Nutrients found in Apples. However, better still Nutritious Apples. Make your title short as you dare, but make it say what the article is about.
3. If you know anything about how the search engines find you on the Net, then you know that you must have keywords that the search engines use to find anything. Use those keywords when introducing your article.
  • Apples and their Nutrients are better for you than you know.
  • Nutrients in Apples are some of the best health aids of all time.
  • Nutritious apples help you maintain better health.
4. In the first sentence of your article, you could ask the readers a question to get them thinking about how the article relates to them personally.
  • When was the last time you ate an apple a day for a week? This would imply they should eat an apple a day, and we all know that slogan, and we know it is a very wise one. But your article won’t be on eating an apple a day. It’ll be on the nutrition a person will receive from eating them, maybe once a day, and you should reiterate the purpose of the article in the first paragraph.
5. In the body of the piece, break up blocks of paragraphs by including highlighted facts and benefits.
  • Include brief sub-paragraphed analogies and metaphors.
6. Make each paragraph short as possible, no more than 2-4 sentences. 
  • Online reading can be hard on the eyes. A lot of “white space” between paragraphs and with indented margins is not only easy on the eyes but also much easier to follow.
  • Brief paragraphs are also faster to read.
7. Keep yourself out of the article. If included, remove or change each time you use “I.”
  • Keep the focus of the benefit on your reader. If you must reword sentences removing “I” to replace with “you” then do it. Reword any of those incorrect uses.
8. Most of all, do not lecture.
  • You may be the world’s top expert on the nutrition of apples. But if you lecture instead of engaging your reader, you lose their attention and they will not read to the end of the article.
9. List the benefits of including apples in the daily diet.
  • Make a bulleted list with the most important benefit at the top and work down.You can also list benefits found in apples that are hard to find in other fruits.
  • And don't forget; let the reader know the nutrition and benefits they are missing by not eating apples.
10. The last paragraph of the article is short to wrap up the points made. Include those key words again in sentences.
  • Include a sentence to remind the reader of the benefit of eating apples.
11. The usual format by publishers when articles are accepted is to provide a block at the end for links.
  • Use this space to refer readers to your Web site for more information.You can also provide a link to your book sales if that is the purpose of the article.


These article writing tips apply when writing about any topic.
New anthologies pop up frequently that call for articles. Those books deal with specific topics. The articles need to have a lasting shelf life. Books, hopefully, stay with us a while, some for years on our shelves.
However, when you submit articles to be published on the Internet, information may go stale quickly as the times change. A demand for fresh information on the Net always exists. If all you wish to accomplish is to write for the Net, and you think you can make money writing articles, then begin to make a list of topics about which you know enough information.
Then apply these article writing tips and do not stop until you’ve written all those articles. That is, stop once in a while to submit them here and there….
With interesting topics and great sentence structure, you just may make money writing. These article writing tips should help.
Mary Deal  is an award-winning author of six suspense/thrillers, a short story collection, and three volumes of writers’ references. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, former Associate and Contributing Editor of a magazine and a newspaper columnist. She is also an artist and photographer. A native of California’s Sacramento River Delta, she has lived in England and the Caribbean and now resides in Hawaii. Her websites:

Write it Right - Tips for Authors, written and compiled by an award-winning novelist, is a major source of information for breathing life into your prose. The Big Book combines Volumes I and II of the original Write it Right – Tips for Authors eBooks. Learn how to polish your work with a collection of extraordinary tips and numerous examples for making your prose leap off the page. 
In writing your opus, you may have encountered myriad questions about imperfect areas that you stumble across in the composition. The thoroughly explained tips offered in Write it Right - Tips for Authors clarifies those worrisome issues instead of simply taking a chance they’ll be acceptable. 
These thorough and sometimes humorous tips were written in response to author queries for articles that explain various problem aspects of composition. They not only cover grammar and punctuation but information from preparing to write, to narration, to character development and dialogue, and finally to preparing the manuscript for submission, your public image, and so much more. If your writing has not been perfectly smooth, chances are, you’ll find answers to your compositional questions in Write it Right - Tips for Authors.