Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time to Think Outside the Book

To stand out in the book market you have to think outside the book, beyond the story you are writing.
Do you as an author bring any added value, knowledge, or expertise to the world in addition to your book? If you do, that is a marketing tool in your bag. Any aspect of your interests, experiences, profession, or life outside of and within the writing world could lead to audience exposure and interested markets.

It's Time to Think Outside the Book 

Your book is an extension of yourself, a form of self expression. It can transmit your skill, your interests, dreams, traditions, education, point of view, loyalties, ideals, values, bias, ideas, hopes, agenda, convictions, frustrations, loves, curiosities, anger, illusion, temptations and fears. Every character has grown from thoughts and experiences that you have had. Every plot twist and turn first wound through your imagination.  Loyal fan bases are often eager to interact with and curious about the life, mind, and/or interests of their favorite authors. Use that to tendency to your advantage.

Marketing research reveals that it takes on average three visits to a website before any purchases will be made. You have a book ready to market. How will you get reader attention? How are you going to entice people to visit your website repeatedly, until they decide to buy your book?

Books do not have the same value to readers as they did in eras of the past. Gone are the days when wealth was determined by the size of your library. Books have competition as suppliers of news, entertainment, education, and inspiration. Audiences have a thousand distractions and options to choose from in the form of the Internet, TV, Film, Theater, Sports. . . need I go on? Bringing audiences back to your site is gong to be an important focus for your online marketing activities. This is guerrilla marketing we are talking about. You have to be able to stretch your reach beyond what has worked in the past and try new tactics.

Once a book is published it isn't changing. The story is over, it isn't going anywhere and your audience knows it. Where as, your life is still growing, and that is where things get interesting. Find a way to interact with or engage your audience further than the immediate entertainment value of your book. Attach your book to a cause, or an interest group you belong to.  Use your website to promote what you have to offer the world in addition to your book.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Anchor Text


It is Tip Tuesday!

Expand your online marketing reach by developing SEO best practices and knowledge.

Tuesday's Term of the Day:

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or location on the web.

Have a look at this blog video . . . (Passing along the good stuff.)

How to Acquire Anchor Text-Rich Links Without Resorting to Spam or Manipulation 

October 10th, 2014 - Posted by Rand Fishkin to Link Building and Whiteboard Friday

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When Should I Start Thinking About Marketing My Book?

Marketing anything can be hard and books are a static product. They have a lot of competition from TV, film, and other entertainment and information industries. If you want your book to compete well and attract readers, you will be thinking about marketing from the beginning of your writing process.

Ask Yourself Tough Questions

writer's block
  • Why am I writing this book? 
  • Do I have something to say that is worth listening to?
  • Why will/does my book deserve to be read?
  • What will make my book idea different from other books of it's genre?
  • What value will/does my book provide readers?

The best answers often have nothing to do with making money, but could be future selling points or lead to creative marketing strategies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Site Popularity and Relevancy


It is Tip Tuesday!

Expand your online marketing reach by developing SEO best practices and knowledge.
Search engines are designed to crawl and index hundreds of millions of web pages. In doing this the Google search engine makes heavy use of hypertext in collecting data for analysis and categorization of variables, and trends. It uses data gained from hypertext, including links, to establish relationships, popularity, and relevancy of and between pages. The PageRank algorithm used by Google counts hyperlinks as determining factors in popularity. Pages with the most external links pointing at them are considered the most popular.

Link relevancy is determined by both the content of the source page and the content of the anchor text. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs when people link out to other content on the web.

Tuesday's Term of the Day:

Popularity and Relevancy

Q:  What is the importance of "popularity and relevancy" in search engine ranking?

A: Popularity combined with relevancy metrics determine the best results for a given search query. When determined relevant for a particular query, the most popular and relevant pages become the first pages listed in Google's results.    

This is why elevating your popularity and relevancy with search engine page ranking is an important area of focus for any marketing strategy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

" New Gate Keepers" A Publishing Tale by Mary E. Martin

Gather around. DID YOU HEAR?

There’s a new gatekeeper in our town. The world of publishing has been transformed. I bring the news to you from my front row seat. But the best way to explain is—as usual—to tell a story. . .

Some of you are too young to remember the arrival of personal computers in our homes. But when they did arrive, many of us decided to become writers. (Given the huge volume of prose that has flowed since, I must conclude that our creativity was severely repressed in earlier times.)

With so many people writing all kinds of stories and opinions, the publishing houses were flooded with manuscripts, more than ever before. Agents and publishers [the gatekeepers] grew angry at the onslaught and so overwhelmed were they, that rarely did they answer the poor writer’s little query letters, over which he had labored for weeks. With no response, the writers grew angry.
But it wasn't really the fault of those publishing houses. Their technology and staff were not up to the deluge. Neither was their cash flow. In this new publishing landscape, they could afford precious little time and very little money. Where were those fat advance cheques, the authors [the ones who got past the gate] wondered?

The writers became angrier.  After all, no one liked to be brushed off with a generic rejection letter. Nothing seemed to be “for our list”. The writers were very dispirited. Their creative urge was nearly expunged. In desperation, they sought other avenues for getting published.

Along came innumerable self-publishing companies and more new technology called print-on-demand and much later, e-books. In those days, any author forced to admit he was self published hung his head in shame. Aside from being rejected in a rude and uncaring fashion by the traditional gatekeepers, the writer had yet another cause for unhappiness—public humiliation. The stigma of being “self-published” was branded on his forehead. The book must be garbage. After all, without the imprimatur of the gatekeeper, how could the book be anything else? What could the angry and humiliated writer do?

In front of gate -tfsimon
(What a sad and frustrating tale!) Back then, any author, convinced the old order still existed, quaked like a lowly vassal outside the King’s castle. Fearsome dark turrets with few openings rose up and towered over him. The drawbridge slammed shut with such a bang that the author was nearly deafened. But, despite his despair, he remained ever determined. The author would fling his manuscript over the moat, aiming for one of the lowest portals. If those sheets of paper magically took flight and got into the castle, the vassal would sit patiently on a rock and wait. And wait. He would try to keep his spirits up by following the usual advice to keep writing while waiting. Actually that was not bad advice and many new manuscripts resulted. Rarely did any writer get called to enter the castle. Oh yes—there were a few, but throngs of other supplicants were never noticed. What could the authors do?

No one knows how it happened, but one morning magically a new market square appeared between the castle and the forest where the writers lived. It covered many acres and was loud, noisy, colorful, and crammed with thousands upon thousands of people. Many hawkers had built rude little stands and made bright red and gold signs. The attendant at each stand shouted out to advertise their wares [mostly books] which were piled in baskets. The more enterprising had helpers who slipped through the crowds to hand out advertisements and coupons with marvelous offers—free books.

Signs were posted at the most promising locations in the market where the traffic was highest. But where could anyone find their sort of customer—the ones who would actually buy their books?

One hawker of food said, “If someone is looking for a mutton leg, no point in wasting time trying to sell him fruit and vegetables. You got to find the right customer for your wares.” By the way, those who sold food did very well. People who were browsing the books became ravenous.
“So how can we find the carnivores?” the writers asked.
Sad to say, few customers could afford the price of meat.

From dawn to dusk, the shopkeepers [writers] slaved. Later some met to consider putting on a play to tell about their books and attract readers. Others decided that singing and dancing might help. The brightest and the best said—“Now is the time to be creative!” One even dressed up as his own wife to act the part of one of his characters. Those who normally shunned the limelight hurried back home to write in peace.

Now . . . about that new gatekeeper.

This is a tale filled with irony. The old gatekeepers at the castle no longer had their jobs. They came each morning to the market asking if they might guard the gate. They did not seem to understand that the order had changed and that they had to find a new way to go on. No one wanted to hire them because anyone could come into the market. In fact, the more people the better.
“The market needs no gatekeeper,” the hawkers insisted.
“And why is that?” the old gatekeepers asked.
“The market itself, in its massive size, is its own gatekeeper."

The old gatekeepers looked sad and scratched their heads. Finally they began walking aimlessly through the market looking for something to do.
I am no expert in the effect of technological advance upon societies. But any who cannot figure out the game of selling their wares is barred by the extreme difficulty in being heard above the din in our market.

Mary E. Martin  is the author of two trilogies The Osgoode Trilogy set in the corridors of power in the world of the law, and The Trilogy of Remembrance set midst the glitter and shadows of the art world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Have You Heard . . . Hungry Moon - Jodi is out!

I would like to give a great big shout out to the Paranormal Romance Audience!

My favorite sizzling romance author Claudy Conn has just released a series third, Hungry Moon-Jodi.
HungryMoon-Jodi, by Claudy Conn

I bring this up because, I would like to do two things in today's blog; promote Claudy's work, which is deserving and excellent; and point out her excellent promotions strategy. Claudy is accessing more readers and selling more books by publishing her works as Kindle download-ables, e-books, than if she only formatted her books for print sales.

Now authors, don't wrinkle your noses at the sight of "e-books." Just because they don't have that nostalgic paper smell, and we can't lounge dramatically about, turning their pages, doesn't mean they are less valuable to readers or as book sales.

e-Books have become the fastest growing book market, helped along by mobile technology and yes, social networking -- word of mouth. Which, not so incidentally, is the reason why websites like Wattpad, Twitter and Facebook are so popular in marketing strategies. Wattpad is the most author friendly because it was designed and created for the purpose of sharing books and writing, to encourage reader reviews/sharing, and to help authors build fan bases, all using mobile/smart apps for e-reading, e-books.  Every promotions expert knows and will tell you "The best marketing boost an author can get comes through word of mouth referrals." Combining social networking, mobile phones and e-book app tools, like kindle and other e-readers, was a genius stroke in helping authors like Claudy Conn dominate the reading market.

I believe that part of Claudy's success lies in her ability to quickly move from one plot and idea to the next. She is the most prolific and zesty writer I know. I have read many of her books and she never bores me. Claudy keeps her material fresh by changing sub-genres, which expands her creativity and the appeal of her many series. She has developed her ability to write quality (and steamy) romance in several genres, on a level that keeps her fans in constant supply and demand. The fact that e-books are more affordable and cost nothing in trees is only a minor factor in allowing Claudy's avid fans to keep purchasing.

Congratulations to Claudy Conn and to any other author who takes advantage of the shifting and changing technological advances which are shaping the landscape of book marketing and enjoyment.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tip Tuesday: External Links

It is Tip Tuesday!

Expand your online marketing reach by developing SEO best practices and knowledge.
Logo Gurú con mi type "parábola" integrando la imagen y la tipografía #enproceso

Tuesday's Term of the Day:

External Links

External Links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source). ~

For our purposes and understanding, external links are those which originate on another site or domain and lead traffic to you and your website. External links are the most coveted and influential for SEO ranking, as they are harder to manipulate and therefore viewed by search engines as a more reliable indicator of popularity and relevance. Sometimes you will hear these links referred to as back links.

Developing good network relationships with other theme or interest related bloggers and site owners, in order to establish links between pages, is one way of acquiring external links for your blog or web page. This form of linking is referred to as reciprocal linking. Often these kind of relationships are used in multi-site linking where sites band together to create and use links for SEO. Trading articles, offering promotional support, participating in virtual tours, blog jogs, and incentive giveaways are just a few of the creative link building tactics used by savvy marketers who wish to establish reciprocal external links, drive Internet traffic, and raise SEO page rankings.

Another form of external link that will benefit your SEO ranking and lead Internet traffic to your door is one way links: those which come from articles, reviews, media releases, forum or comment signatures, and bylines that lead back to you. You can create many of these links through your own activity and through reciprocal relationships.

Directory links are external links which generally lead traffic seeking resource material and information. Having your site listed for expert content in a directory can be very useful to your SEO relevancy standings.

Acquiring and creating external links is an important step along the path of marketing your book, brand, product or personality online. They are valuable to search engines because they help measure two key factors, popularity and relevancy. More about that another Tip Tuesday.

The more you know the more you grow.
Great day to you.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

"The First Draft and How To Get There" an article about writing, by author Mary E. Martin

What a "high" seeing those three hundred pages stacked up on the desk --the first draft! I always wanted to print out the manuscript because it gave me such a sense of accomplishment just to see it. @MartinTrilogies

This Monday I would like to share a Wattpad article written by author, friend, and fellow blogger Mary E. Martin.
In this author's experience blog, Mary talks about creating her characters, fleshing them out, and how the character building effort fed her creative process.

No Character can come alive on the page unless I know him or her really well. @MartinTrilogies

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Road Back

This blog post is autobiographical in nature. I invite you to read a little of my personal history since 2011, as I offer my friends and clients a peek into this artist's life evolution. I hope that in some way, through sharing my experiences, you will be inspired on your own creative journey.

Life is a journey, but you have to walk the road.

Two years ago in October 2011, I was a percussionist and singer in a tribal percussion ensemble, a band. I also had a small writing and author promotions business within a networked creative writing team. I loved my life and was supporting my family of two through these creative efforts. I can't tell you that I had a plan or a goal in mind for where I wanted to go in life, with my business, or even my singing and performance career. I was just happy to be living the life I had.  As so often happens in life and in stories, all that was about to change.

It was the chickens fault. The musical community, in which my husband and I performed and lived, housed a chicken coop. The coop was ancient and in great disrepair, but sheltering 16 chickens. I was the volunteer chicken wrangler, feeding, and shooing the chickens nightly into their shelter. I took my chicken duties, as well as the health of my chicken charges, very seriously.

Chickens are funny creatures, very amusing to watch, with a variety of personalities and habits. Unfortunately, my chicken friends were under nightly opossum attacks and I was at a loss about how to protect and serve them.  We had appealed to our landlord/band and community leader for assistance in repairing the chicken coop, without success. I was having lung issues related to the cleanliness of the facilities. The chicken coop had dirt floors and could neither protect the chickens from predator attack or be properly cleaned. Without going into chicken husbandry, let me just say that things were not well on the farm.

My husband was notably concerned with my deteriorating health.  He determined that I was carrying too much responsibility and set about to correct the situation.  We discussed the matter together and he decided to speak with our landlord/band leader, to give my two week "chicken detail" notice. We felt that the landlord would not respectfully allow me to back out of the chore, for which I was being compensated in eggs only, and that my husband's support and backing would be advisable in the situation.

Well, the resulting encounter saw our landlord physically assaulting my husband for refusing to give an explanation of why I was no longer willing to be in charge of the chickens. My husband's quiet response that " I am respectfully giving you two weeks notice, so you can find another person to take care of the chickens. Vonnie doesn't need to give you a reason for why she doesn't want to continue carrying the responsibility. . ." met with a violent reaction. In the span of 15 minutes a 5 year friendship, 2 year band relationship and an apprentice relationship was ended, my husband was injured, and we were basically homeless.

Gone was the singing and percussive performance career. Gone was the writing and promotions business. I had no place to work and no Internet. Gone was my husband's percussion apprenticeship. We were out of the band, a home, and about as low in life as we had ever been. All we had were the few possessions we'd held onto, my Grandfather's paintings, our clothing, drums, and my computer. Everything we had been building, all the dream chasing, ideas, and creative expression we so valued seemed stripped away.

I would like to say we bounced back resiliently, but we didn't. We were bruised and broken by the encounter. Our faith in life, humanity, our sense of security, and safety had all been shattered. We were now unemployed, homeless, and to make things worse, I had to return service fees to clients whose writing and promotions projects I could no longer complete.

It has been two years since I worked my writing and promotions business, written in my blog, or worked for a client. I have been a home maker and substitute teacher.  Oh, I thought about writing. I thought about my business. I continued to follow the promotions trade online. I thought about what I would like to do and how. In a way, I think I was waiting for my husband's permission to pick up my pen and start again. I have felt a tremendous responsibility and guilt for what happened to him and to our lives. He never held me accountable, but the guilt was there no less. He has always been supportive of me. I just couldn't bring myself to revisit that part of my life and start over again. Basically, I was having an EGO moment that lasted two years. I didn't know who I was anymore.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

This summer, I was contacted by a former author client of mine, for a book review. It was unexpected. I was afraid. Don't ask me why? I was just afraid. It seemed like such a small request, and I so loved her previous work. I said yes.

What a simple thing a yes can be. "Yes" can open doors and hearts. "Yes" is turning the boat downstream to flow with the current of life. "Yes" is allowing, creative, and fertile. Sometimes, all it takes to recover from trauma and start moving forward on the road of life, is saying it. Yes, Yes, YES!

I don't know what paths I will tread on this journey. I can't guess at how successful my business will be and if it will recover from two years of neglect. I just feel so glad to be saying YES, and to feel life course through my creative veins again, the prospect of rebuilding doesn't feel so frightening anymore.

I am thankful. I am thankful for the flood of creative work that my client friend has poured into my hands; her willingness to invest in herself, and the trust she has placed in my ideas and efforts.  Returning to creative work has been a healing balm and brought a turn around in my outlook and thoughts.

It is never too late to grow and expand in life. Our experiences do shape our attitudes and beliefs about what can be, but they don't have to be limiting. Our thoughts influence our point of attraction and determine the circumstances that flow in to us. I know this by looking back over these two years of my life. The person I was is gone. I am more than the experiences I have shared. I can see how my thoughts and beliefs influenced what could happen and did happen around me.

I am busy again, creatively, energetically, and working. I am in a better position to create the life of my dreams than I was two years ago. I have restarted my writing and promotions business. I am fiscally recovering, balancing work worlds, between teaching and the writing/promotions work. Every week I am singing and drumming in a Jazz group.  My husband has resumed his musical training and is also jamming with me weekly. We are back on the road to successfully living the lives we dreamed of having two years ago. We are filled with gratitude.

My biggest problem these days. . . is finding time to write in this blog.

Expect to read more from me in the coming days, as I get back in the saddle and practice for myself and my clients the work I know and love.

Ink Slinger's Whimsey will have a new services website very soon. We are days away from publishing a revamped service menu, re-establishing our former domain.

Thank you for reading and sharing in my journey.

Never let go of your dreams. When you get bucked off the horse, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on it! It is the same with life.

Love and Light