Thursday

5 Marketing Reminders for 2011: Basic and Simple

Wow, the countdown's just upon us, another year come and gone. But, with the New Year pushing its way in, it's time to go over a few marketing reminders.

Having yearly, monthly, and/or weekly marketing goals are crucial to achieving success. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.

Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan, and it will have a number of steps or goals that must be set in motion and accomplished.

Whether you’re trying to sell a product or services, five of the bare basic marketing strategies are:

1. Create an online presence and platform

Creating an online presence and platform can be initiated by creating a website or blog. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the site name and content should reflect your area of expertise is.

Remember, plan first. Choose a site name that will grow with you. Using an children's author as an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is for young adults?

Some authors create sites with the name of their book. This is a good strategy for pure focus on that one book, but again, what happens when more books become available. Will you create a site for each of your books?

While you can do this, you will be stretching yourself thin and diluting your main focus: you as the author of multiple books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the site’s name.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may cause you to lose potential buyers.

2. Increase visibility

Writing content for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility. The word is: Content is King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3 Draw traffic to your site

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You can also do article marketing which will increase your visibility reach.

Another strategy is to offer your readers free gifts, such as an e-book relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

4 Have effective call-to-actions

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords to use include:

•    Get your Free gift now for subscribing
•    Subscribe to our Newsletter
•    Free e-book to offer on your own site
•    Buy Now
•    Sign up
•    Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
•    Be sure to Bookmark this site

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

5. Develop a relationship with your readers

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offers will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

Happy marketing in 2011!

P.S. This post was written the end of 2011, but it's still pertinent. The five strategies mentioned are still valid in 2014!

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MORE ON MARKETING

Book Marketing – 3 Reasons Why Editing Should Come Before Self-Publishing
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NEED HELP WITH YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM?

Check out Platform Building with Content Marketing

Wednesday

The 7 Deadly Sins of Online Networking by Dana Lynn Smith

I have a valuable guest article from marketing expert Dana Lynn Smith for you social networking authors.


The 7 Deadly Sins of Online Networking
 By Dana Lynn Smith

Online networking is a wonderful way to meet people who share your interests, develop relationships with peers and potential customers, and ultimately increase book sales.

But there's sometimes a fine line between letting your contacts know about your book and being overly promotional. If you're too passive, you may not get much benefit from networking, but if you're too agressive you may turn people off.

Here are seven common mistakes that authors make in online networking, along with tips on how to avoid them:

1. No book information or website links on social network profiles.

I'm amazed at how many authors don't even mention their books on their social profiles, or make it easy for people to find information about the book.

On your Facebook profile, include the name of your book and a link to your book sales page in the little information box located just beneath your photo. You also include a link to your website in the web links section below that, and add more details in the "Bio" section on the "Info" tab of your profile.

On Twitter, be sure to mention your book in the description on your profile page. You only have 160 characters to work with, so if you have several books you could say something like "author of four romantic suspense novels."

On LinkedIn, take full advantage of the "title" field.  This space is designed for job titles, but you can use it to showcase your expertise and status as an author. For example: "Parenting expert and author of "Raising Happy Kids in a Crazy World."  Your title will appear along with your photo any place that you interact on LinkedIn. Be sure to include a link to your book's sales page and your website in the web links section of your profile.

See this article for tips on choosing the best photo to use on your social networks.

2. Not mentioning your book in your status updates.

It's fine to talk about your book in the status updates that you post on social networks, as long as that's not your main focus and you're not too pushy. Be sure to intersperse your book messages with other types of messages (personal notes, tips, links to helpful resources, thoughts on a new book you just read, etc.)

I recommend that no more than 10% to 20% of your status updates be promotional or self-serving. No one wants to read a constant stream of "buy my book" messages. 

One way to talk about your book without seeming too promotional is to discuss your marketing activities. Here are some examples:

•    I just received the preliminary cover designs for my new book – what do you think of these?
•    Today I'm contacting bookstores about setting up signings for my new novel, BOOKTITLE. It's available at www.booktitle.com.
•    I'm so excited! Just received word that my book, BOOKTITLE, has received an award . . .
•    I just scheduled a radio interview on KWTX to discuss tips from my book, BOOKTITLE. www.booktitle.com
•    Today I launched the redesign of my website for BOOKTITLE – what do you think? www.booktitle.com
And you can always mention events and special promotions:
•    If you're in the Seattle area, please join me at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday at . . . for a free presentation based on my book, BOOKTITLE. www.booktitle.com
•    The Kindle version of BOOKTITLE has just been released! You can find it at www.booktitle.com. If you don't have a Kindle, remember you can download the Kindle app and read ebooks right from your computer.
•    Monday Madness Sale! Spread the word -- today only, all of my parenting books are on sale for 30% off. Go to www.booktitle.com to order.

3. Sending blank friend requests on social networks.

About 90% of the network friend requests that I receive have no introduction at all, and most of the others have generic notes like "let's be friends." The trouble is, I don't know who most of these people are.
Don't make this mistake when you send friend invitations. Be sure to introduce yourself—tell the other person who you are and why you want to connect. What interests do you share in common? If you know something specific about the person, say so. On Facebook and many other networks, you can click the "add a personal message" button in the "add as a friend" box, and type in a personalized greeting.

4. Posting promotional messages on other people's profiles or pages.

It's just bad manners to post promotional messages on other people's social network profiles or pages, especially those of your competitors. I delete any such posts from my own pages.

You usually have more leeway in posting messages on group pages. You can get a feel for the group's etiquette by observing that others are doing, but usually it's acceptable to make a wall post introducing yourself and your book, and also to share good news or resources with the group occassionally (see #2 above for ideas).

On my Savvy Book Marketing group on Facebook, I encourage authors to introduce themselves and their books (and post their book covers), but I don't allow repeated blatant promotional messages.

5. Getting too personal.

It's great to tell your online friends something about your interests, but if you're using social networks for business, you probably shouldn't be discussing your health issues, your mother-in-law, or your kid's problems. (Too much information!) It's also a good idea to be cautious about posting things like the dates you are gone on vacation.

If you actively use your Facebook profile to network with family and friends, you might want to reserve your profile for personal use and use your fan page for business. See this article to learn more about fan pages.

6. Sending sales pitches to new people that you meet.

It's nice to do a wall post or send a message to new friends with a greeting (great to meet you, have a wonderful day), a compliment (your website is really terrific) or a note about something that you have in common. You can even invite them to visit your website, if you're subtle about it and include other things in the message. Just be careful that your message doesn't come across as a sales pitch – that's not the way to make a good impression on a new contact.

7. Abusing direct messages.

Many social networks let you send messages to your contacts or members of groups that you belong to. Unfortunately, some people abuse this feature.

On Facebook, the use of direct messages to send promotional pitches has become so prevalent that many people simply tune out their messages. On LinkedIn, someone in a group that I belong to sent me several sales pitches for her products by direct message. I've never heard of this woman and she's not on my list of connections.

If you use direct messages, do so sparingly and be cautious about annoying people – remember that they can "unfriend" you if they get tired of hearing from you. One way to use direct messages is to send a newsletter type of message that contains some helpful tips or resources, along with a link to your book at the end. You can also use direct messages occasionally to announce "news" such as your book launch. 

Remember the golden rule of networking: treat others as you would like to be treated.
Want to learn more about promoting through social networks? Check out The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing.

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Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, visit her book marketing blog and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free book marketing newsletter.

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Related Articles:

Your Author Online Platform and Social Networks – Blog Page Views and Twitter Followers
Book Marketing – 3 Reasons Why Editing Should Come Before Self-Publishing

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FOR HELP WITH YOUR ONLINE MARKETING PLATFORM
Visit Platform Building with Content Marketing

Effective Titles for Articles and Blog Posts

This article is an oldie, but the information is still relevant today.


How to Promote Your Book by Writing Effective Titles for Your Articles and Blog Posts

Guest Post By Dana Lynn Smith

Writing articles and blog posts is a terrific way to promote your book. The title of an article affects its ranking in search engines and influences how many people click through to the article from a search engine results page or take time to read a post on your blog. Here are some tips for creating great titles.

1. Do your keyword research first.  Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for your topic on a search engine like Google. I use the Google Keyword Tool to create keyword lists for topics that I write about. For example, I have lists of keywords related to book marketing, book promotion, authors, book publishing, etc.

It's tempting to select the most popular keywords, but you may be better off selecting keywords with less competition (fewer searches and fewer competing pages.)  One easy way to find out how many other Web pages are using a particular keyword is to type the keyword (in "quotes") into a search engine and see how many pages it brings up.  For example, "book promotion" gets 118,800 annual searches, but there are 876,000 competing pages (seven pages for every search) while "promoting your book" gets 15,600 searches but has only 31,500 competing pages (two pages for every search.)

2. Determine the primary keyword phrase for your article and use it in the title of the article, and then use it again several times in the body of the article. You may want to select a secondary keyword to use in the article as well. For maximum search engine optimization value, use the primary keyword at the beginning of the title. The first three to five words are most important. Here is an example for the "promote your book" keyword: Promote Your Book With Facebook Groups

3. Consider using a compound title, containing two different phrases. This lets you get your most important keyword up front and perhaps repeat certain words. The experts at ezinearticles.com recommend longer article titles, with 50 characters or more. If you need to use punctuation in the title, use a hyphen rather than a colon. For example: Promote Your Book in Your Own Backyard - 10 Strategies for Success

4.  Many people use the words "how to" when searching on search engines. Capitalize on those searches with a how to title.
How to Promote Your Book and Yourself on Facebook

5. Use the magic of numbers combined with keywords.
Top 10 Book Promotion Strategies for Fiction Authors
7 Secrets to Successful Book Marketing

6. State the benefit to the reader.
Sell More Books on Amazon by Increasing Your Book's Visibility in the Search Results

7. Identify your audience.
Top 10 Platform Building Tactics for Authors

8. Be clear rather than cute. It's important that your title convey what the article is actually about, and sometimes it's more important to appeal to your audience than to search engines. For example, instead of "The Magic of Twitter" or "Promote Your Book with Twitter," this title is more appealing:
5 Easy Ways for Authors to Build Their Twitter Network

Or, you could make this into a longer, compound title with keywords:
Promote Your Book With Twitter - 5 Easy Ways to Build Your Twitter Network
Next time you write an article or blog post, take a little extra time to craft a title that will appeal to search engines and to readers.

Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at www.BookMarketingNewsletter.com.


Image Copyright 2014 Karen Cioffi

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

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Monday

Book Promotion: The Foundation

Every author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves, and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if he wants to sell his books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.


The Foundation

Create a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters, it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking. As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.


C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book. Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first. There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

D. Cover and Design

This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish, or use a Print-on-Demand (POD). The cover is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself. I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp or time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.

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Writing with Clarity

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines clarity as lucidity, clearness of thought.

Writing with clarity can be a difficult aspect of writing. There isn’t a GPS for clarity. And, no matter how clear we think we are conveying a particular sentence, paragraph, or theme, we may not be able to see that we’ve missed the clarity mark.

How does this happen?

Missing the clarity mark may happen even if you have clearness of thought; if that clearness of thought or intent doesn’t translate onto paper, you’ve missed the mark.

As the author, we know what we’re thinking, what motives are involved, what we assume the reader should be seeing, or understanding—this knowledge may cloud our perception of what we are actually conveying. This clarity cloud can at times create a gap between what we think we’re saying and what we actually say. This happens because we are too close to our own writing.

Think of a color. Now, think of a very specific hue or shade within that color. Now, try to write what you see or explain it.

This is what can happen with our story. We can see what’s unfolding clear as day, the scene, the characters . . . the intent. But, our vision may not translate with clarity onto paper. We may think it has because of our preconception, but that doesn’t mean it actually has.

An example of this is a children’s picture book I reviewed. The content and illustrations were well done, but there was one problem. The story ultimately was about the main character having to go through a metamorphosis in order to be accepted by others. This is what a reader, a child, might take away from the story. While the story had a number of good points, this one flaw was problematic. The authors knew what they intended, but that intent didn’t show through. And, because they were so sure of their intent, they couldn’t see that the take away value of the story could be anything but what they intended.

Fortunately, there is help in this area: a critique group. Every writer who is writing a manuscript should belong to a critique group. Having three, six, or ten other writers, who write in the same genre, will help you find many of the pitfalls in your story. They are the unknowing audience. They have no perceived conception of your story, so they will be able to see where it goes astray and where it lacks clarity.

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MORE ON WRITING

Writing with Focus
Fiction Story – What Makes a Good One?


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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?
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Friday

Do You Need a Writer's Vision Board?

Today, I have a great guest article from Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach.

Use a Vision Board As a Writer's Tool
By Suzanne Lieurance

Typically, a vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board used to display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. But a vision board can also be used a little bit differently as a writer's tool.

I often build a vision board with images of the characters, settings, and other elements I wish to create in a new book or story. I'm a very visual person, and seeing my characters and settings in pictures helps me write about them in greater detail so I'm able to more fully bring them to life for my readers.
Before I start writing a new novel, I make a chapter by chapter outline of the plot. As I'm creating this outline,

I learn who my characters will be and where the action will take place (the setting). As I'm working on the outline, I also leaf through magazines for pictures of people and places that look like the characters and settings I've envisioned in my mind for the story. I also search for pictures of other objects that might belong to my main characters - a car, for example, or a beautiful house on the beach, or a run down apartment. I cut out these magazine pictures and put them in a project folder. Once I finish my outline, I tack up these photos on the bulletin board that hangs on the wall over the computer where I write each day. Sometimes I put the pictures up on the board in a particular order. For example, once I cut out pictures to represent each of the buildings on Main Street in the fictional town I created for a story. This way, as I was writing, I didn't have to remember if the bakery was next to the dry cleaner's. I just looked up at the vision board to see where everything was located.

 As I write my story, I glance up at this vision board occasionally to remind myself of all that I know about my characters and the setting. When I'm writing about my main character, a look at my vision board reminds me that he drives a Mini Cooper, for example, and not just any old car.

A vision board also helps me get a "feel" for the setting I am writing about. When I write a scene that takes place on the beach, and I look up at a picture of the beach on my vision board, it's much easier to include a variety of sensory details to describe the beach in my story.

Creating a vision board for a novel can be both fun and productive. The trick is not to get so caught up looking for interesting pictures in magazines that you never get the novel written!

For more writing tips and other resources to help you build your freelance business, subscribe to the free twice weekly newsletter, Build Your Business Write at http://www.fearlessfreelancewriting.com
Suzanne Lieurance is a full time freelance writer, the author of 22 (at last count) published books, and the Working Writer's Coach.

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Related Articles:

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

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Monday

Writing with Focus

You have a wonderful idea for a story. Maybe it’s a mystery novel, a children’s middle grade story, or a picture book. You know what you want to say, or convey, and you start typing away. This is the beginning of every story.

But, we should backtrack a moment and go back to the idea. The idea: your protagonist has a problem or conflict, and you can see how each chapter or section will be worked out. You are sure you can bring your idea to full fruition—without the use of an outline. Okay, that’s fine; many writers use the by-the-seat-of-your-pants writing method. So, off your mind and fingers fly . . . creating something from nothing . . . well, not exactly from nothing, from an idea.

This is the beginning. You type a draft of your story. How long this process will take depends on how long your manuscript will be—whether a novel, short story, or children’s story. Take note, though . . . even if your story is as short as a children’s picture book, you still need focus in your writing.

Writing Focus

Focus is the path from point A to point B. It’s the path from beginning to end that keeps the story together and wraps it neatly up. An example might be an ice skater whose goal is to become good enough to get into the Olympics. His focus will be to train vigorously to accomplish his goal. Another example might be that of a school bus on its route to pick up children and bring them to school. The shop is where the bus begins, point A; it will end up at the school, point B. But, between point A and point B, the bus must deviate from the direct path to pick up each child.

The same holds true for your story. There is a path the story needs to follow to accomplish its goal. If you deviate too much from this path your story becomes diluted or weak. This is not to say you cannot have subplots, it means everything needs to be tied together moving forward on the same path toward the same end.

Using an outline can often help with maintaining focus, even with a short story. It’s kind of a writing GPS that guides you from point A to point B. It allows you to stray here and there with the comfort of knowing that you need to be at certain points throughout the manuscript. It’s a reminder to keep you focused.

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MORE ON WRITING

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Karen Cioffi Freelance Writer

Friday

Bullying - Government Takes Steps to Intercede

I received an email from Sylvan Dell Publishing today. It discussed the Government's the new guidelines for educators, initiated October 26th, in regard to bullying:

If school administrators fail to properly deal with repeated discriminatory harassment based on gender, race, disability, or ethnicity, they risk being cited for contributing to a pattern of civil rights violations that could, in extreme cases, lead to a cut in federal funding.

While this is very good news, I'm wondering why if the incident of bullying isn't related to one of the above scenarios it doesn't warrant attention and repercussion for the bully. Any form of bullying is atrocious and should be handled quickly and effectively.

But, in any event, in connection with the new guidelines and to bring attention to bullying, Sylvan Dell is featuring and allowing everyone access for all of November, to How the Moon Regained her Shape, a children’s picture book by author Janet Ruth Heller.

Heller was a victim of bullying throughout her childhood. When she began writing for children, Heller wanted to help other kids cope with bullies. Drawing on her own experiences, she wrote How the Moon Regained her Shape. 

Teachers can use How the Moon Regained Her Shape to help their children understand bullying and learn ways to cope with bullies.

To read the entire article about the Government's new guidelines visit:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/26/schools.bullying.discrimination/

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Need help with your writing project?

Check out my site: http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com

Monday

An Unexpected Benefit from Self-Publishing with Nancy Famolari

I’m so pleased to begin a new author’s tour this month with Nancy Famolari. Nancy is a talented writer and is offering a great article on some of the benefits of self-publishing. But, before we start, let’s learn just a bit about Nancy.

Nancy Famolari lives with her husband, five horses, two dogs and five white cats on a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Her stories and poems have appeared in Long Story Short, Flash Shot, Fiction Flyer, Lyrica, Alienskin Magazine Clockwise Cat, and Matters of the Heart from the Museitup Press. She received an award from Fiction Flyer for one of her flash fiction stories.

Doesn’t Nancy’s home sound like a bit of heaven. Living in New York City, it sure does!

Okay, on to the good stuff:

An Unexpected Benefit from Self Publishing
By Nancy Famolari

Self-publishing has many benefits:

• Control of the text of your book.
• Control of the cover design.
• Ability to make the book available in both digital and traditional formats at the same time.

For me, these were important reasons for using this flexible publication medium. However, with the first book I published, I found a benefit I wasn't sure I wanted. Having complete control of the text, I had to take full responsibility for the final product.

I had avoided thinking too much about the mechanics of getting a book ready for publication. I thought my editor would smooth out the text and make it salable. Editors do a great deal, and I had a superb editor, but when I was forced back on my own resources, I found I could do things I should have done before the book ever went to an editor. These included:

• Assuring the grammar and punctuation were correct. I thought I knew enough grammar to get by, and whatever I didn't know would be supplied by the editor, or surely the copy editor. Controlling the grammar and punctuation myself made me conscious of what each sentence conveyed. It led to a lot of rewriting. Punctuation is a valuable tool that can be used to enhance the images you are trying to convey.
• Making sure each speaker's the body language is correct. I favor description of the speaker's actions to elucidate the text. After several a careful reads, I realized there were many instances where I could use description to increase tension and reveal character.
• Checking the facts to assure each link in the chain of evidence works. When working for myself, trying to assure that each scene made a contribution to the story, I found myself making time lines and synopses. It was a lot of work, but when you're writing a mystery, it's necessary.

Perhaps I was naive when I started writing novels. I felt like an amateur, and I prepared my manuscripts that way hoping professional editors would correct the problems. When I became my own publisher, I became critical of my work and took responsibility for the finished product.

I don't mean to suggest editors are unnecessary, or that everyone should take up self-publishing. What I do suggest is that we should each view our work as though we were the publisher. I'm sure our editors will thank us, and we'll have a better chance of finding a publisher willing to spend time and money on our books.

*****
Nancy, thanks for these great insights into self-publishing. It’s a publishing route a number of authors are looking into today.

Now, let’s take a look at some of Nancy’s books:

Unwelcome Guest at Fair Hill Farm

When fifteen-year-old Meg discovers that a beautiful Swedish student with designs on her boyfriend has come to spend a year on her beloved horse farm, she decides to act. None of her plans to force Katrina to leave work. During foaling season, disaster strikes. Will the girls cooperate to save the mare and foal?

Available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1448697123

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The Lake House

The lake house has been empty for ten years – the scene of a brutal murder. Undeterred by the story, Mark and Tory buy their dream house, but when they move in strange things happen. While exploring the house n the first afternoon, they find a hunting knife wedged in a closet under the stairs. Could this be the murder weapon?

Tory, a romance novelist, becomes fascinated by the unsolved murder. The owner's beautiful, young wife was found stabbed to death. The police say it was a burglary gone wrong, but she doesn't believe it. Alone at the house during the week, while Mark works in New York, Tory feels the presence of the murdered woman. When she asks questions, the townspeople become antagonistic Only Andy, the newspaper editor, tries to be helpful. After someone shoots at her, Mark tells her to stop the investigation. But she has to know: is she crazy, sensing the presence of a ghost, or is the town covering up a brutal murder? As her investigation continues, more accidents happen. Is someone trying to frighten her away, or is she the killer's next target?

Available from: http://www.amazon.com/Lake-House-Nancy-Famolari/dp/1452817944/

*****
To learn more about Nancy you can check out her site links:

Website: http://sites.google.com/site/nancyfamolari/
Blog: http://nancygfamolari.blogspot.com/

*****
Nancy, it’s been a real pleasure featuring you today. I wish you great success with all you books.

~~~~~


Wednesday

Top Tips To Increase Your Productivity by Beth Ann Erickson

I have a great article today from Beth Ann Erickson of Filbert Publishing. I hope you find it useful.

Top Tips To Increase Your Productivity

By Beth Ann Erickson

Writing is an odd business. Imagine a career solely depending upon pouring your mental output out on paper.

Never mind.

If you’re reading this, you’re intimately familiar with how we writers thoroughly examine life and are compelled to whip out our pens to comment.

However, the time comes in every writer’s life when words don’t flow as easily as other times. It’s during these times that the following tips will become indispensable to triggering a free-flowing stream of ideas.

So without any further intro, here are the techniques I routinely use to get words flowing into my computer….

1.    Focus On Your Project

When I’m writing, my project is tumbling through my mind 24/7. Never leaves, constantly bubbling in the back of my mind.

When I’m shopping for groceries, I allow my characters to “whisper” in my ear. When I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, article ideas tumble through my mind. When I’m waiting in line, a client’s wrinkly lead for their sales letter will magically iron out.

Although writers often appear present and ready to participate in life, in reality I know I’m rarely completely “there” at any one occasion.

Like Walter Mitty, my imagination continually takes me places where I never expected.

And that’s fantastic… as it should be.

2.    Invest In Technology

I know. The Internet can eat up WAY too much time.

However, used properly, this vast web of information can become your best tool in cultivating a thriving writing career.

Where else can you find an answer to a thorny question in the blink of an eye?

It’s a wondrous technology that will allow you to instantly find the full contact information of an expert in any particular field within minutes.

It also has the potential to become the hugest time-sucker of your entire day.

Every writer needs a website. Every writer needs to gather information that will help them earn the kind of income they desire.

However, you don’t need to frequent every discussion group. Forget about reading every zine that flits into your in-box.

Learn to skim.

Glean the information you need, snag the resources that catch your eye, pass on the rest.

But remain connected to your community, even if your connection may seem slim at times. After all, part of becoming a successful writer is to… write. This is non-negotable.

3.    Create A Schedule

Many writers practice their craft first thing in the morning. They’re up at the crack of dawn, chomping at the bit, ready to pour their hearts onto the page.

I’m not like that. In fact, I find myself fortunate if I can get much of anything whatsoever finished first thing in the morning.

My prime writing time begins late morning and extends until around supper time.

Get anything on the page before 9:00AM, and I’m quite positive it would look like gibberish.

I rarely watch television, instead opting for my favorite activity… reading.

Ah, slip a good book my way and it’ll get devoured faster than a bag of Twizzlers. In fact, I just ordered four more books for my collection today. Found a new author I like and got ‘em all. (Don’t mention this latest purchase to my husband…. My bookshelves are already bursting at the seams.)

But here’s my point: Create a schedule that works for you. Don’t try to emulate my life. Don’t take advice that you’re not comfortable with. Make your schedule work for your lifestyle.

But do create a schedule. You’ll get far more work done.

4.    Jealously Guard Productive Time

Forget the kids. Chuck The Drudge Report.

If you’re “in the zone” keep typing. Don’t stop.

Close the door. Bark at anyone who speaks at you. Tell them to eat peanut butter sandwiches for supper.

Right now, your top priority is WRITING.

Those “zone” moments can sometimes flit in and out of the creative process so when one graces you with its presence, do everything you can to nurture its arrival. Keep writing. Let the words flow. Don’t edit. Make that little burst of muse comfortable so it will visit on a regular basis.

And when you hit your stride and experience that “zone” on a regular basis, then you are truly a blessed writer.

Now, I realize this list is hardly exhaustive. However, I’ve found these four tips to top my list of activities I do on a daily basis to make writing nearly effortless. And (I’m speaking from experience here), you really don’t want to write your way into a situation where every word you nail to paper feels like an unbearable chore.

With just these few (and incredibly easy) modifications to your schedule, your words will flow like water and your productivity will skyrocket. Guaranteed.
~~~
Beth Ann Erickson makes it easy to launch a successful freelance writing career. Grab free articles. Take free e-courses. Learn the secrets to writing irresistible queries. To turbo-charge your writing career, surf to http://FilbertPublishing.com
 

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MORE ON WRITING

The Elevator and One Sentence Pitch
8 Very Common Word Usage Errors

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR PRODUCTIVITY? NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

I can help. Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

Promote Your Books Through Article Writing

I have a wonderful guest post by the Book Marketing Maven, Dana Lynn Smith:

Easy Ways to Promote Your Book With Articles
by Dana Lynn Smith

An ongoing article marketing campaign is a terrific way to promote your book and yourself. Some of the benefits of article marketing for authors include:

•    Generating direct links to your website or book sales page through the resource box at the end of the article.
•    Establishing nonfiction authors as experts in their field and enhancing the author platform.
•    Contributing to search engine optimization by providing incoming links to your website.
Here are some ideas for leveraging content that you have already written:
•    Compile a list of the best articles from your blog and ezine, along with short excerpts from your book that could be used as articles.
•    Contact bloggers and ezine editors that cater to your target audiences and ask if they would like to use any of your articles as a guest post. When you send the requested article, include a low-resolution photo of yourself. If you use Word 2007, save your articles in Word 2003 format so that anyone can open the files.
•    Submit your articles to a leading article site such as Ezine Articles.  Plan to submit one article every week or two. Incoming links from the article directory sites are given low value by the search engines, due to abuse by spammers and scraper sites. But when a website or blog finds your article and reprints it on their site, you gain a link on a relevant site which can drive direct traffic to your own website, in addition to providing search engine optimization benefits.
•    Join a blog carnival. Blog carnivals are a collection of links pointing to blog posts on a particular topic, or topics of interest to a particular group of people.
•    Post articles on expert sites such as HubPages, Squidoo, eHow, and Google Knol. HubPages and eHow are probably the easiest to get started with.

Be sure to write a good "resource box" or bio to place at the end of your articles, which succinctly showcases you and your book and provides a link to your website and/or book sales page. Keep the resource box to about 50 words, and be sure to include your book title and website address. It's good to offer a free bonus to encourage click throughs to your site.

Don't post the exact same article on your own blog or website that you are posting elsewhere. I recommend posting an article first on your site, then creating a somewhat different version to post elsewhere. This will help avoid duplicate content penalties by search engines.

You can also research the submission requirements of print newsletters, trade publications and consumer magazines that cover your topic or cater to your target audiences, and submit queries or articles where appropriate. Try Wooden Horse Publishing for magazine research.
Resource: Just the FAQs: Articles is a 19-page ebook by MaAnna Stephenson that includes step-by-step instructions for posting on seven popular article directory sites, including EzineArticles.com.

===========
Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. For more tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter, visit Dana's blog at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com, and get a copy of the Top Book Marketing Tips ebook when you sign up for her free newsletter at www.BookMarketingNewsletter.com.

~~~~~
MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Even Tiny Action Steps Can Produce Huge Results
Book Promotion – Great List of Websites that Will Promote Your eBook


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For very helpful online marketing ecourses and eclasses, visit: http://karencioffi.com

Sunday

Article Reprinting Beef to Grind

I am always pleased when a blogger or business chooses to reprint my articles on their sites. It’s a win-win situation. The site gets fresh content, and I get visibility.

In the past I have come across sites that have used my articles (I should say plagiarized my articles) and didn’t include my byline. While this is problematic and unethical on the site owner’s part, it’s not as bad as what I encounter last week.

As a somewhat savvy writer and marketer, I have my name, site names, and some of my articles in Google Alert. If my name, or a site name, or an article title is published on the internet, Google Alert informs me. All writers should take advantage of this free service.

The other day, I received an alert listing a blogsite that is using my article, “Foods to Avoid with Multiple Sclerosis.” As I mentioned above, this is usually a positive thing.

When I am alerted a site is using my article, as a precaution, and to stop by and say “hi,” I usually visit the site. When I visited the site that posted my article, I got a shock.

The blog owner, or other party who is able to post to the site, edited my article. The site is in French (I think), but the articles are in English. My article resembled mine, but it now lacks clarity; it’s actually a mess. It was poorly edited and makes it look like I’m a VERY POOR WRITER.

I study and work hard to hone my craft, and while I know I have much more to learn, I am a pretty good nonfiction writer.

I left a comment on the site requesting the edited article be taken down and replaced with my own version. I explained that I would rather not have my name associated with their version.

As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, having my name attached to that article is damaging. I can honestly see that having a blogger steal my article is much better than having my name attached to a poorly written article.

I’m not quite sure why someone would take another author’s article, edit it, and leave the author’s by line attached. To me, this is worse than plagiarism – this is damaging my reputation as a writer.

If a potential client goolge’s my name and finds that article, I’ll lose a client.

I’m just hoping that the blog owner understands my dilemma and takes down the article.

Have any of you had experiences such as this? If you have, how did you handle it?


My original article is at:
http://ezinearticles.com/?Foods-to-Avoid-With-Multiple-Sclerosis&id=3307046

In trying to find out if I had any recourse, I came upon a site called Reputation Defender. I contacted them, but they only provide favorable content for their clients. I had to laugh because that’s what I do for my clients.

Adding to this post, on Saturday, October 16th, I received another Google Alert. My name is now being used on another site that is blatantly using my name to sell products. At the end of the post, it has a list of links to my articles, but they all lead back to a different page on that site using my name again. It's crazy!!!

What on earth is going on?

And, Yahoo has my email targeted as a spam account. I'm now wondering if this is all connected.

Just color me angry and frustrated.

Karen

Wednesday

Marketing with Video - Amazing Young Guitarist

Today, my post is a little different. I happened upon a YouTube video of an amazing little boy guitarist. While watching it, I noticed a music instructor was promoting his business with a bit of content at the bottom of the video.

In marketing, one of the best ways to sell a product or service is to SHOW what it can do for you. Well, this music instructor had the right idea in using  one of his students (I'm assuming) to demonstrate how a child could learn to play the guitar.

Granted, not all children or adults have the same capabilities or talents, but this is an excellent marketing tool. And, note that just listening to the audio wouldn't have the same affect. It's the video of this little boy with amazing talent that makes you want to run to the instructor's home and get lessons for you or your child.

So, without further ado, here is one outstanding little guitar player:



Sungha plays 'C*ome Toge*ther' arranged by Michael Chapdelaine

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I love listening to the guitar, violin, and cello.

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE IT!

~~~~~
MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Perseverance is the Key to Marketing Success

Content Marketing – What Does RSS Stand For?




Monday

Striving to Be a Better Writer by Writing More

Do you write everyday? Do you spend a great deal of time each week writing? If you answered yes to these questions, you should have noticed an improvement in your writing, and possibly an improvement in the speed at which you are able to write. But, that’s not all; you will also find it easier to think of topics to write about.

This is especially true if you do article marketing, or ghostwrite articles for other writers, blogs, or businesses. The more articles you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more writing of any type you do, the better you’ll get, just like the adage, ‘practice makes perfect.’

But, what does it mean to get better at writing?

Structure

One aspect of writing improvement is the ability to create a well structured article or story. It should begin with an interesting or hooking introduction. The beginning lets the reader know what the piece will be about. And, it should move smoothly into the middle. You might think of the beginning as the appetizer to a meal.

The middle is the content substance. You let the reader know what the story will be about in the beginning, the middle follows through and embellishes on the topic. The middle is the meat and potatoes of the story or article, and it should move smoothly into the ending, or conclusion.

The ending wraps things up. It should wrap up any loose ends and tie the piece up into a nice package. It needs to leave the reader satisfied. You can think of the ending as the dessert.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is well structured and smooth.

Focus

Another aspect writers strive for in their writing is clarity. Along with a well structure piece, you need it to be clear, easily understood. It needs to have focus.

Think of your story as having a road map. You need to get from point A to point C (beginning, middle, and end) with as little deviation as possible. Your reader is following you down the road and you don’t want to lose him. I

f you give your reader any reason to pause or divert his attention from the main point of your story, you’ll lose him. People have a short attention span today; they want the information as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible.

If your topic is about health, don’t go off on a tangent about today’s political climate, unless it’s in regard to the stress it adds to your everyday life, and thus the harmful effects it has on your health.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is focused and lean.

Wrapping it Up

There are a number of writers who give themselves daily writing quotas. Some may choose thirty minutes a day, others 500 to 1000 words per day. There are also those writers who feel too pressured having to fulfill a daily writing quota, so they choose to create weekly quotas.

One problem writers face is time. Even if you work from home, by the time you read and respond to your emails, keep up with your blogs, do your social networking, and keep up your family and household duties, the day can just slip away. It might be helpful to a create weekly writing plan or schedule and do your best to stick to it.

If you’re a writer it’s important to write regularly, if not every day, as often as you can. As with any craft, the more you practice or work at it, the better you’ll get.

~~~~~
MORE ON WRITING

Writing Tip – Don't Leave Your Files to Chance, Back Them Up
A Ghostwriter’s Uses


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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

I can help. Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

~~~~~

Friday

Writing Tip: Great Backup Tool

Don't leave the safety of your files to chance!

Today I want to share a great backup tool with you.

Dropbox

I recently subscribed to Dropbox. I opted for their free 2 GB of online data storage – so far I’m using almost 39% of my allowed space. I have to say I really love it.

I do my work each day, and when I’m done, I just copy the files to my dropbox files (right on my computer). You have no idea how relieved I feel knowing that my clients’ work is backed up.

In addition, I’m backing up all my manuscripts, articles, and posts.

What I especially like about Dropbox is that I save only the files I want to. I was a little concerned about having my entire hard drive backed up online because of personal information that is on some files. But, now I don’t have to worry about it.

And, what’s just as beneficial is that you can register your laptop, and other computers to your Dropbox account. This means once you save a file to the computer or laptop you’re currently working on, the updated file will be available on every other computer you listed on your account. Now, that’s impressive and makes life just a bit easier.

Since I think it’s such a worthwhile tool for backing up important files, and the 2 GB storage space is FREE, I’m promoting it.

Once you join, for every person you get to join up, you’ll get an additional 250 MG of space (up to 8 GB)

If you think it’ll be beneficial to your writing and work, give it a try - there’s absolutely nothing to lose. And, I would never blatantly recommend a product I didn’t use and didn’t think is great.

So, click on Dropbox or the link below and see for yourself.

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Articles You May Find of Interest

Do You Have a Backup Plan?
Theme and Your Story

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

I can help. Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

~~~~~

Monday

8 Very Common Word Usage Errors

In writing, we have all come across words that we’re not exactly sure whether or not we’re using properly. I thought I’d go over a few of the ones that had me baffled, and a couple that stiff do somewhat.

Off we go . . .

About vs. Around (in reference to time and numbers)

About (adverb, preposition, adjective): reasonably close (almost), in the vicinity (near),

Around (adverb, preposition, adjective): from one place to another, in every and any direction

Both words can mean with some approach to exactness (approximately).

Examples:

The class starts about 10AM.
I gave it just about everything I had.

I’m gonna rock around the clock tonight.
It costs around $5.

I read something, somewhere that gave a much clearer understanding of using both words, but I can’t remember it. If anyone has an easier/clearer way to distinguish the two words in regard to time and number, please let us know. Boy, I wish my memory was better.


Affect versus Effect

Affect (verb): the conscious subjective of an emotion apart from bodily changes.

Effect (noun): basic meaning, intent, something that inevitably follows an antecedent, an outward sign, fulfillment, power to bring about a result, a distinctive impression.

Examples:

Not knowing the skills needed might affect his chances of getting the position.
Getting an A might affect his parent’s future expectations.

The effects of the drug finally wore off.
Being punished had no effect on Timmy’s behavior.

I remember once reading that “affect” deals with the non-physical and “effect” deals with the physical. But, since one is a verb and the other a noun, that should be a helpful clue also.


All ready vs. Already

All ready:  done, completely ready.

Already (adverb):  by or before the given or implied time.

Examples:

The students were all ready to go.
I already cooked dinner.


All Right vs. Alright

All right (adjective, adverb): satisfactory, safe, good.

Alright is a disputed variable of “all right.”

Examples:

Is it all right to leave now?
All right, you can leave now.


Farther vs. Further

Farther (adverb, adjective): to a greater distance, extent, or point.

Further (adverb, adjective, transitive verb): farther, in addition, to a greater degree or extent.

Examples:

He threw the ball farther than the last attempt.
The town is farther than I thought.

We need to research further for answers.
The more work I do, the further I get.

In a recent article at http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/10-common-errors-spell-check-won-t-catch-2039083/#poll-86A687227A3211DF922CE2CA55AE989C, an excellent description of the proper usage of both words is given:

“While both words refer to distance, grammarians distinguish ‘farther’ as physical distance and ‘further’ as metaphorical distance. You can dive further into a project, for instance, or you can dive farther into the ocean.”

Suppose vs. Supposed
Suppose (verb): to assume, to hold as an opinion, to ponder. According to the above mentioned article, “The correct way to express a duty is to write, “I was supposed to…”

Examples:

Suppose I take the wrong turn, then what?
Do you suppose the green will look better than yellow?

He was supposed to have the job done already.
I supposed it would be done already.


Uninterested vs. Disinterested

Uninterested (adjective): not interested, indifferent.

Disinterested (adjective, transitive verb): unbiased, impartial.

Examples:

He was uninterested in tennis.
The teen was uninterested and feel asleep at his desk.

The politician must be a disinterested party in making decisions.
Being disinterested allowed him to be fair.


Until vs. Till

Until (preposition, conjunction): used as a function word to indicate continuance (as of an action or condition) to a specified time (1)

Till (preposition, conjunction, transitive verb): the Webster’s New World Dictionary and Merriam-Webster Dictionary both list “till” as a variable of “until,” but I’ve been taught that it’s not okay to use it in place of “until.” If you think differently, please let us know.

Examples:

He won’t get paid until he finishes the job.
The show doesn’t start until 6PM.

~~~~~~~
Sources:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/about
Provides definition, origin, examples, synonyms, antonyms, and even rhyming words

http://www.wordreference.com/definition/about%20vs%20around
definitions, references, other languages

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/until

The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek


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MORE ON WRITING

A Ghostwriter’s Uses – Part 1
How do You Make a Good Story Worthy of Getting Past the Gatekeepers
Copy Editing, Line Editing, and Substantive Editing

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

I can help. Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

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Wednesday

A Ghostwriter's Uses - Part 2

In Part 1 of A Ghostwriter's Uses I went over a number of uses that an individual writer and/or author may have for a ghostwriter. Some of the uses mentioned might be applicable to a business also, but they are primarily geared toward the individual. Part 2 deals a bit more with businesses.

A Must-Have Tool for Marketers and Business Owners

A ghostwriter is a must-have business tool for marketers or business owners who need to provide regularly updated content on their site/s and for their newsletters. And, anyone selling a product online needs to offer pertinent, valuable, and updated content to create an effective inbound marketing strategy.

This is actually the busiest and is a more profitable aspect of ghostwriting (if the ghostwriter is charging enough for her time). Businesses hire a writer to write a set number of post/articles per week for anywhere from $10 to $20 to $30 and more per article.

If you are hiring a ghostwriter for this capacity, be sure she knows about using keywords effectively and SEO. The point of hiring someone to create valuable content for your site/s is to have that content picked up in the search engines, and have searchers (potential customers) find your site/s.

And, if the work involves rewriting articles, the ghostwriter must know the end product’s duplicate content score.

Maintaining and increasing visibility is essential to authors, writers, and businesses. Keeping up with blog posts and visibility is an important marketing tool for all writers, well at least for those who are trying to sell their works or services.

A Touch of Copywriting

Along with this the ghostwriter should know copywriting. While this is not essential for some aspects of a ghostwriter’s job, it is important incase a client needs projects such as product guides, product descriptions, landing pages, and emailing marketing. Copywriting is probably the most lucrative form of writing for hire.

If you happen to be interested in becoming familiar with this form of writing, there are a number of books available that are helpful, such as Hypnotic Writing by Joe Vitale, and Power of Persuasion by Michael Masterson. There are also e-courses available and a number of useful sites that offer valuable content on copywriting, just let your fingers do the searching.

Needs to be a Good Writer

Finally, a ghostwriter needs to be a good writer. If you are thinking of hiring one, you might ask for samples and/or testimonials. Note here: testimonials from ghostwriting clients may be difficult to come by . . . for obvious reasons. If the ghostwriter cannot provide any, it’s important to understand why.

Hopefully, this should give you a practical guide to know what to look for in a ghostwriter, and in what areas a ghostwriter can be useful.

If you missed Part 1 here's a link: A Ghostwriter's Uses - Part 1

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MORE ON WRITING

Take Blogging Up a Notch (It’s more than just writing text)
The Number One Step to Powerful Email Messages That Really Lead to Opens and Conversions (The Welcome Message)

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

I can help. Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

~~~~~

Monday

A Ghostwriter's Uses - Part 1

A Ghostwriter, or writer-for-hire, is different things to different people, but no matter what the capacity, she almost always remains anonymous.

Write or Rewrite Your Book

A ghostwriter covers a number of writing areas. In one aspect she may be a writer who will take your idea for a children's book, novel, or nonfiction book (memoir, autobiography, self-help, etc), and turn it into a publishable, and hopefully a saleable book. She will work closely with the author, usually from an outline, and work to instill the author’s voice into the book.

This is an excellent means for would-be-authors, or new writers to reach their goal or desire to be a published author. And, with today’s publishing tools, such as Smashwords, Lulu, and Amazon, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to self-publish, if that’s the route you choose. The author might also consider doing the submissions route and finding a publisher or agent.

Another scenario may be that you have a story already written, but it’s not in any shape for submissions, or self-publishing. You’ve tried and tried, but you know it’s in dire need of help; a ghostwriter can rewrite your story and get it in the needed shape to move forward.

Write Content for Blogs, Newsletters, and Articles Directories

A second function a ghostwriter holds is that of a powerful tool for busy writers who need help getting their own work done. For freelance writers, and yes even busy ghostwriters, time is extremely elusive – often there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all the scheduled work. This is where a ghostwriter will come in handy: writing your personal blog posts, writing content for newsletter, or writing articles for article directories to keep traffic coming to your site/s.

Spin Your Articles

This is a very useful tool for the busy writer - a ghostwriter can spin your articles for repurposing. Say you’ve written a number of articles but of late have become too busy to keep it up. You might think of hiring a ghostwriter to spin or rework your articles so they can be used as ‘new and original’ pieces.

You might be thinking that there are rewriting programs to do this, but they cannot create the same quality rewrite a good writer can.

Create E-books

E-books are becoming amazingly popular. You can offer them on your site/s as freebies as an incentive to subscribe to your site or as a gift. You can even sell them on your site, or on sites such as Lulu, Smashwords, and Amazon. They are an excellent tool for demonstrating your expertise in your area, and for creating visibility.

To gain even more visibility and make your ebook a more powerful marketing tool, you can offer reprint permission. This is a wonderful way to have more and more readers become familiar with your work.

To go to Part 2, click on the link:
The Ghostwriter’s Uses – Part 2

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MORE ON WRITING

Freelance Writing - Don’t Overspice Your Copy
Freelance Writing – Giving Basic Writing Advice

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

I can help. Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

~~~~~

SEO and Marketing: Basic Tips and Definitions

In an earlier article I explained the difference between marketing and promotion. In its simplest form, promotion is a tool or strategy under the marketing umbrella. The marketing umbrella covers the creation or manufacturing of a product or service, R&D, distribution, and any other elements needed to get a product from creation to the consumer. Promotion creates visibility.

Utilizing online promotion means you will be using the internet, search engines, and SEO. SEO is the process of getting the search engines to find and rank your content. You obviously want a high ranking so when a searcher (potential customer) types in a search term (keyword) your site may be one of those on that first SERP.

Marketing and especially SEO can be confusing and seem like a daunting task to undertake, but once you understand the basics it becomes less intimidating.

SEO and Marketing Definitions

1. SEO search engine optimization: the process of creating and/or tweaking website content with the purpose of improving search engine rankings.

2. SERP – search engine results page – the page results from a search query.

3. Keyword –  any word or phrase a searcher might put into a search engine box describe or identify a product or service or information he's looking for online. When using keyword in your title, it’s important to use the keyword in the beginning of the title. Rather than use “How-to-Guide for Inbound Marketing” opt for “Inbound Marketing: A How-to-Guide.”

4. Organic Traffic or Marketing – free strategies, such as Twitter, blogging, article marketing, etc.

5. Paid Traffic or Marketing – utilizing paid/sponsored ads, such as Google adwords, etc.

6. Ranking – your position (how high up) on the SERP: the higher the better. In other words, you want to be on the first SERP, or at least within the first couple of pages.

7. Anchor text – linking to other websites and/or pages directly from text within your content. This strategy should be used to bring the reader to your products, to other related articles you’ve written, to another site that has useful information pertinent to your post, and/or to link to a site you’re mentioning.

Providing readily accessible information and links through anchor text will give your readers more “bang-for-the-buck.” It will give the reader a broader reading experience, and she will definitely appreciate it – this builds a relationship . . . and trust.

Using anchor text links will also help search engines, such as Google and Bing, relate your content to other relevant content, and create a target for searchers to hit.

One last note about SEO, keep your keywords simple and concise. And, often it’s of greater benefit to use long-tail keywords. These keywords may not get as many search hits, but they do get a much more targeted audience; this leaves you with less competition.


An example of a keyword might be, “allergy relief.” Allergy relief is a very generic and heavily used keyword. In order to make it more specific and hone in on a narrower audience/searcher, you might use, “allergy air cleaners,” or maybe, “remedies for allergies,” or, “allergy sinus medications.” You want to narrow the playing field.

TIP: It's important your content is valuable and fresh. While keywords are necessary, useable information that will help your readers is more important. This type of content will motivate readers to share. And, shareability is a now a major tool in online marketing

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More on Inbound Marketing

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Why (Some) Authors Fail - Part 3

Today is the 3rd, and final part of the article from The Book Marketing Experts Newsletter. I hope you've been following along and getting all the great information this article provides. Penny Sansevieri knows her business and it's definitely worthwhile to listen to her advice. So, without further ado, here it is.

Why (Some) Authors Fail - Part 3

By Penny Sansevieri

Not Understanding How New York Publishing Works

We may not like how the corporate publishing model works, we may find fault with it, but to understand it is to understand how the industry works. For example, knowing the publishing seasons and why Fall is the biggest time for New York publishers to launch a book and perhaps the worst time for you to send your book to market if you've self-published.

Also, know that corporate publishers don't publish to niches, or rarely do, so if you're publishing to a niche, you may have a real leg up.

As for bookstores, the big six in New York pretty much own most of the shelf space in your local Barnes & Noble, so if you're vying to get in there, you are going to have to do more than show up with a book in hand and a winning smile. You're going to have to promote yourself to that local market and gain enough interest for your book that people start asking for it in bookstores.
Understanding the corporate publishing model means knowing and researching your industry and again, not just the industry you are writing for, but the market of publishing in general. Knowing what's selling, what's not - who's buying, who's closing their doors. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with it and you'll have a much more successful campaign.

Playing the Blame Game

If something goes wrong, own it. Unless it's really not your fault, unless you were taken for a ride somehow, swindled or whatever. Own it. Take responsibility. Here's an example. Recently an author came up to me after a class I taught and said she'd pitched 200 bloggers and only 5 of them wanted her book. What was wrong with them? Well, maybe it wasn't the bloggers at all. Bloggers are busy, busier than they've ever been so your pitch has to be strong and your book exactly right for the blogger you are pitching. If you're not getting a lot of pick up on your pitch you might need a new pitch and/or you might need a new set of bloggers. Don't assume it's someone else's fault. Investigate what happened and take a critical look at the results. If you don't feel you can be objective, hire someone to sift through the data. Assuming success eluded you because of someone else's lack of interest or follow through might be undermining your campaign and you could be missing out on important data that could really help turn your campaign around.

Believing in the Unbelievable

There are no guarantees. No one can promise book sales, fame, or Oprah. Period. End of story. If someone is promising you these things, run, or if the offer seems too good to be true it likely is. If all else fails ask someone you trust. I get folks asking me all the time about campaigns, programs, and marketing opportunities. Feel free to do the same. Whether you are working with us or not, now or in the future, I will always give you a fair and honest answer. If you'd rather go to someone else, great - but find someone whose opinion you trust and ask before signing on the dotted line.

Success is not about hard work alone, it's also about making smart, savvy choices and not being blinded by your own ambition, creativity, or ego such that it undermines your work. To be successful you need to be relentless, believe in your work and your mission but you also need to be objective, realistic, and humble. That is a successful mix for any author and in the end, isn't it really about getting the book out there? Focus on what matters. Good luck!

Helpful Resources:

Some great and helpful books:

* Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (ParaPublishing, 2009) - Dan Poynter

* The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book (Writer's Digest, 2009 or 2010) - Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier

* Doing Business by the Book: How to Craft a Crowd-Pleasing Book and Attract More Clients and Speaking Engagements Than You Ever Thought Possible - Sophfronia Scott (Advantage Media Group, 2008)

* 1001 Ways to Market Your Book - John Kremer (Open Horizons, 2009)

* Red Hot Internet Publicity - Penny Sansevieri (Cosimo, 2009)

* Get Published Today - Penny Sansevieri (Lulu Publishing, 2010)

Great Publishing Blogs

* The Self Publishing Review http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/

* POD People http://podpeep.blogspot.com/

* Nathan Bransford http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

* Moby Lives http://mhpbooks.com/mobylives/


Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.  

To read Part 1: http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2010/08/why-some-authors-fail-part-1.html

To read Part 2: http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2010/08/why-some-authors-fail-part-2.html

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