Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Effective Titles for Articles and Blog Posts

Today, I have an informative post from book marketing guru Dana Lynn Smith. Since we all know the importance of having an active blog, as well as the benefits of article marketing to bring traffic back to our site, we also need to know the importance of having an effective title. This article explains exactly what's needed to create  effective titles.



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

Are Long Sentences in Your Blog Posts Good or Bad for Your Rankings?
Be SUPER Careful of the Content Marketing Strategies You Use – A Tip on Penguin 3.0 (Linking)
10 Simple Steps and 5 Powerful Benefits to Content Curation

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

Check out: http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

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.

LIKE THIS POST? PLEASE SHARE IT!

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RECOMMENDED TOOL

For home business (authors and writers) ecourses and eclasses, visit: Platform Building with Content Marketing

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point
Don’t be Taken to the Website Design Cleaners
Do You Have an Online Marketing Focus?



Monday, November 15, 2010

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?
I can help. Check out: http://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

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:

Writing, Submissions, and Working with Editors

Theme and Your Story


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NEED HELP WITH YOUR WRITING PROJECT?

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

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

Writing, Accounting, and Synergy
So, You Want to Write a Book? But, Will You?

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Karen Cioffi Freelance Writer

Friday, November 5, 2010

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, November 1, 2010

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.

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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/

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

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

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

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