Today, I have the pleasure of featuring a guest post by writing/author Holly Jahangiri. So, let's get to it.
Every writer knows how important it is to “know your audience” when writing the book. Too often, authors forget who their audience really is, when it comes time to market the book.
Virtual book tours are a fun and affordable alternative when travel dollars are tight – but are you reaching the right audience with your virtual events? Do you write guest posts for non-writing blogs in your niche? Do you hold virtual book signings – or had you even imagined such a thing was possible?
A couple of years ago, I attended a virtual book signing event. It occurred at the fan-operated science fiction and fantasy literary and filk convention, FenCon VII, in Dallas. Spider Robinson was the guest of honor, but was unable to attend in person due to the recent death of his wife, Jeanne. Still, not wanting to disappoint his fans, he found creative – and futuristic – ways to participate in the conference. He participated in panels and even did a virtual book signing! The organizers set up a PC, a printer, and a Skype connection with Spider, and attendees could chat for a few minutes with the author and then get their picture printed with him from a screen capture. This was the perfect venue for something like that, blending a sci-fi, high-tech solution with a very human touch.
Do you seek out guest posting opportunities on blogs run by readers who are not writers? For example, Mommy-bloggers and Dad-bloggers are great hosts and reviewers of children’s books. If your children’s book helps to solve a problem, see if you can find a child psychologist who blogs, and offer a guest post – or ask them to review your book. There are also some amazing teen bloggers out there.
When my book A Puppy, Not a Guppy was launched, I got teens to review it – and one even gave it the “Babysitter’s Stamp of Approval”! I’ll bet mystery writers could find opportunities within the Top 50 Forensic Science Blogs ( http://mastersinforensicscience.com/2010/top-50-forensic-science-blogs/ ) or these 50 Spine-Tingling Murder Mystery Blogs. My point is, don’t limit yourself only to other writers’ blogs. It’s easy, because they understand the need for promotion. Often, they know how a blog book tour works, so you don’t have to spend much time familiarizing them with the concept. But if you are not reaching out to the people who have a passionate interest in the subject of your book, you’re missing out on some great promotional opportunities.
About Holly Jahangiri
Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective" She also writes for TheNextGoal, and hopes to win it in Weblogbetter's Surviving the Blog Contest.
Today, I have a guest post from author, freelance writer, and writing coach Suzanne Lieurance.
3 Reasons Why Most People Who Say They Want to Write a Book Will Never Write One
By Suzanne Lieurance
Almost everyone has dreams of writing a book some day. Yet, for most people this will never become more than a dream. And thousands of others who do manage to START writing their book will give up midway through and never finish writing it. As a published author and a writing coach, I've discovered there are basically 3 reasons most writers give up on their dream of one day writing a book:
1. Wanna be authors think their book has to be one of the best books ever written.
This is a lot of pressure for any writer, much less a first time author. No one could measure up to this, so it's safer and easier to give up before ever starting. But the truth is, published authors simply try to write the very best book they can write. They don't worry about it being one of the best books ever written.
2. Wanna be authors figure they really don't have anything new and different to say that hasn't already been written about before in other books.
That old saying, "there is nothing new under the sun" is true. So published authors don't worry that someone else may have written a book about the same topic they wish to write about. Instead, they try to give their book a unique "spin" on the topic. That means they write about it in a somewhat unique way.
3. Wanna be authors think writing should be easy. If it isn't, that means they weren't meant to be a writer.
When they start writing, and the writing becomes difficult, they figure they must not be cut out to be an author.
Writing is a craft and it is often just plain hard work even for the best of writers. In fact, good writing is usually good rewriting, so most of the well-known authors work hard at their writing. They write, then rewrite and rewrite until they get the work just right. If they stopped when the writing got difficult, they'd never publish anything either. As you can probably tell by now, each of these 3 reasons for giving up on writing a book is merely an excuse for not following through on a dream.
If you dream of writing a book someday, don't expect to write one of the best books ever written. Don't worry that you have nothing new to say. Just try to say it in a new way. And, most importantly, don't expect the writing to be so easy that there's nothing to it. Just keep plugging along and eventually you'll have a finished manuscript you can be proud of.
As most writers know, there isn’t much money in being an author; the money, if you can get a successful freelance writing business going, is in freelance writing work and ghostwriting.
There are so many different freelance writing and ghostwriting jobs you can do. But, to keep your target market focused and to strengthen your area of expertise, you should choose one or two specific types. Offering too many varying services weakens your platform and your authoritative status.
It should be mentioned that you can also learn the copywriting ropes and create a copywriting business or simply include its techniques to enhance your own writing. But, for now we’ll stick to freelance writing work, including ghostwriting; although some of the opportunities may require a bit of basic copywriting skills.
Freelance Writing Work You Can Choose From:
• Magazine freelancer - writing and submitting articles to paying magazines
• Writing for book publishers who accept freelance writers (you’ll need to query for a position)
• News reporter
• Feature writer for newspapers or magazines
• Getting work from job boards
• Editing and/or proofreading other writers’ work
• Critiquing other writers’ work
• Writing speeches
• Writing content for websites
• Writing content for newsletters
• Writing articles and blog posts
• Writing white papers or reports
• Writing books, e-books, or pamphlets
• Resume writing
All written content has the need for a writer. And, chances are there is someone, somewhere looking for some type of freelance writing work. It’s a matter of finding the work and attracting clients.
The important thing is to have your freelance writing business visible. I had someone contact me to write a six to ten page report as part of a job application requirement. He was busy over the weekend and wouldn’t have time to do it himself. He found me through a Google search using ‘ghostwriter’ as a keyword. I don’t do rush jobs, so had to decline.
This is another aspect of freelance writing work that you may want to consider, there are some businesses that offer very quick turn around. People pay more money for this type of service.
Yet another point to make is that when someone contacts you for freelance writing work, and for whatever reason, you can’t do it, try to be helpful in some way; make a lasting impression. I gave the ‘job application guy’ some tips on what to look for in a qualified freelance writer and told him to call me if he needs any other work.
So, you can see that if you’re out there, doing information marketing and building a quality business, it definitely helps in finding clients and garnering freelance writing work.
Today's guest post is by entrepreneur mentorAli Brown and it gives you the pieces to the puzzle so you can create your own web video.
4 Simple Steps to Web Videos That SELL
by Ali Brown
Did you know that the #1 activity people are doing online these days is watching videos? Here’s why…
Web video is a great way to stimulate the senses of your audience. Each of us absorbs information differently. Some people learn better by hearing, others by seeing, and still others by reading. So if you aren’t yet thinking about ways to market with video, you’re ignoring a very compelling communication channel.
So why isn’t everyone creating a web video presence? A few reasons I hear from my clients are:
1) You don’t like being in front of a camera.
2) You don’t have the technical competency to shoot, edit and post video footage.
3) You can’t afford to buy the equipment and software you think you need.
Well, the great news is, making a web video does not require expensive gear, tech-geek prowess, or you to magically morph into the perfect TV persona.
I’ve broken down the process into 4 easy steps, so you can get a web video up in no time!
STEP 1: Examine Your Goods
If you own a digital camera, you’re already equipped with all you need to film a web video. Most digital cameras have a video feature, and you might want to check your cell phone as well—a lot of the new models shoot video. But for best results, pick up a solid, small video camera like the Flip Mino, which shoots and then plugs right into your computer for instant upload to your desktop. My team and I use the Kodak Zi8 because you can plug in an external mic for best sound quality.
STEP 2: Shoot to Minimize Errors
To keep your editing process simple, I highly suggest breaking up your shoots into small chunks versus doing one long take. That way you reduce your chance of errors and you won’t have to bother with cutting out parts that are boring, or have any blunders.
Here’s how to segment out your video: Let’s say you have an intro, then point #1, point #2, Point #3, the call to action, then contact information. Write up a loose script that you can follow as you shoot each take, or keep an outline nearby so you can reduce room for errors. In Step 3, you’ll see how beautifully these short takes will work with transition slides to pull together a really polished video.
Wear solid colors that pop, and powder your face if your skin gets shiny. And a big time-saving tip: Try to shoot more than one video at once. Often what takes the most time is all the setup, so you’ll save time in the end. (And ladies, why not only do your hair and makeup once?)
Step 3: Create Slides to Aid Your Message (or Replace You)
PowerPoint slides are a great way to elevate the quality of your videos, and it’s also perfect for those of you who are too shy to get in front of the camera. If this is you, all you need to do is put together a nice-looking PowerPoint presentation and narrate over as you click through your presentation.
Let’s say you do want to be the star. PowerPoint slides are a great way to cleanly transition between your points and reinforce your key messages (like your pitch, your website, etc.).
A basic slide setup would look like:
1. Introduction Slide: include your topic, name, website.
2. Title Sequences: this gives your video a sense of structure, as you present the information (ex. Lesson #1, Question #1, Problem #1, etc.). Keep this to a minimum though, maybe 2 to 3 max.
3. Call-to-Action: tell your viewers what to DO next. (Should they go to a certain web page to learn more? Call your toll-free number? Click on a link elsewhere on the page the video will be posted on?)
Another idea for those of you who are shy is to instead (and sometimes even better) feature your star clients and highlight their successes.
Step 4: Edit Your Video and Post It Online
These days, there are many free, user-friendly options for editing your video. Two popular and simple ones are Microsoft Movie Maker and Apple iMovie. For more fancy editing and effects, take a look at Apple’s Final Cut. Take an hour or two to go through some of the built-in tutorials and you’ll be uploading a stellar sales video in no time!
Post your video online using YouTube or other easy upload sites like Vimeo.com, where you can then fetch the embed code and put the video on your own site easily. And also consider Facebook which has the even better viral effect.