Thursday

How To Publish A Book?

To BE or Not to BE A Self-Published Author

By Anne Duguid

Just under a week ago, Bob Medak wrote an interesting article for Writers on the Move discussing when is the best time to build an author platform. But the last line stopped me in amazement.

"Authors," he wrote, " should have their book published the way they wrote it."

To my surprise, no one even queried the statement, far less took him to task. But as a judge for the recent Global e-Book awards and member of an enthusiastic Kindle publishing group, I have to disagree or at least urge caution on any author thinking of going it alone.

So many potentially good books cannot achieve the success their authors deserve because:

•    poor editing leaves muddled sentences, glaring grammatical mistakes and confused plot lines
•    poor formatting renders books irritatingly untidy and difficult to read
•    poor spelling and proofreading stop the reader from concentrating on the story or information provided
•    the cover does not have sales appeal

A reader who is disappointed in the presentation of a book will not buy from the same author again in a hurry.

Advantages of Self-Publishing

•    Publish the book the way you, the author, wrote it--but please employ an editor and proofreader.
•    Have the last word in the design of your own cover--but consult a good graphic designer or at least visit a site like The Book Designer. The designers' comments here on the great range of book covers submitted for awards are helpful and informative and teach what makes a cover attractive to buyers.
•    Check and recheck your formatting till it is absolutely perfect.
•    You have complete control over your own work.
•    You can publish as fast or as slowly as you like. You make your own deadlines.
•    You have the joy of learning all the ins and outs of the business.

Advantages of Traditional Publishing

•     The editors, proofreader and cover designer will be provided. They are professionals and will advise on what sells.
•      The formatting will be handled by someone who knows the job and the pitfalls.
•     A good publisher, editor, cover designer will listen.
•     You will have more time for writing.
 
There is of course the downside.
•    The length of time between contract signing and publication date.
•    Less income as you have effectively outsourced the work of publication.
•     You may not have the book published the way you wrote it but then and again it might just be a smidgeon better. 

Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUpPublishing.com and   her New Year's Resolution is to blog with helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers (slowandsteadywriters.blogspot.com) far more regularly than she managed in 2011.

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More Writing Articles

Writing for Money – Breaking Into the Freelance Writing Business
How to Write Tight – Self Editing to Make Your Manuscript Ready for Publication

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Monday

Writing an eBook – What’s Stopping You?

Steps to Overcoming 4 Top Obstacles to Writing an Information eBook (Part 1 of a 4 part series)


In a recent webinar with ebook guru and expert marketer Jim Edwards, he explained the results of a poll he did on why YOU just can’t seem to get an information ebook written and published. And, along with the results of the poll, he provided solutions to the obstacles that are stopping most people becoming successful ebook authors.

Along with Edwards’ insight, I’ve included some of my own experience with writing ebooks.

So, let’s go over the four main obstacles that are stopping YOU from writing an ebook and publishing it.

4 Steps to Overcoming Your Information eBook Obstacles

1. Confusion over the length of an ebook is one of the top obstacles.

This obstacle has most writers confused enough to stop them from even attempting to write an information ebook.

So, what’s the appropriate length of an ebook?

According to Edwards, as long as you provided what your title and description promise, it can be anywhere from 10 pages to 100 plus pages. My information ebooks range from around 18 pages to 180 pages.

2. Finding and writing quality content can feel overwhelming.

Contemplating having to write your own content that’s informative and engaging is another big obstacle in the ebook publication path.

The solution: reuse existing content from articles and posts, read other ebooks on the topic and get ideas; record a podcast and write a transcript; write an outline of what you want to convey and hire a ghostwriter to actually write; hire a ghostwriter to simply write the entire ebook; and/or conduct one-on-one interviews with experts in the field you’re writing on. These are just a few possibilities.

3. Time won’t allow it.

For a few of you this may actually be a ‘real’ obstacle. But, for most it’s simply an excuse. Check out these two quotes:

"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." ~ H. Jackson Brown

"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time."
~ Leonard Bernstein

Take a realistic look at how you spend your time. How much TV do you watch? How much time do you spend on social media or surfing the web?

If you can eliminate 1 hour a day on ‘wasteful’ time zappers, you can devote that one hour each day to writing an ebook.

4. Afraid the return on investment (ROI) won’t be worth effort and time invested in creating an information ebook.

Well, there’s no doubt time and effort are involved in creating anything worthwhile and that includes writing an ebook. But, the trouble with fearing or believing the effort and time won’t be worth it is you become the obstacle. If you believe you can’t do something, then in most likelihood you won’t. If you believe the ROI won’t be worth it, then you’ve sabotaged your own goals.

Stop and rethink. Follow the experts’ steps and believe if they can do it YOU can too.

Click the link to check out Part 2 of the Series:
Writing Information eBook – Two Obstacles and Solutions

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MORE ON WRITING AND ONLINE MARKETING

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Wednesday

Increase Sales by Writing for the Web More Effectively

Guest Post by Danielle Rodabaugh
Courtesy of  The Book Marketing Expert newsletter

If you're trying to market your published work, chances are you're using the Internet to promote it in one way or another. If you're developing the promotional content on your own, understanding a few key rules can help you write for the web more effectively. You'll benefit from knowing how writing for the web is both similar to and different from traditional writing forms.

How writing for the web is similar to traditional writing

Many traditional writing rules apply when writing copy for online marketing.

* Support your claims with research. Directly linking to outside research makes citing sources online extremely easy.

* Connect to your specific audience. As with traditional writing, well-written and highly informed pieces will go unread if you can't keep readers' attention.

* Use action verbs. When telling a story, action verbs drive the storyline. In marketing, action verbs encourage people to buy your product, which, in this case, is your writing.

* Edit with a vengeance. You wouldn't publish an article or book without having it thoroughly edited. Promotional copy should be no different as errors divert potential customers.

* Be consistent. If you use a blog to promote your work, you need to update it regularly and with a similar style and tone.
How writing for the web differs from traditional writing

Conversely, writing effective copy for online marketing also requires you to go against some traditional writing rules.

* Formatting should be short and sweet. When writing for online consumption, you have to hold the interest of your readers. Keep all formatting as concise and efficient as possible. Online audiences typically don't feel compelled to read an article composed of a seemingly infinite number of paragraphs.

* Use bullets to make key points obvious. Whereas you might take paragraphs to explain an idea in traditional writing, web consumption requires you to make your point as efficiently as possible.

* Explain the benefits explicitly. When promoting a product, you're trying to advise people what to do rather than let them come to their own conclusions. To effectively persuade online readers, tell them what your product will do for them.

My final piece of advice is this: include visuals whenever appropriate. When posting marketing content online, your written word alone usually isn't enough. Even if your web writing is top-notch, you'll still have to attract and keep the attention of your audience. Include relevant photos, videos and infographics to further convey your message.

As a writer, you can appreciate well-thought-out and well-written content on the web. Whether you're writing for a professional website, personal blog or other online forum, you must do so effectively if you want to successfully market yourself, your work and your craft itself.

Guest post by Danielle Rodabaugh, who is the editor for http://www.suretybonds.com/, a nationwide surety producer that publishes educational resources about developments in the surety industry. Danielle also writes about her online marketing experience to help entrepreneurs and business owners make the most of their ventures.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.
http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Monday

Content Marketing Reprint Strategy – Pros and Cons

Offering your articles/posts/e-books to be reprinted by others might be a valuable marketing practice.

While it seems most writers don’t allow their articles/posts to be reprinted by others as part of their article marketing practice, I have come across a couple of writers/marketers who generously do allow this practice. They allow their posts to be reprinted by other writers to be used on their blogs or in their FREE newsletter. Obviously, anything being offered to reprint should never be reprinted in something you are selling, such as an e-book or report.

I’m surprised that more writers don’t take advantage of this reprint strategy. The benefits seem obvious – let’s look at four of them.

Article Marketing - Four Benefits of Allowing Reprints

1.    You have written something that someone else views as valuable.
2.    You increase your visibility.
3.    You increase traffic back to your site.
4.    You never know who will see that article/post or where it will end up.

What About Giving Your E-books Away?

I have also seen this reprint practice utilized with e-books, and it peaked my interest. These informational e-books plainly state in the beginning of the content that readers may freely pass it along. This technique generates additional visibility and is a great promotional tool and marketing opportunity.

In fact, I recently started taking advantage of this marketing practice with one of my e-books.

Article Marketing and Content Reprint Word of Caution Here

Please remember, it’s essential, when taking advantage of a writer’s reprint offer, to always keep the article or e-book intact. Be sure to use the author’s byline and/or any other text and links that they have as part of the bargain.

The reprint strategy is a win-win situation: the author increases his visibility and you get an article to use on your blog or in your newsletter, or you get a free e-book to offer on your site.

Article Marketing Reprint Strategy Drawbacks

Obviously, there are a couple of circumstances in which offering or using reprints isn’t advisable, such as: you wrote the article specifically for a magazine or ezine and publishing elsewhere is restricted, or you may not want to use an article with a byline that will send your reader to a site that offers the same services you do (a competitor’s site).

One other possible drawback to this particular article marketing practice is dilution. What this means is that if you have your article available on a number of sites, when someone does a search for the topic of your article, it may not be your site they end up going to.

And, in it's latest algorithms in 2014, Google now frowns upon reprints, even permission-based reprints.

Based on this newer information, if you're trying to rank for search results and better overall rankings, you might want to avoid using reprints. If you just want to provide 'fresh to your audience' content that will be helpful, then go for it.

I have to say that I've seen a couple of heavy-hitting sites that occasionally use reprints. So, it's up to you if you want to risk it.

You could also use content curation instead. This is the process of writing a significant lead-in to another blog's post, then link to it rather than publish it word for word.


Why not try this marketing practice. It will be a supplemental tool to be used along with your article directory postings. These two strategies combined with writing your own blog posts will certainly generate and increase visibility and traffic back to your site.

Note: For any type of article marketing you do, it’s important to have an effective tagline or bio. And, your bio should include at least one link to your call-to-action.

* If you like this post, please SHARE it. And, it'd be great if you leave a comment!


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Wednesday

Building a Writers Portfolio

Building a Writer's Portfolio

By Joan Whetzel

Freelance writers, new or old-hat, need writing portfolios as an addendum to their resume. The published writing samples contained in their writer's portfolios, like the artwork in the artist's portfolio, is a way of sharing their body of work with prospective employers. Having their writing clips collected in one place - a portfolio or e-portfolio - keeps their writing samples available at a moment's notice.

What to Collect

It's best to keep all writing samples old and new. However, once the writer's list of writing clips expands beyond a certain point it is no longer practical to carry them all in their portable portfolio. Older samples are best archived. When does a writer begin archiving writing clips? When is the cutoff point? That's a decision best left to each author. But keeping an index with each year's clips or samples, will help writers find older writing clips that may be appropriate for showing to future employers. (You know, that travel article you wrote 3 years ago? Your next employer is looking for evidence you've written travel articles).

For freelance writers just starting out, and who have few if any articles published, volunteer to write as many freebies as you can afford until your begin having clips with your name on them. These include local neighborhood newspapers with small budgets, favorite causes, startup magazines and e-publications, screenplays or stage play scripts for startup production companies. Even blogs can fill a writer's portfolio. It's advisable even for published writers to write freebies on occasion just to keep your name out there, especially when paid writing opportunities are on the lean side.

Anything that has your byline, a publication name, and a publication date (if possible) is fodder for the writer's portfolio. For freelancers who can write on a number of topics, or in more than one genre, can sort their portfolios by topic or genre to be used for different jobs, matching the clips to the job being applied for. Setting up your own website and/or blog site is an ideal way to showcase your web skills as well as your writing skills, and acts as a way for potential employers to locate and contact you as well as place to provide links to your writing published on other websites - all for little or no cost.

For clips published in print, keep one entire copy of the publication with your story printed in it as evidence of which edition the story was published. The publication shows the publication number, the name of the publication and the date as well as the writer's byline. For stories published on websites, print a hard copy of the article which will show the website name, the URL, the writer's name and date that it was published (in most cases). If you print it out the same day it appears on the website, the printing date appears at the bottom of the page next to the URL. Keep an index of all stories written, categorized by website, and be sure to include the URL to link to that story. You may have to go through the index occasionally to see which stories are still available online, and which ones have been deleted or archived by the website.

How to Carry Writing Clips to Jobs

Writer's Portfolio - The Paper Version: Purchase a 3-ring binder, preferable one that zips closed and has handles to carry it (check office supply stores). Insert clear plastic slip sheets meant for carrying 8.5x11 inch pages or 8x10 inch photos in a binder (also available at office supply stores).

Make 2 to 3 copies of each print or e-clip, and place them the plastic sheets. The 2 to 3 clips for story #1 go in to the first plastic slip, the copies for story #2 go in the second plastic slip, and so on. They are ready to carry with you. Save one of the plastic slips for copies of your resume and a second plastic slip for types references.

Writer's Portfolio - The Electronic Version: Scan in paper publication writers clips to your computer and store them in a folder on your hard drive and in a secondary location like a thumb drive or a CD, to be kept separate from your computer. If need be, sub-categorize them by publication, topic, or genre.

For stories published online, keep an index file by e-publisher that includes story name, month and year of publication, and URLs for each story. Also keep a copy of your story where you wrote it on your word processing program and saved to computer before copying and pasting it to the e-publisher's website. Keep these stories in folders by publisher, with sub-folders categorized by month and year of publication. Save these files to the hard drive and to the secondary source (thumb drive or CD). Make sure these files include any photos you uploaded with your stories. Keep a hardcopy of the word processing document along with the downloaded copy from the website.

Electronic Sharing of Your Writing

Since you indexed the URLs for your stories, you can copy and paste them to an e-mail body to send to potential employers. They can also be pasted to your blog or website either as links or as references that others can copy and paste into a search engine to look up. This is a way of turning your personal blog or website as an online writer's portfolio. The URLs for your e-stories can also be added to print articles, newsletters, etcetera, for readers to type into search engines.

The advantages of having an online writer's portfolio include: not having to provide paper copies, or go through the cost of mailing them and the stories in your portfolio can be viewed in their original format rather than faxes or copies. Among the disadvantages? E-published stories are ready and waiting for someone to plagiarize, which is becoming a real problem. How many times have your researched a subject online and found the same article, word-for-word, supposedly written by three different authors - or more? There's also the problem of virus's being transmitted either from an e-publisher's website or across e-mails. With this in mind, some potential clients or employers may prefer to have a paper copy of stories from your portfolio rather than an electronic one.

Producing Appropriate Clips for Job Applications

Whether online or on paper, keep your clips organized so that you can find your articles by topic, category or genre. That way you can provide copies of specific stories to match the clients' or employers' expectations and needs. Don't put all of your stories in an online portfolio. Separate the stories by genre, subject or category and linked to a button on your site. Provide readers with the only the best 2 or 3 stories under each genre, subject or category button.

Send links to your stories or e-mail attachments as self-promotion to potential new clients or employers. Try to have a variety of samples that show the different writing styles that show off your writing skills - ads, articles, newsletters, promotional material, press releases.

Periodically update both your paper and online writer's portfolios, archiving older articles and replacing it with newer material. As your writing career progresses, your portfolios will expand and your writing skills mature exponentially. Creating and updating your writer's portfolios seem like daunting tasks, but they are necessary ones. And if you make a habit of regularly updating both portfolios, you will always be ready when new clients or employers come calling and looking for new writers with current and exciting writing samples and a wealth of experience.

By Joan Whetzel


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6961434

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MORE ON FREELANCE WRITING

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Monday

What Is An Author Platform? Its 3 Basic Elements

Building a writing career can be a long, and at times, difficult road. And, many new authors think writing itself is the tough part, but that's not really the case. 

Writing a story that you intend to publish traditionally or self-publish has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can create an outline as kind of a GPS to get you from point A to point B. There are steadfast rules and tricks to help you complete your writing journey.

Bottom line, there is an end to that particular writing journey.

With marketing, that's not the way it works. Marketing your book is the roll-up-your-sleeves part of a writing career. It's the ongoing job of creating and building your online presence, your author platform. And, the rules and tricks of the game are in constant motion, always changing.

While many of the rules may change, there is one constant in your author platform, and that's visibility.

It should be noted that the definition of an author platform encompasses multiple genres, freelance writers, and even marketers who create and sell information products, so it may vary, depending on who is providing the definition. But, all-in-all, creating an online platform is pretty much the same for everyone and entails the same elements to be effective.

According to web editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review Jane Friedman, editors and agents are "looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience."

So, the bare-bottom basics of an author platform are: visibility, authority, and proven reach. 

Breaking Down the Three Basic Elements of an Author Platform

1. Visibility

This is the promotional aspect of marketing. It's the element of becoming known in your particular niche and building on that presence.

With online marketing strategies and Google's updates always on the move, the face of creating visibility has changed. Today, visibility is created through ongoing connections and relationships with your target market, your audience.

It’s also about creating engagement on your blog site and your social networks. This means Likes, Follows, Shares, Retweets, Favorites, and so on.

2. Authority

Authority is built through ongoing communication. As an author you need to provide valuable information to your readers through blog posts. Providing this information on a regular basis establishes you as an authority in your niche.

Another newer factor in the mix is social proof. Numbers speak and boost your authority.

3. Your Reach

Elements one and two of your author platform help take care of number three, your reach. By using effective marketing strategies to create an online presence, such as building a website and creating your authority through ongoing information/article marketing, your reach is automatically broadened.

Other strategies you can use to further broaden your reach include:

*    Guest blogging
*    Article marketing
*    Joint ventures
*    Presenting webinars
*    Presenting workshops
*    Offering e-courses

And, of course, you must include social media marketing.

Today, your author platform is about what you can offer your audience. It’s about creating content that’s engaging and/or valuable enough for others to share.  It's not about what you're selling.

Providing ongoing "wanted or needed" information builds a relationship. In the marketing arena a general rule of thumb is to offer 80 percent free, valuable information and 20 percent promotion. Its wise to now make it 90/10 though.

It's this ongoing author/reader relationship that will build your author platform and help sell your books, other products, and services.

Reference:
http://janefriedman.com/2012/03/13/author-platform-definition/

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More Marketing Reading

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Send Your Author Platform Soaring!

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This is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK HERE to check out all it includes!





Friday

Networking Like a Pro


This is a review of a great marketing book I read my Ivan Misner.

Title: Networking Like a Pro
Author: Ivan Misner, Ph.D., David Alexander and Brian Hilliard
ISBN: 10-1-59918-356-0
ISBN: 13: 978-59918-356-5
Reviewed by: Karen Cioffi for BookPleasures.com

My usual focus of marketing and networking is targeted at online readers and businesses. It seems a great deal of promotion and networking is created toward this format. But, we tend to forget about the original form of networking which if face-to-face.

Networking Like a Pro is not only a reminder that face to face business networking is still alive and healthy, in many businesses it is also a necessity. And, it is a skill like any other that needs to be learned and honed.

The subtitle to the book, Turning Contacts Into Connections, is the subject the co-authors delve into. This is the essence of all our marketing endeavors: We have something we want to sell, whether services or products, and those we come in contact with, whether online or fact-to-face are either potential customers or contacts.

To better understand, the co-authors compare social capital to financial capital. While financial capital is material wealth, money or property, social capital is, according to Networking Like a Pro: “[. . .] the accumulation of resources developed in the course of social interactions, especially through personal and professional networks.” They go on to explain that “these resources include ideas, knowledge, information, opportunities, contacts, and, of course, referrals. They also include trust, confidence, friendship, good deeds, and goodwill.”

This book is covers a wide-range of networking topics covering: The Networking Mind-Set; Your Networking Strategy; Networking Face to Face; Making Your Network Work; Secrets of the Masters; and Is Your Networking Working? Each of theses topics is thoroughly examined and explained through analysis, step-by-step instruction, conversational examples and diagrams.

In Part III. Networking Face to Face, the co-authors examine: Joining the Crowd; The 12 x 12 x 12 Rule; Where’s Your Attention Focused?; Telling Your Company’s Story; and Quantity is Fine, But Quality is King. This section is so detailed it provides networking mixer diagram configurations with explanations of how to read a room. In the chapter, Telling Your Company’s Story, the co-authors explain your unique selling proposition (USP) which every marketer must have: “It describes your business in terms of the needs it can fill and allows people to decide whether they want to learn more.” Nothing is left to guess-work. Each Each section is conveyed in the same manner.

I was impressed with Networking Like a Pro. It provides a tremendous amount of practicable information in an understandable format. Co-authors Misner, Alexander and Hilliard created a comprehensive book that covers a number of networking strategies. It explains with great detail the ins and outs, and tricks of the trade of Networking Like a Pro and turning contacts into connections.

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