Monday

When Blogging Use Images Carefully - They May be Copyrighted and You Could be Sued

It’s funny, a couple of months ago I accidentally deleted a lot of my images in GooglePlus. Because of this accident, the images in the blog posts at Writers on the Move were deleted. The grey generic circle took their place.

At the time, I was annoyed with myself and warned everyone to be careful when deleting photos in their Google+ accounts. Using images is an effective way to make our blog posts more engaging. It’s an effective marketing tool.

Well, I recently read two SCARY articles from bloggers, one a PR company, who were sued for using copyrighted images in their blogs without permission. In both cases, it wasn’t done intentionally, but none the less they were sued for a significant amount of money and had to pay.

I don’t copy images off the internet to post on my blogs, at least not that I can remember doing. For years, I’ve used image services like, BigStock.com and buy images when needed. I also use Microsoft Word’s Clipart. And, lately, I’ve been creating my own images, like the one above. I bought a package of images and with the image creator software tool I use, I added text and background color. That's it.

While I do create images with just Microsoft Office (Word and Paint), for this image I used
The Logo Creator. It's one of the best marketing tools I have. And, any image you create using it, you can SELL!!!!

Going back to the articles I read, it was mentioned that even Pinterest could be problematic. Comments mentioned that Pinterest protects itself and if you are caught repinning an image you don’t have the copyright to, you’ll be on your own.

I haven’t read the fine print on the site, so don’t know for sure. It’d be interesting to find out though. I’m thinking of eliminating my boards that could be a problem, like my Around the World and One Day. I love the images on them, but they’re not worth possibly being sued over.

So, should this concern ordinary, run-of-the-mill bloggers?

YUP!

This isn’t just a scenario heavy-hitter sites need to worry about. It’s something anyone blogging with images needs to be concerned about, unless your 100% sure your images are safe.

I’m including the links to both articles because I think everyone should be warned about this. Ignorance of copyright laws won’t save you. Adding attribution or taking the image down won’t save you. It’s time to rethink image use before it’s too late.

You’ll learn a whole lot more from these articles:

Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog - My Story
(Read the comments also for tips on safe images)

How using Google Images can cost you $8,000

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Friday

Book Marketing - A Tale of Two Authors

The Tortoise and the Hare: A Tale of Two Authors

Guest Post by Kimberly Kinrade

Once upon a time, in a land filled with books, two authors-each with one book out-met for tea.

"I bet I can sell more books than you this year," said Mr. Hare. "I know a secret to selling millions."

Ms. Tortoise looked up from her crumpet and smiled. "Do you now? Well, we shall see."

And so they raced.

Mr. Hare threw everything he had into selling his one book. He enrolled in KDP Select and dashed through sales like lightning. "Aha," he said, " I've found the secret to fame. Ms. Tortoise doesn't stand a chance."

And so he continued giving his book away for free, and spamming his Twitter and Facebook friends to BUY BUY BUY.

When he read an article that one author had found fame through book bloggers, he compiled a list and shot off a generic email to all of them, begging for reviews.

A few trickled in, but he didn't care. He kept spamming and pushing and using every trick in the book to get ahead.

When his sales started to drop and his techniques didn't work, he begged friends and relatives to leave him reviews.

"But I haven't read your book," said his cousin Murray (because doesn't everyone have a cousin named Murray?)

"Doesn't matter," said Mr. Hare, "Just make something up and put a 5 star on it."

He got a few that way, but when the masses of readers who downloaded his book for free realized he hadn't used an editor, they started leaving bad reviews, complaining about typos and weak prose.

In a desperate act to increase his sales, he dropped the price of his book to 99 cents and kept pushing, spending money left and right to sell his book any way he could.

Meanwhile, Ms. Tortoise chose the slow and steady path. Sure, she enjoyed some success with KDP Select, but she knew it wouldn't last. None of these quick and easy things do. So, she chose to focus on her writing.

She read books on writing and outlined her next novel. She strengthened her prose and hired the best cover artists and editors to work with her. And she published another novel that year.

Of course, she didn't give up on marketing, but she stayed focused and consistent. She blogged about interesting topics and tweeted meaningfully. She contacted book bloggers one by one and read their sites. She created relationships with them and generated some very promising, genuine reviews.

When her second novel came out, the sales poured in from fans of her first novel and new fans who saw she had more than one book out.

She didn't price her books at 99 cents, but still, people bought them.

While she hadn't sold as many books as Mr. Hare early on, by the end of the year, Mr. Hare's sales had stalled, while Ms. Tortoise was growing at a steady pace.

At the end of the twelve months, they met for tea again and compared their results.

"Well, I sold twice as many books as you in the first two months," said Mr. Hare with his chest puffed up.

"That's wonderful Mr. Hare. I'm pleased for you," said Ms. Tortoise.

Mr. Hare drummed his fingers on the table impatiently. "Come on, how many did you sell?"

"Granted, my early sales were not as high, but I sold my book at $3.99 and my second book at $5.99 and by mid to late year, I enjoyed steady sales."

She showed Mr. Hare her royalty check for the year and his face fell. While he'd sold more books early on, Ms. Tortoise had made much more money.

They finished their tea and parted ways. Ms. Tortoise needed to get home, as she was editing her third book.

Mr. Hare hadn't written a new word all year and didn't know what he would do next.

The Moral of the Story

Doesn't this bring you back to childhood? Now before anyone starts a flaming fire war, I'm not criticizing anyone for joining KDP or for pricing their books at 99 cents. I've done both at various times, for promotional reasons.

There's nothing wrong with taking advantage of tools to give us a boost in sales. I enjoyed some great success with KDP in the early days and I'm glad I did. I'm also glad I kept writing and that I kept my books priced to increase perceived value unless it was on sale.

The moral of this story is that there is no magic bullet to success in publishing. What worked last year-or last month-for one, or even a handful of authors, isn't likely to work for us now.

Our first job is to keep writing-to create a stellar catalogue of well-written, professionally edited books that will attract new readers.

If you need to make x amount of money each month on your writing, is it easier to sell one book 2,000 times or five books at 1/5th that amount?

And if you want to make a living, is it easier to do that at 99 cents or $3.99/$4.99/$5.99. If you've invested time and money into making your book the highest quality it can be, then you can charge a reasonable price for it. People will pay.

But you have to be patient. Success isn't instant-even when it looks instant for some. Amanda Hocking had something like seven to ten books out in rapid order before she started making real money. (I don't remember the exact amount, but she had a lot!)

So if you want to win at this publishing game, then keep writing. Yes, do due diligence in marketing-brand yourself, get your book out there, work to stay in the public consciousness through social media, blogging, etc. But above all, WRITE!

It's not overnight, but slow and steady really does win the race and as we build our catalog, develop relationships with our fans and work to create a professional persona on and offline, the sales will come.

So remember this the next time you're about to have a panic attack because your ranking on Amazon dropped. You've got to keep moving forward, one word at a time. Don't give up, but don't get so wrapped up in the game that you lose sight of the work.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7510520


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Monday

Marketing with Press Releases – Tips on What to Avoid and What to Do

Press Releases are a powerful marketing tool and it’s important to know that if you can write an article, you can write a press release.

The press release is simply an announcement. It can be announcing your new book or service, a promotion launch, a special sale, a new member to your team, news, a new article, an accomplishment, events, workshops, and so on.

What to Avoid When Writing Your Press Release

PRFree.com advises to avoid writing releases that are pure sales pieces. “If you write your release directed to consumers, you miss valuable opportunities for media outlets - frequently those online - which pick up press releases to run in their publications with little or no modification.”

If readers, editors, businesses, and others can see the benefit of reading and following up with your press release, they will. They need to know the WIIFM.

Along with this, press release distributors will not accept overly self-serving pieces; it can’t be a pure sales pitch to buy a product, affiliate product, or service.

Keep in mind that any product or service you’re offering and providing a press release for needs to address your target market’s needs or wants.

Mark Thompson says, “Sell the solution – Don’t sell the product.”

And, keep in mind that a buyer will be more likely to buy what he wants, rather than what he needs.

What to do to Write an Effective Press Release

The purpose of a press release, also called a media release, is to alert as many people as possible to your special news/information. So, it’s important for your press release to be at least somewhat news worthy. In addition, it’s a good idea to provide the ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) aspect of the topic.

Joan Stewart (the Publicity Hound) puts it best in describing what constitutes a successful or effective press release:

“Today, measuring successful PR campaigns is much more sophisticated than that. It's all about changing people's behavior and prompting them to do something they wouldn't do had you not written the release. The more people who read your press release and take the action you want them to take (visit your website, buy your products, make a donation, attend your Sunday church services, call for a free brochure etc.), the more successful the press release.”

Press releases increase your visibility and broaden your marketing reach – they’re an important element in your marketing strategy.

There are seven simple steps to creating an effective press release:

1. Create an effective title (headline)
2. Write a point-on synopsis
3. Create bullet points (optional)
4. Write an overview
5. Include a bio
6. Edit and Proof your release
7. Research services and Submit

Like I mentioned, if you can write an article, you can write a press release. Write one today.

Still not sure?

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Friday

Getting Book Reviews

Reviews in Print, Is Still in Print


Guest Post by Mari Selby

Gertrude Stein wrote; "a rose, is a rose, is a rose" and people applauded her poetic skill. She established that a rose is a rose, just as your name in print is definitely your name in print. Of course, the "Brass Ring" of promoting your book is securing a print review in a prestigious magazine. However, revenue space has pushed many book reviews out of newspapers and magazines. The competition for the remaining space is fierce. Be your creative self, stop the chase for a print review and find other ways to get your book mentioned in print. Write articles, create a blog, and build friendships with editors in your field. The key is making sure you have a byline that mentions you, your book, and your expertise. Getting your name in print any way you can is priceless. These articles and mentions can be recycled over and over again.

• Write articles that tie your book to a specific magazine. Marcy Jones Esq. is the author of Graceful Divorce Solutions. She regularly studies PEOPLE magazine for tie-ins to her book. She wrote an article about Sandra Bullock's divorce, included her byline, and has been republished everywhere.

• Editors love lists. What in your book lends itself to being on a list? Lists can be the top 10 reasons people divorce, or 10 ways to keep your family together through a divorce.

• When you call or email a producer or journalist, ask them a question that begins with "Do you know... ?" Quote them this year's statistics on how many people are divorcing. Has the divorce rate gone up or down? Give them these details, and that's news. Anytime you can give them news you become someone they can go to for future quotes. Follow up after they quote you and say thank you!

• Ask people in the market you're serving what they read or watch? Industry trade journals are often near the top of the list. Trade journals are great because they're usually willing to introduce new experts to their readers. You can even offer to write a regular column for them.

• Study your local and regional papers. Do they have a Dear Abby column but don't have a column on staying healthy through divorce? Pitch the newspaper with the idea that they need to get up-to-date with current trends. Create a niche you and your expertise fit in. You might have to show some sample columns - even if you are not directly paid. Columns can lead to consulting and speaking work.

Once you have secured your article or review in print, keep recycling it. Recycling is one of the biggest tools for promotion of your book. Once your name is in print, the article, or mention can be effectively used over and over in different online and print venues. One way to recycle is to use the mention as a way to get your foot in the door with other editors. When we secure reviews in "Publishers Weekly" or the "Utne Reader" we always mention this fact in our pitch. You can recycle the article or mention on your website, Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn page, etc., etc. Your blog can be used in the same way. Contact other bloggers to exchange posts, or repost your blog in every social media connection you have developed. Recycling an article not only saves time, it links your name and book to other previous mentions. Your name and book in print is in print, is in print, is in print.

Mari Selby has published two poetry books, "We are All Stars" and "Lightning Strikes Twice" She is a contributing writer to San Francisco Book Review's column, 'After the Manuscript'. Mari is the director of Selby Ink, a publicity and marketing firm. www.selbyink.com Selby ink promotes authors who make a difference, and helps those authors to develop name recognition through traditional and social media. Selby ink specializes in the following genres: body, mind, spirit, relationships, environmental issues, and social justice. You can also find Mari on Facebook and Twitter@selbyink

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6288313

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Monday

Blogging – How to use Trackbacks and Pingbacks Effectively?

Most of you have heard the terms trackbacks and pingbacks. They’re part of the blogging community. But, what exactly are they and how are they used?

Pingbacks and trackbacks have very similar functions, but they use different protocols. Their purpose is to make a referenced website aware that it’s been referenced to by another blog or website, and allow that site to link back. Both the pingback and trackback go to the referenced website’s pending comments, awaiting approval or rejection.

In an article from Traffic Generation, Ana Hoffman discussed these terms and noted that most bloggers use them incorrectly.

How to Use Trackbacks and Pingbacks

To use a pingback or trackback, you basically write a post and within that post you reference a post on another site, obviously one that is pertinent to your post’s topic. You then hyperlink that reference to the other site’s post. You can use keywords, or possibly the site’s title, or the post title to hyperlink. That’s it. 

The key here is to link directly to a permalink on the other site, in other words link to an article, not the homepage.

There are two examples of ‘possible’ pingbacks/trackbacks in action within this article. Both hyperlinks use the websites’ titles. For example I hyperlinked the words Traffic Generation, but I used the post’s URL as the link. So the link goes to the actual post – it doesn’t go to the site’s homepage.

Geeklog.net gives a helpful example also:

Assume you're Peter and just read a post on Mary's blog about her little lamb. Say that post has the URL http://www.example.com/article.php/little-lamb.

Peter now goes and writes a new story, linking to Mary's post. Something like:

I just read that Mary <a href="http://www.example.com/article.php/little-lamb">has a little lamb</a>. Hope she posts some pictures soon!

You can see that Geeklog hyperlinked “has a little lamb.”

Differences between the two protocols Include:

1. With a pingback the referenced site typically only sees a link back to your site, whereas a trackback provides the link, a title, and possibly an excerpt.

2. You can only trackback one link within your post, with a pingback they are all potential pingbacks.

3. Pingbacks are completely automatic, which makes them much easier and quicker.

Which Protocol is Better to Use?

Since both protocols work to bring a linked site’s awareness to your reference, it’s a toss-up. If you want all the links ‘working’ then go with pingbacks. If you’d rather use one specific link with more information the trackback is the way to go.

Another aspect to take into account is the pingback automation. If you don’t want to add more work to your already overbooked marketing efforts, pingbacks is your tool.

Other Noteworthy tidbits:

1. Pingbacks are a function used primarily with WordPress. Blogger does not provide this service, at least not to my knowledge.
2. Hyperlinking doesn’t cause pingbacks on its own. Your website needs to have pingback capability with pingbacks enabled and the site you’re referencing to needs to have the same.
3. A number of sites have mentioned that most pingbacks are spam and shouldn’t be accepted, so be sure to check them.

Hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of these tools and how to use them as part of your online marketing strategy.

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Friday

Book Marketing - The Book Launch


Developing an Effective Book Launch

Guest Post by Sharyn Abbott

You're just about to finish your book. It's going through the final stages of editing and now your focus has shifted to getting your book out into the world. But where do you start? If this is your first book, it might seem a bit frightening, but if you lay out your plan in a timeline, you'll find it's going to be much easier for you to accomplish your goals and the vision you have for your launch. What is your ideal outcome? Most authors plan their book launch to cover at least a week, but a few will continue throughout the first month of the release.

It is important you get your website up and your blog propagated, meaning you should probably start your site as you begin to write your book and begin to market the site to your social media contacts. Your site should be the same name, but not more than three or four words, as your book title. I recommend writing a blog post every day for the first three months to get your site ranked highly and gain the traffic you deserve. Consider offering at least one chapter free on your site to let your audience get a preview of what they can expect as well as including the table of contents. Another great technique to entice your audience to purchase your book is to give away a free related product such as an audio they can download.

If you know of authors who have been successful and ask them what worked for them. I have found most authors are more than willing to share their experiences. I have learned just as much about what didn't work for them as what did work. I approach authors from social media sites, Amazon and other online bookstores.

You can do a soft launch online for an eBook or audio edition or the tradition printed book format. Most authors today will choose to do all three simultaneously even though it takes quite a bit more managing.

If you look at all of the steps you see there is logic to the process, Start with building the website, creating your blog, request book reviews, create marketing, publicity, book trailer and social media.

Book Reviews take the longest and they will go a long way to persuade your fans to purchasing your book. They serve as a vote of confidence in making a good decision. There are many bloggers who will provide a review of your book on their site and their followers are always looking for the next great book! Reviews are how you build your reputation with your potential fans and it will make the difference in how readily they choose to purchase your book.

I found by approaching reviewers who provided reviews for books similar to mine, I get a much better return. While I'm writing my book I will glance through books listed on Amazon to see who reviewed their books. You can also find fairly inexpensive paid resources for book reviews by searching online.

Book trailers are an important component to your book marketing. You can use a high definition flip video in front of your bookcase or even a blank white wall and have a video expert from a site such as Fiverr convert your five minute video background to nearly any background you choose. One of my authors had her book trailer scenery located in downtown New York with the street signs being changed to her book title and she lives in Wisconsin.

You want to cover, what is the problem people might have without your book, what you are going to do to solve the problem and what the viewers might expect after reading your book. Be sure to smile and be engaging. It should be less than five minutes in length.

When it comes to marketing your book it will be fairly straight forward. Think about who your target audience would be. Where will you find your largest target audience in social media environments? You might want to give your book away to those who are influential and have a large following.

You might find bulk sales more to your liking because it takes less effort to sell in volumes than selling the same number of books one at a time. Who would benefit from buying your book in bulk? Is there a particular industry you can identify? You should offer to print their name on the front cover of your book as an enticement.

One of my favorite methods of marketing my books is to create joint ventures with other authors who have the same target audience. I usually contact the authors I find on Amazon and Selfgrowth and ask if they would be interested in setting up a teleseminar or webinar and cross promote each other's books. I have them send out a notice to their database to invite their followers to a free session and half way through we change it up from being the interviewer to the interviewee. When I edit the audio program I'll cut out their interview and post my section on my site as a free download. People love free material, so it is a very effective method of getting fans to return to your site regularly.

Your activity on social media is as important as any other marketing process you might use. You need a fan page on Facebook and you'll want to join groups on LinkedIn where you might find potential buyers. Of course you will want a dedicated Twitter account and to use as many social media sites as you can make the time to use effectively. Set aside a budget to place ads on social media sites and track the results to make sure you are getting results from advertising.

Once the book is printed, the fun begins! You'll want to schedule a launch party or book signing event where you'll invite all of your friends, family, colleagues and even the media. Plan out the event with an agenda and be sure to record portions in five minute segments to include on your site. People love videos! You might event want to start your own YouTube channel to put your videos and spend time marketing your channel to your target audience, but make sure you have links going back to your site.

And if all of this seems overwhelming, don't despair! There are more than enough experts you will be able to hire virtually to take over the areas you are not comfortable with or you can't make the time to do the tasks well. The name of the game is to be everywhere all at once and create a buzz around your book.

Get your free book on how to write your book in 1 hour a day in 4 to 6 weeks. Go to http://www.authortrainingprograms.com by Sharyn Abbott.

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Monday

Email Marketing Tips - Information Needed in Your Welcome Message (make the process stress free)

I recently listened to a number of five minute podcasts from marketing experts. This setup was an ‘ethical bribe’ to sign up to the campaign of the day. But, that’s another story. 

One of the podcasts discussed the effective use of your Welcome or Thank You message when someone opts onto your mailing list. I’ve written on this topic before, on how to optimize your welcome message, but this podcast reminded of a couple of strategies that are well worth passing along.

Make the process easy: Information that should be included in your Thank You message:

The first bit of information, aside from thanking the person for signing up, should be a reminder about what they signed up for. You’d think this wouldn’t be necessary, but people are overwhelmed with all the information they get in their inbox that it’s easy for them to forget why they opted-in in the first place. So, give them a reminder.

I start my Welcome/Thank You message with:

Welcome to The Writing World and thanks so much for subscribing.

Here’s the gift promised. I hope you find it helpful:
Title of Gift
URL to download


This is also the place to let the subscriber know what to do. Does she need to click on a confirmation link to join? You might add: “There’s one more step. Please confirm.” Also, you might explain how to download the gift: “To get your gift, simply click on the URL and download The Title to your computer.

Make everything easy and stress free.

You will also want to let the subscriber know that along with receiving the gift (ethical bribe), he’ll also be getting daily, weekly, monthly, or other scheduled emails with lots of helpful information. Here you’ll want to give a brief description of what he can look forward to. Maybe you’ll be providing writing tips, health tips, fitness tips, information on your books, great offers, or other information. Let him know exactly what to expect.

Another important bit of information to include is to let the subscriber know he can easily unsubscribe to the emails. Email services, such as iContact, provide this content. You can tweak it if you like or leave their wording. This takes the pressure off the subscriber, knowing he can easily unsubscribe reduces anxiety.

One more strategy to reduce anxiety is to let the subscriber know that his email address is safe and secure. Email services provide this content also.

Your Welcome message is a key marketing element. It affords lots of opportunity to make the process easy and make ‘one time only’ offers. Take advantage of all you can do with the opportunities, but remember, the main goal of the Welcome/Thank You message is to do just that, genuinely thank the subscriber for giving you his valuable email address and being a part of your online world.

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More on Online Marketing

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Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’ (What’s a ‘Wannabe’ Author to Do?)

Self-publishing is a ship everyone wants to sail on. And, for good reason. This publishing avenue is quick and cheap.

Self-publishing is fast. There’s no more submitting to a publisher or multiple publishers and waiting for (possibly) months for a response. Will they accept your manuscript that you’ve been working on for months, maybe years? Or, will they send you a generic standard rejection letter? Either way, the time waiting for an acceptance or rejection isn’t fun. With self-publishing, as soon as your manuscript is ready to go, it goes.

There are lots and lots of places to publish an ebook. And, you can publish with more than one service. And, you can sell that ebook right from your own site. That’s pretty convenient.

In addition to being a quick process, ebooks are cheap to create and publish. If you do everything yourself (aside from editing), it will cost nothing. In the event you need help, services like Fiverr have people who will help you for a very, very reasonable price.

But . . .

While it’s obvious to see the benefits to self-publishing, these benefits have one drawback in particular: everyone thinks they can write a book and self-publish it, whether or not they have the skills to write a book and whether or not it’s a quality product.

Part of the problem, possibly the main problem, is the 'I want it now' syndrome that self-publishing lends itself to. New authors don't want to take the longer 'proven' road of learning the craft of writing and having their manuscript edited before publishing.

This ‘problem’ does all authors a disservice. It lessens the validity of self-published books as a whole. Readers (buyers) never know if the book they’re buying was done professionally or if it was carelessly slapped together.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, there are three basic strategies to use when thinking of writing a book and self-publishing:

1. Learn the craft of writing.

The first thing a ‘wannabe’ author needs to do is learn the craft of writing. This isn’t to say you must get a MFA, but you should take writing courses and belong to writing groups.

2. Join a critique group.

The second thing is for the author to join a genre appropriate critique group. Having your manuscript critiqued by others helps with grammar, clarity, storyline, characters . . . you get the idea. Critique groups help you write your book. Those extra eyes will catch things in your manuscript that you glaze over.

3. Hire an editor.

The third thing the author should do, after the manuscript is as ‘good’ as she can get it, is to find a reputable editor and have it edited. It’s easy for an author to think she’s found all the errors in her manuscript, but in actuality, this is almost impossible to do. As the author, you’re much too close to the work to see it fresh and with unbiased eyes.

Self-publishing is an amazing opportunity for authors, but it needs to be done responsibly. Authors need to take the readers and the industry into consideration when venturing into it.

Instead of being one of the “I want it now” authors, be one of the ‘I want it, but am willing to work toward it’ authors.

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Jim is a 10-year veteran newspaper columnist and author whose reputation for writing and promoting ebooks online is legendary! He has written, created, and sold ‘millions of dollars’ in ebooks and info-products online. And, he has helped thousands of authors.

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