FREE Marketing Channels for Authors

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsI strongly believe one of the top failures for new, emerging authors is the marketing techniques they use in promoting their book. Typically, many authors purchase press kits with their publisher to help get their book recognized. Press kits are a good start point, but one should not fully rely on them. When I wrote my first three books, I did not use a press kit. I did “personal marketing.” Personal marketing and know how to do it well causes your book to be globally and locally recognized. I want to share some of the tactics and tools I have personally used in promoting my books. I also had help designing a website from Web Chimpy, they did a great job.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing gives an author the opportunity to convert the manuscript of their book into an e-Book version. If you’re an author that is limited on funds, this is your first source for marketing. Try to sell your book electronically and see how well it goes. If you make good ebook sales, begin transitioning into print copies through Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon Advantage Program

Amazon Advantage Program offers the opportunity for authors to send in print copies of their book to the warehouse. It’s imperative that I state you should make sure you send the exact amount of print copies you requested in your purchase order. When you submit your purchase order, Amazon will give you a shipping label and packaging label to make sure the correct personnel receives your book.

Personal Author Website

No matter what genre of writing you choose to pursue, every author needs a personal website that displays their book and how to go about purchasing it. Preferably, use your name as the web domain. If it’s not available, use the title of your book. Start with a .com domain and then search for available domains, if these options are not available.

Do not overdo your website. My very first website I created had too much information on it. The basic components should consist of an intro/welcome to your site, the author’s bio (keep it brief), the marketing outlets that have your book(s) available for purchase, and a way readers and visitors can contact you for more information. It’s imperative to have an email address correspondent to your website. For instance, my email is carl@carlmckever.com. If you feel your works will be huge, it’s wise to set up separate email addresses for each entity. Entities could be copyrights, book purchases, book reviews, ratings, interviews, endorsement letters, and author appearances (bookings).

Google SEO/ Google Analytics

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I didn’t take advantage of Google Analytics or SEO until I wrote my fourth book. This software, patented by Google, shows you the location of the visitors on your website. You can get hit counts, web statistics, and pull up reports for your website. SEO is setup in your website within your metatags, to help Google easily locate your website. When someone searches your name on Google, your website should be the first link to show up.

Google Authorship

After your author website is established and you have SEO generated in the background, you can enroll into Google Authorship. This tool simply verifies your rights as an author and places your name to the right when someone searches for you. In order to use this, you have to embed code, from Google, into a website that includes your name as an author. You can even do this for newspaper articles, blogs, and journal entries.

FREE Marketing Channels for AuthorsNOOK Press

NOOK Press is an online self-publishing tool created by Barnes & Noble. The online software allows you to upload your manuscript and book cover, and then sell it as an email on a NOOK device. Barnes & Noble is just as reputable as Amazon and I encourage every author to use both platforms. I see many authors on Kindle and not on NOOK; as if NOOK is phasing away.

Amazon Author Central

Amazon Author Central is a platform that allows authors to create a profile and claim their books already being sold on Amazon. With Amazon Central, you can set up your upcoming events, embed an RSS feed or blog, upload pictures of yourself, and display videos about you and/or your book(s).

Amazon AudioBook Exchange (ACX)

Audiobooks are becoming a new thing in today’s publishing era. Once your books are available for sale on either Kindle or print, you can get an auditor to record your book. Royalties and contracts are setup and those that cannot read or see your book, can listen to your book through Audible.

Goodreads

When I first joined Goodreads, I freaked out because I didn’t understand why I could not create an author page. Before establishing an author page, you must recommend, read, and rate so many books. You begin by searching for your book. If Goodreads does not pull up anything, a button will appear that says “manually add my book(s)”. As I began to get ratings and reviews on my book, I added friends and joined different communities. This opened up my understanding and I began setting up critique groups, writing blog posts, include my works of writing, and uploading pictures.

One great feature, as a Goodreads author, I encourage is book giveaways. Setting up quizzes and trivia on your book sounds great, but to gain exposure you have to give away something for free. Even if you give away 1 copy, you can gain a lot of readers. When I did my first book giveaway, I only gave away 1 free copy of my book. The amount of contestants I had was 992 at the closeout. Take advantage of the giveaways.

LibraryThing

LibraryThing is a cataloging platform where librarians catalog books in their library and books of interest. You can still create an author page, upload photo(s), and contribute to the Common Knowledge placed on your books. Your readings and events can be added on LibraryThing and to find people of similar interest, you can join the Hobnob with Authors group.

Twitter/FaceBook/GooglePlus

All three of these social media platforms are free. If you have written multiple works, I suggest only creating one author page and displaying all of your works there. If you are concerned with privacy, block unwanted users and set your profile to private. Keep in mind that a private profile is harder to find than a public one.

Distraction-Free Writing: How to Handle Distractions

Distraction-Free Writing- How to Handle DistractionsI’m making it a habit to write daily; that is, whatever comes to mind. A person can write for years and become good at it. Yet, they suffer with distractions. Writers are not exempt from distractions. Every writer has a personal life outside of writing and they too, have to deal with this. It agitates me madly when I’m trying to write down my thoughts and a train passes by my place of stay. My neighbors, sometimes, family will play loud music or constantly knock on my door. Better yet, the phone seems to never stop ringing. No one is calling about something important and you think, “Couldn’t this wait until a later time?” Writing in a world filled with distractions is very difficult. It takes a lot of skill and technique to get beyond it. Today, I want to share some techniques with you that I think could help you as a writer, author, novelist, poet, lyricist, or whatever form of writing you enjoy doing.

My first tip is staying focused. Writing is considered a goal. There’s an end and a finish to it. You pick up your pen or pencil, apply it to paper, and then let your thoughts ride. The minute I notice a distraction, I speak to my inner self and remind myself to keep going. You can’t quit till you cross the finish line and feel satisfied with your writing piece.

The second tip I have to offer is taking a break. What! Are you sure? Yes, I am sure. You have to give your brain and thought process a break after a certain amount of hours. My rule of thumb is every four hours. During your break, leave your current setting and find a new atmosphere. Find a spot that’s calm and relaxing, such as a park. Remember to bring a notebook and something to write with. Don’t make it an intention to write because this is a break, remember? I am asking you to bring a notebook because you can run into something that intrigues you. I call this the test of the wills. Thoughts come and go, and you cannot expect your brain to remember the ones coming at you rapidly.

Distraction-Free Writing- How to Handle DistractionsThe third tip is finding the perfect timeframe. This is very difficult, though it sounds easy. Some writers have to write late at night when everyone in the house is sleep and all personal errands are done for the day. Other writers prefer to write in wee morning hours before any chaos hits the day. I have even seen some writers write in the middle of the day, during their lunch breaks from work, and at certain times designated for writing.

I want you all to succeed in your writing. The very last tip I have to offer is grabbing a cup of coffee or tea. Drinking something hot stimulates the mind and pushes you to continue writing down your thoughts when distractions are near. Please do not flatter yourself into thinking that you will not have to deal with distractions when you write. Distractions come in many forms; down to the sound of forceful wind. It’s how you handle them and how well you use emotional intelligence to balance your attitude about the distractions.

Good luck and promote “distraction-free writing” wherever you go!

 

How to Write a Book Review

How to Write a Book ReviewBeing a book reviewer for the last two weeks and having many of my books reviewed by others, I tend to see a lot of commonality in reviews. Mistakes, gestures, and things that are just inappropriate for a book review. It is one thing to tell someone that their book is great and others should read it. It’s practically a cliché at this point. Reviewers have to make prospective readers thirsty and energized in interest to the point where they want to purchase the book. Book reviews have the same flavor and sensitivity as a sales pitch.

How do I write a book review? Where do I start? How long should it be? Common questions with various answers! I only speak, in this blog post, from personal experiences as a book reviewer. When you begin writing a book review, start off thanking the author for their publication. You can include if you won the book through a giveaway, but know that this is a necessary evil. After being complimentary, start addressing the overall design of the book. What feeling did you get when you looked at the front cover? Does the title give off the main idea? Are the designs on the front and back covers an act of symbolism? Does the small wording on the back cover heighten your interest to open the book? These are the things prospective readers want to know.

The next portion of your book review should address the grammar and punctuation. Yes, something not often placed in reviews. It’s imperative that you get someone else to check your grammar and punctuation. Go through an editor or agent, if you have to. You’ve read the book. So, did you have to stop and almost stutter because the fragments were not revised properly in the sentences? Did the author wean off topic for a long time without reeling you back into his/her main purpose? Prospective readers and book reviewers look for the author’s purpose, focus, and moral in every story. At this point, you can begin considering the format and layout of the book. Was the table of contents outlined correctly? Were page numbers included? Was the book entirely too long with unnecessary information in chapters? Was the font and alignment of each page hard to conceptualize? Think about this when writing your book review.

How to Write a Book ReviewThese pieces to a book review are great, but the most crucial and last component of the book review should be recommendations. Make the sales pitch! State the type of audience who should be reading the book and address any internal/external feelings they may run into. Is the book full of adventure and suspense? Is it religious? Are profane words and derogatory remarks made in the book? Why is this so important? The prospective reader wants to know if they’re the right audience! For instance, I’m a poet and when I read reviews for poetry books, I want to know if the books are centered on the same themes I write about and read about. If I was a counselor and the book is full of adventure, but doesn’t hold a dramatic event requiring counseling for someone, this may not be the book for me. Make your recommendations and state why such audiences are the right candidates.

In closing, have fun with your book reviews! Don’t make it into an assignment or required duty. Don’t treat it as some book report or an exhausting activity one does when they finish a book. Write your review while you’re in a happy mode and when you think and concentrate about the interesting pieces of the book. Even if the book is terrible, don’t come right out and say, “this is the worse book to buy.” Mention the author’s weaknesses and give suggestions on how they could become strengths. Don’t tear down your author publicly, but address horrible matters through private communications.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing some of your book reviews out there!

Writer’s Block: Re-fuel Your Passion!

Writer’s Block: Re-fuel Your Passion!Writers write in different stages and with different moods. Sometimes, we have a gratifying, uncontrollable passion that keeps us up in the late nights and wee hours of the morning. You could look at our hands and see calluses on the back upper portion of our fingers. Our eyes look weary from staring at a monitor or a notepad for countless hours. The cups of coffee and slices of pie diminish; being used to invigorate the creative passion that lies trapped inside of us. This is the good mood, the good times as a writer.

Unfortunately, writers run into a stagnant mood called writer’s block. Writer’s block, to me, is the inability to think and the loss of passion in writing. It’s impossible for a writer to say their passion for writing is high while they face the excruciating battle of writer’s block. So, how does one refuel their passion? How long does this phase last? What caused writer’s block, anyways? These are questions I am willing to ask based off of pure experience.

The biggest cause of writer’s block is becoming dissatisfied with your own work. Time progresses, writings increase, but the satisfaction of the things we write about doesn’t increase. Each writing piece should give us a fresh dosage of satisfaction and encouragement. Another cause is running out of things to write about. Let me tell you … I run into this one a lot. To conquer this, change your atmospheric surroundings. Walk somewhere new, travel, carry a notebook in places you haven’t before, Internet research the latest poetry trends with poetry associations, and network with other poets who write for the same cause as you. Two is better than one! Change the time of day that you write. If you have been writing late at night, start trying it in the morning before the day gets busy. Personally, I love writing as soon as I arise from bed; when my thoughts are freshly anew and I’m not tired or weighed down from life’s burdens.

A person facing writer’s block remains in this phase until they realize they don’t have to. I learned this the hard way; waiting for others to pat me on the back and pump me up. You have to encourage yourself as a writer and write for others while building your very own self up. Rejection is another reason that leads writers into writer’s block. I do understand how one feels that writes constantly and is not recognized nor appreciated for any of their writings. Yes, it’s a terrible feeling. Yet, when this feeling comes, you have to ask yourself, “Why do I write? Who am I writing for? Is writing to heal and/or motivate me? Is writing all about others?” These questions will help you reinvent your passion and reasoning for becoming a writer. To conclude, overlook your past failures and rejections. It’s a new season, it’s a new day, and it’s a new you; waiting to write away!

Exclusive Interview With Author Ned Vizzini

Ned Vizzini has a talent for capturing the emotions and feelings of what it’s like to be a teenager. With his new novel co-written with Chris Columbus he promises yet another exciting and youthful story. The book House of Secrets has already received some great words of approval from J.K. Rowling and Vizzini’s fans are waiting with anticipation for the release date of April 23, 2013.

Check out this exclusive interview with author Ned Vizzini about his all new book and don’t forget to head on over to Amazon or your favorite online or in-store retailer to pre-order a copy!

CLICK TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW!

Field Notes

Field Notes County Fair EditionsPhotographers, artist, students, professionals, what do all of these people have in common? They could always use a reliable notebook to help them do what they do best. Field Notes is in the business of making high quality notebooks that can be used by anyone and everyone. These simple notebooks come in a variety of options and aren’t full of unnecessary features, they are literally just notebooks that are portable, easy to use, and designed to look great.

Field Notes are even manufactured and printed in the United States, how cool is that? To show national pride they even have a series of notebooks called County Fair where a notebook has been designed for each of the fifty states. That’s right, no state was forgotten! This particular edition features state facts on the back cover and the same great quality paper on the inside.

Don’t waste time with cheap notebooks from your local “everything store”. Get something that will last and something that will become a permanent staple in your everyday life. Who can’t use a great notebook? “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.”

GetGlue

Do you watch a lot of television? How about movies? Hmm, well do you read books, listen to music, or talk about cool topics? You obviously do something! One website is in the business of rewarding you for everything you do, literally! It’s quite simple to understand their concept. You sign up for an account on the website named GetGlue, check-in when you do something such as watch a television show, and then you get rewarded with awesome stickers that not only show up on your account but you can have sent to you in the mail for FREE once you reach 20 stickers, and trust us, it doesn’t take long.

For every 20 stickers you earn you can request them to be sent to you and they will arrive in about 4-6 weeks, sometimes earlier. They have GetGlue apps for pretty much every device you can imagine, so it’s easy to check-in throughout your day! Oh, and if you are at a loss on how to get stickers, just click their Sticker tab and it shows you all of the current ways to get stickers. It’s never been easier to have fun doing the things you love to do and already do while getting rewarded in an awesome way! Don’t worry about these being bad quality either, we have already done this a few times and the stickers look great, just as clear as the ones you earn on the website! Simply go to GetGlue.com and let the sticker collecting begin!