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.

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!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Pride and Prejudice Meets the Present

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Logo

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” This is the line that begins the timeless Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. Most literary critics would think of this line as a reflection (or a satire) upon relational values of Jane Austen’s time and place in history, but to the average reader, it sets the premise of the love story it is today known to be. However you read Jane Austen, this year celebrates two hundred years of existence for Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps it’s a truth universally acknowledged now that a lot has changed in society since Austen wrote it. Being so far removed from Austen’s time in this day and age certainly puts a damper on fully understanding this beloved classic, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries brings it all to the twenty-first century.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries portrays the Austen classic in a very contemporary way, and still remains true to the tale. It is a one hundred episode blog series on Youtube that is hosted by the headstrong, independent Lizzie Bennet. In each short episode she unfolds a dramatic scene from Pride and Prejudice with her intelligent best friend, Charlotte Wu; her perfect sister, Jane; their wild-child sister, Lydia; their restless, southern-bell mother and aloof father; the rich and sweet Dr. Bing Li, and many other characters from the novel. Whether you’re a fan of Jane Austen, or you’re trying to understand what’s going on in Pride and Prejudice, it is fun, enjoyable, and easy for anyone to follow. The modern aspect is a big help in understanding the plot and dated references.

Though rich, single men may not always be seeking marriage these days; nor might unusual women be anxious to snatch them up, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries bridges the two century time span to enlighten and entertain students and lovers of classic literature. All the modern aspects of the series, like the web-blogging medium, the colorful characters, and the pop culture craving for drama, are tuned to reflect the classic novel, which makes great entertainment for the literary enthusiast, a wonderful supplement or resource for studying Pride and Prejudice. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries introduces the classic to modern times.

Exclusive Interview With The Cast and Crew of Being Isadora

Some of the people of Being Isadora, a really cool new web series, sat down and did this amazing interview with us. For those of you who are new to Being Isadora, it’s an online show about this girl named Isadora and her life experiences involving her Holga camera. We recommend that you go check out the web series and like them on Facebook because it’s inevitable that Being Isadora is an online hit and you wouldn’t want to be left out of the conversations with all of your friends would you? Good, click here to check it out!

If having a super sweet Lomography camera thrown in the mix isn’t enough to make you fall in love with this web show then perhaps getting to know the amazing cast will get you hooked! Now’s your opportunity to learn more about the show, get some behind the scenes scoop, and learn just what Being Isadora is all about! We won’t keep you much longer, because you have some videos to watch (we understand), but from everyone here at Toast Pop, we would like to thank everyone at Being Isadora for their time and for being so cool!

CLICK TO WATCH THE INTERVIEW!

Tutoring is SmarThinking

 

Tutoring is a smart idea if you’re struggling at a particular subject in school. The personal interaction and guidance of a teacher or more competent student can make study and homework sessions very productive. A tutoring service that’s available anytime and anyplace is SmarThinking. It’s used by many colleges and universities, particularly to provide academic assistance when and where they can’t.  This “virtual teaching assistant” is easy to use and caters to every subject. SmarThinking gives many options for interaction: you can immediately contact a tutor with drop-in tutoring, or schedule to meet one at a later date, or submit a question offline. (They try to answer within 24 hours) You can even get writing help for any subject or a resume and cover letter. The service is prompt and personable, and the program even saves your activity so you can refer to it again later. Having difficulty in a class? Smart students take advantage of tutoring, and its SmarThinking to use a good service online. You might get me as your tutor if you leave an essay! 

How To Make Money In College

Make Cash In CollegeEvery college student has been at the point where they could use a little extra cash at one time or another. The problem that most college students face is figuring out how to make money. Fortunately, there are lots of ways that college students can make money, in person and online. We have gathered some of our favorite and most proven ways to make money as a college student all here in one place, just for you!

First, let’s cover the ways that you can make money in person as a college student, while these methods require a little extra effort on your part, they are often times the most rewarding when it comes time to get paid!

Check With your College or University’s Career Office

Most all colleges and universities have an office or some place on campus or online where students can view open job listings or get in touch with someone who can help them get started with work study or an on campus job. If you live on campus this can be a great way to make some extra cash without having to leave the campus.

Make Use Of Bulletin Boards

Every college has bulletin boards around campus, chances are you find yourself stopping at them frequently to check out what’s new! Use this to your advantage. Post flyers selling old textbooks, dorm appliances, etc. If you offer a service, post it here too! For instance, if you offer tutoring or are looking for a roommate to split the cost of living on or off campus, post those here! Just make sure it complies with your college’s rules about posting stuff around campus.

Tutor

This may not be useful if you are the person needing tutoring, but generally everyone has a subject or two that they are really good at. You don’t have to tutor in every subject, but if you rock at Math, by all means, tutor people in it! Make some extra cash while keeping the gears in your brain going.

Now that we’ve covered a few really cool ways to make money in person on or around campus, let’s get into the odd jobs and internet jobs that are for the student seeking some extra cash who doesn’t want to commit to any strict hours, like with a regular job. The pay is going to be a little less predictable, but these are ways of making cash that we know work!

eBay

Yes, we’re serious. You would be surprised how much your unwanted books, games, and DVD’s are worth. Get creative and do some buying and selling with friends, buy cheap and resell it online for a profit. If this doesn’t sound like your thing, that’s fine, it isn’t everyone’s, but you can make some serious cash if you learn to use eBay to your advantage!

Fiverr

You may or may not know about this website by now, but if you don’t and you’re a college student, you need to! All you need is a PayPal account to get started, that’s it. Basically you post a listing known as a “gig” on Fiverr for what you will do in exchange for $5. Now it doesn’t sound like a lot of cash, but trust us, it adds up fast! You can do anything from read over papers and check for spelling errors, take a picture of yourself holding a fan sign, distribute flyers around town or campus, etc. the possibilities are endless, and there are some super odd things people do for $5 on that website! Now, keep in mind that you only get to keep $4 for every “gig” you sell, Fiverr keeps a dollar from each sale you make. You also have to wait 14 days for each payment to clear, but this allows your amount to add up, so no worries.

Yardsellr

Much like eBay, you can sell things from around the house that you don’t need, and if you choose to have the cash deposited in your bank account there are no fees, nice huh?!

Make YouTube Videos

This may sound a little “out there” for some people, but believe it or not, some people make hundreds of thousands of dollars making YouTube videos every month. Now we’re not saying that you will, but you can make some decent extra cash if you monetize your videos and get an AdSense account. Just keep in mind that you will need to pay taxes on your earnings.

Write A Book

You may think we’re joking, but you can make some really good extra cash if you write a book and publish it to the Kindle or in paperback using CreateSpace. You get a percentage from every sale, and this is something that a lot of college students like to do. Advertise your book on campus, if you have a large campus you may find yourself a local star! Do book signings on campus with your school or a groups permission. It’s a fun and creative way to make some extra cash.

There are a million ways to make money as a college student, you may even want to try a combination of the suggestions we gave. Just do what works best for you, we know it’s tough being a student sometimes, but with perseverance you can find a way to make cash that works great for you!

Get A Student Discover Card & Refer Friends

This is perhaps our favorite way to make cash as a student. Apply for a Student Discover Card by clicking the header. You will get $50 for using our link when you sign up to use same as cash on Amazon.com or for rewards and cool things like that, then each friend that you refer to get a card, you will get $50 more! Discover only gives you like a $1,000 limit to start so don’t worry about going too crazy. It’s also a brilliant way to build up your credit while in college! Use it responsibility and refer friends like crazy! You will be surprised how fast it adds up!

Cute Cats–Cool Gift Ideas for Cat-Lovers

Da Vinci was most certainly right when he said that the smallest feline is a masterpiece! I mean, who wouldn’t stop and stare in googley-eyed awe at the sight of a kitten? Likewise, cats are a popular subject for online entertainment. From YouTube to blogs, nearly everyone everywhere is showcasing or parodizing the cat’s personality and antics in some form or fashion. More popular and successful works have been published, publicized, and franchised—which is convenient if you’re stuck trying to find a gift for someone who adores cats. There are a few cute and cool cats on the internet that I know which also have some of their own merchandise! Their comic craftsmanship and charming nature will make them the gifts you’re looking for to give to that cat-loving friend or family member!

Simon’s Cat—Simon’s Cat is a delightful cartoon phenomenon from YouTube! Hand-drawn frame-by-frame, this feline is aesthetically simplistic, but lives the hilarious and crazy life all cats lead!  Just recently produced for Simon’s Cat are a brand-new cartoon book, an animated short, and even a few iPhone apps!

Pusheen the Cat—Pusheen the cat is a cute, plushy GIF character that lives on Tumblr! In addition to being a blog-able statement, Pusheen is quite a fashion statement too as she is on a number of apparel and accessories.

Gemma Correll—Gemma Correll is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist. Her artistic interests are a wider range beyond just cute pets and her style, especially those of her cat cartoons, is satirical and sketch-like. Her cats can be found on several of her nick-knacks and in her book “A Cat’s Life”.

Naturally, felines are beautiful and graceful creatures. Artistically, they are even more ingenious as a statement on their dispositions is expressed for entertainment! Any feline-fan will appreciate a gift with any of these internet sensations this holiday season! They’re each a masterpiece in their own right, and totally the cat’s meow!

Donna’s Bounty Herbs and Spices

Donna's Bounty Herbs and SpicesIf you love tea as much as we do then you are sure to love Donna’s Bounty Herbs and Spices. They have everything from bagged tea to loose leaf tea in either decaffeinated or regular as far as their tea selection goes. Aside from their suburb teas, they also offer herbs, spices and extracts. One of the great things about this shop is that everything is super fresh because they only make small batches at a time, this means your not ordering something that has been sitting on a shelf for weeks at a time, it’s all fresh!

The natural ingredients in their teas really makes all the difference in the smells and flavors. There really is no comparison in a store bought bag of tea that has been mass manufactured to a hand packaged fresh bag of tea from Donna’s Bounty. The flavors in a single cup of their Donna's Bounty Herbs and Spicestea are robust and bursting with taste. One really cool thing about Donna’s Bounty is that they are a New York State Department of Agriculture inspected and licensed facility and they guarantee that their products will taste fresh, not many independent tea companies can brag about that!

Perhaps a fantastic cup of tea doesn’t interest you. If that is the case then you will be pleased to know that their mulling spices are also superb. Mulling spices are great for adding to juices and ciders, especially for the Fall season! They also offer a very large selection of herbs and spices that you can use to cook with. There really isn’t much that you can’t find at Donna’s Bounty Herbs and Spices. If you like fresh teas and ingredients and high quality products then you should visit them at their Etsy shop online or their online eBay store! For more information on the wide variety of products offered or to place an order outside of Etsy or eBay send them an e-mail at Dhonsing@nycap.rr.com!

ASOS

ASOS WomenAffordable style is not a really common thing. However, ASOS is one store that is changing that. They ship to most anywhere in the world for FREE and offer a variety of vintage and retro inspired clothing. If you are looking for something that will help you stand out, or please your sense of fashion,then they are the place to look. While some of their clothing is a bit pricy, for instance $70 for a T-Shirt with a screen-printed design, they also offer a large selection of their clothing at discounted prices.

There always seems to be some kind of sale going on or a promotional code or two floating around for ASOS customers to enjoy. While shipping is not the fastest that we’ve seen, it is FREE and efficient. Their customer service is suburb and answers questions and offers support around the clock! One thing that we really love about ASOS is that they have a nice selection for both Men and Women, whereas many clothing companies target one gender.

ASOS Men

They offer many methods that you can choose to pay for your order with, personally we love using PayPal, but if that’s not your thing then credit and debit cards are perfectly fine. There is a growing demand for the type of clothing that they offer, and so far no other company does as good of a job of treating their customers great, giving them the best deals, and offering such great prices and of course the FREE shipping is never a bad thing!

Now were not saying that we are in love with everything that they offer, some of their clothing may only be fitting for the more unique and individual, but for the majority they have something for just about everyone. From shoes to sweaters to jewelry and underwear, they literally have it all. The cool thing about ASOS is that they not only sell their brand, but they sell other independent and undiscovered brands as well so that you get the best variety and selection possible. So the next time you want an outfit that helps you stand out or start a new trend, check out ASOS.

SneakPeeq

SneakPeeqWe are all becoming ever familiar with online shops that are member exclusive. Especially those where you can join regardless of who you are, you just have to go through a pesky registration process. Well, one online shop is taking that marketing strategy, but adding in their own little twist. SneakPeeq is a new website where each day you get around 20 or so “peeqs” that let you peek at the price of the item you are interested in. You earn badges and in effect cool deals along the way. Get this, for signing up you get $10 + a free welcome gift that is a nice little ring. Now, I’m a guy, so I felt a little left out with the welcome gift, but I signed up for it anyway to test and see if it was in fact 100% free as a welcome gift, and in fact it was. Already got the ring in the mail, have no use for it, but if I may make one suggestion to them, add a welcome gift that works for guys or girls or an option for something else for guys. Regardless, it is free, even shipping. I also found that when you go to place your first order and use your $10 credit, you can do a quick option to post to Facebook and you will also get free shipping. I got a Bamboo Bottle that cost around $20+ for literally $4 after my credit, free shipping, and a discount for liking their Facebook page. So if you’re looking for some amazing items, on an affordable budget, check out SneakPeeq!