Apr 23

6 Book Marketing Tips Sure to Boost Your Author Online Platform

Book PromotionSo, you’re an author. That’s great. But, just writing books isn’t enough – you’ve got to promote you and your books.

The first step to doing this is to have yearly, monthly, and weekly book marketing goals. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.
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Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan and it will have a number of steps or objectives that must be set in motion and accomplished.

To market your book. You need to generate visibility for you and your platform. Six of the bare basic online marketing strategies to increase you visibility are:

1. Create a presence and platform.

Creating an online author presence and platform is initiated by creating a website. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the domain name, site title, and content should reflect your niche and/or your area of expertise.

Remember, plan first. Choose a domain name and title that will grow with you. As an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is a chapter book or young adult, or other?

As part of your book marketing strategy, you should also create a ‘hub’ site that will act as the center to your offshoot sites, such as the individual sites for each of your books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the hub site’s title, or part of it.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Marketing expert Mike Volpe of Hubspot.com points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works.

Google verifies this ‘simple is better’ strategy and notes that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. In fact, Google gives a ‘poorer’ score to pages that are slow to load.

Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may also cause you to lose potential subscribers and buyers.

TIP: You should have an author website up and running before you start submitting you manuscript to publishers or before you self-publish.

2. Increase visibility.

Writing content, blog posts, for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility – content is definitely still King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back and, just as important, to share your article.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3. Draw traffic to your site with blogging.

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You should also include guest blogging. This will increase your visibility reach.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

TIP: When using social media, choose two or three networks and ‘work’ them. It’s important to be active on the networks you promote your books on.

For more on using social media as part of your book marketing strategy check out:
The Social Media Marketing Smorgasborg

4. Create effective call-to-actions.

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords and phrases to use include:

– Get your Free gift now for subscribing
– Free e-book to offer on your own site
– Buy Now
– Get Access Now
– Get Started Today
– Join for Free
– Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
– Be sure to Bookmark this site
– Become a better writer – tips right to your inbox
– Are you blogging wrong? Find out how to do it right!
– Know what email marketing is? Find out here!

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

You can also check out this article from Hubspot for more ideas on CTAs:
Great Call-to-Action Examples

5. Develop a relationship with your readers.

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offers will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button or other call-to-action you have in place.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

6. Create an ebook for increased visibility and opt-in enticement.

Another strategy is to offer your readers an ebook relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader and help establish your authority.

As an author, you might offer a chapter of your book in ebook format.

So there you have it – six tips that will help you generate visibility and boost your book marketing results.

Articles on writing for children

The Front Matter – Before the Story Text Begins
Building a Writing Career Takes Practice and Focus
The Author Platform – You Definitely Need One and It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

Be a children's writerDon’t have a children’s book yet?

Check out my 180 page ebook that gives you all the basics of WRITING FICTION FOR CHILDREN, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books.

Writing Children's Fiction

Apr 16

Traditional Book Publishing – Contract to Sales to Career

The traditional writing path.You’ve chosen to write books, possibly children’s books, and you’ve done it right. You did your homework and learned the craft of writing. You created a polished manuscript and submitted it to publishers.

And, knowing it’s not necessarily the best writer who gets published, but the one who perseveres, you were steadfast and didn’t let initial rejections and lapse of time prevent you from moving forward.

Now, it’s finally happened – all your hard work paid off. A publisher accepted your book and you’re on your way.

But, this is far from the end of your writing journey . . . this is just the beginning.

After your book is accepted for publication, there are three steps you will go through on your writing journey . . . if you intend to make writing books a career.

1. The Book Contract

Once you get a publishing contract, you may want to sign it as soon as you can.

DON’T DO IT!

Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing it. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. Once you’re sure everything in the contract is okay and you agree with it, sign away.

After you sign a contract, you’ll be ‘put in queue’ and at some point editing with the publisher’s editor will begin. This will most likely involve revisions to your manuscript. This is okay. It’s part of the process.

Keep in mind that the publisher wants your book to succeed as much as you do. Everything they do is to make it better.

After the story is revised, edited, and proofed, it’ll be ready to go. Depending on the genre you’re writing in, if it’s a children’s book, the publisher will have illustrations created. Your book will also need a book cover.

From contract to actual release, the publishing process can take around 18-24 months.

2. Book Promotion

Once you’re in the submission phase of your manuscript, even before you have a contract, you should begin creating an author website and platform. This will help you create visibility for you and your book. And, publishers want to know their authors are capable of promoting their own books.

You need to become a ‘blip’ on the internet radar. To create and maintain this ‘blip,’ you’ll need to post content to your site on a regular basis and use a number of other strategies to extend your promotional reach. This will include using social media.

After your book’s release, you will want to take part in virtual and real book tours, do radio guest spots (online and off), do school visits, and all the other standard book promotion strategies. You can do this on your own or you can hire a book promotion service or publicist, if it’s within your book marketing budget.

There’s much involved in book promotion, so if you can afford it make use of professionals. Just be sure to ask around for recommendations. You want to use a service or individual who knows what they’re doing and who will give you value for your money.

TIP: Book promotion generates book sales.

You can check out these articles for book marketing tips:

Book Marketing – The Foundation
The Author Platform – You Definitely Need One and It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

3. A Writing Career

Now, you’ve got your children’s book and you’re promoting it like crazy (this is an ongoing process). This is super-exciting and the beginning of your writing career.

To have a writing career though, you need to repeat the process. This means you need to write and publish other stories. Ideally, you should have been writing a new story or stories when you were waiting to get a contract for your first manuscript.

If you haven’t been writing new stories, get started now.

Keep in mind though that it’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.

You want to write good books. You want to take your time to make sure you create books that will engage the reader. Books that the reader will want see what happens on the next page.

This will establish you as a good writer.

But, a writing career can also be about more than just book sales. It can open doors and lead to other writing opportunities. These opportunities include: speaking engagements, conducting workshops, teleseminars, webinars, and coaching.

Summing It Up

Writing books, whether children’s books or other, is about learning the craft. And, if you’re taking the traditional publishing route, it’s about submitting to publishers and getting contracts. Then it’s about book marketing and repeating the process.

Keep your focus on your goal and persevere.

Articles on writing for childrenWorking with a Children’s Ghostwriter – The Process
Successful Writing Strategy – Know Your Intent
5 Top Fiction Writing No-Nos

Be a children's writerBeing a writer, like being any kind of artist who creates something from nothing, is an amazing ability. It’s almost like magic. And, you are in control. You decide what to create. The only limit you have is the cap on your imagination.

Check out my 180 page ebook that gives you all the basics of Fiction Writing for Children, finding a publisher or agent, and marketing your books. GET STARTED TODAY!

Writing Children's Fiction

Mar 26

Do Book Back-Covers Really Matter?

Creating your book's back coverBeing an author is no longer just about writing. Now, you have to become savvy about marketing your book.

An important element of book marketing is the back cover. And, making it powerful does really matter.

In fact, aside from the front cover, the back cover is what will motivate the reader to buy your book. Anyone who picks up your book will look at and hopefully read the back cover after looking at the front cover.

A book’s back cover will usually have a brief synopsis (back cover copy) of the book. It can also have an illustration or a picture of the author with the synopsis. Some back covers have a brief bio of the author. Unless you’re well-known, you might want to go with the book’s copy rather than your bio.

You’ll have up to 150 words to fit comfortably on the back cover without it looking crowded. You have to make those words count.

Here are examples of back cover copy on some children’s books:

Chrysanthemum
Picture book

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect, until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

Ivy & Bean – What’s the Big Idea?
Chapter book

It’s Science Fair time at Emerson School and the kids in Ms. Aruba-Tate’s class are supposed to find a way to cool down the earth. Some kids are making litterbug-eating robots. Some kids are hold their breath for a very, very long time. But what should Ivy and Bean do? Something with ropes? Something with explosions? Something with ice cubes? Or maybe something . . . different.

The Talented Clementine
Chapter book

When it comes to tackling third grade, Clementine is at the top of her game–okay, so maybe not all the time. After her teacher announces that the third and fourth graders will be putting on a talent show, Clementine panics. She doesn’t sing or dance or play an instrument. She can’t even hop with finesse. And as if she didn’t feel bad enough, her perfect best friend, Margaret, has so many talents, she has to alphabetize them to keep them straight.
As the night of the big “Talent-palooza” draws closer, Clementine is desperate for an act, any act. But the unexpected talent she demonstrates at the show surprises everyone—most of all herself.

Crispin – The Cross of Lead
Middle grade book

I kept asking myself if I felt different, if I was different. The answer was always yes. I was no longer nothing . . .
How odd, I thought: it had taken my mother’s death, Father Quinel’s murder, and the desire of others to kill me to claim a life of my own.


Back covers can also just have an illustration, no text, but I don’t advise this. You want to motivate the reader to take action with effective copy (a brief synopsis).

Then there are the back covers that have blurbs from influential sources, such as Publisher’s Weekly, the New York Times, and well-known people. If you have these types of blurbs, you’ll definitely want to use them.

Some back covers have reviews of the book from influential people. Some have a combination of elements.

Be Careful

Just be careful of how what you put on your back cover and how you organize it. The back cover is the second most important book marketing tool on the book. The most important is the cover illustration/design. You’d think it’d be the story itself. Ha.

To see more back cover copy and get some ideas, go to the library to see how major publishers create a back cover in your genre.

Articles on writing for children5 Must-Know Tips on Writing a Powerful Thriller (and most other fiction stories)
Characters or Story – Which Comes First?
How Do You Make a Good Story Worthy of Getting Past the Gatekeeper?

Let's talk about your children's writing projectLet me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable book – one you’ll be proud of.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Dec 04

Book Marketing and Landing Pages – 4 Questions to be Answered Quickly

The author website and landing pagesThe internet is teeming with information on everything you can possibly think of. This includes information on your business platform. But, with all this information available, there are still many who aren’t aware of the basics, the dos and don’ts of an online platform.

I recently came across a website on ‘article submissions.’ Finding it on Twitter and being interested, I clicked on the link.

It brought me to a site with articles on unrelated topics. There wasn’t an About page, or any information on what the site was about. And, there wasn’t a Contact or Services page.

This marketer/business owner was leading people back to his site, apparently for the purpose of selling something, but the site was completely ineffective. It was one of the most puzzling sites I’ve ever seen.

So, the question to ask is: If someone lands on your website, by accident, through a search, or through a social link, is it effective? Is it ‘visitor optimized?’

To answer these questions, you first need to know the fundamentals of a business website. And, a business website could be an author’s site, a freelance writing site, a home business site, or a small business site. The basics are the same for all websites that are trying to sell something.

To guide you in the right direction to creating a ‘visitor optimized’ website, let’s go over the very basics.

Online marketing 101 is to create a website that works, a website that converts visitors into clients/customer or a subscriber.

This is the foundation of your online empire. And, an effective website needs to answer these four basic questions:

1. Who are you?
2. What are you offering?
3. Why is what you’re offering worthy of the visitor’s time, money, or email address?
4. Is the path to what you’re offering, the path to the YES, simple? (The YES is the potential customer’s positive action, whether it’s opting into your mailing list or buying what you’re offering, or other call-to-action)

Let’s go over each element:

1. Who You Are

Make sure your website has an About Me page. In addition, your landing page should make it clear who you are. Don’t let the visitor have to hunt you down – don’t let her have to search through your site, just to find some information on you.

Tip: Keep the About Me content conversational, like you’re talking to a friend.

2. What You Have to Offer

Your landing page needs to quickly convey what you have to offer. To do this, you can use an image with content or a video. Video is highly effective – it is proven to increase conversion.

Tip: Keep the ‘key’ information above the fold. This means it must be visible upon landing on the page. The visitor shouldn’t have to scroll down the page to find it.

3. Why What You’re Offering is Worthy of the Visitor’s Time/Money/Email

Let the visitor know the value of what you have to offer. And, if possible, make it seem exclusive. Figure out a way to make the visitor think he can’t get what you’re offering anywhere else.

Tip: The visitor must perceive the value of your offer as higher than its cost.

4. Is the Path to What You’re Offering (the Path to the YES) Simple?

Marketers use the acronym KISS (Keep it Simple Silly) to emphasis the importance of simplicity. Your website should be easy to navigate, focused and clear, have a simple design, and it should have an easy path to saying YES.

Tip: To keep it simple, have only one or two steps to opt-in or to take some other call-to-action.

To further cement the ‘tell it all and tell it quickly’ website strategy, MarketingExperiments.com explains that you have only seven seconds to do what’s needed. That’s the length of time you have to grab the visitor, let him know who you are and what you have to offer.

Ready, set, go!

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)
Had a Children’s Book Ghostwritten? Now What?
Storytelling – Don’t Let the Reader Become Disengaged

WANT TO MAKE YOUR AUTHOR / WRITER WEBSITE OPTIMIZED? OR, DO YOU NEED TO CREATE A WEBSITE?

You’ve got to check out:

Create Your WordPress Website Today
No code, no technical stuff, no fuss

This 5-day e-class through WOW! Women on Writing will show you, step-by-step, how to create your own WordPress Website. There’s video instruction, one-on-one with the instructor, and lots and lots of information and guidance. Create it in ONE day or take the FIVE days!

Simple steps to creating your own website.

Nov 20

Book Marketing – The Foundation

Book marketing starts with a quality productEvery author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if she wants to sell her books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.

The Foundation – Create a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters – it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking.

As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

Here are four articles that will help you in this area:

Being a Writer – Learn the Craft of Writing
10 Rules for Writing Children’s Stories    
Writing for Children – Character Believability and Conflict
How to Write a Story

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story.

Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.

C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book.

Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first.

There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

D. Cover and Design

This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish or use a Print-on-Demand (POD).

The cover (including the back cover) is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp on time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.

Let's talk about your children's writing project
Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Nov 06

Traditional Publishing and the Author Platform – Be Realistic

Traditional Publishing and Book MarketingBest sellers happen to unknown authors. Getting on the New York Times Best Seller list happens. Breakout books happen to new authors.

But . . .

Yes, of course, there’s a ‘but.’ Statistically speaking, about 80% or more of all books don’t succeed.

Every new author needs to enter the publishing arena with open eyes. She needs to be realistic as to what’s required of her and what her chances are.

So, how do you help increase your chances of getting your book to succeed? How do you create a successful writing career, even if you don’t have a breakout book?

3 of the Most Important Tips to Effective Author Platform Building and Book Marketing

Whether you landed a book contract or not (if you’re self-publishing these three tips are just as important, if not more so):

1. You absolutely need an author website. And, it needs to be optimized.

Optimization means having the right domain name, the right website title and subtitle, using keywords, optimizing your blog posts, creating the ‘right’ web pages, using optimized images, and so on.

Another key optimization trick is to keep your website simple: easy to read, easy to navigate, and uncluttered.

If you want to learn how to create an optimized website, or if you already have one but need to optimize it, you should check out this e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:

Create Your WordPress Website Today
No code, no technical stuff, no fuss

You can get your website up and running in one day or take five days. It’s got one-on-one with the instructor and video training.

2. You need an understanding of how to market you book.

According to the February 2013 issue of The Writer, “The slam-dunk team” article explains, “Publishing houses want a business partner, someone who’s going to work hard from the get-go, tirelessly promoting, working connections, and never saying no to an opportunity.”

Do you know how to blog effectively? Do you know about creating a subscriber list and using email marketing for more sales? Do you know how to work social media marketing to increase website traffic, boost authority, and boost sales?

These marketing strategies are all part of an optimized author/writer platform – they’re considered inbound marketing. While it’s all must-know-stuff, it can be easy to do.

There are lots of online opportunities to learn these skills. One super-effective and super-reasonable tool is this 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing:
Give Your Author/Writer Business a Boost with Inbound Marketing

3. Put your website and new found knowledge to work.

It’s true there is much involved in building your platform and book marketing, but once you get the hang of it, it will become second-nature. Think of it like a puzzle. You have to put the pieces together before you get the results you want.

Have an optimized author website; create an Amazon Author Page; get book reviews; blog your way to traffic; use email marketing to promote new releases; and use social media marketing to widen your marketing reach.

Give your publisher what she wants: A book marketing savvy author.

4. This is a bonus tip:

According to just about all expert book marketers, including Chuck Sambuchino and Jane Friedman, you need to have all your marketing strategies in place before you even start submitting to book publishers or literary agents.

So, if you’re writing a book or you’re in the submissions process, be sure to get your author platform and book marketing strategies in place.

Be able to tell a publisher or agent that, YES – you can help market your book.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Writing for Children – 4 Simple Tips
The Outline Method of Writing (Are You an Outliner?)
The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components

Oct 30

The Author Platform – It Should Have Been Started Yesterday

Book Marketing TipsDid you ever hear the expression, “a stitch in time saves nine?”

Whether you’re an author or freelance writer, that’s how you need to think of your writing platform. Get it started first, as the foundation of your business. It’s much more effective than trying to play catch-up.

If you’re an author, your platform needs to be in place before you hit the submissions road (if you’re going the traditional route). And, it certainly needs to be in place before you self-publish.

If you’re a freelance writer, you need to have an effective website and marketing strategies in place before you offer your services online.

To reinforce this thought, let me tell you about my father. He was in construction – he built homes. The first thing that gets done, after the blueprints are drawn, is digging for the foundation. Then the foundation is created. Then the house is built on top of the foundation.

It’s the same when building an online platform. Getting a website is the digging part; the added content and optimization of the website is the foundation of your platform.

Still not sure if the need for an online platform (and website) is essential?

Let’s go over what three heavy-hitters in the book writing world have to say:

1. Jane Friedman, Virginia Quarterly Review online and digital content instructor

In a video interview with Orna Ross of Alliance of Independent Authors, The Business of Money, Writing & Publishing, Friedman said, “having your own website is Step 0 in your book marketing efforts.” (1)

2. Chuck Sambuchino, Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents

In his book, “Create Your Writer Platform,” Sambuchino emphasized, “If you don’t have a proven ability to promote your work and sell books, editors won’t even consider your idea, no matter how clever or timely it may be.”

3. Guy Kawasaki, author of a number of marketing books, including APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book)

In an article at PBS.org, Kawasaki explained, “The bottom line is that authors need to think of their book as a business — one that generates revenues and costs. It’s also one that the world doesn’t owe you success and sales. If you embrace the perspective of an entrepreneur with a new product, you’ll be on the right track to success as a writer.” (2)

There you have it. Three heavy-hitters in the writing and book marketing arena all contend that authors must have an online platform.

If you haven’t started your writing platform yet, get started today. If you have one in place, make sure it’s optimized.

References:

(1) http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2013/12/jane-friedman-talks-book-marketing-with.html
(2) http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/09/guy-kawasakis-6-entrepreneurial-tips-for-authors/

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Successful Writing Strategy – Know Your Intent
10 Tips to Hiring a Children’s Ghostwriter
The Book Summary – Five Must-Know Components

Aug 28

Submitting Queries – Be Specific and Professional

Be specific and professional when submitting queriesAll writers face the dreaded query. Did I put enough information? Did I put too much? Did I have a great hook? Am I submitting to the right publisher or agent?

These are just a few questions that run through a writer’s mind when mailing or clicking the send button for the query. So, how do you answer these questions and the many others that go along with the job of crafting a query?

Well, the first simple response to this question is to READ the publisher’s or agent’s guidelines.
Okay, that’s not accurate-you need to STUDY and FOLLOW those guidelines precisely.

Items to watch for when reading those guidelines:

1. What genre does that particular publishing house, agent, or magazine publish?

2. Does the publisher/agent accept simultaneous submissions?

3. Is there a specific word count involved if querying for articles?

4. Does the publishing house accept unagented queries?

5. Does the magazine only accept specific themes, if so, is your article on target?

This list is not complete, there are obviously more items to watch out for. So, we go back to the main rule for querying: FOLLOW the GUIDELINES!

But, following the guidelines is just part of the querying process; you also need to know some inclusion essentials.

Six rules to use that will help you create a winning query:

1. Be professional. Writing is a business just like any other – it’s important to treat it as such.

2. Be sure to include your contact information: address, telephone number, email address and website.

3. If you were referred by someone, include it in the query. Every little bit helps, but be sure it’s a referral from someone the editor actually knows.

4. Write tight – be specific and jump right in. You want to provide enough information to motivate the editor to want more, but you need to keep it to one page.

5. The first paragraph is explaining that you’ve visited the company’s website and found they are accepting your genre. Or, you might simple state that you are submitting your manuscript for her review.

In this paragraph you can include the genre and the word count. And, it’d be a good idea to mention a published book that it might be similar to.

EXAMPLE:

Dear [Editor’s Name],

I’d like to introduce my 15,000 word fantasy chapter book, WALKING THROUGH WALLS, for your consideration. It is in the flavor of A SINGE SHARD by Linda Sue Park.

6. The second paragraph is the pitch. Within a couple of sentences you need to hook the editor or agent. Give a brief description of the story – just the essentials.

EXAMPLE of a first sentence for this paragraph:

In 16th century China, Wang works in the rice fields with his father, but this is not the life he wants.

In just one sentence, the time period is established along with the setting and conflict.

7. The third paragraph is about you. Again, keep it brief and include your credentials. Limit personal information unless it adds to your credentials as a writer qualified to write for this publisher or agent.

This is also the place you’ll briefly mention your marketing platform.

I had a client, who at the time she was querying agents, had around 45,000 Facebook followers and around 15,000 Instagram followers. She also had a website. These are things that are definitely worth mentioning!

Publishers and agents appreciate when authors already have an author platform up and running. In fact, if a contract is between ‘platformless’ you and another author who is equally qualified, but does have a platform in place, guess who’ll get that contract.

8. The fourth paragraph is your conclusion. Thank the editor/agent for his time and mention if you are enclosing a SASE (self-addressed and stamped envelope) and if the query is a simultaneous submission.

A good way to practice for queries and pitches is to write a one sentence ‘out of the ball park’ description of your manuscript. This will help you to think and write tight and choose the perfect words to hook the reader and convey the essence of your story.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

Self-Publishing: 3 Tips to Help You Avoid the ‘I Want It Now Syndrome’
Writing Rhyme in Children’s Stories
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Submission?

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

A version of this article was originally published by Karen Cioffi at:
http://EzineArticles.com/?id=3836899

Aug 14

The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point

Creating an author websiteAs an instructor of online classes that teach how to create and build an author online presence, of all the lessons, the most popular one, and the one that sparks the most questions, is how to create an effective author website.

While some marketers still lean toward the effectiveness of long copy, especially for sales pages, some heavy hitters like Mike Volpe of Hubspot.com say, simple works best. And, as time passes, this ‘simple’ strategy is gaining more and more ground.

Why is this so?

The answer is time.

Have you landed on pages, especially sales pages that go on, and on, and on? I have and it’s actually kind of annoys me. If it’s a product I’m interested in I’ll scroll down, skimming, looking for highlights and the price in particular.

Have you scrolled down these pages and not been able to find the price?

As crazy as it sounds, there are landing pages out there that you have to click on the BUY button to find out how much the product you’re interested in costs. This takes additional time. And, it makes the potential customers feel like she has to jump through hoops to get the product.

You and everyone else are strapped for time today. We live in a faster and faster and faster world, a world that never sleeps. This causes us to work more and more and at a faster and faster pace.

According to the latest statistics, you have around FIVE seconds to grab a visitor, to convince or motivate him to pause long enough to move past the title and read your first and, hopefully, your second paragraph.

Time matters. Give the reader what she wants up front. And, what does she want?

The visitor to your site wants to know who you are and what you have to offer. Again, give the reader what she wants.

Keep your site simple, easy to read, and with a clear and simple call- to-action. And, if you have a product or service for sale, make the cost visible. Don’t make your landing page a Hide and Seek game. The visitor won’t appreciate it.

Okay, now that that you have the reasons for keeping your site simple and your call-to-action simple, here is one reason marketers may use the Hide and Seek strategy.

There is a marketing philosophy that uses a succession of Yeses to trigger the mind of the potential client or customer. It’s to motivate him, to say YES to the offer. According to pro marketer Clay Collins, this is considered ‘micro commitments’ or the YES ladder. Each time the visitor responds to the request, the conversion possibility increases.

While this might be a useful strategy for high-end products, for lower-end products, like your books or products under $50, this strategy could back-fire, especially with time factored in the equation. It’s not a good thing to make visitors jump through hoops to get the information they need.

So, bottom-line, keep your author website simple and to the point.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

How Do You Build a Successful Writing Career? (3 Tips)
Ingredients for a Perfect Picture Book
Writing a Book – To Traditionally Publish or To Self-Publish

Need Help With Your Story

Let me take a look at it. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and editor. I can turn you story into a publishable and saleable book.

Shoot me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put Children’s Writing Help in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

Aug 07

Book Marketing – Do Not Be Taken to the Website Design Cleaners

Create your own author WordPress website.5 Tips on Creating an Author Website as the First Step in Your Online Marketing Strategy

There is an abundance of website design and hosting services on the internet. You can get services that handle both the design and the hosting, or services that provide one or the other. Whatever your needs, there is a service out there for you.

But . . . consumer beware.

Some design/ hosting website services prey on unsuspecting and naïve authors or individuals and charge to not only create a site, but they keep control of managing the site. The customer is only allowed to add or edit content on the site.

This means the author can’t add links, change images, or tweak the site for SEO optimization, such as page title optimization. I get upset when I hear of occurrences like this. There is no reason why a design and hosting service needs to control website functions and features to the point that an author or individual needs to pay the service to add or delete a simple link.

Authors need to be aware.

This just happened to a client of mine who hired a website design company for her author site. She didn’t realize the company is simply a middle-man for a design company subcontracted to actually do the work. And, there is also a subcontracted content writer to write the webpage copy.

Do you see the costs rising and rising?

If this isn’t bad enough, the process is like the Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first. What’s on second” routine. For even the simplest of changes to the site, it has to go through the middle-man to the subcontractor for anything to get done. And, it can take weeks!

This is just mind-boggling. What a waste of money and time.

What’s an author to do?

There is so much information online advising on the basic dos and don’ts of creating a website, but you do need to do a bit of research to find it. And, there are plenty of legitimate and reasonable services out there. If you’re confused or uncertain, ask around.

Here are 5 starting tips to create an author website:

1. Choose an effective domain name. Think about it carefully. You want a name that will be search engine effective, reflect what the site is about, and is able to grow with you (unless you are creating the site for a specific book, service, or product). You can also use the title and subtitle to elaborate on the domain name.

2. Decide if you have the skills, or want to learn them, to create a website of your own. It can be pretty simple. You can check out Create Your WordPress Website Today (no code, no technical stuff, no fuss). It’s an interactive 5-day eclass through WOW! Women on Writing with lots of hand-holding and video instruction.

3. If you decide you want to hire someone to create the website for you, look for someone:

– Who wants to establish themselves as a website creator
– Who does it in her spare time
– Who has a writing/marketing service and does it more as a courtesy to clients

You will pay much, much less. And, try to make arrangements that will include the designer teach you how to manage your own site. This will make updates, changes, and posting much easier, and cost free.

4. If you feel you can create your own, you can choose a free hosting site, such as WordPress, Weebly, or Blogger. On the flip side, if the thought of having to create a website feels daunting, go for Blogger.com; it’s very user friendly and good for beginners. And with its updates, it has a number of features much like other websites.

Hot Tip: If you’re serious about marketing you, your books, and/or your services, go for a paid-hosting site.

5. Keep in mind that down the road you may want to have a website that can be effectively optimized and that’s more SEO versatile, and one that you actually OWN.

For these reasons, you should have a paid WordPress site from the beginning. The prices range from around $4 to $12 per month – depending on how long you sign up for. And, they have occasional specials where you can sign up for as low as $3.95 per month for a 36 month plan.

I use Bluehost for my sites and love it. I’m also an affiliate for them. You can get your own website and hosting through them too!

These five tips are the starting point for your author website and will hopefully help you from being taken to the website design cleaners.

MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN

What Makes a Good Story? Plot Driven vs. Character Driven
Submitting Your Manuscript – 8 Tips
Book Marketing – You’ve Gotta Have a Blog