Apr 17

Sell Your Books Face-to-Face

Contributed by Linda Wilson

Pre-pandemic, I was gearing up to arrange a book signing, school visits, and gather materials to sell my books in a booth at local events. At the same time, I was working on creating a viable platform that would introduce the world to MOI.

All that changed, of course, but we indie authors are forever optimists. I’m glad I had to wait. Now, another year smarter, I’ve come up with a much better plan than I ever could have had a year ago, one that I think will be attractive enough to interest local librarians, teachers and parents, and online readers.

Find your Platform: Explore your Deepest Desire

If you need to create a plan and an author platform on how to present yourself as a tour-de-force author, here is an idea. Explore what you’ve done in the past, what you’re doing now, or a skill you’d like to develop; use it as your focus and expand on it.

My focus has turned out to be puppets—a project I pursued when my two daughters were very young, under five years old. My idea at the time stemmed from my elementary-teaching background. I wanted to enhance my children’s creativity. That, and being involved in my children’s lives, worked. My daughters, now in their 30s, are both very creative.

The reason this idea of focusing on puppets hadn’t occurred to me until now is because my first book project was a mystery/ghost series for 7-10-year-olds. Puppets never occurred to me as perhaps in the back of my mind I must have thought that children that age wouldn't be interested in puppets. Rather, I devised a way to present myself in the classroom and at libraries by doing a science experiment, which would illuminate part of the Secret in the Stars story. The ghost in the story appears to Abi Wunder in a cloud. I would create a cloud. I thought of other types of presentations I could come up with, such as a presentation about honey bees, which is a prominent subject in the story. However, I didn’t have much confidence that these ideas would be attractive enough for me to be invited into schools and libraries.

Enter the realization that the one project, the Abi Wunder mystery trilogy, needed more. More book projects. I looked through my files one day and found several stories suitable for possible picture books. Two of these stories have now turned into completed picture books, currently being illustrated, and planned to be published sometime this year.

Expanding into picture books turned out to be key. I have collected the puppet plays and materials I saved from those past puppet presentations, and am creating a plan to write puppet plays from my picture book stories, create the puppets and materials (without a stage, rather the plan is to keep the presentations simple), and make a short list of the first places I would present these puppet plays, with the hope that requests for more presentations would follow. Of course, the Abi Wunder series would become an integral part of these presentations, both in person and online.

Selling Books Face-to-Face, by RJ Mirabal

RJ Mirabal, an adult and children’s author, and member of our SCBWI chapter in New Mexico, gave a terrific presentation on the ins-and-outs of selling our books locally.

After publishing an adult fantasy trilogy, the Rio Grande Parallax Series, a finalist in the NM/AZ Book Awards, in the science fiction category, RJ burst onto the children’s literature scene with the award-winning first book in a series for children, Trixie Finds her People, a story based on his rescue dog. One of five finalists in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards, an international contest honoring independent and self-published books, Trixie Finds her People won first place in the Animal/Pets category; and the book was also a finalist in the New Mexico Press Women’s Writing awards, a regional contest. The next Trixie book will be coming out sometime this year.

RJ’s new children’s series, Dragon Train, is about a dragon who makes an unscheduled stop in a small village because this dragon towing a train is dying of exhaustion. A curious young farmer runs down to the tracks to help her, which sets the young man and dragon on an epic adventure to gain freedom and happiness.  

Open up for Business in your State 

To open for business in your state, there are certain things you need to do. Here are a few examples from RJ’s presentation:

    -Register your business with the state; you will have to pay gross receipts tax for your sales.
    -You may need to register in your town or city, which might require a business license. RJ registered in Albuquerque, NM. Cost: $35.
    -Register your business as a sole proprietorship; you don’t need to register as an LLC.
    -Report your income on personal tax forms.
    -Create a name for your business. RJ's is RJM Creative Arts.
    -Obtain a PO box, a good idea to use as your professional address.

Create your Display:

    -Purchase a portable table and tablecloth to match the mood of your books.
    -Decide how you want to display your books, author swag, a bowl of candy, etc.
    -Have a full-color poster (11 X 17 is an economical size that can be printed at Staples) made to use as a table display.
    -Have a banner made, a long sheet of plasticized paper, to match the banner on your website.
    -Have pictures from yours books, characters, book covers made to display.

RJ has graciously agreed to provide a PDF from his presentation for anyone interested. You can contact him at rjmcreativearts@gmail.com. Learn more about RJ’s children’s books: https://rjthestoryguy.com.

Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 
Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.  
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Apr 10

Sensitivity Readers – Are They Now a Necessity?

I read an interesting article by Anne R. Allen about whether authors now need sensitivity readers. 

A sensitivity reader will go over your manuscript to find anything that might be considered offensive to someone. 

It could be a word, phrase, representation, or other.

You would usually hire someone who can knows the subject matter and can easily depict the nuances of the particular culture you’re writing about, or the character. The sensitivity reader should also know what’s appropriate and what’s not.

The reason for this type of reader is to make sure characters, scenes, and situations are accurately represented. 
An article at Reedsy explains that “characters must be represented accurately without perpetuating stereotypes. This kind of reader helps by pointing out unintentionally insensitive or incorrect portrayals of race, sexuality, religion, and physical disabilities.”
Along with this, they should be able to check for language. From the article at Anne R. Allen, I learned the word “duh” is racial. 

You wouldn’t want to unintentionally write something that’s in anyway offensive, so a sensitivity reader may be a necessity in today’s sizzling sensitivity environment.

This in essence is a good thing; no one wants to unintentionally hurt any one or a group of people. 

But with today’s angry social media mobs (small in size but highly agitated, ready to attack, and apparently powerful), even the slightest perceived offense that may or may not actually be offensive, it’s also a dangerous thing.

And, what’s worse, as noted in Anne’s article and comments, most of the viral posts are soared into that viral momentum by people who blindly ‘share’ the posts. They don’t take the time to actually read the original ‘possibly’ offensive content that would allow them to make an educated and responsible decision as to whether to share the post or not. It seems Twitter is notorious for this.

But I’m getting sidetracked. The point of this article is that while sensitivity readers are important, they can take it too far and pick your story apart to the point where it’s no longer your story.

Walking Through Walls, based on an ancient Chinese tale, was published in 2012. I fear that if it were published now, it would be torn apart.

While I did tons of research and the original ancient tale was given to me by a Chinese author, I’m not Chinese. 

Right there, I would have a strike against me. 

Next, the main character is a Chinese boy who through most of the story is self-serving, scheming, and selfish. If I had a sensitivity reader go over it, would they have told me I’m somehow stereotyping, even though his culture is not known for this?
 

I’m sure someone, somewhere would have thought this.

Would they have picked at the lack of contractions in the dialogue?

Or, with my Planetman picture book series, might they (the social media bullies) slam the books because I don’t have any girls in it. Or might they find fault because the three superheroes are white? Or maybe a word or phrase might trigger someone’s anger? 

While deliberately offending or hurting someone is despicable, and obviously should not be tolerated, it now seems there are ‘invisible’ lurkers on social media who will find just about anything offensive. And their opinions and viral postings can ruin books, careers, and so on.

These invisible lurkers work hard to cause any trouble they can.

Where does it end?

You should read the article and comments at Anne R. Allen:
https://annerallen.com/2022/03/need-a-sensitivity-reader/ 
Writing Help
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. Let me help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

You can send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com to discuss your project. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700.

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!
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Apr 03

Two Ways to Format Your Manuscript

Contributed by Linda Wilson

Properly formatting my MG mystery book loomed in the background during editing. The reckoning day arrived. Thanks to children's author Margot Finke I knew who to call upon: the formatting service at Golden Box Books Publishing Services. Margot sang the praises of Golden Box author Erika M. Szabo, who did the formatting for her young teen fantasy, Daisy and Bartholomew Q. She said, "I couldn't be happier with the results. [Erika] also educated me in the ways of correct formatting." Among Erika's many talents: a multi-genre author, Publishing Coach and illustrator.

I fully intended to contact Erika to help me with my formatting needs but decided to Google the subject: "How to format a fiction book," to see what would happen. I clicked on a tutorial by Jill Williamson, an author for adults, teens, kids, and some for the whole family, which she uploaded onto YouTube. I decided to try it.

By splitting my screen with Jill's tutorial and my ms, I went through the steps she explained by pausing, executing, pausing. It took several views to fully understand how to do it all. The biggest glitch was doing the page numbering right, which Jill warned is tricky. 

At the end of the video, she invited viewers to visit her website for a more in-depth description. I found the information under, "for writers: jill's writing and publishing tutorials," and after some trial and error, solved the problem. I am proud of how my ms looks now and feel confident it is correct.

It's been an inspiration to discover both of these terrific authors and their websites, chock full of helpful information for writers.

Check out Jill Williamson's video, "How to Format a Fiction Manuscript," on YouTube, and  Jill's website. You'll be glad you did.

I will call on both of these resources again. The information offered is far-reaching and relevant in today's market. You will find many areas of expertise. My challenge to you? Go for it!
Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit Linda at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com. Sign up for Linda’s quarterly giveaways. Choose your prize! 

Find Linda’s books at https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.

This was originally published at: 
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/01/two-ways-to-format-your-manuscript_28.html
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach, and can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

You can send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com to discuss your project. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Let’s get your story in publishable and marketable shape today!
MORE ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN
When Is It Time to Let Your Manuscript Fly?

The Hardest Part of Writing is Actually Starting

Revisions and Editing – Do a Verb and Word Check
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Mar 27

7 Steps to Creating a Successful Writing Career

No matter what business or career you’re entering, it starts with a plan.

That plan should include the steps you’ll need to take to get it started, give it momentum, and make it successful.

Now, you may think that you’re not a business owner, you’re simply an author. But if you are selling books, you have a business, even if just a simple sole proprietorship.

So, let’s go over some steps you should take.

1. You need to decide on a genre.

If you already have a genre in mind, you’re ahead of the game.

If you don’t, think about it. You must be drawn to one genre or another. Think about what you read, and what type of people (market) you’d like to write for.

Choose one.

Stick to this one genre… at least for now.

2. Do it right and learn the craft of writing.

While some people think they can write, if you haven’t made any effort to learn how to write, you don’t know how.

Just because self-publishing has allowed anyone to publish a book, that doesn’t mean that’s the way to go.

You should want to be proud of any work you produce. Your book should convey that you know what you’re doing.

Learning the writing ropes is especially true if you want to write for children.

Not only are there genres within genres, there’s an additional set of skills or knowledge needed to write for children.

3. Butt in seat and write.

At this point, you know what genre you want to write in, and you’ve put effort, time, and money (if necessary) into learning how to write.

Now, it’s time to write your book.

There’s a lot of information online about how to go about doing this. Simple get your thoughts into a document or on the paper.

Some authors create outlines of their story before starting into the draft. 

An outline can be helpful. It’s like a GPS from beginning to end. You know what direction you’re heading.

Other authors are pantsers.

These writers go with the flow. They let the story and characters unfold as they go along.

I lean toward being a pantser, especially with picture book, and even chapter books. But with longer stories, like middle grade, I slow the pace and create an outline. 

With longer stories, it’s more difficult to keep track of everything. Having an outline gives guidance. You have a map of where you’re going. While you can deviate from it somewhat, you know where and how to go back.

4. Butt in seat 2–the magazine arena.

If you’re going into the magazine arena, you’ll still need to begin by writing an article.

You’ll first need to do lots of research to see which magazines you’d be interested in writing for. And you’ll need to study their guidelines carefully. 

You’ll also need to research back issues to make sure you don’t query a topic they’ve already done. This research will also give you a feel for what type of stories the magazine wants and how they’re written.

Once you have your direction, start writing.

5. Submit, submit, submit.

If you’re writing books and decided to submit to traditional publishers and/or literary agents, you’ll need to have a polished manuscript. Then you’ll need to write a query letter.

Once that’s done, research publishers and agents who are in the genre you’re writing. Find as many matches as you can, then find out who to address the query to.

Then submit, submit, submit. 

Just be sure the publisher or agent accepts simultaneous submissions.

If you’re submitting articles, it’s a little different. You’ll be writing for a specific magazine, so you’ll be querying one magazine at a time. But this doesn’t mean you can’t query multiple articles.

6. If you’re self-publishing books.

In this case, instead of submitting to publishers or agents, you’ll be getting your books formatted and published.

It’s important to take the same steps as the traditional road. You want your books to be professional. Learning how to write first is critical.

7. Repeat to create a successful writing career.

A one-shot book or article isn’t a career. Whether you write books or articles, or both, keep on writing and submitting. 

8. Promote your book.

This is a bonus step.

Even if you’ve written a professional and engaging book, if you don’t promote it, you won’t sell it.

This also goes for traditionally published books, especially if you’re with a small publisher.

It’s essential to promote your book. Make it visible through blogging, social media, in-person events, and so on.

A subscriber to my email list contacted me that she was selling well at in-person events in her country but had no sales in the U.S.

The lack of U.S. sales is because she didn’t have a website, and she didn’t use social media to broaden her book marketing reach.

While in-person is an effective way to sell books, it has a very limited marketing reach. The internet, on the other hand, has a worldwide reach.

I hope these 8 tips help you to reach a successful writing career.
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
Mar 19

6 Writing Mistakes to Avoid

As a children's ghostwriter, I get a lot of drafts from new authors who want to be the author of their own children's book. Unfortunately, most of them are poorly written.

It's easy to see that they didn't put any effort into learning the basics of writing.

What's sadder is that many self-published authors don't even think of having a professional writer look at their work before publishing.

If you’re writing a book, I strongly recommend that you put effort, time, and even money (if necessary) into learning how to write.

To help you on your writing journey, here are six writing mistakes you should avoid.
1. You’ve never studied how to write, but think you can do it.

It’s true there is a lot of information online that can give you writing instruction and advice, and it may help you. But you’ve actually got to study it. 

I read an article equating building a chair to doing anything else correctly, like writing. The chair has four legs, a seat, and a back. How hard could it be to build one, right? But would you risk sitting on it if you don’t know what you’re doing? I wouldn’t.

You don’t know what you’re doing wrong until you know what you’re doing!

If you’re starting out, it’d be advisable to hire an editor or even a coach.

Don’t publish a poorly written book.
2. You’ll get to it when you get to it.

If you genuinely want to write a book, you will need to do the work.

This means you should write every day, or at least have a set number of hours per week to write. Or you might have a weekly word count quota.

If you don’t commit to writing, life will quickly take over and make it nonessential.

Stay focused and committed.

3. Your first draft is good to go.

It’s important to get your story down, but the first draft shouldn’t be published.

Think of your first draft as a starting point. You’ll never know how good the manuscript can be until you keep working on it. 

In the article “The First Draft”, copywriter Demian Farnworth notes, “You’ll make your copy adequate in the first rewrite. Good in the second. Great in the third and fourth. More likely in the fifth and sixth. And beyond.”

This pertains to the fiction and nonfiction writer also. Never assume your first draft is the end-all.
4. You can go from your first draft to your final draft and directly to publishing with no pauses in between.

This isn’t a good idea.

Your brain needs time away from the story before it can see it differently.

Mistakes you glanced over before will become visible when you take a couple of weeks away from the manuscript.

The reason it’s essential to take your tie is because when you’re working on a project, your brain knows what you intended to write, so it will see that instead of what you may have actually written.

I’ve caught many mistakes by giving my brain a breather from a manuscript.

If you absolutely don’t have the time to give your manuscript a couple of weeks, give it at least one week.

5. You don’t need a second pair of eyes before publishing.

You’ve done it right and finished your manuscript. You’re ready to publish.

But, hold on.

Even seasoned writers need another pair of eyes to go over their manuscript before submitting or self-publishing.

It goes back to your brain. It knows what it knows. It sees what it expects to see. 

Just as a safety net, it’s a good idea to hire an editor to go over your manuscript. At the very least, think about hiring a proofreader.

Any work you put out there reflects on you; make it shine. 

6. You don’t need to be on top of marketing your book.

If you wrote your book for you and your family, you’re safe. You don’t need to promote your book.

But, if you want to sell your book, marketing that book is a must.

According to Zippia.com, “Including self-published and commercially published, over 4 million new books were published in 2019.” 

And this just pertains to the US book industry. 

Keep in mind that each year that number increases.

Your one book will easily get lost in a sea of books published daily basis.

Book marketing is a must.
Need help with your story?
I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can help turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

Contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834---347---6700

Or, if you’d rather do-it-yourself, check out my book, How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.
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Mar 06

Words Can Influence Your Writing Career

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Did you know that habits increase our chance at success--or not?

Habits are influenced by thought patterns which are in turn influenced by the seeds of our subconscious. Those seeds are words. So reaching for success by changing how we think about words as they relate to our progress in life are often espoused by leaders like psychologists and business leaders like Elle Kaplan, CEO and founder of Lexion Capital, an investment management firm.
 
To use our talents more effectively we want habits that nurture our better selves. We want our best habits to dominate our world view, but we can also turn habits we consider destructive into positives. We can do that with the power of words; we substitute words that influence us negatively for those that move us forward. It occurs to me that the process may be easier for writers who already aware of and accept the power of words in our lives. We can make a few words (and habits!) that work against us into words (and habits) that work for us—both consciously and subconsciously.
 
Defensiveness can become curiosity. Curiosity nurtures new ideas, new successes. Curiosity helps in our endeavors to observe details more creatively. Generally speaking, writers have already honed that skill. But curious people also listen more acutely. The asking of questions and the listening to answers are important skills for authors who do public speaking or teaching. Asking questions can get you out of a whole lot of hot water. You may even discover that you have common ground with a heckler!
 
Envy or jealousy are similar to admiration. When we use the “a” word—admire—instead of letting the little green monster take control of our thought patterns, we begin to see how we easy it is to emulate what we admire. That simple change is a positive pattern for growth.
 
Turn procrastination into achievement. Tasks, jobs, assignments sometimes feel like burdens. When you focus on hating them, they are destructive. Instead, rearrange your thinking. Think of them as opportunities for learning. Maybe for learning another skill. Maybe that skill will be organizing our time better. You’ll think of others that might be particularly useful to you as you tackle each of your projects with a different attitude.
 
Turn gut or knee-jerk reactions into level-headed thinking. One way to do this is to avoid making decisions when you are upset, disgruntled, feeling jealous, angry, sad . . . or even overly excited or enthusiastic. This rule has been with most of us since our parents told us not to act until after we have counted to ten. When we substitute the new term for the old, it becomes easier to do. Besides, we now have maturity on our side.
 
Here’s the most important change. And perhaps the most difficult. How many celebrities have we seen get themselves into trouble because they haven’t turned their success into humility? Success follows as your life-skills improve. Why not tape the word “humility” to your bathroom mirror as a reminder of how to handle success. It will happen. Success fosters more success. And you have the power of words on your side.
This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/12/new-years-resolution-five-ways-to-let.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author and Book Marketer
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. 
 
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.
                           
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
  
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Feb 20

Writing Conflict in Children’s Stories – Two Basic Types

Conflict in kid's stories
There are a number of elements to writing a good fiction story, but one of the most essential ones is conflict.

Conflict is what gives the main character (MC) a run for his money. It’s a road block stopping the MC from reaching his goal. And that goal can be anything from getting a new bike to starting a new relationship to staying safe from a tsunami. 

It’s the conflict that keeps the reader engaged. It keeps her involved, connected to the MC, and turning the pages. 

Conflict drives the plot forward.
So, what are the two basic types of conflict in children’s writing, and what are some secondary conflicts?

To start, think of conflict as having two camps: internal and external.
INTERNAL CONFLICT
According to an article at Bryn Donovan, “Internal conflict has to do with psychological barriers to a decision or a goal. If a struggle takes place in the character’s mind…or heart…then by definition, that’s an internal conflict.”
Internal conflict includes:

-Coping with a move to a new school 
-Coping with a divorce
-Coping with an illness 
-Wanting friends
-Battling fear and anxiety
-Fighting peer pressure
-Struggling with a moral dilemma
-Wanting something (a pet, a bike, joining a team)
EXTERNAL CONFLICT
An external conflict comes from an outside force or forces that are beyond the MC’s control. She struggles to overcome the conflict.

You might think of Superman and Lex Luther (his nemesis). I know I’m dating myself, but there’s also Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Or the movie “Cast Away,” where the MC is stranded on an island. You could also think of the movie “Jaws.”

There are three fundamental types of external conflict: nature, antagonist, and society.

These three types can include:
-Natural disasters (earthquake, hurricane, tidal wave, tornado, a pandemic)
-A bully or enemy (antagonist)
-A school or team that lacks inclusion (societal)
Is Your Main Character Limited to Only One Type of Conflict?
While most conflicts will start the story as an internal or external conflict, they often end up having both internal and external conflicts.

-Say Christian wants a new bike (internal). He figures out how to get it – the plan is to earn the money doing lawn work. The problem is another boy works the territory and makes it difficult for Christian to make money (external).

-Or, maybe Lucas just moved to a new neighborhood and new school. He copes with the move (internal), but a bully makes his life miserable (external). 

Along with this, the fundamental conflict can cross over to other conflicts.

Say there’s a hurricane and Anthony finds a safe place to wait it out only for it to be taken over by someone bigger and stronger. Now you have nature (external) and an antagonist (external) as conflicts.
According to Industrial Scripts, “External conflict feeds into and creates internal conflict within the characters who have to deal with it. Internal and external conflict need each other to survive and it’s in this relationship that drama thrives.”

Life is messy, with possible multiple internal and external conflicts in any given scenario. It’s the same with your story’s main character.
Writing Help
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. 

Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.
  
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Feb 06

Tips on Using Your Amazon Toolbox

Book marketing
Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Excerpted in part from the third book in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career.

You need only a few essentials in your Amazon toolbox to build the traffic crucial for your reviews to be seen—the reviews that will convince readers to buy your book. I believe reviews are the most important tool available—even more important than search engine-friendly keywords across the web. After all, you must have a “convincer” once readers are looking right at your beautiful book cover.

My book—the third in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers—How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career  helps you get the reviews that influence Amazon’s sales ranking, That ranking influences Amazon’s other logarithms that affect sales across their site!

Amazon sales rankings are dandy little aids for evaluating how your book is selling. Not that you should fixate on that, but having an indicator that your book might need a little sales boost is nice. And—when those ratings are nurtured—they prod Amazon’s algorithms to lead people who read books similar to yours to your Amazon buy page.

The problem is that most authors and publishers know little if anything about how those rankings come about. That isn’t their fault because I doubt if Jeff Bezos, the brains behind the entire Amazon model, knows exactly what his algorithms measure. If they’re anything like the rest of the Amazon site, they change from day to day anyway. You don’t need to know the magic behind them; you do need to know what they are and how to prod them a little:
1. Find your sales ranking (or rankings) on your book’s buy page under “product details.” Often called “metadata,” these details are the specifics for your book like ISBN, publisher, number of pages, etc. Scroll down a bit to find this section on your page.

2. If you have a ranking of 24,800, that means that 24,799 books listed in your category are selling better than your book and that up to millions of books in your book’s category are selling less well.

3. The lower your sales ranking number for your book the better. Sales rankings for your Kindle (your ebook) page will not be the same as the one on your paperback page.

Note: When the pages for your paper book and ebook are digitally connected properly, your reviews and the other sales tools Amazon offers may be the same on both pages. (There should be a link on each page pointing to the other—you may have three, paperback, hardcover, and ebook. But don’t count on it, check!)

4. If you market and promote, your efforts may lower those rankings (lower is good!). If so, celebrate because this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the marketing you are doing does not improve your rating much or at all, though it should contribute to your overall branding effort.

5. Don’t try to translate a better ratings to the number of books sold. Algorithms are a lot more complicated than that.

6. Sales rankings fluctuate (sometimes wildly) during the day, so don’t hurry to celebrate or panic unnecessarily.

Warning: Do not spend a lot of time checking your ratings. They should be used as indicators. It’s best not to obsess, but if you can’t avoid it, Bookbuzzr.com and others provide services available for pinging ratings to you in your email box.
So, now you know the basics about sales rankings and have an inkling about how important book reviews are, here’s your nudge! Learn as much as you can about getting reviews ethically (and free!) using my Great Book Reviews book. It’s fat, but MSNBC has a saying, “the more you know.” When considering the health of your book, that would be rewritten “the more you know about reviews, the better your sales, the better your career-building efforts.” 

To get started today, go to your Author Central feature and start poking around. 
-Install your author page or author profile if you haven’t already.

Use the build-your list-feature. If you have only one book, that’s OK. Add it.

-If you have first and second editions of a book, contact the Amazon Elves with the contact feature (email or phone) and have them install a widget that points readers from the first edition to the second so they get your best, up-to-date work.

-Now go to your KDP account and find the place that lets you add reviews yourself. Yes, yourself. Choose your best, most prestigious one of under 4,000 words and post it.

-While you are there, note that this feature lets you post more than one review yourself.

-You’ll also see there are other self-post features. You can even add a note from you directly to your prospective reader. You can add a synopsis or pitch from the back cover or flyleaf. You can add endorsements or blurbs (your copy of , How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career will help you do a professional job of getting these by excerpting from everything from your fan email to your reviews.)

And, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically will also help you keep getting reviews for as long as you want to keep your book alive. That goes for all online reviews including the ones your readers post on your Amazon page, use for their blogs and Goodreads and on and on. I call them “forever reviews.” Forever reviews can be your frugal path to making your book a classic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The series includes The Frugal Book Promoter, now published in its third edition by Modern History Press, and her The Frugal Editor.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing.  She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. Find her Amazon Author Page at http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile.
This article was published first at:
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2020/01/heres-forever-review-getting-nudge-your.html
NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?
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http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php 
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Jan 30

Book Marketing – Make Your Content Work For You

Book Marketing
Marketing and selling books is getting tougher and tougher. You need to make your content (articles and blog posts) do double duty to try to stay afloat.

The competition is fierce and the internet ‘noise’ is getting louder and louder.

According to an article at Neil Patel’s, under the subheading, “Content is Getting Harder,” there are over 1 billion blogs, and 1.7 billion websites. Along with this, “roughly 7.5 million articles get published every day.”

That’s a lot of noise. And to be in the ‘selling books’ game, you’ve got to be a part of this noise.
So, what do you do?
There’s not much you can do except create content on a regular basis. And for most of us, this can be a struggle, if not impossible. 

And even if it’s not impossible, do you want to continually write content to share to social media and guest posts? 

The answer would be NO for most of us.

We’re authors and writers. We want to spend our time writing to be published, and writing to make money.

If you’re not careful, marketing your book can eat in to your book writing time, or your freelance article writing time. 

A way to ease the ‘content creation burden’ is to repurpose the content you write. Over at American Writers & Artists (AWAI) it’s called ‘content continuum.’
Ways to make your content work for you:
1. The first step is to write an article. It’d be a good idea to edit and proof it before publishing it. Well, it’s more than just a good idea; it’s essential.
2. Turn that article into a PDF, a video, a podcast, an ebook, a webinar, and anything else you can think of.

You might take several articles and create a freebie as a call to action for your subscriber list.
3. Send the content you created out in a funnel series*, a newsletter, social posts, guest posts, and so on. 

You can also add the content to sites like LinkedIn, Medium, Google, AuthorsDen, and so on. This creates ‘touch-points’.

So, one article can create multiple touch-points (connections to the reader).

The reason you want to connect with your reader with multiple touch-points is to make them familiar with you and your work.
This actually refers to Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s “The Rule of Seven", which is also known as ‘drip fed marketing’.”
The philosophy is that to penetrate an overly put-upon market you need to reach a prospect, person, reader at least seven times before they’ll take action. This means before they’ll buy from you or click on your call to action (CTA*). 

A marketing touch can be anything to do with your platform. It can be your website, blog posts, web content, your guest posts. It can even simply be a person seeing your logo.

It’s about continually building exposure without having to constantly write content. 
*A funnel series is similar to your initial welcome email to your newsletter subscribers that automatically sends a few newsletters over a two or three-week span.
*A CTA is an acronym for call-to-action. It’s the action you want the visitor-reader-prospect to take. They might land on your website or see your social media posts. You want to motivate that person to click on your link, bringing them back to your website or to sign up for your newsletter, or other CTA.
Need help with your story?
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. 
Just send me an email at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700.

Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today!

Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK. 
Writing for children tips
How to Write Better Endings 

Are All Children’s Stories to Become Books?
 
Hiring a Ghostwriter for Your Picture Book? Are Illustrations Included?
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