May 15

Self, Indie, and Hybrid Publishing – Which is for You?

Most of my clients take the self-publishing road. It’s important, though, to understand what self-publishing means as there are other terms in the arena: indie authors and hybrid publishing.

It’s important to know the difference before jumping in.

Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is kind of a catch-all for anyone who writes a story and takes it through to publishing and distribution.

This includes formatting and designing the book, creating print-ready files and uploading to aggregators like IngramSpark and/or retailers like Amazon for distribution and sales.

This is not to say the author has to do everything herself, she may hire services to help with some of the phases.

All the costs are on the authors’ shoulders.

In this group, creating a book does not necessarily mean the author intends to sell it. It could be for family, friends, a specific event, etc.

This group is a mix of everyone who produces a book on their own whether for sale of not. It includes one-time writers and career writers.

It also includes less than professional writers, those who don’t take the time or put in the effort to learn how to write before putting their name on the book cover and publishing it.

The unprofessional authors in this group is why self-publishing still has somewhat of a stigma to it. There are a lot of terrible self-published books.

Indie Publishing

Originally, indie publishing was a term used for small publishers, like the home-grown, mom and pop publishers that filled in the cracks of the 5 large publishers. And it still is, somewhat.

Lately, though, the term is more in line with the author who does it all on his own.

According to Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), “An indie author is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry books who self-publishes their own work and retains and controls their own publishing rights.”

You may pause here and question: Isn’t that the same as self-publishing?

The answer is yes and no.

Self-publishing encompasses everyone who takes control of publishing their book.

But indie authors specifically write and publish with the intent to make money, hopefully to make a living at it. They’re in it for the long haul and take pride in their books.

These authors spend the time and put in the effort to get it right.

-They learn how to write.
-They learn about the genre they’re writing in.
-They learn about revisions, editing, and proofreading their work.
-They learn the process of going through to publication.

This doesn’t mean they do it all themselves. The author may hire a formatter or a designer. And if writing a children’s picture book, she will hire a professional illustrator, unless she is a professional illustrator.

I’m sure some indie authors hire quality publishing companies to help them from formatting to publishing to distribution.

But they are in control and it’s a business to them.

Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing is a newer publishing model.

This publishing path is a combination of traditional publishing and self-publishing. It’s a partnership between the publisher and the author.

The publisher is vested in the author’s success because they invest in the book by covering some of the expenses.

The author covers whatever the hybrid publisher doesn’t cover. How much depends on the company, so always read your contract.

Hybrid publishing provides a more affordable avenue outside of the traditional publishing road, which keeps getting more and more difficult to get on to.

It is important to be careful, though, as there are a lot of scam services out there. Some are vanity presses with a new title. It’s up to you to do your research and know who you’re dealing with.

Look for a service with a track record, one that knows what they’re doing and is in line with industry standards.

A tell-tale mark they’re legit is a quality service will publish under their own imprint with their own ISBNs.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Think carefully about how you want to enter the self-publishing arena.

Choose the type of publishing that will work best for you. Sometimes budget is the deciding factor, especially if you’re writing children’s picture books or even chapter books. These books need illustrations which can be costly.

If you take the hybrid road, look for a quality service. The same goes for self-publishing and indie publishing to work with.

There are probably more scam services than legit services out there, so again be careful.

References:
(1) https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/what-is-an-indie-author/
(2) https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-hybrid-publishing-to-get-your-novel-published#quiz-0

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. You can contact me at: kcioffiventrice@gmail.com. Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700

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

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Apr 24

Shaun the Sheep and Marketing with Animation

I’ve watched silent movies in the past, and a couple of the ‘oldie’ cartoons (e.g., Tom and Jerry) that had no talking. But I would never have thought a full-length movie for kids, without words,  would work in today’s dwindling attention span society.

Well, I was wrong.

Shaun the sheep has NO talking. No captions either.

The entire 1 hour and 25-minute cartoon movie conveyed the-grass-is-greener concept, conflict, obstacles, heroism, loyalty, and emotions. And, it did it all through actions, through animation.

I took my grandsons to the movie several years ago and the theater had lots of other grandparents with their grandchildren. Every child was captivated, the adults too. In fact, you forgot there were no words – no dialogue.

My 9-year-old grandson (at the time) who has ADD paid attention through the entire movie – and, he didn’t want to go in the first place, thinking it was a baby movie.

I was amazed, not only that it held his attention, but it held my attention. Me, who is always thinking of what I have to do next.

Quite an accomplishment.

This is the power of animation.

And, just imagine if an hour and a half animated movie can hold children’s attention, think how it will hold your readers’ and visitors’ attention on your website in short focused clips.

But, aside from my own viewpoints of Shaun the Sheep, there is research that backs up animation’s benefit in book marketing. 

Some Statistics

According to TippingpointLabs.com:

•	People are 64% – 85% more likely to purchase your product or service after watching an animation/video – that’s a significant boost to your conversions.
•	Visit lengths are another factor that gets a boost. Visitors will stay on your site at least two minutes longer with animation/video.
•	And, there’s the power of YouTube. You’re 53x more likely to get on Google’s first-page for search results by embedding video on your site. (1)

Along with this, another site that is now closed explained that, “Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL are among the hundreds of Search Engines that give priority listings to websites that host video content.” Taking advantage of tags, descriptions, and any other kind of SEO strategies allowed when publishing the video is another avenue of search visibility.

If this isn’t enough incentive to jump on the animation bandwagon, think about the social media marketing aspect. Sharing and clickthrough rates are increased significantly with video.

Animated videos can be humorous, serious, entertaining, and educational.

Using animation in your marketing, specifically your blog posts, is a win-win strategy that you should be taking advantage of.

For the icing on the cake, according to Hubspot:

•	Ninety percent of the information the brain receives is visual.
•	The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text.
•	Videos in posts get 3X the inbound links than posts with only text.
•	Animation (visual content) increases engagement. (2)

If you’d like to try your hand at a free animation tool, go to PowToon.com and click on the FREE option.  (I’m NOT an affiliate, I just think it’s a great marketing tool.)

References:
(1) http://www.slideshare.net/tpldrew/steal-this-slide-ecommerce-video-conversion-rates-statistics
(2) http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33423/19-Reasons-You-Should-Include-Visual-Content-in-Your-Marketing-Data.aspx

This article was originally published at: http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/2015/08/shaun-the-sheep-and-marketing-with-animation/
Need help with your story?
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!

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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Making Your Book Reviews Work for You

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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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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?
Build Your Author/Writer Platform is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales. I'm the instructor!
 
CLICK THE LINK BELOW to find out all it includes!
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. 
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Jan 02

Amazon Book Categories for Greater Visibility

Book Marketing and Book Categories
As most authors are self-publishing today, it’s important for authors to know about Amazon’s book categories.

When you’re uploading your book to Amazon, you’re able to choose specific categories for your book to be list under. This is something you need to take advantage of.

Do your research and determine which categories best fit your book.

If you’re having a service upload your book, you should make sure you know what categories the service is using.

Do you know what categories your book is listed under with Amazon?

It’s a crucial element of your book marketing and book sales, and you should use as many categories as you’re allowed. With Amazon, it’s currently ten.

But, for reasons unknown, it seems a while back, Amazon made it more difficult to see the 10 categories you listed your book under – they only visibly list the first three. 

According to Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur, you can now only see 3 of the categories you chose when you uploaded your book.

Categories matter.

According to Geoff Affleck, "selecting the best Amazon book categories is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of publishing and one of the easiest to do. Most self-published authors and professional publishers give little thought to the category placement."

So, what exactly do categories do for your book?

Think of them as a step above keywords. You might think of categories as the house that holds the keywords.

Suppose you’ve written a children’s fiction picture books that focuses on a child owing a pet – the responsibility and caring involved. 

The categories might be:
Books / Fiction / Children’s Book 

The keywords might be:
Picture books
Responsibility
Caring for a pet
Pet ownership

This example should help you get the idea.

While Amazon buyers don't usually browse books by categories, if you're book is selling well, Amazon takes note of the categories your book is in. Their algorithm will give you a higher ranking for that category which means your book will be suggested to more customers.

It's kind of a popularity contest.

This is why keeping track of your book's categories is important.

It shouldn’t be a create and leave situation.

Suppose a new category opens up that's more focused on your book's subject matter. You would not doubt want to swap it out for a category that's less connected.

Or, maybe you're keeping track of other books in your subject matter and they're doing very well; you might want to use their categories.

Knowing what categories are getting traction and visibility will give you the opportunity to use the categories to bring more attention / visibility to your books.  

So to address the problem of only seeing 3 of your listed categories, Chesson suggests a free service from Nerdy Book Girl that allows you to see them all. All you need is to input your ISBN or ASIN.

While this article focuses on Amazon, you should follow the same marketing strategy for any other aggregator or distributor you list your book with.

The Author-Writer Platform
Along with being a children's author and ghostwriter, I'm an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Build Your Author/Writer Platform is a 4-week e-class that's in-depth and interactive. It covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to check out all it includes:
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php 

If you want to check out other classes I offer, check out:
https://thewritingworld.com/your-author-platform/

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Nov 07

Book Marketing: SEO Basics

SEO Basics for Authors

By Karen Cioffi

As an author, it’s important to understand book marketing.

To understand book marketing, it’s important to understand the basics of SEO.

SEO may seem confusing and even a bit scary to some. But it needn’t be.

Just dip your toe in and learn the basics. It’s kind of common sense once you understand it’s purpose.

This acronym stands for search engine optimization and its fundamental purpose is to get you visible and build your authority through organic strategies (marketing strategies that are free).

This in turn will help you build your readership and help you sell your books and/or services.

And, it’s important to understand that having your website and content optimized isn’t only for the search engines; it’s also for searchers (the people using keywords/phrases to search for what they want), and visitors to your site.

Before I delve into SEO, let me talk a bit about author websites, as it’s a crucial part of online marketing.

You Need One

Every author and writer should have their own website. If you weren’t sure about this before, you can be now.

You can’t rely on social media networks for your only online address. For instance, having a Facebook author page is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be the only place people can find you for a number of reasons.

These networks are continually changing the game. Your organic marketing reach (the other users in your social network who actually see your posts) is shrinking more and more. To get more visibility you need to pay to ‘boost’ your post.

The last I read, organic reach for the average Facebook Page is below 5 percent. Roughly, this means that 1 in 50 connections will see your posts.

I think in some instances it’s even much lower. I saw the stats of an article I recently posted to Facebook and it reached 3 users out of around 1000 followers. Yes, only 3.

And, if a social network doesn’t like what you’re posting, they can remove it.

To establish a solid book marketing foundation, you need a website.

But, I’m getting off track here.

What is SEO?

SEO is kind of like a popularity contest. Certain actions by people can give your website a vote of confidence (authority). A few of these actions are:

  • Liking you
  • Sharing your content (blog posts)
  • Clicking on your link that leads back to your website (this is considered an inbound link)
  • Staying on your site for more than several seconds
  • Linking back to your site from their website (this is considered a backlink)
  • Commenting

Google considers these actions votes.

If a lot of people are giving you votes, Google will make your website and content more visible to people searching for keywords that are relevant to your site and/or article.

An Example of SEO in Practice

This site’s basic keywords are: writing tips, writing for children, book marketing, self-publishing, publishing

If my site and the content on it are doing a good job motivating people to take action with votes of approval, Google will list my posts higher up on its search engine results page (SERP).

This in turn will bring even more people to your website, giving us more votes.

How it works:

I write a post on book marketing. I share that post on my social network accounts. People see the post and click on the link back to my website to read the post. The visitors find the post informative, so they share it and maybe comment.

Then, let’s suppose Amanda comes along and wants to learn about ‘book marketing’. She puts that keyword in Google’s search box.

Google scours its millions or billions of tidbits of information and sees that Writers on the Move has an article that has gotten votes and is relevant to Amanda’s search keyword. So, Google puts the link to that article on the first SERP so Amanda can see it.

Amanda sees the title of the article and the brief description I included. She thinks it will be helpful so clicks on it.

See where this is going?

The more visibility, the more people come to your website. This in turn boosts your authority and ranking along with your chances of ‘conversion’ (turning visitors into customers, clients, and/or subscribers to your newsletter).

This is SEO.

Sharing and Commenting

Because of this cycle of sharing and visitors, and sharing and more visitors, it’s essential to get people to share your blog posts. It’s considered another vote.

Google pays attention to everything.

So, if you’re reading this post and find it’s helpful, PLEASE Share it. And, if time allows, please comment.

This post was first published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2017/12/seo-for-authors-series-basics.html

NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?

Karen Cioffi will show you how to build your author platform

Build Your Author/Writer Platform

Along with being a children’s author and ghostwriter, I’m an author online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

This e-class is 4-weeks, in-depth, and interactive. It covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to check out all it includes!
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php

If you want to check out other classes I offer, check out:
https://thewritingworld.com/your-author-platform/

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Sep 12

What Should You Do If Your Book Fails?

Book marketing gone bad

Contributed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Determining What Went Wrong to Get Future Marketing Right

Once upon a time, way back in the last decade, author and researcher Lisa Ann Hewlett’s publicity predicament illustrated to the world of books what we authors suspected all along: Huge amounts of publicity surrounding a release don’t necessarily translate into massive sales figures. I still remember it today and am haunted by it whenever a client tells me that her marketing isn’t working.

When a major publicity coup like Lisa’s turns out to be the most bitter dose of rejection we could expect to encounter, it’s an indicator that it could happen to anyone. That may happen even when the publicity is the stuff of which dreams—in Surround Sound and Technicolor—are made of.

It is reported (variably) that Hewlett’s Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children sold between 8,000 and 10,000 copies. Many authors would be ecstatic with sales figures that look like that, but everything is relative. It is believed that Miramax paid a six-figure advance for this title and projected sales in the 30,000 range for hardcover alone. Considering expectations for the book, the figures do appear dismal.

Therefore, smart people in the publishing industry searched for reasons for its less than stellar performance, especially with the kind of publicity this book received, and I mean biggies like Time Magazine (the cover, no less) and several “New York” magazines. TV shows like “60 Minutes,” “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “NBC Nightly News” lined up behind this book, for heaven’s sake. Even Oprah’s magic book-sale-wand was not effective.

Hewlett’s book made great news! It warned young career women that they have been mislead by petri dish miracles reported in the press. She pointed out that women have come to believe that they can put conception after career and be reasonably sure they can have still have both. She attempts to exorcise that notion in Quest.

So, just what did go wrong?

Many groused that the title was not scintillating nor was the book’s cover. Those in the know wondered if that influenced book sales. But that’s a huge burden to put on professionally produced book cover or title choice in a book published by an experienced, savvy and BIG publisher. Something else was clearly wrong.

My thirty-seven-year-old-daughter who had just returned to college to embark on a career in anthropology suggested that women don’t want to hear the dreadful news. She says, “I just flat out don’t want to hear this bad news in the middle of something rewarding, exciting and new! Why would I slap down the price of a book to get depressed?” Another unmarried friend who is also caring for an aging mother said, “I wouldn’t buy it. What am I supposed to do with that kind of information once I have it?” For women like them, delaying childbearing isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.

All this searching for answers may reap results, may help publicists and publishers and authors determine cause and effect so that this syndrome can be avoided in the future.

The problem lies in the fact that this soul-searching and hullabaloo was misdirected. Even Hewlett says, “I don’t know what to make of this absence of huge sales.” One can see her shaking her head in disbelief. If someone with her research skills can’t figure it out, can anyone? It may be the economy, stupid. Or retailing. Or the book biz.

It’s surely something completely out of the author’s control unless someone had thought to run the idea by a focus group of career women the age of the book’s expected audience. In the publishing industry, the term “beta reader” is often associated with this kind of research, but it must be accompanied by hard questions posed to the readers and that seems to entail some notion of unforeseen exigencies.

That seems like a bit of a conundrum, don’t you think? To do that, a similar trial I might run for my The Frugal Book Promoter might miss the mark for brand new authors because a large percentage still might be operating on decades-old ideas of what big publishers will do in terms of marketing! If that hadn’t occurred to me or my publisher, we wouldn’t have asked the hard question!

But, I think the most valuable lesson that can be learned with the Quest kind of rejection—any kind, really—is that it is not personal, that it pays to search for the lesson even after the fact.

We must keep the faith, keep writing, and keep publicizing, because if we don’t, we’ll never know if a book—or a career—was given the best possible chance at success.

Here’s what I know for sure. I now fear publishing less. If my faith should slip a tad, I know it need not be fatal. I know those things thanks to Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

This article was originally published at: https://www.writersonthemove.com/2019/06/what-to-do-when-book-any-book-fails.html

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author and Book Marketer

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit.

The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View’s Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR CHILDREN’S STORY?

Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter, rewriter, and coach. I can turn your story into a book you’ll be proud to be author of.

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

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

Rather do it yourself? Check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK.

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Jun 20

The Author and Copywriting

Whether you like it or not, as authors and writers, you need to write compelling, even persuasive content.

You might ask why.

Well, if you’re spending your time creating a book, magazine article, essay, blog post, or content for your website, you have a purpose in mind.

That purpose is to create and build visibility and sell what you’re offering.

This is where copywriting comes in.

So, what exactly is copywriting?

According to American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI), “Copywriting is the process of writing persuasive marketing and promotional materials that motivate people to take some form of action, such as make a purchase, click on a link, donate to a cause, or schedule a consultation.”

Writing persuasive content helps you create and build visibility, and it helps you sell your books, your services, or your products.

An article at AWAI, “5 Sales Copy Editing Tips to Double Conversions,” gives five tips on how to get visitors to your website and potential clients to say YES to your offer.

Five tips to make your article or blog post more persuasive.

Here are three:

  1. It’s always about the reader.

With all the content online, you need to grab the reader quickly.

Let the reader know what’s in it for her in the beginning paragraph.

Let her know how your article can help her.

An example: Last month, my article, The One Sentence Pitch for Your Manuscript, had the most pageveiws of all my articles. It was posted over five years ago.

Based on this information, I went back to the post to make sure it followed this advice. It did.

Within the first paragraph, I explain what a one-sentence pitch is. And in the next, I explain why it needs to be only one sentence.

So, my beginning content gives the reader what he’s looking for.

I did have to add an updated call-to-action which is why you should check on your older posts.

  1. The So Whater.

This is a great tip and one that I learned years ago from children’s writer Margot Finke.

In children’s writing, the So Whater is about moving the character and story forward by continually asking yourself, so what.

Suppose Amanda gets a virtual reality headset. “So what,” says the So Whater.

Suppose the game she gets with the set is about scuba diving with sharks.

Again, the So Whater says, “So What?” And, she goes on to say, “So what,” every time you add something to the story.

Having to come up with answers for the So Whater motivates you to come up with what happens next that will make a page-turning story.

It’s the same with copywriting.

You have to think of where and when the reader may say, “So What?” “What’s in it for Me?”

Keeping this in mind helps you have the answer already in place to stop the So Whater before he gets started.

  1. Make your call-to-action (CTA) work for you.

Your CTA needs to motivate the reader to click on what you’re offering.

  • It may be to buy your book.
  • It may be to attend a podcast, webinar, or other format.
  • It may be to sign up for your mailing list.
  • It may be to take a survey.

Whatever you want the reader or visitor to do, make it clear and enticing.

  • You might add a guarantee: You’re going to love this or ask for a full refund – no questions asked.
  • You might offer an additional helpful tool or PDF or other if the reader takes the action you want.

In my copy for Become a Power-Blogger in Just 4-Weeks, I include helpful bonus information.

  • Compare the price to something else, making it sound cheap compared to the other product or service.

The article at AWAI gave this example: For the cost of a Starbucks latte each day, you can be enjoying …

  • Offer a how-to PDF that will simplify the reader’s life.

I recently created a DIY Self-Publishing PDF as an offer to join my mailing list.

It takes the author from an edited manuscript to publishing an ebook or paperback. I know this is a valuable offer because I tried to find the information when I was self-publishing How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.

  • Add testimonials or other social proof.

Suppose you have 100,000 subscribers to your email list. You could use that as social proof: Join 100,000 other subscribers. Or, something like, A 100,000 subscribers can’t be wrong – jump on board.

I have testimonials on my Home page of my website. Testimonials work. I’ve had clients tell me they hired me because of my testimonials.

  1. Would you click on your CTA?

Once you have your article or content written and edited, read it as a visitor to your site or a reader. Then read the CTA.

Would the content motivate you to take action?

You might be thinking that all this takes time, and you’d be right.

But once you get into the routine of doing it, it will come easier and quicker. And more than that, it will work for you.

On top of all this, what you write online is there forever and reaches far. The internet is a crazy place; you just don’t know who will see that article, CTA, or other content you write.

It’s important to make your content effective. Make it do what you want it to, what you need it to do, to get the reader to click on your CTA.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM:

Build Your Author/Writer Platform is a 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class I instruct through WOW! Women on Writing. It covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to check out all it includes!
http://wow-womenonwriting.com/classroom/KarenCioffi_WebsiteTrafficInboundMarketing.php

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Apr 04

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Working for You?

I’m a children’s author, children’s ghostwriter and coach, and an online author platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

Because of this, I pay attention to marketing.

Recently, I listened to a webinar through AWAI. It was presented by Ilise Benun, a self-marketing expert.

The topic, while a couple of years old, was on using LinkedIn as part of your marketing strategy. After listening to it, I feel the information is still pertinent today.

I like LinkedIn. Did you know it’s also a search engine for professionals?

In fact, it’s the only social media network I’ve gotten work through.

Benun started her talk with ‘word of mouth’.

For years one of the marketing tools always mentioned was word-of-mouth.

Well, according to Benun, word of mouth is passive marketing. “A euphemism for whatever comes along.”

You need to be proactive in your marketing and a key element of that strategy is to use social media. And, this is important whether you’re selling books, services, or products.

How do you use social media effectively?

While the webinar focused on LinkedIn, these tips can be applied to any platform you’re marketing yourself and your books, services, or products.

View Post

Keep in mind that the purpose of marketing on social media is to find prospects and position yourself to get them as clients or customers.

Before I go on, I’d like to distinguish between a client and a customer.

According to Small Business Chron, “Customers buy on price and value. Clients buy on experience and trust.”

I love this explanation because it’s so easy to understand.

Someone buying my book “How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book” is a customer.

Someone paying for my children’s ghostwriting services is a client.

Simple. Right? And, see how I worked in some promotion. 😊

Okay back to social media marketing on LinkedIn.

  1. Your Profile.

As mentioned, you want to find prospects, whether clients or customers, and get them to buy from you or use your services.

To do that, you need to position yourself.

What this means is you need to set yourself apart from other businesses or services that offer the same thing. You do this using your LinkedIn profile (and all your other social media profiles).

A. The title

According to Benun this is prime real estate. It should convey exactly what you want a prospect to see.

This will usually be your name unless your business is more identifiable to the public.

I’ll stray from this webinar to what Neil Patel has to say about your social media profile.

According to Patel:

B. Your username and URL.

Keep in mind that you’re creating a brand that needs to be consistent.

I admit I didn’t take care when coming up with my social media usernames.

On LinkedIn it’s Karen Cioffi-Ventrice
On Twitter it’s KarenCV.
On Facebook it’s Karen Cioffi writing for children
On Pinterest it’s Karen Cioffi

Unfortunately, once you create your username you’re stuck with it. At least that’s usually the case.

If I had to do it over, I’d be Karen Cioffi, Children’s Ghostwriter on everything.

Think it through before creating a username and be consistent throughout your branding. On mine, the only thing consistent is my first name.

My URL is the same for all networks.

C. Your profile picture.

You have a choice between your headshot and your logo.

I did a combination. I had a caricature done at a wedding and decided to use it as part of my children’s writing branding. The problem though is it’s not professional.

It looks pretty good, but he must have hiccupped when he came to my chin. So, I do need to get it touched up or get it professionally done.

Also, when using your logo, there will be instances when you need to use an actual headshot for interviews or joint ventures, so be prepared with a professional one. That’s something else I have to take care of.

Use whatever you’re most identifiable with or what you want to be identifiable with.

D. Your link.

This needs to be considered carefully. Where do you want to send prospects to?

You can send people to your landing page, your sales page, and opt-in page, or other. Whichever it is, it should be a page that will help motivate the visitor to take action.

I use my landing page as it’s kind of a sales page too and it’s consistent on all my networks.

Back to the webinar.

  1. The summary or about information.

This is where you can go into detail – depending on how many words or characters you’re allotted.

LinkedIn gives you enough to get into it, so take advantage of it.

A lot of copywriters write their summary/about in first person and some make it more personal and creative than others.

This is the place to put keywords and address what the prospect needs to convince him you’re the girl for the job.

Benun also says to include ‘expert’ if you believe you are an expert in your field. She said it makes a difference.

I recently revised my profile on LinkedIn, but don’t remember if I used the word expert. I’ll have to check it.

Also, use call-to-actions. Tell the prospect what you want her to do. And, speak directly to your best prospect and use the word ‘you’ a lot.

And, be sure to include your contact information in the summary even if it’s not clickable.

  1. Your background or cover image.

This is another important element of branding and it’s important for it to be consistent throughout your platform.

Below is my social media banner for all my networks. It’s an older version, but the colors and basics are all the same:

I chose the colors specifically and created the design with Laughingbird software. It’s pretty easy to use and they have lots of how-to videos and lots on what you can do with it. I’ve used this product for years and am an affiliate with them.

Your header, background image, and banner will tell a lot about your business. As of the writing of this article, the dimensions of a LinkedIn banner is 1400 x 425 pixels.

Don’t leave the social network’s default image.

  1. Be active and post on LinkedIn.

I used to do this. I’d take an older article on my website and post it to LinkedIn or Facebook. But I ended up stopping. But, I’ll try to make the time to restart with LinkedIn.

I do post updates to LinkedIn through social media buttons on my site and I have a social media VA who posts my articles about 10 times a day, but it’s not the same as having a full article on LinkedIn.

Again, LinkedIn is a search engine.

Other places I post articles are to Google and AuthorsDen. I only do this once a month, but it keeps me visible and appearing active.

  1. Share and Recommend.

Share the content of others on LinkedIn.

I do this almost every day whether on LinkedIn itself or if I’m reading an article on a website. If it’s valuable, I always share.

You should also recommend others, if you know the quality of their work. If you do, the person will most likely be willing to recommend you.

Why not go over all your social network profiles and make sure they’re up to date and working for you.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM?

Build Your Author/Writer Platform

This 4-week in-depth and interactive e-class through WOW! Women on Writing covers all the tools you’ll need to build visibility and traffic, and boost sales.

CLICK THE LINK ABOVE to check out all it includes!

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