Jun 19

Writing and Marketing – Keep Things Manageable

I saw a great illustration on the importance of small steps on LinkedIn. 

It showed two ladders, one had the rungs very far apart - too far to be able to step up. The other ladder had the rungs close enough together to be able to climb up the ladder.

It’s steps small enough to be manageable that will allow you to complete each step and keep moving forward.

Shaun Hick said, “If you concentrate on small, manageable steps you can cross unimaginable distances.”


So, how might this apply to writing?

Well, if you’re a new writer and want to be a novelist, it may be best to start with short stories.

It’ll give you the opportunity to see how a story rises, peaks, and descends into resolution without the pressure of writing a full novel.

You’ll also be able to see how to create an engaging character and how the character arc works.

The same holds true if you’re writing for magazines.

Instead of shooting for a major publication, why not try for a small one first. 

Not only will it ease the stress, but you’ll have a much better chance of being accepted.

It’s getting tougher and tougher to get writing contracts. Do all you can to be a step ahead. You’ve got to do the work.

It’s important to keep things manageable.

Small steps help you keep moving forward. 

If you make your steps too big, like the rungs on the first ladder, you won’t be able to manage them - you won’t be able to move forward. It’s best to make them bite-size, doable. This goes for goals too.


Every author needs to know about book marketing.

Well, let me clarify a bit. Authors need not just be aware of book marketing, but they need to actually work at it.

As with writing, it’s important to create manageable book marketing steps

You might first create a plan. Here are the first few steps to include: 

1. Create a quality book. 

This means knowing at least the basics of writing, including story arc and character arc.

2. Create an author website or have someone do it for you.

Whether you intend to self-publish your books or are seeking an agent or traditional publisher, you absolutely need a website.

Here’s an article on what you need on your author website.

3. Create social media accounts and USE them.

If you don’t already have accounts, get started today. Social media drives traffic (people) to your website.

Create posts on your website and share them to social media. 

You can also create CTAs (call to action). An example is below.
4. Create an Amazon Author page.

You’ll include the books you have for sale on Amazon.

You might also consider creating a Goodreads account.

5. Create an email list.

This is called email marketing and it makes your marketing personal. It’s the only book marketing strategy that allows you to connect personally to your readers / subscribers.

This creates loyal fans and is a great way to sell your books directly.

You’ll need an email service and a CTA, but it’s not difficult to do.

For a helpful resource on exactly how to build your subscriber list, check out Email Marketing Right V2.

Summing it up.

This is the bare minimum basics for book marketing. 

Don’t let it feel overwhelming. Take it one step at a time and do it in manageable steps. Like Hick’s said, if you do it in manageable steps, you’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish.

Remember the tortoise and the hare story?

A slow and steady pace and keeping your steps manageable is what will bring you to your goal.
Writing Help
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, one that’s publishable and marketable.

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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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.)

(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.
Writing for children tips
The Writing for Children Ropes - 8 Tips

Are You Overthinking Your Story?

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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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.
Picture Books – Story or Illustrations, Which Comes First? 

Showing vs. Telling
What exactly does it mean to show rather than tell in your writing?

Writing Procrastination: IF and WHEN Were Planted and Nothing Grew 
Tips to Overcome Writing Procrastination
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.


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.
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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
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:

If you want to check out other classes I offer, check out:

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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


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!

If you want to check out other classes I offer, check out:


Writing a Children’s Book Series – Different Types

Villain or Antagonist – Is There a Difference?

10 Top Book Marketing Strategies

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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


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.


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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