Aug 15

The Writing Juggling Act

It’s time consuming to write a story… to write a good story.

I’m sure there are writers today who sit down and write a story in a day, but I’m talking about doing it right.

This is especially true of writing for children.

It’s so important to know the rules. Know what the standard industry guidelines are and adhere to them.

There’s a lot that goes into writing. And if you want it to be publishing and marketing worthy, again, you want to do it right.

But what happens when you finish your manuscript. You revised it, edited, it and proofed it, and possibly even had a professional writer look at it.

Your manuscript, your baby, is ready to fly.

You enter the traditional submitting phase. You’ve done your research and have found literary agents and book publishers in your genre. The submitting process is in full gear.

This process can easily take longer than the writing process, but you need to persevere.

In the meantime…

Should you just sit around and wait for a bite from an agent or publisher?

Should you just sit around and gather dust on your keyboard?

Absolutely not!

You need to move onto another story as soon as you start the submitting process on your first book. Once book two is being submitted, it’s onto book three, and so on.

This goes even more so for articles.

According to writer Suzanne Lieurance you should have around 12 articles written and circulating to magazine editors.

This is how you get work.

It’s the writing juggling act.

Keep the stories or articles moving.

Once you finish one story, get started on the next.

Another aspect of the writing juggling act: Book Marketing.

While you do need to keep writing those stories and getting them published, you also need to work on marketing you and your writing.

Marketing is a part of every author’s writing life, if you expect to sell your books.

-The first step of marketing is to create a quality book.
-The next step is to submit your work – this is pitching your work.
-If you’re self-publishing, you will need to actually publish it and have it available for sale.

Once the book finds a home, it’s about creating visibility. If people don’t know it exists, you won’t sell it. This is an ongoing process.

If you’re wondering if having to promote your books is a must, even major publishers expect their authors to have an online author platform. They also expect the author to be able to help sell their books through that platform.

And, small publishers expect you to do all the marketing.

Marketing is that important.

So, what’s the basics of an author online platform?

-The first step is to have a website and keep it current.

-Next is to post to social media to bring awareness about you and your books or articles.

This will take up any spare writing time you may have.

So, if you’re a writer, there is no such thing as downtime. It’s all about the writing juggling act.

Children's ghostwriter

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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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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May 02

Children’s Author – 5 Must-Haves for a Successful Book

There are a number of elements and strategies an author needs to write and publish a successful children’s book. This article covers five of them.

While success can mean different things to different people, to me a successful book is one that kids will love to read and hopefully learn from. A book that subtly leaves a lingering message which is considered the take-away-value. And, just as important, the book meets the standard industry guidelines.

A successful book is one that you’ll be proud to be author of.

Let’s go over the five children’s author must-haves.

  1. A quality children’s book.

Very first think is to write a quality book. But, how do you do you do this?

Anything worthwhile doing is worth doing right. So, to write a quality book, you should take the time to learn how to write a story.

There’s enough information online information, courses, and workshops to learn the process.

The basics are to be sure it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should have engaging characters. The protagonist should grow in some way. And, it should have a take-away-value.

There’s also editing and proofreading. You can self-edit and proofread and/or you get it professionally done to make sure what you missed gets found and corrected.

One of the best ways to know if you’re on the right track is to read recently published books major publishers and in your genre. Dissect them. Figure out why they work.

Another aspect of a quality book is to have if professionally formatted.

  1. A great book cover.

The first thing a reader will see is the cover of your book, and it’s usually the cover that will draw the reader to the book. Along with this, it’s usually the cover that will motivate the reader to buy the book.

Don’t skimp in this area. Get a professional cover. It’s definitely worth the investment.

If your budget allows, look for a professional illustrator or designer. A professional cover can be anywhere from $200 to $450, possibly more.

There are also a number of publishing services that offer book cover templates and if this is all your budget allows, be sure you can tweak it to make it unique.

You don’t want the same cover that thousands of other books have.

If you’re traditionally publishing, you won’t need to worry about a book cover.

  1. Professional illustrations.

Have you seen self-published picture books and wondered how the author could use substandard illustrations? This goes for picture books, chapter books, and any other genre that you’ll have illustrations.

You can have an awesome story, but if the illustrations stink, you’ve degraded your book.

Ask around for qualified illustrators or do an online search. Be sure to look at samples and pay attention to the people.

I give my clients a list of illustrators who my other clients have vetted.

What I’m noticing lately is some illustrators are great at inanimate objects and animals, and even fantasy characters, but their people characters are poor quality.

They have the same positions or facial expressions with very minor tweaks. Or, the people characters will lack movement.

Be careful. Do your research and find a professional illustrator.

Good illustrations can run from $90 to $350 per interior illustration – sometimes more.

And, be sure you own the rights to the illustrations.

  1. The ISBN

You should have an ISBN if you intend to sell your book through retailers.

The International Standard Book Number is needed for print books and identifies your book. It’s required by most retailers.

It provides the retailers with the edition, the publisher, the format, and metadata for your book. This all helps readers find your book.

The 13-digit number is unique to each book and is placed on the back of your book by the book designer. It will be in the form of a barcode.

  1. The LCCN.

The Library of Congress Control Number allows libraries all over the U.S. to categorized your book, if they’re interested in it.

Having your book in the library system is a big deal, and getting a number is free. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

  1. An author website.

It seems a lot of new authors don’t think they need an author website.

Truth is, you do.

Think of it as your online personal address. Social media pages are not the same.

It’s where you’ll bring traffic to, and it’s where you’ll build your email subscriber list to help sell your books.

You can even sell your books through your author website.

To find out why the author website is so important, check this out:
The Author Website – Do You Really Need One?

There are other important must-haves for a successful book, but these are some of the basics.

And always remember to add metadata (descriptions, keywords, categories) where ever you can. Always think marketing.

Children's ghostwriter

Whether you need help with children’s ghostwriting or 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 story today!

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

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Apr 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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