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Upcoming Self-Publishing Workshop

If you are in northern California on Saturday, January 10th, please join me for a self-publishing workshop.  It will be hosted by the Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center, in Vacaville, between Sacramento and San Francisco, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Registration for the workshop is only $20.00.  The book, A Handyman’s Guide to Self-Publishing Your First Book for Free (or Almost Free) will be available to purchase at the workshop.  This is a hands-on, interactive workshop and a wireless tablet or laptop will be helpful, but not necessary.

In this workshop participants will be lead through step-by-step instructions on how to publish their book in paperback with Amazon’s CreateSpace and their e-book with Smashwords. Participants will be asked to answer questions that will guide them through the publishing process.

I hope to see you there.

Please contact the church office to register for the workshop, 707-447-0521.  The center is located at 350 North Orchard in Vacaville.

 

 

Need a Flyer Advertising Your Event? Use Poster My Wall

I am always loofinal flyer with watermarkking for easy to use graphic programs.  If they are online that is even better, nothing to download.  I was sitting down to create a flyer for an upcoming workshop and I ran across a simple, yet powerful website called PosterMyWall.  On this site you can use templates or create your own media from scratch.

The website says it is “The Best Online Custom Poster and Photo Collage Maker” and after using it I tend to agree.  I am sure there are others out there, but this is simple and if you are ok with a watermark it’s free.  I downloaded the flyer shown here for $2.99 without a watermark.  I am planning on buying a matte finish poster size of this for $7.99 and get twenty-five 4″ X 6″ cards with envelopes to mail out for $14.95.

What I really like about this site is that the interface is very simple.  You can upload your own pictures, place them where you want them, size them exactly how you want and add text anywhere on the document.

They have many templates and backgrounds.  I started with the background and just created text and graphics exactly where I wanted it.

I think this could also be used as a tool for creating book covers and a multitude of marketing materials.  The posters and cards that you purchase are all printed on photo stock and can also be mounted and framed.  I’ll try to update my post after the poster I order arrives.

P.S.  If you’re in Northern California on January 10th feel free to come to my workshop on self-publishing for free (or almost free.)  There’s a $20 donation for the workshop and my book will be available for $9.95 at the workshop.

Keep on writing!

What is Wattpad?

How about the “world’s largest community of readers and writers.”  According to Wattpad there are 35 millions “wattpaders” reading 75 million stories, spending 9 billion minutes on Wattpad every month.  According to Wikipedia over 1000 stories are being uploaded every day.  The Wattpad website describes itself  as “a place to discover and share stories: a social platform that connects people through words. It is a community that spans borders, interests, languages. With Wattpad, anyone can read or write on any device: phone, tablet, or computer.”  This is a unique relationship in real-time between the author and his or her readers.

Ashleigh Gardner, the Head of Content at Wattpad.com, describes Wattpad as “a very popular site for teens 13-18, but 35% of the site is 18-30. If you write YA or New Adult, you should be on Wattpad! Romance and sci-fi communities are very large. Without the gatekeepers, new trends and genres are also emerging. Urban fiction is a flourishing example. Fan fiction is hugely popular e.g. anything with One Direction.”

No matter what you write, this might be biggest well kept secret that no one knows about.  Wattpad is kind of like Facebook, but without the minute by minute descriptions of meaningless dribble.  Not to be dissing Facebook; there is definitely  a place in your author platform for Facebook.  Wattpad, on the other hand, is a platform that is used by readers.  Ninety percent of the 35 million people who use Wattpad are readers.  That means that only one out of ten people visiting Wattpad for those 9 billion minutes are readers.  The average time spent on Wattpad is 30 minutes.  There is plenty of room for writers.

It’s a simple process and free to join.  As a writer, you can upload your writing as you write or upload installments of your writing.  Readers find your writing and follow you, much like other social networks.  After following the readers receive notifications whenever a new chapter of a story is posted. Many writers share their work serially: posting stories one chapter at a time, so readers keep coming back.

I’m going to give it a try with my first novel, The Checkbook.

Here is a link to my story

Keep on writing!

Another Great Author Resource

Writing your book was the easy part; marketing is where you get your metal tested.  Most writers did not decide to write a book because they’ve always wanted to be a marketing expert.  In fact, most writers write their book without thinking about marketing.

As I advise, the time to begin marketing is before you publish. (see the page “Before You Publish, Begin Marketing – Your Author Platform”) But there are things you can do after you publish.  There are good FREE resources out there and one of them is called the Author Marketing Club.  It’s free to join and they have created an online community where authors can help each other with the marketing.  The site has many resources that you can take advantage of.  Here are some:

  • A review request system where you can put your book in front of readers who want to read and review your book
  • A thriving community of authors willing to share their marketing tactics and lessons, and failures
  • Helpful advice and resources for new and experienced authors alike
  • Specials and offers for discounted services to help you publish your book
  • Much more

I’ve tried the review system and what you can do is create a post in the forum and invite other members to review your book.  It’s a fairly new site and they are trying to get the word out.  As any start-up they are building their membership and it’s always nice to get in on the ground floor and take advantage of the free services (they don’t always stay free) .

Engaging Readers on Your Blog or Book Website

How can you make your website or blog a destination that grabs the reader and keeps them there for a while?  Make it engaging, offer your visitors choices, provide them rich and varied and fresh content, and give them a way to follow your blog or get updates to your website.

How about adding audio messages or audio blogs for FREE?  I’m all about free or inexpensive ways to market your book or build your author platform.   As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, your website or blog is on aspect of your author platform.  I found a very simple and free way to add a 60 second audio to your blog or website.  It’s so simple even an author can do it.

The name of the site is AudioPal.  It is the fastest way I have found to put an unlimited number of messages anywhere you can embed hypertext on the Internet.  There is no creating an account, no newsletter to sign up for, you just create the audio right on the internet and get the embedded code sent to your email immediately.

Here’s an example of a 37 second message embedded on my wife’s blog, Daily Spiritual Tools.  Look on the left and click on the AudioPal player to hear me explaining about getting my wife’s books on Amazon.

If you want to grab your own audio message (up to 60 seconds) visit the AudioPal Website by clicking here.

In an upcoming post I’ll share some ideas about adding longer audio in Podcasts to your blog or website.

Happy Publishing!

Your Author Platform – Blogging

marketing your blogMy wife started her blog, Daily Spiritual Tools, almost two years before publishing her first book.  She didn’t know it at the time, but she was taking her first step in building her “Author Platform.”

You always hear about author platform, but what does that really mean?  In its simplest form it is creating a foundation from which an author reaches his or her audience while establishing credibility and authority.  Jane Friedman, a full-time assistant professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati and former publisher of Writer’s Digest, defines what it is and what it’s not on her website, called Jane Friedman.  It’s worth checking out.

Creating a blog as part of your platform begins to build that credibility and allows you to show your readers your writing.  That’s important; what follows is that the key element in a good blog is good content, your writing.   This post is not about how to add good content to your blog.  I’m going to assume that you will do that.  This post is about how to get your blog in front of prospective readers.

In my research I have read thousands of blogs.  I have stumbled on some really great blogs, great fresh content, well written with valuable information, but no one reads it, no followers, no comments.  That bothered me; good stuff, nobody sees it.

As you may recall, I am my wife’s marketing team.  She wrote the blog; I think it’s great content.  The team had to find ways to get people to read it.  I’d like to share those ways with you today.

  1. Get your blog listed on blog directories (click here for a list of blog directories)
  2. Search for and read blogs that are similar in content to yours
  3. Read those blogs
  4. Leave meaningful comments (not “Hi, read my blog”) Soft sell, ask them to visit your blog and give feedback
  5. Search the internet for key words found in your most recent post and find other blogs that wrote about that, read and comment, include “I also recently posted about ___________, I’d love your feedback.”
  6. Follow blogs that you like
  7. Use a signature with your blog address on every email or comment
  8. Join Linkedin and spread the word about your blog
  9. Join Facebook and feed your blog to your account
  10. Join Twitter and have your posts automatically tweeted
  11. Find twitter members who have similar interests and follow them.  If they follow you, thank them in a reply and invite them to read your most recent post.
  12. Post as a guest blogger (remember to leave your signature with your blog address)
  13. Make it easy for readers to follow you, one click (email subscriptions are great)