Benefits and Tip of Google+ Hangout for Authors

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BENEFITS AND TIPS OF GOOGLE+ HANGOUTS FOR AUTHORS
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Google+ Hangouts

What is Google+ Hangouts?
Google+ Hangouts is a virtual communications platform that is mostly utilised for its video format.  As an author, you can create a private Hangout event whereby you can invite guests of up to 10 participants or you can be invited to join a Hangout.

What is Google+ Hangouts On Air?
Google+ Hangouts On Air is open to the public and anyone can view it as it happens live. Viewers do not have to participate. Upon conclusion of the event, it is automatically recorded and posted to your YouTube account as well as your Google+ account. This is a great way for authors who are not tech savvy to create videos that are easy to share across their social media platforms.

How Authors Can Use Google+ Hangouts To Their Benefit

  • Google+ Hangouts is a great way to showcase your book. This may come in the form of a book launch or a book club type event whereby you can discuss your book in detail.
  • You can invite your fans and readers to join you in a “get to know your author” type event whereby you invite them to ask any questions they may have of you. This enables a global reach and allows your fans to get to know you on a more personal level.
  • Authors can join writing group Hangouts to collect ideas during your writing process. It’s also a great way to get support from fellow authors should you have any issues or concerns you are having difficulty resolving.
  • You can engage with your fans during your entire writing process of your next book. Perhaps create a Hangout every month, after every chapter or when drafts of illustrations come in. Particularly great for those writing a series as fans are eagerly waiting for the next instalment.
  • Authors can use Google+ Hangouts as part of their book tours and virtual readings. Most authors don’t have the budget to do so or perhaps physically can’t get to towns and cities that require too much time or expense.
  • There is something to be said about getting to know someone personally. Well, at least this feature allows you to get one step closer to your fans and readers. This encourages loyalty, especially if they are able to identify with you.
  • The video component of the Google+ Hangout on Air is a very powerful marketing tool that can be utilised across all your digital marketing platforms and it didn’t even require you to produce your own video! Best of all, it’s completely free!

Tips On How To Run A Great Hangout

  • Test your event! Make sure all your equipment is available and that they are all in working order. Nothing worse than hosting an event and no one can see or hear you!
  • Make sure that you have a good internet connection and that your Hangout doesn’t stall half way or even cut out altogether.
  • Make sure you have a good background to work in with no distractions that could keep your participants wondering around the space. The more neutral and minimal a background, the better.
  • It is advised not to have pets or children in the vicinity of your Hangout. This is the best way for everyone to lose concentration if the event holder is continually interrupted.
  • Sound is very important, especially if creating a video for distribution later. Make sure your surrounds are quiet and you may even want to invest in an external microphone for further clarity.
  • Lighting is also important. Make sure participants are able to see you clearly without shadows to distract the Hangout.
  • The most important tip of all is of course to market the Hangout. No one will participate if they don’t know about it!

So, camera shy authors (that would be me!), do you believe this would be beneficial to you?

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Google+ for Authors. Is It Worth It?

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

GOOGLE+ FOR AUTHORS. IS IT WORTH IT? Google Plus Logo
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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What Exactly Is Google+? 
Google+ is Google’s social media platform.

Not Another Social Media Platform!
I know. It really is quite exhausting and admittedly I haven’t fully embraced this platform as yet. However, with over 340 million users, I think it’s worth a look in and we can then decide for ourselves if this should be added onto our repertoire of social media marketing, even if it means giving up another that isn’t quite receiving the traction.

How Does It Work? What Can It Do?

  • You can post photos, share content and update your status just like all social media platforms.
  • Google+ allows you to set up your followers by “circles”. This is a most useful function. You can group them into friends, colleagues etc…. and essentially group them in areas of interest which then allows you to target information more succinctly. Circles also allow you to read your feed by the stream you are connected with and share your updates with specific circles. This is particularly useful if you have very different types of content to share and therefore only certain followers will follow the thread of their interest.
  • You can create and/or join communities and concentrate your efforts on areas of importance.
  • Google+ offers a function called “hangouts” which is a space for video conversations for up to 10 participants. A great tool for webinars, conduting Q&As or connecting with your readers.
  • You can get +1s, which is the same as a Facebook “like”. This however is a much more powerful tick box as by hitting the +1 button, you are essentially voting me to your friends associated with your Google+ profile. It’s as if you are endorsing their content, which then leads to exposure for your book.

So What?
So far, sounds to me like any other social media platform.

However, the thing that got me the most is the fact that it’s a Google product. As the most used and most effective search engine in the world, it is therefore safe to assume that all Google+ content would gain some serious SEO traction. Surely, its algorithms would give their own social media function priority over everyone else’s? How else to better gain users? Posts with a lot of +1s have the potential to gain great momentum on the World Wide Web and can certainly affect search rankings.

There has also been much discussion about the fact that Google intends to consolidate all of its services under the Google+ umbrella. As an example, if you wish to post comments onto YouTube (A Google Company) you have to sign in with your Google+ profile. This meant that any level of anonymity was removed and thus reducing the amount of spam on the network. Should Google continue down this path of integration, we would pretty soon have no choice but to own a Google+ account.

My Take
So I started using it at a basic level and so far it’s been pretty easy to manipulate.  It has very similar functions to other platforms but certainly has a very different look and feel to it. It is very much like a microblog. I am far from being a heavy user and I am not about to give up one platform for the sake of giving this one a good go. A lot more work needs to go into this before I can say it’s a must have.

The only concern I have is I don’t know anyone who is a big user of Google+. It’s more a case of everyone understanding they should have it but no one is really interested in building their profiles like they do with other social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter.  So if no one is using it to their full potential, who would I be connecting with? A whole bunch of “surface” users just because they believe they should use it isn’t worth all my work. I shall do more research and see if it’s worth another post in the future.

Have you Joined The Goodreads Author Program Yet?

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HAVE YOU JOINED THE GOODREADS AUTHOR PROGRAM YET?
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Goodreads Otis Chandler

Otis Chandler Goodreads Founder by Christopher Michel

As an author, I am sure you have joined Goodreads as part of your online marketing strategy. Known as the Facebook for book lovers, it is an extremely  large digital library that every author should be a part of.

Now that you have navigated your way through the website, please venture your way to the bottom of the page and click on Author Program. If you haven’t already set this up, please take some time to do so. As it is a site which is dedicated to all things books, it is an invaluable tool to take advantage of it. It is completely free so you have absolutely no excuse!

It is important because under all the books listed on Goodreads, there is an option to click on the name of the author to find out more about you. You need to make sure you give them a dynamic snapshot of you so that curious readers can get to know you.

Features available in the Author Program:

  • Create a profile by adding a photo of yourself that best reflects you as an author. I suggest a fairly professional looking image and not one that is cropped from a family photo.
  • Write a compelling bio about yourself. Only limited by your imagination!
  • This feature enables you to share with your fans what you are currently reading. Makes for a good conversation piece.
  • This feature also allows you to list your favourite books.  Avid readers can form opinions about your personality just by the books you read.
  • You can advertise any upcoming events such as book launches, readings or book signings.
  • You can share a small excerpt of your book to entice readers.
  • If you maintain a blog, you can add it to your profile for greater exposure. All posts on your blog will automatically be uploaded on your profile so no additional work required.
  • You can add the Goodreads Author Widget to your website or blog to showcase all your hard earned reviews.
  • Promote your books by participating in discussions that may be relevant to the book genre or topic.

A.S. Chung Goodreads Author Page

There is no harm in joining this program. According to Goodreads, they are the world’s largest site for book readers and book recommendations. With over 20 million users and now acquired by Amazon, it is a truly useful site to be a part of.

30 Facebook Groups Every Author Needs…..And It’s Free!

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

30 FACEBOOK GROUPS EVERY AUTHOR NEEDS…..AND IT’S FREE!
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Photo Montage

Facebook Groups continue to evolve over time to support writers and authors in a myriad of ways. I have collated a list of Facebook Groups to help indie authors in all facets of the self-publishing journey. If you are searching for the following, you have come to the right place:

  • Support for self-publishing authors.
  • Book marketing ideas.
  • A space to promote your book/s.
  • Author support through discussions and forums.
  • Improve your writing and manuscript assistance.
  • Lover of books in general.

1. Amazon Book Club
Download free e-books, join our book loving platform, or read our daily reviews. If you are a published author, go ahead and announce yourself and your book(s) on this site. Readers, please go ahead and leave your reviews and recommendations.
28,237 members.

2. Aspiring Authors
If your dream is to become a published storyteller (novelist, screenwriter, poet, short story writer etc.), you’ve come to the right place! What we’re all about: books, novels, stories, writing, writers, plays, screenplays, short stories, plot, creative, creativity, fiction, interactive story.
26,996 members.

3. Authors
Anything about writing.
Stories, experiences, advice and tips.
Any new books, promotions or book cover designs.
27,769 members

4. Authors 99¢ e-Books Promotion
This is a group for .99 e-books only. Please promote your books here if they are .99 cents or free!
9,259 members.

5. Authors and Book Lovers Discussion Group
This is a discussion group for authors and book lovers to chat about their favourite books. All Authors are welcome to promote here!
21,778 members.

6. Authors, Agents, and Aspiring Writers
We welcome authors at every stage of their career. Here are the rules for this group: This group is for all things WRITING! You are free to promo new releases, your books, your writing blogs, your thoughts on writing and always ask for help from others to improve your craft. If you have information that you think will be beneficial to writers, please share.
18,750 members.

7. Authors, Bloggers, Writers, Readers and Books
Geared to Christian content. Space for authors, bloggers, writers, readers and books to post information about their blogs, books, reviews and their websites, etc. A group for sharing our interests and activities regarding our page title. – we encourage those of any faith or beliefs to join in the sharing. Only God knows where our seeds might be planted.
13,898 members.

8. Author Meeting Place
A place to meet and greet other authors. You might be able to share marketing ideas and/or events in your area if you meet someone close to you. Authors unite!
4,715 members.

9. Authors Promoting Authors
Authors Promoting Authors community group. This group serves as a forum for discussion, promotion and sharing
16,956 members.

10. Books, Books and more Books!!!
Where authors and readers can post to help promote their books and giveaways.
32,618 members.

11. Book Promotion
The goal of this page is to help you the author to accomplish your goals. It is similar to our mission at Best Seller Publishing – “To make our clients best-selling authors and launch them to a life of independence, generous income, and meaningful impact.” So from time to time we will be offering FREE training in the form of videos, webinars and recordings. They will be specifically focused on helping you become a best selling author and monetize your books.
25,808 members.

12. Book Review & Promotion
Writer · Books · Publishing
29,839 members.

13. Children’s Authors and Illustrators on Facebook
A group for authors and illustrators of children’s books, from picture books to YA, in all genres, plus aspiring writers and all readers who love children’s literature.
5,542 members.

14. Free ebooks for Kindle, Nook, and More
Welcome readers and authors! This page is for listing free ebooks only. Authors, join this group to post notice of ebooks that you are giving away freely to everyone. This is a great way to promote “free ebook” days in Kindle’s KDP Select program, but please list your book only when it’s free to all Amazon customers.
2,540 members.

15. Free Kindle and Nook eBooks For Readers
This is a group for readers to come and find free Ebooks. Anyone can join and post links to the free Ebooks they have found; we especially love when authors join this group and post links to their free Ebooks! There are no limits for genres or where an Ebook can be read. Most of the Ebooks posted are available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Nobles’ Nook, Smashwords or even a plain PDF file.
33,013 members.

16. Free Today on Amazon
This group is for free books only!
18,578 members.

17. Free Today on Kindle & Beyond
Authors: Announce your free books here.
Readers: Learn which books are free today.
14,821 members.

18. Go Indie
All things book-related are welcome, including articles from author blogs and websites, announcements for free and discounted books, book discussions and more. Posts related to services being offered to authors are welcome as well, provided the owner/poster contact the admin beforehand.
5,756 members.

19. Indie Author Book Promotion Page
Welcome to the open group for Indie Author book promotions.
26,545 members.

20. Indie Authors International
READERS and WRITERS from EVERYWHERE, across borders, without barriers. EVERYONE WELCOME.
12,058 members.

21. KIDLIT411
A Facebook group of children’s writers and illustrators run by the founders of the website http://www.Kidlit411.com. Share your information and kid lit news and join a fun community.
2,037 members.

22. Kindle Authors Helping Authors
Welcome to a FB group that actually helps authors. Please take the time to visit other author’s pages and like them on Amazon FB and outside web blogs and websites. We also love receiving tips on what has helped authors sell books, receive helpful reviews or set up their platforms.
4,043 members.

23. Marketing for Authors
Written the book? Now what? Now it’s the hard part, now you have to market it….
This group is for fellow authors to swap marketing ideas with other authors and ask questions.
11,782 members.

24. Passion for Books
Everything related to books. Authors of books are welcome to post photos of your books. You can also post your videos. And talk about your books.
31,165 members.

25. Ready To Read
Open group to promote your new release. It is acceptable to promote a ready to read book, for blog posts that are about a ready to read book, and events for ready to read books.
13,369 members.

26. Review Seekers
This is where authors and publishers meet readers and users who write and post reviews of books and apps on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and blogs. Members are invited to request a review if they indicate they will provide free copy to reviewer
12,037 members.

27. The Literary Lounge Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Illustrators
Calling all authors … is there a book in you? This is the place to be if you want to learn about writing, creating, strategizing, developing, publishing and selling your book. If you want to create a book that has pizzazz, punch and panache…
15,154 members.

28. We Love Books
Save money and time by buying on line. If you love books, please feel free to tell us about your book that you wrote, a recent one that you read or something you would like to recommend.
3,655 members.

29. Writers and Readers Unite
Invite all of your friends to a place for authors and readers to come together. Authors may post about their new books and readers may post review or comments Poems and personal blogs post are welcome
25,398 members.

30. Writer’s Group
This group is for writers and those interested in the craft of writing, to mingle, meet, inform, learn and cooperate (https://www.facebook.com/groups/memberswritersgroup). Writers of all skill levels and experience are encouraged to help each other through problem spots in their writing, bounce ideas off other members, and talk about the latest news affecting the industry/craft; exchange leads to discovery. Readers and fans are also welcome to participate. Anyone may submit passages of written work for group critiques. Surveys, both by post and software application, as well as thought experiments are also welcome.
30,892 members.

How Authors Are Under Utilising LinkedIn

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW AUTHORS ARE UNDER UTILISING LINKEDIN
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How much of LinkedIn do you actually use?

Browse through the “Interest” tab and what do you see? How many of those functions do you utilise to your advantage either for informational purposes or as a marketing tool to promote your books? Let’s explore some of these offerings.

COMPANY PAGES
A Company Page allows you to learn more about a specific company you may interested in. By following a business of interest to you, you can:

  • Learn more about the company, such as a publishing corporation, as you browse through their overview and any other information they may provide.
  • Get the latest updates and developments about a particular business and any news regarding an industry of interest such as publishing or writing.
  • Learn more about specific aspects of their business should they utilise the Showcase Pages e.g. information for illustrators, picture books, submission etc.
  • Enables you to find specific employees within the company you may wish to connect with that could possibly help you as an indie author ie editors, copywriters etc.
  • View available careers within the company that may be of interest to you if you think it may assist you with your writing career.
    Create your own Company Page should it fit the criteria.

LinkedIn Company Page

GROUPS
LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic way to get connected with like-minded professionals. There are many writers, children’s books, author and self-publishing groups that may of relevance to you. All groups are now private and you must be a member to participate in them. They are of great benefit because:

  • You can engage in professional discussion about any topic relevant to that group. E.G. What are some of the best book marketing tips for a first time self-publishing author?
  • You may start a discussion topic should you wish to find out more information.
  • Engaging regularly in conversation enables others within the same industry to get to know you and is a great networking medium.
  • Groups is not a place for self-promotion and is therefore moderated regularly which gives you a genuine platform for open discussions.
  • A good place to learn about the writing industry and anything associated with it to help you as a self-publishing author.

LinkedIn Groups

PULSE
LinkedIn’s Pulse app is a professional news app that is tailored specifically to you to bring you breaking industry news and posts published by your network or by any of your connections.

  • It is a fantastic way to get a snapshot about fellow authors, news about publishing companies or industry stories which may be relevant to you, on one medium, whilst you’re on the run.
  • You can publish a post to add you’re your connections’ feed so they may keep up to date of your breaking stories or posts.
  • An excellent tool for you to promote your work through innovative writing

LinkedIn Pulse

SLIDESHARE
SlideShare is a digital platform that joined the LinkedIn family in 2012. It started out as a means for people to upload their PowerPoint or video presentations and share with the world. This has now evolved into a content marketing medium for any type of digital content.

  • A great medium to find well-presented digital content that may be useful to you from top experts.
  • As an author you can upload your own digital content as another form of marketing to appeal to your LinkedIn followers and draw more attention to your book/s.
  • SlideShare comes with its own analytical tools so another way to monitor its worth and if it helps with you your digital marketing activities.
  • All users are able to share the digital content enabling further exposure

LinkedIn SlideShare

ONLINE LEARNING
Want to learn a new skill? Join LinkedIn’s online learning platform that gives you access to a myriad of courses from design to marketing to the web.

  • As most self-published authors would have probably learnt by now, writing the book was the easy part! Marketing the book brings about a whole new learning curve. This online learning platform would be a very useful tool.
  • You may search your online learning by author, which enables you to follow a writer you may resonate with on specific topics.
  • Documentaries by subject are also available for further learning.
  • You can save you courses and documentaries on a playlist so that you can refer to them at any given time.

LinkedIn Online Learning

If you haven’t already done so, explore these functions. You may very well find new ways of marketing your book/s!

How Amazon’s Author Central Can Improve Your SEO

A.S. Chung B&WPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW AMAZON’S AUTHOR CENTRAL CAN IMPROVE YOUR SEO
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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A.S. Chung Amazon Author PageWell done! You have managed to list your book on Amazon and it is now available for sale. It would seem that for most self-published authors, this is the first port of call and it always brings about such a great sense of achievement when you finally see your book listed and is available all around the world.

Now, have you set up your author page?

It is quite amazing how many indie authors don’t utilise this free function or aren’t even aware of its existence. I was certainly guilty of it until a fellow author pointed out to me that I hadn’t uploaded mine. It is perhaps one of the most under-utilised marketing tools and one shouldn’t under-estimate its value. Some of the benefits of having an Amazon author page include:

Let Your Readers Get To Know You
The Amazon Author Central page enables readers to get to know you as an author. This small engagement brings some life to the book and can often encourage the reader to buy your book if they identify with you and your story.

Controlling You Profile
Amazon is a jungle. With more and more books being self-published on a daily basis, it is imperative to take advantage of any medium which may assist with increasing exposure. Taking full control of your Amazon profile helps to define you and your books in exactly the manner you wish to. You are also able to add more books to the list as you continue to launch new titles.

Keyword Searches on Amazon
Having a well-managed author profile will aid in keyword searches on the website and improve your Amazon and Google SEO.

Tracking Sales
Amazon Author Central provides free book tracking in terms of weekly sales, sales rank and author rank. This could certainly help you with your Amazon book marketing strategies if you understand when and where your books are being sold.

Getting More Followers
You are able to interface your blog postings and Twitter feeds onto the profile page so it is always showcasing your most up to date postings. Readers do enjoy seeing that the author is active in the social media world and any subsequent follows increases the author’s presence. This in turn leads to greater web presence and assists with search engine tools.

Reader Interaction
Author forums and discussions are also another free function of the program. This allows the author to interact with readers personally and is an invaluable capability.

Customer Reviews
All Amazon customer reviews for all your books may be found in one place and thus easily accessible.

The setup of the author page is a highly user-friendly process. Follow these steps for how to set up your profile page.

Author Page Tab

  1. Sign up for Amazon Author Central.
  2. Click on “edit biography” to add a biography of no more than 100 words. Amazon provides you with an example of a good biography.
  3. Click on “add a blog” if you have one so that the reader can see your real time updates.
  4. Click on “add event” to share your upcoming speaking engagements, bookstore appearances, and other events.
  5. Add up to 8 photos that will help to enhance your author profile.
  6. Add any relevant videos of interviews, book trailers, or book signings.
  7. Add Twitter account so your feed is included in your profile.

Amazon Author Central Author Page

Books Tab

  1. Click on “add book” to create your bibliography.
  2. Search by title, author or ISBN.
  3. Add any editorial reviews.
    a. Reviews should be from reputable sources and the source should be credited after the quotation.
    b. Quotes from outside reviews should follow “fair use” copyright guidelines.
    c. Limit of 1-2 sentence.
    d. Up to 600 characters.
  4. Add product description.
    a. An objective summary of the book subject matter and genre.
    b. Up to 4000 characters.
    c. Don’t include spoilers!
  5. Add something from the author.
    a. A message from you about this book – what was your experience writing it, why did you write this book and how does it relate to other books you’ve written?
    b. Up to 8000 characters.
  6. Add something from the inside flap.
    a. Content inside your book’s flap should be transcribed without any changes.
    b. Up to 8000 characters.
  7. Add something from the back cover.
    a. Content inside your book’s flap should be transcribed without any changes.
    b. Up to 8000 characters.
  8. Write something about the author.
    a. This section should be the same or similar to your biography as it would appear in a book.
    b. Up to 2000 characters.
  9. Make sure this information is copied across all available editions i.e. eBook, paperback and/or hardcover.

Amazon Author Central Book Page

And that is it! Important to update your profile over time as you change and evolve. Reminder that if you have books on amazon.uk, it is not an automatic update on that site; you would have to login and create a profile specifically for that site. If you are able to get your profile translated, you should also update your author central page for other large international Amazon sites such as France, Germany and Japan.

How To Combat Blogger’s Block!

Susan DayGuest Posting by Susan Day.
Susan Day is a children’s author of over 20 print and eBooks. She has been working her social media presence for over five years and feels her head is just bursting with tips and advice. To alleviate this condition she has decided to blog a non-fiction book one post at a time entitled How to Publish a Children’s Book at Little or No Cost.

HOW TO COMBAT BLOGGER’S BLOCK!
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Stop The Block

So, you’ve started a blog and you are going to rock the world with your insights, humour, wisdom and in-depth insights into your chosen field. Well, that’s the plan anyway. And sure, you plod along nicely posting relevant and important information to your league of avid followers. Things start to go a bit wonky and, one day, you find that you are bleeding your brain dry trying to find new ideas to blog about each day.

Well, this is certainly how I feel, that’s for sure.

A new blog starts every 4 minutes, or so I have been informed. Most blogs, however, don’t survive more than two years. Their creators simply can’t keep up with the constant demand to post new information. I can certainly sympathize with them. It’s darn hard work blogging each day.

I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years now. My first blog was about dog training – I am a canine behaviourist and was just starting a new dog training business at the time. That seems like a hundred years ago now. I have been writing children’s books for five years and my author blog has been going for just about the same time. Recently, I started blogging my first non-fiction book one post at a time. How do I keep motivated? How do I keep going?

Blogger’s Block hits us all at some time or another.

So what can be done about it? Here are a few tips that keep me on track and inspired.

  • Keep your eyes peeled for relevant information you can use. Follow other authors and publishers’ newsletters. If you are going to share something make sure you source it back to the original creator.
  • Go back and look at what you have done in the past. Is there anything you can take from an old post that you can expand upon to create a new one
  • Is there an aspect of your field that you haven’t thought of yet? A different angle you could look at and write about?
  • Pictures, memes, info-graphs are the most popular things looked at online. Why not repost a relevant one each week? Everyone loves cute and funny pictures and they are willing to share them.
  • What can you give away and make your blog much more interesting?
  • Ask others to participate as guest bloggers or ask people to contribute one or two sentences about a particular subject – just like I did below.

It’s true. When I was considering writing an article about Blogger’s Block I knew there would be loads of people out there with much better ideas than I have. So, I popped a short post on a couple of Facebook groups and below are the responses.

I think you’ll agree that they are very clever and helpful.

Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky from Melissa Writes tells us that, “Some of the things I do to help me – have a theme day (e.g. Friday Five) and that can act as a prompt, another example is I try and put a post to do with the business of being a writer on a Monday. I also read other blogs and get involved in discussions in writers groups as they can give me some great ideas for blog posts. If I get really desperate, I look at some of my old posts and expand or update them. For example I did a post on ways you can use social media to help your writing, then did a follow up with 5 ways Pinterest can help your writing.”

June Perkins from Gumboots Pearlz has created 19 reflective and unique blog posts. She has even listed all the people who mentored and inspired her through her journey. This, in itself, is a great idea for a blog post.

Cate Brickell from Life Behind The Purple Door says, “My number one trick is to get outside with a notebook and free write, fresh air and sunshine always gets the juices flowing. Failing that, just sitting down and starting has always worked, just write anything and eventually the right words come out.”

Shellie Wilson from http://www.Craftgossip.com states, “I tend to sit down and think about what is bothering me about life, organization, food preparation, parenthood etc. I then come up with an article of interest. I know my issues are the same issues 100’s of people have. I work an angle from there.”

Kylie Archer from Kidgredients says, “Being a food blog, I just cook, without trying to make up a recipe for the blog. More often than not it works out well and there you go…a blog post!”

Anne Mazza from Domesblissity tell us, “I’m a food blogger as well and always have a recipe under my belt. If not, I do compilation posts like 10 things to do with cauliflower or other seasonal vegetable, for example. I also keep my ears and eyes open to find out what current food trends are and write about that. If not, I can always find something to write about my kids or parenting problems I have.”

Kelli Schultz from Nourishing Therapeutics states, “I find I write and write while I am in the mood and that leaves me enough posts for those times. I write about nutrition and health. We run fermenting workshops in Launceston, Tasmania.”

Lydia C Lee from Pandora and Max says, “I am struggling with this at the moment. I just write and write and currently have 8 unfinished posts sitting in draft, because I don’t like any of them. I did write one for tomorrow. It’s an honest admission, different to what I normally do. I think just keep writing and moving on to the next one if you don’t like it or can’t finish it.”

Robyna May from The Mummy and The Minx tells us, “I keep a notepad for ideas by my bed. Sometimes I just jot down a random idea and sometimes a whole outline for a post. When I’m stuck, that notepad provides inspiration.”

Blogging Glossary, A Helpful Guide for Beginners: Part 1 of 3

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BLOGGING GLOSSARY, A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS: PART 1 OF 3
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Using Laptop

Blogging? by Anonymous

Are you thinking of starting a blog to complement your writing? Let me guess, you started to do some research and after encountering a great deal of mumbo jumbo tech speak jargon, you gave up the notion and closed the laptop. The idea continues to linger in your head so you give it a few more attempts at making this decision but it was all too overwhelming and you just didn’t know where to start.

Yes, they have great forums to help, comprehensive YouTube tutorials you can follow and FAQs as thick as Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But where do you start? Not only that, once you started, could you really sustain it for fear of not being able to comprehend even the basics of blogging?

For the next few online marketing tips, I am going to focus on blogging glossary, over a 3 part series for easy digestion. As you can imagine, the list is endless so I am only going to concentrate on important pieces of information. I will attempt to make it easy to understand so that you can take that leap of faith!

Here is a simplified step by step guide and some comprehensive tips to get you from the beginning of the blogging process to your first post.

Step 1: Domain Name
A domain name is the website address and this must be purchased.

This is the very first thing you need to do. Prior to purchasing a domain name, it is important that the name is also available across all your social media platforms so there is unity for your brand. There is nothing more frustrating than buying a domain name, only for the Twitter handle or Facebook Page name to already exist!

Step 2: Web Hosting
A web hosting service is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organisations to make their website accessible on the World Wide Web.

You need to find a hosting service that has a plan to suit you. Unfortunately there are a lot of providers so you will have to do your homework. You can purchase your domain name through most web hosting service providers. Better still, you can join a blogging service such as WordPress.com, who provides hosting for free!

Step 3: Theme
Assuming you have selected your blogging service such as WordPress or Blogger, you now need to select a theme or a template.

You can select from the free range or purchase custom designed themes. This is a much bigger process than you can give it credit for. The theme sets the tone for your blog in terms of colour palette and aesthetics. Different themes also provide different layouts and selecting one that best suits you is highly time-consuming. It is therefore important to draw out a plan of how you want the blog to look like before selecting a theme. Play around with the free templates and get a feel of what it may look like.

Step 4: Page
A page is static and contains information that you want people to see all the time.

Now you can start creating your pages. Example, your About Me page remains constant. It essentially is the top level menu for your readers to select from. Don’t create your content for the pages as yet. Complete your full layout to ensure the “shell” works for you in the first instance.

Step 5: Category
All your posts (see below for definition) can be categorised.

Categories make it easier for your followers to target their search or browse a specific topic that interests them. Categories are also useful as they can be utilised to create sub menus.

Step 6: Menu
A menu provides you with the main navigation for your blog.

Once you have created your pages and categories, you can now use them to create your menu. You can also determine where you want it physically placed. Your primary menu traditionally sits on the top with your static pages eg About Me, Book 1, Book 2, Contact Page etc. You can also create sub menus using your categories and can exist perhaps on the side bar that houses specific topics.

Step 7: Widgets
Areas of your website that are uniquely designed to stand out and commonly found in the side bars of your website (left or hand side of a page).

Essentially, widgets are additional features you can add to the base template of your theme. Some examples include adding an image, add a text box, a calendar, search box or your social media icons.

Step 8: Settings
The Settings menu of your blog is where you will configure everything about how the blog works and functions.

I suggest going to your Settings menu after you have done the above as you will have a better understanding of how you wish for your blog to look like. Here you can decide how many posts you wish for your readers to be able to see, uploading a logo, time format adjustment, do comments have to be approved, what social media icons you wish to have, etc. You will find you will re-visit your settings over and over again as your blog matures and grows.

Step 9: Post
A blog is made up of a collection of posts. This is when you create a piece of content and post it on your blog.

Posts will appear in order of publication. At this point, create one post to see how it will look like. Add links and images into the body of the post so that you can get use to the basic functions. Keep playing with your layout until you are happy with it. For a quick tip; I save my posts on a word document. Word documents however are filled with back end formatting that sometimes sends the post askew on the blog. To alleviate this issue, cut and paste the piece onto Notepad in Windows or TextEdit for Mac, format your spaces and paragraphs and then cut and paste it back to the blog. This will create a clean post and you won’t get frustrated with formatting like I did!

Why eBook Editions Are Vital for Every Indie Author

Goldie Alexander

Guest Posting by Goldie Alexander.
Goldie Alexander writes  for adults and children of all ages. Her work includes 85 novels and non fictions, plus prizewinning short stories, plays, and articles. She writes historical fiction, fantasy, crime, science fiction and collections of short stories.

eBook Readers

ebooks en ereaders by Maria Elena

WHY EBOOK EDITIONS ARE VITAL FOR EVERY INDIE AUTHOR
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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I enjoy picturing po-faced commuters reading the latest crime or romance in their mobiles, tablets and Kindles as they head to their dreary jobs in banks and IT companies.  When I was a kid we read comics. Perhaps this is the contemporary adult equivalent.

The major advantage about eBooks is that they are so easily downloaded; there are no forests being cut down, no problem with storage, no hanging around waiting for that copy in the library, and no roaming the streets trying to find a book shop that might still be in business.

Yet there’s never been a time when it’s harder to get big publishers to take on unknown authors. Most seem to be waiting for the next JK Rowling. So how does this affect the unknown writer who can’t find a company to take his book? The answer seems to be to publish digitally. But unless this occurs under the auspices of a big company, it carries the unfortunate label of ‘vanity published.’ Vanity publishing has a bad name because sometimes money has been saved on editing, design and interesting covers. It is assumed that if a book hasn’t been picked up by a well-known publisher that it can’t be any good. Rest assured that big time publishers don’t always know what they are doing. One reader for a distinguished firm told me that she had never ever recommended anything in case she made a mistake.

From a strictly personal perspective, eBooks are wonderful. After a recent accident, I think I would have gone insane had it not been for my Kindle. I downloaded wonderful, and some not so wonderful novels, at a third of the price I would have paid for hard covers. Considering that I read at least two hundred samples and at least half of these as whole books while stuck in hospital, how else could I have managed to tackle a whole library? I could never have afforded it. Nor would anyone have been prepared to bring me that many books.

However Amazon, Kobo and Apple only list about twenty top sellers amongst the thousands of available books. To compensate, if a particular book or author is typed in – and you have to know who you are looking for – that book or author will come up, even if all the books that author has written are not there. My latest is both available in print and on Amazon and/or Kobo, but it certainly isn’t everything I have written because many of my books were published before this digital revolution.

The problem as I see it is that unless a book is displayed on these top lists, no one will ever know anything about it. I once thought good writing deserved to be recommended, or a popular topic would win readers, but this isn’t always the case. And as far as I can see, these lists are quite random.  I think the crux of eBook publishing is: How do we get our books onto that ‘A list’? Social media seems to be the answer. Your name has to be known. You have to become a ‘brand’. So if you want to sell your eBooks, it’s a good idea to blog, twitter, Facebook using all social media as often as you can stand. At least several times a week.

Important Instagram Dos and Don’ts. Social Media Faux Pas!

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

IMPORTANT INSTAGRAM DOS AND DON’TS. SOCIAL MEDIA FAUX PAS!
ONLINE BOOK MARKETING TIP
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Little Boy in Library

Library by David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott

Much like all social media, there are some rules and etiquette one should follow to maintain a healthy Instagram account. Yes, yes, rules are meant to be broken but if you’re starting off and learning the ropes, it wouldn’t hurt to explore some of these dos and don’ts.

DO! DO! DO!

Same Username
If possible, try and have the same username across all your social media platforms. Improves your overall branding and makes it easier for people to find you.

Focus On Engagement
The most addictive thing about social media is watching your follower count tick over consistently. We get very caught up with how many people like your post and how many readers are following you.

The most important thing about social media is getting organic followers and learning how to retain them over time. I can run a competition where you have to follow me on Instagram but the drop off rate post the competition is high. They are not following me because they like my content. They are following me because they want a stab at the prize.

One way to help retain followers is engagement. You have to communicate and talk to your Instagrammers. Once off flybys don’t work either. It has to be consistent, regular and genuine.

Consistency And Regularity
It is important to post images frequently. This way you are always in contact with your followers and they are constantly reminded you’re still around. If you start to create a pattern for posting, your followers will get to know your routine and start to look forward to your next instalment. Don’t disappoint them!

It is also important to be consistent in your type of posts. Followers are habitual and they are following you for a reason. If you are always posting photos of books and libraries, don’t post images of your pet dog or your favourite cocktail bar. Consistency could also mean your colour palette and only using 2-3 filters. You could post entirely in black and white or always filtering with Nashville to give that blueish hue. Check out @fotosingh.in below who posts photos of travel in India with a very colourful palette. Instagrammers are fickle and you will lose their interest if you sway too far from your brand.

Fotosingh.in

Find A Niche And Be An Expert
You need to give people a reason to follow you. Should your account be too broad, you are not giving Instagrammers a reason to follow you. As an example, your account is about food. It is too broad a topic however should you narrow it down to just donuts you become an authority on all things donuts! Check out @shortstopmelb below.

Shortstop Melbourne

Tell A Story
Your pictures must tell a story so followers can identify with you. If your account is about books and you took a photo of a vintage Enid Blyton hard cover book, tell your followers why that was important to you and the nostalgia attached with it. Don’t just post a picture with captions #enidblyton #book #nostalgia #childhood #kidlit #greatbook #literature #secondhandbook

Enid Blyton Hashtag

Be Creative And Find Your ‘Thing’
There are millions of photos on Instagram. How will yours differ to that of others whilst trying to sell your book? As a crazy idea, I thought of incorporating travel with my book. I would place my book in the oddest locations, not prominent, perhaps peeking out randomly and take photos everywhere I go. It was a quirky idea I am yet to execute!

Look at @muradosmann. He found such a creative way to express travel with his wife. He only has 243 posts but 2.9m followers!

Murad Osmann

Use Popular Filters
Some filters are more popular than others. Research trending aesthetics and give it a go. It is also important that you update your app regularly and take advantage of new inclusions.

PLEASE DON’T!

Crappy, Awful Photos
Whatever you do, don’t post terrible photos. I realise I am stating the obvious but you would be surprised at some of the images that are on Instagram by the very people who are trying to make a living from it.

As a writer, photography and imagery may not come naturally to you but know that you don’t have to have the latest photographic technology to create an amazing picture. There are many Smartphone only Instagram accounts that show off their wares purely with a phone. They don’t even take pictures with an actual camera. Turn on your square mode on your smartphone so all your photos are already perfectly cropped.  You will eventually come to see what your style is and followers will eventuate naturally, particularly those who identify with your creativity. Practise makes perfect!

Soliciting Followers And Spamming
Don’t spam. Don’t post too many photos continuously and clog up the Instagrammers feed. They want a little dose of you, not every other photo every single day! This includes over re-gramming other people’s photos.

Don’t be overly aggressive and continuously ask for Instagrammers to follow you. It doesn’t work. There are over 300 million users out there, be original and they will come.

Too Many Hashtags
Whilst the usage of hashtags on Instagram is much more acceptable compared to other social media platforms, many users still over use it. Posting one image with 30 hashtags doesn’t make for a good story. The user is trying to cheat the system and hoping the image will appear on all major trending searches. I have seen many photos with hashtags that are not even relevant to their image just to appear on searches.

You would be better off using less hashtags but more specific and relevant keywords. It also makes searching easier as you’re not lost in over $12.8 million photos for #books.

Too Much Selling
As an up and coming self-published author, Instagram is about publicity so don’t use it to just sell your books. You have to be social. If all you are doing is taking photos of your book and doing the hard sell, no one would be interested and a sure fire way of losing any followers you may already have.

This is a great way to start your Instagram journey. As you become more proficient with the application, you will start to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t. Tomorrow, I will be exploring some ideas for content for self-published authors. Stay tuned!