Monday, October 31, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 10 Division #marketing #pubtip #indie

Throughout my Monday Marketing blogs, I've discussed branding (as the concept applies to Indie Authors), from branding your tweets to staying true to the Company you want to keep. This series delves even further into how to make the brand you've defined work for you.

We're halfway through the 22 Laws but lately, it's been sounding more like mathematics than marketing: Law 8, Duality; Law 9, Opposites, Attraction; and Law 10, Division. I don't know about you, but I hate arithmetic.

The sad reality is, marketing really is about crunching the numbers. You need to know where you are and where you want to be to calculate the distance between those two points. That distance is (or should be) your goal. Never mind #1, just look at the distance from your current position to the next rung on your product ladder (review Law 7, Law of the Ladder, for what this means).

The Law of Division simply states that over time, that product ladder you've chosen will split into two or more categories. It's unlikely that you can or will lead with one product on multiple ladders, so you'll need to choose where you want to be when the split occurs.

Remind yourself of the importance of Law 5, Focus, in order to maintain your position on the product ladder in your chosen category so that when the market shifts, you won't fall off the rung that is your current footing. And be assured, the market will shift. Publishing is one of the fastest-changing markets out there today. Shift with it, being a leader, or be one of splinters that will be excised and cast aside. Click through the jump-break to read how to apply the Law of Division.

Submisions for Freebie Friday (Nov 4, 2011)

Freebie Friday is a feature I run to get new Indie Authors exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading). I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes won't be due until (at the latest) 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date.

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I reply


Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market.

Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE #Cartooning #Dicky - The Hands Project

So I had a fun, if time-intensive day today. I want to update the left hand of the Dicky cartoon. I'd posted this update to the Dicky cartoon project after using one of David Kawena's cartoons (Milo) as a model but then decided the left hand hanging there at his side didn't match the "motion" of the image.

He's supposed to be twisting around to look over his shoulder, after hearing something, and his left hand wouldn't be hanging at his side that way.

I knew the pose I wanted, sort of: his left arm slightly bent at the elbow, his hand sort of bent back at the wrist, fingers in a "surprised" level of splaying. I could see it but couldn't draw it out of my head. So today, I took a bunch of pictures of my left hand then pulled them into Photoshop and erased out all of the background/fill so I could trace them.

I still need to redraw his left arm (bent) but have the hand choices narrowed down to two "poses" (posted to my Facebook Page and below).

 

I think I like pose #2 better because it has more "motion" and character to it. What do you think?

Even though this took all day to get to this point, I started with nothing and have two new hands from which to choose so I think I want to do this method for the right hand as well. Problem is getting the photo of my right hand holding a piece of cloth might be harder than it was to get the left hand.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to be a "hand model" and pose for Dicky's right hand, please let me know! Ideally, I need a right hand holding a Kippah, but just holding/clenching (loosely) a piece of cloth would suffice because I plan to adjust stuff in Photoshop anyway. Forex, I still need to alter the hand shape a bit more. My hands are long and slender but I wanted Dicky's hands to be...thicker than my lady hands :-) hee hee Mostly, what I need though is the palm-facing view of the right hand holding some small piece of fabric (which would look totally different than holding something hard, like a coffee mug, forex).

I really wish I didn't have to work a day job! I could get this kind of thing done a lot faster if I didn't have to stop just as soon as I get going. It's sooooo frustrating working like this (not just on the drawing, on the writing and editing, too!) In any case, this artwork is going to be fabulous once I'm done with it!


What's Next....

I'm up (late) tomorrow at about 0500 and off to the day job all day then Monday before I head into the day job we'll have a Marketing blog on Immutable Law 10: Law of Division. It's a good one! Hope to see you then.

Friday, October 28, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY Halloween #weekendgoodreads @fridayreads what r u #reading

I only got one entry for this weekend's feature, not sure why, so in addition to Dawn Gray's new release, I've gathered together some scary stories I think you'll enjoy this weekend. The weather here on the Atlantic Coast is going to drop sharply between now and Halloween (Monday night) but these stories will get the chills going up and down your spine even if you keep the heat turned up.

Speaking of heat, we start out with a steamy paranormal romance:  Vampire Legacy: The New Queen Rises (approx. 67229 words) by Dawn Gray.

Ashley has always known she was different, that something about her set her apart from the other members of her family. Until she met the mysterious man next door with the grass-green eyes, she didn’t realize just how different.

Julian Deveraux has seen many prophecies come to pass in his lifetime, but never one so close to home or to his heart. As destined events begin to unfold, he must choose whether to interfere or lose the woman who has turned his world upside down forever.

Brought together by an evil enemy and pushed apart by duty, Ashley must face the man who destroyed her life, while desperately trying not to lose her heart, torn between two mysterious brothers. Can she withstand temptation or will she give in to the torrid triangle of emotions that may cost her the ultimate price?

To get this book free, use coupon code TZ38Y at checkout.


Next is a Zombie tale because what would Halloween be without the undead walking among us? Circus of the Dead (approx. 10734 words) by Seth Blackburn is a novella you can read in one sitting--if you dare. And you thought clowns were scary before!

For young Gabriel, the walking dead are merely the memories that haunt the eyes of those old enough and lucky enough to have survived. He is more concerned with his hard life in America's desert, where his chores keep him busy and the husks of books stashed beneath the cellar of the library are his only freedom. Until the circus comes to town.

This book is currently priced as FREE so no coupon code is required.



Besides vampires and the walking undead, Halloween celebrates ghosts and goblins and ghouls . Haunting Memories: Four Short Works (approx. 7259 words) by Joshua Scribner gives up the ghosts in four bite-sized pieces (caution, new author ahead).

Then we have a ghoulish mystery from a slightly more seasoned John Grover: The Disembodied (approx. 4952 words) will tempt you into the forest...where you know no Good can lie waiting for you!

Both of these spooky tales are priced at FREE, so no coupon code is required.


Now I want to share some classic scary stories you should read--if you haven't already--available free from the Amazon Kindle Store (and one from Archive.org in multiple formats). These are the stories I think of as tapping into the vein of scary thoughts inside each of us. These authors didn't just shock or horrify with splatterpunk or gore; they tapped into our deepest darkest fears, infusing our reality with the unexpected.

Even if you like Stephanie Meyer's reinterpretation of the vampire mythology, check out Bram Stoker's original Dracula. This Transylvanian Count is not shiny, not sweet and not refraining from sucking your blood! He's vicious and bloodthirsty and in my mind, defines what a vampire really is!

Then of course, there's the contemporary threat for Halloween: alien invasion. Who has done it better than H.G. Wells himself? No one, that's who! The War of the Worlds is the most-enduring Wells story of all time--except maybe The Time Machine.

Granted, when Orson Wells did a Halloween spoof by reading this book on the radio in his gravelly voice (before the days of television or special effects), it was probably more horrifying because listeners honestly had no idea if it was real or just a "show" but this story is a classic a hundred years later for good reason. It's a story of simple humanity triumphing over "Evil."

Wells had a knack for imagining how simple things could morph into something horrific. In fact, "morphing" and "Moreau" might sound a like for a reason! Even before Aldus Huxley's Brave New World (click that link for all formats available from the Archive.org "banned books" list) putting the evil of eugenics to the public consciousness, H. G. Wells was writing about the horrors of genetic engineering--and not just for humans anymore!

On The Island of Dr. Moreau, see what happens when a mad scientist splices humans and animals together--and not just to make werewolves! This is the original story where the idea of taking the fiercest predatory beasts and combining them with human intellect was first conceived! Never mind X Men. Wells did it better because he kept it so close to reality you can almost believe it's possible!

I don't believe in most of these paranormal ideas nor do I normally read these kinds of stories, but the classics listed here are more than merely "scary stories." They're studies of humanity and our desire to be more tomorrow than we are today. They also get your heart racing in the process! Enjoy!


What's Next....

Tomorrow evening, I'll definitely be updating the Dicky cartooning effort. I have a lot of editing to do on the SciFi thriller (Marjorie really needs to start doing her own work, doesn't she? LOL) but should have some cartooning done in between, as a means of resting my eyes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TUESDAY TIP It's #NaNoWriMo Time! #nano #pubtip #writing #amwriting #myWANA

Every year, tens of thousands of writers around the world gather in the month of November and churn out hundreds of millions of words (actually, last year, I think the word count topped the billion mark). It's an event called NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month (though it's an international event). It was started in 2001 by Chris Baty whose great little advice book, No Plot? No Problem! has helped more than one "nano'er" get started with the event.

What is it? What's the point of it? The basic gist of Nanowrimo is an eent designed to break through writer's block (and if you believe in that mythical beast, I also have a unicorn to sell you ^_^) The idea of the event is to provide an environment for the entire month where writers are spurred to write. I really don't understand the need for spurring because I don't find writing painful (and spurs hurt!) but I suppose misery loves company and there are many would-be writers out there who  cannot actually bring themselves to start writing. All of these types hold each other accountable on a daily basis via the Nanowrimo event. There are also a lot (read a LOT) of writers who are writing all year long and just enjoy the way high energy of the site during November. I fall in to this latter category.

Participants in the event often call each other all sorts of names--but only in good humor--from "nanos" to "wrimos" though I don't think there's ever been a stand off between nanos and wrimos; unlike Team Jacob vs. Team Edward, the nanos and wrimos are all united with a singular goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

Fact: writers write.

That's it. There's no qualification to it. Writers don't write only when....or only if....or except in November (grin). Writers write. Always. Other than the tips I gave in my August, 2011 article for breaking through your mental resistance or writing for the "wrong" reasons, below I'll go over a few things you can do if you want to participate in Nanowrimo 2011 but you're still unsure whether or not you can do it. You can. Everyone can. Not everyone should, but that's a discussion for another day. Today is Tuesday Tips for Preparing to do Nanowrimo 2011. Click through the jump break to read on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 9: Opposites Attract #marketing #pubtip #writing

Throughout my Monday Marketing blogs, I've discussed branding (as the concept applies to Indie Authors), from branding your tweets to staying true to the Company you want to keep. This series moves onto discuss what to do with the brand you've defined.

If you're just joining the Webbiegrrl blizzard, I'm going through The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, a not-new book by Al Ries and Jack Trout, which I believe is one of the best little books ever written on the subject of marketing. It's only about 1/4" thick in paperback, so if you haven't read it already, take 5 minutes to read it now. This weekly series discusses how these generic laws of marketing apply to Indie Authors specifically. Go ahead and catch up. I'll wait. Click through the jump-break when you're done. ^_^

(taps foot)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE SciFi Snippet at Authonomy

Yep, it's another surprise! I didn't do any Dicky cartooning this weekend because I was wholly focused on editing the SciFi stuff. It was well-worth the investment of time because I got over 7,000 words edited (I'd only slated myself to get half that much done!) Actually, I wrote about 5,000 new words and deleted about 4,000 old words and only edited a couple of thousand in between, but the net effect is a new chapter to upload to Authonomy a little later this evening.

Rather than tossing you the chapter in the blog post (and the emails that go out), I'd like to direct your attention to the fact that all of the chapters are available to read for free on Authonomy. You don't even have to register to read them (unless you want to leave a comment; then you have to create an account but it's just an email address and password adn voila! you can leave comments).

I'd particularly recommend reading the chapter titled "the mad scientist." Why? Because it's hilarious--and after that chapter, the story just clicks right along with one thing after another. You won't be able to put it down again!



What's Next....

Monday's Marketing blog will be another entry in the ongoing 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing series, looking at Law 9: Duality next time! See you then!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Submisions for Freebie Friday (Oct 28th) Halloween Weekend!

The next Freebie Friday feature is Halloween weekend here in the States - October 28th and I do not currently have anyone booked (I think...there was one pre-booking but I think she withdrew) First person to comment will be in the #1 spot of the feature!

The point of the feature is to get Indie Authors some exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading). I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes won't be due until (at the latest) 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date.

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment and try to note your position/date. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I've replied.


Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market. The book needs to be priced at "free" or be made free for a day on Friday for the feature or for any length of time that includes the Friday you're being featured. Smashwords coupons are great. If you want to generate the coupon in advance but not place it on the blog, that's fine. Follow @webbiegrrl on Twitter and then you can DM me the coupon code -- wait until I've told you you're IN though. Alternatively, you can just generate a coupon on Thursday (make it expire on Saturday or later) and post the code in a new comment by 1700 hrs Eastern Time Thursday.

Your "book" must be a completed work (no WIPs or partials please) and you must be the copyright owner to submit it. I'll accept any genre of fiction, poetry and I even welcome non-fiction. I'll read your description and/or sample, and I reserve the right to edit my presentation of your book to accurately describe its genre or categorization. I also reserve the right to edit your description to adapt it to a more "sales copy" style. You are welcome to take whatever edits I make and reuse them if you like how I adapt your description on my blog. It's your book being described, after all.

Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

FREEBIE FRIDAY (Oct 21) #fridayreads #weekendgoodreads #freereads @StephenKata @Pagan_Paul

This week's Freebie Friday features some firsts: First Goodreads book, first Google book and first Canadian author, plus a repeat of a Halloween special because (another first time for me), I failed to properly promote the blog all day on Twitter last week and I feel guilty about it.


So the first "first" is the first Goodreads book I've featured (say that fast!) Renouncing the Future by Stephen Kata (@StephenKata) is a humorous scifi tale I suspect was inspired by one of my favorite cartoons growing up, the Mister Peabody and his Boy Sherman toons that ran with the always-amusing Fractured Fairytales.


A year and a half ago, a mysterious light seen streaking westward across the northern U.S., was explained away by the military. Now quirky things are happening in the little northern Minnesota town of Big Blue Falls. Sarah Anson has no idea that she is connected to these goings-on, or that her 13 year-old son Jeremy knows something about it. She is soon to find out, when James Noland and his dog turn her world upside down. For one thing, she never would have thought it possible that she could fall in love with a man a hundred years older than her.

This book is FREE to read via the Goodreads site (you will need to create an account on Goodreads in order to access this content), no special codes required.



Next up is the first repeat - the first in a series of humorous fantasy, and I think one of the first books by this author.  Hilda the Wicked Witch (approx. 21822 words) by Paul Kater (@Pagan_Paul) arrives just in time for the Halloween holiday!

This is the tale of Hilda, a fairy-land witch who gets transported to our world and struggles to go home. Sometimes, just a little knowledge is a dangerous thing but can magic conquer all?
Warning: Contains some strong language but all in fun.

This book is priced as FREE so no special code required. There is an entire series of Hilda books available from this author. Get the first one now and get hooked for Halloween!



The third book in this week's feature of firsts is a Google eBook by my first Canadian author, Lesley Fletcher. Her pre-K early reader, Hey, Angel! is a book for parents to read with their children and it was illustrated by the author with original water color paintings. Nice job, Lesley!

This is a Google eBook, and you can download a PDF free of charge, but you'll have to enter a CAPTCHA code (which Google generates "on the fly" when you get to the page; you don't get it here). If you have trouble getting the PDF to your Kindle or Nook, please contact the author directly via email (lesley@lesleyfletcher.com) for assistance. Be sure to tell her you saw the book offered here for free and want your free copy. It is also for sale at Amazon.ca (not free).



What's Next....

Tomorrow evening, I shall definitely have another update to the ongoing project of Cartooning Dicky. Tomorrow is Simchat Torah, and of course, Shabbat, so after the sun sets, all good things will come to an end....well, not all but many ^_^

Sadly, one of the things ending is the free offer of Dicky's Story, which has been downloaded (free) nearly 600 times since September 28th!! Thank you, everyone! I really hope some of you are actually reading it and I look forward to hearing what those of you who industrious enough to write a review at Smashwords, Amazon or Goodreads have to say about the book. Like all authors, I just squeee everytime someone writes a review because it means my art touched them enough they took the time and effort to tell me about it. Even the negative reviews (which I haven't actually gotten yet but one's bound to show up eventually! I already got a hater who did not read the book but rated it a "1" just to break my perfect 5-star rating)

If you haven't gotten your copy of my Jewish Inspirational / Romantic Comedy Coming Home (Dicky's Story) yet, click here to get it free at Smashwords. Shabbat Shalom l'kulam. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TUESDAY TIP (Tool) Filtering Your Twitterstream in #Hootsuite #pubtip #twitterspeak

Yes, another entry in my Twitter Series, again featuring the great little free app called Hootsuite. If you haven't read the earlier entries discussing why Hootsuite is such a great little app, click here for basic setup tips and for a mini-tutorial on how to use the Publisher to schedule your tweets, click here.

Streams Overflowing?

One of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to Twitter is the fact it is a non-stop stream of chatter. This is good (and the point of the system) but it can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to focus on one conversation or one area of discussion--or maybe you're searching for answers to a question. The way to avoid the noise and focus on just the signal you seek is to define a method for filtering your view. Hootsuite gives you a few options but Hootsuite calls them all "streams." This is a little confusing for some people, but it's not all that complicated. Click through the jump -- screenshots beyond!

Google+ Refusing Service to Webbiegrrl Writer

So Google has finally decided that Webbiegrrl Writer is not a valid name (despite my using it for about 6 years now) and they are threatening to either disable my account (which is attached to my primary author email and Webbiegrrl Blog and Twitter account and other accounts) OR I can leave Google+ (which I haven't particularly liked or used) In fact, I've HATED the "plus" aspects of Google ever since G+ came out.

So guess which I'm choosing?

Yeah, it's a no-brainer to kill the Google+ part of my Google/Gmail/Blogger life. I only hope that disabling Google+ is an option which still allows me access to the rest of my established webbiegrrl persona or else, as they say, we're going to have a failure to communicate.

Monday, October 17, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 8: Duality - Is Every Market a 2-Horse Race? #marketing #pubtip #indie #writing #myWANA

If you're just joining the Webbiegrrl blizzard, welcome to the Monday Marketing series. I've been blogging through The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, a book by Al Ries and Jack Trout, which I believe is one of the best little books ever written on the subject. It's only about 1/4" thick in paperback, so if you haven't read it already, take 5 minutes to read it now. Each week, I cover a new law and apply it to our Indie Publishing marketing. Read earlier week's entries here.

Today's entry, Law 8, is called the Law of Duality and discusses the idea that every market boils down to a 2-horse race. For the marketing of widgets, I think this is totally true; but for the marketing of books, I think our race remains a Top Ten list. In fact, with the eBook explosion, I've noticed those lists expanding into the Top 100 rather than merely ten but I think the New York Times and USA Today as well as other "best seller list" positions remain limited to ten.

However, the philosophy of the Law of Duality--that every marketing race comes down to a Top 3 battling it out for the Top 2 positions--holds true even when the "race" has a Top 100 horses running. The idea is that proportionately, the #1 position will hold more than 50% of the market share, possibly as much as 65% or 70% of it, and the #2 slot will take at least 25% and possibly up to 30% of market share. Typically #3 is left with less than 10% of market share--and the #3 contender is battling to hold that fledging slice of pie against everyone else on the list. For books, with Top 100 entries battling to get to the top 3 slots, this can be a non-stop daily battle.


Knowing you're in a 2-horse race in the long term is the key to choosing your short-term marketing strategies.

How do you get out of that precarious position of #3 in a 2-horse race? Use the immutable laws mentioned earlier: Law 5: Focus, Law 2: Category, and Law 1: Leadership. If your category is dominated by someone holding 80% of the market share, and someone else holding another 18%, and those numbers having changed in a week or two, don't keep doing battle to hold onto 1% of the remains. Be sure to
give your #3 slot a bit of time to stabilize and possibly climb to #2 but don't wait more than 30 days. After a month at #3, you risk falling to #4--or worse.

Instead of hanging on, re-examine your  marketing focus. Did you define yourself and your brand to be something original? Were you trying to be first and not merely #1 in a 2-horse race? Remember, it is better to be first, to be original, to be focused and to be dominant in your prospect's minds. Remember Laws 3 and 4: the laws of the Mind and Perception. You don't need to be #1 on the best-seller list to be "best selling" for your customers.

You also don't have to change your book for the market, just change the way you market your existing book to get the market share. Understanding that subtle distinction is the difference between winning the race and coming in 3rd.


What's Next...

In the next Monday Marketing entry of this series, Law 9: the Law of the Opposite will look at what to do when you do finally achieve 2nd place--and want to get to #1. If you started out with focus and originality, you can apply the Law of the Opposite to show why you, not the current #1, are the leader. Tune in next week for more!

This week we are in the midst of Sukkot the Jewish holiday of "hospitality" (or the Feast of Tabernacles, as it's called in the English-translation bibles these days, where a "tabernacle" is actually a hut built in the desert by the Hebrews who escaped Egyptian slavery and wandered for 40 years). It is customary to enjoy some honey cake (for a sweet year to come) and visit with friends.

And don't forget, until Friday, October 21st, my Jewish Inspirational is free at Smashwords. Get Coming Home (Dicky's Story) at no charge on your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other mobile eReader. Be sure to "buy" the book (not download the sample) and you'll have access to all formats indefinitely--yes, that means you'll have access to the new edition released once the new artwork is done!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE #Cartooning #Dicky Update #cartoon

So the more I touch this cartoon, the sexier he gets (LOL) Okay, I'm just being lewd now, aren't I? But it's fun, and he is getting pretty darn sexy, you have to admit.

He's also getting pretty close to looking like a finished product. He is now "leaning" which is nearly as good as "twisting" to look over his shoulder and he's got nearly all of the requisite piece-parts.

I've gotten a lot of shading, proportions corrected and position tweaked. His shoes still look funky to me (right shoe totally screams "clown shoe" to me!) and the trousers look "wrong" in some places and *ahem* way too right in others (hee hee) It was majorly distracting, let me tell you, because I was zoomed WAY in to sketch out the left arm and hand.

The left hand is better but the mere fact it exists is a major accomplishment for me so I'm quitting while I'm ahead. I'll do more shading/depth on it next time--after I copy it just in case ;-) The shirt has some nice stress marks but not the right kind mostly because I can't decide on how I want the front opening to look and of course, that'll influence how it hangs/pulls across his chest. That'll be next sitting, too.

The right hand....that's going to be the hardest thing of all, since I want him clutching a Kippah which is just a piece of cloth but it needs to still sort of resemble a Kippah. I think it'll just be a piece of black cloth. Anyone got a photo of a right hand in vaguely that position they want to send me so I can trace it? I don't need your arm or shirtsleeve, just your hand ^_^


What's Next....

The next Monday Marketing topic is Law 8: the Law of Duality from the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. See you then!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Submissions for Freebie Friday (Oct 21, 2011) Sign up Now!

The next Freebie Friday feature is October 21st and I do not currently have anyone booked. The point of the feature is to get Indie Authors some exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading). I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes won't be due until (at the latest) 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date.

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment and try to note your position/date. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I've replied.


Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market. The book needs to be priced at "free" or be made free for a day on Friday for the feature or for any length of time that includes the Friday you're being featured. Smashwords coupons are great. If you want to generate the coupon in advance but not place it on the blog, that's fine. Follow @webbiegrrl on Twitter and then you can DM me the coupon code -- wait until I've told you you're IN though. Alternatively, you can just generate a coupon on Thursday (make it expire on Saturday or later) and post the code in a new comment by 1700 hrs Eastern Time Thursday.

Your "book" must be a completed work (no WIPs or partials please) and you must be the copyright owner to submit it. I'll accept any genre of fiction, poetry and I even welcome non-fiction. I'll read your description and/or sample, and I reserve the right to edit my presentation of your book to accurately describe its genre or categorization. I also reserve the right to edit your description to adapt it to a more "sales copy" style. You are welcome to take whatever edits I make and reuse them if you like how I adapt your description on my blog. It's your book being described, after all.

Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

FREEBIE FRIDAY (Oct 14) Dieting How-to's, A Halloween Wicked Witch + 3 Steampunk Shorts #fridayreads #weekendgoodreads @esther96 @pagan_paul

Feels like forever since I've done a Freebie Friday feature but it's only been 2 weeks. Welcome back! This week we've got just two authors--but the feature is jam-packed with timely surprises.

First up is How To Really Lose Weight Without Dieting (approx. 14466 words) by Anne Lyken-Garner (@esther96). Formerly marketed as "A Model's Guide To Losing Weight Without Dieting" this is a self-help guide written from real-life experiences. Yes, Anne has walked the runway as a real-life model in the UK.

Arriving just in time to prepare yourself for the 2011 holiday season of "winter fat attacks," this guide provides a workable solution to permanently banish nagging weight issues. It’s a powerful guide, handing over responsibility to the readers, inspiring them to attempt lifestyle changes, and giving them the option to move at their own pace. This innovative system teaches a way of life, not a diet, with portion control, a new system of mind-training, and sustainable physical activities.

This book is priced as FREE so no coupon code is required.


Next is Hilda the Wicked Witch (approx. 21822 words) by Paul Kater (@pagan_paul). This is the first of a series about Hilda the Witch and at the moment, Paul's made the entire Hilda series free. Wow, just in time for Halloween!

The humorous YA fantasy series tells the tales of a fairy-land witch (named Hilda) who gets transported to our world and struggles to go home. The premise reminded me of Disney's Enchanted but in reverse--and without James Marsden.

The entire Hilda series is priced at FREE so no coupon code is required but get 'em all while you can!



In addition to his YA witchiness, Paul has shared with us 3 Steampunk Shorts in Lily Marin (approx. 13632 words) also by Paul Kater (@pagan_paul).

Paul isn't saying much about Lily Marin, just that she's a singer in the steampunk era, who has a mysterious other life. Get the book to find out what her other life is like....before Halloween arrives and reality bends around the corner!

The book is priced at FREE so no coupon code is required. 




Both of these authors are kind of new to the Smashwords family and your kind words (reviews) would be greatly appreciated. Even if you don't feel comfortable posting a review to Smashwords, consider tweeting at them to say thank you for the free gift of their book. Their Twitter IDs are noted after their names.




What's Next....

Tomorrow's Saturday Surprise is a tossup between more Dicky cartooning progress and snippeting some more of Friday's SciFi work-in-progress. Which would you prefer to see tomorrow evening?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TUESDAY TIP Cleaning UR Twitterhouse Using @ManageFlitter @TwitCleaner @JustUnfollow + @Twunfollow

Today's Tuesday Tool Tip is another entry in the Twitter Series, revisiting the topic of how to manage your Twitterstream. Because my Twitter community has grown since June of 2011 (when I had 18 followers) to nearing the 400 mark, I want to do housecleaning at a larger-scale level than when I wrote the first entry on this subject. Below I'll review 3 of the best tools I've found for the job of cleaning your Twitter house.


Follow/Unfollow Philosophy
Before I get into the tools, you have to understand the objective here. Twitter is a public arena and that means all kinds of people from all over the world get into the fray and make noise. The more people who follow your tweets (your followers), the more people who will hear whatever noise you make, so the goal is usually to get a lot of followers. For people trying to sell something, this is a matter of statistics. The more eyeballs you get your message in front of, the higher your chances of converting a reader into a buyer. So there's a money-drive behind this for spammers and other ripoff artists...and just regular 'ole sales people like us Indie Authors trying to hawk our books.

So how do you get lots of followers? Review the entries in my ever-growing Twitter Series for tips and tricks. One basic way, however, is to just follow other people because the polite thing to do is follow back anyone who follows you first. This reciprocal nature of Twitter is how things organically spread so quickly, or "go viral." Your followers are connected to my followers are connected to my followers' followers.

The problem is that Twitter (the site administration who have to worry about server loads and keeping the site and services running) have put a limit on how many people you can follow. It's proportionate to the number of people who are following you in a 1.2:1 ratio. They do this so that spammers and scammers cannot just follow 10,000 people an hour using an automated script to crawl through the Twitterverse. In fact, there's even a daily limit (I think) to how many follows you can log before Twitter cuts you off for the day.

So if you do the math, you see, there's not much advantage to following peeps who do not follow you back. Problem is, once you have more than 20 or 30 or 50 tweeps to track, your brain just can't do it. You need a tool to help weed through the muck. The tool needs to identify those tweeps you follow who do not follow you back and then give you a means of choosing to unfollow them or "whitelist" them (as in keep following them no matter what; this is good for family, celebrities, tools such as the ones below which require you to follow them for the best service) or just keep following your non-followers "for now." Click through the jump-break to read more.

Monday, October 10, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 7 Ladders for #Marketing Success #myWANA #pubtip #writetip @lauraries

Welcome back (after the first half of the Jewish High Holy Days). It's only been a couple of days that the blog's been closed but it feels like forever! I'm delighted to return with this particular entry in the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

If you haven't been following along, please catch up by checking out my blogs applying Laws 1 through 6 to Indie Authors or buy the fabulous book from Al Ries and Jack Trout at Amazon (click the cover at right). It'll take you maybe 5 minutes to read (it's only 1/4" thick paperback with large-font print).

Today I'm looking at the Law 7: the Law of the Ladder. I like this law in particular because it reminds me of the motivational business seminar I heard way, way back in 1994 or 1995 on the subject of "Balcony People vs. Basement People." This wasn't a new concept (or term) back then and has been ripped off and plagiarized so many times since, if you Google it, you'll never find the original. Just know that I heard this back then and it still rings true now. The Law of the Ladder (which Ries and Trout coined in the 80s) might even have been the original source for all I know!

Balcony versus Basement
The original idea I heard back in the 90s was this: in life, there are two kinds of people (compared to yourself at any given moment). Those who are more together or seem to be "luckier" than you--Balcony people--and those who are less able to handle stress or go with the flow, more likely to run into roadblocks, or just can't seem to catch a break--the Basement people. Reality is, we all fall into both categories at one time or another in our lives, but some of us choose to live more "in the Balcony" than the "Basement."

In motivational terms, the theory is that Balcony people will help you pick yourself up, they'll boost your confidence, give you a break (favor), or help you celebrate the smallest successes while Basement people will bring you down, constantly find fault with all of your ideas, find every reason why you can NOT instead of why you CAN. Basement people are toxic to creativity while Balcony people feed a Muse but the original source from which I heard this theory years ago stressed the importance to have both in your life. Why? Because you become the Balcony person to the Basement people in your life. In and of itself, that raises you even higher.

In marketing terms, Ries and Trout, talk about the rungs of the product ladders in any given product category. They're speaking vaguely about market share but not only sales numbers determine your place on the ladder, and while it's great to be first and hold onto the top rung, it's possible to succeed from lower rungs as well. Click through the jump-break to read more.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Webbiegrrl Blog Closed for the Holiday #YomKippur #Jewish iHolidays

In deference to the holiest of Holy Days on the Jewish calendar I'm going to close the Webbiegrrl Blog this Shabbat and observe Yom HaKippurim. The blog will be here and you'll still be able to access everything but I won't be checking in until after the Hag (holiday) is over. That's after sunset on Saturday. Since I'm up at 0400 on Sunday for the day job, I probably won't be posting anything Saturday night either.

Webbiegrrl's Writings will resume as normal with another Monday Marketing blog in the 22 Immutable Laws series.

For those of you not observing the Jewish High Holy days (and still wanting your freebie weekend reads, please visit the Smashwords catalog or get some great suggestions of free and bargain buys from Pixel of Ink.

Freebie Friday will resume next week. If you'd like to submit your book for the Friday, Oct 14 feature, please click here. I'll reply to the comment thread as soon as I can (possibly Saturday night).

Submissions for Freebie Friday (Oct 14)

The next Freebie Friday feature is October 14th and I do not currently have anyone booked. The point of the feature is to get Indie Authors some exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading). I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes won't be due until (at the latest) 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date.

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment and try to note your position/date. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I've replied.


Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market. The book needs to be priced at "free" or be made free for a day on Friday for the feature or for any length of time that includes the Friday you're being featured. Smashwords coupons are great. If you want to generate the coupon in advance but not place it on the blog, that's fine. Follow @webbiegrrl on Twitter and then you can DM me the coupon code -- wait until I've told you you're IN though. Alternatively, you can just generate a coupon on Thursday (make it expire on Saturday or later) and post the code in a new comment by 1700 hrs Eastern Time Thursday.

Your "book" must be a completed work (no WIPs or partials please) and you must be the copyright owner to submit it. I'll accept any genre of fiction, poetry and I even welcome non-fiction. I'll read your description and/or sample, and I reserve the right to edit my presentation of your book to accurately describe its genre or categorization. I also reserve the right to edit your description to adapt it to a more "sales copy" style. You are welcome to take whatever edits I make and reuse them if you like how I adapt your description on my blog. It's your book being described, after all.



Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TUESDAY TIP Scheduling UR Tweets 2 Save Time (#Hootsuite Publisher Fly-Through) #autotweet #pubtip #writing

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new Indie Authors just arriving on Twitter is "It takes so much time! I don't have hours a day to spend tweeting!" to which I say "You're wasting good writing time if you're spending hours a day. Don't let your time slide over that slippery slope of the Twitterverse."

Today I'm going to discuss how I, personally, approach and manage my Twitter activites and offer some suggestions on how you can improve your Twitter time-management. Then I'll go through the basic steps it takes to automate my process, using a tool called Hootsuite.

Note, I work a day job, have no spouse to help out with the housework/life errands and have committed to publishing this blog 4 days a week--and this is all in addition to working on 3 novels (okay, I'm only currently working on 2 at a time) but I still get a lot done. Here's how.


Webbiegrrl Time Management
In fact, I try to spend no more than 10-15 min. at a time on my Twitter activities and I sometimes spend as little as 5 min once a day (when I'm #workingthedayjob, forex). I log in once in the morning, once in the evening and I'm done. I stay logged in while I'm blogging but generally don't tweet while blogging. If I'm in need of a pickmeup while #workingthedayjob or have posted something particularly exciting, I'll use my phone to check my stream at lunchtime. I can get fired for using my phone at the day job (except when I clock out) and I won't use it while in the car (I spend 1.5-2 hrs a day commuting) so I don't have a heck of a lot of time to spare. I have to be efficient with my time or it'll slip right over that cliff.

If you add up my numbers, you'll see I'm typically spending 4 or 5  hrs weekly not daily and I do it in little bite-sized pieces of minutes not hours. How do I do this? For one thing, I'm very organized. It's a personality trait. I'm a Type A personality and I've had a lot of years to find and hone my personal time-management skills into second-nature habits. I'm 50 years old. When I was 25, I was not this organized (though I was a bit more controlling. The older I get, the less I care *haha*)


Organization for the Disorganized
If you're a disorganized person, that's not necessarily a flaw, but it will be a big obstacle that you're going to have to overcome if you want to effectively use your Twitter time to market your books--and still have time to write the books! There are organizational tools you can use to help focus yourself into a more organized pattern of activity. Regardless of any other tools you might try, I strongly suggest scheduling your day--by the minute--or at least 15 or 30 minute chunks. Don't leave any question (for yourself or others in your household) as to what you're "supposed to be doing" at any given moment. Don't forget to schedule time to eat and sleep. I am not kidding.

People who are disorganized really seem to do best when they have a specific time for a specific activity and they do not deviate from the schedule. This is especially true for people who live with others who make unscheduled demands on your time. If your schedule is mounted on the wall--for everyone to see--it's pretty clear where and when you might have time to give up.

A disorganized person who deviates from scheduled activities ends up getting distracted, side-tracked and bogged down in side activities and eventually just feels overwhelmed with the number of "relevant" tasks they've let slide or sit unfinished. My favorite "how to" on setting priorities is Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Make sure you know what's "important" and ignore those "urgent" needs that are not important.

Lastly, more importantly, don't torture yourself with guilt. Just set yourself a schedule and claim your time as your own. Don't schedule an hour. Schedule a half hour--or 15 minutes. Whatever the activity is (other than writing), just schedule it. Set a kitchen timer with a bell to ring to tell you when to stop. After 2 or 3 days, you'll get a feel for how to get more done in 15 minutes than you ever did before. How? Your backbrain will know you only have 15 minutes. Try it.

Click through the jump-break for more.

Monday, October 3, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 5 Focus #marketing #branding #pubtip #myWANA

Welcome back to my Monday Marketing series on Branding as the concept applies to Indie Authors. If you're just joining us, I'm going through the great book by Al Ries and Jack Trout, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, which I believe is one of the best little books ever written on the subject. It's only about 1/4" thick in paperback, so if you haven't read it already, take 5 minutes to read it now. This series will discuss how these generic laws of marketing apply to Indie Authors specifically.

The first week, I showed how the Law of Leadership, Law 1, knocked the wind out of the common Indie Author goal of being #1--and showed why that's not as good as being first. That took us directly into the Law of Category, Law 2, which one would assume Indie Authors, of all people, would understand, given most of us write in categories called "genres." However, reality is that more Indies "write for the market" they imagine exists--or one that people tell them is "hot"--rather than marketing their original work to the audience most likely to be interested in it.

Identifying the target audience (or market) is one of the slippery slopes Indies seem to fall down far too often. Personally, I think it all goes back to knowing yourself, your writing and your brand. Then correctly identifying yourself and your writing to others--describing yourself with just the right words. Let's all admit it, pitching is not one of those things we authors do particularly well--or not unless or until we practice it. Repeatedly. This goes back to my related discussion of becoming the Company you want to keep.

Branding yourself, in its essence, is the basis of Laws 3 + 4: the Laws of the Mind + Perception. For Indie Authors, this is a hard one to grasp because we're all still so tied to those "Best Seller List" numbers that the traditional "Big Six" publishers want to promote as the "end all and be all" of author achievements. Did you notice that the marketers for the Big Six still wonder why overnight sensations cannot sustain in the marketplace?

Appearing in the public eye "overnight" is great--it's called a breakout novel--but it should be the result of a deliberate effort and planning, not a stroke of sheer luck in timing. So that's this week's discussion, conveniently, Law 5: Focus. I think identifying and choosing, then applying your focus is the key to successful application of the first 4 laws. Strange how the Ries/Trout laws build upon each other isn't it? (Not!)  Click through the jump to read more.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE: #Cartooning Dicky again BREAKING NEWS #Cartoon Still Lacks Hands (Oh, the Horror!!)


UPDATE: October 1st I'm updating the image but not the post, just changing the date to repost this 'cause the news, sadly, hasn't changed. I'm scratching out the shape of im but he still has no hands (smirk) and his posture is definitely OFF somehow. I moved his torso and legs around a bit and changed the angle of his shirt hem and all kinds of subtle stuff and there's STILL something off and I don't even know what. Well, yes, I do. He needs to be "leaning" more over his left shoulder. He's not twisted around enough for how his head is spinning and he's not "leaning" - and I am WAY too much of a perfectionist to cartoon on a computer zoomed in at the pixel level. I am sick sick sick. I'm getting there though...I think.

Today I used David Kawena's Disney Hero "Milo" as my guide (had him open in Photoshop right next to my workspace so I got Milo's left arm scratched out in there but seriously, having David's perfect little Milo right there just drove home how "off" Dicky is *grr*

Add to this I haven't got ANY shadows going on (except between his legs and don't even ask me why there! *smirk* Actually I think I smeared by accident and it looked like a shadow so I left it) This book cover image is definitely going to be a Labor of Love - cause either I'm gonna love it or destroy it *haha*

#

See the Facebook Page for why he STILL has no hands and let me know if his new "Jetsons Shoes" look more like clown shoes than the other ones did. I hope not. He does have big feet (grin) and he's about 6'5" don't forget so the pants have to look too short, too small, too "wrong." That's also why there aren't any pockets on them now. Duh!!
Plus it was easier to draw boot legs with no pockets (yeah, that's the real reason, you know it! so sue me!)

What's Next....

ETA For Oct 3rd: For this coming Monday's Marketing post, don't forget I'll be discussing Laws 3+4 of Ries/Trout's 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. Have you been reading along? Then you'll know that Law 3 states It's better to be first in the mind than in the marketplace. Check in Monday to find out what that means for Indie Authors.

ETA For Oct 4th:  Come back on Oct. 4th for the Tuesday Tip when I'll do a fly-through Hootsuite's publisher feature, complete with screen shots I created yesterday while doing the Freebie Friday tweeting schedule.

Shavua Tov l'kulam!