Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TUESDAY TIP #Shelfari #BookExtras Editing a Book's Description #pubtip #selfpub #howto #indie

Last week I began a little miniseries on Amazon/Shelfari's "Book Extras" feature for Kindle books. These handy little enhancements are only applicable through the Amazon Kindle Store (your book's page), the Shelfari web site and of course, inside the Kindle eBooks themselves.

Click here to review how to create your Amazon Author Central account, a prerequisite to setting up a Shelfari Author account. Then let's dive in after the jump-break and start setting up sections of your eBook in Book Extras. I'll start with the Description field, since that's the first one on the page (and since it'll already be populated from when you entered your book in the KDP Dashboard).

Monday, July 30, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Branding Law 12 (for Indie Authors) Law of the Generic #branding #positioning #promo #indie #pubtip #IAN1 #WLCAuthor

  some image rights reserved by Paulo Brandã
Welcome back to my marketing series on Branding (for Indie Authors). Over the course of this series, we're talking about the marketing activity called "branding" which many Indie Authors do not actually understand. I'll define the term for you below but you may want to review some of the earlier entries in this series here. Refresh your memory on the definition of branding as follows:

A brand is an idea in the mind of the consumer whose power lies in the ability to influence purchasing decisions.

That's a lot more than picking a snazzy theme of artwork for your book covers or selecting the same fonts to use for your book title or Author Name. In fact, the font matters less than the name it displays. Far less.

As an Indie Author, your brand is you, your Author Name (even if it's a pen name, as discussed in Law 9, the Law of the Name and Law 10, the Law of Extensions). You can also brand a collection (or series) of books if they are tied together by delivering a common "Reader Experience." You have to do a lot more than merely give them themed titles or subtitles, though. Click through the jump-break to learn more about the Law of the Generic and branding a book series.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Coming Home to the Final Stretch of #Cartooning Dicky still FREE at http://bit.ly/DickyStory #Jewish #inspirational #RomCom #Smashwords

Tah-dah!!

Update: I keep finding things to update, clean up, add and tweak. Plus I need to finish the right hand and keepah! Scroll down to see the current update.

I'm getting so close now! I've added trim to his shirt (edit: I've added more ;-)) but I'm still not sure how (or even *if*) I want to do the front closure...might just leave it plain, like "hidden velcro" or something. (edit: actually it's already done, scroll down to see) You never know, this story is set in the future after all ;-) hey, that's my excuse and I think I'm sticking to it (get it? stickin? velcro? Yeah, I'm a little slap-happy after working at the pixel level on this guy).

I am actually close enough now that I can believe it's possible to have this done for a relaunch on August 1st! He just needs to be holding a keepah (the hardest thing for me to draw is fabric, could you have guessed?) (edit: I have the keepah outline sketched but need to fix up the hand holding it and make the fabric "fold" like fabric does when "clutched" - that alone could take 3 days!)

Once I get him drawn, the fonts will take minutes and that's it! Well, I'll probably reconsider the hardback option since I've had well over 100 requests for one and now, I'll have halfway decent cover art to put on it ^)^ I might even start marketing the book *gasp* What a concept! 

Don't forget that Dicky's Story is free all this month at Smashwords. Until midnight (Pacific Time) on July 31, 2012 you can get your FREE copy by clicking here  (http://bit.ly/DickyStory). As a "paying" customer (use the "SSWIN" coupon code to "pay" $0.00 for it),  you'll be entitled to a free update when the new artwork is released.





Edited as of July 26th....

Oooohhhh...ahhhhhh....



This has bee updated yet again and you can see the July 29th version on the Webbiegrrl Writer Facebook Page but I'm determined to get the new cover laid out and ready to reissue the whole book on Wed. August 1st.

Look for it here:
http://bit.ly/DickyStory
(free until 7/31)

TUESDAY TIP: #Shelfari #BookExtras How to Get Started #howto #indie #pubtip

A while back, I did a 2-part Tuesday Tip on Shelfari Book Extras. Part 1 introduced what the general reading public thinks these suckers are, exactly, and Part 2 talked about how I felt Book Bloggers could get involved in using them for free publicity (for themselves and for the sake of the book, in a symbiotic relationship).

Because the #1 response I got from Book Bloggers and Authors alike was "Oh yeah, I'll have to look into how to use those" and pretty much no one did (based on my follow-on inquiries about how they liked this feature), I've decided to do a little mini-series of Tuesday Tips on how to use Book Extras. Today, I'll start with the basics: setting up the account and making yourself an official Author.

Monday, July 23, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Branding Law 11 (for Indie Authors) Fellowship #branding #positioning #promo #indie #pubtip #myWANA #IAN1 #WLCAuthor

  some image rights reserved by Paulo Brandã
Welcome back to my marketing series on Branding (for Indie Authors). Over the course of this series, we're talking about the marketing activity called branding and how it applies to our Indie Author business model.

The ideas are the same as in any other sales situation. You create a brand to sell products, the same way a store creates a category to sell brands. 
For example, all brands of cereal are typically sold on the cereal aisle (or category) of a grocery store. All Thriller novels (theoretically) are in the Thriller category of a book store.

So what happens when you follow the Law of Category (Immutable Law of Branding 8 or Immutable Law of Marketing 2) and Law of Leadership (Immutable Law of Marketing 1) and spawn a new subgenre of Thriller that is uniquely you? To find out what happens next, click through the jump-break.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TUESDAY TIP Payments and Promos

Today's Tuesday Tip is a roundup of all the recent news and changes that have been going on at Smashwords and in the payments arena of eBooks generally. If you're keeping apprised of the news at the Smashwords Blog, you won't find anything new here. If you haven't had time to keep up, I can relate and I'll summarize for you. Click through.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Ongoing Saga of Cartooning Dicky: One hand down, one to go! http://bit.ly/DickyStory #Jewish #inspirational #romantic #comedy #ebook #free

So last October (yeah, in 2011) I started trying to cartoon a new left hand for Dicky. I'd done this one but wanted to "tilt" the hand up to give it more expression. So finally, after 9 months, this baby is done. Compare it to the October version. Doesn't it look better with his hand up? Yeah, pretty much the same but I like it better. Click the image to see a larger version.

But wow! It takes me foooorrrreevvvverrrrrr to cartoon! I'm not bad at it, but I sure take a while. Part of the problem is I am a compulsive perfectionist. Another part of the problem is I'm not cartooning as much as I am drawing - big difference is that in cartooning "less is more" rules every line and stroke whereas in drawing "devil's in the details" can make or break your art. Anyway, I might have to do some more "stress marks" on his shirt but I'm going to keep it simple, like this, for the sake of expediting this cover art.

All I have left now is to draw a bent right arm with a right hand holding a sort of half-crumpled keepah (the little black skullcap he's holding in Chapter 20 when he hears the little voice, not his own, and turns his head like this ^)^ I do so like that I have actually drawn the instant in that scene! So kewel to finally get one image out of my head. Only took me 51 years (haha) Okay, I drew my first picture (not counting writing my name 100 times on the wall in multiple colors of crayon at age 3) around at age 4 or 5 so probably only 40 some odd years to get here but still.... wow.

Edited: I've gotten started on the right arm and am using a photo of me holding a winter hat as a "mockup model" for sketching the keepah. I promise it will turn into a proper Black Coat keepah ^)^ Also cleaned up the left elbow (location was too high) and added some nice "action lines" for that "moving hair" and the tassels. It's starting to come together!

Not a clue if I can get that right arm done by August 1st however, once I do, I can slap some "fun font" text on there and I'm good to go with a new cover and re-release of Coming Home (Dicky's Story). At that point, when I relaunch, the price is going up to $5.99 so get it now while the getting's good.

For now, and the entire month of July, it is FREE at Smashwords, as part of the annual site-wide Summer/Winter blowout sale. I hope you'll get a copy either free or for pay. It's a fun, fun story of a Jewish faith walk. Not your usual "Inspirational Romance."

MONDAY MARKETING Branding Laws 9 + 10 (for Indie Authors) Names + Extensions #indie #pubtip #promo #selfpub #branding

  some image rights reserved by Paulo Brandã
Welcome back to my marketing series on Branding (for Indie Authors). Over the course of this series, we're talking about branding as it applies to our business model but the ideas are the same as in any sales situation. You create a brand to sell products, the same way a store creates a category to sell brands. For example, all brands of cereal are typically sold on the cereal aisle of a grocery store. All Thriller novels (theoretically) are in the Thriller category of a book store.

The difference for our industry, of course, is that your brand should be a narrowly-focused idea that will sell your products and only your products (your brand does not sell all Thrillers, only your Thrillers).

A brand is an idea in the mind of the consumer which has the power to influence purchasing decisions.

After reading the above definition of branding, you might think a brand is merely a book cover--or series of book cover designs tied together by a graphic theme. I'll grant you, a themed book cover will, in fact, "influence purchasing decisions" and create "an idea in the mind of the consumer." Book cover artwork, however, is not branding. Today's look at two Immutable Laws of Branding will examine how the name on the book cover influences purchasing decisions more than the artwork . Click through to get started.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TUESDAY TIP I hate spiders but I'd suffer the buggy for this iPhone! #techtoys (via @mashable + Ciccarese Design))

Okay, anyone who's known me more than 5 minutes knows I have a cheapo Android smartphone from Cricket and I hate it, despite being practically surgically connected to it like it's my virtual lifeline. You know, like this:


Okay, not exactly like that but would that I could! More to the point, would that my smartphone was smart enough to grab my wrist and hang on by itself...then again, the spider factor is kind of yuck. (Browse through all of Ciccarese's spidery iPhone visualizations here.) People who've met me in real life know, any bug that crawls into my pervue for more than 2.5 seconds is dead meat. Any bug. Any time. I am as fast (or arguably, faster) than your average housecat--and just as lethal. I hate bugs. Spiders included.

I would tolerate the spider-ness here because I have lusted after an iPhone since they first came out. I mean, I got a Droid from Cricket (another foul bug) so obviously the bug aspect is something I can get over to enjoy my techtoys. Of course I only opted for the Cricketphone because it was cheap cheap cheap (like me). This imaginary iPhone would not be cheap - hey, it'd be from Apple, let's not forget. They don't know how to spell cheeeep.

Federico Ciccarese has a lot of eloquent Apple design ideas here. It's fun just to browse through his mind on that blog. For instance, it's rumored (here on MacRumors) that Apple will actually come out with this smaller 7.85" iPad Ciccarese visualized to battle Amazon's Kindle Fire. Federico thought it first ^)^  Which would you prefer? An Amazon/Google/Droid tablet you get pre-configured to do Amazon and only Amazon OR a lightweight iPad that can do Amazon and everyone else, too? Uh, yeah, I'm gonna have to go with the iPad. My all-time favorite eToy EH-VAH!

I especially like the OneMoreFace project (Ciccarese's Intellectual Property design is for sale)




What's Next....
Next Monday we'll have a new entry in the Immutable Laws of Branding (for Indie Authors) series. Be sure to stop by. Don't forget to follow @webbiegrrl on Twitter for news and updates all week long or "like" the Webbiegrrl Writer Facebook Page for photo-sharing treats :) Yes, I've become addicted to sharing pics on Facebook. I confess. It's true. ((hangs head in shame))

Monday, July 9, 2012

MONDAY MARKETING Branding Law 8 (for Indie Authors) Category #strategy #positioning #branding #promo #indie #pubtip #myWANA

  some image rights reserved by Paulo Brandã
It's been a couple of weeks and I am all moved, though far from settled into the new digs. I wish I could have a couple more weeks "off" to catch up (LOL) but no. Welcome back to my marketing series on Branding (for Indie Authors). Over the course of this series, I've tried to help you understand what branding is but let me repeat the definition of branding since we've been away a little while.

A brand is an idea in the mind of the consumer which has the power to influence purchasing decisions.

After reading that definition, you might think a brand is merely a book cover--or series of book cover designs tied together by a theme. It's far more powerful than that, though I'll grant you, a themed book cover will, in fact, "influence purchasing decisions" and create "an idea in the mind of the consumer."

The question is, do you want your brand to be the one, individual book (or series of books) with that specific book cover design or do you want your brand to be an idea which encompasses all of the stories you write, collectively, as though they are a unique category of book called "books by you"? We'll look at the latter in today's discussion of Immutable Law of Branding 8 (for Indie Authors): Law of Category. Click through to get started if you have written--or want to write--more than one book.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TUESDAY TIP: Guest Carrie @PeevishPenman Bailey on Zombies at #Goodreads #promo #marketing #indie #pubtip #myWANA #goodreads

The Webbiegrrl Blizzard is still held at bay by Webbiegrrl's real life and I'll return with Immutable Law 8 of Branding (for Indie Authors) next Monday, July 9, 2012. However, today I have the pleasure to sharing with you a guest post by a wise Kiwi I ran across on Goodreads. Carrie Bailey (aka one half of @PeevishPenman) shares with us this Tuesday some tips on how to avoid joining the Zombie Army of Spammers on Goodreads who are alienating the 9 million readers, sending them running to the hills for their shotguns at the first sign of a shelf-promoting Indie Author.

It hurts everyone when a small group behaves badly, so please click through and read this very good advice on how to attract, not repel, readers to the Indie Author community. I've edited slightly for Americanized English and to flow it here on the blog, but this is from Carrie, even if it looks just like what I've been saying all along. (There's gotta be a reason for that!) I've added my notes in ((-webbiegrrl)) style after her enumerated tips. Be sure to tweet @PeevishPenman to let Carrie know what you think of her ideas.