Tuesday, March 12, 2013

TUESDAY TIP Removing Hidden Bookmarks in MS Word #howto #indie #selfpub #pubtip @markcoker

Welcome to my last Tuesday Tip blog for a while. For more on why that is, see the "What's Next..." section at the end of the post. To all my regular readers, thank you for your ongoing support.

Since my 30,000 Hit Giveaway in December, I've averaged about 5,000 hits a month and am at just under 45,000 Hits now. I'm surprised, flattered and blessed to have such a devoted following.

I hope you know I shan't go away entirely. I'll be posting on the Webbiegrrl Writer Facebook Page or filling the @webbiegrrl Twitterstream with interesting tweets I run across but I think the decision to take a rejuvenating break and refocus myself, my blog and my future is a long-time coming.

Today I'll illustrate for you one last useful tip every Indie Author must have: how to rid your book of the ever-annoying  "Hidden" bookmarks in Microsoft Word. Click through the jump break for the full monty ^)^

Monday, March 11, 2013

MONDAY MARKETING Content is Still King #branding #pubtip #indie #selfpub

Welcome to my last marketing blog for a while. For more on why that is, see the "What's Next..." section at the end of the post. If you're just interested in reading today's post, click through the jump break.

Today, I'm going to talk about a favorite topic of Indie Authors: words. No word is ever taken alone and we Indie Authors rarely offer just one. Every word we offer, however, will be received by the listener or reader in a pre-existing context of their mind. Each word we choose carries connotations, a point I touched on last week. The key, therefore, is to use words that will create the connotations or perception to match your Author Brand, and thereby maintain your position -- or establish one if you're still working on getting inside your readers' minds.

What's amazing to me is that we writers don't choose our words more carefully. Click through the jump break for more on this puzzling phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TUESDAY TIP #Amazon's Latest Hostile Move + 6 Tips to Revive Dead Sales Records @markcoker @Cassie629 @Dranea79

Okay, the officially Tuesday Tip is here. I am not a fan of Amazon's business practices, as regular readers will know. I don't object to the Kindle Store as a concept. I object to the way Amazon runs the business and treats the content providers--Indie Authors, specifically. I've been online "forever" and I actually remember when Amazon.com first opened. The slogan "World-Class Customer Service" was there from the start, but in the 1990s, Jeff Bezos started moving further and further away from his customer's needs and more towards his company's growth.

I don't like exclusionary or restrictive attitudes in general and especially not in an industry where openness and availability are key to success. Amazon's latest hostile move is a refusal to pay Affiliates advertising fees to any site that "primarily" promotes free Kindle eBooks, where "primarily" is a term that will be defined by data only Amazon will have access to review. This news came at the start of Read an eBook Week with tens of thousands of eBooks going on promo as free free free to drive traffic to Indie Authors' Amazon pages. Not exactly a way to say thank you to your content providers or highest referring URLs, is it?

On the upside of the coin, however, Mark Coker, found of Smashwords, decided to blog "6 Tips" of advice to Indie Authors on how to make their books more appealing--and he encouraged participation in the site-wide promotional catalog he set up for the week-long event this week. The contrast is, I hope, obvious. Click through to read more from both sides of this Digital Publishing coin.

Monday, March 4, 2013

2 Tips in Favor of #FREE for #ebookweek #RAEW #indie #selfpub @markcoker @SadieSForsythe @amandapalmer @ThisIsSethsBlog

It may not be Tuesday but I have too many tips to jam-pack them all into one post this week, so I'm posting half of the discussion half a day early. I know you'll all hate me (not). Some of this stuff is time-sensitive and it's all inter-connected in my mind, so soak it all in overnight and come back tomorrow for the "real" Tuesday Tip. Here are the highlights of what's beyond the jump-break today:
(1) Read an eBook Week, the annual event first started by Rita Y. Toews in 2004 to promote public awareness of Digital Publishing and of course, to promote literacy around the world began on Sunday March 3d and runs through Sat March 9th. I've got 4 books entered under my 3 pen names; how's about you?
    (2) Fan Patronage of the Arts as promoted by singer/songwriter/performance artist, Amanda Palmer and her "Art of Asking" speech to a TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) audience. Her move was considered radical--still is--but it's an old idea. My #1 favorite model was described in March, 2008 by Kevin Kelly in his 1000 True Fans model. Even his naming of this concept wasn't the original idea but his supporting articles (linked at the end of the 1000 True Fans post) are well-worth reading!
      Click through the jump break to read more about each topic.

      MONDAY MARKETING Publicity without Press Releases #indie #selfpub #pubtip #mywana #pr #promo

      In last week's Monday blog, I discussed some of the various ways Indie Authors could pursue publicity opportunities by sending out press releases, including the acquisition of a "Keystone Placement" which could later be turned into a credential.

      For instance, for Digital Publishers, a review by Publishers Weekly could deliver a high ROI (Return on Investment) because Publishers Weekly is the leading trade magazine of our industry. Unfortunately, for Indie Authors, there's a hefty fee of $149 to purchase a "subscription" to PW Select which entitles you to request a review and only 25% of the PW Select books actually do get selected and reviewed.

      If you have $149 to spend on the gamble, however, your investment could produce a quotable quote that helps you sell books. It all depends on how good the review you get really is -- and how good a spin doctor you are in terms of extracting a marketable quote from the review.

      Not all of us have money to burn on a risky gamble, myself definitely being included in the tight-purse-strings group, so this week, I'll look at how to publicize your Brand without sending out press releases. It's more work for you, but it's an otherwise no-cost effort. Your time is money but doing marketing work is time or money well-spent. Click through to learn how.

      Tuesday, February 26, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP 3 Social Media Styles for #Indie #Authors #selfpub #pubtip #promo

      Over the last couple of weeks, my favorite social media trade publication, Mashable, has run a few articles on different styles of social media presence for different kinds of businesses. None of them was written in a way making the advice immediately obvious to an Indie Author or other Digital Publishing professionals. However, I immediately saw how it translated into my own activities, so I thought I'd "translate" for the rest of you. Click through to get the scoop.

      Monday, February 25, 2013

      MONDAY MARKETING Dating UR Publicity #marketing #promotion #publicity #pubtip #indie #selfpub #promo

      One of my favorite "advice columns" on how to query an Editor is Kit Whitfield's Dating Your Publisher, wherein she discusses the inappropriate things some newbie authors say or the way a newbie might say the right thing in such a very wrong way. Writing your press releases is another opportunity for catching foot-in-mouth disease. There's a right way and a wrong way to say things--and it's not just about promoting your brand, rather than your product. It's about drawing attention, standing out from the crowd and most-importantly, doing it with class.

      The secret to doing publicity well is not limited to avoiding being too bland. Understanding how to write good press is also about not offending the consumer by being too personal, too lewd, too shocking, too...anything. You need to channel your inner Goldilocks and make your publicity "just right" the first time because you never get a second first impression. Click through the jump break to read more.

      Tuesday, February 19, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP Crafting a Book Sales Page Like the Pros #pubtip #selfpub #indie #mywana #howto #amwriting

      I've been struggling with book descriptions or so-called "blurbage." I've seen some really great ones on books that don't really sell well, but more than 1-2 copies a week. Then I've seen mediocre blurbage on books that sell incredibly well--10-20 copies a day! I've been trying to figure out why one works and the other doesn't by analyzing the blurbages, themselves. I'm coming to the conclusion, it's not just the blurbage. But, of course, I already knew that.

      Back in 2011 I wrote a 2-part post on 7 sales tools you have for selling your books. Make sure you're using them all! Then this past December, I went over 5 easy steps for writing a book's description. As I've said in both of these posts, there's more to your sales page than "just" the blurbage. You have to actually sell the book. Who knew? Click through the jump break to read more.

      Monday, February 18, 2013

      MONDAY MARKETING The Good, The Bad, The Useless - Not All PR is Equal #pubtip #selfpub #indie #marketing #branding #pr #promotion #publicity #positioning

      Back in this December 17th post, I was talking about divergence and how it relates to the marketing activity of branding. That is, how the Law of Division guarantees that a category will split off and how the Law of Category makes that happen. Then my discussion launched off into a divergence of its own, turning to how Publicity (or PR) can help launch a new brand. Because divergence is the way to go, today I'll focus once again on using PR to launch a new brand. Click through the jump break to begin.

      Tuesday, February 12, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP - Tool Review: @Wacom Bamboo Capture Tablet #cartooning #bookcovers #indie #selfpub #bamboo

      Back with another Tuesday Tip tool review.

      Last week I started this review with the Wacom Bamboo Solo Pen that I got for use with my iPad. This week, I'll look at the other Wacom products I bought at the same time, as part of my strategic solution for continuing work cartooning art for my book covers.

      Specifically, today I'll look at the Wacom Bamboo Capture Tablet and its associated Wireless Accessory Kit. Click through the jump break to see what I think of it all.

      Monday, February 11, 2013

      MONDAY MARKETING Building a Trend Called Trust #branding #marketing #pubtip #indie #selfpub

      Welcome back to my Monday Marketing blog. I've previously discussed the difference between a "fad" and a "trend" (not to mention the recurring fad, which is called a "fashion"). You can learn more about it in Chapter 21 of my marketing handbook (get The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (for Indie Authors) from Smashwords). Basically, the difference is the speed at which the publicity builds. Hence, the name Law of Acceleration.

      Today I want to discuss the effect on "trust" that a fad (versus a trend) can have on an Author Brand Name's success. Click through the jump break to learn more.

      Saturday, January 26, 2013

      Webbiegrrl Blog Closed for 2 wks - Reopening Feb 11th

      Update: Feb. 1, 2013: I've been home sick all week. I guess the 7-day-a-week pace burned me out after a mere 2 weeks *eep* I'll be back to regular blogging on Monday, February 11, 2013 but to tide you over, given this is SuperBowl Sunday weekend and you know that although I loathe sports, I loooooove SuperBowl ads, check out this review/discussion and slideshow from HuffPo. WELL worth clicking through.

      I watched all 34 clips. As always, Doritos has the most entertaining and memorable ads. Also most-readily "relevant." Most of the ads taht were cute had nothing to do with the products. Sadly, the product is making the ad famous instead of the other way around (which I've discussed in my recent PR vs. advertising blog).

      I'm not sure what the auto industry ad-makers are thinking these days but the car ads get further and further from having anything at all to do with cars. It's sad. The worst offender was the new VW ad which mixes and mashups the Rastafan Bob Marleyisms with (*choke*) The Partridge Family's song (C'mon Get Happy). Talk about getting it wrong!

      Another ad that just got it wrong was the new Pepsi Next ad but Pepsi bought the halftime show for Beyonce so I suppose we shall see how much ROI they really get. I'm not, personally, a fan of Beyonce, but she's a fairly huge name and should blind plenty of fans to the idiocy of the Pepsi ads.

      The only one worse than all of those was the direction of miO's new spokesperson: They chose one of the world's most offensive people who is not actually funny enough to make up for the offensiveness. He does have a role on a popular TV show, though, so I guess popular humor is on the offense now? Bummer, I had had high hops for the future of miO, the water additive for sports enthusiasts. They really wasted their Game Day dollars by going for offensive humor instead of say, the way Gatorade launched the "Is it in you?" campaign with theirs (years ago and still a strong branding campaign!)

      I'm not going to bother recording the game this year to watch the ads afterwards. I'll catch the playlists on YouTube or AdAge and not waste the DVR space. Looking forward to the Twitter action though. I'll be in bed, phone a buzzin' ^)^ Where will you be on Game Day?

      See you back here Feb. 11th, assuming I recover from this flu bug *cough cough*


      Tuesday, January 22, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP Tool Review: @Wacom Bamboo Stylus for #iPad #digitizer #writing #cartooning #product #review

      Today's Tuesday Tip is a tool review. I recently bought a collection of new tools with which I am (hopefully) going to be continuing my cartooning of book covers with more ease than I've been suffering by doing pixel-level work on my Windows laptop until now. I've been working in Photoshop using an older, pressure-sensitive Wacom Intuos tablet I've had for years. I've been a user and fan of Wacom tablets since they first came out. However, I wanted something wireless--and I wanted the option of working not only on my laptop but also on my iPad.

      Since I already own the iPad app version of AutoDesk's Sketchbook Pro (but haven't used it much because working with my fingertips is not as easy as it sounds), I wanted a solution that would work on both my Window s laptop and on the iPad without having to switch mental gears for a different hardware environment.

      Click through the jump break to read my review of the Solo Stylus for the iPad, which is the only thing I've had time so far to use enough to review for you.

      Monday, January 21, 2013

      MONDAY MARKETING Building a Brand w/PR #branding #marketing #pubtip #indie #selfpub

      In last week's blog, we discussed using advertising as a hook for launching your PR campaign, making publicity the focus of your branding efforts, not an advertising "gimmick" the core of your brand definition. That is, the classical ad-centered paradigm was turned upsidedown (or right side up *wink*).

      This week, I wanted to touch on how to use PR to actually build an unknown brand because most of us Indie Authors have a brand recognition problem to overcome with our readers--at least, at first. Click through the jump break to read more.

      Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP A Creative "Common Understanding" for #Smashwords #eBooks in American Libraries #pubtip #indie #selfpub

      If you're an Indie Author in the USA or at least familiar with the American reading culture, you'll know that for many readers, the first stop is not the Kindle Store or any eTailer. The first stop for a book they are uncertain about buying is to go the library and get a copy free of charge, to try before they buy. Most readers, when asked, report that they do actually buy a copy of the book if they enjoyed it enough to ever read it a second time. If they didn't, well, they might try another by that author but they won't spend money on an author's work unless or until they "know" they like it--by free lending from their local library system.

      Why am I mentioning this? Because all the way back in 2011, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords (my eBook distributor) started working on closing deals with various Library Consortium entities and individual Library Systems or Library Associations (e.g., American Library Association or ALA) and a new document was published late last week (on January 11, 2013). Click through to read more about Libraries and how they affect you as a Smashwords Author/Publisher.

      Monday, January 14, 2013

      MONDAY MARKETING Advertising: The Hook for Your Publicity #marketing #branding #pubtip #indie #selfpub

      Over the last several weeks, I've talked about launching a new category (Marketing Law of Leadership, see also Chapter 1 of my marketing handbook) but I've only just touched on how to do this. It's not that I'm avoiding the question, but it's not a clear 1-2-3 step process, and of course, the approach necessarily varies for each unique brand. All of these various journeys, however, will arrive at the same place if they are to succeed: generating publicity for the brand. Click through to read more about how to launch a brand and how PR picks up where advertising fails.

      Tuesday, January 8, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP Bonus: Giving Away ur Gift Horse's Mouth #indie #pubtip #selfpub

      A few weeks ago, I ran a Ginormous 30,000 Hit Giveaway. Shortly afterwards, I wrote a Tuesday Tip on the meaning of giveaway and gifting as a result of several authors not actually delivering books their winners could own. Instead, they were emailing files around as though that were "gifting a book" to the winners. In my followup post, I tried to note how self-defeatist this behavior was but I think I was so focused on "reporting the misbehavior" that I forgot to advise in a positive way on why you shouldn't do it.

      As I was catching up on my reading of Joe Konrath's blog, I saw he beat this dead horse over the holidays as well. Click through the jump break for more on the self-destruction of not gifting books in a giveaway.

      TUESDAY TIP Creating & Using ur Own EPUB source file #selfpub #indie #pubtip @calibreforum #calibre @GuidoHenkel

      Smashwords is my eBook distributor. They also are my means of reaching several of the Great American Library systems. They are my "window to the world" of Digital Publishing and Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, is my primary source of what options are available to an Indie Publisher who is not exclusive to Amazon (i.e., not enrolled the KDP Select program).

      Mark has done a lot of marvelous things and I've thanked him on blog posts, via Twitter and in emails but I think the man is doing a fairly thankless job. I still hear plenty of newbies coming along, villifying Smashwords and the Meatgrinder script (which translates MS Word files into eBooks) as being difficult to work with and turning out terribly-formatted products.

      Today I'll address that complaint specifically and discuss publishing and distributing via Smashwords, generally, as well as looking at the idea of using the new (in Beta) Smashwords Direct system with an ePub file to circumvent the Meatgrinder. Click through the jump-break if this stuff interests you. If not, I hope to see you next Monday for more Marketing advice. Thanks for stopping by!

      Monday, January 7, 2013

      MONDAY MARKETING Non-Traditional #Marketing for Non-Traditional Publishing #pubtip #indie #selfpub #indie #branding #publicity

      In last week's blog, I defined the Advertising Problem and the PR Solution. Whatever you call the function (publicity, PR, Public Relations, "press") the objective is the same. You need to tell your story, make your Brand Name known, through a third-party outlet, primarily the media. You won't get anywhere by simply "throwing money at the problem" and buying ad space or air time, but that's been the traditional approach. Welcome to the Digital Publishing industry where nothing "traditional" reigns supreme and everything "Indie" is preferred. Click through the jump break for more "non-traditional" ideas.

      Tuesday, January 1, 2013

      TUESDAY TIP Your Permalink at Kobo Books #pubtip #selfpub #kobo #howto #indie

      If you're like me, the mere mention of Kobo Books conjurs up a sense of frustration. The Canadian-based bookseller has held such potential and yet cut themselves off at the knees by virtue of incredibly poor execution of their technology.

      I'm not referring to their Kobo Reader apps (which are DRM-encrypted, a Very Bad Idea for anyone) but rather the way Kobo Books made it next to impossible to find a book on their web site.

      Kobo has had the ridiculous habit of consistently changing the URL of a book on sale in the Kobo Store making it virtually impossible to find--therefore, completely impossible to promote. That is, if the link you tweet is obsolete by the time a user clicks on it, how can you possibly drive traffic to this kind of moving target? Click through to learn more.