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.