Setting up an Editorial Calendar

It Can be Hard to Stop Coming Up with Content Ideas, So Create an Editorial CalendarEarlier this week, I shared “9 Ways to Generate Content Ideas.” The problem is, once you get started generating ideas, it may be hard to stop.

So, what do you do with all of the new ideas?

You create an editorial calendar! This calendar will allow you to organize and prioritize your posts so that your blog starts to gain some continuity.

Rather than random thoughts shared here and there, each post can build on the one before, or introduce one that’s to come after. [Read more…]

9 Ways to Generate Content Ideas

9 Ways to Generate Content IdeasOne of the most common questions I’m asked by someone new to blogging is:

But what will I write about?

The short answer is that you should write about the things you know about and have experience with. Yet, even that answer can leave you scratching your head trying to come up with content ideas.

So, here are just 9 of the ways that I jump-start my writing process. There are plenty more where these came from… [Read more…]

Using Current Events to Connect with Your Audience

I’m sure you’ve heard it said, time and time again, that your content has to be relevant to your readers. One of the ways of doing that is to make your content timely. In other words, to write in response to current events.

My friend, Kurt Shaver, from The Sales Foundry wrote a great blog post this week called “Social Selling and The Final: How to Strengthen Relationships.”

NCAA Final Four logoIn it, he uses the example of The Final 4 in basketball as a catalyst for strengthening your network. It’s not so much content generation here, as an excuse to reach out to people you’re connected with and strengthen the bonds that you share. [Read more…]

The BookBub Experience

Geraldine Evans Today’s guest post is by Geraldine Evans, a British writer of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama. She and I met in LinkedIn’s Book Marketing group when she shared her experience using BookBub, a site that alerts interested readers to limited-time free and discounted ebooks matching their interests.

I’ve used BookBub to find new reading material for a couple of years now, but had wondered how it works out from the author’s perspective. When Geraldine shared such a comprehensive review of her experience, I asked her if she’d be willing to do the same thing here for you.

I know there are a lot of numbers involved and that sometimes you’d prefer to avoid those, but they’re worth delving into. So, sit back and enjoy! I promise you, it will get those creative juices flowing.

Are you considering paying for an ad for your book with BookBub? What are you waiting for? Go for it! You’re likely to find it’s worth every penny. Yes, it’s expensive; it was the cost that held me back. Well, that, and the comments on kboards.com/Writers’ Café. According to many members on that forum, getting your book accepted by BookBub was about as likely as flying off on Richard Branson’s spaceship.

But my book was accepted on my very first application. No, I’m not a well-known name. No, I don’t have hundreds of reviews from a dedicated coterie of readers. And I’m definitely not sleeping with the management! And the book for which I wanted the ad is in the mystery/thriller genre, one of their most popular categories. So I had lots of competition.

But, what I think may have worked in my favour is that I was willing to be flexible on my choice of date for the ad. Perhaps, too, the fact that I write mainly in series was also a no-brainer for them. Maybe they assumed I’d be only too willing to pay for further ads for each of the other books in my 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series. They wouldn’t be wrong about that as my experience with them was very positive. [Read more…]

An Interview with Shep Hyken, One Amazing Author

I met March’s Featured Author in a mastermind group we shared. As first, it was a little intimidating, since I’d known him from Twitter for some time, and considered him to “above” where I was in business. “Networking up,” as it’s called, can often be an unsettling experience.

Shep Hyken - One Amazing AuthorHowever, Shep Hyken quickly put me at ease with his easy-going nature, his genuine interest in people, and his teasing. At one particular mastermind meeting, I was meeting a friend afterward back at my hotel and Shep insisted on coming along to make sure “this guy was alright,” even though I assured him there was nothing going on between us.

But Shep’s a good guy and I appreciated him looking out for me, however misplaced the concern was.

I’m really pleased that he accepted my invitation to be a Featured Author this month, and think you’re in for a treat as he shares his experiences as a successful author and businessman.

Shep is a New York Times and WSJ best-selling author, and his latest book is called Amaze Every Customer Every Time. His field of expertise is in customer service, and he’s definitely been a pleasure to learn from both online and in person. [Read more…]

A Way for Authors to Give Back

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! 🙂

Have you ever been suddenly struck by a thought that you knew you needed to act on right away? That happened to me recently.

I was browsing one of my favorite LinkedIn groups this other day, and I saw this post that simply said:

We are proud to be a part of Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014. I’m packing up signed copies of my books… to be shipped to our troops in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the author didn’t post a link where others could find more information. But the idea appealed to me. Both my sister and brother-in-law are former military and actually met while in Kuwait (after they’d both gone back as contractors). So I wanted to learn more.

I knew from my own loved ones how important it was to have diversions (movies, books, magazines, good ole American junk food, etc.) and other things that made you momentarily feel like you were back at home.

Authors give back by Supporting Our TroopsA quick Google search yielded a Facebook event page and a blog post shedding more light on things.

The event started in January and will continue through April 15th. Its organizer, Armand Rosamilia, is collecting fellow authors’ books to send to our troops stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

He was inspired to host this year’s event when he found out that his hero, Joe McKinney, who was last year’s event coordinator, no longer had a contact to send the books to. Since packages must be addressed to a specific recipient and Armand’s “Special Gal” had a dear friend who was being sent to Kuwait in April, Armand decided to pick up where Joe left off. (You can learn more about the origins of this event here.)

He has made the special request that all books be signed by the author, believing that “the troops will love the read and also knowing the actual author sent the books or the actual publisher.”

It’s such a simple way for authors to give back, and yet will deliver a sense of “home” to those who receive and share them.

If you’re not an author, you can still support the effort by making a donation to help defray the cost of shipping the books. (Contact Armand directly if you’re interested in donating.) And anyone is welcome to buy a t-shirt to commemorate their involvement.

At the time of this writing, 485 people are participating in this event, and over 1,100 autographed books have already been sent to Armand to support our troops. That’s an awful lot of authors deciding to give back. But there’s always room for more!

I added my name among them, as have a few of my friends. I know it was hard for my sister when she was stationed in Kuwait. She didn’t want to worry us here at home, so often didn’t share the details of what was going on in her life. It’s only recently, years later, that she’s started to share some of it with me.

If being inspired, challenged or entertained by any of my books helps a soldier who is far from home escape for a little while, it’s the least that I can do. After all, they’ve sacrificed so much more for us and for our freedoms.

Won’t you join me in supporting this effort? Pledge your books, buy a t-shirt, or donate some money to defray the shipping costs. Every little bit counts!

And leave a comment below to show your support. For every comment left this week, I’ll donate one of my autographed books to the effort (up to 10 copies of each of my printed books).

5 Good Reasons Why You Need the Expertise of Professional Website Designers

Today’s guest post is from Tiffany Olson, who works at Optimize Worldwide in California, a small web development company that specializes in search engine friendly web design. Some of her hobbies include doing yoga, cooking, and reading.

Computer with Website Designed by Aleweb Social MarketingIn this day and age, marketing your next book or your next big talk requires a functioning website to serve as the face of your project on the Internet. However, a site that isn’t effective at making a positive first impression on its visitors doesn’t add any value and can actually end up undermining it.

Many people believe that creating a website is simple and they can save a few dollars by making it a DIY project, but more often than not, this doesn’t produce the lucrative results they desire. A well-built site can help to make projects and business ventures very profitable, and to achieve this, it usually takes the experience and know-how of professional website designers. [Read more…]

Perseverance: A Must-Have for Authors to Be Successful

Becoming a published author is not an easy task. I’m sure you’re already aware of that… While writing may seem like the hard part, you have to think about how to design and format the book, find a publisher, secure endorsements, market the book, and promote it when the writing and editing is done.

You’ll probably even have a moment or two where you consider giving up.

When it comes to being a successful author, the key is perseverance. Tweet: When it comes to being a successful author, the key is perseverance. #success #writing http://ctt.ec/hY_lq+ #aleweb

Keep reading for tips on how you can dig in and persevere through the hardest parts of being an author.

No matter what step you’re working on in the writing process, perseverance is the key.

Forget About Your Comfort Zone

Bob Parsons, GoDaddy founder, has a list of 16 “rules for survival,” many of which can be applied to surviving and thriving as an author.

His first rule is to “get and stay out of your comfort zone.”

(You can read the rest of his rules here.)

Writing, publishing and marketing a book isn’t an easy process. If you’re unwilling to step out of your comfort zone, achieving your goals can be much more difficult than it needs to be.

The truth is, things rarely get done while you’re safe and warm in your comfort zone. [Read more…]

7 Tips for Successfully Finding Volunteer Book Reviewers

It’s the blessing and the curse of living in an increasingly interconnected world. Finding out what other people think of things is incredibly easy. As a shopper, this is helpful. However, as an independent author, getting people to read and write book reviews is now mandatory if you want to succeed, and finding people to do that honestly can be a huge and time-consuming challenge.

Take this conversation that I started on LinkedIn, for example. I was preparing for the release of my latest book, “The Best is Yet to Come,” and decided to find out what recommendations other authors had for finding reviewers. For those who are budget-poor and time-rich, they provided some great ideas.

[Read more…]

How I Got More Book Reviews Using Story Cartel

StoryCartel logoI’m often asked by my clients how to go about getting book reviews for their latest title. I have a few of my own ideas, but thought I’d open up the question to members of the Book Marketing group on LinkedIn. It was there that I learned about a site I’d never heard of before called Story Cartel. I thought you might like to hear about it too.

If you are willing to offer your book in digital form on Story Cartel for 30 days, and can offer $30 worth of Amazon gift cards for a contest, volunteers will download your book (for free), read it, post an honest book review on Amazon (and wherever else you request), notify Story Cartel of their review, and then be entered into a drawing for one of the gift cards. There are three winners (that’s why 3 are needed).

The idea intrigued me, but I wanted to make sure it was worthwhile before recommending it to my readers. [Read more…]