First Edition Design Publishing

Publisher – Aggregator – Master Distributor

July 25, 2014

This is a continuation in the author entrepreneur series of articles. Recently, I posted the arc of the indie author from first book to CEO of your global business.

money flowersToday we’re focusing on the various business models that authors can use to generate revenue and satisfy customers.

Of course, many authors have day jobs which is a great way to pay the bills and writing can then be for fun or extra income, but this article is aimed at authors who are intent on going full-time in this business.

Why do you need to define your business model?

Defining your business model can help keep you focused. Opportunities expand as your profile grows and keeping your business model top of mind can help you say no to things that distract you. [I need to remind myself of this all the time!]

For example, renowned indie author JA Konrath states, “I gave up on public appearances a few years ago, because of diminishing returns. They were indeed fun, but the cost and time away from writing wasn’t worth it to me.”

My business model includes professional speaking as well as being an author, but recently I have started to turn down speaking work in order to focus more on the writing and only taking interesting speaking events, like Sweden in September. I’ll be sharing my business plan at some point soon, but in considering where to focus my efforts, these were the most common business models I discovered – and some people mix and match between them.

Business model 1: Non-fiction books with info products, speaking and consulting

Many non-fiction authors make more money from the ‘back-end’ of their books, rather than from book sales alone. This includes information product sales, professional speaking and consulting/coaching services. The book acts more as a business card as well as providing qualified leads and kudos for the author. The book itself doesn’t need to make any money – it’s the other services available that are more important for cashflow.

jack canfieldBig name speakers like Antony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki and Jack Canfield are examples of where the back end business is worth far more than the book sales. Recently, the Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort has started to use this model. He wrote the bestselling book that became the film in prison, and is reportedly set to earn $100 million from speaking events and course sales in 2014. He has said that he makes more from this new business model than he did from stock trading. Of course, that’s an extreme example and you may disagree with his ethics – but it’s a good example of how the business model works.

A more authentic example is Chris Brogan, author of ‘The Freaks Shall Inherit The Earth,’ and other books. Chris is a highly paid professional speaker, consults for large corporates on marketing, as well as producing Owner magazine and online training courses for bloggers. In terms of indies, Jim Kukral of Author Marketing Club also primarily uses this model, providing author services, consulting and professional speaking as well as writing non-fiction books.

sark juicy pensYou can also include those authors who write non-fiction books for writers. For example, SARK, of the wildly colorful creativity books, has online courses, as does Julia Cameron from The Artist’s Way.

storyRobert McKee, who wrote the must-read ‘Story,’ has an extensive online video membership program, as well as running multi-day speaking events for premium prices. I’m a professional speaker, and all my tips on speaking are included in ‘Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives and Other Introverts.’ I also have multimedia courses, so I use this model as part of my business.

If you’re writing non-fiction, consider how you can turn that into other products to offer more to your customers.

Business model 2: High volume fiction

For self-published or hybrid fiction authors, the model of writing fast and publishing often has become mainstream in the last few years.

It’s not a new model, as it reflects the way the pulp writers of the early 1900s wrote, producing massive amounts of escapist fiction on cheap ‘pulp’ paper so the price could be kept low. [It does not mean the writing was bad!]

HMWardReaders ate it up like candy, and authors became well known.

This same phenomenon has emerged since ebooks went mainstream. A good indie example is H.M.Ward, who releases romance novellas every few weeks and has sold over 4 million books, as well as hitting the New York Times bestseller list 11 times in 2013. Some authors are achieving this through collaboration, for example Sean Platt writes with David Wright in the Collective Inkwell, and Sean also writes with Johnny B. Truant for Realm and Sands books. Together they produce an enormously varied number of series and a lot of books a year!

enid blytonThis is not just an indie author model.

Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books in his lifetime, Enid Blyton wrote over 600, Barbara Cartland over 700. Prolific authors still creating at a ferocious pace for their traditional publishers include R.L.Stine, the bestselling children’s author of all time, who has been known to write several books a month. There’s also Nora Roberts, who also writes under J.D.Robb and who writes a book every 45 days, writing 8 hours a day.

So ignore the people who say that writing fast means the writing is terrible! It’s just one way of doing things.

Business model 3: Sporadic books with teaching/speaking/freelance writing

Of course, not everyone wants to write books at such a prolific pace, and literary writers in particular don’t work at this fast pace.

teachingTherefore, it’s rare for a literary writer to make a full-time income from book sales alone unless that book happens to win a major prize.

So the business model for literary writers is usually to combine writing with teaching creative writing, applying for grants and prizes, or with another writing career like journalism or freelance writing. If you take a look at the prestigious Iowa Writer’s Workshop faculty, you will see famous literary writers and poets like Simon Armitage, Ian McEwan, John Irving and more, who make money through teaching as well as writing.

What business model are you aiming for?

If you want to be a full-time author, then you need to consider how your income streams will work.

Of course, these business models can be combined and my own is a combination of all of these right now. I receive income from the sales of fiction and non-fiction books, from the sale of online training courses, professional speaking and also affiliate income from my blog. There are no rules and this is a mix’n’match game!

First Edition Design eBook Publishing

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Terrific post on badredhead media

JULY 20, 2014 BY
HELPING AUTHORS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, MARKETING, AND BRANDING TO SELL MORE BOOK

Taken from rant my today on Facebook because I just couldn’t listen to the whining anymore (warning: a few choice curse words ahead). grumpy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ONE thing will not sell your books. It’s a combo of:

– a spectacular book (professionally edited, formatted, designed, proofed)
– reviews (minimum 25) within the first few weeks
– beta or ARC readers before you release
– an optimized website (professional graphics, social media icons, keywording, HTML, CSS for faster loading, etc…all to increase your SEO). Look it up.
– an active blog (once weekly minimum).
– a book trailer (share on your own site and YouTube)
– participate in memes like ‪#‎MondayBlogs‬ or chats — meet cools peeps, learn, promote others
– interactive social media (not spammy) at minimum Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (important for your Google ranking) following readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, book clubs
– groups (important to establish connections with peers)
– an eBook version (duh) Don’t care if you hate eBooks. What do your readers want?
– a virtual blog tour (won’t sell books. DOES increase visibility, SEO, reviews, connections with readers and bloggers, and Google Ranking)
– Google AdWords (get advice on how to do it correctly, study and research, or pay someone to do it for you), or FB or Goodreads or blogger ads. Something!
– Book clubs.
– Book signings.
– swag (bookmarks, pens, postcards, etc)
– guest blog guest blog guest blog (and not only about your book and how wonderful your toenails are).
– interviews
– give back, for fuck’s sake. stop talking about yourself all the damn time.

Bitch and moan that you’ve done EVERYTHING (bet you haven’t), and still haven’t sold any books. I don’t believe you. Sorry.

When you’ve done ALL of the above in great detail, and I mean everything with a concentrated effort and still haven’t sold any books, then guess what? Maybe you need to rewrite your book, or write another.

It typically takes FIVE books to start making a living on your work. FIVE. (Says who? Almost every writer who is making a living on their books –Steena HolmesBette Lee CrosbyRyne PearsonLiz SchulteHugh Howey, and on it goes).

Bottom line: focus on building relationships, people. It’s not all about you!

So stop with the whining over here about how Amazon sucks or blah blah doesn’t work (nothing is magical), pull up your big girl and big boy pants, and spend that effort writing your next blog post, book, or tweet. Or yell at me for bitching at you. I don’t care. I won’t be here.

I’ll be writing my next book TOUGH LOVE FOR WHINY WRITERS. ha.

First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts, formats and submits Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and scores of additional on-line retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company also has a POD division, which creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. The company is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with both Apple and Microsoft.

Visit: www.firsteditiondesignpublishing.com

First Edition Design Publishing

Publisher – Aggregator – Master Distributor

Another great post at Three Penny Review

by Javier Marías

 

I can think of seven reasons not to write novels:

First: There are too many novels and too many people writing them. Not only do those already written continue to exist and demand to be eternally read, but thousands more entirely new novels keep appearing in publishers’ catalogs and in bookshops around the world; then there are the many thousands rejected by publishers that never reach the bookshops, but which nonetheless exist. It is, then, a commonplace activity, one that is, in theory, within the grasp of anyone who learned to write at school, and for which no higher education or special training is required.

Second: And precisely because anyone, whatever his or her profession, can write a novel, it is an activity that lacks merit and mystery. Poets, philosophers, and dramatists do it; so do sociologists, linguists, publishers, and journalists; politicians, singers, TV presenters, and football coaches; engineers, school teachers, civil servants, and movie actors; critics, aristocrats, priests, and housewives; psychiatrists, university professors, soldiers, and goatherds. It would seem, though, that for all its lack of merit and mystery, there is still something strangely alluring about the novel—or is it simply a desirable ornament? But what is so desirable about something that lies within the reach of all professions, regardless of their previous training, prestige, or earning power? What is it about the novel?

Third: Writing a novel certainly won’t make you rich: indeed, only one in every hundred novels published—and that’s an optimistic percentage—earns a decent amount of money. The money earned is unlikely to change a writer’s life and it certainly won’t be enough to retire on. What’s more, it can take months or even years of work to write an average-length novel that some people then might want to read. Investing all that time in a task that has only a one percent chance of making any money is absurd, especially bearing in mind that these days no one—not even aristocrats and housewives—has that amount of time to spare. The Marquis de Sade and Jane Austen did, but their modern-day equivalents do not; and worse still, not even the aristocrats and housewives who don’t write but do read have time enough to read what their writing colleagues write.

Fourth: The novel is no guarantee of fame, or only a very minor fame, which could be acquired by far speedier and less laborious means. As everyone knows, the only real fame comes from television, where novelists are becoming an increasingly rare sight, unless the writer in question is there not because of the interest or excellence of his novels, but in his role as fool or clown, along with other clowns from various fields, whether artistic or not. The novels written by that truly famous novelist-turned-TV-celebrity will merely provide the tedious and soon-forgotten pretext for his popularity, which will depend less on the quality of his future works, which no one really cares about anyway, and far more on his ability to wield a walking stick, wear stylish scarves or Hawaiian shirts or hideous waistcoats, and explain how he communicates with his unorthodox God or how easily and authentically one can live among the Moors (this always goes down well in Spain). Besides, it would be nonsense to struggle to write a novel purely in order to become famous (for even if you write in the most pedestrian of styles, that, too, takes time) when nowadays one doesn’t need to do anything very much to become famous. Marriage to or an affair with a suitably prominent person and the subsequent slipstream of marital and extramarital goings-on are a far more efficient way of going about it. Or you could simply commit some indecent act or outrage, although nothing, of course, that involves a long prison sentence.

Fifth: The novel does not bring immortality, largely because immortality barely exists any more. Nor, of course, does posterity, if one understands by that the posterity of each individual: everyone is forgotten once he or she has been dead a couple of months. Any novelist who believes otherwise is living in the past and is either very conceited or very ingenuous. Given that novels last for, at most, a season, not just because readers and critics alike forget about them, but because only a few short months after a novel’s birth it will have vanished from the shelves of bookshops (always assuming there are still bookshops), it’s absurd, therefore, to imagine that our works will never perish. How can they possibly be imperishable if most of them have perished before they’re even born, or have come into the world with the life expectancy of an insect? One can no longer count on achieving enduring fame.

Sixth: Writing novels does not flatter the ego, even momentarily. Unlike movie directors or painters or musicians, who can actually see an audience’s reaction to their works and even hear their applause, the novelist never sees readers reading his book and is never there to witness their approval, excitement, or pleasure. If he’s lucky enough to sell a lot of copies, he might be able to console himself with a number, which, however large, remains just that, an impersonal, abstract number. He should also be aware that he would share those same consoling sales figures with the following: TV chefs and their recipe books, gossipy biographers of feather-brained megastars, futurologists wearing chains, beads, and even cloaks or jellabas, the poisonous daughters of actresses, fascist columnists who see fascism everywhere except in themselves, stuck-up fools giving lessons in manners, as well as other equally eminent scribes. As for receiving glowing reviews, that is highly unlikely: if a novel does get reviewed, the reviewer may let the writer off lightly the first time, but not the second; or the writer may feel that the critic likes his novel for the wrong reasons; and if none of these things happens, and the praise given is overt, generous, and intelligent, probably only about two people will read that particular review—a further source of upset and frustration to the writer.

Seventh: I will list here all the usual, boring reasons, such as the isolation in which the novelist works, his suffering as he wrestles with words and, above all, syntax, his fear of the blank page, his bruising relationship with major truths that have chosen to reveal themselves to him alone, his perpetual stand-off with the powers-that-be, his ambiguous relationship with reality, which can lead him to confuse truth with lies, his titanic struggle with his own characters, who sometimes take on a life of their own and may even run away from him (although the writer would have to be somewhat of a coward for that to happen), the vast amount of alcohol he consumes, the special and basically abnormal life you have to lead as an artist, and other such trifles that have seduced innocent or foolish souls for far too long, leading them to believe that there is a great deal of passion and torment and romanticism in the rather modest and pleasing art of inventing and telling stories.

This brings me to the one reason I can see for writing novels, which may not seem much in comparison with the preceding seven, and which doubtless contradicts one or another of them.

First and last: Writing novels allows the novelist to spend much of his time in a fictional world, which is really the only or at least the most bearable place to be. This means that he can live in the realm of what might have been and never was, and therefore in the land of what is still possible, of what will always be about to happen, what has not yet been dismissed as having happened already or because everyone knows it will never happen. The so-called realistic novelist, who, when he writes, remains firmly installed in the real world, has confused his role with that of the historian or journalist or documentary-maker. The real novelist does not reflect reality, but unreality, if we take that to mean not the unlikely or the fantastical, but simply what could have happened and did not, the very contrary of actual facts and events and incidents, the very contrary of “what is happening now.” What is “merely” possible continues to be possible, eternally possible in any age and any place, which is why we still read Don Quixote and Madame Bovary, whom one can live with for a while and believe in absolutely, rather than discounting them as impossible or passé or old hat. The only Spain of 1600 that we know and care about is the Spain of Cervantes: the Spain of an imaginary book about other imaginary books and out of which an anachronistic knight errant emerges, rather than out of what used to be or was actual reality. What we call the Spain of 1600 does not exist, although one has to assume that it did; just as the only France of 1900 that exists for us is the one Proust decided to include in his work of fiction. Earlier, I said that fiction is the most bearable of worlds, because it offers diversion and consolation to those who frequent it, as well as something else: in addition to providing us with a fictional present, it also offers us a possible future reality. And although this has nothing to do with personal immortality, it means that for every novelist there is the possibility— infinitesimal, but still a possibility— that what he is writing is both shaping and might even become the future he will never see.

(Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa)

Javier Marías, Spain’s foremost contemporary novelist, has had his work translated into more than forty languages; his most recent novel is The Infatuations, published in America by Knopf. Margaret Jull Costa has been his translator since 1992; her most recent publication is Things Look Different in the Light, a collection of stories by Medardo Fraile.

 

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Another great post from Beyond Paper Editing

Friday, 18 July 2014

by Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas
@CKMacleodwriter @CarlaJDouglas

If you’re a self-publishing author, you’ve likely either read or been told that you need to hire an editor. But a professional edit costs money, and while self-publishing gurus will recommend that it’s money well spent, not every author has the wherewithall for such an investment.

Strange words coming from two editors, right?

If a professional edit isn’t currently in your budget, what do you do? Answer: find a beta reader! While beta readers are not editors — they likely won’t have the training, years of study, practice, or the inclination to snuggle up with The Chicago Manual of Style, just for fun — we do think that they can be helpful additions to your publishing team.

 

Profile of a Beta Reader

The point of acquiring beta readers is to garner information that will help you write a better book. So ideally, at least one of your beta readers should be the kind of person who’d be most likely to buy your book. Why? Their response to your book will help you gauge which parts of the book will work for your audience, and which parts may not.

We also recommend that you find a beta reader who knows more about writing craft than you do. (As editors, you knew we’d say that, right?) Think about it. One of the best ways to get better at anything is to get feedback from someone who’s more skilled and knowledgeable than you are. And if you can find a beta reader who has read lots of books in your genre and has a clear understanding of how your genre works, you’ve struck gold.

 

Where to Find Beta Readers

One way to find beta readers is to work your social media platforms. If you’ve been spending time to develop a positive online presence and a reputation for being helpful, an unforced opportunity to ask for help may present itself.

If you’re still building your author platform, consider joining a site like Scribofile, where you can offer feedback on other people’s writing to amass “karma points,” which you can then spend on acquiring feedback for your work.Wattpad is another option for finding beta readers. You can upload your book and write a compelling blurb that inspires people to read and respond to your book.

Local writing or critique groups may be an option for face-to-face feedback. Go to meetup.com to see if there are “crit” groups in your area.

 

Working With Beta Readers

 

Now that you’ve found your beta readers, consider the rules of engagement that will help you to create a healthy working relationship. Authors don’t usually pay beta readers, so any interaction needs to be positive and affirming. Presumably, this won’t be your last book, and treating your beta readers right will leave them open to helping you out next time, too.

 

Don’t Give Them a Draft

 

Your beta reader is still a reader — a reader who might tell other readers about your book. It’s important to treat your beta readers right, and that begins with what you ask them to read. Don’t give them your first draft. In fact, be sure that what you give them is the very best writing you can produce on your own. Write your draft and set it aside for at least a week. Go back to it and rewrite it if you need to. Then set it aside for another week — again. Revise, revise, revise, until it isn’t remotely possible for you to do any better.

 

Your Manuscript, Their Way

 

Before you send your manuscript to your beta readers, ask them what format they’d like it in. Beta readers might want to print your manuscript or read it on a Kindle. If they prefer the latter option, send them instructions for how to get your manuscript on an e-reader. Do whatever you can to remove any obstacles that will prevent your beta reader from carving out time to read your book.

 

Give Them Guidance

 

Let your beta reader know what kind of feedback you’d like from them. Develop a checklist with questions you’d like answers to. Do you want readers to comment on the strength of a character, or the organization of a concept? If you create a specific list of questions around content, beta readers won’t spend their time punctuating sentences. Adapt your revision checklist to meet the needs of each book your write.

 

Don’t Take it Personally

 

Remember, it takes a great deal of time to read and respond to a book. And your beta readers will have opinions that might sting a little. Be gracious for any feedback a beta reader gives you, even if you don’t agree with it. Ask yourself, “Will addressing this comment make for a better book?” If so, take their advice and apply it to your next revision. If not, whatever you do, don’t defend yourself. Your beta reader already knows your position (you’ve done as you’ve seen fit, as evidenced by your manuscript) but they don’t agree. Thank them for their comments and move on.

 

Return the Favour

 

Remember, you’re not paying your beta readers to read your book. They’re offering feedback because they want to help or they’re interested in your book’s premise or topic. If your beta reader asks you to be a beta reader in future, seriously consider returning the favour. And when it comes time to publish your book, give them a mention in your acknowledgements. Everyone likes to see their name in “print.”

Beta readers can play an important part in helping you create a better book — particularly at the revision stage of writing. After you’ve revised your book, based on their feedback, and once again made your book the best it can be, you’re ready for an editor (you knew we’d say that, right?).

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Serving Publishers & Independent Authors

Reposted from:

Beyond Paper Editing

Editors’ tips for writers

Thursday, 10 July 2014

by Corina Koch MacLeod
@CKmacleodwriter

I like lists—especially word lists. They help me to make sense of the world. Below is a round-up of useful word lists for writers. Use them to check for and address potential problems in your writing.

Needless Words

We all do it—use words that clutter up our writing. If you know what those words are, you can hunt them down and obliterate them.

10 Words to Cut From Your Writing at Entrepreneur

Needless Words at Tech Tools for Writers. This word list is nicely packaged in a macro that you run in Microsoft Word.* Talk about a timesaver.

*See this 30-second video for how to add a macro to Word.

Craft Words

There are parts of the writing craft that many writers struggle with at some point in their writing journey—telling too much instead of showing, for example. Some clever word wranglers have taken the time to create word lists that can help you to attend to common writer missteps:

TellingWords at Tech Tools for Writers—identifies words that may indicate instances of telling

-ly Words at Tech Tools for Writers—highlights adverbs often used in dialogue, which may indicate that you’re telling instead of showing. Often, he said and she said will suffice.

Historical Words

If you’re writing historical fiction, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with vocabulary from the time period in which you’re writing. These word lists will take you back in time.

100 Words that Define the First World War at the Oxford English Dictionary

Flapper Speak: Dictionary of Words from the 1920s and 1930s, by Margaret Chai Maloney

Glossary of 80s Terms at In the 80s

Genre Words

Some genres of writing have their own vocabularies. Learn the words genre readers will expect to read.

A Glossary of Science Fiction Jargon, by Eric S. Raymond

Sensual Words for Romance Writers, by Annette Blair

Gangster Glossary at Night of Mystery

Hard Boiled Slang Dictionary at Classic Crime Fiction

English Dialect Word Lists

For tips on writing with dialects, refer to How to Write Authentic Dialects, by Arlene Prunkl. These word lists will take you the rest of the way, eh!

A List of Quaint Southernisms at Alpha Dictionary

Glossary of English and British Words at Project Britain

Glossary of Canadian English at Wikipedia.org

Words from Other Languages

If you’re writing a book set in a another place, or if a character’s cultural background is of importance to the story, seasoning your story with the occasional foreign word or phrase is de rigeur.

French Phrases Used in English at the Phrase Finder German Loan Words in English at About.com

Russian Words Used in English at Daily Writing Tips

Spanish Words Become Our Own at About.com

The Yiddish Handbook: 40 Words You Should Know at Daily Writing Tips

Confusable Words

It’s easy to confuse words that look or sound similar, or that mean something other than what you think they mean. These lists will help you to sort out some of the more common confusables.

Misused Words by Daily Writing Tips

Commonly Confused Words by Oxford Dictionaries

10 Words that Don’t Mean What You Think They Do at Daily Writing Tips

Misspelled Words

Your word processor’s spell check can catch most of your misspellings, but not all of them. Here are some words that sneak through spell check or trip up writers.

Common Misspellings

Words Often Misspelled Because of Double Letters

There are many more lists that I can add to this round-up. If you have a favourite word list, tell us about it in the comments below.

 

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MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014

 

I interact with a lot of authors, many of whom contact me about getting interviewed for my writing site. I see a lot of author bios, some that wow me and many that make me cringe. I’d even include myself in that mix.


Don’t Throw Words In That Have Nothing to Do With Being a Writer

 

When I published my first poetry book ten years ago, I had just come off a 20-year career in marketing. I felt this was important somehow, mainly because I didn’t have many other writing credentials. I did have several freelance articles published, but didn’t feel that “made me a writer.” (Don’t we love it when we seek permission to define ourselves that way?)

 

So my writer bio went something like this: Cherie Burbach is a poet and marketing professional.

So far so good, right? Not so fast. In reviewing my book, one reader wrote on her blog something like this: “I enjoyed her poems but I don’t see what being a marketing professional has to do with anything.” She then went on to offer up some of the things she liked about the book, but I couldn’t get past her statement. What a great lesson for me. Who cared that I worked in marketing? My readers certainly didn’t.

 

After this I became more aware of my bio. I still tweak it. I try and make it sound pertinent and interesting, but I’m sure I’ll be updating and changing it as long as I’m given the opportunity to write.

 

Problogger

 

Once upon a time, the word “problogger” was really cool. It was arguably started by Darren Rowse who named his site that way and described what he did as professional blogging. At the time, people were experimenting with blogging, just using it as a means of expression (before every writer on the planet realized it was a way to get a platform) and Rowse helped show that you could make a serious living that way.

 

Now, I see this word used all the time by authors who blog here and there (guest posts on their friend’s blogs, promotional posts, blog tour posts) but don’t really do “professional” blogging.

 

Why do I care? Because I am a paid blogger and there’s a big difference. Stating you’re a “problogger” implies that you’re an expert at SEO and the latest Google algorithm. It means companies pay you big bucks to create blog posts for them, and that you’re probably also really good at social networking (which is the other piece of professional blogging.)

 

Fans don’t know or care about this term. If you’ve got a blog or appear on a couple of their favorite sites, that’s what they care about. Mostly, they just care about your books.

 

Active Member

 

Be careful about saying you’re an “active member” of an organization. I see this constantly with one or two organizations in particular, and think it makes you sound like you’re a national chapter leader when maybe you’re just a member… like everyone else.

 

I first saw this listed on a new author’s bio for an organization that I had recently joined. I excitedly asked her how she was involved (hoping to get more involved myself) and she told me she commented on the group’s email loops. That’s being “actively involved”? I don’t think so.

 

The danger in listing this is it makes you sound like you’re trying to sound more important than you are, and readers don’t care about this stuff. Your bio should tell a reader about yourself, not fluff up your credentials.

 

__________________________________________________________

 

Cherie Burbach has written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, and more. Visit her website, cherieburbach.com.

 

First Edition Design Publishing is the world’s largest eBook and POD (Print On Demand) distributor. Ranked first in the industry, First Edition Design Publishing converts, formats and submits Fiction, Non-Fiction, Academic and Children’s Books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, Diesel, 3M, Ingram, Baker and Taylor, Nielsen, EBSCO, and scores of additional on-line retailers, libraries, schools, colleges and universities. The company also has a POD division, which creates printed books and makes them available worldwide through their distribution network. The company is a licensed and approved Aggregator and holds licenses with both Apple and Microsoft.

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A great post by Lou Bortone at The Future of Ink

YouTube has changed the online landscape and dominates the web, with more than 1 billion unique users each month.Over 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and YouTube now reaches more US adults ages 18 – 34 than any cable network.

Just to put that into perspective, if YouTube were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, just after China and India.

With that kind of reach, YouTube represents an enormous opportunity for small business owners to get significantly more visibility and exposure.

However, with billions of videos on the video channel, it’s very easy to get lost in the YouTube jungle.In fact, 53% of YouTube’s videos get less than 500 views, and about 30% have less than 100 views. Meanwhile, a miniscule 0.33% have over a million views.

YouTubeViews

Granted, it’s not all about the numbers, but you do want your video to be seen by as many people as possible. More video views means more engagement, and more engagement means more potential customers!

Fortunately, there are five little-known strategies to optimize your videos on YouTube to give you the YouTube Booster effect:

1- Begin With the Basics

It all starts with the upload and your title, description and tags. Be sure to use a descriptive, keyword-rich title.“How to Get More Video Views on YouTube” is pretty good, but “My cool video” won’t cut it as a title.

Next, your description should also contain your keywords and should include your full URL. So one of mine might start with http://www.loubortone.com presents how to get more video views on YouTube…

YouTube gives you a ton of space for your video description,so take advantage of that real estate. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is a great example of how to crush it with the basics.

They do a great job optimizing their videos. Lastly,use the tags section to once again list your keywords.

JimmyFallon

2- Capitalize on Keywords

The importance of keywords cannot be emphasized enough. This is how people find your videos on Google and other search engines, so make sure you’re using your best keywords and consistent keyword phrases. This will also help to “connect” your videos so your other videos show up as related videos.

3- Add Awesome Annotations

Video annotations are a powerful, but under-utilized tool for making your videos more interactive and guiding your viewer to take the desired actions. Annotations can be text, overlays, speech-bubbles or notes, and can be live links to your other videos, playlists, a subscribe link, or even a link back to your main website.

LouBortone

4- Nail Your Thumbnails

YouTube gives you a choice of three thumbnails to represent your video, but you can also add a custom thumbnail to better display what your video is about. Since the three thumbnails YouTube offers are typically pretty random and lame, you’d be crazy not to add a custom thumbnail, where you get to decide what the viewer sees.

Create and upload your own thumbnail to take advantage of this option. Many potential viewers will decide whether or not to click on your video simply based on your thumbnail image!

VideoQuotes

5- Show Up and Share

Finally, be sure to share and distribute your video for maximum reach.Look for the “share” button, which will open up a menu of social media icons and platforms where you can share your video directly from YouTube.

You will have to “connect” your accounts first, but once that’s done, it’s easy to share your video to your social media sites with just one click!

Taking the time to optimize your videos with these five steps will help you make the most of YouTube and put you way ahead of your competition. And who knows? With a little luck and persistence, you may even go viral!

Lou Bortone
Lou Bortone is a Video Marketing expert and online branding consultant who helps entrepreneurs and service professionals build breakthrough brands on the Internet. He is a former television executive who worked for E! Entertainment Television and Fox in Los Angeles. Lou is also an author and ghostwriter of six business books, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach.
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FranceOn Wednesday, the French parliament passed a long-debated law that will end Amazon.com’s ability to offer a combined 5% discount and free shipping on books shipped to France, according to Livres Hebdo (as translated on Frenchculture.org).

France’s fixed book price law, dubbed “The Lang Law,” was passed in 1981 and allows for a maximum 5% discount under varied positions.

“The ‘Anti-Amazon Law,’ was created to prevent ecommerce sites like [the American giant] Amazon from stamping out the iconic network of independent French bookshops that currently struggle to compete,” wrote Livres Hebdo.

French Minister of Culture Aurélie Filippetti commented: “As we have just seen again, laws pertaining to the book economy always generate consensus, if not unanimity. This is a sign of our deep attachment to books in this nation, and it demonstrates the belief that France builds itself through its past and its future.”

France has some 3,500 bookshops in France, including 800 independent stores.

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 by:

Categories: Brian Klems’ The Writer’s Dig Tags: Brian Klems.

questions-to-ask-an-agentAn agent has offered me representation, but I don’t know how to tell if she’s right for me. What are the most important questions a writer should ask an agent before signing? —Anonymous

There are hundreds of questions you could ask an agent, from the sensible “What attracted you to my book?” to the slightly less sensible “When will you net me my first million?” The key is to choose the ones that will get you the most important information you need to make an informed decision.

Here’s a list of the five most crucial questions you should ask any agent before agreeing to join her client list.

1. Why do you want to represent me and my work?

The agent should be able to answer this easily. Agents generally take on projects that they not only think will sell well, but that they personally admire. This question gives the agent an opportunity to express her interest to you.

[Want to land an agent? Here are 4 things to consider when researching literary agents.]

2. How did you become an agent/get your start in publishing?

You want an agent who has a history in publishing, whether as a junior associate at a well-known agency or perhaps as an editor with a small imprint. You need to be assured that the agent knows the business and has the contacts necessary to give your book its best shot. You might also want to ask if the agent could refer you to one of her clients in your genre as well; getting the perspective of a writer who is in the role you’re about to step into can be invaluable.

3. What editors do you have in mind for my book? Have you sold to them before? Will you continue to market to other editors if you can’t make a deal with your first choices?

This is more of a three-part question, but it’s the overall answer that you want. By asking these questions, you’re checking to see if this agent has connections, and you’re also clarifying her overall game plan. This is key. You want to make sure your expectations are aligned.

[Understanding Book Contracts: Learn what’s negotiable and what’s not.]

4. What books have you sold recently?

This indicates whether the agent has a track record of selling books in your category or genre.

5. Why should I sign with you?

You’re about to enter into a partnership that neither party should take lightly. This is an opportunity for the agent to pitch you, just as you’ve pitched her, and convince you that she’s the right person to represent your work.

You’ll have additional questions more specific to your work, so don’t hesitate to ask them. They’ll simply show the agent that you’re savvy about your book’s target market. Agents are used to these inquiries, so they are unlikely to be surprised by any questions you may have. And if an agent refuses to answer anything on the list above, that should be a red flag that something is amiss.

2014-guide-to-literary-agentsGet the #1 guide to finding contact information, 
“How to Submit” submission guidelines and more for nearly 
every literary agent there is with the Guide to Literary Agents
Order now from WD and get a steep discount.

Thanks for visiting The Writer’s Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.

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brian-klems-2013Brian A. Klems is the online editor of Writer’s Digest and author of the popular gift book Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Sign up for Brian’s free Writer’s Digest eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From the good folks at  Beyond Paper Editing

Editors’ tips for writers
by C.K. MacLeod
@CKmacleodwriter

Learning to write well is a process, and there is so much to consider—from story structure to the words you choose.

In self-publishing circles, there is a lot of discussion about perfecting plot, characters, and dialogue—the elements of story—but comparatively little airtime is given to the building blocks of stories: words.

Sometimes, the words we use can clutter our writing and jolt the reader out of the story. Strunk & White calls these words “needless words.” That’s good news. If these words are needless, we don’t need them, and if your writing will be better without them, the solution is simple!

Needless Words

So, what are needless words? In a nutshell, any word that can be deleted without altering the meaning of a sentence or threatening correct grammatical construction is a needless word.
Strunk and White list some examples in the Omit Needless Words section of their famous style guide. Janice Hardy’s Words to Avoid list is another terrific resource for learning which words you can do without.

Hunting down needless words is an easy way to clean up your writing because it often requires nothing more from you than to find the offending words and press the delete button. Excise these words from your writing and you’re well on your way to communicating clearly.

Finding Needless Words

I know what you’re thinking… Do I have to pick through every word in my 300-page book?You can, but I’m not suggesting that you find needless words manually in a word-by-word manner. Oh, no. There are tools for that. Nowadays, simple tech tools can help you root out those words that muddy your writing.

Below, I’ve listed two tools that authors can use to polish their prose: one for Word users and the other for Scrivener users.

Word Tool

In Microsoft Word, you can use a simple highlighting macro that will hunt down and highlight all of the needless words in your book in a matter of minutes. I call it the Needless Words macro, in honour of Strunk & White. You can then decide how to address those highlighted words (delete them!).

NeedlessWords macro in action

You can find the Needless Words macro at Tech Tools for Writers.

Scrivener Tool

Scrivener’s Word Frequency tool is less sophisticated, but still worth a mention. It doesn’t highlight needless words, but it indicates words you may have overused. You can then use Scrivener’s Find and Replace function to find and scrutinize those words you’ve used most. In Scrivener, you can find the Word Frequency tool by going to the Project, Text Statistics, Word Frequency.

Scrivener’s Text Statistics tool

Scrutinizing words is best left for the revision stage of writing, after the the big-picture elements and paragraph-level elements have been addressed. Taking the time to give your writing attention at the word level will ensure a smoother read for your readers.

 

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