Tag: star

 
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Content marketing is in use everywhere

Content marketing has been lapped up by both internet marketers and online surfers. Using this media allows one to express his ideas and allows the other to read and enjoy. No wonder there are more and more people signing up each day to blog sites and people are publishing relevant articles on their websites in a bid to attract more and more
people.

Content marketing is in use everywhere because it is only the words that allow explaining. Different channels use different types of content marketing, be it the newsletter, email marketing, blogging, publishing, website content, etc. Content is in demand everywhere.

Content marketing is virtuous by its own nature, firstly because it has the power of attracting traffic long after the content has been published. More traffic will continue if the content is good and has something visitors find interesting. Content needs to be interesting and informative however, if you want the visitors to continue coming in.

So how will you attract traffic to your website using content marketing?

Include links, this it is obvious all content you publish should contain related links which take the reader to your website. However, unabashed advertising of products has not yet been looked upon kindly by the ezine public. This attitude towards advertising is right and does keep the spirit of informative advertising afloat.

It is important to maintain information levels when using content marketing. While browsing many of us have come across articles which have practically no informative value. Obviously if you want to write more articles on the same subject, slowly the matter diminishes and what remain to be filled are the futile words.

Spinning content can provide some respite from this problem, but it is necessary that you do not publish these articles with same ezine, instead make sure the information rich rewritten articles reach as many article directories as you can. The above can help you maintain information level and attract a lot of visitors from different directories.

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Consider Self Publishing in Ebook Format

Today, more than every before authors are presented with publishing opportunities that have never existed before. This is not to understate the hard work that authors have to go through to get recognition, write great books, and make a full time living from their passion of expression. However, it is to say that today, due to advances in communications technology, authors can now get their books distributed much easier than they could a decade ago. One very popular way that authors are distributing their work is digitally through ebooks. Digital books are gaining so much popularity that even some of the most popular authors in the world have used it to distribute their books. Stephen King for example published ìRiding the Bulletî exclusively in ebook format. When this ebook began distribution over Barns and Nobel and Amazon.com there was so much demand for the download that the servers of these two book giants slowed down almost to a halt. People that wanted to download the ebook were put in a large queue with the hundreds of thousands of other who downloaded the ebook as well.

Itís not only big name authors that are finding success in ebooks. We at Ebook Architect have been helping authors create, market and sell their ebooks online for years now with great success. Many of these people are first time authors and are often amazed with the success of their ebook sales. Below are some of their ebook writing tips.

Donít underestimate the power of the Ebook

Ebooks are still looked upon as unpopular by many authors who have not yet taken the time to learn about the success within this industry. For example, while the traditional publishing industry growing at the sluggish rate of 5% a year the digital publishing industry is growing at rates between 30% -50%. This means that the opportunities within the publishing industry are growing at a fraction of the rate that opportunities within the digital publishing industry are growing.

To set up an ebook you donít need to be a tech wizard

Setting up your ebook from the idea conceptualization stage to the selling stage canít be completed overnight but it is definitely something that can be done by anyone regardless of your technological background. If you can use a word processor then you can create and sell an ebook online. While it is recommended you set up your own website, it is not necessary. There are outlets such as amazon.com, EBay and Lulu.com to name only a few sites that allow you to post your ebook on their servers.

Setting up an Ebook site is virtually costless and you keep 100% of the profits

With traditional publishers youíll be lucky to see 10% of the profits from your book. With ebooks however, you keep 100% of the profits minus the fees required to set up the site which are minimal. Here is the fee breakdown for ebooks vs traditional books

Ebook vs Book cost
Ebook = Free to create an unlimited number of copies
Book = Approximately $1500 for 200 copies of a 200 page soft cover book

Rights and profit
Ebook = You keep 100% of the profits and rights to your ebooks
Book = You get 10-40% royalty (usually about $2-$5/ book)

With the above examples it is easy to see that for first time authors ebooks make a lot of sense. The risk associated with publishing an ebook is much lower than it is with distributing a soft or hard cover book. Likewise, as an ebook author youíll keep virtually all of your own profits.

If nothing else, it is something worth consideration. Ebooks may not replace traditional paperback books, but they certainly are gaining popularity at a rate that should make all authors stop to think about how they could use ebooks to their advantage.

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Can You Afford To Publish Your Book?

Money blinds. It’s as simple as that. Aspiring authors ask about the money issue all the time, in varying forms, (How much does it cost to publish? How much will I get paid in royalties?, etc.) but they can’t see beyond that issue to think about the thing that will truly decide the money question. And here it is:

What Do You Want From Your Book?

That is the real question! Once you are clear about what you want out of the publishing process, you can decide what route would be the most satisfying–and profitable–for you. When it comes right down it it, you can spend as much or as little as you want on your book. But how much are you willing to spend to get what you want?

When you aren’t clear, you can make poor decisions that won’t line up with your goals. For instance, many authors have a goal of making a lot of money, but they won’t consider self publishing. The fact is that unless you can immediately sell on the level of an Oprah’s Book Club selection or a James Patterson or a Dan Brown, it’s going to take a very long time before your royalties add up to much. When you self publish you take on risk, but you stand to gain much more because you get to keep all the profits (unless your agreement with the publishing company you use is a royalties-based one).

Another strong reason to self publish: you can use your first book to build your platform for a bigger deal with a traditional publishing house in the future. Again, you can choose the self publishing deal that’s right for you. A print on demand company such as Xlibris charges just $500 for a basic package where you can get your book produced and copies made as they are ordered–so no inventory. Of course, when you pay more, you get more: better design, distribution services, maybe even some marketing help.

The Traditional Road

If your dreams of authorship include larger audiences and the literary status that comes of being published by one of the many arms of Random House, Warner or Simon & Schuster, that’s fine–just know that this route isn’t exactly free either. No, you don’t have to pay a traditional publishing house and yes, they do everything for you (design, distribution, some advertising and marketing), but these days a writer is expected to spend a little too on promoting the book. Many writers are even putting the amount they’ve set aside in their book proposals. If you’re serious about marketing your book, you’ll need to set aside at least $10,000. That amount can go as high as $30,000 depending on the amount of travel and other advertising you intend to use.

Smart Money, Dumb Money

Once you understand what you want out of your book, you’ll not only know how much you’re willing to spend, you’ll also know better how to spend it. You can spend it smart or you can spend it dumb. Many writers spend it dumbly because they don’t know what they want. If you’re spending money on educating yourself about publishing, improving your writing skills, hiring a good editor or book consultant, and marketing that will help you reach your specific, targeted reader, that’s all smart money. You will get more out of those dollars than if you had never spent it at all. You are investing in your writing career.

But if you spend money because someone told you this is “the only way you’ll ever get this book published” (and you haven’t researched any other ways), or buy advertising simply because it’s where other books are advertised, or go to writer’s conferences with no clear plan of what you want out of them, or pay agents “reader fees”, or pay editors whose work you don’t know or whose references you haven’t checked, that’s dumb money. You’ll put those dollars out there and see little or no return.

So I guess the bad news is publishing isn’t free. The good news is you have a choice as to how much you spend and where you spend it. Be an educated consumer as well as an educated–and talented–writer. You’ll find that to have a book published in the way you want it published is still in the end–priceless.

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Building An Awesome Audience For Your Book

“The Book Sistah”

I got lucky. The month that I sold my novel was the same month that I started my newsletter, Living the Dream, for my coaching business. I had no idea that as my list of subscribers grew I would have a great platform from which to launch the book 18 months later. Thanks to that list, I was pre-selling my book long before it hit store shelves.

I was cultivating an audience without realizing it. But now I know that having a list is a goldmine, both for selling your book and for getting your book noticed by a publisher. These days if you can prove that you come to the table with a huge audience, a big advance may follow. But how do you get such a list? These tips will help you go from seed to harvest as you grow your group.

1. Start with who you know.

Most of us have some form of list already, either in your email system’s address book or your basic holiday card list that you use once a year. It may be as small as 10-25 or as big as 200-400. Start out by sending a general email letting the people on your list know that you’re getting organized and planning to send out regular notes, newsletters, whatever you plan to send. Give them the opportunity to opt out if they’re not interested. Most will probably stay on since your family and friends are interested in hearing about what you’re up to.

2. Whenever you meet new people, get permission to add them to your list.

At this point in your writing career, it’s essential that you’re out meeting people at least once a month. You can go to networking events, take classes or (and this is the best) do speaking engagements. Non-fiction authors especially should be speaking regularly because you want to establish your expertise in your topic or topics. You can collect business cards when you network or take classes and get people to sign in with their contact information at your event. Make sure you GET PERMISSION and let people know they will be hearing from you via newsletter, etc. It is truly poor form to put people on your mailing list without their knowledge. It’s also called spamming!

I know that signing people up is key because I’ve observed popular authors doing just that. I once attended a reading by E. Lynn Harris because I knew he had a huge–and faithful– readership and I wanted to glean some clues as to how he did it. Sure enough, the room was packed and every single person behaved as though they knew him personally. When it came time to sign books, he made an announcement: he would sign your book if you signed his! He made it clear you would be hearing from him via email, birthday and holiday cards. People were all too happy to sign the list. Brilliant!

3. Find a list service to maintain your list.

You’ll quickly learn, as your list grows, that your email account may not allow you to send mass messages to groups larger than 50-80. Also, it’s not a good idea to only have your list on your computer, you’ll want it backed up elsewhere. The solution: sign on for a list service. You’ll have your database expertly maintained, plus most list services will give you templates and allow you to send out really good looking HTML email messages to your list. You can also get code and links that allow people to sign themselves onto your list from your website. There are many you can try. If you’re not selling products or services, you may not need a shopping cart so Constant Contact may be just the thing for you.

4. Communicate to your list regularly.

You want to keep in touch with the people on your list so they don’t forget about you. The way you do it is up to you. As I said above, E. Lynn Harris sends notes and cards to his list. A colleague of mine sends daily inspirational quotes. I’m a big fan of email newsletters because you can provide news on your activities and useful content for your readers. When you provide content, such as tips for real estate investors, marketing ideas, or even cookbook recipes, you are establishing your expertise. You’re also giving people a good reason to stay on your list–they’re getting good stuff out of it. In the past I have offered discounts on my services, gift certificates for people to give out over the holidays and articles with career counseling and goal-achieving tips. And every issue of Living the Dream also features my book and the stellar reviews it’s received.

5. Generate excitement and anticipation with your list.

When your book is nearing publication, you’ll want to start letting your audience know that it’s coming. You can generate pre-sale orders, alert your list of book reviews as they come out and let your audience know where you’ll be appearing when you start speaking and doing book signings. My book was first listed on Amazon.com about six months before its publication date. I sent out a “special announcement” letting people know it was there and encouraging them to pre-order the book. On that glorious day my book ranked as high as 3,000 on Amazon’s list! I may not be J.K. Rowling, but I think that’s pretty good. Plus, that’s the kind of information that helps distributors sell your book to bookstores. They know you already have an awesome audience just waiting to buy!

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Book Shepherds: Who are they? What do they do? Should you hire one?

A new breed of publication consultants has grown up right alongside the flourishing self-publishing population to serve as guidance counselors through each phase of the complicated process. Though self-publishing is largely considered a DIY endeavoróhence the designation self-publishingóthere may be many advantages to using a professional book shepherd (as book consultants have been dubbed by self-publishing guru Dan Poynter) that makes hiring one well worthy of consideration.

As anyone who’s courageously ventured into the arena of self-publishing knowsóor soon willóthereís much more involved in the process than simply sending your manuscript off to a printer, dropping off review copies at a handful of bookstores, and kicking back and waiting for the revenues to roll in. ‘

To the uninitiated author journeying alone, the critical decisions that need to be made along the way can be overwhelming, frustrating, and even downright daunting.

Fortunately, a new breed of publication consultants has grown up right alongside the flourishing self-publishing population to serve as guidance counselors through each phase of the complicated process. Though self-publishing is largely considered a DIY endeavoróhence the designation self-publishingóthere may be many advantages to using a professional book shepherd (as book consultants have been dubbed by self-publishing guru Dan Poynter) that makes hiring one well worthy of consideration.

But, just what exactly is a book shepherd? In practice, many of the professional services book shepherds provide include either direct assistance with or advice on cover and interior book design, manuscript editing, printer brokering, forms filing, production, distribution, marketing, and publicity. Some shepherds work within fully staffed one-stop firms that will ferry your book through production and beyond; others work autonomously and will often refer you to experts in the areas they don’t handle.

The Benefits of Hiring a Book Shepherd

”Collaborating with a good book shepherd can increase your chances for publishing successóin more ways than you might think. here’s a bit of a misconception about what a book shepherd does, says Ellen Reid of Smarketing-Infinite Possibilities, hat itís all about book production. Thatís a component of what we do, but itís not the entire reason to hire a book shepherd. ‘

Reid likens her consulting approach to playing the role of a creative director at an ad agency or the producer of a film, and she revels in the creative aspect of her job. First, she assembles a creative team of resources for each of her clientsóa copywriter, an editor, and a cover and interior designeróthen she oversees every aspect of design, production, and distribution.

Book shepherds can save authors time and keep them from making the major mistakes that self-publishing rookies are apt to make. elf-publishing is not a simple business, says Simon Warwick-Smith, president of Warwick Associates and former senior VP of marketing for a large U.S. book distributor, nd people can either spend a few years learning about it, or they can go to someone who’s been there who can tell them what to do.

‘Cynthia Frank, book consultant and president of Cypress House, who has 20 years’ experience in the business, shares Warwick-Smithís philosophy and uses a similar approach. Frank asks her clients to describe their definition of publishing success so that she can help them reach that levelówhether itís achieving a good sales ranking on Amazon.com or using their first book as a stepping stone to a traditional publishing contract. Next she asks her authors to perform a self-assessment, honestly representing their weaknesses and strengths regarding aspects of the business, so she can formulate a comprehensive plan that will align their definition of success with the concrete steps to making it happen. ‘

‘If my client is not good at marketing, for example, and all of his capital is tied up in inventory, says Frank, hen there’s no money left over for marketing, and heís heading for trouble. I help my clients see where theyíre coming up short in the planning stages.’

Book shepherds also help their clients get up to speed quickly on the ins and outs of self-publishing. here’s so much jargon in our industry, and if somebody is just starting out, their eyes will be spinning in their head, says Frank. e explain the different registrations and distribution methods and help them decide whether their books should be sold in bookstores, specialty shops, or gift and stationery stores, for example.”

Planning ahead, experts agree, is of the utmost importance. Self-publishing is, in effect, a small business, and it deserves to be treated as such right from the start. Most shepherds strongly advise authors to prepare a formal business plan for a self-publishing venture before they even begin writing the manuscript. ftentimes we see people go into self-publishing with no more forethought than they would use to order a meal at a fancy restaurant, says Frank.

Sometimes, too, a book shepherd has connections and proven strategies that can benefit the aspiring author. ‘ve developed relationships with national distributors, says book shepherd Gail Kearns of To Press and Beyond, nd if the product is great and the price is right, I can usually get the books into the hands of distributors. We also have some creative ideas for marketing that donít cost a lot of money. ‘

In essence, a good book shepherd can save an author time, money, headaches, andóone hopesódisappointment.

How to Get the Most from a Book Shepherding Session

But don’t plan on using a book shepherd to hold your hand every step of the wayóunless of course, your pocketbook is bursting at the seams. With hourly rates ranging from approximately $50 to $150 and up, depending on the services you use, the fees can pile up quickly and eat up a good chunk of your budget.

It’s much more prudent to do a lot of homework up front, advises Barbara Denise Files, author of two self-published books including her latest, Ballet Secrets for Skaters: How to Hone Your Artistic Competitive Edge.

‘Files enjoyed a positive experience working with book shepherd Marilyn Ross, co-founder of Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), and she attributes much of the collaboration’s success to the fact that she did a lot of research before she even called Ross. didnít just pick up the phone and say, ëYou know, I think I might want to write a book,í Files says. ‘

After formulating a business plan, Files did a background check on her prospective coach by monitoring her newsletters and submitting some questions to Ross via the internet. Satisfied that Ross really knew her stuff, Files gathered her materialsóa mission statement, some demographic information she’d compiled on her target audience, and ideas for how to serve themóand developed some specific questions for Ross to answer during their consulting session: Should she write one book, or should she divide her information into a series? How could she best market her niche publication? How many copies should she have printed in the first run? And the all-important: What should the title be?

For Files, using a coach enabled her to make better-educated choices: hen you’re a self-publishing author, there are a lot of crucial decisions you have to make, Files says. book shepherd acts like a sounding board and using one gives you access to professional feedback.

In order to make your book shepherding experience cost-effective, Files recommends networking with other self-publishers on Internet forums, joining writers’ clubs, taking a class, and reading books on self-publishing so you can learn the rules of the road before hiring a consultant. ake the call only after you have a specific plan and specific questions to ask, says Files, otherwise, youíre going to end up spending a lot of money and time asking basic questions without receiving much direction on your project. ‘

Working with a book shepherd is like most experiences in life, according to Files, who says, he more you put into it ahead of time, the more you’ll get out of it.

Shepherds’ Tips on Self-Publishing Success

‘1. elf-publishing is an expensive business that has an all-or-nothing aspect to it. I don’t recommend trying to publish on a shoestring. If you canít afford to do it right, just donít do it. (Simon Warwick-Smith)’

‘2. irst I tell my authors that it’s critically important to plan ahead. There are 120,000 new books per year on the market, a market that is glutted with books, and one needs to know how to approach that. Donít think about marketing, sales, and promotion after youíve printed your book; get expert help on the cover, the content, and the page design. (Simon Warwick-Smith) ‘

3. ire a professional book cover designer. The cover is hugely important real estateóit has to scan well into black and white, it has to have integrity at 1Ω inches tall, it has to be clear at 10 feet tall, and it has to fit into its genre and stand out in quality. (Cynthia Frank)

4. pproach your book-publishing venture like you would a business plan: Plan out what you are going to do yourself and what you are going to hire others to do. I don’t think itís a good idea to do everything yourselfÖor to hire everything out. (Cynthia Frank) ‘

5. The look and feel and the copywriting on the cover are the most critical components. They speak for the author and give the book its best chance for success. (Ellen Reid)

6. If you’re really going out there to play in this $2.2-billion industry, youíve got to have the same level of product that the traditional publishing houses put out. (Ellen Reid) ‘

7. If you do it all yourself, your book will look like you did it all yourself. (Patty Weckbaugh of Casa Graphics)

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Book Promotion Woes?

Too many new authors believe that once their book is written the sales will just come pouring in and they will make a bundle. Sadly, this disillusionment is shattered when they receive a royalty check. The honest to goodness truth of the matter is that the writer’s work is only started when the book is released. Even the huge author names of today began by peddling their books out of the back of their car. Many big-name authors also began by self-publishing because no one recognized their talent. They did not start off their career with a huge bang. They did not have the money to afford publicists and big marketing firms when they started out and yet they are super successful now. Take heart from their examples.

Marketing, promoting and networking must be done every single day, for the life of the book, in balance with your other activities and obligations.

Many new authors feel their only way to success is through book signings and bookstores stocking their book. They are wrong. While in larger centers with good promotion a book signing event or book reading event may result in as much as a couple hundred one-time sales… most smaller venues can only expect less than 10 sales. Is this worth the 2 hours or more that you spend at the event? Not counting all the preperation, marketing the event, promotion materials, time taken from work and any displays that you have designed and possibly paid for ahead of time. These events do not pay authors to host an event so any sales they do have may not even cover the traveling costs, hotel cost, meals, parking or supplies – let alone the time they put into it. Nor do they usually result in long-term sales – sales are often only during the few days around the event.

Bookstores can only realistically stock less than 1% of the 3 million books available on the market. Their discount with the publisher/distributor is large. Authors are paid royalties only on what their publisher has recieved. So is all the time and effort going into attaining spots on bookstore shelves worth it?

While the markets above are valuable and important to any author – what authors need to do is think outside the box. Figure out where your efforts will bring the greatest results. Don’t expect immediate and overwhelming acceptance by the media or your audience. Marketing, networking and promoting are long-term efforts that will reap greater rewards as efforts continue.

Many authors live in tiny towns and hold down jobs or have physical limitations that prevent out-of-town promotions; much like ourselves. This can be overcome. Again, think outside the box, use the Internet and your contacts – and be persistant. Newspapers, libraries, and bookstores are only the most obvious markets and also are the most difficult to gain the attention of without a strong image because everyone is vying for their attention. Work on your image and get strong promotion materials that help you stand out among the hundred thousand or more new books released annually.

So develop a long-term marketing plan and stick with it for the full term of your contract with the publisher. The market plan will grow and change as time goes on. And keep good records so you can determine how you will go about marketing the next book.

I just wanted to mention here that some authors get overwhelmed by the immense amount of effort it takes to market a book. If we take one day, one step at a time we will find it is not so overwhelming. I find it works best to figure out what you will concentrate on this week and then set a goal for today. I do this nearly every day. It helps me keep a steady pace going, without taking on too much or too little.

Remember too, that efforts you are making today may not reap immediate results. You may have to hit a market several times before they pick up your proposal. For instance, some contacts from nearly a year ago are now resulting in promotions in their publications. So be patient and professional in all that you do. Again, keep records so that you can follow up.

Newsletters can be small but effective markets for your work. On average, they can range in size from 1000-17,000 readers or more. E-zines typically reach an audience larger than 5000. Get a few of them in one month and you are reaching a wide audience! You don’t need to be rich or famous or have a publicist if you are determined and able to committ effort every single day. (Do take some time for yourself, though!)

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