Archive for June, 2011

U.K. publishing house Pan Macmillan announced plans to launch Macmillan Compass, a new digital only publishing imprint. While the new imprint will release e-books for all formats and distribution will be through Pan Macmillan’s established channels, it has not been determined as yet if the e-titles will be available for sale in the U.S.

via Pan Macmillan to Launch Digital-Only Imprint, Macmillan Compass.

News like the article above increases my confidence that the small press releasing my book this fall is on the right track.  New Libri puts a big emphasis on eBook publication, and in some cases, may even choose not to print hard copies if concentrating on eBook sales makes the most sense.

If even well established traditional houses like Macmillan is promoting a digital emphasis, can success for New Libri (and by default–me, too!) be far behind?


Technorati Step 2

Posted: June 25, 2011 in Social Media
Tags: ,


No, my dog Sophie did not sit down on my keyboard and accidentally type the string above.  That is my claim code from Technorati, and if you’re reading this post after my claim has been made, you will probably wonder what the heck I’m talking about, because I’m going to remove it once the claim is complete (and I have no idea if that takes minutes, hours or days).

See my post from June 22 about my first exploration of technical madness in an effort to attract more traffic to this blog.  My Technorati claim status was updated by Saturday to give me a claim code I am supposed to put into a new or updated post.  They recommend putting it at the very top so it shows up in the RSS feed and then deleting it once the claim is completed.  Deleting the whole post causes problems, they say.

This all seems a little Greek to me.  I’m still not sure what good, if any, is going to come of all techno-nonsense.  And the support help on both WordPress and Technorati has not been the easiest to follow.  It actually took some searching, for instance, to figure out how and where I was supposed to put the claim code even though both sites could easily had added a short sentence in their “step by step” instructions to tell me that.

I am prepared for the worst.  Not sure yet if that would be a horde of spam email and comments, or finding out that I did all this and absolutely nothing changes.  We’ll see.

I met with my publisher at New Libri yesterday and we talked about a few  minor edits for Painted Black to look at which they will send me soon.  And we talked about cover image suggestions.  And we talked about promotion and marketing ideas to get started on. And we set the release date for this fall.

And…I am getting SO excited that this is actually going to happen.  I’m still a little (read “a lot”) fuzzy on this whole marketing thing, especially the web/social media presence.  But the great thing about working with a small press who is just starting out is that marketing me and my novel is essential to marketing New Libri as well. So I feel more supported than I might have at a larger house, or even a well established small press which has more important, market-tested authors to spend their time and budget on.

New Libri encourages their authors to get to know one another and set up a support network.  So we are going to touch base soon and brainstorm what we can do as a unit to make sure we are all successful.  There are plans to upgrade the New Libri website and I will be making a few changes to my blogs to establish a more professional, authorial presence.  (Yeah, will see how that works–right now I feel more stumbling geek.)

I’ll keep you informed on changes I’m making as they happen, but here’s an overview of what I’m planning to do:

  • Create an author website and link my blogs to it
  • Change my email signature (see below for example)
  • Set up a new email address specifically for the novel
  • Start posting comments on the New Libri Facebook page
  • Continue to be a presence on Facebook and Twitter
  • Print professional business cards

You can expect this blog to start focusing more on self promotion and marketing, but I am planning on doing some self-publishing experimentation when I have time, so will continue to muse on the self e-pubbing journey I started out on.  One idea I might try is epubbing some of my short stories for free to generate a buzz for the upcoming novel.  Other authors I’ve been communicating with have tried that and it seems to have a certain degree of success.

I am enjoying this publishing journey I’m launched on and hope you are looking forward to Painted Black’s release as much as I am.

Debra R. Borys
Author of Painted Black to be released fall 2011 by New Libri Press

Claiming your blog through Technorati allows you to use Technorati services to increase your blog’s visibility.

To begin claiming your blog, you will first need to go to and sign up for an account.

via Technorati « Support —

I have to say I’m a little confused about whether I need to do anything special to tag and ping my WordPress blogs to maximize site traffic (See last entered post for more info on tags and pings.)

Some of the research I did made it sound like when you post a blog on WordPress, they already send out tags (and/or pings?) to the search engines. But I did find the WordPress support page above which gives instructions on how to claim your blog through Technorati, so maybe whatever WordPress does, it’s not the same thing.

So I have followed the steps they gave me, but unfortunately, as of this writing, have not been able to complete the process. Technorati has apparently changed their process somewhat because instead of getting the prompts shown in the link above, I got the one below which simply says they will get in touch with me to complete my claim.

So I will wait to hear from them and then keep an eye on my stats and report back here as to whether anything seems to have changed. Hopefully by this time next week, I will see some results.

If you’ve just heard the phrase ‘Tag and Ping’ and are scratching your head in puzzlement – this article may be worth your time. Not that Tag and Ping is some magic marketing formula that will deliver untold riches. It won’t.

It is just one more marketing tool professional online marketers are using to give their site or sites a competitive edge over their competition. It will help put your site on the Internet map and if done right, Tag and Ping will deliver plenty of very targeted traffic to your sales pages. It will boost your rankings and increase your sales.

via How To Use Simple Tag And Ping Marketing Techniques(To Boost Your Site’s Ranking, Traffic And Sales) : Bosmol – Social Media & Web 2.0 Internet Marketing News : iamcitygirl.geek : Portfoli.

Tag and Ping is not some new pinball game (does anyone even play pinball these days?) nor are they the names of my neighbor’s Chinese Crested puppies.  Tag and Ping is a marketing technique that is part of a phenomenon I have only recently become aware of called SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

According to Wikipedia (anyone else remember something called an “encyclopedia?”  Sigh.  Those were the days.) SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via “natural” or un-paid search results.  Sounds great, right?  So how do I do that?

There are quite a few articles out there that explain how to do that better than me.  For one, click on the link posted in the quote above.  If you prefer a video explanation CLICK HERE to get to one.  Or else join me WordPress Wednesday later this week when I report on my own experience in tagging and pinging this blog and my site using information I found on the WordPresse support forum.

It will be interesting to see if tagging and pinging is as much fun as it sounds like it should be.

Facebook Pages are important for a few reasons. They’ve been showing up high in search engine positions. Also, you can get unlimited “fans” for your Facebook Page, unlike the limit of 5,000 friends that your regular Facebook Profile is capped at. They’re visible to search engines and visitors, too. It’s almost like a social networking mailing list that you can reach out to at any time!

via How to Create A Facebook Page.

Next week I am going to be meeting with my publisher to talk about the cover for Painted Black (Yay!) and also how we want to promote on Facebook.  I’m hoping he knows a lot more about that than I do.  I did figure out how to create a Facebook page for my book, but then I looked at it and said “what now?”

The Squidoo article quoted above does a great job telling you how to create a Facebook page.  It also gives some tips as to how to promote your page and other info on how Facebook pages work.  But basically, if I’m reading correctly, what you do with the page once you’ve created it, is–you guessed it–post stuff.

So like, what’s the big deal about that?  Isn’t that what a web page is for, or a blog like the one I created for my novel And what the heck am I supposed to post on it anyway?

I guess the idea is that the more places you promote your book the better, even if they seem repetitive or redundant.  After all, there are people on Facebook who may never see my webpage.  And people who find my webpage might not be Facebook members.  (Oh, you can close your mouth now.  I don’t think Facebook has quite taken control of the universe yet.)

So my biggest question is what kind of things should I be posting on these various sites–Facebook, blog, webpage?  What works?  Only a publicist knows for sure. Or maybe a publisher.  I guess I’ll find out next week after I meet with New Libri Press.  Then I pass the skinny on to you guys.

As a companion to Twitter Tuesdays I’ve decided to create WordPress Wednesdays. WordPress is really easy to use. All you really have to do is sign up, select your template and post your thoughts. But there are also so many ways to individualize your blog to make you stand out in a crowd, and when you’re hoping to draw in an audience, standing out is a good thing, as long as you’re not in your jammies in the middle of the interstate.

One way to personalize is to use Widgets. Now I seem to remember the word widget first being used in the cartoon the Jetsons when I was a kid. Didn’t George work at a widget factory? I used to always think of it as a made up word with no specific meaning, kind of like thingamabob or doohickey. Maybe it was always a legitimate word, but if so, I’m pretty sure it did not have the meaning it does today.

A widget in general is a control tool, often associated with an app (application). All the sections you see along the left side of the page here are there because I told WordPress to place a widget there of one kind or another. Most widgets WordPress offers are fairly easy to understand. A text widget lets you place text, an image widget lets you post an image, a link widget lets you post web links, etc.

But a few of them I’d never heard of (making me the same as someone 100 years ago if asked about widgets).

The first one I looked into is called an Akismet widget. A quick search tells me if I put this on by blog sidebar it will show how many spam comments got posted to my site. Simple, right, except I’m left to wonder why would I want everyone to see how much spam my site generates. Kind of like wearing a sign that says “I have Cooties.”

The next one I looked at had much more promise.  it’s called file sharing. You have to create an account at the site, but it’s free and you can easily do it from within the WordPress widget itself.  You click on the “go get some HTML code” in the link sown on the left and it takes you to their website where you can create an account or log in, and then grab the code you  need to set your widget up.

The idea behind the widget is to be able to share files with anyone who visits your blog.  I’m sure this could make some people very uneasy, but I could see it coming in handy if you had a restricted blog that only registered users were allowed to access.  For a writer, it could be a great place to share free samples of your writing, or perhaps even your whole book.

You can link any document type, it seems like.  Your reader just needs to have a program that can open the file.  You can change the size of the widget and even choose to have your files shown in list or icon format.  You can delete files, add more and  rename them right from your WordPress blog.

If you want to see how it works, scroll down to bottom of my page here and look to the left.  I uploaded three image files and the first chapter of my novel Teach Your Children Well.  Teach is the prequel to my novel Painted Black which will be published by New Libri Press.  I’m thinking of releasing Teach as a self published ebook to serve as a promotional tool and introduction to my Jo Sullivan suspense novel series.  So download the chapter if you want, and then leave a comment and tell me if you think maybe I should give that a shot.

Why not tweet about a great blog post you just read, or tweet a snippet about what you’re currently working on? Still too difficult? Then you can just retweet (RT) someone else’s tweet. Best of all, it takes up very little time to build a following—15 minutes every few days is plenty—and at just 140 characters per tweet, it’s quick.

via From the Write Angle: Twitter 101 For Writers.

Happy Twitter Tuesday!

There is certainly a lot more I can learn about how Twitter works.  But anyone can get started without learning much of anything.  Just tweet stuff!

Now don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I’m going to deluge everyone with what I had for breakfast this morning.  But if I read something, or hear something or have a question about something that I think others might like to know about, expect to hear from me.  Chances are every once in a while, I am actually going to comment about something that you think is interesting too.

So starting today I vow to spend 15 minutes a day on Twitter getting inspired by others and sharing my thoughts.  See you all there!

While cities such as LA and Chicago are known for their publishing ventures, they are small in comparison to New York’s scene. With Amazon’s new publishing imprints already attracting big names such as Connie Brockway and Barry Eisler, and the potential of higher royalties for its authors, it will be fascinating to see what ripple effects this could have on Seattle.

via Is Amazon shaping Seattle to become a publishing center?.

I wonder if Amazon needs admin support for their new publishing venture.  I’ve always wanted to work in the publishing industry.  With all the exciting changes happening in the publishing world, I think it would be fascinating to be an entry-level fly on the wall as this new venture takes off.

Maybe I should spruce up my resume and knock on their door.  I know where they live, after all.

Twitter Tuesdays

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Marketing, Social Media

Hashtags are a way categorize a tweet, almost like giving it a “tag” or “label”. So if more than one person is tweeting about a certain subject, they can create a hashtag (or see what hashtag others are using for that topic) so all those tweets can be grouped together.

via What the Heck is a Hashtag? – Social Moms: the influential moms network.


#Amwriting is an award-winning Twitter hashtag created by Johanna Harness.  Recipient of the 2010 Christopher Al-Aswad Prize, #amwriting is known as a community that breaks down boundaries between writers.

via Amwriting FAQ – Johanna’s big thoughts

One of the promotional things I am doing is trying to become familiar with the ins and outs of Social Media–what is helpful, what’s a waste of my time, etc.  Twitter has been much harder for me to understand, so I have come up with the idea of Twitter Tuesdays (yes, I know it’s Saturday, but Tuesday was crrraazzzyyy!), where I spend some time researching how Twitter works, and how people are using it.

I figured out just by clicking on it a few times how a hastag works, but was not sure what good it was.  It seemed just random to me.  Then I saw a tweet about it that led me to the blogs above which make me realize it’s a more helpful tool than I thought it might be.  So for today, #amwriting 

Thanks @webprgirl and @johannaharness.