Posts Tagged ‘web pages’

I’m reinstating Twitter Tuesdays–here’s the first installment for your edutainment.

A few weeks ago Chris Brogan published a list of the 100 blog topics that he wished people would cover. One of them was, “How Twitter Improved My Blog,” and I accepted the challenge to write something along these lines. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter, you can read “The Tao of Twitter,” “Newbies Guide to Twitter,” or “Ode to Twitter.”) Here is my answer to Chris’s request.

Book Marketing Group News | LinkedIn.

Advertisements

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
debborys@paintedblacknovel.com

www.debra-r-borys.com
www.paintedblacknovel.com
www.newlibripress.com

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 paintedblacknovel.com? 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 Box.net file sharing. You have to create an account at the Box.net 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.

Marketing 101: Web Domains

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Marketing
Tags:

I haven’t had a lot of time to research marketing yet.  I did get started, however.  One of the first and most basic things is to start a web page for the book(s) I am marketing.  So I decided to register a web domain for Painted Black even though I won’t have anything to add to the page for a while yet.

Since I already have a blog with Word Press and am getting pretty familiar with how Word Press works, I think for right now I want my book page to be with them.  I also thought that would make it easier to cross reference the book page with this blog on self publishing, and vice versa.

So my first step was registering a domain for the Self Publishing blog you are currently reading.  Maybe I didn’t need to spend money on that.  After all, debbiedowrite.wordpress.com isn’t that long of a web address.  But I thought debbiedowrite is perhaps not professional sounding enough (But definitely fun, don’t you think?)

Assigning a domain to a Word Press blog when you buy the domain through them is really easy.  I did it all through Word Press.  In account Settings, you click on Domains and it walks you through the steps, from searching for a name that isn’t taken through paying for it.

I ended up having to settle for debra-r-borys.com since the first few options I tried were already taken.  I’m not entirely convinced this is better than the one that I got free when I first set up the blog.  What do you think?  Should I go back to the debbiedowrite one instead?

Next, I created a new blog for the book–or started one at any rate.  There’s nothing on it and it’s private so you can’t go to it yet.  I found that the most logical choice of paintedblack was already taken, so I had to settle for paintedblacknovel.wordpress.com.  However, when I went to buy a domain through Word Press for it, for some reason, it took the “l” off of novel.  When I went to GoDaddy.com and searched for paintedblacknovel.com, it worked just fine, so I ended up buying through them.

Then I went back to Word Press and tried to point the blog at paintedblacknovel.com.  Word Press told me that address was already assigned to a DNS server (at GoDaddy–you can set up a web page directly through them) and advised me to go to my account with GoDaddy and change the DNS servers to the server names for Word Press.

This was a little more complicated and involved clicking around GoDaddy.com quite a bit before I figured out where to go to choose those settings.  I’m sure if you asked me to show you how I got there, I would not be able to tell you.  It wasn’t too extraordinarily difficult, but it was a little intimidating.  Luckily I’m a computer user who doesn’t freeze up thinking she’s going to totally screw things up by clicking the wrong link.

So now you can find my blog by going to www.debra-r-borys.com and soon you will be able to find a web page about my book at www.paintedblacknovel.com.  Cool, huh?

I would think the lesson learned from my first step in marketing is “Have No Fear.”  It’s an adventure, after all.  If you’re too frightened of being devoured by the lion, you shouldn’t be on the safari in the first place.  Just enjoy the trek.

Am I reinventing the wheel?

Posted: January 1, 2011 in Self Publishing
Tags:

I started my research by searching for blogs that are attempting to do the same thing I am here.  A Google query produced a whole slew of results, most of which didn’t answer my question, and many of which were just totally confusing.  I did look long enough, however, to decide only a small majority of the results share my goal of documenting my research into the pros and cons of self publishing.  I’ll share two of them here:

Journey to Self Publishing http://www.journeytoselfpublishing.com

At first glance, this seemed identical to what I was attempting.  It even has a sub heading of “a candid account of my experience as I learn the ins and outs of publishing my own book.”  But the blog also serves to document Natalie Wickham’s journey of writing the non-fiction book she intends to market.  Also, in the beginning at least (June 2008), she means self-publishing a printed book including printing, marketing, and shipping, which is not my intent.

She did eventually self publish hard copies of her book, and in November of 2010, did also publish electronically with Kindle.  Interestingly enough, she also published an mp3 CD of an interview entitled: “Journey to Self Publishing – 12 steps to successfully publishing.”  As a promotional strategy, she started a second blog named for her book: http://www.pajamaschool.com. Something I may choose to do when/if I actually make this move.

I can see that there are subjects in her blog that I might find useful, like her comment about how Print-On-Demand (POD) is a better option for short-run jobs, but web offset printing is better for print runs of 500 or more books.  But there’s also a lot written that doesn’t apply to e-publishing, my main focus, so isn’t much help in making my decision about whether I want to self publish or not.

 

Self-Publishing Adventurehttp://selfpublishingadventure.com

This site mirrors my intent much more closely.  For one thing, Sarah Ettritch writes fiction:  lesbian spec fic it’s true, but that genre has much more in common with my mystery/suspense novel than a non-fiction book about home schooling.  She has published electronically for Kindle and in ePub form, which makes her work available on a variety of eBook readers, including the iPad.  The main difference seems to be that her research is based upon publishing in Canada, although she states that much of what she found out applies in the US as well.

My main problem with the blog is that it’s not as easy to find the oldest entry and then read forward chronologically.  It’s a WordPress site, like this one, but her sidebar does not let you search archives by month or year.  The only way I see to do that is to continually click on the “Older Posts” link at the bottom of each page and since I have no idea when she started writing the blog (she mentions thinking about self publishing in 2008, so it may got back that far!) I could be clicking for a long time.

She does have a link on her site to another blog I also found helpful and will write more about next time, www.fornerbooks.com. So this affirms my feeling that her process of research is similar to mine.  Because of that, I believe I am going to find this site very interesting to read.  Her latest posts concentrate on promotion, but by clicking on various category links, I’ve found information relevant to where I’m at right now.  For instance, she mentions how Smashwords has distribution agreements with Amazon, Apple, Sony, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo and goes on to explain how to use them to convert your Word document into the various formats these online venues require.

Next Time

Next time, I’m going to review a few other blogs I’ve found.  There are so many of them, I’m sure I could post for a year or more just doing reviews of self publishing blogs.  But that’s not going to get Painted Black onto anyone’s eReader, now is it?  My next step after that will be researching the ePublishing options that are most recommended and summarizing what each one involves.  That will help me focus on what’s most important in each option, and provide you with information to help you vote on my survey of whether I should…Self Publish or Not Self Publish.

The Plan

Posted: December 18, 2010 in Self Publishing
Tags:

I started thinking the other day while walking around the track at the YMCA. Yes, don’t look so surprised, I was actually exercising. My thoughts may have been the result of adrenaline rushing to my brain or just boredom (it’s a very small indoor track), but I started thinking about self publishing.

This isn’t the first time the idea has crossed my mind. It comes to me every once in a while when I feel discouraged about the number of rejections I received from traditional publishing attempts, or disheartened by the sometimes dire-looking vista of the traditional publishing world in general.

From an age when I could read by myself, I have wanted to write books people would enjoy reading. Books provided me with so many adventures and escapes and pleasures I wanted to create and explore more worlds for myself and others to enjoy.

I’ve had some success with short stories, but they don’t provide the same build a world experience as a great novel. I’ve also received quite a bit of encouragement from people who have read excerpts of my work–six completed novels, not counting two or three less than stellar fabrications in my early teens. Between workshop leaders, teachers, and even some of those rejection letters I have garnered enough confidence to believe that I actually do have talent and at times maybe even something to say.

Because my initial love of books was tied to the tactile, the “book” itself: the paper, binding, cover art, even the turned down corners to mark my place when I didn’t have a bookmarker, I was a publishing snob for years. Not only was I set on publishing in hard or soft cover, I was determined to find publication with a house that had a reputation, that would make my book available nationwide if not globally. No small regional publishers for me, I set my sights on Random House, St. Martins, Harper Collins, or at least Avon or Penguin paperbacks.

The last few years, however, that confidence has not been enough. I still believe what I write is publishable, and that people, some people at least, would actually enjoy my work as much or even more than some of the current novels being churned out in the market. But it is getting harder and harder to get published, even when you’re damn good. And there is much news out there about the publishing industry that makes me doubt they are as esteemed as they used to be, or at least as they’d like us to think they used to be.

So I have decided to seriously look at the self publishing options that are available to me today. This includes e-books and Print on Demand, as well as any other ventures I can find that involve little or no up front investment by yours truly, the author-to-be. Because I am not at all interested in vanity publishing by the standard definition of the term. No garage full of books for me, or standing on street corners giving my books away for free as a marketing ploy.

The plan that evolved as I revolved around the 1/8 mile Y track is simple.

  1. Start a blog entitled To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish, That is the Question.
  2. Research the pros and cons of the various self publishing opportunities out there.
  3. Post weekly entries on the self publishing search.
  4. Market that blog by way of Facebook and other social networking media.
  5. Include a poll in the blog where people can vote on whether I should take the plunge.
  6. Include cover art and an excerpt from my novel Painted Black to help people decide how to vote.
  7. And eventually to self publish the novel and actively self promote it on the internet, including continuing the blog with updates on how the novel is going (or not going as the case may be).

Sound like a plan?  Well, if you’re ready to decide, click on the link to my page called “The Critics” and tell me what you think.  Maybe I’ll listen.  And maybe I won’t.  Only time will tell for sure.