Tag Archives: web content

Writing Journal 46: Surviving the Content Flood

Writing Journal 46: Surviving the Content Flood

My writing journal for Saturday, September 27, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I started the morning off with the novella, working with the character arcs, so that they make sense. You need to show the characters’ changes as a logical progression.

Here’s why this is important. If your characters don’t act like real people — even if they’re little green men from the planet Zotekar — your reader gets bounced out of the story. Not only that, you can annoy the reader profoundly. He’s upset, but he’s not sure why, and he won’t buy anything else you’ve written. This will annoy you. :-)

So it’s worth getting the characters right. Mystery author Donald Westlake wrote a very funny novel called The Hook, about a bestselling novelist. From memory, in the first few pages, the main character can’t get his book character to behave logically. It’s worth reading; sadly there’s no Kindle version, so you’ll need to find it in your local library.

I need to get the novella done, so I can send it to the contract editor next week. Never mind. I’ll let it go; with any luck I may get a sudden flash of inspiration.

Onward, with the company history I’m ghostwriting. I manage another 1,300 words on that, and then it’s time for email. First Honey’s breakfast, and then my own, while writing email messages. Mailbox is amazing. I’m very pleased with it, because you can choose “Later” and set a time/ date for messages you don’t want to handle immediately.

Next, a little work on the ebooks I’m ghostwriting for a client. These are nonfiction, and their goal is promotion for the client. I need to write a couple more ebooks of my own, for the same purpose. When you’re ghostwriting, you’re like the shoemaker whose kids go barefoot. I manage 1,800 words. It’s going well.

Time for my walk. I need to clear my head of worries about the character arcs. The “boys in the basement” can handle it.

I’m back. I’ve been chatting with some authors who are trying to market their books, and are complaining that it’s hard. Yes, it’s hard. And it will get harder.

Book marketing: surviving the content flood

Bob Mayer talked about the “content flood and authors whining”. and I think he’s right. There’s more and more content (the Web, ebooks, television, games, movies, and on, and on.)

Your content, and mine, gets diffused if you like Mayer’s term, and I do. So how do you survive?

You start with the mindset that you’ll adapt. Unlike Hachette. Too many authors believe Hachette’s line of BS. This is fine for the whales. The big names will survive, no matter what. Lee Childs responded to Konrath, yada, yada. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Hachette/ Amazon thing, don’t bother. It’s tedious, watching publishers and their authors act like it’s 1994. Or 1954.

So, how will you adapt? Every author, and every writer for that matter, is different. What works for someone else may not work for you. Remember that the content flood won’t stop. Adapting to it means looking at what you want to achieve, at what you’ve got, at what you could develop and create, and making a plan. Then start working the plan. Adapt as you go along.

Realize that you can’t turn back the content flood. Once you’re convinced of that, adapting becomes much easier.

Back to real life. I need to read through the company history, and see what I have, and what else I need from the client. So I do that, and make some notes. Julia can arrange for a chat with the client next week.

Time for lunch, and for Saturday’s errands. All in all, it’s been a productive morning.

Back again very late. Time to do the daily review, and the word count.

I’ve got a couple of coaching sessions tonight, so it’s time to prepare for them.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 29: Ghostwriting a Company History

Writing Journal 29: Ghostwriting a Company History

My writing journal for Wednesday, September 10, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another ghostwriting project came in late yesterday, which means there’s no time for my fiction and nonfiction ghostwriting projects this morning. I’ll get to them later today.

I enjoy ghostwriting projects which are different. This one’s a company history. The 50th anniversary of the company’s founding is coming up in two months. The company history will be part of the celebrations, and is also for historical purposes. My client’s considering a small book, plus a glossy magazine. I’m writing the book; the material for the magazine will include excerpts from the book.

Once I accepted the project — which I did, immediately, because it’s fascinating, and I know I’ll enjoy it — I needed to do some quick research, and planning. I’ve got a meeting this morning, so on the way back, I’ll pop into the library and do some more research. I want to look at newspapers from the 1960s, just to get a sense of the era.

By the end of the day, I’m hoping that I’ll have some questions for my first interview with the client.

Time to catch up with email

I zoom through email. Last night I read through the Christmas stories I’ve done so far, and planned a couple more. I also caught up on student emails a little. I need to do some more of that tonight, so I can get it under control.

With that out of the way, it’s time for Honey’s breakfast and my own. I make some notes too; I need to rearrange projects to deal with the company history. If I spend more time on the nonfiction book each day, I’ll be able to wrap it up sooner. Just last week I was congratulating myself on being ahead on it.

The product-launch website content, and the pitch presentation are slotted in for this afternoon, along with the novella and nonfiction book. So, a busy day ahead, which is great. I enjoy having lots to do. It’s Wednesday already, so I’ll try and get another Christmas story done by the weekend.

Newsreader apps

I’m loving Leaf. (Mac.) I’m leaving it running as I write, and it picks up posts instantly, just minutes after publication. My best newsreader by far.

Getting book reviews

Over the past weeks, writers have been asking about book reviews. Reviews are basically just marketing. If you only have one book on Amazon, focus on writing, rather than reviews— here’s how to get reviews.

Time to head out…

An afternoon with fiction and nonfiction

Back again, so it’s time for my usual daily fiction novella, and nonfiction book. Just over an hour on each, for 1,000 words of fiction, and 1,800 words of nonfiction.

Next, I need to focus on the Web content for the product launch; but I want to leave a little time for the pitch presentation too.

It’s almost three hours later, and I’m tired. Running around broke up the writing day. That’s as much as I can handle without a long break.

I’m planning on catching up with with student projects for a couple of hours later, so that should get emails up to date. I also need to work on the questions for my first interview for the company history.

Daily review done, word counts done… time for a break. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others’ Content?

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others' Content?

Social media sharing can be a challenge, especially the ratios of the various kinds of content. Should you blast out your own material, or should you minimize your own input, and focus on sharing others’ content which you hope your audience will find valuable?

A couple of authors asked about social sharing ratios in reference to the article on book marketing in 30 minutes a week.

Kevan Lee of Buffer posted “6 popular ratios for sharing content on social media”, and you can certainly follow others’ formulas. However, it all comes down to your audience, your time, and the social media network.

To be honest, I don’t think about it too much. Of course, I don’t consider myself a social media expert. Apropos of social media experts, B.L. Ochman’s funny post: Twitter bios show epic growth – to 297,897 – of self-proclaimed social media gurus will make you smile. “Social media whores”? Who knew? :-)

As regards sharing, I’m with Buffer. Kevan Lee said:

Our social media updates are 90 percent our own content and 10 percent from others, and many days those numbers are even more lopsided.

Here’s why my sharing’s 90/10 too, pretty much. Two reasons:

  • It’s easier to target your audience with your own material – you know the audience you want to reach; and
  • Your audience isn’t served well if you consistently repost others’ material which they’ve already seen in their social stream many times before.

Consider that it’s YOUR social media account. This is why you need to…

Be Yourself When You Share.

Social media is social, but I’m not comfortable posting images of my lunch or my coffee shop snacks to social media, nor do I do post that sort of material for clients. Other people are comfortable with that, and that’s perfect for them. Be yourself. If people don’t like what you’re sharing, they’ll stop following you, as they should.

Curate Content on Social Media, if That’s Your “Added Value.”

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, and a few years ago, my entire @angee Twitter account was others’ content, which I curated. That seemed to work well at the time. However, the Web’s constantly changing. It wouldn’t work for my audience today, because too many others are doing that. Your account becomes just another “me too”, in that case.

However, if curating content on a social media account is your value-add to your audience, and ten other people aren’t doing it, go for it. You can devote a social media account purely to curated content, with just a smattering of your own content. It all depends on your audience, and on YOU.

So, in summary, do whatever you feel will work for your audience. Adjust as needed, and as the Web changes. Most importantly of all, have fun with it. Your social media accounts are yours, and as long as you’re creating and adding value, and entertaining, you’re doing it right.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

60 Minute Blogger Fast-Start

Clients tell me: “I don’t have time to blog!” But what if you spent just ten minutes a day on your blog? 50 to 60 minutes a week is doable for most of us.

60 Minute Blogger Fast-Start

I wrote a series of blog posts on business blogging in 60 minutes a week a year ago. Let’s review ways in which you can become a blogger — even if you have no time to blog.

This process takes just ten minutes a day.

1. Ten minutes: how will you promote your blog?

Start by working out how you’ll promote your blog. You’ll go through this preparation each week, as you work out how to promote your blog post once you’ve written it.

Flip through the slide deck. Although it’s for people creating a new business blog, it gives you a quick overview of how to make a blog work harder for you.

2. Ten minutes: how many blog posts will you create this week?

Consider formats. In the original “60 minutes” article, I said:

Usually when I mention blog posts to a client, he thinks in terms of articles. That’s fine. However, if you’ve only got 60 minutes a week, you don’t need to spend that time writing just one article — or half an article, if you’re a slow writer.

Consider: photos, other images, short videos, MP3 interviews… If you’re posting MP3s, post transcriptions too. You can get transcriptions from providers at fiverr.com at a reasonable rate.

3. Twenty Minutes: outline and collect — batch-create

Here’s the original article: Schedule 20 minutes each week, to outline your blog posts, and collect resources for them.

Your resources might include:

* Images;

* Facts and figures;

* Quotes from customers;

* Marketing materials for inspiration.

Once you’ve collected your resources, make a list of topics you want to cover on the blog. Keep the list somewhere you’ll find it easy, so you can add to it when you get an idea. I keep my blogs’ topics lists in Simplenote.

Next, explore keywords.

Keyword Eye is still my favorite  free keyword tool.

free keyword tool

Keyword Eye is ideal for brainstorming quick blog post titles.

Create the posts after you’ve decided on the titles, and save the posts as drafts.  Add some quick notes to each blog post so that you won’t be staring at a blank editing screen when it’s time to write.

 4. Twenty minutes: write!

You’ve done your preparation, so the writing should go quickly.

Tip: focus on images. Images give you many ways in which to promote a blog post. If you have two images in a blog post, you can post at least twice on Pinterest (space out your postings.) You can also post a blog’s images to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, with a short commentary, and a link to the post.  

Over the past 12 months, I’ve discovered that images rule. I started posting about “image marketing” way back in 2012. In 2014, images are vital to draw attention.

So, there you have it. Your 60 minute blogger fast-start. Still think that you don’t have time to blog? :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.