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.

Write An Ebook In 8 Hours Or Less

Write An Ebook In 8 Hours Or Less

Want to write an ebook in a day? You can. As you may know, I write a lot of books, usually for clients. I’ve got a process that I share with you in my Words into Cash: Write and Sell Your Ebook in Just 8 Hours program.

If you’re interested in writing fast and well, I encourage you to check out this program, because we’re withdrawing it on September 7. We’ve got many more programs scheduled for this year and next.

Why write a fast ebook?

Money’s one reason. Would you believe that an ebook on attracting hummingbirds to your home made $500,000 in a single year? People want information on many different kinds of topics.

I love watching birds on my daily walks, and if I had the time and inclination, I could write an ebook on attracting native birds to your garden.

Would it sell? Who knows? If you write a quick ebook, and spend just eight hours on it, it scarcely matters. Some ebooks can be sleepers. You can write an ebook, forget all about it, and months later discover that it’s taken off.

However, important as money is, it’s not the only, or even the primary reason for my clients to write ebooks. They may write an ebook to educate their audience, for the credibility it gives them, or just because a competitor has an ebook and they want one too.

Ebook marketing is hard, right?

Authors can get tied in knots over marketing. They think that “marketing” is a mysterious process, which takes a long time, and is embarrassing into the bargain. No one wants to beg people to read their book.

If you shudder at the idea of marketing, and think it’s hard, let’s look at a simple process for setting your goal for marketing, and your goalposts.

  • Decide on your goal for ebook marketing. Do you want lots of sales, to become known as an author, to sell a coaching program, to sell a product…?
  • Set your goalposts. How will you know when you’ve scored a win? Your goalposts might be getting your ebook into the top thousand ebooks in its category on Amazon. Or they might be getting ten speaking engagements. Or getting your new product into stores across the nation. When you set your goalposts, you define what “success” looks like for you.

Once you’ve set a goal, and the goalposts, marketing starts to look a lot less intimidating.

Setting your goalposts is vital. When I’m coaching business people and authors, I encourage them to look beyond sales, or the number of downloads they get if they’re offering their ebooks for free. Your goalposts – that is, the measure of your success, may not involve large numbers of readers at all.

Here’s an example. One of my clients, a management consultant, published his ebook on Amazon, and had 100 Createspace copies printed. He sends a printed copy of his book to prospects, and leaves several copies behind after he pitches prospects. He’s tripled his client list in the past year.

Would you spend eight hours writing an ebook if you knew it would triple your business? Our Words into Cash: Write and Sell Your Ebook in Just 8 Hours program is available until September 7.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

photo credit: cindiann via photopin cc

Book Marketing: Easy Images For Non-Designers (Free)

Book Marketing: Easy Images For Non-Designers

I’ve been helping several clients with book marketing over the past couple of months, and because they’re writers, they  think they “can’t do” images. Of course you can… The shining highlight of my artistic career was finger painting in kindergarten, with a notable mention going to wire-jewelry creation in high school (wire-wrapped gemstones, very pretty), so if I can do images, anyone can do them.

Why create images? Because you need them for social media, and advertising. Yes, you can hire a designer to create some wonderful images, and you should, if you can afford it. However, most marketing these days is done on the fly. You’re not going to hire a designer to create graphics for every blog post you write, or for every social media update.

Let’s look at some easy image creation tools for non-designers… they’re all FREE.

1. Easy: create images with presentation software

You’ve got presentation software lurking on your hard drive, admit it. Look for PowerPoint, or Keynote, if you’re a Mac user. I created the above image in about two minutes using Keynote; it’s for the Marketing Your Book in 5 Minutes a Day video series which is part of my new Nonfiction Ebook Superstar: Write and Sell In 24 Hours Or Less program.

If you don’t have an Office suite, download Open Office, it’s free. It includes the Impress app, which allows you to create fancy images and diagrams.

Consider using your presentation app to create: CTA (calls to action) images; advertising images; and images for social media.

2. Elegant: use Canva to create covers and ads

book cover templates

Canva.com comes with a slew of templates. To create a cover for an ebook, just click on the Kindle Cover template, and you’re good to go. Of course you can create images in custom sizes too.

The big benefit of Canva is that it’s HARD to create dud images. Your images may not make a design student or artist weep tears of envy, but they’re eye-catching, and that’s all you need. You want to pique your potential readers’ curiosity, and Canva helps you to do that, elegantly.

Consider using Canva to create: book covers in various sizes, as well as advertising collateral, and info graphics,  if you’re writing nonfiction.

3. Fast: anyone can get creative with PicMonkey

Create fast with PicMonkey

You can create images super-fast with PicMonkey.com. (You can even use your own fonts now.) It’s the easiest, and the fastest way not only to create simple text images, but also to add pizazz to your own photos. Just drag them in, and turn them into artistic wonders.

I use PicMoney whenever I want to create text images, or create a blog image in a minute or two.

Consider using PicMoney when you have NO TIME to market your book. Just drag an image into PicMonkey, jazz it up (or not), and share it at a click. You can see the many possible ways of sharing your image below; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.

Share an image

So, there you have it. Three ways to create book marketing images easily, completely for free, even if you’re not a designer.

Increase Your Income: Write and Sell Nonfiction

 Nonfiction Ebook Superstar: Write and Sell In 24 Hours Or Less

Every writer today is in a powerful position. You’ve got the power of Amazon, and the power of the Web. ALL of the tools you need to write and sell are FREE. However, few writers make use of that power. Can you spare just 24 hours to create an ebook that will sell for ten years?

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book marketing can be amazingly simple, but nevertheless effective. Even if you hate marketing, you can get great results in just 30 minutes a week. Schedule it once a week, or split it up, into three ten-minute sessions. Even if you hate the idea of promotions, you can do it.

My students ask questions like:

* “HOW do I market?”

* “Is this enough?”

* “What should I do now?”

You’ll find some easy marketing ideas below. Essentially it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, as long as you do some promotion.

A digression: hate marketing? Many hardcore writers do. (Me included, oddly enough, I’d rather write… :-)) If you hate, hate, hate the idea of promotion, forget about it. Write another book. End of digression.

1. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles – Choose One or Two Social Media Websites.

We’re not counting this activity in your 30 minutes a week. Setting up your social media profiles may take you 45 minutes or so, but you only need to do it once. Review your profile every couple of months, as you book marketing activities change, and tweak as necessary.

Before you start, develop some creative material – images. Your creatives can be book covers in various sizes, some CTAs (Calls to Action: advertising images), images of yourself, image quotes from your book, or anything else you choose. Your creatives grab people’s attention. Use canva.com to create FAST images, completely for free.

Now set up profiles on two social media websites. You can choose any two you like. Book marketers get results on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, however your mileage may vary. Choose the two with which you’re most comfortable, and set up your profile pages on these sites.

Here’s my Twitter profile page.

Angela Booth on Twitter

Essential: use your book’s cover as a profile background image: people need to associate you with your book. If you’re promoting several books, create a collage of your book covers, and add the link to your Amazon Author Page on your profile.

2. Create Types of Social Media Shares.

Your types can include:

Shares of Others’ Material.

Let’s say you’ve written a nonfiction ebook about online dating. You an reshare the content of influencers in that niche, or of anyone in the niche, as long as you feel it’s useful and important to your followers. If you’re writing suspense fiction, your can reshare other suspense writers tweets and posts – readers are always looking for great new books.

Thoughts and Questions.

What are you reading? You can post your current reading using the hashtag #amreading. Alternatively, what are you writing? Post using the hashtag #amwriting.

I’m currently on a Georgette Heyer kick, so I’m posting #amreading, as you can see in the Google+ post below.



You can also ask questions of your audience. What are they reading? Who’s their favorite character?

Book Announcements, and Promotional Material.

You were wondering when we were going to get around to promotions, weren’t you – here we go. :-) Promote away. Use your ebook’s covers, quote images, and anything else you’d like. Tweet and post snippets from your book.

VITAL… include your Amazon link, please, so people can buy your book.

It’s easy to forget to do this. I often read something about a book in which I’m interested, and when I search for the retailer link, there isn’t one. I need to copy and paste the book’s title into Amazon… and sometimes I think – “later.” Make it as easy as possible for people to click through to your ebook on Amazon or wherever you’re selling.

Reshares of Your Own Blog Posts.

If you’re running a blog, don’t be shy – reshare your blog posts. Over time, you’ll develop a lot of content. I have around 4,000 posts on one blog, and 2,000 on another. You’ll develop masses of content too: use that content to promote your books.

3. Create Draft Content for Social Media Posts.

I create a week or two’s worth of draft content in a spreadsheet on Sunday evenings. It’s become automatic now, and takes me around 15 minutes. It may take you a little longer when you start out.

4. Schedule Your Content: Use Buffer.

Buffer makes it simple to line up your content for sharing. You can schedule for specific times, or use the Settings scheduler, and so that your posts go out at regular times. Buffer is free for a basic account, and it’s all you need for book marketing.

So, there you go. Once you’re set up with the types of material you’re sharing, you can create and schedule your book marketing in just 30 minutes a week. See? Marketing can be easy. Dip into your social media accounts for a couple of minutes occasionally during the week, to respond to people.

Enjoy Writing? Imagine Starting and Running Your Own Highly Successful Copywriting Business.

Copywriting Business: Master Class

You can earn while you learn to write copy in ten weeks. Join us in the Copywriting Master Class.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.