Category Archive: marketing

Oct 19 2013

Pluck Great Advice from Abundant Information by Experimenting

overabundant

There is so much information out there. This expert says do this. That guru says do that. How do you find great advice among the plethora of tips, tricks, and tactics? One word: Experiment.

 

I’m skeptical of the one size fits all approach, and you should be too. There’s no formula to effective blogging, marketing, writing, or selling. If there was, that would mean blogging, and the rest, were easy to accomplish. You know, the one-two step of instance success. We know that’s not true. If it were that easy, why is so much advice given on these topics?

Simply because one approach does not work for all.

To figure out what works or what doesn’t work for you, you have to try it out. Apply the tactics, and use the tricks and tips you learn.

There is no one method for success.

Another way to see what advice suits you is to be open to new information.

I held onto a piece of advice I’d been given, and wouldn’t let go even years after it became outdated.

That’s a big no-no. Learn, grow, and adapt. It’s okay to change. Change your mind, change your beliefs, change your tactics, and see if a new voice can help you reach your goals.

Here are some common reactions some people have when presented with new advice:

  1. Accept it. Apply it.
  2. Question it. Reject it.
  3. Use what’s helpful. Discard the rest.

These are all normal reactions to the guidance we receive. I’m a number 3 type of girl, by the way. Even so, I’ll go ahead and add a BUT. No matter how you choose to take the information given to you, always keep an open mind.

Remember: Some might find particular advice helpful. Others might find that same advice useless. Test it to see which it is for you. Impractical or beneficial?

For example, one type of advice we hear a lot is: write engaging headlines.

A simple trick used to reel in readers. Write a witty, shocking, or controversial headline. Sure, this works for many, but some won’t bite because they see the hook and the line. My advice? Title your article for what it is (i.e. Do This to Get More Followers on Twitter). If your audience wants to know how to get more followers on Twitter, how effective would a headline like ‘Following is as Simple as Tweet is to Spell’? For sanity’s sake, just tell them what the darn article is promising to deliver, and deliver.

See? It’s all about what info works for you. Creative headlines do not always work for me.

Another example of advice regularly given. Write how you speak. It’s more personal.

Sounds good. This is great advice, BUT what if you’re are a normally a formal speaker. Are you too boring for your message to get across? What if your personality sucks? What if readers don’t like snarky or aren’t fond of curse words in every other paragraph? Run the risk of never getting blog visitors again because you want to display your character? My advice? Deliver your message the way that feels natural for you and your audience.

You don’t have to be conversational to get blog hits. Sometimes readers don’t want personality. Maybe they want specifics. So give them what they came for. My post, Proofreading Tips: Kindle and Microsoft Word’s Text-to-Speech, is one of my most popular posts on my blog. And guess what? It’s as straightforward as it gets. Honest headline and content that delivers what’s promised. Done.

My point?

The most basic advice and presentation still has value. So don’t reject it. Use what’s helpful.

 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Never let a surplus of information scare you away. You can find something beneficial in all advice.

 

  • Don’t take everything at face value. Just because something worked for others doesn’t mean it’ll work for you too.

 

  • Learn when to let go of a method, a source, or a piece of advice. It’s okay to change.

 

Although I am skeptical of the one size fits all approach to giving and taking instruction, I am fairly confident that the only way you will make the abundance of advice, or any shared information, work for you (including this very post) is to try it on yourself. Look at it from all angles before deciding how best to use it.

Do you agree? Please, share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

 

[image credit: daniel_iversen]

 

Feb 07 2013

4 Mistakes I’ve Made in my Writing Career that You Can Learn From

It’s hard to admit you’ve made mistakes. However, admitting your mistakes, at least to yourself, is the necessary first step you must take to learn from them. We all had moments where we wish we had someone to mentor us at the start of our writing careers. Wouldn’t life be easier and less stressful if we could learn from someone else’s mistakes? Well, here’s your chance to learn a thing or two from someone who’s made a few mistakes over her eight-year writing career. Below are some mistakes I’ve made that, hopefully, you’ll never make yourself. And here is a list of 4 MORE mistakes I’ve made in my writing career that you can learn from.

  1.  Failing to acquire the proper editing


 

I’ve actually paid a couple hundred dollars to have one of my earlier books edited. When all was said and done, it turned out I got a critique of my book instead of an actual line edit that I thought I was paying for.

My Mistake: Not understanding and verifying what type of “editing” I was paying for.

The Lesson: Make sure you understand the exact service the editor will provide and agree to those services before paying a cent.

 

  1. Waiting too long to revise a published manuscript


I’ve self-published a book (or two) at the start of my writing career that, looking back, I realized needed a hefty dose of revision. And being a better writer today than I was eight years ago helps in identifying poor writing.

My Mistake: I didn’t revise and republish the book sooner. If I tried to revise the story now, it will take time away from my recent projects and delay the completion of future projects. I’d still be stuck in the past!

The Lesson: If you have a project (book, article, poem, etc.) that is published (i.e. self-published, published to a blog or other website) that’s in need of a revision, do it now or soon. Starting more projects before finishing current responsibilities will keep you from ever revising, or can make it more difficult to go back and revise in the future.

 

  1. Writing several  stories at once


Writers have so many ideas, don’t we? Can’t wait to write them down and start working on some. We get used to having several Word documents opened at the same time, or a different one opened every other day. How did I manage to finish anything if I was working on everything at once?

My Mistake: I’ve had too much going on to focus on anything. And worse, it was hard to keep up with the many characters and plotlines. I ended up scrapping some of the stories and never finishing others, and looking back made me realize that time could have been used much more productively.

The Lesson: Like the lesson above, stick to one project until it’s complete. At the very least, stick with just a couple of your very important projects (i.e. projects with fast approaching deadlines) to make sure you stay focus.

 

 

  1. Not marketing my work


I used to think that if you write a book, readers would come. That’s kind of funny now that I think about it. No, not really. That’s sad. How would anyone ever know about my book if I never let people know it exists?

My Mistake: I told a couple of my friends and family about the book I was so proud of, I made a website and added the cover and back copy description, and then I sat back and waited. Watching as I sold 4 copies this month and 8 copies the next.

The Lesson: If you want readers and sales you have to make your book known to more than your close group of friends. You can’t only rely on word of mouth advertising anymore. You have to get out there and participate in some online activities, make some friends, join a group or too, be a guess blogger, connect with your target audience, make a presence, etc. Here are some Simple Online Book  Marketing Tips you can refer to.

Mar 17 2012

Your E-Publisher May be in Trouble: Red Flags

Hindsight is twenty-twenty, right? Here is a list of some of the red flags to look for in your book publisher. Maybe this can help you prepare for their unfortunate closure, keep you from signing over the rights of future books, or warn fellow authors about said publisher.

These are just some of the red flags I myself ignored when a previous publisher I was contracted with went under. Just because your publisher is experiencing one, some or all of the red flags on my list doesn’t necessarily mean they are doomed, although all reputable and professional book publishers should be up to par in regards to their business and not slack on these important issues.

Warning signs:

Lack of communication:

Your emails are starting to go unanswered or there’s always an unreasonable delay in replies. Sometimes it’s a week before someone gets back to you. Sometimes you never receive a reply.

Lack of professionalism:

A member of the publisher’s staff writes an article on the publisher’s blog about his or her distaste of multicultural books with paranormal themes. Or your publisher shares unwanted personal information such as having to fire a staff member and even shares the details in a mass email to all the authors.

Staff is changing frequently:

They’re going through editors, cover artists, and other staff quickly. Every other week or month there’s a rotation, someone leaves and someone new is taking that person’s place. They rotate so fast and frequently you barely remember your last two editors’ names.

Inaccurate or late payments:

That Paypal payment you were expecting from your publisher on the fifteenth showed up a couple weeks late. And didn’t your statement say you made ninety sales? You’re pretty sure a twelve dollar payment is a mistake.

No website or blog updates:

The same blog post is still at the top of the page every time you visit the publisher’s blog. You’ve been looking at the same post for the past month.

Poor manuscript editing:

While reading other books from this publisher you notice a handful of spelling and grammar mistakes that should have been caught before publication. Come to think of it, you only had one round of edits from your editor too. You looked over your own manuscript more times, and although you have a good eye you still found a misplaced comma here or there.

No sales details:

Sure, you get a sales record but it’s only a Word document containing a list of your books, the amount sold for the month and the amount of money owed. You don’t know when the books were sold, from what retailer, or the publisher’s cut. When you inquire about lack of detail, you’re told the next statement will be more detailed.

Delve in shady practices:

You heard other authors discussing your publisher paying for five star reviews? Or part of your contract was to have at least five of your family members leave reviews of your book on the publisher’s website? Other practices like these that are frowned upon and dishonest spells doom for that publisher.


Keep an eye out for red flags, listen to your instinct and act before it’s too late to avoid being deceived. Are there any other red flags you might add to my list?