Anatomy of an Author Blog, Part Two

30 Jan
January 30, 2015

1453428_10152055749742664_159123381_nWe’ve been discussing the importance of an author blog for indie authors. Last time, we talked about the tools you need behind the scene to make your blog function well. Today, we’ll discuss the anatomy of author blog content that will help your blog be more successful.

Content

While everyone tells indie authors that they can use their blog to sell eBooks, you can’t use your blog as a blunt instrument that just says over and over again, “buy my eBook.” Your blog should be a window into your life, personality, and art. Share parts of yourself that your readers will enjoy.

Title

Whenever you’re writing, whether it’s a blog, an article in a magazine or even an email, the subject line is the most important element. People decide whether or not to keep going based on the subject line, so it’s easy to lose half your audience before you even get started.

Body

People read best online (whether they’re accessing your blog from a phone, tablet, or computer) when paragraphs are broken up and there are subheadings to keep them reading. Be sure to design your blog to be easy to read by doing this.

What should you write on your indie author blog? Write about you. Write about your experiences. Write about traveling. Write about the authors who influenced you. Write about writing. Write about the experience of self-publishing. Write about other hobbies you have besides writing. Share small vignettes into your life. Write about anything. Just don’t write “Please buy my eBook.”

Call to Action

At the end of every blog, you can include a little bio that has a link to your eBooks. Only in this subtle, non-pushy way should you mention your eBooks in your blog. Your blog should be a way to share a piece of yourself with your readers, a way for them to get to know you.

Do you have an author blog? Share your blog with us on our Facebook page.

 

Anatomy of an Author Blog, Part One

27 Jan
January 27, 2015

wordpress-logo-680x400As an indie author, your author blog is one of your best marketing tools for promoting your eBooks, engaging with your readers, and sharing insights into your personality. But to make your author blog work well for you, it helps to design it properly. In this post, we’ll discuss the tools you need behind the scene to make your author blog work. In the next post, we’ll discuss what you need to include in your content.

Platform

We recommend WordPress. It’s easy to use, search-engine friendly, and quickly customizable. There are several free and premium responsive themes to choose from that will ensure your blog will be read no matter what device your reader is accessing your site from. If you aren’t a fan of WordPress, alternatives include Wix, Tumblr, and Blogger.

SEO Tool or Plugin

SEO doesn’t carry the same power it used to, at least not in the traditional sense of stuffing poorly written articles with keywords. But search engine optimization tools are important. They help you make sure you have a proper title and excerpt that Google can pick up in its search and work behind the scenes to increase your visibility. In WordPress, the two most popular SEO plugins are Yoast and All in One SEO Pack.

Social Sharing Tool

One of the ways you can leverage from the marketing potential of your blog is by making sure it reaches a wider audience. You do this by making it very easy for people to share your content, providing them with social sharing buttons. If they like what you’re writing, they can simply click a button to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any number of other platforms.

Click To Tweet

Another very powerful tool that can help expand your audience is Click To Tweet. This tool embeds clickable tweets right in your blog. You can grab a sentence or phrase, add a hashtag, and make it incredibly easy for readers to share your content.

What other behind-the-scenes tools do you think are necessary for the perfect author blog?

 

Is your eBook Available in the Library?

23 Jan
January 23, 2015

formatting ebooksOne of the biggest eBook trends predicted to experience even more explosive growth in 2015 is making the eBook available in the library. Libraries across the country are experiencing a surge in popularity through embracing technology and offering access to digital book titles. Two libraries in Washington had more than two million digital titles checked out.

It might seem counter-intuitive to the indie author desperate for sales to offer an eBook as a free read, but the exposure you can get from having your eBook available for borrowing in a library is immense. To take it a step further, you can even work with your local library and offer guest appearances where you do readings from your work or give away digital copies of your eBook.

Many libraries use OverDrive as the source of their eBook collection, which has been difficult for independent publishers to access. They tend to accept authors who have established sales or multiple titles, and their upload system is cumbersome, but it can be beneficial.

The future of eBooks is exciting, and this is just one more way that indie authors can reach a wider audience without having to pay an agent and publisher to do so.

Social Media and the Indie Author

20 Jan
January 20, 2015

market your ebook on social mediaWe’ve discussed in great detail the need for indie authors to be active on a variety of social media platforms in order to reach a broader audience and sell more eBooks. But social media, while the end result can be to sell more eBooks, isn’t about selling. It’s about creating relationships.

If you really want to be successful on social media as an indie author, you need to approach it the right way.

The Wrong Way Indie Authors Do Social Media

While it’s absolutely crucial to your success to make sure people know about your eBook, if that is all you do with your social media, you will be very unpopular.

As well, if you post things that are offensive to specific groups, you will find it difficult to grow a following.

And, if all you do is re-share other people’s content, you’ll also be considered too boring to bother with.

Social Media Success Tricks for Indie Authors

To really succeed at social media as an indie author, the key is authenticity.

  1. Show your personality. Share bits and pieces of your life that let your readers get to know you.
  2. Don’t over-post about your eBook or get pushy with people to buy it. Occasionally remind people it’s available, definitely let them know when it goes on sale, and announce new eBooks.
  3. Occasionally share excerpts and host giveaways that are only for your followers.
  4. Share image-based content that is interesting and fun.

It’s not all about posting – be sure you check in regularly to respond to comments and messages. Social media is about making connections.

Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, offers great advice in this HuffPost article about building trust on social media. Indie authors can use this advice as easily as brands.

The History of eBooks Is Longer Than You Think

16 Jan
January 16, 2015

ereader30n-1-webWhile eBooks have proliferated in the last several years, digital reading has been around since the 1970s.

1949: First electronic book patent application

In 1949 a Spanish teacher named Angela Ruiz Robles invented the first electronic book, which was powered by compressed air. Her goal was to save the backs of her students.

1960: Brown researcher coins the term “eBook”

Andries van Dam, working on the FRESS project at Brown University, coined the term “electronic book” in the 1960s with a project that may have also been the first effort at responsive technology.

1971: The first digital publisher is launched.

Project Gutenberg was the first digital publisher, beginning in 1971. The Project Gutenberg website says, “Project Gutenberg was the first provider of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and his memory continues to inspire the creation of eBooks and related technologies today.”

Today they have more than 46,000 free eBooks available to read on their website or to download.

1985: The first encyclopedia is published on CD-ROM

Grolier, Inc. took the cumbersome and costly effort of owning an encyclopedia set and released the Academic American Encyclopedia on CD-ROMs, giving instant access to knowledge to thousands of households who had embraced having a home computer.

1993: The world’s first electronic novel published

Peter James published his thriller, Host, on two floppy disks in 1993. Not only was it recognized as the “world’s first electronic novel, it has now been added to the Science Museum’s collection. James was accused of being the harbinger of the downfall of the novel, but even then he realized that eBooks would not overtake print until they became much more convenient.

The proliferation of portable, connected devices is definitely creating a market for eBooks. Amazon alone has more than three million titles available. What may have been a slow start is now the future of reading and a huge opportunity for indie authors.

If you’re ready to write your first eBook, EditionGuard is an ardent supporter of the indie author. Our blog is filled with resources to help you write, edit, publish, market, and sell your eBooks.

Image source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/e-reader-modern-day-marvel-article-1.1250136 

Ignore the Doom: Make 2015 the Year to Self Publish

12 Jan
January 12, 2015

1If you’re an indie author or have the desire to be one, 2015 is the year for you. Several news articles will lead you to believe that digital growth is slowing and that paper books are making a comeback. Everywhere, the news says that indie authors will have a tough road to hoe…but when you dig into these stories, they’re simply talked about slowed sales on Amazon. They don’t mention the explosion of eBook sales predicted in South Korea in 2015 or Seth Godin’s prediction that 2015 will be a breakout year indie authors who self publish.

They’re not truly looking at the self publish indie author. They’re looking at the Amazon author – and that’s an author of an altogether different story.

For the indie author who is ready to publish and sell his or her own eBooks from a WordPress website, ecommerce store, or even through social media, the timing could not be better. Not only is EditionGuard rolling out several tools to help indie authors succeed this year (stay tuned) but indie authors will have more and more control over their own destinies by disenrolling from KDP Select and selling their eBooks on their own website.

EditionGuard is always in the corner of the indie author. Right now, we’re offering indie authors a 30-day free trial. If you want to sell your eBooks securely from your own website, be able to accept PayPal for payments, and experience simple setup and great support, try EditionGuard today!

Learn more.

Why Indie Authors Need Google+

07 Jan
January 7, 2015

google plus logoWhile there are some who claim that Google failed with its social media experiment, the improvement in visibility that results from having Google+ makes it a worthy platform, even without Google authorship.

Why Do Indie Authors Need Google+?

Why do indie authors need Google+? Because Google search is critical, and Google+ quickly improves your Google search results. It’s as simple as that. If you want people to find you, a perhaps-relatively unknown indie author with a couple of eBooks for sale, then you need to have a Google+ profile and an author page, and you need to post there regularly.

Google+ also is a great place to connect with readers, reviewers, and other indie authors. Not only can you add them to circles and then target posts to specific audiences, you can host and participate in hangouts. Author interviews, Q&As, and other traditional in-person promotional activities that authors accomplish can now be done via Google Hangouts from the comfort of their homes or offices.

Ifbyphone goes into great detail about the benefits of Google+ for marketing, including how quickly posts are indexed (found by Google search). Google+ is definitely worth the effort.

Be sure to check out the rest of our series. We cover all aspects of the seven most important social media platforms for indie authors.

 

 

Indie Authors: Getting Visible on Pinterest

05 Jan
January 5, 2015

pinterest logoPinterest is not only one of the fastest-growing social sharing sites but it is also one of the best referring sites. And what is a referring site? A referring site is a site that directs traffic back to your website, helping you improve your visibility and your rank. When used properly, Pinterest can often be more useful than Facebook or Google+.

For indie authors, getting the most out of Pinterest means doing more than just creating a board and posting an image of your eBook. It means creating multiple boards that help define who you are as a person and an author, sharing images and links that are meaningful to you. Of course, interspersed with all of these images and links that you share will be images of your eBooks with buy links, links to your blog posts, and links to interviews and reviews of you and your eBooks.

Your Writer Platform, a website that provides a variety of resources for authors, offers 34 ways authors can use Pinterest that can help you get started. We urge that, as with all of the platforms you use, you remain authentic and genuine in your pursuit of better visibility.

Our final platform to explore next on the blog: Google+

 

 

Instagram for Indie Authors

29 Dec
December 29, 2014

instagramInstagram is growing. And fast. The platform has more than 220 million users and generates more than 1.5 billion likes each day. There is marketing power in those numbers, and every indie author should be doing their best to leverage that power.

How Should I Use Instagram as an Indie Author?

You might not see the point of Instagram when you discover you are unable to share hyperlinks, but considering the growth in popularity of this platform, even if you can’t make it easy for your followers to click on a link to your website and buy your eBook, you can still connect with readers and other authors in a big way.

In fact, Instagram is a great place to connect with that specific and beloved brand of reader: the blogger reviewer. Do follow as many bloggers as you can find, but don’t simply greet them with a “will you review my eBook?” See what they talk about and what genres they like. “Like” their posts and be sure you are sharing your own.

Again, this is less about pushing your eBook and more about pushing your personality. If your cat climbed into the Christmas tree and you managed to get a great picture of it, share it. If you bought a great outfit to wear during an author interview, share that photo. If you saw the perfect sunrise and it made you smile, share it.

It’s these authentic glimpses into your personality that will garner you a larger share of readers, fans, and uber fans.

Next time, we’ll explore the other image-based platform we love: Pinterest.

 

The Tumblr Indie Author Page

22 Dec
December 22, 2014

a74aebf8-f907-4bf2-9aa6-c6b39f2ecd07Tumblr is an often-overlooked social network that is ideal for connecting indie authors to readers and other authors.

What Is Tumblr?

Tumblr is another social sharing platform that is, in form, a microblog like Twitter, but with the ability to allow for well beyond 140 characters. In addition, you can share SoundCloud albums, animated gifs, photo albums, videos, and images galore. Think of it as a fusion between Twitter and Facebook, only better than both in many ways.

The best part about Tumblr is that you can set it up so that what you share on Tumblr is also shared on Twitter and Facebook, so you can essentially post to one place and have it broadcast across other platforms.

As with all of the other social media sites we recommend for indie authors, it is crucial that you do not simply post and post again about your eBook(s). You should engage with others on Tumblr; re-post those posts you love, and share your interests in life that go beyond selling the next eBook.

Be your authentic self.

One of the best things about Tumblr is that if you are an erotica writer or if you write for an 18+ audience, you can set the page as such.

Rachel Fershleiser has great advice for writers about getting started on Tumblr. Check it out on Media Bistro.

Next time, we’ll talk about Instagram for the indie author.

Read the rest of our posts in this series:

Why Every Indie Author Needs GoodReads

Why Every Indie Author Needs a Facebook Author Page

Twitter for Authors