P for promotion #AtoZchallenge

A lot of the questions I’ve been getting in private about what I’m talking about this month is why I’m not sharing my own stuff.  One of the things I can’t share quite yet is work, but I’ll be sharing that later in the month.  In the interim though, I thought I’d share a couple of the new things that I’m up to, and a couple of old ones too.

First.  You can follow me here – FacebookTwitterG+Mailing List

Blogs

For those that missed it, I blog a lot.  The easiest way to keep up with my ‘random’ stuff is to head on over to http://aggreagate.kaiberie.com – it keeps the majority of my blogs, and I’m still finessing it down so that you can filter based on your favourite categories etc.
I thought I’d highlight a couple of the newer ones and invite you along to their twitter accounts etc.

Here’s Armed With Dice – and it’s TwitterFacebook – Mailing List – a geeky, gaming community where we’ll review relevant t-shirts, games, talk writing for geeks, and more.
Here’s Wilderness Apocalypse – and it’s TwitterFacebookMailing List – horror, short fiction, and lots of chatter from two wildernesses – Alaska, where my co-writer, Kriss is based, and here in the UK.
Here’s The Finishing Fairies – my PR company, again, co-owned with Kriss.  We’re about to start blogging social media, community management and more.
Finally, here’s the co-op I’m with – it’s called the Alexandria Publishing Group.

Groups

I can’t go very far without sharing the groups I’m with on y’all.
I moderate on several – The Indie Author GroupBook JunkiesI Dance With Books.

My books

Of course, I might as well share them.
My main book is a tutorial book called 12×12 – you can also find my horror stories here, under Sabrann Curach.

 

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The three pillars of Marketing #atozchallenge

Cheating slightly today, but it says it far better than anything I’ve tried to write today.
This is a reprint of an article available on the marketing company I co-own, The Finishing Fairies.

The three pillars of basic indie promotion

I explain it a bit more in one of the books coming soon from myself and Kriss, but it’s important to look at your promotional efforts online and have a plan.  But to have a plan, you have to know where to focus from the start.  And in both mine and Kriss’ opinion, there are three minimum places authors need to focus.

They are, quite simply, your blog, your Facebook and your twitter.  These three pillars will help you build your brand, and ensure that you’ve got a place to promote your books, long-term.

Blog

Your blog should basically be the first place you work on.  It should be clear, and contain a media kit, news and information about your book, review quotes and anything you feel relevant to promoting you as an author.  Remember too that though you should promote your books, first and foremost, in all but a very few cases, the brand is YOU, not your books.  And because of this, whether you’re promoting your own name or a pen name, the things you need to do are the same.

Your blog should also be updated regularly – we recommend a minimum of once a fortnight, but ideally, once or twice a week.  You don’t need to post every day, but if your readers are demanding more information from you, it’s probably a good sign that you need to post more – it’s also a great idea to answer comments that aren’t spam.

As for where to blog – Kriss and I both recommend WordPress self hosted – in fact, that’s what we run all of our own blogs (including this one) on, but as long as it’s stable and accessible, you can blog anywhere.

Twitter

There are lots of ways to work with twitter, but you do have to make sure you’re not offering more ‘noise’ and instead become a trusted signal.  It takes a lot of work, and a lot of support to ensure that you’re the trusted source, but first and foremost, the single most important tip is to give your own time generously – share more of other people’s work than of your own – we recommend a ratio of 1:6 or less.  We’ll talk about content curation later in the month, but the basic concept is to search by keyword and share interesting articles that relate to the keywords you use in your book’s description, or the themes you talk about.  Romance writers can talk about love stories, weddings and more.  Thriller writers COULD become the premium source of information about crimes that people would be interested in studying.  The choice is yours.  The point is to be the expert that people come to.

Facebook

There’s two parts to Facebook.  The first is your personal profile.  This is where you join groups, create pages and more.  It’s important to remember that this will probably be in your name (and you can only have one of these), so joining groups means you’ve got to be happy that people know who you are.  This is not ideal for pen names, but it’s important for the security and support of other users on the site.  Please do not create more than one profile to join groups with – Facebook has been cracking down for a while now and you can lose ALL accounts, not just the spare ones.

As your brand goes, it’s important to remember that your personal Facebook is probably where you interact with family and friends – so there is no harm in saying ‘no’ to friend requests from fans.  Aside from the fact that Facebook only allows 5000 people (which sounds like a lot when you start out), the whole concept of page versus profile is something that we offer clear guidelines on, simply to save confusion down the line.  I’ll do a longer post on this later, but basically, if you’re doing promotional work, it really should be created under Facebook’s guidelines, on your page.

And as creating a page is easy, it’s important to make sure you do it as soon as possible.

Your brand

It’s important to ensure that your brand is basically designed to match up. If you can, choose usernames that match your domain name, and keep your brand consistent – if you can’t do so, try to make sure that it’s close for consistency’s sake.

What do you think?  Still think it’s the relevant three?  With the shift away from Facebook right now, I think this is going to change in the next 12 months, but it’s a good start.
Stuck?  I wrote a book about exactly this (and a few other things!).

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K is for Kindle – #AtoZchallenge

No way I could have completed a blog challenge and not use K to talk about Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing.
But I’m not going to talk about it’s merits.  What I’m going to talk about instead are a couple of hacks people seem to be missing when using it.

Subscribing to blogs on the Kindle

Tired of needing to remember to log in?  Get great articles from blogs on the Kindle?  Check and see if they’re available from KDP direct publishing.  Author Interrupted is!

You can find a full listing of blogs that are available on the Kindle here.

Emailing yourself documents

While it’s great that you can buy books with one click and download them to your Kindle, if you’re not buying from Amazon, all is not lost.  As long as you’ve got the right formats, you can email yourself books.  You can even do it when you don’t have a Kindle, just the app.
To do so.  Log into Amazon in the territory you live in.  Go to ‘Manage your Kindle’ (it’s in the ‘Your account menu) , then to personal document settings.  There, you should see a list of places you use your Kindle app/your kindles.  You can set one email address for each place, OR use the first one.
Also, whitelist your emails on this screen, so it doesn’t say you’re not allowed to email to it.  You can also add certain sites to it, such as Netgalley etc.
Once you’ve got it, tuck a free between the @ and Kindle (so it’s @free.kindle.com).  If the document emails no problem, but doesn’t show up, go back into Manage your Kindle, look at ‘all items’ or ‘personal documents’ and tell it to go to the device you want to use.  Or search for it in app.  Either way, it’ll ‘push’ eventually.

Kids and Kindles

Do not underestimate the power of KindleFreetime, but do still watch them.  Even disabled, my teen managed to break out of Kindle Freetime and download Facebook.

And there you have it.  What neat tips do you have for the Kindle?

 

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I is for influence

Common Currency

Influence.  It’s such a wonderful thing, especially as right now, online, it’s a form of currency.
From rewarding bloggers to making or breaking writing careers, influence is really important.  It is the glue that holds together the recommendation and word of mouth community and is something that everyone can build and work on.

First though…what is influence?

Influence  is a type of word of mouth based marketing that is conferred when someone ‘trusts’ recommendations from the source.  It can be as simple as your friend having the best taste and helping you choose clothes, to huge newsletters, sharing deals and ‘undiscovered books’.  We all have influence, and we all have reach.

Reach is the amount of people we can spread our influence to – your reach can be active/direct (those directly connected to you/following you/friends with you) and those that are passive/indirect – those that you reach through others.  Sites that leverage both active and passive influence are ones such as Triberr and Klout.  But you also have influence, both active and passive, from places like your blog, your Facebook page, and more.
Active are the people directly reading.  When they share, those readers also become your active/direct reach, though brought indirectly.
Clear as mud, right?
The important thing to remember is we all influence one another – I’ll read a book because Kriss or Pav recommend it.  They’ll look at a website because I’ve shared a link.  Their followers will look at the stuff they share, and on and on.

So, how do I leverage influence?

The short answer is you don’t.  Not really.  You can temporarily ‘borrow’ influence in the cases of newsletters and sites that allow advertising, but influence, genuine influence, can’t be bought.  And, as we have rules online about advertising, influence that’s bought needs to be disclaimed appropriately, which kinda negates some of the whole organic sharing vibe that word of mouth thrives on.
Levering your own influence is as simple (I say simple…) as finding what your followers are interested, and how to connect that with what you do.  Influence on other sites can be *sort of* leveraged by guest posting, sharing genuinely good information, or in some cases, buying your ad (I run a site that allows people to buy a post for example).  But the best type is genuine support, the sort that people give gladly.

Why I think influence is currency

I do genuinely believe influence is currency, simply because you can be paid to use it to recommend something.  Klout has ‘Perks’, trading your reach and influence for coupons, products and more.  Bzzagent is one that I’ve been with for a long time in the UK, and they offer everything from small samples to once, a steam Iron for much cheaper than we could get it from anywhere else.  I love that iron, btw.
And look at that.  Three years on and I’m still talking about that iron.  I’ve been influenced, and I influence others.  It all goes around and around.  The more people that follow you, the more people you can possibly ‘influence’, though remember, it’s not just about making people like what you like. It’s about engaging and sharing ideas and reaching the best solutions, best products, best services (best books) for yourself and those around you.  Be honest, sincere, and write about the stuff you love from the heart.  We all have the opportunity to share and influence, and we’ve all got people waiting to hear our opinions and share theirs.  Share your favorite books…share the ones you didn’t like too, and why.  If the internet is driven by influence, each of us should contribute our own voice.

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My new book – 12×12 – Your social media primer!

Kai’s note – today is the launch of my new book containing 12 specific tutorials for readers to use to build or update their social media. Enjoy!

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One of the few things that people talk about, when talking about brand and social media is that it’s a minefield.  People talk about everything from being completely overwhelmed, to not knowing what to do with their profiles.  And so, I wrote 12 tutorials (and a couple of bonus exercises to help people.

Each tutorial contains an introduction, the ‘basics’, the exercise, and then a bit about what your ‘solution’ should be.  They’re not designed to be the be all and end all of each network, but they are designed to support you if you’re struggling, or aren’t sure that you’ve covered everything.

I’ve keep the price low so that you can enjoy the book without feeling like you’ve had to pay a fortune for just a couple of tips too – though I could have priced it higher, I feel $0.99 is the right price for this.

Launching on the 28th February, until it’s available, you can pre-order from my blog page at Warpaint Marketing.

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12×12 – Your social media Primer

Looking for support for Facebook, Twitter, Triberr?  How about G+?
This book covers everything that you need to know about the very basics of each network.  Exercises to give you a chance to try your learning out, hands on.
Each of the tutorials is designed to be as easy as possible to access.
Originally started a set of articles for a website, the tutorials have evolved into a go to guide to the simple, quick way to build an usable, safe profile online.

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Kai Viola (http://authorinterrupted.com)

Kai is a veteran online marketer.  She started in internet marketing, writing content for others, along with copywritten sales pages, then moved on to the indie writer’s community when KDP hit.  She’s been self-publishing since 2004 (mostly poetry), and has spent the last three years or so in the community, helping others with social media, writing tutorials and articles all over.

When not writing non-fiction, Kai’s planning novels, travelling for work and having a bit of an adventure in her life.  She’s the mother of two parents, owner and parent of two kittens, an artist and a dreamer.

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As the book is about social media, you might want to follow Kai to find out some extra tips.  Below are the various places you can follow her – remember too that these count as entries in the giveaway!

Book Blog | Personal Blog |Facebook | Book Facebook |Twitter | G+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Triberr | Klout 

Buy the Book
(pre-order which will switch to Amazon)

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Win all of the books from the range, take part in beta support and get freebies before anyone else or a $25 gift certificate.  Check out the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Kai is appearing on multiple blogs in the next few days – head on over to The Finishing Fairies for tour central, information and more!

Promotion of 12×12 Launch Tour is brought to you by:

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Join us for other book blasts at The Finishing Fairies mailing list!

Three tools for writers and three tools for avid readers

I keep saying all of these great resolutions, and ideas that people have to make their year better, so I thought I’d share some hints and tips, starting with tools.
Tools, whether app, website or program based, are really important to everyone.  And I thought long and hard about the three reader/writer/shared apps, and wanted to say that actually, anyone can use them.  They’re just most suited, in the context I recommend them, for the category they’re listed in.

Tools, apps, programs, halp?

I thought I’d share my three key picks for readers and writers – tools that both should be using, and why.  As this is a recommendations post, there may be affiliate links in it.  They will be clearly marked with a *, though everything I make under affiliate projects is donated to charity.

Tools for writers

This isn’t to say readers can’t use these things, I’ve just recommended them from a writer’s perspective.

Dropbox

Dropbox – you’ve written your work, you’ve saved it on your laptop, then bam…your laptop fails.  If you don’t have a backup solution, you’ve lost all of your work.  In comes Dropbox (or Skydrive, or a dozen other similar solutions).  I personally love Dropbox because I can also back up my blog to it, it’s painless syncing (though, the new laptop only JUST got the 30,000 or so files in there onto it’s system in the last hour from an install running overnight).  Use the link above and we get extra space, plus, at certain parts of the year, it gives my University more space for IT’S projects too!

Wunderlist

Ever wondered why your todo list is a bit…well…ineffective?  In my case, I had a written one at home, and if I forgot to pick it up, I’d be stuck with trying to remember what goals I’d set myself for the day.  In the case of some of it, it’s routine, but it has meant that sometimes I’ve forgotten a major element of something I was supposed to do.
I’m recommending Wunderlist because it seems to have integration with every major platform, plus is available online.  I actually use something else, because I have a Windows 8 laptop and it integrates just with my windows phone, but when I upgrade to my next contract I suspect I’ll be switching back to Wunderlist.

Sigil

Sigil offers something many indies are crying out for – Simple formatting is basically within reach for anyone.  This does not solve really knotty formatting issues, but Sigil is good for getting you onto Kindle from Word.
Simply save your word document, once you’ve removed all of the track changes information (accept all changes/make sure all changes are complete and delete all comments), then save as filtered html.
Import into Sigil
Use the buttons to set up your chapter headings (h2), and split before your chapter headings.  Compile a table of contents using the menu option, insert it, let it ‘clean’ the html, and go for it.  I’ll do a more in depth tutorial about the CSS you can use to make your book fabulous on The Author CEO another time.

Tools for Readers

Readers are really important to writers – but, I sometimes think with all of the choices they have, they’re overwhelmed and can lose track of their favourite writers.  So in recommending these tools, I’m hoping you’ll be able to find your way through the masses of writers and keep track of the ones they really love.

Reading

I have to recommend the Kindle app for readers.  You may not have a Kindle, and may not like the idea of reading on your computer, but the Kindle App is available for desktop and all major platforms.
Why I like it as a reader – I can take my books anywhere, and it lets me sync wherever I am.

Keeping up with the writerati (or their blogs at least)

I know the major complaint I have from most readers is that there’s no way to keep up with their favourite blogs, and that they’re often worried they’ll miss posts they want to read.  The single easiest way to deal with this is to sign up for a free RSS reader – and there’s two ways to do it.
One is setting up your feeds in Calibre to email you every day to your reader.  The catch with this is that your calibre has to be running, and you do need to know the basics of setting up a feed in there.  There WILL be a tutorial later on this blog, with screenshots 🙂
Or you can use an online feedreader.  There are lots, but again, Feedly seems to integrate broad-scale.

New books!

And when there’s a new book, do you want to know now?  Yes, most authors keep Facebook pages and twitter accounts, but you can also sign up to find out when there are books available to you.  Author Alarms is a great option, although there also appears to be a ‘subscribe by email’ to writers on Amazon too.

I hope these tool suggestions give you a bit of an edge and might solve some problems you might not even have been aware you had.