Thursday, September 25, 2008

Marketing 101b -5 things you need to know...

Got your attention did I?

More Little Gems from the ‘Online Marketing Heroes’ book (see previous post.)

1. Be Web friendly in your Online writing.

Reading large chunks of text on screen is hard on the eyes. Try to have your text blocks in small to medium chunks in a good size font. This makes your message very user friendly.

2. Use Web friendly headlines... and sub headings.

Search engines just love these - especially if you hyperlink them to another page on your site. Be a little mysterious....5 things you need to know????
How many times have you found yourself just having to go and have a look...because there is a number in the heading and a question to be answered?

3. Use key phrases

and hyperlink them to other parts of your site...or where ever.
Check out the personal book review on the Bones blog. Use key phrases in the body of your text . Don’t use too many -see my previous post, just strategically place them for the search engine to find.

4.People love people.

Use photos to make your website/blog more interesting. Try to use a photo every post you make.
Check out Fifi’s blog. She is doing a great job of highlighting her artwork and her poetry. Every post has a different style of art which showcases her unique style and tells the world she is a great illustrator....and available for that special commission....

5. ‘Above the fold’

Don’t forget that newspapers do this all the time -the big picture or headline to grab your attention is at the top... even if we are not interested in the latest scandal in parliament, our eyes are dragged to the big headline...PETERS TO GO... shopping for a new suit...
and so it should be on your website.

I hope that these ideas give you food for thought. I am enjoying the research...
I have lots of sticky notes all over this great book and have gathered some great ideas for authors on using interactive content to the best advantage on your website...but that is for the next post.


P.S. I’ll try to post it before next week... but you know how it is... school holidays...laundry....WIPwriting....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Marketing 101a

I’ve been reading Non Fiction again!
Every month or so I pick up new marketing books from the library. I’m not that into marketing but what I am interested in, is the way marketers use psychology on their target audience. Since Fifi got me started on Blogging, I have been especially interested in online marketing.
This week I have been reading a ‘hot of the press’ book called Online Marketing Heroes- Interviews with 25 successful online marketing gurus- Michael Miller(Wiley2008)
Here, I’m going to do what one of the heroes Greg Jarboe encourages sellers to do - Get bloggers to recommend the product in their posts.
What an interesting read this book is.
As I was reading I started wondering... how can authors benefit from this book? They have a product...their can you generate interest in your work so that people want to go out there and buy it... so you can make a living wage...or even a small pittance?

Greg Jarboe (one of the heroes ) is an expert in SEO-Search Engine Optimisation.
Huh? You ask.
Apparently Search Engines look for keywords or slogans.

However if you stuff your site with lots of key words the Engines will pass you by because they are more sophisticated now...(I learn something new everyday...) They are looking for reputable sites and overloading the key words screams try hard slacker to them .

Two or three keywords or slogans are best.

And here is the next gem of information. The search engines search and rate press releases as part of news gathering.

So If you have a new book coming out. Write a PRESS RELEASE! Put in a hot slogan describing your epic and where to get it.
Make sure you have your web links in the release and post it on your site/blog internet press release site etc.

If your link buddies post your press release as well... that is Excellent news for you. Search Engines also look at how many times these hot words or slogans get mentioned in other sites. It establishes the press release as Bone Fide. And the engines are keen on Bone Fide as their reputation depends on it.

Press releases and book reviews...and word of words... blog words...It all helps...

Jumping as I do from blog to blog...(yes I know what about the WIP...I’m writing I’m writing...)Melinda to Kristin to Ally Carters blog and Ally Carters blog is a gem! (so are Melinda’s and Kristin’s)

Ally is the author of the Gallagher girls books. She writes ‘Clean Teen’(her hot slogan) YA spy books. She recently attended a writer’s conference where she felt that the questions being asked of YA authors were all wrong.
On her blog she points out what questions writers should have asked the YA authors.

She has also written a post on question’s that aren’t getting asked.

Go and read ....especially read the comments to it from the teenage fans.

Here is a taste of Ally Carter.

One of the sessions that I attended was a session on the differences in writing for teen and adult audiences. But two minutes into the session I wanted to stand up and tell everyone in the audience that they were asking the wrong questions.

Now don't get me wrong, they were no doubt very common questions, but in my opinion if you want to be successful in the YA market, they were the wrong questions.
WRONG QUESTION: How do I develop an authentic teen voice?

THE RIGHT QUESTION: Do I have a voice that's appealing to teens?

After all, would you ask "how do I write in a voice that mystery readers would respond to?" Or "how do I sound like a science fiction reader?" No. You wouldn't.

Your voice is your voice is your voice. Period. And frankly, either you've got a voice that teens will enjoy or you don't.

Furthermore, all teens don't sound the same and neither do all teen novels.

Thanks Melinda for the great links!-Thanks Fifi who linked to Melinda so I could find her blog and go same... same... same...


pic from book launch... I have all these photos...I have to use them the obscure marketing link...

Monday, September 15, 2008

blogging extra's

A few days ago Tim Jones commented on my writing is a business blog post.
Tim is a great poetry and short story writer and he has been in the blogging business for a while so he knows all about interviewing people and adding extra content to his blogs...
Tim has let me know that his interview with a NZ children's YA writer is up on his Blog

Jump to it if you want a great read.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

what to write...

It’s Thursday, Blog day...
Toss the baby into bed after an exhausting time being social at playgroup (which is on at her usual sleep time.) Mum potters around tidying breakfast dishes still on the table, folding laundry and thinking...Eeek Blog...what to write... what to write...
Should I write about Lloyd’s comment when accepting very generous PMs shouldn’t give beginning writers any money- they have to find their own time to write, if they want to write...
(huh! finding time... to be that lucky...)
Behind every successful male writer there is either a bloody amazing woman or
NO ONE....Who could stand the slog deep into the night...juggling work and family. The anti-socialness of the committed writer to their craft...(or just needs committing...)
I Liked Elizabeth’s comment much better... Writers are grateful for any money at any stage of their career.
Yup! The advance I got for Bones (small that it was) paid for two terms gym, one terms Irish dancing, the book launch and $100 went to three nights away so I could write my Mars story-oh and there was tax. So let’s see children... promotion... tax and a little writing time for me...Is that ok Lloyd? Of course I can see that you would use the $60,000 so much better than I.

I could write about meeting the editor of the Horn Book Guide who was here in NZ on vacation, at an exclusive (sorry librarians) pot luck dinner. Those gathered enjoyed the evening and she recorded it for a podcast on their website. That was interesting. What she wanted to say and what she did say depended on whether the recorder was switched on or not. Her big question of the night “Why don’t we (America) know more New Zealand children’s writer’s?
Sadly we had to tell her that the publishers don’t think NZ stories will travel overseas...We are often more vigorous in our writing and it gets translated into American and the guts ripped out of it...(was one famous NZ writer’s comment.)

I could write that I got to Mars twice this week and did some research on radiation. I feel good about my writing week if I get to Mars. Of course my usual writing week consists of lots of emails trying to tee up a conference group meeting time...and other must reply to get to Mars is a bonus. (funny I am trying to get this writing career off the emails count Lloyd?)

I could write about finding out that my mother in law was too sick overseas to get the market book I I had to order it myself... which was really bad because then I saw lots of other books that might be useful (but I restrained myself... sort of) racking up nearly $90 on the credit card.
Sorry Honey!
For the writers out there who may read this...
What is the one indispensible craft book on your bookshelf?
Let’s start a list....

In the meantime I'll figure out what to write on the blog...

Postcard 5. Up from the ashes and into the dust.
Soil samples from Martian Arctic.
Another cool image from Jacob Egan.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

writing is a business...

Writing is a business....

It’s amazing how many people don’t know that.

Lately I have heard...

‘but writing is your passion’(tone meaning... it’s not proper work.)

‘Are you rich yet? You were on the best seller list!’

So you explain how the industry works...writers get 10% of the RRP and children’s writers get less than that... and you watch their faces fall and their look of disbelief.

‘So why do you do it? ‘

I have been asked so often I now have figured out a stock answer.

I do it because I love to tell stories. With teaching you have a captive audience. They have to listen to the stories you weave around your maths problems...having a book published and in shops means you are legit! I have always said that being a writer is the best job I know because you can ask anybody anything and say it’s for research!

Unfortunately the money is laughable.

In the weekend the New Zealand Society of Authors organised a lunch speaker in conjunction with New Zealand Book Month. The speaker was an Australian agent. New Zealand doesn’t have many agents... but they are standard on other parts of the world. In the UK and the US publishers only deal with agents...(that’s why the pitch slam was so amazing...a chance to pitch directly to an editor.)

The agent, Sophie, looked like she was on a steep learning curve.... In the room only two writers had agents and they were children’s writers. As Don Long (Chair Wellington NZSA) pointed out to her that 48% of the writers here in NZ were Children’s Writers.

Writers must have a web presence!(just like a business...)Also they are increasingly having to Brand themselves.(just like a promo etc)

Sophie did comment that children’s publishing was a whole different ball game. Children’s writers now were being asked to provide additional content to support websites and ongoing character blog sites.... It’s a brave new world out there and the grown up writers had better watch out....

Sophie also commented that writers have to do their own publicity....I have been hearing this so often...and I believe it now. I wish I had a box of my books... I could hawk them it is I refer to the children’s book shops.... If you look at some of the children author blogs, you will see giveaways...competitions... guest interviews...(when do they find time to write again?)

Fifi and I were nodding to each other, we understood to the fullest extent what Sophie was talking about.

So thanks Fi for propelling me into the brave new world!(i'm not sure if i was ready but too late now...)


Added content on the Bones blog.

Contact me if you want to buy a book! (or check out your local children’s bookshop.)

Competition ongoing....

Come up with a nice short pithy slogan for the National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators.

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