How Authors Can Write Effective Facebook Status Updates That Will Increase Sharing

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Sound the alarms! Alert the press! You have a new article on your blog and it is not to be missed!

If you are an author and you are on Facebook, you have likely seen those posts that say, “I just got my book. Please buy it! Here is the link.” What about those that ask, “Please visit my web page and let me know what you think!” (Which means, “Compliments please! No criticisms.”)

Or we see the status updates that say, “I have a new article here, I hope you will read it.” What about, “I just did a podcast interview. It is only 47 minutes long and I know you won’t want to miss it.”

How do you know I won’t want to miss it? I think. I am sorry, but that is exactly what I am going to do.”

Everyone is busy!

We all want to support each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to sell in your posts. Instead you can write effective Facebook status updates that will build a relationship by helping others. Selling books and trying to build that platform all the publishers and agents want us to have is a hard job. But each of us are also trying to figure out how to juggle it all, right?

Sadly, we just don’t have time to write reviews, vote, comment, and promote the hundreds of the members web sites, books, events, interviews and more–even when we believe in what they are doing.

We want to be able to help others

We do want to point the people we serve in the right direction, however, and that means referring those we serve to other people we trust; to a good book we think could be life-changing; to a web site we know where they will be encouraged.

We want to tell the people we serve that we have just the place or just the resource that will help them through this specific place they are in, and we can take comfort in knowing they won’t get lost in the shuffle.

But why would I refer those I serve to other people, not my own books?

What about my own book? you may ask! Well, does it meet their needs? It may. . . but they may be looking for something in addition to it. For example, my organization, Rest Ministries serves people who live with chronic illness. But I also receive emails from people with chronic illness or chronic pain who are going through a rough divorce, have kids with behavioral issues, have a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease. I know they need more than what I can offer them. And I love to be able to narrow down the thousands of books on Amazon to one or two that I know will meet their needs because I know the author personally!

Try to avoid asking for favors if the other person has nothing to benefit from it

gift How Authors Can Write Effective Facebook Status Updates That Will Increase SharingWhen you are posting status updates in an author’s group, it can be tempting to think, “Well, we are here to support each other, so I need people to go vote for my web site for this contest, because then I will rank higher and sell tons of books and I will eventually return the favor when I have more time.”

We all love a party and with that party comes gifts and favors, right? But do your best to resist the urge to ask for a flat-out favor more than twice a year in your writers group. Like “vote for me to win this category!”

When you start typing out a status update about your latest article you just wrote, the web site updates you slaved over all weekend, or a radio show you are going to be on in thirty minutes, stop and ask yourself, “What is in it for them?” Then write your message with what would interest you if you were them. People constantly are saying they want to have the best Facebook status message, or the funniest Facebook status, but in the end, I see authors who are rushed and they just slap up a generic message with little emotion, except for pleading and desperation.

“Pleeeease come to my site and vote today! I really want to win this bad! You will be making a difference in my life!” I sense desperation and I just click away, because, honestly, there will be a few people a day that ask me to do this, and then someone will question why I did it for one person and not for another. Now, I do vote. When someone is a friend or a peer who I know well and respect their work a great deal, it is worth it to me to see their outreach grow. I have also been the recipient of some awards because people took time to help me and I am very grateful. But, I really don’t have a lot of time online, and I want to invest it into people who understand what to write (and not write!) as their Facebook status messages. Pleading for votes for a different contest every couple of weeks won’t get my attention.

Make your Facebook status update stand out with specifics

What is the message you have and who is it important for? It only takes a few extra minutes for authors to write effective Facebook status updates that will increase sharing of their posts, as well as build relationships with peers online.

For example, if you are talking about parenting styles and how we have to learn both our personality style and that of our child to most effectively make wise parenting decisions, you may be tempted to write, “I will be on the radio today talking about parenting styles. I’d love it if you’d take a break and listen in!” Don’t.

Because what most of us think is, “That’s nice for her. But I don’t have time to finish my own work, much less listen to hers. Oh, well. I am sure she will do fine.”

Instead, tell us who would most benefit from this program. For example:

“If you serve people who are struggling with their kids who won’t get dressed in the morning, kiddos who won’t eat their lunch, and children who won’t go to bed at night, they will gains some new parenting tools they may not have ever heard of before! In my podcast interview today, parents will quickly understand how personality styles can impact how well a child listens to his or her mom and dad. If they miss it, it will be archived later.”

See how that sounds more interesting? Will everyone now tune in? No. Will it not apply to some people? Of course. But will other authors think, “Oh, that describes some of the people I serve. This could be a handy resource for them”? Sure. And you have made it easy for them to click “share” and edit it just a bit so it sounds appealing for their audience.

Would that have shared your message that said, “I will be on the radio today talking about parenting styles. I’d love it if you’d take a break and listen in!”? It’s unlikely.

Make it easy for people to help you

mouse How Authors Can Write Effective Facebook Status Updates That Will Increase SharingBy simply telling your colleagues what is in it for them, you will save them time, they will recognize you as a certain type of expert, and you are giving them quality descriptions they can easily pass along. For example, future posts could say, “If you serve people who are frustrated parents then you will be interested in . . .” or “If you outreach to teens who are dealing with depression, you should know about my . . .”  These are examples of effective Facebook status updates that will increase sharing online.

You will be reaffirming your expertise in your niche

This is also a great way to not just self-promote but narrow down the different areas of your expertise and make sure those who have callings that overlap with your own to know about it. If you cannot come up with who may specifically be interested in your article, perhaps you should go back and rewrite it for a better niche market (which will improve your Google rankings too!)

Whenever you write, “People who ___ would be interested in this because ___” you are telling people what you do and who you serve. If you are a parenting expert, for example, you will never run out of material! Beside parenting, you can go into issues with adult children, adoption and foster children, children with special needs, children with chronically ill parents, and the list goes on. An article on conflict resolution can be rewritten and adapted dozens of times for all sorts of scenarios, and each of these can be made into a status update that describes, “If you are a parent who ___ .”

Say thanks

As we participate in writers groups, it can become easy for us to get so focused on our own marketing steps, we forget to say thank you. As a writer, you know how easily time can get sucked away when you are sitting on the computer, especially if you are able to access the internet. When colleagues take time away from their own work, to support you, say thank you.

Tell them how much you appreciate it. Go to his or her website and see what you could do to help out. Can you comment on a few blog posts, let them know you visited and found it hard to maneuver around their shop, tell them you loved the clip art they chose, introduce them to someone on LinkedIn.

Little things mean a lot and they will remember that you took the time to offer some encouragement back to them.

lisa copen small How Authors Can Write Effective Facebook Status Updates That Will Increase Sharing
Lisa is the woman behind the screen who enjoys sharing marketing tips that she has learned along the way as an author, speaker, and director of a nonprofit organization. She has lived with rheumatoid arthritis nearly two decades and is a wife and mom.

 How Authors Can Write Effective Facebook Status Updates That Will Increase Sharing

8 Ways To Be a Radio Guest Who is Invited To Return

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mic2 300x200 8 Ways To Be a Radio Guest Who is Invited To ReturnMany people put a great deal of effort into becoming a guest on a radio show, however, it is easy to cross that particular radio show program off our list once we have been on the program and not focus on continuing to build a relationship with the host. Once you have been on a program and are considered a “successful guest” hosts are eager to have you back in the future. They know more about you, they understand your platform, and they know what speaking style you have so they can make their program flow even better in future interviews.

Here are some steps to help you be invited to return as a guest:

[1]. Be an organized guest

Have a template ready that you can use once a host confirms you as a guest. Be as brief as possible, and put the following items in a bullet list, so a host can scan it quickly and use it as a reference during the program.

Include a sentence or two thanking the host; a confirmation of the time of the program including the time zone of both the host and the guest; a confirmation of the time you are to call the program or the time the host will be calling you; the phone numbers for your landline which you will be using, and your cell phone as a backup; your area of expertise and a separate sheet with sample questions for the host to ask you; the name of your book and where is available (an image of your cover is nice); the website that you would like to host to mention– in a large font and bold; a brief mention of areas where be will be announcing the program online.

[2]. Let your audience know you will be on the program through your social media channels.

Find out the host’s twitter address, the radio station’s twitter address or facebook page, and use these when announcing your upcoming appearance. Include a link back to the radio station’s website, particularly if they have online broadcasting. Announce your appearance a week in advance, a day in advance, five minutes in advance, a thank you to the host after the program is over, a link to your archived program when it’s available, and a couple more mentions of the archived program in the next six months. This is easy to do in less than 10 minutes with software such as Hootsuite.com where you can schedule tweets and postings on Facebook in advance.

[3]. Make the host’s job as easy as possible

Format all of your promotional material in a clear, concise format to read, without a lot of rambling or heavy self-promotion. Listen to the program in advance and get to know the host’s style, speaking speed, and how frequently commercials are broadcast. The night before the program review your book, make sure your phones are charged. If the program is extremely early in the morning, give yourself time to get up and feel awake. Prepare 20 minutes before the program begins to calm yourself, turn off your phone’s call waiting features, take care of animals and children, put a note on your front door for UPS or salespeople, get a glass of water (no ice, it clinks), etc.

[4]. Be available

When the radio station contacts you, always respond to them as quickly as possible. If you are unable to reply to them in depth for some reason, contact them in some way to let them know you’ve received their call or e-mail and that you are very interested and will respond within a couple of hours. Also, let them know if you are frequently available for last-minute radio interviews. After the program let them know that you would be happy to step in at a moment’s notice if a guest cancels. Provide them with the best way to reach you for emergency situations when they need a guest.

[5]. Be exceptionally nice to the host’s assistant

For many programs you will never speak to the host until you are on the air. Instead, you will be working with the assistant. Always treat him or her with as much respect as you would the host. When you have questions, say “Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few of my questions. I know you’re very busy and I appreciate it.” Few assistants hear this. The assistant may be the person who goes through the stacks of potential guests’ books, who reminds the host about interesting people who would make a good guest, who answers the calls from listeners who want more information about the guest that was recently on the air, who requests a CD of the program to be sent to you from the technical department. When writing a thank you note to the host, include one for his or her assistant as well.

[6]. Take note of topics that could be of interest to the audience when you return

Was there a direction in a conversation the host wanted to take, but ran out of time? Did a topic raised by callers surprise you? What is a point you thought worthwhile to make that didn’t get addressed? Is there an important event or an awareness day that a future program of yours could tie into? For example, if your book is on prodigal children, you could cover the topic of grief around the time of Mother’s Day. In August or September you could speak about the back-to-school days when you have a rebellious teenager. Hosts appreciate it when you provide some interesting angles on a story that they had not yet considered.

[7]. Say thank you

This may seem obvious, but many radio hosts never receive a thank you note. Although it is easy to zip off an e-mail that says “thank you so much” the old-fashioned handwritten card carries a great deal more value in the eyes of the recipient. You can also include some future topics as mentioned above for potential programs. Present these ideas, however, as simple suggestions in a way that may be helpful to the host and not as a way to sell yourself.

[8]. Stay in touch

Make note of things that you found the host was particularly interested in. What seemed to touch his or her core that you had to share? Has the host had a personal experience with one of the things you are speaking of? What other kinds of guests do they have on their program? Keep their contact information on hand so when you come across someone who you believe would make a great guests for their show, an article, or other information or resources, you can send off a short friendly e-mail. Let the host know you are thinking of her and thought this may be of use to her program. This is not the time to sell yourself, but rather just continue to nurture a relationship.

Remember that every host is just a person who is trying to do her job to the best of her ability. Too many authors view radio show hosts as a gatekeeper who can make or break their book sales. The relationships you build with each individual will not only help you as an author, but also as a person who establishes a network of people where each one can help us do our job better. And then, collectively, we can reach more people with the information we think they can use to improve their lives.

facebook profile small 100x100 8 Ways To Be a Radio Guest Who is Invited To ReturnLisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries, a national nonprofit Christian organization for people who live chronic illness or pain. Through her grassroots efforts in learning to market effectively on the Internet, her ministry which began 1996 with a small website has grown to reach millions of people and she enjoys sharing these steps with others through her website http://YouCanSellMoreBooks.com .

 8 Ways To Be a Radio Guest Who is Invited To Return

What Will Be the Lifespan of Your Book? Plan While You Are Writing It!

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Image by Billie Hara via Flickr

Is your book dated? As you are writing, ask yourself:

  • Is this a book I can sell forever?
  • Am I jumping on a trend and expect it to be over in 2-5 years (and that is okay)?
  • Is this a book that will be dated, but I can do revisions and continue to resell it?

The goal as an author, I believe, should be to aim for number 1 or 3 if possible.  I had actually planned to do a revised version of So You Want to Start a Chronic Illness Pain Ministry, but as I flipped through it and started planning, it turned into an entirely different book, How to Start a Chronic Illness Small Group Ministry. It went from 70 pages to over 300 and is much more thorough, based on my years of experience between the two books and the hundreds of emails I’d answered with people’s questions. It just made sense to write a new book, not revise the older one.

Is your material going to quickly be dated? If you are writing on the topic of using Facebook to market your business, realize that if you are going with a traditional publisher, by the time the book is published, it may be outdated. And the people who would typically be your best consumers will realize this. As they are doing an Amazon.com search for books on this topic, they will sort by “date published.”

You may also be eater to do a revised version in five or ten years, but write about topics where you are the expert and will always be referred to as such in that field.

One example is, the originally self-published, “What Color is Your Parachute?” Obviously, how one looks for a job has changed considerably since the book was originally written in 1978, but people are still looking for jobs! So author, Richard Nelson Bolles, recently put out a newly revised edition. (Visit Amazon here to see just how many revisions!)

If you decided to write something like “chick lit” that talks about watching American Idol and hanging out at Starbucks, it may appear very dated in just five years (Okay, Starbucks will always be around, but they’ll probably be much more than a coffee house in five years, right?) And with Simon Cowell leaving AI this week, well, that season of interest has long since passed by.

It’s a general consensus that you make more money with a good back-list title than you can be as a best-seller. A backlist book can sell for decades.  This is a good thing to consider while writing your book. Do you want or expect to rewrite it in a few years, and what is your publisher’s expectations?

 What Will Be the Lifespan of Your Book? Plan While You Are Writing It!

Make Marketing Easier Tip #2 – Fiverr

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5 dollars2 Make Marketing Easier Tip #2   FiverrWhat would you do for $5? Evidently a whole lot of people would do a lot! This site Fiverr.com has some fluff and a few odd posts (“I will send you 7 hours, 53 minutes of vacuum cleaner sounds for $5″) and scary (“I will check the Chinese characters on your tattoo for $5″), or just not a good thing like “I will call and be your excuse to get out of work for $5″).

But with that disclaimer in mind, I hired someone the first day to have him install code I didn’t understand to get my web site posts to automatically post to my Facebook Fan Page (now called a “like” page). There were lots of easy instructions online about how to have them post to your personal page, but not your Fan page. At some point, when Facebook changed from Fan to Like it stopped working, but for 5 bucks I just hired the guy again. No big deal.

Now I did have to give him my password and username, so I sat and waited while he did it and then I changed it immediately. He also said he’d refund my money if I was not comfortable with it. So “buyer beware.”

I recently just hired someone who had the post, “I will promote your Youtube Channel to 85+ RSS Search Engines for $5.”

Here are some of the categories:

Be careful about people who say they will write 200 comments on blogs with your link, etc. A lot of these are spammers and your reputation is on the line, but there are  a lot of legitimate looking ones like, “I will create a 30 second movie advertising your website for $5.” For people who know how to do this and have the software, it can be a 5-10 minute job.

But go browse around see what people really will do for $5. Times are tough. Maybe there is something you’d do?

 Make Marketing Easier Tip #2   Fiverr

Make Life Easier Tips Coming Soon

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I am soon going to be doing a workshop at a Christian women’s writers conference on internet marketing and I asked them to email me what their biggest priorities would be to learn since we’ll just have less than an hour and I think I could talk for 6.

I hope to connect with what a good variety of writers are wondering about internet marketing.

All of these women have been published, many of them multiple times. And a good portion of them are over 50 years old and quite established in understanding internet marketing and the power of social networking.

The way I see it one of the biggest struggles is figuring out if we should be marketing ourselves at 11 PM one more time on Facebook by commenting on a few posts, or if it’d be better to go climb into bed and read a little (we owe at least 6 people reviews!) Or. . . should we go to bed and actually SLEEP. . . and maybe even be able to write the next day!

Hence, I’ve confessed my struggle at the moment.

My answer… write one more thing.

So watch for the tips and feel free to send me your own. They can be 100-350 words or so and be sure to include your own bio/resource box at the end!

 Make Life Easier Tips Coming Soon

Let’s Tweet

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Image via CrunchBase

Back in February when I started using Twitter I wasn’t sure if it would be a helpful tool or one more thing to distract me from everything else or just a fad. I’ve decided it is all three to some extent.

In planning for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, I’ve found it the most useful too. I also have it set up with ping.fm and hootsuite.com to post to Facebook. This combination of interacting with people has been a refreshing addition to my internet experience.

I have spent endless hours visiting web sites, following links and reading blogs, but Twitter has quickly introduced me to some amazing people in the illness/health field that I never may have found otherwise.

Not only can I scan a profile description quickly and click to visit a person’s web site, but by seeing what kinds of things they Tweet and ReTweet, I can see what they value, what kind of information they think is important to share, and yes, even hear about the fact that their 2-year-old just threw a tantrum or they are off to have a picnic. The combination of information is about the person makes them just that… a person, not a company or a PR representative.

I’ve connected with some women in ministry and authors that I have long admired, but would have had to go through “their people” to connect with them in any other way other than Twitter.

I’ve found a group of people who I am excited to work with and they are excited to work with me. It goes beyond “networking” and far surpasses the (someone cold) term of “joint venture.” It’s just friends, sharing their resources, great finds, and each other’s “stuff.”

I began with @lisajcopen and that’s my main Twitter for anything illness, health, personal and ministry. Some tweets have nothing to do with illness, but they are just part of something I think people may be interested in. I moved on setting up @invisibleillwk for people who wanted illness related information and also Invisibel Illness Week updates (but not all my personal stuff).

Next, I started building relationships in the adoption community because of my web site ScrapbookMyAdoption.com so I began @scrapbkadoption.

And this last week I realized that I have so much book promotion stuff sitting around waiting to be put into the next ebook, and I really wanted to start sharing it now! So I began @youcansellbooks . If you are wondering how I keep track of all of these, it’s easy with hootsuite.com

I think I am about done now with setting up accounts, because all of my passions (or “niches”) are covered.  And I found myself setting them up not really because I was out to start adding numbers to a new list, but because there were so many people I wanted to follow and I wanted them somewhat organized so my brain could process all the information. (Some of you have written and said, “You aren’t following me…” but I am, just on a different account than maybe I Twittered from. If I don’t use hootesuite.com sometimes sending a message to a certain person means I have to sign out of one Twitter account and sign in to another.)

So, what does all of this mean to you? I hope it will be helpful that I can push more information I have out to you faster. Running 8 blogs isn’t easy, and I starting to like that 140 character limit of Twitter.

At some point this weekend, I am determined to put all busy work aside and actually work on a book I am writing. So, instead of blogging for hours, I hope to “tweet” and “write.”

I’ve also invited some guest bloggers to come and share their book marketing tips, tricks, and helpful articles. I hope you find this helpful as well.

If you have a book… and you are NOT yet on Twitter, go and sign up. I don’t know how long Twitter may last as this popular form of communication, but you need to at least jump on the wave in order to ride it. Start following people in your niche area, and when/if you are ready in a month or two to become more active, you will understand it better and be ready to participate. If you are an author with a book you cannot afford to ignore Twitter!

And if you Twitter about anything illness-related check out my new social network Illness Twitters. You may want to consider starting your own social network for people who Twitter on your subject material, to bring them all to one place, to help each other, share information and be readily available when the media come looking for book reviews, product reviews, blog comments, etc. The “mother” of all this is (in my opinion) Twitter Moms which has nearly 18,000 members!

So… go sign up to follow me @youcansellbooks and let’s get ready to kick our sharing up a notch. I look forward to getting to know you (and even what you had for dinner last night) soon.

Lisa

 Lets Tweet

Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity

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I recently received notification of an opportunity for Christian authors to submit their stories (see below) to what will eventually be a series of 12 books! It is a great chance to have your story on prayer heard.

If you are an author, you may wonder why you would want to spend the time submitting to anthologies where you are just a contributor? I’ve been in a few (I’ve posted a couple of the covers) and have found it fun to be a part of the books!

In my book 50 Creative Sales Tips So You Can Sell More Books I explain the perks.

41s8jmja64l sl500 aa240  Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity
Some of them are:

  • You are able to put the anthology book on your web site and list yourself as a contributor.
  • Anthologies are a great way to see how a book is formed and how the compilers work with the contributors to gain media attention. They will likely supply you with promotional and media materials, and you are able to do book signings, radio interviews, and many things you would do as if the book was your own.
  • You become a part of a very large community of peers with amazing resumes. Many of these people have been published hundreds of times. They write for magazines, know publishers, editors, publicists, and reporters and have a large network available for you to learn from. Since the evolution of social media networks like Facebook and Linked In, there’s never been a better time to “make friends” with people in the business and gain contacts with ease.
  • Compilers of anthologies often need and want the contributors to be involved. You may have the opportunity to do a virtual blog tour, book signings, and even appearances at major book industry shows. They will help you organize your efforts in contacting local newspapers, and basically offer anything they can to assist you in helping them market the book. All of this can help you build a worthy set of relationships your network of friends in the business and make it easier for you to get past media gatekeepers. If you call a reporter or staff writer and introduce yourself as a contributor to the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, you will be more likely to gain their interest than with your basic credentials.

Here is the writing opportunity I mentioned above! Best of wishes!

Dear Writer, I’d like to invite you to be part of an exciting new series that Guideposts is sponsoring: The Incredible Power of Prayer. You may have contributed to one or more of my story volumes in A Cup of Comfort, Life Savors, or Love is a Verb. Great! I’d love to hear from you whether you’re a previous associate or have not yet submitted anything to my projects.

Prayer is the heartbeat of the Christian life and is an amazing gift from God to us. A prayer in faith can spur God’s heart to “move mountains” on our behalf. The incredible power of prayer can accomplish miracles that go far beyond anything we humans can accomplish on our own.

Guideposts reaches millions of Americans with their upbeat message of God empowering us. And now, Guideposts is launching a series of 12 books on various aspects of prayer and how people from every walk of life have been transformed through God’s responses. These books will be mailed monthly as part of a book club promotion, and will be exclusive to this readership. I am now collecting submissions for the first three books in the series and would welcome as many stories as you wish to submit.

The first volume is Praying from the Heart and covers God answering our deeply felt prayers of great passion, sincerity, and trust. These prayers may be repentant, express deep gratitude, or describe desperate cries that lay bare a person’s deepest needs.

The second volume, The Healing Touch, deals with stories about prayers that lead to physical, spiritual, relational, or emotional healing. They may involve relationships that don’t resolve perfectly, but bring a closer relationship with God and a new sense of purpose and greater ability.

The third volume, Expecting Miracles, includes personal experience stories about audacious prayers with powerful answers. This is where the need is great and God responds extraordinarily.

The answers don’t need to be purely supernatural; God can work in mysterious ways using all kinds of means. Submissions can be up to 2000 words. Each story should have a creative title, an attention-grabbing lead, main body explaining a conflict or challenge, and a resolution. These need to be descriptive and compelling personal experience stories—not simply testimonies.

We prefer original stories but you may also submit previously published stories. The payment is $25 for stories under 1000 words, and $50 for longer stories. You may retain the rights to publish the stories in magazines and books with smaller distribution sources. We are accepting manuscripts from now until at least June 15 for the first three volumes. We’ll announce the finalists for the first volume around October 15.

Please include on each manuscript—not in headers or simply in the e-mail—your name, contact information (address, phone, e-mail, rights offered) and a bio of up to 30 words. Please attach to the e-mail rather than pasting text in the body. Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to my colleague, Jeanette Littleton at IncrediblePrayers@earthlink.net.

And please feel free to let others know about this project. If this e-mail has been forwarded to you, and you can’t submit to this call, but would like to be notified about other editorial needs as they arise, please send us your e-mail address and we’ll add you to our notification list (we do not sell or distribute these e-mail addresses).

Blessings to you and yours,
Jim James Stuart Bell
Compiler, Guideposts Prayer series

 Are Anthologies Worth My Time? And a Writing Opportunity

The Power of Social Networking For Authors

 This article is compliments of Yvonne Perry, who has a new ebook out called Book Marketing in the Digital Age: Online Promotion Made Easy . I have not yet read it, but based on her web site, articles, reviews and more… I have no doubt she knows her stuff!

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The Power of Social Networking For Authors
By Yvonne Perry

Recently, I was asked, “What is the best tool for helping authors promote their books online?” Had you asked me that one year ago, I would have said blogging, and while that is still somewhat true, I have to admit that social networking is the best tool for helping authors promote their books online.

Social networking includes interacting or socializing with a number of people in a public chat-like setting except there is no live chat room. It retains the flavor of an email going back and forth the dialog ending at any time but a message being delivered. I’m referring to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Ning, Yahoo groups, and such online places where people share friendship and information. Twitter only allows 140 characters per post, so writers have to learn to be concise. That’s a good exercise to practice when one needs to tighten their writing.

I hate selling anything but I love sharing what I know and I enjoy interacting with people. I’m not sure that makes me an expert on any particular topic, but it does bring great response to whatever I’m promoting. After all, the only reason I’m promoting a book or author publicity service is because I have something valuable to offer but I can’t afford to give away all my time. I’m always researching and learning, asking questions and gathering information. I create books and eBooks as a way of dispersing some of the knowledge I have acquired. For example, my new eBook Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy is a compilation of the material I crammed into an hour-long lecture I gave at Nashville Writers Meetup Group when I presented to the group earlier this year plus everything I presented in a three-hour intensive workshop at the Tennessee Writers Alliance 3rd Annual Conference; and it includes the most recent research I’ve done on SEO and social marketing.

I do give away a lot of information to help people see that I do have some idea of what I’m talking about. If an author tries my free marketing tips and has success with it, I figure they will come back for more. Perhaps they will buy my books or have me help them with their writing or editing needs. It’s a win-win for both of us, and that creates a nice balance-a zen sort of thing.

I met James Helms on Twitter and he made a post on his blog http://todaysbesttools.com about my new eBook. He didn’t ask anything in return for the favor, but I was more than happy to Tweet about his generosity. That’s the power of social networking.

Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS). She recently released an eBook titled Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy. Read more about the eBook and find free tips for marketing your book online.

Free Review… If You Have an Illness or Disability

Do you have a business? How about an illness or disability? Blogger of “My Chronic Life” says, “I am always happy to help promote businesses that are run by people who have any type of chronic illness or disABILITY. If you would like your business promoted on my blog please contact me.”

How refreshing! Your book doesn’t have to be on your illness or disability. But you should have some kind of “business” thing going — meaning you are actually promoting your book!

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Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receieves over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

 Free Review... If You Have an Illness or Disability

5 Reasons Every Writer Needs a Web Presence and Where to Start

I recently talked to a friend who was having an article published in a well-known, highly competitive magazine. She hasn’t yet taken the jump to have a web presence. I tend to forget that I spend thousands of hours online, receive hundreds of newsletters each month and answer over 1000 emails a month. I don’t realize that the words “blog,” “SEO,” “keywords,” “meta tags,” and even “book marketing” are not terms most people go to bed thinking about. Or get up at 2 a.m. when you can’t sleep and read articles from an online business school giving advice on internet article marketing.

As a writer, do you really need a web site, even if you are just writing articles offline? Yes!

Here are 5 simple reasons why and where to start:

(1) People need to be able to find you. If they like your article in a magazine they will often Google you or look online at the magazine’s web site to see how to contact you. It’s good if you have an email, but you don’t want that on the magazine’s web site or you will soon be bombarded with spam. And it may sound silly, but if you don’t have a web site and are trying to market yourself or your business in some ways, it’s assumed you just don’t know what you are doing.

Anyone who has a business either designs or hires someone to design a web site for them. Would you have a delivery service without a vehicle or a restaurant without a menu? That’s you without a web site. Just do it.

(2) The good news is that you really can do your own site. Gone are the times when we had to hire web designers at $75-$200 per hour (and yes, I was a web designer, so I am allowed to say that.) Now you can whip up a presence on a blogging service like wordpress.com – for free– and have the added benefit of being “pinged” and getting your fresh content out there. (FYI: If you don’t know what “ping” means, don’t worry about it. Just know when you hit the “publish” button WordPress will take care of letting the search engines know about you.)

(3) Create some profiles so people can find you. If you set up a blog or web site, that’s a great place to send people to who are looking for your fresh content, latest publications, profile and how to hire you. But if they just Google your name, the odds are that they may not find you on the first few pages, especially if you have a common name (and millions of names are “common” on the Internet.) So go to web sites like Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, Facebook.com, Squidoo.com, linkedin.com, and even Myspace.com and mess around to create a profile that at least sends people back to your site. The size of these social networks help them rank high and people will be able to find you more easily.

(4) Start writing articles to give away. Yes, I know, if you are a paid writer that sounds less than appealing. But there are some perks:

  • Magazine/newsletter editors often have extra space in their publications or online content and may put in some keywords to find an article or expert writer on that topic for the space they are trying to fit. I’ve been there and found articles/writers from their free articles online; I’ve also been a writer whom magazines have found because of my free articles.
  • You need to become known as an expert in your niche field, and that takes more than 2-3 articles on your topic each year in hard-copy magazines. Marketing on the web with articles can help make it impossible for people to get away from you when they type in keywords you have taken over. And there are thousands of keyword phrases no one is writing about, for example, “marketing in the catering business article” is a term that, according to an keyword service, not one web site has targeted. Same with “article on direct marketing personal selling” Hmmm…  With just a few clicks you can know what phrases in your niche aren’t being clicked on. See my blog “faves” for my favorite service where I get this info!
  • You can find what topics are most appealing by how many clicks they get and then query magazines on these topics. It seems it’s never the topics you would expect that have a lot of hits. Articles sites like www.ezinearticles.comand ideamarketers.com are great ways to get your content out there and then build on it for your queries.

(5) If you’re a writer you are assuming that there are a few other people out there who are interested in your topic. Find them! Go to social networks like Squidoo.com or Ning.com and find the groups. On Ning.com for example, each group you participate in you are given a “page” where you can also blog. Most Ning sites have it set up so YOUR blog posts to the main site of the web page automatically.

Once you get the hang of these, start your own social network and be the founder of the hub, creating the ability to be considered the expert. Plus, you can email all the members with a touch of a keystroke. (Gold!) Participating in these networks is great because you can also ask for feedback, quotes, anecdotes  dexamples from people, create a poll, etc. These are all helpful in writing new articles.

In the past, having a web site could seem overwhelming. Learning to program html, uploading via ftp, using meta tags and paying those monthly service fees whether you made 2-cents or not was draining–sometimes to your spirit of the project, sometimes to the pocketbook. Today, with blogs having great template, easy to use programs, and the ability to make them into Widgets and get them on people’s web sites all over… the possibilities for exposure are endless.

And the sooner you start, the better your odds will be over the next writer who specializes in your topic and finally decides to get online next year. One of the reasons my organization still ranks incredibly high on the major search engines is because I’ve been online since 1997.

Keep me posted on your progress!

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Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receieves over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

 5 Reasons Every Writer Needs a Web Presence and Where to Start

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