Saturday, October 3, 2015

Should Authors Blog? Why? @kayelleallen #writingtips #MFRWorg

Button for Kayelle Allen's blog 
Recently on the Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) Yahoo Group, someone asked "What am I missing?" The topic was about blogging. She wanted to know what was in it for her as a writer. Wasn't it a better use of her time to be writing books? If blogging didn't do any good, why should she spend time doing it? It's a fair question, and one many authors have had.

As a writer who's been published for eleven years (with fifteen books including two anthologies and one boxed set), I've had a bit of experience in the area. I'm also the founder of MFRW. People share their stories with me. Here's my take on blogging.

A blog is a way of having fresh content on your website every day. How often can you release a new book? Probably not often enough to get people to come back to your website on a regular basis. Blogging brings people, and can generate followers for your blog, and for your social media.

Ask yourself -- so what? 

Why does that matter? Because those people who come back are people who have heard of you. When people buy books, they buy books that interest them, and they buy books by authors they know. They've learned that the author will give them a good read. Name recognition in this business is a major key to success.

When readers see your name, if they've been to your blog and/or followed you on social media, there is name recognition. That's crucial, epecially when thousands of books are released every day. If you have a choice between buying a book by someone you've never heard of, and someone you know, which will you pick?

As much as we'd all like to say that we write for the joy of writing and because it's in us and we just have to write, the truth is, we'd like to make some money doing it. We'd like to have a best seller.

Blogging is part of the overall marketing strategy a writer needs. Do you have to write in-depth articles every day? Certainly not. You can have guests, post videos about cats, have a puzzle spot, do a post with pictures of your vacation, anything you want. It doesn't have to be every day. But you need fresh content to keep readers coming back. Experiment with it. Is it three times a week? Once a week? Twice a month? Be consistent, and talk about things you love. Do what works for you.

The other -- and to me, this is the number one reason for blogging -- is to get people to sign up for your newsletter. If you don't have one, start it now. I use Mailchimp. There are other programs. Find what works for you, and use it at least once a month. Why? I'm glad you asked.

If you are consistently sending readers to Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or ARe, or any book seller, that's great. It's nice when they buy. But wouldn't it be great if you knew who those people were? Wouldn't it be awesome if when your next book comes out you could send them a direct email and let them know personally? They already bought your other book. Why wouldn't they want your next one? Of course they would. But if you only send readers to the book sellers, you will never know who those readers are. So create a sign up sheet via MailChimp (or another site) and invite people to give you their email address. You won't get a ton of sign ups, but you will get some. It takes time, but build up your list. Have a contest now and then. You don't have to spend a ton of money on this. But get started now.
Create a simple graphic 

Create a Graphic

An easy way to get people to sign up is to write a short story based on characters in a current book, and offer that as a giveaway for signing up. They sign up, and MailChimp sends the confirmation, with a link to your book's download site. Easy peasy. Create a graphic that invites people to sign up for your newsletter, and place it on your blog and website. Link it to your sign up page. Want to see one in action? Try mine.

All you need to get people to come to your site on a regular basis is a reason for them to be there. That is where blogging comes in.

Remember, the number one reason to have a website is to sell books. You do that by having fresh content, a way for people to sign up for your newsletter, and information on the site about those books. It's simply another way to connect with readers.

Yes, it takes time and organization to set up. Once you get over the fact that you will have to work at being an author, just like any other job, you'll do well. It wasn't easy to write the book. It wasn't easy to publish it. Blogging is just one more step in the process of making people aware of you, your talent, and your stories.

But hey, you got this far, didn't you? You got this.
Kayelle Allen is a best selling author, and the Founder, Marketing for Romance Writers.
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Monday, September 28, 2015

Triberr: to Share or Not to Share #Triberr

I’m taking a break from my editing/writing blog as I try to figure out what everyone would be interested in.

I do love triberr. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning, but I have seen my blog hits grow as well as my followers.

Like others I was afraid it would take too much time. I wondered if it would be worth it and to be honest I’m still learning about the program.

Each time I go to my tribes – I don’t use the main stream but the drop down box on that stream page and bring up each tribe. It registers with the tribe itself and shows other people on that tribe that I’m sharing and hopefully they will share mine. I know some authors only go to triberr when they have released a blog and that works for them. I try to go to triberr at least three times a week. On a good week I go there every day.

So how do I make the choice of who to share and who not to share?

It depends on how much time I have that day. I have a tendency to do it late at night, just before I got to bed. When I go to the stream I first look for those who have released my blog. I look for the infinity symbol. I have my stream set up to show these people first so I can be sure to release theirs. Sometimes that’s all the time I have.

When I have more time I’ll hover over the image of each tribe mate so I can see if they have released something of mine. Sometimes people will release your blog but it doesn’t put the infinity symbol on their post because it might not have been one of your latest blogs.

Once a week I try to release one of every person who posted on all the tribes I’m on. My goal is to get them to share my blogs like I am sharing theirs.  I have been very happy with the way this has work for me. Will it work for you? The only thing I can suggest is to try it then tweak it until you find a way to make it work for you. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Day in the Writing Life of #MFRWauthor @Jill_Blake_

I'm a type-A personality. I make lists and plan things out to the very last detail. When all else is chaos, my systematic approach to writing is often the only thing that keeps me sane. (Not to mention it’s cheaper than therapy.)

I start with a character or premise that strikes my fancy. Around this, I build a world, populating it with composite portraits of friends and neighbors, family and coworkers. I fill in my characters’ histories, make family trees, create life plans. Often I do a lot of background reading on whatever topic or environment is relevant to my story.

Then comes plotting. True to form, I keep timelines of important events in my characters’ lives, and use an actual calendar to keep track of their activities in the ongoing present.

Then I go back and write. Each session begins by re-reading the last scene or chapter, making a few edits if needed, and then mapping out a bare-bones outline of the next chapter, fleshing it out, and finally jotting some notes for the following writing session. This continues—two to three sessions a week, each several hours long—for four to six months. That’s how long the process takes me from start to finish for each book. The editing, beta-reading, cover design, formatting, and marketing all come later, often overlapping with the planning stages for my next book.

Sometimes I look around at fellow writers who are incredibly fast and prolific, and wonder how they do it. Some are pantsers. Some are able to multi-task, or write despite distractions. 

Alas, that is not me. I need complete quiet and freedom from interruptions in order to write. That’s hard to come by in a house with husband and three small kids. Not to mention the time constraints imposed by my day job. Did I mention I’m a physician? I average fifty hours a week seeing patients, and also take (thankfully infrequent) call.

So, slow and steady it is. At least for now.

Contributed by Jill Blake
Jill Blake loves chocolate, leisurely walks where she doesn’t break a sweat, and books with a guaranteed happy ending. A native of Philadelphia, Jill now lives in southern California with her husband and three children. During the day, she works as a physician in a busy medical practice. At night, she pens steamy romances.


Beyond the Ivory Tower... coming in November 2015

If there’s one thing math professor Anna Larazev believes in, it’s the value of higher education. So when her younger sister announces she’s dropping out of college, Anna places the blame squarely on the man who inspired her sister’s rebellion.

Venture capitalist Ethan Talbot claims the US academic system is broken. His solution? Pay top students to “opt out” and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams without wasting time and money on a university degree.

In a passionate battle for the hearts and minds of a new generation, Anna will do whatever it takes to prove Ethan wrong. But when his demands take a more personal turn, will she sacrifice her principles to come out on top?

Ethan ignored the first few emails. Likewise the faxed letter, the phone message slips, and the envelope delivered by registered mail.
Ever since his usual assistant, Margaret, went on medical leave, he’d been saddled with a series of temps who had neither the wits nor the will to guard his inner sanctum. What he really needed was someone who not only knew how to organize his schedule and take dictation, but could also screen out and deflect all the noise of the outside world. There were simply too many people asking for money, or looking for a job, or hoping for an interview or sound bite, or just eager for the opportunity to rub elbows with the man of the moment.
Frankly, he was tired of it. But until Margaret returned from getting her hip replaced, he was unlikely to catch a break.
Maybe, after this weekend’s summit, he’d take some time off. Fly down to Belize and do some diving. Or visit his parents in upstate New York. He hadn’t seen them since Christmas. And even then he’d spent most of his time taking meetings by Skype and reviewing business plan executive summaries, financial projections, and capitalization tables.
Sighing, he turned away from his contemplation of San Francisco’s skyline. He needed to make one more pass through his PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow’s keynote address.
He was nearly halfway through the slides when the door burst open and he found himself facing an interruption he couldn’t ignore.
She was five foot five--but that was the only average thing about her. She swept into the room with rapid, angry strides, dark brows drawn together over almond shaped eyes, nostrils flaring. Her hair was caught in a casual twist from which glossy black strands escaped to tumble past high cheekbones and bare neck. A V-cut T-shirt that stopped just short of displaying any cleavage was tucked into a pair of close-fitting jeans.
Ethan’s latest assistant—Tina? Trisha? something with a T—scurried in after her. “Dr. Larazev—”
The woman shook off the restraining hand and continued to advance.
“Ma’am, please.” The assistant cast Ethan a nervous glance. “I’m sure we can schedule you in for an appointment. If you’ll just come with me…”


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