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About Janice Campbell

Janice Campbell has been writing and speaking about non-traditional education and entrepreneurial writing since the early 1990s. She is author of the Excellence in Literature curriculum and other works.

Blog Strategically: How to Get it Done and Get it Read

How to blog strategically for long-term results

by Janice Campbell

“What a waste of time,” grumbled a writer at a recent conference. He was responding to yet another speaker’s suggestion that a blog is one of the simplest and best marketing tools for an author or freelancer. I’ve gotten used to hearing complaints, excuses, and grumbling whenever blogs are mentioned, but I’ve also noticed how fast the whining dries up the first time a fan or client approaches, and starts a dialogue by mentioning, “I read on your blog…”.

How to blog strategically.

For every writer or editor who sees the blogosphere as the anonymous, overwhelming clacking of a billion voices, there’s another who is quietly and effectively using a blog to communicate with readers and clients, and another who uses a blog as a thought-catcher, catalog of ideas, or a place to judge interest in a possible article or book topic. A blog can be used in any way you choose, but the two most important things you need to do are to get it done and get it read.

Get it Done

1- Decide the purpose of your blog. Do you want to establish a rapport with readers? Sell books? Get new clients for your writing or editing services? Your decision will help you determine your tone and what you write about.

2- Decide when and how often you’ll post. I recommend no less than once a week, so that your readers will have something to look forward to. Try to post on the same day each week, and remember that mid-day Tuesday-Thursday is usually the best time to post. People are often to busy to read blogs on Monday, and on Friday, they’re looking forward to the weekend, and not ready to do anything extra.

3- Decide what to write about. If you’re going to post once a week, you’ll need 52 short articles. Get a calendar with all major holidays marked, and begin listing topics on your chosen blog day. You can use a holiday as a springboard for posts; offer news about your book sales or your business; review other books your readers might find interesting; share news from the publishing or freelance world; whine a bit about your current project (this is recommended only if you do so in a funny way); share a great quote or poem; and so much more. If you’re stuck for a topic, post something you wrote long ago, write a response to someone else’s blog, or just post an inspiring quote.

Get it Read

1- Feedburner: Your blog posts can be send directly to subscriber mailboxes using Feedburner, a Google service. Add your blog feed, then click on its title to get to the screen where you can “Analyze, Optimize, Publicize, Monetize, and Troubleshootize” your feed. Take a little time to look at the options offered, and use these free tools tools to send your feed to where it can be read.

2– Blog Carnival: A blog carnival is a gathering of blog posts on a single topic such as writing, business, or organization. Search the blog carnival site for carnivals you’d like to contribute to, then click on “Submit a Post,” and fill out the brief form. Your post will be included (at the carnival owner’s discretion) in the next issue of the carnival. If you choose an active carnival that is posted regularly, this can bring your blog to the attention of many new readers who may in turn share it with others.

3- Incoming Links: Links are the lifeline of any website, and blogs are well-positioned to benefit from them. If you have a NAIWE blog, you already have a head start on incoming links, but you’ll want to gather more by announcing each of your blog posts on social media. Some of the simplest and most useful links come from sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Delicious. You can use as service such as Hootsuite or Edgar to pre-schedule updates so that they’re optimally spaced. (To view the social media sites listed above, just type each name into your browser bar and add .com.)

There are other ways to get your blog read, including blog tours, guest blogging, webrings, and blogroll exchanges, but the first three options will get you started.

Great Blog Examples

It’s a good idea to study successful blogs to see what makes them work. Remember, though, that each of these blogs has been up for a long time, so there’s enough content to draw readers. You can’t start with a hundred posts, but you can start with one, and build from there. Little by little, bit by bit, you’ll create a site that connects you with readers and clients, and meets the objectives you set when you began planning. Here are five blogs that offer very different examples. Enjoy reading, then plan your own and get started.

Seth Godin writes a long-standing blog that supports his non-fiction writing career. He’s created a vast following for his interesting posts, and that’s translated to great sales for each of his books. Here’s a good sample post: When a stranger reads your blog.

Copyblogger is where blogger Brian Clark shares his expertise in frequent, information-packed posts. He also hosts guest bloggers, which a good way for a blogger to add fresh content without having to write it all.

QueryShark is the blog where agent Janet Reid shreds reader queries. It’s definitely blood-in-the-water writing, and it gives you a strong taste of Reid’s personality and working style. She does it all in a spirit of helpfulness, and you’ll learn a lot by reading it. For Reid, it’s not just an act of charity or wicked fun–it’s smart marketing that draws potential clients like flies to a sticky bun.

Rachelle Gardner, another literary agent, offers a kinder, gentler tone on her blog on all things related to publishing. Her site is professional, attractive, and consistent.

Michael Hyatt, the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, is an avid blogger, and his posts are always meaty and thought-provoking. He writes about publishing and life, and manages to promote his company, his speaking services, and his author’s books in a low-key, entertaining way.

The Cozy Chicks blog is a great example of group blog. Seven writers of cozy mysteries have teamed up to create a blog that helps to market their work while building rapport with readers and fans. It’s an excellent way to share the blogging load and have fun in the process.

Beyond these examples, be sure to look at the blog feed of the NAIWE member blogs.

Janice Campbell is Director of the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors. She has been writing, speaking, and coaching since the 1980’s.

 

Crowdfunding: An Introduction, Part Two

What are the steps toward crowdfunding? 

Here is Part One of this article.

A solid plan will make your crowd funding campaign a reality. At this point you might be wondering how crowdfunding works and how to get started with a campaign. Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic steps to initiate a crowdfunding campaign:

  • Choose a crowdfunding platform. There are several crowdfunding platforms available, each varying somewhat, appealing to different audiences and offering different services. Prospective campaigners should research which platform would be the best fit for their project.
  • Create a campaign. A crowdfunding campaign is a way for project creators to tell their audience who they are and what makes their project important. Campaigners can use photos, upload a video, provide a summary and devise reward levels to entice supporters. Reward levels should be cost effective, but offer a value and/or something unique and individual to those pledging support.
  • Develop a marketing plan. People won’t simply find a project and financially pledge towards it unless the project is enticing and has momentum. It’s the job of the campaign creator to build that initial buzz, so it’s important to have a solid marketing plan in place before the launch of a campaign.
  • Promote and ask for support. Campaigners must reach out to their network and ask for support and help in spreading the word about the campaign. The more traffic the creator is able to drive to the campaign, the more momentum it will build.  Shareability amongst supporters will increase if the campaign is exciting and the story compelling. How well the campaigner markets his or her story will very often be the great determining factor of success.
  • Use the funds raised to bring your project to life. The campaigner will receive the funds and use them to make their project a reality.

Why Pubslush? 

Another question you might have:  “What makes Pubslush different than other crowdfunding platforms?Here are a few key differences:

  • Pubslush fosters a vibrant community of writers, readers, publishers and industry professionals and focuses on books and literary projects.
  • A flexible funding model allows authors to reach for the stars with their overall funding goal, but allows them to keep the funds they raise as long as they reach their minimum funding goal.
  • Personalized service that provides hands-on campaign support.
  • Authors have accessibility to their own reader database and supporter analytics that provides authors with relevant campaign information detailing demographics and contact information.
  • Buy Now feature that continues to drive traffic to the sales of the book post-campaign and inclusivity to the Pubslush community indefinitely.
  • Lowest platform fee in the industry at 4%.
  • The Cause, which allows authors to participate in social good by giving back to worldwide literacy initiatives.

What’s next?

If you think crowdfunding is right for you, stop by Pubslush to learn more. Our team is always available to answer any and all questions you may have. We know publishing a book is a long and sometimes confusing process, which is why we’re always here to help.

Pubslush: Crowdfunding for writers.Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform for the literary world that provides a way to raise funds and tangibly pre-market books and literary-based projects. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, she is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Justine has become a prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding. She has contributed to IBPA’s Independent magazine, Self-Publishers Monthly, Book Marketing Magazine, Business Banter and many more online publications. She has spoken on panel discussions about crowdfunding for authors and continues to foster the growth and development of crowdfunding within the publishing process. She tweets for @pubslush. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Crowdfunding: An Introduction, Part One

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding harnesses the power of community.Crowdfunding is a rapidly growing industry that caters to entrepreneurs and business-savvy creatives and gives them the power to fund and market their projects in the pre-production phase. Conducting a crowdfunding campaign requires time and effort, but can help to secure a more successful product launch.

How does crowdfunding help authors?

Crowdfunding for authors is quickly gaining traction as an essential step in the publishing process. Crowdfunding is conducive to the publishing process and offers an array of benefits aside from simply raising funds. Crowdfunding can help authors to:

  • Collect pre-orders.  Reward-based crowdfunding allows authors to create tiered reward levels as a way to thank and entice their supporters. The most obvious reward an author can offer to their supporters is their book, so crowdfunding essentially provides a platform to facilitate a pre-order campaign to a wide audience of readers.
  • Employ a marketing campaign before publication. The marketing efforts for a book must begin well before publication, but it’s very difficult to talk about a product that hasn’t been produced yet. A crowdfunding campaign provides a landing page to drive traffic and connect with readers in the pre-publication phase.
  • Build an author brand. Since a crowdfunding campaign must offer a range of reward levels, authors are forced to think about what other services or items of value they can offer their supporters. Realistically, in order for an author to make a living writing, they need to incorporate other services into their branding, such as speaking, coaching, etc. Creating reward levels can help authors build their brand by determining what else they have to offer their audience.
  • Network expansion and platform building. A crowdfunding campaign encapsulates the author in a way that isn’t possible through traditional channels. Authors can connect with their audience on a personal level, tell their story and include links to their website and social media. The personalization of a crowdfunding campaign is part of its appeal and is often how authors gain support from readers outside of their network.
  • Engage with readers. A crowdfunding campaign allows the creator to engage with supporters.  Access to an evolving database of readers can be very useful and provide authors with valuable insight, as well as a foundation for future promotional efforts.

In Part Two of this article, you’ll learn about steps toward crowdfunding, as well as a bit about Pubslush, a crowdfunding service for writers.

Pubslush: Crowdfunding for writers.

Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform for the literary world that provides a way to raise funds and tangibly pre-market books and literary-based projects. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, she is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Justine has become a prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding. She has contributed to IBPA’s Independent magazine, Self-Publishers Monthly, Book Marketing Magazine, Business Banter and many more online publications. She has spoken on panel discussions about crowdfunding for authors and continues to foster the growth and development of crowdfunding within the publishing process. She tweets for @pubslush. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Do You Know Joseph Finder? by Brian Feinblum

My firm was just hired to promote the newest novel from Joseph Finder.  We’ll conduct a radio tour to promote the late June publication – a spy thriller.  We’ve promoted his books a number of times.  What surprises me is how many people never heard of him, although when I first started promoting him, I didn’t know of him either.

It’s interesting that someone as successful as he has been – five New York Times best-sellers with four million copies in print – can be under the radar.  Then again, in a country of 310 million, it’s easy for the vast majority to not recognize best-selling authors, movie stars, politicians, Grammy-winning musicians or leaders in major fields and industries. There is simply too much to keep track of.  Plus, the top people in their given area of expertise, may “only” have tens of millions of fans – or just a few million, still leaving 250+ million people who don’t know anything about the Joseph Finders of the world.

What surprises me is if something can break through, like a Harry Potter book, and gets lots of publicity, ad support, and praise from fans, how come it doesn’t go all the way, and get into the hands of practically everyone? Is it getting to the point that our society’s interest are so varied that we can’t get the majority to like the same thing or know about the same things?

Social media may be contributing to this, to a degree.  We’re fragmented.  Few national discussions or centralized platforms exist.  Instead we have people tweeting and blogging to a core group of self-selected followers and we have literally, millions of public discussions going on simultaneously but nothing to unite us.  And yet it is probably social media that affords us the best chance to rally the masses to focus on specific issues, people, events, or even books.

I know that we’ll schedule a great radio tour for Joseph Finder. We’ll get him a few dozen interviews with top tier markets and inform millions of listeners about him.  Now we just need to reach the other 300 million people.

Random Thought
51% of Americans ages 12 and older have profiles on Facebook, up from 8% in 2008, according to a recent Arbitron/Edison Research survey. What can you conclude from that? On one hand I’m surprised to see 49% don’t have profiles, but then again, why does this study include pre-teens? Does a kid really need a FB page?

I also thought about seniors who still may not be as active online as others, as well as illiterates, people who can’t afford a computer, and those that don’t speak English well. Really, that 51% number is probably more like 80% of people who are active and contributing to society. What’s most interesting is how in just a few short years the majority of the country lives on one social networking site. That’s a lot of power and potential there, but how are we harnessing it to market books and to make the world a better place? …

Google is king of the search marketing industry. Over two million searches take place using Google every minute, according to the New York Times.  An article last month caught my eye about a new search engine, Bekko, that is using a different approach in order to yield better results. If you use it, let me know if you find Bekko, to be better.

Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer, Planned Television Arts, has been promoting and marketing authors since 1989. feinblumb@plannedtvarts.com 212-583-2718 www.plannedtvarts.com . Brian Feinblum’s new blog is http://www.bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com and he can be followed on Twitter @thePrexpert.

New York Times Book Reviews

Nothing is better than a real paper newspaper, but a feed is better than nothing.The New York Times offers an excellent selection of book reviews each week. This feed will allow you to stay up to date on what’s currently popular, which can be helpful if you are doing research for your next book or article. Enjoy!

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How to Get Your Article or Column Syndicated

Writers such as William Safire, Dave Barry, and Kathleen Parker have become household names because their newspaper have been syndicated and appear in many newspapers. If you write regularly about a topic, you may be able to tap into syndication in order to reach a larger audience. Author Gini Graham Scott of Changemaker’s Publishing and Writing offers a clear look at what it takes to be syndicated.

by Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., J.D.

Syndicate your work to multiply your return on each article or column you write.Would you like to see an article, series of articles, or columns you have written published not only in one publication or magazine but in many? How do you syndicate what you have written?

One approach is to promote a single article based on a book you have written or find a focus for a series of articles or columns, so you present yourself as an expert in a particular area. If you have already published a book or are doing speaking, workshops, seminars, or consulting in this area, this is a good place to focus.  Continue reading

The Self-Publisher’s Checklist

by Janice Campbell

Assemble your own editorial team of NAIWE members.Holding your first book in your hands is incredibly satisfying. For a self-publisher, the process of getting from idea to print can be long, but with the right help, it doesn’t need to be unnecessarily complex. To achieve the best possible results for your project, you can assemble your own editorial team.

Although you may be tempted to proceed without professional help in editing and proofreading, it’s not worth it if you want the best book possible. Even if you are an excellent writer, it’s nearly impossible to copyedit your own work, as you tend to read what you think you wrote, which causes you to overlook errors that are obvious to an experienced copyeditor.  Continue reading