The Ins and Outs of Instagramming

Instagram is a great tool you can use to connect to your audience. You can post videos and images, find new people with hashtags, and more.

The Creative Penn shares 10 helpful tips on how to use Instagram as an author and grow your following. It also walks you through how to set up your own account, if you don’t already have one. Some ideas of what authors can post include poems, displayed as a image, cover reveals, images of what inspire you, Grammar memes, quotes, and events. To grow your following, the post recommends choosing a regular posting schedule, cross promoting, creating themes, sharing other people’s posts, and including faces in some of your images. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Unleash the Power of Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful, flexible tool that allows you to create great art and graphics. Read on for how to learn more about taking advantage of all of Adobe Photoshop’s features.

By Brenda Barron

Photoshop gives you the tools to accomplish some amazing image editing techniques without having specialist knowledge, so think what you could achieve with a few handy tutorials to help increase your abilities.

101 Photoshop Tutorials is a handy resource that aims to fill any of those gaps in your knowledge and give you the confidence and know-how to create some awesome images once you know how to use the tool gallery, get to grips with grids and guidelines, create actions in Photoshop, plus many other features and tools aimed at helping you create a professional and creative image.

Read more at whoishostingthis.com/blog/2017/02/06/101-photoshop-tutorials.

Marketing Books with Content

By BronHiggs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By BronHiggs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Content marketing is a powerful way to get readers interested in your brand. Here are some resources to help you figure out how best to create content that can help you sell your books: Continue reading

What Indie Authors Can Learn From Other Industries

By Adonts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Adonts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

As an indie author, it can be fun (and helpful) to learn about what’s going on in other industries. Joe Wikert outlined on DBW what publishers can learn from the podcast model, by offering easy subscriptions (which could arguably be similar to subscribing to blogs or newsletters), delivering content on a regular schedule, and delivering related content to your audience. To me, this could mean working with a network of people to promote each other, the way podcast networks work to help promote multiple podcasts. Recently, I joined a joint author promo mailing list, where about 50 of us each offer a free book for a giveaway, and then we all work to promote the giveaway. The last giveaway we did resulted in a couple thousand entries, and I got a few new people to subscribe to my mailing list.

Authors can also learn from airlines, according to The Bookseller. Airline prices rise and fall depending on the day:

But what if the same seat-pricing model were to be applied to books? A model where the titles would have lower prices on Tuesdays and be more expensive on Fridays. Where the R.R.P. on the back cover becomes as dynamic as a company’s share price. Where we compete to buy books like we do in an EBay auction.

One way to apply this is to heavily discount pre-orders, and slowly raise the price the closer to publication date it gets. Then, the price could continue to fluctuate based on “interest in the author, the genre, the topic, and personalized to the reader’s own interests.”

Indie authors also have a lot in common with independent app developers. One person on Reddit shared how they made over $700k from a premium game and hit #1 in the App Store (and the New Yorker even wrote about it). According to the post, it’s very hard to do as an indie, but what’s important is to release regular updates, cross promote to other games, and ask for reviews.

Another thing authors can learn from is content marketing, which is very similar to writing books. Drift wrote about what they learned growing their website from 200 to 27,000 visitors, and they found that blogging is an investment (so content published a while back can continue to drive traffic, much like the first book in a series can continue to generate interest), quality content is important, as is the amount of effort it takes to promote that content (community sites are great that way, as well as working with influencers), and data can only tell you so much, so it’s better to focus on big picture things in the beginning and not small tweaks.

DBW also advocates content communities, and recommends that authors share research, back stories, databases, and more to allow readers to see what’s behind the scenes and feel part of a community.

Related to content marketing is omnichannel selling. BookMachine shared ten things they learned selling at a conference, including the fact that most people make purchases online and many through their smartphone, knowing their path to purchase is important (so when possible, selling direct may be a good idea), when it comes to making a sale, email is much more effective than social media, social media is helpful for customer service, and things are always changing.

Gumroad’s post, “Nathan Barry’s Lessons Learned Selling $355,759 on Gumroad,” sums up everything nicely. Basically, Nathan recommends being able to contact customers (like in newsletters), pricing based on value, using email to build relationships and launch products, and selling in packages at different values.

What other industries do you follow? Share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared December 2016.

140 Tools and Resources for Building Your Author Website and/or Blog

By Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/145972) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

By Matthew Bowden http://www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/145972) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Author websites and blogs are important components to building an author platform. With that in mind, here is a list of resources that can help you set up and optimize your site. Continue reading

Tips for Recording and Publishing Your Own Audiobooks

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that audiobooks are growing in popularity, and are becoming part of the self-publishing process. An op-ed in the New York Times wrote about the benefits of listening to stories:

I listen the way I read books as a child, as if I were there watching. The author becomes more transparent, the characters more real.

According to Copyblogger, having an audiobook gives you more credibility as an author.

Publisher’s Weekly recently reported on the rise of audiobook sales, and how that’s changing the industry. More publishers are producing audiobooks, and there’s been some innovation, such as “multivoiced recordings, short-form content, bonus audio-only material added to audiobooks, adaptations of such print formats as graphic novels, and more original content created for audio.” BookMachine talks about mixing short stories with full cast and narrated audio fiction, “where the magic of its stories were brought to life through links to audio dramas that could be change and be added to.”

It’s exciting to think of the possibilities, but if you’re just starting out, how do you make and sell your own audiobooks? Here are some things to consider. Continue reading

Guest Post: Digital Ways To Increase Your Ebook Sales

By Maximilian Schönherr (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Maximilian Schönherr (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

By Al Gomez

As an ebook author, most of you may think that your job is done after you have created your book. But the truth is—there is more work to do after you have created your piece.

If you have any plans of increasing your ebook sales, it is time to think as more than just an author but as a marketer as well. In a digital marketer’s perspective, here are some tips you can try to boost your ebook sales. Continue reading

FotoJet, an Online Collage Maker, Graphic Designer, and Photo Editor

Visuals are an important aspect of building platforms. Think about it. What is more likely to catch your eye on Twitter or Facebook? A few words and maybe a link, or a strong image that conveys a message?

There’s a reason for the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

With that in mind, I recently had the chance to try out a new graphics platform, called FotoJet. The folks at FotoJet were kind enough to give me a premium account so I could test out all their features. As a side note, you can sign up for a free account and use most of the features. But if you do choose to upgrade to the Plus account, for $4.99 per month, you get access to more editing tools and more content (templates, fonts, etc.).

I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first thing I heard about FotoJet was that I could use it to make posters. And that’s possible. It’s also possible to create collages, invitations, flyers, cards, and magazine covers, which you can download and print on your own. But it turns out to be a very useful tool for creating social media graphics.

What I ended up doing was creating an image for I Know Dino’s Instagram. Here’s the final result:

Continue reading

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Go With the Flow and Beat Writer’s Block

By Josh T.

Are you currently suffering from writer’s block? If so, don’t worry. Even the most talented writers in the world suffer from writer’s block. In fact, Stephen King once suffered from a writer’s block that spanned four months and resulted in him lounging at home, drinking beer and watching soap operas.

However, we aren’t suggesting using Stephen King’s method to overcome your writer’s block. There are plenty of productive strategies you can implement anytime you get stuck. What are these strategies? Keep reading to learn the top 5 ways to go with the flow and beat writer’s block.

Break Your Routine

Where do you do your writing? Do you sit at the same desk in the same spot every single day? If so, a change of scenery may be what you need to unblock your mind. So, pack up your laptop and move to a new setting.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be across the country. Try going to a local coffee shop, sitting outdoors, or even just moving to a new room in your house with a different view. Your new surroundings may help you drum up new ideas and new topics.

Brainstorm

Of course, we can’t forget about one of the most old-school methods for curing writer’s block- brainstorming! Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down every single idea you have in mind for a storyline or character. Even if an idea seems completely far-fetched or useless, still write it down. It may lead you to a golden idea eventually!

Soak Up Others’ Creativity

Sometimes, creativity can be contagious. You were probably inspired to write in the first place after discovering your favorite author’s work, so why not go back to your roots? Get your creative juices flowing by diving into a book by your favorite author and see where it takes you.

Take a Break and Relax

Writing can easily put your brain into overdrive. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply give it a rest. Allow yourself to totally unwind by taking a hot bath with essential oils. According to doTERRA, lavender is one of the best essential oils for relaxation while rosemary is excellent for concentration.

5 Minute Exercise

This one is similar to brainstorming, but with an even simpler concept. Take a pen and a piece of paper and spend 5 minutes writing down every single word that comes to mind. This will certainly help get the brain juices flowing again!

Writing is a very primal process – as if it was written into the human spirit at birth. There is just something about forcing the abstractions of our minds and hearts to coalesce into concrete words that we can then articulate with a pen and a paper. It’s cathartic – doing to our brains what spring cleaning does to our attics. Don’t let bogus brain blockage beat these brilliant benefits. The world needs your voice far too much.

Interview: Starting Digital Pubbing, Self-Publishing Advice, Startups, and More

Recently, Salesgenie published an interview with me where I got to talk about Digital Pubbing and self-publishing. We talk about marketing, having your own website, and a little bit about the current publishing startup landscape (thanks in large part to information from Thad McIllory).

You can read the full interview here, but some highlights include:

  • Options for building a website
  • Advice for building a mailing list
  • Marketing ideas

I had a great time answering the questions, and I hope you find some good tidbits in there!