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

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Useful Productivity Hacks and Tools

By elian (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

By elian (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

For those of us who are multi-taskers and like to do everything at 1.5-2x speed (I’ve even started watching TV shows on fast forward), the New York Times has some bad news: “Sorry, you can’t speed read.”

But on the bright side, there are many tools and hacks out there to help you speed up your productivity. I’ll get into the writing-specific ones first. Continue reading

Guest Post: Six Apps Indie Authors Should Take Advantage Of

By Megan F.

Working as an indie author can be quite a challenge. You often don’t have the backing of big organizations to keep you on track or to help you out when the going gets rough. Luckily, most everyone today has access to technologies that can easily take the place of those institutions. As the kids say, there’s an app for that.

This applies to writing even in ways you might not have considered. While it may seem counter-intuitive to put helpful apps on your number one distraction device, using your phone/tablet for your writing may actually help you use it more productively. Take a look at these six apps recommended for indie authors to help take your writing to the next level. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Writing and Publishing Tools

It seems that every day I come across a new site or tool that can help with writing, editing, promoting, or pretty much any stage in the publishing process. (The Book Designer has a great article explaining why authors should embrace new technologies.) Here are links to a few of the best ones: Continue reading

Indie Authors: Using YouTube

Video can be a very important component of an indie author’s marketing strategy. In addition to book trailers, authors can make videos for a myriad of purposes, such as

  • Behind the scenes
  • Showing off research that went into the book
  • Interviews
  • Having actors play characters or scenes
  • Explaining concepts (for nonfiction books)
  • Animating themes or concepts

Explaining concepts, in particular, can be a great way to attract viewers (who may become readers). Brainy Marketer has an excellent post on why these types of videos are so good, but basically they are short, usually animated videos that really engage viewers because they are entertaining, get to the point, and have calls to action at the end (such as, “Buy this book to learn more).

YouTube

Although there are other options for where to post your video, YouTube probably makes the most sense for most people.

Because Google owns YouTube, videos that are properly indexed (meaning have good metadata) tend to be highly ranked and easily found. This means you should put a lot of thought into your title, subtitle, categories, and description. Having solid keywords relating to your content can really help. Author Marketing Experts also offers six ways to promote your YouTube channel, which includes getting a custom channel and annotating your channel.

If you get enough hits on YouTube, you can earn money via their advertising program. YouTube has also recently started a subscription service, where users can pay a monthly fee for access to videos without ads. Although the service is geared towards music videos, high quality videos showing other kinds of content may also be successful.

Have you seen success with videos? Please share in the comments!

Planning an Effective Video Strategy with MWP Digital Media

MWP

Sometimes it can be difficult for indie authors to think about video, but having a YouTube channel with book trailers, author interviews, and more can help boost an author’s platform. In order to find out what kind of videos work best, My Web Presenters (MWP) Digital Media has a new video marketing comparison tool, which can help users with their video strategy. Continue reading

Authorly, Turn Your Book Into An App

Authorly

Recently I learned about a new tool called Authorly, which can turn books into apps to sell in all the major app stores, including Google Play, iTunes, and the Amazon app store (see my post, “Turning Your Ebook Into An App“).

Authorly allows authors to easily create apps for their books, and make them interactive. And although I like the service, I do want to point out that the gap between ebooks and apps is closing, and ebooks in certain forms can also have interactivity. For example, enhanced ebooks (with EPUB3) can contain video, audio, and some javascript for interactivity. KF8, the newest ebook format for Amazon, can have hotspots, where you touch a certain area on the screen and it magnifies the text. And iBooks Author allows for widgets and almost endless possibilities for interactivity with javascript and HTML5, such as zooming images, scrolling sidebars, pop-overs, 3D images, questions within the text, and more. Continue reading

Udemy: Increasing the Volume of Recorded Videos

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 1.47.35 AM

Publishing a course on Udemy has been a great learning experience. I’ve already gotten some feedback for my course, How to Create Beautiful E-BooksOne of the suggestions was to increase the volume of my video lectures, so I spent some time researching how to do that without having to reshoot all the videos. Turns out it’s pretty easy and straight forward, so I wanted to share what I did in case other people might find it useful. Continue reading

EPUB3 Read Aloud Code

 

Per request, I’m posting snippets of code to use to enable read aloud functionality on an iPad. You usually do this for children’s books in EPUB3. Above is a sample of the SMIL file you will need to include. Remember to make a SMIL file for each “page.” And don’t forget to add it to your OPF! Below is a sample of the extra code to include in the HTML file. You will also need your audio file (use Audacity to easily create labels for the SMIL files). Good luck!