Thursday Teaser: An Author’s Guide to Goodreads by Barb Drozdowich

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Chapter 1 – Networking

There is lots of advice surrounding Goodreads and how to use it as a selling tool. I don’t agree with all of it since I find that a softer approach tends to be more effective. Both in terms of selling books and my business, I find that the hard sell routine can turn people off. Conversely, I feel if you treat people fairly and ethically, they will respond in kind.

It makes me happy to refer books I absolutely LOVED to my readers on my book blog. Similarly, I work hard at creating helpful tutorials for my business blog. When I get a comment about how I saved someone time, it makes my day.

I try to combine these two tactics when on Goodreads. On one hand, I’m a voracious reader and enjoy sending someone in the direction of a great book. In fact, I hope they will return the favor as I’m always looking for something new to read! I also enjoy sharing information with people that I “meet” on Goodreads. I’m happy to answer a question if I can, or point someone in the right direction for what they are searching.

This is all part of networking, which I emphasize a lot in my consulting. Building friendships and relationships is key to building a business. My audience isn’t as big as some authors so I take advantage of any networking opportunities as I can.

Many authors gravitate towards the hard sell – the big numbers. They are only interested in the BookBub promotions and the like. They have a game plan that tends to be ‘go big or go home.’ There are many different ways to sell books and as an author, you need to do what feels right for your career. But when you are just starting out, you don’t qualify for the big promotions and it takes time to find other authors to collaborate with.  Because of this, I try to get new authors to focus on being as complete with the development of their platform as possible – don’t just put in the minimum required information – be thorough and as complete as possible. More on this later as I discuss what makes for a standout author profile.

As I’ve said before, I tend to look at the world of book promotions from a different perspective than many. I view it strategically by focusing on stats where others focus on feelings. I view book promotion as a big puzzle and I work to put as many pieces in place as I can.

I see Goodreads as a land of opportunity for authors. It comes with 50 million readers and authors. Although there are some exceptions, basically everyone on Goodreads reads. No other social media has the same concentration of readers. In the early days, I set out to see how I could connect with other readers. I had been successful in networking my book blog and I wanted to see what networking opportunities I could find on Goodreads.

I found the motherlode!

In addition to walking you through the creation of an account and your author profile, this book will explain best practices for building friendships and relationships on Goodreads as I want you to look at each section with an eye towards networking.

Not every section will resonate with every author. There are parts of Goodreads that just don’t work for me, but keep an open mind. Try new things. Be the creative person that I know you are. And don’t hesitate to drop me an email and share your ideas!

The book is available on Amazon and the free course is available here

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Thursday Teaser: Blogging for Authors by Barb Drozdowich

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blogging-for-authors-silver-awardWhy do I need to blog?

THE QUESTION that comes up repeatedly during my discussions with authors – Why? Why do I need to blog? There are several answers to this question. At the top of the heap, blogging is a writing exercise, another opportunity to develop that writing muscle. The second reason is to communicate with your readers and develop a community.

We all figured out how to make friends in Kindergarten: “Hi, my name is Barb. Do you want to play with me?” As adults in the electronic world, the way to make friends is admittedly a bit more complicated, but not impossible. It goes something along the lines of, “Hi, my name is Barb and I write books. Let’s explore interests we have in common and chat about stuff over a cup of virtual coffee.”

The third reason, as I mentioned in the previous section, is to communicate and share with your community of readers in a fairly permanent way. Unlike the other parts of your platform, your blog posts can be searched and found months or years after they were first shared. So a post that attracted a new reader into having a virtual chat with you two years ago could easily be found today and have the same effect on a new reader.

Your blog is your public face to the world. In today’s society if we want to find out more about a public figure, we “Google” them. Frankly, we expect all public figures including authors to have a website of some sort where we can find out more about them and their books. As we’ll find out in the coming chapters, it’s important to have a blog, but generally not necessary to have a website and a blog. A blog offers an author the ability to add fresh content on a regular basis to their site – something that Google LOVES!

Think of Google as a toddler. For those parents reading this, you realize that toddlers don’t stay interested in anything for long. Even shiny, new toys are quickly abandoned for the box they came in. Google is similar. Google is attracted to new content. A blog that’s posted to on a regular basis provides a steady stream of “shiny new toys” for the Google search engine. This helps a site rise up the ranks in a Google search. While it’s true that the majority of your traffic will initially either come from your friends or be referral traffic from other social media, you want readers to be able to Google the genre they read and find your site in a search. We’ll talk more about this in a future chapter.

One last comment for this section is about tone and language. As I’ve mentioned previously, I feel that your blog should be a conversation – a dialogue with your readers. A blog post that’s a dialogue with your readers is typically casual in its language and tone, like a conversation between friends. It’s meant to share information as you would over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer with your friends. If your blog post is more formal, it will sound like a dissertation or even a monologue. It may end up conveying information to an audience, but it typically won’t turn your audience into a community. In short, your audience will react differently. Think about how you react when reading let’s say a Wikipedia page. You’re looking for information and you get it. Compare this to reading a chatty, personalized blog post. You’ll have a different internal reaction.

I’ll continue to remind you to keep the word “dialogue” in your mind as we go through this book. I find when you think of something as a dialogue, that is what you create.

Blogging for Authors can be purchased from Amazon

*****

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance novels.

She is the author of 10 books, over 30 YouTube videos and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

She can be found on her Author Website, Business blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Goodreads, and YouTube

 

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Thursday Teaser: Blogging for Authors

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By Barb Drozdowich

You could WIN a free e-copy of Blogging for Authors. Find out how at the end of the excerpt.

AT ITS HEART, blogging is just another form of communication. In my mind there isn’t a lot of difference between blogging and having a chat with some friends over a cup of coffee. You’ll notice that I’m using the words “chat” or “conversation.” When we’re talking about blogging, I want you to keep the word “dialogue” in mind.

A blog is neither a billboard, nor a monologue. Blogging should be a dialogue.

Although I refer to the words “conversation” and “dialogue,” your first response may be that no one talks on your blog, or that no one leaves comments for you to respond to. Times have changed.

The face of a conversation has changed in the electronic world. The person with whom we are chatting may not literally respond with words – they might respond with actions such as sharing your post with their friends on Facebook. They are doing the electronic equivalent of “Come over here and listen to this person.” The electronic version is more along the lines of “This is great information; please go and read it.” That’s a response and in the big picture, that’s a much more important response. Although I’m the first one to admit that comments are wonderful, such interaction is between two people. I have 16,000+ followers on Twitter. If I share on Twitter, it’s pretty likely that more people than just myself will be part of the conversation. It’s also pretty likely that a handful of my 16,000+ followers will join in, in their own way.

If you have a WordPress blog, one of the people you are “speaking” to might click on the Like button or in fact be so moved by what you have to say that they re-blog it. And the conversation grows to include even more people.

The author’s blog is a space that belongs to the author – unlike Facebook, Twitter or other social media. The author’s blog is also searched and indexed by Google unlike the various social media (for the most part). This allows for your conversations to be searched for and found long after they take place. This isn’t true of any material that you put on most social media. In fact, a post on your blog can be found years after it’s created. The accepted shelf life of a Facebook post is considered to be between two and five hours and the shelf life of a Twitter post is 18 minutes. A LinkedIn post can have a shelf life of up to 24 hours in some cases.

An author’s blog is the place where the author can share with their community; the place they can start or continue conversations and have dialogues. This is the place that the dialogue will grow a community of friends and supporters – people with like interests who will help spread the word about your book.

What’s Blogging for Authors all about?

Are you an author who needs to learn more about blogging?

Do you feeling uncertain about technology or what to blog about?

Finding that all-important reader is the key to an author’s success. Many studies shows that blogging is a great way to connect with readers because at it’s heart, blogging is just another form of communication.

Blogging for Authors covers all aspects of blogging from what to write to how to navigate today’s technology

In this book you will learn:

* Why authors need to blog

* What topics authors should blog about

* How to choose a platform to blog on

* How to create the ideal blog post

* How to manage sidebars and widgets

* How to keep your site safe and up to date

˃˃˃ And there is more!

Blogging for Authors contains links to 26 free instructional YouTube videos as well as a coupon for money off my newly created WordPress for Beginners Course – the perfect tool for authors & bloggers. This course is an online program specifically designed with beginner authors/bloggers in mind.

Pick up this great deal today from Amazon and approach blogging with confidence.

How to win a free e-copy

If you’re an author, tell us your biggest blogging challenge in the Comments section below. Author Barb Drozdowich will choose a commenter at random for a free e-copy of Blogging for Authors.

About the author

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance novels.

She is the author of 9 books, over 25 YouTube videos and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @sugarbeatbc.

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Teaser Tuesday: Top Advice for Authors Promoting Their Book by Barb Drozdowich

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Don’t you just wish you could ask Book Bloggers for some pointers on marketing books?

I did!

And I got 502 responses….

BD_ebook_authorspromotingadvice_FINAL

Do you need help with your book marketing?

Take the advice of 500+ book bloggers!

In a survey of 500+ book bloggers, the question was asked: “If you could give an author one piece of advice about promoting their book, what would it be?”

The answers are fascinating! They show authors what is important to book bloggers and what they need to promote your books.

With book bloggers and other online sites being more and more involved in the marketing of books, authors need all the hints they can get. Let these answer guide you through the world of online promotions.

Top Advice for Authors Promoting their book can be purchased from Amazon, B&N, Kobo 

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 7 books and over 25 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Barb  can be found on her blog, FB, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Goodreads, YouTube and Amazon

 

 

Excerpt:

Be real and create a rapport with the blogger before even thinking of asking them. Also, grammar and spelling matter!

In addition to book cover, blurb, and buy link, give out a little personal information (not too private), so that readers can see you as a real person.

Don’t spam. My pet peeve (and it’s nothing to do with blogs at all) is when an author is constantly posting, once or twice a day on a particular Facebook/Goodreads/Twitter page. Those people do not want to read your advert. Again.

Don’t spam! I never accept a review request via Dear Blogger, or from an author I have never interacted with before. And those who send me e-mails, then contact me on Twitter because I haven’t answered their e-mails are authors I will never read.

Use social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, to get the word out about your book.

Please use the right name of the person you are emailing.

Don’t ask a blogger to change a review.

Think long term.

Treat book bloggers and readers the same way you’ like them to treat you. If you want respect and kindness, show respect and kindness.

Ask before sending copies of their books in an email if asking for a review. If they require help with a blog tour, then contact bloggers individually. It may take more time, but the personal touch is always better.

Start promoting early. Use ALL social media platforms. If someone posts a review, share the review on different Facebook groups, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Everywhere. Create your Media kit, Make sure your book is mentioned as much as possible. Hand out free copies to gain reviews on other platforms, use Netgalley. Make sure you exhaust all your resources.

Write all your market copy before you even begin writing the book. That’s when you’re most enthusiastic about it and that enthusiasm will show in the tone of everything you write.

Get a social media person to run Facebook, Twitter, and Pin-interest. Someone who is young and trendy and knows how people think.

Encourage people first, then promote, and get to the heart of your theme so it’s easy to find keywords.

If you have a blogger review one of your books – please share the review. Comment on the post. Make a big deal out of it. They took their time to read your story. You should take some time to share their thoughts about your hard work.

Write to me as a human. It takes about 10 minutes to do an individual e-mail and about 20 to do a round robin. Unless you do the round robin right, you’ll get more response from the 10 minutes.

To stop by the blogger’s site or post about their books and comment with something as simple as “thank you for featuring/reviewing my book” (if a review – whether it was positive or not)

Look at my blog first and tell me why your book fits my reading tastes.

Don’t request a review if you don’t want honesty

Find someone who loved a book of yours previously or similar to yours and ask them to help, it works with me, and also don’t give up, keep looking, keep tweeting, keep posting, because all books are awesome 🙂

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Win a Book Wednesday! Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors

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Welcome to Win A Book Wednesday!

Leave a comment to enter to win a copy of Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors, 2nd Edition. Hot off the press – published on  Amazon yesterday! This new edition covers both tours carried out by tour companies as well as DIY tours. Filled with helpful tips and even spreadsheets to help you organize your next tour!
BD_coverdesign05_FINALWhat’s your verdict on Book Blog Tours? 

Great idea…or a waste of time and money?

Not sure what a book blog tour can do for your visibility as an author or the promotion of your book? Are you considering trying out a Book Blog Tour to market your newest release? Do you want a primer that will help you take confident steps into the book promotion world?

Book Blog Tours teaches you about Tours (either hired or DIY) from the point of view of a Blogger and a Reader?

Book Blog Tours covers topics such as:

  • The Hows and Whys of book blog tours
  • Book Marketing on blogs
  • How to set goals for a blog tour
  • Giveaways from the point of view of a blogger and a reader
  • How to plan a DIY blog tour
  • Contains spreadsheets and checklists that will help you organize your tour

˃˃˃ Work your way through the topic of book blog tours in a step-by-step fashion, both from the point of view of hiring a service as well as the DIY type of tour.

Book Blog Tours looks at blog tours differently than other books. This book challenges commonly held beliefs and has you thinking and planning before acting on your next tour.

Book Blog Tours is available on Amazon

*****

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and over 20 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

 

Author Website: http://barbdrozdowich.com

Business Blog: http://bakerviewconsulting.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+: https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sugarbeatsbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234554.Barb_Drozdowich

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSgVt36XlVAHWj5dkSd0Zyw

Tech Hints Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/DfCRj

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Barb-Drozdowich/e/B00EN3CIDM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1437240887&sr=1-2

 

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Focus Friday: The Author Platform – A Beginner’s Guide

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On Sale for 99 cents today!

The Authors Platform ShadedAuthors, creating buzz for your book and your career just got easier.
The Author’s Platform will help you create, understand, and use a powerful author platform to sell your books.

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind book marketing without all the confusing techno-speak. She has helped many authors build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.
This book will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success.

The Author’s Platform teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age.

She covers:
– The difference between a website and a blog
– The important items your blog should contain
– The eleven essential social media platforms
– Newsletters
– Amazon’s Author Central
– …and many more topics!
˃˃˃ Start your journey to publishing success today!

The Author’s Platform: A Beginner’s Guide can be purchased from Amazon

*****

BarbDrozdowichPicSmallerSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and 25 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Barb can be found:

Author Website  |    Business Blog  |   Facebook Author Page

Twitter  |    Google+   |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads 

YouTube Channel

Tech Hints Newsletter

*   *   *

Excerpt:

What is an author platform? As the name suggests, your platform is the launch site for all marketing activities. Book buying is a relationship activity, and you need a means to develop relationships with readers and new fans of your work. Since the Internet has brought the world to your doorstep, the process may prove easier than you think.

Do authors need an author platform? I believe they do. Many books have been written on the subject of selling books. Bookshelves, both physical and virtual, are littered with different points of view. Everyone claims they can help you sell a million copies.

What books do you know that have sold a million copies? Are they all examples of great literature? Are the authors in line to win a Pulitzer Prize? No? Then why does a particular book sell so many copies? In many cases, the book simply catches a wave of attention.

Name a book that is hugely popular and you’ve found a book built on relationships. Think about it: the majority of the time, we buy books based on a suggestion from a friend or another trusted source, or we purchase due to word-of-mouth praise or media publicity. You either wanted to see what all the fuss was about or considered reading it to see if it was really that bad!

If you are an indie author, or simply a new author, you need to create buzz about your book. I often refer to the creation and marketing tasks as “Operation Book.” Just think of Operation Book as a strategy game—the authors who learn to play this game the best will sell the highest number of books. Is it really that simple? It can be.

Once you understand the rules, you will play the game like a master. Operation Book works differently for different types of books. However, each book requires:

 

  • Readers
  • Fans
  • Methods of communication

 

You’ll notice I didn’t mention great cover art, flawless formatting, the absence of spelling mistakes or other mandatory elements of good publishing. Miss any of these elements and it can count as points against you in Operation Book. But we all know of books that have these issues yet still sell lots of copies. For our purposes, we’ll focus on how to use the author platform as a method of marketing and communication or, in other words, Operation Book.

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Win A Book Wednesday The Author’s Platform: The Beginner’s Guide

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Welcome to Win A Book Wednesday! Leave a comment below and enter to win a copy of the Author’s Platform: The Beginner’s Guide

166_0.667498001436562231_wyap_cv_hrCreating buzz for your book and your career as an author just got easier.

‘The Author’s Platform’ will help you create, understand and use a powerful author platform to sell books!

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind book marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.

This book will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success

‘The Author’s Platform’ teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers: 

  • The Difference between a Website and a Blog
  • The Important Items Your Blog Should Contain
  • The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms
  • Newsletters
  • Amazon’s Author Central and many more

˃˃˃ With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create, understand and use an Author Platform to support your career.

Available on Amazon

Barb’s note: 

The whole point of this book was to create something that wouldn’t be intimidating to beginner authors, yet give them enough information to get started building their platform and get ready to move to the next level of understanding about promoting their book. If you have an author like that in your circle, please pass this book on to them as it truly is written at the primer level!

*   *   *

BarbDrozdowichPicSmallerSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and 25 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Barb can be found:

Author Website  |    Business Blog  |   Facebook Author Page

Twitter  |    Google+   |   Pinterest   |   Goodreads 

YouTube Channel

Tech Hints Newsletter

*   *   *

Excerpt:

Website or Blog

 

Let’s start with the hub of your author platform—your website or blog. These words are often used interchangeably but can actually denote separate things. Let’s define.

Usually the word “website” refers to a static site on the Internet containing information that isn’t changed frequently. A programmer or web designer versed in HTML coding usually makes the changes on a per-change or hourly basis. Many authors view websites as expensive, and they certainly can be.

I’m rather frugal and prefer not to spend money. As a result, I’m not fond of static websites. Yes, they serve a purpose. However, I don’t think the average author must make the investment.

Static websites pose another problem. Because new and exciting information doesn’t appear in a timely fashion, these sites don’t attract the attention of Google and therefore often don’t rank very well in a Google search.

Think of Google as a toddler with a new toy. Those of you who have had exposure to toddlers know the toy doesn’t stay new long and, before you know it, the toddler is on to other toys—always looking for something new and different. If the content on a website is rarely updated, Google won’t pay much attention either.

Why should you care about this? As an author in need of visibility, you must rank as high as possible during a Google search. If you have an uncommon name such as mine, ranking on Google is a slam-dunk. Search my name and you’ll discover I own the first page of Google in a name-based search.

If you have a common surname like Smith or Jones, or share a name with a celebrity, you’ll probably never own the first page of Google. A client of mine shares his name with a moderately successful country singer. That’s a tough row to hoe. Ranking higher on Google than a famous person is difficult, but it is possible—as long as your name isn’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

Why do you want to rank high on a Google search? It’s true that the majority of your readers will come from word of mouth. But not all. If a potential reader wants to find you quickly, or they’re looking for books in a specific genre, they frequently perform a Google search. They’ll glean the first entries found, but rarely look beyond the first few pages delivered by Google. Make it easy for readers to find you by ensuring you rank high on a search.

 

Tech Hint: I have lots of people tell me they “Google” themselves or search for themselves on Google all the time and they rank really well. Google is a responsive search engine. In other words, it learns. The more you perform a certain search, the better Google gets at finding what you want. If you Google yourself all the time, Google will get really good at finding you. Go to the local library and do the same search without signing on to your Google account. You will likely see a very different result. You likely don’t rank as high as you think!

 

Let’s return to our discussion of websites versus blogs. If websites feature static content, blogs offer a constant stream of new information. To my mind, blogs offer a second benefit: an author can maintain a blog with minimal paid help. Most important, a blog’s fresh content ensures it will rank higher in a Google search. (Remember the toddler example.)

 

Blogs

 

During the 1990s, a blog was known as a weblog, indicating that it was something found on the Internet as a serial recording of information—a diary, if you will. Today, blogs are quite different, personalized and modified to display information in a variety of ways. But ultimately, a blog is still a serial collection of information.

In my experience, most blogs are designed by highly technical people with little understanding of the needs of authors. Even if your first blog seems a technical wonder, it is likely to change once you decide how you will use your blog. Please use the information below to make informed choices about your initial direction, or to modify the blog you’ve already developed. Whether you are a new or seasoned blogger, I hope that by the end of this section you will have a better sense of the components required for a successful blogging experience.

This brings me to an important point: regardless of your web designer’s opinion, ultimately your blog must be easy to use and tailored to your needs. If you have a blog that is too complicated for your skill level, ask for help. Make sure that help is qualified and is used to working with authors. We are a niche group with unique needs.

There are many different platforms for blogs including Blogger, free WordPress (also known as WordPress.com) and self-hosted WordPress (also known as WordPress.org). Each platform has positive and negative aspects.

As of this writing, a self-hosted WordPress blog costs no more than $100.00 a year. There are some additional startup costs. For example, how much you spend depends on the graphics selected for your blog.

For a nominal charge, you may also register a domain for your free WordPress or Blogger account. Doing so allows use of your author name unless the domain has been registered by another writer with the same name. For example, I own the domain barbdrozdowich.com and it is attached to my author site.

Do you care if you register your own domain? Only you can answer that question. In my opinion, you should.

 

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Wordless Wednesday

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So….Is this happening where you are?

How much snow have you gotten yet?

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 5.39.31 AM

 

It’s not snowing where I am, but I thought I’d include one of my favorite snow pictures! Enjoy and stay safe!

IMG_1868

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Focus Friday: The Book Blogger Platform, by Barb Drozdowich

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TheBookBloggerPlatformLarge

Just as all book bloggers are different, their approach to book blogging is also different. Some book bloggers consider themselves primarily book reviewers. Some book bloggers consider themselves primarily promoters of books. Some book bloggers will only post about a book they have read. Some book bloggers will post about any book that belongs to a genre that fits the profile of their blog.

Book bloggers who consider themselves primarily book reviewers make their reviews the main focus of their blog. They often take their self-imposed “job” of reviewing books very seriously. They put hours of work into reading a book and then creating the right combination of words to best describe their thoughts and impressions. It’s a labor of love.

Many book bloggers, such as myself, consider themselves primarily promoters of books. I began my blog posting reviews of books I’d read, and I worked hard to grow my blog’s audience. I am very proud of my blog and the work that goes into it. However, I have a full-time job and a family. I don’t have enough reading hours to review one book a day, so I fill my blog’s days with a mixture of reviews and promotions. I don’t post more than once a day, but I use the platform I have built to promote as many books and authors as I can that fit within my reading taste.

As I mentioned above, some book bloggers will only post about books they have read. They feel that posting about a book is a recommendation of that book and they don’t want to recommend a book they haven’t read.

Have I read all the books that are promoted on my blog? No. I fit into the other camp of book bloggers. I see promoting books, whether through blog tours, reviews, or other promotionsas simply sharing information. I leave it up to my readers to decide whether to read the book or not.

Another area in which people hold strong feelings centers on whether or not to post negative reviews. One camp feels that all book bloggers who review books need to post negative reviews. They feel that having an assortment of positive and negative reviews creates balance. It allows readers to read about what the blogger likes and doesn’t like and why. It is often said that reviewers who only post positive reviews risk having their honesty questioned.

I am of the camp that doesn’t bother to finish a book if I am not enjoying it. I feel no need to talk about a book I didn’t like. I have boxes and boxes of books to be read. My Nook (e-reader) is full of little gems waiting for my attention. Maybe it’s my age, but I don’t soldier on, I move on. I do, however, make it clear in my review policy that I only talk about books that I enjoyed reading.

This topic will come up again later; you do need to give some thought to your philosophy on book blogging. Are you going to only post reviews? Are you only going to promote books you have read? This isn’t necessarily something that will be decided on at the beginning and that you can never change. Many book bloggers change their views as time progresses.

Accompanying your philosophy of blogging is your view of how much of a platform you are going to have. I started my blog to express my thoughts about the books I’d read. It never really occurred to me that other people would read what I had read, let alone comment on it or share it with friends!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with creating a book blog to share your thoughts with friends—old friends as well as new. If, however, you actively seek out blog tour posts and post promotions of author’s books, you should also be actively growing your book blogger platform. If someone is paying to post on your blog via a blog tour, you should be able to share this information with as many people as possible.

Everyone starts out as a baby blogger. Everyone has a different view of what they want their blog to be. There is no right or wrong answer. Every blog should be a reflection of its owner and its owner’s tastes.

I hope to use this book to describe the Book Blogger Platform in its entirety. I hope to give you a lot to think about. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and my blogs every day. My contact links will be listed at the end of this book. I love answering questions and chatting about books!

The Book Bloggers Platform is available on:

About the author

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

Barb can be found: 

And follow Barb on Twitter @sugarbeatbc

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Focus Friday: The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers, by BarbDrozdowich

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So who are book bloggers?The Authors guide to working with book bloggers bigger (2)

 

The only thing that we all have in common is that we love books; we love books so much that we have created blogs to express our thoughts about the books that we read. Book bloggers also have access to a computer. Other than that, they can be male or female (although in my survey there were many more females than males), they can vary in age, be quite computer literate, or just barely holding their own as far as technology is concerned. They may be teenagers, sharing their love of Young Adult (YA) as they conquer their high school classes; they may be a stay-at-home mom spending her free time, sharing her thoughts on her favorite books as an escape from the kids. They may be budding authors using a book blog as a way to experiment with their writing. A book blogger may be a parent/child duo, with the parent encouraging the child to read more. They may be newly retired looking for a mental challenge and a way to share their life-long love of books.

Book blogging is usually a hobby; it is something that is done in a blogger’s spare time. If book bloggers make money from ads on their blogs, it generally isn’t much—it might keep them in lattes. There are a few exceptions, of course, but book blogging and reviewing books is something that book bloggers do for no pay.

Many book bloggers started blogging to simply share their thoughts with other book lovers. Have a look at this selection of the answers that I received when I asked the question “Why did you start book blogging?”

  • “Because I wanted to be able to share great books with other readers.”
  • “I am very supportive of many changes taking place in the book industry. I am particularly supportive of ebooks and talented Indie and small press authors and LOVE helping spread the word about their books. I also personally enjoy discovering new to me authors who can help support my book addiction.”
  • “I love to read. This was a way to share what I like and to find new books and authors to read.”
  • “To talk with other book lovers, and to have a creative outlet online.”
  • “To have a place to talk about books, to be a part of a community.”
  • “To encourage my students, to share my love of books.”
  • “As a hobby/just for fun.”
  • “Nothing is better than finding ‘that’ book. The one that rings your bell. I like helping people find it!”
  • “To share my love of books with the world.”
  • “Because I wanted to find new readers like me who are big romance fans to discuss books with and share this big passion of mine!”
  • “To create a space where my kids and I give our opinions about children’s books— we don’t always agree!”

 My favorite of the list above is: “To share my love of books with the world.” 

About the book

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success—but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.

You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:

  • The Query,
  • The Review,
  • The Giveaway,
  • The Author Interview,
  • The Guest Post,
  • The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals and more!

“I’ve found Barb’s advice on forging a professional relationship with the blogging community indispensable. Her step-by-step approach will help you garner the reviews needed to increase book sales.”

–Christine Nolfi, bestseller author of Treasure Me

The Author’s Guide to Working with Book Bloggers is available on:

About the author

BarbDrozdowichPicSocial Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at Colleges and Universities, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular Romance Book blog, Sugarbeat’s Books.

Barb can be found: 

And follow Barb on Twitter @sugarbeatbc

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