Thursday teaser: Blogging for Authors #excerpt

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By Barb Drozdowich

This week’s excerpt comes from Blogging for Authors, one of Barb Drozdowich’s series of books to help authors reach audiences.

Why 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’ll talk about more reasons as we progress through the chapters of this book.

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 chat about interests we have in common 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 traffic to your blog 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.

I often take people by surprise when I tell them that a country that I sell a lot of books in is India. As I’ll mention several times in this book, as beginner authors, we picture our books for sale in our local bookstore or at most, being sold to readers in our own country. As soon as our books are available online, they are available for sale in most countries in the world. India is considered to be one of the fastest expanding markets for books. I’m not going to be hopping on a plane to India any time soon, but I can interact with my readers in India or any other country by posting to by blog. No leaving the house necessary!

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.

About Blogging for Authors

Do you want to find more readers for your book?

Do you feel uncertain about the technology or what to blog about?

Technical trainer Barb Drozdowich has been blogging for the better part of a decade & knows what authors need.

Finding readers is the key to success. One of the best ways to connect with these readers is through the establishment of a blog – one that isn’t just a billboard for sales & releases, but a method for establishing long term relationships with readers.

In award winning Blogging for Authors, Barb teaches not just how to set up a blog but how to turn it into a powerful tool of communication with readers. She brings several decades of teaching experience to help even the beginner author.

In this book you’ll discover:

  • How blogging can help with communication with reader
  • How to create powerful topics to blog about that generate shareable content
  • How to create optimized blog posts that will get people talking
  • How to protect & backup your content to keep your site safe for years to come.

Through a series of free tools & helpful hints, Blogging for Authors helps you choose the right platform, understand the technical aspects & get started today.

If you like an easy to understand book that cuts through the technobabble that exists in many tech manuals, this book is for you!

Pick up this great deal today & start connecting with readers right away. 

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

Social 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

And follow her on  Twitter @sugarbeatbc.

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Monday Musings: Readers and writers together

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Yesterday, I took part in an event called Art in the Park, a sort of market in the town next to the one I live in. I set up a table to display and sell some of my books, alongside painters, jewelry-makers, knitters, potters and a couple of other writers. In the middle was a covered area, where children were playing music. Across the aisle from me, the Ottawa Art Gallery set up a tent where small children could make crafts.

I did not have great expectations for the event, but am I ever glad I was wrong. For the first two hours, I barely had a break between people who asked me questions about my books. It was ego-boosting, fun and informative, as well. My favourite part was people saying “Wait—are you the author? Wow.”

As it turned out, I should have brought more books.

I sold several sets of the Eastern Front trilogy, and completely sold out of volume 1, Army of Worn Soles.

Scott Bury at his display at Art in the Park, Stittsville, ON, June 4, 2017

But more important than that was the opportunity to talk with readers. Many people stopped at my table, curious about the poster I put up: “A Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in the Second World War.” That led to questions and conversations about history, their personal interests and preferences, and their stories.

A preponderance of people who bought the war-based trilogy had some kind of connection to a military, or experiences in conflict. More than one was a veteran of the Canadian or British armed forces.

And all but two were older than me. One lady told me she was an avid reader but never read war stories, because she had lived through the London Blitz and had had enough of war, directly. She also never read romances.

Another man was interested in the eastern-European angle of the story, because his mother was born in Germany, and his grandfather had disappeared after being captured by the Soviets.

Younger people were more interested in my first novel, the historical fantasy, The Bones of the Earth. But being young, they did not buy any copies. Still, it was fun to talk with them about fantasy, reading, writing and what subjects or ideas caught their interest.

Reader engagement

All the writing coaches and advisors tell us writers how important it is to “engage” with your audience, to exchange ideas and to learn why they read, or don’t. While it’s relatively easy for musicians and other performing artists to do, for writers, engaging directly with an audience is more of a challenge.

Social media is supposed to be a way to engage with readers, but there’s nothing like meeting face-to-face.

What about you, readers? What would you like to ask writers? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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Wordless Wednesday: Hometown Secrets

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By David Bishop

Hometown Secrets: The long awaited sequel to the first Linda Darby suspense mystery, THE WOMAN, has been released. And Ryan Testler, is back with her again.

Memories are funny things. The way they quietly hang around. Linger. Waiting for something we see or hear, or an unexpected event to slam them forward into our consciousness. To strike us the way headlights assault a dark road. Some memories bring along a smile, others foreshadow danger and there are those which cry out for resolution. All of this is true for Linda Darby.
Linda wonders if she might again be lured into her first lover’s bed. As the pace quickens she does find love, along with friendship, fear, danger, and opportunity. Clashes of personality and conflicts between the agendas of the principal characters eventually coalesce in ways Linda never anticipated.

About the author

DavidBishopDavid Bishop was born in Washington, D.C., the son of a Navy man posted for duty in the nation’s capital. His longest
running job was as a business valuation analyst, which means he told privately-owned companies their market value. That led to his co-authoring his first book, a nonfiction work published in three languages. His current and final career is writing mystery novels.

David can be found:

Website   |   Facebook  |   Twitter

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Beta Reading 101, by Shannon Mayer

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For authors, beta readers can be the lynch pin in making or breaking our books. Beta readers can find the little details that somehow slip past the editors (I use my beta readers after editing, other authors use them before). For some reason, my beta readers remember the story lines BETTER than my editors. Why? Because they are so invested in the story, and it isn’t about the monetary gain for them. It’s about the characters they love.

lovetoreadBut how do you become a beta reader, how do you approach an author, and why would you want to be beta reader?

More important than anything else you need to LOVE to read. Love it. Or this relationship between you and the author won’t work.

Have you ever followed a series of books where there are OBVIOUS mistakes later on, incorrect references to characters you KNOW are wrong? For instance, I read a series where a secondary character was a lesbian in the early books. Then in the later books, she was suddenly straight, and even derogatory of other lesbians with no apparent reason. I could care less about her sexual orientation, but I was PISSED that the author would try to pull that on the readers. Or maybe, she just missed it.

As a beta reader, you get to point out these kinds of things. You get to help make sure that the characters you love don’t do, say, or even wear clothes that they shouldn’t. You basically get to yell at your favorite author when they mess up. What fun, right? 😉 You also get the books WAY before the release dates, which is a perk if you are super invested in the author’s series/writing.

How to approach an author is easy, though there are no guarantees. Send an email or private message on one of their social thCA2605QNmedia sites. Here’s what I would say to my favorite author if I wanted to beta read. Be sure to point out any credentials you might have (like reading for other authors), and try to keep it short. You are really pitching yourself to them, just as authors pitch to agents.

Dear  ——–,

I realize you might already have all the beta readers you need, but I would love to offer my services as a new set of eyes on your work. I’ve read everything you’ve written and have a mind like a steel trap when it comes to your characters and storylines. I’ve done beta reading for Stephen King (who found my beta reading extremely helpful on ‘Carrie’ as I suggested the pig’s blood scene) and also for JK Rowling (who pointed out that without me, Harry never would have been a wizard but instead just a boy in the cupboard).

I would love to read for you if you are looking for another excited beta reader, I’m your gal! (Insert email here)

 Once you send the email, you are going to have to just wait. Not ALL authors will respond. Don’t get your feelings hurt. The big authors just don’t always have the time to respond to every email.

RI_FINALNow, we are going to assume you have the author you love dearly responding to you, and they WANT you as their beta reader! Don’t wet your pants yet. There are a couple more items you need to check off your list.

1.       Beta reading is not a leisurely pastime. An author needs you to read and respond in a reasonable amount of time. I’m going to say less than two weeks and ideally less than one. Sure, you can probably read the book in a day or two, but you want to be able to think about the book and give some feedback.

2.       Feedback. Don’t be vague. No, you aren’t a paid editor, but saying you liked/loved the book isn’t helpful either. Point out chapters that you got bored in. Point out characters you like or didn’t like and try to give specifics as to why. Honesty is the best policy even if you HATED the book.

3.       Recognize that your ideas/suggestions might not make it into the book. You are there to help, but don’t expect that everything you suggest will happen.

Finally, realize that authors LOVE their beta readers and the immeasurable help they can be. You are a part of a journey that would be far more difficult without your insights and suggestions. So to my beta readers, and all those who take the time to be beta readers—you rock the writing world.

 

§ § § § § § §

ShannonMayerShannon Mayer is the author of the bestselling urban fantasy Priceless which has sold over 20,000 copies in its first two months. On her down time, she hangs out on the farm coming up with ideas for her next books, herds old people to the local cribbage club, and in general makes a nuisance of herself.

Connect with Shannon on Amazon  Facebook  Twitter  or of course on her Blog

 

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