Friday, March 29, 2013

Completely Blown Away

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I'm feeling the love for sure! My Social Networking Schedule post has gone crazy. It seems you all want to know how to increase your Google rankings in just an hour a day. I don't blame you, it's something we all struggle with and I'm glad I could help out in some small way.

I've been sticking very tightly to the schedule myself. This week, I've done everything on the list from Monday through Friday. It's helping me, too! I'm managing things more easily and I'm not left wondering if I forgot to visit here or do that.

Because you've all been so awesome about sharing that post, I decided to do something for you, too! I reduced the price on six of my books yesterday.

Mystic ~ Bronya is now just $0.99
Mystic ~ Lily is now just $2.99
All three of The Abigale Chronicles books are $0.99 each.
Yassa is only $2.99

If you haven't picked up any of these titles yet, now's the time to do so. I'm only keeping them at this price for a month. Get on it! You can find a complete list of my books here:

Jo Michaels on Amazon

Thank you all for being awesome! I hope you enjoy the reads!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Books You Just Can't Finish

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere. Yes, Thursday is upon us once again and, as always, it's the day before Friday and the start of an awesome weekend! You've made it through hump-day and are on your way to freedom. Rejoice! Today, I'm talking about those niggling little things called: Books You Just Can't Finish.


Until I got into reading Indie books, I rarely came across a book I just couldn't finish. Now, I run across them rather frequently. While I'm not going to be so crass as to list titles, I will say there have been a number from my Indie Fever reading challenge list I couldn't get through. I tried, I did. But, when someone uses the word as in place of when, and, because, and where (as well as many verbs), I can't even stomach the word as where it's supposed to be.

Or, the worst, dialogue is stilted and feels forced along with the book being improperly formatted. Sorry, but I'm thirty-five years old and have too many other things to do than force my way through a book I don't like.

Please, for the love of all that's good in the world, HIRE AN EDITOR!

I hear it all the time: Why aren't my books selling?

Well, I can give you one reason: When someone reads a book with five or more errors on every page, they don't want to read anything else written by you. It doesn't matter if your story is the greatest one since Harry Potter; if someone can't read it, it's not going to sell. Period. Ever. If it's your first book, people won't pick up anything else you ever write.

Isn't an editor the best investment you can make for yourself and your work? It makes you look like you know what you're doing when you publish a book that's been edited by someone who follows a style guide like The Chicago Manual of Style or The Elements of Style.

It also helps when that editor is a reader and has been educated in the craft of writing.

Sorry I went on a rant today. It's just frustrating to offer a great service at a decent price and not have people take advantage of it when it can make them money in the long run.

Have you come across a book lately you couldn't finish? Why? Please don't list titles. This isn't a bash-fest.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Flipboard

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Boy, do I have some amazing news for you today. Do you remember the Winter Author Blog Challenge and all that social media stuff we were talking about? If you have a mobile device, I'm about to make your millennium oh so much better! I've been holding off discussing it until now because I was waiting for their upgrade to be announced.

I got the e-mail this morning.

What is Flipboard? Well, it's a nifty little app that lets you keep all your social media accounts in one place and helps you find stuff you may be interested in. If you listened to my interview on Sandi Tuttle's radio show, you heard me talk about this awesome tool. If not, then you missed out. Sorry. Like I said, I was waiting to do a post on it until they updated to add this awesome feature I'm about to discuss. Let's get going!

Grab your mobile device, download the FREE Flipboard app, get all signed up with an account, and take a tour with me while I show you how to promote yourself!

Follow along carefully:
  • Go subscribe to your own blog via RSS/Atom
  • Add it to your Google Reader
  • Open Flipboard and add your Google Reader as one of your tabs. Then follow the directions below:
See that little red bookmark looking thing on the top right? Click on it and choose your tabs from there. Right now, we're focused ONLY on Google Reader. So add that one.






Next, click on the green square that says Google Reader and you should get a page that looks like this but have all the blogs you subscribe to.







Click on the title at the top of the page and select feeds and folders.








Select your blog from the list.








You should now have a page that looks like this but with your blog posts showing.







Now we get to how this can help you. Flipboard just added the coolest feature ever: Magazines of your curated content. See those little + signs in the top right of each post? Click on one and create your first magazine with your blog posts. You should add a description and categorize it. Then, go add all your posts to it and make it public!

Others can now find your magazine and browse it with ease. Be sure your image is your logo or branding headshot. Boom! You just reached millions of potential new followers! Best of all, you can also add Facebook content, Twitter content, and many other things to your magazine that concern you and your brand! You may thank me now. Hehe!

Go curate for others, too. Remember, sharing is caring!

Did you use Flipboard before now? Did you know it existed?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Genres and Niche Writers

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I'm talking about writers who stick to one genre and why they might choose to do that. Open discussion, feel free to jump in and add your thoughts!

Have you ever thought about writing something way outside your usual genre? What prompted that desire? Why didn't you do it?

I see a lot of authors with no specific genre. Then I look around and see a lot of them who only write to one audience. What's the better avenue to take?

I have no idea. But, I've considered a few of the pros and cons of being genre specific.

Pros:
  • Your fans will always be fans of the genre you write. They picked up your book for a reason, right?
  • You can become a recognized authority of your genre.
  • You'll always know someone, somewhere, will be looking for your name if they enjoyed your books.
  • Eventually, your name could become synonymous with the genre. Think: Stephen King - Horror, Dean Koontz - Thriller, Fern Michaels - Chick/Hen Lit, Rick Riordan - YA Fiction/Mythology.
  • You could gain a huge following if you write in a popular genre.
Cons:
  • If you branched out from Romance to Fantasy or Horror, your current fans may leave you.
  • Being a YA author with an Erotica title isn't usually a good idea.
  • You're stuck writing that genre for the rest of your life unless you gamble fans will follow no matter what.
  • You could become confused and screw up the story.
  • If you use a different pen name for each genre, that's twice as much (or three times as much) marketing you have to do.
  • If you have a publisher, they may not want you to write outside your genre.
I consider myself when I talk about this. I don't write in one genre; not sure what I'd do with myself if I had to. Which genre would I choose? I loved writing Yassa (Historical Fiction), but I also loved writing The Bird (fantasy) and I'm loving the Mystic series (New Adult/Paranormal). I just don't know how I would choose one over the other. A great story idea hits me when I least expect it, and the genres have a wide range.


Have you thought about this? Do you write in one genre or have many pen names? What are some of the drawbacks or hurdles you've had to overcome?

I'm interested. Let's discuss!!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Monday, March 25, 2013

Proven Results Social Networking Schedule

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm happy to share with you my results from using my Social Networking Schedule I posted two weeks ago. I used it last week, and here are some of my stats:

I enjoyed several retweets over the weekend and a number of downloads of my free PDF on cleaning up your image.


I gained five new fans and enjoyed two shares of my posts on Facebook.

Stumbleupon sent me eight new visitors to the blog.

I gained two new followers over on Tumblr.

I sold three books.

I got mentioned twice on Google+.

I now have two featured lenses over on Squidoo. http://www.squidoo.com/book-formatting2 and http://www.squidoo.com/things-i-learned-from-my-editor

I answered a question on Quora.

No video last week; but I intend to do one this week, as scheduled.

Ms. Rebecca Fyfe, over at the ChaBooCha, asked me to write a guest post for her. Integrating the Social Networking Schedule has never been easier! Go check out the post here.

Now that's a lot of activity. How many more people do you think I got my voice heard by? Becoming recognized in your field is easy if you schedule your time and use it to maximize efficiency.

If you missed my Saturday post, it was a blog tour stop for Good Ghost Gone Bad. I'm giving away two e-copies of that book. Go check it out and enter!

Remember, branding is important and so is social media. So, get on it!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Good Ghost Gone Bad - Blog Tour - Author Janiera Eldridge

Happy Saturday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I bring you a tour stop for author Janiera Eldridge and her book Good Ghost Gone Bad. Enjoy! And don't forget to enter to win a copy via the rafflecopter entry form at the bottom of the page!


Synopsis:
Brianna Moreno was an average 22-year-old women who loved shopping, hanging out with her friends and making more career plans....until the night she was brutally and unexpectedly murdered.

Now she finds herself trapped in the ghost world while residing on earth. The problem is, her killer can see all of his ghostly victims and enjoys taunting them as much as he does killing them.Brianna soon finds out that her killer has horrible new plans concerning her family.

Brianna meets up with a few of her killer's past victims to hatch a plan so terrifying, the entire town will never be the same again.

Brianna is a good ghost gone bad; the good girl side is gone forever!

*This book is not a YA read. It's an 18+ only novella that features sex, strong language and strong violence.

Buy Links:
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ghost-Gone-Janiera-Eldridge/dp/1482345730/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2
Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/good-ghost-gone-bad-janiera-eldridge/1114266415?ean=2940015962499

Excerpt:
That’s when I saw my face on the TV. It was my high school picture from four years ago. My face was fuller since I had lost 25 pounds this year from spending some of my spare time on a recreational soccer team but overall, I looked the same. There was no way I could fool myself into thinking it wasn’t me on the television screen. Next to the picture were the stats that once belonged to my physical self. The conservative looking reporter with his perfectly brushed come-over and bright blue eyes said I was 5’9, 145 pounds, black curly hair, dark skin, hazel eyes. My body shuttered from crying with no tears. It was a pathetic scene (which I was glad no one could see) but I cried harder knowing there was really no relief from this terrible pain. In life, tears were a way of watching emotional pain flee from the body, but now they were stuffed deep down inside of me somewhere and bottled up with a cork. I couldn’t hear what was being said on the TV and really didn’t want to. My parents must have gone to the police and said I was missing. I disappeared just in time to make the 11 O’clock news; I’m sure my killer was at home enjoying this. Exploding in anger, I punched the outside wall that faced the street. The couple sitting side by side on the couch shivered and moved apart. They felt me! “Hello!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. They didn’t budge anymore, but for a moment they did feel me. There was no hole in the wall, but they must have heard when the punch landed. For a short time, I was a part of the normal world again.


Author Bio:
Janiera enjoys feeding her book addiction when she not writing. Writing is theraputic to her during her struggles with Fibromyalgia. Being unable to work a normal 9-5 is what encouraged her to write full time. She is also a book blogger at Beauty and Books where she mixes being a book nerd with keeping things chic. When not reading or writing she is freelance writing in the entertainment industry.When trying to relax she likes a huge yard sale on a Saturday morning, rainy days to read by and nacho cheese is her kryptonite. Soul Sisters is her debut novel.
Feel free to visit her book blog where she loves reviewing books and doing author interview at Books & Beauty- http://janieraeldridge.blogspot.com. She loves feedback and welcomes any questions or comments to her email: prettyhaydengurl@yahoo.com or connect with her through her author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorjanieraeldridge

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, March 22, 2013

Branding Step Five

Happy happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! On to the weekend! I hope I've given you enough information this week so you'll have a branding project to work on for the next couple of days. Today is all about look and feel. So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!

What is look and feel, anyway?

To put it simply, look and feel is the consistent look of your presence and the feeling a visitor gets when they come to your page or see your ads. If you saw an ad belonging to Jo Michaels somewhere, you'd know it was mine because of either the logo or the color scheme. Polka-dots be damned, mine are specific colors. This is what you should be striving for.

Even my mobile site is consistent with the rest of my marketing. Yes, it matters.

I want people to feel like they're having fun when they visit my sites because I'm a fun person. Think about what you're projecting with your colors and design. Is your site stodgy and boring? Are your colors saying what you want them to? There have been deep looks into what feelings colors incite.

Take a look at this:
Yes, click it and view it full size. Keep it if you like. But, above all else, remember it when deciding on your color scheme. If you notice, the colors in my logo are blue and brown. I added peach (a tint of orange) to the backgrounds of my sites. Now you know why.

The feeling your pages incite matters. People want to feel happy when they pay you a visit. Let them, help them, show them the way.

Now you know what look and feel is; make sure you're using it for maximum impact.

Come on back Monday when I'll be giving you all a look into what I accomplished this week with my social networking schedule.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Branding Step Four

Wow! It's Thursday, good people of the blogosphere, and you made it over Hump Day. Just one more tiny day to go until the weekend will arrive! Can I hear some celebration, please? Continuing with my branding sequence of posts, today we're discussing naming. You're right, this could've been day one, but I wanted you to start thinking about the pictures related to your brand and to get excited about the possibilities before I dove headfirst into names.

IF you're a writer and you're using a pen name, one of the things you have to consider is your genre. It's only a half joke when you do the little test to determine your erotica writer name. Something like Bunnie Whipshard is a pretty telling pen name. Plus, the logo possibilities are out of this world.

Ha ha! Sorry, images of bunnies with fluffy tails and dominatrix masks just passed through my brain. Moving on...

As my example above shows, your name makes a difference. But, when thinking about your mark, you want something that's going to stand out in the crowd. If I'd wanted to take my logo in a fun direction, I probably would've used a cup of steaming coffee (Jo = Cup of Joe = Coffee). See the correlation?  My tag line could even have been something like: Jo Michaels Blog - Your Daily Cup of Joe. But I find coffee cups as logos to be way overdone; besides, I'm not a coffee shop.

When thinking about your naming, consider how it might be possible to move your logo from one thing you do to another. If you're an expert on something, consider using an image related to that expertise. Let's take a look at my friend, Sandi Tuttle, from The Average Woman in a Superwoman World blog. Here's her blog banner:


Her logo is an average female icon, used on many bathroom doors to indicate women, with a superwoman cape draped around her shoulders. It's simple and effective. Her blog is about making average women the best they can be, inside and out. It's fitting, huh?

This is a great example of branding! That logo appears on her blog, radio show site, Facebook, and products. When I got her coffee mug with the "If I have wings... Why can't I fly?" quote on it, her logo graced the other side. No matter what facet she places herself in, she'll always be the average superwoman.

It's this type of branding and naming we should all be embracing. If we use these tools to their full potential, we'll be instantly recognizable no matter where we show up.

Let me give you one more example before I let you go!

If your name is Bunnie Whipshard, and your mark is that bunny with the dominatrix mask, you could brand it like this:

Bunnie Whipshard - Author
Bunnie Whipshard - Photography
Bunnie Whipshard - S&M Techniques
Bunnie Whipshard - S&M Toy Design

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Have you thought about your name and what a mark associated with that name could do for you?

Come on back tomorrow to catch the post on look and feel!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Branding Step Three

Happy hump day, good people of the blogosphere! How lovely is it our week is almost half over? Very! Today, we're talking about what your logo says about you. So, grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

Here are a few of the logos I've designed and a few belonging to major corporations. Let's take a look and see what they represent.


Anyone see the surveyor's mark and the fun I had playing with the typography on this one?

This one is pretty obvious, no? DNA design, again, repeated in the typography. Like a computer doctor.

Fictional company. Logo is to represent movement forward in new construction techniques and residential windmills. Go green! The blue is to represent the sky.

This one, I love. Green to represent growth. Roots to represent stability. This community club has been around for six generations that keep branching off. Movement representing the wind on the ridge from left to right.




My own INDIE Books Gone Wild logo. Strong type with the indie and the book embracing one another. Our red color represents wildness yet we bring that stability and guarantee through in the black.





Now go take a look at McDonald's. Those golden arches represent bent french fries. Bethcha never thought of that, huh? Nike? The swoosh is representative of the wings on the god's shoes. Pretty clever!

So, what does your logo say about you? Mine was designed to represent flourish like a quill pen and stability like a solid letterform. See how the M wraps around the J? Blue is my favorite color, and my mark will emboss beautifully on that hardcover book someday.

If you're using an image as your identifier, think ahead to your business cards and printed materials. You can add a mark to an image and later use it as a standalone. Think about color, voice, and what you're saying about yourself with your mark. Come on back tomorrow and join me to discuss naming!

If you don't have a mark, why? Is it because you don't know how to make one or you don't think you need one?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Branding Step Two

Happy Tuesday, good people of the blogosphere! This week is all about branding yourself with a logo, design, color scheme, name, and look and feel. As promised yesterday, I'm going into color schemes today. Grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going, eh?

You're probably most familiar with RGB (that's Red Green Blue). These colors are created with light. What you're looking at on your monitor is not what you'll see in print when using a CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) printer. Why? Because these colors are created with ink.

It's a long, drawn-out process so I'm not going into all that. What I'm going to do is break it down and explain why you only want two colors plus black in any print job you send to a traditional printer. I'm also going to tell you a little about spot colors (PMS colors).

Now, your printer at home likely uses RGB (unless you're using one with individual cartridges for each color). This means your colors will be close to what you see on your monitor (if it's calibrated).

Big printing houses don't use RGB printers. They do a print run and lay down each color individually with each run. So, if you have a three color print job, that's three runs through the press. It costs you money for each run of your print job through the printer. More colors = more runs = more money out of your pocket.

It may be okay if you're only having fifty business cards printed. But what about when you have two thousand done? What if you want to have fliers or postcards printed? Now you're talking a lot of money.

You see my color scheme in my logo on the top left of my website. It's Brown and blue. Leave off the peach because I can remove that and still be two colors. Notice the peach doesn't appear in my logo/mark.

Most companies have one PMS or spot color in their logo and nothing else but white (or the paper color it's printed on). When you use white, you're opening yourself up to a lot of color issues because paper comes in a lot of colors and white is the absence of ink. A PMS color is often the only way to get that brilliant red, blue, or orange when printing.

Ever design something bright and have it come back from the printer looking dulled out? RGB to CMYK conversion does it every time. If you're designing for print, you should be working in a CMYK color space always.

Home Depot is an orange color. Coca~Cola is a special red (has a copyright, even). UPS-brown. You see where I'm going here, right? One color is sometimes all you need.

But, sticking with my original guidelines, check out these identity packages I've created:
The first uses only one color. Black could be added at a nominal cost. The second is two colors plus black. I know the leaves on the trees look like they're three colors, but they're just tints of the original color (a lighter version). By the way, black is CHEAP! You should see the brand standard book for the second identity package, it's huge.

So, what should you take away from this? That your logo should be harmonious and encompass no more than two colors plus black. Ever. Period.

I hope you got some useful information from this post. Tomorrow, we'll go into design and what it says about you. Many logos and marks have hidden meanings! Yours could, too!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Monday, March 18, 2013

Branding Step One

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! This week I'm gonna talk about branding yourself. No matter what business you're in, it's a good idea to have a brand; something that says, "Hey, look here! It's me and there's no doubt about it!" Today's post is all about having an image. So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going.

If you've read my book The Indie Author's Guide to: Building a Great Book, you'll know branding is the first thing I discuss.

Why is branding so important? Ask McDonald's, Nike, or Coca~Cola. Those golden arches, the swoosh, and that pretty red color are instantly recognizable. No matter where you are, those are branding standards.

These companies have entire books on how their logo can be displayed, used, and colorized. If you take a peek inside the book, you'll see the requirements of size, space around the logo, and color options. Here are a couple you should look at: UPS, McDonald's, Twitter, and Facebook. You can look up any brand you may be curious about by typing the company name and the words brand standards into a Google search box.

You should also have a brand standard. Your logo or headshot, used as an identifier, should have some sort of requirement when shown to the world by others or yourself. It's helpful to have a standard when asking a designer to build something for you.

If you don't have a logo or something akin, you may want to contact a designer or photographer and see what can be done about it. A good designer won't just shove a logo at you. They'll give you an identity. Once you have one, use it everywhere.

Tomorrow, I'm going into color schemes and why companies try to keep it simple (and why you should, too!).

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, March 15, 2013

Social Networking Schedule - Day Fifteen WABC

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today is the last day of the Winter Author Blog Challenge. I bet you've noticed the influx of discussion on social networking sites, eh? Over the last fourteen days, we've discussed Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Quora, FourSquare, GoodReads, Squidoo, StumbleUpon (amongst other social bookmarking websites), and Ning. It's been one hell of a couple of weeks! In the last few days, I saw people becoming overwhelmed by all the websites concerning social media. There were a couple I hadn't heard of, but I had a profile on most of them because I know social media works. Our prompt for today is:

What was your biggest takeaway from participating in the Winter Author Blog Challenge? What is your plan/strategy for integrating your social media platforms? What would you recommend to a new author who’s just getting started on social media?


First, I'll answer the questions. Then, I'm going to break down all this social media talk and give you some tools to help you manage your time when dealing with them so you don't have all the hours in your day sucked out by trying to be everywhere at once. Sound good? Okay, let's get going!

My biggest takeaway, as always with a blog challenge, is meeting new people and interacting on other blogs. It forces me to get out there and read and comment other blogger's posts.

I already had a social media strategy when I began, but I realized I'm not using it to its full advantage. From now on, I'll be following a much stricter schedule. One I'm going to share with you in a moment. If you're new to social media, I have one tip for you: Brand yourself across all your platforms. Whether with a logo, your face, or a cute picture of a bug, you need to have consistency. People who happen upon something belonging to you should know right away it's yours. A color scheme is a must, as is a consistent name. If you don't have an identity package, call a graphic artist today and get one. You won't regret it.

You should have a folder containing: Logo, icon, or headshot, preferred background design, html color scheme codes, and a bio. Label it Branding and never ever delete it.

If you don't have naming consistency across all your platforms, change them. This is KEY.

Now, on to the tools! We all know I love free. So everything I give you will have a free option. A couple of them allow you to pay if you want more functionality but it's not necessary.

First and foremost: Buffer and Hootsuite
I'm a huge fan of Buffer. I can go to a site, hit the buffer icon in Firefox, and schedule it to Tweet, post to Facebook, and pop a message on my LinkedIn wall with one click. It's awesome. Since I'm a free user, I get up to ten buffered posts. Best of all, I can control when they're posted. I can manage all three of those social networks for two to three days at a time by scheduling my posts to span.
Hootsuite is a little different an incorporates up to five social networks. I'm not sure if they have a Firefox plugin like Buffer, but here's a list of stuff they can help you manage:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • FourSquare
  • WordPress
  • MySpace
  • mixi
Now, you can also incorporate free apps into your Hootsuite. Just remember, you get up to five with the free plan, more will cost you money. Here's a list of their free apps:
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • Flickr
  • Trendspottr
  • Evernote
  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • SocialBro
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Storify
  • Vimeo
  • Scoop.it
  • SlideShare
  • Blogger
On a hunch, I did a search through the app store. Guess what? There's an app for that, too! Both Buffer and Hootsuite have an app you can download. If you haven't signed up with one of these management tools, please do so right now. It will help more than I can put into words.

Why is this important? Because it lets you manage all your social networking from one application. Imagine spending just one hour a day managing everything! Of course, visiting the app isn't really all you have to do. But it'll still only take an hour a day. Without further ado, here's a handy dandy schedule. If you follow it, you'll be on your way to social media ownership very soon!

Monday - 20-30 minutes for a blog post. You should have something integrated so your posts are automatically sent to your social networks when you click publish. I have the buffer button and all I have to do is click it after I post. 20 minutes to schedule posts across all media for the next two days. 10 minutes browsing Twitter and re-tweeting things you find interesting.

Tuesday - 20-30 minutes for a blog post. 10 minutes to answer a single question over on Quora. 10 minutes to share interesting things others post on Facebook. 10 minutes to visit and update your GoodReads page. Make sure you're clicking like on any reviews you've gotten.

Wednesday - 20-30 minutes for a blog post. 20 minutes to schedule posts across all media for the next two days and make sure it's all running smoothly. 10 minutes to record a video you'll use later.

Thursday - 10 minutes to upload video to YouTube. 20-30 minutes for a blog post incorporating said video. 15 minutes to create a Squidoo lens (can be about and incorporate your video as well!). 5 minutes to pin a couple of things over on Pinterest.

Friday - 20-30 minutes for a blog post. 30 minutes scheduling everything to update until Monday and coming up with blog post ideas for the next week and make sure everything is running smoothly.

Saturday - 20 minutes sharing on Facebook. 20 minutes re-tweeting on Twitter. 20 minutes to visit other blogs and pop in a comment or two.

Sunday - 30 minutes sharing on Facebook, 30 minutes re-tweeting on Twitter.

Now, lather, rinse, repeat. I added Saturday and Sunday because most people don't work on the weekends, but are on Facebook and Twitter just hanging out. Why not share a couple of things while you're at it? After all, social media is about being social, right? So many people shied away from FourSquare and Ning, I didn't include them.

Granted, it's going to take you an hour or so to get one of the above apps working in the first place. Once you do, you'll wonder how you ever got on without it. They're time savers! Use them! They're FREE!

Does this help you break it down? Does it all seem more manageable and do-able now?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Social Network - Days Thirteen and Fourteen WABC

I've decided to compile today, good people of the blogosphere! There were two prompts from the Winter Author Blog Challenge that are quite close in nature, so I'm gonna discuss them both in one post. By the way, happy Thursday! Here they are:

What if you could create your very own Facebook? A social networking site that you run, based on your interests and whose members must abide by your vision, goals, and rules? Guess what, WABCers – you can do just that through Ning.com! I know – it’s crazy. Here we’ve spent the last 12 days talking about other social media platforms, and now your kooky leader is bringing up the idea of hosting your own network. There are drawbacks to be sure. T-I-M-E being chief among them. But if you have a special interest and haven’t found the perfect social site yet, Ning offers you the mechanism by which to create your very own social network. Ning has other benefits, though – chief among them being numerous sites on all sorts of topics that may attract your target readers. Are there any circumstances under which you could see yourself creating your own social network? Take a spin around the Ning Directory just to see what else is out there. Much like blogs, you’ll find half-abandoned Ning sites (ahem … I have one of those) and thriving sites. Are you inspired? Could you find time to visit one or two in your genre just to see if hanging out might be worthwhile? And by all means, if you already have a Ning site, share the link with us!

OK, some might compare today’s prompt to yesterday’s – but they are different. This one is a little more creative than necessarily practical. Your answer doesn’t even have to be physically plausible – the goal is just to have a little fun, now that you’ve worked so hard for nearly 2 straight weeks! Here’s the question: If you could create a social media platform that doesn’t exist yet, what would it look like? What would it do? How would you use it to promote your books as well as those of other authors you know/like?



First off, let me say I won't be joining Ning unless I can round up a ton of people to help split the cost. Plans starting at $25 generally turn into much more when you add bells and whistles. But I took a cruise around the site, and those with the cash flow have done some awesome things. So, let's jump onto the real question in both the prompts above: What would your social media platform do?

My rules would be simple:
  • No spamming
  • Keep it nice or get the hell out
  • Love thy neighbor
  • No reviews allowed
  • Have a lot of fun
Functionality would include:
  • A place to do a giveaway of your books - must be free and not require purchases
  • Ease of upload for book covers and a place for a link
  • Book lists
  • A wall like Facebook's where things are streamed as they happen
  • Easy to find author lists
  • Easy to find reviewer lists and their genres
  • One-click sharing across all social media
  • One-click linkup of all social media accounts

Basically, like GoodReads and Facebook combined but only one 'group' allowed. It would be a place where authors could go and add themselves and readers could go to find great books without all the mumbo-jumbo of other sites. If you see something you like, share it. If you don't, leave it and move on to the next thing. Like a bookstore online where the authors are present and giving stuff away. How awesome would that be?

It's not a realistic site, but it sure would be fun.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be presenting a list. Call it a schedule, if you will. So everyone can use every social media platform we've discussed this week and it only take up an hour a day (this includes your blog!).

Let me tell you, I've used an hour a day for over a year. In January of 2012, if you plugged my name, Jo Michaels, into Google, I didn't show up anywhere. Now, just over a year later, because of that hour a day, I'm every search result on the first page but one. Remember that video I uploaded last week? It's there already.

Check it out: Jo Michaels Google Search Results

And tell me I'm crazy. How would you like for that to be you? It's possible. Don't get overwhelmed by all this stuff. It's easy to manage when you take small bites and spread the butter thin.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To Stumble is not to Fall - Day Twelve WABC

Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! Today's prompt is all about social bookmarking sites. Mine of choice: Stumbleupon! Here's the prompt:

A social bookmarking site is a “centralized online service” that gives its users the ability to add, annotate, edit, and share links to web documents. Bookmarking, also known as “tagging” is a significant feature of social bookmarking systems, enabling users to organize their bookmarks in flexible ways and develop shared vocabularies known as folksonomies. Popular social bookmarking sites include Delicious, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Digg. Do you regularly use any social bookmarking sites? Why do you use the ones you use? What are the benefits of social bookmarking? What are the specific benefits of social bookmarking to authors? If you’re not using a social bookmarking site, you’re missing out on a key aspect of social media: referrals by the users. Is social bookmarking something you should consider incorporating into your online book marketing strategy? Give us links to your profiles, if you have them.


You followers of my blog already know my age, so I'm not really dating myself when I tell you I was around when Stumbleupon was the big thing. Not only that, I was around when it was the only thing. There was no Reddit, Digg, or Delicious back then. By the time those hit the market, stumbling was a thing phasing out.

I remember getting lost for hours stumbling around the web when I would come across a site like: Perpetual Bubble Wrap or Jackson Pollock Painter. Turn up your volume before clicking the first link. If you click the second, move your mouse then click the left button, then repeat, and again, and again! It was a time suck, for sure. Greater than Facebook could ever be. Seem hard to believe? Go sign up for an account on SU and click the stumble button. You'll be hooked like a fish after a juicy worm.

I created this today on the JP website above:
How cool is that?

How does this help you as an author? Well, get out there to one of the sites, make a profile, tell the darned thing what you like, and see what happens when you click the button to take you to the next relevant site. If you go stumble your own pages, the social bookmark will be filed and others can happen upon your content without you ever doing a thing but filling out a form and putting it out there for the world to stumble upon.

Here's what a profile looks like: Jo Michaels on StumbleUpon.

I'm sure there's an app for that, I just haven't taken the time to go find it. But I do have some statistics for you! I had this image on a popular photography website:
It got stumbled. Within the time span of three days, it got 25k views. That's a significant number and one that shouldn't be ignored. It's 25k potential new customers/readers/clients.

So, if you're out to waste time or looking to join the fray of internet marketing, you want to be on one (or all) of those social bookmarking sites. It take minutes to tag a page but it could be the difference in being seen and being passed by.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo


Monday, March 11, 2013

Squids! Ewwww - Day Eleven WABC

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, we discuss Squidoo. A site a know a little about, but haven't really poked around until today. Still rolling with the Winter Author Blog Challenge (four days left), here's the prompt:

Do you have a Squidoo lens? Founded by Seth Godin, Squidoo is a popular free site that enables users to create single webpages (known as lenses) about their interests and recommendations. Users can even earn money for charity or themselves. The credibility-building potential rivals Quora, but unlike question-answering sites, Squidoo users are free to create content of their choosing. The SEO rankings are quite high – but it remains incumbent upon the site’s users to double-check the veracity of information provided. Challenge questions: What are the benefits to using sites like Quora and Squidoo for building credibility? What can they offer that your website or blog doesn’t already do? How could this help you sell more books? If you are on Squidoo, remember share the link to your favorite lens.


I now have a profile there. I created a lens there this morning. You can find it here: Formatting Your Book for Print.

Okay, how did I just use Squidoo? I created a lens with an excerpt from my book on self-publishing. This gives folks a look inside, some information, and a buy link. I also included URLs from my two sites: Jo Michaels ~ Author Blog and Indie Books Gone Wild.

By creating that lens, I gave folks a peek into what my book can do for them. If I wanted to create a lens to drive people to buy Yassa, my book on Genghis Khan's coming-of-age, I would talk about the man himself and what kind of things he went through to get to where he was when he died.

I can see the usefulness of Squidoo and I've been meaning to do what I did this morning for a while. Thank you, Laura, for pushing me to get it done. I think, unlike Quora, Squidoo can be a bigger help because you don't have to start with a question from someone else to get the ball rolling. You can answer a question you know lingers in the world wide web with your expertise and go from there. No prompting needed beyond your own drive.

I have a ton of work calling my name today. I hope you all enjoy the lens and take your own steps to creating one today! I look forward to seeing what others can do with Squidoo.

That's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Good to Go on GoodReads - Day Ten WABC

Wow. Happy next post, everyone! This time, the post is about one of my favorite reader websites: GoodReads! I use it for a lot of things that I've been prompted to discuss. So, without further ado, the prompt for day TEN:

Are you on GoodReads? It seems a pretty obvious place for authors to hang out, yet I’m not sure authors are using it to quite the maximal benefit. If you are on GoodReads, how often do you visit/use the site? How often do you update your reading list? What other kinds of things do you post? Are you finding yourself using it the way social media was intended: to create a community? If you are NOT on GoodReads, have you made a deliberate choice to skip it? What other mechanisms do you utilize for meeting other readers/writers/authors? How else could you begin to create your very own community? If you are on Goodreads, remember to give us your profile link.



I think every author worth their salt is on GoodReads. Every reader is, too! You can find my profile here: Jo Michaels.

As far as visits to GoodReads goes, I pop over every day to say hello and check up on things. I'm a member of a number of groups there and visit them pretty often to poke around and see what's new. I do giveaways on GoodReads every time I release a new book (about once every other month). My blog auto-posts over there from here and I get a couple of reads on it every day. I post every review I write there, too.

When I did my 12 Days of Christmas Party, I utilized GoodReads to host my event and invite people to join me. I had an amazing response and around thirty indie authors pitched their books to me before the end of my challenge. There's no way I could've reached that number without the help of GoodReads and their event application.

I've met a number of cool indie authors via GoodReads and am the moderator of my own group there with a handful of members. We aren't too active though. It's a small group and I like it that way.

As far as my reading list goes, I don't update it very often. But, when I do, oh man! I slash and burn that list. If I'm not gonna read something, I don't like it hanging out in my proverbial coffee shop window.

I like the way the site links up with my Facebook and how easy it is to add friends to my list. Navigation could be improved and I think they need larger servers to accommodate the huge number of people on the site; but, other than that, I love it.

If you're a reader or a writer, you'd do well to join up over on GoodReads and poke around to see what they have. Your eyes will pop wide open. Enter to win a book or two (or three) in the giveaways. The more reviews you write there, the more likely you are to win! It actually says that in their terms.

I'm looking forward to connecting with the other folks in this challenge over there!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

FourSquare - Day Nine WABC

Happy Sunday, good people of the blogosphere! I'm playing a bit of catchup for the blog challenge today so you're gonna get two posts from me. The first is about FourSquare. An app I've never used but I've been poking around in for the last few minutes. First, here's the prompt for this post:

What are your thoughts about FourSquare? For those unaware, FourSquare is a location tracking platform. Its users “check in” at various locations with a mobile device and are able to find out (track?) where their friends are. Location is based on GPS hardware in the mobile device or a network location provided by the app itself. Many members use foursquare and its competitors for the discounts. Or perhaps you want people to know which bookstore you’re in for your signing or event. Are you using FourSquare? Is there a way to use it to encourage better attendance at your signings and events? What are the pluses and drawbacks? Be sure to give us the link to your profile!


I find FourSquare to look a lot like my Google maps app. While I can see the usefulness of it if appearing in public, I'm a bit of a private person. I'm not really keen on everyone being able to find me anywhere I'm hanging out. Same reason I use a pen name. Not awesome to have folks you don't know loitering on your lawn or sending you angry letters because you had the audacity to write something they didn't agree with.

Now, if I wanted to know where to find something and didn't have a different maps app on my device, I'd consider using FourSquare for that function. But to have a whole plethora of people knowing where I am at any given moment of the day? No, thank you. I'll pass.

If you're a big-time author and are making an appearance or love to have fans all over you all the time, I say, go for it! If you're a small name author who's trying to make a name for yourself and want fans all over you all the time, I'd say keep writing great books with zero controversial content, become a big name author, and then go for it! Ha!

I know this post was short, but que sera sera.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo


Friday, March 8, 2013

Quora is Questioned - Day Eight WABC

Happy FRIDAY, good people of the blogosphere! Sorry I was late with yesterday's post. My daughter has been very ill this week and yesterday we ended up in the ER - twice. But she's all good now and bouncing around like a regular seven-year-old ought to be. With the weekend starting today, I'm glad to see her on the mend. Today, I'll be discussing something I'm not familiar with (but intend to be here shortly) called Quora. Here's the prompt from the challenge:

Are you using Quora? If you aren’t familiar with it, Quora enables users to ask questions and receive answers from those who allegedly know something about the topic. This is a phenomenal way to demonstrate your expertise – and even if you’re a novelist, you have an area of expertise – perhaps it’s simply “publishing your novel.” Unfortunately, it seems you’re required to have an account before you can dig around – UNLESS you know a person’s profile link. Here are two you can check out:

http://www.quora.com/Seth-Godin

http://www.quora.com/Laura-Orsini

Yes – I just put myself on par with Seth Godin! Here’s your challenge: What’s the one question you would like to find an expert to answer? And conversely, what’s the one question you would feel most comfortable/confident answering? If you’re on Quora, please be sure to give us your link!



I looked around, created an account, and invited a couple of people over to join me. My profile is here: http://www.quora.com/Jo-Michaels

At first glance, it seems you can become an authority in your field on Quora rather quickly by answering questions others post. I'll need some more time to explore it, but I can see the potential of being involved in such a website. Both professionally and business-wise, it seems like a good investment of time to pop over and answer a question once or twice a week.

As a bonus, it let me link all my social networks right up with the click of a button. Perhaps I'll gain new followers and new readers that way. What an awesome tool!

Just in case you missed yesterday's post (that I wrote this morning), I'm giving you all the video once again. Enjoy! I better see your toes tapping!



Whatcha think?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

GooglePlus is Purdy! - Day Seven WABC

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today's post is all about Google+. Without further ado, the prompt for today:

Have you jumped into Google+ yet? If you are a regular user, you are still considered an early adopter, and that’s a great place to be in order to make a name for yourself – especially if men are among your target market, as most users right now are male. As marketing pro Linda Sherman puts it, “GooglePlus can give you access to influencers (i.e., other early adopters) who might not notice you elsewhere.” This is a CHALLENGE, so here’s my challenge with this prompt: If you’re USING Google+, tell us about your experience. If you’re NOT using Google+, don’t just write, “Blah, blah, blah I’m not using it …” and call it a post. Do a little research. Learn one thing about Google+ that you find interesting, that might make it worth your time and effort to explore. No – I’m not suggesting you be on every social media platform, but the goal of this Challenge is to explore the various social networks, so let’s do that! And if you are on Google+, be sure to give us your link.


Using blogger (a Google based blogging service) I get some really cool features with Google+. When I'm typing up my blog, if I want to mention someone in my circles, I just type + along with their name and poof they show up and are tagged on my blog. How frikkin' cool is that?

+Jo Michaels

Now, if you click on my name above, you'll be taken to my Google+ page.

My experience has been excellent! I'm a member of a couple of groups over there with oodles of bookish folk in them. I haven't tried hangouts yet, but I intend to for Indie Books Gone Wild. We already have a freakishly awesome calendar to help us stay organized via Google+. Check it out. The link is on the top left-hand side of the IBGW page. Best of all, it was totally free.

Speaking of calendars and Google+, if you have a calendar on there, folks can invite you to events (or you can invite others) and it shows up automatically when you accept. Best of all, the event is added to your agenda and syncs beautifully with your wireless devices if you have a gmail account. I also get a daily e-mail with my agenda on it; so I can see my day at a glance.

With all the wonderful tools gmail and Google+ have to offer, if you're not on there, you're missing out on a lot.

Because of a prompt earlier in the week about YouTube, I made a short video. Check it out and tell me what you think!



It's only about 61 seconds, but it packs a fun punch!

Have you begun to use any of the tools mentioned in the challenge?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tube Tops - Day Six WABC

Oh my goodness! It's Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! That means just two more days until the weekend arrives! Get through today and you're golden. Still rolling along with the Winter Author Blog Challenge, and today's prompt is all about YouTube. That golden beacon in the sky, calling our names like a siren. It draws us in and holds us fast for hours. Without further ado, the prompt for today:

With more than 800 million unique visitors a month, YouTube is one of the most popular search engines. Do you have a YouTube channel? Have you made a book trailer for your book? If not, what kind of book trailer would you like to make for your book? Do you have a video camera? If you do and you’re not posting short videos, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to reach a global audience, as 70 percent of YouTube viewers are in countries other than the U.S. If regular video posts are still on your To-Do list, what are some of the most clever video posts you’ve seen, and how might you do something similar to promote your books or yourself as an author? Be sure to give us the link to your YouTube channel.


I've done one video on YouTube and made it private. You can only get to it by clicking on the link: http://youtu.be/ydqAJmVNa5Q I'd just woken up and look a bit like crap, but it was fun and a good learning experience. My idea was to figure out just how to do something like that from my iPad, and it went off without a hitch. YAY!

I attended a webinar last week called Book Marketing is Bull$h*t. At the start of the session, the host asked us to answer a poll. His question was: What avenues are helping you in your sales? Guess what the only option was that didn't get any votes. That's right, book trailers.

Like Pinterest, I think perhaps we're using them the wrong way. Instead of a trailer for a book, perhaps we should be exploring other options. YouTube is video, man! It has a billion (with a B) possibilities. As authors, we just need to figure out a way to tap into it and use it at its highest potential. I don't go to YouTube to find new books to read.

Ah! There's the million dollar question, huh? Where do readers go to find new books to add to their list?

I use:
  • Recommendations from peers (Facebook and Twitter).
  • Browsing the bookstore (I love a book sale!).
  • Reading reviews on Goodreads (I read the ONE and TWO star reviews. If they're complaining about how the book made them feel, in a bad way, I usually enjoy the hell out of it. If it's talking about the bad writing, I know to avoid it).
  • Keeping up with my favorite authors and jumping on it when they release a new book.
  • Blogs that write reviews (I recently picked up Splintered by AG Howard this way).
  • Winning giveaways (Jamie McGuire became a favorite of mine this way).

And, I ended up being a fan of a couple of authors from the last Author Blog Challenge. Tia Silverthorne Bach, Crystal Lee, Heather Topham Wood, and Ms. Sandi Tuttle (she's working on her book, but I love her blog!).

So, utilizing YouTube may be more about reading your book to your audience while they enjoy looking at the cover (please, for the love of Pete, comb your hair - unlike me - if you're going to use your face). I'm planning to work something up so I don't have to be on-camera but can still hook readers with an interesting story. I'm a photographer, too, so maybe imagery is the way to go. Something that compliments the story being told.

Being a graphic designer who's in LOVE with Typography, here are two of my favorite YouTube videos:
Font Conference
Font Fight
Confession: I watched them again after I linked them. Hehe

What have your YouTube experiences been like?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ouch! Your Pin Stuck Me! - Day Five WABC

Happy Tuesday! My good people, today's topic is Pinterest. Another prompt from the Winter Author Blog Challenge brings up a number of questions I'm glad to answer. Hey, we're all learning here, right? So sit back, relax, and drink your coffee as you read; beginning with today's prompt:

One of the newest and fastest growing social media platforms is Pinterest. Have you jumped on board? What kinds of images do (or could) you post that are related to your book or the topic of your book? What other kinds of images do you post? Are you linking each post back to your blog, website, or Amazon page? IF YOU’RE NOT USING Pinterest, what’s holding you back? Take a look at book marketer extraordinaire John Kremer’s Pinterest Boards. After perusing them, how MIGHT you use Pinterest to brand yourself and your book? Is it something you’re considering? Be sure to give us your Pinterest link.





I'm a member of Pinterest. You can find my boards here: WriteJoMichaels  I post a lot of my book covers and blog posts there, as well as images from blogs I love to visit. Like I do on my blog, I try to provide useful content beyond shoving my books in your face and screaming, "Buy my book!" While I'd love it if folks ran out and bought my books, I try not to shove it down their throats so much.

I have boards for useful things I find, quotes I love, and one that's just for The Best Boyfriend in the World. Things I want to share with him and loving sentiments get plastered all over that one. I just can't help myself!

I don't link everything back to my own blog or Amazon page because not everything I post there has to do with my stuff.

After looking through John Kremer's boards, I see he does the same but has a lot more boards than I do. I tend to run lean on Pinterest because it's a time suck if I allow it to be. I much prefer Facebook and Twitter.

I have an announcement to make! Thanks to a heads up by the lovely +Jo Harrison, I've enrolled in Smashwords' Read an EBook Week. From midnight tonight PST, my ebooks on Smashwords will all be on sale. The Abigale Chronicles will be $0.99 each (books 1 & 2), Yassa will be just $2.25, and The Indie Author's Guide to: Building a Great Book will be FREE. This promotion will run until 11:59pm on March 9th. Here's the link to my profile: Jo Michaels. I hope you all go peruse the selection catalog when it goes live tonight at midnight.


What have you found daunting about Pinterest?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Monday, March 4, 2013

LinkedOut - Day Four WABC

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Oooooh, I heard that groan! I know, another work week just began and you all want to go back to bed. Well, you can do that after you read this post! Ha! My topic for today is LinkedIn. I call it LinkedOut because I'm out of the loop on most of its glorious possibilities. But more on that after the prompt for today:

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Launched in May 2003, it has undergone many metamorphoses – the most recent of which involved retiring two of its most popular features, LinkedIn Events and LinkedIn Answers. Are you using LinkedIn to promote yourself as an author? Does your professional profile include or feature your writing? What is the best connection you’ve made through your involvement on LinkedIn? With whom would you still like to connect? Might LinkedIn be a good vehicle for making such a connection? What is your biggest question, frustration, or suggestion regarding LinkedIn? IF YOU’RE NOT USING LinkedIn, why not? Here’s a good overview of LinkedIn’s features. After perusing it, how MIGHT you use LinkedIn to help build your author profile? Is it something you’re considering? Be sure to give us the link to your LinkedIn profile.


I'm on LinkedIn, I just don't use it to its full potential. My profile has a lot of stuff on it, again, branded as my other sites are, but it hasn't been nearly as helpful as Facebook or Twitter for my promotional network.

Don't get me wrong, it's great for business connections! I just tend to focus more on connecting with readers than I do with businesses. Those readers are active on Facebook and Twitter, not LinkedIn. They're not business owners. My target market doesn't 'hang out' on LinkedIn.

My best connection over there is The Greatest Boyfriend in the World. He has one of the top 100 profiles on LinkedIn and sometimes reposts my stuff for me. I do have a complete listing of my books on my profile there and, I'd say the one book I have that would help the folks there is: The Indie Author's Guide to: Building a Great Book. Though it needs an update to include a couple of very handy tools I've run across in the last week.

No words of wisdom for others on how to use it, because I'm certainly LinkedOut.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Twit Tweet Twitter Tweeps - Day Three WABC

Happy Sunday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I bring you yet another awesome post from the Winter Author Blog Challenge. If you can't tell by the title of this post, today is all about Twitter! Yay! For all you folks who aren't familiar with the Twitterverse, you need to be. I'll tell you why in a moment! First, here's the prompt for today:

Are you on Twitter? Perhaps more than any of the other social media platforms, Twitter has developed its own language. Tweets. Twitterverse. Rewteet. Are you invested in the lingo? So how do you make a statement in 140 characters? Are you following more people or are more people following you? How do you decide whom to follow? Do you reciprocate and automatically follow back everyone who follows you? What kinds of things do you post? How often do you post? What advice do you have for those who are just getting started? IF YOU’RE NOT USING Twitter, go look at it (twitter.com) and either find your favorite author or put “author” in the search field and look around. What’s your take? Which tweets interest you? What would you post if you did decide to create an account? What’s the likelihood you’ll be following @AuthorBlogChal anytime soon? Be sure to give us the link.


I went on a rant two weeks ago about this very topic. Again, I'll address that in a moment. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Twitter, for me, is a lovely and convenient way of browsing what's going on in the world. Because I don't have to read long, drawn-out posts, I tend to absorb more information much more quickly than if I'm meandering through blogs or Facebook status updates. Of course I'm on Twitter. You can find me here: @WriteJoMichaels. And, like every other page associated with me, it follows my branding. A custom background and my logo instead of my face or books. Again, I wrote a post on this topic in my xXx series. It's called lOOk at YoUr tWitTeR. Go check it out. You won't be sorry.

Learning the language of Twitter wasn't difficult. Probably because, like Facebook, I've been a member with a profile since inception. You have to learn how to textspeak on Twitter because of the brevity. Words like: you, at, because, and, later, and see all become symbols or short snaps of themselves. You have to use: U, @, bcz, l8r, &, C to keep within the required allotment of letters.

Example time!
Normal: I went to see a movie yesterday! Here's a link to the trailer and my review (link here).
Tweet: I went 2 c a movie! Link 2 trailr & review: (link here) #moviereview #newrelease #reviewer

To shorten your link, you can use bit.ly. But somehow, your link needs to be less than ten characters or so. This allows space for what is known in the Twitterverse as hashtags. People searching for your content can go to the search function and type in #author and every tweet with that hashtag is magically displayed for them to peruse. Cool stuff, huh?

I often find new people to follow by searching: #author, #indieauthor, or #writer. I do not automatically follow every account that follows me and I use unfollow helper to see which accounts I followed a long time ago that no longer reciprocate. Trying to keep my margin down of following/follows me isn't easy. People drop off every day. Right now, I'm sitting at 1,221 I'm following and 1,082 following me. I try to keep it in the 200 difference range. Then I don't show up when people use unfollow helper to clean up their account in the huge margin section.

I usually post links to my blog there and have enjoyed being included in many e-zines for this reason. Curators like to pick up hastags like: #writetip or #amwriting for their content. I decide who to follow based on their number of tweets and the content therein. I enjoy reading tweets about writing, books, and life in general.

I use buffer to post to my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. If you aren't using buffer or don't have the awesome buffer button on your blog, you should. It lets you set parameters for anyone that wants to share your content. Click on mine up at the top right-hand side and you'll see what I mean. It's easy to install to Blogger, too.

Time for directions!
Go to layout.
Click Add a Gadget.
Scroll down until you find HTML.
Go to the buffer button page and set your preferences.
Copy the code.
Paste the code into the box on Blogger.
Click save.

Easy peasy.

Now for my rant!
Please don't make it harder for me to follow you than it needs to be. Services like TrueTwit validation are great and all, but why do you care if I read what you tweet? Even if I'm a robot, it doesn't matter if I read your content! If you're concerned about following me back, stop being a lazy bum and go check out my account before you follow me. If you're concerned about spam, then if/when I send you a spammy message, delete it and unfollow me. When I get a TrueTwit request, I delete it and remove the user. I'm a busy gal.

A word of warning:
DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS SENT TO YOU VIA PM UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PERSON PERSONALLY. Even then, click with caution! Your pal's account may have been hacked. When in doubt, delete without!

That's the best advice I can give someone new to the Twitterverse. If I had to add anything, it would be to be sure and thank the folks who retweet your stuff or give it a favorite. It matters. Respond to welcoming Direct Messages (DMs) with something nice about the person you've followed. Every now and then, I get a lovely thank you for following message with a nice word about my blog or page. I respond to every one. It's relationship building 101. Why else would you have a Twitter account if not to connect with people?

Have you branded your Twitter to match your other platforms? Why/Why not?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Facebook Fanatics for Fun and Fancy - WABC Day Two

Happy Saturday, good people of the blogosphere!! Today's post is all about Facebook. How I use it, how others use it, and how you might want to think about using it! Still rolling with the Winter Author Blog Challenge, here's today's prompt:

Do you have a Facebook fan page for yourself/your book? How long ago did you start it? Did you do it yourself or have someone help you? Are you seeing lots of new people liking it? What kinds of things do you post? What have you found to be the most effective way to get fans/have people interact? IF YOU DON’T HAVE a Facebook fan page, tell us about the fan page for an author you know or like. Why do you like them and why did you “like” their page? What do you think they are doing well that you would like to model with your own page? Do you have a goal date for creating your own fan page? Be sure to give us the link.



I have a Facebook fan page. Sure, who doesn't, right? As everything associated with me, the author, it's writejomichaels. I started it over a year ago and I'm up to 452 'likes' as of today. In keeping with my personal branding, I created a custom cover image I update when I release a new book, and have my logo as my avatar. There's no doubt whose page you're on when you land there. I created it myself but used tips from a participant of last year's Author Blog Challenge, Liberty Montano, to tweak it. I still have to take time to customize my buttons, but I'll get there!

I post things related to my books and my blog on my Jo Michaels Facebook page. I occasionally post a funny photo or saying I come across, but I make sure it's always writerly. I have another page as well, but we'll get to that one in a moment.

Something I cannot stress enough: DON'T make a fan page for your books! Unless you have ONE book that sells 50M copies, how the hell are you gonna keep up with all of them when you have twenty (or fifty) books out there? Make an author fan page. One. That way, all your fans are in one place. Think about it. If you have even three pages, with two hundred fans each, that's potentially three hundred you could've had for just one. And fans are busy people. They have a billion posts scrolling over their page to sift through. If you post the same thing more than once, they'll unlike something. I know I do.

My favorite author pages are those that are attractive, well written, and the author is well spoken when they post there. I can't tell you what a turnoff it is when I go to a page and the cover image is grainy, blurry, or badly put together. I click away quickly and vow never to return!

My other page is related to my editing services and site. It's indiebooksgonewild. We're a team of editors on a mission to make indie books what they were meant to be. Click on over to our site and see what people are saying! Our Facebook page is branded the same as our site, to provide continuity and recognition.

My xXx series of posts goes into how to clean up your Facebook page and keep the content relevant to your readers. If you didn't snatch that PDF yet, what are you waiting for? Go get it! It's free to download and keep forever! Feel free to redistribute it.

Getting folks to interact with these pages is pretty easy. I ask questions, do little giveaways, and comment on other peoples' stuff as my page. That's really important to gain a following. If all the interaction is one-sided, people tend to be turned off.

I've found having a Facebook page to be a delightful experience, and I enjoy getting to meet new people via this branch of social media.

What do you think? Are you branded across all your social media?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

Friday, March 1, 2013

Blogging for Education - WABC Day One

Happy Friday, good people of the blogosphere! Today begins my journey through the Winter Author Blog Challenge. For the next fifteen days, we'll be discussing social media. The topic for today is: Your Blog. So sit back, relax, and let me take you on a little journey!


First off, here's the prompt for today:
Tell us about your blog. How long have you been blogging? Do you write on a regular schedule? Do you plan your topics in advance or write as the spirit moves you? What was your favorite post? At which post do you look back and wonder what you were thinking when you wrote it? What has been the best feedback you’ve ever received? Have you ever written anything that was perceived as controversial, though you didn’t intend it that way? What tips would you offer other author bloggers?

I've been blogging here at my Jo Michaels ~ Author blog for a little over a year. Before this one, I had a couple of others. They were much more personal and discussed things like design, collectables, and life. One of them I can't access anymore but you can poke around it here: The Collectible Guru  The others were all removed/shut down by me. So, I've been blogging for a long time but never with any direction or focus.

Now, I blog about writing, editing, and books. I update M-F at around 9a.m. My topics are rarely planned, but I do take requests from readers now and again to fill holes on my convenient link page. How did that come about? Well, I was on another blog, which shall remain anonymous, searching for a post I'd read there before, for another look, and used the search function. I never found the post I was looking for. I starting thinking how great it would be to have a nifty list for my visitors so they can bookmark it and find what they're looking for quickly. I categorized it to make hunting just a little bit simpler.

My favorite post of all time was a series I did on looking at your social media and your marketing materials. I did some funky stuff with the titles of the posts and bound them all into a handy PDF my visitors could download and keep for reference later on. It was called lOOk at YoUr xXx. I enjoyed it because I love helping people discover their brand, using my design know-how to educate, and make marketing run more smoothly. If you're a blogger, and you likely are if you're in the WABC challenge, please take a look at this post: lOOk at YoUr bLog. You won't regret taking the five minutes to read it.

A post I can't believe I wrote, for many reasons I intend to keep to myself, is this one: Loss. It's a good post and an interesting short story, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I read it now.

I got great feedback on my blog back in December when I invited a number of indie authors to pitch their books to me for a review. It was a ton of fun and I may do it again this year.

People probably thought this post was controversial: Fact or Crap I meant it to make people stop and think. To discard what they've been told and open their minds to new possibilities. My books are far more controversial than my blog and are the reason I use a nom de plume.

Tips for other bloggers: Get out there and meet people! Follow their blogs, interact with them, and keep your own blog focused on one thing. Don't talk about how awful your day was or how hard life is. We know; we're alive, too! Everyone struggles sometimes, but not everyone throws it out there for the world to see. If you do, you'll find people don't really care. They're dealing with their own crap. You'll lose your readership if you don't provide some kind of useful content.

I'm happy to be back with some familiar faces, and delighted to have the opportunity to meet new ones! Welcome, all, to the first post of the Winter Author Blog Challenge! If you're an author and haven't signed up with us yet, get to it! Go here: http://authorblogchallenge.wordpress.com/register/ and just fill out the form already!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo