sallyhanan’s blog

A writer’s blog

Coordinating WordPress.com with Twitter February 7, 2010

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Jonathan B asked me if there was an easy way to link your WordPress blog to Twitter so that anything you blog gets tweeted. There are three main ways to connect your WordPress.com blogs with Twitter.

Display your newest blog posts on your Twitter page
Click on
Dashboard
My blogs
Publicize
to automatically post a link to your Twitter and/or Yahoo accounts.

Add a sidebar box that shows your Twitter updates
A lot of people dislike this feature because they feel their tweets are personal. It’s up to you—people’s tweets will show up on most search engines anyhow.
Click on
Appearance
Widgets
Add Twitter: Display your tweets from Twitter.
The next page will ask you how far down you want the Tweet box to be. Click on where you’d like it, and save to the sidebar.

Add a Follow Me on Twitter button
I visited twitterbuttons to get my HTML code for my button (because WordPress.com only works with HTML. It drive the Java nuts crazy :D). There are oodles of buttons to choose from, so you can switch yours out every week if you want to.
Once you have copied the code, you can add it as a text box in your sidebar.
Click on
Appearance
Widgets
Text: Arbitrary text or HTML
Add
Paste the code into the text box on the next page, say how far down you want the button to be, and save to the sidebar.

Happy tweeting!

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Fabulous book promotion guide January 25, 2010

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Oh my goodness, this lady is just brilliant!

I wrote about Stephie Smith a few weeks ago because she has an excellent chart on different writing contests you can submit to, but I just discovered a newer feature of her site . . . a book promotion guide!

Below is her list of every suggestion she has to promote your book. C’est incroyable! Hop onto this table’s contents as fast as you can.


Advertising
How To Articles
PR Agencies
Book Review Sites
Mailing Lists
Promotion Tips
Blogs / Interviews
Online Classes
Video Trailers
Chats
Website Stuff
                                                                                                                     
And is Stephie content with providing this to struggling artists such as ourselves? Mais non! She also provides the following list of writers’ resources.
                                       

General Writers’ Resources
Agents
Different Genres
Promoting Your Book
Blogging and Blogs
Grammar, Punctuation
Publishing Your Book
Book Review Sites
Money, Taxes & Jobs
Romance Reading
Contests & Exercises
News on Books & Publishing
Romance Writing
Craft of Writing
Pitching Your Book
Writing Scripts

Historical Resources
American History
Fashion & Costumes
Scotland
Architecture, Landscaping
Industrial Revolution
Ships & Naval History
Coinage
Medieval-18th c. England
Titles, Bios & Genealogy
Crime and Punishment
Pirates, Smuggling, Trade
Victorian Era
Culture (Art, Speech, etc.)
Regency Era
World History

You are probably thinking by now that Stephie is a good friend of mine and we have this pact to help each other out. Not so. I found her site quite by chance and feel that all her hard work must be proclaimed from the highest rooftops. This is a fabulous accomplishment and it’s all for us!

Ok, I’ll calm down now, and I’ll quit with the exclamation marks. Again, here’s her page of writers’ resources.

If you’d like to thank her for making all her hard work available at no cost, you can buy her booklet here.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Make your blog more impressive January 21, 2010

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We’ve nearly completed the second bloggiesta list of mini challenges, an idea of great genius that helps blogging writers everywhere.

.Get rid of the dead links
“For your challenge, click on this link, and follow the directions in order to make a better blog for your readers.” ~Karin from Karin’s Book Nook

A blog looks much more professional when all the links work. OK, so you didn’t know and you wrote that post two years ago. The thing is, though, people can still find that post, and you don’t want them to leave your site disappointed.
                                     
Encourage yourself
“Find a post or two–or however many–and mentally buff them up. Then? Put them up on a pedestal.” ~ Tempting Persephone

Chelle from Tempting Persephone likes the idea of making your best/favorite work stand out on your site. Hopefully it will encourage you to know what you are capable of on those grouchy days.

Find and give more blogging help
The Bloggie Cult is a discussion board where bloggers can discuss blogging issues, tips and tricks, and get general information.” ~ Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century

Kristen (see below) and Kate from Neverending Shelf encourage bloggers to join The Bloggie Cult to maximize the help bloggers can give each other.

Only one more mini challenge to go! 🙂

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected

 

Writers’ goals for 2010 January 14, 2010

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Despire going AWOL last week, thus missing the bloggiesta weekend, I am still committed to doing everything suggested on Maw Books’ second bloggiesta challenge.

The first mini challenge is by The Book Lady. She asks a lot of questions I didn’t really want to answer, but here are some of them:

How’s your routine working for you?

How would you like to see your blog grow in 2010?

What are you going to do to get there?

Set goals related to the topic of your blog.

Identify a way to reward yourself or celebrate each increment. This was the easiest to answer easy—Starbucks and chocolate.

Pam from Mother Reader challenges everyone to “comment on at least five book blogs a day.” This would entail commenting for twenty days. She also challenges you to “leave your first ten comments on blogs new to you.” Part of the challenge is to write comments that actually show you have read the post, so no bland spam-like comments count!

Start on these two mini challenges and see how you do.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Submit to writing contests December 28, 2009

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Stephie Smith’s site is a combination of writers’ resources, photos, novel excerpts, and PC help; but one of her most helpful pages is an ongoing list of writing contests. She has arranged all the information in easy-to-read columns, a visual dessert for writers.


Stephie’s historical romance, “The Masquerade,” has garnered 1st- 4th placements in various contests in 2008, and the awards helped her win an agent’s attention—she is now represented by Helen Breitwieser.

Read more about Stephie.

Stephie’s experiences prove that entering contests is a great way to:
—gain invaluable critique
—improve writing
—get attention from agents/publishers

There are many scams when it comes to contests and entry fees, so here are some tips and warnings when entering writing contests (from Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).

More writing contests
List from Manuscript Editing
List from Freelance Writing
List from Writers-Editors
List from Tectonic Designs

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Testimonials and endorsements—new laws for bloggers October 7, 2009

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The Federal Trade Commission has recently passed an adoption of revised guidelines for bloggers and other forms of media advertisements. These new additions will become effective on December 1, 2009.


Why the new rules?
The FTC is worried that we, the American people, cannot figure out who is paid for a review or endorsement v. who is doing it out of the kindness of his/her heart. The review talks about celebrities being paid to promote products they never even use, and there is worry we might be duped into believing that the celebrity actually cares about the item he/she endorses. In the same way, there are many bloggers who receive free products to review, and if Johnny Moolah gets a free Xbox 360, we need to know about that before we read his stunning review (in which he may smarm up to the givers of such toys).
                                                                 

What does this mean for bloggers?
If you are paid to endorse a product, you must reveal that fact.
If you get a free book/product to review, you must disclose that.
If you simply review something you bought with your own money and want to tell the world how horrible/fantastic it was, you can do whatever you want.


“Endorsers also may be liable for statements made in the course of their
endorsements.”

(This is only if you make claims about the product that are untrue, e.g. you will lose forty lbs. in two weeks with no exercise if you drink Disappear sodas.)

Is it all on me to disclose what I earn/get for free out of my review?
“The manufacturer should advise him (Johnny Moolah) at the time it provides the gaming system (or car or book etc.) that this connection should be disclosed, and it should have procedures in place to try to monitor his postings for compliance.”


The summary?
Basically you have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, even if you think your readers can’t handle the truth. You cannot claim that reading my collection of flash fiction made your hair grow, or that reading it in the restroom gave you rabies—stuff like that. 😀

“Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser.”
                                                                 
                                                                 
Isn’t this all a bit silly?
Well . . . yes, in my opinion. As school is mandatory, and every child is taught some kind of basic education, I can’t see how necessary this really is. With the clichéd “dumbing down of America,” perhaps we now need a whole load of newer laws to cover our newer levels of stupidity. And now, I will shut my mouth. 😉 (And no, I was not paid to do that, although all monetary offers to do so will be gratefully received.)

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Free blog exposure August 23, 2009

Filed under: Business advice — sallyhanan @ 1:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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Alpha Inventions.com is a site a techie guy made to combat boredom. Basically, it works like other random-pick sites that flash through blog pages and you click on the ones you like the look of. This site is slightly different, though, in that it rotates the blogs most recently published rather than every blog in existence.

You might see alphainventions as a click-through site on your stats list, even if you did nothing to let alphainventions know you existed. You can, however, sign your site up on the site and get even more clicks, and if you want to have your site rotated more frequently, you can pay a subscription of $9.97 per month.

Here’s a vid. further explaining how it works.

Obviously, just having people see your site is never enough. You must have quality content and hooks—enough material to draw readers in. If you have a writing blog, then your content must be eclectic enough to have people stop and actually read what you have. Yours has to be different, stand out, keep them reading. I’m not going to make any claims to having those qualities in my blog, but at least I have more of an opportunity to have random visits to my blog from unknowns. Now I’m getting free exposure from a kind-hearted dude who was bored. 🙂

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Exacerbate the fears and make millions August 19, 2009

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So we’ve seen how writers and sales people can capitalize on the four basic fears of others, but we only delved into two fears. Let’s continue. . . .

Example #3
You are afraid that you don’t matter to anyone, that you are not pretty enough/good enough/smart enough.


Sales pitch: Are you small? Would you like to be bigger? Being bigger would take care of all the problems in your life. No more will people overlook you when filling job positions. No more will people not notice that cute mole on your right cheek. No more will others not listen to your opinions. We want to give you, yes, give you, NoMoreShrinkage, because at this price, we’re practically giving away attention. NoMoreShrinkage works in such a unique way that you will not even feel it happening, and after your one hundred and thirty-five easy payments, you can walk tall.


Story: She stood in front of him, her eyes wide. He knew what she was thinking. Was there anything in there, behind those glassy gray eyes? She looked deeper, her pupils rushing from fleck to fleck in desperation. He held his own, hands in his back pockets, acting as calm as Tom Cruise on a dead motorbike. He just wished he had the shades. Her shoulders heaved, her eyes filled, and her body moved a step back. It was true. He was as dumb as a deaf, blind and mangy monkey, and there was nothing he could do about it, except, maybe, go buy those sunglasses now.

Example #4
You are afraid that you are irredeemable. You have messed up so much and so often that James Frey has nothing on you. You own the corner of the market on sin, and if you remind yourself enough (like, minute by minute) of what a loser you are, it will spur you to achieve incredible leaps of perfection (despite the fact that your dad tried that and it obviously didn’t work).


Sales pitch: Do you feel like cr*p? Have you failed again? Will you ever get it right? We have the answer! The Shoulda Button is attached to this tiny electrical wire that is attached to your neck that is drilled through your thick skull that is embedded in your brain. Every time you feel as if you should push yourself more, press this button and deliver 14 amps of electrical messages to your brain, saying such things like, “You shoulda not said that, you shoulda said this, you shoulda been witty, you shoulda smashed their face in.” Guaranteed for life, this only adds to the messages your brain already delivers, but we all know, it’s never enough. Exacerbate the pain, and maybe, some day, you’ll feel enough like the crud you really are to climb the highest mountains, drink milk with a moustache, and live your STD-filled life to the fullest.


Story: Grunt sat on the gritty floor of the granite cave grunting. Dadgrunt was out stoning bison, just like he did every day, only today he had asked Grunt to go along with him. Grunt grunted. He’d never be a stoner. His arm was too short, his aim was too high, his low was too low, but he couldn’t tell his dad that. Dadgrunt was the region’s top stoner. He’d never understand. Grunt lay on the gritty floor, and began to cry.

So it’s all quite simple really. Imagine the worst, write it down, and make your millions. Oh, and by the way, if you try and sue me because your writing career suddenly finds itself in the toilet, your worst fear might come true. Just think about that. Selah.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

Market Your Fiction (and Yourself) July 20, 2009

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Penny C. Sansevieri
Today’s interview is with Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a best-selling author and internationally-recognized book marketing and media relations expert.

Penny began her career in the publicity, book marketing, and literary field over fifteen years ago. During that time she has been an author, freelance writer, publicist, and instructor. Penny’s most recent book, Red Hot Internet Publicity, has been called “an indispensable guide to leveraging the Internet for success.” The second edition is being released soon.

Promoting fiction
I’ve read a lot about author platform, social media, and other ways to promote authors and their books, but most of the advice seems to refer to writers of non-fiction. Is this because it’s harder to promote authors of fiction? If so, what are the difficulties unique to promoting fiction authors?

It’s tough to promote fiction. That’s always been the case, mostly because fiction authors always try to promote the book, not the message. Remember that it’s never about the book; it’s about what the book can do for the reader. Sometimes you have to get super creative with this, like the marketing team did for My Sister’s Keeper—they incited debate on the very topic that is the arc of the story. That’s really what you want to create. So, for example, if you’ve written a story about spousal abuse, child abuse, etc., there might be some discussion points on those subjects that you can “hook” your message on.

For example, a few months ago I taught a webinar and talked with a participating author who had written a vampire YA novel. He said that he was not looking forward to competing with Stephanie Meyer, who had just released her book. I told him to pitch himself locally on the topic of YA vampire fiction and see if he could get himself on some shows. He was on three shows in his area talking about the trend of this type of book and, of course, during the interview, he was able to mention his own title!

Which would you say is more important—promotion of the author or promotion of the book?

That depends on what the brand is. Generally in fiction the author (at some point) becomes the brand. But let’s say it’s early in your career and you have only published one book. Maybe it’s the story (your story) that is your marketing hook. Maybe you overcame obstacles to do this work. Whatever it is, market the hottest element, either the book or the author, and if it’s tough to determine what this is, then sit down with someone who can be objective and guide you. Spending a couple of hundred dollars to get some focused direction might save you thousands of dollars in the long run on marketing

Are there any staple skills that you require of authors before you take them on as clients?

Not really. Authors come to us in all stages of marketing knowledge and readiness. I must love the book; that’s the first piece of this. I try and get the book (or the manuscript if it’s not published yet) and do a read through. I believe that at the end of the day, I’m selling this book, and I can’t sell something I don’t believe in.

The average reader of this blog is a woman who is between thirty-five and fifty-five. (Yes, I made those ages up in my head based on the profile pictures of fans!) She has written her first novel, edited it to perfection, but could not find an agent or publisher to take her on. Instead, she released it through a reputable print-on-demand company. She has a blog, and she is active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook; however, her book is not selling. Is she doing something wrong? What can she do?

Keep in mind that not everything you do will relate in sales and, candidly, you should *never* measure the success of what you’re doing in sales alone and here’s why: traction for a book is cumulative. It’s what I call the long runway of publishing success. You have to keep the momentum going for a while before you see results and, often, authors get discouraged at the 90-day point and give up. That’s why I suggest keeping a running list of things to do. Surround yourself with people who will help you keep the momentum to keep marketing, even when you feel like giving up. If you’re doing the right marketing you’ll see a marked difference—perhaps in web visitors or signups to your social networking page or a jump in your Twitter followers. Success leaves clues, so does effective marketing, but to measure it by sales is too discouraging. Remember the rule of 7—it takes seven impressions of your book, message, or product for the consumer to buy it. I almost think that the rule of 7 is not the rule of 70, though. With so much stuff coming at us at any given time, it’s tough to sift through it. That’s why consistency of message and consistency of marketing are both important. It takes seven consistent impressions.

When you think of the top fiction authors you have helped, what was it that they did (over and above other clients) that sold more books? Alternatively, have fiction authors ever done things that damaged their sales figures?

Let me answer the second question first. The thing that authors do (and this isn’t just limited to fiction) to damage their sales and career is that they give up or switch horses mid-race. By this I mean that they think what they’re doing isn’t working and they switch to doing something completely different. This steals the momentum from their first project, just like you’d lose steam in a race if you switched fuels.

The thing that separates the successful fiction authors from the unsuccessful is the successful ones keep going. As long as the direction is good (and again, if you’re not sure, spend some time and money on a coaching session with a marketing professional) then keep going. Also, often the best way to sell your first book is with your second and so on, so if all else fails, keep writing.

Finally, be open to feedback from reliable people. Your family and friends will all love what you do, so don’t dismiss their feedback, but what you want is someone in the industry to offer you insight and advice. Perhaps that person can even suggest slight improvements to what you’ve written or point out a new, more supportive marketing direction.

You currently have over eleven thousand subscribers to your weekly newsletter. What do you think has made it so successful?

I think the reason for its success is that we always go heavy on the helpful information and light on the self-promotion. So often you read newsletters that are all about “buy this” and “buy that”—I tend to unsubscribe from those very quickly. A good newsletter should be 95 percent helpful and 5 percent self-promotion.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

How to add RSS widgets to your WordPress page June 25, 2009

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I was having difficulty trying to add an RSS feed subscription button to the sidebar on the right side of this page. Whenever I would add the widget, all of my other boxes in the sidebar would disappear. I put it down to the fact that WordPress.com doesn’t have many features, and if I wanted the widget displayed, I’d have to pay for the service. No so. I have finally figured out how to do it.

Click on dashboard then appearance then widgets.
Move the widgets you want into the sidebar on the right.
Make sure you also move the links widget. This is the box that contains all the information you have already had up (the old sidebar).
Click add on the text widget. Paste in the HTML code given to you by Feedburner, save it, and move it over to the sidebar into the first position (if that’s where you want it).
Save and close.

What are widgets?
Widgets are links (in the form of images or text) to the information they advertise.

What’s an RSS feeed?
RSS feed is a service that feeds information from Web sites to subscribed readers. This feed can be sent to a feed reader/aggregator or to an individual’s e-mail address. Readers that subscribe to your blog this way are sent your newest blog posts as soon as they are published.

 

 

Every piece of writing needs to be clear and precise. With microscope in hand, Inksnatcher’s writing and editing service will hone any work until it glitters in the light of a 1,000 watt bulb.

sallylogo3 INKSNATCHER.COM                                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 
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