Sunday, October 31, 2010

Make It Easy To Get Something FREE

About a month ago, I noticed several prominent Internet Marketers were promoting PopUp Domination. These marketers are people who are successful with their online efforts and I often learn something new from them. It was the case with this new program.

Several of my websites are on a WordPress platform, which is where this program works best. Within a few days after getting the program, I figured out how to use a plugin (a new experience for me) and got the program working on a site which I haven't been promoting much: www.bookproposalcoach.com. When you go to this site, a popup makes it easy for you to get my free 90-page Ebook offer. While I'll admit that I'm not a huge fan of these popups, I do know they are effective because often I will sign up when I am visiting a new site--and that would not have been the case without that popup.

In the last few days, I began to think about how I could increase people who received my free Ebooks such as Straight Talk from the Editor or Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. These two Ebooks are my most popular or frequently requested Ebooks. But I had a problem. For each of these Ebooks, I built the landing pages over on Right-Writing.com. PopUp Domination works on these free standing websites but I haven't figured out how to use that part of the program--yet. It is coming soon but will take a bit more experimentation on my part.

In the meantime, I decided to move Straight Talk from the Editor to WordPress and get PopUp Domination working for it. I got the site moved and working. Now it is easy for anyone to receive my free Ebook.

Where else could I use this new tool? I decided to add it to two other WordPress sites: www.terrywhalin.com and the site to sign up for my free affiliate program, www.terryinfo.com. At my personal site with my name, I decided to give away Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. If you check out terrywhalin.com, you can see the result.

My challenge was what to give someone thinking about joining my affiliate program. The Ebook that I give away has to be relevant to the website. I found this excellent 152-page Ebook, The Affiliate Masters Course, Become a high-earning affiliate champion by Ken Evoy. I set it up at: terryinfo.com. In the last week, I wrote my affiliates and encouraged them to use some new products and tools in my program plus I gave them several tips that can be used in any affiliate program to earn passive income. I'm committed to training and helping these affiliates to use my tools and increase their earnings from my products.

If you are giving away a free Ebook or Special Report, what steps are you taking to make it easy for the reader to get your offer?

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Friday, October 29, 2010

It's a Cinch with Cinch

Are you watching what other writers, publishers and marketing people are doing to promote their event or book or product? I do.

Today I received a notice of a forthcoming teleseminar from an Internet expert Kathleen Gage known as The Street Smarts Marketeer. Her invitation included a link to something called a Cinch Tip. I listened to her short message but I also looked around at the website, Cinch, which is in beta or start up mode. The service is free. I registered, created a profile and tried it out.

Here's my first short post on Cinch using their widget tool:

It was simple to use. I entered my phone number in my profile then called their number and recorded a brief message. This message ends up on the entry.

One of the remarkable features in my view to this service is that it replicates in Twitter and Facebook. Within Facebook, it adds a little recording button over your image. When you click the button to play it, the audio from Cinch plays on your Facebook page. It is a way to add audio to Facebook.

It is another little tool that you can use to market your next product or event. I'm going to be learning more about it in the days ahead.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Practical Help for The Author's "What If"

Most writers live some of the time in the world of "What If." We think about the reader for our words and the target audience. We dream about our publishers (and us) selling thousands of copies and some day even landing on the bestseller list.

I speak with authors all the time about their ambitions and dreams for their books or their "what if" plans. I appreciate their ambition and desires to get their book out to the broadest possible audience. This desire might not be focused on the financial gain from their book. Some authors are just eager to get their message out to the largest possible number of people. These dreams are healthy in my view because every writer needs to keep thinking about how to reach new readers with their work.

Many authors forget that over 60% of the book sales happen outside of the bookstore. There are large quantities of books which are sold to a single company and called Special Market Sales or Volume Buy Backs. It is an aspect that I encourage authors to think about and include in their book proposals so their proposal stands out from the others under consideration.

While you may be attracted to the idea of selling large volumes of your book, how do you do it? This technique works for any type of book. It does not have to be a new book or nonfiction or fiction or a children's book. I've been reading about these types of sales for years and encouraging authors to think in this direction for the "what if" possibilities for their book. I've created a way for you to learn about this concept through a free teleseminar on November 3rd.

Ted Rogers and Vickie Mullins are the founders of Perfect Bound Marketing, a company which specializes in helping authors and publishers to sell books by the truckload. They have broad experience of selling volumes of books. As they say on their website, "Ted signed his first Special Market Sales Campaign contract in 1993 and began creating relationships with companies, associations and not-for-profits where his book sold more than 100,000 copies in a single sale." While Ted has some amazing experiences, his partner Vickie Mullins also knows this area of the market. Their site explains, "In 2005, Vickie authored her first book of what grew to be a series of eight titles. She soon discovered the strategies and potential sales opportunities associated with Special Market Sales and began selling books in her series, I Want You To Know Me …, by the thousands."

Wednesday, November 3rd, I will be hosting a live 70-minute teleseminar with your questions about special market sales. Ted and Vickie will be answering your questions about this area and helping us understand the five mistakes which authors and publishers make and it prevents you from achieving massive book sales. Register today for this free session and ask your question at: www.massivebooksales.com.

In addition, when you sign up for this free event, you will receive a special report from Ted and Vickie: 26 Secrets & Steps for Book-selling Success. If you have a conflict and can not attend the live event, go ahead and sign up. If you don't have a question, then in the space mark "no question" yet go ahead and register now for this event. It will be recorded and everyone who registers will receive the replay information after the Nov. 3rd event.

Sign up today for this November 3rd event and gain this practical help about how you can sell large quantities of your book. These special sales are possible whether your book has been out for some time or whether it is brand new. They work whether your book was published from a major publisher or whether your book was self-published. You can open a window to the world of possibilities through special market sales. I look forward to seeing you at this unique event. Be sure and tell your author friends.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Make A Difference With Your Writing

Do you have Google Alerts turned on for your name? I do and sometimes it turns up interesting things that I would not see otherwise. For example, a week ago I saw this blog post about my Book Proposals That Sell. In the opening paragraph, Bonita writes, "Book Proposals that Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success holds the distinction of being the most underlined, marked up book on my bookshelf. I devoured it from cover to cover the first time I opened it."

It has been gratifying to received numerous comments from readers of my book through email and face to face meetings. I was thinking about the genesis of Book Proposals That Sell and what motivated me to write it. At the time, I was an acquisitions editor at a publishing house and reading stacks of author submissions. Many of these submissions were dismissed with a glance because they were not pitched or presented properly. Each week I was actively looking in the "slush pile" for excellence and it was rare when I found it. Yet I needed excellent book proposals to present each month to the publication board.

From my own felt need as an editor, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell--yet I was focused on the felt needs of the reader or would-be author. This would-be author wanted to get published but had no idea what the editor or agent needed from them for their project to be seriously considered. Far too often writers create books from their own passion and felt need instead of focusing on th felt needs of the audience and scratching that itch. If you meet the needs of the reader, then you have the potential to make a difference with your writing.

Whether you are writing a magazine article or a pitch letter to an editor or an advertising sales letter, it is always important to know your target audience and think about that reader and their felt needs. This week, one of my authors sent a short promotional flyer that he had created for his book. I applauded his initiative in working on such a document--yet the opening sentences apologized to the reader for interrupting their day. It did not grab the reader or scratch a felt need. This type of promotion was going to be a terrible waste of energy and money. In my most diplomatic way, I suggested several alternative ways to position that promotional piece. Also this author failed to ask the reader for a response. In a short promotion, you always want to include a call to action where you ask the reader to do something and give them several alternatives. With a longer book proposal, you are asking for the editor or agent to consider your pitch then to let you know their response (a call to action).

How are you making a difference with your writing? Are you meeting felt needs for your target audience? Are you including a call to action to move your reader to a response?

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Make Your Facebook Fan Page The Easy Way

Until a few months ago, I was not very active on Facebook. Yes I had an account but rarely went to the page and used it. I changed my use because I continued to read the statistics about Facebook users. Several months ago, Facebook surpassed Google as the most used website in the U.S. Incredible that it is more than Google.

I could no longer ignore Facebook. Look at these statistics from their pressroom:

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • I took action in several ways. I made sure that my tweets on Twitter were reposted on Facebook. I do use a little application on Facebook to replicate these tweets but it's not 100% effective. If it misses something, then I take several seconds to cut and paste that tweet into Facebook. Also in a consistent way, I started inviting more people to be my friend on Facebook.

    My Facebook friends grew to over 4,000 and I became aware of a limitation within Facebook Friends. The system caps at 5,000 and you can't add any more friends. How could I continue growing my presence on Facebook? The Facebook Fan Pages have no membership limits. With millions of people, it can grow to be a large viral presence on this important social media site. Then I had another question: what is an effective Facebook Fan Page? What does it look like?

    I began to do some online research and found some good information such as this article from a couple of years ago about why you need to make a Facebook Fan Page with six good reasons. Also I enjoyed this article about Five Elements of A Successful Facebook Fan Page. Finally I looked at 10 Top Facebook Fan Pages and Why They Are Successful.

    My idea began to form about what could go on a fan page and why I needed to build one. Yet what would it cost. I started to do some research and asking around in this area. The prices seemed comparable to any website work. It varied from $200 to $2,000 (yes that is a serious price that I saw for a Facebook Fan Page). My goal was to create a page which was effective yet economical. I wondered how I could do it.

    Online I learned about Fan Page Engine, an economical tool for building custom fan pages. I watched the online tutorials, checked the various information then I decided to try the basic package for $37. While their information is clear that the basic package includes two different business templates, I had already selected the third business template which included an opt-in form. I was only on the basic program for a few minutes before I had to upgrade with an additional $30 to the unlimited package or a $67 investment.

    What if it didn't work out? On their FAQ page, Fan Page Engine offers a seven day no questions asked money back guarantee. While reassuring, I was more interested in getting a functioning fan page that would do what I wanted to do.

    Here's the result:

    From the beginning, I knew that I wanted to offer a valuable gift or free Ebook to anyone who dropped by my page. Also I wanted to have a clickable graphic which would take the person to a site where they could learn more about my latest book, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. It took about an hour to plan and figure out the contents of the page.

    With about another hour, I built and launched the page. I am not a very technically skilled writer so it has to be pretty simple for me. If you choose to try the same template that I launched, I had a couple of other tools. First you need to create a header. I used XHeader which you can download and use free. Also for some people the opt-in form will present some challenges. I have been using the opt-in form from my shopping cart. In addition, the ebook that I'm giving away was already created. I used a program called Easy PDF Templates for that effort. I did write two autoresponders to make sure anyone who requests the ebook will receive it.

    Fan Page Engine has done an excellent job of providing video tutorials. I would watch a few minutes, pause the video, then execute the instructions and return to the tutorial. I found the instructions straight-forward and easy to follow with lots of flexibility for color schemes within the template.

    Please go by my Fan Page and "like" it then please tell others about it. Take action and get my free Ebook. I'd love to hear your feedback about the page. It's my first effort and I have plans to build others since I have the flexibility of different templates.

    I wanted to write this entry to encourage you to build your own fan page using this tool. It's not complicated and something that you can easily accomplish in a couple of hours. The exposure possibilities are endless--if you have one and can be promoting it.

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    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Running Into A Brick Wall With Your Writing

    Are you sending your query letters to magazine editors and only hearing silence? Or maybe you are trying to get a literary agents attention and your submissions seem like they are disappearing in a black hole because you receive no response. You are not alone in that feeling. Experts estimate that during any given moment, there are more than a million book proposals and pitches circulating in the publishing world.

    It's easy to understand if you've ever visited an editor or agent in their office. Many people only know their editor or agent from the phone or email but I've been in a number of these offices over the years. Often I've seen stacks of paper submissions and manuscripts. Now that many of these submissions arrive electronically, it's not as visual but the information is still stacked into someone's email box for consideration. It is not surprising that files are lost or misplaced. In this "hurry up and get it done yet done right" world, it is important to build relationships with editors and agents when you see them at conferences. That relationship could be the difference whether your email or submission is read or ignored.

    Here's three keys to moving beyond this roadblock to your writing:

    1. Understand some things about rejection. I've written about it in other entries in The Writing Life. The reason for rejection may have nothing to do with you. Your responsibility as a writer is to simply persist and continue perfecting your craft and looking for the next opportunity to get published--large or small.

    Whenever I feel like I'm running into a brick wall with my writing, I re-read James Scott Bell's article, Rejecting Rejection. Notice what he writes toward the end, "I wrote for three solid years before selling anything. I wrote a small landfill of stuff—novels, screenplays, plays, articles, essays, jingles, poems and shopping lists. Part of this was my dues; I was learning the craft of being a writer. I was also learning the discipline of production, sitting down each day and doing a certain number of pages. This was invaluable education and training."

    Are you willing to write "a small landfill of stuff" and persist for three years before selling anything. Jim Bell's discipline to the craft has paid off in his current writing and success of his fiction. You can follow the same well-trod path.

    2. Open A New Opportunity. Are you attempting to write a 100,000 word novel and not finding anyone to read it? Or is your poetry not getting published? No matter what type of writing you are doing, here's the simple idea: try another type of writing.

    If you are looking for a list to spur new types of writing, I recommend you read the free excerpt from my book Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. This chapter includes an extensive list of the various types of writing. You may discover that you have a bent toward something completely off your radar. If you try it and find success, then keep writing that type of material. It may be just what you need to move your writing in a new direction. Head over to this location and download this excerpt. Print it out, highlight and study it.

    3. Begin To Create and Sell Your Writing Online. This third option may be outside of where you are thinking. I've written for more than 50 print magazines and published more than 60 books with traditional publishers. You may know that I have thousands of pages of free content online which has helped many people. While I am committed to the traditional forms of writing such as books and printed magazines, there are other types of opportunities for you as a writer online. I'm not talking about blogging or some other means where you give away your information. I'm suggesting you create and sell how-to information.

    There are several reasons for moving in this direction with your writing. First, how-to information continues to sell online and there is great opportunity for you to sell your specialized information. Second, it is something you can do on your own with a shoe-string/ minimal financial investment. Third, you will be paid much more rapidly for such effort than through traditional print media. If you write for magazines, they are typically at least 30 to 90 days away from payment after acceptance. If you write books, typically you receive a modest advance then earn any additional funds on your royalties. Many traditional publishers pay once a year or four times a year (quarterly) at best. If you create and sell information online, the customer pays for it and you receive the money in your account. There is no middle man to hold then give you the funds. If you use a paypal button, then the funds go immediately into your paypal account.

    Here's the best help I can give you to start this process of creating and selling online information. Last month, I interviewed my friend, Bob Bly. For everyone who registers, Bob gave a 52-page special report: How to Make $100,000+ A Year Selling Simple Information Online In Your Spare Time. This teleseminar was recorded and you can have immediate access to this report and the recording at www.AskBobBly.com. For the question, put "no question." You will reach the replay page and have immediate access to this recording and free special report. Listen to the teleseminar since Bob gave great details in this session. Then study the special report and apply it to your own writing.

    Take action on this third key and it could change your writing forever. I know it has for me and I continue to work on my online promotion.

    The All-In-One Solution

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