Saturday, September 20, 2014

Five Reasons Authors Need GoodReads

I am no GoodReads expert. Millions of readers are on this site talking about books. Over four years ago in 2011, I learned about this site through some email or article or bit of information that came across my computer screen. I registered at GoodReads then for three years I almost never returned. 

Earlier this year, I saw GoodReads likes book reviews. I have reviewed over 450 books on Amazon (who also owns GoodReads). I took about an hour and cut and pasted some of my Amazon reviews on the GoodReads site. Currently I have reviewed about 85 books. 

Almost two months ago, my friend Sandra Beckwith interviewed Cynthia Shannon, the Author Marketing Coordinator at GoodReads. The teleseminar was excellent and if you did not hear it, you can follow this link and get this inexpensive educational teleseminar. 

As I listened to this event, Cynthia spoke about the need for authors to claim their Author Profile Status. While I had not done much on my profile, I had taken this step to be identified on GoodReads as an author. Next Cynthia talked about the incomplete profile which didn't have the author's photo or links to the Author's website or twitter account. As I followed along online during the event, I discovered, I was one of “those” authors.

Immediately I fixed my GoodReads profile. I added my photo and filled out my profile adding my twitter link and much more. Yet I didn't complete the teleseminar and was pulled away from my computer. It wasn't an issue because the event was recorded and Sandra sent us the recording (which is still available). Days and weeks passed before I caught the final portion of this event this week.

There was a place for book trailer videos so I uploaded my two videos. Also I saw a little shadow image at the top of the GoodReads home page with a number next to my small photo. It read 495. To my horror, I discovered this number was people who had requested to be my friend on GoodReads and I had not responded or answered. 

Thankfully I've resolved all of these requests and accepted these friends and grown my friends on GoodReads.Now you can tell the truth of my opening statement: I am no GoodReads expert—but I am learning and growing in my knowledge of this site. 

In fact, this week I learned the salesmen at Ingram Publishing Services can see a little icon when they look up our names. It is a GoodReads icon and shows whether the author has an active GoodReads presence or not. IPS is the distributor of the Morgan James books. My Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham biography are both published through Morgan James Publishing. It is important that I work at reporting my promotion activities to these sales people because they sell the book into the bookstores. Every bookstore buys books based on the perception of what the author is doing to promote the book. See why I became more interested in being active on GoodReads?

If you are an author or want to be an author, here are five reasons authors need to be on GoodReads:

1. There are 30 million readers on GoodReads. Yes 30 million. Earlier this year they touted 25 million and now it is 30, so it has increased five million in nine months. Just look at the growth curve for this site and that is a good reason for your involvement.

2. You want to interact with people who love books. GoodReads is all about readers and reviews and finding good books then talking about them. Marketing Expert Penny Sansevieri had a lengthy section about GoodReads in her Ebook HOW TO GET REVIEWS BY THE TRUCKLOAD ON AMAZON. I wrote about Penny's book several months ago (follow this link). 

3. You want to be involved in reading and talking about books. On GoodReads, there is a section called Groups. There are thousands (no exaggeration) of groups on any imaginable topic related to talking about books. Join a couple of groups and just like any forum or group, observe and read the conversation before jumping into it. If you can contribute to the discussion, then that is terrific. You will find more readers through tapping into these groups.

4. You want to get more reviews of your own books. I've discussed this important aspect of books in other articles but book reviews sell books. If you want to get more reviews, then as an author I encourage you to participate in Giveaways

5. If you are a book author, you need to claim your GoodReads author profile. One of the relatively new features on GoodReads is a section called Ask the Author. The author has to turn on this feature. Then on your dashboard (that only you can see), you will see new questions to answer. It gives you a place to interact with your readers.

I've only scratched the surface of this extensive site. There are many more reasons than these five to regularly visit and learn about GoodReads. It will pay off for you in ways you can't even begin to imagine.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

When You Can't Find A Tweet

Check out SnapBird at www.SnapBird.org

In the last six years since I've been on Twitter, I have consistently tweeted. When I find an interesting article in my reading or anything else related to writing, I often will take a few seconds and send a tweet with a link to this article. Days, weeks and months of consistently tweeting has added up to over 21,000 tweets. Now that amounts to a bunch of information in my twitter profile

Sometimes I will reference an article and want to return to it. One of the best ways to find that article is to locate my tweet. But I have thousands of them and how do I easily find that information?

When I face this situation, I will turn to a free tool called Snap Bird. The first step is to authenticate your twitter account. You have to be logged on to your twitter account. It is a one-time process to authenticate your account. 

Snap Bird is easy to use and menu driven. You can search your tweets, a friend's tweets, your direct messages or tweets mentioning you or where you are someone's favorites. I like how this tool is quick and sorts through a number of tweets. If it doesn't find the tweet, then it can continue searching. The program has limitations but often using it, I can locate my missing tweet.

This tool has a specialized use—searching your tweets. For some of you, it may come in handy. I hope so.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Five Ways to Get Your Writing Unstuck

Throughout my day writers will email me for help with their writing. The words I have in my Twitter profile is one of the key reasons: I love to help writers. Let me know how I can help YOU! I include my email in my twitter profile to encourage such correspondence. 

As an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher, I get a lot of email every day. Yet I make a point to answer each one of the emails from writers who are asking for help. From my 20+ years in publishing, I know it is hard to navigate the publishing world. I've sent my share of emails and letters into the system which have gone into a void—or so they seem because nothing came back from my careful shaping and sending them. It can be discouraging.

Recently a ministry leader wrote me about being stuck. He had started writing a book but gotten stuck at the second chapter. What actions should this leader take to move forward on his dream of writing a book?

Many times writers are stuck and unsure how to move forward. It happens with book projects because they are not simple 30 minute or an hour in length. To write a book takes a great deal of consistent effort and energy. When it comes to writing a book, one of the best tools is to first, write a book proposal. The key portion of the proposal that will keep you writing and moving ahead is the chapter-by-chapter outline. This simple outline is the structure for your book. You can even print it out then cross off the chapters as you write them.

If you are stuck in your writing, here's five ways to get unstuck:

1. Evaluate Your Goal. Are you committed to this writing project? I've always found if I've made a commitment, then the writing will get handled. OK. I've committed to write a book or a magazine article or an online article or a press release. Think about the type of consistent effort will it take to accomplish your goal. For example, books are not produced overnight but will take a consistent effort.

2. Set a Goal You Can Accomplish. Be reasonable with yourself and set a writing goal that you can achieve. From my experience it is often a certain number of words such as 500 words a day or 5,000 words a day (which is a lot of intense writing to reach 5,000 words a day but it can be done). 

3. Move Consistently toward Your Goal. To accomplish any goal you have to move forward. I like what one of my writers friends told me about creating a 400+ page novel, “No little elves come out at night and write my pages.” No one else can do the work for you. You have to find the time and simply do it. If it means getting up an hour or two earlier or staying up late at night or skipping some television, then you have to work at it to meet your goal.

4. Periodically Evaluate Your Goal. If you are having success, then take moments to celebrate. Each of us will celebrate differently. It is important to evaluate and celebrate if you are moving toward your goal. If you measure how you are doing with your goal and you are not making progress, then possibly it is time to readjust your goal and make it more reasonable or something that you can actually accomplish. Don't beat yourself up that you have to readjust. Simply acknowledge it and keep moving forward.

5. Get an Accountability Partner. Yes maybe you could accomplish your goal on your own. From my experience, it is better if you have someone else asking you periodically about your goal and how you are moving toward it. This person can be someone that you speak with periodically on the phone or email or best physically see often. 

I know I was only going to write five ways to get your writing unstuck. I'm throwing in a bonus sixth method. Maybe you are stuck in your writing because you have been trying to accomplish a long piece of writing such as a book or a novel or a workbook. If you have been chipping away at completing a longer work, here's something to consider in this process:

6. Diversify Your Writing. While many people want to write a book, there are many ways to get published—outside of books. Often books take a long time to get into the market—especially if you go through a traditional publisher. Magazine articles are short and fun to write plus you can get them published a lot quicker than a book and it will reach many more people than the average book.

People like me who are in publishing want to see that you have been published. Your magazine publishing credits will help you attract the attention of a literary agent or book editor. My updated version of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams has a great deal of information about publishing to help you get unstuck.

Use these five methods to get unstuck and move forward with your writing. Take action today.

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