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Blog on a Regular Schedule

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Blogs Influence People:

  • 77% of Internet users read blogs.
  • 87% of blog readers are book buyers.
  • Blogs rank third (behind family and friends) in influencing purchasing decisions.
  • 61% of consumers have made a purchasing decision based on a blog post.
  • A blog helps you develop trust with your audience

Blogs require new content:

  • New Content

You want to add new material on a regular basis to keep your readers engaged.

  • Post Often

A good goal for blog posting is once or twice a week. You really should go longer between blog posts than two weeks or you will have trouble building an audience.

Statistics show that 68% of bloggers blog less than daily, but more than monthly.

It takes nine months of regular posting for a blog to develop a strong, loyal readership base.

Next time we will look at Social Media Engagement.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Get a Website

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“But, I just want to write. I don’t want to do a website. I don’t know how to do it. Besides that, it sounds expensive and time-consuming.

Fine, not having an Internet presence is an option. Just writing can produce a book. Rarely will just writing produce readers. Having a website is a key part of a strategy for building an audience.

Website URL

I recommend a custom website URL, that is you purchasing your own domain. I recommend you select one of three options.

• Your Author Name

The website you are on is an example of using the author’s name. You are on jimmiekepler.com

• Your Book’s Title

The website Prayers for the Chronically Ill is an example. I am currently writing a nonfiction book with the title Prayers for the Chronically Ill. I use the website to build my audience and build my email list.

• Your Brand

The website The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn is an example of this type of website.

What Should Your Website Include?

• A Blog

A blog written on a consistent schedule is one great way to connect with your audience. It should be focused and published on the same day of the week at least twice a month. Experts say using this schedule it can take you nine to twelve months to build an audience.

• About Your Book

Tell your readers about your book. Your book blurb is great for sharing here. It should not be a summary of your book

• About the Author

Tell the readers who you are and what qualifies you to write your book if nonfiction.

• Reviews / Endorsements

A great way to build engagement is to let your audience know people are reading your book and hear is what they are saying about it.

• Social Media Links

Point the reader to your online presence – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

• Contact Information

Allow them to email you or reach out to you. This builds a connection with your reader and loyalty as they get to know you.

• Email Signup / Call to Action

You don’t just want them to visit your website. You want them to buy your book. Ask them for their email address. This allows you to thank them for visiting your website and to let them know when your book and future books are available for purchase. Then you can remind then or ask them to buy your books.

Easy to Use, Affordable Website Hosting & Building Services:

Next time we will look at the subject: Blog Regularly.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Strategies for Building Audience.

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Your strategies for building an audience is your road map to getting to your destination. What destination is that you ask? It is having a target group of people to potentially buy your books.

Five Recommendations:

  • Get a Website
  • Blog Regularly
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Create Videos
  • Create a Podcast

First Glance Looks Scary and Hard

A first glance you might think the five listed above are scary and hard. I won’t lie to you, they take work and commitment. The are learned skills or items that you can outsource (like website creation).

As we examine each in the next five sessions you’ll have your fears and dread lessened. You’ll see their value. You’ll get some ideas. Remember, you don’t have to do them all at once. You can take them one step at a time. We learn to crawl, then walk, and finally run.

Next time we will look at website creation.

Photo Source: Pixaby

 

Build an Audience

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Before publishing your book you need to build an audience. Gone are the days where the publisher will build your audience for you.

I can hear you thinking, why should I build an audience? You are also thinking, that sounds hard. I just want to write.

Two Reason Why You Need to Build an Audience.

  • Connect with the reader. Did you know most book sales happen because the reader has developed a connection with the author? Yes, a connection between reader and author is important.
  • You need an audience to sell your book to.

Who Is Your Audience?

  • The audience is the people who listen to what you have to say.
  • They have an interest in what you present.

Why Would They Listen to You?

  • These are your “nation” or “tribe.”
  • These are the people who listen to what you have to say.
  • These are the people you’ve built trust with.
  • These are the people who realize you are a subject matter expert or tell a great story in a genre in which they have interest.

Next time we will at several strategies to build an audience.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Why People Don’t Self-Publish

There are three main reasons authors wanting to self-publish have for not self-publishing.

Uncertainty or Lack of Conviction.

  • You think:
    • I can’t do it.
    • No one will like or buy my book.
    • Others are the authority on this subject area.
    • Self-doubt: You can’t do this mindset.
  • You should think:
    • I have something to say.
    • I am qualified to write this.
    • If not me, who?
    • I can do this.

Fear

  • You think:
    • What if I fail?
    • What will others think?
    • What if I do this wrong?
    • I am going to look silly.
  • You should think:
    • If I touch one life, I have succeeded.
    • Others will hold me in high esteem for sharing my story.
    • My family and children will see I can do it.
    • This will be a fun adventure.

Paralysis

  • You think:
    • What if I start and don’t finish the book?
    • I don’t know how to do this.
    • I don’t have the technical skills.
    • It is too hard.
  • You should think:
    • I will have this finished by a certain date.
    • I can learn to do anything.
    • I know someone with or can learn the technical skills.
    • Nothing is too hard

Reflect on how you can write and publish your book. Set a date to finish the first draft. Go for it!

Photo Source: Pixaby

Why People Self-Publish

Why People Self-Publish Books

  • The author cannot find a traditional publisher after querying for a year or two.
  • They author wants to maintain creative control. An example would be wanting to have control of the book cover design or launch date.
  • The author is frugal. He/she does not want to use a custom publishing company because of the cost.
  • The author wants to make more money per book sold and to have payment faster.
  • The author has good self-esteem. He/she is not concerned about the stigma of self-publishing.
    • Remember, self-publishing titles are showing up on best-seller lists.
    • There are now some best-seller lists which include self-published books (USA Today and New York Times.
  • The author uses the book to add authority to their business or ministry through back-table sales.

Self-Publishing Stats from Author Earnings

  • Self-published indie authors are verifiably capturing at least 24% – 34% of all ebook sales in each of the five English-language markets (US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand); it’s not just a US-only phenomenon. When you also include the uncategorized authors, the vast majority of whom are also self-published, the true indie share in each market lies somewhere between 30% – 40%.
  • Indies are competing particularly well in the Canadian and Australian ebook markets, nearly approaching the level of dominance they currently hold in the US.
  • The Big Five (see https://jimmiekepler.com/2017/06/05/8340/ to learn more of who the big five are), on the other hand, are letting themselves progressively get squeezed out of nearly every English-Language ebook market. They make up only 38% of Canadian ebook purchases, and that’s the country where they are holding their ground best; in the US, the Big Five now account for barely 26% of all ebook sales.
  • Amazon Imprints have made the most market headway in the US. Despite being single-retailer exclusive to Amazon Kindle, the dozen or so Amazon “house” publishing imprints between them account for 14% of all US ebook sales, 10% of all UK ebook sales, and 8% of Australian ebook sales. In Canada, the Amazon Imprint footprint is a much more modest 3% of all ebook sales, largely due to the substantial shares of the overall Candian ebook market held by Kobo (25%) and Apple (14%).

Source: http://authorearnings.com/report/february-2017/ – click the link to see the extreme detail on book sales.

Publishing

Five Ways

Today there are five ways to publish a book:

  • Traditional Publishing (The Big 5 Trade Publishers)
    • Hachette Book Group -Hachette Book Group (HBG) is a division of the second-largest trade and educational book publisher in the world, Hachette Livre. Hachette Livre is based in France and is a subsidiary of the French media company, Lagardère.
    • HarperCollins – HarperCollins Publishers is a subsidiary of News Corp, the global media company led by Rupert Murdoch.
    • Macmillan Publishers – Macmillan is a global trade publishing company, which is owned by the German Company Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, with imprints in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and around the world.
    • Penguin Random House – Originally international publishing giants in their own rights, on July 1, 2013, Penguin, a Pearson company and Random House, owned by the German company Bertelsmann, combined their adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing divisions.
    • Simon and Schuster – Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 by Richard L. (Dick) Simon and M. Lincoln (Max) Schuster with a bestselling crossword puzzle book. At various times in its history, it has been owned by Marshall Field, Gulf + Western, and Viacom. Simon and Schuster is currently the publishing arm of the media company CBS Corporation, where its diverse offerings include books in the adult publishing, children’s publishing, audiobooks and digital book arenas.
  • Independent or Indie Publishing
    • Using Wikipedia as a guide: “The terms “small press”, “indie publisher”, and “independent press” are often used interchangeably, with “independent press” defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations.
    • Defined this way, these presses make up approximately half of the market share of the book publishing industry.
    • Many small presses rely on specialization in genre fiction, poetry, or limited-edition books or magazines, but there are also thousands that focus on niche non-fiction markets.”
  • Custom Publishing
    • Custom publishing has been the traditional US-based term for what is now known as content marketing.
    • The definition, as stated by the Custom Content Council (the US Association for custom publishers), custom publishing: “… marries the marketing ambitions of a company with the information needs of its target audience.
  • Vanity Publishing
    • Again, using Wikipedia as a guide: A vanity press, vanity publisher, or subsidy publisher is a term describing a publishing house in which authors pay to have their books published.
    • Additionally, vanity publishers have no selection criteria as opposed to other “hybrid” publishing models.
  • Self-publishing
    • The focus of this article.

DYI

Self-publishing is DYI, that is do-it-yourself publishing.

Losing Stigma

Once upon a time self-publishing was viewed with stigma. If you told someone you were self-published their eyes would roll and they would move away from you at a party. It is not held in as much reproach as it once was.

Part of the reason for the lessened contempt is more self-published authors are paying the price and doing a good job. This includes writing a good story. Having the book professionally edited is another element more are including. Cover design once completed poorly in Microsoft Paint is being handled professionally. They realize they have to learn to build an email list and market the book. And on and on I could go.

I will be writing a few articles a month from the lessons I have learned and am still learning in my own journey as a self-published author. Self-publishing isn’t for most people. Few authors that I know are willing to do both the writing and all the technical stuff related to formatting, cover design, book layout, marketing campaigns, etc. For those that want to learn more about the process, I’ll be posting regularly. You can also click on the self-publishing tab on the site’s homepage.

How To Change The Default Font In Scrivener For Windows

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I have used Scrivener for nearly five years. I own Scrivener for Mac and Scrivener for Windows.I love Scrivener. I’m a twenty plus year  IT professional. Scrivener has been a challenge to learn. I have attended several on-line and courses at writer’s conferences in my quest to master the software.

Scrivener’s has many awesome features.  One thing about I hate about it is the default font is Courier New.  I despise Courier New.  For years I dutifully changed each new document to Times New Roman 12 being unable to figure out how to change the default font. The leaders of the conferences I attended had no idea how to change the default. I read the Scrivener manual and online help. The solution eluded me.

I finally figured it out.

Yeah me! I don’t give up. I finally figured it out and how to change all my existing documents to my default font in one magical moment. Woo hoo!

So, I wrote a little help or knowledge base article. The title (drum roll please) …

How To Change The Default Font

This is not obvious. From the Scrivener Toolbar go to Tools.

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Next, you click on Tools and select Options

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When you select Options then select Editor

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Then you have to select Font. It is the letter A below that I have circled in red. My goodness, what a hard thing to find.

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That will get you to this window.  Now see that little random italicized A?  Yeah, that’s the button.  That’s what they use as their symbol for FONT.  It is not like any other software. So click the button.  That takes you here. Pick your preferred font. This will only affect new work going forward.

If you want to change the default on existing work you need to select all the chapter and scenes you want to change and then go here.

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That takes you to this window. Now you decide what you want to change.

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In my case, I just converted everything. It is my understanding that if you run this feature on existing scenes (or other documents), it will keep font size, alignment, tabs and indents, spacing BUT NOT ANY ITALICS OR OTHER FONT FORMATTING.  So use on existing stuff at your peril.

This event, this is how you change the default font and I call it”How To Change The Default Font In Scrivener For Windows.”  Use at your own risk. Make a backup before you start in case you don’t get what you want. I am sharing my experience and make no guarantees that it will give you what you want. I worked for me.

Why this Former Pantser is Now a Plotter

PantserPlotterWhen I wrote my first novel, I sat down at my computer and waited to be surprised by the story that unfolded. I had no idea how the story would unveil. I was writing by the seat of my pants (the definition of Panster). I never knew where I was going before I got there except for knowing the final destination. I loved the surprise of traveling where my characters led me. I loved the joy of the journey.

The joy disappeared as I started pitching the book. I learned the agent wanted a one to three-page synopsis of my story in addition to sample chapters. Some required an outline and chapter summaries. It seemed no two wanted the same thing.

Sometimes I pitched to a publisher or editor at a writer’s conference. I would get excited when they said yes to look at my book. I found them requesting a chapter-by-chapter outline plus a three to five sentence synopses of each chapter. They wanted to know about the chapters in detail including a synopsis of each scene in the chapter. The work of putting the information together was harder for me than writing a book.

I found myself having to go back and make an outline of the book. The detail needed included information on the scenes just to get it considered. At this point, I decided I would outline the next novel I wrote. I could change the outline if I felt the need to change directions, but I would not have to go back and create an outline from a 300-page manuscript.

While your experiences may be different, mine motivated me to outline first. My goal is to chase away some of those misconceptions about what it means to plot a book beforehand. I view outlining as a work saver.

I Find An Outline Forces Me To Focus. 

As I worked on my book I created these fantastic characters, put them in a rousing venue, and gave them all kinds of amazing things to do. When you begin the story, you are probably like I was – excited. You cannot wait to get the story from your head to the page.

I found writing an outline forces me to take a get a clear focus on my vision. I ask myself what is the tale I want to tell? It also helps me determine what the tension is between characters. I think about and plan for the conflicts and resolution. I determine how the antagonist and protagonist will develop and change during their journey.  As I have said, I can go back and change the outline if I fell the need to adjust directions in the course of writing a story. An outline makes you think about the details early.

I Find An Outline Helps Reduce My Fear of the Size of the Task.  

Writing a book can be a frightening undertaking. You may wonder how you can ever create 300 pages? You may ponder if you can hang in there long enough to reach the end.

Think of an outline as a roadmap. It helps you remember that you do have an objective in mind.  The first work of length I wrote was a doctoral dissertation. The proposal had to be approved with a detailed outline before I wrote the first sentence. The outline not only kept me on track, but it was the beacon that led me to my destination. The same idea works with fiction or nonfiction book.

I Find An Outline Helps Me Maintain My Equilibrium. 

An outline helps me decide if I have the right balance of parts in my story. Do I have a balance of historical events and relationships or does the history overwhelm the characters?  Is my western really a western? Are the science details overwhelming the story in my science fiction?

I Find An Outline Helps Me Plot. 

Outlining makes me determine what is going to what happens in the beginning, middle and end of my book. The specifics of those happenings may be adjusted in the progression of writing a book. The outline gives me the framework of my storyline. Knowing the ending helps me point the story in that direction.

Writing the outline puts the conclusion in my mind. I find that as I write my story, my subconscious is always coming up with new and exciting ways to shove my characters toward their failures, trials, and successes.

I Find An Outline Prevents A Weak Middle Third of the Book.

When I write an outline, I quickly find out if I have sufficient action and conflict to support the middle third of my book. You do not want the middle to stretch between the beginning and end of your story like Interstate 15 stretches between the population centers of southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. If you are not familiar, the highway crosses miles of desert including Death Valley. You want something there in the middle that keeps them moving along as your readers travel through your story.

An outline gives me a chance to think about and reflect on conflict and character development to make that middle an interesting, important part of my book. While you can do the same thing as you write your story, having an outline helps keep the story progressing and lessens the chances of the dreaded writer’s block.

I Find An Outline Helps Me Write Faster. 

When I know what is going to happen in a scene or chapter I simply sit down and write a scene or chapter. I do not sit wondering what I will write about. I have already made that decision. I only sit in my chair and do my writing assignment for the day.

I found with an outline I wrote book two in a quarter of the time it took me to write book one. And I did that having a day job that when my commute is added to it takes twelve hours of my day five days a week!

Closing Thoughts

Every author has an approach that works best for them. I have found an outline works better than writing by the seat of my pants.

Some writers use their synopsis (narrative overview of the story) as an outline. Other authors write a summary of each chapter or each scene including the action takes place in that scene or chapter. That is what I do. Here is an example from my current work in progress:

Chapter Two – Supreme Commander of the Unified Peoples Planetary Expeditionary Force (UPPEF) sends Harry to Mars to inspect the damage

1. Scene One: Supreme Commander of the UPPEF recognizes Harry’s sadness. He learns of and understands what caused the melancholy.
2. Scene Two: Supreme Commander of the UPPEF sends Harry Ashworth with letters from himself, Chancellor Wilson, and a commission to The Bradbury Burroughs Rain Dome
3. Scene Three: Harry Ashworth, to the grief of Martian based UPPEF comes to the Rain Dome
4. Scene Four: Harry Ashworth views the ruins of the Rain Dome secretly.
5. Scene Five: Harry Ashworth incites the citizens to build.

I use the writing software program Scrivener. I use the “notecards” in the view mode. I do one card for each chapter in the book. I write a synopsis of the chapter and then list the scenes in the chapter. I also use the cards to write a description of my characters.

Well, without boring you with more mind-numbing details, I will challenge you to consider outlining if you have not tried it. If the idea scares you, try it for just one chapter or even one scene. If you do not have a clue what to outline, just ask your characters to tell you what they are going to do next. They will tell you.

You may find you can write faster, with fewer holes and empty spaces in you story if you outline.  Like me, you too may become a former pantser who is converted to be a plotter.


Photo credit: http://www.karentyrrell.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/PantserPlotter.jpg


This article originally appeared in Author Culture on Wednesday, November 5, 2014


clean shavenJimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. You can visit him at http://www.jimmiekepler.com.

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