Monday, December 1, 2008

A Very Real Writing Basic


I have been fortunate to participate in a variety of author roundtable discussions. Subject-matter has ranged from the creation of storylines to where you saw yourself in the near and distant future. One program’s table topic focused on the business side of writing. The discussion was great as were questions from callers.

There was however one caller whose queries caused concern that progressed to irritation. In a nutshell they did not want to be involved with the process beyond writing other than selling the book at personal venues. It did not take long to realize that the respect for the art was far from what they sought.

The mindset of the caller, although annoying, did cause me to revisit far too many remarks made by those in passing and in discussion. Those remembered words brought me to the realization that many an aspiring writer has no idea how involved the writing process truly is.

Each writer has their own process for writing. That process, regardless of how simplistic or involved, becomes their starting point. That starting point, basic plan, will be expanded upon in order to develop the work into a marketable product.

What many among us fail to understand is that writing basics involves far more than placing words on paper or into an electronic retrieval system. It begins with knowing the steps necessary for success.

Like any enterprise we enter into, it is imperative that you:
*Know which tools you will need
*Acquire the skills necessary
*Become well-versed in terminology of the industry
*Never stop learning

You may be asking yourself why I would go down this road. The reason is simple. I have been involved in many discussions with editing professionals whose challenge with a submission begins with the fact that the author does not have a functional grasp upon the basics of using the Word program.

The lack of how to adequately use this program can and has created problems such as:
*Improper formatting (justifications, indents, line spacing)
*Proper insertion of page numbering
*Lack of page breaks
*Inability to use tracking program for revisions
*How to attach and transmit files

This may seem elementary to most, but there are many who are not versed in the workings of this vital program. The lack of these skills is not to say that the writer is deficient. It speaks to the need to gain skills that were not previously necessary in their day-to-day function.

To that end I offer the following link: http://www.bcschools.net/staff/WordHelp.htm

This link is not offered to offend; it is offered in order to help tose in need of developing or enhancing tools necessary for the writing process. If you know someone who can benefit from the tutorials, please share. I welcome your remarks and comments.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

PLANNING AHEAD



The other day I was reminded of a need to assess where I am with my 2008 goals as well as considering what I would like to accomplish for 2009.

As I studied my extensive list of planned goals for 2008 I could not conceal my amusement as well as pride. The year I planned closely resembled what actually transpired. Despite some of the detours my process took, I am pleased to say that I accomplished much. I can also say that the remaining items are not causing me to hyperventilate.

I have often said to my siblings and close friends that a woman without a plan is a woman planning to fail. In order to remain on a steady course I have spent several days reassessing the last ten and a half months, and what I plan to accomplish in the next thirteen and a half. I thought it would nice to compile a list and share with some of my favorite people – YOU!

I invite you to comment, add suggestions of your own and ask any questions you may have.

PLANNING AHEAD

Before you can move ahead you need to assess the past. Take a look at what transpired over the past year in order to determine:
Which plans/processes were effective?
Which plans/processes need adjusting in order to be effective?
Which plans/processes should be eliminated?

What remains from the previous year?
Are items remaining on list vital for the progress/enhancement of your business?
Determine how to incorporate into new year

Assessing the future
Compile a list of what you want/need to accomplish for the coming year
Make is feasible
Plan your time wisely
Be flexible

Budget/Tracking
Consider your financial needs
Set a budget
Secure the services of an accountant
Set up a tracking system for expenditures
Set up a tracking system for inventory
Update all your necessary business licenses

Upgrading
Take inventory of your business instruments and upgrade where possible
Replace batteries in electronic items
Have at least one land line for home business purposes

Continuing Education
Seek writing and business courses that will keep you competitive
Consider attending at least one writing conference
Attend online seminars
Read, read, read

On The Web
Update website in order to have the latest and most pertinent information available for visitors
Set reminders for renewing domain name and/or ISP hosting contracts
If your site is not the first to pop up on search engines, update your meta tags
Set up a blog and commit to updating at least once a month (I’m trying to get there)
Set up Google Alerts to see who is checking you out
Google yourself at least once a month to see where you appear or who’s using your name without your permission

The list above is by no means exhaustive. I do believe it will help get you started or enhance what you are already doing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEY DIDN'T WANT TO GIVE US FORTY ACRES AND A MULE -- THAT'S ALRIGHT, WE'LL TAKE FIFTY STATES AND THE WHITE HOUSE!


Monday, November 3, 2008

DON'T GIVE UP YOUR POWER



Today, November 4, 2008, is the official election date of what will undoubtedly be chronicled as one of the most historical events of American history.

Votes will be cast for the first African American nominee for the office of President of the United States. Of equal notoriety will be ballots cast for the first female candidate for the office of Vice President of the United States.

Your vote is your power. Regardless your choice, do not give up

YOUR VOICE -- YOUR POWER -- YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE

ROCK THE VOTE -- NOVEMBER 4, 2008

I also encourage you to preserve this time in history with your loved ones.

Before sealing our ballots my husband and I took the time to make a video. We spoke of what this election meant to us as well as giving a history of what our parents were denied, what we have lived to see and encouraging those who will view the video to never make light of the power of their vote.

We also have a scrapbook of memorabilia we’ve saved and notes we will write to our children.

Later we will relax at an election night gathering with friends.

These are just some suggestions for what you can do to preserve history in the making. Below I leave you with a visual of an historical man – Barack H. Obama

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1686000_1488788,00.html

God Bless -- Linda!




Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Second Annual On Assignment Think Pink for Breast Cancer Event


October has been set aside as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it is also the birth month of my eldest son.
Last year I wanted to do something that would honor Debra Beed (his mother) and Gretha Dean Lewis (my aunt) who lost their battle with breast cancer. To that end I proposed to dodant $1.00 to breast cancer research for each person who left a comment on my review blog during the month of October. This year On Assignment Publishing is increasing its donation to $2.00 per comment left here and on the reveiw site.
Please help us help others by stopping by, leaving a comment and encouraging others to do the same. Comments are not limited to discussion of breast cancer for there will other discussions during the month. The goal is to amass numbers for donating to this necessary research.
Linda!

Breast Cancer

Women get breast cancer when cells in the breast don't grow right and a tumor forms. Getting a mammogram (x-ray of the breast) can help find the cancer early. This gives a woman more treatment options and makes it more likely she will survive the cancer.

African American women are more likely than all other women to die from breast cancer. Tumors are found at a later, more advanced, stage so there are fewer treatment options. Some reasons for this may include not being able to get health care or not following-up after getting abnormal test results. Other reasons may include distrust of the health care system, the belief that mammograms are not needed, or not having insurance.

We do not know how to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk, such as keeping a healthy weight and limiting how much alcohol you drink.

There are things you can do to find breast cancer early:

Get a mammogram. It is the best way to find out if you have breast cancer. A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. It can find breast cancer that is too small for you or your doctor to feel. All women starting at age 40 should get a mammogram every one to two years. Talk to your doctor about how often you need a mammogram. If your mother or sister had breast cancer, you may need to start getting mammograms earlier.

A breast self-exam and a clinical breast exam are not substitutes for mammograms.

Get a clinical breast exam. This is a breast exam done by your doctor or nurse. She or he will check your breasts and underarms for any lumps, nipple discharge, or other changes. The breast exam should be part of a routine check up.

Get to know your breasts. You may do monthly breast self-exams to check for any changes in your breasts. If you find a change, see your doctor right away.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thank You Abrah-Cove Publishing


I want to begin this post by saying thank you to three fabulous ladies, Dionne Hill, Donna Patton and Martha Kimbrough. Their vision to be a platform of support for self and independent authors is the brainchild behind Abrah-Cove Publishing.

Last night I had the opportunity to be co-host of their inspiring radio program, Out-The-Box. The subject matter was ‘The Difference Between Self-publishing and Independent Publishing’. There were many great questions from callers. Unfortunately there was not enough time to adequately cover everything. To that end I promised to post a check list on this blog.

Below is a checklist of considerations for those considering independent publishing. The list is brief because the depth of what is needed cannot be confined to a one-time post. I therefore ask that any questions you have be directed to me at: onassignmentinc@yahoo.com

Those interested in attending the 2009 independent publishing telecourse (info forthcoming) may signup by leaving their name and contact email in the comments box or by email at the address above.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING

1. Create a business plan
a. Includes a marketing plan
b. Include cost accounting
1) How you will finance enterprise
2) How you can afford to remain in business

2. Consider costs and necessity of obtaining:
Copyright
ISBN
LCCN
Barcode (may be optional depending upon printer)
Editor
Graphic Artist or professional photographer for front and back copy
Typesetter
State and federal licenses
Logo for your company
Distributor contract
3. Cost of creating and promoting book
Book set up fees
Cost for proofs
Printing fees
Postage
Promotional items
Advertisement
Online Presence
Book Launch Party (optional)
Travel

This list of considerations may seem overwhelming. At times it can truly be, but as you take sure steps you will find that the reward is well worth the effort.

Be blessed – Linda!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

WHAT'S IN YOUR HAND?


“Times are hard all over.”


As a child these were words I often overheard in conversations between my father and his friends. It would be years before I would fully comprehend the meaning of words that were sure to come up in during their weekly gathering at our home.


Born four years before the Depression, my father was well on his way to adulthood before the downward spiraling of the nation’s economy would begin to show signs of stabilizing.

The harsh realities of the time left few untouched. Yet, there were those who, rather than lament over what they didn’t have – made the best of what they did possess.

The seemingly endless stories shared by my father and his friends, at times were heart-wrenching for a little girl who knew not a lack of food, clothing and adequate shelter. Blessedly I can now say that their remembered stories were the seeds of survival that I grew into crops I would often harvest in my quest for maintaining my literary career.

Their resourcefulness reminded me of the following scripture: And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

Moses had excuse after excuse for why he could not return to Egypt to free the Hebrews as he was commanded. His responses were, “Who am I to go? The King of Egypt will not permit it. What if they don’t believe me? But I am slow of speech, and slow of tongue.”

As with Moses, we too have been called for such a time as this. You know God has spoken to you about your literary career, but economics has you questioning what to do.

Currently we are experiencing a national economic crisis synonymous with that of 1929. Gasoline is at an all-time high, homes are being foreclosed upon at an alarming rate, down-sizing and outsourcing has sent U.S. unemployment rates skyrocketing. With all that is dismal around us, we are compelled to continue to write. Our passion for the written word will not allow us to set aside the muse. Despite the passion that drives us to the keyboard, as writers we are not unscathed by the economics of this world.

Regardless of economics, we must still promote our works. But how do we do this in a time when traveling about the country literally requires the selling of your first-born?

Restrictive travel has crippled many an enterprise of late. Not many are not at apt to hop a flight as they once were. With ticket increases, fuel surcharges and baggage fees, most fares have literally doubled. Add that to the cost of a hotel, rental car and conference/expo fees and you get the picture.

To some, meager or lack of finances has you believing you will always reside in Egypt serving the whim of Pharaoh. But I ask you – what is in your hand? What is readily at your disposal if you only believe that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ?

Although the cost of moving about the country is almost prohibitive, there are ways to promote your works from the comfort of your home.

Today I want to talk about the option of Blog Talk Radio.

What is blog talk radio? The concept is the brainchild of Alan Levy who created an Internet social network that functions as a radio station. The growing phenomenon was launched in 2006 and has continued to grow. Statistics show that the enterprise has approximately 2 million monthly listeners.

Daily, entrepreneurs are launching their own programs in order to create an audio platform for their passion(s). The literary industry is just one of many capitalizing on the cost-effective way of reaching the masses with their message. For example, Harper Collins created Authors on Air for the purpose of featuring on-air interviews with their authors.

There are hosts out there who need you. Most programs are supported by listeners wanting to hear from and interact with personalities from a variety of walks. It is no longer just about the ‘Big’ name. Readers are hungry for new authors as well as those they have supported over the years.

If you haven’t considered Blog Talk Radio, now may be the time for you to weigh the option adding this cost-effective promotional tool to your repertoire.


SOME OF MY FAVORITE BLOG SHOWS:





Thursday, August 28, 2008

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Well ladies and gentlemen, we have come to the conclusion of a phenomenal month of sharing collective wisdom and expertise.
____________________________
It has been my privilege and honor to serve as your hostess. More than that, it has been a blessing seeing others connect in an effort to combine and enhance their knowledge base.

During this month we have learned and shared about:
*Marketing Basics
*The Power of Social Networking
*
Advantages of Print Advertising
*
How to Develop a Speaking Platform
*The Necessity and Strategy of Book Reviews
*
Book Club Clout
*How to Establish Name Recognition
*What You Need to Know About Press Kits
*
Determining the Effectiveness of Book Conference Attendance
*Online Magazine Promoting
*
How to Take Your Promoting To the Next Level
*
Using Visual Presentation to Your Advantage
*Anthology Considerations
*
Cross Promotions
*
The Ministry of Writing

Each of the aforementioned articles can stand alone. However, using them collectively is a tool well-worth developing for your future strategies.

Our presenters were not randomly chosen. Each were prayed about and selected according to the need for the vision of this seminar. I encourage you to not close the door on this seminar. Take the time to visit the sites of the contributors. Email them with questions or concerns you might have. Send them a word of encouragement.

Let us embrace the fact that it does take a village to nurture a healthy community. There is power in numbers and as our numbers increase, I pray that we are mindful to give as it has been given unto us; beyond that, I pray that you give regardless of what has been withheld from you: For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.

Again I thank you for the honor of being able to serve you.

Linda!

TODAY'S FEATURED AUTHOR -- FON JAMES



Faith Walker, Gavin Roberts, Chrissy Jackson and Remi Aguilar are all seniors who attend historically Black, Jackson State University , where the four are members of the school's well-known marching band. It's their last year in college and as the fall semester begins, the lives of these four friends take an unexpected turn when two of the friends accidentally sleep together. While temptations of sex and alcohol are as common as textbooks and pencils for these college students, this little sex incident rocks the core of their friendship bond and slowly begins to unravel the once tightly-woven group. Will the friendship between these four outlast the outcome of this one-night stand?

MEANWHILE ON THE CAMPUS YARD -- Faith has once-again renewed her celibate lifestyle. For the last three years she's been going back and forth on her commitment to no sex, all in the name of keeping her man satisfied and happy. Even though she's been down this "commitment to no sex" road before after enduring a life changing incident freshman year, she's not letting anything further compromise her promise to God and to herself. But as the fall semester begins, her renewed celibacy goal gets abruptly interrupted when she experiences an unexpected betrayal that makes her question if she's really doing the right thing by not giving up the goods anymore. To make matters worse, a big family secret is revealed that leaves Faith clinging to the only stable thing in her life. her faith in God.

STEP INTO THE LIVES OF FAITH, Gaven, Chrissy, and Remi to see how temptation, betrayal, faith and forgiveness all play and integral role in the journey to growing closer to God.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fon James is a new and upcoming author who recently penned her first Christian Fiction novel, Back and Forth a fresh, authentic, young adult novel that taps into the collegiate world (released November 6, 2007 - Tucker House Publishing).

Her short story, A Mother, Her Son, and THE Father is featured in the inspirational anthology, The Triumph of My Soul, which was released in December '07 by Peace In the Storm Publishing.
As a former journalist and freelance writer, Fon's full-name byline has appeared in numerous daily newspapers including:The Houston Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, and The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. She has also written articles for local Houston publications including Westchase Today and the Houston Chronicle’s neighborhood weekly edition, This Week. Additionally, she has worked as writer/editor for Intele-Card News, a national telecom publication and H Texas Magazine (formerly Inside Houston). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Jackson State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix (Houston Campus).
Fon James resides in the Houston , TX area with her husband. She is an active member of both Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and The Fort Bend Church in Sugarland , TX . Her motto and favorite scripture: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

To learn more about the author and her works visit her at: http://www.fonjames.com/

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The Ministry Of Writing: Putting Jesus Into The Business Aspect Of It
By Rhonda McKnight


“But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33

Last month our writer’s group had a craft session on “Vertical Writing”. Dee Stewart, the facilitator defined vertical writing as “the process, whereby the author’s writing either moves the reader toward having a centered communication with God or keeps the reader centered.” I don’t know if vertical writing is an actual term or one she coined herself. I do know it was a powerful lesson; one that reminded many of us that in the mist of spinning our stories, not to forget the purpose God has called us to as writers of Christian fiction.

I was comfortable with the verticality of the written word. I’d been careful to pray God’s will for my novel from the first to the last page, but something was niggling in the recesses of my mind, I hadn’t done something right. This led to deep pondering about the ministry aspect of my writing and then the business as a whole. I call it ministry-business, because in my world, all ministry is serious business. I pulled out my mission statement and marketing plan. The niggling became a loud voice that chastised me for moving from the writing, selling phase in my own strength; apart from God. I hadn’t even talked to HIM about it at all. I thought the marketing, i.e. the business side was my thing. After all, I “do business” five days a week for a paycheck. In my humanness I had left HIM out of the most important aspect of the ministry…getting the book into the hands of the people. I had let my education and training, govern my choices and motivate my actions instead of letting God guide me in a way that would honor the ministry most.

I thought about the lesson on keeping it vertical and decided that “it” needed to be HIM and me all the way down the line. From every word I write to every book I sign. So I developed a weekly habit of to ensure I keep the up and down lines of communication open. Here is a list of what every author should do to ensure verticality:

1. Pray about your target audience. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. One of the great things about writing in our genre is that God has already promised us a great harvest. There’s room enough for us all. But we write a diversity of stories. Some of us like to believe we can evangelize the world, when in fact we have a specific people to minister to, because in the body of Christ each one has their role. Like the arm sees and the ear hears, Novel A may evangelize the unsaved, while Novel B may minister to those in the pews. Neither is any less important than the other, but they are different. As writers we must look at our work objectively and through a narrow lens, not a broad one. Ask God who the message is for. Then you write a marketing plan to go after that audience. It’s Marketing 101 and its Bible 101 to keep it vertical by asking God HIS will.

2. Pray about your marketing budget. How much God and where do you want me to get it from? After you’ve set your budget, figure out a way to track what works. There are some aspects of advertising that can be measured such as the back end of your website or surveys to your readers. Ask them how they learned about you. Remember we serve a God of multiplication. No matter how limited your budget may be, it will be enough. If you keep it vertical, God will stretch it. He’s still in the fish sandwich business.

3. Pray about the vendors. This is with respect to purchasing promotional materials, placing advertisements, etc. Never spend money outside the will of God. Easier said than done, right. We’ve all done it before; made a rash purchasing decision and regretted it later. Keeping it vertical will eliminate costly lessons.

Another point for consideration when choosing vendors is that as Christians we’re a part of a system that God uses for Kingdom business. Sometimes the Lord will want you to use a particular vendor because that “Christian” needs the business; likewise the Lord will bless you with in the same way. People will buy your books, because you need a sale. This may require you to occasionally pay more for a particular product or service, but in the end the payoff in the spirit realm is worth every dime. This is not to say that we should pay more for goods or services from Christians all the time, it’s just a reminder that sometimes things are bigger than us and we need to be mindful of that. Keeping it vertical will help us to lean not to our own understanding. HE will direct our path and our checkbook.

4. Pray about your book tour. All authors tour or should tour. Be it one city (the one you live in) or twenty cities across the country or all over the world by virtue of a virtual tour. A tour is necessary. When Jesus entered a town the people flocked to him. But honestly, it wasn’t all supernatural that they flocked to him in the crowd. Many heard about his arrival before he entered the city grates. This can be seen in several scriptures such as Matthew 4:24, Mark 27, Luke 18:36-37, Luke 14:23 and in John 4:39 it tells us the Samaritan woman became a personal P.R. campaign for Jesus. You need to publicize your tour with as much publicity as you can possibly get. Pray about the right newspapers and radio shows. Don’t always go after the big fish; remember a lot of little fish can reach a large audience as well.

I have two writer friends who recently shared stories about their book tours. One was ecstatic about her tour. It was short, less than a week I believe and she visited several cities in the Midwest, sold lots of books and learned from the other authors and readers. Another friend has the exact opposite story. She’s even retained an attorney to get her out of the legal obligation to continue with this nationwide tour group. I surmised from the conversation that God had nothing to do with the decision making. Ask God where your readers are, so you don’t waste your two most valuable resources – time and money. Keeping it vertical and God will make it fruitful.

Are you starting to see a common theme here? It all begins with prayer…with keeping the communication between you and God moving “up and down”, from HIS lips to your ears and heart.

In closing, I’ll acknowledge the fact that most writers don’t like to market. Some even resent having to do it, because they believe it’s their job to be creative and the publisher’s job to promote and market the book. While this makes sense, it’s just not the reality of this business anymore. Not unless you’re Karen Kingsbury or Frank Peretti, who should be selling egads of books based on shelf space alone. I want to caution you to be careful about disliking the marketing of aspect of your ministry, because it’s the things we like the least that we procrastinate about and sometimes never do. Remember, the Lord had you to write your story for a reason. There’s someone out there, I believe many someones who need to read it. Put Jesus into every aspect of the business and you’ll reap the harvest if you faint not.

References:
Dee Stewart on Vertical Writing at
http://aratus.typepad.com/tma/2008/06/3-steps-to-self.html
Scripture text Matthew 6:33 taken from God’s Word®Translation


About the Author

Rhonda McKnight Nain’s novel, Issues of the Heart will be released under her pen name, Rhonda McKnight December 2009 with
Urban Christian Books.

I live in an Atlanta suburb with my family. I work full-time as a policy and training specialist for a federal food and nutrition program. I like it, but I think I'd enjoy being a full-time writer much more. I love the Lord, love the Bible, love to pray and love to meet other folks who enjoy the same. Oh, I also love to read, a good book and really enjoy socializing and making new friends. Please visit me at:
www.rhondamcknight.blogspot.com

TODAY'S FEATURED AUTHOR -- JULIA THOMAS


It is part of human nature for us to seek ultimate happiness and to want more than what our eyes have ever seen. As life is never perfect, people tend to get frustrated about their lives, and in the process they eventually lose their sense of purpose. “Never Say Never” is a compelling new novel about the lives four young women of a colour whose friendship dates back to childhood.

It presents the story of how their lives emerged from early adolescence into adulthood. Through the pages of this work, readers will meet an unforgettable quartet — Amanda, a successful doctor, LaNae an entrepreneur, Monique, a hairstylist, and Celeste, an educator — and through each of their stories, they will witness the obstacles that comes with careers, their own search for meaning and happiness, and ultimately discover their relationships that evolve around family, friendship and love.

Through friendship, these women grow and evolve, both individually and collectively. The message of this book is clear: You might not know yourself as well as you think you do or know what you want out of life and everything that shows up unplanned is not an unfortunate thing.

Julia Thomas discovered her love for the experiences, journeys, and adventures created through the written word at an early age. She began experimenting with this interest by writing poetry, short stories and song lyrics. Thomas’s excitement with the wonderful journeys one could experience through reading; finally led her to write her first novel. When You Say “Never, It Don’t Mean “NEVER.” Sometimes We Do the Very Thing We Said We Would Never Do!
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Julia is the youngest of eight children. She is the mother of two daughters, Dawnte and Traci, and the grandmother of Chloe Jai. When Julia is not sharing her stories with the friends and relatives, she is a realtor in the Victorville and Los Angeles area. In her spare time, she enjoys being involved with church actives, watching movies, hanging out with her sisters and spoiling her granddaughter Chloe. Julia currently resides in Victorville, California.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



CROSS PROMOTING
By Dr. Linda Beed


We go into business with the objective being to succeed. The definition of success can and does vary from person to person. Some measure it in terms of financial gain, name notoriety or even by negativity associated with their name. Regardless the mindset, one constant for those of us in the literary profession is the necessity to succeed. In order to do so we rely heavily upon promotions.

Having a website, monthly eblasts, and a newsletter is a good start, but promoting is an ongoing process. Be forewarned -- promoting is not for the faint of heart. It requires prayer, planning, discipline and endurance.

As I am growing in the industry one thing I have found is that cross promoting is a strategy that can be a blessing. If you are not careful where and with whom you join forces with, it could be a potential disaster.

Today I would like to share some of my thoughts and suggestions on Cross-Promoting.

What Is Cross Promoting?
Cross promotion is a strategy entered into by two or more entities for the specific purpose of reaching a broader, commonly shared demographic.

What Are The Advantages of Cross Promoting?

It broadens your clientele base – By joining forces with another you are able to reach a wider variety of customers in places you might not have otherwise.

You can connect with more people -- You reach more potential clients by working with others who are contacting the same groups of people. If they were not previously your customers, they could be with this venture in the very near future.

It saves you time – When members of the cross promotion team do their part, more people are reached more quickly.

It saves money – Expenses for events, materials, travel etc. can be shared equally among partners.

It ignites creativity – Two heads are better than one aptly applies in this situation. One or two more points of view can take planning and implementation to higher levels.

The opportunity to cross-promote is attractive in many ways. However, in order to maintain a glowing view of the option, there is much to consider:
*Who will be an asset to what you are trying to achieve?
*Will you be an asset or a liability to their goal?
*Do you really have a common goal?
*Will your individual personalities allow you to work toward a common goal without fallout?

Once you have come to a common ground develop a clear action plan:
*The plan should be detailed and thorough
*Be sure that each participant has a clear vision of the group goals
*Discuss in detail, costs as well as expectations of personal involvement

Don’t try to outdo the vision:
*Work with what you know and build outward
*Begin with a manageable plan that begins with the familiar that spreads toward unknown territory. Leave room for adaptation.

Integrity and Etiquette:
*Honor your commitments
*Don’t forget to say thank you
*Be encouraging to one another
*Be a giver not just a receiver
*Do not use others sites to post your information without permission

At the end of the agreed commitment access the process to determine:
*What worked
*What could be improved upon
*What did people enjoy
*What positive feedback needs to be adhered to
*Who will continue with the group
*If you will invite new members
*How will you use what you have learned for the success of future promotions

Cross-promoting can be exciting, educational and beneficial. Depending upon your strategy it will show your passion for family, community a particular cause, etc. Above all, it allows you and others to grow beyond their comfort zone.

I pray that this information has been helpful to you. As always, it is up to you to determine which avenues of promotion are best for you.

Linda!





THE DAMASCUS ROAD AUTHORS
The Damascus Road Authors is comprised of six servants seeking to fulfill the Great Comission by taking their message of Christ to the world through their collective works. The members Maurice Gray, Jr., Kim Brooks, LaCricia A’ngelle, Jacquelin Thomas, Wanda B. Campbell and Linda Beed) have known one another in one capacity or another for several years. The idea to cross promote had been discussed for some time and officially began in January 2008.

Support has been given in the form of website and blog promotions, eblasts to personal and associates lists, distribution of promotional items and the selling of books at personal events. Monthly, we have been blessed with alternating print and live radio interviews. Topics are varied and center around the passion of which we write about. Our latest interview was with Minister Cheryl Merchant -- Healing and Forgiveness Part 2:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Minister-Cheryl

Although we chose not to set up cross-country tours, we have been blessed to come together at several literary events this year. Our next personal appearance will be at the Christian Author’s and Children’s Literacy Expo (October 25th) in Raleigh, NC. Details of the event will soon be available on our site.

TODAY'S FEATURED AUTHOR - KEVIN WAYNE JOHNSON


Give God the Glory! Know God & Do the Will of God Concerning Your Life Study Guide
By: Kevin Wayne Johnson
Author of the Give God the Glory! series of books and devotionals

The Give God the Glory! nine-book series by multiple-award winning and best-selling Christian author, Kevin Wayne Johnson, continues to expand around the world. Johnson enthusiastically embraces God's Word, not only for his life, but presents it in such a way that it is easy to grasp, encouraging his readers to apply the principles therein for a more victorious Christian life.

The new STUDY GUIDE, scheduled for publication on September 2, 2008, embraces and expands upon the core message of the first book (now in its 5th printing) in the series: Know God (mental) and Do the Will of God (action) Concerning Your Life. Systematically divided into two parts with three chapters each, this STUDY GUIDE format navigates students, readers, booklovers, and Bible teachers through an in-depth Bible study to broaden one's knowledge of God's Word and to develop a closer walk with Him.

Johnson's ministry, Writing for the Lord Ministries, includes the series of books and devotionals, speaking at multiple venues, teaching God's Word, and publishing books, articles and devotionals.

"Give God the Glory! offers useable information that can be referred to time and time again in your library." – Purpose Magazine, Columbus, OH

"Give God the Glory! is a literary blessing to all who will read it. – Pastor Ronald L. Owens, New Hope Baptist Church, Metuchen, NJ

"The author has done extensive research of The Holy Bible and various secular resources. Reading this book will provoke one to consider their purpose for living." – Pastor Melvin Johnson, Founder, True Disciple Ministries Bible Institute, Somerville, NJ

"Kevin Wayne Johnson joyously embraces the words of God through the Bible and his acts of Christian faith." – Valder Beebe, Dallas BET Newspaper, Dallas


The Give God the Glory! series of books and devotionals are distributed throughout the United States, Canada, and internationally by STL Distribution of North America – http://www.stl.distribution.com/, INGRAM, and Black Christian Book Distributors, LLC – http://www.blackcbd.com/

About the Founder & Author

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Kevin Johnson currently lives in Clarksville, Maryland, with his wife and three young sons. He founded Writing for the Lord Ministries in 2000 and is the author of the nine-book series – Give God the Glory! – winner of twelve literary /media awards, including 2006 and 2007 Christian Publisher of the Year, Book Expo America, African-American Pavilion.

Johnson's radio and television show - Give God the Glory! - has aired on VoiceAmerica.com and BlackTVOnLine.com, respectively, from 2004 to 2007, reaching a global audience. When he is not writing, Johnson and his family are active members of Celebration Church, Columbia, Maryland, where he serves as President of the WIN (Bible) Institute, on the ministerial and maturity leadership teams, in the children's church ministry, and as adjunct professor at the National Bible College and Seminary, Fort Washington, Maryland.

Kevin also serves as National Secretary, Church of God National Men's Ministry/Conference. He attests everyday that God uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things!

To learn more about Author Johnson and his series go to: http://www.writingforthelord.org/

Monday, August 25, 2008


ARE ANTHOLOGIES A FIT FOR YOU?
By Elissa Gabrielle

Greetings Family, my name is Elissa Gabrielle, I am a multi-genre writer and contributor to several anthologies, including The Triumph of My Soul, which is the first in a series of inspirational anthologies which are scheduled to release in 2009.
So, how are you doing today? Blessed? Amen? I hope so. I’m really excited about being a guest blogger today. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Linda Beed, who is one of the kindest, most intelligent women I have had the pleasure of knowing, for the invite.

Okay, so let’s get started. Today, we are discussing anthologies.

Is participating in an anthology right for you?

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on many things.

If you’re a new writer, an anthology is a great way to reach new readers and get your name out there. You can possibly develop a following just from your participation in an anthology. In 2007, I was blessed with the opportunity to participate in an anthology published by author and publisher, Jessica Tilles. And membership does have its privileges. Because of my contributions in her anthology, two under my name and one under my pseudonym, I developed a pretty sizeable fan base. I received a ton of emails upon the book’s publication, and still receive emails to this day. Those readers keep in touch and have purchased my other books and eagerly anticipate the release of future works.

Have you truly read the call for submissions?

I’ve read on several boards, the disappointment by some new authors about their participation in an anthology. Their major gripe is that they haven’t made a dime. But, was a dime offered in the call for submissions? You must be very careful, and read thoroughly, the call for submissions prior to submitting to an anthology. If the call for submissions indicates monetary compensation, then that represents your “dime.” If the call indicates a certain amount of books as compensation, then that’s your “dime.” I cannot stress how important it is to read and understand the call for submissions prior to submitting.

Taking advantage of your participation?

When you are accepted into an anthology, consider it a blessing. Your short story should put your name in front of a whole new set of readers, which may turn into your readers. Anytime you have the opportunity to reach a new audience, run with it, and ride it till the wheels fall off. Remember, every time you’re published, you’re adding a new entry on to your writer’s resume. You can also take a bold step and see if the publisher is looking for manuscripts. Trust me, this has happened and contributors have received publishing offers because of their participation and also their tenacity.

Can participating in an anthology be a bad thing?

Sure. It is important to look at the track record of the publishing company who is compiling and publishing the anthology. As with anything in life, you should do your research.

*Have they done an anthology before?
*Have you heard horror stories about them?
*Have you seen any of their work?

Marketing and Promotions

When I decided to create the Triumph series, I knew I would have to come in with a bang. A relative newcomer with a huge idea is usually dismissed by most until proven otherwise. In order for me to make noise with the first in the series, I knew that I had to step outside of my comfort zone, by trying something different and thinking outside of the box. Sure, I had some heavyweights in the book like Jessica Tilles, who is a best selling author and incredibly gifted writer, and Cheryl Lacey Donovan who is a phenomenon in the making, but with many new authors in the book, it became even more important to create a buzz. In my heart, I knew that all of the contributors were special and truly talented, but my knowing this didn’t mean a thing. I had to show and prove.

How do you step outside of the box?

Well, for Triumph, I decided to dedicate a website to the book itself, for several reasons. The first reason being that I was so grateful for all of the wonderful people I was working with on the anthology. Because I was it was important to me as a publisher to do everything possible to ensure that the contributors were seen and heard. I also wanted the site, http://www.thetriumphofmysoul.com/ to be a one stop shop, where a potential reader could learn more about the authors, read excerpts, view the contributors’ itineraries, and view photos of the various signings. The site also links to the various contributors websites, thus allowing them more exposure.

Also developing a media kit for the book was a great idea. The media kit consisted of a press release, and more information about each author. The kit also contained blurbs from various authors who read advanced review copies and endorsed the book.

Creating a Myspace page for the book allowed garnered more exposure for the book and more potential readers.

You really have to treat your book like a product and market your product to your potential consumer.

How does your product reach the consumer?

The same way that bottle of Pepsi reaches your kitchen table. Well, sort of. In order to get this product to you I had to create the brand, research and implement brand marketing and strategy, by way of radio interviews, print and online media outlets and word of mouth.

Authors do benefit from participation

Authors Cheryl Lacey Donovan, Lorraine Elzia and Linda R. Herman, contributors to The Triumph of My Soul, share their experience:

“Being a part of the triumph experience has been more than I could ever imagine. Elissa Gabrielle is a godsend. I am truly thankful to her for the opportunity she has afforded me.”
~Cheryl Lacey Donovan, author of the forthcoming The Ministry of Motherhood

“Upon submitting to The Triumph of My Soul, I thought I was just submitting to another anthology, another avenue to add a publication to my writer's resume. That was my goal...little did I know that inclusion in this anthology would be a turning point in my life and my career as an author.
~Lorraine Elzia, author of the forthcoming Mistress Memoirs

“As a contributor to The Triumph of My Soul, I gained more writing experience as well as exposure. It was quite the experience working with Elissa and the other talented contributors, connecting through our yahoo group, website, and MySpace. We're a family!”
~Linda R. Herman, author of Consequences

Gee whiz, I’ve been told that I’m long-winded, and after reading through this, I’d have to agree. I’m here to answer any questions you may have. And I look forward to communicating with you all.

So, ask away, I’m all ears!

Elissa Gabrielle is an author, publisher and founder of the greeting card line – Greetings from the Soul: The Elissa Gabrielle Collection.

The Triumph series was birthed out of a need I saw in those around me. I heard and witnessed their heartaches. It seemed that the weight of the world had fallen on their shoulders in such a way that many were succumbing to the problem. They had forgotten that God still loves them. Many of these people don’t read the types of books that would lead them to God. However, many of them would read a book by their favorite author, and even one that their favorite has contributed to. With this series, these readers are introduced to stories and circumstances that have encouraged, inspired and enlightened them. Its goal is to encourage and to inspire, and the first book in the series has done just that.

Elissa has been nominated for Self-Published Author of the Year for The Triumph of My Soul for the 2008 African American Literary Awards Show. If you like you may cast your vote at: http://www.createsurvey.com/c/70819-bwXj6C/.

You can learn more about Elissa and the Triumph Series at: http://http://www.thetriumphofmysoul.com/
CONTEST - CONTEST - CONTEST

In the spirit of giving we are having a contest today. Here is what you have to do.

The first person who can post (in the comments section), the web addresses of each contributor to The Triumph anthology, will be our winner.

Contributors to the anthology are not eligible. LOL

Every so often, an anthology is written that is meant to inspire and uplift; to fortify and nourish, to comfort and reassure, but most of all, to bring you closer to a place of peace and resolve.

The Triumph of My Soul anthology has stories for everyone who has ever experienced the ups and downs of life. Whether you're a parent who has lost a child, a man or woman who have been the victim of abuse, someone who has lost their identity in their love for another human being, survived a life-threatening illness, have been knocked down only to get back up time and time again…whatever your trial or tribulation, at the end there is Triumph.

Inspirational, prolific, heartfelt encouraging stories featuring Essence Best-selling author, Bill Holmes, Motivational Speaker & Talk Show Host, Cheryl Donovan, Best-selling author, Elissa Gabrielle, Karibu Best-Selling author Jessica Tilles, and College Professor and Ph.D. candidate, Dike Okoro, the highly-talented, Lorraine Elzia, the eye-opening Agnes B. Levine, the uplifting Fon James, the strong Jarold Imes, the provocative Kim Robinson, the magnificent Keshia Dawn, the sensitive Allyson Deese, the determined Linda R. Herman, the progressive Ebonee Monique, the comforting Jacqueline Moore, the survivor Linda Wattley, and the butterfly Casche Russell.
To learn more about the book and the authors go to: http://www.peaceinthestormpublishing.com/


Sunday, August 24, 2008

CONTEST WINNER & FREE DOWNLOADABLE EBOOK FROM TYWEBBIN CREATIONS


For those who leave comments or participate over the two day period, we can pull names for one person to receive a free ecard/eblast graphic designed by Tywebbin Creations to use with the online PR company of your choice.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE........OUR WINNER IS -- SHELIA LIPSEY / CONGRATULATIONS!
___________________________________________________
To enhance your seminar experience, TYWEBBIN CREATIONS has graciously proved a FREE DOWNLOADABLE EBOOK -- The Next Level in Online Marketing

Presentation Is Everything
By Debra Owsley


As the owner of Simply Said, I provide unique reading accessories for authors and readers. Attending a wide range of literary events satisfies my reading and professional needs.

The social aspect of the gatherings allows me to acquaint myself with the presenters and attendees. Foremost it allows me to look at things from two perspectives:

* Taking inventory of what products are being presented.
* Accessing what has been done and what should not have been done

Before you attend your next event ask yourself this question -- what’s going to make YOU stand out at a book event?

Here’s my two cents…

Atmosphere is everything – Decorate your space!!!

If you are a romance author, bring some romance with you and create an ambiance!

If I were an author I would have a suitcase filled with props and tools to make my signing table or booth EXTRAORDINARY.

Have a “Go” bag that is always ready with the tools you will need to make your space “POP”, and mind you, P.O.P. also stands for Point Of Purchase, which is what you are after.

* Use bright and attractive colors, they draw the eyes to you
* Tablecloths
* Posters
* Have a banner
* Have bookmarks and postcards***
* Stack your books attractively
* Use plate stands to stand them up
* Have CD’s and samplers of your book as giveaways
* Show your trailers or slide shows, add theme music, and add a pod cast on your laptop
or a portable DVD player
* Invest in gifts for those book clubs you want to woo and place them into pretty baskets
If you are shy, the props and setups will help draw people to you.

When I attend book events, I try to have a theme, or find out what the event theme is so that everything pulls together. The goal is to stand out, be remembered and have your information retained.

BUILD YOUR FAN BASE

*The object of the game is to draw people in -- MADE YOU LOOK!
Once you get their attention make your pitch

* PUT YOUR BOOK IN THEIR HANDS!!! AND Smile!!!!
I have seen many authors do this and they sell more than those who just point to them or hold
it themselves. Remember that you are marketing yourself as well as your book.

* DON'T JUST SIT BEHIND THE TABLE EXPECTING THEM TO COME TO YOU….
You must DRAW THEM TO YOU

* KEEP YOUR SALES PITCH TO THREE TO FOUR MINUTES
This is the length of most people’s attention span, especially if you are at a book festival

* DON’T LET THEM GET AWAY WITHOUT GETTING THEIR INFORMATION
Have them sign your guest book. This builds your mailing list. Send thank you notes thanking for coming and mentioning any upcoming events

AT THE IN-STORE SIGNING

You're still a little shy, and you want to get the discussion started, or they are a little up tight because they are a little nervous. Hmmmmm, what’s an author to do????

Play a game of Charades about your book or create some type of interactive game. These activities break the ice and allow your guest to win a prize. Something personalized with your contact information is a great giveaway.

YOUR PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL!!!!

When you visit my site: http://www.simply-said.net/ you can view the slide show ‘DON’T END UP HERE’. It will show you where most of your postcards and bookmarks end up.

This slide show represents the end of every book festival I have ever attended.

Now let me very clear, some venues are appropriate for the bookmarks that you spend $100.00 for 5000 bookmarks. They are appropriate for browsers stopping by to see what you have as a giveaway. BUT, my experience has been that they are bent and worn before I get home, if they get home.

When you meet that publisher, editor, or book club group that you really want to make an impression on, and for them to remember you, do you really want to give them a bookmark that will not be in the best shape when they get home? Do you want to hand them yet ANOTHER 5000 type bookmark that everyone else has?

You want to give something that will make them want to hold on to your information; that is a great representation of you investing in yourself, and that displays your uniqueness.

What about your more intimate venues where you also want to leave a thank you gift as well as a promo tool?

As I mentioned earlier you need to stand out, be remembered and most of all, you want to have your contact information retained. Pause and think! Be creative.

BRANDING YOURSELF

* What does your BRAND say about you?
* What do you want to be most remembered by?
* What is your signature?
* What’s going to make YOU stand out in a sea of other authors?
* What do you do different?

All of your promotional materials should have
* Your name
* Book cover
* ISBN
* Contact information
* A tag line or a phase

If space permits
* Current and up-coming releases
* Past works
* Tour schedule
* All of your books
* Your picture

As I close I want you to remember:

* What not to do to blend in
* What you need to create a buzz and a memory
* You do not want to disappear in a sea of fellow authors
* What to do in order to POP
* Not to expect the people to come to you, you must draw them to you
* You are marketing yourself as well as your book
* Your “GO” bag should always have the tools you need
* You want to be retained
* You want people to follow up
* You want your BRAND to be recognized
* You want your presentation to be unique
* You want to be EXTRAORDINARY


DEBRA OWSLEY is the owner of SIMPLY SAID™. The company offers handmade, personalized, bookmarks, book thongs, and love notes. I would love to personalize some of these items just for you. They are great gifts for fans, giveaways, book signings, promotional events, contests on your website and press kits.

Visit her on the web at: http://www.simply-said.net/
Call her at: 954 562-5709
Debra Owsley -- For Authors, Book Stores, Book lovers

TODAY'S FEATURED AUTHOR - VANESSA DAVIS GRIGGS


From Vanessa Davis Griggs comes the second book in her Blessed Trinity Trilogy. Part Terry McMillan, part Jan Karon, Griggs delivers the story of a congregation hoping for heaven--while dealing with life right here on earth... When Pastor George Landris, the dreadlock-wearing minister of the new mega-church, Followers of Jesus Faith Worship Center, urges his congregation to approach the altar and cast off their strongholds--also known as their weaknesses--it's the start of intense soul-searching for many.

From a married couple's twin addictions to gambling and gluttony, to a female member's adulterous affair, a computer expert's obsession with cyber-porn and a therapist's workaholism, the Pastor's church family is about to open the proverbial floodgates. And that's just the beginning. There's also the woman whose battle with mental illness hides a buried trauma, and the religious devotee who's so busy fearing the devil she's forgotten what faith is really about. The plot only thickens when the Pastor's wife lightens his load by helping him counsel--and finds herself at the center of a decades-long deception.

Insightful, witty, and always poignant, Vanessa Davis Griggs delivers another compelling novel, taking readers behind the scenes of mega-churches, and showing the amazing power that redemption and faith can have on people's lives.

Vanessa Davis Griggs is an author and motivational speaker who adores the power of words both written and spoken. At the end of 1996, this former BellSouth employee left 18 years of service stepping out on faith and decided to pursue her purpose and passion--writing. Proving out Proverbs 18:16, A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men, she began her own company (Free To Soar) emphasizing the taking off of limits as she travels around the country inspiring others--young and old--to take flight and do the same.

Vanessa is the recipient of numerous recognitions including: June 2007 recipient of the Arts and Letters Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Birmingham Alumnae Chapter, March 2006 recipient of The Greater Birmingham Millennium Section National Council of Negro Women Inspiration Award, 2004-2005 Jasper Outstanding Achievement Award. Wings of Grace received a Road to Romance Reviewer's Choice Award.

Vanessa pens a column May I Have a "Word" With You? that appears weekly in The Birmingham Times and monthly in WOW (Women of the Word) Magazine.
Vanessa resides in Irondale (home of the Whistle Stop Café and Fried Green Tomatoes), a community just outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

Vanessa is the author of novels: Destiny Unlimited, The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan published by BET Books/New Spirit (now Kimani Press) and Wings of Grace (also published under New Spirit), Blessed Trinity published by Kensington Books/Dafina..May 2008 the Blessed Trinity Trilogy saga continues...with Book 2 Strongholds published by Kensington Books/Dafina.

September 30, 2008 releasing Book 3 If Memory Serves

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The Next Level of Online Marketing - Web 2.0

by Tyora Moody

Outline for Day 2
Friday, August 22, 2008

Recap from Day 1
So, What Do I Need on My Web site?
Your Online Presence. Go for it!

Recap from Day 1

Now do you really have to try all of these social media platforms?

No, but you should explore different types to find out what works for you. Stay active in your favorite community whether it’s around your personal blog or on a social networking site. The key to social media or Web 2.0, it should compliment your Web site, where your main online presence is located.

Plus promotion should be more than posting announcements or PR releases. This is the time to get out there to meet your readers and let them meet you. Social media allows you to connect to people you might never meet in person. When a person has an experience with you, hopefully a good one AND then enjoy reading your books, you’ve created an INFLUENCER. Someone who will TELL OTHERS about your book.

Ah hah! Now that’s marketing you can use!

Personally, I love blogging and twitter. I do plan on trying the audio format and definitely a book trailer. What are you going to try? We’ll talk more about how to get you started later.

So, What Do I Need on My Web site?

1. Domain name and web hosting

Like I said yesterday, there are two things you need to get started on a Web site. 1) You need to budget for a domain name and Webhosting.

The domain name is usually yourname.com. For branding purposes, it’s always best to use your name unless you are writing under a pen name. There are other extensions like “.net”, “.tv”, “.us”, etc, but most people recognize “.com” as a company and you are in a sense a company or a brand.

When you do a domain name research, sometimes the name you want may be taken so it’s good to have a list of alternatives. For example, author Monique Miller wanted moniquemiller.com for her domain name, but it was already taken. She opted for authormoniquemiller.com.

As you explore domain names think about whether people will have a hard time spelling your name or if someone shares your name. Author Tia McCollors ran into this issue and use not only TiaMcCollors.com, but also TiaWrites.com. Both domain names are directed to her author Web site.

If you decide to use a free Web site service like say Blogger.com, I recommend at least purchasing the domain so readers can find you. (Ex. RhondaMcKnight.net). Rhonda is doing an excellent job of marketing her name in preparation for her 2009 book release with Urban Christian.

A NOTE ABOUT BLOGS - Most sites now are run on a blogging system, so I don’t object to people using blogs for their Web sites. I’m actually encouraging people to go this route more and more.

I would like to recommend that you consider Typepad.com (pay) or Wordpress.com (free) instead of Blogger.com. It’s a lot easier, especially with Wordpress to make your Web site appear to resemble normal Web sites. Plus if you use the combination of Wordpress and your own webhosting, the customization you can do is truly mind-blowing and fun!

2. Elements Needed for a Web site

Now when putting together a Web site, one would think it would be obvious what to put on it, but in my years of designing Web sites, folks can really get bogged down when it comes to content and what type of pages.

Here are a few websites to take a look at: sharonewellfoster.com, tiamccollars.com, stacyhawksinsadams.com and pamelasamuelsyoung.com.

Some of the common elements or the basics:

Home: A homepage is the landing site for your website. First impressions count. Your latest book release should be a focal point when visitors enter your site. A lot of authors still want you to be aware of their other books so they will probably still use those books on the page.

Bio/About the Author: It’s up to you how much information you want to include. Definitely not TOO MUCH PERSONAL INFO. It’s the internet and you still have to use commons sense.

Books: Always if possible include a description, post an excerpt and have links available for Amazon, BN, etc. If you are selling the book, you might want to look into getting a PayPal account.

Tour dates or calendar: This is a must. Include your book signings. Any conferences where you will be speaking? Are you going to be a guest blogger somewhere? Let folks know where to find you. Are you going to be on television, radio, participating in a podcast? The key with a calendar – keep it updated.

Contact Page: I recommend getting a gmail or yahoo account. Keep it separate from your personal email if you can. Spammers can easily grab or harvest your email address from your Web site. Yahoo and Gmail do pretty good jobs of catching spam.

What are you offering? Some authors their speaking topics, book reviews, or tips for aspiring writers. You may have a link to a blog. Remember what we talked about yesterday. Online marketing includes relationship building. If you have the time and expertise, consider how you can expand your site to meet a need or offer a service.

DO NOT put or request irritating things on the site that will drive visitors away like …

· flash intros with no skip – preferably no intro at all especially if you want repeat visitors
· music that loads as soon as the visitor enters the page
· huge graphics with large file sizes – yes some people still use dial-up
· blinking animations
· large fonts
· clashing colors schemes

I could go on … but you get the idea. J

3. Branding – Your name is the brand

Whenever I sit down to create a mock-up for a site I always start with colors. I like to get a feel for a person so his or her personality shines through their brand. Whatever colors, logos, fonts, etc that you use for your Web site, keep the same concept as you work on print materials and online promos like eblasts.

Remember if you are a debut author or if there is a certain amount of time that has passed between your books, you have to teach people your name. Publishers spend a lot of time on creating the perfect book cover. Use those same techniques for marketing your brand.

4. Platform (Nonfiction)

Many writers are speakers. Platform may be more important for nonfiction writers, but it's probably helpful for fiction writers as well. Do you talk about domestic violence, cancer, parenting, divorce, etc in your fiction or nonfiction book? There is a possibility you can speak as an expert on this topic at a conference, on a radio show or on television. You can at least write articles for print or online publications.

Web sites to check out: gillistripplet.com, marriagesuccess.org, toniaspeaks.com

5. Audience

You need to know your audience.

CamillePeay.com. Camille’s YA book, Brittani, is marketed to young adult females. So, when we talked about her Web site, she wanted something not too cute, but would appeal to a young girl.

When you are talking to a web designer or if you are searching for a template, think about your audience. Do you want something that attracts a younger audience? If you write suspense, shouldn’t you think about darker colors versus pastels (even if you really like pastels)?

Plan for the future.

KellyStarlingLyons.com. Children's book author, Kelly Starling Lyons, has mainly written children's books, but when it came time to put together a Web site, she wanted to make sure it would appeal to young adults as well since she’s planning to write for a YA audience.

If you are going to write for more than one type of audience, you may have to think about branding yourself two different ways. Several authors who write adult books, have separate Web sites for their YA books.

Example:

Adult Fiction - http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com/
YA Fiction - http://www.thedivinedivas.com/

Your Online Presence. Go for it!

We talked about several forms of social media and we talked about some ideas to consider for your personal Web site.

Mind if I leave you a little homework assignment. J It’s the teacher in me.

Choose a social media platform that you have not tried yet. Here are a few below that I covered in this workshop.

1. Set up a blog. Free accounts are available at Blogger.com and WordPress.com. Set-up a schedule that works for you. Plan to blog for a month, maybe once or twice a week. Think about a topic you are passionate about and dive in.

Set up a Twitter account. Start following people. Here are a few familiar faces to get you started:

o Barack Obama – www.twitter.com/BarackObama (he will follow you back – really!!)

o Dee Stewart of Christian Fiction Blog - www.twitter.com/deegospel

o Marlive Harris / TheGRITS.com – www.twitter.com/thegritsdotcom

o Carla Nix – www.twitter.com/passion4life
o Pam Perry – www.twitter.com/pamperry
o Tyora Moody - www.twitter.com/cookieaisle
2. Setup up a MySpace page (or try another social networks.)Shoutlife (great community for authors)http://www.shoutlife.com/
Pam Perry of Ministry Marketing Solutions started one especially for authors.http://chocolatepagesnetwork.com/Book Marketing Networkhttp://bookmarket.ning.com/

3. Create a book trailer. Post to Youtube.com or Godtube.com. It doesn't have to be a published book.

4. Set up an account with Snapvine.com or Utterz.com. Record a message by phone. If you want to jump into your own radio show, sign up for http://www.blogtalkradio.com/

I hope you have taken away something from this workshop. Please pass it along to others and if you have questions, email me at webmaster@tywebbin.com or stop by Tywebbin.com.

Have a blessed weekend!

TODAY'S FEATURED AUTHOR - MaRITA TEAGUE


THE TASTE OF GOOD FRUIT
Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people?Sydney Ellington, her sister, Sherese Hightower, and their closest friend, Chanel Dubois, each ask this question as they encounter seemingly insurmountable challenges in The Taste of Good Fruit.Sydney has what she’s always dreamed of—a loving husband, a thriving career, and unshakable faith—that is, until she is faced with unimaginable heartbreak. Sydney has always worked hard to live a life that’s pleasing to God, but an unimaginable tragedy causes her to question how a loving God could have a purpose in her life. Sherese prides herself for avoiding hypocrisy at all costs, vowing that her childhood of sacrifice and neglect as a preacher’s daughter wouldn’t be continued through adulthood. Destined to be free of church drama, Sherese distances herself from church and faith, but the revelation of a devastating secret causes her to question all she thinks she knows about herself, faith, and the church.Although Chanel has shaken nearly all of the remnants of her turbulent childhood, she can’t seem to forgive her mother for the past. Her anger and trust issues gradually seep into Chanel’s already troubled marriage making her blind to the blessings around her. Only her faith can keep her from indulging in a tantalizing affair and from destroying the family she’s always prayed for.On a road trip to the south, the three best friends from upstate New York discover that heartache and loss can ultimately lead to The Taste of Good Fruit.

MaRita Teague has a Master’s in English and teaches at Northern Virginia Community College. She has publications in A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mother, All My Good Habits I Learned From Grandma, and Living the Serenity Prayer.MaRita writes in the Christian fiction genre because she is compelled to draw others to God through realistic and entertaining stories. Most importantly, however, she has said the stories she writes are characters faced with heart-wrenching losses and revelations who ultimately find solutions to their problems with Biblical principals. She has often said writing Christian fiction is her heartfelt passion and ministry.She currently teaches English Composition at Northern Virginia Community College and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Zedric, and her three sons. The Taste of Good Fruit is her first novel.

You can learn more about MaRita at: http://www.maritateague.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The Next Level of Online Marketing - Web 2.0
by Tyora Moody

I am your host Tyora Moody and I’m thrilled to be able to share this workshop with you. Now I am a computer nerd and also love teaching, so I hope NOT to overwhelm you. I have the unique position of being a web developer and a writer. As I currently polish my own manuscripts, I’m constantly exploring and making note of marketing options. There are so many options, sometimes it’s hard to keep up or know where to start.

This workshop is too lengthy to include in a blog post, so all participants will have access to the full workshop via a downloadable PDF (ebook) after this two-day seminar. Even though I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen, I still enjoy regular “paper.” J

If you have questions, feel free to post them in the comments section and I will post my response throughout the two day period and over the weekend.

Outline for Day 1
Thursday, August 21, 2008

1. Marketing Options
2. What is Web 2.0?
3. Social Media Platforms Authors and Writers Should Explore

Marketing Options

Who better to tell about your book then you? I want you to keep that in mind whether your book is published through traditional means or self-published.

If your book is contracted with a traditional publisher, they will do some marketing for you, but they will expect you to push your book too. Many publishers will ask for marketing plans as a part of the proposal.

If you choose to self-publish your book, understanding marketing is even more important to you. Being aware of the various marketing tactics, new and old, will benefit you either route you take on the road to publication.

Traditional Marketing Methods ARE Still Important

Now let me be clear, while I work from the online part of an author’s brand, I must emphasize traditional marketing methods should still be a part of your budget. Many of the Web 2.0 platforms I will introduce today are FREE, but DO NOT solely depend on these platforms to market your book.

My main goal today is to educate you on where the Internet is going since more and more people are online thanks to high-speed access. Personally, I rarely watch TV or even read magazines, so most of the information I receive about book releases and upcoming author events are from online marketing.

Now know one can be on the computer 24 hours a day. When you meet potential readers in person (salon, your child’s school, church, grocery store, etc), you definitely need to consider having business cards, bookmarks, postcards, and other print materials are definite line items in your budget. Research your local print shop or online places like VistaPrint.com for pricing. You probably don't need to order more than 250 at a time which is usually the minimum amount. Make adjustments as you go along.

PLEASE don’t create print materials from your personal printer. Invest money in materials that showcase your book cover and your photo professionally.

Online Marketing Methods – For Starters

The first thing you need for online marketing, which I hope you should know by now, is a Web site. Recently on his blog, literary agent Terry Whalin mentioned, “Several years ago, it was OK for an author not to have a website. In fact, there was a great deal of skepticism about anything online and whether it was true or not … in today's publishing climate, the Internet is often the first place that people turn for information about anything and anyone.”

Read the full article Why Author’s Need a Web Presence

It doesn't matter how you obtain a Web site. You can design it yourself (if you have the creative and graphic skills) or choose to hire someone. If you choose to do it yourself, keep it professional. Later, in this workshop, I will share some no, no’s when it comes to building a Web site. If you hire someone, compare prices. I purposely keep my prices at Tywebbin Creations for people on a budget.

DO plan to include two line items in your budget. For a Web site, you need a domain name and webhosting.

If you do not currently have a domain name, go to godaddy.com (or another inexpensive company). When you find the name that you desire, purchase the name immediately to make sure you have in your possession.

The second thing that most people don’t seem to be aware of is Webhosting. This is just as important as the domain name. Webhosting is basically renting space online for your Web site files to sit for the whole world to see. You can purchase both the domain name and webhosting at the same time on godaddy.com. I always prefer clients to purchase these items on their own. There are web design companies that will take care of all of this for you, but it’s always a good idea to understand what you are purchasing and why. You can also be sure that you are the “owner” of your domain name too, which is very important.

That’s enough about Web sites for now. I'm going to talk more about developing Web sites tomorrow. Remember your online presence begins with your Web site.

Online Advertising

In the age of text-messaging, email is still the dominant form of online communication for adults. I will show you some statistics from a recent survey later in this presentation about adults and their online activities.

NEWSLETTERS (HTML EMAIL): If you have the time, definitely consider starting a newsletter or mailing list. You can keep readers updated with your new book releases, speaking or book signing events. (Example companies: Constant Contact, Vertical Response, etc)

EBLASTS: As you grow your personal mailing list, you may want to consider hiring online publicists that concentrate on sending eblasts or ecards. There are quite a few dynamic public relations firms like Ministry Marketing Solutions, Good Girl Book Club Online, TheGRITS.com, etc. These companies have hundreds, in some cases thousands of subscribers. If you can afford these services definitely consider having a professional eblast created by a graphic designer.

BANNER ADS: Some popular Web sites offer ad space in the form of banner ads. Definitely ask these sites if they can provide statistical reports or be sure to add Google Analytics (or some type of stats system) to your Web site so you can monitor your hits and inbound sources (where people are coming from to get to your site).

OTHER: Don’t forget about press releases and media kits (usually you post these on your Web site).

What is Web 2.0?

Wikipedia says …

Web 2.0 is a term which describes the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0

Another term for you …

Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and "building" of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories, and understandings.

Did You Know 50% of U.S. Adults Use Social Media?

Read this brief blog post:
http://www.tywebbin.com/next/2008/08/did-you-know-half-of-us-adults-use-social-media/

The purpose of showing you these statistics is so you are aware of the changing internet. It’s more than just having a Web site these days. People want to connect to each other. Now text message is probably more for young people, and not very effective for marketing since this is a small circle of people like family and friends. I do want to talk a little more about blogging and social networks.

Let’s talk a little about relationship building.

Relationship Building
All you have to do is look at entertainment shows and magazines to see how hungry people are to relate to someone. This presentation is being presented through a Christian writer’s group and I’m a Christian writer. Christian writers have been gifted to spread the Gospel in a unique way especially if you're writing Christian fiction. Why not spend time beyond the pages of your book to meet people and build relationships?

Let's look at some social media platforms that may benefit you as an author and “minister” of the gospel. I’m not talking merely about making profits, but building a readership that will recognize YOUR NAME/YOUR BRAND. Even more importantly the person behind the characters, book covers, blurbs, etc

Social Media Platforms Authors and Writers Should Explore

I’m splitting this next section into two categories, blogging and social networking.

NOTE FROM PRESENTER: If you are viewing this on the BWChristianLit blog, I am providing links to this content to NOT overwhelm you. This content will have more screenshots in the downloadable ebook after the workshop.

Let’s Explore … Blogging

What is a blog? WATCH THIS VIDEO
http://www.tywebbin.com/next/2007/11/what-is-a-blog/

Popular platforms: blogger.com, wordpress.com or wordpress.org (self-hosted), typepad.com (pay)

Sample Blogs:

Many authors will use blogs to help other writers by posting about their personal publishing journey. Angela Benson, author of Up Pops the Devil is a perfect example. http://www.angelabenson.com/ (self-hosted wordpress)

If you have a certain niche or topic that you write about in your books, you can use this a jump off point for creating a blog. A good example of this is Linda Leigh Hargrove and her 17seeds.com blog where she talks about racial reconciliation. This is a topic also found in her Christian Fiction books, The Making of Isaac Hunt and Loving Cee Cee Johnson.
http://www.llhargrove.com/ (self-hosted wordpress)

NOTE FROM PRESENTER: I can’t cover much more about this topic on the blog post so stay tuned for the FREE downloadable ebook coming after this seminar.

Let’s Explore … Micro-blogging

Popular platforms: twitter.com, pownce.com, plurk.com

By now you may have heard about the phenomenon Twitter. This is another form of blogging known as micro-blogging Users are only allowed to post 140 characters at a time. So if you're not into creating a full-blown blog, you might like twitter. Don’t knock it until you try it. I think I had a twitter account for months before I decided to really check it out. Most people that I know, once you get started, it’s a whole lot of fun – and easy!

http://www.tyoramoody.com/
http://www.twitter.com/cookieaisle

Your twitter feed can easily be posted to your website so that people can check what you have been saying on twitter. If you click on TyoraMoody.com, you can see where I have the twitter feed included in the right sidebar.

Twitter is the best when it comes to networking. You can follow other people and if people like what you are saying, they will follow you. Sounds a bit like stalking I know, but really just try it. You can control who follows you, by blocking unwanted persons.

If an author has posted an excerpt for their upcoming book release to their Web site, you can draw traffic to your site by posting a twitter announcement.

Let’s Explore … Social Networking

What is Social Networking? WATCH THIS VIDEOhttp://www.tywebbin.com/next/2007/06/what-is-social-networking/

There are so many social networks these days. You really have to check them out for yourself to see what you really like and are comfortable joining. The KEY is to find one you enjoy, participate and network.

Popular platforms: myspace.com, facebook.com, ning.com

Now some social networks authors and writers might really like are shelfari.com, goodreads.com and shoutlife.com. These sites are great for meeting bookworms and other authors.

NOTE FROM PRESENTER: More on this topic in the FREE downloadable ebook coming after this seminar.

Let’s Explore … Video-Based Social Media

Popular platforms: youtube.com, vimeo.com, Godtube.com, 12seconds.tv

You might think of Youtube.com as a place where people post silly videos. If you have the time and the skill (or you can budget for this) create a book trailer. Most PC’s come with Window Movie Maker on it and Macs have a great selection of editing tools for videos.

The cool thing about Youtube, you can take the embed code for your video and add it to your Web site. So you don’t necessarily have to draw traffic to Youtube, but you can still bring readers or future readers to your Web site.

Check out Linda Leigh Hargrove’s site again to check out her great movie trailers.
http://www.llhargrove.com/

Let’s Explore … Audio-Based Social Media

Popular platforms: blogtalkRadio.com, utterz.com
You don’t necessarily have to start your own podcast or radio show, but if your platform calls for it, go for it! There are sources out there for you to get started. All you need is an account, and an assigned phone number. Like the videos, these sites provide embed codes so your audio files can be included on your site.

You definitely want to consider being a guest on someone’s show as a part of your promotional tour. Some online radio shows you might want to check out are: APOOO, Black Authors Network, Abundant Solution, On the Air with TheGRITS.com, and Ministry Marketing Solutions
Whew! That’s a Wrap for Today!

I have listed a lot of information on this particular part of the presentation. Tomorrow, I’m going to talk about how you can incorporate Web 2.0 into your Web site. If you have any questions, please feel to post them in comments section.

PRIZE (For One Person)For those who leave comments or participate over the two day period, we can pull names for one person to receive a free ecard/eblast graphic designed by Tywebbin Creations to use with the online PR company of your choice.FREE EMAIL QUOTES (For All Participants Aug 21 & 22)For those who leave comments or participate over the two day period, I can offer a free web quote or advice on how to improve their current web site.
FREE EMAIL QUOTES (For All Participants Aug 21 & 22)For those who leave comments or participate over the two day period, I can offer a free web quote or advice on how to improve their current web site.
Tyora Moody has worked as a web developer for ten years. She started Tywebbin Creations, her web and graphic design company in 2000. She has designed Web sites for Sharon Ewell Foster, Sherri Lewis, Tia McCollors and a host of others authors.