Friday, December 26, 2014
Sunday, December 7, 2014
This is Part 1 of a 2 part post.
I make it a habit to attend as many marketing webinars and teleseminars that I can. The last few I attended were about blogging. Listening to the other attendees I realized there are many people out there who need the basics in regard to internet marketing. These attendees were confused and overwhelmed.
Marketing is all around us - on a constant basis. While there are different strategies and tools, the purpose of marketing is to attract potential customers to your services or product. Then through purposeful and persuasive dialogue convince them that purchasing what you are offering is a wise decision.
At the root of any marketing strategy is visibility. Let's look at three ways to obtain that visibility:
1. LEARN! I consider this the foundation of any marketing strategy.
Imagine you're a kid in a toy store where everything is free. Every aisle, every shelf jammed packed with toys and all you have to do is take what you want.
Well, consider the internet your marketing toy store, just walk down the aisles and search the shelves for what you want or need.
We live in an unbelievably opportune time to learn about anything and everything without leaving our homes, and usually for free or at a nominal cost. There are so many resources online, such as: articles, blogs, webinars, videos, teleseminars, teleclasses, videos, eclasses, and ebooks. There are even FREE online conferences available.
Take advantage of as many of these resources that you can. Learn the skills and strategies you'll need to become a pro-marketer.
A fantastic free writers' conference is The Muse Online Writers Conference which is held in October. You should definitely take advantage of this valuable opportunity to learn and network. (http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com)
2. Begin to create that visibility.
A: Create a website or at the very least a blog
Okay, this is where you will need to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty. If you are completely new to all this I recommend starting with a blog. One of the easiest to create and maintain is at Blogger.com. If you get stuck on something it may take a bit of reading and searching their help forum, but there hasn't been a question I had that I couldn't find the answer to. And, it's free!
Tip: Choose a domain name that will still be appropriate as you grow and/or branch out.
If you have the time and don't mind the effort, go for the website; it can grow with you. There are a number of hosting sites that are reasonably priced such as Blue Host (great customer service support – I highly recommend it) and Go Daddy.
WordPress.com is a free hosting site. It’s a ‘ready to play, out of the box’ system. Like Blogger, there are no downloads necessary and no hosting services required.
There are many other sites and building tools available, such as Weebly.com. Just do a Google search.
If you are completely at a loss here, there are services that can help. These services will create a website for you. Please remember though, you don't need flash to have an effective site, you need valuable content and an easy to navigate landing page.
When looking for a service to help, do a little research and watch prices. I have seen services that charge between $500 and $5000 for websites. They can be much more money also.
NOTE: While a free site may sound tempting, you won’t have control over it. Some limitations are:
• You cannot change the code
• You are limited to their themes – you cannot upload your own
• Plugins are limiited
• You may be limited to the number of pages you can create, depending on the service
• You do not have the same support system as with a paid hosting service
There are other limitations – these are five of the basics.
Stay tuned next month for more on creating visibility and eight additional tips on bringing traffic to your websites.
Get weekly must-know writing and marketing information and more, right to your inbox. Join Karen Cioffi in The Writing World. (It’s all free!)
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Matthew Hughes joined 4RV as a new-to-us illustrator, and his first project is a book written by Wayne Harris-Wyrick, If You Swallow That Seed ... The book will be released early in 2015, and the rough sketches Matthew has revealed are as eye-catching as the art work for the cover.
I'm sure authors of children's books will be asking for Matthew to do their books. We're excited that he joined our staff. We now have three excellent illustrators other than Aidana WillowRaven. When I promote another book being formatted, I'll introduce that illustrator.
Posts about other books recently released and some soon-to-be will be appearing in the near future. We're trying to get everything back on track with editor-in-chief changes from Harry Gilleland to Paulette Henderson to Vickey Kennedy, all in less than four months. We've also added another designer who does some of our covers, too. Hopefully we'll be close to catching up on the schedule and have several new books out.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Today, most Americans from the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Some are living or visiting out of the country, some live here, but wherever we are, we have much for which to give thanks.
For many, this season has shadows of sorrow because loved ones have passed on to, hopefully, a better place. For us who have suffered the grief of loss, we had to learn how to be thankful even in times of sorrow. Easy? No, but we can still smile and feel a peace even if left in grief.
Our world and nation suffer from trouble and tribulations, but if we try, we can still be thankful for what we do have: loved ones, freedom, hope, friends, a roof over a heads (hopefully), and life. We may have to struggle to find anything for which to be thankful in our nation's time of sorrow. We may have to "dig deep" to be thankful. However, when suffering or in pain, we need to thank God for what good we do have and what we will have. We can be thankful, if for no other reason, for memories of what was and for hope for what can be.
Today, I hope everyone can give thanks with a grateful heart.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Book marketing and marketing in general is all about focus. Knowing who you’re writing for or who your service or product is for is a key element to success. As an author/writer online platform instructor, I was recently asked about having a marketing niche. The writer wanted to know what a niche was and if it was important.
This question may seem basic and matter of fact to many, but there are just as many who don’t know the answer and need help. So, along with my reply to the writer, I created an article to address the topic.
A marketing niche is simply a specific topic you’re focusing on. One writer may write for children, another may write business content. Then there are also more specific niches: writing children’s picture books or writing specifically on business incentives in the business arena.
And, there are niches within niches. In the writing arena, you can be a children’s author, a romance author, a nonfiction writer, a biographer, a ghostwriter, or copywriter, among a number of other niches. So, to say you’re a writer, while it may be true, it’s not specific enough. It doesn’t give the reader or viewer enough information about you and what you have to offer.
Having a specific niche is important so you can create the element of expertise in it. This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one niche, but if they are different, you do need to keep them separate and promote each separately.
For an example, I’m a children’s writer of picture books and middle grade books. I’m also a nonfiction health, business, and marketing writer.
If I had one website for all these niches, I wouldn’t be focused. And, when marketing, who would I market to? I wouldn’t want to bring people looking for health information to a children’s book site or vice versa.
You can’t market to everyone; you need to decide exactly who you will focus your marketing efforts on. And, that audience needs to be brought to a site that focuses on that niche.
The adage, ‘jack of all trades, master of none,’ comes into play. You don’t want to be known as someone who knows a little on a lot of things. You want to be known as a master, or expert, in one or two specific fields or niches.
Karen Cioffi is an author and online platform and website optimization instructor. Check out her blog at: http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
For the third time in its history, 4RV Publishing has a book receive a Silver Seal Award from Children's Literary Classics: I Like Pink by Vivian Zabel and illustrated by Ginger Nielson. Below is an excerpt from the press release from CLC Awards:
October 15, 2014
Literary Classics Announces Youth Media Top Book Award Recipients
SOUTH DAKOTA – 2014 was a record year for entries in the Literary Classics International Book Awards. With entrants from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and many more places around the globe, competition was tremendous. The extraordinary selection of books for young readers gave our reviewers and judges quite a lot to consider as they worked their way through impressive piles of books (and eBooks) for deliberation in this year’s awards. Included was award winning children’s book I Like Pink by Vivian Zabel of Edmond, Oklahoma, published by 4RV Publishing, also of Edmond.
Literary Classics announced its 2014 selection of top books for children and young adults today. Award recipients were selected from entries received from around the globe. The Literary Classics selection committee is proud to recognize the following titles in children’s and young adult literature which exemplify the criteria set forth by the Literary Classics Awards committee.
A list of the 2014 recipients follows (edited for this post):
General Infant / Preschooler GOLD - Benjamin Jay was a Bully, Emma Glover - Guardian Angel Publishing
General Infant / Preschooler SILVER - I Like Pink, by Vivian Zabel - 4RV Publishing
Picture Book / Preschooler GOLD - Even Poop Has a Purpose, Uncle Paul - PerBook Publishing L.L.C.
Picture Book / Preschooler SILVER - Without Me?, Kayleen West - Wombat Books
General Early Reader GOLD - Deputy Dorkface, How Trutherton Got its Honesty Back, Kevin D Janison - Stephens Press
General Early Reader SILVER - A Creepy Nothingness Came Crawling, Gideon Maxim - Dot and Odd Press
Picture Book Early Reader GOLD - Odie the Stray Kitten, Kristen Mott - Author House
Picture Book Early Reader SILVER - CougaMongaMingaMan, Nancy Scalabroni - Mascot Books
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Don’t be Taken to the 'Website Design' Cleaners - 5 Tips to Creating an Author Website as the First Step in Your Online Marketing Strategy
There is an abundance of website design and hosting services on the internet. You can get services that handle both the design and the hosting, or services that provide one or the other. Whatever your needs, there is a service out there for you. But . . . consumer beware.
Some design/ hosting website services prey on unsuspecting and naïve authors or individuals and charge to not only create a site, but they keep control of managing the site. The customer is only allowed to add or edit content on the site.
This means the author can’t add links, change images, or tweak the site for SEO optimization, such as page title optimization.
I get upset when I hear of occurrences like this. There is no reason why a design and hosting service needs to control website functions and features to the point that an author or individual needs to pay the service to add or delete a simple link. And, some services charge a monthly fee. They’ll set up your website for free, but you have to pay monthly to keep it going.
Authors need to be aware. There is so much information online advising the basic dos and don’ts of creating a website, but you do need to do a bit of research to find it. There are plenty of legitimate and reasonable services out there also. If you’re confused or uncertain, ask around.
Here are 5 starting tips to create an author website:
1. Choose an effective domain name. Think about it carefully. You want a name that will be search engine effective (keyword optimized), reflect what the site is about, and is able to grow with you (unless you are creating the site for a specific book). You can also use the subheading to elaborate on the domain name.
2. Decide if you have the skills, or want to learn them, to create a website of your own. If you have the time and patience you can do it!
3. If you decide you need help with creating a website, look for someone who wants to establish himself as a website builder, or someone who does it in her spare time, or a writing/marketing service that does it as more of a courtesy to clients. You will pay much less. And, try to make arrangements that will include the designer teach you how to manage your own site. This will make updates, changes, and posting much easier, and cost free.
4. If you feel you can create your own, you can choose a free hosting site, such as WordPress, Weebly, or Blogger. On the flip side, if the thought of having to create a website feels daunting, go for Blogger.com; it’s very user friendly and good for beginners. And with its updates, it has a number of features much like other websites.
5. Keep in mind that down the road you may want to have a website that can be effectively optimized and that’s more SEO versatile, so you may want to have a paid WordPress site from the beginning. The prices range from around $3 and up per month – depending on how long you sign up for and the service.
While these five tips are the starting point for your author website, they will hopefully help you from being taken to the website hosting/design cleaners.
Want to know if your website is performing optimally? Karen Cioffi is an online platform and website optimization instructor and offers website audits. Visit http://www.karencioffi.com/website-services/ to learn more.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
EDMOND September 11, 2014 -- 4RV Publishing LLC has been selected for the 2014 Best of Edmond Award in the Book Publishers category by the Edmond Award Program.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Edmond Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Edmond Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Edmond Award Program:
The Edmond Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Edmond area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Edmond Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Brainstorm your protagonist’s next move in a quick list is another technique to speed things up. Without bothering to write out complete sentences or scenes, you'll see where the ideas take you. Quickly list the steps of a scene down a page. Bogged down with details? Determine which are necessary to the plot, which can be implied. Skip some, imply some, move it along. Now, you're ready to write out your game-changing sentences.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
“The Times They Are A-Changin.’”
Bob Dylan’s title to his 1964 album is still right on the mark in regard to today’s book marketing arena. In fact, we might say the times are still a-changin,’ since we’ve seen lots of changes already and there are many more to come.
The major change that's unfolded has been a turn toward online marketing as being an absolute essential part of any marketing strategy. Offline strategies that worked yesterday don’t quite cut it today or we might say they’re not as effective. Let’s take a look at a few.
Five old book marketing strategies that don’t pull the weight they once did:
• Book signings
• Offline book tours
• Traditional paid book review sources, such as Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly
• Print advertising
• Broadly targeted and impersonal press releases
• Impersonal media kits
This is not to say these strategies can’t bring some visibility and value, but they are certainly not as powerful as they once were. Taking the marketing lead are savvier, reader friendly, personalized, and search engine optimized strategies. Let’s look at a few of those.
Eight newer and more effective book marketing strategies:
• Optimized author websites and blogs
• Content marketing
• Social media and networking
• Virtual book tours (online)
• Online reviews from high ranking review sites
• Free excerpts, other useful freebies, e-galleys
• Personalized media kits
• Email marketing (e-newsletters)
If you look closely, what do you notice? What are some of the main elements of the newer more effective strategies?
Four prevalent elements of the newer book marketing strategies:
The very first element is the cost – there really isn’t any. While you may incur some expenses, they are usually reasonable and affordable. And, much of what needs to be done can be done for free.
You can also improve your skills free of charge. Take free courses in your niche. Attend free online conferences. Watch free webinars or videos. Do what it takes to help you hone your craft or build your marketing skills.
Having low or no-cost strategies within reach is great for indie authors and those with small publishers.
The second element is having an online presence or author online platform and generating ongoing visibility. The foundation of that platform and visibility is a website. You CANNOT have an effective online presence without a website.
Other elements of a platform include content marketing, social networking, and email marketing.
The third element is giving people what they want, whether it’s information, excerpts of your book, special offers, or other, it’s about ‘giving.’
The fourth element is connecting, being sociable, and personalization. Moving forward, having a relationship with people, especially your readers, will probably be the most important element in effective book marketing.
There is of course more involved in creating and maintaining a successful book marketing strategy, but these four elements are in the forefront of what you should be doing.
What strategies are you using in 2014?
Karen Cioffi is an Online Platform and Website Optimization Instrutor. Find out more at: Build an Online Platform That Works.
P.S. Get more visibility-generating writing and marketing tips sent right to your inbox - at The Writing World.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. She loves chocolate, adores coffee and likes to take walks. She'll be doing the Santa Clarita, CA "Walk to End Alzheimers" on 20 SEP 2014. Her stories, "The Giving Meadow," and "First Flag of New Hampshire" are published with 4RV Publishing.
Find her on the web at:
Friday, August 22, 2014
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Sunday, August 3, 2014
But, after using this strategy for a short while, what if you don’t seem to see any difference in the traffic to your site or the comments on your posts?
Should you continue commenting on blogs?
YES, absolutely. Commenting on blogs is still an effective marketing strategy, in fact, even more so than before. Getting a ‘post conversation’ going and sharing content is high on Google’s list of what bloggers and marketers should be doing. Today, it’s all about creating optimized content that readers find valuable enough to share to their social networks.
Knowing the effectiveness of this marketing tool, I try to use it as often as I can.
Recently I left a blog post comment on a high-traffic, high-quality site. When I comment on a site, time allowing, I usually browse the other comments. Since the site I was on uses the CommentLuv plugin, all those who comment have their latest post titles visible and clickable.
One comment in particular seemed to be informative, so I clicked on the author’s latest post link. It brought me to a site with great content. This is the power of commenting, especially on sites that use the CommentLuv plugin.
Commenting on sites that offer the commenter’s last post link is an excellent way to broaden your reach and easily bring visitors back to your site. Just like I clicked on that commenter’s link, based on an effective post title, the same can happen to you.
CommentLuv is a commenting system plugin for WordPress. Simply click on ‘Plugins’ in your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Add New,’ search for the plugin, install it, and activate it. That’s it.
Aside from sites that use CommentLuv, most sites allow you to put your name and website URL, which are clickable. While they may not afford your latest blog post link, if you make your comment informative enough a reader may very well click on your website link.
To make your comment effective, try to use a relevant keyword and add to the conversation. Doing this will ‘catch the search engine’s eye’ and may also motivate the reader to click on your link. In addition to this, make note of some aspect of the blog post within your comment. This lets the blog owner or content manager know you actually read the article.
Tip: Comment on blogs that are relevant to your niche, to your website’s subject matter.
In addition to the obvious benefits of commenting, such as broadening your marketing reach, making connections, further establishing your authority, bringing traffic to your website, and increasing your visibility, the activity you create online is picked up by search engines. This includes comments. These are all good things.
Make commenting on blogs an important element of your online marketing strategy.
Original article source: http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com/2012/11/commenting-on-blogs-still-works.html
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Image copyrighted 2012 Karen Cioffi