Archives for November 2014

Developing Natural Audience – A Correspondence with Rachel Thompson

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“The ‘ideal’ and the reason so many authors are enamored with traditional publishing, is that they think the publisher will do all the marketing for them. Wrong! Regardless of how one is published (traditional, hybrid, or indie), you will need to create your own branding, your own platform. If not, how will people hear of you?
Writers don’t have time to both write AND market. I agree — who does? Nobody said this writing gig would be easy. Writers who think that all they have to do is write and the magical marketing gods will swoop in and market their work and take care of all that bothersome financial stuff? Fooling themselves.
Being a writer is to be self-employed. It is a BUSINESS. Many cities actually require writers have a business license. How is writing not a business, then? If you write books, you are creating and selling (usually via a retailer), but money exchanges hands and you will be paying taxes.”
Read more what Rachel Thompson sayd in a recent interview at projectmavens.com

Originally posted on Project Mavens:

Rachel Thompson image

As part of my continuing correspondence series, Developing Natural Audience, I decided to reach out to author, book promoter and social media consultant, Rachel Thompson. Many of you may know Rachel from her company, Bad Redhead Media. Rachel is also the brains behind the Twitter blog sharing meme, #MondayBlogs, which she started back in 2012.

Here’s a look at our e-mail exchange:

Dear Rachel,

As I mentioned to you, the interview I recently published with Marc Zegans, The Art of Finding Natural Audience set off a firestorm of a response. It seems that many writers and other creative people are experiencing real pain around the prospect of promoting their work after it’s been completed.

As someone who specializes in the area of book promotion, when dealing with the particular experience of authors who have put so much of themselves into their work, do you find…

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Happy Thanksgiving and Why We Moved the Blog

Happy Thanksgiving and Why We Moved the Blog

Happy Thanksgiving and Why We Moved the Blog

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Thanks to all 705,000 visitors of this blog, to all subscribers and especially to all of you who helped to make a smooth transition from SavvyBookWriters.Wordpress.com to our “own” website here:

SavvyBookWriters.com/blog were you will find continuesly all the publishing and book marketing news, links and tips that you are used to receive several times a week on the “old” blog.
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You Might Ask Why a Change of Name?
SavvyBookWriters.com/blog is our own site, we pay a small amount ($3.95) for hosting from BlueHost, we decide the design and we can use our own website however we want to.  The blog name is also shorter, and sounds more professional than the WordPress name.  And readers can sign up for our newsletter, which they could not on our old site.
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Some of the Reasons for “Moving”:
A WordPress blog  (the one we used before, and which you are just reading) is “pre-fabricated”, free to use, no hosting necessary, but you don’t own it, you cannot make major changes in design and you cannot use your own plug-ins.  Wordpress also places their advertisements – which you cannot control  – in your blog.  You might not see these ads on your own computer, but at any other device e.g. a computer of friends, readers or in a library.  To prevent this, you would have to pay $30/year.  The good part:  They have an automatic spam protection which is pretty thorough!  And readers can certainly find all the previous articles (over 1,130) on this site in the future.  Just type what you are looking for, into the search function of the blog.
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To receive every article at  SavvyBookWriters.com/blog  please sign up at the pop-up window that appears after 20 seconds.  It says: “To receive the latest blog post, enter your email address”.
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THANKS, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Tagged: Happy Thanksgiving, moved the blog, subscribe to SavvyBookWriters.com/blog, why we moved the blog to our own site, Wordpress.org vs Wordpress.com


Thanks on Thanksgiving

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Thanks to all 705,000 visitors of this blog, to all subscribers and especially to all of you who helped to make a smooth transition from SavvyBookWriters.Wordpress.com to our “own” website here:

SavvyBookWriters.com/blog were you will find continuesly all the publishing and book marketing news, links and tips that you are used to receive several times a week on the “old” blog.
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You Might Ask Why a Change of Name?
SavvyBookWriters.com/blog is our own site, we pay a small amount ($3.95) for hosting from BlueHost, we decide the design and we can use our own website however we want to.  The blog name is also shorter, and sounds more professional than the WordPress name.  And readers can sign up for our newsletter, which they could not on our old site.
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A WordPress blog  (the one we used before) is “pre-fabricated”, free to use, no hosting necessary, but you don’t own it, you cannot make major changes in design and you cannot use your own plug-ins.  Wordpress also places their advertisements – which you cannot control  – in your blog.  You might not see these ads on your own computer, but at any other device e.g. a computer of friends, readers or in a library.  To prevent this, you would have to pay $30/year.  The good part:  They have an automatic spam protection which is pretty thorough!  And readers can certainly find all the previous articles (over 1,130) on this site in the future.  Just type what you are looking for, into the search function of the blog.
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To receive every article at  SavvyBookWriters.com/blog  please sign up at the pop-up window that appears after 20 seconds.  It says: “To receive the latest blog post, enter your email address”.
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THANKS, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Author Beware: Why Trusting Literary Agents…

. costly-error . Since the advent of self-publishing not only trade publishers, but also agents got into hard times. Desperate, literary agencies suddenly started to ride on the self-publishing wagon. However without having a clue about the business of self-publishing – or publishing for that matter. For some of them the solution was to turn to Argo Navis, who call their services: “Agent-Curated Self-Publishing”. They don’t work with authors directly and accept only manuscripts that are submitted to them by contracted literary agents. Read more: http://www.savvybookwriters.com/why-trusting-literary-agents-can-be-a-bad-idea/ . Please follow us on our new site We moved this blog over to http://savvybookwriters.com/blog   Tagged: Agent-Curated Self-Publishing, Argo Navis, Author beware, Literary Agents, SavvyBookWriters.com/blog, vanity publishing


Why Trusting Literary Agents Can Be a Bad Idea

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Recently I wrote about the possibility to earn more on books by simply selling them on a variety of retailer platforms – worldwide.  To do this, authors can use the service of a British aggregator: ebookpartnership who distributes ebooks and books to thousands of online retailers, to bookstores and libraries.

I mentioned their service as, to my knowledge, they are the only company who does it for a yearly fee, without tapping into author’s book sales through a commission.  So, no matter how many books you sell per year, it is the same small fee.
 

I also stated in this article another aggregator who takes no fee, but charges 10-15% commission.  In the meantime I learned that this is just peanuts, compared with a whopping 30% that is deducted from the retail price by Argo Navis,  even before a literary agent gets his 15%.  Yes, they don’t work directly with authors – only with agents who signed up with them!
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Literary Agents Using Argo Navis?
Since the advent of self-publishing not only trade publishers, but also agents got into hard times.  Desperate, literary agencies suddenly started to ride on the self-publishing wagon.  However without having a clue about the business of self-publishing (or publishing for that matter).  For some of them the solution was to turn to Argo Navis, who call their services: Agent-Curated Self-Publishing.  They don’t work with authors directly and accept only manuscripts that are submitted to them by contracted literary agents.
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What’s in for Authors?
Authors who hope to fare better with this scheme, are duped, as the rankings of Argo Navis “serviced” titles is worse than if they would have really self-published – not to mention the loss of revenue.  Apropos revenue:  Checks for book sales from Argo Navis – after they deducted their 30% from the retail price! – go to the agent, who in turn deducts his 15% before the author gets anything.  And if the author is lucky, he or she gets even a copy of the sales report from their agent.  Literary agents seem to be happy with this system, Argo Navis came to their rescue, providing them with a way to stay in the publishing business.
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Any “Benefit” Using Argo Navis?
Argo Navis  is a distributor, also called aggregator, who distributes to a variety of retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.  After the retailer takes their standard cut (30% for books over $2.99), Argo Navis take another 30% before passing on payments to the agent, who hands the rest to the author.

This “service” is totally overpriced, compared to distributors, such as eBookpartnership who takes only a small yearly fee and NO cut whatsoever into revenues, and even aggregators, such as Smashwords or Draft2Digital, who take 10% – 15% (depending from which book price), and especially so when you compare the cost of going directly to retailers like Amazon (where uploading a book is free).
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Outsourced Services
Services like cover design, editing, formatting, scanning, and ebook conversion are not included in this hefty price tag – but are available for a premium. Who provides those services?  Their website states “third party specialists.”  Argo Navis outsources these publishing services – for a commission obviously.  Their price list for these services is not publicly available – and only distributed to literary agents who won’t reveal it to journalists.

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In One Sentence:  Almost Worse than Vanity Publishing.
Agencies using Argo Navis are not helping the author. They are agents for Argo Navis, (and might even get a commission, who knows…?), forwarding the manuscript from the author to the distributor and taking their 15% cut:  Simply passing the manuscripts from the author to the distributor, billing the author for any services they need and taking their 15% cut.
What have they done for this cut? Put an author in the hands of a questionable distributor who is taking 30% of their royalties (on top of the 30% the retailers take, and separate from the 15% that agents are getting).
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David Gaughran lists in a great eye-opener article all these “reputable literary agencies” (some of them do not even exist anymore) who signed up initially with Argo Navis.
He also shows what self-publishing authors get for a US-Dollar 4.99 book:  $3.49 per sale (70%) compared to using an agent who works with Argo Navis:  $2.08 per sale (41.65%).  What a difference!
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Not a Good Deal for Authors
David Gaughran also explains: “There’s no upside to being funnelled into this program. Participating authors get lower royalties, no sales reports, slower payments, and lose the ability to make quick changes to things like pricing – which is essential for marketing.”

“Well, this is the highest ranked Argo Navis book I could find.  It’s at #58,822 in the Kindle Store. That’s the best performing book! It’s selling 1 or 2 copies a day.  Most Argo Navis books are selling 1 copy a month (or less!).  Some haven’t sold a single copy ever – and one of those has been out for three months!”

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So as always:  Writer Beware!  Ask a potential agent the names of publishers he / she is working for.  Whenever you hear a name or get an offer:  Google, google and google even more!

 

Here are some more articles on this topic:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.ca/2011/09/drink-kool-aid.html

http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/agents-and-publishing-a-roadmap-for-writers/


 

Resources and More Blogs About Literary Agents:
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What Literary Agents Want to Know From You
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/what-literary-agents-want-to-know-from-you/
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How Agents work and How to work with Agents
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/how-agents-work-how-to-work-with-agents/ .
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Must-Read Blog to learn more about agents and how to approach them
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
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http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
How to Write a Query Letter
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http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/5-tips-for-successful-book-submissions/
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100′s of Links to Publishers and Agents
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/100s-of-links-to-publishers-and-agents/
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Which Literary Agent is Right for You?
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/which-literary-agent-is-right-for-you/
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Association of Author’s Representatives (lists agents)
http://aaronline.org/

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For more agent blogs go to the absolutewrite forum: 

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37784
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When you check out the agent, you’ll want to contact “Writer Beware
Visit often and get the latest alerts from WRITER BEWARE:
http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/alerts/
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Tips for Worldwide Book Distribution

. ebook-distribution Aggregators handle distribution, sales, accepting payments, and are managing your account with the online retailers. Avoid those distributors, who take a 10 or even 15% commission (on top of the retailers margin)  for every book sold. Not everyone has a Kindle, many folks are die-hard Apple iBook fans or using a Nook, or order from Kobo. Why forego these sales? Good to know: there are alternatives to aggregators who don’t reduce your revenues – no matter how many books you sell. Read the whole article on our new blog here: http://www.savvybookwriters.com/how-to-distribute-your-ebook-worldwide/ Don’t forget to sign up there, to get the blog posts directly.  

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Tagged: Apple iBooks, Book distribution, eBookpartnership, how to sell your ebook worldwide, new blog, SavvyBookWriters.com/blog


How to Distribute Your eBook Worldwide

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Your e-book(s) might be on Amazon.com for quite a while now, and it is certainly convenient for you to have them on the worlds’ largest e-book retailer.  But why would you miss out on sales from Apple’s iBooks (best revenue!), on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, any UK bookshops or whole salers, such as Waterstones, Gardners, or the large Australian ebookstore Angus & Robertson and maybe even sales to subscription services, such as Scribd and BookMate or to thousands of libraries through LibraryThing?
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Living Outside of the USA?
If you are you living outside the USA, as an independent author and you don’t want to go through all the hassle with opening a US branch for your publishing business – and if you don’t want that aggregators (who call themselves often publishers) receive a fat commission every time your book is sold – for years – consider this option: eBookpartnership, a British company with an office in New York, and representation at the BEA in NYC.

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Want to Keep 100% Revenue?
This British book aggregator, eBookpartnership, will upload your e-book to on- and off-line retailers, libraries and distributors and most important: does all the “book-keeping” for you.  Authors describe this global ebook distribution network as a “fast, efficient and friendly service”.  Their website is very detailed and informative.  Authors are charged a standard low annual fee per title no matter of how may retailers you choose to distribute your books to. Per title and per year it will only cost you a flat fee between: £20 and £50, depending on how many titles you give them to distribute.
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Consider these Benefits:

  • Straightforward pricing and no commission
  • An extensive distribution network
  • Online sales and royalty reports
  • Flexible royalty payment options
  • No charges for metadata and pricing changes
  • No minimum tie-in
  • No need for exclusivity
  • Avoid withholding tax on US sales (for non-US residents)
  • You certainly can choose to sell through Amazon yourself
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More About Distribution Through Aggregators:
Aggregators handle distribution, sales, accepting payments, and are managing your account with the online retailers.  Avoid those who take a 10 or even 15% commission for every book sold.  Read also about the experience of an author, detailed with all his sales numbers, costs associated and his comparison of revenue on several online retailer sites from Amazon, Apple (best revenue!) and Kobo to sales on his own website.


Not everyone has a Kindle, many folks are die-hard Apple iBook fans or using a Nook, or order from Kobo.  Why forego these sales?  Good to know:  there are alternatives to aggregators who don’t reduce your revenues – no matter how many books you sell.

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The Best Books of 2014 – According to Amazon

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Coffee_on_BookstapleWe are just in the middle of November and the first list of
Best Books” appeared already – earlier and earlier every year…
Just in time for the Christmas Gift buying season, Amazon
announced their selections for the Best Books of 2014.
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This list includes the editors’ picks for the “Top 100 Books of the Year” as well as the “Top 20” lists in more than twenty categories, from Children’s & Teen books to Cookbooks to Celebrity Picks.

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Editors and Readers Choice
This time, the first year-end roundup comes from the editors at Amazon, who’ve chosen the top 100 books of 2014.  Amazon also asked some of the biggest names in books, fashion, film, food, music, and more – all of whom have recent books of their own – to tell us about the best three books they read this year.
They have done their homework (and saved all of us a lot of time). The team’s top 10 picks are ahead, with their thoughts on why each book was chosen. Print books and Kindle editions can be browsed separately, but the titles are similar on both lists.

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What’s Your Favorite?
Readers are encouraged to vote the “Best Books of 214” at Goodreads (belongs to Amazon). These “Choice Awards” are the only major book awards decided by readers. Their voting process ends on November 24, so they are in the final round right now.

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Don’t Miss these Lists
Amazon selected not only print and e-books, but also: 2014 Best Books of the Year: Audiobooks. Even more: from Arts and Photography to Sports and Outdoors, everything that is available (and sells best) on Amazon. Which makes it a bit easier to choose Christmas gifts.

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So, you might wonder:
Which one is the “Best Book of the Year” according to Amazon?  Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. It is a very moving story about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio, which got less attention initially than other novels.
Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists.  Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.  Visit her website at http://celesteng.com

 

 

Number two in this prestigious list is All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel  about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

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Number three: In the Kingdom of Ice is a white-knuckle tale of polar exploration and survival in the Gilded Age, a story about Arctic explorers, who found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies, starting a long march across the endless ice—a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world.

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3 Best Social Media Platforms for New Writer-Publishers

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SocialMedia
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New to Publishing?  Does the sheer thought of connecting with potential readers make you already nervous?  In many of my seminars and during publishing and book marketing consultations I meet authors that are not only new to writing, but also often have no “platform” – which means no blog or website and no Social Media presence, aside from some posts on Facebook to friends and family.

No problem, it’s all a matter of organizing it and not getting overwhelmed!  Here are some practical tips for new online book marketers – that are for independent writers and “published” authors equally important:
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How to Start Your Social Media Platform
Authors can do a lot to be organized and to save time on Social Media – time to write.
First let’s start with some brainstorming:

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Why do you want to make yourself visible as a writer?
Readers need to find you and your book! Your chances to be seen on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes &Noble or Waterstones is about 1 : 6 Million or more, almost as good as winning the lottery…

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What do you want to achieve?
Preferably show your best site to potential readers, reviewers and book buyers, interact with them, network and be sociable. Remember, there are two reasons people why people flock to Social Media: to learn / gain something or to be entertained.

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How do you want to be seen?
As a professional writer certainly, as someone to be taken seriously. That starts with your (not your cats’ or dogs’) photo /avatar and your short introduction. Always remember: You never get a second chance for a first good impression!

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And what do you want to post and why?
Just recently I wrote an article: “What to Post on Social Media”.

– Your Blogs Content and News Content
– Motivational and Inspirational Quotes
– Photos, Videos, Slide Shows
– Curation / Re-Blogs from other Posts
– Polls and Surveys
… and most important: Interactions with your followers
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Always ask yourself: does this post help my tweeps? Does this post entertain?  Are your followers gaining knowledge or learn about publishing news? Will they be happy to see your post?

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The 3 Essential Social Media Platforms for Writers

1. Your Blog:
Content you are writing that can be split in short, single sentences and (together with your blog URL) posted on your Social Media sites. Why your blog sells your books is shown in a former post.  Invite your readers to sign-up for your blog posts, and eventually for your newsletter too.
Some Key Statistics:

• 84 percent of people have bought products based on their description in blogs.

• 25 percent people (25-34 year olds) read blogs every day.

• 1 in 4 people buy something each month based on blog content.

• 18-34 year olds valued blogs as the most important information source when making buying decisions.

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2. Goodreads:
With 26 Million English-speaking readers worldwide the largest pool of potential readers for your book – provided you are following eventually roughly 5000 of them. As more you reach out as greater is your success, and following readers or reviewers is done by a single mouse-click. How to open an author and a book page, to navigate Goodreads and how to start a Goodreads Giveaway is explained in these Slide Shares.

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3. Google+
The greatest benefit of Google+ and their communities is the fact that everything posted there is automatically on Google’s Search Engines and very high in rankings! As with Goodreads, Google+ also offers an author page, but for EVERY book a separate one, plus the possibility to open your own community (up to 50 separate sites). There are no strong limitations how often your book can be shown on Google+. However your followers (preferably readers, reviewers, book lovers etc. ) want to hear more from you than about your book only.

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Before You Start Posting on Your Social Media Sites

  • Make yourself familiar with each detail on these Social Media sites, all the functions and how people interact.
  • First set up folders and files for your images, posts, tweets – and most important for all your passwords, to have them always handy when you work online.
  • To find lots of free images for your blogs use either the “Commons” on Wikipedia or check out the fast inventory of photo-sharing sites.
  • List your posts and tweets neatly in a row on a notepad or word documents, so that you just need to copy and paste into your Google+ page.  Don’t forget to type all your passwords and log-ins immediately in your files!
  • Connect all your Social Media Accounts.  An essential step would be to open a Twitter account, and connect it with Google+, so that all your Google posts go automatically over to Twitter. Set up your Goodreads page, so that all your blog posts are automatically show up on your author page.
    Always type into the search function on top of each site: reader, reading, book lover, bookworm, reviewer, book blogger, avid reader etc. to find the right people to follow.
  • To shorten your links in posts and tweets, use a shortener, such as www.Bit.ly, which you can even use to tweet from their site. And later, if you want to post more on Twitter or Facebook and to be present “around the clock”, use a scheduling program, such as Hootsuite.com or FutureTweets. It will save you a lot of time – time you can use to interact directly with your followers.

There are certainly more Social Media sites than these three pillars, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest, however a blog, Goodreads and Google+ should be your first choice.

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How to Make More Money as a Writer

Writers-Market
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In many blog articles I encouraged writers to use their writing skills and even details from their research or their manuscript and start to make way more money with magazines articles or online content.  
And at the same time promote their books in the byline.  A great help how to start, where to find the latest contacts and how to pitch your writing to editors, can be found in this Yearbook for authors – including constant updates.
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I just ordered the latest edition of the 2017 WRITER’S MARKET Deluxe Edition, featuring 7,500 links – a comprehensive guide to find publishers, agents, magazine and newspaper editors and an abundance of addresses  to online writing markets – including the online version.
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“The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published”
Their title seems to imply these “yellow pages” for writers are just to find book publishers.  No, it’s only a part of it!  Since 1921, Writer’s Market has been the “freelance writer’s bible”, providing contact information for thousands of editors and agents, tips on manuscripts formatting, query letter clinics and more.
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Online Version Included!
Now it’s all available online, in a searchable database of information that can be personalized to meet your specific market needs.  You can search through the thousands of markets in seconds, easily eliminating those that don’t fit your criteria.  You also get daily market spotlights, a guide to Web resources for writers, tips on getting published, news from the publishing world, online submission-tracking tools, and more.  WritersMarket.com is continually updated, so you can be sure you are getting always the latest information available:
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NaNoWriMo – and What Then?
Whether your goal is to publish a book, write a magazine article, or freelance for local businesses, this Yearbook, together with the latest data helps you to achieve your dreams.

Currently, the market listings are largely from the U.S. and Canada, with a few from the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries.  If you’re looking for market listings in the United Kingdom be sure to check out Writer’s Market UK.  Writer’s Market is an invaluable tool that authors are recommending again and again. There are two more valuable guide books:
Guide to Literary Agents 2017
Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market 2017

How to Make Money as a Writer:  Order it right away – or put it on your Birthday-Wish List!

 

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