Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen

Title: The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors

Author: Anne R. Allen

Print Length: 176 pages

Publisher: Kotu Beach Press

Publication Date: December 4, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B077Y5DKP9

 

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

*Due to the high volume of reads I am behind on, reviews will no longer be restricted to Fridays. I will be publishing reviews on whatever day I get them out until I am caught up*

 

Anne R. Allen is no stranger to the blogging world. Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017. Her advice and suggestions are shared daily by bloggers and authors such as myself. As her book is targeted, I am a busy Author but I also love to blog. Blogging. It has become one of the things I must incorporate into my schedule. I love interacting with the WordPress platform, networking with other authors, readers, and bloggers and being able to share my post on social media. In short, if there was a book out there for busy author bloggers, I am definitely one of them which is why I definitely knew I was going to need this book. I was not disappointed.

This book is extremely easy to understand which I think makes the “Easy” in the title so critical. It helps to guide those authors who are new to blogging in a way that leaves no stone unturned. Whether it is Blogger or WordPress, if you are an author (even if you’re not a busy one) Allen’s book will give you the tools you need to make blogging part of your platform. What I loved most of all is the information on how an author blog is different than a business blog. I also enjoyed the part on writing an author bio, which I applied immediately. What I loved least is some of the information on author newsletters.

While I don’t think everyone should do it at all (and I also agree with the author on some of the focus of some newsletters), I still think the email list can be beneficial for staying in communication with an author’s target audience. While my blog is more interactive and people can subscribe and also get email notifications of new posts, the email list helps me to organize exactly who the people are who are subscribed. I do not think the email list is for hard-selling (it doesn’t work) or anything most people tell you it is for but I do think it can be helpful to know who your supporters are more intimately. I love my blog. I have more interaction, feedback and more subscribers but I don’t know who everyone is, who is actually reading my content or what percentage of them are no longer paying attention. With an email list, I know exactly who is active, who is inactive, who clicks links, who open emails and who doesn’t. People who are no longer interested can also unsubscribe, giving me, even more, insight into the people who care and the people who do not care.

Nonetheless, there are still some really good pointers here so my disagreement with this part didn’t downgrade my thoughts on the book. Allen brings up some good pointers, such as: not using your list to advertise hard sell, promote or spam. How blogs show up on search engines, can be shared on social media and is interactive. I also like that she brings up the Street Team newsletter where everyone is treated as members of the author’s team to help to review and promote the work. I don’t like the idea either and have always thought there should be a separate list for this.

I wouldn’t recommend this book just for busy authors. I recommend this book for author bloggers in general. It’s an easy read and gives all the tools you need to start your author blog today.

 

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors is available now on Amazon. Authors, go get it!

Anne R A

Anne R. Allen is the author of nine comic novels. THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE, and THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER are available singly or in a boxed set called BOOMER WOMEN. She’s also the author of the hilarious Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, and THE QUEEN OF STAVES. She is currently published by Kotu Beach Press.

She also has a collection of short stories and verses called WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.

She’s the co-author of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…A SELF-HELP GUIDE, written with Amazon #1 seller, Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Her latest book is THE AUTHOR BLOG: EASY BLOGGING FOR BUSY AUTHORS.

Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017.

Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the foggy Central Coast of California with an imaginary cat and a lot of fictional people.

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Easy Blogging for Authors: 10 Tips for a Successful Author Blog, Anne R Allen

Anne is at it again with a most excellent article on Blogging for Authors. If you’re an author and you’re looking to learn more about how your blog differs from a business blog, check out this post. She talks being true to your brand, not defining your blog success by numbers, networking and not sacrificing your WIP (work in progress).

My biggest mistake was that I didn’t see that an author blog has a different purpose and goal from a business blog. Author blogs aren’t about making money directly with ads or sales.

Instead, they provide a platform for your writing and a way to communicate with readers and fellow writers. An excellent one. In fact, a blog is still the best platform-building tool for authors, according to agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, (Laurie will be visiting us in January.)

Good writers don’t need gimmicks. We only need to entertain and inform: content really is king. Be accessible and be yourself. Nothing else matters. (Well, correct spelling and grammar help too. 🙂 )

Click through to the ORIGINAL POST HERE to read the entire article.

Setting up with MailChimp

Setting up an email list isn’t part of every author’s platform but for those who are looking to set up, you have a number of them to choose from:

  • Convertkit
  • Mailerlite
  • Mailchimp
  • Aweber

….and so on…

Today, I’d like to talk a bit about MailChimp and show you how easy it is to get started. (It is free for your first 2,000 subscribers)

First, go to www.mailchimp.com and set up an account.

When creating a password, be sure you have a password using at least one capital letter, a number, and a special character:

Example_1 is an example of what would be accepted. If you don’t have at least one number, capital letter and special character it won’t let you go on.

After you set everything up, check your email and activate your account.

Here is where you enter your name and the name of your business.

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Next, you are going to have to add a physical address. This is because of anti-spam laws. Learn more about that HERE. But you can always come back to this page to change it later.

I would recommend your first and last name and the city, state, and zip in place of Do Not Contact. It looks more professional.

Your Name

Your City, State, Zip

Remember, a street address is optional so you don’t really need that and also remember that you can change this later.

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This is your dashboard. When you start sending emails you will see your campaign here, your data and so forth.

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Now for the fun part. It’s time to get started. First, you need to create a List. Click on the List tab.

Go ahead and create list.

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List Name > The Name of Your Newsletter

Default from email > Your Business Email

Default Name > I highly recommend using a name people are familiar with already, such as your name. I started with Literary Korner Publishing but then switched to Yecheilyah and my open rates have increased tremendously since then. For your default name, I recommend using your name.

Remind people why they signed up > Wherever people could have accessed your form, put that here “You are receiving this email because…”

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Scroll down and check the address for this list. If you want to change it from when you first set up, do that now.

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Scroll down. Now that Mailchimp has changed to offer Single Opt-In, you can decide if you want to continue with a double opt in or not. Double Opt-In means once people sign up to your list they will have to confirm again before they are added, like always. Single Opt-In means they are automatically signed up when they first fill out your form. No checking emails and confirmations. They will be automatically added.

If you want Single Opt-In, leave this as is. If you want double opt-in, click on it.

Now, move on to notifications and check all that apply. It’s just asking how often you’d like to be emailed on activity with this list.

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Next, you’ll see this page. Until someone is subscribed to your list, you’re done.

Or, you can manually add subscribers you have been given permission to add.

You can also import contacts from your email, assuming you’ve been given permission from those people to be added.

In any event, you won’t be able to send a Campaign or email until you have subscribers to the list.

To manually add subscribers, click add contacts and go from there. In the meantime, let’s move on to how to send emails.

(Reaching out to people to ask if they would like to join your list and if you can add them manually is another great way to increase your number of subscribers. Everyone doesn’t have to sign up, sometimes you can get creative and just ask around (Text messages, Facebook Messages, DM Twitter and IG Messages) All that matters is that you have their permission to sign them up.)

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I added myself so that I can show you how to create a Campaign. Click on the campaign tab to get started. This page will come up with the floating arrow to show you where to click.

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Click on Create Email

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Name your campaign. Whatever your email is about.

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The next page is self-explanatory. Just complete the fields based on your list. The To field will ask what list you are wanting this email sent to. Choose the list (you’ll just have one list if you just started), save and proceed to the other fields.

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When you get to Design Email, you’ll see a page come up that looks like this. Choose the template of your choice. I am going to go with the follow-up.

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This is where you design your email. It’s super easy. Just drag, drop and enter text wherever you want. I am not going to bore you with a step-by-step with this. At least not yet, maybe in another post. However, I would like to caution about one thing….

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When I first started my email list I had colors and pictures and it was just going all the way on. While I can only offer suggestions (not guaranteed solutions), I would advise against this. As much as we want to showcase our personality, it helps if our email design is plain and simple. I know, that sounds boring but it’s easier on your audience.

Your email list is really not about you, it’s about the people who read them. Everything, from your subject line to your content and even your design is about making it easier on your subscribers. Therefore, I would say to stay away from too many colors, lots of widgets and pictures, and super long emails.

Personally, I love using my Cartoon Bitmoji as well as my Banner. Aside from these basics, I have taken everything else away. Here’s a snapshot of my real email list to give you an example:

Top

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At the top I have my banner (which can be your logo) and a display of my social media buttons. I WOULDN’T PUT MY SOCIAL BUTTONS ALL THE WAY AT THE BOTTOM. I would put them at the top and at the bottom.

Body

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The body of my emails have gotten a makeover since I first started. Black letters or gray against a white background. That’s it. Plain, simple, and easy to read.

Bottom

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My bitmoji cartoon takes us on out with a reminder to add me to your address book (so my emails don’t go to your spam), check your Spam and Junk Folders (in case my emails go to spam), and a reminder that Gmail emails from Mailchimp tend to go into the promotions folder.

Very Bottom / Signature

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Under the reminders is another look at my social widgets and my links.

OK, we’ve had enough Mailchimp for today. Just make sure your emails are clean, easy on the eyes (colors that are not too light or dark), easy to navigate and to the point.


Yecheilyah (e-see-lee-yah) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet of nine published works including work in progress and short inspirational guide “Keep Yourself Full.” Learn more by exploring Yecheilyah’s writing on this blog and her website at  yecheilyahysrayl.com. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) is her latest novel and is available now on Amazon.com.

Subscribe to Yecheilyah’s Email List HERE.

 

 

 

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Coed by James Fant

Title:  Coed

Author: James Fant

Print Length: 188 pages

Publisher: James Fant Books, LLC

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B01N9SH36I

*I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author*

Coed is a romantic comedy about a man and woman who invests in a barber-beauty shop business called Coed. In a scene reminiscent of the movie Barber Shop, men cut hair on one side and the women do hair on the other. Owners Travis “Trap” Barber and Sade Styles are best friends whose friendship is put to the test when Sade’s lease is up and she moves in with Travis. Being “besties” is one thing but can Trap and Sade maintains a platonic relationship while living under the same roof? The novel seeks to answer this question in a hilarious way.

I loved this book mostly because the author had me rolling. Make me laugh like that and you’re a winner in my book. When Sade moves in with Trap, they each fight to control the feelings they have for one another like Sidney and Dre from the movie Brown Sugar. It is obvious they are attracted to each other on multiple levels but Sade has a man and Trap’s a playboy. Eventually, Sade breaks it off with her boyfriend and Trap insists on attending Myrtle Beach with her to see Lalah Hathaway. What he doesn’t know is how deeply the trip would impact them both.

While Coed is funny, I enjoyed the important messages throughout the novel as well and how it took on a more serious feel toward the end. We get to understand more deeply about the past of the main characters and what contributed to them being the way that they are. It was refreshing and I appreciated this because it is not something we often think about in relationships period. That is, why do people do the things that they do? What makes them tick? So, they are exhibiting off behavior, but why? Have we sought to understand or did we write them off? Instead of casting one another off, see people through the eyes of love. Usually, when someone is being nasty it’s because they are going through something. If we thought of this more, I think the world would be in a much better position.

My least favorite part was that there were instances where the author inserted himself into the narrative. I found this distracting and unnecessary. I also think the “He Said, “She Said” at the beginning of the Chapters is not needed. The author is talented enough to capture whose perspective we are reading without it.

However, none of these took away from the story. At the end of the day I was still laughing my butt off and Trap and Sade’s past revealed was really the final touch this novel needed to bring it on home. I stayed up late just to see what would happen. If you’re a fan of Brown Sugar, Barbershop, and The Best Man, you’ll want to read this book.

I recommend it for lovers of romance, comedy and drama. It has it all.

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

COED is available now on Amazon

 

Be Sure to Follow this Author Online!

Website: http://www.jamesfantbooks.com/

Generation Butthurt—How Being Constantly Offended (and Offensive) Costs BIG

“Whenever we decide we might one day sell our book, we are making a decision to be a professional. Being a professional comes with certain rules that don’t generally apply to regular people.”

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kenny Louie. Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Kenny Louie.

Today we are going to dive back into social media because who we are on-line impacts the odds of our success. Whether we like it or not, engaging on social media and cultivating a following is going to massively impact our professional success (or lack thereof).

In sales we had a saying, Fish where the fish are. Well my darlings, the fish are schooling on social media. When we are online we are not only engaging with the readers of today, we are cultivating future readers. This applies as much to the pre-published newbie as it does the internationally best-selling author.

We are wise to remember that we now have entire generations glued to smart phones and LinkedInInstaSnap, and if we don’t learn how to navigate these waters? Bad juju.

This said. Social media is an extraordinarily powerful tool that is too…

View original post 1,835 more words

The Top 3 Reasons Successful Indie Publishers Have A Business Plan

Quote – “Running a business without a business plan remains one of the biggest mistakes an indie publisher can make. As the indie publishing industry matures, this crucial tool provides a tremendous advantage in a market flooded by self-publishers lacking business experience.”

Kobo Writing Life

By Tonya D. Price

I ask every indie publisher I meet to tell me about their business plan. Most of the authors I talk to admit they don’t have one. Some want to write one, but don’t know where to start. Many believe they don’t need a business plan. But talk to a successful indie publisher and they always have a business plan.

Running a business without a business plan remains one of the biggest mistakes an indie publisher can make. As the indie publishing industry matures, this crucial tool provides a tremendous advantage in a market flooded by self-publishers lacking business experience.

Let’s look at the top three ways a business plan contributes to the success of an indie publishing company:

1. A business plan requires you to decide how you are going to run your company and what you want your company to achieve.

We all have some…

View original post 442 more words

7 Ways to Create a Book Business Plan for Each Book

7-ways-to-create-a-business-plan-for-each-book

While I’ll be writing, I’m not participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrMo) but I bet you are!

Congrats. If you are, perhaps this post is of double interest.

This summer, I wrote a blog post on:

8 Simple Ways to Go from Author to Authorpreneur

In it, I gave a few basic bullet points on how to transform your writing into more of a business model. Since many of you enjoyed it, today, I’d like to follow up with preparing to publish the actual book.

In my first post, I defined an Authorprenuer as:

“A play on Entrepreneur, an Authorprenur is an author who has turned their work as a writer into a full-blown business.”

While every writer should adopt some elements of business (since writing is a business after all), Authorprenuership is distinct in that as an author you are interested in more than writing and publishing books alone, but that you’d like to incorporate other business models as well, either based on your book or that utilize other skills that you have. It means that you are interested in merging elements of writing with entrepreneurship, which is another definition of Authorprenuer.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan, in brief, is a written document on the plans, goal, and overall creative vision of the business. It is what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. It includes an Executive Summary, Market Strategy, Company Description and so on.

Of course, you don’t need all of this for your book. What I’d like to share is not for you to create an entire complicated business plan, but for you to take elements of the business plan and apply it to the pre-launch strategy of each book that you write.

Disclaimer. The Book Business Plan has nothing to do with whether you’re a bestseller and nothing to do with how many reviews or books you have. Any writer, even the writer who has not yet published, can create a Book Business Plan. It’s just another way to help to keep you organized.

  1. Name Your Book

Obviously, the first thing you want to do is come up with a name for your book. If it helps, you can skip this part and come back to it later. The Book Business Plan isn’t intended to go by any order in particular, just to help in the process.

Naming your book is very important as industry experts cite the books title as the second most effective way to hook a potential reader (Book Cover Art is the first). It may help to move onto the next point first to help you to come up with the title. Just be sure to come back to this step and to take it seriously. Give it some serious thought.

  1. Write a Log-Line for Your Book

I love log-lines and they are usually my first step to writing a book. Log-Lines help me to get an understanding of what the book is about before I start to write and it is almost always just the push I need to get words on the page. I got into writing them when I was studying how to write a screenplay. Log-Lines also help authors to learn how to pitch. (I like to time myself! Can I describe my book in under 60 secs?)

According to Wikipedia:

“A log line or logline is a brief (usually one-sentence) summary of a television program, film, or book that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest. A one-sentence program summary in TV Guide is a log line.”

A log-line refrains from using character names (not all, but most) and giving away spoilers. Below are some examples of log-lines from movies:

Logline #1 – The extraordinary story of a thoroughbred racehorse – from his humble beginnings as an under-fed workhorse to his unlikely rise and triumphant victory over the Triple Crown winner, War Admiral. – Seabiscuit

Logline #2 – A 17th Century tale of adventure on the Caribbean Sea where the roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow joins forces with a young blacksmith in a gallant attempt to rescue the Governor of England’s daughter and reclaim his ship. – Pirates of the Caribbean

Logline #3 – After segueing from a life of espionage to raising a family, Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez are called back into action. But when they are kidnapped by their evil nemesis, there are only two people in the world who can rescue them… their kids! – Spy Kids

Logline #4 – Toula’s family has exactly three traditional values – “Marry a Greek boy, have Greek babies, and feed everyone.” When she falls in love with a sweet, but WASPy guy, Toula struggles to get her family to accept her fiancée, while she comes to terms with her own heritage. – My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding

Logline #5 – A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea. – Titanic

  1. Write Your Book Summary

 “A book summary is a brief written piece describing the main points of a book. For non-fiction works, the summary usually briefly describes each main point covered in the book and the author’s conclusions. For fiction works, the summary describes the plot, main characters and theme.”

Next, write a summary of your book. This is your “Business Description” part. Personally, I do this after I’ve written some of the book and have an idea of how the story is coming together, but that’s not usually recommended. The best thing to do according to most people is to write your summary before you write the book, it just doesn’t work that way for me. I’m not going to tell you to do what most people do. I’ll just say to do what works best for you. Writing usually starts pretty much after the log-line for me.

Either way, a summary of your book is a great addition to your books business plan and can help you to start the book if you have not already. This gives you a chance to expand on the log-line and it also helps to get a greater understanding of the story.

  1. Book Marketing Budget

One of the most important things for me to write down and to seriously organize is my Book Marketing Budget because when push comes to shove, how much money it will take me to make this book available is going to be a major determining factor. Why? Because I’m broke. (Why else?) No matter how little it will take to publish your book, it’s going to cost something in the end (even if it’s just the cost of your print books). So, the next part of your book business plan is the marketing budget.

It will help determine your options for publishing and marketing this book.

Open a Word Document or Excel Spreadsheet and document the cost of everything you need to produce this book and I mean everything. How much will the book cover cost, cost of print books, bookmarks, business cards, that PO Box you talked about getting, and funds that will go toward promotional products and whatever marketing you will do.

Total cost of Publishing This Book $_______________

  1. Book Marketing Strategy

Of course, if you have a Book Budget then you need a marketing strategy.

The purpose of your marketing strategy should be to identify and then communicate the benefits of your book to your readers. Your purpose here is to deliver value and to create long-term relationships.

I don’t like to get too technical, confuses me. So, to make this simple (as you want your plan to be as easy to read and understand as possible. Remember, this is for your eyes only after all), begin your marketing strategy by looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will make your previous plans make more sense.

For instance, if your goal is 50 reviews on launch day but you have not established an author platform yet or you’re already a few weeks from launch (which will make it impossible for people to finish the book in time, let alone review it), then this is a weakness toward you being able to realistically achieve this goal. You can therefore go back and tweak your goal. Maybe you’ll strive for eight reviews or ten.

  • My Strengths
  • My Weaknesses
  • My Opportunities
  • My Threats
  1. Publishing Timeline

My favorite and most exciting one is Publishing a Timeline for my book (because it means publication is near!) Not publish as in post it to your blog or anything, but just something you write down and keep to yourself. In this timeline, you are listing the goal for this book on a month by month or week by week timeline. We’ve all heard that long-term goals are a series of short term goals. Do not try and move the whole mountain, but carry it away one pebble at a time.

Your mini goals can be a lot of things: a title by a certain date, book cover art completion, a certain number of advanced reads, editorial completion. You choose.

When making these decisions, be sure to use S.M.A.R.T. goals here — they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive.

Publishing Timeline

______________

Goal: Write your goal for this book here. Be as specific as possible.

Production Starts By         Review Copies Sent        Book Released By

  1. Executive Summary

In a business plan, the executive summary is first but it helps to write it last. Write down your plans for this book. This is for your eyes only so make it simple. Some questions to consider: Which platform will you use to publish? Will you publish this book in eBook and paperback or one or the other? Will you purchase your own ISBN Number or use Createspace freebies? How much is book cover design for this book?  How will you go about garnering reviews before, during, and after the book releases? What marketing strategies will you do to get the book noticed? When will, this book be released? Will you host a party? Book signing?

When you are finished writing the executive summary, copy all of this in a Word Document and put the Executive Summary at the top of the page, followed by the other bullet points.

Save this as a PDF document and store it away in your files. Edit it whenever you are working on a new book to reflect that book specifically. You can even title your plans after that book so you don’t mix it up with the others.

Refer to your plan anytime you need a reminder or a little push in getting your book published.

Would You Like a Sample Business Plan Layout for Your Book? Enter Your Email Address* Below and I’ll Send You My Layout!

If you have trouble with the form, please email me directly at yecheilyahysrayl@literarykornerpublishing.com

*You will be subscribed to my email list if you are not already. As a bonus for joining my list, I will also send you a Free ecopy of Book One in The Stella Trilogy.

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