6 Consistent Blogging Ideas for Busy Bloggers

Blogging takes up a lot of time. To arrange a decent post takes at least an hour depending on how long the post is. For posts that require lots of research, it can take several days of research and gathering links before actually composing the post in the WordPress editor. Still, we are told that the best way to blog is to do it consistently. For busy bloggers, those with jobs and children and basically a life outside of the internet, blogging consistently is a real challenge.

You Don’t Have to Blog Everyday

The assumption that you have to publish a post every day is not entirely accurate. While posting every day is cool, that’s not ideal for everyone. Keeping a consistent blog is important but you don’t have to publish a post every single day in order to be successful. Be disciplined but do not obligate yourself to other people’s schedules. Just choose 2-3 days out of the week that you would like to dedicate to updating your blog.

Schedule Your Posts

Not every post has to be in real time. One of the biggest time savers for me is scheduling posts. This requires a bit of discipline since I have to get started days earlier depending on when I want the post to publish. For my Black History Fun Fact Friday posts, these are always scheduled days ahead because it requires research, fact-checking, and accuracy. To schedule your posts, here’s what you do:

Dashboard > New Post > Write out your post

Once you have written out your post, added tags and all that good stuff, scroll over to the publish section of the screen. It should be in the top right-hand corner. Next, to publish immediately, click on edit. The calendar will come up and you can choose when you would like the post to publish and the time. Keep in mind that the time will be in accordance with the timezone you have set. I am on USA Eastern Standard Time but my settings are Central Standard Time because I have moved to another state. When scheduling posts, I keep this in mind. (For those of you in the United States, it helps to choose a scheduling time that is convenient for people in other countries too. Scheduling my posts midnight my time means it will publish sometime in the morning in other countries. I have found this to work well).

Establish Segments

Publishing quality posts is important but the quality posts usually take up the most time. You may get something good every so often, but not every day. (I have not published a poem in awhile). That’s why I think establishing segments can help. A segment is something special you have going on that occurs at the same time or day every week or every month. My No Whining Wednesday and Black History Fun Fact Friday are examples. I’ve been slacking, but segments like these help to keep this blog updated and it may help you as well. It will give you something to look forward to and if you are a super busy blogger, will help you to be consistent with your posts at least once or twice a week. I find it also helps with branding. People will get used to your segments and look forward to them. They may even follow your blog specifically for that segment alone.

Choose from the most used tags

Tagging your post can be time consuming, especially if you’re OCD like me where everything has to be perfect. You don’t want to just use any tags but you also don’t have a lot of time to publish this post. Well, once you’ve been blogging a while, under the tags you will see something that says “choose from the most used tags.” These are tags you use often.

You can click on these tags quickly to tag your post with the generic tags (like, blog, wordpress, writers, etc.) and then spend the rest of your time adding authentic tags, or tags that are specific to your post. You can also blog from your phone if that saves time, which leads to my next point.

Install the WordPress App

I am not always at home when my posts publish but I am capable of responding to comments quickly and visiting other blogs because of the WordPress app. It took me a minute to actually catch on (I used to do it the long way by just checking my email) but once I did it has made blogging for me easier by cutting down on time. You can instantly see who has commented on your post and who has liked your post using the app. Am I the only one who still pays attention to post likes? Probably so but this helps me to get to know my readers more actually. I know who the active followers of this blog are and the followers who no longer participate. I am aware of those who used to comment all the time and now do not and I know who the new subscribers are who have taken on that role. I even know some of the followers who have been here since day one.  This leads to my last idea.

Pay Attention

Pay attention to the posts people are really engaged in, the posts they enjoy most and interact with the most. This will cut down on a lot of time spent drafting something no one wants to read. I mean, I don’t spend a lot of time caring about what people will think of my posts, to be honest, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to think about others from time to time. It’s your blog and you can write what you want and you should but blogging’s not fun without engagement. If you wrote a poem everyone liked, you may want to start to incorporate more poetry into your blog. After all, it’s about being of service to the people and not just in service to yourself.

 

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You could be doing this as your post goes live, but you didn’t schedule it!
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4 Ways I Balance My Blogging and Writing Life

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“Where do you find the time?”

Is a question I get a lot so I thought I’d answer it in the form of a blog post so that more than a few individuals can benefit.

I also thought it would be interesting to see if I can write this with a two-year-old around.

With a few exceptions, you can expect a blog post from me almost every day. Is it an obligation? Nope. No one is making me blog and I don’t feel obligated to do so. I actually just enjoy blogging and although we have a long way to go, I like what this blog has become so far. I like the groove I’ve settled into here and the community I’ve built thus far. But, I am also an author and I do have a life outside this medium. I have a career, a husband, and other things to dedicate my attention to.

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Me: “I’m almost finished baby.”

“Huh?”

Me: “I’m almost finished.”

“Huh?”

Me: “Nevermind.”

So, when do I find the time to blog? How do I maintain a consistently updated blog, publish books and not neglect my family?

80 / 20 Rule

I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older or if I’ve learned to love myself more (combination of both?) but I don’t overwork myself anymore. I’m still disciplined but I no longer feel obligated to overdo it like I used to years ago. It’s not necessary. A few hours a day is really all it takes (I am working on removing actually and really from my vocabulary…though I actually like using these crutch words. Work with me here people). Instead, I am always thinking about the 80 / 20 rule and strive to incorporate it into my everyday life.

From Wikipedia:

“The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.”

This means that with just 20% effort, one can achieve 80% results or 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes. (…and my phone rings. Ignore that and keep writing. Ignoring stuff, that’s another point but we’ll get to that another time).

One way I balance blogging and writing are to dedicate at least 20% of my time toward blogging or 20% toward writing and then get on with my life.

Example: 8:00a – 10:00a = 25% of time Blogging

I found this really neat chart HERE. It calculates how much time you spend toward an 8-hour work day. Based on this chart, two hours of work in an 8-hour workday is already 25% of my day. Pretty neat.

My time can now be spent writing, washing dishes, or doing laundry. (1-2hrs is about the time it takes me to polish a decent sized blog post, that’s only about 25-30% of my day.)

“TT…”

“Yes?”

“I wanna take a bath.”

“OK.”

Scheduling Blog Posts

One of the most valuable time savers of mine is scheduling blog posts to go out. I write my blog posts early and if I can’t finish it in a couple hours I leave it alone and go do something else. In the evenings I come back, use Grammarly to edit them (because I’m not rich enough to hire someone to edit my every blog post) and then schedule the post to publish midnight my time (12:00 or later Central Standard Time). This means I may be asleep when it publishes which does two things:

“TT…?”

(1) Helps those outside the U.S. to catch the post early their time.

“TT…?

(2) Keeps my blog active throughout the day as people are tuning in under different time zones.

“Yes, love?”

“Where mommy?”

The only thing I am doing when I wake up and throughout the day is responding to the commentary, reading and re-blogging articles I like, liking and commenting on other people’s blogs and sharing them online. I may also publish other random thought posts but those don’t take as much time as say a post like this one.

Special Blog Segments

Another way that I balance my blogging and writing time is by introducing special segments. A Special Blog Segment is somethi…

“BJ Nooo!”

1o6wox

A blog segment is something I made up to mean blog posts that have a specific theme and is published weekly. I have several:

Monday – Author Interviews

Wednesday – No Whining Wednesday / Writer’s Wednesday

Thursday – Throwback Thursday Jams

Friday – Black History Fun Fact Friday / Movie Night Friday

Though I missed you all last week, I use these themes to keep this blog consistent with valuable content.

Re-spin Old Blog Posts

I’m a little obsessed with this because of how much value I get from it. I have to remind myself not to overdo it. Re-spinning blog posts is an amazing way to update the blog in as little time possible. Every now and again I re-publish (re-spin) old blog articles or poems that have proven valuable over the years. This gives new followers an opportunity to read the content, share it and offer their feedback too. But most time worthy, it gives me the chance to update my blog by not having to write anything new. This only takes a few minutes of my time.

  1. Use WP app to access my WP dashboard
  2. Go to posts > all posts > scroll through old posts (to pick a specific category go to All Categories > choose category)
  3. Choose a post I like, preferably a high value one (or one I think should be high value but didn’t get much attention)
  4. Find one and click edit
  5. Schedule it for a future date

For those who have already seen the post, they may not get new email notifications (it will show in the reader again but I will double check if you will get it again in your emails) for those who are new to my blog, they will definitely get a notification of the post as if it was brand new. It will be like I just wrote it and attract new views. (I’d recommend waiting at least a year before re-spinning posts so you have enough content so readers are not like “wait, didn’t she / he just post that tho?”)

By focusing a small amount of effort toward one task at a time, scheduling blog posts, re-blogging, creating special themed posts, downloading apps that make things easier and re-spinning old posts, you can cut down on your blog time too and use it to write your next book.

Note: How to Blog with a two-year-old: Lock the office door, put non-working electronics in front of him so he thinks he’s typing too, and keep looking back every 3 seconds. Draft your post, save it, give him a bath and put him to bed. Come back later, edit the post, schedule it to go out. 

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The Author Media Kit: How it Helps Me to Stay Organized

Since I got my butt kicked editing the hard-copy of my author media kit yesterday (the longer one I print out, not the one in the sidebar) I figure it will be the topic of today’s discussion. IT owes me that much!

I have slowed down my writing articles a lot lately so I figure we were due for one. I’ll discuss why I’ve slowed down at a later time. Anywho, the author media kit…

Though “It is always worth it” (See my most recent guest post here), that doesn’t mean it’s not important to focus on putting energy toward the right things (balance is seriously everything!) Energy and time spent directed toward the wrong thing is just as ineffective as no energy toward the work at all. Running into a wall will produce the same thing as standing still. It is insanity, repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. Posting everyday on your blog will not bring more views if you aren’t also networking with others or people can’t even find a follow button on your blog at which to follow your blog (my most serious blog pet peeve!) That is why I have shifted my perspective and started to focus on activities that will give me a return on my time. It is about growth.

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Partial snapshot of the office and my unorganized work-space. Yes, I work from two computers. One is responsible for holding my sticky notes lol

At some point in your writing life, you are going to have to get a bit organized. Whether that is posting sticky notes on your computer as reminders (guilty), keeping a notebook filled with notes you may or may not be able to read (guilty again), or having an author media kit.

I’ve been updating my writing life in more ways than one and have found that being able to go to my author media kit for links has been a great help in getting things done. What is an author media kit anyway?

An Author Media Kit is a collection of marketing material that anyone wishing to know more about you as an author can access and use for articles they may want to write on you, interviews, and other forms of publicity. It is a collection of branded hype-free marketing materials and collateral material for journalists.

The media kit is always a work-in-progress. It is something that must be revisited and added to as you gain more exposure for your work and should be both electronic and hard-copy. (You can find my e-copy on the sidebar of this blog HERE. It’s a little bootleg but I’m working on it). It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, every writer can use a media kit. This means that your “status” as a writer has nothing to do with it. Whether you have twenty book reviews or none, whether you are a Best Seller or novice, whether you’re a Self-Publishing “Pro” or not, whether you are visible in the community or not. All of this has nothing to do with the Author Media Kit. Easy to put together if you invest the time, you do not need any special skill set, training, or experience. In fact, the author media kit can be bought if you have the money and is not something you send out to people in the form of a “Buy my Book” Ad.

“Luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

Look at it as an opportunity to prepare. When the door opens for you to appear on someone’s radio show or your article to be featured in a magazine or whatever you consider “doing it big”, the media kit will come in handy. In fact, the interviewer will refer to the kit for basic information on you as his form of preparation and research.

The Author Media Kit is:

  • A major marketing package
  • Anyone should be able to access it through your website/blog
  • Journalist expect it
  • Ensures accuracy in news stories
  • Helps people to promote you and your book
  • Free publicity – Free publicity beats paid Ads

7 Key Audiences Who Will Access Your Media Kit

  1. Journalist – Broadcasters, Talk Show Hosts
  2. Bloggers – Easy access to photos bloggers can use, social media handles
  3. Reviewers— Amazon reviews in your kit
  4. Retailers
  5. Individual Buyers
  6. Event Planners
  7. Anyone Who Wants to Promote you or Your Book

The primary goal of the media Kit is to make all these people’s job easier. By making their job easy, they are going to promote you and your book.

Caution.
The Author Media Kit is not something you send out to people as a “Buy My Book” Ad. It is something that is offered in the event someone needs more information on you. It is also there in the event someone happens to organically come across your website. All the information they need to know about you is right there. It is not even for you, but for others.

Personally, it helps me to stay organized and cut down on a lot of time. It helps me to:

  • Easily access social media links and photos for guest blog posts
  • Easily update my author website or anything else that may require such info as contact emails and links
  • Copy and paste needed info into emails of inquiry
  • Share across social media in the event someone is looking for more information about me.

I can go on but you get the point. It even helps in the case of Book Reviews! Are you tired of having to send your social media handles out? Author photos? Send the reviewer to your Author Media Kit. There, they can find author photos, social media links, and anything else that they need and so can you.

Not only does the Author Media Kit help others to find you but it helps you too.  My online Media Kit (which needs work itself but that’s the kit for you. It will always need an upgrade!) is working for me right now. I can go to it for my social media links and my bios for the website, cutting down on time I can now spend doing something else.

(Speaking of Bio, it is good to have at least 3 different sized bios in case someone wants to write something on you and they may not have a lot of time. They can copy and paste the short one or the extended one according to their schedule. It is good to have a short bio, a medium length bio, and an extended bio.)

It’s about taking the steps needed so that you do not drown in this sea that is Indie Publishing by making yourself easier to find. Just like genuinely supporting others, by making the job of others easier you naturally become better. (Also, write your bio in 3rd person so people can cut and paste it. Again, the job of the Author Media Kit is to make the job easier for whoever is reaching out to you.)


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the author of The Stella Trilogy, Blogger, and Poet. She is currently working to release two books in “The Nora White Story” this year–about a young woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release July 15, 2017. For updates on this and other projects be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

If Your Blog Was a Resume

I am re-posting this article from some time ago. Quick reason why: So I went to this fabulous blog party yesterday right, and there was one common thread: We couldn’t follow each other! On more than one occasion there was an issue with someone’s follow button (including mine!) and other critical buttons in its relation to networking.

***

If your blog was a resume, will I be able to contact you for a job?

I follow a lot of blogs through the WordPress reader that I would like to follow by way of my email because it’s easier for me to keep in touch. I manage the blogs I follow by regulating my settings. Some blogs I adjust to get emails every day and instantly. Some I have set for a few times a week, and some I purposely just follow through the reader.

I don’t consider myself an expert blogger so take this with a grain of salt, but perhaps it will be beneficial to make sure your Follow This Blog button is visible. I have come to really enjoy smaller blogs. There is something genuine about a blog with fewer followers. However, I soon discover why there is not much support. I enjoy the post but I can’t find a follow button. There is also one page. It is the about page. I click on the about page. There is nothing there. I don’t know what this blog is about and I can’t follow it to receive the next post. I leave. I may never return.

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I suppose we are all writing publicly for a reason. There is really no such thing as a private blog. If you really wanted to write privately you’d just buy a journal. Instead you started a blog on the World Wide Web so it means you are looking for some kind of attention. That said, the best way to meet people is when you expose things about yourself others can relate to. It can be anything from your favorite food to your humor to your family photos. The point I’m making is give us something. Give us a reason to care. If there’s not even a follow button you cannot expect people to follow you.

(Its Okay to admit you want people to follow your blog. This isn’t arrogance or narcissism. You’re not saying “worship me,” you are just looking for support to help improve your writing or expose yourself as an author or whatever the reason you are blogging. We all know by now that not everyone who follows your blog is really following your blog, this is not about that. This is about helping those who do really want to support you, to do so):

  • Go into your dashboard
  • Go to WP Admin
  • Appearance > Widgets

Here, you’ll see lots of widgets you can use to spice up your sidebar. You can place them anywhere you want on your blog.

There are two kinds of follow buttons. I use both but the one you really want to have is the one that says “Add an email follow button to allow people to follow your blog”. This is the one that will allow people to follow you through their emails. This means that every time you publish a post they will get it in their emails. This is better than if they followed the reader because even when they are not logged in they can still have access to your blog (If they get tired of your emails, they can even adjust their settings so they only get post alerts from you at certain times). This will increase visibility, likes, comments, and overall interaction with your blog. Click and drag this button to the sidebar section. Go back and view your site so you can see how it looks. Preferably, you want your follow button somewhere we can see it easily. Try not to have it at the bottom of the blog because some of us are lazy and don’t want to scroll down that far. The ideal place is actually as close to the top as possible and in your sidebar. (Quick Note: Mine doesn’t say Follow This Blog. It says Subscribe to this Blog. Either one is fine).

Next, add some pages.

Go to Pages > Add a Page

Pages are designed to permanently store information. So a contact page or an about page is a good way to use pages. If you already have an about page, put something on it. It is also a good idea to make sure your stream of posts aren’t infinite. Again, we are lazy with goldfish attention spans, don’t make it difficult.

  • Go To WP Admin > Settings > Reading
  • Blog Pages Show At Most (Add the number you want. Limit it to less than forever)
  • For Each Article In Feed > Click Show Summary so that when people scroll through your blog they see a summary of the post without going on….you guessed it, forever.

Also, decorate the place a little bit. Play with WordPress many themes and colors to fit your style and personality. Whatever you do, get creative. We may just stick around a bit longer than usual.


BE SURE TO VISIT THE BLOG TIPS PAGE HERE BLOG TIPS PAGE HERE FOR MORE

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON IG HERE

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER HERE

BE SURE TO LIKE MY FB PAGE HERE

AND BE SURE TO VISIT ME ON THE WEB ATWWW.YECHEILYAHYSRAYL.COM TO LEARN MORE.

Self-Publishing: The Business of Writing 101 (6 Basics)

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When I published my first book, I didn’t see my writing as a business. It was just me doing what I’ve always wanted to do. However, as I began to learn and as I continue to learn, I quickly discovered why Self-Publishing requires so much work: It’s a business.

That doesn’t take away from the fun of it, but the realization did help me to become more organized. I quickly learned why no one was buying: I wasn’t working! Writing is working, technically, and I was doing plenty of that. However, I was not working on the skill of writing, researching my industry, understanding tips to help me to write better books, promoting, marketing, and everything in-between. I was writing, sure. But the business of writing? I didn’t even know it existed. I was a writer and that was all. When I got into the business of writing however, that’s when I  became an author.

From The Online EC Dictionary:

Writer – (noun) a. a person who writes b. a person who writes stories, letters, books, manuscripts, manuals, c. a creative person who enjoys writing things down d. an artist who paints pictures with words

Self-Published Author (noun) – a. a person who finances, publishes, markets, and promotes their writing; b. a writer whose job is to publish books, may include attending book signing events, interviews, applying for grants, entering contests, etc., c. entrepreneur d. writer who paints pictures with words and then sends them out into the world.

The Business of Writing 101: The Basics

  • Author Platform – This is by far the most important part of your journey. BEFORE you publish your book, make sure you have either a blog or website that showcases your writing and personality to some extent. This is the most powerful way for people to get to know you. Why should people get to know you? Because you are not just a writer. You are going from Writer to Self-Pub Author my friend. No longer do you just paint pictures with words, but you are about to send them out into the world. But first, you need to introduce yourself to all of your potential readers. (I suppose you don’t need to start a blog but in my experience this blog plays a critical role (more so than a website and FB) in helping me to run my writing business by giving me a platform where I can receive instant feedback and constructive criticism on my work before I publish. I mean, look at all those faces subscribed to The PBS Blog, we can’t let them down now can we?) Below are the 10 Best Blog Websites of 2016:

Top Free Blog Sites

  1. WordPress (Yes, we’re number one baby!)
  2. Tumblr
  3. Blogger
  4. Medium
  5. Svbtle
  6. Live Journal
  7. Weebly
  8. Postach.io
  9. Pen.io
  10. Ghost
  •  Social Media – Set up your social media pages BEFORE publishing your book, not after. Primarily, set up a Facebook Page or Group, Instagram,  and Twitter account. These are the 3 basic social platforms but do not be deceived by the hype: They may not all work for you. Play around with what’s out there and stick to the one that works for you. YouTube is another platform, and Pinterest is another. I’ve found Twitter is my best home base. By Home Base I mean that place where I receive the most interaction. For you that may be Facebook or Instagram. Find the right platform for you, not for others. In fact, you want to be on the platform your readers are on. This means identifying your Target audience and then placing yourself in the places they are. In any event, start your social media craze before your books is born.  This will give you another easy way to share your writing and also connect with others.
  • Newsletter – Place a newsletter sign up form on your blog or website and start to collect emails early on. How to ensure people are actually reading your emails is a separate post. Right now we’re focusing on the basics and basically, get that newsletter up and running early on. Some people say not to worry about the newsletter if you have a blog. I say do worry about it. Look at it this way: Your email list is a permanent tool because if your website goes down or your blog or your social media pages you still have access to the group of readers who love your work. By collecting emails, you can reach people on a most personal level (Tip: Don’t sound all businessy (< Yes, made up word) in your emails. Let your personality shine. People like to connect with other people so be yourself). The link below is a good start for researching the email newsletter service that is right for you:

The 25 Best Email Marketing Newsletters and Apps

  • Investment – Save your money. I know, not a lot of people talk about this when it comes to Self-Pub and it was the furthest thing from my mind when I set out to publish my first book but you can do better than I did. It’s a mistake to think about the financial aspect of book publishing during the publishing process. Everyone remember the 6 ps? Say it with me: “Proper Planning Prevents Pissed Poor Performance.” There’s nothing like a strong foundation and so yes, save your sheckles. Investment doesn’t have to be a scary term. It’s not like you’re buying stocks. Investment just means to put money toward a product, or service for profitable or material gain. I don’t like fancy smanshy words so let’s keep it simple: You’re saving money to go toward your writing to increase the chances of you making a profit because as with any business you have to be willing to invest in your work.  You will need to pay for book cover design, editing, formatting, and the cost of print books, business cards, book marks, and promotional items (all of which increases the books chances of selling and i.e. you making a profit). While there are tons of free ways to produce all of these to some extent, for a truly professional outcome it’s going to cost you some investment. Let’s face it, no one wants their books to look bootleg. Createspace’s available book cover freebies? I don’t think so. There’s just too many Self-Pub books to read to take the easy route. Cover design is the difference between me deciding to read your book and make a sandwich. (The most important investment is time. At the end of the day the books that sell are the books that are well written. At the end of the day it is still about the story so make sure you’re putting time into your writing).

The most important investment is time. Make sure you’re putting time into your writing.- Tweet This

  • Streams of Income –  Authors aren’t rich. Well, most of us aren’t (Can’t speak for you six figure Indie Author makers. Y’all better work!) So, for this reason, if you’re deciding to quit your job and write books, first you need to take the time to invest the money you have into your book publishing business. Yes, I said publishing business. No, I won’t explain, we’ve been over this. Writing is a business. So, back to the point, before you throw in the towel you may want to  seek grants or enter contests where the prize is large sums or even small sums, of money. The most wise thing however, is to take the money you’re making from your 9-5 and invest it into your writing. (I think those with jobs who want to write books are in a great position. You have the financial resources to save!) Writing a book doesn’t mean you can’t get a part time job or offer other services that is going to put money in your pocket to dedicate to your books. One of the first things you’ll notice as you begin your journey is that the money you do make from writing books is going to often go back toward your work. Everything made is going to go back in and it’s going to be many years before you start to see some real profits. However, you can avoid the feast of famine with proper planning, investment, and multiple streams of income.

Cover design is the difference between me deciding to read your book and make a sandwich. – Tweet This

  • Less Talk, More Action – I’m a workaholic for a reason. In fact, many entrepreneurs are. There’s a saying I try to always keep in mind as I work. It helps keep me motivated and planting seeds: “Bad boys hit hard, but move silent”. Self-Publishing is the “IT” thing right now. Everyone wants to show that they’ve written a book even though the reality is that not everyone has the skill. While it’s exciting to boast of having written a book, make sure you’re also sharpening your writing skills, and doing the hard labor on the back end that ensures proper presentation and production of the end product. Make sure  that your books are actually reaching people. I’m not saying to quit because no one read your book because that’s not the reason (I’d hope) that you write in the first place. What I am saying however,  is that I love to write, but I refuse to keep pushing out work without also monitoring the growth and development of that work. As part of the Self-Publishing process, I do not just write books and neither should you. I also study the writing field, calculate the financial cost of publishing a book, surround myself with professional men and women who could help me, surround myself with family members and friends who will support me, and write books that will expand conversations and start discussions.

Bad boys hit hard, but move silent. – Tweet This

The Author Media Kit and Other Forms of Self-Promo #MayChallengeDay13

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The idea of marketing your work and promoting yourself, to most Self-Publishers, seems a bit daunting. They don’t want to appear prideful, conceited, self-absorbed, and narcissistic if you will. However, Self-Promotion is not the same as being prideful and NO Indie can get by without some level of Self-Promotion and marketing. It is, after all, part of the whole “Self” aspect of Self-Publishing.

The Media Kit

Some time ago I added an Author Media Kit to my blog. The purpose of the kit is to make it easier for editors, book reviewers, and beta readers who are interested in my work to discover more about me without having to Google me. I think its important for every Indie to have both an electronic Media Kit, as well as a hard-copy version for those on the go marketing campaigns and book signings. Why? An Author Media Kit provides your readers with general information about you instantly. You don’t have to write a book, but should include information that is crucial to getting to know who you are. It also establishes you as a serious author who means business and can be step one in getting you used to promoting yourself. Some of what you can find in my media kit is:

Author Photo

This should be a professional head shot of you. Mine is not that professional but it will do for now. I have this picture attached across my social media so that I’m easy to find. All except Good reads which for some reason won’t let me add that particular pic but the one I have up there will do. Its the Author Photo I used before adding the current one. Like I said, it’s not perfect but it will do. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to be organized and professional.

Short Bio

No, not your life story, but enough information to satisfy our need to be nosy. Your full name, origin, and some of your past achievements is good. Any awards you’ve received as an author and your number of published works is also good to list.

Social Networks

Be sure to add links to all of your online social pages, your author website, email and a possible contact number if your feeling really brave. (I usually have people to contact me via email).

Author Website

Once you get going in the wonderful world of writing, I think its important for Indies to have an author website and no, I’m sorry but I do not mean your blog.

The Difference:

A blog is a blog. I don’t know how much simpler this can get. A blog with a domain name is also not necessarily a website; it’s just a blog with a domain name. Blogs are designed as weblogs in which a post is published regularly in chronological order, in which readers can like, comment, or share. Take a look around my site. What do you see? Even though it looks like a website, the regularly updated posts are what make it, not just a website, but a weblog. Technically.

WordPress is actually a great foundation to build an Author Website but make sure its not just another blog. This is my blog but THIS (YES, CLICK HERE) is my Author Website. See the difference? I hope so. It’s not perfect, or as I want it to be just yet,  but I’m sure we get the point here. Benefits of an Author Website are numerous. Primarily, it’s your readers’ introduction and entry into the wonderful world of you, the author. It gives them direct access to your store, where you can sell your product directly from your website. You can also link your blog to your Author Website. There’s a reason I do not sell product on this blog. I have an author website for that. You can surely combine the two if you like or sell from both your blog and Author Website.

Other Ways to Self-Promote. Basic Elements Include:

– Blog

– Facebook Page

– Twitter Account

– LinkedIn

– Author Website

– Bookmarks and Business Cards < Yes Authors. Make sure you have business cards! Or get funky with it and make the Bookmark the business card. This means you need to add your contact info. Otherwise, yea, its just a bookmark.

Everything is a BIG Deal: Let’s Have Some Fun!

Before you stone me, hear me out. First and foremost I’m as introverted as they come. For those who know me personally, I hate attention. OK, hate is a very strong word. Let’s just say I dislike attention very much. I don’t care to stand in the limelight and I’d rather the attention go to someone else. I’m pretty relaxed and laid back. I actually don’t say very much if it’s not something I’m passionate about (obviously I’m passionate about writing). So TRUST ME when I say I completely understand not wanting to do this. BUT, when you find something you love doing and that thing is BIGGER than you, you become more generous in your social interaction. Or at least that’s what happened to me. I’m still very shy (Yes, it’s true), but when I can talk about what I love it’s not so bad. Actually, it’s not bad at all. This next part may only be exclusive to me but I think it’s important: Everything is a Big Deal!

Get people excited about EVERYTHING! My brother has a saying: “If you think like a peasant then a peasant you will be” and I totally agree. What it means is that everything exist in your mindset. You may be poor financially, but you do not have to be poor mentally. Stop thinking less of yourself and think bigger. If you think BIG then you get BIG in return. That’s not being arrogant, its just natural. You are only as strong as your mind is. What you think is what you become.

The thing that I do that may be exclusive to me is that I hype up everything I’m a part of. I want it to be special and I want it to feel special. Every single public interview or appearance, every blog feature, every book cover reveal, everything that may seem small I enlarge so that you are just as excited about it as I am. Why shouldn’t you be? A new book is exciting! Let us FEEL it. A new Book Cover Reveal. That’s exciting! Make it over the top. Don’t just publish it as “Hey, look everyone. Here’s my new book. Its got this really cool cover”. No, build excitement. Set a date and do a count down where your cover will be revealed. Make it sound EXCLUSIVE! And then publish it to ALL your social media pages. That’s right. Make sure EVERYONE knows about this OFFICIAL Book Cover Design to this AMAZING NEW BOOK!

*I mean, don’t be spammy with it. People can tell if you’re being phony. Keep it genuine and have fun. Otherwise, if your not excited about your work forget about it. We don’t care either.*

I mean, its not like you have get all big headed and start to think your King Turd on Boo Boo Mountain or anything, its just about taking advantage of the small things and placing a value on them that SHOULD be there. Don’t sell yourself short people. No one takes the time, sweat, and tears to pour their heart and money into a book they don’t care if anyone reads. If your that shy about it, why write the book? I mean, even if its just family members, I’m sure you do want SOMEONE to read it. Right? OK so hype it up!

Even though this is just me, I think every Indie should take into consideration to make every milestone a special one. Every interview or Author Blog Appearance, every giveaway, every sale, make it sound exciting. When you are preparing to release a new book withhold some of the details. Make everything an exclusive. This makes us readers curious as to what the big deal is. We want to hear you, read about you, and get to know you. Eventually, we want to read your books!

The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel

I don’t usually use an outline when writing my books but I found this really neat method I’d like to try. While I can’t say I’ll stick to it like glue, it looks like something that will help me to organize my thoughts without the confusion. For my next project I’ll be using The Snowflake Method. Click Here to check it out. After your reading, research, and daydreaming is done (when you have an idea of what the story is about), here is Step #1 from the article:

Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul.” (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

When you later write your book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. It’s the hook that will sell your book to your editor, to your committee, to the sales force, to bookstore owners, and ultimately to readers. So make the best one you can!

Some hints on what makes a good sentence:

  • Shorter is better. Try for fewer than 15 words.
  • No character names, please! Better to say “a handicapped trapeze artist” than “Jane Doe”.
  • Tie together the big picture and the personal picture. Which character has the most to lose in this story? Now tell me what he or she wants to win.
  • Read the one-line blurbs on the New York Times Bestseller list to learn how to do this. Writing a one-sentence description is an art form.

Another important point: It doesn’t have to be perfect. The purpose of each step in the design process is to advance you to the next step. Keep your forward momentum! You can always come back later and fix it when you understand the story better. You will do this too, unless you’re a lot smarter than I am.

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Sounds exciting! There is also a book which you can find here. Are you writing a book? Share the method to your madness! How do you stay organized?