Why I Ditched My Blog Sidebar – Guest Post…

My November Guest Post with The Story Reading Ape. Should you X the sidebar? Read on to see why I did.

*Comments disabled here. Meet me on the other side!*

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Why I Ditched My Blog Sidebar

I took a two-week break from posting on my own blog a few months ago. In that time, I was refueled with post ideas but I also had the opportunity to read most of yours. In that process, I realized something I hadn’t paid much attention to before. I didn’t pay much attention to it because that’s just how ingrained these things are in our lives today. The Cell Phone. During my observation, I realized that I read most of your blog posts (90%) from my phone. In fact, I observed that the only time I read blog posts from my laptop / desktop, is when I am logged in to draft a post that I can’t draft on my phone.

The number of mobile-only users has recently surpassed the number of desktop-only users. According to an article in Marketing Land, “Mobile now represents 65 percent of digital media time…

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Why Authors Need to Be as Accessible as Possible

Post Quote: “As an author today, you know that every reader is valuable. You love your readers; you want to keep the ones who are loyal and reach new ones…The easier a reader can find you and buy your books, the easier it will be to reach wider audiences.”

A Writer's Path


by Katie McCoach

As an author today, you know that every reader is valuable. You love your readers; you want to keep the ones who are loyal and reach new ones. That’s what promotion and growing a business is all about – reaching new consumers.

That’s why it’s so important for authors to be as accessible to readers as possible.The easier a reader can find you and buy your books, the easier it will be to reach wider audiences.

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The Message


Social Media has become a glossed over, cloudy place. It is filled with fake persona’s and instant celebrities. People post pictures of their cash and checks on Instagram for instance (something you’ll never see Bill Gates do. Let’s be real, people who make real money are quite about it. Big boys hit hard but move silent) and weigh their worth against the backdrop of numbers and likes. Instead of focusing on the message we have focused instead on the computer screen and have invested instead, not in the voice, but in the marketing and promotional schemes of so called professionals who get rich off the backs of those of us too lazy to be ourselves. Research is all fine and good but what it boils down to is a nice balance between research, advice, and your overall message and the people who care about what you have to say. If you rely too much on research and professional input then you just may miss the message.

A message doesn’t have to mean a religious message. If you have a voice, which we all do, then you have a message. We can define a message as:

“a communication containing some information, news, advice, request, or the like, sent by messenger, telephone, email, or other means.”

When someone writes a book they are sending a message out into the world. It doesn’t really matter what the book is about, every book has a message because every book has a voice. And just like every person with a voice, we all have different sounds and calls to action. Sometimes, we get so into the online aspect of writing that we forget about how important the message is. It is not the marketing plans that will bring readers to you. Though they surely help, ultimately its your message. It’s your voice. Do you have one? That is what will determine your readership.

“Focus on what makes you different, what makes you unique. Being true to yourself is a cliche for a reason — it works. People don’t want to connect with something fake. They want to feel understood and heard, and the only way you do that is honestly and authentically. The last thing you want is to showcase to the world a shadow of your true self.” – Curiouser Editor

What do you want to say to the world? Why does it mater? Why is it different than what the previous person has already said? The sky is blue. Why is the sky blue? Why is it important for us to know that the sky is blue? Is the sky blue?

People who agree with you will flock to you because you sing in a key similar to their own. They are the people who actually want to read your books and who will in turn support your work. The only way to do this, as Curiouser Editing has stated, is to showcase your real self in your writing but not just in your writing, in your overall social media presence.

6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

This is really good advice. I’m going to print these bullet points out and check off a list 🙂

Carly Watters, Literary Agent

I’ve read thousands of “page ones.” Very often I don’t read page two.

Sometimes all I read is that first page and I make judgements based on what I see there. As an agent and a reader my practice is that if I’m not connecting with the material I move on–and quickly.

I wish I had time to give writers (and their books) more of a chance but I can tell a lot by one page: sense of dialogue, setting, pace, character, voice, and writing talent–yes, usually all from one page. Five at the most.

So how are you supposed to get us past one page?

6 Tips To Hook A Reader on Page One

1. Learn how to balance what readers need to know vs. what you, as the writer, want to tell us. I can sense a writer who is trying to show off very quickly. It really only takes…

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Newsletters: My Policy

5591102-120875522_1-v1I just recently sent a welcome email out to my subscribers and I thought it would be a good idea to post it here for those who may be interested in joining my mailing list:



Good Morning Everyone,

Guess what? We have new subscribers!

And I would just like to take this time to Welcome them. I only have two policies:

#1: We are Family

This means that I will treat my subscribers with respect. Their email is my email. I will never send vulgar, nude, or disrespectful emails to my family. I will never put someone on blast as to shame them. I will never spam your emails.

#2: No Spam

Because we are family, I do not spam emails. This Newsletter is different than most. I do not send pages and pages of articles or draft long post, that’s what my blog is for. Attention spans are short and I’m busy. I don’t have the time to keep you reading forever. This Newsletter comes out every now and again and will only include important, need-to-know information. It will promote new products and while I expect to receive support from subscribers, I will never force you to purchase.

So welcome to the family! Please take this time to browse our website. We are currently looking to upgrade soon, but for now we do hope that you enjoy your stay here.

Much Love,





If you would like me to add your email to my Newsletter, please send it to me at the email below. Anyone who is already a subscriber can tell you I’m true to my word.


Being of Service


I’m no expert, but I do know that writing is a unique career. It’s the same as other businesses, and yet it is not the same. It requires the same level of dedication, professionalism, and hard work. However, it is also a lot different than lets say, selling your neighbor a bar of soap.

Reading takes a lot of time. It is on a level that is a lot more personal. Readers actually get very sensitive when it comes to buying a book that sucked than buying a bar of soap that also sucks. People are also easily bored these days, so as authors we have to constantly keep our ears to the ground, discovering what’s trending and what’s throwback. It is for this reason that readers tend to find an author they love and stick to him or her. If you’re that author, great, but the story does not always end this way. As I thought about this, I started to really think, not about selling books, but being of service. As I babysat these thoughts, I ran across some great advice from one of my subscription blogs:

“Don’t SELL to your readers, SERVE them. With the changing dynamic between readers and writers, authors need to listen, gather knowledge about readers, foster communications, collaborate, and build long-term relationships.”

We have to be realistic. Authors are constantly told not to sell. But full time authors, those who don’t hold secondary positions elsewhere or receive money from additional sources, have bills to pay, food to put on the table, and needs that require monetary investment. So we can’t just tell writers that they should not sell their books no more than we can tell bloggers not to get excited over new readers. Despite how we gloss it up, the reality is that an author’s end goal is to sell you this book. But here is where being of service comes in:

For me personally, anything that I bring into my space should teach me something. This just means it should advance me in some way. Will it make me laugh? Cry? Think? Discover? Will it inform me? Teach me? Show me? What does this book, more than any other book, do for me? This is the same way that I look at Blogging. I am more than likely to bond with blogs that have something to offer.

Now, back to soap:


When you’re selling soap, I want to know that it’s because the benefits of this particular soap outweigh Irish Springs; not just because you’re trying to make a quick buck. If you can convince me that your product is of some significance to my life and you can back this up, then I will be more than happy to become a dedicated supporter. I have enough sense to know that you have bills to pay, but I also see that your purpose is bigger than dead presidents on paper.  Why does this matter to authors?

Because people want to matter.

I believe this is true in everything that we do, and not just writing. But specifically, the first clue to readers that they matter, is the amount of hard work we put into the end product. Our professionalism, or lack thereof, speaks volumes far before these books hit the shelves. So I just want to encourage my writers out there to do the best you can, because it doesn’t get any better than your best. And I believe this is the difference between selling a product and being of service to the people. Readers (and bloggers) want to know that they are getting something out of the process. So I wouldn’t say don’t sell to your readers, instead I would just say to be of service to them.