Blogging and Time

One of the many complaints I hear from new bloggers is concerning time. Blogging takes a lot of time. This is true and time is a very precious thing. How we spend our time is a big deal. What you spend time on today can directly influence your day tomorrow or weeks and months ahead. These days, I don’t have a lot of time to blog and I am not mad about it. I have shifted my perspective on a lot of things, one of them being better managing my time. The PBS Blog is still growing and there are new subscribers daily even if I don‘t blog daily and engagement is decent. My posts are shared daily. All of this from not blogging. I am wasting time just talking about it, actually. I am sitting here writing a blog post when I should be doing laundry.

Define Your Purpose

What are you using your blog for? Do you plan to monetize your blog? In other words, get paid for blogging? Do you intend to keep your content free? Are you using your blog to reach more readers? Build an audience? Are you an author blogger or business blogger? Authors use blogging a bit differently than business bloggers. (I recommend Anne R. Allen’s book The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors) How are you using your blog to your advantage? This question is important because it will determine how you spend your time. Define your purpose for blogging. Don’t just say because you like to write or something vague like that. Be specific. Why did you start a blog and where do you want it to go? One thing I love about Dr. Boyce Watkin’s emails is that he has a clear purpose and everything goes back to that. His thing is Financial Literacy and by the end of every email you know that.

Your Purpose Can Change

Your purpose may also change as you grow and that’s not a bad thing. I didn’t know what I was blogging for when I first started. It took a couple years for me to figure that out and to narrow it down. I am here to connect with readers, black history buffs, to coach new bloggers of the WordPress platform, and to build with Independent Authors. Everything I do on this blog will ultimately go back to one or all of those points. I will either be writing, offering information on black history, giving out blog and writing tips or supporting Indie Authors. Everything I do must be consistent with these things. You may say, “but you didn’t say poetry and certainly you write poetry on this blog!” Truth. I also host a yearly poetry contest and I also didn’t mention inspiration though I am always offering words of encouragement. But this all falls under one of my core points.

Connecting with Readers

Poetry, Short Stories, Creative Writing pieces, Music, Testimony, e.g.

Black History Buffs

Black history articles and little known historical facts

Blog Coaching for New Bloggers of WP Platform

Blog Tips

Supporting Indie Authors

Book Reviews, Promoting / Supporting other Authors, Writing Tips

Build a Schedule

I cannot speak enough about being consistent and having some kind of schedule can help with that. If you think this is unnecessary, then you should probably reevaluate why you’re blogging. Personally, I don’t want to do anything that does not provide some kind of value. If I am incorporating anything in my life whether it’s a blog or a new diet it had better give me a return in some way. For this to happen consistency is necessary and having a schedule can help.

Consistency doesn’t mean every day. Consistency just means regularly. This can be once a week or once a month. (I wouldn’t recommend once a month. I’d try for at least once a week) You don’t have to blog every day but you do have to know what you intend to get out of it. Again, what’s your purpose? Everything will go back to your reason for blogging in the first place. How you blog, your blog schedule, and your content will all come from why you are here. Once you know that, you will be able to build a schedule around this purpose and decide how much time you want to spend blogging. Consistency builds trust, trust builds value and value builds support.

Decide Exactly How Much Time You Want to Spend Blogging

If you are reading this post it probably means you are short on time to blog. You may be too busy to blog regularly but you do want to keep connection with your readers. Once you know why you want to blog and you have created a schedule for your blog, decide how much time you want to actually spend blogging (which should be a part of your schedule). If you only want to spend two hours on your blog just spend two hours on your blog! If it takes longer than two hours to draft a post, save it for another day. We will still be here.

Choose a Time to Offer Support Only

Schedule some time toward supporting other blogs. This is good because if you support others, others will support you even when you are not blogging. Supporting others can take 2 minutes or 30 minutes depending on the kind of support you’re offering but it doesn’t have to be grandiose. Supporting other bloggers can be as simple as liking their new post or sharing it on social media. It can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Since we are talking about managing time, you may be thinking:

“But EC, I don’t have time to spend on my own blog and now you’re saying I have to spend time on someone else??”

Firstly, you don’t have to do anything and secondly, I know and I get it. I must also admit that I need to spend more time on other blogs too. I don’t have as much time as I used to for blogging but supporting others, even if it’s just to retweet them, is something I squeeze in. Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Likewise, if you don’t have time to be supportive of someone else blogs, why should anyone support yours? Choose a time (even if it’s a few minutes) simply to offer your support to someone else’s blog. Don’t mention your own blog and please don’t leave your blog link in their comments. That’s spammy and disingenuous. Make this time specifically about others and not you.

I read something once on Instagram the other day that applies nicely to this: “You don’t build a business. You build people and the people build the business.” I don’t know who said it but I’d like to apply the same to blogging: You don’t build a blog. You serve the people and the people build the blog. This blog is made up of people. I didn’t build this, the people did. YOU did.


Have you grabbed your copy of Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? Have you reviewed Even Salt Looks Like Sugar yet? What are you waiting for?? Grab your copy now and leave an honest review when you’ve finished reading! CLICK HERE.
Advertisements

9 Authorpreneur Habits You Can Start Today

Usually, I present author tips for new authors but this is not really a new author tip. This is more so for those authors who’ve been publishing for a while and want to level-up their writing career. Also, these are not rules, must-haves, should-haves, writer commandments, should-dos….you get the point. I call these tips because they are nuggets and tidbits I’ve picked up along the way that may help you. In the end, everyone must find their own way. I just hope I can help in that journey by sharing what I’ve learned. Will this be helpful to you? Maybe not. But also, maybe it will.

What is an Authorpreneur?

Authorpreneur means merging the concept of being an author and an entrepreneur. Typically, an author’s book stops selling after their family and friends have bought it and then it swims in the Amazon sea of unread books. Most authors starting out will probably not sell more than 100 books. This is a real bummer considering the amount of time, emotional investment and money this author may have put into the book. Going from Author to Authorpreneur is not just about writing books and publishing them on Amazon. For most Indie Authors, Amazon royalties will not be enough which is why I think it’s so important to develop more entrepreneurial habits. Indie Authors must start to think about ways of earning money that will produce long-term sustainable income.

“Indie Fiction writers don’t fail at writing. Indie Fiction writers fail at starting a business. – Anne R. Allen

We are living in an age where you do not need to go to college to start a business and you do not need to be signed by a publisher to be a successful author. That’s why authors who are entrepreneurial and run their book publishing like a business are the authors that tend to be successful. Here are nine Authorpreneur habits you can start today:

Promote Your Books Offline Too

Something I have ventured into myself, get into the habit of promoting your books offline, not just online. There is an entire community of people who are offline. By neglecting them you are leaving money on the table. We can do radio shows, events, bookstores, book readings and a ton of other face-to-face activities that will help us to expand our brand. Social media is vital to an Indie Author’s career and very necessary. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should neglect other ways of networking and making money. Get out of your comfort zone and go talk to people face-to-face. As an introvert that is what I have had to do. I have had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You will be nervous but by surrounding yourself with people who are a level up from where you are, you will see signs of your own growth.

Offer a product or service related to your book

I had a hard time coming to terms with this myself but I learned that you can’t be afraid to charge for your services. Yes, times are hard but that’s why your service is not for everyone. The people who need you and can afford you will invest in you but first, you must have something of value to offer. This product or service can be connected to your book in some way, but it must exist. You can become a motivational speaker or offer a service for something you do well. The book is the start, but it is just the beginning.  What do people need that you can provide? You may think charging for your services will mean that people won’t want to support you.

I’m not gonna lie to you. Some people won’t support you. There will be those who don’t think it’s worth it or that you’re valuable. There are also those who don’t trust you. They trust your free services but they may not value you enough to pay for it. That’s okay because charging means that you are reaching a certain group of people. These are people who see your worth, the value in your product/service and who can afford you. Also, those who do want to support you will when they can but they won’t complain about you. They may not have the money but they do understand your growth. Bottom line: You can’t talk butterfly language with caterpillar minded people. The truth is that free does not always mean valuable. Charging for a service increases the value of the product or service and produces a spirit of commitment from the client to follow through.

Dont spend a whole lot of time measuring your growth by numbers that are not representative of actual Sales

Checking your Amazon stats will drive you crazy, especially when Amazon’s algorithms is funny acting. Your Amazon ranking does not necessarily mean that you have made sales so dont hype yourself up too much or get down on yourself. I sold more pre-orders for Even Salt Looks Like Sugar than I did with I am Soul but you can’t tell by the ranking. I made it to number seven on Amazon’s ranking with I am Soul. Meanwhile, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar didn’t rank well at all. Shouldn’t it have if I sold more? My point is, your Amazon ranking or number of reviews does not always mean book sales so get out of the habit of measuring your success by what other people are doing. I’ve seen plenty of authors with less than 20 reviews do great things and make good money. The level-up is about results and real progress, not perceived progress. Look at your efforts and check to see if those efforts are producing actual sales, which nobody will see but you, instead of rankings that everyone sees but may not be representative of the truth. A good example of this is Alice Walker’s new book “Taking the Arrow out of the Heart.” At this writing it only has 3 reviews, but it is also a best seller.

Write a Book Business Plan

Serious business people have business plans to help them to map out the goals for their business. Creating a Book Business Plan for every book you release is a fun and helpful way to create a roadmap to help guide you through the process and to identify your goals for each book. The good thing? You can create this plan at any stage of the process. I am creating one right now for my new short story. It’s never too late to begin.

A business plan 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. A Book Business Plan helps you evaluate the possibility of a new book idea in an objective, critical, and unemotional way. It provides an operating plan to assist you in planning your book release realistically and improves your probability for success. But you don’t have to create a boring and complicated business plan. You can take elements of the business plan and apply it to the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch strategy of each book that you write. Your business plan really just needs 7 Basic Elements:

1. Name your book
2. Write a Log-Line for your book
3. Write your book summary
4. Book Marketing Budget
5. Book Marketing Strategy
6. Publishing Timeline
7. Executive Summary (In a business plan, the executive summary is first but it helps to write it last for your book plan.)

Put Together an Author Media Kit

About 95% of Indie Authors don’t have a media kit which means that you can quickly rise above and stand out from the rest with yours. An Author Media Kit is a major marketing package that helps influencers to learn more about you and your work quickly. It ensures accuracy in news stories, helps people to promote you and your book and is 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

One Key Goal of the Media Kit: Make these people’s job easier. By making their job easy, they are going to promote you and your book.

Purchase Your ISBNs

Get into the habit of purchasing your own ISBNs.

I know there’s a big debate in the Indie Author community concerning whether to purchase an ISBN number. I am not going to get into all of that. You can’t tell people what to do with their money. What I will say is this:

ISBNs are expensive, so I wouldn’t stress out if I can’t get one for every book. But, if you can afford to do so, and if you’ve already created your own company, it looks more professional for you to own your ISBNs and is a level up from what everyone else is doing. With your own ISBNs your name or your company name will be listed as the publisher of your books. As an Independent Publisher with your own ISBN, you can publish under your company name, go to a different printer if you choose, open your own account with major companies and opt for national trade distribution. You can even create your own team of publishing experts.

This post is not about doing what everyone else is doing. This post is about the level-up.

Get Legal

Speaking of ISBNs, get into the habit of legalizing stuff, starting with your name. Legalize your business or Author name. You can create a business name or register your author name as an LLC.

You can file the paperwork easily through Legal-zoom under an LLC, Sole Proprietorship, or S-Corporation (please Google these terms for further understanding on what they are). Or, you can just get a DBA. A DBA is a doing business as name that gives you the opportunity to legally write and conduct business under your author name. This will really give you the feel that you’re in business. You will be able to open a bank account in your business name, acquire a debit card, and do so much more. Sure, you can just set up a PayPal account but having a business bank account will take you to a new level of business. You can even upgrade your PayPal by setting up a business PayPal account that is connected to your business bank account. You can then apply for a PayPal debit card (which is free) which gives you another avenue to access your payments directly from your PayPal account. With a PayPal business account, you can purchase a PayPal Here card reader and accept payments on the go!

Website

Having a website for your author business is one of the most basic but professional things you can do. Even if this is just your blog it helps to have a website where people can access all your work in one place. To learn more about the difference between a blog and an author website and if you need both, see a recent post here.

Your website should be clean, well-organized, and not changing in design every three months. For blog websites, be sure that you have a clear follow button, contact page, about page, and visible social media widgets. Make it easier for people to find and follow you.

Business Cards

Get into the habit of carrying business cards around with you. You never know who you’re going to meet!

The truth is that people throw business cards away so I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on business cards. Keep it simple and professional and give your cards away sparingly. While you may have bookmarks that match your book covers, your regular, standard business cards—the ones you’ll pass out on the go at meetings and bookstores—should be simple, easy to read and clean. It should not have any major designs that distract from the important information, should include your name, business name, phone number, email address, website, and social media handles.

This does not scratch the surface I know, but I hope these basic tips can give you the push you need to put yourself in position to level up your writing career and go from Author to Authorpreneur!

bitmoji-20180426025841

Don’t Rob Yourself

They say to beware when a naked person offers you a shirt. You can’t sacrifice for others to the point that you rob yourself because you cannot give what you don’t already own. But if your well does not run dry, if your cup runs over, if you are overflowing, then you can afford to be of service, truly, to others. If you have a love for yourself then you can give love to others. If you are confident in yourself then you can inspire others, and if you are knowledgeable yourself then you can teach others. It all starts with self. To quote Iyanla Vanzant, ‘what’s outside of the cup is yours, what’s inside the cup is mine.’ In order to be of service to others, you must learn to keep yourself full.

Blog Changes

Blog Changes Ahead

As we come to the close of 2016, there will be some changes made to this blog.

The major change is that I will be transitioning from http://www.thepbsblog.wordpress.com to www.thepbsblog.com. I want to give everyone an opportunity to prepare for the transition (please save the new web domain) so I will not be making any moves probably until the end of this month or the beginning of next month. (Special thanks to the commentary that led me to edit this part of the post. I just want to clarify that I am not moving the site. I am simply purchasing the domain for The PBS Blog so its .com instead of .wordpress.com. That is the only change to this site. I am not moving. I would also add that I am not doing anything yet so if there’s anyone with insight into switching over I’d love to hear your thoughts before I make the move. What are your thoughts? Is social media sharing still available? Any technicalities I should know about? Did you switch? Are you liking it so far? Thanks!)

I didn’t want to acquire a domain in the beginning because I already have an author website I’m paying for and I did not always know that I would continue with this blog. There was a time where I did consider hanging it up or just doing it temporarily. As I’ve continued however and have started to put some real hours into nourishing this community and providing value, I have decided to stay for a while longer and for that will finally make that transition to a more professional look, starting with a domain name. (I will probably add a donation widget as well to the slide-side bar once the domain goes up for those who enjoy this blog and would like to see it continue to run).

Other changes are minor, such as updating all the pages and sticking to a more permanent theme. Once I settle on a layout that I feel is right for this blog (I do like this one, but who knows), I’ll be sticking with it.

I am also looking to add more author services to accompany the Book Reviews. I have tried once before to open for Guest Blogging but that did not work out. Instead, I am working on something I can add as a permanent feature for authors. I have not decided what that is yet (Author Interviews, Q&A, Author Promo or what) but I will let you know when I’ve decided. I will say I am leaning toward Author Promo since I already promote books through my email list and book reviews. I will consider adding structure to it as something for 2017. What do you think?

In the meantime, thank you all for your continued support of The PBS Blog! If there is anything you’d like to see more of I would appreciate your feedback. Please do not hesitate to let me know what it is you want. It is truly my pleasure to serve you. I mean that sincerely.

Book Review Policy Changes

bitmoji-2111211349

I will be making changes to the review policy this fall. Due to time constraints, I will be charging a small readership fee in exchange for honest reviews. Don’t worry, it’s unbelievably cheap. This change will take place on Monday, October 3, 2016. To assist in a smooth transition, I am opening up registration for those who want to be placed on my readers list. Registration is free and secures your spot once the new policy takes place. I am offering a discounted readers fee for the first 5 authors to sign up. Registration begins August 8, 2016. I will pencil you into the calendar and you pay nothing until your service begins.

Indie Publishing is a hard and long journey. In order for Self-Publishers to make even the tiniest bit of noise will require at minimum 5 reviews. Preferably, written by 5 different people, unrelated to the author and an average Amazon rating of 3.5. Reviews help a book to start conversations, helps a books Amazon ranking and dramatically boost book sales.

Review
Review of Stella Book #3 By Mandy Peterson

I will provide an honest, professionally written critique of your book and a review that will be posted across social media to help you as an author. I treat my author friends how I want to be treated and will never insult, degrade, or embarrass my authors. My reviews are free in exchange for an e-copy (Kindle, PDF) or paperback of your book. However, due to time constraints, as stated I will begin charging a small readership fee for the reviews. This fee is to cover the time it takes to sit and read through the book (which takes a lot of time). Please visit my website to learn more (Look under the “Book Review Policy” page) Otherwise, reviews are still free (no fee) up until October. Send me an email if you’re an author looking for more reviews. I’ll be happy to do what I can to help.

  • An official PDF e-copy of the review for your records

  • Author will receive 350 – 750 words (3 – 5 paragraphs) of a detailed, honest, and quality review
  • Review posted on high traffic website and blog
  • Featured book of the month on blog and newsletters
  • Review linked to Amazon and Goodreads account
  • All reviews feature link to author website and social media accounts
  • Post review on all social media
  • Life time warranty. I support you forever.

FYI: In this digital age so many companies, big and small, are fleecing Self-Publishers by promising positive reviews in exchange for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars. (I just read something on LinkedIn earlier that said a company was charging a $250 fee for reviews). That said, for those of you who know me, you know that I am loyal and will never take advantage of new authors entering this field. I know how hard it is because I’m grinding right here with you. My fee is very affordable and is only to cover time.

The Message

social-media-quotes-picture

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.