How Blogging Consistently Helps Readers Find You

This is an informative post for any writer looking to use blogging to build an author platform. I have said this before (but hey, who am I?) that blogging consistently is possible without taking away from writing and publishing books.

Blogging is part of your branding; if you are confused about your branding, you will be confused about what to blog about. Think about it: if you knew exactly what you were going to write about each week, how much easier would that be? – Rachel Thompson

Even if you are not being paid to blog it is still helpful to helping you to find more readers (which helps you to get paid kind of indirectly). Readers and authors I’ve met through blogging are still among my biggest supporters.(Blogging consistently also helps you to…wait for it…grow your blog).

Below are three links. Two are from Rachel Thompson and the other is an older article I published to this blog three years ago on how blogging between books has been helpful to me. (read more articles on blogging from me on the Blog Tips page). Enjoy.

How Blogging Consistently Helps Readers Find You

4 Ways You Can Make Time to Blog

Between Books: When the Blog Comes in Handy

Oh, wait! Also see…

Blogging and Time

Since I wear glasses now, I had to give the avatar a new look.
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The Pros and Cons of Author Vending

I enjoy networking with readers, other authors and business people present at conferences and festivals. One of the many ways I have access to these opportunities is through vending. Today, I would like to share a few of the pros and cons of author vending.

What is author vending?

To put it simply, author vending is when authors partner with an organization to reserve a space where they can sell their books/services/products, usually at a book festival or conference. Vending is not new and is something other businesses do all the time. The benefits of vending are numerous but there can also be some challenges for Independent Authors. As usual, I base this on my own experience which may very well differ from other authors.

Con: Financial Risk

“Consider the benefits and risks to your business when deciding to exhibit your product or service. These will be different for each event. Choosing the wrong trade show to exhibit your business’s products or services can result in displaying to the wrong audience. Poor promotion can mean the costs of attending the trade show outweigh any revenue you gain.” – Business Queensland

When you are a vendor, it means you have paid to reserve a table at an event where you will sell your books/products/services. Sometimes these costs can be very expensive. The authors must be careful not to “overpay to play.” I’ve seen tables costs as much as $600. This money could easily go toward good editing instead or the publishing of another book entirely. Authors should consider that not only will they reserve a table, but they will also  buy books and author swag for the table and travel to the event. Before saying yes to vending, consider the financial benefits and potential challenges. Ask:

  • Do I have enough funds to cover books, attendance, display and other associated costs

 

  • Have I worked out how many prospects and readers I will need to obtain to generate a return on my investment

 

  • Have I researched/visited/asked questions about the event at which I am contemplating exhibiting and am I confident that a suitable number of people will attend

 

  • Have I worked out a way to capture people’s attention (*This is important. I see a lot of authors at expos  looking down at their phones or just looking bored. They sit at the table for the entire time and rarely communicate with the people walking by. Then, at the conclusion, these same authors are upset because they sold no books. The people are not just going to come to you. Chances are you are not famous and no one owes you a thing. Stop being lazy, get up, and represent yourself.

Any author who wishes to be a vendor must be sure to research the event, understand what is included in the package, and know what they are looking to gain from the experience. If the goal is only to sell books, the author(s) should consider hosting something at their local library where the table is free or collaborating with other authors to cover the price of the table.

The primary purpose of vending (as I have found it) is the chance to network and get your name out there. It is a discoverability strategy. While an author can sell books, how many books are sold depends on the strength of that author’s network. More on that on the next con point.

Pro: Networking Opportunity

“Face-to-face communication builds the most memorable brand awareness. Last year our expos had hundreds of people walk through the door. Expos centralize a local audience that will be most receptive and ready to learn. This might be a rare occurrence for your industry depending on where you are geographically. You’ll have an opportunity to connect with new people and reconnect with those already invested in your brand.” – Peter O’Donnell, 4 Key Benefits of Becoming a Vendor

One of the major benefits of being an author vendor is the chance to network with individuals you probably would not have met or had the chance to speak with before. It is a chance to get your name out there in the public and expose your brand to people face-to-face. Last year, I spoke with the owner of Acapella Books in Atlanta when I was shopping my books around bookstores. First, he denied stocking my book, but he told me why and while it hurt my ego, I had to listen to sound advice:

“Your book will only get lost among the hundreds of celebrity authors’ books in the store. The best thing you can do right now is to get your name out there. Are you attending the Decatur Book Festival?”

I told him I was. I wasn’t a vendor, but I would be in attendance. He said good and to start there. He told me to “focus on building your platform and getting your name out there.”

Conferences and Book Festivals attract an array of media depending on the host of the event. You have the potential to meet editors, agents, publishers, celebrity authors and corporate influencers.

I don’t care what the experts say, online will never be as good as face-to-face contact and connection. Giving your readers a chance to meet you in person adds a special kind of value. “People see the truth in you through your actions, personality, and in how genuine you are with them.” (Greg Dabbs, Business Development Manager) They get to hear your voice, see your face outside of photos, ask questions, give advice, laugh and get to know you more personally.

The chances of pitching are significantly higher when you position yourself to be present at these events. You get to practice your sales pitch, research competition and increase the chances of collaboration opportunities. It is not all about money. At a decent rate vending can be the boost you need to jump-start your business. Financial investment in yourself is something you will need to consider in your career at some point anyway. Whether that is vending at a notable event or paying for professional author photos, it is something you will need to do at some point.

It is about showing up and being an author vendor is one of the easiest ways to show up, to get out and connect with people.

Con: Difficult for New/Unknown Indie Authors

Author vending is the opportunity for you to connect with your readers. It gives them the chance to meet with you face-to-face, to take pictures with you, to buy paperback copies of your books, or to have books signed they already bought. But it could be even more challenging for new/unknown Indie Authors.

“No one will come to your book reading/signing unless you are already famous. The packed author readings on the news are only packed because the author is already very well known. Book readings at bookstores are among the worst uses of time for a new author.” – Writing Well

While I don’t believe you have to be famous to do a book signing/reading for people to support you (I do well at signings and I am certainly no one famous), there is some truth in this quote. While the chances of people buying are higher in person because physical presence increases trust, authors who have multiple books out and who have already built a strong platform and audience before vending will do much better. People will already know who they are, and readers will come out to support them.

Paying money to reserve a table at an author event when you are a new author no one knows, when you have done no work to promote the event to your audience or where you have not built an audience will be like posting your Amazon buy link on social media hoping people will take a chance on an unknown author. While some people will (I usually do but I’m nice like that 🙂 ) this kind of “Hope Marketing,” rarely works. Vending is usually not free, and the money is usually nonrefundable.

Before you spend money on reserving a table, focus on publishing more books and developing a relationship with your readers so that when you do an event people will come out to support you. Now do not misunderstand me, a first-time author can certainly do well at signings and events but only because that author already have people who are willing to support him/her from previous works.

Pro: Invitations for More Work

Photo Copyright ©2019. The Velvet Note | Velvet Voices. Yecheilyah Ysrayl.
I read somewhere that “the reward for a job well done is the opportunity to do more,” (Dr.Jonas Salk). The biggest benefit to author vending is that eventually, you will not have to look for opportunities. Opportunities will find you. It was at the Atlanta African American Book Festival that I was asked to participate in Velvet Voices, The Velvet Note Jazz club’s new and first Author/Word event. People will remember you and reach out to you for other projects. They may even ask you to be a vendor at another event. This is significant because once people reach out to you, the ball is in your court. You get to decide the terms of your acceptance. Can your table be free of cost/discounted? Can they pay you to speak? Can they purchase your ticket if the place is not in your home city/state? What is it you require for your presence? The idea here is to one day graduate from vending alone to being requested and paid to speak as well.

This is the beginnings of earning the passive income you want to help to leverage the income from your book royalties. These days, you need the additional income that comes from other streams of income related to your writing.

You may not think people are paying attention, but they are. Author vending is a great way to give a very good first-person impression that can lead to an even bigger opportunity and business partnership.

Pro/Con – Organizer / Host

It is important to ask, who is the organizer/host? The person(s) behind the event is a big deal. You want to make sure the organization or cause is something you can get behind. Vending is a big deal these days and it shouldn’t escape authors that it is also a way for businesses and organizations to make money. Choosing to be a vendor is not just about meeting new people and exposing your business, it is also about investment. Vending is an investment in yourself and an investment in the company or organization hosting the event.

The people behind the event can make this a Pro if the organization is well organized, grounded, relatively known and actively promoting the event and its participants.

The people behind the event can make this a Con if the event host is unorganized, the event is poorly promoted (bad for you if you paid for a table and are looking to turn a profit) and does little to nothing to promote the event and its participants.

It is not about jumping on every so-called opportunity available to authors. It is about being strategic and intentional with every decision you make regarding your book business.

When you are asked, invited or when you take part in a vending opportunity, be sure you connect with an organization that is relatable to the goals and the purpose you have set for yourself, that the vision of the organization is something you can support and rally behind and that they will work just as hard for you as you intend to work for them. Vending is a partnership and partnerships are not one-way streets. Or at least they shouldn’t be.

Major Cons

  • Can be costly
  • Not a wise investment for new authors with no audience
  • Can be hectic and stressful (requires a lot of work)
  • Can be overwhelming
  • Can sometimes go downhill

Every marketing platform has advantages and disadvantages. Don’t let the disadvantages of author vending discourage you from participating in exhibitions and reaping the benefits of it. Just do your research first.

Major Pros.

  • Exposure to a wider set of audience
  • Creates brand awareness
  • Increases credibility
  • Promotes brand loyalty
  • Helps in Networking

I am vending at this year’s 4th Annual MogulCon event on October 26, 2019, from 9:00a – 3:00p at the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center. I would love to meet you there. The purpose of the MogulCon women’s business conference is to educate and assist diverse businesses on how to connect and position themselves in the marketplace. The goal is to create economic opportunities and position them with corporations and large companies to help them grow and scale. Come out and meet successful entrepreneurs and corporate influencers when you register for the 3-day event taking place October 24-26th. (I’ll see you on the 26th!)

The Function of Freedom

 

As I have said before, I hope to use my writing as an underground railroad leading us back to spiritual freedom and away from mental bondage. If people can’t be liberated in their own lives, I hope my books can provide a roadmap. May Morrison RIP and may we step up. The Legends are gone and it is our time now to make an impact. It is our time. What will we do with it?

Keep Yourself Full: Now Available

Keep Yourself Full, my first Non-Fiction spiritual handbook for healing the hurting, lifting the fallen, and restoring the broken is available now on Amazon in ebook. It will be available as a paperback between tonight and tomorrow. Check back to this post. I will edit it to let you know it’s available in paperback. Thanks in advance for your time, attention, and support. (It is still 99cents until the end of today. Hurry before the ebook price rises!)

If you know me for my fiction work, I have some exciting new material coming. However, I do hope you will enjoy this book. It is my first Non-Fiction piece, and I am delighted to share it with you. As always, I hope that you will finish the read feeling full and empowered.

Keep Yourself Full is a spiritual handbook that focuses on our return to self-love. It is a reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our lives and makes us fit to be of service to others. Through my testimony, I give examples of how we self-abuse and how that differs from self-love, why it is essential not to take things so personally, why we must establish and enforce healthy boundaries, and how assumptions kill relationships. We learn that by investing in our well-being spiritually, physically, mentally, and professionally, we can be of service fully to others. We cannot ignore that we treat others how we feel about ourselves. When we realize that what we do to others, we are equally doing to ourselves, we can use this awareness to heal. By treating ourselves better, we treat others better. Keep Yourself Full is about keeping ourselves filled with love and all that is good, so we are overflowing with enough to share with everyone else.

>>Purchase the ebook Now<<

Free with Kindle Unlimited

If you read this book already, you may now leave your reviews either on Amazon or Goodreads

Careful Not to Tie Your Self-Worth into Not Achieving Your Goals

After much thought, I pushed the release for Keep Yourself Full (my first Inspirational Non-Fiction book) back to August (now reflected in the sidebar….new release date is 8/6). There’s a lot going on in July. The Book Festival, the Book Signing before that, our mini family road trip (next week! yayy) and I’m back in school so there’s no way I’ll have time to focus on releasing another book in the same month. This led me to a reminder I think we all need to hear every now and again.

Raise your hand if you get down on yourself when you do not accomplish what you set out to do. Maybe you had to push a date back, abandon a project or maybe you failed at executing something. I’ll be the first to raise mine. I get so frustrated, but I’ve learned something along the way: not to tie not achieving a goal to my self-worth. I am still worthy even if I do not achieve what I set out to when I set out to. My purpose is the same and my time will come. (Rom. 8:28)

“By tying your self-love and self-acceptance to a goal, your happiness corresponds to its achievement. When you reach your goal, your self-esteem rises temporarily; when you don’t, you think less of yourself as you have chosen to conditionally love yourself based on the success or failure of your obtaining this goal. Now the expectation of what “should be,” controls you.”

– The Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr, son of Don Miguel, author of The Four Agreements.

The Mastery of Self is a great inspirational read. I just finished it and it has helped me tremendously in this decision. I recommend it. (The Fifth Agreement is also a decent read, though not as good as The Four Agreements in my opinion.) Goals help to keep us accountable but not achieving them does not make us useless or unimportant. Rest when you need to. Push that date back if you need to. Don’t rush. What is yours is still yours. It will wait for you. Even if you need to ghost Social Media for a while. Take care of yourself. We will be here when you get back.

“You Can Do It Sis”

Quick story.

I was in the city on this beautiful, warm day, and I wanted to get a pic by the water but I wasn’t sure if I could make that lil jump without getting wet. I was going to say, “that’s okay,” when a young lady behind me says, “you can do it, sis!” I turned around, jumped and made it. This had me thinking about the importance and ease of what it means to support one another. It doesn’t always have to be something grandiose, flowers and sparkles and rainbows. Doesn’t always require us to be present either or taking professional pictures. Nope. Support is simple and requires us to do nothing but go the extra mile for one another. This young woman’s comment blessed my soul, made me smile and gave me the courage to “jump,” and she didn’t have to do it. She could have let me go about my way. She could have shaken her head or said something smart under her breath. She could have easily judged me. Instead, she empowered me. No celebrity status needed, no large crowd around us, no audience, nothing but the hot sun on our faces and the opportunity to get a cute pic because we felt beautiful today, like the weather was. And just like I don’t have to publish this post, I will. I will go the extra mile like someone did for me and return the love.

Whatever you want to do, do it. Don’t worry about what people will think or failure. Let faith lead you. Make the jump. Leap. “You can do it sis/bro!”

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: /’NAKEED/: a bare soul by Shequila Knighten

Title: /’NAKEED/:…a bare soul

Author: Shequila Knighten

Genre: Poetry

Published: November 1, 2018

ASIN: B07K3YDKS9

Pages: 111

*I  was gifted a copy of this book but it was so good that I decided to purchase it in support of the author*

 

I am excited to be doing reviews again and boy do I have a tasty one for you today! I love poetry, have written four collections myself and hosted two poetry contests so far on this blog. For these reasons, it was probably surprising that I opted not to review poetry when I first started. One of the reasons was because I found it difficult to judge. Poetry is very personal and intimate and I don‘t think there’s any such thing as bad poetry. But, since my last contest (where we read over and critiqued tons of poems) I decided to review poetry books on this blog and since coming in contact with Knighten, I am glad I changed my mind!

/NAKEED/: a bare soul is a collection of love poems from an amazing poet, Shequila Knighten and her journey of discovering her authentic self. Upon the first read, you may mistakenly think these are poems mostly about a woman’s relationship with a man but as you continue, you’ll find it is much more than that. There is romance but on a deeper level these are poems about a woman’s love for herself, a journey of healing through heartbreak, depression, and facing insecurities. These poems are beautifully written and what I liked most is that the pieces are raw but not vulgar which is not easy to do. There‘s a sexiness to them but Shequila’s lyrics are elegant, strong and inspiring.

“He had a voice smooth as a saxophone…”

“they say time heals all wounds…I think my watch died…”

“insecurity established a deep-rooted self-hate growing in my womb…”

Whew. See what I mean fam? I am hoping Shequila will consider entering my next poetry contest! We will see. In the meantime, be sure to pick up your copy of /NAKEED/ which is just 99cents on Amazon!

Lyrical Factor: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

/NAKEED/: a Bare Soul is available now on Amazon. Click Here.


About Shequila Knighten

Shequila is a writer of poetry and inspirational blogger. She became a writer after growing up with the constant fear of people not understanding her speaking what’s on her mind, so writing became her outlet. Starting with poetry, she released her first book of poems, /’NAKEED/.  She now lives by the motto, ”if you can’t speak it, write it; your point will still be heard.” Shequila currently resides in Southwest Florida with her three children.
Want me to review your book on this blog? Learn how HERE.