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Elle Clouse

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More Marketing Stuff

So, in my previous post I spoke about SEO and some general tips on marketing for a small business.  As a writer, I am a small business.  I will have books to sell soon so I need to get my name out there and on the minds of my potential customers.  I’ve been made aware of two free tools that can further my reach and I thought that I would pass them on to you.

elleclouse_qrThe first item I want to talk about is QR Codes.  What is a QR Code?  See that weird square thing on the left?  That can be scanned by your smart phone and it will take you to my Facebook page.  You have probably seen these things all over, they are very popular.  There is one on my morning decaf latte from my favorite coffee shop.  You can program your QR Code to take the person who scanned it to any website on their smart phone.  When I first researched these, all I could find were pay services and I gave up on them.  Then someone told me about KimTag.  This free service will generate a QR Code for you and you can link it to your website, Twitter, Facebook, or a number of other social media sites some of which I haven’t even heard of.  These little codes can be put on business cards, fliers, brochures, bookmarks, in your printed author/artist bio,  and even printed on stickers and stuck around town (don’t vandalize).  Finding a QR Code is like being on a scavenger hunt that you didn’t know you were on!  Downloading an application to scan the code is free and once you have this ability, you will find yourself scanning more than you thought you would.  This is an excellent way to promote yourself.

elements_fb-e62f6991e5b1a31258b715b932708a7dThe second item I was told about is a free service called PageModo.  PageModo will help you generate an additional page tab for your Facebook that will sit right along side your ‘notes’ tab, your ‘photos’ and the like.  They only offer one page for free and have a premium service you can pay for if you want more pages but one is enough for my needs.  Once I’m ready, it will be an excellent place to market my books.  I set up a page for my husband’s business to promote his classes and after some fiddling I got it to look similar to his webpage.  See the example on the right of a page that PageModo can add to your Facebook.  They have several free templates to choose from so there is bound to be something that matches the look and feel you are going for.  This little bit of extra detail on your Facebook page will help people learn more about your business or product and maybe just set you apart from the competition.  Every little bit helps when you don’t have money to pay for promotion and you are solely responsible for said promotion.

I hope that this helps all you entrepreneurial sorts out there.  I never thought of myself as such until I started doing research into what it would actually be like to be an author.  Feel free to share these little gems of information because knowledge should be free and freely given.

 

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SEO & Other Marketing

SEO, which means Search Engine Optimization, is a new term in my vocabulary.  I came across it through my attempts at getting my husband’s business listed favorably on Google.    I did it years ago with a former site but things have changed quite a bit since then.  Where Google used to just find your site based on content alone, there are so many other facets involved now and some may surprise you.

My researched started with a free presentation put on by a local media consulting firm that was really a sales pitch for their product.  I knew that it was a sales pitch but I did glean some very helpful information from the forty-five minute seminar.  Did you know that Google takes into account how many times your content is shared on Facebook?  I had no idea…

Here are the top five things that Google looks for when ranking your website.

  1. Number of Facebook shares
  2. Number of back links
  3. Total number of Facebook likes
  4. Number of Facebook comments
  5. Number of followers on Twitter

I guess that it’s good that I finally got a Twitter account, even if I don’t get Twitter quite yet.  So Google takes into accounts all those things when listing your website in a search.  All things that I don’t have a direct influence upon.  For those of you who have ‘liked’ me on Facebook, you have probably seen me post those graphics about how to help and author.  Does it make more sense now how a simple ‘like’ or ‘share’ can be helpful?  For those of you that I have ‘liked’ on Facebook, now you know why I tend to like and share everything.  I’m trying to help you out and spread the word.

Now, the back links are considered links back to your website and the more reputable the site the stronger the back link.  This is where commenting on blogs and leaving your website can be handy.  Now, they have to be useful or encouraging comments mind you, none of this ‘great blog, now check out mine!’  That’s called spam, but an honest reaction to the topic or suggestion creates networking with a peer and creates a link back to your website.  Notice the links listed in my blogroll on the right?  All those links help a fellow writer get more notice from Google and other search engines.

Additionally, research shows that averaging about 3 Facebook/Twitter updates a week is a good number to keep your product on people’s minds but not too often as to make your follower feel harassed.  If you receive a negative review or negative feedback, how you respond can make all the difference.  If you respond quickly and politely and try to resolve the situation quickly, that negative review now holds less weight to the next person who reads it.  All because you tried to help and make it right.  Generally you don’t want to plaster your product or name all over reply to a bad review but make sure that there is enough information in your reply that the reviewer can contact you if need be.  Replying to positive reviews is great as well since  you can plug an up coming event or release or just drop your name or website in a professional manner.

After the seminar, I turned to the internet but most of what I could find were more companies trying to sell me SEO.  If I had the money, I would pay a company to do it because the more I dug the more clear it was that it will be a lot of work on my own to get a higher listing.  Some of it requires actual web coding knowledge which makes my eyes go crossed.

I’ve compiled some links that should help if you want to spend some time reading:

If you pay for hosting for your website, you can also ask your provider what sort of services they offer as far as SEO.  They might have some free services or services you are already paying for that you aren’t utilizing.

I hope that you all find this helpful and that it helps you better situate your site on the search engines.  I think that above all, being persistent, consistent, responsive and positive are the best tools you can bring to the table.  No one wants to follow a rude old sourpuss.  So put your best foot forward, optimize your site as best you can, and people will find you.

Writing by the Seat of Your Pants

NaNoWriMo is only a few days away and I have banned myself from writing until November 1st to avoid any sort of burn out. So I thought that I’d share an article that I wrote in 2007 about the first time that I won the competition. This article was originally published in the now defunct ezine Art & Prose.

I figure that this will help anyone thinking about attempting the NaNoWriMo with a glimpse into my method (or madness). It’s a good read regardless and it’s about Stealing the Wolf Prince formerly known as The Three Brothers.

Link removed.

The Good, The Bad, and the Game Plan

Thanks to the very informative website put up by Holly Lisle I know more of what to expect if I chose to pursue a large publishing house. Holly said that as a new author I might get an ‘advance’ of $2k to $5k with a standard royalty on sales of 6%. Most of the time the publisher will print 38k books and send them to stores. The stores will keep them on their shelves about 30 days, then rip off the covers and return them for their money back. All the unsold books then come out of any royalties I might have earned. If I don’t sell more than 50% of the books printed, then the publisher wont print anymore of my future work since it’s not profitable for them. The book could be out of print in less than a year. From what I gleaned, the publisher doesn’t do much promotion of the book.

I spoke with Kristy Denice Bock, who is a writer friend with 4 books out, and she went with a smaller publishing company. Smaller publishing companies do not offer an advance but have a higher royalty rate such as 40% to 50%. Promotion is left solely to the author. The book will most likely no appear on bookstore shelves but Kristy says that only about 1% of books make it into a physical store.

Then there is self publishing, which Holly recommends, where I would have to buy the ISBN and pay for a copyedit and do all the promotion but I’d retain all rights and all royalties. Holly recommends a place, Booknook.boz, which can publish on Amazon, B & N, etc. She cautioned against vanity publishing where the company you publish through owns the ISBN.

So after my freak out regarding the truths of publishing, I have decided that I want to publish through a small publishing company. Then once my contract with the publishing company has come to an end, I will self publish that novel. That way my novel will never be out of print. Of course, that is of the assumption that a publisher will pick up my work. 😉

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