Gain exposure for your book online

You have to work at getting a book noticed, but there are countless resources online where you can list your book. People interested n your title or topic can then click to purchase. Being listed in other places also improves your search-engine ranking, so people can find you easier.

Self-PublishingReview.com has a nice list of such resources here. Visit it today and get started…

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/blog/2009/01/15/places-to-list-your-book-online/#comment-12158

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Got the ‘back to school’ itch?

With the web, there are countless ways for you to re-engage with that ‘back to school’  feeling we had when we were kids.

Was it just a fantasy of new notebooks, paper, pens and the promise of time allowed to complete tasks? Could we still feel that way about getting back in gear for a ‘semester’ devoted to writing?

The world has sure changed, but there are good resource for online classes, that will give you that same spark of imagination and drive.

Consider:

MediaBistro with courses from novel writing to personal essay to blogging and editing.

Poynter News U with self-directed and webinar courses. Scholarships available.

Writer’s Digest with free online seminars so you can see if you like the concept before moving up to paying classes.

Hub Pages… a concept you should know

It seems all authors want to get noticed and reach out to a wider community, especially new authors. For new authors, who exhaust the “friends and family” path to celebrate their fame, what’s next?

Spend a little time on Hub Pages and you’ll learn of new avenues to expand your reach.

HubPages is a social content community where everyday experts communicate their knowledge to information seekers through online articles while earning an income. For users, HubPages is the most rewarding place to contribute knowledge while interacting with a like-minded community, making money, and retaining the ownership of their content. HubPages provides users with turn-key technology, a Google-enabled platform and an easy way to be recognized for their expertise and knowledge. More information is available on www.hubpages.com .

Now in its 4th year, HubPages allows writers to make money from their content, by writing articles in specific categories, and of course, including their book title in their bio. Writers earn 60 percent of ad revenue generated by their articles.

In a short time, HubPages user-generated output has grown from 600,000 to 1,100,000 hubs on various topics by the end of 2010.

“The most impressive aspect of the growth of created Hubs is revealed when you compare a HubPages article with other Web 2.0 content that proliferates online,” said Ren Chin, Vice President of Marketing. “On HubPages, we ask our writers to create informative, original and expert articles complete with photos, videos and maps. To achieve momentous growth within such a demanding section is very encouraging. Plus, we have evidence that the quality of the published Hubs have improved significantly, thanks to the constant monitoring by HubPages’ moderation team.”

So stop by HubPages.com today, read the forum, look around, and see if you’d like to contribute an article on a topic related to your book. if you’ve read my book, Release Your Writing, you know the author marketing challenges we face. This online visibility is another way to write for a target audience, build up your online portfolio, and promote your book at the same time. It’s a critical part of your platform.

Author’s Pub Date Group

If you’re a member of SheWrites.com, you may already know about the group that links you with other writers who have a book coming out the same time as yours.

A Pub Date Group lets you partner with other writers in your area for a book launch, share advertising costs, and compare notes on novel ways to market your new book. AND… you can participate in an Online Launch Party!  SheWrites.com is an outstanding resource for writers and authors.

Beat the winter blues with a free online writing conference!

The Catholic Writers Conference Online is coming up. Register by Feb. 15th to attend your choice of events. All are welcome and there is no fee.

I will be doing a Power Blogging chat session at this conference in March 1 at Noon, but you don’t have to wait for me. This third annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, runs February 26-March 5, 2010.

Sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild, the online conference is free of charge and open to writers of all levels who register before February 15, 2010. The event features writers, editors and publishers from across the globe.

Workshops and live online chats cover the gamut of writing topics from idea generation to marketing a published novel; traditional and self-publishing, article writing and fiction, and much more. “We have over eighty subject-matter experts giving their time to teach others–from the fledgling writer learning about plot to the experienced author wanting to better market their works,” said co-coordinator Karina Fabian. “We’re very grateful for the help of people like Helen.”

In addition, ten prominent publishers (Catholic, Christian and secular) will hear pitches, giving authors an unprecedented opportunity to chat personally despite living hundreds or thousands of miles away.

The CWCO has also added small critique workshops, where writers can get information and advice specific to their writing.

“CWG’s goal in creating these conferences is to help Catholic authors get published. In this economy, the online conference provides a great opportunity for Catholic writers to better their skills and jump forward in their writing careers. The cost is zero and the value is priceless. No Catholic writer should miss it,” said CWG Vice President Ann Lewis.

Although the conference is offered free of charge, donations are accepted; proceeds will go toward future conferences. To register or for more information, go to http://www.catholicwritersconference.com.

2010: The question is… Where to focus our energy?

If you’re like me, the “shoulds” and “wants” of your life are often in conflict, and Saturday is one day we all feel we can get an extra hour or two to focus on what has value for us. Odds are, it has nothing to do with laundry or a vacuum cleaner.  If you want a way to focus on your writing agenda, find leads, read industry news and track your submissions all in one place, treat yourself to a Writer’s Market subscription. This is the electronic version of the Writer’s Market book, but its also much, much more. Take a tour at WritersMarket.com and see for yourself.

Until January 31, they are offering a one-year subscriptiin at the same price they had ten years ago, when I first joined. So at less than $30/year, you may have just found your happy second home, home on the web.

As a bonus, their newsletter listed three contests of interest:

THREE FEBRUARY WRITING CONTESTS

WritersMarket.com lists more than 1,000 contests and awards for a range of writing genres, including fiction, nonfiction, journalism, poetry, writing for children, scriptwriting, and more. Here are four with February deadlines: one journalism, one novella, one children’s project. What are we waiting for? Let’s get clicking…

Investigative Journalism Grants are offered three times a year with deadlines on the first of February, June and October. The grants, which range from $500 to $10,000, are offered for original investigative newspaper and magazine stories.

The Malahat Review Novella Prize is a biennial contest offered for unpublished novellas. With a February 1 postmark deadline, this Canadian contest open to writers around the world has a first prize of $500 (Canadian), plus $40 (Canadian) per printed page and, of course, publication.

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators offers a Work in Progress Grant from no earlier than February 15 to no later than March 15 (postmark deadline) to help with the completion of a range of book projects written for children. There are multiple grants available for $500 and $1,500.

WritersMarket.com lists more than 8,000 publishing opportunities, including listings for other magazines, contests, book publishers, literary agents, conferences, and more. Log in (or sign up) today to start submitting your work.

NANOWRIMO … it’s the middle of Week 2

compcoffeeI was out of town this weekend and didn’t get much writing done. Here’s a bit of motivation to keep you writing during November: National Writing Month. These tips are from the NANOWRIMO site:

1)It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. Really. You’ve read a lot of novels, so you’re completely up to the challenge of writing one. If you feel more comfortable outlining your story ahead of time, do so. But it’s also fine to just wing it. Write every day, and a book-worthy story will appear, even if you’re not sure what that story might be right now.

2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it’s hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn’t. Every book you’ve ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you.

3) Tell everyone you know that you’re writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who’ve had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

3.5) There will be times you’ll want to quit during November. This is okay. Everyone who wins NaNoWriMo wanted to quit at some point in November. Stick it out. See it through. Week Two can be hard. Week Three is much better. Week Four will make you want to yodel.

Their site, at nanowrimo.org has lots of other motivation, procrastination and fun. When you log in to track your first hundred words, or first 10,000 words, take a look around. You’re in good company.

Be sure to sign up for the your home town region, so you’ll be aware of NANOWRIMO parties in your area, and your words are added to the total for your city. I’m in the Chicago region, which barely made the top ten list last year. I won’t be the one to let it fall lower.

No matter what you choose to write, you will write more in November by doing this, and you will end the month with a significant accomplishment.

Write away!!

Helen Gallagher

The Value of Marketing Materials

On LinkedIn.com today, I was asked whether there is such as thing as “unnecessary marketing material.”

My response:
I think effective marketing material is beneficial, but most cards, fliers, and ‘about me’ material just get tossed. What makes an effective marketing piece? Look to the big PR firms and publicists for examples. They do white-papers and useful articles that take a unique spin on an author’s book, rather than just a blurb about the book.

I recently reviewed a book on creativity and the author is highly visible for marketing an article on “Seven Steps to Tap Into Your Creative Spirit” or some similar title. A piece like that has more value and relevance than a marketing piece created specifically to drive sales but without benefit to the reader.

Do you agree? Are you proud of the marketing materials you’ve created for your work? Comment here, and I’ll send you the book review on creativity.

Put the ‘network’ in your social networking

Social networking to find a good used car, or a new brownie recipe, is one thing, but putting Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to work requires using them as a real networking tool. That means less social, and more networking. LinkedIn has particularly well targeted groups, on ebooks, publishing, agents, and more.

You may have heard of the ‘elevator pitch” concept – if you have only a short time during an elevator ride to make your pitch, rehearse it so your message comes across, targeted and memorable.

Try doing the same with your social networking messages, In fact, try it five times this week. When you make a comment or post an item, find a way to tie it to your book, your site or your blog. If you answer a question online, let people know they can find more in your book. You get the idea… network!

Other ways to expand your online presence this week:
Join an online writing group – not critique but power marketing, with a group that offers networking and seminars. Visit the Resources page of ReleaseYourWriting.com for some suggested groups. See, that was a marketing trick to get you to visit my web site.

Next week, I’ll lead you toward some terrific online newsletters and ask you to share a few of your favorites, by posting a Comment here.

Go start something great.

Helen Gallagher