Just Publishing Advice For Writers and Authors | Free self-publishing..
Just Publishing Advice is maintained by Derek Haines, an ageing English teacher, author and habitual blogger, who has a long-held interest in self-publishing, as a means of freedom of expression rather than as an avenue to instant riches and fame.
I absolutely believe in being lazy, but I don’t believe in writer’s block
Before I started writing this blog post, I had a blank page. Well, a completely white WordPress editor screen to be precise. But as you can see, it’s not blank, totally white and devoid of words anymore.
How did I start? I read.
My day always begins with reading over breakfast. News, blogs, social media, emails and sometimes even a real newspaper.
Yes, an old-fashioned one made of paper that doesn’t need electricity to read.
This morning, between my coffee and tartine, I stumbled upon this quote on social media on my iPad, with my sticky marmalade tipped finger.
There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. ~Terry Pratchett
Funny little quote, I thought. But then it set me to wondering about this whole writer’s block thing.
What is it? Do I suffer from it? When does it happen? Why does it happen? What do I do about it?
Then I had a passing thought. I don’t think I have ever written anything deep and meaningful about this dastardly subject before.
Time to rectify that and hit my new writing project.
What is Writer’s Block?
I can’t speak for all writers, but for me, it is almost always a symptom of episodes of abject laziness.
You know – the I can’t really be bothered type of mood. I’ll do it tomorrow. There’s no rush anyway.
It is rarely a result of a lack of ideas or creative problems. It’s just having an empty head that doesn’t want to go to work.
Do I suffer from it?
Possibly and no. Mostly, no.
When does it happen?
It’s unusual for me not to want to write. But there are obviously times when it becomes difficult.
Perhaps if I am feeling a bit off colour or worse, suffering from the flu or a cold or if I am in a seriously grumpy mood. Yes, that can happen, even to someone who is as jovial as me, most days.
It often strikes after dinner, however. Well, after the red wine and cheese, and then more wine to be precise.
Why does it happen?
For me, it happens because I get lazy and find reasons or excuses to do something else other than to start writing.
For someone else, it might be that being a perfectionist causes creative problems, or that even fear can result in being creatively blocked.
It could also be caused by the time not being right. You desperately want to write another chapter, but it’s eleven-thirty at night.
The in-laws have just left after an overly long boring dinner. The kids are finally in bed. It’s all quiet at long last. But you usually write in the early evening.
That situation can be called writer’s block. But really, it’s clearly not your writing time, and you are too tired.
What do I do about it?
Here comes the serious advice section of this article.
How to overcome writer s block, which I don’t believe in, in an impressive 17 point bullet list.
1. The number one cure has been stated hundreds of time. Go outside and take a long walk.
If you are fortunate enough to have a dog, this is an easy rule because you have to do it at least once a day anyway.
2. A rumbling stomach is a distraction. Eat well and have a balanced diet. If you feel hungry, stop writing and take a short munchie break.
3. Go for a run or a swim. Don’t be a couch potato. Keeping fit and healthy is vital to the writing process.
4. Have a writing schedule and stick to it. Add your daily writing time to your agenda. It doesn’t have to be all day. One or two hours is enough.
But of course, you can go overtime if you get your creative juices flowing.
5. Find your quiet place. It’s not easy unless you are a hermit. Do a deal with your family and reserve your quiet place and time to write.
6. Turn off the distractions. For many writers, a computer is your writing machine, but it does so many other things. Turn off the wifi, close all the browsers and write. Concentrate on your creative flow and not on a flow of Facebook messages.
7. One bad habit that many writers suffer from is writing in their head.
The ideas, words, sentences and paragraphs flow so easily when you are resting, about to go to sleep or bored to death in a doctor’s waiting room. And then it is all forgotten.
Never write in your head. Write it down. Use your phone, a notebook or write on your palm or arm.
8. The writing process always starts with one small idea. This applies to fiction writing as well as content and article writing. Keep a written list of all your little ideas and thoughts.
It is a valuable resource to refer back to when you run into small writing blocks. I once wrote a novel from a thought that had been on my ideas list for over two years.
9. For content writers who are often on a strict schedule, the need to write something is pressing. The writing part is not usually a problem, but finding what to write about can be.
How to use a file manager to protect your precious manuscript
Don’t trust technology!
If you are writing a book, you should never use one working copy of your manuscript file. Computer files can suffer from all sorts of problems such as file corruption, accidental deletions or worse, viruses.
Many writers start writing a book using Microsoft Word or a similar word processor. Every day they add more text to the manuscript and think that by regularly hitting ‘Save‘ everything is safe. Wrong. Very wrong.
When you write a book, placing your trust in only one working copy of your manuscript on your computer is inviting disaster.
Apart from file system issues, there are also other nasty possibilities. You might accidentally overwrite or delete files, your hard drive could crash, a system update could fail, or someone might even steal your computer.
For all these reasons, an author needs to know how to be an excellent file manager to safeguard all the work involved in writing a long document for a book.
To keep your manuscript safe, take the following basic file management steps to make sure you will never lose all your hard work.
1. Save one master file and individual chapter files
When you start writing a new book, set up a new folder in your file manager. Then from Word, save a new master file and chapter files to the folder. Use ‘Save As‘ to create all the new files.
Now you can work on writing each chapter in its own individual Word file. This is a good writing habit to get into to avoid problems with large files. Even if the worst happens and a file gets corrupted, it will only affect one chapter file and not the whole manuscript.
When you have finished each chapter, copy and paste the chapter into the master manuscript.
2. Save a copy of your folder and files somewhere else.
Never trust your computer or laptop.
There are many options to safeguard your book files. You can use a thumb drive or sd card, or a free version of cloud drive services such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud Drive on a Mac. Cloud storage takes very little time to set up and most work with all types of files.
You can either upload and copy your folder to one of these, or in some cases; you can set up automatic syncronising.
3. Keep a versions file of your main manuscript
An extra line of protection is to create a new folder and save a timeline of versions of your main manuscript document. Adding a date to the end of the file name helps you keep track.
You only need to do this once a week perhaps, but it is a perfect backup system if you are methodical, or pedantic like me.
You can use any naming system you prefer. As an extra precaution, you can also use underscores in file names as in the example files above. Filenames without spaces are a little less likely to corrupt, or so I believe.
Again, save your revision files to an external location as an extra backup.
4. Be systematic as you write your book
When you write, use your individual chapter files and be sure to copy your new work to your chosen external backup location at the end of your writing session or day.
On completion of each chapter, do a copy and paste into your main manuscript.
Then do a ‘Save As‘ for a new dated revision to your revision folder.
Using ‘Save As‘ instead of ‘Save‘ is the best way to protect your versions as it creates a new file but your main manuscript file will remain intact and unchanged.
If you need to send files to an editor or proofreader, again, do a ‘save as’ and rename the file to suit and save to another new folder.
You should never move files, transfer files or share files without creating a new version with ‘Save As‘.
There is nothing worse for a writer than losing all their work due to a computer problem.
Taking the time to learn how to be a good file manager with File Explorer in Windows or Finder in Mac to protect your work is vital. You don’t need to be as pedantic as I am, but you should definitely review how your manuscript files are saved, protected and backed up.
At the very least, have copies saved externally. However, setting up a simple system as I have outlined above does not take much time at all.
By managing your files correctly, you will be secure in the knowledge that whatever goes wrong, your manuscript will always be safe and secure.
If you have already started writing your manuscript, you can take these precautions by copying out your chapters into new files and start a new revisions file for your manuscript.
It will only take a half an hour to set up the files and folders to be secure and avoid any possible heartaches in the future when it comes time to publish a book.
Whizbuzz Books has been helping authors promote books since 2010
Regular readers of Just Publishing Advice will know that I also own Whizuzz Books. The two sites have operating side by side for many years now.
The two websites are separate because each one serves a unique purpose. One is for free publishing, writing, blogging, SEO and marketing advice. The other is for online book promotion.
For authors who might be considering online book promotion, this article will give an outline view about how to use Whizbuzz Books to extend your book marketing reach.
What Does Whizbuzz Books Do?
Books and ebooks are now very much purchased online. Because of this fact, Whizbuzz specialises in on-site, social media and SEO based book promotion.
Social media promotion is essential in today’s market. The Whizbuzz follower count is always growing, and currently has more than 630,000 real users on its various social network accounts.
On-site, it uses cross-promotion via More Great Reads, Popular Books and genre groupings to increase exposure for listed books, as well as providing an enjoyable user experience. Importantly, the site is highly optimised for smartphones and tablets.
SEO is unseen by site visitors, but it is a vital element in attracting Google search and organic traffic. For this reason, SEO attributes are written to gain the best possible search engine indexing and then added individually to every book page.
Social media promotion is often assumed to be the primary form of book promotion nowadays. Yes, it is a priority, but posts have quite short-term visibility. During the one year of online promotion, Whizbuzz posts every book on a regular and recurring basis to maximise exposure.
On the other hand, a web page is for the long-term. All book pages on Whizbuzz remain on the site indefinitely and continue to attract traffic, even years after posting.
Whizbuzz Books offers set and forget book marketing. So yes, if you want it to do all the work for you, it will.
But there are a few on-site tools that authors can use to take their book promotion a step further and make the most of their year of promotion.
Let’s look at some of the Whizbuzz features in more detail and how they can be used to improve your book exposure.
Tracking the Buzz
Whizbuzz is active on more networks than any other book promotion service. At present, it is active on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest and is constantly looking for new opportunities and networks to help authors.
But social media is so fast-paced that posts and shares are not easy to find. The search tools on Twitter and Facebook, in particular, are very basic, limited and difficult to use effectively.
This was an issue that became frustrating for some Whizbuzz authors. They knew their book had been posted, somewhere, but couldn’t find the post when they wanted to share, retweet or view activity.
We solved this problem with a little bit of smart technology. On the site, a dedicated page and a sub-page for retweets collect most social media posts by Whizbuzz, and they can be viewed in almost real time.
The BUZZ page uses a ‘load more’ function to scroll back in time, so it can be used to view days or weeks of consolidated posts on each social network. There is also a more Buzz page to view secondary Twitter account activity and retweets.
How To Use It!
The Buzz and More Buzz pages make it easy for authors to find their book posts on social media and to interact by replying, sharing, retweeting, commenting or liking.
Another excellent use for these pages is to connect with more people and potential book buyers. Each entry has user activity icons, so you can trace new users to follow or interact with.
This is often an overlooked part of book promotion. By liking, commenting, retweeting or even sharing other books, people will see this in their notifications and possibly connect with you. It is a quick and easy way to build your author platform and social media reach.
In fact, this applies to all promotion on social media. Interacting with shares, likes, retweets and comments will help grow your social media network. Whizbuzz gives authors a vast resource of over 600,000 users to do exactly that. Connect and build an author platform.
How to make your book popular
The ‘Popular Book’ widget on the site is a powerful tool because it appears on almost every page on the site.
For a book to be showcased in this section, it needs to be within its one year of promotion and to gain enough page views over a rolling 30 day period to rank high enough to be in the top twenty viewed books.
How To Use It!
Because book popularity is calculated on page views, you should encourage people to visit your book page. You can do this by sharing your page regularly on your own social media accounts. There are sharing buttons on your book page to make this very easy.
Adding a link to your blog sidebar or at the end of your posts is also an easy way to get more page views.
You can add a link to your Facebook page, Goodreads and other social media profiles as well.
Another way is to include a link in your email signature. How many emails do you send out every day?
You don’t need to spend a lot of time to increase your book’s visibility. All you need to do is give people easy ways to view your book on Whizbuzz.
Keep your Whizbuzz page up to date
A lot can change in a year. You might decide to change your book cover or write a revised book description.
How To Use It!
Whizbuzz allows authors to update the information on their book page.
There is no extra charge. It’s a free service. So if you change any of your book details, use the site contact form to ask for a revision, or an update to your cover, book blurb, genre listing, social media links or your book buy link.
Stay connected to your book promotion
Whizbuzz Books is very active on social media. Because of this, there is a lot of external user activity such as social shares, likes, retweets, comments and shares. That is a LOT of activity. How can you keep up with it all?
How To Use It!
There is no way you can follow every interaction on social media.
But you can keep your finger on the pulse for your book promotion by taking a few simple steps.
Follow all of the Whizbuzz social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest. Yes, there are a lot of them.
Next, turn on your notifications.
Check your settings to make sure you are not muting or blocking users.
Don’t be a slave to all your notifications, but you can quickly scan through them once a day. If you notice a comment or share about your book, you can say thank you or like a comment. It’s yet another way to expand your reach by connecting with people.
Wrapping it up
One of the early objectives of Whizbuzz was to give new authors access to an extensive online community of writers, readers, book bloggers, book reviewers and publishers. It is very common for authors to publish a book well before they have built a sizable online author platform.
When it comes to blogging, one of the most important factors is to produce content that engages your readers. It might seem easy to do, but you really have to tap within yourself to get the right balance.
Writing content that is engaging, does not have to be soppy or hilarious. There is a way you can do this that comes across as more natural and realistic.
Many bloggers write great content, but if the audience cannot relate, the content might not be shared, or no comments are left.
For any blogger, communicating with your audience after the blog post is published, is of great importance. Writing a business biography is one element of writing, but writing content that is engaging is a different story.
Being yourself if the first step to getting that balance and could be one of the hardest things to do when you are writing on the global net. Know who your audience is and what information they need.
When you establish that, you are on your way to writing content for them and not for you. Here are some other ways you can write engaging content and receive more blog comments.
Write a powerful opening line
This rule applies to all types of writing and it is important if you want to get your audience interested quickly. The beginning of your blog has to grab the attention of your readers and keep that attention flowing throughout the article.
You can start with a story or a question, but whatever you do, make sure that you give the reader a chance to relate to what you are trying to say. Be confident in what you are writing if you want the audience to make that connection with you.
The opening line is the deciding factor in which the reader will grasp it or step away from it, so you want to make sure that it is thought-provoking.
Use simple words
If you want to know how to write a business bio, you’ll probably learn about the professional and almost academic level of writing. When you are writing for the enjoyment and entertainment of others, you want to take a different approach.
Do not use words in your writing that the average person won’t understand. Not only will your readers not understand the content, but it might make them feel uncomfortable.
This is not a good place to be if you are trying to grow your blog. Write the way you would talk when having a conversation with a friend. Remember that online readers are just people.
If you want to use words that show off your vocabulary, then you might want to consider a blog that focuses on that.
You can write about a subject that has been done millions of times, but you can still make your angle unique. When you are confident in your writing and know who you are as a person, this process becomes easier.
The more information you have about it, the easier it is to write in an informative manner. Always give a bit more information than any other blogger has on the subject.
Break it up
Do not have long outdrawn sentences on your blog posts. Get straight to what you need to say and move on to the next fact. There is no need to continue with words that have no meaning and do not add value.
No one likes to work through a block of text, so the same applies to paragraphs. Use bullet points or a numbering system if you find yourself writing long sentences.
Online readers want information fast and in a way that is easily digestible. It is also easier for a reader to refer back to a certain point in the blog posts when you break it up.
End on a high
After the last sentence of your blog post, the reader should have something to respond to. This way, you will receive more comments on your post and have a better understanding of who your audience is.
When you create an outline of your work before you start writing, you can plan how to end your article. Without a plan, you might have to end your post on a bit of a low note, and that could ruin everything else that you wrote.
Now that the readers have worked through your post, leave them with something that pulls everything together. There might be additional questions that the readers want to ask or a simple thank you for the information provided.
Call to action
One of the simplest ways to get more comments on your blog is simply to ask for it.
When you are done with your post, make sure that you have a call to action. This simply means that you direct the reader to what you need them to do.
If you are offering bio writing services, you can direct the reader to your selling page or your other website. Have your share buttons at the bottom of your posts to make sure it reaches more readers.
If someone were to share your blog post on their social media account, you could get a lot more traffic and as a result, more comments.
It is possible to get more out of your readers when you apply these tips. With that being said, the main goal is to write great content.
Writing should not be too technical, but fun and informative.
Lisa Brown works as a content manager. She is specialized in writing useful articles for writers, students and people who want to improve their writing skills. Her hobby is reading, travelling and blogging. Lisa`s life motto is “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”.
If you are new to self-publishing, you might run into a few problems. Here are some easy fixes for you.
When you do something for the first time, it doesn’t always work out exactly as you might have planned. Publishing your first book is a very exciting time, but errors and problems can and often do happen.
But don’t panic. You can usually fix most of the common issues that come up after publishing without too much effort.
Some problems can be a result of rushing into publishing. While others can happen because you didn’t know how things worked.
But the good news is that there are very few things that you can’t fix or resolve after publishing.
1. You have two book sales pages on Amazon
When you publish with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), your book will be on its own sales page. If you only publish a Kindle ebook version there is no problem. Your book will appear within 24 hours.
If you publish a Kindle and a paperback version with KDP or Createspace, Amazon might not combine your two book pages.
Many new authors are unaware that this is not normal. Two separate sales pages will create huge problems and confusion for you and your potential book buyers when you promote your book.
You must have one page, so you can promote your book with only one link.
All versions of your book should be listed on only one sales page with price boxes, as shown below, displaying each version.
If you have published two versions of your book and they are not listed on the same page, contact KDP support through your dashboard.
Include the links to your two Amazon pages in your message and ask KDP support to combine them for you.
KDP normally completes this action within 24 – 48 hours.
2. Oops. There are typos and errors in my book and I forgot to add a sub-title!
Very often, in all the excitement of publishing your new book, things can get overlooked. Typos happen in the best of books, and small errors can escape even the sharpest pair of eyes.
Your book has some errors that you or someone else notices after going on sale. Perhaps you forgot to add a credit for the book cover image, or neglected to add page breaks between chapters of your ebook.
You only now realise how important your selection of categories and keywords are, but you selected them in a rush and your book is lost in a broad category.
You only now realise that a sub-title is very good for helping readers find your book with Amazon Search.
All of these issues can be fixed very quickly.
If you want to correct typos and errors in the text of your book, make the necessary edits in your manuscript. Then upload it and re-publish it on all your publishing platforms.
You can also change your categories and keywords at the same time, or you can do it as a separate re-publish.
If you want to add a sub-title, check with each of your publishing services. Some allow a simple change to be made in your book details, but others, like Apple, insist that the sub-title must appear on the cover.
In this case, you will need to add your sub-title to your book cover and upload it again for re-publishing. If you used a professional cover designer, they are usually prepared to help you with this but may charge you a little for the alteration.
3. You didn’t work on gaining book reviews before your book went on sale
There is nothing as frustrating as seeing zero book reviews on your book page. Reviews sell books, and selling books will get reviews. It’s a catch 22 situation.
Before publishing it is always best practice to organise reviews that will appear shortly after your book launch. But you didn’t know or forgot about this and now it’s too late.
It’s very hard work. You need to beg, grovel and plead for beta readers to help you with this. Plus, you need as many as you can get because not all will fulfil their promise. But it’s too late now.
Solution. But not so easy
No, it isn’t too late. But you will need to play catch up.
You need to have free copies of your ebook to send to beta readers. Start the process of begging, grovelling and pleading with friends, associates and your online social contacts to find willing beta readers.
Offering your ebook for free on Amazon for five days is a short lottery which rarely works now in getting reviews. You need to get personal and ask people directly.
Getting your free copies.
If you published on Smashwords or Draft2digital, download a copy of your ebook in both epub and mobi formats from your book page on either platform.
If you published on Amazon only, it does not offer this service. You will need to make your own ebook copy by converting your Word manuscript to both ebook file formats. You can find detailed instructions in this article on how to convert Word to epub and mobi.
Once you have your free ebook in both formats, you are ready to send out as many as you can. The more the better. It’s hard work, but you will get some book reviews out of it all.
How do I know? Because I have just been through this exact same process with the launch of one of my books in audiobook. My publisher got my new book up and on sale and then sent me my promo codes to give away free copies. So I went to work. And the good news is that after a few weeks, the book now has a nice little list of reviews.
4. Sales are flat or non-existent on all retailers
Not every new book sells well. In fact, only a very small proportion do, and they are usually titles by established authors.
If your new book has been on sale on multiple ebook retailers for a few months and sales are disappointing, what can you do?
There are no magic silver bullets to fire because selling books is a tough business.
While I am not a lover of Amazon KDP Select, there are times when it can help in giving a book a little nudge in the right direction.
But before you rush to enrol, make sure you have a handful of reviews on your book on Amazon. Refer to problem 3.
Enrolling your ebook in KDPS will make it available on Kindle Unlimited. This can help in gaining page reads and earning some royalties. It could also help in getting a few more precious book reviews.
You can also use the five days when you can make your ebook free on the Kindle Store. This can help your sales ranking a little in the short term.
Try one enrolment period of 90 days to see if it helps in attracting page reads and ebook buyers. You can always go back to open distribution at the end of the period. See this article for details about entering and exiting KDP Select.
5. Your book cover is not that appealing. Sorry.
Book covers do sell books. Fantastic book covers can even help sell awful books. But an awful cover won’t help sell a great book.
You tried to save money and made your book yourself in Word, Paint or on Canva. Or perhaps you had a friend or relative do it for you for free.
If you look at your book cover (honestly) in thumbnail view among other books in your genre, does it really stand out, pop out, catch the eye and beg to be read? Look away and then look again and pick the first cover that catches your eye.
Ask friends or family to do the same.
If your book cover wasn’t the first choice. you need to change it. But look at which cover was most people’s first choice and note what is different.
This is a passage from another article on our site referring to analysing book covers. The whole article is here.
Your book cover
You know you need a great book cover and probably have one. But have you considered that the colour or font might be a problem?
Look at the top ranking books in certain genres. You will see that there is often a commonality about colours. For instance, science fiction books are generally dark, and very often blue.
For romance, pastel colours are predominant. For mystery and thriller, heavy and dark, with black shades are common.
What about your title font? Romance titles use a lot of fancy script fonts, whereas mystery and suspense use bold san serif fonts. But paranormal and fantasy often use fine serif fonts.
Compare your cover with the 50 top-selling titles in your genre. See if you can make your cover better suited to what readers expect.
Easy solution for a price
The quickest and easiest way to get an eye-popping book cover is to buy from or hire a professional book cover designer.
You can choose between a pre-made cover, which is the most economical way to go. Or you can have a cover custom designed, but this option can range from reasonably priced to very expensive so shop around.
A book is never a lost cause with self-publishing. There is always something that can be done to improve a book or to rectify mistakes. In some ways, it’s a process of continual improvement and making tweaks to help a book sell better.
The printed magazine is being replaced more and more by new digital magazines
Before the Internet, publishing tycoons and newspaper publishers dominated the magazine industry. Now though, the number of print magazines published is in decline.
Times have changed, and today it’s a more level playing field. Anyone can become a publisher and try to launch a successful online magazine.
If you have a dream to run an online magazine, there is nothing to stop you. But before you start, you should think about it as starting a business and do some research and planning before you jump into it.
Where do you start?
What’s the difference between a blog and an online magazine?
What makes a great online magazine?
Lots of pictures, large images, ads and bucket loads of colour.
A magazine is all about entertaining and relaxing reading. Think about how people read a magazine by flipping through the pages, glancing at photos and only stopping to read when something grabs their attention.
On the other hand, a blog’s aim is to inform, solve problems and answer questions. There is usually a lot of text with possibly only a few images. This post is definitely not a magazine article.
An online magazine has to be beautifully designed to appeal to your target audience. It’s all about the look.
You won’t need a graphic designer, but you will need to have a flair for what looks great and what will appeal to your target audience.
Check out what other people are doing
If you want to start an online anything, all you have to do is a Google search. When I first started in business many moons ago, I hated doing market research.
It was painstaking to check telephone books, business registries and drive around the city trying to spot my potential competitors. It took weeks or months to get enough information to start writing a business plan.
Now, all you need are a few clicks and you have all the information you need to find online magazines and magazine publishers for almost any topic.
Look at a lot of sites and think about what you like and don’t like about them. You can get inspiration and ideas that you can either copy or better still, improve upon.
First, make a plan
You don’t need to write a long business plan. But you should make a few notes about what you will need to get started.
The first notes should be about the subjects or topics for your new site. It’s always best to choose something you are really passionate about. Then your enthusiasm will keep you going in the long term.
If you plan to do everything for free, it is not going to happen. You won’t need to break the bank though.
You will definitely need a self-hosted Wordpress site and a premium theme. Site hosting should cost less than $150 per year and top class magazine themes range between $30 – $75.00.
You will need to register a domain name, but this only cost a few dollars a year.
If you are new to intensive daily writing, you might also need some help with your grammar and writing accuracy. I use Grammarly, but there are many online grammar checkers and proofing tools to choose from.
Because images are going to be very important, you might consider a digital camera as well as using a stock image service.
Once you have decided on what your topic will be, think about possible revenue streams, potential advertisers and how you are going to promote your new site.
Like all small businesses, you will want to make a little profit. The quickest way to monetize a new site is with ad revenue. Google Adsense is the obvious first choice, but you should also consider Amazon Associates banner advertising.
You might consider having premium content, but this is often hard to sell in the early stages of a new site. Once your site is more mature, it is a possibility.
For promotion, first, consider how you could use your social media network because it is free. Second should be how you plan to use SEO to get search engine traffic.
Many people think SEO is difficult, but it is not. If you take the time to learn a little, you will be rewarded with a lot of organic traffic.
There is always the option of using pay-per-click advertising with Google Adwords. But beware, it can become an expensive way to promote your new site.
I think it’s better to work on building your organic search traffic. It’s slower but doesn’t cost you anything except your time.
Ready, set, whoa, hold on!
If you make the decision to start a new magazine online, don’t rush into it.
First, choose your domain name very carefully. Look for a .com URL that is as short as possible but also gives a clear indication of your magazine’s name.
Then, take your time and carefully set up your new site, but not online and in real time.
You will have a lot of work to do in making your web design look absolutely perfect, as well as writing lots of content.
You should only launch when you have everything absolutely perfect and you have enough pages and posts to satisfy new visitors and readers.
Also, don’t use an under construction page. It’s a turn-off. Wait until you are ready, and then go live online.
When, how often and what you should publish
Unlike a blog, a magazine can have content that is timeless, plus content that is current. The front or home page should offer a reader a choice of both. A professional WordPress theme will come complete with many options to showcase articles on the home page.
WordPress is, in fact, a content management system. This means that your content can be displayed in so many ways. Categories are the most common way to sort articles into groups that can then be displayed on sliders or feature galleries.
Unlike a print magazine, there is no need to have a strict publishing schedule. In the early stages, you should write a lot of new articles to build up the bank of content on your new site. You might think about even paying for freelance writers to help you.
But once you have fifty to sixty articles in the bank, you can relax a little. One or two new articles per week will be enough then to maintain visitor interest.
If you think that having your very own magazine is what you want to do, then there is nothing to stop you. It is inexpensive and if you are passionate about your subject it can be a very fulfilling part-time or even full-time job.
In the early stages concentrate on great content and attracting lots of readers to your new site. Then later, when you have established your site, look at monetizing and selling ads.
You need a lot of traffic before any online ad income pays well, so concentrate on getting traffic first. If you succeed at this, the money will eventually roll in.
Writing an article is challenging, but drawing in readers to actually reading what you have written is another. One needs to be careful with what you put out into the world as a writer because it will forever be attached to your name.
There are some things in life that you can take shortcuts with and some you cannot. If you want to become a successful writer, you need to understand the importance of a good headline.
Before someone decides to read your article, the headline will need to catch their attention. If that part of your article is not up to scratch, your article might not be read as many times as you would like.
Biography writing services are professional services offered to clients, but writing on the internet requires a lot more thought. This thinking goes into trying to figure out what your audience would like to read about. Here are some ways you can improve your headlines.
1. Be accurate
Before you decide on a headline, you want to make sure that you align your article with it. If your headline says 13 steps, you cannot offer 12 in your article.
Pay attention to the accuracy of your headlines if you want to gain the trust of your readers. You also do not want to oversell anything in your headline that you cannot deliver. If you say something is going to be unique, you must ensure that it is.
2. Make it go pop
When I say this, I simply mean that you can glamorize a headline without it being false. Having a little fun with your headline is not wrong and should, in fact, be encouraged.
It takes time to find the perfect balance, but once you read through a few popping headlines, it will all come together. This is when it is important to know your audience. You will be able to determine how far you can push your boundaries.
3. Get to the point
Another tip is to keep your headline short and to the point. You want to say just enough without overselling anything. There is no word count attached to this, but you need to use your discretion here.
Using 70 characters or less allows your headline to be displayed in full on the search engine pages. Anything more than that will be cut off and does not effectively communicate what you are trying to say through your headline.
4. Make lists
When you add lists to your headline that includes top 10 or best of 5 it can draw in your audience. People online want fast results and lists are a great way to do that. The human eye is automatically drawn to numbers and colors, so it is a good idea to play around with that. When you use lists, it also gives the reader a guide as to how much information will be received. As long as you stick to the number you added to your headline, you should be good.
5. Add a bit of education
Everyone goes online to either be entertained or find help. You can use your articles to do any one of these two options. If you are offering bio writing services there is a clear point of teaching.
There are also ways to educate when you write about any topic. All you have to do is go beyond what is already out there. If you add educational value to your headline, human beings are likely to check out the rest of the article.
6. Brainstorm your ideas
It is important to start the process with a brainstorming session. You want to come up with a few different options that might work and work from there. Perhaps it seems like a long process, but at the end, it is going to be worth it.
Taking time to go through the brainstorming session is going to pay off when you make the right decision. Hard work has never let anyone down.
7. Ask a question
Another way to make your headline seductive is to use a question in your headline. We love to figure things out, and even if the question wasn’t in the reader’s mind, you have just placed it there.
Now the reader has to find out what the answer is and make it more likely that the article will be read. It might not be a promotion board bio, but it is effective in the end.
8. Use your keywords
This might not be a tip for the human eye, but search engines cannot resist good keywords. Adding keywords to your headline allows your article to be moved up in search engine rankings.
Add some level of emotion to your headline if you want to intrigue the readers. This does not have to be overused, but rather balanced with facts. Writing is more than just the technicality of it.
There is some level of connection needed between the writer and the reader. You don’t have to get soppy with this one, but just adding some emotion in there is going to make good clickbait.
10. Be confident
You want your headline to shout out confidence. There is no guessing game as far as you are concerned. You need to convince the reader that you know what you are talking about and this is going to be a phenomenal article that is going to change their lives. It is possible to go beyond all the tips and write a headline that connects with people. Once you can engage with your audience, you have won.
Writing a powerful and seductive headline is more than just numbers and colors. You need to speak to those who you are writing for. Knowing your audience is the first step and after that, you just need to make a connection with them.
Lisa Brown works as a content manager. She is specialized in writing useful articles for writers, students and people who want to improve their writing skills. Her hobby is reading, travelling and blogging. Lisa`s life motto is “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching”.
How much of your valuable writing time are you wasting on social media and your blog?
For a lot of authors, the answer is very often, far, far too much.
Would you prefer to be writing books instead of writing Facebook and Twitter posts every day?
It is good advice to promote your books from your blog but you need a lot of traffic for it to be effective. No matter how many blog posts you write, if no one reads them it’s not going to help in selling your books.
The aim of book promotion for any author is to get a potential reader to go to their books on Amazon, Apple or B&N and buy a copy.
So is there a way to forget about social networks, your Facebook page and your blog and still get book sales? Yes, and it’s easier than you think.
The answer is to use other people’s websites, blogs, mailing lists and social networks, and let them do all the hard work for you.
Guest blogging is long term and has huge advantages
Article writing for guest posting can increase your book sales potential enormously. But you need to be very selective. You want to get your articles published on high ranking websites that have a lot of regular visitors.
You could dream of getting an opinion article published in the New York Times, but let’s get realistic.
It’s easy to find sites that have a high Google or Alexa ranking. Go to Statshow, which is a free site ranking tool. Start by entering your blog or website and check it’s current ranking.
Then enter a few of the well-known writing, publishing and book sites to check their rank. What you are looking for are sites that rank lower than 500,000. There are billions of sites on the Internet, so a lower number means a higher rank.
Now you need to check each site to see if they accept guest writers. You can usually find this in the footer of a website and it is often labelled as Write For Us.
You can also check recent posts on a site and see if there are articles by guest writers. If there are, you could use the contact page to enquire.
Popular sites that accept guest articles usually have certain guidelines you need to check. But in general, they are looking for well-written and informative articles of more than 1,000 words.
So where’s the benefit for you in all this hard work?
Articles on top ranking sites will get indexed by Google and Bing and attract readers to your article. But not just for a week or two after your article is published. Organic search traffic will continue to attract readers to your article for a very long time. For years in some cases.
Not only that. Social sharing on popular sites can dramatically increase your article reads. One of our guest writers gained over 1,000 social media shares on one article.
When you have an article published by a top site, you gain access to its marketing tools. For example, email subscribers, social media followers and directory listings.
In other words, a lot more eyes than you are probably getting on your blog.
And what about marketing my books?
Guest articles almost always offer a byline and a short bio at the end of an article.
Write your bio as your author pitch, and use the links you are offered in the byline and bio.
You can use these to add a link to your Amazon author page, or to your author profile and books on the Bookbub dashboard. You could use a direct link to one of your books, or use a universal book link.
Your content doesn’t need to relate to your books or writing, so you are free to write articles on almost any topic. But your content and writing need to be top class.
Another advantage is that you don’t need to write a lot of articles. One terrific article that ranks well can keep working for you for ages and ages in promoting your books.
Set yourself a target of guest posting just once a month. It should be enough to get you a lot of new potential readers and book buyers.
Tips for great guest blogging
Don’t restrict yourself to book and writing blogs. You can write about anything so consider travel, news, beauty, fashion or even gardening websites.
Write content that is engaging, informative, entertaining and easy to read. Above all else, make sure your grammar is impeccable.
Of course, you can use your articles to link back to your website, blog or social media channels. But if you want to go directly to your potential readers and save time, send them to straight to your books.
Book promotion websites will do all the work for you
You have tried posting your book on your Twitter and Instagram accounts. You used Facebook Ads and watched its expensive pay-per-clicks eat away your budget. If you are in Amazon KDP Select, Amazon Ads can be very expensive and underperforming.
How much time do you spend trying to find free ways to promote your books? If you only have a small social media footprint, are you driving your connections crazy with your book posts?
The key to effective book promotion is to get your message out to as many people as possible. Online conversion rates are very low. This means you need thousands upon thousands of people to see your book to gain book sales.
The best way to gain access to this many people is to use a professional book promotion service. In fact, using two or three is advisable.
Prices for these services cover a wide range. From a buck or two for a few Tweets up to thousands of dollars for a Bookbub deal.
The key is to find services that fit your needs and your budget. Reedsy has a comprehensive list of book promotion services so it’s a good place to start your research.
If your goal is to save time, look for promotion sites that can do all the grunt work for you. Also, check to make sure you are getting very good reach for your money.
Your main consideration is your budget. Don’t spend more than you can afford, so buy wisely. Make your decision based on how many people your promotions can potentially reach for the money you plan to invest.
You should also check how long a promotion service has been in business and be confident that it will deliver in full on what it says it will do.
The advantage of paying for reliable book marketing is that once you have arranged it, you can get on with what you do best.
Can you promote books without social media, a blog and a website?
If you combine guest blogging with selected book promotion, you certainly can. You will have much more writing time and spend far less time online.
Leave it to your articles and promotional links to do the work for you.
Then while you are writing, book buyers will be busily clicking your book links.
Copy is a word to describe text that writers produce to promote a product or service.
In business, writers write copy for brochures, sales letters, business mailings, catalogues and magazine or newspaper advertising. The purpose of copy is to inform or persuade people to take a certain action, such as to buy a product or service.
Today, copywriting has become a synonym for content writing or digital copywriting. Due to the marketing power of the Internet and social media, writing compelling copy is now an essential marketing tool.
For businesses large and small, getting the message out is always a priority. Online content marketing or corporate storytelling is one of the most important marketing strategies almost all companies use today. It is why good writers and good writing are in high demand.
Many of my readers are authors. Perhaps without knowing it, you are already writing a lot of copy to promote your books. You might call it writing blog posts, but it is primarily copywriting.
If you can write well, you can probably write decent copy.
Now let’s add some SEO to the recipe
To become a successful copywriter nowadays, you have to know a little about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to know some of the basics.
Copywriters work to produce persuasive content but it needs to meet two objectives. One is to attract a reader’s interest and the second is to get the attention of search engine algorithms. It sounds like a battle between humans and machines.
In a sense it is. You need to write to satisfy both.
Creating reader interest usually takes the form of informing, answering questions and needs or appealing to a particular emotion.
A search engine doesn’t respond to any of these points. It wants the basic key information so it can file things in the right place so that readers can find it quickly. SEO helps search engines do this.
Writing well for search engines like Google will be rewarded with a higher search ranking. A top listing on Google will bring more readers. Writing well for readers will keep their attention for longer, which will also help improve SEO ranking.
These are the two ingredients to the secret sauce of excellent content writing. Happy readers and happy algorithms.
Writing for readers is the highest priority
Years back, writing online articles, posts and copy meant stuffing the text with keywords to get the attention of search engines.
If you needed to write about a better mousetrap, the phrase “better mousetrap” had to be mentioned 10 to 20 times in the text. It made for awful reading.
Thankfully, search engines now penalise this practice and instead want articles that are long form, semantically diverse and above all else, reader-friendly and highly informative.
In other words, search engines now want you to write for your reader first, and for their algorithms second.
So how can you do this when you have to write an article for a client around the keywords, a better mousetrap?
Write the story first
Imagine that your brief as a copywriter is to write for a company that wants to market a new and better mousetrap. Start by writing a story based on these keywords.
There are hundreds of ideas you could use. Perhaps a tale about an old cat or stolen cheese. You could tell a story about how your father used to set traps for mice in the kitchen and how much your mother dreaded opening cupboards.
You could ask questions that a reader might have. Do you have mice in your garage? Is your cat too lazy to chase mice?
In writing a story, you will inevitably use words that are associated with a mousetrap. In SEO speak, these words are semantic or related in meaning.
Words such as mouse problem, pest control, rodents, spreading diseases, contaminate food, rats and mice, trap and bait are all words that are related to the keyword.
You can research semantic words, but a good writer with a thesaurus will include these words naturally.
Once you finish writing the story, you need to format the text for online reading.
Reading on the web is different because people want information fast. They want easy reading too. The main factors for good online copy are short sentences, no chunky paragraphs and clear headers to guide a reader.
Text needs to be broken into small bite-sized chunks, especially for small screen reading on phones.
Bullet points and numbered lists are also advantageous.
The most important ingredient for good writing is perfect grammar. By far the most popular tool for content writers is Grammarly. I use it every day and would be lost without it. Grammarly finds errors but more importantly guides you to better choices in both vocabulary and grammar.
So far, any writer can usually write a great story and then format the text.
Now it’s time to SEO edit the story
Title and URL
Every online content article needs a title. It is called the Title tag or H1 tag. You need to use your primary keywords in this tag.
For example, Do you need a better mousetrap? My father always wanted a better mousetrap. Is a better mousetrap possible?
The title very often becomes the article’s URL or web address. You can always see a page URL in the address bar of your browser for any web pages you view on the Internet. It looks like this.
Occasionally, the URL may need editing if it is too long, but this is usually the job of a webmaster.
It is good practice to add a sub-title before the main text. It is often marked as the H2 tag. It shouldn’t include the keywords but should include semantic equivalents.
Within the content, or body text, you should use the keyword once, but no more than two times. It should be rich in semantic words though. During editing, look for more related words that can be added, and remove any overused or duplicated words.
Paragraph headings need to be added to break up the text. They also have high SEO value, so they should use the H3 tag.
Using bold, italic and underlined text for emphasis is also noticed by search engines, so they should be used. But in moderation.
Images help tell a story and also break up text into readable chunks. A good rule of thumb is to have the main image at the beginning of the article, and then one or two more within the piece.
While the title of the article will be visible on a website, the SEO title is what you see when you do a Google search. It can be the same, but it is better practice to have slightly different SEO and main titles to increase searchability.
It means that you would use two of the example titles I noted above, and importantly, both must include the article keywords.
SEO or Meta Description
Like the SEO title, the SEO description is not visible in the article. It is the small text snippet that you only see on search listings. It can be between 150 – 320 words.
It is a vital piece of information for search engines, so it needs to be extremely well written. It should describe precisely what the article is about and include the keywords once.
There are Semrush tools to help create content as well as research high ranking articles to gain insights into what readers like. My favourite tool is the keyword tracker. After writing a new article, I can check how quickly it is ranking on Google.
It also allows me to run an SEO check on my already published articles to help improve ranking potential and organic traffic.
Is copywriting for you?
It is not difficult to write great content and then craft it to suit readers and algorithms. It takes a little practice, but it is undoubtedly a skill any writer can learn.
There are a lot of ways to make content writing a part-time or full-time job. There are many sites that advertise freelance copywriter jobs. You can also search for companies that are looking for writers by using the search term, write for us.
Some content writers earn an income from affiliate marketing by including paid links in their articles but offer the article for free to high ranking websites.
Then there are those who write content for their own blog, but use articles to promote businesses or paid links.
For authors, publishing content or guest blogging can help book sales. Most articles allow for a byline and bio that contain links to your site. These are highly valuable and will work for you for a very long time to promote you and your books.
Online content writing is a diverse industry, but one that is ideally suited to writers who want to work from home and be self-employed.
Are you using the Amazon affiliate program to make more money from your books?
I am sure many authors will cringe at the thought of the words, affiliate marketing. But please sit back and relax for a moment.
If you are an author, you write, publish, promote and sell books and ebooks. Then at the end of each month, you receive your royalty payment from Amazon.
But did you know that you can top up your Amazon book sales income with one very small change to the way you promote your books?
By registering with the Amazon Associates Program, you can then add a special link to all your book promotion links and posts. With this link, you can then earn advertising fees.
I can hear you saying that the advertising commission on an ebook sale will be peanuts. And you are right!
But the big bonus with Amazon affiliate links is that you can earn a commission on other items that people buy on the Amazon site. For a 24 hour period after clicking on your link, you can earn a commission on anything else they buy.
There are many different ways you can use the Amazon affiliate program, but let’s look first at how you can get started.
You start your registration process by clicking the Join Now For Free button.
If you live in the US, you will choose the US program. But if you live in other countries, there are programs for the UK, Japan, Canada, Italy Germany, Spain, France and neighbouring countries.
You don’t need to be too worried though. After you have registered, you can merge all these country accounts into one link later.
Once you are registered, the first thing to do is to set up your Amazon Stripe. This will appear at the top of your screen any time you visit an Amazon page.
Now you are ready to copy associate links from your site stripe to your books. You can use them in your blog posts or on social media, or anywhere else you promote your books.
Finding and using your new affiliate link
Go to your book page on Amazon, and if all is set up correctly, you will see your new stripe at the top of the page.
You can select the types of links you want, such as text, image or a combo. You can also directly share your book page on social media. You can even add responsive native ads which will resize on any device.
To create a text link is super easy. Click on Text, and you will see this drop-down box.
You have the option to use your full link, but usually, a short link is better. Now you can embed this link into text on your blog or even as a link on an image.
If you have your book covers on your blog sidebar, just add a new affiliate link to each one.
You can also create links using your book cover image. All you need to do is copy the HTML code and paste onto your blog pages.
Lastly, you can create responsive ads that will resize perfectly on mobile devices.
Your ads are set up and working, so where’s the money?
Once you have your links set up, you will earn a small extra commission on your book sales. Yes, small. But if someone clicks on your link and then makes another purchase within 24 hours, your account will be credited with an earnings fee.
Here is a brief report from my account to show you an example how you can earn Amazon Affiliate commission.
The table above is only a small snapshot. I have to say that some months can be very good, while others are not so good. There is a little bit of luck involved.
On occasions, I have earned excellent commissions on such items as televisions, electronic devices and even once, a complete home video surveillance system.
Once your links are up and running, there is nothing more you need to do. Your new book links will be working for you 24/7 for a very long time to take advantage of what Amazon customers buy.
Making more from your Amazon Associates account
If you would like to try your hand at Internet marketing, you now have all the tools. But you don’t need to go overboard.
When you write blog posts, you mention a lot of topics and subjects. Some might be good candidates for you to recommend products or product reviews. For instance, if you love your Kindle Voyage and write a review about it, you can add either a link, an image link or an ad like the one below to your article.
The custom ad above took me less than thirty seconds to insert. I just went to the Amazon page for Kindles and then copied and inserted the code here.
You certainly don’t want to fill your blog posts with ads like the one above. But by using text links, you can subtly offer extra information and value for your readers.
Yes, that was a terribly blatant plug, I know. Please ignore my misplaced enthusiasm, and I will return to the topic of this article.
However, it does illustrate how easy it is to add an income earning link into text in your blog articles.
Don’t turn your blog into an affiliate site
As tempting as it might sound, you are not going to make a fortune from Amazon affiliate commission.
For any blogger, and more importantly for authors, it is a means to make a little more each month. Used wisely, it can do that, but don’t expect miracles.
Concentrate on slowly building your blog traffic from search engines with some basic SEO, and write great blog articles for your readers.
Logically, the more traffic you have, the more you can earn. Then let your new book promotion links and your occasional Amazon ads go to work for you.
Depending on where you live, there are different payment conditions and options.
You will need to select the one that works best for you. In some countries, Amazon offers electronic payment, but in others, it is only payment by check.
However, there is an option to have your earnings paid into your gift card account, which is an option worth considering.
It might not be for every author. But by taking the time to set up your account and updating your book links to Amazon affiliate links, it will give you a new potential income stream. That is certainly not a bad thing at all.
There is very little technical knowledge required. If you are blogging already, you probably have all the skills you need to get started.
Even if you aren’t blogging, you can use these links in your posts on Facebook, Twitter or on any other social network you use.
There is more than one way to take advantage of affiliate links, so what are you waiting for?
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