Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Five Ways to Stay Motivated While Writing (Or While Doing Anything That Needs to Be Completed) by Judith Ann Kohnen Author Guest Post and Book Swag Giveaway



I recently reached out to romance writer and award-winning novelist Judith Kohnen to ask her how she stays motivated when writing. Judith is the author of the acclaimed Mandy Story romance series. She shared some wonderful information with us so read on...but don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the page to enter for a chance to win this GORGEOUS DaVinci Beads Musical Bracelet and a signed print copy of For the Love of Mandy:



FIVE WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED WHILE WRITING (OR WHILE DOING ANYTHING THAT NEEDS TO BE COMPLETED).
by Judith Ann Kohnen


So many things can throw us writers off guard as we attempt to finish our masterpieces – or so we hope that’s what the work becomes once we’re done with it. The trick is getting it done.

Here are five sure ways to create more motivation, discipline, and dedication concerning your writing (or actually concerning ANYTHING you hope to achieve):

  1. FOCUS.  By this, I’m not talking about focusing on your computer screen or on the paper you’re writing on, or if it’s housecleaning you’re hoping to complete, it’s not the toilet brush in hand that needs your focus. It’s the task or element of desire that needs your attention. You can’t have your mind everywhere, worrying about bills or the leaky faucet, or wondering what to fix for dinner. The magic with “focus” lies in knowing that LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE. So, whatever you’re focused on, whatever you’re thinking about most, and whatever you’re feeling inside, that’s what you’re going to get more of. If you’re focused on getting the writing done, or some other dream project you desire, or even to complete your housework, you MUST focus on your desire and stay focused. Read on for tips on how to begin to accomplish this.
  2. LOVE.  There is no greater thing than love, so what better way to “attract” something that never fails? Whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re trying to achieve, there must be love in it, some bit of passion that can drive you forward. We writers can say we love to write, but it’s not the same as being “in love” with our writing and focusing love onto the work in front of us. We can lose our zeal when ideas aren’t flowing as we want them to, so this is when you have to turn to ways that will have you loving and “feeling” more of that love so you can put your best foot forward.
  3. CREATE.  So, if the other two ways are failing you (and you can be sure they will from time to time), and you’re feeling absolutely in a rut, unmotivated, and you’re not getting done what you need to have done, you begin to create ways to get you out of that rut. One sure way I find that works is to create a goofy and fun song to sing with lines that are so ridiculous and silly, it makes you laugh while you’re singing it. The goal here is to “shift” your negative energy into more positive energy. When we laugh and feel good inside, our energy changes and lifts. Whatever can place a smile on your face, or lift your spirits in some way, find it and experience it. Put on some music that gets your body moving and your senses whirring with fun and love energy.
  4. DECLUTTER. Your home is your life, and whatever is happening in your life affects the mind, thus affecting how effectively we think and create our desires. If your workspace is cluttered, your mind will be cluttered. If you’re working in a space where the energy is negative and not flowing because of all the junk (think about the corners of a room where cobwebs gather and dust gets trapped because energy has to shift against it as it’s trying to flow), you’ll get little done. If energy keeps having to shift around all your junk and clutter to flow, you, too, are in the midst of corrupted and negative energy and it’s affecting how you perform each day.
  5. VISUALIZE. See yourself reaching the end of your task or project as though it’s already completed. Visualize yourself moving forward with persistence. See yourself as the INNER you. The one who wants to come out to play and give to the world. You could actually sing about your success to strengthen your visuals. So, with melody you might sing (and dance to the tune every time you break to go to the bathroom), “I’m reaching the end of my project, oh yeah … I’m achieving my dream, ‘cuz I’m a mean-machine … This is how I do it … love to sock it to it … zip-zippity day … I’m gonna have my way … do-dah-do-dah!” To assist myself in completing my first book, I would visualize it already in book form, see myself at a table autographing those books and handing them out to interested readers. Meanwhile, I was singing “I feel good, my novel is perfect now. I feel fine …” Anyway, you get the picture! Most of all, BELIEVE IN YOU and believe in dreams come true.




Judith Kohnen is the author of One Chance, One Moment and the recently released For the Love of MandyBooks One and Two of The Mandy Story. A nine-time award-winning author, Judith hopes to continue to inspire readers with stories of hope, healing, and entertainment.

Readers can connect with Judith via her website and her Amazon Author Page.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Are Blog Tours Dead?

I contribute to several online writers’ groups and I recently spotted a thread titled “Are Blog Tours Dead?” Savvy authors are always looking for newer, better ways to market and promote their books, and they’re often cautious of using services they’re either unfamiliar with or skeptical of. For years, the Blog Tour aka Book Tour (terms used interchangeably) was the go-to marketing method for authors. Are they dead? In a word, YES.



To clarify my Yes answer, I’ll say this – the traditional book/blog tour is dead. Why? For a couple of very important reasons:

Book bloggers are tired of them.

Traditional tours have absolutely no pay off for the blogger. They’re time-consuming, spammy and have the potential of getting a blog shut down…for good. Google considers the typical cut and paste, HTML-provided tour content to be nothing but spam and punishes them by burying them in Google searches.

WordPress.com goes even further. They give no warnings if they find blogs that post this spammy content on WordPress.com blogs. They’ll shut you down, no warning, no questions…period. All your hard work will be gone in the blink of an eye, never to be recovered.

Readers are tired of them.

Readers and blog visitors are tuning them out. Traditional cut and paste tours all look alike. They bring nothing new to potential book readers. Wading through spammy post after post is tedious, uninteresting and boring to readers.

So what is the ideal alternative to the typical cut and paste, spammy book/blog tour then?

Promoting your book with an all-original, custom designed online book marketing campaign is still the perfect way to bring something new, informational and interesting to your potential readers. It provides book bloggers with high-quality, engaging content for their readers, while allowing them a day off from posting. 

Taking the time to share never before published, high-quality content will produce a much higher ROI for you. Sure it takes more effort than simply distributing cookie cutter HTML code to a bunch of disinterested bloggers, but isn’t your success as an author worth the extra effort?


If you’re unsure of, or overwhelmed with, the prospect of creating, scheduling and monitoring a high-quality book marketing campaign let me know. I can help! Submit a contact form here to get started.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Five Social Media Tips for Authors

As a marketer, it’s important for me to stay on top of marketing tips, techniques and trends. It’s important for any business owner to do this, if they wish to succeed. Authors are in the business of writing and publishing books. Therefore, their book sales directly depend upon their marketing efforts. This includes social media marketing. However, time and again I come across authors who do little to no social media marketing.

I can honestly understand the reasons for this. Social media is time-consuming, confusing and at times frustrating. It can feel as though you need to be dozens of places at once or you run the risk of quickly losing your audience. Be that as it may, social media engagement is a critical element to any book marketing campaign.
 

To break things down, I’ve compiled five social media tips for authors here.


1. Sign Up with As Many Social Media Platforms as Possible

I know this sounds like a no-brainer. It also sounds overwhelming. You may be asking yourself who has time for all that? Probably not you, since you’re already busy writing, editing and publishing your books. But I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to be active on as many social media platforms as possible. If you’re really strapped for time then you should at least sign up for the major platforms: 
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

2. Use a Posting App

No one expects you to sit at your computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sending tweets and posts. Signing up on Hootsuite or another automatic posting site will make things super convenient.

3. Be Engaging

No one wants to see post after post that screams BUY MY BOOK. If you make it all about you, you’ll find yourself quickly unfollowed. Take the time to retweet and comment on the accounts of anyone you follow, who follows you and accounts you find interesting.

4. Update Content Frequently

Be sure to go over your social media accounts on a regular basis to be sure your account info is updated to reflect your new book, current events, etc. Freshen up your social media headers and profile photos whenever necessary.

5. Prepare Posts Ahead of Time

In your downtime, you can make a list of possible post ideas, create interesting content, take photos to share…any number of things, so that you to have quality content to post at anytime. Having a good supply of quality content at the ready will make social media engagement much more manageable.

If you’re overwhelmed with social media engagement or just not sure how to go about building your brand via social media then contact me. Submit a contact form here to get started.

Friday, January 26, 2018

5 FREE Ways to Market and Promote Your Book

If you’re an Indie author you may be getting frustrated with the never-ending process of marketing your books. Perhaps, you may have been relying too heavily on Amazon reviews as a way to get your book in front of potential readers. Whatever your promotional results might have been up to this point, you can never have too many book marketing tools in your book marketing toolbox.


Free marketing is always a plus so I’ve compiled five FREE ways to market and promote your books here:


Guest Posting

There are TONS of book blogs on the internet. Many book bloggers actively search for quality content to share on their blogs, so why aren’t you tapping into this market? Start by compiling a list of potential blogs that highlight books in your genre. Contact bloggers and offer to write an original author guest post just for them.

Newsletters

Start a newsletter and solicit signups on your author website and social media platforms. Be sure to include genuinely beneficial information for subscribers, since constant book sales pitches will quickly result in unsubscribers. Using a free newsletter service like MailChimp makes this a no-brainer.

Host a Giveaway

Head over to Rafflecopter (or any other freebie contest-hosting site) and create a giveaway. Share the giveaway via your website, social media sites and any author groups you may belong to.

Start a Podcast

There are several free online podcast-hosting sites to choose from. You don’t need fancy, expensive equipment to record a brief podcast. Your smartphone will likely do the job. Record informational podcasts via your phone and upload to a free hosting site. Don’t forget to promote your podcast on your website and social media platforms.

Make Some Videos

Once again, all you need is your smartphone to record videos of you, talking about your book, writing, publishing, etc. If you’re camera shy you can create super simple slideshows with PowerPoint and turn them into videos. Upload to YouTube, Vimeo and/or Instagram, then share, share, share.

Bonus Tip

Every single piece of correspondence you send out via email should include your signature in link form – book info and purchase links, author website link and social media links should always be part of your email signature. 

If you find yourself struggling to find new and better ways to market and promote your book please let me know. I can put together an affordable book marketing plan designed specifically for you and your book. Just submit a contact form here and I'll get right back to you! 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Marketing Your Book Online – What You Should Know Before You Begin

If you’re an author, you already know how difficult it is to write and publish books. There are many steps to go through before even thinking about sending out those all-important review requests. You might think that the bulk of your work is done once you hit the upload button, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Marketing is a HUGE part of being an author. Publishing a book without a clear marketing campaign is counterproductive to your book-selling efforts.


As a marketing professional, I can honestly say that marketing is the number one thing authors struggle with. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Many writers are introverts and tooting one’s own horn is uncomfortable. The great thing is there are many ways authors can promote their books right from the comfort of their own home. It’s no longer necessary to tote your book from venue to venue, with speaking engagements, book signings and other traditional methods. Taking your book on the virtual road is an excellent way to market your book – and you can do it in your pajamas if you like. But before you begin scheduling blog stops, you need to plan long ahead by laying the groundwork. This includes:

  • Creating an informational author website
  • Properly preparing your social media platforms
  • Designing a full media kit
  • Targeting the best venues for your online event
  • Thinking about giveaways and book swag
 
These are just a few of the things you must consider long before you schedule any sort of online marketing campaign. Without the proper planning, all of your promotional efforts will fail. This will result in wasted time and added expense for you.

If you’re struggling with book marketing ideas, plans and campaigns let me know. I can help and it definitely doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ll work directly with you to design, plan and schedule the perfect, affordable book marketing campaign that’s right for you and your book. Simply submit the contact form here and we’ll get started together right away!

                                                                 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Why the Typical Book Tour Is Hurting Your Book Marketing Efforts


Why does it sound like I’m knocking what we’ve come to know as the typical book tour, especially after I’ve been spending the past few years singing the praises of virtual book tours? It’s simple. I’m a marketer, and I know when a marketing tool has run its course and it's time to step things up. In my professional opinion, traditional book tours are no longer the ideal book-marketing tool for authors. Here’s why:

Your Readers Are Tuning Them Out

As a marketing professional, I make it my business to track engagement stats – particularly when it comes to social media. Lately, I’ve noticed a steady decline in book tour engagement. Why? Because readers are beginning to tune out anything titled “Tour, Blitz and even Cover Reveal”. Again…why? Because they’re coming to expect the same old, tired copy and paste post.

Google is Punishing Bloggers for Posting Copy & Paste Tour Posts

There’s no doubt about it – when it comes to site rankings, Google is king. Duplicate content hurts a website or blog’s Google site ranking – A LOT. Typical copy and paste tour posts are indeed duplicate content. Book bloggers who slap up copy and paste posts and call it done, during a tour stop, are posting duplicate content. It’s as simple as that.

WordPress.com is Shutting Down Bloggers Who Publish Copy & Paste Tour Posts

Book bloggers, using WordPress.com (the free platform, not the private domain .org platform) need to be super aware of this. WordPress.com takes a very strong stance on copy and paste tour posts. Not only do they consider these posts duplicate content, they consider them SPAM, and that, my WordPress.com blogging friends is a violation of the WordPress.com TOS. They can shut you right down in a second and there’s nothing you can do about it. All your hard work is gone, never to be seen again.

Some people think WordPress.com is now actively going after bloggers who publish copy and paste book tour posts because they have an ulterior motive – to get you to purchase a private domain through them. Whatever their motivation, copy and paste tour posts can very well get your WordPress.com blog terminated without warning.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on these trends and I knew that changes needed to be made in the way that I promote authors. It’s why I’ve very recently restructured how I market authors with online events. You can read more about my new Book Marketing package here. You can read about my new Author Marketing package here. If you’re an author, looking for a better, more original way to market yourself and your books let me know!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Author Interview and $25 Amazon Giveaway with Anita Dickason Author of The Code Name Trackers Detective Book Series


We're celebrating Strong Women in Literature this week with Dallas police officer, turned detective novelist, Anita Dickason. Anita writes the Code Name-Trackers book series.  


*Don't forget to enter the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway at the bottom of this post!


 

I had the pleasure of chatting with Anita recently about her law enforcement background and about her wonderful book series. Anita had some interesting and impressive things to say, so let's get started! 


Please tell readers a bit about Sentinels of the Night.

With my law enforcement background, deciding on the type of books I wanted to write was easy. I would write about what I know – crime and cops. Developing the characters was more difficult. I have always enjoyed reading about characters that had an extra edge, a special ability that lets them overcome adversity and danger. How could I add that mystique and make it unique? Since I also love reading the myths and legends of the Native Americans, Scots, and the Irish, I turned to those ancient tales to find my inspiration.

In Sentinels of the Night, I created a new FBI team, Code Name – Trackers. Each of the agents has a different ability, a secret that defies logic and reason. While the novel is a standalone, I use a popular technique of creating a group of characters to provide continuity. In my subsequent books, another character takes center stage. I like this style of writing as it allows me to add depth to the characters.

Where did the story come from?

The plot is based on an incident from my law enforcement career. I crossed paths with a serial killer. He was ultimately convicted on multiple counts of murder, but he was a suspect in several others, though it couldn’t be proved. I have never forgotten the dead look in his eyes. It was if nothing was alive, no feeling or emotion. That memory became the basis for the character of the serial killer.

The paranormal ability is drawn from a Native American myth. I came across a woman, Alice C Fletcher (1838-1923). She was an American ethnologist, anthropologist, and social scientist who studied and documented American Indian culture. This was a woman who was ahead of her time in a man’s world. She lived with the Indians and translated the chants used in their ceremonies as well as their stories, and then wrote a book about it. That is where I found my paranormal element.

Owls are considered the guardians of the night and the messenger of death. Dying is crossing over the owl’s bridge to the other side. I used one of her translations at the beginning of the book:

The night season is mine. I wake when others sleep. I can see in the darkness and discern coming danger. I have power to help the people to be watchful against enemies while darkness is on the earth. I have power…(Alice C. Fletcher, 1900)

The book trailer I created highlights the eerie nature of Cat’s talents.

Is there a little bit of Anita in Cat’s character?

OMG-not just a little bit. How about a whole lot! In the opening scene in the book, Cat is chasing a serial killer in a railroad yard. That happened, but I wasn’t chasing a killer. A thief bailed out of a stolen car and decided that racing over and around railroad cars was a good place to try to ditch the cops who were chasing him. We caught him.

I was a unit sniper on the Dallas SWAT team. For many years, I competed in rifle competitions and managed to set eight national records along the way. Cat is a sniper. As a cop, she battles her inner demons as she second-guesses her actions as I did on many occasions. It would be difficult for me to separate my thoughts, feelings, and experiences of twenty-seven years of law enforcement experience from my characters.

What made you make the switch from Marketing Manager to Dallas PD?

Even as a child, I wanted to be a police officer. It wasn’t possible as that was the era when women were denied access to many jobs. Even in the middle 70’s, I was working for the Bell system in Omaha, Nebraska and tried to change my career path. I applied to the Nebraska highway patrol. I got an interview, but the recruiter told me I’d never get the job. The reason is the male officers would refuse to ride with me because their wife wouldn’t like their husband working with another woman.

It wasn’t until the middle 80’s that I got a chance. The county sheriffs’ department had a reserve deputy program who were volunteers. I applied and was accepted. My experiences during the five years I was with the department is another long story, but I found a love and passion for the job. I took a leap of faith, one that was both a financial and physical risk. At age 43, I applied to the Dallas Police Department. It was one of the few departments that didn’t have an upper age limit. I was accepted and had the dubious honor of being the oldest woman to graduate the academy. Twenty-two years later, I retired. I had a phenomenal career that included patrol, undercover narcotics, the Dallas SWAT team, and advanced accident investigator. I never regretted the decision or the sacrifices it entailed. I would do it again in a heartbeat if that were possible.

Is there another book in your immediate future?

Going Gone! is the second novel and was recently published. Tracker Ryan Barr is the lead character along with Kerry Branson. She is an ex-homicide detective turned private investigator. They are pitted against a psychopathic mastermind whose obsession involves an intricate scheme to kidnap the children of high-ranking politicians on Capitol Hill.

I am working on the third novel, still unnamed. I find the inspiration in my titles from words or phrases in the book. So far, inspiration hasn’t hit. The plot involves an ATF agent who has disappeared, and the Trackers are on the hunt. 



For more information on Anita Dickason and her FBI tracker series please visit her website and her Amazon author page.


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