Amazon Writing Clinic Series Launches Soon! (Get Promo Copy)

As many of you know, I have been furiously working on a book series dedicated especially to all of my readers on this blog. It’s called the Amazon Writing Clinic Series and I’ve just completed Volume I of the series titled: How To Select Best Selling NonFiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle. The book is in final edits and should be up soon on Amazon. I will announce it when it’s live.

amazon writing clinic book

I’ll be deciding on topics and writing the series based on a gang of reader feedback from this blog AND on what makes sense as you embark on your venture as an information author a.k.a. nonfiction writer.

A lot of readers who are considering writing and publishing to Amazon as a secondary income have said to me countless times that they have little idea of how to select niches that are profitable. Obviously one of the big nightmares about this income stream is that you may possibly write a book that no one wants to read.

While there are no guarantees that people will purchase your book, read it and review it, there are definite steps you can take to ensure that you have a really great chance of making money and making a difference with your book.

The first CRUCIAL step is by selecting a topic that is profitable. My formula for success in doing this is by selecting a topic based on this mathematical equation: Knowledge + Passion + Profitability =Amazon Success.

Snag A Promotional Copy Of The Book!

I am releasing several copies of the book as promotional copies to those that are interested in reading it (pretty quickly:) and leaving an honest review on Amazon about it. If you’re interested in receiving a copy, then leave a comment on this post and I will send you a Pdf copy of the book via email.

 **UPDATE** 5/7/14

I am no longer releasing any further promotional copies of this book, but be sure to continue to check back on my site for further promotions. Thank you so much to the readers who participated. If you’d like to purchase the book and start generating ideas for your first (or next) nonfiction book, please click on this link:

How To Select Best Selling Nonfiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle (Kindle Self Publishing Clinic Series)

 

 

Check Out My Fiverr Gigs!

fiverr gigs

In an effort to introduce my business to a broader audience, I have created six gigs on the popular outsourcing website Fiverr. People will get the opportunity to try some of my services at rock bottom prices and of course the hope is that they will return to me again for more work and for my more sophisticated services, which are at a higher price point.

Fiverr is also a great place to test out a new service that you may be considering and want to “tweak” before you offer it to your tribe. This is another reason why I am doing this as well.

Right now, I am testing six services that I have done with VIP clients only but am looking for a way to offer them at a more affordable price point for a larger demographic. Here are the services that I’m offering, all at the famous Fiverr $5 price:

1. Transcription of 10 minutes of audio or video

2. Transcription of 12 pages of  notes (handwritten or typed)

3. Tweeting a promotion to all 15,000+ of my Twitter followers

4. Professionally analyze someone’s blog (content + seo)

5. Proofread one blog post in 24 hours

6. Proofread and edit any document up to 1200 words

You can take a look at all of my gigs here: http://www.fiverr.com/writergirl

Buying On Fiverr

If you’ve never purchased a product or service on Fiverr, you won’t believe what your missing! You may think that for $5 bucks you’re going to get junk, but that is not always the case. Typically what you’re paying for is a “taste” of the service the seller provides and you have to pay for more “gigs” to get the full kahuna. I’ve made several purchases from Fiverr over the years and honestly I wasn’t disappointed by much. Just remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Select your gigs carefully.

Authors Should Charge Much More For Ebooks

I’ve been saying this for years. Somehow publishers have gotten it all backwards. Ebooks should really be priced at a higher price point than print books because you have IMMEDIATE and convenient access to the product. Read this excerpt about this topic and tell me what you think:

From Digital Book World:

Imagine a cold winter day in New England. Now, imagine wanting a particular book. You have three options, according to Frank Luby, a pricing consultant and former journalist, speaking at the Copy Right Clearance Center’s OnCopyright 2014 conference in New York.

You could brave the cold and, presumably, snow, get in your car, drive to the nearest Barnes & Noble to hope that the store has a copy. If it doesn’t have one, perhaps a nearby location does. You can buy the book from the store and drive home.

Alternatively, you could log on to Amazon.com and purchase the book and have it delivered to your door in a matter of days.

Or, you can pick up your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other e-reading device and have the book in your hands in a matter of moments.

“Ebooks are terribly misnamed,” said Luby. “They’re not a product. They’re a reader service.”

Luby argued that the convenience that ebooks offer over their print counterparts are a great benefit that publishers and retailers should charge readers more for.

“Ebooks should be more expensive than they are, more than print books — a lot more,” said Luby, adding that ebooks are relatively cheap because publishers and retailers don’t properly explain their benefits, namely, convenience.

Read the rest at Digital Book World

The Only Password Software I’ll Use

password softwareIf you don’t use password software on  your computer, phone, or tablet — I think you must have a super power! I mean how do you remember every single password that you use on all the sites you visit? Ex: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, WordPress, Gmail, Paypal, The Bank, etc. Almost every site you visit requires you to sign up or “gently bribes” you to sign up on their website and that’s a lot of passwords to manage.

Before password management software, I’ll admit that I was guilty of creating two or three passwords and rotating them on all the sites I joined. That is a HUGE security risk. (You’re not doing that right?) It would only take a 15 year old hacker about ten minutes to figure out my passwords and when he did he would have access to my entire world. My husband’s Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Paypal accounts have been hacked twice. It was a pain in the @##! to rectify.

You need password software if you:

1. Shop online
2. Pay bills online
3. Want to safely digitally store important content such as: SS numbers, tax numbers, drivers license numbers, wifi passwords, email passwords
4. Sign up for a lot of online newsletters
5. Participate in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.)
6. If you are a local/national entrepreneur with brand recognition online and/or beyond. Hackers prey on people like this. That’s why my husband is targeted so much.

That’s why years ago I signed up for password management software 1Password. At the time I think it was only for Macs and it was powerful and it was great and I’ve been using it for years until I came across a new software called Dashlane. Now I’m usually the type of person who is like “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and I didn’t necessarily have any problems with my old software but what I learned about Dashlane made me at least do some research around it. What I discovered was:

1. It’s super strong and safe. If you don’t remember your master password to unlock your account, the company can’t give it to you. You’ll be stuck like chuck.

2. There is a free and premium version and the free version is extremely powerful. You could definitely just use the free version and be fine. I paid a lot of money for my old software and I had to pay for a recent upgrade.

3. It integrates with all major browsers so I can log into all my websites seamlessly and pay when I’m shopping online with just a few clicks of my mouse.

4. You can use dashlane on your phone or tablet via their App. I love that I can use it on all my devices. It’s super user friendly.

5. It generates really strong passwords for you, remembers them, and automatically logs you into your sites with them. This is great when you need to generate strong passwords on a regular basis for things like your bank’s website, credit monitoring websites, etc. *Remember that those passwords should change often.

6. If you are currently using a password software, Dashlane can seamlessly import all your information, which was sweet! I just downloaded my info from 1Password and imported it into Dashlane and in less than 5 minutes I was up and ready to rock. They provide you with directions on how to import your info from most major password software products on the market. So it’s very easy.

7. A really cool feature on Dashlane is it’s security dashboard. It will tell you if the passwords you are using are strong enough and will give you recommendations on what sites you need to change them for.

dashlane dashboard

 

Cool right? If you’re ready to tighten up your online security, then you’re ready for Dashlane. Let me know how it works out for you. If you have any questions about it, feel free to add them in the comment section below. I should answer within a few hours.

Amazon Lifts Payment Threshold Amount For EFT Users

If you currently publish on the Amazon ecosystem (as I fondly call it) and you use Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs) to receive your royalties, then you probably have noticed that you’re seeing money deposited in your bank account on a more frequent basis. To which I say…YIPPEEE! I’m ecstatic, but some authors – not so much. This is because depending on the market your selling in and/or what you’ve asked for, Amazon may pay you via EFT, Wire Transfer or check.

Wire transfers a.k.a. bank wires typically cost the sender money($10USD or more), yet sometimes the receiver’s bank will charge them a fee for receiving a bank wire as well. WHY? Well that’s a question for your bank, but they typically charge and that’s when this threshhold lift thing gets tricky. (At least that’s what I’ve heard.)

I only get EFT payments from Amazon and I’m never charged a fee from my bank, so it works well for me. But some markets (foreign markets) may charge you for transferring funds, so you may want to check your KDP and CreateSpace account settings to see how each market is paying you. It may not be cost effective for you to receive your foreign income on a regular basis electronically if your bank charges you for each deposit.

That’s why I’ve set the main site (Amazon.com) as well as the Japanese site to pay me via EFT, but most of my foreign markets are set to pay me by “check” only. So I’ll have to wait to hit the threshold in those markets before I get paid, which is fine by me.

KDP payment options

 

The moral of this story – check your settings:)

 

How To Convert & Share Your HTML Articles Via PDF Format

If you’re a writer, chances are that at some point you will need to share your articles with someone. Of course in the old days when I worked in print media, I would get a copy of my clips and I would lovingly place them in plastic folders in a portfolio book. Now things are different and most people will want to view your clips online via their computer, tablet, or phone. So the best way to share your writing samples with folks is to convert your html articles into PDF versions.

If it’s just a matter of sharing content that you’ve written, chances are that you already own a software program such as Microsoft Word or Pages and can CONVERT or SHARE your documents into PDF versions. But if you need to show proof that you’ve published your clip somewhere then you’ll need to share that article from the actual site with others. The obvious way to do this would be to share the live link to your article (ex. http://lisaangelettieblog.com/17-mindset-shifts-that-will-transform-your-business/), but some people will want to actually have a clip that they can read offline (on a Kindle or iPad for example) or print out (ex. 17 mindset shifts) That’s where a PDF comes in handy.

To convert my guest posts to PDFs, I like to use PDFcrowd.com. With this free tool you can convert your clips into PDF files various ways: directly on their website via web link or using their Firefox or Chrome browser extension. I use the Chrome browser extension which makes converting any web page to a PDF file easy as pie, and I highly recommend it.

pdfcrowd

1. To use the Firefox or Chrome extension, simply go the the browser add-ons or extensions marketplace for your browser.

For Chrome it’s: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions
For Firefox it’s: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/?application=firefox

2. Search for PDFcrowd, then download (it’s free!).

3. You’ll see the icon for PDFcrowd next to your other add-ons or extensions.

4. Next you’ll go to the web page of the article you’d like to convert.

5. Once there you’ll click on the PDFcrowd icon in your browser and let the magic happen!

6. You’ll see a new PDF file in your downloads folder. The title will be the url address of the article.

7. Feel free to rename your document to a more user friendly title, just make sure to keep the .pdf suffix intact

If you choose to use their online tool, it’s pretty self explanatory. Just copy and paste the url of the article you want to convert, paste it into the box, and click on the “convert to pdf” button.  Your document should download to your download folder.

Notes: This tool converts the ENTIRE page to a pdf file. This means that if you have an article on a blog and there are a 100 comments, your PDF file is going to be pretty long because it converts the entire page including comments. A way you may be able to work around this is to see if the site offers a “printer friendly” version of the article and then convert your document from that version.

Tip: Consider offering your readers extra value by offering PDF versions of your articles. PDFCrowd also offers the code for adding a link to your website which enables readers to save your articles to their computer as a PDF. Some people do this for every article, but I like to do this for select articles.

 

 

How To Write A Book Review

book reviewWhen I worked on the editorial desk for The New York Times (Washington Bureau), I was living in Washington D.C. at the time and the cost of living was pretty high. I needed another gig and was blessed with the opportunity to freelance as a book reviewer for Publisher’s Weekly. I didn’t realize it back then because I was too young and dumb, but every time I sat down to write a review for a book, I had an author’s livelihood in my hands. I was just one person who was going to write a review for an author’s book in a publication that lots of people paid attention to and respected. And let’s not forget that I was getting paid to do this. Now that I look back on it, it was too much power for one person to wield.

Now that I’m older and the landscape of the publishing industry has dramatically changed,  the “readers” are the ones who collectively wield the power. Sure we may all still read reviews in Publisher’s Weekly or The New York Times, but what really helps us make a decision about a book are the book reviews written by “real people” that you find on places like Amazon and Goodreads. That’s where a book review really matters.

I started writing book reviews online sheerly as a gut reaction to finishing a book that I either loved or hated. What I didn’t really anticipate was the fact that authors would start approaching me and asking me to review their books. I’m not even an Amazon top reviewer or someone in Amazon Vine, but I get approached by authors pretty often. As an author myself, I depend on book reviews, good and bad to tell me if I’m getting it right or if I missed the mark. So I believe it’s good “book karma” for me to write a book review, when I’ve read an especially good book. I just always want to make sure that it’s useful for the reader…

How To Write A Book Review That Is Genuine And That Readers Find Useful

1. I typically write my book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, because I think they are the 2 most relevant spaces for book reviews.

2. I DON’T write book synopses in my book reviews. I find it irritating when a reviewer feels the need to retell the entire plot, and it obviously spoils it for people who are actually reading the review to determine if they want to read the book.

3. I don’t write reviews that contain SPOILER ALERTS. You actually see this a lot on Amazon. In my opinion, if you were so moved by some part of the plot then go talk about in an online forum, Facebook group, etc. Just adding the words “spoiler alerts” to your review is not going to make up for the fact that you have probably just ruined the element of surprise or suspense for someone who has not yet read the book.

4. When writing a positive review, I make sure to include the “why” I liked the book. The reasons why you may have liked a particular book may resonate with someone else who’s on the fence about the book.

5. The ideal length for a book review is between 75-500 words. No one wants to read just a two word “Great Book!” review and no one wants to read a long dissertation either.

6. Because I am an author, I typically do not write bad book reviews. If I didn’t like the book, I don’t write anything at all about it, because I’m not going to make a lot of author friends that way:) and plus I think it’s bad book karma. BUT having said that, I do think it’s important to be genuine when writing a review. If there is something that you didn’t like about a book, then write “WHY” you didn’t like it. Be specific. Be honest. And remember that this is someone’s “baby” so write your words carefully.

7. If you are given a free book to review, it’s essential that you fully disclose the fact that you “received a free book in exchange for an honest review”.

8. The easiest way to write a book review in record time is to write the review in the same way you speak. This means in a conversational tone. Pretend you are talking about the book with a friend, what would you say to convince them to read or not bother reading the book?

What now? Get some practice in by going to Amazon or Goodreads and writing a book review on the last book you read.

Site Updates & Changes

My site is going to look a little wonky for the next couple of days because I am making some edits, some tweaks, retiring some old stuff, and adding some other stuff. I’ll be sending out an email letting you know what’s going on, especially because I haven’t written in a while.

I can quickly tell you now what I’m working on. Frankly it’s a bit of “spring cleaning” that I should have tackled a LONG time ago.

1. Getting rid of outdated resources

2. Retiring old freebies and products

3. Writing new reports

4. Writing a new book

5. Working on a training webinar

6. Cleaning up my autoresponder emails

7. Starting my editorial calendar for 2014

Look for my broadcast email to come soon:)

Kindle Countdown Deals: A New Promotional Tool For Authors

kindle countdown deals
Amazon has recently announced the launch of a new book promotional tool for KDP Select authors called Kindle Countdown Deals. I suppose they are adding this tool as a way of sweetening the pot for authors to choose to enroll their books in the KDP Select program. A program which entails publishing your book to Amazon exclusively for a period of time (no selling on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, or even your own website).

Kindle Countdown Deals does address an issue that many indie authors were having with running promotions for their books and what many authors will still have to deal with if they don’t use this tool. For example, say you want to run a promotion and offer your book which is typically $2.99 for .99 for a period of time. You’d have to log into KDP and manually change the price of your book and WAIT for Amazon to administer the change. The waiting on Amazon part is what would be a problem for some authors because you may have already announced to your community that you are running the promotion but Amazon has yet to make the change so readers cannot buy the book at the promotional price. The rule of thumb was to give Amazon at least 24 hours to change your pricing, but that wasn’t always guaranteed and a lot of promotions ran into glitches.

So Kindle Countdown Deals addresses this issue by Amazon offering their own built-in promotional program. This is how it works:

1. Set Time-Bound Promotions

You can control how long your book is discounted and the time remaining for your promotion will be visible for customers to help generate excitement for the price discount. Obviously this is going to work well because Amazon has put in place the infrastructure to make these changes work as soon as you set them.

2. Customers See Both Prices

Readers will be excited because they can see the great deal they are getting. The listing will include the regular price of your book right alongside the promotional price. When we did it manually, the reader would only see the promotional price because in essence you were changing the price of the book – not running a limited promotion.

3. Retain A 70% Royalty Rate

This is a biggie. You will earn royalties based on your regular royalty rate. So if you are using the 70% royalty rate option by pricing your book above 2.99, you will still earn 70% even if the promotional price is below $2.99.

4. Increased Discoverability

Customers can easily browse live Kindle Countdown Deals to see what books are on promotion (which you know readers love to do). This is a great way for your book to get discovered. Take a look at current deals here: http://amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals

5. Monitor Performance In Real-Time

A new KDP report will display sales and royalties at each price discount side-by-side with pre-promotion performance, so you can compare results. Love that! You know I’m a stats girl:)

So in my opinion, Amazon has created a great tool for indie authors to really build momentum for new books or to breathe some life into stalled titles. Of course the trade off is that you have to commit to the KDP Select program for at least 3 months, but seeing that Amazon is the big player in the marketplace – this may be a trade off that you can live with.

* Kindle Countdown Deals are only available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

How To Monitor Mentions Of Your Name or Brand On The Web

We all want more visibility and more reach don’t we? What I’ve learned over the years of writing on the web and coaching virtually is that the real key to building a tribe of people who not only read what you write, invest in you, and spread the word about you is to engage them. But how do you engage people who have mentioned you or your business, but you had no idea that they did? How do you reciprocate and further a relationship that you didn’t even know existed?

The best way to do this is by monitoring “mentions” of your name (Bill Gates) or your brand name (Microsoft) on the web. By monitoring, I mean who mentions your name in the News, on websites, and in social media. This will help you get a good idea of your actual “reach” and “footprint” across the web and of course who to thank for the mention and engage further.

Just a quick story…one of the reasons why I think that this topic is so important is because I use to drop the ball on this BIG time. One time there was a reporter from The Washington Post who mentioned my online counseling brand name in an article, and I didn’t know until one day I was doing a random search on the web for my brand name and the piece popped up! This was weeks after the piece had run. Ugh!

That’s the way I use to check on myself– conducting random Google searches which is pretty ineffective. You might be doing that too or you may not even be checking on yourself at all. So that’s why I’m virtually tapping you on your shoulder and urging you to start monitoring your brand. Now that I’m done all the preachy stuff, here’s how you do it…

Old School – Google Alerts (http://Google.com/alerts)

I’ve been doing this for many years and so have most business owners I know on the web. It’s free. It’s easy. And it’s pretty darn accurate.

1. Like all Google tools now, you’ll need to be logged into your Google account to access this, but it’s totally free to use.

2. Click on the alerts link above or go to the tools section of your Google account and look for alerts.

3. You’re going to create two separate alerts. One for your Name and one for your Business/Brand Name.

google alerts

 

4. So let’s say you start with your name. Put “Your Name” in the Search query box.

5. Result Type: Everything

6. How often: I like to choose “as it happens”

7. How Many: Choose “all results”. Only the best results is used when you are creating an alert for a more broad topic. Not something specific like your name.

8. Rinse and repeat steps for your business name.

New School – Mention (http://Mention.net)

There’s a new site titled Mention because it does exactly that — monitor your mentions on the web. What’s great about this new tool is that it’s sort of like Google Alerts on steroids.

1. You can view all your mentions in their cool “deck” type platform and you can use this application on everything: online, desktop, IOS (Apple), Android, or using a Chrome browser extension. Sweet right?

2. You can create new alerts or import your existing Google Alerts.

3. Here’s the cool part. Mention will list your “mentions” in the left hand side of their deck and once you’ve clicked on a specific alert, they will show you the actual live page the mention was pulled from on the right hand side.

mention.net

4. At the top of the deck they give you several options of what to do with your mention: Share it on Facebook, Tweet it, email it, or create another type of task. They also label mentions with a “tone” such as “positive”, “neutral” or “negative”. You have the ability to change the tone of your mention if they get it wrong. Having to DO something with your mention after you’ve seen it is great for engagement.

5. There are lots of filter options with this application that I like as well. I can block certain sites, etc. For example, I wouldn’t want my own tweets where I add my Twitter handle (@LisaAngelettie) counted as a mention. I know that I’m sending those. I only want to see other people’s tweets that mention me.

6. The first 250 mentions is free on Mention every month. Anything above that and you’ll need to pay for one of their low cost monitoring packages. To stay on the free plan, just be very selective about what you choose to monitor and how you choose to monitor it.

If you know that you are going to see all your retweets and shares in Hootsuite for example, there’s no need to replicate monitoring social media in Mention. You can use it strictly for monitoring news outlets and bloggers. Don’t import your broad topic Google Alerts into Mention such as “writing” or “business coaching”. You’ll get way too many results for that.

Last Tip: If you do a lot of commenting on blogs, especially the same blogs, I would add the ones you frequent to the filter list because Mention will bring up every blog you comment on using your name. There’s no need for you to see those in Mention because you actually created the mention yourself by commenting.

How else are you monitoring your brand on the web? Share your tips with us here.