Shelfari Is No Longer An Option In Author Central

ShelfariI just got off the phone with a very nice representative over at Amazon’s Author Central. I wanted some help incorporating Shelfari into my Author Central profile like I’ve seen on many author’s Amazon pages. I did a little Google research on how to do it but found that the instructions were outdated or just play wrong.

When I called, even the associate wasn’t sure what happened to Shelfari. She had to run and check with someone else. Sure enough, Shelfari has been eliminated as an option for adding to your Amazon author page. When I asked if it was for a certain segment of books (ex. nonfiction vs. fiction), she said “No. All books.” Her words were she thinks that allowing the option “was more trouble than it was worth.”

I’ve heard that some authors abused Shelfari. I’m not sure how. Probably only promoting their own books and not actually sharing and recommending books written by other authors. When sharing good books was really the point. Shelfari was suppose to be a book sharing and social site like Goodreads; but alas Goodreads does it so much better.

So now that Amazon owns Goodreads, I wonder how they will incorporate it (or some of it’s features) into the Amazon book marketplace? It will be interesting to see how it unfolds and hopefully will be of some benefit to us indie authors.

Google Play Is Closed To New Publishers

Thought this was an interesting piece for indie writers and publishers. Google Play had to close their Publisher program because there were so many book pirates on there uploading other author’s books and selling them at a fraction of the cost. Evidently it was rampant in Google Play. Check out the article from GoodeReader.com.

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READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE

How To Market Your Writing Services Online

This is a guest post by Steve Aedy.

how to market writing services

Anyone who has spent time in the business world is familiar with the concept of building brand awareness. As a writer, you have probably never given this idea much thought – but you should.

You – and the writing services you provide – are a brand. And, to be successful, you need to build awareness for what you do.

It may seem strange to market yourself. However, if you think of your writing as a service, it seems less awkward to promote what you do.

As is the case with just about every other task you could imagine, the internet can help. Here are eight ways to market your writing services online and build brand awareness.

1. Create a website.

A lot of times, your website is the first point of contact for prospective clients, agents, magazine editors, publishers and more. They will look at your site before they do anything else.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Just like a retail store needs to have an attractive window display to lure clients, you need to have a space for the world to view the services you offer.

You don’t need to create anything overly flashy or super elaborate. Simply provide a place were people can learn about what you have done, the services you offer, and how to contact you. If you don’t want to worry about the mechanics of the site’s design, hire a website designer. Otherwise, there are plenty of online services that will walk you through the armature web design process.

Before you build your website, choose a memorable domain name. Believe it or not, some people do converse offline. For these people, you’ll want an address that is easy to bring up in conversation. Consider using your name for the URL. Or, create a name that portrays the services you provide.

2. Add a blog.

Once you have your website up and running, add a blog. Most people dread starting a blog because it is so time consuming. While that is true – blog writing does take time – it is a very effective marketing tool. Plus, you are a writer! Writing a blog should be right up your alley! Additionally, it will be pretty hard to sell yourself to industry people if you aren’t actively writing on a regular basis.

Don’t let a blog dominate your life. If you have time, write once a week. If you don’t, write once a month.

3. Optimize.

Trying to explain search engine optimization is like opening Pandora’s Box. This particular article isn’t about explaining the ever-evolving world of SEO. Instead, we will simply advise you to do some research. Familiarize yourself with the general idea. Even an amateur website can be optimized with just a few simple steps.

4. Submit to ezines.

Ezines are so much more than a web-based version of a printed publication. They are a great marketing tool for reaching a target audience.

Submit to sites like EzineArticles.com. Your article could get picked up by an ezine from anywhere in the world. All it takes is for someone to see what you’ve written and express an interest in seeing more.

Additionally, this is a great way to boost your SEO efforts. Link back to your website to increase awareness.

5. Comment on other blogs.

Find top quality blogs in the niche you are interested in. Comment on blog posts. This will draw the attention of other readers who might be interested in hearing more of what you have to say. Including a link in your comment will drive even more traffic to your site.

6. Send InMail messages.

Join LinkedIn at a paid level. When you do, you can send InMail to prospects. This is a great proactive approach; you can go looking for prospects instead of waiting for them to come to you. Recent reports have found that 30% of InMail messages get a reply. That means nearly half of your marketing attempts will be fruitful.

7. Use Twitter to research prospects.

Do a keyword search on Twitter. For example, search for a publication name you’re targeting. Once you have found potential prospects, follow them. Often times, that person will check you out and maybe even follow you.

At the very least, you can use this time to research the prospective lead. Get to know them. Find out what they are about. Then, when you send a direct mail, you’ll have a better idea of how to appeal to their needs.

Also, send out random tweets about what you hope to accomplish. For example, tweet something like, “I’m looking to connect with more business magazine publishers.”

8. Create a Facebook fan page.

Create a Facebook fan page for your blog or yourself as a writer. Use contests, polls, and other methods to engage visitors and increase awareness.

The internet is an ever-changing world. What is popular one day might be obsolete the next. The biggest thing to remember when it comes to online marketing is this: don’t ignore opportunities when they present themselves. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something new. Look for creative ways to build brand awareness and generate business leads.

This article was written by Steve Aedy. He is an in-house content writer for FreshEssays.com, a company that provides custom paper writing services and help with editing for college and university students. You can reach Steve at twitter and google+.

What I Learned About Writing & Sharing Content In 2012 (Part 2)

Let Me Continue To Share What I Learned About Writing And Sharing Content This Year: Off Topic Content, Bounce Rates, Laser Focused Content

I learned a very BIG lesson in 2012 in regards to my beloved Google. Sometimes they make changes that we don’t like at first but are for our own good. For a very long time, I was getting great traffic to a few of my sites, especially this one, but my bounce rate was at an abysmal 80%. (I cringe just typing that number!) I knew that this was going to be a big problem for me in the future because Google had made it very clear that at some point in the future they were going to penalize sites with poor bounce rates.

bounce rates image

FIRST – I have known for a very long time what the problem was with my bounce rate, I just didn’t know what to do about it. It wasn’t that I was writing content that was off topic for my readers, although it sort of was. Throughout the years of writing articles on this blog, I have always giggled at how bad of a speller I am. I thought that if I was making some of those errors that other people were too, so I came up with this bright idea to share some of those grammer blunders with my readers.

These were actually articles that I did zero keyword research on, I just wrote them up. What I didn’t count on was just how many people look up these terms everyday. There were a lot! For example, one of the terms that I get a lot of traffic from is bare vs. bear. A lot of people do not know how to use these two terms properly, so a lot of people found my article on it, but this created a big problem for me…

SECOND – Sites that were dedicated to grammar  only were referring to my article on their websites. While I was honored that they used me as a resource, I also thought that perhaps I would get a lot of writers from these sites (because I work with a lot of writers) but that was not the case. I basically got a lot of lookie-loos. Could have been kids needing help with a paper or whoever, but they were people who read the definitions and then clicked off my site within a second or two. They got what they needed very quickly and left. This is NOT what I want people to do on my website, and this is not what you want either.

THIRD – While my site is dedicated to helping people create better content and good grammar is part of that, people are not generally going to use my site as a referral for grammar tips. Therefore the high bounce rate. So what happened to fix it? Nothing on my part. What happened was that when Google added their “exact domain match” update, it knocked a lot of my grammar tip pages way down the search results, so I no longer get the huge surge of traffic I use to from these pages. In fact, my traffic decreased by about 10% from this one change which made me very upset – at first.

BUT the result was that NOW my traffic visits my site through articles that are laser focused and related to my website’s mission. People visit for up 15 to 30 minutes now – some longer. I get a lot more page views per visitor. So now my bounce rate is at an all time low of 13%! Can you say yippee!!!

LESSONS LEARNED – The lessons learned are simple. While in the past I have casted a pretty wide net in regards to content I will create for my site, I will no longer do that. While I know a lot about a lot of topics having run my business for many years online, the reality is that I cannot write about everything. Content for my site will be laser focused around my topic. I will include (sort of) off topic articles in my newsletters, in guest posts, or with my private clients. I don’t want to ever throw the balance off of my site again.

Also, your bounce rate matters if you want organic traffic from the search engines. So get familiar with yours by checking your Google Analytics stats and make any adjustments you need to make in regards to the “focus” of your content.

Read Part One Of What I Learned About Writing & Sharing Content in 2012

 

What I Learned About Writing & Sharing Content In 2012 (Part 1)

I’m going to take some time to share with you what I’ve learned about writing and sharing content this year.

When a year winds down, I like to take a look at what the big takeaway or area of growth was for entrepreneurs and marketers. This year I think it’s pretty clear that small business owners have realized not only the importance but the necessity of using content to market their businesses in a way that engages people and inspires them to share it.

The big kahunas have figured this out and have really stepped up their games this year. For instance, let’s take a look at Coke’s home page. Coke makes several attempts to engage visitors with content. They want you to read their @DocPemberton tweets over on Twitter, watch fun YouTube videos of drinking/sharing Coke, or read some of their updates over on Facebook where they share lots of interesting Coke related photos and fun facts.

painless content marketing coke

What I Learned About Keyword Research In 2012

The first element of making sure that your ideal clients and customers read your content is to make sure that you speak their language using terms that they search for on the web. The only way to make sure that you get this right is to do the research. There’s no way around this. If you don’t do this, you will be shooting in the dark and next thing you know a year has gone nothing has changed in your business.

Before Google Panda and Penguin, it use to be that you could create a piece of content, optimize it for the web, and if you followed a few basic SEO principles  Google would rank you highly and send you free traffic. This year some of that changed and it affected many, many sites across the web.

One of the huge things that I learned this year behind this is that it’s much more important to create a website and its content around one central theme versus spending too much time focusing on optimizing each individual piece of content. What I mean by this is that you have to get even more niche focused than before so that search engines as well as potential customers and clients recognize you as the authority in ONE specific topic that you write about. This is going to make it much easier to do your keyword research going forward.

FIRST – For example if you write about blogging, you need to get really specific about what aspect of blogging you focus on such as: making money with a blog, building a blog from scratch, WordPress blogging, Blogger blogging, etc. Get really specific and create content around only one of those topics.

SECOND – Build a list of 5 to 10 keywords around that topic only. This will take you literally about fifteen minutes if you use a robust keyword research tool (like my favs Market Samurai or SEMRush) or a bit longer if you do it old school using Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool.

THIRD – Use these keywords and related keywords (you can find related keywords when you do your search using any keyword tool) in your titles, first paragraphs, and sprinkled naturally throughout your articles.

FOURTH – Also use the keywords as anchor text when backlinking to your site BUT be sure not to use exact matches all of the time. Enclose some of your keyword phrases with other words. For example, if your keyword is “blogging basics” be sure to use longer and varied anchor text such as “blogging basics for coaches” or “easy blogging basics”. The search engines frown upon a lot of exact term anchor text, which is why a lot of sites lost many of their rankings when the Panda, Penguin and Exact Domain Match updates hit.

FIFTH – Don’t over think your keyword research. Ultimately you need to focus on creating content that your readers will read and share!

Here are a few additional articles I wrote in 2012 that discuss keyword research:

Five Reasons Why I Won’t Read Your Blog
http://lisaangelettieblog.com/5-reasons-why-i-wont-read-blog/

How My Blog Traffic Increased By 33%
http://lisaangelettieblog.com/how-my-blog-traffic-increased-by-33-percent/

My Keyword Research SEMRush Review & Tutorial
http://lisaangelettieblog.com/keyword-research-semrush-review-tutorial/

No Cook Fridays – Guest Posting On Lisa Angelettie Blog

no cook fridays

Yippee It’s No Cook Fridays!

On Fridays in my house, I don’t cook for the family. We eat take out. Pizza. Sushi. Chinese. Or I let the girls have a “free for all” where they cook whatever they want. That typically ends up being a grilled cheese, turkey burger or Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese. I’ve adopted the same “no cook” principle over here on my site. I typically write for my site, make edits, add SEO tweaks, work with clients, etc. Monday through Thursday. On Fridays I like to rest:)

So this is the thing. Social media sites like Facebook come alive over the weekends. People are off work and can share stuff, comment, like and all that jazz because it’s the weekend. I realize now that I need to probably have some sort of fresh content ready on Fridays for people to read and share over the weekends, but I’m going to be honest, I rather be reading one of my kid’s YA novels:)

Which led me to this bright idea…I’m going to do something that I’ve never done before on this particular site and open up Lisa Angelettie Blog to guest posts. Now I already permit guest posts on some of my other sites, I even developed a plugin that allows bloggers to easily accept guest posts, but I wanted to give this site a chance to really find it’s voice in my niche before I opened it up to other writers.

When your article is published on my site you can expect:

1. For it to be published on a Friday.

2. For me to promote it to my networks via social media throughout the entire weekend.

3. For me to promote it to my list via my weekly newsletter.

4. To receive a nice, juicy backlink from my site.

Now I’m going to be honest and admit that I’m very picky and I will have some standards that I simply will not compromise on. I’m also going to be completely transparent and admit that I probably will give some preference (although no guarantees) to submissions from Articology students and graduates. I will do this because I know that they have acquired a certain level of knowledge on writing for readers while also for the search engines. I’m looking for articles that have that delicate balance.

If you think you’re writing is up to snuff, I’d love to feature you on No Cook Fridays:) Even if you aren’t sure, I encourage you do submit anyway. Submitting guest posts to relevant websites is a great way to increase your site’s traffic and relevancy in Google.

Read The Guest Post Submission Guidelines

#1 Secret For Writing Productivity

writing productivityIf you are a parent, especially a mom (shout out to all my moms!), then this is probably going to really speak to you because we tend to be multi-taskers to the tenth power! The problem with multitasking is that it can be distracting. Sure you may get a lot done, but is it really done well? OR do you even get any one thing done completely at all?

I find that the clients who have the most difficult time with creating compelling content on a consistent basis for their audience, tend to suffer from this multitasking approach towards everything in their lives including their marketing and let me tell you — for must of us this approach just won’t work.

So (drumroll please!) this is my #1 strategy and secret for writing and producing more content on a consistent basis:

Focus on only ONE marketing strategy today and that’s creating content.

Do not play around on Twitter. Do not look for Facebook friends and fans. Do not connect with someone on LinkedIn. Forget about commenting on your favorite bloggers posts. Leave those website, pay per click, or Facebook ad stats alone today. Your website doesn’t need any tweaking today. You don’t need to check emails all day. Just once at the top of the day, if at all. Instead, just focus on content.

I find when I decide that on Mondays (my personal writing blitz day) all I am going to do is write, I produce a lot more content. In fact, instead of writing just one blog post or creating one video or writing a guest post for another site — I find that I am creating 5, 7, or 8 different new pieces of content that day that will set me up lovely for the rest of the week! Bam! Content done. Now I don’t have to worry about how I’m behind on creating new content for the rest of the week because I’ve already done it. And get this…

There’s something about doing ONE thing in one sitting, without distraction. You get in a ZONE. So I find that I write my best when I have been writing several articles, book chapters, etc. at one time.

So here’s what I recommend that you do:

1. Select one day a week that you will commit to creating high level content that attracts more of your ideal clients.

2. Eliminate all distractions on that day.

3. Create a series of blog posts, guest posts, video articles, or audio articles that day — don’t just write one piece of content that day.

4. Pay yourself on the back, you’re done for the week!

Route Vs Root

Root Or Route – Grammar Tip

root vs routeI was creating some prep work for one of my client’s private VIP days and needed to use the word root. I actually paused for a second, because I had to review in my “mental dictionary” whether or not I had used the word correctly. So anytime I second guess myself about the use of a word, even for a split second, I like to add it here on my site — because I figure there could be a few other people who need a little clarity around the terms as well.

So here we go…root vs route.

In the U.S., we sometimes get confused with the usage of root and route because we are pronouncing route with the oo sound instead of the ow sound. The two words have totally different meanings. You just have to remember which is which.

ROOT

I typically think of root as the lower part of a plant which is underground. The roots of a tree. Or a carrot is a root vegetable. Yet root has several other definitions and usages:

To dig with your nose or snout – “The pig was rooting for food in the garden.”

To rummage through something – “The dog was rooting through the garbage.”

To cheer or give verbal encouragement for something – “I’m rooting for my alma mater during the game.”

ROUTE

I pretty much think of a map or directions when I hear the term route and that’s because that pretty much is the only definition for the word:

A route indicates a road, course, or way from one place to another, a customary line of travel, a means of reaching a goal, a fixed course for a salesperson or delivery person, or to send on a route.