The Business of Blogs: Catch up, or Catch you later…

From BusinessWeek

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While reading (and re-reading) the BookRix Marketing Guide, you learned that running your own personal website/blog is the most effective way to gain readers and then keep them interested. Sure, it’s true that you can gain readers without a blog, however, with a blog you will end up with a lot more. Thanks to the Internet, creating and maintaining a blog really isn’t time consuming anymore: There are different “model sets” and “templates” helping to conjure a blog within a few minutes.
There are also advantages to joining the blogosphere: Bloggers often connect with each other. On almost every blog you can find the so-called “link list” which directly links to other blogs recommended by the blog owner. It’s really easy to get added to these lists because between bloggers it’s common to see: “you link me, I link you” – especially for authors with similar themes and genres. The more links to your blog, the more readers will visit it. And new blog visitors are almost guaranteed to become new readers at the same time! Basically, a blog offers countless opportunities to present yourself and your work.

The great news is that once you’re inside the blogosphere, you can use your connections to get your book out there. Fellow bloggers can post reviews for your book, interviews that show off your charming answers, and guest posts written by the oh-so-clever-and-witty-author: YOU.

Go ahead and bellyache about blogs. But you cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they’re simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they’re going to shake up just about every business—including yours. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shipping paper clips, pork bellies, or videos of Britney in a bikini, blogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate. Given the changes barreling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They’re a prerequisite.

Click image to visit Me, My Shelf and I

Click the image to visit Me, My Shelf and I

BookRix would like to introduce one of our blog associates, Me, My Shelf & I (MMSAI). MMSAI is a blog for everything Young Adult (YA). It’s a great resource for indie authors, for several reasons:
1. My Indie Monday
My Indie Monday is a great author feature started on MMSAI. Although they host the event, many other blogs participate and share the information on their own blogs. On Mondays they feature a new indie author, providing a space for book reviews, interviews and anything else that the author feels might be helpful in enticing the reader. AND, there’s almost always a giveaway. People love free stuff, so you’ve got to make them happy!
2. Reviews
MMSAI reviews Young Adult/Middle Grade genres. As you all know, book reviews are a great way to share information about your book and promote your work. Just be sure to check out their Review Policy before taking the next step.
3. MMSAI Designs
MMSAI offers design services for authors. If you need help creating a book cover, great. If you’re looking to create some great giveaway swag, MMSAI are there to help – anything from posters and t-shirts to bookmarks and postcards. They can even help you design graphics for your own blog or a banner for your ad campaign.
4. Advertising
At MMSAI, you can buy ad space for your book. As an indie author, you basically need to promote your book in as many venues as possible. MMSAI has a wide following and is a great place to gain exposure for your book (Family Friendly Ads Only). They will put your book advertisement in a prime location and BookRix authors GET A DISCOUNT! The first 4 authors to sign up will get more than 50% off their month long ad! Be sure to send an email to (or leave a comment with your contact information below) for your chance to participate.

The BookRix Team is already taking advantage of the ad space at MMSAI – check out our banner featured right below the navigation bar!

Thursday Tips From Laura Kostad

I’m Laura Kostad, the second place winner in the 2009 Summer Writing Competition. Like many of you, I was just a beginning user on BookRix on June 23, 2009, hoping that my one short story would be noticed amongst all the rest. One month later and I am now a relatively well-known user. Initially, I was enticed by the “Web To Reality” competition and planned to participate in that. (I still don’t have a book finished to enter.) However, my attention became distracted when the Summer Writing Competition was started. I decided to upload a short story that I had written last year, Enigma, and enter it into the Summer Writing Competition. I didn’t expect much to come of it, I was still yet a new user with only a small handful of friends. So I went about getting in touch with close friends and family members, asking them to please read my story and vote for me. At first, their votes are what helped me move on up the line, with about 20-35 odd votes, a few BookRix user votes in between. But soon, with the help of the promotional methods that I am about to describe, it was fellow BookRix users who brought me up to where I finished.

I started a forum under BookRix General. In my forum, I kept updates running on how Enigma was doing as far as the competition. This helped me greatly to gain notoriety as a new user. People were curious, and by the end of the competition, I had several hundred views on my forum. As well as promoting myself on the forum, every time that I saw a user that was not on my friends list on the forums, another friend’s page, commenting or favoriting Enigma, or in the competition itself, I sent them friend requests. We typically exchanged reviews on each other’s books, as well as continued to keep in touch there after. Being polite, cordial, and taking the time to answer all of the friendly mail that you receive from people who either you’ve sent friend requests to, or who have sent you a friend request, definitely makes people want to take interest in your work. When they see that you’re not just using them to gain popularity, votes, or ratings, and you actually want to get to know them, not only do you get better quality ratings etcetera, but you begin to actually become friends with other users (a gift in itself), and they’ll also be more willing to suggest you to their friends without your asking them to do so! Also, when you send friend requests and suddenly accumulate a large number of friends, it’s also good to occasionally send out an email to everyone, reminding them to check out your books, or in my case, read my book and vote for it if they saw fit. I did this 3-4 times throughout the duration of the competition, simply because I gained more friends, and they may not have been aware of the fact that I was participating in a competition or even had a book up on the site. Sending out a kind of “quarterly” message to your friends, helps to keep them informed of what’s going on, and if written correctly, doesn’t nag them, but is just a polite reminder that, “Hey, I’ve got a book in a competition, and I was hoping that you would check it out.”  It usually goes over rather well actually.

To conclusion, my methods aren’t all that unique, or even new; but if you want to make yourself noticed, just take a few minutes out of your busy schedule, sit down and put yourself on the board. Because believe me, you may not think that anyone is going to take interest, but just remember that I thought that too, and well, I thought wrong. Good luck to all of you, and I hope that my methods assist you in your BookRix writing careers!

Thursday Tips From Katherine Angela Yeboah

BookRix author Katherine Angela Yeboah gives us her tips on writing and marketing
Author of Lucid, out now in paperback and e-book (multiple formats).

How do you find the time to work on your novels?

Good question! In today’s fast-paced world, it is difficult for many of us to find a spare moment in our busy days. Since we can’t make the days longer (trust me, I’ve tried), us writers need to make sure we’re using our time efficiently. Even if you can only write for half an hour, you can make that time count if you focus and give your undivided attention to your craft! You might want to try shutting off the phone, TV, stereo and all those other noisy gadgets that can distract us from our purpose!

How do you motivate yourself?

I like to reward myself for my hard work. After all…I’ve earned it! I’ll tell myself that if I really knuckle down and work my tail off for the next two hours, afterward I can take a break and watch my favorite TV show/eat something delicious/go for a bike ride, etc.
Marketing Tips

Now that your book is published, how do you spread the word to all those lovely readers out there?

The web is a fantastic place to promote your work. There are many social networking hubs and writer/reader related websites (like the wonderful BookRix!!!) that you can join for free.

Okay, so you’ve signed up for a bunch of websites…what do you do now?

1) Share your Blurb.

Post a short and gripping description of your book on every website you can.

2) Write a Blog.

There, you can make announcements such as novel releases, book signings, good reviews your stories have received, etc.

3) Post Photos and Videos.

Upload your book cover, and any promo photos or videos you have created, to social networking sites and content sharing sites such as YouTube, Flickr and PhotoBucket.

4) Request a Book Review.

There are plenty of websites that do book reviews. Lots of them will accept electronic copies of your work (PDF file, word document, etc.) which don’t cost you anything to send. A great book review can create a positive buzz about your novel.

5) Post Excerpts or Sample Chapters.

With your publisher’s permission, you can add sample chapters from your novel to sites like BookRix! Upload the first two or three chapters of your book. Include a purchase link so that readers who are enticed by your free sample know where to go to buy the complete book.

6) Write Articles.

Compose articles related to your book’s topic. If your novel is a murder mystery about a maniac on a killing spree, do a little research on the web (remember to cite your sources) and write an article about famous serial killers. Add a paragraph at the end of the article about your book, explaining that there is an exciting new novel out regarding this subject. You can then post this article on various websites. Don’t forget to include your book’s purchase URL.

7) Create a Mailing List.

Invite those who visit your webpages to sign up so that you can update them on all your publishing news.

8 ) Write Short Stories.

Compose shorts in the same genre as your novel. Send them off to relevant magazines, websites and writing contests. If your short stories get published or receive recognition in competitions, this may help you to form a fan base in your chosen genre. If possible, include an author byline that mentions the book you are trying to promote.

9) Join Groups

Find groups on BookRix, Yahoo, Google, Ning, etc. which relate to the theme of your novel (e.g. vampires, detectives, horses, etc.) There you can make friends that share your interests and join discussions to promote your book.

Katherine Angela Yeboah
Author of Lucid, out now in paperback and e-book (multiple formats)


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