Time to become an authorpreneur.
Congratulations! You've completed your manuscript and you now feel ready to take the next step on your pathway to achieving your writing dream. However, there is more work to be done, especially if you're publishing your work yourself.
Time to become an authorpreneur.
Using written content is a popular and effective marketing technique for businesses operating in various industries. By using a range of platforms, companies have been able to connect with their audience and start building a relationship with them. But what about the people inside the business? How can you connect with them?
Writing is harder than you might think. For one reason or another, the creative 'spark' can fade away, and it is never a nice feeling when it happens. Rediscovering your passion for writing and reigniting the spark takes time, however it is certainly possible.
Self-publishing has come a long way in the last ten years or so. It is no longer the 'last resort' for authors to get their work out for the public; it is now a viable alternative, provided the author's work is of a high quality and they have a strong presence. There are several success stories from self-publishing and for businesses, this could present an interesting opportunity.
2017 is in full flow and many of us will have our own goals and plans for the next 12 months. Writing your own story could be one of them, and it is surprisingly straightforward. If you dream of becoming an author, now is the time.
One reason why people give up on their writing ambitions is they find it hard to get started. Consequently, they begin to feel overwhelmed. What should I write about? Do I have the time to write with everything else going on in my life? The trick is to keep focused on why you want to write in the first place; for the experience and the thrill of holding your own book in your hands. And if this is your first foray into the world of writing, start by taking a look around you.
Many authors take inspiration from their own experiences, such as a significant event in their life or someone close to them. The same inspiration could even come from where you live! Sometimes, a walk around your local area or recalling a specific moment in time can open the creative floodgates.
Here's a little exercise for you if you are searching for that spark. Take a notebook and pen, visit somewhere that holds a special memory for you, and write down how you feel about being there. Note down specific details about the event, such as who you were with, what you were wearing, even the weather. You are already on your way to writing a story!
Developing a plan of action can also be a way beginning your own journey into the writing world. Remember, a lot can happen in a year so break it down into manageable targets. For instance, this month could be your 'planning' month, February could be when you have the first chapter finished and so on. Even if you have other commitments, try and dedicate a small part of each day to writing, even if it's just making a few notes to your plan.
Something else to keep in mind is that every author is unique. What might work for one may not necessarily work for another. Finding your own voice and style takes time, but keep persevering. After all, the Harry Potter books were rejected on numerous occasions! Take some time to read different books and do not be afraid to ask for advice.
Make no mistake, writing isn't always easy. There may well be times when the creativity just refuses to flow and you feel demotivated. Each author will have experienced these moments at some point. What matters is how you respond to them. Stepping back for a day or two can help you recharge your writing batteries and you may well find that the next time you work on your manuscript is more productive. Talk to your friends or colleagues about how you're feeling as well; they might be able to give you some ideas for rediscovering your writing form.
Most importantly, never give up on your writing dream! With so many different routes to publication available to you, it has never been easier to achieve that goal of becoming an author this year.
If you have a manuscript already nearing completion or already finished, then the next stage is editing. Get in touch to find out more about DBE's copy editing and proofreading services and make sure that your hard work is not undone by typing or grammatical errors.
"I want to write, but I don't have the time. I'm too busy."
Does that sound familiar? Finding the time to write is a challenge faced by many authors, both aspiring and experienced, and it is a difficult one to overcome. But finding the time to work on a manuscript can bring great rewards.
We all write for different reasons; some of us write just for fun, others want to make a career out of being an author, and some write just to escape from the stresses of the world. Regardless of why you want to write a book, there are some simple steps that you can take to help you juggle work, family and other commitments that might be eating into your writing time.
Each author will have their ideal ‘writing time’ where their brain is at its peak creativity. It can be early in the morning or in the middle of the night, and discovering yours is an important step in balancing writing with everything else going on in your life. Experiment with just half an hour at different times each day and see how it goes. If you struggle to get the words out, don’t force them; they will return in time.
Writing doesn’t always involved sitting in front of a laptop slaving away over Microsoft Word. Even in today’s era of technology, the trusty notepad and pen still hold great power and they can be two of the best tools you can have at your disposal. Ideas arrive at the most unexpected times, even working in the office, so getting them down on paper the instant they appear will give you an advantage when it comes to actually writing your manuscript. Have a notepad to hand that is dedicated solely to your writing plans, and personalise it with inspirational quotes or tips from authors – anything that will give you that all-important motivation – and revisit before you sit down to write.
Short stories can be an ideal way of starting your writing journey if you are pushed for time. Though they can often be more challenging than writing a full-length novel, short stories can allow you to find your style and voice, and in some cases, they can be brought together into a longer manuscript. In addition, short stories can act as a stepping stone; once you feel confident with the way you write, your genre, and discovering your optimum writing time, try setting yourself a target of writing a short story within a couple of months. The results might just surprise you!
There are so many other ways that you can find time to write amongst the hectic pressures of the 21st century, and opportunities are always around you. Even your commute can open a writing window, and can help you prepare for the working day ahead. There is never a wrong time to write, but there is a right time. You just have to find it!
Many businesses are becoming more open to the concept of blogging, but several of them are still unsure about how to effectively manage a blog. Authors could provide the valuable knowledge that businesses desperately need.
Firstly, let’s have a look at some of the basics of blogging. Your blog is a great promotional tool and there is no limit to what you can blog about, from building thought-leadership to demonstrating to your audience how your products/services can help solve a problem. Of course, like with any form of promotion, blogs require a lot of care and attention.
Planning is a fundamental part of building a successful blog. Starting with the 5 Ws, thinking about what you want your blog to say about your business is important for ensuring you maximise its potential. Then there is how you actually deliver your content; images and using the right tone are two key areas that you should be considering in your blog strategy.
So where do authors fit into this? For authors, and self-published authors in particular, blogging is almost a necessity. Through their blogs, authors can build a community of followers, some of whom may be aspiring authors themselves and others can be avid readers of their work. Knowing their audience is something that authors are particularly skilled at, and for businesses new to the world of blogging, they can be fantastic mentors.
Each author’s blog will be different and this is where their knowledge of their audience comes into its own. For instance, authors writing in the YA genre may use more informal language, which appeals more to this market than perhaps a historical fiction author. There is also the author themselves; some may publish more often than others and some may be more open about their work. Nevertheless, authors have got the art of blogging down to a tee.
Tone is also very important for a business blog, and authors are masters of using tone effectively. By using an informal and conversational tone which still gets the information across, authors have allowed their audience to feel involved and engaged with, and in turn, memorable. This is where businesses can learn from authors; by adopting a similar approach, businesses can show their customers that they understand their problem and that they are willing to share advice to solve this particular problem which starts to build a relationship of trust.
Self-published authors also rely heavily on social media for promoting their manuscripts and their blogs. Whenever they write a blog post, there is a very good chance (almost a certainty) they will share it on social media. For many businesses still unsure about using social media, blog content is a great way to start building a social media presence. Authors frequently share their cover reveals and their excitement around their release date, so looking ahead to the large milestones in your business and talk about how you reached them.
Blogging has allowed authors of all genres to build their readership and stand out. By putting a detailed strategy in place and by using some of the skills that authors use on a regular basis, your business can enjoy similar success from blogging.
To get your business blog up and running, get in touch with me! Feel free to check out my own author blog as well.
Reaching the publication stage is always an exciting time for authors. Whether it is their first foray into the writing world or they have published their work already, having a novel ready for the world to read is a great achievement. Now, you have a decision to make; which is the best publication route to choose?
Self-publishing has become increasingly popular for authors keen to release their work in a straightforward way, but traditional publishing can give you the weight and support of an established name. There are so many different factors to consider at the publication stage, and so many pros and cons to be aware of.
The infographic below is designed to help you decide between self-publishing and traditional publishing. As I mentioned above, each have their advantages and disadvantages so take your time when considering your options.
It is important that you do not rush your publication journey. Consider every aspect of self- and traditional publishing and do not be afraid to ask for advice.
This month marks a significant milestone for me; it has been eighteen months since I started D. Burton Editing. As I reflect on the last year and a half, there has been one major influence on my business; my own novel, Heartbound.
Heartbound is a young-adult paranormal story about friendship and forgiveness. In June 2015, it reached a peak position of #2 in its Amazon Kindle category. Even though I self-published Heartbound a couple of months after establishing D. Burton Editing, I strongly believe that the success that the former has had has contributed to my business.
Being a self-published author, I had to do all the marketing and promotion for Heartbound myself. This can be one of the reasons why prospective authors decide to steer clear of self-publishing but it was a task that I relished doing, and did so by using most of the services that I offer with D. Burton Editing.
Social media, namely Facebook and Twitter, was the main promotional platform for Heartbound. I posted pictures of the proof copies along with links to news stories that were written from my own press releases, like the one below, which was featured in the Loughborough Echo in Leicestershire. Perhaps most importantly, I set up my own personal blog which I still manage.
My blog, The Writing Dragon, which you can access via the My Own Novel Work button at the bottom of the Home page, explains more about my writing inspirations as well as what is happening around me. One of the stand-out articles I have written discusses self-publishing and how it has now become a popular route for new authors looking to get their work out there for people to read. My blog also helped me hone my writing skills which, accompanied by my social media and press releases, gave Heartbound some valuable exposure.
All of this has been hugely beneficial for developing D. Burton Editing. When I was heavily promoting Heartbound, my mindset was to market my novel as though someone else had asked me to do it for their own work. What blog posts would they expect to have? What would work on Facebook, and which hashtags should I use on Twitter? How can I make sure the press releases will be picked up by a media outlet? I strongly believe that this mindset contributed significantly to the success of my novel and marketing campaign.
To this day, I still recall the joy and sense of achievement that I experienced when I saw Heartbound succeed and news articles written about it, and I am keen to allow other authors and businesses to experience these same emotions. Seeing a news article written on your business or gaining a following on social media are both hugely rewarding.
The last eighteen months have, of course, presented numerous challenges but by reminding myself of how well Heartbound did, I have overcome them and I am now looking to take D. Burton Editing to the next stage.
If you have a story that you want the world to know, take a look at my Services & Rates page to see how I can help you tell it.
There might be similar businesses to yours in your industry, but they are all different in some way. Each business has something that makes it unique, and it is your content's job to show this.
Uniqueness is a vital component for delivering effective content. You have your own beliefs and your own style, both of which will make you stand out from the crowd. That is, if you deliver it well.
This is where newsletters and blogs are vital tools. Both are great for delivering tailored content to your prospects in a creative way. When they work together, blogs and newsletters are an effective team.
There are many ways that blogs and newsletters can work together. One example is to use your blog to drive visitors to your website and encourage them to sign up for your newsletter. Not only will this result in your website getting noticed, but you will also be able to expand your pool of prospects. Of course, if people do decide to sign up for your newsletter, you need to minimise the chances of them moving it to the Spam folder.
The creative industry is one industry that has used newsletters and blogs effectively. By using visual content and language that creates an emotional response, these newsletters stay in the minds of a creative's prospects, and there are many other ways that your business can achieve the same result.
Just as your business is unique, so should your content be. Blogs and newsletters are efficient at doing this. You can use templates readily available and work them into your own unique style.
No matter what your message is, it is there to be delivered. Get in touch with me to get find out how you can maximise your blog/newsletter partnership.
Social media can be a business's best friend, or its worst enemy. Sometimes, the world of 'likes' and 'retweets' can be a confusing one. To help shed some light on social media, here are some FAQs.
1. Which platform should I use?
This question is one that is always asked by businesses. The short answer is, it depends on the organisation.
Many companies will use Facebook to generate some interest, but it might not always be the most effective medium. Yes, it is good for sharing general content and for creating a 'buzz' but there are some limitations. For instance, a company's audience might not be on Facebook for one reason or another. That said, it is still worthwhile at least considering having a Facebook page as you can easily post images, videos and web links.
Using hashtags on Twitter can also create interest around a topic. TV programmes and sporting events use them to create a community and businesses can do the same with new products and services.
LinkedIn can be tricky. Many companies are unsure of how to use it and how it can benefit them. LinkedIn's blogging platform, Pulse, is a key feature of the platform. It can demonstrate thought-leadership as well as educating prospects as to why they might need the company's services.
There are other platforms to use, such as Pinterest and Instagram. I would suggest looking at where your customers are and see which platforms would generate the most interest.
2. What should I post?
Another good question! It might be easier to explain what you CAN'T post.
Piggy-backing on current events might get some attention, however it can be risky. There are many instances where individuals and businesses have been criticised for using a topical event for promotion. I would advise looking at the seasons and calendar events rather than topical ones to avoid this sort of situation. I would also advise steering clear of political posts for the same reason.
Humour can be great for showing your company's style, but be wary of how your posts could be portrayed. It is advisable to stick with light yet formal content if you are unsure.
It also goes without saying that posting content about what you had for lunch or your cat's latest antics, while humorous, are not appropriate for a company's social media.
3. When should I post?
This is one question where there is a bit of a grey area. There are several suggestions about the number of posts you should put out, but it is difficult to come up with one hard-and-fast rule.
Getting the balance right will differ for various businesses, but one in the morning and one in the afternoon is a good foundation. Again, look at where your prospects and customers are and when they are most active.
Figuring out when to post is a case of trial and error. Fortunately, there are plenty of analytical tools to help with this.
These are just three questions that businesses can have about using social media. If you have any of your own, leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact page.
Copy editing is something that all authors should invest in. It might seem difficult to change large sections of your manuscript, especially if you've worked hard on it for months, or to trust an editor with your creation, but there is little doubt it is a very important step.
Very rarely is one round of editing enough. Usually, a manuscript goes through two, three, many rounds of editing, each one with a different purpose. One round will be where the dramatic changes are made and spelling errors are amended, with another focussing on formatting. Of course, with each round of editing doing a different job, it helps to have a different perspective for each one.
This might sound like something out of a horror book but when I am editing, I have three 'heads'. One is the 'author' head, another is the 'editor' head, and last but not least, the 'reader' head. Each of these has its own purpose and specific area of the novel to look at. For example, the 'reader' head will look at the manuscript as a member of the public; is it something I would read? Can I relate to the characters? And so on.
Getting a different view on your work before you send it to publishers or release it yourself is vital. Your friends and family can be great starting points, however it is definitely worth considering getting someone you do not know to give their views or help with editing. After all, your readers will be mostly strangers!
Copy editors can do more than just read through your manuscript and amend those hidden errors you may have missed whilst going through your own personal editing. To find out what else they can do, check out this video.
If you would like know more about how my three editing 'heads' can help improve your manuscript, send me a message through the Contact page.
Being at university presents all sorts of challenges, from the early morning lectures to making sure that there is enough food in the fridge. Despite these, university is one of the best places to start a freelance career.
Freelancing is difficult, especially in the early stages of your career. However it is equally rewarding, especially if you put the hard work in. Starting out while at university can lay down the foundations ready for when you graduate.
Going freelance is a brave step. Having a supportive network around you is essential, and this is where your lecturers can help. As I found out during my time at university, they have a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into - one even sat down with me and went over my website - and may even help you get those first clients.
Though your university can provide you with those early clients, you still have to be proactive. Treat your freelance work as a business; have business cards printed, attend networking events when you can, and portray a professional appearance. Ensure you have your best work available on a blog, website, and even on social media so that your prospects can find it easily.
Though your freelance work is important, make sure your degree work does not take a back seat. Though meeting new clients and looking for new business is exciting, your degree will help you enhance your skills and improve your credibility. It is worth speaking to your lecturers about finding the right balance between essays and projects and your career.
Another way that your freelance career can take off at university is through funding programmes. These can help you with website costs, purchasing equipment and becoming a member of any relevant unions. Being in a union or body, such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), is vital; they can provide legal assistance and more in-depth advice on complex issues.
Above all, enjoy your freelance career and your university experience. It is safe to assume that you are studying something you have a firm interest in and you are passionate about, so carry that same enthusiasm into your freelancing. That passion will appeal to your clients, and just might be the reason they choose to use you.
A new year has begun! Around this time of the year, many of us are trying to stick to our New Year's Resolutions. We all make them from time to time, from cutting down on junk food to trying a new hobby. For businesses, there is one resolution that should not be neglected; content organisation.
The start of a new year is an ideal time to think about and implement your content strategy. Studies show that 80% of marketers have a content strategy in place, and this is one of the most effective ways of drawing in new business. This time of year is a great time to lay the foundations of your content and decide how you will use it to draw in your prospects.
It is important to understand exactly what content you should be producing and what its purpose should be. The three main goals of content in 2014, according to LinkedIn, are generating leads, promoting thought leadership, and increasing brand awareness. of course, the way you deliver this content is also a critical part of your strategy.
Social media can be a valuable asset for bringing your content together. By posting links to your blog and website onto your social media platforms, you can increase your brand's image and promote thought leadership, which in turn, generates leads. Newsletters are also effective components of a well-devised strategy. Like a blog, you can send relevant news and facts direct to your audience, and also add a personal touch to your marketing.
Taking the time to plan your content and how you will promote it is essential for spreading your business's message. If you are unsure about how to get your content working, get in touch!
They say variety is the spice of life, and the same can be said for blogging and content. That is why I will be varying the content that I produce on this blog in 2016.
Regular visitors to this site will have noticed the Videos button on my homepage. These videos will show the benefits of written content as well as giving advice. In a way, it will be very similar to this blog, but in a different format.
The first video, Quality Content Matters, went live on 14 December, and you can view it below. I would love to know your thoughts!
Blogs can be a great marketing tool for your business or your work. There are many reasons why people hold back from starting a blog, but by remembering the 5 Ws (who, what, where, why, and when), your blog will grow.
Think to yourself, WHAT do you want to talk about? WHAT do you want people to know? This is one reason why people are put off by blogging, but if you have a topic that you are passionate about, or that you are really informed on, why not educate people about it?
Once you have decided on what your blog will be about, look at what else is out there. Are there many similar blogs to yours? What could you do differently. A lot of the time, bloggers will collaborate together, so get in touch with similar writers in your field.
The best way to get your blog going is to take a leap of faith and go with your gut instinct. Ask your close friends or colleagues for their feedback as well. Your blog will grow as your confidence does.
"WHY should I blog?" This is a question that everyone asks. For businesses, blogging is a great way of letting your audience or potential customers know your message. It can also show that you understand their needs; by putting out educational content and putting yourself in the shoes of your customers, you can start building trust straightaway.
For creatives, blogging also lets your fans know the latest developments with your work. People like to know what you're up to and they also like to be involved in your development. Keep them in the loop. Not only that, but blogging can also be good fun!
Of course, there is no use blogging without knowing WHO you want to hear you or read your posts. Look at your clients or your target market; how old are they? What are their needs?
Take some time to build a picture of your ideal audience. Once you have this picture in your mind, write your blog in a style that they will respond to.
If your audience can resonate with you, or have a connection, they will be more likely to contact you for more information or use your services.
The platforms that you use are also important. Think to yourself, WHERE is your audience? Are they more active on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn?
Chances are your audience will be active on at least one of these, so put your links out on the right platform. In the early days of your blog, get your friends and colleagues to share your blog links.
In an era where content is consumed on mobile devices, it is important to make sure that your blog is optimised for mobile. Keep your paragraphs as short as possible whilst keeping them engaging . Sometimes your audience will be checking your blog on the bus or on their lunch break, so you need to make sure that you keep their attention.
Less can be more.
Figuring out WHEN to release content regularly without bombarding your audience is a difficult. But with a little bit of research, you can maximise your chances of being heard.
Again, look at who your audience is. When are they most active? There are a number of tracking tools that can help you with this, including Google Analytics and Mention.
Don't be afraid to recycle your content either. Remind people of what you've written in the past. An article that you wrote months ago could be just what someone is looking for today.
If you need help getting your blog going, or if you are struggling to manage your content, I am here to help. Drop me a message via the Contact page and let's get blogging.
NaNoWriMo is over for another year. After a month of hard writing, many authors have seen their manuscripts swell in size and in some cases, completed. But what happens next?
That is a difficult question to answer. For some, NaNoWriMo presented an opportunity to push themselves to complete their novels or to get back into writing itself. Others used the month of November to get their novels ready for publication. Depending on how NaNoWriMo went, authors will either continue pushing on, or they will be considering the next stage of their work.
Editing is a critical stage in any novel. This is especially true when it comes to NaNoWriMo works. Quite often, authors become focused on reaching their word count target and as a result, errors can creep in. It is imperative that you take the time look back over what you wrote and make any changes that need to be made.
NaNoWriMo also provided the chance for works that had already been completed to be tweaked before being sent off to copy editors and publishers. This first edit is a chance for authors to tighten their plots, ensure their work is well-structured, and even make last-minute additions. However, the work of a copy editor should be seriously considered.
If you took part in NaNoWriMo and you are now thinking about the editing stage, get in touch with me for a discount on my copy editing service.
Letting the media know your stories and your success can sometimes be a challenge. There are a number of factors to consider; which publications should you target? Is the story even newsworthy?
PR is a continuous process. It starts with a carefully planned strategy. The first step of this strategy is figuring out exactly what the story is. Journalists are busy people; they will want to know as much as possible before they even consider covering the story. It is important to consider what is exactly 'newsworthy'. Working with an influential client, doing something for your community, and letting the public know about an issue which you have a deep understanding of are all good examples.
Speaking of journalists, a crucial part of your PR strategy is figuring out which ones to approach to cover your story. It is important to do some research around various publications, and whether your story fits into their remit. Local media is often a good first step, but take the time to look around at industry magazines and websites. It might also be worth taking a note of specific journalists who have covered similar stories in the past.
When it comes to press releases, knowing who you will be contacting is essential. Remember, journalists may be covering multiple stories and will be constantly battling deadlines so their time is precious. Giving them the most important information at the start of the press release and then filtering in other pieces ensures that the journalist will have all the information they really need within a handful of seconds. Quotes from those involved in the story are very useful as journalists can use these in their articles.
PR is not just about press releases and calling journalists. There is a great deal more that goes into a campaign. Social media is so vast that it is impossible to ignore. Hashtags (#s) and short videos can start to create a buzz around your story, and the more shares and retweets that your content gets, the better. With hashtags, creativity is key. You only have a short amount of space on Twitter, so using hashtags that are snappy and engaging will keep your audience's attention.
PR can be full-on. However, laying out a careful plan can help minimise the stress of a campaign, whilst maximising the potential benefits. Keeping in constant contact with journalists and your PR advisers will help you keep track of where your story is. As part of your PR strategy, consider what you would consider a 'success'. Do you just want to be in the local media or are you aiming for the larger national publications? Again, consulting with your PR team about this will ensure you can get the best possible result from your campaign.
This collaboration is something that I pride myself on achieving. If you have something that you would like the media to know, then get in touch or visit the Services and Rates page.
This week was a monumental one for me. On Monday 16 November, I graduated with a First Class Honours in Journalism and Media from Coventry University. Three years of hard work and perseverance had paid off. Fast forward a few days to Thursday 18 November, and I reached another milestone; a year since I set up D. Burton Editing. So what has the last year taught me?
In a literal sense, I have been developing my skills and how I can use them to help people. My time at Bridge PR & Media Services played a key role here, as well as my university studies. Both helped me refine my skills and techniques, as well as building my confidence.
Coventry University also taught me about business itself. As well as my degree, I learnt about marketing myself, getting set up, and even tax. I am also immensely grateful to my lecturers, who supported me and gave me a wealth of advice as well as recommending me to their contacts. Without the support of my university, I would not have set up D. Burton Editing.
Over the last year, I have also learnt how to react when things are not going as well as I would like. I have become proactive in my approach to finding new clients, particularly in my home city of Leicester. An important lesson I have been taught is to never stop going to networking events and take the opportunities when they are presented. It can be incredibly difficult when it is quiet as anyone in business can relate, yet I feel that over the last year, I have always found a way to turn this around.
Now, I am looking ahead to the next year and the years to come. I am continuing to attend networking events, contacting people who may have some need for my services. I am also branching out into other areas and industries, and ensuring that I am, above all, enjoying what I am doing.
Several people have told me that the first year of business is always the hardest. I am confident that I will continue to grow over the next few years.
Let's grow together. Visit the Services and Rates page to find out how.
I always say that content is key. It your chance to tell your audience and potential customers what you do and why they might need your services or want your products. Sometimes, it is not what you say but how you say it.
In a fast-paced world, you need to ensure that your content resonates with the audience. Put yourself in their shoes; they have found your website for a reason, so think what it could be. If you can relate to what they need, you can start to build that relationship. Videos can also be effective, as they can put a face to the words on your website. They are certainly something to consider.
It goes without saying that your content has to show your enthusiasm for what you do. Not only that, but grammar and typing errors can have a detrimental effect. I have said in recent blog posts that your online presence is like your shop front, and the same is true of your content; it has to be well-presented and well-planned. Take the time to think carefully about what you would like to say, and how you would like to say it.
There are times when less is more, such as on Twitter. Keeping some content short and to the point can have more of an impact as a lengthy paragraph. In addition, short paragraphs are helpful when it comes to SEO, as are sub-headings in your blog. Headings can give the reader an idea of what the page or article is about, and can make the content more readable.
Writing for the web can be tricky. However, content is critical for effective promotion and growth. If you need some help in getting your message heard, send me a message through the Contact page.
When you think of Amazon, you normally think of the large online retailer, stocking everything from books to artwork to technology. You certainly do not think of a high street bookshop. This week, Amazon opened their own physical bookstore and the move has had a mixed reception.
One reason for Amazon opening their own bookstore is because of the resurgence of the physical book. I own a Kindle Fire, and I love it, but I still enjoy physical books too. There is something tangible and, in a way, even more enjoyable about holding a hard or paperback book in your hands and the art on the front cover is even more dynamic when it's not shown on a screen. This sudden demand for printed books has led to Waterstones stopping sales of Kindles in order to dedicate more space to printed books. Unsurprisingly, Waterstones is unimpressed by Amazon's new venture.
What is more intriguing about Amazon Books is the way the books will be chosen and displayed. Amazon will stock 6000 books based on reviews and data that Amazon holds itself. These titles will also be forward-facing, unlike in other bookstores. This may be more visually appealing, but there will be less space on the shelves for other books. As a result, Amazon will only be stocking titles rated four stars and above. It is interesting that Amazon is choosing its selection based on reviews, as the company announced it would be clamping down on fake reviewers, though with so many customers choosing their next book based on theses, it could yet prove to be the right move for Amazon.
Only time will tell whether this 'leap of faith' by Amazon will be successful or not. What is becoming clearer is that the printed book is far from obsolete, even in an era where we spend almost every waking hour in front of a screen. And that actually makes me glad.
Deciding to work as a solo artist or freelancer is an important choice. It is not one to take lightly. Sometimes it can be a lonely profession. For those that do decide to make their own creative path, there are a number of ways you can mange those periods of loneliness.
1. Network, network, network
Networking is essential for businesses to generate new leads and can even lead to new clients. It can also be good for you on a personal level.
Humans, by nature, like to be sociable. Meeting people face to face not only helps you to create a relationship with those new leads, but it can help ease that feeling of isolation.
You do not have anything to lose from going to networking sessions, but perhaps a lot to gain from them. They also present an opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded individuals.
2. Careful Collaboration
The creative world is a haven for collaboration. From authors working with editors to artists running school workshops, examples of collaboration are everywhere.
Collaboration is great for a number of reasons. You can learn new skills, reach out to new markets, and meet people with a similar mindset to you. In the same way that networking can help, having someone to bounce ideas off can lead to some memorable projects being made.
3. Meet up with your friends
Even in those busy times when you have work coming from everywhere, it is important to make time for yourself and socialising. This often gets overlooked in the busier periods; quite often the pressure of a deadline or a project can outweigh the importance of looking after yourself.
Meeting up for a coffee with a friend is a good way of unburdening yourself of all that pressure. Relaxing and laughing with someone close to you away from your studio or laptop screen is essential for your own wellbeing.
The nature of the creative industry can mean that loneliness is a very real problem. Fortunately, by making the time to interact with new people, this can be a lot more bearable.
This week, Amazon announced that it would be suing over 1000 'fake' reviewers who had left comments on various products for money. This can lead to misleading the public and Amazon has claimed that its reputation has been tarnished as a result. As reviews are of vital importance to authors, misleading comments can be devastating.
Not only can fake reviews tarnish the image of companies like Amazon, they can also tarnish the image of the author. A Sunday Times investigation found that these bogus reviewers had influenced the ranking of a book that was littered with spelling errors. In fact, the title in question was at one stage the bestselling book in its category.
What is worrying is that it is highly tempting for authors desperate to see their book high on Amazon's charts. I myself was approached by an individual who offered to write a review for just $10. Needless to say, I ignored that offer and I would encourage, insist, that you do the same if you are approached.
Genuine, honest reviewers will not charge you for their feedback. They will want to review your work because they enjoy it, or if they want to help your work become even better. Yes, you might get a 1* review from time to time, but you can actually learn more from that 1* than a 5* review. Take those comments on board, and make sure you don't make the same mistakes in your next book. In addition, the fact that you asked them to review your work will make reviewers enjoy what they do even more. Reading and writing are both, after all, close-knit communities.
It is not just authors that can be affected by bogus reviews. Businesses, too, need to be aware of this practise. In the same way readers rely on Amazon reviews to find their next book, potential customers will use Facebook and Google reviews to assess whether or not to use that company's services or buy their goods.
By nature, a lot of us are shy about asking for reviews. But, if you do a good job and you are professional, you have nothing to fear! Most of the time, customers will be more than willing to write up a complimentary review. They don't have to be long either; just a short paragraph can mean the difference between someone saying yes or no to your business. Remember, 54% of purchases are influenced by reviews, so make sure they are genuine!
Reviews are everywhere and are used for almost everything. Do not let bogus comments ruin your work or your business.
Creating a stunning new piece of art or completing a novel after months of hard work is an incredible achievement and one that you should announce to the world. As a creative, letting people know your successes is vital for your portfolio, but how can you make sure people are hearing your voice?
One way is through a newsletter. These can be set up at very little cost and your followers can receive information conveniently in an email. You can encourage your prospective fans and followers to sign up to a newsletter through your website and social media pages. Newsletters are effective because they are tailored to your artwork and can show not only examples of your work, but can tell people what you have in the pipeline. This, in turn, generates interest in your work.
Blogs, too, can work in a similar way. Whilst your website can act as your professional store, your blog can be more personal and conversational. Similar to newsletters, blogs can be tailored to your image and style, and with so much of our time being spent online, they are a necessity for expanding your reach. Of course, keeping your blog updated is essential - a short weekly post detailing how your work has been going over the course of the week is a good start.
I have written on many occasions about the benefits social media can bring. Tying in the two methods mentioned above with your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages will help you spread out even further. In an industry where word of mouth is one of the most important promotional tools at your disposal, those shares, reviews, and retweets about your newsletters and blogs can help people outside of your friendship circle notice your work.
It can take time to build up your reach, but with the same perseverance and dedication that you use to create your work, it will happen.
If you would like some assistance in getting yourself on social media or setting up your own newsletter, get in touch with me through the Contact page.
This week saw an important date in the publishing calendar. Thursday 8th October, or 'Super Thursday' as it was also known, saw over 500 books released on sale in just one day as publishers began gearing up for Christmas.
I know what you're thinking. "Christmas? We're still in October!" But for publishers and booksellers, this is the start of the Christmas selling period. And this period is especially important for the humble bookshop. With so many books coming out on one day, bookshops will be even busier than usual in the run-up to December.
So why a Thursday? There are many suggestions. One is so they can be featured in weekend newspaper reviews, another is because this is when supermarket displays are changed. There is also a case for the suggestion that this is the time when people start thinking about Christmas presents. Whatever the reason, Super Thursday always coincides with the start of a major celebration of bookshops; the Books Are My Bag campaign, ran by the Bookseller's Association.
Super Thursday is also important for the authors themselves. Many authors will have a deadline in mind for when they want to get published, and with publishers releasing so many books, it seems like the ideal place to start, especially when strong one-day sales are recorded. Getting your work ready, as I explained last week, is a long process so make sure you thoroughly plan well in advance if you are thinking of launching your work in time for a future Super Thursday.
Though it may be a significant commercial date, Super Thursday is also a day to celebrate the variety of books out there. From celebrity biographies to young adult, books present us with an opportunity to go on a journey and escape the daily grind. In a digital era, the joy and experience of a hardback copy is something that should always be treasured.