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Old Airport Beach, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Blog to Book

How AtoZ makes it easy to write a book

Blog to book is a marketing tool I’m using due to my participation in April’s AtoZChallenge. 26 blogs in 26 days. For the second year in a row, I’m taking part with an amazing group of people at BlogChatter, which supports bloggers based in India. This year, they asked me to be a mentor for their ebook Carnival, a project that assists bloggers into turning their posts into an ebook. Me! A mentor! In India!

Sunday, April 15th, blogchatter held an Ask Me Anything all-day chat on Twitter (#AMACarnival). Anyone could post writing and marketing questions, and any of the mentors could jump in with advice. As there’s a twelve-hour time difference, I participated in the early morning and evening shifts, getting about five hours of sleep on Saturday. All well worth it.

Last year, I shared writing and marketing tips, posted my ebook on blogchatter’s website for two months, where I received lots of downloads and free publicity. After the two-month exclusionary period expired, I published it on Amazon. This year, I wrote 26 short stories, set in a fictional Arizona retirement community (similar to where I live) where odd and unexplained events occur. I’m forgoing the ebook carnival and have collected and published them on Amazon, some of them prior to publication on my blog. (Exclusive! Read them before my blog peeps do! 99¢) <–the previous was a blatant marketing ploy.

Twilight, Arizona, a blog to book supernatual short story collection

The AtoZChallenge and the ebook Carnival have convinced me of the benefits of the blog to book concept. It’s an easy way to recycle content. One stone, two birds. Win-win, and all that stuff.

There are two ways to blog to book, and I’ll cover each.

Blog to book from Scratch

This is the method I used for my short story collection, Twilight, Arizona. As AtoZ is an alphabetical challenge, I took a common belief or fallacy (ie, anything can be bartered or traded at a thrift store) and created a story around it. Because I’m anal, er, organized, I started writing in January, five stories every two weeks, with the last two Saturdays in March reserved for proofreading, adding images, SEO, and giving them the same format. (Last year I scrambled to get them written and posted in time. It was not pretty)

If you’re blogging a fiction book, your process will be similar to what you’d use if you’re writing a book—picking an idea, deciding on your characters, researching, outlining then writing. Break the book into manageable parts, whether scenes or chapters, and upload them to your blog.

You can publish them on the fly or after the book is written.

If you’re blogging a non-fiction book, the process is about the same. Pick your subject, organize the subject into similar ideas, add details, research then write.

Blog to Book from Existing Posts

Look through your existing posts. Is there a common theme? At the time, the post might have been an observation of your life, but in context with other posts, you might have a memoir. Or a travelogue. Or a group of essays.

Can you add more content to what you have? Expand on the hurricane warning when you lived on Big Island, Hawaii? Does the material need updating? Can you customize the content for different audiences?

Old Airport Beach, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

This chair is waiting for me.

Hawaiian tourists should be warned of undertows, sharks, and there are no plastic bags in the state (a few in the ABC Stores, but the first time I went to Target and the cashier asked if I wanted a bag, I went Huh? Of course I want a bag. Then got charged for a cloth bag.)

Hawaiian locals might want to know the location of the best transfer station (garbage dump where you can buy another man’s junk for cheap). Or alternate routes during Ironman (there aren’t many).

Can I supplement the content with videos, links, and resource material?

But Cheryl, I don’t want to put my book out for free or do research on a non-fiction book.

Okay, I get it. Writing time is precious. Think outside the box. Why not take the stuff you’re doing anyway and turn it into a companion piece for your book? You’re throwing your research links into a bookmark or file anyway, why not turn them into a resource chapter? Why not recycle your character worksheets? Did you blog about that huge error neither you, your editor, nor your beta readers caught? Include it. Who online helped you, encouraged you? Give them a shout out. Who left a bad review or halted your progress? Write about your feelings when it happened.

Assemble all the bits and pieces of what went on behind the scenes of Your BestSeller #1 and publish them on Amazon as a permafree book. Or offer it to someone signing up for your newsletter. Behind the scenes material makes you more human to your readers and helps build your brand.

Nowadays, writing includes more than sitting down and pounding out 80-100K. Marketing is part of the package. Blog to book is a way you can do one by doing the other.

Happy blogging! Happy blog-to-book!

This post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, a monthly hop where authors can share tips and tricks about writing and marketing. Follow the hashtag on Twitter to read more blogs.

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn!

Blessings to you,

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

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Blogging every day #Authortoolboxbloghop

Blogging Every Day?

Blogging every day? Am I crazy? If so, it will the second year in a row I’ve been crazy enough to enter the A-to-Z-Challenge.

What is the A-to-Z Challenge? It’s a one month blogging challenge that takes place in April. Twenty-six blogs on twenty-six days. Twenty-six letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter. One central theme. Any category.

(Post every day except Sundays. Except if the 1st is a Sunday, then write on Sunday, April 1st. No Fooling!)

Sign up here.

(Disclaimer: This blog is almost identical to this blog, but I needed it for two different purposes—theme reveal and Recycle, reuse, repurpose)

Entering the 2017 A-to-Z Challenge

Last year was my first year, though the challenge has been around since 2010. I stumbled upon it by accident and signed onto a group (the wonderful blogchatter group). I wrote twenty-six blogs on writing and marketing tips, which I later consolidated and published as an ebook available here.

Writing tools, 26 ways to improve your writing. 2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Writing Tools: 26 Ways on How to Improve Your Writing

This year, I debated on whether to enter. I couldn’t imagine blogging about another twenty-six tips on writing and book marketing . Do you know how hard it is to find a writing tip for J? (I cheated and used, Journey, The Hero’s)

A case of insomnia came to the rescue

When I can’t fall asleep, I head for the couch. One night the lights from the microwave, stove and cable box seemed to burn brighter than normal, and I started playing the writer’s game of “What If?” What if they weren’t lights but cameras? And someone watched my every move? What if I had a character who thought that and no one believed him? What if I could put a Twilight Zone twist on the end?

Playing a little further, what if the character lived in a retirement community where reality clashes with the unexplained? I live in a retirement community and I’ve witnessed a bunch of strange things. What if I wrote about what I know?

Thus, twenty-six stories were born set in the fictional village of Twilight, Arizona. The blurb for the series is:

Twilight, Arizona, on the road between Phoenix and Las Vegas, where reality clashes with the unexplained.

Almost each one contains a grain of a story that has happened to me or I’ve witnessed. All of the endings are not what you’d expect.

Blogging every day = writing every day. Isn’t that a mantra? “Write every day.” “Butt in Chair.” “Hands on Keyboard”. WEDBICHOK. I get to create a cast of wacky, elderly characters, hone my craft, and write a book at the same time. Plus, by posting and sharing other’s blogs in April, I’ll build my social media following, increase my email subscribers, and sell more books.

If you’re looking for a cross between Lake Woebegone Days, The Golden Girls, and The Twilight Zone, join me in this space on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

If you’d like to try blogging every day, sign up here.

Blessings,

Cheryl

p.s. Please share using the social media icons on the left.

If you’d like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please sign up below and get a FREE ebook short story (this offer will change soon, so get it while you can)

Also, if you’ve stuck around to the bottom of this blog, take advantage of a special 99¢ offering of Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf as it celebrates its one year publishing anniversary.

Available for 99¢ until March 25, 2018 on Amazon, ibooks, Kobo and other distributors.

Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf, an adult fairy tale romance. 2018 A-to-Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf

Blogging every day #Authortoolboxbloghop

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop

This blog is a part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join.

To sign up and/or follow other fabulous authors, go here to see a list of participants, or follow the #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop hashtag on Twitter.

 

 

 

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Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Pinterest Marketing for Authors

Pinterest marketing is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.www.cherylsterlingbooks.comHello and welcome to my first entry into the #AuthortoolboxBlogHop, a monthly blog hop where authors can share tips about writing, marketing, publishing, and anything else writing related. Pinterest marketing is my number one tip , generating most of my website’s traffic.

Pinterest is one of the most effective but overlooked social media tools for writers and other artists.  It’s not all pretty images for bored housewives and soon-to-be-brides.

I’ve used Pinterest for years, back when you had to email an application and wait for approval. I didn’t get serious about using it to market my books and brand until September, 2016, when I signed up for Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course.

The day I completed the five day course, I had 73 Pinterest followers. As I write this (Saturday, April 15th, because I like to be ahead in my blogging schedule), I have 1,241. Quite a leap, yes?

As I’m pinning my blog entries (you do that, right?), and I’m taking part in the #AtoZChallenge in April, I’m pinning daily content from my blog, increasing the number of people who visit my website.

Some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Obviously, set up a Pinterest account.

Make it a business account. Go here for instructions. If you have an existing account, you can convert it in a few simple steps.

      1. Why a business account? You’ll have access to analytics. Over time, Pinterest will show your profile’s growth, who your audience is, and what type of pins they click on. From this information, you can narrow down your audience and tailor future pins. You’ll also be able to run Pinterest Ads.
      2. When you set up a business account, you will be asked to confirm your website. This involves adding a string of code to your website’s header section. If you—like me—break out into a cold sweat at the thought of coding, WordPress has a plugin that will make it easier. Install it, add the code, then go back to Pinterest and click on Finish.
  • Set up or edit your Profile

      1. Use a business name relevant to your industry. Add keywords. If you’re Joe Smith and you sell guitars, Joe’s Rocking won’t show up on searches. Joe’s Fine Guitars or Joe’s Guitars for Sale will generate more traffic.
      2. Upload a photo of you, a candid shot with a white or solid color background. It should be one you use on all social media profiles. A face is relatable to your followers.
      3. Add your website URL and a description of who you are, who you serve and what you provide (in a conversational tone, of course). A surprising number of profiles I’ve visited are titled something like “Carol’s Page” and have no description. This is valuable real estate—take advantage of it. Pinterest marketing couldn’t be any easier! Check out my profile page here.
  • Pinterest boards

      1. Set up several boards related to your field.I recommend 10-15. Do a keyword search of your competition and learn what they are using. The tabs below the Pinterest search are rated most popular from left to right.
      2. Board names should include SEO and keywords
      3. The board names should be short and focused
      4. Board descriptions should be two or three sentences, well written and related to the board. Keywords should be near the beginning of the descriptions.
      5. Making a board secret will protect its contents from public view. If you are a business, keep your public boards business-like and hide unrelated pins on secret boards.
      6. Once you have several boards set up, they can be arranged within their rows with a simple drag and drop, moving the most important board into the top position. Followers want to see the most relevant boards at the top and will rarely scroll down.
  • Your pins

      1. Pins should be a mix of  relevant, useful content from others and original content from your blog. An 80/20 mix is recommended.
      2. When repinning from others, it’s okay to customize the description to something stronger. Don’t use hashtags except at the end. Pinterest’s Smart Feed gets confused with hashtags and will drop any description after them. I use them at the end as my pre-scheduled pins which also post on Twitter (more on this later).
      3. Add a CTA (Call to Action) in your descriptions, such as “Click through to check out XYZ” or “Win a Free XX by visiting.”
      4. Pin only what your audience will like. Until your analytics kick in, take ideas from your experience and your competitor’s boards.
  • Your Images

    1. Add video. Video is a growing trend and makes your audience feel connected. Search YouTube, DailyMotion and TED for videos related to your field, or start your own channel.
    2. Use bright colors with good resolution
    3. Use text in a clear, easy-to-read font on your images to tell your audience what they’ll find when they click through to your site.
    4. Pin vertical images rather than horizontal ones for maximum sharing. The ideal size is 735 X 1102:
    5. Use a vertical, longer image on Pinterest for maximum sharing and pinningShort, horizontal images do not get as much exposure on Pinterest as longer, vertical images

Which will get more shares and pins on Pinterest?

Any other tips?

Yes! By adding Twitter and Facebook to your social media settings, you can simultaneously post to them. How? Go to your Pinterest settings, click on or scroll down to Social Networks, and click Yes on Log In with Facebook, and Connect with Twitter. Say Yes to the usual approval questions. The next time you Pin something, two little boxes appear below your pin: Post to Facebook and Post to Twitter. By checking them, your pin will also appear there. If you use BoardBooster, the posts will appear when it schedules them. I find this a win-win. I don’t have to be on all three networks to appear as if I am!

If you have a business account, you can set up a Showcase. In Settings–>Profile, edit Showcase. Pick five of your most favorite boards and save. A rotating slideshow of those boards now sits at the top of your profile. It is the first thing visitors will see, and you control their first impression by your board choices.

When commenting in other social media, and an opportunity arises for you to mention Pinterest, use the word Pinterest as a hyperlink to your profile page.

Add a save to Pinterest rollover button on your blog’s images. Check out the instructions here. The same instructions are valid for adding a Pin It button to your website.

Add a Pin It button to your browser’s toolbar. When you visit a site you’d like to share, you can pin it on the fly.

Revisit your boards and delete under-performing pins. BoardBooster‘s Pin Doctor will look at your board pins (for a penny a pin) and tell you about broken, missing or suspicious links, slow websites, and duplicate pins based on the same image or same links.

What else?

Join Group boards. I’ll admit I’ve neglected to do this, but it’s on my list. You’ll gain a larger audience for each of your group pins. Check out pingroupie.com for suggestions on where to find a group board that fits your needs.

Pin often. Just like other social media platforms, Pinterest is a moving target. What’s pinned is not always seen. By using tools like BoardBooster and Tailwind and posting 20-30 times a day, you’ll be seen as the expert in your field.

Schedule your pins when your audience is most likely to view them. There are many reports available about when to post. I used to schedule by them until BoardBooster’s analysis of my audience told me my peak times were not East Coast 8-11 p.m., but local time 10-11 p.m. I’ve adjusted my pinning times, adding in the later period. I try to pin consistently throughout the day to catch as wide of an audience as possible while still catering to my core fans.

Not all pins need to be new content. When I’m pressed for time, I’ll search my existing boards for high-repin content and repin to the same board or its twin secret board. BoardBooster has a looping feature that will automatically do this for you, but I like to give my audience proven content.

Be sure to pin YOUR blog’s content. If you don’t advertise your product (whether it’s your services, a physical product, you, or a digital product like my books), who will?

I can’t think of anything else from my notes or experience. Pinterest marketing is an awesome tool to target your ideal followers and drive traffic to your website. I highly recommend taking Summer Tannhauser’s Free Pinterest course to learn more. I can attest to the rapid increase in my Pinterest followers.

Follow other authors at #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

They’re talented and willing to share their knowledge. I’ll post my next AuthorToolBoxHop on May 17th, but you can find me here every day during April, and twice a week after that.

Until then, blessings to you,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Pinterest, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

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