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Myers-Briggs personality test. www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

For today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “M” is for the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Create fictional characters for your book using the Myers-Briggs personality test. www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Don’t have your characters act alike

Officially called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, it is a theory that there are sixteen major personality types based on eight factors:

Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)—do you focus on the inner or outer world?

Sensing (S) or Intuition(N)—how you view information

Thinking (T) or Feeling(F)—how you make decisions

Judging(J) or Perceiving(P)—how you deal with the outside world

But, Cheryl, you ask, what does Myers-Briggs have to do with writing?

A great question. For the next two days, my posts for the AtoZChallenge will be on creating characters. One method I’ve used is taking the Myers-Briggs test as one of my characters. Once I have the results, I can look at what the characters have in common, and, more fun from a creative standpoint, how they differ.

Can I put an ENTJ (Commander) with an ISFP (Adverturer)? Will my hero ESFP (Entertainer) take orders from a heroine ISTJ (Logistician). Mixing and matching character types and having a blueprint for how they will react to events and situations helps in the writing process.

Take the test at 16Personalities.com. You might shed some light on your own personality and those around you.

Monday’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “N”.

 

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and 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 like to know about creating characters through the Myers-Briggs personality test, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career.

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Learn how to get others to link to your website and increase SEO at www.cherylsterlingbooks.com link building

For today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “L” is for Links

Learn how to get others to link to your website and increase SEO at www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

How to get others to link to your website.

Lots and lots of linky, linky, links.
We all love links from other’s websites. Feel the love! Links to our website are gold SEO.

I’m not an expert in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), though I give a good impression of it on my SEO Pinterest board. What I have learned is about on-page optimization and off-page or off-site optimization.

From webopedia.com:

“In search engine optimization, on-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.”

“In search engine optimization, off-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are off-site in that they are not controlled by you or the coding on your page. Examples of off-page optimization include things such as link popularity and page rank.”

On-page optimization can wait for another day. You should be aware by now of the importance of keywords. I’ve mentioned in my blog on images, the use of meta tags (ALT text) with images. Today I’d like to talk about off-page optimization, specifically links.

How can you get someone to link to your website? (also known as a backlink)

In no particular order:

Guest blogging on a credible site is a great way to earn back links and increase your SEO. www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Is this guy wearing pants?

  • Write a guest post on a credible site. Why credible? The higher the host’s ranking, the more weight they carry with search engines. Link your website in the post content rather than at the footer. Or both.
  • Get influencers in your niche to promote your content.
  • Develop a strong social media presence. But don’t flood Twitter, etc., with posts containing your URL. Most social media platforms have turned off the “follow” feature. Otherwise, Twitter, etc., would be one big URL universe. More than it is.
  • Ask people in your industry to link to you. Scary, I know, but most industries are willing to share a little of the link juice.
  • Offer freebies, run sweepstakes. If you see a link to a free Whizbang thingy, don’t you want to click on it and enter? Bam! You’ve just given the website owner a free backlink. The freebie does not have to be expensive, or even physical. Offer bonus knowledge, a .pdf, a book excerpt. You know your industry best. What information is your customer always demanding? Put together a quick FAQ booklet to download and offer it to them for free.
  • Link to some of your older, related posts within your current post. See how I linked to my post on images above? Oops, I did it again.
  • Comment on other’s blogs. People do read and click on them.
  • Answer question in your niche on Quora. Answer a question that pops up a lot. Make yourself the Quora Master for your niche.

What do most of these steps involve?

Engagement. The number one method of getting people to link to you is for them to want to. You have to connect with people, and not just by wailing, “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff.” Connect, engage, ask questions, answer questions, communicate. Be a real person. It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of the internet, but marketing is a big part of your business. As much as I’d love to write all day, I recognize the importance of reaching out, which is why I’m part of the AtoZChallenge. Not only to share what I know about writing (which I love doing), but I get to read other’s posts and step into their world for a few minutes.

Bonus section! One day only!

Another link related, easily-solved problem is the messed up permalinks I see on so many blogs. It’s as if the blog owner is trying to turn away Google’s eyes. (I’m talking to you, Jenny Trout) <–that, my friends, is called a backlink!

What’s a permalink? It’s the URL search engines use to find your site. It’s what you type in your internet browser’s search bar. For example, if you’re looking for my site’s specific page on Images, you’d type:

http://cherylsterlingbooks.com/2017/04/free-images/

That’s a permalink. And you have control over it. As I’m typing this blog, its permalink is:

http://cherylsterlingbooks.com/2017/04/1064

How is 1064 going to get me on Google’s front page if you’re searching for information on links? So, excuse me a moment while I go up to the permalink box, click on Edit, and change my permalink to:

http://cherylsterlingbooks.com/2017/04/links-backlinks-and-permalinks

Whew! All done. Why did I add links, backlinks and permalinks? Links because my SEO plug-in, Yoast (more about Yoast on the 29th), demands the focus keyword in the title should also be in the permalink (and in the first paragraph, and at least one header. Yoast is a nag.) Backlinks and permalinks were included for anyone doing a Google search. See, it’s all connected.

Any other tips on links and SEO, Cheryl?

You are a curious bunch. Let’s see what I have:

If you want to check who’s backlinking to your site, go to backlinkwatch.com and enter your URL. It may take a few minutes, but backlinkwatch will generate a list of websites in which you were mentioned, or where you commented, as well as the number of backlinks from the site. I was surprised that a comment I made in January of this year resulted in 189 backlinks to my site. (I hope it also resulted in a few book sales).

For a free, downloadable, WordPress SEO checklist (which I will use henceforth), go to www.theworkathomewife.com.

That’s it for now.

Saturday’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “M”.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the #AtoZChallenge, or any future blog posts, please use the entry form to the right.

To signup for my nifty newsletter, use the other box on the right, below or at the bottom of the website. You’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

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

*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career.

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Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors. Explore more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

For today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “K” is for Kindle Select

Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors. Explore more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors.

Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited (K.U.) in July, 2014. The subscription program (currently $9.99 a month) allows readers unlimited access to a large selection of free ebooks (only ten at a time can be taken out. It’s like a Netflix for books). Amazon gives authors the option of enrolling their books in Kindle Select, the writing side of the program that feeds K.U.

Is Kindle Select the right program for you?

Let’s look at the pros and cons, then I’ll tell you of my experience and where I stand on the issue.

Pros:

The advantages of Kindle Select. Learn more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

The pros about Kindle Select.

  • Your book will automatically be available to K.U. subscribers.
  • Your book will automatically be available to be lent to other readers under the KOLL program (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library).
  • You can offer your book as a free promotion for 5 days out of the 90 day Kindle Select enrollment period for non-K.U. subscribers. The days do not have to be taken concurrently.
  • You can participate in the Kindle Countdown Deal, where you can run a limited sale, complete with a countdown clock, making a buy an urgency for your readers. Amazon has devoted a separate page to countdown deals, allowing alert buyers a way to check in for deals.
  • Earn a share of KDP’s Select Global Fund, a big pot of money ($16.8M this month) distributed among authors enrolled in Kindle Select. The allotment is based on number of pages downloaded and read more than 10%, plus books borrowed from the Lending Library.
  • Not having to format your book to different guidelines issued by distributors then individually upload them (I’m looking at you ibooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble).
  • You can offer print books at other sites, just not a digital version.
  • If you have multiple books out, offering an older title for free through Kindle Unlimited can generate interest  in your backlog.

Cons:

The disadvantages to self-published authors to use Kindle Select. Read more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

The cons about Kindle Select.

  • Amazon exclusivity for 100% of your book. You can not offer it anywhere else, and no more than 10% from your website. So, if you’ve been releasing a chapter a month and now decide to publish the entire work on Amazon, Kindle Select is not available.
  • You’re locked in for 90 days. Be aware: Kindle Select will automatically renew for another 90 days if you do not manually uncheck its box in your KDP bookshelf.
  • Owners of reading devices other than Kindle will not be able to download your book. Of course, they can always download the free Kindle reading app, but still. (I do 90% of my digital reading on my laptop).
  • You are at Amazon’s whim, which is powerful.
  • You are dependent on a single revenue stream.
  • The money earned per copy will not equal that of a non-Kindle Select (non-Kindle Unlimited) book.

My experience and opinion

In 2016, I and my writing partner published The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel through Kindle Select. We sold approx. 2100 copies to Kindle Unlimited users. Our income from those copies amounted to less than $50. Why? I can only guess that our 100 page book rode at the bottom of the Global Fund and/or readers did not go to the end of the book and/or saved it in their library for later (proven when we received small amount of monies months after we opted out of the program).

We are much happier, and a little richer, by keeping The Plot Thickens out of Kindle Select and offering it wide through other sellers.

Your mileage may vary. It’s a tough decision every author has to make. The good thing is, you can experiment for 90 days. Just be sure to unselect Select before the 90 days expires, because you’ll be automatically enrolled for another three months.

Have you tried Kindle Select? What’s been your experience?

Friday’s #AtoZChallenge* will focus on the letter “L”.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in the month of April.

Blessings until then,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my entries in the AtoZChallenge* and 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 like to know about Kindle Select, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

*#AtoZChallenge is a blogging challenge that takes place in April (except on Sundays). Participants blog every day around a theme of their choosing, in alphabetical order. Throughout the month of April, I’ll share tips, links, and insights I’ve learned in my writing career.

Save

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