#AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Alexa rank is a means of ranking your website. The lower the score, the more popular it is.

Alexa rank is a means of ranking your website. The lower the score, the more popular it is.

What is Alexa rank and why do you need it?

What is Alexa and Alexa rank? Per Wikipedia:

Alexa provides traffic data, global rankings, and other information on 30 million websites.Click To Tweet

In other words, Alexa ranks your website against others. A lower Alexa rank indicates the popularity of your website.

Lower? Yes. Because of the ever-changing number of websites on the internet and on Alexa, the lowest score wins. For quite some time, Google’s Alexa rank has been #1.

Alexa is owned by Amazon

Amazon acquired Alexa in 1999.

Get the Alexa Browser Extension Tool

Alexa ranks your website based on the amount of traffic it records from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed. If I don’t have the toolbar installed on my computer, smartphone, or tablet and I visit your website, Alexa will not count my visit. The good news is, millions of users have installed the toolbar. (6.5M monthly visitors per 2015 stats).

Get the toolbar here. (Scroll to the bottom of the main page to access).

Alexa ranks your website based on the amount of traffic it records from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed.Click To Tweet

Advantages of Alexa

Continue reading Alexa rank and why do you need it #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

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#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop

Three marketing tips for writers

It’s that time of month again—AuthorToolBoxBlogHop, where like-minded writers exchange tips on writing, marketing, editing, querying, etc. For July, I’ve selected three marketing tips for writers that I don’t think are well known. It’s always a pleasure sharing marketing secrets.

1. The right way to share your book’s Amazon link

Okay, you’ve finally published a book. Hooray you! And naturally, you’re social media-ing the heck out of it. Whether on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform, you’re getting the word out. “Buy my book. Here’s the link ______”.

But did you know there’s a little known secret to copying an Amazon’s link?

Here’s the unedited link to my last novel, Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf:

Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf, an adult fairy tale recreation

Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf

https://www.amazon.com/Snow-White-Eighth-Dwarf-Enchanted-ebook/dp/B06XPH21PW/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1500258454&sr=8-9&keywords=cheryl+sterling

(whew!)

See that bolded ASIN (Amazon book ID Number)? All that gibberish behind it is an Amazon electronic time stamp. It tells Amazon the exact time of your  purchase.

Here’s the thing. Every time you sell a book with that time stamp, Amazon will see an abnormal amount of sales FOR THE SAME EXACT TIME. It might send up a red flag. Your sales might not be counted.

Here’s an easy workaround

Remove everything after the ASIN. Whether you shorten the link with tinyURL or not, only use the link between www.amazon to the ASID.

2. Sticking a post to Twitter and Facebook

Going back to your new book scenario (Yeah, you!). You write a post about it on Twitter and your Facebook Page—then what? How do you keep it at the top of all your posts so it’s the first thing visitors see?

Write your post/tweet as usual and publish. Find it on your feed and look for a V symbol in the upper right hand corner of the post. Click on it and bring down the pull down menu.

Tip #2 of three marketing tips for writers. Permanently pin a post to the top of your Facebook page.

Permanently pin a post to the top of your Facebook page.

On Twitter, click on “Pin to your profile page.”

On Facebook, click on “Pin to top of page.” This only works on Facebook Pages. You do have a Facebook page, right?

Add a C.T.A. to all your correspondence

What is C.T.A.? It stands for Call To Action. Yes, you, introverted author, are going to ask your readers to buy your books.

In the front and back material of your published book (Yeah, you!) add all your contact info: email, blog link, Facebook page, Twitter page, all social media, and a link to your Amazon Author Page. You do have an Amazon Author page, right? In addition, add Amazon links to other books, and an excerpt of one of your books.

Tip 3 of three marketing tips for writers: Include a call to action CTA on all your correspondence.

It’s okay to ask your current readers to buy something else of yours. Or contact you. Or follow you on social media. Perhaps write a review. Where better than at the back of your book?

Nudge your readers with a C.T.A. This article explains how effective a C.T.A. can be.

 

Today’s #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop was brought to you by the letters “A” (Amazon link), “P” (Pin your post), and “C”, “T”, and “A” (Call to Action). I hope my three marketing tips for writers will bring you many, many sales (at different Amazon time stamps, of course).

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Bonus C.T.A.

Thanks for reading to the bottom of this post. I’m sending out my own Call To Action. I’ve finished the sequel to Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf, titled Red Riding Hood and the Lone Wolfe.

I’m looking for beta readers. If you’re interested, please contact me at cherylsterling@hotmail.com

See, CTAs are painless.

Blessings,

Cheryl

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Story Genius' core message is to know your character's why. It emphasizes the importance of the author's knowing the origin of the main character's world viewpoint.

For this month’s contribution to #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop, I’m reviewing Story Genius by Lisa Cron. A member of one of my Facebook groups recommended it to me.

Story Genius’ Core Message

Story Genius’ core message is to know your character’s why. The author emphasizes the importance of you knowing the origin of your main character’s world viewpoint. Story Genius' core message is to know your character's why. It emphasizes the importance of the author's knowing the origin of the main character's world viewpoint. What specific event happened before the story started that has significantly driven all of her life decisions?

The “Know Your Why” concept is something I explored in my book, The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel, in the chapter “5 Whys”. A member of my former writing group, Lisa, always drilled down to the character’s motivation. She force me to answer why they make current decisions based on a specific turning point in their early life.

For example, in an unpublished work of mine, the main character, Naomi, is fiercely loyal to her adopted family. She makes wrong and unethical decisions to salvage her brother’s reputation. Her “Why”? Peeling through the layers of her past, at age eight, she witnessed her birth parents’ murder/suicide. She vowed to do anything necessary to thank her adoptive family for taking her in. She validated their decision with her loyalty. This causes multiple problems from the start of the story, pushing her through the rabbit hole of bad decisions. Ultimately, she has to question her misbelief to attain her true goal.

Questions the author asks you to ask your characters

My very first, official writing conference I attended was Deb Dixon’s, based on her book, GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction. Since then, I’ve always looked at my character’s motivation, but Story Genius, asks you to look further and question more.

  • What early event changed your character’s view on the world?
  • How did it form a false belief  that has stopped him from getting what he really wants?
  • What inciting event at the story’s start pushes against his misbelief and causes him to make more and more wrong decisions as the story progresses?
  • What ultimately forces him to confront his misbelief and allows him to reach his goal?

Story Genius, the Subtitle:

How to Use brain Science to go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel

The book’s subtitle is misleading. While the author touches on how humans are hardwired for story, she did not delve deep enough into the biology of explaining how our beliefs affect our behavior. For the best, in-depth explanation on that theory, pick up a copy of The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton.

The Biology of Belief does a much better job of explaining how our beliefs affect our behavior than Story Genius

In Conclusion

Story Genius reinforces a story tool I’ve used since the beginning: the character’s “Why” matters and drives the plot. I have not sharpened this tool lately, as I tend to gallop from one plot point to another. I now have to step back, ask questions, and make it clear to myself and my readers why my character makes the decisions she does. If I can bring her “Why” to the forefront, I’ll have a realistic, flawed character the reader can identify with.

What do you think?

Do you explore your character’s background before writing? How deep do you go? I hate character interviews. Who cares if she hated chocolate milk in the second grade? (unless her classmates teased her, warping her sense of friendship that carries on into adulthood, and clouds her view of society). See, that’s what I’m talking about.

Please comment if an event in your character’s past (B.S., before story) shapes the decisions he makes A.S. (after story).

More about #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop is a monthly blog hop for authors who want to learn more about being authors.

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop is a monthly blog hop for authors who want to learn more about being authors. Held the third Wednesday of the month, the members participate with “posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” If you would like to learn more or become a member, go here.

I’ll be back in July with another AuthorToolBoxBlogHop tip, and twice a week (fingers crossed) with other writing information and happenings in my life.

Blessings,

Cheryl

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