Q: Is blogging no longer worthwhile?
For a writer I believe blogging continues to be very important. Remember, we authors are NOT targeting the world. We are targeting people likely to be interested in what we write. And the operative word is WRITE.
Therefore, to continue to demonstrate to our target readers the value of what we write, we need to write.
What is equally important is to share the links to our blog posts on social media sites. This is especially true for sites such as Twitter, which many people use as their own personal news feeds to find information of interest.
We want to get in front of our prospective readers with good blog post headlines that attract these prospective readers. Even if these prospective readers only read parts of our blog posts, these prospective readers are being politely reminded that we are out there writing.
Cautionary tip: Whenever we write a blog post or a comment or a tweet, we should try to make it of value and not simply promotional. The objective of using social media to connect with potential readers is to create relationships that may lead these potential readers to become actual readers of our writing.
Q: Can Pinterest help people become aware of my books?
Pinterest.com is a relatively new site that is rapidly gaining popularity. In some ways the site is different than other social media sites because it seems to me that on Pinterest promotional activity is expected and accepted.
Basically, a “pin” is one photo with a brief description and a link (or two). A “board” consists of one or more pins on a specific topic.
For example, let’s look at my Pinterest account at http://pinterest.com/zimblermiller
I have created one board that I labeled “My Books & Ebooks.” (See http://pinterest.com/zimblermiller/my-books-and-ebooks/ ) If you click on any one of the individual pins (photos) you will get the ability to add a comment. (Please do.)
Even if you do not click on a photo to open it, you still can click on the two hot links in the pin. One hot link appears automatically because I “pinned” the cover of the book or the YouTube page for the video from a specific URL, which is where this automatic link goes. The other link, which is in the description of the photo, I added when I wrote the description.
Note that these two links could be to the same location or each to a different location. In fact, I have just learned you can make these links into affiliate links for recommending other people’s books or products.
Cautionary note: Although I am NOT a lawyer, I do think that an affiliate link needs to be somehow labeled as such.
There is a category on Pinterest called “Film, Music & Books” that I used for the board I created for my books and ebooks.
(There is not a large selection of categories at the moment, so I could not find an ideal category for some of my other boards. I have been using “Education” rather than choosing “Other.” As this is not a very satisfactory solution I hope more categories are eventually added.)
And here is a Pinterest tip I learned from an ebook group on LinkedIn:
You can create pins out of any photos related to the theme of your book in order to get your book in front of people. (The pins scroll down on the category pages as new pins are added.)
Now we do have to be careful of copyright. Let’s imagine, though, that I somehow found a photo of high school students taking the SAT exam and I could legally “pin” the photo without giving credit to the site where I found the photo or to the photographer.
I could then edit the automatic link in the pin of that photo to send people to the information page of my ebook HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE. I could also put in the description of the pin how this ebook covers the subject of SAT exams.
As writers we tend to be imaginative, so Pinterest may be a great place for all of us to use our imagination to promote our books with photos.
Bonus tip: Do any of you also write screenplays?
I accidentally fell down the hole into Amazon Studios, which I think is an amazing opportunity for screenwriters without contacts in Hollywood.
I read the development agreement and was pleasantly surprised how Amazon solved some of the tangled issues that often ensue with screenplays developed by Hollywood.
Caution: You should read the agreement yourself – I am NOT a lawyer and I am NOT advising you to upload your screenplay. I am only suggesting you consider carefully looking into this opportunity.
Check out my page at http://studios.amazon.com/projects/8259 to see my screenplay DR. SOAPY. You can download it for free. And if you read it and like it, you can share the page link on Twitter and Facebook or email it to friends.
I am trying out the ebook conversion option BookBaby.com for the first of my 3-part ebook series HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL, COLLEGE AND BEYOND (see http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/how-to-succeed-ebooks/ )
Get eBook distribution to the biggest retailers in the world, including Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, and more. BookBaby authors enjoy the convenience of having their eBooks delivered to all the leading eBook retail websites.
I am interested in seeing how this distribution works, and I hope to be able to report on this in a future Ask PZM guest post.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and Pinterest) is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, which is WBENC certified and also builds WordPress websites for clients. More information on her books and ebooks can be found at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com
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