Don’t Muddy Your Brand

Thought for the dayMy teen-aged son loves to attend truck pulls at exhibitions. He only has his beginners, but he’s itching to get behind the wheel and has created elaborate schemes that would see him get there before he has his full driver’s license. He has yet to successfully carry out a scheme, but his mind is always working on it.

The videos he captures at these truck pulls are mashed together and posted to his YouTube channel. After a big pull at the end of August, I told him I’d share his link on my Twitter feed, thinking I’d be helping him spread the word so he’d have more subscribers and more views.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “You’d muddy my brand.”

For a guy who has no problem getting muddy on his four-wheeler, he had a real problem with mud on ‘his brand’. He knows little about marketing – or does he?

Continue reading

Advertisements

A Hard Lesson Learned

Hard Lessons LearnedAlthough it’s tough to admit it, six years ago, I made a horrible mistake in my publishing journey. After publishing the first book in my Castle Keepers fantasy series, Shadows in the Stone, I should have buckled down and completed the draft to the second book in the series, Scattered Stones.

However, feeling the pressure to get more books on my publishing shelf, I wrote a few short stories that were not in the fantasy genre. They were quick writes, quickly edited by my editor and quickly published. I soon had four books on my shelf. It looked impressive.

I was following the advice of those who believed the more books on a shelf, the more a writer gets noticed because they have a larger footprint.

However, those giving advice didn’t stress the vital fact that the books written should all be in one genre. Readers sometimes stick to one genre, so those who loved my fantasy novel might not like my contemporary stories about death, domestic abuse or a cranky neighbour.

Sigh.

Continue reading

No One is Surprised: CreateSpace Closes and KDP Print Takes Over

Amazon CreateSpace KDP PrintBetween putting the laundry in the washer and hanging it on the line and while I was making pancakes for my youngest child, washing dishes and waiting for the buzzer on the oven to go to indicate the cinnamon rolls were ready for extraction, an email popped up in my inbox.

The subject told me all I wanted to know, and if Amazon thought they’d surprise me, they couldn’t have been more mistaken: CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to become one service

I didn’t bother opening the message; I was too busy, and I knew what it was all about.

Continue reading

Every Writer Has a Dog in this Cocky Fight

Have you been following cockygate?

What is that, you ask?

Well, hold onto your socks and chickens, it has nothing to do with footwear or fowl and everything to do with romance novels.

First, let me tell you the name of a writer who you have probably never heard of before. It seems this is part of the big mystery: no one knew who this writer was before cockygate became a thing. A copyright thing.

It all started a few days ago when news of an unknown writer getting exclusive rights to use a generic word in a book title hit Twitter. This all sounds very weird, and it’s about to get weirder.

The nobody’s name is Faleena Hopkins. The story begins for this woman on June 16, 2016 when she published the first book in the Cocky romance series. Since then, a few more books were published.

Over the past year or so, she’s claimed other romance writers have used the word ‘cocky’ to copycat her stories because there were so good, famous, long . . . cocky. This led to her claim that other writers used the same stock image as she did to get sales, tricking unsuspecting writers into buying their book instead of hers.

Continue reading

Creating a Blog that is User-friendly

I’ve learned a lot about blogging since January 2011, when this blog came to life. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it and completed major renovations countless times. Sometimes I made these changes because I was bored with the site; other times I learnt how to improve the appearance and ‘saleability’ of it.

Along the way, I have strived to make the blog design user-friendly. After all, if visitors can’t find what they want and what I want them to find, it frustrates both parties. I’ve been on blogs and websites where information was difficult to locate. I usually give up and search for another site with the same information.

I hope my blog is user-friendly and things are easy to find, but I’m always looking for ways to improve the experience. So when D. Wallace Peach made a post entitled 7 Steps to a User-Friendly Blog, I had to see if there were any tips I could use.

There were, so if you have a blog, I suggest reading her post. Visually, it might not improve your page, but the behind-the-scenes technical stuff will improve a visitor’s experience.

El Camino

hiking shoesAfter watching the movie The Way, I’ve decided to walk El Camino in spirit first while I wait for the opportunity to go to Spain. My trek of 880 kilometres will be tracked on my El Camino page. I’ve been walking since the end of May, but I didn’t start keeping track of the distance until July 1st.

So far, I’ve walked 95 km. I just left Puente la Reina, and I am on my way to Mañeru. So far, my feet feel great–especially with the new hiking shoes. However, my tendinitis is not improving. On the bright side, it’s not getting any worse.

What is Google AMP, and how can I deactivate it?

A few weeks ago, I noticed something strange when I checked the stats for my blog. In the Referrer Section was a referral from me, or at least it appeared to be from me until I revealed the complete address. It began as dianetibert.com.cdn.ampproject.org followed by about 50 more letters and numbers.

The Referrer Section reveals the paths visitors take to get to my website. The majority are usually through search engines, WordPress.com reader, Facebook and Twitter, but I often get visitors from other sites too.

The names are familiar and if a new one pops up, I check it out. Knowing where traffic comes from helps in many ways, including informing me of new websites that may have information that will help me in my publishing / writing journey.

Continue reading

Saturday Morning News Briefs

Shadows in the Stone Permanently Free at Amazon

FREE eBook Read Everywhere

Many years ago, before self-publishing really took, the goal for many writers was to get a book permanently free at Amazon. It was relatively easy back then but for the past six years, Amazon has been reluctant to set books at permanently free. I was told the only way to do it was to set it for free at other vendors and hope (or scheme) customers would tell on you and Amazon would price match it. However, I’ve tried this several times over the years without luck. Until now.

I checked my sales record this week and discovered the book was being sold for free starting on May 9th. Yet, the book still showed a price of $0.99. Confused, I let it play out, watching my books be purchased for an invisible free price sticker. Last night, I checked again, and the Amazon sites finally revealed the true price: FREE.

Why do authors want a book permanently free? In my case, it’s because I want the first book in the series free in hopes the second book will be bought. Next spring, I hope to publish book 3 in the series, and with this boost in ‘sales’, it should do well. At least that is the hoped for outcome.

You can download Shadows in the Stone at Amazon Canada and Amazon US.

Who’s Pointing at Your Book at Amazon

Last week I shared David Gaughran’s experience with Also Boughts at Amazon. Since then, he’s written a post to share more information on this subject from a different angle. Gaughran’s experience in analysing data such as this helps explain some of the mysteries behind how Amazon works. Read more about this in David Gaughran’s post Who’s Pointing at You.

Continue reading