Monday, March 5, 2012

ASK PZM - Mar 2012 Blogging & Pinterest

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.)

FYI – If you use a photo with each of your blog posts (and you should for various reasons), then you can “pin” each blog post photo onto a board (see, for example, my board labeled “My Guest Blog Posts”) and legitimately promote your blog posts this way.

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.


Ebooks revisited:

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/ )

BookBaby claims:
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.


P.S.  This just in -- new site for authors and artists to sell their works.  Read about it at http://www.millermosaicllc.com/online-marketing/new-site-monkeybars-for-authors-and-artists/

Here is more from Phyllis on her December post concerning Amazon reviews. "The Elephant in the Room: #Amazon" at @The_IndieTimes http://budurl.com/elephantintheroom




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




© 2012 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Visit Phyllis’ Google Plus profile.
Check out Phyllis’ books and other projects at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com

34 comments :

  1. Thank you for this super information and the links. I bookmarked the page. I'm not computer literate enough to do fancy stuff, but what you wrote is so clear I'm encouraged to give Pinterest a try. (PS Broken is great.)

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  2. You're so welcome, Kittie. Right now, I'm stockpiling photos of dreamy bedrooms for when I remodel ours. I'm getting some great ideas.

    Thanks for the kind words.

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  3. Hi, PZM, I'm your friend on MWSA. I had several blogs and loved to write and write. However, a blog troll stopped me and I've been bashed on mock sites, so that has made me afraid. Perhaps I should start again. Everybody, buy Phyllis Zimbler Miller's books -- they are great!!!

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  4. Hi Mary. Thanks for stopping by. Phyllis isn't very far away and should be back in a moment. Dumb blogger is acting weird today. Thanks for leaving a comment.

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  5. ...Can I just say I love that you have a hockey board, Joylene? Enjoy Sammy Pahlsson! :)

    Great post, Phyllis!

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  6. Sami got his first assist the other night. I think he's going to do well with the Canucks, Carrie. He's got spunk. Thanks for dropping by. Happy writing challenge.

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  7. Hi Phyllis and hi Joylene,
    Good grief, what a lot of info here. And as per usual, very informative. Although another source to bring awareness of my shy, humble and unassuming blog? Not so sure. Heck, I can barely keep up with the other social applications I'm involved with. Now then, let us see if blogger is behaving today. It is acting very weird, indeed.
    Kind wishes to both of you fine ladies and all those who have the jolly good sense to visit this wonderful site.
    Okay Gary, did you subscribe to email? Yes! Smart fella'!

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  8. Mary and Kittie, Blogger won't let Phyllis leave a comment, so via me, here's what she would like to say:

    Mary -- Thank you for such a lovely comment about my books -- and you know I encouraged you via Facebook to return to blogging.

    And, Kittie, I'm trying again to leave you a message thanking you for leaving a nice comment.

    Hopefully, they'll have whatever the problem is fixed soon.

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  9. Gary, you're one of the smartest people I know. Sweet too. And humble. Have you checked out Pinterest yet? If you're not interested, maybe Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star might be. She could pin up her portfolio and gain a lot of new fans.

    Hope your week is rich and full of fun, interesting stuff, walks through town, and great hockey moments.

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  10. I've actually got a request to join Pinterest on Farcebook, everyone's favourite social 'notworking' site. I shall give it some thought or let Penny the Jack Russell dog have a tinkle, I mean, tinker on Pinterest.
    And we wont mention the game against the Buffalo Sabres.....

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  11. You are a gentleman, Gary. Tomorrow night our son is going to be at the game. They flew down tonight. He'll be wearing the #33 jersey and the lovely young lady next to him will be wearing #17. They'll going to text to let us know where they're seated. Hmm. Why am I suddenly nervous. (picturing son dressed as nasty green man and twirling his butt in the coaches face)

    As for Pinterest, I'm having way too much fun. It's actually scary. I'm collecting design ideas for my mudroom and main bathroom and pinning them to a board. Oh, and I have an awesome Vancouver Canuck board too. Very nifty.

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  12. Thanks for another informative post, Phyllis and Joylene. Blogging doesn't seem to be in any danger of dying in the foreseeable future, and I can see how your usage of Pinterest could be very helpful in marketing, although I've recently heard that anything viewed as self-promotion is frowned upon by both Pinterest and its users, so that might be considered iffy.

    Pinterest is apparently the fastest growing site out there right now. But Pinterest's copyright issues are scary. I'm not sure how long it will be before a few court cases hit the fan.

    I'm not prepared to sign away all rights to my original photographs irrevocably and in perpetuity, which is what happens if I pin something of mine to my board. Nor am I willing to take full legal responsibility for re-pinning someone else's photos, which is also what happens when I re-pin anything, whether I credit the original photographer or not. Unless I either own the photos or have a license, consent or release from the photographer who owns them, even if I acquired them from a third party site, copying them onto my board might be illegal. Pinterest urges its users to re-pin photos they find online, without pointing out that in many cases doing so will infringe on a copyright. And just to make sure Pinterest doesn't bear any responsibility, the Pinterest user agreement places all blame and potential legal fees, both the users' and Pinterest's, on the users. There are a couple good legal articles online: http://bit.ly/x0WkTG is one and it has a link to another.

    I'm hoping they sort out all the complexities of being a newbie site because it looks to be a lot of fun, and several people I know are loving it. Joylene's boards, for instance, reflect her many interests and are fun to browse. I'm heading off now to check out yours, too, Phyllis. :)

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  13. I took all that into consideration, Carol, before deciding to stay with Pinterest. I'm not pinning anything too valuable, and I'm having so much fun collecting ideas for the perfect bathroom. I'm painting our mudroom next, and thanks to Pinterest, I've found the perfect blue colour. Goes nicely with the lake.

    I worried about the problems, and that's why I've curbed my time and my pinning to only pins that link back to the original site.

    Your perspective has educated me, Carol, and I thank you for that. See, even on my blog, I learn from you.

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  14. Interesting post. I've heard of Pinterest but not checked it out. Thanks for sharing the pictures/links so I could get a better idea of what all the excitement is about.

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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  15. Glad you stopped by to check it out, Susanne. I was invited by someone from my writer's list, and that's how I got interested. At first I didn't have a clue what to do, but it sure didn't take long.

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  16. Most interesting. However, apart from blogging and twitter (which I come and go like waves of nausea) I don't suspect I'll be joining any other social network. I find it all a bit overwhelming to be honest.

    Anyway, I'm easily sidetracked, so it's best I don't even go there!

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  17. I understand completely, Wendy. I've recently cut back to blogging once a week. Never thought that would happen. I must admit that I am having fun with Pinterest. It's actually the only thing I seem to be interested in these days. I stop by Facebook to see what my kids are up to, but that's about it. And I don't hang out at any of the book clubs like Goodreads. I probably should, but I never have time. What with writing and home renos, I had to give up cooking. Luckily, my husband likes to eat so he's the chief cook now. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.

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  18. I've heard a lot about this site & haven't opened my invites yet . . . I'm just scared people will get tired of authors trying to promote their work on yet another site. I guess I need to check it out next week when I'm on spring break though . . . thanks for the info:):)

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  19. Hi Jamie. Never let fear stop you from doing fun things. I did create a board with my books, but I'm doing so much more. Right in the middle of renos, I'm finding some great ideas for what to paint my bathrooms, mudroom and bedrooms. I'm also getting to know other writers and seeing what they're interested in. It's fun.

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  20. Just wanted to let everyone know that Phyllis can't access the comment feature of this blog, and that's why she hasn't posted any replies. She's reading along though. Hopefully, whatever is wrong will be fixed soon.

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  21. Joylene, I came over from Pinterest and your dreamy bedroom board. I'm not a blogger, and I don't pin anyone's artwork or pictures. There has been a lot of talk about copyright infringement, but I'm like you. I'm only using Pinterest because it's fun to pin stuff. I hope Pinterest get the legal stuff worked out and stay online. I can see where it would bring a lot of like minded people together.

    Kyana Flogerty

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  22. Kyana, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're enjoying Pinterest despite the current litigations. I'm always hopeful that people will stand up and do the right thing. Sadly it's not always the case. But at least you and I are having fun. By the looks of it, many others are too.

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  23. Thanks for all this information. I'd run across this site a few times, but haven't hooked up yet.

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  24. Hi Cher. Don't take my word for it, but do check out Pinterest when you can. Who knows, it might be something you connect with. Or not. Thanks for stopping by.

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  25. I appreciate this info, thanks so much! I've joined Pinterest but haven't done anything with it. I need to give it another look.

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  26. Karen, I'm in the middle of repainting the complete house, and Pinterest has made all the difference. I keep pinning colour ideas off the net and saving them to Pinterest. Now I just have to make up my mind which colour for which room.

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  27. Fascinating post. I hadn't thought about Pinterest like that before. I only joined because my sister and niece (both artists) urged me to. Then I began getting lots of friendship requests and learned how popular it was.

    I love collecting pictures for inspiration.

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  28. Hi Amanda. I'm with you. I only joined because I like a challenge, and once I got the hang of it, I started having fun collecting room inspirations.

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  29. Just hopped over from Gary's Blog. I liked your Blogger's Got Talent suggestions. I could so relate to it. I'm enjoying Blogging, but don't have time to tweet and Facebook as well.

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  30. Thanks for stopping by, Madeleine. Glad it was helpful. Phyllis, the author hasn't been able to leave a comment, but I know she's grateful for your visit. Have a great day.

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  31. Hi Joylene,

    I am new to your blog but after reading your latest post, I am keen to follow you in the future. I know this is completely off topic but I have to say I envy you being Canadian and living in Canada. The country is one of my favourite places in the world and I was lucky enough to travel there a few years back. I loved my time travelling there so much that it inspired me to start writing a book about my experiences. I am hopeful it will be finished soon.

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  32. Thanks, LK. ASK PZM is a monthly column Phyllis writes for this blog. If you get a chance, you should check out the rest of her articles. Just click on ASK PZM under labels. Thanks for following. I'm doing like wise.

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  33. Everytime I see your picture or your name, I smile! Great blog, full of info.....I miss you!
    Hugs
    Katt

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  34. Katt, what a dear girl you are. I miss you too. We've got to have tea soon. Tea and cookies. I make a mean oatmeal raison with a dash of nutmeg. Yummy.

    God Bless and thank you so much for stopping by.

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