Tuesday, March 31, 2015

IWSG: Ask PZM April 2015 and A-Z Challenge

It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which also means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.

If you'd like to join Insecure Writer's Support Group, click hereBe sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for today are: Suzanne Furness, Tonja Drecker, Toi Thomas, Rachna Chhabria, Fundy Blue, and Donna Hole!

Please stop by and thank them for their time. Yay co-host/minions!

It's also April, which means the A to Z Challenge. Over at IWSG, we're spreading encouragement and inspiration the entire month. Should be a good one. 


Q:  I have noticed that there have been changes to the format of Amazon’s Author Pages.  What are these changes?

When I emailed Amazon recently about the Author Page for my 90-year-old father (see www.amazon.com/author/albertzimbler ) in connection with the book feed (see explanation below) of the covers of his five humorous short story books about love and sex, here is the answer I got from Amazon:

“The default edition [paperback or Kindle] reflected on Author Pages are sorted based on actual customer shopping behaviors and we're not able to manually adjust the titles shown in this feature.

“Author Pages were redesigned to be more visually engaging and to make it easy for readers to learn about authors as they shop for books on Amazon.

“Below are the updates we've made to the Author Page:

“A book feed at the top of the page with large book covers.

 “Biographies are now located below the profile image on the left column.

“Social network updates (Tweets, blog posts, image and video uploads) are ordered from newest to oldest in a new 'Author Updates' feed.

“The old Author Pages only showed the most recent Tweet and blog post. In the new design, we show up to 20 Tweets and all the blog entries in the RSS feed.

“We do hope you have a better understanding of how our system works at present.”

(Do note the words “at present” – with Amazon things can and do change frequently.)

If you’re an author in the U.S. with books on Amazon and you have not yet claimed your free Author Page, go here now to do so – www.authorcentral.amazon.com

Q. What are Amazon giveaways?

Amazon now has provided a way to give away physical products including books directly from Amazon. 

You won’t see this option on your book’s Kindle page on Amazon, although you will see it near the bottom of your book’s paperback page on Amazon:

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

What is interesting about this new opportunity is that you do not have to be the author of a book to do this.  Anyone with an Amazon account who meets the criteria for setting up a giveaway can give away your physical books.

Your giveaway type can be a lucky number (for example, every x entrant wins) or first-come, first-served (for example, the first x entrants).

Amazon says the lucky number type “lasts longer and has more entrants; works better to grow fans or followers” and the first-come, first-served type “creates a sense of urgency; rewards fast action time.”

And there is a field in the setup if you want to require entrants to follow you on Twitter.

While I have not yet tried out this option, I do plan to do so in the future.  Meanwhile, go to www.amazon.com/giveaway for more details.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and her Amazon Author Page is at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller

Friday, March 20, 2015

FNN: No Electric Cars

Exclusive to Faux News Network:

Today Hank Quense, CEO and Chief Author at Strange Worlds Publishing made the following announcement at a press conference.

“With all the buzz about electric cars and the range of companies reputed or rumored to have one under development, I want to assure everyone that Strange Worlds Publishing will NOT design, develop and produce an electric car.

“An electric car simply doesn’t fit into our business model and would require extensive resources that we don’t have at this time. Our job at Strange Worlds Publishing is to produce parodies that entertain readers, not to manufacture hardware.

“Producing an electric car did have some attractive innovations, but they weren’t enough to sway us. One option was to factory-equip the car with a bookshelf and stock it with a copy of all our print books. Another option was to equip the sound system with an audiobook copy of our entire catalog. These pull-through sales simply weren’t enough to overcome the logistics problem associated with the development.

“While we’re discussing hardware, I should mention that Strange Worlds Publishing will also not design, develop or produce smartphones, electric guitars, food processors, electric motor scooters or smart watches.

“We will dedicate ourselves to our core values and continue to produce top-notch parodies. We will hold nothing sacred in our quest for the perfect parody.” 

Hank Quense is the author of 50 published short stories along with four novels and three collections of stories. All of these are humorous and/or satiric scifi and fantasy. In the non-fiction area, he has over a dozen articles published on fiction writing and he's the author of the Fiction Writing Guides series and the Self-publishing Guides series. Both series consist of a number of ebooks. The Fiction Writing Guides and the Self-Publishing Guides are an outgrowth of his lectures on both subjects.
Strange Worlds OnlineHank's Amazon PageHank's Blog PageSelf-publishing Guides
Hank's fiction works 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

IWSG - Ask PZM March 2015 (repost)

It's that the first Wednesday of the month, which also means it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thanks to our noble Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, it's time to share our fears and insecurities, or add support and assistance. Doesn't matter which.

If you'd like to join Insecure Writer's Support Group, click hereBe sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Our hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for today are: 

Chemist Ken,
Suzanne Sapseed, 
Shannon Lawrence!

Please stop by and thank them for their time. 

Before we get to Ask PZM, just a reminder that The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond is now available for free downloading. You can check out the sites here.

The following post is an updated post originally aired June 2010.  Hope you enjoy the updated version ...

Q: Where can I learn more about online marketing to promote my book?

One of the most wonderful things about Internet marketing is that “best practices” for marketers is to give away valuable free information to help you know, like and trust them before you spend any money.

When I first began learning how to use Internet marketing to promote my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” I signed up for many free reports, free teleseminars, and free ezines (electronic newsletters). I found links to this free information on Twitter and other places.

Gradually I winnowed out who I followed and whose products I actually bought. Yet I continue to this day to read as many blog posts, reports, white papers, etc. as I can because Internet marketing is always changing.

Here are some links to valuable free information:

1. Publicity Hound” Joan Stewart’s weekly ezine – sign up at www.publicityhound.com

2. Book author/marketer Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s ezine – send an email to hojonews@aol.com with the subject line: Subscribe Ref. by HowToDoItFrugally.com

3. Book marketer Dana Lynn Smith’s ebook “Top Book Marketing Tips” and her monthly ezine – http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/

4. Book marketer Penny Sansevieri’s ezine – http://www.amarketingexpert.com

5. Book marketer John Kremer’s ezine – http://www.bookmarket.com/

Q: Is it important that visitors to my book website know immediately whether my book is fiction or nonfiction?

Yes, it is important. People want to know immediately what genre a novel is or whether the book is nonfiction.

For example, I read the promo copy on a website about a book dealing with a woman suffering from PTSD. I had no idea whether the book was a novel or nonfiction. And especially because I am involved in PTSD projects (including www.SolomonsJustice.com) I wanted to know exactly what the book is.

Do not frustrate your website visitors by making them hunt for the information they want. Give them the most important information front and center, including how to buy the book.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  Her ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON is at http://www.amazon.com/Tips-Publish-Market-Your-Amazon-ebook/dp/B009RBJW3E