The Plasmatic Writer

The Official Page of Justin Bienvenue

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5 Reasons You Should Be On Pinterest

Posted on March 13, 2017 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Are you on Pinterest? If not and you don't know what it is, Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to create "boards" of pretty much anything that interests you. You find pictures on the site called "pins" and you pin these images to boards of that particular topic. You can also upload outside images to the site and put them in boards. As a writer I find Pinterest very useful as it gives people a way to see what interests me, gives me a way to put images related to my books and it helps me with promoting and marketing. With that being said, here are five reasons you should be on Pinterest.


5. Everyone Else is Doing It-

Okay so normally when you hear everyone else is doing it, it usually means you shouldn’t but in this case you should. Your most likely using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so Pinterest should be the next place for you to be on for social media. It’s similar to Instagram but the setup is a bit different in terms of pins and also how you reach people also differs. The best part of Pinterest is you’ll have fun putting together boards of things your interested in and what your audience is interested in which is..why you should be on there because everyone is doing it and some of that “everyone” could be your potential audience.

 

4. Fun and Necessary-

Most social media is designed so we can reach people and we have fun doing it. Whether it’s for business reasons, connecting with friends or even airing out our dirty laundry(drama) we have fun doing it. The thing I find unique about Pinterest is not only do I feel I need to be on there putting out valuable content but I have fun relating that content out. This is the case with any social media site or site in general, you want to put out that quality content but if you don’t have a bit of fun doing it then are you really making the most of your opportunity? Pinterest’s setup, boards and connecting with people are all devised in such a way that it makes for a unique experience that you will find is both necessary, fun and most of all it works.

 

3. Diversity-

As stated in #5 your likely already on the most used social media sites so why not change it up or expand your reach? Sure all sites aren’t for everyone but you should at least take a chance on Pinterest. You will find you can like so many things that others also like and you can target people and reach your potential audience all because you decided to expand your social media and try a new site.

 

2. Other Sites Aren’t Cutting It-

If your like me certain sites work for you while others just simply aren’t. This is similar to diversity but in this case your trying Pinterest because other sites just aren’t your style, pace and you can’t get into a rhythm on there. So if other sites aren’t helping you out then give this one a try. Maybe it’s for you maybe it’s not but at least take the time to try it out and see how it goes. Also it’s important to remember you can never be on too many social media sites but if some aren’t working for you perhaps it’s time to swap out some in place of new ones.

 

1.You Can Reach Your Audience-

This sounds familiar does it? Well it should seeing as I’ve mentioned it in the other four. One thing about Pinterest is you can create a board for pretty much anything. As a writer you can create boards for promoting and marketing, your genre, quotes, other authors, characters, etc. You’ll find that not only do people share some of these interests but some are readers or people looking for new material to check out, enter: you! Chances are people will like your boards and if they are really interested they may check out your blogs, your site and even your work. It all depends on which stuff you post and share. Not only will you make a connection and get shares but you’ll likely in some way reach your audience and after all that’s what you want more than anything.


Feel free to check out my Pinterest board @ http://www.pinterest.com/JustinBienvenue and feel free to follow me if anyone of my boards interests you. 

Celebrities Don't Write Their Own Work

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

This shouldn’t come as any surprise to you. If you’re like me then you genuinely thought the same thing, most celebrities don’t write their own books. This bothers me and it’s for a few certain reasons to which I will explain. Before I explain why let’s get to the big question, why don’t celebrities write their own works? Well the sad part is many will claim they do to which when journalists dig deeper and find out the celeb didn’t write their own book the individual gets all defensive or will insist they did. So why don’t most of them write their own books? They’re celebrities, that would mean they actually have to work, to sit down ad do something. They live busy lives so when they aren’t busy and want to stay in the public eye they will come up with the idea of writing a book, only they don’t write it, they have ghost writer’s, publicists or an actual writer to do it for them. Here are reasons why I find it personally insulting that celebrities come out with books and then claim they wrote them and why you should to.

 

 1. Best-Seller? They Didn’t Write It!- One thing any author will tell you whether they’re traditional or self-published is to become a best-selling author. It’s hard enough for any author to compete against famous authors who are sure in best-sellers like Stephen King, J.K Rowling, Stephanie Meyer or E.L James so imagine how an author must feel when they find out a celebrity has a book out and it’s a best-seller and that celebrity most likely didn’t write it? Celebrities such as Snooki, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber and Nicole Richie just to name a few have all come out with books which have within a week have become best sellers. What’s the problem? I’m positive they didn’t write their own books. It’s upsetting to know that us authors struggle to promote and market a book and all a celebrity needs to do is say they wrote one and they get all the publicity and sales in the world for it despite not really doing anything then talk to the person that wrote it. As an author it’s a painful thing all to real these days.

 

 2. Book Signings Turnout Through the Roof- Naturally any time a celebrity makes an appearance somewhere the turn out is huge, in the thousands or even the millions. This means that they have tons of people coming out to have their book signed just so they can meet the celebrity which means it really isn’t about the book at all. Sure, some dedicated fans will read the book but I feel it’s mainly all a ploy for the celebrity to make an appearance just so they can benefit and stay in the spotlight. As authors, many of us struggle to market out books offline unless of course we one, know people and have good connections or two, we are famous.

 

3. B,C,D-List Celebs Making Profits- I don’t typically go around marking which celebrities are top list stars but let’s be honest we kind of have an idea of where certain people fall. So what can be worse than being buried on getting to the best sellers list then famous authors and celebrity A-listers? Knowing celebrities that are barely even known are getting to the top-sellers list. Yes obviously they have more connections than you do but they are also barely as known as you are or just simply in the spotlight for being in the spotlight. They don’t really do anything. So yes they could write their own books but they most likely don’t and it’s all the more reason you should be offended as an author.

 

4. They Don’t Need The Royalties- If they truly wrote the book and they really cared, they would donate all proceeds of their royalties to charities but let’s be serious and realistic about this. How many of the celebrities that I listed above and the ones you like do you think donate their royalties? Probably not many. Call me crude for making such an assumption but I’m going to say I think it’s accurate. Yes as authors we are in it for the enjoyment because we love to write, because we want readers to enjoy our work but for some of us we rely on those royalties so imagine a celebrity making a ton off a crappy book their connection wrote for them that ends up a best seller and they make a ton off it they don’t even need. The older celebrities that write memoirs and auto-biographies will very likely donate their royalties away because they’ve accumulated enough over the years not to carebut for the rest? Greed, greed, greed.

 

5. 15 Minutes of Fame- A celebrity makes one film or stars in one show or does one momentous thing. They then decide to capitalize on this by writing a book. This book of course becomes a best-seller because that person is hot right now coming off appearances. This is what we know as 15 minutes of fame. We all sometimes want it but for the book industry? No. We as authors bust our butts and make a living doing what we love. We love to write and we make this our careers so how would you feel if a celebrity decided to go off on a whim and write a book just because they are “trending” right now? Exactly, they are hardly doing anything to market or promote themselves and yet you’ve been doing this a while and you’re lucky you can get any recognition. Maybe try to do something that gives you 15 minutes of fame?

 


You can read more on this topic from this article here

 

What is the Weird West Genre?

Posted on January 23, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Weird West, what is it? According to a definition it’s a literary subgenre of Westerns combined with another, usually horror, science fiction or fantasy. The weird west genre is distinct because it is known for blending not only a typical western with outside elements but also combines fictitious settings and characters with real ones. Meaning you could see a made up character interacting with a notorious western outlaw like Jesse James or riding the western front with Teddy Roosevelt. Despite it’s “weird” term it is to be taken with a grain of salt and a person who wishes to write it should remember to not stir away from the “western” aspects of it because after all westerns in themselves are certainly unique. The western genre really doesn’t need any added tropes or coating so to speak and in many ways seems stern to itself like a firm law book in the crime genre. However the intrigue and fact that someone came along and did change the western genre and did add a fun and strange yet captivating and unique twist makes it all the more powerful and interesting. The genre was first introduced in the 1970's and while it’s hard to imagine it being smaller and virtually lesser known than it already is today it does in fact trace all the way back to the 70's. It became popular during the 1990's by author Joe. R Lansdale who usually combines the original western with a violent and graphic type of horror.

 


One question one might ask is what goes into making it “weird”? Well aside from the settings and characters there’s a few things that make this so. For one it usually involves a typical Western plot created into a unique one whether it’s a sci-fi element or fantasy one. Also technology is a big factor as weapons are usually modified to a fictional aspect but defined and told in a manner which seems plausible. When you take a strange place a western would not normally take place, add cohesive characters with real life historical figures and give them or have them use modern or created technology you make a weird western. Let this not be all you take from it, there is so much more that a weird west is besides oddities there’s still the gritty feel and aspects that make it a western and this cannot be ignored. A weird western is still a western and I feel many forget that and some just assume it’s crap because they are ruining what makes a western great, not true. You can still have a true to itself western and have the added features that add the weirdness it’s just the author has to be able to create the balance of both. It’s just like any two genres that come together or weird tag that gets added onto a genre, you can still stay true to the core and have a little fun in the process.

 


One thing that has perhaps given the genre it’s niche of people is the tv shows and movies of it that have been released over the last decade. This like many genres has helped it resonate and find it’s fan base. It could be argued all day long whether or not people read as much as they used to or even read westerns as much as they used to but one thing can be certain is that the weird west has helped bring a lot of younger readers to the western genre. Some tend to ride the line and border of what classifies as a “weird western” meaning despite not having to do with a straight up western the plot and idea is still that of one. This doesn’t seem like a weird western but rather a show or book of another genre. One genre that has evolved from this and people tend to confuse or blend with the weird west is “Steampunk”. In some ways steampunk can be weird west at times but over the last few years it’s taken on it’s own things that make it so. Hollywood has definitely helped in making these genres more profound and acclaimed and while the genre is still relatively unknown there is a group and fan base for it as well as writers and the more exposure it gets then the more the genre will grow. What makes any genre popular is the readers, they cannot be forgotten or be given less credit. A genre can have a ton of writers of it but without readers it’s merely a catchy hobby writers wish to take on together. The readers are what get the writers to write more and give the genre exposure and it seems very evident that this of all genres would be the very definition of this statement.

 


As a writer of the genre I admit it’s a challenge. Not to write but to write knowing the fan base isn’t out in the open like most but deep within the confines of what classifies as sub-genres. When I read my first weird western I was intrigued and it wasn’t until I wrote my own, A Bloody Bloody Mess in the Wild Wild West that I gained a new found appreciation and understanding of what the genre is and how it could potentially work if enough people tuned into it. What I did however was stick to the basics of what people love about westerns and what Joe R. Lansdale did, write a western and then coat it with weird features. I stuck to what makes a Western a western and only when I did that did I feel it was okay to add the weird elements to it. When you write in such a genre it’s necessary to tackle the main genre first so this way you stay on point and on course. Also like Lansdale I felt the Western horror was the best way to go, for me more so because I feel as though horror is at an all time high right now. So I took a lesser appreciated genre and combined it with one of the most popular and that makes for what? A Weird Western, a genre not really known but appreciated and growing more and more everyday.

Is Horror Poetry A Thing?

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Horror poetry? Horror and Poetry? That's quite a combo! This is what I hear when I tell people I write horror poetry. While never turned off by the idea most ponder the two words tgether for a moment before saying one of the three things above which is usually followed by that's interesting. I don't blame them for their surprised reactions I mean who writes horor poetry anymore? Aside from myself I've only come across a few others who are writers of the unique genre. Is horror poetry a thing? I say yes and not because I write it but because like any small niche genre, there's writers of it and an audience for it. I personally became a writer of horror poetry after reading and becoming inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, the legend of horror poetry himself. In many ways I think we are all inspired by Poe when it comes to horror. His way with words so dark and morbid can really resonate with people. I will explain my enjoyment of writing in this genre and what I think of it by responding to quotes from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.”

Agreed Edgar, it is not yet settled. One must think of us as mad or at least a bit off in the brain to have such enjoyment by combining a genre that is meant to terrify with one that is usually written with real emotion and calm simple feelings. But is horror not what brings out peoples feelings? Feelings of raw emotion such as fear, worry and sadness? I think it is a lofty intelligence and one that only someone who enjoys horror can really explain or understand.


“When I was young and filled with folly, I fell in love with melancholy”

If by melancholy you mean the simple measure and average writing technique that is poetry then I too fell in love with it. I too from a young age fell for things of average meaning and while poetry is not average I believe people think it is so hence the reason it's a melancholy thought. 

 


“A mystery, and a dream, should my early life seem.”

I hear ya there Mr. Poe. I feel at times that my life has been a mystery and at times a dream, but aren't all of our lives like this in a way? We know not what the future holds nor the upcoming present and yet with all that there's still the mystery of life, a dream of an unbelivable notion that some of the things life throws at us we think of it as not reality. By all these things we cherish life, we cherish mystery and we make the most of our slumbering or unslumbering dreams.

 


"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty."

Oh preach it Edgar, preach the good word! Poetry is beautiful, rhythmic, stylish and tells a story through feeling. Poetry is a way of life, a beautiful sunrise, a luminating moonlight, a snowflake falling to the ground, a person, a place, anything you can take around you. This in part is why we are able to take horror and mix it with poetry to create beautiful poems(although some may disagree otherwise). 

 


"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."

I see this in two ways. One just as it's written and to be taken and the other as there is no barrier or rule that says horror cannot be poetry or poetry can not be horror. In the deep regions of horror poetry is read and in the deep inner meaning of words written as poetry there is horror. For poetry is like anything else, when it is broken down, horror can be taken from it. It is this taking away that some such as you and I Edgar embrace. For we take the horror and coat our poetry with it, we make the horror the focus, the word, the reality. I think that Edgar is what horror poetry is all about. 


If you wish to experience horror poetry then go grab yourself a Edgar Allan Poe book or grab one of my Macabre Masterpiece books.

5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

As an author one thing I rely on is social media. Like many I have my good share of social media accounts but the one I honor and like the most is Twitter. Why? Well for one I've just gotten so accustomed to using it and two it really has a great layout and helps me get what I wish to say and share out to people. So if you're like me then chances are your on Twitter. However, not everyone is doing what they should be on there and they aren't taking advantage of the simplest things that can make their experience so much better, Here are five things you should be doing on twitter to better yourself.

 

1.Comment Back, RT, and Like Posts-

 

One thing you should absolutely be doing is commenting back when someone tweets out to you, it's just the nice thing to do. It helps build rapport with people and it shows that you care about your followers and can take a little time to anwser them back. You should also be ReTweeting content of (RT) for short. Whether it's someones pinned post or something someone said that really spoke to you, if it did then retweet it! It's that simple. Studies show the best time to retweet something is at night so while it's not best to tweet during certain times after 5 one thing you can still do is go over your feed and Retweet what you like. Again this shows that you care about what your followers are saying. Then of course there's liking posts. Just like facebook only when you like it, it saves it to your likes list so you can go back and look it over. I myself like things that I plan on going over and can use later on. Liking posts just like the other two shows that you care and value people's content just like you'd want them to value yours.

 

 

 

2. Participate in Chats-

 

One thing I've recently started doing is taking part in Twitter chats. Chats are a way to become a part of a group that discusses topics that you may care about. For instance since I write I want writing, marketing and promoting tips so I take part in #BookMarketingChat, #TwitterSmarter, which is a way to use twitter to better your marketing and #BufferChat. Taking part in chats can help you and help others so you can all learn off each other and build. What you can do is go to TwitterChat.com and find a chat you may like to be part of or in the likely case your following someone who takes part in some. Chats are a great way to pick up some tips and advice as well as share what you may know on the particular topic. Join in, get a feel of what it's about and take part. It's a great way to meet new people, it's fun anf you learn stuff as well, now how about that?

 

 

 

3. Make Lists-

 

Another thing I've recently gotten into the habit of doing is making the most of lists. Lists are a way for you to seperate certain followers whose content you value or want in a certain place so you can easily access it. It's good to make your own lists for example I have lists for my Best Followers(people with the blue check marks), Best Twitter Tools as well as people a part of Buffer which I use frequently. Keep the lists small between 5-12 people so you can easily manage it and not lose peoples posts. It's a great way to organize certain followers pretty much. People will add you to lists, I'd recommend ignoring these. A lot of times people will like something you posted and add you to a list like "Awesome user" ignore these, it's for their benefit and there's usually hundreds of people on the list and you'll just follow people whose content isn't relevant to you.

 

 

 

4. Go Through Your Followers

 

It's always good to clean. When it comes to Twitter this is no different. You may notice your followers number goes down, if your smart you won't care, it's not worth getting upset over it happens. What you can do is go through your own list and see who you no longer wish to or need to follow. What I do is unfollow anyone who isn't following me or if they aren't I try to remember why I'm following them. If they aren't doing either I unfollow them. It's always good to follow someone who follows you but obviously if they don't interest you you don't have to follow back. So go over your followers and filter out what you can, you'll follow new people don't worry. Finally, if they don't have a picture and they have that dumb Twitter egg, unfollow them immediately, just don't follow them, there's no need. You can use a Twitter site/app if you really want help unfollowing people but personally I do it myself as it helps me better manage and I know more about who I follow then the computer may suggest.

 

 

 

5. Manage Your Tweeting Wisely-

 

The last one is the easiest. Manage what you tweet out and what you want to say. If you want to say something about marketing and know a good time where people will see it then schedule to post it at that particular time. Make the most of your 140 characters. We all have times where we have lots to say but there's not enough room to say it all, that's happens. Condense what you have to say and make it work. If you want to reach people then throw in two fitting hashtags so more people will see, but don't use more than two, the more you hashtag the less it'll be seen. If your like me you tend to tweet about your main topic mine being writing, promoting, marketing, books, etc. However you can also be personal and be yourself every once in a while too. The idea is you want to manage your time on Twitter wisely and accordingly. The better you manage, the better results and the better results te better you'll feel.

 

 

 

If you liked my 5 simple tips and want to get a better idea of these practices then feel free to follow me @JustinBienvenue

Do You Let An Idea Boil or Simmer?

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Whenever I come up with a great idea for a story or poem what I do is either run to my computer to write the basis of it or make a quick note of it on my phone using a notepad app. What I then do is what I made this thread for. After I write an idea, unless I have a ton of thoughts for it or it's dying for me to write it I usually let it simmer so to speak. I put it on the back burner and let it just sit there and I don't get started on it until I think it's the right time and I have enough for it. Two things usually pop into my head, a clever or gripping title or a really good idea for a story. I almost always decide to let it simmer not because I don't want to rush but because I want to see if it's worthy of becoming anything. I want to see if I still feel it's a good idea a day. a week or a month from when I think about it. Also I will try to let it simmer so I can build more on it or if a better title comes into play after I think of more on an idea. Finally a big reason I will let an idea simmer is because I don't know whether I want to make it into a poem, short story or even my next book. It usually becomes a poem or story and only when I have a mind blowing title do I set it aside for a  possible book idea. This last part ties into a similar blog post I wrote a while back on how do you decide what becomes a short story or your next book. 


I do on occasion boil ideas. This is usually the case with poems. A lot of times I will think of a title or a few lines and rather than let it sit I will just get started on writing it. I will also on occasion boil a story by starting it but then it let simmer by stop writing about it. This usually happens because of writer's block which is why I tend not to boil my ideas. To me there's nothing worse than having a great idea for a story and getting started on it only to stop half way through because I ran out of ideas and where to go next. I'd like to think I'm not the only person who does this in that I lean toward simmering ideas but on occasion will get started right away. I feel a story needs to be just right and the only way to do that is to do what works best for you, in the case of myself it's letting it sit for a while to either build up or realizing it's not that great and I can scrap it to move on to something more creative. How about you? What do you do when you have a thought for a story? Do you let it simmer for a while or do you just get started and cook away into your writing?

Nothing's Ever Free, There's Always A Fee

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Nothing in life is free. You've heard the saying constantly and more and more as we rely on things the more they are no longer free. There are two things in life to know about any product, website or selling point, they are either not free or they are free until they aren't and eventually there will be a price. Obviously I'm being very broad here in the sense of referring to "free" with everything we spend money on but let's narrow it down to the publishing and book industry. Whether it's publishing a book or promoting a book you as a writer have the choice on whether or not you wish to spend money. If you want to publish you're book for free your inclined to do so, if you want to spend a little money or spend a lot because you don't feel like doing any work than you're also inclined to do that. Promoting can in a sense be the same way but leans more toward not being free. You can promote your book for free however you will soon realize that it only goes so far and that if you wih to make big on some of the stuff your doing now for free that....you'll have to spend money. This article will take a deeper look at the promoting and marketing aspect of books and how as the infamous saying goes nothing's ever free.


The first thing to realize is you can be successful using free ways to promote and market it just takes an investment, lots of dedicated time and sticking to what works best for you. However in most cases and if you're like me you wish to promote and market for free but not entirely for free which I've come to realize just isn't going to work. My philosophy is this: Promote for free and spend small and only when you have to. The problem? All the small things I find that will be useful to me aren't free at all. Call me crazy but I'm mostly optimistic about things when it comes to selling books I couldn't be further from it. If you manage where you wish to spend your money then chances are you'll be okay but I feel like the business is getting more and more about money and less about the value and enjoyment of the books themselves. It seems like no matter what promotion you want to use, what website you want to join or what ad you want to use it's either not free or it's way too expensive. I'm a realist, I see things for what they are, I also like guarantees and making my money back. Does that make me a bad person? No it just means I like to know that what I invest in has promise, is going to work, and I not only get my money's worth but then some. Of course not everything can be guaranteed but again it just seems like in this business you really have to know where your ducks are nevermind have them all in a row.


What is the truth? You're going to spend some money to promote and market, it's inevitable. The key is to spend accordingly and when you can except there are certain things that must be constant and are monthly. For instance if you want a top notch website with unlimited access to things you have to pay a fee plus if you want your own domain you have to pay a fee. If you want to join a mass e-mail site like MailChimp and send out outmated e-mails theres a fee. Get past 2,000 subscribers? There's a fee. If you want to join two just two promotional author sites there's a monthly fee. You want to join a class on how to help your sales? There's a big fee. This is what gets me, if you add all that up it's a big sum and if you don't have income your not exactly keen on forking all of it over nevermind if you have it. What all these fees say to me is your spending all this so you can have ways to sell your book but however much your spending on all this you now have a goal that you must reach or else it's a fail. You don't have to agree with this premise but it's not wrong. By spending money monthly on your website, domain, two promotion sites and your automated e-mail subscriber list your giving yourself a goal of sales you have to make and it isn't realistic, what it is is a vicious cycle. Priorities are key here and I more than anyone am all about organization and making money but as the saying goes, in order to make money you need to spend money. Yes but you also don't want to invest everything and end up broke either.


This isn't a rant so what is it that I'm saying? I'm saying nothing is free, I'm saying that not everyone has the money to invest and spend everywhere they please. I'm saying that I know it's a process but they don't make it easy but then again why have it easy when you need to work? Ah another cycle or irony. You're already working yourself to the bone to write your books so why should you have to work at spending money on so many things? I suppose a very simple answer is well if this helps your books making a ton of money and your getting tons of reviews out of it then you shouldn't have to worry...it's just not realistic or guaranteed enough to attempt though. Take time and research what you want to spend money on. Manage your money wisely and think of how much it will cost you yearly rather than monthly and if you can pay something in one shot you probably should. Too many sites have these pay later or pay monthly, yes it's convenient but I'm talking about the ones where it's one shot and done. I'm talking about pay once, don't worry so you can focus on your monthly fees. Your books aren't going to sell themselves and eventually your going to have to spend money, all I'm saying at this point and the message to take here is to figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it. Spend accordingly and make sure your investments are the right ones.

Should You Appeal to Other Countries?

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

So your looking at your website stats and your sales on Amazon and you notice you have a decent amount of traffic from other countries. What does this mean? Should you do something about it and if so, what? Before we answer these questions let's first understand the basics. When you create a website and you put up a page for your books and you put out great content in blogs(you are putting out quality content right?) naturally people are going to visit your site. Not only will people visit your site and check it out but chances are they may be from another country. Let's first explain how it is your getting all this traffic from other countries. It comes down to tags, hashtags and most importantly; keywords. When you put tags and keywords into your titles and posts there are people out there looking for the very type of information your providing on your blogs. If your using the proper tags and keywords then chances are your page comes up first when they type in certain keywords and since people in other countries all like books and learning about certain types of information this is why you get visits from them. Since creating my site back in 2011 I have seen people from dozens upon dozens of countries including small islands I didn't even know existed. But is it a big deal and should you embrace appealing to other countries? The answer is yes.


When you get any type of publicity, acknowledgement or sales in any place you're going to try to figure out where, why and then try to capitalize on it to get even more. When these sales and acknowledgements are coming from other countries then just like any sale your going to analyze it, ask yourself why and try to appeal and tackle that aspect. One thing that would be good to do is to see why they are targeting a book of yours or content you provide and make the most of it. You should try to get sales any way you can and make the most of any opportunity this especially includes going after potential customers in other countries. It doesn't matter if they are in another country but the simple fact that your being noticed means you should try to embrace it and get sales wherever you can. Remember, any sale is a good sale so if you live in Chicago and you find out someone in Austria has bought your book then look into what made them buy and try to see if you can get more sales in Austria. 


I came across a thread on Goodreads where a woman noticed her book on a website that she wasn't familiar with. Naturally she assumed at first glance that it was a piracy site but it was in fact a book site from the Phillippines called National Book Store. This is where people from the Phillippines can get books and they can due to the fact that Kobo owns them so they are an affiliate of Kobo. I checked it out and typed my recent book Opium Warfare which is available on Kobo into the search and sure enough it came up. I then looked at the price, figured out how much it translates to in U.S dollars and then I asked myself if I should try to appeal and target to people in the phillippines. If I did all I'd have to do is refer them to that site and it would likely count as a sale for me because it's owned by Kobo. If you're struggling to sell in your country is it a bad idea to try and appeal to another? I suppose it depends but I think in the long run no. As I stated earlier a sale is a sale no matter where it's from so if anything just broaden your target audience and try to appeal to them in a different way than you would your normal audience, at least when it comes to trying to reach them.  Should you appeal to other countries? Absolutely. Make the most of any opportunity that comes your way. 

What to Use Facebook Ad's For

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

As authors we have all been told to try or have at least thought of trying Facebook Ads. First and for most if your an author and you don't have a Facebook author page then you need to go make one right now(Go, Go, Go!). One thing we always here is why Facebook stinks when it comes to promoting because they don't let your followers see your posts. Well newsflash: Facebook wants to make money just like everyone else. Facebook Ads are not the worst thing in the world, believe me it took me some convincing but 2 webinars and a ton of research later and I can sit here and tell you that running a Facebook Ad is something you need to try at least once. I also recommend researching how they work or for an even better idea of how to run one smoothly that you check out some webinars from Mark Dawson as he has made millions from running Facebook Ad's and is a master craftsman at them. A Facebook Ad is the thing to do but what do you run an ad for? Well I will give you a rundown of what you should and should not make a Facebook ad for. 


What to run a Facebook Ad for:

Lead Generation Ad- This is where you run an ad to gain followers by obtaining their e-mail address and you do so by using the ad to bring the person to a landing page. A landing page is where you tell the person if they join your mailing list they will receieve something free from you such as a book in a series, a character graph, an exclusive freebie, etc. A lead generation is the recommended ad to run if your considering what to run an ad for. It's a great place to start because naturally you want to build a following to gain fans and frequent buyers of your book and you do so by this. It's recommended over sales directly because your giving people free stuff and if they like what you have to say and your work that your offering all for free then chances are you gain not only their trust but you've made them a fan and constant buyer of your works whenever they come out.


To Get Sales Directly- First off you'd click on "Send People to Your Website" to run an ad to sell your books directly. You can choose to send them to your website or you can send them to Amazon, it's up to you. I've been told this isn't the ideal thing to run an ad for but it's certainly not the worse as it's second to Lead Generation ads. This is for when you want to run an ad to gain sales without wishing to build an e-mail list, Also it's good if your like me and your still in the process of getting the landing page made and trying to get more e-mails. Running an ad for sales is a good way to test the waters and see just how good your ad is. If it's good enough and you target the right people then not only will you get more sales but you may even get return customers without having to get them to your landing page. So getting sales directly is another good reason to run an ad. 


Promote Your Page(Get More Followers)- This is a good thing to run an ad for if your just starting out a Author/Business page and want to gain some followers. Of course you want to target the right audience just like you would with any other ad. I actually ran my only ad for this back when I was a couple months in to having created my page. I generated around 150-250 followers and I targeted people who were fans of my two books at the time and the type of writing I do. I would also say this its good to run this for when your getting ready to do a giveaway on another page. Of course you can run an ad for that too but in the event you want to focus on the giveaway directly and not have to worry about promoting it from all spots. Basically it's better to run an ad for your page as a whole than it is to run an ad to boost your individual posts. 


Raise attendance for an Event- As I stated above perhaps you want to build up your followers as a secondary thing while your running a giveaway on another page. Well if you want to run a giveaway and tell people on Facebook about it you can and should run an ad for that as well. Again you want to identify your audience, target them as you would with any other ad and tell them about the giveaway or whatever type of event it might be and explain where and why they should check it out. 


Get video views- If you have a book trailer or made an informative video explaining something or  your giving people some promoting and marketing tips then running an ad to get views for the video is a good way to go. I don't know too much about it and I don't know how well it works but it does seem like it could work as good as most ways I've said to run an ad for. It's something to consider.

Increase Brand Awareness- This is new for Facebook ads. It reaches people more likely to pay attnetion to your ads and increases awareness for your brand. 


What to NOT run a Facebook Ad For:

Boost Posts- You know when you make a status about your book on your page and you check back in a few hours expecting to see hundreds of views and you only have 17? Or when you have a post doing so well that Facebook suggests you run an ad to boost the post? Yeah..you don't want to do this. The reason you don't want to run an ad for it is because it's redundant and pointless. Imagine running an ad every time you posted something informative? You'd be doing it a lot. It's not realistic and benefits Facebook more than it benefits you. Plus as I opened this section, they want you to run an ad for both your statuses doing poorly and strongly. Facebook's algorithms prevent your posts from reaching all your followers. They base who will see your content based on what they think your followers want to see...dumb right? There is a simple way around this so that you don't have to waste time and money on an ad to boost posts. One thing to do is post images related to what you wish to talk about. Images tend to generate more views then regular text statuses. Also sharing other people's posts tend to get more views because they are feeding off multiple pages. You can also add something if you wish. I will note however that this may no longer be possible due to Facebook changing how you can log in as your business page. Do not run an ad for boosting posts.  


Why You Shouldn't Pay For Reviews

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Should you pay for reviews? It's one of those questions you see people ask constantly and there is a good share of mixed opinions on both sides. Well let me in very simple terms put it to you like this..do not under any circumstances ever pay for reviews for your books! Now I bet your wondering why I am so strong about my opinion well I will explain it to you but first remember this. Reviews are not fully for an authors benefit they are for readers to check out to get an idea on books. I do disagree with the whole "Reviews are not for the author" again not true, they are but they aren't solely for the author. An author can use reviews to build credentials for their book so it stands out and because any book looks good with lots of them. To the question at hand though, why shouldn;t you pay for reviews?


The first reason is because it's not a good practice. You don't want to rely on spending money to get reviews when you can spend money on much more reasonable things toward your book. I don't have many reviews for my books but at the same time I don't want to spend a ton of money to get them either. Also I feel paying for them makes them feel less worthy, I like earning my reviews, I like the idea of getting a sale or enticing someone to by my book or getting a review out of no where. It's just not a good practice to get reviews that way. Another reason you shouldn't pay for reviews? The cost. Everyone always mentions Kirkus. Kirkus this Kirkus that. Do you know what Kirkus is? Unrealistic, Not for everyone and most of all way too expensive. I've heard it costs well into the $400-500 range which is just ridiculous. Also there's no guarantee you'll get your book in. Look, just because I'm against it doesn't mean you should be, I mean if you want to give them a try by all means I'm just telling you that your better off working your butt off getting reviews or simpler easier ways just not paying for them by using Kirkus.


Another reason you shouldn't pay for reviews is because you may end up with results you may not be happy with. We all want 5 star ratings and reviews, let's not sugar coat it, we do. As authors we all want our books to be best-sellers and 5 stars all across the board with nothing but good things..well again not realistic. This is most certainly true with book tours. Book Tours are great if you want people to feature your book, have you do a guest post, cover reveal but reviews not so much. Why are book tours bad for reviews? Two reasons: One, not everyone is going to enjoy the book and your not getting all good reviews and two, people tend to cancel and it's not guaranteed so when your told you'll get 8 reviews and you end up with 4, chances are your not going to be very happy that you spent such money. I know this happens because it's happened to me. it didn't discourage me from trying it again but it did make me re-think and now if I were to do a book tour it wouldn't solely be to get reviews it would be for everything and if someone wanted to review then I'd consider that an added bonus. 


Finally there is another reason you shouldn't pay for reviews and it doesn't involve money..your thinking huh? What does he mean? I mean review swaps. They mind as well be considered paying for reviews because your not paying in money your paying by agreeing to give someone good praise for their book if they give praise to yours. NO, NO, NO! This is not only not good to do but it's downright frowned upon for authors. It means your only reading a book and pardon my french(kissing ass) so that you get a good review. That's not realistic and nobody wants to look at reviews for a book only to notice they have a ton of 5 star books and lots of them sound as though the person read the back cover and just through something together. You should never do a review swap because they aren't honest and in my opinion it's the same as spending a ton of money on getting them...don't do it, it's not worth it. So in the long run remember the keys to what you have read and why you shouldn't pay to get reviews. There are many ways to get reviews without paying such as joining Author's Marketing Club and trying their Review Grabber Tool, going onto Goodreads and ask for reviews in appropriate groups and folders, running a giveaway on Goodreads, Amazon or Rafflecopter, etc. These are just a few ideas but any idea is better than paying for reviews.

Is Mailchimp Worth the Money?

Posted on July 4, 2016 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Mailchimp is an e-mail marketing service that allows you to gain followers and create and write e-mails to send to your followers in a mass setting. It's easy to set-up and account however it's not quite all that easy to use, at least I don't think so. It can be a bit confusing so I would say just like any site you really have to use it a few times to get used to it. Basically the idea behind Mailchimp is it acts as a way for you to e-mail a bunch of people on your mailing list(you are building an e-mail list right?) Sorry I feel as though I was required to say that but even if your not big on building an e-mail list you should at the very least try and give it a shot. So why Mailchimp? Well there are other places you can use but I've always been told that Mailchimp is the most recommended. I joined a few months back and didn't like it but then seeing that I needed one to buld an e-mail list decided to give it another shot. The good thing about Mailchimp is you can upload an exsisting e-mail list and you can set a landing page or link on your site or post it to gain that persons e-mail to which you can then add to your list on MailChimp. So from that regard and everything else I have stated, Mailchimp would seem like quite the site to use right? Well that can be debated as my next point of discussion is about the title of this very post.


Is MailChimp worth the money? Well First off you should know that Mailchimp is free of charge to use however...If you want to be able to automatically send e-mails to your followers or ones to people who join to welcome them and give them info and something free then you need to pay a fee. The automation feature costs are based on the amount of followers you have. For example I have 25 followers so I'm in the $10 range if I were to pay to use it but I don't. The more followers you have the more you pay. When I first found out the automation wasn't free I won't lie I pretty much rode off the site. I find it ridiculous that there's a fee because obviously automation is a big part of using the site because no one wants to sit there and write every single new member manually especially if you run an ad to attract more followers. However, not only is this not free but they start charging you more money after you reach over 2,000 followers. This bothers me because they assume every single hard working indie author who wants to build a list has the money..well they don't, I know I don't. You have to spend money monthly to keep up your service on Mailchimp plus whatever else your spending, it's just a vicious cycle to me and unless you can really backup and cover your costs I don't think MailChimp is worth it.


Is Mailchimp worth it? Well this is just my opinion. I say if you have and are will to spend money and you have a solid e-mail list going then by all means go ahead and use the automation feature. Some people will make it work better than others. For me, I don't have the funds to pay monthly to use it and keep it up and even if I did I don't know that I would because I just don't get the full aspect of it. It's hard enough gaining followers as is and to reach them you need to pay a fee? I may be an outsider on this thought but I just don't get it. I'll say this much..I think your better off getting automation when you reach 2,000 followers. They start charging you after you reach 2,000 so either automation becomes free and they just charge you just for the amount of followers or they charge you for both but either way I would think it's best to consider paying when it's worth it and you have a decent size following. Mailchimp is used by millions and recommended by many so I am not totally against it, I get the premise and the idea and I myself still have an account and plan on using it. I may consider getting the automation fee when I get a good size following. So is it worth the money? Yes but only if you're either already set up to do so or you plan on set up to do so.


What's the Right Price for an Ebook?

Posted on June 14, 2016 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

You just published your book. You've set the paperback price on whichever publisher you use and now you need to set the ebook/Kindle price on Amazon...but what should you set your ebook price at? If your like me you've wondered this not only while pricing your books before they've come out but even well after you've already published them. With ebooks very much just as popular as paperbacks(if not more) an author has to make sure they have the price of their ebooks just right. As I always like to say you want a price that you can live with and won't lose sleep over although sometimes that may not be up to you which is why you should do some research on how to go about it. Luckily I have some ideas as to how you should price your ebook. Before I give some ideas as to what and how you should price your ebook just remember the following basics:

-Don't set your ebook at a ridiculous price:

You don't want to set your ebook in double digits especially if your an indie author. Lots of times if you see an ebook priced in the $10-15.99 range it's usually because the author is with a traditional publisher or well established enough to do so.

-Don't set it at the same price as your paperback:

This seems like a no brainer to me although it needs to be said. An ebook is different from a paperback and both have different markets so it's not the best idea price your ebook at the same price as your paperback.

-50% of what your Paperback is

Consider at the very least of setting your ebook at half of what the price of your paperback is. For example if your paperback is $9.99 then your ebook would be $4.99. This isn't the most ideal practice but it gives you a base to work with.

So what's the ideal price to set for your book?

Between $0.99 and and $4.99. $2.99 and $3.99 are the most common with $3.99 being the most popular. Why are these good prices to set your ebook at? Well for one it's a price where both you and the reader can feel comfortable. You can get a decent amount of royalties from it based off the 70% on Amazon and your readers don't feel like they are spending all that much and are getting a quality book. Also $2.99 and $3.99 are a reasonable and very happy medium. 

How should you determine which price is best for you?

You can determine this by two ways: Length & Word Count and your books Genre. As you may know there are word count's that help determine what a book classifies under. From a short story to a novel. First here is a list of what word counts determine what your book is:

 

Novel over 40,000 words

Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words

Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words

Short story under 7,500 words

Basically it's like this, the longer the book the higher the price, the shorter the book the lower the price. Readers expect this whether it's fiction, non-fiction, memoirs or biographies. Typically an ebook under 50,000 words is expected to be listed at below $2.99 and any book priced at $2.99 is considered too expensive. it's also said that if your a credible author with a large fanbase that you can get away with listing your let's say 30,000 page book at $2.99. However I will state this; this is only recommended as I myself believe $2.99 to be a fairly reasonable price for any ebook no matter what size it is but again that's just me, you can take listen to what's recommended and base choose your price on this if you want.


Another way to determine your ebook's price is by what genre it's in. To me this is actually a very good idea. You can very easily determine this and it's a lot easier than word length. Basically what you do is go on Amazon and bring up the books within your genre. Check out the first page and see what each ebook is listed at(note: you should disregard any book with an either high or odball price).Your looking to see which price comes up most often whether it be $0.99, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99, etc. I did this myself and I found that within the two genres my books fell under which were "Horror Poetry" and "Crime Thrillers" the average price was $0.99 and $2.99. This is a very simple way to decide of how to price your book. You can also do this one of two ways: you can take the price that shows up the most or you can add up all the totals and divide at the end for an amount..but this should only be chosen if you have a 50/50 split between two prices.


So there you have it. Two ways to figure out what the right price for your ebook should be. You can use the word count route and do it that way or you can decide based on the genre your book falls under. Remember this though, anything higher than $5.99 is pushing it, I get you want a good royalty amount but consider that a small reasonable price may get you a lot of downloads whereas a higher priced ebook may get you little sales. Dont set it at a ridiculous price you yourself would never even buy, don't make it the same price as your paperback and at the very least consider making your ebook 50% less than what your paperback is. Use the 50% as a template as a place to start of how you should price your book and go from there. 



Amazon Affiliates Program

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Are you a member of the Amazon Affiliates Program? For those who don't know what it is, basically you sign up and what you do is place Amazon ads on your profile or blog and anytime someone clicks on those ads and buys the product you get a percentage of that sale because the ad on your page was appealing.

 


You can pick what you wish to advertise on your page. You can pretty much advertise anything Amazon sells although I would recommend stuff that is in relation to what your page is about or you have knowledge on, you know just so the ads don't look totally out of place. I myself have ads for Kindle's and deals on books within my genres.

 


I haven't made any money off it but it's another way to make some quick cash, it's easy to sign up and there's really no harm in at least trying it out.

Making the Most of Amazon Author Profiles

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

One thing I've read in several places is how an author should make the most of their Amazon profile. The first thing is I don't think people really value their profile page on Amazon and don't realize what they can do with it. Why should you put effort into your profile? Well for starters when you send people to buy your books they may click on your name for more info about you or to check out more of your books.

 

Here are some things you can do for your Amazon profile to make it more valuable:

 

-Make a simple but informative Author bio

(The idea is you want to make it stand out so try writing a fresh bio rather than using the same old one you use everywhere else)

 

-Upload a professional or solid picture of yourself

(You don't have to be wearing a two piece suit but it should be an appropriate picture)

 

-Sync your blog to your page

(If you have a blog you can connect it to your Amazon page so people will see your articles and anything else you may post)

 

-Include links in your Bio

(Be sure to include links to your website or any social media sites you use and put them in your bio)

 

-Add your recent book's trailer

(If you have a book trailer for your novels you can upload one of them to your profile. I suggest uploading your most recent book)

 

-Include all your books

(Of course the books you've written will be listed but if you have written with someone or are part of any anthologies make sure your name is listed so that the book will show up in your books)

 

-Go over "Customers Also Bought Items By"

(Below your profile you should see a list of other authors under "Customers Also Bought Items By" this is telling the readers of your books that if they liked your works that maybe they'd also like these authors who are similar.

What can you do with this? Well you can't get rid of it or change it but you can make it work for you. Look up these authors and see what they are doing. Since they are similar to you perhaps you can reach out to them or find out what makes them successful and make what they do work for you)