Thursday, June 26, 2014

Change: Embrace It

Change … it’s inevitable.

What we do with it makes the difference.

Around every corner, we experience change. It could be as simple as a detour sign on your way to a destination or as complex as moving across the country.

Us writer types, well, sometimes we don’t handle change very well. We need our writing space, our coffee/tea, our M&M’s and whatever else gets us through our writing sessions. Most of us need our routines or we lose all productivity.

As with anything, we need to look at change with the correct eye. Have you ever driven through vast forested areas and seen blocks of trees wiped out—looking like a patchwork pattern throughout the wilderness? Our first reaction is, “How can they do this to this beautiful area?”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Is Google+ Where You Should Be?

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about Google+. As Facebook loses the interest of many users, Google+ appears to keep growing. For me, the visibility value of time spent on Google+ is far better than the same keystrokes or time on Facebook. From a pure business perspective, you might find that Google+ is the place to be.

Think about your interactions on both platforms. Most people tend to spend a lot of time “talking” to the same people or groups of people on Facebook. What do you do on Google+? It’s not the same is it? Typically, you’re not sharing pictures of your kids and pets. Maybe that’s the secret to increasing your visibility. Go where people don’t know you!

Many of you have developed your Google+ pages but have never really used them. Think about the potential when you interact on a social platform that’s connected to the world’s largest search engine (Google) and the world’s second largest search engine (YouTube). Here’s some tips on how you can build your presence on this interconnected social platform:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Search Engine Ranking - The Power of Social and Search

Search Engine Ranking: The power of social and search
Combining social and search is a powerful combination. 

The days of static websites dictating Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking is over. You might even think that setting up a Pinterest or Facebook Page gets you in the game, but it doesn’t. Activity plays a huge role in the business of discoverability. 

Even Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt recently admitted in a Bloomberg TV interview discussed in PC Magazine, that they missed the boat on social media. In the interview he said, “At Google, the biggest mistake that I made was not anticipating the rise of a social networking phenomenon … Not a mistake we’re going to make again.”  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Ultimate Supporter

I was thinking about Lynne Cantwell’s post on “Coping with Unsupportive Support” the other day and it made me think about this indie author/self publishing world we live in. We all need those words of encouragement every now and then. That is why sites like Indies Unlimited and other groups in our social media circles are so important.

It made me ask a question to myself. Do supportive groups or individuals help me reach my goal in writing? Maybe not. Before you all blast me with negative comments, hear me out for a second. As Lynne writes, “… a kind or encouraging word … is often enough to keep us plugging away.”

I agree that we all need positive feedback and support. But, that is not why you’re here. Every one of us is here because we’ve achieved some level of success in our writing venture.

“WHAT? Success?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Card lands its 50th Review!

It may not seem like much to some, but for me, this was another achievement in the book that just keeps on giving. The Card  received its 50th review, a 5 star review by Helen Gentile. Thank you, Helen, whoever your are!

Not to be outdone, a day later, BAM, #51 hit. It has amazed me that The Card, hitting #1 in three different categories on Amazon, continues to provide enjoyment for years. You never know going into this the shelf life of your novel. It's now been three years and it's still going strong. 

The sequel, The Scorecard, is still in editing mode. While we had hoped to get it out by now, we realize now that it will be toward the middle to end of the summer. Hang tight. Life happens. However, we want to make sure its ready to go before we publish.

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's a Cinderella Story

It’s that time of the year again. Here in the United States, the annual NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness, The Big Dance, The Final Four and a host of other names is in full swing. This three-week event kicks off with thirty-two games in two days. Televised, streamed and watched by millions, every second of each game is available for consumption. In fact, the first Thursday and Friday of the tournament were officially the least productive days in the US workforce for the entire year.

Why do millions waste countless hours watching? Two reasons—office pools and Cinderella. Betting on the “brackets” for the tournament is huge. So much so, Warren Buffett, the finance guru, offered one billion dollars for anyone who comes up with a perfect bracket. It’s only a 9.25 quintillion to one chance of winning (by Friday there were no perfect brackets left.)

As for Cinderella, well that’s a whole other story. Millions watch to see the no-name team knock off the perennial favorites—David versus Goliath stuff. University of Dayton and Mercer are shaping up as this year’s Cinderella. If you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with writing and publishing?

The NCAA tournament is like a microcosm of the publishing industry. When fans fill out their brackets, they typically end up with a championship involving a couple of college basketball powerhouses. Meanwhile, as you watch, you find yourself cheering for the huge upsets. A school like Dayton is the self-published author of the group, going up against the machinery of traditional publishing.

We see the same thing in our indies world. We get excited when a Hugh Howey or Martin Crosbie break through, challenging the established publishing industry. We cheer for their success and the success of indie writers in general. Is it because they’re great writers? Maybe. Is it because we all believe in Cinderella? Definitely.

Does anyone remember Florida Gulf Coast University from last year? Just what I thought. That’s one problem with the Cinderella concept. The next year, they don’t make it back. But, not always. Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) squeaked into the tourney as an unknown several years ago and made it to the final four. Since then, they’ve become a force each year in the tournament. Most people today don’t remember that they were the Cinderella—once upon a time.

That’s what we need to do as indie authors, not just make it to the big dance, but get back there each year. The more that happens, the less it becomes a Cinderella story. The more that happens, the more our reputations improve. The more that happens, the more the traditional publishing industry takes notice.

The more that happens, the more readers won’t remember that we were the Cinderella story. Eventually, there won’t be self-published and traditionally published authors … just like VCU isn’t considered a Cinderella anymore. We’ll all be authors, enjoying our time at the big dance.

is the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling Young Adult novel, The Card and So This is Christmas. He's also a healthcare consultant specializing in helping healthcare companies and practices develop a social media marketing platform, and maximize cash flow. You can find him posting weekly to Indies Unlimited and occasionally as a contributor on Yahoo! 
A version of this post appeared on Indies Unlimited.