Thursday, May 2, 2013

6 Book Marketing Tips that are Sure to Increase Your Visibility

Having yearly, monthly, and weekly marketing goals are crucial to achieving success. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.

Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan and it will have a number of steps or objectives that must be set in motion and accomplished.

Whether you’re book marketing or trying to sell another product or service, six of the bare basic online marketing strategies to increase you visibility are:

1. Create a presence and platform

Creating an online presence and platform is initiated by creating a website or blog. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the site name and content should reflect your area of expertise is.

Remember, plan first. Choose a site name that will grow with you. Using an author as an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is for young adults?

As part of your book marketing strategy, you need to create a ‘hub’ site that will act as the center to your offshoot sites, such as the individual sites for each of your books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the site’s name or part of it.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Marketing expert Mike Volpe of points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works.

Google verifies this ‘simple is better’ strategy and notes that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. In fact, Google gives a ‘poorer’ score to pages that are slow to load.

Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may also cause you to lose potential subscribers and buyers.

2. Increase visibility

Writing content for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility – content is definitely still King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back and, just as important, to share your post or article.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3. Draw traffic to your site

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You should also do article marketing which will increase your visibility reach.

Another strategy is to offer your readers free gifts, such as an ebook relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader and help establish your authority.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

4. Have effective call-to-actions

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords to use include:

  • Get your Free gift now for subscribing
  • Subscribe to our Newsletter
  • Free e-book to offer on your own site
  • Buy Now
  • Sign up or Join Now
  • Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
  • Be sure to Bookmark this site

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

5. Develop a relationship with your readers

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offers will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button or other call-to-action you have in place.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

6. Create an ebook for increased visibility and opt-in enticement

This is an effective marketing tool and ebooks can be offered for sale or given away as a gift or 'ethical bribe.' Whichever you will need it for, it's important to get on board the ebook band-wagon.



How Do You Create an Author Online Platform?
4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in Email Box

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance Writer/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor

Create and Build Your Author/Writer Online Platform
Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Keyword Search and Article Marketing Content Tips for More Effective Book Marketing

As an author you may not realize the necessity of keywords. You may feel they’re something a marketer or affiliate marketer needs to be aware of. It’s their area of business and their problem to find these mysterious words that help increase the ranking on search engines. But, that’s not really the case, not by a long shot.

Authors and book marketing go hand-in-hand. This area of online marketing is like any other and needs to use the same strategies to be effective.

Today, if you are promoting yourself and/or your book, service, business, or product, you need readers to now several things:

•    Who you are
•    Where you are
•    What you have to offer
•    Why what you’re offering is what they need
•    Why you’re qualified to be offering this product/service

Yes, there are a lot of requirements that need to be met in order to be successful in this ever expanding and competitive internet arena.

One of the basic strategies used to get noticed is writing or providing content – this is considered article marketing. I’m sure you’ve read or heard a hundred times that “content is king.” It is absolutely true. Imagine being a spec in the sky . . . so tiny and far away that you are invisible to the human eye. Well, that’s you in the internet universe.

So, how do you get a flickering light going and build it into a steady strong beam?

Valuable Content and the Keyword Search
The only way to get on the internet radar is to create valuable content, provide it regularly, and make sure it is keyword effective. As I mentioned, content is essential, without it you don’t have a chance. But, even with it, you need to fine tune your ‘must read information’ with a keyword search tool.

Don’t fret though. Finding and using keywords is not difficult to do; the search tools make it easy. Most of it is really common sense, using words you would use to search for your topic.  But, a keyword tool affords a much larger pond to fish from and is search engine specific.

For this article I plugged in the word “keywords” at (a free tool). The number one phrase for this keyword is “keyword research,” number two is “keyword analysis,” and number three is “keyword.” I really didn’t have to do a search to realize the word “keyword” would be there, I didn’t know, however, that “research” would be part of the number one phrase. Knowing the number one keyword phrase provides valuable information; this also means it is a highly competitive keyword.

The Long Tail Keywords

To make your keyword rich content even more effective look for what’s called long tail keywords. These are words that will move you away from the general querying crowd—and the heavy competition.

For example, if your niche is children’s writing your key words would be: writing, children’s writing, and possibly children’s fiction and/or children’s nonfiction.

To elaborate on these keywords - to get more specific and narrow your target audience - you might use: writing for kids, children’s fantasy chapter books, picture books, middle grade fiction books, or kids’ nonfiction magazine articles. You get the idea; you need to focus in on your niche. Instead of aiming at the outer rim of a bull’s eye, go dead center, or at least very close.

To get started in this area of book marketing, try a free keyword search tool from the three listed below:


Email List - 10 Giveaway Freebies to Get Readers to Opt-in
Guest Blogging – Advantages for the Guest Blogger
Your Author Online Platform and Social Networks – Blog Page Views and Twitter Followers

P.S. If you haven't yet, please sign-up for The Writing World newsletter (top right sidebar). 

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor

Create and Build Your Author/Writer Online Platform
6 Week WOW! Women on Writing E-class Starting May 6th


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Leonard Marcus: Maurice Sendak, Storyteller and Artist

Photo: Maurice Sendak at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia.© 1985 by Frank Armstrong

Part four in this series is based on my notes taken at the Highlights Foundation workshop, "Books that Rise Above," that I attended last October in Honesdale, PA. Today I am privileged to touch on parts of Leonard Marcus's talk about Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) and how he changed children's literature forever.

What We May Know about Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak was self-taught; he did not attend college. He is known as the most original picture book artist of our time. The reasons are many and varied. A few from my notes are that he had important mentors. He knew more about the history of children's books than anyone, which Leonard pointed out is crucial. His childhood was filled with emotion, which is what he was good at. He and his brother made their own fun; they started with nothing and found a lot.

What We May Not Know

In the chapter on Leonard's interviews with Sendak in Leonard's book, Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter, Sendak said he and his older brother held newspaper comics up to the glass window, traced the characters then colored them. They built a miniature of the 1939 World's Fair out of wax. He was an unhappy child, said he made everybody else unhappy, too, except his brother. He adored his brother and felt he saved his life. The illustrator of more than fifty books, author of seven by 1964 when he won the Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak transformed himself with each book. He did not want to be known for one type of book.

How Maurice Sendak Revolutionalized Children's Literature

Leonard discussed earlier children's books and those written by Sendak's contemporaries to help shed light on the landscape in which he worked. Prior children's stories portrayed a romantic image of childhood, i.e., happy young Dick and Jane-types running through fields of flowers; and such contemporary books as Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder. Sendak understood that children take  books to bed with them and read stories to their cats; also, that children's feelings run deep. He believed children can't be protected from how they feel. And, children's books can help them be honest about even their worst feelings. His direction, instead, was toward works like Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown published in 1946, which was presented in an experimental format, and tuning in to how children learn and what children enjoy, which Ruth Krauss, author of The Carrot Seed, did by visiting preschools and listening to what children say.

Leonard's take-away: Sendak wanted to express himself as much as he could. He used his fame as an opportunity to be a spokesman for children, to broadcast the idea that adults aren't the only ones who have First Amendment rights. Children do, too. How I benefited from Leonard's talk: I am touched by Maurice Sendak. Not only by becoming more familiar with his works, what they mean to the world and how they were created. But also, perhaps I benefited most by learning about Sendak's life, which is illuminated so vividly in Leonard's book, Show Me a Story!. I was amazed to find quite a few parallels to my own life, as I imagine might be true of most of us, which has helped me better analyze my own childhood.

If you would like to read past posts in this series, please visit:

Part One: Two Ways to Hook and Keep Your Reader
Part Two: Nouns Need to be Concrete and Appear More than Once
Part Three: Tent Pole Structure
Next month: Leonard Marcus: Let the Wild Rumpus Start
In future posts: A link to the complete list of "Books that Rise Above" will appear at the end of this series.
Sources: Photo: Many thanks to Patrick Rodgers, Curator of the Maurice Sendak Collection at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia for putting me in touch with photographer Frank Armstrong, who took the above photo at the museum and graciously allowed me to include it in my post. Books: Marcus, Leonard, Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press, 2012; Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. New York: Harper Collins, 1963; Krauss, Ruth, The Carrot Seed. New York: Harper Collins, 1945; and McCloskey, Robert, Time of Wonder, Viking Press, 1957. 
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-9 year olds. Publishing credits include seven biosketches for the library journal, Biography Today, which include Troy Aikman, Stephen King, and William Shatner; Pockets; Hopscotch; and true stories told to her by police officers about children in distress receiving teddy bears, which she fictionalized for her column, "Teddy Bear Corner," for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Newsletter, Dayton, Ohio. Follow Linda on Facebook. 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
William Wordsworth 
Sometimes we dream of a writing retreat to find fresh creativity or end writers' block. Cozying up to a roaring fire at a ski lodge with your laptop or digging your toes in warm tropical sand with pad and pen, conjures up the perfect setting. Productivity will ooze from you! Perhaps. But perhaps not. 

Writers must find the breathings of their heart no matter what their situation, circumstances or environment.  

Bloom where you are planted.

I have found some of my best writing occurred when the circumstances were undesirable. It drew something deep within me that found its way on paper. Who hasn't stopped to notice a flower sprouting from a crack in a city sidewalk? Just like that flower, your writing can have a profound affect when you're going through something. Use those emotions to stir something deep within you.

Do you have a story to tell of how you bloomed where you were planted?

Photo Credit:
 Theophilos / / CC BY-NC-ND


Kathleen Moulton is a freelance writer.  You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts -


Friday, April 26, 2013

The Law of Confessions

A confession to a crime is considered a direct evidence of guilt, not a presumption of guilt. It is the main thing most often used and relied upon for a conviction.

                  The law of confessions is rather involved and is a conglomeration of Constitutional law, Federal and State statues (legislative law), and Anglo-American tradition. There are five hurdles a confession must pass in order to be considered valid:

                  1.  4th Amendment exclusionary rule -- this rule forces a suppression hearing
                       anytime someone claims a confession is not valid. In a nutshell, a
                       confession is not acceptable if obtained illegally.

                  2.  5th Amendment self-incrimination right -- no person shall be compelled in
                        any criminal case to be a witness against himself. This entails testimony,
                        not physical evidence.

                  3.  6th Amendment right to counsel -- this is extended to all “critical” pretrial
                       phases of criminal procedure.

                  4.  5th Amendment due process clause -- this rule is combined with the 14th
                       Amendment due process clause. Together they make up the basis for the
                       free and voluntary rule and is the major test in the law of confessions.

                  5.  McNabb-Mallory rule -- a legislative law which prohibits any “undue
                       delay” in arraignment and holds null and void any confession, no matter
                       how voluntary, if derived from lengthy delays in bringing the suspect to
                       to justice.

                  The free and voluntary rule is a two-part test involving subjective and objective factors. One part focuses on the susceptibility of the suspect which includes: background of the suspect, intelligence of the suspect, education of the suspect, prior experience with the system, physical condition of the suspect, mental condition of the suspect, and coping skills. The other part deals with the environment and methods used: location of the setting, length of the questioning, intensity of the questioning, frequency of the questioning, food and sleep deprivation, and intimidating presence of officers.

                  The Anglo-American tradition says that confessions must be a product of free will and voluntary choice. Free will should not be “overcome,” and voluntary choice should not be “coerced.” In other words, there must be a positive freedom of choice.

                  Suppression hearings generally occur when the accused’s lawyer determines the confession was obtained illegally. The motion for suppression must be made prior to trial, and the burden of proof is on the defense lawyer that a search was illegal or a confession was coerced. A motion for suppression is generally looked upon with skepticism by the prosecutor and the judge as a delay tactic by the defense lawyer.

                  As you can see, there is a lot involved in the acceptance of a confession. As writers we cannot always go through these steps in our story as it could be rather boring to our readers. But there may be some of you who can use some part of this to enhance your story or to even add suspense to a courtroom scene.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of:  To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders
                              Sarah’s Secret
Member of:  Sisters in Crime
                    Writers on the Move

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Do You Really Need an Author Website?

The idea of creating an author or freelance writing website may seem overwhelming to many who are new to the writing arena. This may lead to a hesitation in regard to taking the website step.

But, don’t let fear or procrastination get in the way of your online presence. A website is a necessary online marketing element that is at the foundation of your author platform.

Here are a couple of statistics to demonstrate the need for a website if you have any intention of building an author platform:

According to, there are 694,445 Google search queries made and 1,500 blog posts published each minute.

The internet is the place for people to search globally for what they want or need. Having a website allows you to be in on that action.

If you want to create visibility for you and your book or product, a website is the initial spark that will ignite your internet presence. And, it will be the hub or central location where you will let people know who you are and what you have to offer.

To further cement the need for a website, it’s through your website that you will attract readers, get email subscribers, and sell your books and products.

There’s really no way around the fact that you need to create your author platform, and it should be before you are ready to submit your manuscript, according to Chuck Sambuchino, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform.” The reason for this is that now having an author online presence and platform is a factor in whether a publishing house will say YES to your manuscript. And, the first step in creating that author platform is to setup a website.

It’s easy to see that a website is positively, absolutely necessary, and it’s not as difficult as you may think to create one. The first step is planning.

Plan Your Way to a Website

As with any project you undertake, the first course of action should be to plan out your course of action. This is usually considered a business plan or writing plan.

Your website is your online calling card or business card. It needs to be as professional as you can get it and needs to have all the necessary elements of an effective site.

So, if you’re not familiar with websites, one of the first steps in your course of action should be to learn about all the elements needed to create an effective website.

As an example, one of the first elements that you’ll need to work on is the domain name. Choosing a domain name is serious business. It needs to be searchable, convey what the site is about, and relate to you. It should be part of your platform, your brand. And, if at all possible, it should have your keyword in it.

Other elements of an effective website include: optimization, specific pages, posting fresh content regularly, an opt-in, and a freebie.

While a website is an absolute necessity, it also needs to be effective. The saying, “if you build it they will come,” doesn’t cut it in the internet world. Your site needs to attract visitors, be engaging / informative, be reader friendly, and convert. It needs to be planned out and optimized.


There are hundreds of thousands of searches done every day and there are around 2,000 blog posts published every minute. In all that internet noise, how do you get noticed? How do you become someone's search results? How do you create an optimized online platform?

Let me answer your questions and show you how in my next WOW! Women on Writing e-class on creating and building your author/writer online platform.

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Writing Minute by Minute

In the theory assignment for their qualification, my students have to answer set questions on the practice and principles of assessment.

The questions are clearly stated for each unit section and subsection. The evidence they need to produce in their answers is itemized in the course handbook.

All they have to do is put the questions and answers together. Can they do it? No.

The excuses seem valid--not enough time, too many interruptions, inability to cope with work, home and family as well as compiling a portfolio for a qualification. The deadline looms and deadlock hits the brain.

To solve the problem, I copied each question into a Word file leaving a suitable boxed space for them to type in an answer. In that space I printed the keywords they need to incorporate.

Each week I shall send one unit. In eight weeks, the course will be completed--just in time for the exam board to  accredit their qualification.

Confine  Your Writing                      

A foolproof way for writers struggling with time and/or family constraints to complete a full-length work is obviously to divide it into sections.

But these need not be chapters. Try confining yourself to paragraphs or even sentences. Give your ideas time to percolate. 

Whether you're struggling with a short story, a newspaper article, a novella or even a novel--divide it into sections.

Novels up until the mid-twentieth century often had little summaries to preface each chapter.

image from classroom

Chapter One
In which Mistress Craddock finds the flower garden besieged by cows and her sympathies sorely tried...

For a writer starting out or one stuck for ideas, this is a fun way to let the ideas talk for themselves.

Start as always with the inciting incident. What starts the action rolling? Then let the journalist's mantra take hold.

Who, what, when, where, why and how. The order in which you choose to answer these questions is what gives your unique twist to the tale.

Back to Mistress Craddock. Who was responsible for letting the cows escape? Why was it so trying for her at this particular time? How will her problems be resolved?

Pop in your keywords. Each question can be answered with another until bit by bit you've constructed a completed work. Ten minutes a day can still produce great stories, great writing.

 Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and she shares hopefully helpful, writing, editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers relatively regularly. 

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