The Internet has opened the possibilities for book marketing in ways that authors of the past could never have imagined. Previously, if you wanted to promote a book you would have to depend on methods such as getting positive reviews from critics or taking out ads in the newspapers. Today, however, you can not only market your book online in a variety of unique ways, you can reach a potential audience of millions. Or, if your book is intended to appeal to a particular audience, you can target your online marketing efforts to reach precisely that niche.

One of the ways the Internet has made book marketing more innovative is by allowing authors to offer sample chapters of their works online, either through their personal websites or from specialized sites that provide this service to writers and take a small commission whenever a copy is sold. And the sample does not have to be in text form as writers can also offer the sample in the form of an mp3 audio clip that is narrated by him or by an actor.

The popularity of video sharing sites such as YouTube also allows writers to promote their books by creating trailers for them. Stephen King, for example, created a short trailer for his recent novel Under the Dome. The affordability of video editing software has made it possible for authors to create short video clips that recreate a striking scene from the book intended to catch the attention of prospective readers.  Authors can even promote their books by setting up pages for them on social networking sites such as Facebook and putting content on it that visitors can view.

Of course, authors will still have to make potential buyers aware of the existence of the book and they can do this by taking out banner ads in various websites. These ads can feature the embedded trailer or offer sample chapters and have a button that users can click on that will take them to the author’s website or to their Facebook page. The possibilities for book marketing online are seemingly endless depending on the creativity of the writer.

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Writing online can be a way out to earn some extra cash and thus helping to take care of the expenses.  An online writer has the job of writing online blogs, articles, typing, data entry etc. and in turn he gets paid for the work done. Interesting thing here is that you do not need have any special type of qualification to start the work of freelancing. If you have the good writing skills and can take out time to write quality blogs or articles, you can start without any further thinking. Students, housewives, and retired people- actually everyone without age or gender limitation can carry out the job of online writer.

To become a successful online writer below are the basic steps to follow:

1    Prepare a well detailed profile of yours. This is the basic instrument, which all employers first look for. A good profile with details about qualification, experience and type and amount of work done can play a major role in getting a job for you.

2    You can plan about the type and style of work you would like to do. Defining your field of interest will give the kind of jobs you can happily work on.

3    Make a time table telling the daily timing for your work and the total duration you can devote as an online writer.  This will make you to be punctual and regular with increased comfort level to work towards writing jobs.

4    As in all kinds of jobs, a proper communication is very important between the employee and employer. So you have to take out some time everyday to talk to your employer, where you both can discuss the issues. So your online availability timings can be mentioned in the profile itself.

5    Search the web to narrow down on the websites, which can provide the relevant work for you.  You would need to register in these sites and should keep checking the various jobs available.

6    As many employers would like to see the work you have done in past, so prepare few samples of your work. These samples can be sent the employers on demand and can be the important key to get the work.

7    You should read a lot and widen your knowledge base. This knowledge will be helpful in writing articles and blogs on the variety of areas.

8    Improving your typing speed can be an added advantage for writing in lesser time once you are ready with the material.

9    Creating an online payment account is important to receive the compensation your job.

Quality writing is what an online writer should focus on. There is no limit of work available for freelancers on internet, only you have to increase the level of writing skills to grab that work.

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I lived down the street from a great used book store called ‘Twice Sold Tales’ for a number of years.  They stayed open all night on Fridays and Saturdays and put all of their books on sale for half off from the hours of midnight until eight in the morning.  I used to go buy a lot of books with the other night owls during those hours.  They had a lot of interesting categories in that store.  They had a bad poetry shelf, and they sold scads of used art books like ‘Horizon’ for a dollar each for a long time.  They had carts of books outside every day right near the bus stop.  These books were fifty cents each or three for a dollar.  I bought tons of books from those carts while I was casually passing by, walking around my neighborhood.

I was working a lot in those days, you usually have to if you live in a city to be able to afford it.  I didn’t get enough time to work on writing poetry and I felt pretty stifled as a result.  I was trying to do everything I could to still feel like an active poet so when I saw books about the poetry online writer market on those outside carts I snapped all of them up.  They were out of date but it didn’t matter to me.  They were still full of useful information about small presses and different approaches, and plans of attack for getting your poetry published.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a writer in the public eye, but I liked thinking about it.  It helped me take myself seriously.  I didn’t do a lot with the yearly books about the poetry writers market except read them.  They helped me feel better about myself as a writer and it helped me store up ideas for marketing myself when I finally might have the time again.

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Pick A Topic

July 19, 2011

There are so many great book marketing websites out there to explore on the internet.  It’s a wondrous and seemingly inexhaustible resource.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where your interest’s lie, if you have a computer with an internet hookup and you know how to type you can spend hours and hours of fun time exploring.  Sometimes I think that maybe it’s too addictive because in the past I sat down for what I thought would be an hour and I would get caught up searching for too many hours.  Maybe most people aren’t as obsessive as I am.  But it’s crazy how much you can find.  For example once I went online hoping to find information about Chinese herbalism and I found so many wonderful sites that I couldn’t believe it.  I marked them all as favorites so I could go back to them later.

I like to look at writing websites on a regular basis.  You can look at so many different types of writing for fun, or you can find works of beauty by published and otherwise unpublished authors alike.  A friend of mine and I were bored at work once so we downloaded erotic poetry off the internet and then we made the voice that is part of the Simple Text program read it back to us.  This was a hilarious exercise.  We enjoyed it so much that we did it quite a bit for a couple of months.  There were hilarious examples of bad poetry on some of the writing websites, but there is a lot of truly good writing out there to look at too.

The array of information that people have put on the internet over the last ten years really impresses me.  When it was a newer enterprise I had a job for a children’s software company and for a little while they linked up with schools to teach children how to use the internet to do searches on topics such as politics or botany.  It was my job to take the material provided to the schools by my company and do internet searches on them first.  This was to make sure that the kids wouldn’t come upon sites with adult content or otherwise inappropriate sites randomly.  At that time the internet was much more open ended.  It’s more recent that people earn money via their websites.  At that point there were adult sites that earned money for sure but more often there were just amazing amounts of interesting information to find.  This is still true; you just need to look a little harder now maybe.

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I miss the once popular art of letter writing.  I used to keep up lengthy correspondences with many of my friends and relatives.  These days, like most other people I know, I tend to only correspond with people via online writing such as e-mail, blogs, or one of the so-called community websites like MySpace or Tribe or Facebook.  I don’t much like keeping in touch in this way, but it seems other people prefer it so I do it sometimes anyway.  I have some relatives who are very bad at keeping touch with me, but if it entails online writer, like saying hello via Facebook, they are much better.

I guess in some ways I am what you could call a Luddite.  I like technology of course, but I think television is a dangerous passive entertainment.  I love watching movies but also think most people including myself spend way too much time doing such things these days. I really do miss the art of letter writing, and I am glad I kept copies of my previous correspondence from years ago. I always kept both sides, my letters plus those of the person I was writing with. They are very interesting to read. I also have copies of my online writing, such as my e-mail history from about the year 2000 on, but they are on Yahoo, and are mostly not printed out. I go in there occasionally and read some of the mails, and delete some, but they could get lost in the public world of yahoo at any time it seems to me.

Any type of saved writing such as letters are also vulnerable of course, to fire, water, and misplacement.  Last year our property owner set fire to the barn where I live.  I was saving a bunch of my journals in there, and poetry and some correspondence so of course I was shaken up by her mistake.  She didn’t submerge the horses’ electric coil to keep their water from freezing in cold temperatures, all the way into the water container.  It was open to the air, so it caught on fire, as did the plastic water tank.  She had made us clean up the yard too so we had coiled up all the hoses and put them in the house.  She saw this fire out the window thanks to where she was sitting in front of the TV.  We had to use the other animals’ water to put the fire out, and we were able to, but it was pretty scary.  I thought a lot about electricity after that, and about how vulnerable anything you try to keep really is, whether it is in the virtual world, or a hard copy in a storage area.

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Personalized Book Making

July 12, 2011

I’ve been interested in writing poetry since I was a little kid. I started out writing haikus when I was eight. I used to write about nature all the time and I kept a book of the haikus I’d written as I collected them. I loved counting out the syllables to fit words to the form. I later wrote all types of poems but this was the first form I found. I got my first lesson in how to publish your own writing because my mother decided I should make a booklet of my haikus and send them to relatives for Christmas.

My sister had written some poems too, and we used a copy machine at my Dad’s office to put together  our own little books. They were a huge success with the relatives we sent them to, or so they said. Years later when I had friends who were writing their own zines and publishing little chap books, I wanted to self publish some of my poetry, so I learned more about publishing a book myself through the use of Kinko’s and tape, staples, and glue.

I knew a lot of poetry slamming poets because I used to delve into that scene myself at times. Almost everyone I knew was trying to publish their own books.

My partner at the time was also learning book marketing on his own by making a bunch of silly little books that were supposedly for children. But really any parent would be annoyed if they went to get a book for their child and got one of his. He would randomly choose words from the dictionary and use the same selection process to choose random pictures from a collection he made that didn’t really go with the words at all.

He made a book called ‘A is for Walrus’ which was supposedly a loveable alphabet book for tots. But it really was a weird random art project for adults to read and laugh at.

He inspired me in my own quest to self publish. It can be a lot of fun to make a project for yourself where you put it all together. I enjoyed doing the folding and maneuvering that is needed to make books.

Years later for Christmas presents I joined a friend in her project of making home made journals for friends out of discarded paper and string using a hole drilling machine. This took me even further in my learning process of  how to publish books as the books we made turned out pretty official looking.

We could have sold them if we wanted to, we were told this by everyone we gave one to. To me though it was basically a fun crafts project to do where I would end up with personalized presents I could give to the people I love.

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Blogging for Money

July 8, 2011

Blogging for money is a hot topic in the online writer community.  There are definitely success stories out there, as well as throngs of disappointed writers.  So, how do you match your expectations to the realities of blogging?  Make sure to read up on what the skeptics have to say, and always consider the source.  Don’t limit your reading to people who are trying to make money by blogging about how you can make money blogging!

That being said, some blogs of this kind are valuable if they show you how much money they are making and from what source, or if they have good discussions going on with other people engaged in the same endeavor.

The consensus seems to be that if you want to make a full time living at blogging, you have to work full time.  At least for several years.   The skeptics and the responsible salesmen alike, will agree that it takes years to build up the quantity of quality content that it takes to attract serious traffic.  It’s best to make long term plans for ramping this side-business up until it eventually becomes your main gig.

Just as a full time blogging income requires full time work, blogging as a passive income strategy requires what most other passive income strategies do – hard work over a long period of time before you can rest on your laurels.

But before you get depressed and give up on blogging for money, here are some great things to consider.

You can maximize the positive outcomes from your effort by taking a look at all of your goals and hobbies and identifying some reasons for keeping up a blog that you feel good about, even if you aren’t getting paid right away.

Choosing a topic about which you have a lot of passion and knowledge is important.  Successful bloggers report that they post several articles per day, and keep up on reading similar blogs, related news stories, and books.

Could blogging be a source of free advertising for your current business or hobby?  If you’re a plummer, you could write about how to run your own plumming business, or a self-help how-to blog.  (You know they’ll end up wanting to call the expert eventually!)  Blogging is a great way to establish display your expertise.

If you hate the old 9-5 and prefer to surf the bohemian couches of Europe and Thailand, why not write a how-to for the like-minded, or post a travel-log and photos for friends and family.  These kinds of blogs have been known to develop into success stories.  It’s the old “do what you love and the money will follow” trick.

Let’s say you want to know how to get book published or get a recording contract. As any kind of artist, you can use your blog as your portfolio and press kit.  You can use it to court writers agents and publishing companies, galleries, book stores, and fans.  Establishing an on line fan base is always a great selling point when you are looking to publish or showcase your work.

Once you decide on a topic for your blog, your particular angle will depend on your book marketing goals.  If you want to give out teasers in hopes of selling a product, then of course, you won’t give your best content away for free.  But if you want your blog itself to make money, and even if you just want good traffic, then giving out the best possible content is important.  Think about actually being helpful, entertaining, or uplifting to your readers, not just about advertising.  As with any other money-making endeavor, you get rewarded when you offer something of value.

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The city I know the best has a wonderful outdoor market that has been around since the early twentieth century.  Local farmers sell produce and flowers there year round.  There are many little stores and restaurants in the market too, all underneath some large canopied roofs.  When I worked downtown I used to buy my groceries at the market and this helped me feel like I was living in some small European town.  I could get great prices on wonderfully fresh and locally grown items.  There is a great small dairy shop in the market as well and I would buy my eggs and cream there.

I used to go often to one of the market book shops.  It had a political flair and specialized in selling books by people with unusual ideas.  If you were holding a protest or trying to get the word out about your cause, this book shop was one of the top places to post your information.  I liked supporting them because they were independent so if I knew I was going to purchase a book I would have them order it for me.  That way I could give them the profits instead of some larger more capitalist book seller.  I got to know the owners.  They were nice, earnest young men who liked riding bikes in all of the organized bike events around the city.

They were fun to talk to when I went into their little market book shop.  Over time I started socializing with one of them and he started coming to political events that my friends were hosting.  My friends hosted an event called ‘Car Free Fremont’ three years in a row where that area of the city didn’t have any cars allowed in it that day.  There were all kinds of scheduled events about walking and biking.  My friend from the book shop came to this event and enjoyed himself immensely.  He ended up making friends with the people who hosted the event and so I got to see him more often.  And of course I still bought my books from him and his business partner.

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