Category Archives: General

Heads Up!

I’m moving! Well, my blog is anyway. I love the look and feel of WordPress, but I just really prefer blogging on blogger. That’s where my other blog is, so I’m moving this blog over there as well. I know I might lose followers for this, but I really think it’s the best thing for me to do. I would love for you to follow me over there, you can find my new blog at: http://authorheatherhart.blogspot.com/ – or simply click the button below:

I hope to see you there!

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Merry Christmas!

As we are busy preparing for Christmas, I thought that I would keep this post short. No writing tips, no author tools, nothing beneficial whatsoever. Just a note to tell you Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy your Christmas celebration, and time with your family this weekend.

 

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Press Release Tips

Press Releases are a great way to market books and draw potential buyers to your website. During my time writing press releases I have learned quite a bit, but I know that I still have TONS to learn. While I know I am no expert, I wanted to share a few things with you. 1st, there are so many free press release distribution sites. These are great if you are on a tight budget, but not quite as effective as some of the other ones. Still, I have seen over 200 hits on some press releases through them. If you choose to go through a site that charges, I encourage you to know what you are paying for. Find out what kind of visibility will be available to you, and the benefits that come along with that membership.

When using free press release distributors, make sure you know what is free. They might ask if you want to upload a photo, but photos are only available for paid releases, or something along those lines. Many also have a limit on how many you can post per day or per week. Some sites also allow you to set up free accounts, but charge per press release once you are signed up.

Another important thing that I have learned is that different sites have different standards. It’s important to read the guidelines for each site and tailor your release to meet their satisfaction. I have submitted the same press release to multiple sites, only to have some accept it and others reject it. It’s usually because I missed something in the guidelines. Here is a list of things that vary from site to site:

  • The use of exclamation marks – Some sites will not publish press releases with exclamation marks, others don’t give them a second glance.
  • The title – While some sites insist that the company name is included in the title, others prefer the title is more descriptive. Most sites are pretty standard about title formatting. ALL CAPS is forbidden, but they expect the first letter in each word to be capitalized.
  • Noun usage – Press releases should be written in third person, however whether or not they allow the use of the word “you” depends on the site.
  •  Advertisements – There is a fine line between a news release and an advertisement in the press release world. While you might be writing to advertise, different companies can see the same press release different ways. While one says it’s news worthy, another might declare it ‘too pitchy” and ask you to change it or reject it all together.
The above listed are things that vary from site to site, but a few things remain the same:
  • It has to be newsworthy
  • It should be properly spaced and formatted
  • It should be a news release, not an article
  • It should only be submitted once, and needs to be recent news
  • It needs to be professionally written
  • Nothing illegal

So there you have it. Press release tips from me 😀 for whatever they’re worth anyway. Do you use press releases to market your book, or author events? Got any tips to share?

 

My favorite press release writing resource is “Get Your Press Release Done!” by Self Publishing Coach, Shelley Hitz . I must admit that there is a ton of information available online, but this is my favorite resource because it is so well laid out! It took me from knowing nothing, to successfully writing press releases in no time!

 

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Where do you write?

Most authors write in a certain spot most of the time. I use to argue this point because I did the majority of my writing on my laptop and I took it everywhere. However, when at home, I did the majority of my writing at the kitchen table. Sure, I wrote other places in the house, but that was my default place.

While I still do the majority of my writing on my laptop, I now have an office at home that I try to do my work in. The reason I made the switch, was because I wanted someplace where I could organize all of the things I use for writing. All of my books, notebooks, computer accessories, just all of it. Also, as a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschooling mom, and housewife, I needed a place where I could go to let my family know that i was working. They know that when I am in my office I’m working and need to be able to concentrate. Since my kids are still young, I obviously don’t get uninterrupted work time unless they are all in bed, but it has certainly reduced the number of distractions.

When I was putting together my small office, there were a number of things that I put into consideration. Which side of my desk to put my monitor on. It’s hard for me to write if it’s on the right side (don’t ask why). I needed enough desk space to keep my laptop, notes, and other resources (I’m still looking for the perfect shelf to replace the one I currently have). I needed room for reference books, and I had to have all of the right supplies.

Here’s a current photo of my office:

What about you? Do you have an office? What were some key things that you needed to account for or include when setting it up?



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NaNo Update

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I am having zero success this NaNo season. My first day, I wrote almost 2,000 words on my novel before deciding that I hated it, and switching to a different one. I wrote close to 1,000 words on that one before deciding it was not going to happen. I spent two days moping around before trying something different, where I only got 500 words… So that’s where I am. NaNo is half over, and I don’t even have something to write about…

How’s your novel-writing going? Hoping you’re doing better than me!

<img src=”http://www.nanowrimo.org/widget/LiveParticipant/heather-hart1.png&#8221; />

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Why Did You Become a Writer?

I think every author has been asked that question at some point. Moreover, every author that is yet to be published has been asked the question, “Why do you WANT to be a writer?” As if there is some hideous plague that accompanies this profession. I’m honored to be able to host Dave Fessenden here on my blog this Friday to hear his answer to that question. But for now, I thought that I would ask you?

Did you become a writer simply because you always loved to write? Or was it because you tested a certain way on one of those placement tests in school? Maybe you never wanted to become a writer, but you wrote something that people liked and you could never live it down? I would love to hear your story. Be sure to stop back in on Friday to find out why Dave became a writer.

 

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Optimizing Amazon Book Sales:

If you have a book for sale on Amazon, you might be missing out on sales simply from lack of visibility. Did you know that you can increase your exposure just by updating a few things from your Amazon Central account? It really is that easy to make more sales. Here’s a small list of things that can help you get more exposure for your book:

-Update you categories, keywords, subjects, and tags: If you put some time and research into choosing the best categories, quality keywords, specific subjects, and appropriate tags, you can quickly raise your ranking on Amazon; which in turn, can make your book more visible.

-Fill out your Amazon sales page: Include as much information as possible on your books sales page. The more you can tell your customers about you and your book, the more likely they will be to spend money on it.

– Put together a best-seller book launch: Having a best-seller book launch can encourage people to buy your book, and increase your rating at the same time.

Those are just a few of the simple things that you can utilize to get the most out of your Amazon account. Shelley Hitz’ latest product: ‘Amazon for Authors,’ walks you through the process of optimizing your book sales on Amazon and Kindle. Besides covering the above mentioned tips in greater detail, you will learn about digitally “autographing” your books, how to track your sales data, and so much more. You can learn more by visiting her website: Self-Publishing-Coach.com

 

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