tagged with: blogs

Have you seriously thought about your About page? Are you happy with it? Is it drawing the readers you hope to attract? If you answer no to any of these questions, maybe you need to go back and take another look at this important page on your site.

Consider your About page as your sales copy. It is what sells you to your readers, your target market. Once you know who they are you should address them with the proper tone and content. So here are some facts to consider:

1. Tell them who you are – your name and your credentials. Whether you write in first or third person depends on the tone of your site. First person tends to be more informal.

2. Show them who you are – You are not a dog, a cat or a flower. As long as you are a human being you should have a photo so people know who they are dealing with.

3. KISS – By this I mean Keep it Short and Simple. Write in simple, concise sentences. Readers don’t have much time to stay on any one site.

4. Infuse your values – Let your readers know what makes you tick, what brought you to this point. It doesn’t have to be an essay, just a few short, simple lines.

5. Include your social media – Let your readers know how they can connect with you on Facebook etc. That way they get to know more about you.

6. Have a call to action – What do you want your readers to do after they have read about you? Invite them to browse your online store, subscribe to your blog or visit your Amazon page.

7. Toot your horn – Potential clients want to know what makes you an expert. Any certificates, honorable mentions, awards etc. should be mentioned on your About page.

I did a major overhaul to my About page and am still in the process of tweaking it. I think it’s still too long and wordy. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Also, if you post your website URL, I’ll check out your page as well.

As 2012 hurtles to a close and your mind tries to make sense of yet another senseless massacre, or the fiscal cliff or your Christmas shopping, or a myriad of other things, somewhere in the midst of all that, you are probably telling yourself you need to make some goals for 2013. But how do you start?

HubPages suggests you start with knowing what you want. But do you? I mean seriously, apart from knowing that you want to succeed at writing, what do you really want? The following tips may be helpful:

1. Know your interests. What excites you? What are you passionate about? Decide what that is and then write about it.

2. Become a niche expert. When you unleash your passion, you acquire knowledge and expertise which will help you uncover your niche. Niche writers are like established businesses. Think WalMart for inexpensive goods, Best Buy for electronics, Hersheys for chocolates. Let your name be associated with something.

3. Network. You know this already, but do you do it? Online social media has made it easy for the introverted writer to expose herself to the world. HubPages refers to this as being an active netizen – a citizen of the net, that’s my interpretation. Social media sites abound on the net. Get involved in the most popular ones such as Facebook, Twitter etc., meet new people and make new friends. It’s all about that dreaded word – platform.

4. Write more. Short and sweet, but regular, blog posts will put you in better standing with the search engines than longer, infrequent postings. Writing more often will also improve your skills and help you build an audience faster.

Now that I’ve told you how to set your goals, here are my goals for 2013.

I will be the first to confess that I have been slack in some of the areas above, so I may have to repeat them for myself. Here’s my list in order of importance.

1. Publish my novel Coming Out of Egypt in 2013. I’ve been working on this novel for years and have just had the good fortune to have an editor request my full manuscript and synopsis. In the coming days I’ll be sweating away, getting it ready to submit.

2. Become a niche expert. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time, but because of work constraints I was not able to do so. Since I’m a health professional, my niche will focus on health and fitness. If I have the time for a second site, it will be weddings.

3. Increase my blog traffic. This I’ll do through more regular postings, article marketing, social media marketing and distributing a newsletter.

4. Get started on affiliate marketing. I already signed up with a few companies, but I have yet to earn commissions. I plan to be more vigorous in this area.

5. Read more. I cannot be an effective writer without reading.

So, there you have it. What are you goals for 2013? Please share them in the comment box below. And while you are thinking about your goals, take some time to reflect on all the blessings you received this year. Merry Christmas!

We live in an age where new words keep popping up faster than microwave popped corn. A lot of this has to do with the internet. Words such as blog, webinar, branding, social media were either not known, little used or meant something entirely different before the turn of the century. Now I’ve come across another one: blovel. This means a blog that has been turned into a novel or vice versa, I’m not sure which. However, some people think that writing a blovel can help an author build a platform, leading to a book deal with a major publisher. After all, that’s the reason many of us write, isn’t it?

One advocate of book blogging says it’s very easy to turn your blog into a book. Simply write a short blog post every day starting from the beginning of your book and at the end of a year you should have a book, er, blook. I’m sure you can figure what that is. While she admits that blogging your book lends itself best to non-fiction, she thinks it is also possible to turn out a good blovel. She advises that you
a) plan your story arc well,
b) divide your chapter into mini-scenes,
c)decide how you will weave your posts into a manuscript that flows.

These all sound plausible, however Jane Friedman, professor, media professional and former publisher of Writer’s Digest pleads, “Please don’t blog your book.” While Jane agrees that some blogs may make for excellent books, these are the ones that fall in the information category or are memoirs, like Julia and Julia. Jane’s reasons for not blogging your book are also straightforward and plausible. They are:
a) Blog writing is not like book writing. Think SEO, keyword etc.
b) Blogs can make for very bad books – unless it’s an e-book or an illustrated book.
c)If a book sounds like a series of blog posts, she considers it a failure.

In some of the forums I visited on the subject, one author brought up the very important of original work. Publishers tend to shy away from anything that’s considered already published, and if it appeared on your blog then it qualifies as published work. Another person said he has been blogging scenes from his book, but he has yet to acquire a readership.

I’ll continue this discussion in another post. Meanwhile, drop me a line and let me know if you think blogging your book is a good idea, or if you have done it what kind of results have you had.

Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com

It’s been a while since I posted anything to this blog and I apologize for that. It’s not that I couldn’t think of anything to write. Far from it. It’s just that my day job has been keeping me super busy and other personal things have been happening and in times like these, sad to say, my blogging is sacrificed. However, thanks to my critique group, Sharpened Pencils, I have been critiquing some posts and have been working on revising my novel, Coming Out of Egypt. Will tell you more about that another time.

So, today I thought I would pass on a few pointers about how we can keep up with our writing when we don’t have enough hours in our day.

1. Prioritize. This is important so you don’t get sidetracked. What is it that you must do today? Write down the three most important things you must do from the night before. They might be as simple as a) Go to work, b) Write blog post, c) Attend parent-teacher meeting. If you work everyday, you might leave off the first one and just write the next two most important ones. Somehow, when you write things down they become concrete and are more likely to materialize.

2. Schedule. Make up a schedule of what works best for you. Again, if you have a day job, you may want to schedule at least fifteen minutes writing time first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, whichever works best. But if you write 200 words in those fifteen minutes every day, by the end of that first week you would have written 1400 words. In a year you would have 72, 800 words, enough for an average length novel. You can finish even faster on the days when you have more time.

3. Be consistent. It doesn’t matter whether the words flow or not, whether your coffee was too strong or too weak or your room too hot or too cold. Michael Lewis, non-fiction author and financial journalist, says ” I’ve written in awful enough situations that I know that the quality of the prose doesn’t depend on the circumstance in which it is composed. I don’t believe the muse visits you. I believe that you visit the muse. If you wait for that “perfect moment” you’re not going to be very productive.” – Robert Boynton, The New New Journalism.

So there you have it. The three best ways to keep on writing even when you think you don’t have the time, or you don’t feel like it. What are some of the ways you remain productive? Share it in your comments below.