But with so many platforms to choose from, which one is best for you?
In a recent article I posted on LinkedIn, I shared four things to consider when choosing a platform. I believe that everyone has that one main platform that truly works for them, and that is the one that they should focus the bulk of their time and energy preparing content for. Why overwhelm yourself? If it’s working for you, that’s what you stick with.
You can always repurpose your content for other sites; which is why you need a content marketing strategy in place.
So, how do you choose the right platform? Read this article on LinkedIn.
Until next time,
So it has been a while since I have actually blogged about writing and business and things of that nature. I don’t know if it was because I was getting burned out, bored; not really sure. But one thing is certain: I almost forgot how important a blog is to anyone who is serious about building credibility online.
I started blogging in 2008, and I used to have a set schedule where I treated my blog as an important part of my marketing strategy (which you should do too if you are serious about getting results). I blogged every morning at 6 am. But then as time wore on, and I started seeing results from my blogging, I got lazy and relaxed. My focus was all over the place and wasn’t very clear at all. The audience that I had built suddenly started to dwindle because I started to talk about everything else except books, writing, and how this whole industry works business wise.
What I learned was that I had lost focus of what the purpose of a blog really is in the first place. The purpose of your blog is not make money; it’s main purpose is to educate your audience, help them get to know about you and the products and services that you offer, and help them make the decision on whether or not they should become a customer or client of yours.
There are so many people who teach that you can make money blogging; which you can. But the money does not come from blogging in and of itself; it comes as a result of blogging. That may seem a little confusing, but, once you catch on to it, you will understand the concept a lot better.
I am making a commitment to get back to building my marketing platform, which is my blog. Blogging allows you to share your knowledge and expertise with the world. If you are serious about growing your business and your platform, selling more books, or whatever it is you want to do, you need to blog. And you need to do it on a consistent basis. So, are you up for the challenge? Are you going to make a commitment to blog? I hope that you will add this powerful marketing strategy to your arsenal in the coming year.
Until next time,
Publishing Your Own Book Does Not Have To Be Hard At All
Self-Publishing a book can be a very scary task; especially for a new author.
With so many companies and independent professionals out there, it can be rather intimidating to try and navigate its waters alone.
It is for this reason, the Self-Publishing Basics book was written.
There are a few rules to follow when venturing into the realm of publishing on your own. It is good to know what steps to take to avoid the many pitfalls that await an unsuspecting new author.
So, what steps do you need to take to self-publish a book?
The first thing you need to consider is if you want to take on the responsibility.
Even though the allure of having a book out there with your name on it can be exciting, it takes a lot of work to be successful.
You have to be willing to wear many hats, or, be able to hire someone to help with the tasks of bringing your book to print.
You need to make sure that your manuscript is finished first and foremost. When I set out to publish my first book, I rushed to finish it because I was trying to take advantage of a special offer through a company I was working with. I didn’t realize that throwing my book together turned some people off from wanting to read any other work from me because the book was very poor quality. Even though I felt the story was a good one, it wasn’t developed properly and it showed.
It is also important to research your title. My first book shared the same title as a very successful author at the time, and it was hard to convince people that I hadn’t written my book under a pen name. You don’t want your book to share the same title as a book that is popular in its genre because it will only add to the competition for book sales.
For a detailed list of the steps you need to take in order to successfully publish your own books, click here.
Until next time,
Mindset is something you hear a lot about in the personal development realm.
“Change your thinking, change your life.”
And it is so true.
Mindset is so important.
If you don’t really believe in what you’re doing, that you can actually find success doing it, then you are wasting your time.
Success is never going to come to you if you don’t believe that you can truly have success.
And that kind of sucks.
To think that you can be trying so many different things, wondering why nothing is working, when the whole time it’s your mind that’s all messed up.
Just because others around you may have never experienced the kind of success that you want, does not mean that you will never have it.
If those people did not really believe that the things they were working so hard for was truly within their reach, then that explains why success never came to them.
YOU must believe.
There is no way around it.
Your mind has to see your future before you can ever embrace it.
Mindset is something that many entrepreneurs struggle with on a daily basis.
We know what we want; but to some of it, what we want seems so far out of reach.
It almost feels unreal that we can have something like the things that we want.
For some, it may be a nice home.
For others, a nice car.
Or, to be able to finally be debt free.
You can have that.
But, you have to see it, believe it, and then, you have to act.
It amazes me that such a simple principle is so hard for many to grasp.
If you live in the worst neighborhood now, do you really believe that you can live in your dream neighborhood?
Can you literally picture yourself walking through the home of your dreams?
Have you even taken a tour?
In order to experience true success, you have got to clean up your mind.
And, it will not happen overnight.
In fact, fixing your mindset takes discipline and practice.
I talk about mindset in my book, Break Free: How To Overcome Your Fears And Live The Life Of Your Dreams.
I was inspired to write the book almost ten years ago.
I was inspired to write the book because it had been revealed to me that there are so many people who have given up on their dreams because they don’t believe that they can come true.
I remember crying as I penned the book because I had allowed some of my own dreams to die because I didn’t believe that I could truly have the life that I wanted.
It seemed as if it was taking so long to get to the place where I really wanted to be, and, I gave up.
My mind told me that I wasn’t as good as the next guy.
That I should settle for just being a good lil‘ employee and keep going to work for someone else.
That I wasn’t cut out for entrepreneurship.
My mind was conditioned to think that real success only came to certain people; and I wasn’t one of them.
It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a Youtube video by a young man named James Jordan, that I really started to realize how horrible my mindset had become.
James is in the internet marketing arena and has so many videos online about products and services.
But the video I watched really made me think about some things that I had been doing.
I even had the privilege to talk with James on the phone, and some of the things he said to me during our conversation let me know that there were still lots of things mindset wise that I was doing wrong.
I wasn’t succeeding like I wanted to because I didn’t truly see myself doing so.
Your mindset has to be trained.
You have to see, hear and speak what you want daily.
We as humans are conditioned to focus on what we don’t want unknowingly.
“I don’t want to be fat.”
“I don’t want to be broke.”
Did you know that knowingly acknowledging what you don’t want actually attracts those things to you?
Think about it.
If you know that you deserve to have a better life, but aren’t really sure how to go about truly living the life you want, then read Break Free.
Of all the books that I have written, this book has been the most talked about.
Be sure to follow my blog because over the coming days I will be sharing with you how to change your mind and learn how to go after what you want.
Success is within your reach.
You just have to learn how to believe that it is.
Until next time,
From The Self Published Life Blog
|Valerie J. Lewis-Coleman|
Sunday-morning service stirred Debra Hampton’s heart. The poignant message convinced her to resolve a matter that had her torn for almost a year. She had been undecided about whether to marry her live-in boyfriend, Vincent. He didn’t share her religious beliefs and refused to go with her to church, but she knew that he was the best man for her. He laughed at her silly antics, talked with her about her ambitions and encouraged her to greatness. He made her the focal point of his life and involved her in every decision no matter how minute. But it was his touch that held her hostage, kept her toying with God’s love by giving herself to a man who was not her husband.
With her head bowed to hide the free-flowing tears, she exited the church without speaking to anyone. She sat in her Mercedes S550, took a moment to freshen her makeup, expelled a sigh of relief. She looked to Heaven through the panorama sunroof, smiled, closed her eyes, gave thanks. The decision to accept Vincent’s proposal resonated; filled her with peace as she trusted the Lord with her soul mate.
The thirty-minute drive from the inner-city church to her suburban home gave her ample time to reflect upon the life they would build together: three children, business partnership and unlimited mind-blowing sex. The rush of blood to her southern bell—the name her mother called her vagina when she was a child—gave her pause. Fortunately, she was stopped at a red light. She clicked through the Sirius Satellite stations and then opted to enjoy tunes Vincent had downloaded to her iPod a few nights prior.
As she turned into Creekwood Estates—a lavish community north of Dayton—she admired the mansion-sized homes set hundreds of feet from the street. Manicured lawns featured rows of exotic trees, shrubbery and blooming flowers. Cobblestone driveways boasted luxury cars and backyards had customized gym sets or in-ground pools.
Her stucco and brick palatial home was small in comparison to those of her neighbors, but it was big enough for her family-to-be. She loved the side-entry, three-car garage because it camouflaged the unpacked moving boxes from passersby. She parked in the usual spot—closest to the mudroom door—and then she smiled wide. “He’s home.”
Debra grabbed her purse and Bible and then jaunted into the house. She placed her belongings on the granite countertop, careful not to make noise. Since the television wasn’t locked on a sporting event, Vincent had to be resting in the master suite. A 3,500-square-foot home and he preferred the family room and bedroom.
She slipped off her stilettos, tiptoed up the stairs. Her heart beat faster with each step. She wiped her palms together to dry the sweaty moisture, pressed her ear to the door. His subtle snores seeped through. She giggled and then covered her mouth to halt the escape of more laughter.
She opened the door, peeked in, swung it wide. “Vincent! What the devil?”
“Debra, what are you doing here?” After a quick dismount, he rummaged the floor for his Fruit of the Looms. “When’d you get home?”
“Who is this woman and why is she in my bed?” She ran to the side of the bed, towered over her betrayer. Breath stalled in her throat, eyes widened. “Catherine!”
Catherine—the first person to welcome Debra to the neighborhood—reached for her clothes, scurried to dress.
Debra lunged at her, snatched her by the ponytail, drew back her fist. Just as she connected with Catherine’s right jaw, Vincent grabbed Debra around the waist, pulled her away. She flailed her arms, kicked at his shins, head-butted him in the mouth. When he released her, she pursued Catherine who was halfway down the stairs, underwear in tow.
Debra leapt from the top stair, using Catherine as a landing pad. Spewing expletives, she pummeled her in the back of the head, until Vincent pulled her off.
He tightened his grip on Debra’s arms, spun her around to look him in the eyes. “Stop it!” A trickle of blood oozed from the corner of his mouth.
“I cannot believe you had that female up in my house.” The same channels that had released tears of joy now flooded her face in sadness. “Vincent, how could you?” She watched Catherine sprint through the backyard; battered, bruised and butt-naked.
“I tried to tell you, but—”
“You tried to tell me what? The last thing I knew, you were looking for an engagement ring.”
“I was…for Catherine.”
Debra’s head danced like a bobble-head doll, her vision blurred. Her body quivered and then went slack as she collapsed in Vincent’s arms.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A few minutes later, Debra awoke on the family-room couch. She picked up the note that set on the table.
I’m sorry you had to find out like this. I’ll be back to get my things. I love you, but not enough to make you my wife.
As she let the note float to the floor, the back door opened and then closed. The man whom she was willing to love forever had tiptoed out of the house and driven out of her life.
The agony of unreciprocated love left Debra in despair. Virtual restrainers confined her to the bedroom—the viaduct of deceit. She cried until her body heaved and the reservoir of tears was empty.
Where you can purchase the book:
Also by Valerie:
Being an author who takes their craft seriously means doing your research and making sure that you are doing everything properly.
I have noticed that when it comes to the business side of being an author, most authors don’t fully understand how a business operates….
…and it’s not your fault.
There is a lot of information out there about self publishing, but what I have noticed is that most of it is a rehash of the same stuff.
No one is really telling the entire process.
I myself was included in this; until now.
One area that I know many authors are probably clueless about is taxes.
I mean, taxes are confusing to everyone, so they are most definitely confusing to us author folks.
I am going to do my best to help you understand the business side of being an author and publisher.
Even if you are traditionally published, there are still some things about taxes that you need to understand.
But next year’s is literally right around the corner when you think about it.
I got an inbox question yesterday on Facebook.
The question went like this:
“Hi Sandra. I read that business owners are required to send a 1099 form to people that do work for them as an independent contractor. Does that pertain to me as an author? I outsource work to people all the time. Help!”
The answer to that question is yes; but there are stipulations.
If you have your own authors and you have paid them at least $10 in royalties, you are required to send the author a 1099 form MISC.
The 1099 MISC is a form furnished by the IRS where you indicate miscellaneous income that you have paid to someone throughout the year. The recipient files this form with their taxes.
If you have paid anyone $600 or more to do any work for you, like build a website, design a cover, write your press releases, format your book, or more, you are required to furnish that person with a form 1099 MISC.
Because this form requires that you provide identification numbers for both yourself and your recipient, it is a good rule of thumb to request a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN or EIN).
The FEIN or EIN is a number that you can get for free directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Even if you operate your publishing company as a sole proprietorship, (which I suggest that you don’t), you can still request one of these numbers to use for business purposes.
In my book, ‘The Truth About Self Publishing’ I talk about business structures, as well as how to set up your publishing company to function like a real company.
No, I am not a tax expert, nor am I a lawyer; but I am a seasoned business professional and entrepreneur and I know that what works for us authorpreneurs.
So, from here on out, make sure that anyone who has done any work for you totaling over $600 or, any author that you have paid royalties of at least $10 to, you need to send them a form 1099 MISC.
To read more about that form, click here to go to the IRS website.
Until next time,
Ebook publishing, to me, is so overrated.
I’ve seen so many authors give up on their writing careers because their books are not selling on Amazon or those other sites.
Okay, so, since when do we base our whole career on a website?
I have always been told that when one avenue doesn’t work, you are supposed to try another one…and another one…until you find the one that works for you.
Ebook publishing is so overrated to me.
It’s not the only route to publication, and whether or not an ebook sales enough does not necessarily spell success or failure for you as an author.
So stop banking you entire career on an ebook.
Ebook publishing is causing authors to sell their work for way less than they should, just to get people to read it.
Because for some reason, readers say that they aren’t willing to pay much for an ebook from an unknown author.
Why do people think that because a person is a new author that they don’t deserve to make any money?
$0.99 for a full length book is preposterous to me, yet authors are being forced to start there in order to build their readership, or even offer their books for free.
I know. I’ve done it.
So many people jumped on the ebook band wagon when they heard of the success of a few authors who had made millions of dollars selling ebooks.
They saw it as a free way to enter into the publishing world without having to make a huge investment.
So, rather than learn the ropes of traditional self publishing, and invest in their books, they turned to publishing ebooks only.
I myself have experienced great success as an ebook author, both self published and traditionally published. But I will not base my career on whether or not my ebooks sell.
I sell paperback books and manuals in person. People love to get an autographed book from their favorite authors.
That electronic autograph just doesn’t carry the same weight or sentimental value as the real thing.
Maybe your audience loves paperback books.
Or, maybe they prefer audio.
Or, maybe they like to read romance books and you’re trying to sell them sci-fi.
Your job as the author is to go after your readers using the method they like to read and make sure that you are targeting the right readers to begin with.
After you have exhausted all of the avenues that are available to you, if you aren’t selling any books, then maybe it would be in your best interest to rethink your career path.
But please, at least try.
And don’t quit unless you are sure that you have tried everything.
Like I said, ebooks are overrated.
They are causing so many authors to quit.
I’m saying to you, don’t quit.
Try another avenue.
Until next time,
So many authors and even business professionals make this mistake?
Because so many of us rush into business.
We rush to put out a book without really putting in the research to make sure that we have covered all of our bases.
We get so excited about our newest business venture that we hang out our shingles, anticipating our first customers.
There is something very important that you must do if you want to keep your business out of legal trouble.
Yes! You probably didn’t know it, but, if you are a publisher who sells books to the general public, you are required to pay taxes on that money.
In fact, according to the IRS, anything over $400.00 is subject to the self employment tax.
But, this is something they probably don’t tell you at most publishing workshops.
Why? Because this is information you learn from spending years doing research.
And many of these fly by night self publishing consultants, publishers, whatever they may call themselves, have no clue as to what you’re really supposed to be doing when it comes to establishing a small, independent press.
I asked the question in a author’s meeting a few weeks ago, ‘how many of you know that if you are a self-published author and you’re selling your books to people, you are required to pay sales taxes?’
No hands went up.
This also means that if you are required to pay sales tax, you are required to collect them from every book you sell.
In Michigan, that’s an additional six cents per dollar added on the the price of your book.
You are to take that money from each book that you sell and put it in a bank account, and either monthly, quarterly or annually, you send that money in to the state.
Think about it.
When you buy a book online, or from your favorite book store, don’t they charge you tax?
You are supposed to be doing the exact same thing.
There is a lot to taxes for the self-employed. And like it or not, if you are an author, you are self-employed.
To learn more about the Michigan sales tax, click here.
If you live in Michigan, and want more information about being a publisher and taxes click here.
Until next time,
Authors very rarely think of their books as products. I believe that if they did, they would understand the importance of doing the things businesses do in order to sell their products. A very powerful tool that can be used to help authors sell more books is a landing page.
A landing page, or ‘lead capture page’ is simply a page that requests at least the name and email address of someone who would like to gain access to premium or exclusive information. Landing pages are used by Internet marketers to sell affiliate products, and other businesses with products to sell. The goal of these pages is to collect leads and nurture them through emails to convert them into sales.They usually promise to offer something in exchange for the information given by the page visitor, such as a free report, or an ecourse or something of that nature. These leads become subscribers that you can build a relationship with, as well as to promote other products and services that you offer. Landing pages are ultimately used to build email subscriber lists.
Landing pages can be a page hosted on your website or blog, or it can be a standalone link like this one that takes people to your landing page once it is clicked.
Authors can benefit from using landing pages if they know how to use them properly.
An author can actually use a landing page to collect the names and email addresses of their subscribers in exchange for free ebooks, exclusive chapters released only to their mailing lists, and more. You can use a video to introduce your special offer and encourage site visitors to sign up to receive it. Your readers will be thrilled to know that just by giving you their name and email address, they can get some special ‘goodies’ from their favorite author.
An easy and affordable way to create landing pages is with a program called Landing Page Templates. For a low monthly fee, you gain access to over 300 templates that can be used to build attractive landing pages that make people want to enter their information and ultimately, join your list.
You want to make sure that your landing page requires the bare minimums of a name and email address, but, you can get as personal as you like; but keep in mind that most people will be more apt to opt-in to your email list via your landing page if you don’t require much information in order for them to join. Some people ask for name, email address, phone and physical mailing address if there is a print component to their list as well. Use your discretion here.
Ready to build your email list with landing pages? Click Here!
Until next time,