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Posts tagged ‘blog’

Tuesdays Are Mine!!1

Mine! *thunder cracks* MuahahAhAHAhahAHA!!!

*cough*

Thank you. Now that I’ve got that out of my system, let me give you a brief rundown on some of the changes around the ol’ MGC. I’m moving from the fourth Friday of the month to every Tuesday afternoon. That’s right: more Dave. (I’ll pray for you, you poor, lost souls.)

To that end, I’m going to be starting a couple of regular series. First off, Noob Notes. Since afternoon posts are often shorter, punchier, and full of great pith, I’m going to reach out and grab an aspect of the writing process and wring the juice out of it, then serve it up with my characteristic verve- Read more

With the New Year Come Changes

With the New Year comes new resolutions. That includes MGC. As we’ve been hinting for the last few weeks, there are some changes coming to the blog. It’s my pleasure to show you some of those changes today as well as to make an announcement or two. We hope you will be as excited by the changes as we are. Of course, as with most things, it is a work in progress. Read more

Movin’ on up

Maintaining a blog for any length of time requires dedication, time and determination. When Sarah and Dave started MGC years ago, it was with an entirely different cast of bloggers than we have now. Over the years, bloggers have come and gone until we settled into the crew we’ve got now. I think it’s a wonderful group of men and women and I’ve loved working with each of them. And no, this isn’t a goodbye post. Far from it. But it is a post about change. In this case, change for the blog. Changes we believe will be for the good.

The main change that you, our readers, will see will be to our “theme”. If you aren’t familiar with WordPress, it allows bloggers to choose from a number of different themes that determine what a blog page looks like, what additional information can be displayed, etc. For the first time in years, we will be moving to a new theme. This one will be a bit cleaner than our current theme. There will also be things like a blogroll, links to recent posts, etc. It is all meant to make it easier for those reading the blog to find previous articles, articles related to the one they are reading, that sort of thing.

The pages of the blog will be undergoing some changes as well. We will still have the page for the Path to Publication. We’re adding a page (or pages) that will help you get to know our bloggers better. From these pages, we’ll link back to the authors’ blogs or websites. We will also have a link to their Amazon author pages and at least some “featured” titles by each blogger.

But the changes go further than that. Those of you who have read MGC for long, know that we would much rather be writing than promoting. When Sarah and I started looking long and hard at the blog and what needed to be done to improve it, promotion was at the top of the list. So, MGC will be getting its own FB page and — gag — probably its own Twitter account. This is one area where you guys can really help us. Once these go live, I’ll announce it on the blog. We need you to help by “liking” the pages and sharing the posts. That is the sort of “word of mouth” that helps writers more than any paid promotion ever could.

The content of the blog isn’t going to change. This is still a blog by writers about issues we think are important to writers and readers. However, there is going to be one big change. It will take time to implement because it means we are having to retrain ourselves, but the blog will no longer be static to a single post a day. That’s another reason for wanting to increase our social media presence. This way, if one of us sees news from the industry we think needs to be shared right away, it will be. The post of the day will still be there, still ready to be read in the morning. But there very well may be second or third post during the day. It won’t happen every day but it will happen whenever one of us feels there’s something we need to share. These supplemental posts may also be reviews of books we’ve read or new book announcements.

In other words, we are going to try to be better about letting you know when we have something new coming.

That means you will be seeing more in the way of snippets. We’re still working on the details about how we’re going to do it. As more details on this are figured out, we’ll let you know.

Sometime during the week, possibly Tuesday but more likely toward the end of the week, you will see the WP theme change. It may take a day or two to get all the glitches out and this is where you can help us. When the new theme goes live. along with leaving your regular comments about the post, let us know if you have any problems with the theme. In particular, we need to know if there is any issue scrolling (yes, I had this happen when I changed the theme for my personal blog) or if the theme runs off the page, is hard to read, etc. We have been testing it using a number of different OS and browsers, but it is easy to miss something.

I’ve rambled on long enough. We’re excited about the changes coming to the blog and hope you are as well. We will always be the Mad Genius Club, sometimes a bit more mad than others. Here’s hoping you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season.

It’s really a business, pt. 2

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how writing is a business and we need to treat it as such. In that post, I talked about some of the things we need to do after we hit the publish button. No, I didn’t discuss marketing, at least not in detail. Why? Because I’m still figuring that out myself. Instead, I talked about things we do, or should do, to make our product pages attractive. Today, let’s talk about the Amazon author page and one or two related topics.

First of all, if you have released anything on Amazon and haven’t set up your Amazon author page, do so now. Don’t finish reading this post. Hie thee off to Author Central. You will sign in with the same user name and password that you have set up for your KDP account. Once you have, the first page you encounter is a general information page. Review everything there because there is some interesting information, especially if you haven’t been publishing for long.

Now, go to the Author Page tab (or follow the link on the first page). This is your first, and most important, chance to increase the connection you build with your readers when they search for your name or your titles on Amazon. You can update your author bio, add information and links to your blog, talk about upcoming events you’ll be at and more. Take time to look it over and see how you can tweak the information there to make it Amazon author page more interesting to your readers.

The Books tab is probably as important as the Author Page tab. If you search your name on Amazon, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you will find not only your titles but the titles of other authors as well. That’s thanks to Amazon’s search function. It is also why you want to make sure all your books and short stories are listed on your author page. Yes, it is usually done automatically but mistakes happen. Using the Books tab, you can add titles yourself. Or remove them if a wrong title has been assigned to you.

The next tab, Sales, is a useful (if sometimes depressing) tool. It gives you not only your Bookscan numbers but also your author ranking and title rankings. I’ll admit, I don’t tend to pay much attention to these numbers except when a new title comes out. I want to see how that impacts the rest of my sales. It also helps track trends pertaining to the best time to release a new title, how many titles need to be released before the next sales jump takes place, etc.

The last tab is for Customer Reviews. The reviews are posted chronologically and aren’t for the faint at heart. After all, that one-star review will be right there with the five-star, not broken out by how many stars the reviewer gave you. There is no new information here. All the reviews are available on the individual product pages. This just gathers them all together in one place for you.

All of that is a long way of saying set the page up so your name will have that nifty little link on Amazon that your fans can click on to see all your titles in one place without having books by other authors added to the list. So spend a few minutes and set it up.

While you’re doing that, look at the website or blog you link to from your Amazon author page. I finally sat down and redid my blog a week or so ago. I really love the new look. It is cleaner and, imo, easier to read. But there are still problems with it. I hadn’t realized when I changed themes that there is no link from the home page to click through to comments. You have to open each individual blog entry to see — or make — a comment. Not good. Not good at all. So, I’m off on a hunt for another blog theme that looks pretty much the same but that has the comment function enabled for the home page.

I also need to redo my banner. I haven’t done so yet because of the need to find a new theme for the page. Each theme has its own requirements when it comes to the size of the banner. Since I’m lazy, I only want to do it once. Plus, I want to make sure I do it right or Sarah will yell at me. (She usually yells at me when I do graphics because I don’t do the lettering properly.)

Another issue I ran into when I redid the theme was discovering that Amazon no longer has an easy way to make a carousel widget to display your work with buy links active. So, when you go to my blog now, you see the books, well their covers, listed individually in the sidebar. That’s not too bad but I need to edit the CSS to fix the alignment. Again, I’m not going to do that until I find a new theme. Otherwise, I’ll have to repeat the work and, as I said earlier, I’m lazy.

But redoing the blog isn’t enough. I need to redo all my sites and combine them. The combining isn’t difficult. It’s simply a matter of redirecting URLs so I’m only maintaining one actual site. When the pen names were not “open”, it was necessary to have different sites for each one. Now that they are open, that’s not necessary. So, once the theme is found and the child pages set up, the other sites will be redirected and their information updated. What that means is I need to set aside a day or two in order to get it all done. That’s hard for me to do because there are always other things I need (or would rather) do.

Our blogs and websites, our Twitter and Facebook accounts are our faces to our fans. We might prefer to be sitting around the den in our underwear but is that really the image we want our fans to see?

Just as we have to take a hard look at our product pages, blurbs and covers, we need to look at what sort of “face” we present with our blogs and websites (and I haven’t even gotten to what we put out on social media).

I’ll leave you with this. Take a look at your blog and/or your website (whichever one gets the most traffic). Does the visitor see links to your work right away? Do you have a widget in place that allows them to donate money should they want to? If you live in a state where you can take part in the Amazon Associates Program, are you links set to your Associates account? In other words, how are you monetizing your page? That was something I learned long ago. I might not make a lot from my Associates account but it is nice to be able to buy an extra book or ten or more from time to time. (Hint: the more you use it, the more money you can make.)

Your website, blog and Amazon author page are ways you advertise your work. Don’t they deserve to look the best they can? Now go forth and put your best digital foot forward.

Oh yeah, check out my blog for a short snippet from Battle Wounds, the next short story set in the Honor and Duty universe.