I don’t know if you know who Caroline Middlebrook is, but she’s been on this road of monetizing a blog for longer than many of us just starting out and seems to have her act together. Hers is one of those blogs I check out regularly!
Anyway… She posted a great article on Tuesday this week providing a list of 20 free e-Books covering internet marketing and monetizing blogs in preparation for putting out her own e-Book. This is a great list that includes some of the big names in the blogosphere, including Yaro Starak (another blog I check out regularly) and Jack Humphrey (yet another great blog).
You can check out her list here. I will certainly be working my way through the list.
Caroline also noted that she’s actually starting to see some income from her efforts now, which is great. I wish her the best of luck. Maybe some of it will rub off on the rest of us. 🙂
Happy reading this holiday weekend!
If you, like me, are bereft of art skills, (Pictionary is about as far as I go these days…) I have to recommend a subscription-based service that has served me well over the last couple of years when I needed art for my t-shirt or bumper sticker designs, or for inside a book.
Clipart.com is a spinoff of Jupiter Images, which is one of the largest image banks available online.
If you haven’t taken some time to check them out, I highly recommend them, especially for holiday clipart with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah coming up. (As an aside, I can hardly believe the holidays are coming.) In addition to the standard clipart, there’s tons of useful content for books as well. I found myriad pictures I could use in conjunction with the fantasy roleplaying game I wrote.
So check them out! I will be using them for blog article art from now on since I’ve seen the jump in readers when there are pictures present. 🙂
Have a great day!
I’m starting to write some press releases announcing the release of the roleplaying game I’ve been working on and have come across some great sites with advice for creating great press releases that I will try and distill down to five easy steps… (I’ll provide links to the other resources I found also at the bottom of the article.)
So the five easy steps…
- I’ve seen the acronym AIDA several places while figuring out a strategy for press releases. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The Attention part is that you need to grab your reader at the headline. Catchy headlines are tough to come by sometimes, but you want to grab your reader and make them read the rest of the article. All too often, editors and writers will look at press releases and dismiss them due to poor headlines. Too many releases cross their desks every day to read something boring.So to create a catchy headline, you have to appeal to your reader’s emotions and use trigger words. Find examples of press releases written for your field. Analyze their headlines for key phrases or words. Perhaps even go so far as to come up with a variety of different options and test them on coworkers, friends, and family to see what they like or don’t like.In my case, I’m writing a press release for roleplaying gamers. A couple of places I’ve looked for press releases is at GamingReport.com and RPG.net’s press page.In these cases, most releases seem to have pretty mundane titles announcing product availability or sales. These are important topics obviously, but may not get a reader’s attention quickly. What I want to get across is three main ideas: the name of the game system, the name of the book, and what it will bring to you as a gamer.So some options I’ve come up with are:
- Moebius Adventures: Core Rules Opens New Doorways to Adventure!
- Moebius Adventures: Core Rules Released Into The Wild!
- Moebius Adventures: Core Rules Book Available – Start Adventuring Infinite Paths!
I’ll probably go with the first one. The others seem pretty corny.
- Now that you have your readers, you need to give them the facts. The first sentence or two of the first paragraph of the release needs to tell the reader what the press release is about. This is where you go with the traditional journalistic five words — who, what, where, when, and why. Think of this as continuing the “tease” for the rest of the release and as the first few sentences of a news cast or newspaper story summarizing the main points of your release succinctly.In my case, I’m publicizing that the Moebius Adventures game is being released for sale. The first release will be to describe the eBook distribution via RPGNow and DriveThruRPG. So my first paragraph will look something like this:
“On November 12, 2007, Moebius Adventures releases the Core Rules book for the Moebius Adventures Roleplaying Game in PDF (eBook) format for $10.95 on RPGNow.com (http://www.rpgnow.com) and Drive Thru RPG (http://www.drivethrurpg.com). The Moebius Adventures Roleplaying Game is a universal, cross-genre rule system that will enable you and your gaming group the ability to explore multiple worlds. The Core Rules book starts the trip by providing all the basic rules for the system. Here you’ll learn about character creation, general gameplay, combat rules, and possibly even save the village of Domerre from some men with a monster.”
- So now you have the basics out of the way and you can focus on the other aspects, key selling points, of your product or service that customers would be interested in.In my case, I plan on providing a simple bulleted list of features for my game:
- Open character generation system
- Random character generation offers crunch for characters, or can use point-based system to choose skills and characteristic values
- Simple rule mechanic for skill resolution
- Simple, effective combat rules that take strike effectiveness into account when determining damage to combatants
- Sample Characters and Adventure to get you started
- This is an optional step, but it can be very useful to include a quote from a customer about your product or service to show other customers that this new release does work for someone and isn’t just marketing fluff.In my case, I have a brand new game and very little exposure as yet. I hope to be able to use quotes in follow-on releases.
- Lastly, you need to talk about product availability. If you’re releasing the product, when are you releasing it? Where can they learn more? Where can the find your product? Who can they talk to for more details? Contact information is very important.
The key point here is to focus most on content, not layout or formatting. Make sure that the press release says what you want it to say clearly and concisely so that your customers can find you and your product easily and quickly!
Once you have your press release written, you can submit it via a number of free distribution websites, including:
Here are some other resources on the web for helping create great press releases:
I hope this has helped you get some ideas on your own press releases. I’ll be honing my own skills as I write some for my own products!
Have a great day!
So now that you have a book published… How do you get it to your audience?
Here’s the cover for my book by the way. I think it turned out great. The artist, Jason Adams, did an amazing job.
Well… I’m still working on that little issue myself, but my plan goes like this and I’ll keep writing articles documenting my progress as I go through the steps.
- Publish the book. (Done)
- Publish the eBook. (Done)
- Make the book available via the Lulu.com store. (Done)
- Make the eBook available via a roleplaying game eBook distribution site such as RPGNow, DriveThruRPG, or Indie Press Revolution. (Done via RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, waiting on IPR)
- Make the book available via my website. (Done as soon as I validate an issue with the cover one more time in a printed copy I ordered yesterday.)
- Get into the Barnes & Noble distribution system. They have a form and process to go through to get this started.
- Purchase a set of books (perhaps 10 or 20) at cost from Lulu.com to sell via local game stores.
- Get into the Amazon.com distribution system. This process appears less than straightforward, but I will get back to you with my thoughts as soon as I dive in more thoroughly.
- Send out Press Releases. Lulu.com helps some with this (offers some ideas for where to submit a press release) but get one written and ready to send out. I’ll provide some good resources about writing press releases in a separate article.
Wow. That’s all. Nine easy steps. I’m about halfway done and will get the rest kicked off as soon as I make sure the book looks better (had to correct an issue with the cover, since the spine was out of whack).
If you’ve gone through the process of marketing your books, I’d love to hear from you. What worked? What didn’t? What recommendations would you make for other independent authors?
Thanks for your time. Have a great day!