Thursday, February 25, 2016

How do You Launch Your First Novel if You Can't Afford Professional Editing?

So, I have this really great novel just sitting here on my hard drive. Several of them, in fact. They get rave reviews (storywise) from all readers. In fact, most of the commentary in general is positive,  but they need editing. That’s where the problem arises. Professional editing is expensive, and although, as freelance writers go, “I do alright”, I have eight kids and precious little opportunity to peel off $600-$800 for a thorough edit, which is not an unfair price, so, what’s a writer to do?

I decided to ask some pros.
I suggest that all of you immediately join “writer’s group” on Facebook, it’s the one with over 30k members and it’s a nest of snakes on a good day. There are whackos and wannabes and rude people who think they are a gift from the gods to writing, but that’s not why I think you should do it. Among the writing sites I have frequented through the years, it is the one place where you are likely to meet writers that are actually earning a healthy living with their craft. 

Why does this matter? Because they know what they’re talking about and most of them will share their wisdom without the need for you to sign up for a course that costs a grand. So, I asked around. I have found three or four guys that I can see are legit. They write novels for a living and earn enough to be respectable about it. I asked them what they recommended and while they said straight up to hire a real editor if you can, they also offered the method they used for their very first novel. 

None of them used professional editing the first time!
Turns out that without fail, they used a combination of editing software and critique sites that allow you to trade a bit of your time in critiquing others for some good advice on your writing. I have tried a few, with almost no results, but I finally found one that seems to have a framework that actually works. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Writers! Build a Free Traffic Generating Network, Part Three!

So, today I am going to share with you the basic recipes I set up in my own and in ever surrogate IFTTT account, whether they be for clients, or pen names that I have established for marketing purposes. But, before I get into that, let me show you what I am finding out so far in my stats.
I have worked exclusively with my writing blog, a blog that has recently been migrated from hosted Wordpress to Blogger. Since that time my traffic had been negligent, at best. In the past week, since setting up just three surrogate accounts in IFTTT following the formula I have been sharing, and the recipes I will share today, here are the results.

The increase was instant!
As you can see, the traffic increased dramatically, from about three or four hits a day on average, with some days getting zero, to a minimum of 15 and a high of over 50 hits in one day. So, it’s working and I will keep you up to date on that as it progresses. I intend to add four more surrogate accounts for next week, and four more the week after for a total of 12. It remains to be seen if they can build sustainable traffic.
And that’s not even the main benefit of this method.
The IFTTT SEO network is still in its infancy and the backlink mojo I am building up to for this site is going to be out of this world. I need to fine tune some things about the way I am posting here to get the most out of it. So how about those RECIPES I promised?
Each recipe will be listed in this format.
If this (the name of a channel and any other info you need) then than (the name of a channel and any info you need) I will give as much detail as I can, please feel free to ask questions in the comments. Thanks! In all of the following examples, RSS feed=your blog, or the money site you are looking to promote. It can be almost any page that has updating content and an RSS fee, for me, it is THIS site.
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Facebook link post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Facebook pages link post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Twitter link post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Linked IN link post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Blogger post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Wordpress post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Tumblr post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Diigo link)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Pocket link)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Instapaper post)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Buffer link)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Delicious link)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Bitly bitmark)
If THIS= (RSS feed) then THAT= (Evernote link)

Those are the basics. I also spend a little time on each Facebook surrogate, sharing, liking and commenting, as well as building the friends, pages and groups of each account. Mass Planner can automate a lot of this if you set it up.
So there you have it in a nutshell, how to build an IFTTT network.
For each of the Blogger, Wordpress and Tumblr sites in each account, you will need to find at least two other sources of content. The easiest thing to do is to find industry niche blogs that don’t compete with you, but share good information and set them up to share some posts, based on keywords. You can do this by finding the RSS feed of the website you want to share on your blog, then setting it up in IFTTT, just like you did your own blog.
For each surrogate account, set up the blog to share everything as a “draft post”, then go in, write an introduction, share a bit from the other blog, write a tag line with your call to action and then schedule it to share. When it shares, you can set up the RSS feed to filter back through the other sites, propogating your content even further.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Here's a List of Facebook Groups that Welcome Advertisers, and a Little Advice on How not to get Blocked for Using it.

 About six years back, I started a social media company with my good friend, James Frazier, called It was in the heyday, wildwest of the Facebook era, when traffic grew on trees and money flowed without having to but ads. Since getting out of that highly profitable,  but too stressful endeavor, I have worked on my own marketing strategies, most of which have combined some use of Facebook.

Recently I've been sharing some ideas about IFTTT networks and how to  build and leverage them for traffic. I have managed to get my own new blog (first post less than ninety days ago) up to about 50 hits a day from 3-5 using almost exclusively the IFTTT network model, in about a week.

In addition, I am playing with a tool called MassPlanner, which is a new breed of social media dashboard that allows for some very interesting automated campaigning, including finding, joining and posting in FB groups.

As I have played around with a few techniques over the past two weeks, I have run afoul of the FB police a few times and am currently on my third time out for posting in groups too frequently. So, here is  a list that I used to build a list about 100 strong of groups that will accept ads and produce some traffic. I recommend MassPlanner as the way to reach them all without it becoming a full time gig.

Here are some rules to remember!
  1. Nobody likes Spam, make sure your posts are appropriate for the group and follow the rules. 
  2. The most effective method is to actually get involved in every group you want to market to, but this is not that, so expect a steady trickle, not a flood of traffic, but it is highly targeted. 
  3. The max per day, even with appropriate breaks, etc, seems to be about 50, so 40 is safe, anything over that you may be pushing it. 
  4. Use FB surrogates to get more sharing in. Create pen names and run them as experimental characters, it's fun. 
  5. The rules are not clear on the limits here, so err on the side of caution or you'll get a 3 day vacation from posting in groups.