Publishing Confusion – Part Four – Social Media

Social Media.

Most of you know how to use the basics…or do you? I thought I was good with Facebook, when one day a course in our local region we found a tutorial on how to use Facebook for business. It blew what we thought we knew right open. OUCH. Luckily there was no re-learning, there was extra learning.

In the last twelve months, many of our Social Media websites have updated. Things have moved, changed or disappeared. Even we’ve had issues finding various items. Sometimes the frustration creeps in and takes over. The better you can use Social Media, the better you can MARKET your business and grow your AUTHOR BRAND. With saying that, we need to give you a few ways to make more out of a post and images.

We’ve always been taught that images get more people looking at your posts. However, what sort of image do you need to use? Have you ever looked on Facebook to see which type of images get the most likes and shares? Why do they get so much attention. Why do people stop scrolling and read? 

Next time you find something you like and read, think about what you notice first. Is it the writing? Which part? A title? A font? Large fonts? The mission into marketing is endless trying to find out what will work for us and our books. RESEARCH…yep that word again. Weird how it keeps cropping up.

Advert for Shattered Badge, Shattered Trust by Sandra Brewster.

We’re going to make a Facebook Post. It was a new release for one of our clients. The novel is called ‘SHATTERED BADGE SHATTERED TRUST’ by Sandra Brewster. It is available on AMAZON. To the left  of the screen is the book cover. For those who are sight impaired the image shows a police badge which has been broke into pieces the the book title across the middle. At the top of the cover is the Authors name. The background is a greenish blur of a crime scene.

First things first is to make a 3D cover so it looks like a book rather than a flat image. This will make it stand out better and hopefully grab a readers interest. It is obviously a story which involves a character who is a cop. Though what is the relevance about the Shattered Trust? Who’s Trust was destroyed and why? Maybe a bit of the synopsis will tell us what’s going on. Can we add it to the Facebook Post? 

This depends on what type of Marketing you are looking at doing. Who are you aiming your ADVERT at? Are you doing a PAID ADVERT or a post in a group? Will you make a TEASER for the story or a POSTER. On that note…if you can’t use photoshop, GIMP, Krita or similar graphic apps then please use CANVA. It’s FREE and easy to use, even for those who think they aren’t good with technology.

CANVA – AUTHOR INTRODUCTION IDEA

In the first PNG image you have all the different areas, all giving you different information. Obviously this is a small image of what the poster would be if it were printed out. Looking at it digitally and asking a few friends, I see what they like and don’t like. The BOOK BLURB is to pale and needs to be BOLD FONT. The eBook app in the image above the authors profile image needs to be put in (can’t do this on CANVA FREE). I don’t like is the BOOK LINK.. it looks to big and untidy. We may make it smaller or use a QR Code.

We have made some adjustments on this second image. The book cover has been placed into the eBook app on the image. In the next image we have put the BOOK BLURB in bold to show what it looks like.

The main issue with the poster is having to use two different apps to make the poster. We started in CANVA and played around, asking for opinions… Now we need to put all of this together. This same poster only needs the book cover adding to the eBook reader along with the QR Code and then it is finished. For now we’ve left the book link in though made it smaller and bold.

My next question is: What do you think? Is it good? Are there any changes? What do you get from reading the poster? Would it make you look up the author and read her books?

Please let me know in comments.

NOTE: The image is to complex to put in ALT TEXT. 

 

 

Are you a New Author?

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?


Writers Beware is one of t
he first websites all new authors need to read before they look for a publisher or at self-publishing. Along with this you should read ‘The Ultimate Author Checklist.’ an great PDF full of information from an excellent Marketing website.

Both websites are excellent resources for authors. Writers Beware informs and keeps us updated of things we need to be aware of. It lists Vanity Press and all the ongoing scams which are ripping us off due to writers not doing their research correctly. It is also continually updated. What a lot of writers do is Google publishing or ask in writing groups we belong to. The problem is Vanity Press know how to use SEO’s to their advantage and Writing Groups get a lot of Scammers in them or people who say they know what they’re doing when they don’t.

The Checklist is more about setting yourself up as an Author, getting social media working for you, making or paying for a website and so much more. We give this PDF out to our clients no matter how far along they are in their journey.

SEO’s (just in case you don’t know what they are.)

Search Engine Optimization. Part of this is keywords businesses use to get their sites and adverts in the top spots on Google and other types of search engines. Because it is at the top, you are more than likely to go and click on them, and they have you… unless you know the ropes of what they are offering, which is why research is important part of life.

Many of you will use your own keywords during your publishing and marketing days to help readers find and buy your books. Publisher Rocket is great for finding good Keywords for your genre. (It was formerly known as KDP Rocket.)

Costs

The first thing you need to be aware of is the cost of publishing. Many say it is FREE!  It isn’t. Uploading a manuscript and book cover to KDP and other distribution websites is generally FREE, though some do charge fees. (Ingram Spark and Lulu). All Vanity Press businesses will charge you large amounts of money. Not only that, they also charge BEFORE they do any work on your manuscript. You will also be asked to sign a contract which you need to read and understand. A lot of these contracts give them copyright of your manuscript in all types of publishing, be it eBook, paperback or hardback. Each one will cost you more money to produce. If you wish to get out of the contract, they can take ninety days or more to hand back copyright. You will need the associated paperwork to prove to distributors like KDP that the copyright has reverted back to you.

Vanity Press

The main worry about Vanity Press is they don’t do the work they promise. They don’t pay out the royalty; they charge you for storage of books they print, some expect you to buy copies in their hundreds and of course you pay for freight, which they charge more for than they should. I know of one person who did their own freight, and it came out $400 cheaper… This is why WRITERS BEWARE is a must read.

Another thing you all need to remember… When you have work done in your home, building a deck, car maintenance etc… You don’t pay them until they have finished the work. You pay AFTER the work is finished. NEVER pay a contractor in the writing world until you have approved the work they’ve done for you, unless it is a deposit, which many businesses use these days, so they don’t get scammed by clients. Sadly, this does happen and has happened to my business.

Research

Research every contractor you work with. Seek out the details you need by asking the right questions. Get to know what those questions are by reading blogs. Ask for sample edits from various editors and find which one you feel more comfortable working with. Do the same with graphic designers and illustrators for book covers and images you may wish to use. There are certain things contractors need to know to do their job correctly.

This is a post I wrote a while back about Fiverr and Graphic Designers...after all you get what you pay for!

Editing

Do they edit in the English Language you use—British, American, Canadian, Australian, etc?

Do they edit in your genre?

What type of editing do they offer?

Line Editing, Copy Editing, Beta Reading, Proofreading?

How much experience do they have?

Do they have qualifications, or have they learnt on the job?

Do they have good reviews (ten or more good ones)

Graphic Design

Do they buy stock photos?

What DPI do they work with?

What type of file do they save too?

Are the fonts they use for commercial usage?

Proof of purchase of any fonts and stock photos?

You can use photos you have taken as long as you can prove they are yours.

Reverse check any sample images they give you. (some lie or steal other peoples work)

Ask other Authors and check out their covers.

Check reviews (ten or more good ones)

The last thing you want is to be sued by a photographer or font designer for copyright infringement.

Formatting or Interior Book Designer

As well as being an Author Consultant, bringing contractors together to build books, I also work as a formatter, and turn manuscripts into a professional files to upload on KDP and other distribution websites. There are many formatting apps around now, though many are not as professional as people seem to think. Pick up a paperback printed by a traditional publisher, and you will see what I mean. Look at how it is set out, how tidy it is. If you are contracting out for formatting, you will be paying more than $10 to get a professional finish. Note the differences between eBooks and print books. There are quite a few, including page numbers- which don’t start on the first page of the manuscript, header and footers, endnotes/footnotes, images and in eBooks Alt Text for images so people who are sight impaired can read the image.

Technology Growth

Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, changes and updates happening all the time. If you’re not a techy person, then you do need to research every detail about producing a book. It is hard work if you want a professional outcome.

Always remember paperbacks and hardbacks need to be justified with a line spacing of 1.15 cm at the most. Indents shouldn’t be more than 0.5 cm. Learn how to use STYLES in WORD if you write in WORD. If you use an app, you still need to make sure these things are correct. This means you need to learn to use the app correctly, watch the videos, or talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. Keep yourself updated with the changes.

Websites and Social Media

Most authors have websites, though these only work if you use them, share the posts, and have a marketing plan. You need to know about SEO’s and keep your website relevant. Post at least once a week. Talk about your books and yourself, about your writing, how your muse helps or hinders you. There are plenty of ideas out there which you can write about.

Social media also seems to be slipping to the wayside, especially Facebook with all their rules and regulations, people getting banned for weeks or months. I’ve noted a lot now use Instagram and TikTok, if you’re not camera shy like I am. You can get Book Trailers made for YouTube or you could read one of your books on video and share the links.

Marketing

An excellent resource for Marketing is ‘The Ultimate Author Check List.’ It is brilliant, and even I still need to finish reading the document and put things into place. Marketing will cost more money and this should be the only one going cost with your books. If you are a techy person, you maybe able to make Teasers and Adverts to use, remembering each social media website has criteria your advert needs to fit.

Once again, be careful of scammers, especially from those who approach you! Most are dubious. I like to work with people who have reached out to me or have read a review. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing. Don’t forget to leave your contractor a review, especially if they fulfilled all the criteria of the contract.

We welcome questions in the comments area. We are happy to help new authors find the right way to go for their needs. Meanwhile, be careful out there.

New Hosting for my Business Website

 

Well that was messy and long winded to get sorted. Remind me not to do this again in a hurry. At least I am safe and nearly sorted for the next three years.

I had been meaning to get new hosting for my website so I could use PLUGINS, SEO and GOOGLE ANALYTICS… and YAY I have finally done it, though it was a journey and a half of hair pulling frustration on various days. Actually most of the week, In fact it is a brand new learning curve for me to get things done.

A big thank you to Courtney Cannon for her help and advice and a special thanks to all the staff who help at InMotion Hosting. They are fabulous on chat and email. Quick to respond and happy to help. If it wasn’t for them, I doubt I would’ve sorted this transferring of my website out. It was a lot messier than it should’ve been. Why? you may ask.

TRANSFERING A FREE WORDPRESS WEBSITE

All I can say is DON’T EVEN TRY UNLESS YOU ARE A TECH PERSON. Obviously I’m not, though I am good with a fair amount of technology, the behind the scenes and the HTML is way beyond my knowledge. To this day I wish I had been allowed to do computer studies at high school. It wasn’t a FAD after all, like my mother thought.

The back up you can download on the FREE WORDPRESS is an XML File and you can also download an MEDIA File. This is where it can get cranky depending on who you use as for hosting your website. I have no idea if it is the same, though I’m sure it must be similar. I have seen behind the scenes before on a CPANEL, just not for about five years, so things have changed. The advances in technology continue to grow and leave many of us behind.

Once you have the files you can upload them to your FILE MANAGER… I’m not sure what happens from there. However you can INSTALL your website yourself if you know how. My problem came when they asked for a FTP Path. I had no idea what it was, let alone where to find it. A lovely person on InMotion chat helped me through this. Meanwhile I had emailed WORDPRESS (you can’t get CHAT on a FREE SITE) and they good over 48 hours to reply. Which is when the frustration hit. When I did get a reply… The information was something I’d already thought of two days prior, however the tech said don’t do it not worth…etc. I couldn’t anyway because I’d already transferred my DOMAIN NAME and I couldn’t get into my WORDPRESS ACCOUNT. More frustration.

At one stage, I had uploaded the XML Files over my WORDPRESS SITE instead of the new one, which doubled up all the pages. It took me 24 hours to work out how to get rid of it.

I did ask InMotion Hosting to do the Transfer, apparently, you need a SQL File to do so and FREE WORDPRESS BACKUP doesn’t have one. Meanwhile, my new website looked a mess, wrong colours, only had two pages, the FRONT PAGE was not my HOME PAGE and once again InMotion Chat came to the rescue and he redirected to my HOME PAGE and we got rid of the FRONT PAGE for something in Sweden. It was weird. He also assisted me by deleting my website which was horrible and I finally set in motion my Transfer with the Transfer People. I was to scared to do it by this stage.

WHAT I HAD TO DO

Once WordPress has sorted my website out and gave it a FREE Domain name, I sign in and did what I should’ve done a few days previous, which was buy a MONTLY BUSINESS PLAN with WORDPRESS… 

Yeah I hear you… BUT YOU’RE MOVING YOUR WEBSITE

First of all I didn’t know they did MONTHLY PAYMENTS… It was always for a year and all the searches I did a few days prior all said NO MONTLY… etc. After talking to wordpress via email (waiting another two days) it seems they do and  you can get a REFUND if you need. I paid the $33 odd dollars and refreshed my website looking for the back up details I needed. HURRAY, they were there and NO WAY was I touching it.  The guy on chat at InMotion had sorted out my website there and deleted the stuffed up pages and I went to the guys who do the TRANSFERS filling in the request form and hoping for the best.

WHOOP. IT WORKED … I HAVE A WEBSITE 

All I have to do now is learn how to use the darn thing… With a CPanel and the WordPress Admin, it’s all different. I can do an AMP Edit or and WordPress Edit. Watch this space for an update… Hopefully this part won’t be to frustrating. I love computers… Now to learn how to use the Plugins.

Psychology in Business – Shapes

A while back I posted about the psychology behind FONTS and COLOURS, then I discovered SHAPES had various meanings as well. Pulling all three together to make a LOGO or ADVERTISING MEDIA when you’re starting your business would be a bit of a nightmare. The more I think about what I missed over the years while education myself as I went is horrifying. This is something I don’t remember covering in any business course I did in 2015/2016 and I did three, the last being a Diploma in Business Enterprise. It goes to show these courses don’t cover everything.

PSYCHOLOGY OF SHAPES

What do you know about SHAPES? Which one’s appeal to you? What draws you in?
Great questions and it makes me wonder what you notice when you watch adverts on TV or see adverts on billboards, in newspapers or social media. What shape do you see most often? Does it appeal to you? If you’re on social media, what makes you stop scrolling? The SHAPE, COLOUR or FONT! Perhaps all three, because someone got the right combination for their business.

How do you choose a SHAPE for a Logo? Good question. My logo is based on Family History of my partners line going back to the 1820s in London two hundred years ago. The Lamp still stands on Woolwich High Street, outside the building which was a pub. The last I heard, the building is now a hairdressing salon. This shows how much thought I put into my business when I first started in 2014. Not much at all. I was learning as I progressed. However, I will keep my logo. I like it as does my husband.

What do you need to do? Research the psychology of SHAPES. Watch Adverts and understand what you’re seeing, what they mean to the business who created it. Make a list of the ones you like along with the colours and hunt down fonts you can use. Bring them together by starting with a black and white design, edit the graphic until you’re happy with what you’ve drawn or had your graphic artist draw. Choose a font which matches your business and then you have millions of colours and shades to play with.

Last week, we travelled to Sanson and visited Viv’s Kitchen for a lovely morning tea of cream horns and iced chocolate drinks. It was sublime. What catches the eye though are the colours. They used various shades of a  gorgeous mint/pale green along with a retro style. It draws customers in and we had time there. Below are a set of photos from their website. The link you can find above.

This is just one example on how to get things right. The café has been busy everything we’ve visited. This lovely café has also been on TV and is famous for their cream horns. A lush pastry horn coated with sugar. In the centre is jam and cream. Most delicious.

Starting a business, then get your thinking caps on and research what you need to make you stand out from everyone else. 

Good Luck.

 

Welcome to 2022

Picton, New Zealand looking out over Waikawa Bay

Hurray, 2022 is here, well in New Zealand and a few other countries… Looking forward to you all joining us and celebrating a brand new year where positivity will move us all forward in leaps and bounds. At least I hope so.

Lots to do and a business plan for this year to sort out before work commences on the 6th Jan 2022. We have five books to work on over the next couple of months with another touching down in April. It is going to be great fun working with these clients, they are awesome writers and people.

Business

Part of the plant this year is to take Monday’s off and do a course on Marketing. Though I have some marketing skills, I need to up my skills to move this business forward to the next stage. As many of you not, our business says Publishing House in the title. At this stage we don’t actually publish any client’s work, we only prepare work for distribution. I work as an Author Consultant and Formatter. This is due to the fact, USA business tax is complicated (to say the least) With saying this, we will eventually look into publishing in New Zealand, though the costs are much higher than KDP, Smashwords etc. This is because printers in New Zealand don’t understand the POD (Print on Demand) system or don’t use the system the same way as overseas. They have a single price for one book, it is set out… the more you buy the cheaper the books are. This means it can cost thousands to print books and is sadly out of many writers pockets, which is why we use places like KDP.

Sadly KDP can be tricky and terminate accounts and not pay-out royalties whenever they so choose. Considering those of us living outside an Amazon area/country, we only get paid after we’ve earned $100 USD, POUNDS, EURO etc. With this warning, please be careful out there and read all the policies of the places your distribute your work through.

As well as up-skilling my marketing, I am also updating my graphic art skills, mainly on GIMP, learning to do layers etc. I had a blast about ten days ago with a new client and their book cover. Slightly frustrating, though enhancing my skill.

New Clients

I have several new clients coming up this year, though will blog about them at a later date, when they are ready for publishing. An interview is a great way to introduce you all to new writers. Along with this I am hoping to have an Instagram day, where I will post about books once a week… first though, I need to learn how to use Instagram a bit better than I do. I’m not good with a phone and wish we could post via computer. I’ve heard some can, so will see what happens this year. We also need to finish updating this website and adding the links we are missing. If you see a broken link, please let me know.

Lots of learning. Weekends will be for family. We will have set hours, though we will also always answer Fb messages when we see them due to the time differences around the world.

Reviews

If you have books on Kindle Unlimited and they are in a genre we read, then please let us know and we will read and review. Reviews will be fair and only done if we can give 4 or 5 stars. Anything less and we will message you… the author, instead and let you know what issues we’ve found, be it formatting, or editing, etc.

Merry Christmas to all our Clients, Past, Present and Future.

Plaisted Publishing House Ltd and our Contractors

would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

For those who don’t celebrate, enjoy your time with your families. Be Safe. Be Kind. Enjoy the day wherever you are, be it Summer (where we are in New Zealand) or Winter.

Keep writing, drawing, designing, editing, though make sure you have a rest to. Your family is important.

Here is hoping you all have a lovely Winter/Summer holiday.

Best wishes

Claire Plaisted