Tag Archive: about websites


Details about my writing contract for just a couple of chickens

Buff Polish Chicks want details about my first writing contract for Just A Couple of Chickens, so I made a movie. Because chicks dig movies.

I was so excited when my first book, “Just A Couple Of Chickens” came out in 2010.

I was even more excited when it began to sell,

and when it got good reviews,

and when I heard from readers about how much they have enjoyed reading it.

I got all wrapped up in building a website to promote the book,

And establishing connections with distributors… something my husband, Andrew, is uniquely supremely gifted at doing, which led to sales of over 1,500 copies.

So I thought I would make a little movie to share some of the details of my first writing contract for this first book…. and here it is.

 

How to use a website as an author platform

These may be some of my far ancestors, but since nobody labeled the photos, I will never know. To me, they represent my many inner selves. Especially the dude in the uniform and the chick in the corset. Those are definitely my inner voices.

I have been listening to expert advice regarding how-to-be-a-successful-author, and all of my sources say “create and maintain a platform online.” So I recently sat down with myself to try and figure out how to present myself online and everywhere else.

“How should I present myself?” I asked myself.

“Lie like a rug!” came one answer.

“With Dignity!” came another.

“Don’t do it,” came a third.

“You always say don’t,” retorted one.

“No I don’t,” replied a third.

“You just did,” one pointed out.

“Grow up, both of you,” said another.

“This,” I said to all of them, “is why I try not to talk to myself.”

So I set up a website and I began to blog about the subject matter showcased by my two books, Just A Couple Of Chickens, and the soon-to-be-released biography about my grandfather, Col. C. J. Tippett. And I discovered that I had a third subject to blog about… self publishing, and how to do it, and what I think about it, and how it’s going as I do it. And I began to recognize my voice through this work… my voice is my platform, and my platform is how I talk to my readers – established and new.

At first, I felt that all this blogging and social media-ing… all this platform developing… was taking time away from my ultimate purpose, which was to write and sell books and become mega-rich author. But then I realized that all this blogging and reaching out into the dark with my keyboard was developing a direction for my writing. It was giving me clarity and focus. It was giving me mental wealth… even when I though nobody was reading it. Which actually, they are… (arrgg! Writers Block!)

I realized that I have a definite niche focus for my self publishing… which is Do-It-Yourself, and Own Your ISBN.  I discovered that the direction for my chicken book sequel is not just poultry raising, but is also Urban Homesteading. And I was able to expand on the material that built my grandfather’s biography – going further with the subject than I was able to do in the book itself, because my publisher was anxious about the page count. (So far, it’s out for submission to a traditional agent, so that was another meeting of the selves that didn’t go well…)

So already my platform has brought me (mental) riches. It isn’t a timesuck, it’s a garden… a pathway… a meeting place.

What should I do with my author platform?

  • I think I should expand on my author themes,
  • be a resource by sharing my experiences,
  • connect with other people doing similar things,
  • pose questions to the industry,
  • and share my personality.

Plus it’s great fun to pursue additional subjects pertaining to my books, like Famous People Who Met My Grandfather, and Funky Chickens.

 

 

 

Self Publishing Advice Tulip Field

In an endless field of cool things to do with my website, how do I choose just one? And which tulip is the right tulip for me?

The wonderful thing about the internet is that there are so many things you can do!
The terrible thing about the internet is that there are so many things you can do.

Which things are worth my time?

Learning how all of this is going to help me sell my self published book is a massive time-sink, so I have to be very sure that doing something is worth it.

Based on my research, my observations, my workshop attendances, my groups, my mentors, my website classes, and my habit of listening in on Starbucks conversations – having your posts show up on your Facebook page is worth it.

Posting regularly to my blog – (which is the same as my website)… is worth it. And making sure those posts show up on my Facebook page (page, not profile – tho I could do both) is worth it, because I can make the Facebook page updates happen automatically. I can include automatic tweets with the same process, so that’s worth it too.

You can set up your Facebook page to have your blog posts flow automatically each time you post fresh material using the Networked Blogs app, done through Facebook. The same app will push the posts to your Twitter account.

I first set up HootSuite to do this, one of many free services that will do it automatically. But HootSuite would not let thumbnails of my post images show on my Facebook page and that was a deal breaker for me. I think people are more likely to click through if the picture shows, so I switched to Networked Blogs. I’d gone with HootSuite first because I’d read that Networked Blogs would count my click traffic as their own… but in the end, the thumbnails issue was more urgent.

Any specific details on how these services function goes out of date super fast, because everything is so dynamic on the web. Most of the tutorials I viewed about how to set up Networked Blogs were using the old Facebook interface – although they all still worked. The screenshots were out of date. So the info in the paragraph above may no longer be an issue by the time you are reading this post… but regardless, pick one and move forward so that your posts flow to both your Facebook page and your Twitter account.

Google “How to setup Networked Blogs” or “How to post blogs to my Facebook page” and follow through. Then keep posting regularly, because the heart of all the “How to use a website for Self Publishing” advice is to keep posting regularly, and then make those posts work for you.

If I’m wrong about Hootsuite, let me know!  (And if it would take a massive HTML hack to make it show thumbnails… that doesn’t count.)

 

Lots of eggs of self publishing advice

This is how many plugins I have. Is it too many?

You would not believe the trouble I’ve had in getting that question answered.
I think if a writer is going to post with that question in the title, they should answer the question!

So here is the answer…

If you are having to ask “how many plugins is too many plugins?” then you probably have too many plugins.
They can slow down your site. So if your site is loading too slowly
… more than 4 seconds…
then you have too many plugins.

It was tentblogger.com who finally quoted numbers… thank you tentblogger!

Plugins should number 10 – 15 in general, and max out at 20 if you are using W3 Total Cache.

That sounds accurate to me because my website started to slow down with less than 20 and the last 5 plugins I installed were intended to try and speed it back up.
And it also means I need to give up some plugins, cuz I am at 29 and already installed W3 Total Cache (and configured it). Wah.

But another important point I came across was… why do I have so many plugins?  Perhaps I am fighting with my theme… or trying to do too much… or under-utilizing the other plugins.

That’s a big 10-4 on all of those points. Back to the dashboard…. Because a slow site is worse than any other website flaw.

I wonder if there is a plugin for figuring out how many plugins I can get away with.
Is there a plugin rehab?
because I think I may have a problem.

 

 

 

I’ve been plugging the same question into google for hours now, and I keep getting the same answer.

“How often should I post on my blog?” I ask…
“Every day” blogging experts answer…

But I don’t like that answer, so I try again.
Google has the infinite patience of a robot.

An Ocean of Self Publishing Advice

Days, like breakers, roll up on my beach endlessly when I contemplate posting every day.

“Every day if you want to build traffic…”
“Every day if you want to attract new readers…”
“Every day if you want to keep loyal readers…”
“Every day if you want to rank higher on keyword searches, which brings you more traffic…”

I switch up my question, still hoping for an answer I will like better.
Google has the flexibility of a robot – it gives me the same answer while it varies the sources.

I choose some of my favorite blogs… how often are they posting?
Every day.
Hmm, sometimes they skip a day.
Oh, no they don’t.
Those are weekend days.

Wah.

Well, for now I will stick with posting at least three times a week.
But the answer to the question is that posting every day builds traffic. And for those of you bloggers who are valiantly posting every day… I raise my glass to you!

 

 

 

I have the WordPress logo burned into my retinas, I’ve been staring at their support forum for so long… but worth it!  I’ve got all kinds of cool ways for you to contact me at this blog now! I also made a favicon out of the book. I feel awesome. Actually, I think I have a tummy bug, but other than that I feel awesome.

I have a Newsletter Sign Up!  It is below, and it is one the sidebar, and it is in the menu.
It is actually the Participants Database plugin because that way I can access the collected database like the database manager that I am…

I have a Contact Form which can be accessed by clicking on the words Contact Form, or in the sidebar or in the footer.

And I finally made a proper email for this site!  It is talktotheauthor@thewestchesterpress.com

 

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