Writing A Book? Grab Your Reader’s Attention

writing techniquesAside from writing a book with great content and choosing a profitable niche, there are several other ways to maximize your chance’s of making your book stand out.

The title and cover are the first things people will notice about your book. So you want to create buy-worthy titles and covers that grab your readers’ attention.

Writing A Book Title

The title should have these characteristics:

  • Evoke curiosity so that people will want to click just to find out what the book is about.
  • Highlight the benefits so people know how it will help them such as How to… 5 Ways to… or Find out How…
  • Stir emotion. Your title should evoke some form of emotion – excitement, fear, hope. etc.
  • Catch the reader’s eye and be aesthetically pleasing.
  • Voice easily. The title should contain words that are easy to pronounce and remember.

Your book should actually deliver what the title says.

The Book Cover

The cover is the first thing that draws the eye. The cover should have an element that grabs attention – the color, the text, the design, or something else.

A cover should also:

  • Be clearly recognized as a thumbnail.
  • Make the reader feel something instead of telling them something.
  • Know who your audience is.
  • Avoid cliché images like piggy-banks, dollar signs, or skinny models.

Writing A Book Description

Book descriptions that sell:

Fiction:

  • Give a hint about the plot.
  • Use words that evoke images and speak to your audience.
  • Talk briefly about your main characters.
  • Give an idea of the plot setting.
  • List a question or hint at the mystery to be solved or answered that draws the reader in.
  • Over-emphasize, magnify, or exaggerate the plot.
  • Give quotes about the book from reviews.
  • The length should be around 150 words, excluding author bio.
  • Include an about the author blurb.

Nonfiction:

  • Make the first sentence a standout headline that quickly compels them to read the rest of the description.
  • Make it personal. Explain clearly, why someone interested in the topic must read your book.
  • Describe how the book will benefit the reader after putting the tips to use.
    Give detailed benefits of what the reader will get from the book.

If you are having trouble writing a book description, write it as if you were reviewing someone else’s book.

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Internet Marketing Magic Buttons & Silver Bullets

Several years ago, purely by accident, I stumbled upon an article about internet marketing. The post was specifically about affiliate marketing. I’d never heard of affiliate marketing before, or even internet marketing for that matter. As I read the first few lines, it talked about how to make money with affiliate marketing – it immediately got my attention. So I began to read on to find out what this making money with affiliate marketing was all about.

That article was my introduction to making money online, it was the hook. I remember feeling quite excited after reading that post. I felt like I had just discovered the holy grail to making money. I couldn’t wait to tell my wife about the amazing discovery I had come across. I told her it was called affiliate marketing, and that it could be our ticket to becoming financially free. I babbled on for what must of felt like eons for her. It sounds great dear she whispered, as she slowly nodded of to sleep. I lay there staring at the ceiling, I was still pumped by my discovery and I was going to prove to her that I’m onto a great thing.

Internet Marketing – Wants and Needs

internet marketing wizardFast forward to 2015. It took me way too long to realize I had become part of the internet marketing herd. In the early stages of my IM journey, I was excited and wanted to start making money ASAP, but I wasn’t too keen on doing things that required too much effort or were too complicated to learn. I began buying things that would save me all the hassle of having to do actual work. I soon became conditioned to wanting the newest thing, the latest gadget or that “cutting edge” secret or trick that would solve all my problems.

I didn’t want to waste my time doing all that boring mundane stuff, like niche research or creating a product or service that actually provided real value to people. I was looking for the magic buttons and chasing silver bullets. I fell into the trap of buying things I wanted, but not investing in things that I actually needed.

What people need and what people think they want are two very different things.

And since people buy what they think they want rather than what they need, it makes sense for product creators to pitch something that fits with the – what people want category.

If you feel like I’ve just described “you” don’t worry… I’m pretty sure that most of us have been there. All you have to do is stop buying those quick-fix silver bullets and start working to a system or model or whatever you want to call it. Start with one thing and stick to it, until you have completed it. Then carry on to the next thing and do the same. Before long you’ll have a nice steady little business that keeps growing and growing.

My one thing at the moment is kindle publishing. If writing is your thing or you’re thinking about starting out with kindle publishing, I highly recommend checking out the Ultimate eBook Creator, which I use myself and actively promote on this blog. And yes I wanted it, but more importantly it was something I needed. Why? because it saved me from spending time that was unproductive and it allowed me to spend more time on actually writing my book. It also kept everything tidy and organized… it helped me create a polished product – a perfectly formatted book ready to upload to KDP.

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Change Is A Good Thing

Whenever anything changes there’s always a bunch of people who go into panic mode. When Amazon announced they were changing how Kindle Unlimited payments were to be paid all hell broke loose. People in the forums spent days talking about it to the detriment of their writing. Some wondered whether they should write longer books and others thought they should write shorter books. Some wanted to change all their plans even though they didn’t have all the information to make a decision.

Some people simply don’t like change and some embrace change, because with every change comes opportunity. I was pleased to see that Amazon has FINALLY sorted out how they will be paying people for their KU books.

Good books will make money and the rubbish will disappear because it won’t give the rubbish-makers the income they have managed to steal from genuine writers so far. When the junk disappears the good stuff will have an easier rise to the top – and it will stay there longer. Good stuff, meaning any story that is well written, well presented and gives the readers what they want… entertainment.

Good stuff means… long books, short books, medium length books. Length doesn’t matter because you will be getting paid on what the reader reads. Don’t get caught up in the NOISE that is distracting you from getting your quality books published and available for the readers who won’t have to sift through the junk that has been distracting them from you.

Tips For The Writer

  • Try not to edit and revise as you go
  • Allow time to pass before revising
  • Ask yourself what the reader cares about

 

5 Must Have WordPress Plugins

Deciding what are the best WordPress Plugins to install on your new WordPress blog, can be like walking through a minefield. Especially if you’re a newbie and just starting out with the whole WordPress thing. I literally spent weeks (more like months) deciding what were the best ones to install initially, and then even more time trying to work out (in some cases) how to configure the dam things.

Below are 5 excellent WordPress Plugins that have one main thing in common “simplicity”.

wordpress plugins zencache

 

 

 

 

ZenCache – Speed up your site with this advanced WordPress caching plugin. ZenCache takes a real-time snapshot (building a cache) of every Page, Post, Category, Link, etc. These snapshots are then cached intuitively, so they can be referenced later. ZenCache is designed with pure simplicity in mind and is one of those plugins that you absolutely MUST have.

wordpress plugins wordpress seo

 

 

 

 

WordPress SEO – Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin checks the little things that you inevitably miss. For instance, if you have images in your post and whether they have an alt tag containing your keyword for that post. It also checks whether your posts are long enough. It comes with it’s own built in XML sitemap functionality that automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of the sitemaps existence.

wordpress plugins antispam bee

 

 

 

 

Antispam Bee – Is one of the biggest Akismet competitors in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory. It’s a great alternative to Akismet as the freely available plugin uses many different techniques to identify spam messages. Antispam Bee has almost 1 million downloads so far.

wordpress plugins google analyticator

 

 

 

 

Google Analyticator – Has been out since 2005. Ever since its introduction it has grown and developed. There’s no need to waste time setting up Google Analytics using JavaScript code as the plugin automatically adds the necessary code itself. This plugin can handle everything to do with Google Analytics and currently has a reported 3 million plus downloads.

wordpress plugins contact form 7

 

 

 

 

Contact Form 7 – When it comes to adding a basic contact form to your website, Contact Form 7 is hard to beat. It’s one of the most popular plugins for WordPress; with a reported 23 million plus downloads. You can manage multiple contact forms as well as customize the form. Tip: Really Simple Captcha is a great plugin to use in conjunction with Contact Form 7

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Finding your Target Market Using Yasiv

YASIV is a free online tool, and stands for “Yet Another Similar Items Visualization.” It’s a cool way to look at the connections and relative popularity between a best seller book in its category, against the other books in the same category. I’ve been using Yasiv to identify my target market in a specific niche and also uncover targeted book titles. I call these best seller books “target books.”

The more connections your book has, the more likely it will “stay afloat” and not sink like a stone. We’ve all seen this happen after our book has a KDP Select free day. It does well, but two weeks later it has sunk into oblivion. Therefore, you want to connect your book to a target book.

Finding Our Target Book

In this post I’m going to show you how to find a target book. Because understanding the concept that our target book is built on, will help us identify our target market and create a great book with that same concept. Note – KindleSpy is a great tool to use in conjunction with Yasiv

First, we’re going to go to the Amazon kindle store and click on best sellers. Then we’re going to choose a category. For this example, I’m going to choose the self-help category and look at the top three best sellers in that category. We want to find a target book that meets our requirements – these are:

  • An Amazon best seller rank 500 or less
  • A decent amount of reviews with at least a 4 star rating
  • And a price tag above $2.99

The target book I chose is called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” This is what I found:

  • An Amazon best seller rank of #64
  • 1741 reviews with a 4.4 star average
  • A price tag of $9.86

So why do we need to know these details?

Because sometimes a book is not very well connected. It may have had a big promotional push behind it. We want to connect our book to a real target book, a book that has many connections and sales. Target books are proven best sellers. They are books people want and are willing to pay for.

Identifying Our Target Market

Our next step is to visit Yasiv.com and enter our target books ASIN number into the search box (you can also enter the book title) This will bring up a visual graph with our target book in the center and all the related books that are connected to it.

target market using yasiv

We want to find the relation between our target book and the books connected to it. What are the themes? Do the books have something in common? Two books are connected because of a common theme, or combination of themes.

Below are the titles of seven books connected to our target book. For this example I’ve researched seven books (I usually research at least 10-15 connected books)

  1. Habit Stacking For Cleaning and Organizing: How to organize, clean and keep your home spotless
  2. A Clutter Free Life: The life changing magic of tidying up and living an organized life
  3. Organization: The Life Changing Magic of Order: Best techniques known to mankind
  4. One Year to an Organized Life: From your closets to your finances, the weekly guide to getting completely organized for good
  5. The Clutter Diet: The skinny on organizing your home and taking control of your life
  6. Stuffocation: Why we’ve had enough of stuff and need experience more that ever
  7. The Life Changing Magic of Cluttering Up: A meditation on meanings in messes

Our target book is titled – “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.”Take a look at the results of the books that surrounded our target book. What are their topics? They are:

  • How to be organized in your life
  • How to keep the home clutter free
  • life changing strategies to being tidy and organized

So what does this tell us about our target market?

This tells us that we have (more than likely, women) who are dissatisfied or frustrated with themselves, because they aren’t able to “do it all.” They maybe balancing raising a family with a full-time career. They feel disorganized, and out of control. Their solution is to get more organized, more systematic in order to take the pressure off themselves.

We now know the psychology of our target market, therefore we know the exact types of books they are looking for. We also know that these women are currently buying these books.

Connecting to our Target Book

Now, we can create a book specifically designed to connect to our target book. We simply take the core theme and mix it with the theme of the books directly surrounding our target book. Here are some example titles.

  • A Working Woman’s Guide to Keeping Organized and Clutter Free
  • Life Changing Strategies to a Clutter Free Home
  • The New Working Woman: Organized and Stress Free

Buy the target book or even another couple of books connected to it. Research them, find out what makes these books tick? find the main common theme they all share and then you’ll be able to write your book (in your own words) that shares the same major theme the target book and connected books share. You’ll have a great keyword rich book title as well.

I know this example is based on non-fiction books, but you can also apply this method to fiction books. Even if you have an existing book already published, the data you get from doing this research you can use to tweak your existing book. You could rehash it slightly so that the theme of your book connects with the target book or even change your book title to include the keywords that you uncover.

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Funny Opening Lines

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… hold on. Okay – try again, once upon a time there lived… just a minute, hold up there cowboy. That opening line rings a bell.

Stephen King said in an interview, an opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say – Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this. Of course, opening lines don’t always have to be snappy to grab the readers attention: take for instance the famous opening lines of J.D Salinger’s novel: The Catcher in the Rye.

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

If you haven’t captured the readers attention within the first few lines, then the prospective reader has gone. I believe a good opening line really begins with voice. You hear people talk about voice a lot. An appealing voice achieves an intimate connection.

Perfect first lines take many shapes and forms. Keep searching until you find it, because when you do, it will hook your reader through the rest of your story.

Five Funny Opening Lines

Below are 5 opening lines I picked out from a blog I came across that was titled “Bad Romance Novel Opening Lines.” I’m not sure if “bad” is the right word, I actually found them funny, and they do grab your attention.

funny opening lines

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Things To Write About: Creative Writing

Are you sick of staring at that blank word doc on your computer screen, racking your brain for ideas of things to write about?

Don’t give up just yet. Here’s a writing exercise that will help unlock your creative ideas and have you coming up with original and great story plots for your next book.

In the early 1920s, a fellow at Pembroke College in the United Kingdom wrote a book based on the Scandinavian legends he specialized in; to the point of people considering his story a simple grafting together of these tales. This book was to become the Lord of The Rings.

The point here is that most people don’t realize just how many stories are influenced by and based on others.

Of course you can’t just retell Cinderella, using the exact same circumstances, and expect to write a best seller – but by warping it, suddenly your story enters the literary world.

things to write aboutTake Jane Eyre, one of the most famous pieces of the romantic era – this can be seen as a Cinderella story with a very strong twist, with allusions to the Big Bad Wolf. An interesting resource for reading more on the different archetypal stories is The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker. This full novel will totally change the way you read novels in the future.

However, that doesn’t really help you write the next piece; and what does is simply a matter of finding your basis story, putting a new face on it, and then smoothing out the wrinkles.

 

Things To Write About: A Worked Example

To start with, we will work on the rags to riches story type – and focus on the Aladdin plot line.

First of all we need a context – let’s make it modern day, so as to be clear cut from the original folk tale.

Next we need characters – we’ll call the main man Bob.

A love interest – enter Sarah.

The genie – will be a rich man called Alex.

Our antagonist – is the local crime lord, Daemon.

You can include other minor characters on the way, but they will only improve individual scenes; not take up important plot space.

So Now for the Plot

We’ll base this off the original 

Bob is cycling along the outskirt of town, when an expensive car swerves to miss an animal that has decided to cross the road. The car goes off the highway, and rolls. Bob immediately pulls the driver out, and resuscitates him. The driver is Alex, a real estate tycoon who lives in the surrounding country. He is thankful for Bob saving his life, and gives him a phone number, telling Bob that whenever he rings that number, he is to state what he wants and it shall be given.

So Bob takes the number, and a couple of days later finds himself in need of a bike, because his has been stolen. He rings the number, and states he needs a new bike. The next morning, he finds a brand new, top of the line bike on his back porch. Amazed, he suddenly realizes the power this man must have.

At this point in the story, we are introduced to Sarah, the girl that every guy in the town is chasing, who works at the local pound. His thoughts immediately turn to her, and his next “wish” (i.e. call) is to have a large donation made to the local pound in his name, for charitable purposes. He goes to the pound a couple of days later, to see the great work his donation has supposedly done. He finally gets the chance to talk to Sarah, and he asks her out on a date.

Up until this stage everything is going great, and we haven’t had to create heaps of wild plot tangents.

Enter Daemon, who has discovered how Bob is getting all these new things (perhaps he had him tailed, and someone heard one of the calls; the important thing here is it’s your choice how you want to build the story). He knows Sarah, as he runs some of his crime operations out of the back of the pound (of course she doesn’t know this), so he can steal Bob’s phone easily when he visits the pound to pick up Sarah one day.

Alex starts to receive lots of phone calls from Daemon, whom he mistakes for Bob, and consequently is giving handouts to unworthy causes – like Daemon’s crime empire. Here too, Daemon also wins Sarah over with his new source of wealth. Bob discovers what has happened, and manages to get Daemon sent to jail, before reclaiming his phone and fixing what has happened. He wins back Sarah, and calls Alex a final time to tell him never to accept any more wishes, as he is truly happy.

What Have We Achieved?

As our story stands, it is a weak response as a piece of creative writing. This is because even when padded out, it would simply be a sequential retelling of Aladdin – but by having it, we know what each scene needs to achieve, and how we will achieve it.

This direction stops the rambling tone that many stories take for creative writing. Each scene can also be given its own purpose to build on the theme of the story; and each character representing something.

The beauty of this method, and why nearly all successful writers use it in some form, is that instead of being given a blank canvas to work with, your picture has outlines to guide you. It allows you to focus on the details to create the perfect work… no more banging your head against the wall for ideas of things to write about.

So once you’ve done your plot overview, think of two themes, and make sure you build on each scene. Also create a message that each character delivers. Including good descriptive language (especially metaphors and similes) Another important finishing touch is proofreading; bad grammar, poorly constructed sentences and misspelled words will attract harsh criticism.

Overall, the secret to creative writing is planning and coherence. Remember to plan everything you write. The writing process will take less time and you’ll find you won’t have to stare at that blank word doc anymore, thinking of things to write about.

So happy writing!

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9 Things People Decide When First Meeting You

Where already into the second month of 2015 and whether you’ve been marketing online for awhile or just starting out — the beginning of a new year definitely brings out a feeling of a fresh start. Here’s an interesting article I read recently that might help you kick off 2015 with a different approach to your online marketing campaigns. Although not directly related to making money online, the points made definitely relate to how we connect with people.

According to science, within moments of meeting people, we decide all sorts of things about them, from intelligence to status to promiscuity. Here are 9 things people decide within seconds of meeting you… says science.

If You’re Trustworthy

People decide on your trustworthiness in less than a second. Researchers at Princeton found this out by giving one group of students one hundred milliseconds to rate the attractiveness, competence, likeability, aggressiveness, and trustworthiness of actors’ faces. Members of another group were able to take as long as they wanted. While other traits differed depending on time spent looking, trustworthiness was basically the same.

If You’re High-Status

A Dutch study found that people wearing name-brand clothes — Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste — were seen as higher status than people wearing non-designer clothes. “Perceptions did not differ on any of the other dimensions that might affect the outcome of social interactions,” the authors wrote. “There were no differences in perceived attractiveness, kindness, and trustworthiness.” Just status.

If You’re Straight or Gay

Apparently people can read a man’s sexual orientation in a twentieth of a second — the minimum amount of time it takes to consciously recognize a face. “The rapid and accurate perception of male sexual orientation may be just another symptom of a fast and efficient cognitive mechanism for perceiving the characteristics of others,” wrote study authors Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady.

If You’re Smart

A study led by Loyola Marymount University professor Nora A. Murphy found that looking your conversation partner in the eye was huge for your perceived smartness. “Looking while speaking was a key behavior,” she wrote. “It significantly correlated with IQ, was successfully manipulated by impression-managing targets, and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.” Wearing thick glasses and speaking expressively helps, too.

If You’re Promiscuous

A British study found that women with visible tattoos were perceived as less attractive, heavier drinkers, and more promiscuous than females without any ink — which owes to stereotypes about women with tattoos. “In Britain, at least, tattooing among women is often associated with ‘ladette’ culture, the female equivalent of ‘lad’ culture, which typically involves a proclivity for alcoholic beverages, sports, fast cars, and a plethora of men’s magazines,” the authors wrote.

If You’re Dominant

Bald isn’t just beautiful; it’s powerful. A University of Pennsylvania study found that “men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant than similar men with full heads of hair,” and that “men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves.” So if it’s starting to go, shave it off.

If You’re Successful

If you want to look successful, get it tailored. In a British-Turkish study, participants looked at photos of men in tailored versus off-the-peg suits for just five seconds, with the guys in tailored suits rated as more successful. “On the evidence of this study it appears men may be advised to purchase clothing that is well‐tailored, as it can positively enhance the image they communicate to others,” the authors wrote.

If You’re on Your Way to a Promotion

It’s not just status — it’s earnings potential, too. In a 2011 Canadian study, university students were shown photos of male models dressed in either business or casual attire. They were then asked questions about how that guy would perform in a variety of jobs. The results were stark: Not only were the crisply dressed dudes expected to make more money, they were expected to get promoted more rapidly.

If You’re Adventurous

People don’t just read into who you are from your appearance, but also from the way you move. In a Durham University study, students were shown video clips of 26 other students walking — some with looser gaits, some tighter. Just a few steps were needed to give a sense of personality. Students equated looser gaits with extroversion and adventurousness, while the more clipped walkers were seen as neurotic.

Article read from link below.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/relationships/science-says-people-decide-these-9-things-within-seconds-of-meeting-you/ar-AA9pbeP

Formatting Tips Using The Ultimate eBook Creator

If you’ve read any of the articles I’ve posted about the Ultimate eBook Creator, you will have know that I’m a big fan of it. I also endorse it as one of the best eBook creation tools available on the market today and I stand by everything I say about the UEC.

Kindle Publishing is a great platform for indie authors and having the right tool for the right job is important. If you’re familiar with Amazons KDP Select program, you will know that it has it’s own forum (The community tab) where self publishing authors can go and ask questions, give advice etc. I don’t visit the forum often, but when I do, I sometimes pick up some handy bits of information. One of the most common questions asked in the forum, is about formatting, usually to do with using MS Word. Continue reading Formatting Tips Using The Ultimate eBook Creator

Learn To Relax A Little

If you’ve been online for any length of time, I’m sure you’ll agree that running an online business is not easy. Even if you’re highly organized, an online business is no different than the traditional “Brick and mortar business”, you still need to put in the time and effort in order for your business to grow and profit.

I heard somewhere (I can’t recall where?) that there are two things you need to be successful, “Confidence and Ignorance”. Confidence may seem obvious, but ignorance not so obvious. Most people who have the ambition to start a successful business, more than often will fail, even before they begin. Negative comments can quickly erode a persons’ confidence. So, ignorance (to a certain degree) can help you dismiss those negative elements and let you get on with what you set out to do in the first place… build a successful business.

If you’ve got ambitions’ for 2015, approach it with a solid plan mapped out and with a focused (I will succeed) attitude, but also remember to chill out now and again and not take things too seriously. Life’s too short for regrets.