W for Website

It seems self-evident that all writers should have a website but thenID-100247749 comes the problem of deciding what type or category of website should we choose.

A single static page can do the job, or a collection of static pages, or my favorite nowadays. a blog. Blogs are easy to administer and often free. Both Blogger and WordPress have an ever-expanding choice of free themes that are easy to customize. Both allow great flexibility and a mix of static and blog pages–useful if you wish to direct readers to a static home page, or special offer page, rather than the latest blog post.

According to Wikipedia, websites can be categorized in almost fifty ways. So it’s worth planning before diving in immediately to set up your website.

What Do You Want It To Do?

  • Do you simply want to list your books or books in progress?
  • Do you want to give away free reports, courses, short stories to your email list?
  • Do you want to sell goods directly?
  • Do you want to run an affiliate site–make money by selling recommended products?
  • Do you simply want to journal your thoughts and feelings?

Think very carefully before limit your options. Check that the website or blog format you use can adapt easily to your requirements. Check that you can set it up and manage it easily yourself. You do not want to have to pay for expert help whenever you need to change a page or special offer.

Before You Make a Decision:

Follow as many blogs as you can–take notes on what you consider to be their best features and their worst. Those of us on the A-Z Challenge have a wonderful learning opportunity with the chance to visit so many high quality blogs.

Visit and assess all the free website offers you can find.

Think carefully about the domain name you want. You may be stuck with it for some time.

www cube from Stuart Miles at Free Digital Photos

V for Vlogging

vloggingTo Vlog or Not To Vlog?  That is the question.

Vlogging is blogging by video. A lot of ifs involved–if you don’t mind talking aloud. if you don’t mind being seen on screen, if you’re happy to post to screen sharing services like You tube, Screencast or Vimeo.

For : You can just talk to a camera and/or screen capture some slides. You can create a strong presence, find millions of followers, make money through advertising brands when successful. You might even sell some books.

Against: You have to talk on camera. You have to dress up–no more sitting around in pajamas and bunny slippers. You have to stockpile at least ten videos, vlog daily or at worst twice a week. You still have to produce transcripts of your vlog for those of us who hate sitting in front of videos. . .  See where I’m going with this?

Last year it was all the rage. Surveys this year show  vlogging  is far from the best option to use for marketing. According to the Daily Telegraph, it is bottom of the heap when it comes to converting message to money.

Skimming through the You Tube videos from the great and the good, I decided that the short fun ones seemed to have better responses. You have to be dedicated to sit through 30 minutes plus.

Whew!

Now a nice how-to video using slide share and powerpoint slides posted every now and again could be a much better option.

Here’s how Dr John Yeoman of Writers’ Village made his first video.

Writers’ Village is a  wonderful site for conversation, classes and competitions, too. Well worth checking out.       V-copy

photo from Franky242 and Copy=ctrl+V from sscreations, both through Free Digital Photos

 

U for Underline

Your precious work-no-longer-in-progress is finished. You’ve discussed every problem in your critique circle, you’ve answered every criticism from the beta readers, you’ve self-edited it thirty plus times. Now you’re ready  to find a publishing home where editors will love and appreciate it as much as you do.

Next step is read the guidelines for submission. And amazingly, so many authors don’t.

What has this to do with Underlining?

Underlining used to be the industry standard for showing publishers a word or words to be put in italics.  Nowadays most guidelines request authors to use italics instead. Not all authors do.

Double spaces between sentences used to be obligatory. No longer. One space is the norm between words and sentences. It’s a hard habit to break but you can always use the find and replace function to swap two spaces for one.

And tabs–don’t mention tabs to an e-book editor. They play havoc with formatting.

If you’re self-publishing, you learn quickly. But if you want to be popular with an editor, try to follow the guidelines to the letter.

This year already several small presses have folded. Life is tough all round. So many authors are now submitting to comparatively few publishers.

Some reject work that doesn’t follow guidelines for submission out of hand. Give your book the best chance. Don’t underline if italics will do 🙂

And if you’ve got ten minutes, here’s where you need the italics.