Guest Post: Modern Marketing Techniques by Elena Erin

I would like to welcome Elena Erin to NAG today. She will share some ideas about modern marketing techniques that freelancers, blogger, and authors could use. Enjoy!

In today’s sophisticated and digitised market, there are more than enough options and opportunities for customers to test products or services before making their decisions. When you develop a marketing strategy, you must take the fact into your consideration that the consumer has more options than ever. For this reason, it is necessary to adapt to a more authentic and human-centred marketing style.

It is time to avoid using certain old-fashioned and infamous tools to achieve your goals and to promote your business successfully. Definitely, they have long since ceased to bring results and could potentially harm your brand.
The following paragraphs present some basic tips how to market products or services in this competitive business world:

Modern Marketing Techniques

Refrain From the Traditional Marketing Styles

You should avoid inventing. There was an age when online consumers were more gullible. Marketers could easily play from their simplicity and developing false needs so as to lead to the desired “landing page” (the Web page that returns a hyperlink). Now, users thoroughly read through the marketing messages. They go directly to websites that offer them real information about the products or services you offered.
Telemarketing is another marketing tool, but a traditional style that is ineffective now. In fact, this marketing technique does not really get adequate results, and frequently it embarrasses you as well. The chances that your conversation leads are weakened by the recognition of the numbers of incoming calls, and even deign to answer your prospects; they are frequently interrupted and tired of receiving many calls. Nobody likes to be disturbed, nor considered as an additional number on a call list.

Direct marketing is also a traditional marketing tool and now, you should avoid direct marketing. This technique broadcasts a message via email, and personalised incentive to target audience. However, this marketing strategy is absolutely unproductive unless you knew all included on your mailing list and you have full knowledge about their buying behaviours. If you still wish to do so, you will have to offer something of value with a free sample or a coupon, but not for all types of customers or businesses.

Moreover, it is also important that your mailing list is simplified and you should avoid spam. The mailing list must contain only the members of your target audience and emails should be sent to specific and customised audience.

Follow the Modern Marketing Styles

You should rely on the solid data and statistics; instead of following your intuition. Organisations that do not conduct frequent tests and regular analyses are doomed to failure. To ameliorate your marketing, you will have to focus on what proved to be a success in the past. In doing so, you have to carry out extensive statistical evaluations of your marketing campaigns and press about the results. You will then be capable of optimising your strategies for the future.
You must communicate with your target audience, and not only show ads. If you concentrate only on the sale, you will not go far. Open dialogue and maintain communication with target audience may be productive and prolific.
Always be contacted for your client. An organisation that does not mention minimum two contact options on its website; it will not be considered reliable by visitors. Allowing your clients to easily contact you, you will develop a strong relationship of trust with them. Do not try to be first in the phone book, or even the second, unless the target audience of your business is aged 65 or more.

Keywords in the website content are considered as very important nowadays, so always write your content with appropriate keywords, with clear and valuable information. The content’s incomprehensible messages and technical terms will not help the common man at all. Some years ago, the search engines could not distinguish between good and bad content and that time is now over. Now, your site must be stayed on the top 10 search results that require a permanent work related to SEO (search engine optimisation). It is imperative to develop consistent and pertinent texts as well in terms of conversion of prospects and SEO. To maintain your website rankings on the search engines, mainly on the Google, new and innovative content must be generated frequently by you that must have appropriate links to useful sites. Keep in mind; to get success on the web, quality is the slogan.

Credibility, reliability and honesty are core assets for any online business now. It is a fact that most of the users are in doubt about the reliability of products or services available on the web. Be honest and sincere, and you will see many users recommend your services to their circle.

In a nutshell, the clients, whether online or offline, are becoming increasingly sensitive and are looking for transparency and trustworthiness. Aggressive and deceptive preceding marketing styles continue to decline over the generations. Even Google inclines to mimic the behaviour of a consumer of flesh and blood, promoting transparency and punishing manipulators.

Certainly, the commercial marketing will never be a fundamentally altruistic field, nevertheless, will likely continue its evolution towards more intricate messages and resolutely human-oriented.

Author Bio:
Elena Erin has done Master in Accounting and Finance from Imperial College London. She is also an expert writer who writes academic papers for the Essay-Yard, as an Academic Writer and serving students who come with the request please ‘Essay Writing’.

Guest Post: Speak at Service Clubs to Market your New Business (Or Book) by Christopher Austin

I would like to welcome Christopher Austin back to NAG today. He is here to share another post about how public speaking can help both authors, freelancers, and entrepreneurs in general offline.

Enjoy!

When you own a small business, you’re always looking for ways to promote it. One inexpensive way to get your business in front of more people is with public speaking. If you belong to any community organizations you’ve probably seen some of the speakers they have at their events. Imagine yourself up there, too! Although many people see networking events as nerve-wracking, they are important for your business. Networking will help you build relationships and make connections. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to market your business and throw business cards at people willing to talk to you.

speaking at service clubs to market your business or book

Be presentable! How you present yourself and your company at these social events is how others will remember you. Make an effort to impress your audience, come up with a powerful speech, and find a way to gain people’s interest with your words. Here are some tips on how to market your business by speaking to service clubs. The benefits of free public speaking: When you do a presentation for one of these organizations, you are doing your speech free of charge. You might wonder how it makes sense to spend the time and effort on putting a speech together and delivering it, when you’re not being paid. The answer is that this can be profitable for your business.First of all, it raises awareness of your business among people who may be influential in the community. Second, some of these people may want to take advantage of your products or services, or know other people who could use them. Third, giving a free speech can lead to more invitations to speak to other organizations, thus multiplying the benefits. Fourth, meeting people and networking can pay off in other ways besides direct sales.

Speaking at Service Clubs to Market your business or book
Choosing a topic for your speech: You need to choose a topic that people in the audience will find interesting and useful. It should be something which is relevant to most or all of the people there. What do you know that could fit these criteria? You want to promote your business, but nobody wants to hear you do a half-hour sales pitch for your product. Try to find a topic which has a connection to your business, without being a direct pitch for it. For instance, someone who owns a travel business could do a speech about travel safety tips. That topic is relevant for most of the audience, and it’s related closely enough that they can work in some mentions of their business along the way. Another example would be a business broker who helps people buy and sell businesses. This person could do a presentation on how to know what your business is worth, and then work in a few mentions of his services, encouraging owners to see him when they are ready to sell.

Speaking at Service Clubs to Market your business or book

How to get speaking invitations: First, plan out your topic and speech. You don’t have to have it perfected yet, but you need to have something to offer. Find a list of service clubs in your area and call each one to find out who is in charge of booking speakers for meetings. Contact that person, and offer to give your speech. Let them know why this would be a useful and relevant topic for their audience. These people are always looking for free speakers, so they will probably be happy to hear from you.
If your topic is a good fit for their group, they will slot you into their schedule. At the end of every speech, tell the audience “If you know of any other groups that would be interested in a speech on this topic, please let me know, or pass along my business card.”
Public speaking is an excellent way of marketing your business. It is cheapest offline advertising strategy you can implement to raise awareness. To attract potential partners and customers you have to be an expert in your industry. Know the ins and outs of your company, be ready to answer questions, and try not to make your speech to rational. Nobody wants to hear about the numbers. People want to relate to you, they want to meet the person behind the business, so it’s ok to let your guard down.

By Christopher Austin and LondonSpeakerBureau.com!

 

Guest Post: How to Handle Every Author Challenge with Ease Using These Tips by Ronnie Custer

I would like to welcome Ronnie Custer to NAG today. He is here to share some thoughts about some of the challenges we have as authors and some tips to help overcome them. Have some to share to add to the discussion? Please leave a comment. Enjoy!

Author Challenges

Image Credit: Carecloud.com

The main areas of author challenges lies in critical aspects of strong and sustainable plot, solid and convincing set of characters, creating and maintaining suspense, interest and tension in the story , building suspense slowly, gradually and sustainably and finally have a smooth, convincing and well knit climax that is not too abrupt, hasty or too slow. The climax should not really be an anticlimax and should be well planned and executed. Even a strong story may suffer due to a weak, characterless and limp climax and this creates more author challenges.

First Author Challenge- strong, masterful and sustainable plot

Tip Number 1: Build the entire plot with all its ramifications in your Mind before typing it on your computer: It is important that the author is very clear about the plot and sub plots in his mind before putting it on his laptop. Often the plots go astray midway and that is indeed the end of the challenge. Build the plot brick by brick and you will see the story unfolds itself.

Tip Number 2: The plot must be tense, sustainable and interesting to attract and retain reader interests: All aspects of the plot must be bound together well and inextricably and pain must be taken to offer the very best, without compromise. Even one loose strand in the plot could convult the story and makes it unsustainable.

Tip Number 3: The plot should be devoid of any material defects or shortcomings which wary readers may easily pick up and rent apart. Plot needs to be strong, robust, sustainable and interesting

Second Author Challenge- Great set of characters

Tip Number 1: Character and characterization are important aspects that need to be
always kept in mind, more so since they bear direct and straight relevance and bearing
with the story and its unfolding.

Tip Number 2: Use minimum set of characters and effective use of realistic and
admissible characterization, to create and maintain reader interest.

Tip Number 3: Variety and verve are important constituents and the characters need to be brought to life along the course of story. Introduction, maintenance and end of each character needs to be smooth, well played and well judged

Third Author Challenge: Creating suspense and satisfying plot needs

Tip Number 1: There is need to give issues to each character and move the story along

Tip Number 2: Characters need to work out on their issues and create drama

Tip Number 3: Need to use shorter sentences during the exciting scenes in book

Tip Number 4: All along the suspense must be taut, tight and well drawn. The reader must always be made to feel- what is next and enthralled about the writings. At no point of time should there be letdown of suspense effect or the reader may lose interest and close the book

Tip Number 4: Since loss of reader interest is major challenge, it needs to be well looked into and fully and effectively addressed

Fourth Author Challenge: Creating and sustaining Climax

Tip Number 1: Since this is the main issue, it is important that due attention is paid to the creation and smooth build up of climax till the end. A good book is one in which the reader is not made aware of what is going to transpire next, or how the real culprit is.

Tip Number 2: The climax must be slow and well built, sustainable and convincing and should not serve to be an anticlimax. As is often the case, a rally good story is ruined by a bad climax that cannot deliver convincing results. So the whole effect is lost and the damage control mode has to be initiated to set things right. Besides, it is often the case that climax may be strong but the story lacks depth, intensity or scope. This is also not too good. All steps must eventually lead to a good climax and not vice versa

Tip Number 3: The best way out would be in terms of having alternatives of 3-4 climaxes and then fitting the best one of these alternatives, which snugly fit the story line.

Tip Number 4: Remember to make the climax real and worthy, and a culmination of all
that has been going on in the earlier pages. The climax needs to fit the story like a glove and should well wrap up the deliberations

Indeed, the writer challenges are many but can be remedied if the author sets his mind firmly into it. Finally it really boils down to the readers to pass opinions of the book and readership views are very important and critical about the success, or failure of book.

Indeed some authors have the gift of producing masterpieces with very little efforts and others cannot produce sustainable reading even after years of practice and efforts.
Perhaps story telling is an art and requires keenness of mind and ability to master it.

Author Bio: I am Ronnie Custer and I am concentrated on writing both academic and non-academic cases for the past several years which in actual fact assisted me to gain knowledge a great deal in writing grading assignments for all sorts of students. So far, as a result of my vast experience in writing industry, I have worked with different essay writing services & professionals. Writing your dissertation through essay writing services is the best easier thing that you can get the papers without any risk.

6 Ways to Create Your Very First Book or Short Story Character

I would like to welcome back Katherine Smithson to NAG today. Today’s post is more for aspiring writers in how to to create your first character, but for experienced authors it will remind us about part of the fun of being an author! Enjoy!

 

 

Giving birth is not just about natural birth. Sometimes, it’s also about giving life to a story’s hero.
Creating a character for a novel or even for a short story is like conceiving and giving life to a new being. You need to mold it into another person who is complete in the physical, mental, social, spiritual, and emotional departments. It’s basically like role playing as a kid, plus all the personality and even the back story of your character.
So if you’re thinking about writing a story and creating some characters for the very first time, these tips might help you make the process of materializing one easier and better.
Start from the Inside Out

It’s always easier to start on the physical aspects of your character. Blonde, long hair, with curly eye lashes and blue, sparkling eyes. But like in real life, what defines a person is always the most important thing and the best aspect to begin with. Ask yourself, what one or two adjective/s would you want to describe the character you want to conceive? According to the story you’ve made up in your mind, what kind of person would best suit your protagonist. Start from there and everything else will follow.
Get Ready to Give Birth

Like what I said earlier, giving birth is not just about any natural birth. It’s also about giving life and character to a new person inside a book. Like any parent, you have to prepare yourself to take good care of this character and give justice to his/her/its life and his/her/its story. Prepare yourself on becoming a “parent” because you’re going to adore, hate and even at times be disappointed with the character you’ve made out of him/her/it. Keep in mind that just like in the matter of parenting, pouring your love and heart, like when writing your best essays, to your characters is the very foundation, as well as your sheer connection to your readers.
Give Him/Her/It a Piece of Yourself

Share some of your physical traits, habits, or personality to your character. It’s important to leave a personal mark on your characters, especially to your protagonist to give the readers a sense of your own being as a writer and to give the feel that you are the creator and the “parent” of that character.
But Remember that He/She/It is a Completely Different and Unique Individual

Every story character has its own individuality. No matter how closely you can relate to the story or the character’s experiences and personality, remember to give him/her/it the liberty to become someone else other than you. Let him/her/it be who she/he/it really is. It’s bascially the same thing as when your mom and dad gave you the freedom to discover your own self and make your own decisions and adventures.
Don’t Forget About the Back Story

Albus Dumbledore was a muggle-hater, Severus Snape was Lily Potter’s secret lover, Katniss Everdeen hunts “illegally” outside the fences because his father taught her so, Dauntless’ Four is Tobias Eaton — the son of an Abnegation leader, Marcus Eaton.

Back stories play a very crucial role when it comes to character building. It can define them as a person and justify their present and future decisions. It can also dictate the journey of the character and the outcome of the story’s ending.
His/Her/Its Choices Depends on His/Her/Its Character, Not Yours

Again, the characters that you will make have their own lives to live and own situations to deal with. Although you are the writer and you have the control over their decision-making schemes, you would give more justice and individuality to your characters if you would allow them to decide for themselves. Put yourself into their shoes and think like them. In that story’s world or time frame, they are basically uniquely living and breathing individuals who deal with their own situations like you do every single day.

 

The beauty of of character creation and building lies in the differences and uniqueness of your characters. So when you write a story and mold characters for it, don’t just play Sims — give life instead. Share your character building thoughts and experiences below.

About #AmazonCart but Still Hold the Twitter Spam

 

#AmazonCart

Amazon.com is CONSTANTLY coming up with some of the coolest and innovative ways to bring authors and readers together. This is probably why they are the dominating online book retailer, but I still wouldn’t necessarily call them “Author’s Best Friend”.

The newest thing they have came out with is #AmazonCart which ties Amazon to Twitter. A reader can add a book to their cart from Twitter without leaving Twitter. Just because it’s in the cart doesn’t mean the reader has bought your book yet, but it simply means they might later or they put it there to check out and buy later. Probably one of the biggest disconnects about promo is that it takes people from Twitter when they really don’t want to go. This can help bridge the gap a tad, but I wouldn’t abuse it. Still doesn’t give the license to tweet link, link, link…

A reader simply has to reply to a tweet with any Amazon product link (can be shortened) with the hashtag #AmazonCart and voila! It’s in the cart. Of course there is a setup process, but all that information can be found here.

Per Amazon AuthorCentral, people can leverage this on a book launch. Pretty cool huh? Contact them for details. When you login, information will be on the homepage. Not on AuthorCentral? Sign up today, it’s free. Need help? Ask me :).

Authors can leverage a bit more when they do their occasional promo tweet. And I did say and do mean occasional. Have a catchy blurb or a line to catch the reader’s attention, but you still have to have room for a shortened link and a call to action pointing to Amazon or that it is an Amazon link in 120 characters or less. Challenging, but not impossible. Get creative! That’s about all there is in regards to tips about how to tweet it to hopefully catch a reader as they are scanning the feed and at least get them to reply or retweet with that hashtag. The rest is up to them :).

 

Like all good things in life, do it in moderation. Spam rules for Twitter TOS still apply and do does the “cool kid” rules of Twitter etiquette.

People aren’t on social media looking to buy, so keep that in mind. They want to be educated, entertained, or looking to socialize.

Then after all the coolness and newness wore off, then begs the question about how this can probably contribute to the author spam problem we have on Twitter already. *headdesk*

Probably a lot.

It’s already a toxic wasteland of not just author spam but spam in general. There are a lot of sellers on Amazon.com. When there are new tools, there are those people who will abuse them, so not big surprise there. Don’t be that author.

For goodness sake, don’t put it in an automated DM, but from the looks of things I don’t think you can, since DMs are private (and for #AmazonCart to work it needs to be public, so that snake’s head is cut off at the get-go (thank goodness!). Don’t @ someone or a bunch of people on Twitter and tell them to add your book to their cart. It’s just another flavor of spam. Spam with jalapenos is still spam. Just a regular ol’ general promo tweet is all you need. If someone is interested, they’ll act. Just like how they do when they visit your profile ;).

When using this tool try not to spam! You’ll just irritate people. Aggravated people won’t share or purchase from you.

So keep up the conundrum of the more content over promo,  you don’t want to annoy your potential or existing readers :).

Again, this is just one tool out of many to use at your disposal. It is free in the terms of cold, hard cash, but not in the sense of that Twitter brownie point bank! Save those delicious brownies when you really need them. or they’ll be gone and then you’ll have to wait to “bake” some more!

Guest Post: Super Secrets from Motivational Speakers for Your Business to Succeed by Christopher Austin

I would like to welcome back Christopher Austin back to NAG today. He is here to share some thoughts from famous motivational speakers to help any business. Authors are a business, so this can apply. Enjoy!

How can motivational experts help companies thrive? There’s no such thing as the perfect enterprise and whether we like it or not, CEOs and managers deal with all kinds of problems every single day. When these problems are caused by employees, productivity slows down and companies start fading away. A motivational expert’s job is to give employees a reason to work. These people have the power of boosting enthusiasm and drive. Their secrets are based on their personal life experiences meticulously laid out in their books and public speeches. Let’s have a closer look.

“Kangaroo Millionaire” by Marc Hrisko

Marc Hrisko was a firefighter who gave up his job only to become a motivational speaker. He educated himself about mega-wealth strategies and pursued his dream to become a millionaire. With the help of his wife, he made $1 million by the age of 29. His book “Kangaroo Millionaire” is an excellent read. Perfect for business people, “Kangaroo Millionaire” reveals the genuine secrets of becoming rich. Funny, insightful and counterintuitive, every executive should give it a try. It will help you find meaning in whatever you’re doing. Every business can succeed; it just needs the right leader to make that happen.

Jim Rohn

Famous for his deep story-telling style and infinite passion for self-improvement, Jim Rohn’s memorable citation, success is what one attracts by the person they become, has inspired millions. As a motivational speaker and acclaimed author, Rohn has always tried to compel his audience through powerful stories based on dedication, a healthy living, and hard work. He shares his secrets with the world through his books, and one of the most brilliant of them all is “Leading an Inspired Life”. Everyone can achieve success, in life and in business. You just have to go through some foundational principles.

Jim Rohn

T. Harv Eker

Famous for his “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”, T. Harv Eker has succeeded to convince millions of people that in spite of everything, there is a way to achieve financial freedom. His motivational speeches are focused, determined and gripping. Comfort and convenience are the kiss of death in life (and in business). That’s because people don’t want to do anything to become rich; most of them are satisfied with what they have, and they don’t really want to push themselves to achieve more. For a business to achieve greatness, it must have committed leaders, people who are not afraid to get out of their comfort zone to attain their goals.

Zig Ziglar

After serving in WWII, Zig Ziglar started his career in sales. He rose to prominence in business, and began motivational speaking. He mixed self-improvement and practical advice with a deep focus on Christian values. With an enthusiastic speaking style, Ziglar has helped millions of people take charge of their lives. “Business Meets the Bible” is one of his most successful books. Ziglar strongly believes that by applying biblical truths of customer service and leadership, everyone can help their business succeed.

Zig Ziglar

Les Brown

Writer, radio disk jockey, politician, and TV host, Les Brown went through a number of challenges in his youth. Now he’s one of the world’s most inspiring and stirring motivational speakers. Featuring a dynamic personality and an infinite drive to help others achieve their goals, Les masters the art of attaining success. Over the years he mentored some Fortune 500 CEOs, as well as smaller business owners, and he’s certainly the type of person companies should look after to boost drive and commitment. “Live Your Dreams” is a book packed with stories about happiness and success. It charges the readers with positive messages, and it’s a must read for company owners struggling to make their businesses succeed.

Les Brown

Can motivational speakers help you become a millionaire? Are their stories that gripping? The road to success is paved with a lot of obstacles, and it’s up to you to overcome those challenges in order to get to the top. Motivational speakers are excellent for companies that want to engage their employees and boost productivity. These people have made it in life; they’ve achieved everything they wanted to achieve, and now they want to help others too. Get to know their secrets by reading their books, and you’ll be one step closer to becoming a millionaire yourself.

 

By Christopher Austin and LondonSpeakerBureau.com!

Free WordPress: No Longer Free and It Comes with New Pitfalls

Free WordPress isn't Free

Photo Credit: Hollygroup.com

 

Has anyone noticed ads on your or anyone else’s blog that seems a bit out of character lately? Have you wondered what is going on? Well, I have the answer for that, and I also have had some stories to tell that have occurred lately and my personal two cents worth about it as well, which is not at all in favor of what has transpired. Today’s post had been stewing in my brain already, but it was cocked and fired due to a comment by a concerned reader, which I am glad she said something, since I know she figured I would want to know and because something seemed a bit out of character for me.

As of sometime this year WordPress has been putting ads on our free WordPress hosted sites. I am unsure exactly when this started taking place, but I know it started early on this year, and I have been experiencing some complications from it already which I will share with you in a moment. This blog is a free WordPress hosted site–I just rent the domain so that it is more professional (which is highly recommended). I have two other sites that are self-hosted (different animal): my author website blog and my business website Soaring Eagle Publicity. The difference between the two is a whole different post. So, in short, I don’t have this problem on these other sites.

Just because I have this site as a free blog doesn’t mean I skimp on the content or on the appearance. I just don’t need all the bells and whistles that my other sites have for this one. This is mostly for tips and resources for new and aspiring authors and for carefully chosen guests and companies to share their info and products with others. When I built this site, I wasn’t going to go “all out on it” for a reason. This is like my “hobby blog” if you will, but it still has a purpose and a function. It is branded for the stuff that isn’t going on my author blog or on Soaring Eagle Publicity, but it is still a part of my platform. That is how I planned and designed it!

So, WP thought it was necessary to start putting ads on our sites just because they felt like it. They argue that it will “ensure that it will stay free”. Um, I don’t buy that. Sure, free radio and TV allow commercials, but that has always been the case, right? I think satellite and cable TV are double dipping in some ways, but that’s a rabbit trail not related to this post. NAG is now 3 years old this year this past Jan. I have never had a problem in the past with ads being stuck on my site in all the wrong places in regards that it still remain “free” in the previous years. So why is happening now?! I definitely have never had a problem with spammy links or this other incident that’s coming up since I carefully choose what I link to and mostly post content and not a whole bunch of unrelated links.

From the comment by this concerned reader I have come to the conclusion that WP is not vetting who they pick to put ads on our blogs. She was concerned that it could be a scammy phishing site. I have worked hard to build my reputation that I try my best to recommend reputable companies and tools that can be trusted for authors to use. Of course, if someone knows something I don’t about something I would like to know they should let me know, right? The concerned neighbor in question also mentioned that this out-of-place ad could damage my credibility if I don’t get it off ASAP.

Whoa! *faceplant*

So you mean to tell me that the credibility I worked hard to create is at stake here because WP wants to put ads on my site, and they don’t vet their advertisers like I try to do? This ire is not aimed at the reader (I am grateful for her comment or else I might have not have known what is being put on my site that I am unaware of), mind you–it’s aimed at WordPress rather. I am glad she said something about it as this creates a BIG problem, and my credibility could get dinged by what something someone else (WordPress) did. Not cool. Not cool at all. I wasn’t happy about the ads being on my site to begin with. Now I am even more unhappy, but there is another thing that took place last week that is also related to these ads which compounds the issue even more. I am so infuriated by it that it isn’t funny.

To add insult to injury, these ads are not branded to our interests or are for reputable companies–or at least some of them. This is like someone breaking into my house and putting air fresheners in my house when they don’t even have regards to what scents I like or if I have allergies? These ads aren’t even related to WordPress products or apps or plugins (which would have been OK, BTW). So basically any scammer or spammer who wants to hand out enough dough for ads will end up on our sites and there is little or nothing we can do about it or recourse is not really in our favor. We can do something about, yes, but I’ll share with you what can be done and why it isn’t cool. I would also be really angry to know if WordPress put links to ASI companies when, in fact, I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone even if they were the last group of publishers on the planet. I would publish my novels on clay tablets before I used them ever again :(.

Of course, I know that the casual reader who comes by any of our sites may or may not know what we bloggers put or don’t put on our sites ourselves. They think or feel that anything that is on our site is something we recommend and in the past this has been the case, but due to this ad problem, now it is not. Of course they aren’t going to know that, and it is an understood code if you will. Anything I am recommending are in the body of posts, on pages, or in the sidebars. WordPress is putting these ads in between posts and possibly at the bottom of pages as far as I know. Not everyone out there is a blogger either, so they aren’t going to know what’s happening here.

WordPress says these ads are unobtrusive. After last week’s incident, I don’t think this is the case, but that’s my experience and opinion. So, now I know you are just dying to know what happened. Here we go.

Last week I received an email from a pest control company I had never even heard of to remove a link from my site that was linked to theirs or they would report me to Google if I didn’t remove the link or respond in 24 hours, and that I was bringing down their SEO very badly. They showed me the post in question and the URL. I go to the post in question and it is a guest post about choosing keywords for Google Adwords. I know the guest, and I remember the post, so why in the world would there be a link for a pest control company in that post when it has nothing to do with pest control whatsoever? I also knew that my guest did not put a link for a pest control company in that post. I and a friend check the HTML in case a spammer injected something into my HTML (crap like that happens and it did on my author site until I added a plugin for that). I know I didn’t have a spam comment about a pest control company for that post since I vet my comments regularly. I had never received a kindly threatening (from research I have discovered some are a lot worse) email like that before, and I was scratching my head about where the link could have came from and why this was even occurring. I never saw or found the link from my backend in the post anywhere.

Then I remembered about the ads. Could this be the culprit? I respond to the company that I didn’t put the link there and neither did my guest. I also explained that WordPress started putting ads on  my site and that could be the source of the link which I didn’t put there myself. There wasn’t anything I could do about it and that it was outside of my control (or until I found out what I could do in the meantime).

After doing research, I also had discovered that these kinds of emails are circling about since Google is changing their SEO stuff again, but this happened to people who actually put the links on their blogs, not some that appeared without knowledge of the blogger like what happened to me. Spammy backlinks and stuff of that nature are what’s harming some sites’ SEO and they are having to clean up their spam. I also learned the truth about the “Disavow Tool” from Google and a lot of people aren’t understanding what is up with that and are lying and threatening people with/about it. I’ll talk more about that later since it will take another post to explain. In a nutshell, the stuff this company was kindly threatening me with wasn’t going to happen, especially since I wasn’t the one who intentionally linked to their site in the first place. Upon reading the email I was like, “What the heck, people?! I don’t remember putting a link to your site in the post anywhere! Why would an author ed blog link to a pest control company in the first place?” I didn’t write that in the email of course. So you are threatening me with dinging up my SEO for something I didn’t–to my knowledge–do?

So, because of these ads this kind of stuff has been happening to me the past couple of weeks when it never happened in the past (3 years and 3 months!) BEFORE the ads. I have only have 4 options of recourse: 1) make this blog self hosted 2) pay WP $30 to stop the ads 3) close down this blog 4) move to Blogger. Option #3 is not an option since people like and benefit from this blog. Option #1 is not an immediate option since I am going to be building a site for my new publishing imprint Soaring Eagle Books and because my traffic and following would be back to square one and back in the sandbox for my SEO. Option #4 is worse than option #1 since I don’t really care for Blogger (some live by it and love it) and I would be starting from scratch. So I am left with option #3 give WordPress 30 bucks to stop the ad madness and all the BS that goes with it.

Why, WordPress, why? You had a good thing going, but then have to screw it up by doing THIS?! At least Wix has only ads for Wix stuff if you go with their totally free service (you have to pay them to get rid of their ads too or to have a custom domain)! I am currently offering basic WordPress setup and design for clients for Soaring Eagle Publicity and with Soaring Eagle Books and now they have to pay an extra $30 to you so they don’t have these stupid ads on their sites? REALLY!? I already recommend they have a custom domain, but it is not required. Gah! >:(.

So now I have to cough up $30 out of one of my other projects so I can get these freaking spammy, unscrupulous  ads off my site so it’s back to pristine condition and so I can keep my credibility and my sanity which are priceless that I worked hard for? This is almost as bad as my agent (if I had one) cussing out a reviewer and I get dinged up for it in a reviewer circle when I didn’t do the act or have knowledge of it until something had happened. It’s that bad, IMHO. You are really going to nickel and dime me for something I enjoyed for three years completely free (except for the domain)? I am so ticked about this and on top of the things that have been happening to me as a result of this practice until I grudgingly hand over the money. It’s still cheaper than going to a self hosted site, I guess. I wonder how much money they will be reaping in when hundreds or even thousands of ticked off bloggers pay up to get rid of these cockamamie ads. We are backed into a corner more or less. If we don’t lose $30 then we lose the time and effort we put into our free blogs that we can never get back either. In my case it will the three years and three months of my life I can never get back.

So there it is folks. Free WordPress is no longer free or else have to endure the ads and the pitfalls that come with them or hand over $30. I’m pretty sure WP will get some heat about this if they haven’t already. So this should be on any other blogger or author’s mind if they want to have a free WordPress site.

It’s like the cliche always says, “Nothing is free.” Or if it is it won’t be forever.

Guest Post: Why Most Demanding Authors Turn to Public Speaking by Jonathan Curran

I would like to welcome Jonathan Curran back to NAG today. He is going to share about why:

Public speaking is the next step in the growth graph of any successful writer today. Very many demanding authors are turning to speaking in public to ensure that they can tap every prospect of turning their book into a runaway success.

Why Most Demanding Authors Turn to Public Speaking

As a rule, good authors are not necessarily successful public speakers. But demanding authors who have the confidence to resonate with any audience and want to build a personal brand of their own, take to public speaking like fish to water.

It is the next step in promoting a book, impressing publishers and finally encashing on the content. Public speaking has snowballed into a high paying and lucrative career option. In the recent past, it has seen the likes of Bill Clinton and Lance Armstrong cashing in on the rising wave. Take a look at why public speaking is attracting demanding authors.

1. Realizing Your Market Value

Public speaking and the success at it, will directly translate into the asset value of the author in the reader market. A demanding author who can sell his point to an audience will be able to do a practical introspection of his talent and skill sets. The free market offers him endless opportunities to sell his book and himself over the air, telephones, internet and every other medium available. There are thousands of events planned in a year that need speakers like conferences, training sessions, corporate events and lectures that offer him opportunities to address the public. A tough author soon discovers the fees for his services and charges accordingly.

Realizing Your Market Value

2. Design Your Own Product

The author will be in full control of the manipulation of his product, from selling to packaging. He might get opportunities to speak at someone else’s event or host a work shop himself. He would also be able to market himself by live options like e-books, DVDs ad CDs. A demanding author can also give counseling, coaching and consultations sessions according to the demand.

Design Your Own Product

3. Demand for Good Story Tellers

There is a growing demand for good public speakers with a good story that the audience can relate to. Not all story writers are good speakers. A serious author is relatively famous for a particular topic, has exceptional oratory skills and is available. A famous author already has a fan base who identify with his ideas and thought process. Unlike a novice speaker with no writing background, a well known author can connect faster with his readers. An author with a few bestsellers under his belt will be able to create a niche in the market for himself. This will garner respect and growth for him in the long run. Rising demand implies rising rates and better fees for the author.

Demand for Good Story Tellers

4. Perception is the Key

The perception of the author in the public is what gets him hired primarily, besides his story. Their story telling talent and speaking skills are secondary. An aggressive author can compel the audience to be seen and heard and create a unique demand for him. Common perception will draw audiences to an author talking about Obama, but not to a session where the same author talks about himself. A good book that is an instant hit will generate an instant demand for the author and buy him credibility.

Have a look at some business authors and caoaches here who turn their selves in public speaking.

Perception is the Key

5. Marketing Has Become Easy

The initial speaking sessions an author gets are mostly related to his book or a field he specializes in. Audiences can now connect with the author through blogs, YouTube accounts, Facebook, twitter and other social handles. A demanding author will try to become a player who runs at a steady pace in the race to become most successful in public speaking. There are no shortcuts and loads of competition in this industry. Building a reputation takes time and patience.

Marketing Has Become Easy

6. Authors vs Public Speaking

Authors who are naturals at public speaking make good orators. There is a glut of good speakers and a paucity of demand. It implies that authors need to be demanding to get paid for their gigs and try and stand out from the crowd.

 Authors vs Public Speaking

Author Bio: Author Bio: Jonathan Curran is the author and founder of PROMOTIVATE Speakers Agency. PROMOTIVATE motto is to spread motivation everywhere specially in organizations so that they can work more effectively and can gain more revenue. Join us on Google + to get more updates.

Guest Post: How To Turn Your Writing From Bad To Fantastic by Katherine Brunt

I would like to welcome Katherine Brunt to NAG today. She will share some ideas about how to improve your writing. Have a look and enjoy!

Are you embarrassed of your writing skills? Because you find it hard to turn it into good? Don’t worry, learning how to enhance your written work is not as difficult as you think. Hence it could be improved by learning some techniques of the writing process.

Consequently, anybody can undoubtedly learn and became an expert in writing through steady practice and research. Thus, the accompanying 8 top ways will definitely help you boost your written work abilities and produce a quality paper.

1. Read Related Topics

The first and best way to improve the quality of your writing is to go through related topics whether you’re writing for an article, a book, or sales copy. Read as much relevant material of another as you can gain useful information required to produce your piece of paper. Hence, if you only concentrate on your own writing and ideas, you will be stuck with yourself and become limited.

2. Write Your Title

Professional writers start their work by generating their title first. Writers do this to set the theme of the article in their mind and because they can easily focus on the matter and write about it. When writers write their title last, they lose their concentration and focus. So it’s better to write your title in the starting of your article than to write it at the end.

3. Build a Structure

A lot of an article’s structure is loose and unspecified. An initial plan to tighten up your document structure can become very helpful for you to produce a good piece of paper. Therefore, you can make a structure yourself, or you can find it from different sources available on the internet to help you build the entire paper.

4. Keep on Writing

Write whatever comes in your mind. It’s better to write continuously than halt your work. If you want to increase your writing skills, then you simply have to write a lot. Write as often as you can and as much as you can whenever something comes into your mind. Don’t limit yourself in your work, if you have to start writing about yourself in the meantime. Moreover, when you’re away from your work, keep a notebook along with you to jot down the frequent ideas that come up in your mind.  It’s simple. The more you write; the more you enhance your writing skills.

5. Focus on Your Audience

It’s common for many writers to be more focused on keywords than on their audience. That is the reason why they fail to achieve a reader’s attention. In order to avoid this, writers should be more focused on the subject matter they are writing about than to focus on the keywords they have to include. This will help turn the reader’s attention towards them, and then the writer can easily implement the desired keywords during proofreading.

6. Add Some Spice

Readers find it uninteresting if the article is mostly written in a boring format. Always try to come up with different styles to decorate your article. This way, you can not only attract the attention of your audience, but you can also find yourself well motivated by the time you’re finished writing up the article.

7. Always Proofread

It’s a fact that a number of articles are declined for senseless reasons. Many numbers of articles’ neglect can attain to anything due to a failure to recheck. While writing, many writers make very silly, common mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. But by proof reading, you can avoid them and can simply overcome these slip-ups. Thus, it is very important to proofread your article. But if you do not proofread it properly, then you are not going to produce a quality paper.

8. Work on Your Feedback

If your article has been rejected at any time for any reason, don’t be disappointed. In light of the fact, you’ve may have been given some free guidance on the best way to enhance your own writing. Work out your mistakes to avoid them later and improve your article writing skills. Accept your declined article as an opportunity to develop your writing.

Author’s Bio:- Katherine Brunt is one of the renowned writers in London. She writes for Assignment Box on various educational topics, especially on information to assist students to overcome the hurdles they face in their studies. You can also follow her on Google Plus.

The Rise of Unscrupulous Booksellers?

Unscrupulous Booksellers

What I think about rogue booksellers. Photo Credit: 123rf.com

If you have read this blog at any length of time, you should know that there are unscrupulous publishers out there to scam authors. However, a while back I had an experience with a scammy bookseller. I haven’t seen anyone speak of any fraudulent or scammy booksellers on any blogs anywhere. So could this be something new to keep a lookout for? Something like this could happen to a traditional or an independent author who would try to expand their distribution if the opportunity arises.

If anyone knows anything about scammers, they should know they are attracted to places where the money is–like a moth to a light. I have read quite a bit that the self publishing boom is beginning to accumulate some dough. Again, a traditional author that is left to fend on their own will pretty much gravitate and work with people and entrepreneurs in the indie community.  I know because I have met and worked with them :).

You can also say scammers are like cockroaches; there are ten more you don’t see for every one you see.

To read the more personalized account about the whole ordeal  with this unscrupulous children’s bookseller in all its creepy glory, click on the link below to visit my author website:

Bookseller or Catfish?

I shared that story on WriterBeat and ReadWave as well as on my social media with readers and other authors, and I received some surprising reactions about what could have happened. They were actually very scared for me. I almost believe this was no ordinary scam, but a catfish scam. This is simply because the perp seemed more interested in the author herself than getting any free books or money from her. I do believe his initial contact had nothing to do with books from the get-go.

After my experiences with Xlibris and Author Solutions, I have learned how to smell a rat pretty quickly. AS reps are simply the best deceivers for anyone who doesn’t know their reputation. That said, I was onto something being pretty early on because my guard was up, but I never expected to be fishing for catfish. Until recently, the only catfish I was familiar with were the ones that live in the water. I say it’s a catfish scam since he was looking to have a relationship and he was trying to get me to go to his home country. Like I said, the books were an afterthought or not a thought at all on his part. To read more about these kinds of scams Google/Ask/Bing catfish scams for more reading.

From this ordeal I can draw some conclusions. If there are any more rogue booksellers out there, I would say most of them are not catfish. Most of them will simply want free books for them to sell and you not get your royalty.

Here is a list of things to look for/watch out for if you have suspicions:

  1. Does not have a website. Most booksellers will usually have a website where their contact information and present catalog of books to sell. My fake bookseller did not have a website of any kind.
  2. Use flattery in the initial contact. In my case this was taken more to the extreme. A scammer will use some sort of flattery since it has a ‘disarming’ effect. This is one of the main weapons in the AS arsenal. The author’s appearance or anything else about them is not relevant for business. If they say your book is so ‘great’, how do you know if they actually read it? Simple. Someone suggested asking a question or two from the book or sample that would require actual reading and cannot be pulled from the Book Description. If they get it right, the praise is legit, and they actually read it. Surely you can think of something. No one knows the book better than the author, right? This is also a handy-dandy defense, if Author Solutions tries to sell you dreams. They tell every single author that comes through their cattle chute that their book is great. That’s how they try to get you!
  3. Ask you to mail books at your expense. Booksellers will purchase books from your distributor, and it doesn’t matter where  in any part of the world. They rarely or never approach an individual author, but if they do, they will purchase the books at a wholesale discount of 40-55%. They will also ask about or look if the books are returnable.  My scammer tried this even though I provided distributor info and didn’t answer questions about royalty splits, returns, etc. Sometimes, though, an independent bookstore or sometimes Barnes and Noble will allow you to mail/bring books in which will be at your expense, but that brings me to the next point:
  4. Does not provide a written contract of any kind. I have experience in this area in both local bookstores and an independent bookstore in another state. Before any books are sent or anything is done, there is a written agreement that determines the length of time the bookstore will carry the book or details of a one time fee, etc. Royalty splits and returns of unsold books to the distributor or author will also be included. Not so with my scammer.
  5. Ask the author to pay a salary. Booksellers do not take salaries from authors in any shape or form. They make their profit by purchasing the books at a discount and reselling them. They also will take a portion of the royalty in most cases, or ask for a one time submission fee (which is usually small), but all of that is spelled out in the site and/or the written contract. This is how they make their money. Think about how Amazon works for a moment; they require a discount to purchase print and they take a fee on any book sold in any format. Booksellers usually only buy books in small portions and they usually look at samples and return unsold books after such-and-such time. My scammer tried this, but I have a feeling that the “salary” in question was not monetary since he demanded my physical presence to pay it and completely disregarded Paypal or Western Union. I know for a fact that these platforms perform services of this nature to his home country.
  6. Tries to force you to talk by phone. There is just something about scammy people in how they want to talk to you on the phone. Sometimes they try this with you on the first contact. Most business can be done by email or fax, so phone is not necessary, especially if it’s international. International correspondence can be done via Skype, but not everyone has it or is comfortable with it. Most authors would rather not talk by phone. Our minds are connected to our fingers rather than our mouths. AS reps get you on the phone and won’t let you off. I took Mark Levine’s advice and watched the movie Boiler Room. It’s dead on. That’s what any scammer will do if they get you on the phone. Don’t want to talk on the phone? You don’t have to. Politely ask to chat by email or something. If they don’t honor that, then breaking connection is perfectly okay. You don’t need that kind of stress in your life.
  7. Multiple Social Media Accounts on the Same Platform. This is not the same thing as having multiple social media accounts on different platforms. Scammers have sock puppets and or variations and/or other aliases in case one of their accounts is sniffed out. Based on a hunch, I looked the guy up since he had sent me a friend request from another Facebook profile with an alternate spelling of his name and the name on his email address he sent me had a different spelling than the Facebook profile we were connected on. What did I find? 3 other Facebook accounts with variations, and that’s all I know of, but that was quite enough, but he didn’t have a Facebook page. He also had two accounts on Linkedin. After I unfriended him, he changed the profile picture on the Facebook account we were connected on. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Who knows if there were sock puppets? There are ways to know but that is a bit to tech for me.

These simple tips can help safeguard you if a bookseller should come your way and not your distributor’s way. So be alert!