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Whether you are an aspiring author, a published author, a publisher or one who provides services to those who publish, the purpose of this SLPA Blog is to provide information and resources on a full range of author/publishers issues and ideas.
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  • Thursday, April 05, 2018 11:08 AM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Spring is here! ... hmm, not yet ... yes ... no ... Well, it has to come sometime soon. Whether you spring clean your house or not, it's time to spring clean your social media. We notice quite a few authors do not even have their website urls on their social media profiles!  Here's an article by Frances Caballo to help you:

    Spring Cleaning:  7 strategies to clean up your social media


  • Thursday, March 15, 2018 9:01 PM | Andrew Doty (Administrator)

    by Bob Baker


    Not long ago I interviewed Joe Vitale. He’s the author of more than 50 books on hypnotic marketing, the law of attraction, and more. You may have seen him in the movie The Secret or on Larry King Live.

    The interview was inspiring and wide-ranging, but here's one specific piece of marketing advice Joe offered during our conversation: Putting a question in the subject line of your email can be a great way to create a “hypnotic” message that compels people to open and read it.

    But not any question will do!

    The key, Joe says, is to ask a question that can’t be answered unless you dig deeper to find out more. For instance, here are two examples of weak email subject lines:

    Would you like to buy my new book?

    Who’s your favorite romance author?

    The problem with these questions is that the recipient can answer them and resolve the issue without any further action on their part. It offers no compelling reason to open the email.

    However, here is a more powerful, “hypnotic” question:

    Which One of These Tyrants Inspired My Latest Podcast?

    A question like that creates a mental state of dissonance. It’s an incomplete thought. And for many people, unresolved ideas compel them to take action to uncover the answer and complete the thought before they move on.

    Here’s another example:

    The Biggest First Date Mistake: This One’s a Whopper

    See the beauty in a question like this?

    It’s similar to when you can’t recall a person’s name. It often drives you crazy and you can’t concentrate on anything else until you resolve the tension by remembering the name.

    Curiosity-inducing questions offer a great way to create a hypnotic message that demands attention. Another related method is to make a provocative statement that doesn’t include all the details, such as:

    Don’t Let Your Kids Read This Book

    You could also use the word parents, boss, or lover in place of kids and get the same effect, depending on your audience and subject matter.

    Here’s another example:

    This Almost Got Me Banned in Nashville

    An email subject line like this creates curiosity and an incomplete idea that begs for a resolution. So start thinking about how you can use hypnotic questions to increase your email open rates.

    Important: If you’re going to use tactics like this to inspire action, you should deliver an interesting message inside the email. If you mislead people or don’t offer a story that’s funny or compelling in some way, they may not trust you the next time you use a strategy like this.

    Also, you don’t want to use questions and statements like these with every email you send. Just sprinkle them in here and there when you have important info to get out.


  • Thursday, March 08, 2018 11:39 AM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    How do you attract the interest of reporters, radio or TV show producers, groups you'd like to present to, or even bookstore owners? Joan Stewart, "The Publicity Hound," gives tips to help you and your book have a better shot at scoring some time in the spotlight.

    9 Types of Pitches to Use When Promoting Your Book


  • Wednesday, January 24, 2018 12:21 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    SLPA President Warren Martin created our annual video documenting all the fun, learning, and networking going on with SLPA and friends during 2017. A year goes by fast! See you all during 2018!

    A Year in the Life of SLPA - 2017


  • Sunday, November 26, 2017 10:30 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    When you are selling your own book within your state, you must collect sales tax and remit to the state at the end of the year. If you are buying copies of your own book to sell or even give away, did you avoid paying sales tax on your purchase since you will have to collect and pay it anyway whenever you sell a book? Is this confusing? Writer-lawyer Helen Sedwick tries to clear this up - the best she can.

    Sales Tax Basics for Indie Authors


  • Monday, October 30, 2017 4:19 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Stephen King's book "On Writing" is said to be one of the best books on how to write. In it he says his greatest lesson was examining the redlines an editor made.  Read his upfront article 22 Lessons on How to be a Great Writer

  • Monday, September 18, 2017 10:55 AM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Do you really need a website? Should you be blogging, too? What about social media? Can you just use Facebook? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Jane Friedman's recent article may ease your pain. 

    What's more important, author websites or social media?


  • Thursday, August 24, 2017 4:53 PM | Timothy Yohe

    As technology grows at an astounding pace, authors need to keep up with the latest innovations. Yes, I know, it’s already tough enough to tackle the whole idea of book marketing. Many of us just want to write the book, step back, and let someone else do the labor of getting it out to our audience. If your bank account is flush with money, then you could hire it all out. But, let’s face it, many of us either struggle financially or we are getting by with just enough. Here is where helpful tools come into play. I hope that over time you will begin to find more and more of these resources on this blog and across our SLPA social media sites to help you navigate this technology and sell more books.

    Personal computers and laptops may always be around, not just because they are the first computers, but because every office has one. However - computers and laptops are not what your reader audience is using to engage on your author platform. It is on their Smartphone. Nearly everyone is busy these days and so getting information on-the-go is essential. We are using voice-activated Google searching and videos are fast becoming the medium for information acquisition. Your author platform needs to keep pace with these trends.

    One of the things you can do is to make sure your author website and social media channels look appealing in mobile form. Generally it is in this format that your content will be viewed.

    To give you a personal example, I recently overhauled my website timothyyohe.com with what I thought was a cool template. I like to use the free ones because I have an incredibly low budget for writing. After I set it all up, I decided to take a look at the site in the mobile version. It looked terrible. The wording ran off both sides of the screen and the pictures were either too large or too small. I needed a different template.

    I use Wordpress.com for my site and so I went back into the template section, clicked the “FREE” box, and put the word “mobile” in the search bar. When I simply clicked the “FREE” box earlier for templates, it gave a list of 122. With the refined search of “mobile,” Wordpress narrowed it down to 16. So, if you use the free templates for your author website, make sure you pick from one of the 16 listed. Otherwise… your website will look like mine did – a mobile disaster. Nothing will drive away your audience faster than an author website that cannot be read from a Smartphone. 

    - Timothy Yohe

    Social Media Director for the St. Louis Publishers Association


  • Saturday, July 29, 2017 4:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    SLPA’s Jedi Book Marketing workshop with Dr. Judith Briles was a huge success. Known as The Book Shepherd, Briles’ fast-paced presentation (think "light speed!") energized an audience of authors, book designers, editors, and publishers. More than sixty-five people attended, representing many levels of experience —from beginner to pro—as well as book genres.

    Light sabers and pens
    For those who wated tips, strategies and ideas, this was an excellent opportunity to learn from one of the industry's top book marketing experts. Briles entertained the audience from start to finish with her informative sassy and snappy style, while participants furiously took notes throughout the workshop.

    “Do or do not. There is no try.”
    Briles emphasized: "You need to think of your book as a product that you are bringing to the market. Book marketing means creating chatter and buzz about the author and book. Is it work? Is it scary? Is it confusing? Yes to all. Yet, it can be fun. It does take commitment and hot spit, but it turns you into a marketing machine ... one step at a time.”

    “Use the Force”
    Judith had a galaxy full of topics. You're the brand: What’s the right marketing strategy for your book? Who are your top competitors? What are your keywords and phrases? How should you pitch (think Shark Tank)? Who is in your tribe? What social media channels should you focus on? Which tools will improve your titles and blog posts?

    Post questionnaire and initial attendee feedback

    1. What was the most interesting thing you learned?
    • Marketing tools I hadn't heard of before. —Jennifer Geist
    • How to create a successful cover, title, and subtext, and how to test it online. —Gary Kodner
    • Website and email should contain author's name. Will adjust both to encompass my nom de plume —Vicky Wors

    2. What are you going to do differently or better as a result of the workshop?
    • We may move our focus from getting into bookstores to instead into libraries and directly into the hands of more readers, via direct sales or Amazon, etc. —Jennifer Geist
    • Full speed ahead. I'm jumping into the deep end. —Dan Grizzle
    Final comments
    • Judith dropped knowledge like a B-52 and kept the audience engaged and entertained the whole time! What a blast. — Andrew Doty

    • Very good program with excellent information! Judith was a very interesting speaker. I got a lot of good ideas. I couldn't write the information fast enough on my notes! —Cliff Harwin

    • These pros are great. I can never hear too much about social media. —Terry Mulligan

    • I was most interested in her comments about how to improve your pitch and how to get your book reviewed. I plan to work on both of those. —Andrea Jackson


    • The seminar was great. The location was perfect, and Judith was at her best. I learned more about what should be on the book cover to market the book effectively and to reduce the book cover to determine if it was readable on a cell phone. —Sharon Wyman

    A big thank you to The Book Shepherd, Judith Briles — great workshop! 
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017 3:23 PM | Andrew Doty (Administrator)

    article by Judith Briles

    One of the website strategists and specialists I bring in to work with many of my authors is Amber Ludwig of NGNG Enterprises. In a special BookCamp hosted by AuthorU.org, Amber addressed six critical must-haves to make it in the authoring world. 

    As the principal and visionary of InsightfulDevelopment.com, every time she works with authors on websites and branding, she looks at these sparks to get them going: 

    • Branding and message 
    • Website dos and don’ts 
    • Content and blogging 
    • Building a dedicated and responsive following 
    • Product development 
    • Social media 

    Beginning with author branding, it starts with focus — what do you do and what do you offer? Woven throughout were: 

    • Defining and demonstrating a clear and succinct mission statement 
    • Creating a personal tag that others immediately connect with who you are and what you do 
    • Clarity on what you do for your audience 
    • Probing into uniqueness 

    Your website is critical to review. Anyone who says that websites are minor plays are ignorant in today’s online world — the website is now the hub of everything you do online — from capturing leads, to connecting with others, to selling your products and services. 

    What you put on your website is content — make sure it’s the right content to match your message and your brand. Amber engaged our campers in an excellent exercise on developing content, where the outcome would deliver blog post ideas, articles, and product development — all taking the author business to another level. 

    All authors want fans, and list building is critical. The concept of creating free, high-value information and replacing it often was explored. Identifying formats, topics, catchy titles, and implementation for rollout strategies were explored. List building requires email collections, and MailChimp was highly recommended over Constant Contact, which has become stagnate in what it offers to users. A key takeaway was that when list building, there must be a clear call to action on what to do next. 

    Books are products, and product development can start before, during, or post-publication. EBooks, multimedia, CDs, DVDs, teleseminars, webinars, home study courses, coaching, group coaching, inner circle clubs, conferences, seminars, and membership programs were all explored. 

    Lastly, social media — the top networks of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram were explored. Beginners start with posts for Twitter once or twice a day, then build; blogging must be consistent, ranging from one to three times a week. For Facebook, just do it! Emphasis was made on not commercializing/pitching on the personal welcome page… that goes on the business/fan page. Amber suggests using Facebook ads to direct attention to whatever products you want highlighted on your website. 

    When posting, keep this in mind: Is your post word-of mouth worthy? Is your post inspiring? Does your post have a call to action? Is your post interactive? Calls to action are critical. You need all six elements — the sparks to keep your author and book plugs in action. Don’t use social media in a lame manner. It’s an amazing and massive tool that has a variety of options to support you and your book. Start with the main players and dive deep into the one that works well for you. Get a website makeover if necessary. Start thinking “what else” — what other products can you develop using your expertise and book as the foundation? Work on building your crowd — fans are important. And keep building on your content. 

    Judith Briles, “The Book Shepherd,” has shepherded more than 1,000 authors and created 500 best-sellers and award-winning books. She’s knowledgeable and entertaining and has personally authored 35 books that have been translated to 16 languages, sold a combined 1,000,000 copies, and generated in excess of $5,000,000 in revenues from combined book sales and speaking fees. As an advocate for authors, Judith knows publishing inside and out from both the traditional and independent sides. She hosts the podcast AuthorU - Your Guide to Book Publishing and is the founder of AuthorU.org. Visit her website at TheBookShepherd.com.

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