Planning to write a book? Attend our workshop!

Last December Kira Henschel invited me to present on blogging at her publishing workshop. Kira runs HenschelHAUS Publishing, and offers workshops to help people get moving on their book ideas. She asked me to speak on blogging and social media from a how-to perspective.

It was a lot of fun, and quite successful too — one of the attendees has already finished her book and begun the process of marketing it. Jill Baake’s got an I Love Me Mom blog, and I Love Me Mom available at Amazon.

Writing a book is surely a difficult thing to do, but marketing seems to be the hidden valley of challenges for many authors. I know I always thought that being author went something like:

  1. Write really great book.
  2. Sign deal with grateful publisher.
  3. Wait for phone calls announcing each successive step up the best seller list.
  4. Enjoy being rich.

Seriously, I think most folks believe that the writing is the hard part. Actually, it’s editing the book into its most productive form and then marketing it effectively.

What’s also interesting is that while it used to be there weren’t too many publishers that was the only way to get a book in print aside from paying to have the book printed directly. Between changes in printing technologies, publishing technologies, and all the rest of the technologies there are now a lot of new options and many hybrids.

Kira’s invited me again for her next workshop on July 23rd. If you’ve got a book in you that needs to get out, this is a great way to develop a plan to make it happen. From Brainchild to Bestseller: An Insider’s Guide to Birthing and Publishing Your Book will untangle the mess for you, and leave you with a clear path to follow to your book.

Why did my bounce rate go down?

I’m not really that much of a stats junkie, but I do try to keep an eye on what my sites are doing. I noticed this little item in my Analytics, along with a coincident 100% increase in page views:

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As you can see, my bounce rate has plummeted. I’m not sure if it’s because my traffic is now all some kind of new spider or what, but it’s pretty dramatic, no?

Anyone else see this kind of trend?

Online Bully Defense

Yesterday I wrote about how one’s email address has become their online identity. As I think about online identity, it occurs to me that a difference in strength of identity might be enabling online bullies. Just as a physical bully seizes initiative to exploit another’s physical weakness & lack of vigilance, online bullies can operate in the same way. If your whole online life revolves around one site, and the bully has a stronger presence, bullying is enabled. It’s a difference in strength of online presence and reputation.

The internet is so new, has moved so fast, its not surprising that this is happening. Even well-funded corporations who have devoted huge resources to PR are still challenged to manage their reputation online. No wonder kids can find themselves exposed.

Helping my kids develop a stronger online identity, in advance of them really needing it, will help them be more bully-resistant. Having their own place to publish content is also a hedge against social sites changing terms or moving from free to paid. At the end of the day, what will matter in the long run is what comes up when someone types my daughter’s name into a search engine.

I’ve pulled their firstnamelastname.com domains, and when needed we’ll develop sites for them. They have control over the content, and can build whatever presence fits them. They can probably manage the SEO of their own site well enough to make it place higher than Facebook or other pages, which is a hedge against the inevitable, regrettable social media content. It can be the site they mention to prospective employers (preferably, investors) or whoever else they need to impress.

They can still enjoy all the fun and drama that comes with Facebook and other sites, but they will have their own presence on the web as the anchor. This is the same strategy recommended to businesses, and the same logic is applicable to personal brands as well.

Anyone else need a good blog photo?

I took the photo I use on my blog, and for all the other innumerable sites, myself. I’ve gotten a few compliments on it, but I really don’t love it that much.

I also need a different one for instances when I’ve got some space – like on my blog – and instances where I don’t – like twitter, linkedin, etc.

But I’m finding that making a good photo of myself is far more challenging than I thought. Everything I shoot looks the same, and it’s boring. The first one was taken using my little Canon P&S camera, but I’ve now got the remote for my Nikon D70, so the camera isn’t the issue. It the lack of imagination.

Sara Santiago has an awesome photo. So does Bruce Schneier. Kevin Rich has a good one too. There are lots of them out there, and the only thing I see that they have in common is that they a) aren’t the usual studio portrait, and b) convey the person’s spirit.

I want to hire a photographer but the family coffers have no funds for that. I do have a few skills, so barter is an option.

I need someone willing to take a good photo of me, or failing that, willing to take a poop-load of photos on the theory that one of them will be good.

I’m more than willing to return the favor.

Any takers?