Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Moving to

I've tried using Blogger and I just have a hard time with it, so I'm going to a platform I'm much more familiar with and one that isn't so persnickety!

To continue getting notifications of new posts with tips, suggestions and advice, CLICK HERE to visit my new writers blog and click the "follow" button. It's that easy!

See you at the new place!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Re-Blog: Here’s a Handy Trick If You Use Word by Leah Braemel

Warning Scrivener Users!

I had a melt-down-worthy moment with Scrivener recently. (I'm on a PC, by the way.) I just finished composing my entire 106k manuscript for my next novel and Scrivener did some updates to their software. When I opened my manuscript in the updated version, it told me I had to convert the old file format in order to be used in the updated software. Where there were once seventeen chapters and an epilogue, I was down to the first three chapters of my book! Fifteen chapters...GONE!

Thank the GODS I still had my old computer with the older version of the software and was able to open the back-up and export the whole thing into MS Word. Crisis averted and I didn't end up sitting in the corner, sucking my thumb and rocking back and forth while I lamented over losing my novel. What a nightmare!

One of the main reasons I started using Scrivener was the ease of being able to break my book into scenes and then be able to move those scenes around with ease just by dragging and dropping them wherever I needed. After this little near-miss, I posted my woes in a network group I belong to, asking for recommendations of new software that would do the same thing, and the lovely Leah Braemel shared a blog post she wrote about how you can do the same exact thing in MS Word! I was so excited, I just had to share!

Here's a link to the original post, which shows you exactly how to do this nifty little trick!!

>>Here's a Handy Trick If You Use Word<<

by Leah Braemel

Although I loved the flexibility of moving things around in Scrivener, I did not like quirks of formatting text, how I always had to change my font to something other than Courier New (in spite of instructions I followed to fix the defaults) and then the mess the document was in once I exported it for eBook formatting. Too much junk in the background of the file! But the flexibility of moving scenes around was a big enough win for me to stick with it. I really have enjoyed working with MS Word as the final product. NOW I can!! *Arial does the Snoopy dance*

I hope this helps someone else!!

That's my two pence...

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Best Time to Write and Get Ideas, According to Science

Someone in my RAMN (Romance Authors Marketing Network) group posted this article in our Facebook group and I just HAD to reblog it here! I find myself referring other authors to this article often, so I thought it would be easier to re-post here. Nice reference for me and now available to those in my circle.
Author: Kevan Lee - March 10, 2014

What does your ideal day look like? Would you believe there’s a scientifically correct answer to the question?
Research into the human body—its hormone  allotment, its rhythms, and its tendencies—has found that there are certain times of day when the body is just better at performing certain activities. Eat breakfast no later than 8:00 a.m. Exercise between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Read Twitter from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. (your fellow tweeters are more upbeat in the morning).
Turns out our optimal times for performing a large number of tasks are best left up to science. If breakfast can be black-and-white, does that mean writing and creativity can be, too?

Monday, August 24, 2015

How to Use a Landing Page to Collect E-Mails While Using the Instafreebie FREE Account.
I'm ramping up to grow my mailing list. However, money is tight these days, so I have to get creative with what's free and pay for easier methods later when I can afford it.

If your budget is tight and buying InstaFreebie’s premium account is a little steep for you right now, here’s something I set up for myself to take advantage of their free account. These are the steps…and then below I explain the hows and whys of each step.

  1. Set up a landing page
  2. Create a separate mailing list for the landing page campaign
  3. Create an InstaFreebie giveaway
  4. Create an autoresponder which includes the InstaFreebie link
  5. Extras – take advantage of referrals with additional giveaways.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Plugin Review: MyMail Newsletter

Well, my migration over to my website is complete! What a nightmare that was! However, it certainly wasn't because of the new newsletter plugin I installed. It was because it took me a lot of time to find a plugin that would do what I needed AND because of the other plugins that DIDN'T do the job...I was trying to fit my website to match their ridiculous structure. As I said...nightmare.

Part of the mess was the data I was trying to clean up, but if I had found MyMail Newsletter plugin before I messed with these other plugins, I wouldn't have had so much trouble!! I'm hoping that by sharing this review, you will save some time, too.

NOTE: I have a WordPress website that I host on a shared server with hosting services. I have been using Pair since 2002 and they are, by far, THE BEST hosting service I have had the pleasure to work with. Their servers are hardly EVER down. I think in the 13 years I've been using them, my website has been down...twice? At least due to their server issues versus the times my site was down because of something I did. And when I did mess up, they were there to help. They have THE BEST customer service in the business. With all that being said, the information below won't apply to you if you use a public blog. You have to have WordPress the site application/platform installed on your own shared server to be able to use this information.

MyMail Newsletter - DA BOMB!!!

Buy their product HERE and I would HIGHLY recommend spending the small fee to get the plugin. It is SOOOOO worth it!!

Why do I like this plugin?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Arial's Author Toolbox

I've been doing a LOT of reading lately, but not fiction. This year (2015), I've been spending a lot of time honing my craft and doing my best to be a more efficient writer. In addition to that, I've been focusing on how to best market myself as an author.

Self-published authors - and actually most authors these days regardless of who publishes their books - have to devote a portion of their time to marketing. More and more publishers DON'T do marketing for their authors or the marketing is very broad (e.g., specials on a genre versus pushing a certain author).

So how does an author find the time to write AND market? THAT'S the big conundrum I've been putting nose-to-the-grindstone effort to find out. And guess all will get to benefit from my efforts! UPDATED 2/9/16: I've just updated this post. See changes noted below. Also, though I've changed some pricing and removed other, please check pricing before you buy. They change all the time.

Summary of My Findings

There are two things an author should focus on:

  1. Writing: You can't sell a product that isn't there. Never, never, never stop writing. Period. Don't be the author who puts out one book and says, "I'll see how the sales go on this one, and if it pays off, I'll write more." Stop writing right now if that's your philosophy because you will never make the sales to justify your writing. Readers won't invest in someone who's only written one book. They want to know you'll be around. AND if you write well, they'll want more and you need to be ready for that.
  2. Mailing List: Bottom line - THE most important marketing effort you as an author can do is build your mailing list. Hands down, this should be the primary concern of anyone who owns a business...and we, as authors, own a business.

Honestly, that's pretty much it. It's that simple. And I, personally, think you should spend at least 75% of your time writing and 25% doing the things you need to do to build your mailing list. Be sure to check out my article series on this blog on this very topic. UPDATE: I will be publishing an article soon about some recent projects I've been doing that will help build your list faster than you thought possible.

Also, social media is not the best use of your time to generate sales. Use social media, and even ads, to direct people to your mailing list! THAT'S the best use of your money and time.

Arial's Author Toolbox

Sounds easier said than done? Not really! Not with the list of books I'm going to provide here. I HIGHLY recommend you get these books ASAP and read them all completely. Most of them are very quick reads while also being entertaining and they're VERY effective. Disclaimer: All the links below are affiliates, but if you don't want to use the links, just go to your favorite online book retailer and type in the titles yourself to search and buy them. The Scrivener link, though affiliate, will take you to the Literature & Latte site, the original distributors of the software, but you can get it at Amazon. (UPDATE 2/9/16 - Scrivener links removed. See update below.)

Without further adieu, here's Arial's Author Toolbox:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Indie Authors - Should You Publish Your Books to Audio??

I'm just gonna answer this question right off the bat: YES!

Now I'm gonna tell you...
  • Why you SHOULD produce your books to audio.
  • HOW to do it AND how to do it for FREE (or at least no money up front)
  • When you should do it for free and when you should pay outright for the work.
  • And why you shouldn't do it yourself (or how to determine if you should)