Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marianne Elliott's Guide to Twitter and more

A very good guide to using Twitter by writer and human-rights activist Marianne Elliott.

Her advice on finding an agent, community and using social media is here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

11 things journalists know about writing fast and good

Professional journalists have to know how to write fast, get the facts right, and keep a reader interested. The body of knowledge that journalists gain in "J School" is complex, and not at all obvious to outsiders.

Here are 11 simple things I learned the hard way.

1. Write it down. The journalist's notebook fits in a pocket, and is ideally designed for note taking. (4x8 inch journalist notebook on Amazon:

2. When researching something, remember to ask yourself "who, what, where, when and why." These five questions will guide you through most stories.

3. Know the difference between a primary source and a secondary source. If I tell you, "I like Starbucks." I'm your primary source, and you can write "Tony likes Starbucks." If my friend Joe tells you "Tony likes Starbucks," Joe is a secondary source. Always assume secondary sources are wrong or lying, and don't use the information unless you can verify it.

4. Write the title and introduction last. You may find your title in a quote or sentence within the story.

5. As you write, visualize your reader standing or sitting in front of you. Write to this imaginary reader the same way you would talk to a friend standing there.

6. Write fast and write with intensity. You can revise at leisure, but writing fast and with intensity will draw out your best writing.

7. Always revise. Let your writing cool off, and re-read it before you press "send."

8. Learn to write well. Roy Peter Clark's free online course 50 Writing Tools is the best course that I know of. The URL of Clark's course is:

9. Always verify facts. As the old reporter's saying goes, "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." Get at least two sources for every fact, three if you don't trust the source. Never go on what one source tells you.

10. Use a digital recorder for interviews. I tell people I am recording the interview, press "record" and place the recorder on the table between us. When I transcribe the interview later, I am always amazed at what I hear. Inflections, suggestions and facts that I missed during the interview often leap out at me.

11. If you plan to do a lot of writing as you build a platform or brand, join the Poynter Insitute at . Membership is free. They offer inexpensive, practical classes in the craft of writing and just about every related skill.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Embracing social media

Sara Sheridan has written an excellent article in the Guardian about the need for writers to embrace social media .

Sheridan's social media progression -- 1) building a basic site, 2) contributing to others blogs, 3) creating a facebook page, and then 4) embracing twitter -- seems like a workable path to social media effectiveness for a writer.

This simple four step path avoids the mind-numbing confusion of social media tools and marketing techniques, and focuses the writer on what writers do best--having conversations.

In the article, Sheridan talks about the importance of net neutrality. My geek friends have been warning me about the network neutrality issue for the last couple years, but I never really understood the issue. Sheridan explains the implications for writers, and why everyone in the writing community should be deeply concerned.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Guy Kayasaki landing tab for ENCHANTMENT

OK... here's a brief example of a FB landing tab.
1. Go to Guy Kayasaki site.

2. Click the ENCHANTMENT icon on the left side of the page.
and up pops this landing page. Note the FB LIKE button at the top of the page.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

3 best ways to sell books--mid 2011

I asked someone who has been successfully marketing books for years what three things she would suggest to book authors who wanted to sell more books. She said:

a) Get 100 interesting and diverse Amazon Reviews from friends, colleagues and fans.
b) If you have a nonfiction book, do live or virtual workshops every month continuously
c) Build a real base of (your book title) fans on Twitter and/or Face book.......5,000 would be a great goal

Getting Amazon reviews

Book sales benefit from a large number of honest and diverse Amazon reviews.

The best way to get such reviews is to get current and new friends, associates and colleagues to review the book.

Here's an Amazon page that talks about getting Amazon book reviews. As with all book marketing advice, take it with a grain of salt. What worked last year might not work this year. What works for fiction might not work for nonfiction. What works for one genre of nonfiction might not work for another genre of nonfiction.
Get Your Book Reviewed on Amazon and Boost Your Sales

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Don't Be A Fool. Back up today.

Seth Godin urges us to back-up one day of the year, like today.

Don't be a fool.