Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book cover package for $100

17 year old Feena Lee designs book covers to raise money for college.
$100 a cover.
They are pretty good.
I found her site by accident while researching something else.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What is your sticky story? (Updated)

A friend wants to use Kickstarter to raise $25,000 for a film. He is a brilliant filmmaker, and his films have won many awards, but he has never had success attracting money.

One secret to a good Kickstarter campaign is having a good, 'sticky' story that people respond to. Finding your story can take months or years. Two examples:

1. Slava Menn spent six months researching Kickstarter and writing a small, emotional story. Then he raised $18000 the first day of his kickstarter campaign.

2. Chris Guillabeau took two years to figure out what he wanted to say. Then he became a successful pro blogger in 279 days.

Sticky stories have certain qualities.

The book 'Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die' lists six elements of a sticky story:
  • Simple — find the core of an idea
  • Unexpected — grab people's attention by surprising them
  • Concrete — make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credible — give an idea believability
  • Emotional — help people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories — empower people to use an idea through narrative
I suggested that my friend concentrate on writing a small, sticky story. When he has that story, I think he will be on his way to successful Kickstarter campaign. (Jennifer Fox's account of her Kickstarter campaign shows what else is required, besides a sticky story.)

People don't care that much about your story. They care about their needs... An effective story must activate the listener's world view. Chris Guillabeau's story activates the world view of people who want to live unconventional lives.  Someone who wants a conventional life and a secure 9-5 job will not care about Guillabeau's story. It just won't matter how sticky, well written, or factually true Guillabeau's story is if the person hearing it has a world view that is opposed to an unconventional life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Alltop--aggregation without aggravation

Alltop, All the aggregation without all the aggravation.

Alltop creates a virtual "magazine rack" of all your favorite newspapers, blogs, and writers. Hot stories keep you updated on the news.  I've known about Alltop for a while, but just got around to signing in for an account today. Looks useful.

6 steps to successful kickstarter project

How to launch a successful Kickstarter project.

H/T Guy Kawasaki and Alltop

Thursday, April 12, 2012

50 WritingTools for Free

Roy Peter Clark's superb book '50 Writing Tools' is free on iTunes.

Even though I own two copies of Clark's book, I never made time to read it all the way through. Now I can listen to it while I commute. Sweet!

You can download the book here:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Set up a Personal Learning Network

When you have to learn something new, begin by building a Personal Learning Network.

Connect to blogs, forums, Facebook friends, followers, fans, and experts. Keep going until a map of your contacts looks like what writer Anya Kamenetz calls 'a dandelion.'

Spend time each day nurturing your network. Read, comment, help and always respond quickly.

Automate your 'dandelion' as much as you can. Set up Google Alerts to watch for topic names, and Google Reader to aggregate RSS feeds and... (What other options to automate?)

Selling your books-- the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide is free.

This ebook from Mike Coker of Smashwords contains 30 book marketing tips you can implement for no money.

As the founder of Smashwords and the author of several books, Coker has both credibility and standing to write about this subject.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Smashwords eBook on how to publish a book

Very good free ebook on how to write and self-publish a book.

Although it focuses on Smashwords and self publishing in general, about 80% the material applies to publishing and to marketing traditional books.

Excellent, concise sections on:
-building a platform
-writing a book
-how books go viral (or not)
-the normal book distribution chain (so convoluted and irrational it makes my head hurt.)

Get yours here:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Your Platform At A Glance (link)

Sage Cohen's Your Platform At A Glance is a quick, and extremely useful worksheet that an artist, writer, or filmmaker's can use to quickly define his or her platform. You can get a free PDF here. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will find several useful downloads.)

The worksheet is explained in Cohen's book The Productive Writer.

This worksheet needs an example, like the one found in Cohen's book.
The worksheet alone is not enough without seeing a finished version. If I get around to it, I will complete a worksheet and post it as a PDF.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Secrets of Ebook Publishing Success

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Smashwords founder Mark Coker reveals the best practices of the most commercially successful self-published ebook authors.

25 best-practices you can implement at no cost to become a more professional, more successful writer and publisher.


Superb. And free!

Oops. Looks like I posted this twice. Oh well.