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I’m very fortunate to know Barb Drozdowich, author of ‘The Author’s Platform,’ a must read book for every author. Here’s what it’s all about.

Creating buzz for your book and your career as an author just got easier.

The Author's Platform by Barb Drozdowich‘The Author’s Platform’ will help you create, understand and use a powerful author platform to sell books.

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind book marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.

This book will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success.

‘The Author’s Platform’ teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers:

• The Difference between a Website and a Blog
• The Important Items Your Blog Should Contain
• The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms
• Newsletters
• Amazon’s Author Central and many more

With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create, understand and use an Author Platform to support your career.
Grab a copy today.

Excerpt from ‘The Author’s Platform’

Website or Blog

Let’s start with the hub of your author platform—your website or blog. These words are often used interchangeably but can actually denote separate things. Let’s define.

Usually the word “website” refers to a static site on the Internet containing information that isn’t changed frequently. A programmer or web designer versed in HTML coding usually makes the changes on a per-change or hourly basis. Many authors view websites as expensive, and they certainly can be.

I’m rather frugal and prefer not to spend money. As a result, I’m not fond of static websites. Yes, they serve a purpose. However, I don’t think the average author must make the investment.

Static websites pose another problem. Because new and exciting information doesn’t appear in a timely fashion, these sites don’t attract the attention of Google and therefore often don’t rank very well in a Google search.

Think of Google as a toddler with a new toy. Those of you who have had exposure to toddlers know the toy doesn’t stay new long and, before you know it, the toddler is on to other toys—always looking for something new and different. If the content on a website is rarely updated, Google won’t pay much attention either.

Why should you care about this? As an author in need of visibility, you must rank as high as possible during a Google search. If you have an uncommon name such as mine, ranking on Google is a slam-dunk. Search my name and you’ll discover I own the first page of Google in a name-based search.

If you have a common surname like Smith or Jones, or share a name with a celebrity, you’ll probably never own the first page of Google. A client of mine shares his name with a moderately successful country singer. That’s a tough row to hoe. Ranking higher on Google than a famous person is difficult, but it is possible—as long as your name isn’t Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.

Why do you want to rank high on a Google search? It’s true that the majority of your readers will come from word of mouth. But not all. If a potential reader wants to find you quickly, or they’re looking for books in a specific genre, they frequently perform a Google search. They’ll glean the first entries found, but rarely look beyond the first few pages delivered by Google. Make it easy for readers to find you by ensuring you rank high on a search.

Tech Hint: I have lots of people tell me they “Google” themselves or search for themselves on Google all the time and they rank really well. Google is a responsive search engine. In other words, it learns. The more you perform a certain search, the better Google gets at finding what you want. If you Google yourself all the time, Google will get really good at finding you. Go to the local library and do the same search without signing on to your Google account. You will likely see a very different result. You likely don’t rank as high as you think!

Let’s return to our discussion of websites versus blogs. If websites feature static content, blogs offer a constant stream of new information. To my mind, blogs offer a second benefit: an author can maintain a blog with minimal paid help. Most important, a blog’s fresh content ensures it will rank higher in a Google search. (Remember the toddler example.)

Blogs

During the 1990s, a blog was known as a weblog, indicating that it was something found on the Internet as a serial recording of information—a diary, if you will. Today, blogs are quite different, personalized and modified to display information in a variety of ways. But ultimately, a blog is still a serial collection of information.

In my experience, most blogs are designed by highly technical people with little understanding of the needs of authors. Even if your first blog seems a technical wonder, it is likely to change once you decide how you will use your blog. Please use the information below to make informed choices about your initial direction, or to modify the blog you’ve already developed. Whether you are a new or seasoned blogger, I hope that by the end of this section you will have a better sense of the components required for a successful blogging experience.

This brings me to an important point: regardless of your web designer’s opinion, ultimately your blog must be easy to use and tailored to your needs. If you have a blog that is too complicated for your skill level, ask for help. Make sure that help is qualified and is used to working with authors. We are a niche group with unique needs.

There are many different platforms for blogs including Blogger, free WordPress (also known as WordPress.com) and self-hosted WordPress (also known as WordPress.org). Each platform has positive and negative aspects.

As of this writing, a self-hosted WordPress blog costs no more than $100.00 a year. There are some additional startup costs. For example, how much you spend depends on the graphics selected for your blog.
For a nominal charge, you may also register a domain for your free WordPress or Blogger account. Doing so allows use of your author name unless the domain has been registered by another writer with the same name. For example, I own the domain barbdrozdowich.com and it is attached to my author site.

Do you care if you register your own domain? Only you can answer that question. In my opinion, you should.

End of excerpt

Endorsement

Barb Drozdowich has written a comprehensive, yet quick, simple guide that is a must-have, must-read, must-keep-handy reference. It’s invaluable for not only new authors, but also experienced writers. It should be on every author’s bookshelf!
~ Taylor Fulks, author of My Prison Without Bars: The Journey of a Damaged Woman to Someplace Normal

Barb Drozdowich AuthorBarb Drozdowich

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance – mostly Regency.

She is the author of 6 books and over 20 YouTube videos all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Author Website: http://barbdrozdowich.com
Business Blog: http://bakerviewconsulting.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbDrozdowichAuthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/sugarbeatbc

Google+: https://plus.google.com/110824499539694941768/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sugarbeatsbooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234554.Barb_Drozdowich

Barb Drozdowich YouTube Channel
Tech Hints Newsletter
Barb Drozdowich Amazon Author Page

The Author's Platform by Barb Drozdowich

A few weeks ago I was delighted to receive an invitation to write for Luna Luna Magazine, a digital diary for creative thinkers, individuals, dreamers & darklings. I shall be writing for them once a month. My first article is a preliminary look at Sex & Tarot, in which I outline some of the basics.

Sex & Tarot by Toni Allen

Even if you’ve already read my book Sex & Tarot do pop along and have a read, because I’m always coming up with new insights and adding additional information which isn’t in my book.

If there are any tarot topics you’d like me to write about in future articles, either here or at Luna Luna, please leave a comment.

Pink GrasshopperOne of my favourite pastimes is going off on a macro safari. The meadows become my jungle and I hunt through the grass and flowers for any creep crawlies I can find. Over the years I’ve learnt that there’s little point in going out with the intent of capturing a specific species, because they’re bound to be somewhere else on that particular day. I always to take photographs of whatever I see that captures my interest. It’s what’s here right now, so it becomes my subject.

I hasten to mention that I know absolutely nothing about insects and spiders. I’m a photographer, not an entomologist. But I do have this enormous encyclopaedia called the internet, so I take my photos, then try and name the bugs when I get home. The fun of macro photography is that you get to see things that aren’t visible with the naked eye, and it’s that detail that never ceases to interest and amaze me.

Last weekend I went off with my camera to a local meadow which I thought might be rich pickings for a few butterflies and dragonflies. Now, what did I say about never anticipating what you’ll see? Hardly a butterfly in sight, but I did find half a dozen different grasshoppers and crickets! I’d never seen so many different species all at the same time. By chance I’d managed to go macro-hunting at exactly the right time of day, between 5 and 7pm, and they were all busy going about their business of feeding. Most of the species I recognised from earlier photo shoots, or summer walks, and they were comfortingly familiar as an everyday sight in the English countryside during the summer months.

It wasn’t until I got home, downloaded my photos and started to trawl the net in an attempt to identity one of the grasshoppers that I realised she (or he) didn’t exist. Not officially! Most grasshoppers and crickets are green, brown, a little bit of a pinky-blush, a stripe, patches of black, creamy brown – but not this crazy lady – she’s cerise pink! Isn’t she fabulous! I’d never seen anything like her before.

Pink Grasshopper

My internet research turned up this article from the Telegraph in 2009 in which an 11 year old boy found a rare pink grasshopper that is identical to the one I photographed. They reckon that it’s a female common green grasshopper.

I’m lucky in that I happen to have a friend who’s a conservationist, and he’s taken a copy of a couple of my photos to discuss with his colleagues who specialise in entomology. So far they believe that my pink lady in quite young, and a rare variation. I’m now waiting for further feedback from other experts. From what I can gather I’ve caused quite a stir in my friend’s office, where they’re all busy discussing my pink lady.

I must admit that it’s rather fun to have seen and photographed something unusual. There’s a mystery to be solved, and the sense of the hunt goes on: only this time it’s the hunt for answers.

If you’ve haven’t tried macro photography then give it a go, you never know what you’ll find when least expecting it. Most cameras have a macro setting, it’s the one that usually has an image of flowers on it, next to the one of the mountain. All macro means is close-up. The trick is to take into account that once you start moving in closer that any tiny wobble can shift your subject out of focus, because with macro there’s such a fine line between being in and out of focus. For this reason it’s best to take several shots of the same thing, thus hedging your bets. For any animal or insect your main point of focus needs to be the eyes. When the eyes are in focus it helps us to connect emotionally and so our subject naturally feels more alive. This will give your photo more human interest and appeal to others.

Never worry about not getting the perfect shot: photography isn’t always about technical expertise, it’s about capturing an image with wow factor.

 

The summer is here and it’s time to laze around in the sunshine reading a good book. For those of you who enjoy reading thrillers and mysteries we’ve created a fantastic bumper giveaway: 16 thrilling books on offer, and a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Thank you to everyone who entered. The Giveaway is now closed and we have a winner.

 

Thrilling Summer Giveaway FB Post(1)What’s in the goodies bag?

I’m thrilled to be first on the list, because Saving Anna, Book 2 in my series Jake Talbot Investigates is due for release this autumn.

If you can’t wait to read Visiting Lilly you can download it for free with Amazon Prime.

Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen Visiting Lilly by Toni Allen

Jake Talbot Investigates (Book 1)

Why should a man at a Surrey police station go ballistic because someone tries to visit Lilly, his elderly grandmother? Jake Talbot investigates a romance that crosses the boundaries of time.

“This a fantastic, unusual story, brilliantly written and thoroughly enjoyable.” Stu – Amazon review

Shadow Dancer by Addison KlineShadow Dancer by Addison Kline

Some secrets should just stay buried. On the day Tristan Morrow is born her mother goes missing, prompting an investigation that produces no solid leads.

“Lots of twists and turns and suspense.” D.Y. Danis – Amazon review

 

Rachels Folly by Monica BrunoRachel’s Folly by Monica Bruno

Rachel’s best friend is about to be married, but her fiancé is a mysterious man with seemingly no friends or family. After a night of drinking goes awry, Rachel is forced to face a dark part of herself she didn’t know existed.

“This well written page turner shows how one person can mess up so many lives.” Sharon H – Amazon review

The Anonymous Source by A.C.FullerThe Anonymous Source by A.C. Fuller

One year after the 9/11 attacks, Alex Vane–a brilliant, carb-obsessed reporter for The New York Standard–wants nothing more than to break into the flashy world of TV news. But when he uncovers the scoop of a lifetime, his editor buries his story, a source turns up dead, and Alex finds himself at the center of a violent media conspiracy.

This Grisham style read kept me guessing.” Nisi4man – Amazon review

Sandcastles and Other Stories by Justin BogSandcastle and Other Stories by Justin Bog

The Complete Edition of Justin Bog’s First Collection of Dark Psychological Suspense Tales.

“This enchanting short story collection deftly examines the psychology of life.” Mrs J Lobb – Amazon review

 

What Echoes Render by Tamsen SchultzWhat Echoes Render by Tamsen Schultz

Betrayal was something Jesse Baker thought she already knew too much about. But when her dead husband’s past comes back to haunt her, both the life she’s built for herself and her sons, and the story she’s told herself to make it through, threaten to crumble into ashes.

“If you’re a romance suspense reader you will love this book.” L R Smith – Amazon review

Macyn's Letter by S.L. StackerMacyn’s Letter by S.L. Stacker

A near-death experience at the hands of her husband would cause any woman to cling to her crippling trust issues and dating phobia, and Macyn McIntyre is no exception.

“Pleasantly surprised for a great read from a new author!” Tonia Molino – Amazon review

 

Awake by Melanie SuraniAwake by Melanie Surani

Opera singer Joshua Gray wakes in an eerie art museum exhibit. He comes to believe he’s been kidnapped and abandoned. And he isn’t the only one…

“The ride didn’t end until the very last page – and what a ride!” funky_town – Amazon review

 

All the pretty bones by Camela ThompsonAll the Pretty Bones by Camela Thompson

After ten years of living in the shadow of her stalker, a diagnosis of terminal cancer pushes Olivia Kardos to take matters into her own hands.

“There are many interesting twists and turns throughout the book with moments of horror and others hopefulness.” Linda Ragland – Amazon review

Blood, Spirit and Bone by Camela ThompsonBlood, Spirit & Bone by Camela Thompson

Olivia lives, but Lucian’s part in saving her may cost him his life.

“I’m always surprised when an author can keep me guessing and keep my nose buried in a book.” Kristina M Covington – Amazo review

 

Veronica Layne gets the Scoop by Julia Park TraceyVeronika Layne Gets the Scoop by Julia Park Tracey

Veronika Layne. Sassy, tattooed, twenty-something newspaper reporter. Never saw herself working for the “man.” When her small weekly is swallowed up by Singh Media Group, that’s exactly where she ends up.

“This book is a sexy adventure, a breezy story with mystery and romance that was a joy to read.”

Inhuman Interest by Eric TurowskiInhuman Interest by Eric Turowski

Thirteen words in a want-ad turn Tess Cooper’s world upside down after she signs on as a paranormal research assistant to the mysterious Davin Egypt.

“There is no sleep when reading this book! Seat gripping!” Peggy Salkill (UNDERCOVER BOOK REVIEWS) – Amazon review

 

Roses are Red Violet is Dead by Monica-Marie VincentRoses are Red Violet is Dead by Monica-Marie Vincent

Violet Sumner has a stalker. Between her largely dysfunctional family of two and the friends she doesn’t feel particularly close to, Violet thinks he’s the least of her problems.

“Novel is intense, and suspense filled with fully developed characters that feel like your own family members and close friends.” Nonie Peterson – Amazon review

OP DEC Operation Deceit K. WilliamsOP-DEC: Operation Deceit by K. Willaims

Claire’s father sends her mother away, declaring she is hysterical with fatigue. Displaced by this disastrous outcome, Claire is brought to New York by her spirited aunt, to be raised beyond the reach of the damaging turn of events.

“The story is intense! I often found myself on the edge of my seat.” Victor A. Rodriguez – Amazon review

Women in Red by Jordan Rosenfeld

Diamond Run by Michael Croucher http://www.michaelcroucherbooks.com/

 

If you haven’t picked up your copy of Visiting Lilly yet, then now is the time to do it as I’m running a free download offer on Kindle until June 23rd.

US Visiting Lilly on Amazon US

UK Visiting Lilly on Amazon UK

Visiting Lilly free promoWhat reviewers have to say about Visiting Lilly:

“The story has a certain edge of the genres Hard-boiled and Noir Fiction”

“At last, a detective novel with a really unexpected twist!”

“Once I started to read this I just couldn’t put it down…A totally gripping and compelling read from start to finish.”

The second book in the Jake Talbot Investigates series, Saving Anna, will be available later this year, so don’t forget to follow me here or at https://www.facebook.com/ToniAllenAuthor to hear all of the latest news and updates.

I’ve recently joined Wattpad and posted the first chapter of my Chick Lit novel After He Left.

http://www.wattpad.com/story/40509263…

After He LeftThis is a work in progress, so follow me on my journey and discover what happens to Megan O’Leary after her boyfriend suddenly announces he’s taking a ‘relationship break’ on New Year’s Eve.

Left to run their business all on her own, Megan crumples. Staying with friends at their country pub could be an ideal situation while she sorts her life out, but her best friend’s brother, Jezza, has always loved her, and Reno, an attractive Italian, presses his advances. The mysterious Hugh Chalfont saves Megan from disaster, but village gossip warns her to keep well away. Still reeling from abandonment, she doesn’t need romantic complications. Megan has always been the strong one, doing what others expect of her. Can she now take what she wants for herself, without getting hurt again?

Happy New year!

At the end of 2014 I was interviewed by the highly talented Ally Bishop at www.upgradeyourstory.com on blogtalkradio.

We talk writing and tarot. Have a listen, and not only will you hear my dulcet tones, but also enjoy a few tarot tales and ghost stories.

2015 is going to be a year of change and I’m planning big things, with a new website under way, and loads of interactive events for you to join in with. More podcasts, webinars, and Google hangouts are all planned.

On some of these I’ll be teaching tarot, so if you have specific areas of tarot reading you’d like to learn about, let me know.

Keep up to date with how my new website build is shaping up by following my blog, or chasing after me on social media. Let’s keep in touch in 2015.

 

 

 

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