Tag Archive | marketing

Free Content and Readers (For Writers)

Hey! I hope everyone is doing well and had a good holiday.

A few bloggers have inspired today’s blog post, but before we dive in, I want to share a few updates with all of you =)

  • On Writing.com, I opened my Novel Review Forum! If you are interested in joining the site and want chapter reviews for your story, please post your info. Here is the link: Novel Review Forum. So far, I’m reviewing one story. 
  • I created the WordPress Writers Skype chat group. I’m usually on Skype, so if you want to talk, just drop by. Here is the link: https://join.skype.com/AR9vFyqNXfQR
  • My short story on Writing.com has been nominated for an award! When I got the email, I was shocked.
  • Lastly, I’m in the process of looking for an editor. So if you know anyone, please let me know. 

Alright, on to today’s topic. Let’s discuss!

Entitled Readers

Recently, I’ve noticed more bloggers and fellow writers mentioning this topic. If you haven’t heard of this before, entitled readers are readers that expect an author’s content to be free. Basically, they don’t want to pay for the stories. I’m bringing this up because it appears to be an issue many writers are facing. Of course, I’m not going to say all readers act entitled, but I have noticed a few.

Like with most issues facing the writing community today, this stems from the internet. With the rise of websites allowing writers to upload their stories – and mobile book apps – readers have easy access to stories, for free. Let me just say, there’s nothing wrong with wanting content for free, but we shouldn’t complain when writers start charging for their work. Writing, for many, is a profession. For most people, when they invest in their hobby, their goal is to eventually make money from their work. Believe me, I understand why these readers feel this way, but sadly, that isn’t how the world works.

If you enjoy an author’s work, and they decide to start selling it, we should support them. More than likely, that person has bills to pay, a family to take care, medical issues, or whatever. The point is, as readers, we shouldn’t feel entitled to someone’s hard work.

Writing isn’t easy; time is spent plotting the stories, developing the characters, creating the worlds and etc. I have yet to sell my stories, but I’ll be starting that process later this year. For now, I only hear about these concerns from published writers, but I guess soon I’ll see how bad it is.

Personally, I think online writing sites contribute to this trend of free content, so I doubt this will slow down anytime soon. In the end, we need to remember this:

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So, for today’s discussion question, I ask, “How do you feel about this subject? Do you think these readers are justified in their feelings for free content?”

(PS. I will respond to everyone’s comments soon, I promise. I’ve been busy with submissions and writing contests. I’m so tired…I want to sleep for like two days.)

Blog Tip Series: More than One Account

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Hi! How are you doing today?

Welcome

As I mentioned in my other post, I’ve been MIA because I was working on contest entries and submissions for Writing.com. Also, last week was insanely busy! Needless to say, I’m glad it’s over.

And, I just realized this blog is going to be a year old next month. Honestly, I can’t believe so much has changed in a year. It was around this time last year that I wanted to leave Wattpad behind for good, but I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, someone told me about WordPress and advised I create a website here. Ya know, sometimes I do miss the old writing site I was on because it was easier to meet other writers (sad, I know), but overall, I still prefer WordPress. It’s nice to write the stories I want without dealing with annoying rules and popularity contests.

Anyway, today’s post isn’t about my blog anniversary, it’s about more blogging tips!

Today’s blogging tip may be a strange one, but it’s something I feel is important. To summarize the tip, it’s “Have more than one Account.” To explain further, I feel many writers have their main base for all their work. Now, that may work for some writers, but I feel it’s important to expand your platform online. For example, if you stick to one website, then you are missing out on other followers and readers.

Let’s say you only have your WordPress blog – that’s all you use. You get a few followers and some readers, but it’s only other users on WordPress, which limits you. If you want to capture potential readers outside of WordPress, then YOU, as the writer or blogger, need to do the work. Remember, we want people to read our content, so we have to search for them. Yes, I know it sucks, and it adds more work, but that’s part of an Author Platform.

We can’t stay in one place and think people will come to us because it doesn’t work like that. If you compare “real life” to the “online world,” then writers in real life essentially do the same thing. They go to writer’s conferences, library events and even ask local bookstores to stock their stories. Hell, I know one writer got popular on Wattpad because they were PMing other users (just readers), to check out their stories.

So, throughout those different avenues, they are finding readers for their work. And when they do that, best believe they are mentioning their website and any blogs they have. So if you do decide to expand outside of WordPress, mention your blog. That way, you’ll bring more readers to you. On my many different websites, I will tell readers about my blog. In the future, I plan to use Instagram to expand myself, and hopefully, grow my blog. Personally, I’ve tried to use Twitter, but I don’t like Twitting every day. Also, I’ve noticed some writers on Twitter are so desperate for readers, they’ll follow a bunch of people and then unfollow them. That’s actually a pet peeve of mine.

However, don’t let my experiences discourage you. If you want to find more readers for your blog, then step outside, and find new places to expand your content. ^__^ After all, finding more readers is like this:

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(taken from https://giphy.com)

What websites do you use to find readers, and have you enjoyed the experiences there?

Book Review: Stuck in the Game

Hey, everyone!

Today I’m going to post a book review for a fellow blogger and writer, oops, I should say author.

(If you were wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been working on contest entries and manuscript submissions.)

The story is titled, “Stuck in the Game,” by Christopher Keene.

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(image was taken from Amazon)

Note: I was given a copy of the story for this review. I was not paid for writing this. 

I haven’t done an extended book review before, so this is going to be my first one. I decided to divide up this review into three sections:

Plot:

To begin, I’m going to discuss the plot of the story. So, the genre of this book is LitRPG. For those who aren’t familiar with the genre, it’s a subgenre of Science Fiction and Fantasy that describes the hero’s journey within an online computer game. We start the story with the main character, Noah, waking up and finding himself stuck in a Dream Game. After having a car accident, his parents out the Dream Engine is the only way to communicate with him in his unconscious state. Honestly, I liked the opening to the story. For anyone who plays video games, you start at a central point in the character’s  journey. Sometimes that’s the character waking up (cliche, I know), or at the onset of a mission.

Without spoiling the book, I’ll mention a few a few things about the plot I enjoyed:

  • Meeting the different characters was fun to read. Each side character had their own unique personalities and goals.
  • The boss battles were enjoyable. It really felt like reading an RPG to me.
  • The mystery of what happened to the main character’s girlfriend. I thought that plot was fleshed out well.

Here are some things about the plot that bothered me:

  • The twist didn’t feel that shocking, and I felt there were some plot holes.
  • The main bad guy seemed random to the plot, and new characters were thrown in at the end of the book without being mentioned earlier in the story.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the plot. Like with most stories, nothing is perfect, and I wish certain details were fleshed out more.

Character Development:

Again, to avoid spoilers, I won’t mention too much here. I felt Noah only changed in one way during the story. Mostly, he went from avoiding the game to enjoying it. However, I’m not sure if that’s really character growth. He’s stuck in the game, and to survive (not die), he needs to power himself up. Honestly, I didn’t think Noah grew as a person at all during the story. He didn’t learn any lessons, and his views on things didn’t change.

As for the side characters, I only felt one changed during the story. So for character development, I would have to rate this low.

Writing:

If any of you read my stories, you know I’m a descriptive writer so I may be biased here. Don’t get me wrong, the writing wasn’t bad, and it was easy to read, but more description would have been helpful. For the characters, I didn’t get a sense of what they looked like, so it was hard to imagine them. Although, I felt the descriptions of the boss fights and the different realms in the game were well done.

Final Rating:

I’m giving this book 3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed reading it and plan to read the second. I want to know what new boss fights await Noah as he learns more about the Dream Game. If you like videos games, or like animes such as “Sword Art Online,” and “.hack,” then this book is for you.

New COT Chapter! And Question

Chapter 21

Hey, everyone! This post is for those following me for the Clash of Tides chapters. I posted |Chapter 21 – Flow| Part 1 today. Yes, I know. I said I wouldn’t do parts anymore, but I’m really trying to stick to my schedule of posting a chapter a week until the story is completed.

Also, if you are not following me for long stories, then here is a little 50 word story for you to enjoy:

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As a child, she viewed the world with star-shined eyes. Every new piece of knowledge filled her with glee, but as the years went by, her once sparkling eyes slowly dulled. The things she learned were no longer exciting. And in time, life broke her down, diminishing her mind.

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Seriously, I need to make a MailChimp mailing list for these story updates. Speaking of which, does anyone have a mail marketing program they use? I could really use one. And lastly, has anyone used Patreon.com? I want to sign up for it, but I don’t think I’ll get anyone to follow me. Ah well, have a great Sunday, everyone!

I’ll have some new post for next week! Thanks for being such awesome followers :3

PS. I will be responding to all my comments today. 

Useful Skills Writers Should Learn

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Did you like the meme? LOL, I don’t know how I came up with that – don’t ask.

Before we begin, I want to post what I’m working on. I know some of you have emailed me, and I promise to respond soon.

Here’s my to-do list:
– Finish beta reading for another blogger
– Finish reading (another blogger’s) story for a book review
– Respond to inquiries (WordPress inquires)

That way, those who contacted me know I’m making my way down the list. Oh, and I’m also working on my own writing projects. Speaking of which, I updated Clash of Tides. If you are willing to leave me feedback on chapter 20, I’ll unlock the chapter for you. Thanks!

So, today, I’m going to discuss useful skills that writers should learn. Of course, being a good writer is number one, but to sell our stories, we need more than just good writing skills.

Now, this post may not apply to you. It depends on what route you decide for your stories. Meaning, do you plan to self-publish or try for traditional publishing? Even if you don’t plan to publish anytime soon, there are still handy skills you (as a writer) should learn.

You’re probably thinking:

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I know, believe me, a writer’s life ain’t easy! When I first started writing, I thought I only needed to do the writing part.

In the past, I’ve mentioned marketing! Yes, dreaded, annoying, crappy, marketing! To get readers for our work, we need to market our stories. Sadly, marketing isn’t easy. That’s why people have degrees in it. Now, I’m not saying you have to get a college degree in marketing or even take a class, but you should have some idea how marketing works.

Yes, there is the basic, get people to buy stuff concept, but marketing goes deeper than that. When we market our stories, other factors come into play. For example, book covers, character designs, social networking – you get it.

To do a breakdown, here is the list of skills I feel writers should learn (if they want to):

Drawing – You may think this isn’t important, but being able to draw basic characters can save you money. I know drawing isn’t easy, but if you have an interest in it or have some semi-talent already, expand on that. Buy some basic how-to-draw books, take a class, or watch videos on YouTube. Many writers spend hundreds of dollars getting artwork of their characters done (I should know > <). If you can do it yourself, you can potentially save time and money. And believe me, I know a good character drawing isn’t easy to come by, but if you can expand on another talent you have, why not?

Graphic Design – To me, this skill is amazing for a writer to have. Want to know why? Because you can make your own book covers! Sure, they may not be professional quality, but when you are first starting out, having a basic cover design is essential to getting readers. Let’s face it, most, if not all story sharing sites require book covers now. Finding someone to make your cover can be expensive and overwhelming. However, thanks to the internet, you can download programs like Gimp for free and watch tutorials online. While Adobe Photoshop isn’t free, you can find free articles and videos on how to use it. The covers for my stories were made by a self-taught 22-year-old and a self-taught 24-year-old. Both of them just downloaded the programs one day and taught themselves. It may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. You can also use Graphic Design software to make quote teasers and added designs. Here are some visuals I’ve made for Clash of Tides:

(I didn’t do the artwork, but I manipulated the images using Gimp. The backgrounds are stock photos. I also stayed with my underwater theme. After all, it is a story about mermaids and mermen.)

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(This is my wallpaper…don’t judge…)

 

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If you are wondering, yes, I plan to get new Clash of Tides artwork done soon. ^__^

Marketing – Last, but not least, marketing. All writers, self-published or traditional, should know about marketing. I’ve heard writers who traditionally publish still have to do their own marketing. I don’t want to get too into this topic because I’ve touched on it before. But seriously, at least pickup Marketing For Dummies.

Editing – Good writers should know how to edit their own work. Of course, you should still get a professional editor, but the more editing you can do on your own, the less you have to spend on a professional. A handy book I’m reading right now is called, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print by Dave King and Renni Browne. Check it out!

Remember, more knowledge can only help you, not hurt you =) Also, most readers LOVE visuals, as it helps bring them into the story. So, yes, visuals are key when marketing our work.

What other skills do you think writers should learn?

Are Serialized Stories the Next Big Thing?

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Hey, everyone! Today’s post is long, but I hope you’ll still enjoy it!

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First, I want to start off and say I haven’t been in the writing world that long. If you have been writing for 10+ years, then you’ll know more than me. However, I am noticing a trend towards posting serial stories online, and there are companies trying to capture this market.Which by the way, it’s very popular in some Asian countries.

You may be wondering what I’m talking about. Well, if you didn’t know, there are a few new websites offering to pay writers for their work. As in, if you post your serial story online, you can earn some money. Now, whenever you tell someone they’ll earn money doing what they enjoy, people jump on the opportunity. So, let me explain how this all works. Two websites, Radish and Tapas, will pay writers for posting their chapters (fyi, they are both startups) From what I’ve seen, writers online feel it’s an honor to post on these sites because you have to be “invited.”

Sorry guys, but here is my feeling on that:

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Why do I feel this way? Well, it’s simple, these websites are only inviting writers that already have huge followings online. Ok, so I know you are thinking, “But Aka, that makes sense.”

And yes, I agree with you. However, it’s clear these websites are exploiting other people’s hard work to make themselves known. Not only the writers, but also the readers, too. Most of the writers getting “invited” already offer their work for free. I get that readers will want to support the writers, but let’s be real for a second. For every 20 readers you have, only about, maybe 3 will probably pay for content. The same could be said of receiving comments. When I posted on Wattpad, my chapters would get 500-1000 reads. Guess how many people commented, like 10. Frankly, that’s one issue I have with this model. My next issue is how the “paying writers” works.

For example, you post your story, and if readers want access to your newest chapter early, they can pay a small fee (between 1 cent to 99 cents) or they can wait 5-7 days for the chapter to be released for free. Of course, a percentage of that goes to the writer. It sounds good, right? But in today’s world, most of the people who read online are teens and young adults. Well, most teens don’t have money, and if they do, they don’t have a lot of it. I’ve actually heard writers who use these websites say that don’t make much money. Generally, it’s pocket change.

Another factor is if you have to wait for chapters to be released for free, you can just read something else. In the internet age, you can binge watch and binge read thousands of different shows and books. And if a teen or young adult lives at home, it’s more likely they have access to Netflix, Hulu, Kindle Unlimited, etc. So, they have many avenues of entertainment while waiting for FREE chapters.

To illustrate my point, think of the game, Candy Crush. When it first came out, it was huge! And yeah, some people spent money on the game, but it also reached a wider audience. If I recall, it was a unique game idea at the time. In fact, I remember people would ask others if they spent money on extra moves. If the person said yes, the instant response was, “Why would you spend money on that?” Sadly, the same thinking can be said of stories online, especially since most work online for free is first drafts and unedited.

As writers, we are dealing with other entertainment mediums where people can easily binge read while waiting for our content. More importantly, you can get published books off Amazon for .99 cent to $2.99, plus no waiting for the next chapters. Or you can go to your local library, which I’m sure most teens and young adults still in school do.Not to mention you can also read manga and comics online, too. Last time I checked, the anime industry was suffering because so much anime can be found online for free now.

Oh, and I did check out Radish for myself. Of course, since writers need to be “invited,” I was thinking there would be quality stories on Radish, right? I was wrong…so wrong. I saw a book of BDSM one shots that caught my eye and thought meh, this should be an interesting read. And well, the words “one shot” should have given away who was the writer of these stories. Needless to say, the first story I read was about a 16 (or 17 years old, I can’t remember for sure) year old that was in high school and her boyfriend, who she called, “Daddy,” dominated her life. Yes, you read that right, my fellow writers, it was a high schooler and her relationship with “Daddy.” I don’t want to get into the subject of BDSM high school stories, but you catch my drift. And yes, this was a “trending” story on Radish.

My thoughts were:

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(Yes, it was scarier than the trolls in Nilbog)

Don’t get me wrong, anyway a writer can make money is good, but I wouldn’t use these sites as your saving grace. From what I’ve noticed, it’s best to still pursue publication through Amazon or a traditional publisher. Yeah, use the little money making sites on the side, but don’t hold out for a huge payout. At the end of the day, if you want to be seen, you have to reach the big boys and make a name for yourself.

So, I’ll let you decide what avenue you feel is best for your writing, but be cautious of serialized websites promising to offer you money for your work. Please, if you have experience with either Radish or Tapas, please leave a comment because I would love to read a different perspective.

Question of the day: As a writer, would you be willing to try a model like Radish or Tapas, or would you rather do self-publishing or traditional publishing?

Blog Tip Series: Responding to Comments

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Hey, everyone! Did anyone watch the game yesterday? I’m not a big Superbowl person, but the ending was so wild! It reminded me to never give up :3

Anyway, back on topic! Over the weekend, I reached a milestone on this blog I never expected. Thanks to all of you wonderful readers, I have 1,133 followers. That may not seem like much, but it’s huge to me! This blog is my first online accomplishment, so, I want to give back by sharing more blogging tips. =)

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Now since I’ve reached all my blogging goals, I want to focus on my writing goals. Don’t worry, I won’t be giving up my blog =)

Today, I want to talk about responding to comments. If you follow my blog, you know I mentioned this in the past, but I want to have a deeper discussion about responses.

When you think of your blog, what words come to mind? For me, I think of the word “Social.” After all, having a blog is part of social media. That tells me I need to converse on my blog. Now, I’m sure you are wondering why that is important. Well, it’s simple, really.

If you want to gain more followers for your blog, then interact with your readers. And when I say “interact,” I don’t mean responding to comments with “Thanks for reading.” I’m saying have an actual conversation with your readers. I won’t lie to you, it’s a big pet peeve of mine to see bloggers respond to long comments with “Thanks for reading.” If a reader takes the time to write a long, thoughtful comment on your post, then have the same decency. Showing you care about your readers goes a long way.

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Here are some tips on how I respond to readers:

  • Respond to every comment on your post. It may take a while, but it will show to your old and new readers you care.
  • Actually read the comment and respond accordingly. Don’t respond with a simple “Thanks for reading.”
  • Make time to respond. Finding time can be hard, so maybe take an hour every other day just for comments. (This is the technique I use)
  • Engage in conversation. Have a discussion in your comment section. If the reader responds to you, keep the conversation going (for as long as you can).
  • Visit the reader’s blog! Visit your readers’ blogs and comment on their posts.

Honestly, I have unfollowed bloggers who didn’t respond to their comments. I know it’s hard sometimes, but engagement is important. My blog wouldn’t have grown without it. So next time you get a comment, respond to the reader. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it :3

P.S. After jumping around to different writing websites, I feel the WordPress community is the best one to engage with.  And also, Clash of Tides will be finished by the end of February!! Super excited!

How do you handle comments on your blog?