Category Archives: Coming Soon to PPG!

How to Publish and Sell Poetry [An Excerpt]

How to Publish and Sell Poetry

How to Publish and Sell Poetry: NOW AVAILABLE through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral! Order it today!

There is a larger market for your poems than simply people who read poetry books for the sake of poetry. Just think about all the instances where poetry can be useful: in greeting cards; on motivational artwork for homes or offices; for obituaries; for special event speeches or presentations; et cetera.

Poetry appeals to each reader’s emotions in a different way than fiction and non-fiction does. But how to publish and sell poetry is much the same, believe it or not. If fiction and non-fiction writers can sell thousands of books using the techniques described in this book, then I believe poets can achieve the same. That’s why I’ve written another how-to book just for you. It isn’t a poetry book; it is a business guide to show you how to publish and sell poetry effectively.

“Code is Poetry”

Have you ever seen the “Code is Poetry” tagline on a WordPress blog before? I love Jay Hoffman’s take on how HTML coding resembles poetry in the article hyperlinked just above this line:

The slogan has always been very effective at communicating the approach that WordPress takes, a blend of elegant simplicity and infinite expansion. All that lies behind your WordPress install is bits of code strung together like a symphony. Still, the phrase prompts a deeper look.

I am still no expert, but I have learned the basic principles of code and the process has really opened up for me. I have found more and more that code really does mirror poetry. (Hoffman, 2012)

Well, poets … in this book, you’re going to learn more about WordPress and blogging in general. You’ll see it’s one of the top tools you can use to publish and sell your poetry all over the world.

How to Publish and Sell Poetry Online

Blogging is just the beginning. The best way to sell books of any kind—whether poetry, fiction, or non-fiction books—is to utilize the power of search engine optimization (SEO). If that term is unfamiliar to you, please don’t let it scare you off. I’ll explain what it is to you in layman’s terms as I outline the simple formula you can follow to achieve success online. You may be surprised by just how achievable it is to publish and sell poetry nowadays. 

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I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt from my upcoming ebook. Watch for it this coming month on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral.

[PAPERBACK] The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

Coming soon! The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers


Non-fiction (Business Self-Help)

The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers
Kindle (.MOBI) Ebook ASIN: B07G7H7H1G
KOBO and E-Sentral (.EPUB) Ebook 978-1-988971-28-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-988971-27-8
Copyright 2018 Kim Staflund, All Rights Reserved

It takes the patience of a spider to weave an intricate web that can repeatedly attract—and catch—her prey. Spiderwebs are true miracles of organic engineering, and online marketing works in much the same way. You can grow your readership using various search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, and almost all of them include effective writing.

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” (Moz, n.d.)

What constitutes quality traffic? It is relevant visitors to your website—people who are looking for the types of books and information that you offer. What is an organic search engine result? It is a search result that you didn’t pay for—a result that occurred naturally through an intricate web weaving process.

Buy the ebook versions through Amazon’s KindleKobo, and E-Sentral.

The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

AVAILABLE VERY SOON through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral! Watch for it!

You’re a writer—not a salesperson. You don’t want to have to sell your books after you write them. Well, I have some good news for you. Writing is selling in the online world. Writers are natural online marketers. What you already do instinctively is exactly what it takes to grow your readership throughout the world wide web.

Every day, people are searching for books like yours online. They perform those searches by typing various words and phrases (known as keywords) into search engines like Google and online bookstores like Amazon and Kobo. The more keywords you can associate with your books, and the higher your ranking grows on each of these websites, the better your chance of being found by the people searching for you.

So, how do you optimize your ranking on each of these websites? It takes the patience of a spider to weave an intricate web that can repeatedly attract—and catch—her prey. Spiderwebs are true miracles of organic engineering, and online marketing works in much the same way. You can grow your readership using various search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, and almost all of them include effective writing.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. (Moz, n.d.)

What constitutes quality traffic? It is relevant visitors to your website—people who are looking for the types of books and information that you offer. What is an organic search engine result? It is a search result that you didn’t pay for—a result that occurred naturally through an intricate web weaving process. The more clickable links that direct quality traffic to your website, that also show up in the top five or 10 organic search results of any search engine, the more potential customers will likely visit your website. This will improve the readership of all your books and help you build your name as a reputable author within your genre over time.

It’s easier than you may think. Sales success isn’t reserved for extroverted salespeople, nor is online marketing talent reserved for technical experts. You may be pleasantly surprised by what it takes to achieve success online because you’ll see—possibly for the first time—just how achievable this is for you as a writer. You’re at an advantage online, believe it or not. Writing is selling in today’s online world, and writers are natural online marketers.

Some Striking Statistics in Favour of Video Marketing [An Excerpt]

Video Marketing

Enjoy this excerpt about video marketing from the upcoming seventh installment of the T-Shaped Marketing for Authors mini ebook series. Coming soon to an e-reader near you…

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I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t done nearly enough video marketing—partly because I don’t enjoy listening to my own voice or seeing myself on camera (which is a necessary part of proofing and editing one’s videos), and partly because I’m a novice with cameras, lighting, and video editing software (I have a funny story to share with you in this regard). Like most people, I tend to focus on the marketing skills I’m good at while avoiding the others. But then it came time to research and begin writing this mini ebook. When I came across all the compelling statistics in favour of video marketing, I realized my procrastination must come to an end. It’s time to ramp up my video marketing game. Now. (Well, maybe after I’m done writing this book.)

As part of my research, I came across a Forbes article by Matt Bowman, titled “Video Marketing: The Future Of Content Marketing,” that I highly recommend you read in full. Here’s a short excerpt from it to whet your appetite:

Here are a few statistics to help you understand exactly how popular video marketing has become in recent years, according to news shared by HubSpot:
● Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
● Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
● Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
(Bowman, 2017)

In the most recent T-Shaped ebook, titled Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we looked at how important click-through traffic is to the SEO of a website. When people visit just one page of your site and then leave, that’s considered a bounce; whereas, if they click on one of your links to visit another webpage on your site, that’s considered a click-through. Since click-throughs are what improve your SEO in the eyes of Google, and conversions (e.g., views of your book descriptions that lead to sales) are what earn you an income, these statistics are highly motivating.

There are three more important SEO ranking factors that video marketing can help you with: posting relevant content on a consistent basis, building up relevant backlinks to your website, and making your website mobile-friendly. Every time you post a video on YouTube that contains a link to your website in the description area, you’ve posted relevant content and created a relevant backlink to your website. Better yet, when you embed that video into your home webpage for others to view, you’ve just made that webpage more mobile-friendly:

Today, one of the biggest trends driving the digital marketing world is responsive design. When a company’s content doesn’t perform well on a given device or browser system, the business behind it loses traffic and suffers decreased conversions as a result. Fortunately, video content is fit for consumption on all devices, ranging from computers to mobile phones. This expands video’s reach and makes it more user-friendly and consumer-focused. (Bowman, 2017)

If you’re feeling resistant or overwhelmed by the idea of producing regular video content for yourself—maybe because you think it will be complicated or expensive—then you’ll be pleased to learn about one of the top “Video Marketing Trends for 2018” according to Epic Productions, LLC: creating quick, live videos (like the ones you post on Facebook) to announce a new book signing or launch event. All you must do to “go live” on social media is record yourself on your smartphone and then post it to your account. Done. When you go live, all your social media friends and followers will be notified immediately, and their curiosity at seeing you live on video is likely to make them click on the link.

That’s one quick idea on how to utilize video marketing to your advantage this coming year. Throughout this book, I’ll share a few more with you from the expensive to the cost-effective. This will provide you with a great start and some helpful resources.

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I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt. Watch for the book this coming month on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral.

[PAPERBACK] How to Publish a Book in the East That You Can Sell in the West

[PAPERBACK] How to Publish a Book in the East That You Can Sell in the West

Watch for How to Publish a Book in the East That You Can Sell in the West in the autumn of 2018. This new title will be available through all major bookstores worldwide in paperback format, plus on and in .EPUB ebook format, on October 15, 2018.

Those who wish to sneak an early peek will be able to find this book on Amazon in .MOBI ebook format as early as July 15, 2018, and it will be free of charge for five days that week only.

This book contains a repeatable, entirely achievable six-week publishing process—a blueprint you can easily follow no matter what type of book series you wish to publish on three recommended ecommerce sites. It also contains case studies of several highly successful authors who are already doing these things and earning massive incomes from it.  Read more here.

How to Publish a Book in the East That You Can Sell in the West

COMING SOON to Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral! Order it online!

Do you want to publish a book in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, or Southeast Asia? Do you dream of selling your book to English-speaking westerners in the United Kingdom and North America? If yes, you’ll find this book very helpful. You will learn where and how to publish a book that has a worldwide reach. You will also learn the online methods today’s top independent authors (also known as “indie authors”) are using to sell thousands of ebooks every year—at western prices. All you need is access to a computer that contains Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader along with a WIFI connection to the Internet, and you’re in business.

In this book, we’ll cover how to publish a book and:

– what the “Big Five” traditional (trade) publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster—are looking for when scouting new book projects;

– why you don’t need a literary agent to help you reach today’s publishers;

– the three publishing methods available to you;

– why the old publishing boundaries that once blocked the east from the west are now nearly dissolved;

– how today’s top search engine, Google, ranks webpages around the world (and why this is important to your commercial success);

– how to publish regular content in a way that bolsters your performance on all kinds of search engines (including online stores);

– why you should publish more than one ebook online;

– why you should publish your ebooks to more than one platform for best results;

and the list goes on!

You’re in the driver’s seat.

Gone are the days when the world’s large corporate book publishers set the pace and direction of the entire publishing market. Today’s western indie authors are now in the driver’s seat, and it can be the same for eastern authors in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia. The tools are already at your fingertips, and ebook publishing is the easiest and most affordable way to begin. (And when I say “affordable,” I mean almost completely free of charge. Now that’s affordable!)

Your only necessary cost will be editing, which will be covered in great detail in this book. The fact is, if you want your ebook to be accepted by a western-based English-speaking population, you’ll need to hire a western-based English editor to help you get things right. I’ll show you exactly where and how to find one at a price that suits your budget.

If you want to know how to publish a book in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, or Southeast Asia, this book can help. You’ll also learn how to sell your book to westerners in the United Kingdom and North America. The whole process from start to finish—from outlining a full ebook series to publishing it online—will be covered in this book. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll know exactly how to publish a book. You’ll know what it takes to successfully sell it, too.

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising (T-Shaped Marketing for Authors Book 5) … an excerpt

Enjoy this excerpt from the upcoming fifth installment of the T-Shaped Marketing for Authors mini ebook series. Coming soon to an e-reader near you…

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Much like Google AdWords and Facebook, LinkedIn PPC campaigns are run as auctions. Advertisers like you place a bid to pay a certain dollar amount (e.g., $2.25) per click on selected keywords or criteria; your prize for winning the auction is effective ad placement on whichever platform your ad appears. Yet, there is more to winning a PPC auction than just placing the highest bid. Nine times out of ten, you’ll end up paying even less than you bid as these sites will only charge you whatever price per click was necessary to win the auction, and that price is based on many factors including the amount of competition involved and the overall effectiveness of each bidder’s ad.

LinkedIn PPC Targeting Criteria

LinkedIn PPC advertising is much better suited to non-fiction books than fictional novels because of LinkedIn’s audience and that of the LinkedIn Audience Network as a whole. As of writing time, your LinkedIn targeting criteria is limited to:

  • Geographical regions: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Oceania (of which you can drill down to your choice of the countries and cities that you wish to “include” or “exclude” from your campaign).
  • Other business-related criteria: company name, company industry, company size, job title, job function, job seniority, member schools, field of study, degrees, member skills, member groups, member gender, member age, years of experience, company followers, and company connections.

Once you’ve made the above choices, you can the select your bid type: cost per click (CPC); or, cost per mille which means the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). CPC is the best choice to make when you want to drive more sales whereas CPM is used when your sole purpose is to drive top of mind awareness (TOMA) of your brand. I personally always choose CPC because my goal with PPC advertising is first and foremost to sell books, and I believe CPC also achieves TOMA over time. Two birds, one stone … as the saying goes.

The Price of an Affluent Audience

From there, you will choose your maximum daily budget and your CPC or CPM bid for the criteria you chose earlier. Although you can start your bid as low as $25 per day and $2 per click, you’ll most likely end up paying more on this site to get any significant results. LinkedIn PPC campaigns tend to be more expensive than Google AdWords or Facebook. Some will say it’s because you’re paying for exposure to a more affluent business audience. Here’s another way to look at it according to JD Prater, author of “How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [New Report]” on the AdStage blog:

…LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users, which is impressive but still limited compared to Facebook. With a limited supply of ads coupled with growing demand, the auction is getting more competitive, which means advertisers will pay more to enter.

…Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 43% of marketers were NOT investing in LinkedIn Ads. However, 39% advertisers planned on increasing their ad spend within the following year. It looks like LinkedIn Ads are delivering results for certain companies, which is leading to budget increases. (Prater, n.d.)  

The anatomy of a LinkedIn PPC ad is similar to Facebook in that you can include an image, a punchy headline, some brief ad copy, and a link to your desired landing page. All these elements are important; but some would say the image is the most critical element. Igor Belogolovsky reports the following in his article for the Kissmetrics Blog:

Hot tip: According to LinkedIn’s own optimization team, choosing a photo of a woman typically drives the best clickthrough rates. Only use your business logo if you’re trying to build brand awareness. Don’t have too much going on in your photo — remember, it’s a small thumbnail and you have a lighting-quick opportunity to draw the eye to your ad before, poof, it’s gone. (Belogolovsky, n.d.)

If this is to be believed, then female authors may want to include your author picture in your LinkedIn PPC ads; male authors may want to include your eye-catching book covers, instead. Whatever you decide, make it stand out. Put yourself in your audience’s place. What would grab your attention? Before designing a book cover, I always recommend to my authors that they should browse the section of the bookstore where their books will one day appear and see which covers stand out ahead of the rest to them; use that data as the starting point for their own designs. I think it’s a great idea to do the same thing with PPC ads. Log into LinkedIn and view the ads on your page. Take note of what appeals to you most. Use that for inspiration.

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I hope you enjoyed that little excerpt. Watch for the book this month on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral.

Reach Your Mobile Readers With QR Codes

What is a QR code and how can you create one for free?

A static QR code (static meaning “unchangeable” once created), such as the one to the left of this paragraph, is a two-dimensional barcode. You can easily create one for your blog and/or website free of charge on this website. Where traditional linear, one-dimensional barcodes (like the ones on the back of books) are used to store small bits of information about the object they are on (such as the price of that book), a QR code has a larger storage capacity and can re-direct scanners to websites for much more detailed information.

How are QR codes used?

It’s as simple as downloading a free QR reader on your smartphone and you’re ready to go. That’s why this is the perfect tool to reach your mobile readers. Anyone with a QR reader on his or her phone can now scan these barcodes from magazine ads, books, signs on the side of a road, computer screens, you name it. I even saw a large QR code on the side of a city bus and was able to scan it through the city train window so I could view a local restaurant’s take-out menu on my way home from work. Brilliant!

Why pay someone to create a QR code for you ?  

Several years ago, my company website looked much different than it does now. It looked great on a laptop or desktop screen, but it wasn’t mobile friendly in the least. At that time, I wanted to learn more about QR codes. I created a free one for myself and also paid another company to create a more professional-looking QR code for me so I could see the difference between the two. The QR code they created is shown to the right of this paragraph.

When scanning the static QR code I created for myself, I could see that it took people straight to my website as planned. This was wonderful except for one thing; that website was intended to be read on a large computer screen. When it was viewed on a smartphone, the text and graphics all appeared very tiny, and it was difficult to navigate.

There was quite a contrast when I scanned the dynamic QR code (dynamic meaning “changeable” once created) that was created for me by some QR mobile marketing experts. Not only did they create a much more attractive QR code for PPG, but they also created a much more mobile-friendly landing page that still redirected to PPG’s main site. They even went so far as to add one of PPG’s promotional YouTube videos to that landing page. 

Case in point: if your website isn’t already mobile-friendly, and your website service provider has been unable to help you fix that for some reason, then you can always use the services of a professional QR code creator. They will oftentimes create a mobile-friendly landing page for your site along with the code itself.

How can authors best utilize this technology?

Authors can place a page at the back of each of their books that contains a QR code that redirects readers to their blogs or websites to keep readers abreast of any upcoming book launches, tours, or books. It’s a real-time update for readers even five years after that particular book was published. How convenient is that?

Watch for my upcoming T-Shaped marketing book on Amazon, Kobo, or E-Sentral that contains even more great mobile marketing tips! In this ebook, we’ll discuss the importance of mobile-friendly websites along with the value of QR codes, email marketing, text message (SMS and MMS) marketing, and social media marketing for authors.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

3 Book Printing Tips for Indie Authors: Consider This Before Printing Any Books

NOW AVAILABLE through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral! Order it today!

Whenever prospective clients contact my company for a book publishing quote, they invariably request a book printing quote to go along with it. I tell them that, to figure out your initial publishing costs—the professional editing, graphic design, proofreading, indexing, and administrative costs involved in publishing a book—a publisher will need to know five things:

  1. How many words are included both inside your book’s interior and on its cover?
  2. How many images/graphics are included both inside your book’s interior and on its cover?
  3. Will your book have a colour or black and white interior? (If colour, will it be a full bleed?)
  4. What trim size (e.g., 5 x 8″, 5.5 x 8.5″, 6 x 9″, 8.5 x 11″) do you want?
  5. What format (e.g., paperback, case-wrapped hardcover, dust-jacketed hardcover) do you want?

Figuring out your book printing costs is even more involved than that. It is only once your book is fully formatted and you know all the above information plus the page count of the final-designed book that you can officially request a book printing quote. (The page count of a final-designed book is almost always different from the page count of your initial manuscript.)

There is much to think about, much to consider when it comes to book printing. I also ask each author, “How many books are you thinking about printing, and have you considered how and where you’re going to sell them?” Some people are puzzled by that question, assuming the publisher will actively sell your books for you. I published this FREE ebook for these individuals a while ago: Your Ebook is an Asset … if You Own the Copyright. The moral of the story is there’s no point in printing any books at all unless you have a clear idea of how to distribute them—successfully. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of money in book printing costs followed by even more in storage costs.

For the authors who believe you’ll be able to print and sell direct to popular “bricks and mortar” book retailers, I highly recommend you download and read this additional FREE ebook: Why Traditional Bookstores Won’t Carry Your Book on Their Shelves … and Why That’s Okay. The truth is, if you want your book placed on the physical shelves of a traditional bookstore, you must play by the peculiar rules set by the traditional book supply chain. And, believe me, peculiar is the best word to describe these old rules … as I’m sure you’ll agree once you read the book. As well, most “bricks and mortar” booksellers (e.g., Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and Blackwell’s, et cetera) and libraries will only purchase their books through established distributors. They simply won’t deal with individual authors.

Add to all this the fact that printers can be finicky machines at times. Have you ever wondered why, sometimes, a colour image looks different on your computer screen than it does in a printed document? This has much to do with the way the colour file was created by the designer as well as the type of paper it is being printed on and the type of printer being used.

There is MUCH to consider with book printing. Before you engage in any type of book printing at all, read this book! It could save you a lot of time and money down the road. For those who still wish to print their books, this guide will help you to produce the best book printing result possible.

How to Design a Paperback Book Then Convert it to Ebook Format

NOW AVAILABLE through Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo, and E-Sentral! Download it today!

Here are two common misconceptions held by many new indie authors: one, they assume most people only read ebooks nowadays; and two, they assume ebooks are the only books they can sell online using various forms of Internet marketing. Both of these statements are incorrect. The truth is, there are just as many people out there who still want to hold a paperback book in their hands as there are people who love the compact convenience of e-readers. So, if you only publish an ebook, you’re likely losing out on half your potential audience.

No budget to print a paperback book? That’s okay! With the invention of print-on-demand (POD) technology, today’s indie authors no longer have to print and store paperback books in order to sell paperback books. All you have to do is supply the digital files for your paperback’s cover and interior to the e-commerce site of your choice because most of these online retailers utilize POD technology to sell paperbacks rather than stocking those books in warehouses. Then, whenever they receive an order for a paperback, they simply print, bind, and ship the exact quantity ordered—whether it is one book or ten—all at the same time. Easy peasy!

Whenever possible, it’s always best to hire an experienced graphic designer to help you create both the interior and cover files of your paperback book. It is also wise to source professional ebook conversion services to convert your paperback’s digital files into ebook format for you. Doing so will bring you the most polished result, and it will also free up your time to do what you do best—write another book.

For the “do-it-yourselfers” out there who prefer spending time rather than money, there are ways to do your own graphic design and basic ebook conversions. That’s what this ebook is about. It will teach you how to create your paperback book using two common, user-friendly software programs that are part of the Microsoft Office suite of programs: Microsoft Word (for the interior) and Microsoft Publisher (for the cover). It will also teach you how to convert your paperback Word files into .EPUB and .MOBI ebook files using an online ebook conversion software called Calibre.

I used Microsoft’s 2016 Office programs on my PC computer to create my recent book titled How to Build a Loyal Readership So Your Self-Published Books Get Picked Up by Literary Agents and Trade Publishers, so that is what the instructions in this ebook are based on. If your PC computer has a different version of Microsoft Office, or you’re using a Mac computer, then you may have to reference Microsoft’s help and training page alongside the instructions provided here. That’s because the tools you’ll be using to create your own book may be found in different places depending on which version of the Microsoft Office programs you’re using. Same thing with Calibre; I used the 3.18 version, but there are often new updates to that ebook conversion software. If any of the instructions I give you here seem slightly different than what you see on your screen, then you have most likely downloaded a different version and should consult Calibre’s help section for updated instructions.