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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Three Techniques That Authors Can Use to Create an Effective Sales Funnel Online

    It’s very tough for a new author to enter into the self-publishing world and selling that first book consistently is nearly impossible. However, there are three methods that I use that are highly effective in selling books online. I’ve used these techniques over the years to build a sales funnel that earns me on average $500 per month in supplemental income. Now that’s not a whole lot of money, but it’s taken me a significant amount of time to sell more than a handful of books annually on Amazon.

    Create a Blog.

    My first reason for creating this blog was to share my knowledge that I gained over the years through trial and error with authors who subscribe to it. However, I soon discovered that as the site begins to gain more traction, the potential to gain new followers piqued my interest. An email list of eager readers of any genre of fiction is a goldmine for anyone who can build it. An author can then write content that’s beneficial to readers as well as promote books simultaneously and can link the blog to the Author Central page on Amazon.

    Showcase Free Short Stories on Blog.

    Another way that an author can gain followers and sell books is to feature free short stories on a blog. A short story is like a sample of an author’s work―it can be anywhere from 750 to 2000 words, and it gives readers a taste of what kind of writer the author is and whether they like this particular author enough to buy his or her books. A direct link to the Amazon sales page of a book can then be placed on the blog for customers to buy.

Sales Funnel

    Create a Book Series.

    The last and most effective tool that I use to create a sales funnel is to write a fiction series. The first book of the series can either be priced at a discount or free to draw readers in. I personally prefer to discount the first book as opposed to making it permanently free because I’ve worked too hard on my books to just give them away to customers who may or may not like my genre but downloaded them anyway because they were free. However, there’s nothing wrong with an author offering a free five-day promotion on Amazon KDP Select because of the opportunity to showcase a new book to thousands of readers. A little trick that I use to garner book reviews quickly is to ask readers to write an honest review on Amazon at the end of each of my books, and I leave readers my email address just in case they have questions or want to reach out to me directly about the book.

    The number one goal for a new author should be to bring awareness to one’s brand via a blog or free promotion of books and short stories. Hopefully, readers will be interested enough in subscribing to the blog and making a purchase online.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Authors Can Use the Editor and Read Aloud Features on Office 365 for Books

    There are millions of self-published books featured on Amazon by hundreds of thousands of independent authors. Competition for authors to get on Amazon’s bestseller’s list is fierce, and it’s also very difficult to gain some type of edge over other authors in today’s climate. A book filled with typos will kill book sales, so it’s extremely important for an author to present a polished body of work to the reading public. While hiring a proofreader may be essential, depending upon a author’s grammatical skill level in writing, it won’t guarantee that a book will be error-free.

    One affordable solution to this problem for about $100 is to buy a yearly subscription to Microsoft Office 365, and this software has many elements to help authors proofread their work. The two most notable components that I use under the Review section of Office 365 are the Editor and Read Aloud features, and these are great tools that writers can use to bring their manuscripts as close to perfection as humanly possible.

Writer

    Editor Link.

    Click on the Review link in the toolbar, and then click on the Editor link so that the editing options will pop up to the right of the page. It will show the Editor’s Score in percentages at the top of the page, and underneath the score is the option to choose Formal, Professional, or Casual writing. I always choose the Casual writing option because I’m a crime and urban fiction author and blogger whose audience isn’t the academia or business world, and I also feel that formal or professional writing are for nonfiction books or corporate websites, for example. Below the Editor Score box are the Corrections and Refinements boxes, which calculate errors such as spelling, grammar, clarity, and conciseness automatically in order to achieve 100%.

    Read Aloud Feature.

    Go to the first chapter of the book and click on the Read Aloud feature so that the Play/Pause, Forward/Backward, Reading Speed, and Voice Selection options pop up. Once the reading speed and voice selection are set up, press the play button. This feature helps to catch the errors that proofreading eyes might miss. It’s easier to listen for words or phrases that don’t sound correct as opposed to looking for typos, missing commas, or incorrect homonyms.

    It’s better to present a manuscript that’s 99.99% accurate to a proofreader or editor because it’s virtually impossible to correct a book riddled with grammatical errors. There’s nothing more frustrating than to publish a book that was supposedly edited by a freelance proofreader only to unpublish it because of more typos being discovered.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Five Jobs That Will Be Obsolete by 2030

    As our country and the world move into this New World Order, certain jobs will become obsolete. With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, many individuals may get left behind if they don’t have the skill set to compete in this new economy. Here are five jobs that I believe will disappear within the next ten years.

    Cashiers.

    I used to work for a check processing company almost a decade ago in the North Loop of Chicago, and there was a CVS Pharmacy a block away from the job. This particular store was the first to have automated checkout that I know of―most grocery stores began to follow suit in the years to follow, though stores like Walmart and Target didn’t go completely automated as there’s always one or two human cashiers at the checkout lines.

Cashier

    Bank Tellers.

    The next job to go is the bank teller in my opinion. With less people writing checks these days and online banking becoming the norm in society, there really isn’t much need for bank tellers except for the drive-up teller windows as a significant percentage of people still don’t feel comfortable with depositing money at the ATM. I haven’t used the bank teller since the pandemic, and I pay all of my bills online and deposit my cash and checks at the ATM.

    Postal Workers.

    I bought a book of stamps right before the pandemic in November 2019, and I still have fifteen stamps left. Good thing I bought the forever stamps or else I’d have to buy some of those one-cent stamps to mail a letter. Senior citizens are keeping USPS afloat, and I believe mailing letters will become a thing of the past once the vast majority of companies begin to take a more cost-effective approach to exchanging information.

    Transportation Industry.

    I was an Uber driver from 2016-2018, and I remember the CEO of the company launching a pilot program on the West Coast testing automated cars in certain areas. However, the project was derailed after a woman was struck by an automated car and killed in Tempe, AZ in 2018 and after a multi-million dollar lawsuit with Google over intellectual property was settled. I do believe that once Uber or another company iron out the bugs of this new technology; self-driving cars, trucks, trains, and buses will eventually become the wave of the future.

Convoy of Trucks

    Retail Industry.

    The retail industry has been dying a slow and painful death for years now and has been heavily relying on the holiday season to stay solvent. Shopping at malls is quickly fading away as online shopping is becoming increasingly popular―now more than ever due to the spread of the pandemic. The restaurant and entertainment industries have taken a huge hit because of COVID-19 as well―though I don’t believe that both industries will completely die off.

Shopping Mall

    The economy is going through a shift just like it did in the 80s―when the country moved from a manufacturing industry to a service industry. We are now in the information age, and technology is going to ultimately turn the vast majority of people’s lives upside down.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Backlist Book: The Decline of Baseball in Inner-City Chicago by Mark Stephen O’Neal

    The southside of Chicago was a thriving community throughout the 1970s―small businesses in the community were thriving, the majority of families were two-parent households, and the neighborhoods were safe for the most part. I had a great childhood, and Little League baseball was at the center of it. My brother and I would play every summer, and the things that I remember the most were the opening day parade, the concession stand that the parents of the players ran, and us boys playing baseball on those warm summer mornings and afternoons.

eBook Price: $0.99

    However, things had begun to take a turn for the worse in the 1980s―crime in the neighborhood had risen, small businesses started to fail, and people began to lose their jobs as the economy had shifted from manufacturing to service industries seemingly overnight. The steady decline of boys playing baseball continued throughout the decade until it became almost nonexistent in the community during the 1990s.

    The Decline of Baseball in Inner-City Chicago is a forty-page book that touches on some of the reasons why kids aren’t playing baseball in our communities as well as communities throughout the country. Pick up an eBook copy of this book on Amazon for only $0.99.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Failure As a Writer: Is It a Good or Bad Thing?

    The definition of failure according to the Oxford Languages Dictionary is lack of success, or the omission of expected or required action. Nothing about this definition implies that failure is a permanent condition, so to answer the question, is failure at something necessarily a bad thing? No, it’s not in my opinion, and in fact, each failure in life brings a person closer to success.

    My first book titled The Decline of Baseball in Inner-City Chicago wasn’t a complete failure, but it wasn’t an overwhelming success, either. It was a forty-page book riddled with typos, and because of naivety, I didn’t think to hire a freelance proofreader to clean it up. My book signing was a moderate success though, which consisted mostly of family and friends who attended the event. The point is that a writer must have the will to succeed because there is a lesson to be learned every time he or she overcomes an obstacle.

Bookshelf

    I struggled mightily for years to make a buck writing―I tried paid-per-click advertising, social media, and blogging to name a few things―and to be honest, my writing sucked because even though I had raw talent, I failed to properly edit my work and execute my marketing plan effectively. I didn’t begin to see any modicum of success until I awakened spiritually and reinvented myself as a writer, but that’s another topic for another day. Once I polished up my writing and outlined a clear and concise marketing plan tailor-made for me, I started to see the fruits of my labor.

    In order to be successful at anything, especially in writing, one has to put in the hours to hone his or her skills because there are no shortcuts to greatness. I once read that in order to be an expert at something, people have to be willing to practice over ten thousand hours in sweat equity to be a master at their craft. I still feel the need to keep refining my writing even after fifteen years and many late nights as I never stop learning new ways to present my stories to the viewing public.

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Three Different Ways That I Use to Monetize My Blog

    One of the main reasons why I created my blog was to help new and struggling authors with their writing techniques and help them sell more books in the process. I also blog because of its unlimited earning potential as well. I currently earn three streams of revenue from blogging that I’d like to share.

    Display Links to Books on Amazon.

    I feature the JPEG images of each one of my novels and provide their links to the respective Amazon pages on this blog in order to make money from the visitors that I receive. I also use Google AdWords to drive more traffic to my site in addition to the organic traffic that I get to drive book sales. This is currently the number one stream of income that I earn from blogging.

    Earn Money from Google AdSense.

    The sky is the limit in blogging once a site is eligible to feature ads from Google AdSense. The minimum requirement to be accepted is for a blog to have at least twenty well-written and informative posts that may be beneficial to the reader. A blogger earns money each time a visitor clicks on an ad, and the more traffic that a blog receives, the more money it makes.

Foreign Currency

    Display Links from Affiliate Programs on Site.

    Another way an author can earn money from blogging is to display a link from an affiliate program. The amount of money that can be earned here is directly tied to how much traffic a blog receives. I currently display a link from the affiliate program that Fiverr offers. I’m looking forward to the amount of money that I’ll earn from this program in the months to follow.

    Creating a blog has been a rewarding experience for me thus far and making money blogging is a bonus. I also look forward to writing more posts that are both useful and entertaining to my readers.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Book Review: Invisible Enemies by Lynda D. Brown

    Abby Harris is a beautiful young woman of God whose life seems to be on the right track in spite of her rocky relationships with her older sister Candace and her mother. She's a gifted singer in the church's youth choir and one of the most popular girls in high school in the Washington D.C. area. However, her life spirals downward once her mother forbids her to attend the church that she grew up in, and she starts hanging out with a fast crowd and loses her way soon afterward.

    Invisible Enemies is a modern-day tale of good versus evil, and this Christian drama has elements of the story of Job as well as the story of Cain and Abel. I would definitely recommend this book as it was hard to put down. Next

    My Rating: ★★★★★

 Invisible Enemies by [Lynda  D. Brown]

     

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Five Main Reasons Why I Created This Blog

    Blogging has proven to be a great revenue stream for writers on the internet, but that’s not my sole reason for creating my blog―well, not exactly. While making money through blogging is the ultimate goal, here are the five main reasons why I blog:

    Showcase My Work.

    Creating my blog has allowed me to feature my books and short stories to avid readers all around the world. I have people who check out the website from Pakistan, the Netherlands, and Nigeria in addition to people from the U.S., for example, and people from other nations who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to my blog can enjoy reading it thanks to Google. I spend about $150 monthly via Google AdWords to receive on average 300-400 page views daily, and hopefully, Google will reward me by sending more organic traffic to my blog as I continue to write informative posts that will educate my readership on various topics that I have knowledge on.

    Help Aspiring Authors.

    I wish I had better direction when I started writing back in 2006, and I would’ve avoided the many pitfalls in the self-publishing world if I had a road map to guide me. I share my fifteen years of knowledge in writing through my blog posts, and novice authors who need guidance can benefit from my years of experience and avoid making the same mistakes that I’ve done in the past.

Blogger

    Continue to Build My Brand.

    Most readers won’t take a chance on authors they’ve never heard of―a best case scenario for a novice writer is to offer one or more books free for a limited time only with hopes of building a following in the future. This is another reason why I created my blog―to showcase some of my short stories for free. I try to post something fresh every few weeks in order to give my readers a taste of my writing style―usually between 1000-2000 words―so that they will purchase and review one or more of my books on Amazon as well as purchase my new releases when they become available for sale.

    Review Other Authors Books.

    I make it a point to post the reviews of books that I’ve read on my blog. I try to build authors up by giving them shine with positive reviews that highlight their strengths and constructively critique the areas where they may have come up short. Reviews help authors sell books, and I’m committed to helping indie authors like myself achieve this goal.

    Make Money Using Google AdSense.

    I primarily use this blog to promote my books to readers worldwide, but I also understand the earning potential of displaying ads on my site. As my blog continues to grow, so will my AdSense revenue, and the sky is the limit in terms with using commercial advertising on one’s site.

    In conclusion, there’s a huge upside for an author to create a blog to promote his or her work. If authors are willing to put in the time (experts say that it usually takes nine months to a year and 100 posts for a blog to take flight), the fruits of their labor will definitely manifest. I created my blog to make money, but I also created my blog to help inexperienced authors reach their potential as well.

Five Ways Authors Can Perfect Their Craft in Writing

     The only experience that I had in writing before I wrote my first book was a creative writing course taken in my first year of college ...