Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘generating web traffic

The benefits of Blogging

I’m using this one for a little reflection. I’ve been blogging and promoting my novel on the internet now for less than three months, which makes me a veritable blog infant, but already I have had some amazing experiences which bode well for the future.

Firstly, a wonderful thing about the experience is that total strangers from all over the world have been so encouraging. Thanks, Heidi, for just taking the time to say ‘Good Luck with your book,’ and for Daz:

‘Fantastic blog Allan. Keep up the good work things WILL happen for you.’
Thanks Travis, for your comment on my blog about generating web traffic: Whassup? Very good tips man. Keep on bloggin. Peace. Travis.

And to Supercalafragilistic for your encouragement at the same time as gently pointing out my cardinal sin: Great post. Only one M in Hemingway though. Revision time!
One result of sending out my blogs through such services as Pingoat means that it crops up in all sorts of places. Not quite sure how it got onto ‘Great Railway Journeys’ but no publicity is bad publicity
One of the loveliest examples of my blog popping up somewhere I’d never heard of, and getting a response from someone I’d never met was this: 

 

Hi. I’ve just read your message on blackboard.The girl who used to live next door to me has written 2 books and also set up her own publishing company – Doghorn publishing. She has now gone travelling and one of her friends who has been involved with the company from the beginning has taken over the business. Their website is http://www.doghorn.com . It may be under reconstruction at the mo. If that’s the case and you’re interested in getting in touch with them let me know and i’ll forward you their address. You can tell them it’s Rebecca and James’s old neighbour that’s put you in touch. I’ve actually bought their house to rent out !!Good luck Debbie Harris

Unfortunately this did not lead to publication but I was just blown over by someone taking the trouble to contact me.
‘Dog Horn’ publishers, as it turned out, sent me another rejection slip with which to paper my wall. I though I’d be onto something there because they specialise in the more bizarre type of novel. I told tham that I had one character who had half a beard and another with an invisible dog, but obviously it wasn’t bizarre enough.

One observation was that they didn’t ask, as is always the case, for a large stamped addressed envelope for the return of a manuscript. When it was returned they had paid the £1.80 postage- which was very kind. It did make me wonder however about the standard rejection letter claim that they had a large number of submissions- paying for the return of all of these could prove to be very pricey for a small press.

Through networking I was contacted by Dominic Took, author of ‘The Storms of Acias’ Dominic invited me to speak, with my friend Lynn Grocott, at his ‘Writers’ Forum (Since renamed ‘Meeting of Minds’) at the film theatre at the University of Stoke-on-Trent. We had a wonderful evening, talking about our work and meeting like-minded people. One of them, a publishing consultant, gave me her card, and I sent on my synopsis and sample chapters. Again, nothing yet, but it’s another example of how through the internet I am coming into contact with the right circles.

I have also learned which sites to avoid, i.e. those that ask for money, whether as themselves or under a pseudonym! I never did hear back from the Writer’s Book Agency (See my blog ‘Vanity… Vanity… etc.)
Finally- the response to my YouTube contributions has been far better than I had expected with several people following it through. So far the number of hits has reached… well maybe you could look for yourself, and add a few more. I would love to see more comments too. 

 

My Zimbio

So how do you get people to listen to your talking book on your YouTube channel?
Firstly, you need to add the right ‘tags.’ These are the key words which describe what your video is about- the sorts of words that someone might use to search for such a channel.

One site that I read suggested that as the greatest number of searches are to do with sex, adding phrases such as MILF and BBW to your tags could increase your traffic (if you don’t know, I’m not telling.) The problem is that as it’s the biggest search, due to the laws of supply and demand you would therefore be competing with a large number of websites. You might attract the odd viewer (some of them very odd viewers,) but I would imagine that once they find that it’s you reading your novel and not some buxom dominatrix they will probably leave and never come back. I know I would.

One idea I had which generated immediate hits was to send an email to everyone in my contacts list, explaining what I was doing, asking them to pass the message on to all of their contacts, and so on. You can see the email at: http://thelynngrocottacademy.bravehost.com/experiment.html
and if you feel well disposed toward me you might want to cut and paste it into an email and send it on. (you don’t get anywhere if you don’t ask.)

Another way to get noticed on the net is a blog. You’re reading this, aren’t you? So you’ve noticed me. So give it a go. Apparently search engines love blogs.

Once you’ve got the blog out there link it to other sites including social networking sites such as: facebook myspace bebo and wayn. You can also put your vids on these.

To get your blog out use Bloggupp and Zimbio. Paste your URL (The address of your page ) onto Pingoat whenever you add a new Blog, and this will send it out to Blog search engines, including Technorati, which you can join for free.

Set up a Squidoo lens. Also try Diggit and stumbleupon where your page will come up randomly for anyone who has registered an interest in the subject you are writing about.

If any of this is like a foreign language to you, it was to me a couple of months ago. Just Google any of these names to find out more. There is also a list of sites and instructions about how to submit your Blog dirctly to Google and Yahoo at Blogfusion.com. just don’t leave your Blog, webpage, or YouTube contribution sitting there- feed the flames, it will be worth it.

I’ve probably bombarded you with too much information already- I’ll leave ezine articles for next time.


As Featured On Ezine Articles

It was a guy called David Hyner http://www.stretchdevelopment.com/ that came up with the suggestion that I record excerpts of ‘Tasting the Wind’ and upload them onto YouTube.

The idea was that I put several chapters on to the site, and that this would eventually generate sales. These could be hard copy (once I’d got some hard copies) or ebooks.

My first thought was that I hadn’t got a camera and couldn’t afford one. So I sat on the idea for a couple of weeks. Then it occurred to me that I did have a Skype set, which consisted of a webcam and microphone.

Until that point I didn’t know if a skype set could record- but it can. And it was inexpensive: I had purchased mine at Argos for £20.

You can choose what you want to show on YouTube- a film of you reading, or something else. For two good reasons I chose something else.

Firstly, YouTube made me look like a fat, bearded slaphead. Which is strange, because in real life I actually look like Brad Pitt.Secondly, the still which people have to click onto to see your video is taken at random from your submission, so you can guarantee that you will have been caught at the split second when your expression was that of a mentally deranged axe murderer.

 

So I opted for my videos to show a single screen, which is different versions of my book cover. As the book is not published yet I had to design my own (something you will have to do anyway if you publish through a Print on Demand site such as Lulu.com.)

Think what would represent your book. You can use your own artwork or photography, if you’re that way inclined, or get pictures from Google images. You will need a photo imaging programme which allows you to cut, paste and merge images- as long as you are creative and avoid anything with a copyright.

I chose to have a grey victorian instituion as the backdrop for a bright red balloon, which has some symbolic significance in the novel.

Not appearing on the ‘video’ can also be an advantage in that it can improve your voice. As no one can see you you can act it out- pull faces, throw your arms around- whateverer it takes to get some drama and changes of tone into your reading. (If you have written your book using a word processor it is useful to read from the screen to free up your hands and to avoid rustling paper.)

All you have to do now is to get a YouTube account, which is free, and upload your video- or in this case talking book.

Simple as that. Well not quite…

It’s no use having parts of your book sitting on YouTube if no one’s going to look at it.

Next: generating web traffic.

My Zimbio

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