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Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Create an Email Signature

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Pen-for-Signature
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“Never send out an email without your author’s signature!”  You might have heard this advice before, but: do you use the gains of e-mail signatures to market and promote your books?
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Every day you send out dozens of emails to friends, business colleagues, your lawyer or accountant, potential readers or editors … Email signatures (a.k.a. sig lines) are powerful, low-cost, high-return marketing tools (a virtual business card or ad) for writers. But very few authors use this free way of getting the emails recipients attention to their books.
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Create a hyperlink to your author’s website or blog, or you can hyperlink to your Amazon.com author page. If you are not yet on Amazon or other online retailers, link to your Social Media presence.
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Gmail makes it real easy to create an email signature
Email signatures can be added under “settings” in your email service. At Gmail it is the small tool icon on the upper right part of the your email page. Click on it to come to the “settings” page and scroll down to Signature: (appended at the end of all outgoing messages). When you click on the link underneath, that says “Learn More” you will find tips and samples for email signatures, and how you can create signatures for the Gmail app for Android, the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad, and mobile web browsers.
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Use http:about.me
Your email signature should answer who you are, what you do, and how you can be contacted. In times when people are overloaded with information, use an email signature that is minimal and does not require much space. When using About.me, you can place all your information, including an image, in one single link. You will be surprised what a great and attractive tool it will be. Best of all: You can link your blog to About.me and always show your latest posts to visitors.
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Authors should use the gains of their e-mail signatures to market and promote their books. It does not cost you a cent – or a penny.Yet an email signature shows you care about the way you communicate. If you have an email signature, you are constantly sending people your “passive” marketing, which is spreading the word about you, your brand and your books. Create your email signature right now, immediately after reading this post!
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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 820 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
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http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Marketing

 

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How to Become a Successful Writer? WRITE !

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Keyboard-VisaCard.

Even the shyest author, who would never speak at writer conferences or to a group of book lovers at a library, can write his or her way to success. I am not talking about your next book, which is certainly important, as your readers want to get more books from you, once they discovered you as an author.
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So, what else can you write to become successful?

  • write short stories that you can sell (or give away) on Amazon
  • write articles for newspapers and magazines
  • write regularly blog articles
  • write guest blog
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OMG, I hear you saying, the day has not enough hours… to do all this…
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Write short stories
In a former blog post  I explained “why you should split your book apart and sell each piece separately” and “divide it in chapters which you can sell to magazines or to web publishers”. To use a chapter or two for a short story means no work at all, but you certainly could change or shorten it a bit. Offer these short stories for download on your website – this way you get the email of your readers. Install an opt-in email form and offer your readers at the same time to sign up in order to get regular info about free stories and new book releases.
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Very important: Don’t just give the story away. Write a short bio or add an about.me link, including your website, info about all your books and their sales link at the end of your short story. This way, readers meet the author (you) and get to know your books and might one order right away with the help of the link they find in the short story.
Upload short stories to Wattpad, Red Room, Goodreads or Booksie.

Why short stories?  With all the distractions from other, flashier forms of entertainment it can be a struggle to set aside an hour or two and a find a quiet spot to read a book. Short stories can be read in 20 minutes- while enjoying lunch break, riding the bus or standing in a queue.
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Markets for Short Stories:  Authors who are aiming to supplement their income have to find markets at magazines, on Duetrope.com or offer their books to Amazon for inclusion into “Kindle Shorts”. Stories between 2,000 and 5,000 words are most market-able, however there is demand for all lengths. Duetrope is an award-winning, free writers’ resource listing over 4150 current Fiction and Poetry publications, updated almost daily.
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Write articles for newspapers and magazines
Be smart, and sell your magazine articles over and over again. As long as the markets don’t overlap, you can sell exactly the same article as many times as you like and, in this globally connected marketplace, it is easier than you think. However, you can only sell first rights, either print or electronic, once for the same piece. After that, unless you change the article significantly, you must offer it as a reprint for a lower fee.

If you change the article, you can sell it again for first rights. For example, you can turn a 600 word piece about traveling with a dog (a chapter of your memoir book) for a dog lovers magazine, into a similar length article for a regional newspaper and then a dog food website (e-rights). Then tweak it into an 900 word article for a national newspaper. Make make some minor changes and shorten the piece a bit for a travel or and airline magazine. Each time, you are able to sell it for first rights. Continue to sell it, however look also out for new markets in other English language media overseas.
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Steven Raichlen’s brilliant coup: He wrote an article for Huffington Post Foodie Paradise: 10 Great Places to Eat in Martha’s Vineyard. In a salute to some of Steven Raichlen’s favorite local bars, restaurants, coffee shops, lobster shacks, and ice cream parlors on Martha’s Vineyard, he had his characters visit the same places which he usually patronizes with his wife. He writes in this article: “I hope you’ll discover them by reading “Island Apart”. And then he gives even a link to his book on Amazon, explaining that it is now available in paperback.

Writing this article, Steven Raichlen was able to mention his book to a million readership FOR FREE, as the famous Huffington Post is a blog-empire, newspaper and online news aggregator, is also ranked the most powerful blog in the world by “The Observer” and is number 42 in “The Guardian‘s” Top 100 Media List.

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Why Blogging is #1 in Gaining Readers
“Blogging is not only fun and a way to interact with your readers, but it is an important part of your social media presence”, says Edmund S. Lee, a famous content marketing specialist: “Did you know that blogging is part of a complete social media strategy? The number one reason you need to include blogging as part of your marketing strategy is because it will gain you more readers and also more customers.”  He explains further: “There are a number of reasons why blogging brings an increase in website traffic and in customers. The first has to do with the art of search engine optimization, aka SEO, which means a higher ranking on Google”.

I might add: especially if you post your blog headlines regularly on Google+. And your blog gives your readers a reason to come back to your website on a regular basis. They will naturally see you as someone who provides value to their lives, which builds trust between you and your readers.

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Write guest blogs
To get the most of your guest blogging, look for a blog with an audience that’s similar to yours, but preferably with a huge readership. This way you can greatly increase the number of your visitors. A smart move is also to look for book reviewer blogs, as they are mainly read by book lovers. At the same time you make friends with the reviewer and chances are very high to get your own book reviewed. Check out a former post about guest blogging etiquette.
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It’s called content marketing …
Writing articles should become your standard operation procedure, no matter if blogs, articles for print or online – free or for a fee. Write and sell articles to newspapers, magazines and online. Reselling your work makes good business and time management sense, it cements your brand and gets your name and your books titles to a large audience. And even if you give away your articles (in exchange for email addresses of your readers) you gain something very important: Contact to your readers (and maybe reviewers) and future customers.

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 820 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Use the Dog Days of Summer to Meet Readers

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Nova-Scotia-South-Shore

Nova Scotia South Shore Beaches

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July and August are not the best months for book sales – at least not compared to November and December. Quite a few authors are feeling the summer slump. Author Marla Madison wrote a great blog post about it and gave seven useful tips, how you can overcome the Dog Days of summer.
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Starting with “Take a break without guilt.” to “Try something new to market your writing.” and five more ideas, how you can improve your writing and develop plans for fall. Read the whole article and all the comments here.
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Today I received an email from a client who worried about dwindling book sales and lower rankings on Amazon. My suggestion: “Don’t stress yourself with rankings and sales – what is needed first, is a wide and strong basis in terms of establishing quality connections with readers and – very important – potential reviewers. It is much easier to receive reviews from someone you “know”, such as “real” people – or through solid Social Media connections.
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Social Networks
Authors need more followers, especially READERS (not fellow writers) on all Social Media sites. I am talking about at least 2,000 on each of these sites! Those who do not follow, even when you re-tweet them, un-follow after one month. Un-following 25 people per days is free. See Just Unfollow.
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On Goodreads for example, it’s even more easy: you can load Facebook, Twitter and Google+ followers over to Goodreads with one click. No matter which campaign you create – Book Giveaways on Goodreads or free KDP days on Amazon – it is crucial to have lots of followers first, who know you and will help you to let your message go viral.
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I just read recently an article by a publicist “Are you ready for publicity?” who does not accept any customer who has not at least 5,000 followers on all Social Media sites.

Do you use Hootsuite.com?  Or any other site to automate part of scheduling tweets, thank you notes, welcome new followers etc.? This frees up time to interact personally with more of your followers.
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Reader Communities / Groups
There are quite a few communities / groups on Google+ and on Goodreads, where you can make connections and later! offer reviews of THEIR books – you might get the favor later reciprocated.

Let’s assume you are the author of children books, you could join these GOOGLE+ Communities:

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How to find Goodreads Groups:

Click on the link Groups, on top of the site.
Type into the search function: children or young readers for example, and there are hundreds of pages!!! with groups to join, such as these:

Write and then copy/paste a friendly introduction and even include a link to your website or blog. You don’t need to spend so much time on these groups, just a nice introduction and from time to time peaking in, or exchange some thoughts and see what people are talking about.
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To invite more friends on Goodreads:
click on Explore (top right), you will see “People”, click on it, then you will see:

“Meet People”
top users
top readers
top reviewers
most popular reviewers
best reviews
online now
most followed

Invite from these sections people to follow or friend.
You can send out 25 invitations a day according to Goodreads, which means per month 750 invitations! And each one is just a click! If only half of them follow, this means more than 300 new reader friends per month. However, usually 95% become followers/friends on Goodreads, when you invite them.
Once you have more than 1000 followers/friends you can relax and just sit back, as people come to YOU! I get about 20-30 friend-offers from Goodreads every week, sometimes lots more and don’t have to look for new followers anymore. You can just choose and pick : )

Being busy during the slow summer months, working on your author platform gives you an advantage for your higher book sales in fall and winter. That’s happening for sure, when days are getting shorter and people are more at home, reading. and the holidays are rolling in.
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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 815 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Leverage Your Manuscript Into an Audio Book

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Listen to Audio Books

Listen-to-Audio-Books

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“8,390 audio books are on sale at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes”.  Compare this number with more than 1,5 million print / e-books that are offered alone on Amazon.  I stumbled over this sentence, when I read through the monthly Amazon KDP newsletter.  Olga Khazan wrote on Forbes.com “Now, 37 percent of people say they have listened to an audio book, and the medium continues to become an important substitute for old-fashioned reading.”  And Denise Trespling lists 9 Benefits of Audio-Books in her blog.

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In a former blog post: “Turn Your Book Into a Cash Cow” I wrote already about the many benefits of audio books which let you multitask, and are a great way to listen to books while driving long distance, walking the dog, or laying on the beach. And certainly a wonderful way for blind people to easily enjoy books. Audio-books can be listened to on an iPod or iPhone / SmartPhone or MP3 player, even on most e-readers such as Kindle and Nook.

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University of Memphis professor Arthur Graesser, who studies learning and cognition points out: “We are more likely to stick with a book that we’re listening to, than one we’re reading, which would also improve our chances of retaining what’s in it.”
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Bestseller author goes audio book
Bob Mayer, a very successful author of more than 50 books, explains: “Initially, as I learned how to use ACX, (Amazons Audio Book Company) I moved slowly, with only one other title going live that month. Since then, though, as I saw sales accelerate, I began putting multiple titles into production. Just recently, my 27th title went live.” Read more about his audio book publishing on the ACX blog.
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Use your manuscript in several ways
Re-purpose your manuscript and make more out of it than just a book and an e-book. Why
not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-books
are becoming more and more popular!  Your readers can listen to your audio-books, which can easily double their book consumption because they are using time that previously was not available and turning it into valuable “reading” time.
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There are three ways of producing an audio-book:

  • You do it all yourself. If you are on a very tight budget you can make audios with some relatively inexpensive equipment.
  • You use a narrator who is specialized on audio books and who gets a percentage of royalty after production of your audio-book (for which they charge too).
  • You organize a professional production and keep all your royalties for yourself…
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At ACX is the whole process for authors in detail explained, including case studies, how much you will earn, contract samples and how to promote your audio-book. Check it out before you start your project!

More libraries were lending e-books and audio books last fall than the year before (76% vs. 67%).  As there is not much competition in audio books, you have a good chance to get into libraries.  Most audio books are priced from $8.00 and up, which also means more royalties for you as an author.


Further Reading about Audio Book Production, especially in Canada:

Joanna Penn describes her studio experiences, creating her audio book
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/07/15/how-to-create-an-audio-book/

Audio Books become an important substitute for old-fashioned reading
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/do-you-want-8390-or-15-million-competitors/

Professional Audio Studio Listing for Canada
http://revolutionaudio.ca/store/recordingstudioscanada.php
Sorted by Canadian Provinces:

Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Eastern Ontario
Western Ontario
Quebec
Manitoba
Saskatchewan
Alberta
British Columbia (BC)
Nova Scotia

Overview of the Canadian Audio Book Market
http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/005002/f2/005002-2100-e.pdf

Funding & Tax Credit Opportunities in Canada
http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1268230642921/s/q.s?l7c1l3=eng&S_S20RCH.l1ng91g3=eng&S_F8LLT2XT=audio+book&cn-search-submit=Search

Alternative Book Formats
http://snow.idrc.ocad.ca/node/188

Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology
http://www.oiart.org/

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 820 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
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5 Laws Writers Should Adhere

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Sour Lemons

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E-Book authors, bloggers or internet writers: do you know how to stay on the right side of the (copyright) law?  You don’t have to be legally trained or a lawyer to understand the laws that govern internet content and blogging. Here are the most important ones:
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1. Use of images from other websites and blogs
You do not have permission to use just any image you find on the internet.  But how can you legally use images?  You can simply buy royalty-free images and not have to worry about copyright. Or you can ask for permission to use it when you find an image you like on someone else’s website. A sign of good manners and a thank you to the creator is to have a link to his site and/or giving him credit.

Another great source to find free images is to visit the Creative Commons photos on sites such as Morguefile or Flickr. These photos do not have copyright restrictions and show Creative Common attributes, such as “share” or “non-commercial use.”  No matter which photos you use, it’s still polite and shows professionalism, to link to the original web page or give credit to/naming the photographer.
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2. Disclose paid endorsements
Bloggers and internet content writers must be open with the fact that they are being paid to use, promote, or review a product.  Do not claim to be an objective third-party when you are not.  Make it perfectly clear which information is editorial and which is advertising. This also means labeling links that drive to your Amazon affiliates, or building a page that explains all of your affiliates and relationships. Hello BookBub and others in this field!
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3. Deep linking and framing
It may surprise bloggers and internet content writers whether deep linking is even legal.  Deep linking is where you write a blog post and then link to another website in that post. However, you don’t link directly to the homepage: you link to a page buried on the site.  From the perspective of a blogger, it makes more sense to link directly to the page that you are referring to than it does to link to the home page, and then hope the reader can find the information you are referring to.
On the other hand, deep linking and framing are such accepted SEO practices that there is no reason you should worry that someone might sue you if you deep link to their site. In fact, most people encourage the practice since it brings exposure to their site.
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4. User-developed content
Comments, reviews or guest posts on your blog, you do not own the content: – the original author owns it. The best way to deal with this issue is to create very clear terms on how you will manage user-developed content. State in your site’s terms of use: you will take the liberty to do with the comments as you please, or that you will remove them if someone requests it.  You also can require a minimum amount of information so you can avoid anonymous comments or that you will delete comments if and when you close your blog. If these terms are stated clearly and openly, you shouldn’t have much of a problem when it comes to the law and user-developed content.
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5. Protect visitor’s private information
Privacy on the internet is a huge issue and people are worried that their identities will be stolen, bank accounts will be drained or that the government will watch their internet path if they don’t protect their privacy. What is your responsibility when it comes to your user’s information? Of course if you run an e-commerce site, you need to protect their information with secure pages. But what if you are simply collecting an email address?  Have a clear privacy policy on your website. It could be as simple as “We promise never to rent, sell or share your email address.” Or it could be more elaborate, with an entire page dedicated to it, depending on how much information you collect.

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However what should you do when someone steals YOUR internet content?
If you are creating compelling content, someone might take it and uses it on their site. Sometimes they do it without knowing that they are breaking the law. They may even give you credit and link to your website. If you want to protect your work, send them an email and let them know that what they are doing is copyright infringement. If you are dealing with a reasonable person, they will probably apologize and take your content down.  If you’re dealing with somebody who does not comply, you might consider pursuing legal action which might be difficult and expensive – if you did not register the copyright for your content.
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Register and you will receive compensation for legal costs etc.
How can you protect yourself from plagiarism?  Invest $35 in your book and obtain a registered copyright. You will then be able to command a higher claim from a thief of your content/images: you can collect “Statutory Damages”  plus all your Attorney fees.
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You can usually discourage people from taking your content by putting a copyright symbol on the footer of your website so it appears on every page, also your work is protected by copyright law the moment you publish it. Even if you don’t have a copyright symbol, you are still protected.
On the other hand: some authors consider the value of spreading their work through copying to be worth more than protecting and defending their rights.
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Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons

http://www.jeremynicholl.com/blog/2011/06/13/the-10-rules-of-us-copyright-infringement/

http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus71-ftcs-revised-endorsement-guideswhat-people-are-asking

http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter6/6-c.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_aspects_of_hyperlinking_and_framing

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/copyright/copyrightarticle/hypertextlinking

http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/ch9.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_privacy

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/what-every-writer-needs-to-know-about-copyright/

http://baneromics.blogspot.ca/2010/06/user-created-content-wins.html

http://ucc-usa.org/what-is-user-created-content/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/re-blogging-vs-copyright-infringement/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/outsmart-thieves-of-your-content-part-1/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/outsmart-thieves-of-your-content-part-2/

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 815 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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J.H. Walker, Author of REWRITE REDEMPTION

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Interview with the Author of Rewrite Redemption J.H. Walker

Author-J.H.Walker

J.H. Walker grew up in Central America. She now lives in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies with her photographer husband and many, many books.

In addition to her never-ending study of human behavior, she’s a political junkie and a certified tree hugger.

Rewrite Redemptionher debut novel received raving reviews. She is presently working on her second book.

“Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk about your book and your writing live!”

Thinking all the way back to the beginning, what is the most important thing you have learned as a writer from then to now?
Writing is a new venture for me. I have spend my days in my study, now, instead of my art studio. I have never studied writing but I have studied creativity. And that understanding can be brought into play in any creative endeavor.

Walt Disney was a creative genius. When it came to creativity, he had a strategy that served him well. It’s too complex to go into detail here. But basically, he brought three “versions” of himself to the creative process: the Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic. They each performed different roles in the production of anything he created, and they each came into play at the proper moment.

The key point is that when you’re writing, you’re the Dreamer. You need to be absolutely free to create without limit or judgment. You need to be able to wander without restraint. If you can learn to separate your Dreamer from the Realist and the Critic, you’ve taken a huge step towards expanding your creativity.
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How did you get the idea for the novel?
I have always wished I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, give her the benefit of the wisdom that begins to come with age. That desire led me to a fascination with time travel and eventually a book about it.

Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
Morals are subjective. I spent my childhood drowning in morals—I’m not about to foist mine on anyone. I’m more into practicalities…strategies for understanding and handling life. I have woven a few of those into the story. I suppose you could call them messages. There are just certain truths, that if learned young, give you a better chance of having a smoother path through life.

First and foremost, life isn’t fair—the sooner one comes to terms with that fact the better. Life isn’t fair. It just IS. The truth is that bad things happen to good people all the time…sometimes really horrible things. And when you accept that this is just part of life, it makes it easier to move through the bad times and on to something better.

We receive subtle messages from institutions like religion and icons like Santa Claus, that if we’re just good than good will follow. We will be blessed. But the facts don’t bear that out. Good, honest, and even deeply religious people have their share of unfortunate circumstances. And some of the most crooked despots on the planet are billionaires. But because of these subtle and usually subconscious messages, there’s a tendency to react in less than useful ways when bad luck befalls us. People can get stuck in what I call a “wallowing-why-me mode,” instead of making a plan to deal with the situation. I think this is particularly true of young adults and teenagers, as they haven’t spent enough years on the planet to realize, “this too will pass.” What seems like a tragedy at the moment might be laughed at later or even completely forgotten. Seriously.

In this book, I wanted to include a simple strategy for dealing with what life dishes out. First, realize that life isn’t fair; it’s a mix of both good and bad. It is what it is. Besides, sometimes something that seems unbearable at the moment can turn out to have a silver lining. So when something happens that you perceive as bad, instead of freaking out, assess the situation and make a plan to deal with it or move through it. If you do this, you’re going to have a lot less heartache. And realize that even the most heartbreaking things hurt less over time.

Of course, my characters have paranormal abilities to help them out and real young adults don’t. See? Unfair to us lowly humans… But the message is the same. When something difficult happens, you still have to face it, even if it’s just to put it behind you. And when good things happen, enjoy them. Celebrate.
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Are your characters based on real people?
Not specifically. I’m sure they’re compilations of people I have known in my life, combined with my knowledge of human behavior. The one exception is Ipod. Aspects have been changed to protect his identity, but I knew him very well. His father’s abuse drove him to suppress his emotions, but he found solace in the world of knowledge and fact. Facts were things he could trust…emotions, not so much. He’s grown now and absolutely brilliant. He was sweet and vulnerable in his younger days, and it was him I was seeing as I wrote Ipod.

A boy like Ipod was the only straight, teenage boy I could possibly have had, living in such close proximity to two teenage girls without problems. Not that I don’t think he didn’t have any illicit thoughts alone in the shower. But he was able to compartmentalize his thoughts. Ipod so desperately needed that living situation; he never would have done anything to jeopardize it. Nor would he have taken the chance on losing his friendships with Lex or A.J. over what he would see as a trivial, romantic inclination. He’s far too logical for that. I figured I’d get a little flack about the living situation, but these three kids have known each other since they were really young. In their minds, they’re a family.
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Rewrite-Redemption

Rewrite Redemption

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Who is your favorite character and why?
I relate most to A.J. I understand her desire to be invisible. I wanted to be invisible myself, beginning in middle school and lasting until my junior year. But I enjoy writing Lex. She’s bold, and she’s smart, and as A.J. says, “Pretty much fearless.” Her parents provide financial support, but that’s about all they give her. Her father lives on the east coast. Her mother is a narcissist, thinking only of herself. In spite of this, Lex has found a survival strategy that has allowed her to remain relatively psychologically healthy.

Her mother, an attorney, requires her to see a therapist once a week. (Lex says her mom is just establishing a paper trail in case anyone ever accuses her of neglect.)  Early on, Lex realized that understanding people gave her a certain amount of power…and Lex likes power. So she utilized her “Shrinks” in a somewhat unique way. Since she had to be there an hour a week, she used that time to learn as much as she could about herself, her parents, her friends, and just people in general. It’s given her a unique perspective and a level of maturity uncommon at her age. She’s a loyal and true friend, but you don’t want to cross her. I would have liked to have been like her when I was her age. So I suppose I get a little vicarious satisfaction writing for her character.
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Are your plots based on your real-life experiences?
A few reviewers have questioned the lack of parental involvement in my characters’ lives, implying that their living situations would never happen without social services finding out. That’s where some real-life experience kicks in.

I don’t use specifics from kids I’ve worked with. But I know from real-life experience with kids, that in some homes, the parents are absent, neglectful, and even abusive. Neglect and abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions, and at all levels of education. And some of the time, no one knows about it. So I respectfully beg to differ.

Kids can be really adept at hiding their situations…especially teens. They don’t want to stand out or be different. Often, they’re embarrassed or ashamed. Some are terrified of foster homes. There are a lot of wonderful foster parents, people who open up their homes to kids in need. But others do it for the money and reasons I won’t get into. And sometimes, those homes can be pretty scary. As for social services, Congress is constantly cutting their funding. Social services is overwhelmed and underpaid. Kids fall through the cracks.

It’s not as if my characters don’t have a place to live. Three of my kids band together and make a family. They have each other’s backs and cover for each other. I’ve seen this time and time again in real life. It doesn’t make up for the lack of parental involvement. But it does good things for the kids who have that option. At least, then, they have someone. Family isn’t always blood. Sometimes, family is who is there for you when you need them.
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Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
I incredibly grateful to the wonderful people who have reviewed my book. I have had so many kick-ass reviews; I don’t think I could narrow it down to one favorite. But I’ll give you one that makes me smile each time I see it. It’s from a sixteen-year-old girl who shelved my book in her favorites. It’s only three words:

Abbey  rated it 5 of 5 stars

Shelves: january-2013favourites

IT. WAS. AWESOME.
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If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?
If Oprah invited me on her show, we’d probably all be focused on the pigs flying around the room, ha. We’d know we’d just been transported to “Never gonna happen land.” Young-adult novels, with strange things going on, are not exactly her cup of tea. That being said, the title of my book is Rewrite Redemption. Oprah is big on redemption, so I suppose she’d make that the theme.
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What would/could a reader or reviewer say about this book that shows they “get” you as an author?
If I have succeeded in getting readers to care for my characters, I know they “get” me as an author. I have a pretty good understanding of human behavior, and I work hard to make my characters real. And if the readers say I have elicited their emotions, then, yeah, I know they “get” me as an author. When I read a book, I want to be taken on an emotional ride. I love it when I can do that for someone else.
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If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?
I would have given my hero, Constantine,  a shorter name, probably just one syllable. The long name got cumbersome when it had to be used over and over in close proximity. I probably could have come up with a more romantic/clever name for my heroine than A.J. Jones, but somehow it works for me. The irony is that I never consciously did any real choosing when it came to names. These were just the names the characters had when they appeared to me. Ipod was Ipod, right from the start. Weird nickname, I know, but I couldn’t see him as anyone else.
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What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?
I’d like to do a dystopian novel. I love them.
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What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m an artist and I’m very happy spending time in my studio. I’m also a political junkie and I keep up with what’s going on in Washington. Things are very precarious in politics right now. We have a faction in Congress that doesn’t believe in science and that’s really scary. When the very people, deciding the course of this country, make decisions that don’t consider fact and science, bad things result. If we don’t do something about climate change soon, this planet is going to end up being one of those dystopian novels everyone loves so much. Reading a dystopian novel is one thing. Living in one…not so much.
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How did you get published? Please share your own personal journey.
I wrote the first draft in 2008. It was at a very busy time in my life and I set it aside. Then in 2010, I picked it back up again, and sent out a few query letters. I even had a couple people read the manuscript and say they’d look at it again if I made a few changes. (I didn’t realize at the time how rare that was.) So I played with it for a while, but was still really engaged in other things. I never sent it back to the editors who had shown interest. Then things began to change in the publishing world and suddenly, there was the option of self-publishing. I liked the sound of that. You own and control your own franchise. There are no deadlines. So I whipped the book into shape. I hired an editor as a second set of eyes. This year, I published it on Amazon.
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What general advice do you have for other writers?
As a writer, I don’t have enough experience to be giving advice to anyone. But here’s something I discovered in the course of my journey. When you think you’re done, you’re probably not done. It’s amazing how much better you can make a book by going over it and over it. I’m horrible at catching mistakes, ha. But I love editing and polishing to make the story better. I suppose it’s the artist in me, but I find a lot of joy in making a passage flow. I think it’s the part I like best about writing.
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What’s one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you?
There was a time in my life when I was connected to the music world. I lived near Chicago. My then, boyfriend, had a lighting company and did lights for bands, including some big names. I had back-stage passes to all kinds of venues. I met a lot of interesting people and had some wild times. But I have to say, it’s a life that burns you out if you let it. I realized that and moved on for that very reason. I have some fond memories. But I’m way happier living a quieter life.
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Where can people learn more about your writing?

Get my book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B6GT4H2

Check out my trailer on my website.  http://www.jhwalkerbooks.com

Read reviews on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17289823-rewrite-redemption

I’d love it if you’d like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jhwalkerbooks

And my Twitter handle is: @jhwalkerbooks

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