Authors : Website, blog or both?

3d human with a red question markI have a dilemma. My website run by GoDaddy (www.annmariewyncoll.com) is due to expire and I thus have the option to renew it for another year – at a fee.

I initially set up this website as a way to generate freelance custom, however, apart from setting it up I have done very little else and so it has just kind of ‘sat there’ for a year. This being the case, I had decided not to renew it but I figured I ought to see what had been happening to it before I deleted it. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered that my website actually generates more traffic than my blog which I do spend time on and, even though its presence has not led to any business, it does mean that via my website, I am visible. This, from a marketing perspective, is huge.

With my new book due out early next year, it is important for me to be as pro-active and visible as I can be so I decided to add my blog link to my website in an effort to combine the two and kind of cross refer them. When my book is published I could use the website as a sales platform – should I decide to renew it.

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Having just finished a digital marketing diploma via Shaw Academy (who I cannot recommend highly enough) I know that I need to be able to interact on a number of digital platforms but as we all know when we are doing this ourselves time is at a premium – so I thought I would ask all of you authors out there: what do you do?

Do you have a blog and website and if so, how do you manage them both?

Or do you just have one or the other? Have you found one to be more beneficial than the other?

Any thoughts and advice here would be much appreciated. Thank you!

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My 5k journey : is complete!!

This time a week ago (Saturday), I completed my 5k run in the beautiful seafront setting of Southsea, Portsmouth, UK. The sun was shining and the scenery couldn’t have been more perfect.

I achieved my goal – which was to run the entire distance – and I finished in a reasonably respectable time of 39mins 52 secs. I would have liked to have been closer to 35mins but considering the hit and miss nature of my training over the last month, I was thrilled just to have finished.

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Having a laugh pre-race

Having completed the race I thought that would be me done, but oddly, it’s not. I like the feeling of being fitter – even if I have not lost any weight as yet – and so I have decided to continue running with an aim of getting a faster 5k time in the future. I am also going to try to increase my distance and am looking at getting a 10k plan which I would like to try to run in Spring next year.

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The all important ‘finishers’ medal

I wouldn’t say that I have enjoyed this journey – the training has been challenging and the race was much harder than I thought it would be – but I do feel proud of myself for sticking with it and knowing that I can achieve something like this has pushed me onwards. I am never going to be the most natural or fastest runner in the world, but if I can keep going and benefit from the fitness then I reckon that can only be good not just physically but, perhaps more importantly, mentally.

Thanks for following the journey with me!

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A spooky premonition – and it’s not even Halloween…

night_owlMy husband works early shifts which means that he leaves the house when I am still in bed. Most mornings I wake up and mumble something that sounds a bit like ‘bye’ at him and then fall back to sleep again.

A few days ago the same thing happened as it does every morning and I woke up to mumble at him then watch his departing form. As he left the room on that particular day though, I had a sudden urge to tell him to remember to take his phones with him (he has two for work, don’t ask why) yet I was not awake enough to form the words. Knowing that he always takes his phones anyway I said nothing and went back to sleep.

Some time later it became apparent that he had indeed forgotten to take both of his phones and they were chirping away in the kitchen. As I went downstairs to retrieve them I was reminded of my premonition earlier and it kind of spooked me out. Never before or since that day have I had the urge to tell him something when he leaves for work, so why that day?

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This is not the first time that something like this has happened to me. A friend once told me that these happenings are God reminding you that he is with you, but I am not a firm believer in faith so I just don’t know. Maybe it’s a coincidence, one of those things that you just can’t explain, but maybe not. Maybe premonitions do really happen.

What do you think? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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How do you manage your self-publishing budget?

thIt is not a cheap business to self-publish a book and there are certain things – in my opinion – which are essential to invest money in before you even consider putting your book out there; a professional edit and a quality cover design are just two of them.

As with everything you can shop around for editing prices and cover designers but at the end of the day, if you don’t invest money into these two crucial elements, then I believe you are only cheating yourself.

When I decided to self-publish I allocated myself a budget and out of that I have paid for both an edit and a cover design and have purchased a block of ISBN numbers for this and future books. In addition my budget will cover the cost of title set up with Ingram Spark (print on demand and catalogue provider to bookshops worldwide) but that is about it. After that, the budget is pretty much done.

In order to tackle marketing I am currently enrolled on a Digital Marketing course with Shaw Academy and plan to take the Social Media Marketing course with them too. I was extremely fortunate to get both of these courses at a vastly reduced cost and there is no doubt that they are hugely beneficial, however, beyond that there is not much in the coffers for marketing itself.

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As I pondered this today it occurred to me that in order to get money to market my book I need to sell it, yet I need to market it to sell it – so it’s a catch 22 situation. There are, of course, several free ways to market my book, but I know that I need to put a solid marketing strategy in place to have any chance of success. This may or may not involve additional cost.

Yesterday I was offered a way to obtain all the marketing support and advice I could ever want – yet it is sadly cost prohibitive and so I wondered what all of you self-publishing authors out there are doing? How do you manage your budget? Do you pay for marketing or do you stick to free marketing options?

Any and all thoughts and advice, gratefully received.

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Here’s a lesson for you all

This is a really important lesson for us all. I learned the hard way too!

Brian Anthony

Having finished the draft of the first part of the novel last week, I’ve started from the beginning again, doing a readability and sense check. On Sunday night, having completed chapter 4, I saved my work and closed up my laptop, pretty much as normal.

Yesterday morning when I opened my lap top, instead of resuming Windows as it normally does, it informed me the previous run hadn’t been shut down normally. I selected the normal start option. This happens occasionally.

I think you know what’s coming here.

Usually, Open Office flags up documents which were open, and goes into recovery mode, On this occasion it didn’t. So I went into the folder and clicked on the document. It presented me with a panel headed ‘ASCII Filter Options’. Strange. I’d never seen this before. It contained a number of options which seemed to suggest it was importing from an ASCII file…

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