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Posts Tagged ‘Darren Rowse’

Welcome to Toolbox Saturday where you’ll find tools for various things from writing to whatever.

I’ve blogged about using a training budget before, but sometimes you may find your budget is hovering around $0. What do you do then? Spend time trolling through other author’s blogs, especially those who offer eBooks (and other types of media) covering topics you’re interested in, and prowling over social media networks. There are three things to be gained from this.

Read the rest of 3 Ways to Get Free (Or Almost Free) Training.

This blog, The Road to Writing, will be discontinued Dec. 31, 2011. If you would like to continue receiving great tips and inspirational posts please remember to subscribe to my new blog by RSS or email for LOL Mondays, Spirit Wednesdays and Toolbox Saturdays.

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One thing I never really considered until recently was who I expected to read what I’ve written.  It didn’t cross my mind even when I was doing the Problogger Challenge last year.  I always wrote stories and articles I thought I would like to read.  That’s not a horrible way to write, but it makes marketing a bit more difficult.  After all, you wrote it so of course you’d like it.  The problem with that is that you are one person.  Not everyone is like you.  This is why it’s important to create reader profiles.

I found the simplest way to do this in the article “Make Writing Fun: Methods Monitoring Student Writing,” which is written for high school teachers, but I think it’s a great way for anyone to start profiling potential readers.  Think of someone you enjoy telling stories to.  Write down specifics about this person from reasons you enjoy telling your stories to them to reasons they enjoy listening to or reading them.  This gives you a very personal idea of who your potential audience is.

From there you can begin to imagine others who might enjoy your works.  I highly recommend Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone to help develop a rounded out profile of your general readership.  If you’d like to get just a little more creative by doing several individualized profiles you could try Darren Rowse’s style of telling a little story about each imagined reader and including a picture.

Some basic information to consider including in your reader profiles, however you choose to put them together, include:

  • Demographics
  • Financial situation
  • Needs and challenges
  • How they use the web
  • Motivations for reading your work
  • Experience with topic (especially needed for non-fiction)
  • Hopes and dreams

Knowing who you’re writing for can help refine your manuscript as well as make marketing to them simpler on The Road to Writing.


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It goes without saying, though obviously I’m going to, that I enjoy blogging. It’s a form of writing and writing is what I do. But I recently had to re-evaluate whether blogging was worth my time after reading The Blog Tyrant‘s postWhy Blogging is a Waste of Your Time.

It all comes down to “why are you blogging?” At first I thought it would be a good way to make a little extra money, but I quickly found that a free blog doesn’t generate income (at least not easily). And I wasn’t willing to commit money to this endeavor as so many others have. I admire people like Darren Rowse of Problogger who have spent money on their blogs and have shown that you can make a go of being a professional blogger. I just don’t think that being a problogger is what I want to do at this time, though I do plan on using his 31 Days to Build a Better Blog eBook often.

I then decided it would be a better way to reach an audience and maybe help a fellow Independent Authors. The problem with this was that nearly all the advice out there says you must blog everyday. I believe having a blog is a great way to build an author platform, but I was finding myself working more on my blog and less on what I really wanted to do — write books. I rebelled and stuck with weekly postings. Still, I felt like this blog thing wasn’t working like I wanted.

Enter Blog Tyrant. I wasn’t convinced that blogging was wasting my time until I read these words:

Your goal is to make money online to give yourself a better life. Blogging might not be the best way to do that. It might be a distraction that you use because it is easy, available and popular. But perhaps you would be better off doing something else? [emphasis mine]

Perhaps my time would be better served by not blogging. How right he is. I am an Independent Author, not a ProBlogger. It’s time I began acting like that as I travel down The Road to Writing.

P.S. I’ll still be blogging. I just won’t be obsessing about it quite so much. :) What about you?

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I’ve blogged about using a training budget before, but sometimes you may find your budget is hovering around $0. What do you do then? Spend time trolling through other author’s blogs, especially those who offer eBooks (and other types of media) covering topics you’re interested in, and prowling over social media networks. There are three things to be gained from this.

  1. Free information from the blog itself — Most blogs are free to read and easy to subscribe to by RSS or email. If you’re a savvy reader, you can pick up how-to info from author blogs whether the author is trying to teach their readers or not. Sometimes it’s obvious. Other times it’s a matter of noticing what the blogger is not saying. Same goes for other social media like Twitter and Facebook. Find authors you want to learn from and follow them. Read enough blogs, tweets, status updates, etc. and you’ll learn an astounding amount about whatever it is you’re interested in.

  2. Discounts are there to be had — I’m one of those people who rarely buys anything as soon as I see it. I hate buyer’s remorse. That means I’ll wait around until the book or service I want goes on sale. For instance, I really wanted to by Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as soon as I saw it on his site. However, there were no excerpts to read to know exactly what was in the book and I wasn’t sure my budget would handle yet another bad buy. (FYI this eBook is one of the better training buys I’ve purchased in several months.)

    I waited to buy the eBook until I read a tweet that said a group called the SITS Girls were signing up women bloggers to take the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge and Darren was discounting the price of the eBook for all those who signed up. Jackpot! Not only could I get the eBook at a discounted price, but I would have a large group of women to work with. Waiting can be hard, but it’s worth it when you get what you want at a price you can afford.


  3. Sometimes a freebie is just a click away — Another author I truly admire is J.A. Konrath. He has found a way to make very good money on his eBooks through Amazon’s Kindle store, so, naturally, I follow his blog closely. He also has an eBook called The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, which, like 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I really wanted. The price wasn’t bad, but, again, no excerpts. Then I discovered that Joe has made the eBook available for free on his website. (Thanks, Joe!)

    Voila! A little research and I had my eBook for free in a version I can read on any laptop, computer or eReader. That won’t be the case for every book or training series you might want, but it’s worth a little “foot work” to see if it’s out there (and not a pirated version!).

Finding what you need can take some time, but it’s worth it for good training on The Road to Writing.

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As I work my way through Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I decided to take on his earlier challenge to write a post with seven links. Since this post was originally going to be about critiquing or editing, I went with seven links on that subject. Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Critters Makes for Better WritingDon’t let the title fool you. It’s not about household pets. This post about finding someone to give you honest feedback on your fiction.

  2. Sandwich Critiquing this is perhaps my favorite post, giving you a helpful technique to use when you are asked to critique someone else’s not-so-perfect manuscript.

  3. Editing With or Without a Budgetmore helpful tips on how to use money to learn how to edit

  4. Blogosphere Trends + Handling High Word Counts this is a great guest post on Problogger by Kimberly Turner on how to trim the fat in your writing.

  5. When Editing & Critiquing, Check Your Personal Opinions At The Door the title says it all. A great post by April Hamilton of Indie Author.

  6. POD People Scares Me I love this title, but that’s not the only reason I chose it. Find out why editing is possibly the most important thing you can do before sending your manuscript to the publisher or POD (print-on-demand) company.

  7. The Art of Critiquing receiving criticism is difficult, especially when the person giving it doesn’t give you helpful details you can actually use to improve your work. This post will get you thinking of specifics to address when giving criticism to someone else.

Editing your work, giving and receiving criticism, it’s all part of the process. Knowing how to do it makes it all the easier to move on down The Road to Writing.

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Day 1 — Write what your blog is about “in a nutshell.” I chose to do the tagline version and the elevator pitch, which is supposed to be able to be said in the amount of time it takes an elevator to reach its destination (about 100-150 words). So here they are:

Tagline — one HSP writer’s journey to work-at-home status without sacrificing her sanity

The Pitch — In July 2008 I eagerly stepped into the world of self-publishing only to discover I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. Since then I’ve done a lot of research, a lot of trial and error, in an effort to learn how to earn a living as an Independent Author while still having time for the most important people in my life: my daughter, my husband, and me. In The Road to Writing I share what I’ve learned, what new ideas and strategies I’m using (and if they work!), while encouraging other highly sensitive people wanting to transition to full-time work-at-home status to strike a balance between pursuing their dream and taking time to enjoy life.

Do these reflect what you’ve read here? Let me know what you think.

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As I was researching information for this post, (which is supposed to be on Financial Tips for Indie Authors) I found myself lacking inspiration. There are soooo many financial web sites out there that are targeted to just about anyone, though a quick Google search for “Financial Tips for Independent Authors” gains nothing of real value. So, as is my habit, I continued searching in different directions, hoping to find something to bring to you.

I considered venturing into my initial reason for starting TRTW (to make money online blogging) when, viola! Two and a half hours into the search I came across Master Dayton‘s article For the Casual Freelancer: If you don’t like to be told what to write…“.

Suddenly a few things clicked and I found myself signing up to be an author on Constant Content. They pay the author for each article purchased when their account reaches $5. Payment, according to their FAQ, is made at the beginning of each month. If you make more than $500 you can choose either to receive a wire transfer to your bank account or into your PayPal account (anything under $500 automatically goes into your PayPal account). Each article must adhere to their submission guidelines and if you have three articles rejected, then you can no longer upload documents to their site.

While I could be dreaming about huge payments being directly wired to my bank account, I’m not. To be sure, making money online, whether by blogging or freelancing for sites such as Constant Content, isn’t a cakewalk. In fact, although I’m looking forward to trying my hand at this new stream of income, I’ve come to believe what Darren Rowse of Problogger says in his article “9 Unsexy Truths about Making Money Online,” there are no guarantees of success. All each of us can do is try, going it one step at a time, on The Road to Writing.

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