Planning

You Blog With What?

TypingScrivener is a widely used software among writers and people who write frequently. Since it is used for a wide variety of reasons the software is extremely versatile. It can be used for developing fiction and non-fiction books. Also it can be used for short stories, articles and other forms of shorter writing projects. You can download a trial copy here.

Additionally, the software can be used to manage writing projects so it’s up to the user to adjust their development habits to suit what they are writing. Scrivener easily allows writers to break their books into chapters and scenes using the Binder. But not only can these be divided easily they can also be moved around in the scheme so that it serves as a functional outline tool which allows an author to re-organize edit by simply moving containers around. This makes for great structural editing on a book.

Among the uses some people put Scrivener to is blogging. After all, a blog is really just an article written for a website. With the research folder in the Scrivener’s Binder writers can develop their ideas with references, artwork and a host of other files that can be added for use later or just reference. I, and many other, use this to “cast” characters with photos of real people to help visualize their fiction.

Scivener BinderBut as a blogging tool, Scrivener is much more powerful than just developing a blog. If you are planning a blog series, Scrivener is very handy for the reasons noted above. Folders can be created in the Binder that represent individual blog posts. It’s a great way to write a post which is what I’m doing now. I’m also using Scrivener in just the way I’m describing to develop two new blog series which I will start this week. I anticipate the work-flow to be very organized and organic so that my posts will flow into one another and read consistently throughout each series.

However, there’s more to this organization than just a simple way to develop a whole series of posts. I can also look ahead with this basic organization to develop the content further than the blog. If I see that the posts are useful and there is more information to cover I can easily add more posts than I’ve already planned – or reduce as needed. Additionally, I have a ready-made outline to further develop these into short e-books for publication. Since Scrivener also compiles content into e-book formats I can save the blog posts as Word, pdf or full e-book formats. Of course there is other pieces to fit with the content such as cover and proper formatting but with Scrivener I have my content ready to develop into something else beside blogs.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

If you haven’t tried Scrivener, why haven’t you? If you already use this powerful software what other tips to you have for its usage? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment section? I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

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Cover art image licensed from iStockPhoto.com

Clip art licensed via Microsoft Office

Inspection! What Scrivener’s Other Bar Does

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

On the left side there’s that lovely organizational wonder: the Binder. It provides all the flexibility to arrange your ideas and change the writing structure with ease. It’s one of the features that makes for the wonder that is Scrivener.

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But on the right side there’s nothing – unless you turn on the Inspector Bar. Just click View and glide down to reveal the Layout menu and there it is. Upon turning this tool-bar on you find a number of features that may at first beguile you as mundane functions. However, the Inspector was designed with a purpose: managing your content. You’ll notice that there are several buttons at the bottom of the Inspector as well as several arrows. Let’s take a look at the features available, some of which you may find useful based on your type of writing projects.

Formatting_Page Break Before

Scriv Inspector Notes1. Notes: this first button includes several features that can be collapsed or left open. Synopsis shows the notecard that also appears in the corkboard and it can be closed by clicking the arrow beside the feature title. Next, there’s Meta-Data which allows you to manage the status of the particular document in which you are working and it can also be closed. These two features stay available on the first three buttons. Last is the Documents Notes where you can add all kinds of pertinent information to your work as if they were sticky notes.

Sciv Inspect DocRefs2. Click on the next button over to reveal Document References. This is where you can add Scrivener and external links either of which you may frequently use for reference. This can be especially handy for non-fiction writing where lots of research at the click of your mouse can save you a lot of time.

Scriv Inspect Keywords3. Moving over again you will find Keywords. This is where you can add all kinds of frequently used terms from your project. It’s a helpful location for keeping character and location names organized for quick reference. Writing fantasy, this is a big help for me since you can forget some details and need references in an accessible location.

Scriv Inspect CMD4. The next button over is Custom Meta-Data which allows you to tweak meta-data settings for your project to suite your tastes. This is a great place for c0-authors to designate their tasks by color for differentiation.

5. The next to last button is for Snapshots. If you haven’t used this feature previously, it Scirv Inspect Snapshotstakes a snapshot of your current work which is useful when you want to make changes but might want to revert back to the original. Click the +/- buttons to add and remove snapshots. There’s also the Rollback button available to switch back to the previous version.

Scriv Inspect CF6. Last, there the Footnotes and Comments button which is where you can add these to your non-fiction. The comments feature is similar to the same one in Word and can be useful whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction.

These are all extremely helpful tools for fiction and/or non-fiction writing. They are easily found from the Inspector to allow users to quickly manage content. Some of these functions may bear further discussion in later posts. A number of these features may or may not seem useful at first glance, however you may want to give them a try to see if they help you develop your project more efficiently. If you are c0-authoring a book this is a great way to keep things straight between the two of you.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyHave you use the Inspector bar much or at all? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

 

Guest Post: The Advantages of Discoverability

Today’s guest blog started as a post last week entitled, Book Sales Ruminations & Why You Need A General. Recently featured author in “Fantasy Authors Unplugged”, Autumn Birt, responded with a few cogent points of her own to the post. I invited Autumn to write a guest post and she kindly churned one out on short order. Take it away, Autumn!

The Advantages of Discoverability

Businessman Speaking Through MegaphoneI realized writing, at least a career in writing, was going to be a long haul when I met a woman with numerous books, multiple publishers, over twenty years of publishing experience, 35,000 followers on twitter, and yet she was promoting her book just like every other Indie author out there (well, with a bit more panache). That is when I switched my marketing enthusiasm from short term to a more steady pace for the long term. And that is when I took a hard look at what worked.

I very much agree with P.H. Solomon’s four points on his post Writing Ruminations. Social media has completely changed how writers (or anyone) markets. You can engage readers one on one. Some authors even allow readers to help guide the plot of a story. And because of the power of the internet, anything a writer posts can be linked back to the author. After a security breach at home, my husband freaked to see the first four and a half pages of a Google search on my name were all on me. I was thrilled! But that means the content I post, be it a Facebook comment, blog post, or released book is listed under the ‘flagship’ of my name and who I am as an author.

On one hand, we as authors should strive for social engagement. On the other, we have to be careful what we say and how well we say it. You thought politicians were the only ones with media problems…?! Because the other issue is that marketing should be social engagement, not social media spamming. That means not saying and promoting the same thing over and over and over. It means paying attention to media feeds and answering questions, thanking people who help you out, and helping out other authors because we aren’t competing against each other. Readers read MANY books. I’ve gotten new readers because I was nice to a friend of a friend or handled a bad situation well. How is that for marketing flukes?

So writing the book really can be the easy part. Which is a good thing because another strategy to getting noticed and increasing book sales is writing more books.

It is an easy deduction to make based on statistics. If your book is one of one billion on Amazon, or one of a thousand being marketed on twitter this second, your rate of attracting attention is… yup, one in a billion or one in a thousand. Ouch.

If you have two books though, and maybe some friends tweeting, or fans – lets go with fans! – talking about the book, a search will bring up both of your books. You can link them together under blogs, author pages, and in book content. Two for one marketing! One solid book can sell another. Fans and mailing lists on new releases (high recommended as well!) work BEST when you have multiple things to release and read. So write more books.

I’ve heard the ‘magic’ number for steady sales is five novels. I’m at five, but I consider the three that make up the core of my epic fantasy series as my main books (of the other two, one is a real life travel compilation and the other is a companion to the fantasy books going more into the world and its history). So I consider myself at three books. A few more to go yet to steady sales based on this theory. But…

What I didn’t expect was how much having a complete series would enhance my book sales. I don’t remember hearing about that when I was researching marketing. When Born of Water was released, I was happy for a sale a month, if I managed that. With book 2, Rule of Fire, I found similar expectations though actually met them a bit more frequently. When Spirit of Life, book 3, was released, I quickly averaged a sale a week. When I managed to get Born of Water permafree on Amazon, those sale numbers quickly increased. Yes, increased by giving away a book – and I’m not counting the free downloads of book 1.

Thanks to a marketing boost from my more promotion savvy publisher, Born of Water hit #2 in epic fantasy on Amazon and the sales of the other two books picked up quickly. I usually see purchases of the second two books at the same time or with a lag of a day to a week between them (it helps when it is an odd country sale so I can really track what is most likely one reader). Now I average at least one sale a day over a week, frequently more. If I counted the free downloads of book 1, I’d get too giddy, so I simply choose to exclude that figure from my mental tally!

There is much debate out there about whether to write a series or a stand alone novel. I think it depends on the genre you write in and what is expected. BUT, I’d council anyone writing in fantasy to write a series and release the books in quick succession, maybe three to four months apart. The interest level and new marketing that this allows will help increase author visibility and hopefully attract readers.

Which is why my marketing plan before I signed with an Indie publisher included releasing short stories that are a prelude to my next trilogy for free in a very short time span, approximately two to three weeks apart. I planned to use Smashwords as a distributer plus Wattpad and Goodreads. Then combine the short stories for a 99 cent novel only available on Amazon and THEN release book 1 about a month later. It is a marketing strategy which relies on releasing quality writing that is captivating (I hope!) for free.

One final important reason to write more than one book besides making yourself so much more discoverable: how much your writing improves.

The author I mentioned at the beginning of the post often makes the comment she is glad she wrote her first book under a pen name because it was so bad. So think about how much you aren’t improving if you stop at one book. I hope that I never am embarrassed by Born of Water, but I will admit that if I started writing it today it would be a completely different novel, recognizable but different. I’ve learned so much since then.

Autumn BirtSo my plug for an author marketing plan: write a lot, write well, market new works while mentioning the existing, give away a lot of content (blogs, stories, and novels), and be nice to each other!

Thanks for sharing your insights, Autumn. Take a look at her books and other links since she’s been kind enough to volunteer her time and effort for this blog post:

Media Links

Facebook (me)  Facebook (writing page)  Website

Writing Blog  Travel Blog  Guild of dreams (another blog I write for)

Twitter  Google+  Wattpad  Goodreads

What other ideas do you have about the fluid world of book sales? What has worked for you in the past? What’s changed for you – good and bad? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.