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Ron’s Tip of the Day Word Processing Tools

Welcome to Ron’s Tip of the Day. Throughout the week I will share a tip with you. This is an experiment in microblogging. Let me know how I’m doing. Today I am looking at Word Processing Tools.

There are a number of word processors out there. I am speaking primarily of Microsoft Word, but this information should be helpful elsewhere as well.

The new versions of Word provide updated and more tools such as:

  • Grammar checker
  • Spelling
  • Clarity
  • Concise wording
  • Dictionary

These are not entirely new, but they are updated and powerful. However, always use them wisely. It is a terrible mistake to be grammatically correct but not relevant to context. Begin with context and evaluate these tools’ suggestions. You might want to reword the passage so both context and tool are in agreement.

Always remember the context of your story. Your tool is a tool, it doesn’t have the ability to know that your character is uneducated and speaks incorrectly. But you know! That’s just one example.

As for the dictionary, there is both the Word dictionary and your dictionary tied to the document you’re working on. Word’s dictionary is not always up-to=date, but you can add words to your dictionary. For example, I often use words from a King James Bible, Word often doesn’t recognize them. So I add them. Again, use the tools wisely and, if possible, conform them to what you want.

Tip of the Day : Tools are there to help, not to be your boss.

For information on TR Writing Services (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. Our Free booklet tells you about our services. And we are upfront on our prices (all are low).

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews for R. Frederick Riddle and Tess Riddle books. I value your reviews.

If you would like to review our books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or Epub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition, he is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Authors Resource Part 2

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Author’s Resources.
This is part 2 of the series. Next Thursday and possibly others will cover this topic in greater degree.
Last Week I Asked Why Use Resources?
There was a time when an author only had his own imagination, his experience, and, if so blessed, a dictionary as resources. But the world has changed since those olden days. Back then few resources were available, but today there is a whole world of information available at the touch of a key. A computer key, that is.
Generally speaking, there are writing resources, publishing resources, and marketing resources. We will take a look at each, thus requiring several days of study. So let’s get busy.
Basic Resources that you need:
Dictionary
“I don’t need a dictionary!”
Think again. A good dictionary is vital to every writer. Your word processing program’s built in dictionary is good, but not perfect. You need a real dictionary; preferably one that contains thousands of words. In fact, a dictionary with a thesaurus would be a major plus.
Why? Because you want to avoid, if possible, the repetitious use of a word.  Somewhere during your editing you will discover a word keeps reappearing. A thesaurus would help you find another word, maybe a better word, to convey the same meaning. This helps keep your story fresh.
Dictionary, Bible
If you are writing a story that is based on the Bible you need a good Bible dictionary. Even better, a pictorial Bible dictionary.
When I use a pictorial Bible dictionary it not only tells me about a certain item, say a tool, but provides an image as well. This is an aid in visualizing the tool and its uses.
Grammar
Again, don’t depend on your word processor. They are not always accurate. You need a good resource such as a grammar book or a reliable online resource (in which case you bookmark it).
I often use the Internet to look up word usage and proper grammar. It helps reduce the confusion and makes the whole writing experience easier.
Newsletter
There are newsletter available on the Internet that deal with writing. Chances are there’s one that fits your needs. Check it out.
Thesaurus
You don’t want to be guilty of using the same word over and over. You need a resource for synonyms and antonyms. You need a Thesaurus. I commented above on the value of a dictionary with a thesaurus. If you can’t get both the dictionary and thesaurus in a single book, then invest the money in a thesaurus.
Actually, while I favor a two in one approach a standalone thesaurus may be bigger, with more words and uses.
Computer
These days a computer is virtually a must! That’s true even if you only use it as a word processor. Here are some uses of the computer:

  • Research
    • Basic research may include looking up words, facts regarding people and events, and places. Deeper research can take you as deep as you want.
  • Social Media
    • A Social presence can be gained through a variety of Social Media outlets.
    • Some popular ones are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodreads
    • New ones seem to be appearing on an increasing basis. Check them out.
  • Purchasing
    • Self-Help books. You can find books on almost any subject. They can be immensely helpful for a writer.
    • Subject books. By that I mean books written about subjects you are interested in. Perhaps your story is taking place in Australia. You can find books about Australia.
    • Tools. New tools are constantly being invented. Some may not be worth your time let alone your dime, but you might just discover a gold mine.

     

Next week we’ll look at websites.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four), or Death Ship to the Stars (Book One), and Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Book Marketing: Blogging

Obviously I believe in blogging. But how about blogging as a marketing tool?

There are several reasons for blogging:

  1. For the fun of it.
  2. To be helpful to others.
  3. To market a product or service.
  4. To promote an event.

While I do enjoy blogging I am not in it for the fun of it. However, I do want to be helpful, I do want to market myself, and sometimes I do want to promote an event.

All of these are legitimate reasons for blogging. When I first started blogging the primary reason was to market myself, but that is no longer the case.

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about writing, publishing, and marketing. I have not only learned, but I have formed strong opinions. And I want to help other writers learn the same skills I learned without the same hard work.

Blogging enables me to communicate truths, techniques, and ideas to you for your benefit. This information is free to you because I believe it is necessary for every writer to know.

As for marketing, yes blogging is still a valid marketing tool. Through blogging I make people aware of the Authors Academy where they can study at a low cost (currently at a reduced price of a one-time fee of $7.00).

I can also blog about my books. I genuinely believe that my novels bring historical characters, especially Biblical characters, alive and perhaps give the reader insights they may not have known.

Do you blog? If so, what is your purpose?

Mine, of course, is writing, publishing, and marketing. Although I may at times stray from that theme, it dominates the blog. When I first knew I wanted to write I sought instruction. But it was not widely available. I did find one source that was helpful, but it wasn’t free. It was a low cost monthy subscription.

But when hard financial times struck I could no longer afford the monthly cost and had to drop out. This meant that it took me a lot longer to learn my craft. It was for that reason that Authors Academy eventually was started: to provide a good solid foundation for anyone desiring to write a book.

I recommend you blog. Find a subject that you know and focus on it. Get a blog host (I use Word Press). Then start blogging!

It will take a while to build a following, but it is worth it. But try to establish a pattern. The more often you blog and the more you blog each week will eventually draw followers.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

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GENRE

First, let’s explain Genre. It is defined in Wikipedia as: A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

Principle

There are many Genre subgroups. So you, the author, must decide which subgroup(s) your writing fits. Discovering your genre will be a valuable aid not only in marketing, but in the writing and publishing of your book.

Don’t brush this aside. When I first began writing I didn’t even know what genre was, let alone which one I was under. At best I knew that I was writing fiction.

As time went on I began understanding the meaning and importance of genre. The more I learned, the better my writing and my marketing.

Tips

Take a close look at your writing. It is probably more than a single genre. And that is good! Identify all the genres your book would fit within.

Example

In my case I write both fiction and non-fiction. In the fiction arena my genres have been American History, and Bible history. But my writing genres are also: Adventure, Romance, and even some Mystery.

My non-fiction works have been on American History, Bible History, Politics, and How To.

Application

Identifying your genres will be crucial when you get around to marketing your books. It will also help you in determining such things as your audience. This is very important as you will want to specify who your marketing efforts are aimed at. Otherwise you might be putting forth great ads with excellent content but reaching an audience that is not interested. And that would be a disaster!

As stated in the Principle it also affects your writing and publishing. In writing, knowing your genre keeps you on mark. Meanwhile in publishing, it helps you in selecting your publisher.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

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Virtual Book Tour: What is it?

We have all heard of book tours where you contact a bookstore, library, etc. and arrange to spend approximately four hours (one session) autographing your book that someone buys. Although some say it has lost its effectiveness book tours are still around.

But what are Virtual Book Tours?

In the next few minutes I will give you an overview.

A Virtual Book Tour is:

In a traditional book tour you might spend hours driving from city to city to promote your book. But in a virtual book tour you make “virtual” appearances not at bookstores but on blogs, podcasts, websites and internet radio. These tours may last from 1 to 4 weeks.

It is an excellent way of promoting your book, your name, and your sales. Plus it will help your Amazon rankings.

So Exactly What is a Virtual Tour?

Well, a well-rounded tour can include any or all of the following:

  1. Book giveaways
  2. Book review
  3. Excerpts from your book
  4. Guesting on other blogs
  5. Interviews
  6. Guest appearance on radio
  7. Guest appearance on podcasts
  8. Social media contest
  9. Videos that are posted by blogs
  10. plus more

Remember, the more you include the more interest your audience will have in checking out your tour appearance. And it will be more fun than sitting at a table waiting and hoping for someone to stop by and purchase your book. (One of the drawbacks of traditional book tours is you may sit for hours and none or few people stop by. It can be a real downer. But a virtual tour is not that way.)

You have options not only regarding the ingredients of your tour but who does the booking. Search the internet and you will find a good number of marketing and PR services who offer booking services. I don’t know of any that are free, so find one that fits your budget.

Or DIY – Do It Yourself!

I am not going to cover the various services because I don’t know your needs nearly as well as you know. But I will show you a simple plan not original with me. I drew inspiration from another blogger Chris Robley, however I expanded on it.

Special Note

A virtual book tour is like a traditional book tour in that you are casting a wide net. The wider the net the more likely you will be to land a few fish. But to do this requires that new word: Targeted. In other words, just as a fisherman targets a particular place to do his fishing you need to target where the tour will take place.

That requires research. Visit the potential blogger, podcaster, or reviewer and learn who they are, what kind of books they are interested in promoting, who is their audience, and more. Then when you contact them show them that you understand their needs and their audience needs.

Warning!

Just because you have done the research and properly contacted the people does not mean that they will be interested. Some may not write you back and others may send a “no thank you,” but it would be wrong to take this personally. Chalk it up to a learning experience and don’t remove them from future consideration for your next book. Do embrace the ones who are interested.

Getting Started:

  • Do Your Research of your targeted book blogs, podcasts, radio programs, etc. Make sure they are interested in literary works and, in particular, your topic. Put these potential visits in a list (some people use a spreadsheet, but use whatever works best for you).
  • Get to Know Them. Visit and make appropriate comments on blogs, etc. Keep detailed notes on their characteristics (not all are the same).
  • Book Your Tour. This is very important: Do not use mass emails in seeking to book your tour. Write to each separately keeping your request short, to the point, and respectful. This is a great time to show them that you are familiar with their blog, podcast, etc. And perhaps most important convey to them why you are a perfect fit for their audience.
  • Prepare! Know your subject.If you can arrange for the questions and answers before your appearance, do so. Most will accommodate you or suggest it themselves because it makes them, as well as you look good.
  • Stand. If you are talking to someone experts recommend (and I have found it to be true) that you think better when on your feet.
  • Keep emotions in check! I have done interviews where I felt I really flopped and I have done interviews where I thought I nailed it. The idea here is not to get overly down or up. Once it is done it is done. Move on!
  • Pray! This is listed last only because it is most important. Pray before, during, and after. If you know Christ as your Savior He is interested in your success – especially if you are doing what He wants you to do. So Pray.

But don’t end there. If you have your own blog write articles about your book. Make use of Social Media and enjoy yourself.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. Also subscribe to his blog.

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How To Build An Author’s Business You Can Be Proud Of

Here’ the big misconception.

Writers, especially beginners, think of themselves as only authors. They fail to see the whole picture.

But there is much more! An author is:

  1. A writer of stories

  2. A publisher

  3. A marketer

Let’s look at each of these.

A WRITER OF STORIES

What do you know about writing? Here is a partial list of things you should know:

  • your genre

  • how to set up your page

  • grammar

  • plotting

  • building characters

  • scene structure

All of these are tools. You have a trade, a business that involves writing. These tools are important. Lack of knowing and using these tools can devastate your business.

A PUBLISHER

Whoever and However you publish, you are a publisher to some degree. If you want to have creative control of your book, then you need to know certain things:

  • What is a traditional, self, and indie publisher

  • What is an ISBN and how do I get one

  • What are the publishers/printers guidelines

  • What publisher/printer offers the best features

  • What are the expected royalties

This is just a partial list of things you need to know.

A MARKETER

Today almost all authors are responsible for selling their books. If you’re a celebrity you may only have to do book tours. But the rest of us have to work to sell the books and this is the hardest thing to do. You need to know:

  • traditional book tours

  • virtual book tours

  • book trailers

  • social media marketing

  • TV/radio marketing

Again the list goes on.

Once you decided to write you became a business person whether you wanted to or not. And if you are like I was when I first started then you know very little about the business of writing.

When I first dreamed about being an author I had no idea of the real work involved. And when I wrote my first novel, I had next to no knowledge of what publisher to go with or what my involvement in marketing would be. These are things that are needed to know, but while there are courses on writing available there is scant information relating to the business of writing.

UNTIL NOW!

I have prepared a free mini-course on the business of writing that delves into:

  • why you as an author should consider yourself a business person

  • how it impacts your life

  • most importantly, how to set up a business that won’t detract from your writing.

The course consists of three videos, each answering one of the questions. The third video gets into the actual setup of the business.

I mentioned this is free. There is absolutely no cost.

Free Authors Mini-Course on Business of Writing

Answers 3 questions:
1) Why you are a Business person?
2) How it impacts you as an author?
3) How do you setup the business?
Click here to access Mini-Course

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Today’s Topic: Your Audience

In previous blogs I discussed first steps in learning to write. The following blog is brief but important.

Why?

We can prepare and use all the tools available, but if we are writing for the wrong audience it will be to no avail. We need to know!

YOUR AUDIENCE

 This can be a bit tricky. Especially for new authors. If you have previously written books then you already have something to gauge who your audience is.

So there are three principles:

  1. New Authors:

    Make use of reviewers. Who are they, especially those with a positive view. When you get someone to review your books keep a list of who they are. Learn their email address, their blog, and anything else.

  2. Established Authors:

    Review your sales data to see who buys your books, and who reviews your books. If you have your own store your ecommerce reports will tell you this. But if all your sales are on other sites, say Amazon, then you can also receive stats from them. Amazon allows you to join Amazon Central where you can track your sales.

    Take advantage of these services provided by Amazon and other sites. Learning these stats will help you to learn more about your audience.

  3. All Authors: Look at other authors in your genre. Who is in their audience?

    If you know the genre then it is easier to find authors. Use Google or other search engines. Discover who the other authors are and who their audiences are.

In summary, the principle is to make use of reviews, sales, and audiences of other authors. Doing that will enable you to get at least a glimpse of your audience, which in turn will enable you to see what they like as readers.

___________________________________________

Tip #1 – Make a list of audience possibilities.

Tip #2 – Then narrow the list down until you have gotten it as refined as possible.

___________________________________________

 Example

When I first began writing, I thought my audience would be men. After all I am a man and I was writing historical fiction which included adventure. But actual sales tipped in the direction of women. While I now market to both sexes, I see women as my primary audience, although I write for both.

Application

Don’t check out your audience and then forget it. Periodically check it out again. Then apply that knowledge to your marketing, but don’t forget the actual writing and publishing.

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Author Resources

Today’s blog is about the resources available to you the author. Before you dismiss this, consider the following: As an author you will need to access many resources for research, publishing and marketing.

With that in mind, let’s take a look.

BASICS

Dictionary

“I don’t need a dictionary!”

Think again. A good dictionary is vital to every writer. Your word processing program’s built in dictionary is good, but not perfect. You need a real dictionary; preferably one that contains thousands of words.

Dictionary, Bible

If you are writing a story that is based on the Bible you need a good Bible dictionary. Even better, a pictorial Bible dictionary.

Grammar

Again, don’t depend on your word processor. They are not always accurate. You need a good resource such as a grammar book or a reliable online resource (in which case you bookmark it).

Newsletter

Our Writers World newsletter is an excellent resource of articles on writing. Every other week it comes out with articles on writing tips, and publishing or marketing tips. Plus you have access to the archive of articles.

Thesaurus

You don’t want to be guilty of using the same word over and over. You need a resource for synonyms and antonyms. You need a Thesaurus.

ADVANCED (Website Tools)

1.      Authors need a website

It doesn’t matter whether you are an established author or brand new you still need a website. Consider it an absolute must!

Write a bio that talks about your passion for writing as well as your dedication and enthusiasm. Include your goals, what projects you are currently working on, that which inspires and motivates you, and whatever interests/hobbies you may have. Your goal here is to paint a broad, positive image of yourself, one that the reader will instinctively trust.

The key is not to be shy. The bolder, more assertive you are (if done properly) the stronger your reputation.

2.      The Power of a website

There are many marketing tools. Don’t feel that you have to use them all. Some of them will be covered later and some of them you may decide not to use. However, it would be a severe mistake to ignore a website.

A good website has the capability to communicate to visitors. That is why you are encouraged to have a website in the first place. Many people will learn about you through your website, who you are and what you are doing.

3.      Your website is not a get rich quick scheme

Don’t think of a website as making you a ton of money. Rather, think of it as a storefront. This is where your potential customers will get a chance to meet and learn about you and explore your site.

4.      Unlike stores websites need to attract visitors

People have to be told about your website. There are many ways to tell people, such as Business Cards, newspaper ads, word of mouth, and social media.

5.      Your website is the hub of your activities

When I first started out I made my website my hub. I placed it on business cards, and used it in my email (signature), as well as in social media.

6.      Your website needs to be updated frequently

Actually we are discussing SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is another necessary thing to promote your website. Google, Yahoo, and others send out robots to examine websites resulting in a placement within their database. The higher the placement the better for you.

Part of having a good SEO for your website is frequent updating. You should update (that is, add or change content) at least monthly. The SEO robots like fresh sites!

7.      You need to OWN your website

You can’t be on the internet very long without learning about FREE websites. Be careful. Some may be scams and others are poorly written and designed.

But you need to own your website. By that I mean own your Domain name. I own the domain RFrederickRiddle.com. Therefore I have control over everything that is on it or within it.

Here is a brief list of domain providers (alphabetical order):

o      1 and 1 (1and1.com)

o      Bluehost (Bluehost.com)

o      Dreamhost (Dreamhost.com)

o      Godaddy (Godaddy.com)

o      Hostgator (Hostgator.com)

o      Hostmonster (Hostmonster.com)

o      Justhost (Justhost.com)

o      Inmotionhosting (inmotionhosting.com)

o      iPage (ipage.com)

o      Mediatemple (mediatemple.net)

o      Name (Name.com)

o      Namecheap (Namecheap.com)

8.      Website creation need not be expensive

See the list above. Hosting plans are relatively cheap.

9.      You do not need to be an expert

You can easily manage your own website. I use Godaddy which provides a user-friendly interface allowing me to build the site the way I want. No HTML experience necessary although it is helpful for a more advanced website.

ADVANCED (Other Tools)

Online

Make use of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Whatever your choice these are great research tools. You simply type in the item in the search box and hit enter.

Your screen will soon be filled up with plenty of documents and/or websites relating to the searched item. Just be sure the site is safe and trustworthy. (You should have at least an antivirus program or firewall in place.)

There are numerous tools online from converting your document to a pdf (free of charge) to information on the xylophone. If you can think of it, then the computer probably has an answer.