Category : Web/Tech

  • amanda-square

    April 28, 2016

    Thursdays with Amanda / Ask the Agent: Using Wattpad as an Author

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    1We’re doing an Ask the Agent series, and a few questions came in about Wattpad, the website that allows writers to upload and share their work with readers. Authors can upload entire books at once or they can upload chapters or scenes. Many use Wattpad to get feedback from readers as they write, and some have developed pretty substantial followings.

    Here are the questions that our reader asked:

    Does sharing your work through Wattpad count as self-publishing? Does it affect how traditional publishers see you?

    Can Wattpad be a powerful marketing tool or a risky way to show unpolished work?

    If you use it, would it be better to share just the first part of your book (so that you don’t give away the ending) or the whole thing?

    I remember a few years ago, my friend was seeing some really great success on a HarperCollins-owned website called InkPop. The site was similar to Wattpad in that you’d upload your chapters as you wrote them and get feedback. The only difference was that InkPop promised that if you got high enough in the ranks, a literary agent would review your work. They even had an example of a young writer who had received a really nice HarperCollins book contract—all because of this website.

    My friend climbed really high really fast. Within a month, she was near the top and received the coveted agent review. But in all truth, her book was hastily written. She had uploaded the first bit on a whim, not thinking it would go over. And then it did. And then she felt pressured to hit the agent review deadline. So even though I was giving her feedback as she went, she didn’t have time to polish and perfect. She put forth a manuscript that wasn’t her best.

    Now, I think if any writer is on the cusp of getting a free review with an agent, he/she

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    December 16, 2015

    A Christmas Break

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    Hey, it’s Christmas. Nobody in publishing really works much over the Christmas break. On top of that, we’re in the midst of a major overhaul of our website and blog, so in a week or two, you’re going to see an all-new look on this site. And on top of THAT, Chip is having shoulder surgery, so he’s going to be down for the next couple of weeks. But we’ll be back soon, with a new look, new questions, new posts, and a whole new vibe. Thanks for sticking with us… and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    The MacGregor Literary team

    Questions Book Cover

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  • Brian

    November 20, 2015

    Can the Audiobook Save B&N?

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    This week in Publishing & Technology we’ll be talking about audiobooks. As Yasmine Askari reported on the Digital Book World last week, Barnes & Noble recently announced the launch of a Nook audiobooks app for iphone and ipad, as well as a new website to support the app with more than sixty thousand audio titles available to download without the purchase of a subscription. I’ll leave the prognosticating around whether or not this will be the magic bullet that saves Barnes & Noble from the same fate as Borders to smarter industry analysts. I’m more concerned with the audiobook as a product and it’s future in publishing.

    My first attempt to get into audiobooks revolved around my year and a half stint covering the Inland Northwest territory as a B2B salesperson calling on grocery stores from the eastern side of the Washington Cascades all the way to the Billings, Montana – a vast, beautiful, and relatively empty landscape. I would sometimes drive as much as six hours in between sales calls, this in the days before rental car stereos came with audio jacks and in a land with almost no local radio signals. It was dull. So, I tried to spice up the windshield time by bringing along one of those suitcase-sized collection of audiobook CDs.

    I couldn’t tell you the title or author of that book so many years later. What I can tell you is that I almost died listening to that book, lulled to sleep while driving a desolate Montana two-lane highway by the sultry voice of whomever was narrating. Like so many people, I walked away from the whole audiobook thing because of lack of convenience and a love of reading the actual text and fleshing out the characters with the voices my imagination created for them in my head. I figured that audiobooks were fine for older folks losing their sight, or for drivers that

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    January 15, 2015

    Thursdays with Amanda: The Importance of Networking on Twitter

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    Amanda LuedekeAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. You can also check out her marketing skills on Fiverr. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    I barely have any Twitter followers!

    No one tweets me! Heck, no one even retweets me!

    My Tweets fall on deaf ears!

    Have you ever wondered why Twitter isn’t working? Have you ever stared blankly at your Twitter home page in a painful attempt to write something that is reTweetable? Favorite-able? Enjoyable? And then have you whittled your overly long message down to 140 characters (link included!) and sent it out to the masses only to go…unnoticed?

    If this fits you, know that you’re not alone! Many struggle with Twitter, and it’s understandable. We treat it like we treat Facebook. We throw something out there and wait for the interactions to roll in.

    But Twitter isn’t like Facebook. With Twitter, you have to be far more relational.

    It’s a scary thing to promise marketing results, because let’s face it…marketing is a gamble each and every time. So I was a bit hesitant when I set up my Fiverr account. I felt fairly confident that I could (and can) provide social media copy that gets results, but I had doubts. I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to go back to my clients and tell them that I don’t know how to help them. That I’ve done my best and my best isn’t working.

    But eventually, I put my fears aside, created my page, and told a few people about my account.

    The general idea behind the services that I offer on Fiverr is to help people

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    October 16, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Should I Have a Book Website?

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    Amanda LuedekeAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Last week I identified some web options for authors looking to create a website. Shortly after, I received an email, asking me if I would consider talking about book websites. And I’m happy to oblige.

    THE PROBLEM WITH A BOOK WEBSITE

    Many authors wrongly assume that by creating a site dedicated to their book, they will generate sales. But I’ve never ever seen this work. Sure, it may feel like you’re really nailing the marketing thing by having a book site, and it may look impressive and make you seem like you’ve got things under control.

    But a book site is no different than an author website or a blog or anything else that you create and then put up on the Internet. NO ONE WILL VISIT THE SITE UNLESS THEY KNOW THAT IT EXISTS.

    And furthermore, for those who DO visit the site, they certainly won’t revisit if they don’t have a reason to.  Why? Content on these sites is very stagnant. There is usually one draw to get people there (maybe they clicked on an ad or were promised a quiz or a download), but once that bait has been taken, there is no reason for them to return. I know that certainly don’t spend my time visiting book websites. Do you?

    So the mentality that a book site is a great option is false, in my opinion. You are spending time and energy pushing people to a site that will not keep them. Will not engage them. Will offer them a simple YES or

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    October 9, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Web Hosting Analysis for Authors, COMPLETE LIST

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    Amanda Luedeke agentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    We are continuing our analysis of various website services, keeping authors in mind as we review! I have the WHOLE LIST HERE. So this is it, folks. My subpar analysis of all of these options…from one person who doesn’t speak geek, to another:

    WEB HOSTING ANALYSIS FOR AUTHORS

    Hostgator.com

    • PLANS: for an author website, you would probably only need the Hatchling or Baby plans.
    • PERKS: Compatible with WordPress; Unlimited usage space; 24/7 support; weekly backups; Free website transfer (not totally sure about this one)
    • COST: Hatchling is $3.96/month when you order 36 months. Baby is $6.36/month. They also try to sell you other things like web backup, SEO help, and site security. The domain is roughly $12.95/yr should you purchase it from them.

    BlueHost.com

    • PLANS: shared hosting plans: for an author website, you’d want  the Plus Plan or the Business Pro plan. WordPress hosting plan: for an author website, the Blogger plan looks great.
    • PERKS: $29.99 for 45-minute 1-on-1 help session; Free domain name; $99 website migration
    • COST: $5.95/mo for 36 months for the Plus Plan; $13.95/mo for 36 months for Business Pro plan; $24.99/month for WordPress Plan

    TigerTech.com –

    • PLANS: Gold and Platinum
    • PERKS: A set monthly cost that doesn’t seem to fluctuate; Free domain; No outsourced support
    • CONS: they have limits on usage, and they tout free setup, but most companies also offer this
    • COST: Gold Plan $9.95/mo; Platinum plan $19.95/mo

    iPage.com –

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    October 2, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Web Hosting Analysis for Authors, Part 1

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    2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Alight, folks. Here is round one of analyzing the various website hosting services that were recommended to me. All in the name of finding the PERFECT fit for an author site.

    Now remember, I don’t really know much about tech stuff. I’m your run-of-the-mill person who can stumble through it without totally understanding what’s going on. So, my analysis reflects that! I’m sure there will be important things that I’m going to miss, and if you spot them, be sure to let me know! Especially if I have missed an important item that would be a deciding factor for an author website.

    WEB HOSTING ANALYSIS FOR AUTHORS

    Hostgator.com

    • PLANS: for an author website, you would probably only need the Hatchling or Baby plans.
    • PERKS: Compatible with WordPress; Unlimited usage space; 24/7 support; weekly backups; Free website transfer (not totally sure about this one)
    • COST: Hatchling is $3.96/month when you order 36 months. Baby is $6.36/month. They also try to sell you other things like web backup, SEO help, and site security. The domain is roughly $12.95/yr should you purchase it from them.

    BlueHost.com

    • PLANS: shared hosting plans: for an author website, you’d want  the Plus Plan or the Business Pro plan. WordPress hosting plan: for an author website, the Blogger plan looks great.
    • PERKS: $29.99 for 45-minute 1-on-1 help session; Free domain name; $99 website migration
    • COST: $5.95/mo for 36 months for the Plus Plan; $13.95/mo for 36 months for Business Pro plan; $24.99/month for WordPress Plan

    TigerTech.com –

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    September 18, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Helpful Tools for Building, Hosting, and Designing Author Websites

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    literary agentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

     

     

    A funny thing happened the moment I joined MacGregor Literary. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the moment I joined. Could have been a moment or two later.

    Anyway, I became the “tech person.”

    Due to what was probably a massive dose of ageism and the fact that I knew how to blog on WordPress (whoopty-do), I was soon the de facto knower of all things tech. So, whenever our website broke, the solution was to call Amanda. Or the posts weren’t showing up like they should–call Amanda. Or we needed to set up some kind of new account or change something on our site or figure out why in the world Twitter was being crazy–call Amanda.

    Eventually, this responsibility was shared with another within our company, and rightfully so. Because here’s the truth…

    I know little-to-nothing about tech stuff. I can’t write or read HTML. I have no idea what “Nameservers” actually means. Or if I’ve even spelled it correctly. I can barely navigate GoDaddy (in my defense, it’s the least intuitive, clunkiest website ever), and I’ve just now gotten the hang of a few website building tools through WordPress…and only because I painstakingly replicated what I saw a REAL webmaster do.

    And yet…I’m one of the go-to tech people.

    Yay me.

    My husband always gets a kick out of this, because when setting up electronics or the like, I’m the type to refer to wires as “the blue one” and “the spirally short one,” whereas he says “input” and “output” or something of the sort. Or

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    July 10, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: 5 Musts for an Author Website

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    2013amanda2Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Websites…every author should have one. They are your central hub; your validation point. They are what will tell the world that you’re up and running and serious about this writing thing and that you aren’t going anywhere soon. All because you have a website.

    It may seem silly, but that’s how we view these online spaces. They have a way of making everything OFFICIAL in a way that Facebook and Twitter and Google+ can’t. Weird, yes. But it’s true. I mean how many times have you googled a band, a company, a service provider and winced at the fact that while they may have a million Yelp recommendations or a slew of Facebook follows, they don’t have a site?

    There’s something about a website…it’s like an online stamp of approval. And so yes, every author should have one. In the past I’ve talked about the components of a website, and I also touch on this in my book, but I wanted to provide a down and dirty list of 5 MUSTS FOR AN AUTHOR WEBSITE.

    My hope is that you’ll spend the weekend adjusting your site to hit on each of these five things.

    1. LINKS TO SOCIAL MEDIA. Take a look at your site’s home page. Is there a clear way for visitors to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? Do you have those buttons clearly displayed? This is important, because you don’t know how your fans will want to interact with you. When they show up to your site, it’s an opportunity to
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    May 29, 2014

    Thursdays with Amanda: Everything You Wanted to Know About PPC Advertising

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    2014AmandaAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Some weeks ago, I talked about keywords and PPC advertising. My husband, who used to be Google-certified (before he switched gears to work in the hobby game industry!), agreed to answer whatever questions you could throw at him to the best of his ability. Remember, his knowledge base is a few years old, and I’m sure things have changed. But I’m also sure that his insight is valuable for any author thinking about doing a PPC ad campaign!

    1. Can you talk about what you did for clients?
    To sum it up, I managed PPC advertising campaigns for several different clients to achieve specific goals. But what does that mean? Here are some definitions:
    What is PPC?
    PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising are those ads that are at the top and/or to the side of the search results page on Google (Bing has it too, but I didn’t work with theirs very much). I created and managed these ads for my clients using the Google AdWords program.
    How does it work?
    Every time anyone uses Google to search for something, PPC ads are triggered based on the words they used to search, also known as keywords. A keyword then tells your Google AdWords account to show the ads that you have created that are linked to that keyword. Each time someone clicks on an ad, you are charged for that click based on the bid you have put on that keyword.
    2.  How much does a solid PPC campaign usually cost?
    It really depends on how competitive
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