Friday, August 28, 2009

Something for Everyone!!!

If you haven't completed the assignment on the previous blog, scroll down and check it out. For those of you feeling a little (well, okay, WAY) advanced this weekend, I'll just throw out some food for thought:

Book trailers.

You're going to start seeing more and more of them, I think. It's a great visual way to get your synopsis across and generate interest in your book in a memorable way. Not all books are candidates for book trailers. Some might be better suited for youtube tutorials, like the CFI August releases of Cyber Safety, Celebrate Dinner and 101 Cupcakes. No trailer needed there, but a book like Cyber Safety could greatly benefit from online tutorials showing parents how to install safeguards on their computers and ending by referring that more hints for parents can be found in Ken Knapton's book.

August releases by Cedar Fort that could potentially do a trailer are books like Reiyalindis, Agent Bishop and Shadows of Eden--and by listing these books, I am by NO MEANS telling the authors to go out and make a trailer! Things like that cost money and you have to do some serious math before you decide it's worth the investment.

But as an example, here is Cedar Fort author Steve Alten (publishing under the Sweetwater imprint) who did decide to create a trailer for his book The Shell Game and this is the final product posted to youtube:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One Step at a Time

I can see that by this point many of you have gone by a taken a look at the Author Booklet.

Remember, I'm not saying to get all those steps done in one day. Some may need to work on most things listed, while others left the reading with only a few easy things to check off their list. Still others may treat the action items as a buffet of accomplishing what they like and skipping the things that don't sound worthwhile.

To address the latter tendency, today's assignment is this: Everyone who has read the Author Booklet (or started), please leave a comment listing one positive experience you have had doing one of the suggested action items. Since I have contact with many of you, I'm aware of how you have made yourself visible and found success using different tools.

There are at least 46 of you following this blog, so let's get at least 46 comments, one from each of you, listing a tool you have used in the reading and how it worked for you!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Start Your Engines!!!

For the weekend, I decided to provide you with some reading.

As a reference, and hopefully as a help to each and every one of you, I created a pamphlet which you may view on line or print. It is a pdf document that is available on my website. Those of you who have visited my home page before will noticed it has changed. More modifications are yet to come, the goal of today was mainly to change the format and get this little booklet into you hand.

The instructions are easy:

Go to and click on the menu option "Author Kit." It's just that simple.
If you were sad and blue with nothing to do this weekend, hopefully this packet will give you plenty of actioable options that will eventually help you get your book into the hands of those who just don't know they're looking for you yet!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We Interrupt our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

Today's post was supposed to be the beefy one I promised, but that has been pre-empted by a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

The new subject of today's post: author etiquette.

It's great to be excited about your upcoming book! I encourage it, but what most authors don't know is that getting a book into a store can take a while. On the record, my stance is that if a book store doesn't carry your book and you want it to, you CREATE the demand for the book in that store so the book store has to order it or lose business.

An author, who shall remain nameless (and please, if you feel I'm talking about you, don't raise your hand! This is a good lesson for all) went to a local store to check on their upcoming book.

They didn't have it!

They didn't even have on order or in their system AT ALL!


It's true, sometimes this happens. For the proper course of action, please see the above paragraph. For what NOT to do, please read on.

Upset that their book was not on order, this author went around to all the customers in the store and announced their upcoming book, encouraging everyone to go shop at a different store that had it on order.

This was done in front of the manager of the non-ordering store. So what do you think happened? (Once again, dear author, do not raise your hand. You are not the only author who needs to hear this cautionary tale.)

The end of the story is that the manager emailed the chain's buyer, informed them who the author is and what they'd done, and now Cedar Fort's sales person has to fight to get the store chain to pick up the book at all. All is not lost, but it is certainly an uphill battle at this point.

Remember, as authors, you are being watched. First impressions and last impressions are powerful, and the people you see when you walk into a store may be getting paid minimum wage, but they can make or break you with their actions. Be nice. Be courteous.

But, above all, make them money!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Okay, this is your last chance to focus on updating your website because the next post will be an abundance of information.

This post is to let you know that I have a new email address where you can contact me. Some of you may have noticed that I have been using my personal email address. I was originally waiting for my Cedar Fort email address to be set up, but I have discovered that gmail is more effective and accessible for communicating with you.

So while I will still be using my Cedar Fort address for business emails, I would appreciate it if you would all send emails to CedarFortPR at gmail. Of course you add a ".com" after the gmail. I'm not spelling out the whole address so I won't get spammed with random emails, but please.

And remember, the next posting will be action packed so be ready!

cedarfortpr, then an @, then gmail dot com.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Assignment #1 Follow Up

Welcome authors!

It was a pleasure to peruse all your sites and see how active many of you have been in creating great sites for readers to visit and learn more.

My job, of course, is to help you improve on what you already have and for that reason I'm going to address a simple technical detail that 3 out of the 4 sites I visited could benefit from. If you belong to the 1 out of 4 who doesn't need this tip, you get a pass on this particular assignment.

Today the lesson/assignment is on meta tags.


Exactly. It's programmer speak, so who better to create a metaphor for it than Cedar Fort's own IT Manager, Bryce.

Consider your website a library. Each page should be a title of a book with a brief introduction with what the books should be about. Any search engine or customer online should be able to look at the header of their browser or in the google search results to see what your site is about.

As an example, I'm going to use Frank Cole. #1 because I know he has a good sense of humor and #2 because I know he didn't create his website and therefore won't take it personally.

Now if you google Frank's book, Hashbrown Winters, his site will show up on the first page of the google search because that is the exact address of his url. That is the ONLY reason it will show up because if you click the following link you will see how he has no meta tags and all it says over his site is the default "Welcome."

Notice all the other search results list information about both Frank and his book through their meta tags and Frank's site kind of disappears in their midst. This also plays a huge role in that if I google ANYTHING but the title, Frank's site will not show up. If I google Frank Cole's name, these are the results:

Frank isn't even on the map when I google his name, but I do find "Frank Cole Mysteries" as far as books go. If someone is looking you for you, it can be very frustrating to find the wrong Frank Cole and have to drill down page after page of google results to find the right one.

Contrast this with Preetham Grandi's search results when you google his book:

This is a word combination that has some competition (WoW and other businesses use it), but Preetham is the #1 hit and his meta tags tell you what you are clicking on in the results page.

Furthermore, when you start typing Preetham's name in, google fills the rest of his name in for you and these are the search results for Preetham Grandhi:

Again, he is #1.

Both Frank and Preetham's sites are great, but this illustrates how to use meta tags to let your sites serve their intended purpose.

So, I started this by saying that 3 out of 4 of you need to work on your meta tags. Some need to simply label their pages to be specific "titles" while others need to fill in keyword search terms. To do so you should simply need to go to the tools section of your site builder, locate the meta tag function and fill in the blanks they ask you to fill in.

Remember Bryce’s advice to name the page like a book and fill in the secondary tags like a small bio of the page. Default names for pages will be things like “Home” and “About Us.” Change “Home” to “(Your Name Here)’s Official Home Page.” Change “Contact Us” to “Email (Your Name)” or something specific to your site.

That simple.

First rule of your web site is that it should help people find you, not disappear into the crush. So your follow up assignment is to go through your meta tags, update them and then re-post your website to show that you have finished.

I promise our next assignment is more fun than this, but for now... Go! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

1st Assignment!

Okay, all you Cedar Fort authors. I am new on the scene and have a list of about 600 authors to sift through. I don't know who's who (unless we've met) or how actively you're promoting your book(s), so this is your first assignment:

#1: Sign up to follow this blog (so you can stay up-to-date on marketing tips and true author experiences that may help you in your own marketing choices)

#2 Leave a comment with a link to your website and blog (2 separate links)

This will allow me to become familiar with you and your product in addition to maybe offering you some helpful advice. Please post links whether I've seen your site or not because your last assignment is:
#3 Pick at least 5 other authors and check out their site and blog. It's a great way to find ideas on improving your own site, and if you want to know how an author did what they did, you can contact them and ask!

Are you ready? Go!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Welcome to the Cedar Fort PR Blog

The future entries of this blog will be designed to help Cedar Fort authors (or others who find this blog) promote their books. Success stories, cautionary tales and miscellaneous tips will be added here on a weekly basis, so check back often.

Also, feel free to leave all questions as comments so both the questions and answers can be public domain. If you have the question, someone else does. too (or more likely, many someones). By posting questions as a comment other authors can also weigh in with advice and help you out.

If you would like to share a success story as a main blog entry, please email Sheralyn and she will post it for you.

In the meantime, remember that successful authors do a minimum of 5 things per day to promote their books. Time to get hopping!