Nov 182010
 
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You have a website. You want to bring people to your website. Either you have a blog you feel the world needs to read, a product you’d like to get people to buy or a service you want to hook people into paying for.  Maybe you’re a band and want to have your music heard or a beginning film maker who likes to post his short movies and have them watched by untold thousands. Either way you have something, ‘content’ for want of a better word, you want people to see, listen to, experience in some way and you have placed this content, or at least a link to it on a website. You know, as well as I, how many websites there are out there. How do you get the untold and unwashed to your specific website?

This is where SEO comes in. What you do is, you pick whatever niche you happen to be exploring-since this a site about sex writing let’s take a cam site that shows Japanese women smoking cigar VODs-then you write articles, blogs, what-have-you about that very subject and you (or the writer you hire)  use keywords related to your subject (and any good SEO copywriter will know how to find those keywords, or at least the ones that garner a lot of hits) get it all nicely meta-tagged (though keywords will show up without meta tagging, but it is a good idea to go this extra step) and away you go. The trick of course is first finding the niche you want to explore, exploring your best keyword options then figuring if you want articles, blogs, reviews, even fiction about your subject (or all four), writing copy that sounds natural and not ‘stuffed’ with keywords (this is called “keyword stuffing”, go figure!) and incorporating the keyword copy in a way it doesn’t take away but instead enhances the smokin’ hot smoking Asian girl cams that you want people to sign-up for.

You want people to come to your site and stay at your site and beyond all the normal advertising you’ll do for a Japanese smoking cam site-posting on boards, running banner ads, affiliate linking-writing about what you do and offer, will rank high on search engines if your copy is written with keywords in mind and well placed.

The actual blogs and articles themselves, fiction even?

Don’t ask me why, this is still something I can’t get my mind around and I do this for a living, but there are people, plenty of people out there that will read someone else’s ruminations about a subject. These ruminations, for want of a better term, are called blogs. Blogs are very popular. If you have a site that is closely related to the blog you blog all’s the better, if you are some sort of noted expert in the field you are blogging about, you’re ahead of the game. If you’re smart enough to hire a writer who does this for a living and can incorporate keywords into your blog, you might just pull people to your site.

Articles are a little bit harder to come by, and write. They require some research and knowledge about the subject. You best know what kind of cigars those smoking girls are smoking, how often the videos are updated, etc. But the same rules apply to the keywords. The copy needs to read smooth, not like one is ‘stuffing’ words such as smoking girls, or girls smoking in every chance one gets with no care for the article making sense.

I am primarily a fiction writer. I am most comfortable making shit up (like the sex life I brag about all the time). What I came to find, most notably when writing for adult toy manufacturers was that a nice three hundred to six hundred word story, with well-placed keywords plugged in, brings people to a site every bit or more so then an article can. For sure this is probably the most specialized writing I ever did and do (next to 800# pre-recorded phone sex scripts…remind me to tell you about that experience sometime) but it is also the most funnest.

Though SEO writing is a very specific type of writing, it’s not impossible to do by any means. But it all requires a certain economy of style-if you will allow me- and certainly some practice and an eye for where commerce meets creativity. This is not ad copy writing-itself a totally different form of writing replete with its own rules, formulas and difficulties-but writing where you have to research keywords that will rank a site high, then piece them into either articles, P.R. blogs what-have-you and like all writing, this takes time, skill and is best handled by a professional (kids don’t try this at home!)

Next time I’ll get into how to do it.

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Nov 112010
 
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By Sascha Illyvich

In our last article covering plot for romance stories, we discussed a three act structure to achieve our story. That three act structure carries us regardless if we’re writing 30k or 100k. The main determining factor lies in where your plot is. If it’s erotic romance, we already know that the focus is on character growth through inciting incident all the way to climax and that sex plays a huge part in that.

In fact, sexual interaction drives the plot by developing character growth. M. Christian has done a nice job of giving us a reason to label ourselves or not give a shit but when it comes down to the truth as writers, we’re only concerned with two things: Telling a great story and finding an audience that loves our great story.

To extend plot from a 20k story (where we focus only on the major acts) we add intrusions into our plotting.

Take for instance a basic story outline from earlier:

Act One: Inciting Incident – What is the eternal incident that brings the characters together?
Act Two: Crisis/Ordeal – This is where we begin to throw internal issues of the characters into things.
Act Three: Confrontation – Our characters confront the issue and deal with it. If it’s an action story, a villain and H/H all share the same issue only the villain either dies a megalomaniac or fails to learn the lesson after it’s too late.

That will get us through about 10 to 20k worth of words. Now let’s go for a larger market (the novella market)

Not only do we have our major acts, but each act has a structure in it that dictates what else must go on. Again, using Morgan Hawke’s well researched plotting pad we have the following:

Act One
1-Inciting event – Denial
Act Two
2-Crisis – Anger
3-Reversal – Despair
4-Ordeal – Sacrifice
Act Three
5-Climax – Acceptance

In that basic three act structure we’ve added stages of grief for character development. This gives us range of emotion for character development AND gives us a better climax due to a better conflict. Now we’ve added angst in the mix and made things a little deeper.

When I write a story I set out to identify the market first and foremost. Am I targeting Harlequin, or Loose ID? The difference in storytelling lies in a very simple question: How deep can I go?

I ask this question because it makes a huge difference depending on the market. Markets like Harlequin (for the most part), Liquid Silver, some of the sweeter romantic e-book publishers and some of the print lines have a basic formula they follow. It’s the SAME as what I mentioned in the last post but the human emotion level cannot go so dark and deep.

Publishers like Loose ID, Kensington, Sizzler Editions, Berkeley and Samhain allow for more depth of character emotion because that is what SELLS. It sells because the average reader for those markets expects a fucked up character they can relate to. They want to think the world is ending if not only does their relationship screw up but they can’t get over their fears or realize their greatness.

The newer generation of romance authors struggles for depth. Look around you at all the vampire novels and were-shifter novels. Those characters have flaws that you can’t possible think match the human condition—except they do.

Vampires are outcasts as manifestations of human sexuality that we often repress.
Werewolves change once a month and embrace a more primal instinct. As humans we have to justify our love of violence simply by tuning it out and growing numb. I’m not sure that’s the best example but it makes sense to me.

So now the plotting question is, who is controlling who? The author, the readers, or the characters?

Next time we’ll cover another facet of writing

Sascha Illyvich

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Nov 042010
 
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By Deborah Riley Magnus

Seriously. I know no one likes to hear this, even my clients who are not of the Author persuasion, but without a business plan you are going NOWHERE.

It is vital to have a business plan because your books and you are the products to be sold. It makes most writers queasy to even imagine selling themselves but without a plan, you can hardly figure out a way for your book to sell itself. Think of it as a map getting you from staving writer to successful author.

Since I’m talking to writers, I’ve decided to take this nice and easy, no sudden movements or anything like that. Let’s start with a simple comparison … if you want to write a book, what do you need? Don’t say ‘nothing but your imagination’ because we both know that’s not so. You need a slamming idea and you need some talent.

Any writer can write a book, good bad or mediocre, but only an author knows s/he also needs to write a business plan because only a successful author knows s/he is now in business.

AT WHAT POINT DO YOU START A BOOK BUSINESS PLAN?

I’m going to toss this out so duck if you’re too afraid to catch but … the Book Business Plan starts when the book starts. A Book Business Plan covers all aspects of the product. At the moment you begin a novel or non-fiction book, you must already have a clear vision of the message, the audience and even the venues where it can be sold. This isn’t wishful thinking, guys and gals, THIS is the beginning of your plan.

My strongest suggestion has always been to ask the book business plan developer (that’s you) to start at the end. Start with your goal. Don’t be ridiculous and say you intend to be the next Dan Brown or Charlaine Harris, but trust that with the right strategy, you CAN be the next Dan Brown or Charlaine Harris eventually. They too had to go through this process, and as we all know, ya gotta pay your dues.

So, realize that when you start writing your book, you also should start writing your Book Business Plan. If your book is finished, it’s not too late, so no excuses there.

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK BUSINESS PLAN

Ready? Take a deep breath. Now, imagine you’re sitting at the bank, talking across the desk to the loan manager and asking for money. What’s he going to ask you? Those are the questions you need to answer when putting together your business plan.

1) How much money to you want? This should be an easy answer. How successful do you want to be? Think of the imaginary loan amount as the financial success you want to gain from your book sales. Be realistic, you most likely won’t make millions with your first novel, but if you set the right strategy, you could make millions down the road with your fourth, fifth or sixteenth book. Honestly, few authors are millionaires, but there’s no reason why you can’t be one.
2) How do you plan to organize and manage your product? Exactly what is your plan for dealing with the organization and management of your book(s)? Should you have a publicist? Do you need an advertising agency? A book video? Imprinted bookmarks or tee shirts? Remember to research everything and be sure of the success rate for each element you want to employ. It’s a lot to think about. Can you do it alone (after all, who knows your book better than you do)? Managing the product means clearly understanding it. So now is a good time to face the fact that YOU are the product. Your creativity, your talent as a writer, your expertise, your personality, your skills … your book(s).
3) Who will want to buy your product? Now is the time to jot down all those people who will want your book, why they’ll want it and how effective they’ll be at getting more people to want it. Know – really know – who your readership target is. Are they men? Women? Nothing is stranger than discovering more men read your book than women when you thought the complete opposite. Knowing your target reader is as important as knowing good spelling and grammar. It will determine the venues you choose when the book is ready to be sold. After clarifying your target, you can develop the perfect hook for your target. This is the bee line to reaching your market.
4) What makes your product so special? You better know this or put down your pen right now. No point in writing a book if you don’t know why or if it’s special. Many writers write books they’d love to read, many write books marketing studies show readers are buying, some write books because the subject is risky or has never been explored before. KNOW why you and your book are special. It’s the backbone of a successful Book Business Plan.
5) How do you plan to promote your product? Ugh, here’s where most writers cower into a corner. Relax. You know people, lots of people. And those people know people. You gotta put yourself out there. Of course there are the “big” things you must do; social networking, book events, gaining interviews, speaking engagements, seeking book reviews and attending book shows, but don’t forget your friends. Most writers have or have had another life, another career or another circle of activity that has made their lives full. People like to support people they know. This is a powerful, easy tool to enhance the “big” stuff mentioned earlier.
6) What are your marketing strategies? Think about it. Yes, it’s cool to have your book available on Amazon or in your local book store, but where else might it fit in perfectly? Stretch your mind and think this through. If your novel is about travel, maybe you should seek distribution at a travel agency or on travel agency websites. If the story revolves around people drinking coffee, cafes often sell gift items and books. Is the story about wine? Wineries have wonderful gift shops. If your novel is historic in nature, perhaps museum gift stores can be a venue. Be creative, after all, that’s what writers do … think creatively.
7) What if you fail? Forget it. I have a very strong theory that failure is just a lack of seeking success. When someone tells you you can’t do something or market a book that way … try it anyway. Chances are it just hasn’t been tried or it hasn’t proven effective for someone less aggressive or creative. There’s a slogan I use with my clients. “We are the can-do team.” Go on, tell me I can’t and guess what … I do. So can you.

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