Archive for the 'Gregory A. Kompes' Category

Writerpreneur: Electronic Gift Giving

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory Kompes

We all love to receive gifts. As you make out your holiday gift list, don’t forget to include those who give back to you all year, your e-mail mailing list recipients. The holiday season is the perfect time to thank your loyal following.

Simple e-cards and e-postcards make nice tokens of appreciation. Most autoresponders have some type of e-card or e-postcard feature, so creating and sending out a holiday Thank You should be rather easy.

An even better idea is to give a gift that your audience will not only enjoy, but find useful. Why not send out an e-book to your audience. It could be an older one from your collection, or a new white paper or special report on your niche topic. This is a super way to connect with your following, further establish your expert status, and spread a little good cheer at the same time.

Two years ago, several fiction and poet friends of mine put together a twenty-page e-book for the holiday season. Each person in the group contributed their favorite family recipe, a brief poem or one page essay or story themed around holiday memories, and a bio that included both a photo and a website address. The selections were then combined into a lovely e-book with a table of contents and a brief introduction. All the contributors sent the same book out to their email lists. Not only did this make for a special gift, the e-book also served as a cross marketing project that introduced everyone in the e-book to everyone else’s lists.

Here are a few more recipe e-book ideas: cookies, cakes, appetizers, cocktails, or eggnogs. Another idea is to create a food theme collection, say recipes with peppermint, apples, or spices from around the world.

If you offer services, an electronic gift certificate makes a nice gift for your audience. For example, if you offer coaching services, you might provide a fifty percent off discount or a buy-one, get-one free offer. This might be just the impetus to introduce someone on your list to your services and help fill up the usually quiet January schedule. If you have several books in print, you could give one at half price when two are purchased. This not only spreads good will, but it also helps you clean up your stock room before the end-of-the-year inventory count.

It’s important to remember that not everyone celebrates religious holidays. Instead of sending out a Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanzaa gift, why not deliver a Thanksgiving or New Year’s e-book to your following?

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.

Writerpreneur: Treating Your Career Like a Business

October 2007 Family Fun MagazineBy Gregory A. Kompes

Writerpreneurs need to have souls like writers and spirits like entrepreneurs. We need to think of ourselves not only as creative types, but as business people, too. One strong way to do that is to design a business plan for our writing business.

In simple terms, a business plan is a formal statement of the goals you have for your business and how you plan to attain those goals. When I speak to writer’s groups, I often compare business plans to book proposals. With a proposal, you describe what your book is about, how it’s different from the competition, why you’re the best person to write that book, and how you plan to market it. Your business plan can follow a similar model.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that business plans for small businesses have the following sections:

1.    Executive Summary: a concise overview of the entire plan along with a history of your company.

2.    Market Analysis: your industry knowledge and general highlights of your competition.

3.    Company Description: information about the nature of your business as well as a list of the primary factors you believe will make your business a success.

4.    Organization & Management: details about the ownership of your company: your biographical information.

5.    Marketing & Sales Management: your marketing strategy defined.

6.    Service or Product Line: describe your service or product, emphasizing the benefits to potential and current customers.

7.    Funding Request: your current funding requirement, your future funding requirements over the next five years, how you will use the funds you receive, and any long-range financial strategies.

8.    Financials: Historical financial data and prospective financial data.

9.    Appendix: might include letters of reference, work samples, and client lists.

While not all of the sections above will apply to your situation, it’s a good idea to consider how your own business goals align with these topics. Think of your business plan like a blueprint of how and why you have your writing business. How can you grow that business to reach your goals? As with all goal-setting activities, when you create a plan to attain your goals you have a greater possibility of reaching them and along with them, the success you seek.

Here are some online resources to help you learn more about business plans:

·    U.S. Small Business Administration
·    Center for Business Planning
·    SCORE
·    Microsoft Office Online
·    Plan Ware – Business Plan Software

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.

Writerpreneur: Electronic Self-publishing

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory A. Kompes

The hot topic of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing comes up at every writers’ event I attend. As publishing and printing technology improve and the competition for traditional publishing contracts increases, more writers turn to self publishing as a viable alternative. There are many ways to electronically self publish that can help build your Writerpreneur career.

Blogs & Social Networks

Smart Writerpreneurs self publish on a regular basis through their blogs and newsletters. Every word, sound and image you post on your blog is technically published. These are your thoughts and ideas put out for the world to see, read and hear.

Material posted to your blog can be reworked and reused on your social networking pages, in your newsletters, as content when you Twitter, for article directories, and as special reports and eBooks. Plus, all of this quality, online material improves your search engine rankings (SEO).

Special Reports & eBooks

Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound, is one of the best examples of an expert creating a series of special reports and eBooks on a niche topic and turning them into an empire. Here’s how to follow Joan’s example: focus on your topic, answer questions of your audience in the form of special reports, and sell them online as immediate downloads or offline on CDs. With all the affordable print options, it’s also easy to turn your material into physical books.

Companies like BookLocker and LightningSource offer digital book sales and print on demand (POD) publishing options that will make your books available without the overhead.

Audio

Sound is powerful. Publishing online audio is a super way to harness that power and reach your audience. Audio products are easy to create. Record your teleconference events and online radio shows and you’ll have audio products. Personally recorded messages (think audio books) are also popular with most audiences. Reading your special report into a digital recorder is a simple way to create an audio product.

You don’t need to spend a lot for quality these days. I’m rarely without my plug and play Olympia WS100 recorder (retail: $79). While there are many generations of recorders that have followed, this powerful and affordable little device remains my favorite.

Video

The fastest growing online delivery option is video. While still in its infancy, I predict that online video will become expected by site visitors. Why not get in early and learn how to take advantage of this online technology? A few publishing options include recorded video versions of your live seminars and teaching events or video conferences of you interviewing or being interviewed by other experts in your niche.

To see a few video examples, visit Stompernet. They use video as a sales and marketing tool as well as for member education.

By putting your career in your own hands with self-published media, you can extend your reach, increase your impact and even boost your earnings.

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.

Writerpreneur: Planning Online Events

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory A. Kompes

Online events are a cheap and easy way to reach and stay in touch with your audience and readers. They’re also a super way to sell more books, products and services online while increasing your expert status standing. The following is an overview of a few popular online event options.

Virtual Book Tours
Most authors can’t afford a major PR package that involves a physical book tour (i.e, setting up live media events and in-person signings in a few dozen cities around the country). The online solution is creating a Virtual Book Tour. Virtual tours often include blogging, webcasts, webinars, online chats, teleconferences, radio talk show appearances, online and print media opportunities, and live readings and Q&A sessions via teleseminar. By creating a combination of these events in a short span of time (usually 30-60 days) you’ll generate a lot of online buzz, drive traffic to your website, and hopefully sell a lot of your books, products, and services.

Live Chats
Online live chats allow your audience to talk with you and ask questions in real time. Live chats are easy to set up at free chat sites like Chat Shack Network. These “one-time” events lend themselves to additional media buzz. Plus, spending time with your audience one-on-one is the ideal way to build credibility and trust with online buyers.

Webcasts
Webcasts are media files distributed over the Internet as streaming media–either live or as a pre-recorded download. Like broadcasting over the Internet, webcasting is a good way to deliver video and sound files to your audience. These take a bit more set-up and editing time, but once you create a webcast you have a product that will become an asset and can be used for a lot of different types of online promotion. If you webcast live, be sure to record the event for future use.

Webinars
Short for web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the web. Webinars are usually presented live and they’re often interactive so you can give, receive and discuss information with all your attendees. Vyew Instant Workspaces is a free webinar solution that offers an easy-to-use interface with all the options you’ll need to host your own webinar event.

On-Demand Seminars
On-Demand Seminars, available whenever the attendee wants them, can also help you build your following online. Whether you offer them free or for a fee, these seminars and training events can help you build your mailing lists if you require those participating in the event to register using their email or snail mail information. CourseLab is a fun, free resource for building online training seminars.

Event Promotion Sites
Events.org
ShawGuides
Craigslist
Meetup
BookTour.com

Event Registration Tools
EventsBot
EventBrite
RegOnline
Eventful

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.
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Writerpreneur: Teaching Online

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory A. Kompes

Teaching online is the perfect way to help others and increase your income. One of the great advantages of teaching online is that you can do it from anywhere, whether you’re in your office or traveling on assignment.

If you want to offer courses through an accredited institution, they’ll probably require an advanced degree or teaching certification. If this is a direction you’d like to explore, check out Make Money Teaching Online by Danielle Babb and Jim Mirabella (Wiley 2007).

If you offer courses privately you need to be a topic expert with a desire to teach. As you develop a niche writing market, you’re also expanding your topic expertise. Just as you turn that knowledge into a workshop or seminar, you can use your experience and materials to create an online course.

The three basic types of online courses to consider offering are self-paced, correspondence, and interactive.

Self-paced courses allow learners to travel through a series of lectures and other course topic information at their own pace. Materials for these types of online courses might include written word, pictures, sound, and video. An excellent tool for building self-paced courses is Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com). There usually aren’t assignments in self-paced courses, but quizzes and tests–which can be immediately graded by the software you’re using–are common.

Correspondence courses have been around even longer than mail delivery services. Learners and instructors are able to interact with each other via email and phone. Correspondence courses often have set start and end dates and include assignments and teacher critiques along with the learning materials. You might already be familiar with Christina Katz’s online courses (http://www.writersontherise.com/classes.html) offered and delivered using these methods.

From continuing education to advanced degrees, interactive online learning is a recent trend in online learning, especially for adult learners. While every offering is different, most interactive courses are provided through a Course Management System (CMS). Some of the more popular are BlackBoard, ATutor, and Moodle. Interactive online classes have set start and end dates and the courses are highly interactive, with discussions and assignments posted within the classroom setting. Learners and facilitators all interact within the online classroom and not only learn from the materials presented, but also from each other in the online discussions.

To learn more about all aspects of online teaching, I recommend The Handbook of Online Learning edited by Kjell Erik Rudestam and Judith Schoenholtz (Sage Publications 2002).

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.
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Writerpreneur—Writers Using Technology: Become an Affiliate

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory A. Kompes

Affiliate programs enable people to become marketing channels for each other’s products and services-earning financial rewards for referrals that lead to sales. Widely available online, these programs offer ways to diversify your writing career income streams.

Here are three ways to become an affiliate.

1. Join individual affiliate programs

One of the most recognized affiliate programs is Amazon Associates. It’s free to join and by inserting links with your affiliate code into your newsletter, blog, website, or emails you get credit when someone clicks the link and buys. The nice thing about joining Amazon Associates is that Amazon isn’t just about books. They offer lots of different products through their web portal. A few other examples of individual affiliate programs include Peter Bowerman’s program for his Well Fed book series; Vista Print, and Café Press. As you surf the net, scan the list of links on most product sites and you’ll probably find one that says “Become an Affiliate.”

2. Join an affiliate clearinghouse

If you discover that affiliate marketing is helping you grow your income and you want more options with less paperwork, consider signing up for one of the affiliate clearinghouses. LinkShare and Commission Junction both offer hundreds of affiliate programs from a single location. How it works: you sign up for their program and then choose from their long lists of affiliates. All the sales commissions are combined into one account and you receive a single commission sales check. It’s worth noting that some companies like Walmart do have affiliate programs, but they only offer them through the affiliate clearinghouses.

3. Develop a personal relationship with someone who offers a product or service

Not every company or individual has an affiliate program. If there’s a product or service you feel passionate about promoting, you can contact the individual or company responsible for the product sales and create a mutually beneficial affiliate sales agreement. This may take a little more time and effort than signing up for an established affiliate program, but personal relationships in business are often where the best profits exist.

You can promote your affiliates in many ways. One of the most profitable involves reviewing and recommending the products and services offered by your affiliates in your newsletter, blog and on your website. Within your review or recommendation, include your affiliate link. When your readers click through and make a purchase you receive an affiliate sales credit and later a check for that commission.

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.

Writerpreneur: Develop A Seminar

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory A. Kompes

By far, the best way to sell books, products and services is to meet your buyers in person. There are three reasons for this:

1.    There’s a strong level of trust that develops immediately when people meet you and respect what you have to say.

2.    Live events are exciting. Enthusiasm creates the impulse to buy.

3.    Frankly, people hate to say no in person.

While you may meet folks in the grocery store lines and have conversations that result in sales, this one-on-one tactic is haphazard and time consuming. A better approach is to create opportunities to speak to people interested in your topic of expertise in large numbers at one time. Live seminars and workshops, either in person or via teleseminar, are the perfect way to reach your niche topic audience.

It’s easy to develop a seminar. The goal of most seminars is to provide help or answer questions that interest your topic audience. Think about the 10 questions you’re most frequently asked about your topic. This is the material that your audience will be most interested in and your answers will form the core of your seminar.

Remember, most folks don’t like to sit through a lecture. Instead, they want to feel like they’re part of the event. Encourage your audience to participate by letting them ask questions and designing exercises that involve individual and team participation.

If you’re not comfortable speaking in public, improve your skills by joining a local Toastmasters or find a professional coach. Two of my coaches are Judi Moreo and Patricia Fripp.

Judi Moreo advises that you be yourself when you speak. Your audience has come to hear and see you because they want the information you have as a topic expert. Patricia Fripp often reminds that the audience wants you to succeed. Audience members want you to do well because when you do that reinforces why they came to see you.

Before you get up in front of a room of strangers to present your new seminar, invite a few friends to be your test audience. Ask them for honest feedback. It’s easier to try something new and stumble with people who care about you.

With your seminar material in place and your speaking skills honed, it’s time to line up speaking opportunities. Start locally, and after you gain some experience, expand regionally. The places you can speak will depend partly on your topic. If you’ve published a book, contact your local library which is always looking for author speakers. Contact your local chamber of commerce; most invite speakers for their meetings. Clubs and organizations related to your niche topic would love to have an expert come and speak to their groups. With these local experiences under your belt, start contacting similar organizations in nearby cities.

While you’ll make sales right after you speak, you’ll also encounter audience members who want more information. Before you speak in person, be sure to have a Website or blog in place. You need somewhere online to send the folks you meet. You can encourage traffic to your site by offering a free, special report to those who join your email list. When folks get there, they’ll be reminded of your expertise and will have another opportunity to buy your books, products and services.

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.


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