Archive for the 'The Writer-preneur' Category



Brand Your Writing Career with a Zine

gregorywotr_002.gifThe Writer-preneur: Use Technology to Expand Your Career
By Gregory A. Kompes

It’s essential to establish yourself as a niche topic expert with your readers. Creating and sending your own Zine (also called an e-Zine, or electronic newsletter) to your readers expands your credibility as a topic expert and keeps your name (and products or services) in front of your audience.

Zines come in many different forms, from simple text e-mails to formal designs that involve extensive templates. The key is delivering quality content to the readers on your list so that they’ll open the e-mailed newsletter.

The frequency of your Zine is up to you. Writers on the Rise comes into your box once each month. My own Zine, The Fabulist Flash (http://www.FabulistFlash.com), is a weekly newsletter for writers. One of my Web clients delivers her grant writing Zine quarterly (http://GrantsGaloreandMore.com). Another option is not having a regular schedule, but delivering new information to your list when it’s relevant. This last option can be effective, but don’t inundate your readers with a mountain of e-mail or you’ll lose them.

Getting Started

1. Decide on your content. Content is, as they say, king. Decide what type of content you’ll deliver in your Zine. When making this decision, keep your audience and potential readers in mind. A Zine with timely, relevant content will be opened.

2. Choose your format. Will you use simple e-mail text or a formal template? You can always change your format, but you’ll need a starting place. Depending on your Internet skills and software, a pleasing template can be easily created.

3. Build your mailing list. Zines are delivered electronically via e-mail and/or Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. To get your Zine into your reader’s e-mail inbox you’ll need their e-mail address. Because of spam rules, it’s also a good idea to have readers “opt-in” (request to be added) to your list. A sign-up box added to your Web site is the most common and easiest way to collect e-mail addresses for your list. Vendors of collection services will be discussed in next month’s column.

4. Deliver your Zine. Many people who start their first Zine choose to deliver it from their own e-mail account. As your list grows, this will become impractical. A better option is utilizing an autoresponder, which you’ll learn more about next month.

The great advantage of Zines is that they’re basically free to create and send. I say basically, because they do require your valuable time and effort. But the rewards of building a large Zine following can be great. Your writer brand and related products or services will be continually reinforced, which can increase reader loyalty and help grow your audience.

Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.

Brand Your Career with a Blog

gregorywotr_002.gifThe Writer-preneur: Technology to Expand Your Career

By Gregory A. Kompes

Web logs, “blogs” for short, started out as online teenage diaries, a way for kids to express their experiences and voices online. Over the last ten years, these teenage rant pages have evolved. From the writer’s perspective, a blog is now a respected way to form a personal connection between you and your readers. Writers with panache and personality can quickly build a readership; and a large blog readership will result in more sales of your books and services. Offered in a variety of easy-to-use styles, blogs are a great way to build your writer-preneur brand.

How to get started. A basic blog is easy to create. If you’re new to blogging, I recommend that you start with a free provider like Blogger (http://www.blogger.com) or WordPress (http://wordpress.com). This will give you a chance to kick the blogging tires. Both of these sites have easy account set-up procedures and user-friendly interfaces. Just click the “Sign Up” link, provide some basic information, choose a name for your blog, and select a template. In fewer than five minutes you’ve got your own blog.

What to post. The main reason to create a blog is to connect with and build your audience. Frequent posts––one or more a week––will keep your readers coming back. An ongoing, niche-topic commentary increases your credibility as an expert in your niche. This will build your readership and result in more book and service sales. Blogs are also the perfect place to announce events like book signings, speaking engagements and new book and product release information.

Benefits of blogging. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, copy or technical, your blog, if updated regularly, is a source for current information and ideas. Regular contact with your audience builds trust. Blogs aren’t one sided; your readers can also share their comments and opinions with you. This will help you better understand your readers, which can make you a better niche writer. Having a strong Web presence increases the likelihood that new readers of your topic will quickly find you through search engines, because most blog sites automatically handle all the Search Engine Optimization of your posts. (If you don’t know what that is, trust me, it’s a good thing.)

It’s possible to earn income directly from your blog, too. Beyond selling your own books and services, many bloggers take advantage of ad placement, click advertising, partnerships, and affiliate programs. (The possibilities and pitfalls of these will be discussed in an upcoming column.) In the meantime, why not get blogging?

Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.

Brand Your Career With A Web site

gregorywotr_002.gifThe Writer-preneur: Technology to Expand Your Career

By Gregory A. Kompes

Every writer needs a Web site. These virtual sales brochures brand you as an expert in your niche. When well-designed, Web sites create a positive first impression with your editors, agents, publishers, clients and readers. By following these four steps, you’ll have a great site online in no time, for under $60 a year.

Step One: Purchase a domain name that reflects you, your writing, or your services. It’s good to be creative, but important to maintain a professional image. No matter what domain name you choose, it’s a good idea to also purchase your own name (i.e. www.gregorykompes.com), before someone else does.

I use and highly recommend FabulistFlashDomains.com where domain names are only $9 a year and site hosting starts at $3.99 a month. (Or ask other WOTR columnists which domain providers they like—there are a lot of them out there.) Most offer an annual payment that adds convenience and saves you money.

Step Two: Web sites need a “host” or a place to live online in order to be accessible to viewers. An internet search for “website host services” will jumpstart your research. When selecting a site host, avoid the “free” hosting sites because they put advertising banners on your site creating an unprofessional look. Many site hosts offer banner-free services starting at $3.99 a month. As your career grows, so will your reader following and website needs. It’s good to start small and add services as you need them, so select a host that offers upgradeable services.

Step Three: Create site content that promotes you, your services, and your books. Take Jenna Glatzer (www.jennaglatzer.com), author or ghostwriter of 16 books, as an example. Glatzer describes her site: “I have info about each of my books, along with my bio, media appearances, reviews, free articles for reprint, frequently asked questions, and contact info.” Websites are perfect for selling books, advertising services, blogging, and capturing your reader fan base through e-mail subscriber lists and newsletters. Future columns will explore these topics in more detail.

Step Four: Build a professional-looking website. Some site hosts offer easy templates. If you can use PowerPoint, you’ll quickly understand Web site creation software such as FrontPage, Publisher, or Website Tonight. If you’re interested in learning the simple website programming language HTML, W3Schools.com has an excellent (and free) HTML tutorial. Christina Katz builds this zine in Contribute, which is inexpensive and easy to learn.
Or, if you are not technically inclined, you may want to hire someone build your site for you. After it’s done, follow your host’s upload instructions (or have your hired gun do so for you) and your site will start promoting you 24-7.

Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.

Brand Your Career with E-mail Signatures

gregorywotr_002.gifThe Writer-preneur: Technology to Expand Your Career

By Gregory A. Kompes

Want to make your living as a writer? You must treat your career like a business. This requires that you build your business just as any entrepreneur does by planning, working hard, promoting, and taking advantage of technology. You need to become a Writer-preneur.

What do you think when you hear the word branding? Does Coca-Cola or FedEx come to mind? Their logos and colors just popped into your head, right? This is branding. Solid brands build loyal customers.

Writers benefit from brand recognition just like products. What about Murder She Wrote or Law and Order? Did your favorite show characters come to mind? Think of Stephen King, Nora Roberts and J.K. Rowling. Even if you’ve never read their books, you know these names and their genres. For writers, branding is the process of creating a perception that you are the best person for the job. It’s about building your image.

Everything the public sees about you, your books and articles, the interviews you give, and even your daily correspondence strengthens your position as an expert and creates your brand recognition.

An easy way to begin your branding program today: take advantage of email signatures. Email signatures are those few lines of text at the bottom of every email you send. They’re easy to create and can automatically be included in your emails. Think of them as a virtual business card.

You can access the signature creation option in your email program by clicking on the “Options” or “Preferences” link and following the simple directions provided. In most cases, you’ll type your signature into a box and click “include with every email.”

Diana Burrell, co-author of The Renegade Writer and Query Letters that Rock, goes a step further using multiple signatures. She recommends that you “customize your signature depending on who an email is going to.” Diana has different signatures for personal, press, client, and interview emails.

A few email signature rules: Keep it to six lines or less; Provide your contact information, especially your email and web addresses; Don’t use cute messages, they don’t brand you as a professional; Do include your current marketing message (promote your new book or project); Change your signature on a regular basis–at least once a month.

Gregory A. Kompes (www.Kompes.com) is a writer, speaker, mentor and coach. He is the author of the #1 bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live, The Endorsement Quest, Turning Your Writing Hobby into a Writing Career, and The Everyday Gay Activist. Gregory is the editor of The Fabulist Flash, an informative newsletter for writers, founder of LAMOO Books, and Coordinator of the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. The author holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, NY, and is currently a MS in Education candidate at California State University, Eastbay.


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  • This Blog Moving to ChristinaKatz.com as of December 30, 2009… December 27, 2009
    We’re moving! Writers on the Rise archives have been here for years. I hope that WordPress will let the archive live on for a good long time. However, it’s time to move on, bittersweet as change may be. Please come and find me at my new digs: http://christinakatz.com. And while we’re both thinking of it, […]
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