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6 eBook Tools That I Can’t Live Without

June 25th, 2012 . by Peggy

Part of my job is to try all sort of things that help Authors. Here, I’ll show you six things that I’ve personally tried, and that are really helping me with various things related to online marketing and eBooks.

1) Evernote is great for;

- web-based research, saving web pages

- take a pic of a white board, it saves it as searchable text

- recording audio notes to myself (using the associated FREE Android app)

- my to-do lists and perhaps even dictation on the go

2) Smashwords is great for;

- reviewing an excellent style guide when formatting your eBook for almost any platform

- uploading an eBook to multiple platforms at once, including Kindle and others

3) Audioboo.fm is great for;

- quick podcasts using only my Android phone

- interviewing Authors and Experts with no prep or notice

- immediate, no editing, low-tech

- finding other 5-minute podcasts to listen to, both at home and on-the-go

4) MailChimp is great for;

- growing and managing my email list

- designing and sending out really nice-looking newsletters

- pay only as I need to and my list grows

5) MindMeister is great for;

- outlining before I write eBooks, white papers, audio products, and blog posts

- setting goals and outlining the tasks I need to complete to achieve them

- org charts, planning websites, and even illustrating processes to clients

6) Visual Thesaurus is great for;

- the obvious (an interactive thesaurus like no other)

- brainstorming domain names, eBook titles, products, and keywords

- try changing the settings and watch things fly around!

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How to Title Your eBook

May 1st, 2012 . by Peggy

Here are some great tips for choosing a title for your book or eBook. Done carefully, the correct title can really help ensure the success of your project. Or not.

The title of your eBook should start with your goals and keyword research. Regarding non-fiction eBooks, the title must accomplish the following things;

Your title must directly relate to your keyword research. Read this document to help you with that.

You must be able to purchase the exact URL for the title. For example, if your title is How To Train Your Pet Monkey To Vacuum Your House, you must be able to purchase HowToTrainYourPetMonkeyToVacuumYourHouse.com. (Speaking of which, just how much does a pet monkey cost these days?) If you can’t get the exact title, yes, I would seriously reconsider re-titling the eBook. That domain name should point directly to a sales and information page about the eBook itself.

The title should clearly demonstrate to readers what they will discover in this eBook. Don’t use crazy slang, phrases that you invent, or other non-intuitive language. Be clear. If this is about how to get girls by becoming a great DJ, then please title it, How To Get Girls By Becoming A Great DJ. Since I’m old, and female, I don’t even know what the “street” title could be for that, but you get what I mean.

It should ideally be less than 32 characters. So, the monkey example doesn’t fit that, but Keyword Cheat Sheet does. (Although yes, that slightly violates the hard consonant rule, below.)

It must be easy to understand and speak. Try to include hard consonants that make it easy to hear and understand when spoken over background noise, or when someone has an accent, like us Canadians from Vancooooover.

You must be able to visualize others in a series. If you can share things like title text portions or other imagery among a series of books, you have a greater chance of achieving cross-marketing between your own products.

Don’t include digits or numbers. People never know whether to write the digit or spell it out. If you must include digits, buy all the related domains, such as 7monkeys.com, as well as sevenmonkeys.com.

Once you have chosen your title, lock it in by actually buying the domain within the hour. If you have spent hours searching if certain domain names are available, and then you walk away and don’t purchase the one you want immediately, you might lose it. This is because many domain registration services have automated systems that spy on your searches, and then if you don’t buy the good ones, they will. And, they do this quickly. You are doing the difficult imaginative work for them, and they can easily capitalize on good domain names by trying to resell them using their automated systems.

Don’t forget to also buy your Author name domain as fast as possible. It is one of the great agonies of my life that I do not own PeggyRichardson.com – I was too late to grab it after I searched to see if it was available. I do own PeggyRichardson.ca, however. (Which brings you to this blog.) That way, you can use your own name or that of your eBook to drive traffic, because as I always say, YOU are the product, not the eBook.

Just for fun, try using the Lulu.com title scorer to see if your eBook is destined to be a bestseller. This is about as scientific as astrology for eBooks, but it can be great at eBook parties. (Yeah, I do that. Whatever.) You can also play The Titling Game by trying out the wackiest titles you can, and see what is the highest score. You just never know what might make you famous: http://www.lulu.com/titlescorer/index.php.

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How to Choose a Quality Domain Name

August 28th, 2009 . by Peggy

Here’s a post I’ve been promising for a while now: how to choose a domain name for your book, ebook, or for that matter, any other project.

The first rule: I could never, ever endorse titling a book (or any other project) if you do not own the associated .com domain. If the title of your book is Be A Smarty Pants, then you must own Beasmartypants.com. This means that you may also own all the other domain extensions with the exact title of your book, including .org, .net, etc., but just be sure that you own the exact title in .com form.

When brainstorming about the title of a book with a client, I always have a browser window open to my web host, and we check the availability of the domain first. If the .com isn’t available, we look for something else to title the entire project. Other extensions like .org or .info do not cut it. People simply have a tougher time remembering domain extensions other than .com – the ideal would be to buy all the domains you choose in all the available domain extensions, if only to prevent someone else from buying them and using them, which can cause confusion for your clients.

The primary objective in choosing a domain name is to make sure that people will have it on the tip of their tongue when they need your book, product or service. It must have sticking power.

Imagine that you are at lunch with a friend, and she tells you that she’s selling her home, and that she found a great new realtor on the web. You’ve also been thinking of listing your own home, and you ask for the realtor’s domain name. You are too busy eating to write it down, and when you get home later, you try to remember the domain name. Unless you are good friends with the person, you won’t bother to call them or email to ask for the  URL. You will instead bypass that great realtor and start hitting Google. The realtor just lost a listing.

No-no’s for choosing domain names;

- Inclusion of the words “my” and “your”, nor “blog” nor “website”, because they get caught in spam filters.

- Inclusion of “4″ nor “for”, nor “2″ nor “to(o)” because when said out loud, they get confused with the number vs. the spelled word

- Words that are normally contracted, such as I’m or it’s.

- Any country (.ca, or .au) or other suffix: it should be a true “.com” for at least the main domain, because nobody remembers anything else.

- Plus, .info only works if that’s really what you’re offering: nothing but information.

- No dashes or underscores.

- No abbreviations of any kind, not just the conventional ones as per above.

- No strange spellings that require a long-winded explanation. Remember your elevator speech.

- No half-words, such as “comp” for company or “int” for international.

- Do not use your own name unless you’re trying to brand yourself, such as in the case of an Author or speaker.

Instead, your domain name should:

Be benefit-based rather than feature-based.
This can be tough to discern when you’re very close to your project, but this goes back to basic marketing training. For example, to market my podcasting services, I use the domain ResultCast.com (coming Sept. 09) and direct it to a specific landing page designed to just sell that service. Of course I provide quality recording, editing, and so on, but what people really care about is that it gets results. Think about great domain names like SpaFinder.com, AutoTrader.com, and FreeConferenceCall.com.

Tell people instantly what you’re selling.
I’m so lazy that I can’t be bothered to explain too much, so I’d prefer to let the domain name explain as much as possible, or at least put people in the mood to hear my super-short explanation. Clearly, FreeConferenceCall.com does the best job of this in the above list, but they all do fairly well.

Be easy to say and spell.
If people have to ask you to repeat it, drop it and move onto the next one.

Appeal to mutiple generations.
Unless your market is very clearly defined by age, your Grandma should get it as easily as your teenager.

Have a maximum of 5 syllables.
Don’t laugh – it’s much easier to say ResultCast.com than MobilePromotionalPodcasting.com, isn’t it? 3 syllables is about optimum.

Use hard consonants, rather than soft.
This means you avoid the dreaded fricative or sibilant S. (Yeah, yeah – I know: here that is in English…) Try to use more letters like b, p, t, d, k, and hard g (like as in garden, rather than edge), over letters and sounds like f, v, th, s, z, and ch. Hard consonants are easier to understand if you’re hearing something for the first time, or with background noise, or if you’re not listening very well, etc.

Is there a time to break these rules?

Sure: when you have enough marketing funds to explain to the public what the heck “Amazon.com” really means. In the meantime, save the marketing funds and play it safe.

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