May 14th, 2014

Web Design Tips: Which Color is the Right Color?

colorsNever underestimate the power of a simple palette. Keep it simple—avoid using too many colors. Avoid clutter. The eye is like a muscle, if you overuse it, well, it gets tired. If you overwhelm your readers with too many colors, they may lose interest without even knowing why. Read the rest of this entry »

May 7th, 2014

Famous Book Titles and Their Working Titles

slaughterhouse-five book coverHow much thought have you given your title? Kurt Vonnegut gave tons of thought to his 1969 novel:

Slaughterhouse-Five; or, The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, a Fourth-Generation German-American Now Living in Easy Circumstances on Cape Cod (and Smoking Too Much) Who, as an American Infantry Scout Hors de Combat, as a Prisoner of War, Witnessed the Fire-Bombing of Dresden, Germany, the Florence of the Elbe, a Long Time Ago, and Survived to Tell the Tale: This Is a Novel Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore, Where the Flying Saucers Come From

That is one long title. Fortunately the only thing that made it to the first edition cover was Slaughterhouse Five; or, The Children’s Crusade.

Here are some more working titles and what they came to be: Read the rest of this entry »

April 30th, 2014

Internet Marketing: Back to Basics

Most authors know that they need a website, they’re just not sure why. An effective site can be your most powerful marketing tool—the difference between a book that sells well and a bestseller. Never underestimate the power of the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »

April 23rd, 2014

The Art of Writing for the Web

While many of us are professional authors, we have no idea how to write for the web.  It’s an art in itself, and it could make or break the success of your website.  Here’s some food for thought:

1.  Write in narrow columns of text. They are easier to read and less likely to fatigue your reader.

2.  Use bullet points and Read More buttons. Research shows that people will scan a page for interesting tidbits of information before they read it. If you have a lot to say, try summarizing it into a succinct paragraph and then link it to the rest of the article on a landing page deeper in your site.

3.  Stay on point. You should distill your web copy down to the most important points and eliminate everything else. You have less than a second to grab someone’s attention, don’t risk overwhelming your reader.

4.  Use captivating headlines. Be sure to make your message obvious, use headlines, lists and bold text to convey your message.

5.  Use links. An obvious benefit of web writing is that you have an opportunity to link to other important areas on your site.  Here you can reference resources, news sources, audio clips, other relevant websites and your own call-to-action.

6.  Use relevant keywords. Try to use words that are relevant to the content within your site or article, words that other people might type into a search engine looking for the information you offer.  The more you can do to help people find you, the better.

Tips by Monkey C Media

April 16th, 2014

Keep It Fresh: How Often Should You Blog?

If you are not updating your website at least once a week, you should be. This is a great way to keep your site fresh and exciting, and to ensure that search engines will spider your site. The more activity your site has, the more it will get noticed. Also, the more content you have (with lots of relevant keywords) the higher you will appear in search engine results on the likes of Google and Bing. And besides, your readers will have a reason to revisit your site and refer you to others.

A great way to keep your site updated is to keep a weekly or even daily blog, or add weekly free articles. If you provide your readers with a weekly newsletter, you should upload it to your site as well. There are many ways to add relevant content. Brainstorm some ideas and chances are you will be delighted with the results — and so will your readers.

This tip was brought to you by Monkey C Media.

April 9th, 2014

Blogging Tip: Create an Editorial Calendar

Whether it’s to help stave off writer’s block or to better position the timeliness of your blog content, devising an Editorial Calendar for your blog is a smart idea.

Posting quality, relevant content on your website — and frequently — is an important component of your internet marketing and search engine optimization strategy. But, continually coming up with ideas to post about on a weekly basis can sometimes seem overwhelming. This is where an Editorial Calendar can come in handy.

Think of your Editorial Calendar as a loose road map of ideas. These ideas can be based around national holidays, seasons, new product releases, timely news stories, etc… — whatever makes sense for your website.

For example, if you are a food blogger, you can map out post ideas based on seasonal ingredients, holiday gatherings, national events (like the Super Bowl), or National Food Holidays (did you know April is National Grilled Cheese Month?). Or, if you’re an entertainment blogger, you can map out post ideas based on different awards shows, like the Oscars, or TV premieres, or celebrity news.

Or, maybe it makes more sense to create weekly themes, and come up with content each week based on those themes? Like, posting tips on Mondays, posting inspirational profiles on Wednesdays and posting resources on Fridays — whatever works for your brand.

Once you have a rough Editorial Calendar sketched out, the rest of the month’s posts can be based on in-the-moment inspirations, breaking news or ideas related to your field and so on.

I find that just taking the time to sit down and map out even 1/3 of your posts for the next month lifts quite a bit of the “what to write about” pressure, leaving you with more stress-free time to actually write.

Happy Blogging!

April 2nd, 2014

Viral Marketing: Sexy Kraft Man Goes Viral for Salad Dressing

At Monkey C Media, we conceptual, design and develop book trailers. Perhaps the number one question we get is: Will a book trailer sell more books?

The question you should be asking is: Will people want to watch my video? Case in point, Kraft salad dressings are being pimped by a sexy, half-naked man with a sultry voice. Hello! Yes, I’ll watch that video. Will I buy the salad dressing? Perhaps, but that’s not the point. A viral video gives Kraft more visibility among their target audience. Read the rest of this entry »

March 26th, 2014

Book Covers That Connect: Does Your Book Connect With Your Audience?

Have you ever experienced that je ne sais quoi feeling that compels you to pick up a book, flip it over, and buy it? You know that feeling you get when you see a book from across the room and something draws you toward it? A feeling that makes you think: I want to know more. I’ve bought numerous books in this not-so-calculated way of shopping, and I love it. Maybe I’m alone, but I doubt it.

We do judge a book by its cover. We also judge people, cars, watches, and just about everything in a biased way that begins with an initial impression. So, how do we make that initial judgment? How is it that the same judgment is made by millions of strangers across the Nation whom are all drawn in by a popular fashion style, movie, automobile, and book?

When it comes to your book cover, how do you get it right? Read the rest of this entry »

March 19th, 2014

Free Stock Photos from Getty Images – Awesome

Getty Images recently changed their business model, making most of its images free to use for non-commercial purposes — with some conditions.

According to this excellent article posted on the topic on The Verge:

Getty Images is dropping the watermark for the bulk of its collection, in exchange for an open-embed program that will let users drop in any image they want, as long as the service gets to append a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page.

For small bloggers, this is great news.

One caveat to keep in mind, though, is that one of Getty’s licensing terms for this new type of usage is: these embeddable photos are not to be used for commercial purposes. This means that if the goal of your website is in any way tied (directly or indirectly) to making money (ads on the site, selling a product, etc.), then you’ll need to go through the regular Getty paid image licensing channels.

What do you think of this news from Getty? Will you be using their free embeddable images on your website? What are some of your favorite places to source inexpensive or free images for your website or blog?

March 12th, 2014

20 Captivating Marketing Statistics That Will Drive 2014 [Infographic]

Infographics are a fun, visual, easy-to-digest format for delivering key tips and insights to your readers.

Today, I wanted to share this great infographic created by WebDAM titled 20 Captivating Marketing Statistics That Will Drive 2014.

What should marketers expect in 2014?

Some highlights include:

  • 78% of Chief Marketing Officers think custom content is the future of marketing.
  • Emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by 158%.
  • Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%.
  • 33% of traffic from Google’s organic search results go to the first item listed.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 5th, 2014

Author Marketing: The Importance of Staying Top of Mind with Your Readers

In general, we have become a get-it-now society. I think this is partially due to the amount of information we receive to our brains daily. You hear the phrase “I don’t have the bandwidth” all the time.  People are overwhelmed. Mostly we are overwhelmed by choices. I bring this up because it is so important to remember this when you market your book. Have you made it possible for buyers to easily buy your book from anywhere on your website? Is your book even available yet?

This begs an entirely different question: When do you begin promoting your book?

The answer is: as soon as possible.  But, here’s the key: Read the rest of this entry »

February 26th, 2014

Social Media Infographic 2014: Platform Comparison Chart

With all the new and constantly changing social media platforms out there, it’s not always easy to know which ones you should be active on to best fit your needs and goals.

To help, I wanted to share this social media infographic I found recently with you. It gives you a quick snapshot of the six main social media platforms (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn), as of now, in February 2014, including what their main utilities are, who represents the majority of their audience, what their reach is, and more. Read the rest of this entry »

February 19th, 2014

Is Even Targeted Facebook Advertising Fraudulent?

I recently blogged about why Facebook post reach is declining for fan pages, and embedded an excellent video in the post by Veritasium’s Derek Muller called “The Problem with Facebook.”

Well, Derek Muller is at it again. Last week, he posted a new video called “Facebook Fraud,” which points out why, in his fairly well researched opinion, we should all stop advertising on Facebook to garner more “likes” for our fan pages. Even if you’re really targeting your ads directly to your audience, his case study shows that most accounts are still being “liked” by essentially fake users from click farms. And, these fake users, as you would guess, are not Read the rest of this entry »

February 12th, 2014

Author Marketing: Have You Claimed Your Amazon Author Central Page?

Amazon Author Central logoIf you are an author with a book listed on Amazon, you should take a moment to claim your author page via Amazon Author Central.

On your book listing page, your author name shows as a clickable link that takes users to your author landing page. By default, Amazon lists all of the books associated with that author name on this page, but there are quite a few other opportunities for authors to customize and add more detail to this page.

To claim your page, you can visit Amazon Author Central and either join or sign in. Once Amazon has verified you as an author, you can then start customizing you page. You can add a bio, upload photos, add a Twitter feed that shows your latest tweets, add your book trailer, add a blog feed that shows the latest posts on your blog, Read the rest of this entry »

February 5th, 2014

Keep Track of Competitors with New Facebook Pages to Watch Tool

Have you noticed the new Pages to Watch tool within Facebook Insights for Facebook fan pages? It can be found at the bottom of the Admin Panel and touts that you can use it to “track the progress on any Pages you want to watch. You’ll see how many likes they get so you can keep up.”

facebook pages to watch

You can add up to 5 other Facebook fan pages to your watch list. Then, Insights will allow you to see some of the metrics for those fan pages, like engagement numbers, how often they post, and weekly increases in “likes.” Read the rest of this entry »