Friday, April 22, 2011

Facebook Security

I thought I was all secure on Facebook. I never give out my password and I'm usually careful what I click, but it appears that I was the victim of identity fraud on Facebook recently. I woke up this morning to see odd and offensive messages with photos in my Facebook account from a person that recently friended me. Now I don't know if that person's account was hijacked too or what, but when I went to block the person, it looked like she had already been blocked (or maybe she lost her account?). It also looked like words were exchanged via messaging, leaving me to wonder how long my account was hijacked and whether someone has been sending malicious messages to my real friends on Facebook. This is a sad day in cyberspace for me.

My point is that this craziness can happen to anyone, no matter how safe you think you might be. I've changed my password and adjusted my privacy settings to ensure that I browse Facebook with https which is supposed to be more secure than http. I've also decided that I will no longer accept friend requests from people I don't know. I'm sorry everyone has to suffer for this, but I just can't risk it.

The photo tag virus, chat virus, and others are getting out of hand. Have you noticed lots of photo tagging among your friends lately? Photos that do not relate to your friends? DO NOT click on them. Have friends been sending you odd messages on chat with suspicious links? Shut down chat and contact your friend immediately about the issue. Check out this article from Yahoo! regarding Facebook chat being hijacked. Scary thing is, once someone has hijacked your account, they can use it to do whatever they please.

Here's some security info directly from Facebook Security that I'd like to share with you: Helpful tips here and some common threats mentioned here. Be careful, and good luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Promote Your Book with

Been discussing self-promotion on the blog and realized that I hadn't mentioned anything about LibraryThing, a social network for book lovers (much like Goodreads) which has around 1.2 million subscribers vs. around 5 million subscribers at (love the customizable author profiles there). I've played around with LibraryThing (i.e. "LT") in the past but only recently signed up for an actual J.J. Hebert member profile, followed by my author page. Simply visit and sign up for an account. Then, if you're an author, search the site for your book(s) and click on your name. That click should bring you to your unclaimed author page. Look at the right sidebar--click "Is this you?" to claim your author page. Once you've done all of that, take advantage of LT's amazing giveaway of the reasons I finally decided to register as J.J. Hebert...

LT, unlike Goodreads, allows authors to post eBook member giveaways. In other words, as an author you can offer your eBook to readers in exchange for reviews! You can provide as many free copies (i.e. "downloads") to the LT community as you want. You'll just be responsible for contacting the winners with a way to download the eBook for free. You could email each winner with the eBook attached (e.g. PDF) or point the winners to a download link or supply them with a coupon for 100% off...

Why give away your book for free? Like any new product, it's important to get your book into as many hands as possible early on. You're probably not a brand-name author at this point, so giving away free copies gets your name out there and helps with word of mouth. I've done three separate giveaways at Goodreads for my book Unconventional, but I was forced to give away paperbacks, which cost money to print and ship to the winners. I believe I only provided six copies total during those three giveaways at Goodreads because of the costs. That means only six winners read my book for free and then posted reviews. At LT, I've seen authors offer two hundred free eBook downloads in exchange for reviews, and the authors didn't have to pay a dime to print or ship those books! (You can also submit physical copies of your book(s) in the giveaways at LT)

Need help with book publishing? Contact MindStir Media book publishers today! Top Self Publishing Company

Friday, April 15, 2011

Successful Authors Act Like Professionals

Yesterday I mentioned James Boice regarding authors self-promoting. Today James sent me a couple very kind and professional emails, which reminded me: Successful authors don't just self-promote...They act like professionals, too! Mr. Boice is the epitome of a professional as is Gary Vaynerchuk (remember him?). Check out Boice's official Web site and buy his new book on June 14 or pre-order today! He also has a few signings scheduled. Go see him if you're able!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Successful Authors Self-Promote

There's this terrible myth still floating around that published authors can just write and cash royalty checks. Wrong! Major publishers now expect authors to self-promote, and self-published authors must self-promote in order to be successful. Today's reclusive writer (J.D. Salinger-like) is usually an unsuccessful writer (saleswise).

Here are two contrasting examples:

I remember reading about debut novelist James Boice in Writer's Digest back in 2008. The article/interview, entitled The Silent Type, posed a question: "Can a writer who just wants to be left alone to write make it in today's extroverted publishing world?"  Boice, at 24, was the youngest person to publish fiction in Esquire and his debut novel, MVP, was published by Scribner in May 2007. Very impressive! However, Boice did not embrace the spotlight or self-promotion. In the previously mentioned interview, he said that he didn't want to go on book tours, and when asked if he'd perform some publicity on his own, he replied, "I don't have to do anything. The whole process has been a trial. I just want to write." Since then (after seeing low sales numbers), it appears that Boice has changed his tune a bit. In a post on his Web site, Boice admitted, "Sales started off okay then diminished," referring to MVP. Now he's finally taking advantage of video streaming/sharing, Twitter (became an active user in Feb.), and Facebook (created fan page 2/22/11) ... I guess he kind of answered the interviewers question; new writers can't "make it" in this extroverted publishing world by being anti-social. Boice's new book, The Good And The Ghastly, releases June 14. Let's hope he decides to promote himself this time. I should note that I have nothing against James Boice. He's a talented writer who seems willing to adapt. That's a good thing.

Then you have NY Times bestselling authors like Karen Kingsbury (Zondervan & Simon & Schuster), who fully embraces social media/online publicity and engaging with readers. Karen is active on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, her Web site, and she is constantly doing book signings and holding special events, etc. Yet...she still finds time to write, releasing more than one book per year.

What do you think? Comment here. Top Self Publishing Company

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bookstore Sales Up Nearly 10%

Despite the Borders bankruptcy/store closures, increasing e-book sales, and breakout self-published stars like Amanda Hocking, bookstore sales rose 9.3% in February, totaling $1.11 billion according to a report by the Census Bureau published this morning. That's right, plenty of readers are still buying print books!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who Should See Your First Draft

I'm going to make this somewhat short and sweet: Only you should see the first draft of your manuscript. Please, please, please do not submit your first draft to publishers, agents, and never self-publish it for the public to see! Do your career a huge favor and at least self-edit and revise before you submit your manuscript anywhere. If you plan to self-publish, hire a professional editor before it sees the light of day. I understand that paying a qualified editor is quite expensive, but your book (and career) is worth the investment. I promise you that the majority of the most successful authors in the world do not turn in their first draft. It's simply not a smart career move.

I swear I'm not one of the Quality Police. Really, I'm not. I just wouldn't want anyone claiming that you've produced "bad literature." Don't give the Quality Police any more fuel!

Have you ever read a book that appeared to be a first draft? Comment.

Have you ever submitted or self-published a first draft? What kind of response did you receive? Comment.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Adventures of the Hypocritical Quality Police

Here we are in 2011 and there are still traditionally published authors and literary agents squawking about self-publishing, some even claiming--or suggesting--that self-pubbed authors are arrogant because they choose to bypass the traditional publishing "system" and go straight to print. The "pay-to-publish" concept drives those individuals crazy. Why? Mostly because they believe self-pubbed authors (and their books) are actually devaluing literature and threatening the publishing industry by bypassing the system in place. Don't get me wrong, many traditionally published authors (and even agents!) understand that self-publishing is a viable option and it is hard work. Barry Eisler, for instance, recently walked away from a $500,000 deal in order to self-publish. No joke! But the complainers out there, lots of them are self-appointed "quality police," judging self-pubbed work and making insane and unfair generalizations about self-publishing. Ironically...or hypocritically...the Quality Police come off as arrogant (the very thing they accuse self-pubbed authors of being) by basically implying that no one is "really published" unless they've gone the traditional route.

Some authors feel the desire to be validated by a literary agent and/or traditional publishing house, and that's fine.  However, many authors in the world don't have that desire. They don't care what agents and traditional publishing houses think. They believe their work is good and publishable, therefore they publish it and allow the readers to do the validating. This does not mean that these authors are arrogant.

The fearful Quality Police keep trying to stigmatize self-publishing. They act like schoolyard bullies by constantly telling the world that indie authors (i.e. self-published authors) aren't cool or talented. That, my friends, is not cool! The Quality Police should really lighten up and trust that the consumers will decide what's good and bad. Bad books exist in both the self-publishing and traditional publishing business models (as do good books). Self-publishing doesn't devalue literature; bad literature does!

So what do you think about all of this? Feel free to let me know...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Your DAILY Routine As An Author

Yes, I said it: daily routine. As an author you should be doing something every day to promote your book(s). I'm not saying you have to spend eight hours per day promoting your work. Most authors simply don't have time for that. But how about an hour per day? Yes, one hour. Send some emails, tweet away, interact on Facebook, participate on Goodreads and forums--you know, all that good stuff.

What's that you say, you don't even have one hour to spare? It's time to prioritize! There has got to be something you can remove from your schedule to make room for an hour of book promotion. Take a moment and write down your schedule and take a long, hard look at it. See anything there that doesn't need to be?

You and I both know that you'll eventually miss a day (I know I certainly have), but that's okay. Just move on. There's always tomorrow. Tomorrow becomes today--and that just happens to be right now. So what are you going to do (or what have you done) to promote your book(s) today? Seriously, tell me...

P.S. Of course, all of this is in addition to writing daily!