Why authors should read Mitch Joel’s Ctrl Alt Delete and Reboot Their Lives

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

L. C. Scott is the founder of eFrog Press and an author. Her many years of teaching at the high school and university level and her freelance writing career have prepared her to lead a team of experts to guide both fledgling and experienced authors through the maze of indie publishing. Today on Take the Leap she reflects on a book she can’t stop thinking about—the very best kind!


Reboot your business and your lifeI don’t usually reread books, unlike my daughter who has read Harry Potter countless times, but for Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It, I made an exception. I found it as I scoped out the techy section at my local library. Great title—had to pick it up. As I began reading, it became obvious that this book was not just for businesses—it was for new authors, especially indie authors. Of course, that makes sense because successful indie authors view their writing as a business and understand that writing a great book is just the first half of the process—marketing is the second half.

Because sales and marketing do not come naturally to many authors, I knew Mitch Joel’s advice would be enlightening. As president of Twist Image (an innovative digital marketing company) and author of Six Pixels of Separation, he has much to reveal about the present and future of business and especially marketing. As I read through the print copy of his book, I inwardly lamented that I did not have a digital version so I could highlight important sections (Do you do that? More on sharing ebook comments in a future post!). As it was a library book, I could not use a highlighter to flag quotes I wanted to read again, and I was too caught up in reevaluating my business and marketing my book in new ways to stop and type up these gems. Then as I began the last section of the book, I realized I had to own it. I had to buy the ebook. I needed to reread this book and digest Joel’s predictions and revelations. Renewing the library book just did not give me enough time.

I also knew I had to blog about it so authors struggling with the marketing part could share these insights into the changing marketplace and ignore the time and money intensive approaches that used to work (or did they?).

Blogging and Tweeting and Facebooking, Oh My!

Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and more take time away from your writing so you need to think carefully about which channels to use and how to use them. Read our social media marketing posts here on Take the Leap to find some great how-to posts on different channels but remember less is more. Where do your readers hang out online? That’s where you want to be. Joel says:

The true opportunity going forward is for your business to develop a direct relationship with our consumers.

Read that statement again and substitute “you” for “your business” and “readers” for “consumers.” Got it? As Joel goes on to emphasize, it is not about how many followers you have but about relationships. How do you develop quality relationships? Joel advises:

Find and nurture your true fans. Your heavy users.  As that relationship delivers, they will become evangelists for you and you will begin to experience the network effect.

Evangelists–got to love it! Let your true fans, your passionate readers spread the word for you. Think about how to nurture a direct relationship with readers and never again will you tweet “Buy my book.”

An Indie Author Learns to Tweet

sllipsonLast week I spoke with an indie author just dipping her toe into social media. I read through her recent Tweets and was amazed by the back and forth with several of her followers. She was genuine, friendly, and enthusiastic as she connected with her new followers and began relationships with an agent and a well-established author. She was concerned that she did not have many followers yet, but I was dazzled by the quality of the relationships she was developing just by being herself in this new-to-her environment. Since mid-September she has over 800 tweets and 203 followers, but I expect her follower count to grow exponentially as people discover a writing teacher and indie author with something to say and a willingness to share. Curious? Check out @SLLipson on Twitter.

So follow Mitch Joel’s advice for this year and ask, “What does your reboot look like?” Not sure? Read the book and get inspired.

Please Share

How have you nurtured relationships with readers and potential readers?

Goodreads for Authors

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

At eFrog Press we encourage authors to connect with their potential readers. Unfortunately, writing your book is only the beginning of the publishing process. Next, you must find readers. With the Internet there are more options than ever before; however, the number of options can be a problem. It is easy to get lost in social media and spend too much time connecting with other authors, people who are not interested in your genre, and just surfing the net. A writer’s time is precious and needs to be strategically devoted to marketing the new book and writing the next.

We have shared insights about tapping into the power of various social media in previous posts:

Why Create a Book Trailer? You want readers, not viewers

Save Time for Writing With Social Media Tools

Take the Leap Into Social Media

Facebook 101: Create an Author Presence

The Top 10 Ways Authors Connect to Readers on Facebook

Twitter 101: A Crash Course for Authors

How Do My Readers Find Me on Twitter? Advice for Indie Authors

How authors can use YouTube to connect with their readers

Getting Connected on LinkedIn® Professional Networking Services

An Author’s Profile Picture is Worth a Thousand Words






Today we encourage you to explore Goodreads—a special site for readers with 20 million members! Looking for readers? Here they are. You can join groups just for your genre and create an author presence to promote your book(s).

Although we recommend Goodreads to authors, we have discovered they do not always take to it right away. Some are puzzled by the format and how to find possible readers. Goodreads is not a place to post comments like “Read my book,” but it does provide an opportunity to find people who love to read and may love your book. So here is some advice for starting your journey.


Getting Started with Goodreads

1. Edit Your Profile: If you already have a Goodreads profile, be sure your name is the same as the author name on your book. Some authors use initials (J.K. Rowling), so be sure to modify your profile so your name matches or you will not be able to create your Author Dashboard with your existing account.

2. Writers are Readers: Goodreads is about sharing book recommendations, listing books you have read, plan to read, and are reading.

  • Review/Rate Books: Before you begin to promote yourself as a writer, become active as a reader.
  • Add Friends: Find people you know and people you don’t know who read books you like to read.
  • Join Groups: Explore Groups and join a few that appeal to you. Comment in discussions and resist talking about your new book—yet.

3. Add Book Cover: Search for your new book. Often it is listed sans cover. To add your cover, click on Groups (top menu bar) and then in Find Groups field, put Goodreads Librarians Group. You can post your request in the discussion group to have your cover added.

4. Claim Author Profile: Once you locate your book, click on your author name. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the link next to “Is this you?”  Once you identify yourself as the author, Goodreads will review your profile and then link your existing profile with your Author Profile.

5. Author Dashboard:  Complete your Author Profile and look through the tutorials on the Author Program. There are many ways to connect with potential readers here.


Why Create a Book Trailer? You want readers, not viewers

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

If you read our blog post How authors can use YouTube to connect with their readers you know that we here at eFrog Press are big fans of YouTube! When promoting your book online, why not create a book trailer? When readers browse through a bookstore, see an appealing cover, and pick up a book to read the jacket copy they are making a decision about buying that book. A book trailer gives readers the same opportunity online. But just like jacket copy, the book trailer must engage your potential readers quickly or they will click off faster than a person can put a book back on the shelf. Here I share what we have learned at eFrog Press assisting authors create custom book trailers.


So how do you create a compelling book trailer? Our best advice is planning. What better way to plan a book trailer than by using a storyboard? You can create simple boxes  for text and images or even use PowerPoint. Your images can be stills or actual video. The key is planning ahead.

Think still images can’t be effective? When creating a book trailer, Philippe de Vosjoli used the haunting images of his illustrator, Santiago Iborra. Watch The Legend of Atticus Rex to see the powerful combination of text and image. Of course, the power of music ties it all together and sets the mood too. And this award-winning book, The Legend of Atticus Rex Book 1: The Amulet by Philippe de Vosjoli, has a compelling plot and a main character kids can relate to.


How long should a video be? Not too long and not too short. After all, a Super Bowl commercial is usually a minute or less. Don’t think you can hold an audience’s attention for five minutes—it’s not going to happen.

Did you know that Amazon now let’s authors upload video directly to Amazon? This is a perfect opportunity to show readers why they should buy your book!  Sandra Woffington did just that. See her book trailer on Amazon.


Save Time for Writing With Social Media Tools

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Many writers want to have an author’s Facebook page and a Twitter account. Of course, there is also email, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and a website. Plus, you need to work on that next book. Where to find the time?

Social Media for Authors

In previous blog posts on social media, we have shared some practical information about how authors can harness the power of Social Media:

Take the Leap Into Social Media

Facebook 101: Create an Author Presence

The Top 10 Ways Authors Connect to Readers on Facebook

Twitter 101: A Crash Course for Authors

How Do My Readers Find Me on Twitter? Advice for Indie Authors

How authors can use YouTube to connect with their readers

Getting Connected on LinkedIn® Professional Networking Services

An Author’s Profile Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Two Social Media Dashboards

But how do you find the time? One solution is to use free tools that act like a social media dashboard. I have used two: Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.  Both allow you to control your Twitter content. This blog is not an evaluation of the two because I like features of each. I began with Tweetdeck and transitioned over to Hootsuite. This post is just to make you aware that such wonderful tools exist that can simplify your life and improve your efficiency resulting in more time to focus on your real job—writing your next book! (more…)

An Author’s Profile Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Roxyanne Young is a children’s author and photographer with extensive knowledge about websites. Today she shares some important information for authors about their profile photos. Authors need photos for book covers, conference programs, flyers, and social media. If you are like me and hate to have your picture taken, this award-winning photographer has some very practical tips so you can put your best face forward.

If an image is worth a thousand words, what is your author portrait saying about you?

Images intended for book jackets should be close-up shots centered on the author’s face and should avoid distracting background clutter, other people, etc. These images are usually about one and one-half inches wide by two inches tall. There’s just not enough room to include your desk, bookshelves, or whatever else you think helps to define you as an author. This particular image is all about you and nothing else.

Author M. Louisa Locke strikes a classic author pose in front of her personal libraryIf you feel like you have to include books, though, sit far enough away from them that they’re going to blur into the background of your portrait. You don’t want your readers distracted by legible book titles. Author M. Louisa Locke (left) strikes a classic author pose in front of her personal library.



Other things to watch out for:

  • Desks cluttered with knick-knacks, stacks of paper, file folders
  • Busy, boldly-patterned clothing
  • Wrinkled sheets hung up as a backdrop
  • Bad lighting, harsh flash
  • Standing head-on, shoulders back, against a plain white wall, unless you’re going for a mug shot look



Katrin Azimi is a beautiful woman, but in this pose, her blouse's busy pattern is distractingWear something solid in a dark color–black or navy blue look good on most people, which is why you see them so often in portraits. Cream is also a good choice for most skin tones, but when you go to your portrait session, bring a couple of clothing options and discuss with your photographer which she thinks will look best on you. In this portrait, Katrin has much more flattering lighting and she's wearing a plain black dress, so the viewer's focus is on her gorgeous eyes, not on what she's wearing]Better yet, have her take pictures in several outfits and then select your favorites from the proofs.

Katrin Azimi is a beautiful woman, but in this pose (above left), her blouse’s busy pattern is distracting. In the portrait on the right, Katrin has much more flattering lighting and she’s wearing a plain black dress, so the viewer’s focus is on her gorgeous eyes, not on what she’s wearing. If you have a striking eye color, say bright blue, that is brought out by wearing bright blue or gray, by all means, choose something that flatters you, but keep it simple in style.


How authors can use YouTube to connect with their readers

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Our social media goddess at eFrog Press is back to share more channels for connecting with your readers. Do you YouTube? Learn why you should.

If you haven’t heard of YouTube, then you’re brand-new to the Web. YouTube is well-known video-sharing network, which hosts billions of videos and is a great place for you to share your book trailers and other related videos with your readers.

How YouTube Can Work for You

YouTube is also a great way to drive traffic to your website and is highly ranked with search engines so your presence on the video monster site can only help you gain exposure. Consider creating a book trailer as a marketing vehicle to share your book with fans.

Check out eFrog Press’s newest book trailer:

But authors can utilize YouTube beyond book trailers. Consider sharing an “about the author” video so readers can get to know you, a testimonial to your writing (from you or a devoted fan), footage of you reading an excerpt of your writing, or a Q&A format short interview. You’ll have broader reach to more readers and create compelling content to draw in new fans.

How to Start

The first step is creating a YouTube account. Second, you’ll want to secure a channel to post all of your videos so they can live in one place. YouTube gives you the option to name your channel and the best practice for authors is to use your name (or pen name) so readers can easily find you (and search engines, too!). Learn more about getting started with YouTube.


The Author’s Dilemma: Website or Blog?

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Roxyanne Young
eFrog Press is delighted to welcome Roxyanne Young as a regular contributor. Roxy is a children’s author and photographer with extensive knowlege about websites. To connect with your readers online, you may want to create a web presence. In this post, Roxy covers the basics in clear, non-techy English.


If the Internet has revolutionized the publishing industry, it’s revolutionized the marketing industry, too. Just twenty short years ago, we were all marveling over CDs and lamenting the demise of the vinyl LP. The Big Thing then was America Online. Live chat with real people all over the world. Amazing. We were fascinated by websites and e-commerce. We could shop from our living rooms via online catalogs and have packages show up at our doors. Amazon.com became the world’s bookstore, and then the world’s shopping mall.

In the last two decades, authors have been empowered by electronic publishing options, too, thanks to publishers like eFrog Press. Even traditional houses are embracing ebooks. But it’s not enough just to write a book anymore. These days you have to be your own marketing department, too. The Big Thing now: your Author Platform.

Websites, blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoodReads . . . where do you start? And really, how do you deal with the monumental time suck of building and maintaining that platform?

The easy answer: Build a website that includes a blog and integrate it with the social media outlets you use the most.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be outlining just how to do that, but let’s start with an overview.

If I have a blog, do I really need a website?

Yes, you do. A blog is an ever-growing collection of posts that changes every time you update your status with a new message. A website, though, is a collection of static pages with content that doesn’t change much at all. (more…)

How Do My Readers Find Me on Twitter? Advice for Indie Authors

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

So you’re on Twitter and if you created an account when last we spoke on the topic, you’ve hopefully been tweeting for a while. (Or if you’re old hat at this, then you’ve probably already racked up hundreds of tweets and followers — good on you!) Now let’s chat about the nitty gritty of Twitter and how you can get the most out of your engagement with your readers on this social platform.

When You Post
Have you noticed an increase in engagement when you post on Monday mornings as opposed to Friday afternoons? Pay attention to what times of day are working best for you and your followers. Post in those high-energy time frames instead of during the dead zones.

When to Tweet to Maximize Interaction with Readers

Also pay attention to how often you are posting . . . twelve times in a day might be too much for your followers. But only once every other day or so might not be enough. Every audience is different so observe yours and notice when peak times are and take advantage.

What to Post
A great way to know what your followers are passionate about is to watch which tweets get a good response and lots of retweets. Knowing which topics are bound to lead to more engagement is a good measure to what you should tweet about in the future.

Make Your Page More Interactive
Twitter just launched a new header treatment available on profile pages. You can now better customize the design of your profile and include a large header photo. This will better enable you to promote both yourself and your writing. Check out Twitter’s advice on how to customize your Twitter design to get started.

measure twitter activityTake Your Measurements
It’s time for a Twitter check-up! Have you been taking your own measurements? There’s an abundance of sites available to take the temperature of your social media presence, including how your tweets are doing. Sites like TweetStats will pull in your account info and show how you are doing and areas you can improve upon.

Check out how eFrog Press rates on TweetStats with this fun graphic on daily Tweets.

Another great tool to utilize is Klout, which measures your social media influence based on how well you do on various platforms and presents you with a final score of your influence. The tool can pull in multiple social media networks. If you want to check just your Twitter score, you can filter individually.

Keeping score on how you’re doing on Twitter can help you find the best nuggets to share with your audience, and propel you into a higher following for both your books and your social media platforms.

Happy tweeting!

Please Share
How do you interact with your readers through Twitter? Do you think this interaction has increased your book sales? Please share your Twitter successes with us.

Getting Connected on LinkedIn® Professional Networking Services

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Getting Connected on LinkedIn

Are you linked in? Or is this foreign territory in the great land of social media for you? To bring you up to speed a bit, LinkedIn is the leading social networking directory for professionals and companies. While your fans might not be found here, your colleagues certainly will. More than 120 million people connect regularly on this site to find job opportunities and network with others.

You can easily create an online account to share your résumé, writing history, upcoming books, and more about you.

Link Up to Your Advantage
This great social networking tool is a great approach to connecting with other authors, editors, agents, researchers, and others in the publishing world. You never know when you might need a contact at a publishing house and LinkedIn® professional networking services is the place to find it.


Twitter 101: A Crash Course for Authors

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

So you’re new to the social media world and wondering what the heck this Twitter is, am I right? What’s a tweet, why would you tweet at someone, and who in the world are tweeples???

Have no fear, Twitter newbies, today we’re going to delve into the basics of all things Twitter and tweets and soon enough you’ll be ready to jump on the birdie bandwagon with the best of them.

First, let’s get down to the basics.

What Is Twitter?

Twitter is an open and public social networking site that allows you to create a profile and share “tweets” with your readers and the world at large in short bursts (also known as 140 characters, or what’s called microblogging). Your followers are people who follow your Twitter feed to see what you post about. Likewise, you can follow others to see what they’re saying. Tweets from everyone you follow will show up on your main Twitter feed so it’s easy to read what’s going on.

Why Should I Join Twitter?

It’s a great place to interact with your readers in a casual, public atmosphere (as opposed to the more structured and private Facebook), as well as make connections with other authors, agents, publishers, and people to know in the biz. It’s one of the greatest social networking tools available right now — and it’s F-R-E-E! (more…)