Sunday, 4 December 2011

Further Your Career as a Volunteer

Further Your Career as a Proofreader or Editor

Like all Catch-22 situations, to become an editor, you need editing experience. And to my mind, a great place to start is with Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is the original site started to digitize books in the public domain to make them freely available world-wide.

However, as always, take care if you want to offer any of these books as a free download from your own site. What may be in the public domain in one country may not be public domain in another.

The site is always looking for volunteers to help with the proofreading and editing of each new book added. If you can commit to proofreading at least one page a day, you may volunteer as a proofreader and gradually work your way through to more advanced layers of editing. 

There's strong support on the forums and even if you don't need the extra credits, it's a brilliant way to help out a great cause. 

Further Your Career as an Audio-book Reader
Like Project Gutenberg is LibriVox, providing free  audio recordings of books in the public domain. Their aim is to cover each and every book in the public domain.

All you need to volunteer is a computer, free recording software and a microphone if you have one. There are no auditions or speaking tests. Every possible question you might have before beginning is answered in the FAQ sections of the forums.

Other opportunities can also be found advertised in different sections of the forums. You may be working as an unpaid volunteer, but you will be gaining valuable experience and making cyberfriends interested in the same topics.

Further Your Career as a Library Cataloguer

Hoping to develop a library with one web page for every book, The Open Library  already has over one million titles listed. Not all are free e-books, however, though you can also use it as a link to borrow many twentieth century e-book titles.

You can add books, edit pages, report any inaccuracies, add book descriptions. Again, it has a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions.

And if they're not already added, why not add your own books and a list of website addresses where they can be obtained?

That way, you can further your career as an author too.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Jo Linsdell Demystifies Live Twitter

 One thing we Slow and Steady Writers have time to do is build ourselves an author platform well in advance of our book's release,
Welcome Jo Linsdell, organiser of Promo Day, to explain how and why to use Live Twitter.
 Over to Jo...

 Why you need Twitter

Twitter has grown a huge amount since Jack Dorsey (@Jack) sent out the first tweet on 21st March 2006. The micro-blogging site is now considered one of the most popular and powerful social media sites on the web and boasts over 100 million active users across the globe.

This free viral marketing machine is perfect for writers and authors wanting to spread the word about their latest releases. Don't be put off by the 140 character limit. You can do a lot more with the site than you might think.

LIVE interviews (also referred to as tweeterviews or twitterviews) are just one way you can use Twitter to extend your message and reach the masses.

The twitter character limit can also be a good thing as it forces both the interviewer and the interviewee to be clear and concise.

How to Follow Live Twitter
There are various ways you can go about following a LIVE interview:

  1. Use twitter search to follow a hashtag #
  2. Use one of the numerous monitoring tools to follow a hashtag e.g.
  3. Use one of the sites out there made specifically for LIVE interviews like or

I prefer to use for a number of reasons. It's available to everyone and you can easily sign in with your twitter account. Just type in the hashtag you are using (for my current tour it's I4Ttour) and tweetchat will automatically add it each time you tweet. You can see a LIVE stream of everyone using your hashtag and by using the reply button people can see the question you are answering.

How to Advertise your Interview

For the best results you should advertise the interview in advance and send reminders prior to the event. It's also a good idea to let your followers know what you're doing during the event by occasionally tweeting "This is a LIVE twitter interview with @username".

A twitter interview provides with the perfect opportunity to keep the conversation going and to interact with your followers. Plus it gives you material for other features e.g. you can post the transcript to your blog or other social media sites.

 More About Jo

Jo Linsdell is a freelance writer living in Rome, Italy. She writes articles for websites, newspapers and magazines. Her books Italian for Tourists and A Guide to Weddings in Italy are currently available from various online bookstores including; and They can also be found at along with her various e-books.
She organises PROMO DAY,an annual online event each May for people in the writing industry.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Writers On The Move: Optimising Social Networking for Authors

Writers On The Move: Optimising Social Networking for Authors: I know that all of you are social media mavens. I know that you've all got Facebook, LinkedIn, a range of Ning accounts, use Shelfari, Libr...

Italian for Tourists

Italian for Tourists  Virtual Book Tour 2011

Italian For Tourists: Pocket Edition is a basic guide to the Italian language covering phrases and words most needed by tourists. It includes all the words and phrases a tourist is likely to need during their stay in Italy as well as a pronunciation guide and a map of Italy.

The phrasebook is divided into 17 chapters including; Emergency, The basics, Common expressions, Learning Italian, Greetings and introducing yourself, Transport, Hotel, Sightseeing, Asking and giving directions, Food and drink, Health, Shopping, Offices and bureaucracy and Signs and notices and more.

Jo Linsdell came to Italy from the UK in June 2001 and now lives in Rome working as a freelance writer. She wrote the book drawing on her own experience. She explains “A tourist doesn’t need to know everything about Italian grammar or the in’s and out’s of buying an apartment. They want to have an easy to use reference book of the language they will need to use and understand during their stay”.

So why do Jo and her book fit so well into the Slow and Steady writers theme?

Writing Tips

This type of planning is ideal for those of us who write slowly. 

  • Divide your project into chapter headings
  • Give yourself a set time in which to complete each chapter or even each section of a chapter
  • Pinpoint your ideal reader. Don't write for the world. Write for that one tourist, that one romance reader, that one individual who is looking for just the information you are providing
Goes without saying, you want that one person to represent hundreds more with the same need to read a book like yours.

Find a hole in the market and bed yourself right in.

Marketing Tips 1

 Jo's main keyword is Italian. It's the first word in her title, the first word in her book blurb and it's used again once in her last paragraph.

That's enough to make her visible in search engines and not overused to flag her as spam.

It's backed up by a couple of references to Italy.
Her secondary keyword--tourists--is again sensibly repeated throughout the text.

Marketing Tips 2

Photographs are great for attracting attention and especially useful at conveying information quickly and easily. This one shows not only the book cover but also Jo looking professional and business-like at her computer.

Extra detail is the insertion of book tour dates and her website URL. A tiny photo but a one-step promotion that's extra branding without being pushy.

 Marketing Tips 3

Make sure your copy is always free from mistakes and that you have made each word count. 

Jo's last paragraph includes a tiny bio which does everything needed to establish her credentials and outline her ideal reader.

Bring Twitter a-LIVE

I'll be interviewing Jo here soon and publishing her information on working with LIVE Twitter. 

First saw that in action with Paolo Coelho answering questions in four different languages.

It's something I need to know more about and I hope you'll join me here next Friday, November 18, to learn from Jo.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Why Buy Books?

Why do readers buy books? How do we choose what we want to read?

This is perhaps the most important question of all for a writer to answer. If you want someone, apart from family and friends, to buy the book you're writing, you must know what motivates your ideal reader.

Why would he or she be interested in buying your book? 

  1. For information. How-to books never fall out of fashion. A concise and easy-to-follow book relaying your area of expertise be it Making Toys for Poodles or Teaching Your Cat Swahili will always find an audience. The trick is to be sure you choose a subject which appeals to a reasonable number of people and which is not over-populated already.
  2. For pleasure or stress-busting. All readers have favourite genres from literary fiction to paranormal romance.
  3.  For interest. Put another way, readers buy from curiosity. I buy books through reviews I read in newspapers, magazines or the Internet. More and more I buy from trusted recommendations on social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook, and from authors I cybermeet and find interesting on these or similar sites.
 How do you write a best seller?

Ideally you will choose a niche which is popular but not flooded with best selling authors already. In practice, writers are apt to know what they want to write. And this is often what they like to read.

But, as a  slow writer,you cannot rely on jumping on this year's band wagon. The wagons inevitably roll  by and leave you polished, edited and stranded as yesterday's news. 

Both you and your book demand that you become equally proficient at communicating with your potential readers and this is a task you can never start too early.

Brand yourself as a writer.

There has never been a better time to learn how to do this. Many writers are paying back all the help they had at the start by encouraging and helping newbie authors.

Two websites I  recommend are Writers on the Move and  Writers and Authors.

Writers on the Move, the brainsite of marketing and promotion expert Karen Cioffi is peopled by a collection of savvy award-winning authors and marketing experts like Carolyn Howard Johnson. The article on her initial  Amazon launch is subtitled learning from mistakes.The new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter is now released on Amazon, expanded and updated and full of excellent budget ideas for making the best possible platform for your book sales.

Writers and Authors is edited by Jo Linsdell, a British writer now living with her husband in Italy. Jo is indefatigable when it comes to promotion and I am hoping to welcome her here later in the week on her blog tour celebrating her latest publication  Italian for Tourists.

Cast an eye over either or both of these sites and share what you learn that will make a difference to your own brand promotion whether your book is published or still a cherished WIP.

Not to be missed

Writers on The Move November Workshop 

Create and sell an Informational Product. A free how-to session on November 18. What could be better than that?

Low-cost workshop packages will be available for this and past workshop packages are listed on the site.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Punctuation and Motivation

Wednesday's Wicked Websites

Okay so it's no longer Wednesday but I always said I was a slow writer. You can see, thanks to thinking about the Kaizen Plan, I am getting steadier. Two posts in one week, whew!

Today's websites are not motivational in the sense of asking you to do anything about your mindset. I wouldn't dream of it.

They are motivational in that they consist of short actions which sound like fun and which could be used with promotional material.
I'm early for the first one to give you a fair chance to have entries in by closing date.

International Punctuation Day

Officially it's the Eighth National Punctuation Day tomorrow but it's now pretty international with entries last year coming from all over the world for their haiku contest.

This year, the competition consists of writing and punctuating a maximum of three sentences. Surely something we can all do. Even I might manage in time.

But, and here's the rub, your three sentence paragraph must include the following thirteen (13) punctuation marks:

apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than once.

As of yesterday there were already 108 entries received. You can check out the correct usage of each of the marks on the site or leave  a question at  Happy Editing.

Entries to Jeff (at) NationalPunctuationDay (dot) com through September 30

Promo idea

If  you're now worn out playing with punctuation Ps and Qs and need to recharge creatively, lots of sites now offer you the chance to make free banners.

I've been thinking up headers for my new website but on the way made lots of small banners and icons for sites like FaceBook and Twitter.

Google offers a great array of promotional sites but my favourite was Banner Fans. I found it straightforward, easy to understand and it did not ask me to reveal all my personal details to register. Hurrah.    I can see from this that the size need tweaking and my second line needs some height re-adjustment .That is easily done if you've saved the original information you selected.

Doing this online means registering your details. I used the old-fashioned method of pen and paper.

Twitter URLs

I'm often asked how to post short URLs in Twitter. I cheat. Twitter itself will shorten a URL so that you don't use up too many characters. If I'm retweeting, I just use the link and the link shortener already provided.

Lengthier answers and links can be found in the guide from

Again check carefully to ensure any outside site you use to help shorten the links is safe.

I need to talk. I'm a fan of Web of Trust. Just flagged it up quickly intending to recommend it and my computer flagged up the dire warning: "This site is deemed to be unsafe." LOL


Monday, 19 September 2011

Motivate Your Monday

 What Motivates You?

Slow writers are apt to have far too much time to think. Eyes glazed over, we languish from a surfeit of blogs, an overload of information.

We haven't finished our book, We have nothing to promote but ourselves and we're fast losing confidence in doing that.

Recognize the scenario? You need to get your work out there. You need to know someone else appreciates what you do.

Motivational Ideas: First Steps First

As a suggestion for rethinking your life, try The Kaizen Plan. The word is  Japanese and embodies the concept of continuous improvement through taking small steps--perhaps only a ten minute change daily to help you focus on and achieve your goals, whatever these may be.

Although I've used one of the writing links, you can scroll down the righthand side menu under categories and start from week 0 if you like.

Interesting as a displacement activity, the plan consists of some worthwhile ideas to keep you on track. Stop beating yourself up about the goals you haven't achieved. Think of the ten-minute steps you can take to boost your output starting now.

Writing Contests

Writing contests are a  good source of ideas as well as a motivator to speed up your writing. No use planning on doing one in three years' time. Bit the bullet. Get started and enter for something now. At worst, you will have one piece of work completed. At best, you may earn yourself a useful critique or even a following.

Two competitions  closing soon are The Writers' Village Autumn Award 2011, closing date September 30,  and two Wattpad contests with same closing date and, while you're on that page, check out the Watty awards. Maybe a bit late to gather a fan club by the Round One closing date but this is one you could be starting early for next year.

Always read past winning entries too, to give yourself a flavour of the writing that does well in the particular contest you decide to enter.

If you're really after a displacement activity try the Writing Contests page at Manuscript Editing dot com. Keep you busy for months.

Help Market Other Authors with your Blog

If you're finding it difficult to motivate yourself when it comes to blogging, have a look at a couple of authors who might just tempt you to write another post or two.

I  mentioned Terri Main's  website and blog last week but her offer still stands and it really is worth making the effort for this one.

Email her with "Free Book" in the subject line to receive a free e-copy of her Creative Calisthenics workbook, worth five dollars as well as an anthology of Carolyn Masters' Mysteries called Lunar Calendar. It includes one story never before published introducing a pintsized genius and a robotic cat, an exclusive excerpt from Dark Side of the Moon, and a $20 pre-launch discount on premium upgrades to courses offered on the new EducationWantsToBeFree website.

Her blog posts give a flavour of the book and it seems more than probable that her ideas, as promised, will start your imagination working overtime.

New to me was author Scott Nicholson's marketing technique

Promote his books this month and earn gift cards, freebies, and other great prizes! He says he'll be giving away 15 percent of his ebook income in September as a thanks to  readers and bloggers who spread the word about his books. His initial dollar giveaway for week one has ended. Now the giveaways are all on the sites listed in his main blog.
Interesting idea. And it looks like it's making him sales. 

Let me know if you find anything new to do after reading this. The Kaizen Plan is so far working for me. After all, what's ten minutes every day if it helps you crack on with something new?