Visual Quill Blog

Why Is Reading Important?

VQ Staff - Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Reading is so important, it has it's own day -- even though everyone should read everyday!

Now, why have a day to celebrate reading? Reading has so many benefits! Here are just a few:

Reading improves your attention span

Being able to close out the outside world and immerse yourself in a book is quite a skill! With a world full of distractions, being able to delve into a good book will help your concentration and focus over time.

via GIPHY

Reading reduces stress

In a study from Mindlab International at the University of Sussex, it was found that reading "works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea".

via GIPHY

Reading improves your memory

In our crazy busy, fast-paced lives, we oftentimes don't give our minds time to relax and take a breather. Reading allows us to do just that, which helps our comprehension and keeps our memory sharp!

via GIPHY

Reading is entertaining

Travel the world while sitting on your couch? Feel the warm summer weather through descriptive language while snow is falling outside? Reading is an activity that we can do anytime and anywhere!

via GIPHY

Readers enjoy the arts more

In a study by the NEA, it was found that "people who read for pleasure are many times more likely than those who do not to visit museums and attend concerts". As an added bonus, this study also found that people who read are also three times more likely to volunteer and do charity work!

via GIPHY

Reading boosts creativity

Reading is the best and easiest way to expand your vocabulary!

via GIPHY

 

Sources:

Why To Read: 10 Reasons Why Reading Books Will Save Your Life

Reading and Creativity: Read More to Boost Your Creativity

Benefits of Using GoodReads as an Author

VQ Staff - Thursday, August 18, 2016
Being active on social media is an important part of marketing yourself as an author and building an author platform, and what better than to use GoodReads, a social media site for readers and authors specifically! Here are just a few of the benefits of using GoodReads as an author:

1. Author profile

  • The most important part of being an author on GoodReads is to get an author profile! To do this, you must first make a basic GoodReads account if you don't have one already. Then, if your book (or multiple books) is in their database already, you can claim yourself as the author. If not, you'll need to complete a form with all of the details of the book. Once it gets approved into the database within a few days, you'll be able to do the same and claim yourself as the author. From there, complete the author profile with as much of the information as you would like to share. After all of this, you'll be able to market yourself on GoodReads with some of the below ideas.
2. Book giveaways
  • Everyone likes free books! According to the GoodReads website, 825 people on average enter win each book giveaway. They say the most successful book giveaways last a month and it is best to offer away ten books. That said, even those who don't win the giveaway are more likely to purchase and read your book because if they entered to win a free copy, that means they probably want to read it!
3. Connecting with readers/authors
  • Whether you join a GoodReads group or create one yourself, groups are a great way to connect and talk with other authors in a forum-like setting. With an Author Profile, you'll be able to create a Featured Authors Group where you can talk to fans of your work. They'll have the chance to ask you questions and you can promote and spark interest in your upcoming work!
4. Self-serve advertising
  • With advertising on GoodReads, you can target an audience and even specify which genres to target as well. Running advertising while doing a book giveaway can lead to even more entries.
Sources:

Authors of Instagram

VQ Staff - Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Deciding which social media platforms to use is an important part of successfully marketing your books. Using the platforms that your fans are on is the first step. Instagram is one of the most visual of the platforms and is most popular with millennials. With the image as the main focal point of each post, photos that grab a users attention make for the most engaging posts. As an author, here are a few fun ways to utilize Instagram:

1. Document the writing process

  • Readers and fans are always wanting to know about your day to day activities as you write your book. With the brand new Instagram Stories, you can give your followers a behind the scenes look at your typical day without filling up their feeds. Instagram Stories, very similar to Snapchat Stories, last for 24 hours and live at the top of the Instagram feed. They were introduced as a way to prevent over-posting and are a perfect way to document and share your writing process with your Instagram followers.

2. Cover/illustration sneak peek

  • Sneak peeks are always exciting to people! Whether it be the unveiling of the cover, a part of an illustration, or even a short snippet flipping through the book, this is sure to get readers interested!

3. Cover contest

  • Can't decide between two cover designs? Let your followers help you! By engaging readers in the process, they'll become more invested in your work.

4. Showcase your other passions and hobbies

  • If you have a loyal group of fans who enjoy your writing, chances are they might even have similar passions and hobbies! Opening up about the things you do when you're not writing is a great way to connect with your followers!

5. Outreach to other authors and readers

  • Social media is a great tool to connect with people all over the world! By connecting and following other authors and readers, you'll stay up to date with what's current in the industry and hear more about what other authors are up to.

6. Use relevant hashtags

  • Don't have a ton of followers on Instagram? Use relevant hashtags to get your pictures seen! Need help getting started? Here are a few popular hashtags used for writers: #WriterWednesday, #AmReading, #AmWriting, #AmEditing, #AuthorsOfInstagram, and #Bookstagram.

In need of social media marketing assistance? Visit our social media/marketing page and contact us today! And if you don't already, follow us on Instagram!

Book App: Shelfie

VQ Staff - Monday, August 08, 2016

Nowadays, most people have heard of the word "selfie". In fact, it was added to the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary in 2014! It's defined as "an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks". As authors, readers, and general fans of literature, you may or may not have heard of a similar word, a SHELFIE which is a picture of your bookshelf. 

The app Shelfie by BitLit has recently caught our eye. The app allows users to take a "shelfie" and get some from discounted or free audiobooks and e-books! All you have to do is point your camera at your bookshelf and Shelfie digitally recognizes which books you own and points you to eligible books available for free or discounted prices. To learn more about Shelfie, click the image below.


Sources:

http://time.com/4146187/shelfie-app-free-ebooks/

PNWA Conference Session Tweets

VQ Staff - Monday, August 01, 2016

Last weekend we presented at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference! With our panel of experts which included, Ross Swartwout, Scotty Iseri, and Gerri Russell, we discussed the importance of author platforms and how to effectively build them! Throughout the presentation, we tweeted out some "nuggets of wisdom" from our session. So, if you weren't able to be at the PNWA Conference or our session, here are a few takeaways from the presentation:

Whether you were at the PNWA Conference or not, we hope these tidbits of information can help you begin the process of building your author platform! Let us know if you're interested in any of our author services - book covers, book trailers, branding, author websites, social media and marketing, independent publishing, and more! 

Four Author Website Essentials

VQ Staff - Monday, June 27, 2016

An author's passion is writing, but having a website for publishers, readers, and everyone else can see is a great way to have a central place to show off your work. An author may have a good website, but what makes a GREAT author website? Here are 4 essentials:

  • Books
This may seem pretty obvious, but an author should have their books readily available on their website, right? An author's website should have every title that they have ever released along with a cover, synopsis, a link to purchase, and reviews. Having a link to purchase is a HUGE element to this component of the website! People are way more likely to buy the book if it is easily available to them, rather than hunting it down online or at the store themselves! Surprisingly, many authors don't have all of their books on their website - which is unfortunate since new readers may not realize there is more for them to read!

  • Social Media Links

If an author has an author Facebook page, GoodReads profile, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. then linking the accounts to the website will make it easier for website users to like or follow them on social media, but it also allows readers to know what the author's official account is - this can be especially useful if the author has a common name or does not have a verified social media account.

  • Blog
As we've mentioned before, an author's passion is writing... and blogs are a great place to show off even more of that passion at any moment the author wants to share! Blogs can help maximize the time users spend on the website, but they also allow users to read updates, learn more about the author's life, hear about upcoming events or book tours, and anything else the author wants to share!

  • About/Contact Page
Readers love learning more about their favorite authors. Chances are, if they like your books, you might share other similar interests! Having a "Contact Me" form or an email address readily available is an important part of this page as well since this will help fellow authors connect for collaboration, publishers and agents if they want to connect, or the media if they want an interview, copies of the book, etc.


Source: http://www.shewrites.com/m/blogpost?id=3506464%3ABlogPost%3A1031814 

Self Publishing: ISBN FAQs

VQ Staff - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

You may have heard of the term 'ISBN' and you most definitely have seen the black and white striped code on any book you have read, but what is it for? Here are a few answers to frequently asked ISBN questions to help self publishing authors navigate their way to publication!

  • First off, what is an ISBN?
An ISBN, which stands for International Standard Book Number, is just that. An internationally recognized 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books.

  • Why do books need ISBNs?
ISBNs identify each book that is published, and it also identifies the publisher of the book. The international standard identification is used by libraries, bookstores, wholesalers, and more!

  • Why do I need an ISBN for my book?
If you'd like to sell your book publicly in any way (to a library, at a bookstore, or online), you'll need an ISBN.

  • How do I get an ISBN?
The ISBN website, myidentifiers.com, is the only company authorized to sell ISBNs in the United States.

  • At what point in the writing process should I buy my ISBN?
You can purchase the ISBN at any point - even before you've started writing!

  • How much do they cost?
Buying one ISBN will cost you $125. However, if you plan on writing multiple editions or more books in the future, you can buy packages of 10, 100, or 1,000 which will ultimately save you money when you buy in bulk!

  • Can I use the same ISBN for the print and ebook editions?
ISBN is there to identify each edition separately, so you'll need separate ISBNs for print and ebook, as well as hardcover and softcover.

  • What information does my ISBN hold?
Once you purchase your ISBN, you will be able to enter all relevant metadata about the book - title, author, price, edition, etc. Keeping the metadata up to date is incredibly important as this information is used by search engines, libraries, and bookstores.

Visual Quill can help you with independent publishing! Whether it be e-book formatting, a formatted interior file, or cover print-on-demand, learn more about our services here and contact us today!

Want to share? Here is a ready-made tweet:

Click to tweet: What is an #ISBN and why do I need one when #selfpublishing? http://bit.ly/28NcuIf #VisualQuill

Sources:

Tip-Of-The-Tongue Syndrome

VQ Staff - Thursday, June 16, 2016

So you're writing, editing, or talking and you can think of the definition of the word you want to use, but you can't think of the actual word... what do you do?

This phenomenon is called Tip-Of-The-Tongue Syndrome and it happens to everyone at one point or another. Precise writing is critical, and using many words to describe something that can be summed up in one word can make your writing less confusing and more engaging!

The OneLook Thesaurus has a Reverse Dictionary feature that "lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be anything at all: a single word, a few words, or even a whole sentence."

 Here's a peek at the depth you can go into to find the word you're looking for!


With this reverse dictionary, your Tip-Of-The-Tongue Syndrome can be cured and you can be well on your way to continue writing without the delay of thinking of the word you're having trouble thinking of!

Want to share? Here is a ready-made tweet:

Click to tweet: Got tip-of-the-tongue syndrome? Here's some tips! http://bit.ly/28HMEMh @VisualQuill #tipofthetonguetip #amwriting


Source: http://www.onelook.com/thesaurus/

Authors on Social Media

VQ Staff - Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Nearly every business you know has a website and some sort of social media account today - whether it is a Facebook page, a Twitter or Instagram account, and more, there are SO many options available to connect with consumers! In today's world, a business needs to stay relevant and easily accessible to consumers in order for the best chance of earning sales and gaining loyal customers! Now, as an author, your writing is your business - you are an authorpreneur! Not only is it important to write compelling storylines and characters, but marketing your work and yourself to engage readers is important! After all, you do want your work to be read! Lucky for you, it's easier than it ever has been to connect with your readers by utilizing social media! Bookbub.com recently wrote a blog with some ideas on How Successful Authors Use Social Media. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Share a Quote

Posting a quote from your book (either an upcoming release or an older one), can spark excitement and curiosity from fans - both new ones and loyal readers! Don't know which quote to post? Ask your readers! They'll tell you their favorite passages!

2. Answer Fan Questions

Whether you do a Facebook Q&A or answer questions on GoodReads, this is an easy way to let readers read a little more insight into the characters and book, while at the same time engaging with them!

3. Show Off Your Passions

If your fans are interested in your writing, chances are they share your similar hobbies and interests! Share articles, pictures, and videos that interest you and showcase your personality and let your readers get to know you! Learning about the author behind their favorite books is a great way for readers to become more invested in all of your books and future books!

Want to share? Here is a ready-made tweet:

Click to tweet: Why should authors be utilizing social media more? http://bit.ly/1VVwZDS @VisualQuill #authorpreneur #bookmarketing

Self-Publishing Tips From An Author

VQ Staff - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

You know your end goal when you're writing a book - getting it published! However, for first-time authors, navigating the publishing world can be a struggle. In a post from imgur, first-time author Arsalan Ahmed answered user questions about his journey to self-publish his first book. He said that his book took him three months to write and a few weeks to edit, but the rest of the year was focused on figuring out how to self-publish.

One of the #1 questions he was asked was what expenses he encountered in order to sell his book. In his experience, he said, "ISBN: 300 | Front cover: 250 | Sleeve: 149 | editing: 2450. Those are the main expenses. I had a kickstarter so had some print commitments. You will incur additional costs to order your proof and such. Some other costs include getting mobi files made, getting help with uploading stuff to createspace and kdp but I decided to do all that by myself."

With questions wondering if the book turned out like he had imagined, he wrote, "I was pleasantly surprised that I stuck to the themes but shocked at how story elements showed up I hadn't originally thought about.  The editor of course pointed out things which fundamentally forces you to rethink everything you've done. The hardest part is realizing that even though you've told the story a certain way, you have an encyclopedia of knowledge about the universe in your head that never makes it into the book. It is hard for you to separate what you wrote and what is in your head. Editors don't have that luxury and it became important for me to incorporate her changes in, even if I did not like it because she was ultimately right."

When asked for advice on how to self-publish, he said, "Get yourself the free audible subscription trial . download the audio version of A.P.E. by Guy Kawasaki. It was of tremendous help. If you plan on publishing through Amazon, you do not necessarily need ISBN numbers but if you decide to go that route, buy 10. If you are in the US, use Booker (myidentifier.com)."

For his full question and answer on imgur, click here.

For a look at the author services we offer at Visual Quill, including book trailers, author branding, book covers, and more, visit our website.