Featured Author: Barbara Robin

Author: Barbara Robin

Book Title: I Should have Married a Cowboy

Book genre: Non-fiction

I SHOULD HAVE MARRIED A COWBOY is a non-fiction series of stories told in the manner I try to live my life – with honesty and humor. The oldest of nine children, my formative years were spent in Vanderhoof, Terrace, Kitimat, and Fort St. James; my family, like these communities, all caught up in the post war boom. Through this period of parental wanderlust, I was provided with endless opportunities for adventure and discovery, right up to the moment I was brought to heel by rheumatic fever at the age of 14. Two bouts later, probably hoping to forestall trouble, my parents sent me off to a convent school in the lower mainland. The experience changed my life considerably but that set back did not dampen my romantic curiosity or stop me from becoming a teen-age bride soon followed by the daunting task of raising a handi-capped son.  

Inspiration:

My stories speak to the many challenges, heartaches and opportunities I have faced over the years but it is also a testament to resiliency and determination. 

When I was writing the book I struggled with some of the deeply personal stories and I wondered if perhaps I was being too honest. One day I was discussing my concern with my brother and fellow author, Peter Robin. His comment was, “if your story helps just one woman get out of an abusive relationship you’ve done your job.” Thanks Pete.

Writing and Self-Publishing Process:

If I had the opportunity to change one thing about my writing process it would be to have more patience. If I could start over I would set the book aside, walk away for six months or a year and then come back to it. I know that’s difficult to do, it’s like walking away from your baby but distancing yourself for a period of time allows you to come back and reread it with fresh eyes. 

I am fortunate the staff at Blitzprint were so knowledgeable and patient. It was my first publishing experience and they helped me immensely with the format and design. I made countless adjustments and corrections before approving the final draft but their diligence insured I would be happy and proud of the book.   

I can be contacted on my author Facebook page: “I Should have Married a Cowboy” or at: babsie@telus.net    

*If you are an author that has printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here


10 Social Media Post Ideas for Promoting Your Book

A good set of goals to have when creating social media content for your book is high engagement on a post, as well as a spike in website traffic driven by your post. Successful branding and content can lead a potential customer to enter the sales funnel, ultimately leading to a purchase of one or more of your book titles.

We have compiled a list of 10 social media content ideas to help you reach these goals as an author:

  1. Introduce yourself to the audience
    • As an author, you are your brand. It’s important that your audience knows a little about you. When they purchase your books, they are supporting your brand, meaning it helps if they like you and what you are about.
  2. Q&A sessions
    • Q&A sessions allow you to engage with the audience directly. One existing or potential customer may ask a question that may apply to another customer. Q&A sessions also increase engagement on your social media posts or stories, which can help your content reach a wider audience.
  3. Encourage book reviews
    • I cannot stress enough how powerful peer reviews are when it comes to determining whether to purchase a product or service. We tend to trust our peers, and look for patterns when reading reviews. If the general consensus looks fairly negative, that might sway someone away from purchasing a product or service, and vice versa. This is why influencers are growing in popularity among brands. Company’s realize that a peer’s opinion is able to sway someone far better than a celebrity endorsement because they are actually relatable.
  4. Announce book signings and other events
    • Let your social media following know when you have an upcoming event such as an author book signing, and encourage them to attend.
  5. Share the behind the scenes of the writing process (before the book is finished)
    • The idea behind the scenes plays into your brand as well. It deepens the connection with the audience and can feel exclusive.
  6. Share a photo of your workspace
    • Show where the blood, sweat and tears were shed when writing your book.
  7. Announce when and where your book is available for purchase
    • This point seems very simple, however, is key for driving sales. People are not going to go out of their way to find out where to purchase something. The easier the process, the more likelihood of someone completing a purchase. Tell your audience where to go, and at the very least, they might check out your site.
  8. Share a short paragraph about your inspiration to write the book
    • Sharing your inspiration for writing can enable a deeper connection between an author and an audience. The ‘why’ is equally as important as the ‘what.’
  9. Link to your other titles
    • Let your audience know that you have other books. Maybe they read one and would be interested in reading the other ones.
  10. Share fan photos with the book
    • Similarly to the idea of book reviews, seeing other people engage with your books can encourage one to visualize themselves reading it too. This can almost serve as “proof” that other people are reading and enjoying the books. When you share someone’s social media post, they tend to feel valued as well, because it shows that you appreciate them as a customer, spending their money, and investing their time to read your title(s).
social media

If you are looking to self-publish a book, get in touch with us here for your personalized quote today.


Author Website: a How-to Guide

You wrote a book, now what? You need to create an author website. Marketing is key to generating sales for your book or book series, and a strong author website is an important component of this. That is why we have composed a how-to guide to point you in the right direction. There are a few things that you need to think about when creating your website, including what hosting platform to choose, and what pages and information to include. We break it all down for you here;

Why it’s important to have a strong author website:

People appreciate convenience. The easier the process, the more likely someone might be to purchase something. Ensuring that your website is clear and not confusing will play in your favor in generating potential sales. A strong website also can be a reflection, in the consumer’s eyes, of a strong product (your books).

Choosing a platform:

Here are a few of the user-friendly website platforms I suggest to use for your author website. Each of these makes the process easy to learn, and there are many Youtube videos or other articles available if you are unsure of how to do something on the site.

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy
  • Weebly

Once you have chosen your platform, you need to purchase a domain for your site.

What pages should you include on your author website:

You don’t want to over complicate things, but there are certain pieces of information that are relevant and important to include on your site. These include:

  1. Bio.
    • When people purchase your book or series, they are buying into you as well. You are your brand. If your personal story resonates with someone, they might be more inclined to want to purchase your product. Sometimes, the bio is just an opportunity to connect with others and share a little about yourself.
    • You may include the inspiration behind your story or a little about your history. You can also choose to share personal information such as the city you reside in, your family, and what you do for a living. Don’t go too far in-depth with this information.
  2. Books
    • Include a write up on each of your books. You may choose to offer excerpts from the books as well so people can sample what the content is like. Include photos of the book covers on this page.
  3. Reviews
    • Asking or incentivizing customers to review your book upon reading it is a very valuable tool that you can and should include on your website. People place a high value on the opinion of their peers.
  4. Contact info
    • Having a strong website ties into the need to have strong social media pages as well. Social media is a powerful tool to reach new audiences and connect with current ones. That’s a whole other topic, but it’s important to mention the need to include these links on your website so visitors can check out your pages. Additionally, it’s important to link your website in your social media posts to drive traffic there.
  5. Purchasing section
    • If you choose, you can include a page where customers can directly purchase your book. Alternatively, you can link to another page where people can purchase a copy. Either way, make sure that the available options for purchasing your books are clear.  

Analyzing your website traffic

A website is not something that you should simply create and then never touch again. You should consistently update your site, whether this consists of linking your social media feeds to your site, or writing a blog.

The most important part, however, is the analysis of website traffic. With a resource such as Google Analytics, so much valuable information is available to you. Some of the metrics I would suggest paying attention to include:

  • Bounce rate (generally, you want a lower bounce rate)
  • Demographics (location, age, gender, etc.)
  • Website traffic referral – where is your website traffic coming from?
  • What pages are most visited on your site

Paying attention to these aspects is important in driving your decisions on whether to edit pages, get rid of some, or make other changes on parts of the site that aren’t working optimally for driving sales. Analyzing something such as demographics can influence your other marketing decisions.

Hopefully this author website how-to guide provided some clarity on the layout and contents of your website so that potential buyers can learn about you and your book, and purchase a copy without difficulty.

Looking to print a book? Connect with us at https://blitzprint.com/request-a-quote/.


What size should my book be?

rulerThe first thing that I am going to recommend when deciding what size to make your book is to think about what type of book you have. Is it a novel, a self help book, a family history, etc. Once you have determined what kind of book you are dealing with, think about other books that you have seen in that genre. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Don’t be afraid to walk into a book store and spend an afternoon going through those books, and writing notes about those things. It is a lot easier to make decisions if you know what you like.

Economical Book Size

For book sizes, your most economical sizes often are between 5 x 8 and 6 x 9. They tend to give you a great bang for your buck in size. Those sizes are your most common bookshelf sizes, and when you compare the number of words per page that you get to the pricing, they tend to be the value sizes. Anything smaller will be less expensive, and anything larger will cost more. With digital printing, typically we will print 2 pages, back to back, multiple times up on a sheet. If you go larger than 6 x 9, you will get less on a sheet. With a size like 4 x 7, you will get more up on a sheet. Typical book sizes are 4 x 7, 5 x 7, 5 x 8, 5.5 x 8.5, 6 x 9 and 8.5 x 11. If you want to get wider than 9.5”, you are going to have to, at that point, go from a normal digital or offset press up to a large format offset press. That will cause a price jump that can be quite noticeable.

Common Sizing

Typically 4 x 7 is referred to as a pocket book. 5 x 8 through 6 x 9 are common novel sizes. Typically, most family histories that I see come through are 8.5 x 11. With that being said, there are no limitations to the size that you want your book based on usually’s or typically’s. Make your book the size that you like. It is, after all, your book. Of course, if you are going to try to market your book, try to stay realistic in sizes. People may not want to pay more money for your book just because it is a unique size.

For more information on self publishing visit our website.


Featured Author: Amelia Lionheart, Local Calgary Author

JEACs

These books are Educational, Fun, adventures, where the Facts about the animals are accurate, while the locations, plots, incidents and the characters, are fictional, but plausible. There are five books, so far, in the series, and the adventures are based on animal conservation centres – in different countries (Amelia has lived in, or visited, these countries), with the focus on a different animal in each adventure. In the books, children are introduced to basic information/ideas on topics such as: captive breeding; releasing animals back into the wild; relocation; and other work being done in Conservation Centres, in Canada and around the world, to protect animals from becoming extinct or endangered. The JEACs in the books travel to different countries during their vacation from school and have an adventure!

The books are cosmopolitan, and have basic good values such as: respecting everyone, empathy and caring towards others – especially those not as fortunate as ourselves, self-discipline, humour and the ability to laugh at ourselves, teasing but not bullying, understanding and not discriminating against people who are different from us, etc. They encourage: fundraising, volunteer work, discovery and use of talents, etc. Since French, Spanish, Latin, Hindi, Sinhala, Italian, Australian, as well as some very British words and expressions, are used in the books – each book has a Glossary.  The Snow Leopard and Grizzly Bear books also have a Foreword by Dr. Doug Whiteside. Dr. Doug, is the Senior Staff Veterinarian at our Calgary Zoo, and is an eminent Zoo Veterinarian in North America. He is also a Professor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. 

Amelia is thrilled that the REAL GROUP OF JEACs in Calgary – incredible and talented groups of youngsters, have done amazing work and have participated in numerous fundraising events with her.

What inspired you to write your books? One of my assignments when I was doing my Diploma (I have a Diploma in Writing for Children and Teenagers from The Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut, U.S.A.), required me to “state 5 facts, and then use all, or some of them, in a 2,000 word story”.  I chose to write a story titled “Peacock Feathers” about a boy on a Conservation Centre, named Rohan. My instructor told me it would make a good adventure story; I “fleshed it out” from 2,000 words to around 60,000 words, added several characters, (Rohan being the eldest of the JEACs, and one of the MAIN CHARACTERS, did a great deal of research on conservation centres, animals, etc., created the JEACs groups in the first book (Peacock Feathers), and – Hurray! My JEACs series began! 

I adore animals, I’m a bookaholic who reads an eclectic selection of books, loves series, education, knowledge, learning, and humour and, naturally, big and interesting words; travel and multiculturalism, fundraising, volunteer work etc.!  I have always loved Fact and Fiction, and believe very strongly in the conservation of wildlife and, in particular, the conservation of endangered species; I am convinced that awareness of this issue, when imbued in children at an early age, is a vital step towards saving our planet.  I enjoy working with the JEACs, and other young people who are aspiring authors!

If you could go back and change one thing about the process of writing or designing what would it be? I wouldn’t change the creative process at all, and my publishers are great!

Please visit the following link to learn more.

www.jeacs.com

Email: amelia.lionheart@shaw.ca – Please note, ALL children who contact Amelia, either through her website or email, MUST COPY A PARENT IN THEIR EMAIL.

*If you have printed a book with us and would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out to alisha@blitzprint.com.*

If you have a book that you are looking to print or inquire about publishing, please get in touch with us here