Tips for Creating a Book Marketing Plan

One of my favorite blogs for authors and aspiring authors is “Between the Lines,” written by the agents at Books & Such Literary Management. The agents take turns writing about the publishing industry, so the content is always fresh and varied.

I enjoyed Janet Kobobel Grant’s post, “How to talk to your publisher about your marketing plan.” Her article is primarily directed to authors who have an agent and a contract with a royalty publishing house, but indie authors can adapt her suggestions.

Some of Janet’s key points:

Ask your publisher’s marketing department to send you a copy of your book’s marketing plan. List your questions (about the marketing plan) and run them by your agent.   read more >

Posted in Conferences and Workshops, Featured, Marketing No Comments

Why You Should Be Wary of One-Page WordPress Themes

Landing pages — stand-alone web pages that deliver a single marketing message and a single call-to-action — have been around for decades. They’re usually used to entice people to sign up for an offer or mailing list.

During the past year or so, one-page websites have exploded in popularity. Now, instead of functioning primarily as a sales tool, they’ve morphed into full-featured websites.

One-page websites work well for brands in their infancy and for sites that have a small amount of content.

This article shows you one-page websites we have developed for clients, and details two common problems with one-page WordPress themes.

  read more >

Posted in Featured, Responsive Design, WordPress Websites No Comments

How to Show Clients You Appreciate Them

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a customer service representative from one of our vendors. The rep did a terrific job; he listened patiently to my questions, showed me how to troubleshoot my problem, and removed a monthly surcharge that I didn’t need to be paying (that last one really made me happy).

He followed up our phone conversation with an email that referred me to several excellent tutorials on their website.

After this happy experience, I was feeling the love, so I posted a two-sentence rave about the vendor on the Blogging Bistro Facebook page. Of course, I linked to the vendor’s Facebook page so they could bask in the warm fuzzies. (I think that’s a mixed metaphor, but who cares?)   read more >

Posted in Customer service, Featured, Marketing No Comments

Re-Branding a Writers Conference, Phase 2

Two months ago, we shared the steps we’ve been taking to re-brand the West Coast Christian Writers Conference (I volunteer on the Board of Directors).

We changed the name of the organization, revamped the conference curriculum, moved the conference to a new location, designed a logo and ramped up our marketing efforts.

We created a one-page website that included the conference essentials. The “starter” website introduced the new brand to the world while the board members finalized the conference details.

We just launched the full-featured website (which replaced the one-page site). It’s a WordPress site that uses responsive design technology, meaning that it functions perfectly on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.   read more >

Posted in Branding, Client Spotlight, Conferences and Workshops, Featured, Responsive Design, WordPress Websites, Writing No Comments

The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Podcasts and Social Updates

When I teach blogging workshops, someone always asks, “How long should my blog post be?”

My response:

“As long as it needs to be to get your message across.”

In this era of tweet-sized attention spans, the KISS principle (Keep It Short and Simple) applies to blog posts, podcasts, videos, TED Talks, and Slideshare presentations.

A fantastic infographic created by Buffer and SumAll overviews ideal word counts and character counts for online media.   read more >

Posted in Blogging, Featured, Infographics, Podcasting, Social Networking 8 Comments

Five Cool Tips from a Blog Mentoring Clinic

By Norma Nill
Guest Columnist

I signed up for Laura Christianson’s Blog Mentoring Clinic at the 2014 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference because I was falling behind in maintaining three blogs yet wanted share them with more people.

Laura opened the clinic by asking, “Why blog?”

Cool Tip #1

A blog is the number one way to build trust.

I didn’t know that. But I knew I wanted to reach readers, get to know them, and build relationships.

Laura challenged us to ask, “How can my blog help my readers? What problems do they have that my blog could help them solve?”   read more >

Posted in Blogging, Conferences and Workshops, Featured, Guest Articles 13 Comments

Writing Contest Prize: Full Tuition to Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference!

Earlier this year, I got to know Kathy Ide, a freelance editor, writing mentor, and author. During the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Kathy and I served on the critique team and co-hosted a lunch and dinner table.

One morning, we joined several other faculty members for a field trip to nearby Santa Cruz, CA, where we ogled a pod of sea lions and sampled chocolate-covered bacon.

As Kathy and I deepened our friendship, I learned that she is not only smart and fun-loving, but she is also kind and generous. Kathy is sponsoring a “Promising Beginnings” contest in which the prize is a FULL SCHOLARSHIP ($897 value) to the 2015 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, March 27–31, 2015.   read more >

Posted in Conferences and Workshops, Featured, Writing 5 Comments

Children’s Author Diane Stortz Gets Brand Refresh

Children’s author, Diane Stortz, decided it was time to upgrade her Blogger blog to a website that would feature her books and her editing services.

She wanted a “look” that would appeal to her primary audience of parents and grandparents of young children, and her secondary audience of publishers and writers looking to hire an experienced editor. She wanted her brand to be bright, fun, contemporary, personable, and professional. A tall order!

In this article, you’ll learn how the Blogging Bistro team worked with Diane to update her logo, website, business cards, and social media accounts.   read more >

Posted in Client Spotlight, Featured, Responsive Design, WordPress Websites 2 Comments

7 Simple Steps to Create an Animoto Book Trailer Video

By Sherry Kyle
Guest Columnist

Did you know 30 seconds is enough time to capture someone’s attention? In fact, if you don’t grab them in the first 8 seconds, your viewer will move on to other things.

Here is the 30-second Animoto book trailer I created for my novel Watercolor Dreams, released today from HopeSprings Books.

Let me walk you through the seven-step process so you can make a book trailer of your own…

  read more >

Posted in Featured, Guest Articles, Marketing, Video 5 Comments

BriteVerify: An Inexpensive Tool for Shaping Up Your Email List

If you’ve been collecting names and emails for your e-newsletter and are now ready to begin using them, it’s a good idea to verify that the emails are valid before you import them to your e-newsletter list.


Because most email marketing services (such as MailChimp, AWeber, and Constant Contact) base their monthly fees on the total number of subscribers.

This article explains how BriteVerify works and includes examples of how two Blogging Bistro clients used the service to axe the deadwood from their email lists.   read more >

Posted in Featured, Marketing, Productivity Tools No Comments