A surprising new book

You may have read an earlier post where I talked about how to promote books on Squidoo. I’ve become fairly addicted to Squidoo over the past few weeks, and whilst I am yet to actually note any sales as a direct result of my marketing there, I am having fun. In addition, creating a lens about how to write a great vampire novel seemingly triggered a creative thought process in my brain, and now I started a new book!

With it being NaNoWriMo this month, and the fact that I haven’t really got off the starting block with the third Inside Evil book, I’ve been a little worried. I’ve failed at NaNoWriMo for two years running, mostly because I just haven’t sat down to write, rather than attempting and failing miserably. I have no interest in writing a vampire story, it’s really not my thing, but my Squidoo lens talked about the importance of bringing something new to a genre, of putting your stamp on it, of creating a new tale with one or two features that are original. Finding originality in literature is incredibly hard these days as most things have already been written. Then, choosing to write in a small genre, such as vampires, makes the task even harder. But it got my brain thinking, and last night I had a flash of inspiration for, uh-oh, a zombie story.

The inspiration occurred to me yesterday, and I decided to write some notes and shelve the idea for a while. After all, I’m in the middle of writing TWO book series. Plus, I’ve NEVER wanted to write about zombies. However, as I was working at a gardening client’s today, the novel just wouldn’t leave me alone. Ideas were coming thick and fast, and I’ve just ended up writing a 3,000 word first chapter for the book! I don’t have time to write a full length novel, not when I’ve got other series in motion, but a short 20k/30k novella might be OK. So, it’s decided, this NaNoWriMo I AM going to participate. I’m going to write my first ever short story. I’m going to take a leaf out of Hugh Howey’s book, and throw a short out there and see if it gains traction. If it does, I’ll write more. If it doesn’t, I’ll be happy that I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time and crafted my writing skills a little more.

I’m excited! I’m off to write!

How to use Squidoo to promote your ebook

When it comes to marketing, I’m a firm believer of promoting in as many places as possible. The internet makes this quite easy as you can sign up to article websites and PR providers all over the place, helping to spread your author name and novel titles. Increased exposure helps to build both branding and awareness, and so getting as many mentions across the Internet is a GOOD thing.

I should say before I continue, that Squidoo is no quick fix or easy way to promote your ebook. Like most other platforms, it requires time and patience, and if you’re looking to only invest a couple of hours on squidoo and reap huge benefits, then you’re probably wasting your time. It’s probably not the best way to market a book, and I’m also fairly new to the website so I’m not a pro either. It’s a huge time sap too, and I’ve been spending hours on there over the past few days when I could have been doing better things. However, I like to take a time out between writing books to formulate plans, and squidoo has been quite fun to use, hence this post. In addition, recent reports listed by the site showed that it was the 64th most visited website in the US, and gained 2 million hits in just one day this year, so there is big potential to attract readers.

BUT, what exactly is Squidoo?

Simply put, squidoo is a website where you create articles (called lenses) about specific topics using the platform’s ready built webpages and modules. Think Ezine Articles, About.com etc. Anyone can join, anyone can build, and the best feature is that anyone can earn money from their Amazon modules. Amazon modules that can point directly to your books.

HOW can it help me promote?

The best way Squidoo can help you promote your books is by building an online encyclopaedia of your work. You can create lenses for your books, link these to lens of your characters, or places, or book themes. Think Wikipedia, but a wiki for your work created by you.

So far I’ve created an Inside Evil lens, The Tower of Souls lens and several others. I’ve linked them together. I’ve added Amazon links, a poll of favourite characters, a simple cast list and a ‘Did you know?‘ section.

 

The more ‘likes’, comments, tweets etc that you get for a page, the higher it’s visibility becomes. And, of course, in the same way that you should be commenting on blogs, responding to tweets, and pasting FB marketing material to promote your book every day, a few updates on your lenses can work wonders. Once you’ve spent the time creating, you can simply check in every day, update, respond to comments and factor the time into your marketing schedule.

EARN points and level up

Whilst Squidoo isn’t a game as such, you do start at level one and earn points as you go. These points are equal to expertise, and each time you level up, you unlock new features for your lenses and additional ways to climb up the community ladder. It’s a fun side to squidoo, and you’ll keep wanting to earn points like mad just to see what’s waiting. You can breathe a sigh of relief when you reach level 85 as that’s the top, but as I’m currently only 22, there’s a fair way to go.

BEWARE,  it’s a time suck

Like many social platforms, Squidoo is a total time suck and isn’t for everyone. You need to enjoy the experience of making lenses and taking part in the community if you’re to benefit at all. Looking at it only as a promotional tool probably won’t work. In addition, you’ll probably need to create more lenses than just your book ones, and this means that you need to actually enjoy using the website. I’ve created lenses in Pets,  Entertainment and How To as a way to draw traffic to my profile and build my squidoo presence.

I’m not advocating that squidoo is about to be a ground-breaking new promotional too, but I’ve enjoyed using it over the past couple of days. If it proves successful, I’ll drive traffic towards my books whilst earning commission on their sales (and any other items I add to my Amazon modules). If you have some spare time, then take a look. You can find my profile HERE, and start exploring this world of virtual squids.