HOW TO CREATE A SELF HOSTED BLOG TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK AND BRAND YOURSELF Pt.1

jonathan ebookIts an amazing Monday for Mr. J. Okanlawon, whose book, The Lasgidi Entrepreneur went up on amazon.com today. Congratulations Mr. Okanlawon. I basically saw him through the whole writing process and I’m overjoyed myself that the toils are paying off. Next we’ll focus on the promotion of the book and seek out more ways to get the book into the hands of the more readers by leveraging the power of the internet.

To the Nigerian author, more than ever before its time to take your writing to the marketplace without fear of rejection in a more professional way, and find more ways to promote your book and brand yourself.

Last week I spoke a bit on promoting your book and branding yourself with free blogs, but now I want to focus on the self-hosted blogs which allows you to be more flexible and portrays you as a professional. In today’s PowerPoint presentation I began the beginning stage of getting a self-hosted blog and that is getting a domain name.

Getting a domain name is the first step, and the right name for your blog is important not just as a writer but also as a professional. Where the free platforms functionalities end, your freedom begins as a professional Nigerian writer with a self-hosted blog.

When asked for your blogsite, you can simply reply proudly.

  • Only Choose Dot-Com Available Domains
  • Make it Easy to Type
  • Make it Easy to Remember
  • Keep the Name as Short as Possible
  • Reject Hyphens and Numbers
  • Don’t Follow the Latest Trends

Give it a try and you’ll stand out from the crowd with your work.

KINDLY FIND PRESENTATION BELOW

 

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HOW TO SET-UP A FREE BLOG USING WORDPRESS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK AND BRAND YOURSELF

wordpressIt goes without much controversy that women are good at multitasking while men suck at it no matter how hard they try. I honestly confess that I’m a victim of trying so very hard to multitask as good as many ladies do but I fall short every time so I give up…probably if I ever learnt how to do it this post would have been up on Monday but it didn’t work out.

As you already know I have become an evangelist of using a blog to promote your books and your writing and that’s why I posting this powerpoint so you can give it a try.

Truth be told, no matter how simple you make things not everyone is going to act…just the irony of life. So I’m going to fool myself that you want to promote your books, your writing or your skills and brand yourself otherwise….(I’ll just smile and say you’re one of the wanna-bes).

I have ranted and raved about the why- and what- of actually starting a blog so I’m not going to bore you with that just get to the bottom of this post smile at yourself and do nothing…YES, DO NOTHING.

You’ll probably read this, slide through it and do nothing because you’re part of the 99% of the world’s population that cry and wail about the economy, your finances and sit tight hoping the government will remember you and wire some money to you.

Blah blah blah…

Anyway before I run away before I get stoned or burnt at the stake for sounding like a heretic I really want you to know that what I’m sharing with you in this powerpoint presentation is something I have tried and I know that it works otherwise I won’t be recommending it.

In church, they always say don’t preach what you can’t live…and I’m no hypocrite.

Here’s my 2 pence thought…I have tried both blogger and wordpress, and I love wordpress (still do).

Flip through ‘em, read through ‘em, use ‘em, share ‘em….the ball is in your court.

KINDLY FIND PRESENTATION BELOW

HOW TO SET-UP A FREE BLOG USING BLOGGER TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK AND BRAND YOURSELF

BLOGGERFinally, it’s Friday and we all can’t just wait to get this weekend started…at least I can’t wait. For the past days I have been talking about how you can leverage technology and harness its power to advantage. My focus has always been to veteran, aspiring  and of course the wanna-be writer.

So to sign off for the weekend I created a power point presentation demonstrating how you can create a blog account on blogger.com and start promoting yourself.

I know a lot of authors who are struggling to give their books the exposure it deserves and I intentionally did this presentation for them because it hurts me to see them trying to do go the traditional way when there are better and more effective ways of spreading word about their books.

This presentation is downloadable and you can go through it as often as you want, and just incase you have difficulties or any questions feel free to send me an email at zion@entrepreneurhunt.com and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

Next we’ll also be talking about creating a free blog account on the wordpress platform, and next about how you can actually get a self-hosted blog that allows you more flexibility and a better professional look.

Until then, have a great weekend.

KINDLY FIND PRESENTATION BELOW

Introduction to Blog Set-up for the Nigerian Author/Writer

blog tinsYesterday, I spoke about why I think the Nigerian writer/author needs a blog and recently I found a blogger friend of mine, who is also preaching the same gospel to lawyers who want to take their practice to the next level and reach more clients with their service. The reason for talking about this is because it cuts across industries and is not stopping anytime soon. But before we get started let me remind you of the 4 basic reasons behind why you should get a blog in the first place.

  • Authority: Blogging helps to position you as an authority in the chosen field. When you continuously offer value to your readers by what you blog or write on concerning specific topics, the people who follow your blog will begin to see you as an authority in that area.
  • Branding: With a blog you get to brand yourself, putting yourself out there for so many people to see and get to know you. You stand the chance of becoming a well-known writer, or author, without advertising.
  • Outreach: A blog gives you a wider range of people to meet and interact with. Your blog tells people about you and helps you pass out all the information you want to share with them about your ideas, what you can do, and what you are offering the society.
  • Archiving: With a blog you get the benefit of being able to archive your resources, articles you have written or materials you would like to keep safe. The web or internet can be used as storage for all your notes, materials and resources, in case of fire, theft, etc.

Setting up a blog is really easy and I will be taking you through the process step by step. We will be going through a series of posts which will deal with blogs and their set ups and how you can take advantage of them

There are two types of blogs:

» Free blogs

» Self-hosted blogs

» Free Blogs: These are blogs you don’t have to pay anything to use. They are on platforms that are already owned and managed by companies or individuals (eg, blogger.com owned by Google and wordpress.com).

Some of the disadvantages to using these blogs are:

» You do not own your domain for example your blog will be named www.yourname.thenameotheplatform.com, which can be a little clumsy if the name is rather long.

» You do not get the privilege to choose from a variety of themes and templates. Your choice is limited to what is on the platform.

» The blog is not your own, therefore you have no control over it, because your blog is hosted on another site. If the owners of the site feel your blog does not fit with their policies, they can very easily terminate it.

Self-Hosted Blogs: Are blogs owned by the individual who purchased it, which means to have these type of blog you have to pay to acquire the domain name and also to get it hosted.

» With this kind of blog you are in control, and it gives you a more professional look. This is really good for people who want to blog long-term.

» You get access to a much larger variety of themes and templates which you can use to beautify your blog.

» There are no restrictions as to what you can do on your blog. So in my opinion, it is wiser to get the self-hosted blog.

Why the Nigerian Author/Writer needs a blog

recommended_blogThe sacred truth that writers are men/women of thought cannot be overemphasized, and a man/woman of thought is without doubt a man/woman of words which is very powerful. Since the beginning of time words have created things, toppled kingdoms and built empires and with technological advancement on the rise there are better means that Nigerian writers can leverage in spreading word about their work and getting people to read them and over the next couple of days I will be talking about how you can set up your very own blog to share your ideas and get people to know you.

Why the Nigerian writers need blogs?

I have browsed online for best-selling authors around the world and have come across some astounding writers and their work. I even went a step further in subscribing to their list to constantly get updates from them. It’s rather unfortunate that when we think about writers in Nigeria who have written books we were rarely find blogs or website devoted to promoting their books or ideas but just a link to their facebook page or a group they are in where they posts things once in a very blue moon. I many times wonder how they intend on standing out that way.

So here’s my recommendation for every Nigerian writer or author, and it’s very simple…get a blog.

What is a blog?

Remember back in the days when people kept diaries, where they wrote personal stuffs about themselves, how their day fared, or their feelings towards someone or something and always kept it secret. A blog is quite similar to that, the only difference is that its online, and you can choose to make it either private or public.

There are several definitions attached to blogs, and here are a couple;

  • A blog is a website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.
  • According to wikipedia, a blog is a discussional or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries(“post”) typically displayed in reverse sequential order( the most recent post appears first)

So lets make it very simple, and this is my own definition…hope you like it.

“A blog is an online diary where you can post information, pictures, videos and is updated daily or weekly or however you so choose to.”

P.S.: A blogger is a person who owns and runs a blog.

A blog allows you to publicize yourself or a product or service you offer or just basically express yourself. So many people have made substantial incomes for themselves by owning and running successful blogs…a little extra income wouldn’t hurt.

Setting up a blog is a worthwhile investment for your writing career and should be taken seriously especially if you’ve written a number of books. It’s the perfect platform you can share the inspiration behind a particular story or poem and sensitize people reading appetite till they eventually order your book.

Moreover a blog compliments your self-publishing efforts and can be the perfect marketing or promotional platform for your book and therefore shouldn’t be overlooked.

Writers write, and readers read and blogging helps you engage more readers not just in your locality but around the world, even to places where you can never get to your blog can get you there and with the advent of several social media platforms the experience is magical.

The sole purpose of getting you to brand yourself online as a writer and in doing so there are a couple of things you may need to consider, and first among them is the name of your blog. When I mean name I mean what a visitor will have to type to get to our blog. Here’s an example:

Mr. Tunji Ayodeji is a writer who has written several books, one of which is Green lily. Now if he were opening a blog he could use his name or the name of his book ( www.tunjiayodeji.com or www.greenlily.com) but the former would be more preferable since there is a chance he might write more books and may want to use the same platform to publicize his books. So in making reference to his work people could search him out on facebook and check out his blog and learn more about him and possibly purchase a book.

This concept I’m sharing is really not new but is being used around the world by existing writers but rarely implemented by Nigerian authors for reasons beyond my comprehension.

In my next post I’ll be sharing how you can set up your own personal blog and start promoting your books.

Did things fall apart for Chinua Achebe?

I was heading out to IkejaDid things really fall apart for Chinua Achebe? and I just happened to hop into a keke Napep on Allen, there was a guy already in the keke and he was holding the last
work of the reknowned Chinua Achebe; There was a Country. This was one of his works that received a lot of criticism for several reasons, and in my opinion I think all writing should have its very own share of controversy which is what makes it a masterpiece. No controversy no masterpiece. I had not read the book so I was a bit curious to skid through its pages perhaps my eyes will gaze upon some controversial truths that had been circulating around. So out of curiosity I kindly requested for the book, I flipped and flipped through a few pages until finally I got that feeling that history will always be none other than what it is …history, and whatever slant we choose to take out is our personal opinion which everyone is entitled to, and Chinua Achebe inclusive.

Controversy on issues will always exist as long as there are human beings still walk the planet, and the higher you rise in societal status the more pressing and domineering they become because everyone wants to topple your idea for several reasons whether political or religious including those that don’t deserve it.

Though it’s not much of a concern to me I kind of wonder why at the twilight of his life Chinua Achebe decided to publish such a controversial work.

After Things fall Apart, which received appraisals worldwide and has sold over 10 million copies, even included in School’s curriculum both within and outside Nigeria, Chinua Achebe had the choice of living a luxurious quiet life riding on the wings of that glory but instead he chose to reminisce on what would have been that never was.

Except perhaps he had secretly harboured that dream and nourished and nurtured the memory of it…a dream that would never be born. So he decided to birth the words on paper and subtitle it A Personal History of Biafra.

Whether unconsciously or consciously all writers crave immortality through their writings, something they can leave behind after they’re dead and gone, a few bread crumbs like the story of Hansel and Gretel that someone from the future can follow and maybe do something with it.

I like to view a seasoned writer as a sower who goes out to sow seed, some will fall by the wayside, some among the stones, some among thorns but a remnant will surely fall on good ground that would mature some 30 fold, some 60 fold and some 100 fold. Just don’t stop sowing.

Well, I don’t know what Chinua had in mind, but I sure do love his guts both as a Nigerian and as an ex-Biafran. To Chinua it was a personal history of Biafra, but to some it is a dream that will never die but will be passed on from generation to generation like a torch.

RIP Chinua.

A Book is the idea behind most Movies you watch

interior2361It was summer time back in 2002 and I was on vacation in the US at that time. Strolling through the aisle in the electronic section of Wal-Mart in Ohio, and right there on the big screen came the preview of Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring, which had been released the previous year. Personally speaking it was love at first sight and at that moment I knew I needed to watch that movie. I have to admit that I’m not so much of a movie person but the Lord of the Ring Trilogy has left a lasting impression on me and to be honest I’m still hooked to it because it possesses quality and value I can’t really put into words.

However, the shocking reveal is the thought that The Lord of the Ring was a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien over a 12 year period (1937 -1949) during World War 2, and is considered to be one of the best-selling novels after selling about 150 million copies.

Basically I’m not here to tout for J.R.R. Tolkien, because even if I did he barely knows I exist neither do I get paid for it even if I did so but the point I’m trying to bring out is that how can a book first published in 1954 become so high in demand not just in print alone but in motion picture….it’s amazing. The Lord of the Ring Trilogy also happens to be the second film to break the $1 billion record and win 11 Oscar awards a feat only Ben-Hur and Titanic had achieved.

To be honest I have not read the book but the movie brought the book to life, and with 150 million copies sold it’s obvious people love it.

Now here’s my 2 pence thought:

A book is like fine wine (even though I don’t drink) that sometimes has to be written and left on a shelf to mature so that people can appreciate its taste when its time comes. Although it varies for some books but there is still that period it must go through before it is appreciated by all.

There are many other movies you probably would have paid your hard earned money to go and see that originated from a book. Writers are powerful people so don’t underestimate your ability to impact your generation with your story.

If we met J.R.R. Tolkien in 1937 and asked him if what he was writing really mattered or does he think he would even sell 1,000 copies, he probably would tell us he doesn’t know, so what makes someone start writing without having an idea of its acceptance by readers? I guess it’s just an act of faith afterall if everyone who picks up a pen to write knows he/she would sell 150 million copies at the end we miss the fun part and there’s nothing creative to it.

In conclusion, whenever you buy a 10-in-1 movie from your movie vendor, or visit Ozone, Silverbird Cinemas or wherever you go to watch movies pay attention to the credits because it just might be from a book, and whether it’s from a book or not it is someone’s idea that was penned down before it became motion picture. So when are people going to go to the cinemas to see a movie adapted from a book you wrote.

Next I’ll be talking about our very own here in Nigeria and the impact of his work on a global scale.

The Art of sharing an idea with a Book

ShareBookListOn the 17th of May, I gave a presentation at the 21st Century Entrepreneurs Event hosted by the iVEN TEAM at Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja which I titled How to Use Amazon to share your ideas (you can download my slides here). The focus of my presentation was to show people how to leverage on big brands like Amazon.com( by the way Amazon.com is the largest online retail store in the world) to promote their books and share their life story or any story at all with more people and get paid for it. In a country like Nigeria where everyone is scared of sharing their ideas with the next person for fear that they might run away with it, people hide big ideas and eventually kill it unknowingly just because they don’t want the next person to know about it.

However, all the great inventions that exist today came about because someone shared it with others. Imagine if Isaac Newton didn’t share his idea about the Laws of Motion and gravity or imagine if Albert Einstein refused to share his E=mc2 formula or Mark Zuckerburg refused to launch his facebook idea because someone else might steal it or copy him…its crazy right?

What I’m trying to say is we were born to share something with another and when we hold things back we do nothing other than cheat ourselves.

P.S.: die empty, leave no dream or idea left behind try everything and share everything which is what I’m doing here and for more freebies go here and get my book for free.

Which brings me to what I really want to talk about and this is not just for writer alone but for everyone or anyone who feels they have a story or an idea to share with the world. Books will always be a part of our society, and it’s not going away anytime soon. There may be technology advancement which means that books may take many forms but the power or the ability of words to inspire change will not change.

Now here’s the reason why Amazon.com is encouraging writers to publish their book on their platform:

On November 19, 2007, Amazon.com launched the kindle device, with the purpose of enabling users to shop, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media. The kindle device sold for $399 and within 5 hours of its launch it was sold out.

 

What I’m trying to say is that Amazon.com saw an opportunity with their kindle device and they knew right away that to sustain its success they needed constant content from you and I. This led to them to begin their campaign to encourage writers from all over the world to write and publish their work easily.

We all know the rejections and objections publishing the traditional way throws at us writers and Amazon.com obviously took advantage of that loophole and built a bridge between writer and reader and even offers to promote your book over a period of time.

In conclusion, there are other platform such as barnes and nobles, ibooks and a couple of others but Amazon.com stands out and I’m going to be talking about them for a while because it’s a must-try for both aspiring and veteran writers.

Stay tuned.

Epublishing: The Future of The Nigerian Writer

futuristicI think it was over a year ago, after I had just published my book on Amazon.com, I was invited to a book launch by Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Truth be told I was reluctant to go but I was a bit curious about everything and decided to grace the occasion just to see if I could share the e-publishing gospel with whoever cared to listen. It held in a small eatery close to Obalende, media coverage was available and the Chairman of ANA lagos branch was there as well. I slipped into the back of the room quietly because the program had already begun, there were 2 writers that were showcasing their new books. It was an interesting program as I listened as each writer read a few lines from their book. The table was stacked with books and I was musing in my mind at the sight of them.

However, one question constantly peeked its ugly head in my mind; how did they intend selling these book?

After the long talk, one of the authors made a very neck-twisting statement, “it’s not about these books it’s just about writing them”. Now looking at the table I could tell hundreds of thousands of Naira had been sowed into the finished work, but it could hardly be guaranteed that anyone would read the book let alone buy it.

So the event came to an end, we gathered together and took picture with the author, he was a very pushy fellow, kind of like the type that always wants to have things done his own way, but it was his day so we could allow that. I came close to the ANA chairman and asked about his book, there was a ring on his finger so I knew he was married which meant more responsibilities, he then gave me a brief insight into his own world as a writer and what he has to deal with in trying to market his book…it was a pitiful experience.

Writing a book is great, once you get past that hurdle of “what should I write?” or “ how do I write?” which I tried crushing in this book, but the real work comes with promoting your book and getting people to read it which is something not many Nigerian authors have figured out.

Allow me to be blunt right here that e-publishing is the way to go if you want to reach a wider audience and you can actually automate the sales of your book by complimenting your offline efforts with online strategies that has been proven to work over and over again.

The world has changed unlike before we couldn’t carry over a 100 books with us around but right now we can have an entire library with us because of the high demand of the ipad, kindle, nook and other devices that enable you to carry so many books with you.

I believe in the power of words, we can change people and our world with words if we can get them to read it.

TOP 10 NICHES TO TARGET IN WRITING YOUR BOOK

top10I had posted on twitter earlier today about what I’m about to share with you right now, and if you are on twitter you can follow me, here’s my handle @zionnie, and I ‘ll be engaging you all that want to get your feet wet in the writing pond. I’m going to identify the hottest niches out there that people are craving for, and anything you write on any of these niches will attract attention. It’s a pretty long list for today so let’s get started

#1 ROMANCE

romance

It is no mistake that I ranked romance as #1, everyone is trying to  be more romantic and it cut across all genres of people whether single, married, young adults, old people …even kids these days are trying to get more romantic so as to lure the right girl and sweep her off her feet or to attract the right guy. If you have a compelling that has a streak of romance you are sure to get a bit of attention.

#2 EROTICA

This is next in line after romshades of greyance, and believe it or not writer are making a killing in this niche, a popular example of a book in the niche is 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy by E L James and trust me the market for people in this niche is red hot because just like romance it cuts across several genres of people. If you have what it takes to play in this niche dive right it.

#3 FOOD AND DIET

A lot of newfood recipes are being created every day and people are trying to figure out new way to either add or lose weight and this is big. To look trendy and live healthy which is something everyone wants you need to watch your diet. From celebrities to obese kids, everyone is looking for the secret formula that would help them stay trendy and healthy.

#4 PUZZLES

puzzzleFor people running very busy schedules having handy leisure book could be very handy and games like Sudoku puzzles, crosswords, word find puzzles are a great place to start.

#5 RELATIONSHIPS

love

Books on relationships are in popular demand and it is considered to be one of the largest categories in non-fiction. We all want stable, health relationship and we all would want to learn from other people’s wealth of knowledge and experiences.

#6 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

coveyIn this niche falls everything that has to do with public speaking, motivational, inspirational, goal setting, time management, improving your skills and many other self-help books. Authors in this niche that play big are Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, John C. Maxwell,Steve Covey and there is still room for you.

#7 BUSINESS AND MONEY

richdad

Books on business and money will always be in at the top especially in bad times, because people seek guidance in managing their business and handling their finances and that’s why Robert Kiyosaki Rich Dad, Poor Dad Series are still in demand.

#8 PARENTING

parenting

In today’s world where juvenile delinquency is on the increase books on parenting and child raising are highly necessary. In addition to that maternity is also involved, and mothers can share their experiences with other mothers.

#9 RELIGION

rli

Many religious leaders have a large following who subscribe to their teachings and ideas about life, and you could write anything in this niche that is close to what many of their followers buy.

#10 CURRENT EVENTS

baraCurrent events are hot. For instance when Steve Jobs died, content about him went high in demand, the same went for Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela…if you wrote a book on an event that is fresh people are most definitely going to be looking for materials on it….why can’t it be yours.