Internet Self-Publishing Guide

 

It began when I asked myself this question: If independent musicians have been able to use the internet to display, promote, and sell thier craft, why not independent writers? With no corporate music funding there are independent outsiders to the record industry who are supporting themselves monetarily.    Am I the only writer who submits creations to literary magazines and the like, only to be turned down for reasons unknown to me? Do other writers ask themselves, Am I the ONLY creative writer to ever ask these questions?

Having been a professional musician for nearly 40 years, I have witnessed a major shift in where music artists are promoting themselves. I have seen independent artist strategies that utilize social media on the net, record labels struggling to keep up with technologies involving web marketing, and young people spending parents resources to promote themselves on YouTube. The internet has become the shopping mall, the record store, the bookstore, and whatever else they can sell to consumers. Musicians with or without record deals have been creating websites to present, promote and sell their wares without corporate control. The net is probably over saturated with music artistry for sale. Hey Writers, let’s follow their leading and make the internet work for us too. It’s time for positive change and a modern angle at having our work active in this current worldwide marketplace. Why not start today?

                                      A New Strategy

Nearly every personal professional contact has encouraged me to utilize the internet by first creating my own website with WordPress.com. I like this website developer for ease of use, the good amount of help from their staff, and the use of CSS for program interaction. CSS works through desktops, phones, tablets, and laptops simultaneously. Most of the others, JavaScript, C++, etc., do not. This, as well as it’s free for the simple starter package, is neatly beneficial.

At WordPress one first creates his/her own site name and password for privacy. The instructions for use on the opening pages after sign up were all I really needed; there is, though, a cluster of how-to or Do It Yourself videos available from the site and on YouTube. However, with my poor internet connection and lack of time to hunt through these videos, I found written instructions faster and more concise. On your new WordPress homepage, there’s a page corner with a live help chat pop up TAB, always available for assistance. The technical format (programming via CSS), that the live chat folks didn’t know took me to a professional help forum for WordPress, which after typing in a question, gives a list of question/answers that did or did not meet my needs. If not, then a live person(s), (my tip here-use a WordPress techie), jumped online for the best answer. This can take a while, usually up to a day; patience, though, helped me with my excitement to move forward. And, it was a great stride forward with my blog reader’s first impression. That is to say, my title ON my blog photos not underneath out of my reader’s first sight.

On entering you new website there will be a list of tabs that assist with where to start. Your username/password.

                                    How It Works

1) I invite you the brave writer to pick out a home page photo that relates to your personal/online preference. What you want as a first/routine impression to your audience.

2) Choose your own homepage title. Your name. Your street name. Name of your pet. Anything that feels like a fit for you now. Again, what you want as a first/routine impression to your reader’s.

3) Preview this action on a few different formats using the WordPress preview TAB. Which includes desktop/laptop, tablet, and phone screen. Yes my friends, VERY handy. When you are satisfied with your choices then,

4) Blog Template TAB. This is where your most important choice is made because we want to convey our creative energy into a PERIODIC reader focus, to make it worth experiencing time after time. So, I do invite some pre-thought, and searches for blog example favorites, to have a comfortable idea on how YOU want this to appear as a substantial routine impresstion to your blog reader’s.

5) Choosing  a blog template, and there are MANY at WordPress, was fairly quick for me because of a little proactive research. With WordPress one can change his/her template any time they wish, and this action will transfer all past blogs as well. Template chosen? Now a page with tab choices on the left hand side opens up for, drum rool please, Blog Writing!

6) NOW, we can create a title, write content underneath, and with an image TAB add a new photo every time of our own preference. Liberty for All my friends.

7) Title. Just fill in the blank at your outstanding discretion.

8) Content. Length, subject, post time, is up to you, the writer. In my own experience, I do NOT have much time for reading emails or blogs. Even YouTube videos over 3 minutes are TOO long for me. Good person,      think of commercials, advertisements, movie trailers, or book plugs we now find, these don’t last that long and neither do songs that I hear nowadays. So, I keep my content short and focused say, 50 words or less. That’s my blog after careful trimming. Most writers revise, don’t they? Is it just me?

                            Advice From Experts

Helpful tips I asked and received from some internet pros were: Blog ROUTINELY like, once a week, or once a month, same day, same time. Blogs send as an email. Anyone else check them in the morning?

                             Navigating TAB World

9) WordPress also has a CHOICE TAB of date and time for the writer to select the publish time for his/her blog.  Useful for those of us who may be indecisive at times or have open time frames that shift periodically.

10) Image TAB. With this we can add a photo of our choice to send out. My favorite inspirational choice for my blogs. I use my phone for these when I need to “save the spark”. Can’t wait for that iPhone 9! Hope I live that long…

11) Page TAB. Of our own creation, this addition to our blogs and/or homepage is useful for links to his/her product for sale, reader contact information, and links to you videos or other offers.

12) Preview TAB. After you see a SAVED highlight in the top left hand area, it’s a good time to check out how your blog will be presented to your readers. Then the pop-in is available to check out on desktop/laptop, tablet, and phone formats with the image buttons provided at its top. Revisions or changes can be made before one clicks the PUBLISH TAB.

REMEMBER, the PUBLISH TAB is FINAL. You may choose to send the blog right away. Careful now; if you’re like me, you can get trigger happy when it’s a blog I’m excited to share. And please, remember that there are helpful CSS people working at the forum link to email that can advise with tweeks to personalize your blogs, and/or site if the online chat folks are without proper knowledge of your creative hearts desires.

                                      Audience Media

Your WordPress homepage/blog page will have a TAB on the left side asking for audience preferences. I chose Google+, Twitter, Linked-in; but there are others i.e. Facebook, and some others can be added by you, the page creator.

The blogs that are sent can also have links to pages that we create for our reader contact information, and/or YouTube link page, on site personal video page (only with a paid website plan, sorry), and/or a page that displays a link to our writing for purchase, YES! Keep in mind that the more folks you email, tweet, Facebook, etc., the greater internet exposure this manifests to MORE readers. And, Google Images post my photos, with links to my site for free! Spotify takes care of prerecorded radio exposure free too.

YouTube is another site available for videos of live or prerecorded readings of our voice with photos, and/or live readings. If you too enjoy speaking as I do, you can post videos utilizing your own voice inflection. Creative writing streams across the World Wide Web for our audience as well as those who stumble across them while doing “searches” on these internet sites and search engines. How many times have we searched the internet for something and found something else interesting, worth our time and/or money as well?

There are places along these and other processes that WILL ask for catchwords or search words that can make this happen for YOU! So think carefully about what some of those descriptions might be, thoughtful planning will draw in new readers. Oh yes, there are more video sites on hand for a free start, Vimeo for instance, that can send out more internet exposure too. And I’ll mention another popular quickie called Instagram. Strategize and boldly saturate with confident writ my creative friend!

                        Promotional Announcements

If a writer utilized their email contacts, then MailChimp is a worthwhile notification platform for mass emails and/or newsletters. I sent out emails one by one before I was in a place to use MailChimp and as one might guess, it was a time consuming ordeal. This service performs the task for the sender and to start, it’s free. Your contacts can decide if they wish to receive the email-outs/newsletters from you or not. Plus, MailChimp will let you know who opened the the send-out or not, which is helpful to locate an interested audience. Photos and video are possible too with this helpful service. Charges will apply for more technical mailing campaigns to your fan base.

Tools

The quality of the photos, sound, and video are always upgrading on the net so, deciding how important that is to you the creator for your audience is key. For me, with a long history of sound recording, a high standard acoustic microphone for my audio readings was a priority. Garage Band recording is a fairly simple app and easy to use. Caution though, some of this gear comes with steep learning curves for most of us. For me, simple is usually the champion of output.

The more these applications are utilized on YouTube, MailChimp, blogs, webpages, internet radio, and pay sites for your product, the more exposure is received by the world wide network. I’ll also mention that fierce competition with these products has brought our cost down and availability up. I strongly encourage researching and shopping wisely without rushing through this process. Find out what you want your pictures, video, and sound to emulate/achieve on the net, then budget towards that goal. Remember this, your varied presence on the internet however humble, is better for expanding your audience than none at all.

Product

Now, here’s the part where our income gets focus. BandCamp was where I began placing my audio versions of writing for sale. It’s free to start and they have my cover artwork with the title as well as all the single tracks that were created by me, the author. I get to make the prices and can link it up to my blog pages, website,  or MailChimp etc., for folks to check out sample listenings and/or purchase. BandCamp takes a small percentage and makes it convenient for debit, credit, or PayPal transactions. PayPal sets up an account and holds the money much like a bank. I get to choose a sample track for the new listener and a release date for the sales. As I meet sales dollar goals, they increase my download space for future compositions without charge.

On another level, CD Baby sells me a $20 .00 UPC barcode so that worldwide distribution through airplay via Spotify is set into motion. CD Baby can actually mail out physical CD copies of my work. This to is free to start when one does their first project download. However, the user cost packages allow iTunes to sell the project and notate for my interests where audiences are top buyers in specific areas of the world. They also have an online live chat for questions at their site. Though my approach has been audio book format, an author friend has his books on Amazon and Kindle, creating his own legal publishing title. Thankfully, our options are good depending on how we want to put our work out there. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

Onward

It’s really time for independent writers to reach their people, support their work, and prosper through the arena of internet markets without waiting in long lines for publication/periodical acceptance or rejection. Writers have a right to have their voice heard and that is possible now via internet world wide. This is a time when technology serves creativity, and people are looking for new venues of artistic enjoyment and/or inspiration. May the lowly writer rise up and be confident of the financial freedom to keep creating, as now is an opportune moment to move forward into gainful independent promotion. I wish you the best that an expressive life can offer, in hopes that writers continue to benefit humanity with the significant voice of their craft. Gratefully,

Vii Maurice