Tag Archives: tuesday tip

Improving Visibility on the Internet

Penny Sansevieri, the CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., tweeted the other day about how Starbucks had taught her something about Search Engine Marketing. For the full text of the article, you can click here on this link:
http://www.articlesbase.com/internet-articles/what-starbucks-taught-me-about-search-engine-marketing-260912.html

The article contains some useful examples for you on how to increase your visibility on the Internet and improve search engine rankings.

We’ve discussed some of them before, like leaving comments on blogs (and finding those blogs by using news alerts). Sending out books for review and having those reviews posted online is another great way to get your name noticed.

Likewise, we’ve talked about doing article submissions to create buzz and drive traffic to your site.

What else can you do?

Having links from key sites back to yours is another way to improve visibility. How do you do this? If you’re book has something that would be of interest to a particular industry (i.e., knitting, crafts, civil war), find sites for that industry and see if you can’t be listed there. Make connections to stores, vendors and magazines in that industry.

An excellent example of using this kind of marketing is Debbie Macomber’s connections from her books to the knitting industry. Macomber even has her knitting related products with her name available at HSN!

If you’re book is in a particular genre, like vampires, search out sites for that genre and ask to be placed on their list of links. Oftentimes sites may require that you link back to them which seems like a fair exchange.

Search engines will see those incoming links and if the site on which your listed is a high ranking site, that will improve your page ranking.

Finally, don’t forget press releases, especially close to the date of your novel’s launch. Reach out to local papers and use those free press release sites to get the word out!

Hope today’s Tuesday Tip was of help!

Tuesday Tip – Reducing Fear and Stress

stressI know it’s tough out there for so many. We’re worried about the economy, our jobs, health, the world in general. There’s craziness going on in the Middle East and North Korea.

But stress is a killer and can take a toll on you mentally and physically. Today we’re lucky to have with us Dr. Debra Holland who is going to offer us today’s Tuesday Tip on how to reduce fear and stress during the recession.

Thanks Debra for dropping by to offer us this information!

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REDUCING FEAR AND STRESS DURING THE RECESSION
By Debra Holland, Ph.D
www.drdebraholland.com

Financial stress is affecting many Americans. Either they are suffering due to the recession, or they are afraid about their financial future, or both.

This stress is causing sleep disturbances, greater use of alcohol and drugs, compromised immune systems, impatience, irritability, a greater sense of vulnerability, and insecurity. These symptoms strain marital and family relations, cause interpersonal difficulties between colleagues, and lead to health problems.

It’s difficult not to feel stressed, when, by many reports, the economic news seems to be worsening. Each day, newspapers have at least one negative article about the recession, companies struggling or going out of business, charities being underfunded, or personal stories of hardship.

You probably know family members or friends who are out of work. Maybe you even know someone who lost a business or home. Perhaps you worry about the financial health of the company where you work or the business you own. Maybe you worry that furloughs, layoffs, or pay cuts are in your future.

In the last nine months, I have provided counseling services for numerous companies laying off employees. In talking to the individuals who were let go, I’ve seen a significant difference between those who sensed the layoffs coming and took steps to put their finances in order and those who ignored warning signs and
continued to spend their money as they pleased.

Regardless of what’s happening in the economy—something no individual has much control over—those people who took personal control of their finances felt a greater sense of security and experienced less financial fear and stress.

In order to help yourself and your loved ones weather this recession, it’s important to take care of yourself in both internal and external ways. The following are tips to help you keep your stress under control:

EXTERNAL
Reduce your spending, pay off your debts, and save money. I know this is obvious advice, and most people are already making attempts to do this.

Previously experts advised having three to six months of accessible savings. (Your investments don’t count.) Now most financial experts are stressing six months to a year of accessible savings. As your
savings grow, so will your sense of security.

Update your résumé. It’s always good to have an updated résumé on hand, even if your job is secure, and you plan to remain at the same company for years.

Aim for updating your résumé every six months. You never know when an opportunity will cross your path; so it’s good to be prepared. Also, working on your résumé reminds you what you’ve accomplished and exposes any gaps in your knowledge base or skills you need to address.

Learn new skills and cross train. The more you know, the more valuable you’ll be to your current company. Plus, if you want or need to look for a new job, you can choose from a wider variety of positions.

Take on new or innovative projects at work. This may be difficult if your plate is already full. However, if you can manage to fit a project (or a piece of a project) into your schedule, you’ll show management you’re a great team player. Plus, you’ll add to your skill set and your résumé.

Look for creative ways to have fun and connect with family and friends. A tighter budget doesn’t mean giving up fun. I hear from many people how they are rediscovering simple pleasures such as board games, bike rides, and going to the park with their kids. Adults are enjoying a game of cards or bocce ball with the neighbors, where all contribute to the potluck. Some people have told me they don’t want to return to a life of conspicuous consumption, even when the economy improves.

Use setbacks, such as layoffs, to reevaluate your life. Stop and consider your goals and dreams. Are you in an occupation that fulfills you? Your layoff could be a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is the time to go back to school, either part- or full-time. Or maybe you want to start your own small business, or switch careers. Try taking a class and see what happens. If you don’t have the time to physically attend college, consider an online class.

Focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is an important antidote to the physical and emotional effects of stress. Don’t let your stress cause you to veg out on the couch with junk food. If you are already physically fit, keep up your workout routines. Don’t use economics as an excuse to let your health go. You don’t need a club membership to stay fit. Remember, sit-ups and jumping jacks are free.

If you aren’t already exercising, start taking walks. Being outdoors, absorbing sunshine (vitamin D), fresh air, and nature will help far more than sitting around the house. (If you want to start a more strenuous routine, first consult your doctor.)

For the most part, avoid junk food and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein. For snacks stock up on food you can grab–protein bars and drinks, nuts, string cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, small pieces of dark chocolate, baby carrots, and apple slices.

Make sure you take good vitamin and mineral supplements. Vitamin B is especially helpful for stress. Add Omega 3 oils such as salmon oil to your diet. Omega 3 oils offer many benefits, including helping to keep the brain healthy and smooth out mood swings.

INTERNAL
No matter how your life is spiraling out of control, you still can focus on what you can control–your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Don’t get caught up in everyone else’s fear. Fear is contagious. It’s easy to absorb the stress and concerns of others, especially if you see it on television, read it online and in newspapers and magazines,
and hear stories of others’ misfortunes.

If something concerns you, plan for how you’ll deal with it, instead of building fear fantasies. Although it’s important to plan wisely for the future, projecting fears about what may happen will only produce stress. Studies show that 94% of what we worry about doesn’t happen.

Once you’ve formulated an action plan for possible problems, let go of your fears and stop thinking about them. Tell yourself that you will deal with your concern if and when it occurs. Until then, focus on other things in your life.

Pay attention to your intuition. Intuition is different from logic, emotions, or your fear fantasies. Whether it’s a still small voice or a “gut” feeling, your intuition is an important guide. The problem is that most people don’t stop to listen to their intuition, much less follow it.

During layoffs, I’ve met with people who were upset because they ignored their intuition, perhaps because someone else told them it wouldn’t happen, or if it did, they wouldn’t be affected. At the same company, I’ve also met people who told me that they’d had a sense layoffs would happen, and they’d be let go. These people had taken care of themselves financially, updated their resume, and perhaps already gone on a few job interviews. The news of the layoff was almost a relief because they’d known it was coming and could now get on with the next stage of their lives.

Recite positive affirmations. Affirmations are statements, usually starting with “I,” that encourage you to think along positive lines. The more positive your attitude, the more you think and act in ways
that will make your affirmation come true.

The more enthusiasm you put into your affirmation, the better. I like to say affirmations while walking or running on the treadmill. The cadence seems to enhance the good feeling I receive from them. My favorite affirmation for abundance is: “I have financial success… being of great service…in an easy, relaxed way.”

Take deep breaths. Taking deep breaths is one of the easiest things you can do to immediately de-stress. By breathing deeply, you relax instead of tense your body. Plus, the extra oxygen helps your brain find ways to handle what is stressing you.

Focus on what’s really important in life. The blessings in our lives come from much more than our material possessions. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have (or fear you won’t have in the future) stay aware of what you do have, (for example, the love of family and friends, civil and religious freedom, and your health.)

Be of service. Look for opportunities to give to others. Being of service may be a small act, such as offering the person behind you your place in the grocery line, or something big, like investing a
large amount of your time through volunteering.

Reaching out to others, especially those less fortunate, will keep you aware of the blessings in your life. No matter how big your problems, there’s always someone with larger troubles to put yours in perspective. Helping others also makes you feel good about yourself, an important antidote to stress.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. SPECT imaging research has shown how feeling and expressing gratitude lights up your brain in a positive way. Feeling and expressing gratitude gives an immediate lift to your spirits—a great way to combat stress and fear. Take the time to appreciate both the big and little things in your life. If you are spiritual, give thanks to God for your blessings.

Whether you are experiencing financial difficulties or just feeling concerned about how the economy will affect you, taking external and internal steps to calm your stress will help keep you mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.

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To receive a free download of Dr. Debra’s booklet, 58 Tips For Getting What You Want From a Difficult Conversation, go to her website: www.drdebraholland.com and sign up for her newsletter.

Tuesday Tip – Spring Bulbs

Narcissus Photo Copyright Vincent de Groot under GNU License from WikipediaThere’s nothing that says spring might finally be here than the eruption of spring color from crocuses, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths. The nice thing about them as well is that once you get them planted, they’ll come back every year and provide that burst of doldrum-busting color.

Also, planting spring bulbs doesn’t interfere with you later placing annuals in the same spots for summer-long color. Why’s that? Because bulbs are usually planted deeper – between 6 to 10 inches deep while annuals are planted much higher at 3 to 4 inches deep.

So how do you prepare for that spring color? Except for tulips and hyacinths, spring bulbs should be planted in the fall – September and October depending on where you are located. As a general rule, plant them well before any freeze. This will help them build strength and get established.

Dig a hole about 8 inches deep and about a foot around. Prepare the soil with nice compost and some bone meal. Work it into the ground so that about a foot deep of soil is nice and loose so the bulbs can take root. Also, make sure the area has good drainage. Bulbs generally do not like to sit in wet soil. Cover the bulbs with soil and some mulch to help retain moisture and provide some shelter against the cold. I generally plant in groups of 3 to 5 as odd numbers of objects are generally more pleasing to the eye.

For unexpected bursts of color, mix in bulbs beneath ground covers like ivy or pachysandra.

Come the spring you’ll be rewarded with beautiful color and scents. Hyacinths are amazing for a blast of fragrance in your garden!

Once the bulbs start to die back, you can plant your annuals for the rest of the summer!

Writer’s Block

wallIt’s not often that I get Writer’s Block, but it does happen on occasion. Often times it’s because I’m wrestling with which way the story should go and not happy with any of the directions which are coming to me.

When I hit that wall, I do wish there was this big red door that I could open to break through, but sometimes the best way is to not keep butting your head up against the wall. Sometimes the best way is to take a step back and take another look at the wall so you not only see the door, but now who to open it.

How do you do that?

1. Pick up a good book to read. I would recommend that it even be something different from what you are trying to write. Reading other genres, and interacting with writers from other genres, is a good way to see the same problem in a different light.

2. Watch a good movie. Again, preferably one that’s different from what you’re writing. Same idea only it takes less time if you’re as impatient as I am. Also, some people need more visual stimuli to see the big red door.

3. Listen to music. I’ve been inspired more than once by a song lyric that’s allowed me to tackle the story with a different perspective or a revitalized concept of the conflicts.

4. Try writing something new. Sometimes you get just too involved in a story or you’ve looked at it one too many times. Refreshen yourself by trying out a new story line or concept.

5. Take a nice long hot shower and while you’re at it, consider the problem in your story that’s creating the boondoggle. Something about putting showers and thinking together always seems to yield good results.

6. Take a walk or do some exercise. Again, think about your story and see if getting out into the fresh air or taxing those muscles produces some new ideas.

I hope those little tips help you find the way through the wall created by your writer’s block!

Also, remember that you have until midnight EST March 25 to visit my friend Kaye Monro for a chance to win a SINS OF THE FLESH T-shirt and a copy of SOLDIER’S SECRET CHILD!

Just click here or visit this link: http://kayemanro.blogspot.com/

Look for two more opportunities soon to win some prizes in my HONOR CALLS/FURY CALLS b’day bash continuation!

Building an Effective Web Presence Part 1

pc.jpgOne thing that I’m often asked is how I decided to build my website and what tips I can offer to someone who has to either create a new site or update one. So today’s Tuesday Tip is Part 1 of a series of articles on how to build an effective website! I hope you find it helpful.

Part 1: Deciding on the look and feel of the site

Before you even go with a programmer or other web professional, the first thing to do is to consider how you want your site to look. A site should reflect what you do as a writer (or what you plan to do in the near future). If you’re writing paranormals, your readers and other industry professionals may expect a look that’s quite different from what they expect to see at a site for someone who writes romantic comedy.

So, visit sites for writers in your genre and see what they are doing in terms of color, graphics, etc. Make a list of your favorite sites to send to whoever is programming your site so they can have a reference point for where to begin. If there are certain images that you like, save the links to where they are on the web or visit one of the stock photo places to find images of interest (istockphoto.com and fotolia.com are two good ones).

Decide whether you want any animated features on the site, like those flash intros which are the opening pages or the headers at sites (you can check www.caridad.com or www.thecallingvampirenovels.com to see what I mean by a flash header).

Also make a note of the names of the designers on the sites you like the most. You may wish to approach them to design your site. Prices may vary from a low of $150 or so to tens-of-thousands of dollars. That range will depend on whether the programmer is creating animated intros for you or whether they are creating custom fonts and graphics.

Finally, what kinds of pages should you have on your site? A nice opening page where you tell people a little bit about yourself and what’s happening with you. A bio page for sure. Contact page where you have the information on how people can reach you. A list of either your published books or projects you have in the works. Those are pretty much the basics, but think for the future so that however the site is designed, it will be possible for someone to easily expand it.

Will you be blogging in the future? Have a Myspace or Facebook page? Add an Amazon store or calendar? Make sure to let the programmer know that you have these ideas in mind for the future and it will help them decide how to code the website.

One thing to know is that having all this information on hand is one way to keep down website programming costs and get a site up and running in a reasonable amount of time.

Also – you may wish to have your designer do a banner or button that you can upload to other sites and use for web advertising. This is generally easy to do and shouldn’t cost much more. In addition, if you’re going to do a Myspace page, try to use the same design if possible. You’re building your brand with this website and it’s good to reinforce that brand at every web presence you have if it’s possible.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s Tip – Types of sites and how to get them up and running!