Writings of Stuart Whitmore

If you're looking for the latest news about the writings of Stuart J. Whitmore (author of: Lesson One: Revolution!; Two Boys, Two Planets; Journey to Yandol, and other stories; and, Wolf Block), you've found the perfect blog for that!

Keywords vs The Key to Book Marketing


Photo credit: nionx from morguefile.com

I noticed some interesting things as I was participating in a recent conversation about keywords. This conversation was (and perhaps still is) taking place in an online forum frequented by indie authors. The question at hand was how to best keyword books to help people find them on Amazon. As different methods of choosing keywords were discussed, and as I learned from what others are doing, I realized that similar conversations take place in other creative communities where I participate, such as Shutterstock (where I earn money from photos) and freesound.org (where I give away audio recordings). What do people really search for? What's the right approach to choosing keywords? I also noticed, though, that this makes sense for photos and audio files, but it's much less sensible for books. It's not bad to set up proper keywords for a book, to help it be found amid the vast amounts available on Amazon or any other online retailer, but asking "what search strings do readers use" is, in my opinion, the wrong question. There's a more lucrative angle to book marketing than making sure your keywords are the best possible.

10 Trees from a Dream

[Trees are important!]
Photo credit: FidlerJan from morguefile.com

There's a dryad (a.k.a., wood nymph) who wants you to plant some trees. Or so goes the tale that I weave in Peasant's Dream, a fantasy novel that I started while I was stationed in England with the US Air Force, "way back when" in the mid-1980s. The dryad and her desire to have you plant trees is actually a minor part of the tale, but it's relevant to something I always planned to include in the back of the novel if it was published. Of course, when I wrote it I had no idea what digital self-publishing would look like today.

Decades later, I have recently decided to take an unusual (for me) route to publishing Peasant's Dream, and in conjunction with that I'm going to make you a special offer, right here in this blog post. The inspiration for this goes even further back in time, to my being introduced to Esperanto by the Stainless Steel Rat books of Harry Harrison. Read on for the details!

Learn How You Can Make a Free Book Cover

[Sample Cover]

In this blog post I will show you how to create a basic and no-cost cover for your e-book. Originally I planned to do this blog post a few weeks ago, but other things kept coming up and pushing this lower on the priority list. It didn't help that after a week or so I forgot where I'd put the image files. I could have started over but I knew I had most of the work done already and I didn't want to waste all of that earlier effort. Luckily I remembered this week where those files were.

I should point out that what I describe here is technical, not artistic, in nature. You will learn how to do it, but not what it should look like. There are some good reasons for this, and the top of that list of reasons is that I'm not much of a cover designer. Perhaps one glance at the covers of my own books would tell you that! Another important reason is that your cover should match your story, your style, the genre, etc., and there is no one-size-fits-all look for book covers. However, style issues side, the same free resources can be used across the full spectrum of design concepts.

Stay, Go, Take a Nap... What Next?

This post is about more serious stuff, so if you want something light, just watch me get soaked in ice water. Still here, or came back after the video? Great! (Or, crazy you, you missed your chance to escape.) A little over a week ago I settled on the opinion that I was just wasting my time trying to achieve any relevant success with my books and other creative works, and as a result I decided to unpublish my books, remove my other creative efforts from the Web, and stop creating new works. The only exception I planned to make was leaving my content on free-content sites like morgueFile.com (photos) and freesound.org (recordings). This was a dark moment for me and in general I did not plan to share it with others. I didn't want to go out with a bang, I just wanted to "fade out" (at least in terms of my creative works online). However, things didn't quite go as planned, and this blog post explains how things have gone so far and what my current thoughts are.

This New Realm is Wonderful

If you've noticed the Project Wonderful ads on my site (mostly on the left side, although there's also a banner on the ROT13 / ROT47 encoder/decoder), you'll have a pretty good idea what "Wonderful" in the title of this blog post refers to. It's not just about putting some ad boxes on my site, though. The more important thing is that I've found that I can use Project Wonderful to get more exposure for my books at very little cost, or no cost at all. Writers who don't need to worry about reaching more readers are almost certainly not reading my blog, so if you're a writer reading this blog, you should take a look at Project Wonderful also.

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