Thursday, August 22, 2013

Video Rockstar University

I recently offered a class through Attune Radio (Attune Radio) on reviewing (In The Classroom - How To Write A Review). In the process of discussing writing reviews, the subject of video reviews came up. One of the ladies in the chat room (Chanah Liora Wienberg) recommended a site that teaches how to do videos - Video Rockstar University. Chanah is a teacher herself, and someone that I admire greatly, so I had to check the site out!

It is a fantastic site ... and it offers free training on making videos (based on the "7 Steps To Video Rockstardom")! Yes, I did sign up for the training, and it was well worth the effort! You don't just learn how to make videos here ... you learn how to make a video that will draw in crowds! Here I am thinking past video reviews ... I am thinking videos for my site, for the books that I have out, and for my blogs.

The site owner/trainer is Share Ross - what a dynamic lady! Check out her introductory video, and see what she has to offer. In her training, some of the areas that she addresses are where to position the camera, video lighting (one tip - don't have light coming from behind you, because your face will be in shadows), and hair and make-up.. There are bonus videos and more! Once you sign up for the free video training, you have access to other resources on her site ( The articles up currently address Facebook Video Help and iMovie Tips.

Ross has several different programs that she uses to help individuals work with videos. You can do the free training and call it good, or you can decide to take another step or two. See what you think!

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of hte author.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Google + & Search Engine Optimization

What exactly is search engine optimization (SEO)? And where does Google + come into this? We know that we want to be found on the Internet. If our readers can find us, and get to know us, they might even buy our books! Bottom line - SEO is a process that enables search engines to find us, index our website, and rank it on the search engine result pages. 

When we are setting up our sites, and site pages, we have to pay attention to things like page titles, subtitles, and keywords. One of the benchmarks that Google uses to rank a page is the number of links from other sites.  To do us any good, these links have to be quality links. Google + is a new player here ... and an important one.

Google collects user data from Google + the same as other sites, such as Facebook, collect from  their users. I think we are all fairly conversant with this concept ... although we don't always appreciate it. Google + gets information from user profiles, comments on posts, user sharing, and +1'ing. We may not like this, but it does give the Google search engine greater accuracy. Sites are ranked as to how they fit in with the information that Google + gathers.  

Google + can help us as authors to brand ourselves, including Google + authorship. (This is something that I did as soon as I found out about it/ You can find out more about Google + authorship here - Google + Authorship.)

Links that are in Google + profiles are added with something termed "do follow", which means that they are treated as web pages, which allows for increased visibility and page ranking. 

I may not understand SEO or Google + as well as I should, but I was there close to the beginning, an have been able to grow my understanding as Google + grew. This is something that we all need to pay attention to.

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in all venues without the written permission of the author,  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Video Blogging

No, I am not going to start video blogging any time soon! I thought it might be fun to look into, though. The first thing that I saw when I was searching for an image to use for this blog was that there has been a Video Blog Week as far back as 2009! Where the heck have I been!  

When a non-techie like me thinks of video blogging, I am thinking of using the camera on my laptop, or perhaps have someone tape me using my hand held camera (it does both stills and video). It appears I am a bit out of the loop! There is another option, called Google + Hangouts On Air! I have been to a couple of Google Hangouts (but never hosted one), so I know the basics - you can host up to ten people, and do all kinds of neat things. Until today, I had never heard of Google + Hangouts On Air. What exactly is this new little person?

Google + Hangouts On Air are live broadcasts, with Google handling all of the tricky technical stuff. (Or so they say!) How do you access them? Sign on to Google +, and click on Hangouts On Air (on the left hand side of the screen). A new screen will open. If you have not already downloaded the Hangout Plugin, you will need to do that. (It is free.) 

The next step is to connect Hangouts On Air to your You Tube account. If you don't already have a You Tube account, it only takes second to create one. To connect the Google + Hangout On Air with your You Tube account, there are two steps, The first step is to verify the account by phone (you have to give them your phone number). You will be sent a verification code from Goggle. The second step is to input your code and click verify.

The next step is to name your Hangout On Air. Since this is a video blog, the name should be catchy, the same as for a written blog post. Leave the space where you can invite people blank. Next you click "Start Hangout On Air" (which does NOT actually start the recording. ;-) )

Read the Terms of Service, agree to them, and you can start recording! Note: Before you start recording, make sue that the lighting is good. Back lighting will leave your face in shadow, so you don't want  to do this. Turn around and look at the area behind you, This is what your viewers will see. Make sure that it is appropriate - not cluttered, and not too "busy". A little thought here will go a long way!

I am going to think on this ... you may see a vlog (video blog) in the future ... the distant future! In the meantime  ... have fun with this!

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in allvenues without the written permission of the author.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Good Book Reviewers - A Scarce Commodity!

As a self-published author, getting your book up in print is only part of the game. There is also promoting the book, so that you actually get some sales. The part of promoting your book that I am going to address today is one part of the process, and that is getting people to review your books. It is not as easy as it looks.

The first thing that you want to do is check the Internet and see who is reviewing in your genre, and who seems to be doing a reasonable job of it. I don’t care if all of my reviews are lovely and positive … I want a breadth of reviews that are honest and show differing viewpoints. This gives my target audience something to help them make an informed decision on whether they want to buy my book or not. Some places to find potential reviewers are:

You can also query for potential reviewers on the social media sites – Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also check out the Good Reads site - Things to look for are the reviewers name, their contact information, and where they post their reviews.

You also want to think about whether you want to start getting reviews before your book is out, or whether you want to wait until after it is out. If you do both, you have a chance to put short blurbs either in your book, or on the back cover. Query potential reviews about whether they are willing to do pre-publication reviews, and whether they will do a digital review (which is cheaper than sending them a print book). If you are submitting to a site, read their review guidelines. Also, ask potential reviewers their timeline on getting reviews up.

One tactic that I have tried, with minimal success, is putting a Kindle book up free for a set number of days, indicating that you would like them to review the book if the choose to download it.  

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in any venue without the written permissionof theauthor.

Accepting The Challenge: Sharing Books

I was very pleased to be challenged on Face Book by fellow author Ruth Stefanowitz to post books that I value over a seven day period. ...