Three simple tips on Free Internet Marketing Advice

As I maneuver through marketing advice, I am trying desperately to make sense of the knowledge I am gaining.  I need a simple, organized method.
Quartz
As of now I have come up what I consider three of the most important points that help me achieve my goals without confusion and panic.  There is loads of advice, but most fledgling authors can’t afford to pay for everything and there are as many scams as there is legitimate advice.

 

  1. Target your market.  This can be something like googling  your genre  – and joining sites where readers join it.  For my genre (romance) I have checked out cooking/craft sites – as well as single sites.  If the Single sites produces a newsletter – it is very possible to get an interview to promote your book. So also check those sites that might pertain to your readers interests as well. Check out sites for cities or events in the places you write about.
  2. Do not spread yourself thin.  Pick a few marketing sites and become familiar with them until you reach the point you can move around with comfort and speed. Do the marketing for the day required until it isn’t time-consuming.  (examples for writers: – facebook, twitter, pinterest, YouTube, goodreads, shelfari,). Only move on to others after you’ve mastered this concept.  You can set-up a profile page for the sites, make a list of the sites, then check them off when you’ve learned how to apply marketing concepts as an author.
  3. Do three marketing projects a day – which means 15 a week.  Take a few consecutive days in a row off each week to unwind.  Don’t get caught in a trap where you suffer burn-out and quit.

Calgary Sunset - May 2014

 

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Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Toothpaste

The Toothbrush: –

blue toothbrushNatural bristle brushes (toothbrush) were invented by the ancient Chinese who made toothbrushes with bristles from the necks of cold climate pigs. French dentists were the first Europeans to promote the use of toothbrushes in the 17th and early 18th centuries. William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, created the first mass-produced toothbrush. The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth and many American Companies began to mass-produce toothbrushes after 1885.  The Florence Manufacturing Company was also the first to sell toothbrushes packaged in boxes. In 1938, DuPont manufactured the first nylon bristle toothbrushes.

 

Toothpaste: – 

Toothpaste

Toothpaste most likely originated in China, Egypt, and India more than 6,000 years ago.

China: –  twigs and bones were mashed and mixed with water, salt, and flower petals to form a thick paste. This paste was then put on the end of a sharp bamboo leaf and applied to the teeth. This proved to be a very effective treatment for gingivitis.

Egypt: –  a mixture of mashed salt, crushed pepper, wet mint leaves, and dried iris flowers.

India: – Special twigs were used for brushing and each twig was naturally filled with a sweet nectar. By chewing the twig and rubbing it against the teeth, India became renowned for its white teeth,fresh breath, and clean mouths.

Hard to believe, but most Americans did not brush their teeth until Army soldiers brought their enforced habits of tooth brushing back home after World War II.  But since it was around for centuries, I’m sure a health conscious person could be brushing their teeth much earlier.  I would suggest not having toothpaste tubes or manufactured brushes in historical novels.

Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Cars

Attempts to invent cars were done as far back as the 17th century.

Steam Cars: –

In the 1800’s people mainly worked on steam cars.  Karl Benz, the inventor of numerous car-related technologies, received a German patent in 1886. In 1871 Dr. J. W. Carhart in Wisconsin used a steam powered vehicle on the existing wagon roads. 

Steam-powered automobiles continued development all the way into the early 20th century, but the dissemination of petrol engines as the choice in the late 19th century marked the end of steam automobiles except as curiosities.

Electric automobiles: –

Flocken elektrowagen

The Flocken Elektrowagen of 1888 by German inventor Andreas Flocken is regarded as the first real electric car of the world.

Electric cars enjoyed popularity between the late 19th century and early 20th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time.

The Ford Motor Company, reduced prices of gasoline cars to less than half that of equivalent electric cars, led to a decline in the use of electric car. However, in recent years, increased concerns over the environmental impact of gasoline cars, higher gasoline prices, improvements in battery technology, and the prospect of peak oil, have brought about renewed interest in electric cars, which are perceived to be more environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain and run, despite high initial costs, after a failed reappearance in the late-1990’s.

Internal combustion engines: –

1885-built Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the first car to go into production with an internal combustion engine.

Benz Patent-Motorwagen

Karl Benz built his first automobile in 1885 in Mannheim. Benz was granted a patent for his automobile on 29 January 1886, and began the first production of automobiles in 1888.

There was an abundance of experimenting and inventions but cars were not used in the Western prairies until well into the 1900’s. So if you are writing before the 1930’s in the west it is doubtful there were many gas stations out on the plains.

Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Manufactured Canned Goods

Indian Head pictureIn 1790 a Frenchman, Nicolas Appert pioneered the process of canning food. He applied heat to food in sealed glass bottles. In 1810 – Peter Durand -based on Appert’s methods, packaging of food in airtight – tin-plated wrought-iron cans were patented.

It wasn’t until 1901, the American Can Company was founded and produced canned goods in tin cans.

When researching, especially in western North America it is important to know when grocery stores were in the places your write about to even sell canned goods. It probably wouldn’t be earlier than the 1900’s.  But our ancestors obviously did Appert’s method, long before they could purchase canned products in any store.  So home-canned goods could have been produced in the west by the 1800’s.

Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876.  However the telephone required extensive and many innovations to make it a household item.  In the cities and urban areas telephones started becoming common in the late 1920’s and 30’s. Telephones didn’t become ordinary, especially in western Canada rural areas until the 1940’s and 1950’s. The first telephones in rural areas were party lines where neighbors could gather and gain news without visiting. Although they had individual crank rings (remember one-ringy-dingy, two ringy dingy’s – telephone operator Lily Tomlin or the Carol Burnett Show?) or maybe not.  That’s a little old too.

With George - Monteray Park

Nothing seems to have advanced or improved during people’s lifetime more than the telephone.

Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Jeans

As far back as the 15th century, Genoa, Italy was famous for their cotton corduroy.  From this material they developed another twill fabric that became known as ‘de Nimes’.  (denims). But it wasn’t used to make jeans at that time or even for a few centuries after.

Genoa

In North America denim was used mainly for cowboy and miner’s pants because of its’ strength,manufactured but not called jeans.  In the mid 1800’s Jacob Davis contacted Levi Strauss to suggest a patent  be put on his added idea of putting copper rivets to re-enforce the points of stress on the denim pants Strauss was selling.  In 1873 Levi Strauss brand jeans were sold.   Jeans continued to be used by cowboys and miners until the 1950’s when they started becoming popular for everyone.

In my book, Hawk’s Gift which takes place in the 1880’s, I was relieved that I could write:

–  ‘He wore tight jeans, as though denim had been invented specifically for him.’Hawk's Gift by Mary M. Forbes

Facts for Historical Romance Writers – the Zipper

In Caberette  - Dominican.In 1851 Elias Howe, the man who invented the sewing machine, received a patent for the “Automatic Continuous Clothes Closure”.  He however didn’t market that product.

In 1893 Whitcomb Judson started a company ‘Universal Fastener Company’ and began marketing the zipper whose debut was at the Chicago World’s Fair.

So beware of using the zipper in your writings before the 1900’s.  Readers might know and will question little facts like this.

Writer’s Tip on Dialogue

Mel and Michelle

Unless everyone you know speaks grammatically correct and regardless of how often and how annoying Word is about trying to correct you – do not use grammatically correct sentences in your dialogue. Even very educated people speak differently than they write.
And to further the ‘natural feel’ of your book, be consistent.  If your character is uneducated he/she will not speak the same way as someone who is educated. A street person will not speak the same as a housewife.  And the list goes on and on.

This is a very important to follow when writing your story.  It will also help develop who you are trying to portray.

Mysteries of Marketing

As I sat pondering over whether I should get dressed and go out to get myself a Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich, it hit me that there is marketing knowledge to be gained in food.

Bacon and Eggs

I realized that bacon and eggs are a very recent breakfast staple, all thanks to advertising.  In the old days breakfast was usually a grain product, like oatmeal.  Then thanks to Mr. Edward Bernays and his advertising campaign, breakfast was changed forever.

lobster

Then I read an article by Mahrie G. Ried where I discovered lobster was once considered a poor man’s food.  Yet again, with great marketing, lobster met its’ purpose, one of the tops in our food supply. What fantastic advertising.

So, applying this type of advertising to your book you could move your book to the top – a must read.  How?  I would appreciate any comments as to how this could be possible. In the meantime I will study the advertising techniques used to promote these two food items.

Writing – Are you putting enough thought into Developing Characters?

Sometimes it’s difficult to create characters in such a way as to make them individuals. Writers often want and need to give their characters the same qualities they have themselves.  It’s hard to develop a character when everything they believe and stand for is the opposite of your own opinion.

Often people who don’t read genre books fear that they will all be the same and pretty boring after a time.  But the truth is – a well written romance, mystery or fantasy is every bit as exciting to read as any classified ‘great’.  If you study those books you can see the character development is often the key to making it great.

You should develop your character using characteristics that they have, not what you feel yourself. Everyone is an individual. Using fear of flying as an example you would not have your character happily hopping onto a plane to get somewhere.  He/she will use whatever alternatives are available.  So if he/she drives and is an environmental advocate there is further conflict and further debate in the mind.  But what happens if he/she has to fly?  Then there should be a plausible explanation why or how he/she does it.  Each characteristic should be thought out carefully, then if faced with having to do it – there will have to be a good reason how he/she will accomplish that.

That is one way a writer can develop unique, individual characters.  It’s easier to do if you fear flying and much more difficult if you love flying.

One of the most effective ways for me is to imagine a debate team – pick a topic and then research arguments for both sides.  If someone is an environmental advocate and someone is working in the oil-field there is a conflict in characters and they can’t both have your own views. But using reason and common sense – you can see both sides. You now have two ‘individuals’ and your conflict as well.

Another method I use is to imagine something I fear and the feelings I get from that fear – then use my own feelings to make my character’s fear (which might be different) come to life.

If you are able to, submerse yourself and become your character and write your story. Role play.  Just remember to come back to reality when you’re finished.

I often find books where their characters just do what the author says they should, disregarding individual quirks and characteristics.

Fort MacLeod - Murphy hugs a horse

Beware you don’t make the same mistake.