Run your Amazon campaigns through BookAds

Today, I am blogging for my fellow authors to share an awesome tip! If you take my advice you’ll save hours and hours of your precious time and, hopefully, earn some more money from your books too!

I don’t know about you but the months of September-October always find me in a state of mild depression, mainly because I keep feeling that time is running out and I haven’t even started on projects I was supposed to have finished by now.

Two are the projects I mind the most that I haven’t been working on:

a) Writing a new novel

b) Mastering AMS campaigns after following the mind-blowing free training course by the Kindlepreneur.

I had the best intentions to work on both this year but, sadly, life got in the way.

And here I am, in mid-October, having just issued a short story collection instead of a novel (because I felt compelled to offer some kind of new content to my readers this year the way I’ve been doing so far), and now it’s high time I wrote that new book that’s well overdue. The other day, I was getting frustrated thinking that for the foreseeable future AMS campaigns would remain uncharted territory for me… when an email came to offer me a wonderful solution.

The email was from Matt Stone, aka Buck Flogging, a highly successful entrepreneur whom I’ve presented in this post along with a couple of his free resources.

So, anyway, Matt has just started a new site where he and his associates, having mastered AMS campaigns, offer authors the chance to sit back and watch as they run their AMS campaigns for them!

Being well informed about the giving nature and the high marketing skills of Matt Stone, for me, the decision to sign up for this service was a no brainer.

Note: When an author signs up for this service, they grant access to BookAds from their AMS campaigns dashboard, but without sharing the password. The author only invites BookAds to become an ‘editor’ for their AMS campaigns. This is done from the AMS dashboard. In this case, a team member from Bookads gains access to the author’s AMS dashboard and only that – they cannot see the KDP Bookshelf/Reports, for example.

Just think of all the time this could save you in your daily work schedule… allowing you to write instead, or to do other kinds of marketing that you actually enjoy or feel confident with.

Check out BookAds and see what you think. From what it says on the site, their customers are making more money than what they spend. This could be the case for anyone whose book looks good on the product page (i.e. has the right average star rating, number of reviews etc).

Since the site is new, Matt is offering this service at the low price of $49 per month for a limited time only, and he’s going to take on a small number of customers at first. I hope you will get to be one of them.

Clarification: The monthly cost for you will be the $49 fee PLUS the charges you will receive from Amazon for the running of the campaign. The site mentions a recommended minimum daily budget of $10. And even though a simple calculation may suggest that you’re looking at a monthly Amazon cost of $300, in reality it won’t be anywhere near that according to Brian Berni who runs the campaigns for the customers of BookAds. When I asked about the total Amazon costs I’d be likely to pay, saying that I wouldn’t be happy to spend more than $100 per month at first, he gave me this answer (that put my mind at ease) and I quote it here verbatim to help you decide:

The daily spend is an average. It is very very very unlikely you’ll be spending that much in a day. In fact, almost impossible. That’s because if I see you are (and not making a positive ROI), I would pause the campaigns that are costing you too much. If, on the other hand, you’re spending more than 10$/day but making 20, I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a different story 🙂

The budgets you see in the campaigns are an absolute maximum the ads can reach, after which they will cut off. As per above, this NEVER happens. I’ve done hundreds (if not thousands) of campaigns, and I’ve never seen an ad go through its entire daily budget. Especially since we typically bid very low. 

The amount you see for those 2-3 campaigns (100$) is the minimum required by Amazon for that type of ad (Product Display). The same as above applies. I’ve never seen any ad even get close to that. Some ads spend around 20$ in their ENTIRE lifetime (6 months). 

 

How to apply for the service:

The application procedure is quick and the screens take you through the 3 steps effortlessly: First, you set up the monthly payment via Paypal or whatever, then you are diverted to a quick video that shows you how to invite BookAds as an editor to your AMS dashboard and, last, lower on the same screen, you fill in the entry form with the details of the book you wish to promote. Done. And you can cancel the service at any time.

Note: The above link to BookAds contains an affiliate link, which means if you sign up for this service I will earn a little commission. This doesn’t affect the fee you pay. Thanks in advance if you use my link to sign up!

In my book, time is precious… and all indie authors suffer from not having enough of it. For me, delegating tasks to people more skilled than me is a huge time-saver as well as the practice of any entrepreneur worth his salt (both Henry Ford and Thomas Edison spring to mind here). I am getting excited as I write these lines, thinking that by putting my trust in someone more skilled than me I can save precious hours of my time AND be in for a chance to make more money than I did before.

Here’s the link to BookAds again… I am off to write my novel now… Thank you, Matt Stone!

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Author, participate in a huge event and get paid!

 

Thrilled to spread the word today about a huge event that I am participating in and, for the first time ever, expecting to be paid for my time and trouble. You, what? I hear you say. You see, this is not your average authors event. As you may have heard in my recent post FREE AUTHOR RESOURCES AND A NEW MINDSET FOR SUCCESS (and if you haven’t, I strongly recommend you check it out), I have recently got into affiliate marketing. I made that decision as part of my plan to grow my budding (and struggling) business in a dedicated manner from now on. As I’m excited to try this new angle, I feel compelled to write and tell you all about it. And I am excited, because:

a) The prospect of expanding my business with a new source of income for little work feels like a bonus, whether it trickles or flows for a while!

b) I have been following the person behind this event for almost a year now – that’s Matt Stone (AKA Buck Flogging) and I believe in him. I know he knows his onions. The fact he earns 6 figures per month is a proof of that, if anything. His past events have been huge successes so I know this one will be too. My decision to join forces with him when he invited me to was both an honor and a no brainer.

Matt Stone is the mastermind behind BuckBooks, ArchangelInk, Digital Freedom Academy and many other successful sites, including the one I recently signed up with as an affiliate, which is QuitN6 (Quit your job in 6 months). The site is dedicated to teaching online entrepreneurs everything they need to know so they can build their business from scratch, then grow their mailing list so they can start earning some serious $$$. But don’t let the sound of $$$ set off any scammer alerts in your head. I can assure you that Matt’s methods involve nothing but hard work and dedication, as well as a burning desire to help others succeed.

 

But I digress. Back to the specific event. As you can see, it involves a freebie. This is the incentive for the online entrepreneurs (authors included, of course!) to sign up to Matt’s mailing list.

Matt has got an army of dedicated affiliates ready to spread the word about the book.

So what is the incentive for me to sign up as an affiliate too, I hear you say?

Simple.

Matt will pitch a paid product to the new subscribers in July, and every affiliate will be earning a commission for purchases made by the people they’d brought to the landing page. The traffic each affiliate brings will have been tracked automatically.

As I said, this is new to me and I am very excited. Seeing that I don’t have many entrepreneurs but mostly fiction readers on my mailing list, I cannot blast out an announcement about the event via my newsletter. So instead, just before the event starts I will blog it here, then tweet the living daylights out of it to get entrepreneurs to sign up during the four days that the event will run (June 26-29). This is all I will have to do. Then I’ll sit back and wait for July when hopefully I will be receiving a nice little sum that I wouldn’t have earned otherwise.

Here’s the truth: Over and over again, I have been working my butt off doing promo for days, and 9 out of 10 my ROI is negative. And this leaves me feeling bummed every time. But not this time. Even if a single $ comes in for half an hour’s work to join forces with an entrepreneur as phenomenal as Matt Stone I’ll be sitting pretty.

So there you go. This entails zero cost, half an hour’s work, if that, and you’ll be in with a chance to win Paypal cash without any risk involved. I am sure you will agree this is a non brainer.

Consider this post my cordial invitation to you to sign up as an affiliate today. Added bonus: As an affiliate, you will be able to email the author directly and get a copy of the book for your own reading pleasure too!

If you choose not to go down the affiliate marketing route, you can still get your hands on the freebie.  I have read it and it has some gems in it, especially towards the end! To get your copy, just sign up for Matt’s mailing list when the event is live.

I will be blogging about it near the time so this will serve as a reminder for you. See, I got you covered either way 😉

However,  if you have a strong point to use to your advantage, I hope you will choose to participate as an affiliate. When I say strong point I mean either or both of these things:

a) A mailing list that contains only indie authors or entrepreneurs of any niche

b) A large Twitter following so you can blast the message out continuously. As I said, this is my only option and I got nothing to lose to try it!

CLICK HERE NOW TO SIGN UP AS AN AFFILIATE FOR THE EVENT

 

PLEASE NOTE!

Upon signing up, you will receive the link to your affiliate dashboard and your sign on details. When you get to your dashboard, make sure to change the tab to the FREE IBI BOOK. This page will show your affiliate links for the specific event. One is for the landing page you will be promoting, the other is to refer other affiliates to the event (the way I am doing now to spread the word!). These two links are unique to each person as you realize, so make sure to use your own and not mine, otherwise you’ll be giving me your precious commission and that won’t do 😉

Before I go: If you are an author, you may want to sign up to my mailing list just for indies, HERE. Every time I publish a post for authors I email it to this list. There are other benefits to sign up and you can find out all the details on the same page. Believe me, you do not want to miss a thing!

CLICK HERE NOW TO SIGN UP AS AN AFFILIATE FOR THE EVENT

 

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&nb

FREE author resources and a new mindset for success

I am thrilled today to share wonderful FREE resources for authors that will make your head spin! In the past four months, thanks to a pretty nasty frozen shoulder I have had no choice but to say goodbye to my hectic 10-hour work days. Since I couldn’t type with both hands, writing a book has been impossible, and any kind of writing has been hard, so I decided to spend time on my computer educating myself instead.

Since February, I’ve done a couple of courses, watched several educational videos, read a bunch of entrepreneurial books and boy, has the journey been fantastic!

Some of them are FREE on the internet for everybody (seek and you shall find!) and others have been made available to me via my subscriptions to Digital Freedom Academy and QuitN6, both brainchildren of the mind-blowing entrepreneur Matt Stone (more on Matt, later on.)

I (virtually) stand before you today feeling like a brand new person, having acquired a new mindset that truly opened my eyes. For the first time since becoming an indie I’ve taken a few steps back, which allowed me to clear my mind and to see the big picture. And once you’ve done that, you get to see beyond the daily strife in front of the blinking screen as you plan your next FREE/KCD promo or write your next blog post – as if  promoting on Amazon and blogging are the best ways to get people to buy your books. Yeah, right.

Don’t get me wrong. I love blogging, and I can see the merit in it too. But thanks to the online resources I’ve been blessed to come across, I now see there are easier and more profitable ways to make it as an author.

Which brings me back to the FREE resources I have for you today, starting from a FREE 4-video course that will blow you away!

The FREE book, Reader Magnets, by awesome entrepreneur Nick Stephenson came highly recommended by an author friend. I can vouch for the fact that it has wonderful, fresh advice for indies, but the gem here is the emails you will receive as a subscriber, which contain links to Nick’s FREE 4-video course. This course involves groundbreaking stuff that will blow your mind!

Start by downloading the FREE book, Reader Magnets, on Nick Stephenson’s site, Your First 10,000 readers

You will receive the video links for the FREE course by email.

Nick’s course is all about the big picture I mentioned earlier. It will show you that your mailing list is more important than all the blogposts and Amazon promos you’ve ever done put together. Having listened to Nick Stephenson’s story, and his groundbreaking, easy to understand advice, this truly makes sense to me now.

But that’s not all for today. Here are some more FREE resources that have wowed me since February and I highly recommend you check out:

Don’t be fooled by the generic title. This FREE book series by the awesome Buck Flogging does apply to authors and it will help you spread your wings. I promise it will give you such a big picture you won’t know where you’re at for a while but it’s overwhelming and really powerful a feeling, and it will make your mind whirl like a spinning top!

I also recommend you read Buck’s FREE books after you’ve done Nick Stephenson’s course. Those rusty old cogs in your mind will have started turning by then so you’ll reap the full benefit of Buck Flogging’s advice in these books. Oh. And in case you’re mystified by the weirdness of the name ‘Buck Flogging’, swap around the first letters of the words and at least you’ll be able to guess how Buck feels about blogging. The real person behind the alias is Matt Stone of Buck Books, ArchangelInk and many other successful sites. Matt is an awesome entrepreneur like no other that you’ll do well to give your full attention to.

A word of warning: Matt Stone is a real sweetheart but Buck Flogging (his alter ego) is not a good boy. Other than being so vain that he puts the ‘N’ on Narcissus, he also loves sexual innuendoes and generally loves mentioning private body parts. Personally, I take the smooth with the rough (Buck, if you’re listening, please don’t turn this last statement into another of your sexy jokes!)

Proceed at your own peril and download your FREE copies HERE

 

Here’s one more gem for you! I mentioned earlier that growing your mailing list is more profitable than blogging. Guess what else is? Running AMS campaigns! Dave Chesson has made a FREE course on the subject that imparts a wealth of information and will give you the most A-HA moments possible since the days of “The Sun Always Shines on TV” (sorry, I am a huge fan of the band and couldn’t help the silly joke!) Check our Dave’s course in detail HERE

As I stated earlier, I’ve been reading a lot online… but the three aforementioned resources are by far the best, hence feeling compelled to share. Miss out on them at your own risk!

Before I go: If you are an author, you may want to sign up to my mailing list just for indies, HERE. Every time I publish a post for authors I email it to this list. There are other benefits to sign up and you can find out all the details on the same page. Believe me, you do not want to miss a thing!

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means I will earn a little commission if you make any purchases on the sites of the featured entrepreneurs. This won’t make a difference to the cost for you should you choose to make a purchase.

 

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Everything you need to know about AMS campaigns

Thrilled to post this awesome tip for authors today! Those who follow my blog have often heard me rave here about Dave Chesson aka The Kindlepreneur for his indispensable blog and his out-of-the-box thinking.

Dave has created a fantastic tool for authors called KDP Rocket which has worked wonders for my keyword research, increasing remarkably my books’ visibility in Amazon searches. Now, Dave has gone and done it again by creating a 100% FREE online course where he reveals to authors a step-by-step guide to master AMS campaigns!

Any indie author worth his salt knows that AMS campaigns are currently the best way to increase book sales on Amazon. But if you’re anything like me you’ve been trying again and again to make money with these campaigns to no avail. “Yeah, why is that?” I hear you say.

This is simply because the hidden knowledge bestselling authors have been applying to make money on Amazon have been evading the rest of us.

Well, that was then… and this is NOW!

Last week I followed Dave’s FREE course which took me 2-3 hours to do, but don’t let that put you off! I did it effortlessly, and in my own time, as the course allows you to stop and pick up another time from where you’ve left off.

The course presumes you’re an absolute beginner so it starts from square one by explaining AMS campaigns and how to set them up. Even if you feel you could start at a later point, I strongly advise you don’t skip the early parts. I found a pearl of wisdom or two there myself!

 

The FREE course includes mentions to Dave’s app, KDP Rocket, simply because it is the Alpha and the Omega of indispensable tools for keyword research on Amazon for your 7 keywords per book on KDP, and now also for keyword research for your AMS campaigns. Dave added the AMS campaigns component on KDP Rocket only recently.

Please note:

You do not need KDP Rocket to apply Dave’s pearls of wisdom and to increase your sales with AMS campaigns, however, using KDP Rocket WILL save you hours and hours of time. The app can and will produce hundreds of suitable keywords for your book in a matter of minutes, including the titles of the bestselling books similar to yours!

“But… it’s not allowed to use other authors’ names and books,” some of you may say. Well, did you know that the rules that apply in AMS campaigns are different to those in KDP? And yes, it is allowed and advisable to use the competition as keywords in your AMS campaigns!

Dave recommends to start with 5-7 basic keywords that best describe your book. They must be popular but not too competitive.

From there, with the FREE course you will be able to expand your keyword list, finding hundreds more for your AMS campaigns that can attract the right readers to your product page. The course will tell you exactly where to go to Amazon to get them!

I hope you will check out Dave’s FREE course and give it the attention it well deserves! With it, I am sure you will experience firsthand all the WOW and the A-HA moments I had while taking it. June is a hectic month for me but as soon as things calm down I will apply the knowledge I gained and share my experience here. I will also blog the features of KDP Rocket on a separate post at first opportunity.

Before I go: If you are an author, you may want to sign up to my mail list just for indies, HERE. From now on, every time I blog a tip I will email it to this list. There are other benefits to sign up and you can find out all the details on the same page. Believe me, you do not want to miss a thing!

If you haven’t already, check out Dave Chesson’s awesome FREE course now!

Yes! I want to increase my sales!

 

Note: This post contains my affiliate link with Dave Chesson’s site. This means I will earn a little commission if you make any purchases on there, but this won’t make a difference to the cost for you.

 

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How to get rid of phishing sites that list your book

First of all, to clarify: when I say ‘phishing sites’, I do not mean pirates. Phishing sites don’t have your book, but pretend to have it. They are scammers of the worst kind. They scan the Internet finding products that seem popular, then pretend to make them available on their site, cheating people out of their email addresses and credit card details.

Today, I am here to give you a cool and simple way to fight back, not just for your own good, but for the good of the indie community as a whole.

We’ve all been there, right? I have lost count how many times I’ve seen my books ‘listed’ on sites around the world (more often than not, originating in China or Russia for some reason). And although I used to do nothing about it, thanks to the fabulous author and friend, Amy Vansant, who also happens to be an amazing computer wiz kid, I now know how to fight back. These days, pages that I find listing my book without my permission disappear from existence in just a couple of days. And I don’t even need to bother with WHOIS or to send a DMCA notice!

(If what I just said sounds like advanced Greek to you, fear not: go to this excellent post by Nicholas Rossis that explains all about WHOIS and DMCA notices.)

Now, as I said, my way to get rid of scammers listing books doesn’t bother with any of that. But before I show you how to deliver to them that well deserved virtual punch on the nose, I am going to quickly tell you how to find the scammers in the first place – presuming that if you are a newbie you don’t know how.

Every author needs to set up some kind of alert for their own author name and the titles of their books on the Internet, so that when they are mentioned online they get a nice email notification about it. Sometimes the notifications you get are good news! When a blogger reviews your book but fails to let you know, for example. Or when they generally mention your work or point to one of your blogposts on their own blog. This gives you the chance to comment and share to say thank you!

And when the notification is bad news, meaning it’s about a pirate or phishing site, you can choose to either ignore it or do something about it.

Either way, you need the notifications to hit your mailbox first and I recommend these to make it happen:

Google Alerts is FREE of charge. Very adequate. Set it up in a couple of minutes by quoting your own author name and the titles of your books.

Mention comes with a free trial for a limited time, but after that it has a cost (their plans start at $29 per month). If you can afford it it’s worth having as its search algorithms are much more complex than Google Alerts and it offers way more notifications.

Now that you’re set up to find those nasty buggers who pretend to have your book, let’s go get them – what do you say?

This is what a Google Alert looks like:

I have circled the website that Google Alert tells me lists my book. In this case, it was a phishing site. Obviously, because my novels are in KDP Select, any site other than Amazon that lists my book with a download button is not legitimate. And very seldom will they be pirates (i.e. will they actually have my book). Most of the time they are scammers, aiming to cheat people out of their personal details. To this day, I have never found a pirate listing my books.

As you can see, phising sites can be very cheeky! This one actually pretends to be the legitimate site FREE-Ebooks.net but of course the actual link says otherwise!

ATTENTION: Do not try to download anything from a phishing site! They don’t always ask for your email address or credit card information first. Sometimes they go right ahead and infect your computer with a virus as soon as you press ‘Download’! When I was still rather wet behind the ears I tried it once and if it weren’t for my nifty antivirus/firewall, I’d have been in a really hard place for a while! I still remember how I shuddered when the antivirus caught the bug and neutralized it for me seconds later.

So be warned! When you get to that darn site, do nothing on there and certainly do not contact them. Instead, do this:

GO TO:

https://safebrowsing.google.com/safebrowsing/report_phish/?hl=en

which will get you to this page:

This is a Google page, as you can see, so use it in every confidence that it’s safe. Here is where you copy paste on the top that nasty web page that lists your book.

In the comments, you basically tell Google that the site has no right to list your copyrighted material and that they are a phishing site out to steal people’s personal details. Print your name at the end of your comment.

A couple days later, if you go to that nasty web page, you will find that it’s no longer there. Sometimes it takes Google a couple days more; I expect they must have a lot of work of the sort to deal with, but they always take down the page within a week!

 

So this is it, peeps! This tactic is simple, quick and effective. I know it’s not a permanent fix, by far. Goodness knows the scammers don’t get deterred and will only create a new site to do this all over again. But hopefully, in time, if enough of us keep reporting them, maybe they’ll find it hard in the long run and decide to do something decent for a change. I am a dreamer, what can I say? In any case, the very thought that someone uses my labors of love to deceive people makes me mad. And since I started using this Google tool, I’ve been feeling a lot better. I hope it helps you too!

Thank you, Amy Vansant, for sharing this awesome tip!

Did you find this useful? Consider giving Amy a few minutes of your valuable time to browse through her website. I am a huge fan of her work and have devoured everything she’s written! If you love reading and laughing out loud, it’s an absolute must!

 

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How to get a cool email signature

Hi folks! I am back to Athens after my heavenly Corfu holiday and feeling rejuvenated. This is where I’ve been enjoying the sun and the sea for the past two weeks. Hard to wipe out the dreamy smile on my face, I can tell you…

Anyway, I am thrilled to share today an amazing new tip! Thanks to this article on the Kindlepreneur that is run by cool dude and entrepreneur Dave Chesson, I now have an email signature that rocks!

Here are two different versions – check it out:

The free app is  called Wisestamp. Everything you see above is clickable. For example, the Youtube image takes you to the video, and the banner on the right takes you to my website where readers can browse through my books.

Creating your email signature on Wisestamp takes about ten minutes. And you can add all sorts of things on a free account. You don’t have to upgrade to a paid option.

Note: If you decide to use a banner, you can create it on the free program Canva – choose the format of a Twitter banner as the Facebook one is too big to be inserted whole on Wisestamp.

Once you’ve created your email signature, you get to choose your free email provider to use it on. I chose Yahoo but get this: in the options, Wisestamp set it to ‘all email addresses’ which means that without doing anything else, it is now available also on my Gmail mailbox. Wisestamp will make a quick installation on your computer so the signature will be available to you in future. Once installed, I set mine to not come up on emails by default, unless I insert it manually.

See this icon I’ve circled in red below? That’s where you click to add your signature to the bottom of any email. Easy!

insertwisestamp

Now, once you’ve set up your signature, Wisestamp will email you and prompt you to make use of another cool free feature: a webpage where you get to present yourself to others. You create this here and it looks like this:

wisesite2

Below, you can see the whole page…

wisesite1

Or, you can see it here live.

People can even email you directly via this page!

The doggie graphic you see on the top right is something I added with the HTML option and it points to my books on my website. With the HTML option you can link up to virtually anything you want readers to see. I also used the Youtube option to link up to my book trailers. At the bottom I added the RSS feed for my blog. Hope this gives you a few ideas if you decide to create yours. It’s all free. I expect this page will come in handy the next time I need to introduce myself to a new associate, reader or new author friend – you never know. And one thing I’ve learned in my interactions with people is that the cooler you look when presenting yourself, the better your brand looks… and that’s of paramount importance, right?

You can create your own presentation page here once you’ve set up your signature.

If you’ve enjoyed this tip, make sure to spread the word! And if you’re not signed up for the posts of  Dave Chesson (The Kindlepreneur), now is the time to do it, if only for the eye-opening free books you get to download. Trust me, you’re seriously missing out if you haven’t checked out Dave Chesson yet. If there’s one thing I could say about him is that he thinks out of the box. And this makes him unique. For me, he’s an absolute star. So go sign up and get amazed. I know I do. Every time.

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Book review: How to get good reviews on Amazon

How to get good reviews on Amazon

I devoured this book. A lot of the advice made sense to me and I’d been following it all along instinctively, but there was so much more in this gem of a book that left me absolutely gobsmacked. I cannot believe how easy it is to identify a nasty reviewer, for example, who hides behind a nickname. That little tip is one of the best I’ve ever been given and I am very thankful it was included in the book. The bits about the forums were scary and left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve been keeping away from forums for this reason and reading this means I now know for sure I never will. There is sound advice throughout the book, most of it reminding us the plain truth that people are basically the same. Honesty and a little flattery will get you anywhere. And when I say ‘flattery’ I mean approaching top reviewers with more consideration and politeness than some authors often do. Theo Rogers gives invaluable advice to help us raise our chances that a top reviewer would accept to read our books. Mind you, I found myself guilty on a couple of non recommended practices, mainly when I first started on my publishing journey. I will certainly adjust my course of action as necessary. Thank you Theo Rogers for these precious insights!

My rating:

5-stars

A book of precious insights

 

howtogetgv

Are you interested to take a peek behind the curtain on the world of reviewers? Are you ready to get inside their heads, learn the jargon, and the best way to approach them? This book will open your eyes and teach you a thing or two!

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Author, your newsletters may be getting rejected!

Today, I’m going to share a cracking good tip for indie authors and online marketers in general. It all started recently when my author friend, mentor, and founder of eNovel Authors at Work, Jackie Weger, mentioned that newsletters from Mailchimp are now being blocked by free email providers like Yahoo or Gmail. It was pretty scary, so I made sure to sign on to Mailchimp and investigate.

I accessed my newsletter list, clicked on the ‘settings’, then ‘list name and defaults’, and surely enough, I got this warning message:

mailchimpscrprint

I clicked on ‘learn why’ and it took me to a very informative article on the same site which you can read here.

Basically, it’ll tell you that free email providers like AOL, Yahoo and Gmail are changing their DMARC policies (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance) to protect their users from online scammers. Unfortunately, the new strict checks mean that email coming from Mailchimp may be blocked now. Why? Because the free email provider will run a check and see that even though the from address is, say, a Gmail one (as was in my case up till recently), the email didn’t come from Gmail but from Mailchimp. This may cause the ‘sending’ email provider to inform the receiving email provider to reject the email!

Say, for example, that my newsletter is going to an AOL user. In this case, because the from address is a Gmail address, Gmail may suggest to AOL not to deliver my newsletter.

From the above, it’s made clear that in order to safeguard the delivery of our newsletters, we need to change the FROM Email Address on the above screen. Mailchimp advises to use a domain address.

In my case, I needed to create one on my domain, Effrosyniwrites.com.

And this is where things went south for me. Those who have been following my blog, know that I created this site with an online tutorial as I share here. This is because I know very little about domain registration and web hosting. Sadly, even though I had to go into unknown territory, I overestimated my abilities. I assumed that in order to create a domain email address, I needed to go to the site of my domain registrar.

When I did, I found a screen for email forwarding and, without hesitation, created an address and clicked ‘save’. A couple of hours later, my website crashed! There was no way to access it! I contacted Hostgator, my web host, and they told me the domain didn’t point to them! I didn’t get  a stroke, but I got pretty close. That’s what I looked like for a few moments staring at the screen, I can tell you!

catfrustrated

Anyway . . . Once I got some color back to my cheecks, another visit to my registrar’s site confirmed the two name servers I had set up to point to my site on Hostgator had been changed to names I didn’t recognize. What followed was two days of painful waiting and back and forth visits to Hostgator and my domain registrar. After a lot of online chatting and frustrating emailing I realized I’d done a big boo-boo. When I requested email forwarding on the registrar’s site, they presumed they were my web hosts so automatically changed the DNS settings (and the name servers) to the default ones they use. My mistake, of course, but it didn’t help that they had no warning message on the screen (like they did in others) which warned that any changes would change the name servers too.

Anyway, so I was advised to make the changes on the web hosting site instead . . . and of course, I canceled the email forwarding and changed the name servers back to the original settings. Once I’d done that, it was a matter of time till the DNS servers propagated the change all over the internet. It took two days but it was the sweetest feeling when my site was accessible again!

cat happy

So. Now you know what NOT to do, I’ll show you the right way to create a domain email address.

Go to the site of your web host. In my case, this is Hostgator so I’ll give you details for this company. Take the equivalent steps for your own web host, if different: Sign on the C Panel, scroll down to ‘mail’, click on ’email accounts’. There, you’ll create an email address. I chose ‘contact’ as to create contact@effrosyniwrites.com. Make sure to use a strong password! See here how to create one and why hackers will never guess it!

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Once you’ve created the email address, the options under ‘more’ in the above screen will take you further. I recommend you always use the Walk Me Through feature, like I did. It helped me feel more confident as I went from page to page.

Now, once you’ve created the address, you’re ready to access Webmail. i.e. get a screen where you’ll be able to receive and send messages for that email address.

Hostgator lists a few email services to choose from. I chose Roundcube. See below.

hostgatormail2

Roundcube is easy to use. I tested it, by using one of my free email addresses to send a message to contact@effrosyniwrites.com, then I replied from it and received fine.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready for the final step. Keep the screen on Roundcube open and go back to that warning message on Mailchimp:

mailchimpscrprint

So, on this screen where we started, you now need to change the from address. I deleted the Gmail address and put in its place the new one I created at Hostgator.

Mailchimp then sent me an email to this address. This is standard practice so they know I have the right to use it. When the email arrived on Roundcube moments later, I clicked on the link Mailchimp sent me and, hey presto, Mailchimp accepted my new From Email address.

After the trouble I’ve had, I was so delighted at that point I had to stand and do a happy dance!

happy girl

Do this, and you can have peace of mind too that your newsletters will hit your subscriber mailboxes without any mishaps. Oh! And the added bonus here is that when your subscribers see  a domain address instead of a free one in your newsletter, it helps them recognize your brand! Never underestimate the prestige factor where your brand is concerned.

Now, you may think I’m done advising you but I’m nowhere near finished. Setting this up and avoiding blacklisting in the process seems to me like a legendary trip to Ithaca fraught with danger worse than Cyclops, Sirens and all things nasty that even the great Homer couldn’t have thought up . . . So be warned of the following dangers too:

Some of you may think it’s tedious to have to access Roundcube regularly (or whatever equivalent you will have picked via your web host’s site). But, it is imperative that you check this new email regularly once you’ve created it. Free email providers may send you messages to check it’s an active and legitimate mailbox. Be warned not to leave it unchecked for long periods as it may get blacklisted even then! But if you don’t want to have to check the email too often, there is a solution for that. The first thing people do for this purpose is set up email forwarding. Once you’ve set that up on your web host’s site, the domain address emails will be forwarded to wherever you choose, say, a Yahoo address. But here, you run risks too!

Why? Hostgator, in this useful article, explains that email forwarding can get your domain address blacklisted as well! (Agh! I know, right?) For this reason, they advise that instead of email forwarding, you set up mail fetching. i.e. that you go to your free email provider and set up the mail fetching there. In my case, I tried to get my Gmail address to fetch my domain email but I’m sorry to say, I failed to do so. No matter what I tried, the darn thing wouldn’t work. In the process, I did another online chat with Hostgator staff who gave me even more options (various server and port settings) but to no avail. If you try this, I wish you good luck! Yahoo doesn’t provide a mail fetching option yet for private domains so I’ll probably try again later in future. For now, I’m happy to access my domain email via Roundcube. It takes just a couple of clicks to get to it via my Hostgator C Panel.

I hope this has been useful, and I wish you good luck with this set up. Apart from the unnecessary stress my silly mistake brought on me at first, setting this up on my web host’s site took a few minutes and it was easy to do.

If you have any information on the subject, or if you try this, do comment below and let us know how it went!

Need help with promotion? Check out my FREE, cracking good tips and resources: http://effrosyniwrites.com/for-authors/

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Tripfiction: an awesome site for authors and readers

reading woman beach

Last week, I blogged about Yonndr, a site where readers can search for books set in their travel destinations – or for books set in their favorite places in general! The post was a hit and many among my author friends went on the site to submit their books. I did too, goes without saying. Yonndr have been wonderful and listed my books quickly and impeccably. Today I am back to inform you about Tripfiction, another site that’s based on this awesome concept.

Tripfiction

 

Tripfiction allows refined searches, for example for the Greek island of Corfu, you can refine the search for the village of Kavos. This site also provides the option to add a review!

Anyway, I’m busy today creating new artwork to promote my Corfu-based romance, The Ebb. So I’ll leave you with this little sample that makes me chuckle. Why? The smiling Brit floating in the sparkling Ionian waters is my hubby, Andy. Ah – happy times, and I really can’t wait for my next Corfu holiday.

Happiness2

The process of making the images today is making me all dreamy about Corfu, so I’d better run before I bore you! I expect you have things to do, anyway, like submit (or look for) books on Tripfiction!

Have a wonderful, prosperous day!

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