10 Classic Books You Read in High School You Should Reread

By Kevin Smokler

It’s all too easy to look at the novels assigned to us as high school students as monuments or mist, to be worshiped or abandoned as we did our outfit to the junior prom. That either/or narrative matches both how we encounter these “great books” in education (as non-negotiable requirements) and an educator’s hope for our response (that their “greatness” changes our lives). That may be a whole lot no-shades-of-gray thinking on my part. As proof, I’ll accept a “meh” opinion on Moby-Dick or The Scarlet Letter from anyone assigned to write an essay on it as a teenager.

Is there a third way? Read More…

Should You Smash Your Words?

By Aria Gmitter

Writers every where are frustrated with the traditional publishing route and the ever-increasing gatekeepers to the almighty book in print. So, in desperation writers flooded e-publishing on Amazon, in hopes of having sales sky-rocket. The sad story for many indie e-published writers is that the stream of new books became a flood gate that burst open, and titles were covered by the wave faster than you can type tsunami. And few, if any are seen by buyers.

Visit SmashwordsThe news on e-publishing and indie authors is that despite a dip in the number of self-published authors posted on Amazon, authors are not giving up the dream of seeing their words in print.  The latest increase in e-publications can be seen by Smashwords.

What is Smashwords anyway? Is it legitimate? Can it help new writers get the visibility that they long for?

According to a blog post dated Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 by the original Smashwords blog  Authors are being helped all around the world on the sale and publication of their books. You can review the details of their self-conducted study here.

To make the publishing process easier for writers, Smashwords has dedicated a few useful tools to their potential clients for free. One of which comes in a The Secrets to E-book Publishing Success.

Smashwords has also put together a small video for writers to help them understand how data drives sales. If you are interested in watching this video here’s the link.

Every coin has two sides. When I first heard of Smashwords, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical but mostly due to piracy issues related to content theft. But I had also heard some stories about the layout of books published on Smashwords. Still, many authors that I respected as people in their chosen professions determined to use it as a stream of visibility in self-promoting their books. The 2012 Review of last years success for indie authors reveals that electing to use this company might not have been such a bad idea.
What are some simple steps a writer can take to help make a wise decision on whether or not Smashwords is one way get their book out?

This statement was taken from a blog posted by The Digital Reader on Smashwords, “The good of Smashwords is that it is a place where one can find true gems, true masterpieces among the slush, and find them at very reasonable prices. Some excellent, even outstanding, authors I have found at Smashwords are Richard S. Tuttle, Vicki Tyley, Shayne Parkinson, Lee Goldberg, Catherine Durkin Robinson, Saffina Desforges, and Markus Kane.  The bad of Smashwords is how difficult it can be to find these authors.”

In an blog post by The Independent Publishing Magazine Mick Rooney states that Amazon still gives the visibility that a writer needs, but Smashwords allows writers more control over format for any reader without any problem. This is an important consideration for individuals who want to maximize their downloads when selling a book. As in all sales format is important, and if you’re selling an e-book, wouldn’t e-reader friendliness be a must? We say, YES!!

Then, there is another blogger who decided to write 500 reasons to love Smashwords. She included in this list the ability to give friends and family coupons towards the purchase of her book, (who doesn’t love coupons!?!)

So, what’s the bottom line? Smashwords is the most e-friendly in format, but the most difficult in navigating to find those writers you love. If you’re a writer that hasn’t felt the love from your would be readers, this is a problem. But it’s a good problem to have because it is one that can be solved. How? By building a platform that gives you the visibility that gets you out there.

Platform-Power Step 1: Remember it’s important to work your social media daily! Don’t have social media. Get some.

Platform-Power Step 2: Hire a marketing pro to help you build your social media strategy.

Platform-Power Step 3: Build a brand that reflects you and connects to your audience.

 

Should you Smash Your Words?

By Aria Dunham

Writers every where are frustrated with the traditional publishing route and the ever-increasing gatekeepers to the almighty book in print. So, in desperation writers flooded e-publishing on Amazon, in hopes of having sales sky-rocket. The sad story for many indie e-published writers is that the stream of new books became a flood gate that burst open, and titles were covered by the wave faster than you can type tsunami.

Visit SmashwordsThe news on e-publishing and indie authors is that despite a dip in the number of self-published authors posted on Amazon, authors are not giving up the dream of seeing their words in print.  The latest increase in e-publications can be seen by Smashwords.

What is Smashwords anyway? Is it legitimate? Can it help new writers get the visibility that they long for?

According to a blog post dated Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 by the original Smashwords blog  Authors are being helped all around the world on the sale and publication of their books. You can review the details of their self-conducted study here.

To make the publishing process easier for writers, Smashwords has dedicated a few useful tools to their potential clients for free. One of which comes in a The Secrets to E-book Publishing Success.

Smashwords has also put together a small video for writers to help them understand how data drives sales. If you are interested in watching this video here’s the link.

Every coin has two sides. When I first heard of Smashwords, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical but mostly due to piracy issues related to content theft. But I had also heard some stories about the layout of books published on Smashwords.

Still…

Read More (Platform-Power.com)

 

3 Reasons Why Communities Help Professionals Learn

The self-employed life can be a little lonely sometimes. The more work you put into your business, the less it seems you can relate to anyone else. It’s not that you’re actively pushing friends and family away; it’s just they can’t understand your specific issues.

Even worse, you start to live in a bubble that eventually won’t pop. You start to think you’ve got everything down pat and there’s no room to grow. This is how businesses get stuck in ruts and start to decline. Once this pattern is set, it’s tough to crack it.

That’s why it’s vital you involve yourself in a business community as soon as possible. Not only will it help you break out of your comfort zone, but meeting other business professionals can help your learn new ways to do things.

1. Information Sharing

This is one of the most obvious ways a community can help a professional learn, but it can’t be overstated. You accumulate a lot of knowledge during your time as a business professional and you start to think you know it all. All it takes is one person – or worse, one lost client – to come along and show you how little you know.

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! Realizing you’re nowhere near as smart or experienced as you think allows you to grow in ways you didn’t expect. Use your colleagues and even your competitors to expand your knowledge, both locally and globally. Don’t forget: they need your expertise too, so don’t be afraid to share.

2. Different Perspectives

Besides information, perspective is something that can only be gained when you talk to other people or consult new sources. Again, after doing business for so long, you start to think your way is the only way. It’s only when we’re challenged do we see how wrong we are.

Let’s say you’ve been selling your product offering one way for years and it’s never failed you. As a result, you become incredibly confident in your methods. However, at a community meeting, you realize your colleague is selling the same service in a drastically different way — and it’s never failed her, either. The conversations you could have about that alone could be business-altering!

3. Gets You Away From Work — Sort of

Part of getting stuck in a rut involves doing the same thing over and over, all day every day. If you’re always at the office or going to meetings or working on paperwork, you’re going to hit a wall and burn out. It’s happened before and it will happen again, even to the best professionals out there.

Getting out of the office once in a while and talking to others in your same position is a great way to free your brain up for a while and relax while you still move forward with your company. You’re not pulling yourself completely away, but simply hanging out with like-minded individuals (even online) can help you step away from any problems you’re having and see them from a new perspective. Just taking your mind off of the same ol’ thing for a while goes a long way toward allowing your brain to recharge.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your colleagues or your competitors in online communities?

Book Publishing Runs on Small Margins

Production manager Al Hinz puts ink on an original Heidelberg offset and letterset press at Crescent Publishing and Sanders Printing in Garretson. / Jay Pickthorn / Argus Leader

Andy Traub put out his first book at a cost of about $250.

Within eight days, “Early to Rise” had earned Traub $1,500, and the audio content producer was using high-tech methods to make contacts he’ll use to promote his second book. Self-publishing and e-books made it possible for Traub to try something he had always wanted and even make a profit.

“Even if a publishing company would come to me today and offer me a $10,000 advance to write another book, I’m not sure I would take it,” Traub said. “Things in this industry are changing.”

Read More (Sioux Falls Business Journal)

Platform-Power Take

Platform-Power believes this a sweet-spot for writers that want to get published. Contact us for how we can help you. Platform-Power.com

 

The Death of Time with the Birth of Social Media

time mgmt clear

Image by Ted Goff

By Aria Gmitter

Perhaps one of the greatest threats to story creation is that of poor time management.  Family, work obligations, the need to eat, sleep and pay the bills can leave many writers little to no time to focus attention on creative project development.

In today’s fast-paced social and multimedia environments the threat is even more pressing.  Platform is an essential component to obtaining the coveted publishing contract. So, you follow the rules. Post to Facebook. Upload your pictures to Instagram and Flickr. You link up with other writers on LinkedIn. Blog and tweet random thoughts and hashtag keywords. You’re filled with hope that those Google+ circles will become the X that marks the spot and suggest your name in the cyber engine search sphere.

Perhaps you fear you’ve become a word wielding schizophrenic with narcissistic tendencies prone to bouts of brag and boast.  You’ve succumbed to “I just saw this on my drive to work…” stories and quoting beloved inspiration that has stimulated your soul. Still your Klout score is lower than a person’s self-esteem after a bad date.

So, you speed tweet faster than a sent email. More socially engaged than a teenager on a sugar rush. More powerful than a YouTube video gone viral. But alas, the day ends. All that remains are single sentences barely making one coherent paragraph. Maybe standardized testing failed you and you’re the writer left behind. Or that “great writing” note on your essays in college are accidental misprints intended for another colleague. Sure you’re writing, and friends, are “Liking” it.  But still, the only book your name is on remains pirates treasure buried in your caffeinated brain.  “A writer can’t exactly make the New York Times Best Sellers List on retweets or Facebook posts,” your imaginary friends cajole in your thoughts during the midnight hour.

Even if the truth leaves you ready to toss in your ball point pen, hold on to your ink. You’re not alone. In fact, let me assure you, Business Newsweek won’t blame you for the failing economy. Even if that book in your head falls and hits the pillow harder than the Dow on Wall Street.  You’ve got a case of poor time management. You need a powerful bailout from the new writer’s block that’s leaving you publishing bankrupt.

Creating high-quality content requires focus and discipline. A story developer is more like a long-distance runner that requires long periods of rigorous thought, soul-searching, writing, rewriting, and editing.  Today’s social media world is more suited for sprint writers who unleash concept and word-power in bursts of 140 characters a minute. The combination for writers is distraction, time loss, and lack of creative quality development.  What’s worse is that a writer can have social media engagement, a slew of followers; but, if the story falls flat or doesn’t pull heart-strings, publishers may pass on their work all together.

Switching gears breaks focus, concentration and damages a writer’s ability to dig deeply into their craft, themselves, and even their characters.  In fact, readers want characters in pain and that just doesn’t happen unless the story writer has lived through the process of personal experience or sympathetic imagination himself.  Ayana Mathis during an Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 interview  attributes her success with, The 12 Tribes of Hattie, that the art of pain, epiphany and resolution is how she connects and hooks her readers.  This kind of bone deep story writing isn’t simple and it does require time.

So, how can you effectively manage your time to write? Can’t be all that difficult, now can it? Just sync all your social media together and with one touch of a click, you’re done. Right? Wrong! Not all social media has the same purpose or audience.

Do you know who your audience is, or what media will reach them best?

Self-Publishing Now The First Choice For Some Writers

Audie Cornish talks with Mark Coker, the founder of one of the largest self-publishing companies. Smashwords’ business has taken off in just a few years, and Coker’s outlook for the future of self-publishing is rosy. In fact, he says when anyone can publish a book, traditional publishing houses are poised to become irrelevant.

Read More (NPR.org)

Augmented Reality Is Revolutionizing the Publishing Industry (Finally!)

After years of incubation, it is finally clear that AR is going to transform our mobile computing experiences. With an Augmented Reality (AR) app, you can point your smartphone or tablet at an icon or picture that is on an enabled page and get additional information about what you are seeing.

Popular Science used this in a recent issue to bring up a video of inventors talking about their inventions.


Read More [PC Magazine]

It’s Platform Power’s position that all publishing projects should be planned as multimedia projects. AR is just one of the many technologies that will allow you to monetize your intellectual property. Stay tuned here to learn more about the latest in publishing, marketing, and building your platform.