A-Z Publishing is announcing a fun contest. Yes, There Is Life After 60 stories. If you, or someone you know, have accomplished something wonderful since turning 60, let the world know about it. It can be anything — starting a new career, writing a book, returning to school, falling in love, learning to read, climbing Mt. Everest, volunteering, healing (emotionally or physically), finding peace — anything. The purpose of this contest is to create a project which will inspire folks to live their dreams.

Cash prizes + publication! For rules and details or to submit a story:

http://yesthereislifeafter60.com

Please forward this to friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc. The author can be any age; the subject of the story must be 60 or better.

(http://wp.me/pFA2e-1Y)

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On stage at AUTHOR 101

Just returned from an INTENSE 4-day writers conference in Las Vegas (actually, Henderson). Author 101, established by Rick Frishman, is sort of a floating university. They do 4 or more large gatherings a year, in different parts of the country, devoted to educating authors on how to become wildly successful. Thank heaven I took good notes. There was SO MUCH information, SO MANY great ideas, and SO MUCH inspiration, my head is spinning. The purpose of it was to show multiple and diverse approaches to promoting and marketing our books and products (emphasis on products), presented by the top marketers and presenters in their field. We learned about promotion on radio, TV, social network, internet, and every other imaginable avenue.

Here I am with organizer Rick Frishman and my buddy, Kay Swindle, a.k.a C Kay Brooks

So far as I am concerned, however, the most important attribute of the organizers and presenters of AUTHOR 101 UNIVERSITY is their social consciousness. They are all multi-millionaires who appear to espouse the Dolly Levi (Hello Dolly) philosophy, “Money is like manure. It doesn’t do any good unless you spread it around.” A portion of their income goes to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Good people. They made me want to make tons of money on my books, etc., so I can spread it around.

They’re having another conference in Los Angeles, March 1 – 4. It’s mostly aimed at nonfiction writers, but there’s a lot there for fiction writers too. Definitely worth going.

 

Check them out at http://www.author101.com.

In serious discussion with Rick Frishman of AUTHOR 101

I just found this article which I think all my writer friends will find useful. I suggest copying it and saving it somewhere where you’ll be able to find it when you need it.

AN AUTHOR’S PLAN FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

by Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan is the New York Times bestselling author of the NEW book, Social Media 101.

He is president of New Marketing Labs, LLC, and blogs at [chrisbrogan.com].

1. Set up a URL for the book, and/or maybe one for your name. Need help finding a URL? I use Ajaxwhois.com for simple effort in searching.
2. Set up a blog. If you want it free and super fast, WordPress or Tumblr. I’d recommend getting hosting like Bloghost.me.
3. On the blog, write about interesting things that pertain to the book, but don’t just promote the book over and over again. In fact, blow people away by promoting their blogs and their books, if they’re related a bit.
4. Start an email newsletter. It’s amazing how much MORE responsive email lists are than any other online medium.
5. Have a blog post that’s a list of all the places one might buy your book. I did this for both Trust Agents and Social Media 101.
6. Make any really important links trackable with a URL shortener. I know exactly how many people click my links.
7. Start listening for your name, your book’s name. ( Covered in this post about building blocks.)
8. Consider recording a video trailer for your book. Here’s one from Scott Sigler (YouTube), for his horror thriller, Contagious. And here’s one from Dallas Clayton for his Awesome Book. (Thanks Naomi for pointing this out).
9. Build a Facebook fan page for the book or for bonus points, build one around the topic the book covers, and only lightly promote the book via the page.
10. Join Twitter under your name, not your book’s name, and use Twitter Search to find people who talk about the subjects your book covers.
11. When people talk about your book, good or bad, thank them with a reply. Connect to people frequently. It’s amazing how many authors I rave about on Twitter and how few actually respond. Mind you, the BIGGEST authors always respond (paradox?)
12. Use Google Blogsearch and Alltop to find the people who’d likely write about the subject matter your book covers. Get commenting on their blog posts but NOT mentioning your book. Get to know them. Leave USEFUL comments, with no blatant URL back to your book.
13. Work with your publisher for a blogger outreach project. See if you can do a giveaway project with a few bloggers (here’s a book giveaway project I did for Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years book).
14. Offer to write guest posts on blogs that make sense as places where potential buyers might be. Do everything you can to make the post match the content of the person’s site and not your goals. But do link to your book.
15. Ask around for radio or TV contacts via the social web and LinkedIn. You never know.
16. Come up with interesting reasons to get people to buy bulk orders. If you’re a speaker, waive your fee (or part of it) in exchange for sales of hundreds of books. (And spread those purchases around to more than one bookselling company.) In those giveaways, do something to promote links back to your site and/or your post. Giveaways are one time: Google Juice is much longer lasting.
17. Whenever someone writes a review on their blog, thank them with a comment, and maybe 1 tweet, but don’t drown them in tweets pointing people to the review. It just never comes off as useful.
18. Ask gently for Amazon and other distribution site reviews. They certainly do help the buying process. And don’t ask often.
19. Do everything you can to be gracious and thankful to your readers. Your audience is so much more important than you in this equation, as there are more of them than there are of you.
20. Start showing up at face to face events, where it makes sense, including tweetups. If there’s not a local tweetup, start one.
21. And with all things, treat people like you’d want them to treat your parents (provided you had a great relationship with at least one of them).

This sounds like a lot of steps. It is. But this is how people are finding success. Should this be the publicist’s job? Not even a little bit. The publicist has his or her own methodology. The author will always be the best advocate for his or her own work. Never put your marketing success in the hands of someone else. Always bring your best efforts into the mix and you’ll find your best reward on your time and effort.

You might have found other ways to be successful with various online and social media tools. By all means, please share with us here. What’s your experience been with promoting your work using the social web?

String the Bastards Up!

FYI – What to do if your email is hacked/hijacked.

My email was hijacked. I started getting phone calls before 7 a.m. last Friday — friends saying they had received the following email, which was allegedly from me:
______________________________________________________
I am writing this with tears in my eyes. i came down here to Uk (United Kingdom) for a short vacation, unfortunately I was assaulted(mugged) at the Park on my way to the hotel where I lodge, all cash, credit card and cell phone was stolen from me including my wallet, but fortunately for me I was lucky that I still have my passport with me it would have been worse.

I’ve been to the Embassy and the police here, they are not helping in any issue at all and I’m having and my flight will be leaving in a few hours, but am having problems sorting my bills of hotel and the hotel manager will not let me leave until i settle my bills .

I am really freaked at the moment. Please i need urgent help.
_______________________________________________________

Before leaving on a business trip to Fresno and Yosemite, I tried to open my email and discovered that I couldn’t. Apparently my password had been changed. I delayed the start of my business trip to handle this with the email experts at ATT. An hour and a half later, after PROVING MY IDENTITY, RESETTING MY PASSWORD, INSTALLING NEW SECURITY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS, I was ready to leave. I thought it was done. (Note: I have the direct line phone number for Email at ATT. If you need it to report trouble, get in touch with me.)

When I reached my destination I opened my email only to discover that no emails had come in all day – which was not only unusual, it’s unheard of. When I opened a new outgoing email I discovered that a different address was in the “FROM” line. It said Carol Purroy was sending it, but the address was not mine. The bastards had redirected all my emails back to them.

I changed it back to my own address and typed a message explaining what was going on, which I intended to send out to everyone in my address book. Guess what. All my CONTACTS had been erased. And all my SENT emails had been erased. (I later found out that all my file folders — IMPORTANT EMAILS I WAS SAVING — had also been erased.) So I had no one’s email address and couldn’t send out a warning.

I got back on the phone with ATT, was put on hold, and an hour later, disconnected. Now I was getting angry. I was afraid some of my contacts might fall for the scam and send the scammers money. I still had not seen their email but feared the worst.

By then it was late, and I had to teach an all-day class on Saturday, so I went to bed. I couldn’t sleep. But there was nothing more I could do. I’d be busy all the next day (Saturday), and had no hope of contacting anyone at ATT on Sunday, so I tried to put it out of my mind and do my job. Monday I’d be on the road all day so couldn’t do anything then either.

Yesterday — Tuesday morning – 5 full days after I was hijacked – I could maybe get it taken care of. All through the day I talked with one person after another at ATT in the email department. We’d get one thing fixed and I’d hang up, thinking it was done. But it still wasn’t fixed. All my settings had been changed by the hackers. And there are a lot of settings. There’s one through which you can FORWARD all your emails to another address. They’d filled that one in. There’s one where you can put in an “EMAIL ALIAS.” They’d put an alias in. There was something on “MY YAHOO ACCOUNT” – I’ve never had a Yahoo account – which sent all my stuff to them. They used a bunch of different emails, most of which were just a letter off mine, but in different directions.

Ultimately, I had to go to a friend’s house and get on his PC–Windows computer, so the ATT guy could access my account and see exactly what was on my screen. He couldn’t do it on my MAC. That’s where we found the Yahoo account redirect, which was the final thing. UNLESS THERE’S SOMETHING ELSE STILL TO BE DISCOVERED.

The hijackers’ tentacles were ALL OVER my account settings, hooked into every possible thing.

The last ATT guy told me this kind of thing is increasing in frequency. And the hackers are more and more sophisticated. Most of the email experts at ATT were very professional and helpful.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT POST ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN, ETC, THAT INDICATES YOU’RE LEAVING TOWN. Email hijacking is not the only danger. Many social networkers have had home burglaries as the result of facebook, etc. postings.

I did. I posted a notice regarding a class I was going to be teaching on Saturday, October 8, in Fresno. The hijacking occurred on Friday, October 7. Coincidence? I don’t think so. I’m sure the hijackers figured I’d be traveling all day Friday, busy all day Saturday, and the ATT email experts would be unavailable all day Sunday, so they’d have at least until Monday to do their dirty work. They got lucky; I couldn’t get it done until Tuesday.

STRONGLY ADVISED: GET AN EMAIL ADDRESS THAT YOU USE ONLY FOR YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES. DO NOT PUT ANYONE’S EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE ADDRESS BOOK. CHECK IT AS OFTEN AS YOU WISH — MAYBE ONCE A WEEK. BUT DO NOT USE YOUR PRIMARY EMAIL FOR FACEBOOK, TWITTER, LINKEDIN, ETC.

The affected email address is back to normal. Please send me an email to that same old address. I will be changing email addresses, but need your email address first so I can take it with me.

Thanks. Carol

I just returned from a Women’s Writing Retreat at SMAC in Virginia City. It was awesome. The weekend included a herd of wild Mustangs grazing on the SMAC lawn, a bolt of lightning that was WAY too close, and the Outhouse Parade and Races on Virginia City’s main street (C). Totally outrageous! I told my retreaters, “If you can’t find a character to write about in Virginia City you can’t find one anywhere.” They all did, and their stories were stupendous.
I love that town.

I just discovered this (first of a) 7-part piece on the history of Virginia City that was on the History Channel. Fascinating.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggYFxNHUmn8

Announcing my latest book.

Here’s an article by Cory Doctorow on Bookselling and Promotion by Self-published authors. He’s been there and is still there. He asks, “Why should anyone care?” which all of us writers wonder. This is good stuff.
http://tinyurl.com/3ctdwyp

Want to be a writer? Or want to hone your writing skills? But don’t have a lot of money for classes? Check this out.

These ten universities are now offering free writing courses online: MIT, Utah State U, Open U, U of Utah, University of Mass. Boston, Purdu U, Steven Barnes UCLA, News U., E-Zine U, Wikiversity.

Check out this article/listing: (Copy & paste in Subject line if necessary.)

http://education-portal.com/articles/10_Universities_Offering_Free_Writing_Courses_Online.html

Just  got back from Hawaii where plastic bags are outlawed. It made me think of the “good old days”.
When this email came today I just had to blog it to you.
The Green Thing
In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t
good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t
have the green thing back in my day”. 

That’s right.  We didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then we

returned our milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store.

The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and
refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. 

But we didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In my day, we walked upstairs because we didn’t have an escalator or

elevator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store
and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. 

But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the

throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine, burning up 220 volts.  Wind and solar power really did dry the
clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters,
not always brand-new clothing. 

But that old lady is right.  We didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in
every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish,
not a screen the size of the state of Montana.  In the kitchen, we
blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric
machines to do everything for you. When we packaged a fragile item

to send in the mail, we used wadded up newspaper to cushion it – not
Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working, so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right.  We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a

cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We
refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and we
replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the
whole razor just because the blade got dull. 

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar, and kids rode their bikes to
school, or rode the school bus, or walked, instead of turning their

moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in
a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.
And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed
from Satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest
Pizza joint. 

But we didn’t have the green thing back then!

I know you’ll enjoy watching this creation by a whimsical Dutch inventor.

http://www.talkingscience.org/2011/01/the-dance-of-the-strandbeests/