Monthly Archives: August 2011

Create Tweet Links with Your Own Customized Message – Click to Tweet

Click to Tweet is a free tool that makes it easy to create a customized message you want tweeted. I created one below and hyperlinked the URL to my Facebook Like button below.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Write the message you want to share in the box (it’ll need to read as if it’s coming from the person who’s sharing the link so don’t use “we” or “I” or “our” for example). Be sure to include your hashtag if you have one and keep your message with at least 15 characters to spare (leaving enough characters for the tweeter’s handle and RT).
  2. Click the Generate button to create a custom link.
  3. Click to Preview.
  4. Copy the URL (not the preview URL).
  5. Test your link then share it or hyperlink an image with it. (Check out my YouTube video on how to create a hyperlink).

The cool part is that now when people click your link, your message is automatically added to their Twitter status box. They’ll click to tweet!

So go ahead and click my button to see what happens. Then tweet my message (thanks!). This links to our business page on Facebook.

 PEACE.

A Quick Way to Recover a Deleted Blog Post or File – Google's Cache

I was fixing some broken links in various blog posts using the WordPress plugin, Broken Link Checker. As I was working my way down the list of broken links, I clicked the wrong command and deleted the whole post.

My blog is backed up so I didn’t panic, but I would have had to take several steps to retrieve an individual file from the backup or pay my hosting company $75.00 to restore my entire blog. Neither of those solutions appealed to me, especially since I would have lost all the work I’d done repairing all those broken links.

Then I remembered Google’s cached pages.

Google takes a snapshot of each page it examines and caches (stores) that version as a backup. Since practically every search result includes a Cached link, I knew I stood a good chance of recovering my file the free and easy way. Here’s what I did.

UPDATE: In a newer post, I recorded a how-to video.

  1. Put the title of the blog post I’d deleted into Google’s search box and found the link to it on the first page of results.
  2. Held  the mouse over the result, and a double chevron appeared >>. Held my mouse over that to see a preview of my site.
  3. Click Cached (if you get an error message, try a different browser),

When I click Cached, up popped my blog post I’d deleted!

A quick copy and paste onto a blank post page had the article fully restored. And since my images were still stored, they appeared in all the right places. I wanted to make sure the link to my post wouldn’t be broken so I was careful to type the title exactly as the original.

Google saved the day! And sometimes, Yahoo will (when you can’t find what you’re looking for in Google, try Yahoo.com.

So when things happen, don’t panic. Think!

PEACE.

 

How to Create a YouTube Channel and Take It to the Next Level (a New Booklet and Training)

For the past two or three years, I’ve been creating videos of computer demos and to build excitement about events I’m involved in. When I needed somewhere to put them to gain the most exposure, YouTube was the logical solution. When I found out that YouTube is the number two search engine, I became even more focused on video, and I wanted to take my channel to another level.

UPDATE: YouTube commands change with no warning. I’ve ceased publication of the booklet mentioned below. But you’re in luck because I’ve recorded a lot of how-to videos and put them on my YouTube channel for free. Here is a link to the playlist (bear in mind that YouTube instructions change often. I do check these videos periodically and make changes via the annotations, but they will not be exact).

The Publication
I started digging around YouTube and soon realized there’s a lot more to its capabilities than you see on the surface. I wanted to learn more and looked for a book. The only one I found was over 300 pages and had way more information in it than I needed. I ended up taking all my notes and tips and published How to Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel Made Easy (no longer available). See the update above for another learning opportunity.

Click the image below to visit my channel, DigitalBreakthroughs, and learn from some of my videos. They’re separated into playlists to make it easier to go to what interests you. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment on YouTube.PEACE.

 

Resources for Self-Publishing a Book or Booklet – How I Did It

I’ve self-published several books and booklets so I get a lot of questions about how I did it. Here is my list of resources. It covers traditional book publishing and adding items to Amazon’s Kindle.

Understand Self-Publishing
For details on getting your book done, do what I did. Get the book by Marilyn Ross, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. She goes into so much detail about becoming a publisher.

Watch out for scams. Self-publish means you are the publisher and your company name is on the back of the book as the owner. You make the profit. Subscribe to the Writer’s Beware Blog to keep up with the latest book publishing scams, http://accrispin.blogspot.com. You should read every post in this blog.

Writing
If you’ve been procrastinating about writing your book or booklet because it seems too overwhelming, pick your topic, be clear about who your audience is, then write articles…one at a time at least once a week. After you think you’ve written enough, decide on the book’s flow (the chapters need to follow each other in a logical flow…what do you need to talk about first, then what, then what, and so on).

Book Layout
Look at books from big publishing houses and see how they lay them out…where is the Preface, Introduction, Table of Contents, etc. Your book needs to be done like theirs as much as possible so it looks professional. All of my self-published books and booklets are created using Microsoft Word’s powerful desktop publishing capabilities. This link is to a blog post in which I wrote about this. One day I’ll turn this into a workshop.

ISBN Number
You’ll need an ISBN number if your book will sell in bookstores. Don’t have to have for Amazon. I prefer to go all the way because you never know where your book could end up…libraries, etc. Get your ISBN number now at http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/application.asp I don’t remember how long this took (a day), and it’s probably quicker now. You can pay extra to get it quicker. When I did this, I received 10 numbers for around $200 bucks.

I don’t need an ISBN number for my booklets. They don’t have a spine so bookstores (and probably libraries) won’t carry so no need for this.

Barcode Graphic
You’ll need a high quality, scannable barcode for the back book cover if you’re planning on selling your book in stores: www.CreateBarcodes.com to order. This site is very self-explanatory except that I didn’t know what Supplemental Data means. In the box, you’ll see 50995. The 5 stands for US currency. For example, my book costs $24.95 so my supplemental data # is 52495.

Library of Congress Number (LCN)
If you get an ISBN number, you can get a Library of Congress number. Once you have an ISBN number and know the finished size (dimensions of your pub when it’s closed) and page count of your publication, then get your Library of Congress Number: http://pcn.loc.gov/. You should receive it within hours.

CIP Data
The gibberish in the front of books is cataloging info for librarians. One-book publishers can’t get this info the same way the major players do. A company does it for about $165.00, but I discovered that you can take your book to a library, and a librarian will help you do this for free.

Cover Design and Typesetter
Do not settle for anything less than a professional cover. I didn’t do this for my second book, and I ended up on TV with my little tired cover. Bid your work: www.elance.com or turn to your favorite search engine. Look at different portfolios of people who understand designing covers.

Editing and Proofreading
You don’t want to publish a book with bad grammar, misspelled words, illogical flow, etc.

Dr. Marcia Riley: WritingForResults.com
Bobbie Christmas: ZebraEditor.com
Or bid it out on www.elance.com

For proofreading, take a look at your material first so she can clean up a lot of the grammar and spellings…that’ll be less expensive than having an editor do it. Once the book is edited, run it past your proofreader one last time before you go to press. If you flat-out can’t write, you’ll need a professional writer to polish the words, an editor to create the flow, and a proofreader to fine-tune the details. With my technical books, I also have a review team test all the steps.

Pricing
Keep in mind that if you sell your books in local bookstores, Amazon, etc., they’ll buy wholesale which could be 40-60% off. Add to that the cost of printing and shipping to determine your sale price. Also check other similar books to see what they sell for.

Printing Books
When it’s all said and done, you’ll need to get your book printed. I use print on demand and can print one, three, 100, etc., as I need them. The company to use is LightningSource.com. Their print quality is excellent. The cost per book will vary based on size (stick to traditional publication sizes), paper choice, number of pages, whether it’s color throughout or just on cover, and how many you print at a time. Ingram Books owns them so bookstores can order directly from them. They’ll send you a check every month for any books they sell.

Printing Booklets
I’m totally satisified with Smartpress.com for printing my booklets. Their Website is well organized, and I can order whatever I need without having to call. Prices are excellent and quality is the way I like it.

Printing: How Many
No matter how good you think your book is, no matter how much you’ll save by printing more, don’t print more than 500…250 is even better…until it’s a solid seller

Amazon (Hardcopy and Kindle)
Visit Seller Central on Amazon to find out what you need to do to sell your book/booklet there.

You might want to put your book in Kindle format on Amazon. Be sure to read formatting rules. I usually upload my Kindle format as a Word 2003 document (don’t do 2007 or 2010). I remove my table of contents because it’s not done manually but with fields that Kindle doesn’t recognize. I make this version as plain as possible. There are vendors who will do this for you, but I haven’t found this to be necessary. If you’re computer savvy, check out Kitaboo to convert your book (I’ve not used this software).

Book Reviews
The big boys probably won’t review your book, but Amazon reviewers might. I don’t concern myself with this anymore since most media outlets have discontinued book reviews. Bloggers are a better choice so spend time finding bloggers who write about your topic.

The Midwest Book Review will review your book also (at this writing, their site is not attractive, but they do review your book. When they reviewed mine, they used a lot of what I wrote when describing the book).

Marketing
Here comes the hard part. For help on ways to promote your book, check out John Kremer’s, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books (at this writing, this book hasn’t been updated since 2006, but flipping through my copy, a ton of this information is still valid. For more current ways to promote anything, consider my booklet, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO (search engine optimization).

Finally, you’ll learn more in Marilyn’s book that I referenced above, but this will get you going. Time to start writing.

If you have anything to add to this list, please leave a comment.

PEACE.

Avoid Broken Links When You Change the Title of a Blog Post – WordPress

If you change the title of a blog post (after it’s published) by only changing the title block, the link to it will be broken wherever anyone has linked to it. There is an easy way to avoid this in WordPress.

  1. Sign into the back-end of your blog and find the published post you want to change.
  2. Make desired change to the text in the title block. Copy all of this text.
  3. Look just under the title of your post. You’ll see “Permalink: http://yourblogdomain/title-of-your-post/”
  4. Click the Edit button to the right of your blog URL.
  5. Delete the ENTIRE blog title, and paste the new one. If you don’t delete all the text before pasting the new title, this will not work. (If you type the new text instead of copy/paste, do not type the hyphens that WordPress added between each word.
  6. Click OK.

WordPress will redirect the old link to the new one. That’s it.

Check Broken Links Within Your Blog

On another note, you can monitor your blog for broken links using the Broken Link Checker plugin. Once it’s activated, it’ll check your blog on a regular schedule that you set and email you with the results. You’ll be able to view, edit, unlink, or otherwise change the links.

PEACE.