Amazon Self-Publishing for Beginners

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

With all the new blogs and recent news articles urging writers to publish their eBooks on Kindle, the topic is probably one you’re at least familiar with by now. As most people know, Amazon has leveled the playing field for authors by making the process of publishing eBooks as simple as a few mouse clicks and a couple of file uploads.

Before the recent self-publishing revolution began, the difficult part was getting your book in the hands of readers to begin with. However, that’s the exact same challenge that independent authors face when publishing for the Kindle as well. It turns out that making your book available is much easier than getting people to actually buy it or be interested in reading it!

This low entry bar also creates a new challenge for debut Kindle authors – since anyone and everyone can now publish whatever they want, that’s exactly what is happening. The result? A fair amount of low quality eBooks and a highly competitive environment for unknown authors.

Learning to Stand Out in the Crowd

So how do you stand out in such a crowded and popular new marketplace that is open to anyone? What does it take to attract the type of author publicity that helps build a brand and sell more eBooks?

Here are a few eBook marketing ideas that have proven effective for many debut authors using Kindle to publish:

  1. Write and distribute a press release after you’ve launched your eBook. If you are not familiar with press release writing, outsource it and consider paying for distribution. Include quotes, contact information and hook in readers with a strong headline. Remember, you have a tiny window of time to capture the interest of readers who are likely skimming headlines and you must find a clever way to set your story apart from all the others. The main idea of a press release for your book is to generate curiosity and get people excited about the story you have to tell.
  2. Encourage book reviews. This is probably the most obvious way to promote books or anything else, for that matter. It’s probably the first one that comes to mind as well. Alas, it is also going to be the hardest form of promotion to land as a debut author. Don’t let that get you down though. Reach out to book review bloggers, fans from social media or anyone else who might be willing to share their thoughts on Amazon or elsewhere on the web!
  3. Start living and breathing social media life into your author platform. Just remember that you are not limited to Twitter and Facebook. Find the communities centered around readers and books. GoodReads is a great example and it offers tons of innovative ways to share and promote your writing. Get started by setting up an author profile and adding your eBooks. Next, experiment with groups, quotes and book giveaway contests. There isn’t a better online community for finding passionate readers.

These fundamental tips should give new authors a viable starting point. As with any type of marketing, your ultimate goal should be to determine who your target audience is and find out the best ways in which to engage them and turn them into loyal readers.


AshlyLorenzana is a freelance writer, published author and passionate blogger who lives in the Portland, OR area. Her interests include social media, online marketing and digital publishing. You can follow her on Twitter @ashlorenzana


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Consistency Is Key In Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

Consistency is an important concept in marketing that many companies fail to deliver. It’s the key to success…so why is it overlooked by so many marketing executives?  The answer is that most marketing is fragmented and coming at people from too many different directions. Between TV, radio, print, outdoor billboards, email, direct mail all competing for your attention – consumers don’t know where to look next.   It’s important for companies to integrate their campaigns and not rush launching too many campaigns at one time.

Here are some guidelines to help deliver a consistent identity with a cohesive integration plan:

Select Your Logo, Tagline, & Colors – Keep your colors and logo consistent in all marketing messages. This includes print advertisements, TV Commercials, direct mail, etc.  Your tagline needs to be present on every single marketing piece to drive home what you do!  Be clear in telling people what you can offer them.  However, this is still not full integration.  Integration requires the entire company being able to state what you do in the same manner.  You need to integrate your message throughout your entire organization.

Message Longevity – Marketers tend to be in a rush to meet the next deadline or get the next campaign out the door.  It’s important to realize that integrating your brand takes time. Don’t continue changing the direction of your campaigns. Keep it consistent for years if you need to…….there is no time limit to branding your company.  Don’t lose patience and stop the momentum of keeping the same messaging out there.  The worst thing you can do is confuse people with mixed messages.

Verbiage – Create messages that can be easily understood by your target audience. Don’t speak in terms that people don’t understand. A perfect example would be a company that has technical terms in a print advertisement that would be better suited for engineers.  It’s important to make sure that your audience clearly understands what you sell and how the product will benefit them.  Focus on the solutions you offer to take their problem away.  This should be in every single piece of marketing communication that is sent out by your company.

A perfect time to use integrated marketing communications is during an acquisition. When a large organization acquires another company…’s important to have an integrated marketing plan in place. The time right after the acquisition is crucial to branding the new company and making sure people understand how the brand integrates into your own.  An example would be a security integrator who installs security products and just purchased a security software company.  Your marketing message would need to show how this new software company integrates into your existing company.  The security integrator should show how they are working hand and hand to produce the ultimate security solution for the end user.  In my experience, the company that is acquired usually changes their brand image to reflect the parent company. There have been some cases that the brand image was changed over time.  As long as you have an integrated marketing strategy in place that delivers consistency….you will be ahead of the game.


Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit: or call 631-846-1558


Facebook Facelift From the Inside Out

Far brighter minds than mine have started and will continue to explore and explain the facelift that facebook is once again giving itself. First it was timelines for profiles (these are for our personal not professional or business use). Many surrendered to this initial makeover kicking and screaming. Personally, I loved the change since I would rather post and look at photos and images most of the time, anyway. Now, we have been informed by facebook that as of March 30, 2012 all facebook pages (these are the business/professional ones) will have the timeline format, as well. They are in preview now and none but the hardy are taking the plunge. Most marketers a very hardy. 

the icon for the facebook conference for marketers held 2.29.12

The icon for the facebook conference for marketers with a slight facelift of some red and yellow. Original icon in blue and white © facebook.

Murmurs of protestation have already begun. But I decided to jump right in and give it a try as I did with my personal profile. I liked that change. I had no objections to it. So I assumed the same would be true of the pages makeover. As I began to explore this latest facelift, I realized it might not be as simple as I initially thought. I got a bit concerned about all those great tabs, apps and other features I had begun to explore, conquer and love. 

The first facebook conference for Marketers 2.29.2012

The first facebook conference for Marketers 2.29.2012

But then I was reminded of the conference facebook gave in NYC this past week and the webinar given by Lujure that will be repeated next week. My faith was restored. With this information and the help of my colleagues, even I would eventually get it, again.

The Lujure webinar

The software and webinar information. To be held on March 6, 2012

So I started with what came easiest to me, the covers. It reminded me of grade school when we had to write book reports. I was not much of a reader or writer then but I loved to do the cover artwork. In that same spirit, I found some images I had made over the last few years for the various websites that correlated to my facebook pages and began to install them as my covers. Then I got a comment from a friend on facebook:

A quote from Rick Milne about the facebook page covers and the rules to make them

The Rules for Facebook Page Covers

Here is what Rick Milne was referring to courtesy of  a source from Craig Yaris’ sources.
This is # 6 on the list of 7:

7 Crucial Things About Timeline For Facebook Pages
The cover photo can be up to 850 pixels by 315 pixels but may not contain any of the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40 percent off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

Oh dear, there I was again. Using old technology thinking for 4th dimension communication and expression. Well, back to the drawing board I went. In this case, it was to Photoshop on my computer. I really let my mind go and took flight of fantasy. Here was an opportunity to be as creative and expressive as I wanted. So I began.

This is my contribution to the facebook facelift from the inside out. Combining my spirit as a visual artist, my training as a graphic designer and my decades of experience in various design disciplines, I began to create unique and creative visions for my page covers.

I have begun to get a positive reaction to my cover art. I am proud to include a comment I made to and the personal response made by Nathan Latka, owner of I sent him one of my designs. It is at the end of this post. I am saving the best for last.

Here is my comment and his personal reply on facebook:

Nathan Latka's comment on my facebook cover page design

Owner of, Nathan Latka, replied to my comment on his site.

First, I would like to share a two covers; an original designs which was rejected for reasons explained underneath it:

The original cover for Little Bytes of Art with logo, too much type, cluttered and ad like.

One needs to keep it simple. This is meant to be a brand statement not an ad or promo.

The follow up comment I made to the posting of the above design is, “This cover does not work. It is too crowded, looks too much like an ad and is promotional rather than creative. I have redone it more in the spirit of what facebook is looking for from us in making creative, inspired artwork.”

Here is the replacement. It is based on a painting my husband did of me, wearing one of my hats, holding up one of my decorative painted pots. I use the entire painting as my avatar. The cover is a sliver of the painting to make a statement:

The cover for LIttle Bytes of Art on my facebook page.

A simple statement branding 'Little Bytes of Art, Wearable & Shareable Art'

And for dessert, I would like to share my two favorite designs. One is for Alison*s Heirloom Projects facebook page:

The cover for Alison*s Heirloom Projects

The brand and cover for Alison*s Heirloom Projects

This one is for the Marketing Bytes Blog facebook page:

The brand for the Marketing Bytes Blog

Branding the Marketing Bytes Blog new facebook page

I would like to know what you think and I would love to see what you are coming up with. So please send me your comments and your links. Thank you and have fun, too. I have just one final word. The dramatic change facebook is making has a lot to do with branding. And branding is very much about simple statements mostly with the clever and creative manipulation of images and pictures. Bear in mind the saying. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’


Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz.

Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere. This boutique style – very personal service –  hybrid company specializes in helping local/small businesses generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. E-mail us at


How to Create A Memorable, Social Media Savvy E-mail Signature

We all know the rudiments of making a good first impression with in-person networking. Dress neatly and professionally. Smile and shake hands with a firm, not limp or crushing, grip. Be a good listener. Exchange business cards and jot down notes on the back of received cards as a reminder of where you met and other important business details.

But there is another spin on the first impression scenario. What if one does not have the opportunity to make that good first impression in-person or needs to follow up that good first in-person impression with another form of communication. Let’s say using e-mail. How do you make a lasting impression that can also promote your business using e-mail?

I used to say and still find that volumes can be told about a person and their business from their business card. The same holds true for e-mail signatures. So let’s explore some tips to see if they work for you.


First I want to suggest what NOT to do. Have you ever noticed how some people sign off with a long underlined text list of all their contact info, including Skype and chat contacts, social media, etc.? It is a vertical blur of one monotone link after another. For example, one person I needed to speak with ASAP had about 10 linked lines of copy for how to be reached. I visually scrolled down the list only to find there was no phone number. (Growl), that was frustrating.


Let’s see if we can come up with a list of what to do to not only make a really powerful and memorable first and lasting impression but also throw in a bit of social media marketing, too.

A list of how to create a memorable, social media e-mail signature

A list of things to do to create a memorable, social media e-mail signature @ Alison Gilbert

Let me add one thing about phone numbers. With so much promotion taking place for local businesses with the flourishing of Google places pages and Local Online Business Directories, potential customers want to see a local number to get a sense of where a service provider or vendor is located (especially if an address is not included).

Since business has become global, I suggest adding time zone, state and country, info. The last thing a home based business owner wants is to be called at 2 am because the potential customer thinks it is 2 pm. Here is an example of how I write my home number (a fictitious example) 987-654-3210, EST, NY, USA.

Here is an example of what this all might look like:

A memorable e-mail signature

A memorable e-mail signature @ Alison Gilbert


Let me know what you think, if you find this helpful or if you do not agree with these suggestions. Thanks.


Alison Gilbert is a Digital Age Storyteller and photojournalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. She has been a marketing pro and entrepreneur for over three decades. Her company specializes in local/small and start up businesses with a boutique (very personal style) approach to client service.

The MARKETING BYTES ProTeam consists of experienced marketing, design, technology and writing professionals offering the latest online Inbound Marketing technology, social media, graphic and web design, illustration, photo and video, content management as well as the best of traditional advertising. Her client base has covered just about every commercial industry.

Although located on Long Island, NY, MARKETING BYTES serves clients everywhere there is Internet access. To learn more, visit our site, Marketing Bytes, our local biz facebook page, Marketing Main Street USA, and join our local biz facebook group, Local Biz Is The Solution.

To contact us: e-mail or call 516-665-9034 (EST, NY, USA).


Brand Development


Those of us who have been fortunate enough to become authors for the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog know intimately the four pillars that comprise the edifice of the DBME blog. We know their interrelatedness, their synergy and we continually learn more as the skyrocketing technology raises the roof on the other three pillars.

The charrette apple with white helvetica type and the white compass

Charrette Took on the 'Big Apple' Design Scene @ Charrette Corporation


A piece of writing can illustrate the interrelatedness between digital technology, branding, marketing and their value as educational tools if seamlessly crafted by a seasoned professional. Basil Puglisi, the founder of DBMEi, expertly summarizes the process, in less a minute, in the above video.

This blog post, Brand Development, will focus primarily on two of the pillars, branding and marketing. Ironically, the emphasis on digital technology is antithetical because the story is about a company that primarily pre-dates the transition from the analog to digital world. Nonetheless, this exploration of branding is a study worth anyone’s attention, those who are ensconced in the digital world and those who know nothing about it.


The charrette 1969 catalog

The Charrette 1969 Catalog @ Charrette Corporation

A brand ultimately needs to become that ‘entity’ by which a company or organization is known and recognized. It can be comprised of visual, verbal, audial and other sensory components. It can start out simple and grow to become more complex. It can start out complex and be simplified. It can also start simple and stay simple, start complex and stay complex. In my opinion, one way is not superior to any other. All that matters is that the end result works.


My favorite pre-digital brand is an extraordinary example of simple stays simple. And it did work. For our present day digital technology purposes, there is much to observe and learn from this masterful example. This brand was for a company that existed in the last quarter of the 20th century. It business and products were predominantly pre-digital. The shift to digital did not represent the true spirit of the company or its brand.

charrette bag, stickers etc all showing the brand

The Proof Is In The Brand @ Johanna Bohoy for Charrette Corp.


The basic element was a single color, red. It then grew to include one word of type, charrette. The style was Helvetica and the color was white. The Charrette Corporation was the largest distributor and retailer of design tools in the industries of architecture, graphics, landscaping, interiors, engineering and fashion during its time. Its reach was from New England, south on the East Coast, and west into the Heartland.

The primary source of income from the corporation was the commercial side accounts. The commercial accounts included even various branches of the US government. But the retail side was where Charrette really showed what its brand was made of. The retail side consisted of such an exclusive group of famous clientele, designer, actors, writers, etc. that this ‘sought after’ list is still safely guarded and unpublished to keep the anonymity of this extraordinary group of customers.

The charrette van

The Charrette Van @ Charrette Corporation


The brand was so powerful that even when some of the elements were changes over its decades of existence, the integrity was always maintained. One could identify a Charrette store, vehicle, product, and packaging. The impeccable job creating and permeating their brand which embodied an attention to detail and clean, simple lines  reflected its corporate culture and philosophy, spilled over into its marketing and its very soul. This was so well done that I believe customers (myself included) would buy their products not only because of their superior quality but also to own a piece of that brand and to be a part of that amazing culture, its spirit and soul.


The Charrette Corporation is gone in body but the memories and memorabilia of this brand live on. Charrette was easily able to do extraordinary marketing because of the impeccable attention to detail both in their products and the branding of everything they produced.

The charrette building now

A deserted Charrette building now @ Charrette Corporation

The Charrette culture, their religious approach to quality and attention to detail live on as an extraordinary lesson for all of us who have an interest in brand development and marketing. Digital technology can spread the words (and images) faster than we ever could before. Charrette did not have that advantage. But what they had was something remarkable to share. For the time that Charrette was at the top of its game, it did a job that set the standard for many other industries that I believe has not been surpassed today.


A Fond Farewell to the Charrette Corporation

Brand Development

Finding Your Brand Voice

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