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Issue #14: April 30, 2003
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

Spring fever has set in and two things have happened. First, I was so busy playing around and building a deck that it's nearly the end of the month and I neglected the Mind Like Water Monthly. Bryan Rundell (Mind Like Water business partner and friend) has graciously agreed to save me and write this month's article. I know you'll enjoy his straightforward and sage business advice.

The other thing is that we've decided to run a Spring Advertising Sale! That's right, from now until May 15th (roughly two weeks), I am offering 2 ads for the price of 1. Plus, I'll even take your flat (two dimensional) book graphic and make it three dimensional (3D). Not only that, you can choose any two directory locations on our web site (excluding the home page and a few other bizarre locations). This is targeted advertising at only $67 per year for two ads, or $33.50 per year per ad (if my math is correct).

Please sign up now at: https://www.mind-like-water.com/advertising.html.

It's first come first serve, so if you see a spot on our directory that catches your fancy, don't wait until someone else gets your spot -- sign up now!

Okay, I'm done and it's time for Bryan and Diane to do their magic.

See you next time,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Web Visitors, Your Real Client
2. eBook Author Interview: Kristie Leigh Maguire
3. Library Initiative Update
4. eBook Author Profile: Joel L. Young

Feature Article: Web Visitors, Your Real Client
Hello, ebook authors. While Michael is away I have decided to give you some search engine tips that will help you get your web pages ranked high. I am going to focus on probably the most important topics in search engine ranking: Keywords and Web Visitors.

There is a lot of information out there regarding keywords and how to choose the right keywords, what keyword density should be on your web pages, what keywords get the most traffic, etc. The list goes on and on. The truth is most of it is crap. This is because just about everyone approaches the topic of selecting keywords and keywords phrases the same way. They find keywords that get a lot of traffic based on Overture or Word Tracker and then they start building web pages that are designed to be optimized for search engines.

However, they forget one very big and important thing. Ultimately, your clients are web visitors, not Google, MSN, AOL or any other search engine company. Stop building pages solely to please search engines and start building web pages that please web visitors and you will be well on your way to becoming a search engine expert. It seems so easy and yet almost no one does it. Here are two examples of what I am talking about.

Example One. Bill decides to market his science fiction ebook. So he goes to Overture and finds the most popular keywords for science fiction. He is amazed at how much traffic these keywords receive. He starts building web pages using the latest search engine optimization strategies. Out of the total web pages he builds, Bill only gets two web pages ranked in the top 30 because the keywords are popular and there is a lot of competition. However, Bill gets really lucky and gets one web page ranked in the top 20 under science fiction books. For several months, he receives a lot of traffic on this one keyword page and makes some ebook sales, but competing web pages eventually cause his web page to drop out of the top 30. Also, because he built his web pages so they would be optimized for search engines, not web visitors, his conversion rate (ratio of visitors to actual customers) was low. After all, do you like visiting web sites that have keyword pages that are optimized for search engines but provide no real useful information except for links going to a sales page?

Example Two. Jane decides to market her science fiction ebook. So she spends several weeks studying competing websites and coming up with very specific keyword phrases that describe her niche. Because she has written a book that includes time travel and she really wants to focus in on her market, she also comes up with a list of keywords based on famous authors who have included time travel in their novels. When she searches through Overture and Word Tracker, she notices that many of her keywords only get a few hundred web visitors a month. However, she starts building web pages for these keywords and keyword phrases. Her web pages include good information that would be interesting to a web visitor and except for including her keywords in the title tag and the file name, she does not really worry too much about keyword density and other search engine tricks. In a few months, she has many web pages in the top 10 and 20 because her keywords are targeted and not searched a lot. Also, her keyword pages retain their top ranking for many months, again because of limited competition. The web visitors who come to her site are knowledgeable because they are typing in very specific keyword phrases and are interested in her book because they are looking for the niche content she provides. She also builds credibility with her audience, because she is trying to please web visitors, not just search engines. Her conversion rate is high, she has many repeat customers, and she quickly builds a base of customers.

As you start building web pages, remember two concepts: FOCUS and QUALITY. Pick subjects and keywords and keyword phrases that are highly focused and are likely to be typed in by only people that really care about your subject. Build web pages that would appeal to you if you were a web surfer looking for a book like yours. In fact, do the following exercise sometime. Clear your mind, go to your web page or website and really try to become a web surfer. Would you want to visit this site? Would you want to come back to this site? Would you buy a product from this site? Does this website build credibility for you the author? 

Getting search engines to recognize your web pages and/or website is actually the easy part. Making your site a great destination for web surfers interested in your subject area and keeping them coming back is the hard part. Never lose sight of the fact that your customers are web visitors and you are well on the way.

** Advertise with Mind Like Water **
Don't Forget to Sign Up for Our 2 for 1 Advertising Special!

This offer ends May 15, 2003. First come, first serve.


eBook Author Interview: Kristie Leigh Maguire
Diane: You compiled, edited and designed the cover for the free anthology MUSINGS: AUTHORS DO IT WRITE! (http://www.geocities.com/kristieleighmaguire/free.html) -- a collection of writings by 12 contributing authors, including yourself, of the CB Writers Group. Can you give us some background on how the idea for this book came about, and what you were hoping to achieve with the anthology? What is the CB Writers Group?

Kristie: The CB Writers Group was originally formed when author Kathleen Walls put out a call to various writers' groups asking for contributors to a cookbook that she was compiling, COOKING BY THE BOOK, a free e-book to be given away for promotional purposes. COOKING BY THE BOOK was such a success that the decision was made to continue with the group, combining our talents for promotional purposes and the creation of free e-books. MUSINGS: AUTHORS DO IT WRITE! was a natural progression for the group.

Musings consists of a collection of writings from twelve contributing authors of the CB Writers Group. To many people, authors aren't of the same breed as the normal species of the human race. However, we are very much human. We go about our daily lives nurturing to our family's needs, going to our jobs and dealing with the stresses that life throws our way. The twelve authors spotlighted in MUSINGS wanted to shed some light on the "author species of the human race" and answer some of the questions that authors are always being asked; such as how they come up with their story idea and their characters. Each writer has his or her own writer's muse -- or voice, although as you will see in MUSINGS: AUTHORS DO IT WRITE!, each muse is unique for each author.

MUSINGS: AUTHORS DO IT WRITE! has been successful beyond our wildest dreams. I, personally, have received hundreds of emails asking for a free copy of the book. I have received emails from many who have received the book thanking us for putting it together.

Diane: The introduction to MUSINGS: AUTHORS DO IT WRITE! states that each author has his or her own writer's muse or voice, and that each muse is unique for each author. What is your muse, and what do you feel makes it unique? Was it difficult for you to find your writing voice, or did it come naturally?

Kristie: My voice came naturally to me although I fought it at the start of my writing career. In the beginning, I tried to pattern my writing after some of my favorite authors but the only thing I succeeded in doing was creating stories that sounded stilted and unnatural to me. It wasn't until I let my muse have its own way, that my stories began to sound right to my ears and mind. I have learned to go with the flow when I'm writing, letting the characters tell the story the way they see it instead of making the story go the way I think it should go.

Diane: You have a romance novel coming out in May titled DESERT HEAT, which is Book 1 in the Affairs of the Heart series. Tell us about this new series. What do you enjoy most about writing romance novels, and what does it take to be a "Diva of Romance"?

Kristie: The books in the Affairs of the Heart series are romantica, a new word that is widely being used for the cross blending of romance and erotica. Romantica is softer than erotica but hotter than the regular romance genre. 

DESERT HEAT, CABIN FEVER and RING OF FIRE are the three books that make up the Affairs of the Heart series. Marcie Treyhorne, a sexy steel magnolia, is the central character for each of the books. DESERT HEAT is set in Mojave Junction, a small crossroads community in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. To quote Ed Williams, author of ROUGH AS A COB and SEX, DEAD DOGS AND ME, "There's nothing better than a hot love story, one that reads like an Atomic Fireball tastes. Kristie Leigh Maguire serves that up big time in Desert Heat. What other book on the market manages to be both good to read and also corrects any circulatory problems that you might have all at the same time?"

What do I like most about writing romance? Romance has always been my favorite genre to read. It only seemed natural to me to write romance since I loved to read it so much. My novel, NO LADY AND HER TRAMP, which I co-authored with Mark Haeuser, is a romantic comedy. My DESERT HEAT is romantica, as are the other two books in the Affairs of the Heart series. However my first published book, EMAILS FROM THE EDGE (THE LIFE OF AN EXPATRIATE WIFE), is a memoirs book that is based upon true stories from my globetrotting expatriate days.

Divas of Romance is an organization founded by best selling author Lori Soard. The Divas of Romance is limited to fifty authors. I feel lucky to have been selected as one of those fifty authors.

Diane: I understand that DESERT HEAT is being published by Global Authors Publications -- or G.A.P. (http://clix.to/GAP), of which you are the CEO. What differentiates G.A.P. from other book publishers? And what made you decide to wear a publisher's "hat" in addition to the others that you wear?

Kristie: G.A.P. is a venture that culminated from an open discussion at NUW (Not the Usual Way) Independent Authors Community, of which I am the founder. As authors, we were tired of being considered the low man on the totem pole of the publishing industry. Instead of just bitching about it, we decided to do something about it. Global Authors Publications was born on January 1, 2003. G.A.P. is set up to only publish trade paperbacks. The authors are free to publish in the e-book format, or any other format, with any other publisher of their choice.

Global Authors Publications (G.A.P.) is a non-profit co-operative publishing company. At G.A.P., we put the control back into the hands of the authors where we feel it belongs. In order to be published by Global Authors Publications, one must first be a member of NUW Independent Authors Community. In order to join NUW, one must first be a published author with at least one book published by non-traditional methods such as e-book, POD, self-published or published with a small press traditional publisher. The workload of G.A.P. is shared by the members, who in return receive 100 percent of the royalties from the sales of their books. Global Authors Publications has already published five books. I think that is a record in itself.

Diane: Based on your experiences as a published, independent author, as well as a publisher, what advice would you give other authors seeking to have their books published electronically? 

Kristie: My first advice is to follow your heart. If you feel you have a story that is burning to be told, then sit down and write it. And edit it carefully before submitting it to a publisher. Even if your story is the best to come along since GONE WITH THE WIND, it will come across very poorly if it is full of misspelled words and punctuation errors. But most of all, don't give up when the going gets tough; and believe me, it will get tough. The publishing industry seems to be a dog-eat-dog world and it will eat you alive if you let it. An author has to develop a very thick skin.

-- Kristie Leigh Maguire
author, reviewer, columnist
Desert Heat - a world of sex, passion and romance
No Lady and Her Tramp - love, trailer park style
Emails from the Edge - the life of an expatriate wife
For more information, go to Authors Website at: http://clik.to/Kristie

Library Initiative Update
In last month's update, we told you we were going to launch a newsletter targeted to public library staff, with education about ebooks as its goal. Well, the first issue of The Biblio Files was published last week, and distributed to 1,000 public libraries across the United States. The newsletter included two author profiles from the eBook Catalog, as well as an article by an ebook publisher that is profiled in the catalog. You can read the newsletter online at: http://www.mindlikewater.com/library_newsletter/issue1.html. We'll let you know about any feedback we received from libraries in next month's update.

We also have responded to people's request that we expand the number of genre options in the eBook Catalog. You may now choose from approximately 215 nonfiction and 240 fiction genre subcategories -- the same ones that organize our online ebook directory. I will be emailing all of you to let you know how to go about re-selecting genres for the titles in your profile. We are still working on allowing the submittal of more than three ebook titles. This is taking a little longer because we found a new e-commerce system that gives us more flexibility, and we're in the process of setting it up on our site.

For more information and to get your ebooks in our catalog, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or email Diane Faile at dino@mindlikewater.com.

More next month...

eBook Author Profile: Joel L. Young
Joel Young is a college graduate from a middle class family; his father was a Civil Service Man, his mother was a Bookkeeper. 

What Joel says of himself: "As Kris Kristofferson sang in Me and Jesus, 'I'm a mass of contradictions.'" 

Joel volunteers on AOL as a Board Manager in the Amazing Instant Novelist area, a popular writing site for poets and authors (Keyword: novel). He's won numerous Honorable Mentions for his contest entries. AMERICAN LYRICON: A POET SINGS OF AMERICA is his first published work. The book is now out in trade paperback. 

Joel has written a With Pen In Hand series which includes TO JOHN DONNE, and the romance collection LOVE IN THE OBSCURE. You can contact Joel on his web page at http://angelfire.lycos.com/poetry/joel_young.

genre: Poetry
Follow one man's poetical journey back in time to the building of a nation. From war-time to peace-time and in between, these historical poems capture the imagination and give pride to anyone who calls themselves "American."
ISBN: 0-9702385-2-5 (electronic)

genre: Poetry
TO JOHN DONNE AND OTHER POETIC LETTERS is dedicated to poetic verse touching on a variety of subjects, from love and loss to hope and other issues.
ISBN: 1-931540-06-3 (electronic)

genre: Romantic Poetry
LOVE IN THE OBSCURE is a classic collection of romantic poems that range from hearts unrequited to long hand-held walks under the moonlight, to dancers embracing the music of love to an epic wedding.
ISBN: 1-931540-05-5 (electronic)

Get your profile in Mind Like Water's online eBook Catalog, which currently features over 100 authors, and we'll market your ebooks to over 1,000 public libraries! For more information, please visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or send an email to dino@mindlikewater.com.

Visit the eBook Catalog at http://www.mindlikewater.com/ebook_catalog.html.

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