Showing posts with label writer tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writer tools. Show all posts

Sunday, August 7, 2022

My Plunge Into the TikTok World for Marketing, Business and Fun!

Stumped Riddles TikTok

I reluctantly took the plunge into the TikTok marketing world.

Out of pure stubbornness, I vowed to avoid that particular social media platform. However, I had a come-to-reality moment, encouraged by my son, that my riddle business would be served well by that platform.

In quite a short time, my son has nearly 27,000 followers and over 263,000 likes, all with approximately 40 personal video uploads. That's not easy to do and quite impressive!

His TikTok handle is @charles.mackenzie if you want to take a peek. Just an added note, in all fairness to us mere humans, my son has a knack for being in front of the camera. However, as I detail below, you don't have to be on camera to benefit from TikTok.

I'm A Newbie TikTok User for Business - The Basics

Since I'm a newbie, I can't give you any big secret tips, but I can provide those of you with a business, some of the things I've learned so far as it relates to my own riddle business:

  • Go to the APP Store on your cell phone, and download the Tiktok App
  • Yes, you can log in to your TikTok account on your laptop; however, I found all the creative features more accessible via my cell phone.
  • When you download the App, you're on the service, not registered yet to use it. You can scroll through the videos and have fun. Oh yeah, it's a bit addictive.
  • Create your account to set yourself up to use TikTok for business. I won't go through the steps; simply follow the instructions and prompts.
  • I converted my account to a Business Account. There's no charge for that. Here are TikTok's instructions on how to do it; it's easy.
  • In your profile, you tell TikTok your interests so that videos that align with your taste are displayed on the front "For You" page. In my case, I selected media/entertainment, inspirational (or something like that), home decor, and a few other topic areas.
The "For You Page" on TikTok

What I've learned about the "For You Page" is that every user who opens the App is immediately connected to their For You Page to watch and start scrolling videos. 

You can like, comment, save, share, or scroll past videos. This differs from other platforms in that you go directly into the content. Content is presented to you; it's not something you choose (except via the interests you indicated in your initial profile sign-up).

I've learned that the "For You" page is a powerful marketing tool. Everyone wants their videos to land on everyone else's "For You" page. 

In fact, you'll notice that some people use the hashtag #foryoupage or #fyp to try and encourage the TikTok algorithm to place their video on other people's "For You Pages." I have no idea if that works or not.

I discovered via the Analytics area that many of my own videos were put on other people's "For You Pages" before I started using or even knew about the For You Page hashtags.

The Bottom Bar Appearance When Logged In to TikTok
  • HOME: (that's where you get to all the fun and sometimes hilarious videos to scroll through -um, be careful, it's so addictive!)
  • FRIENDS: (that's where you can quickly access the videos of your friends that you've connected with)
  • + Plus Sign: (That's your prompt to start the upload process of videos or images - yes, you can upload images)
  • INBOX: (That's where you get notified that you have responses to your videos or new followers)
  • PROFILE: (That's your personal profile that features your content, and your logo/image and blurb about you)
I Avoided TikTok Because I Had No Interest Or Desire to Put Myself on Any Videos!

You don't have to put yourself on camera or even make videos.

You can upload a static photo/graphic and enhance that page with fun sticker elements and commercial-free music provided by TikTok.

For my business, static Riddle Graphic photos are perfect for this! 

I've already created nearly 1000 photo riddles for my website and books, so uploading them to TikTok with music and some fun sticker elements is a perfect marketing fit.

The TikTok Voice-Over Feature

If you decide to type text on static photos, you can ask the TikTok AI Voice-Over feature to read the text! You don't have to use your own voice! It's easy to use. 

How Am I Doing So Far? 

I started using TikTok on August 2, 2022, and today, as I'm typing, it is August 6, 2022

In 4 Days:
  • I've uploaded 11 riddles
  • I've had 5,441 video views (mainly on the "For You" pages)
  • I've had 29 profile views
  • I've had 43 Likes
  • I've had 17 Comments
  • I've had 13 Shares
  • I've had 5 Follows
I'm delighted with the potential TikTok offers for my Riddle business. Perhaps it's something that could work for you as well?

The Biggest Problem:

Other people's videos can consume your time - especially the funny ones. Seriously, some are hilarious!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Five Handy Free Tools For Self Publishing

 

5 Free Self-Publishing Tools

As some of you already know, I self-publish riddle books, word search books, sayings, and poetry. If you're so inclined, here's my author page on Amazon.

My entire self-publishing process was self-taught, so let me stress that I'm not a "guru."

I've learned the self-publishing process and shared various articles over the past several years. Today's article is a brief list of a few of my favorite tools for writing books.

Handy Tools I Use for Self-Publishing - I Learn in Compartments (Like Compartmentalizing Thoughts and Tasks) 

First, let me stress I'm not an expert on every aspect of the tools I use. The best way for me to work is on a need-to-know basis. 

If I tried to learn a program or tool from top to bottom, I'd never have time to write or publish.

I use these tools in the limited scope for the task needed to complete. When needing to learn more about the tool, I then educate myself further. I learn in compartments, that's what I like to call it.

1. Canva - A Free Online Web Publishing Tool

Canva.com is an online web publishing tool. Over the past two years, I've come across numerous articles and videos mentioning Canva. In 2021, after reviewing and comparing, I decided to give Canva a try. I use this program to create word search books. Of course, it doesn't make the puzzles; rather, I use it as a glorified word processor. Canva does umpteen additional things, and I hope to expand my knowledge of Canva as I continue along my self-publishing journey.

Note that there is an upgrade to a paid version for Canva; however, I'm still using the free version only.

There are numerous free Canva tutorials on YouTube; here's one that's quite extensive for beginners.


2. Finding Related Words - Free Online Service

Along with using the free online service, Thesaurus.com, I recently discovered another handy free site called relatedwords.org. The broad range of word suggestions provided by relatedwords.org is excellent, especially when creating activity books. Using both Thesaurus.com and Relatedwords.org provides even more word replacement choices.

3. Adobe Spark for Creating Covers - Free Online Service

I've been using Adobe Spark to create book covers, banners, website graphics, and more for years. I'm quite familiar with it, and for that reason alone, I haven't taken the plunge to learn another program to create graphics.

Case in point, Canva.com (mentioned above) has an excellent graphic creating aspect to it, and I've yet to take the plunge and try that website for graphic creations.

There is an upgrade for a paid Adobe Spark version; however, personally, I haven't found the need to upgrade.

If you'd like to understand some of the fundamental differences and similarities between Spark versus Canva, here's a short video from YouTube that sums up some of the key features.

4. LibreOffice - A Free Online Word Processing Download

For writing my riddle books, I use Libre Office Writer. I don't own the paid version of Microsoft Word, and I needed a word processing program to write my riddle books. 

As mentioned above, I use Canva to write my word search books; however, having Libreoffice for my other books is handy, and I'm more familiar with it simply because I've been using it longer.

Be aware there is a learning process with Libreoffice, and I did have to have my mouth washed out with soap a few times while educating myself.

5. GIMP - A Free Open Source Editing Software Program

I use GIMP for one specific purpose; to convert my graphics to the minimum requirement of 300dpi that Amazon Publishing requires for photos in books and/or book covers.

After researching what DPI is and how to convert photos to the correct DPI for uploads to KDP Publishing and pulling all my hair out in the process, I found GIMP to work best for my needs.

Here's a quick tutorial directly from GIMP's tutorial section on how to change the DPI using this program.

Apparently, Canva will also convert images to 300dpi, but I haven't used that feature yet. 

Additional Self-Publishing Articles:

Basic Tips for the Newbie Self-Publisher

Matte or Glossy Book Covers

Confessions of a Newbie Self-Publisher

5 Helpful Self-Publishing Tools

3 Tips for a Newbie Self-Publisher

How to Get Started on Your First eBook




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Why I Love Grammarly Premium and Why It's Worth the Investment

Why I Love Grammarly Premium

Last year I decided to tackle several bucket-list items. One of those items was writing and publishing a poetry book, which led to self-publishing a full series of originally written riddle books. Yes, I know, it's crazy that I can write riddles - but, yah, it turns out I can. Weirdest skill ever.

At any rate, this article isn't specifically about my books. You'll find several articles I've already written on that topic posted below. Instead, this article is about one of my favorite paid premium tools, Grammarly. 

By the way, Grammarly doesn't have a referral program, so everything I'm typing here has nothing to do with receiving a commission from them - This is just a straight review of what I love about it.

Grammarly Premium - Your Own Writing Assistant

I originally used the free version, but after writing several books, I decided the Grammarly premium features were worth it. Grammarly's ability to capture wordiness and make alternate suggestions is one of the most useful writing tools. It gives you a better-worded sentence to choose from. It's my favorite feature. 

Here's a brief video explaining Grammarly's artificial intelligence: Viewing Via Mobile? Here's the Link.



When your brain is tired, Grammarly Premium is like having a personal assistant. Grammarly installs on your browsers and shows up on everything you're typing online, even Facebook posts. In fact, as I'm typing this right now, there's a "G" at the bottom of this post tallying up better writing suggestions.

Grammarly Has a Tone Detector

This is a fantastic feature. When writing, the mood we think we're conveying may not actually be conveyed on the screen. Grammarly's mood detector lets you know how your writing is coming across; confident, joyous, formal, friendly, optimistic, and so on. This video provides a brief outline of the tone detector: Viewing via mobile? Here's the link.



Install Grammarly on Your Phone, Microsoft Office, and All Your Browsers and Other Devices

You can also open Grammarly and post passages, paragraphs, and so on directly into the program. That's very handy indeed: When I'm writing a riddle book, I always copy each riddle into Grammarly (opened on a second screen) to double-check for typos or other errors. Since I use Libre-Office to write my riddle books, I haven't installed Grammarly directly into it yet. However, I'm sure that's coming. 

You CAN download Grammarly directly into Microsoft Office. Also, if you prepare documents using Google Documents, Grammarly automatically works there as well. Essentially it provides you with the ability to correct anywhere on any document on your device. Are you viewing via mobile? Here's the link.



If you haven't used Grammarly yet, give the free version a try, then upgrade if you feel it's something that would serve you well. In terms of pricing, as of this date, the annual fee for Grammarly Premium is $139.95. Here's a link to Grammarly Premium outlining the service and features.

If you're thinking about self-publishing your own books, here are additional articles I've written on the subject to date.

Introducing My Latest Self-Published Riddle Book - Volume 6 Released November 24, 2020

By the way, I ended this article by checking Grammarly's tone detector; it said the post sounds 'friendly'. :)





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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