Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Learn About Backlinks

Here's a great SEO (search engine optimization) tool for increasing traffic to your website ... check it out on my new website at Backlinks, or Why You Should Never Use, "Click Here". Please leave a comment and/or share it with your friends by clicking on a few of the social media icons below my post ... :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Website ~ Marketing Tool

Dear Friends,

I'll be on this blog from time to time, but most of my posts will be on my new website at After weeks of research and watching lots of tutorials and reading up on marketing etc., I went ahead and took the plunge! My website is hosted by and so far, I like them really well. I will be making regular posts about what I discover in the marketing world and keeping everyone up to date on the latest news with my books. Hope to see you over there!

~Theresa Sneed, author of No Angel and its forthcoming prequel, From Heaven to Earth.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tagged Again & Loving It!

Mary L. Walling asked me these awesome questions:

1. When did you first realize you wanted to write books and what genre?

 I never imagined myself as a book writer until a few years ago. I recognized my love of writing and had written several articles, short stories, poems, etc., but the idea of actually writing a novel alluded me. I esteemed novelists on such a high pedestal that becoming one seemed a bit lofty to me. As far as the genre goes, my first book was realistic fiction with a slight touch of fantasy. It remains hidden in the bottom of my filing cabinet. My second book, co-authored with my dear friend, Kari Pike, is a self-help book which hides with my first book. My third book, Sons of Elderberry is total fantasy. It was buried for five years until recently and is my current "rescued" WIP. My fourth book, No Angel is my first book published. It is in a category called speculative fiction, but I've also heard it referred to as spiritual fantasy. Its prequel, From Heaven to Earth is due to go to press this month! I've already written an additional two books in my angel series and have at least three more in mind before that series is finished. I write in the mystery/suspense genre too and have a novel called Escape completed. It's the second in a two-book series and cannot be published until I  finish writing book one ~ after I complete Sons of Elderberry.

2. Who is your favorite book character and why? What is your favorite book?

My favorite book character is the wise Galadriel from the Lord of the Rings - I love her good choices. I also love Jane Eyre too - for the same reasons. My favorite book (next to religious books) is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

3. Life can be a little challenging sometimes. What do you do that helps you get through life's challenges?

I pray, then I ponder, then I thank.

4. I know that some of you do something special when you write. I like to drink iced lemon water and eat peppermint patties (sugar free) or yum, dark chocolate. What special something do you do when you write?

I drink lots of water. I've learned that soda pop is not my friend, but an addiction - as much as I LOVE it, I now try to avoid it. I really love to snack on blueberries and grapes...

5. My parents were my inspiration growing up. Who inspired you the most in your life? Why?

My mother was a great inspiration to me. She could make-do with nothing. She was kind and pleasant to be around. She was hard working and loved her family fiercely. She instilled a love of reading in me from reading to us regularly out of the back of an old set of Encyclopedia Britannica ~ Hans Christian Anderson, as well as the Bible.

6. I have traveled a lot in my lifetime. My favorite place to live was Colorado where there were four seasons and the beautiful mountains. Have you traveled and if so, what was your favorite place and why?

Though I currently live in the lovely state of Arizona, USA, my heart and soul are in my birthplace of Maine. I've lived all over the USA and have loved each state ~ AZ, OH, PA, UT, CA, NH, and ME. I traveled to Romania when in high school. Our band/chorus was chosen by Leonard Bernstein to be "ambassadors for friendship", and we toured the beautiful country of Romania, which is really neat, as my 19 yr. old son is serving a mission there right now!

7. I am going to borrow a form of question from someone else. Have you ever used a family member as a character in one of your books?

Oh yes! I have used family and friend's names in my books many times, but never their personalities, because that can actually limit you in character development. Usually, the only thing I use is their names. 

8. What have been the inspiration for the title of your novels? A person, place or thing?

I've written whole novels just from the title, although I've already had characters created. No Angel is about a guardian angel with an attitude - that's why I gave it the title No Angel, because he did not want to be a guardian angel. I was thrilled when my editor chose to keep that title, because that doesn't usually happen. The inspiration for writing No Angel came from wanting to write a fun story that had the workings of the spirit world as a backdrop. Though No Angel is fiction, there's a lot in it that I imagine to be true.

9. What great thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? 

I would love to be involved in government, but in order to do so, I'd have to have a complete, unbiased understanding of how government works and how to best serve my country. So, if this was a "wish" thing ~ if I could truly attempt something with the guarantee of success ~ then, I would love to be a successful politician who could protect the rights and liberties of its citizens.

10. Are you a pushover for everyone who wants you to do stuff for them? Why?

I wouldn't want to be known as a "pushover", because that has a negative connotation of someone who is weak. I am not weak and the things that I am able to do to help others come from my heart and a sincere desire to help others.

11. How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

My childhood experiences have developed me into the person that I am. My love for fantasy came from my mother reading to me. My fascination with Dr. Seuss books helped to develop the ability to look at things from wildly different perspectives. My passion for science kept me searching for the  "why and how" of things and a drive to believe that a greater intellect existed than that of man. My belief in angels came from incredible religious experiences as a child ~ so, I'd have to say that without doubt, my childhood experiences weigh heavily on my writing.

If you want to join in on the fun, here are your questions from me! Don't forget to link your blog back to my blog!

1. You're on a deserted island for six months with one person ~ who would it be and why?
2. You were caught in a meteor shower which left you with strange abilities. Now every time you eat chocolate, you can ... what?
3. A friend takes you to an abandoned castle that has been hidden for centuries. She heard a rumor that great treasure was hidden in the sixth tower. Would you venture inside or turn it over to the authorities to investigate? What would you find?
4. You can only drink one type of beverage for the next year - what would it be and why?
5. Have you ever had to face a fear of yours? What was it and how did you overcome it, if you did?
6. Have you enjoyed certain ages in your life more than others? What is your ideal age and why?
7. Has anyone totally amazed you in life? Who and why?
8. Have you ever written in a character in a story patterned after a real person ~ out of spite, because that person ticked you off?
9. Do any of your characters make you totally crazy because they have a mind of their own and take you places you hadn't planned on?
10. What is your most favorite phrase/paragraph that you have written? Can you share it?
11. If you could sit down and talk shop with any writer from any time period - who would it be and why?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Social Media Marketing: Your Online Path to a Best Seller

Dave Eaton is a business owner with more than 30 years experience and has been instrumental in building several multi-million dollar companies. Dave is a Local Marketing Consultant for small business and his recent ventures include Online Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

Dave spoke at American Night Writers Association 20th Annual Writers Conference held at the Hilton Mesa Hotel on February 23-25, 2012.  His class focused on how to create a bestseller before a single page is in print using blogging, facebook, twitter and other online platforms to zero in on target audiences. Here are some of the many fascinating points he made:

Traditionally, in order to have a best seller, authors had to first write a novel then follow these steps: hire a publicist, write query letters to agents and publishers, attend writing conferences to meet agents and publishers, get their manuscript out to everybody, often settle with small publishing houses, go on the road to market their books, sell thousands of books then eventually stop selling and repeat the entire process with a new book. 

Eaton stresses that in today’s new social media frenzy, the traditional way is obsolete. You do NOT have to hire a publicist. You do NOT have to write query letters to agents and publishers. You do NOT have to attend writing conferences to meet agents and publishers. You do NOT have to get your manuscript out to everybody. You do NOT have to settle with small publishing houses. You do NOT have to go on the road to market your books, or even worry about the traditional book life ending after a period of time, especially with the exciting advent of eBooks.

Eaton says the first thing you have to do is brand yourself as an author using your name or pen name. You might also brand your book title too. He explains that SEO (search engine optimization) is how you will be “found” among the 50 billion pages that make up the World Wide Web. He says that Google has about 50 billion web pages – and everyone googles. If you type in a phrase like, “bestselling author” the results are ranked in order of your keyword(s). There are certain factors on how the sites are ranked for optimizing, but while today google might use 200 factors, chances are tomorrow they will be different as google changes their ranking algorithm 500 times a year.

There are two ranking factor categories:

1.     Online optimization, which receives 20% of ranking
2.     Off page optimization, which receives 80% of ranking. Eaton explains that back-links which come from an offsite source, link back to the site—the same way to get to your site from somewhere else and that back-links are like votes for a webpage.

Eaton states that understanding how the internet works is as important as writing your novel. It’s important to know how to find readers, find fans, find partners, promote your brand, have your voice heard by millions, and to know who your completion is. He gives us some Action Plans:

I.                   Action Step #1: Buy your own domain and host it
If you don’t, all of your credits or hits are supporting whoever owns your internet pages—you’re catching yourself in someone else’s plan. Your own domain should reflect your “brand” which is your name or pen name, so it should be wwwDOTyournameDOTcom, if not .com then it’s best to use .org, or .net. If none of those are available then add “im” or “iam” in front of your name or “”. Eaton says that domains cost about $10.00 a year and hosting costs are about $50.00 a year.

II.                 Action Step #2: Install Wordpress on your Domain
You can google “wordpress installation videos” for help with that. He says that is NOT for your domain and you must use as you will then own all of your files, etc. Eaton says to then link any of your former internet pages (which still hold a lot of value—so keep them!) like blogspot, facebook, linkedin, twitter, etc. to your new domain.

III.              Action Step #3: Setup Social Media Accounts
If you haven’t already, setup a facebook fanpage (which requires a facebook profile initially), setup twitter, google+, and linkedin as well and any blogger accounts you now maintain then link all of your accounts back to your blog under your new domain. All these links give your website authority and get it noticed.  Eaton says that the posts you create give you availability to give updated posts or CONTENT on your blog.

IV.              Action Step #4: Demographics
Eaton says you need to describe your reader in detail. How else will you be able to provide them meaningful content worthy of their time to revisit your site? He says that it’s important to have an understanding of your competition—what other authors are reaching your readers? And how big is your audience—the only way to truly know that is to interact with them.

V.                Action Step #5: Find the Conversation
Where do your readers hangout? You can check out “” to search for blogs writing about interesting topics (content) and to look for writer’s forums google forum + google. He says to start blogging about something your readers can benefit from, make comments everywhere, write articles, tweet, retweet. Be sure to add value to the conversations, or your hard work will backfire on you—remember, you are a public figure now and you are building a reputation as part of your brand.

VI.              Action Step #6: Publish Something!
Just publish! He says self-publish in Kindle, get your name in article directories—just get your brand out there and watch it spread throughout the internet!