Sunday, 28 June 2009

How to Promote Your Book For Free

How to Promote Your Book For Free
by Marwa Ayad


Ever since I published my debut novel The Years of Silence which is currently a national bestseller, I’ve been spending more time online doing my homework. I had to learn the many ways and techniques authors use to promote their book(s). Here are the top tips from the trade:

• You should have your own website! After all, when people google your name, and find a website instead of a bunch of links to different websites or blog posts about you that can surely help with the sales of your book. You can tell the world about you (where you grew up, why you write, your favorite movies...). You can also post a sample chapter from your book, reviews, and upcoming events.

• Blogging is also a way of being more recognized, especially if you’re an active blogger and post comments on other popular blogs.

• Websites that allow you to list your books for free.

• Facebook is surprisingly as I’ve recently learned an amazing marketing tool, especially if you create a public page or group for your book. Posting on similar groups lets others know about your book. Also, your profile starts attracting more friend requests (because you’re an author), and you can invite anyone to your group. It’s working for me.

• Book signings and seminars can boost your sales. Just make sure you have enough publicity at least a couple of weeks before your events. Post it on Facebook, other social networking sites, your website, blog, and anything else you can. Also, connections in this area can greatly help.

• Radio talk shows can do wonders. Imagine talking about your book on the radio.

• Getting reviews is also a guaranteed way of marketing your book (given that they’re good, not bad!)

• Well-written press releases

• Writing articles that relate to your book, with unique, high-quality content

• Free copies of your book to media organizations, so they can review or feature it in their publications (newspapers, magazines or newsletters)

• Promotional materials as brochures, flyers and bookmarks which you can give out at your book signings to your audience. You can also give them to bookstores to spread the word about your book.

• Setup Google Alerts for your name, your book title...etc. By following these alerts you can jump into the online conversation in a timely way.

• How about creating a competition on your website with copies of your book as prizes?

• Networking with other writers and people in the publishing business definitely has its many benefits, too.
Got any other tips? :)

Friday, 19 June 2009

My Book Trailer

Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed creating it. :)

If you happen to be outside Egypt and don't wait till my book is available on Amazon, you can order my book here. More info is available on my website.


video

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Character Interview

**Character Interview with Maya Seif**

That's right, my very favorite (fictional) heroine (of my debut novel THE YEARS OF SILENCE) - Maya Seif - is ready for an interview and I'm going to interview her soon. For those of you who have read my novel, if you have any questions for Maya, please email her at:
maya @ marwaayad.com

She'll pick several interesting questions to answer that don't include any spoilers or aren't similar to questions I'm going to ask her. Questions and answers will be posted soon in the group and on my blog and website. So ask away!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Novel Talk

So I finished reading Girls of Riyadh by Saudi writer Rajaa Alsanea a while ago and I really liked it. There's been a lot of hype about the novel especially people against the book claiming it gives all the wrong ideas and impressions about Saudi girls. Now I've never lived in Saudi Arabia (I've only been once to it) and it certainly doesn't seem like a fantasy novel so why would the author lie?! And she's very clear that she's talking about the lives of some Saudi upper class girls, no matter how shocking or unbelievable that is to some.

In other news my debut novel The Years of Silence is currently a bestseller at various bookstores in Egypt and it's also been SOLD OUT at several bookstores and for that I'm ecstatic! I'm still waiting for it to be available on Amazon.

As for my current novel-in-progress, I'm aiming for 75,000 words and I'm almost half way through it. I'm having some difficulties with my characters because the whole plot has taken different turns, especially with the heroine's two female friends. Some parts are also hard to write being too emotional and draining, not to mention some research here and there. It's not a romance novel per se, it's women's fiction and it would appeal to many women worldwide.

That's it for now. Take care and be well.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Swine Flu: Don't Panic

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION RAISES PANDEMIC ALERT LEVEL TO ITS HIGHEST LEVEL, DECLARES SWINE FLU PANDEMIC.

And yes, there's no need to panic.

Facts:

The WHO reports 141 deaths globally from swine flu, with 106 of those (75%) in Mexico and 27 in the U.S. Seasonal influenza kills 35,000 to 50,000 Americans each year. It is now evident that the current strain of the H1N1 swine-flu virus is a "mild" version rather than a pathogenic killer like the 1918 Spanish flu. In fact, seasonal flu kills 500,000 people annually world-wide, a staggering death toll that occurs with hardly any of the public losing a moment's sleep over it.

The WHO's classification system designates a virus as a pandemic based on geography -- the number of countries in which it has been found, not the fatalities produced. The WHO announcing "pandemic" will be like shouting "fire!" in a crowded theater. "Pandemic!" could be the title of an apocalyptic disaster movie.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Swine Flu: Update and How You Can Protect Yourself

The World Health Organization is inching closer to raising the infectious disease alert level for the novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) outbreak to its highest level, indicating that a pandemic has arrived, but has delayed doing so in an effort to prepare national health organizations and populations for the impact of such an announcement, a top agency official said Tuesday in a telephone news conference.

Swine flu is contagious and spreads from human to human.

The symptoms of the new H1N1 flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Also, like seasonal flu, severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

Take these everyday steps to protect your health:

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Stay home if you are sick for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
* Optimize your Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.

* Eat garlic regularly

Other important actions that you can take are:

* Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
* Be prepared in case you get sick and need to stay home for a week or so; a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues and other related items might could be useful and help avoid the need to make trips out in public while you are sick and contagious.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. It's recommended that when you wash your hands -- with soap and warm water -- that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn't need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish or gray skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.

Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.

Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk, for example, and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.

To prevent the spread of influenza virus, it is recommended that tissues and other disposable items used by an infected person be thrown in the trash. Additionally, persons should wash their hands with soap and water after touching used tissues and similar waste.

Other facts you should be aware of:

* A "pandemic" does not necessarily mean what you think it does, it is NOT black-plague carts being hauled through the streets piled high with dead bodies. Nor does it mean flesh eating zombies wandering the streets feeding on the living. All a pandemic means is that a new infectious disease is spreading throughout the world.

* This is NOT the first swine flu panic! (The last time was in 1976)

* Swine flu is a weak virus

* Nearly all suspected new cases have been reported as mild. Preliminary scientific evidence is also pointing out that this virus is NOT as potent as initially thought.