Friday, June 6, 2014

Minimalist Writing Principles for Topic-based Writing

Minimalist writing is giving the least amount of essential information to your users—just enough for them to start and complete a goal.
If you’re writing topic-based content, then it’s best to follow minimalist principles which are:
1. Know your audience
2. Get rid of nonessential content (useless to user)
3. Focus on user goals, rather than how the product works
So in a nutshell:  Provide only what the user needs, when they need it, and nothing more than that.
Principle #1 Know Your Audience
  • What do they already know?
  • Do you need to spell out the basics for them?
  • What are their goals?
  • Will they be familiar with the terminology associated with your product?
  • How much troubleshooting information will they need?
This information is essential because it gives you an idea of how much supporting information or conceptual and reference topics you’ll need to give the user in addition to task topics which only address the tasks at hand.
Principle #2 Get rid of nonessential content
Don’t over explain simple things that the user already knows.  Basically, do not offer useless laborious information that turns a reader off and wastes their time.
For example, you don’t have to include “Type y our name in the name field.”  Surely, the user can figure that out themselves.
If you have to describe a toolbar or navigation menu, than perhaps you need to create a user interface that is easier to understand.
Principle #3 Focus on user goals, rather than how the product works
In other words, the user comes to your book wanting to know how to complete a task in the shortest amount of time possible.  They’re not interested in reading about how every piece of equipment works or what each button accomplishes.  They simply want to know which button to push or which drop-down menu to select to accomplish the task at hand.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saving Time with Kindle Previewer Tool

Kindle Previewer is a free tool that emulates how your book will look on Kindle devices and applications and shows how the text displays for any orientation or font size. Once you’ve finished formatting your MS Word manuscript for KDP and saved it as a filtered web page, you can use Kindle Previewer to check the layout of your book and make sure it’s displayed properly. You can also check that the Table of Contents and any links are working properly.
It’s a lot easier and quicker to make changes to your book now, rather than waiting until after it’s been published to KDP!
Using Kindle Previewer
  1. Go to and download the latest version of Kindle Previewer (v2.9 at the time this book was published).
  2. Open your formatted MS Word manuscript and select “Save As” to save the document as a “Web Page, Filtered” (for PC) or “Web Page” (for Mac).
  3. Open the Previewer and then open your filtered web page. The previewer automatically converts the web page into the mobi file and opens it.
  4. The tabs at the top of the document allow you to preview it in several different Kindle viewers. You can also select “Devices” from the menu bar at the top of the screen to see what your file will look like on an iPhone or iPad.

    For more tips like this one, check out our latest guide on self-publishing “Publishing and Selling Your Ebook on Kindle” available on Amazon’s kindle store at

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Publishing Your E-book the Easiest and Quickest Way Possible--New Book Tells You How!

Many authors are daunted by the process of self-publishing and think it's too much to learn.  Month after month they put off publishing and selling their e-book on the world's largest online bookstore--Amazon.
I took the plunge a year ago and along the way I took notes on everything I learned through the process of self-publishing.  A friend of mine, Louisa J. Dang, and I put our notes together and published an e-book titled "Publishing and Selling Your Ebook on Kindle." 
We cover all of the main problems you may stumble upon when editing, formatting, converting, publishing, and marketing your e-book on Kindle.
It's a book that I'm very proud of.  The information in this book will speed up the learning process for those looking to self-publish their e-book quickly.  I hope you'll give it a try and if you like it, please leave a review or tell your friends about it.  Thanks!
Note:  In this book, we cover the process of publishing online from beginning to end.  This book mainly focuses on publishing via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing, so if you're looking for a book that focuses on other publishing platforms, then you may want to wait for additional books from us or check out others.
Here's the link to our book

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Describing Characters from Single Viewpiont versus Multiple Viewpoint

This can be difficult because it’s awkward to step outside of oneself and describe ourselves.  In third person subjective and first person narrative voices, we follow the main character along and share in his or her thoughts at the story progresses.  But how can we reveal important details about our main character or describe him or her without sounding awkward or forced?  Many writers use revealing devices such as having their character stand in front of a mirror, but this is an over worn cliché that you should avoid.  You can give bits of description through the dialogue of other characters.  What do they say about the character or how do they react to him or her? You could also reveal a character's emotional state through a description of the weather. 
Many writers find the single viewpoint narrator makes for cleaner and more engaging writing.  The reader gets invested in the main character’s perspective and follows the story more closely rather than meandering from viewpoint to viewpoint of different characters.  Still, if you like writing from multiple viewpoints, you’re not alone.  But it’s a good idea to limit one viewpoint per chapter rather than include two viewpoints within one chapter.  That can confuse the reader and also break their reader’s trance—interrupting the flow of the story.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What is SEO? And can SEO help your ebook sales?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a group of marketing and technical techniques used to bring Internet taffic to your web page or blog.  Websites are ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.  So the first page of search results are the most relevant to the search word or phrase that you typed in Google.  Basically, the whole idea of SEO is to get on those first two pages of search results.  Most people never go past those first two pages.  The way to get your site noticed?  There are so many.  I'm only going to give a very brief overview of the concept in this blog article and expand in more detail in later posts. 
SEO can improve your site's exposure by the strategic use of keywords or key phrases.  These are the words people search for in their Google searches.  They could also use Yahoo or Bing, but for the sake of brevity I'm just saying Google. 
Keywords can be sprinkled throughout your web content, but don't overdo this.  Keyword "stuffing" will get your site flagged and plus it just reads badly; not to mention it looks unprofessional.  You want to shoot for 5 percent (5%) keyword saturation throughout your copy, nothing more.  Keywords can also be placed in metadata such as HTML tags.  More on this in a future blog posting.
Are you noticing through tracking that your visitors are leaving your website quickly?  They aren't hanging around to read?  That's called a "bounce" visit.  You don't want that.  If this happens to you, then you really need to examine the quality of your web content.  People want to learn something from articles they read; not shallow, thin "fluff" pieces that waste their time.
I'll give more details later about how to control your "bounce" factor in your copy.  SEO covers such a wide range of information.  Treating it all in one blog post would be impossible.
The bounce factor leads to another major factor that draws search engine bots to crawl your site as well as visitors--Quality Content.  Without this your website or blog is merely a fluff site where visitors leave feeling deceived and cheated.  Time is valuable to everyone and time is money for many, so don't waste your readers' time.
Links are important in driving traffic to your site.  Make friends with other bloggers who blog within your field of interest.  This is a way to get backlinks which help improve your rankings.

Monday, October 28, 2013

New book on selling e-books is FREE Oct. 29-31

Do you want to publish and sell an e-book for Amazon's Kindle, but just don't know where to start?  "Publishing and Selling Your Ebook on Kindle" is jam-packed with step-by-step instructions and awesome tips for marketing your book once it goes live on Amazon.  This book will save you hours of time researching the process so you can focus that valuable time on writing your next novel or non-fiction book.
"Publishing and Selling Your Ebook on Kindle" will be available for free downloads from Tuesday, Oct.  29th through Thursday, October 31st at