Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Disney Illustration Study: Pinocchio

For this weeks Disney Illustration Study I decided to sketch Pinocchio and his wise little buddy Jiminey Cricket. 

As I live in Italy, Pinocchio has a special place in my heart. The original character is a real business here, and models and other souvenirs can be purchased all over the place. I have to be honest though. I think Disney did a great job with him.

Jiminey Cricket is up there on my favourites list. A real Disney classic that has stood the test of time.

Disney Illustration Study: Jiminey Cricket from PinocchioDisney Illustration Study: Pinocchio
Check out my Pinterest Board for more of my illustrations at

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Quick Tips: How To Do A Good Book Launch

This weeks "Quick Tip" is to start your marketing campaign as early as possible. If you want to do a success book launch, you need to start promoting your book as far in advance of the release date as possible. You can even start to build interest BEFORE you've finished writing the book!

How far in advance do you start promoting your book?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel at for more videos.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Disney Illustration Study: Alice in Wonderland

I loved Alice in Wonderland when I was little. For this weeks Disney Illustration Study I decided to sketch Alice, along with two of my favourite characters from the film, The Cheshire Cat, and the White Rabbit.

Disney Illustration Study: Alice in Wonderland, The Cheshire Cat

Disney Illustration Study: Alice in Wonderland, The White Rabbit

Disney Illustration Study: Alice in Wonderland

You can find more of my illustrations on my Pinterest board at

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Quick Tips: Use Your Email Signature

This weeks "Quick Tip" is to use your email signature. Think about it. How many emails do you get? How many emails do you send? Adding an email signature with your call to action to automatically show at the end of all the emails you send out is a great way to spread the word without being too salesy.

You can keep it plain text with a link or add a graphic for extra impact. Gmail, Yahoo, etc... all give you the option of programming a signature to be shown on all emails sent. 

Alternatively you can use a free add-on like (one of the examples mentioned in the video).

How are you using your email signature?

Subscribe to my YouTube channel at for more videos.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Regrets: What I'd Do Differently If I Could Go Back In Time And Do It Over

Regrets: What I'd Do Differently If I Could Go Back In Time And Do It Over

As you know, recently I've been working lots on my business plan. I've discovered so many things that I'm kicking myself over for not having done sooner. 

For example, I made a media kit for my Writers and Authors blog this past week. This is something I should have done at the start. 

Here's a pic of the media kit:

Media Kit for

I think it came out pretty good. You? If you have any suggestions about other things I should have included please let me know. I love getting your feedback.

When I think about it, I can't believe I didn't make this sooner. So much potential money just thrown away. Seriously. I've had more enquires about advertising on the site in the past week than the rest of the year put together! 

So why didn't I do it sooner?

Because I started the blog as a hobby. It developed into a business over the years. I wasn't a "Blogger". I was just blogging. When I started out all those years ago I wasn't looking at the big picture. I was just experimenting and having a bit of fun on the internet. 

Whilst I'm still experimenting and having fun my goals have changed. What was once just a hobby is now a business. Now I have to fill in the holes I left out.

The same thing applies to my writing and illustrating. It all started as just a hobby. Back in the beginning I didn't know I could make a career out of doing what I love. 

It would all be so much easier if I'd started out as a business right from the word go. I wouldn't find myself struggling to fill in the gaps now If I had. I would also probably have reached a higher level of success sooner, and probably made a lot more money along the way too.

If I could go back in time and do it all over again I would approach it with a different mindset. I'd be a business right from the start. I would consider things like business plans, branding, marketing strategies, keywords, SEO, etc... more seriously. I would create business materials at the start. 

This applies to all areas. Not just my blogging business. 

I think a lot of writers and illustrators fail to see themselves as a business, but we are. We are our brand. That means we need to treat ourselves like any other business would. 

What regrets do you have about your career? What would you do differently if you could go back in time and do it over?

Friday, 17 July 2015

New Look Website (And Some Important Questions For You To Answer)

I always make time at least twice a year to do an audit, and adjust my business plan. It's important to do this as it help makes sure I'm clear about my goals, and focusses my attention on how I can improve my brand and services. 

Do you do regular audits?

I recently did a BIG one. I went through my marketing plan and looked at what has been working, and what hasn't. I studied growth and engagement on all my social media platforms. I made notes about what type of content has been getting the best response. I noted the amount of time and effort I put into each network (on average) and calculated my ROI for each.

I also did research into people and websites who offer similar products and services to me. I studied their website designs, and content. I made notes about what seems to be working for them. I also noted the types of widgets they used on their websites.

I then researched website designs, looked into branding in more detail, and raided Pinterest for inspiration. I looked at colour schemes, and font combinations. I studied website layouts, and calls to action.

Yes all this was time consuming. It's been hugely valuable though, and quite a lot of fun too. I know, I'm a freak. I actually enjoy playing around with html code.

Anyway, the result of all this is that I now have a new business plan, a new marketing plan, and a new website design in the making. I've even created a new logo for branding. What do you think of the new look?

I've already started rolling out the new design and will be continuing to update over the next month... including the launch of new products and services. 

If you have any suggestions you'd like me to consider for the website, newsletter, social media, or even future books, please let me know.

Looking at sales channels...

Something else I've been thinking about a lot is the sales channels for my books. Whilst I'm currently part of the KDP Program on Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited), my books are all available for expanded distribution and as such can also be purchased through other retailers like Barnes and Noble. I also have books published via Lulu which are also available on itunes e.g Italian for Tourists. What I'm still trying to decide is whether or not to make them all available on other sites too or not. 

Would you like to be able to buy my books from sites like Smashwords too? What sites/formats do you think I should add? Or should I stay in the KDP Program and remain Amazon "exclusive"? Would you be interested in audio versions of my books?

I really appreciate your input on this. I want to improve things for you. I want to make sure I'm offering you, what you want. 

Thank you for your feedback.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Why You Shouldn't Social Share Your Newsletter

Should you social share your newsletter? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In today's video I'll tell you why...

I send out a monthly newsletter on the 1st of every month with exclusive content. That's right, you won't find my newsletter content anywhere else. It's just for my subscribers.

I decided to keep it to just once a month because I don't want to fill up your inbox. I want to send you awesome content, with tips and strategies that can help you.

It also contains information about my upcoming releases, events, and projects.

Subscribe to the newsletter

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Disney Illustration Study: Peter Pan

My Disney Illustration Study is still underway. This weeks characters are Peter Pan and the crocodile (because I love that crocodile ;)).

Disney Illustration Study: Crocodile from Peter Pan
Disney Illustration Study: Peter Pan

You can find more of my illustrations on my Pinterest board at

Monday, 13 July 2015

Getting Work Done When The Kids Are Off School

Getting Work Done When The Kids Are Off School

I have two little boys. One is 7 years old, and the other is 3 years old. They keep me pretty busy. During term time I do most of my work whilst they're at school. It can be hard at times to juggle mummy duties with work. Things get even more complicated when the kids are off school though. 

So how do you still manage to get work done when the kids are off school? 

In today's video I let you know my secret for staying productive during the long summer school break. 

Do you a work from home? How do you stay productive during the summer break? What's your secret for juggling work and kids?

For more tips  and advice subscribe to my YouTube channel at

Friday, 10 July 2015

Paperback Release Party for The Alien Mind (With Giveaways - Including a Copy of How to Be Twittertastic!)

I love a good party! Who doesn't right? 

Well, when my writing buddy +V.L. Jennings told me she was setting up a release party for the paperback version of her book The Alien Mind I jumped at the chance to be involved. A copy of How to be Twittertastic is just one of the great prizes up for grabs.

Paperback Release Party for The Alien Mind (With Giveaways - Including a Copy of How to Be Twittertastic!)

Before we take a look at all the prizes and all the details for the release party, let me tell you a bit more about The Alien Mind and Virginia.

About The Alien Mind

Author: V.L. Jennings
Publisher: Rara Avis: Imprint of PDMI Publishing LLC                                                         
Release Date: July 4th 

When a group of aliens called the Aruk abduct Young Rivinaig and several other children, they are thrown into the adventure of a lifetime. The Aunantet, a benevolent race of aliens, rescue the children and adopt them into their culture and raised them as if they belong.
The children's new families teach them how to harness the full capacity of their minds,enabling them to defy the laws of physics and develop special mental abilities.
The past returns to haunt them as the Aruk plot revenge and regain control of their former captives. The fate of the entire galaxy depends on whether the children can maintain their freedom. 

About Virginia

When V.L. Jennings isn't traveling to other worlds through her imagination, she calls Dillon, South Carolina her home. Virginia is the author of "The Alien Mind," a science fiction novel published by PDMI Publishing, LLC. Her second title, "Visionary From The Stars" is expected to be re-released through PDMI as well, in the fall of 2015. She has also illustrated a children's book for PDMI, titled "Wiggle Worm's Shape Adventures," written by Karen and Kathy Sills.

But what motivates Virginia to create, to illustrate, to prognosticate? Virginia is a speculator, the kind of person who always debates the "what if?" of where stories both true and fantastical are leading themselves to, which explains her love of post-apocalyptic fare such as "The Walking Dead." Through her writing, she enjoys trying to figure out what our human potential is, and where our innate desire for a better world could lead us.

Overall, Virginia is just about as real as a person can get. Yes, even authors love to sing along with their favorite local radio station while driving, and Virginia is no exception to this rule. She enjoys watching Doctor Who or Star Trek with her family over dinner, and also watching the latest sci-fi and action movies with her husband. On the weekends, you may even find Virginia and her family at the local comic book store, hunting down more comics to add to their collections.

Virginia loves to connect with new people, as well as hashing out story concepts and other creative ideas on her blog, at 

On Facebook:

Now for the details...

Where? on Virginias Facebook page 

When? July 10th - all day

Virginia will be hosting games on her facebook page. Feel free to check in through the day to enter into the games! (Entry in the games will be as simple as commenting with your answer onto the party post threads- all of which will be marked with a *****)

In the evening, the winners of the prizes will be selected at random and announced on the facebook wall! (Winners will also be messaged privately to arrange for prize delivery)

Bring and POST a picture- to her page wall- of you holding an e-book copy (show the picture on your screen) or the paperback copy of The Alien Mind to be entered into a special prize drawing!

Prizes up for grabs...

-Aaron Demott is donating a bookmark and bookcover magnet to the games!
-Two beach sets donated by Greta King!
Cindy Koepp is donating three books to the event! 1 copy of Mindstorm: Parley at Ologo1 copy of Remnant In The Stars1 copy of Lines of Succession (e-book)
-Nicole Quinn- has offered to donate both of her books, The Gold Stone Girl and It's A Nightmare- both are available in audio, e-book, and paperback! Winner's choice!"
- Author's Jack Gannon and Cyndi Barnier have offered to donate an e-book copy of their book Murder In Two's And Threes!


-I'm donating an e-book copy of How To Be Twittertastic! :)

Paperback Release Party for The Alien Mind (With Giveaways - Including a Copy of How to Be Twittertastic!)

Here's the post to comment on to be in with a chance of winning a copy of How to be Twittertastic.

**** For our first game! Social Media is all about sharing cool stuff with your friends so Tag A Friend! In the...
Posted by V.L. Jennings on Thursday, 9 July 2015

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Top 5 Twitter Tips

In today's video I share some of my Twitter Tips. Watch the video below for my top 5.

For more Twitter tips check out my book How to be Twittertastic.

Are you on Twitter? Come find me at @JoLinsdell. Twitter is one of my favourite social media sites. Hope you'll tweet with me soon. 

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Quick Tips: Amazon Free Reading Apps

Quick Tips is back for another series! Bringing you tips, tricks, and strategies in bite-sized format to help you build your author brand, and market your books.

This weeks "Quick Tip" is to download Amazon's free reading apps so you can read kindle books for free. They offer several options, so whether you prefer to read on your smartphone, tablet, or PC, you're covered ;)

Download your app(s) here:

No need to own a Kindle. You can still read kindle books, even without an actual Kindle, with these free reading apps from Amazon. Not only will you then be able to download Kindle books to read, but you can also send files to your Kindle. e.g. Send a pdf file to your kindle. This can come in handy for reading of copies of books, but also for editing and revising your own works in progress. Reading your work on a different device can help you notice errors that you may not have seen looking at it on your usual computer screen.

For more Quick Tips subscribe to my YouTube channel at

Monday, 6 July 2015

Secret Tip For Making Time To Be Social

I'm a social media junky as you all probably know by now. I love it. I'm everywhere. What you might not know is how I manage to keep up such a regular presence across the board... and still make time for my writing, and other projects.

Well, today I'm going to share with you one of my top tips for social media time management. Watch the video below to find out how I make time to be social.

How do you manage to fit social media into your daily routine without it eating up too much of your time? 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Replay: Visual Content for Authors Webinar

Promo Day took place on Saturday 30th May and was an action packed day of live events, forums discussions, and webinar. 

My webinar at this years event was Visual Content for Authors where I took a look at visual content sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, and how authors can use them to build their author brand and market their books.

If you missed Promo Day you can watch the replay of the webinar below:

Did you take part in Promo Day this year? Got a question about creating visual content? I'd love to hear your feedback about the webinar too?

Interested in my work and services?
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