Making Sure You Know About: eBook Publishing Boot Camp

Every year D’vorah Lansky of Digital Publishing Cafe brings together a team of book industry experts to share their experience and message.  Since self publishing and digital publishing is growing at an exciting rate, I wanted to share it with you.

eBook Publishing Boot CampThere will be fourteen interactive workshop sessions in three content areas:

  • eBook Creation and Publication Workshops
  • Content Creation and Multimedia Workshops
  • Book Marketing Strategies for Your Book

Check out the Speaker Line Up:

  • Jim Edwards: Write Your Ebook To Publish And Sell On Amazon Kindle
  • Val Waldeck: How to Prepare and Publish Your Books for Amazon’s Kindle
  • David Wogahn: Publishing to Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords
  • John S. Rhodes: The Print-on-Demand Revolution
  • Kristen Eckstein: When & How to Turn Your eBook into Print
  • Jason Matthews: Why Google Plus Hangouts are the Way to Go
  • Bob Jenkins: Grow Your Business with Teleseminar Conversations
  • David Perdew: eBook Editing for Maximum Profit
  • Dr. Jeanette Cates: Magnify Your Message with PowerPoint
  • Alex Mozes and Danielle Leslie: How to Create a Course with Udemy and Earn $$
  • Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart: Successful Book Launch Strategies
  • Connie Ragen Green: Become a Kindle Bestseller in 30 Minutes a Day
  • Susan Baroncini-Moe: Leveraging Influencers to Sell More Books
  • Sandra Beckwith: How to Build Buzz for Your eBook

Interested in digital publishing?  I’ve published a few items on the Kindle platform recently and I’m encouraged by the results.  It’s clear we need finesse to make the most of it and events like this one help show us the way.

You gotta love virtual events, listening from the comfort of home, attending live or catching up on your own schedule. (That’s my preference – usually at the gym!)

Get registered for the eBook Publishing Boot Camp here.

P.S. Look for more from D’vorah here on Sparkplug CEO soon, we’re going to be a stop on her next virtual book tour to launch “21 Ways to Launch a Successful Virtual Book Tour”.

The Truth About NAMS

This is a guest post by Regina Baker.

NAMS (Niche Affiliate Marketing System) is a bi-yearly event hosted by founder, David Perdew. The NAMS event was created for the newbie, intermediate and advanced internet marketer seeking to find out in-depth information on how to profit as an affiliate marketer. One of the things that impressed me about David is his integrity and passion for inspiring others to reach their goals by providing a step-by-step system for anyone with a desire to LEARN, COMMIT and (apply) ACTION.

This past weekend included the above and more. I opted for Intermediate classes, however found myself in the newbie classes as well because I wanted to hear what each speaker had to say on both levels.

I chose to attend NAMS for the opportunity to gain additional insight into affiliate marketing as well as to meet people ‘in person’. Having been online for over 10 years, it was time to see people in person, to get a feel for who they really are ‘off’ the computer. Seeing people for the first time was truly an experience that I’ll treasure for a very long time. Everyone was so friendly, hugs were exchanged, private conversations took place, getting to know each other on a more personal level happened all weekend! [Read more...]

What is NFIB Virtual Summit?

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The NFIB Virtual Summit is an exciting, informal online conference we are hosting on September 15, 2009.  No travel arrangements are necessary – you can attend from the convenience of your home or office!    In case you are not familiar with NFIB – we are the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.  NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses.

NFIB is proud to be the host of the Virtual Summit because now – more than ever, it is important for small businesses and entrepreneurs to come together to participate in open dialogues about critical issues that are directly affecting your business.

Who should attend the summit and why will it be beneficial to them?

This virtual conference is focused on entrepreneurs and small business owners.  It will give them a chance to meet and network with peers and industry experts.  This conference format is an exciting new way to connect, discuss the issues, learn from experts, and most importantly – find solutions to better your business.

What features/topics will be discussed at the NFIB Virtual Summit?

Inside the virtual “Auditorium” – NFIB, eBay, Google and Facebook will present webcasts on topics including:  “The Keys to Success for Your eBay Sales”, “Digital Marketing and Social Networking”, “Healthcare for Small Business”, and “Focus on the Economy”.

Will there be any Q & A sessions available for those attending that may have questions about topics talked about?

Each of the webcasts in the “Auditorium” will be followed by a scheduled chat session in the “Networking Café”.  Attendees will have the opportunity to ask industry experts questions – live!

Looking at the site I see an auditorium, exhibit hall, networking cafe, resource center and information. Can you explain what those areas are for and how they will work during the conference?

From the main lobby, there are numerous rooms to explore.  You can download free resources into your “virtual tote bag” in the “Resource Center”.  The “Exhibit Hall” will feature sponsor booths including eBay, Google, Solveras, Dun & Bradstreet, as well as our media sponsor, SBTV.  The booths will include prize giveaways, free small business resources, and will be staffed by company representatives to answer any questions you may have.  The Networking Café will be open for people to connect and network, exchange virtual business cards, participate in live schedules chats, as well as contribute to the “Hot Topics” message boards.

Registration is free with the promo code bgg737.   Register online at:  www.NFIB.com/VirtualSummit

Spark at Idea: Making Real Life Connections

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Last week’s Spark an Idea Thursday was about Making ‘Real Life’ Connections With People You Know Online.

Interestingly enough, my Spark an Idea round up post is late because I was away from the home office ;ast Thursday and Friday making several great ‘real life connections’ with women I’ve met online over the last six years ;)

Here’s what our Sparkplugging Author’s have to say:

  • Leslie says to attend live events.
  • Traci recommends joining the Smart Solopreneurs Meetup Group.
  • Lynette says to be the first to reach out to someone else.
  • Michelle suggests picking up the phone to talk with your customers.
  • Brandie likes to have virtual coffee with people. (I’ve had VC with her before!)

If you’d like to chime in on next week’s Spark an Idea topic – “Spark an Idea about Motivating Others” , we’d love to have you join in.  Grab our image and make your post by 9am EST on Thursday the 23rd, then tweet me to let me know and I’ll include you in the round up post here on Sparkplug CEO.

Will You Take a Netbook to Blogher?

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I bought myself a netbook this year with an eye for light and easy access to email and blogs while on the road.  For a light occasional traveler like me, a netbook makes perfect sense.

I’ve read a few comparisons and reviews but wasn’t terribly influenced by them.  You can end up paying more for some high end netbooks than you’d pay for a full blooded laptop if features and keyboard size are important to you.

Sparkplugging Author Lynette Chandler admits that netbook keyboard size is a factor for her and from the comments on her post, it’s important to others as well.

For me, price was pretty much the only factor in my decision.  I’ll admit that I didn’t even bother comparing features.  I spent less on my Acer Aspire One ($238) than I spent on my BlackBerry Curve ($300) in 2007 so it felt like a no brainer.

I’ve been working with my little Acer for a little over a month now and I’m satisfied with it.  I don’t mind the small keyboard at all – I’m not using it for hours on end after all and compared to thumb pecking with my Curve, it’s a dream to manage.

Since I am home most of the time, it hasn’t received any heavy use so far.  I will occasionally take it to my comfy recliner to answer email and have used it to watch Netflix movies in bed a couple times.  I have to say, that’s been my favorite use so far!

While poking around Amazon I just discovered that you can actually buy a netbook very similar to mine with access to the AT&T 3G service.  You pay just $150 for the netbook, then it looks like the monthly service plan runs about $60.  If you spend a lot of time away from WIFI access this could be attractive I suppose.

So, what’s your plan?  Is a netbook in your future?  Do you have your eye on something in particular?

Is PayPerPost/Izea Setting the New Standard for Marketing Transparency Ethics?

Many of today’s bloggers (luckily) weren’t around last year when Google completely shook up the blogosphere with their crack down on paid links. Whether you agree or not with Google’s stance on the issue, Google felt like companies were too easily able to game their search engine rankings within the search engines by buying links on blogs.

Bloggers who had been selling text links in a wide variety of ways were suddenly being penalized for their actions. Most of them, myself included, were pretty much blindsided by the move. Most bloggers only sold sidebar text links or did paid reviews for companies that were relevant to their topics and that they wanted to endorse anyway. We were faced with a decision: lose our text link advertising and/or review revenue by putting “NoFollow” tags on paid links, or risk getting de-indexed by Google.

Bloggers weren’t the only ones that paid a heavy price after this shakeup. Two companies hardest hit by ‘the new sheriff in town’ were TextLinkAds and PayPerPost.

But PayPerPost had been under fire well before the Google fiasco. As a written review broker, they didn’t require their bloggers to disclose that the reviews were sponsored. This no only pissed off WOMMA, who was setting the ethical standards of word-of-mouth-marketing, but it also pissed off a lot of bloggers. I did a handful of paid reviews through another company, and set a high bar of transparency and disclosure when I wrote them. I didn’t want PayPerPost’s bad reputation to rub off on me – so much so that I stopped doing paid reviews at all because there were too many people doing it wrong and I didn’t want to be a part of it.

Soon after the Google shakeup, PayPerPost changed their name to Izea. I wasn’t phased. I assumed it was a simple rebrand of PayPerPost and I continued to keep my distance. Izea even asked me to present at their IZEAFest in 2007 and 2008 and I completely blew them off. I wouldn’t touch it.

Fast forward to now, and I am at a party at BlogWorld this last weekend. I run into Ted Murphy, the founder of PayPerPost. I had really enjoyed his panel last year at BlogWorld07 about finding & obtaining venture capital funding and we started talking. And then he starts pitching me on the newest initiatives with Izea. I do an internal eye-roll and look for a way to get out of the conversation. (LOL)

But then Ted tells me about SocialSpark and their new ethics standards. Bloggers in the program are required to adhere to 100% disclosure, 100% transparency, 100% real opinions, and (this is when my jaw dropped) 100% NoFollow on any links in their review posts.

I was completely impressed. Oh, my gosh, I thought, Izea finally got it. They listened. And they acted. But then it got even better. Ted told me about their plans to roll out an affiliate network that would require affiliates to disclose that the links are affiliate links. Suddenly Izea not only had worked to meet the ethics standards of WOMMA, but they were now exceeding them. And there is NO other affiliate program out there requiring this level of disclosure.

I interviewed Ted at BlogWorld this year, because I think they are a fascinating case study:

  • You might have to work years to overcome bad first impressions. Had I not run into Ted at that party, I would have continued to ignore Izea forever.
  • Work fast to correct mistakes. I’m not sure how long it took PayPerPost to transition it’s business model to what it is today, but if they had reacted sooner when all of the bad attention was on them, they would have been able to correct people’s assumptions about them much faster.
  • They listened. They may have been resistant at first, but they listened. I completely respect them for that.
  • They are walking their talk. Izea was recently accepted as a member of WOMMA, which is no small feat. They didn’t have to go beyond WOMMA’s ethics standards, but they did. That tells me that this isn’t just a show, but they mean it.

Lastly, I can only imagine how hard this was to go though for Ted. As an entrepreneur, you want to build something based on your vision. But when your vision doesn’t jive with most of the population you are trying to appeal to, it must be difficult and humbling. Rebuilding your company like Ted did is SO MUCH WORK, and quite frankly, a lot of people would have given up faced with these challenges. But I find it inspiring that he has been able to push through so much and reposition his company in a really respectable way.

By the way – here’s my disclosure: The only reason I’m writing this post is because I wanted to. Ted didn’t ask me to do this, nor is anyone paying me to. ;) I just love seeing what other entrepreneurs are doing and spreading the word when they deserve it.

BlogWorld is Craziness Already and it has Barely Started

We’re here in Vegas for BlogWorld. The flight out here was sheer craziness – passengers singing songs over the intercom, toilet paper races, and our whole flight said hello to BlogWorld. I kid you not, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Half of the Sparkplugging team is here, the rest are coming in today. Besure to watch our video coverage over on our BlogWorld Blog! Even if you can’t go to BlogWorld in person, you can go to BlogWorld in spirit with us!

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