Posts

Following: A Marketing Guide To Author Platform

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Indie writer David Gaughran published the ebook Following: A Marketing Guide To Author Platform. It’s a free bonus you can download by subscribing to David’s weekly book marketing newsletter.

The book brings clarity on the confusing issue of building an author platform writers and authors face, especially when going indie and self-publishing. Its greatest value is a concise and clear definition of what an author platform is and what it's supposed to do, along with a prioritized roadmap.
Although you’ll find practical advice in Following, the book comes with an online resource section David keeps up to date with how-tos, step-by-step guides, videos, lists of service providers, and more.
David presents a framework grounded on two pillars, an author website and a newsletter. You can add other activities and online presences modularly on top of those as your time and resources allow.
David recommends setting up an author website with self-hosted WordPress. I disagree.
WordPress is an…

How to Get the RSS Feed of a Revue Newsletter

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To get the RSS feed of a newsletter hosted at Revue, enter the URL of the newsletter’s sign up and archive page into your feed reader. This returns a partial feed with an entry for each issue.

If the reader doesn’t recognize the feed, add ?format=rss to the newsletter’s URL. For example, the URL of my newsletter is http://newsletter.paoloamoroso.com and I can get the RSS by rewriting it as http://newsletter.paoloamoroso.com?format=rss
Another trick is to append ?format=text to the URL of an issue to get the ASCII text with some HTML formatting. An example is this URL of one of my issues http://newsletter.paoloamoroso.com/issues/freeing-up-storage-on-android-deleting-youtube-s-watch-history-and-more-252454 that returns the text via http://newsletter.paoloamoroso.com/issues/freeing-up-storage-on-android-deleting-youtube-s-watch-history-and-more-252454?format=text
The usual way of receiving a newsletter is via email. The archive page gives access to back issues, which you can browse as …

FindYour.Blog Showcases the Essence of Blogging

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FindYour.Blog is a new blog directory — remember those? — aimed at new or niche bloggers. It lets you browse, search, review, and like blogs. You can also submit your own blog.

The directory has a clean design and is easy to use. But there’s something that makes it stand out: the community. FindYourBlog seems to attract passionate bloggers who value writing, sharing, and thinking.
There are almost no marketers and the blogs in the directory don’t smell of SEO or have pushy selling, modal pop-ups, or heavy ads. Their posts focus instead on content and ideas with not much thought to ranking in search or selling yet another course. The writing has readers in mind, not search engines.
Submitting blogs requires approval, and the editors are doing an excellent curation job.
FindYour.Blog is a labor of love that brings back the roots and essence blogging had in its early days. It's helping me discover great blogs, content, and bloggers.
Let’s hope the marketers will keep away.

All Blogs Are Minimalist

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One feature that made Medium popular is the minimalist design of its blogs. They emphasize text and images and have no blogrolls, widgets, tag clouds, or other distracting elements.
It was a unique feature in the days of the desktop web when Medium came out.

Now the web is mobile-first and all responsive websites have a similar minimalist design on the smartphone and tablet screens the majority of readers use. They hide most of the design complexity behind a hamburger menu with links to other pages. If you open a post, the text and images dominate the page area.
Just like Medium.
For example, my Blogger blog has a responsive template that works the same way. Visit it on your phone. There are a few links at the top of the page and a handful of post recommendations at the bottom. These minor elements are hardly distracting. WordPress blogs and most other responsive websites do the same.
The mobile revolution pushed these minimalist site designs and made them ubiquitous.

Experimenting With Selling App Recommendations

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Are you looking for an app that does something you need but can’t find it, or don’t want to put in the time and effort to search for it? For a small fee, I will search the app for you and recommend one that matches your requirements.

I can search for Android apps, web apps, cloud tools, Chrome extensions, add-ons, or websites that work in Chrome. Except for games as I’m not into gaming. I’ll recommend at least one app that does what you want, summarize its key features and issues, and try it on different Android and Chrome OS devices to report how it works — if possible or practical.
If no such app exists, or I’m unable to find it, I’ll suggest one that does something similar or matches some of your requirements.
I have extensive experience with searching for Android and web apps. I love looking for and experimenting with new and interesting apps I may need someday. I showcase some of the best apps in my Practicing Google newsletter.
I set up these app recommendation services on my p…

Supporting Web Publishers With Scroll

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Scroll is a new monetization platform for news sites and blogs alternative to advertising. The readers who pay a subscription to the platform can access the partner sites without ads. Scroll shares the revenue with publishers based on the visits they get.

After a free trial and an introductory price of $2.49/month, the subscription will cost $4.99/month.
I stumbled upon the platform when Android Police announced joining Scroll as a partner. Android Police is my favorite Android tech news site for its great content and distinctive voice. I have been subscribing to Scroll for four months and, of the over 300 partner sites, Android Police is the only one I read regularly. My visits to other sites are a blip on the radar.

And this is the problem with Scroll.
If I subscribe at the full price, I'll end up paying $60/year for a single publication, which would be too much for the value. I’m sure the content of the other partners is great, I’m just not interested in what they offer. I want to …

My Newsletter Publishing Process

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It’s been almost four months since I launched Practicing Google, my weekly newsletter about practical resources on Google products and related technologies.
The newsletter is a spinoff of my efforts to learn about and keep up to date with the Google ecosystem. I share links from my readings and content consumption habits. I wanted to focus on the entire Google ecosystem with a practical angle, an empty niche I thought there would be interest in.
As a byproduct of activities I already do, I hoped producing the newsletter wouldn’t take much work, and I’d be able to keep the overhead low. This proved to be the case, thanks to a combination of tools and workflow.
Here is how I produce, edit, test, and publish each issue of the newsletter
Tools I use the Revue newsletter publishing platform. My primary production tool is Revue’s issue editor that allows to add rich text, links, media, and embeds.
Revue also provides tools for integrating with and importing content from social networks and p…