Happy New Year! Our “geek” wishes for 2015…

happy new year

May we all be healthy, joyful and prosperous beyond any measure that the Facebook year-review algorithm can surmise.

May we grow stronger and happier with each friendship, love and like.

May the number of heart-to-heart conversations surpasses the number of selfies we take.

May our meals be as delicious and nutritious as the food on our friends’ walls.

May our memories be as good as #tbt’s.

May our virtual and real walls reflect the world we want to live in.

Cats and dogs and other cute creatures are always welcome!

Happy New Year, Dear Friends!

Bookphoria wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Don’t postpone your dreams… make your ideas come alive in 2015. Transform that awesome expert content or your book into an engaging, multimedia online course to multiply your impact and income!

Want our opinion on what kind of online course you could create? We’ll mentor you for free.
Click here to set up a free rapid fire mentorship session with us.

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U-Quotable: How to find the ideal location for your book quotes

authors wanted

There is no such thing as an unquotable book. As an author, you have spent many days stringing words together, so it’s natural that you want to be memorable, sharable and remarkable. You want people to quote you, don’t you? After all, people quote other authors all the time! You see those quotes on social media. There are even websites that categorize and publish quotes. How do you make your words of wisdom shine in all their brilliance? We, here at Bookphoria, want to help you become more quotable by following the real estate mantra: location, location, location. To illustrate our point, let’s take a look at the example of one author who uses this principle with much success.

Dallas Clayton is an American author and illustrator of children’s books whose quotes amazingly appear in all sorts of places, all well documented on his Instagram account to the delight of his many readers and followers. Here are some examples:

On the pavement:

pavement

On a plate:

plate

On a billboard:

billboard

On a street poll:

street pole

On a tree:

tree

On a human body… One of his followers even got a tattoo of his drawing. Now, that’s a commitment!

tattoo

We are not suggesting that you should start copying Dallas Clayton’s ideas. Rather, use him as an inspiration to come up with some unique ways to showcase your quotes. There are many possibilities:

Share in the comments your ideal location for quotes.

And whatever you do, make photos and share them on social media to make your projects shine across various media channels.

We even created a Pinterest board just for you to pin your quotes and to view other authors’ quotes! Do you want to become a contributor to our U-Quotable board and share your pearls of wisdom with the world? Click here to fill out the form or email info@bookphoria.com, and we will send you an invitation to join the board as a pinner. Not on Pinterest? No problem, just send us your image with the quote and the proper attribution, and we will post it on your behalf. If your quotes get lots of repins, we may even send you a mug or some other physical artifact with that quote to celebrate! Happy pinning, U-Quotables!

P.S. We can help you design your visuals with quotes to share on social media. Click here to set up a free rapid fire mentorship session with us.

Are you Mr. Miagi or Terminator in Online Communication? (An awesome gift included!)

terminator

A couple of weeks ago, I received a message on my Facebook page (Dr. Marina Kostina). The message said, “Why the heck do you call yourself a Doctor? That’s INSULTING to people’s intelligence you’re not fooling anyone.”

Continue reading Are you Mr. Miagi or Terminator in Online Communication? (An awesome gift included!)

Book Lover Gift Guide from Bookphoria

“I don’t know what’s in the box, but I love it. Unopened gifts contain hope.”
~ Jarod Kintz

As our neurons sparkle with the anticipation of the holidays, many of us appreciate some gift ideas around this time of the year. Got a book lover on your list or need to indulge your Inner Writer? Look no further than our Book Lover Gift Guide from Bookphoria. Get your Santa bag ready…

Continue reading Book Lover Gift Guide from Bookphoria

Bookphoria’s Magic Sanity Potion

sanity potion

If your holiday season is anything like ours, it is not just “Santas” and “truffles”

Putting on a couple of pounds,  frantically searching for presents, experiencing sudden nostalgia due to the lack of the vitamin D (not because of our Russian origin!), increased cravings for anything chocolate-covered are also a huge part of this season…

How do we deal with all this mess?

Here is our little secret – a special Bookphoria’s Sanity Drink that was created by combining both of our favorite recipes together, resulting in this majestic elixir of youth, slim waists, calmer moods, and glowing skins.  And today we are ready to share it with our followers!

Introducing….

 Bookphoria’s Magic Sanity Drink Recipe:

 Ingredients:

  1. Green apple
  2. Celery 5 stalk large
  3. Ginger root (1/2 thumb)
  4. Carrots 3
  5. Lime 1 (peel the skin off)
  6. Spinach 1 cup

Directions

Process all ingredients in a juicer, shake or stir and serve.

Benefits: The calming properties of celery, lime’s immediate uplifting qualities, carrots’ and apples’ youth benefits, ginger’s magical powers to de-bloat and keep the digestion healthy, and spinach’s alkaline powers will leave you refreshed, slim, glowing, calm and happy!

Please, keep the holiday season fun! Share below YOUR favorite recipe and the winner of the best recipe will get a prize! You can also send us your recipes to: info@bookphoria.com

To make your holidays even more “sane” download the “Ultimate Online Tech Toolbox” that will help you minimize your stress while dealing with technology this season!

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Click the button below to get your free copy of “Ultimate Online Tech Toolbox” now!

5 ways to generate compelling visuals for your content marketing and e-learning

collageAs the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words… well, maybe not a thousand, but 1.5 words at least. We do remember pictures better than we remember words. Studies by Paul W. Foos and Paula Goolkasian shed light on the difference between memory for pictures and words. They found that pictures were correctly recalled about 1.5 times as often as printed words. Researchers at the University of Iowa James Bigelow and Amy Poremba have found that when it comes to memory, we don’t remember things we hear nearly as well as things we see or touch.

Since visuals win the memory challenge, it only makes sense to incorporate them in your content presentation if you want it to be memorable. I once received an email from a member of a LinkedIn group after I posted a comment on one of the discussion threads. Something in my comment triggered his memory of an image I had shared in the same group many months before. He wasn’t sure but thought I might be the one who had shared it, so he emailed me to see if I could give him the source of that image. This illustrates the fact that visuals are memorable and that your expert brand can be associated with and reinforced by the content you share. In order to be effective, your visuals need to reinforce your message, be unique, and be able to stir some emotion or reflection in the viewers so that they could connect to your content on a deeper level. How do you find or create such visuals?

1. Stock up. There are numerous websites where you can search and legally download Creative Commons (CC) license or royalty-free stock photos. Always make sure you understand the restriction on the use of such images. Here are some of those websites:

Wikimedia Commons is a database of 23,769,240 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.

Flickr is another popular site where you can use an advanced search to find CC images.

Microsoft Office offers visuals you can use.

freeimages has a gallery containing over 350,000 quality stock photos by more than 30,000 photographers.

Getty Images now allows to easily embed and share its imagery at no cost for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media channels through their embed tool.

While stock images can get the job done, don’t underestimate your ability to produce your own visual content. Just pick up a camera, even if it’s your smart phone camera and begin to look around. Our surroundings abound with the rich and complex material that can help you tell your personal expert brand story. Train your eye to see it. It is easier than you think. Here are a few tips to get started:

2. Organize your existing photo collection. Chances are you already have plenty of good, funny, personal images tucked away somewhere on your computer drive or in photo albums. They all tell your story. Take time to go over your collection with an eye to possible future business use. It is a fun thing to do. Plus, it can trigger memories that may result in new stories to tell about your personal brand and your business. We did just that with our Halloween post when Marina found an old photo of us dressed up for Halloween.

3. Start taking pictures – lots and lots of them. Get in touch with your own sensibilities. Look at other photography sites and photo sharing platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest. Notice what appeals to you and why. What moods, styles, colors, patterns resonate with you most? What makes you laugh, think or inspires you? Start capturing those “snapshots of the moment” – often mundane but also funny, puzzling, memorable aspects of your reality. Notice patterns and disruptions. Our brains constantly search for patterns and make predictions to make us comfortable in our environment. Studies show that bizarre and grotesque images are especially effective at grabbing attention. People tend to spend more time on such images as they try to figure out what is going on in the picture – their brains are busy deciphering the pattern. Be ready to capture anything surprising, bizzare, humorous, unusual – such images are likely to provoke thoughts and appeal to emotions. Analyze your own work just like you did with other people’s photos. Use Flickr or Instagram as a way to filter and store the photos you like, get feedback from your followers and grow your own collection of visuals that can be later used for various projects.

4. Turn your content into a collage. Here’s how it works. Pick the key elements and relationships that describe your concept. Then, find images that you associate with those elements. You can browse magazines if you want to make it low tech or find images on the web if you want to create your collage in a digital format, or maybe, you can sketch them yourself. After you are done collecting your visuals, arrange them in a collage trying to reflect the relationships among the underlying elements. The benefit of a collage is that it allows you to see the concept as a whole whereas the verbal description can only be sequential. Collages can serve as visual metaphors, allowing for personal interpretation. Visit Creativity Portal to explore various collage resources on the Internet.

5. Get moving with video marketing. Videos offer a great way to promote yourself as an expert, speaker or author. According to comScore, website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. In addition, visitors who view videos stay on the site an average of 2 minutes longer than those who don’t view videos. People have short attention spans and tune out easily. Keep your videos under 3 minutes in length. You can do a series of videos on different topics. If you use a webcam to record your videos, make sure you position yourself in the center, look into the camera, choose an appropriate background, and have light facing you. A webcam does not have the energy of a live audience, so you have to bring your own energy up through your body posture, smile, and variations in your pitch, tempo and volume. The good news is that you can re-record any number of times you want, so you get the result you like. Whenever you upload your videos onto video sharing platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo, make sure to use appropriate keywords and links to your website to build traffic and subscriptions to your email list.

Ready to package your expertise online? Sign up for a FREE consultation with Marina and Anastasia!

How to Create Engaging Online Discussions?

engaging discussions

Have you ever tried to lead an online discussion? How about a group discussion? If you did, you probably struggled with figuring out how to guide your participants towards the desired goals without dominating the conversations and “giving” them the answers? Today I will give you several strategies that will ensure everyone’s participation and avoiding the situation when 1-2 participants colonize the conversation while others disappear into the cyber abyss. 

Here are 5 strategies to have engaging online discussions:

Strategy #1 Analyze post trends

While you are reading posts from others, try to think about some general themes that show up throughout this discussion. Start new threads with these “themes”.

Strategy #2 Narrow down discussion

Your discussions should have a very narrow goal. Strive for depth and not breadth… when you see that your participants are straying away from the main purpose of the threat, guide their discussion to its original narrow focus.

If there is a controversial point, try ending your comments with a question. This suggests a variety of perspectives on this issue as opposed to the “my way or the highway” approach. If you want to guide someone to another idea, or correct someone’s trail of thought, you can start your sentence by saying” Have you considered?  “What do you think about…?”

Strategy # 3: Support minority perspectives

Pick up on some ideas that have been sidelined by the main stream ideas and then gently bring them back for others’ consideration. Think- what might be the merits of these points? Are they founded on valid information? How could they be beneficial for others?

Strategy #4: Model Behavior

Everything about you (including your message) should reflect what you preach. Your message posts and message replies should reflect the standards that you require from others. When you compose a message, set it aside for a while. Then come back to it and ask yourself – is the message clear? Is it emotionally charged? Does it express the desired perspective? What feeling does it provoke? Make sure to never post anything when you are in a negative state of mind.

Strategy #5: Make your silent participants shine

 It is your job to bring in the silent participants, make them feel comfortable, and give them room to expand.

If you see that someone is not involved in the discussion, shoot them a private email asking if everything is ok. If you see them doing something great, bring in their name and tag them, make an example of them, and encourage them to share their experience with others, make sure to give the spotlight to everyone in your group.

WHAT TO DO NOW:

In the comments below please share YOUR strategies for building engaging discussions online.

Don’t let Negative People Scare the Living Bejeepers Out of You Online!

A and M

Whether you run an online business, are very active on social networking sites, date, or study online, you will inevitably meet people who will send you negative messages or leave unpleasant comments on your site. Often negativity online is expressed even more intensely then in face-to face situations because of the so-called “disinhibition effect”, according to which people express themselves more freely online than in a traditional setting because of invisibility and delayed response. Today we will give you 2 “don’ts” and 3 “do’s”  to help you raise your energy on this scary pre-Halloween Thursday.

#1  Don’t bring in “the Terminator”

It is very easy to get pulled into the negative energy and start acting on the same level as the offender. We believe that there is nothing more destructive that you can do for your own reputation (and your own sanity!) than escalating into a flame war (term created by Anastasia!). In the end, nothing is resolved and everyone walks unhappy.

#2 Don’t sink and sulk

Don’t let the negative comments affect your self-esteem and your overall happiness. Unfortunately, humans are wired to skip over or disbelieve the praise and hold on to the criticism. We, women, often let negative comments affect us on a deeper level and remember them for a long time. However, learn to see negativity as a sign of your success. The more you rock as a business woman, the more negative comments you will receive!   Nowadays, I look at such remarks and tell myself that I must be doing something right and even thank my negative guests for contributing to my SEO optimization. (Hey, the more comments I get on my posts, the higher up my website goes in the search engine!)

#3 Use “Love never fails” strategy

I usually try to remember this wisdom and respond with gratitude to any negative comment. I thank the writer for taking their time to express their opinion and promise to take it into account. You will see that this works like magic, and your “so-called” offender may become your #1 fan!

#4 “Build a Finesse Sandwich”

If you really need to stand your ground and defend your point of view, remember to do it with class by creating a “finesse” sandwich.

First start with a “thank you”– you need to neutralize your opponent.

Then prove your point and end with best wishes.

 #5. Use ‘0 tolerance’ rule for bullies

If you are a target of cyber-bullying, do not respond. Do not give it ANY of your attention… nothing, zero, NADA! Block the bully, unfriend them, or ban them from your site. You can also use reporting tools to show offense online.

Now, in the comments below tell us how YOU deal with negative people?

 Ready to package your expertise online? Sign up for a FREE consultation with Marina and Anastasia!

Explainers: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Whether you are trying to assemble a new kitchen table or learn a new program, you have to deal with instructions. Reading instructions is rarely fun. They are often boring, confusing and full of jargon. We’d rather jump in and tinker with things to figure out how they work. That is why our Bookphoria team favors an interactive, audience-driven approach to explainers.

In recent years, short explainer videos have become popular in business to introduce and explain the functions and benefits of various products and services and educate consumers. These videos are definitely more engaging than just text. An expainer video can also increase conversion rates by around 15% to 50%. However, even with explainer videos, viewers still remain passive and their attention can drift away.

Continue reading Explainers: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

How to Stand out from the Crowd Online?

standout

Being different is no longer a recreational pursuit for experts, authors and speakers; it is a matter of survival for your business. In a world of 8 second attention spans, you must stand out from the crowd, or you will disappear in the ocean of information in a matter of seconds. So how do you get noticed online? In this post I will share five tips that will help you capture the attention of the click’n’go generation, and boost your online presence.

Continue reading How to Stand out from the Crowd Online?