How to Create Custom Google Maps

How to Create a Custom Google Map and Embed It on Your Website

How to Create a Custom Google Map and Embed It on Your Website

Below are instructions for creating a custom Google map and adding it to your website. If your story is located in the real world (not on another planet or a fantasy world), your readers will likely enjoy seeing where many of the locations within the story are located on a map.

If you doubt that your readers will be interested in the real locations, then you haven’t see the number of visitors to regularly visit Green Gables on Prince Edward Island (because of Anne of Green Gables), 221b Baker Street (the home of Sherlock Holmes), or Matamata, New Zealand. Don’t know where Matamata is? Few people did until Lord of the Rings was filmed there. Now fans of the book and movie travel to New Zealand to visit the Shire in person. If you haven’t seen it before, click here to view the tours.

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Fire Flames

Fire Tornadoes (Firenadoes or Fire Whirls)

Fire Tornadoes (Firenadoes or Fire Whirls)

As you may have guessed, one of the reasons I began writing The Elementers book series is because I love nature and spending time in it. While much of nature is beautiful and peaceful, other aspects of nature are powerful and terrifying. Despite their destructive impact, their massive power also makes them awe-inspiring.

A great example of the terrible power of nature is a fire tornado (also called a firenado or a fire whirl). If you’ve never heard of firenadoes, then you’re in for a treat. As the name suggests, they combine the fury and power of fire and tornadoes.

Below are links to some examples of fire tornadoes.

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kinetic-typography

Kinetic Typography

Kinetic Typography is a fancy way of saying moving text. It is also a fun way to create an interesting video on just about any subject.

Rather than try and explain kinetic typography in more detail, I think the best option is to show some good examples of kinetic typography. Click on the links below to see some examples.

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Best WordPress Website Hosting Providers

Best WordPress Website Hosting Providers

There are numerous companies that WordPress website hosting, but you don’t want to find out until after you’ve spent the time to install and built your WordPress website that your WordPress website hosting provider is a lemon.

Below is a list of factors to consider when deciding where to host your WordPress website.

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Online learning WordPress course

WordPress Online Courses and Tutorials

WordPress Online Courses and Tutorials

WordPress is very user-friendly. You don’t need an IT degree to build a WordPress website and you could figure it all out on your own. But why put yourself through the trouble? You want to be writing stories, not spending a bunch of time building your website. That is why I highly recommend finding a good online course to show you the ins and outs of building a WordPress site. Someone else already went through the hard work of learning how to best use WordPress. Let them share their hard-won wisdom with you.

As an author, you might be tempted to turn to a book for help, but I highly recommend using an online course instead of a book. Why? As authors, we strive to show, not tell. But even the best writer is not going to be able to show how to use software with words better than a good teacher can do so by showing with video.

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gift-contest

Giveaway and Contest Tools

Giveaway and Contest Tools

Don’t break the law. Let your characters do that.

Before you set up any contest, you need to understand the laws related to giveaways and contests. Thankfully, I found a great article explaining the details to help protect you from any legal problems. I recommend you read the article, “But Everyone Else is Doing It: Why There are So Many Illegal Social Media Contests” written by Kerry Gorgone. In the article, she explains the differences between contests, sweepstakes, and lotteries. The first two are good. That last one, lotteries, should be avoided (even though MANY people, including authors, do them regularly online).

Once you’ve read the article, you may still be a little confused. Don’t worry. Kerry wrote a couple more articles on the subject on her own blog. Click this link to read more about the legal issues related to online giveaways.

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blue envelope

Tools to Create Opt-In Forms and Landing Pages

Tools to Create Opt-In Forms and Landing Pages

A large, active email list is a very powerful tool for selling your books (or any product). By growing your email list and sharing content your subscribers want to consume, you can announce your new book on the date it is published and have substantial sales (and reviews) within the first week your book is published. You can repeat this with all your books if you grow and nurture your email list.

To grow your email list, you need the ability to collect your readers’ email addresses. You’ll do this by adding an opt-in form to your website and link it to your email marketing service (click here to see recommended email marketing services). For those unfamiliar with the term, an opt-in form is a simply a form visitors can fill out to join your email list. The most basic opt-in form with have a text box for them to enter their email address and a submit button.

Adding an opt-in form to your website is rarely enough to grow your email list with any speed. Why? Because your readers don’t want their inbox flooded with email. Therefore, you need to give them a reason to subscribe to your email list. I cover the topic of lead magnets in Story Marketing: How to Have Fun Marketing Your Fiction Book. But once you’ve created your lead magnet, you need to offer it to your audience to encourage them to join your email list. That is where landing pages come in.

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optin-form

Best Pop-Up Opt-In Tools

Best Pop-Up Opt-In Tools

As the name suggests, pop-ups are opt-in forms that appear to pop-up on top of the web page you’re currently viewing. You’ve probably been annoyed more than a few times by websites that keeping throwing these pop-ups over content you’re reading. You may have sworn you’d never do this to another human being. I felt that way, until I discovered there’s a smarter (and far less irritating) way to use pop-ups.

The reason that people use pop-ups on their websites is because they are very effective at increasing the number of people who opt into their email list. But is it really worth annoying a lot of your readers? I don’t think so. The good news is there’s now a third option. It doesn’t have to be irritating pop-ups or no pop-ups. Continue reading

page-builder

WordPress Page Builder Tools

WordPress Page Builder Tools

As an author, you want to be writing books, not code. To limit the time and frustration spent creating web pages, I highly recommend using a page builder tool to create your WordPress pages.

Page builder tools, like Visual Composer, provide you with easy drag and drop interfaces to create pages. Rather than write the html code to create columns, borders, buttons, countdown timers, progress bars, opt-in form, and more, you select one of those objects within the page builder software, customize the colors, sizes, and so on, and click a button to add it to your page. They allow you to rearrange on the web page the elements you’ve created. In addition, if you create a page, or a group of elements, that look great and you want to re-use part of them on other pages, you can save elements or full pages as templates and then re-use and modify them for other pages saving you even more time.

Below are four good page builder tools. You receive Cornerstone and Fusion Builder free when you by the WordPress theme they come packaged within.

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