Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Packt Removes Password Protection on ebooks

Packt Publishing (, who publishes two of my books and many, many others for beginning and advanced tech readers, has removed password protection from the ebooks it sells.

What does this mean for you the reader? You can now easily load Packt ebooks onto any reading device. If you already have purchased ebooks from Packt in the past, visit their website and login. You will be able to download fresh copies of your ebooks on your MyAccount page.

As an additional freebie, Building Websites with Plone by Cameron Cooper is currently available as a free downloadable ebook.

I'm an avid ebook user myself - I see this as a great win for readers and authors alike. Questions? Email me or visit for details.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Listen to the Blogger Book Promo

I'm in the process of recording an audiobook version of Blogger: Beyond The Basics. You can listen to the free promo about the book now on this post. Once I've finished editing, you can listen to chapters for free at There are a lot of great fiction and non-fiction books available there. My goal is to have a new episode up every week. As always, you can purchase an e-book or print copy of Blogger: Beyond The Basics from

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top 5 Tools for Bloggers

Writer and podcaster Mur Lafferty recently posted a vidcast about essential tools for writers. Bloggers write but are their needs the same? Below are my top 5 pics for tools bloggers need to get the job done. Let me know if you agree or have a different set of tools that top your list.

  1. Computer or mobile phone with internet access - bloggers need access to a computer or smartphone to use for creating notes and posting text, video, or audio.
  2. Stickies, notecards, or napkins to scribble down sudden ideas for those times you forget to bring along your phone/camera/web enabled device
  3. Social Networking accounts - Technorati, Twitter, Squidoo, Facebook - whatever your social tools of choice are, you'll need them to make new friends, find inspiration, and share what you are up to
  4. USB/thumb drive or other portable storage device (Mur suggests using an iPod as well as a USB drive) to save all your choice posts - you are going to compile them into an ebook or other format someday, right?
  5. Statistics tools such as Feedburner and/or Google Analytics to measure the reach and performance of your blog
Are there other tools that are essential for bloggers? I'm assuming that the blogging platform and internet connection is a given - is there anything I overlooked?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Marketing your podcast episodes

Blogger is a great tool for posting podcast transcripts along with old fashioned text posts. Podcasts can be hosted many places, but a greater concern is building an audience. How can you distribute your podcast episodes so people can find them in the first place?

There are many places besides iTunes available to podcasters. First, look for a niche distribution site. The web is a big place and chances are there are sites featuring podcasts on your favorite podcast topic. A second option is to cast the net a bit wider and use a site that hosts podcasts on multiple topics. A favorite site of mine is Sites like this often require a creative commons license, so be sure to read the fine print. They also typically have a way for listeners to donate, which can help defray costs. Another advantage of sites such as Podiobooks is if you don't see your genre or topic category represented, you can be the first pioneer. Another one to try is Podcast Pickle where you can share podcasts and vidcasts.

Just like you would with iTunes or a home grown distribution service (i.e. your web host) having several episodes lined up and ready to go is good karma. We listeners like to know there is more to come when subscribing to an audio or video feed. Be careful who you sign up with and read the fine print. And most important of all - Have fun. You'll meet new people and get feedback on your work.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Setting up a Blogger Custom Domain

Setting up a custom domain for Blogger blogs is a frequent source of questions on Blogger Help. Chapter 10 of Blogger: Beyond the Basics from Packt Publishing covers the pros, cons, and tips on custom domains.

If you are looking for a step by step video on how to set up a custom domain for your Blogger blog, check out Purchasing and setting up a custom domain with Blogger on YouTube. The most important thing to remember is even after you purchase your domain, it takes time for the domain registration powers that be to publish your domain and for other servers on the Internet to recognize it.

Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blog it or Knol it?

Google recently announced the public launch of Knol, a single topic web site publishing and hosting tool. If you're familiar with Squidoo, then you instantly grasp knol. Be an authority on a specific topic and go in detail in a way it can be hard to do on a blog. You can also use it as a way to increase potential hits to your blog by linking your knols back to your blog.

So are there times you should use Knol without using Blogger at all? It's up to you, but if you want to do an article about a topic that has nothing to do with your regular blog, and don't want to create a new blog and maintain it, then Knol it.

Have a topic you posted on Blogger and want to dive deeper into the subject? Create a content rich article on Knol and link to your topic from Blogger.

Other potential uses for Knol:

  • Post podcast/videocast show notes for a set theme
  • List references for topics you've researched
  • Host an interest group about a topic on Knol (book club, community group, etc)
  • Promote your business with an article that provides free information
  • Write a FAQ

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cash from email trash

Fred Black over at had a great post today about the troubles bloggers who use advertising face when trying to balance product reviews, having a life, and bringing in more advertising revenue for their blogs. This got me thinking about ways that any blogger on any platform can build relationships with potential advertisers and still get away from their email once in a while.

I can sum it up in five words: Auto responders are your friends. Most email platforms come with an autoresponder/vacation message service. And most of us have multiple emails. Create multiple emails and use them to field different inquiries and share information. Especially if you host your domain. It takes only a few minutes to set up email addresses for accepting product review inquiries, advertising inquiries, and general information requests. Each of these addresses can have an auto response text set up within their settings on the email platform. You can also add links to pages on your blog that explain the details of how you handle requests for product reviews, sales, advertising, etc.

Going into the nitty gritty details of how to do this is beyond the scope of this blog, since it is slightly different for each email program or client. You will usually find the auto responder in the settings of your email account. Set up auto responses and even filters if you prefer and soon you will have an easier time of managing your email responses and hopefully making more trips to the bank from all the new advertisers you have connected with.