Fabulous Skincare Tips

Weekly Advice from Everyday ExpertsWhat’s the difference between dull and radient skin? Skincare! HubPages is filled with helpful guides on skin maintenance, and we want to share them with you.  That’s why in this episode of Weekly Advice from Everyday Experts, Michelle Padro and I discuss two of the most popular skincare Hubs on the site.

The first is 4 Steps To Beautiful Skin – How To Get The Best Body Skin Ever by moonbun, which shares some great foundational skincare practices. The second is Best Essential Oils For Skin Treatments by Om Paramapoonya, which includes not only tips on using and choosing essential oils, but also recipes for making lovely toners and remedies.

We hope this podcast helps you take better care of your skin. We also hope that you send feedback and suggestions for future podcasts our way– we’re always looking for new Hubs to discuss in the podcast. 😀

On Writing Well: How to Create Brand Awareness as a Writer

As a writer, it’s becoming more and more important to market yourself to your readers, to create a brand perception by which you will be recognized so that your readers are able to seek out your writing. Wonderful as it sounds, very few writers successfully manage to create enough awareness of themselves, let alone create a positive brand perception, so that they are invited to reading events or to submit work for journals.

Yet it is not very difficult to create brand awareness, and many of the tools – regular writing, personal style, social media marketing – are easily available to all writers, regardless of how long they have been crafting their work.

Keep a constant stream of writing

As a writer hoping to create a specific brand awareness of your writing and of yourself as a writer, you must set up a regular stream of writing. You have seen examples of this, have you not? A writer who publishes a book every summer as opposed to a writer who last published seven years ago, and has not been heard from since, not even within an essay or a short story? Of the two, who is it that you have a stronger recollection of?

Readings and events

As a writer, you are both the words on the page, and also the creator of the work. Writers who stick the longest in the memory are those with whom the reader has had some positive interaction. Hubber Thooghun agrees, “The best exposure I have ever received for my personal writing (including projects and job offers — no lie!) came from public readings and guest writing in literary journals. The latter was immensely rewarding. I’m quite a good orator so the fact that I “acted” my work out made it appear better than it probably was.” As a writer, most of us want to hide behind the page, and don’t want to have the public interaction that Thooghun describes. But it does work magic for creating brand awareness. If you are so inclined, you could also record your reading, and post it on YouTube or even create a series of podcasts.

Social Media

Social media has made it a lot easier for writers to get their name out there. Posting your writing on Facebook and tweeting your work to your friends and followers is a great way to publicize what you’ve been working on. It also creates the potential of going viral. Hubber laral recommends this technique as well – laral says, “Create a Facebook page and finally send your work for reviews to relevant magazines, newspapers and editors.” I agree!

Specific voice

This point has come up before in my previous post. The more recognizable and unique your voice is, the closer you are to having a brand perception working for you. Whether you write exactly as you speak, or have a humorous or ironic style of writing, you’d be best served to stick to it within all your writing.

Resources for Online Writers

Online Writing InsiderThe key to successful development as an online writer involves knowing how to look for answers when you’re stuck.

In this episode of the Online Writing Insider (Resources for Online Writers), Robin Edmondson and Yours, Truly discuss the importance of asking lots of questions when writing online, and also share some excellent online writing resources assembled by ChristinS in an amazing list of 101 Free Tools Every Freelance Writer, Web Designer, and Graphic Artist Needs.

Definitely have a look at ChristinaS’ Hub – it is an invaluable resource!  We also highly recommend stopping by Best Websites for Downloading Royalty Free, High Resolution Images for Online Writing, a great Hub by sriparna reviewing excellent resources for online authors to use in articles where their own original photos and images are insufficient.

If you want even more helpful online guides and resources, especially those pertaining to the HubPages realm, we highly recommend stopping by the HubPages Learning Center.  Also, if you have an online writing issue you’d like to hear discussed in a future podcast, let us know about it!

Funny Business: The Rodent

This week’s Fascinating Fiction podcast is by a new Hubber. In fact, Funny Business: The Rodent, a humorous story about the Acme Newsletter (and survival!), is only mollymeadows‘ third Hub.

I hope you enjoy the recorded version of the story, and I encourage you check out mollymeadows‘ other fun Hubs, too.  It is quite exciting to discover new writers on HubPages.

Is there a fabulous fictional Hub on HubPages that you think would be great as one of our Fascinating Fiction podcasts? Or are you interested in volunteering your fabulous voice for a reading (of your work, or that of another Hubber)?  Send us an email.  We’d love to hear from you. 😀

Climbing Mount Fuji

Weekly Advice from Everyday ExpertsDo you fancy yourself to be quite the explorer? If so, you might be interested in what Sir Cumference has to say about climbing Mount Fuji.  In Climbing Fuji-San – A Quick Guide, Sir Cumference shares background on the mountain as well as a wealth of tips on climbing this famous volcano in style.

If you’re so busy exploring and summiting famous mountains that you cannot read the full Hub (which we highly recommend, not just for the gorgeous photos and excellent writing, but the useful tips and tables as well), do not despair.  Jason Menayan and I discuss Sir Cumference’s major points in this week’s podcast!

We hope it inspires you to climb ev’ry mountain 😀

Have any suggestions for future Hubs to be discussed in Weekly Advice from Everyday Experts podcasts? Send it our way!

On Writing Well: An Interview with Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords

As a part of our On Writing Well series we reached out to Mark Coker, the CEO and founder of Smashwords, an eBook publishing company. As so many of our Hubbers have literary ambitions and given the growing success of eBooks, I believe that Mark’s advice on writing well will be very valuable to our community.  His advice on editing, writing, and publishing are very accurate and wise. Thanks Mark for sharing your story with HubPages’ writers!

1. What would the best advice you’d offer writers about the writing process?
Writing is the easy part.  Editing and revision is the difficult part, because that’s where masterpieces are made.  Writers should strive for masterpiece, in the sense that you must honor the reader with a great story.  When my wife and I wrote our novel, Boob Tube, the first draft was nearly 200,000 words.  It took us three years and nearly a dozen major revisions to trim it down to its current svelte 86,000 words.  Each revision was grueling and painful, but the new draft that emerged each time was better.

2. How important is it for a writer to have community support?
Without community, writers are writing in a vacuum.  It’s more important than ever for writers to work together to share knowledge and experience.  Writing is a craft and a skill you will hone your entire lifetime.  Surround yourself with writers greater than yourself.  Be a sponge and learn from them, and then return the favor by sharing your knowledge with your fellow writers.  When writers work to contribute to their fellow writers’ success, new doors of opportunity open for everyone.

3. Tell us about Smashwords and why you started it.
Smashwords is probably the largest eBook publishing and distribution platform for indie authors.  In the last three years, we’ve helped over 22,000 authors from around the world publish and distribute over 55,000 eBooks.  Most of the biggest names in indie publishing are Smashwords authors.

The idea for Smashwords grew out of my experience as an author.  My wife and I were fortunate enough to have representation by one of New York’s most respected literary agencies, yet after two years they were unable to sell our book to a New York publisher.  Our book explores the wild and wacky world of daytime television soap operas (my wife is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine).  Publishers questioned whether there was a large enough commercial market for a book targeting soap opera fans.  Previous soap opera-themed novels had fared poorly.  They all rejected us.

As you might imagine, it was a disappointing experience.  My wife and I had put our lives on hold to spend four years on this novel. We pour our hearts and souls into it. Our beta readers loved it.  Yet publishers had the power to deny us a chance to reach readers.

After much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that the business of New York book publishing was broken.  Publishers are unable to take a risk on every author.  They say no to most authors.  They reject great authors.  They look at what sold well yesterday then acquire imitation titles today that they’ll then publish 12-18 months from tomorrow.  It’s a backward looking business that stifles creativity and limits reader choice.

With Smashwords, I saw an opportunity to create an online publishing platform that would allow any author, anywhere in the world, to professionally publish an eBook. We launched the business in 2008, and then in the following year we expanded into distribution.  We now distribute our books to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and several others.

5. What is your favorite thing about HubPages?
I like the democratic aspect of HubPages.  HubPages is doing for web content what Smashwords is doing for eBooks.  You’re providing a free publishing platform that helps connect writers with readers.  The best writers who honor their readers with words worth reading will float to the top, attract more readers and earn more income.  I see services such as HubPages and Smashwords as mutually complementary tools to help writers build readership and grow their platforms.

[Thanks, Mark Coker!]

Tips on Writing Your Bio

The Online Writing InsiderWith our recent shift to subdomains, we are making it easier for for you to establish a personal brand on HubPages.  This makes your profile and the way you present yourself as a Hubber, writer, and online citizen all the more important!

Your bio, both on HubPages and any other site, plays a very important role in telling the world who you are.  Does your current bio do the trick?

Listen in to this week’s Online Writing Insider podcast (Tips on Writing Your Bio) to hear tips from Jason Menayan and myself on maximizing your bios everywhere online.  Perhaps this will be your first step in consciously constructing a controlled, professional, online identity!

Are there other online writing issues that you’d like to hear discussed in this podcast? Tell us about them!

Come and Get Your Subdomain!

As many Hubbers knew, a Google search algorithm update which rolled out this spring (dubbed the Panda update) hurt just about everyone’s traffic. The problem was that the poor quality of some Hubs on the site hurt everyone’s reputation.  About a month ago, Paul posted a blog post and forum post recapping our response to the Google Panda algorithm update (which included raising site standards) and announcing our test of moving Hubber accounts to subdomains (which should allow each author to be judged by Google separately).

To test the success of moving accounts to subdomains, we ported over several accounts over with the expectation of some traffic improvement based on an earlier experiment, but with the understanding that there was some risk involved. We have concluded the test, and after 2 weeks of observing Google’s response, we saw a dramatic recovery among many accounts, validating the decision to move each Hubber’s account under his/her own subdomain. We expect that, with the move, some accounts will recover traffic, while others won’t.

Based on these positive results, we have opened up the option to move Hubber accounts over to subdomains to the entire community.  Moving to your own subdomain will comprise 2 steps:
  1. Selecting your subdomain, and
  2. Activating the move.
These are two separate steps, and can be done together or separately.  If you would like to read through a more detailed walkthrough of the subdomain shift, visit the Learning Center guide.  If you’re ready to claim your subdomain, do so now

What will your subdomain be? In most cases, it will be your username, or your username without spaces, periods, underscores, or other characters that we’ve allowed for usernames but are not possible in subdomains. For example, the subdomain for the account Paul Edmondson is pauledmondson.hubpages.com. If the subdomain most similar to your username is not available, then we’ll present another option that is also similar, or allow you to suggest a few options based closely on your username.

The Your Subdomain page will be available for about a week or so, after which we will automatically assign you a subdomain based on your username. Please use the Tool before August 10, so you can be sure your subdomain is the one you want.

One bonus benefit of this subdomain shift is that your username gets much more visibility on your Hubs, as it will appear in each Hub URL.  This means that in addition to allowing you to build an online reputation that is unique to your Hubs alone (and hopefully get more traffic), your subdomain allows you to turn your profile on HubPages into something that will more adequately showcase your personal brand.

We hope you are happy with the change and see a healthy recovery in your traffic if your account was adversely affected by the Panda update.


Coming This Week: HubPages iPhone App Update

The HubPages iPhone AppThis week, a new version of our iPhone app will available for download from the iTunes store.

If you don’t already have our nifty (and free) iPhone app, now is the time to nab it!  It is a great way to keep track of comments, fanmail, questions, forum posts, hubtivity, and statistics while on the go.  It also makes it incredibly easy to upload photos directly from your phone to your HubPages account.

The latest version of the app has expanded following notifications, so it’s easier than ever to be the first to know when there is a new development concerning a forum, question, or Hub you’re following.  The app update also offers faster image uploading and some minor bug fixes, as well as quicker access to your HubPages earnings stats.

What’s more, the latest version makes it very easy to follow a question, Hub, or topic right from the Feed.

Edward Zhang has been working hard on this new release for weeks as HubPages staff members hounded him with special requests, bug reports, and silly questions, so props to him not only for putting together this update and for staying sane!

We hope you have fun with the app! 😀

Colors of the Mind

Today’s Fascinating Fiction podcast is read by the author.  This is always a fun opportunity, since we rarely get to hear HubPages authors read their work in their own voices!

In this podcast, Morten Rand (Fiction Factory on HubPages) reads Colors of the Mind, a story exploring moods, colors, and gatherings in which people display their moods by wearing certain colors.

Is there a great short story on HubPages that you’d love to hear read?  Tell us about it!  We’d also love to hear from you if you’re interested in contributing your voice to the podcast- either by reading your own short story or that of another Hubber.   HubPages is filled with amazing fiction- let’s share it!