A Blogger’s Little Toolbook™ — First Content Resources Book in New Series


I’ve just published the first book in planned series of content resources books.  It’s titled  A Blogger’s Little Toolbook™: Content Boxes for WP Posts. You can get it at https://www.amazon.com/Bloggers-Little-Toolbook-Content-Boxes/dp/198111663X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1511824305&sr=1-1&keywords=blogger%27s+little+toolbook

This particular series, A Blogger’s Little Toolbook™, is obviously for bloggers.  The first volume offers reusable cut and paste content box templates.  I plan to do more books in this series, with a variety of content types.  And I plan to do more than one content resources book series.

But wait! What’s a content resources book?

A content resources book provides reusable content such as clip art, advertising swipe files, quotations, “how to say it” phrases and paragraphs, illustrations, layouts, music, story plots, non-fiction outlines, templates for both design and writing, and just about any other elements that you can imagine being useful in creating your own publications.

One good example of reusable artistic content is the Dover series of books.

The assets in a content resources book may be licensed for use as royalty-free with some
restrictions or may be free to use in any way you like, simply for the price of the book. Some content books may include instructions on how to use the content. Others may simply provide the content.

I’ve long planned to make content resources books.  Finally, I’ve got one done.  It’s much shorter than I planned originally.  I was going to make a greater number of templates available as an add-on to a blog post I made.

You see, as a kind of proof of concept, not long ago I made a long blog post of 26 templates for creating content boxes in individual WP posts.  If you’ve got the right theme or plugin, you can do this easily with WP pages, but it’s really difficult with just one post.  Unless you can code it yourself.  And have the right WP editor.

So, I created pre-coded templates for such content boxes as well as simple instructions on how to use them.  It was just cut and paste.  The post I made was entirely written in the code.  To prove that it worked.  None of the images of content boxes were actually images. They were just code.  All the user had to do was cut the code written on the post and paste it into a WP editor.

I’ve removed the post because I’ve used it to create a book.  And a free pdf version to go with it that makes it possible to cut and paste without having to scan the book or type it in.  I have colleagues who suggested that since it’s difficult to get pre-coded content boxes (except included in a theme) for love or money, I should stop messing around and start publishing with the ones I already had.  I know they’re right.  The reason I wrote my own is that I couldn’t just buy some already made.  So I followed the advice.

But even better than getting out a book, I now have at least a year’s worth of blog ideas about the trials and tribulations of self-publishing on CreateSpace.  That’s in addition to the experiences I’ve had publishing on Kindle. (Just kidding. I learned a lot and had some fun.)

A few words on formatting posts.

Quick Update

I’ve spent some time in developing some blogging resources for you mini- and micro-entrepreneurs out there who do your own WordPress blogs.

Many of us have discovered how difficult it can be to find and adapt themes to our own styles of presentation.  Themes and theme-builders can get expensive.  Plug-ins for making the themes do what we want add up the $$ too.  And most folks don’t have time to learn how to use complex themes or plug-ins, not to mention learning how to modify WP manually.

Like many others, I’ve found it difficult to get WP Post Formats (like aside posts, status posts, gallery posts, etc.) to work with my favorite themes.  And I really want some variety in the way my posts look.  So, what I’m doing now — again, as I used to do — is simply adding html to my new posts to create the looks I want.

You’ll notice that this post is styled a bit differently than the ones below. It’s an example of a subtle change that can create more visual interest and attention.

In the next few days, I’ll be showing you examples of ways to present your content differently and add variety to your post styles with a quick and simple code.

You’ll get both the demo of the style and the code for it from the article.

(Also, in other posts, I’m still going to be expanding the elements of performance and productivity that I promised in yesterday’s post.)

Source For Free Images That Will Knock Your Socks Off

maldivespavilliononpierI’ve mentioned Unsplash.com before as a site to get copyright-free stock photos.  Indeed, there are several sites that have sprung up over the last couple of years that provide excellent photography with either no copyright restriction or with very generous royalty-free licenses.

But today, I want to talk just about Unsplash.com.  It has become a repository for spectacular landscapes.  That’s not its mission.  It serves up all kinds of subjects.  However, more landscapes appear to be submitted than other kinds of photos.

This is a great opportunity in so many ways.

Think about it this way: look at the photo at the top of this post.  What associations does it bring up for you?

When I first saw it, I thought I could smell the wood of the pier and the salty sea water under it.  I could almost hear a gull cry.  I thought how nice it would be to take a book and a folding chair down to that pavilion at the end of the pier and just sit, read and enjoy the silence, solitude and sea breeze.

Pictures like this are wonderful for inspirational posters.  Or inclusion in inspirational videos (maybe even with the sound of a gull dubbed in.)  They’re great in greeting cards and postcards. They are valuable to use as conceptual art for stimulating ideas for posts and articles of all sorts. They make fine backgrounds for compositing to create illustrations for books and ebooks.

There is no end to their uses.  They are a treasure trove for putting together products quickly.  Or making a point that you can’t fully express with just text.

Their greatest value, however, is in the fact that they make you feel something.  They speak to the emotions of your readers or viewers.

Nature photography — especially landscape– and art actually has been shown in scientific research to quickly and effectively reduce stress and lift spirits.

Because of the emotional connection, folks who read your articles and books may be more engaged and more likely to write comments or reviews.  People who view your nature/landscape themed videos may be more attracted to see more of your channel.  The products you make from photos that are excellent in and of themselves will probably sell better.  Especially if you are good at enhancing them and fitting them to the right products.

As I said, free public domain photos that are so good are a real opportunity.  What are you waiting for?

Take it.  Create something even more wonderful than the photos per se.