karen banes

Review of ‘The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Outsourcing’

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If you’re an indie author, or are otherwise engaged in a solo entrepreneurial activity, you might think growing your business (or selling more books) means that you have to cram in more hours of work and learn a whole suite of new skills. Not so. With a minimum outlay of money you can do what many big businesses do; you can outsource the things you’re not good at and spend more time doing the things you do well.

Karen Banes’ The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Outsourcing is a brief tutorial that will help you in the task of finding skilled people to do things for you, leaving you more time to spend on doing the things you love doing. Written in plain words and crammed full of links to resources ranging from dirt cheap to expensive, and with a clear-cut guide to setting your solo business up to take the best advantage of the many resources available, this is a handy reference book for anyone who desires to grow their solo business.

Whether you’re just getting started, or you’ve been at it for a while, you’re sure to find a useful nugget or two of information in this book, so don’t delay; get it today and start taking advantage of all that it has to offer.

This one is a five star addition to your reference library!

Review of ‘The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Networking’

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If you’re a solo entrepreneur; writer, photographer, or online marketer, The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Networking  by Karen Banes is a worthwhile read. In order to get your creative output in front of customers, the one thing you need to do, and do well, is network. This short guide is an overview of online and offline networking—not just selling, which is a different kettle of fish—that will jumpstart your efforts. Written in plain, easy to understand language, complete with action lists at the end of each chapter, this book doesn’t get into the how and why of specific platforms; it offers instead, a general overview of how to develop your unique networking campaign. It also offers a list of ‘don’ts’ to keep you from becoming just another annoying presence hawking your works.

If you want to create value in your presence, this guide is a good start on that journey. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Tweeting for a Reason’

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If you’re a writer, you want people to read your work. That requires marketing – the bane of most creative types. Social media, in today’s connected age, is a great way to market your work, and of the social media platforms, the one that is most often overlooked is Twitter. If you’re new to Twitter, it seems daunting – starting with the 140 character limit on tweets.

Thanks to author Karen Barnes, though, there is now a handy tutorial – a sort of ‘Twitter for Dummies’ – that will very smoothly guide you through the process from setting up a Twitter account, to understanding things like #hashtags and @mentions, to effective Twitter strategies. Tweeting for a Reason: How (and Why) to use Twitter to Market Your Business. A useful book for anyone who wants to communicate short messages, or links to longer messages, to a massive audience – and being in e-Book format, it’s appropriate. Barnes knows her way around the Twitterverse, and is a good tour guide. My only complaint about the book, which I received free in exchange for a review, is that the opening chapter is a bit too long. Much of what is in that chapter could have been an opening paragraph of the next chapter. But, that just might be my bias from spending too much time reading truncated Internet messages – yes, and Twitter too.

Would that we could all write books that there would be only one picayune complaint about. Kudos to Banes for a wonderfully useful book.

Review of ‘Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs’

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Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs by Karen Banes is a handy book, especially for someone who is just getting started in blogging or writing for publication. A bit misleading, in that some of her so-called ‘free’ tools actually do have a price tag attached, it is nonetheless a good document to have on your computer for occasional reference.

I received a free copy of Free Tools for review. Having read tons of how-to books for writers, I was prepared to be underwhelmed, but Banes delivered adequately. A word of caution: many of the tools are downloads which can, if you go overboard with them, quickly clog up your computer, slowing it to a snail’s pace.

If, though, you want some hints to help you get off to a good start in the blogosphere or the writing game, this is a good place to start.

Review of ‘The Ten Commandments for the Thriving Writer’

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Oh my God, I thought, as I clicked open page one of The Ten Commandments for The Thriving Writer, which I received free in exchange for an unbiased review, another book exposing all the secrets to becoming a millionaire as a freelance writer! I started reading, expecting to be underwhelmed – and received a pleasant surprise. Karen Banes, a freelance writer, blogger, and editor, actually offered up some practical advice for anyone who is into, as her subtitle says, “enjoying and embracing the freelance writing life.”

Okay, I’ll be honest, Banes’ book isn’t rocket science, and it’s not the Genie’s Lamp that if you rub will grant your wish for instant fame and riches. It is, though, a fairly well-written book by someone who has had a measure of success at freelancing, outlining some fairly basic principles on how to do it and be fairly successful yourself.

I’m always a but put off by the disclaimers put in books – I have them in two of my own that were put out by a publisher who I suppose worries about potential litigation. The Ten Commandments has a rather lengthy disclaimer up front, one section which I found intriguing – ‘ . . . views not to be taken as expert instructions or commands.’ I’m being a bit of a nitpicker here, but the book does contain instructions, and the title says they are ‘commandments.’ So, that part of the disclaimer at least should probably have been left out. There’s nothing wrong with someone who has mastered a craft listing instructions on doing it, as long as they let you know this is how they did it, and it might not work for you. Okay, okay, like I said – I can pick nits.

If this is the only problem with the book; and, it’s the only one I could find; it still leaves a pretty good read for the beginner who’d like even a sketchy roadmap into the terra incognito of the world of freelancing.