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Category Archives: Social Media

My Favorite Hugs and Chocolate Posts

Sometimes, a hug is all what we need – Jesslee Cuizon

What a good year it’s been over here! I though that the best way for me to end off things would be to share a few of the post by the wonderful ladies I share this blog with. If any of the links go to places they shouldn’t, please let me know.

It’s been such a pleasure getting to know all of you this year. I’m giving all of you big virtual bear hugs. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring us.

It’s been an honor, ladies and gentlemen.

Jamie Raintree

My Romance With Writing

Who Cares About Writers?

Instruction Manual for a Full-Time Writer

Why Character Archetypes Aren’t Just About Commercialism

Why I Heart Scrivener for Outlining

How to NaNoWriMo During Thanksgiving

Tonia Marie Houston

Bring Your Shovel

St. Patrick and the Writer’s Trinity

Gift Ideas for the Writer in Your Life

33 And It Feels Divine

Give Your Characters Quirk

Synopsis Fundamentals

Heather L Reid

Learn to Love Writing Queries

Dream Big and Never Give Up: How I Landed a 2 Book Publishing Deal

The Third Perspective: Why I Love Third Person Narrative

The First Editorial Letter: Let the Revisions Begin… Again

Riding the Revision Coaster: Completing My 30 Day Deadline

Rebecca Fields

What If…

Luck of the Irish?

The Magic of Fairy Tales

A World of Ideas

Pardon Me, Social Media

Read A (Banned) Book

Courtney Koschel

Filtering Filter Words in Your Writing

Questions to ask When Hiring an Editor

I Suck Syndrome: Recognize it and Beat it

Giving and Getting the Most Out of Critiques

Common Comma Issues

Manuscript Formatting

Jani Grey

Support from the obvious places

Need a little motivation or inspiration? I have some of that for you

Personal Perspective: Why I write 1st person POV

Let me tell you why you’re a winner

The Small Things

Why the subject of your blog post is so very important

Guest Posts

Visualize Your Way to Success: Guest Post by Vaughn Roycroft

DIY Editing and Proofreading Part 1 with Karen S. Elliot

Editing, Proofreading, and a Contest with Karen S. Elliot

Pants on Fire: Guest Post by Laura Long

Guest Post by Brian Taylor: Take a Walk… On a Tightrope: One Writer’s Journey

I’ll see you next year. Have a happy and safe new year!

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Why THE SUBJECT of your blog post IS SO VERY IMPORTANT

I’m throwing another opinion post your way. Because I can. https://i1.wp.com/mediaserver.pulse2.com/uploads/2011/10/greader-logo.jpg

When I get home after work, I make myself something to drink, and sit down to do/check my social media things for the night. It’s part of how I unwind, de-stress, and also get ready for the writing things I’ll do a little later.

My Google Reader is part of this ritual, and an extremely busy place. I follow an insane amount of blogs for various reasons, each of them providing me with something different.  Most of them have to do with the writing/publishing world, and a few others are for fun and inspiration.

Which brings me to the subject of subjects. My reader is full of awesome post. On good days I might have well over 75 unread posts, but there just isn’t time to read all of them. So I scan the subjects/headings and read the ones that tell me exactly what the post is about, if it’s something I’m interested in.

I’ve got my reader open at the moment. Right now I’ve got a total of 27 unread posts and it’s only 10:30. There’s no way I can read all of them, but I will scan the subjects.

Let me give you a few examples…

In my agents folder there’s a post about word count, I’m definitely going to read it. Another one I’ll definitely be reading is Why you should pitch a single book. Both these posts tell me exactly what I’ll be reading. If the subjects had been something like Words and Numbers and Selling Single Books, I wouldn’t even have opened the posts.

My author folder has 5 unread posts, but there’s nothing I want to read based on the subjects alone. And the thing is, I might have missed something wonderful and informative. If the subject doesn’t convey what the post is about, I’m probably not going to read for the simple reason that I just don’t have the time. You have to make me want to read it. Throwing out fancy, thought-provoking titles don’t always work. If your goal is to get readers and comments, get to the point.

In my writing/publishing folder I just found a post titled Alternative Meanings for Names of Senses. YES! The people at Daily Writing Tips ALWAYS get right to the point with their post subjects, and I appreciate it. I even stopped working on this post to read it. Job well done.

See what I’m getting at? Subjects are important. If you want me to read what you’ve written, make sure your subject tells me exactly what you’re blogging about.

One other thing. If your post shows up in my reader with only the first paragraph or two, and I have to go to your blog to read the rest, I’m not going to read it. Of course there are exceptions, but those are few and far between. Yes, it suck, but so it goes.

Time. It’s all about time.

This is just something to think about the next time you type up a post for you blog. If you don’t mind people maybe skipping what you’ve blogged about, go ahead and title your post whatever you like.

Did this post come across as ranty? I hope not. I just really want the best for you and your blog words.

A question for anybody who read the far: Would any of you be interested in a very basic Google Reader for the Writer tutorial? A few weeks ago I chatted with somebody on twitter and she said she had no idea how to use Google Reader. I can’t even comprehend this. How does she keep track of what’s happening in the blogging world if not for using a reader? I’d be lost and will feel uninformed without mine. So, a tutorial. Yes? No?

 

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Hunting for Writing Drive

Yey for short posts!

NaNoWriMo aside, sometimes I think November is the longest month ever. I’m tired. Are you tired? I thought so. It’s been an exceptionally long year, and I can’t wait for my vacation to start in *checks calendar* 29 days and counting.

When I get tired, especially at this time of the year, I lose a bit of what I like to call my ‘writing drive’. As much as I absolutely adore writing, it feels just that bit more painful in November, like I’m truly bleeding onto the page. Every. Single. Word.

The need to go home, fall onto my bed, and stare at the ceiling for a good hour and just skip the day’s writing, is especially prominent in what’s come to be known at work as ‘hell hour’. It’s that hour before I go home, and my motivation to do anything is less than 0. Or rather, my motivation is hiding in a pitch black drainpipe somewhere, and the only way to get it back is to stick my hand in there with the hope that nothing tries to eat me.

We all know one of the true signs of being a writer is to write even when you don’t feel like it. Having a muse is all well and good, but once you have deadlines you can’t miss, your muse isn’t going to do anything for you. He/she might even laugh a bit as you struggle to get those words out, but out they have to go.

So in an effort to get rid of the day’s reluctance to write, I do a few things that scrape together all the motivation scattered around me.

  • Half an hour before my workday is done, I stop working. Maybe stop is too direct. I pretend to work. This is something that will definitely not work for everybody, but for those who can, try it out.
  • You’ll be surprised how invigorating/recharging a silly conversation can be. I had one yesterday about alligators and yo mama jokes. After that I managed a solid 1k +. Twitter is great for this.
  • For those of you driving to and from work, I want to seriously suggest maybe skipping the radio station you listen to, and instead listen to your WIPs playlist or music that chills you out/inspires/motivates you. I do this every afternoon, and by the time I get home, I’m almost ready to get things one. If you don’t drive or use public transport, maybe take a half an hour or so and listen to something that works for you before you start writing.
  • Don’t underestimate procrastination. Let your mind wander, you might be surprised by what you pick up along the way. Tumblr is a great place for that. Pinterest and DeviantArt too.

Four small things when you’ve lost some of your writing drive. It’s been such a quiet week, and now that we’re entering the third week of NaNo, we need all the drive we can get.

Check in, won’t you? How’ve you all been doing? How has November been treating you?

 
7 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Inspiration, Just For Fun, NaNoWriMo, Social Media

 

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What’s So Good About Goodreads Anyway? Part 1: Using Goodreads as a Reader

I don’t know about you, but most of my Twitter, Facebook, and other social media connections revolve around other writers. I’m sure I’m not alone. 99% of the friend requests I get come from other writers. We share a common passion and that’s what brings us together. I LOVE my writer friends. We challenge each other, support one another, and keep each other sane. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They are each integral to getting through rewrite hell and on the road to publication. But what do you do when the book is finished? Promoting to the same circle that helped you on your journey is futile. As much as they might love you and your book, other writers are not your primary audience. It’s time to connect with readers. REAL readers.

‘But writers ARE readers,’ you cry. Yes, we are, but we’re also busy getting our own books out there, being critique partners, bloggers, publicists, editors, social media guru’s, ect. Let’s be honest. How many of us have as much time to read for pleasure as we used to? I know I don’t. I still read every night, but instead of a book a week, I’m now lucky if I get through a book a month. I study books, looking for what’s working, what’s not. Books have unconsciously become more of a learning tool instead of something that relaxes me. These days, a book has to be exceptional to make me forget I’m a writer. I am no longer an average reader and average readers are the ones that will want to read your books.

So how do I find my audience? The good news is it’s easy to connect with average readers. Most of you have heard of it and I know a lot of you already have accounts, but are you using Goodreads to its full potential? In my opinion, you should all but forget Twitter and Facebook in your search for an audience. If you want to connect with real readers, you need to go to them, and let me tell you, the real readers are on Goodreads.

Now, before you start preparing your marketing blitz, stop. I said Goodreads is where you go to CONNECT with readers. It is not where you go to sell your book. It’s not a spamfest or a place to drop your book title or cover in every conversation. It is true social media built around a common love of reading. To make Goodreads work for you, you have to be prepared to participate in conversation. If you love books, this shouldn’t be hard.  On Goodreads, you should always be a reader first and a writer second. And you know what, it’s so much fun!

What’s so great about GR?

1)      It’s an amazing research tool. Seriously, this is the best place to go to find out what readers in your genre are reading, what they like, what they don’t, and why.

2)      Helps you keep the pulse of what’s going on in the market. Forget what industry professionals say, it’s all about readers. They drive the market. Why wouldn’t you want to find out what they’re saying? Use GR to find what real readers think about current books.

3)      It’s fun and brings the joy of reading back. Nobody cares about market trends, editing, agents, or the publishing industry. Readers care about stories and their love of the written word and it’s refreshing to stop being a writer for a while and to be a reader again.

4)      Groups, games, finding new authors and books, making new friends.

Tips for adding books:

1)      You can add books you’ve read by either typing the name of the book or the author in the search bar, or you can download the GR app for your smartphone. This allows you to scan the barcode on all the books on your real bookshelf and it will automatically add it to your GR shelf. How cool is that?

2)       As you add books, GR will give you the option to rate and review each book. I didn’t have time to write reviews for every book, but rating is easy and only takes seconds. You can also add the dates you started and finished each book. I didn’t bother with this for my older books, but started using this feature for everything I read going forward. It’s a great way to keep track of what I’ve read and when I’ve read it.

3)      You can also re-order the books on your virtual shelf anyway you like. Do you like to keep your genres separate? You can add shelves and title them anything you wish.

4)      Once you’ve added books you’ve already read, you can start adding books you want to read. This is a great feature to keep track of books you’re interested in. Again, type the title or author into the search list and add to you ‘to read’ shelf.

Tips on adding friends:

1)      Obviously you want to start with people you already know, but don’t limit yourself.

2)      Look at your friend’s lists. You’ll be able to compare books with each person on their list. If you see someone who reads a lot of the same books as you do, send them a friends request.

3)      Mention that you noticed they like George RR Martin or that you have a lot of books in common. This helps make the connection more personal.

4)      Add people that you see participating in the same conversations as you do.

Tips on joining groups:

1)      Join some groups that read in the genres you’re interested in.

2)      Click the ‘groups’ link and type in your interest into the search bar.

3)      Once you found a group that looks good to you, join it. Don’t be shy. Introduce yourself and start adding to the conversation. Some groups will have a special folder for authors to add their book titles, but they don’t tolerate spam in any other discussions.

4)      Games. This is a quick and fun way to get to know others. Most groups have a few games they play. You’ll see them listed as a discussion. Be sure to read the rules before you play. J

5)      Group reads are popular. Most groups I’m a part of will choose a book to read for the month. You don’t have to participate, but it’s another great way to connect with readers.

Tips for joining conversations:

1)      GR will display ongoing conversations about books you’ve added to your bookshelf on the left hand side of your homepage. If a conversation looks interesting, join it. This is another great way to start making friends and adding to your friends list.

I know I’ve focused on how to use Goodreads from a reader’s perspective, but I feel that’s the first step to connecting with your audience. As an author, Goodreads has some amazing tools and I’ll be talking about the GR author platform, using Listopia to gain exposure, creating events, linking your blog, and more. Join me for part 2:Using Goodreads as an Author on the 7th of November.

Do you use Goodreads? I would love to hear about your experiences.

 

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It Takes a Village

Back when storytelling first began, it took a community to write a tale. One person started it and told it to another, to groups over a fire. It got passed on to friends and family members, generation after generation. Each time the story met new ears, the telling got smoother. Each person augmented it with their own knowledge, improved it with their own experiences. And now, those timeless stories are the flawless fairytales and legends we know today. The ones that still speak to our hearts, even after all this time.

Today, it seems we’re pulling away from that connection and group mentality. We hide our writing lives from our families, we’re cutting out editors and publishers, and getting critiques is such a blow to the ego. We’re holding so tightly to the idea that somehow, the art of writing will be compromised if we allow others to give their input. We fear being “commercialized.”

When I first started writing, I hoarded it. I chicken-pecked it out on my parent’s computer, which I think ran Windows 97, and saved it on a Floppy Disk so they wouldn’t find it on the hard drive. I was terrified that if they found it, they would think I was silly, writing these unbelievable love stories. They’d point out everything wrong with them and I’d never want to write again. But it didn’t matter. They were just for me and my girlfriend to giggle about in class. Nothing more.

As I became an adult and began to write more in-depth stories, I wanted them to reach more people. But when I started to share them with others, their comments quickly taught me that my reality was not the same as others’ reality. My experiences and views were completely valid, but if I wanted more people than my best friend (who grew up in the same neighborhood I did) to relate, I had to open myself up to understanding other people’s realities and experiences and knowledge. I had to embrace the fact that writing a great story–one that would last through the generations–wasn’t just about me and my own thoughts.

I joked with my critique partners a couple of weeks ago that I would have to put their names on the cover of my novel next to mine, and while I doubt they or my future publisher would feel it necessary, I did mean it. They add more to my story than they will ever know. Every week we get together and tear our stories apart. Yes, willingly. I love nothing more than seeing them as deep into it as I am. I’m filled with such hope for my novel when they have conversations about my characters that don’t even include me, and then tell me how they think it should end. I have an outline but I always take their thoughts into account and, more often than not, I do make changes based on their suggestions. Not because I’m not an artist that values her own work, but because I’m an artist that values her own work…all ego aside.

As our culture becomes more isolated by the decade, I think it’s even more important to have a community for your story. Not just people cheering you one to get it written, but people who believe in your story, people who put pieces of themselves into it. I think that’s what makes stories whole. What creates a writer is the desire to change someone’s mind with our words. Maybe even change the world. How else can we do that if we don’t understand the struggles of the people we’re talking to, or let them have a say?

I won’t lie and say I don’t feel nervous every Wednesday night when I send my work to my critique partners. Who knows where it might lead? But come Saturday morning, after we’ve spent time hashing it out, talking about everything we know to be true, agreeing, disagreeing, laughing, falling in love with each other’s characters, hating each other’s characters, and scaring the poor people that work at Starbucks…that’s when I feel like my story has finally come to life.

Because my story is my baby. And everyone who loves it, and challenges it, and helps it grow, is my village. It takes all of them.

Photo by McKay Savage

 

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Pardon Me, Social Media

The theme this month is “Back to Basics” and I was having trouble thinking of something to write about it. Until I saw this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/15/pam-van-hylckama-vlieg-attack-agent-author_n_1886696.html

The article is about a literary agent who was attacked by an author after she rejected his manuscript. How did this author know where the agent would be? The agent used a social media site called Foursquare. which enables a person to check-in at different locations and is broadcast to the person’s followers.

I’ve wanted to write about social media usage for a while now. It seems to be one of the hottest building blocks in an author’s online presence. I’ve been on Facebook for three or four years now. It started off with just personal friends. Then I found Holly Black and Cassandra Clare on there. I held my breath and sent them a friend request. When they accepted, I clapped like an idiot and went on the hunt for more of my favorite authors, then YA authors in general, followed by other authors, agents, editors, publishers, bloggers and anyone else who had anything to do with the literary world. When I had a couple of hundred friends, I started getting friend requests from others who were starting out on their writing career. It was exciting.

However, I read an interview with an agent. She said the first thing she does when she’s interested in an unpublished author is Google them. In my mind, that meant I needed to have a platform. I needed to get my name out there. I added more friends on Facebook until I started receiving more requests than I sent. I was one of the first on Google+. I restarted my personal blog (don’t look for it, it hasn’t been updated in a while). I joined Twitter (though I never got totally into it, partly because I’m not crazy about cell phones. Ask Courtney how often I know where my phone is, the battery is charged and I’ve got it turned it on.). I loved Pinterest (until the whole thing with the copyrighted pictures came up). I joined LinkedIn ( and connected with most of the same people I’m connected with on Facebook.). I’m on something called Triberr (though I don’t honestly know what it is – I’m just in a tribe, I know that.). I’ve got a Tumblr account (not sure I like it. I feel old there). I’ve guest posted on blogs and have written regularly for several. I was pretty proud of myself. I had a platform. But, I didn’t have a book.

Social media can be a wonderful thing. I’ve met a lot of truly talented, smart and lovely people online. Yes, you know there’s a big “but” coming in soon, don’t you? Here it is: But, how much are you out there showcasing your talents versus how much of the time personal expression comes first? I’ll give an example of what I’m talking about. I’m very, very outspoken when it comes to politics and religion among other things. It’s exquisitely hard to suppress what I want to say versus what I think should say. There was a period of months where I was posting political things on a daily basis. I lost “friends” over some of the posts, but I eagerly defended my position. I got drawn into long, barely civil arguments with people I’ve never met. I spoke my mind. But, I didn’t have a book.

So, what does this have to do with getting “Back to the Basics?” I’m going to share with you some tips that I’ve learned along the way. Everyone who reads this has a goal: to write a book. Here’s my advice on how to get that done:

  • Social media can be your friend or your enemy. It’s up to you to decide how to use it. If you want to be political, religious or post only game scores or pictures of fuzzy kittens every five minutes, that’s your choice, but know that what you’re putting out there is how the online world perceives you. Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely, but I’m getting better at it (perception not hypocrisy, that is). Have fun and bring on the kitten pictures, just use common sense.
  • Do what you’re comfortable with, as in, don’t let social media take up your writing time. If you find that you’ve got 3000 friends and can’t remember the passwords to all the sites you’ve joined and you still don’t have a book – then you may want to consider a social media diet. I’m on one right now. It’s tough, but you can do it! Let me know and we can start a support group. I’ve heard Google Groups is a great place to meet! 😉
  • Be professional. Share the good news in your life, share anecdotes, show who you are. However, if you’re going to use social media as a non-stop commercial advertising your books, with a link to your book released every hour on the hour – you’re alienating people, not getting them interested in your book. Everyone you come in contact with is a potential fan – treat them that way.

What would you add to this list?

Whew! You made it through that long post. Here’s a reward for those of you who had the patience to make it to the end. This is from agent Jill Corcoran’s website. http://jillcorcoran.blogspot.com/2011/06/before-you-query-me-watch-these-free.html

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lobo235/75085378/

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Social Media

 

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