Friday, February 26, 2010
Ladies with typewriters... These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS)
actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight:
'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving
obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the
help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the
church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?'
Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of
several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased
person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies
are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would
lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church
basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church.
Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last
Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours".
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Writing for Modern Readers
Most of us want to write what’s in our hearts and express ourselves with our unique prose without worrying about what anyone else thinks. And we can... if we don’t care whether our writing makes it to publication or appeals to readers.
On the other hand, if we want our words to reach the largest audience possible, then we have to pay attention to what readers want and that may require us to adjust our writing.
Ultimately readers determine what sells, not publishing houses. We often wag our fingers at agents and editors and accuse them of being too picky, of being closed to so many kinds and styles of writing. But in my experience with my agent and in-house editors, they are constantly asking questions like “will the reader like this?” or “what will most readers buy?”. They make the reader’s desires top priority.
As much as we may resist the idea, maybe we too need to take a closer look at what appeals to readers, particularly modern readers.
If you’re like me, when you read a classic book, you find yourself stopping and saying, “That technique would never work today.” For example, in Chapter One of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott brings the story to a grinding halt when she says, “As young readers like to know `how people look', we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters.”
Alcott goes on to write a LONG paragraph about the appearance and personality of each of the March daughters. Alcott could have eliminated all of the description because later she brings each character to life so uniquely.
What worked for authors one hundred, fifty, even ten years ago, won’t necessarily appeal to readers today. We don’t hang on to our outdated computers or cell phones, and we can’t cling too tightly to our writing methods either. We have to be willing to change with the times and meet the needs of the modern reader.
So, what are some of the needs of today’s readers? Well, I’m the first to admit, I’d much rather read a 21st century book than a classic. So I simply have to start by asking, what do I like in a book? Here are just a few considerations.
1. Fast pace. Most of us are living incredibly busy lives. We often go from one activity to the next with hardly a chance to breathe. We grow impatient easily, and because we don’t have time to waste, we demand that our entertainment be equally fast-paced.
And how can we make our writing fast-paced? Of course we can make sure our plot doesn’t drag. But in addition to that, we can stick to shorter sentences, break up our paragraphs, keep the scenes succinct, and ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary description and internal monologue.
2. Action-packed. Not only do we live with a fast pace, but we’re also a culture that thrives on action, danger, suspense, and high adrenaline rushes. We want adventures and entertainment that take us into the wild and thrilling 3-D.
No matter what genre we write, we have to ask ourselves how we can raise the stakes, increase the conflict, and add more tension. We need to eliminate the static and replace it with action that sweeps the reader into a new dimension.
3. Emotionally charged. In a culture obsessed with reality TV shows, we long to connect with the raw emotions of everyday problems. We have our own unique joys and pains, and somehow getting a glimpse of what others are going through helps us put our own issues into perspective.
In our writing, we need to pour our hearts and souls out onto the paper. We have to bring readers into the reality of our characters lives, give them real problems and vivid emotions to which readers can connect.
What about you? Do you think it’s important to write for the modern reader or do you think it’s more important to write the way you want? Is it possible to do both?
Monday, February 22, 2010
Well, to my surprise, some folks were actually reading my quotes. They responded to them, retweeted them, allowed me into their little tweeting families. Soon we were actually chatting as much as possible within the character restraints, and I developed some friendships. All because Yogi Berra and Zsa Zsa Gabor can be so quotable! I never realized there were whole sites dedicated to quotes and quoting, but there are. I've listed a few:
American Rhetoric--general quotes by famous Americans.
Quotes LOL--aka Mark's Quotes, but the site isn't limited to Mark Twain's wit.
Quote Databank--my favorite, containing several categories and tons of famous folks.
I found a couple of sites to help with my blogging, too--make it more professional and give it pizzazz:
Bravenet--this site has free web tools and hosting.
Eye Candy for Writers--Nina Hansen, mutual friend to us here at AuthorCulture, has developed some great buttons for writers on her site, Notes from the Front. All they'll cost you is an acknowledgement!
Finally, for those of us who have to keep an eye on the clock when we write, I found the greatest little gadget: the egg timer! Set your time and forget it. The countdown begins the minute you press go and works like a charm.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Kate is 22 and a graduate of the . In between tossing resumes to the wind, she enjoys writing and running. Her fondest ambition (other than finally being able to move out of her parent’s house) is to be a published author, and her biggest vice is the lure of books when she should otherwise be looking on Monster.
Unemployment aside, she does secretly love being at home, because home is where the cats are; Blackie, Misty, and Roger, who are as much a part of the family as its human members.
Her blog, kateness.wordpress.com ruminates on topics as diverse as her writing travails and the uncovering of her computer’s plot to one day take over the world (or at least her bedroom).
For her work, she wins the AuthorCulture coffee mug, a book of her choice either by K.M. Weiland or Lynnette Bonner, and a post here as well as in 777 Peppermint Place and Andrew Bosley's Sketch Hunter.
Rafil had never been a leader. He was only a soldier.
He was only a man.
And he was now the last. Of that, he was fairly sure.
It was a heavy burden to bear; he was not quite twenty-four.
Thirty-eight years ago, the war began. A faceless, voiceless, bodiless force of a hundred million billion against a few thousand who wanted to remain men. The conclusion was never in doubt, but for thirty-eight years they fought.
It was all Rafil had ever known.
Yet even now, caught and facing death -- or worse than death -- Rafil couldn’t help but marvel. For a moment, he could pretend he was here three hundred years ago. He thought he could hear the echoes of their proud voices.
The walls were paneled and the carpet lush beneath his feet. Those in the room were beneath his gaze; it was the pictures hanging on the wall which drew his eye: the dozens of men and women who had held the proud title of Secretary-General. Their eyes seemed to follow him as he walked towards the five men sitting against the far-most wall.
Uploading an entire consciousness became practical for all mankind thirty-nine years ago. Over eight billion chose it; it promised a life free from want and desperation in a world that loved mankind no longer. None had realized the five strongest-willed could dominate; could usurp the global consciousness and use the others as no more than pawns whose minds could be downloaded into pre-grown bodies at their whim.
He had seen the factories from which the bodies came; endless assembly lines with bodies hanging from hooks like in a butchers’. Feet lolling, heads bowed against their chests. Bodies made not from human flesh, but a cool, soft plastic. It had been his pleasure to burn those factories. The plastic melted like wax.
And he had seen what they became. The rooms where they became human -- filling stations. Bodies -- blanks, the resistance called them -- on hands and knees with the plug in the base of their bald skulls. Their slack faces and eyes rolled so far back into their heads that only the whites were visible had given him nightmares for weeks. It meant nothing to kill a blank. He lost count before his fourteenth birthday.
The wear-stains on the carpet indicated there had been a table across the center of the room, but he walked across them. The only table now was the one the five sat behind. His eyes were on the floor. He didn’t want to look into their dead eyes; the eyes of eight billion lost souls.
One of them spoke, but the words washed over him in a wave; a dull monotone of white noise. He turned away from them. A hand on his shoulder -- one of the blanks which had brought him here -- threw him to the ground with strength he knew he could never possess.
This close to the floor, he could see the age of the carpet, wearing thin. It would never be replaced. After this, they would never use this building again. It was only members of the resistance who came here to die, to the building that was once the UN. Now it was more like a tomb. It was only thinking men who had any concept of history.
History would end today.
Once, men had stood straight here and so he rose, standing as tall as he could. They wore clean clothes, and so he tried to brush the dirt from his, smoothing out years of wrinkles. There was nothing he could do about the mess of stubble on his face, but some of the men in the pictures wore beards, so he was not ashamed. The shoes he wore were scuffed and much-repaired, but none of these pictures showed the men and women shod, either.
If this was the end of history, the end of thinking, feeling, bleeding, loving man, then he could not let this last act – an act which would never be spoken, written, or heard of – be simply his forced uploading.
They hadn’t searched him well; the blanks were just bodies. They made sure he didn’t have a bomb or a gun, to kill the five men that mattered, but that was it.
It was only after he slid the knife out from under the sleeve of his shirt that he looked at the five men. Really looked. He saw the emptiness behind their eyes and the slackness of their skin, the carelessly bad fitting of their clothes and the lank greasiness of their oiled hair. They were pathetic pretenses of men.
He kept his eyes on them as he raised the knife. His heart beat staccato in his throat.
A human heart. Not their cold mechanical pumps.
When the blood -- red human blood, not the blanks’ black -- came rushing out, it stained the pale carpet. Some of it soaked through to the wood beneath.
They burned the body, of course.
We at AuthorCulture would like to thank Andrew Bosley for the use of his fun Brainstormer wheel. Keep an eye out--Andrew is developing an iPhone app which should be available soon!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
OakTara has published over 120 books in the three short years since its inception. A large percentage of the books are from first time authors. Ramona and Jeff believe strongly in giving new talent a platform. The biggest shock is that as a result of publishing unknown authors the company is actually growing! And growing and growing and growing! For OakTara, it is an exciting time to be in the book-publishing world!
The fun part of being on the ground floor of a new forward thinking company is the ability to think outside the box. Jeff and Ramona are passionate about new media and see its potential to expand the company and connect with readers. We are in the beginning stages of rolling out a complete Internet presence. Currently we have a Twitter account, Facebook account, and Youtube channel for our book trailers. We are using these mediums to respond to new authors’ questions and to engage new readers. We hope to use the Facebook page more in the future to keep those interested in OakTara updated on the company, where authors’ book signings are taking place, giveaways, and much more. We also have a Scribd account where we post previews of our newest novels. We are also hoping to roll out a blog in the next month or so. The blog will give our authors a platform for increased exposure and give others the opportunity to hear directly from Ramona and Jeff. For me, that’s the best thing about blogs. The opportunity to connect with people otherwise inaccessible to me is the real brilliance of new media.
The unique way new media requires people and companies to constantly adapt and change their business models is what has most publishing companies running scared. At OakTara, we are trying to embrace this shift and are excited about the possibilities. And we are always open to new suggestions! Let us know if you have a great idea that we haven’t tried yet!
If you want to learn about Oaktara, head to our website at http://www.oaktara.com/.
I can be reached via email at: Jwessner@oaktara.com. I can also be reached on twitter at: www.twitter.com/OakTara and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oaktara/168817383294?ref=ts.
If you want to take a look at all our social media channels, they are listed on the left-hand side of our home page.
Monday, February 15, 2010
AC: What is your background as an author and a marketer? What got you started down the path of frugal self-promotion?
CH-J: I got started in journalism in high school. I associate journalism with advertising. To a great extent one depends on the other—though ethically there should be a good deal of separation between the two. Then I went into publicity—true public relations. And then into retailing which required marketing—lots of it. One piggy-backed on the other. When I came back to being an author for real, it wasn’t much of a jump to realize that those earlier fields were related to that, too. Especially when my novel started falling into oblivion!
AC: If you could start your marketing career over again, what one thing would you do differently?
CH-J: I wouldn’t. I am a great believer that the universe arranges things just as they should be. At least on the finite level. At least for people who listen to its song. If we keep ourselves focused on what we can change (ourselves) and not what we can’t (others), we begin to see that everything—even illness, even accident, even death—can be positive forces.
Having said that, one of the best things I ever did was take Public Relations 101 as a junior at USC. Any field a person goes into—even engineering—can benefit from a few marketing skills. I’m always impressed by the sound bites that the NASA scientists come up with that capture the interest (and support) of the public.
AC: Tell us a little about the products (books, newsletter, etc.) you offer to writers who want to promote their work.
CH-J: Oh, you really don’t want a list. By browsing my website, you can find a bunch of them. But I am excited about Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Booboos Your Readers and Publishing Professionals Hate. I’m formatting it right now for publication. I haven’t decided how I’m going to market it. I may sell the paperback booklets for the lowest price I can and give away the e-books and Kindle editions.
AC: What’s the single most important thing a writer needs to do to promote his book?
CH-J: Stick with it and don’t try to justify everything by the number of books sold. We are building careers, not selling books. Even when we handle book sales ourselves by taking orders, packing them, and posting them. If we keep our career goal in site, eventually our books will do well. Maybe not the first book. Maybe not the second. But one day. [Alice Sebold’s] The Lovely Bones, now a movie, looked like an overnight success when it first hit bestseller lists, but the author had written several books and studied her craft. She also knows promotion or hired people who do.
AC: Writing and marketing are both full-time jobs by themselves. How is it possible for authors to find time to do both effectively?
CH-J: Ahhh, the old balancing act. It’s like the process of writing. Each of us has to find our own way. I still haven’t gotten good at balancing.
AC: If an author can afford a publicist, do you feel that’s a wise move? Or is the author better off spending his money in self-promotion?
CH-J: Authors—until they have a handle on the profit their book will make—should spend as little as possible on anything. Thus the How To Do It Frugally theme of my series of how-to books for writers. Really, when it gets right down to it, no one else can know your book as you know it, have the same passion for your book as you do. Whether an author publishes traditionally or self-publishes and hires help, the whole process will be more successful if he or she involves herself. I spend a good bit of time on why that is in The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t.
I should add that no one path is right for every title. One should consider the personality of the author, his or her goals, and his or her pocketbook. Oh, yeah. The title itself. In fact, that is one place a new author might spend a little money. That is, to get some good advice about the entire process before he spends any more.
AC: In this digital age, online marketing seems to be taking over. How important are personal appearances (book launches, book signings, etc.) in comparison?
CH-J: I agree. At one time, a book couldn’t make it without great print reviews. Now one can get reviews far more easily on blogs and other review websites. And there are soooo many ways to promote. Authors who say they hate promotion don’t know what promotion is. If they love to write, they can promote. There is a chapter on putting that skill to work for them in The Frugal Book Promoter along with specific ways to do it. The shy among us can promote sitting behind the screen of our computers. You and I are doing that right now.
AC: What’s the first thing an author just entering the battle zone of marketing needs to do?
CH-J: Know it is never too late to start. It’s also never too early. After that, take classes. There are free online seminars like the one I cosponsor with Lea Schizas. Or spend a little at the university level to assure vetted teachers. I’m teaching one for UCLA Writers’ Program this August. Or buy books. Books are bargains when it comes to learning. But then you knew that.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The book necessarily lends itself more easily to the aspiring mystery writer, but George’s advice is applicable to all genres. In twenty-two succinct chapters, she goes over the basics of the craft—including character, setting, and plot—and spirals up into the nitty-gritty details of voice and dialogue, viewpoint and scene development. She expounds upon her own “process,” using excerpts from her own books and journals, and while she stresses time and again that each writer must develop his own process, one can’t help but glean from her honest assessment of herself.
The fourth, and final, section of the book, “Examples and Guides,” will perhaps be controversial to more instinctive writers. But those who function better with their left brain, as George does, will enjoy perusing the provided plot maps, character sketch guides, and setting “searches.”
Monday, February 8, 2010
Let’s take a look at the first several definitions of Tension found on http://www.dictionary.com/
ten⋅sion /ˈten-shuhn/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ten-shuhn]
1. the act of stretching or straining.
2. the state of being stretched or strained.
3. mental or emotional strain; intense, suppressed suspense, anxiety, or excitement.
4. a strained relationship between individuals, groups, nations, etc.
For literary purposes, tension is what makes your reader want to keep turning the pages.
First, the reader needs to care about your characters. If they don't relate to your characters, they'll have no reason to want to know what happens to them. How to create that character/reader bond, is a whole other post in itself, but is a close cousin of tension. For now, let's assume the reader is emotionally invested in your characters. Tension is what will ensure they can’t put the book down.
Tension is caused by conflict and can happen between:
- Two Characters - Conflict between good vs. evil. This is often seen in murder mysteries where the "good" detective is trying to find out who the "evil" killer is. Or a twist on this would be to have the detective be the bad guy trying to frame the good "killer."
- Characters and Nature - Conflict between nature's power and man's stupidity. Jack London's short story To Build a Fire is an excellent example of this form of tension. The man in the story has no respect for the harshness of the frozen Yukon. The reader understands the danger, and the man's indifference pulls the tension so tight that the reader just has to keep going to find out what happens.
- Inside a Single Character - Conflict of choice. This method is often used in romance novels. The heroine knows she is attracted to the hero, but has several solid reasons why she shouldn't give in to that attraction.
- Write from the POV of the character with the most to lose or gain in that particular scene.
- This does not mean you can't change POV throughout your novel, obviously, but each scene requires a decision. Do you want to focus on gain (this can be emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, relational, etc.) or loss (again, there are lots of ways/things to lose)? That decision will determine the character whose POV you write from.
- For general writing, if you give every detail, the reader will begin to get really annoyed. When a character gets thirsty, we don't need to know that they put their magazine down, stood up, walked across the room, opened the door, walked down the hallway into the kitchen, opened the cupboard, took out a glass, turned on the tap, filled the glass with water, raised the glass to their lips and FINALLY took a drink. BUT, if a stalker is hiding in your heroine's house and you go through the motions of describing intimately how she starts up the steps to her house, then remembers she forgot to get the mail and goes back to the box for it, heads back up the walk and notices the roses really need trimming so she takes a side tour to the garden shed for the sheers, etc., you can see how that heightens the tension.
- Let me add here; don't build this type of tension without giving your reader a payoff. Something must happen. If your heroine's friends drop by while she is trimming the roses and ask her to join them for dinner, and then the stalker gets tired of waiting, decides the heroine really isn't worth it and goes home, the reader will never forgive you.
- This is a device you will often see used in suspense novels or movies. The Day After Tomorrow the whole world is going to turn into and iceberg, or at 5pm the bomb is going to explode and all the characters are going to die. Force your characters to work under time constraints - that heightens tension.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
For further information, see: Kick in 2010 with a Writers' Contest!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
*****Most aspiring writers, regardless of genre, struggle with how to devote enough time to their writing. This challenge is especially daunting for writers who have children. Regardless of their age, raising kids adds complexity, as well as joy, to the writer’s life. You could spend inordinate amounts of time reading about how other writers keep their sails aloft while tackling the competing demands of work and home. Perhaps, like me, you are a parent, partner and professional for whom “writing between diaper changes” or “in a parked car” just has not worked. If so, now is the time to figure out what will work for you.
“The Five Ps” are a set of principles that can help all writers, not just writing-parents, stay the course of their writing dream, even as the sea of life swells all around. The Five Ps are: Passion, Priorities, Perspective, Process, Present-mindedness. These principles are not mutually exclusive. When there is a change in one ‘P’, it affects the others and may require you to make adjustments that keep you, and your life, in balance. Below is a brief introduction to the rest of the P’s, followed by Coaching Questions that will help you set clear, attainable intentions for your writing life in 2010.
Passion is the Alpha and the Omega of the Five Ps. Without Passion, your writing will lack authenticity, sincerity and depth. Passion asks the question, “Why do YOU write?” It is tremendously helpful for aspiring writers to spend time exploring the answer to this question and then record it in one clear sentence. For example: ‘I write because I experience a deep, abiding joy in creating stories that enlighten and entertain the reader.’ There is likely to be a difference between why you write and why you seek to publish your writing. So, while I may write because of how I feel when I create stories, I publish to share my insights with readers in ways that enrich their lives long after they’ve finished reading.
Passion carries you only so far on the high seas of the writing life. Furthermore, Passion alone does not manifest success. You need the other P’s to help you anchor passion to practical, disciplined action.
Priorities. Every writer has different priorities, but writing should be in the top three if you are truly serious about it. My top priority is family life because I have young children at home with me. Writing nips at the heels of family life but I never let it overtake that priority. I use the Five Ps to figure out how to have time for, among other things, effective workouts and productive writing while engaging fully in life with two children under age four.
While you may prioritize writing around other things in your life, you also need to prioritize the kind of writing you do. Extraverts, like me, tend to want to write about everything that they feel passion for, and can wind-up overwhelmed. What do you enjoy in life and would like to write about? If you are interested in writing magazine articles, select only topics that pique your interests and publications whose content you enjoy. You are more likely to stay committed to these projects and enjoy working on them. If you want to earn income from your work, have criteria for determining whether an assignment is lucrative given all the competing demands on your time. Perspective comes into play here.
Perspective keeps you sane. Be honest about what you actually have the time, expertise and energy to accomplish. Accepting a high-paying assignment that requires hours of expert interviews may not be worth it to you. A great idea for a historical novel is not so great if you don’t enjoy research or aren’t attentive to details. If you are honest with yourself about your available resources and the attention due to other (prioritized) areas of your life, you are more likely to keep your cool when the sea of life gets rough.
Process allows you to work (and play) at writing and family life without becoming overwhelmed. As writing-parents, we all have to get through the rough patches without shirking responsibilities. As a result, your process can be influenced by many things, including the age and number of children you have at home, the number of hours you work outside the home, support from partner/spouse, affordability of babysitting, personal energy level, personal work habits and adaptability to change.
Present-mindedness is akin to the Zen practice of mindfulness. When you are present-minded, you make better choices and adapt more easily to fluctuations in daily routines, like when a child refuses to nap and you lose valuable time for writing. Whether you are doing the dishes, playing catch in the yard or preparing dinner be in that moment with as many of your senses as possible. In doing so, you are likely to be a more relaxed, patient and responsive parent, and a more insightful, creative, disciplined and productive writer.
Infused with Passion, the Five P’s allow you to discover why you write and help you set a course for success, as you define it. The Five P’s will keep all of you—writer, parent, partner, professional and human being—sailing the high seas of the writing life.
In 2010, what do you want to accomplish as a writer?
a. your objective (end result desired),
b. the priorities that will help
you make “the writing” happen for you
c. the perspective you need to see
it through (support, resources)
d. the process that will help you
e. and how you will nurture your passion to keep moving
toward this objective.
Stay in the present-moment as you do this, write what comes to mind naturally and easily for you.
You can get more coaching at Karen's blog, The Writing Parent, and you can contact her at KMRider8@google.com
Monday, February 1, 2010
But not only did she rescue me, she wrote a terrific guest post:
In 2010, how will you perceive the social media?
If you’re new to blogging and involving yourself in the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you do have a choice on how to handle these new forms or tools of marketing. Your choice breaks down to your reactions to technology. You can either run-away in fear, pretend it doesn’t exist, or just grab the bull by the horns and hold on tight.
You can jump on this new fast craft and *conquer all obstacles*. All it takes is a change of attitude. Perception is huge. Isn’t it time to see the glass half full rather than half empty?
Let’s make 2010 the year of opportunity! A year to market you and your books.
You’re a newbie? Don’t worry. There are a lot of us out here who were exactly where you are today or have been recently been there. We can relate. We remember what it was like to start our first blog, to make our first 140 character Twitter announcement, and to create our first profile on Facebook.
Like writing, begin with the rough draft. Don’t worry about your punctuation. If you forget to fill out all the blanks in your social media profile or half your message gets cut off when twittering, there are reminders and second chances. Your second draft will be a lot better than the first.
Whenever I’m scared, I ask myself: "What’s the worse that can happen?" and "Is it life-threatening?"
If you don’t put anything down on paper, you’ll never write that story. Open up that first social media network and fill-out your profile. Don’t know something…heck, don’t worry about it, there are plenty within this community who are waiting to help those who appear stranded. Reach out and click the mouse that hovers over a member and request a friendship. Just reading that person’s profile has sparked some sort of interest your way. And that’s it! You’ve begun your journey into marketing-using the social media.
Positive attitude goes a long way. It will show in your voice—the articles you write, and even in the short bursts of communication. Staying positive is one of the secrets in producing quality blogs.
Why Start a Blog?
A blog establishes authority—an expert on a particular subject matter. A blog is your home base and will become your identity and place of presence.
Writing posts about your passion will come easily. If you’re struggling or dreading this task, chances are you haven’t discovered your true niche. It may be time to switch gears and take a self-inventory, asking yourself what you love doing the most.
How do I Create Quality Posts or Valuable Content?
- Create articles around topics of your passion. Sell each post within the first paragraph. Like your story, it’s imperative to hook the reader from the first sentence or paragraph.
- Stay positive and use a balance between informative and conversational language styles.
- Produce posts that contain useful, intelligent, and newsworthy content.
- Promote others using quotes with direct reference (if you can, use links). Others will appreciate the ‘mentions’ and your post will become stronger with the proven backed-up facts.
- Do NOT be afraid to ask for help–again, a win-win situation.
- Spend extra time researching—educating yourself. Read, read (oh and did I say…read?).
- Become a two-way blogger – become the viewer and comment on other blogs. The blogger will appreciate your following and other lurkers will read your response, become curious and may direct themselves back to your profile where your blog link is located.
Soon after you push that publish button, some of your viewers will contact you by responding to your post—positive interaction has begun. (Remember there will be many, many lurkers or viewers who’ll read your post but will not respond right away—but they’re out there, watching, reading everything you write).
Your viewers will begin to share your name and quality content with others. Bingo! You have now graduated into the current of social media—marketing you and your books.
You can read more about Jo-Anne Vandermeulen at Laurus Books.
Want to read more user-friendly marketing tips? ‘Sneak-A-Peek’ at “Premium Promotional Tips for Writers” (Brand NEW – Released December, 2009).
Vandermeulen is the owner and marketer for Premium Promotional Services You Write–We Promote.
For FREE marketing tips for writers, see Jo Conquers Obstacles.
Learn about Jo in Visual Arts Junction, where Aggie Villanueva reveals more about this amazing woman in an in-depth interview.