Monday, April 21, 2014

WHAT TO BLOG ABOUT

  
Blogging is a great way to get name recognition, build an audience and promote yourself.  Here are some suggestions of what to blog about on your site:


1)      Your writing process.  Blog about where you got the inspiration for the story; your research; locations where you’ve set your story.  Blog about your characters; do interviews with them.  Blog about writer’s conferences/ workshops you attend.

2)      Showcase your writing.  Post scenes, dialogue, excerpts.  It wets the reader’s appetite for more of your work.  For example, author Diana Gabaldon used to post her work on the internet for readers to critique.  By the time her book was published, she had hundreds of people waiting for it.

3)      Use pictures.  All your blog posts should contain photos.  But photos can be blogs in and of themselves.  A picture is truly worth a 1000 words so share away.  For example, flowers, dogs/cats, locations, dresses, landmarks, oceans, et al.  Put up photos of what your characters look like; photos of locations/cities where you’ve set your book.  Your readers will love it.

4)      Do interviews.  Interview other authors, editors, agents, other bloggers, librarians, booksellers.  You can also interview people that are in the same profession as your characters.  These can be great learning experiences for you and other writers and readers.

5)      Hobbies/Pets.  Yes, hobbies and pets make good blog fodder.  They are fun ways to connect with readers.  For example, author K.M. Jackson has a great blog (www.kwanawrites.com) and she always adds snippets about her dog Jack.  Readers often ask about him, and keep going back to her to hear about the dog’s antics.  Another example, author Nalini Singh (www.nalinisingh.com) writes a leopards and wolves series.  She also posts photos of cubs and pubs on her blog, and now her readers are sending her photos for her blog.  That engagement with your readers is priceless, and is what all writers want to achieve.

6)      Tie-ins topics.  These are topics that touch upon the themes in your book.  For example, if you are writing a cop thriller, blog about cops, guns, bounty hunters, etc.  If you are writing paranormals, blog about zombies, vampires, shape shifters, ghosts, angels that are in your books.  If your main character is a baseball player, blog about baseball.  Etc. Etc.  You get the idea.

7)      Blog for others.  Volunteer to blog for other authors and other writer sites.  This will expose you to other readers and help build your brand.
 
 
Happy Blogging!
 

Friday, April 18, 2014

NEW YORK FRIDAYS: They're back!


The good thing about winter and all the snow was that someone took away the City Bikes.  But, now that the sun is out, they're back.  Yikes!

Yes, they are good for your health.  Yes, they make the city money.  But, they also cause me heartburn when I see bikers without helmets playing cat and mouse with oncoming traffic.

Happy Riding.  Happy Friday.--m

 
 
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

REASONS TO BLOG


 
Writing is a business.
 
Today, the publishing world is going social and digital, and writers need to do the same.  Editors are looking a writer’s social numbers – that’s the number of people who follow your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.  Publicity and marketing is up to the author, and a cheap way to do both is through a blog.
 
 
REASONS TO BLOG
 
1)      Name recognition, also known as brand recognition.  YOU are the brand.   New writers –just as much as published writers -- need to make connections with readers, booksellers, book reviewers, editors, agents, et al.  
 
2)      Build an audience.  Family and friends help, but writers need a wider, far-reaching readership.  It takes time to find readers, and the sooner a writer starts the better.  This is especially true for unpublished writers.  Get your name out there now.
 
3)      Promotion.  Your blog is one of the few places where you can self-promote again and again without being obnoxious.   Post a countdown to your publication date.  Have the links to all the places your book is available for sale, et al.


Happy Blogging!
 

Friday, April 11, 2014

NEW YORK FRIDAYS: Spring IS really here!



Yes, it's true Spring is here.
 
The snow is gone. The sun is out, and the flowers are bursting forth. 
 
Happy Friday!

 
 
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

SELF-PUBLISHING IS NOT FOR THE LAZY




Writers Write.
 
Publishers do everything else, or at least they used to.
 
Today’s populace is seduced by the millions authors such as Sylvia Day have made on their self-published novels. But we must remember that those books were not mega sellers until they were bought by traditional publishing houses and distributed worldwide instead of just word of mouth.
 
Savvy authors doing their research know that the mad rush by editors to buy up self-published books is now grinding down to a halt. Unless a self-published author comes with at least 5000 followers, editors are wary. Don’t get me wrong, editors are buying self-published but they are looking hard at the author’s social numbers.

The big question for any author considering self-publishing is do you have the time, the cash, and the support system in place to get the job done well?

A self-published author has to be her own editor, designer, typesetter, proofreader, and printer. I am not going to mention marketer because all authors, whether published by traditional publishers or self published, have to do their own marketing.

So how many hats can you wear well?! Well being the operative word.

Of course, you can pay for others to do the editing, cover design, typesetting, et al. And, yes, there are small outfits that will help you self-published your book, even some agents are getting into the action, but the fees are hefty. Do you have enough money to pay someone else and will your investment be worth it?

Self published authors have to be prepared to do it all. You can’t be lazy.

If you publish with a traditional house, you have their expertise and all their connections immediately at your fingers tips. Self published authors may have to wait months, if not years, before making those kinds of con­tacts. But there are a few indie published author networks that are good sources of support and information.

However, none of that is going to help you if you are not writing. And, if you are not writing, there is noth­ing to sell to either a traditional publisher or to self publish.

My advice is for authors to be flexible. Research the market. Know your strengths. Manage your time. And, write, write, write.

Most experts will tell you that the best authors today are the hybrid authors – ones that are selling to tradi­tional houses and doing their own self publishing on the side. It’s all part of being a smart business person, and writing is a business. At the end of the day, you are the boss, whatever hat you want, but remember that your most important hat is that of writer.♥
  

Monday, February 10, 2014

LOVE IS….FINDING THE RIGHT WORD CHOICE



I was busy writing a scene which read:

…a blush stained her cheek…

The word stained stopped me for a second and I backtracked and crossed it out and wrote “colored” over it. Even as I wrote “stained” I knew that it was the wrong word. It didn’t convey the true meaning of what I wanted my heroine to feel or my reader to witness.

…a blush colored her cheek…

The imagery is much better with my new word choice. Plus, I didn’t want a negative connotation associated with any part of my heroine. Colored gave just the right image.

As writers we make these word choices intuitively. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are changing the words because we are in the zone. Then when we are editing and polishing, again we review our word choices and change some for dramatic effect.

We’ve shared some of our favorite words on the Craft Loop, like loathsome, perch, ethereal, whimsical. Each word choice carries its own meaning, its own identity. And it is those word choices that populate our novels. (FYI, I had colored our novels but changed it to populate our novels. More dramatic, no?) It is those word choices that will create our world, that motivate our characters, that move our reader.

Eliza Doolittle may have been sick of words, but they are an author’s bread and butter. The more words we know the better we can manipulate them and the better our writing.

Alice Orr has two pages of action-words she likes. Thea Devine has a little black book of sexy phrases she likes to refer to. How many of us don’t have “favorite” words somewhere, whether it’s jutted down in a note­book or filed away in our heads. By selecting the correct word, we can stir the five senses in our writing and in our readers, and that makes our job easier (hopefully!) and gets us fans for life (hopefully!).

How and where do we find these words? By reading everything – novels, maga­zines, newspapers, tweets, subway ads. By listening everywhere – at the coffee shop, on Pandora radio, other people’s conversations, TV shows, movies.

So next time you sit down to write or are writing down ideas, watch your word choices. Why did you pick that word over another? What does that word choice convey? Does it pack a punch? Does it delight the senses? Do you love it?###
 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

PASSION COMES FIRST

   
 
For some strange reason, I have begun collecting quotes and sayings found around the streets on the sides of buses or ads on subway trains. The latest addition to my collection is from a Ketel One ad:

Exceptional Things Come
When Passion Comes First

That rang so true to me. I had to take a picture and make it my new opening backdrop.

It’s a New Year. Time for a new beginning. Time to start a new book, where "exceptional things (will) come." Why? Because "passion comes first."

Passion comes first for all writers. More than the fame and fortune --stop laughing! -- we writers are enamored of words, of settings, of characters. We can look at a picture and imagine a life. We can hear a word or a sentence and imagine the whole scene and its aftermath.

What marvelous powers we have! We can create worlds in numerous ages and times and colors. So as you start your New Year, maybe start a new novel, let’s all remember these five tips:

1) Write what you know

2) You can’t edit a blank page

3) Every word counts

4) Just do it

5) Passion comes first.


Happy New Year! Happy New Beginnings! ---mcf