Sanity Saving Blogging Resources

Be UniqueLife flies by at an insane pace… I constantly miss or have to dash past blog posts I want to and need to read. In case you missed it, here are the resources I shared during Blog Taming Month in February. A few extras are thrown in, just because I can… Happy scribing and remember, forget the musts, the have-tos and the myriad of experts. Your best success comes by being yourself!

Micro-Blogging: An Idea to Experiment With

Blogging Survival: Get Ahead by Scheduling

Services Which Make Your Blog Easy to Follow

Surviving BIG Blogging Mistakes

Blog Sidebars: Easy Ways to Add Whatever You Want

Are Your Blogging Goals Slipping? Help to Get Focussed Using Planners and Organisers

Building Community Spirit in the Blogosphere

Is Your Blog Trapping You or Helping You Fly?

Savvy Blogging Cover Image 2If you want even more… and why wouldn’t you? All blog maintenance and promotion posts here on CommuniCATE can be accessed by this category link. Or you can save yourself the trouble and download the free .pdf ebook, which saves you scrolling and reading through all those posts online. This is the download link. It is safe, with no strings attached and comes from my web site.

Chapters Include:

  • Blog Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight
  • Get Yourself A Second Brain
  • Slack, Fake and Egocentric Followers: How to Pick Them!
  • Blog Post Promotion on Social Media: Instantly Hooking Reader Attention
  • Sometimes, It Just Goes Wrong: When to Ditch!
  • The Best Kept Editing Secret
  • 10% On Top: Being a More Efficient Writer
  • Professional, Effective Author Sites: The Problems With Using Blogs
  • Cleaning the Cobwebs Out of Blogs: Reader Engagement and Content Value
  • Guest Posting as Advertising: How To Be Professional and Be Asked Back
  • Your Individuality is Your Greatest Asset: Writing and Marketing as You
  • Faulty-Tasking
  • The Road to Success is Paved by Free-Sharing

Have fun!


This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Writing Historically Based Books: Author Philippa Gregory

The-Other-Boleyn-Girl-by-Philippa-Gregory“Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a tv drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.” Sourced from her web site, http://www.philippagregory.com

These videos are on how she researches her books and is drawn to work on the main characters. It’s a fascinating process, which I enjoyed hearing about. If you are a lover of research or historical fiction, you’ll be inspired by watching these clips.

Don’t “Write” Yourself Off: I Don’t Care How Old You Are!

One of my memoir classes was attended by an eighty year old lady who had little education; had never written a poem, story or anything else in her life – and discovered she could write with absolute perfection! What if she’d opted for the rocking chair and never tried? Obviously, she had been a life-long reader and that had taught her a great deal, but she never knew the talent was there… until she picked up a pen and started to write!

When this came out on Pinterest, I applauded. Take it to heart. It’s not too late until you’re *a week dead.

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(*Survival Tip: be buried with a mobile phone in case it’s not really over. No, really, people do still opt for this.)


REBLOGS WELCOMED

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Is Your Blog Trapping You or Helping You Fly?

BlogTamingMonthCommuniCATE2I’ve been looking at this debate for some time, as I see more and more bloggers talking of burnout and writers starting to rebel against the endless demands of what you must do to succeed! To settle the matter, I took a few hours out to read and properly absorb both sides of the argument. It is complex when it comes to the publishing industry. At the end, all I could do was make up my own mind about what was right for me. I have placed as many of the arguments here as I can (without this post being novel sized) so you can also make up your own mind. Don’t follow the herd: do what works for you!

  • When you find yourself filling in posts with anything, as you just want it done and are tired, drained and over it!
  • Having no direction: which is sometimes apparent in writers with multiple blogs, unless they are for multiple purposes… but watch how much time that takes up!
  • Letting your self-esteem be dictated by reader statistics.
  • If it is an excuse for social media interaction which may be a sign you need to find a better answer to loneliness, or other tasks you are avoiding.
  • When you are investing too much time, and other higher priority tasks are going begging as a result.
  • Getting involved in blog challenges which run you into the ground with time demands and leave you wrecked.
  • When you have made such a hash of a blog that is screams lack of quality, poor commitment to your writing, or stands as testimony to an attitude that makes you cringe!
  • When your content is too personal and can do you damage in the future with potential relationships, employers or contacts in publishing and promotion.
  • Taking on guest bloggers, cover reveals and other sharing initiatives where you are used and not supported or thanked.
  • When the amount of effort invested is not getting you the results you need long term. If you are losing followers, not growing and this has been going on for at least six months, maybe it’s just not the medium for you…

… and you know something? That’s alright: you don’t H.A.V.E. to be a blogger. Do what is right for you. Write what you have in your heart and be true to yourself. Follower numbers aren’t everything.


This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

…The Traditional Publishing Empire…my part in its downfall… by Seumas Gallacher

guest series logo

… over the past few years, the Richter-scale rattling of Ye Olde Traditionalist Publishing Empire has resulted from the confluence of several internet-related elements… the former, well-worn, convoluted trail from manuscript to bookstore shelves would have sat comfortably alongside the labours of Samson… each step of the authors’ obstacle course steeped in its own contrived ‘the-way-we-do-it-here’ rules… yer query letters to agents, each with distinctly unique submission regulations (even the WURD ‘submission’ has serf-like undertones)… and , if ye’re lucky, yeez get an answer within six months… let’s presume the Great God Agency smiles benevolently on yeez… yer manuscript crawls to the top of slush-pile number one, and the Agency undertakes to peddle yer wares…

next stage, the interminable round of the Princely Publishing Priories… enter slush-pile number two…notional Everests of offerings from gazillions of other quill-scrapers sit on purchasing executives’ desks… yeez win this bit of the Literary Lottery, and ye’re now a ‘house author’… done? …not on yer life… now the slalom of sub-editor, editor, proof reader, illustrator, cover page artist, marketing planners… in between, just to keep yeez from losing total interest in breathing, p’raps endless demands for re-writes… oh, what joy! (not)… comes now the Amazon Kindle Miracle… one of those wondrous ‘that’ll-never-catch-on’ fads, they said… panders only to the vanity-print brigade, they said… watch it crash and burn in a coupla months, they said… people will never switch from having a book in their hands they can touch, they said…

profileand d’yeez know what?… I was one of those stuck-in-the-mud ‘they said-ers’…this ol’ Jurassic swore never to be lulled/conned/hoodwinked into using one of those new-fangled Kindle thing-ys… fast forward to the present, and it’s all change… so what happened?… the Kindle and its cousin lookalikes came on the scene at the same time as the SOSYAL NETWURKIN, is what happened… enter Master Gallacher, stage right… the traditionalists’ staunchest supporter… now meta-morphed into a sexagenarian poster boy for the ePublishing universe…

there’s NUTHIN better than a real live example to show the doubters what yer talking about… show them me… I’m gonna claim my place in posterity for my part in the downfall of traditional publishing… I don’t want to give away too many spoilers just in case Martin Scorcese and Hollywood eventually look to do the blockbuster movie about it… but, as they say in the best court cases… the facts are straightforward enuff… the evidence is plain for all to see…

I escaped from the career-currently-considered-worse-than-serial-murderingbanking… about five years ago… and started to write the first wee crime thriller masterpiece, THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY… like all budding Lee Child-es, or that wee Rowlings lassie, I promptly sent it off to forty literary agents in London… and in perfect balance received back precisely forty rejection slips… then sumb’dy whispered the WURD, Kindle, in my ear… I knew not of what they spoke… so it was explained in monosyllables… and on to the eBook merry-go-round went the novel… at the same time, I read about another newbie self-publishing author, Rachel Abbott, who achieved 100,000 downloads with her maiden book, ONLY THE INNOCENT… she espoused taking a total business approach to the whole ten yards of writing… acknowledging that writing the stuff was merely the beginning of the enterprise… in any business yeez would expect to have a business plan, a budget, timeline targets, market and pricing strategies, and so on… now it was making sense to this refugee from the financial industry… and I dived in feet first…

the realization that the SOSYAL NETWURKIN provided the multiple access to markets was the first essential epiphany… thus began the decision-making phase about which of the many channels to WURK with… yeez can’t do all of them… so for me it was Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn… today and every day, I allocate budgeted time for each of these… developing, nurturing, and enjoying the relationships evolving constantly on there… and, most importantly, sumb’dy else outlined to me about eighteen months ago what a BLOG was… so I have one of those in the quiver, too, and lo and behold was voted Blogger of the Year last December… must be doing something right, but darned if I know what it is…

over these fabulous few years of growing from a bewildered new self-publisher, with NUTHIN in sales, I’ve grown into a bewildered not-so-new self-publisher, but the first novel, and its successor, VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK have already done 70,000+ copies… a month ago, I stuck SAVAGE PAYBACK, the third title in what’s now the Jack Calder series, onto Mama Kindle, and so far, reports are doing very nicely, thank you, nurse… the bonus throughout all of this Magical Mystery Online Tour has been the discovery of the vast, generous, global, scribblers family… my direct connections during the BUILDING THE PLATFORM of links has grown from 200 to almost 14,000, many, many of whom are in regular communication… reciprocation is a key WURD for me in that regard… try to give back as much as possible, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… ReTweet for others… share their Facebook success stories… download some books from newcomers… and post reviews for them… honest reviews, coz any other kind are not helpful… and most of all… enjoy, enjoy, enjoy…

so, there yeez have it… when the Nobel Prizes for The Indie Mouse That Roared are being handed out in years to come, bear a thought for the part played in the early downfall of The Traditional Publishing Empire by a delusional old Scots scrivener locked away in his virtual candle-lit garret in Abu Dhabi… let them speak well of me…LUV YEEZ

wall copy 2


Follow Seumas

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Seumas Gallacher was born in Clydeside, Govan in Glasgow and spent his formative teens in the idyllic Scottish Hebridean island of Mull. His career as a banker took him from Scotland to London for ten years and thence on a further twenty-five year global odyssey through Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines in Asia. Along the way he metamorphed into a corporate troubleshooter and problem solver. He came to the United Arab Emirates for a month in 2004 and has remained in Abu Dhabi ever since.

A late discoverer of the joys of writing, his first two novels, The Violin Man’s Legacy and Vengeance Wears Black have sold more than 70,000 copies. The third in the Jack Calder series, Savage Payback was launched in late 2013.

Click to buy.

Click to buy.

Seumas has become a strong proponent of the use of the social networking channels to reach and engage with a global readership market in the new age of self-publishing and eBooks. Seumas is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on how to develop productive online relationships. He was voted Blogger of the Year 2013.

Blog: http://seumasgallacher.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/seumasgallacher

AMAZON LINKS for SAVAGE PAYBACK
UK   http://amzn.to/1gTgJh0
US   http://amzn.to/16hKHci
Australia   http://www.amazon.com.au/SAVAGE-PAYBACK-Seumas-Gallacher-ebook/dp/B00G00GZEO/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386418677&sr=1-2&keywords=seumas+gallacher

AMAZON LINKS for VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK
US   http://amzn.to/W59BB3
UK   http://amzn.to/13yV1YX
Australia   http://www.amazon.com.au/VENGEANCE-WEARS-BLACK-seumas-gallacher-ebook/dp/B008H45KJC/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386418742&sr=1-3&keywords=seumas+gallacher

AMAZON LINKS for THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY
UK   http://amzn.to/10wo0ha
US   http://amzn.to/10wnMXB
Australia  http://www.amazon.com.au/Violin-Mans-Legacy-seumas-gallacher-ebook/dp/B005D7JNCQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386418677&sr=1-1&keywords=seumas+gallacher


This article / blog post is Copyright Seumas Gallacher 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Seumas’ prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using his work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Seumas Gallacher is the attributed Author.

The Rebel Writer’s Creed: Set Your Creative Self Free

creed2014My blog posts that are read the most, are the ones where I break out of the “have to” boxes that we sink into as writers. I spend as much time as I can encouraging people to do the same: break free, balance your time and be yourself. That is the only way you will find fulfilment in your creative life.

In 2013 I stumbled across author S.A. Larson’s Rebel Writer’s Creed. I immediately identified with it and promoted it. The 2013 creed was worded like this:

  • BElieve in myself
  • BE me –  don’t compare myself
  • BEat a writing fear
  • BalencE social media
  • Take writing BrEaks
  • BE a writer every day
  • DREAM BIG

It was everything I have been saying in one sidebar friendly image.

Needless to say, I have been waiting for the release of the 2014 creed with anticipation and it has arrived: the post is here and the creed is above. Please visit Larson’s site, sign up to take the pledge and be a rebel writer. Don’t let SEO, online peer pressure, social media fads etc. dictate how you write! You’re worth more than that!

cloud word free

My most popular rebellious posts:

~ Your Individuality is Your Greatest Asset: Writing and Marketing as You

Surviving Blogging and Writing Challenges: Wise Choices

SEO and Social Media Survival

Getting Real About Writer’s Burn Out and Social Media Demands

Creative Freedom or Selling Out for Profit: Which is Your Choice?

 


Creative Commons License
This work, created by Cate Russell-Cole 2013 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Writing Challenges Online: 2014 Calendar

51A-PsG1t2LUpdated: January 25th 

A master list of all the online writing events I have been able to track down is below. The CommuniCATE Resources for Writers blog has several initiatives planned for 2014, including Support An Author Month in May, “Blog Taming Month” in February and Independent Author Promotion Month in September.

For an amazing series of lists on blogging events based on every topic, word combination or theme you can think of, visit The Daily Post. You’ll be hooked!

All Year

ROW80LogocopyA Round of Words in 80 Days: http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com There are 4 rounds of 80 days a year. Rounds start in January, April, July and October, but you can participate in as many as you wish. ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life where you post your own goals, check-in twice a week and can change your goals as needed. Join at any time.

5436912_origThe Ligo Haibun Haiku Weekly Challenge:
http://www.yakutia-coppercure.co.uk/l298go-ha298bun.html#.UsyjOaX_Qkg This is original! Haibun is a piece of prose and at least one haiku. The challenge is to take one of the two prompt words, quotes, or visuals and blog it!

Creative Every Day: http://creativeeveryday.com This is a low pressure, all-inclusive, year-long adventure for bloggers. You can join at any time.

#writemotivation by K.T. Hanna. http://www.kthanna.com/category/writemotivation/roll-call/  This initiative runs periodically through the year. You need to sign up, make a realistic list of blogging goals for the month, check-in once a week and visit your team mates to encourage them.

logoNaPoBloMo, BlogHer’s National Blog Posting Month: http://www.blogher.com/blogher-topics/blogging-social-media/nablopomo This now appears to run each month with a theme. People post a link to their posts that they publish on their personal blogs. You must sign up by the 5th of each month.

Blog Blitz by DL Hammons:
Blog Blitz Edithttp://dlcruisingaltitude.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/blog-blitz-wanna-join.html Sign up on the linky list making sure to record your email address, and you’ll instantly become a member of the Blog Blitz Team. Then from time to time, DL will select a deserving blog, email the team members and on that date team members visit that blog and leave an encouraging comment on the most recent post. The aim is promotion and to leave 100 plus comments on each blog selected.

#challengetowrite http://www.coasahmom.com/p/challengetowrite.html#.UaLiDpUyHHg

awwbadge_2014Australian Women Writers Challenge http://australianwomenwriters.com/2014-challenge/
The 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, Australian and non-Australian, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only. (Suggestions for what makes a good review can be found here.) The challenge will run from Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2014. You can sign up at any time. Follow @auswomenwriters on Twitter and use the #aww2014


March

NaNoEdMo, National Novel Editing Month: http://www.test.nanoedmo.net This can be used to compliment NaNoWriMo. Your novel, reborn: 50 hours of editing in one month.


April

logo-napowrimoNaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month: http://www.napowrimo.net Write a poem a day in April.

Camp NaNoWriMo, April and July, http://campnanowrimo.org/ Based on November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Camp NaNoWriMo provides the online support, tracking tools, and hard deadline to help you write the rough draft of your novel in a month… other than November!

logo2Wego Health Bloggers Challenge: http://blog.wegohealth.com/2012/04/01/april-is-health-activist-writers-month-hawmc/ Health Activist Writer’s Month is a month dedicated to the art of writing… about health. Award nominations for health bloggers are held later in the year. Watch the Wego website for events and challenges.

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001A-Z Blogging Challenge: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com “Can you post every day except Sundays during this month?  And to up the bar, can you blog thematically from A to Z?”

This appears to be one of the more popular challenges which has gained a great deal of traffic for participating blogs. They also have a reflections session at the end and guest post opportunities on their blog.


May

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Story A Day: http://storyaday.org “An annual Extreme Writing Challenge. Write a story every day in May.”

Story of my Life Blogathon: http://storyofmylifetheblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/blog-every-day-in-may-challenge.html Blog every single day in the month of May.


June

junowrimo-book-button-large-e1367440612773JuNoWriMo, June Novel Writing Month: http://junowrimo.com Write your novel in June, with a goal of 50,000 words, or 1667 words/day on average.

Word Count Blogathon: http://michellerafter.com/the-wordcount-blogathon/ The Blogathon is an annual community blogging challenge that brings together freelancers, writers and bloggers for the purpose of improving what they do by posting to their respective blogs every day for a month.

#Rockyourblog: http://eatplayrock.com/2013/05/june-writing-prompts/ from Cheap Is The *New* Classy and Eat Play Rock know that sometimes it can be hard to think of something to write about. So, we are happy to bring you this summertime themed list of prompts for the month of June. We hope that these summer topics can provide you some inspiration! As an added incentive, one lucky participant will win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card and a 125×125 ad space for an entire month on both Cheap Is The *New* Classy and Eat Play Rock!


October

OctPoWriMo, October Poetry Writing Month: http://www.octpowrimo.com Write 31 poems in 31 days.


November

Nanowrimo-298x415NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month from the Office of Letters and Light: http://nanowrimo.org Write your novel in a month with a supportive community, word count tracker and a goal of 50,000 words. If November is a bad month for you, see Camp NaNoWriMo under April. This is the biggest event of the year. If you don’t write novels, you can join as a NaNoRebel or…

LeNoWriCha: a “rank-and-reward system is to provide an escape from the “success/failure” paradigm that seems to evolve from NaNo.” Started by David Shelverman Grimes and accessible through here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/david-shelverman-grimes/lenowricha-an-upgrade-to-nanowrimo/10151561140712496

WNFINNOVWrite Non-Fiction in November: http://writenonfictioninnovember.com “Challenges nonfiction writers to spend the month of November writing and completing a work of nonfiction. It also discusses nonfiction writing and publishing and provide a way for nonfiction writers to comment on their writing experiences during November each year. This is not a contest!”


December

2014-01-25_15-56-28INTERNATIONAL PLOT WRITING MONTH: December AKA PostNaNoPlot Perfection http://plotwrimo.com PlotWriMo initially came about to help writers who take part in NaNoWriMo and find at the end of November they are left with a whole lot of words that do not always add up to much. PlotWriMo annually spans the entire month of December for writers who have a draft of a novel, memoir, screenplay and are wondering, now what? This is a chance to revision and redefine the plot arch of your project before actually rewriting the manuscript. (This also works for writers without a first draft. Whether you merely have an idea for a story, a few chapters or scenes, just tweak the assignments to make them work for wherever you are in the process.)



Know of a challenge not listed here? Please let me know.

cuteburgundy

Myths, Mists and Magical Tales… Arthurian, Mediaeval and Celtic Information Sources

Celtic Dreaming Image Copyright Protected

Celtic Dreaming
Image Copyright Protected

Earlier this year I started to study the history of Ireland and the Celtic people, including Wales, Scotland, Basques and the Picts. The more I studied, the more I became intrigued by the rich cultural heritage, strong characteristics of the people and their legends and beliefs. Then I found myself engrossed in Mediaeval history, castles, weapons… It’s been fun!

If you are a fantasy, paranormal, romance or historical writers, you will find a generous helping of inspiration on these pages. Please also explore the sites these pages belong to for more information.

Arthur: http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/student_orgs/arthurian_legend/celtic/celtic.html

Druids: http://www.celtic-twilight.com/otherworld/druidism/bonwick/index.htm

Seers: http://homepage.eircom.net/~shae/chapter16.htm

Faeries: http://www.timelessmyths.com/celtic/faeries.html

Animals: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/rac/rac17.htm  and http://www.celticheritage.co.uk/articles_animals.cfm

Nature Worship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_nature_worship

Celtic Religion: http://www.celtic-twilight.com/otherworld/celtic_religion_overview.htm

Bards: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/articles/onbards.html

Other Worlds: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/ffcc260.htm

The Pale: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pale

Sexual Equality: http://www.examiner.com/article/new-age-101-brief-history-of-the-celts-major-precursors-to-new-age-beliefs-part-2

Sacred Groves: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_grove

War: http://www.applewarrior.com/celticwell/ejournal/beltane/warfare.htm and planned warfare: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/gafm/gafm07.htm

Cult of the Severed Head: http://www.celticheritage.co.uk/articles_headcult.cfm

Invaders: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/ireland_invasion_01.shtml

The Tuatha de Danaan: http://www.greatdreams.com/reptlan/Tuatha_de_Danaan.htm ; http://www.danann.org/library/arch/irishmyth.html and http://www.danann.org/library/arch/chronol.html

Resources on Castles

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/finefella/ Creative Commons Licence.

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/finefella/ Creative Commons Licence.

These links will will assist you in designing and writing about your own. Some of the information is introductory level. The free Project Gutenberg books should be very helpful.

project-gutenberg

What you are up against when storming a castle, thanks to Horrible Histories.


Purchased iStock Image not for reuse for any reason, commercial or otherwise unless you buy it yourself.

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

No images on this blog may be copied, captured, or altered for your own purpose without the consent of the originating owner. 

Your Individuality is Your Greatest Asset: Writing and Marketing as You

lifeinchalkIf all writers thought and expressed themselves the same way, all books would be the same. Fortunately, they aren’t. We enjoy libraries stocked with diverse characters, settings, views and approaches. There is always something new to discover. It whets our appetite for thinking outside our own style and genre.

However, as I roam around writer’s blogs on the Internet, I see so much of the same repeated. The same blogging challenges, the same badges, the same marketing techniques. I also read regurgitated lists of rules on how often we must blog to capture the attention of search engines, approach social media and present ourselves. There are excellent reasons for following some of that advice… but…

If our success as writers is dependent on our individual creative instincts, why do we fall into a carbon copy approach online? I feel like rebelling: jumping out of line and saying, “Hey, I am going to be ME. If you don’t like my style, that’s OK. I don’t like everyone’s style either. I am not going to conform and fail at being myself.”

Following the flock of sheep in front of us involves the risk that all people will see, is another woolly behind. We can be too well blended into an indistinguishable mass of cream woolly behinds. When you promote other writers on Triberr and Twitter, you can start to tune out and not pass on another round of giveaways, challenge posts and blog tours. You’re looking for something different, something that catches your interest and hasn’t been done before. A new design. A new point of view. A new theme. With the number of people online, that’s not always easy to do; but when you put yourself forward in your own individualistic style, then people do notice. That can generate a more positive response.

is it right

So, while being sensible and sticking to the most essential rules for promotion, may I challenge you to not be afraid to be yourself. Show your personality, show your passion for your work and if you hate blog challenges or tours, don’t do it! Find an approach that fits who you are.

Be yourself. You are your best shot at success.


This video from TED Talks highlights how we tend to gravitate towards like-minded people. They are often the least able to help us when we need to break free of the norm. Please enjoy Maria Bezaitis, speaking on the surprising need for strangeness.


REBLOGS WELCOMED

This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture.

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

Sending Your Readers in the Right Direction: Blog Post Marketing

bigblogsThe bigger your blog gets, the harder it is for readers to find the content they want, or you need shared the most. However, there is an easy solution: build in a simple mini-search engine for your readers which is easy to access and takes no technical wizardry to set up.

Last week I posted on how and why I had cut my posts down to make the blog more reader friendly. I was also wondering who was going to read back through over 200+ posts? Probably no one. However, there is one way to keep high quality older posts accessible to readers: by effectively using categories.

While it can take some time to go through a big blog and categorise old posts, it’s worth that investment! Think through the best way to represent your topics. A straight label may not always be effective. Cleverly named categories may work well as teasers to pique curiosity. If say, a book title isn’t drawing traffic, alter the category name your book posts are under, to draw interest.

To make categories readily searchable, you can either use the category sidebar widget that your blog has, or do as I have done as used a text widget to separate the categories out of the cloud and make them more readable. To increase their usefulness, you can also link straight to a category and share it on social media; or as I have done, list them in places where they will draw attention, such as on my Best of the Blog page and my web site. Don’t forget to use the slug feature which allows you to put in a brief description or explanation of the category. It will clear up any confusion and let you communicate extra information.

wlogoI’m interested in hearing what categories draw your attention. What works on your blog? Please share in the comments. Here is my new category list.

Walter Mosley on Productivity & the Writing Life

Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today. He is the author of more than 37 critically acclaimed books, including the major bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins. His work has been translated into 23 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and The Nation, among other publications. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.”

John Irving: Excellent Inspiration on the Craft of Writing

According to Wikipedia (I could not get John’s site to load), John Winslow Irving is an American novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. Irving achieved critical and popular acclaim after the international success of The World According to Garp in 1978. Some of Irving’s novels, such as The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, have been bestsellers. Five of his novels have been adapted to film. Several of Irving’s books (Garp,Meany, A Widow for One Year) and short stories have been set in and around Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1999 for his script The Cider House Rules.

The thrill of the blank page!

The Writer’s Craft

How John Works : this takes a few seconds to kick in, so don’t worry about the black screen, it doesn’t indicate death.

Ten Lessons Learnt On Becoming An Author: Alberta’s Adventure

In the few years since I began this last adventure of mine, it occurs to me I have done nothing but learn. Here are a few lessons learnt:

1) Writing is the easy part. Really, it is.

419960_295545063834907_398500026_n2) After that comes ‘editing.’ Is a quick read through should be enough? No. Be prepared to read, re-read, put aside, read, re-read. Despair, look again, line by line, word by word, read, tinker, eliminate, add, change. Despair and begin again. When you are sure, very sure, all is well, send it off, received the proofs, be prepared to find a glaring mistake on the first page!

3) The first time I had ever tried to write a book was 20+ years ago. I ignored all advice about writing what you know. I had an idea, set it on the east coast of USA (I had never been there, and it was before Google Earth), using the Police Force as its setting. I know nothing about the police here, let alone across the pond. Still I did get some great holidays over there doing my research. That story lingered in a box in the attic as a mistake! With Ellen’s Tale, at least I was writing on a subject I have some passion for and knowledge of. It is a good piece of advice, write what you know: it is amazing what we all know.

4) This old lady was brought up with a strict understanding one sorted problems oneself. You did not seek or accept help from others. Yes, well, maybe.  Twenty years travelling the world alone I learnt the limitations of that upbringing. Sometimes one needs help. Sometimes others enjoy helping. It is no different in writing. Hours spent living in another world, speaking only to make-believe folk, is an isolating experience. What cyberspace has allowed is for all of us isolated people to make contact, and to receive advice, support and counsel. I found it scary at first but, so much generosity was offered. Ask and receive graciously, give willingly. “Writers rock” as they say.

5) The second book is harder than the first! But surely the third? Nope, no easier. Maybe as time goes on the editing becomes easier, but after the first, there are expectations. Dreadful word that. It hangs like that confounded sword, poised and ready to strike. If one is lucky and people enjoyed that first book, the sense of foreboding grows like a pernicious weed. Failure! Possibly.

6) Be prepared to have Despair come visiting. An unwelcome guest who never seems to know when to vanish. Have a deadline? “You’ll never get there,” Despair whispers. Read a fantastic book written by someone else? “Yours is rubbish,” chuckles Despair. Write a steaming love scene, a heartbreaking death scene? Despair rolls on the floor laughing at your attempts.

Sometimes one need to be firm, to be strong! To banish said Despair stamp your foot, point your finger and in ringing tones declare, “darken my door no more, you misbegotten cur.”

414ip947v1L._AA160_7) You will not be master in your own house. Characters are renown for taking matters into their own hands, if they are not satisfied with the author’s attempts. Plots have been known frequently to vanish and be replaced by changelings, who romp home with the glittering prize. Master of your novel’s fate: think on, poor deluded one.

8) Be prepared for long hours hunched over the machine, into the small hours. The deadline is a a few days hence. The manuscript polished to a shine which will blind. The hours of muttering, of sorrow when heartbreakingly beautiful words are deleted. The boredom of checking spacing and font sizes. The anguishing over which cover A or B or would a C be better? The desperation when a satisfactory blurb eludes you. All that remains is to upload to Lulu or some such site, convert to Kindle, upload to the Smashwords meatgrinder. No problem. Sure? The transition from one software to another can cause earthquakes, tsunamis or maybe just cracks in your baby. Check, check and tear your hair out.

9) There will be times, when you ache to hurl machines through windows,  howl at the new moon, chew edges of carpets and generally ‘lose the plot’. Stress points include:

  • Blank page, blank mind: this is common.
  • Computer crashes, loss of the last 10,000 words of perfection.
  • Unexpected, unwanted guests arrive, complete with chocolates and schemes of days out with you.

Most importantly:

10)  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Finishing a book is the most amazing, addictive feeling. Your name is in print, your book is on bookshelves, in the library, on reading groups lists, It is exhilarating. There is nothing quite like it.

Holding the first ‘proper book’ in your hand is like childbirth, the pleasure and joy of it, drives all thought of pain, anguish and despair from your head and heart.

Time for a second go?

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Follow Alberta Online

http://albertaross.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/albertaross

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.alberta.ross


This blog post is Copyright Alberta Ross 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without the author’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-use if it is for a commercial venture.

Shyness in the Marketplace

AMANDA-PALMER-MUSEIf you would rather devote your energy to writing than struggle to promote yourself, risking being openly criticised, this is for you. As someone who hates reviews, would rather read posts than comment and abhors bombing social media streams with book promotion, it touched me. I am nodding my head and agreeing: all I want is for my work to touch someone and resonate with them.

Just after the Boston Marathon bombing, writer and musician Amanda Palmer gave this talk on writers, shyness, the “wild west” of the Internet marketplace. You don’t have to be formally recognised for your work to have value; and that should never detract from your joy in being a writer.

Go shout down to your marketplace and do it with pride.

Amanda, thank you.

Amanda Palmer on the Muse in the Marketplace

My apologies for being unable to embed this video. It’s a WordPress thing.

Writing with Kids in Tow? Jodi Picoult Successfully Did

“Jodi Picoult, 43,is the bestselling author of seventeen novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale (1992), Harvesting the Heart (1994), Picture Perfect (1995), Mercy (1996), The Pact (1998), Keeping Faith (1999), Plain Truth (2000), Salem Falls (2001), Perfect Match (2002), Second Glance (2003), My Sister’s Keeper (2004), Vanishing Acts (2005), The Tenth Circle (2006) Nineteen Minutes (2007), Change of Heart (2008), Handle With Care (2009) and House Rules (2010).

Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student. Realism – and a profound desire to be able to pay the rent – led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher – before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel, Songs of the Humpback Whale…”

“In 2003 she was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for Fiction. She has also been the recipient an Alex Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association, sponsored by the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust and Booklist, one of ten books written for adults that have special appeal for young adults; the Book Browse Diamond Award for novel of the year; a lifetime achievement award for mainstream fiction from the Romance Writers of America; Cosmopolitan magazine’s ‘Fearless Fiction’ Award 2007; Waterstone’s Author of the Year in the UK, a Vermont Green Mountain Book Award, a Virginia Reader’s Choice Award, the Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, and a Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award. She wrote five issues of the Wonder Woman comic book series for DC Comics. Her books are translated into thirty four languages in thirty five countries. Three – The Pact, Plain Truth, and The Tenth Circle, have been made into television movies. My Sister’s Keeper was a big-screen release from New Line Cinema, with Nick Cassavetes directing and Cameron Diaz starring, which is now available on DVD.

She and Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with three Springer spaniels, two donkeys, two geese, eight ducks, five chickens, and the occasional Holstein.” Source, her web site: http://www.jodipicoult.com.au